Monday, March 19, 2018

Recently Read

I'm not a huge reader, but I've been really making a point to read a book instead of stare at nonsense on my phone in my free time. I typically don't have much free time but ever since my hernia surgery recovery (sooo long) plus moving into my MIL's I've got much less things to do around the house (plus we just got internet hooked up last week!) I've also found that I'd rather make use of my time reading than sitting on my phone. Such as while the kids are playing in the bathtub or before I go to bed. 

Anyways, these are the books I've read so far this year!

Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Who doesn't love some fixer upper?! I really loved reading Chip and Joanna's story. I probably read this in 2 days it was that easy and enjoyable. Of course there was many times where I thought psssh yeah right, who does this pure luck stuff just happen to?! I adore their positivity, teamwork, and determination. Even though this is "their story" I did love the overall message it sent to the reader about life. 

The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd ⭐⭐⭐
I enjoy reading about other parents experiences and feeling relieved that you aren't alone with your thoughts/doings/emotions, however I found myself quite bored reading this book. A lot of it was kind of repetitive as well. 

Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Since I loved Magnolia Story, I couldn't resist checking out Capital Gaines from the library. However, I didn't love it as much as Magnolia and I felt a lot of it was repetitive. But still, an enjoyable enough book. Chip is definitely a character! 

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moritary ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I have loved all of Liane Moritary's books. It's almost like a problem solving book piecing the puzzle together and leave you wanting to know what happens next. 

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved this book! It felt like a real life drama and I knew these people. Ha! I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen next and how the ending would be. I even felt like I wanted a follow up of life after the ending. Haha! 

Nantucket Sisters ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Since I loved the Guest Cottage so much, I had to read another N. Thayer book. This story unfolded much differently than I anticipated but it was great. 

Wonder ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I had tears in my eyes multiple times while reading this book! It really put into perspective what kids that are bullied deal with - whether they have a disability or not. Just another reminder to teach and practice kindness above and beyond. 

A few other noteworthy books I read at the end of last year that I really liked that you might too! 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

10 Minutes | 10 Makeup Products

Let me just start by saying - I am no makeup expert by any means! Most days I don't even wear makeup nor do my hair (because 1/2 mom life 1/2 lazy) but I will admit, a little bit of makeup can certainly boost up my mood! The hair though... ain't nobody got time for that!

I've had this post drafted up for a while now and I kept putting off taking a before + after picture. I'll be honest, as shallow as it sounds, I don't love my appearance without makeup. I have freckles, dark circles, and sun/age spots. Shame on me for not taking better care of my skin in my younger years. Over the last few years I started to dislike how much I relied on makeup (besides getting dolled up for fun time to time) so I've been gradually working on investing in better quality products. Tip: Check out the think dirty app to scan products you use.

So here are my current top 10 products I use for a quick everyday look! Eliminate #'s 4 & 6 for an even quicker/simpler look (see picture at bottom).

1. Color Correcting Tinted Moisturizer (CCTM) - Medium
Non GMO - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved
I love this sheer coverage (matte finish - no shine or shimmer) without a cakey feeling. It covers/blends all the red spots and blemishes. Although it does not completely cover my freckles. I love that it has anti aging in it plus SPF and is waterproof. There are two colors - light or medium - and it has the ability to adjust 3 shades darker or lighter to adjust to the color of your skin. Color matching made easy! (Can be used under foundation as well).

2. Concealer - Light
Non GMO - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved
I love using this to cover up the dark circles around my eyes! It is such a light formula and does not crease (thank you fine lines and wrinkles)! A little goes a long way. The tube is small but I've read that it lasts 2-3 years. Another bonus is that it has anti aging!

3. BlushSense - Terra Cotta
Non GMO - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved
This color is a perfect dusty rose pink (IMO). I love the long lasting wear and water resistance. A little goes a loooong way. Like less than a pin drop per use.

