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Major Black Friday Deal on Hoover Rogue!

We received a Hoover Rogue to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

love to scour the ads before Thanksgiving to see what Black Friday deals will be available each year. Even though we look online ahead of time, my husband and I still always buy the Thanksgiving Day newspaper so we can look through the ads there, too, and plan out what bargains we want to buy.

This year Hoover is offering a $200 DISCOUNT on their smart vacuum, the Hoover Rogue. This great deal is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday). As a family of five with three pets (one of whom sheds enough fur to make a new dog each month) we feel like we are constantly needing to vacuum. We’ve loved the idea of a robot vacuum for a long time – and now that we’ve tried the Rogue I can tell you they are totally a lifesaver.

The Rogue’s a little different than some other robot vacuums out there. It travels around the house and memorizes your floor plan, creating a map for itself. We watched on the Hoover iPhone app as it worked (and you’ll notice at the top of the screen shot we named our Rogue Wall-E!) For our first run we just had it do the main living areas and not any of the bedrooms or bathrooms and it was cool watching the app to see as the floor plan developed on screen.

Many other robot vacuums have a bump-and-go technology. This means the unit navigates by changing direction as it bumps into obstacles. With the Hoover Rogue’s Robart™ Memory Navigation Technology it allows it to actually follow a path and get a really comprehensive cleaning done.  And with the app we can watch the progress to see as it cleans each area of our house.

  

The Rogue has a dock and it will take itself back to its home base whenever it needs to charge or is finished vacuuming. We put ours in the living room for now but may move it elsewhere – you could use any location that is out of the way, has access to an outlet, and works well for your day-to-day life.

Another thing I love about the Rogue is the SmartWall™ technology. This means we can go in to the app and block certain areas (maybe we don’t want the master bedroom vacuumed this time, or you don’t want it to go around your dog’s water dish, for instance). And if you use Amazon Alexa or Google Home you can actually give vocal commands!

The Rogue is Wi-Fi connected so you can be out at lunch and start it up via the iPhone app – and as I mentioned above, you can check progress to see when it’s done, meaning you can time your errands to get back to nice clean floors!

And don’t forget – like I mentioned above, the Rogue smart robot vacuum is $499 normally… but is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday)!

Reclaimed Wood Bar Feature Wall

We received wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com to facilitate our project & review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Last week I posted about our bathroom makeover with the gorgeous reclaimed wood feature wall. And we already have another wood wall on the other side of our house near the master bathroom. We just love the texture, tones, and depth reclaimed wood provides. When we decided to do the bathroom wall, we thought it’d be great to add some character to our kitchen bar by cladding it with wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com as well.

We laid out the wood on the floor in front of the wall, making sure no seams lined up (our lab Sally was our moral support). Brian cut the pieces as needed before we got started installing so we could keep the process streamlined.

We love the wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com. The back is planed so it’s nice and flat, perfect for installation.

We used the same quick-grab adhesive, making the installation super easy!

E made sure Brian was doing it correctly.

In a few places where the wood bowed out just a bit Brian added finishing nails to help hold the wood in place while the adhesive fully set up. You can’t even see them unless you’re looking for them!

Doesn’t it look great? It made a huge difference in the feel of our house since it’s in such an open part of the house. The rustic wood and modern bar stools make for a nice pairing, with the white really popping against the wood. We love it!

 

DIY Bathroom Makeover With a Gorgeous Reclaimed Wood Wall

We received wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com to facilitate our project & review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

We love our house, but we knew when we moved in that we’d want to inject our personality into the decor. We’ve done that slowly but surely throughout the house, and our latest makeover recipient was the guest bathroom. Y’all, this is now my FAVORITE room in the house!

Here’s the space before. Fine, but bland.

I knew I wanted to add some color and texture to the room, so we decided to go with a favorite product of ours – reclaimed wood. Instead of leaving it natural like we did with our last wood project I decided to whitewash some pieces and add a pop of teal to others (I LOVE teal – you’ll find it all throughout our house).

