Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

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I’ve been kind of MIA lately but wanted to pop in and hope everyone had a wonderfully fun and safe Halloween!!!

My adorable son J and I were out for almost two hours! This kid is a trick or treating champ! He carried his own bucket the whole time, and the flashlight. Honestly. Seeing your kid this happy is some of the greatest memories of being a parent.  Soaking up these moments I have with him before our family grows, but I am pretty excited to have a little bundle of joy to join us for next year’s outing too!

What did your kids dress up this year as? Or what did you dress up as?!
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Getting hands on with Graco’s newest car seat: SnugRide Click Connect 40

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This past weekend I had a really fun opportunity to work with Graco and Babies R Us to launch a new amazing product joining the SnugRide family of Graco.  I got to share great new information with a a lot of women, and families looking for new options for safety and convenience for their new bundles of joy.  It was the official launch of one of the most impressive and innovative car seats on the market.

The SnugRide Click Connect 40

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We invited a lot of bloggers, expecting and recently new moms to come learn about all the new amazing features that Graco has brought to the market with this car seat. 

I, myself, have been researching and shopping around for a possible new car seat for Baby Girl and this car seat is on top of our shopping list.
As of 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommend all children should be rear-facing in the back seat until the age of 2.  Prior to this, the previous recommendation was typically at their one year birthday they hit certain height and weight requirements that they could be switched around to face forward. Due to studies completed they found that children under the age of 2, and 40lbs, were 5 times safer sitting rear-facing in the case of an accident. 
Graco took this recommendation seriously and made a comfortable, safe and improved car seat to accommodate newborns of 4 lbs to  2 year olds of 40 lbs. 

One of my personal additional features of the car seat was the no-thread harness that allowed parents to comfortable adjust the 5-point harness to safely sit their children in the seat. 

The event was a blast and it was really fun meeting other local women and bloggers in the area.  Throughout both sessions I got to hear back from a lot of the women about what they loved most about the car seat and the list was never ending.
Other favorite features were the 8 position reclining car base, the quick and easy click connect of the car seat and the stroller, the appealing fabric choices, the kick panel on the car base to protect seats, and the soft rubber handle of the car seat.  That’s a round up of just some of the amazing features of the SnugRide Click Connect 40!  Way to Graco right?

To find out all the safety features and more information about the SnugRide Click Connect 40 you can check out Graco’s website here. And if you’re interested in purchasing your own be sure to check out your local Babies R Us, or you can purchase from their online website too but a BRU is the only place you’ll find this new line from Graco.

We also got to give away one of these fabulous car seats to one lucky winner of each session! These women were thrilled none the less to take home such a safe and awesome new car seat.

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I wanted to say a huge thank you to my assistant of the day Lani, she was a huge help and did such a great job helping me out and sharing the event via social media!  And of course a huge thank you to Graco, Babies R US and the SITS girls for making this such a fun and wonderful opportunity!

I’ve also been given a Babies R Us $25 value gift card to give away to one of my readers!!!!
Entry is EASY! There’s two ways to have your chance at winning
(1)  Leave a comment stating how you’d spend the $25 at Babies R Us for a chance to win
(2) Leave a comment with your favorite feature of the SnugRide Click Connect 40 that you learned from this post, or visiting GracoSafety.com
Giveaway ends November 1st, at Midnight EST.

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The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

Painting Tips, Tricks and Must Haves

We have painted a total of 9 rooms since we moved into our home two years ago, one of those rooms twice.  I’ve used a variety of paint brands, styles, types, sheens, and colors.  I’ve used Behr, Valspar, Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore.  I’ve used a variety of brands and style of paint rollers, and cages. And slowly but surely I’ve learned the best ways to tape, and cut in ceiling lines.

Our final room that we just painted was the Nursery, and I have to say that it was an accumulation of my favorite products I’ve used painting in any room so far. 

Now, one of my favorite part about blogging is sharing my failures, lessons, success and must haves with you guys.  I’m HUGE on research for almost every project and products so if I can share my experiences with you and that helps you out, I’m all for it!

Here’s my little round up of favorite goods that made painting the Nursery a breeze!

