Need camera recommendations please...

Hello friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Now that it's time to get into the full swing of Christmas decor and take lots of pretty pictures for you all, one of my little guys broke my point and shoot camera. :(

I had a wonderful post all ready for you with beautiful and unique Christmas decor pictures from a locally owned home and garden shop.  I used my old point and shoot without testing it first.  Umm, bad idea.  The pictures turned out like this... 


No, I'm not holding up a screen in front of the camera.  : (  Awesome...

Most of the time for the blog I use my Rebel but I need a point and shoot to fit in my purse and whip out whenever I find something lovely to photograph for my bloggy friends (or my kiddos are looking extra cute of course!)

So, bloggy buddies,  I need some recommendations for a point and shoot.  I need a camera with a quick turnaround time so I can get pictures of fast moving little ones.  I love Canon products and I want to spend under $200.  I got the Nikon S4000 but it's going back because it is so S L O W between pictures. 

Any advice for me??  Thanks in advance. :)  



Flaunt it Friday #34

Happy Thanksgiving!!  After I woke up from my food coma I realized I hadn't listed my party yet!

It's that time again...

Budget Friendly Room Makeover for Erin...

Earlier this year I announced that I was following a dream to start a budget friendly interior decorating company and then I kind of left you hanging.  I am happy to announce that I did it.  I have real live clients (that aren't family members)...  I am getting paid...   I am loving every minute of it!!!

I am going to start sharing some of my jobs with you so that you might get ideas of how to re-decorate on a budget (and so that some of you locals might hire me :) 

My friend Erin graciously hired me to re-do her family room.  She hired me to accesorize and make the room feel more inviting while working with her existing furniture. 

I have to warn you that my pictures are not as good as they should be... it was overcast that day and my camera seemed to be having a mind of it's own.... lots of dark and blurry pictures.... sorry about that!
Here is a BEFORE:

AFTER:



Erin is so lucky to have such a pretty large mantel.  With a few accessories the fireplace has become the focal point of the room that it was meant to be!  Everything on the mantel was purchased at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, or Gordman's... all discount stores for a budget conscious makeover. 

BEFORE:


AFTER:


Simply by moving the couch and coffee table to face the fireplace it brings your focus to the fireplace and off the TV.  I also moved the loveseat that was in her living room to the bay window to fill the space and provide more seating.  Moving the TV to the otherside of the fireplace allows for all seats to have a clear view of the TV. 

The childrens desk was moved in from the living room as well and fits nicely in the empty corner.  Erin's daughter uses it everyday and they have enjoyed having it in the main living area of their home. 

I added some new decorative pillows like a pair of these shiny textured guys to dress up the couch a bit.  



A new coffee table centerpiece was in order...


A goldenrod textured pillow, a cute new lamp and some picture frames cozy up the loveseat.


I was so pleased to find this vase with all of Erin's hard to match couch colors on it!  I just love the shimmery glaze at the top.  I also really like how these candles came "dressed-up" with little silver charm "necklaces"... another inexpensive TJ Maxx find. 

A big thanks to Erin for hiring me and letting me broadcast her home to everyone in cyberspace. :) 

Stay tuned, I'm helping her with her kitchen, living room, dining room and office next!


My Favorite Things...

Hello friends!  I'm joining 320 Sycamore at their fun "Favorite Things" party.  I wish I would've thought of this.  It's a great way to find out about cool stuff and cool people. 

Unlike Oprah's list, most things are usually affordable or free. 

So here goes my not so extravagant favorite things list... hope you enjoy.

#1:  My boys (including my husband).  Cost = FREE (kind of...)
My favorite people in the world, make me laugh everyday, biggest blessings in my life, nobody else I'd rather be with, hands down.


Ok, on to more trivial things...

