Monday, July 6, 2020

Life Lately/ Things I'm Loving


Good morning everyone! I didn't mean to take last week off, it was just laziness on my part. Today I'm sharing a little bit about what we've been up to (spoiler alert, it's not much!) and sharing some things I've been loving lately.

For the 4th of July we headed to hang out with friends at an outdoor party. It was nice to get out and visit with people and social distance. I decided to make chocolate covered pretzel rods with sprinkles on them and while they looked messy they turned out to be delicious!


I made milk chocolate, white chocolate and caramel and all were delicious. They were pretty easy to make and I would definitely make them again in the future. 


Sophie has been loving that I'm still working from home and has been enjoying all the time we've been spending with her. I can't imagine life without her!



We had a great time hanging out with everyone but then it was time to head home to our girl!


Clearly, this girl likes hanging out with us! She didn't like the "sky booms" but luckily they weren't really loud in our house and we could only hear them when we took her outside to go to the bathroom. 

Now for some things I've been loving lately!


I deep cleaned our couch yesterday and wanted to share what I've been using to deep clean it.


It looks so much better when it gets deep cleaned but honestly it doesn't stay that nice for long.  But here is what I've been using to keep it clean.



This is the Bissell SpotClean Portable Carpet Cleaner and it's been life changing! The process takes a bit but watching the dirty water collect makes me so glad that I have the ability to get my couch clean with this! I know you might be thinking that your couch isn't dirty but every day that you sit on it you are leaving behind a ton of junk. I love having Sophie on the couch with us and I know the only way we can continue to let her snuggle with us is if we keep up with the couch cleaning. I highly recommend this one because its small and compact and easy to use.



I just finished 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand and it was phenomenal! I loved this story and was so sad when it ended. Even though the book centers around two characters in a "same time next year" relationship where there is some cheating going on I found myself cheering for them to be together! I would highly recommend it. 



For the next three items I'm going to be late to the party but I am totally obsessed with. I am currently on season 6 of Vampire Diaries and I regret not watching it years ago when it was on tv! If you haven't seen it before you can stream it on Netflix. The storyline is super dramatic but I am completely into it and have been watching it almost daily. 


Again, late to the party but I was able to see Hamilton finally on Disney+ and it was fantastic. I now am obsessed with the music and watched the film twice on Friday. Jonathan Groff as King George III is pure gold. If you haven't watched it definitely go check it out!


Tim and I just finished Outer Banks yesterday and it was so great! I really am hoping there is a season two because I need to know what happens next! If you liked the OC then you will definitely enjoy this!

What have you been loving lately?


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale Tips and Tricks



Hey everyone! Today's post is inspired by one of my friends from high school! Sean, reached out to me with a tip regarding the BBW semi-annual sale and I thought it was a great tip and realized that there are a bunch of ticks to help you get the best deal during the sale! Let's dive in...

Semi Annual Dates Are Approximately: Mid June- First Week of July and December 26th- Month of January

The semi-annual sale always starts the day after Christmas in the winter but the June date is always a bit of a surprise. Usually we have an idea of when it will begin, but the exact date does change each year.


The In-Store Sale is Always Better

Unfortunately for those of us who prefer to shop online (especially during the current climate) the in-store sale is always a bit better. Some items will start at 75% off and even get up to 90% off in store. At the time of writing this the in-store sale is 75% and the online sale is 50% off. That being said, you may find more items online but the discount will never be as steep.


Get Free Shipping Online

Although BBW doesn't often offer free shipping, there is a way to potentially get it. First off, sign into your account and fill your basket with anything you want. Next, leave your basket. Let it sit for a few days. You should receive a reminder email from BBW letting you know that there are still items in your basket and in that email they will often offer you a unique shipping code. This isn't 100% fool-proof but it's certainly worth a try!

In Store Pick Up + Survey = Free Gift Card

Now, this tip is from my friend Sean. He recently placed a BBW order and did free in store pickup in order to avoid the shipping fees. After he picked up his order he received an email to complete a survey about in-store pickup. Once he did this, he got a $15 gift card for his time! This may be a short-lived since in-store pickup seems to be new, but if you do have this available in your area I would certainly take advantage of it!

My Bath and Body Works Loyalty Program

Unfortunately this tip isn't going to apply to everyone, myself included. Download the Bath & Body Works Loyalty Program App where you will receive coupons and be a member of their loyalty program. Right now this program has only been rolled out in a handful of states and mine is not one of them but if you live in a state that is involved definitely get signed up right away and claim your rewards!

