Florida Room Inspiration

The weather has finally turned to winter, and I’m dreaming of escaping to the beach for a few days. I’m fortunate to live near enough to Florida to make annual trips. I’m also fortunate enough to be able to visit my dad’s Florida condominium whenever I’m able. While it’s not directly on the beach, it’s located in close proximity to shopping and dining while only being about a 20-minute drive away from the beach. My Dad, Step-Mom, and grandparents make regular use of the condo to visit our Florida family and have furnished the two-bedroom condo to resemble our mountain home here in Tennessee. It truly does feel like we’re at home when we’re inside the comfortably furnished condo.

However, the condo features a screened-in porch, and I can’t help but think this room would be the perfect opportunity to inject some local flavor. This “room” can be used year-round thanks to Florida’s warm weather. When my family purchased the condo, the room was given a good scrub, fresh paint, and new window screens. I think it would be lovely to continue the fresh paint job up to the ceiling with a lovely coat of blue. Benjamin Moore™’s Polar Sky would be the perfect shade of “haint blue” for the ceiling:

Adding an indoor/outdoor rug would provide a nice pop of color, too, while also helping to make the room feel more like an actual room rather than merely a screened-in porch. I think adding a rug would be a key component to ensuring the porch received regular use.

Adding some warmer elements to the rest of the room would help break up the blue ceiling and rug-covered floor. Adding a touch of nautical is always a fun way to bring coastal style to any room. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

florida-inspiration-at-betweenweekdays-com

I also think adding a bar cart with lots of pops of color and fun would be a useful addition to any Florida-inspired room. How gorgeous is that bar cart styled by AM Dolce Vita? (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

florida-inspiration-at-betweenweekdays-com2

Adding elements of Florida style to the room would allow the space to function in a multitude of ways. A weathered farm table could become the focal point of the room for alfresco Florida dining. Or, a casual seating area could be added to create an outdoor living room suitable for visiting with friends and family to make the most use of Florida’s year-round sunshine.

If you want some more Florida inspiration, be sure to check out my Florida-inspired Pinterest board.

If you’re ready to take your Florida dreams to the next level and own a piece of paradise, check out the  Douglas Elliman Florida Real Estate page.

Energy Bites Recipe

Energy bites have become quite the popular sweet snack lately. It seems that everyone has their favorite way to make these delicious morsels that actually taste more like a cookie than something that is actually good for you. Today, I thought I’d share my favorite way to make energy bites. My aunt texted me her recipe (which was given to her by someone, who received the recipe from someone else and so forth and so on) about a year ago, and after making my own adjustments to the recipe I haven’t grown tired of these delicious bites yet. I don’t know where the energy bite recipe originated, but I sure am glad it began somewhere.

Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

Energy Bites at BetweenWeekdays.com

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  2. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes. This allows the mixture to firm up a bit before the next step.
  3. Roll mixture into balls. I like to make the balls different sizes in case I want a smaller or larger portion.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Energy Bites at BetweenWeekdays.com

Easiest recipe ever!

Grad School Survival Kit

I recently completed coursework for my master’s degree. During the last year and a half, I’ve been exhausted, overworked, and pushed to my breaking point, but I have proven to myself time and time again that I am far more capable than I give myself credit.

Along the way, I’ve relied on a few simple things to keep me motivated and productive. Since school is back in session for so many this month, it seemed like a good idea to share the products that helped me through my accelerated master’s program.

First up on my list is AdvoCare Spark Energy. Last fall, I relied on coffee to give me the extra boost of energy I needed in the morning. However, I crashed HARD every single afternoon, and I was gaining weight from the tasty additions (flavored creamers, sugar, etc.) to my morning brew. With Spark, I have lost weight while receiving not only a morning boost but also mental clarity that lasts all day long. I can’t imagine starting my day any other way now. Plus the flavors are absolutely delicious.

The next item on my list is tiny but crucial to my ability to focus: bobby pins. (These are my favorite!) I have spent countless hours at my desk every single day for the past year and a half hunched over textbooks, and bobby pins ensure I can focus on the task at hand by keeping my hair out of the way. It’s a simple thing, but it makes a big difference.

