Kitchen Rug Inspiration

Friday, December 29, 2017

I am loving the trend of having beautiful rugs in the kitchen. How gorgeous are these!

Do you have a rug in your kitchen? How do you keep it clean? From pets? kids? accidental spills?

LIFE | Life as a Student

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wow! What a (school) year!!

I know I do this often, disappear and drop off the face of the earth, but I have a good reason this time....I promise.

The last time we talked about my life plans, I told you guys about my recent news to study biology in school. I was scared to tell everyone about my plans because they were such a vast departure from my (then) current life. As a creative type, people tend to put you in a box. I mean, it's not surprising, I even did it to myself. I used to believe that there were two types of people in this world: English-Arts people and Science-Math people. I believed in that sharp distinction between the creative subjects and the more scientific subjects. To me, they were mutually exclusive. And going by the shock that I gave my friends and family when I decide to study the sciences, they believed this misconception, as well.

I heard a whole lot of "What made you decide to change?", "You should stick with art", "This is just temporary", and quite a few straight shooting "But why?" questions. Most of the people in my life didn't get it. Honestly, it truly bummed me out because I had decided this was not only something I wanted to do, but something I was going to do. I know I didn't need anyone else's approval, but I wanted it. It was discouraging.

Did they not think I could do it?

Would I fail?

Did they know something about me that I didn't?

Even then, I pushed forward and began my classes. Since I already have a bachelors degree, I really only need the hard sciences and a few electives to meet the biology degree requirements. My first semester, I enrolled into General Chemistry I and Lab, Biological Diversity and Lab, and College Algebra (since none of my math credits counted). A total of 11 credit hours. Not quite full time, but close enough. I went in with preconceived notions on how my studies would go and how well I would do. And then I failed my first Chemistry test... and the second test wasn't much better. Biology was just going...okay.

Each time my test results came in, I cried and cried. And then I nearly gave up. I thought, "Damn, they were right." My friends...they were right. I couldn't do this. Why did I think I could?
And then I realized something. If you are not getting the results you want, change your approach.

So I did. With my bruised ego and damaged pride, I came up with another strategy. You see, I don't like to fail. And I don't meant this in the temporary sense. Failure is productive to success. But I mean this in the long term sense. I will not fail at this, because I will not quit.

I began to read every chapter and view the lecture slides before coming into class. Something that seems logical in hindsight, but I didn't realize at the time. By doing this, I was already pre-exposed to the topics and concepts. I used classes and lectures to clarify anything in the text that was not completely clear to me.

I also changed my exam prep as well. Instead of exhausting myself with nonstop study and completing every question in the text book, I focuses on a few questions that were truly representative of the material. And then during the actual exam, I began to mark up the test book. Crossing out answers I knew were wrong and and underlining when the question had worlds like "Least, Except, Not". Anything that clarified visually what the question was looking for.

I employed this strategy for all my remaining tests in every subject. Though Chemistry was definitely the toughest subject. I think we started with about 40 students. By the drop date, we lost half of those. Then by the final we lost another handful more. I mean, they call it the "weed-out" class and it definitely lived up to it's expectations.

Being a mom and a wife made attending school a bit...complex. My schedule would have me at school, then I would leave to go pick up my son from his school. Waiting in line at Parent Pick-Up allowed me about 30-40 minutes of uninterrupted studying. So I would try to master the most difficult concepts during this time. Then we would get home, I would help him with his homework, then start dinner, assist with bed time routines and then, and ONLY then, at about 8pm at night, did I get to start my homework.

I finished up the semester with A's and B's. Not that B's are bad, because they are not AT ALL, but my goals are always impossibly high. I wanted all A's. I was also recommended for an opportunity to work with another professor as a research assistant, which started me on my work of learning to rear mosquitoes and ultimately, dissect them.

(How do you dissect a mosquito, you ask? Very carefully.)

With my new strategies and new information, I started in on my second semester of college. This time taking 14 credit hours. I enrolled in General Chemistry II and Lab, Cellular Processes and Lab, Research Methods in Biology, and Microbiology and Chemistry of Beer (College is fun, amiright?).

