How to Choose Flooring for Your Home

We have tons of things on our wish list to swap out in our house to make it more us, but we agreed the first thing we needed to do was change out the flooring.  Hopefully, my experience will help you choose flooring for your home.

I went a bit crazy with the pinning and researching of flooring options, check out my Home Decor board to see what I mean!  We considered both  hardwood and laminate options.  I knew I wanted wide plank and a lighter color.  I was leaning toward gray washes and some barn wood options.

We needed something that could withstand some moisture and I wanted something relatively hardy and low care.  With a dog, we needed it to be able to withstand any errant nail scratches and random accidents.

We went to our local big box home improvement centers and brought home all the samples in our color range.  We were able to take our samples and try them next to the kitchen cabinets and in various rooms to see how they looked in different lighting.

This of course weeded out some colors.  I truly felt like Goldilocks.  Nothing was feeling exactly right and I was bummed.  My beloved gray washes were okay, but they just weren’t screaming yes to me.

We had pretty much ruled out hardwoods at this point, so I did some more research on laminates.  We found a Pergo product called Pergo Max Premier and it met all of our needs.

I turned back to my friend the Internet and found a color in Pergo Max Premier that I thought might work.  We went to several stores that said they had it in stock to see what it looked like in person, but unfortunately, all of their web sites were incorrect.  This was just the beginning of my annoyance with big box home improvement stores in this odyssey!

The color I thought was the answer to my flooring needs was Blonde Onyx Oak.  It was a blend of black, brown and a barnwood beige.  We decided to order a box of the shade to see it in person since no one had it in stock. Miraculously, we both loved it.  It looked great in different lighting and we were sold.

Photo from Pergo’s website of Blonde Onyx Oak

We went back to the store and ordered it and it was a nightmare from then on, but it’s over now and we love it!  I truly cannot recommend the store we bought it from, nor the installers, but we do love the product so far and we love the color.

I did have a minute of buyer’s remorse the first day I came home from work and saw it partially installed.  It seemed to have a lot going on and it took my eye a minute to get used to it in our house.  I chalk it up to being half of a room and the pattern not being completely throughout the room.  Now though, I think it looks great. The brown and barnwood beige colors tend to be predominate and the black is more of an accent to me.  I wanted something that worked with wood tones, black and gray and yet had a warmth and I think this flooring does that well.

It has also stood up to some pretty severe spills.  On Christmas, the Christmas ham platter spilled on to the floor and grease went everywhere.  It cleaned up, no problem!  I am anxious to see how it holds up in the coming years, but everyone we’ve spoken to said it is the highest quality Pergo product and should last a long time.

My 10 tips for choosing flooring for your home:

  1. Do research on laminate versus hardwood and choose what fits you and your family best.  There are pluses and minuses for both.
  2.  Grab every sample you think you might like and bring it home.  Some stores charge for samples and some don’t, but it’s a pretty nominal amount.
  3. Put the samples down next to your built ins and furniture and take a photo.
  4. Try them in every room and every time of day to see how the light affects them.  You can see in my photos how different my floor looks in my kitchen versus my hallway.
  5. Look at your photos and see what grabs you!  I was able to narrow down my choices via photos much easier than in person.  Weird, but it worked!
  6. Go back to the drawing board if you have to!
  7. Check the manufacturer’s website for colors not carried by the stores.
  8. Order samples of anything not in stock!
  9. Make sure you LOVE what you choose, flooring is not cheap and you are going to have it for a long time, be sure it’s a firm yes!
  10. Make sure your installers mix up the pattern with laminate.  Since the pattern repeats, you don’t want multiple pieces with the same pattern next to each other.

 

 

 

Plus Size Resort Wear

The weather where I live has been abysmal so far this year!  Even though it is supposed to warm up this coming week, my mind has been on the beach since January.  I’ve seen lots of blog posts about resort wear for straight sizes, but not many for plus size.  I decided to put one together for us!

Winter getaways are usually short, so I like to pack things that can be worn for several different occasions.  I like to get a big bang for my item so to speak!

Let’s start with what to wear to the airport.  I usually wear jeans, tshirt and a lightweight jacket that can be worn with dresses and shorts if it turns out to be chilly at my destination.

Jean jackets are pretty much a universal packed item, but for something different this bomber jacket would work great.  It looks great with a tshirt, dress or shorts.  It serves essentially the same purpose of your jean jacket, but it’s a little trendier.