#2:  Seattle's Best Cocoa Trio.  about $3.50
Trio because there are 3 types of chocolate... the white chocolate shavings and chocolate syrup on top melt down into the hot chocolate making it just delicious.  The best hot chocolate from a chain... beats the pants off Starbuck's hot chocolate.  A definite splurge at 400 calories but ask for skim or 2% milk and knock about half the calories off. 
pic courtesy of Seattle's Best
3.  Green apples in a bowl.  Apples =$4, Bowl = just find one in your kitchen (free!)
My centerpiece of choice during the summer but can be used anytime.  A cheap, classic style centerpiece that always looks good. 

picture via Flickriver
4.  Damask. $ varies :)
 If you've read my blog you know that I heart damask.  In moderation of course.  A beautiful pattern that dresses up anything but still can be casual... does that make sense??

Beautiful!
pic courtesy of jenniferskog.com

This is my damask kitchen rug.  Love it...



5.  Open Cardigan Sweaters.  $20 (Target) and up
A staple item for your wardrobe this winter.  Great for days you feel  frumpy... put one of these on and cover muffin top, big butt, mommy-tummy, saddlebags, flabby arms, etc., most any one's problem areas and look stylish,   Brilliant! 

Pic courtesy of GAP
 6.  Cute Suede Boots.  $20 (fake suede) and up
Comfortable flat soles, warm, stylish, don't make me look like big foot (even though my feet aren't really big, some flat boots make me have clown feet...ugh). 


7.  "Holly Jolly Christmas"  sung by Burl Ives.  $1 at i-tunes

Just try not to sing along...


8.  Apothecary Jars.  $9.99 (TJ Maxx) and up

I got all of mine at TJ Maxx for way cheap.  I hope these never go out of style.  They are so versatile and lovely...


9.  Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Moisture Night Cream.  Under $20 at Target or Wal-Mart. 

When I first saw this I thought it was for "mature" skin so I almost didn't buy it.  I, thankfully, do not have "deep" wrinkles at this point in my life but I do have big pores and and some, dare I say it, small crow's feet, boo.

Anyway, I have tried other kinda expensive stuff from the department stores and this beats them all.  After using for just a few weeks I noticed a reduction in my pore size (hooray!) and a much nicer complexion in general.  I had a small bump near my nose that I thought was pimple, I could not get rid of it, had it for months so finally concluded it was a new colorless mole (yikes!).  After using this product for a few weeks it went away, completely!  I'm sold!


Ageless Intensives® Deep Wrinkle Moisture Night
 
10.  Fall 
Cost: Free
The most beautiful time of the year in my neck of the woods.
Took this photo of my boys on a warm fall day a few weeks back and it it one of my all time favorites.
 
 
11.  Christmas
Not "the holidays", Christmas.  It's the most wonderful time of the year for reasons too numerous to list.

 
 
It's amazing when I sit down and think about it how many wonderful things I'm surrounded by...  I could go on and on, I could make a list of family and friends and places, etc.  I am truly blessed!
 
What are your favorite things??
 
I'm linking up to 320 Sycamore Favorite Things Party.
[favorite things button[3].jpg]

Flaunt it Friday #33

Well hello there!  Sorry I have been mia... I haven't forgotten about you bloggy friends.  I will be posting some great stuff (I hope!) very regularly very soon.  For now, it's time to party!

No-Stress Christmas Cards at Shutterfly!

Well blogger friends, let me just thank you for making me feel normal in my love for getting excited for Christmas a little early...  I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one!   Christmas stuff is popping up all over blog-land and I love it! 

One of the first Christmasey things I start thinking about is our annual Christmas photo card.  I start way back in September at the first hint of fall.  Should we do a pic or just the kids?  What do we wear?  Where should we take them?  Casual or formal?  Outdoors or indoors?  Should we all wear white?  Should we all wear black?  Maybe we should wear different colors...
It seems every year even though I start thinking about them way back in September I'm always frantically trying to get them printed and sent out so that they will arrive by Christmas. 

This year I'm not doing that, no sirree.  I'm getting those suckers sent out at the beginning of December (because any earlier is just a little too early, for me anyway).

