Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

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Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

Hello! This past Saturday was a very busy one. We visited my mom at the Cleveland Clinic, I cooked up a feast, and watched my niece while her baby sister was born. For dinner, I treated my dad, brother, and Johnny to homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunches. This is the second time that I have made them and the meal turned out excellent. And in the words of Emeril Lagasse, I definitely kicked things up a notch.

The last time I made Taco Bell style Cheesy Gordita Crunches for dinner, I used the beef crumbles by MorningStar. While I didn’t care for it, Johnny liked it well enough so I just decided to use real beef for the guys and vegetarian refried beans for me. I have never cooked ground beef in my life and apparently it turned out good lol. Not that I was surprised because, I hate to toot my own horn, but Johnny says I cook bacon better than someone who eats meat. GREAT SUCCESS! 😀

Not only did I make all of the fixings for our taco dinner but I also prepared some extra additions to enhance the meal. I made a new Pinterest recipe for cilantro lime rice, which can be found here at Downshiftology. I also whipped up a batch of my own personal recipe for guacamole that I think is simply the best. Check it out:

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^^^ Obviously I should have taken a picture of my guac before we chowed down!

Of course, Taco Bell was the source of inspiration for this meal and my life in general. However, I was also trying to serve major Chipotle vibes. The recipe that I used for the cilantro lime rice claims to be a Chipotle taste alike and I completely agree. It. Was. Delicious. The zingy lime and cilantro balanced out the garlic and salt perfectly and I honestly think that I could have ate the entire bowl. I highly recommend making it during your next taco dinner!

I also hate to toot my own horn again but I truly believe that my guacamole is a Chipotle taste alike too. It is SO easy to make with minimal ingredients and tastes divine. This is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 mashed avocados
  • A small portion of red onion, finely chopped
  • Juice, pulp, and zest from one lime
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • Course sea salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

While you can add anything you please to your guacamole like chopped olive or tomato, I always say that simple is best. All of the different flavors and textures in my recipe blend together so well and that extra dose of lime in the zest and pulp sends it over the top. I also just mash up my avocado with a spoon, which makes it very similar in texture to Chipotle’s, which is definitely more chunky. Now, if only I could make a taste alike for their tortilla chips. YUM!

As you all know, I love cooking for Johnny but it was SO nice to be able to make a meal for my dad and brother too. Cooking soothes my soul and watching people enjoy what I make makes it even better. ❤

What are some of your favorite taste alike recipes? How do you prepare the perfect taco? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Bubble Pop Craft

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Bubble Pop Craft

Hello! This past weekend was a whirlwind because my sister just had another beautiful baby girl! I am so excited to be a TT of three and my Val Gal is over the moon to be a big sister. While the little miss was making her grand debut, my dad and I watched Val over the weekend. We had an absolute blast playing outside, going to see a dance program, and making a super fun bubble craft!

When I was little, I could stay outside picking dandelions and blowing bubbles for hours and Val shares the same sentiments. On Sunday morning, it was very dreary so we couldn’t play outside. But, in the recesses of my brain, I remembered a craft that I had seen on Pinterest by Broogly that was sure to keep her occupied. Check it out:

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What You’ll Need:

  • Bubble soap
  • Food coloring
  • Paper

What To Do:

  • Mix food coloring and bubble soap together
  • Blow bubbles over your piece of paper to create your pop art. The longer the bubble sits on the paper, the deeper the color will be.

This bubble pop craft was so easy to put together and Val and I spent over an hour and a half making six masterpieces for her baby sis, uncles, and grandma. While this is definitely a better craft for doing outside, we were able to make it work with minimal mess by placing beach towels over the kitchen floor to blow bubbles on. The mess actually came after the project was complete when I accidentally knocked into Val and blue bubble soap spilled all over the floor. WHOOPS lol.

Not only was this craft entertaining but it was educational too. I got to teach Val all about mixing colors to make new ones and she assisted in helping me make purple and orange bubble soap. I loved how her orange turned out! She would tell you that the purple was the best and, as always, it’s her favorite color. ❤

The next time we make this craft (because there will for sure be a next time), hopefully the weather will be nice enough to do it outdoors. I plan on getting bigger sheets of paper and think that it will turn out really cool if we use one of the automatic bubble blowers. Do give this craft a try if you have little ones – they will love it!

Where do you find fun crafts for your kids? What crafts have you made together this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Prepare For An Electric Vehicle Road Trip

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How To Prepare For An Electric Vehicle Road Trip

It’s not unusual to have some anxiety concerning electric vehicles and whether you can rely on them or not for long distance travel. However, they are a great eco-friendly option if flying is too expensive or you want to go by road. And with adequate planning, you could drive your EV for hundreds or thousands of miles. If you partake in the American tradition of going on a road trip during the summer, here are four tips to prepare for an electric vehicle road trip:

Properly plan your route:

Manufacturers continue to improve their EV route planning tools but are still lagging behind Tesla in this aspect. This is why it is always best to find a good route planner to help you set your EV route to your destination. It is better to be prepared than surprised when taking a long road trip. Fortunately, a few freemium route planning tools allow you to enter your vehicle and charging state and input your desired destination and battery percentage. The tool will do the rest and advise the best route to use. You can pay a few dollars to activate advanced weather and traffic data features.

Ensure your EV is 100% ready:

Electric cars are still more expensive to acquire than conventionally powered rivals but often less expensive to maintain due to economical home charging. This doesn’t suggest that EVs are maintenance-free. Aside from the usual tire rotation, cabin air filter, and wiper blades replacement, it can be useful to take your EV through the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. It is best to allow trained technicians like Infinite Electric to handle EV checks to guarantee you get the most from the car.

EV driving tips:

There are several strategies to increase your driving range. For example, the ‘eco-modes’ accessible in most automobiles can help you improve your car’s efficiency by limiting how much power it receives. Accelerator and brake usage have been linked to this. Like diesel and petrol automobiles, the more force you use, the more energy is consumed, decreasing the car’s overall range. Keeping this in mind can help you to drive attentively and increase your mileage.

Have a backup:

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^^^Pixabay Image

The latest EVs are designed with advanced technologies to guarantee you don’t run out of power on the road. For example, some feature a huge orb over a map displaying how far you can travel before the next charging station. You also get several warnings before you run low. However, chargers are likely to be in use, especially when you don’t arrive early. In some cases, they may be broken or faulty, so it is best to have a backup in case the first charger is unavailable. Some websites or apps like ChargeNet can tell whether the station is in use or has a problem and enable you to plan ahead of time.

The above are some top tips before taking your EV on a summer road trip. Have fun hitting the open road – eco-friendly style!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Lil Red’s Book Club: Hope Never Dies By Andrew Shaffer Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Hope Never Dies By Andrew Shaffer Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! After reading and reviewing an endless amount of thrillers, Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer was a definite change of pace. It was also a most welcomed one because it was sheer perfection. Hope Never Dies is a mystery book starring none other than Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It was recently reviewed on one of Johnny’s favorite podcasts, Behind The Bastards, and after hearing about its hilarity, he had to buy it for me. What a guy!

Without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss this ridiculous book further:

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Delaware’s favorite son, Joe Biden, is simply existing after eight years of being vice president of the United States. He’s aging, growing antsy with “nothing” to do, and most importantly – desperately misses Barack Obama. After several years of not speaking once their run in office was over, Joe grows lonelier and even more depressed when he sees his former best friend living it up with his new celebrity pals. However, their reunion is just about to get started.

Late one night, Joe encounters none other than former president Barack Obama lurking in the woods on his property. He doesn’t come with an invitation for a party or an outing with Bradley Cooper (The bane of Joe’s existence), rather, he has some bad news to share. Joe’s favorite Amtrak conductor, Finn, has passed away under suspicious circumstances. And, oddly enough, a map to Joe’s home was found in the pocket of the deceased.

Joe is beside himself with the loss of Finn and decides to take matters into his own hands to uncover the mystery of his death. Of course, he’ll need some help. Cue: Barack Obama and his Secret Service agent, Steve. Through high speed car chases, infiltrating a biker gang, and some good old fashioned grunt work, they discover that there was a lot more to Finn’s death than what meets the eye.

Obama and Biden stumble across a huge drug smuggling ring through their investigations with deceit and death creeping around every corner. It turns out that Joe didn’t really know his good friend, Finn, after all. Who was responsible for the death of the seasoned Amtrak conductor? And will Barack and Joe live to tell the tale? Read Hope Never Dies to find out!

Pretty crazy, right? Lol, guys, I seriously cannot with this book and I also cannot recommend it enough. I can’t remember the last time I read a humorous book and I was in stitches with every turn of the page of Hope Never Dies. Andrew Shaffer is a national treasure and he must be protected at all costs so he can keep cranking out Obama Biden mysteries.

Joe is the narrator in Hope Never Dies and he plays the part of the scorned lover. His jealousy over Barack’s new friends and yearning for what they once shared is palpable throughout the book. From throwing darts at a picture of Bradley Cooper to dreaming of Barack in a white toga riding a unicorn, there’s no denying it: He freaking loves Barack Obama, despite falling out of touch.

As always, Barack is cool as a cucumber and Joe is full of stumbling wise cracks. A point is also made to make some digs at other politicians, which is a hoot. Through looking death in the eyes and a whirlwind experience shared, Joe and Barack end their adventure as “brothers” once more. Which is great because the sequel, Hope Rides Again, will surely begin with them as besties. And, yes, Johnny got me Hope Rides Again too!

In all seriousness, I am awarding Hope Never Dies with the coveted ten out of ten stars. If you love the Obama Biden era as much as me and are looking for a laugh, then it is a must read. This book is absolutely insane and I am one hundred million percent there for it.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Homemade Salsa Recipe

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Homemade Salsa Recipe

Hello! My dad’s magnificent garden has been providing an endless supply of tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and herbs. I tried to ease the burden of putting a dent in his harvest by making some spaghetti sauce. It turned out a bit lackluster but at least I used eight tomatoes with it lol! This past week, my dad and I made salsa together and came up with our own recipe. It turned out great! Check it out:

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Our Recipe:

  • 22 small to medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 of a green pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves pressed garlic
  • 2 cubanelle peppers, finely chopped
  • Very small pieces of serrano pepper – *Warning* they are very hot
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

I had an absolute blast making this salsa with my dad! I couldn’t tell you the last time we collaborated in the kitchen and it was so much fun to make salsa magic together. The day before we made our concoction, my dad scoured different recipes but we decided to just wing it and see what happens. We delegated different tasks to each other, taste tested along the way, and ended up being really happy with what we came up with.

