Friday, July 20, 2018

Simple Ways to Update Your Home in 2018

We love supporting other writers and giving them an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas! This is a guest post by our new friend, Alex, sponsored by UHS Window Tinting + Blinds.
No matter if it is your dream home or your first home, when you first move in to a new house, you have so many ideas and inspiration for what you are going to do to it over the years. You think about how your children will grow up playing in your backyard (maybe under your renovated pergola?!), how you might add a new nursery one day, or how you could turn your basement into a movie theatre. While you are daydreaming about all of the changes you could make to your home, the one thing you are not thinking about is how costly and timely a lot of updating really takes. Don’t worry, though - there really are simple ways to update your home in 2018 without spending a fortune. Today I'm sharing five simple ways to update your home this year!

Replace your outlet and light switch plates
On average, outlet plates are under two dollars each and light switch plates are usually under three dollars, each. If you have those dreaded old, yellow-tinted outlet and light switch plates, I would highly recommend switching them out for new plates. You could even consider upgrading them a bit, in order to add a dimming option, which would be great. Although this change seems very small in comparison to some renovations and updates, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the huge difference it will make in the overall look of your home. Replacing these plates are a very inexpensive and simple way to do a little refresh!

Freshen up your kitchen
The moment you hop on Pinterest nowadays, you see so many elaborate kitchen renovations. If you have the time and money for this and it is what you really want, go for it, but I believe there is an inexpensive way to freshen up your kitchen, without spending a fortune. Smaller updates such as replacing your floor, buying new kitchen mats, updating the backsplash, or painting your kitchen cabinets can make a huge change. Yes, replacing your floors can be expensive depending on the material you use, but if you get a discounted tile or laminate and you do it yourself, I think you will have a huge update for a very affordable rate. Same thing with backsplash - choose materials that are lower in price and try to do it yourself. There are so many tutorials out there now, so if you are even the slightest bit handy, I believe you can do it yourself!

Simple Ways to update your home in 2018

Work on your landscaping
Did you know that a lot of home purchasers bump up what they will pay for a home if it has really nice landscaping? This is another way to boost the curb appeal, update your home, and save money by doing it yourself. The great thing about doing yard work is the fact that there is not a ‘right way’ to do it - you have complete control and you have the ability to choose the colors, the types of flowers, and the amount of floral and plants that you put in.

simple ways to update your home in 2018

Install window films
Window films, or window tinting is a fantastic way to update your home in 2018! Located out of Alpharetta, Georgia, UHS Window Tinting and Blinds says that window tinting let’s natural light in while enhancing privacy, it creates an open feel, even in small spaces, it creates the illusion of etched, treated, or texturized glass with 3M™ Fasara™ Films, and it also allows you to get the elegant look of textures glass with 3M™ Crystal Glass Finishes. Serving the Metro-Atlanta area, UHS Window Tinting and Blinds provides services that are much-needed such as window tinting, security film, decorative film, select blind treatment services, as well as installation. Although it is a fantastic way to update the look of your home, it also has many other benefits such as improving excess heat, cold, and high energy costs in general, increasing safety and security, as well as reducing glare and fading of furniture and artwork. Window tinting through UHS Window Tinting and Blinds is a great service to consider if you are in Georgia!

Add new decor
Adding new decor can easily take a home from drab to fab and it can be very inexpensive. For example, adding mirrors can help a home look larger, adding seasonal decorative pillows can help brighten up a room, and adding new rugs can also add color and texture to a room.

What are some simple and inexpensive ways you've found to update your home?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Clearwater Beach {Marine Life}

Anytime I told someone we were going to Clearwater Beach for vacation they all mentioned the dolphins.  Apparently, it is a big area for dolphin sightings and that held true for us!  We were able to look right off our dock both morning and evening to see dolphins swimming and playing out in front of the house. It was so cool!

My girls both love sea animals and dolphins are one of their favorites.  Anyone remember the Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2 movies?

It's based on a true story about a dolphin who looses it's tail after being caught in a crab trap.  Some amazing people at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium help rescue her and she ends up getting a prosthetic tail.  Well, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is actually a real place and the dolphins from the movie live there!  We were so excited to take the girls there and let them learn even more about the mission of this Marine Aquarium which is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release back into the wild when possible.

It's called an aquarium, but really it is more of an marine animal hospital where they help hurt and injured animals.  Little Mama wants to become a marine biologist or vet so this was such a neat experience for her and all of the girls.

While the girls were at the aquarium, the guys were on a deep sea fishing day.  My little guy had never been deep sea fishing before and I was not quite sure how he would handle being out on the boat ALL DAY LONG. I thought he might get a little board, but when he got back and I asked him how it was he told me, "It was SO fun." :-) 

They caught a lot of red snapper and a few other fish, too! 

Another animal you don't see everyday is a manatee!!!  We had just come back in from the boat when someone noticed it right at our dock.  

They grabbed the freshwater hose and put it down in the water to see if he wanted a drink. 

