Dusting…why is it so hard? HELP!

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Well here we are…Halloween has come and gone. I know it ended less than 12 hours ago, but I suddenly feel guilty for still having any Halloween decor still up, outside or inside the house. I don’t want us to be “those” neighbors.

Suddenly all I can think about are cornucopias, turkeys, and pilgrims. I think we’ll have to endure our Halloween decor until we have time to transform our house into an “Ode to Jamestown” on Friday afternoon.

But here are my real thoughts for today. How did everything get soooooo dusty over the past few weeks? We keep our house impeccably clean! Bathrooms cleans, bed made, rugs vacuumed, furniture vacuumed, floors swiffered, pillow fluffed…but some how there is the inevitable collection of dust that accumulates much faster than I think it should. I’m sure Martha Stewart’s house, or houses/farms/estates rather, are never dusty (let’s just chose not to think about the army of people she employs to make sure of this).

And as much as I love to clean, I HATE to dust. And I’m not really sure that I know how. I have memories of my mom using Pledge Lemon furniture polish and then Orange Glo when that changed the world in the 90s. The wood surfaces in our house always smelled like citrus and were unusually slippery. But, we don’t have any real wood in our house and I’m not sure what to do.

What I do: Currently, I use a Swiffer Duster .  This little beauty magically traps dust while I frolic about the house thinking that I’m doing something amazing. But, then the dust comes back all to soon. Then I inevitably end up begrudgingly slaving around the house with a damp cleaning cloth trying to pick up all the dust. It never seems to work…and there’s not the satisfyingly wonderful, yet seemingly toxic,citrus smell.

WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

Please tell me how you dust. I’d really love to know. Do you use the Swiffer too, furniture polish, some magic tool I have yet to discover? Please please please share your dusting secrets, or any other secrets for that matter 😉 with me.

 

 

Finally Our Fall Decor

This weekend I still haven’t felt the greatest, so my wonderful husband has been taking pictures so I could share our Fall decor with all of you. The thing I want to point out is that, so much of what we have is what we have collected over time. Most of our fall collection consists of things that we bought on clearance after the holidays or things from our favorite discount stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. Enjoy!

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Let’s Start with our mantle. I just love having a mantle, it is so much fun to decorate for every season.

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This fun piece I picked up for $3 at Kohl’s in June.

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I love throw pillows. Sam and my parents can attest to this. We have two VERY large plastic bins full of seasonal throw pillow stuffed to the brim in our loft.

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Here’s another shot of the living room. The area rug was less than $50 at Ross. The cute ghost throw blanket was $9.99 at another of our favorite stores, Fred Meyer. The wall art you see is all from World Market. I paid full price for that, but I just loved it!

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The wood tray on the ottoman we picked up for less than $20 at Costco. The cute pumpkins you see were one of Sam’s find. They were only $1 at Target (a store which sometimes feels like our second home).

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We have so much fun decorating our end tables. The birds you see were a must have this year. They are a Target find. We have them for every holiday, and we just had to have them for Halloween.

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The other table has this cute floral arrangement was originally $39.99 at Michael’s. I picked it up for $3.99 in December!

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Our table is one of our favorite things to decorate. All the decor you see on the table was purchased on sale or clearance at Michael’s.

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I always love to have Suzy’s Zoo calendar hanging on my pantry door.

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We always have seasonal list pads on our fridge. These were only $1 each at Michael’s.

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These spooky ghost lights were 50% off at Fred Meyer.

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We do have to have our seasonal hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works. We bought these this weekend for 50% off.

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This cute little Jack-o’-lantern tree and ornaments were not on sale but we fell in love with them at Hallmark Gold Crown, where we are platinum members. The “book” it’s sitting on is a storage box that I picked up at TJ Maxx for $6.99.

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I just love this little corner. The flower arrangement is from our wedding. The wreath was a find. I bought it in March at Lowe’s for $5. The ghost cutout is one my grandma bought me in the 1990s and the little Jack-o’-lantern was just $0.98 at WalMart.

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Here’s a better view of one of our end tables. I love the shade decorations. I just made the bats out of black cardboard paper.

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I spruced up the front door with this adorable scarecrow. My mom bought this for me last year. The closer we get to Halloween the cheaper they are.

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Finally, here are our pumpkins this year. We waited as long as we could before Halloween. Sam carved the cute spider and I carved the spooky ghost.

Oh, Martha…#moveovermarthastewart

If you’ve seen my wonderful husband share my blog posts, you’ve seen the hastag #moveovermarthastewart. I love Martha, I’m a huge fan and I have been for years. I read her blog everyday and I’ve started taking copies of Martha Stewart Living magazine from my mother-in-law because I’m too cheap to subscribe, plus I feel like I have access to all that content online.

I have worshiped at the altar of Martha Stewart for years. I have such fond memories of watching her original show, Martha Stewart Living, with my mom and my grandma  in the 1990s. Back in those days we would sit with notepads and pencils in hands so we could write down the recipes and ideas that we loved from her show. I love how Martha is always doing something amazing…storing the gravel from her driveway for the winter, wintering her tropical plants in green houses, working on her farm, baking incredible cookies, frosting the perfect cake, arranging flowers that she grew, or taking photos of her gorgeous chow chows.

