Deck The Halls

December 17, 2015

This is a little late in the season for my Christmas decoration post, but the month of December has gone by so fast! I'm really struggling with the fact that Christmas is next week

This year I tried to focus the decorating to one area. Usually I have multiple trees, put wreaths on the windows, on and on. I love it when it's all done, but dragging everything out of storage is a task I just wasn't motivated to do! Of course, I ended up dragging most of it out anyway just to get to the things I actually wanted. Maybe better organizing is the lesson here?!?

My "theme" (if you want to call it that) was to use traditional red and green with a rustic touch. I made plaid pillow covers for some of my bright orange and blue existing pillows, and I am so happy with how they turned out! 

Last year I had two trees - one dedicated to sentimental ornaments and one that was more decorative. This year I only put up one tree, and decided to combine the ornaments. What I love is that at first glance you see all the shiny red, gold and silver, but when you get closer you see the personal touches. 

I still like having two trees because, well, I just like Christmas cheer in every room. We'll see how motivated I get next year. ;)

Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks for stopping by! 

DIY: Painted Nightstand

November 14, 2015

This is related to the Master Bedroom Renovation project, but today I have a simple DIY that made such a difference in the room. See the before and after?!?

All of our bedroom furniture came as a set, and though we would like to eventually change the dressers, we like our nightstands pretty well. With the hardwood installed, the room needed a little more color so I decided to paint the nightstands and add new hardware. I am SO happy with the transformation!

The best part is that it took a day to complete...well, sort of. The painting took a day, I had to order the pulls so waiting on those took a few days. Had I planned ahead (key) the project would have been completed in a day.

I used liquid sander on a rag and wiped down the nightstands. It didn't "rough up" the surface as much as sanding, but dulled them a little and left a clean slate for painting (and no clean up!). For the paint, I used a basic prime+paint in satin applied with a brush.

As you can see, there were some faux details on the top of the nightstand - I wasn't sure how they would cover since it's a darker color and the grain goes in a different direction.

After the first coat of paint I started to think this might not work...there were several brush strokes visible and it was very spotty. This is when I started doubting my decision.

After a good 2-3 hours of dry time I went back over the nightstands with a second coat - it covered everything, and dried so much better than expected. There are a couple small places that I can see the brush strokes in the finish, but only in an area where the paint started drying and was already tacky. I wasn't worried because it was in a location that would not be visible; however, I could have lightly sanded the area and gone over with a third coat to smooth.

I had a little trouble finding hardware with the correct hole placement (the original pulls were 2" center to center, which is an odd size), but finally found some online here and they are the perfect style. I'm really pleased with the final results!

Linking up wth The Party Bunch / Nifty Thrifty Sunday.

Master Bedroom Renovation: Phase I

September 28, 2015

After talking for the last 6 years about installing hardwood in our bedroom, we finally tackled this project!

Side note: these pictures were taken with my iPhone as work was being done in low lighting and a hurried state, so if they're not professional quality...too bad.

I came home one Thursday evening after "gettin' my hair did" to find most of our bedroom furniture in the living room and half of the carpet ripped up in our bedroom. Lovely. Thank you, dear. 

This was the best "before" shot I could get. Comfy cozy, right? The following evening we took the bed apart, moved every last bit of furniture out and ripped up the remaining carpet. It was time to rock and roll.

Looks like a party, the only thing missing is cake, I know. We could have seriously used some cake at this point. I have to give big props to SC - he was very patient, and worked carefully to get the existing floor out and prepped to lace in the new. 

We pulled a string from the living room into the bedroom, and screwed down a few scrap pieces of wood to start our first run of the hardwood.

If you're looking for it, you can see the transition, but I'm very happy with the final result considering the existing is about 12 years old!!!

Once the floor was down, we painted, put the base back, touched up, and moved the furniture back to its home. It's funny how out of sync you start to feel when things aren't in their normal places. Here are a few pictures of the [almost] end result.

Don't mind the tarps and dog toys...real life. 

The hall and closet were still not complete when I took this picture, but more on the final product to come! 

There are one or two small projects that need to take place before the room is complete, but stick around...Phase II of the master bedroom renovation will come in the near future.

In the meantime, I'm happy to be walking on finished floor and sleeping in my bed again. 

How to Make Your Own Curling Wand

September 14, 2015

This curling wand trend that's been happening had me wanting to achieve those perfect curls for myself, but I really didn't want to splurge on yet another hair I made my own. Keep reading to find out how!

I started with my smallest curling iron - a 1" barrell. This also required a small screw driver - either a flat or phillips head depending on your iron.

Start by taking the "kick stand" off of your curling iron. Unscrew the two screws on the sides of the iron, this will remove the clip. Unscrew and remove the spring. 

