Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Home Tour! Come See Our Kitchen.

This is the next stop on our home tour! Find the previous posts here

If I was blessed to be on one of those HGTV home reno shows, and it was totally free and someone else did all the work, I know exactly what this room would look like. My design would involve tearing down walls and reworking the entire room. But alas, this is real life. In real life, I had no idea what I would do with a load bearing wall and I also knew carrera marble would look really out of place in this house.

Flashback to 2010 and this is what you'd see! We did have a new fridge, which was an amazing gift from my in-laws for our wedding. But, the rest of the kitchen...let's just say it was pretty cringy. 

The layout works just fine for me. The only time it bugs me that I have a small kitchen is when we have people over. Everybody wants to gather around the kitchen and there just isn't room. (If this were HGTV, I'd open the kitchen up to our massive dining room and spread out a little) 

Our kitchen modifications happened over time. We bought a new stove one Black Friday, so that we could have matching appliances. I painted the cabinets, and we lived in a very white kitchen for a few months.  Then we were able to hire an amazing guy to build a custom countertop for us, and then we had our talented family member install a backsplash to match.

Can I just brag on our backsplash for a second? I wanted white subway tile, but I wanted to break up the white with a gray grout. Groundbreaking right? Well it was at the time! We came up with this combo long before it was popularized by Fixer Upper. It was so new the relative who installed it was very skeptical about the combo, but he did it anyway and was impressed when it didn't look crazy. Anyway, it turned out great and if we ever resell our house people will like it. 

Under cabinet lighting was the best thing I ever did to this space. The overhead light and window don't let in enough light, so with the puck lights we have great lighting for tasks. I would love to add some to the other side of the kitchen by the stove, but there aren't any outlets over there, so I've gotta figure that one out. 

One thing I've always liked is the open shelving on the one side of the kitchen. It acts as a pantry and a place to store cake stands and smaller appliances. I'm also head over heals for our sink! We replaced our tiny double sided sink last summer for this big open sink with an awesome faucet. This was life changing since we are dishwasherless! 

Leave a comment below if you have a tiny kitchen too! Do you have a dishwasher, or are you a handwasher like us? I'd love to know if people tend to gather in your kitchen, or in a different room of your house!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Cutest Dress I've Ever Owned

Dress: Ann Taylor // Belt: Target // Clutch: The Limited (thrifted) // Shoes: Sam Edelman
Watch: Kate Spade // Sunglasses: Nine West // Earrings: Target
Photos By: Black Tie Cinema

There was a dress from Anthropologie a few years ago, that I have been obsessively trying to find. It was kelly green and had tennis rackets embroidered on it. (Here is the dress I'm talking about) I could never seem to find it on Ebay or Poshmark in my size, despite my searching. 

When I first saw this shirtdress from Ann Taylor, I knew I had to have it. Not only did it have tennis rackets on it, but it was also navy blue - my go to color. It completely fills the void of that Anthro dress, and actually my love for this dress surpasses the other. 

Not only is this dress probably the cutest thing I've ever owned, but it's comfortable and flattering. The tailoring is on point. Gotta love Ann Taylor for stuff like this. 

Also! I finally buckled and bought the Sam Edelman Felicia flats! They have such great reviews, but I was hesitant to invest in a more expensive flat. Well, they are worth every penny. They are incredibly comfortable and they required ZERO breaking in. I can't believe I wasted so much money before on cheap ballet flats that start peeling after a few wears. (I'm hard on shoes!) 

Leave a comment below if you've ever regretted not buying a dress, but found a better one later! Would you rather spend a little extra on a pair of shoes, or buy cheaper ones that may not last as long?
Affiliate links used, at no cost to you!

