Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Favorites: I'm A Homeowner!

This week a big one for me, because...I'm a homeowner!  I have mentioned this in almost every post this week, so I apologize for the redundancy, but it is pretty darn exciting and hard to stop saying!  I closed on my condo on Monday, and have been doing a little bit each day.  My parents are coming this weekend and we have so much planned.  The main goal is to get the backyard area in good shape.  It needs to be cleaned up, and then from there we can see what we are working with.  My mom is really good with landscaping / gardening, so I am pretty much just going with whatever she suggests.  And my dad, of course, is great manual labor.  We are going to also power wash the deck and seal it, if the weather cooperates.  At the very least we should get to power wash it, which I know will make a world of difference.  I have painters coming the following week, so we are going to make sure everything is ready for them inside.  I also saved some of the cleaning for my mom to help me with.  And, we have a trip to Ikea planned.  And that isn't all.  Like I's a lot!  Here's to hoping we get it all done!

I thought it would be fun for today's favorites to have a theme - my favorite things about my condo.  You will have to excuse these photos, because these are pre painting and pre carpet cleaning.  And just pre-anything I plan to do to this place...which is a lot cosmetically.  The condo isn't new (it's a few years older than me!), but I think it has oodles of potential.

1.  There is a front porch.  
Growing up, my mom always had little vignets on our front porch, and I am so excited to do something for my own home.  I am thinking a cute little bench, some flowers, and layered doormats.  I feel like that is a 'thing' lately to layer a smaller doormat over top a larger one, and I really love the look of it.  Just makes it look much more substantial.  And, one of the things I am super excited about?  Adding a wreath to my front door.  I just feel like that instantly makes it look homey and welcoming.

2.  The entryway is another favorite.  
I love that it is 2 stories - makes it seem so much bigger, and adds so much light.  And I love all the railing along the stairs and hallway.  When I shared this with Sarah, one of the first things she said was something along the lines of it being perfect for Christmas garland.  She was speaking my language, haha!

3.  Throughout the living / dining area, and the upstairs hallway, there is this gorgeous crown moulding.  One of those little details that instantly elevates a room.

4.  My parents' house has a window over the sink, which is something I have always loved.  None of the places I have lived in since college have had one, and I am so excited because the condo does!  Maybe this will get me to enjoy washing dishes, haha!

5.  The laundry closet has cabinets for storage, which I am super excited about.  Other than laundry items, I plan on storing my candles here.  I am not sure what else will go in there yet, but I just like the idea of having storage that is contained, as opposed to shelves. 

6.  The downstairs coat closet is a really good size.  
I am still not sure how I will make the most use of it, because the door swings in, which takes up a bit of the room, but I know I will figure out how to make it work and make the most of the storage.  

7.  While the basement is unfinished, it is a great size and perfect for storage.  
I have a ton of stuff, and I can't wait to have somewhere to keep it all that isn't in my closet, or taking up room at my parents.  I think they are pretty excited about the basement, as well. 

8.  I originally wanted a 3 bedroom, because I was looking for a master bedroom, guest bedroom, and then another room that could be used for an office.  I'd love to have a place to sit down and blog, and for those rare times I work from home, I think it would be helpful to have a dedicated space.  My condo is 2 bedrooms, but it has this great nook upstairs that I plan on using for an office area.  It would also be adorable as a reading nook, but I think a desk would be more practical and functional than a comfy chair.

9.  The master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, which makes it feel so big!  
I love how it has the beam in the middle, and down the road I would love to cover it in wood to add some warmth.  I think I mentioned before how my bedroom at my apartment never seemed finished.  It was cute enough, but it wasn't as done as the other rooms in my apartment.  I really want to focus on making the master bedroom a place I love to be.  

10.  This one is pretty funny, and I am sure my mom is just rolling her eyes reading this, but my condo has an intercom.  And I LOVE it, haha!  
It's way old, and kind of silly, because the place is not that big to need an intercom system.  But, what is really nice, is that it has a radio.  And I tell you what, I have made good use of that radio when I have been there cleaning.  Truthfully, this will probably be going away soon, but I am really contemplating keeping the kitchen system and trying to find a new face place so that I can keep the radio.  Or maybe I can get my dad to frame it out somehow and then add some mesh wiring or something to the front, so I can hide it, but then flip up and use when I want to have music playing.  Who knows, but it really is one of my favorite things.

I feel like I could keep going on and on, but I am going to cut it off at 10.

See you all on Monday for a weekend recap...hopefully I will have some before AND after pictures of the backyard to share with you all!

Linking up with AndreaErikaApril, and Katie.        

