Dinner Conversation Starters

Posted by Alyssa on January 23, 2017

dinner table

According to The Family Dinner Project, a nonprofit dedicated to making family dinners a priority again, “recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviors that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience, and self-esteem.” All in all, family meals are worth the effort! Conversations can be difficult to start around a table, though, and that’s where The Family Dinner Project can help out. They have hundreds of conversation starters on their website to help your family start talking and bonding.  Here are a couple of my favorites: 

“How is this year at school different from last year?”

“What is your favorite childhood storybook? What is special about it? Who used to read it to you?”

“What is your most unusual talent? Demonstrate it!”

“If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change?” 

Here’s to hoping that everyone can become a little closer to their families this year. If you have other tips on gathering your family around the table, please share!


Mindful Eating

Posted by Alyssa on January 22, 2017

mindful eating 

After a holiday season of gluttony, it’s time to start eating healthy again. I’ve often found it difficult to follow through on diets, calorie counting, and vague ideas of what healthy eating is. If I cheat once, I’m done for the day and those cinnamon rolls better watch out. Rather than focusing on what I can’t have, I’ve been making an effort to simply be more mindful of what I’m eating. 

Being a mindful eater means being aware of your portion size, eating slowly, and knowing what is in the food on your plate. Minimizing distractions, such a watching TV or reading while eating, helps you to focus on what you’re eating and notice when you’re full.

dinner table
When I started making an effort to be more mindful of what I was eating, I was shocked to realize how often I snack throughout the day because of boredom. I found myself eating crackers out of the box while standing in front of the cupboard too many times to count. My goal this year is to avoid eating snacks unless I’m sitting at the kitchen table. Hopefully if I start small and simply become more aware of what I’m eating, I’ll be on the right track to a healthier life. What are some of your health goals for 2017?


Decorating with Houseplants

Posted by Alyssa on January 21, 2017

 how to decorate with houseplants

via Pinterest

There is nothing like using some greenery to bring life into your home, especially in the depths of January. Houseplants and flowers can add just the right amount of color and depth to your home decor and are an easy accessory to change with the seasons. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when decorating with greenery. 

tall indoor tree

via Pinterest

The size and shape of your plant should match the space you’re trying to fill. Be bold! If you have a large space, a large plant may be exactly what you need to fill it.

succulent shelf

via Pinterest

Your plants should be a variety of heights, textures, and colors. Combine tall, medium, and short plants together for a more interesting look, and don’t be afraid to throw in some color. While flowers may not last as long as other houseplants, their bright colors can add a lot of personality to a room.

large houseplant

via Pinterest

Keep it simple. If you feel like you have entered a jungle when you go into your living room, you have overdone it.

I love how houseplants can completely change the feel of a room. Let me know in the comments below what houseplants you’ve been using in your home! If you’re afraid your thumb isn’t green enough to keep a plant alive, check out RC Willey’s accessories for ideas of how to fill the empty spaces in your home.  


Revamping Your Fireplace

Posted by Alyssa on January 20, 2017

diy fireplace update 

Not only are fireplaces warm and cozy, they’re also the perfect focal point for a room. I loved that there was a fireplace in our home when we first moved in, but I didn’t love the tile surrounding it, or the mantle. We ended up ripping the tile out, replacing it with a brick facade, and painting the mantle. Now our fireplace is my favorite part of our room! 

via Pinterest

There are so many ways to update your own fireplace. Painting or replacing the mantle can make a huge difference for not a lot of money. I was shocked at how different my mantle looked just with a couple of coats of paint.

painted brick fireplace 

via Pinterest


If your tile or brick is dated or not your style, you can paint that as well. Almost all ceramic tiles and brick can be painted. Make sure you’ve cleaned the area completely before you begin, prime the area, and then give it a coat (or two...or three) of the paint color of your choice! Be sure to talk to your paint supplier about heat-resistant paint if you have a working fireplace.

Make your fireplace fit your own personal style without spending too much money. Let me know how it goes!


