I LOVE a good DIY project, except when it turns out like a #Pinterestfail. Here’s my tips to make your next home project a success! I love diy projects, especially those found on Pinterst!

I love surfing Pinterest and admiring all the amazing DIYs. Sometimes I even love doing some of the DIY projects I pin. But too often I find my projects turning in to a Pinterest fail. Not because my DIYing isn’t up to par, but more often because I didn’t have a great plan of attack before starting the project. Yes, the projects I find on Pinterest have amazing tutorials and are easy to follow.

But …. and a big BUT,  often projects need to be customized to you. Your house. Your style. Your supplies.

So instead of quickly jumping in blindly, I’ve learned to take time to evaluate how the project will work for ME, in my home, in my space.

DIY project tip: READ READ and READ again all the instructions!

Read the entire blog post

Hello Captain Obvious. But hear me out. Every blogger has a different writing style and format for their posts. Some list all of the supplies at the beginning, while others mention them throughout the post. Some explain the expected level of skill right away while others don’t spell it out, so reading the entire post is imperative.

Also I’m just going to say it …. is the project worth it? Is it too time consuming or difficult? And is it too expensive? Yes, sometimes it’s just cheaper to buy instead of DIY.

But assuming the project still makes sense, let’s move on.

Make a list of ALL the supplies

Sometimes bloggers list ALL the supplies needed at the BEGINNING of the post. Personally, I prefer this format. I want to know everything I’ll need for the project up front.

But here’s the catch: sometimes bloggers assume that their readers have certain basic supplies which they may not mention in the supplies section. That’s why I read the entire post making not of all supplies mentioned throughout the tutorial.

To ensure your diy project is a sucess, make sure to measure the space you're using BEFORE you buy any supplies!

Measure

This tip is applicable whether you’re coming a DIY project of ANY kind. Always, always, always take the time to measure. Then measure a second time. Nothing is more frustrating to me than thinking I’m ready to start a good DIY only to find that my supplies don’t fit the space.

I not only measure the space, but I always bring a measuring tape in my purse.

This allows me to measure the size of the item at the store. Sometimes items at the store won’t have the exact measurements listed on the tag.

Search before purchase

This is another no brainer, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Before running to the store, I always take inventory of what items we already have in our home. I hate buying something I already own. That’s how I ended up with 4 tape measures 😳.

Make your next diy project a sucess by following these important tips!

Purchase

Determine which store you’re going to shop at for supplies. I’ve made the mistake of assuming that my go to craft store would have everything I need. Sometimes it’s worth it to call the store ahead of time or search their website.

Space

Some DIYs can make a clean room look like a tornado came rushing through. Keep this in mind when deciding where to set up shop. I often use our office as my DIY space since I’m typically the only one that used this space.

Deadline

There’s the deadline I WANT to be able to accomplish the project by. Then there’s the timeframe that’s more realistic, the one that takes in to account my busy schedule, purchasing supplies that I don’t have, drying time (if it’s a painting project), etc.

As many of us know, DIY projects can take over your home if you’re not careful. Set a hard completion deadline before your first paint stroke.

 

I hope these tips are helpful for all your DIYers out there! I love a great DIY project, especially if I take the time to set myself up for success!

If these tips are helpful, don’t forget to Pin for Later

Here's how to make any Pinterest project a sucess with these DIY project tips!

 

 

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We’re midway through the month and I’m already starting to slack on my New Year’s resolutions. Luckily (or not!?), I’m in good company as the average New Year’s resolution only lasts 11 days. Life gets busy and what seems like the ‘I must accomplish this calendar year’ turns in to more of an inconvenience.

One of my goals for this year is to take better care of myself and create sustainable morning beauty routine. Nothing crazy, but the wash your face every day, drink water, go to bed on time. You know, the essentials that are easy to slack on. Any time I’m busy, up against a deadline or travel (for work or personal), I struggle with keeping my routine.

So this year I’m going back to basics and making things easier. No crazy, over the top, hard to accomplish goals. Just doing things that I should have been doing all along. Today I’m excited to partner with Olay at Sam’s Club to give to show you how I’m simplifying my morning beauty routine!

Before I established my routine, I really needed to determine what beauty products I even needed. My toiletries were getting OUT OF CONTORL. I had so many in my cabinet, many that I wasn’t even using and one too many half full bottles that I had forgotten about.