Salsa is a cool thing to make because you can adjust it as you go to your liking. Whether you want more heat, extra onions, or super garlicky is your prerogative. My dad and I agreed on something more mild after tasting the extreme heat of the serrano peppers from his garden. This was an excellent call because not only was my mouth on fire but my hands burned until the evening just from chopping them. Not to mention the suffering I experienced when I had to take my contacts out. Ouch!!

Minus the serrano incident, I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon with my dad. We definitely plan on making our salsa again and I hope that all of you enjoy the recipe too!

Do you like to follow recipes or wing it? What do you have growing in your garden? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Easy & Delicious Dinner – Fake Fish Wrap

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Easy & Delicious Dinner – Fake Fish Wrap

Hello! I am a very strict vegetarian and have been for close to two decades. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get cravings every now and then and will forever miss the spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s and the fillet o’ fish from McDonald’s. Thankfully, both MorningStar and Gardein make awesome substitutes – it’s definitely not the same as your favorite fast food order but, hey, it’s good enough!

One of my favorite Gardein products is the fake fish fillets, which I love using for both sandwiches and wraps. Johnny likes it too and that’s another huge win! This past week, I made fake fish wraps for dinner and, as always, it was SO delicious and super easy. Check it out:

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I Used:

  • Birds Eye Southwestern style rice
  • 2 Gardein fish fillets
  • Butter lettuce blend
  • Mexican cheese
  • Ranch dressing
  • Tortilla

The ingredients that I listed are the staples that I use but you could doctor your wrap up any way you like. Strips of red pepper, red onion, chipotle sauce, or real meat would also do just fine! I sometimes like to make my wraps with the buffalo chicken by MorningStar, which is also really good. These wraps can be made so quickly and are really filling, making them an ideal meal after a long work day when you come home famished.

If you are a vegetarian, I cannot recommend the Gardein brand enough – especially if you are feeling “been there, done that” with MorningStar. Believe you me, I get that. My other favorite Gardein fake meat is the mandarin chicken, which I make when veggie lo mein is on the menu for dinner. Gardein also has “meatballs” that Johnny loves for spaghetti and subs. Yum!

During the work week, quick and easy meals are the name of the game and my world famous wraps will be sure to please! 😀

What is your favorite meal to make during the work week? What do you use in your wraps? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Ways To Help Out A Loved One In Need

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Ways To Help Out A Loved One In Need

Hello!! This past week has been an awful, stressful time for yours truly. And, let’s be honest, these past couple of years have been an awful, stressful time for everyone. COVID, losing your job, and inflation are enough to make anyone go crazy! In times like these, we all could use a helping hand and these are some of the things that I have been implementing in my own family over the past week and change:

Cook A Meal:

When a crisis arises, one of the last things that people think about is having a home cooked meal. There’s nothing wrong with takeout or fast food but nothing hits quite as much as a meal made with love! Someone struggling could really use a good meal so why not bring one over? You could provide all of the fixings for a spaghetti dinner, tacos, or any of their favorite dishes. A meal that has plenty of leftovers is also one that will be much appreciated.

Clean Up:

Another thing that falls by the wayside during difficult times is housework. We all know that a cluttered and unclean environment can make things even more stressful and it is so easy for all of the household chores to start piling up. You don’t have to give a Merry Maids level clean but doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or the dreaded cleaning of the bathrooms will give the person you’re helping one less thing to think about.

Pet Care:

Pets definitely know when something is up because it effects them too. Something as simple as taking the dog for a long walk, playing with the cats, or cleaning cages can be a huge help. You can also keep an eye on their supply of food and replenish it as needed so they will never go without.

Spend Some Time:

Someone going through a lot will surely benefit from just having you as company. You could lend your ear, be a shoulder to cry on, or simply be around and not talk at all. Things like watching a funny show, doing a puzzle, or playing a game can provide some much needed relief when their focus is shifted to something else for a bit.

From big gestures to small, all of it will be so very appreciated. Please keep my family in your thoughts. ❤

How do you provide a helping hand? What helps you to feel better? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Not So Successful Spaghetti Sauce

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Not So Successful Spaghetti Sauce

Hello! My dad has the most bountiful, wonderful garden that is jam packed with flowers and veggies. His tomato harvest is coming in hot and I promised him that I would help to make spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately, it turned out SO salty and I genuinely have no idea why because I followed the recipe to the T minus adding some tomato paste. Check it out:

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^^^ This recipe was found in The Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook by Julie Jordan.

It has been a long while since I made homemade spaghetti sauce and I was in the zone while doing prep work. While my sister is a formidable baker, I love to cook and there is nothing better to me than whipping up tasty meals for people to enjoy. I also had the luxury of cooking in my mom and dad’s beautiful kitchen, which was a nice change of pace from my apartment!

For this recipe, I used fresh tomatoes, of course, and altered nothing but the tomato paste and way more garlic than needed. However, I’m thinking that the tomato paste on top of the 1/2 teaspoon of salt that I added might have been too much. This is the only thing that would make sense as to why the saltiness was through the roof.

Maybe I’m making this up but isn’t it a thing that a good cook tastes their sauces while they’re making it? Lol, it’s definitely a thing, right? I probably should have been more proactive about this too but I just didn’t feel like it after making a huge dinner of baked ziti the night before! On the bright side, I did use up a decent amount of the tomatoes on the kitchen windowsill so I guess that was a somewhat victory haha.

Even though my spaghetti sauce didn’t turn out great, now you all know what not to do if you choose to make the recipe. Also, be careful if you use squeeze tomato paste because I ended up getting it all over my shirt SMH!!!!

What have you been cooking recently? What do you like to make with fresh veggies? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Treat Yourself With Some Self Care

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Treat Yourself With Some Self Care

Hello! When we think of the phrase “treat yourself”, Parks & Recreation usually comes to mind when Donna and Tom splurge at the mall. A great shopping trip is definitely a treat yourself occasion but so is a day of self care! Self care is all about taking the time out of your day to do things that make you feel good. Let’s explore some ideas for when you’re feeling like you could use a pick me up:

Pampering, Please:

My favorite form of self care is definitely some pampering! Whether it’s a face mask or bath bomb from Lush, getting my nails or hair done, or simply using a nice lotion – I love it all. Being pampered whether it’s at the salon or at home is so soothing and it’s always nice to feel like a million bucks!

You could even host your own personal “spa day” so your friends can get in on the self care too. Everyone could bring their favorite products, drink tea and spill the tea as you catch up, and enjoy each other’s company. How fun would that be?

Treatments:

I am a firm believer that if there is something that makes you feel self conscious, it is worth going to a professional for. Whether you want your teeth whitened, Botox, lip filler, or anything else – go for it. There is nothing wrong with any of this and if it makes you feel good about yourself, then that’s all that matters.

Of course, treatments are not always cosmetic. If you are experiencing aches and pains, you could try PEMF treatment for health maintenance and pain relief. Or, you could book a monthly massage to help work the kinks out. This is also an excellent practice in self care to help you feel your best inside and out.

Veg Out:

Sometimes the best form of self care is sitting on your favorite armchair or couch and vegging out. You could spend the afternoon with a good book or binge watching that show that you have been dying to watch. Taking the time to just sit, relax, and be can do wonders for your mental health. Vegging out gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different world and you will return to reality feeling refreshed.

Work Out:

Whether you are hitting the gym or just taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, it will feel good to get your body moving. I love to take my mom and dad’s dog for runs and when I’m done, I feel happy that I gave both of us a work out – even when my legs feel like Jello! After your exercise, you could treat yourself to a yummy smoothie or a delicious dinner to refuel your body.

Everyone could use some self care in this crazy world and these are just a few ideas to help perk you up whenever you need!

Sweet Surprises: Funko Fandom Edition

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Sweet Surprises: Funko Fandom Edition

Hello! Johnny and I are constantly surprising each other with little gifts, favorite meals, and upgrades to our Halloween decor. It is always so nice for us to come home to a treat, especially with things being as stressful as they are in my life right now. This past weekend, Johnny went to a convention with my brother at the Akron library that featured all things anime, comics, super heroes, and various fandoms. These are the prezzies that I returned home to:

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Although mine and Johnny’s Funko Pop collection pales in comparison to my brother’s, we have our fair share too. Our Funko shelf includes characters from Seinfeld, Diablo, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and the incomparable Bret Michaels from our days of obsessing over Rock Of Love. What a crazy time for TV that was!

The Elvira Funko that Johnny brought home is one that I get. She’s a goddess among mere mortals and everyone should feel lucky to share planet Earth with her. The Igor Karkaroff one, however, was a head scratcher lol. Johnny and I love the Harry Potter franchise but it’s not like Igor is our favorite character of all time. In fact, I feel like we have never even mentioned him in passing when watching the movies. I am so not mad about whatever urge Johnny felt to purchase it, though, because it was such a random funny thing when I walked in the apartment.

Not only did Johnny come home with new Funkos but he also got me a new sticker for my laptop. Lol at it being Hogwarts Castle as the White Castle logo! I adore the book marks he snagged for free from a local artist, Griffie – Kiss for him and movie monsters for me. This was so thoughtful because he noticed that I had an old receipt tucked in a book and thought that’s what I was using to mark the pages. Little did he know that was unintentional and it just happened when I had it in my work bag. Regardless, it was really sweet!

What a guy, am I right? Johnny is such an angel and these Sweet Surprises were just what I needed to put a smile on my face. ❤

What do you like to surprise people with? Which Funko Pops do you have in your collection? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

How To Lower Your Home’s Dust Levels

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How To Lower Your Home’s Dust Levels

Dust is a significant problem in many people’s homes. It seems like no matter how much time you spend cleaning and dusting, it is never enough and the dust never stays away for long. This can be a problem because not only does it look unsightly, but if you suffer from allergies, dust can cause you to feel less than your best! Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to lower your home’s dust levels once and for all:

Make sure you have door mats:

Door mats are a simple solution that helps to prevent various debris from being tracked into your home. If your guests wipe their feet before entering, they will not bring in dust and dirt that can cause problems in your house. It really is that simple.

