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DIY Farmhouse Server Furniture Flip

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I'm probably a coffee snob. Okay, I'm definitely a coffee snob. I have some amazing friends here in town who brew their own blends of coffee {complete with roasting imported beans and all}, and now that I've had those, it's not the same to have just any old cup of coffee. That said, I love my Keurig, you guys. I got the Keurig Hot for Christmas {in white, of course} and some Starbucks pods to go with it, and it's been amazing! Yes, I still kept my coffee pot. I've got bags of Nate's Sumatra blend and, most recently, a bag of Dry Stack Nicaragua {thanks to my friend Liz for sharing that with me!} in the pantry that I absolutely love! And since I don't have one of those refillable pods yet, I'm keeping the coffee pot on hand for my favorite blends and for those days when sleep seems elusive, which are more often than I thought with a toddler.

No one tells you that when you get past the baby phase and enter into the toddler and then little girl phase, sleep gets less frequent. I thought it was the opposite! Lawsy. Ash has been in bed with us almost every night by 5:00 a.m. and waking up every few hours with nightmares leading up to that {any advice for how to help with that would be greatly appreciated. I feel helpless except to reassure her that I'm there and she's safe}, so I'm not sure I really remember what a full night's sleep is. At least this time around, I'm not nursing, so I can have as many cups of coffee as I need want the next day! When number two comes along... well, I don't know what I'm going to do. Anyway, back to the coffee, I've always had a dream of having a coffee bar. We don't have a terribly large house {::read:: it's small}, but something about having a dedicated space for coffee just appeals to me. Not to mention, it means I don't necessarily have to have yet another appliance sitting on my countertop which is also not all that large. So when I got the Keurig for Christmas this past year, I decided it was time to make the coffee bar happen! I'm pretty sure this piece of furniture is called a server... but it could be a sideboard or even a buffet. At any rate, I'm calling it a server because I'm using it as our makeshift coffee bar in the dining room. I'm honestly not sure which gets more use -- the coffee bar or the dining room table, but it's going to be close either way! I head to this sidebar first thing every morning to brew the perfect cup of coffee {served in a Rae Dunn mug that states clearly my mood for the day, of course}, so it's a pretty integral piece of furniture. When I first got this cabinet, it was solid black with glass front doors and a beadboard backing. I love the doors and the beadboard, and at the time, black was totally my furniture color of choice. Since then, though, I have done a complete 180 style-wise and now want everything white with maybe a few black accents. The doors on this cabinet and that beadboard, though... I couldn't get rid of it. So I decided to flip it! Why not? This was such an easy flip, too, because all it required was a paint job and some chunky legs and voila! Farmhouse at its finest! I found the legs at Home Depot for a little over $2.00 each. Add in two cans of Rustoleum primer and two cans of Rustoleum satin enamel spray paint, and you're looking at a complete transformation for less than $20! Before I painted anything, I took the doors off the server and removed the shelf. Then I flipped it upside down and drilled holes for the leg bolts to thread into using a 1/4" drill bit. I had to be a little careful to avoid the grooves for the doors to slide in, but that wasn't too difficult to get around. Once the legs were connected, I used my vaseline trick to mark spots where I wanted distressing to occur. There is a benefit to the server already being black. I didn't have to spray those spots first! Next, I sprayed the whole piece with primer, waited 30 minutes then sprayed another coat. Once that had fully dried, about two hours, I sprayed the server with two coats of enamel in bright white then sealed it with a clear coat. While that was drying, I did the same to the doors, taping off the glass, and the shelf. I didn't distress the shelf because not that much of it is actually seen when it's inside with the doors closed. That was it! Of course, I could barely wait until it dried to take it inside and set up my coffee bar! I made the coffee bar sign using our transfer paper method and the same distressing method as the server. The boxwood wreath came from At Home a few years ago, and I used the chalkboard sign I made for my cider bar this past year as a backdrop.

I found the wooden toolbox turned coffee pod holder at Michaels a few years ago on clearance. It's served many purposes over the years, but this one is probably my favorite! Now I just need to find some cute baskets/bins to go in the cabinet to hold all of our not-so-attractive stuff, and the area will be set!

Do y'all do the whole coffee bar thing in your homes? My sister-in-law has this cute coffee station set up using an antique metal table she found, and she hangs her mugs from a pot rack. I love seeing pieces used in unexpected ways! What's your favorite farmhouse {or otherwise} piece in your home and why? I have a feeling this server will be with us a long time now that it's been transformed, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

As a quick side note, we IG'd a couple weeks ago about some herb planters we made {which will be up on the blog soon!}, and I had some leftover mint that made needed a home. You might remember these DIY pallet planters we posted last year, which are also available in our Etsy shop. I don't think I ever envisioned them quite this way, but I put that mint in the planter and am using it as a centerpiece for the dining room and L.O.V.E. it! As soon as it's warm enough, I'm probably going to make another one for the farmhouse table on the patio and fill it with succulents. Bring on the spring!

You also may notice that my dining room table looks a little different since my last dining room post. It got a makeover while I was going all white paint happy on the server/sideboard, and it turns out, it's one of those things where it looks like it should have been all white all along! We don't have tons of natural light in our house thanks to smaller and really spaced out windows, so all the white is really working for me in there. I've recently painted our den and am slowly making my way around the house to help brighten things up as well. We're going with Almond Wisp by Behr which sounds tan but is actually pretty greige thanks to its purple base {it sounds awful, but y'all, it's dreamy!} and is light enough that my 2-year-old thinks it's white. I'll be sure to post updates as I make progress.

In the meantime, I'm working on framing some canvas art I got last weekend, and will show you the tutorial on that tomorrow. So, hey, let's go enjoy some coffee! That's where I'm headed. Thanks for following along!

 

Fun & Easy Valentine Crafts for Kids

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We all want to be that Pinterest mom and make fun holiday crafts with our kids. But who has the time and energy? Well, I'm going to show you how easy it can be and why is looks so awesome in photos, even if said craft lasts for only 5 minutes. I tend to overdo it with...most things. Lol! Even when I tell myself to go the simple route, I still end up trying to take on too much and get stressed and overwhelmed (imagine if I didn't aim for simple!). We planned a Valentine crafting playdate with our kids and I set out to find a few fun crafts and activities. I think we did 2 out of 5 crafts I came prepared for and one activity. Lol! It's hard to let that preschool teacher mentality go - always have more activities planned than you need!  These are a few fun things we found.

