Fall 2017 Insta House Tour

Life is hard, just when I get motivated to be back on the blog scene, my Mac Mini won’t turn on.

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Luckily, nothing was lost and it was still under warranty! With the computer snafu I haven’t been able to publish some long planned blogs (all my photos being on the Mac); however, i’ve been doing the Fall dance of joy on Instagram. I love this season! I know most people look to Spring as the time of renewal, but it’s Fall for me. The crisp cool air is so fresh after a long summer’s humid heat. To me the chill is so refreshing and brings all the cozy things I love: sweaters, smores, fireplaces, hot cider, boots, the smell of spice, football season, need I go on?

Once Labor Day hits, i’m all too happy to pull out the warm colors of the impending season (plus a long weekend is a great time for such a project). I’ve started cleaning out a lot of my Halloween specific decor in favor of just “Fall” so I can leave it up until Thanksgiving. That required some shopping for pumpkins and fall sprays/stems (Thanks to Kirklands, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby all being in a 2 mile radius).

Enjoy the Insta tour, Happy Fall. #getyoursweateron

Target $1 bin purchase shot, can you spy those pumpkins in the other pics?

#falljoy #fallmeetssummer #seashell #farmhousestyle #decorhashtagfeed

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#farmhousestyle #falldecor #farmhousedecor #decorhashtagfeed #lovefall

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#falldecor #farmhousestyle #decorhashtagfeed #myfallsecorstyle #needpicsforframes

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Bracelet Quick Fix with Nail-polish

I bought the following bracelet about two years ago at the beach. Unfortunately the pink paint chipped off fairly quickly, but hey you get what you pay for. Instead of collecting dust in my jewelry cabinet I decided to try a quick fix. Nail-polish.

With just a few swipes it is back to an acceptable outside appearance.  Not sure how long it will last, but hey another swipe of polish should do the trick.

The Skinny on Losing Baby Weight, #notsoskinny

Have you seen those super fit pregnant women and the new mom’s who bounce back within a month of having a baby? Yeah that wasn’t me. Let’s not hate on them, even though we are envious…..okay actually super jealous, but applaud whatever they did to get there. Now back to the rest of us.

I gained weight without even trying with baby #1, 58 *cough cough* lbs. I stayed fairly active during my pregnancy, but surely not my normal regimen. Because I stayed active, along with a lot of running post baby, I was back in my bikini 9 months later. But before you jump on the hate wagon, baby #2 was much different. At 15 months post baby, I’m still a work in progress. This time around I only gained 45 lbs, okay strike the only that’s still a lot, but I had a broken tailbone towards the end of my pregnancy so activity became limited.

Start of the Journey

Having a baby in May 2016, my goal was to be back in a bikini by the summer of 2017.  A whole year seemed VERY realistic. By June I had already lost 25 pounds without effort, I guess that’s why they tell you to keep your weight gain to 25 – 30 lbs……. moving on! I felt motivated and positive, I even thought I might fit back in my jeans for the Fall! I started working out on maternity leave and seemed to jump back in easier than I expected, you know the whole tailbone thing could have been a major set back. Then I had to go back to work…

Of course, as soon as you get into a groove, it changes. With work, still nursing/pumping, and dealing with everyday life my momentum hit a wall. I couldn’t find ample time to workout, and even when I tried I felt awful. Between exercise, eating healthy, nursing, and stress I nearly passed out a number of times. I felt defeated and really cut out exercising. That’s when the sense of failure came in, especially seeing the other fit new moms. I wasn’t bouncing back, I wasn’t motivated, and I was just trying to keep up with my exhausted self.

Before I knew it, I was 9 months post baby. I was DEFINITELY not bikini ready. In fact I had barely lost any weight beyond the first 25 lbs. Talk about depressing. This was the moment I knew I needed to kick it in gear.

Turning Point

Right around this time our sweet 13 year-old dog Roxy started suffering from seizures, I know, one more thing to the list! She now required medicine every 8 hours, which meant, in order to give her medicine during our work lunch break, her first dose needed to be at 4:30 AM. Say what! Well that was just the motivation I needed to workout. At 4:30 AM I gave Roxy her medicine and then went to the basement to workout (even if I sometimes had an early riser join me).

