Monday, April 29, 2019

Camera Roll Diaries

Disney After Hours
I can't believe I haven't posted about this yet! Earlier in the month, Blake and I bought Disney After Hours Tickets - and let me tell you! This was the best money we've ever spent at Disney. 

It's an additional ticket, but we did get a discount for being a passholder. Basically, you get access to the park 'after hours'. It takes place from 7-midnight. You not only get to experience zero wait times, but you get free popcorn, ice cream and bottled drinks. Every ride is open, just not the shows. Quite a few characters were also out for us to meet. 

We are seriously considering not renewing our passes, and only doing After Hours in the future! The temperature is great. The crowds are minimal! Which is huge, considering the crowds have been unbelievable this past year or so. We literally walked on ever ride, except Slinky Dog Dash (which had a 15 minute wait.) They even let you skip the pre-shows, so you really do just walk on. 

I definitely also filled my backpack with free bottled waters and sodas before we exited the park...







Cricuting 
I can't say enough how much I love my Cricut! I don't think I got 2 or 3 days without making something. I hadn't anticipated how much I would enjoy feeling creative again! Vinyl decals are still my jam, but I've been experimenting a little bit with HTV (heat transfer vinyl) for t shirts and other fabrics! I've actually had 2 commissioned designs too. Just for friends doing their own projects, but it felt really good to save them a bunch of money.


I made myself a tank for Disney. I'm really happy with this design because I married a few designs together on my own. (You can buy a gazillion designs on Etsy, but it's always satisfying to make your own design.) 


A decal for my (filthy) laptop:


A cup for my sister in law! This was my first time using foil vinyl, which looks SOOO cool. I bought quite a bit more. The rose gold foil is calling my name.


This was a gift for some family that was visiting. She loves french, and their cat is their baby. She loved this tea towel:


So, this was one of my favorite projects to date! It's a coloring t-shirt. You just use washable markers and the kids can color and recolor over and over again. These didn't end up perfect (Belle lost her nose!) but I am so excited to try more of these! Wouldn't this make a great party favor, in lieu of candy or cheapy toys?



My Niece and Nephew's Spring Break
Carter and Lennox - my sister's kids...Gia and Zane...Blake's sister's kids. 
Even though spring is absolutely the busiest time for us, I wanted to make sure I got to spend time with the kiddos on their spring break. I played hooky and my sister in law and I took them to the Santa Fe Zoo in Gainesville. None of us had ever been, and it was really nice. 

I thought it was funny that Carter couldn't remember what animals we saw that day to tell his parents. I do not blame him because there were Ocelots (not tigers or cheetahs), there were Gibbons (not monkeys) - lots of non-traditional zoo animals. 




The Gibbons were amazing. The kids started 'ooh-ohh ahh-ahh'ing to one, and he started talking back! And then he called over his whole family! It was the neatest thing. 

Carter's First Loose Tooth
So, I have to share this story. A little background though. I have this weird thing with loose teeth. I hate seeing kids wiggle their teeth. All my friend's kids have thought this was so funny over the years as they try to show me their loose teeth. 

I really feel like it's because of my childhood. My mom would always trick us into pulling out our teeth. (I think this was because she hated seeing loose teeth too!) She'd be like "let me just feel it.." and then take it right out. Everytime. We fell for it everytime! I'm not saying my childhood scared me or whatever, but I just have this bad memory of loose teeth!

So, Carter has had a wiggly tooth for weeks. He also, giggling, loved to show me as I turned away! My mom and I were keeping him and his brother last week, and we both were over the loose tooth. He agreed to let my mom try to take it out, and then FREAKED when she did. The problem was it was now hanging on my a thread. It was like a nuclear meltdown. He freaked out even more when my mom said he might swallow it if she didn't get the rest of it out. 

He finally calmed down enough and agreed to let me try. Well. I couldn't do it. I couldn't even raise my arm to his mouth. I went into a cold sweat and started feeling faint. I snapped myself out of it because I was holding Lennox.

Finally, mom was able to get the rest of it out. Carter also has a fear of blood-so when his mouth was bleeding the meltdown got worse. It was so bad! Mom and I just started laughing because it was such a terrible experience. I traded kids with her and I consoled Carter until he could relax! 

