Monday, April 16, 2018

Black Floral Stitch Fix Dress: Fix #14

I received this cute black floral dress in my February Stitch Fix box.  I loved it the minute I saw it in the box!  The print was so lovely and I liked the cute and "flouncy" look.  It's super comfortable too! I'm sure when the weather turns hot and sunny (will that even happen this year?)  I will be living in it!

It is sleeveless, so it will be great for hot weather.  Yet because there are no sleeves, a cardigan or coat will fit nicely over it if needed.  I also like that it does not have spaghetti straps so I can wear a regular bra with it.  It has a keyhole neckline which provides another interesting detail.

It's not warm enough yet to wear this outfit in Wisconsin so this look was put together for photography purposes only.

For jewelry, I skipped a necklace because of the interesting keyhole neckline and I just wore a coral colored bracelet and earrings with rose gold earrings.

I thought my orange bag complimented the orange/coral flowers in the dress nicely.

The dress has an elastic waist.  I put a skinny black belt over the elastic portion of the dress.

I picked up these cute black sandals at an end of season clearance sale at JCPenney last fall.

The upper portion of the back is a solid black.

The dress is the perfect length for running around about town on a hot summer day:  not too long or too short.

And as promised, here is a summary of my February Fix #14.  You can click on the item description to get more information about each piece.

Lavender Vest:  Sent Back

Lavender Floral Wrap Top:  Kept

Lavender Skinny Jeans:  Sent Back

So what do you think?  Did I keep the right items?  What were your favorites in this Fix?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My New Guest Room Remodel: The Big Reveal!

I am so excited to finally be able to show you my newly remodeled guest room.  It turned out so beautiful and I couldn't be more pleased.  If you missed my earlier posts and would like to see the "Before" and inspiration pictures check out this post HERE.   I also did a construction post HERE where my husband did a video explaining how he made a pocket door.  

 Now lets begin the tour of the new guest room.  The guest room is located right across the hall from the Master Bedroom.  It is a very small room with angled ceilings on each end of the room.  One side of the room has two large windows and the other side (opposite of the bed) is a large closet.

This is the view of the guest room from the Master bedroom.

And this is the view of the room if you were standing in the doorway looking to the left.

The room used to have a queen bed side ways against the wall.  It was very awkward to get in and out of the bed if two people used the bed.  It was also quite the challenge to make the bed.  To solve that problem we went down from a queen size mattress to a full.  We then were able to fit custom made nightstands on either side of the bed.

I purchased this simple, upholstered headboard from Wayfair for $100.00.  My husband built the platform the mattress sits on.  Originally I had intended to buy a white headboard, but when I saw this one it was love at first sight and I changed my mind.  I really liked the tweed fabric and how it stood out from the wall color.  I was afraid a white headboard would blend in with the wall too much and not make much of a statement.

Everything in the room is brand new except the light fixture, the "Paris" metal sign, and one small Paris picture.  Originally I intended to reuse a lot of the fabrics from the original room, but my husband did not like the toile and wanted me to get rid of it.

The light fixture seemed to coordinate well with the metals and colors already in the room, so we did not change it out.

The beautiful Paris picture on the left wall was purchased at Ross for $24.99.  I couldn't believe my luck when I found it.  It was as if it was made for the room.  The colors in the painting could not have coordinated more than if I planned it that way!

I picked Millennial Pink as my accent color for the room.  The pink pillow and blanket were purchased at Home Goods.

We shopped around for night stands but could not find any the size that we needed.  We only had 18 inches to spare on either side of the bed and most nightstands are around 24 inches wide.  So my husband came to the rescue and made these out of pre-painted shelving material and trim from a home improvement store.  I LOVE the way they turned out, and frankly, they look better than any nightstand I found in the store and for a fraction of the price.  I'm so happy I'm married to a carpenter!  

The night stands are very modern and simple.  They are made of two different colors of distressed wood:  white and grey.   I placed a lamp on each nightstand and different nick-knacks on each one.  For the right night stand I added a floral bouquet of white and pink roses, a basket, and a photo album containing pictures of my daughter's wedding.

The light fixtures took the longest to find.  The size had to be "just right" because of the narrow space and the angled ceilings.  I searched for weeks and finally found these modern light fixtures with rectangular shades at Target.

The flower arrangement believe it or not,  I found at Walmart for $4.99.

On the other night stand I placed a mirror tray and a pink jar.

