Friday, November 17, 2017

Finished Kitchen: Part 2

Finally, the finished project!  If you missed the first part, Kitchen: Part 1.  The change in the layout of the kitchen, makes the space seem almost unrecognizable. Kitchens are when you spend the most money in a remodel, as well as getting the most attention, and I'm so happy how it's all turned out.

Remember the before:

From the last post I got a few questions about why I left the soffits, well, that was not the original plan, I have a vision of 42in cabinets, along with then a built in fridge.  Sadly, after taking a sledge hammer to the soffits, we realized two thing. 1. the soffits were made of plywood, and 2. they were full of wires, that were sadly pulled very tight, so there wasn't any room to move them into the ceiling with out a lot of cutting.  So, they stayed...

As for the backsplash, I think I bought about 15 different samples, from marble, to hand painted porcelain, to glass.  I ended up on glass tiles from Mendards by Mohawk, they were 4 by 12 and I believe the color was Cloud.  I ended up with a very plan tile after the counters had so much pattern.

I'm so happy that I added the peninsula, not only did it add so much additional counter and cabinet space, the stools work so much better for us as opposed to a table.  

There was originally one pendant light that would be over where the kitchen table would be, we pigged backed off the one to add a second pendant light.  All the lighting is from Ray Electric.  I searched and searched the big box stores and could never find anything I liked.  I had this perception that the lighting stores were really expensive, but they were much more reasonable that I had expected, and plus being a member of the Michigan Interior Design Center, they honored that and gave me the designer discount.  My lighting splurge was the dining room light, (more to come) and I think the second most expensive fixtures were these two at just about $100 a piece.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Madison Braids Review

My Pinterest and Instagram are full of braided hair style looks, and I have to say I'm loving them.  However my braiding skills are not quite to "point" lets say.  And sadly, Ellie hates when I use her to practice. When Madison Braids came across my feed as an ad I was very interested.  They have 5 headband styles that are all different types of chunky braids.

I went for the fishtail, as that's the one I'm trying to master currently (happened to have tired a side fishtail on just an average morning, that happened to be Halloween, Ellie's pre school class thought I was dressing up as Elsa, so I'm not sure if that's a mom win or fail?)

The braids only come in 3 or 4 different colors depending on the style, I was a little worried as the blonde seemed to be a little darker than my hair color, but I really wanted to give it a try.

It came in this cute little box.  The first thing I loved about the headband is that its adjustable!  I am very sensitive to headbands, and apparently have a big head?  I don't know but most headbands only last about an hour before the headache starts.  I also think I might get one for Ellie which I don't have to worry about it being to big.

It came in a pretty tight braid, so I just pulled it a part a bit to give it a little different look. Then before I wore it, I was still a little unsure of the color match, so to tone down some of the shine, I just sprayed a little dry shampoo.  For some reason, lighter color synthetic hair always looks a little more "fake" than darker colors, so I've always found spraying some dry shampoo is great for fixing that.

There are so many different ways to wear this headband, you really can just throw it in and go.  I ended up putting a little wave in my hair first with my T3 1 1/2 inch barrel wand first.  Then I put in the headband and pinned back the sides.

I was really impressed that it blended into my hair color so well, and it was very comfortable to wear.

Use the coupon code INSTA15 to get 15% off and free shipping on your first order! Most of the braids are $35.00.

Ellie's Bathroom

This one was rough... that's a lot of gold... and not in a good way.

Ellie's bedroom is awesome, in that she had her own bathroom, and its a pretty good sized bathroom for the overall size of the condo.  So this one was a decision to complete gut like the master, or give it a face lift.  I went with the facelift, and am really happy.

The before:

Horrible picture but was from the real estate listing.  Now, this I will NEVER understand.  Its hard to see but there are 2 doors in one bathroom...One entered from Ellie's room, clearly.  The other went into the master...but there is a master bath, so why?

I don't know either... So I took out the second door, because it seemed dumb.

So this was the extent of my demo, the vanity, as it was plastic, the toilet as it was gross and the floor as there was no coming back from that one.

While the tile guys were in the master, I had them lay the floor in the bathroom for a few hundred bucks, again, worth it!

You can kinda see the opening for the second mystery door.

Already so much better!

So I went with having the gold tile and tub reglazed.  It was in good shape, just a horrible color.  I have to say 18 months later still looks great, I think it was like $500 or so and totally worth it.

Now as I believe I mentioned before Ikea cabinets are not "bathroom rated" so I think it voids the warranty but they are great for the bathroom, and I'd totally do it again.

