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Children/Motherhood

Children/Motherhood
Children/Motherhood

Tips to Maintain a Clean and Tidy House

Out of all the questions I receive, the majority of them have to do with asking how I keep my home clean and tidy with little children in the house. I've written several blog posts about keeping a clean house and decluttering (see links below), but I still get questions so I'm here to offer more help.

To start, let me remind you that everyone has a different style to how they run their house and I don't ever want anyone to think they are less of a mother because their house looks like they just lost a game of Jumanji. There are times when my own house looks that way too and that is ok! Embrace it and LIVE your life with your children and family. Keeping a clean house helps me feel in control and less stressed, so I prioritize my daily schedule to include some housekeeping. To each their own! BUT if you do want some tips, keep reading.

Clean and Tidy House

TIPS TO MAINTAIN A CLEAN AND TIDY HOUSE


1.) Declutter regularly.
I don't like clutter; I live by the motto that everything has its place. But in order for everything to continue to have its place, I need to go through the "things" I have and decide what I want to keep and what needs to go. Otherwise, I'm going to need to find new places.
Before birthdays and Christmas, I always go through the toys with my children and have them help pick out the items that they can part with. At the start of the new year and usually sometime in the summer, I also try to declutter each room in my house. It is incredible how much stuff we all accumulate.
Below are some links to several posts I wrote about decluttering.

2.) Put shoes, coats and bags away as soon as you get home.
We have a designated area in our house where we hang our coats and bags and place our shoes. That has helped keep the coats from piling up on the couch or creating a mound of shoes by the stairs. This simple practice also makes it easy to find the items you need the next time you leave. Taking just a couple minutes when you first arrive home to put those things away helps to keep the clutter from invading other spaces.

3.) Go through the mail as soon as you receive it.
Similar to number 2, as soon as the mail is brought in the house I open it and go through it. I immediately trash the junk mail and make a plan for where everything else goes. If it is a bill, it gets put on my desk to be paid. If it is something that just needs to be filed, I will either immediately file it or put it in my "to be filed pile." I try to have a plan of action for every piece of mail. The same is true with packages we receive. I immediately tear down the boxes as soon as a package is opened. We keep our recycling in the garage, so I will put the boxes and other recyclable materials by the door to be taken out to the bins the next time we leave.

4.) Get an easy to carry vacuum.
With small kids around, crumbs are inevitable. I really don't like the look of crumbs and dirt on my floor, so I do clean my floors a lot. Instead of having to get out a dust pan and broom or lug my heavy vacuum down the stairs, I keep a very lightweight vacuum in our downstairs laundry room to hit the dirt whenever I see it. Here is a link to a very affordable and super lightweight vacuum that works so well! If I could only ever give you one cleaning tip, it would be to get this vacuum!!!! It often goes on sale for $19, so scoop it up while it is still in stock!

5.) Don't go up the stairs empty handed.
As our day goes on, I will often find items downstairs that have their place upstairs. If I'm not able to immediately take the items upstairs, I will place them on the stairs to take up later. Sometimes the stairs can fill up with our things, so I will take something up each time I go up. I make it a point to get the stairs cleaned off each night before we go to bed. I also have asked Tolar and our daughter to take items upstairs if they belong to them.

6.) Put away blankets.
One of the biggest things that can make our living room look cluttered is blankets laying all around. We are a cozy family and love to cuddle up with blankets often, so they do sometimes tend to get left out. A quick fix is to fold them up and put them back where you store them. We have a storage ottoman where we keep all of our blankets. If you don't have extra storage, consider getting a big decorative bin to keep them in. 

I hope these tips help! If you want even more tips, check out this post I wrote last year about keeping a clean house with small kids.
If you want to get on a cleaning schedule and do a little bit of cleaning each day, here is a sample cleaning schedule.

Clean and Tidy Tips for your House
Clean and Tidy tips to use for your house
Clean and Tidy Tips
Clean and Tidy House Tips





Battle of the Beauty Blenders

Beauty Blenders Battle

Often, people will ask me what my favorite beauty tool is and I can 100% answer that without any hesitation: The Beauty Blender.
I've used a Beauty Blender for years and absolutely love the flawless finish it gives to my foundation application. Although, before I was a Beauty Blender lover, I must admit that I first questioned if a makeup sponge was really worth $20. And I must tell you that YES IT IS.
When using a Beauty Blender, I get flawless makeup application with minimal product waste. It actually helps to stretch my foundation longer than if I used something else. My makeup goes on streak-free with very little effort.

