Thursday, April 6, 2017

OleHenriksen - Balance it All - Product Review

*These items were sent to me complimentary from Influenster for the purpose of testing and reviewing. All opinions are genuinely my own. I am not being compensated for the review other than receiving the products pictured for free.

I was super excited to be chosen by Influenster to receive the#OleGlow Voxbox! You can take a peek at the unboxing video on my YouTube channel if you are interested.

I received full size products from the OleHenriksen Balance it All line. I put my normal products away for about 3 weeks so that I could test these for you and let you know my thoughts on them. Spoiler Alert - I am still using them!

This particular line, Balance is All, is for oily prone skin and is available at Sephora.

Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser - I really enjoyed this cleanser. My skin is oily, acne prone, and sensitive. This cleanser left my skin feeling clean without drying it out like most cleansers do that are for oily skin. It has just the right amount of foaming action. A little goes a long way. It did not irritate my sensitive skin at all. This cleanser has a strong scent, but I really like it.  It smells minty, fresh, and clean. If you prefer a fragrance free cleanser this may not be for you.

Balancing Force Oil Control Toner - This toner works really well, but it was my least favorite product that I tried in this line. It did control my oil nicely, but I found it to be a little harsher than necessary. It smells just like the cleanser.

Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator - This is my favorite product from this trio! This moisturizer did not meet my needs for a night time moisturizer, but it was perfect under my makeup each morning. It has the same great scent as the other products, is light weight, dries quickly, and leaves my face ready for makeup. This is the one product that I can say that I will consider purchasing in the future once I run out.

I almost forgot to mention that the packaging on these products is great! I really like that the cleanser is in a squeeze tube and the moisturizer has a pump. 

Thank you so much to Influenster and OleHenriksen for giving me the opportunity to try these products out!

#OleGlow #Sponsored #Influenster  #OleHenriksen

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Organized Mail Station

Today I am sharing our Organized Mail Station on my YouTube channel. 

I used to have something very similar back in the day, but things moved around (as they do in this house), and the mail system went out the door. We were back to putting the mail in a basket as it came in and then not having a system or designated time to deal with it all. It was time to get it back together. I went back the system I learned all those years ago from Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons. I used less categories and updated the look a little bit, but the function is pretty much the same.

The other thing I did this time around is set a designated day each week to go through each folder and clean it out. This is a MUST for me.

Receipts get shredded once I make sure things have posted correctly and I know we won't need to make a return.

Any papers that need to be filed get filed.

Coupons are checked to make sure they haven't expired.

Sale Flyers are checked to see if in date and still needed. The rest are tossed.

Very simple, but effective. No more piles on the counter or baskets stacked full to be rummaged through.

All of the details can be found HERE on my YouTube Channel.

Keep reading to see my original version form 2012.

Originally Written in 2012 on my old blog.

I am not super organized by nature. I have to work at it! But, being organized really does make life so much easier.

Last year around this time I read so many great blog posts about family binders, command centers, mail stations, blah, blah, blah. I really wanted to get organized, but we had just moved into a house that had so much to be done reno wise. I didn't get to do much that didn't involve removing wallpaper, a paint brush, caulk, or grout. Here we are a year later. The reno dust has settled (mostly), there aren't as many walls that still need to be painted, we have a better idea about how the rooms in our house actually function best for us, and it is time to get it together.

I started with our mail center. We originally had a tray on the desk where our mail "landed" until dealt with, but it never seemed to be completely empty. Even after my husband "dealt" with the mail. I'm not the one that handles the mail (or bills) in our house, but it still bugged me that the tray was never empty. I knew that some revamping was in order. The other problem was where to put the weekly grocery ads. I normally meal plan and like to use them when I put my meal plan and grocery list together, but I couldn't seem to find a good place for them. They had a "home" in one of my kitchen drawers, but they always seemed to attracted other random paper clutter. Not good.

I started stalking the archives of some of my fav organizing bloggers and came up with a plan. I knew right away that the mail station that I came across on a Bowl Full of Lemons was just the right fit. I went to Target and purchased this metal file holder. Our desk is close by, but I really wanted something that I could use at my kitchen counter while standing up, and then could tuck away in the cabinet when we had company.

