Interiors

Clean up, clean up everybody, everywhere…

Excited to have Kelsey here today to talk cleaning! Safe, non-toxic and actually works. Yes please!! Enjoy. Lo 

When it comes to cleaning we all often roll our eyes, take a deep sigh, and ready ourselves for the arduous task of removing the ick, the stink, and the germs from our homes to give our families a safe pleasant place to live and grow. In most homes, we do this not just daily, but seemingly ALL. DAY. LONG- often leaving us sore, tired, and downtrodden. Yes, there is that short-lived victorious moment when it is finally all done and we look around for a split second at our accomplishment before someone destroys it but on the whole, lets face it cleaning is the never ending pits! 

Unfortunately the task gets worse, cleaning with mainstream chemicals (yes, even some of the “green” ones) isn’t just unpleasant it’s actually unhealthy! According to the American Lung Association VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. Products containing VOCs and other toxic substances can include:
  • Aerosol sprays in health, beauty & cleaning products;
  • Air fresheners;
  • Chlorine bleach;
  • Detergent and dishwashing liquid;
  • Dry cleaning chemicals;
  • Rug and upholstery cleaners;
  • Furniture and floor polish; and
  • Oven cleaners
Recent research has found that even natural fragrances in cleaning products, particularly in air fresheners, may react with high levels of ozone from indoor sources or from outdoor air to form formaldehyde and dangerous fine particles indoors. Ozone is a harmful, but invisible, gas that worsens asthma and other lung diseases. Both ozone and particles can be life-threatening. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen The National Institue of Health’s National library of health has a whole section referred to as Tox Town where it describes the harmful effects of many of the chemicals found in the average family home. For example, at home you can be exposed to solvents in cleaning products, personal care products. Some solvents are listed as human carcinogens or “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens” in the 13th Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program and can cause cancer. Regular exposure to solvents can cause memory and hearing loss, mental illness, depression, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, feeling drunk or “high,” lack of coordination, headache, nausea, stomach pains, skin rashes, cracking or bleeding skin, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. Exposure to solvent vapors can cause hoarseness, coughing, lung congestion, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

That is why I fell in love with Norwex which stands for the Norwegian experience. Their mission to improve the quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes has lead to the development of an impressive line of completely non-toxic, waste reducing and money saving cleaning products. At its core is the micro-fiber cloth. To be legally called micro fiber each strand of the cloth must be 1/6th of a human hair but Norwex took this further, WAY further, than whats available in a retail store and took their fibers down to 1/200th of a human hair. Each cloth contains thousands of miles of fiber , if unraveled it would stretch from Canada to New Mexico! All of those tiny fibers knit together and combined with JUST WATER allow you to mechanically clean your surfaces rather then chemically.  Yes, you read that right- no soap. no chemicals. Not even baking soda and vinegar. The fibers actually lift and remove the dirt, germs, and residue from your surfaces and trap them deep within the cloth. Don’t believe me? Check out this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mKQMIcnTy8) where a local news station in Tennessee put this claim to the test in a real lab with real E-Coli bacteria. They not only tested Norwex’s claim to remove the germs but also compared it to other leading cleaners and the results were astonishing- Norwex removed 92% of the bacteria from the surface, a store bought micro fiber cloth removed 84%, and the leading all purpose cleaning spray with paper towel 0%! But what really makes Norwex incredible is that the tiny fibers lock the germs inside the cloth instead of spreading them around or cross contaminating. Just google Norwex chicken test and see the numerous videos where users cleaned up raw chicken and then rubbed the cloth on a clean surface swabbed it with a protein test strip and found no evidence of protein (which would contain the bacteria) on the rubbed surface! But the best thing of all- cost comparisons (I will share specifics in a bit) show that over the 2 year warranty period of the micro fiber products Norwex can save you hundreds of dollars. 

I know this sounds too good to be true and probably like a big ole sales pitch so let me share with you the one thing I can’t stand about Norwex- I miss my clean smell!!! I know, I know the truth is “clean” doesn’t have a smell, but the leading cleaning product manufactures have done a pretty good job of brainwashing us into thinking that if it doesn’t smell clean it isn’t clean. To put it simply I am a little leary of having people over when my house doesn’t smell fresh! Thankfully we have essential oils to not only bring back our beloved “clean smell” but actually improve our health instead of destroying it. But enough theoretical yammering- lets talk practical applications to clean your home into your safe haven!