3. DONE!
Now you're left with a curling wand! I put the screws back in place after removing the clip because I wasn't sure about leaving open holes in the barrell, but that's probably not necessary. 

I also saved the clip and spring in case I wanted to revert back to the regular curling iron. Two tools in one! It works like a charm. :)

Beauty Talk

August 17, 2015

Obviously one of the subjects I like to focus on here at HCB is beauty and skincare, so I thought that instead of reviewing individual products every single time I would throw in something new - primarily because I've been testing a few different products recently, and not all of them are completely worthy of a full post.

Today it's all about eye creams!
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

1. After using the Boots Botanics eye cream (mentioned here), I decided to invest in a "high end" cream to see how it compared. The first one I purchased was the Origins Plantscription cream. I've used a few other Origins products and like that they are made without harsh chemicals or preservatives. Loved how it felt, loved that it had minimal earthy scent, but even after using the entire pot I felt a little unimpressed. Yes, it hydrated, but I didn't see any changes in the skin around my eyes. For just a moisturizer I didn't feel like it was worth the price.

2. You know I'm a sample junkie, so when Sephora offered the Algenist Eye Balm as a perk I decided to give it a try since I tested the face cream previously. Even though it was a small trial size, it has lasted quite a while. Perfect size for travel, but again, no significant results. Womp womp.

3. Most recent purchase, and favorite of the bunch (and drugstore!!!) is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost. It has Hyaluronic Acid, which is our skin's natural source for moisture. This is a thick gel-like cream, and I love the way it feels. Not sticky, not watery, but a perfect combination of smooth moisture goodness. It melts into the skin, and yet I can still feel it there at the end of the day. Since I doubt I'll find a miracle cream that rids me of fine lines, I think my main goal is moisture - and this delivers.

4. Even though I didn't buy a full size product of the Renewed Hope Eye, I wanted to include it. I used a sample of the face cream (which smells amazing...and feels amazing...and should for the full retail - once again, gotta love samples!!!) and received a sample pack of the eye cream. It feels great, but didn't really do much. The pack lasted me about a week, maybe a week and a half. Of course, with more time it may have delivered, but once again I felt a little let down by the product compared to how much a full size would cost. 

So far the winner is the cheapest option. Yay!!! Love it when that happens.

Friday Favorites in Five

July 24, 2015

So has anyone heard that Nordstrom is having a sale? <-- That's meant to be sarcastic, because if you follow any fashion bloggers you've been hearing about it...a lot...which has become too tempting not to look, even though I really did try to hold back. Kind of.

Here are a few things that caught my eye while browsing this week!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

I've been searching for blouses that can be dual wear (work or casual). I will say, there are several cute ones for sale right now! There are also a few good skincare deals, so it's a good time to stock up on favorites. :) I'm the type of online shopper that adds a ton of items to my cart, then goes through and deletes them, one by one, telling myself that I don't need it. Then I end up with 2 or 3 things...and sometimes delete them altogether. Or I just hit "place order" and never look back. 

The Garden: Update

July 22, 2015

Let's chat about le jardin (doesn't that sound fancy?).

Not that I'm a gardening expert, by any means, but my crop hasn't done so well this season. I blame it 100% on the weather. 

It was dry, and hot, then rained for about 2 weeks non-stop, then got super humid, and now it's in this strange phase of pouring rain with strong winds for about 15 or 20 minutes. It's glorious. Sarcasm in its truest form. 

Everything was starting to look all nice and delicious, then the crazy weather patterns kicked in. These pictures were taking a few weeks ago.

I've had good luck with the cucumber plant - even attempted a few batches of pickles, and finally think I found just the right recipe. 

We've consumed lots of zucchini, or at least I've consumed a lot! I haven't made anything out of this world...most of the time I steam it or just eat it raw with some hummus (yum) or diced on salad.

The tomatoes are FINALLY coming in and turning a fantastic red. I have a window full! They're starting to shape up nicely for a big batch of salsa and marinara.

Everything else has just been so/so. It all looked great in the beginning, then it just...phfah. Don't know what that spells, but say it out loud. That's what my veggies are saying to me.

I'm already planning ahead for next year. I'm going to focus my attention on a Salsa Garden. Lots of cilantro (I've gone through 2 plants this year and both started to look more like weeds than an herb), tomatoes, peppers, maybe onion. 

...maybe lettuce? Thoughts?

DIY Phone Case

July 20, 2015

Nerd alert.

Every time I get an upgraded mobile device my husband says "well, I'll see ya tomorrow - have fun setting up your phone." Which isn't at all true - not even a little bit. Well, maybe it is a little true.