I knew I wanted to get all A's this semester, so I worked my butt off. I was studying every chance I got. My schedule this semester had me in school Monday and Tuesday from about 9am-6pm and  Wednesdays from 9am-9pm. Being a mom, wife and student is definitely a very coordinated, juggling act. During this semester, I began my stint as a research assistant. I was also offered a very cool opportunity to write a piece about the Craft Brewing Industry for a hospitality textbook. It was accepted and should be published in the textbook in January 2018! (So cool right?!)

At the end of the semester, I found that my hard work had all paid off and I had received all A's and a 4.0 GPA.

I can tell you that this is the most proud of myself I have ever felt. To say I worked hard for this is an understatement. This was many tired nights spent up until 2 am working on homework and studying. This was mornings waking up at 4am to get a head start before classes. I remember reading in Shonda Rhimes "Year of Yes" book about how when you're doing well in one thing, you have to be doing bad in another because thats were your energy is going. I didn't want that to be me. I recognize that I can't put all my energy into everything, but I was not going to let my goals interfere with the way I cared for my family. I'm not going to say it was easy, because it definitely was not! But it was worth it.

If you had told my younger self that I would be studying science in college and enjoying the hell out of it, I would have thought you were crazy and probably have been offended that you did not know me AT ALL. But I also recognize that the person I was before was vainly seeking self fulfillment through personal gain. My motives now are different. The life I have experienced now is different. I am not the same person I was then. I want to make a genuine difference in this world. I don't care if anyone knows my name. I do not care for fame. I believe we have the right and the responsibility to do better in this world. Whatever your definition of better may be.

I have a bigger goal at the moment, and I am to quite ready to talk about it yet, but every step I make is going to bring me closer to that goal. Easy roads do not make strong people. And obstacles exist for everyone. You, dear reader, have to understand that obstacles in your path do not represent a stopping point, but instead exist to show you how badly you want something. Will this obstacle be your end point or will you find a way to overcome it and continue on your path? Everyone has obstacles. Everyone has their "things" that makes achieving their goals difficult. What you have to understand is that you have to want it more than all those obstacles. You have to want it more than all the hard days and the long nights. And then figure out a way to go get it. No is not the end. Failure does not have to be permanent. And always remember to thank the people who help you out along the way. Have a grateful heart and a strong determination and then go smash the hell out of your dreams.

HOME DECOR | Bath Tub Inspiration

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I'm loving all the stand alone bathtubs and all the unique ways these bathrooms are styled! I'm thinking our master bathroom will be the next on our room redo list.

What do you guys think of the trend?

LIFE | 2 Ways to Get Products for FREE

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hey guys! One of my favorite websites is having a promotion to get more members to sign up and then it hit me that I hadn't shared with you my two favorite ways to get free stuff!

Free! No gimmicks! No putting in credit card information or trying to convince other people to buy a certain amount of any product. Free!

Well, they do want something in return, and that is your HONEST opinion and feedback on those products.

So here is how you can get some free stuff.

The first is Influenster.

Before I tell you about it, I want to be upfront and tell you that the links you may click on will allow me credit for your referral. I don't automatically get anything, but it does enter me in for a chance to get a special box of products to try. But I promise, this isn't some kind of trick to get you to sign up. Only if you want to. (If you prefer to not give me the referral, just google search these websites or type them into your browser. Trust me, you're going to still want to sign up.)

So back to Influenster.

Influenster is a website in which all different kinds of brands seek out people from their target market to try their products so they can get honest feedback on it. So far, what I have received to try have been mostly make up products and food products. I have gotten full size products from brands like Marc Jacobs, Bite Beauty, and Loreal. I have also received coupons for full size products for cooking items from Country Crock and Daisy. 

So the process works like this. You sign up, fill out your member profile, and then if you choose to, link some social media accounts. Then you wait. Now if you meet what these certain brands are looking for, you will usually be given a survey to take, which allows them to officially decide if you are a good fit for that campaign. If you are, then you are sent out the products soon after. Then you put up your reviews and if you especially like the products, you can share them on your social media accounts. That's it. Done. Then wait for another box!

Now, you won't always qualify for the campaigns, but free makeup every once in a while ain't bad! What I gather from this is that it is mostly for women, but I have recently seen some campaigns for men's products. So men, sign up too!