Bomber Jacket

If you are feeling a little daring, I found this super cute tunic sweatshirt and I’m thinking this would be amazing to wear on the airplane coming from a colder climate with leggings.  It could double as something to throw on when the ac is too strong in the hotel or even something to wear to sleep in a pinch.  It comes in several other colors but I do love this pink.

Hooded Tunic

 

After figuring out my airport outfit, the very first thing I pack is my bathing suit and cover up.  I tend to pack too many of each, but if I could only pack one, it would be this bathing suit and this cover up.   The bathing suit paired with a pair of shorts could definitely pass for a top and the cover up is great for breakfast or lunch on your way to the beach.  I love pieces I can wear both to the beach and around the hotel without feeling like I’m in my bathing suit in the lobby!

Off the Shoulder Swimsuit

 

Beach Cover Up

I also think this maxi dress is a must.  It can be a coverup, wear it sightseeing or for a casual dinner.  It’s one of those dresses you are going to wear a million times.  Cute with the bomber or a jean jacket when the nights get chilly.

V Neck Maxi

For a little color in my suitcase, I have to add this fun maxi.  I can definitely see this being worn to lunch or date night depending on shoes and accessories.  I love the halter neckline!  Again, looks great with either jacket choice.

Print Maxi

You need an interesting shirt to pair with shorts or your jeans you wear on the plane and this one fits the bill.  I can see it looking great on a ton of different body types.  It’s basic, but with a twist,  Something a little different than your ordinary gingham shirt.

Off the Shoulder shirt

 

I love this jumpsuit and think there’s tons of places to wear it on vacation.  It’s definitely something that depends on the shoes and accessories to determine how dressy it is.  You could pair it with flip flops and a hat for the day and high heeled sandals and tassel earrings for night time.

Jumpsuit

Speaking of hats, I always pack a couple in my bag when heading to somewhere sunny.  I make it a point to always protect my face from the sun.  The rest of me I try to protect, but my face always!  Wrinkles are not funny!

I usually have some kind of baseball hat or fedora that I wear on the plane and then I pack a big sun hat.  If you don’t have a packable one, put clothes in the middle of the hat and then lay it hole down in your suitcase (with the clothes in the hole part) and then pack around it to keep it’s shape.  This hat is reasonably priced and has full coverage.

Floppy Hat

 

You also need versatile bags to take with you.  I love this bag for your casual day looks.  It’s perfect for the plane and around town and could double as a beach bag in a pinch.

Resort Bag

I also dig this straw bag and think it could get a ton of wear.  Really cute with all the outfits above.

Black Straw Bag

 

Now we are up to my hardest part of packing, which is which shoes to take?  I think you can’t go wrong with these two.

Wedge

And along with your flip flops, throw in these amazing sneakers! Though I would probably wear them on the flight. Totally in love with them.

Animal Print Sneakers

 

To finish it off I would throw in some pajamas, shorts and a tshirt or two plus my beauty essentials.  Click on any of the pink links below the photos to locate the items shown.

What would you pack in your bag?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Must Have Monday

Happy Monday!

I’ve been down and out with a cold/flu type illness for the last 4 weeks, ugh!  It has been horrible, but so many other people have it too.  Every time I hear someone else on a conference call sounding horrid, I’m like, welcome to the club! I don’t ever remember an illness taking over everywhere at the same time, like this one has, so weird to have colleagues across the country with the exact same cough I have!

If you too have been suffering, this over the counter medicine is the only thing that even remotely helped.  I would not say it cured me, but it got me through having to work through this illness.

My husband described my symptoms to a pharmacist at our local grocery store and she recommend it.  Good job random pharmacist!  Again, if you are as sick as I was, please go to a Dr (I did twice and it still took 4+ weeks to even sort of get over it).

Prior to the illness (we just call it the illness now-ha),  I had tried to limit my Target trips, so I would stop buying “all the things” at Target.  They have so much cute and it just gets out of control, you know? So of course, once I was feeling better, I wanted to go to Target.  And of course, there was a ton of cute!

The first thing that caught my eye was the Sugarfix by Baublebar earring display.  It looked so springy and bright, just what this miserable cold weather needs!

I love regular Baublebar and the Sugarfix for Baublebar version at Target is so identical to it and for so much less money and instant gratification, what’s not to like?