 The categories that I use are grocery ads, coupons, incoming, outgoing, to file, to pay, and then a file for each family member.

Grocery Ads - the current weekly grocery ads

Coupons - take out coupons/store coupons - not grocery coupons

Incoming - where the mail gets put initially if not sorted right away

Outgoing - all out going mail that needs to be taken to the box

To File - holding place until filed in desk

To Pay - holding place for bills until paid and then filed in desk

Family Member Files

the mr. and mrs. - holding place for magazines, things we want to go back and read or stuff that needs our attention
Cade - holding place for Bible Bucks, memory verses, and artwork that needs to be stored (this is working great, b/c my counters and table used to be covered in all of his masterpieces that he creates throughout the day
Henry - holding place for things that need to be put in his baby book

 I am happy to report that after using this system for a month it is working very well. I don't have piles of paper on my counters. The other great thing about the metal file box is that it has plenty of room to hold our new family binder. (more on that in another post) It doesn't take up much room on the counter and it fits nicely in a cabinet if I want it out of site when we have company.

 I couldn't just leave the tabs plain. I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to size and added a label with my label maker. I didn't even stick the label to the paper, I just slid it in the clear sleeve. This way it's easy to change out if needed.

I make sure to go through all of the folders each week and file things as needed. I also have a shredder right next to the counter so that I can take care of all of the junk mail right away.

Do you have a mail system? If so, what works for you?

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*This post is not sponsored. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Planner Picks for 2017

One of my favorite things about the beginning of a new year is a brand new, fresh planner! Who am I kidding? I like new planners all year long. 😉 I did not end 2016 in all of the same planners that I started with, but I learned a lot about what I need and don't need when it comes to planning.

Mid-Year 2016 Planner Picks - UPDATE
My Planner Picks for 2016
Planner Chat - Vlogtober Day 13 - 2016 (This is where I share how I ended up in the Happy Planner)

This year I am starting with four separate planners. If this ends up being too many, I can easily combine a few of them, but for now, I am enjoying having them separate.

1. Homeschool Planner
I am using the Erin Condren Teacher's Lesson Planner for our homeschool planner. I did start this planner this summer when we started a new school year. It is still used daily and going strong.

2. My Main Planner
I am using a Happy Planner in the classic size for my main planner this year. I chose this planner because it is so versatile. The Happy Planner uses a disc system that makes it easy to add in and remove pages as you wish. The Happy Planner now has daily pages that can be purchased separately. This was the game changer for me. I can now have a weekly and daily planner all in one.

3. Fitness Planner
The Happy Planner - Fitness Edition is new to me this year. I have tracked my meals and workouts in planners before, but this is my first time having a full size planner that is already set up for tracking meals and workouts. I feel like this will make it easier to track. If I end up not liking this being separate from my main planner, I can easily add a month from this planner at a time to my main planner.

4. Blog & YouTube Planner
The Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner is my choice for a content planner this year. This wasn't completely necessary, but I really miss seeing and using my Erin Condren covers on a daily basis. I have quite a collection. The monthly view will be perfect for planning all of my blog posts and YouTube videos. The notes pages in the back will be great for planning things in more detail.

YouTube Video

Referral Link - Save $10 on your FIRST Erin Condren order when you create your account and place your first order through This Referral Link. I will also receive a credit that I can use toward an Erin Condren purchase. Thank you!

*The Erin Condren Planners were purchased with Referral Credit that I earned through sharing my referral link. All other planners were purchased with my own money. ALL opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Boys

all images are from
Stockings filled with little gifts and candy are one of my all time favorite Christmas traditions. There is just something special about a bunch of little gifts and favorite candies that have been hand picked and put in a stocking.

Stockings for girls would be fun, but I'm a boy mama. I put together a list of fun ideas for a little boy's stockings. My boys are 11 and 6 years old, and would both be excited to get any combination of these items.

I normally go pretty heavy on the candy, but that part is usually pretty easy to figure out. Today I am focusing on all the other stuff. I have posted links (NOT referral links or sponsored) to find these exact items on Amazon with prices for your convenience. Many of these items can be picked up for a lot less money. This is just to give you ideas.

I didn't include this in the round up, but another tip is to go to Harbor Freight if you have one that is local. They always have lots of fun little inexpensive tools and gadgets that would fill a stocking nicely.

