How We Started Saving $1,200/Year on Our Mortgage

Hi, friends! Happy December 12th! I have a real exciting story to share with you today. It’s going to get a little nitty-gritty, but I promise it’s worth it. I’m going to share how we reduced our monthly mortgage payment by $100/month after having our house for just 2.5 years! And it’s partially thanks to YOU for supporting this blog and our home reno projects! 🙂

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Easy DIY Christmas Shaker Box + MORE Christmas Projects!

Happy Christmas Season, friends!! Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, I think we can all agree that it’s CHRISTMASTIME!!! This also means that Baby Rissler is ALMOST HERE! My due date is Tuesday, so I’m hoping he shows his face sometime this week. Yay!

*This post was originally published Nov 25, 2017, and was updated December 2018.*

Today I’m excited to share my own DIY project with you, as well as posts from my fellow home decor bloggers! Scroll down to the bottom of this post to get inspired by lots of other DIY Christmas ideas. I’m especially loving the cookie cutter Christmas tree garland and the DIY rustic Christmas tree!

As I’ve been doing tons of Christmas decor shopping over the last couple weeks, I saw fun little Christmas shaker boxes. I almost bought one, then realized, “Hey… I can make that!!” Thus, this DIY project, the DIY Christmas shaker box, was born!

easy DIY christmas shaker box

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5 Things I Learned from My First Year of Motherhood

Today, my sweet Griffin turns 1 year old. It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a full year since I gave birth to Griffin. In many ways, I feel like an entirely different person. I’ve learned sooo much about life, love, grace, and stepping into this new world-of-mom. I’ve shared a couple updates along the way: an honest (and raw) look at 3 months postpartum as well as an update at 6 months postpartum. But today, at one full year postpartum, I want to share 5 things I learned from my first year of motherhood.

First Year of Motherhood - San Diego Beach
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Christmas Decor for the Home + 5 Christmas Decorating Tips

🎵 It’s the holiday seassoonnnn, and boop-dee-doop, and dickory dock, and don’t forget to hang up your sock! ‘Cuz just exactly at 12:00 he’ll be comin’ down the chimney nooowwwww! 🎵

Is that how it goes? 😂 I swear, that song is on repeat in my head from November 1 – December 31. It drives me a little batty. ALAS! At least it’s CHRISTMAS TIME! Can you belieeeeve? 🎅 I have been listening to Christmas music for a few weeks already and my ears are looking a little pointy. 😂 I’m really excited to share my Christmas decor with you today because I feel like my decorating skills have come a long way since I first decorated my apartment in 2014. Every year I learn something new, so I want to share a few Christmas decorating tips while I take you on a mini tour of my holiday decor. Let’s go! Onward! MUSH!

Christmas Decor for the Home

Christmas Decor Around the TV

Last year we got this entertainment center on Facebook Marketplace for a helluva good deal and it’s been fun re-decorating it each season.

christmas decorating tips - decorating the entertainment center with tv

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Simple and Useful Kitchen Organization Ideas

In the midst of our 7-month kitchen renovation, I actually took some time to re-organize our kitchen! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll remember that I went a little crazy in July trying to get my $h!t together. My house was a MESS (thanks, PPD) and I was able to clear out tons of stuff. I felt liberated afterward! Anyway, I realized that I never actually shared all my reorganization on the blog, so I’m sharing it today! I hope these kitchen organization ideas will bring you some inspiration and motivation to organize your kitchen.

Wait! Start with this.

Before you go crazy and buy 15 racks and 27 bins, I want you to live your normal life in your kitchen for just a couple more days. As you’re going about your day, use my free Kitchen Organization Planner (below!) to make a list of specific things that annoy you about your kitchen. Like, “I hate when my pans fall over every time I get one out.” Or, “It’s hard to get bowls out when they’re stacked on each other.”

Once you’ve written a list of all the things you want to fix, THEN start looking for solutions! If you go straight to Amazon or IKEA and start shopping, it will be hard to know exactly what you NEED. We’re decluttering + organizing here, people!

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How to Make a Blanket Ladder

For the past couple of years, all I’ve wanted is a blanket ladder. At every vintage show, I looked at the price tags on every ladder and they were way expensive… or the ladder looked super cheap and flimsy. My mom would say, “Oh jeeze, you could make that yourself!” So, this past weekend, I finally got around to it and today I’m showing you how to make a blanket ladder! Whoopee!!

