A dog’s life

If you know me, it’s no secret I love our corgi, Bruce. I’ve written about when we got Bruce in Virginia, our favorite dog products and ways to keep your living space clean with a dog. Since we got Bruce when he was just 6 weeks old, it was a lot of work house training, crate training, training not to chew, not to go in certain areas, etc but it’s definitely worth it and great preparation for kids, ha, ha! corgi bruce WISP broomcorgi bruce WISP broom

Bruce’s life consists of eating, sleeping a ton, hoping for us to throw his toys or give him bones, going on an evening walk and his favorite thing, ‘guarding’ the house – ha, ha! Corgi’s are small with a big bark and like to protect their home and family.

My favorite thing is how loyal dogs are and always want to cheer their owners up. Whenever we come home, it always makes us happy to be greeted by Bruce who is beyond excited to see us! Who wouldn’t want to come home and 100% of the time there is a cute dog eagerly waiting for them!?

Having a dog is also a great way to get in some exercise and move more! Dogs love to play and go on walks and we’ve loved our evening walks and occasional hikes with Bruce. They are great for our health and his health! I also love at night after the kids go to bed, Bruce will jump up on my lap while we relax for the night, usually by reading or catching up on our DVR or Netflix. He’s not only a great lap warmer in the winter but also very snuggly which I love! corgi bruce WISP broom

corgi bruce WISP broom

As I’ve mentioned before, corgis shed quite a bit, basically all year around! We love the FURminator deShedding Brush and now we have another awesome product that helps immensely with keeping our floors clean.. Like everyone, we’ve had a basic broom that does a mediocre job collecting crumbs, dirt, dust, pet hair, etc. Now enter the WISP broom. The broom head is angled and designed to collect and gather instead of sweep. It is great for cleaning under tables, cabinets, edges, etc. The bristles act more like a squeegee to trap the dust and debris. They are still soft and don’t scratch wood or tile floors.

Another thing I love is that the dustpan is designed to be used with your foot, which makes it much easier to put the debris into the dustpan. The dustpan also has ridges where you can scrape the bristles to remove any particles stuck in the bristles. It doesn’t take out 100% of the debris but definitely pulls out a lot and makes it easier to clean the broom bristles. Traditional broom bristles are much harder to clean unless you manually pull out the debris and hairs. With a dog and 2 little kids, the WISP broom is an awesome tool that doesn’t cost a hand and a leg (like the robotic vacuums I’ve previously posted about!) The classic WISP broom cost $29.95.

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom brush pet hair

This post brought to you by WISP – thanks for helping us maintain a clean home! All opinions on this product review are obviously my own 🙂

Peppermint Oil: quick relief for sore muscles, stomach ache, cramps

Peppermint oil is an awesome aid applied topically for tight or sore muscles, stomach aches, cramps, headaches, etc. It’s also super useful for clearing a congested or stuffy nose. Even just smelling a little peppermint can help clear your nasal passageways and feel invigorated and alert. I love that it’s energizing, refreshing, relaxing and makes sore muscles feel cool and a little tingly (think similar to Tiger Balm but less sticky to apply)

I buy mine from any drug store (CVS, Walgreens) in a roller form. This means the oil is already diluted and ready to apply to skin (not ingested!) I know there are many other forms to buy oil and ways to use it (like mixing it with other oils, a room diffuser, etc) but for me this is the easiest and least complicated way to use it. 99% of the time I only use it for sore muscles after exercising and I love that it’s soothing and invigorating. The one I usually buy is similar to this one from Amazon and the price is comparable.

peppermint oil sore muscle relief

If you’re interested in reading more, here’s an article I found that seems thorough and neutral 😉

Read the Top 10  benefits of peppermint tea

Note: I never use peppermint oil on the kids even though there are ways oils can be used on children.

 

Moving Lessons and Tips

With this most recent move to LA area, we have moved 11 times in our 10 years of marriage.  You’d think that by now that we’re experts and that our moves are effortless, easy and enjoyable – ha, ha! We do love traveling and exploring new cities and places but if we move again it’ll be too soon 😉 Moving is exciting, stressful and full of possibilities. We have lived in some amazing cities including Washington DC, Edinburgh and Austin.

Here are a few things we have learned through all our moves:

-Buying a brand new home is (obviously) the easiest (and most fun!) This is in regards to loans, financial transactions and the closing process. We bought our home in Austin from the previous owner and the process was more stressful because the closing process took longer since 2 parties were involved. We were in an AirBnB for a few weeks while we were in transition. So if you buy, anticipate it taking about a month for the negotiations, loans, paperwork, inspection, etc to process until the time you actually get the key.