This is the campaign I am currently enrolled in for the EverCurl products! I can't wait to try them out! These curls need some major help.

The second website you can go to for free product is Pinch Me.

(Same as before, these links contain my referral code. I think I get entered to win something? Maybe?)

Pinch Me is another product sampling website. From this site, you will sometimes get some sample/trial size and sometimes some full size products. Just like for Influenster, you get these products in exchange for your HONEST review. The goal is for them to get information and feedback that they can actually use. The main difference with this site is that it also gives you products for your pets to try. My pets LOVE Pinch Me! We have founds some great products for them and it's nice to have a selection of products so I can find what best works for them. We have gotten products from Purina, Greenies, Muse, and Sheeba. For human products, I have received products from Olay, McCormicks, V8, Scotch-Brite, and even some Zzz-Quil (ZZzzzzzzzzz).

You won't automatically qualify for every product, just the ones you are the target market for.

This is what will currently be in my box from Pinch Me.
 These are likely sample/trial size, but I won't really know until I receive them.

I'm sure there are maybe other websites who offer freebies, but since I have been a member of these sites for a while, I can personally verify that they are FOR REAL. GUYS FREE PRODUCTS, FOR REALLLLL.

If you have other websites that you use to get free product, I would love to hear about them. Share them in the comments below!

Wish you the coolest freebies ever!

HOME DECOR | A Surprise Man Cave

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wow! The Fall 2016 school semester is now over and I finally have a solid FREE block of time to post on the blog. It almost feels weird to not have homework!

I realized I never put up a post about the Man Cave I surprised my husband with for his birthday. So I figured that this would be a good post to start back up with. 

We have had a guest bedroom since we moved into our home in 2012. For a while, it got a good amount of use....until it didn't. My in-laws purchased a home not too far away, which meant that my husbands side of the family would definitely be staying there, and my mom bought a house nearby, which meant that my side of the family would be staying at her place. So the guest room stayed unused, collecting dust and being wasted space.

My husband had been dropping hints like crazy that he wanted a man cave. I thought it would be nice to give him a space where he could go watch sports and play video games where I didn't have to hear or see any of it. ;)

So I got to planning!  I knew if I was going to do this, it would have to be on a budget. So I scoured the internet looking up items I could purchase to go with some of the items we already had existing in our home. I wanted to go for a masculine , but nothing too overly sporty or bachelor pad-y.

The items we already had were the rug, the side tables and the jerseys. Everything else had to be bought.

I recruited the help of my sister and dad and we emptied out the room. We had a few hours to get this done, so we got to shopping and then got to work.

I wanted the room to still be functional in case someone had to crash here for a bit, so I knew I needed to get a futon. A lounging chair was a must for my gaming husband, who had actually been eying a chair like this for a couple of years, and then we also needed a tv, a tv stand, curtains, a lamp, and then other various decor items.

After doing my research, I found out that those reclining chairs can run you anywhere from $200-$600. Considering I had set my budget for a max of $400, I couldn't blow it all on a chair. I thought I would have to continue on without it.  I started to check craigslist and different sale groups on Facebook for my area and it was just my luck that someone had just posted that lounging chair on a sale group MINUTES before I had started searching! The best part? It was in near perfect condition and listed for only $40! Guys, that's FOURTY DOLLARS. The lister seemed kind of sketchy as their username was not a name at all but something along the lines of "Sunny and Warm in Florida" and they had zero pictures of themselves on their FB page. I asked a friend to accompany me so I could decrease the risk of the murderation happening.

Turns out, it was just a nice middle age woman just trying to clean up her garage!

Then I still needed a futon. No luck on any sale pages so I knew I would have to purchase one at full price. I'm not a big Walmart fan, but sometimes they have some really good deals. I found they had these faux leather futons for about $140 in store and wouldn't even have to pay or wait for shipping.

Now the TV was another tricky item to purchase if I wanted to stay under budget. I originally purchase a 32 in from target for about $140, but after realizing my dad had a 40 in at his house that at the moment wasn't being used, I offered to pay him $100 for the TV, which was definitely a much better brand that the smaller 32in of unknown brand I had just bought from Target.

After that, a quick trip to TjMaxx, I had all the decor and extra items I needed!

It was a crazy morning and afternoon, but we totally pulled it off. He was so surprised and had no idea!

