My Style

My Style
My Style


In The Kitchen



Gallery Wall and a Tip for Hanging a Picture with Two Hooks

We have lived in our new house for almost two years and it has taken me all of that time to FINALLY install a gallery wall in our bedroom. I'm in LOVE with the gallery wall and get so happy whenever I walk past it. I'm kind of glad it took me so long to install everything, because I discovered a genius tip that can help when hanging a picture with two hooks.

We have numerous other wall hangings in our house that require two hooks and we have invested too much time and effort in hanging everything straight. If only I knew about this tip earlier!!!!

What's the trick?

Painter's tape.

Yep, a strip of painters tape saved me hours of time and plenty of frustration when I hung my gallery wall.

Here's how it works.
Flip the picture onto the backside so you can see the two hooks. Then take a piece of painters tape and place it between the two hooks. Next mark on the painters tape where the exact center of each hook is located. This way you know the distance between each hook without having to worry about rulers or tape measures or inches.


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


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.