Olay has a really cool online tool called the Olay Skin Advisor Tool that helps you pick the right products for your face. In order to give you the best advice the tool takes a photo of your face (straight from your computer) and after answering a couple questions you’ll be provided a list of products and tips for great skincare.

This takes the guessing out of which products will & won’t work and customizes a skin regimen – all based on a selfie and a couple questions! I learned that I need to be moisturizing a LOT more. (Likely needing to drink more water too, but that’s another story.)

The coolest (or scariest) part is the site uses that photo of your face to show your “skin age.”

All the Olay products on the tool are available at Sam’s Club!

Now with products in hand, here’s my new SIMPLE morning beauty routine.

There are a couple things I do in the evening for an easy morning

Shower at night Now I know this isn’t for everyone, but it has really helped me simplify my morning beauty routine. Plus, it lets me SLEEP in just a little bit longer. Who doesn’t love that?

Drinking water A little tip I’ve started doing is to fill up a water bottle and place it on my night stand before I go to bed. Then first thing in the morning when I wake up, I can quickly drink my first glass of water.

Now on to the morning:

Wake up at the same time each day I like to get up early. Well, in theory. When that alarm clock goes off it’s another story. I try to get up by 6am most mornings, so I can get ready for the day, possibly do a quick workout or blogging work before Declan wakes up at 7am. Having an hour to myself before he wakes up has proven to be motivation enough.

Storage Solutions Remember those shower caddies we all used in college to store all our beauty supplies? I’ve been putting all my products in a shower caddy for YEARS now, but recently took it up a notch. I now use two toiletry bags for my daily routine (one for makeup and one for beauty products …. lots of moisturizer 🙂 ). This system makes it easy to use any bathroom in our house to get ready in the morning. It also really helps me streamline my beauty products. Only products used daily go in the bags.

The right products Using the toiletry bags really reinforces the idea of just having the products you really want on hand. When I was at Sams Club I stocked up on moisturizers and eye cream based on the results of my Olay Skin Advisor Tool and keep them in my toiletry bag for daily use.

Drink green tea Now I LOVE my cup of coffee (errr pot of coffee). While I’m not a huge tea drinker (hello team coffee), I know that green tea has a lot of health benefits. So, I substitute one cup of coffee for green tea each morning.

That’s it! That’s my morning beauty routine. I find that if I can keep this up for a couple months then I’ll commit to other beauty regimens. I’ve learned from experience that having too many goals can back fire on me, so I’m starting the year off simple!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

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Before I created our baby registry, I researched. I googled. I asked. At times, it felt like I prepared more for our baby registry than I had for the SATs. It was overwhelming. Everything seemed both necessary and unnecessary to this rookie mom to be.

The idea of baby supplies becoming decorations in our home was something I swore would never happen. If I could sum up my thoughts on baby items in a couple quotes it would be less is more, multi-purpose and foldable.

Less is more: babies, especially newborns, grow so quickly which means they not only grow out of their clothes quickly, they also grow out of all the other items you buy for them. My son at 4 months was already sick of being strapped in to a bouncer and preferred scooting around on the floor.

Multi-purpose: More and more baby items nowadays solve for more than one need. Many pack & plays have bassinets on top. Jumpers transition in to toddler tables. Carriers hold baby’s newborn to 1 years old.

Foldable: That bouncer that my son grew out of at 4 months old now needed to be stored in the closet for our next child. I was grinning ear to ear as I folded it up and stored neatly in our closet, barely taking up any space. Same goes for the bathtub we purchased. It easily folds up and fits into the cabinet under the sink in between baths.

Given my baby registry words to live by, there were quite a few items that I chose not to register for. Now what to buy and what not to buy seems to be a contentious topic. What one person wishes they hadn’t bought is another persons saving grace. So take this list with a grain of salt. Ask your friends. Do your research. Just don’t overbuy 🙂 .

Here’s the items I did NOT register for

(OR only registered for very few)

1 Blankets // Yes, a baby needs blankets. But people WILL get you blankets whether you register for them or not. I’m not sure what it is about baby blankets, but people love to buy them! So don’t worry about registering for them. You’ll still get them. Having a large supply of blankets could sound nice in theory, but quickly become unnecessary.

2 Baby Clothes // Now popular opinion is that girls’ clothes are just so much more fun to buy than boys. But regardless of the gender, friends and family will buy you clothes! Especially smaller sizes. So if you do register for clothing, opt for outfits that are at least 3 month size.

