Making a house a home: air freshener reviews

One thing that makes a house feel like a home is its smell. A few weeks ago I bought two room sprays at Bath and Body Works to try out. It seems like there’s always a sale or deal going on there ha, ha and these were 2 for $12. There were at least a dozen scents and I got pineapple and fresh linen. They both smell great and are super easy to use.bath and body works room spray review

Our front area (entry way, stairs, piano area, family room, TV area) is fairly large with vaulted ceilings so it needs a few sprays throughout the area. I also use this spray in our powder room (downstairs bathroom). It has a Scentsy but for some reason never smells very fragrant even though I’ve scrubbed it clean!

We have two Scentsys (fragrant wax warmer) that we like and I wish we could have one for every room and space because they make your house smell so good. We keep the larger one usually in the kitchen and the small one in the powder room. I love our Scentsy warmers and also that you can buy scented wax at lots of stores: grocery stores, Dollar Tree, drug stores, Michaels, etc. I also like that it’s not an open flame. It has a small lightbulb that warms the wax so it’s just like having a light on.

The scent of the room spray obviously isn’t as long lasting as a Scentsy or candle but it did have fast results and the scent lasts for a few hours even in the large areas. Would I buy it again? Maybe if there’s a sale ha! I liked the scents I chose and the large variety of choices.The sprays are great for short term and to freshen up a room.

bath and body works room spray review fresh linen pineapple

My favorite scent that I wish I could smell all day is Volcano from Anthropologie. I love the candle but wish it was available as wax for a Scentsy – anyone found one?! I haven’t tried the room spray version either since I wasn’t sure about the results for the price.

anthropologie volcano candle

What’s your favorite way to clean the house?

Like most women and especially fellow moms who don’t work outside the home, I would love a spotless home 24/7. With 2 kids and a dog, things can get messy if we don’t keep up the effort to keep the house relatively clean. A few years ago, I read a tip I really liked: keep your house in a condition as if guests were coming in 10 minutes.  How much could you tidy up in 10 minutes? If you think someone is going to be coming into your house, it’s easier to try and tidy things up, wipe down surfaces, and keep clutter to a minimum. While real life happens and it’s always more important to spend time with my kids versus clean, I’ve tried to stick to this advice. It’s helped us get in the habit of putting things in their place and cleaning as we go rather than letting things pile up and try and clean a lot later. This doesn’t mean that our house is clutter free but the mentality definitely helps.

My favorite chore is definitely vacuuming! It’s relaxing and nice to see instant results of a clean floor. We’ve never had a fancy vacuum but even a regular one has been sufficient. We recently upgraded our dust buster hand vacuum from one we had since we got married 10 years ago and it’s so nice with increased technology ha, ha. We got this Shark model that’s advertised especially for pet owners ($35).

shark hand vacuum for petsOur Texas home and current home we’re renting have all wooden and tiled floors and I’ve had my eye on robotic vacuums (like a knock off Roomba) – which would hopefully keep the floor cleaner in addition to vacuuming the area rugs we have. That being said, I guess my least favorite chore is sweeping. I feel like you always miss some debris. If we stay in Chino Hills for a while and are able to buy a home, I think we’d choose wood/laminate floors with some carpet in the bedrooms.

top cleaning tip

*our favorite dog products for cleaner home here

Bruce’s Best Pet Products (corgi edition)

Bruce has been part of out family now for 6 years! I still remember picking him up as a 6 week old puppy down on the farm in Virginia where his breeder lived. He was small enough to fit in a messenger bag. Dave grew up with a little dog and I always wanted one so Dave got Bruce as my birthday surprise!  I feel that owning a puppy and going through all the steps to train it is great preparation for becoming parents.  You learn to work together with your partner, house training, crate training, how to deal with different pet personalities, differences in ‘parenting’ styles, how to take care of an animal, scheduling (feeding, walking, etc) and the versatility you need as a parent when issues arrive with your pet like illness, chewing, social issues, etc. You go through a lot of trial and error with training pets, much of what happens when you are parents. Over the last six years, we’ve discovered some awesome dog products that are pretty essential to keeping the house clean and blatantly obvious that we have a dog.

