The Mudroom Got Gussied Up

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Our dog, Maggie, should I put this?  Needy?  Hyper?  She's full of love and happiness.  Her energy is simply endless and her patience is in short supply.  So when we're getting ready to head out the door, she jumps up and scratches at anything in sight: my leg, the door, the wall.  She literally scratched a hole in the drywall next to the mudroom/garage door!  (We enter the house through the garage--we almost never use the front door.)

This hole and the torn up paint and drywall would not do for house showings, so a couple of weeks ago, I spackled and sanded (and spackled and sanded some more) until things were looking close to back to normal.  I also had to spackle the wall cracks up near the top of the shelves after some settling took place.  Here's what it looked like after the first round of sanding and before I cracked open a new gallon of paint:

And here's the other side, for reference (and for you to see how yellow the light in there made everything look):

It's more than a little embarrassing to show these pictures (dirty mirror, disheveled lockers, chaos...), but hey, this is reality.

The paint color had always bothered me--it turned out too dark, so I didn't mind having to paint.  I didn't put a lot of thought into it.  I found a super pale grey color on a paint chip and ordered it at Home Depot.  There was just too much going on to dilly dally over a paint color!

Here's how the main entrance to our house is looking today:

chalkboard paint door, white locker cubby cubbies

I also took the opportunity to get some more containers for the shelves and get a new rug (that didn't smell like wet dog!).  After scrubbing the base of the lockers and the shoe cubbies, I realized the only way to refresh everything was to repaint the entire locker unit.  Luckily, that only took one coat.  It was tedious, but made a huge impact!  You can't tell  a big difference by these'll just have to trust me.  (Honestly, whose idea was it to paint shoe cubbies white?!  I would've loved to have painted them a darker color to hide the dirt, but just didn't have time to think it through/experiment.)

And here's the other side (look, I cleaned the mirror!  It looks like I need a lesson in how to handle the squeegee...):

chalkboard painted door

Oh, and another game changer?  We changed the light bulbs to "daylight" bulbs and holy cow, what a difference!  In fact, we changed every single bulb in the house to a "daylight" version and it was life changing.  When the realtor saw the pictures, she thought we'd repainted the entire first floor a lighter color.

So a little bit of spackle and a lot of paint and we have a new room :)  

For kicks, here's what the room looked like when we moved in last year:

Yep.  Our mudroom used to be the laundry room.  While the function of having the washer and dryer around the corner from the kitchen is great, I knew there would be shoes, bags, backpacks, etc strewn everywhere (plus, the baskets of laundry to be done??!).  It just would not have worked.  This was one of the first things we did when we moved in--we moved the washer and dryer to the basement and my husband built us the locker/cubbie system.  I also painted the walls, added hooks and a full-length mirror and painted the door with chalkboard paint.  Function galore!  Let me just post the after picture one more time so we're ending things on a high note:

chalkboard painted door, white lockers and cubbies

It's such a huge difference in function and style.  It makes me so happy!

Do you enter your home through the front door, or through the garage?  Do you have a mudroom?  I really don't know how we'd function without this space now that the kids are in school.

Budget Beauty: Hall of Fame

Monday, August 25, 2014
neutrogena dry touch sunscreen, e.l.f. primer, Aussie 3 minute miracle, revlon, not just nudes

I love trying new products--especially when they are budget friendly.  But today is all about my "Hall of Famers" that I've been using almost daily for more than a year (some for 5-10 years!) and have been repurchased time and again once they run out.  I love these products and the fact that they're all under $10 just really floats my boat.

I have been using Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen ($8) since they came out with it.  It's amazing.  It feels nice and cool when I apply it in the morning after my moisturizer and it just sinks, weightlessly into my skin.  There is no white sheen and I forget it's there.  Plus, the "helioplex broad spectrum uva-uvb" covers all my bases, so I never worry about the sun's damaging rays.  I haven't found anything that compares to this sunscreen--especially at this price point.

I tried the e.l.f. Mineral Face Primer ($6) on a whim because, let's face it, it's dirt cheap.  If I hated it, I'd be out less than the price of a lunch at Chipotle.  I didn't hate it.  In fact, I really liked it.  It reminds me a lot of the Bare Minerals Prime Time Foundation Primer.  It's a silicone based formula that glides over my skin filling in imperfections and keeping oil in check while providing a smooth palate for my foundation or tinted moisturizer.  Apparently, I'm not the only one enamored with it: there are over one thousand reviews on the Target site with an average of four stars.

