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Garage Makeovers

Posted by Alyssa on May 28, 2017


Summer is the season of garage makeovers. If you get a pit in your stomach every time you pull into your cluttered garage or if you fear for your life each time you pull something off of a shelf, check out these tips for a total garage makeover. 

garage stations

via Consumer Reports

Create “stations” in your garage to help you stay organized. Think about what is in your garage and what you use it for. If you can designate specific areas - garden, workshop, outdoor toys and gear, everyday objects, etc. - you will know exactly where to go when looking for something.


via The Better Garages

Keep everything off the floor. Hang bikes on the walls, install shelving or storage options and hang a pegboard to store tools and small objects.

garage storage 

via Essential Tools

For tall tools such as rakes, shovels, or spades, create a tool holder to keep them upright and organized.

garage bins

via A Bowl Full of Lemons

Use the area around the door into the house to create a mudroom. Install shelves, hooks, and cubbies to store muddy boots, swim gear, beach towels, and anything else you’d rather not have brought into the house. Label your boxes so that you're able to find everything quickly and easily!

Any tips that I missed? Good luck with your garage makeovers!

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Cooking Hacks

Posted by Alyssa on May 23, 2017

 Don't you hate when you are in the middle of cooking something and you realize that you are missing just one ingredient?  ONE!  Basically my worst nightmare is loading my three preschool and younger aged children into the car, driving to the grocery store, and taking them all inside with me just to pick up one lousy thing.  It really makes me want to cry just thinking about it.  

I thought I knew a lot of cooking/baking hacks until I started researching for this blog post!  I mean, I always substitute applesauce for oil in cakes, and I usually always make my own buttermilk, because who remembers to buy that at the grocery store?  If you're like me, and do whatever possible NOT to have to run to the grocery store on the fly, check out this all encompassing substitution chart below.  You can thank me later when it saves you from last minute grocery shopping!  I kind of want to blow it up and hang it on my fridge.....


Source: blog

Do you have any cooking/baking hacks that weren't covered in this list?
If so, please share!


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How to Pick the Right Sunscreen

Posted by Andie on May 21, 2017

Like many of you, I was one of those teenagers that worshipped the sun.  I hardly ever burned and so I didn't see the point in wearing sunscreen.  Once I hit 25 I realized I didn't want to turn into a piece of leather when I got old, and so I drastically changed my sun habits.  I might take my protection to extremes now, but there is no such thing as being too careful in my book.  

Am I the only person that has felt confused while trying to pick out a bottle of sunscreen?  It's overwhelming!  As Americans we love pretty packaging, but after talking with my dermotologist and doing extensive research I've learned that most of the sunscreens out there (especially sold at the supermarket) aren't doing nearly what they claim to.  In fact, some of them are straight up bad for your health.  

The best way to really find the right sunscreen is to start asking the right questions.  Take a moment to go over these common sunscreen questions to make sure you've got the facts straight....

 What does it mean when a sunscreen label boasts Broad Spectrum Protection? Protects from both UVA and UVB light rays.  UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, and UVB rays contribute to sunburn. (* Keep reading below.*) While many bottles claim to provide broad spectrum protection, it's actually very false.) 

What does SPF (Sun Protection Factor) actually mean? Measures protection from UVB rays. To calculate, you times the SPF number by 10, and with sunscreen applied, that is the amount of time you can be in the sun with burning.  Unfortunately, high SPF's can create a very false sense of security.  I have totally had the mindset, "the higher the spf, the better"--- and that just isn't the case.  Here is a breakdown of the percentages of UVB rays that are blocked by different SPF levels.

SPF 15- blocks 94% of UVB rays
SPF 30- blocks 97% of UVB rays
SPF 45- blocks 98% of UVB rays

As you can see, once you hit SPF 30 it really doesn't make much of a difference to go any higher.  Also, the higher the SPF, the higher chemical concentrations contained (without offering any real additional sun protection).  My doctor told me to stick with SPF 30 and to make sure that I'm diligent about reapplying.  Interestingly enough, the EWG advises to avoid sunscreens with a higher SPF than 50 altogether! 