My mom got him to snap out of it by saying let's go to the store and buy a big toy! The tears immediately dried up and he was fine. It was exhausting!!! My mom said my sister was just like that when she was little. But here he is, perfectly fine: 


Family Time
We had Blake's cousin come stay with us for the weekend, and it was so nice to be together! We got to play golf, which is such a rare treat! Blake and I got really into golf when we were first married. We both have really nice clubs too. It's just so hard to devote a few hours to something like that with our current schedules. I love having family in town, because it's the perfect excuse to go do something like this. 

It was a gorgeous day for it too! It's been warm here for a while, but this day actually had a wonderful breeze and it felt like spring is supposed to. One thing I love about golf is that it's slower paced, but you still get a good workout. 






We ate at one of our favorite restaurants in town, and they had steamed oysters! It made me feel like summer is here!


Enjoying the little things in life. 
I've been making a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy the little things. I take pictures like this all the time, but rarely share them. I thought this would be a good time to do so.

Is there anything better than fresh flowers on the dining table? I love tulips because they move around throughout the day. 


I shared my hummus recipe 5 years ago! I still make it all the time. Most recently, I added fresh rosemary from my garden. 10/10 - soooo good! 


My mom and I have been having lunch dates on Wednesday. I LOVE sitting outside to eat. This particular restaurant is called Little Italy, and they have the best greek salad. Mom and I always split a calzone too. Blake and I had our engagement party here, so it always makes me feel happy. 


I planted a bunch of this kind of lavender plant in the yard this year, and they are doing so good! I love watching things grow. 


The pugs! I actually didn't have all that many pug pictures in my camera roll this time. A rarity indeed! These guys are such a pain and such a joy at the same time. The weather has been nice enough that we leave our backdoor open in the mornings and evenings. Winston and Bailey love going out there to lounge on the couch. Meanwhile Delly sticks by me most of the time. I had to snap a picture when they were all 3 out there:


Can I just take a second to say how fortunate I feel to have chosen my perfect match? I am super sappy lately, but I just feel so proud of this guy. We are in our 9th year of marriage, but we've been in each other's lives for over a decade. Just thinking about who we were 10 years ago is crazy. It's crazy that you can change so much, but you can really grow together too. I have no problem saying he is the best thing about me. All that to preface this selfie that took many, many attempts!


You know what's funny? I have almost weekly thoughts about giving up blogging, and then I sit down and spend an hour typing up a post! There will always be something to share, I think. 
Leave a comment below and tell me what's going on in your world!
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Monday, April 22, 2019

Recent Reads #3

Recent Reads // www.kristenwoolsey.com

In January, I made it a goal to read 12 books this year. I figured one a month would be doable, but I had no idea I'd beat my goal by April! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you guys have to get the Libby app. I have been reading more than ever, and all for free! Here are my most recent reads:

1 Star = Hated It -  2 Stars = Didn't Like It - 3 Stars =Liked It -
 4 Stars = Really Liked It - 5 Stars = Loved it

Plot: This is the 3rd book in the Me Before You Series. Louisa takes a job in NYC as a companion for a woman who lives in a very fancy part of the city. She is still trying to figure out who she is after Will Trainor.
What I Liked: Louisa is one of my all time favorite book characters. These books are so easy to read and enjoy. Me Before You is still the best book in this series, but I liked this one a lot more than After You.
What I Didn't Like: One of the other ladies in the building owns a pug and it's mean! I think it would have made a lot more sense if it had been a chiuaua or something. This proves to me that I need to write these reviews up directly after I read the book, because that's all I can remember distinctly not liking. 
Rating: 4 Stars 


Plot: Reese Witherspoon shares stories, tips and recipes from her experience in the south. 
What I Liked: This is a really cute book and would make a great gift for someone who loves coffee table books. I had forgotten about making Sun Tea, and this brought back those memories! 
What I Didn't Like: I grew up in the south, and not even like the deep south. Florida south. Most of what's in this book seems like common knowledge.  I kept thinking "people don't know this?". How to make sweet tea, or how to roll your hair for instance...I feel like the people who are going to be drawn to this book are already southern and wouldn't need any of this advice. And on top of that already have a family recipe for what was shared. 
Rating: 4 Stars


