Tip Tuesday!

I am sure that I am not the only one that’s wanting to make her space cleaner, prettier and well kept, especially right now when all we see are these 4 walls 24/7!  I am working on the cleaning thing.  Juggling the homeschooling, a growing business, cooking all the meals (no takeout here!)  I am open to trying new methods of staying on top of things, while trying to not lose my mind! 

I actually found this tip on one of my favorite You Tubers Instagram account, Laura Vitale. I just adore her and she shares so many amazing cooking recipes! She (unlike me) loves cleaning and such, so as I embrace this more, I figured why the heck not?!  Watch me turn into an OCD cleaning freak after quarantine!

You will need just a few items to clean your micro-fiber (suede) fabric:

Dish Soap (tiny bit!)

Scrub brush

Fabric softener (Again, tiny bit but this time for the scent!)

Step 1:

Fill a bowl of water with a little dish soap, dip the scrub brush and go at it! 

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Step 2:

Fill a second bowl with water and a little bit of fabric softener.  Then, take a cloth and make those gorgeous swipes and lines! *see bottom photo

I just love the scent of this kind.  (I’m sure you could do essential oils too, whatever floats your boat.)

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**Disclaimer, try it out on a tiny bit of your fabric before you go crazy!**
Before:

I’ve tried keeping towels on the chairs, but I gave up on one in particular.  Yes, more spills and drips may have happened on someone’s chair in particular and his chair was a TAD worse than most. (Do I love showing you this photo? NOPE.  But if I can help another desperate mama who feels like everything is out of her control right now, then my ego can take a hike. Real life people–sticky little fingers, food, drinks, dogs–oh my!)

After:

Voila!

As you can see, the far left chair still needs another rub down (no names mentioned, but the one with the littlest hands seems to be the messiest!)  I set them outside in the sun to get that extra Vitamin D and dry a tad faster.  

Verdict?  Totally impressed.

*see those swiping lines?! #swoon
So now that the fabric on the chairs have been handled, I’m working on mastering the laundry situation. I’ll report back to you if I can indeed wash, dry, fold and put away one load a day.  It’s worth trying!
What house cleaning tip can you share with me? I am ALL ears!  

15 Questions: Get to Know Me!

Hi I’m Jenn!  I feel like I may have a few new faces around here, (maybe not?!) but I haven’t done a “about me” post in awhile.  While in quarantine, my family and I are really taking this time to stay positive and focus on all the good things right now.  I cannot imagine this happening to us when we were kids, how would we have done school!? The internet is nothing like it is today.  Anyway, I know that we are doing our best and trying to keep a calm, positive and happy vibe around here!  I’m not perfect, nor do I ever claim to be, but I try to share my heart here and capture memories for myself, my family, and anyone else who may find some useful morsel around here.

I grew up in Victor, a small town at the time.  My father owned a family owned hardware store/lumberyard in town and my mom stayed home to raise us three girls.  We always had a house full of people, and animals!  There was always someone that my mom or dad took in to help.  That’s the kind of people they are; they were always taking care of people.  After High School I went to SUNY Fredonia where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree for teaching English Secondary Education.  I wanted to move back home to be near my family, and that summer I graduated in 2003, I landed my teaching job. I taught 7th-12th grade English for 8 years and then chose to stay home.

Ok onto the questions!

1.) What’s your Favorite Book? I honestly don’t have just one!!  The first book I cried over was Where the Red Fern Grows and I believe that was 6th grade.  I also remember starting to read Holocaust novels that year (which is intriguing because for my Master’s Degree, I created my final project based on Teaching Empathy through Holocaust Literature).  Reading for school NEVER felt like homework and I always enjoyed the books.  I remember asking my 10th grade teachers if I could read The Scarlet Letter for an independent reading project and he suggested I wait until the following year when it was taught so I would “get it.”   I got it. 😉  I loved The Great Gatsby in 11th grade and between all of the symbolism (and literary elements) and my amazing Junior Year teacher, I fell in love with English Lit.  I officially decided to become a teacher! Since then I’ve fallen in love with many books, so many different genres too! I need to write my blog post of my 2019 top 10, but here’s a photo of them!

