Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Things I Love Tuesday : Audible

Well, after 6 years, I finally gave up my trusty iPod Nano + Creative speaker and joined the ranks of those who use their smartphones for everything, including my always-necessary audiobooks.
I am still a huge fan of my local library, so I use the Overdrive app for free, instantly downloadable audiobooks that you can borrow.

But for things the library doesn't have, I saved my pennies and got myself an annual subscription to Audible.com. (This is actually my 2nd year!) You get 12 credits to use whenever and other audiobooks are discounted. I buy cheaper books/shows and save my credits for more expensive ones.
The app is great, the instant gratification is phenomenal. You can download previously purchased books from the cloud, or get new ones. 

I have a whole homepage on my phone dedicated to various audiobook players.

Now I just need to figure out the perfect bluetooth speaker situation  (one that can rival my little Creative speaker). Any ideas? Anyone else use/love Audible?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hello, Scentsy!

So I became a Scentsy rep!

I'm going to try not to spam this blog with Scentsy stuff, but they'll be on here a bit because I joined because I really love the products, and I wanted to make it easy for my friends and family to get them (and know when all the sales and deals are going on)! I've always loved online shopping (thank you, Amazon Prime!), but since I've become a mom (and really, there are plenty of other life changes that have this same result), I just find I don't have time to go to the store to shop - but I still love shopping and good deals and nice things.

I think I mentioned that I've been trying to follow Marie Kondo's method of only surrounding yourself with things that spark joy. That's part of what Scentsy is to me!

I discovered I'm kind of picky about scents and smells, but when I find one (or two!) that "spark joy," I just love them and want to be immersed in them. I did shop around for other scent warmers, but I just realized, they didn't spark joy! For whatever reason - so-so quality, not great looks, mediocre functionality...and I realized, I need to get rid of that stuff! (De-hoard! De-hoard!) And only be surrounded with things you love and that make you happy.

So for fun, I joined Scentsy.

Here's (a part of) my Scentsy Starter Kit. The testers are so fun to have around. The warmer that was included is called Thistle. And it's really my first time dealing with their other products.

If you're local to Northwest Indiana, (especially Griffith/Schererville/Highland/Dyer/Crown Point), I'd love to be your Scentsy Consultant. And if you're far away, I can still save you money on shipping when you order directly through me! (Darn it, you'll just have to email me and open up some friendly communication!) :)

For more fun, here's my personal Scentsy page: https://victoriaf.scentsy.us/

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Make Your Own Decaf Iced Coffee & Vanilla Syrup


Brian and I have tried various methods of making our own delicious iced coffee at home (to save a few dollars each morning!) and we've liked several, but here's what we're doing now.

In an effort to get some better sleep, we're using a lot more decaf. We still get that yummy coffee flavor and smell in the morning, but without the (for us) disastrous caffeine side effects. The Keurig is amazing, but when regular hot coffee hits all that ice, it just gets too watered down. But then I found these extra-bold dark-roast decaf K-cups on Amazon! Woohoo! Now we make fresh, delicious, perfect decaf iced coffee at home.

The other secret to our yummy iced coffee is my DIY vanilla syrup. After being too lazy to run out to GFS to buy another bottle of vanilla coffee syrup, I started Googling for a homemade alternative and found this post. I have tweaked the recipe to make a bottle-filling, countertop-friendly, no-refrigeration-needed version that has been serving us well for months now.

DIY Vanilla Syrup:

Ingredients -
-3 cups white sugar
-1.5 cups water
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine water and sugar in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or some other microwave safe container. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Remove and stir thoroughly. Add vanilla. Mixture may be cloudy, but as long as the sugar granules have dissolved, it will clear up as it cools.

I have been reusing my old vanilla syrup bottle, but I’ve reused a 750mL liquor bottle as well (for a simple syrup – the above minus the vanilla…great for sweet tea!) I’ve gotten this pump and this pump off of Amazon.

Perfect DIY Iced Coffee:

-1 extra bold, dark roast K-cup (regular or decaf) brewed with 8-10 oz water
-approx. 1/2 cup half and half or coffee creamer, to taste
-approx, 6 pumps vanilla syrup, to taste

Fill large (28 oz.) cup with ice. Add half and half and syrup. Pour in hot coffee and stir vigorously (with reusable straw!) till the whole thing is cool. Enjoy a little bit of morning heaven. :)

This isn’t the cheapest way we’ve found to make our own iced coffee, but lately it’s proven to be the easiest and tastiest! Is coffee a part of your morning ritual? Brian drinks his iced, even in the dead of winter!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Things I Love Tuesday: Jag Jeans

I used to do “Things I Love Thursday”…but now the youngin’s do “Throwback Thursday”?? I don’t know, but I don’t want to confuse matters and who knows if I’ll actually remember to keep up these posts on Tuesdays anyhow.

So anyway, Jag Jeans. I’m usually late to the party, so I don’t know if everyone already knows about these amazing jeans, but I love them and I want to spread the love.


Let me tell you the best part of being pregnant (besides eating all the cheeseburgers): It was the elastic waist pants. I didn’t want to give up that luxury just because my baby is on the outside now.

And luckily a friend told me I don’t have to.

