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I live with Oscar the Grouch.  Okay, so he’s not actually grouchy, but he is furry and messy.  I’m talking about this guy:
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He’s primarily responsible for dirtying my light carpets with unsightly stains.  Ick. I’m embarrassed to post these pictures.

dirty-carpet

Lucky for my pup, he’s too cute to get mad at.

P1150587 Who Me? Sorry, Mom.

Since our carpets were in new condition when we bought our house and we don’t want to shell out the cash for the hardwood floors I dream of, it’s important that we keep our carpet in good shape.  Fortunately, we bought a carpet shampooer when we first moved in.  Even though the seller had  installed new carpets when she put the house up for sale, I wanted to shampoo them when we moved in to make sure they were spic and span (I’m a bit of a germ phobe when it comes to things like this).

So every few months (okay, closer to a year) we break out our shampooer to give our floors a scrub.  We use this Hoover which has worked well for us and was reasonably priced.

carpet-shampooer

We pushed all of the furniture out of the way, went over the carpets to wash them, and then went over them again to suck up the water and dry them.

shampooing-carpets

And it worked!  Even our pesky stains near the entryway are gone!  Here’s the same spot as in the earlier picture, but this time it’s nice and clean:

clean-carpet

Isn't that amazing!  The floors even feel nicer to walk on now that they’ve been cleaned.  We've been going through the rest of the house and shampooing one or two rooms at a time.  The house looks so much cleaner now that the carpets are freshened.

I don't want to shampoo too often because I'm afraid I'll damage the integrity of the carpet, but I think every 6 months in high trafficked areas and once a year for the rest of the house will keep the carpets clean.  I'd like to do the old vacuuming with baking soda trick a little more often to keep the carpets fresh too. What do you think?  Do you have any tips for keeping carpets clean?

And for a laugh, here's the real Grouch enjoying all things dirty, dusty, and dingy:


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Trash Talkin’


April 26, 2011
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So I know trash cans aren't the most exciting topic, but believe it or not, I bought a really exciting trash can!  We were living with a broken kitchen trash can for weeks after the step pedal broke on our old one, so I decided to use a gift certificate I had to CSN Stores to buy a new one.  I ended up getting a super exciting motion sensing trash can!  I was so excited to receive it that I even raced home from work the day it was supposed to arrive and threw open the box the second I walked in the door!

It has an infrared motion sensor (how cool does that sound) and the lid opens and closes automatically if you wave your hand over it!  Now I feel like James Bond every time I throw out a piece of trash!

automatic-trash-can 
And it ain't bad looking either, check out this beauty:

motion-sensor-trash-can

I bet even Jane Jetson would be jealous (well, probably Rosie since we all know she did the real housework.)

This might be going a little overboard with trash can excitement, but I even put together a little video to show everyone how it works:

video


Isn't that cool!  Needless to say, this is the most exciting trash can I've ever owned!  Besides being futuristic, it's also very functional as it holds a lot of trash and the lid seals tightly keeping any yucky trash smells sealed in.  Am I going overboard or do you get excited with this type of stuff too? 

(By the way, although I did buy this with a gift certificate to CSN, they did not ask me to talk about this trash can. It's entirely my craziness to write a blog post about trash!)

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Sweet Easter


April 24, 2011
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Happy Easter! Today was a beautiful day and we enjoyed a wonderful Easter, I hope you did too.  Since I shared some Easter dessert ideas with you last week, I figured I’d show you what I ended up making.

First, I started off with carrot cake cupcakes.  Yum!  I’ve always wanted to make carrot cake and it was pretty easy.  Plus, my biceps got a nice workout grating almost 1 pound of carrots!  I followed this recipe from BHG and topped the cupcakes off with a simple cream cheese frosting recipe.  I’d never made cream cheese frosting before either but it was also pretty simple, just cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.  I just modified the frosting recipe a bit using less butter and more cream cheese.