A good planner. It’s been said time and time again that one simply cannot be organized without some type of planner, whether digital or paper based. In my world, if I don’t write an engagement down, it doesn’t exist. I’ve used a leather Day-Timer planner with monthly and weekly calendars for the past two years, and I love it. On each week, I insert a to-do list for all of the assignments I must complete each week. The entire thing zips up so it’s professional enough when I need to travel for meetings, etc. Plus, the entire thing is customizable to my preferences. I can also stuff quite a few extras inside it (calculator, pens, notes, business cards, etc.)

School Survival at BetweenWeekdays.com2

Lots and lots of paper. As an MBA student, I find myself constantly scribbling formulas and notes. I really like larger notebooks with dividers as well as project planners for individual assignments. The larger notebooks were especially handy for the math required in my accounting and finance classes, while I preferred the project planners for the individual projects required for each class as well as work meetings and projects.

I also discovered that I definitely have a preference when it comes to highlighters as gel highlighters are so much better than their marker counterpoints. I prefer the Sharpie brand of highlighters. Gel highlighters are mess free, and honestly, they’re just more fun to use.

Felt pens are also one of my favorite office supplies at the moment. I liked to use different colors for different classes when taking notes or filling out my planner. I also liked to coordinate my pen colors to my highlighter colors for study sessions. Having that visual representation in color really helped me when studying and preparing for the week ahead. (Felt pens are also good for taking mental health breaks to color  in adult coloring books!)

Tabs make it easy for me to reference my textbooks for important information. I adore the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Tabs for several reasons:

  1. They’re large enough for me to write on.
  2. They’re pretty.
  3. The tabs remove easily when I’m done with the subject and it’s time to return my textbook.

I certainly am glad to not be heading back to the (virtual) classroom this semester, but I do hope some of these products may be beneficial to others who are. I still have one academic requirement left to complete before I can don a cap and gown again to earn my MBA this December, but, in the meantime, I’m glad to return to a slower pace for a few weeks and hopefully resume blogging on a more regular schedule soon.

Stripping is Hard Work

Here’s what I learned on Memorial Day: stripping stain off of an extremely weathered front porch is seriously hard work, ya’ll.

I wrote about my desire to tackle a front porch renovation more than a year ago. Since then, I bought a bench and a few other miscellaneous pieces for the porch, while the stain continued to deteriorate. It was seriously embarrassing. After pressure washing the layer of grime off the porch, we were left with this unsightly mess:

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com

This is when we knew we’d need to use a stripper on the wood in order to totally clean it and rid it from its terrible stain. We chose to use Goof Off All Purpose Stripper, which we found at our local Lowe’s.

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com2

There are two things you should note about this product:

  1. WEAR GLOVES. This stuff burns if it gets on your skin.
  2. It does not remove stain as well as it removes whatever is pictured on the can. However, it definitely will remove stain from wood with a bit of patience and elbow grease.

We found it was best to apply a thick layer of the stripper with an inexpensive paintbrush, wait a few minutes, and then apply another layer before even attempting to remove the stain. If the stain was still somewhat thick, we could scrape most of it off. However, the majority of the stain had to be scrubbed off by hand with a stripping pad. We found it was best to keep the stripping pad wet while scrubbing and to work in small sections so the stripping paste wouldn’t dry.

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com3

After many, many hours of labor, we now have a front porch that is mostly stripped of its stain! However, we still need to remove the stain from our stairs before we can move on to the rest of our porch renovation plans.

The next step in the process is to choose a new stain color! Then we have quite a few other projects to tackle before we’ll be able to call this space complete. I’m hopeful removing this huge project from the list is just the motivation we need to finally get this space finished up!

Cyber Monday $10 Christmas Tree Purchase

Hello! I’m stopping in to quickly share a great deal I found today on a Christmas tree. I basically just purchased this Christmas tree for only $10!