Install new windows and doors:

If your windows and door are older, then talking to a replacement windows and door company about installing a new set that fits more snugly could be a good move. The tighter the seal in your windows and doors, the less likely it is that various debris, including pollen and pollution from outdoors will get inside your home where it can turn into dust and cause your allergies to flare.

Wash sheets every week:

A lot of dust in the home comes from our own skin. Our bed sheets and pillows are a prime location for this dead skin to accumulate and turn into dust, while also providing dust mites with a nice meal. Hot washing your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week is a good way to keep dust at bay.

Wash pets regularly:

Pets can also cause a lot of dust with their skin and dander, so washing them and grooming them at least once a month will help to lower dust levels in your home. Vacuuming daily when you have pets is also essential if you are serious about keeping things dust free.

Get rid of carpets:

Carpets and rugs may look cozy but they are a breeding sport for dust and bacteria. When you walk on carpets, whether in shoes or barefoot, you will deposit, dirt, skin, and other debris into the fabric, which is very difficult to move without lots of regular vacuuming and dusting. On the other hand, hardwood floors and tiles can be wiped clean in seconds, removing all of the accumulated dust quickly.

Invest in an air purifier:

An air purifier is a simple device that is able to filter dust and pollution particles out of the air. Having one in as many rooms of your home as you can will make the problem much less significant.

As you can see, it is possible to lower the dust levels in your home significantly, to the point where you will not notice it nearly as much, nor will you need to spend as much time removing it!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Bath Bomb Blitz: Bath & Body Works Bath Fizzy Edition

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Bath Bomb Blitz: Bath & Body Works Bath Fizzy Edition

Hello! It has been a long while since I used a bath bomb and I decided to purchase one from Bath & Body Works during my Halloween Haul. After a long and depressing past week, I used it on Sunday for a little dose of self care. When I bought the bath fizzy from B&BW, I wasn’t expecting a Lush quality product because no one does bath bombs better. However, I definitely wasn’t expecting it to suck as badly as it did, lol. Let’s discuss:

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This bath fizzy in Ghoul Friend missed all of the marks that I consider important when it comes to products like it: A change in the water color, a good fragrance, and not fizzing out quickly. I love the Ghoul Friend scent of strawberry, citrus, and peony and figured that it would have had a stronger smell than what I experienced. I honestly couldn’t smell anything once I added it to the bath water, which was disappointing.

The bath fizzy also fizzled out in about twenty seconds or less, which did nothing but leave my bath water a murky lavender. Yes, it’s a Halloween themed product but I wasn’t particularly thrilled to get into a bath that looked like a swamp. Yuck!

One thing that I love about Lush bath bombs is how nourished my skin feels after using one. I always was amazed by how my skin felt as hydrated as if I slathered myself in body butter. I’m sure you can guess that that was not the case in the slightest with the B&BW bath fizzy! It felt like I was sitting in hot water with nothing else to it. I think I would have been better off just taking a regular bubble bath. SMH.

This product is definitely one that you should skip on and was a massive waste of ten dollars. Buy yourself literally anything else from B&BW, instead!

Have you used a product that you were disappointed by recently? What is your favorite bath bomb from Lush? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Bath & Body Works Halloween Haul

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Bath & Body Works Halloween Haul

Hello!! A full size product freebie coupon from Bath & Body Works turned into a full blown haul because their Halloween line has launched! It was complete cuteness overload and in a perfect world I would have every single item from the line inspired by the greatest season of all. As a *somewhat* responsible adult, I, sadly, had to limit myself to just a few treats for myself and the apartment. That doesn’t mean that I’m not daydreaming about everything else I want to buy, though lol! Check it out:

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Like a woman possessed by the Halloween spirit, I was adding goodies to my shopping basket left and right. I adore the light up skeleton hand sanitizer holder, which alternates between white and green eyes. I actually don’t even plan on using it for its intended purpose because it will make a great addition to mine and Johnny’s spooky shelf. I also couldn’t say no to a bath bomb in Ghoul Friend, a scent that features strawberry, citrus, and peony. I can’t wait to use it!

Not only did I have a coupon for a free full size product but I also had one for a free wallflower too. I have never used B&BW’s wallflower plugins before and never really planned on it. As you can see, that changed drastically when I laid eyes on the wallflower holders! I received my freebie wallflower in Vampire Blood and I also bought one in Ghoul Friend for good measure so it only made sense to buy two holders, right? 😀

Like I said, I was thinking with the indulgent side of my brain and when I saw the hand holding an apple, it was an instant yes. The same goes for the adorable little ghost in the clear globe. Because I was in a frenzy, I didn’t even realize that each holder had a light up surprise until the following day when I was writing. And, yes, it did say this on the tag but that’s neither here nor there!

Both of these wallflower holders light up 24/7, making a wicked apple appear as well as orange bats on my wall. Originally, I thought that these holders were perfect as is so it’s safe to say that my mind was BLOWN. I still can’t get over how clever the idea is and how amazing they look and smell in the apartment. The scent that is released isn’t overpowering in the slightest and that was something that I was definitely worried about. Even if it was, I think I would overlook it for all of that cuteness.

If you are a fan of Halloween themed scents and decor, RUN don’t walk to Bath & Body Works – especially considering I might just mess around and buy the whole lot!

What is your favorite holiday to decorate for? What is your favorite thing about Halloween? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Tips On Creating A Healthy Family Dynamic

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Tips On Creating A Healthy Family Dynamic

Families are the basic unit of society and, as such, it is vital that they function in a healthy way. Unfortunately, this is not always easy to do. There are many things that can go wrong and create tension within a family. This blog post will discuss some tips on how to create a healthy family dynamic. Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to having a happy and harmonious family:

Communicate effectively:

The first tip is to ensure that there is effective communication within the family. This means being able to talk openly and honestly with one another about what is going on in your lives. It also means being able to resolve disagreements in a peaceful and respectful manner. If communication is not happening effectively, it can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment.

Make time to connect:

Another important tip is to create a sense of togetherness within the family. This can be done by engaging in activities together, such as playing games, going on outings, or simply spending time talking and laughing with one another. Doing things together will help to create strong bonds between family members and will make everyone feel more connected to one another.

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Show respect:

It is also important to show respect for one another within the family. This means listening to each other, valuing each other’s opinions, and treating everyone with kindness and consideration. If everyone in the family feels respected, it will go a long way in creating a positive and healthy dynamic.

And show love:

Love can be expressed in many different ways, such as through words of affirmation, physical touch, or spending time together. Love is what will hold a family together through thick and thin – so make sure that there is plenty of it!

Encourage a healthy lifestyle:

Create a healthy lifestyle for your family by cooking healthy meals and exercising together. Not only will this improve your physical health, but it will also help to create a positive environment in the home. When everyone is striving towards a common goal, it can do wonders for instilling a sense of teamwork in the family.

Set a routine:

Create a healthy routine and stick to it. This means having set times for meals, bedtime, homework, and other activities. Having a routine will help to create a sense of stability within the family. It can also be helpful in managing stress levels and preventing conflict.

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^^^ Pexels Image

Plan ahead:

Preparation for the future is essential for any family. This means setting aside money for savings and investing in things like life insurance. It can also mean creating a will and putting together an emergency plan. By preparing for the future, you can help to protect your family and ensure that they are taken care of financially if something were to happen to you. Click here to find out more on how to prepare for the future.

A happy and harmonious family is the foundation of a strong society, so it is important that we do everything we can to create one. With love, communication, respect, and preparation, you can make it happen!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Cool Gift Ideas For Creative People

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Cool Gift Ideas For Creative People

Almost every social circle has one, that one being a creative person. When it comes to buying gifts for these much-loved friends or family members, it can be daunting for those who are less in touch with their creative side. But creative people can actually be some of the easiest to buy for. There is a whole world of gifts to suit almost any passion or interest, you just don’t know it yet. Below you will find some inspiration to help you out when it comes to gift hunting for the creative people in your life:

Apple Pencil:

So much of today’s creativity takes place digitally. In fact, so many creative people now rely on tools such as the latest iPad to support their ventures. The traditional pen and paper is a thing of the past, instead, you are more likely to find designs being hashed out using a screen and stylus, and what better stylus to use than the Apple Pencil? The pencil is designed to make drawing seamless and fast paced. The possibilities are endless when it comes to linking your stylus with the appropriate app or software. It also boasts a great battery life and magnetic charging. However it is not the most affordable of gifts, so it will have to be for someone special.

Art supplies:

Not all artists are fully cemented in the digital world, with many still preferring to take pen to paper or rather, brush to paper to enjoy their outlet. Art supplies such as an easel, pochade box, paints, or brushes still make for thoughtful gifts for those who love to paint and draw.

Noise-canceling headphones:

For those who like a bit of peace and tranquility to express and flex their creative muscle, then noise-canceling headphones can be the perfect gift. Finding that quiet space and a bit of solitude can be a difficult task in today’s busy world (especially as more and more people now work from home). That will be no matter – simply pop on a pair of noise-canceling headphones, block out the world around you, and let the creative juices start flowing.

Heated coffee mug:

When you’re in the creative zone, it’s easy to hide away for hours on end and work on your latest project. This will typically mean that the constantly brewed coffee will get cold pretty quickly! A rechargeable heated cup will ensure their hot drinks stay warm for hours, so if they are struggling to lift their head up from the work, at least the coffee will still be warm when they do.

A memory stick:

Taking it back to the digital age, a memory stick is a great practical gift for those whose creative ventures are stored digitally. It may be a little less on the interesting side but it is something your recipient will get so much use out of and be eternally grateful for.

See? It’s not so hard to find a gift for your creative loved one after all!

Featured Image By: Robert Nickson from Pexels

Bath & Body Works August Freebies

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Bath & Body Works August Freebies

Hello!! I had lots of coupons from Bath & Body Works including twenty percent off a purchase as well as a free full sized product and wallflower. I went in planning on just getting a free shower gel because I don’t use their wall plugins. However, I changed my mind about that very quickly when I saw that their Halloween line was already available! The twenty percent off definitely came in handy lol.