2.) What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I’m not a huge ice cream person, but if they have coffee ice cream, you know I will try it! Ok I also grabbed this to try too. Very odd consistency but tastes pretty good!

3.) What’s your go to when ordering out? I like to try new things especially at fancy restaurants!  I used to be the chicken parm girl, but now I tend to lean towards fish or something that may be trickier for me to re-create at home.  Dining out is one of my love languages!  I miss our date nights so much and we are dreaming up some wonderful trip ideas to try new restaurants in the future.

4.) What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory? Running full speed down a hill at my parents’ old house and running onto the deck, and through (what I thought) was an open sliding door—luckily the glass part was open, but the screen was fully in tact and closed….until it wasn’t!! There was also a time I used to “hurdle” over my sister’s Playschool Teeter-Totter.  Yeah.  I was never in Track and Field (for good reason) and I smacked my ankle reeeeeally hard on that thing.  Or there was the time I had my middle sister push me around in a doll stroller on our paved driveway.  I fell back out of it and my tailbone STILL hurts to this day if I sit funny.  #ladygrace

For kicks here’s me in preschool! Can you spot me?!

5.) What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? Rome. Hands down the culture was everything.  It was the final stop on our Honeymoon tour of Europe, coming after Amsterdam and Paris, which we loved too.  However, there was something magical about Italy.  Maybe it was the fact that Joe’s family is off the boat, so he’s so very Italian, or Italy is simply that amazing. The food. The people. The architecture.  The music. The food. The espresso. The shopping. The food…I pray for this virus to be over so we can one day return again!  I will say that so far the most beautiful beach has been at The Nest on the Island of Antigua. I mean really. Look. At. That. Water!!

6.) What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I’m proud that I graduated college, became a teacher, and got my Master’s degree. I am proud of my almost 10 years of marriage with Joe. However, nothing beats being a mom! I have never worked so hard as I did to carry them in my womb and give birth to them both!  All the sleepless nights and still the worry that comes with being mom, does not take away from the amazingness that motherhood is.  Brooke and Bradley are literally my world.  I take my job as their mother so seriously.  No I am not perfect, but I want to raise good humans, with happy hearts and lots of strength in this crazy world.  I have been SO blessed to have stayed home with them all these years.  I know that though times are hard right now, we will never get this time back.  Joe and I are also working hard on our business which is tricky because the kids want to play all the time.  We are doing fine and I need to not be so hard on myself. Some days I want to ‘teach them’ as much as possible school wise and other days I open the door and tell them to just go outside and run around—aka you’re drivin yo mama crazy! I am also proud of the woman I am becoming.  I always strive to be better tomorrow than I was today.

7.) Who would you like to live like for a day? Rachel Hollis — hence the above sentence.  This woman is amazing.  I would love to be out on book tour promoting that, dancing around on stage hyping everyone up.  The amount of women (people) she can inspire through her books, podcasts, live videos, instagram, blog….If I could just reach a fraction of the amount of people she does, I would feel as though I’m doing something in my life. Plus she vacations in Hawaii a lot so that’s cool! Or Oprah. She’d be a hoot too!!

8.) Coffee or Tea? If you’ve known me for awhile or even followed my little old Bliss to Bean blog, you know I loved me some coffee! After baby boy, I seemed to have developed reflux (so did he as a baby, weird) and coffee is one thing I have given up.  It still bothers me and now if I try to drink it it’s too much caffeine and I don’t like it.  Matcha Green Tea Lattés are my favorite (especially when Starbucks is open–is anyone else going through MAJOR ‘bux withdrawals?!) I also love a good cuppa English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey or chai.  I also sip on several herbal teas all day, from calming, stress less and good for ‘that time of the month’ teas. There is literally a tea for everything and so many good ones!

