Getting Organized

Happy New Year!

Getting Organized, One Room at a Time…

I don’t know about you, but at the beginning of every new year I feel the need to get organized. The holidays are always so hectic and the house gets to be a mess, and then Christmas brings even MORE stuff into the house. Not to mention both my son’s have birthdays near the Holidays. One is in November, and the other is one week before Christmas. The playroom and their bedrooms are messes and overflowing with stuff, and it is time to start getting organized and CLEAN IT ALL UP!  We will be doing that soon.  Hopefully they will be willing to donate a lot of old toys.  Other places that I need to tackle include my closet, our kitchen junk drawer, the guest bedroom closet, and the laundry room to name a few.  I’m going to try to tackle one thing every 2 weeks.  Who’s with me?

First Up, My Desk…

In the meantime I got to organizing my desk over Christmas break. It truly was a site to see with papers and crap piled up everywhere.  Pretty embarrassing, actually.  I’d been meaning to clean it up for months and just never got around to it and now that it’s done, it feels awesome. Bonus, I found 2 gift cards I’d been missing (and promptly spent one of them).  How or why did I ever let it get that bad?  Lazy?  Busy?  Probably a little of both.

Anyway, I can’t believe I didn’t take a before picture!  I meant too, but I just started cleaning and forgot. Try to picture papers all over the place, a huge old monitor on top that I never used, and just stuff everywhere, mostly papers.  My laptop was really the only thing visible.  Below are the After pics!  Still needs some tweaking but looks a helluva lot better.  It felt so good to let go of so much stuff and now my desk feels so much bigger!  It is a pretty big desk but you wouldn’t have known it with all the stuff piled up on it.  Now that it is all cleaned up, maybe I’ll write more blog posts? 🙂 We’ll see!  One of my many New Years Resolutions is to keep this clean and try to be more organized.

PS – we’ve had these big ole desks for years. My husband has a matching one and it is located on the other side of the window.  His is much neater than mine.  We bought them when everything dark brown was in.  I’ve thought about painting them, like I did this table, and these barstools, and lots of my other stuff but its gonna stay brown, for now.

Next Up???

I’ll be tackling another organizing project soon and will keep you posted.  Not sure which one yet but I’m thinking the kitchen junk drawer needs some serious attention.  Do you have a junk drawer?  In our house it is where everything ends up that we don’t know what to do with (take out menus, pencils, pens, papers, etc), or when you’re trying to clean the kitchen quick and just shove everything in that one drawer thinking you’ll figure it out later.  Tell me I’m not the only one who has a drawer like this.

Do you LOVE or HATE the getting organized process?  I love it.  It just sometimes takes me awhile to get started and I have to be in the right mood, but there is such a sense of relief and accomplishment when you’re done.  Am I right? I think setting a time line will really help me.

If you have any tips or tricks to getting organized, please leave me a comment.

Desk Storage…

If YOU are looking for some beautiful desk storage so you can get organized, check out these finds…

Getting Organized
Stefani Desktop Organizer – $59.99
Getting Organized
Virgillio Desktop Organizer – $37.99
Getting Organized
Kenneth Desktop Organizer – $50.99
Getting Organized
Ethan Desk Organizer – $37.99
Getting Organized
3 Tier Bar Cart – $85.99


Holiday Decoration Traditions (with a little help from Wayfair)

Do you have any Holiday Decoration Traditions?  

Do you have any special traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, or maybe some new ones you’ve started with your own family?

One of the holiday decorating traditions I remember as a kid was going as a family to pick out a real tree and then decorating it all together.  I’ve continued this tradition with my own family.  My husband, kids and I always go together to pick out a tree, then we go home, put on Christmas music and decorate it as a family.  It is a little different here in Florida then where I grew up in Massachusetts though.  We usually go in our shorts and t-shirts instead of all bundled up and freezing.  I much prefer the shorts and t-shirts route.

We had an artificial tree for a few years, which was passed down to us from my mother-in-law, but it was really dusty and old so after a few years of using it, we had to get rid of it.  Was it easier to put up and take down and less messy? Absolutely!  But for now, we really like having a real tree and the whole tradition of picking one out.  Yes the needles make a mess but we think it is worth it.  But, there are some amazing artificial trees out there and maybe we’ll invest in one some day.  If you’re looking to invest in one check these out from Wayfair!

