Sunday Social

Sunday Social

 I’m linking up with Ashley and Neely for their Sunday Social link up

1. What is one thing you hate doing?

Laundry.  It’s never ending.  As soon as you have it done, there’s more to do.

2. What is the one thing you hate shopping for?

Jeans.  I’m hoping Stitch Fix will find me a pair this month because I waste so much time trying on jeans.  Other people have had great luck with them and they just added jeans preferences to their style quiz.

3. What is one thing you love doing?

Working out.  I always feel a sense of accomplishment after I finish a really tough workout.

4. What is one place you love going?

Nantasket Beach.  My girls and husband love the beach, but I love the carousel:

Love!

Love!

5. What is your favorite thing to do that you do daily?

Read.  I like to end each night reading before bed.  I don’t read anything too serious, but I read every night before I fall asleep.

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth

Mission Organization: Stacking Acrylic Trays

Okay, so I know I’m a little crazy, but when I find something I love I want to share it with everyone.  Usually I’m sharing things that don’t work in our house and how I’m trying to fix them.  Today I am going to share something that has worked since the day we bought them: Stacking Acrylic Trays from the Container Store!  They come in small ($5.99-$8.99) and large ($6.99-$17.99).  I know that there are cheaper versions out there, but these are so heavy duty they can be loaded up and moved around and you don’t have to worry about them bending or breaking.

I’ve been using the large trays for 4-5 years now.  Last year we remodeled our bathroom and I was so worried that these trays that had lived in a drawer in our bathroom cabinet wouldn’t fit (we replaced our 48″ cabinet with a 24″ cabinet).  But…we made the switch so that we could finally accomodate a linen cabinet.

Style Selections Northrup White Linen Cabinet (Common: 18-in; Actual: 18-in)

Style Selections Northrup White Linen Cabinet

In the middle is a drawer which fits my trays perfectly.  That drawer is all mine :)

And here’s what’s in it:

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Large 14 Compartment Tray with Pencil & Brush Tray

The drawer holds two 14 compartment acrylic trays (which are great becasue some of the dividers are removable allowing you to fit larger items) and a bruch and pencil tray on top of one of the large trays.

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Large 14 Compartment Acrylic Tray

Hair clips, headband and even an eyelash curler fit in these compartments.

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Large 14 Compartment Acrylic Tray

The compartment holding the CC Cream has had a divider removed.  My smaller foundation samples are underneat the CC cream.

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Brush and Pencil Acrylic Tray

My brushes have to face alternating ways because of the handle shape.  But they still fit in their designated space and they don’t move even when I open and close the drawer.  And I love the larger compartment for mascara and larger brushes like my blush brush.

This has always worked for me and I love it.  Last summer I was tired of digging around for the girls hair elastics and curlies.  I could never find enough in the color I wanted and it was driving me crazy.  After hours of looking on pinterest and Google, I realized the 14 compartment trays would be perfect.

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Three 14 compartment acrylic trays

In one bureau drawer (in Ella’s room – she has the larger bureau) we have three 14 compartment acrylic trays.  (We probably need one more!)  The two trays on the right stack up to the depth of a normal bureau drawer.

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So many elastics

One tray holds JUST elastics! They are sorted by color making it a lot easier to grab what we need to do hair in the morning.

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Curlies, Curlies and More Curlies

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And even more curlies!!!

All of our Gymboree curlies are sorted by color.  No more digging because I can only find one white one and need two or wondering do I have 4th of July curlies (top right corner, top picture – we have enough for 6 kids :) ).

Do you use acrylic trays to organize your house?  I’d love to hear what you are using them for.  If not, maybe I inspired a little organizing.

~ Elizabeth

 

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

I’m again linking up with Jennifer at Mom’s Got Mail for her Friday Fave Five blog hop.  I was writing this the day after we lost power for 24 hours so my husband suggested one of my favorites should be electricity :)  I vetoed that, so here are my five favorite things this week:

Favorite for Beauty:

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Not Soap Radio Shower Gel

Not Soap Radio Shower Gel in Joy Inducing.  I got this in my August Birchbox and I love it.  The scent is lemon sugar so it’s not a Pledge lemon smell.  I love the descriptions of their scents (the stuff that Cupid dips his arrows in and Bubbles, not Carbs) and I’ll be trying some more.

