Wednesday, January 18, 2017

12 things everyone needs in their nightstand this winter

My bed is, and always has been, my haven. It's a place that I will gladly spend my entire day and not feel one ounce of guilt - especially in the cold Minnesota months. I truly believe that there is nothing better than taking a shower, having freshly shaved legs, and jumping into warm, clean sheets. Very rarely do all those things occur at the same time, but I'm in heaven when they do and Lord help the person that tells me I need to get out of bed and be productive. 

With my bed being my place of perpetual refuge, it's no wonder my nightstand is such an important part of my life. I'm not going to get out of bed for anything, and will be a total grump if I actually need to get out of bed for anything other than food or the bathroom. I need to have everything within reach. (Is this what it's like being a millennial? Am I just living up to the world's low expectations of my generation? Maybe. Oh well.) 

1) Make-up Remover / Facial Wipes

Because no, people, I don't always wash my face before bed. I care more about my precious white sheets than I do my face and there is zero chance I get makeup on my pillow case. My favorite wipes are Simple, but lately I've been using Olay Fresh Effects with the exfoliator. 

2) Facial moisturizer or mask

Especially in the winter, my face can get super dry. This makes me unhappy, but I'd be even more unhappy if I had to get out of bed to tend to my unfortunate skin. With moisturizer right next to me, my dry skin is just a minor inconvenience. My two favorites right now are Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream and First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Cream. The Burt's Bees stuff is THICK and super moisturizing overnight, whereas I tend to use my First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream in the morning before I put on my makeup. 

3) Lip exfoliator and balm

No one wants to kiss a reptile, am I right? I am. Before bed I exfoliate my lips with my sugar scrub, and follow that up with a balm or other lip treatment. My lip exfoliator right now is Jersey Shore Cosmetics Vanilla Bean Lip and Hand Polish. (I've never tried it on my hands, but great for lips and comes in a tube.) Lately I've been loving First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Lip Therapy for after my exfoliator. Hello beautiful, soft lips!

4) Stress Relief Body Cream

This one is awfully specific and a year round necessity. I don't do drugs, so eucalyptus and spearmint essential oils are the next best thing. I've never done meth, but I've seen a lot of A&E's Intervention and think the two high's are comparable.  I'm not saying that my life is so stressful that I need this every day, but I personally am just a stressful person, and I have to spend a lot of time with myself. So... it's necessary. In the winter I bathe in this every night and play slip and slide in my bed like a child. 

5) Pillow Spray

Also stress relief. Also eucalyptus and spearmint. I spray it not only on my pillow, but also the part of the bed my pillow lays on, my headboard, and the sheets near my face. I want to make sure I don't miss out on any of my eucalyptus, spearmint meth-blend. I like to think it wards off stressful dreams. 

6) A Book

To keep my smarts. Obviously. Now, I admit that I don't always read the book in my nightstand... but it's the thought that counts. I read a few pages here and there to keep myself engaged in something other than the Real Housewives and Leah Remini's Scientology: The Aftermath. I've been really horrible about reading consistently lately, so it's helpful that I have my book so close to me. Currently reading the autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt, gifted to me by my sister-in-law and definitely recommend. 

7) Headphones

Turns out my husband likes to sleep. Sometimes I'm sleeping by 8:00PM, sometimes I'm up until 1:00AM watching cat videos on YouTube. I'm not willing to sacrifice my comfort for a few funny YouTube videos, that's where headphones come in. They're a beautiful little invention that let's you listen to music, TV shows, whatever your heart desires, without disturbing anyone around you.

8) Room Spray

With all my time spent in bed during the winter, I need to keep the room fresh. I can't just open the windows all the time because there's another human and a dog living with me that I also have to consider. So? Room spray. I'll give a dollar to anyone who can guess the preferred scent. Eucalyptus? You are so smart. 

9) Hand Lotion

I have this thing about having dry hands. I never actually have dry hands, but I always perceive my hands as dry. It's weird, but therapy is expensive so I just continuously use hand lotion. I like to use this extra intense stuff at night in the winter so I wake up with baby soft hands. 

10) Candle

How else am I supposed to watch the drama that is Leah Remini's Scientology: The Aftermath in candlelight if not with a candle? I want you to shut your eyes and think about laying in a big comfy bed with lots of pillows and blankets, surrounded by the meth-blend of eucalyptus and spearmint, in candlelight while watching your favorite show on your iPad or TV. Yes. That's my life. It's pretty fabulous. 