Once I get all the bells and whistles set, I start searching for a case...because that's obviously the most important part. I never buy a case when I get the phone - unless one just calls my name (like all the colors from Pencil Shavings Studio!). Let's be real though. I get tired of the same pattern after a month or two. Or a few days. So I decided to make my own.

What you'll need:
Clear phone case (Amazon is a good place to search)
Fun patterned paper

The process is pretty simple:
1. Trace your phone's outline on the paper. Cut just inside the line.
2. Insert the cut-out into the case, and trace any "openings" - cut those out.
4. Place the paper into the clear case - trim or clean up any edges.
5. Put the case on your phone and change as often as you want!

I've found patterned paper in the scrapbook/craft section of most stores. The papers that have foils or shiny prints work really well. 

Obviously this doesn't only work for an iPhone. As long as you can purchase a clear case for your phone you can do this! You could get really into it and paint something, use a picture, bedazzle something (do they still make a bedazzler???). 

You get the drift. Do whatever you want with it. Let your imagination run.

Happy crafting!

Weekend Recap: July 4th

July 6, 2015

If you saw this post from July 4th, you know that we spent the holiday weekend at my happy place. I've already started my coming home routing: searching for places to live at the beach. I do it every time. Why do I do this? Here are a few reasons...

This kind of speaks for itself, right? Nothing relaxes me more than the ocean. I can have all kinds of stress going on and be thinking about a million things, but when I go to the ocean it soothes me.

Oh, the food. We joked before we left that this trip wasn't really for the beach, it was more for the food. I promise you - the food at the beach tastes better. We always have at least one meal that we're craving. This trip we went to a new (to us) spot, and I had some of the best mac & cheese EVER. I also had to go get my pimento cheese...on a burger...ahhhhmazing.

If I can make money for people watching, sign me up. There is so much activity, and it's not the "People of Wal-Mart" kind of activity, but just good old fashioned people watching. I always like to try and guess where they're from or what their story is.

Boats, boats, and more boats. We live surrounded my mountains, which are beautiful...especially in the fall. We have lakes, and boats, but there's something about being on a boat in the ocean. There are dolphins, for one. I couldn't ever get a picture of one, but we saw a momma and a couple baby dolphins swimming and feeding in the ocean. You don't see that every day!

I think that in general people seem more relaxed at the beach. Like I said, it's a happy place. And when you're stuck in this traffic heading back home it sure makes that ocean seem pretty welcoming!

Last Minute Holiday Sales

July 5, 2015

If you're trying to fit in some last minute shopping to take advantage of the holiday sales, here are a few going on through the end of today!!

Too Faced
The Scoop: I've never been disappointed in Too Faced mascara. This is the perfect time to stock up on some of the best - Better Than Sex Mascara!!

Ole Henriksen
The Scoop: I love Ole Henriksen skincare, and have been using various products for a few years now. One of my favorites is the lemon strip flash peel. I talked about it here.

Retailer Details: 40% Off Everything July 4th Weekend! Enter code JULY4TH at checkout. Hurry! Ends 7/6.
The Scoop: I've been using the AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer, Combination face cream this summer and am impressed. It's a thinner moisturizer (which feels great on a hot, sticky day) and does a great job balancing out my crazy skin!

Happy shopping!

This post contains affiliate links - all opinions shared are my own.

Happy 4th!

July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July weekend! 

This year the hubs and I decided to take a quick road trip to the beach. Whoop! I actually drafted this  post in the car via hotspot. Technology never ceases to amaze. What's even more amazing is that I'm actually awake at this point. Leaving the house at 4:00am is not my norm. 

You know those emails that invade your inbox with tempting sales for the holidays? I made the mistake of browsing and found a few 4th of July themed things to get in gear for the holiday. AKA, things I would love to buy if I had a money tree growing in my back yard.

Of course, a red Tory Burch bag. If we're aiming high might as well go all in. Photo via @beamerbenson.

This Madewell top would be perfect with these red pants I got recently from LOFT!

I normally wouldn't go for shoes this bold, but I think these stars and stripes Toms are so cute.

If you need me...this is where I'll be (or at least somewhere similar). Source.

Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

Ready, Set...

June 29, 2015

I've talked before about my oily skin. It's frustrating, and causes concealer to crease and all sorts of fun things...but I've found a wonderful product that helps control this issue.

The Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder is fantastic. Where other powders can tend to look like you blobbed flour on your face, this setting powder is so finely milled that it is virtually invisible. 

After applying a cream concealer under my eyes I set with this, and get zero creases throughout the day. Amazing (for me). 

I couldn't go without this setting powder in the summer, or technically ever because my skin doesn't just show off its oily glow in the summer. It's pretty much year round.