Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer dining table decor

Quick formal dining room update today!  Remember last time I shared our formal dining room I was debating what to do for end chairs.  I decided to keep the chairs cohesive and let the bench stand out. I have some plans for the two walls in this room and didn't want things to start looking too busy.

I searched my house for some things I already had to add a bit of summer to the farmhouse table...

and found these yellow flowers and a clear vase I used to liven up our previous house in the summer time.  

I've had the bowls for a while too - they were from West Elm.  Fun prints that go with my pillows.  

I haven't had time to style the shelves or do much else in this room, but I'm holding off now because I'm already itching to mix things up for Fall!  I love Fall decor.  But I'm not ready for summer to end just yet.

Snapped this picture with my phone yesterday.  I'm writing this post on island time!  We are vacationing at our favorite spot in Maui this week so if my words are misspelled and I'm too relaxed to put together a decent blog post - that's why.  :)  Sharing some pics of our trip on instagram (erin_sunnysideup) and Facebook if you want to see what we're up to.  Really looking forward to an uninterrupted week of family time.  

Now I'm off to sunscreen my crew.  



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Snack Station

One of my favorite things about summer is that it's an easier time for me to eat healthy.  Do you feel that way?  So much fresh produce available this time of year and with temperatures heating up, lighter meals usually sound more appealing.  Plus living in my swimming suit is always a lovely reminder for me of how I need less cookie dough and more carrots in my life.  ;) 

I've found that I eat the best if I have healthy snacks easily available (prepared ahead of time).  So I created a little "summer snack station" in my kitchen.  Just a tray with some little snack bowls, a farmers market basket to hold some fruit all washed and ready to eat, and my scale to look pretty measure the food of course.  ;)

 A quick {summer snack} with the label maker added a nice touch.  #everythingisbetterwithalabel

I've had these fun mini bowls from World Market for a while now and wasn't sure what to do with them.  Turns out they're perfect for cherry pits!  Or a small bowl of fruit for the kids.  

 We've rotated different fruit in the basket.  
Cherries, apples, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, etc. 

Colorful food makes fun kitchen decor so this little snack tray is a win/win around here.

Wonder what a little basket of cookie dough would look like?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kids' Chore Charts/Allowance System

Talking chore charts today!  And allowance systems for kids.  I've been thinking a lot about this for the past few weeks.  Our Star Behavior Charts served us well for years.  Perfect for my girls when they were younger.  But now they are getting older (even though I tell them daily not to) and it's time to teach them how to earn and manage money.  We've never given our kids an allowance.  They've always had to pitch in with house work and my girls have become really good helpers, but I can tell that it's time to give them daily responsibilities and a chance to earn some money of their own.  Aside from giving them the opportunity to spend their own money, I also want to teach them the importance of saving and giving.  Here are some fun charts and systems I've found on-line that have given me a few ideas...

I've also heard that Smart Money Smart Kids is a really good book that helps teach some basics for working, spending, saving and giving so I've ordered it and I'm hoping to read it this summer.  

I would love to hear what you do or have done with your kids.  Do you pay your kids an allowance?  Have a set chore chart?  How do you decide which chores they need to do just to help out and which chores they get paid for?  

Spill it!  I need all the help I can get!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Organizing Camera Equipment

One of my summer goals is to organize my office.  What a mess!  It will be a miracle if I can pull it off during this busy season with the kids home, but I'm sure going to try.  One drawer and cupboard at a time.  :)  I'm going to share things as I'm organizing them and then hopefully sooner rather than later I'll be able to give you a complete tour of the space.  This weekend I tackled my camera equipment.  I've never had a designated place for camera equipment.  Kind of crazy because I use my camera every single day.  My main camera is always just out on the table or counter somewhere and manuals and other equipment have been spread out in various cupboards and drawers and closets.  Time to consolidate!  

I have a couple of drawers in my office that pull out.  I decided to use them for things I am reaching for every day.  Camera equipment was the first thing that came to mind!  I wanted it tucked away so it stays safe, but easy to access.  (I snapped these pics with my phone since I was taking pictures of my camera.)  :)

I used small blue bins from the dollar store to hold misc. things like battery chargers and extra lens caps.  I had extra space in the drawer so I added my label maker and a few other often used office supplies I wanted close by but not on the counter.   So nice to have this all in one place!  Consolidating like things into one location really helps me stay organized.  If you aren't into photography this works for anything.  Umbrellas, extra blankets, tools, etc.  It's so easy for things to get spread out in various locations all over your house.  Bring like things together and find a place to call their home and there you go!  You're organized.  :)  

What about all of those instruction manuals that come with photography software and equipment?  Mine have been hiding in boxes I didn't need.  I went through it all tossing things I knew I wouldn't use and only keeping the essentials.  Then I grabbed some Ziploc bags to give camera instruction manuals, etc. a home.