If SPF targets UVB rays, how do I target UVA rays?
Looking at SPF can be helpful, but also misleading as it doesn't measure the amount of protection from UVA rays.  Many American sunscreens claim to be "broad spectrum" on their label, but their UVA protections are in reality very inadequate.  UVA protection in American Sunscreens maxes out at about 15 to 20 SPF.  Yikes!  In order to achieve the best UVA protection possible, look for sunscreens that have mineral ingredients. 

What kind of minerals should I be looking for in my sunscreen?
ZINC OXIDE!  Most dermatologists will agree that the only real way to prevent skin damage, sun aging, and adequate UVA protection is by using zinc oxide sunscreens.  It offers better protection from UVA rays than titanium oxide or any other sunscreen chemical approved in the U.S. Zinc starts working right when you put it on becuase it sits on top of the skin and literally acts as a physical barrier.  If you are thinking of the white paste lifegaurds wore 30 years ago--- don't fret.  Zinc sunscreens have improved a lot over the years and they run on like any other sunscreen.  A few other minerals that are good (although zinc oxide is the very best) in protecting against UVA rays are: titanium dioxide and avobenzone.  As you can see, these three ingredients not only target UVA rays, but they are also rated the least toxic of ingredients in sunscreens.  Win, Win!


How much sunscreen do I need to apply? 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people apply "1 ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass" of sunscreen each time they apply it.  Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen, which in turn lowers the amount of SPF your body is actually getting.  Ex) Ever put on SPF 50 sunscreen and still got burned?  If you don't put an adequate amount of sunscreen on, even an SPF 50 sunscreen can end up acting more like an SPF 7!  I had no idea!!

How often do I need to reapply?

Lots of people think they just need to apply it once when they first go out, and that it will protect them all day.  This could not be further from the truth. REAPPLYING IS KEY!!  Apply 20-30 minutes before being exposed to the sun, and reapply at LEAST every 2 hours-- even less if you are swimming or sweating.  

When do I need to put sunscreen on my face?
Every single day.  Whether you are going to the beach or just running errands, wearing a good sunscreen on your face daily is a must.  I know a lot of women are leery about adding another moisturizer to their makeup lineup, but there are lots of awesome facial sunscreens that come as tinted moisturizers.  I put mine on first thing in the morning, before any other makeup.  I couldn't live without it!  

Should I use spray sunscreens?

In theory they sound like a good idea because they are convenient and quick...... but it's best to only be used in a pinch. Two reasons to stay away: it's hard to know if you've covered all areas of your body, especially if you are outdoors when you apply it.  Wind and weather can affect how much of it actually makes it onto your skin.  Also, spray sunscreen is pretty controversial because of accidental inhalation, especially in children.  If you are going to use it, make sure you apply inside, cover your child's face while spraying, and use a lotion sunscreen on their face. 

Go, and choose wisely.

Hopefully this information will help you make the most informed decisions when purchasing sunscreen for your family this summer!  You should definitely take the time to do your own research and check the ingredients on the bottle before you buy, but the EWG has an incredible Guide to Sunscreens where you can look up specific sunscreens to see how they measure up in safety, UVA/UVB balance, etc.  Check it out!  It's gold.  

Also, just to make it easy on you, here are the BEST BEACH AND SPORT SUNSCREENS and the BEST KID SUNSCREENS ranked by the EWG. I bought Blue Lizard Sensitive and Blue Lizard Sport on Amazon and so far have been very happy with it.  


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How to Paint a Room

Posted by Alyssa on May 20, 2017

how to paint a room

Knowing how to paint a room will not only allow you to give your house a facelift, it’ll save you lots of money! Painters can be expensive, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice that accent wall you’ve always wanted just because of your budget. Once you’ve picked your paint color, follow these instructions and you’ll know exactly how to paint a room. 

prepped room

via Jane Fargo


This means moving and covering furniture, taking off cover plates from outlets and light switches, and repairing any damage the wall has. You’ll want to scrape off any flaking paint, patch small holes with putty, and sand the walls smooth. Be sure you clean the area you are painting after you’ve prepped it by wiping down the walls and removing any dust.


Keep in mind what paint finish you should use on the surface you are painting and know how much area you will need to cover. One gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet. One gallon usually will cover a small room like a bathroom and two gallons can cover most average sized rooms.

