American Dream Builders

If you know me well, you know I love pretty much all things Nate Berkus.  I wept when he stopped taping his TV show.  So you can understand my excitement when I saw that he’s the host of the new show American Dream Builders on NBC.

Hosted by famed interior designer and best-selling author, Nate Berkus, American Dream Builders follows the nation’s top 12 designers and home builders as they compete to be crowned the Ultimate Dream Builder and take home a $250,000 cash prize.  It’s basically most of my favorite things wrapped into one show.


During each weekly episode, two teams will take on a brand new project.  They’ll be asked to redesign and renovate the space from the inside out– in a matter of days.  From midcentury modern to Tudor to Spanish, the designers will be expected to execute vast home renovations that bring a fresh, modern sensibility while remaining true to the home’s natural charm and design characteristics.  A home design and house stalker’s dream TV show if you ask me.

In honor of the upcoming premiere of the show, I created a special Pinterest board that encompasses all things I love in relation to home decor, design, and DIY.  Seriously, I drool every time I look at that board.

From the producers of Survivor and The Bachelor, don’t miss American Dream Builders, coming this Sunday – only on NBC.

Check out the American Dream Builders site here.  There’s also a great video promo about the show here.

Guest Bathroom Vanity Organization

Thank you, Office Depot, for sponsoring today’s post!

The other day I finally tackled our guest bathroom vanity.  It had become a hot mess and needed some organization.

Organized bathroom vanity!

Here’s the hot mess before picture.  Since it’s the guest bathroom, I rarely go in there.  The only times I find myself in there is to clean or, these days, turn on the faucet to drip so our pipes don’t freeze and burst (yay, negative degree temperatures).  So needless to say, I never really cared much about the vanity organization.  Out of sight, out of mind.

guest bath vanity

But it was a small and quick organization project.  I was done in less than 15 minutes.

I dragged everything out of the cabinet, made a pile of things to keep, things to donate, and things to throw away.

I strongly believe in having a stocked guest bathroom for your guests.  A couple years ago, I wrote a post about how I stock our guest bathroom with necessities (antacids, extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact solution, feminine products, etc.) HERE.  I highly recommend reading it– especially if you don’t have a stocked guest bathroom.  Also, it’s a good read.

I put the things our guests will use most often in the front.  Those things would be extra toilet paper and random toiletries.  The toilet paper rolls are in a pretty fabric bin, and the random toiletries (hair spray, facial cleanser, lotion, body spray) are in a cute herringbone storage box.

under bathroom sink organization

I stored some other random items in some medium boxes.  Extra lotions and a loofah (in case a guest asks) in the top box and antibacterial hand soaps (I buy in bulk when they’re on sale for $1 at Kroger) in the bottom box.

organizing under bathroom sink

Like I said, I like having a fully stocked guest bathroom to make my guests feel more comfortable, so I also keep an extra hair dryer under the sink.  Just in case.  It’s now stored in the fabric bin that sits on top of the two storage boxes.

storing hair dryer

Only three items under the sink aren’t in some sort of container or bin– toilet bowl cleaner, blood pressure monitor, and a vanity mirror.

bathroom vanity organiztion

Looking at these photos, I should probably paint the small section of wall in the back.  But then part of me thinks no one ever opens up the door and looks long enough to see the poorly painted wall.

So, what do you think about the now organized guest bathroom vanity?  Think this is something you could tackle in your home?

Stalk away!

This post was brought to you by Office Depot.  As always, opinions are 100% my own.

Target Cartwheel App + $1,000 Target Gift Card Giveaway

Have you heard about the new(ish) Target Cartwheel program? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. I discovered it a couple months ago through a friend, and it’s pretty awesome.

What is this Target greatness? It’s a money-saving program that can be used on your computer, tablet, mobile web, or iPhone and Droid. The program includes over 700 coupons to use on in-store purchases. And if you’re a big couponer, you’re able to use Cartwheel with any other Target discounts or coupons, manufacturers’ coupons, and your REDcard discount.

Target Cartwheel App

I use the iPhone Cartwheel app. Here’s what it looks like on my phone.

Each barcode generated by Cartwheel is unique to the guest and holds all of the offers on their Cartwheel list.

Target cartwheel app

There are categories for every section in the store– from grocery to the Target cafe.

photo 5

Here are some of the offers available in the home section.

target cartwheel

If you find a coupon you think you’ll use, add it to your Cartwheel and you’re ready to go. When you’re checking out, have the guest services person scan the barcode (after scanning any other coupons, discounts, etc.) and all the discounts on your list will be applied.

photo 1

Another cool feature is when you’re shopping in the store, using either the iPhone or Droid apps, you can scan any barcode in store to see if that item has a Cartwheel offer on it. Pretty cool, huh?