Now, you could go to Home Depot and buy the cheapest of the cheap supplies and slap together a ladder, but I wanted my ladder to look legit. There are tons of tutorials on Pinterest for “how to make a $10 ladder!”, but I decided to spend about $40 to make an authentic, durable, farmhouse style blanket ladder.

how to make a blanket ladder

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DIY Bathroom Mirror Frame for Under $10

Okay guys. If there were only one DIY project I could share with you, I think it would be this DIY bathroom mirror frame. It is so. easy. and transforms your bathroom. Affordably. And if you have a builder-grade mirror, it will no longer feel so… builder-grade!

When we were planning our bathroom renovation, we started looking at new mirrors… but they were expensive! I wanted to keep our bathroom makeover cheap, so I had no intention to spend $50+ for a new mirror. That being said, I hated the builder-grade mirror that was in there – you know, it’s like a giant slate of mirror. It gets the job done, but it’s so boring.

DIY bathroom mirror frame before

As I was searching Pinterest for bathroom makeover inspiration, I came across a DIY bathroom mirror frame on a fun home decor blog called Cherished Bliss. I pinned it knowing it would be something I’d actually come back to later. Would you guess that the mirror above turned into this one??

Okay, let me show you how we did it!

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Customized Christmas Gift Ideas I’d Actually Get My Husband

There are lots of things I’ve learned over the years, like, it’s called a “rear view mirror,” not a “review mirror.”  Or that kids can “open enroll” to another school, not, “open and roll.” But one thing I’ll never manage to learn is how to easily find the perfect Christmas gift for my husband.

When a holiday rolls around, I think about his gift for months ahead of time because I want it to be meaningful. The past few years I’ve opted for a gift that’s personalized or custom in nature – like, with our last name, or something I handmade myself. Not gonna lie, it’s usually a lot of work. 😂

*Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy an item after clicking a link, I may receive a small commission from the purchase at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep this blog up and running. Thank you!*

So, this year, I’ve put together an Etsy round-up of some unique, customized Christmas gift ideas for your husband. Whether he likes more practical gifts or something kinda sweet, I’m sure you’ll find something he likes, something he can use, and something you’ll feel proud of giving him!

PS – Lots of customized gift ideas here for your dad or brother, too! #winwin

Practical & Customized Christmas Gift Ideas

Thoughtful + Kinda Romantic Christmas Gift Ideas

Super Sweet Wall Art Christmas Gift Ideas

BBQ Timer
Wood Sign

Not customized but still hilarious.

BRB, going to order one of everything. LOL, but in all seriousness, I hope this list of customized Christmas gift ideas helps you start thinking about what to get the men in your life for Christmas. Best of luck this year! May the odds be ever in your favor!

What I Wish I Knew Before Installing Butcher Block Countertop

Hey there, friends! I’m all sorts of excited today because, 1) this fall AZ weather is giving me all the feels, and 2) I get to talk more about our kitchen renovation! I’m still coming down from the newly-finished-home-renovation high, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to dive a little deeper into our butcher block island.

It is BEAUTIFUL and it adds a dimension of warmth to our kitchen, but it requires more upkeep than I expected. I honestly feel a bit hoodwinked by all the pretty pictures I’ve seen on Pinterest – LOL. With that in mind, I want to share some of my knowledge on all things butcher block to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your kitchen. Without further adieu, let’s dooo ittttt.

butcher block in renovated farmhouse kitchen

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15 Farmhouse Inspired Shelving Ideas

If you’ve followed along with my bathroom renovations, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for shelving… especially farmhouse-inspired floating shelves! I love utilizing wall space with pieces that are functional and provide a little organization to my sometimes-chaotic space. For example, I’m still obsessed with this floating shelf (link below!) from our guest bathroom makeover.

Guest Bathroom Makeover - Decor

*Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy an item after clicking a link, I may receive a small commission from the purchase at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep this blog up and running. Thank you!*

Because of my obsession with farmhouse shelving, I’ve put together a list of my 15 favorite farmhouse-inspired, Fixer Upper-approved shelving units! Seriously, how cute is that diamond bookshelf?! NEED. 

PS – If you need help installing floating shelves, check out my Pinterest-viral tutorial here.

Farmhouse Shelving

Farmhouse Bookshelves

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