1.Headlamp - $7.99
2.Lightning Cable - $9.99
3.DC Comics Logo Temporary Tattoos - $5.79
4.Small Nerf Gun - $7.99
5.Tooth Brush - various prices
6.Candy Cane filled with Candy - various prices
7.Crayola Colored Pencils - $5.90
8.Fun Socks - $13.99

What kind of items do you like to fill stockings with?

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Something to Celebrate!

This blog of mine hasn't gotten much attention from me lately. Life has been busy.

I have gone through phases of feeling like I could only blog when I had something "PIN-able" in my "niche" to I just miss blogging like I used to. I used to blog about anything and everything.

Most of the time I am working on some kind of project, but I don't always have the time to take really great pictures to share. I enjoy home decor, organization posts, and great recipes like everyone else, but that is not all that I am made of. I really miss the connections that used to come with blogging.

Today, I am getting back to blogging for me. I am going to start by sharing with you a person that I want to CELEBRATE!

Thirty-Seven years ago, today, a very special person was born. We'll call her, Bethany. I'm just kidding...her name really is Bethany.

THIRTY years ago, I was a shy, homeschooled second grader that didn't really have any friends. I remember sitting down with my mom one day to tell her that I really wanted a good friend. We talked, and then we prayed that God would send me a special friend that was just what I needed.

It didn't take long. I don't remember exactly how Bethany and I crossed paths other than we went to the same church. We were both seven years old and in the second grade. I don't remember the moment, the day, or the month that it happened. I just know that we clicked.

She was the loud to my quiet.
She was the outgoing to my shy.
She made everything fun.
She let me clean and organizer her room.
She was my very best friend forever.

I went on all of her family's summer vacations.
We told people we were sisters.

We had sleepovers as often as we could.
We even got to go to the same school for one whole semester.

We fought.
We said mean things to each other.
We took each other for granted.
We let boys get in the way.
We forgave each other.

We laughed. A lot.
We loved each other.

I don't have many childhood or teenage memories that she isn't a part of.

And then we grew up.

We got married.
Got jobs.
Had families.

We don't talk every week, but when we do talk, it is as if no time has passed. We can still talk for HOURS. We still send each other random texts about weird dreams or different things that make us think of one another.

I am so thankful that God sent Bethany to me as an answer to prayer.

Happy Birthday, Bethany!
Thank you for being you.

I'm still going to pretend that we aren't old enough to have known each other for thirty years.
I'm also going to pretend that I didn't have to add, subtract, and count the years about 5 times to make sure that we are 37. I lost track at 34 and now have to think about it really hard.

In the comments please tell me about your special friends. Do you have a friend that you have been friends with most of your life? How long have you been friends?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How I Updated Our Living Room by Shopping Our Home and Spending Less than $50

First, I have to explain why the pillow in the cover photo is upside down and why I didn't change it. My son, Henry, is serious about directions. He can stand anywhere at any given time and tell you what direction he is facing. It bugs him that this compass pillow doesn't show the accurate direction when it is on a piece of furniture in our house. He goes behind me and flips the pillow to show the true direction. It is not correct in this picture, but it gets flipped so many times that I didn't even notice I placed it on the couch upside down until I had taken all of these pictures.

A few months ago I did a 2 Bills 2 Blow post, and shared that if I had $200 to just spend in our living room, I would spend it on a new living room rug.

I didn't have an extra $200 to spend on that right now, but I realized that I had the exact same rug I wanted for the living room in our master bedroom.

I decided that I would switch the rugs and give myself a budget of $50 to make some changes to our living room.

This happens to be the best shot I got to show the rug. Blogger Fail! I am so out of practice when it comes to taking pictures. I need to work on this. The good news is that you can get the full room tour on video HERE on my YouTube Channel.

Getting rid of the brown rug really lightened up the room. It also gave me the freedom to add a nice dose of black and white. I decided to go with several new pillow covers for the pillows that I already had.

I purchased all of the pillow covers on Amazon. (these are NOT affiliate links)
Black and White Stripe - I paid $5.30 for the pair.
Black and White Geometric Covers  - I paid $6.99 for the pair.
Compass Linen Pillow Cover - I paid $2.97 for one cover.

