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Shadow Box Frame

Blake and I exchanged anniversary presents a little early this year. We gifted each other Monos carry on bags when they were on sale for Black Friday. However, when it came time for our actual anniversary date, I didn't want to be empty handed. So I made Blake a super cheesy gift. It's little Star Wars Lego guys in a shadow box frame. It was easy to put together and Blake loved it. 

Wrist Cushions for my Keyboard

Running my small business and this blog means lots of time spent at my desk. In fact just a few months ago we totally redid our home office, and I'm just loving it so much. I was finding those long hours at my laptop a little uncomfy, so I bought a new mouse pad and wrist rest cushion set from Amazon. The patterns were less than attractive if I'm being honest, but the comfort level these achieve is incredible. 

If you are interested, this is the laptop stand I use, and this is my wireless keyboard

Is this a boring item to share? Maybe. But, if you are like me - no show socks drive you crazy! Mine were constantly slipping down. The shoes I wear for work, and my white summer slip ons require socks like this. Anyway, found these and they stay put! 

Phone Grip

Recently, my phone case broke. I spent a lot of money on it, so I was very happy when the company honored their warranty and sent me a new one. I hadn't realized how gross the first one had gotten. Since I got the new case, I wanted to grab a fresh phone grip. These are pretty to look at and very functional! They do get in the way of wireless charging, if that's important to you. 

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Dog Food Allergy Test

This might need to be it's own post. Winston, our youngest pug has always had skin issues. Our vet recommended an allergy test (and thought it was food related). I am not opposed to spending money on our pets, but gosh, if I can save some money I surely will. After reading a lot of reviews, I thought it'd be worth a shot with trying one from Amazon. You just send in a few hairs and they get the results to you within something like 5 days. Sure enough, we got our results really fast. Unfortunately, Winston is allergic to basically everything. 😂 Including salmon (which is what their treats are made of) and coconut oil (which I had rubbed on his irritated skin daily.). So I feel like a terrible pet parent, and wish I would have done this test years ago.

Because he has so many allergies, I think I'm just going to have to make homemade dog food for the time being. So maybe I'll do a separate post with his journey to wellness. Poor little guy is already doing a lot better. You can see in the photo how rough his skin has gotten, and how he has been losing hair. 


Fresh Hi Vis

For me: Carhart Overalls and Steel Toe Sneakers | For Blake: A Carhart Hi Vis Tee

The thing about Hi Vis is that it becomes pretty low vis after a lot of washing - which construction clothing requires! If you're new here, Blake and I do quite a bit of volunteer construction work and we needed some fresh clothes. I had been eyeing these Carhart overalls - but wasn't sure if I could pull them off! And, I've basically always hated my steel toe boots, so these were so much better for me! They look like sneakers but are safe on a site. 
Sizing notes:
The men's shirt runs huge, so size down. Blake went with a small, but could have fit into the extra small - and he buys medium normally. 
Fortunately, the women's overalls come in tall sizes! If you know, you know. I'm not that tall at 5'6'' ish. But my legs are like a 32 inseam, and it's really difficult to find long enough pants. 
Shoes are true to size! 

Torani Coffee Syrups

We have these on subscribe and save! I like the sugar free vanilla, and Blake likes the caramel. I took their labels off and dressed up the bottles. These labels are available in my Etsy store


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-Kristen

This post contains affiliate and referral links! | Blog Disclosure




Recent Amazon Purchases

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hi friends! Spring is always such a busy season for us. From tackling our spring cleaning checklist, putting away winter clothes, more and more social events...I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. When I feel this way, I try to get back to the basics. Focusing on what I can remove from my plate, or making something easier really helps me navigate a full calendar. I thought I'd share 30 simple tasks you can do to help you feel more in control, and to help simplify your day to day life. 

Yes, this means adding 30 more things to your endless to-do list - but trust me, accomplishing things on this list really will help you feel like you can take on everything else. 


20 SIMPLE Tasks to Simplify and Declutter


1. Hit unsubscribe on all those marketing emails you get. You can use a tool like Unroll.me or do it manually. 

2. Clean up your phone contacts. Combine duplicates, delete numbers you don't need, and update addresses as you go. I like to add a contact photo to each person in my phone! 

3. Go through your phone's photos. If you are like me, you have multiple shots of the same thing. Just keep the best one! Not only will this look better as your scroll through your camera roll - but it should free up some space on your phone. 

4. Purge your sock drawer. Make sure every single sock has a match! Get rid of any pairs you don't like or wouldn't want anyone to look at up close. 