I love using Ziploc bags because they are easy to label.  Just grab a marker and you're done!  

Then I put them all in one of my office baskets that I keep close to the drawer holding camera equipment.  

This whole thing took about 20 minutes.  Easy organizing!  
No more wasting time searching for the camera battery charger or my tripod instruction manual.   

And just for fun, here are a couple of other ways I've used Ziploc bags to organize our things.  

Happy Monday everyone!  Hope your week is off to a good start.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Friday Favorites

It's Friday my friends!  Woot woot!  Sharing a few favorites today.  Loving Loreal's Sublime Bronze tanning lotion and towelettes.  A friend gave me the towelettes for a b-day gift and I liked them so much I decided to buy the lotion.  I don't use this stuff that often, but in the summer if we have a trip coming up or I know we're going to be spending a lot of time at the beach or pool it's nice to take the edge off of my ever so fair legs.  Don't want to scare anyone after all.  :)  What I like about this particular tanner is that it shows up instantly.  You can make sure you're getting it even and exactly how dark you want it.  Love that!  You can find it on-line here or at Tarjet.

Shared this favorite tumbler on Instagram.  It's been my bff all summer.  I've found I drink more water if I have a cute cup.  :)  I've seen a lot of fun tumblers lately and I think they would make a great gift for someone in the summer time.  Wanna know my secret for drinking a lot of water every day?  I fill this up every time I'm leaving in the car.  I've found that between the three kids and everything we have going on we are in the car A LOT.  It's a great trick.  As long as you're ok running to the bathroom every time you drop the kids off somewhere.  :)

Speaking of fun cups, this mug my mom bought my dad for their 40th wedding anniversary cracked me up!  I couldn't find it on-line, but you can find similar mugs with funny sayings on them here.  I think every married man needs one of these.  

Have you all tried these yet?  They are silicone muffin/cupcake baking pans and they are so cool!  And a little strange.  A friend of mine (who knows that all I can really cook well are these banana bread muffins)  :) gave me these baking pans for my birthday back in March.  They are so flexible and bend easily so you have to really hold them carefully when they're full, but they are SO easy to clean!  I'm usually soaking my muffin pans forever and then scrubbing each little circle way longer than I'd like to after cooking.  These you just rinse off!  I'm a fan of anything I can clean in less than 10 seconds.  :)

Hands down my favorite summer shoes.  Havaianas 'Slim' flip flops.  And living in San Diego, I've tried out a lot of flip flops.  :)

And last but certainly not least, these notepads for just $3 each are probably my favorite TJ Maxx purchase to date (which is saying a lot!).  They speak my truth.  :)

Happy Friday everyone! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Laundry room rugs

K.  LAST laundry room post for a while.  Promise.  :)  Just wanted to share the first bit of decor in the laundry rooms.  Rugs!  When my mom was at my house visiting a couple of months ago it was driving her crazy that I didn't have a rug outside by our french doors that lead to the backyard.  (Kids are in and out of those doors all day.)  So when she made a Target run one afternoon to spoil my girls with yet another pair of pajama's pick up a few things we needed, she bought me this rug!  Gave it to me as a housewarming gift.  So cute, right!?   WAY too cute to be an outside door mat that the kids will inevitably trash in a matter of days.

So I decided to just try it in the main floor laundry room.  But once I put it there, it didn't want to leave.  So thanks mom.  And sorry there still isn't a rug by the back doors, but my laundry room is a happier place because of you.  :)

Isn't this a gorgeous kitchen?  I've loved this picture for so long.  What I mostly love is the black and white striped rug with that beautiful green tile back splash.  That combo just makes me smile.  

So when I was thinking about a rug for our upstairs laundry room that beloved image popped in my head and I knew exactly what I wanted up against the blue/green cabinets!  

It's a bit playful.  It really made the black hardware on our door pop.  

And it didn't want to leave either.  


p.s.  If you want to try one of these rugs in your house you can find the turquoise indoor/outdoor rug here and the black and white striped runner here

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Upstairs Laundry Room

Seems we're talking laundry rooms on the blog!  Organizing my mom's laundry room and then witnessing the mounds of laundry waiting for me after our trip made me in the mood to share our upstairs laundry room with you!  Plus taking pictures of this space was MUCH more fun than actually doing my laundry.  :)  

Come in come in!  I'm excited to show you!  

This laundry room is for the kids and all of their laundry so it's located upstairs by their bedrooms.  I have a dream of SOMEDAY turning all of their laundry over to them and hardly going in this room.  But for now that's just a dream - I'm in this room a lot.  :)  

Because it's a kids' laundry room and I wanted to make the space fun I decided to paint the cabinets!  A blue/green of course.  :)  I was so nervous about how these cabinets would turn out.  I knew I wanted a blue/green so I looked at a few swatches and chose the color quickly.  My cabinet guy looked at me like I was crazy, but I love it!  This is one of my favorite rooms because of the fun paint.  (Cabinet color is Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore.)