Today, we’ll be chatting about the freebies because they are a delight. You can also peep a sneak peek at the full haul which we’ll be discussing in detail tomorrow! Let’s get to it:

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I haven’t been in Bath & Body Works in ages as I do my hand soap shopping online and my beauty care hoard is still well stocked. I planned on using my freebie coupon for another Gingham Love shower gel because it is my current favorite. There were so many new to me scents available, though, that I decided to live a little and try something new!

For my shower gel, I went with Summer Melody and it is so lovely. With fragrance notes of golden honeydew and bronzed vanilla, it smells just like a freshly made fruit salad. Oddly enough, I hate honeydew and always pick it out of my fruit salads but that’s beside the point because apparently I love the way it smells! This is going to be a perfect shower gel to use during the dark days of winter when we could all use an extra dose of sunshine.

The wallflower that I chose is the first one I have ever owned and I can’t think of a better option than Vampire Blood from the Halloween line. I used this fragrance last year in hand sanitizer form and it is still one of my faves. Vampire Blood features strawberry, plum, and jasmine and it is such a bold, rich scent. Normally, I am not a huge fan of floral scents like jasmine but the fragrance notes of it are minimal. It is the ideal spooky scent to use with my new Halloween plugs!

I cannot wait for all of you to see the rest of my haul tomorrow because the light up plugs have a spooky surprise. See you then!

What holiday line from Bath & Body Works is your favorite? What is your go to B&BW scent? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Couple’s Country Concert Photo Shoot

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Couple’s Country Concert Photo Shoot

Hello! This past Friday, Johnny and I got dressed up in our country best to go see Willie Nelson at Blossom Music Center. We didn’t end up attending the show but if you have a killer OOTD and didn’t take pictures, then did you really wear it at all? Lol, Johnny ended up snapping some pics of me like the amazing blog husband that he is and we took pictures of us together afterwards. They turned out ultra cute minus one MAJOR issue – can you spot it? *Massive eye roll*

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Who? What? Wear? Johnny’s OOTD:

  • Button down Western shirt: Straight To Hell
  • Skinny jeans: Hot Topic
  • Pointed toe boots: Amazon

If you said that the glaring problem with these pictures is that Johnny is flipping off the camera, then you are absolutely right! I seriously had no idea and when I commented on how nice the pictures of us turned out, Johnny started laughing. I asked what was so funny and then the realization dawned on me. Guys, I was SO. Freaking. Annoyed lol. It’s not just that he’s flipping the bird – it’s how pleased with himself he looks in all of them. He seriously looks happy as a clam and I know damn well it’s not because he was taking pictures with me! SMH!!

After I did a quick look through of the pictures taken, I made us a simple dinner of quesadillas and my annoyance quickly dissipated. While I was finishing up in the kitchen, Johnny took his first bite and went “mmmmmmmmm” and I just melted haha. He is always so appreciative of my cooking and it never fails to warm my heart. After that little display of cuteness, I was able to forgive but I will NEVER forget. Husbands, am I right? 😀

This concludes my Country Concert OOTD series and I can’t think of a better, sillier way to wrap things up. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did making it and keep it posted for lots more fun on lifewithlilred!

What is something annoying that your partner does? How about something adorable? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

5 Things To Do Before Bringing A Dog Home

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5 Things To Do Before Bringing A Dog Home

A dog is man’s best friend. You’ve probably heard that statement too often, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Dogs are the perfect pets or housemates to have. Pick the right one for you and your family, and you’ll have the most loyal and lovable creature! Numerous studies highlight the several benefits of owning a dog. But if you’re thinking about owning a pet dog for the first time, there are some things you should do first. Here are a few:

Have a good supply of healthy food and treats:

While you may visit several places to get dog food and treats, you don’t need to wait to get a dog before attempting to find the right one. Dog nutrition is complex, and you must ensure that you get the right dog food and treats to help your new family member grow and stay healthy. Be sure to find a reliable and holistic pet store with different dog food types, treats, and other supplies your dog will need. And this leads to the next point:

Stock up on essential dog supplies:

In addition to food, your dog will need several other essentials to make them comfortable, healthy, and safe. These supplies include food and water bowls, a crate, a bed and sleeping area, a dog collar and leash, dog toys, stain and odor removal cleaners, and so much more.

Prepare everyone in your home for their new responsibility:

A dog is a fun addition to the family, but these little guys also have some responsibility. And if you live with others in your home, it’s only right that you prepare them for this. Share the various responsibilities of dog care amongst your family before you bring the dog home. For example, decide who will take care of its daily meals, take the dog out for walks, handle the dog’s training, etc.

Prepare a safe spot for the dog to play and sleep in:

If you’re expecting to bring home a pup, then it needs a safe space to play and sleep in. This space should be confined enough to restrict it from wandering away when not supervised. A safe and confined space also gives a pup enough time to learn its house manners and a spot to chill out comfortably.

Be sure that you’re ready for the responsibility:

If you live alone and cannot rely on anyone else to help you take care of your dog, then you need to be sure that you’re more than ready for the extra load of responsibility. If you have a very busy lifestyle, for example, you must first make enough time in your schedule to devote to your dog, from taking it out for walks to trips to the vet. Also, you might want to make sure that dogs do not trigger any allergic reactions from you.

Once you have implemented these tips, you and your family are ready to welcome your new and special addition. Life truly is great when you have a healthy and loving dog!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Country Concert OOTD Bloopers

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Country Concert OOTD Bloopers

Hello!! It’s time to wrap up my Country Concert OOTD with everyone’s favorite segment: The blooper reel! I don’t know about all of you, but some of my favorite parts of comedy movies happen in the bloopers during the credits. It’s a true testament to not everything being a perfect take – for actors and influencers alike. Before I began doing blooper posts, the following pictures would have been deleted without a second thought. Now, I think otherwise and love sharing them with you:

Waving to my fans on the red (or green) carpet

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Practicing my zombie walk

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Three cheers for me!!!!

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I have NO idea what is happening here

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Yoo-hoo!

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Nothing like a good old fashioned dismount shot

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About to spill the tea to Johnny

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Always keeping those nails fresh!

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Pissed off when Johnny told me the mailboxes were in the background lol SMH

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It’s safe to say that none of these shots would make the cut as the cover of my country album “Timbertop” (In honor of my apartment community) but they certainly have a place here on lifewithlilred. Actually… Now that I think of it, Timbertop is a great name for a country album! For me, OOTD shoots are a lot of play and little work and it’s fun to team up with Johnny to create some photography magic – the good, the bad, and the yikes!

Tune in tomorrow for one more peek at my Country Concert OOTD in the form of a couple’s shoot with Johnny. The pictures are pretty adorable minus one glaring issue… You’ll know what I mean when you see it!

What is your favorite comedy movie? Do you delete or save “bad” pictures? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Paris Apartment By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Paris Apartment By Lucy Foley Edition

Hello! We interrupt your regularly scheduled OOTD bloopers for a brand new Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing an excellent read by Lucy Foley called The Paris Apartment. This was a fast paced thriller that included everything I like – multiple narrators, short chapters, a good whodoneit, and lots of text in French. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on The Paris Apartment for violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it – without giving any spoilers away, of course:

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Jess is on the run. Not only from her past but a petty crime committed in the UK. With no friends and family to turn to aside from her estranged half brother, Ben, she decides that now is as good a time as any to visit him in Paris. He somewhat reluctantly agrees, gives her his address, and promises to wait up for her when she arrives in the evening. However, during her travels, Ben stops replying to texts and phone calls. He is also nowhere to be found when Jess arrives at the ultra posh apartment that she has no idea how he affords as a freelance journalist.

With a bit of ingenuity at the locked gate and some good old fashioned lock picking at Ben’s apartment door, she is finally inside. Rather than finding Ben asleep, she sees that his wallet and phone have been left behind. Still hopeful that her free spirited brother will arrive in the morning with an excuse that he forgot, Jess goes to sleep. And in the morning? Nothing. And the days to come? Nothing. Ben has disappeared.

The day after her arrival, Jess begins to investigate and there is no better place to start than with the residents of the apartment. There is the violent alcoholic Antoine on the first floor, nice guy Nicholas on the second, elusive Mimi and party girl Camille on the fourth, filthy rich Sophie and Jacques in the penthouse, and a concierge who sees everything in the lodge. All of them provide Jess with nothing of value but they all appear to be hiding something about her brother’s whereabouts.

The more Jess digs, the more she is convinced that someone in the apartment is to blame. In Ben’s wallet, she finds a business card for Theo, an editor of a Paris newspaper. He tells Jess that Ben was working on an article for him that was a pure investigative piece. A far cry from his usual restaurant reviews. Ben’s big scoop is about someone in the apartment but who? And is this how he came to disappear into thin air? Read The Paris Apartment to find out!

I really enjoyed The Paris Apartment and, despite the *slightly* farfetched conclusion, I think that it is worth the read. While I did figure out the grand reveals fairly easily, it was still a fun thriller that had me hooked. In fact, I was sad when I finished it because I wanted more – especially in regards to the reactions of the grand finale from the apartment residents.

Jess was a very likeable and unlikely heroine and she was so easy to root for. She has a somewhat scruffy appearance and is dirt poor so it was really endearing as she went about her investigation among people who want for nothing. Jess was also reckless and you truly felt that danger was around the corner for her all of the time, which kept me on the edge of my seat.

Although the other main players in the book were equally horrible in their own right, I still loved the back and forth chapters between all of them. Their chapters shifted between the past with Ben and the present without him so you got to learn all of the key moments that led up to his disappearance. I do like a more vague read but it was nice to have all of the cards out on the table with minimal guesswork for once.

Overall, I am going to rate The Paris Apartment with an eight out of ten stars. Was it the most original thing I’ve read? Not really. However, it was a good page turner and I still recommend it. I would definitely read more by Lucy Foley!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fourth Watercolor Project

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Fourth Watercolor Project

Hello! I have a vast repertoire of hobbies and enjoy reading, ice skating, writing, swimming, and, of course, shopping in my free time. Watercolor painting is a recent hobby that I’ve added to this list and I have been loving it and trying my hand at different projects as often as I can. This past weekend, I made this little painting for my nieces while Johnny took a nap lol check it out:

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My sister and brother-in-law have their daughter, Valerie, and will have another little girl very soon. We are SO excited and I wanted to make something adorable for their bed or playroom. They most certainly are cute as a button so inspiration for my most recent project was really easy to come by!

