Anyone else out there hate going to the mall to shop for holiday gifts? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some mall time, but I can’t stand the crowds – so online shopping is my savior!
And I’m super excited to tell you about a new photo gift website that Staples just launched called create.staples.com. It’s similar to some of the other photo gift websites, but what I love about this site is that you can upload your pictures straight from your Facebook or Instagram account — because let’s get real, do you keep your pictures anywhere else?
They also have some pretty clever customizable home decor ideas, like ornaments, pillows and desk organizers. Nothing like looking at your puppy while trying to meet a work deadline, right?
I’m totally gifting a few of these this year (can’t tell you what I’m doing in case those special someones are reading) but I’m pretty pumped about it. Aw I’m such a tease. But seriously, this is the the perfect opportunity to start that gallery wall you’ve been wanting to make, or finally print and hang that wedding photo canvas. Or be SUPER cool and create a custom phone case!
And to sweeten the deal, here’s a special coupon code to get 30% ANYTHING on the site right now! Code: 11043
Ain’t that nice
Good luck holiday shopping everyone, and if you head to the mall, watch out for this crazy lady with a stroller trying to avoid all long checkout lines!
As I mentioned in a previous post, my coworkers suggested I change my blog name to House Full of Not So Pretty. Hilarious, guys
Well I got to thinking of some other suitable names for the current state of this blog/my life… What do you think about:
House Full of Dog Hair
Shirt Full of Spit Up
House Full of Giant Must Have Baby Items that will Last One Month Before Baby is Too Big
Okay, that domain name might be too long.
Drawer Full of Burp Cloths
Basement Full of Empty Amazon Prime Boxes
Diaper Full of Poop
Laundry Basket Full of Dirty Clothes
Laundry Basket Full of Clean Clothes
Sink Full of Dishes
Refrigerator Full of Trader Joe’s Meals
Wallet Full of Nothing
Can you think of something better? Taking suggestions if you have one!
I’m back!!! Well, sorta.
When I last posted, over 4 months ago now, I had every intention of returning to my normal blogging routine. I figured once my maternity leave was over and the babes and I were in the groove, things would go back to kinda-normal. Well boy was I naive!
Becoming a mother has been absolutely wonderful, but also all-consuming… leaving me with little time outside of caring for my family and returning to my full time job, to blog. And let’s face it, if I have a free minute, I’m more likely going to shower or take a nap than log on and write.
So to answer the question that I have received frequently over the last few weeks regarding when I am going to start blogging regularly again, the answer is I don’t know. And it’s a response that comes with such mixed emotions. I have absolutely loved writing this blog over the past few years. It gives me so much pleasure, a creative outlet, and a network of amazing blogger friends and writers. But it also is incredibly time consuming, and so realistically, I can’t be the same kind of blogger I once was. At least for now.
The other area I am struggling with now is what is the future of HFoP? Originally I did not intend on turning this into a lifestyle blog, where I would incorporate more topics aside from just home decor and DIY. But to be brutally honest, my universe now revolves around this little man that Tony and I created, and so it’s hard to imagine not writing about that, and about motherhood in general. As my coworkers have joked – my blog should be renamed to House Full of Not So Pretty, as decorating and DIY (and let’s get real, cleaning!!!) have taken a back seat.
So I hope you’ll stay with me, dear friends, as I jump back into this blog with only a vague direction. I hope you’ll indulge me as I share my humorous and honest experiences with new motherhood – something that I am excited to start sharing with you and hope you’ll share right back… sprinkled with pictures of my adorable baby, and of course, home related posts! I may not post as frequently as I used to, but please know I’m still here, and hope you will be too!
And let’s end on a baby pic, because I really can’t resist.
I must say, my house may not be real pretty right now, but it sure is filled with love for this little munchkin
Charlie – 16 Weeks
Welcome Jessica from Home with Baxter!
Jessica’s design shop, JLP Interiors provides some fantastic e-design services, so make sure you check her out at her blog, Home with Baxter
or JLP Interiors
Hello! I’m Jessica and I’m a blogger and interior decorator from Massachusetts and I’m honored to be guest posting today on House Full of Pretty! I’ve not met Jenny in person but we’ve exchanged emails and comments and I’m pretty certain she’s super sweet and awesome. I can just tell. I love catching up on her latest DIY project and seeing how she transforms her home ’cause I’m doing the same thing over at my place.