Favorite Food:

Trader Joe’s Fettuccine with Mushrooms

Trader Joe’s Fettuccine with Mushrooms: Yum!  I love this.  I think it’s three servings a bag, but I eat half the bag as a serving (6 Weight Watchers Points).  The pasta is in little “nests” and the sauce is in cubes so you can easily take out half the package without thawing the entire thing.  The sauce has a nice buttery flavor, this doesn’t taste like “healthy” food.  This makes an easy meal for one or bulk it up with more mushrooms and a salad and you could easily feed a few.

Favorite for Kids:

Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House! Wash and Dry Dish Set

Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House! Wash and Dry Dish Set: My girls got this for Christmas last year with their play kitchen.  I love that it’s real looking, just smaller.  The dish rack and utensil holder are metal and the dishes are a nice heavy plastic.  We’ve had this for 8 months and nothing is broken and this set gets A LOT of use.

Favorite Organizing:

Large Stacking Acrylic Tray: Container Store

Large Stacking Acrylic Tray: Container Store

These are such a favorite I’ll be doing a post on them later today.  Ranging from $6.99-$17.99 they are affordable and they are heavy duty.  You can load them up and pick up the entire tray without worrying about it bending in the middle.  The 14 compartment tray has some removable dividers so you can fit some larger items.  They also stack great without sliding.  I love these so much I actually wrote a post about them!

Favorite Clothing:

Stitch Fix Subscription Review - June 2014 Green Dress I love everything about this dress and would LOVE one in my next box (Jenny)

Stitch Fix Dress on My Subscription Addiction

Liz over at My Subscription Addiction got this dress in her Stitch Fix.  At $58 it is pricey for a dress, but I love the wide waistband.  I am obsessed with this dress.  The waist, the sleeves, the neckline and the fact that it’s jersey.  I love everything about it!

Thanks for checking out my favorites this week!

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links. 

September 2014 Birchbox Man Review

Birchbox Man is $20 a month (less if you pay for the year at once) and includes lifestyle and grooming items.

My husband received his September Birchbox Man last week.  The lifestyle item (non-grooming) can really make or break the month for us, and I had peeked at the account and saw that for the second month in a row we were getting a lifestyle item that really suits him.  This month he was actually getting two lifestyle items (that don’t really suit him).

The September Birchbox Man was a collaboration with Bonobos which is a men’s clothings site.  Since my husband rarely has to dress up, I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a great box for him before I ever saw spoilers.

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First Look: September Birchbox Man + Bonobos

The Products:

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RIADA by Adair Tie Bar

RIADA by Adair Tie Bar: $20.00

This is made of wood and the design on ours is three vertical stripes.  While not something he would generally want, he says he will use it.  But, it may get swapped.  He works in a bakery so he never has to wear a tie and we were really hoping for the Eastern Collective Lightning Cable that was featured in the preview video, but that was only in THREE boxes!

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Bonobos Triple Dot-Tango Orange Pocket Square

Bonobos Triple Dot-Tango Orange Pocket Square: $42.00

He has no use for this and I was going to give it to the girls to use as a napkin for their tea sets, but at $42.00 that’s a really expensive napkin for tea parties :)  They may still get it.  I’m not totally disappointed in this because everyone got one, but socks would have been more useful.

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SmartSkin A27 Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Smart Skin A27 Anti-Aging Eye Cream: $125.00 full size, $40.00 sample value

Men got to choose a sample for their Birchbox Man boxes this month, and this is what my husband chose.  We had no idea that it was such an expensive product!  The full size is only .5 oz!  I like that men now get sample choice, but I really wish they got to choose their lifestyle item instead!

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Baxter of California After Shave Balm

Baxter of California After Shave Balm: $18.00 full size, $2.25 sample value

My husband hasn’t used this yet, but it’s supposed to soothe irritation and reduce redness.

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Gilchrist and Soames Lotion

Gilchrist & Soames Body Lotion: $16.00 full size, $3.00 sample size

I got this a few boxes ago and really like it, so if my husband doesn’t use it I will.  If this has a scent, it’s very mild.  Their products are eco-friendly and cruelty free.

There were 5 products this month (this was the first time we got two lifestyle items).  We paid about $19 for the box (we have a prepaid year) and received $107.25 in product!!!  This is the most valuable box we’ve ever received!  And, we will get 50 points for reviewing the products on the Birchbox website.  But the best part is that without the two lifestyle items, the box is still valued at $45.25 – more than double the cost of the box.  I hope that this is a trend we will continue to see with Birchbox Man so that the lifestyle item doesn’t make or break the value of the box.