But, I will not sacrifice style just to get my cards out early.  Usually I design my own but I found some of the cutest Christmas and Holiday cards on Shutterfly!  This will help me make my no-stress-early-mailing-of- Christmas-cards goal a reality!

I have used Shutterfly to print tons of photos and a photobook so I know they use great quality photo paper and the shipping is always prompt.  As I write this Shutter fly is having a sale of 20% off these products!

I've decided between the two of these.  I love the elegant simplicity of both of them...





Find more like these here: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-cards

They even have super cute coordinating address labels...



More of those here: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-address-labels

While I'm at it I can order some Christmas presents for the grandparents.  These cute photo calendars filled with pics of the grandkids, how can you go wrong with that!? :) 



You can personalize it and put pictures on the calendar days, how cool is that?!  Check out more here.   http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars

Wishing you stress-free Christmas card experience! :) 

PS:  I am participating in "Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly http://bit.ly/sfly2010 "

Flaunt if Friday #30

Well, this has not been a productive week for blogging or anything else around here as my entire family got hit hard with the stomach flu.  It wasn't pretty...
 
Be back soon. 

In the meantime, please link up some pretty stuff. :)

Mom Cave in the Making

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch is hosting a fun Mom Cave contest sponsored by HomeGoods.  Did someone say HomeGoods??  Count me in!

Now, about my mom cave...

Well, it's all ready, the room is cleaned out and there is a comfy neutral couch and a desk in there just waiting for me. So...what's the problem? I'm outta money. 

We moved in to our fixer-upper a little over a year ago. You probably know how it goes. We fixed and decorated the kitchen. We re-did the family room. We put new hardwood floors on the first floor and carpet upstairs. We decorated the kids' rooms, re-did each of the bathrooms and organized the basement. We put new shelves in the garage, and my hubby even rebuilt the landscaping!

Once we got everything situated, I decided to begin my own interior decorating business focused on low-cost, but high-style makeovers. I quickly learned how important it is to have my own place to spread out my paint swatches, tile samples, fabric books, and all the "stuff" that comes with helping everyone else create beautiful spaces of their own.

So...I cleared out the one room that still hasn't been remodeled from our move: the office. We call it the office because that's where our computer is, but until last weekend, it also held our winter clothes, various scrapbooking supplies, garage sale items, our vaccuum cleaner, and a hodgepodge of furniture that doesn't have anyplace else to go. Oh...and sometimes I hide laundry baskets in there too.  Shhhh, don't tell anyone.
It's time for me to have a place of my own. Even my hubby agrees. But don't tell him I'm entering this contest. He thinks I spend too much time at HomeGoods already. But can you really ever spend "too much" time there? I mean, really. 

So, let me show you how bad I need some HomeGoods help for my mom cave...



See... I told you.  It needs some major help.
I love pink, but not this baby pink left over from the previous homeowners.  It's gotta go and yesterday isn't soon enough. 

Once I find an inspiration piece for my mom cave at HomeGoods I'll be able to choose a paint color and everything will evolve from there... window treatments, decorative pillows, wall decor, desk accessories, etc.  So fun... I can't wait!

I hit the HomeGoods website to check out what kind of lovelies I could find to spruce this wannabe mom cave up.

The following pictures are all courtesy of HomeGoods.com:


 I heart this chair!  It's small but makes a big statement.  Would fit in my mom cave nicely and I love the fabric! 

I would definitely need one of these luxiourious throws to cuddle up with while I'm relaxing working.


Purple mercury glass... these are fabulous!


Aren't these pots funky and fun?!  I could even use a little one to hold pens on my desk...


Look at these beautiful (very breakable) glass pieces.  They will be safe in my mom cave because I will put a sign on the door that says "No boys allowed"  Ok, not really.   

My business is all about finding high style decorative items at budget friendly prices for my clients.  HomeGoods is my go-to store for this. 

I'd love the opportunity to show you how far I could stretch that $250 HomeGoods gift card to make my wannabe mom cave into a real mom cave.

Thanks for your consideration! :)