On the lower shelves of this night stand sits a pretty wooden box and a white elephant.

To the right of the bed another Paris-themed picture hangs.  The pinks and greys in the picture pull out the colors in the bed.

This is the view if you were sitting in the bed.  The windows are to your left, the closet is straight ahead, and the pocket door is to your right.

I already had the drapery hardware in storage;  I bought them years ago for another project, but never used them.  They ended up being perfect for this room as the black iron matched the black iron in the "Paris" sign and in the light fixture.

The drapes are all new.  I couldn't find eight drapery panels exactly the same at the discount home stores I shop at;  so I purchased four of two different kinds of drapes:  one set for the window and one set for the closet.

These are the window drapes.  They are a crinkled ivory with a scroll pattern.

These are the closet drapes.  They are also an ivory, but have a off-white/slightly beige print on them.

 My husband and I were shopping and I spotted this photo frame set on clearance for only $9.00.  I instantly fell in love with the quote and I knew it would be perfect for the new room.  The distressed grey paint on the frame matched the distressed grey paint on the nightstands.  I printed out some of my favorite family photos in black and white to go inside the frames.  I love the personal touch this added to the room.

 On the opposite side of the room is a wicker laundry basket for my guests to use and another Paris -themed picture.

This picture was in the original room and matched the new room perfectly so I kept it.

I picked up the laundry basket at Home Goods for $24.99.  Jackson has jumped on top of it twice now and collapsed the lid inside the basket, falling inside.  He gets so scared when he falls in.  He's so funny!

 On the other side of the room is this upholstered stool.  It opens up and hold shoes.  Unfortunately Jackson knew it opened and put bite marks all over it within 24 hours of bringing it into the house.  He wanted to open it so he could jump inside.  Oh, the joys of having pets!

I didn't want to cover up our new beautiful floor with a large rug, so I added this small one right at the foot of the bed.

We could have fit a small dresser on the pocket wall door, but wanted to leave as much floor space in the room as possible for a crib.

Finally, here is a financial break down of the newly re-decorated guest room:

Paint:              $15.00 (most of the paint was free with rebate)
Flooring:                $425.00   (laminate floor and space rug)

Drywall & Trim:      $30.00

Furniture:       $500.00  (mattress, headboard, nightstands, laundry basket, stool)

Lighting:        $80.00

Drapes:           $80.00

Bedding:        $300.00

Decorations:   $110.00

Total:                                    $1540.00

Wow!  That's a lot of money.  If you would have told me when I started I'd end up spending that much money on a remodel I would have said you were crazy.  It ended up costing this much because of flooring and getting a new bed.  When we decided to turn the mattress and go from a queen to a full I not only had to buy a new mattress and headboard, but I had to buy all new bedding:  two sets of sheets, a mattress cover, duvet cover, blanket, bed skirt, throw, pillow, and a coverlet for the summer months.  It really added up!

Everything in the room was purchased at discount stores like HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Ross, Menards, and Target.

Finally, here is a video of me walking you through the entire room explaining everything in fuller detail.

Even though the room ended up costing me a lot more that I originally planned, I am absolutely thrilled with it!  I can't believe the transformation from the dark, gloomy room it was before to the light, happy place is it now.  I love waking up in the morning and seeing this gorgeous room across the hall.  It seems so much more spacious to me now just from adding a pocket door and painting it a lighter color.  It's also Jackson's favorite room now.  He is always napping on the Millennial Pink blanket or snuggling against the fluffy pink pillow!  He has great taste, what can I say?

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Blue Polka Dotted Stitch Fix Dress: Fix #14

I received this pretty dress in my February Stitch Fix box.  It is covered in trendy white,  pink, and blue polka dots.  It is a soft jersey knit  that is very comfortable.  It had everything going for it:  a perfect fit, comfortable, and  a trending  print:  Polka Dots.  Needless to say I kept it!  

In my February Fix I received two dresses, one top, a vest, and a pair of skinny jeans.  I kept three items:  both of the dresses and the top.  If you're getting confused about my February Fix because I'm only showing one item per post,  I will be doing a summary in my last post of my February Fix next Monday.

Obviously it's too cold in Wisconsin to wear sandals and go bare-legged yet, so this outfit was put together just for photography purposes.  I'm hoping soon I will get to wear this outfit as it is so cute!