The kids all got to take turns holding the hose and feeding him. 

It was such a cool experience and so neat for them to see it close up. 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Clearwater Beach Trip {Part 1}

I shared a little about our trip to Clearwater Beach last week and could go on and on about how much fun we had.  A little back story first though...for the past two summers we have done a houseboat trip with some of our best friends.  It was really fun the first year, but two years was too much and my friend and I had requested a different kind of trip for this summer.  Clearwater Beach ended up being the perfect compromise.  While I could sit in my chair on the beach and read my book all day long, the kids and the Mr. like a little more adventure.  This trip was the perfect balance of fun and adventure with a lot of good downtime mixed in, too!

The house we stayed at was amazing.  Right on the Intracoastal, complete with a boat dock, pool, and tons of fun toys!

The views were gorgeous and it was so fun to wake up each morning to see the water and often dolphins swimming by.

If I ever questioned how much my kids would love to have a pool in their backyard, this trip confirmed it.  Lots of jumping, dunking, floating and swimming was done!

The kids all took turns having the dads take them on jet ski rides.  My kiddos all take after the Mr. and love a little adventure in their lives! 

Funniest story, but my little guy had never been on a jet ski before and all he wanted was someone to play ping-pong with him.  After a couple of days we finally got him on the jet ski and then he didn't want to stop riding it! 

We spent a lot of nights at the house and cooked a good bit, but we did go out a few evenings also, which I loved. It was fun to get all cleaned up and enjoy a dinner we didn't have to clean up the kitchen after eating.  

I wore these new feather sandals every night we went out because they were super comfortable and oh so cute! 

One night we ate at Frency's Rockaway Grill which was right on the beach and when we wrapped up dinner the sun was just setting out over the ocean!  

We hurried to snap a few picture and couldn't get over how beautiful it was!

Little Mama took this picture in the parking lot on the way back to our car.  I mean, just stunning! 

One of the highlights of the trip was being able to have such easy access to get out on the water. Our friends brought their boat for the week and another friend of ours took us out on their boat a few times.

We love boating and love being on the water!  

We enjoyed our boat days so much! 

We visited Tarpon Springs which is known for their Greek settlement and their sponge industry.  

While we were there we did a little souvenir shopping. I tried to convince him to pick something smaller, but this shark ended up coming home with us and he was SO very excited about it!

We loved throwing out an anchor at some of the Intracoastal islands. The kids enjoyed swimming, exploring the beaches, and finding some pretty great shells! 

The water in these areas was so beautiful it reminded me of being in the Caribbean on our cruise. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of our week in Clearwater Beach.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Hilton Head Island, SC 2018

Each year we vacation with my family for a week on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We've been coming here since I was a little girl, and now it's so fun to share those same experiences with my children.

Here are some of our past trips we've taken...

This year we approached this trip much differently. We stayed in the same house. We frequented most of the same places. But, overall we were lazy. 

And I mean L.A.Z.Y. 

Like we crossed the threshold of our favorite rental home, threw on our swimsuits, hopped in the pool and didn't emerge for three days unless it was in search of food. Typically we try to pack as much in as possible, but when we don't even step foot on some of that low country sand until three whole days have passed you know we've all hit ultimate vacation laziness. 

So this time around we took it waaaaay easy, and our biggest adventure was finding a free spot on the beach where high tide wouldn't reach us. And in actuality that did happen one day, and even though everyone's chairs were in a eight inches of water, not one of them moved. 


And I only say "them" because I am the mom on this trip. So until the toddler set decides they don't need supervised help in all things related to sand, and decide almost drowning isn't really a fun time, a beach chair is just a dream. Carrie Beth sent this saying to me a few weeks ago and I died laughing because it's true!

"No one is full of more false hope than a parent bringing a chair to the beach."

Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am a beach girl and love playing in the sand, boogie boarding in the waves, and searching for seashells right along with the kids.

Otherwise, I was right there enjoying in my laziness with the rest of our crew.

We did venture and try one or two new (to us) spots, but otherwise we kept this trip pretty low key. I feel like we blinked and then the week was over. We all needed the recharge and it's always fun to catch up with family and make new memories.

I'll give a quick little recap of each of our days - so be prepared for the pic overload! I've linked up what I thought would be helpful and what we wore, but feel free to comment or email like always with any questions!


Road trip!

We arrived into Sea Pines before our rental was ready so we headed straight to the Salty Dog for a little pre-happy hour happy hour.

| Girls Striped Jumpsuit |

Once we were finally able to check in, we ordered a pizza dinner and settled ourselves poolside for the rest of the day.

| Papasan Floats

| Flamingo Float

We ended the day with our favorite view and slipped right into full vacay mode.

Father's Day was a repeat of the day before. The dads woke up and Mr. Cute spent the day doing this...

and this...

At some point in the late afternoon someone mentioned we should at least put some clothes on make an effort for dinner. We are within walking distance from Harbour Town so we made our way to the Crazy Crab.