Discounted Gift Cards

If you are planning on making a ton of purchases at the semi-annual sale consider buying discounted gift cards online! Raise.com is a great resource where you can buy a gift card that someone received as a gift and doesn't want for a slightly reduced rate. It may not be a huge savings but if you can buy a $50 gift card for $48 a save yourself a couple of bucks it may be worth it!

Buying Candles Is Not Worth It

The best time to buy candles is not during the semi-annual sale. The best time to purchase candles is during the annual candle day sale in December. (I think last year it was December 9th? It is always around the beginning of the month) Do not be suckered into buying candles at 50% off, this is NOT a good deal! That being said, if you really need or want a candle, go for it. Just don't believe that you scored the best deal of the year because that's not the case! Last December after a 20% off coupon I managed to get candles for $7.60 each!

Know Your Stock Up Price

With my candle rant over, you should definitely know what your stock up price is. There are always exceptions such as; your favorite scent that you can never find, desperately needing an item (hand soap) and not being able to wait for a sale, etc. My general stock-up prices are:

Candles: $8 or less
Hand Soaps: $2.50 or less
Shower Gels: $3.50 or less
Lotions: $3.50 or less

Your stock-up prices might be higher or lower than mine, but definitely see what the lowest prices you can get items are and stick around that number. There's no reason to pay more than you have to!


Coupons, Coupons, Coupons...

Often coupons are elusive during the semi-annual sale! However, I just received a "welcome back" coupon in the mail that can only be used in-store. Although, I've already been to the sale once this year it definitely is pressuring me to head there again to use my coupon! 

Did you know that you get better coupons if you are one of their top shoppers? So, the more you shop the better coupons you receive in the mail! I'm certainly not telling you to spend a ton of money, but make sure when you receive a free product coupon you get in there to redeem it! There have been times I have gone to the mall, walked in and picked up my free item and left. If you are in the area anyways you might as well stop in!

Stack Coupons With Sales = Buy In Bulk

Okay, it sounds simple but this is the "secret sauce" to being a coupon. We simply stack coupons with sales/promotions in order to get the biggest savings and then we buy in bulk. On candle day, I purchased as many candles as I could until I hit the limit of candles I was allowed in that store on that day. I could've hit up several different stores and really gone to town but I chose to just do one store. That being said, I still have plenty of candles to last me until the next candle day in December. (I also gave away at least half of the candles I purchased as gifts)

I try to always have back stock of everything I use. Hand soaps, shower gels, lotions, etc... Buy enough to get yourself to the next semi-annual sale. Stock up those hand soaps. 

If anyone is interested I can always do an updated look on my couponing stockpile (it's majorly depleted after not couponing for months) but it might give you a better idea of how much I keep on my shelves at any given time.

*********

With all of that said, I really do believe the BBW Semi-Annual Sale to be a great time to get out there and stock up on items. I hope that you are able to score some great deals before the sale comes to a close and definitely let me know if you have any tips that you would like me to add to this list!


Monday, June 22, 2020

Life Lately

Hey friends! I am getting ridiculously lazy around here with updating you. Maybe it's the work from home life that has me so lax or just the fact that there isn't a whole lot happening around here since things still aren't completely back to normal.

What is open in your state? Here in Rhode Island there are some dining options open, we are required to wear masks inside any stores or public areas, and are still super concerned about the Coronavirus spreading but it seems like across the country each state is very different! We still haven't been to a restaurant besides picking up food since March and have only seen a small number of our friends. Tim has worked through the whole time since he works for a family business and they don't see customers in person. I have been rocking the work from the couch life which I am loving! I think I get just as much done, work even more hours, but have the flexibility to stay home with Sophie and throw in a load of laundry. It's truly the best of both worlds for me! I'm glad I am able to see my friends and family again though, which I will talk a little more about later. 


I am so glad we have this bubbly little girl in our lives! She has been my constant companion over the last few months and the two of us are more bonded now then I ever could've imagined! I am slowly working on preparing her for when I go back to the office which should be in the next couple of months and she's even gotten me into a brand new habit in order to help with this.

