Our House

Landscaping Preview

May 22, 2015

Our landscaping project wrapped up last week, and we’re really happy with it. I want to wait to do a full before & after until more of our flowers start blooming and some grass grows back. Currently there’s straw along the new wall and our hydrangeas haven’t bloomed. However, the new blanket flowers, veronica speedwells and peach drift roses all have great blooms coming in!

Landscaping_Flowers1 Landscaping_Flowers2 Landscaping_Flowers3

One hydrangea plant actually has a couple blooms on it, but I’m pretty excited to see the complete picture once the rest do!

—m.

DIY, Our House

The Pesky Door

May 20, 2015

So the door under the basement stairs has been an issue for probably two years. The idea was to always have an angled door under the stairs so we could make use of that area for storage. Well, we certainly made use of the area but the door was put on hold for a variety of reasons…

– Tim wanted to rip the whole area out, rebuild the wall and put in a normal door. I said no.

– The way the wall and doorway was built, the hinge had to be on the outside. Well, I didn’t like the idea of a silver piano hinge on the outside of the door.

– We couldn’t agree on how to or where to put trim around the door without the trim being an issue when the door is fully opened.

So yeah, there were some discussions and a couple disagreements, but we finally landed on a solution. It’s not perfect, but it’s what we’re considering finished.

The top pointed corner was previously creating some issues, so we stuck a triangular piece there to square it off. We also had to build out the right side a bit more for everything to be even and allow space for hinges.

StairCloset2

We were originally wanting to do something like this with a track system for a storage, but realized it was over our skill level. So we opted for stackable shelving from the Container Store instead. I must say that I’ve been happy with them, too. Getting to things has been much easier now. After searching for white hinges from, what felt like, every store out there, we found some at Menards. So we worked on filling everything in, painting and installing the trim. It’s barely noticeable, but the trim has a small bit cut out of it at an angle to allow the door to fully open.

StairCloset3 StairCloset4 StairCloset5

The one main thing we need is a way to keep the door shut…whether that be a magnet or something else on the inside. It stays shut for the most part on its own, but my cat has figured out how to get the door open and likes to hang out in there.

We technically have ONE last project with the never ending basement remodel, but it’s at the bottom of the steps in the stairwell area. Well, I guess two projects if you count installing some sort of railing, but that’s basically at the bottom of our list of things to do around the house.

So there’s our pesky door. It almost killed us to get done, but I’m sure Tim appreciates that I’m no longer nagging him about it.

—m.

Reviews

Birchbox – May ’15 Review

May 17, 2015

I always look forward to the middle of the month when my couple subscription boxes arrive. May’s Birchbox’s was done in partnership with Cupcakes & Cashmere, which I pop in on every once in a while. I like that Birchbox is doing more of these partnered boxes!

BB_May_1 BB_May_2

Harvey Prince Sea Salt Texturizing Spray: Birchbox sure does love Harvey Prince products! I’ve always wanted to try a sea salt spray so I was really excited about getting this in my box. I’m interested on how this will do in my hair since I already have naturally wavy-curly hair. It smells great, too.
Value: $1.00

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum: I’ve also taken a liking to facial serums especially at night. It’s to fight signs of aging, which I hope I don’t need yet at my age. I don’t love the smell, but I’ll still use it nonetheless.
Value: $5 or 6

Coastal Scents® Revealed 3 Palette: I’ve never been a fan of receiving eye shadows because I won’t use them. The colors also seems random. Maybe not for people who use eyeshadow? This product gets good reviews, though. I’ll most likely end up giving this item to someone else.
Value:$2?

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream: I like getting samples of facial moisturizers. I  love trying them and they’re great for travel. This is a great sized sample, the scent is nice and light, and I like how it feels on the back of my hand.
Value: $4.75

Macadamia Professional™ Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment: This was the item I was able to select for my box this month. I received a hair oil sample once last year and loved what it did to my hair in the winter. I’ve been wanting to order a full sized hair oil product, but wanted to try another brand first, so I was really excited to receive this in my box. Well, it turns out I basically hate the smell of it, which is super unfortunate. So I’ll either have to suck it up or give it to someone else.
Value: $10

I’m really happy with this month’s box, minus the eyeshadow palette. The hair oil’s value alone is the price of the box. I was trying to decide if I want to continue my subscription or stop, but I’m much more impressed with recent items than what I got last year so I’ll be keeping my subscription for a bit longer.