Valentine Crafts & Activities

Sensory Rice Bin

This was probably the most involved activity as far as preparation, but don't let it intimidate you! It was also the most "worth it". Even though it was a bit messy, the kids absolutely LOVED it and spent a good amount of time playing in it...at least 20 minutes, which is hours in toddler time. They would've played longer, but the rice was having trouble staying inside the box...by which I mean, the kids were throwing it everywhere. So be prepared for that possibility! I grabbed a 5 lb bag of white rice, mixed up about a half a cup of white vinegar and 20 drops of food coloring and mixed it all together in this plastic bin. More vinegar and food coloring would get you closer to red, but I was out, so we settled for this light pink color. The red measuring cups and glitter heart table scatter were from the dollar store. The heart shaped cookie cutters and measuring spoons I already owned. Anything heart shaped or pink can go in the bin! Anything they can scoop with or pour out of is a great toy to add. I also threw in some essential oils to cover up the vinegar smell. It turned out pretty well! This can be a really relaxing activity - best for one or two children at a time.

Heart Shaped Sun Catchers

This is my absolute favorite craft to make with little ones. You just take some clear contact paper, cut it into a heart shape, peel back the paper and stick! We used tissue paper squares and sequins to decorate. Sandwich with another heart shape of contact paper and hang in your window! All of these items were found at the dollar store so this craft cost a whopping total of $3 and there were plenty of supplies left over. I found dollar store GOLD with these tissue paper squares that were precut in a package! Amazing! You can certainly buy tissue paper and cut it yourself (it isn't really that difficult) but I am all about eliminating a step in the pursuit of simplifying my life.

Love Bug Paper Crown

Our lovely friend Erin came across this craft and we all fell in love with it. I'll just be honest, by the time we got to this craft the kids were over it. It was getting close to naptime and they were happily playing. We took this opportunity to sit down at the table and make them for the kids ourselves! With some white construction paper, stickers, markers and pipe cleaners, it's another simple, easy craft. Especially for preschool age or older children, it's a quick little craft that's really fun to make AND wear. So that's about all we got to do. It was plenty and we all had a blast! I'm not gonna lie, I didn't sit down much during our playdate. With two little ones, and facilitating crafts, I stayed pretty busy. But after the experience and the photos we were able to capture, I'm so glad we did it! Here are a few tips I'll leave you with if you decide to do something similar with your kiddos.

Tips for Being That Pinterest Crafting Mom

  1. Keep it SIMPLE. Seriously, do. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. At the same time, just a little extra thought and effort can produce something super cute. So take it a step beyond paper and crayons and make a love bug crown! Or make a potato stamp and let them go to town with some {washable} paint.
  2. Make it age appropriate. If you mess this one up, you'll know right away. If you're both frustrated and no one is having fun, it's probably not an age appropriate craft. Always go younger than you think they are ready for and you'll probably be right on track.
  3. Be realistic. Don't plan 5 different crafts for toddlers (like me!). It may only take a few minutes to complete each one, but one or two are plenty for any one given day.
  4. Let them be kids. Let's just be serious. They aren't going to do it "right". That's ok! It's much more about the experience and the time spent together than the finished product. Keep that in mind and you'll be able to do number 5.
  5. Relax and have fun. This is really important. If you can't do this then it really just isn't worth it. Go do something else you enjoy with your kids! Not everyone has to be a crafting mom. Some moms are cool sporty moms or cooking moms or storytelling moms. The point is that you are doing something you both enjoy together.
  6. Instagram it! We all know this is part of being "that pinterest mom". Go ahead! Show it off! You worked hard for that 5 minutes of crafting. You deserve some recognition and come on, who doesn't want to see those cute kids model their love bug crowns, am I right?? Let people wonder how you can be such a cool crafting mom. And then direct them to this post so they can do it too. 😉

Happy Valentine's Day!

   
Six Misconceptions About Love
Love. It's a word we throw around a LOT. It's used to describe any positive feeling about anything from food to social media posts. It's used to promote political and moral stands. It's used to manipulate and coerce. It's also used to tell someone how much you care about them. It is the single reason that one man died on a cross to save the entire world. How could a word like "love" become something so vastly overused? It's no wonder that we've lost it's actual meaning. Some people might tell you, you shouldn't say things like, "I love pizza!" because the word love is too strong for the emotion you feel for pizza. I'm not going to tell you that (I mean...I'm pretty sure I really do love pizza, right??). However, I am going to say that maybe our English language is a bit too limited. We have a whole lot of words, but only one word for love. In an effort to get down to love's true meaning, I'm going to attempt to dispel 6 misunderstandings about what love is.