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Thursday Thoughts

TTGood-copyI’m again linking up with Jennifer at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for her Thursday Thoughts link-up.

~ It seems like summer is crashing to a close, even though it’s finally started to get warm around here.  Now that school is starting, our schedules will start getting crazy with dance and soccer.  I’m going to need to get a lot better at menu planning…  Suggestions?

~ I am in love with these planner organizers from etsy:

Erin Condren Planner Organizers on Etsy

There’s a grocery list, meal planner, to do list and cleaning list in the bundle and she also offers ones for spending and bill paying.  I’m thinking I might get them as a PDF so I can reprint them year to year.  Plus, I’m not sure if I want my grocery list to be on a laminated paper with a dry erase marker.  I might just print it each time.

~ The house is finally getting clean (like really, really clean).  I need to find a better way to keep things less cluttered.  I spend at least half my time cleaning putting stuff back where it belongs.  I think a trip to the Container Store will be in our near future.  :)

~ I’m totally in love with Married At First Sight.  A friend turned me on to it and I can’t stop watching.  Will they stay together?  Why do I care so much?

Married At First Sight

~ Since summer weather never happened here, I am moving right into fall and embracing it.  Michael’s has 40% off their flowers this week (they seem to always be on sale), so I’d like to try this (with fake pumpkins instead of real because that would be a REALLY long time to leave pumpkins sitting there):

Porch decor in a bucket

Fall Steps Decor

We have two buckets like this, one oval and one circle, that should fit great on our front and side steps.  I love the extra pumpkin outside the bucket too :)

~ We’ve slowed down on our boxes (I’m skipping Julep until I use up 10 of my polishes), but a Birchbox Man review will be up later today.

What’s on your mind this week?

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.

Mission: Organization The Girls’ Closets

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about organizing around the house.  That’s because I really haven’t done any organizing all summer.  We’ve spent weekends at the beach, playground and my parents pool and just enjoyed the time together.  But now it’s time to get back to organizing – especially with school starting in two weeks.

A month ago, we were heading out with my parents and I went looking for a dress for Ava to wear.  Long story short, I spent and hour digging through Ella’s closet – couldn’t find the accessories I wanted and it was just a mess.  I really haven’t touched the closets much since each girl was born, so they had accumulated five years and two years of clutter.

This is a work in progress, but let’s look at the before, and then let’s never speak about this mess that we lived with again :)

The Before:

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Ella’s Closet: Left Side

Ella’s closet has two sides with sliding doors.  Both closets have Elfa closet systems that we desgined from The Container Store. Elfa is not cheap and their are more affordable choices out there.  But, Elfa is what we started using ten years ago and I love that we can mix and match components from one closet to another.

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Ella’s Closet: Right Side

Ella’s closet has shelf baskets in the middle, and hanging storage and smaller shelves on the left and right side.  At the top of her closet are two shelves that run the full length.

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Ava’s Closet

Ava’s closet is half the size of Ella’s and has a single door.  She has the same types of storage in her closet, but just half of it :)

The Mess:

1.  Inability to find dresses and shoes: Once Ava was born and we knew that we had two girls, I had been leaving all of Ella’s dresses and shoes she outgrew in her closet for Ava once Ava got big enough.  The problem was that there were so many dresses that I couldn’t find them when I needed them.

2. Stuffed animals: Ella has A LOT of stuffed animals.  And she plays with all of them.  But, the bins that I put in the bottom of her closet were overflowing and not getting used.

3. Baby stuff no longer in use: All the baby gear that we still have was in Ava’s closet taking up space for things we’d like to store.

The Process:

Stuffed Animals

Stuffed Animals!

The process for this one was pretty simple.  I emptied out both closets and sorted through.

We categorized the items:

1.  Ella and my husband went through the stuffed animals.  “Baby” stuff went away in the attic (that was about 6 items).  The rest were sorted by category.  Seasonal toys went in the boxes for their season (I try to keep holiday specific toys in a bin to take out at that time to keep some things “new”).

2.  I sorted clothes and shoes into piles: Too big for Ella, too big for Ava, too small for either girl.

3.  We sorted through the rest and decided what we would keep and what we would get rid of (some baby gear with no sentimental value).  Then further sorted to decide what should be in closets so we can access it and what should go in the attic.

