Meet Brontë

Scott and I have been talking about getting a new dog. We occasionally looked at the pound and shelters but we wanted a puppy but they were adopted before we even had a chance to get in line for them. I knew what I had in mind- a black lab with a shiny coat and sweet disposition but I was a little worried at a lab size. Coincidentally, our neighbor's lab was pregnant with 7 puppies. She couldn't keep any of them and we happily took one of the pups as ours. She's perfect- she's a puppy, 9 weeks old here, a black lab with a shiny coat, and the father is a maltese, so she won't get too big. How crazy of a coincidence is that?? Our animals have literary inspired names, and she is Brontë, named after one of our favorite female authors, the Brontë sisters. She's beautiful, sweet and every time I look at her, I can't help but think how much Max would love her. 

Sticky9 Large Print

Sticky9 has developed cute magnets in Instagram square sized as one of the many high quality products developed over the years. I've had the opportunity to work with them over those years and I had a chance to test out their large prints. They are perfect for scrapbooking, framing, and displaying. The colors are crisp, and looks much better on print than it does staring at a phone. 

I love the Sticky9 products- the magnets, the small prints and now I've added the large print to my collection. Fridges represent a family, from photos and calendars and Sticky9 represents my family so colorfully. 

 

Are Those A Party In Your Pants Or Are You Just Happy To See Me

I’ll have to file this under things I never thought I’d blog about. It’s personal but April 22 will be Earth Day and I’d love to share my part on helping the environment. My first initial response was probably like most female readers- sounds gross! How do I even wash them? Will they leak? How much will it save me? but I promise you, it made my life so much easier and the money saved after investment hasn’t hurt either. Plus, does your pad have UNICORNS on them??

I've been open to reusable pads when I was planning on using reusable diapers for Max. I loved the quality of the diapers and the money saved would have been great compared to disposable. I started using reusable pads when I found out I was allergic to adhesives. I went to my OB because I kept getting rashes. She had me do some blood work and during the checkup, she noticed the rashes were also were the blood work was taken. I told her I always got itchy and red every time my blood was taken and I assumed that was normal (I really did). She told me to ask for hypoallergenic tape, and to stop using disposable pads. I used organic tampons and the rash went away, however, I couldn't always use them because of TSS risk. Organic was getting expensive, and organic or not, I recently found out tampons and pads aren’t sanitized in factory production. Gross. 

After researching for weeks, I decided to buy cotton organic from Party In My Pants. Besides the cheeky name, what I like about it is they are made with nylon backing to prevent leaks, offer extra large pads for overnight, they offer a double snap for extra security made with nickel-free snaps (I'm allergic to nickel), and the quality just seems better than the ones I've tried. I went with cotton because fleece seems so warm, and the last thing I need down there is um, more warmth.

They also offer 20% off for order over $300. It seems like a lot but I ended up saving about $80 and once I got them in the mail, discreetly, I knew I was in for the long haul. I bought tons of liners for changing throughout the day and of course the pads for my period. They are easy to wear, just snap them around your panties. I recommend getting the double snap if you order from PIMP. The water resistant lining on the bottom is awesome because they won't leak, but they will slide on cotton underwear. Get the double snap! I was sent my order without the double snap after I requested it and they were super fast and great about fixing that, offering me free shipping to send it back. I've been using them for a few months and this is what I've learned-

  • Storage- There isn't any. Not having to buy a bulk of disposable pads has saved me SO MUCH space! I don't have to run to the store on emergencies or wonder when I need to purchase more. I store the pads folded flat in a bathroom drawer and grab them as I go. I add a couple in my purse with my wet bags from Shop Ban.do. There is also a makeup bag from Planet Wise that offers a dry and wet option. I've used them on the busiest days when I'm running errands and I simply fold them with the snaps and I throw them in a wet bag just for used ones. 