Six Misconceptions About Love

  1. Love means never having to say you're sorry. Most of us probably already know this is a lie. This is a line from the movies that needs to stay there. The truth is the complete opposite! Love means always being willing to say I'm sorry. My husband has joked that he should just make a recording of himself saying "I'm sorry" to play on a daily basis. I'm not saying it's a bad idea...lol. But seriously, it takes two good forgivers and two good apologizers (um...maybe not a word) to make any relationship work. Humility is essential to any relationship. You may find yourself apologizing during times when you really don't think you're wrong. That's part of it. Being able to empathize and see the other person's side of things is love at its best.
  2. Love means keeping the peace. Blessed are the peacemakers. That is true. But if you are too concerned with keeping the peace, you risk not being able to speak up with truth. Those you love are relying on you to speak truth to them. If you don't, who else will? No one else will care enough. Society tells us that when you see someone you love making a terrible mistake, you should let them continue in it. Especially if it's making them happy. True love will risk upsetting a loved one in order to point them in the right direction. Real love is hard. It's hard work and it isn't always "fun". Real love is serious and raw and compelling. If you "love" someone by letting them continue a damaging lifestyle or life choice, never speaking up, you don't really love them. Or if you do, you love yourself more. You may be more concerned with how others look at you and perceive you, than with the well being of the person you claim to love. That doesn't mean you can force a person to change. But it does mean you have a responsibility to not just "keep the peace." Speak up! Do it in love. After that, their response is up to them. Don't be afraid to love someone well.
  3. Love means being nice to everyone. Nope. Just no. I am a nice person. Probably too nice sometimes. Being "nice" can be similar to keeping the peace. If you are always "nice", you're probably not always very honest or real. You may also have a habit of leading people on because you are too afraid to tell them how you really feel about something, because it isn't "nice". Being kind is one thing. But you can be kind and honest when something may not be "nice" to say or do. Being nice when that guy you're not interested in tries to talk to you and impress you will backfire, every. single. time. Trust me. Experience has taught me this one! Being "nice" when someone who repeatedly treats you badly wants to keep hanging out, just isn't healthy. You can be kind and let someone know you don't appreciate how they treat you. Love requires you to stand up for justice, which isn't always nice. Defending the ones you love, especially your country, requires things that are not nice at all. God sent his son to the cross to die for us. He had many disobedient, evil nations slaughtered and God is in his very nature LOVE.
  4. Love means doing whatever it takes to make someone happy. This is how people are able to manipulate and control others by using the word love. Boyfriends and girlfriends do it, family members, friends - most people may not even realize they are doing it. But it's so very wrong. If you've ever heard someone say, "But if you love me, you'll do this." That isn't love. It's manipulation. Love is about compromise between two people. If only one person ever gets their needs and wants met, that relationship is parasitical (is that a word? You know, like a parasite). If you find yourself always giving in to the other person, because maybe their personality is just stronger, that's your fault. It can be difficult, especially when you want to please someone or win their love, to "go against the grain." But if you think always going along with them is what it takes to keep that person around, that just isn't love. Give them a chance to show you that their love for you runs deeper than that.
  5. Love makes me happy. It shouldn't require me to sacrifice my own happiness. Oh. But it does. This may seem contradictory to number four, but it isn't. You should never try to win someone's love by sacrificing your own wants and needs unnecessarily. But there is an essential element of love in any relationship, that requires you to "give" a little bit. Many marriages end because one or both parties no longer "make each other happy." I can't say too much on this since I've not experienced divorce myself (and there are certainly other reasons for it that go beyond this - I'm not here to say divorce is never an option, only that is should happen far less than it does). However, I am here to tell you that being "happy" isn't what love and commitment are about. You don't promise before God at the marriage altar to "make each other happy." You DO promise to love that person, no matter the circumstances, 'til death do you part. The look of that love will change over the years, but a faithful marriage will always be rewarded. I love being a mom and I love my children more than words can say. It does NOT always make me happy.  Being a parent is much more self sacrificing than anything a marriage requires. Even while writing this, I've been interrupted about fifty different times (so if something doesn't make any sense - you'll know why!!) to change poopy diapers, get snacks, find a "show", take someone potty, break up a fight, find a toy, etc. I do NOT want to be woken up by getting head butted or have the requests for snacks begin before I even open my eyes. BUT, love means I don't let my kids starve, even when I have no desire whatsoever to get up and make them breakfast (it might be an hour later, but they won't starve!). Love might not always make us happy. But when you find true love in friendship and family, you will be filled with the greatest joy. It makes the difficult times much easier to get through when you know that love is authentic.
  6. Love is Beautiful. Well, it is. But its beauty may not always look the way you might think (see above: poopy diapers). Love doesn't always look like the movies or fairy tales (that may actually be a really good thing...). Many times, it looks pretty ugly. Like when you don't shower for a week, haven't brushed your hair or your teeth and your hubs still finds you attractive (now that is love). Love is holding back someone's hair when they have a stomach bug. Love is cleaning the toilet, making dinner, giving someone a ride, waking up all hours of the night, giving up the last cookie, a listening ear, all the small, seemingly insignificant things of life that seem like they don't matter. Love is not glamorous. It isn't even noble really. It's real. It's raw. It's forever. Love always protects, always perseveres, always trusts, hopes - love. never. fails.
I hope you know love this Valentines day and always. If there is no one else, there is always God. He will never leave you nor forsake you. People will always disappoint. We are human after all, and we fail on a regular basis. God, he is love, and he never fails. If you don't know HIS unfailing love, let this be your invitation to get to know him. Email us and we will give you a place to start. Happy Valentine's Day, friends! WE love you and are so grateful for each of you.    
Simplifying Life
Hi, Salt & Life readers! My name is Carrie, and I’m so excited to be guest posting today! I’m a twenty-something mama to two little girls, a wife of 7 1/2 years, a pre-med student and a YouTuber! I make videos about simplifying life and I’m here to share a little bit about that with you today. But first, let me share a bit of my backstory.

My Background

Growing up, I was constantly overstimulated by excess stuff (i.e. toys, art projects, etc) and I would remedy the stress by throwing all my stuff away. Once my mom caught on, however, she’d dig my things out of the trash and help me put them away in my deep walk-in closet. But  the stressful cycle would start over again when I had pulled too much out and didn’t have the concentration to put it all away again.
As I grew older, my stress levels rose and I learned to cope with food. My earliest memories at barely 4-years-old are of lying on the couch trying to fall asleep because I had stuffed myself sick with whatever food I could find. It wasn’t until I left for college that I realized I had a problem, and it wouldn’t be until my early twenties that I learned I suffered from Binge Eating Disorder along with depression and anxiety. Over the next several years I graduated, got married, gave birth to my first child, struggled through long seasons of unemployment, moved states multiple times and continued to fall deeper into a cycle of depression and anxiety. But everything was okay. I was normal, and could function day-to-day. At least that’s what I told myself.
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Why I Started to Simplify

My attempts to simplify were both accidental and intentional. I was nine months pregnant when I was introduced to the idea of capsule wardrobes in the book, “The No Brainer Wardrobe.”  The idea was simple- identify the items in your closet you absolutely love, let go of the rest, and enjoy dressing every morning without the dreaded “I-have-nothing-to-wear” excuse we all feel even though our closets are stuffed to the brim! So I bought the book and implemented the suggestions right away. And friends, the results were life-changing! For the first time in my life I had a small collection of beautiful things I felt great wearing without any excess surrounding them. I didn’t have to buy new things (right away, at least), I just had to clear out the noise and confusion that was blocking my view of the beautiful things I already owned and loved. From there, I adapted the principles of the capsule wardrobe to other areas of my life and discarded the things I no longer needed. My spice collection was completely gutted, then my junk drawer, then my makeup and toiletries, then my craft closet…. eventually, every single item in my home had been put under review, and whatever I didn’t love, I let go.