We got our wood from ReclaimedLumberProducts.com. They have several types of wood to choose from but we went with the oak blend. I love the variety of tones it provides.

The first thing we did was plan out the wall on our garage floor. We laid the wood pieces out, figuring out where seams were so we didn’t have any lining up, and tried to mix light and dark pieces evenly throughout the rows.

Once we had a basic plan we used a straight-edge to draw our cut lines along all the boards, and then got to work trimming everything to fit the dimensions of the wall.

Next was the part I was most nervous about – adding the color! For both the white and teal colors I just thinned out paint we already had on hand with equal parts water. The teal is Sherwin Williams paint from Lowe’s for the Tiffany blue color – it’s called Refresh (SW6751). The white is actually an off-white color that is used on all the trim and interior doors in our home.

I took a lot of time applying the paint only because I was really nervous about putting too much on! For each piece I did 5-6 rounds of painting, waiting a few seconds, and wiping most of it off with a paper towel. You can see in the photo below how opaque the paint was (even with it being thinned so much) – I knew I wanted a very transparent color so the wood grain still shined through.

It really helped having the wall laid out in the garage. I changed my mind in a couple of instances about where to add teal or white pieces throughout the process.

Because of our prep work, installing the wall was SUPER easy. We just worked from the bottom up, bringing in a few rows of wood at a time.

We used this instant-grab adhesive which made for an incredibly quick installation. (Side note: If you’re thinking you might remove the wood down the line you could always screw a piece of MDF to the wall and install the reclaimed wood on that, or you could use nails in each piece of wood, but we plan to keep our walls long-term and felt good about using this process). 

Here’s the wall in its beginning stages:

And here’s Brian working on getting the last piece installed – there’s nothing like discovering that your ceiling isn’t quite level! Brian had to do some creative trimming and sanding on one end of the top board to get it to fit.

One note – since this is wood reclaimed from barns, some pieces have holes. I used a small paint brush (one that came with the kids’ watercolor set, actually!) to go in and paint black  on the wall that showed through any holes.

And here’s the beautiful finished product!

We seriously ADORE it. We got inspired to do a few other updates in the bathroom too – we changed out the light fixture to a new mason jar-style light (side note – isn’t the wall art great? It’s an old collapsible basket we got from Brian’s grandaddy.):

We added a shelf above the toilet and filled it with white hand towels:

And we updated the pieces on the shelf we already had in the room:

If you’re looking for a way to make a huge impact on your room, reclaimed lumber is the way to go. Whether you leave it as it is, stain it, or paint it, you’ll be able to add texture and depth to your space – and it’s a great project for virtually any skill level! Be sure and check out ReclaimedLumberProducts.com to see all the wall, floor, and even door options they offer. Their products are top notch quality and their customer service is amazing. We’re so happy we went this route for making our guest bathroom into a serene space.

A Guide to Reverse Mortgages

Sponsored Guest Post

A Guide for New Reverse Mortgage Applicants

As you get older, it’s likely that your savings is going to get smaller, especially when you retire and are on a fixed income. At the same time, many of your expenses might get higher. Your medical bills might to stack up, or your long-time home may suddenly need a lot of maintenance all at once. Even if none of that is true, you may still want to make your financial future and your family’s more secure. One tool that can help you to accomplish any or all of those goals is a reverse mortgage.

Reverse Mortgages Are Not Standard Home Equity Loans

There is a big difference between a standard home equity loan and a reverse mortgage. When you take out a regular loan on your home, you must pay it back little by little each month. A reverse mortgage, or home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), may actually give you money each month. Alternatively, it may allow you to take out a lump sum of money.

Either way, you get money when you take out a home equity conversion loan, at least at first. The loan will eventually have to be paid off, but generally not until you sell your home or pass away. If you pass away while still living in your home with an outstanding HECM, the remaining balance will be taken out of your estate’s assets.

