Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Pretty Foyer Ceiling: FrogTape® Textured Surface™

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FrogTape for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I did something fun to the ceiling. Please, please do not be confused by thinking that I actually HAD FUN painting the ceiling, because that was definitely NOT true. Not in the least bit. If you've ever worked with your arms above your head before, you know why!

I recently had the opportunity to try Textured Surface by FrogTape for a painting project. FrogTape® Textured Surface™ is treated with the patented PaintBlock™ Technology, a super absorbent polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape, which helps prevent paint bleed. The Liquid PaintBlock® Edge Sealer™ helps deliver super sharp paint lines, even on textured surfaces.

We are fortunate enough to have smooth walls in our house. We got away without popcorn ceilings too, but not without orange peel texture. One benefit of our small house is the tall ceilings - except for the foyer. A little paint up there might give it a little more personality and oomph - making a grand entrance.

I am not a planner by nature. Not at all. So early in the planning process, I surprised myself by drawing up these plans. Don't get too excited, because when I got up on my ladder, those beautiful straight lines DID NOT happen for me. I was working alone and got frustrated really quickly, so I went into Sarah-mode (aka - winging it) and ended up with this quirky pattern, which, I love.

Aren't the clean paint lines amazing?!? Even on the bumpy surface?!?  FrogTape® Textured Surface™ is recommended for large surfaces like walls, so if you decide to work on your ceiling like me, here are some tips for great results:

1) Make sure the area you are taping is dirt and dust free to ensure proper adhesion.

2) Map out your pattern, apply the tape, and press the edges with a credit card or fingernails to ensure proper adhesion.

3) The PaintBlock™ Technology can be pre-activated with water by wiping the edges of the tape with a damp cloth. *Note – this step is required when using non-water based paint. When working on the ceiling, where the texture is more delicate than the walls, it is very important you wipe only the edges until they are just damp.

4) Work in small sections: slightly dampen (only the edges) and follow immediately with the sealer. (Be ready for sore arms here!)

FrogTape® has full written instructions, as well as an instructional video you can find here.


Our foyer is almost complete! The biggest goal is uniform flooring on the entire level. No more linoleum to carpet lines! A few final touches like painting the interior doors, swapping out the light, and adding a pretty rug, and we will have a grand entrance indeed!

What do you think? Do you have textured walls that need sprucing up? For ideas, follow the FrogTape Textured Surface board on Pinterest. Happy painting!
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mattress Shopping & Marriage

(Hello! Just got back from a make-the-soul-happy 10 day family/friend vacation! I'm working on fun projects this week, so here's a little storytelling while I work!)

Mattress shopping is not something you do with three boys. While other couples are lying peacefully, our children would be busy bouncing around like a trampoline park. This makes it hard to lie in place for longer than one minute, thus defeating the purpose of mattress shopping.

With our kids at their weekly park program, my husband and I took a rare opportunity to shop alone. We chose a mattress only store, and initially had the place to ourselves. After lying in a few beds, an elderly couple walked in. I was happy to have their company, as my heart belongs to their history, story, and quiet humor. This couple was no exception. 

We were lying in a fluffy pillow top bed when they arrived, listening and laughing at the soft, cheesy elevator music playing overhead. We sat up and began talking with them about the overwhelming options. While we all agreed to NOT lay on the expensive models; we didn't want to know the comfort we too could have for the price of a used car. We instead opted for the low-end section. They lay down in a bed close by, and I see him lay his hand on hers and say "now honey, don't try anything." They giggle, and already I want to take them home with me.

All Of This Happened By Taking Your Hand - Wall Decal Sticker Vinyl Art Quote Bedroom Romantic Wall Sticker Decal
image via

We each try out a few beds, and cross paths on their way to firm, ours to plush. Pushing down on a contour bed, his wife says, "I can't remember how long we've had our current mattress." He smiles at her, "Well honey, if it helps, we've been married 52 years, and have had only three mattresses. (He leans in to my husband) Only the last one hasn't seen the mileage the others did." 

Our meeting was only for 10 minutes or so, but we giggled and laughed with them, like a bunch of kids. I hated mattress shopping (leaving overwhelmed and empty handed, back to our air mattress), but left with a glimpse of 52 years of marriage. 