3 Sound Machine // Now some babies love these and can only fall asleep listening to the soothing sound a running water. I took a chance that Delcan wouldn’t be one of those kids. But better safe than sorry, I downloaded the app Craddle on both my iphone and ipad. There’s many sound machine type apps, like Craddle, to choose from. I was so glad I went this route. I had a portable sound machine if I was in a jam, but had one less thing to plug in to the nursery.

4 Wipe Warmer // I’ve heard mixed opinions on the wipe warmer. On one side, these can be a lifesaver during middle of the night diaper changes to prevent your little one from noticing their diaper is getting changed. On the other hand, will they expect a warm wipe EVERY time? I didn’t want to ANOTHER thing that I needed to have plugged in, so we skipped this. And I’ve got a kid who LOVES his diaper changed. With a cold wipe.

5 Baby Mittens // These prevent little ones from scratching their faces. I can attest that clipping the nails of a newborn is not only a little scary, but can easily be forgotten (we only attempted it when Declan was napping). These mittens can be pricey and realistically only used for a little while. A cheap substitute? Baby socks! I’ve also heard that covering babies’ hands isn’t great for their development. I’m absolutely no expert in that area, but we skipped these regardless.

6 Diaper Cream Brush // For me, this was another ‘in theory this is brilliant’, but in practice this totally got forgotten. Its purpose is to allow parents to apply diaper rash cream without getting it all over their hands. In reality I forgot to use it every time. Plus, I found it to be quicker to just use my hands and welll…. wipe them on my pants. #welcometoparenthood

7 Wet Dry Bag // So yes, these are probably super handy and yes, maybe I’ll buy one in the future. But for me, there’s so many other things I wanted to buy. So I used a large ziplock bag to store in my diaper bag instead.

8 Lots of Towels // Baby towels are soooo cute, so why wouldn’t you want lots? Between needing to do laundry often and the fact that we only bathed Declan once a week or so for the first couple month, we barely needed the TWO towel that we had.

9 Books // Yes, your child needs books. But similar to blankets, you WILL receive books whether you register for them or not. Now unlike blankets, I don’t believe in the concept of too many books. But you will likely receive lots of books from friends and family.

10 Merlin Suit & Larger Swaddles // Yes, swaddles can be your best friend in getting your little one to sleep at night. But and it’s a big but …. you don’t know when your child will stop using them. Once your kiddo starts rolling over, most swaddles and Merlin Suits can’t be used anymore (I do believe there’s special ones for older kids who roll). I had purchased a supply of 3-6 month swaddles and sure enough, Declan started rolling over at 3 months.

11 Newborn Shoes // Cute? Yes. Practical? Never. Deep down you know I’m right.

12 Diaper Changing Table // Lots of dressers nowaways have a diaper changing attachment that can be placed on them. Those are awesome. But a ‘this is specifically a diaper changing table’ has a VERY specific purpose and can only be used as such. Save some room in the nursery and use a dresser with a changing table on top!

13 Car Seat Canopy // this is another one of those things that looks brilliant. Anything that keeps a baby from waking up is typically top of my list. Joe & I took a safety class prior to Declan’s birth. We got all crazy on safety related topics from everything we learned from the class (mind you, we still had no idea how to change a diaper). Our instructor wasn’t a fan of these or any extra items in the back seat of the car. Plus, it just seemed like a muslin blanket (because remember, you’ll get lots of these!) would do the trick when your little one is in the stroller.

14 Back Seat Car Mirror // I was really surprised to hear our safety class instructor tell us these are a big no no. What?!?! What are you supposed to do if your kid is crying while driving? She then asked me specifically what I was planning on doing when I look through my mirror to see my newborn crying while driving on the highway. Hmmm. Ok good point. In a nutshell, the argument is that these mirrors are a huge distraction for the driver, which in turn is a HUGE safety concern.

15 Newborn Size Diapers // While you may need these, I found it wasn’t worth registering for something that I wasn’t pretty darn sure I was going to use. No one knows exactly what size your baby will be when they’re born or exactly how quickly they’ll grow during their first month.

16 Baby Detergent // The price of baby specific detergent just blows my mind.  Also, during the first couple months, life is crazy. Really crazy. The last thing I wanted to do was sort Declan’s laundry from ours. I was lucky to find time to do ANY laundry. We chose to wash ALL our clothes with perfume and dye free detergent. Problem solved.

17 Bassinet // On many baby lists, this would be considered an essential. But to provide another prospective, hear me out: Bassinets have an extremely short lifespan as babies will outgrow it quickly. Then you’re stuck finding storage space for it until the next baby comes along. Many bassinets aren’t as collapsible as you’d like so storage can be frustrating. Instead we opted to get a pack & play that has a bassinet attachment on top.