Why a Reverse Mortgage May be Helpful to You

Now you know what a reverse mortgage is, but what’s a reverse-mortgage actually useful for? Well, the main reason why a loan that converts your home’s equity into immediate money may be useful to you is that it’s almost impossible to default on the loan. You won’t owe any money until you die or move out of the home. Therefore, your home cannot be repossessed for no reason due to non-payment. It’s a loan option that offers a certain amount of financial and residential stability for you.

This sort of loan option is also great because you have the flexibility to use the money for almost any purpose that you can think of. Are you up to your ears in medical bills? Do you just want to set up some investments to make your retirement a little easier? Whatever your goal is, a reverse mortgage can help.

The Type of Borrower That Lenders Look For

Keep in mind that HECM lenders usually look for borrowers who own their own homes outright. If you already have another mortgage, it will probably need to be paid off in full before you can get a reverse mortgage. Also, it helps if your home is worth a fairly good amount of money. Inexpensive homes have very low equity, which means that there isn’t enough to borrow against. It’s also worth noting that reverse mortgages are usually targeted to those who are elderly. If you happen to be under the age of 62, you won’t qualify.

The Downside of Reverse Mortgages

The downside of a loan that is based on converted home equity is that the home will eventually be sold. Either you will sell it yourself or it will be sold when you pass away and the loan comes due. At that time, any money made from the sale has to be put toward paying back the loan. While there may be some money left, it won’t be as much as you or your family might like. So, that is definitely something to discuss with your family before you fill out the loan application.

CanvasPop Provides Quality Custom Canvases

We received a custom canvas to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Brian and I completed a BIG project this summer – a huge custom built-in bookshelf in our living room. We filled many of the shelves with books, but there are some larger areas that are intended to display art. These areas are unique sizes, so finding pieces to fit just right can definitely be a challenge.

I knew right away that I wanted a photo canvas for one of the spots, and I found out that CanvasPop could provide truly custom dimensions, allowing the canvas to fit perfectly within the shelves, with a 2″ margin on all sides. We love it!

CanvasPop-Canvas-Shelf

The shelves of our built-in are a little less than 4″ deep so they can hold books but not stick out too far into the space. If we got a thin photo canvas, it might look a little too recessed, so this was something I was concerned about – until I went to place our order. CanvasPop offers a 2.5″ depth, which really gives a high-end feel.

Our canvas was hand-crafted, as evidenced by the seal placed on the back:

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Five Tips for Getting Your House Move-In Ready – Plus a Free Printable!

Acorn Disclosure

I can still vividly remember what it felt like packing up our first home to get ready for our move. There is SO much to do when you’re getting ready to move out of a place, and SO much to do when you’re moving in, too. It’s a thrilling time, but it can be pretty exhausting, too.

My friend Bailey and her husband bought their first house recently, and it was a lot of fun seeing pics of her new place and hearing about all their plans for the various rooms. Isn’t their house great? I love the big tree in the front yard!

NewHome_Bailey

If you’re about to be moving into a new house, whether it’s your first or your tenth, there are things you can do to make the space feel like yours and really be move-in ready. Getting everything thoroughly clean is the biggest step, and I’ve got five tips for you that’ll really help your home feel fresh, clean, and most importantly, like yours.