New Christmas Decorating Traditions...

And now that we live in the House house in our current neighborhood, we decorate our house sort of Griswold style, and have started a few new traditions.  You see, our neighborhood is the most decorated in Naples.  People come from all over town to drive through here to see all the lights.  Each street has a theme (with the exception of our street which is the main street in the neighborhood).  By theme I mean that each mailbox has the same decoration.  Most of them are made of pvc pipes and they light up.  So when you drive down the street every mailbox is lit up the same and it looks amazing.  Each street is different.  For example, one street is Christmas Trees, one is Snowflakes, Angels, Candy Canes, etc., and one has blue arches that go across the entire street (see picture below).  I am not sure how or when this tradition started but it has been going on for many, many years.  When you buy a house here, it comes with the mailbox decor.  Although each street has a theme it is up to you to decorate your house however you choose, and many choose to light up their homes Griswold Style.  Most neighbors rent golf carts (for those that don't already own them) decorate them, and use them for the month to drive around to see all the lights.  Christmas Eve is especially crazy as it is other people's traditions to drive through here as a family to see the lights.  People decorate their cars, blast Christmas music, and everyone yells out "Merry Christmas" to anyone that can hear them.  Traffic gets really crazy so residents know that it is best to try to be home early, if possible.  Lots of people set up fire pits in their front yards and have parties.  It is SO MUCH FUN.

Christmas Village...

Another one of our traditions that we follow every year is setting up our Christmas village that has also been passed down from my mother-in-law.  She has hundreds of these villages and used to spend hours and hours setting them all up.  Now that both of her son's have families of their own, she has passed most of them down to us.  My kids love setting them up each year and they look so pretty all light up. (I searched thru years of my pictures to find a good photo of our village and don't have ONE.  Not one.  So this picture is not of our village, I got it from the internet, but you get the idea. I vow this year to get some good photos!)

Stringing up the Lights...

Last year was our first Christmas in this house so we had to spend lots of money buying lights and decor.  Most neighbors set up all their lights the weekend of Thanksgiving, but we were in Massachusetts this year for Thanksgiving so are busy putting them up this week.  We feel a little behind and a little bit of pressure to get them up ASAP but what we have up so far looks awesome.

Anyway, here are some great and unique lighting idea's from Wayfair at great prices.

DIY Christmas Decorations...

And here are a few Easy DIY Decor Christmas projects. Last year I made these Christmas Balls which are going up again in our front tree this week, and these fun DIY Christmas Wine Bottles (which are my most pinned item) and a few years ago I made these popsicle stick Christmas Trees.  I have a few things I'm planning to make this year too so stay tuned for that.

Check of these Great Deals for more of your Holiday Decorating Needs...

Here are some of my top picks from Wayfair for Holiday Decor.  I am ordering these pillows ASAP.

What are you Christmas Decor Traditions?  I'd love to hear.  Leave me a comment. I hope you all have a very Merry Holiday season.  I'll be sharing more pictures on Facebook and Instagram so make sure to follow me there.

A Photo Canvas Giveaway

I am very excited to announce a photo canvas giveaway on my blog!  Keep it for yourself or it would make a great Christmas gift too.  Details on how to win are at the bottom of this post.

Photo Canvases…

I don’t know about you but I love taking pictures and I love photography in general.  I’ve got thousands of photos on my laptop and on my iphone.  I take pictures ALL THE TIME.  And, if you are anything like me, most of these photos live on your computer.  So when the folks over at contacted me about doing a giveaway, I jumped at the chance to get at least one my photos off of my phone and onto my wall.  Plus, I have ordered from Canvas Factory before and have been more than happy with the products, and the service.

Canvas Factory provides high quality canvas prints at an affordable price.  And they are having huge sales on there web site right now.  BUT, you can win a Free one here.  You can’t beat free.

I’ve been searching for the right artwork for my newly re-done Master Bedroom. Something that had some nice greens to go with my tropical theme.  After looking through my millions of photos, I settled on this picture I took of a pineapple that I actually grew myself in a pot by my pool. Isn’t it pretty?

Giveaway for a Free Photo Canvas

And here is how it looks in my Master Bedroom.  I think it looks really good in here!  (Don’t mind my little furry model in the photos.  I was interrupting her nap while taking pictures.)  Read the details below on how to enter the contest.