How did I manage such an amazing deal? I used the Cyber Monday 15% off coupon (CYBER15) stacked with a coupon code that saved $10 off of $50 (DECORATE). This saved me a total of $16.34 off the $53.60 price tag. (I was originally willing to spend the $53.60, because it’s already an excellent price.) This brought my total to $40.67 – wow! I decided to pay with PayPal, and discovered that I had a credit of $40. This brought my grand total to just $10.67!

Have you found any great Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals this year?

Making A Rental in Japan Feel More Like Home

Remember my friend Becky? She and her husband recently moved to Japan. They’re living on a Navy base with strict decorating restrictions, but she’s making the best of a tough situation and sharing how she’s making her home away from home a little bit happier.


Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com6

Hello BetweenWeekdays Readers!

My husband and I recently moved to Japan and into base housing. I’m not sure if you’ve ever lived in an apartment, but take decorating restrictions in a lease and multiply that by five. Being that we live in an extremely earthquake prominent area, we are not allowed to do any kind of renovations to our unit, which to my surprise includes mounting a TV or putting nails in the wall to hang a picture. This could cause some serious lack of feeling like your house is a home.

As a military wife, it is important to learn how to quickly adapt and make the most of what the military life hands you (which is often lemons).  Living in base housing is definitely a huge lemon: floor to ceiling white walls, white floors, awkwardly colored kitchens, and an overall sense of institution. Thankfully, if you’re lucky enough to be stationed in the U.S. this is easy to avoid since living out in town is the best option. Being stationed overseas is a different story, though. We had no choice but to live on base, which I’m actually kind of okay with.

I was excited to get out of the hotel room that we called home for 17 days when we got our housing.  After our furniture was unpacked, I began to notice just how unhomely our new place felt.  Thankfully, I came up with five damage free solutions that help turn this bland house into a home.

  1. Command strips. Did you know that there is basically a command strip for anything you could ever need? Thankfully, our base is well stocked in these wall saving hangers, and I was able to decorate our entire house (including hanging a heavy canvas painting above our couch) making it feel a bit warmer.
    Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com
  2. Utilize your outdoor space. We were lucky enough to get housing that had a yard. We quickly bought some patio furniture and a gazebo to make our outdoor space part of our home. It’s our favorite part of our house.
    Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com
  3. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Our washer/dryer is located in our kitchen. This bothered me to no end, so I decided to hide this area using a shower rod and some beautiful curtains. While chatting with one of my friends who was struggling with the same layout, I told her my idea. She said that she didn’t want to do that because it would look cheap. I went full steam ahead with my plan and I absolutely love it! (Note from Katie: Follow your heart and do what you works for you in your home!)
    Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com
  4. Don’t be ashamed to splurge on curtains! We ended up spending double what we budged for curtains, but we could not be more pleased with the wow factor it adds to our home. Ironically we went with cream curtains, but they dress up the place nicely.
    Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com
  5. Incorporate some bright accent pieces to liven up the place. I actually bought this teal beauty from my old roommate thinking it would be too much color, and boy was I wrong. It adds some much needed color to our living room. We also used this accent color in the dining room to liven it up. Artwork helps with this as well!
    Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com

Overall, we love the changes we have made to our new home. We still have a few things to do, but overall we no longer feel like we are in an institution. I plan to paint our coffee and end tables to add further pop to our living room. I’ve also seen this tutorial floating around Pinterest, and I would love to try it! Have any of you tried it? We also plan to hang some frames using velcro Command strips to allow us to use printables as holiday decoration since there is not much room to decorate elsewhere.

Just because you live in a rental doesn’t mean you have to have a boring house. What changes have you made to a rental to make it seem more like home?

Becky


Be sure to check out Becky’s blog. She and her husband are having some fantastic adventures in Japan!

Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com

 

A Few Simple Beauty Tricks that Save Time and Money

I’m veering off topic today and sharing a few of my time- and money-saving favorite beauty routine tricks. I’m all about adding a few simple tricks to my beauty arsenal. Perhaps you are, too.

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of proper skincare maintenance as having a perfect, glowing complexion is no longer a given. It’s only recently that I’ve been plagued with extremely oily skin and breakouts. While I could purchase a multi-step system “guaranteed” to treat oily skin, I’ve discovered that it’s easier to use something I already have around the house to treat my oily skin: baking soda.