Val’s favorite colors are purple and pink so I obviously had to incorporate that and I think she will be super happy about the palette I chose. She’s also not old enough to know good art, either, so that’s another win lol. Good art or not, it was fun to make and I like how it turned out so that’s all that matters. 😀

Every time I paint something, I come up with ideas for another project that I would like to do. Without the watercolor class that I took, I would have never thought that it would be an activity that I would enjoy. However, here we are now on my fourth project and I am eager to continue creating more and more. I have some sketches ready to paint when I can and I also plan on making a rainbow painting for my nieces. I can’t wait to show all of you!

Have you started a new hobby recently? What do you like to do in your free time? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Tune in tomorrow for bloopers from my Country Concert OOTD!

Country Concert OOTD Bonus Pics

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Country Concert OOTD Bonus Pics

Hello everyone and welcome to some bonus pics from my Country Concert OOTD! Although we didn’t end up going to said country concert of Willie Nelson, I got tons of pictures that I love to show for it so I guess it all worked out lol. This OOTD was a blast to style and even more fun to wear! My inner Dolly Parton was able to burst free and I felt like a total country diva. Take a look at some bonus pics so good that they should be outlawed (See what I did there?!):

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Wearing this outfit was very interesting to me because it is not even close to my usual personal style at all. I’m sure all of you can agree! However, it was a true testament to the confidence that a great outfit can give – regardless of of it’s something that you would normally wear or not. When I first put this OOTD on, I admit that I was slightly self conscious. Then, I began playing with the fringe and dancing around in the mirror and I was transformed!

What has always drawn me to fashion is that it gives you the opportunity to be whoever you want on any given day. My standard look is a combination of glam rock and punk but who says that I can’t be a country superstar or a posh theater goer? When you dress the part and have the confidence to pull it off is when you can start having real fun with styling without limiting yourself to your signature style.

I can honestly say that this is an outfit that I would wear again without the catch of attending a country show. Is it a bit much? Absolutely. But, so am I so what difference does it make? I felt AMAZING in this OOTD and that’s all that matters to me. So, if you have a look that you’re on the fence about but feel good in: Wear it anyway!! It will be an excellent practice in your own self confidence and you’ll end up feeling glad that you took the risk.

Tomorrow, tune in for a new watercolor painting project. Then, it will be on to bloopers from this look and a couple’s photo shoot! See you then! ❤

How would you describe your personal style? What makes you feel confident? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

4 Ways To Quickly Boost Your Confidence

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4 Ways To Quickly Boost Your Confidence

Feeling confident is key to success in any area of life. When you feel good about yourself, it shows in your actions and the way you interact with others. If you’re looking for a quick confidence boost, try some of these methods:

Stand up straight and tall:

The first step to looking and feeling more confident is your posture. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your head held high. This will make you look and feel more powerful, which in turn will boost your confidence. If you’re not used to good posture, it may take some practice to get into the habit of standing and sitting up straight. But once you do, you’ll notice a difference in the way you feel about yourself.

Smile!

Smiling is another great way to boost your confidence. It makes you look friendly and approachable, two qualities that will help you feel more confident in social situations. If you’re not used to smiling, it may take some extra thought at first. But once you do, you won’t be able to stop. There is always something to smile about!

If you feel like your smile could use some work, consider visiting a Dentist. A professional cleaning and whitening can do wonders for your self esteem. Dentists can also help with other confidence boosting treatments, such as straightening your teeth or fixing minor imperfections. If you’re considering any type of cosmetic dental work, be sure to consult with a reputable dentist who has experience performing the procedure you’re interested in.

Make eye contact with people:

Making eye contact is a great way to show confidence. It shows that you’re interested in what the other person has to say and that you believe in what you’re saying yourself. If you’re not used to making eye contact, it may feel awkward at first. But the more you practice, the easier it will become. In addition to making eye contact, be sure to speak slowly and clearly when you can. Speaking too quickly can make you seem nervous or unsure of yourself. But speaking slowly and clearly will help you come across as confident and in control.

Dress for success:

What you wear can also impact your confidence. If you dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself, it will show in your demeanor. So be sure to choose clothes that fit well and are comfortable to wear. You should also avoid wearing clothes that make you feel self-conscious. There is no point in that and it will show as you fidget and pull at your clothes throughout the day. When you look good, you’ll feel good – and your confidence will reflect that.

With a little practice at these four suggestions, you’ll be feeling more confident in no time! Why not give it a try?

Featured Image By: Pexels

Country Concert OOTD

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Country Concert OOTD

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new OOTD here on lifewithlilred! This past Friday, Johnny and I were supposed to see ZZ Top and Willie Nelson at Blossom Music Center. However, we decided at the last minute that we weren’t comfortable going due to the newest highly contagious COVID variant. My sister is about to have her baby (Yay!!) and we didn’t want to take any risks to prevent us from seeing our new niece.

Even though we didn’t attend the concert, taking pictures was an obvious must because your girl was feeling herself! Check it out:

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Who? What? Wear?

When it came to styling an OOTD for a Country Concert, I had literally no options in my wardrobe lol. Thankfully, Johnny has plenty! The Rock N’ Roll Cowgirl shirt is his and, yes, he is my lil rock n’ roll cowgirl! I love wearing my husband’s clothes and adore his personal style so marrying him was like inheriting another wardrobe – GREAT SUCCESS!! 😀

I have actually been lusting over the silk fringe button down for ages and never had an opportunity to wear it. Although no one but Johnny saw me in it on Friday, it was still really fun to wear and take pictures in! I loved the way the fringe moved and had a blast dancing around and invoking my inner rock n’ roll cowgirl lol. It was seriously the perfect top to wear for a country show and so easy to style an OOTD around.

Little blue jean shorts were a must for a country concert and I’ve said it numerous times and I’ll say it again: The shorts from American Eagle are simply the best. They are so flattering, not too short, and fit well without being really tight. The distressed detailing on these shorts also added a little country flare and I found myself thinking “I feel like Dolly Parton” the entire time we were taking pictures. It. Was. Awesome. 😀

Of course, some cowboy boots would be the way to go for a country inspired OOTD. However, I didn’t go this route and chose my army green Guess wedges, instead. As someone barely over 5’1, it’s important for me to create length in all of my OOTDs. Flat shoes would have made me look squat in this outfit and we can’t have that! Although my wedges aren’t country in the slightest, I loved how the army green complimented the mustard yellow and burgundy flowers on the top.

To complete my Country Concert OOTD, I tied things together with my grandpa’s bolo tie. I have quite a few of his bolo ties from his days of line dancing with my grandma and I’ve never been able to wear any of them. It was SO special to me to have it on and it looked amazing with the rest of my outfit. The burnt orange stone and brown leather against the cream colored button down was stunning!

Even though I was all dressed up with nowhere to go, I am obsessed with this OOTD. I hope you can find inspiration from it if you are attending any country festivals this summer. Keep it posted for more pics from this shoot, bloopers, and an adorable couple’s photo shoot with Johnny!

Have you attended any concerts this summer? Who is your favorite country artist? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Boosting Professionalism To Enhance Your Brand

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Boosting Professionalism To Enhance Your Brand

As a professional, you should always look for ways to boost your brand and enhance your standing within your industry. If you are running a small business or start-up, this is not as straightforward as you’d like. You need to compete with established enterprises with more contacts than you have employees. Yet, this does not mean you’ll never be able to enhance your brand.

One key component of success is professionalism. This does not need to mean the impersonal or prim and proper demeanor, especially in the modern business sphere. Instead, there are some crucial points you need to remember to demonstrate how professional you are, which should attract customers, networking opportunities, and more:

Make Your Company Easy to Find:

Considering how the internet has made it easy to learn more about businesses, you should strive to make your business equally easy to find. Otherwise, you will lose customers to local competitors who took the time to establish an online presence. Setting up your website and making sure it demonstrates what your brand is all about is a fantastic place to start. You should focus on social media profiles and covering all popular platforms helps you reach a wider audience. Search engine information such as Google My Business also helps, as it provides all of the information customers need to get in touch.

Have Professional Photos:

Looking the part is a significant aspect of professionalism, especially when it comes to photos of yourself and your business. Investing in professional entrepreneur photography for your profiles to help capture your aura as a leader can only help you. It also helps put a face to the name behind your company.

Design a Welcoming Office:

While the office is not as common as it was two years ago, many businesses still need a dedicated workspace for employees or meetings. The least you can do is design a welcoming office so that employees and clients feel comfortable. This all starts with your reception area. Comfortable sofas and complementary refreshments (water, coffee, tea) encourages a welcoming appeal. Inside the main office, natural light and ventilation are two key factors that can transform an office atmosphere and make it a pleasant place.

Hire the Right Talent:

It isn’t just the boss that can improve professionalism within the workplace. If you want to enhance your company, you need to hire the right talent to help push your business to even greater heights. However, the hiring process can be tricky and even the most promising candidates can let you down.

Understanding the top tips to hire the best candidate will help you avoid getting burned by applicants who lied on their resume or simply weren’t up to the demands of the industry. By choosing top-quality candidates, you can set your business up for years of success and trust them to lead when you are not around.

Deliver on Promises:

Delivering on promises is a crucial aspect of improving your standing and demonstrating professionalism. But, you can’t promise the earth to every client, as you’ll end up letting someone down. Instead, you must know what you can promise and make sure you deliver. Setting achievable expectations shows honesty but could still impress clients if you deliver a project ahead of schedule.

Offer Value In All Content:

Content is a valuable aspect of any business. It gives you the chance to interact with customers and clients less professionally while also sharing your thoughts about the industry or even highlighting interesting tidbits of industry history. But, your content must be valuable. Content calendars and dedicated copywriters or content creators (whether in-house or outsourced) can improve your content so you’ll always have something to say and you’ll know that it matters.

Understand You Don’t Know Everything:

It’s important to spend time building relationships and seeking mentorship at any stage of your career. Doing so and asking for help leads to business growth and shows you’re willing to learn from others and your own mistakes. The more willing you are to take advice on board from mentors or industry veterans, the easier it will be for you to establish your business as an industry leader. Furthermore, you’ll have built a reputation as a professional, improving relationships and making people more willing to work with you.