 

  • Staining and washing- UPDATE: I was emailed from a rep at PIMP and they asked me to not use Buncha Farmers Stick. Even if it works right away, over time, the natural oils repel the fabric to absorb moisture. It's recommended to only use Oxo-Brite. I just quickly added 1oz to a small spray bottle and I'll be spraying it lightly as needed. Sorry for the confusion! I was worried about this but I've been using Buncha Farmers Natural Stain Stick and I moisten the stick with water and rub it up and down the blood a couple times then I throw them in my large wet bag. I don't have to soak them like some cloth pads, and I was terrified of putting in any time and effort on cloth pads (sounds lazy but true). Once the pads are ready to go in the wash, I add 1 oz of alternative natural bleach Oxo-Brite, it's recommended from PIMP, and made with less harsher chemicals than the name brand. If the wet bag is full, I'll throw them all in (including the bag) in a normal wash. If it's only a few, I throw them in with regular clothes. It won't stain other clothes and I recommend not using fabric softener, it's one less chemical you don't need down there. 

 

  • Leaks- Nope, they don't leak. Since we're already getting personal, I guess I'm not holding back. I have really heavy periods, like having to change every hour before with reusable products. With Party In My Pants cloth pads, I don't have to change as often and still feel clean because the pads hold more liquid. The pads are made with a water resistant lining on the back, so even if it's extremely full, it still won't leak. 

 

  • Comfort- Think of cloth pads as wearing regular underwear without feeling a thing. They are so so comfy, they don't bulk up like pads, and I don't have to worry about light liners with tampons. They also don't smell. Since we're getting deep here, I'm just going to say it. Sometimes your period smells and it's uncomfortable. It sounds crazy, but I've never looked forward to my period more than the second time I' used these. I don't feel uncomfortable, it doesn't smell, and I feel cleaner. After about 5 months of use, I'm going to get my investment back. FIVE MONTHS! I'm never going back to disposable. 

Those were my major concerns, I hope that answers your question! You can check out more FAQ about cloth pads here. I'm only endorsing Party In My Pants because I LOVE their products, I'm truly am a customer for life. I know life changing is a strong term and I try to avoid it because it's thrown around like confetti, but trust me, my life has changed for the better and I had to share! I left comments open in case you have any questions. Happy Earth Month!! 

 

Gel Nail Hack: Use Regular Nail Polishes With Gel Nail System

I've tried using gel nails from the same company that makes my gel nail system. I use Sephora OPI Gel At-Home Color System, I love the colors and what they have to offer, but for $20 a bottle, it's not worth the splurge, especially for something I'm constantly changing like my nail color. To save money, I combine them. Even if I don't work in a salon anymore, I still remember my old trade and after doing a few failed hacks, I found one that works best. Gel nails are made of a heavier oligomer, a hard flexible resin chemical that makes gel nails last longer. It's important to prep nails for having this heavier coat on nails, but ultimately, if it's done correctly, it doesn't matter how they're prepped. 

  • Apply regular base coat (this is personal favorite). Let it dry completely. It has to dry for this to work. 
  • Apply the color of nail polish you want. Again, it has to be completely dry. I usually wait about an hour, as if I'm really just doing my nails. 
  • Apply a gel nail top coat. Cure for 30 second in any nail light as long as it's a UV light. 
  • Remove the sticky debris with gel nail cleanser (like this one). 

That's it! It's one extra step than doing nails and I've noticed they've lasted me as long as gel polishes, 10-14 days. I've recently cleaned out my nail polishes and the only ones I've kept so far are my Deborah Lippmann and Palate Polishes. Oh! And don't forget to wear your UV nail gloves and some sunscreen before using the UV light. 

Candelles Wax Tart Melts And How to Use Them

I've been using Candelles candles for over a year and just (embarrassingly) discovered the tart wax melts they carry. There are some places in my home I can't use flames, and if you can't use candles either, wax tarts are a great alternative. Candelles uses their secret ingredients blending essential oils but more concentrated.