Plot: Maddy has a condition that means she can't leave her house because she is allergic to basically everything. She has a pretty routine life and seems to have made peace with her condition until a boy named Olly moves in next door. They develop a relationship that makes her want to leave her house for the first time. 
What I Liked: I was sick a few weeks ago and I really needed a book to read. This was the perfect book to fly through while stuck on the couch. (Followed up by the movie!) 
What I Didn't Like: It's YA, so while I love the more cleaner story, it's a little too High School for me. That being said I still enjoyed it!
Rating: 3 Stars

Plot: Tina Fey's memoir about being a theater kid and getting her big break in comedy. 
What I Liked: Tina Fey is hysterical and I loved listening to her read this book in the audiobook version. The story about the cruise ship had me rolling. It was also fun to hear bits and pieces of her time on SNL and specifically the Sarah Palin skit. 
What I Didn't Like: Lots of this book were about 30 Rock, a show I've never seen, so quite a bit of this was lost on me. 
Rating: 3 Stars


Plot: Jazz lives on the moon, in the moon's first colony Artemis. She is a smuggler and gets a chance to make a huge profit with one particularly challenging heist. And subsequently gets in over her head. 
What I Liked: I really loved the setting of this book and it's unique plot. I also really appreciated the research that went into it. There are various chemicals and scientific procedures mentioned in this book and they all checked out when I checked a few. Pretty interesting! 
What I Didn't Like: Hand in hand with all the science, this book would work SO much better as a movie. I really felt like I couldn't focus on the characters because I was trying to follow what they were doing. Reading descriptions of welding...well, just would work better on screen. 
Rating: 3 Stars


Plot: Jenna & Barbara Bush, the twin daughters of George W. & Laura Bush share stories from their childhood and time in the White House. 
What I Liked: I really enjoy reading memoirs of people who are close to my age because when they speak of events in the past, it's so cool that I remember them too. Jenna and Barbara have SO many interesting stories. They grew up with their grandfather in the White House and then their own dad. It was interesting to hear what they had to say about secret service, the media and what their day was like on 9/11. Additionally, they reveal that their mother killed one of her classmates in a distracted driving incident. Jenna even talks about having dinner with Vladimir Putin at their vacation house. Just a really interesting childhood over all. 
This book also reminded me of an important fact: the media is severely skewed. When I was a kid, I remember the news and celebrities always talking about how dumb they thought President Bush was. The girls reveal in this book that he actually always had straight A's in school and went to Harvard. That was just a good reminder that there are always 2 sides of a story. 
What I Didn't Like: As I've said before, politics are not my favorite subject. I realize I picked up a book that would center heavily on that, but I was more interested in their life as real people thrust into the spotlight. Additionally, this book is not chronological. Rather, it's by subject. I can see why that choice was made, but I found it hard to get invested in a story about 9/11 and then jump back to something else for instance. 
Rating: 4 Stars


Plot: Noa, a 16 year old girl, finds refuge with a German circus after she rescues a Jewish baby from a Nazi train. She has to blend in by learning how to do the trapeze, much to the dismay of Astrid-another woman who is trying to blend in. 
What I Liked: WWII is a continued subject of interest for me. There are so many untold stories. This one is based on a real life circus that hid people from the Nazis. This was definitely a unique perspective of the time. This book is like a cross between The Nightingale and Water for Elephants (though not as good as either) 
What I Didn't Like: A couple of things here. The dialogue in this book was confusing to me. It felt so much more modern than was period appropriate. For instance, the phrase "my body bounced right back after having a baby" does not feel like it should be said by a 1940's Dutch girl. There were many times when the dialogue took me out of the story. And I feel like I should say that I'm usually not picky about that kind of thing-so I think it really stood out.
In addition, this story got really melodramatic in the second half. I did not care for Noa's romance. It felt a little convenient, I guess. 
Rating: 4 Stars


Plot: Lo is a journalist who gets invited on the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise liner. On the ship she witnesses what she is sure is a murder. The problem is, no one is missing. 
What I Liked: Like all good thrillers, this book definitely had some, whoa! moments. I thought the setting was great, it reminded me of Murder on the Orient Express in that all the suspects were confined to one place. 
I got very interested when the parallel account of Lo's boyfriend started. I thought that was an awesome way to reveal new information that the main character didn't know. 
What I Didn't Like: Actually, I didn't like a lot about this one. Mainly, it bothered me that this was trying SO hard to be The Girl on the Train. It had the same unlikable lead, and nobody believed her either.
There were also so many plot hole in this. I try to overlook little things, because I know it's entertainment. Also, there was one part were I was sure the 2 characters were talking on the phone, and then in the next paragraph they were together in person. I don't know if the writing just confused me or if the editor missed that. 
The end did feel like kind of a let down, and to be honest I'm really not positive I know exactly what happened. 
Rating: 3 Stars 