1. Get the cutest best helper you can find. Winking smile
Cutest helper ever

Taping trick:
Start at the corner of one of the walls and roll the painters tape along the wall while pressing in a downward and unrolling direction.  When you begin each wall, make a “loop” under the roll (wish I got a close up shot of this for you…), this makes guiding the tape easier than having it pull directly from the roll to the baseboard, and use your finger to guide the tape along the wall.  Keep an even pressure to ensure the tape is being applied evenly to the baseboard with no tears or gaps.  You want to use the wall as your guide.



One great reason why this works so well is it allows you to tape an entire length of the wall with no tears or rips in your tape, meaning to paint leaks.

Tips for Taping 2
When you finish a wall go back and press along the seam to ensure a tight closure between the tape, and the baseboard. 

How to peel off tape
When its time to pull the tape (when your paint is still wet after your last coat) remove the tape at an angle to “cut” the paint and leave a clean straight line along your boards.
Clean, perfect lines Smile  Thanks hubs!

He does the taping, while I do the cutting of the ceiling lines and you can see my tips and tricks for doing those here.

Some of my favorite products to use for any painting project (anything from signs, to furniture to painting rooms) are Purdy brushes.  For painting our Nursery I wanted to try out their roller covers and roller frames to see how they compared to the ones I’ve used in the past.  My husband ended up being the one using the roller, he said it was really great, was comfortable and made painting easy. It has an attachment piece that you can add an extender pole too for higher heights.

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The biggest trouble I’ve had with certain frames in the past is a few things – causing blisters (I press hard), uncomfortable handle design which hurts your hand, and having the roller cover start to slide off the frame while rolling (that “slipping” issue).  None of these happened using Purdy’s frame and roller. *AWESOME*

A few other tips, we have textured walls, knock down to be specific. It’s been a nightmare to learn the best way to paint on textured walls. The first room we ever did was our living room and we were baffled how difficult it was to get full coverage over the varying depths from the texture. Well, the biggest tip is using the proper nap – with textured walls/knock down using a 3/4ths inch nap it really helps! Be prepared though, a thick nap SOAKS up paint.

Anytime you use a new roller cover you should always treat it to remove excess lint. I typically just make a circle with painters tape since I have that on hand and rub back and forth going over the whole roller.  Another trick is using a clothes lint roller,  or even doing a “combing” motion with a 5 in 1 tool.
New Roller brush tip

Now to the paint.  I have been happy with almost all the brands and kinds of paints we’ve used for the rooms in our home but haven’t found my “go to” one prior to painting the Nursery.

I tested almost 10 different shades of "taupe" for the nursery until I found my favorite one. 
The winner was Cedar Key in Benjamin Moore.  It complements grey really well, but didn't have any grey undertones in the paint.  It has a subtle appearance of brown tones and in certain lights has a warm feel to it with a touch of pink. It complements the grey hallway really well that her room opens up too.

Benjamin Moore
I have used several brands of paint throughout our home as I mentioned before, but Benjamin Moore is now my go to paint for my home.  The Regal Select is an excellent line of paint from BM. It's low VOC and low Odor (a true low VOC even after tinting has been added). 
It is a paint and primer in one, which typically leaves the paint quite thick and I haven't loved using those, but the BM line had excellent coverage while still going on smoothly.  We had a lot of test spots of different sheens on the walls and it completely covered those spots with two coats of paint.  We almost didn't even need two coats, but better safe than sorry.

I cannot say enough for Benjamin Moore's paints, and their stores too!  I was very impressed with the assistant manager that helped me in my local BM store too.  He took the time to explain each line of BM paint and why someone would choose that specific line. I choose the Regal Select as it was reasonably priced, but still of their higher quality paints.
For two gallons it cost us just over $80 with a military discount. We still have about half a gallon left too.

Have you ever used Benjamin Moore paints? What about Purdy brushes? What are your painting must haves?!
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Organizing made pretty! Keeping hair accessories from getting lost

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What’s better than an afternoon of crafty goodness?! Not much for this gal! Especially when I’m crafting up a project that will be put to great use.  A big problem for me is my to do list is building up fast from great ideas I find on Pinterest… but I never have time to get to the craft store so my to do list never gets a project crossed off of it. 
I recently had the opportunity to do a little online shopping at ConsumerCrafts.com and jumped at the chance!  I am obsessed with online shopping, it’s quick, easy and saves me so much time when I already have a packed schedule of full time job, raising a 4 year old, being a wife, running my blog and Etsy shop. Yah. Jam packed schedule.

