15 April 2014

Pin It To Win It With Cozi

*Disclaimer: This is not a compensated post.  However, should you participate, I will be compensated per entry, via the clickable link below.  

I blog a lot about DIY projects and spending time in the kitchen trying out new recipes.  Things I am pretty passionate about.  What I don't mention very often on the blog is my "behind the scenes" time as a mom.

Blogging is a lot of work, on top of everything else I do as Super Woman a mom.  In trying to tackle all the things on my to-do list every day, my responsibilities "behind-the-scenes" account for a lot of my time.

How do I keep track?  

I don't think there is a mom out there who would disagree on having a never-ending to-do list with raising a family.

Being a mom is a tough job!

We cook.  Clean.  Do the shopping.  Praise.  Chauffeur.  Referee.  Comfort.  Dry tears and bandage boo-boos.  We don't always get showers.  Our outfits are as simple as yoga pants and a tee.  We eat last, when our food is cold.  Sometimes we stand while doing it.  Treasured moments are being alone in the bathroom with the doors shut.  We multi-task like nobody's business.  Some of us run on caffeine.  

And, we remember everything.  

Taking mental notes on the fly, where there may not be enough capacity inside our brains.  Not only do I have to remember all things kids, but everything that Big D is supposed to remember as well.

That's where Cozi comes into my life.

Cozi is pretty much your virtual memo board.  It's really nice to have the ability to brain dump all of that information into one place.  The calendar is super helpful.  There is even a separate calendar for birthdays, and other features like the journal.

My favorite thing about Cozi is that I can customize it.  I can choose which family members will receive the calendar reminders too.    Their site is user-friendly, and mobile.  I use it on my desk top as well as my phone.

Guess what other awesome thing Cozi is doing?  In honor of Mother's Day, Cozi is giving moms a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

It is so super simple to enter.

All you have to do is follow Cozi on Pinterest, and pin something from their board.

Click me! Oh click ME!!! and head on over to "Pin It To Win It: Ultimate Mother's Day" for your chance to win.

Now go get your pin on!
(I told you that would be easy, didn't I?)

11 April 2014

Latest Thrifty Haul

Whenever I need something for a project, the thrift stores are the first place I check.  There's always something I'm bound to find a use for.     

I went to a Goodwill store in search of a black sheet.  I need one as a photo prop so that I can test out a photography tip that I found. 

No black sheets, but...

It didn't keep me from walking out empty-handed.  I acquired a gray sheet and a red decorative throw pillow.  It's actually quite heavy; more like a heaving pillow.

The best kind of hauls are the ones that are unplanned.

A couple other things I happened to aquire...

This decorative wall hanging board with fruit stenciled onto it gave me a few good ideas.  I'm thinking maybe I could sand it down, clean it up, repaint, then put my own patterned stencil on this.  Maybe some chalk board paint, or mod podge some pretty paper...  I bought some outdoor acrylic paint, which is what I suspect one would use for bird houses and signs.  I don't know, really.  This is new territory for a spray painter like me.

Eventually it will hang on my front door, maybe pair it with a wreath. 

Now this other piece is kind of unique.  I guess it is supposed to be hung near a phone, and it's like a message station.  I doubt it would get any use near the only plugged in phone in our house. (Does anyone even use landlines?!)  

I really like the little drawer.  The sides of the drawer are a little loose, but a few panel nails would secure it.  The knob - not sure if this is a keeper.  I like the seashell knob, but I don't have a seashell theme....I think I may have just gotten out of the small creative rut for this piece.  It's going to be fun!

As well as great minds can think alike, it so happened that my best friend wanted to head into The Venue and meander through the "aisles" last weekend.  This is a straight up furniture and decor store of things that had new life breathed into them.  I loved every minute I was in there.  I have another post I will share on this later though.  So many pretty things!

I have to show off at least one of my favorite pieces from the Venue.  I ended up coming home with these fun pieces to commemorate our first visit.
They are old doors to something.  Reminds me of a chicken coop.  Only one has chicken wire.  I have a really good idea for these, and I cannot wait to get started!

How about you?  Find anything good lately?

