Friday, August 31, 2012

Are YOU on Pinterest?

It seems like these days everyone is signing up for the latest social media network. Even if you aren't on Pinterest, you likely have heard of it and may be wondering what all the hype is about?

At 10.4 million users, Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site ever...faster than Facebook. Essentially, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard for inspiration!

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, choose paint colours, organize their favorite recipes etc.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

So, what can you do with Pinterest?

You can decorate your house....

Find yummy recipes...

Find your style...

Essentially, the possibilities are endless. It is a huge database of web images that you can search through to find inspiration. For example...lets say you were looking to decorate your table for Fall and needed some ideas. You would type in the search box: Fall table, autumn table, Fall table inspiration, Fall entertaining etc. Here are some images that come up...

There are literally thousands and thousands of images.

You can then create your own "boards". These boards are a collection of your chosen images.

You may even come across a few of my images from Keep it Beautiful. You can upload your own images and if you have a website or a blog, it will allow the person to click on the link to your website. And, the more times images are "repinned" to "boards", the more that image will appear on your first search.

Pinterest is fresh.fabulous.sophisticated. It really is a great way for people to be inspired by beautiful things around them. Keep it Beautiful is on Pinterest. Feel free to click on this button and "follow me".

Follow Me on Pinterest

I would love to "follow" you too for inspiration.

If you are looking for inspiring recipes, or motivating quotes, new styles for Fall or living room re-dos....Pinterest is a great tool! You need to request an invite from Pinterest or, be invited by someone who is a already a member. Feel free to send me an email if you aren't a member and I'll invite you.

So check it

Its addictive, fresh.fabulous.sophisticated and again...addictive!

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Long Time No BLOG!!

Hello friends!

Long time no blog! Its been a month of vacation for us, so I decided to put down the computer for a little break and spend some relaxing time with my fam.

Mr. Fix-it, the kids and I started our vacay with a road trip down to the Maritimes. We both have family there so we spent almost two weeks driving through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Remember my road trip post "Road Trip - Oh the Places We'll Go"? Well, those wrapped surprises for our big guy...saved us!! Thank God for those. My big guy would open those up and whatever was inside would amuse him for sometimes over an hour. PHEW!!

The Maritimes are so beautiful. If you've never been, it should definitely be on your "bucket list". Our kids swam for hours in the ocean, we breathed the fresh salt air, had sand everywhere, ate smores and stayed up late. So fun!! Oh and Mr. Fix-it...he ate his way through our trip at every restaurant that served fresh fish.

Nova Scotia really is our second home and there is something about that fresh salt water beachy air that I think is in our blood forever. Maybe that's why our home has a touch of beachy coastal style.

What a beautiful part of Canada!!

The rest of our vacation we spent here in Ottawa. We did lots of day trips, stayed in our jammies longer than usual, played at the park, at out a ton (honestly I hardly cooked this summer...I think we went out at least 3 times a week...eeks) and we celebrated our big guy's 4th birthday!

We did manage to get a couple "home reno/decor" projects underway. The main one was the building of a shed (a.k.a Mr. Fix-it's "man shed"). Its still underway, but I have to say I have been thoroughly impressed with Mr. Fix-its dedication to getting this thing built. This last week has been a scorcher and he's been out there slogging it. I'll definitely keep you updated on its progress and give you a few tips and tricks when picking a shed for your stuff!

We did lots of planning ofr upcoming projects this vacay and I did manage to spray a beauty. My Aunt Mary added it to her "Great Glebe Garage Sale" pile and I quickly snapped it up. To be honest, I took out almost everything from her pile to "sell". Honestly, my idea of stuff to sell is usually a pile of randomness. Aunt Mary's collection was full of Pottery Barn goods, antiques and this bird cage. Its a real bird cage...reminds me of what Tweety Bird frantically flies around in while that cat terrorizes him. We're really not bird people, but I thought with a little spray paint, this cage could look fresh.fabulous.sophisticated in our house. Soo....

Here it is in its original state....

Check out the carved detail....

A couple coats of white spray paint and it now has a home on our dining room table (sorry I took the picture at night so the lighting is off - it really is a pure white)....VOILA! REMEMBER, YOU CAN SPRAY ANYTHING!!

Can you believe there is only one more week of summer? Its hard to believe that our big guy is starting school in a couple of weeks and I'm going back to work (mat leave is officially over in one month...gulp)!

Even though January marks a new calendar year, there is something about the month of September that feels like the new year for me. Maybe its the change in season and the kids going back to school, that it feels like a fresh start. So, Mr. Fix-it and I have made a list of our projects that we would like to get done this year. With me going back to work its going to be BUSY!!

