2/22/2016

Spring Cleaning


I've got spring cleaning on the brain as the weather is getting warmer and every time I crack open the windows I am reminded of the fact that I need to clean them...so terribly bad ;)

I clean all throughout the week and do a big clean each week at our house. So all in all, we're a pretty clean household because I keep up with it regularly. But as always, there are a few spaces that could really use some deep cleaning. Like the grout in both our bathrooms and the kitchen...I'm not going to tell you how much I am dreading getting on my hands and knees hovering over grout for a few hours. I've been scouring Pinterest lately to remind myself of some of the places that need to be cleaned that I may forget about, and to find a few new concoctions for deep cleaning things like the oven door, the bathtub, the shower head, etc. 

Each week I vacuum all of our hardwoods, tile  and rugs, and then mop the hard surfaces. I wipe down the kitchen counters after dinner each night with Mrs.Meyers and then on my cleaning day I wipe down all the counters with Lysol. I clean the stove and microwave really good once a week and wipe down the sink and faucet. I also dust the whole house each week.

As for the bathroom, I clean the mirrors and toilets, wipe down the counter tops and sinks and scrub the tubs each week. We fight mold and mildew pretty hard in our master bath, there's just not enough air flow to combat it, so I am usually doing a pretty big scrub on the tub each week. 

I really need to pull all the beds out from the walls and clean all the dust that's behind them...I am actually embarrassed at how much dust is behind our bed and the bed in the guest room. Speaking of dust, I picked up a good tip for cleaning ceiling fans, and that's by using an old pillow case. You can easily fold it inside out to hold all the dust in, rather than dumping it accidentally all over the floor as you go. I'm not speaking from experience or anything...

A few of the items on my cleaning list for this Spring: 

washing machine
oven
windows 
blinds 
grout (le sigh)
all of our pillows 
refrigerator 
ceiling fans
kitchen cabinets (clean the actual cabinets and clean OUT the cabinets)

One of my holy grail cleaning products is a magic eraser. I swear by them and use them on just about everything. I can often be found on my cleaning day each week walking around the house scrubbing the walls and baseboards with a magic eraser. Side note, I used it to clean our column outside on our stoop and OH MY GOODNESS the difference it made. Does anyone else feel silly after they clean something random, like a column, and it looks so good, you wonder why you waited so long to actually clean it? In addition to my magic eraser, I've found some great "recipes" on Pinterest that I'm planning to use for this upcoming clean. Most include some variation of vinegar and baking soda.
We have a porcelain sink and I've heard that using a product called Bar Keepers Friend will work tremendously on making it sparkly and wonderfully white again. 

While I'm at all this cleaning, I'm hoping to find enough motivation to clean out some areas of the house, like my growing amount of clothes that I don't wear, and do some more organizing of important paperwork in our office.

What's on your list that I'm missing on mine? There is nothing like the feeling of crashing on the couch after a long day of Spring cleaning and looking around at your beautifully clean house. 

Here's my Spring Cleaning Pinterest board that gave me a little inspiration, maybe it will give you some too!


2/16/2016

Updating Our Deck

When we bought our house we were especially excited that it already had a deck in the back yard. Josh and I both love spending time outside, and I particularly love a good outdoor living space. It didn't take us long to notice that the previous owners probably didn't do much maintenance on the deck, leaving us with a little bit of a hot mess. We really should have started this project way before now, but here we are! We are in the process of cleaning all the wood so that we can take inventory and see what's still good and what's got to go. I am so hoping that all of the wood can be saved, minus the steps because they have got to go. I mean, legitimately a safety hazard in their current condition. Not to mention the insane amount of rain we got last year left our deck soaked for days on end and didn't give it tons of time to dry out before we got buckets of rain again. 

We are very fortunate in that my father in law is incredibly handy and is going to lend us a hand on this project. We've already picked out and purchased our stain, so now we just really need to get to work. Since we know we absolutely have to replace the steps, I'm also advocating for extending the deck just a bit. I'm really hoping my vision for an extended space to serve as our "outdoor living room" is able to happen! 

I've been reading articles on Pinterest and storing away tips on what is the best way to clean and stain your wood. We're going to get a new dining table that is the match to our chairs, a new umbrella because ours is worn out and I've already purchased a new rug. We went with a more "plastic-y" type this go round 1. because I've bought nice, indoor/outdoor rugs the last 2 Springs and they have been destroyed by mold and mildew by the end of the season and 2. this one was a great price, especially since you do have to replace outdoor rugs so often. I really think this material is going to hold up a lot better than the previous ones. As soft on my feet? Probably not, but I'm ok with that! Also, if we are able to extend the deck like I'm hoping, I'd love to get this chair (or two!) to match the rest of our outdoor furniture to create more seating. 

I am truly jumping out of my skin to get this little update off the ground. The weather forecast for this weekend looks spectacular and that is making my itch to have our deck beautified even stronger! Although we're buying a few new pieces for the deck, our style is pretty well defined in that space and we've got great accesories out there that we'll continue to use this year, but I love to peek at outdoor spaces and here are a few from my Pinterest board that I love! 