When I’m not writing about my latest home project on my blog, Home with Baxter, I love to share the the mood boards I’m constantly creating. In honor of Jenny’s….ummmm….”situation,” I thought it’d be fun to share a couple of my nursery designs.
It seems like more and more people are keeping the baby’s gender a surprise which is awesome if you like surprises, but can be hard if you’re like me and want to decorate the nursery like…now
Yes, you could go the “gender-neutral” route and there are some really neat gender-neutral nursery designs I’ve seen going around. But I have another idea. You could start on the baby’s nursery now, purchase the necessities (crib, changer, rocker, etc.), paint the walls, and then wait to put the finishing touches on the room when baby arrives. Don’t believe me?
Let’s paint the walls a deep blue, buy white furniture, a neutral glider, and add some gray and white bedding, window treatments, a rug, and a mobile.
Now I’ll admit the room is looking a little bit blah bloring (and maybe a little more boy than girl), but trust me.
It’s D-day. Surprise, it’s a girl!
Now look how nice and girly that is. I didn’t get rid of anything, but added fun curtains, fabric, art, lighting, pillows, and toys. And baby still had a functional nursery to sleep in until I got around to finish decorating (if I was the mom), ’cause let’s face it, that may take some time when you have a new little one demanding every last second of your time.
But wait, the doctor looked too fast, and it’s actually a boy. No sweat.
Just swap the pink for some blue and green and things are looking decidedly more “boy.”
I told you it would work! Now that we all have baby on the brain, we can sit anxiously waiting for Jenny to announce that her little one is here!.
Thanks Jessica!!! As of this morning, still no baby. I think he is waaaaay too comfortable in there. I’ll keep you guys posted!
Today is Monday, July 29th 2013 and I am officially “due” with my first baby! I’m writing this post early so at this very moment I am either:
a. In labor. Can you hear me screaming from where you are???
b. Eating spicy foods and squatting because this baby is LATE! Taking after his dad
c. Already a mom to a beautiful baby boy!
As of 7am, no baby yet. For some fun ways to help kick start labor, check out this hilarious blog post from the Pregnant Chicken here.
But for now I wait (oh so
unpatiently) and so I wanted to share a few thoughts on this whole pregnancy journey. While I don’t typically like to steer too far away from the home decor theme on this blog, I also know many of my readers are women who may at some point embark on the pregnancy journey themselves (or already have!) or maybe you have friends or loved ones that you will want to support during that time. And since I have found such incredible value in learning from other’s experiences, I want to pay it forward!
I do want to preface this by saying that everyone’s experience is completely unique, and so these lessons may not apply to you, or you may not agree! But I hope to at least shed some light on a few areas that were somewhat unknown to me before this journey began!
Ready? Okay let’s go!
1. Getting pregnant can be HARD!!!
Contrary to what they told you in 8th grade health class (I look back now and swear this was intentionally a scare tactic), getting pregnant can be quite difficult. No, it can’t happen at “any time” and in fact, there are only a few days a month that you can actually conceive. I guess this strategy is intentional for promoting safe sex practices, but wow – this was news to me! And so on that note…
2. Be incredibly sensitive when asking other’s about their baby plans, or sharing your opinions on the matter.
Tony and I were very lucky and fortunate in our ability to conceive right away, but the more I talk to others, the more I realize that is not the norm. So think twice before you innocently pester your girlfriends about when they are going to have kids. For one thing, they might not want kids! And for all you know they have been trying unsuccessfully for a while and might not want to share that with you. This is an incredibly sensitive subject for all of us, and so my personal strategy is to just make sure my close friends know I am here to talk/listen when they are ready, and will not badger them in the meantime. This tip especially goes to you, well meaning moms and grandmas who not so secretly want to see babies in the family! (Note: this was not the case for me, and so to my mom & mother-in-law, thank you for never pressuring us!!!)
3. Pregnancy can be absolutely wonderful!
Yes, you are going to have discomfort, pain, you are going to have times where you feel fat and slow, and sometimes you will cry for no reason… And every blog and pregnancy website is going to highlight the sh*t out all of the horrible side effects that come with being “with child” which drove me crazy! But guess what? We survive it, and while some people may have it much worse than others (and my heart truly goes out to my friends who have had especially tough pregnancies!!!!) it’s important to remember that what is happening is absolutely incredible, and an honor, and I’m going to go ahead and guess here – 100% worth it!!!! So when you take your head out of the toilet, try and remember how lucky you are to be able to do this, and that it is all going to be worth it in the end.
