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Interior Motives

Decorating and DIYing our house to make it a home.

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Good Enough To Eat

Tried and true recipes my family loves.

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Life Lessons

Navigating motherhood through life's little lessons.

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I Heart Pinterest

When all else fails, go to Pinterest!

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Pretty As A Picture

Photography tips and tricks for the average person.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Help! There's Carpet In My Kitchen!

Nothing like moving into a house and debating whether you really want to keep the ninties-inspired patterned carpet in your kitchen. Before we moved in, the homeowner said it was "scotchgarded."


With three kids and a slobbering dog, there isn't enough Scotchgard® in the world to save this carpet.

Cue kitchen of my dreams from bhg:

What to do, what to do, a quick inward scream, and then you get online to see how on earth to remedy this. Hmm...ceramic tile, vinyl tile, hardwood, laminate...oh so much to choose from. Cross off laminate, been there, done that in several homes. Hardwood? Love it, but the dog scratching her nails across it everyday? I don't think so. How about vinyl tile? Easy upkeep, comes in different sizes, looks like ceramic tile (or stone) and can be grouted, but is lighter, warmer and easier on the feet.

Three problems; 1) they glued the carpet directly to the floor boards, so it was a bumpy, nasty mess and 2) if you use vinyl tile, you may feel the bumps underneath unless you are willing to sand, etc. (which Husband and I have yet to do our own floors so we are terrified) and of course 3) cost.

Always about the bottom line.

I wish I could have said that we were brave and we DIYed it, but even after consulting other DIYers and flooring specialists on Hometalk, the job seemed incredibly daunting for us flooring-newbies.

And even though we can paint, reuse, refurbish and craiglist the crap out of most things in our home, we folded and had someone else do it. :(

Now that we decided on vinyl tile, we looked at every possible color/style option and even pinned them:

I don't know why I'm always drawn to 'travertine' which is a form of limestone, but I am. So that is the kind of tile we chose. That process only took about two weeks! (Hey, when you're spending a boat-load of money on a floor, you better love it!)

But alas! Apparently it would have costed us more to have vinyl tile installed than ceramic tile. Who woudda thunk it. So, I dished out the big bucks (because people, it isn't cheap) and hired someone to put in travertine-looking ceramic tile, because Husband wasn't about to mess with tile, being unexperienced and all.

This photo makes it look more gray, but it is more on the brown side. My saving grace about choosing ceramic tile, it will last forever.

What kind of flooring do you have in your kitchen? Are you happy with it?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Every Stylish Mom Should Have This

As a mom, finding any product that makes life a little simpler is helpful. As a designer, it's nice when  the products I use are aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well. That's why I'm so happy to own a BellaVita wristlet.

I'm in and out of my house, on average, eight times a day. Whether it's errands, meetings, sports events, or the daily drive to three schools for pick up and drop off, I am on the move.

Nothing is more irritating than trying to gather my wallet, keys, cell phone etc. just because I have to get into the minivan. (It reminds me of the days of diaper bags.)

Anyway, with that being said, everything in the wristlet fits into it snuggly. My driver's license, a credit card, cash and my iPhone.

BellaVita sent me this pretty mauve/purple color (my choice of all the colors they offer) to prance around with. It's been great. No more looking through my array of purses to haul when I'm off and running.

Right now, BellaVita is hosting a giveaway, you can enter for a chance to win a wristlet or wallet.

So check out their site and let BellaVita make your life a little simpler too!

{disclosure: BellaVita sent me a wristlet in order to review this product.}

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Friday, Where Has Your iPhone Been?

If I hadn't traded in my dumb phone for an iPhone, I'm not sure I'd remember all the things I'd done in the last couple of weeks. And if it wasn't for Facebook and Instagram, I wouldn't know what my friends were doing either. :(
Should I have to describe my life in verbs it would be; "graphic-designing, writing, staging, website-developing, business-researching, kid-hugging, cooking, taste-testing, not-weight-watching, cleaning, driving, shopping, department-meeting, email-checking and social-networking."

Only another mother would get this kind of verbal rant. Anyhoo, here's where I've been and what I've been doing. If I'm lucky, one of my friends will make sushi tonight and invite me over so I can de-stress, hint, hint.