11) Glass of Water

I'm thirsty, but not in the single and desperate kind of way. The winter months are dry, my husband sleeps with a fan, and our bedroom is at like 5% humidity. Our bedroom is upstairs and our kitchen is on the main level - you see where this is going. I save myself the trouble and fill up a big glass of ice water right before bed like the functional and responsible adult I am. 

12) Hair Binder / Hair Tie

My hair, I am convinced, tries to kill me at least quarterly. It's long and occasionally wraps itself around my neck in some sort of attempt to choke me while I sleep. I don't love sleeping with my hair up, but sometimes, especially if I have a cold or am running a bit hot, I need to in order to avoid death by hair. 

So tell me, what are your nightstand must haves?

Monday, January 16, 2017

8 Things I wish I knew before buying a home

It’s been almost two years of blissful homeownership and I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I seemed to have been under the impression that the hardest part about being a homeowner was becoming a homeowner. It turns out, that was the easiest part.

Here are some things I’ve learned since we moved in:

  1. The buck stops at you.
I’m the first to admit that our old landlord was completely useless, shady, and belonged in IRS/code violation jail. But, he was still someone we could call and blame. Now it’s just us. All us. No landlord, no facilities management. Just us.

  1. It’s expensive, and It’s more than your mortgage.
When you think of your mortgage, usually taxes and homeowners insurance are all wrapped up in that monthly number. But what’s not accounted for? Gas. Electricity. Garbage. Water. Cable. Internet. Air filters. Leaf and lawn trimming bags.

  1. It’s full of surprises.
Surprise you need a new furnace… Now! The furnace will not wait for you to save enough money to purchase it responsibly. And because it’s just cheaper to get the furnace and new air conditioning unit at the same time, why don’t you just tack on a new AC while you’re at it?

  1. No, you still can’t blast your favorite tunes.
Just because you are enclosed in a home doesn’t mean that you can listen to loud music. This was a huge disappointment to my dorm and basement apartment living self. I longed for the days to listen to my music as loud as I wanted. Unfortunately, neighbors.

  1. Your neighborhood is like the real world. You’ll hate most of them.
I’m just being honest. I run the opposite direction every time I see my neighbors. Why? Because I’m still a horrible person in the comfort of my own home. There’s no Desperate Housewives bond, unfortunately. This may or may not be because one neighbor is a single man and I’ve only actually seen the other neighbor’s wife like once. But still.

  1. You age ten years every time someone walks through your yard or speeds down your street.
DO THEY NOT SEE THE SPEED LIMIT? There are children on this street!

  1. You’re going to LIVE THERE… for like, a long time.
I point this out because when we first bought our home, a four level split sounded fun. Two years in and it’s not that fun to be upstairs in the bedroom and have to go not just downstairs to the main level, or even downstairs to the lower level, but downstairs to the basement and back up again just to get some socks. What happens when I’m old and have bad knees? Or better yet, when Lola is old and has bad knees?

  1. Anxiety is real.
Did I close the garage door? What is that car doing parked across the street? Will our house burn down while we’re on vacation? Am I going to be robbed? Questions I think about on a daily basis.

Thankfully through all of this I have a husband who handles just about everything. He’s a rock, and was seemingly made for home ownership. If it weren’t for him my body would be found years from now rotting in the corner of my basement in the same position I sat in the first time it rained and our basement flooded.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Living Room Makeover

Buying our first house was a trip. We went back and forth between getting a fixer upper or a house that was move-in ready, but ultimately decided on move-in ready. What no one tells you is that move-in ready doesn't necessarily mean you won't be doing any work. Quite the opposite, at least for us, two picky peas. We're almost two years, eleven gallons of paint, 377 trips to Home Depot, and three boxes of bandaids in on this home, but not yet finished fixing it up. 

Thankfully, after spending some time fixing up our main level living room, we are one step closer!

The before:

(Please note, that the realtor's camera adds 10+ feet.)

And this is where we are today:

What we did: Painted! A lot of paint! The paint we used is Universal Grey by Glidden. It took us a long time to finally decide on this color, but we're both super happy with it. It isn't too green or blue, and truly is universal. Ryan replaced all of the trim around the windows, doors, as well as the floorboards. We also got a new patio door, which isn't super vital to the living room -- but is to the kitchen and dining room which is previewed above, but not complete. 

In the second picture you can also see that we are in the process of fixing up the entry way. Ryan replaced the old, brown, weird tile with marble tile. We removed the built in planter box that separated the living room and the entry way in order to have a bigger landing space. He also added some awesome trim around the entry way. It looks great! We just need to add a bench, table, and a few decor items to our entry way before you'll get a full before and after!

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