Here's our house reno "bucket list" for this year:

Obviously there are always little projects here and there but the biggies that we're going to focus on are:

- Well the shed...Mr. Fix-it is almost done. We dont have a garage so the tiny shed that is attached to our back deck holds most of our outdoor stuff, and the basement holds the rest of it (ie: our bikes, camping gear, outside Christmas decorations etc). With the new shed, all that stuff can leave its home in the basement and Mr. Fix-it can start the basement re-do. Gulp! THIS IS A BIGGY!

Have you been down in a 100 year old home basement? Slightly scary. Our plan is to move a few walls, put in a bathroom and create a family room. All easier said than done. It will be a place we can all watch tv, hang out and store all the toys.

Which means....the playroom on the main floor can be transformed into a beautiful sitting room. I hear the church bells ringing. No more staring at plastic kid toys on the main floor!

The basement reno is going to be SLOW but a good long winter project that likely will go into spring and summer....SLOW.

Before the basement starts, we would like to make better use of the breakfast room. We're thinking of replacing the sliding glass door with french doors, adding a breakfast counter and creating some built-ins. LOVE built-ins.

The living room mantel could use a little pick-me-up. Its the first thing you see when you come into the living room and frankly one of the first things you see when you come into the house out of the front hall. So, we would like to build up the mantel and make it a little more grand looking.

Finally, our bedroom needs some mega help. When we moved in it was wall-to-wall blue carpet and floor to ceiling pepto bismal pink paint. Ugh. That's all gone, but we got side tracked on other projects and our bedroom project got ditched. Seeing how its on the third floor in the eaves...our bed frame was too our boxspring and mattress are still on the floor. Can you say university students? Brutal. It needs help.

That's it for now. I'll of course find lots of little projects here and there to share with you and this Fall I'm going to focus on ORGANIZING spaces (ie: why is my linen closet throwing towels at me everytime I open it?).

I hope that you've had a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated summer. What's on your house renovating or decorating bucket list this year?

I never thought I would say this, but I'm actually ready to feel the cool crisp feeling of Fall and starting to think about all the fun things Fall has to offer.

I'll be covering the Glebe House Tour as the local blogger on September 16, 1-4pm. Tickets are $25 which allows you to explore 6 gorgeous homes for inspiration. Get your tickets now because it always sells out!

The Sears "Christmas Wishbook" arrived on our front step this week...yikes...Christmas?

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, August 3, 2012

ROAD TRIP - Oh the Places We'll Go!

Happy Friday everyone!

Its vacation time for us and we're heading on a little road trip. Do you have family road trip memories? Did you love them? Or was sitting in the hot backseat with your sibling a setting for disaster?

I have very fond memories of the road trips I took with my family growing up. Even though we would be in the car for hours, my brother and I loved it. Dont get me wrong...there were many times that the imaginary boundary line was drawn down the middle of the backseat where my stuff was on one side and his on the other...but for the most part it was good times!

One of my favourite memories is making "forts" in the backseat with my brother out of our sweatshirts, pillows and blankets. Not sure how Dad saw out the back but I'm sure he didn't long as we were relatively quiet and not screaming at each other.

One of the best parts of the trips was our surprise backpack. My mum would pack our backpacks with tons of new stuff "to do" in the car. We were allowed to open our packs when we got out of the city and on our way. Sooo...seeing how Mr. Fix-it and I will be bringing our kids in tow for hours in the car - a backpack of fun "to do" stuff is in order.

Nana just bought our big guy this new backpack for school so we're using it a bit early. So cute eh?

If you are looking for a road trip sanity are some ideas from what I've created for my big guy:

1. Keep Things Organized

You dont want little pieces, random craft items and crayons all over the car. I bought a binder to hold a notebook for colouring as well to hold a pencil case full of crayons and markers. I also bought a tray for the carseat that will allow my big guy a hard surface to colour on and eat his snacks. I haven't tried it out yet, so hopefully it will strap on okay.

2. Keep Them Entertained

Oh the portable DVD player...a lifesaver! These little gizmos are fab for long car trips. You can also attach headphones to them if you have multiple children watching different DVDs. Our DVD player just attaches to the headrest and hour and a half of movie entertainment and no "are we there yet"?.

While I'm a huge fan of the DVD, I would get the mommy guilt if my big guy watched it the whole trip. So I've packed books, colouring books, crafts etc to keep my big guy busy along the way:

I also made "I SPY" games and printed them out. I just created a few pages of clip art for my big guy to look for on the road (ie: cows, barn, stop sign, red car, truck etc). Super easy and my big guy will love it.