I want to be Martha when I grow up. A lifestyle empire really is my goal. #moveovermarthastewart is here to stay. I hope you follow my blog along the way 🙂 Plus, I really love my empire’s name…At Home with Ian….

Do you have any thoughts?

When Can I Listen to Christmas Music?

This morning, I stepped out the door and it was cloudy, cool, and slightly rainy. Which means it feels like winter is coming in western Oregon. And that put me in one of those moods, one of those moods that make my family and friends think I’m crazy. I felt the need to listen to Christmas music on my way to work. Granted, my commute is only about 10 minutes (which includes a stop at Starbucks).

I love Christmas music all year round, I won’t lie…but how about you? I’ve really been trying to think of something that will get you to interact more with my blog. So tell me please? When is it to early to start listening? I really do try to wait until after Thanksgiving. Our local radio station that plays non-stop Christmas music used to wait until Black Friday too, but now they start well before Thanksgiving!

When can we start listening to Christmas music?

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The Day We Got the Camaro…and Pasta!

Ok…so the sad truth is that I did not take pictures of our Fall decor inside the house last night. I have been having incredibly horrible headaches the past week, and I finally went to see my doctor. He diagnosed me with “occipital neuralgia” so I am now finally taking a medication that is helping to dissapate the crazy headaches I have had for the past week.

So instead of fall decor, I’m going to tell you a little story from last Spring. First of all, you must know that Sam and I both tend to be impulse shoppers. It’s horrible, we know. And it has gotten so much better, but last spring it was still in full swing.

Sam graduated from Arizona State University last spring and we all headed to Tempe, Arizona to celebrate that. Of course we needed to rent a car while we were there. Sam and I had reserved an economy car through Costco. It was our first real car rental since we were both finally 25, and it was going to cost next to nothing. At the rental car kiosk we were in line behind Sams’s dad, Greg. After Greg had his keys, he went to wait with the rest of the family for Sam and I to get our car.

Long story short, the guy at the counter talked us in to renting the beautiful red Camaro you see below, instead of the Chevy Aveo or other tiny car we had originally reserved. Was it impulsive? Yes! In Greg’s words, ” he saw you two coming.” He was right!

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Of course we took a few obligatory photos…

Then we began the process of stuffing our luggage in the trunk. Neither of us know how to pack lite…what can I say? So that was a process that took Sam’s tetris skills, and the entire back seat! But we made it. And we realized we were all starving…

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So of course we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Phoenix, or as we lovingly call it “Spag Fac.” What you need to know is how deeply I love this restaurant. Between the sourdough bread, mizithra and brown butter, and creamy pesto salad dressing I just can’t resist.  Sam has jumped on my crazy train, and we now make a pilgrimage to this place whenever there is one near by. Then I sit down and start crossing all the locations I’ve been too off of the paper place mat. (His family thinks I’m crazy). I call it dedication!

The Lost Art of the Thank You Card

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I love to get mail. There’s something so special about a handwritten note surprising me in our mailbox. But there’s a piece of mail that should not be sent or received as a surprise…that would be the thank you card.

If you have ever received any form of gift, kindness, or special action from ANYONE, you should have sent them a thank you card.

Call me old-fashioned, I’ll be the first one to say it, but there is nothing old-fashioned about showing gratitude. There are a few simple guidelines I have to help guide us all through this process.

  1. If someone gave you a gift, walked your dog, bought your coffee, brought you flowers, watered your lawn, helped you at work, had you over for dinner,  pulled your donkey out of a ditch, or any other sort of kind gesture, you should send them a handwritten thank you note.
  2. NO….a text message or email is not enough. Why? because it shows not thought or effort.
  3. Send the note in a timely fashion. Typically within one week of when you received your gift or kind action.
  4. There are exceptions:
    1. Many people have ideas about how soon wedding thank you cards should be sent, but I think 6 months is the time limit you have to thank people for wedding presents. Most people understand that the months immediately following your wedding are busy and full of change.
    2. Baby gifts: after your family and friends celebrate your new little addition send them thank you notes within 3 months.

Have thoughts, funny stories, or other ideas? Share them with me in the comments!

 

 

It’s the Holiday Season…

Wait! Before you panic and  never read my blog again because you think I’m going to tell you that Christmastime is here….I’m not! So stay….keep reading. To me the holiday season starts at Halloween time and extends through New Year’s Day, so relax…breathe…it’s still Fall 🙂

This post is going to focus on our outdoor decor, mainly because I was too tired to take pictures of all our indoor Fall decor last night. We don’t go in for the super “spooky” or gory Halloween decor, but we love to be festive and let the neighborhood know that we love to participate in holiday decor and of course…trick-or-treating.

Last year was our first Halloween in our new home, and I have never seen so many trick-or-treaters. I’m not kidding, at 11pm we  shut off the lights and put the candy bowl out front (it was gone the next morning…candy, bowl, and all) because it was a school night,  and kids just kept coming to the door, and I was tired.