Discard of things you don’t use! Don’t pack up something you haven’t used in years to your next home because you ‘might use it sometime’! If an object or article of clothing has served it’s purpose, doesn’t fit, is never use, etc someone else may benefit – we made numerous trips to Goodwill in preparing for each of our moves and we haven’t missed any of those items we donated. Moving is also a great time to make a few extra dollars selling items you don’t use. We had a few duplicate kitchen items we received as wedding presents that we stored, moved and for some reason kept for NINE years! Selling and discarding such items is refreshing and one less thing to pack. We’ve had pretty good success using Facebook Marketplace.

Get moving boxes from Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Moving boxes from a place like Uhaul, a storage place or Home Depot can add up in cost and usually you can find people with spare boxes in good condition. We only had 2 weeks from when we moved from Utah to Texas and no one had free boxes so we had to buy them but luckily that was the only time.

And my #1 moving tip:

Declutter ASAP! You have more stuff than you think (especially once you have kids) and the sooner you start, the less you’ll have to pack. Your garbage can will fill up so fast and the last thing you want to be doing is hauling trash to a local or city dumpster. The day you know you’re moving, start de-cluttering! Pack conscientiously and try not to haul around stuff you won’t use in your new home.

uhaul moving

 

7 ways to fight a cold: winter survival tips

We’ve lived in some cold places throughout our 10 years of marriage like DC, Utah and Scotland and this winter in LA should be pleasant! Even though it’s warmer it doesn’t prevent sickness and colds from spreading. Here are some of my favorite things in the winter to fight a cold (not sponsored, just some things I loved that have worked for me!)

7-ways-to-fight-a-cold

Vitamin C –  I like to use Emergen-C drink mix that you mix into water to boost your immunity. It’s similar to drinking a glass of orange juice but convenient if you don’t have juice on hand (we usually don’t because it’s a lot of sugar and the kids will drink it all, ha, ha). Vitamin C doesn’t get rid of a cold but it can help reduce the symptoms of the illness. I’d also add hand sanitizer. I always carry a travel size bottle – it wont get rid of a cold but can help prevent catching a cold.

Vicks VapoRub – If I feel a sore throat, cold or congestion coming on, I’ll use Vick’s rub on my throat. It contains menthol and eucalyptus oil which help soothe a cough, congestion and also sore muscles.

Humidifier – increased humidity can help with a cough, cold, dry skin, etc. I like to use my humidifier at night next to my bed.

Water and hydration – I always carry my Hydro Flask with me and try to increase my water intake when a feel like I might be getting sick. Increased hydration helps with so many bodily functions!

Saline salt nose spray – If I’m congested I’ll use a non-habit forming generic nasal spray from any drugstore and find it helps a lot with dry nasal membranes.

Gargling with warm salt water – This old wives tale actually has some truth, gargling with warm salt water helps flush out a virus and sooth a sore throat. The Mayo Clinic recommends 1/2 tablespoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water.

Peppermint Oil – I get this from any drugstore and like this roller style because it’s already diluted oil (so ready to use). Peppermint oil is awesome for so many things including sore, aching muscles, clearing sinuses (by breathing, not applying in a nostril), headaches, cramps, stomach pain. I’ll usually roll on some peppermint oil before bed to relieve any sore muscles (from an impending sickness or exercise).

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

We took our annual fall family picture for Christmas cards this last week. Most years, I’m kind of an over-preparer and have them ready to send, snail mail, by December 1st. Some of these tips on how to look your best in pictures would have been helpful 🙂

Loving burgundy outfits and accents for the fall.

The Walking Dead (TV show) season 7 premiers this Sunday – just in time for Halloween ha, ha! It’s a zombie apocalypse show that I didn’t think I would like but here we are 7 seasons later 😉

 

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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How to remove dried paint from wood

We’ve been painting our entire new home here in Austin (pictures to come!) and one super useful tip I found is how to remove dried paint from wood. I’m not the cleanest painter and we have wood (laminate) floors in the whole house. After a google and Pinterest search, here’s a successful and super easy method that’s worked for me:

Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or cloth with . Scrub.

how to remove dried paint from wood

Ta-da!

how to

(I’ve only used this method on laminate wood, test first in an inconspicuous spot)