bruces-best-pet-products welsh corgi

 

  1. FURminator – far and away my top pet item! This brush is designed to comb both the over and under coat of a dog. It’s pricier than regular brushes but 100 times more effective! Corgis shed quite a bit, especially during seasonal changes like winter to summer, and the furminator has been invaluable in reducing the amount of hairs that get shed in the house. It’s easy to use and doesn’t hurt the pet or cut the hairs. The metal brush pulls the hairs from both coats. We furminate Bruce maybe once a month depending on the season but corgis have so much fur, I feel like he could be furminated everyday sometimes! These brushes are sold for dogs and cats and different brushes depending on the size of your pet.
  2. Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover Spray – when house training a pet you’ll have accidents. This spray is great for eliminating odors and stains from carpet. We’ve found it to be very effective and have never had any stains on our carpets. It’s easy to use as well. After an accident (urine), soak up with a paper towel as much as you can, spray the Nature’s Miracle into the carpet and let it absorb. The carpet should be wet. Let the spray sit and absorb for approximately 20 minutes the blot it with a paper towel. The carpet won’t be completely dry and you can just let it air dry (no need for fans, etc).
  3. Lint Rollers in bulk (Scotch-Brite) – Lint rollers are pretty essential if you have a dog or cat breed that sheds. In addition to furminating Bruce and general cleaning the house, these lint rollers are great for couches, clothes, cars, blankets, etc. We like this brand because it does a good job  picking up stray hairs, is sold in bulk packages and the sheets are easy to tear.
  4. Harness Leash – for years we had a retractable leash because it was easy to use, hold and what we were used to since Bruce has a lot of energy when we go on walks. Our friend in Salt Lake, also a corgi owner, who used to dog sit Bruce suggested we get a harness leash so he doesn’t pull as much. Our current leash obviously isn’t as long as a retractable leash but he doesn’t pull at all when we leave the house to go on a walk.
  5. Food storage container – dog food can be pretty stinky and we love this container that we have to store his food. It has a lid that locks so prevent spilling if it ever tips and looks nice. The one we have isn’t specifically made for dog food (it’s basically a trash can with a locking lid).

corgi

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

Does anyone have a robotic vacuum?! Our home in Texas and our current home in CA have all wood floors. I love the look and glad we didn’t inherit grungy carpet. I’m intrigued with the idea of a robot vacuum, it would make it much easier to clean crumbs and dog hair that I’m constantly sweeping up 🙂

I recently tried this fired grilled steak bowl for lunch and loved it! I usually don’t eat frozen food but received this one complimentary to review. It was quick and easy to make and tasted similar to the veggie burrito bowl I like from Chipotle. I loved that it had 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! I can’t remember the exact cost but it was around $3-$4. The only con was that I was still hungry afterwards (although maybe this is a reflection of me and my eating habits rather than the meal ha!) I would definitely buy it again!

Agree with many of these 6 things I didn’t realize about having a baby

 

Winter bedrooms

I guess it’s finally winter in Austin, the temperatures have dropped, brisk winds, gray skies and mostly rain. This type of winter is much preferable to our previous winters in Utah! I’m loving not driving or walking/slipping around in the snow 😉 I’ve never thought about winter bedding besides just adding more blankets when it’s cold but I love these ideas of special, cozy bedding for the winter time.

winter reindeer bedding

Snow Flake Stag bedding

tartan bedding winter plaid

Tartan bedding 

snowflake bed winter

Snowflake bedding

Jen’s favorite things

There are a few products that I love so much and wish this could be like Oprah’s favorite things where she actually gives out the product, guess this recommendation list is the next best thing 😉

my-favorite-things

Charcoal face mask – Clinique claims this product will refine your pores and it actually does! You use it only 1-2 times a week (to prevent over-drying) and I love how fresh and clean my face feels afterwards.

