Monday, July 27, 2020

Our Bathroom & Hallway

Today on our home tour we are talking about our bathroom and hallway! We are in a one bathroom house, so that is certainly a daily struggle. Keeping it neat so if a guest arrives unexpectedly it looks fairly clean, one person showering while one needs to use the bathroom... if you have one bathroom you know what the struggles are! We lived in an apartment with one bathroom for three years so luckily it's not something we have to get used to but we do dream about having a second bathroom someday, whether it's in this house or in a future home!

Now, let's take a quick tour...it won't take long!


Just a simple bathroom with a shower/tub combo, toilet and sink area. Someday we would like to renovate this bathroom but for now it's certainly livable. The tile and vanity colors are not my taste and I would definitely like to change them. I would also like to change out the mirror and lighting for something not as basic. 


We picked this shelf up at Ikea when we first moved in and I just have some clear containers and a fake succulent on top. Honestly, I'm not thrilled with this shelf but for now it does the job. The containers are of course from The Container Store.


Looking back out towards the door you can see our little tour guide! You can get a better look at the vanity and mirrors here. I desperately want to replace them! 



Our hallway is very simple but I love it! The rug is from the MyTexasHome collection, our wedding guestbook is at the end and a couple of pictures on the left along with our sign that we purchased from Target before moving into our apartment together.

So far on this house tour I've shared:


Still to come... Our Kitchen and Our Guest Bedroom!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Sophie's First Birthday!

If you aren't following Sophie over on Instagram (sophiethegoldendoodlegooding) you should definitely get over there to check it out! Yesterday I did a birthday day in the life story for Sophie's first birthday. I saved it in the highlights section so you can check it out if you missed it. 

Although it was a normal Thursday and a work day for both Tim and I we did our best to make sure our favorite little lady knew how much we love her! 

I ordered a pet party pack off Amazon months ago and on Monday night decorated our kitchen for Sophie's birthday week!


Yes, she's on the kitchen island. No, I'm not ashamed that I made Tim put her up there! How cute is this picture?!

We also took our sweet girl to FetchRI which is our local pet store where they took this picture...


Sophie was afraid of the frame of course. We bought her a new toy and a ton of treats! We know how to spoil that little girl!

Today I plan on doing an imprint of her paw print because I forgot to do it yesterday! 

How do you celebrate your dogs birthday?

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Sophie's July Birthday Barkbox!

As you may have heard from me before, Barkbox Day is one of the most exciting mail days here at our house! Sophie always seems to know when this box arrives and as soon as we put it down on the floor in front of her she bounces around it and sniffs it like crazy!

This month our theme was....


Oh my dog it's your birthday!!!! Tim exclaimed, "It's birthday themed! Sophie it's your birthday!!" 
Clearly we are overexcited parents.


Complete with a paper banner, it was super cute! 


I love this little piñata! Sophie seems to really like this one and she's been bringing it for us to throw and tug on all week. 


Party hat has also been a big hit because Sophie loves to chew on anything that has straps. She already chewed one of these straps off but it didn't fit on her head anyways...because we did try haha


This present is a little big and there is definitely a ball inside so if it's ever destroyed we will at least have another toy. She has been chewing it and playing with this toy but it is definitely harder for her to carry!





I like seeing all the toys that we potentially could have received. Barkbox always has the cutest themes and honestly every toy we've gotten has been great.


These pizza party treats are a huge hit!


The pork jerky has been her favorite though!


This chew took her about two minutes to chew, but she seemed to enjoy it!



I just love this picture of the piñata and Sophie just watching me play with her toy! 

Do your dogs get Barkbox?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Sophie's Favorites

Happy Monday!


We are starting Sophie's Birthday Week over here! Growing up I always insisted that my birthday be celebrated as long as possible and would often refer to my birthday week, birthday weekend, birthday month. Then my mom would remind me that it was a birthDAY. Such a buzz kill. I always swore that I would celebrate my kids birthdays to the fullest extent (including half birthdays) and why not celebrate my furchild the same way?! You already know we celebrated Sophies half birthday in January but now it's time for her 1st birthday! Her birthday is Thursday but today let's talk about some of her favorite things! These have been some favorites around here during this first year and we hope they help if you are looking to bring home a new furbaby!

Barkbox

If you've been reading for awhile then you know we are loyal Barkbox subscribers and every month we look forward to Sophie's box as much as she does. Later this week I'll be sharing what was in her Barkbox this month. In the meantime you can always read what has been in our boxes each month here on the blog
There are always three toys inside (but some are inception toys and have more inside if your dog destroys them!), two bags of treats, and one bigger chew. I think it's completely worth the money because we would buy treats and toys for Sophie anyways so at least this way we can say no to buying something because we know her new box is on the way. Since Sophie hasn't been really into destroying things lately we have accumulated quite the pile of old toys but honestly she plays with them all. A couple we are friends with has a dedicated room for their two dogs where they keep their beds and toys and they've been getting Barkbox for years. The amount of toys they've accumulated for their two dogs is amazing! I don't mind having a constant intake of toys because it makes it less hard when she destroys one and we have to throw it away, We are pretty strict about once she is able to pull stuffing out we toss it and sometimes it's sad to see a once favorite toy get tossed (or one she was gifted from someone else) but we know some new toys are coming soon!