Here are the details…

*To enter the contest for a FREE 16×20 canvas (with your own photo), simply add your name to my email list and/or like my Facebook or Instagram page.  Contest runs from October 25 to November 8, 2017.

*Offer good for US Residents only.  

Master Bedroom Makeover on a Budget

The Before…

Now that hurricane Irma is over and life is getting back to normal, it was time to finish up what I started a while back and get our master bedroom makeover done.

You might be asking, ‘a master bedroom makeover? Already’?  Didn’t you just move into the House house like a year ago?  Well, yes we did.  However, I never liked how the master bedroom looked, specifically the paint color.  The tone of the blue was just ‘off’ somehow.  I usually LOVE blue and our dining room, living room and office are blue, but there was just something about this blue that wasn’t doing it for me.  So, I never really finished the room in the first place.

I told my husband I wanted to paint it, and he said, ‘Go for it, but you’re on your own’.  He hates to paint.  Then I told him I was thinking of painting it white and he said ‘White is not a color’.  HA!  But, he let me paint it white anyway and we both like the way it turned out.

We’ve had this Tommy Bahama bedroom set for about 7 years.  It’s okay.  My husband and I both like it.  I probably wouldn’t pick something like it out today, but I figured my husband wasn’t gonna let me buy a whole new bedroom set so I better find a way to decorate around it.  The rest of my house has a coastal/beachy look but this bedroom set makes me think more carribean/tropical.  It is Tommy Bahama after all. 😉 I was thinking white with green accents would look much better.  And to top it all off I was trying to do all this on a small budget.

Master Bedroom Makeover….During…

So, I painted all by myself.  Well, the kids kinda helped, but I did most of the work.  And guess what?  Painting kinda sucks.  Especially when you don’t have a ton of time to do it, in between kids after school activities, homework, running everyday errands, trying to go to the gym, and blah blah blah.  It took longer than I thought it would take.  And then when it came time to paint the wall behind the bed, well, that was no fun.  This bed is heavy.  We weren’t able to lift it up out of the way, or even slide it.  Instead, we had to take the whole dang thing apart.  Let’s just say there may have been some swearing going on from both me and my husband, and maybe I questioned myself with “why did I start this damn project???”.

Anyway, the painting all got done eventually.  It took about a week.

Master Bedroom Makeover…After…

Here is how it turned out. Still not 100% done, but looks a whole lot different.

I ordered the duvet cover from Wayfair for only $36.99.  Have you ever ordered anything from Wayfair?  They have the best stuff, free shipping and easy returns not to mention great prices too. Anyway, this duvet is super soft, nice quality for the price, and the perfect color.

The euro shams came from Wayfair too.  I wanted plain white and these were the cheapest ones I could find at $17.99 a piece.  The euro shams are the large square pillows and the covers can be EXPENSIVE!

I downloaded these prints below for FREE, and you can too, from this web site.  I bought the 11×14 sized frames at Michael’s when they were buy one/get one free.

The below prints I got on  I recently discovered that you can download all sorts of amazing photography and artwork on etsy for really cheap!  Did you guys know this?  Am I the only one who didn’t know this?  I found these on the shop called GoodVibesMotel and they cost around $7 each.  Once they are downloaded to your computer, you then have to upload them to one of the many websites that can handle printing.  After shopping around a bit I found out that Walgreens prints poster sized prints. Many places don’t.  I found a coupon online for 40% off and ordered both 2’x3′ prints right from my computer and was able to pick them up the same day!  They came out to a little less than $20 a piece.  Then I bought these frames at Michael’s for 50% off.  Aren’t they cute?

I found the curtains on Wayfair too and think they tie everything together nicely.  They are a little more ‘crinkly’ in person than I expected but I like the color and the print so I kept them.

New master bedroom curtains
New master bedroom curtains

Lastly, I found the little green bench that you see at the foot of the bed at Tuesday Morning for $99.

I am in search of the perfect picture or some type of artwork for above the bed and also have my eye on these lamps for the nightstands.

Overall, I did not spend very much money on this room.  I really tried to find as many bargains as I could.

Here is one last Master Bedroom Makeover Before/After.  Looks a little different don’t ya think?

