Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Teal & Lime 5-Day Do-Over: My Living Room

First, a nice glossy after pic...
AFTER photo

Now that I've got that out of the way, here is what happened when I took Jackie Hernandez's (AKA Teal & Lime's) Five-Day Decorating Do-Over. I won't get into all of the steps since you can buy her book (it is her method after all), plus this post is more about what happened to me when I used her method of no-cost decorating.

Day 1 (in a nutshell)
First, pick one room. Do NOT try to do more than one room, seriously. Make a list of all of the decorative items in the room. Next, circle the items that do not seem to fit in.

  • For my room, I cirlced the rocking horse, the Marimeko flower pillow, the tiny bunny rabbit pillow, and the painting of a winter tree.

My pre-cleaning BEFORE photo

I eventually did clean, just look at the after photos!

This dark blue throw blanket is actually staying in the room, but it's in the laundry now, so add it to the after photos using your imagination

Day 2 (in a nutshell)
Use Jackie's Decorating Staples Checklist and cross out items that you seem to have too many of. Then, remove a few and look around your home for some items with more variety to add to the room.

  • For my room, I noticed that I had a bizillion square pillows, and also quite a few family photos. So I removed a couple of pillows and one family photo. I added a vase and a couple of sculptural items (in my case, a couple of decoy ducks).

Day 3 (in a nutshell)
Use Jackie's Decision Tree and the list you created on Day 1 to evaluate each item in your room. Remove anything that is not beautiful, useful, or meaningful.

  • For my room, I noticed that the bar I set for "beautiful" was actually pretty high, and so I was able to remove things that I thought were pretty, but not as pretty as the items that remained in the room. The same goes for the bar I set for "meaningful."

This is more of a MID-WAY photo than a DAY 3 photo

Another MID-WAY photo - note the absence of the toy chest in favor of some dark blue IKEA trunks that the kiddo can actually reach into himself

Day 4 (in a nutshell)
Do NOT rush out and buy things. Instead, write a "wish list" of items you would like to add to the room. Revisit the list in a couple of weeks - you may be surprised to find that you no longer want all of the things that are on your list.

  • On my wish list I put silver frames, less-sheer curtains, and a ceiling light. When I "shopped" my home on Day 5, I actually found some curtains that would work that were being stored in our guest bedroom.

Okay, and maybe a new gaming system is on the wish list too (XBox One, we covet you)

Day 5 (in a nutshell)
Choose a fresh accent color to add to your room, and add it in at least three places (e.g. in a throw blanket, in a pillow, and in a piece of artwork) by "shopping" your home for things to add to the room. Optional: Remove an existing accent color from the room.

  • My existing room colors were light green, gray-brown, pale blue and dark blue. I tried to add either white or red, but I did not have quite enough things elsewhere in my home to add. So, I'm still going to tentatively try to add more white over time (I did add a white lamp and curtains that had thin white stripes). But the biggest change for me, I think, was removing light blue. I had already bought a replacement rug and a replacement coffee table before taking the Five Day Challenge, so this was still no-cost decorating for me. The rug change was purely pragmatic - the blue one shed too much. And the coffee table change was also purely pragment - toys and books were getting stuck under it, plus it had sharp corners and I have a kiddo running around.
Yep, I clearly did not stage this AFTER photo

Note that I added more light green to this room, shown here via the green vase; although changing the curtains actually made a huge difference to this room, this is apparently the only AFTER photo I have that shows them

That white nightstand is just temporary - I'm tackling one thing at a time here

These are the two pillows that I loved, so they stayed (again, totally not a staged photo)

As I mentioned before, I added more of the light green accent color

This room feels very livable to me (and I'm not drowning in pillows, although having one more pillow couldn't hurt)

Yes, we have an exercise ball in our living room - that is just how we do

I know there is not a lot of art on the walls. I am getting around to that, I promise. Some previously ordered blue bins to corral the books below the TV are also on their way.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Eighteen-Month Kid Update

First shopping mall ride - He chose the cop car!

Kiddo's Size
  • At 18 months, he weighed about 26 lb. 13 oz. (83rd percentile), and he was 33 inches tall (75th percentile). To me, he looks stocky but in a cute way.