9.) When you’re having a rough day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?  It depends honestly.  Sometimes I need time to myself, journal, read, rest, watch something on You Tube or TV.  Other times I need to snuggle with the kids, Joe or the dogs. Maybe a good workout would help.  Baking for my family and indulging in a sweet treat.  I’ve had a good solid shower cry in the past month and it’s all good.  I have learned the importance of self care and the NEED to fill my cup.  It’s not always a balance–there is always give and take.  However, when I am running on E, there is nothing left to give.  If you do nice things for yourself, allow yourself the rest, the time, the energy to do what you enjoy, life really does open up! These are just some of the ways I have been coping with quarantine! I try not to drink if I’m stressed or upset, it usually does not make me feel better. I like to enjoy my vino in a good mood!

10.) Using JUST ONE word, how would you describe your family? Fun!

11.) Who is the kindest person you know? There have been SO many acts of kindness during this Corona crisis, I don’t even know where to start! I think of my friends who shopped for us when we were so scared to go out at first.  I think of all the masks donated to us, some made with love.  I think of my parents who send small gifts and such to help keep the kids busy.  Or when they spend their nights on House Party playing games with both of them. I think of my sister who thought of my kiddos and bought some Easter items for them.  I think of how my neighbor’s son who turned 8 and a bunch of us drove in a parade behind fire trucks to wish the little dude a Happy Birthday.  I think of another pre-school mom who scored extra blue cheese and dropped it off to us (I thanked her with some White Claw!)  I also had a “wine fairy” stop by!!! Bigger picture, I think of all the people who are working as essentials who are keeping this country up and running.  Those on the front lines who are working hard on saving lives and also those who are working on a cure.  So much kindness, you just have to look for it!

12.) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Some place with a never-ending beach where Joe and I could have a romantic dinner on the sand, by candlelight.  We would also sleep in fabulous little hut/bungalows over the water! Any recs?!  I’m hoping for an anniversary trip some day.  At this point I would just love to travel to my local Starbucks and sit and smile at people and enjoy a latté with no mask. Or even the library.  It’s funny how little things really are the big things.

13.) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A Veterinarian.  But then I shadowed some and couldn’t deal with all of the sadness of sick or hurt animals.  I then wanted to be a teacher!  I spent my senior year of High School ‘student teaching’ a 9th grade class with a fellow teacher. It was awesome and really kept my head on straight for the 4 years of college where I had to take a bunch of lame classes (like Oceanography – lame) and really I just wanted to work with kids and help them!  I never thought about working in Real Estate, but I love owning a company and running a business. (It’s in my genes!) I also really love getting to work with Joe.  It’s so much fun helping people out of homes, into homes and of course the house projects along the way. I also wanted to be a singer or a dancer but mom wouldn’t send me to NYC. (Ya could’ve had me make millions ma!! haha)

14.) What’s your biggest pet peeve?  Passive aggressiveness.  Own your shit! Sorry for the language, but if you’re not a teenager, don’t act like one.  If you made a mistake, just say sorry and move on.  And if someone does you wrong?  Call them out on it if you must and have it out.  Life is too short to be playing games.  Some people are not meant to be in our lives forever and that’s okay.  Sometimes we have to look at what is best for our family and do it no matter what others may think.  I think so many problems occur in life because of communication or the lack of it really.  We can’t be everyone’s friend and no one is perfect.  If you are just doing the best you can and trying to live by the golden rule, that’s all we can ask for right? Be a good human.

15.) What’s your favorite season?  I thought I’d end on a fluffy question.  Again, it may be no surprise to you if you know me well, but I am a Summer Girl.  I am not sure if it’s because I’m a Leo, but bring on the sun and hot weather!! Joe’s totally not a Leo and loves Summer too.  Life is just better when you can go outside and not freeze your ass off.  As I’m getting older, I am finding it harder and harder to just deal with this crappy cold “Spring” we are getting most years.  It is one thing I wish I could change, but have no control over, so I will just stay focused on the future and I am hoping May brings some 80 degree days!  I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. Vitamin D is so good for you!