They look like regular jeans…except they fit better and they stretch. And you don’t have to zip them. (I think Jag makes some zip jeans…who knows why. The “Pull On” is what you’re looking for here.)

You can go get your size and style now at Zappos or Nordstrom and usually Amazon.

Or you can be a cheapy like me and wait for your size and style to come on sale at 6pm.com or Sierra Trading Post. (You can always find coupon codes for Sierra Trading Post, too!) I pay an average of $25 a pair for these babies!

(I got my first pair or 2 on Amazon – free shipping and free returns! Nothing to lose if you don’t like them or don’t like the size. Same with Zappos!)

My favorites are the Paley bootcut (I’ve also got Keller bootcut and like them just fine) and the Nora skinny jean.

You’re welcome.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Coconut Pumpkin Pie and Scentsy

I’ve mentioned using some Scentsy things before. (Update, I didn’t end up loving that warmer I got. It was really small (cute, but small) and weirdly unlevel on the table. Womp womp. When I unpack it, I’ll post a picture.)

I ended up getting a warmer I really like (from the sale section!). (Then I hosted a party and got a few more. Ha!)  As I move through the seasons, I like to change out the scents. Well, September’s “Scent of the Month” was something called Coconut Pumpkin Pie – and it seriously makes me so happy, that I want to join Scentsy and buy 100 bars of it all for myself. I want to carry it in my pocket. I want to smell it when I’m stressed and when I’m happy and just all the time. It’s warm and sweet and cozy and homey. Seriously, what’s in this stuff? I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong reaction to a scent before!


Again, don’t want to sound like a paid advertisement, but I can’t get over how much I love this silly scent.

And I’m totally serious about considering becoming a Scentsy consultant to share the magic of this with my friends! :)

Is anyone else weirdly obsessed with a scent?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Our House is on the Market!

So I didn’t really get to talk about this yet, so here it is.

We love our house so much. We love its location – great street, great yard, great area, close to stores, etc etc. We love the house…after all, we’ve been customizing it to our tastes for 6 years now! I love its solitude. :)

But things change, as always. My parents built a great house when I was finishing college, also in a great area, and on a piece of property that’s been in my family for 75 years. (Isn’t that cool? That doesn’t happen a lot nowadays.) My mom doesn’t want to live in that house by herself any more. At first, we thought we’d build her an in-law suite at our house, but when we looked at the costs and amount of work, we started to realize that making some changes at her house would make more sense, and we’d move in there.

It’s going to be crazy. Mom: you and I better get along! But it will be great for her to be near Porcupine. And that house has a lot of great positives, too. A different kind of great location – very kid friendly. It’s a much newer house, so is better insulated, more efficient, etc. We’ll still be doing remodeling projects to fit our new family and lots of fun redecorating! And I get to design and build a whole new sewing room…mmmmmm…I’m sooooo excited!

For now, here are the cool pro-photos of our house that accompany its online listing. (I will update our “house tour” with pictures I take myself!)

 front living 1 living 2 living_kit living_kit 2 kitchen bedroom bathroom 1 bathroom 2 nursery

Don’t you want to buy my house? ;)                  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Blogging Reboot!

I’ve forever wanted to blog to just share some thoughts and ideas: things that I’m obsessing over, new things that I’ve discovered, things that I’ve learned. I think if you’re my friend, it will all just make sense to you...and if you’re not, you might just think I’m a little nuts. And really, who’s not?

But blogging is such a crazy place.

It’s so easy to want Pinterest-perfect posts and pictures, because I love Pinterest!

It’s easy to want to share stories and details about my family and my kid, but it’s also easy to be worried that some crazies on the Internet may somehow use the information in some weird, unknown way in the future.

It’s easy to try to want to try to create a blog that will become well-know for a specific genre (DIY, Lifestyle, Women’s, etc) that will please and inspire readers, but it’s also easy to want to just blog whatever comes to my mind, and I’m all over the place!

I wanted to blog to have some fun, share some (of my very opinionated) thoughts, and share some of my experience with projects etc...but then somehow it got “stressful” - with not wanting to post something till it’s perfect, and wanting to make sure the post was “on topic” and “complete,” and wanting to make sure it was not violating my family’s privacy. So then, I just didn’t post. But that’s no fun either! (I mean, plus, I haven’t had time!)

So I want to try to fix all that. I’m going to try a blogging reboot, where I am not worried about Pinterest-perfect and number of views of each post...I just want to chat with my friends and keep in touch with them. What can I say? I love hearing the sound of my own voice…(reading the font of my own typing?) Please excuse any pseudonyms or guarded pictures, etc...that is just my shielding my life a little from the Internet. But otherwise, I think this will be fun!


blogging_freedom! blogging freedom!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Testing, Part 2

(I think part of me was a real go-getter at one time and set default image sizes etc on the blog...let's see if that recollection was correct.)

I saw this cool pillow at HomeGoods. I would love to recreate it and customize it as a gift this holiday season (who knows if I really will!). Isn't it a great sentiment? Something none of us should ever forget!

Don't forget to be awesome!

Testing, testing...

I really want to try to post more...and have fun with this blog as I originally intended. I'm going to try to test a few things to make blogging easier...and try not to worry about creating "Pinterest-perfect" posts! We'll see how it goes...

In the meantime, here's a post from my phone. Let's see how it looks!

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