Here is the source list for everything purchased. 

Succulents:T.J.Maxx, $7 *
Candles: T.J.Maxx, $5 each  *
TV Stand: Target, $40  *
Brass Lamp: Target, $40 
Lounging Chair: Facebook Sale Page, $40
TV: Purchase from Family Member: $100
Side Tables: Already Owned 
Rug: Originally purchased from Target 

Total: $377 

* in store only

Not too bad, huh?

HOME DECOR | Daydreaming About Fall in Florida

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I love fall. Fall is my FAVORITE season. Even though our Florida days are still sunshine-y and warm, our mornings and nights get just chilly enough to prompt light sweaters and steaming cups of hot chocolate. On especially nice nights, we get to have bonfires and pretend like we need the warmth. We get to enjoy the beaches and outdoors during the day, but we get to enjoy the crispness of the air when the sun goes down. Even though Florida fall is so nice, I wish I could enjoy a fall more like the northern states get. I wish I could see the trees change colors and then drop their leaves, where we can rake them up in piles to play in (There's no spiders in these piles, right? If there are, don't tell me.) Since we don't get natures fall color scheme, it is up to us to bring the fall decor into our homes and trick our minds into thinking we are experiencing a real fall season. I have been day dreaming about how I would set up my dream living room to reflect the season. So, ta-da!

Arhaus has these amazing sectional sofas that are literally the most comfortable couches ever. As a mom of one messy child and a dog who likes to rub around in dirt, I fantasize about having a white couch. Like, it's right up there on the bucket list: "Own a white couch." (Dream big, amiright??) Arhaus has such amazing decor, but per usual, this ends up being a situation where I get to create a mock up of how I would decorate my space if I suddenly became a millionaire. (Dream bigger, right?!)

I really love a good rustic, cozy look. A warm toned space, that has just the right amount of cool tones. Nothing too cool, nothing too warm. But it has to be cozy as hell, which of course is what the holidays seasons are all about! Struggling up together, watching holiday movies and enjoying the company of your loved ones. So you've got to have a pile of blankets. Have to.

Pillows are such an easy way to change up the decor in your home. I found these buffalo check pillows at Target and the "grateful hearts gather here" pillows are from Kitch Studios on Etsy. The buffalo check pattern is such a must this year for decor. (So hot right now)

You can also find some great fall signage in stores too. But you all know how much I love supporting my fellow Etsy sellers, so the fall sign featured is from Etsy seller, Liberty Island Farm.

And of course, you've got to incorporate some fall foliage. Not too much though, because you don't want it to look like fall threw up in your home. I always think a more subtle look is better when decorating for the holidays. Even better is when some pieces can transition into the winter season.

So, this is the look I would totally go for. Cozy, rustic, clean.

But you don't have to redo an entire room to bring fall into your home. Here are a few inexpensive items I found for you guys that will totally make your home seem more fall-ish! Everything below is under $50!

How are you decorating for fall?

BEAUTY | 3 New Products You HAVE To Try

Sunday, September 25, 2016

So you guys know how much I LOVE skin care and healthcare products. ("Love" is definitely putting it lightly!) Well, I've compiled a small list of 3 products that you have got to try! I went ahead and tried them out for you, so you're about to get the 411 on these 3 awesome products.

The first product on my list is from the brand Cora

So who is Cora? What is Cora? 

They are a healthcare company and they sell tampons. Yes, you read that right... TAMPONS! The most amazing, organic, chic-as-hell tampons that you will ever get your hands on. So before I tell you about the products, let me first tell you about Cora. 

Cora is a subscription based service that delivers feminine products to your door, but they are so much more than that. They also take social responsibility to a whole new level. Not only are their products sustainably sourced and 100% certified organic, but for each subscription service that someone enrolls in, Cora helps to donate feminine products to girls in other countries who don't have access to them. It may seem kind of odd to send pads over to another country, but what you guys may not realize is that in other places in the world, girls have to miss school and sometimes get sent away from home just for being on their periods. We really take what we have for granted. Imagine having to be restricted by something EVERY month and having to lose that time for learning or even working or even just being with family?? We all get periods, it's not our fault, we have periods because we can give LIFE. It's an amazing tradeoff really. 