Or if that doesn’t work for you, think of it this way… when was the last time you could let your belly completely hang out with no judgement! No sucking in for 9 months? I’ll take it
4. Pregnancy can also be really scary.
At about 18 weeks I had my first “whoa, hold up” moment during my pregnancy. We were off to our second ultrasound and I was so excited to see our baby again. The first one went well but to be honest, he looked more like a blob than a baby to me, but at ultrasound #2 we were hoping to find out the gender. WHOOHOO! Everyone told us it”s such a special moment and seeing your baby (looking more like a baby now) up on the monitor is one of the most incredible things you will experience. However no one told me it could also be scary as hell!! While you are gazing up at this kinda-sorta-looks-like-a-baby up on the monitor, the tech and doc are measuring everything imaginable, looking for possible problems or “red flags”.
Now… Let me first say that I feel incredibly grateful and fortunate for modern medicine (hello 3D ultrasounds!) and affordable and accessible prenatal care, however unfortunately with that also comes many “false alarms” and what I now consider “exercising extreme caution” when it comes to doctors suggesting extra tests and follow ups, both of which I experienced first hand. And it was only after I shared our experiences with friends did I learn that many went through similar scary moments, that fortunately in the end lead to perfectly healthy babies.
So I put this out there publicly now – no pregnancy is without some concerns (hopefully minor ones!), some may be valid, but some may lead to absolutely nothing of concern. And so it’s important to go into your appointments knowing that sometimes you may leave feeling scared, worried and with more questions than when you came in. But know that this is normal. Get support. Talk to friends. Oh, and stay away from Google!!!
5. The last two weeks are probably the worst… and the slowest!
I had no idea how hard these last two weeks would be, both physically and emotionally. I have gotten pretty used to carrying around the extra weight and so up until now it hasn’t been all that bad, but all of the sudden – BAM! – I am huge, and need a fork lift to roll over at night. No joke… I need to mentally gear up for something as simple as turning over in bed. It’s like you grow at warp speed at the end! And coupled with that is this complete lack of control as to when you are going to go into labor. Every day I go into work and at least 10 people say “you’re still here???”. I know they mean well, but it’s like everyone thinks you’re holding out on them or something. Yes, this is all one big joke folks, and I plan to be pregnant forever!!! Mwhahaha. Trust me I am more ready than you are!
And let’s end with a few funnies….
You will quickly learn (and rate) every public bathroom within a 5 mile radius of where you live. FYI: I was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of the McDonald’s bathroom in Natick, but somewhat disappointed by the Target in Watertown.
Strangers will smile at you creepily, stop their car to let you cross the street (even when you’re not at a cross walk) and hold the door for you from 20 feet away. I’m trying not to get too used to this though, so I don’t get annoyed when all of this niceness completely stops post pregnancy!
People will encourage you to skip them in line while waiting for food. Are they worried I might bite them in a hunger rage? But sure, I’ll take it.
Everyone will share their horror labor stories with you. Thanks folks, greatly appreciated.
Your partner may not realize you are “really” pregnant until your big fat belly is staring him/her in the face. Love you, T!
After the third trimester, invest in a dog to avoid crying when you drop a piece of food on the floor. Otherwise it means the impossible task of bending over to get it.
I’d love to hear from YOU!!! Got any tips or funny pregnancy stories to share??? Please leave them below!
First things first. This Tips from the Man Cave post is coming to you on a very special day…
HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY TONY!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!
And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post….
This summer has been especially hot and humid in New England, and not being one of those lucky ones with central air (next house, for sure!!!) Tony and I have tried to be creative with ways to keep the house “cool”.
[I use cool in quotation marks intentionally, as I don't think our second floor dipped below 90 degrees during the three heat waves! Hmm... maybe we should capitalize on this one and start charging $5 for visits to our deluxe sauna!]
Well in preparation for a hot and sticky August, I wanted to share with you a few resources that the T-man found for keeping your house as cool as possible… without tripling your electric bill!
It might be as simple as opening strategic windows.
Here are six ways to cool the house that don’t include an AC unit!
Some of these low tech solutions may be worth a shot!
Anyone else have any non-AC tips to share?
Welcome Rachel from Silverbobs blog!
So excited to have Rachel here today as my next guest blogger!
And whether you are a blogger or would just love a place to share something you’ve done that is home decor related, I’m still looking for guest writers while I prepare and am out for maternity leave. Email me at email@example.com for more info!