I dined on my favorite meal of all time - Riesling and hush puppies.

Don't judge. It's excellent.

I think we threw the dads some ice cream, watched the sunset, and called it a night.

DAY 3 
The boys left bright and early for an offshore fishing trip for the day so that just left the girls. And you guessed it...

We went out back to the pool.

The boys had a great time though. They caught a ton of fish and Cute couldn't stop talking about how awesome it was.

Even though it was late in the day when they got back, I put my foot down and declared we had to go to the beach already. So we drove to the Beach Club and enjoyed the beach at what I think is the best part of the day.

| Ruffled One Shouldered Swimsuit |

We made it home just in time to catch this view...

I contemplated not ever going home.

Now that we've fully settled into our pool routine, the boys decided it needed a little upgrade in entertainment.

This occurred approximately 9,872 times before we left the pool and they didn't tire of it once. Cute thought it was hilarious to be "caught" in the raft.

We headed to Harbour Town for a burger lunch at Harbourside. We let the kids have a Shirley Temple for the first time and they didn't know what to think. I remember loving those growing up!

After we had refueled, we made our way to the Beach Club for the afternoon. Mr. Cute was a good sport at carrying everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) in the beach cart. After St. Augustine I have nothing but love for beach cart warriors everywhere. 

The kids spent the entire time trying to catch a fish in their nets. Their technique might have been a little off, but at least they had a blast.

| Swimsuits | Fishing Nets

The highlight of the afternoon for the kids was when we let them take the trolley back to the rental house. The driver let them sit up front with him, and they thought this was hilarious. 

And this scene never gets old...

I decided to change things up a bit and took the kids to the Harbour Town playground first thing in the morning. Oh my, was it HOT.

The kids had a blast, but we were all melting before long so we made our way back to the house to splash in our favorite spot. 

| Girls Swimsuit

After cooling off in the pool the rest of the day, we headed to South Beach for dinner. We thought got there early enough to eat at the Salty Dog Cafe, but it was already packed so we ate at the top of the Wreck of the Salty Dog. To be honest it's such a great view, and atmosphere I actually prefer it. Same food. Different gorgeous view. 

Afterwards we did our usual routine when in South Beach - grabbed some new tees from the shop, let the kids get their face painted and checked out some of our favorite stores.

Once we made our way back home we realized we had a new guest enjoying our view...

To give you a size reference - this yacht was the size of a small cruise ship. The building in the background is a large hotel. dream in color. 

Mr. Cute woke up bright and early to play golf. The temps were super hot, but I took advantage of the kids being entertained in the pool with my parents and went shopping with my sisters. 

The rental we stay in has a view of the infamous Habour Town Golf Links 18th hole. So when Mr. Cute approached he had a cheering audience.

After golf we made our way back to the beach. This was the day we arrived just before high tide and our tent ended up being with in the tidal line. The cool water felt so good not a single person moved their chairs.

The kids made a great attempt to build a wall to save the tent. 

| Orange Ruffle One Piece - Seriously cutest suit on! |
Then we went straight from the beach to dinner in Harbour Town. My sister went ahead to save a table, but before we left she and I had done our hair. I was laughing and sent her this pic saying, "Did it last??". Because two seconds in the wind and humidity it was a hot mess.

| One Shoulder Dress - Here or Here
We ate at one of our long time favorite restaurants - The Quarterdeck.

While we were eating Cute lost at tooth! He was so excited the tooth fairy was going to visit him at the beach!

We wound the day down the best way we know how - with ice cream and a view. Side note: the Nutty Coconut ice cream from Cinnamon Bear is out of this world!

We made the most of our last full day and headed straight for the beach after breakfast. It was a gorgeously hot day. 

For dinner we tried a new restaurant at Fraser's Tavern in the Plantation Golf Club. It was a "cooler" evening so when they sat us outside on the deck we thought that would be excellent.

| Blue Halter Top | Pink Tassel Earrings | Pink Sandals | Shark Shirt | Watermelon Pom Pom Dress |

The food was yummy, but holy cow it was hot and humid out there. Great view, but oh so not worth melting for. Fast forward to September and October and I'm totally in!

The kids love the alligator fountain in the front. I was taking bets on who would jump in first.

We burned off the last of our energy doing cartwheels and playing tag on the golf course in front of our rental with an epic sunset in the background. Such a great last night!

We left around mid-day towards home, but made a stop first at Skull Creek for some lunch. My family has eaten here a ton, but I've never been. It was so good and I loved the atmosphere! 

We had a blast eating and watching the World Cup everyone. We will definitely be back on our next visit!

Cute is all of us when vacation is over. He pouted for a good thirty minutes and begged to get back to the beach. He is totally my child. 

We had such a blast on Hilton Head as always and am already looking forward to what next summer holds! 

Have you stayed on Hilton Head Island? What are some of your favorite spots? I've been going for a lot of years, but love discovering new things to see or do. Share with me! 

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