Friday, February 19, 2021

Taking a Blogging Break

Hey there! So I had a different post all set to go out today but these past two weeks have had us totally beat and to be honest-- I think I need a little blogging break for a week or so. 

Its funny because this feels so true lately!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Health + Wellness Ideas

 Last week we had our monthly Not Just a Mom post and the topic was healthy habits + staying motivated. I LOVED reading all of your ideas on how to stay healthy and motivated. I kept reading several of your posts and thinking "oh yeah, I do that too!" So today I am piggybacking off some of your ideas from last week and sharing a little bit more about my healthy habits. We could almost call this post "Healthy Habits Part 2". 😉

Monday, February 15, 2021

Spa From Home Night

 Hi there! A couple weeks ago one of my best friends Sam and I had a "spa night" at home. Think face masks, mani/pedis, good snacks and a little red wine. It was a blast and we keep talking about how we can't wait to do it again. I thought I'd share some of the things we did/items we used with you in case this sounds like something you'd like to do too! Whatever it takes to make staying home sound fun these days, am I right? 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Our Kitchen: Before and After

 Hi there friends and happy Friday! We are slowly but surely moving back into our home over here and it feels so good to be back! We moved out on September 1st and back in on February 5th-- 5 months of a renovation. We had almost every room in our house changed in some way or another, and now that we are back our house is unrecognizable. It feels like a totally new house, yet still in the area we love so much. Today I want to share with you our kitchen before and after pictures. My plan is to share a different room every couple of weeks as we start to get things pieced back together. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for today's look at our kitchen!


Now just in case you weren't aware of just how small and outdated our kitchen was beforehand, here is a look:

And remember a couple years ago when I had done the marble contact paper to cover up the counters? This is what the counters actually looked like underneath:

Here's another look from the marble countertop post I wrote a couple years back:

 We had the dishwasher replaced since then, but otherwise it was still a very outdated kitchen. The cabinets had seen better days, and there wasn't a backsplash. 

 The biggest problem with updating our kitchen was that it was going to be a lot more complex than just updating the appliances. Yes, that would've helped, but honestly it would've been a "lipstick on a pig" situation because it still would've been too small and poorly designed/not functional. We used to joke that we never had a "took many cooks in the kitchen" problem because it was impossible to fit more than one person in there at a time while cooking. 😀

After 7 years of saving, countless hours searching Pinterest and Zillow for inspiration, and several planning sessions, we finally had a plan. We met with several contractors and found one we really liked, who sent us this as our initial drawing:

 We moved the staircase out of the way, and were able to open up the kitchen to make the space feel bigger and more open. 

So when you first walked in our front door, your view used to be this:


 But now it's this:


  Just a little bit different huh??

My plan is to add some fun, festive items to the floating shelves around different holidays. Right now I only have a red towel out for Valentine's Day, but to be honest we are still unpacking from the move so "festive decorating" is literally the last thing on my mind.


This cabinet here folds up and slides back to open. It has our spices, mixer, and some other less commonly used items.


Here's the view from the side. You can see where we moved the stairs to!

One of the questions or comments I'm getting the most from friends and family is about the lights above the island. A couple years ago when Devin and I went to Bali we saw these woven seagrass lights everywhere. They were in our AirB&B, in restaurants, in shops, etc. We loved the look of them and kept saying "I wish we could do something like that at home, but it would probably look weird since Charlotte isn't a tropical place". Well fast forward two years later and we still never found anything we liked more or felt more "us". Everything we kept stumbling across felt kinda stuffy, which we are not! Life around here is pretty casual and relaxed and we wanted our home to emanate that. We finally came to this realization of "we like these the most by far, let's just do it!". 
The ones we ended up buying were from a small shop in Bali that works with local artisans to support them. I love looking at them and knowing they were handmade by someone in Bali, which brings back memories of one of our favorite trips. The shop has a bunch of other cool stuff if you want to check it out online here, and they gave me a 15% off code if you end up purchasing from them: dontmindthemess15

Thanks so much for reading along today! I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Our Coffee Bar Area

Last month Shay and Erika did a coffee bar theme for their "Let's Look" link up, but at the time, we still weren't back in our house. I may have missed the link up for it, but figured it would still be fun to show our current coffee bar setup anyway... and for you to see my OCD side come out a little bit 😂.

 Our current coffee bar setup is pretty straightforward:


Monday, February 8, 2021

Not Just a Mom: Healthy Habits and Staying Motivated

Good morning everyone and welcome to February's Not Just a Mom link up! Today Adrienne, Dara, Jen, Joanne, Sarah and I are discussing some of our healthy habits and how we stay motivated. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Grocery Shopping: Trader Joe's vs. Aldi vs. Harris Teeter

 Hi there! Several years ago an Aldi grocery store popped up near my parents house. My mom LOVED it, but I just couldn't get into it. It felt so different from my regular store and apparently when I grocery shop I like things that feel familiar. Well fast forward awhile and several of my girlfriends were talking about how much they loved Aldi. I decided to give it another shot and go in with a more open mind... I was pleasantly surprised! The prices are incredibly low, the store is run very efficiently, and they had some really unique/delicious foods available. I kept going back and the more I go, the more I love it. 