4-6. ShadowSense - Moca Java (eyebrow fill) + Sandstone Pearl Shimmer (highlight under eyebrows) + Onyx (eyeliner)
Non GMO - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved - 
I love that this product lasts all day and doesn't budge or crease. It's also water resistant and contains anti aging. It can be used for eye shadow, contouring, eyeliner and more. A tiny bit of this stuff goes a long way no matter which way you use it! I use the Moca Java to fill in my eye brows. I use a tiny bit of the Sandstone Pearl Shimmer under my eyebrows as a highlighter and it could be used on cheekbones or corners of eyes as well. I apply a thin line of Onyx (black matte) using an angled brush for eyeliner  or sometimes use the EyeSense Starry Sky liquid eyeliner for a little shimmer or more bold look. It doesn't budge smear or get in the corners of my eyesnalllll day!

7. UnderSense Lash Builder
Non GMO - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved
UnderSense is my favorite eyelash primer ever! It really helps build my lashes and allow my mascara to last all day long without any flaking off at all. I've found it works best if you apply quickly and apply mascara before it dries. Double it with a waterproof mascara and your lashes will definitely not budge!

8. Mascara - Loreal Butterfly or Mary Kay Ultimate or LashSense (waterproof)
I love the brush and the results (no clumping) of both the Loreal and Mary Kay mascara. They also wash off easily. For a more long lasting or waterproof mascara I love the SeneGence mascara. It literally does not budge and actually comes off kind of hard.

9. EyeLuminator 
Non GMO - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved
A combination of a highlighter and an anti aging eye cream. I use this under the eye and on the top of my cheek bones as a highlighter. I love how rich and creamy it is yet so light!

10. LipSense Gloss - Bougainvillea or Rose
Non GMO - Wax & Lead Free - Cruelty Free- Gluten Free - Made in the USA - FDA Approved
I love wearing one of these two colors (pictures Bougainvillea) LipSense gloss for a more subtle everyday look rather than applying LipSense color. The gloss is so hydrating and is not tacky at all! By far the nicest gloss I've ever used.

So there you have it, my quick go to makeup routine! I'd also like to note, yes this is a shameless plug for products that I have the ability to sell. However, I don't love SeneGence products because I sell them... I sell them because I love them! I can only hope to share something with you that you may be interested in someday too! So hit up your local SeneGence consultant (or me!) if you think you'd like to try any of these products! Browse a SG catalog here.

Most importantly, I love learning about new products, tips and tricks so please do share what you're loving too!

Left is without #4 or #6 (eyeliner and highlight below eyebrows) Different day so different lighting. 😉

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

New House Progress | Weeks 1-3

I realize it may be annoying and/or boring that all I talk about is our new house... but really, I don't have much else going on in our lives to talk about! Sorry?!

Here's where we are to date...

Officially broke ground February 15th! The kids and I took a ride to check things out and we picked Papa Rick up on our way. Of course I don't think they quite understand what's going on, even though R acts very excited about it and always talks about how "Daddys' building us a neeeeew house!".

February 16th - The basement was almost completely dug out.

February 19th-21st - Basement was dug and grade was leveled out for the garage. Frost walls for the basement walkout section were started. Michael and John (builder) revisited the original plan for doing a turn around driveway and for now we've opted to do a parking spot area off to the side instead.

February 23rd - Plumbing was set up in the basement for the sump pump hole and the third bathroom. Foundation started.

February 26th - Inspections complete to move forward. Plastic and stone lined the floor before concrete pour on the 27th.

March 5th - Basement walls started. Finished up on the 6th.

March 7th - DTE staked out the property for the electricity to run to the house. We had to decide if we wanted to do overhead wires and have poles down our driveway which means no trees. Or if we wanted to pay double and have the wires underground. We decided to pay extra for the underground so that we don't lose more trees.

March 9th - The kids and I took a ride to meet Michael at the property and check out the basement. We were hoping once the kids seen an actual part of a house up, they would start to understand more. (More so R than ML). They both loved running around the basement and climbing the stone and sand piles around the house. R said "Wow, wook at dis big window! I wike it!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Designing the New House

I'm just about caught up on our journey (minus a lot of the details because...boring?) of planning our new house and then I'll just be doing some progress updates. Read about our decision to build and the chaos that came with it...

Since we had such a short time frame to plan the details, we definitely felt quite overwhelmed with making decisions for the design of the house on top of going through the process of purchasing the land and everything that comes along with that.