To make the carrot cake cupcakes a little extra special for Easter, I decorated them with bunny faces using my sister’s bunny cupcakes as an example. 

carrot-cake-bunny-cupcakes

Mine aren’t as fancy as hers, but I used what I had on hand and think they came out cute.  I used strawberry wafer ears (I had to cut two little openings into the cupcakes to slip the wafers into), M&M eyes, peanut M&M nose, and spaghetti whiskers.

easter-bunny-cupcakes

In addition to the carrot cake bunny cupcakes, I made an Easter basket shaped fruit salad.  This is usually done with a watermelon, but I decided to try my hand at cutting a pineapple into a basket shape.

pineapple-fruit-basket

I didn't get the best photo of it, but I think it turned out pretty cute and adds a little fun to a fruit salad.
 pinapple-fruit-salad-basket

So those are my sweet treats from Easter.  How was your holiday?  Did you cook up something special?

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This Easter I’m on dessert duty so I’ve been looking around for some creative and fun Easter desserts.  Luckily I didn’t have too look far for inspiration  because last year my sister made these very adorable bunny cupcakes:


bunny-cupcakes

Aren’t they the cutest?  I love the wafer ears and cute little jellybean noses.  Plus I’ll use any excuse to buy wafer cookies.

Update: Since there were some questions about my sister's bunny cupcakes, here's some more info on how they're decorated.  She started off with a white frosted cupcake and added (trimmed) strawberry wafers for bunny ears. The eyes are skittles or M&Ms.  The nose is a jelly bean with a mini marshmallow on each side and bits of spaghetti as whiskers.  The mouth is a chocolate sprinkle and the ones with teeth are rolled out tootsie rolls.  How clever!

Another Update: I  made my own version of my sister's bunny cupcakes.

how-to-make-easter-bunny-cupcakes

Here are some other fun Easter desserts I came across.  First Easter bunny cupcakes and desserts: 

easter-bunny-cupcakes-desserts



And some more Spring themed desserts:

fun-easter-desserts

I love that these desserts look so cute, in addition to looking delicious of course!  And I'm super impressed that they're all adorned with edible decorations.  Because lets face it, if it's on my cupcake I'm going to want to eat it.  Have any other fun Easter desserts you can share?

And while we're on the subject of Easter, you can also check out my Easter wreath from last year.

Update: Check out my 2012 Easter Dessert Ideas for even more desserts.

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Ping Pong, Ping Pong


April 15, 2011
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I’ve been waiting all winter for the weather to warm up so garage sale season could begin again!  Finally, last weekend the weather was nice enough and I headed out to my first garage sale of the season.  I pulled up to the first yard sale and right in the driveway was a beautiful ping pong table for sale.  Rob has been wanting a ping pong table, so once I found out it was being sold for a steal I bought it!

What? You never bought a spur-of-the-moment ping pong table?  Haha, maybe it was a bit spontaneous, but I’m so glad I bought it.

Once I got the ping pong table home (with the help of my Dad and his pickup truck), we had to figure out how to get it down into our basement, through our U-shaped stairs.  First, we tried the back breaking method of lets just pick it up and carry it down and see what happens.  That resulted in us getting the ping pong table stuck halfway down the stairs (also resulted in a sore back- ouch!).  Once the old-college try didn’t work, we squeezed the table back upstairs and decided to think through our method a little more.  Sure enough, 32 screws later we were able to easily bring the ping pong table down into the basement in three easy (and thankfully much lighter) sections.

I snapped a quick cell-phone photo of the disassembled table:

table-tennis

Without too much effort, we were able to put the table back together:

ping-pong-table

And since then, there’s been a lot of fun pinging and ponging going on in our basement!  I cleaned up our basement a bit, but I’m still looking to refresh the basement and make it more like a game room, especially with our fun new addition.  I’m thinking of adding some cool wall art and fabric to make the basement feel a little cozier without the expense of actually finishing it.  Any suggestions for the basement?

I’m so happy I got such a fun start to garage sale season this year!  Have you been to any yard sales yet?

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Fruitful Design


April 14, 2011
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I received the May issue of Elle Decor magazine in the mail this week and the Trend Alert page jumped out at me.  Elle Decor lists fruit prints as a hot trend in both clothing and home decor this season.  It was refreshing to see such bright and fun prints featured in Elle as the magazine’s high-end design isn’t usually as playful. (At least that’s how it comes across to me. Does anyone else feel the same about the Elle Decor?)


Regardless, I love that they featured fruit prints as a hot trend because I’m in totally on board with them.  Fruit prints are so colorful and cheerful and I think they’re a perfect accent to spice up a home's décor in Spring and Summer.  They leave me smiling and singing like Carmen Miranda!