08 April 2014

Cheap Pom-Pom Wall Art

Fun quick and easy craft projects make my heart go pitter-patter.  I'm constantly tasking myself with much bigger projects, like painting furniture.  Being able to accomplish a project in just a few hours is a nice change to the norm.  And the best news of all: I finally hung that second picture ledge just so I could display my new frame.

I happened to be on Facebook one day, and I came across this cute definition of Mom on Joy of Mom's Facebook page.

It was too cute to pass up.  I printed it out, ripping around the edge of the print, for effect.  Yes, I left the Joy of Mom icon on it, not even bothering to cover it up.  It's a good reminder of where I found this print.  And that there's joy in motherhood, even when we are feeling a bit frazzled.
Anyway, I had these frames from Walmart.  We bought them several years ago, and reluctantly kept them around.  They still had plastic on them when I pulled them out!  (One was broken and met a different fate.)  They are the cheap glass certificate frames, in a barely-there black frame.  It was pretty plain.  And sad, crying out "please decorate me and give me new life!"  How could I not?

I thought "I'm going to slap some paint on you, and decorate your edge up a bit."  

I chose a gray acrylic and did a couple of coats over the glass.  I think it looks so much better than leaving it as it was.

While it dried, I was left to brainstorm ideas on how I would decorate the rest of the frame.

Washi tape was out of the question, because it wouldn't be seen if you looked at it head on.  And...well, I'm particular and I wanted to be able to admire the pretty washi tape from any angle.  

Instead, I had these pom-poms from (you guessed it) the Dollar Tree.  I fired up my glue gun and attached the pom-poms, one at a time.  I literally zipped through this part. 

I stood back to admire it.  It was 110% better already. 

Now for the paper layout.  I went with what I had on hand.  I have been wanting to use these pretty printed papers.  

(Oh I do love pretty papers!)

I thought that keeping them centered and upright was boring.  I rotated one square, then took my brush and Mod Podge, and applied it directly to the paper.  I let it dry just a bit before laying the paper down onto the painted glass.  That's the best way I know how to avoid bubbling up and wrinkling.  It cannot be too wet.

I did the same with the other papers, placing them at angles.  
Even more proud was I, when I sent the final pic off to my best friend.  She thought the same thing I did: this frame idea was totally outside of my decorating comfort zone.

It's loud, compared to what you see around my house, but that's okay!  This frame has a new home atop that picture ledge in the hallway, to be admired by all.  Also as a reminder that I am really Super Woman hiding under the facade of yoga pants, t-shirt, and messy hair.

What do you think of the new life I gave to this frame?

I linked up here:

07 April 2014

10 Favorite Things About Being A Blogger

I started blogging back in January of 2011, and writing that first post was the hardest thing I've ever done as a blogger.  When I hit publish, I guess I expected to get a crazy amount of hits.  Honestly, I thought I was going to cook and bake my way up to the major leagues of blogging.  Don't things happen fast on the internet???

And... all I heard was crickets.

I am laughing now.   

Who would have thought that there was more to blogging than writing beautiful posts and hitting Publish?  

Since 2011, I have been trying my best to be more diligent with posting content on here.  EMT school got in the way of my path to stardom.  Then having Baby L last May was a pretty good reason for taking a short hiatus.

Come to find out, baking and cooking weren't enough for me either.  I realized I wanted to document more than just my errant ways in the kitchen.  (Okay, not everything gets burned.)  I happen to have several passions and they have taken over my blog, dining room table, back porch, and shed.  Needless to say, the focus of my blog has changed a bit.

Back up and running strong since August of last year, I have learned way more in the past 7 months than I have since I began.  I participated in my first blog-hop and link-up, connected with more bloggers, and watched my blog grow exponentially.  It's been a crazy fun ride. 

(Remind me to tell my 2011 self to research more)

Endlessly BeLoved

I'm linking up over at Endlessly Beloved with my top 10 favorite things about being a blogger.  So let's get on with my list!