18 Infant Chairs // These are super cute and seem like such a reasonable thing to buy. Here’s the problem: there’s a super small window of time where babies actually use these. Now I fully admit, we own one. But I purchased it use from a local moms group for $10. I use it specifically to feed him his once a day couple scoops of pureed veggies for maybe 5 minutes a day. There’s also research that these chairs aren’t great for babies’ hip development. Again, no expert on that. But I wouldn’t buy one full price.

19 Shopping Cart Cover // So yes, grocery carts are probably completely disgusting and germ ridden. So these covers seem like a reasonable solution. The problem is, many of them don’t fit ALL grocery carts. Ugh. A diaper wipe and some blankets will do the job just as good (if not better).

20 Bottle Sterilizers // All the ones I found were big and bulky. Since they’re used often, it’s likely not an item that you’d want to take in and out of storage regularly. Instead, we found that simply boiling a large pot of water was actually quicker than using a bottle sterilizer. Plus as time went on, we sterilized our bottles less and less.

There it is. My ‘favorite’ items to NOT buy. Just remember, everyone is different. Every baby is different. But I do believe it’s worth it to hear from moms what they did NOT use.

Here's the 20 items that you really do not need to register for! Skip these items when you're putting together your baby registery.

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You know the feeling. That ichy, cracked, dry skin feeling all over your body right as the weather starts to change. Every year without fail this fair skinned girl gets hit with dry skin.

If you’ve got dry winter skin, this post is for you. I’m pretty excited to team up with Olay to share their #WinterSkinChallenge. The challenge is all about keeping your skin moisturized during the cold winter months ahead with Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus body wash. (Check out the Manuka Honey scent here and the Lavender scent here) After just one use, you’ll notice sofer and more moisturized skin.

When you’re as fair skinned as I am living in cold tepatures, you come up with some tricks of the trade to prevent that winter dry skin.

Luke Warm Water

Oh how I love a long hot shower, especially in the winter months. While there’s no way I’m up for a freezing cold shower in the name of beauty, I do try to limit my shower time and keep the water temp a little less scortching hot.

Also, when I’m washing my face or hands, I opt for luke warm water instead of hot. That super hot water that we love strips so many oils away from our skin promoting that ichy dry skin.

Moisturizing Body Wash

I used to think all body wash was pretty much created equal and saved the ‘moisturizing’ for my lotion. Well I was proven wrong. The body wash I was using was like a harsh soap, stripping the oils from my skin and leaving it dry & cracked.  Then I tried the Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus, which is like a lotion and body wash in one. It’s made with shea butter and comes in two different scents (Manuka Honey & Lavender).

Preventing winter dry skin starts in the shower with a moisturizing body wash.

Drink

Full disclosure: I’m not a great example of drinking my 8 glasses of water a day. I’m even worse in the winter. All I want is a nice hot cup of coffee … ALL DAY LONG. But that winter ichy dry skin is a huge indicator of dehydration. So I drink up … water, that is.

Each day I substitute at least one cucp of coffee for a cup of hot water with lemon. It’s hydrating AND keeps me warm. Now if water just had caffeine in it ….. hmm 🙂

I end the day curled up with a warm blanket, some good magazines and some hot lemon water!

Humidify

Even in Seattle, where the rain is never ending, the air can be really dry. Heating our home from the cold weather dries out the air.  That’s why we use a humidifier in our bedroom during the nights to put the moisture back into the air. Plus it’s one more thing to help prevent my skin from drying out 🙂 .

Dry Brush

Before I hop in to the shower, I use a dry brush over your skin. It’s said to have lots of benefits, including increasing circulation and removing dead dry skin cells.

Protect

I always wear gloves and scarves to protect my skin from cold winds, rain, and snow (even if I’m just going outside quickly to take Reagan, our doberman puppy out). I also continue to wear sunscreen in the winter months. That winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun, so don’t skimp on the sunscreen just because it’s cold outside.

Here's exactly how to get rid of that ichy cracked dry skin this winter. We found the easiest solutions to all your dry skin problems!

Winter is just starting, so it’s not too late to join the Olay Winter Skin Challenge with either the Manuka Honey or Lavender Moisture Ribbons Plus!