1. The enviro cloth is the work horse of the Norwex product line- From this little cloth other variations have developed to help us better clean all the surfaces of our home from THE most incredible mop to the kitchen cloth and a whole lot of awesomeness in between. We already discussed how the micro fiber works and does a better job then its chemical counterparts but how to bring back the beautiful clean smell? Simply take a few drops your favorite essential oils such as orange, lemon or even tea tree for an extra cleaning boost and add them to a small spray bottle. Sprtiz your enviro cloth, mop pad or kitchen cloth and clean those surfaces leaving just a wonderful aroma and nothing else. But what about the cost? At $16.99 for an enviro cloth and $14 for a bottle of oil it may seem like an unfavorable trade off. Lets take a closer look- On average just in our kitchens we would use approximately 5 disinfecting wipes a day (wiping counters after each meal prep, our table once a day, and cleaning up at least one spill- some days way more a day sometimes less). The average cost per wipe is $0.04 X 5 times a day = $0.20 a day. $0.20 a day X 365 = $73 a year, $146 over 2 years. Replacing those disinfecting wipes just in your kitchen with an enviro cloth and a bottle of oil costs $31 saving you $42 a year, $84 over 2 years!

2. Organic material such as dead skin cells, germs, pet dander and dust mites often take up residence inside our upholstered furniture, mattress and pillows – items we either can’t wash or can’t wash often. Frequently we turn to products like air fresheners to cover this smell. Not only does this rarely work, it adds more allergens and harmful chemicals to our air space without removing or cleaning anything! Norwex has an amazing product called simply Mattress cleaner (though it can be used on pillows and upholstered furniture) that is enzyme based and actually removes the organic material that leads to allergies. Google it! Diffusing essential oils is a far better way to lightly scent our air space giving us that fresh scent we crave and unlike the chemical air freshers, essential oils actually improve our health, supporting our bodies immune system rather than harming it.

3. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs what we put on it in just 25 to 30 seconds. While we may not drink our soaps, cleansers, and cleaning products we regular consume them through our skin and our airways. Norwex has developed a softer version of their revolutionary micro fiber called the body cloth (and a travel/kid size version called the baby body) that mechanically cleans your skin, removing dirt and grime from pores rather than filling them full of synthetic fragrances and harsh stripping agents. While anyone can benefit from using our microfiber cloths and water rather than soap, this is especially wonderful for those with sensitive skin or those plagued by difficult skin conditions like excema. Essential oils paired with natural ingredients like sugar open more options for exfoliating and toning skin naturally, some oils, like rose hips, even offer antioxidant properties! Skin cleaners and soaps run the gambit in price, but Norwex body clothes come in a set of 3 for just $19.99 – yep add a $14 bottle of your favorite oil and you could be spending as little as $33 for TWO YEARS of skincare! The smaller version, the baby body, is perfect for travel and sells for just $14.99 for 3 cloths. The leading travel disinfecting wipe costs $0.09 a wipe even if you only used 1 a day X 365= $32.85, more than double the cost for just 1 year!

This body cloth IS my skin care regime and my skin has never been cleaner or softer! I also occasionally use an natural organic scrub for a little extra exfoliation.

4. Dryer sheets are one of the most toxic products in our homes- seriously people use them to kill mice! But oh the smell! The fresh smell of laundry! This is one of the areas where Norwex and essential oils really come beautifully together. A few drops of your favorite oil on Norwex’s wool dryer balls allows you naturally and lightly fragrance your clothing all while reducing drying time and clothing ruined from tangles (especially in our HE machines)

5. For many of us our pets are like our children…our often smelly, hairy, dry skinned (dander!) children who hate being bathed. Norwex has taken the fluffy version of its mircofiber cloth (the dusting mitt) and recreated it especially for use on pets. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil (always check with your vet before using oils on pets!) to a spray bottle and spritizing the Norwex pet mitt allows you easily give your pet a daily freshening and brushing with out the struggle of a bath!

Need these amazing cleaning products like right now? Shop Here!!

I got all of this FREE the first week I signed up! Norwex spoils there hostess & consultants like crazy, comment below if you want to find out how to stock your house full of these amazing products FREE!!!

Nursery Rhymes

FelixNursery-3FelixNursery-4FelixNursery-5FelixNursery-6FelixNursery-9FelixNursery-12FelixNursery-13FelixNursery-14FelixNursery-15FelixNursery-16FelixNursery-17FelixNursery-21FelixNursery-22FelixNursery-24FelixNursery-25FelixNursery-26FelixNursery-27FelixNursery-29images via Against the Grain Photography

Despite the fact that it won’t be used for at least 3 or 4 months, decorating and finishing the nursery was important to me… Mostly because I knew it would never get done if we didn’t finish or mostly finish the room before Felix’s arrival. #FACT The desire to decorate decreases 2 billion percent once you are sleep deprived and covered in poo and breastmilk. So with a month or so to go, The Captain and I threw it into high gear and decorated the room from the comfort of our sofa whilest watching Justified [our latest tv obsession]. Excited to share some of my online finds with you.