The After:

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Ella’s Closet Left Side

This is still a work in progress, but you can see how many dresses were weeded out from the photo above. Her shoes for school are in the bottom shelf basket, spare sheets are in the middle one, and school clothes are in the top shelf basket. The two shoe boxes above the dresses are for shoes she’s currently wearing. We don’t keep them in their boxes, but I like to keep the boxes for storing the shoes until Ava can wear them.

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Ella’s Closet: Right Side

The right side of the closet is mostly stuffed animals.  The basket shelves next to the door are the same ones seen in the Left Side picture.  Ella has a shelf of “special” stuffed animals she doesn’t want her sister to reach, so they are up high.  Below that is our Sesame Street collection.

Ava's Closet

Ava’s Closet

Ava’s closet has all of the dresses in her size and the next size.  The shelf next to the dresses holds hats and shoes in the next size.  Below that in the shelf baskets are towels, blankets and spare diapers.  We use the shelf baskets in both girls rooms and I love them.  I can pile stuff up easier and they are great for smaller kids items.

Next Steps:

Since I am trying to be mroe organized, I’d like to add a hanging sweater bag to each girls closet:

Hanging Sweater Bag

so that I can lay out their clothes for the week.  It’s not something I’ve ever done, but I’m trying to do as much as possible to save time in the morning.  Luckily, with the Elfa system, I can move the components around to accomodate this.

Thanks for looking, and I’d love to hear any suggestions anyone has for organizing kid’s closets.

~Elizabeth

Finish This…

finishthis-linkupbutton

I’m linking up today for the Finish This… hosted by  LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31).  Basically, they provide the prompts and I have to finish the sentences.

My daily hair routine consists of washing and (hopefully) drying every night.  I workout 5 days a week so my hair has to be washed almost every night.  I like to dry my hair because it styles better in the morning and has more body if I do that.  In the morning I use the flat iron.
The best hair advice I’ve received is to get a good hair cut.  The better the hair cut, the easier it is to style.
My hair idol is Kate at The Small Things Blog.  Her video on flat ironing is awesome and the stuff she does with her hair is so easy.  I’ve definitely added more styles to my routine since finding her blog.

 

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth

Liebster Award

liebster[1]

Thank You Fashion Beyond Forty for nominating me.

I was nominated by Teena at Disabled Mommy of Two a while ago, and then I was just nominated again.  What is a Liebster Award? It’s not an actual award, but the nomination helps spread the word about a blog. It’s a great way to learn more about other bloggers and help increase views to other blogs.  I wasn’t going to participate again, but the rules and questions are different so I figured it would be fun to do.  I won’t be nominating anyone because everyone I know of has just been nominated!

Here are the rules:

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the person who nominated you will post.
3. Choose 11 new blogs with under 200 followers for their Liebster Award, notify them that thy have been nominated, and think of 11 questions for them to answer.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1. I am the youngest child in my family and the only girl.

The Family 1980

2. I love to shop and find deals. It doesn’t have to be for me, I love finding the best deals for other people too.
3. If retail paid better, I’d work in retail again.

4. I’ve been a Zumba Fitness instructor for 6 years and am licensed to teach Zumba, Zumba Toning and Zumba Step.

Zumba Fitness

5. I love to work out, but hate taking time away from my kids to fit in working out with teaching class and my full time job.

6. I hate to cook, but I love to bake. I leave the cooking to my husband :)

7. I am a huge Disney fan – the movies, TV shows, and of course Disney World. We haven’t been for 8 years, and I can’t wait to take the girls some day.

Image courtesy of fodors.com

8. I have a love/hate relationship with smart phones. I love the convenience, but I wish people would put them down more (including my husband!)

9. My car is always a mess. As soon as it’s clean, the girls take toys, books, snacks…and leave them behind.

10. I love to clean and can’t stand when things are disorganized.

11. I have never colored my hair.

Here are the questions that Joely asked me:

1. What is your obsession other than fashion / beauty.

I think it would be organizing.  I am obsessed with getting the most storage out of our house.

2. If you could have any guest blogger, who would it be and why?

Kate from the Small Things Blog.  She has so much practical information to share.

3. Can you give us a skin care, or makeup tip?

Don’t forget your eyebrows.  I am obsessed with Benefit’s Gimme Brow.  My eyebrows are non-existant in the summer and this is so natural (much better than pencils) and it lasts a long time.