Featuring a Friends Amazing Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover….

My friend (Jamie) redesigned her kitchen and it is so gorgeous I just had to share it with y’all.  Jamie and her family live in my neighborhood and bought their house several years ago.  As I’ve mentioned before, most of the homes in this neighborhood were built in the 80’s and many have not been updated ever, or for a very long time.  Jamie is in the design business and has amazing taste and style.  She and her handy husband did a lot of the work themselves, and were able to complete their kitchen makeover without the huge price tag.

If you missed the post about my own kitchen reveal you can find it here.

The Before…

First, let’s take a look at the kitchen before pictures. She didn’t have a whole lot of them to share, but you get the idea.  Here was the kitchen when they bought the house.  Nice, but a little outdated, dark and just sort of blah.

The After… 

Pretty different, wouldn’t you say?

The Details…

They replaced all the cabinets and installed a classic subway tile backsplash.  The gorgeous countertop is a honed Calcutta Apuano marble with 3 waterfall edges.  The cabinetry hardware is from School House Electric, the pendant lighting is Kitchler, and the sconce above the sink is Hudson Valley lighting.  They put up custom shiplap from sheets of plywood that they ripped to size, painted, and installed. They handmade the gorgeous barn doors from Brazilian wood that were former car pallets.  So cool.  (I really wish we had installed some barn doors somewhere in the House house, but I digress.)

They installed French doors, where there used to be a window, that leads out to the back yard.  The beautiful and cozy banquette was also custom made by Jamie’s husband. The art above the banquette is a DIY that features a beautiful indigo textile covered by acrylic sheets.  The lantern above the dining table is from Visual Comfort.

Pretty nice job they did, huh?  I just love their style!  What do you guys think?

Jamie and family are moving away, unfortunately.  But, they were able to sell this house (not surprisingly) very quickly.  Who wouldn’t want to cook in this kitchen?

Fun Friday Finds

Check out these fun items I found for you…..

How adorable is this coral colored rug for your coastal home?

Bethany Indoor/Outdoor Rug – $47.99

from: Wayfair

A 9 piece outdoor dining set?  I could use one of these.  Love this one.

9-Piece Alfredo Patio Dining Set – $1,540.99

from: Wayfair

I’ve always wanted one of these.  They look so comfy.

Arbor Swing Chair with Stand Color: Peridot – $559.99

from: Wayfair

Or, this is a much cheaper option.

Parker Woven Cotton Chair Hammock – $54.99

from: Wayfair

I love this wreath!  Classic and will go with any style.

Classic Elegance / Preserved Boxwood Wreath – $42.50

from: Decor Steals

Some fun beachy art.

Umbrella 4 Piece Framed Photographic Print Set – $53.85

from: Wayfair

Refinishing Bar Stools to Look New Again

A weekend DIY project…

I posted these refinished bar stools on social media and people seemed to like them, so I thought I’d put together a short tutorial on how I refinished them.

We inherited these hunter green bars stools from a house we bought and then later sold.  The previously home owners had left them.  I’ve wanted to refinish them ever since, and I finally did it! Here is how….

Refinished Bar Stools, Before
Refinished Bar Stools, Before

Dealing with the legs…

First, we took the tops off.  These are the kind of stools that spin around.  The hardware needed some WD40 anyway since some of them didn’t spin so great anymore. My husband took care of that while I did the rest.

I started by lightly sanding the stools legs.  I just wanted to scuff them up a bit so the paint would have something to stick to.

Then, I spray painted the legs using this Valspar paint with a built in primer.  I used one whole can per chair, and even bought an extra can, just in case, and used that whole can too doing touch ups. I flipped them upside down, sprayed, waited for them to dry, and then flipped them right side up and did the same, to make sure I didn’t miss any spots.

Dealing with the Tops…

I sanded the tops thinking that I’d try to stain them the same color as the top of this refinished table I did a while ago.  However, they looked terrible!  They just weren’t taking the stain the same way the table did.  We have a lot of left over paint in the garage, so I took a look and decided to use the wall color from our dining room instead of the stain.  And yes, that looked much better!  You can see in the picture below the one top I hadn’t yet painted.  Looked terrible, right? That was with at least 2 coats of stain. Maybe if I keep adding layers of stain it would have looked better?  I dunno. I didn’t think so.