Enhancing your brand will not happen with a snap of your fingers. Like any business venture, it takes time to establish yourself as a reliable and respected member of your industry. You can accelerate this by considering these tips to help your business stand out from the crowd and let everyone know that you’re serious about what you do!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Namesake Watercolor Project

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Namesake Watercolor Project

Hello! I enjoyed the watercolor painting class that I took so much that I just had to buy some supplies to paint during my free time at home. Although my leisure time is scarce during the week, I have managed to do two projects that I am really proud of. I created a likeness of myself and Johnny and also painted a dedication to my namesake this past week:

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The Lil Red nickname originally stemmed from a coworker when I worked retail thanks to my signature red hair and lipstick. At the cash register, he would ask if Lil Red helped the customer out and they always knew who he was talking about! I have had this project in mind to feature my blog’s tagline and a red lippie tube since the class I took and I love how it turned out. 😀

Because of the constantly changing color of my hair, it has been a while since I was able to wear a pure red lipstick. I miss it terribly but I still think that it is the epitome of chic. A bold red lip screams confidence, even if you aren’t really feeling yourself that day. A quick swipe of red lipstick can completely change a simple jeans and T outfit or enhance a date night look. This never fails to amaze me and is a true testament to the power of makeup.

It sounds silly but I honestly feel like my red lipstick helped shape me into the person that I am today. It gave me a confidence boost when I had none as well as inspiration when I created my blog. During my next tap out tattoo session, I plan on getting a red lipstick tube somewhere on my arm. For now, however, a painting will just have to do. I wonder what I’ll come up with to paint next!

What do you consider a signature part of your style? What is your favorite lipstick shade? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

“Weird Al” Yankovic Concert

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“Weird Al” Yankovic Concert

Hello!! This past Wednesday, my dad, brother, Johnny, and I went to see “Weird Al” Yankovic in concert at the Goodyear Theater in Akron. My brother and I haven’t seen “Weird Al” since 2012 during his Mandatory Fun tour and we had an absolute blast! Although we all stayed up way too late on a school night, we would do it again in a heartbeat for two and a half hours of nonstop laughs. Let’s get to it:

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As you can see by the pictures, we didn’t have the best seats for The Unfortunate Return Of The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour. We were in the very last row of the balcony! However, this was actually fine by us because it was like having our own little private section and no one was breathing all over us lol. Despite the crappy pictures, we could still see everything perfectly… Except for when the stage lights were blinding us!

The show began with a set by comedian, Emo Phillips, and it was a riot. Him and “Weird Al” have been touring together for years now and he is also one of Johnny’s favorites so it was cool to see him live. He was SO damn funny and one of his jokes was one of the best parts of the night. Emo mentioned there were probably some liberals here and people cheered. Then, he said there were probably some conservatives here and some guy yelled “YEAH”. To which Emo replied with “Oh, okay. Don’t worry – I won’t talk about politics, religion, or science”. I think this guy was looking for some type of confirmation but he got completely MERKED and that’s always nice to see! 😀

After a rousing set by Emo, it was time for Yankovic to take the stage. The very long name of his tour meant that he was going to be performing some of his lesser known hits, which were primarily non-parody songs. He also told us stories about how each song came to be before playing them so it was neat to hear him just talking to us.

The opening number of the set was “CNR” and songs like “Lame Claim To Fame”, “Close But No Cigar”, “I’ll Sue Ya”, “Dog Eat Dog”, “First World Problems”, and “Skipper Dan” were all included. A moving coffee shop rendition of “Dare To Be Stupid” was also performed. We saw him play that during the Mandatory Fun tour and it was even funnier the second time around. That was definitely one of our favorite songs of the show!

To wrap things up before a lengthy encore, “Weird Al” told us about how his biopic “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” will be released in November. He said he didn’t know how to feel about it, though, because there’s already a song that tells his life story… ALBUQUERQUE!!!!! So, obviously, everyone lost their shit and he added all kinds of silly bits to it that included starting the song over from the beginning. It was the absolute best.

An amazing time was had by all at the concert and we must do our due diligence to protect “Weird Al” Yankovic at all costs. The man is a national treasure!! ❤

What is your favorite “Weird Al” song? Who else is excited for his biopic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

July 2022 Finishes

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July 2022 Finishes

Hello!!! It’s about that time to discuss my beauty finishes for the month of July and it was a good month, indeed. I got to try some new to me products, used up some of the ones that took forever, and revisited some old favorites. It was a GREAT SUCCESS so let’s get to it:

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Would I Use Again?

Why/Why Not?

B&BW Spray: Omg, did this spray take forever to finish lol – at least half a year of almost daily use! This is fine by me, though, because I love anything apple scented and B&BW always delivers. The Country Apple is the perfect mix of sweet and tart and it is the perfect pick me up before leaving for work. I would definitely use it again but am fine with not using it for a while!

SkinLab Cleanser: I love SkinLab products and the Lift & Firm Daily Gel Cleanser was amazing. After about a month and a half of daily use, my skin looked more supple and felt smoother. It was invigorating to use every morning and also removed remnants of makeup really well. Although, I have to admit that it’s a bit sad to be moving onto products that Lift & Firm lol.

B&BW Shower Gel: Normally, the travel size shower gel from B&BW lasts me three weeks of daily use. However, this month I used up two of them because Johnny helped me out after he ran out of his shower gel. We both smelled awesome for the month of July and I adore the Gingham Love scent. It has all of the fresh, crisp feels of the original Gingham with juicy berries thrown in for good measure. Although I think it’s super cute that Johnny used my shower gel, I’m bummed out that I’m all out of Gingham Love!

Tatcha Moisturizer: This moisturizer was a freebie during my last Sephora Haul and it was nice but I wouldn’t use it unless I got it as a free item again. I love a water cream formula, especially during the summer and this one was delightful. It absorbed so quickly while still leaving my skin feeling ultra hydrated. It took me four days of twice daily use to finish the sample jar.

Lanocreme Moisturizer: I purchased this moisturizer during a winter haul at TJMaxx and finally got around to using it towards the end of June. Although it absorbed well, it was a bit too thick for my liking during the summertime. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t be great for fall and winter use, though! This moisturizer was rich, creamy, and left my skin looking and feeling peaches and cream perfect. It took me about five weeks of twice daily use to finish the jar.

Hope Soap Lotion: This is the second lotion that I’ve used from Hope Soap, which is a local shop in my area. I received both of them as a gift and the first one that I finished in June wasn’t my favorite because its texture was so runny. The Vanilla & Fig was the polar opposite, however, and had the consistency of a normal lotion which I liked much better. It also smelled awesome! As nice as it was, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it for myself but it made a wonderful gift. It took me a little under two months to finish the jar.

As you can see from all of these empties, July was a month full of pampering. Whether the product was good or bad, I am glad to have used them up and am ready for lots more finishes come August!

Which products did you use up this month? What are your thoughts on any of the above products if you have used them? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Make Your Home More Comfortable With These Improvements

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Make Your Home More Comfortable With These Improvements

After a while, your home could use a little upgrade in the comfort department. As time goes on things get old and need repair or something new comes out that you know you have to have. If you feel your home needs a boost in comfort, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Get a New Couch:

Couches are the ultimate in comfort. You are going to want to sit on them, sleep on them, lay on them, and have guests stay on them. After a while, they can lose their high level of comfort. Do yourself a favor and get a new couch.

You can visit stores like Ashley Home Furniture or any other affordable furniture store and find an amazing couch that is fluffy, soft, and reclines. Newer couches come with zero gravity reclining to take the pressure off of your back and make you feel as relaxed as possible.

Get Central Air and Heating:

A great way to up the comfort level of your home is to get central air and heating. This eliminates having to have wall or window units that only heat and cool certain rooms. With a central air system, you can evenly heat and cool your entire home.

A reputable company like Eggert Cooling and Heating knows exactly what your home needs to be at the perfect temperature at all times. It’s affordable and one of the best things you can do for your home.

Repaint Your Rooms:

Changing up the color of your rooms can really set a comfortable mood. Choosing soothing colors matched with the right color furniture will put you at ease while you are watching TV, going to sleep, or sitting in your favorite spot to read or relax.

Visit your local paint store and choose colors that speak to you and are universally regarded as soothing like some grays, browns, or blues. Let all parts of your home set the tone that will make you and your guests feel nice and cozy.

Improve Your Lighting:

When you can set the room with the right lighting, comfort will abound. The first thing to do is put your lights on dimmers. Dimmers will give you full control over the strength of the light and you can set it to be at the perfect level so you will feel chill at all times. Next, pick the right kind of lighting for your room. Some people enjoy indirect recessed lighting, while others choose to work with lamps or track lighting. Whatever your choice, the right lighting will set the right mood.

There are several other things you can do from blankets to carpeting and window treatments that will help set a great vibe in your home. As you improve upon one thing, you will discover something else that you can do and before long your entire home will be the epitome of comfort!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Date Day (Ish) OOTD

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Date Day (Ish) OOTD

Hello!! This past Saturday, Johnny and I had plans for a date day that went sour because he had a lil belly ache. We were supposed to go out to lunch (Which we did), take OOTD pics (Which we sort of did), and have drinks at our favorite bar (Which we didn’t). For lunch, we went to a brewery down the street called R. Shea’s and it was SO yummy but when a wave of nausea hit Johnny it was pretty much game over from there lol. Peep this glorious grilled cheese, though!

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^^^ Cilantro jalapeño hummus for an appetizer and a beer cheese grilled cheese for the main dish. Still daydreaming about it!

After lunch, we headed home and Johnny rallied enough to take some quick pics in the apartment because I loved the outfit I had on:

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^^^ Lol, I honestly forget what Johnny said to warrant that face in the last picture but it is such a mood!

Who? What? Wear?

  • Persimmon top: Solitaire, TJMaxx
  • Skort: Almost Famous, TJMaxx
  • Heels: Reaction By Kenneth Cole, TJMaxx
  • The belt is from some store in the mall that doesn’t exist anymore
  • The cuff bracelet is from Aerie, which I also got forever ago

Although I didn’t get a full photo series of this Date Day (Ish) OOTD, I still love it all the same. This look is a really good example of a color blocked outfit and is exactly what I pictured when I purchased the Solitaire top during my last TJMaxx haul. There are a few rules of thumb to follow for a successful color blocked OOTD so let’s discuss:

Colors That Compliment:

The best and most obvious rule for optimum success is to choose colors that compliment. As you can see, aside from my black skort that acted as a neutral, I went with a warmer palette for everything else. You want the colors that you use to interact with each other in the most positive way for a cohesive look.