[Sucre Dreamers] I found Hannah’s shop back when I first found out I was pregnant!! I was in LOVE with her sweet mobiles! This was the first piece I bought for the room after finding out we were having another boy. The custom colors were the jumping off point for the rest of the room. I love love love her AND her shop. I want felt garland ERRY WHERE!

[Bright Lab Lights] OBSESSED with these lights. I knew I was going to get these for the nursery the first time I ever laid eyes on them! With tons of colors to pick from, you can literally spend hours working out the perfect strand!!

[Aspen and Oak] Love Shelli and her adorbs shop! Had her whip up this custom “explore” banner a few weeks ago and I love it!!! I can’t wait to buy more goodies for the boys rooms!

[Watercolor Journey] We bought Baby Burrito a Rhino from the San Diego Zoo before moved and I absolutely HAD to use it in the room. I found this shop and fell in love the baby rhino print! I purchased a driftwood frame and had a stunning textured mat designed. Boom. Easy art work that looks custom and like a million bucks, all for about 55 dollars.

[Mini Learners] Adorable prints. Great Prices.

[Amy West Designs] [Oja Design] not pictured More great prints at killer prices.

[crib] ikea [sheets] land of nod [rocker] nurseryworks sleepytime rocker [animal knobs] anthropologie [zebra head] target

I’m in love with this chill little room, I’m excited to see how the space evolves as Mister F grows and acquires toys and books, etc. He and Mohawk are gonna have major fun times in here!

Mi Casa est Mi Casa

IMG_4149 IMG_4150 IMG_4151 IMG_5132 IMG_5133 IMG_5139 IMG_5140We are homeowners. Like whoa. We’ve owned a home for nearly 4 months and that’s just crazy. We live in what some most would consider the middle of nowhere, but our house is simply the best. The walls are already lovingly destroyed thanks to our wild child. Seriously, forget pet deposits when renting, where are the toddler deposits?!  But as we design our space to fit the lives of parents with 2 kiddos AND 2 dogs, we’ve tried to keep a few things in mind. Kids will destroy it. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to just give up and have a bleh space! I think it requires just a little bit of planning, a touch of creativity, and a whole lot of not worrying about stuff. It’s just stuff.

My thoughts on design with a kid are not much different from my thoughts on interior design in general. Do it. Just do it. If it’s something you like, go for it. Rarely have the weird design decisions I’ve chosen to make turned out poorly! Seriously! People always make comments about my design aesthetic, which I lovingly refer to as Tacky Chic, but truthfully it’s so easy, it’s about loving your space. YOUR space, so if you want crazy mismatched pillows and a bright overdyed rug and mexican blankets, then go for it! Hang pictures and hang them well out of reach from prying baby hands. I’ve made that mistake. Print and hang ALL. THE. PICTURES. Canvas on Demand, the app Parabo Press, and Mpix are my go to’s for photo printing, but also don’t be afraid of finding cool pieces in unexpected places. I look for artwork everywhere and don’t believe in rules, so if I like it, I go for it. I found an amazing gold shelf in the kid’s Pillowfort section of Target, but I don’t need any rules how to rock, so it’s in our living room. And vice-versa the kid’s rooms have almost no decor that was intended for a nursery [with exception of their cribs]. Basically, don’t bring yourself down with the don’t and rules of design, have fun, spend lots of time on Pinterest figuring out what you like, and be realistic about your lifestyle. Boom. Design Wisdom.

Our living room is probably our most utilized room in the house. We love it.  Nothing is too fancy that we worry about Sir Peanut Butter Hands destroying it, but still feels pulled together and fun! We started with a sectional from good ole IKEA. It’s comfy, hides stains well, and easy to clean! We had our eye on a more expensive option, but ended up choosing practicality. Our pillows are a collection of West Elm and Target. I think the piece de resistance is most definitely our RugsUSA over-dyed rug. It’s a synthetic fiber rug, that looks great and is so super easy to clean making it a major yes. So while I would’ve loved a antique overdid Persian wool rug, the price point makes our rug well worth the damage my boys will inflict upon it. We don’t have any fancy silk pillows or a expensive antiques, but our home is kid friendly all without sacrificing style!