ConsumerCrafts.com is an online one-stop shop for all your crafting needs. It literally has everything!
I spent some time browsing the online aisles of the shop when I finally decided I needed to make something to put to good use for my new soon to be baby girl.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the goods I bought from them.  Everything from Baker’s Twin, Martha Stewart Crafting Lace, Paper Petals, and self-adhesive rhinestones.  They have some extremely competitive prices (as in no one beats them) and a wide-range of products.
Goods from Consumer Crafts

I already had some small mason jars on hand so didn’t need to pick up any containers to use for my project.
Small mason jars

I brought out my hot glue gun for this project… which is scary for me. But, we actually got along this time. First time for everything.
I wanted to get my hands on that lace right away so I wrapped the first jar in four layers of lace and sealed the lace to the jar with a dab of hot glue.
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I concealed the seam by layering various sizes of the paper petals and different colors., and adhered each with a small dab of hot glue.

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Then finished with a perfect little detail of a sparkly self-adhesive rhinestone.
A-dorable right?!

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I  played around with different materials and layering of all the goods I bought for each jar.  I wanted each one to be unique so played around with different styles.

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Pssst. Wanna know a little, but super easy, secret to keeping your Baker’s Twine from unraveling all over the place?  Make slits on each side and just slip in the loose end so they don’t get away from you!

Tip for keeping bakers twin from unraveling
Back to the project. So where was I going with all my beautifully decorated jars? Well my baby girl isn’t even here yet and I already had this pile of mayhem. My husband literally saw this and said, “You can’t even keep your own hair ties straight, how are you going to handle all these tiny ones too?” Exactly.

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So each jar holds its own hair accessory! Easy organizing! No mess! No lost hair bows!

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Yes, I could have just put the accessories in a plain jar, but… where’s the fun in that? A quick afternoon project and these jars will be adorable on her dresser, and keep her adorable accessories organized too.

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Next best part? You can keep the tops of the jars and put them back on the top just incase they get knocked over, or even keep for easy organizing to throw in your diaper bag or drink holder of your car.
easy on the go jars for accessories

Since Consumer Crafts is my favorite online crafting website now, I wanted to share some more goodness with you all. They’re currently having a Refer-A-Friend contest for the chance to win $250 to not just one, but six winners!  That’s a LOT of crafting goodness.  Click here for details.
Make sure to check out Consumer Crafts: blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

I wrote this post as a part of a paid campaign with Consumer Crafts and Blueprint Social.  The opinions in this post are my own, and as always I only share products and companies I truly {heart} with my readers!!!
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My wish list of To Do’s that scare me!

Who doesn’t have a mile long To Do list for their home?  Well I have a few projects that are almost within reach that aren’t that difficult, but I never seem to be able to tackle them because of nerves.  I wanted to do a round up of my Top 5 projects that should be do-able but just need to take that leap!

Build a Back Patio

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When we moved into our home there’s this small slab of concrete out back that substitutes as the “back patio”.  I immediately had plans of expanding the space and either building a patio over it, or try something unique I’ve seen before.  The picture above isn’t a wood patio, but rather an effect called “concrete stamping”.  Certain contractors are capable of creating the wood grain effect, and ever since I saw this I have been dying to have this!  While the actual stamping wouldn’t be DIY’d there’s a lot of contributions you can make to the contractor to help cut costs.  This is one of the most costly projects I have on my to do’s.

Install Crown Molding

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We have crown molding on the first level of our home, but none upstairs and I’ve always wanted to continue the look upstairs into our bedrooms, and hallway.  The project has always seemed to be overwhelming and I’ve been nervous to try and attempt it.  Want to know what the first step I am most nervous about? Getting the molding home! I can’t even picture how to haul those super long pieces home without causing any damage.  When the first step is scary to me – it’s gonna take some real motivation to help me tackle this project.
When the time is right I’ll be looking to these girls for their helpful hints: Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick, and Kelly from View Along the Way.

Install Backsplash in the Kitchen

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This is one that’s almost silly to be scared of.  It’s one of the easiest transformations to your kitchen, and even novice DIYers can tackle it.  Some reason… I am scared.  We actually will be tackling this project soon, we have the tile picked out and everything.  Now just have to DO IT. The idea of measuring everything perfectly, using a wet saw to cut the tiles, making sure everything is aligned straight. It’s all nerve wrecking to me, the perfectionist.  Beckie of Infarrantly Creative has one of my favorite tutorials for installing backsplash too.