I would of loved that much counter space in my first master bathroom....

$24.99 Home Goods mirror...

The finished product! You'd have no idea the before and after are the same room, this bathroom totally did not need a full gut, but still looks brand new.

Ellie's Bedroom

I just adore how Ellie's room turned out.  That side of the house is where we get most of the sun, so her room is always so bright and cheery.  I'd like to say this was just a paint and carpet job, but no...

The first two pictures are from the original real estate listing, I realized I missed a picture of her double doors.  So the original floor plan, had a set of double doors to enter this bedroom.

You can just see the door on the left of this picture.

They were on the list of things to go.  Two main reasons, 1. The double door opened right at the top step, and I just felt it was a total hazard. 2. I could not find a solid reason why it was needed, and took up precious wall space in Ellie's room.  I replaced all the doors in the house with this two panel door from Home Depot, so it was cheaper to put in a new pre hung door then to put in two doors. (Two panel, NO arch - I was very specific with what I liked)

The gross carpet came out, along with the window and door trim and the baseboards.  I also when with a light pink by Benjamin Moore, that I will link as soon as I find the can.  If I remember it had a really weird name.

I did the same carpet anywhere I put carpet (Stairs and both bedrooms) It has a slight pattern to it, I really like the look of it.  I got it from a local carpet shop.  I had seen it about 2 years earlier when I was in there for something else and had the sales guy write down the name, and I had it in my wallet for 2 years, so it was an easy selection.  I must say it has not held up from wear as well as I would of hoped, you can see high traffic areas slightly, considering it's less than two years old, but it does clean up really well, and it was pretty cheap, I want to say right about $2.00 a square foot, so I'll talk it.

Looking back at the pictures, I can't believe how small the bedroom looked, the fresh paint and carpet really opened up the room. 

I did keep some things from her old room, like the famed E.  However, I moved her to a big girl bed.  The headboard is actually my old king from Ballard Design.  I make a quick slip cover and turned a twin bed against it, and it was a perfect fit!

Here is a good picture of the new door.  It is a 36in door so a little larger than the rest of the doors in the house, but my only possible logical thought for the double door (beside the fact that the developer loved random doors) is that you may need the extra room to get furniture into the bedroom from the hallway. So just in case, I put in the larger door.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Whats the best Hot Rollers?

I've always been a fan of hot rollers, mainly because they are a gentler way curl your hair, as well as for those who are not great at curing their hair with an iron, this is a faster method.  Before I mastered a curling iron, these were my high school go to. I've owned a few sets of hot rollers over the years, and when my last set died about 5 or so years ago, I never replaced them.  Since my hair as been quite light recently, I wanted a gentler way to curl. So I went on a mission...thank goodness Ulta has such an awesome return policy that I was able to test out 6 different sets and return with no hassle.

Side note:  All 6 sets qualify for the 20% off coupon that they offer about once a month (none of them are considered the "Prestige Brand" not even the T3)

So I started with a splurge with the T3.  I wanted to love these, like really bad.  Because I wanted a T3 iron, so badly (and since have broke down and got, yes its work the price, more later) as well as I really liked the big comb clips, it was compact and there were only 8 rollers.  I was able to get all of my hair into the 8 rollers.  Now these are big rollers, 1.75 inches and 1.50 inches.  I waited about 20 to 25 minutes and took them down, volume - yes, curl - not so much... It was similar to the look of a blow out, which is not a bad thing, just not what I was looking for.  And at $120 I was not looking to keep something I didn't love.  So sadly the beautiful black and rose gold went back.  Now I should say, you can buy a 2 pack of smaller rollers, as small as .75 inches.  But two things, first there $20 bucks a set, and there are only 8 spots to plug in a roller on the base, so you'd have to do 2 round of heating - again no the end of the world, but you could very quickly get $200 into hot rollers.

So then I tried the John Frieda, mostly because of the sizes, they had less rollers than most of the sets and bigger sizes.  Priced at $59.99 (then 20% not too bad) I really had high hopes for these.  They also had two heat settings, so I was hoping they'd get pretty hot to hold well.  I also liked the big clips, similar to the T3.  I got all of my hair into the rollers with our much of an issue. Waited the 20-25 minutes while again I did make up and took them out.  They looked just okay, as soon as I took them out, not exactly what I was looking for, some of the curls in the back were hardly curled at all.  My biggest issue was that they did not last.  I think by the time I finished getting ready and out the door most of the curl had fell, and my hair holds curl well. So I knew these were not going to work... back they went.