When buying your supplies, be sure you have purchased the correct roller and brush for the job you are doing. There are many different types of rollers meant for a variety of textures or paint types. If you have questions, be sure to ask at the paint counter and they can help you find the proper materials.

cutting in

via DIY Network


Cutting in is the process of painting the edges of your room. You will do this with a brush rather than a roller. Dip a third of your brush into the paint and without scraping the sides of the brush, paint around the edges of the wall you are working on. Hold the paintbrush like a pencil and use smooth strokes, making sure you catch any drips.


Dip your roller into the paint and roll it over the paint tray liner a few times to even everything out. Starting with the edge of the wall, roll the paint gently onto the wall in a zigzag motion. Overlap your lines and make sure you have covered top to bottom before starting your next line. Do not press too hard on the roller and reload the roller with paint frequently. Gently roll over any drips to smooth things out. Apply two coats for best coverage.

 painting trim

via Home Tips


Once you’ve painted the walls and the paint has dried, place painters tape on the wall above the trim and on the floor to avoid a mess. With a brush, use smooth motions to paint the wall moldings, door frames, window frames, and any other trim in the room. Carefully remove the painter’s tape before the paint has completely dried to have the neatest lines.


Return any excess paint in the roller tray back to the paint can. Use a brush to get as much paint back into the can as possible. Run your brush and rollers under warm water with soap to remove any dried paint, rinse until the water is clear, and hang them up to dry.

Hopefully this helps! Now that you know how to paint a room, what’s your next project?


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Round Tables

Posted by Alyssa on May 18, 2017


How do you feel about round tables in dining rooms and kitchens? If you have the right space, a round table can be perfect! Not only do they fit in places other tables won’t, it’s easier to squeeze in a few more chairs when you’re entertaining. These are five of my favorite round tables available at RC Willey right now. 

round table

via RC Willey

round table

via RC Willey

round table

via RC Willey

black round table

via RC Willey

round table

via RC Willey

Check out all of RC Willey's dining room furniture to find everything that you need. Would you pick round tables for your home? 

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Mattress sizes

Posted by Alyssa on May 17, 2017

bed sizes

Knowing the difference between mattress sizes is important when picking a mattress and bed frame. The size of your room, your needs, and your personal preference will all help determine which mattress size you choose. If you’re trying to decide on a new mattress size pull out your measuring tape, think about your ideal night’s sleep, and keep reading to get all the information you need to make your decision.

TWIN Mattress Size - 39” x 74”

Twin mattresses are the smallest mattress available and are perfect for one person, whether child or adult.

TWIN XL Mattress Size - 39” x 80”

Twin XL (extra long) mattresses are about 6 inches longer than a typical twin. These are common in dorm rooms or are a good purchase for taller adults.

twin size bed

via RC Willey

FULL Mattress Size - 54” x 74”

Full mattresses, also known as double mattresses, are slightly bigger than a twin but still not quite comfortable for two people to sleep comfortably. This is a good option for growing children.

QUEEN Mattress Size - 60” x 80”

Queen mattresses can comfortably sleep two people and are one of the most popular bed sizes today. If you have a small bedroom, a guest room that might sleep two people, or just like sleeping close to your partner, a queen mattress may be what you are looking for.

queen bed size

via RC Willey

KING Mattress Size - 76” x 80”

King mattresses are the widest bed available, making it a perfect option for couples who like lots of room while they sleep. Because these beds are larger and more difficult to move, bed springs are split to make it easier to move throughout your home.  

CALIFORNIA KING Mattress Size - 72” x 84”

California King mattresses are 4” narrower than a standard king, but 4” longer. While you do lose some width with this choice over a king mattress, it’s still much roomier than a queen and gives a lot more legroom for taller adults.

Remember that your bed frame will take up more room than just the size of the mattress. Make sure you have taken that into consideration before deciding on your bed sizes.

Every time I stay somewhere with a king mattress it feels like such a treat to sprawl out and have endless space. Someday, hopefully! What size of bed do you have?



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Spring Design Trends of 2017

Posted by Alyssa on May 16, 2017


In the Interior design world trends are always evolving and changing.  What's in vogue one day seems to be out the next, and sometimes it's hard to stay in the know!  Here are five hot new trends that you should be on the lookout for this spring...  