Of course I have a pinterest board of "Dream Home" ideas. But when it comes down to reality... how much of those ideas are even a reality?! Ha!

When we first started thinking about building, we envisioned doing a shed house aka "shouse". Pictured below. Basically a pole barn style house with a loft section, big open ceiling, big country porch, no basement, etc. We thought this would be a cheaper route yet still a nice country home. The only downfall was not all townships allows this type of home. Which of course, when we found our 30 acre parcel, the township did not allow shed houses. Which we suddenly were okay with because there was a hill on this property which would allow a walkout basement - which was something we both always loved the idea of having but literally never thought it would actually become a reality.

Moving on from the shed house dream, we decided we didn't want something too big nor too small so we stuck around the 1500-1700sq ft layouts. We narrowed it down to something between these two layouts. With of course LOTS and LOTS of changes. We really loved the style of the "Warwick" (L). It reminded us of the shed house idea too. But, when it came down to pricing, doing a smaller ranch was much more affordable. So we went with something more similar to the "Oxford" (R).  

At that point, we had to make a list of wants and the priorities of them. We quickly learned how many things we we NOT going to be able to do - half bathroom off utility room, walk in pantry, crown molding, thick craftsman trim work, separate shower/bath in master, foyer, heated bathroom floors, heated garage floors - the list goes on and on. The biggest bummer was once we finalized all the details for the interior and still were over budget and had to eliminate MORE things PLUS completely eliminate a pole barn as well. And guess what? We are STILL pushing our budget max yet we still have decisions to make and things to purchase. Yikes! Pardon me if this sounds rude, but even though we are building a brand new beautiful home... at times it has been slightly frustrating to not be able to have 100% of what we "dreamed" of. However, I am truly excited and grateful because no matter what, our new home will be perfectly simple and perfectly functional for our family! 

Over the last three months we've picked out the majority of the details. And let me tell you how much of an overthinker I am... so I was pretty stressed out at times. The layout and window placement definitely took the longest. I probably changed the layout print at least 2 dozen times. Just last week we finalized the garage doors, front door, patio door, and basement french door as well as handles for all of them. We've been shopping around for some flooring as well and we need to pick out countertops for the bathrooms. It is harder than I imagined to put everything together (in your mind) and hope it all makes sense or looks right!

Here are a few things towards our my vision: 

I spent a lot of time thinking about the kitchen. One thing I seen in a house model was a big window over the kitchen sink and I fell in love with it. I almost refused to spend the extra money on it but we decided it would be worth it. This kitchen was what I wanted to mirror. Minus the walk in pantry that I don't have room for. Boo hoo. 

These are the siding options we narrowed it down to. We wanted the far right "Teak" brown. But of course no longer had that option. We went with #1 "Shadow" with all white trim - no shutters. 

This was my vision for the front door but I wasn't sure it would look okay and debated on going with just a white door. In the end, I ordered a door similar to this one and I'm happy we went with the wood grain to accent the front entry and break up the white! 

On the exterior we would like to do tapered columns like these on the front porch as well as stone along the entire house. 

This is the builders drawing of the backside of the house where the walkout basement entry is and someday we'll have an upper patio off the dining room entry. We would also like to have this back exposed area stoned rather than siding. 

I don't have many pictures because everything is just a "drawing" so to say and I wasn't sure I wanted to share my exact house layout on the internet. 😉  I feel like there has been so much more to this journey (read: stress) but really there is only so much to share on a public level. 

Now that all the decision making details are out of the way, we'll move onto the good stuff - progress pics!! 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Property Decisions, Closing, & Chaos

Catching up where we left off...

After unexpectedly finding our dream property and having our offer accepted within hours, we were feeling very much - "this is too good to be true." We (mostly me) quickly found ourselves knee deep in the chaos of making so many decisions in an extremely short time frame so that we could purchase the property and build the house all in one loan (less fees). Since we didn't anticipate on building, we didn't really have much time to plan. 

There were a lot of things we needed to do before actually closing on this property just to make sure it was suitable for building a home. Therefore, within our offer we had a contingency for perk test (septic) and water availability (well drilling). We also had our chosen builder come out to the property to give his professional advice. He approved and gave us some more advice before we proceeded. 