When I was looking at tart burners I was surprised how expensive they were. They range from $20 to $150. I have some mason jars, and a coffee/candle warmer and that has worked great. 

Since it's more concentrated than the regular candle, the scent is stronger. I've used the Soft Cotton tart, I put it in my closet and underwear drawer, and even when not in use, it still leaves a faint scent. Get the wax tarts here

Adding Color To Your Space: Guest Post from Modernized

The number one rule for adding color to your space is that there are no rules for adding color. With a seemingly limitless variety of colors from one end of the visual spectrum to the other, there seem to be just as many ways of incorporating them around your home. However, there are ways that color can be used to create some sort of effect. Whether it’s for visual interest or to make a space seem larger or perhaps to bring a look together into a more cohesive style, color can achieve great functionality when used strategically. Here are some considerations for adding color to your space.

60-30-10

Glance through rooms in any designer’s portfolio or home decor magazine and you’ll see a pattern emerge: The most effective rooms break color into percentages of 60, 30, and 10. Interestingly, explanations as to why this is so will vary from one person to the next. It seems like as visual creatures, we see the 60-percent color as being the unifying theme of the room with the 30-percent hue providing visual interest and the remaining 10 percent comprising the accents.

To put this another way, if a room was a men’s suit, then the walls would be the jacket and pants, the upholstery would be the shirt, and the tie would be accent pieces like throw pillows or floral arrangements.

Pull from Patterns

If you’re looking for color inspiration for a room, you could pull inspiration from the room’s existing contents by referring to the most prominent print. This is usually a furnishing of some sort such as a soft, but it could also bedding, a shower curtain, or other prominent patterns. Painting your walls one of the colors in the upholstery of your sofa is a very effective way to not only incorporate color, but to reinforce the look of your room by repeating its motifs in other ways and other places. 

Emote with Color and Contrast

When we see a color, we tend to make associations with that color. Many times we associate specific feelings or memories with colors. As such, you should consider the feeling or “vibe” you want a room to convey. For example, a color scheme of powder blue and cream would convey whimsy while bright primaries suggest youth and energy. Additionally, colors with high contrast — like black and white — serve to better define a room and its contents than using colors with low contrast such as using multiple shades of gray.

Color Schemes

There are certain colors that are more closely associated than others, ones that you see frequently paired together in various types of Christmas decor as well because their complementary colors, which means they sit on the opposite sides of the color wheel. Complementary colors are a type of color scheme in which you incorporate a color and its opposite like yellow and purple or blue and orange. 

Another popular color scheme is to use analogous colors, or colors that are next to each other on the color wheel like green and yellow or red and orange. Choosing a complementary or analogous color scheme is a great place to start if you’re wanting to add color to a space because they narrow down the numerous color choices to more specific clusters from which you can choose the ones you like best or that go with your existing decor. 

For more design ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.

Dane O'Leary is a full-time freelance writer and design blogger for Modernize.com. He has degrees in psychology and anthropology with additional study in journalism, graphic design, and public relations. Dane is currently working on his debut novel.

Gadchick: Gemini App (Apple Only)

Everyone has duplicates on their computers. I know I've downloaded my phone a few times without organizing the photos and a few duplicates end up on iPhoto. To be more exact, almost 15gb end up as duplicates. I've used Clean My Mac for a few years, an app that cleans out and makes space for my computer. The people behind the app I trust came out with Gemini, a desktop app that find duplicates for you and allows you to delete them. Before I paid extra storage for cloud drives, I decided to give Gemini a try. As of this date posted, Gemini goes for $9.99, but that's cheaper than buying a new hard drive or upgrading to a cloud space to house the same files. If you do end up wanting to delete both files, there's a warning that pops up. I've used it to clean photos, my music library, files in Pages, and even screenshots. This is why Gemini is one of my favorite apps right now. Try it for yourself here

Greedy Wish List: Birthday Edition

I love making wish lists. I can document what I love and go back over the years and see how terrible my tastes were. My birthday is coming up and I'd love to share what I'd love. I can't imagine I'll regret these items below...