5. Take some time to clean out your purse. I say empty the entire thing and only put back what you actually need. Toss old receipts, or better yet scan them into Fetch Rewards first! Fetch gives you points for any receipt scanned and you can trade in those points for gift cards! Download the app and then use code: DCHUC when you sign up for some of my free points! Put extra change in your piggy bank, discard old candy wrappers, and consider leaving out those just in case items. 

6. Assess the outside of your fridge. The outside, not the inside! Are there old invitations or junk mail hanging out under magnets? Consider taking everything off, and leaving it bare for a really refreshing minimal feel. If you are like me though, you like your fridge family calendar and few souvenir magnets! But, I promise there is most likely something up there you can toss, recycle, or replace. Parents, consider this permission to take down some sweet kiddo's drawings or art work. 

7. Open Instagram and head to your following list. Click that unfollow button on anyone you don't need to hear from! I try to come up with a limit of accounts I should follow, and do my best to keep it to that number. Any accounts that annoy you or make you feel the need to compare your own life should go. 
 
8. Take a look at your make up bag. Is there anything in there that is expired or super old? Any products that you just don't like? Toss, recycle, donate, or give away to a friend or family member! Take this opportunity to wipe down your palettes and mirrors. You know they are gross. 

9. Go through your pet's toy bin. Are there any toys that are just too far gone? Even if there aren't any to get rid of, this is a great time to wash the collection. 

10. Sort through your phone apps. What haven't you used? What are you using too much? I actually had to delete TikTok because I just couldn't stop myself from scrolling endlessly. Free up some space, alphabetize or sort your icons into folders, and really evaluate what you use regularly. This might be a good time to change up your wallpaper background and to wipe down the actual phone as well. 

11. It's time to declutter your spices. Check those dates and toss what's expired. Take note of what you are running low on so you can pick them up on your next grocery trip. This is how I found out I had 2 jumbo garlic powders...

12. Unlock your car and go through it! Bring a trashcan and toss any garbage. Open your glovebox and get rid of anything extra. Make sure your documents are up to date while you are in there. Remove extra change and add it to your piggy bank. Might as well wipe it down and vacuum it while you are at it!

13. Clean out your cleaning supplies! Are there any products you just don't like? (I usually ask friends or family if they can use things like this.) If you have products all around your house, would it be better to consolidate everything into one location? Refill your hand soaps. Take note of what you are running low on and add it to your grocery list. Can you get away with less products and use something meant for multiple surfaces? 

14. Test your pens! Find them all first of all. Throw away any used up ones, get rid of any you just don't like, and really consider if you need as many as you've collected over the years. 

15. Do you have any formal wear that you know you'll never wear again? Take this opportunity to say goodbye to that bridesmaid's dress without guilt. 

16. Take inventory of your medicine cabinet. I'm sure there are expired medications or ones you purchased that weren't effective. You can dispose of medicines safely with your pharmacist. 

17. Almost every household has a random bag of grocery bags stuffed under the sink. Take care of those. Do you really need to keep them? Can you keep 1 or 2? Throw the rest in your car to take the the recycle bin at the grocery store. 

18. Head over to Pinterest and take a look at your Pin boards. If you are anything like me you have boards going back a decade. I was able to delete a dozen of them, and I'm sure you can too. For the boards you'd like to keep - can you remove any pins that no longer interest you? Cleaning these boards up might inspire you to use them more effectively! And honestly, you could use a good laugh as you go through the pins you thought were the epitome of fashion in 2014.

19. Tackle your junk drawer. Everyone has one. Make it purposeful, not just a catch all. Purge anything unnecessary, sort items by type, and take care of anything hiding in there you've been putting off. 

20. Walk around your house with a donation bin. Throw anything you aren't loving into the bin or bag. Once the bag is full, take it to a donation center as soon as possible. Don't let it ride around with you in the car.  

-Kristen

This post contains affiliate and referral links! | Blog Disclosure

20 Simple Tasks to Declutter and Simplify Your Life

Monday, March 20, 2023

Fun Times with Friends

We went out for drinks with our good friends to celebrate our anniversary! The destination was a rooftop bar that we had been wanting to visit. We had a great spot by a window and each got to try a fun drink. It's just so fun to have a good reason to get dressed up. 




Destination Runs

I'm training for another half marathon, and have been trying to mix things up by running in places besides my neighborhood. I've really enjoyed running downtown and then as well in this gorgeous neighborhood with the best walking trial around a lake. 