However, I do recognize that not everyone wants to spend $20 on a makeup sponge. So I decided to test out some of the other dupes on the market and see which one really compared. See below for my honest to goodness, true thoughts.

1.) Beakey 5 Piece Makeup Sponge Set
If you are on a tight budget, this set is for you. At $8.99 (or less!), you get five makeup sponges in this set. All of the sponges are the same size, so this is the perfect set if you prefer to change out your sponges pretty frequently.
(Although if you clean your sponge regularly, you won't need to change it out that often. The Beauty Blender solid cleanser is a terrific cleaner to use.)
These sponges are a bit more dense than the Beauty Blender and really seemed to soak up the water which made me feel they also soaked up some of my foundation. For the price, they are a really good deal, but not as great at overall application as the Beauty Blender itself.
My opinion: if you have nothing else or are short on money, this will do.

2.) Sonia Kashuk Makeup Blender
I really wanted to like this blender because I've used other Sonia Kashuk products and loved them, but I absolutely hated this sponge. It sucked up a ton of my foundation which made me use extra makeup when applying it. I felt like more foundation ended up on the sponge than actually on my face. I was very unhappy with the application, so I stopped using this sponge and started using option #3 below. Yes, at just $5 this is a great price, but it does not provide a flawless foundation finish. This makeup blender is probably best used with applying setting powder under your eyes because of the flat edge it has on one side.
My opinion: spend your money elsewhere.

3.) Aesthetica Cosmetics Beauty Sponge
Out of all of the dupes I tried, this is my favorite! It only comes in black, instead of the pretty pinks offered by Beauty Blender, but it is a great sponge and by far the closest dupe I tried. The sponge's density feels very similar to the Beauty Blender and the application is very similar. For $3.97, that is some incredible savings for basically the same thing.
My opinion: Get this sponge! 

Beauty Blenders
Beauty Blenders Compared
Battle of the Beauty Blenders


To make this post easy for you to shop, I've created a carousel of images that you can click below. I've also included the silicone carrying case that is perfect for travel and some cleanser options. Scroll through the images and click the ones that you would like to shop.




Holiday Gift Guide - For Her

(Thank you to oNecklace for helping sponsor this post. All opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.)

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us! If you are anything like me, you might need a little inspiration when going shopping for the special people in your life. So today, I've pulled together a list of gift ideas for HER. A lot of these items I either personally own or have on my Christmas list for this year. You can shop these items direct from the numbered links below.
gift_guide_for_her




1.) Personalized Jewelry - I have several pieces from oNecklace and I love that everything is personalized for me. My most recent pieces are an "L" letter necklace and Stackable name rings with both names of my children. (See the pictures at the bottom of this post) Because of the personalization, I know that the pieces I am wearing are unique to me. ONecklace has so many beautiful options, you could spend hours on their site drooling over everything. They offer free shipping worldwide and free personalization on all products. Also, each item is custom designed to the clients request and hand finished. Check out this blog post I wrote last year about some other products that I love from oNecklace.
ONecklace has some great BLACK FRIDAY sales going on right now that I want you to know about as well:
15% off All Orders, use coupon code BLACK15
20% off Orders $75+, use coupon code BLACK20
30% off Orders $175+, use coupon code BLACK30



2.) Inverted Umbrella - Why has it taken me so long to add this to a gift list? An inverted umbrella is a genius idea because when you close it, all of the rain water gets trapped inside instead of dripping onto the floor. This specific one comes in so many colors and designs to choose from. I really like the pink and white striped one - this is most certainly on my wish list this year.

3.) PJ set - PJs are always a good gift idea, because I'm sure most women are like me and rarely spend their own money on a pretty set (I'm a tshirt and sweatpants kind of gal). I always think a good gift is something that is needed, but something that the person receiving the gift wouldn't normally spend money on. This set comes in multiple colors, has great ratings and is very reasonably priced.