Kiddo's Favorite Things
  • Activity - He loves going for walks. If he sees his stroller, he will go to it and demonstrate that he wants to go for a walk with the stroller. He also loves feeding his pets snacks and meals. I think he likes the feeling of taking care of other living things.
  • Animal - He loves his pets (dog and cat) and can now say "dog" and "cat." He also loves to point out other dogs, everywhere, so I think it's safe to say that his favorite animal is dogs.
  • Book - He is not as interested in reading books as he once was. He still likes his "My First Colors Books" (book 1 and book 2) a lot, particularly the purple page, and also Goodnight Moon.
  • Color - Max likes to wear the color orange best (which is ironic because his dad does not like the color orange). To draw with, he also prefers orange, but also light metallic blue, and purple. I think part of his disinterest in drawing with his former favorite color, yellow, is that it does not show up well on white paper. Gramps gave the Kiddo an amazing Easter gift, a full set of 152 Crayola Crayons! This set is awesome because it gives him a lot of colors to choose from. These are also the normal-size crayons, not the big chunky ones for little kids - since the Kiddo likes them, I'm very happy.
  • Morning Naps - He only reliably takes one nap, which is in the morning at about 10:30 a.m. He sometimes takes an afternoon nap too around 3 p.m., but not always.
  • Security Item - He loves his fuzzy green lion blanket.
  • Toys - Since the arrival of the crayons, the Kiddo has not shown as much interest in his other toys. He has a little green truck he is rather fond of, and he likes his toy soccer ball. He can now say the word "ball."

Serious Kiddo

Kiddo's Abilities
  • Words - He can say the following words, in order starting with the ones he says most frequently: dog, dad, mama, cat (more often than not he says it twice, "cat-cat"), wow, yeah, bottle (although it sounds like "baba"), mine (usually said emphatically), ball, no, more (although it sounds like "mo"), uh-oh, go (and "go up"), milk (although it sounds like "miii") and hi. He can also nod his head "yes" and shake his head "no."
  • Sentences - His first sentence was "Hi dog." He has also said "No, mine."
  • Questions - He can answer questions such as "Do you want to feed the dog?" or "Do you need changing?" (as in a diaper change) or "Do you want to go to bed?"
  • Commands - He can follow commands such as "Go show dad" and "Put that in the recycling." He can point to his mouth, eyes, ears, nose, feet and hands on command. He can reliably give high-fives if you ask him for one, but he still seldom waves goodbye.
  • At the Playground - He can now run, which he does frequently. He can also go down a slide by himself. He can climb some of the stairs at a playground by himself, depending on how high they are (which he does so that he can go down the slide again).
Kiddo's Personality
  • It's a little hard to tell at this point. He loves coloring, which is a good thing, and he seems to have good fine motor skills for his age, so hopefully he continues to enjoy art. He loves animals, which is also a good thing. And he loves us, which of course makes me very happy. He seems to be pretty easygoing and happy most of the time.
Major Life Events, Age 12 Months to 18 Months
  • Tragically, the Kiddo's other cat (the black and white one) died. At first I thought the Kiddo did not notice, but then when his remaining cat (the orange one) was boarded at the vet for a couple of days, he freaked out. I think he was worried that now the orange one was gone too. Of course his orange cat returned... I think the Kiddo thinks his black and white cat will come back some day too.
  • The kiddo went on his first plane ride - he did not cry on the flight, and slept a lot. I was very proud of him.
On the Plane Ride Home

What I've Learned About Parenthood So Far
  • The most surprising thing is how much I'm enjoying parenthood. Not everything is fun (the gross parts like dirty diapers are especially un-fun) and it does take a lot of energy. But comparing parenthood as it is now to how I thought it would be, it's more fun than I thought it would be. I thought I'd be secretly counting down the days until my kids are old enough to move out, but instead I'm cherishing all of the time we have and clinging onto every moment of it. Although I want to encourage my kids to be independent, and spending alone time with my husband is still something I like doing, I am also going to find it really hard on those inevitable days when my kids start to go off and do their own things and leave me behind. As an older parent, I know I'm not going to have as many years to spend with my kids or grandkids as I'd like to. I guess what I'm trying to say is that parenthood is a lot a sweeter than I expected.

The Quickie Smokey Eye

Using this tutorial, "When There is Smoke...," from Maskcara, I created the eye makeup shown below.

Cara's Steps:

  1. Use a large fluffy brush and a neutral color, and sweep the color all over the eye lid as well as along the lower lashline. Cara recommended using a bronzer as the neutral color instead of ordinary eye shadow.
    • I used my usual Physicians Formula bronzer and I only put it on my eye lid (not below my eye). This didn't impart enough color for me - I either need a darker bronzer or less of a suntan.
  2. Use an eyeliner pencil on the top and bottom lashlines.
    • I used a dark brown Lancome liner.
  3. Using a small eyeshadow brush and a dark-colored eye shadow, go around the top and bottom and smudge the liner.
    • I used a dark brown Lancome shadow.
  4. Using a medium-sized eye shadow brush and a soft (light), preferably shimmery eye shadow, highlight the arch of the eyebrow by sweeping the color directly below the eyebrow.
    • I used a light pink, slightly shimmery Lancome shadow.
  5. Add mascara.
    • I used a black Mary Kay mascara. Then I spritzed the entire look with Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Water to set it (I'd love to try the Urban Decay makeup setting spray, but I got the Smashbox version in my May Birchbox so that's what I had on hand).

