April 15, 2014

Patio Update: The Sectional's Here!


Back with a patio update today. Guess what? The sectional arrived!

Now, if you've been following along you may remember this original plan for the sectional…

I really, really wanted to go with a lighter color cushion. But then my smart side (a rare side) kicked in and remembered I have 3 kids. Anything light in color will be destroyed. With the quickness. I also wanted to go with the sectional seen above in the moldboard, but its size wasn't going to work in this space.

Instead I ended up with the Torrey sectional from Pottery Barn, which I bought on sale + an extra 15% off!…

I love Pottery Barn, but I never pay full price. Never. 

The sectional comes with white cushions, so if I ever feel like going lighter, I can pull off the blue slipcovers…


I left the plastic covers on until all of the slipcovers arrived. The ottoman slipcover arrived first...

Then, yesterday, the remaining covers arrived and I couldn't wait to get it all set up…


Darker than I hoped, but again - smarter choice with kids around. And the beauty is I can always buy light colored slipcovers later when the kids are older. But…you know adults are prone to make spills and messes too. Ha!

The cushions for the table chairs arrived as well…


I'd say it's definitely looking better than when I started this project a few weeks ago!…The beginning...

Where I am now…

Paint = done.

Flooring = done

Chair cushions = done.

Sectional = done.

What's next? Let's see…the tv will be mounted next week. It's here and waiting…

Someone else is waiting for the tv mount too…

It's going on this wall closest to the sectional. It will be on a mount that allows for swiveling…


I'm also working on a plan for lighting. And I need to find a new home for our pool gear organizer. It's too tight in here…


Once the shelving is gone, I'm thinking a nice outdoor table and wall hanging would be nice in that empty spot. Maybe a mirror? Still thinking it through because of the cramped space, but this shelf definitely needs to move. 

And I would like to move away from the solids and bring in some other colors and patterns. Throw pillows? Pillows on the patio table chair backs? I don't know. It will come to me…eventually. :-)

Although I couldn't go lighter with the couch cushions and carpeting, I'm very happy and grateful for what I do have!…



When are you guys coming over? :-)


April 14, 2014

Prevent Identity Theft During Tax Season + A Giveaway!


Oh, it's another happy Monday over here! Had a great weekend (quick road trip to Disneyland) and this morning I get to share another awesome giveaway with you! What's better than that?

It's no secret that identity fraud is on the rise, with rates in 2013 reaching the second highest in eleven years. Scary! According to The Javelin Strategy & Research 2014 Identity Fraud Report, 13.1 million people were affected by the crime in 2013. What's more, the Identity Theft Resource Center attributes tax-related identity theft to be one of the main drivers in that growth with no sign of it slowing down.

Luckily, there are several ways we can prevent identity theft. With important documents (think W2's. receipts, billing statements) changing hands frequently, it's important to keep your family and children's identity safe.

The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides support and research on identity theft, suggests the following tips during this tax season:

1. File your taxes as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more time an identity thief has to file a return for you.

2. Protect your computers and mobile devices with firewalls, anti-virus software and complex passwords.

3. Don't carry your Social Security card or any other documents with your Social Security number with you.

4. Order a copy of your free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Stagger these requests throughout the year.

and 5. Shred all no longer needed tax-related documents that contain sensitive information with a cross-cut shredder, like Fellowes' PowerShred 73Ci….

Fellowes makes the World's toughest shredders!….

And the 73Ci offers innovative technologies and features perfect for tax time including:

* Cross-Cut Blades that destroy 12 sheets of paper into approximately 397 particles per sheet, making it extremely difficult to reassemble.

* 100% Jam Proof System that eliminates paper james and powers through tough jobs.

* SafeSense® Technology which automatically stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening.

You can find this awesome shredder at office superstores and online counterparts….or you can enter to win one this week right here on the blog!

Thank you, Fellowes!!!

My friends at Fellowes sent me a 73Ci to check-out…and share with one of you!