The Results of Simplifying (both the good and the bad)

The initial results of a good purge are immediate- euphoric even. You begin to see your life in a different light. You see your passion more clearly, and you gain an incredible desire to live life to the fullest. But you also see your demons too.
It was when I purged my home of the excess that I realized the depth of my issues with mental illness and an eating disorder. But because I had let go of so much literal physical weight in my home, I had more emotional resources to tap into to get the help I needed. Shortly after that massive step toward simplicity, I stepped into recovery for the first time in my life, and as a result I’ve been free of my eating disorder for years! Because of that freedom, I recognized my desire to become a health care professional to women and babies, and I’m now pursuing a hobby as an ObGyn! Without simplifying, I would have had neither the space nor the emotional energy to realize any of this. So as you can see, there are both beautiful and difficult results to simplifying your life (and this is only naming a few!). But it’s in dealing with the difficulty that freedom comes and you can begin to enjoy yourself and the others around you in a deeper, more passionate way. Your life is most definitely different than mine, and your story will turn out differently as well. But I can guarantee you, as I’ve seen it done hundreds of times, your life will be lighter and more enjoyable than ever before after simplifying. You will grow in ways you would have never imagined. And you will love the person inside (and that’s the kicker here- you already ARE that person, you just need to clear away the clutter surrounding you to see yourself more accurately!)! DeathtoStock_Meticulous-08

Tips to Simplify

Here are a few tips to begin, along with several of the best resources I can share to help guide you step-by-step in simplifying your life.

On Discarding/ Purging:

First, you have to discard ALL the extra stuff in your home. Do not think- even for a second- that you can simplify any area in your life and KEEP IT THAT WAY until you’ve gone through everything and simplified your home. It takes a little time, but if done correctly the first time, it will never have to be done again.
  • FOCUS ON the things you LOVE (rather than the clutter you’re anxious to discard!)- you’ll know you love something when you hold it close to your heart. If it makes you feel lighter inside, that’s love!
  • Learn to let go- Go through your home (starting with the wardrobe is the easiest) and purge! Take out every single item in that one single category and, one by one, identify the items that you love. Place the “love” items in one pile and the remaining items in another. Donate, recycle or throw away the remaining items accordingly.
  • Don’t keep things “just in case” : These items are the definition of clutter. They are not needed.
  • Realize when an item has fulfilled it’s purpose, be thankful for it’s use, then let it go. This includes gifts- a gift fulfills it’s purpose when it is received graciously. If it’s simply collecting dust in the back of a closet, donate it so someone else can enjoy it.
  • Half-finished projects should be identified just like items. If you pick up a project and you feel guilty for not finishing it, let it go, along with the supplies acquired to finish. Be thankful that you were able to use your hands to create, and realize that the projects you truly loved at the time were the ones that you finished (or are actively working toward finishing with joy).
  • Don’t worry about over-purging. You likely won’t, as long as you’re focusing on the items you love.
  • DO NOT start purging and discarding sentimental items until you’ve simplified every other area in your home first. These are the hardest things to sort through, and you won’t be able to properly define what you love by starting here.
 

On Shopping:

  • When you feel the need for “retail therapy,” sort through and discard a few items in your own home instead. You will feel better immediately without spending money or adding more stuff to your closet
  • When focusing on the design of a room in your home and it just doesn’t “feel right” (you know what I mean!), instead of looking for items to fill the gaps, remove an item or two instead. Negative space is a grossly underused and much-needed decoration in nearly every American home today.
  • When in doubt, don’t: If you’re not sure if something you want to buy is something you will love, leave it in the store. It is better to have less of what you want than to have too much of what you don’t want. If you can’t stop thinking about it for days, you know you love it and you can return and purchase it later (spoiler alert: this is almost never the case). If it’s meant to be yours, it will be there when you return!
 

On Simplifying Other People’s Stuff:

  1. You can’t change anyone else but yourself, so don’t try. Don’t discard anyone’s things but your own (young children, to a degree, are an exception)
  2. Be VERY careful discarding children’s toys. Young kids may not notice, but older kids will and you can create a hoarder by stealing a child’s right to feel ownership over their things. Instead, talk to kids *when they inquire* about letting go of your own things and inspire them to learn to discard on their own.
  3. Your family WILL simplify after they see the positive results in your life, but ONLY if you let it happen naturally. Start preaching or teaching, and they will only hold on to their things with increased passion. Trust me, I’ve seen it done more times than I can count!
  DeathtoStock_Meticulous-04 Simplifying is not always simple, so to go more in-depth into specifics, check out my favorite resources below:
  1. My YouTube Channel- From toys and clothes to the words we speak and the relationships in which we invest, everything in life can be simplified. Watch my videos where I share all my best tips to do so (Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and sell you anything!).
  2. The No Brainer Wardrobe- The book that started it all for me. It’s a short, fun and light-hearted read that will help you define your style, identify the items in your closet that you love, and get dressed quickly and easily with practically no mental effort whatsoever!
  3. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- An in-depth, specific guide to identifying what you love, discarding the rest, and never falling into a life filled with clutter EVER again! This is the best practical guide on the topic that exists today, no question.
  Thank you so much for letting me share with you today! Be blessed, my friends!  
How to Declutter Your Life

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My husband watched this documentary the other day about minimalism, something I've honestly never even been remotely interested in. Why? Because I love to create things, so the idea of having very little seems foreign since making stuff is kind of what I do. Plus, I love pretty things. It's a struggle. The issue with loving to have a cute house/cute clothes/{insert your favorite cute thing here} is it can become more than just enjoyment. It can become an obsession. I'm not talking, "I'm a little obsessed with Rae Dunn mugs and love to collect them." I'm talking, "I just spent every last penny from my paycheck that didn't go to bills so that I could fill my house with cute stuff." It leads to this unhealthy place of defining yourself by what you have or what you look like or what your house looks like or how you measure up to so and so's Instagram feed, etc. There's way too much in life that we'll miss out on if we constantly play the comparison game, so let's take the New Year as an opportunity to move past all that and make a commitment to enjoying life! How do we do that? By decluttering it! While I certainly would not call myself a minimalist, the underlying concept is something we can all use: fill your life with what brings you joy. The less things you have, the more you'll enjoy those things. For me, this centers on a few changes that are initially kind of annoying but pay off big in the long run.

How To Declutter Your Life

Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism

Trash It or Donate It

When's the last time you actually wore that shirt in your closet that you didn't think would shrink but did but it's the perfect color so you don't want to get rid of it? How about the tupperware that are missing lids -- when's the last time you used that? Or the socks that the dryer must have eaten because you literally haven't seen the match since you wore them eight months ago? I don't love getting rid of things, y'all. I am the, "I'll find a use for it," person, but it creates chaos and a mess and, believe it or not, will add to your stress level. Get two trash bags and label one "donate". Tackle a new area of your home each day, throwing away items that don't have matches or are unusable and donating the ones that you haven't used in the last 6 months or that you have multiples of. Trust me. I know what you're thinking. "But I absolutely need two of these shirts." You don't. You have a washer and dryer. Use it. I'm telling you, you get rid of one and start having to wash that shirt in order to wear it again later in the week and your laundry pile is going to be smaller than it's ever been!

