Friday, September 26, 2014

Fridays with Milesbear

As I shared on the blog before, I work on a "tailored work arrangement" and therefore do not work on Fridays anymore. I LOVE my Fridays with Miles! We play around the house, cuddle,  read books, go for walks, do laundry, take a long nap together, go shopping, lay outside under the big tree in our front yard, have play dates with friends, cuddle, practice walking, cuddle, and cuddle some more :)  I love my job and there are a lot of reasons that I decided to continue to work (which I will share in detail at some point), but I think taking Fridays off was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I cherish this extra mommy-Miles day!

This weekend he turns 8-months old! My oh my how time flies!
PS - These are al pics Ive posted on instagram. You can follow me at saramb11!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My MUST HAVE Accessory for Organization! (And I'm giving one away, too!)

I have total mom brain. Things just don't stick in my brain the way they used to and I constantly think to myself "Now, what was it I was supposed to do today again?"  I always feel like I am forgetting something (and I usually am!) As someone who is naturally type A and used to be super organized, this has caused me a lot of unnecessary stress! I've tried a few different types of solutions in terms of to-do lists to keep myself organized, but I have found a true winner in the form of this Archie Grand notebook. It is stylish, quircky, and just the right size to throw in my purse and to put by my nightstand at night. It goes with me everywhere I go, and I refer to it as "my brain on paper". Any time a to-do item or an idea pops into my head, into the notebook it goes! I have my daily to-do lists, shopping lists, birthday reminders, blog ideas, house project ideas, and more all listed on pages throughout this book.
In terms of my failed attempts at organization, these were mostly of the electronic variety. I tried to-do lists in Word, notes on my phone, Microsoft "One Note" on my work computer, and Evernote. However, too often my ideas would pop into my head when I was away from my computer, and by the next time I opened up my computer that idea was long, long gone. I also tried to have a list on my phone, but I just couldn't find an app that I felt really worked nicely for how I wanted to organize my thoughts. And let's be real, there is nothing like crossing off a to-do list item written on a piece of paper with a colored pen. BEST. FEELING. EVER.

I actually got this Archie Grand notebook from J.Crew ages ago. This one is filling up, so I started looking at replacements from the company and just have to laugh at the amazing titles and ogle at the beautiful, bright colors! I'm about to order myself a few more of these (definitely the "Blondes I Met and Liked" notebook) and thought I'd buy one for a lucky reader as well!

All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment with which notebook you would like to have! (Either one of the ones pictures below - my favorites - or one from the website which has hundreds more listed HERE). The winner will be chosen and announced a week from today!

Note: This is not sponsored by Archie Grand, this is brought to you by yours truly!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Going to Market Tote"

I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon designer Blair Ritchey, (Instagram I believe?), but I instantly fell in love with her "Going to Market" tote.  Some people have a thing for shoes, I have a thing for purses and bags, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one!
I wish I could say I was using it for jaunts over to Cleveland's renowned West Side Market, but in reality I'm just bringing it with me to my local Whole Foods.. next best thing right? :)

PS - I just LOVE sunflowers this time of the year. I currently have bunches of them all over my house!

Monday, September 22, 2014

From Black Frames to White Frames

It's a small change, but I painted the frames in our family room white. I don't know why, but the black was starting to feel heavy. I think the white ties in more with the trim and looks better with the new couch. Overall, I think it makes the whole room feel a little lighter and brighter!

The fact I liked the room better with NO prints rather than the black framed prints was a clear sign to me I was on the right track.

It took two cans of this Rustoleum spray paint to get the frames fully coated.

I still need to raise the prints a few more inches, since the back of the new couch is much higher than the back of the old one. However, with our plaster walls, anchoring those darn hooks is a pain in the you-know-what, so I'm procrastinating :)

As you can see, we also have been pushing the coffee table over against the window so Miles can have the whole carpet to play! His current favorite thing to do is roll from one end to the other, usually in pursuit of the dog (his best friend).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

If I had a girl....

One of my good friends just found out she is having a baby girl in early spring, and I'm so excited! It inspired me to pull together a collection of my favorite girl things at the moment (Isn't that play tent ADORABLE?)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Friend's Homes - Meet Lindsey!

I am excited to show you another one of my friend's beautiful homes! Next up is Lindsey - I went to college with Lindsey and her husband Matt and you will just die when you see their beautiful DIY kitchen renovation! The before and after is remarkable. All together, the transformation took them a total of two months, on and off. They painted the cabinets (which took about a week), tiled the backsplash (took about 3-days), and painted the walls. You can't tell from this picture, but they also took down a half wall between the kitchen and the family room and had to add in flooring, so that took another week or so.
Two of my favorite things? The countertops and the light fixture!
The countertops (which they had professionally installed) are quartz, and I am in LOVE. (As you know, we've been debating doing a  white quartz in our kitchen too! This may have finally convinced me!)
The light fixture was from Ballard Designs outlet that Lindsey scored for $30!! $30!!!! I totally want one of these in my house.