First up, was applying for the perk test permit and then digging holes for the proposed septic field. Then myself and the builder met the inspector once the permit was issued. The perk test passed no problems. 

Theres a slight hill here we instantly envisioned building the house on top of. We've always dreamed of a walk out basement but we weren't sure if that was a possibility until the builder did some measuring for the water table and grade levels... thankfully he approved it! 

Michael digging holes for the perk test. Hill/House placement to the right. 
My view driving into the property through the first gate off the road. 

Things became a little chaotic for me as I was constantly making phone calls, filling out paperwork, meeting people at the property, digging through boxes for paperwork to apply for a loan (once the offer was accepted we had ten days to get the loan process started and approved for the dollar amount), meeting with the builder to narrow down house plans, etc. Michael was working 80+ hours at the time so he didn't have much time to help out. 

The kids of course tagged along with me for all that fun stuff. Unfortunately, they don't always do well with running errands or being content while I was trying to complete a phone call or appointment. It definitely put me in tears at times. This is a what it looked like when I would try to keep them occupied so I could work with the builder on design...

The kids got lots of front seat hangout time with me when we were hanging out at the property meeting people or checking on things. 

Next up was the well drilling to be sure there was water availability. I shopped around for a well driller based on finding someone that would "witch" first. A lot of people we talked to thought we were crazy for putting money into a well on a piece of property that we didn't own. We had the mentality that if we were out $3-5k if there wasn't water that would be better than being out the cost of the property and not being able to build on it. 

We thought heck, there can't be a problem finding water somewhere on this 31 acres... turns out we didn't think about keeping within so many feet of the area where the house will go. Running a water line from the opposite side of the property would be costly. After several days of drilling, he came to the conclusion that 2.5 gallons per minute just wasn't something he felt comfortable with. So at that point we had to decide if we were going to go plan B (crock well $$$ or tanks in the basement) or walk away from the property. Mind you we still had to pay for the dry well that was just dug on top of whatever new costs we'd incur. I kept wondering if this was a sign to walk away. But Michael disagreed. In the midst of these findings, we of course kept the realtor informed and she kept the sellers informed. They were just as worried as we were. We went out on another limb and asked them to negotiate the price of the property again due to the limited water source causing an increased cost for a well. Thankfully, they were understanding and agreed. 

So as of now we aren't positive what the outcome of our water situation may be... but we've allocated a large budget for it and hopefully we can make due. We'll find out soon! Fingers crossed!

We stopped to check things out while they were drilling. 11/8/17

Backyard view with the well drilling trucks back there

Once we were able to move forward from the perk and well drilling, we were ready for the bank to order the appraisal. The only thing they were waiting on was some final numbers from the builder. Sounds simple right? Wrong. In efforts to save costs and get the project started asap, we wanted to do that loan all together. Which put us in a major time crunch with the purchase agreement. Trying to finalize a complete house plan within a matter of a month or so was harder than you could imagine. Not only for me to make decisions, but for the companies that had to be dealt with to put the puzzle together.

Nearing the end of November, our contract for the property was about to expire. We asked for an extension on it and the realtor didn't hesitate. She knew we were working hard to get everything together. A few more weeks had went by and the same thing happened. After the second time, the realtor mentioned that the sellers were contemplating reaching out to another interested buyer. We were crushed. After all the effort and time we've spent trying to get this place, we didn't want the rug pulled out from under our feet. 

At the beginning of December we got a tentative cost and learned that we were way beyond our budget. Womp womp. So we had to eliminate the pole barn completely and opt for a three car garage instead of a two car garage. The only problem was our builder didn't think there was room for that size garage on the hill we were building. So before we could do some more finalizing, we had to go stake out the house. Michael was working and couldn't take time off. I had to get a babysitter. It was 12 degrees that day and we were outside for over 5 hours. The good news - there was room for a three car garage. The bad news - the garage would no long be along the front of the house, it would be turned to the side of the house for entry. But overall, it was nice to get an idea of the house placement and gave us a "visual" for the angle and the driveway changes that needed to be made. 