It's been almost 12 years for us, and I can only hope that in 40 more, we too will be hand on hand, giggling in the confines of a mattress store. 

Don't you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When Plans Get Derailed

July is such a gorgeous month. A perfect time to tackle outdoor projects. To freshen up a new, yet worn, deck. The perfect time to put finishing touches on the front landscape, and forget about the weed fest that is our backyard.  The great outdoors has seen some great progress.

Because it's summer, I hadn't intended on working on many major indoor projects. {My attention is mainly focused on three boys.} Until something magical happened.  After months on Craigslist I finally sold both my bed frame and mattress!  On the same day! I was excited to start working on this neglected room of ours, but just as quick as the money came in, it left again.  The house AC malfunctioned. Then the AC in the "new" car died. Traveling soccer dues were...due.  Isn't that how life goes? You finally have money set aside for something to give you pleasure {or in our case, a comfortable, inviting bed},and something functional breaks or your kids outgrow their wardrobe.

Our dreams of an impromptu master bedroom makeover got derailed.

See that! That's an air mattress we are sleeping on perched up on our old sleep number platform. Woopee!

See the under bed storage being used as a nightstand? Awesome!

The shade-less lightbulb-less bedside lamps perched in the corner? Super! 

The, um, bench dresser? Fantastic!

{I hope you noted the sarcasm. Are you wondering why my husband still loves me?}

Good thing we are flexible, and have experience in living minimal in order to start fresh.  We have learned to laugh through these experiences, and of how we will always remember the month we slept on an air mattress, even though our backs will remind us. I know it will help us to appreciate it more when we finally do finish it. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stoli® Lemon-ade - A Refreshing, Versatile Summer Cocktail

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of STOLI® Vodka for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of my all time favorite summertime drinks is lemonade. As a kid, we learned business skills pushing lemonade to passerby's for a quarter at our lemonade stands. You didn't even need to use quality ingredients, just a little of your Mom's lemonade powder, water, a few glasses and POOF - money maker! Though we all know you drank half of your product yourself and refused to share your profits evenly with the neighbor kids, right?

Now I'm all grown up, and so is my lemonade. These days, not only do I prefer to make my lemonade from REAL lemons - but I prefer to make it into a refreshing summer cocktail, to be enjoyed in the sunshine!  I was recently introduced to Stoli® Vodka during last week's 4th of July celebrations, so I am excited to share them with you!

Considered a trail-blazer in the vodka industry, Stoli® Vodka is the original premium vodka and defines the benchmark for quality with meticulously crafted liquid that meets the highest Alpha Spirit standard.  Stoli® Vodka is positioning the Lemonade cocktail as the must-have drink of the season as it launches the “100 Days to Squeeze” campaign. Celebrating a fresh twist on the classic summer cocktail, the original vodka brand will highlight the cocktail’s versatility and infusion of local ingredients using its renowned flavor portfolio of Stoli® Ohranj™, Stoli® Citros™, Stoli® Razberi™ and Stoli® Blueberi™. 

It all starts with this simple basic cocktail recipe for a Stoli® Lemon-ade:

- 2 parts Stolichnaya® Vodka 
- 4 parts lemonade 
- Build in an ice-filled Mason jar or highball glass and stir. 
- Garnish with lemon wheels

I can attest that the smooth grain taste of Stoli® Vodka pairs perfectly with the tart and sweet notes of a crisp, ice cold lemonade. You can make it your own with Premium Stoli® Vodka, or one of the other Stoli® Vodka flavors. And example - have raspberry bushes? Pluck a small handful, place them in a mason jar with a few leaves of fresh thyme, muddle them with the end of a wooden spoon, and follow the Stoli® Lemon-ade recipe above. Garnish with a couple of plump raspberries.  No garden?  Head to your local farm stand for your favorite in-season fruits and herbs to make it your own! (I'm thinking strawberries and basil!)