1. Matte Finish Appliances

Did you ever think the day would really come when stainless steel wouldn't be the hottest appliance finish around?  I sure didn't!  Matte finish appliances are a new modern take on everything we love about stainless steel.  You get the same rust-proof benefits of stainless steel, and then some! Black stainless steel and slate finishes are a warmer, much more fingerprint resistant and smudge proof option.  I'll be honest- when I first saw matte appliances several months ago I didn't think I'd ever be on board, but the more I see it, the more I really like it.  I think this is going to be the new normal...

via love grows wild


via pinterest


Check out RC Willey's black stainless steel and slate appliances


2. Modern Textile Art 

Macrome made a comeback, and now modern textile art is making it big as well.  If it's woven or fabric based, chances are it's on point this season!  If your grandma made it fifty years ago, it's probably cool again.  


via domino


3. Vanity Conversions in Bathrooms

Thinking about renovating your bathroom, but can't find any pre-manufactured vanity that you like enough to buy?  No problem!  The latest bathroom trend is to think outside the box!  Find an awesome chest of drawers, vintage console, or cabinet that you love, and BAM----turn it into a vanity!  You get what you want, and your bathroom has a whole lot of character.  

via pinterest

4. Acrylic Decor
Acrylic chairs have been on the rise for a while now and it looks like we are just getting started!  Look for cool acrylic furniture including chairs, tables, cribs and consoles.  I love how clean, modern, and expensive it looks.  

elle decor via pinterest

5. Satin brass

Polished brass finishes were really popular for a while, but recently the trend is moving away from the reflective & polished look towards a more muted satin brass.  It's a little bit warmer, a lot less busy, and bonus: satin brass goes well when paired with almost any color, so you really can't go wrong.


via pinterest


6. Indoor Plants

Based on the health benefits alone, indoor plants are one of those trends that should never really go away....but wiith the color of 2017 being green it's very favored right now to have as many plants inside your home as possible!  I don't think there is such a thing as too much- so bring the outdoors in!  Green plants make everything better.  

home beautiful via pinterest


What do you think of these current trends?

Love them?  Hate them?

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Analogous Color Schemes

Posted by Alyssa on May 15, 2017

analogous color schemes

Analogous color schemes sound more complicated than they actually are. Look at the color wheel, pick three colors next to each other, and there you have it! Using analogous colors in your interior design creates a harmonious room with enough contrast in color to keep things interesting.

The first step when deciding to use this color scheme is to pick the main color you will be using. Then, looking at the color wheel, choose two or three colors that sit next to your main color that you would like to incorporate into your design. It’s as simple as that! Scroll through below to see some examples of how you could incorporate analogous color schemes into your home. 

Yellow, Yellow-Orange, Orangeyellow, yellow-orange, orange

via Home DIT

  Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green

analogous color scheme

via Frenchy Fancy

Green, Blue-Green, Blue

color scheme

via Apartment Therapy

Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet

blue, blue-violet, violet room

via Darling Doodles Design

Violet, Red-Violet, Red

color scheme 

via Apartment Therapy

Remember that you can use shades of the actual colors, so if the idea of using bold colors intimidates you, think of using pastels or small doses of the colors. 

What do you think? Would you use analogous color schemes in your home? 

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Open Shelving in Kitchens

Posted by Alyssa on May 14, 2017

open shelving in kitchens

Have you ever thought about including open shelving in your kitchens? I’m not nearly organized enough to have all the dishes I use on a regular basis exposed to the world, but I love the idea of having a couple of open shelves as a display. Especially if they are filled with clean, simple displays. Here are some of my favorite inspirations for open shelving in kitchens. 

open shelving

via Planete Deco

open shelving

via Hooked on Houses

open shelving

via Homey Oh My

open shelving

via Sarah Sherman Samuel

open shelving

via Bigger Than The Three of Us


What do you think? Would you use open shelving in kitchens?

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Dream Closets

Posted by Alyssa on May 13, 2017


If you could have your dream closet, what would it look like? My husband and I have always lived in older houses which are heavy on charm but light on storage. Our house right now has one small closet in the master bedroom that we share. Fortunately, neither of us have that many clothes, but it does get really annoying to find sweatshirts shoved in the box we store our socks in. The other day while I was putting away the laundry, I kept imagining my dream closet and then, like a fool, I looked up amazing closets online. Here are some of the closets that are making me drool with envy. 


via One Kindesign


via My Domaine


via Hidell Brooks Gallery


via My Domaine

Do you have your dream closet?

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