The next thing was to change the accent chair. I originally had a leather chair here, but have been wanting to move it upstairs to my husbands office. I painted a rattan chair that was in my husband's office and recovered the cushion with a painters drop cloth. I have 2 of these chairs, so they both got painted, recovered, and new pillow covers. I only included that cost of the one chair in this room since the other one will live in my bedroom.

Drop Cloth - $11
2 cans of black semi gloss spray paint - $8

The space above this love seat has been blank for months. I thought that I really wanted a large clock here. Clearly I didn't have enough for that in my $50 budget, so I had to get creative. I grabbed a cast off shelf from the corner of a closet and painted the shelf brackets. I painted over a canvas that I already had and then added accessories that weren't really being used elsewhere. The 4 is printed on a piece of printer paper from my printer. I just put it in a frame that I already had.

Black Satin Spray Paint - $4

The top of the piano has been decorated many different ways, but it was feeling very off to me. I was going through some old pictures and came across a picture from my Mother's living room from many years back. I knew right away that I missed seeing the picture of my great grandmother's farm over the piano like my mom always had it. I added a few light accessories to make it more my style, but I think it is just right now. I owe a big thank you to my sister for letting me have this picture back.

Piano Decor - already had

The last thing I did was to change my gallery wall. I liked it before, but wanted a change. I took the peacock picture from the before picture and turned it into a chalkboard using paint that I had on hand. The cow is a small painting that I did on a canvas I already had many months ago. I created the Let's Stay Home print for a frame that I already had. The duck picture is a photo that I took a few years ago. I also painted the large cotton canvas. I used a canvas I already had and painted over it.

photo prints from the drugstore - $4

When I started thinking about making changes to this room, I really wanted to add a little bit of nod to farmhouse decor. My home is way too colorful to be considered "farmhouse", but I still like some things that lean that direction. I like metal, wood, black and white, and most animals. My last name is also Cotton...that is about as farmhouse as you can get. I just like it all mixed with bold color and shiny things.

I am sharing the "Let's stay Home" print as a free printable. Just right click the image and save it to your compute. You can then upload it wherever you get prints made and have it printed.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Shared Boys' Room Tour

I shared a peek at my boys' room EIGHT months ago on my YouTube channel. I had big plans to finally start getting some things on their walls.

I had a few things in mind, but for whatever reason I drug my feet on this one. I couldn't seem to commit to anything.

The first thing I purchased were two of the large galvanized letters from Hobby Lobby. I got one to go above each bed. And then I was stuck again for a few months.

One day I was in Hobby Lobby and noticed a metal shelf in the shape of the United States. It was 80% off. I purchased it with the intention of using it in my boys' playroom to display Lego creations.

Two days later, I found a similar metal ampersand shelf for 80% off. Two metal shelves meant that each boy could have one of their own for their personal items. I finally had the inspiration I needed.

I didn't want a strong theme in their room, but instead decided to stick to classic timeless things. Stripes, metal, baseball, get the idea. The ampersand was perfect paired between two metal car signs. It really filled the wall up nicely.

They both have matching striped bedding that was purchased from Target, but they opted to add their own favorite elements with a quilt and different pillow cases. I didn't think I would like it, but I really do.

My favorite thing that changed in the room is the coffee table. My husband built this table for the boys several years ago when they outgrew having a train table. We originally stained the table, but I was ready to paint it. I chose the paint color by shopping my stash in the garage. I have no idea what color this is. It is leftover paint from a client project. I sanded the edges and roughed it up a good bit. I know it will take a beating.

I am so happy to have this room done! The only thing I have left to do is find something for Cade to hang over his nightstand for all of his swimming medals and ribbons. I just haven't found the right thing yet.

Tucker hung out in here with me the whole time I was taking pictures. I guess it is his room, too.

Be sure to check out the video tour to see more of the room.


Source List: None of these are affiliate/referral links
Striped Comforters - Target
Plaid Quilt - The Company Store - several years ago
Metal Shelves - Hobby Lobby
Car Signs - Hobby Lobby
Baseball Picture - custom made by a family friend (almost 20 years ago)
Galvanized Letters - Hobby Lobby
Lamps - Target Clearance
Bunk Beds - Amazon
Green Rug - Lowes - several years ago

This is not a sponsored post.

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