Month : March 2014

spring cleaning!

spring cleaning recipes | lifeinyellow.com

I don’t know who let this lady into our house, or where she came from, but she’s into cleaning lately.

I know. Whaaa??

I chalk it up to a mixture of Spring fever and wanting to get the house feeling fresh for the changing seasons. Plus, having it on the market makes me look at it with new eyes and clean with just a little more vigor. At a moment’s notice, the house has to be sparkling from floor to ceiling for a showing!

I got on a Pinterest kick one night and started researching homemade cleaners using natural products that were cheap to whip up. (Since we seem to be cleaning daily lately, I was not opposed to something with a lower price tag.) I also like the idea of getting away from the chemical stuff, and using something greener.

To start, I stocked up on some microfiber rags, (way cheap at TJ Maxx if you’re looking for some) – rather than going through rolls of paper towels, I like that these have a little more durability to scrub with and I can use them over and over.

spring cleaning recipes | lifeinyellow.com

Then I made a batch of two kinds of cleaners, using the following “ingredients”:

spring cleaning recipes | lifeinyellow.com

Lemon essential oil and Dr. Brommer’s lavender castile soap (I found these at Whole Foods)…

spring cleaning recipes | lifeinyellow.com

…and a jug of distilled water and one of white vinegar.

Then I made my two cleaners. First, an all-purpose cleaner:

spring cleaning recipes | lifeinyellow.com

Fill a spray bottle with distilled water and add a teaspoon of castile soap. Add a few drops of essential oil if you like for added scent oomph! Shake before using. This is great for wiping down cabinets and baseboards, and I used it to clean the inside of our fridge and microwave. It smells SO good!

Then, I made a water and vinegar mix for cleaning our stainless sink and appliances as well as glass surfaces:

spring cleaning recipes | lifeinyellow.com

Half distilled water and half vinegar. And LOTS of essential oil to combat the whiffs of vinegar.

I’m loving the way my house smells (and glistens) lately 🙂 Happy spring (cleaning)!

cleaner eating chocolate chip cookies

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Okay, so I don’t know if chocolate chips are actually considered “clean eating”, but these cookies are made from no more than THREE ingredients, total, and none of them are eggs, butter, or granulated sugar!

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

And did I mention? They’re DELISH! They’re chewy and sweet, and dare I say, almost good for you? The recipe’s so short it fits on a post-it:

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Which is exactly where I jotted it down, after my coworker brought a batch to work a couple weeks ago. Easy peasy!

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Mash your bananas first, so they blend easily with the oats.

three ingredient cookies | lifeinyellow.com

Add the chocolate, and scoop onto a VERY lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake and let them cool for several minutes to firm up … and enjoy!!

complete.

My whole plan for today might revolve around curling up in this lovely thing.

quilt project | lifeinyellow.com

It’s been six years in the making. Yep, six. I set out to make a quilt back in 2008 and bought a sewing machine and some fabric on Etsy. (It’s Amy Butler, for those who have asked!) I did the bulk of the work on it during the months of unemployment and job searching. It’s funny how certain memories are tied to what you were doing at that time. This quilt brings back distant memories of being a mix of unsure about the future but also weirdly relieved to have my previous job behind me.

quilt2

It is perfectly imperfect, for sure. I’d never sewn a thing, but I kept at it until I had the whole front side pieced together. Being stubborn, I charged forward with trying to quilt it, myself, on my little machine. (Um yeah, that does not work. I had jammed my machine by the time I was a square foot into the quilt.) Not really sure what to do, and with a move in the near future, this project-in-progress got packed away for another day.

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Through another job-related turn of events, Page was able to leave an employer with whom he was unhappy and make an exciting moving to an ad agency. Through this agency, I met Steph, who is a fantastic seamstress.

Fast forward to early 2013. She and I started chatting one day about this quilt I had abandoned and she pointed me in the direction of a fabulous local quilting shop that could help me get back on track. This shop was in demand – I dropped my quilt off in April and it was November before I got it back! They kindly undid a few of my mis-steps and did the beautiful quilting.

I picked it up and finally this spring, got some time on the calendar with Steph to shop for some binding fabric. With her fabulous taste, we narrowed it down to two options and she took them both home. This weekend, she surprised me with the final product — I told her to pick which she thought worked best. Did she nail it or what — I LOVE the finished product!