Now, let me tell you about the products. They are compact, which means you can toss them into the tiniest of handbags. Trust me, I know because I carry the worlds smallest Kate Spade cross body bag. The packaging is so top notch. I'm such a sucker for good packaging and Cora gets an A+ for style. You can literally close up that black box above and store it anywhere in your home. ( I placed mine on the coffee table for a week and had company and no one even noticed! My husband thought it was a jewelry box!) I didn't think tampons could be cute, yet this is proof they can be. When you order your subscription, you also get two other nifty little products: the vegan leather clutch that can hold 4 tampons and cute little tubes called stowaways that look more like lipstick cases than a house for a hidden tampon. They are great for handing off to friends who suddenly find themselves in need one.

Even though they are a subscription service, you can actually now get Cora at your local Target! So try them out! I think you girls are going to love them. I definitely do. Chic, functional, and socially responsible. I'm so in!

The next product I am obsessed with right now is from Lush.

Lush is another one of those great companies that really have a stance I can stand by. Lush is a company that sells all handmade, natural and cruelty free products. They are so fresh and they best part, they actually WORK! Using a Lush product feels like a spa experience. Their bath bombs are the best of the best! The product I am talking to you guys today about is the Mask of Magnaminty.

It is a self preserving, minty, deep-cleansing mask that uses China Clay and fresh peppermint to pull the dirt from your pours, aduki beans to exfoliate your skin and vanilla and honey to smooth your skin. When you put it on your skin, it feels cool and refreshing. Like a drink of water, but for your face! Since I have started school again, I have been SO bad about making sure to clean my face at night. Of course, as a result, I have been breaking out! This mask has been helping me to bring my face back to a clean and calm state. And they best part, is that the mint helps me actually relax. I love the way it feels. Pretty much anything you are going to try from Lush is amazing, but I would really recommend giving this one a try. 

The last product I'm going to tell you guys about is from Bite Beauty.

Ladies, meet the Multistick

You can literally use it on your lips, eyes AND cheeks! There are 18 different shades to chose from and they make getting ready a completely breeze. Clearly, this is an amazing product to travel with too! The more you blend, the more diffused it looks. You can apply it from the tube, with a brush or even your fingers. Lately I have been using a sheer foundation, using this on my lips, cheeks and eyes, lining my eyes then curing my lashes. Thats it! Done! My favorite color is macaroon because it looks so romantic when you put it on and it gives the right amount of flushed cheeks and a just bitten lip. It is so feminine. There is no need to make your morning make up routine complicated! Combine three products into one!

Which products are on YOUR must try list?

I received the Cora and Bite Beauty products in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

LIFE | MIA 2.0

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wow! It has definitely been a hot minute since I have posted. SO much has happened since July and it has taken me a bit of time to sort everything out and get a good gasp on it all. I like to keep things relatively quiet, because I always find it very discouraging when people don't react to my news like I hoped they would. I am the kind of person who feels everything, usually a little too deeply. And when I experience someone not being as positive as I wished they would be, it really gets me down. Not like in a "well, maybe I shouldn't be doing this" kind of way, but it definitely sets the tone for the way I will feel for the next day or two.

I really wish I could be someone who didn't care what others say and have that coveted "eff-you attitude", but that's just not me. I always do what I'm going to do anyway, so I supposed maybe I've got like a mild version of that attitude? "Like, I don't care what you think, I'm doing it anyway....but you totally bummed me out..."

So, what I'm trying to get to is why I took my break from blogging for a bit.

My life is changing. I am changing it. Because one of the worst things you can do for yourself is to continue living a life that you have decided you are stuck with. Because you are not. Like at all. Despite what you may think. Your life can be changed. Is it easy? Not necessarily. Will it take a lot of work? Hell yes, it will. But it IS possible.

Do you know the Lewis Carroll quote, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Well, that was how I was living my life. I didn't know what I was trying to do because I didn't even know the kind of person I was. Society forces us to choose really early on what we want to do with out lives. Pick a college, declare a major, get a job! Well, we have to make money don't we? So off I went in the direction of doing so, only to find it a wrong fit. And when I came back home, I started taking business courses, because that is what I was told I would need to do. Society has also told us that we need to have a bachelors degree. Doesn't matter in what, but you won't get hired without one. So off to business school I went, while simultaneously trying to work my way up the retail management ladder. I didn't know what I wanted to be or do, so I decided to be good at what I was doing.