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Girl Chat: Favorite Hair Products

Happy 3rd Thursday of the month!  Today's edition of Girl Chat is all about hair products.

If you want to catch up on what else we have been chatting about, you can see the posts below.

Back to today's topic - hair.  Hair is not necessarily my thing.  I feel like some girls just have talent with doing hair, and I am not one of those.  That being said, I do have a few specific products that I do love and that do work for me. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a few cents of commission at no additional cost to you. 
Shampoo & Conditioner
I have used this shampoo and conditioner for awhile now, and really like it.  I actually bought a new one to try, because I have heard it's good to switch it up sometimes, but ended up going back because it did not compare.

Wet Brush
I actually read about this brush on a blog.  I picked one up the next time I was at Target and have been using one ever since!  They are great, and even have a smaller size, too!

Blow Dryer
I was on the hunt for a blow dryer last fall, and ended up getting this Rusk one on Black Friday.  I will be honest - I was lusting after the Drybar blow dryer set forever, but I just could not justify the price.  And I heard so many good things about the T3 from other bloggers, but then I started reading reviews and some of them were not so great.  If I was going to spend that kind of money, I wanted it to last.  So, I went with my mom's recommendation.  We both really like ours, and I feel like it has good 'power,' if that makes sense.  And the price is a lot better, too!

Lifting Foam
I feel like I look so much better when I have some volume in my hair, and this product is super good to use when blow drying your hair.  I have used a few different products, but I like this one best.  

I have been using a Chi straightener for what seems like forever.  Mine is bright pink, which I just love!

Hairspray & Dry Shampoo
I love TRESemme hairspray & dry shampoo.  I feel like both are great buys.  They work well for me and you really can't beat the price!

Any recommendations for some extra, extra volume, or how to fight humidity - please send them my way!

Now for the link up!

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat! 

And if you aren't already, make sure to follow your hosts via the links below!

Danielle - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

Emily - Bloglovin' | Instagram | Pinterest 

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Lizzie - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Sierra - Bloglovin' | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reminder: Girl Chat Link Up Tomorrow!

Hey all!  Just popping in for a quick reminder about the Girl Chat link up tomorrow.  We will be sharing our favorite hair products and would love for you to join!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Closing Time...

I am officially a homeowner!

Yesterday, I closed on my condo.  I am BEYOND excited, although to be honest, it really hasn't hit me yet.  I don't know if it will until I start moving in.  Or look at my bank account.  One of the two!  

Everyone jokes about how you are signing your life away, but I feel like it wasn't that bad.  I guess maybe you go in with these expectations that you will be having a hand cramp mid-signing, but I think it just gets exaggerated, haha!

After closing, I went to Sears to look at appliances and out for a celebratory lunch.  Then, I headed over to see my new home!!

I hauled my cleaning stuff in, and got to work.  I tackled the bathrooms, most of the windows, and the kitchen counters.  I need to go back with a vacuum, and after that, I should have some pictures to share.  I just wanted to get that initial clean done before I start snapping any pictures.  So far my thoughts - if possible, hire a cleaning crew to do a deep clean, haha!  Honestly, I think I was just missing my cleaning partner - my mom.  I was definitely petering out by the end of the afternoon, and she always provides extra motivation and makes that type of cleaning more enjoyable.  But not to worry, because I made sure to save some cleaning for when she visits!

I have a bit of time before I need to be out of my apartment, so I am taking that time to get things done at the condo prior to moving in.

Up first is tackling the backyard area with the help of my parents.  We have ambitious plans for their visit this weekend, and hopefully the weather will cooperate for us!

Next week I have both painting and carpet cleaning scheduled.  I am having my main floor painted, as well as the entry and hallway upstairs.  I couldn't quite decide what color I want to do in the bedrooms / bathrooms so those aren't being done yet.  While it is an added expense to have it done, I know it will be done in a few days, and will expedite things so much.  And the carpet cleaning is a must.  Just having those two things done will make such a difference - I am so excited!  After that, I will be ready to start moving things in!

Before I go, I would be remiss if I didn't say a big thanks so much for your well wishes yesterday - they were so very sweet!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Weekend Recap: Blissfully Relaxing Weekend

Hey all!  Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Mine started off with a little shopping.  I headed to a local antique mall to look for some blue and white plates.  I am planning to do a plate wall in my dining room area, and decided that Friday would be a great time to start looking.  I found quite a few, and ended up getting all five of these for $25...not too bad!  

I checked out Goodwill, too, but they didn't have anything like what I was looking for.  I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing.  Nothing sounded good on my DVR or TV, so I opted to check out the movies on demand.  I saw that Meet Me In St. Louis was one of the free movies, and I had yet to see it.  I figured it was a must living in the St. Louis area.  I have to say, it wasn't necessarily my cup of tea.  I just didn't fully understand the point of it.  But at least now I know.