Using Baskets to Organize Your Home

Posted by Kerry on January 19, 2017

baskets organization

via Pinterest

Now that my daughter has the army crawl down, our house may never be clean again. There are toys everywhere. I didn’t even think we had that many but spread out across the kitchen, living room, hallway, bathroom, etc. it’s overwhelming. She can’t even officially crawl yet and I already feel like she leaves a trail wherever she goes. 


I know this is not a new idea and I’m probably really late to the game, but baskets! Baskets are the solution to this problem. I’ve gotten a basket for each room and now I just throw whatever is on the floor in that room into that basket. It’s not a perfect solution and I’m sure I’ll have to adapt it as my daughter grows, but for now, I’ll take it. If you have any other ideas of how to keep your house organized with kids running around, let me know and check out all the basket options at RC Willey


Sleeping Better this Year

Posted by Alyssa on January 18, 2017

sleeping better  

For some reason, I have a harder time sleeping during the winter. The sun goes down early and I start feeling ready for bed by 7:00, but then when it’s actually time to sleep I toss and turn. I’ve asked around for advice on how to sleep better, and there are a couple of suggestions that make it onto everyone’s list. 

  1. Create a schedule and stick to it! Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day helps your body’s sleep-wake cycle kick into gear.
  2. Limit use of electronic devices right before bed. Apparently screen time can interfere with your sleep.
  3. Be more active during the day. Working out in the morning will make you more tired and ready to sleep come nighttime.
  4. Don’t nap during the day. This one, I’ll admit, is a hard one for me to follow. I love a good snooze on the couch during the afternoon.
  5. Get comfortable! If your room temperature, lighting, pillow, and mattress are comfortable, bedtime will be the best part of your day.

I’ve made it a goal this year to go to be in bed at the same time each night and to read from a book instead of my phone before I go to sleep. Crossing my fingers that it’ll help. If you have any other suggestions of how to sleep better, let me know. My daughter is finally sleeping through the night and I want to too!


Pantone's Color of the Year

Posted by Alyssa on January 17, 2017

2017 pantone color of the year

Pantone picks the color that will be trending each year, and 2017's color is Greenery. I love how bright and joyful this color is and can’t wait to see how people incorporate it into their homes. 

It would look good as a bold, statement wall.

 Green Wall

via Pinterest

green wall

via Pinterest


 How about some accent furniture to add some pop against a neutral wall?

green sofa 

via RC Willey

green sofa

via Pinterest

Or adding some small accessories throughout your house.

green vase

via RC Willey

green vase

via RC Willey


Do you like this year’s color? How do you think you’ll use it in your home?



5 Great Podcasts

Posted by Alyssa on January 16, 2017


Working out is significantly more enjoyable if you’ve got something to distract you. At least for me. When I exercise, I need to have my headphones in and my mind distracted if I actually want to complete my work out. Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts while I run and I’m hooked. When I get tired of music, a podcast can make things a little more interesting. Here are five podcasts that I love. 

RadioLab - This show focuses on philosophical and scientific experiences, ideas, or stories and presents them in a way that’s both accessible and interesting. Every time I listen to this podcast I walk away wanting to talk about everything I just heard. Thankfully, my husband feels the same way and this show is our go-to dinner conversation starter.

Ted Radio Hour - If you’ve ever wanted a different perspective on being happy, reconciliation, forgiveness, or almost anything else you can think of, this is your show. Each episode picks a theme and discusses that theme through TEDTalks and interviews. I love how this show helps me understand scientific discoveries, new technology being created, and the people around me.

How I Built This - Anyone who is trying to start their own business needs to listen to this. Guy Raz, the host, interviews people who have successfully launched their businesses and brands on where their idea came from and how they got to where they are now. So if you’ve wondered how Spanx or Southwest Airlines came to be, wonder no more. The answers are in this podcast.

Planet Money - I was skeptical about this show at first because I am generally not interested in discussing the stock market or the economy in general. This show, however, talks about the economy with stories that are genuinely entertaining.