When my husband deployed, I needed to take a break for retail to care for my son. He was going to start pre-school and paying all that extra money for him to stay in wrap around care seemed crazy, especially when I had the option of staying home. So I did. We hung out all summer and then I got to take him to pre-school and watch him blossom and grow. AMAZING. But that left me with a good amount of time to sit and thing some more about what I was doing with my life. During the deployment, I was able to focus and finally finish my bachelors degree that I had been working towards on and off for about 8 years. It felt really good to finally get that piece of paper in my hand. I did it. I was proud of myself. I was an entrepreneur, a mom, a full time student, and I did it. All on my own. I go back to retail? None of that was something I could deal with. It nearly made me panic at the idea of going back because I knew deep down in my heart, that wasn't something I could do. So I started thinking about going back to school for a masters. Equally as panic inducing. I half halfheartedly took the GRE and all I could think was that I was taking it to get into a master program I didn't care for, just to get a degree in a field I never want to work in.

AH! what do I do?...

I know that I am blessed with an amazingly supportive husband. A husband who has listened to me cry and complain about these thoughts I am typing up here for you. And all I could think and say was that I wished I had a chance to start over and do something that is meaningful to me. Something that puts more good out into the world. Something that is helpful. I want, correction, I NEED my life to be meaningful in a way that is meaningful to ME. Let me be clear on that, because I don't want anyone upset with me because they think I'm looking down on anyone or that I don't think other people have meaningful work. That's not at all what I am saying. I need my life to have meaning in a way that is meaningful TO ME.

Are we good? Okay, good. Nobody be upset with me. Kay?

So, we researched and we researched and we researched some more. And in the meantime, I pulled my weight by creating art and selling cards and working on some graphic design (all things I enjoy very much, as hobbies) and I finally found it...

So, now I am back in school. Taking science courses and biology courses to set myself up for the next big goal in my life. At this moment, I am a BIOLOGY MAJOR. Technically, working towards my second bachelors. Kind of crazy, right?!

Anyway, so that was why I went missing for a bit. I had to get all my stuff sorted to put in applications and begin to cut back on all the projects I had going on. (Goodbye CopyCatChic! I miss you!) I still am selling my cards regularly, but I am only selling my art selectively. School is taking up nearly ALL time and on top of being a full time student, I am still a mom and a wife. Both of which are incredibly important roles for me.

So! That brings me to the question: If you had a do-over at life or even school, what would you do?

HOME DECOR | Turquoise Beach Inspired Kitchen with Big Chill

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Not too long ago, I participated in the Florida Room Challenge and I showcased a natural, beach inspired bedroom, so naturally when Big Chill contacted me to participate in their Color of the Month Challenge, I knew I had to create something to go along with that bedroom! It's so much fun to create boards to see what would look great together and fit a theme. My house right now is mostly black, white and pink, with industrial and farmhouse elements. It has been this way since we moved in about 4 years ago! I am SO ready for a change, but of course redecorating one room takes a lot of moolah, let alone an entire house! So, in the meantime, I'll just keep daydreaming about redecorating and putting together boards so when I can redecorate, I will! 

No true dream kitchen would be complete without some Big Chill Appliances. If you are not familiar with the brand, they specialize in colorful, efficient, GORGEOUS, and functional kitchen appliances. If you have browsed the "Home Decor" section on Pinterest, I have no doubt that you have spotted their refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers in many homes. They are even in the homes of Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, Miranda Lambert, Rachel Ray, and Jeannie Mai!

Here are some great images of the Big Chill products!

These are the kitchens that dreams are made of! I love when all the appliance match, but I love it even more when one is the focal point. The black and gold! The retro white! The turquoise! I mean, they have them in any color you could think of. It's probably a good thing I can buy any of them now, because I would probably end up buying one in every color because I love them all!

So here is the board I created to go with my natural, beach inspired bedroom! I wanted to keep the same elements and still have the design be light and airy and incorporate the varying colors of the ocean and driftwood. 

Which color of the Big Chill Appliances would you put in your kitchen?