There are different extras with the app, like collections and badges.

Cartwheel collections are curated lists of offers that make it easy for you on the go to add items to your list. The collections are created to support seasonal offerings and categorical offers (grocery, women’s apparel, baby items, etc.).

Badges are a fun way to earn more spots on your Cartwheel list. They are awarded for reaching savings milestones ($10, $25, $50, etc.), interacting with Cartwheel (example: adding an offer from a collection to your list), and via social sharing (an invited friend who joins Cartwheel). For each badge that is earned, a new spot on your Cartwheel list is opened.

photo 4

One more thing, you are able to use your Facebook login to sign up with Cartwheel. This enables you to see what offers your friends have on their Cartwheel lists in the app experience as well as via Facebook’s open graph stories. I, personally, don’t log in through Facebook (I log in with my account) because I don’t want my business all over Facebook. But if you want to use your Facebook login, but do not want your Cartwheel activity posted to Facebook, you can manage that by not allowing Facebook to post on your behalf during the authentication process. You can manage this at any time via the app privacy settings. You can also add any offer to your list as “private.” This will keep from any story being posted to Facebook about that offer.

Now, who wants to win a $1,000 Target GiftCard®?

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and tell me, your favorite offers in Cartwheel!

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/30 – 2/28.

Be sure to visit the Target Cartwheel brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


Stalk away!

Our Christmas Entryway

Thank you, Philips, for sponsoring today’s post!

Hey, friends!  Today I’m sharing our Christmas entryway.

For the past few years, I’ve set up a smaller Christmas tree that displays our sentimental Christmas ornaments (here’s 2011 and 2012).  But there’s a slight twist this year– I used a real tree.  My first real tree.  Well, first real tree as an adult with my own house.  Jack digs it.

jack in front of sentimental tree

I worked a lot of sentimental items into the entryway this year.

The copper boiler, which is acting as the tree stand, belonged to my mom.  I grew up with this antique gem in our house.  My brother has had it for the past few years, but I’ve been holding on to it since he moved to California a few months ago.  I’m hoping he forgets it’s in my possession and fails to ask for it back.  I showed the photo of it acting as a tree stand to my mom, and she thinks I should keep it.  Basically because I’m her favorite child.

Christmas entryway with copper boiler tree stand, vintage sled, and framed vintage Christmas sheet music.

I used boxes inside the copper boiler to give the tree height.  A random black and white houndstooth print piece of fabric I found at a thrift store outlet a year ago acts as the tree skirt.

copper boiler as tree stand

I also used my childhood flexible flyer.  I was so happy when I asked my mom about it and she said it was up in her attic.  I still have vivid memories of sledding down the giant hill in my hometown on that thing with my mom.

flexible flyer

yankee clipper flexible flyer

When I was home this summer past, I came across a box full of my late Grandma June’s sheet music.  We’re talking sheet music from the 1920s.  I also found some sheet music that belonged to my mom and my aunt (they’re identical twins, in case I hadn’t already told you that) when they were kids.  So I grabbed Bonnie’s and Connie’s Christmas sheet music books and a copy of Jingle Bells, that belonged to my grandma, and framed them.

Framed vintage Christmas sheet music

I’ll show you how I framed them, without harming the delicate sheet music with tape, on Monday.

I love how it looks, and that it’s something with meaning.  I’m a sucker for sentimental stuff and family heirlooms if you hadn’t picked up on that yet.

Framed vintage Christmas sheet music

The flocked wreath was a Shop Small Saturday find from a few weeks ago.  It was only $25 so I jumped on it.  In case you’re wondering, I got it at Gehlhausen Floral in Evansville, Indiana.

traditional christmas entryway

Here’s how this part of the entryway looks at night.  I love how the tree glows.

entryway decorated for christmas

The other part of the entryway involves our entryway table.  I’ve been decorating it for the past few years with the white ceramic Christmas tree my late Aunt Pat made for me when I was a kid.  Every Christmas my mom would display the tree in my bedroom.

entryway table

Unfortunately, the bulb for the tree burnt out this year.  But thankfully, my friends at Philips offered to send me a new LED bulb to try out.

philips dimmable 40w LED lightbulb

I never thought I’d love a lightbulb, but I love this one.  It makes the blue lights on the tree shine so much brighter than the old bulb.  Photos don’t do it justice.

I’m also in love with this bulb because it has a 25,000 hour life, which equates to nearly 23 years.
I repeat, 23 YEARS.

vintage white christmas tree with blue lights

Speaking of Philips, they’re currently hosting a giveaway for a $3,000 lighting makeover!  One lucky winner will receive a design consultation, new fixtures and bulbs for their home.
Click here to learn about all the details.

