Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Adventures in bathroom decorating

When we moved into our house, we decided to paint all of the bathrooms purple. Beyond that, the bathrooms haven't really received much attention other than getting some decent shower curtains in, and maybe some rugs. Aesthetically, I haven't been too concerned with the upstairs bathrooms yet since I'm the only one in the house who cares about bathroom presentation (hello, boys).

The downstairs powder room is a different story, and it is my current personal project. The powder room hasn't gotten much attention beyond a couple basics, and it's always driven me a little nuts. It's our bathroom for guests and when we're too lazy to walk upstairs to our private bathroom, so it sees a decent amount of traffic. Or at least it should, if we invited more people over and weren't such homebodies. I know that I like to be comfortable when using the facilities while a guest at someone else's house, and I want others to feel the same in mine. It should smell good and feel comfortable, not just a small step above a port-o-potty (we're not THAT bad, just a little lacking).

So, I figured I'd document my efforts to make our powder room much more welcoming than it's current, kind of cold and lonely self. Here it is currently:

A while back I bought that silver shelving from Target, but I plan on replacing it with a white, floating shelf and putting an assortment of candles/rocks/towels on it. The powder room used to be storage for the laundry room, but I've finally gotten all of that cleared out. I don't know what I'll do with the silver shelf... anyone out there looking for one?

My 1st challenge to myself was to make an amazing smelling powder room. I tormented myself trying to decide if I wanted a oil diffuser, candles, or a Glade auto-sprayer. I ended up picking up a Caldrea Fragrance Diffuser in the Orchid Violet scent from Target on sale, and OH MY GOD I'm so happy I did. It smells phenomenal. I'm going out of my way to use the powder room now just so I can smell it.

I've also picked up a candle tray from Bed Bath and Beyond, some purple rocks, and Chesapeake Bay brand candles from Home Goods. I'm in love with the Chesapeake Bay brand now, they made it so difficult to pick a flavor because they all smelled so amazing. I ended up going with a couple large Sun & Sand scented candles, and a couple multi-scent packs of smaller candles. They were such pretty colors, I couldn't put them down! Until I have the shelf put up, the large candles are hanging in my kitchen window with one of the multi-scent packs. See, I found a good use for one of the packs at least. Totally worth it. 

Hopefully I'll update soon with the new shelf and candles! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Manic Monday

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I won't lie, I've never really cared about this holiday, but this year it's a great excuse for taco night at my aunt-in-law's! Usually when we do dinner nights with that part of the family I bring a dessert, and tonight is no different. I thought I would get super festive and theme the dessert, but I ended up with something a lot more simple than I expected. I made it extra simple and just scooted on over to Betty Crocker's website for idea. Bypassing the tres leches cakes and spicy hot chocolate cookies, I baked a Mexican Chocolate Cake for dessert tonight.

It's crazy simple... probably too much so. I feel like I cheated. This recipe is literally just a boxed cake + cinnamon. Apparently adding cinnamon magically turns a food item Mexican? Who knew... 

To my horror, Smith's had no devil's food cake mix when I went a-lookin', so my cake is instead a cinnamon chocolate fudge cake. Not a bad alternative. Half of the recipe is for frosting made from scratch, but the reviews were questionable so I just bought some Betty Crocker frosting. More cheating. 

~ Do you have clothes to donate laying around?
When catching up on my blog reading from the weekend (I was far too distracted to do it in a timely manner before this morning), Ramblings of a Suburban Mom turned me on to Fashion Project

Their system looks so simple! They send you a pre-paid bag, you fill it up with your clothes (and accessories too it seems!), and send that sucker right back (also free). Unfortunately, the items you donate must have at least a $50 original price value, and it must be a brand from their list. Granted, it's a long one, but lately I've been shopping at ONLY Maurices and they did not make the cut for the list (too cheap, though I personally struggle to call $30 shirts "cheap"). 

But that doesn't mean you, other people of the work, can't benefit! Take your fancy clothes and donate them to Fashion Project and get a gift card as well as the good karma knowing you've also contributed to charitable causes. Cleaner closets + money + karma sounds like a good time to me. 

~ Finally, a key holder!

B and I had been talking for a while about getting a key rack to hang up by the front door, because we are often in a rush to get out the front door and trying to hunt down one pair of keys or another on the way. I feel like it's really just me that this happens to, but he must have experienced the trauma of lost keys a time or two in order to be as excited as I was over a key rack of all things. 