Stoli® Vodka's "100 Days to Squeeze" campaign encourages you to squeeze the most out of your summer by stopping by one of their Stoli-branded lemonade trucks or national Stoli® Lemon-ade bar night events across the nation including: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New York, and New Jersey. The trucks, deemed ‘limo-nades’, will head out across the country to sample Stoli® Lemon-ade cocktails, serve refreshing flavored Lemonade ice pops, and daring consumers to take part in fun summer challenges to win Stoli® Lemon-ade prizes.  In addition, Stoli® has created unique value-added packs (VAPs), complete with the iconic glass mason jar and lemon squeezer, to make it easy for consumers to serve their own cocktails at summertime events. Available at off-premise locations across the nation, the VAP will also include a 750mL bottle of Stoli® Vodka. 

 photo Stoli_600360_2_zps9bbbc27f.jpg

So grab a neighbor or friend, and come join the festivities! Squeeze the most out of summer and head to Thrillist or visit the Stoli® Facebook page to find out more!  Follow Stoli® on Twitter for details on the #StoliLemonade trucks and share your summer moments using #StoliLemonade on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on Facebook to squeeze the most out of summer with Stoli®.  

Where do you plan to have some fun in the sun with a Stoli® Lemonade in hand? 

 photo Stoli_600360_4_zps6e422e83.jpg

As with any cocktail, please remember to drink responsibly, like your mother told you to. Or else. 

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Monday, July 14, 2014

A Deck Face Lift || DeckOver by Behr

Nothing beats a grand paint transformation. One example - the turquoise (yes, turquoise) house across the street that was painted beige a couple weeks ago. Win for us!

We shouldn't talk. Our house had seen better days before it was given new life, and part of that transformation was a blue-gray vinyl siding, as well as vinyl deck rails in almond to match the trim. It was also given a cedar front porch, to which last year we added a large cedar deck out back.

Now, I love me some cedar. Natural wood grains aren't meant to be covered up! But our cedar decking in the past year, despite proper protection, is looking worn and weathered.  The front deck is dirty and water stained. The back deck gets so much direct sunlight the stain basically evaporated, and is cracking from the heat. 

So we, GULP, decided to paint the brand new deck.

It wasn't with any old paint though - we chose DeckOver by Behr in Padre Brown. Okay...first in Walnut, but then in Padre Brown. It wouldn't be a paint project in our house if I didn't change my mind after the first application.

DeckOver gave our deck some much needed love:

1) It added a little texture so our guests (okay, and me) won't slip and slide all over the deck boards. Win!

2) It sealed some of the small cracks and splinters, protecting our precious feet from slivers. And I save myself the agony of having to restrain my children to dig them out.

3) It gave our deck a little personality. We chose Padre Brown to compliment the gray blue siding, almond rails and trim, and to tie in the brown vinyl accents and roof.

A quick taping of the edges and two easy (Okay, NOT easy. More like uncomfortable. Knees on the deck - ouch) coats later, we have a beautiful "new" deck.

A couple minor issues:

1) We didn't remove the edging tape between coats, so the paint pulled up in a couple spots because it had dried. 

2) The paint does not go easily between the deck boards, so you can still see cedar in some spots. Perhaps we used the wrong roller (we used what was suggested by the Home Depot), but we think we can find a narrow brush and quickly go between the slats.

3)In the back, it was hard to apply in the sun without caking up on us a little. It's thick like hot fudge and dries quickly. To remedy that sticky (pun!) situation, I used a patio umbrella turned on it's side to shade me as I worked. Or better yet, we could have waited until cooler weather without issue.

4) Oh yes, the fumes. Not bad because you are outside, but wear a mask.

5) Footprints show up because of our color choice. 

We LOVE how it turned out! The chairs will stay off a big while it cures, but for now, there is plenty of room on the front walk to lounge. 

The last coat went on the back deck today and is drying as I type.  Next we add railings to the top tier, which I plan to paint to match the trim and front rails. I'm thinking about painting the side boards of the deck and stairs to break up the brown a bit, which I have seen on other houses and love.

 Now all I need is to save up for a beautiful outdoor rug, a couple chairs, love seat, and coffee table in rattan to complete the front! In the meantime, there are still a few inexpensive updates to do. Stay tuned for those and how the paint is holding up to a family of five!

NEW! Follow along on Instagram!

*This is NOT a sponsored post.*