1.  Graphic Design & Photo Editing
I really enjoy spending time creating images and editing photos for my blog.  I think it's a lot of fun!  It helps to make a blog post more creative, and more me.  I have tons to learn, I'm sure. (Like how to create an image for my Youtube videos)   

2.  Photography
Ever since I got my camera last year for my birthday, I have been wanting to use it more.  Since I did a major jump start on my blog in August, that is exactly what I've been doing.  I take my own photos 95% of the time, and I edit them myself.  I really enjoy taking my camera everywhere and taking pictures of random things.  I never know when I may need a certain image, so I have quite a collection.  I am so happy with all that I am learning about photography too.  I'm pushing myself to learn little by little with The Photo Ladies challenge, found here. Blogging is actually making me a better photographer.  Winning!

3.  "Meeting" People
I wish this was happening in real life, given the small town that I live in.  But honestly, I'm quite content meeting people in the blogging world too.  I have a few handfuls of blogging friends whom I wouldn't mind meeting in real life, but in the meantime I'm okay with chatting and visiting each other's blogs, and catching up on social media.  Hey to all of my blogging peeps!  Virtual high-five!
4.  Inspiration
I love seeing all of the things my fellow bloggers are accomplishing.  Attending their first conference, overcoming obstacles, moving to their own website...and of course all of the neat things they are making and creating for their blogs.  I watch nearly every "how-to" tutorial on blogs and on Pinterest.  There are a lot of things I have learned through blogging tutorials especially.  It's inspiring.  They have really helped me out. Also, connecting with other bloggers is great.  Their encouragement and support through comments is awesome.  I'm becoming a better blogger right alongside my peers out there.

5.  Opening up a whole new world to me
I consider myself a late bloomer.  Before I started a blog, I didn't realize how big of a community blogging would be.  I thought "Man, how am I going to get my blog noticed?"  Personally, I thought people just stumbled upon blogs, somehow.  Silly, huh?  (I am imagining blogs as floating plastic ducks in a tub, waiting to be noticed...) I felt like I was blogging inside a vacuum, because I had no clue outside of writing posts.  It felt lonely.  Eventually, 2 1/2 years later my eyes were opened.  I'm enjoying all of the company out there.  It's just awesome!

6.  Considering Working At Home
I never ever thought I would ever be interested in staying at home to work.  Actually, I think I may have specifically said "I am not the stay-at-home type" once I got out of the military.  I was determined to finish school, go back into the work force, have a 9-5.  Well, just recently I began to entertain the idea.  It sounds crazy to me, and probably crazier to my family who may be reading this eventually.  I think I want to put all but one of my eggs in this blogging basket and see how far I can take my blog.  It would be awesome to start up an Etsy shop.  I'm sure Big D would appreciate my crafts in someone else's home, instead of cluttering ours up.  (Any advice would be welcome!) 
7.  Love For Writing
English has always been my most favorite subject of all time.  I enjoyed my English classes in both high school and college.  It's my preferred form of expression.  I'm not really an artistic person; at least I don't think so.  But I'd like to think that the way I write is entertaining.  Whenever I sit down to write, I feel like an artist in front of a blank canvas.  I'd be pretty happy as a writer I think.  Maybe one day.

8.  Becoming A Social Media Guru
Let me just be honest here.  I never imagined being on any other social media platforms aside from my personal Facebook page and Instagram.  Google+?  Twitter?!  I dragged my feet on Twitter, people.  Heels dug in the ground, kicking and screaming "Nooo!"  I feel like an old person trying to figure out hashtags, and the etiquette of tweeting and even simply understanding the layout.  Google+ is super easy.  Facebook - I got that!  Twitter still kind of gets on my nerves sometimes, but we are getting along better these days.  I won't quit you, Twitter.  Not yet.
9.  Sharing Bits And Pieces Of Me
As a blogger, I think it's important to share parts of my life.  I'm not an open book, I like to keep some things private.  But for the most part, I'm giving you the best of me in relations to my niche.  (DIY projects, crafts, fitness, food and recipes)  I like to add personal flair to my posts and photos.  I hope that my personality is shining through my words and joking manner, which is what I aim for every time.  Bits and pieces of my life pop up in my posts.  One day, maybe I will give you guys a little more of me, but for now I am comfortable with the boundaries I set.  You just keep enjoying all of the silly pictures I post.