I picked these cute wedges to pull out the white polka dots in the dress.  I purchased them on clearance at the end of the summer season at JCPenney.  I haven't even worn them yet.  Shoes and coats are great pieces to get great deals at the end of season.  I often pick these items up to save for next year.  This year I scored big on two new winter coats from JCPenney by waiting till they were 60% off.  If you think you need a new winter coat for next year, my advice is buy it now!  You'll get a great deal!

My favorite feature of this  dress was the neckline.  I thought the cut around the neck and sleeves was so pretty.  I loved the way the material criss-crossed over the bust and was gathered.  I also like that the neckline did not plunge.  Too many dresses and tops plunge too low requiring me to wear a camisole for modesty.  This one has a very nice modest neckline...the perfect dress to wear to church!

I wore a simple pearl necklace for jewelry.  I felt the polka dots and interesting neckline did not require anything more.

I wore pink and gold bracelets and carried a bright pink cross body bag to echo the pink polka dots in the dress.

I was very pleased with the length of this dress.  It's so hard to find longer length skirts and dresses for my 5'7 frame.

Like I said earlier, the fit on the dress is amazing!  It's as if the dress was specifically made for me.  Stitch Fix really nailed it with this dress.  I couldn't be happier with this dress.

I know Stitch Fix can be a frustrating service for some people.  I know from experience what it's like to have great Fixes and some bad ones.  In fact, for my March Fix, I didn't keep anything and sent everything back!  But one thing I will say about Stitch Fix is that they have the best dresses.  Dresses are so hard to find in stores these days.  Especially dresses like this...more modest with longer lengths.  There are lots of short dresses with spaghetti straps out there, but not enough traditional styles like this that are appropriate for work or church.  

The dress is so comfortable I will be able to wear it for everyday events like shopping, lunch, and travel and not just for church.  I love jersey knits!

Come back next Monday to see the other dress Stitch Fix sent me in my February Fix which was also a hit!  Then I'll conclude that post with a summary of my entire Fix.

Till then,  Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Chicago Field Museum

Last February I went to Illinois to visit my children for a week.  I've been covering the highlights of that visit the last couple of months on my Wednesday Travel Posts.  We had a Breakfast Fit For A President at Buttermilk Restaurant in Geneva,  we visited the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry,  we enjoyed Tea For Two (or three?) at Cafe K'tizo in Wheaton,  and we spent an entire day at an IKEA store giving us quite the IKEA Adventure.   My last full day in Illinois was spent at the Chicago Field Museum.  It was a Saturday, so my son was off of work and able to join us on this adventure.

The Chicago Field Museum is located right in downtown Chicago along Lake Michigan;  so there are both gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago sky line.

When we first walked into the museum there was a band playing in the lobby.  That was a fun surprise!

There are also two life size elephant statues in the lobby.  Of course I had to take Jason and Jordan's picture next to them for scale.

Like most of the museum buildings in Chicago, the Chicago Field Museum is located in a gorgeous, historic building.  I just loved the ceiling and the arched window openings in the balcony level.

Isn't this ceiling just stunning? Love all the natural light.

This is a huge museum.  It can be overwhelming trying to even see everything in one day.  I don't even think it's possible.  If you ever have the chance to visit this museum, look at the map first and pick the exhibits you think you might be the most interested in, because you may run out of time to see them all.

The first exhibit we visited was "Inside Ancient Egypt".   Here we explored an ancient Egyptian tomb.  It is a three-story recreation of a mastaba which features two authentic rooms from the 5,000-year-old tomb of pharaoh’s son Unis-Ankh.

Here we are examine floor to ceiling hieroglyphics.

Next, we went to the Hall of Birds.  Being a huge bird lover, this was one of my favorite exhibits in the museum.  We spent a lot of time here.  I was blown away by the wingspan of this bird.  

I've never seen so many bird specimens in one place in my life.  The hall seemed to go on forever.  It was amazing seeing all the different species of birds.

I loved being able to study the birds up close and learn all about their unique features and capabilities. I also liked how many of the birds included a skeleton version as well.

We continued on with the exhibits on the west side of the main level with Africa, the World of Animals, and the Mammals of Asia!  I think this was one of our favorite areas of the museum because we got to see so many animals.  My son, an animal lover, didn't like it.  He said "It's a museum for dead animals".  I told him he shouldn't look at that way.  When will he ever be able to get so close to a wild animal to study their unique features and get a better idea of their size?  I'm not entirely positive how these animals came to end up in the museum, but I would hopefully assume most of them died of natural causes.