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Ironically, I got this finished beauty back into my home on the eve of my five-year anniversary with my current employer. I call this my “for a reason” quilt — without getting TOO philosophical for a leisurely Sunday….this quilt reminds me of how things happen as they are supposed to and we are steered in directions and introduced to people for a reason!

Maintaining Sanity when the House is On the Market

The sign is in the yard. The flyers are printed. The lockbox is on the door. We won’t hit the MLS until later this week, but between Zillow and Facebook, we’ve already had a couple of calls…in other words, our house is officially on the market!

Even without kids or pets around, putting our house on the market this week has created an increased level of maintenance, so that we can be gone at a moment’s notice, leaving a spotless home behind for potential buyers to view.

So yes, we make the bed now. And we’re doing our best to keep the house picked up, all dishes go straight out of sight into the dishwasher, and we empty wastebaskets on a much more regular basis. I’ve also made an effort to tidy up the insides of things that might be looked at, like kitchen cabinets, the pantry, the fridge, and the linen closet.

But I’ve also put a couple other little things into play that have made leaving the house presentable, at a moment’s notice, a little bit easier. The following are my “Top 5 Tips”!

tips for maintaining sanity when your house is on the market

1. A basket for shower stuff

Scrubbing down the shower goes so much faster when all of the residue-producing products are corralled in a shower basket. Then, prior to a showing, it’s one quick motion to stash the basket under the sink cabinet, out of sight. The shower is less cluttered and free of personal items, making it easier for potential buyers to view it as being their own.

2. Paper plates

I know. The go green gods will strike me down. But meals at home mean dirty dishes, and when the dishwasher is already loaded down and not ready to emptied, I sometimes switch to paper plates for a quick sandwich, so as to not be left with a sink of dirty dishes at the exact moment a realtor calls.

Tips to maintain sanity while selling your house

3. Stashing Norwex cloths

No, I’m not a Norwex rep and this isn’t a plug — I just love Norwex stuff, period. In particular, the “polishing cloths” meant for glass and stainless steel. Normally, I keep all cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, but when we might only have fifteen minutes to get out of the house, I don’t want to spend a couple of them running up and down the stairs for what I need. I’ve started stashing cloths around the house — this one in our master bath to quickly wipe spots off the mirror over the sink, and give the counters a fast swipe. I love that I don’t need Windex or anything else around for this cloth to work – just water!

4. Grab-and-go Meal Planning

I’ve started thinking about no-cook meals as I make grocery lists. Lots of stuff to make sandwiches, fruits/veggies, crackers, string cheese, you name it. I don’t NOT cook, but I’m trying to do it when I know I have a block of time (usually at night when I don’t expect a call for a showing) and then do a lot of reheated leftovers in a pinch. The lack of cooking makes it easier to keep the kitchen clean, and the meals are more portable to take with us, should we need to step out close to meal time.

5. Decorative storage

Pretty baskets, totes, and bins are my best friend. I have at least one per level and can quickly swoop clutter into them, like a catch-all, at a moment’s notice. I prefer to do this rather than stash in a built-in cabinet or drawer, since those might actually be opened by a potential buyer.

We will take any good vibes you wish to send along! Think good selling thoughts! 🙂

Oscar 2014!

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

Another Oscar Party is in the books! It is so fun to host this little get-together, each year with a different group of girls (someday, I’m hoping to get all different friends who don’t know each other together for this, but until space allows…it’s on a bit of a rotation!)

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

This year’s scheme was Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid, with some black and white striped details, and (of course!) dashes of “Oscar gold”.

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

The theme for the evening was “Sweats encouraged, fabulousness required.” 🙂 It was a relaxing evening spent curled up in yoga pants and blankets, sipping and munching, and chatting away about who wore what (my favorite of the evening was Lupita’s blue Prada!) and which movie should win (I think Wolf of Wall Street was robbed).

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Ballots were filled out, and bingo was taken pretty seriously (!)…

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

And cupcakes, cocktails, and snacks were on hand. (They didn’t make the photo cut, but tortellini skewers with various dipping sauces will be one of my new go-to food items – so easy and yummy even after they’ve cooled.)

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

And as always, the paparazzi lurked nearby along the red carpet…

oscar party 2014 | lifeinyellow.com

Cheers to a fabulous awards season!

Looking for more Oscar inspiration? You can find previous parties via the links for 2013, 2012, and 2011!