Basement morning workouts #anyabean #p90x3 #startemyoung

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The Plan, The Struggle, The Status

  1. Stop Nursing
    This relieved a lot of issues and stress. Plus I had a freezer supply and Little Control Freak the 2nd was eating real food like a champ.
  2. P90X3
    I started the P90X3 program which meant 30 minutes a day for 90 days, I can do this! 30 minutes a day was not only doable, but a great way to ease back in.
  3. 30 Days In…
    I lost 2 pounds, and 3 inches overall. Okay not what I was expecting, but I didn’t blink. I must be building muscle!
  4. 60 Days In… Weight is Only a Number
    I only lost 1 additional pound, but 3 more inches. This was a blow, I thought it would be melting off by now. That’s when I realized I needed to stop focusing on numbers. I was feeling great, I was definitely more fit, and realized I needed to be patient. This was going to be a marathon and not a sprint. This post with pictures that prove weight is just a number was helpful and put things in perspective.
  5. 90 Days In…
    After 90 days of P90X3, running on lunch breaks, and eating healthy I had lost a total of 6 pounds and 9.25 inches. This was not on top of the 60 Days, this was the total! Yes it was progress, but WTF! Why couldn’t I lose the weight. I was extremely frustrated and getting bored with my workouts. After seeing a Facebook Ad I decided to switch it up.
  6. Buti Yoga
    Yes it sounds silly and looks silly, but OMG it is a workout! After 90 days of Tony Horton I could barely keep up with this chick, who BTW recorded her DVDs 12 weeks post baby….. let’s just say I have a whole new respect for the Yogis of the world. Within 2 weeks of this new program I saw a difference. I was losing more weight and toning quickly.
  7. Rest Period
    In June I had a lot of issues with my asthma (you know the asthma I didn’t have until I was pregnant, the irony). I had to cut back on workouts while I was sick and rest. Oddly enough, I lost weight. Who knew! I realized I needed more rest, more food, and to maybe cut back on how hard I was working out. My body wasn’t recovering and therefore wasn’t letting go of those extra lbs.
  8. DIY Workout Program
    That brings us to July. I created my own workout plan with all the different things I like to do (Buti Yoga, P90X3, swimming, running, biking). My schedule included more rest days and even allowed for more food. Magically the weight and inches started to melt away. Like to the point people asked what I was doing *swoon.*
  9. 15 months post baby…
    Now at 15 months post baby, I am at my pre-baby weight, but not my goal weight. And pre-baby weight does not mean i’ll be strutting around the pool in a bikini, i’m still not back to my old body. I plan to keep going and get in the best shape I can without stressing myself out.

Moral of the story. Focus on what makes you happy and healthy (not the numbers), find out what works for you (workouts aren’t one size fits all), and most of all be patient (you went through a lot to bring that life into this world, cut yourself a break).

 

 

 

Magic DIY Shower Cleaner

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I’m madly in love with this DIY cleaner. It really does the work for you. Whether you keep up with your shower/tub cleaning OR if you need to eat away some long term scum – it works like magic! I actually didn’t realize how dirty my shower was until I used this.

The magical concoction is blue Dawn and White Vinegar. That’s it, a dynamic duo with magical scrubbing and tub whitening powers. Check out this link for the details and the credit of how I discovered the special potion: https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/home-and-family/how-to-make-ugly-soap-scum-mildew-and-water-marks-disappear-like-magic/

Spray away your scum OR let it soak to easily wipe away tough stains. You’re welcome.

Wayfair Chairs

I’m super happy with our Wayfair chairs.  They really complete the look of our living room. I contemplated getting colored accent chairs, but I have a real problem committing to color. I like to stay neutral so furniture has a long shelf life, let’s hope beige chairs have a long shelf life with the littles *fingers crossed.*

I bought a bunch of pillows hoping to pull all the colors together (the key to mix and match). I had returned about 5 of them and here is what I was left with, some of which we already had.

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Inspector 12 checking out the pillow options

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Approved!