  1. Wipe down all the surfaces in your house. Your counters, of course – but go ahead and wipe down your mantel, your window sills, and the insides of your cabinets and drawers while you’re at it.
    What you’ll need: You can make a great DIY cleaner using vinegar, dish soap and water, and you’ll want to have plenty of paper towels on hand. We love Bounty Select-a-Size – then we can use as much or as little as we need, and they’re extra absorbent.
    BountyPaperTowels
  2. Go ahead and wash all your curtains before you hang them. Whether they’re new or are being transferred from your old house, it’s worth it to have fresh, clean curtains hanging from your windows, free of wrinkles or folds from store packaging.
    What you’ll need: A washer and dryer, of course, and good detergent. Tide Pods make it super easy – we love them because we just have to toss one in and it cleans, brightens fabric and removes stains.
    TidePods
  3. Get the floors sparkling. I like to do a preliminary mopping before anything is moved in, focusing on places furniture will be placed to get them clean beforehand. After everything is in place and all the trekking in and out of the house is done, do another good mopping session.
    What you’ll need: A mop and cleaning solution. My fave? The Swiffer WetJet. It’s easy to use, and it traps and locks dirt so it doesn’t get pushed around on your floor.
    SwifferWetJet
  4. Refresh the air. If the house has sat empty for a long time, it might be a little musty. Or if you’ve had a crew of sweaty friends helping you move, you might want to clear that odor out of your new home, too. Open up the windows, let a nice breeze blow through, and then take the added step of making things smell great, too.
    What you’ll need: Find a good air refresher to get the job done. Unstopables Air Refresher infuses the air in your home with a boutique-worthy fragrance, giving an airy undertone that lasts for up to 6 hours.
    Unstopables
  5.  Stock up on essentials. Get hand soap for all the sinks, dish soap and detergent for the kitchen. Buy your food basics for your pantry and fridge/freezer, and don’t forget the most crucial essential – toilet paper. You do not want to be without that!
    What you’ll need: With this tip, you’ll need to make a list of the various things you use most, but I think we can all agree that toilet paper will make that list. We like Charmin Ultra Strong – it’s 2-ply and allows you to use less than other leading toilet papers.Charmin_ToiletPaper

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Give Your Office Space Style with Martha Stewart

This is a partnered post with Martha Stewart. All opinions are honest and my own.

Y’all. Don’t judge.

This was my home office space a few weeks ago. I managed, but as you can see my desk was cluttered and not the most appealing place to get work done. It had good bones, but it was calling out for a makeover.

Before-Office-MarthaStewart

The workspace is in our master bedroom, and giving it a facelift was the first step in giving our whole room an update (stay tuned for more posts to see our progress)!

Martha Stewart has a line of products available at Staples, and the moment I saw the collection I was absolutely in love.

MarthaStewart_Items

Even just looking at the thumbnails of various setup options you can see these are colorful and striking pieces that create a graphic and bold impact no matter which way you arrange them. I love (like love) teal, and was excited to add some of the color to my workspace.

MarthaStewart-Binders

Check out these great filesfolders, and binders. I can keep my work stuff separate from blogging and freelance materials, and thanks to the great bookplates, I can easily see at a glance where to find anything I need. I love the metal accent – it provides a great high-end look.

MarthaStewart-Notebook

And oh my word, the Discbound customizable notebook is practically made for me. Like I mentioned earlier, the teal color speaks to my organizing heart. And the dividers you can add make it easy to set the notebook up just how you want it.

MarthaStewart-Notebook-Inserts

It’s so easy to change things out. And friends, there are pockets so I can have everything I need right at my fingertips. Perfect for work lists, for home lists, for grocery lists.. for anything I need to jot down. It’s a must-have.

MarthaStewart-Organizer

MarthaStewart-Drawer

This organizer is another favorite. The way I have this set up actually combines three pieces in the Stack+Fit line: the desk organizer, inbox with drawer, and small item holder. There are great compartments for pents, paper, paperclips and more.

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Gourmesso Coffee – Affordable Espresso at Home

My husband loves espresso. When we go to the coffee shop, he gets two shots of espresso put in his coffee. Of course, the drink costs him nearly $5 each time we go!

There are alternatives to coffee shop espresso that are great for home use, like Nespresso machines. We were really excited to get one for our home, because that meant Brian could have espresso whenever he wanted (and it’s great to be able to offer espresso to your guests when entertaining)!

The capsules that come with the machines, though, can still be somewhat pricy. Cheaper than the coffee shop, of course, but the frugal person in me would like to save as much as possible without sacrificing quality.

That’s where Gourmesso comes in. Their capsules are available from just 45 cents each, and they’re compatible for Nespresso machines. The Gourmesso capsules are pictured in the front below next to a Nespresso capsule – you can see they’re the same size & shape.

Gourmesso-Pods-Nespresso-Pods

Did I mention they’re fair trade, too?