Get Organized

Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism We've already written a post on how to get organized here, but let's review the main principle. Everything has a home. When I first started organizing our home, we had nail clippers everywhere.  Why we needed 10 pairs of nail clippers, I don't know, but there were some in each bathroom, some in the linen closet and some in the drawer of our nightstand. It's a small item, but we really only needed one good pair and one place to put them. The same deal goes for clothes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, backpacks, dishes, etc. Give it a home and return it to its home when it's not being used. If you're a labeler, label away! I am, and I have cute little white tags tied with twine on each bin in our closets that lets everyone know what goes in that bin. The next time you need it, you'll know exactly where it is without having to ask, "Hey, have you seen {insert random item here} lately?" Don't forget to clean out your inbox, file folders and junk drawers. They totally count!

Spring Clean Then Stick To A Schedule

Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism One of my least favorite things ever is to spend six hours on a Saturday cleaning the house. By the time I'm done, I'm ready for a nap and the day is halfway over. #adulting It's a huge bummer, especially on the weekend! Thankfully, this one's easy to solve! Pick a day and spring clean. We're talking baseboards, carpet, upholstery... everything. Don't want to do it yourself? Chances are there's a housekeeping service near you that's run by one or two local people who will give you a fair price to come in and take care of all of it for you. It's a one-time deal, so regardless of whether you do it yourself or have someone else come in, be sure you don't skip this step. Once you've spring cleaned, break down the typical weekly tasks you would need to handle to keep your home clean into seven separate days {or use our cleaning checklist here}. Take 30 minutes each day to tackle the tasks for the day, and you'll get to enjoy those Saturdays and every other day of the week with a clean house and no feeling of wasted weekends!

 Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism

Meal Plans

Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism If you've been around SLB for any length of time, you've heard me say that I am not a great meal planner. That's mostly because life gets in the way of my good intentions and I won't be home one or two nights or I'll feel lazy one day and we'll end up ordering in or snacking. I have found, however, that planning out my meals on paper a week ahead of time and ordering my groceries online have saved me significant amounts of time and money {you can read about saving at the grocery here}. Also, my crockpot... it saves me so much time! If the "lazy" bug tends to hit you in the afternoons, the crockpot is for you, my friend. Toss in whatever you're eating in the morning, and it's done by dinner time! Amanda told you last week that we've opted to go Paleo as one of our resolutions, and gave you access to our meal plan here. Take 20 minutes once a week to go through and plan your meals/order groceries or create a grocery list. Ordering online saves me at least an hour of shopping and ends up saving me money because I don't impulse buy. This means our pantry isn't full of unused items which means less clutter which means a more relaxed you!

Carry A Planner or Use A Digital Calendar

Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism I do splurge once a year and buy a new planner to get my life organized. It brings me so much joy to have everything in one place that I can reference and carry with me wherever I go, and it's fun to go pick out a new pattern/color scheme for the year. {Some of my favorites have been from Target and Marshalls!} If you're not a paper calendar type person, utilize your digital calendar. Playdates, coffee meetings, blog hours, family functions... all of these things go on my calendar so I know exactly how much extra time I'll have each week. It's so easy to get bogged down with little things that add up to zero time for yourself, and decluttering your schedule is just as important as decluttering your home. Having a game plan that you can constantly refer back to will help you say no more often when you really need to, and give you the peace of mind to say yes as well!

Make a Budget

Is decluttering on your to-do list? Us, too. We're going through all the steps to declutter your entire life, not just your home! Check out the details here along with a free printable! #declutter #decluttering #cleaning #cleaninglist #freeprintable #printable #checklist #newyear #resolutions #minimalism Yes. Decluttering your life includes a budget, and I'll be totally honest, y'all. This is not my strong suit. I wish I were that frugal person who did not feel compelled to shop for the best deal, buy supplies for my latest project or craft and make umpteen trips to Lowes for paint or sandpaper or whatever it is I thought I had but don't to get the job done. The thing is, we're all different. So the best way to find a middle ground and regain control {::read: destress financially::} is to make a budget. Add up all your income and all your monthly expenses so that you know exactly how much is left over at the end of the month. Use it to pay off debt, save it or spend it -- regardless of how you use it, you'll have a lot more peace knowing exactly how much is in the bank, how much you owe and how much is left over at the end of the month. If you struggle with spending, try going on a spending freeze. I know, it sounds awful, but it will give you a whole new perspective, friends! And since we're working on decluttering here, we're focusing on less stuff, not more. So save up for that new light fixture you've had your eye on or set money aside for your mug collection, but buy intentionally, not impulsively. Does spring fever hit any of you around this time of year? If you're ready to declutter your life, feel more at peace in general and spend less time doing those chores and tasks that aren't fun, then let's go! We're doing all of the things mentioned above, and we'd love for you to join us. Have some tips you would add to this list? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below! xoxo jess-signature
30 Day Paleo Challenge!
Eating within the guidelines of a Paleo lifestyle has so many benefits! That's why many adopt it as a lifestyle change. While I haven't done that entirely, my husband I have had lots of success with both weight loss and generally feeling better. It's much easier to follow than many "diets" out there. No calorie counting or food weighing, it's just simple clean eating. The best way to try it is to do a 30 day Paleo Challenge! Here are the things you can eat: lean meats, vegetables (including complex carbs like sweet potatoes), fruits, nuts & seeds. Anything that doesn't fall into those categories, you don't eat. That may sound pretty restrictive, but I promise there are plenty of yummy things to eat and you will feel SO good eating them. You will find yourself feeling satisfied, but never bloated or stuffed, even after eating a good amount. There really are no limits on how much you can eat, although I would say to watch your fat intake. Even healthy fats can be too much. So watch your almonds and avocados. Even though they are great choices, one serving a day or every other day is plenty. Oils to cook with: coconut oil, olive oil, grassfed butter, bacon grease, grapeseed oil. Even though dairy is not technically included in a paleo diet, we still use limited dairy in our family diet. The choice is up to you. Here I will share with you a 30 day meal plan with grocery lists for each week. You can find week one below! apples

Sunday

Breakfast - Eggs, bacon & Berries Lunch - Tuna & Avocado Dinner - Almond Flour Chicken Nuggets, Sweet potato fries & roasted broccoli Dip bite sized chicken pieces in beaten egg, then almond flour, parmesan cheese and spices of choice. Slice sweet potato into thin fries, toss with olive oil, season with salt. Bake all at 425 for 15-20 min, turning once during baking. Check to be sure chicken is cooked through and fries are soft.