That being said, Aldi doesn't have everything I need so I usually end up making two store trips in order to get the remainder of my list. All of a sudden a blog post idea was born: what if I made my list, bought what I could at Aldi, and then compared the prices of the food at Aldi to my regular store, Trader Joe's? What if I compared those prices to our other local store, Harris Teeter? I have seen a few other bloggers compare shopping lists and am always intrigued, so why not give it a go myself? 

Before I left to go shopping, I called my mom to tell her about the Aldi vs. Trader Joe's vs. Harris Teeter experiment I was about to conduct. Her reaction? "You know Aldi and Trader Joe's are owned by the same company right? Something German. I'll be curious to see how they compare". Now I was even more intrigued! So I made my list for the week, and headed to Aldi. I kept the receipt and took it with me to Trader Joe's to buy the rest of my items and compare the prices between the two stores. Later in the week I needed more eggs so I just ran over to Harris Teeter real quick to grab some. I tried to compare the prices at Harris Teeter too, but to be honest the items they had weren't really comparable so I struggled to compare prices sometimes. Let's have a look. Here is my Aldi receipt:


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

5 Random Things and A House Sneak Peak

 Good morning! I have seen on Erika's blog a couple times where she does "5 Things" and I love the randomness. This week as I was thinking "what do I want to write about" my brain kept dumping out a bunch of scattered thoughts. I decided to roll with it and just like Erika, share my 5 assorted thoughts. I also have one sneak peak picture for your of our renovation as we are slowly moving back in! 

1. Zillow.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Monthly Goals February

 Good morning and happy Monday! I hope your Monday is off to a great start so far.

 We are here at the beginning of another month which means it is time to make some new goals. Last month I read the book Loving My Actual Life, and in the book the author tries an experiment for 9 months to see what changes she make in her own life to see how she can improve it. Rather than be frazzled and stressed out all the time she wanted to see what positive changes she could make and whether or not they would make a difference. One of the things she tried was to incorporate more time for quiet in her daily life-- this really resonated with me! I realized that every day our house is full of noise from 6:30 am until about 7:30 at night. While a lot of it is good noise: kids playing with each other, family talking to one another, etc., some of it is just background noise: Alexa telling us the news, me listening to an audiobook, music playing in the background, a podcast, etc. There is something that really resonated with me about the importance of quiet. Maybe I can be more present in the moment if I don't have so many things going on to distract me. So some of my goals this month will be relating to incorporating more quiet in my day-- something I think I will be very grateful I did!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Books I Read in January

 Good morning! I hope you all had a nice week. Today I am sharing the 4 books I was able to read in the month of January. As always, thank God for audiobooks otherwise this wouldn't have happened 😆. Three of the four books were really good, and one was only so-so. Let's have a look:

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Mango Dreamsicle Smoothie

Good morning! This is one of my favorite go-to smoothies lately. Super healthy, easy, and delicious. Exactly what I love in a smoothie!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What's Up Wednesday

 Hi there and happy What's Up Wednesday! Usually at this point in the month I comment about how quickly the month has flown by, but this month has crawled for us. Anyone else? I don't know if it's because we have been anxiously waiting to move back into our house, or if it's been the cooler winter temperatures or what. Either way, bring on February!!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Amazon Finds January

 Good morning friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. We actually were able to get into our house and start moving some of the furniture back into the bedrooms this weekend. Our house isn't 100% finished, but the bedrooms were and it felt like such a relief to be able to start making our house a home again. Today I am sharing my Amazon finds for the month of January.

Friday, January 22, 2021

My Fitness Routine: Half Marathon Training

 Good morning friends! So at the end of last year I posted a little survey about what kinds of things you were hoping to read more of on here in 2021. One of the most common things you all asked for was an update on my fitness routine, specifically on running. I made a mental note to add that to my calendar at some point this year, and then this little email found its way into my inbox last week:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Air Fryer Honey Balsamic Zucchini

Good morning friends! Sorry I haven't posted a recipe in awhile. When I posted my end-of-the-year survey about a month ago I learned that most of you genuinely like the recipes and wanted more of them in 2021. I cannot tell you how happy that made me! I feel like I am still learning more about cooking as I go, but every time we are able to make a new delicious recipe I want to make sure I share it. Now, I probably won't be sharing them every single week again, but just from time to time whenever we try something new that we really like. Just like this recipe here today, our air fryer honey balsamic zucchini:


Here's What You'll Need:

- 2 zucchini, chopped

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 1 tbsp honey

- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

- salt and pepper to taste

1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add to air fryer basket (you may have to do two batches depending on size of air fryer).