How to Use Baking Soda to Treat Oily Skin at BetweenWeekdays.com

How to Use Baking Soda for Oily Skin

Step one: add a small spoonful of baking soda to the palm of your hand.
Step two: add a squirt of your favorite cleanser.
Step three: add a small amount of water to the mixture in your hand and combine.
Step four: wash your face with the mixture and rinse.

Frequency: Two to three times per week in addition to your normal facial cleansing routine.

A few other tips for dealing with oily skin:

  1. Never touch your face with your hands. If this is a problem at night, sleep with a blanket between your hands and face. 
  2. Change your pillowcases often.
  3. Remove your makeup daily.
  4. Find a good moisturizer for oily skin.
  5. Makeup primer is your friend. So is a good concealer.

My favorite products? Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes, and bareMinerals Heal & Conceal Acne Treatment & Concealer, to name a few.

How to Use Baby Oil for Dry Skin

On the flip side, my husband has extremely dry skin — especially on his legs and in his facial hair. His skin is so dry that he often develops dry patches and sores on his legs and in his facial hair. While we’re still trying to find the just right moisturizer for his face (any recommendations?) we’ve discovered the secret to keeping his legs moisturized: baby oil. Here’s how:

Step one: store a bottle of baby oil in shower.
Step two: immediately after turning off shower, generously rub entire dry area (i.e. legs) with baby oil.
Step three: allow baby oil to absorb into skin while drying rest of body.
Step four: gently pat dry any areas covered in baby oil.
Step five: follow with your favorite lotion.

Frequency: Daily when dry skin is at its worst. 

This makes a remarkable difference in Travis’ dry skin, especially during the cold, winter months.

Exfoliating Body Wash Instead of Shaving Gel

While we’re talking about showering, let me confess another of my beauty foes: my hair grows extremely fast. You’re thinking, “How is this a problem? I wish my hair would grow faster.” Let me explain: if I shave my legs in the morning using a normal shaving gel, I will need to shave my legs again that same day or wear pants that night because the hair on my legs will have grown that much.

The solution? Exfoliating body wash in lieu of shaving gel. The exfoliating body wash causes the hairs on your legs to stand up, which results in a much closer shave. I’ve actually gone nearly two days without needing to shave my legs, which is amazing for this girl!  I’ve found body wash much less expensive than fancy shaving gels that promise the same effect. Using an exfoliating body wash saves me both time and money, which is a major win in my book.

My favorite product: Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash

What are your favorite beauty tips? I know we’re all looking for was to save both time and money when it comes to our beauty routines!

Top 10 Most Pinned Posts

We are having a dreary, rainy day here in Tennessee, so naturally I’ve been wasting time on Pinterest. During a search for a housewarming gift, a project of mine popped up (See number 9 below)! This exciting find led me on a hunt to find my post popular posts on Pinterest.

1. Three Easy Kabob Recipes

Grilled Chicken Pineapple Kabobs at BetweenWeekdays.com

2. How to Can Spaghetti Sauce (Recipe Included!)

How to Can Spaghetti Sauce from BetweenWeekdays.com

3. Red Front Door

Red Front Door at BetweenWeekdays.com

4. Crafting a Hot Pink and Zebra Baby Shower Corsage

DIY Corsage at BetweenWeekdays.com

5. My Favorite Taco Seasoning Spice Blend

SpiceIngredients

6. Pinterest-Inspired Baby Shower Projects

Pinterest inspired baby shower projects at BetweenWeekdays.com

7. How to Make a Tutu Wreath

How to make a Tutu Wreath at BetweenWeekdays.com

8. DIY Paint Chip Art

DIY Paint Chip Art from BetweenWeekdays.com

9. DIY Keepsake Art

DIY Keepsake Art at BetweenWeekdays.com

10. How to Make a Clothespin Photo Wreath for the Laundry Room

DIY Clothespin Wreath at BetweenWeekdays.com

Honorable Mention:

Easy Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe at BetweenWeekdays.com

Christmas Meal Planning

Last week, I mentioned that I like to plan all of my Christmas meals in advance, but I didn’t share with you what that looked like. Today, I thought it might be fun to share what I’m planning to prepare and take with me to all of our events, as well as some of the recipes. I’ve broken down what we’re taking where calendar style, so let’s dive right in.