Monday

Breakfast - Sweet Potato Toast, nut butter, banana, cinnamon Lunch - Chicken salad on thinly sliced Green apples (use homemade mayo, this recipe recommends an immersion blender but I used a regular blender and it was perfect!) Dinner - Paleo Taco Salad Taco meat made with 1 lb ground beef, 1.5 teaspoons chili powder, 1 t cumin, 1/2 t oregano & 1 cup of jar salsa. Over lettuce/spinach and other veggies.

Tuesday

Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs, tomato & Avocado Lunch - Zucchini Nachos w/ leftover taco meat Dinner - Cauliflower Pizza I use two bags of frozen cauliflower per pizza. Cook them, rice them in the blender or food processor. Then using a cheese cloth or thin dishtowel, I wring out as much water from the riced cauliflower as possible - put all the cauliflower in the center of the towel, bring up the sides, twist and wring out the excess water. Add 4 oz of goat cheese to bowl with riced cauliflower. Add 1 egg, salt & 1 teaspoon oregano. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Shape dough into crust form on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper is very important. It will stick to anything else. Bake for 30-40 min. After it's baked, add sauce, cheese & toppings. Then bake for an additional 5 min or until cheese is melted. Crusts can be made ahead of time and frozen.

Wednesday

Breakfast - Banana Pancakes (omit the oats if you want to be authentic paleo) Lunch - Kale Salad w/ shredded chicken Dinner - Zuppa Toscana (use turnips instead of potatoes. You won't notice a difference!) kale

Thursday

Breakfast - Eggs & berries Lunch - Spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, chicken Dinner - Vegetable Soup Put together chopped veggies, 4-cup box of chicken broth, two cans diced tomatoes, & any spices you like in crockpot.

Friday

Breakfast - Sweet Potato Toast with Nut butter, banana & cinnamon Lunch - Leftover Soup Dinner - Burger Bowls (hamburger patties over bowl of spinach, tomato, onion, topped with mustard or homemade mayo)

Saturday

Breakfast - banana pancakes Lunch - leftover soup and/or salad Dinner - Balsamic Chicken & asparagus (or other veggie) (omit Italian dressing and increase balsamic and olive oil by 1 tablespoon each if you want to be authentically paleo) SNACKS: Feel free to snack on anything that is paleo approved! My favorites are apples & sunflower seed butter, carrots & hummus (not technically paleo, but still good for you!), kale chips, almonds, avocado w/ balsamic vinegar. image Download this week's grocery list here. Download this week's meal plan here so you can stick it on your fridge! Hope you enjoy this week's meal plan! You can do it! Any questions, feel free to comment below and I will respond as quickly as I can! Or email us at saltandlifeblog@gmail.com Stay tuned for weeks 2-4 of the 30 day Paleo challenge! Amanda Signature  
How To Have a Successful Year
How was your 2016? Did you accomplish everything you hoped to accomplish? Are you closer to achieving your long term goals? Do you have more money saved or less? Are you happier or more depressed than you were at January 1, 2016? If you find yourself in the same position as last year, or even worse, I want to help you out. I want to share with you the secrets of how to have a successful year. Is it going to take work? Yes. But not as much as you might think.

Set a Goal

img_8436 If you want to accomplish anything in life, you must first decide what that is. A goal is different from a resolution, although you might find it similar. Usually resolutions are things we want to change or do better. Most people write them down, put the list away and forget about it by January 31st...sometimes sooner. Take a look at any local gym during the month of January. It's packed! But the regular gym goers, the ones with a consistent habit in place, they know that come February, the numbers will dwindle. By March they'll have their old gym back to normal and the perpetually well intended will lose their motivation. Sad but true! That doesn't have to be your story this year! Set some attainable goals both short term and long term. Make them specific, clear, and give yourself a deadline. Instead of "I want to lose weight," write "I want to lose 15 pounds by May 1st." Keep your goals in front of you, so you can see them every day. Place them on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, in a journal entry you can read every night, or on a lockscreen for your phone. Place them on a free printable from us, available only to our subscribers, so you can set them on your desk or bedside table, hang them by the front door. You could put them ALL of these places if you want. Your brain is very visual, so find some photos to correspond to each goal you set. Your body has a difficult time accomplishing what your mind can't visualize.

Be Positive

img_8437 This is a tough one, but it is absolutely essential both to your success and for your happiness. Speak positive things, any chance you get. "But I don't want to be fake!" Don't be. If you are struggling with something, rather than talking down to yourself by saying things like, "I'll never change. I'm so stupid. I'm sick and tired of my life." Say things like, "I'm a work in progress. I have the mind of Christ. I have a wonderful life." Because we are all works in progress, the Bible tells us we have the mind of Christ according to 1 Corinthians 2:16, and regardless of your circumstances, you have a wonderful life. To be breathing air at all is a wonderful thing and something to be grateful for. We have a tendency to be a walking self fulfilling prophesy. Your mind believes the things it hears most often, and do you know whose voice you hear most often? Your own. Speak positive things to yourself on a consistent basis. Even if you don't believe them at first, you will find them easier to believe the more you hear them. Surround yourself with positive people, because yours isn't the only voice you hear. Maybe everyone around you is negative. Especially in the workplace that can be difficult to avoid. Listen to positive music, read positive books (I'll have a recommended reading list for you down below), and turn people's negative statements into positive ones in your head. You can do this out loud too, but you may find that not everyone is very receptive to that. (Lol) Maybe you think you're already a pretty positive person. That may be true! Good for you! Here's a challenge for you: say the words "because that's what I really want" after each statement you make. "I just can't seem to lose any weight...because that's what I really want?" No. "I am so sick and tired of this...because that's what I really want?" No! "This stomach bug is going around again, I bet I'm next...because that's what I really want?" No way! Change the way you think, to change the way you speak, to change your life. It's very simple, but it's powerful and effective.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude

This is the number one way to change your perspective on life and change how you feel on any given day. There is always something you can find to be grateful for, always. It takes some effort to focus on what there is to be grateful for, but the pay off is totally worth it! One of the best practice I've heard of is to keep a gratitude journal. Each night before bed, find at least one thing to be grateful for in that day. Write it down. When you struggle the most to be grateful, you can review what you've written and remember.