I was super close to buying a really nice one with sea glass from etsy, when I made a "quick" Target run and stumbled upon this bad boy: 

I'd heard that Young House Love finally got some products in Target a couple weeks ago, and I was intentionally hunting their section down. I swore I'd seen key holders in their photos taken at Target, and I was right! I love everything about this key holder, and B was equally excited about it when I texted him this picture (which was a total surprise to me). And so, Sir Octavius now sits beside our front door after a couple days of dawdling in the shopping bag. 

Because we were super iffy about the electrical from the switches and where a stud may or may not be, we ended up using some trimmed down Command mounting strips to stick Octavius to the wall. He wiggles just a bit, but it's a better alternative to watching B electrocute himself. I suppose the wiggling is my fault, since I refused to accept a relocation after we recognized the electrical issue. I think it's worth it.

I think I'll wrap up now, but I'm hoping to craft my next post around my current challenge of decorating our powder room! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Finds & Favorites

Happy May! It seems like we're starting to creep into an official summer here in Vegas, hitting the  90s today and nearly 100 tomorrow! I think I need to quit slacking on the sundress shopping. I finally caved and bought myself a couple maxi skirts a couple months ago, but even those sound stuffy in triple digit weather.

I love seeing Friday collections from blogs like Iowa Girl Eats and Lauren Conrad, so I thought it could be fun giving it a shot myself. This also seems like one of those kinds of posts you work on early and save a folder of links during the week, but today can be a little last minute since it's my first go at it. Plus, most of my finds and favorites are inspired by other blogs to begin with, and who really wants to read a entire blog post just about other blogs?

Favorite local find: It would appear we have a Sprouts Farmers Market nearby now, and talk on facebook about it is nonstop. I've never of it, but my impression after checking out their website and weekly deals is a favorable one! Plus, they've got bulk dried Turkish apricots - SOLD! I'm a sucker for any grocery place with bulk options for some reason.

Favorite throwback: This photo makes me feel so ready for a season of pools and beaches and delicious drinks! Oh, the things I would give to jump into that image right now! Dear cubicle walls, please turn into a time travel device? 

Favorite art find: Maleficent: The Cliff by nicholaskole B sent me a link to this painting this morning - GORGEOUS! I love/hate this artist. Fellow artists, you know the feeling.

Favorite drink: Fresh Strawberry Margarita Oh.. my... this has to happen! It should have happened 15 minutes ago (Hey, it's 11 a.m and a Friday, it's not THAT bad is it?)

Favorite deal: Starbucks Half Price Happy Hour May 1-10 I know I shouldn't. But I probably will. I've done so so well, I haven't had a frappucino in years I think. At least one year? Maybe two? I want to say at least a few. Once I heard how bad for you (let alone how they're made *shudder*) they were I began to avoid them, but there's a part of my soul craving that strawberry flavor again now (I blame you, margarita). All those healthy blogs I follow would be disgusted with me.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

~ So, Fox cancelled Almost Human. Not cool! They've pulled another Firefly, butchering a show's potential by airing episodes out of order and then abruptly canceling it. The casting and the dialogue was so amazing, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I'm not even sure the finale that aired was the actual intended finale.

~ Where are the May spoilers for the Popsugar and FabFitFun boxes?? I'm too stubborn to invest before I know what I'm buying. It is only May 1st though, so perhaps I'm being a little impatient.

~ I'm going to try to get back into exercising. Really, I am. I even subscribed to The Daily Hiit's (or is it Bodyrock TV? I can't follow which name is the real one anymore) "Fry Fat Fast" challenge to...well.... fry my fat in 5 days. It looks like the routines are only 6-ish minutes long too, so I'll bet they're going to kick the snot out of me. Combined with running in the evenings, I need to evict the extra 5 lbs that snuck up on me. I'm just so bad at sticking with an exercise schedule.

~ Speaking of lbs... I'm actually considering a juice cleanse as well, thanks to a review Ramblings of a Suburban Mom did about the Jus cleanse. I didn't realize those things could be SO expensive! I do love me some juice, and it sounds like it can squeak out some pounds, so it's super tempting. I'm just not confident in my self control to avoid solids for 3 days. Especially with the boyfriend, we'll call him B, living off of Taco Bell and other sinfully delicious things.

~ And now speaking of avoiding solid food.. which probably won't happen.. Today I need to dig up a good crockpot chili recipe. I have a great looking cornbread recipe from , so now I need some crockpot chili to go with it! I already have one recipe that I have to reserve for the weekend thanks to a 1.5 hour simmering step, so I really need a good excuse to brush the dust off the crockpot.

~Well, there's my first attempt at a Thursday thoughts! How'd I do? I think I see the value in starting this post on a Wednesday evening, just so I don't accidentally end up posting too late into the day.