You can also go on this website for printable roadtrip games...

3. Snacks and Treats

Who doesn't get the munchies in the car? Its a good idea to have yummy snacks for everyone in the car. Hungry kids = cranky kids! Obviously its good to have healthy snacks but I can't help it if a few chocolate bars and chippies also happen to jump in our bag!

4. Surprises!

My big guy loves the Dollarstore. Who doesn't love the Dollarstore? I picked up a few cute toys or little things that I thought my big guy would like (ie: dinkie cars, playdough, silly putty, slime, trucks, Pez (I used to love Pez) etc) and wrapped them up. Throughout our roadtrip I'll give him one to open.

All wrapped up...hopefully he wont notice that some of them are wrapped in birthday paper ;)

I suggest organizing your road trip items and snacks in plastic ziplock baggies. That way they are organized and you can see what and where everything is.

That's it. Hope this gives you some ideas for your next roadtrip with little ones. As long as you have a few things to keep them busy, your roadtrip will be fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Its hard to make a "roadtrip backpack" for my little babe but I'm hoping he takes long naps in the car and is entertained by his brother in the backseat ;)

I'll be away for a couple of weeks but will be thinking up lots of blog ideas on our vacation and hopefully bring back some inspirational design ideas.

Until then,

Keep it Beautiful.

Twitter: keepitbeautifu1

This post has been linked to: Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day

Do you love your cleaning products? Okay, not sure you could really "love" a cleaning product! Lets be honest...I would say there is a relatively small proportion of people out there that "love" to clean. However, cleaning our homes is a part of life that we just can't get around.

Even if you have a cleaner that comes to your house, you still need to tidy and clean in between visits. And Lord knows...between my big guy leaving his crumbs everywhere and my little guy throwing his food out of his high chair at every meal - our house needs "in between cleaning"! Honestly, yesterday I swept the kitchen floor FOUR times!!

So, its fitting that this past week, Mrs. Meyers - Clean Day Aromatherapeutic Household Cleaners sent me a few products to test out and review. Have you heard of Mrs. Meyers products?

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day is inspired by a mother of nine ( up after nine kids??). When one of Mrs. Meyer's daughters was an adult, she wanted to create cleaning products that didn't smell harsh, but smelled like her mom's garden and packed a wicked punch in cleaning. In comes these fab cleaning products.

I tested four products:

Lemon Verbena Liquid Dish Soap

Wowza, this made my stainless steel pots shine on the drying rack. I only needed to add a few squirts and my water was sudsy and ready for my spaghetti sauced pots. Spaghetti sauce dish water is a true dish soap test in my books. I even washed things that I normally put in the dishwasher just so they could look extra shiny. Also, the packaging is really cute and looks nice on the counter ;)

Lemon Verbena Bathroom Cleaner

Its summer, which means my kids spend all day outside, in and out of the sand in their barefeet, eating drippy popsicles and lathered in sunscreen. So...they definitely leave a "ring around the tub" after their bath. This product left my bath tub looking shiny and new. I was impressed with this products bathroom cleaning power. I know our Shirley (she's our cleaning lady...God bless her!) uses a much harsher product in the bathroom and while the bathroom shines with her products, I like that Mrs. Meyer's had equal shine and much gentler. Oh...also Mrs. Meyer's products are not tested on animals :)

Here's the "con": I wasn't in love with the lemon verbena scent on initial use. While I was washing my dishes I did feel like it was a bit overpowering, however the second time I used the product it didn't seem as strong. Maybe I was just used to it but my kitchen and bathroom did smell fresh.

Lemon Verbena Automatic Dish Packs

This little puck packed a strong punch to my dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I dont have a new dishwasher so sometimes my dishes dont come out shining. However, they did after this product. I was concerned that my dishes would have a strong scent but they didn't...they just sparkled.

Finally, I tested the Lavender Countertop Spray

Again, I was super impressed by its cleaning power. Mr. Fix-it likes this smell over the lemon verbena.

Overall, these Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products are fresh.fabulous.sophisticated. I love that they are earth friendly, cruelty free, they work well and their packaging is lovely. I did find their scents a bit powerful and overwhelming but I would rather my kitchen smell like a flower garden than bleach.

You can order Mrs. Meyers online or you may find it in your local grocery stores. I know that Canadian Tire and Metro carry them.

Thanks Mrs. Meyers!

Keep it Beautiful.

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