Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reduce sibling fights now! (one STEP at a time)

Maybe it's just my house but we've had some serious struggles when it comes time to brushing teeth. Every night it was a big deal who would stand at which sink and what stool they'd stand on. I was over it. It was time to get rid of the mismatched stools and personalize them so NO MORE arguments!

I searched for the perfect stool and found a great deal on The Personalized Step 'n Store was exactly what I needed. There were several choices: stool color, letter color and word font. I also loved that the top came up so the boys could store things in there. Very cute!

I got 10% off but paid for shipping so the total came to $80.41. My husband thought I was insane to spend so much for two stepping stools -- but it doesn't seem so crazy now that they've stopped fighting, right!! (well, at least at tooth brushing time :) The stools were a total pain to put together but once together they really were adorable and strong. Can I stop them from wrestling in the living room? NO. But can we cut down on the arguments in the bathroom? YUP!

Website review: has a ton of cute thing so make sure to check out the entire website. I ordered on the 22nd and they came on the 27th and I thought the price was fair.
Product review: I love the look of the stools. But, ugh, putting them together sucked. The boys love hiding their toothpaste in the "secret spot". (And unfortunately, some other strange things can be found in there, too :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

GET ORGANIZED! Before you get back to school!

OK. So, I'm not the most organized of people. My coming of age moment was when we drove over an hour on a Saturday to a birthday party in New Jersey (everyone up, showered, fed, presents wrapped... you know the drill) to quickly learn from the Little Gym that the birthday party was actually the next day. Really?! At that moment I knew I needed an intervention.

I went home and began a search for the perfect wipe board/calendar system. I was lovin' the one from Pottery Barn since I could customize it with different modules and wipe it down each month for a fresh start. This thing has certainly improved my overall organization -- and I haven't gone to a birthday party on the wrong day since!

I bought two magnetic wipe board calendars and two display rods (don't forget the display rods or you won't be able to hang them). I hit the mother load with 50% off and no shipping so the total came to $59.98. They look great in the laundry room and make it easy to check the day's events before running out the door. Now if I could only figure out a better way to remember to actually write everything down on it :) I guess it's baby steps!

Product Review: I have gotten my money's worth out of the Pottery Barn organization system. This thing has revolutionized my life (ok, maybe now I'm going overboard). Organization systems are ON SALE RIGHT NOW FOR 20% OFF. Go buy them before school starts!
Website Review: God do I love Pottery If I took pictures of everything I have from Pottery Barn I'd run out of space! Make sure to get on their mailing list since they're always running specials.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Super Cool Kids in Crewcuts!

Since my boys were born I've always loved to dress them like "mini-men". There are a few stores that can accomplish this task and Crewcuts is definitely one of them! I have to hold myself back from buying the entire store (and from the look of all the pictures maybe I already have). I love everything from the ripped jeans and graphic tees to the Converse sneakers. They often run specials so get on their e-mail list and never pay full price. I don't think there's a particular piece I can review -- but I'll say overall the sizes run small. I have also found the arm sleeves tend to be short on some of the tee shirts (Jacob has one particular shirt that he complains that he looks like a girl :)
The quality is always good and I'm able to wash things over and over and they keep their color.

There's a bunch of final sale stuff online with 30% off right now. Lots of items are long sleeve and would be perfect for back to school. Shipping is also free for all orders.

Website review: I love how the website is designed and the category "looks we love". They model an entire outfit and then tell you about each piece. This sure makes styling an adorable outfit easy!
Product Review: Overall very good quality and I love their clothes! A little pricey so you definitely need to hit it with a sale. Arms can be short and sizing can run small.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mix it Up with Mixbook Cards and Stationery

You don't need to ask me twice to host a party. I love entertaining and helping people celebrate a special day. I recently hosted a baby shower for one of my dear friends and wanted to create a special little invitation to set the mood. I found a great website, Mixbook, that let's you start with a blank card and create with the help of prompts and template ideas.

I scammed my friend into taking some pictures holding a sign that said, "Family". I told her I was documenting the pregnancy (since I'm always snapping pictures of people, she wasn't suspicious of my intentions :) I used that picture as the inspiration of the invitation -- and within no time I created something on Mixbook! I like to think of myself as a creative person (which I'm really not) and could use the website with ease. If you happen to have a creative flair, I think you'll really enjoy playing around. And if you're not -- no worries, they have tons of traditional invitation styles to chose from (for all occasions).