It’s a pleasure to get to guest post on Jenny’s site. I’ve been an avid reader for about a year now, when one of my closest friends introduced me to it. (She and Jenny know each other from way back in elementary school. It’s such a small world!). I hemmed and hawed over what to share with you all. It seems that under pressure I get writers’ block. But then I found a project I wanted to do – and it was so easy that it literally took me longer to write the instructions for it, than to finish it. Trust me. If I can do it, so can you.
I’ve always loved these “family rules” signs and since we’re (hopefully) moving to a new house in 6 weeks, when I saw this one I almost bought it for one of our new bathrooms. Then I caught a glimpse of the price. SIXTY-NINE dollars. Ouch!
So I decided to make one of my own.
I started by picking my fonts. I used Bernard MT Condensed, Abadi MT Condensed, and Noteworthy (feel free to be more creative than that). I typed it up in a word processing document, played around with the colors, saved it as a JPEG – and voila! I almost have a personalized version of the sign.
The next step will be to print it and hang it. The super-cheap (read: free) way to do this would be just to print it, put it into a frame I already have around the house, and hang it up. But because I like the look of canvas, my plan is to have it printed after we move, which also saves me the hassle of packing it.
I don’t have a favorite printing place, but CVS is currently running a special 25% off sale (using the code ART25) through July 20th. I usually keep my eye out for sales or Groupons, to get the best deal.
No joke, this took me less than an hour. In fact, if you want to make one, you could probably start and finish it before your lunch break is over. Just be sure to come back here and tell us how yours came out.
And then come visit me at my (currently under-loved-bc-who-has-time-to-write-when you’re-buying-a-house) blog, where I share DIY projects, occasional details of our lives, and other stuff you probably don’t even know you’re missing.
Thanks for sharing your space, Jenny!
Welcome back guest blogger Joanna, with a fun project for all the shoe lovin’ ladies!
To see Joanna’s previous post on her amazing kitchen reno, click here.
New Kid on the Block: Project Shoe Shelf
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe
Amen, Marilyn. A hearty amen. Maybe it’s just me, but when I have a good pair of shoes on, I feel like I can actually do some world conquering. I could go on with more about why I love shoes, but if you are a woman and you are reading this post, then this shoe affinity probably needs no explanation. And neither does the reasoning behind why I needed an organized place to house them. Kitchen, first. Shoe shelf, second. Totally makes sense.
The closet in our master bedroom is perfect for my clothes, but sadly, has no room for my shoes (or any of Dean’s clothes for that matter. Don’t worry, he has the closet in the second bedroom all to himself).
When we first moved in, I put two of my old shoe racks on the floor in the corner, which I realized was great for accessibility and viewing (“I forgot about that beloved red pair!”), but not such a great sight for all to see.
One weekend in May, Dean and I took a typical four-hour trip to IKEA and one of the many things we came home with was this Ivar shelving unit. Hard to tell if this is the exact one since IKEA has a million things that look the same and have the same name but seem to be different in some way — you get the idea. It came with two side structures and you could choose how many shelves you wanted to buy and install. I chose ten thinking I would put three pairs of shoes on each shelf. A lovely home for 30 shoes (no boots).
(photo is from IKEA website and only features four shelves.)
As you can see, the unit came unfinished and what luck! We had a can of white, semi-gloss paint meant for trim sitting in the basement…so glossy white it was.
First, I laid down some rosin paper we had leftover from when we painted all the rooms in the house. Rosin paper comes in giant rolls, has the consistency of construction paper, and is a great drop cloth alternative since you can tape it down and cover the exact amount of floor you want to protect.
“Brilliant!” I thought. I am protecting the garage floor and using up old supplies. Turns out, it was not so brilliant, but more on that later.
Next, I taped the sides of each shelf with Frog Tape, my favorite brand of painters tape, so I could get as messy as I want and keep the shelves’ plastic sides paint-free.
(Apologies for the dizzying birdseye view. Clearly I am new to this blogging thing and found it tough to get good shots when the project was on the floor!)
Then I got to painting. After painting two coats on everything, I came down Sunday morning, eager to flip my shelves and paint the other side, only to find that, thanks to my poor choice of rosin paper and the added summer humidity, everything was stuck to the paper. #DIYfail
Notice paper stuck on the side of the wood? I gingerly tried to get everything up and flipped with as little stuck-on rosin paper as possible.