It’s still a work in process. We will probably add more art, fill up the gold shelf, and we are having a table made for the boys that mimics our own dining table to use with the play chairs!

rug | sofa | hustling pillow | mexican blanket | shelf | oh joy pillow – similar | fluffy pillow | | kids chairs | pillowfort shelflamp | coffee table | black n white throw

In Bloom

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After leaving San Diego, the land of perpetual summer, I’ve definitely been reintroduced to the part of the country that gets cold and rainy during the winter… I’m apparently a giant wuss because anything below 60 is absolutely frigid. #bigbaby So when I started talking to the fine folks at BloomNation about keeping things bright for the Winter I was inspired to tell you what we here at Blissful Happenings do to keep things happy and Spring-y all year long!!!

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Color: I want BRIGHT colors. My flowers are generally a hue of hot pink, but bright yellows and oranges do the trick too!!! I think no matter what the season a pop of color is going to make you happy. It’s inevitable. White and red is fine, but a lovely happy purple is sure to make you feel like Spring is just around the corner.

oncewedvia

Fun Vases: I am not the fan of a regular glass vase!! We actually prefer beer bottles to your traditional vases at our house! We also gravitate toward unique tumblers or shapes, generally items not intended to house flowers. I feel like fun items like that encourage you to get creative with your arrangements.

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Multiples: A collection of similar vases [or beer bottles] grouped together to create interest. I think it’s visually interesting and almost looks like a flower field! They look so happy and fun. Not stuffy or serious. And when the weather is gloomy, happy and fun are exactly what you need!

okvia

And when it doubt, I have my favorite new vase from Oh Joy for Target reminding me, it’s OK, warmer weather will be here soon!! How do you do flowers in the winter? Share your tips in the comments below!!

Beautiful Disaster

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First, if you caught my Kelly Clarkson reference, we could probably be best friends. Second, Things are currently cray for our family. Moving across the country is a son of a bitch. Add two dogs, a toddler, and a pregnant lady. Whoa. Just Whoa. I’m told adventures await. I’m not sure if a serious tornado mere miles away from our new home on day 2 is what I was thinking when I thought of adventures… Say a prayer, if you do that sort of thing, that things will continue to fall into place as we adjust to our new town, house, and life.

Peace out.

#NurseryFail

DSC_0887-(ZF-8413-57929-1-003)[So cute and sweet, but LIES!!! All LIES]

You know when you see all of those adorable baby rooms on Pinterest and think, oh my gosh, so sweet. That just looks too good to be true! That’s because it is!!! Beware! You are being lied to!!! Gasp! And you thought the internet was a beacon of truth. These sweet Pinterest nurseries only look like that until the child can move, then all bets are off. I have to admit I wasn’t thinking about a moving, grabby, no napping monster baby when I decorated our nursery… I should’ve, ohhhh I should’ve… It was so sweet and cute for the first 3 months when I only went in his room to rock in the rocking chair. Needless to say we had some serious function issues and I have decided to share my knowledge with you now. You’re welcome friends.

IMG_22671. Forget the wool rugs. We love our gorgeous West Elm shag wool rug, it’s beautiful and it was a killer good deal, but not only is it a shedding nightmare, it gets vomited and drooled on like ALL. THE. TIME. We are already planning purchasing a nice super soft cotton rug. This one tops the list.

IMG_22652. Hang everything out of reach of grabby, grubby hands… and feet. I love our art work and I still think it was the perfect aesthetic choice, but maybe not hanging it so close to his changing pad. Like dude, I have been waiting to be hit in the head by one of these things and finally took them down the other day.

IMG_22663. Cover ‘dem windows. Our “blackout” curtains were a flipping joke and when our little guy refused to nap in anything other than a pitch black room we improvised. I was told by a friend to bust out dark plastic wrap a la “Dexter Style.” We went more ghetto fab and threw every damn thing we could find over the curtain rod. BOOM. Black out shades only a college student could love.

4. Keep wattages wayyyy down. Our lamps are brighter than the surface of the sun and instead of buying the proper low wattage bulb, again, we just throw a whole bunch of shit on top of the light. Are you seeing a trend?!

5. Cords, cords, cords. Damn, my kid loves to eat cords!? What the heck!? You think oh my kid won’t try to kill himself by getting tangled in cords or sticking his fingers in light sockets until he’s a crazy toddler… Oh no, think like 4 months… They aren’t very bright, think about how to hide cords and keep them out of reach when you first design the room to keep you from having to reconfigure the space!DSC_0891-(ZF-8413-57929-1-007)

So much for my beautiful nursery… But Honey Badger don’t give a fu— You get it.