Painting the tops of the stools
Painting the tops of the stools

After I painted all of them I was thinking, hmmmm, it needs something more. They seemed a little boring.  So off to Hobby Lobby I went looking for a stencil.  I originally was looking for a shell, preferably a starfish, but they didn’t have one.  Then I found this anchor and thought, bingo.

Back to our garage I went to figure out what color to use for the stencil.  I was going to use white but decided to use TopSail, which is the color in our living room, and such a pale blue that it looks almost white.  After they dried there were a few spots that needed to be touched up, which I did using a small paintbrush.  Easy peasy and they don’t look half bad!

Refinished Bar Stools, After
Refinished Bar Stools, After

Last but not least…

I added a few coats of polyurethane to prevent any chipping.  I was told to use water based, instead of oil based, to prevent yellowing.  We’ll see how it holds up.

I really like how they came out and they will be perfect for extra seating when we are entertaining. Also, the kids like to sit in these stools in front of the aquarium and check out the fish.

I’ve got a table to tackle next.  Stay tuned for that.  I hope you found this helpful.

Pallet Flag Fence

What to do with leftover pallets…

A while back I wrote a post about all the cool projects friends made with the leftover pallets from our renovation.  We saved some for ourselves too, and went back and forth with different ideas on what to do with them.  Here is what we finally used them for.

We have a very large backyard and we love it.  Last summer we put pavers down in the back section to make a sports area for the kids, and a sitting, fire pit area for the adults.  However, a piece (a triangle really) of the neighbors yard sticks into the back corner of this section.  This area of their yard is basically overgrown weeds.  To section it off my husband used the bunch of pallets, leftover from our renovation, as a makeshift fence.  It looked kind of cool and rustic, but he had an even better idea.  He wanted to paint it to look like a flag.  A pallet flag fence?  I must admit, I was like,”huh, what”?  I didn’t really see his vision, but he did, so I told him to go for it.

Neighbors area, before fence

The Tutorial…

Here is how he did it.  It is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll elaborate anyway.

  1. Buy some red, white, and blue paint.
  2. Lay all the pallets on the grass and start painting.
  3. Alternate red or white paint, and then paint 3 slats blue. We used 9 pallets and painted the first 4 with 3 slats of blue.

Once it was all painted and dried he put up the fence to see how it looked.

pallet flag fence before stars
pallet flag fence before stars

Not bad!  But we both agreed that it needed stars to make it really look like a flag.  So my husband cut out a star stencil and he got back to work.

Adding stars to our pallet flag fence
Adding stars to our pallet flag fence

And viola, here is how it looks now….Not a bad way to use up all those old pallets.

What do y’all think?


Living Room Reveal

Our Living Room…Before and After…

I’m back after a month hiatus.  Why so long?  Where was I?  Well, my mother-in-law was here for 10 days, then 4 of my high school girlfriends came for a long weekend.  We had SO MUCH FUN.  Then my boys had Spring Break and we went to Key Largo for 4 days which was also SO MUCH FUN. Busy busy!  Time to get back to reality.

The Before…

I decided to show you the entire living room hoping that you’d get a better idea of what our main living area looks like, and just how much it has changed since we bought this house.  This is where we spend most of our time.  You may remember my kitchen reveal, my dining table, bar area, and my aquarium post where you got a glimpse into this space, but today I am going to show you the entire thing.

I’ve been putting off showing you the entire living room space because I feel like it is still somewhat unfinished.  A new couch in this space would be sweet, and we definitely need a larger rug, and something to cover up the back of the sofa too.  For now I’m trying to make do with the stuff we already have (and have painted most of our old dark brown furniture white).

Anyway, here is how the living room and kitchen looked before.

The After…

Now, the living room is HUGE.  It measures approximately 26′ W x 31′ L (including the kitchen).  When we were renovating, we decided to add on to the back of the house by basically enclosing the old lanai.  This added about 10 feet to the back of the living room and the office/gym area.  We also tore down the wall and half wall you see in the before pictures that separated the dining room and living room.

This is how it looks today.  You can see it is much more open without that wall, and the room is large!