You may remember me talking about Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle ($3) in a past post.  I first tried it as a hair mask on the recommendation of a favorite blogger.  Then I used it in a pinch as my daily conditioner after my regular favorite ran out.  And I don't think I've stopped using it since (that was maybe 9 months ago?  A year?).  I thought it would be too heavy for my baby fine hair, but it rinses out beautifully and doesn't weigh down my hair.  Plus, it's three dollars.  THREE DOLLARS!

(Tip: they now have expanded the "3 Minute Miracle" and the original is now labeled, "Moist" and the others include, "Strong", "Smooth", "Shine" and "Color".  I didn't realize this and mindlessly grabbed one of the purple bottles thinking I had the original.  It was the "Color" version.  The smell was awful.  It reminds me of Nair...and it stays with you after you rinse it out.)

This Revlon cream eye shadow palette in "Not Just Nudes" ($6) has been in my rotation for over ten years, maybe longer.  (And apparently I need to repurchase it again!)  I am no eye shadow whiz, so these foolproof formulas work great for me.  I love using the color second from the right all over my lid with eyeliner and mascara.  Sometimes (like when I'm super tired), I only use the far right, pale shade all over my lids and in the corners of my eye.  That with mascara really wakes up tired eyes.  When I'm feeling fancy, I'll use the pale color as my base and add one of the other three in my crease and corners.  The formula is so easy to work with.  It blends well and stays put throughout the day.  I recently purchased the "Precious Metals" palette ($5) and am digging those colors, as well.

So there you have it.  The Hall of Famers...or my daily workhorses.  Since I tend to spend a little more on my skincare, it's nice to have some things in my tool kit that don't really add to the ol' bottom line.

Do you have any budget friendly products that are in your Hall of Fame?

More Ways to Waste Time: The "No Time to Waste" Edition

Friday, August 22, 2014
I feel like I haven't sat down in a week.  The photographer for our listing just left and making the house "photo ready" was no small feat.  We also sent Joe off to Denver yesterday (with a fully loaded trailer in tow).  It's been exhausting around here on many levels.  I'm so happy to be able to sit and relax a bit.  I have a few minor paint touch ups tomorrow before the house goes on the market, but we're otherwise ready!  Keeping the house "show ready" will be tough with two kids and a dog, but at least my husband isn't here ;)  He just adds an extra layer of things to the mix.  I miss him, but I don't miss having another adult here messing things up!  And with the kids starting school in less than two weeks, I'm hoping this won't be so hard.  If you have any "keep the house show ready" tips, I'm all ears!

Since I've been staging, scrubbing, painting, de-cluttering, etc, I've only kept up with the bare minimum on the web, but here are a few things that caught my eye over the past few weeks:

+  The Season 4 Homeland trailer has been released.  I'll definitely watch, but the trailer didn't do much for me (aside from Rep. Peter Russo [A.K.A. Corey Stoll] making an appearance!).  Maybe they wanted to lower our expectations?  Or perhaps the trailer just wasn't long enough to reel me in.

+  I've only skimmed this article on a month of nut-free lunches, but I definitely plan to print it off and post it in the kitchen when school starts in two weeks!

+  Sundry posted this video, "You Shall Not Pass, Dog", to explain the situation in her house after she brought their new dog home and their cat was not pleased.  I think I might have cried a little through the laughter while watching it.  Amazing how these huge dogs are intimidated by cats...

+  I must have super-sensitive eyes, because anything other than baby wipes makes them sting when I remove my eye make up.  I've heard rave things about Bioderma (I'm sure I'm a few years late to the party), so I finally bit the bullet and ordered it.  I'll let you know if it lives up to the hype.

+  I currently have three different personal email addresses and my main account has over 13,000 unread emails.  I've been wanting to streamline them and this article, "In Two Weeks, I went From 23,768 Emails in My Inbox to Zero.  Here's How." has some great ideas to get me started.  My goal is to be down to one mail box with under 10 unread emails by Thanksgiving.

+  Finally, and this will shock no one who knows me, we just had to send Joe off to Denver with a dinner at Ozzies.  Steak Frittes were inhaled.  Shenanigans ensued:

And some more civilized shots:

Oh, did I forget to mention that Kate broke her collar bone last week?  When it rains, it pours, right?  I will be back next week with a beauty post and some shots of our staged house.  Have a great weekend!

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