We started this season with a trip to our favorite pumpkin patch. If the “Great Pumpkin” were real I know  he would live at the “Original Maize” on Sauvie Island, just outside of Portland, Oregon. Here’s a link http://portlandmaize.com/ to all the fun. Here is the most serene pumpkin patch complete with fun treats (caramel apples, corn on the cob, kettle corn); an incredible farmers market, where Sam laughs as I go crazy buying mountains of organic potatoes, so much squash, and giant stalks of brussels sprouts; a petting zoo; the Maize, of course; and the world’s best pumpkin patch.   My family has been enjoying Fall fun at “The Maize” for the past 26 years, and it would not feel like Fall if we didn’t make a pilgrimage out to Sauvie Island.

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With our rubber boots on and rain jackets tied around our waists we searched (along with the rest of Portland) for the perfect pumpkins. And we found them! As we tromped through the mud, I was astounded by some people’s choice of footwear. The pumpkin patch is not the place to wear your favorite leather boots, your white sneakers, or heels. So there’s that.

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Sam’s such a good sport, he carried two pumpkins so I could take the photos 🙂 Yes the one in his right hand is yellow. We fell in love with it!20161031_182742

While we do love to carve pumpkins, we usually wait until October 29 or 30 so that we will have fresh Jack-o-lanterns to great our little trick-or-treaters. For a simple festive look, we used these easy pre-fab sticker kits and an adorable Snoopy stick-in pumpkin set that my mom bought me years ago.

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Our driveway is lined with these ridiculous stairs. They are they kind that you have to either take in one gigantic leap, or 3 awkward tiny steps. I’m always afraid someone is going to trip and fall so we found a festive way to light them up! This idea is one I found on Pinterest. Our “ghosts” are just milk jugs with faces drawn on via Sharpie. Then we filled them with water and added some “spooky” glow sticks from the DollarTree. For Halloween night, I did splurge and order white glow sticks from Amazon.com, but these give you the idea.

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Finally, since we just paid for our wedding, new Halloween costumes just weren’t in the budget. So we’re reusing these cute “Star Wars” onsies from last year. We also have slippers to match!

Soon I’ll post our indoor decor pictures.

Our Beginning…

Well here we are. The start of a blogger’s life. As I begin this blog, I keep looking at all the blogs I love and hoping that I can live up to their examples. This blog is going to focus on “real life.”

To me, “real life” focuses on family, food, style, and fun. Sam and my wedding focused on all of these things. We both always dreamed of an Autumn wedding, and that is exactly what we had…on a budget, but exactly what we wanted.

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Our Style: Sam and I both love the look of brown suits. In our search, we found these plaid taupe suits that perfectly reflect our style. They were also incredibly on sale!

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Our rings…like the rest of the world, we have fallen in love with rose gold. We found these beautiful rings online, for less than $200. They are displayed on a pine cone, one of many that were hand collected by one of our dear friends to be used in our wedding decor.

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Fun! We both love crazy socks, this fun pattern pulls in the orange hues that highlighted so much of our wedding decor. We also love paisley and gold, so these ties “suited” us perfectly. Our ties were also on a buy two get two free sale, so we ended up coming home with a couple others that we loved!

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These were the bubbles that our guests used for our send off. They are hanging on a cork board that we picked up for $8 and transformed with a few yards of burlap. The bubbles were a bargain from our favorite craft store, Michael’s. We decorated all 200 of them with Washi Tape while streaming “Downton Abbey” for our third time watching through the series, one of our favorites.

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Half of our centerpieces were these beautiful handmade creations. The jars were resurrected from the basement. We painted them all with Rustoleum Chalked paint. Sam and I both learned to be more “crafty” this summer.  Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers, and the orange complemented our wedding colors perfectly.

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Our other centerpieces were these beautiful pumpkin bouquets. I originally saw this idea in Pinterest. My dad, ever the handyman, brought this idea of life.

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We had so much fun with our gorgeous wedding attendants. Three of our best friends, Megan, Marinna, and Lauran, and Sam’s youngest brother/my new  brother-in-law, Luke.

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So many of the flowers at The Oregon Garden complemented our colors perfectly!

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This fun creation was my mom’s handiwork!

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Our incredible minister and friend, Rev. Wendy Joy Woodworth. We were so blessed to learn and grow with her during the summer before our wedding.

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Sam and I with our good looking parents.

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Our incredible cake was EXACTLY what we wanted. We were thrilled with this artistic masterpiece created by our friend Laura Wilson of Cakes By Laura, LLC. From the beginning her gracious, fun-loving spirit told us she was the choice for us!

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Our wedding favors were these cute Sun Flower seed packets that we found on Etsy.

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Our guests’ fingerprints created the leaves on this beautiful tree.

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Our charming birch unity candle fit our rustic Autumn decor perfectly.

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Our gorgeous flowers turned out better than we could have ever expected. They are paper and came from the amazing Etsy shop, More Paper than Shoes.(https://www.etsy.com/shop/morepaperthanshoes)

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The first taste of our delicious cake!

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Our day ended with a few more intimate photos in the Wedding Garden at the Oregon Garden Resort, the beautiful setting for our wedding day.