This is standing facing where the driveway would enter the garage side of the house. To the left is the backyard. The caution tape shows where the floor of the house would begin on top of the basement. 

This is the current driveway/turn around which will run right into the middle of the house so the driveway location has to be changed. 

I kept meeting with the builder several times a week and waiting for the final numbers on the house to be sent to the bank with the appraisal request. Then the icing on the cake was when the appraiser had a hard time finding the "value" that we needed. How could there not be value in a brand new house on 31 acres?! Sometimes that rule book of crap just doesn't even make sense. Anyways, after a few tough weeks of worrying, we finally got the clear to close right after Christmas. Then it changed three more times because of complications with paperwork. Thankfully, at this point the sellers were aware that any further hold ups were strictly the loan process so they were understanding through that. 

So instead of ending the year with a bang, we kicked off the new year with the excitement! We finally closed on the property + construction loan for the house on January 8th. That same day we worked with the builder to finalize options (again). I added to the chaos when we went in for our closing and decided I needed to completely change the sizes and layouts of a bedroom and a bathroom. So for the month of January we spent more time adjusting design details! Which I'll share more about choosing layouts and details next time... 

The entire process took three months exactly. From the day we looked at the property for the first time - October 8th - to the day we officially became owners of it - January 8th - was complete chaos. So many decisions and planning in such a short time. Honestly, I'd be lying if I said I haven't enjoyed it though. It's been crazy, busy, and stressful but it also has been exciting and fun! 

Officially ours!! 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

House Plans | Ideas + Decor

I need to stay off Pinterest and IG because I am finding way too many things and ideas for the new house that I can't afford! Ha! But really... I've been dreaming of all sorts of things and ideas for decorating for our new house. In one hand, it's so hard to put it all together and in the other hand I've got non stop ideas and images of seeing it come together perfectly. Still, it seems completely surreal.

Like everyone else, I really like the farmhouse rustic look! I want to keep things very timeless so that hopefully I don't feel the need to change things every year. I also really want to keep things neutral and not do too many bright or bold colors. Here's a few things I'm thinking of and loving!

There are so many things I can't wait to hang on the walls! I have not decorated walls in a house in literally years! Canvas prints are a must! Not sure where to get the best bang for your buck, but if you have a suggestion I'd love to hear! A gallery wall in the hallway to the bathroom/kids rooms would be lovely! Somewhere (not sure where) I'd love this sign from Queen B Home's Shop. Well, really I'd love a lot of her signs every where but that's besides the point... Add this laundry room one to the list too. Ha!

R's room - we're going to change her bed into the full size version so I've been shopping for some ideas for her room. I can't decide if I'm going to paint her room all one color or just do one accent wall in pink like we did before. One thing I know she needs is a sign from this shop. There are so many beautiful pieces! I can't even handle it.

I've got no idea what I'm going to do for ML's room. After all, that poor second child hasn't even had a room all decorated and put together nice. Maybe this time around. ;) I love these pallet accent walls. I'm thinking either this or just a paint color accent wall. 

I'm also dreaming of a farmhouse dining table with a bench! I'm not sure if I like one with legs as this picture shows or one more like this.  Behind the dining table I'd love a buffet or china cabinet and then a mirror or gallery type wall above it. Someone I love to follow on IG for home decor and DIY (plus her kids are adorable and her humor is on point) is Jena Roach

I'm currently stumped on bathroom flooring. We were going to heat the floors and do tile but then we eliminated that for cost and discussed just doing laminate flooring in the bathrooms. Then I see pics like these herringbone tile floors and I'm leaning more towards the tile again.

We are really pushing numbers with out budget AND we are really dreaming of having tapered craftsman columns on our porch and stone on the exterior of the house. At this point we just aren't quite sure if it's going to be an option. But I'm over here still dreaming... and price shopping. 

Also for the exterior, we aren't planning to finish the patio/walkout area right away. Well the whole yard really won't be finished for quite some time. This style walkout patio (stamped concrete) and upper deck patio is definitely something I'd love to have when the time comes!

So that's a few things I've been eyeing up for ideas for our new place. What's your thoughts? Have any suggestions?!