4.) Soft Robe - A robe is often needed in those cooler months, although I wear a robe year round while I get ready each morning. I saw this in the store recently and got to feel it and I love how soft and luxurious it feels. At a terrific price, it is hard to say no to this. The robe also comes in multiple colors. I think I'm going to buy myself an early Christmas present and scoop this up!
(A note about the link - it might come up and tell you that the site is having technical difficulties. Just click Try Again and it should open. If you have problems, let me know.)

5.) Leopard Cardigan - I don't think I could personally create a gift guide and not include something leopard print! I'm a girl who loves cardigans and longer cardigans are so pretty and definitely needed in the cooler months. For ladies that love pockets, this cardigan is for them!

6.) Compression Leggings - Maybe you have heard of Spanx leggings? They are EVERYWHERE, but since I absolutely hate my legs I cannot bring myself to spend that kind of money. However, I found these and I've heard from multiple people that they are very comparable to Spanx leggings. When they say compression leggings, they really mean it! I love that they are thick and not see through and that they really do suck you in. This is a super affordable option - maybe buy one for a friend and one for yourself!

7.) Soft Pullover - I asked for this for Christmas last year and loved it so much I knew I had to add it to my gift guide this year. The material is so soft, I don't ever want to take it off. I have the coffee color and it is so pretty, but it does come in several other color options. Also, this item is a steal at under $11 plus shipping.

8.) It Cosmetics Finishing Powder - For my makeup obsessed girls, a good finishing powder is needed to set your makeup. I previously tried out several different finishing powders and this one is one of my favorites. In fact, since I wrote that post I have been using this one more frequently than any others.

9.) Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush - Hands down my favorite blushes are the Amazonian Clay blushes from Tarte. They are reasonably pried and a great size, meaning that the blush will last you a long time. I particularly love that the colors are so pigmented. It comes in lots of different colors, my favorite is the Dazzled color.

10.) Mug Warmer - If you have a mom with little ones on your list then get her this gift! Most moms live on coffee, but often have to reheat it because their children required attention and their coffee got cold. This mug warmer keeps mom from having to reheat her coffee. Genius!

11.) Campfire Mugs - One of my favorite places for cute mugs is Sweet Mint. Her designs are unique and oh so pretty. I particularly love the campfire mugs because they feel so cozy in your hands and hold a lot of coffee. Check out the site, I'm sure you can find a mug for almost anyone on your list.

12.) Peach Skin Sheets - These are my favorite sheets EVER. I've never slept on sheets that are so soft and cozy before. In fact, check out this post to see my thoughts the first time I tried them. You guys also seemed to love them as much as I did and you purchased several sets for yourself. I'm going to gift these to some special people this year. The color, the Real Teal, is the color of the month for November. Hurry and scoop this color up and score it for $65! Chocolate and Toasted Marshmallow are also featured as colors of the month if teal isn't your thing.

13.) Steamer - I've been meaning to buy a steamer for months now. I absolutely despise ironing and I've heard that steaming clothes is so much easier. The price point on this one seems to be a great "entry" steamer. I'm excited to get one and I'm sure the lady in your life would love the ease of steaming her clothes as well.

14.) Olaplex Hair Treatment - I've seen this hair treatment everywhere, in fact, the Today Show even covered it recently. In my world, if the Today Show covers it then you know it is good!!! I'm excited to try it and see how silky, shiny it makes my hair.

15.) One Step Hair Dryer - This was an Amazon Prime Day purchase for me and is something I use quite often. I love that the hair dryer helps add volume to my hair. It also cuts my get ready time in half since it not only dries my hair, but styles it at the same time. This is an internet favorite, so I'm sure the lady in your life already added this to her list!


So I've covered jewelry, bed time, clothing, makeup, coffee, home and hair. Did I miss a category that you want to see? Feel free to leave a comment below or message me on instagram (@lindsaytolar) and I will be happy to search for an item for you or even create another gift guide!

oNecklace_jewelry
oNecklace_stackable_ring


What I'm Buying on Amazon

Back in May I shared with you the items I was buying on Amazon and you guys loved that! I get it - I want to know what people are buying too. I'll say it is very similar to wanting to peek inside people's houses to see how they decorate. It is so fun to get ideas from each other and I am happy to help. Because I got such great feedback from you guys, I decided to do another roundup of what we are ordering off of Amazon.