I was up early on Saturday, picking up and cleaning.  I was terrible when I got back from my last trip and hadn't fully unpacked yet!  I did some laundry and then had to get ready.  I was heading over to the condo for the final walk through!  Everything seemed as it should, thankfully.  I decided to try my luck with finding some more plates and went to check out another antique mall, and Goodwill.  I found a few, but definitely hit more of a jackpot at the first place.  It was the perfect day for the pool, so after I got home, I headed there with a friend.  It was soooo nice.  I was worried it would be too hot, but there was a nice breeze and we ended up hanging out in the water the majority of the time anyways.  It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon!  I decided to try a new recipe for dinner - salmon and cauliflower rice, and was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.  I painted my nails, and that was about all the excitment my evening held, haha!

I wanted to get a walk in before church (and it was crazy hot), so I was up early again.  I don't know how much of a difference it made, because even at just after 6:00, it was already muggy and humid! 

I got ready for church and managed a quick Trader Joe's run before I ate and headed out.  I was trying my best to not have to get in my hot car that afternoon.  Church was good - it's almost been a year since I started attending, which kind of blows my mind.  In some ways it feels like it hasn't been that long, and in others it seems like it's been longer!  I had a few errands to run, so I made my way to Nordstrom for a return and Pottery Barn for some pillows.  I have plaid pillows from there that I just love, and I wanted to bring out the more blue color it in, rather than the coral / orange I currently have.  I grabbed a few new covers that I think are going to look great.  I can't wait to switch them out and see once I move!  The mall where PB is at, is my absolute favorite.  They have an underground parking garage which is perfect when it's so hot out.  The pool was calling my name, so I made my way there for a little bit.  It definitely wasn't as nice as the day before, and since I am super prone to burning, I didn't stay out very long.  But it still was nice to get out and relax.  And then relax again at home after...I don't think I did anything productive afterwards!

This weekend was much needed after a busy few weeks.  Months, really.  It seems like the first of the year always flies by - even more so as I get older!

Today I am off to my closing!!!!!  I can't believe it is finally here.

And just a quick reminder before I go - Thursday is the Girl Chat link up, where we will be chatting about hair products.  I hope you will join in!  

Linking up with Biana and Lindsay.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Favorites: Home Sweet Home

Yay for Friday!  Always glad to see the weekend!  I was a bit of a mess yesterday - realized as I got to work that I forgot to put on any jewelry (which makes me feel off all day), am going into the office with chipped nails (totally meant to take that off before I left for work), and grabbed the wrong tupperware from the fridge for lunch (luckily it was still something that made sense for lunch, but darn it, I wanted my salad!).  And that is just a small sampling of things that happened - granted it was nothing big, but all those little things together add up and just make you feel off.  So needless to say, I am ready for a reset today AND ready for the weekend.
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1.  My first favorite for today is being home.  Goodness, I am ready to get back into a routine!  While I do like to travel, and am grateful for the travel opportunities I have from my job, this back to back stuff is no joke.  I can't wait to get back to 'normal' this weekend, although it won't be normal for too long - it'll be time to move before I know it!  But for the time being, I will be able to at least get back into a semblance of a routine.  

I pretty much jumped right in when I got home Wednesday night.  I showered, slapped on a face mask, poured myself a glass of wine, and got to making one of my favorite dishes - Ina Garten's Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken paired with roasted broccoli.  It was SO nice to be home to be able to do those 'regular' things.  There really is no place like home!

2.  I have been catching up blogging reading a bit (still WAYYY behind) and thought I would share a few favorites.  You all know my love for Trader Joe's and Andrea @ Momfessionals shared more of her favorites in this post.  I really like how she set it up, showing things she pairs for full meals.  I think I have a Trader Joe's trip in my future!  Also, Andrea @ Living on Cloud Nine shared a post titled 'I'm Not Everyone's Pretzel Thin', which I think is just a great reminder for everyone.  And timely for me, as I was just munching on Pretzel Thins (technically Crisps) the other day at the airport!  Her last comment in the post had me cracking up, too!  Gotta love a post that is heartfelt and funny at the same time.  Natalie @ Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers did a 'What I Eat | Meal Ideas' post this week - I love ALL her meal posts, and especially ones like this that rounds up a bunch of ideas in one post.  Her salads always look spectacular and for the most part, everything seems pretty darn healthy!