Stay warm AND hydrated!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

 

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We’ve all been there. The house is a mess. There’s no groceries. And there’s a to do list a mile long running through your head. It seems like you’re just drowning. You’re just overwhlemed. Yep, you know the feeling. Because we’ve all been there. We ALL have.

When you’re this overwhelmed can be tough (really tough) to get organized and to get a plan. Am I right? Here’s some things that I’ve learned over the years to quickly to get out from under:

1 Make a list

Get everything out of your head. Every tiny to do item that you can think of.  I like to do this type of brain dump with pen and paper, but you can also do it digitally (for those more digital list makers, here’s my favorite apps for that). The goal is to get everything that’s taking up space in your head … OUT of your head. It also gives you a nice long visual of all the tasks at hand. I set a timer for 10 minutes and write down absolutely everything I can think of. No particular order and no categories.

2 Room to Room

You’ve got a fabulous list of a zillion things you need to do. So let’s add to it. Seriously. Pick a room to start in and walk around each room of your home, including closets. Can you think of anything else to add to your list? Does seeing …  oh let’s say that huge pile of dirty laundry remind you that you need to DO laundry?

I know you’ve got a list of probably a zillion things to do already. But remember, we’re not focused on accomplishing any of these things. We’re just focused on making the biggest master list you can possibly make. Plus, just because it’s not written down on your list doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get done immediately (re: laundry).

3 Organize

Now that you’ve got this absolutely scary crazy long list, we’re going to organize it. Organize it by category that is. Everyone’s categories will be different. My categories and explanation are listed below. Spend some time thinking about the categories that will be most helpful for you before associating a category to each of your tasks.

Out: Tasks to do OUTSIDE the house, which mostly includes things I need to buy or return. Currently on my ‘out’ list include taking my high heels to re-soled, grocery shopping, and updating my P.O. box for my blog.

Home: Tasks I need to do at home, without my computer (ex, water plants, clean dishwasher (yes, I actually do this), do laundry).

Call: appointments I need to make over the phone.

Computer: Tasks that need to be accomplished on my computer as opposed to my phone. I try to tackle as many online tasks on my phone as possible. With a 7-month-old, it’s much easier to get to my phone instead of pulling up my computer. Yet sometimes it’s easier to do online work on my computer. For example, banking and bill related items I prefer to do from my computer. You may not need to have a separate smart phone & computer list, but it’s helpful for me.

Iphone: Like I mentioned above, I try to do as much online work from my iphone as possible. Things like emails, online research, scheduling social gatherings all happen through my iphone.

Joe: I keep a list of things that I want to mention to Joe (my husband). Yes, it feels slightly odd to have a husband category, but we’re both busy and well, I’m forgetful. Plus I love lists. So there’s that.

Next Month: Just like it sounds, stuff that I need to get to, NEXT month. These things will fall in to one of the categories above, but since I don’t want to think about it until next month, I keep it in the ‘next month’ category.

Later: Similar to the ‘next month’, this is for tasks that I want to accomplish later on, whether a couple months from now or a year from now. The goal of this category is to get ANY tasks out of my head and on to a list.

4 Prioritize

You’ve got a crazy long to do list that’s sorted in practical categories, you’re probably wondering when the h*ll am I going to get this all done? Well you’re not going to do it all at once. Especially considering some tasks on the list are more urgent and important than others.

Prioritizing can take several different formats:

  1. Picking a date that each to do item needs to be accomplished
  2. Ranking each item on a scale of importance (A-C, 1-3) where you only accomplish the most important items first before moving to the next ‘level’.

I utilize the first option and pick a date to accomplish each task. Sometimes the task doesn’t get accomplished when I want, but in general this format works best for me.

5 Deadlines

Now let’s get real. When are you actually going to get the work done? Remember, most tasks don’t need to be accomplished immediately, but all of them do need a deadline.

One suggestion I always give is to NOT be too ambitious. When I overestimate how much I can get done in a day and realize I didn’t accomplish what I wanted, there’s a huge sense of frustration and disappointment. I’m one of those people who just LOVES to cross things off a list. Be practical and realistic about what you can accomplish in any given day.

6 Reality 

So life happens. Lists get made and lists get forgotten. Or missed. Or intentionally ignored. Because you’re completely overwhelmed. All is OK. If you find your list getting out of control, don’t stress. Grab a seat, a nice glass of wine and re-evaluate step 4 and 5. Priorities change. Fire drills happen. Your list was written in pencil not pen (or a very editable online tool). It was made to be edited.

 

Love these tips? Don’t forget to pin it for later!

 

 

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