I started waking up at 6am every day in order to take her for a walk. I know I need to get more exercise into my routine so I thought that starting each day walking Sophie would be a great way to do that, make sure she gets to use the bathroom, and tire her out a bit before we leave. Now obviously I take her for her walk and then she sleeps all morning until I take her out at lunch time quickly and then when I normally would get home from work I take her back out for a second walk of the day. I'm hoping this new routine will help her adjust to us being gone during the day but man am I going to miss being with her all day!!



So, what have we been up to besides work and hanging with our dog? Honestly not a whole lot!! We did visit with Derek and Ally and Ally's family for her birthday earlier this month! It was our first real socialization and it was so nice! I loved being able to hang out with other people but I was completely exhausted the next day, apparently socializing is exhausting for me, haha.

Of course I have no pictures because the only pictures I've been taking lately involve a furry friend or are a picture of the house or yard. I need to get back into picture taking mode!


Last Thursday I was able to reunite with Rachel and Brittni for dinner at Brit's house! We got to see all four of the kiddos and then go home to our quiet house, haha! It was so nice to get little kids hugs, hear "Auntie Melissa!" screamed at top volume and just watch them all play for the first time in a looooooong time! We love spending time with these two families and left recapping our favorite stories from the night. It was also just amazing to be back with my best friends! Quarantine was, at times, super lonely and depressing. When you work from home and are home all day alone and you are waiting for your husband to get home from work every day it can be very isolating. There were days that were really hard for me. Days where I felt like sobbing, days where I felt like screaming but finally, finally we are back to having a little social contact and I am so happy! Again, I absolutely love working from home, but I didn't like not being able to go to a store or socialize or see friends and family in person. I am much happier with a little time with my friends!


Here is my little friend chilling in her doggy pool! This picture is from Saturday when it was 80 degrees and I filled it up for the first time. She wouldn't lay down in the pool even though I kept telling her it would be cooler that way, but she seemed to enjoy herself and loved when I sprayed her with the hose. I really want to get her out on the water this summer because I know she will love it! We usually do a family kayaking trip so that is definitely a possibility. At some point we will hopefully purchase our own kayaks so we can go out whenever we would like!



Of course on Sunday we had to celebrate Father's Day (or Pawther's Day!). Sophie signed on to Amazon and ordered this shirt for Tim and proceeded to rip a hole in it within minutes so onto Amazon we went again for another one. (No, the hole wasn't repariable. It was in a weird spot not on a seam and would've looked odd) 

After giving Tim his card and shirt I headed off to my parents house to have breakfast with my dad and brother while Tim and Sophie headed to his dad's house to have breakfast with his side of the family. I had a big lunch event with my mom, brother, papa, uncles, cousins, papa's girlfriend, and both my uncles girlfriends in my moms backyard and it was so nice! It was nice to see family again! (Don't worry, our number was at 12 so we were underneath the Governor's order of 15!) While I was having lunch Tim was golfing with his dad for the afternoon.  When I arrived home Sophie was thrilled to see me since it was the longest that she and I had been separated but I heard from Tim that she had a great time at Poppy (Or Pawpy's) house that morning so I knew she was exhausted! 

So that's what we've been up to lately, what have you all been up to?

Have a great day!!


Monday, June 15, 2020

DIY House Projects: Front Yard Gardening

Well, this weekend I finally finished our front yard renovation. Well, finished for now... I'm sure you know how it is!

Let me remind you what the yard looked like before.


Granted this was taken at the very beginning of spring so the grass was really brown, there were no plants growing in the garden and the whole yard just looked super dead. 

Now, for the after...

                                           


So much better right?! The walkway made a huge difference but I think the gardens surrounding it just make the whole front yard look more welcoming. For right now I just have boxwoods lining the walkway but I do have plans to get more plants in here eventually. I love that the boxwoods will grow a ton and stay  green all year long. I also have a hydrangea plant in here all the way on the front left and I'm not sure it loves its home so I will keep monitoring it. 

All the other plants are ones that were planted here by the previous owners. I am not quite sure what everything is so I will continue to let them grow this year and see if there is anything I would like to rehire or replace. 


I never thought I would choose a black mulch but when I searched online for the best mulch for your house color it said black went best with gray homes. I think it does look really nice and I can't picture it working with a dark brown or red so I'm glad I went with the online advice. 