Set up was incredibly simple…



And it shreds like crazy!…

The 73Ci also features the following:

* Energy Savings System provides optimal energy efficiency 100% of the time - in use and out of use

* Innovative touch screen technology with back-lit LEDs

* Shreds for up to 10 minutes before a 20 minute cool down period is needed

* 6 gallon pull-out bin

* 1 year product warranty and 5 year cutter warranty

One of my favorite features is that it sits on wheels so I can roll it away when not in use...


Who's ready to enter?!

As always, super easy no-fuss entry into the giveaway - choose 1 way to enter or up your chances by entering all ways. Winner will be chosen at random at the end of the week and product will ship directly from my Fellowes friends.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 11, 2014

Contained: Coffee Beans…and New Plans For A Wine Closet


I'm telling you guys, it's really the simple things in life. The simple things can make all the difference.

I'm a coffee girl. Love coffee in the morning. The last chore I knock out every night is setting up my coffee maker to brew a pot at 6:45am. It's my little alarm clock. I love laying in bed and hearing the grinder start up. Knowing that when I walk downstairs there will be a hot pot of coffee waiting for me = heaven! Simple, little things make me happy!

As you guys know, at some point this kitchen is going to be renovated. It's going to take time to plan and save for the job, so in the meantime, I'm making those most of this little kitchen. And always finding new ways to make life a little easier, more organized and super efficient in this small space.

Here's my little space in the kitchen designated as a coffee / wine bar area…

Before move-in, my painter removed all of the cabinet doors and shelving for a good sanding and painting. The shelving and the mechanics that keep the shelving up are odd and very old. It wasn't easy to adjust the bottom shelves. This cabinet over the coffee bar…

The bottom shelf in this cabinet was not working for me. No matter what height it was set at, my mugs and coffee bean container weren't jiving. So I made some little changes and it made all the difference…

I removed the bottom shelf altogether and added a wide grid stacking shelf, like this, that I've been keeping in the garage for future use. Just so happened it worked in here!...

With my mugs sorted out, I needed a better container for coffee beans. I had been using something similar to this…

But when I poured the coffee beans into the grinder, they usually came fumbling out, landing on the counter or floor. It was a small annoyance, but one nonetheless that I wanted to nip.

Then I discovered this beauty

I found it at The Container Store. It's a slanted plastic jar with a popping lid that keeps the beans super fresh. Just pop the button...

It releases the lid...

I grabbed this little scoop that fits perfectly inside too...

No more beans scattering all over the counter and floor...

Love it! And it fits perfectly inside the cabinet next to the mugs…

I purchased the large container and it easily holds about 2 pounds of coffee beans…with room for the scoop inside.

Happy girl over here!...


Now, if you know me you know that one project leads to another which leads to another. And so on and so on. Soooooo, guess what I've been scheming up in my little crazy mind? I'm going to turn this under utilized coat closet…

…into a wine bar / butler's pantry. You can see that I've already started stocking away some vino in here. Oh, and then there's these 2 cases of wine that arrived yesterday…

This coat closet, as you can see, is right outside the kitchen. We don't really use this closet for jackets. And with the small amount of space in my kitchen, I'm going to make use of every little inch to extend the life in here until the money is saved to renovate….

How am I going to do this on a budget? My 9 year old's closet is going to be re-done (you'll see it soon…but I have 2 hint words for you = Martha Stewart! Eeek!). With his Elfa closet coming down, I'm having that system re-cut to fit in this space. The beauty of Elfa is that you can repurpose it easily by going back to The Container Store for a cut. So I'm sure I'll use various pieces of his closet in his brother and sister's closets too.

But mainly in here - my new "wine cellar". And Charlie approves. He's already scheming along with me!…

*Don't worry about his tail. Poor guy got it slammed in the front door a few weeks ago. Thankfully no break and all is well. Just dealing with hair re-growth.

Have a great weekend guys!


April 9, 2014

Organized Garage: Phase One


Organizing a space is not something that happens overnight. Sure, there are those little jobs that are easy to knock out, but even those come with some planning involved. However, when it comes to organizing in general, the first phase is always to go through everything, sort, purge and figure out what is staying in that space. Then, and only then, will you know what you need to contain it and put it all away.