Here’s a closer look at the Spring stuff.  Gah!  So cute!  I ended up buying a pair from the third row down.  I had been eyeing a similar pair at Baublebar and for $12.99, I was much more comfortable taking a chance.  I like that they are really lightweight.  I hate wearing super heavy earrings.

I also found a display of sale earrings.  These were marked down to $10 which is a great price for two sets!  They look so very similar to the regular Baublebar!  I’ve eyed up those triple ball earrings a couple times but never pulled the trigger because I wasn’t sure they were me.  I did end up buying the gray and gold set on the lower left.  I couldn’t pass it up at that price.  They are actually pretty cute on and again, super lightweight.  I would have jumped at the tassel earrings at $10 but I already have the original Baublebar version.

My next find probably wasn’t as exciting to most of you as it was to me.  I have been looking for new canisters for my kitchen for the last couple months and nothing was really jazzing me.  I wanted something pretty classic and either clear or white with a lid that formed a seal.  I was either striking out or they were just too much money for me to feel comfortable with.  I had looked at Target before, but hadn’t seen anything I liked.  This weekend, though, I wandered down the aisle again and found exactly what I wanted!

Heritage Hill Glass Jar

These Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill Glass Jars were perfect!  They ranged in size from ginormous to a regular flour/sugar size and then a smaller one to use for coffee/tea.  If you are a crazy shopper like me, you may realize that Crate and Barrel has the same line.  Take a look here.

Llama Salt and Pepper Shakers

So llama’s are everywhere right now and I am here for them.  I saw these llama salt and pepper shakers (the pepper one is gray) and had to have them.  For $2.99 a piece they were a pretty cheap indulgence.

What have you seen lately at Target?  Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Christmas Bucket List

I know, I know, I am a bit late with this idea, but I’ve had so much craziness going on, I haven’t had time to type it up and you don’t want to have to try and read my handwritten list of these ideas!

I absolutely hate to waste a vacation day and since I tend to hoard my days until the end of the year, I have a couple to take this month.  I wanted to come up with some ideas of activities I could do with my husband, family or friends on those days.  Most of these I’ve done at various times of my life, but listing them all out in one place makes it easy to pick one when the mood strikes and helps me remember to celebrate the season! Plus, I figure listing them all out, will make it way more likely my husband will pick one he wants to do!

If unlike my husband, you like to do things on the spur of the moment, you could write them each on a slip of paper and pull one out of a jar for a spontaneous outing!  Since I got such a late start, I am only listing ten, but if you have more ideas, let me know in the comments!

Christmas Bucket List

  1.  Make an ornament
  2. Take a drive to look at Christmas lights and be sure to pick up hot chocolate on the way!
  3. Hold a Christmas movie marathon in your pajamas (Here’s a list of my fave grown up ones)
  4. Make fudge or rock candy
  5. Donate toys to a local toy drive or buy for a family in need
  6. Host a cookie party where everyone goes home with a dozen of each guests special favorites
  7. Cut paper snowflakes out
  8. Go see the Nutcracker
  9. Make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and fight over the one with the most icing
  10. Figure out your New Year’s plans ahead of time

 

 

 

Must Have Monday

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Mine was relaxing with a ton of Starbucks and Gilmore Girls marathoning and a dose of shopping.  I’ve never been a middle of the night Black Friday shopper.  Having worked retail in the past, I always feel bad for anyone who has to leave their family on Thanksgiving to go open a store, so I try not to shop until mid day on Friday.

Did you notice how many stores had their Black Friday sales start earlier in the week?  I swear every other email was another early Black Friday notice.  I was definitely on board for that!

I bought a few things online and I did venture out later on Friday and then again on Saturday for a few quick gifts.  I don’t even know why I bothered, I should have just shopped online for everything!  It wasn’t the crowds, it was more a woefully under staffed Macy’s that was annoying.

I did find a couple things I consider Must Have’s and am sharing today!

Voluspa Goji Tarroco Orange Candle

First up is this beautiful candle I found at a local gift shop (Gifted Hands for those of you that are local to Pittsburgh).  Though Voluspa can be found online at Nordstrom and a lot of other retailers.  I loved the red glass container (it looks slightly orange in the photo above but in person it is a really rich red) and can’t wait to use it once the candle is used up.   The note I notice the most from this one is the orange.  It has a great throw and you can definitely smell it throughout the house.  The red glass looks gorgeous at night when lit!

 

Alpaca Pajama Bottoms

One of the sales I hit up this weekend was the Lane Bryant 40% off everything sale.  I grabbed these Alpaca pajama pants.  I am definitely seeing Alpaca’s everywhere this Christmas!  These are super comfy and I am actually wearing them as I type this!