I'm not sure what to do with the plants in the gardens that were previously there. I did have a fairly difficult time getting mulch back behind the plants and I always squish one of them when I bring the hose around. I am not particularly attached to any of them and will definitely be looking for inspiration pictures on Pinterest to see what other people with ranch homes like mine do with the gardens in front of their homes. 



I also think that having either something like hostas along the walkway would be nice. Another idea is to have colorful annuals along the grass side. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do and I don't think I will do anything until the fall or quite possibly next spring. I will definitely keep you updated though!



One last picture of the walkway gardens before we move onto the other garden I want to talk about today.


I know I talked about this garden before but Tim asked me to make it a little bigger on the tree side which makes it a bit easier for him to get around it on our lawnmower. I used our edger that we purchased at Home Depot to make sure it was lined up although once I put the mulch on the line became a little less straight. 


I love this little garden and can't wait to see the perennials and evergreens grow each year! The annuals I have in front have been great this year but I haven't decided what I will do here in the future. I do really like the coral and white color scheme but next year I am definitely going to add more annuals to fill it in a bit more. 



I am also excited to watch this tree grow every year! It is one of our only trees in the front yard and after seeing it bare all winter I am thrilled it has leaves and makes the yard look more alive!



This mulch pile was HUGE when I started and I got through a lot of it! We definitely overestimated how much we needed. It just means there is enough to get some other projects done!



One last area I threw some mulch down quick is this japanese maple tree that our sweet neighbors gave us.   We've never tried to grow a tree before so I hope that it survives! Fingers crossed!!

That's all for today, have a great day everyone!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Sophie's May Barkbox

Well, this post is a bit delayed, but today I'm sharing Sophie's Barkbox for May!

This box was absolutely adorable and had a Scooby Doo theme for the new movie that just came out. Whenever a package arrives now Sophie assumes it's for her and this day she was absolutely correct.


Here she is just waiting patiently for us to open her box. She knows there are fun toys and treats inside and watching how excited she gets just makes it more exciting for us. I swear we are the most over-excited dog parents on the planet, it's borderline obsessive how much we love this dog. 

We were surprised and excited when we opened the top of the box and saw Scooby on the top. Of course Sophie instantly grabbed Scooby and took off running! She always grabs the first toy she can and runs off like the Flash. Then she comes back to see what other treats are inside.


Scooby has been with us for a little over a month and has held up pretty well! His ears are a little tattered and his tail has seen better days but beyond that he is holding up nicely. He is a toy that stays in rotation now and Sophie often grabs him for tug or fetch. 


The Mystery Machine remains in near-perfect condition. This isn't a toy she has really played with much at all. I'm not sure if it's just a little too big or if it doesn't make the right sounds but she's not too interested in this one so far.


Oh the sandwich. Well, this was destroyed the first night it came into our home. This is a great tug toy but Sophie's teeth were just too strong for it. We ended up having to toss the little pieces and only have the bread pieces and the burger (I think it's a burger??) part left. Sophie will often bring us the bread for us to throw. So, I guess she's still sort of enjoying this one.



Both bags of treats have been loved and enjoyed! These treats were pretty small but she would perform all sorts of tricks for both to them. We loved asking her if she wanted a Scooby snack too :)


This "long term chew" isn't so long term for Sophie anymore. However it's always great to an extra "cookie" to give her.


Here is a picture of the inside of the box and you can see the other two toys that were options. I'm really glad we got the ones we did! 



Here Sophie is with her haul! You can see some other toys in the background too, girl is spoiled and always digging through her toy bin!

Do you order Barkbox or another subscription box for your pets?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Our Home Office

Growing up both my parents always had offices in our home. My mom was a teacher so hers was full of crafting supplies and for some reason I got it in my head that I would have an office in my house when I grew up too.

Tim pointed out that it wasn't necessary because neither of us work from home. Well... now, with everything going on, I do. 

Our office was outfitted with Ikea furniture and mostly just holds office supplies and everything else we aren't sure what to do with but I love that we have this space. We still need some serious organization systems in here and definitely need to do an overhaul at some point, but for now it's working.


The desk is from Ikea and I would love to get a new office chair since this one squeaks constantly. Right now I have quite a few work related items on this desk but usually it is just where I house my items for paying bills and my coupons.

The Alex 9 drawer from Ikea used to house all personal items like makeup and lotions. Now it houses those items in the top few drawers and then office supplies in the bottom. I plan to eventually make this full of all office supplies.