Before painting the other side, I started sanding…
…which I realized would take a significant chunk of time on my own, so I called in the big guns to take on some of the sanding and scraping with me in order to save some time. You know you have a good husband when he is willing to spend Sunday morning sanding away, all in the name of a pretty home for his wife’s shoes.
After some sighing, head-shaking and laughing, we finished sanding and I painted the other side, let it dry, and with Dean’s help, put the shelving unit together the next day. Thankfully, it fit perfectly in its designated spot and I was able to get three pairs on each shelf as planned, though all flats had to be stacked on top of each other in order to make that equation work. And I found that with tall straps, wedges and heels making up a good portion of the collection, nine shelves fit better than ten.
I’m really happy with the final product and the whole room looks so much cleaner and bigger with the shoes stacked like this.
Takeaways for next time:
Lesson #1: Wet paint sticks to paper. Possible solution: Try sawhorses. Better for your back and for taking photos.
Lesson #2: Brush painting is quite time consuming and can easily be uneven on non-wall surfaces. Possible solution: Try spray paint.
Now on to figuring out how to store my boots!
Are you tight on fashion space? How do you store your shoes?
One of the most exciting things for me in setting up the baby’s soon-to-be room is adding personal touches to the decor.
I knew I wanted to have a mini gallery wall that included decor that was cute, stimulating for a baby, but also from the heart! And so here is a quick look at the wall so far, which includes three pieces of custom “art” that I created especially for this little guy As always, thanks Pinterest for the inspiration!
I have a decorative letter that I’ll be hanging below the middle item, but since we’re keeping our baby name a surprise, you’ll have to wait and see!
#1: I fell in love with these hanging elephants that I stumbled upon on Pinterest, and did this paper project on the CHEAP! Get the DIY instructions here.
#2: I made a few of these ombre heart frames as gifts for friends who recently had babies (using pink/red hearts for the gals) and so I had to reserve one for baby Hopf. Make your own here!
#3: I loved the idea of including both the alphabet (never too young to start learning!) and an “I Love You” message. Click here to see how I did it!
So how do YOU add personal touches to your decor?
Before getting pregnant, I thought “nesting” was an old wive’s tale, up there with crazy pickle cravings and those gender predictor myths. But I can now speak from experience that this pregnancy symptom is 100% accurate!
Nesting: Refers to an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn(s). It is found in a variety of animals (both mammals and birds) including humans. Source
“Nesting brings about some unique and seemingly irrational behaviors in pregnant women and all of them experience it differently. Women have reported throwing away perfectly good sheets and towels because they felt the strong need to have “brand new, clean” sheets and towels in their home. They have also reported doing things like taking apart the knobs on kitchen cupboards, just so they could disinfect the screws attached to the knobs. Women have discussed taking on cleaning their entire house, armed with a toothbrush. There seems to be no end to the lengths a nesting mother will go to prepare for her upcoming arrival.” Source
Okay, so I haven’t been that extreme (yet!) but I have definitely had this uncontrollable urge lately to organize and clean the house from top to bottom – more than my usual crazy self. I’ve done A LOT of reorganizing these past few weeks, but here are some of the highlights:
Sorted, purged and reorganized our cleaning products
I now have all my cleaning essentials in one handy and carry friendly bucket. I store this under the kitchen sink and it just comes with me when I clean the house. My go to products include (left to right, starting in front): cleaning spray for bathroom, 7th generation natural kitchen counter spray, murphy’s oil spray for wood surfaces, windex for glass and mirrors, all purpose spray (this stuff is amazing for dusting everything), rubber gloves, microfiber cloth, paper towel, bar keepers friend in both powder and gel for stove and stainless. Missing from image: disinfectant wipes
Sorted and filed all of our product manuals
We have SO many manuals and while I’m sure most can be thrown away and accessed online at this point, I wasn’t ready to get rid of them just yet, so instead went with the binder method.
Look how much more compact that is! Bam, right back into the filing cabinet with room to spare.
Clean the fridge.
This was a full out clean, where I took out all of the food (became a bit grossed out with some long past expiration dates I came across) and removed and wiped down all of the glass inserts and drawers. Then I put everything back in with some rhyme and reason to the organization. It’s amazing how much room this made! Time to go food shopping!
Any other preggos out there feeling as crazy as I am???
Side note: I’m carrying low and front which according to an online gender prediction quiz, I’m having a boy (and I am). So maybe there is some truth to it!
Oh, and I do love me some pickles