Plot: This book starts with Nikole getting proposed to by a guy she has only been seeing for a few months, and it's at a Dodgers Game on the Jumbotron..and he spelt her name wrong. At the game Carlos and his sister jump to her rescue when the whole stadium turns on her for saying no. 
What I Liked: This was a fun premise, and I enjoyed the variety of diverse characters. 
What I Didn't Like: I picked up this book since it was in Reese Witherspoon's book club. I really loved the last book I read on her recommendation (Next Year in Havana). This one was just not my style. It was incredibly cheesy and Hallmark movie-esque. If that's your thing this would make the perfect beach read.
Rating: 3 Stars

I'm going to make it a goal to type up these reviews right after I finish a book! I noticed some of the ones at the top (aka the ones I read longest ago) were hard for me to remember specifics about. 

Let's Chat! In the comments below, make sure you tell me what you are reading now! Any good recommendations for me? 
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Monday, April 15, 2019

What's In My Minimal Cleaning Caddy

I have this funny memory of going over to my childhood best friend's house for a sleepover. We were bored and were talking about what to do. I said, "I know! Let's clean your room to surprise your mom!" which basically sums me up as a child. 

Always the lover of cleaning, I even got a few cleaning jobs to make extra money over the years. I don't really do that now (although I do miss that extra money!), but I absolutely love keeping my house in order. 

After all that extra cleaning, I developed a sensitivity to strong smelling products. To combat that I started experimenting with lots of DIY cleaners! I still love all of those cleaners, but fortunately I've been able to narrow it down to just a handful of trusty cleaners. I thought I'd share what's currently in my cleaning caddy with you today. 

Bathrooms
If you were to tell me that I would narrow my cleaning products in the bathroom down to one a few years ago, I'd never believe you! I use my DIY Thieves cleaner on all my bathroom fixtures. I start by spraying down the tub, sink and toilet. I find that it works best when allowed to sit for a few minutes. I swear by Magic Erasers in the tub! Just: spray, wipe and rinse. 

In addition to the Magic Eraser, I use a cleaning cloth to wipe down the sink counter, and another to wipe down the outside of the toilet. 

For the mirrors, I use...water! And my trusty ECloth. These cleaning cloths are game changers. For the bathroom I use the glass polishing ECloth and a spray bottle of water. In fact, I use this method on all mirrors and chrome that needs to be polished in the whole house. 



Kitchen 
My kitchen has 4 spots that need constant cleaning. (Besides the dishes anyway!) 
Our countertops are shiny, and have always streaked when I've tried different all purpose sprays. Now, I just use the general purpose ECloth and water. You don't have to soak the cloth, just ring out until they are damp. 

We have stainless appliances, and you know how difficult those can be to keep polished. I used to use these stainless wipes, which worked fantastically. To cut down on products I use though, I switched to using the Ecloth on them as well! I will say, at first the Ecloth did not work perfectly on my stainless-but I learned that was because there was still product left on it from when I used the wipes. Now the Ecloth alone works great. (I use the general purpose one, but sometimes go back over it with the polishing cloth.) 

Our ceramic cooktop is also a big pain to keep shiny. For that I use the Mrs. Meyers Baking Soda Cream Cleaner. I also use this cream cleaner on my stainless sink when it needs a thorough scrub. (It works great on tubs too if it's extra grimey! Although, I'm sure a homemade baking soda paste would work just as well.) 



Air Freshening
I make my own room deodorizer! I use this spray bottle from Grove, and all that's in it are essential oils and water. It takes about 15-20 drops of essential oil. Any combination will do! Currently I have the Purification oil from Young Living, but I equally love the Clear The Air oil blend from NOW. 


Pet Stains
With three pugs, accidents happen. When that happens on the carpet I swear by this cleaner called Jackson Galaxy Stain & Odor Remover. (Seems expensive on Amazon, check your grocery store!) This stuff works like a charm on pee or even blood. 