  • Easter-themed cake, check out the details on how to make it on  Todays Wisconsin Mama.
  • Staging my parents' home so they can sell it, eventually. (Don't go to Arizona Mom, there are scorpions!)
  • A Spring Break trip with Husband to Titletown Brewing Company (funny, we did the same thing almost to the day the year before. See this Spring Break post from 2012.
  • Reigniting my love for Pinterest.
  • Pretty comforter set from Big Lots. (No I did not buy it, yes, I do regret it.)
  • A quick stop at Home Depot before a design department meeting. Adore this glass tile.
  • Moo. Don't ask. Visiting a former dairy farm with Husband. (Business related, not a date.)
  • Visual Merchandising for a client. (Painting windows and showcasing Prom and Spring dresses.)
  • Complaining that we still have snow. Our youngest daughter in the backyard while we were picking up sticks (and dog poop.)

What have you been up to?

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Secret Society Of Bloggers

I just finished reading the book Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho of Oh Joy! I picked it up because I'm always trying to learn something new and I've been fascinated with the business of blogging since my friend Kate (back in 2008) introduced me to the blog formerly known as "my charming kids" (then became "MckMama") and the Pioneer Woman who can now be seen on Food Network.

It seemed to me that a blog was pretty much an online journal slash scrapbook. The notion of being able to journal the goings-on of my family was an appealing idea especially since writing was something I'd been doing both as a hobby and professionally for years. And I could add photos? Awesome, I took photography in college and knew the ins and outs of a darkroom.

But HTML and digital photography? I was a novice. All I had was a PC and a simple digital camera that I had gotten as a Christmas present so I could upload photos to eBay.

Fast forward --> nothing like a few hundred hours of Googling and looking at code to give you a lesson on coding, templates and the inner workings of a blog!

I've gone through some growing pains with blogging. Blogging with friends (City Mom, Country Mom and Gracenotes 95) to the pains of moving (Mommy Moves Again) to staying incognito (Sharing The Wonder) because of nosy employers!

So although it may seem like this blog is a baby (2 years old) I've got plenty of blogging experience behind me. I've gone from a point-and-shoot camera to a Nikon SLR (half paid for by blogging) to leaving my crummy PC to a Macbook Pro and an iPhone. (I was blogging when it was popular to have a music playlist on your blog and Pinterest was just a glimmer in Ben Silbermann's eye.)

But back to Joy's book, I loved that she interviewed other bloggers (very famous ones) and that she gave lots of pointers, because when you start out blogging, it's like a secret society.

I remember wracking my brain wanting to learn how to center links and create blog buttons. I joined every link party, got on all the blogging networks, commented my head off and at times burned myself out. Blogging was work! And it was work I wasn't getting paid for!

Although I am not a "big" blogger, I think I am like many other bloggers out there. I do fine, I've learned a lot. I do think one of the secrets to success in blogging is longevity. Sticky with it is the best lesson you can teach yourself.

Blog because you love to write, blog because you love digital photography, blog because this is your creative outlet or blog because you want to contribute. If your heart is in it, the rest will come.

Here are a few sites and links (that I trust and have been using for years) that might prevent sleepless nights and help newbie bloggers:

  1. Need to find the perfect color with automatically generated code? Try Colorpicker
  2. Could use some help with HTML specifically for blogging? Go to Blogger Sentral
  3. Want a new FREE template for your blog? Here's where I go: BTemplates
  4. Do you want meta tags in your blog? Blogger Tricks makes it easy
Anyway, like I said, I've learned a lot about blogging, so if you have any blog related questions I can answer, leave me a comment and I will reply to it, or at least lead you in the right direction!

Happy blogging and welcome to the club! :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Worthy Cause: Textbooks & Operation Smile

It's been awhile since I've been in college, but I do remember the exorbitant fees for all the books I had to buy. So I'm happy to be partnering with CampusBookRentals.com. This is a great site that allows you to rent your books and later rent them out to other students with their Rent Back program.

These textbooks offer students a savings between 40-90% off compared to bookstore prices and shipping is free both ways! If you have a child getting ready for college, this is a site you'll want to visit.

But beyond that, I'm even happier because with each textbook rented from CampusBookRentals.com, they in turn donate to Operation Smile, an international charity organization that provides surgeries for children and young adults born with facial deformities.

With three kids, we're always looking to save money and renting textbooks is a great idea for when they're off to college!

{disclosure: CampusBookRentals.com approached me to share their site(s)
with my readers. This is a compensated post.}