As my daughter is learning, Amazon has everything! Have a need for something, check Amazon first as I am sure they have it! I've made everything shoppable for you if you are interested in purchasing anything. Have questions? Leave a comment or send me an email (lindsay@pursuitofpink.com).

Recent Amazon Purchases


Personal Style

1.) Leopard Print Top ($17.99)
I'm a sucker for leopard print anything. In my book, leopard print is a neutral and can be worn so many different ways. I'm not much of a tshirt girl unless I'm working out or sleeping, but I often find myself looking for casual chic options. This leopard print top fits the bill. It is not dressy at all, but the print definitely helps me feel pulled together.

2.) Off The Shoulder Maxi Dress ($29.99)
This is a MUST BUY. If you have a wedding or a special occasion coming up, I highly recommend you check out this off the shoulder dress. I wore this to a wedding over the summer and got so many compliments. It is pretty lightweight so you won't get hot, fits true to size and is so comfortable and easy to wear. The dress comes in several color options. And at $29.99 the price can't be beat! Now who wants to get married so I can wear this dress again?

3.) Swim CoverUp ($14.99)
If you need a cute and fun swim coverup that doesn't break the bank, here you go! The coverup comes in lots of different colors and includes a cute pom pom detail around the edges. It is long enough to cover your bum and cute enough to have everyone asking you where you bought it.

Jewelry

1.) Tassel Earrings ($12.90)
I've been ALL about the statement earrings this summer. They are such a fun way to add a pop of color to your outfit without costing you a pretty penny. These tassel earrings are pretty large, but not heavy at all. They come in lots of different colors and styles.

2.) Beaded Earrings ($13.50)
Similar to the earrings above, these fun earrings are perfect to add some extra pizzazz to your outfit. I like the tear drop style of these and I love the color. These also are available in lots of different colors.

Kids

1.) Seat Belt Extender (2 pack for $9.99)
When my daughter turned six this summer, we decided to finally switch her out of a five point harness and let her use a booster seat with the seat belt. The only problem is that my car has the seat belt clips installed into the seats, they are not movable at all, which made it difficult for my daughter to buckle herself up. So we bought this extender that buckles into our current belt clip and then she can buckle the seat belt into this.

2.) Sippy Cup with Snack Catcher (2 pack for $14.99)
My son LOVES to drink out of cups with a straw, he much prefers those over his sippy cups. But so often cups with straws will leak if they get turned over. NOT THESE! These cups are spill proof, have handles for little hands to hold and they even have a snack cup on top! We honestly bought these cups just for the straw, but having the additional snack cup is a bonus. Now we only have to remember one item when packing the diaper bag, instead of two.


Hair

1.) Hair Dryer and Volumizer Heat Brush in One ($43.19)
I have seen this product on social media all over the place, but never took the plunge. I finally decided to get it during Prime Day when it was marked way down and so far I like it! Hurry up and get this while you can because the price is actually two bucks cheaper now than when I bought it on Prime Day! This definitely saves me a step when styling my hair and I did like the finished result (smooth hair). It was also very easy to style the back of my hair since I only had one product in my hand, instead of a brush and a hairdryer. My only complaint is that it does get pretty hot, but there is a cool setting if you need it.


Home

1.) Smart Plug ($24.99)
Our house is pretty smart as our doorbell, front door lock, lamps, thermostat and music are all controlled by our voice, with apps or Alexa. We have talked about installing a smart plug in the bathroom for those times when I just cannot remember if I unplugged my curling wand or flat iron. Luckily on Prime Day there was an incredible deal, so we snatched this up. However, my tech loving husband really likes these and recommends them even if not with a discount.

2.) Refrigerator Water Filter (3 pack for $28.99)
Nothing fancy here, but I'm adding this purchase to remind you that you should check Amazon before going straight to the manufacturer. We have a water dispenser on the front of our fridge and Tolar shopped around to see where we could find a good deal. A 3 pack of water filters from Amazon cost us $28.99. The same 3 pack but branded with the manufacturers name on it would have cost us $129! This purchase was a no brainer.