1. Sanrio x The Simpsons Oversized Cardigan. I know spring and summer is coming up so the last thing I need is a heavy sweater but it stole all the heart eyes at "limited edition" and "exclusive". I'm a sucker for anything collectible, especially if I can wear it. 

2. Gold Macbook Air. I love my customized Macbook Air, I added higher RAM for faster and better memory, but why don't I have a gold one? The only qualm I have with this is the lack of performance and power it carries like the Macbook. Is it worth downgrading for the gold? Probably not but it is so pretty to look at. 

3. Alexander McQueen Skull scarf in blush. One day, I'd like to have a "signature look" that isn't pajamas or leggings. Scarves seem ageless and something I can use for years to come. 

4. A year subscription to Kawaii Box. This would save me trips to Daiso plus it's a box full of CUTE THINGS. 

5. Inkwell Press journal. I love my Inkwell press planner. The pages are thick, the covers are hard and I know it'll last me for the whole year looking great. If it has the same quality I've known Inkwell to have so far, this journal would be great to have. 

6. After having surgery and months of not walking, I'm slowly gaining control of my walk. I won't be able to wear sneakers or heels for some time, but I can wear comfortable flats and Tieks are the perfect tone of blush to go with everything. 

Happy birthday to me! Follow more likes, and unnecessary wants on Pinterest. 


2015 Library Challenge

Too many books seems like a good problem to have. I have an app that tells me how much I spend on certain items and once again, the shame I had in spending was valid. Books will always be the culprit to an empty wallet for me. I wouldn’t so much ashamed of buying them, as they just sit on my shelf, digitally and physically. I feel like a poser and as much as I love the idea of a physical and digital collection, the library is right down the street from me, I’m going to challenge my wallet to a spend off.  I won't be buying books for 2015, unless they're for gifts. Most bloggers try to save money on clothes. I’ve done a lot of personal book challenges, some I failed, but ultimately I want to discipline my spending. If I can control the one thing I can’t stop buying, that’s a good start to something bigger.

This is a good problem to have, a collection of too many books. I’m not in debt, it’s not emotionally hurting anyone, but it’s enough to bother me to make a change. At the end of project, I’d love to donate the money I saved to the library that’s supported my reading habit. Or buy new books (just kidding). 

Books read- To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Sacred Cows, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, We Were Liars, Rebel Belle. Books on hold- A Little Life, The Goldfinch, plus a couple others but I'm impatiently waiting for these two in particular. I'll also be donating any affiliate sales I make from this blog post to the library. Thanks for the support! Be sure to follow along on Goodreads

Guest Bathroom Renovation- Before and After

One of the my favorite things about owning an old home is I get to make it 100% ours. We get to choose what fixtures I want, what color tiles, what paint, even if I want a new toilet, ha. We wanted an older home to restore with the goal of making it look like the time period, but without the mold and asbestos. I wish I took before photos of all the renovation, but I only found a couple in between painting the walls and bringing in the (original!!!) claw foot tub. 

Before

After

We used a black VOC-free high gloss paint, added matching industrial inspired fixtures (from Lowes), the Star Wars towels from Think Geek, and the rustic ladder book shelf was once used for cameras in our apartment but now houses our towels. Our rug is from West Elm (no longer available though). Our Bob Dylan painting was from an artist we found on eBay and Scott's grandpa added the wooden frame for us.  I'm also a little paranoid about germs- I have this system of using small clean towels for every time to dry hands and put them in a basket below. Friends, family, even handymen use our bathroom and I don't want to share a dirty towel with them. This helps cut down on spending on paper towels. As for the folding and laundry, it's not that bad. It takes 15 minutes to do that, once a week, and if it's enough to save my sanity, it's worth it. The penny tiles are also easy to sanitize with a steam mop. 

It was risky using black paint for such a small space but because there is so much light, it works.