Benefit Gimme Brow

Benefit Gimme Brow

4. What is your biggest fear?

I’ve said it before….going out and forgetting to wear a bra.

5. What is your “lazy day” outfit?

Yoga pants and a tee shirt or running shorts and a tee shirt.

6. What one beauty practice do you put off or skip at times?

I am bad about washing my face.  I use makeup remover wipes, but need to be a lot better about really washing it.

7. If you could have any one high priced item in your closet for free, what would you choose?

SHOES!  Really nice shoes!

8. What would you like more time for in your life?

I’d like more time to get everything done and spend time with my family.

Story time with Ariel

Story time with Ariel

9. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what one beauty product would you want with you?

Sunscreen.  I burn really easily.

10. If you were stuck on a deserted island what one dessert would you want an unlimited supply of?

Ice cream!

11. Why did you start blogging?

I was always commenting on other people’s reviews that I figured I might as well start my own blog.

 

Thanks again for nominating me, and please check out Fashion Beyond Forty and my nominees when you have time!

~Elizabeth

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

 I’m linking up with Ashley and Neely for their Sunday Social link up

1. What are you most looking forward to about Fall?

Pumpkin everything!  (This will probably be very bad for my healthy eating goals)  I love the muffins, pumpkin bread, lattes.  It’s all fabulous!
2. What is your favorite sports team?

The Patriots
3. If you could go back to college is there one thing you would change?

I would change my major to library science.
4. What was your favorite class you ever took? HS or College

I took a class in Broadway history to satisfy a General Ed. Requirement in college.  It was so fun and introduced me to a lot of musicals I knew nothing about.
5. Reach into your purse what is the first thing you grab?

My Erin Condren planner, but only because it’s so big. :)  After that it would be a lip gloss.

Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner – Back when it was shiny and new :)

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

Friday Fave Five

I’m again linking up with Jennifer at Mom’s Got Mail for her Friday Fave Five blog hop.  I was writing this the day after we lost power for 24 hours so my husband suggested one of my favorites should be electricity :)  I vetoed that, so here are my five favorite things this week:

Favorite for Beauty:

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Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips

Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips: I used to use regular Vaseline on my lips and to remove eye makeup.  Not sure why or when I stopped, but when I received this in my Birchbox + CEW box, I remembered how awesome Vaseline can be.  This is tinted so you can use it during the day and it lasts for at least an hour without being sticky!

Favorite Food:

Pumpkin Is Coming to Dunkin Donuts Sept. 1!

All things pumpkin.  It’s been cool in Massachusetts most of the summer (70s and 80s during the day, but 50s and 60s at night), so I feel like fall is already coming.  Now that I’ve said that, you know that means a heat wave will be coming :)  As sad as I am that summer weather never seemed to really come, the arrival of pumpkin flavored food softens that blow.

Favorite for Kids:

Petit Collage Alphabet Art

Petit Collage Alphabet Art

Petit Collage Alphabet Art Flashcards: We got these in our August Citrus Lane box.  They are a great size (probably 4×6) and very study  The illustrations are great and the letters on the back are nice and big and easy to read.  We’ve been using these a lot with Ava since they arrived yesterday.  She’s been trying to say each animal and is working on her ABCs.

Favorite Organizing:

Toy closet - after

Toy closet – organized with Elfa

Elfa Shelving at the Container Store: I’m not going to lie, this stuff is expensive!  It is truly an investment.  But the Container Store will design your space and cut pieces for you for free and once you buy it, they will redesign your space and cut any pieces for free again.  And, since the components are interchangeable, they can be used in any Elfa space.  We have some left over components from reconfiguring closets and they are going to get used in my upcoming laundry room makeover.   (And looking at that picture, I realize how much that closet needs a coat of white paint!)

Favorite Clothing:

Gymboree Dotted Drawstring Dress: These were on sale last week for $12.99 and they are currently on sale for $15.00.  While the full price of Gymboree clothes is crazy, their sale prices are fair and the quality of their clothes is great.  Ella loves dresses and needed some preschool appropriate dresses.  These are wonderful because there’s no zipper so she can easily dress herself and we can get these through the fall by adding her denim jacket and a pair of leggings.

 

Thanks for checking out my favorites this week!

~Elizabeth

This post contains referral links.