3.  After work yesterday, I ran a few errands and after the last one I noticed the sky was darking and a storm was rolling in.  I absolutely love the color blue the sky gets before a storm.  The blue-gray is just soooo pretty.  I was happy to make it inside before anything happened, but after awhile it finally started to rain and stormed on and off through the night.  While I obviously don't want severe storms, there is something so cozy about a rainy night spent at home.  

4.  This is super random, but when I was holed up in my hotel room this past week, She's the Man was on - the movie with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum.  I forgot all about that movie.  It's so ridiculous, but heartwarming at the same time.  I really liked her as an actress.  Another random Amanda Bynes movie, Sydney White, was one of my favorites in college.  For months I would fall asleep to that movie - not sure why, it was just always what I would put on when going to bed.  I feel like they don't make those kind of movies anymore - not sure why.  I obviously was a fan, haha!

5.  If you missed my posts this week, I recapped New York, shared my June Book Review and recapped Vegas...and shared my feelings on being sick and traveling back to back for work!  The monthly book link up is always one of my favorites - my hold list at the library becomes a mile long after checking out all the posts.  And even though my work trips didn't quite pan out as I thought they would, it's always nice to have them down to look back on.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  I will be here, trying to stay cool, doing a final walk through my soon to be condo, and hopefully spending a bit of time at the pool!

Linking up with AndreaErikaApril, and Katie.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Viva Las Vegas!

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent the last few days in Vegas for a work conference.  I headed out first thing on Sunday morning, and then got back yesterday evening.

I started feeling kind of crappy on Saturday, but I thought it would just pass with a good night's sleep.  Unfortunately, that was not the case and by the time I got to Vegas, I wasn't feeling the best.  I got in around lunch time, and once in my room I indulged in some room service.  My original plans for the day were to attend a few sessions of the conference, then enjoy some of the evening activities which included a few cocktail receptions and the La Reve show.  I made it to the sessions, but then started feeling even worse so decided to call it any early night and rest.  I was super bummed, because out of everything going on at the conference, the show was the thing I was most looking forward to!  I will say, the conference was at The Wynn and I loved the rooms - they were so fancy and just so comfortable.  While I didn't really like being stuck inside the hotel room, at least it was a nice place to be!  It's been awhile since I have traveled west and that two hour time difference kind of threw me for a loop.  I made myself stay away until 8:00, Vegas time, but I still was thrown off in the morning waking up wayyyy to early.

Picutres from The Wynn...

I did feel better, especially after a shower, so I spent the day in and out of sessions.  I had signed up for a dinner that night, but I knew I wouldn't be the best of company, and definitely didn't feel like being 'on' and social, so I headed back to my room for a bit and then made my way outside to see the fountains - that was the one thing I really wanted to make sure I saw on my trip.  I got out and snapped a few pictures on my way down to check them out.

The next day was more of the same - sessions and feeling blah, so another early night and then the next day it was time to leave!

The trip to the airport, I rode with my coworker and his wife, and we had the most colorful taxi driver.  He had a deep love for BBQ, specifically St. Louis cut ribs, so that was interesting to hear about.  And his plans for opening a BBQ restaurant in Vegas.  But when we first got in, he pretty much went right into how the last customer he had was a big B, and were all kind of like whoaaa, haha, not expecting that!  

Once we got to the airport, there was this HUGE line outside the doors.  The power went out in the terminal we were flying out of, and it caused all sorts of problems.  We lined up wayyyy in the back (and outside) until they finally came around, saying that those who already checked in and were just doing carry on could go inside.  Luckilly that was me, so I was able to get out of the heat and into the airport, through security and to the gate.  It was definitely an experience walking around an airport with no power.  The TSA machines still worked, so I was able to get through security, and then as I was walking down the hall, some of the lights started to come on.  Everyone was thrilled!  Unfortunately, everything got a little messed up by that and my flight ended up being about 2 hours delayed.  Between that mess and then the time difference, I didn't make it back to St. Louis until about 5:00.  I got home, showered (I felt like I could still smell the smoke on me from Vegas), cooked and then relaxed with some wine and Real Housewives.  It feels SO GOOD to be home!

All in all, my trip wasn't exactly what I had expected.  Last year was so much fun, and I was hoping for the same experience this year, but it definitely wasn't so much.  I didn't feel great, which stunk, and then another thing that literally stunk was the smoke throughout the casino.  I don't do well around smoke - it hurts my eyes and I cannot stand the smell of it, and I feel like it was just alllll over the place.  While I can totally see the appeal of Vegas, I just don't think it is for me.  Although, I may have to give it another trip, because I know the food there is supposed to be amazing (and we know how much I love food!), and I would love to see a bunch of the shows!  We will have to see!