Installing a Ceiling Fan

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This is another “easy” DIY project, but I’d almost learn from watching first.  The idea of following instructions that don’t match up 100% to my electric layouts terrify me.  We have a fan downstairs, and in our master bedroom and I love them more than I ever thought I would. I constantly have them on.  I want to install one in our upcoming nursery, even though I actually want a gorgeous chandelier in her room too, but it’s really nice to have a ceiling fan in a nursery for multiple reasons.  It’s been found to reduce the risk of SIDS and also helps create white noise.  This really is one that I just need to “get over and try” some day!

Build an Outdoor Fire Pit

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Another project that I’m “scared” about but really shouldn’t be.  This is such an easy project, but again… it’s the first step that scares me.  I am nervous about the drawing plans to get the measurements right in order to head out and pick up those bricks.  There’s also a few safety precautions you have to be sure to take too.  This is definitely a weekend afternoon project that would have a great personal payoff that wouldn’t cost a lost.

Are any of these on your To Do list? Let’s help motivate one another and start crossing these To Do’s off our list!
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Another Baby Girl Nursery Mood Board

The more I start to choose items I want for my baby girl’s nursery I realized I’ve changed my initial direction a little since the original mood board so I asked my dear friend Cindy of Cinsarah to update a board for me. 

Second Girl Nursery

After putting up about 7 paint samples up on the walls I finally picked a color!  I’m going with Benjamin Moore Cedar Key.
I really love the underlying brown tones of the taupe color compared to the usual grey’s that we have in our home.
There’s a lot of beiges and taupes being brought in her room, that I’m going to have to use the playfulness of accessories to bring in the tones of coral and peach that I love.

A few other must have pieces I really want for the room are this clock from ShadesofLight.com.


I think a gorgeous Princess mirror like this in a beautiful shade of peach.  Doesn’t it scream beautiful Princess?

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I’ve even fallen in love with some of the smallest details that I know I will have to buy to complete her room!  Such as this ADORABLE little owl.

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I’m having a blast searching for the perfect finds for her room, but I need to start putting it all together!  First step… the paint. Hopefully that’ll be crossed off my to do list next weekend “fingers crossed”.
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baby Girl Bump Update: 22 Weeks

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This week, Baby is the size of a
: Spaghetti Squash (they come up with the weirdest comparisons)
How far along? 22 weeks
Due date: February 4th, 2013
Total weight gain/loss: 20 lbs – more than I should at this point. Not happy about it!
Maternity clothes? Rocking several pair of maternity jeans, but no tops yet… just “larger” size normal shirts
Sleep:  Still sleeping fine, up a lot to pee though! Can’t this girl let me pee when I’m up during the day?!
Best moment this week: This is my 3rd day of not taking my afternoon Zofran pill!! I’ve been more nauseous than normal in the morning but able to skip the afternoon pill – I’ll take it.
Movement: Yup! She’s still pretty gentle, but can feel her kickin about in there.
Food cravings: Just was craving KFC Potato Bowl last night – caved to the craving Smile
Symptoms  Still the nausea, also dealing with the horrible weight gain, the terrible acne, emotional rollercoaster (cry baby in the house) and the lovely gas (this baby girl fills me up w/ air!)
Gender: We’re having a baby girl!!! We found out three weeks ago, it’s been a blast buying all the sweet adorable outfits!
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? Inny still
Feeling toward Pregnancy: Now that I am feeling better, at least better than I was a month ago I’m a little more upbeat. Still not looking forward to the next 18 weeks though… I’m forever a debby downer about pregnancy haha Smile
What I miss: My old clothes skinny girl clothes hahaha
What I am looking forward to: Getting the nursery all put together – it’s gonna take me the next 4 months!
Milestones: Week 20 we followed up our gender reveal appt with a 3D/4D ultrasound – that experience was amazing.  It was really cool being able to see Baby Girl like that.. there was even about 10 seconds after pushing on my belly and her bouncing around it literally looked like she was giggling – was hysterical. Oh! And just bought the crib Monday this week! That was exciting!

I am starting to get my designs aligned for the nursery but I feel like I cannot make a final decision about anything for the room! I want her to have the most perfect room and nervous once I “choose” something it won’t be right!… Ohhh the joys of decorating Smile

You can see Week 18 update here, and our Gender Reveal Announcement here in case you missed either!
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