Aunt and Uncle Time

We recently had 2 of my nephews for the weekend and we had a great time taking them to do some fun things. We drove go-carts - which honestly I can't even remember the last time I've done that! Literally like 18 years ago, haha. 

The race track was fun, and then we did batting cages. None of us were very good but it was an enjoyable activity nonetheless. 



Ninja Creami

My sister gifted us a Ninja Creami! It has been on my wish list for ages. (We got it just after my post about small kitchen appliances went live.) It has been SO fun to use. There are so many recipes, and I know we will be experimenting with it for a long time. So far, our very favorite recipe is for a pineapple sorbet. It tastes just like a Disney World Dole Whip. Absolutely delicious. And the only ingredient to to it is a can of pineapple. Pictured below is a vegan vanilla ice cream with reeces cups. 😋


-Kristen

This post contains affiliate and referral links! | Blog Disclosure

Life Lately #12

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Does anyone else have the spring cleaning itch?! I'll be honest, I get this itch like every other month, and want to totally purge our entire house. I'm prepping my list for this spring and thought I'd share that with you, as well as some must haves in my cleaning caddy.


I've got a 2 page guide for you in my Etsy shop! This is a comprehensive checklist to help you get it all done. Each room has several tasks, and of course you can add on your own since each house is different. I have a super top secret discount code for blog readers in the the Coupons For You page! 


Supplies I'm Using:

Dusting:


Bathrooms:


Floors:


Specialty Cleaners:


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-Kristen

This post contains affiliate and referral links! | Blog Disclosure

Spring Cleaning Checklist and Favorite Supplies

Monday, March 13, 2023

Spring always gets me thinking about this day! I was wearing J Crew Factory then too.



Are you the type of person who spends an hour adding stuff to your cart, and then ends up deciding not to buy any of it? That's me too! I like to window shop, and add things to my wish list. And, if I think about it later - then I know I really want it and come back to consider actually checking out. One of my very favorite stores is J Crew Factory. It rarely lets me down. And, with spring upon us, I have to say I am itching to try out some more springy outfits. So, here's a little glimpse into what's hanging out in my cart at the moment. 




Orange Eyelet Top

If I have a weakness, it's fluttery sleeved tops. They just work with everything! Plus it adds a fun detail to an otherwise plain shirt. Love this color and the sleeves. 

Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

Another thing I can't resist? A midi dress that looks comfy. This dress was advertised to me on social media, and that's what got me perusing J Crew's website in the first place.

Road Trip Sneakers

I have a pair of Addias sneakers that reminded me of these. I find myself constantly reaching for them! They just go with everything, and I know I'll be wearing them all summer. 

City Sneakers

Same with these! I liked the color scheme of these even better than the ones above! 

Linen Drawstring Pants

While I'm not sure these look like the most flattering pants, I know they would be the most comfortable. Sometimes I don't want to wear jeans, but shorts are right for the occasion either. I think these would be a great middle ground! Something easy to dress up or down. 

The Girlfriend Tee

My favorite tee shirt. I'm not ashamed to admit I own at least 6 colors. I have my eye on adding the marigold and the melon colors next. 

Smocked Tie Shoulder Top

I've actually had my eye on this top for some time! I just find it so precious. The only reason I haven't purchased it yet is I'm worried how it will look on my body type. I feel like it'll either be perfect or the worst thing I've ever put on, haha.

Tiered Midi Dress

Another gorgeous midi! I absolutely love my collection of J Crew midi dresses, and feel like this would fit right in. Click through and look at it on the model. I think it looks better on than in the flat lay. 

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-Kristen

This post contains affiliate and referral links! | Blog Disclosure

A Spring J Crew Factory Wishlist

Friday, March 10, 2023

Because I read so much, I'm always being asked for recommendations. I don't think people realize what a loaded question this is! I am all to eager to talk books! Over the years, I find that there are a hand full of books I'm always recommending over and over. This is of course, is not a comprehensive list of every book I've given 5 stars to. Just the ones I feel comfortable recommending to people of all ages.


Recently, I did a little book shop hop with a fellow book lover! It was really fun talking about our favorite books - and that's what inspired this post! 


This might be my all time favorite. This is a sweeping WWII story of two sisters as they survive one of the worst times in history. I was captivated, and definitely cried. The ending caught me off guard and is very moving. 