DIY Succulent Wall

DIY Succulent Wall

If there is one thing that is true about me it is that I have a black thumb. I have successfully killed every plant I've ever had. HA! Which is why it was quite crazy for me to suggest to my husband that we should build a succulent wall to hold NINE plants. He looked at me like I was crazy. But when I showed him how cool the planter was that Holly from Our Faux Farmhouse made, he jumped on board. He's so good to me.

This tutorial is very similar to the one that Holly (and her husband Brad) posted on her instagram page. We used their tutorial and expertise as inspiration for our own, but we decided to make ours extremely budget friendly. The total cost for this project from start to finish was just under $150.

This was our first real DIY project and we both had a lot of fun working on this together. Our planter, once complete, was 31 inches x 41 inches and includes nine different succulents. You can always adjust measurements to make a larger one if you prefer.

DIY Succulent Wall finished planter

Supplies:

lumber
flower pot rings
terracotta pots
spray paint
trim
nails
sand paper/sander
planter bracket kit
plants
potting soil


How to:

1.) We used dog ear wood fence boards to really save on lumber costs. At just $1.48 a board, we got a heck of a deal! In comparison, if we would have bought a 1x6x8 piece of lumber, they cost $6.97 each. My father in-law had the brilliant idea to use the fence board and we are so thankful.
We decided to make the wall 7 boards high. There was no rhyme or reason to that number at first, it just looked good when we laid them out. But in the end, I'm glad we went with 7 because it made everything symmetrical when it was time to place the plants.

DIY Succulent Wall_supplies


2.) We decided to cut the boards to 31 inches each for the width. Before we cut each piece, we did a
quick swipe with a belt sander to make sure everything was smooth. Then we measured and cut each board.

DIY Succulent Wall Sanding Lumber


3.) Once everything was cut, we laid all seven pieces on the ground. Then we secured everything by mounting additional pieces of wood on the back, down both the right and left side. Tolar went through and screwed everything together. We also secured extra wood to the backside of the board where we planned to place each plant ring (see the photo below).
DIY Succulent Wall Board


4.) After the seven pieces were secured and screwed together, we used a hand sander to make sure the front side was completely smooth.
DIY Succulent Wall finishing


5.) Next, we attached the flower pot rings. The flower pot rings we used were about $5 a piece and we bought 9. Since we had 7 boards, I decided to place the rings on every other board, 3 rows of 3 plants. We got extremely technical here and eyeballed everything to make sure they were even as we screwed them in place.

6.) To give the piece a finished look, we decided to frame it using a piece of trim. I saw some window and door casing while at Lowe's and quickly grabbed two pieces for us to paint white. The casing was $4.48 a piece. We cut the casing into 4 pieces like a picture frame and secured everything from the back.

7.) We decided to mount the succulent wall over our banister on the front porch. Since we live in Virginia and do experience lots of different weather, I wanted to be able to remove the wall if we needed to put it inside during the winter. We used a planter bracket kit, but we did have to cut the steel brackets. Tolar sawed the part off that would normally hold a trough planter then we secured them to the back of the planter.

8.) I really like white and bright decor, so I decided to paint the terracotta pots white. Spray paint is my best friend! I used spray paint on both the trim to frame the succulent wall and the terracotta pots. The terracotta definitely soaked up the spray paint, so it took about 3 coats to get them completely covered.
DIY Succulent Wall white pots


9.) When it was time to actually plant the succulents, I used a potting soil that was specifically made for cacti. You can find this at any home improvement store or nursery.
We purchased all of our supplies from Lowe's because it is closest to our house. But I actually purchased all of the succulents from Home Depot as they had a better selection. If you are interested in exactly what type of succulents I purchased, here are their names:
Elephant Bush Spekboom
Pachyphytum Moon Silver
Jade Plant
Graptoveria Bella
Golden Sedum
Pachyveria
Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg
Echeveria Blue Frills
Aloe Vera
DIY Succulent Wall succulents
DIY Succulent Wall potted plants


10.) The final step was to hang the planter over our banister and enjoy our hard work!
DIY Succulent Wall planter
DIY Succulent Wall close up succulent
DIY Succulent Wall plants


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Budget Friendly DIY Succulent Wall