Transform your patio or deck into a fresh and comfortable outdoor living room with these outdoor decorating ideas from @Stephanie Fisher.:

total yard makeover on a microscopic budget, concrete masonry, flowers, gardening, landscape, outdoor living, thesouthernstateofmind blogspot com Pinterest:

Porch Design and Decorating Ideas : Outdoors : Home & Garden Television. Outdoor living space 2. Love the vintage trunk.:

The outdoor curtains you see are a simple DIY by blogger Jen Stagg. We love how they add a bit of privacy and a lot of elegance to this backyard deck. The lights strung on the pergola complete the picture. Click through to learn more about Jen’s deck makeover.:

Here's a post on our deck from almost two years ago! It's pretttttty obvious the shape our deck is in when you look at this post. Yikes. I'm glad we are remedying that soon ;) A few things have changed since this post, like the rug, more pillows added to the seating, a new side table and a few new decorations. 

I'll be sure to show off our finished product in just a few weeks (fingers crossed)!

*affiliate link used

2/15/2016

Valentines Weekend

What a fun, fun weekend you guys! Josh and I had such a low key, just the two of us weekend and it was perfect. 

Friday night we rented The Martian, and it was really good! I didn't know much about the movie or what to expect, all I knew was that Josh has been talking about wanting to see it for, oh, several months now. We both really enjoyed the movie, and I'm sure Josh will want to watch it again soon ;)

Saturday morning we slept in, Josh made breakfast and we had a perfectly low key Saturday. It was pretty cold this weekend, but we braved the weather and took Murph to the park that afternoon. We walked much farther than we intended, and you know what that means, lots of good conversation was taking place. Car rides and walking at the park are two places that Josh and I get in our best conversations, and Saturday was no exception. We almost forgot we even had Murphy with us we were so deep in conversation, he was wiped out by the time we got back home. We watched some golf before getting ready to head about an hour out of town, back to our wedding venue, for a special Valentines dinner. 

To say I was elated to be going back to our wedding venue for Valentines would be an understatement. When I found out that The O'Donnell House was hosting a Valentines Dinner, I was all over that. When we arrived the house was beautifully adorned with candles and flowers. They had live music, and the lead singer was out of this world! We had already chosen our dinner selections beforehand, so we were seated and our salads come out almost immediately and then each course after. Being back at the place that holds so much meaning for us had my emotions all over the place. Of course I couldn't make it through dinner without crying, thinking back to our wedding day and where our journey started. We danced to the last song of the evening which was "You Are So Beautiful" and you talk about cry? Bawled the whole way through. It felt like our first dance all over again. As the night wound down, we walked around the grounds before we left, and stood under the big oak tree where we said our "I Do's". Again, cue all the emotions. It was such a beautiful evening and I'm so glad that the venue hosted this dinner. I hope this becomes a yearly event, because if it does I know we will make a tradition to go back each year. 

A few notes about dinner which I particularly enjoyed: The menu was pre-set and you had 3 options to choose from for the main entree which you picked ahead of time; it was so nice to not have to mess with a menu and read all the options to pick out what we wanted to eat. The pricing was one flat dollar amount for the whole dinner, tax and gratuity included; loved that they made it perfectly simple. We submitted our card information beforehand; we didn't have to do a thing the night of the dinner, I got a receipt Sunday morning indicating that our card was charged at the conclusion of dinner. No fuss at all, just how I like things. 


Josh made the comment that he was so excited to actually eat the food this time around, because although we did have plates made and sat at our sweetheart table to eat during our wedding reception, we didn't really eat that much because so much was going on, which is what most people say about their wedding reception :) The food at our reception was out of the world (noted from our tasting and from the comments of our guests :) so we knew the dinner on Saturday would be no different. And boy was it good! 

I wish I could adequately put in to words how much making memories like these with Josh mean to me. Have you just ever felt like someone was perfectly crafted for you, and you for them? That is exactly how I feel when I think about my sweet Joshua. Like his heart his mine, and mine his. Sitting at dinner on Saturday, I was trying to soak in every little facial expression he made, every bit of conversation we had, and every emotion I felt about that evening and about reminiscing on our wedding day. I love that man so much it hurts. 

On Sunday it was positively freezing out, it felt like a whooping 14 degrees when we woke up. We had another low key day, almost forgetting that it was Valentines Day because we did most of our celebrating the day before, ha! We did one of the most romantic things we've done in awhile, our taxes. What a thing to do on Valentines, right? ;) We went ahead and knocked them out because it was freezing outside, and we had no plans on the agenda. It didn't take us too terribly long, and now that's out of the way. We ran a few errands and stayed most of the day snuggled by the fire watching golf. 

I should mention that I gave Josh his gift on Saturday morning over breakfast. He is building a golf net in the back yard and he asked for the actual net piece for his gift. He made it easy on me this year. Of course I couldn't just give him a net, although the price of that thing indicates it would have been acceptable ;) So when he opened his net there was a note on top that was a voucher for a round of golf at a local course that he really likes. I have to pat myself on the back because I homemade the voucher with a picture from the course's website, and he thought it was legitimate voucher from the course, ha! 

I really had nothing in particular that I wanted this year, so I told him he could get me a bottle of Urban Decay's makeup setting spray that I was eyeing. If you know Josh, you know just that bottle of spray wasn't going to fly with him. So the most beautiful blush pink Kate Spade handbag was delivered to our doorstep on Friday. That fella really knows how to spoil a girl. 

It was a wonderful weekend and I hope yours was too, filled with lots of love!