Have any other questions? Let me know!  I find these fun to read so if you do something back, be sure to tag me.

Happy Friday and stay healthy!

Basement Gym

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I don’t know about you guys, but 30+ days into this stay at home thing and I was really needing my own space.  I’ve always been used to having my own room, closet, part of a room–something! But obviously being married, having two kids and two dogs, we are all up in each other’s Kool-aid and I don’t really mind, I love my family!! However, most days I need a place where I can honestly go ‘disappear’ and listen to my hip hop and rap music and workout.  

It really stemmed from not being able to use the office any more as we are truly using it for working purposes and there is just not enough room.  The kids tend to be in the living room a lot and our bedroom doesn’t have a ton of extra space to move and groove.

Enter: The basement!

I did not want to spend any money, so I took some ideas from my mom.  She told me to shop my different rooms and put something together.  Genius idea!  Joe had just taken my mirror down in the office (To replace with a sophisticated world map I bought him years ago!) so I thought heck yes! I need to see my baby muscles grow!

From there I just grabbed all of my workout equipment.  Dumbbells, kettlebell, bands, yoga mats etc.  I have a chair right here because I was doing the Barre Blend workout via Beachbody on Demand. 

I also have some totes with old items I used to decorate with and just grabbed some older throw pillows to soften up the area.
I also thought some girlie twinkle lights would add some bliss to my space.  Add some faux candles (thank you Dollar Tree) and all of a sudden I have a happy feminine place to get into shape and be my best self!

I brought down my Start Today Journal and regular journal, so I can take a few moments and reflect before or after my sweat sesh.  

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I also love my Beats Pill Plus for extra noise (like I said, love me some gangsta rap!!) 

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Current playlist (I just stream You Tube): NOT FOR LITTLE EARS

 

 

So here is my challenge for you, readers!  What part of your home can you create your own little nest? Could it be bringing something from inside, outdoors at the weather changes?  Set up a little coffee sipping, journal writing, meditating spot for yourself.  Maybe you have a little room in a spare bedroom you could create a nook.  Maybe your basement just needs some re-arranging and with some pretty things, you too can have a blissful spot.  Or it could just be having a “spot” you retreat to daily (or when you need to!) have a glass of wine, a cup of tea…just to breathe and zen out for a few.  Home can be a beautiful and wonderful place or it can be dark with doom and gloom.  Take a little time planning, set a timer for 10 minutes (that’s what I did and then I KEPT cleaning the storage and before I knew it, I had my space!)

Be sure to share with me any ideas for some personal space in your home. 

 

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Spring Holidays & Decorating

Hi friends! I wanted to lighten it up a bit and do a fellow blogger’s list of questions! I grabbed it off one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle over at Sparkles and Lattes. I thought it’d be fun to play along.  Let me know if you do it too!

1.Yes! I don’t go crazy with decorating but I always have a little something up for each holiday.  I’m a sucker for door wreaths, signs, anything adorable the kids craft and I do love bunnies! (Joe has called me Rabbit or Bunny for 12 years now!)

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2. We celebrate Easter, my sister Brianna’s birthday, Mother’s Day (which should be a week long this year, am I right?!) and I’m always down for some tacos on Cinco de Mayo! hehe 

3. As for fun Spring traditions?  We usually go to the Ugly Disco this time of year…but like most things, it was cancelled for now.  We also enjoy muddy walks with the dogs and kids at our land.  There are usually some chilly playground runs and we are always itching to get back to BBQ time in the driveway! Bring on all the smoked meats–and cheeses!  Once Memorial Day hits it will be warm enough to grab some flowers and herbs, but much before that we still have freeze issues.