Here's a view of the left side of the room.  This room actually became a bit of a pain during building.  Initially the window was centered and the room was larger.  I told my architect I didn't need so much space for a laundry room (it still feels huge to me!) and I wanted a closet for toys in the playroom which is on the other side of this wall.  So my architect put in my playroom closet and took that space out of the laundry room.  Then the window and sink weren't centered.  I could have moved the window to the left to center it, but I really wanted these...

 Three identical cabinets just like I put in our downstairs laundry room.  

That pull out with clothes hampers in them.  I've dreamed about these for years.  So happy to not have dirty clothes in piles all over the place like I did in my previous house.  They were worth not having my window centered like I originally wanted.  :)

Eventually I'll label these (lights/darks/towels) but for now the girls just dump their clothes in them and we sort together when we do the laundry.  

I chose a white washer and dryer for this room.  

With cabinet space above.  

There was some space left on the side so I aded taller cabinets next to the washer/dryer.  
I'll share how I'm organizing them at some point.  

Ok.  On to the next issue that popped up with this room during building.  I originally wanted a grey tile floor but everything I tried to put with the green cabinets looked awful.  So I chose an inexpensive tile that is supposed to look like marble.  Our tile guys started laying it and when I came to see the floor I just hated it against the green cabinets.  The grey veins were much darker and so busy.  (I'm never a fan of too busy.)  I felt like when I walked in the room my eyes went right to the floor and I wanted the cabinets to be the focal point.  We have wood in the hallway that leads into this room so I thought about just putting wood on the floor but that was going to cost a lot more and I didn't really want wood in the laundry room (especially the kids' laundry room) in case of water spilling or leaking.  We had just finished tiling the master bathroom with marble and had some left over (we accidentally ordered too much).  So I brought these pieces up and laid them out and liked them so much more than the original tile.  

I was torn again because marble floor in a kids' laundry room is pretty insane!  I never would have originally spent that kind of money on a kids' space, but the store wouldn't take back the extra marble we ordered so this was actually more cost effective for us than ordering something new.  And now I love the marble in this room!  It's mostly white with soft grey veins that don't compete with the cabinets.  This isn't a high traffic area so it will be easy to keep clean.  Minor snag that turned out great in the end.  :)

After struggling with the cabinet color, the off centered window situation, and then the floor, I had to figure out paint for this room.  Again - nothing looked good against the green/blue!  Painting the cabinets that color really limited my options for other materials in the room making this a tricky space for me to pull together.  I was so torn on what color to put in here I almost just left the walls white.  But the counters and backsplash and floor were white.  I needed something to add a little  contrast.  I think I tried at least 15 different colors in this room before finally settling on a very light and soft grey called "Silver City" by Dunn Edwards.  It picks up the grey veins in the floor but isn't too much with the cabinets.  It was the only color I tried that didn't look awful so it was the winner.  :)

The tile is white glass subway tile.  I used regular white subway tile in our downstairs laundry room  so I chose the glass subway tile to add a fun shine to this room and mix it up.  Counters are Quartz (Organic White) just like in our kitchen and the girls' bathroom.

Because the window wasn't centered I had extra upper cabinet space on the left so I added some open shelves with planks behind them that will be fun to decorate.  This window is the only window in our house that I didn't put plantation shutters on.  I might add a fun window treatment with some color at some point.  

My favorite part of this room?  The light fixture!  I searched high and low for a fun fixture for this room and when I found this school house stem light on-line at Barn Light Electric that I loved I thought it was too good to be true!  The green border looked identical to the color of my cabinets!  But you can never really tell on-line.  When it arrived I crossed my fingers, opened the box and I think I actually squealed when I held it up to the cabinets.  An exact match!  That was a happy day.  :)

When my builder saw the light installed he thought I had picked it out first and then matched the paint to it.  "Nope I told him.  I'm just that good."  Then we laughed.  I really wasn't good with so much of this stuff.  Just good at faking like I know what I'm doing.  And getting really lucky every once in a while.  :)  

A couple of other features I added in this room that are also in our downstairs laundry room...

Cabinet on the left side of the wall for a pull out ironing board.  

I put plug outlets inside of them and a shelf at the top so you can just keep the iron inside as well.    

And a pull down rack for drying clothes I don't want to put in the dryer.

Usually used to dry Addison's "fancy" clothes.  :)

I also added a pull out cabinet next to the washer/dryer for trash.  

So that's it!  Our upstairs laundry room.  Several things didn't go as planned with this space, but in the end I love the way it turned out.  It's a happy room that greets me at the top of our stairs each day and  makes doing laundry not so bad.

And now I'm off to finish that laundry.  That's sitting in piles in the hallway so I could take pictures of empty hampers.