Also, I’m pinning some great entryway ideas onto the Philips Bright Ideas for Entryways Pinterest board so definitely check it out!

Stalk away!

This post was brought to you by Philips.  As always, opinions are 100% my own.

Easy Holiday Gift Baskets + Pier 1 Imports Giveaway

This post is brought to you by Pier 1.  As always, all opinions are my own.

I was thrilled when my friends at Pier 1 Imports asked me to come in and check out their great holiday gifts.

I’m a big gift basket fan.  I find them fun to put together, and I’d like to think the recipients enjoy them as well.  So when I spotted the themed kitchenware items at Pier 1 I knew they’d be perfect in holiday gift baskets for some special ladies in my life.

One of the things I love about giving gift baskets is that if you get the right basket, the person can reuse it somewhere in their home.  The wicker baskets I found would work perfectly anywhere in someone’s home.

I went with a snowman theme for this basket– a cute snowman dip bowl & spreader set, two kitchen towels, giant red mug, Christmas tree-shaped soap dispenser, and ornament.

snowman basket

The second basket I made is more of a kitchen theme– two kitchen towels, snowman measuring cup set, gingerbread man spoon rest, gingerbread man mug, ornament, and gingerbread man shaped soap dispenser.

gingerbread man basket

The third gift basket has a penguin theme going on– penguin measuring cup set, two kitchen towels, penguin shaped soap dispenser, penguin mug, and ornament.

Seriously how cute are the measuring cup sets?

penguin basket

 When putting together a gift basket keep size in mind.  You want the gift basket to look full, not sparse.  So if you only plan on filling a basket with three small items, grab a smaller basket.

You can also mix things up a bit.  If you look carefully, I folded the towels differently in each basket.

After I arrange a gift basket I wrap it in cellophane.  I left out that out because it’s harder to photograph and see everything in the basket with cellophane on.  I buy cellophane by the roll, but you can also find cellophane bags, which makes it a lot easier to package.

Easy Holiday Gift Basket Ideas + Pier 1 $50 Giveaway!

Now on to the extra fun part– I’m giving away a $50 Pier 1 gift card!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stalk away!

This post is brought to you by Pier 1.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Holiday Hosting Tips and Tricks + Kirkland’s Holiday Hostess

This post brought to you buy Kirkland’s.  As always, opinions are my own.

Hey, friends!  With the holiday in full-swing I thought I’d share some holiday hosting tips and tricks with you today.  These are simple, minimal-fuss ideas you can do for your next holiday gathering.

Great holiday hosting tips and tricks!

Drink stations are always a must.  Have all your drinks and drink necessities in one central location.  It’s also a good idea to have water readily available in case some party animals aren’t alcohol or soft beverage people.  Instead of them filling up their glasses from the kitchen faucet, set out a drink dispenser filled with water.

drink dispenser

To jazz up the water, you can make cranberry ice cubes.  Just plop some cranberries into an ice tray, add water, freeze, and you’re ready to go!

cranberry ice cubes

Don’t worry about the water getting a cranberry taste.  In my experience, the water doesn’t taste like cranberries.

cranberry icecubes

Instead of regular straws, invest in some festive striped paper straws.  They only cost a few bucks, and they add character to the drink station.

paper straws

For the wine drinkers, it’s thoughtful to put out wine glass charms so people can tell their glasses apart.  Think of it as the classy alternative to writing your name in Sharpie on your Solo cup.

wine glass charm

Use a fun container to corral the wine glass charms.  I use a random candle holder.

displaying wine glass charms

Need a quick decor idea?  Put Christmas items like ornaments and tinsel in large containers like these oversized glass mason jars.  These would look perfect on a food table or centerpieces on dining tables.

mason jars

Serving chips and dip?  Look into a chip and dip bowl with the bowl built in– so much more convenient than having to carry two different bowls to your food table.  It’s also a great for watching football– setting one bowl on your lap is easier than two.

chip and dip bowl

3 of my blogger friends are sharing more holiday hostess ideas.  Stop by and check them out!

Kelly at View Along the Way
Jenna at SAS Interiors
Carrie at Making Lemonade

Tonight we’re all co-hosting a twitter party at 8PM EDT.  Kirkland’s, who recently launched their K Club rewards program, will be giving away gift cards and we’ll be sharing more hosting ideas and tips.  Use the hashtag #HolidayHostess.

And to help you with your holiday hosting, we’re giving away two $100 Kirkland’s gift cards!  You must use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stalk away!

I received compensation for the “Holiday Hostess” campaign blog post. Kirkland’s partnered with several bloggers like me to raise brand awareness. All purchases and content are on my own accord and reflect my personal opinion and style. Kirkland’s blogger outreach policies abide by the WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. For official Kirkland’s giveaway rules, visit