It certainly isn't a perfectly organized and beautiful space but it has come so far! I love collecting books and it makes me so happy to have all my favorites housed on the bookshelf along with some of our personal decor we have collected. 


I haven't found a solution for my scrapbooks so for now they are just stacked here. This small organizer has some office supplies and also holds all my hanging files. I try to not keep extra paper but we do have quite a bit that I think is important to save.

I love my Martha Stewart wall organizer where I house my "TO DO" and "TO FILE" papers. It's nice that Tim and I have a place to toss things and I can set aside time each week or so to file and do the items inside. I find that this saves me time in the long run instead of constantly filing!


All my jewelry (aka all my Wet Seal and Kohls jewelry) lives in this jewelry armoire along with my collection of free sunglasses and sewing supplies. What can I say? I'm not an expensive jewelry girl. I don't take good care of sunglasses so I will never spend more than $5 on them and I know I will break all of my jewelry so it's not worth it for me to spend money on it.

I love my tall bookcase from Ikea. It needs a little work but as some point I will put aside the time to get this done!


Another look back at my small bookcase. 


I love having some decor from our wedding in here! I hated the idea of buying things for the wedding and then getting rid of them so I made sure things like our card box and our decor (MR&MRS sign) were things I would include in my house. My brother made our card box and I found a decal on Etsy to attach and it turned out amazing. He is truly talented!

Do you have a home office? If not, where do you keep all your office supplies and paperwork??

Have a great day!

Monday, May 25, 2020

DIY House Projects: Creating a Garden and Covering a Well Pump

One garden down, a few more to go!



My mom has always loved to garden and her parents always loved to garden too. So, I come from a line of gardeners and I think I was destined to want to dig in the dirt. But, I have no idea what I'm doing. I thought I would start small with a little area that is in our yard up by the road.

Want to see where this started?


Believe it or not, you are looking at the same view. Crazy right? When we moved in we had this ugly rusted well pipe that was broken and sticking up out of the ground. A couple of months back Tim made a call and we got the pipe itself replaced. It was bight white and while it looked better and not rusted out, I still didn't want to look at a pipe sticking out of the ground like a Mario game.

I decided my best bet was to pick up a fake rock from Amazon and I ended up purchasing this one. Any one else with weird quarantine purchases? A huge fake rock might be the number one strangest item purchased in quarantine...but I'm not trying to start a contest or anything!


So, I dug up the area and got the fake rock set up and this is what our neighbors looked at for a couple of weeks. 

Then, I got my act together and headed to Home Depot to grab some mulch, top soil and a few plants!

I planted what I picked out and realized I needed more mulch and a few more plants so I headed to Walmart to finish up this area.


My little car can't hold too much but I got what I could fit!

I plan to shape out the area a bit more and add some more mulch on the edges to neaten it up, but I'm waiting for a few more garden areas to be dug out to get more mulch. I am so pleased with how it turned out!


I realize that in the future I may need to move some of the shrubs in the future if this tree grows, but I plan to adjust my gardens as needed. There are a few annual flowers in the front, which I plan to dig out at the end of the season and hopefully replace with tulip bulbs in the fall. Hopefully this will make this area come to life early each spring and prevent me from having to buy new flowers each season.


My main focus was to get some perennials in here so I would have to do less work in the future. I also wanted to make sure several of the plants were evergreen. Our gardens contained zero winter interest, meaning that all winter long all I saw was white snow and brown dead trees. I want to have some evergreens to see all year long!


I also planted some perennial flowers and a lilac bush. I hope these will bring some color to the garden. I mostly stuck with coral, white and pink for my colors. I have seen some gardens with a ton of color and some with the focus on only a few colors and I'm still trying to decide exactly what I prefer. 

I think when I do get tulip bulbs I will try to get only pink and white tulips to keep this area fairly color-coded. (See I'm even organizing the plants.....out of control over here!)


My plan is to stay far enough away from the well pump that if they need to dig it up for any reason it won't disturb the larger plants, but if they do it's okay. Nothing that I purchased is super expensive, so if it was dug up in the future that wouldn't be the end of the world. 


I took far too many pictures of this area and I apologize for that, but I was just so darn excited to do this area all by myself!


Up next? Gardens around the walkway, which I hopefully will be able to share with you soon!

I hope it's sunny where you are today! After some intense rain on Saturday, the sun has been shining the rest of this long weekend and I love it!