Decorating such a big room is challenging, especially when you don’t have a zillion dollars to buy all new stuff or hire someone to help you out, and there are only so many pictures in magazines, Pinterest, Houzz, etc that you can look at for idea’s and inspiration. I tried to keep a beachy/coastal vibe in here like the rest of the house.  I’ve painted all of our old dark brown furniture white, except a few things, which are on my to-do list.  The walls are a pale blue (Topsail by Sherwin Williams) and the floors are distressed light wood.

Half of the room is devoted to tv watching and so our couch faces the very large 75 inch tv (which actually doesn’t look that large on this very long wall).  As you can see,  looking at the back of that very long couch is not ideal,  so we need to get something for the back of it.  A long bench maybe or a long console table? Any idea’s?

Living Room, view from tv wall
Living Room Reveal, view of tv wall
Living Room Reveal, view of tv wall
Living Room Reveal, view of tv wall
Living Room Reveal, view of tv wall

The other half of the room contains the bar, aquarium, and our kitchen dining area (where we eat most of our meals). Here is the room from just about every angle I could think of.

We had these white shelves so we put them up on either side of the tv to hold my vintage camera collection and some family photos.

This is how it looks from the kitchen sink.  Not a bad view of the pool and backyard huh? Those sliders open up completely which is amazing for entertaining and to experience true indoor/outdoor living year round here in Florida (except when its too hot, then we shut those babies and stay inside and crank the A/C).

Living room reveal - View from the kitchen sink.
Living room reveal – View from the kitchen sink.

That is all I have for now.  I hope you enjoyed this post and now get a good sense of how this whole room looks and can appreciate all the work we did to this house. It truly looks completely different.

Any questions, comments?

Adding an Aquarium to our Living Room…

An Aquarium?  In our Living Room?

I must admit I was VERY skeptical about adding an aquarium to our living space.  I mean, they are not exactly an interior designer’s dream.  Am I right?  You don’t usually see them in pictures of living rooms in the home design magazines or on the design tv shows, unless they are the super fancy ones like on the show Tanked.  But, my husband and boys really wanted one, so I reluctantly agreed.  And I am happy that I did.

Since we don’t have the kind of money to invite the TV show Tanked into our home to build an amazing, huge and super cool aquarium, we had to settle on one we found at PetSmart.  It is a 55 gallon tank, which is a pretty good size.

The first thing we had to do was build the stand that you see in the below picture to hold the tank.  My husband saves everything, so we had the cabinets (which we previously used as a seating bench in our old kitchen), the legs (which are leftover rails from our staircase railing), and even the screws to attach them.  Score!  When my husband said he was going to build this cabinet, I was skeptical, but it doesn’t look half bad and there is plenty of room in it to hold all the fish tank supplies.

We took the kids to the pet store to help us pick out the stuff that goes into the tank, i.e. the plants and decor.  Of course they both went straight for the SpongeBob stuff.  We let them pick out a few ‘kid’ things and then my husband and I picked out some ‘grown up’ stuff.

Here is how it looks, complete with a mini Bikini Bottom (that’s where SpongeBob lives, for those without kids and who don’t watch SpongeBob) including SpongeBob’s pineapple home, Squidward’s house and the Crusty Crab. LOL!!!…

Filling the tank…  

We didn’t know this, being fish tank newbies, but you need to fill the tank with fresh water, not tap.  Well, you can use tap water but then you have to treat it with chemicals and then there is a waiting period before you can add fish, and we were all anxious to add the fish.  So, what do you do when you need 55 gallons of fresh water?  You go to Sam’s Club and buy 10 cases of water to fill the tank.  OMG!  It took a while, and there were bottles everywhere, but we got the job done.

Here it is filled with water and waiting for fish.

We waited over night before we went back to the pet store to pick out our fish.  We decided to go with freshwater fish vs. saltwater fish.  Again, we are newbies and apparently salt water fish are not for newbies.  Salt water fish are prettier and larger (and way more expensive too), but we managed to find some colorful and pretty freshwater fish.  The experts say to only add a few fish to the tank at a time to see how they do and so they can acclimate to the tank.  We each picked one for a total of 4 fish.

We’ve had them for a few weeks now and none of them have died or eaten each other!  Whew!  The kids and the cats are fascinated by them. And, I have to admit, the tank looks better than I thought.

Here is one final look,

Do you have a fish tank?  Do you love it or hate it? Any advice for us?