And I love that there are so many sophisticated options for fruit prints that don't look like they belong in a kid's room or on the set of the Golden Girls.  Here’s a little collage of some more fruity décor that I’m loving:




Are you a fan of fruit prints?  Oh and if you're keeping track, this is my 7th post where I've made a mention of the Golden Girls!  But only my first mention of Carmen Miranda!

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Small Home Inspiration


April 12, 2011
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I’m always browsing real estate listings to find our next house which we dream will have more square feet, more bedrooms, more storage, and just MORE in general.  But truth is, our house fits us perfectly for now and probably even has more room than we need.  We've even been purposely making an effort to eat in our dining room and hang out in the often neglected living room more often since we typically only spend time in our kitchen and family room.

So it was really eye opening when someone on Twitter (I wish I could remember who) posted this video of a woman’s 90 square foot New York City apartment, dubbed a “microstudio.”



Yep, 90 square feet accounts for all of her living space, sleeping area, kitchen area, and storage.  Although this isn't feasible for most people, I think what she’s doing is pretty cool.  I like the idea that her home allows her enjoy NYC, rather than just being a space to house “stuff.”

This video inspired me to check out other people who choose to live in tiny spaces, like this woman who has chosen to live in a sail boat so she can have adventures:



And some people just find big houses excessive and unnecessary.  Jay Shafer built himself an 89 square house because he was concerned about the impact of a large home on the environment and because he didn’t want to maintain a lot of unused space.  He’s since started a company, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, to help others build tiny houses too.



Of course around the world, many people live in apartments that are small by American standards.  One architect in Hong Kong used smart design and moving walls to transform a 330 square foot apartment (which once housed his family of 5 plus a tenant) into 24 rooms.



I think these tiny homes are pretty cool and they've inspired me to think about how I use all of my space.  Do you have unused rooms in your house?  I think these small spaces are pretty cool and I like the "coziness" of them.  What do you think?

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West Elm Field Trip


April 11, 2011
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I took a little field trip to West Elm on Friday to check out their new Spring stock.  I’ve shopped their website before, but this was my first trip into their stores to check out their stylish goods in person.  And of course I loved what I saw!

Coming into the store, they had this pretty living “room” set up with all blue and white accents.  I’ve noticed the blue and white trend a lot this season, including in the new Sabrina Soto collection at Target.


I’ll admit I wasn’t crazy about the blue and white trend when I first started to see it, but now I’m really starting to like it.  I love anything beach related and West Elm did a great job making this space look serene while adding nautical accents (without making it look like a bad theme restaurant!)  I’m even loving the cute whale pillows.

There was more blue and white in their patio table display as well.  This color scheme paired with the natural baskets made for a sophisticated look.  I love the idea of using big baskets outdoors to stash bottled drinks or barbecue supplies.


The glass lanterns hanging from the patio umbrella also caught my eye.  I bought similar lanterns from the Christmas Tree Shops last year (for under a buck!) and had been wondering if there was a way to attach them to my patio umbrella.  These were just attached with string which looks great, but I wonder if this is just for show or if the umbrella can actually be shut with the lanterns attached.  I will have to try this once we start dining on our patio again.


In addition to all of the pretty decor accents, the store was full of DIY inspiration as well.  West Elm has these cute bottles filled with sand which I bet could be cutely recreated at home with an empty wine bottle.


I was also inspired by this frame with natural fabric mat.  I couldn’t really tell if the mat was made of a type of burlap or some type of linen fabric, but regardless I love this idea.  I think I’ll try to recreate this at home with a collage photo frame I have on hand.



I was so happy to finally visit West Elm in person.   Although I restrained myself and left without any shopping bags, I did leave with plenty of inspiration!  Are you a West Elm fan?  How do you like this season's popular blue and white color pallet?

(By the way, West Elm is not sponsoring me to write this in any way. I just wanted to share my shopping trip with you!)

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Since my modernized Golden Girls house was a hit, I decided to make this a regular feature on the blog!  Today, I'm putting a modern twist on the Brady Bunch house!

I loved watching this show as a kid; the Brady kids were always having fun with wholesome mischief like potato sack races in the yard, dressing up as ghosts to spook potential home buyers, and finding ancient haunted tikis in Hawaii.