We tried out five different flavors:

Gourmesso-Flavors

The flavors are rated on a scale of 1-10 to show how bold/strong they are:

Gourmesso-Coffee-Varieties

Since Brian likes really strong coffee, the etiopia blend forte is perfect for him. My mother-in-law is visiting this week, though, and the decaf perú dolce was perfect to make for her. Let me show you how easy it is! Just load your machine with water (we keep ours full so the machine is ready to go whenever we need it), and then place your capsule in, then close the handle and select your size.

Gourmesso_Pod-Machine

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How to Increase the Value of Your Home

If you’ve saved up money to invest in your home, you might be wondering: where’s the best place to spend your money to get the best return in terms of the value of your home?
There are a number of areas that can significantly increase the value of your home. Where you spend your money will depend on what how updated your home is in various areas, and, of course, your budget.

The Kitchen

If there is one room that should be shipshape and looking sharp in order for the best value, then it’s the kitchen. For many, it is the heart of the home. It’s where we cook, where we eat, where we do homework, watch television or have parties. So, the better it looks, and the more “mod cons” – modern conversions – it has, the better.
There are a number of points to consider when it comes to the design of your kitchen including the kitchen triangle; if you haven’t heard of the triangle, it’s where the sink, the fridge and the stove are all within easy reach of each other. Install up-to-date equipment, but make sure that the kitchen matches the price bracket of the house. A new kitchen could add up to 4-5% on to the value of your home.

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Make Mornings Easier

Our mornings are always busy. Between getting the kids ready, making lunches, taking the dogs out, making breakfast, and finally getting ourselves ready, we end up rushing around most weekdays. We’ve talked about shifting tasks around so that there’s less to do in the morning, and here are some great ideas for things you can do to make your mornings less stressful – we’ll be trying some of them ourselves!

Check out What to Do in the Evenings to Make Your Mornings Easier

by Tend Editor at Mode

When We Needed Extra

I have, over the years, developed a love for traveling with minimal baggage. I used to over-pack for trips, thinking of every possible thing I might need while away. Now, though, I pack the bare minimum. This is largely because I know we’ll also have luggage for four other people in our vehicle, and because I know that whatever I pack will eventually have to be unpacked upon our return home.

There’s one exception to this rule, though: supplies for cleaning up. Napkins, towels, wipes… we’re prepared, folks. And it’s not just because I was a girl scout. It’s because we learned from our experience. From our oh-so-unpleasant, toddler-puking-all-over-dad-in-the-middle-of-a-restaurant-and-then-again-in-the-car experience in the middle of a different city, right before we were supposed to get back on the road to head home from a day trip. We had to make not one but two trips to the store to get a bucket, a change of clothes for both my husband and son, paper towels, and trash bags.

There are just certain things, certain necessities, you want to make sure you have extra of – because you definitely don’t want to run out of something crucial when you really need it.

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Three Tips to Decorate Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

When one area of your home starts to look worn-out and outdated, it’s easy for it to make the rest of the house feel outdated, too. Especially when you have kids around, things can get a little “loved” and need replacing. Or if you’re like us, you’re so busy that you don’t decorate much to begin with!

You can resolve this dilemma by redecorating your room with something as simple as its drapes (high end curtains can really make a space feel luxurious!), or as intensive as replacing the flooring; of course, putting in new floors can get expensive really quickly. For those of you on a budget like us, here are some inexpensive ways to add some pizzazz to your humble abode without going beyond your budget. None of these take much time, but each one make an impact on the overall feel of your home.

Artwork_05-15

  1. Artwork. Hanging a painting on a blank wall can add personality and uniqueness to a room. You might think of paintings as being something expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can find great bargain pieces in your local markets or art fairs, and it’s a lot of fun being on the hunt for a great piece to give your room a special flair. Unlike buying art from department stores, you can find a wider variety of art if you expand your search. And if you want to spend even less, you can also create art with your children. Not only can it make your place look splendid, but it’ll give them a sense of pride to see their art hanging on the walls. You can do something as simple as giving them paint and a canvas, or you can always look on Pinterest for more specific ideas that fit your taste.

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