I read this a few years ago when we were in the OBX with family. I think I read it in a single day, and then passed it around to several family members because they saw how I was glued! This is a thriller if I ever saw one. Basically, this woman has memory loss. Every day she wakes up and doesn't remember anything for the last few years. Her husband has to remind her every day who she is and what's happened to her. This thriller starts when she finds her secret journal that's she has been keeping all along. 

A coming of age story that I just really enjoyed. It's a classic for a reason! This is about a girl named Francie and her family at the turn of the century in Brooklyn.

Ender's Game is a book I read in High School, and I just loved it. It's one of the books that got me into reading in the first place! In Ender's world, the government is determined to be prepared for an alien attack. They train kids to be soldiers at a battle school in space to get ready. I just loved the characters in this book and it really sucks you in. 

An excellent story that will suck you in as well! This is about Jacob, who joins the circus when he is left desperate during the Great Depression. He almost finished veterinarian school, so he is eager to work with the animals. Everything changes with the circus acquires an elephant named Rosie. 

The Help is a pretty popular movie at this point, but in case you aren't familiar: This is a story about a few different women in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60s. Some of them are black women who work as maids, and they get together with a writer to come up with a tell all book about their experience. 

Everyone I have recommended this to texts me at some point crying their eyes out. It's so sad, but also so good! This is about a little Irish girl whose family dies on the way to America. She's alone when she arrives, so she is sold to a plantation owner. The black enslaved people there end up raising her. She feels that they are her family, but of course she is very white. This story follows her as she grows up. 

This is a fun one! It's about Tucker, a college dropout. He gets a job at a Chinese restaurant as a chef even though he's not Chinese. Some Chinese gangsters show up looking for some diamonds that his new girlfriend supposedly stole. Beware that you will have a big craving for real Chinese food after this!

The best way to describe this is a wild ride! It's a memoir of Tara Westover, a woman who grew up unconventionally. Her parents 'home schooled' her, in that they didn't. But, she had a thirst for knowledge and strives to learn. The worst, strangest, and oddest things happen to this family! 

Hard to explain, but this is about a man who has a medical condition that makes him live for an extremely long time. He's centuries years old at this point. It's rare, but others have this syndrome too, and they've got a secret club. I love Matt Haig as an author and really enjoyed this story.

It's 1935 and three women are in Key West. There was a real life hurricane Labor Day weekend that year, and these women are in the very wrong place and time. I also enjoyed Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton - and the Last Train to Key West is in the same universe. 

A really cool book! This explores the idea that there are infinite directions our life can go based on the decisions we make. Nora gets to explore the routes not taken and see if she should have made different decisions. 

Hubert calls his daughter every week. He lives in London, she lives in Australia. Every week he regales her with all the fun he's been having during his retirement. She's coming to visit! But the problem is everything he's told her is a lie. He is very lonely and doesn't have any friends, and doesn't leave his house much at all. This is just a really sweet book with a nice message. 

I know sci-fi isn't for everybody, but give this one a chance if it's not! This is sci-fi, but approachable. In short, Ryland wakes up on a space ship with zero memories. And, the whole crew is dead. As his memories return, he has to decide to complete the mission he set out to do. It's so so good. It goes in a direction I never saw coming. 

This was one of my favorite books of 2022! It's a wholesome, heartwarming, murder mystery. I never thought I'd describe a book about murder that way, haha. Molly is a maid in a luxury hotel. She takes her job very seriously. Everything is going great until she stumbles upon a dead body in one of the suites. 

-Kristen

This post contains affiliate and referral links! | Blog Disclosure

Fifteen 5 Star Books I Always Recommend

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Just popping in today to share a few photos from our weekend away in St. Augustine! It was our 13th wedding anniversary, as well as my uncle's wedding. We spent most of the weekend enjoying time with my cousins and other family. Can't help but laugh that the weekend of our actual wedding was frigid, and here we are spending the same weekend in 2023 by the pool and liberally applying sunscreen. 

We stayed at the Embassy Suites in St Augustine, and highly recommend it. Pricey, but so nice and right on the ocean. 






My dad was the officiant!





This year Blake and I's gift to each other were new carryons! I did a whole post to review these great bags here. We really loved using them for the first time on this trip. The only thing is that because we got the same color it was difficult to identify whose was whose. So I added a monogram when we got back and I love it even more. (I'd love to make you any kind of label or monogram over at my Esty shop! Pssttt: there is a super secret coupon code for blog readers on the coupons for you page.) 



I've actually documented quite a few anniversaries here on the blog!

-Kristen

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A Weekend in St. Augustine

Monday, March 6, 2023


Hello!

Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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