Here's the happy family lined up on the stairs for a family portrait.  In one episode the boys play ball in the house, against Carol's rules, and accidentally break a precious vase on this table.  The horse luckily remains intact.
brady-bunch-stairs

Here's Peter and Jan putting on a magic show for the family.  Cindy was too scared by the magic to attend.

brady-bunch-living-room

I decided to recreate the Brady Bunch living room to imagine what it would look like if the show took place today.  This awesome drawing of their living room provides a good look at all of its 70s charm.

brady-bunch-house-sketch

And here's my version of an updated and modernized Brady Bunch house.  As I was putting this room together, it occurred to me how much of the Brady's furniture is back in style these days!

modernized-brady-bunch-living-room

 Here's the breakdown of this very Brady living room:

- Brown Sectional: With 6 kids the Bradys need a lot of seating so I chose a sectional rather than a sofa. It's not green and floral but it is a 70s approved chocolate brown with stain resistant fabric to boot.
-Canary Print Pillows: The floral print of the sofa had to go, but I kept a fun print with these canary throw pillows. 
- Green Chair: I had to keep some green furniture, so I chose this Z Gallerie chair which is strikingly similar to the original.
-Wood Coffee Table: I choose a mid-century looking coffee table, this time with a shelf for extra storage for the kiddos.
-Cube Side Table:  It's not a hexagon, but this chunky cube makes for a nice side table with hidden storage.
-Silver Lamp: Z Gallerie must have been checking out the Brady bunch house too because this lamp is also strikingly similar to the original.
-Striped Curtains: I'm not sure what those curtains in the background of the living room are, but I found some similar horizontal striped ones.
-Collage Frame: I couldn't resist adding a collage frame for those smiling family portraits, including Alice of course.
-Buffet Table: Z Gallerie came through again with another piece that's very close to the original.  I'm seriously starting to wonder if Mike Brady has some ties to the store.
-Horse Statue: The room can't be complete without their iconic horse, of course.  Another Z Gallerie find!

Do you approve of my modernized take on the Brady Bunch living room decor? What shows would you like to see me modernize next?

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I tend to hold onto clothes for a little too long...okay, way too long.  I always like to think that something will come back into style, magically unshrink itself, or that I'll just grow to love it or fit into it someday.  But as much as I hate parting with things, the truth is that it's really annoying to have to sift through the extra stuff when I get dressed in the morning and have my closet filled with clothes I don't like.  So I decided to finally get real, as Dr. Phil likes to say, and realized that I'm never going to wear this stuff and it's time to get rid of it.


I went through my closet and got rid of anything that I haven't worn in years, doesn't fit, or I just don't like the way it feels or looks on me.  And I ended up with this:

P1150413

Don't let those shopping bags fool you, they were packed with clothing.  In fact, 100 articles of clothing!  To be fair about 20 items were my husband's, but regardless it's still a lot of stuff to get rid of and it felt great!  Almost everything I got rid of went to Goodwill where I received a donation reciept for next year's tax return, but I held onto a few of the nicer things to sell to a consignment shop, on ebay, or possibly a future garage sale.

I mainly got rid of cold weather clothing, but I plan to sift through my warm weather clothes soon.  Have you purged your closet recently?  Any tips you can share?

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Happy April!  I don't want to jinx anything, but it's finally starting to feel a little like Spring around here!  But before our April showers bring May flowers, let’s take a look at how March went in like a lion and out like a lamb (those elementary school phrases sure made an impact on me).

This March, we were busy adding decorative mosaic tiles around our soaking tub in the master bathroom.  Although it’s not done yet, here’s how it’s looking these days:

P1150438


Between tiling and grouting, I had some fun daydreaming what the Golden Girls house would look like if the show took place today:



So that you've seen what the DIY Newlyweds household was up to in March, here's a look at some great projects I am across from other bloggers:


Bow-Tie Bookmarks from How About Orange.



spring-yarn-wreath
Spring Yarn Wreath from A Soft Place to Land



Beautiful Living Room Makeover from Pawleys Island Posh found via Hooked on Houses



Patchwork Pillows from The Lettered Cottage




Stenciled Entryway Makeover by Landee See, Landee Do found via Better After




 Painted Vase Makeovers on Curbly

Such fun projects this month!  What did you cook up in March, leave a comment with a link to your favorite projects too!

P.S. If you've been featured here, feel free to grab a button to display on your site!

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