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Living Room before the new chairs

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Living Room with the new chairs and pillows

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Living Room with the new chairs

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Living Room with the new chairs

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Living Room with the new chairs

Looks good to us, do you see all the toys peeking from the corners of the photos? No house is able to hide them all. The chairs shipped quickly, were easy to put together, and provided a great toy for the kids (my cardboard mecca masterpiece):

Fun with cardboard. #aceandanya

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Sources:

Rotherham Wingback Chair from Wayfair in Light Beige

https://www.wayfair.com/House-of-Hampton-Rotherham-Wingback-Chair-HOHN4169.html

Green Stonewashed Pillow from Target

https://www.target.com/p/green-stonewashed-oblong-throw-pillow-14-x20-threshold/-/A-51359918

All other pillows and throws from HomeGoods

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Spring & Summer Decor House Tour

Yes i’m about 4-5 months late to the game on this one, but hey that’s life. I love decorating for the holidays, but by the time I get through the quick Fall, to Christmas, to Winter switchovers; i’m ready for a decor cleanse.

Somewhere during February, I get sick of looking at those cute snowman with their smiling faces mocking me that it’s still colder than a witches you know what. Hoping for Spring in March, I take down the winter decor and start the cleanse. Going from what seems like decor clutter (which some might say about my holiday tradition) to a clean fresh look for Spring and Summer, is a breathe of fresh air. What I like even more than the fresh new look is the fact that Spring and Summer decor stays up from March – September.  That’s the longest stretch of the year, which is nice because although I like decorating, each holiday is a lot of time and work with littles in the house.

If you recall, I’m not an Easter decorator. Mostly because it’s such a blip on the radar, i’d rather save my time and energy for spring cleaning or enjoying the nice outside weather. But this year, I did break down and put up 3 chicks. When Easter was over they came down and my Spring to Summer switchover lasted all of 2 minutes. Win! Here’s a look at this year’s decor, with yes I know some crappy photos. You know those little people don’t help with me honing my photography skills. Also take a look at some furniture shifts in preparation for a new flow and new chairs!

New Layout

Now remember, this blog was supposed to be created about 4 months ago *close your eyes and imagine.* We had the below layout for Christmas so the Christmas Tree could be in the corner by the fireplace (where the blanket ladder is). I was liking the nice closed in look. Very intimate. What I wasn’t liking, our nice cozy chair & ottoman perfect to lay by the fireplace, situated across the room next to the kitchen. It was time for a change.

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Living Room Layout Christmas

We did some shifting around and I loved it. The old wingback chair and bouncy seat was temporary, as we had plans to buy new chairs before Little Control Freak the 2nd’s birthday party. Where we will put our Christmas Tree this year, well we will worry about that later.

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Living Room Layout New

My new favorite cozy nook.

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Living Room Chair Fireplace

Another quick fix, our end tables. A hand me down from my parents, they are still in great shape after what must be 15 – 20+ years. But the drawer pulls on them are very outdated. My fix, turn the table around so you can’t see the drawer and the pulls. Might be the cheat way out, but until we are sure of what we want to do with them, this is how we do it. And lets not talk about the overspilling art desk and basket off to the left of the photo, that was a late night job for another day.

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Dining Room & Foyer

With the craziness of LCF2 being on the move, Spring decor needed to be a quick fix. I had good intentions of some new creative ideas, but I’ll reserve them for 2018. Instead I added lots of faux flowers in purple and yellow, a few chicks here and there, some new hanging baskets, and faux succulents.

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Living Room

 

Powder Room

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Kitchen

One of these days i’ll figure out how to get a great shot of the branch…

 

 

Mermaid and surfer for a summer look. Flowers in full bloom!

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Few quick switches for summer.

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Looking forward to keeping this until my favorite season –  Fall, September is calling, where did the summer go?

How a Nut and a Pool Noodle saved my Bathroom Cabinets

The guest bathroom, essentially the kids bathroom, has a nice two step white wooden stool for the kid’s easy access to the sink. I never considered that the white stool would be knocking into the dark cabinets. I mean why would a toddler want to pick up a stool and move it?  Yes, genius I know.

So needless to say, the cabinet has a collection of white scratches that are very becoming. To prevent it from further destruction, as I’m sure Little Control Freak the 2nd will be more gentle with the stool than his sister, I used a pool noodle for some padding.