I also totally love the new cup pulls and the bright green mixer! Lindsey is quite the cook, in fact, you can also visit Lindsey over at her website Eating Clean and Saving Green!

Here is a picture of Lindsey and Matt and their adorable family! (Love their little blondies!)

Lindsey and Matt thank you again for sharing your awesome kitchen transformation!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Outlet Mall Madness!

This weekend Evan, Miles, and I went to an outlet mall about 40-minutes away from our house for the first time. Sometimes I struggle to find things I like at outlets because things are picked over or the selection is hit or miss, but not this time! We got a TON of adorable clothes for Miles at Baby Gap and Osh Kosh B'Gosh! I got 6 shirts and 2 pairs of pants from baby gap for $30 - what a steal! I spent a little more at Osh Kosh B'Gosh, about $60, but I couldn't resist the $30 striped overalls. They remind me so much of my late Grandpa Lynn (my dad's dad). He was a Wisconsin farmer and just about every time I saw him he was wearing overalls just like this. So, hands down, totally worth the money! I also got the red buffalo check shirt there.. so cute for Christmas! And the marled pants = perfection for a little boy. Honestly makes me wonder why I ever shop anywhere BUT outlet malls for Miles, he grows so fast!

Miles, what do YOU think of all your new clothes? Hmmmmm, not sure he is as excited as I am.

Annnnnnd I even got myself a cute checkered shirt from the Banana Republic outlet for about $40. It is SUPER soft! Overall a very successful shopping trip on a beautiful fall day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NEW SERIES - Friend's Houses! Meet BJ :)

SO, I know I just posted for an entire week about million dollar, professionally decorated, immaculate houses - but let's be real. That is NOT reality for most of us, and certainly not for me! 

Truth be told, I am usually much more excited by REAL people's houses and the projects that they do to turn their house into their dream home! I love seeing how other people my age live. Just because we don't have a million dollars and 5,000 square feet doesn't mean our habitats can't be awesome. Have you seen the before and after pictures of my house? I think I'm living proof that with a little creativity, a LOT of elbow grease, time, and a vision, that a boring and outdated house can be turned into a happy, humble abode!

That being said, I'm starting a new series where I share with you some pictures of my amazing, awesome, creative friend's houses so you can be inspired with what real people on real budgets do in real homes, similar to what Evan and I have done in ours.

If we haven't met but you have done some pretty cool work to your house, e-mail me at and I will be happy to be your friend and share your home too! ;)

Without further delay, first up is my beautiful friend BJ from college! How cute is her family? Her sweet baby boy Ean turns ONE this week! BJ and her husband have lived in their house since June 2012, and this summer went on a painting spree of their first floor, and I absolutely LOVE the results!

First, take a look at the difference in the kitchen! I love it! (Scroll below for a before picture) The color is Valspar's "Wet Pavement." I love the gray against the white counters and dark cabinets. Looks so modern and fresh! 

Just like us, BJ and her husband decided to reuse the cabinets that were in place in their house when they moved in. They gave theirs a facelift using Rust-Oleum's Transformation Cabinet Wood Refinishing System.  The difference is amazing! Seriously makes the cabinets look new again! 

Also just like me, BJ's next plans are for new countertops and a new backsplash! (And like me AGAIN, feels very thankful to have white laminate in the meantime!) One of my other favorite things in her kitchen is the new chalkboard, made with a little chalkboard paint and trim. Looks awesome!

Next room on the tour is the family room. I LOVE the accent wall, fireplace, and bookshelves in their family room! As a mom with a kid with tons of toys, I'm jealous of that storage!

They also painted their entry hall and dining room. (Where do you guys find this energy with a little guy running around? Please share your secret!) Overall I just love the colors. They are 100% right up my alley!
Last but not least, love her mums :) 

BJ thank you so much for being the first friend to share your house on my site! And Ean, I hope you have a wonderful first birthday! :) 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TFH is now on Pinterest! (AND a disclaimer!)

The Fat Hydrangea is now on Pinterest!

Find out what is inspiring me now by following me HERE.

Disclaimer: You may only like this if you love decorating in gray, white, and navy as much as I do! If you love cararra marble, subway tile, boxwoods, hydrangeas, and understated decor - then you've come to the right place! If you are looking for bright pops of color, you will be severly disappointed ;)

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