Be a Servant

img_8434 The quickest way to lift your spirits is to take your eyes off of yourself and your struggles and help someone else in theirs. Have a servant's heart and keep your eyes open to those in need around you every day. It could be a simple as holding the door for the person behind you, doing the dishes at your mom's or friend's house, letting a car in front of you in traffic. Whenever you have the opportunity to show someone kindness, take it! It may seem self sacrificing, but being kind to others will change how you view the world. It will affect your own view of your self worth and the worth of other people.

Take Action

Now, you have a plan to execute to accomplish your goals this year. Subscribe to Salt & Life Blog to take advantage of our free printables to help motivate and encourage you along the way. If you're already a subscriber, look for them in your email! Join our facebook support group where we will be encouraging one another to reach our goals. Jessica and I have our own fitness goals we want to reach and we'll be sharing recipes and meal plans if you would like to join us! No gimmicks, just community! We can be a positive influence on one another this year and make 2017 our most successful year yet!Amanda Signature Recommended Reading: What To Say When You Talk To Yourself by Shad Helmstetter Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino (not about sales) Hung by the Tongue by Francis P. Martin The Bible
Deck the Halls Holiday Home Tour

Welcome to Our Homes!

Hello! Thank you so much for joining us on our "Deck the Halls Holiday Home Tour"! If this is your first stop in the tour, let us tell you a little bit about it. There are six other lovely blogs involved outside of this one. These ladies each posses their own personal style and eye for what makes their home beautiful and unique. We invite you to follow the link at the end of this post to the next stop along our tour. There is plenty of festive holiday decor to see and some really gorgeous photos. Keep going and you won't be disappointed! Amanda's Home I love when the time comes to decorate our home for Christmas. If it were socially acceptable to decorate on November 1st, I would do it. I force myself to wait until the day after Thanksgiving (I still listen to Christmas music throughout the month of November!). The first thing you will see when you step in my front door is my mantle shelf. It unfortunately, does not hang above a fire place. One day, perhaps it will, but today it sits above the couch. The shelf itself was a $20 find at a thrift store in Atlanta, GA. I've toyed with the idea of painting it white, but there's something about the wood that just won't let me. img_7940 The little Christmas trees were a Marshals find for $9.99 a piece. They were the first thing I bought with this year's Christmas decor budget. My favorite thing about them are the tiny pinecones scattered throughout their branches. Pinecones give such a rustic, natural feel. The chalkboard...is kind of a long story. But suffice it to say, it was once a table top. It also functioned as the one year milestone chalkboard for my son's first birthday. Now it is the focal point of the mantel. It was originally purchased from Goodwill. Also from Goodwill are the PEACE stocking hangers, which were a total of $3 for the set. I've thought about spray painting them a different color, but for now, I like the silver. img_7937 The wreath I made myself, from some greenery I found outside our apartment. I'll be posting a tutorial next week, so be on the lookout for that. Next is the best part of Christmas decor in my opinion: the tree!! A fir is my favorite kind of tree to get. They tend to be a tad more expensive than a traditional pine tree, but the look is just so elegant. If the tree decorations look a bit sparse at the bottom, keep in mind that we have a three year old and a fifteen month old who like to rearrange the ornaments frequently. That's just real life. Ha! img_7874 I originally bought the PEACE stocking holders with the intent to hang our stockings from them (crazy idea, I know!). However, I can't currently hang them there for fear that one of my children will yank them down onto their head. So that caused me to get a little more creative with our stockings. We found this wooden ladder for $8 at a thrift store in Nicholasville, KY. img_7880 The stockings I made and you can find the tutorial here. The wooden letters labeling our stockings are gift tags from Target, $1 a piece. The printables are from Nest of Posies and in dollar store frames. This next area of my home is one of my favorites, decor wise. It's such a strange little area. Just a tiny dining room off of the living room, leading into the kitchen. But the blank canvas of the wall has become a space that has evolved over time into something I love. The chalkboard was originally a mirror with airplanes around it in primary colors that looked like it belonged in a little boy's room. It was purchased at the same thrift store in Georgia for around $12. img_7876 The wooden boxes were built by Jessica for our launch party this past May. You can see how she made them here. You can also check out our launch party, to see how that went if you missed it! The boxes were originally on our back patio and filled with soil and annual flowers. I promptly killed the flowers as I do most plants. Something about watering them on a regular basis escapes me (thank goodness the hubs has been taking the lead with watering our tree!). I cleaned out the boxes and replaced the flowers and dirt with trimmings from our tree and pinecones the kids and I collected outside. img_7877 My absolute favorite part about this room is now my dining room table. It's a true antique at 100 years old and it was a 2-3 day project that took me MONTHS to complete. Why did it take me months you ask? Because I have a bajillion projects on my to-do list and two toddlers who take up any spare time. However, I did finish the job on thanksgiving and was able to put this beautiful little table in my dining area. img_7875 That wraps it up for the Zopp homestead. Enjoy Jess' beautiful home! She has been such a home decor inspiration! Amanda Signature   Jessica's Home Hey, y'all! I, like Amanda, would decorate on November 1st every year if time allowed. I usually don't find a spare weekend until halfway through November, though, and I keep changing things up a bit over the course of the next few weeks until I get it just right. My aunt has this philosophy that each year you use last year's decor, making sure to add just a few new things {and recycling old ones} to keep up with the trends. I love that idea, so each year brings a little something new! The first stop on our tour is our entryway. It's a continual work in progress and will soon be painted white {with hopes one day to shiplap}, but in the meantime is decorated as is. I absolutely love the blue of our front door. I generally use very soft, almost neutral blues in my spring and summer decor, but Christmas doesn't lend itself to blues in my humble, farmhouse-style opinion, so the porch kind of stands on its own. I do love the way this flocked wreath looks against that blue for Christmas, though! I built the bench in our entry, and the "welcome home" sign is an old piece of art that I painted with chalkboard paint and hand-lettered. {If you need help doing your own, check out our hand-lettering tutorial here.} I ordered the Merry Christmas pillow cover from Amazon for $4.00 and picked up the table runner that's draped on the bench in the Target Dollar Spot. I am a huge fan of greenery, and you'll see these little Home Goods trees all over the house this season! The silver reindeer is from Walmart, and the wood slice, well... it's from a tree! holiday-home-tour-2 The living room has always been where we put our tree {we do a live one every year... anyone else for Team Live versus Team Artificial?}, but we converted that space to an office last year. Fitting a tree in proved a bit interesting this year, but we made it work! The old window I put together {tutorial here} then hung some Hobby Lobby picks on as well as a Hobby Lobby magnolia wreath. The wood Merry Christmas sign is available here, and the reindeer pillow tutorial is here. I just love the way the white and green and red are brought out so much more this time of year! This is arguably my favorite room in our house. holiday-home-tour-10 holiday-home-tour-4 Taking my aunt's advice, I add new things to our tree each year. The bow topper I made from a spool of Walmart ribbon, and I found the berry picks at Lowes. My three favorite things on the tree this year are the galvanized ornaments which I found at Hobby Lobby {50% off, people!}, my grandmother's antique white glass ornaments and these gold antlers which I found at Lowes. holiday-home-tour-1 I'm also a little partial to these chalkboard wood slice ornaments which I made using a tree limb, some chalk paint and a white paint marker, all tied with twine. We're making these at our upcoming workshop which you can sign up for here! holiday-home-tour-3 On the other side of our office/living room is one of my favorite thrift store finds ever! I picked up this green storage bench in Nicholasville with the intention of painting it, but love the green so much with our decor that I've never touched it except to clean off the cobwebs. I loaded it up with some grain sack pillows, a faux fur blanket, wood crate, lantern and sign and called it Christmassy! Hanging above it is a wood reindeer sign I found at Marshalls and a wire basket from Tuesday Morning. Oh, and there's that greenery again! This garland is from Lowes, and I've used it in our archways and on the soffet in our kitchen. holiday-home-tour-16 I picked up two boxwood wreaths {live, of course} at Trader Joe's this past week after hearing about these 22" ones for only $10! They look amazing even after they've dried, and I'm pretty sure these aren't going to come down when the rest of the Christmas decor does. holiday-home-tour-5 In the hallway, I recently repainted our large mirror, which used to hang in the office. In all its chippy goodness, it now hangs above an apothecary cabinet filled with Rae Dunn mugs. The three wood tree signs Amanda and I made. The books are thrift store books wrapped in white paper and tied with twine, and there's another little miniature tree from Home Goods! holiday-home-tour-9 holiday-home-tour-6 The last room on the tour today is our den. This stone fireplace is one of the features that sold us on this house, and I love decorating it each year. I found these miniature trees at Kroger and flocked them with sprayable "snow" from Walmart, then lined the mantle with garland and pinecones and added our stockings and stocking holders. The color-blocked letters were a bit of a splurge at Home Goods for almost $10 each, but so worth it! Our reindeer bust stays up year round, but definitely fits the theme! holiday-home-tour-13 holiday-home-tour-14 I built an entertainment center for our TV because I was craving open shelving in this room {mostly to show off the board and batten... I admit it}, and it was another new and fun thing to decorate this year. I added a set of three Hobby Lobby white and gold trees, two flocked trees set in wicker baskets and, my favorite item on the shelves, this red and white print from the She Reads Truth advent study last year. The two gold and white square canvases were a Gabriel Brothers find for $6 each. It's hard to see, but one says Merry Christmas and the other says Peace on Earth in gold print. **Sidebar: If you have not checked out their site or their app, She Reads Truth is a beautiful site that provides inspirational stories and devotionals for women {they have a parallel site, He Reads Truth for men} written by women, and these ladies have so many truth nuggets to share! I'd encourage you to check them out!** holiday-home-tour-12 Finally, there's this ladder! If you haven't seen my dining room storage ladder tutorial, head over here. This is the other half of that old ladder I found in our basement. I simply painted it white, and added a TJ Maxx blanket! holiday-home-tour-15 I'll be sharing our dining room and hot cocoa bar next week, and can't wait to show you all the DIYs and frugal finds to help you set up your own, so stay tuned! In the meantime, head over to Hartley Social, the next stop in our Deck the Halls Home Tour! Katie is a fellow Kentucky girl and friend of ours who posts some of the most gorgeous photos!!! She is a thriving entrepreneur, and we just think she's one of the sweetest, most supportive friends we know and, y'all, she knows her stuff! So stop by her site and show her some love! Merry Christmas! jess-signature
DIY Christmas Gifts
I am always on the hunt for cute, yet simple & easy holiday gift DIYs. There's something so personal about creating something for someone else. It takes more time, thought & effort than going to the store to buy something. It's also usually a little easier on the budget. Here are a few of my favorite ideas this holiday season.