Try looking at the rainbow for inspiration. For example, if I had a yellow skort, it would have worked just as well as the black since red, orange, and yellow work together in tandem. For a more jewel toned look, the base of this OOTD in green, blue, and violet would be ideal. If you want to do some advanced color blocking, take a look at a color wheel to use true complimentary colors like blue and orange or red and green.

Choose Clothing Styles Wisely:

A color blocked outfit is a huge accessory in itself and we all know that too much of a good thing can take away from the overall look. I kept things sleek in my OOTD and used the top as the main piece and then incorporated matching accessories. But maybe you want to do something more bold and we’ll use ruffles and complementary colors as an example…

Let’s say you have a magenta top with ruffled tank sleeves and you want to pair it with a bright green skirt. This alone would be a great choice but you could take it a step further. What if your green skirt has ruffle accents too? Then, it would be a home run because you’re using complimenting colors AND styles.

Different types of styling all demand cohesion and some options, like mixing and matching, allow you to be really creative. Of course, you are being creative with color blocking but it’s also a logical way of styling too. By observing not only colors that complement but styles too, you are going to have a cohesive look no matter what you choose. That’s just brain power, baby!

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^^^ Lil buddy was all tuckered out after his big day!

Despite not having many pictures of this Date Day (Ish) OOTD, I hope you learned a thing or two about color blocking. This is one of the easier styling methods so don’t be afraid to break out the color wheel and have some fun!

Do you prefer to wear warm or cool colors? What is your favorite styling technique? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

 

A Stroll In The Garden OOTD Bonus Pics

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A Stroll In The Garden OOTD Bonus Pics

Hello everyone and welcome to some bonus pics from my Stroll In The Garden OOTD! This is neither here nor there but, as I type this, there is something stuck in my eye and it’s super uncomfortable/annoying. Happy Monday, am I right? ANYWHO, this little OOTD was shot by my dad and he did a bang up job! And, something very special happened afterwards so let’s get to it:

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My niece, Valerie, was over when we were taking these pictures and was outside with my mom while my dad was snapping pics. Val is my lil BFF and she is always joined at my hip whenever we are together so it was pretty amazing that these pictures could even happen! Now, normally, Val refuses to get her picture taken so we were all shocked when the unthinkable happened… She said she wanted to take pictures too!

After a few more minutes of OOTD pics, I was able to take Val’s pictures and it warmed my cold, bitter heart like no other. We all knew it was because she wanted to be doing what I was doing and it was just so freaking cute. Her and I ran around the backyard finding good patches of grass because, oddly enough, she didn’t want pictures by flowers. She showed off her cool dance moves and took her TT’s directions well when she felt like it. 😀

I couldn’t wait to share the pics that I took with my sister and brother-in-law and they were equally as surprised from Val’s apparent change of heart for getting her picture taken. Val makes me proud all of the time but this moment is definitely in my top five. Maybe we have a future blogger in the family?!

Do you like having your picture taken? Or do you prefer to be the one taking the pictures? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Beat The Summer Heat At Night

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How To Beat The Summer Heat At Night

Many of us find it hard to sleep in the heat. However, you don’t have to suffer through the extreme temperatures. Below are just a few different ways to keep cool on a hot summer’s night so that you can catch some Zs comfortably:

Leave windows open:

An obvious way to deal with the heat is to leave windows open. To encourage a breeze through your home, consider keeping interior doors open on a hot summer’s night (you may want to use doorstops to stop them slamming). If you get bugs coming in through your windows at night, consider installing bug screens that will allow air through while keeping bugs out.

Place fans in the right locations:

Fans can help keep you cool as you sleep. The best place to put a small fan in a bedroom is in an open doorway on the ground facing up into your bedroom. Most hallways are cooler because they have less windows, while air is typically cooler at ground level than up high. If hot air is still coming in through a window, do not place a fan by your window as it will just help blow hot air in. Some people place fans near windows facing outside to help blow hot air out, however this is typically more effective during the day.

Install air conditioning:

The most effective solution against heat in your home is air conditioning. Most homes already have AC, although it can vary a lot in quality. Consider whether you need to upgrade your air conditioning. Older units typically start to become less effective at cooling the temperature over time. In other cases, homes may have systems that are too weak for the size of the home (particularly if additions have been made to a home, but no added vents have been installed).

Use breathable bedding:

Summer is definitely not the time for thick duvets and flannel bed sheets. Ideally, you want light and breathable bedding. Cotton and linen sheets are a good choice. You could even try bamboo sheets. Consider sleeping with nothing but a sheet over you or use a light quilt.

Take a cool shower before bed:

You’re likely to find it harder to go to sleep if you’re already hot and sweaty. Taking a shower or bath in some cold water could help to clean off the sweat and bring your body temperature down. It doesn’t have to be freezing cold water – lukewarm water is fine.

Cool down your bedding:

You could also consider cooling your bedding before you go to sleep. Some people place their bed sheets in the freezer or fridge for five minutes before going to bed. This could stop you from getting hot while trying to get to sleep. Of course, some people may find this to be too much effort (you’ll need to have a spare fridge/freezer drawer, plus it means making your bed before you go to sleep, so bear this in mind).

Summer is a joyous time, albeit a hot one! Use the tips above to beat the heat when trying to sleep.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Simple Ways To Make Your Outdoor Space Better

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Simple Ways To Make Your Outdoor Space Better

Getting and taking care of your dream backyard is a lot of work. If your space looks a little unloved, try making some of these easy to do improvements. You’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor space in no time:

Have A Deck Or Patio:

When designing a backyard, you may be struggling to come up with ideas, but the best ones feature “areas.” Begin by creating an area where you can sit back and take in the scenery. In the summer, a deck or patio is a wonderful location to relax and take advantage of the beautiful weather. Additionally, if you ever decide to sell your house, the average return on investment for a deck addition is between 67 and 72 percent.

Enjoy Outdoor Living:

Now that you have a patio or deck area, you need to fill it with things to use. Depending on the patio furniture you choose, you can have a lovely dinner under the sky with a bench and table set or pop open a beer and relax in a lounger. If you want a “living room” outside, for example, choose a sofa, chairs, and a coffee table. Or you could have a kitchen outside. There are a lot of choices, so it’s a good idea to browse an outdoor living store for inspiration.

Lay A Stone Pathway:

A stone path from your patio or deck to your new dining area gives your landscape some charm and texture. There are a lot of different designs, from brick and gravel to natural stone and mosaic stones. This is one of the more challenging backyard upgrades that add value, so choose the type that fits your style and level of DIY home improvement skill the best.

Add A Gateway:

By putting arbors at the entrance to your backyard, you can make it feel like a summer oasis for your guests. Think about putting your favorite flowers or creepers on the arbors to give them a personal touch. Add a few trellises if you want to make your yard more private. This is one of the best and cheapest ways to landscape your backyard.

Use The Shade:

Pergolas are great additions to a backyard because they make a unique space, gives you privacy, and keeps you cool in the summer, thanks to the shade they provide. Plus, they look elegant in a well kept garden with beautiful climbing plants and vines.

Add Lighting:

Installing patio string lights is an excellent do-it-yourself project. It’s simple to install and a lot of fun to use in your garden. Pergolas, gates, and trees can all benefit from hanging lights over them to create a nighttime gathering spot that your guests will adore just as much as you do.

Buy A Fire Pit:

A fire pit might be the best thing to add. Not only will you be able to roast marshmallows during the long summer evenings, but when the hot weather begins to fade, the warmth of the fire will take you into fall. Also, this is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the value of your home in your backyard.

Turn your backyard into the place to be with these ideas. Yourself and your guests will be sad to go indoors!

Featured Image By: Tom Swinnen

How To Make Rural Life Easier

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How To Make Rural Life Easier

Living in a rural area is never an easy task, especially if you don’t have much experience with being far away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. Fortunately, figuring out how to thrive despite leading a rural lifestyle doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might imagine. This guide contains some of the most effective ideas that you can make the most of today so you can start to thrive in no time:

Have Home Experts On Speed Dial:

It is so important to have a range of experts on speed dial so you can call a professional if you find yourself in a tricky situation. For example, a number of rural homes which are not directly linked to utility services have their own septic tank, meaning you should certainly add an emergency septic company service to your contact list.

To add to this, you’ll also likely benefit from sourcing a trusted plumber, as well as a registered electrician. Making the mistake of not building relationships with such people could leave you in a terrible situation without access to electricity or hot water, or even stop you from using your toilet. Always take the time to read reviews beforehand so that you can locate the most trustworthy and reputable providers, as you need to be able to put your faith in whoever you call.

Always Stock Up:

When you’re far away from the grocery store, it’s always best to stock up rather than being left without the ingredients or items that you need. There are bound to be many items that you can stock up on to begin your journey to a constantly full pantry, starting off with dried foods. It’s likely that you and your family will eat things like pasta or rice at least once a week, so you can purchase these items in bulk to ensure you have enough for the next few months!

Dried foods generally have a really long shelf life and can be left in storage for many months or even years without degrading in any way. Canned foods are great to stock up on too, as canned tomatoes, beans, vegetables and more can also stand the test of time without going off very easily. When you can stock up properly, cooking becomes an easy task that you can genuinely enjoy, rather than a chore that leaves you worrying about your next restock.

Success in a rural setting means lots of planning ahead and having trustworthy people to help you when you’re in a bind. Use these tips to get started today!

Featured Image By: Pexels

A Stroll In The Garden OOTD

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A Stroll In The Garden OOTD

Hello everyone!! After a most fruitful TJMaxx haul, I was so ready to take all of the pictures with my new duds. I also had the perfect setting in mind – my dad’s garden! Come summer, it is absolutely glorious and filled with delicious veggies and stunning blooms. There is nothing better than taking a leisurely stroll and taking in all of the beauty or running around with my niece on the lush lawn…. And taking pictures, of course! Check it out:

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Who? What? Wear?

This is an OOTD that I love very much and I think it is just so fun and unique. I have nothing like the Rebellion Again top or Nicole Miller pants in my vast wardrobe, which made it an exciting look to wear since it’s far from the norm. I felt so lucky during my haul because there was only one pair of the pants in the store and doubly lucky because I found the perfect top to go with it!