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It was leftover in the garage from a previous cut job, for what I can’t remember, so I dug it back out and sliced and diced it to be placed on the back of the stool. Now the cabinets have a better chance of staying scratch free for a longer period of time.

Pool Noodle Stool

No more scratches. #poolnoodlesaremultipurpose

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But how to get off those white paint scratches? I thought magic erasers fixed everything, but of course not. Didn’t remove a speck. That’s when I remembered reading an article about nuts… walnuts or almonds that is. Rub them over scratches on wood and watch them fade away. What did I have to lose?

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Amazingly, it worked. At least enough that you can barely see the markings (it’s actually a walnut they recommend but the almond worked). I used a stain marker to cover the piece of wood that was chipped and I have to say it looks pretty good.

My control freak OCD saved by a nut and a pool noodle!

Sunday Suppers – Taco Lime Shrimp Salad

Sunday Suppers

 

Another yummy Pinterest meal in the books

The kids needed more than the salad toppings as sides so I added the Watermelon and brown rice. We also had chicken nuggets as back-up to the shrimp (only had to use it for one child). Was very yummy, filling, and healthy! I did not try making the dressing, forgot to purchase cilantro, I’m sure it is really yummy. Instead I used Wegman’s Miso Ginger Vinaigrette.

Yum. Love this season and the meals it brings:)

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Wonder who didn’t like the shrimp…. Some days I think she is a vegetarian.  Enjoy!

Unintentional Blog Maternity Leave

Who knew that having baby #2 would be such a game changer. I mean, I wasn’t clueless, but when we were in the thick of it I felt pretty clueless.  Who am I kidding, we are still in the thick of it.

People say the move from 1 child to 2 is the hardest. While you recognize it will be difficult, you ask “how difficult can it be, we’ve done this before.” Yes, you are prepared to repeat the phases and stages, but you soon realize you aren’t prepared for what it is like to deal with kids in two different stages. Like, it’s normal for a 3-year-old to go through a Linda Blair phase. Even with all the ups and downs I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Here are a few things I learned about moving from 1 to 2 (and I don’t know how you people have 3+)

1. Time is fleeting, no matter how much you plan ahead, you will need to give something up, like blogging… for almost a year. What can I say these two little control freaks come first.

#aceandanya ❤️

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2. If a baby sleeps through the night in the first few weeks, it doesn’t mean they will continue to do so…

3. A sleep regression that last months isthe best. Zzzzzzz!

4. No baby proofing for the first child means nailing everything to the ceiling for the second.

5. Did I mention time? Definitely your worst enemy.

6. Exercise to lose the baby weight doesn’t come easy (see 1 & 3).

7. Apparently cysts and surgery at 1 year is pretty typical.

8. Don’t blink, your baby will be 1

#aceacebaby

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9. The love between siblings is real

Great day with friends. #mylittlebunnies🐰

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10. The love/hate between siblings is also very real

Someone stole my toy #aceandanya

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11. Bed time is not relaxing…

#anyabean #stuck

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12. You could vacuum 24/7, crumbs are the latest accessory

13. You never realize how much you can juggle until you have to hold a squirming baby while assisting your novice potty trained child in a public bathroom.

14. You give up on germs…

15. Then everyone gets sick in chain reaction and you go back on #14

16. Watching Little Control Freak the 2nd light up when he sees Little Control Freak = priceless

17. 1:1 time with each of the kids is important, for everyone

18. 1:1 time with your partner is equally important

19. 1:1 time for yourself even more important

20. Do your best and forget the rest #justkeepswimming

Failure or Fantasy

I set out to be a DIYer, organization goddess, super working mom, and chose to chronicle it here in hopes of sharing win’s, losses, and lessons learned. Right now i’m not certain if i’m a complete failure or if it was a complete fantasy.

While it is easy to be disappointed in our lack of achievements, life is not about perfection. We tend to forget little things mean a lot. Thank you to the Huffington Post for the reminder.  This video is a gentle reminder of what’s important in life.

Do your best and forget the rest….Hope to blog you sooner than later.