New House: Master Bed and Closet. Before and During

Here she is. In all of her 1961 glory.

Our plan for this house is to update everything but keep the charm of a 60s house. The rooms are fairly large and open, but we plan to open it up even more and add another bed and bath. We will add some much needed lighting throughout. The exterior will get a face lift and the back yard will get some hardscaping. The existing bathrooms will stay the same since they are incredibly 60s and currently updating the grout and caulk. It’s a dream and a vision that will keep us busy for years to come!

Although we’ve made quite a bit of headway, the After pictures won’t be appearing in the near future. The journey so far has been exhausting, frustrating, expensive, and at the same time, incredible and rewarding. I’ll start with all of the Before pictures from the listing and the floor plan.

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floor plan

The pre move-in checklist: Clean, rip out carpets, paint master, paint master closet (office), replace light fixtures, clean, get dryer, remove window treatments, install shelving unit in master closet, clean, get a room ready for the cat.

I started with the carpets and painting the master bedroom and closet.

Master Before:





Master During:

Master Currently:

We still need to add some decor but this room is the closest to being complete. In here we ripped out the carpet, updated electrical, updated light fixtures, replaced the wall vent, painted (Benjamin Moore Old Navy and Behr White) and added our old curtains. We need new curtains that are a little longer, closet system, area rug and eventually a new frame.

On to the master closet (what was the office).




In here we just added a temporary closet system and painted the builtins (Benjamin Moore Old Navy). The builtins took about 4 coats with one coat of primer. I should have had the primer tinted but they still came out amazing. I have some touch ups to do along the mouldings and side. I was going to get new gold hardware but I really like how the old hardware looks on blue.

I want to add a small island in here and add some shelves in the small closet. Closet within a closet… closetception… We still need a new light fixture, a makeup mirror, storage for shoes, and updated electical.

This will eventually have a door to the future bedroom, the washer and dryer, and a custom closet system.

I’ll keep this short(ish) and sweet with only two rooms. There is plenty more to share so come back soon to see some more before and durings!

December 23


And any toys your cat flings in the tree.

There are tons of snowflake patterns online ranging from simple to complex. I did the Star Wars snowflakes a few years back and they came out AMAZING. The printable templates are definitely helpful, but there are a lot you can sketch on and create your own once you get the hang of it.


Four squares cut from a square made from an 8.5×11


Fold a square in half.


Then in half again.


Fold into thirds. This took me a few tries…


Cut it’s little feet off. 


Draw on your pattern.


Cut. The smaller squares are kind of harder to cut. 


Unfold and flatten out. You can also iron between two sheets of paper if needed. 

So simple and pretty! Even the basic ones are pretty. I would love a whole tree full of just paper snowflakes. Maybe next year!

See you tomorrow on CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!

Military Mom Talk Radio Recap

Hello, listeners! Below is an overview of what we discussed on the radio show today with product links, coupon codes, and websites to check out.

Seasons of Skin

Our skin can get very dry and irritated during any seasonal change. Check out some of the products below if your skin is in need of some support!

Mary Kay® Oil-Free Hydrating Gel

Mary Kay® Oil-Free Hydrating Gel 1.8 oz. $32 A lightweight gel formula that is oil and fragrance-free. Gels absorb quickly and leave no residue so they are perfect for warmer weather.


belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb 50 ml. $38 An oil-free gel/cream hybrid that feels lightweight but moisturizes like an oil. Unique herbs give this formula antioxidant, pore minimizing, and humectant powers.


CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief 1.7 oz. $39 Cliniques’s Moisture Surge brand is a top rated and reviewed line. Another cream/gel hybrid that cools and refreshes while drenching skin in much-needed moisture. This formula works for all skin types, but Clinique does make a Moisture Surge Intense cream for very dry to dry combination skin. Other products in this line include an overnight mask, CC cream and face spray.


Algenist Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50

Algenist Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50 1 oz. $28 An all-in-one product that is perfect for busy lives. If you don’t need ultra-hydration but want a moisturizer/SPF combo, Algenist is a great option. Algenist is full of anti-aging ingredients like Alguronic Acid, Vitamin E, Green Tea and herb extracts that boost radiance, protect from damage and minimizes signs of aging.


JERGENS Natural Glow 3 Days To Glow Moisturizer

JERGENS Natural Glow 3 Days To Glow Moisturizer 4 0z. $9.99 If you need a boost of color, try a gradual tan product. Jergens has amazing products that create a natural tan. They have products for face and body and offer lotions for fair to dark skin. Their newest formula has minimal “tan smell” and is completely streak free. They are widely available in stores and online.


Why buy when you can DIY? There are always amazing at-home remedies you can try for your skin as well. Below are some recipes and tricks I use for my skin when it needs help waking up.

I’m sure you have all heard of the cold spoon trick for tired and puffy eyes. If you haven’t tried it yet, try it! Cold stimulates circulation and helps work away and retained fluid causing that puffy look. I would use a barrier between anything cold and your eyes so you don’t burn your skin with that shocking cold. Try a cheese cloth, paper towel or cotton t-shirt around frozen spoons, ice packs or frozen peas.