We saw several displays of cats (my favorite, of course!) and I especially loved the ones with little babies.

Aren't these foxes gorgeous!  They have such beautiful coats!

This is an example of how helpful it was to see these animals up close because I could not believe how HUGE this grizzly was.  It's one thing to see them in movies or in a zoo quite a distance away, but to be able to stand on the other side of the glass and see the amazing scale of this animal was incredible.

The museum did a very nice job of creating a natural environment for the animals and arranging them in realistic, educational poses.

I think I remember reading in this display that this cat is where today's modern house cat originated from.  We have the Egyptians to thank for our feline friends today.

The Lions of Tsavo was a fascinating exhibit.  The story is that these lions killed and ate over 135 (current research shows only 35 deaths) railroad workers in Kenya over the course of nine months in 1898.  Wow!

 By now we were ready for lunch and went to The Field Bistro inside the museum.  I brought my lunch with me, but I bought lunch for my son plus a cup of coffee for myself for a mere $25.00. 🤣 I guess I should have packed him a lunch too and saved some money.  You are allowed to take food into the museum but you have to eat it in designated picnic areas only.

After lunch we headed upstairs to see the dinosaurs in the Evolving Planet exhibit because we wanted to be sure to see it before we ran out of time.  It was by far the most crowded exhibit in the museum.

I just loved the flying pterodactyl in the lobby!

 The Chicago Field Museum is famous for it's life-size skeleton of "Sue" a Tyrannosaurus Rex!  For years, she greeted the museum's guests as they walked in the doors.  Unfortunately Sue is no longer in the lobby because she is being moved to a new location in the dinosaur exhibit in the upper level.  This exhibit won't be opened until March of 2019. :(  It was so funny at lunch because our table was located near where Sue use to be.  There was just a sign in her usual spot explaining where Sue was.  We kept watching so many people come into the museum looking for Sue and then walking over to the sign and reading it.  The disappointment on their faces was heart-breaking.  I'm not so sure I agree with the museums decision to move Sue.  That has been her spot forever.  People liked her there!  Some things really are better off left alone.

Anyway, in the balcony you can still see Sue's head and other body parts on display.  It's a temporary exhibit until she is put back together in her new home.

The dinosaur exhibit includes a mix of both skeletal dinosaurs and realistic models like the velociraptor below.

My son Jordan and I breezed through the "Plants of the World" exhibit was Ashley nursed Alethea.  It was basically a hall of artificial plants displayed behind glass describing what the plant was and where it was from.  Jordan noticed this pine tree immediately because our yard back home is full of them.

Ashley, Alethea,  and Jason rejoined Jordan and I when we went into the Hall of Gems.  This was one of my favorite exhibits because gorgeous jewelry was involved!  It showed the original source of the gem and how it is transformed into beautiful jewelry.  This was also a very crowded exhibit and it was kind of frustrating for me because I couldn't see the exhibits well through the sea of people.  This display shows how precious pearls are made.

Also in the west side of the balcony is the Hall of the Pacific.  Below Jordan is looking inside a modern rendition of a pacific island town store.

And Jason and Alethea checked out Maori Meeting House.  This house was originally built on Tokomauru Bay in New Zealand in 1881.  It served as a spiritual outpost for sharing Maori culture and history.

I was so amazed by these incredible totem poles.  I not only couldn't believe the size of them (they were huge) but how many of them the museum had.  This was a huge exhibit.

And finally, here's a short video of my son (who is a classically trained percussionist) attempting to play the slit drums.  As always, I forgot to turn the camera the right direction.  :)  Why do I always do that?  Better yet, why do the make the video portion of the IPhones like this?  No one remembers to turn the camera!  Anyhow, I like how my daughter (who has her Master's degree in Voice) instructs him on how to play the slit drum.  And what's really funny is watching my perfectionist son try to get it right.  So typical of him.

The Chicago Field Museum is open every day from 9-5 except Christmas.  They also have multiple "free admission" days for Illinois residents through out the year.  We were there on a "free day" that's why it was so crowded.  The cost for general admission is $24.00, but there are additional costs for other exhibits.  We only went to the general admission exhibits and we still didn't have time to see everything.  It's not necessary to pay to see other exhibits unless you really want to.  Parking was around $20.00.

And that concludes my Illinois Travel posts.  I will be leaving for Savannah, Georgia at the end of April and will begin a new travel series in May!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!