10.  Writing reviews
Call me nerdy or whatever, but I really enjoy writing reviews.  It started on Amazon.  Then I started reviewing local businesses on Yelp.  And when I learned that I could do this on my blog, possibly in exchange for a product or money, I thought "This is awesome!"  (Note: still waiting for the right brand) The one thing I always tell myself about my blog is that I don't want to nor will I review anything on my blog that I wouldn't use in my own home and for my own family.  Other than that, I do love to talk up a good product.

What are 10 reasons you enjoy being a blogger?  


06 April 2014

Liebster Award!

I am proud to announce that my blog has received its first award ever: a Liebster Award!  Heck yeah! 

My nomination comes from Idyllwild Designs.  Thank you so so much!!!  If you have some time, definitely check out this blog.  They have a store opening happening at the end of this month!  I do like vintage items and I can't wait to take a peek.

Anyway, I have seen this award given to other bloggers, but I was never privy to its meaning and origin.
I've visited other bloggers who have tried as well.  The origin of this award is quite elusive

From what I'm gathering, the Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers.  It's a great way to get to know each other, and other bloggers as well.  Fun right?  Who doesn't want to know more about me?

One thing I did learn is that the rules have evolved over time.  The oldest blog post I read had the nominee mentioning 5 other bloggers.  And that was it.

Another post said that you answer 10 questions, and provide 10 questions for the 10 that you nominate.


Anyway, I will play along with the rules that were given to me: 

My Questions from Idyllwild Designs:
- Sailboat or Cruise Ship?
Oh boy, someone hand me a Dramamine.  I have the worst motion sickness in all of humanity. (Read about it here)  I can make myself car sick WHEN I DRIVE.  Easily.  If I must pick though, I would say a cruise ship.  They seem more stable.  Less motion in the ocean.  

- Sky diving or Scuba diving?

I have always wanted to try sky diving!  I'm sure the plane ride would do me in though.

- What is your favorite TV Show?

Right now, I love "Game of Thrones."  I'm not up-to-date on the latest season (which I think is airing now) but it's my way of winding down with Big D once the kids are asleep.

- What time of day are you most productive?

I think that the mornings are my most productive.  I am a morning person by nature.  I welcome my to-do list with open arms.  Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than crossing off items on a list, especially if I can compete it before lunch time.

- When you where a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist or a police woman.  Two very different careers, but that's what is so great about being a kid.  So random.  An artist I can understand, but I honestly don't remember how I came about wanting to become a police officer in the first grade.   

- Vodka, gin, rum or wine?

Wine!  Make it red, please.

- If you have a job other than blogging, What do you do in real life?

I am currently at a fork in the road, needing to make big life decisions about school.  I'd love to make my blog a job though!

- What inspired the name of your blog?

I actually had like 4 different blog names. The previous ones were inspired by baking and cooking.  Because that is not my only niche, I wanted something to represent my other interests.  I'm a self-taught DIY-er, who loves all things crafty and creative.  I create just to create; there is nothing fancy, I'm just having fun.  Still like to bake and cook too, evening everything else out.  So, hence the name Simply D Constructed: There's nothing fancy about it.

- If you were an animal what type of animal would you be?

I have no idea.  A honey badger.  They are fearless.  And they can eat snakes.  (see Honey Badger video

- What is your favorite flavor of cake or cookie?

For cake, I'd have to say vanilla.  Cookie would have to be sugar cookie.  I know that's not a flavor but I absolutely go gaga over homemade sugar cookies.  

- What is the strangest job you’ve ever had?

Telemarketing for a chimney sweeping company.  Our boss was this young guy who tried the dorkiest ways to motivate us to sell their chimney cleaning services.  One time he bribed us with lunch.  There were only two employees: my friend and myself.  I think we applied together.  They ended up closing down soon after I quit.

- If you had one gift to give the world what would it be?

Hmm...my awesome skills in the kitchen.  (so I think)  I'd feed the hungry, one 13x9 pan and crock pot meal at a time.

1.  I can't brush my teeth right away, after the last bite of my meal.
2.  I lived in Costa Rica for 6 weeks, with a family who spoke not one word of English and I spoke not one word of Spanish.  Imagine my troubles.  
El Escape Caribeno

<El Escape Caribeno - a resort where I spent one of my free weekends visiting, on the Caribbean side.