Coffee and tea help eyes de-puff using its natural ingredient caffeine. Caffeine reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels. Steep 2 black tea bags in warm water for a few seconds, ring out excess moisture (but not all of it) and place on eyes for as long as you can. Coffee grounds work as well. Mix ground coffee in coconut oil making a paste. Apply to eyes and let sit as a mask. With coffee grounds, it’s easier to rinse off in the shower so nothing gets in your eyes. You can also soak a facecloth in brewed coffee and lay it on your face.


Aspirin is a hard worker for inside your body but it also does wonders for the outside as well! Aspirin contains salicylic acid which is an anti-inflammatory and a natural exfoliant. Salicylic acid also brightens skin while reducing redness. Simply dissolve a couple of tablets of uncoated aspirin in water making a paste and apply to face as a scrub or mask. Scroll down to my Girl Expo post to read more benefits of salicylic acid.



Another DIY recipe in my Girl Expo post is one for lip balm and lip scrubs. Coconut oil, sugar, shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil or seed oils are all great for skin care recipes. This lip balm is just two ingredients using shea butter and instant juice mix.


Soon to be Summer

Ahh, summertime. Warm weather, summer travels, and barbecues. If only it were as blissful and simple as Nat makes it out to be. Schedules are usually packed and it seems our invitations can double when the kids are out of school and the weather is nice. Help is on the way! Below you will find some planning guidance and military discounts for any travel you may have to face this season. provides excellent resources and discounts for all things travel. While I am planning a trip, I always refer to even if it’s to get ideas of who offers what. If I’m booking with a group that isn’t listed on the site, I just call or ask for discounts when booking. When I phrase the question in an unoffensive way, they usually are open to offering a discount or upgrade. Example: “I noticed on that (hotel’s name) wasn’t on the list of hotels that offer a military discount. Do you have any discounts for military families?” this sounds better than “The Radisson offers special rates – why don’t you?” which sounds accusatory. When traveling, I ask everyone what discounts they offer even after I’ve booked. Airlines may upgrade your seat at the terminal, restaurants may throw in a free item, hotels may upgrade or discount your room and so on.


Disney is listed on but Disney being Disney, there is a lot of information involved in planning a trip to this magical place. Disney offers their Armed Forces Salute discount to active and retired members only. The 2016 pricing is a 4-day admission with the park hopper option included for $196 plus tax. When booking, call the military resort Shades of Green at Disney to book rooms and ask about purchasing tickets. The rules and eligibility page on the SoG website explains accommodation rates. The SoG website offers a ton of important information so thoroughly go through their website to learn the ins and outs of all of their offers.

If you’re flying with children, you may be full of dread. Travel is unpredictable already then when children are involved, you never know what to expect. Plan what you can plan, be prepared for the worst and it may end up being the easiest trip you’ve ever taken. Packing activities and snacks are necessary but research the airports and airlines for what they offer as well. Some airports have play areas to get energy out and some airlines offer activities and games for kids. When booking a flight, book during your child’s calm-down time if possible. If mornings are a bad time for your little one, a morning flight will be very stressful for your family. For one aisle planes, the back seats can be beneficial being close to bathrooms and for 2 aisle plane, the middle seats offer more move room. A stockpile of devices can be a savior so investing in a few spare battery packs can help with long travel days. Make a detailed list, research for more ideas, call the airlines, airports and TSA for information and hopefully you have smooth(ish) travels.

Packing light will minimize a lot of travel stress. Pack comfortable, versatile and wrinkle resistant clothes. Lay out your clothes and make as many outfits as you need with only a few pieces. Stick to a neutral color palette and dress up items with a colorful large scarf. Scarves can be used as tops, hair wraps, beach cover-ups, blankets and more. Minimize your toiletries. If you are renting a car, you will be able to purchase toiletries when you get there. If you will be at a hotel, they will have shampoo, conditioner, and soap. The front desk usually has other items too if you ask like toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, etc. If you are traveling to a remote destination, check out solid liquids. Solid toothpaste tablets, solid lotion, sunscreen sticks, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, and more.

Minimize your toiletries. If you are renting a car, you will be able to purchase toiletries when you get there. If you will be at a hotel, they will have shampoo, conditioner, and soap. The front desk usually has other items too if you ask like toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, etc. If you are traveling to a remote destination, check out solid liquids. Solid toothpaste tablets, solid lotion, sunscreen sticks, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, and more. Lush Cosmetics, JR Ligget, and Etsy have great solid options. There are also a number of DIY recipes that you could try at home.

Try packing cubes. You can squeeze clothes into a cube and create more space throughout your suitcase. A travel scale will let you know if you are over the airline’s weight limit. Travel with your travel scale if you plan on bringing home souvenirs.


Planning an itinerary and getting to know the area you will be in will be worth its weight in gold. I usually itinerary plan for a year before a big trip and a few month prior to smaller trips. For areas I know nothing about, I read travel books from a few different authors like Lonely Planet and Frommer’s and research online through TripAdvisor. I then research the area with Google Maps to see what’s around like shops, restaurants and site seeing adventures. I never pack a day full of things to do. I plan a half day and leave plenty of time to lounge or explore. Some of the best things we’ve done we’ve found by talking to locals and asking for their advice. If you’re at a hotel and in a touristy area, the concierge or front desk will usually have a list of day tours available through trusted companies. These are usually very affordable and sometimes come with discounted entry tickets to museums and other sites.

