Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Nursery: IRL

Ok I know I already did a post showing you all the things I was using to decorate Sylvie's nursery, but I just had to show you the real life final product! Ta DA!

I really love how everything came together and was pleasantly surprised at how easily the tree decals went up on the wall.  So nice to have it all done!

My mom and sister, Annie did a great job sewing all the bedding and pillows and changing pad covers. They are so talented and I couldn't have done it without them!

I'm sure I'll still add little things here and there, but it sure is a relief to finally have all the important stuff done. I had a ton of help from several people and I really appreciate everything. Thanks again to my mom and sister for spending their Saturday sewing multiple items according to my whims. Thanks to Seth's generous cousin Tim and his wife Cathy for giving us the beautiful crib. And thank you to my awesome husband Seth who did all the heavy lifting and put all the furniture together. Not to mention listening to and giving opinions on decorative details that he could care less about.

You all help make my life so much easier and much more fun! Thank you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Can Vouch for That

It's time again for your favorite segment! I know how much you love to learn about all my favorite things. This time around they're pretty random so hopefully there's something out there for all of you!

Ok so remember back a few months ago how I gave you all some crazy skin care tips? Well, I have an update. For me, the oil cleansing worked well for a few weeks and then I started to break out horribly. After which I ditched it. To be fair I was doing it two times a day, everyday, so maybe that was too much. Being pregnant has really messed with my skin but I'm currently enjoying a fairly clear face so I'm not about to test the oil cleansing again. I plan to try a less frequent approach in the future to see if it works better for me so I haven't given up on it completely. My sister tried it and swears by it so I figure I still have a chance.

In better news, the milk of magnesia/ anti-chafing powder gel combo continues to amaze me. I cannot believe how well it works. I've been using it for over 6 months now and its effectiveness doesn't seem to have diminished at all and it hasn't caused any breakouts! Woohoo!

So why am I bringing this all up again? Well because I've added something to my daily oil combating regimen that I thought you could use in addition to these other awesome things. With this one additional thing, you have a heaven-sent trifecta that guarantees to banish shiny face forever. Or at least for most of the day. Seriously, nothing has ever come close to making my face look normal. So here it is...

Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

This foundation is great for everyday wear with medium coverage and a light SPF 6 for sun protection. It's very easy to apply and blend and I've been very happy with how well it matches my skin tone. It also layers well in case extra coverage is needed. Best of all, it doesn't aggravate my acne-prone skin. It's easy to find in any make-up isle and is very affordable at under $10. I'm getting close to using up my first bottle of this stuff and I'll definitely be purchasing a second. 

Staying on the make-up front for another moment, we have a more recent find... Blush! My skin is really light so whenever I purchase blush I tend to go for the lighter pink shades so as not to go overboard. Problem is, they don't ever show up very well and require several layers of application. So when I heard about this next product,  I was a bit skeptical...

E.L.F. Pink Passion Blush

This specific color had rave reviews and I couldn't help but think I would end up looking like a clown if I used it. But, at only $3, I figured I could handle the risk and purchased some. To my surprise, the color was just what I'd been looking for. It gives my cheeks a nice healthy pink without being too garish or fake looking, and one good sweep and blend distributes the perfect amount of color. Plus I appreciate the fact that although this is a cheaper product, the packaging and quality of the blush is just as good (if not better than) its pricier competitors. (E.L.F. products can be found at Target.)

What naturally follows beauty products? GARDENING TOOLS!!! Ok maybe not, but that's where we're headed next. I've always liked those forked hand tools that are used to pop out weeds, but these days if I want to do any sort of weed removal, I can't be bending over all the time. It just doesn't work too well. So, I went on a search for a similar tool that I could use without bending over. Enter the....

Hound Dog Stand-Up Weeder

This thing is seriously awesome. All you do is center the spikes on the middle of the weed, stomp on the foot pedal then twist and pull. The weed pops right out and you can then slide the black handle shot-gun style to eject it. This worked great at removing dandelions from the lawn and other large weeds from the flower beds. I found it works best if the soil isn't completely dry, but just slightly damp. At about $25 this was worth the purchase. I found mine at Home Depot. 

Speaking of weeds, we've got a butt-load of morning glories in our yard. Morning glories are the worst weeds ever. They spread quickly and are almost impossible to get rid off. What's most frustrating is when you try to pull them, the roots always break off and you know they're just going to come back sooner or later. Which is why I recommend this next tool....

Action Hoe


This tool is by far the best I've found for removing weeds from a large area quickly. All you do it scrape it back and forth along the ground and it decimates everything in its path. Instead of spending hours to clear troublesome weeds by hand,  you can clear huge sections in just minutes. Plus it has an awesome name and was only like $15 at the Home Depot.

I know this next thing is going to sound really dumb, but trust me when I say it's amazing. I first came upon this particular item over 10 years ago while working my first job at Papa Murphy's. We had to core and dice hundreds of Roma tomatoes at a time to use for the pizza toppings. This would have been nightmare had it not been for this...

Tomato Corer

For years afterward I looked for this cheap little tool whenever I ended up in the kitchen isle of Target or Walmart or while looking at all the amazing things at Bed Bath and Beyond. I never found one. Because it was so easy to forget about, I never did an exhaustive search for one. Then, while browsing For Your Kitchen, my new local kitchen specialty shop for a Mother's Day gift, I saw one. You'd have thought I found the Holy Grail. I immediately purchased one for a scant $3 and practically skipped around for the rest of the day. Ask Seth. He saw everything. Not only are these things cheap, but they never get dull. Those little metal teeth will work forever. Finally I can slice up a tomato without digging a trench in it with a paring knife first. And you know what else they work great on? STRAWBERRIES. Remember this cake? That weekend I hulled 4 pints of strawberries in no time flat with this thing. Which is a miracle seeing as how my previous experience with strawberry hullers was a lesson in frustration. Anyway, this is my new favorite tool in the kitchen and I'm sure I'll end up finding even more uses for it.

Don't worry all you outdoorsmen out there... I have something for you too! Well, so long as you like fly fishing. Over the last several years, Seth and I have accumulated a pretty healthy stash of fishing gear. We try not to go too crazy with the major purchases, but every so often things need to be replaced as they get worn out. And sometimes we use these instances to try out different brands of equipment to see which one we like best. One item in particular that we've replaced on a somewhat regular basis is fly line. If you use floating fly line, you're going to have to replace it sooner or later. They get torn up and lose their buoyancy and just don't cast all that well. The crappy thing with fly line is, it's not cheap. Well, some of it is and we've come to learn that you get what you pay for. If you want a line that's going to last for more than a couple trips, you're going to have to fork out the dough. Amongst all of our trial and error, we've come to love this line:

Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Fly Line (Trout or GPX)

I love the Scientific Anglers brand in general, but their fly line far surpasses anything else we've tried. It floats well (typically for about 2 seasons of heavy fishing), casts well, and straightens out perfectly even after being coiled up on the reel for months on end. As a disclaimer, these lines come with a fused loop on the end but we've always just clipped those off in favor of a good ol' nail knot. At $70 it's not cheap, but you'll end up paying that anyway if you settle for the cheaper brands.

Alright, well that's all for this time folks. Hope some of these things can help make your life as awesome as they've made mine. If not, you're probably doing something wrong and need to look deep inside your soul for answers.