Website Review: Mixbook - Seems like you could do a lot on here, from photo books to invitations. I loved being able to upload a picture and create an invitation myself. I liked the price even better -- 25 cards cost only $18 and then I got 25% off. All in - the invites only cost $17.99. I will say the paper was light, but I certainly got a quality product for what I paid for (and I could have upgraded the paper for an additional charge).
Product Review: I love the "start blank card option" and I love being able to upload my own image.

I heart Ballard.

For some (me) decorating your house can be a challenge. I've tried to create an adult space that's warm and inviting while being "kid friendly" and free for our friends and family to enjoy. (I know my mother will laugh at this ... but we had a room in our house growing up called the "Green Room". We couldn't sit in the green room, walk in the green room or even LOOK at that green room for that matter! Don't tell, but my sister, brother and I used to walk on the furniture so she didn't see our footprints on the carpet!)

Anyway, that leads me back to decorating.... I LOVE Ballard Design and have pulled so much inspiration from their catalog. I have bought so many pieces, from the smallest door stop to large furniture like a day bed. I received a table that was damaged and they paid for the return without batting an eyelash.

My most recent purchase (that pulled an entire room together) were their Vintage Cloisonne Prints. I bought all 6 of the unique pictures (above) and hung them over a couch. A huge wall space that I really had no idea what to do with. I still have some more to do in the room ... but I'm getting there! (suggestions welcome :)

Here are some of the other things I have bought at Ballard:

Good Housekeeping print and Laundry Letters for my laundry room:
Alexander Martinot Clock in my kitchen

Coat rack and day bed for an entryway nook:

I've been so happy with all of my purchases. It can be hard to shop online without touching and feeling... but I've never been disappointed! Go ahead -- and go catalog shopping now!

Website Review: I love Ballard. I think they have great customer service and have always worked with me for exchanges/returns. They are always running specials, so get on their e-mail list.
Product Review: I'm speaking specifically to the 6 Vintage Cloisonne. I love the dark wood frame and the unique designs of the picture. Great for my home!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Display that Artwork with Style!

We got a very cool World map wall mural for Jacob's room. (I bought it from but it doesn't seem to be currently available. You can also find it at Jacob really loves looking at the places we've been and where people we know live and vacation.

I had an idea to ask our friends and family from different states/countries to send a postcard addressed to Jacob. (yeah, I actually gave out homework). Jacob was so excited to get all the postcards in the mail and then find them on the map. I couldn't figure out what to do with them but knew I wanted to incorporate them into the room decor (p.s. thanks to all those people far and wide that sent postcards!!)

I found the coolest clotheslines on that were ridiculously cheap and super cute. I loved the one that had blue and white stripped clothes pins and star designed hooks. They were so simple to hang and they helped fill up a large wall space. (Hmmm...I'm feeling inspired to order more and create a layered look.)

These would be a great way to display your child's artwork with style and then switch it out each school year. For $14.95, you kind-of can't beat it. So go ahead, hang your kid's work proudly!

Website Review - The website (and catalog) are beautifully done. The prices are great and I got free shipping -- that's success!
Product Review - I wish they had more clothes pins included, but overall a great product for a great price.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Daddy Gets His Kicks On

The family took a vacation to Margate, NJ we and couldn't resist an excursion to the Atlantic City Outlets. We wandered into the Adidas store and my husband came across his "need to have" item. He spotted the Adidas Campus 2 Sneakers in Navy and fell instantly in love (just like he did with me ;) Being the very savvy shopper he is, he scanned the barcode with his IPhone app, RedLaser, which instantly checks online for price comparisons. (If you don't have this app, download it now!) This was a very smart thing to do since the "outlet" price was $65 and Macy's had the exact pair for $53.99. Outlet price -- I think not! (I guess I should also mention that they didn't have his size.)

We left his love behind with a promise that I would purchase them online. I searched all over and was surprised to find that Macy's really did have the cheapest price. This great price combined with a 20% off coupon was like hitting the jackpot (Side note: Did you know you could use those millions of coupons that you get in the mail when online shopping? Well, there's an online code on the front. I probably could have held out for 25% off but didn't think my husband would make it!)

All in, with delivery, the shoes cost $48 -- which was way better than the "outlet" price of $65!
Website Review - Who would have thought? Better than Zappos, NiceKicks and Shoebuy. Would have liked free shipping and took 4 days to came ... but we couldn't beat the price.
Product Review - He hasn't complained of blisters yet :) Good lookin' sneaks for a good lookin' hubby. We're just trying to keep it cool around here.

P.S. Today he bought another pair of Pumas (Whirlwind) through again. I don't know where he's wearing all these sneakers ....