Will there be language barriers? Google Translate is a great resource and it offers a download option if you will have limited wifi service.



Girl Expo 2016

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and enjoyed some of my workshops today! Here is an overview of the skincare and makeup class with some of the answers I went over.

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Makeup Artists on YouTube:

Wayne Goss

Julia Graf

Michelle Phan

Jaclyn Hill

YouTube is a freat place to learn some tips and tricks but be sure you practice, practice, practice!

Some other questions:

Avocado Face Mask

Avocado Face Mask


DePuff Eyes

DIY Eye Serum

Coffee Mask

Tea Bags for Eyes


How to become a makeup artist

Find a Makeup Artist School

David Nicholas International

Makeup School Guide


To book a skincare or makeup class for yourself or a group, feel free to email me at


Appreciative Listening


A site full of miraculous sounds and sprightly pictures (still & moving) with descriptions full of whimsical personality by Ross Malcolm Boyd. Visit his site, listen to his music and become part of the Rhinoceross Fan Club. Visit and enjoy.

Artwork by Collin David

A little about his newest album Leading Toward Something:

“Leading Toward Something is a new EP by Ross Malcolm Boyd. These 7 songs draw upon a variety of influences from Peter Gabriel to Danielle Ate The Sandwich to create an earnest album about art and dreams and unicorns.” -Ross Malcolm Boyd

Host for the Holidays


November is Almost Here!




Men, put down your razors! Movember starts November 1st. Of course there are other ways to contribute! Movember has collaborated with some amazing companies like Birchbox, Toms, Harry’s, RPM Fitness, The Giving Keys and Chrome Industries. Birchbox is donating $25,000 to the cause!


March of Dimes Logo Image

November is also Prematurity Awareness Month with the World Prematurity Day on the 17th. Keep an eye out for friends walking and fundraising for the cause. Products that benefit March of Dimes can be found in their online shop.

holiday music card front with keyboard and holly trim in green on a red background

I know it’s a little early to start Christmas shopping but every year I get my cards from an organization that donates a portion of proceeds if not all proceeds to causes. You can go through a list of organizations that offer holiday cards at Buy early to ensure shipping time then your own mailing time.

If you’re cold, they’re cold! Hats for Homeless will send you a box to start collecting hats, gloves, scarves and everything else to keep families in need  warm during these brutally cold months.

Let’s keep the warmth going! One Warm Coat provides coats to anyone in need of one. Donate coats, funds or hold a drive or volunteer. Find out all the ways to help at One Warm Coat.


Haunted Mansion Inspired Halloween Party



Simple, inexpensive and not over the top Halloween. Welcome to my party!



I decided to invest in a pub table since I throw a lot of parties. But this can be done with something as simple as a TV stand. All the tables had purple under-lights. This table has a 23.7 inch top and I used a 108 inch round table cloth. The spider web lace cloth is from Christmas Tree Shops. The acid jar was found at an antique store, the candlesticks were from a craft store then painted black and used black taper candles. All set on a silver tray from the dollar store.


These pre lit branches were purchased last year on Halloween clearance. Get everything you may need after Halloween! The books were a creepy craft posted a few weeks ago and teacups stacked were collected from thrift stores.


Fondue station! To add dimension to your table, simply put some boxes or books under your table cloth. To easily remove wine label bottles, I use the boiling water technique. I like to save my labels but soaking and scrubbing works well too.  The fondue was a very simple recipe and can easily be made into gluten free. 1 bottle of beer, 1 brick of cream cheese and 8 oz freshly shredded cheese. I ended up needing to thicken it so some cornstarch or flour will do the trick.

I tore up some cheesy bread, baked Annie’s pretzels and salami to dip into this godly fondue.


Also on the menu: Pumpkin Dip, Roast Beef Bites with Horseradish Creme Fraihe, cheese board with honey, fig and grapes, brownie bites, caprese skewers drizzled in balsamic reduction and a special box of chocolates from Burdick’s Chocolates. I did need to accommodate for gluten free so ginger snaps, brownies, graham cookies and some breads were gluten free. Find a bakery that specializes in gluten free bread for an unnoticeable switch.


Find inexpensive and festive platters at Christmastree Shops, Marshalls, dollar stores and thrift stores. These can transition from holiday to holiday and will be used year round if you love to host! My night-before trick is to use post its to map out where every food goes so if I need help, my husband can jump right in.

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Candles and creepy cloth go a long way and are a very inexpensive way to add ambiance.

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For the kids or kidults, have some games or activities set up out of the flow of traffic. For the kidult in me, I keep a set of window crayons handy.


Hope everyone has an amazing Halloween and throws some great parties! Happy Halloween!

Case of the Mondays


A helpful tip for anxious minds, forgetful days and and especially comforting when traveling. Happy Monday!