 

Halo Top Ice Cream

Every dieter’s fave, Halo Top Ice Cream!  It used to be sorta hard to find, but it is literally in every grocery store now.  I even found it in my small home town grocer.  My freezer currently has Cinnamon Roll and Peanut Butter Cup.  Available in a million flavors, it is perfect to hit that sweet craving when you are trying to cut calories.  The entire pint is less than 300 calories (varies depending on flavor) and is definitely the best low cal ice cream I’ve encountered.

What did you pick up during Black Friday weekend? Any must have’s? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Must Have Monday

I’ve been away from the blog for awhile now and have got a stockpile of things I’ve tried out and loved, so I thought I’d start off with a new series called Must Have Monday.   Let’s get started right away!

First off, the most delightful find of the season so far!  I’ve tried both the Dark Chocolaty Sea Salt and White Chocolatier Peppermint flavors and both are delicious.  There’s also a sugar cookie version, but I can’t speak personally for that one (though I am sure it is just as great).

For those of you that are local to Pittsburgh, I even like them even better than Pittsburgh Popcorn (shhhh!don’t tell!)  I really like Pittsburgh Popcorn and buy it all the time, but sometimes I find their chocolate mixes a bit overwhelming, meaning they clump together in giant clumps which are hard to eat.  This brand doesn’t do that giant clumping thing and I find it much easier to limit how much of it I eat.

They are a perfect answer to that sweet and salty craving.  Super easy to just throw in a cute bowl and on your holiday party table to make it look like you made an effort ! Go ahead and tell people you made them yourself off a Pinterest pin. 🙂

I found them locally at Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh, but they are also available online.  Get thee to the grocery store stat people!!

I picked up this set of 3 stud earrings a couple weeks ago at Nordstrom locally and have worn all of them ever since.  I wanted some studs that weren’t your typical and these definitely fit the bill.  I bought gold, but you can find them in a rose gold and silver (along with the gold) online.  They would make a really cute Christmas present and you could even split them up for gift giving!  Check them out here!

I’m loving all the “fancy” sweatshirts out right now and couldn’t wait to pick up a couple for the Fall/Winter. This isn’t the greatest photo of it, but this shirt from Lane Bryant is all kinds of adorbs!

It’s got bell sleeves and a black tie ribbon detail on the shoulders.  It’s not quite a sweatshirt, but heavier than a regular top.  Really cute with black skinny jeans!  I love how it’s both comfy and a little bit special at the same time.  It’s in heavy rotation for my weekend wear!  Check it out online here or in store.

I’d love to hear about your latest must have’s in the comments!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Everything!

 

Sorry for my prolonged absence from the blog, but I’ve had a ridiculous amount of stuff going on in my life the past few months.  I hope to have some more time in the near future to blog, but most likely I won’t be back to regular blogging until November.  I appreciate each and everyone of you that has been checking in over the past couple months to see any updates!  I promise, more to come on what’s been going on in the future! (Some BIG things)

In the meantime, it’s pumpkin spice season and I can’t let it pass without blogging about it!  I broke out my Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice tshirt last week while enjoying my fifth pumpkin spice Starbucks of the season and realized when someone asked me where I got it, that the company who made mine went out of business.  🙁

I decided to check out Etsy to see if anyone else sold a similar one and found an amazing amount of PS inspired stuff.  There are tons of tees, but I also found a lot of other stuff.  I thought I would put together a quick round up of my faves for everyone.


Basic AF Mug

How hilariously appropriate is this mug?  I absolutely need this one!  I might be basic, but I don’t care cause pumpkin spice is freaking delicious!!

 

Pumpkin Spice Socks
These socks crack me up!  I definitely need these for around the house.  Perfect thing to pair with a Starbucks gift card.

Pumpkin Spice Girl Tote

How cute is this tote for Fall?  Easy to tuck into a care package for your fave college student to use around campus.

Pumpkin Spice Tee

If you are like me and can’t say no to a PS, this is the shirt for you!

 

Pumpkin Spice Card

The perfect card to include with any gift this Fall!  And the shop (LilyandVal) is based in Pittsburgh, my hometown!  Even better!

Want to see the rest of my picks?  Check out my Pumpkin Spice Pinterest board here!

Thanks again for checking out the blog and I promise lots more to come soon!!