Hidden Brain - This show takes our unconscious thoughts, biases, and ideas, and discusses how they impact our daily lives. I have been surprised how often I’ve realized the topics he’s discussing relate to me and how I think. This show is another great conversation starter. 

If you have any podcasts you’d recommend, let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for something new to listen to.


How to Pick a Treadmill

Posted by Alyssa on January 12, 2017

p img data-src static.rcwilley.com blog 34 6562 how-to-pick-treamill.jpg alt how to pick treadmill width 778 height 519 p p span style font-weight 400 Many people including myself have made a resolution to be healthier and more active this year. Many people including myself find this resolution to be extremely difficult to make happen. It rsquo s especially hard to get started when schedules are complicated the gym is expensive and the weather is bad. That rsquo s why more and more people have started working out at home. Treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of home workout equipment but how do you choose which one to buy that rsquo s right for you nbsp --more-- img class hidden src https static.rcwilley.com images more-tag.png alt span p p a href https www.rcwilley.com Search.jsp q treadmill span style font-weight 400 img src static.rcwilley.com blog 34 6562 manual.jpg alt manual treadmill width 778 height 909 span a p p span style font-weight 400 Manual Treadmills - span p p span style font-weight 400 On a manual treadmill there is no motor. Your feet are what get the belt moving This makes a manual treadmill a cheaper and more compact option than a motorized treadmill. Because you don rsquo t need an electrical outlet this treadmill can be used anywhere. It is also a safer option for people with children and pets because when you stop walking it stops moving. On the flip side a manual treadmill has fewer setting options and cannot be adjusted during your workout. span p p a href https www.rcwilley.com Search.jsp q treadmill span style font-weight 400 img src static.rcwilley.com blog 34 6562 motor1.jpg alt width 778 height 778 span a p p span style font-weight 400 Motorized Treadmills - span p p span style font-weight 400 Motorized treadmills get going as soon as you press start. On many models you can adjust the speed level of incline and workout program while using the machine. Because the belt is continuously moving at a consistent pace it rsquo s harder to slack off mid-workout. You do need to be near an electrical outlet to use the machine and because the belt continuously moves it rsquo s important to follow all safety recommendations. span p p span style font-weight 400 Good luck with your health goals If you have any suggestions on how to get out and get moving let me know and check out a href EditBlogEntry.jsp target blank more exercise equipment here a nbsp span p

5 Things You Need for a New Baby

Posted by RC Willey Community on January 5, 2017

new baby list

My name is Alyssa and I’m new here! I’m a new mom living in a new house that my husband and I are renovating. This is the second home we’ve worked on and I love taking something used and making it into my own. I also love traveling and collecting interesting things for my home. Thanks for reading my blogs!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I quickly found out that “baby necessities” can often mean expensive gadgets that have to be stored somewhere. We live in a small house and while it’d be awesome to have a nursery packed with everything on my wishlist, it’s just not realistic for our finances or our space. Now that my daughter is seven months old, I’ve realized that there are five main things, along with a couple of onesies, that I must have to keep everything running smoothly. If you want to learn more about anything below, just click the picture!


1. Obviously the baby needs somewhere to sleep and I love the simplicity of this crib. The drawers underneath also give us some much-needed storage.


2. I love using a backpack as a diaper bag. It’s way more comfortable, my hands are free, and my husband is much more willing to wear a backpack than carry a side bag.


3. I use this stroller/car seat combo every day. The car seat clicks into the stroller without ever having to take the baby out, and now that my daughter is starting to sit, she can ride in the stroller without the car seat as well.

4. Diapers and wipes. Buy them in bulk and store them all over your house, all over your car, all over your body. I have learned this the hard way.

5. Always have an extra set of baby clothes in your bag. There is nothing worse than being in the grocery store parking lot in the middle of a snowstorm and realizing that your baby may be riding home in just her diaper. Again, I have learned this the hard way.

When I asked my husband what he thought was most the important thing to have for a new baby, he didn’t even hesitate before he said a washer and dryerConsidering how many loads we do a week, he’s probably right! Is there anything I left off my list that’s a must have baby item? Let me know and check out more baby items at RC Willey. 


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