I went to the BaByliss set.  These are the second most expensive, after T3, at $64.95.  BaByliss has always been know as a salon quality brand, so I thought, I bet these are the ones.(...again)  These had some good pros, first they had more of a "traditional" size of rollers in the 3 sizes, which I have really found even if you want big curls, you still need to use the small rollers along the back of your neck. I did not get them right after the T3 because I though they only had the old school pin clips that you see in the picture and I really liked the big comb clips from the T3 and John Frieda, so I was very happily surprised when I opened the box they had both types of clips, so that was positive.  Now, I'm really excited, these are it!  I put them in, great sizes, waited the 20-25 minutes and then took them out, curl was pretty good.  Lasted about half the day, then started to fall quite a bit.  I did not return these right away as I though, let me just try a few more to see if I can find something I love.

So my third trip to Ulta... I got 3 sets.  I start with the travel Remington Kit at $15.99 (plus the 20% off) so they were just over 10 bucks, amazing price.  They actually worked pretty well, just had the old school pins to hold the rollers but they fit in the bag.  Curls were decent, and lasted pretty well.  I ended up keeping these as they are great to throw into a suitcase and not have to worry. They do have two different sizes, if you wanted a curl, I'd say you'd need to do one side and then reheat and do the other.  My though was if I travel and did not bring my own blow dryer that I could put these in to give my hair a little help from the horrible hotel blow dryers. 

Next was Conair, now Conair had a few different sets at Ulta, but I liked the sizes of these, as well as I was very fascinated by the clips.  They are solid plastic, but you can heat 3 clips at a time, so the curl is heated from the inside and the outside. And at $36.99 I thought they were a good price point. These were definably a solid set of hot rollers.  The clips were a hard plastic, so they did heat, but you need to be carful how to clip in the rollers in the top and front as its easy to get lines. It took a few times before I was able to figure out that the clip needed to be pointed in the back to avoid a line.  I did not end of keeping these, but my mom liked them (she has shorter hair) so she ended up keeping this set.  Also I should add the curl did last most of the day, but was definably not a two day curl.


The last set I bought was the Caruso Steam Setters, I could not with out watching a video figure out exactly how they worked, and you have to heat each roller at a time, which seemed like a big waste of time.  But they had the best reviews on Amazon, Ulta, and Sally's so I wanted to give them a try. They were $49.99 (then the 20% off) so priced well, and they come in 5 sizes, and you get 30 rollers.  I also saw on Amazon you can get just the rollers,  a set of 6, for about $11 - $12.  So my first question is how long do I have to heat these little suckers, like a minute, 30 seconds? This is going to take forever.  Well, the max is about 7-9 seconds. (I actually ready the little manual) They say to heat each roller from anywhere from 4-9 seconds, depending on hair texture, then while you roll your hair into the curler, put the cover over the steam.  These reminded me of the sponge rollers that I'd sleep in as a kid and then wake up with Shirley Temple hair in the morning.  So I got started, it didn't take any longer than a normal set of hot rollers, and I liked the different sizes.  Depending on how tight you roll you can modify the curl.  At times the covers took a second to get to snap in place, and it was hard to get the larger rollers to stay up right in the front at times.  They say it takes about 15-20 minutes to set, or if you touch them with a blow dryer for a minute of two you can speed that up.  I just let mine cool as is.  They never really got hot to the touch so it was a little skeptical.  Now let me tell you, when I took these things out, wow, I was really impressed.  My hair was very soft, curled beautifully, and it lasted all day, and did not look bad the next day was able to just bush out and go.  These held the best, and so I decided to try them on E's hair, which does not hold curl well, its so thick and silky.  It curled her bob so cute, and it held all day and had a wave the next day.  She hates anything warm (I have to dry her hair on the lowest heat that's barley warm... I love a hot blow dryer on a cold morning) , and so I never can curl her hair with an iron, but these never got hot so I was able to put them in and not worry about burning her.  In the end, I'm sold of the 90's infomercial Caruso rollers!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This has to be the best play kitchen...EVER

Oh my goodness, look at this? Is this not the cutest play kitchen. This gem popped up on my Amazon home page, I DO NOT need another kitchen for E, but if I did...this thing is amazing, so I want to share. If you get this one (comes in other colors too) please tell me how cute it is in person! I mean, a built in fridge? I just can't get over how cute this is!