2. Preheat air fryer to 375. Cook zucchini for 15 minutes, stopping to shake basket 2-3 times throughout. 

3. Enjoy! 

Lily Grace and Liam LOVE these! They are always the first thing gone on their plates 😀 I love it when my kids love a vegetable and know you all do too. Maybe try this next time you're looking to whip up something quick, easy and healthy?

Have a good day! See you back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Life Lately Part 2

 Hello again! Over the weekend I realized that I had not done a Life Lately post on here in over 2 months... and I had a LOT of pictures to share! On Monday I shared the first half, and now here I am today to share the rest. Snuggle up under a cozy blanket and come see how the Darrell's celebrated the holidays 😁

So where we last left off we were between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were buckling down and staying home as much as possible due to rising COVID numbers, so we spent a lot of time baking and doing crafts at home. I have to say, while the reason for staying home so much this holiday season was obviously terrible, it was actually kind of nice to be forced to stay home. This was the first Christmas season in years where I didn't feel stressed from trying to do too many things. We didn't have any holiday parties to attend this year. No Christmas plays at school (sad, but it's always another thing to squeeze into the calendar). No "extra" activities because they weren't happening this year. It was the most relaxing and peaceful holiday season we've had in a very long time, and I'm hoping next year we don't go back to all the busy-ness again.

Here we are baking some Christmas cookies:


Monday, January 18, 2021

Life Lately Part 1

 Hi there! I hope you had a nice weekend and your Monday is off to a great start. I realized over the weekend that I haven't done a "Life Lately" post in over 2 months. That is a long time considering we've had the holidays and so much else going on! I decided to split this post into a part 1 and a part 2 because otherwise this post would have 50+ photos... and nobody has time for that! Today is going to be  a random dump of photos from my phone from mid November- mid December. Then on Wednesday I will share the rest! Grab yourself a cup of coffee and come see what we've been up to lately:

Friday, January 15, 2021

Our Experience With Modsy Online Interior Decorating

 Hey there friends! Happy Friday! Today is the day we were supposed to be cleared to move back into our home-- but it got pushed back another week, ugh! After 5 months of renovations we are SO excited to get to move back home. Back in September we began our major renovation, and as we were getting closer to moving back in Devin and I were trying to figure out how to use the furniture we previously had in our new space. We knew we needed to buy some new furniture, but wanted to try to use what we had wherever possible. We kept going over the layout in our heads and kept getting frustrated trying to make it work. Luckily I have a wonderful friend, Kathleen, who had recently used the website Modsy to help redecorate her home office and master bedroom. She suggested we give Modsy a try and I am SO happy we did! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

January Goals

 It feels a little funny to be just now posting my monthly goals and we are almost halfway through the month, but this month was off to a busy start! If you are new around here I am a big believer in goal setting. I love to set goals for myself each year, and then mini goals each month towards helping me reach my bigger goals. Last week I posted my yearlong goals for 2021, and this week I am sharing some smaller goals for the month of January.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Not Just a Mom: Getting Cozy

 Well hi there friends! I hope you are having a good start to the week so far. Today is our first post for Not Just a Mom 2021, and the topic is getting cozy! 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Goals for 2021

 Hey there! So here we are at the end of the first full week of January, and a full week into the new year. You all know how much I love setting goals for myself and New Years Resolutions are my jam!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

December Books

One of my New Year's Resolutions in 2020 was to read 40 books. When we all first went into quarantine I thought "oh, I'll have so much more time to read since I won't be going anywhere". It turns out I was WRONG! Very wrong. Wrangling two young kiddos all day while simultaneously trying to navigate at-home teaching AND keeping the kiddos busy while Devin was leading webinars/conference calls/etc turned out to be very much the opposite of "I'll have so much time to read". Yet somehow I was able to do it! I give all the credit to audiobooks because I think at least half of my books I "read" this year were audiobooks I listened to while doing laundry/dishes/driving/taking Liam for a walk. Also, it turns out I had read a book earlier this year and forgot to check it off my list! Let's have a look at what I read in December:

Monday, January 4, 2021

Amazon Finds-- December 2020

 Hi there! I hope you all had a good break. I initially had not intended to take last week off but then it ended up being a crazy whirlwind of traveling to see my parents and then my in-laws. It ended up being nice to just spend that extra time with them, not focusing on anything other than good quality family time. Now I am back and ready for the new year! You all know how much I love goal setting and the opportunity to start fresh. A new year is a whole new world of possibilities. I love it. But before we move on, let's have a look back at December and my Amazon purchases.