4.  I’ve been cooking so much lately, and I just found a really yummy one I made the other night! I grabbed some Turkey cutlets on sale at the store before the quarantine, and decided to whip them up last night.  There’s something so heavenly about a lemon, wine, butter & caper sauce paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio.  I had mine with salad and served pasta with some oil, salt/pepper, parm cheese & lemon juice for the rest of the gang.  Here is the Turkey Cutlets in Lemon Caper Sauce recipe!! Let me know if you make it.

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5.  I don’t really switch out much decor.  I have visions of one day (in a new home) to have fun coordinating themes for each season, but with two rough and tumble kiddos and two dogs, I just don’t make the time to do much with decor.  I need to get better about this! Our style is less is more, as clutter and extra stuff just drives us bonkers.  But we could use some more pretty pieces around here.  Some day! 

6.  Outdoor Spring decorating touches–I guess other than fresh flowers? Probably not. Kids are always collecting rocks, sticks, leaves and pinecones…but that’s about it.

7.  My favorite Spring cocktail would be a “Flirtini” from back in the day SATC.  

Vodka

Part pineapple juice

Champagne

Otherwise I just love champs, rosé bubbles or a solid Pinot Grigio.

8.  Pink? Pretty please! I have loved the color pink for so long now.  I adore a soft ballet pink or crush on a hot barbie pink.  It’s so happy, feminine, and blissful.  I think it’s a great color to wear especially if you’re looking for an instant mood boost.  I also love a pretty off pink like coral.  Something about coral and mint this time of year makes my heart happy. 

9.  My favorite Spring flower would be Hyacinths! I planted some a few years ago and they still pop up each year around Easter.  Mine are just deep purple I would love to plant some more colors!

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10. That said, things are JUST starting to bud, not yet blooming.  There’s a lilac bush out back we are keeping a close eye on, and I see some little green bits on the edges of the trees. I have also noticed a few daffodils have poked through and I bet in another week or so they’ll pop open.  We did have one pretty purple flower open up now that I think about it.  It’s still high of 50 if we’re lucky and quite chilly most days and nights. 

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Let me know if you join in on this light-hearted fun!

5 on Friday

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Happy Friday friends! I hope everyone enjoyed their day and has a nice weekend planned, or perhaps not planned!  Though it was a short week, it was a wonky week and I’m glad we made it through!

  1.  We have been working on and waiting for this transformation for awhile!  This is the first home Joe bought while we were together and I am so thrilled at how the kitchen just turned out!!  It needed some updating and it looks fantastic.  Shout out to Jason Calder & his crew with Rochester Flooring.

 

2. How cute is this little snow bunny?  We walked over to play with the neighbor friends and she just looked so adorable with her little doll.  I picked this outfit out because I thought it was just so stinking cute and luckily Brooke loves it too!

3.  I’ve been really working on moving my body every day for 30 minutes.  My go to favorites right now are Barre Blend (below), Yoga, the treadmill, Morning Meltdown 100. I also like to walk the dogs, but it’s been freezing out and it’s hard to muster up the motivation to bundle up.

4.  We had Book Club last night!  We hit up Bar Louie and enjoyed some food, drinks, conversations about the crazy book we read,The Wives, and of course lots of mom talks.  My neighbor Katie and I always carpool together.  Next time we are going to go downtown and do Tapas!  Our next read will be Verity which sounds like right up our book club alley, as it’s described as thriller, demented, crazy, and here is Amazon’s description:

An Amazon top 100 bestseller of 2019
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

5.  May your day and weekend be magical!  I loved horses and unicorns when I was little.  My whole room was decorated light purple with white unicorns.  I forgot about how much I loved unicorns when I was little but I keep seeing them in my instagram or facebook feeds and decided to screen shot them. They bring me joy whenever I see them!

I’m heading into the weekend binging a little on Christina on the Coast while I rest up a bit.  We’ve been going hard and I’m feeling a little run down still, so I’m going to listen to my body and chill.  It’s not easy, but I know it’s important to listen to my body! Have a great weekend.