As for the treats, there has only been one or two that she hasn't liked. She doesn't like peanut butter (I know my dog is a weirdo) so any of those treats we pass on to other dogs we know! You can also put specific dietary restrictions in your preferences so I can certainly go in and mark that she doesn't like peanut butter for future boxes but I just haven't done it yet!

Homemade Dog Treats


I made homemade dog treats this past weekend and Sophie loves them! Here's how I made them...

4 Cups of Flour
2 Cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/3 cup of oil (I used olive oil)
1 3/4 cups of water
1 egg (optional)

I mixed everything until it was mixed thoroughly a was a nice dough.
I scooped the dough into silicone trays that I ordered off Amazon. You can find them here. 

Bake at 350* for 45 minutes- 1 hour. (Keep checking until they are fully hardened)

I have been storing them in the fridge and Sophie has been loving them! They are a great treat for her and she is a happy girl!

This does make quite a few treats, so just be aware of that! If you want less treats just cut the recipe down a bit.

Grooming Tools


Now, these are probably not Sophie's favorites. She is not a fan of getting groomed or brushed. However, these tools have made the process so much more bearable for all of us! Biosilk for dogs smells great and makes her hair/fur so much easier to brush through! The steel comb is gentle but allows us to pull out any tangles that we do find. After a matted hair cut we will never let that happen again and have started brushing her out every night, especially her ears and tail at this point. We hope this will help prevent matting! 

Kong Wobbler

This toy was an impulse buy off Amazon to keep Sophie entertained a little longer when we have to leave her alone and she loves it! This is by Kong and called the Wobbler. There are multiple sizes but we bought the large size since we wanted her to have a little bit of a challenge. She pushes this toy all over the house! We fill it with a few treats mixed with her food and while there are often quite a few pieces left on the floor, she does eat quite a bit of the mess she makes! I love that she can entertain herself for awhile, especially when we are busy doing something else or when we leave the house for a bit. 

Fetch RI

Sophie loves visiting her friends at FetchRI which is our local pet boutique. There are a few things she loves getting when we are there.
I'm sure we will find many other treats there to try in the future! The store itself is amazing and has so many events and services. We took classes through Mischief Managed  in the Fetch Room, attended their Trunk or Treat, and had pictures taken with Santa!

If you are in the RI area I highly recommend a trip in! We will continue to support them for years because we love supporting small local businesses and we love the personalized attention that comes with shopping there. Sophie is always loved on and they take a picture of every dog that comes in each day to share on their Facebook/Instagram. They also have a great rewards program which makes us more motivated to buy supplies there!

Other Favorites

Here are some other things that Sophie loves:
  • People...any person who will give her love and let her lick their face.
  • Other dogs (as long as they aren't barking/ aggressive)
  • Tennis Balls 
  • Playing Outside
  • Playing Hide & Seek (I tell her to sit and wait and then I hide and yell "okay come" then I make noises until she finds me. Yes, I know I'm insane)
  • Playing Fetch
  • Playing Monkey in the Middle (Picture Tim and I throwing a ball back and forth in the house trying to keep it from Sophie, but letting her have it every once in awhile)
  • Human Food (Especially meat, cheese, pizza crust, watermelon, cantaloupe)
  • Pulling out every toy she owns.

I hope if you are planning on bringing a furbaby home this will help you. If you want any other recommendations for other dog products, just let me know! We have tested out quite a few treats, toys, and supplies since bringing Sophie home in September and I'm happy to share what we have learned.

Also, Happy Sophie's Birthday Week to you! I plan to be back on Wednesday to share what was in her Barkbox this month, I will see you then!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

Good morning and happy Monday!

Today I want to share how we finally finished mulching and now the sides of our house and deck look so much better! We had mulch leftover after we finished the front gardens so Tim suggested we dig out the side of the house so we took a day and got that done!



I shoveled, moved and spread almost seven yards of mulch all by myself. Tim helped with the side of the house but I did all the gardens and around the deck by myself. I am super proud that I did so much on my own and know that this was the most difficult year for getting things done in the yard. Hopefully next year we can mulch the back of the house and maybe do some planting but it will be far less work than what we've done this year!


Here is what the back of our deck looks like now. We need to cut the lattice and hang it up but for now it looks so much nicer with the mulch in! The black crate has Sophie's outdoor toys, if you were wondering!


Here is the side of the deck. Our deck is in super rough shape and we know we will need to redo it at some point soon but that is a project we are putting off for now. Not only is the paint chipping but the whole deck seems to be tilted to one side. I wouldn't walk out there without shoes because it's splinter central. Overall we just need a new deck and have big plans for our house and this area in the future.


Another picture of the back just because it looks nice!


Here is the side of the house. This area will be a garden eventually. I'm thinking of putting hostas here so they stay small and do well in an area that gets both sun and shade. You can get a glimpse of the mess at the back of our house on the side of this picture. We need a shed or maybe a temporary little shed to hold all our outdoor tools. Another project/expense!


Here is the other side of the deck near the bulk head. We mulched this area too since we can't get in here with the mower it is easier if it is just a mulched area. 



Some last looks at the area! I am so happy it looks so much better. 


Project by project we are getting things done! What projects have you been working on lately?

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!