Friday, June 16, 2017

5 Things I Want To Tell You About

Delly is basically famous.
I have an Instagram account for the pugs. I cringe every time I admit that, but I have a legitimate reason for it! My instagram feed is loaded with pictures of my friend's kids, and there are probably only a handful of those kids that I actually want to see pictures of. Half the pictures on my phone are of my dogs, and undoubtedly others don't care about them like I do (just like how I feel about kid pictures) so I created an Instagram, so my friends who do want to see them can. 

There is actually a huge pug population on Instagram! I'll put it this way, the dog's account has more followers than my personal account. Anyway, all that said because the following picture of Delly went basically viral. Not really, but most of our pictures get about 100 likes or so, but this one got close to 500! For no reason. I mean it's cute, but I really don't understand !! It must have something to do with Instagram's algorithms. The next picture I posted was back to the usual amount. 

I'm trying to cook more at home!
Eating out is still our biggest weakness when it comes to our budget. Some days are just so busy, and the last thing we want to do is come home and cook. The funny thing is, we never have meals out that are better than something we can do at home. I'd definitely like to challenge myself to cook more frequently. This past weekend I made my first cheeseboard! I'm drooling just looking at it. 

Oh, and our taco nights have forever changed because of these tortillas! The yellow corn ones are to die for and they don't fall apart. I easily found them in our small-town Publix that doesn't usually carry too much variety. 

Blake finally bought me a riding lawn mower!
I have been waiting for this for years!! We've had a sorry push mower for the longest time, and this past year the self-propelled function broke. It's an incredible workout, but it was taking us like 2 hours to mow even though we only have less than a half of an acre. Funnily, it was Blake's turn to mow the grass, and that's what made him finally go up to Lowe's and get a riding mower. 

It's been raining for days upon days here, so our yard has needed some serious attention for awhile. Maybe I'll have a little time this weekend to finally work on our flowerbeds. We are also looking into getting a fence put in, so we don't have to see the palm tree jungle and trash can collection in the alley behind us. It will also be great to just be able to let the pugs out, and not have to worry about them chasing down our poor neighbor(s)...that may have happened twice in the same day recently....

Pugs & Pearls got a facelift!
I've slowwwwly been working on a little makeover for this blog. My tastes have changed since I started blogging in 2014 (!). Right now I really appreciate a simpler, easy to read format. I found a great (basic) template from Etsy that I was able to completely customize, which I really liked. Mobile friendly was important to me too. It would have been SO great to have a professional design it for me, but I had trouble with the idea of handing over so much money. 

I've had a couple of hiccups, so let me know if you see anything that isn't working right. For instance, some text was showing up white, and I still don't know why, but I think I fixed that. I've actually been really proud of myself. Not only is HTML pretty scary, but I was also able to design my own header, and fix a Bloglovin problem. (For some reason my blog had my .com and my .blogspot pages separately.) 

Props to some of you who already noticed the makeover! It's been cool to see who comes directly to my website, and who reads from something like Bloglovin

Blake and I are basically turning into the same person.
This cracked me up! One of the photo's from Wednesday's post about Blake's style reminded me instantly of the picture of me from a few weeks ago. We are making the exact same expression of disdain or skepticism, I'm not sure which. 

When you've been together for a few years, you definitely start rubbing off on the other person... I just didn't have photographic evidence before! 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Husband Is A Fashion Blogger!

On the way to the beach, I talked everyone in our group into stopping off at the Outlet Mall. They humored me, but it wasn't long until the guys got bored. To entertain themselves they picked out 3 pieces of clothing that were as pastel as a baby shower, and dared my husband Blake to try everything on at once. I'm talking mint green pants, a pink tee-shirt and a yellow button up. Everybody gathered around the dressing room, ready to start laughing as soon as he came out. The best part was, he totally pulled it off! 

That silly memory has stuck with me all this time, because it speaks volumes about my husband. He is not afraid to stand out, and he absolutely doesn't care what people think of him. It might be a bit of stubbornness, but mostly the guy is confident. 

I talked him into a little photoshoot to show off his style. And whaddayaknow, he was great at it!