—m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – May ’15 Review

May 14, 2015

I’m fully into triathlon training mode, but it’s been a bit of a rocky start with storms being a consistent weather pattern so far this month. Either way, I always look forward to my Stridebox and being able to give everything a try.

SB_May15

Glukos Energy Gel: This is a new (to me) product. It’s a concentrated energy gel, but feeling the pouch it seems more like a liquid sports drink. I’m not super fond of gels, but I could get on board with something like this. Even though it says caffeine free, it claims to have 2X the energy 2X faster. I’ll give an update on that after using.
Vegan, HFCS free, gluten free, caffeine free, soy free
Value: $2

Tiger Balm Pain Relieve Patch: This patch provides temporary relief and comfort for sore areas. I like the idea of the patch vs a gel that has to be rolled/rubbed on. I could have actually used this a few days ago when my one calf was screaming after running hills! They get great reviews online, so I will definitely keep this in mind when I’m sore.
Value: $1.40

Vita Perk Vitamin Coffee Boost: This powder mix is flavorless and is to be added to coffee or smoothies. It boosts 15 vitamins and minerals for on-the-go people. I’m really bad at taking my daily multivitamin, so this is something I could see myself using since I’m a coffee drinker. Sadly, my sample spilled everywhere in my box, so there wasn’t much left in the pouch.
Value: $0.71

Osmo His & Hers Hydration Mixes: I always appreciate getting more than one flavor of an item, so I was happy to see two of these mixes! “Hers” is orange flavored and “his” is blackberry. Each formula is suppose to match the appropriate physiology it’s meant for so that’s interesting.
Value: $2.66 ($1.33 each)

Bounce Natural Energy Ball: I love getting snack bars like these in my Stridebox! The cacao mint flavor is a huge win for me. It also looks like this product is fairly new to the US market, but I’m seeing them available at REI. However, for the packaging claiming to be a “protein bomb” there isn’t as much as protein as I would expect. I prefer to see closer to 20 grams (vs just 9 in this) and less sugar. All that aside, I will be eating this.
All natural, gluten free, GM free, whey protein
Value: $2.30 

GU Energy Chews: Formally known as GU Chomps, the packaging has been redone to make single servings more convenient. You get four good sized chews in the new packaging, versus eight before. I love this because the former packaging was a pain to deal with while in motion running or cycling. So I can’t wait to try it out.
Value: $1.30

Massage & Recovery Ball: I’m always curious as to what non edible item is going to be in the box. I don’t have a foam roller, so I’ll sometimes grab a tennis ball and pinpoint areas. So while I love the idea of including something like this, I just wish this ball was firmer. I do like the spikes on the ball! Though, I’m not sure I would pay the price listed on the card. You can get a tennis ball for just a couple of dollars.
Value: $7

I feel like this was a pretty average box. I was getting low on drink hydration mixes so getting some is great, but I have more gels than I know what to do with. This was a lower value box of just over $17, but I don’t subscribe expecting a crazy good value. I truly get excited about discovering and trying products in the box. And then telling people about it.

—m.

Our House

Landscaping Progress!

May 12, 2015

I feel like we’ve been talking about getting our front yard re-landscaped for probably three years now. Oh wait, that’s because we have. It finally started today and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel so adult-like having someone come in and do landscaping. The work is suppose to be finished up tomorrow, so then I’ll get to do a true before and after post.

But for now, this is how yard currently looks. Goodbye old, rotten railroad ties…hello new stone wall!

Landscaping_Progress

—m.

Everyday Moments

Caught My Eye No. 6

May 1, 2015

Hello, May! We’re hosting a family birthday party at our house tomorrow for Tim. BBQ, drinks and sunshine. Sounds like a plan to me.

STL_Statue

• I’m making this strawberry-basil soda for tomorrow’s party, but am substituting Limoncello instead of squeezed lemons. Hope it turns out.

• I’m also thinking about ordering this snack sampler to keep at work.

• According to this list, I am a happy person. I can check off every item.

• Just found myself three new Instagram accounts to follow.

• I backed this water bottle Kickstarter campaign. The only other Kickstarter campaign I’ve backed was also a water bottle. I guess I love water bottles?

• How crazy is it to think that DNA-Based Personalized Medicine will probably happen in our life time? Real crazy, but awesome, too.

• This Twin Strangers thing is nuts. Makes me want to find mine!

• I grew up with a long-haired dachshund (her name was Brittney), so of course I’m smitten with this puppy.

• And lastly, all of the things a cellphone has replaced.

—m.