December 20: Work Cookie Swap

I’ll make a plate of my favorite chocolate chip cookies to take and leave at the office. Rather than using a serving dish, I’ll use this simple — and disposable — idea I saw on Pinterest:

Christmas Eve

Noon luncheon at Travis’ grandparent’s house:

Whatever we bring to this get together will have to travel well as his grandparents live 45 minutes away. At the moment, I’m torn between bringing a simple potato dish (Meghan Potatoes, below) or Pioneer Woman’s Pretzel Turtles. Either way, I’ll have all the ingredients on hand to make both.

Meghan Potatoes

Ingredients: cream of potato soup, one can of water, a cup and 1/2 of sour cream, 2 cups of cheddar cheese (divided), garlic and pepper to taste, shoe string frozen french fries, crackers, 2 T melted butter

Directions: Combine soup, water, sour cream and cheese. Slowly add fries to sour cream mixture until all the potatoes are thoroughly covered. Place potatoes in a dish and sprinkle with additional cheese and crushed crackers, repeat layers. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake at 375 until bubbly.

 

Afternoon gift exchange with Travis’ immediate family:

Hooray! This is a meal-free event. I’ll just bring whatever’s left from his grandparent’s house for snacking.

5 p.m. Dinner with my paternal grandmother:

This is one of three times my entire extended family gets together, so it’s always a lot of fun. I’m known for deserts, so this year I’ll be making a red velvet bunt cake! Rather than using the ganache the recipe calls for, I’ll use a simple cream cheese frosting instead. I’d hate to cover up all of that pretty, red cake!

This recipe is surprisingly easy and a real crowd pleaser. Plus, I can make it in advance!

9 p.m. Gift swap with my Dad, stepmother, and extended family

This is when we get together with my Dad and immediate family. We’re definitely too full to eat a meal, but since we socialize well into the wee morning hours, we end up snacking a lot. This year, I’m planning to make a Chicken Cheese Ball (it’s delicious!), plus I’ll bring whatever cake leftovers we have.

Chicken Cheese Ball

Ingredients: 1 large can of white chicken, 1 tsp. chicken granolas, 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 small chopped onion, slivered almonds or pecans, crackers for serving

Directions: Combine all ingredients and roll in nuts. Serve with crackers.

Christmas Day

Christmas day is a lot simpler for us. In face, we don’t have to even leave our house if we don’t want to!

10 a.m. Christmas breakfast with my Mother’s extended family, hosted by us

This is a potluck event, so I’m only responsible for providing the eggs and one dish. This year I’ve decided to make a sopapilla cheesecake, which sounds really fancy but is basically a cinnamon cheese danish. I’ll halve the recipe below.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Ingredients: 2 cans crescent rolls, 16 ounces cream cheese, 1 ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions: Lightly spray a 9×13 pan and roll one can of crescent rolls along the bottom. Mix cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Pour mixture on top of crescent rolls. Spread the second can of crescent rolls on top of cream cheese mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the cinnamon together and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

5 p.m. Christmas dinner with my Mother, stepfather and grandmother, hosted by us

Happily, this is also a potluck affair, so I’m not responsible for the entire menu. This year I’ll be making:

  • Roast Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  •  Pineapple Casserole (see below)
  • Sweet Tea

Pineapple Casserole

Ingredients: crushed crackers, 7 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese, 6 T all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks in juice drained

Directions: Combine flour, sugar and cheese. Stir in pineapple until evenly coated. Place mixture evenly in dish and top with crackers. Bake 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees until golden and bubbly.

That’s it! While it seems like I’ll be spending a lot of time preparing dishes, it’s much less than what I’ve done in years past. What’s your favorite holiday dish?

How to Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

I recently shared a post with you about hosting a successful yard sale, so when I saw this article on Money Saving Mom, I knew I had to share it with you!

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did!

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