 Men's Preppy Style

Men's Preppy Style

Men's Preppy Style

Men's Preppy Style

Men's Preppy Style

Men's Preppy Style

Couples' Preppy Style

Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger // Chinos: Ralph Lauren // Belt: American Eagle // Shoes: Joseph Abboud // Watch: Fossil // Sunglasses: EyeBuyDirect 
Photos by: Black Tie Cinema

Blake can be seen in a version of this 'uniform' just about everyday. He usually wears a pair of chinos and either a button up or polo shirt to work 5 days a week. Since that outfit works so well for his job, he has quite the collection of khakis and shirts in just about every color of the rainbow. Sometimes he will walk out of the closet with burnt orange pants and a forest green shirt, and I just smile because even though no one else could, he can totally pull it off! And even if he couldn't, he'd wear it anyway because he wants to. 

I linked what pieces I could, but most of his outfit is older. We have our eyes on these chinos from Bonobos, since they come in so many fun colors! It's hard to find a good pair of pants that don't have the mostly unflattering pleats in the front.

Leave a comment below if your husband has his own style, or if he lets you pick out clothes for him. Does he have a 'uniform' too? And I'd love to know if he would he ever let you talk him into doing a blogger photoshoot! Details on my outfit coming soon!

Monday, June 12, 2017

My 6 Favorite (& Tested!) Homemade Cleaner Recipes

Homemade Cleaner Recipes from Pugs & Pearls Blog

Cleaning houses has been my side hustle for about 3 years now. That extra money has been so nice, but I'm slowly 'retiring' from taking on any more new clients. I'm getting older, after all! Cleaning can be really physical. I don't mind burning the calories, but there have been some side effects I'm not crazy about.
My nail strength has really suffered and I've even developed a sensitivity to smells. I can easily trace both of these problems to cleaning. You've gotta clean your own house, but all that extra exposure to chemicals can't be good. Not only did the harsh chemicals bother me, but I was blowing through cleaners on my busy weeks!

To combat these issues, I started looking into homemade cleaners. I wanted to find some recipes that really worked, but weren't so harsh on me, or whatever I was cleaning. Plus, if I could save money in the process, bonus! I did a little research, whipped up a few batches and started testing.
I'll be honest, some of the ones I made didn't work at all. Some of them smelled horrendous! I haven't found a solid recipe for a few cleaners, so I'm still using old fashioned Clorox spray and disinfecting wipes. However, I did find 6 excellent cleaners in my experimenting that I want to share with you today. 

I use these glass spray bottles and I bought these adorable labels from Etsy. And a small disclaimer here: These cleaners have worked really well for me, but make sure you test them in an inconspicuous area before you use them. 

All Purpose Spray
This guy is truly for all purposes! You can use it on any solid surface. Tea Tree essential oil is a great one to add for disinfecting, but you can add any scent you'd like.

Mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and 5 drops essential oil to about 2 cups distilled water. Shake well before use!

Grease and Grime Cleaner
I've been thoroughly impressed with this cleaner! This works best on cabinets, blinds, and grease. It is fine to use on other solid surfaces, but it can be streaky. 

Add 1 tablespoon of castile soap to 2 cups of distilled water. Shake well before use!

Homemade Grease and Grime Spray Recipe from Pugs & Pearls Blog

Soap Scum Spray
I was sceptical of this one, but it blows me away every time. Spray this on your shower or fixtures, clean the rest of your bathroom, then come back to wipe and rinse. This does amazing things to chrome! It really helps with water spots. Depending on the soap you use, this cleaner can be a little strong smelling. The smell goes away when you rinse. 

Heat 1 cup of vinegar in the microwave. Add 1 cup of dish soap to the warm vinegar. (The heat helps it dissolve.) Stir, and pour into a glass bottle. Shake well before use!