Okay, but in all seriousness, I bought this for the first time because of the crazy guy on the bottle. Leave a comment below if you think he looks like Tobias from Arrested Development! 


Dusting
I am trying to eliminate disposable items all together, but one I still love to use is the Swiffer duster. I don't use them regularly, but I think they are great for blinds, tvs, and ceiling fans. 

Otherwise, I'm using my thieves cleaner! This cleaner does have soap in it, so it's not great for shiny surfaces, but it's fantastic for all other hard surfaces. Works great and smells good too. 




Floors
For my floors, we have a Roomba robot vacuum that really helps maintain a clean floor. However, I still vacuum, sweep, 'swiffer', and mop with my weekly cleaning routine. I found reusable swiffer and mop pads on Etsy and that was a great way to save some money and cut down on waste. I use the thieves cleaner on my floors too! 

Tools
In addition to Ecloths and Magic Erasers, I use scrub brushes and sponges from Grove Collaborative. In fact, I get a whole lot from Grove! I use the Grove brand hand soap, dish soap, dish towels, reusable ziplocs, q-tips, cotton rounds, lotion...and more. The spray bottles for my DIY cleaners also come from Grove. 10/10. 

If you don't shop at Grove you can use my link to sign up at get a free 5 piece gift set. And if you don't have an account already make sure you use Ebates when you do sign up for a couple bucks back on top of that gift set! 

Let's Talk! Let me know in the comments your #1 favorite cleaning product! Do you have a whole arsenal full of cleaners, or do you use a few trusty ones? Are you as obsessed with cleaning as me? 
There are referral and affiliate links in this post! Thank you so much for supporting kristenwoolsey.com

Monday, April 8, 2019

Five Favorite Youtube Channels

Confession time: When my family and I didn't have unlimited data on our cell phone plan (Blake has a work phone, so I'm a on a plan with my parents, sister, her husband and my brother.) and we'd have those angry group texts about who was going over our limit-most of the time it was my fault. And, that's because I love Youtube! I'm probably 5 years too late to the Youtube party, but I still really enjoy keeping up with several channels. 

My favorite channels are probably more vlog style, but I prefer videos that are less than 20 minutes. When it's my turn for dishes, I usually prop my phone up on the window sill and watch Youtube. When I'm working from home, my 2nd monitor has a video pulled up most of the time. I also love to watch when I'm ironing because that's my least favorite chore. 

Additionally, I really like channels that provide inspiration. Specifically on organization and minimalism. I've found lots of good tips this way! 

I thought I'd share 5 of my favorite Youtube channels, and see if you guys could recommend your favorites to me! Isn't it great that people can make money sharing things they are passionate about?

Favorite Youtube Channels // www.kristenwoolsey.com

I first came across Tim & Jenn's channel when we were going to play Top Golf for the first time. They did a full review and explanation of the game, and it was so helpful! As Orlando locals they are constantly showing new things to do in the area, and are big Disney people. I don't miss any of their videos. Super likeable people! 



Another very likable couple! I stumbled upon Sarah's channel when I was looking for minimalism inspiration. She doesn't make too many videos about that anymore, but I really like their general lifestyle. They live really simply so they can travel a lot - which is a huge goal of mine. Plus they have a dog named Winston too!



Brittany is goals. She has the BEST tips for cleaning and other life hacks. She is also basically a professional at finding the coolest and most useful things on Amazon. Seriously, her channel is so helpful! Plus her son Carter is an absolute doll. 



Kathryn is a ray of sunshine. She is also a go-to source for me for inspiration. She has the best organizing ideas and she gets pretty much everything from the Dollar Tree! Her DIYs are way better than anything you will see on Pinterest too. I think she must go to the Dollar Tree every day, because she always finds the best stuff.



Blair has a blog, and that's how I found her originally. She lives in Gainesville, TX-which I think is how I found her because I live close to Gainesville, FL. I quickly fell in love with her Youtube channel because we have very similar interests! She has introduced me to quite a few things that I now love-like Erin Condren notebooks. Blair posts a lot of cleaning videos, and I also enjoy her monthly favorites videos (as I enjoy those kinds of blog posts!). She also posts great Disney vlogs when they visit. 



Let's Chat! Make sure to leave a comment below and tell me if you also love Youtube! What are your favorite channels?