A lot of people struggle with keeping a space organized because they blindly buy solutions that appear to be great when you see them looking all pretty on that store shelf. But then you get it home, and it doesn't contain anything at all, doesn't work and ends up frustrating you.

When it comes to a big space like a garage, there is nothing more challenging to get and keep organized. Garages tend to hold a huge variety of items; tools, bikes and trikes, holiday decor in bins, your extra fridge or deep freezer, shoes, paint, home cleaning needs, and so much more. And we typically toss things here and there until the mess becomes too much to bear. Some of us just close the door and don't deal with it. Some of us pull up our sleeves and make it better.

After my electrician installed the new garage lighting, I was on a mission to get started in my garage. Phase one was simply going through everything, moving the fridge closer to the door to the house (instead of it being on the opposite wall), moving a few shelves, creating zones…and then finding out what needs to be contained. I have big fun plans for this space. Just because it's "outside" the house doesn't mean I don't want it to look pretty. When I open the garage door, I want to see pretty! And organized!

Anyway, I spent one entire day last week out here and am excited with the outcome. Nope, it's not perfect yet. Again, this is phase one. But it is definitely SO much better!


On the left side...


The stars aligned when I realized this long strip of remnant carpet fits perfectly over here...

I can now get to the fridge easily and shoes have a place on the rack against this wall….

My larger home cleaning items are huddled together here...

I pared down the bag collection and each of the boys has a spot for their baseball bags...

On the right side...

This is the old patio carpet, that lays perfectly now out here...

The packing boxes? Yup, still have some of those but they are holding all of my scrapbooking items, photo boxes, and books galore. Bookshelves and a craft desk are both on my wish list...


I even have a spot where all of my organization stuff can live together…my bins for helping clients sort...

Like I said, no where close to perfect yet…I still have a piano sitting out here waiting to drive back to it's old home in OC. But at least I can get to my work table...

In the middle / back of the garage, all of the bikes are hanging out together...

And behind them I created a charging area for the kid's electric cars...

Now they have somewhere to park so they aren't in the way, and they will always be charged up and ready for action.

It's looking much better and I'm so happy about it...

Not done yet, but I know where everything is and I know when I need something I can see it AND access it easily.

When I was done with the garage, I spent a few minutes cleaning up a few things around the outside of the house. With the warmer weather, I set up the water table…

Which of course Charlie had to hop into immediately...

This cat. Love him!

The old couch set, that had been inside the screened patio, has a new home too. I placed one here near the swing set…

Now mommy can chill out in the shade while the kids play...

And the other half is in the yard where I can watch them in the pool…

Then, after that, I had a few moments of "come on now!". Those things that are annoying me. Really annoying me now that the weather is great and we are outside a lot. Things like this…

Yup, still NO sod in front. But guess what? That changes this coming weekend!

And this…

I think I may add a small concrete pad here where the big wheels and trucks can sit…and not hang around in the dirt / mud. Still thinking this one through, but ugh!

And this hazard…

I have all the holes ready for side fences but are they up yet? Nope…


Side fences are supposed to be up soon. When they are, I will share a full recap of the entire fencing job that was completed. You're seeing a sneak peek of the amazing fence in this post. Love it!

And this…

It's been here since last summer. But it will be gone soon because I'm using it to create the small walkway here in "come on now #6"…

#5 is that these outdoor lights don't work and I need to have them replaced. The wires are also exposed, which apparently is a big no-no according to my electrician. Good times.

And finally…

Just another exposed dirt area. This is eventually going to be an outdoor BBQ / patio area…I'm seeing a pergola in my dreams. But in the meantime, I need some kind of ground cover. Maybe shade plants? I don't know. But...come on now, Sam!

Sigh. I'm not always this hard on myself. I did take a moment to enjoy how beautifully the grass is growing here in the yard…

The house has definitely come a long way since last June. But I'm anxious to move forward with a billion more projects and ideas.

Have a great day guys!