Friday, March 27, 2015

Baby Pregnancy Percentage Complete (blank) Chart

In case you, too, would like to print off a blank percentage accomplished chart and fill it in a little bit each week of your pregnancy, here you go! It's that same style chart as those fundraiser thermometer style charts we used to fill out in school as kids. I'm at about halfway through right now myself, so quite a bit of mine is already colored in. This chart also has fruit sizes for the various weeks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Unplugged, From Day 1 Onward

Goal: In an effort to pursue a "less is more" lifestyle I am going to do what I call "unplugging." Others may call it "reducing electronics use," "reducing social media presence / dependence," "going dark," and/or "going off the grid," depending on how far they want to go. Basically, I noticed that I have been spending a lot of time using electronics, such as my smartphone, my TV, and my laptop, and it was too much time for me.

Day 1: I closed my email tab on Google Chrome during the day. This reduced the amount of time I spent checking for new emails and helped me stay focused. I found this to be a success.

Day 2: I turned off the TV while I was getting ready this morning. I thought it would help me to focus on getting ready on time, but it was largely a failure - I got out of the house at the same time I otherwise would have.

Day 3: I closed my email tabs and internet browser when I wasn't using them, which I think helped me stay on-task. Also, while carpooling home (in the passenger seat), I resisted the urge to use my phone for games. I'm not sure why, but this felt like the right thing to do.

Day 4: I turned off the TV while getting ready in the morning - this day, I think it helped.

Note: I have several friends and family members that do not have Facebook accounts and / or do not have smartphones, so why don't I just get rid of my smartphone and Facebook? First, these very people depend on other people to look up information in the here and now and tell them how their Facebook friends are doing, etc. If you depend on others to do the work for you, you may have a simpler life, but do they? Second, using a combination of my smartphone's camera and Facebook, I can share photos and pertinent updates with family and friends much more efficiently and faster than I could using any other means. Third, the cost of a smartphone and Facebook for me is negligible. Whether or not I get a data plan, because I am part of a T-Mobile family plan, the savings of me reverting to a flip-phone would be about $2 a month. Fourth, my smartphone has come to replace a lot of other devices in my life, such as: a wristwatch, an alarm clock, a GPS navigation system, a calendar, and a music player.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

I'm keeping it simple this year:
  • Do more with less
  • Eat more fruit (and more veggies)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One Year Kid Update

The photos of above are kiddo selfies.

My kiddo's favorite things:
  • Book: “My First Colors Board Book,” and the big book that plays sounds that his great aunt Mary gave him
  • Color: Yellow
  • Vehicle: Fire truck
  • Toys: Little Tikes Car (he rides in it if you push him - and he can get inside it and shut the door by himself), his stacking toy (has different colored shapes that you stack onto pegs), and Mega Bloks
  • Words: He can say “daddy,” “mama,” “baba” (for bottle), “no,” and “oh.” Sometimes it sounds like he says other words.
  • Animal: He still loves our black-and-white cat, but he is showing increased interest in our dog (before he ignored the dog)

My kiddo's Milestones:
  • Mobility – He cannot walk yet but he can pull up and furniture-surf. He can walk if you hold his hands, and recently he has been able to walk while only holding on with one hand. He can also climb fairly well, over curbs and even up and down steps (we supervise him closely though). He has been able to get down from a bed or couch by himself for quite some time (although we still supervise him in order to be safe).
  • Food – He can hold his own bottle with one hand. He can feed himself finger foods. He can drink regular milk (not formula).
  • Motor Skills – He can make a fist and pull his own arm through the sleeve of his clothing. He can pick up small objects. He loves turning the pages of his books, and sometimes even points to the objects on the pages. He seems to be right-handed.
  • Sleeping – He has been able to sleep alone throughout the night on most nights for quite a while. However, he still prefers to also take two naps during the day (one at about 10 a.m. and one at about 12:30 p.m.).
  • Social Skills – He is a bit of a toy-hog. He shows concern for other children, such as turning to see what is happening if he hears a child crying. His best friend is a little Asian girl named Ally.

  • He seems to generally be in a jolly mood. He loves smiling and laughing. He gets upset if he does not get his way, or if he is separated (by a door or baby gate) from his people, but he gets over it relatively quickly once the problem goes away. He generally responds favorably to new people, instead of being shy. He prefers to do things himself, including: holding the phone himself during FaceTime with Gram, turning the pages of his books himself, and trying himself to stack his toys even though it is challenging for him. He really is a little person.