Below is a pic of where I attended school to learn Spanish

3.  I came very close to being lunch meat when I happened upon a Kodiak momma bear and her two cubs, while four-wheeling in Alaska.
4.  I have not put colored nail polish on my nails since before I joined the military, nearly 14 years ago.  I'm a little bit ashamed.  Haha. 

5.  I discovered camels and giraffes in North Carolina. 

6.  I am a firm believer that I will eventually find some use out of the random pictures that I take.



7.  The very first movie I remember going to was An American Tail.
8.  Squishing bugs bigger than a quarter is nearly impossible for me.  Hate to hear the crunch, and I fear it may chase after me should I miss.
9.  I have never watched "Pulp Fiction" all the way through.
10. I love office supplies!
11.  I have 10 tattoos and I can't wait to get more.

I wasn't quite sure how to select nominees based on their following.  There was no proverbial wheel to not reinvent, so I invented one.  

Bloglovin is the site I use to read all of my favorite blogs.  The nominees I selected have less than 200 followers on the site (check them out, give them a follow!)
And now, for my nominees:
My questions for those mentioned are below.  Feel free to include pics!
1.  What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
2.  Favorite pair of shoes?
3.  Ultimate dessert?
4.  What is your favorite post that you have ever written?
5.  Truth or dare?
6.  How did you come up with your blog name?
7.  You're being sent on a surprise vacation with some of your friends, and are told to pack only 3 items.  What do you take and why?
8.  If you could try any sport, what would it be?
9.  What is on your background when you log onto your computer?
10.  Coolest blogger moment of all time?
11.  Biggest pet peeve?

Thanks for reading! 

02 April 2014

Hump Day Confessions #18: Driving Turns Us Into Hypocrites

Today's confession:  I drive therefore I am a hypocrite.

If you drive, then you can relate to this post.  I am willing to bet my last bag of chocolate that you have been either at the giving or receiving end of rude, jerk-like behavior on the road.  Everyone has been in a situation behind the wheel, whether it's a turtle-slow driver ahead of you or maybe a clueless driver unsure of which direction they need to head in.

My theory is that every driver out there is a hypocrite.
I am and I totally admit it. 

I have been refining my driving skills since I was 15.  (Just a few years ago. Haha) I don't claim to be the best at driving. I mean, I am half Asian which should suffice for an explanation.

I'm careful, defensive, cautious, slightly paranoid.

Sometimes a teensy bit arrogant. 

Just the other day, I was put on notice for driving like a jerk.  In those moments I wish I had shown a little more humility.  There's nothing that jars you out of autopilot mode quicker than an offended and fearful turned angry driver.  He laid on his horn, and threw obscenities like kitchen knives in my direction.  What I wanted to do was shrink back into the cushion of my seat.  What a jerk I was!

Had it been the other way, I'd have honked quite a bit, shook my fist at them, called them a butt head, maybe a jerk.  My mean word vocabulary is quite limited, with small children in the truck.

Truth:  There's no bigger hypocrite I know than drivers.
I bet you can relate!  

27 March 2014

Hump Day Confessions #17: Take Off Your Shoes & Stay A While

Today's confession:  Shoes worn in the house freak me out.
If you have visited an Asian's home, you know that your shoes are taken off upon entry.  Asians, (most of them) are sticklers about having shoes worn in their homes.  If you ever drive through your neighborhood and see a porch with shoes lined up on a rug, you can bet your last cup of rice that they're Asian.

Not a bad idea!
Am I stereotyping?  Probably a little. But this is coming from an Asian who grew up taking her shoes off, as a visitor and as person living in her mom's house.  (And eating a lot of rice, ha!)  It's a hard habit to kick, but a good one to keep.  I'd like to think that:
A)  Taking your shoes off is a sign that you feel comfortable in someone's home.  When they ask you to remove your shoes, it is a sign that they find comfort and trust your company well enough to invite you to stay.  (my attempt at interpreting a philosophical purpose in the matter)
B)  You don't want outside business on your floors.  Isn't this just common sense?