Window and Glass Cleaner
Another cleaner that has been amazing. This works best with a glass cleaning cloth, but I've had no problems with paper towels. This even left the inside of my windshield streak free, which is incredibly hard to do. 

Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Shake well before use!

Homemade Sink Scrub Recipes from Pugs & Pearls Blog

Sink Scrub
Baking soda is a natural abrasive, so it's perfect for our stainless steel sink. I use lemon essential oil in my scrub, but tea tree would be a good choice too. Simply sprinkle into your sink and use a wet scrub brush to scour. Make sure to rinse thoroughly! I even wipe down the sink after rinsing to make sure it's spotless. I have my baking soda mixture in a salt shaker next to the sink for easy access. I have this salt shaker.

Add about 10 drops essential oil to baking soda. 

Air Freshener & Fabric Spray
With 3 pugs, we love this refreshing spray! It's great for the living room pillows, the dog beds, or even just to freshen the air before company comes over. You choose the scent! I went with a citrus smell, using grapefruit, orange, lemon and bergamot oil. I also made a small version of this spray using lavender to spray on our bedding. 

Mix 1/4 cup cheap vodka, 20 drops essential oil and about 3 cups water. 

Honorable Mention: I LOVE using olive oil on our leather couches. They look brand spankin' new, when we use a microfiber cloth and olive oil to clean them. My pugs love it too. Their little noses go crazy looking for the food.

I'm so eager to continue finding great homemade cleaner recipes! I still have a giant Sam's club sized Pine-sol to use up, but I think my next experiment will be with a floor cleaner. As I said, I'm not quite comfortable giving up Clorox just yet. It may just be a Florida thing, but I just feel like you need a little bleach in your bathroom. 

I'm also still completely obsessed with Magic Erasers, and I can't imagine giving those up without a fight. I wonder it there is a good DIY for those! 

Leave a comment below if you've made your own cleaners! I'd love to hear your recipes. Especially if you have one for something I haven't been successful at yet! The cute labels and bottles make a huge difference, amiright? 


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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Home Tour! The Office.

The next stop on our home tour is the Office! Legally it can't be considered a third bedroom, because it doesn't have a closet. Since we don't have kids, an office is the most logical use for this room anyway. If we did someday have to stick a kid in here, the best solution would be some sort of built-in for a closet solution. 

Blake used to work from home, and he spent so much time in here during that time. Honestly, I think I use this room the most now. It's sort of a museum of all of Blake's stuff though. I'm sorry, but I'm not having Star Wars posters anywhere else in this house. He also refuses to have his golf clubs stored in our shed, so those live in here too. (I can feel the virtual sympathy from all you wives out there.) 

I am so bummed, but all I can find for a 'before' picture is this terrible blurry one! The following picture is one I snapped the day I painted the room and hung up the window treatments, which was about 3 years ago. 

Our most recent update to this room was in May, when we bought this new desk from Ikea! I love it SO much. We had an L shaped desk that wasn't my favorite thing. It had zero storage, which made the top of the desk quite cluttered. In addition to the desk, we bought a matching drawer. It's the perfect size and now all of our unsightly paperwork is tucked away. 

We also LOVE the armchairs in here. We totally scored those when a family member had a yard sale. They are comfy, and the pugs like to jump up there and sleep while I work on the computer. 

I don't hate all the Star Wars stuff, but I'm glad it's contained in here. Blake gives me so much freedom when it comes to the house and how it looks, so I am happy he has a space of his own. Also a space that he doesn't mind me in, and doesn't mind my sparse touches here and there. 

I would like to change out the art in here. What's on the walls is really random, and has been collected over the years. At his work office, Blake has a set of gorgeous framed movie posters that I would like to replicate in here. There are some Star Wars prints, but I really love The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and Vertigo. 

Leave a comment below if you have a home office! I'd love to know if you bother decorating it or if it becomes a catch-all like our's seems to. Does your husband have his own space, or do you not mind if his guy stuff is throughout the house?