Hydro Flask water bottle – keeps water cold all day without leaking condensation. I love the flip lid on this bottle with a wide-mouth opening that clips shut and doesn’t leak. I seriously take this bottle everywhere, it’s definitely helping  me with my health goal to drink more water.

Baker’s Twine – I bought a bulk pack with 6 different colors a few years ago from a daily deals site and love the twine for wrapping presents, treat bags, crafts, etc.

Steam Pocket Mop– we got this floor steamer when we moved to Draper and had new, beautiful laminate flooring. It’s super easy to use and maintain. I love the smell and feeling of freshly steamed floors.

Brow pencil – by Anastasia – I’ve posted about this before but after using a few other brow fillers (crayons, powder, etc) this one is by far my favorite. It’s easy to apply and get a natural look.

Running shorts – these fit great with a semi-high waistband that doesn’t ride up or slip. The 4-way stretch allows for maximum flexibility and it has a small zip pocket in the back. They are so comfortable to run and exercise in!

Homesick candles: Places we’ve lived and loved

I recently discovered this awesome soy candle brand that makes ‘homesick candles‘ whose unique scents transport you back to states you’ve loved.  After reading the scent descriptions, I feel they’re pretty accurate! Here are the signature scents of the sttates we’ve lived and loved (minus DC which they don’t have):

Southern California: cactus, orange and ocean

Utah : desert air, mountain spruce and ski lodge

Virginia: honeysuckle and forest floor

Texas: leather, cotton and sage

texaswithprops_grandevirginiaboxwithcandle_grande

 

Fiesta Friday: things to celebrate and links I love

The amazing story of Hayes Tate, a 1 year old triplet as he fights a rare form of brain cancer. We had a chance to meet his awesome family when we lived in Draper during a 5K that was organized to to support him.

60 things to toss out – I’m in the middle of reading a book all about de-cluttering and this list is a great place to start.

60_things_in_60_days_spring_cleaning

Enjoying this sitting space with perfect natural light for reading

natural light sitting and reading room

How to update an older home on a small budget

Our first (town) home in Utah we bought  while it was being built so  we were able to pick the interior features – floors, carpet, colors, cabinets, counter tops, tile, etc. We loved that home, however we love to travel and see new places and wanted a home just a little bigger with a backyard for our kids and dog.

Our home here is Austin was built in the 90s and has a few updates like the floors, kitchen and master bathroom. Moving is fun but also usually more expensive than you anticipate. For example, the previous owners had cat door on the door between the garage and the interior of the home, which isn’t a big deal for us but the inspection said it’s actually a fire hazard so one more thing to update! Here are a few things we’ve found to update an older home on a very small budget:

  • paint – a fresh coat of paint can go a LONG way! We re-painted almost every room in the house and the garage (which was yellow and blue, looked like IKEA ha, ha). We used the Behr brand paint from Home Depot.
  • cabinet hardware – we added drawer pulls from Amazon that weren’t too expensive (other good options were from Home Depot and Anthropologie)
  • new window treatments – I love natural light so we just replaced the brown curtains with white ones (from Target)
  • update outlet and light switch plate covers – we like these white ones from Amazon to replace the previous brown and/or metal ones

Updates we want to do in the future:

  • replace older light fixtures
  • new exterior doors
  • matching doorknobs – why did the previous owner have so many mismatching doorknobs?! We’ll never know ha, ha…
  • epoxy the garage – we have this epoxy kit from Amazon but have to finish clearing out the garage before using it.

Other ideas for updating an older home:

  • new light fixtures
  • add a large mirror – the reflective light can often brighten a space or make it appear larger
  • update faucets
  • re-paint cabinets
  • replace floors or old carpet (I love wood, laminate and tile that looks like wood)
  • update counter tops (I love granite and marble)

Our home has been a labor of love, but we appreciate it and the new city we live in!

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