Imagine you are at a public restroom.  Then later on you come home and are traipsing all over your house.  Enough said, book closed. Forget about it. Take your shoes off, and throw them away.  (No - just kidding, that's wasting money and we are a bit frugal here.)

I can't help but cringe when I see shoes on someone's feet, inside the house. Big D says that once our youngest is finally off the floor and able to walk, we will wear shoes in the house.  Uummmmmmmm..........it's debatable.

Wearing socks around the house is my thing.  Don't really like to be barefoot, and I am weird about house slippers.  I like my socks clean, and often times will change my socks a couple of times a day.  

OCD much? No, I can still function normally throughout my day.  I may twitch here and there, but we have come a long way.

This brings me to this wonderful product that I purchased a couple of weeks ago at Lowe's.  

I had to call a plumber last week.  Ugh.  When I think of a plumber, I imagine them literally walking into poopy situations.  Those boots go into a person's home, ie mine.  They don't work in their bare feet people!  Those boots cross back and forth all over my floors.  

EEEEEK!  If you aren't "skin-crawling hair-raising" freaked out yet, then maybe the next few details will do it.

The plumber in those boots made a HUGE mess of my bathroom.  I am surprised that there was nothing on the curtains or ceiling.  Seriously.  So he's working in the playroom bathroom, toting in his equipment.  The biggest and strangest being this short wide cylindrical thing on wheels.  An auger?  I don't know, that's why I'm not a plumber.  From what I gather, the hose/line within is inserted into the pipe and sent through the system to the site of the clog.  From there, I imagine little trolls popping out of the end with little hammers and scrub brushes to clean out whatever is clogging up the water works.

I will spare you the rest of the dirty poopy details.  (FYI: the toilet was not fixed at this time)  It was the dirtiest mess I have ever seen (and cleaned).

I did what I could to clean up the bathroom, which was just shy of sterilization.  I knew that if I didn't get my carpet cleaned, I wouldn't be able to sleep so I rented a machine and took care of it.  My carpet was drying when I went to bed, and I was appeased for the night.

Next morning, I had an appointment for these people to come back out and actually fix the problem.  "Oh hell no, they are not walking on my freshly cleaned carpet!!!" 

That was when I decided to take preventative measures to keep the gross factor at a minimum.  I went to Lowe's and bought a professional grade drop-cloth.  Only it was more like the texture of those huge bed pads they use in the hospitals, when your water breaks...yeah? No...?  Alright.

That's a whole lot of amniotic fluid coverage!
I bought two of those bad boys in case a passerby goes into labor and needs a place to push to prevent another carpet-cleaning episode.  It was me, a roll of Duct tape, and this drop cloth.  I went to town taping it onto the carpet, onto my laminate floor in the hallway and right on up to my front door.  

Halfway through, the plumber knocked on the back door.  ('Cause apparently that's how it's done in the South.)  What the-?!  I opened it and told him he could use the front since I taped everything down.  He laughed.  I gave him my best "This Asian is serious" look.
This was their blue carpet runway.  Told them to mind their boundaries.
They handled their business, ensuring to place equipment on the papery drop cloth.  I kept peeking and thinking for sure that I was going to find a tear in the drop cloth.  I was mentally preparing myself, thinking "Oh well we will just buy new carpet..." when they mentioned they were done.  

First chance I got, I went in there and pulled up the drop cloth, carefully so as to not spill a drop should there be one.  I was nervous about feeling the carpet, but I went in like a big girl.  Surprise!  No wetness!  No leaks!  No tears!  This stuff was awesome!

Not sure that I'd want to reuse, in this case.

It really holds up to it's name, especially when they were putting my heavy toilet down on it, and dragging their pipe-trolling machine in and out.

Bottom line: (besides "never wear shoes in an Asian's home")  This drop cloth works.  Even with heavy machinery being dragged across it, the material held up.  It's water-proof too.  Much lighter in weight, compared to a more traditional drop cloth.  Comes in a few different sizes.  Mine looked more like a runner, but I cut it to fit my needs.  And I paid around $15!  Score!

*This is not an affiliated or sponsored post.  Just my opinions in a funny format.