Chalkboard Picture Frame

fancy-chalkboards-4 Christy at Confessions of a Serial DIYer found these amazing frames at an Estate sale for super cheap. You could do your own thrift store shopping for frames or even redo one you already own. The great thing about them is that a fresh coat of paint covers a multitude of sins. She used hardboard & spray chalkboard paint. Adding a a few pieces of chalk, tied in some twine, is a lovely finishing touch to the gift.

Hand Painted Coffee Mugs

sharpie-and-glitter-mug I love these. First of all because I always love a new mug for my daily coffee. And second of all, the possibilities are only limited by your creative mind (or the minds of others). Kellie at Nest of Posies blog gives you the complete & very simple tutorial for her sharpie & glitter mug pictured above. Glitter isn't your thing? No problem! Find your favorite phrase or design and get to it. You can use the sharpie method, or even grab a paint pen for more color. Not confident in your handwriting? Check out this hand-lettering post our friend Liz did a few months back.

Cinnamon Stick Candle

cinnamon I don't know about you, but I love candles. They are so warm & inviting and instantly give a cozy feel to any space. Candles make a great gift, but they can also get pretty pricey. These only require a simple vanilla candle, easily found for cheap at the dollar store or Walmart. Head on over to SheKnows.com for the full tutorial. It's so easy!

Holiday Throw Pillow

diy-reindeer-pillow Did you see this tutorial on the blog yesterday? So cute! And so easy to do. Check out Jess' post for her awesome DIY project that's as easy on the budget as it is on the eyes. Who wouldn't love to receive one of these adorable throw pillows this Christmas? And it's easy to customize with your own design.

Wood Sign

img_6975 Every one loves a wood sign. They are so simple to make! Just grab a slab of wood, stain it, use our awesome transfer paper method, & paint. You can literally use any phrase you want. Just find the font, print it out and you're good to go! No hand lettering required! You can find our wood sign tutorial here. The sign pictured here is part of our craft night, hosted by Daily Offerings Coffee Roastery on December 20th. If you haven't signed up to join us yet, please do! Salt & Life Blog will be supplying everything you need to make a wood sign, miniature boxwood style wreath, and wood slice chalk ornaments. Make sure you register here to reserve your supplies! There are so many more ideas out there, but that's all for now. I hope you're able to check at least a few names off your Christmas list. Be sure to share with us your photos of any completed projects. We would love to see how they turn out! Merry Christmas, Friends! Amanda Signature