What I like about this outfit is that the styling spoke for itself. It was also planned well ahead of time in the TJMaxx dressing room so not a lot of thought went into it the day I took pictures. Each piece felt like an accessory in its own way – the embroidered heels of the platforms, bold floral pattern on the pants, and intricate crochet work on the top. So, it really didn’t need much in terms of actual jewelry and I kept it simple with a few of my favorite bangle bracelets.

Normally, I like to start from the top down when building an outfit. In this case, however, I started from the middle with the pants. While I could have pulled from a color in the floral pattern for the top, I decided that I wanted to go with a neutral to really make it pop. The cream Rebellion Again tank was the ideal choice and it was exactly what I had pictured. I thought it looked fabulous against the grey/blue base of the pants and the floral crochet pattern complimented them so well too.

For shoes, my Bamboo platforms were an obvious choice. The denim color is a neutral too and it meshed seamlessly with the blue undertones in the base of the pants. The floral embroidery on the heel also tied together with the same motif in the other pieces of this outfit. Not to mention that it has cream, pale blue, and yellow flowers featured on the heel so it matched even better than I originally thought.

My Stroll In The Garden OOTD is going to be such a delightful look for a date day exploring downtown Cuyahoga Falls or a botanical garden. Now, the trick is going to be to find more tops to go with the pants lol. I guess I’ll need another shopping trip soon! 😀

What is your favorite flower? What do you love about summertime? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Tune in tomorrow for bonus pictures from this shoot!

 

Watercolor Painting Project

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Watercolor Painting Project

Hello! I took a really fun watercolor painting class with my mom and sister this past month and it inspired both my mom and I to try our hand at it in our free time. My free time is, unfortunately, hard to come by so my painting supply haul from Michael’s had been sitting unused for the past few weeks. So, I was very happy to have been able to come up with not one but TWO masterpieces last week:

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Other than the introductory course on watercolor painting that I took, I have zero experience with it. I never say no to learning new things, though, and I am really enjoying my efforts. In fact, I am thrilled with how mine and Johnny’s likeness turned out! I had the idea for it in my head and they turned out exactly how I pictured them to be.

Are these paintings great on a technical level? No, lol. BUT, both Johnny and I love them and that makes them great to me. In fact, as soon as I was done my sweet husband told me that we’ll have to find a perfect spot to hang them up. That made me feel so good and even more proud of my creations.

I feel like everyone has this preconceived notion that they have to be amazing or making money off of a craft or skill to do it. I, myself, am guilty of this. However, breaking free from this thought gives you the opportunity to try all kinds of new things whether you’re good or bad at it.

The watercolor class I took not only motivated me to paint more but it also empowered me in little things too. I know I can’t sing worth a damn but the evening after our class, Johnny and our friend were playing music and I sang right along with them. It is never too late to learn anything and I can’t wait to paint even more!

What is your favorite hobby? Are you learning anything new right now? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJMaxx Haul: Skin Care Edition

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TJMaxx Haul: Skin Care Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to the last of my TJMaxx Haul! Today, we are going to be discussing some brand new skin care and then it’s onto bigger and better things. Keep it posted for a new OOTD and a few watercolor paintings by yours truly. They aren’t museum worthy but I’m pretty proud of them! Now, let’s get to it:

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The main reason for this haul in the first place was to get some skin care with my birthday gift card from my sister. Cut to two hours later and I had a cart full of goodies! As the old saying goes, you don’t go to TJMaxx for what you need… It tells you what you need lol at least that’s what I say, anyways. 😀

Although I was looking for some eye cream and cleansers, I was happy to walk away with a new serum (which I can always use) and two micellar waters by Evoluderm. I have been obsessed with this product since I tried it out over three years ago and just have to grab a bottle or two whenever its available at TJs. It is, hands down, the best micellar water I have ever used and makes everything else pale in comparison.

I am a faithful user of micellar water both morning and night and love the way the Evoluderm makes my skin feel. While the Garnier micellar water is great at removing makeup, it never made my skin feel nourished. The Evoluderm is the polar opposite and not only leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean but hydrated and well protected. I can’t recommend it enough if you are on the hunt for a micellar water or if the Garnier brand just isn’t cutting it anymore!

There you have it, a fabulous haul for the ages at TJMaxx in its completion. Is it bad that I’m already daydreaming about a fall haul?!

What is your favorite skin care brand? Where do you like to shop skin care? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJMaxx Haul: Zara Top Edition

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TJMaxx Haul: Zara Top Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to my favorite and final piece of clothing from my TJMaxx haul! The past several shopping trips that I’ve been on were not fruitful in my need for more tops in the slightest. This time around, however, I walked away with three different tops that I am so in love with. It was a GREAT SUCCESS and I now feel content with the top department of my wardrobe. Let’s check out this fabulous little number by Zara to wrap things up:

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As I mentioned in my pro tips for shopping at TJMaxx, I utilize a two rounds throughout the store method. There is just too much to see in one go and I often find some of my favorite things the second time around. Like this Zara top, for example. Maybe someone was standing in front of it on round one because I can’t believe I didn’t notice the huge sheer puff sleeves on my first trip! It was also the only one like it in the entire store. 😀

In terms of shirt sizes, I am a solid small or medium and this top was an extra small. Like my new Nicole Miller pants, I was thinking “please fit” when trying it on because I liked it so much! Thanks to a side zipper, button up back, and the fact that Zara clothing runs bigger, I was in luck. This top fit perfectly and I love how the tighter fitting bodice makes the puff sleeves seem even larger than life.

I have grand plans for this newest addition and I cannot wait to shoot some amazing autumn OOTDs with it! Pair it with a little navy skirt? Yes, please! I would also really like to find a good pair of navy or red slacks to go with it. I know, it’s shocking to me too that I’m branching away from my standard black skinny jeans lol. Now, all I’ll need is a killer pair of white platform loafers and we’re in business!

Tomorrow, tune in for the skin care portion of my haul and it will be onto a brand new OOTD and July finishes. See you then!

How would you style this top? What are some pieces that you would like to have in your wardrobe? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJMaxx Haul: Zara Dress Edition

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TJMaxx Haul: Zara Dress Edition

Hello everyone!! Welcome back to more from my TJMaxx Haul after a brief pause for a Lil Red’s Book Club discussion. Today, we are going to be chatting about a dress from Zara which I am so happy with but just a *smidge* disappointed by. I saw the same dress in a 1970s style pattern during my birthday gift card haul and it was fabulous but too small. I scoured the dress selection this time around hoping to find it in a bigger size and found it in this pattern, instead:

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I don’t shop Zara often because the closest one is at a mall about forty-five minutes away from me. So, I am always excited when I see the brand at TJMaxx! My new dress is a great consolation prize for the one that could have been and, on the bright side, it fits lol. I could have gotten away with the original in a small but it was short enough that I would have had to been adjusting myself the entire time and that’s never a good look!

Although this pattern kind of looks like Saint Patrick’s Day, I am stoked about it because I love to wear green. I used to wear it often when my hair was all red and have fell off of it a bit when I began experimenting with different Pulp Riot colors. However, come September, I am going back to full fireball hair with red, yellow, and orange and this dress will compliment that change perfectly. 😀

This little Zara number is an ideal spring or early fall dress with its long sleeves and lower thigh length. The material is also light enough that you could probably get away with it during a chilly summer night. Since the pattern is so bold, I plan on letting it speak for itself with a pair of simple black heels and some minimal silver jewelry. A pattern is an accessory in itself so this dress doesn’t need much to make a gorgeous OOTD with!

Tune back into lifewithlilred tomorrow for the final (and my favorite) piece from my TJMaxx haul and, afterwards, we will move onto my skin care purchases. See you then! ❤

Do you like to buy the same piece of clothing in multiple patterns or colors? What color compliments you the best? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Get Started On Monetizing Your Blog

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Get Started On Monetizing Your Blog

We all love the idea of making money by doing something we actually enjoy. Well, blogging genuinely gives you this opportunity. You can write about topics that are close to your heart, pouring out the thoughts that you keep inside your head for most of the day. At the same time, you can start earning a lot of money – if you know how.

Don’t just rely on ad revenue – it won’t be enough. The key to making your blog a money making machine lies in eCommerce. It’s very simple; you set up your blog to allow people to buy things from you. Meanwhile, you still post content and make money through adverts and sponsors, but you’ve got this extra hustle going on in the background.

Of course, there’s a tactic to this that will make it work. You can’t just sell anything and everything! Let’s look at how you can start monetizing your blog:

Sell things that are valuable:

Choose to sell things on your site that are valuable and relevant to your blog. Merchandise is always a good idea, giving your audience a chance to support you and wear your branding everywhere. At the same time, consider what your blog is about and how you can create products/services linked to it.

For example, imagine your blog is all about marketing. Here, you could sell marketing programs or ebooks that help people improve their skills. It’s an extension of your content, but you go into more detail and reveal your secrets. Alternatively, a fitness blog would be excellent at selling things like branded water bottles, fitness equipment, etc. If you sell things that your audience will be interested in, there’s a lot of money to be made.

Make everything look professional:

Nobody will buy anything if your site doesn’t look good enough. A regular blog is not an eCommerce site; you need to make some changes. Thankfully, there are companies like WEBX360 that can help you create an eCommerce website. This will ensure that you have all of the features on your blog to allow people to add things to their carts and check out securely.

Optimize your content:

We’re not talking so much about your blog content here – though that can be relevant. Rather, we’re thinking about the content on the eCommerce portion of your blog. Write good descriptions and have excellent landing pages to help your site rank well in search engines. This can bring in customers that aren’t from your blog audience, letting you make more sales.

Similarly, speaking about your content, you can use it as a way to link to certain products/services for sale. Sometimes, you could even build content around new product launches to generate hype!

As you can see, your small blog can very quickly grow into a healthy side hustle. If you utilize eCommerce on your site, it gives you a new way of earning income to add to your monthly blog revenue!

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, as always, we will be discussing a suspense novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia called Mexican Gothic. Before we begin, I will be placing a big fat trigger warning on this book for disturbing content and violence both physical and sexual. Now, let’s get to it:

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Noemi Taboada is a young socialite living in Mexico City in the early 1950s. She is a tenacious woman and when she isn’t spending her free time dancing the night away she is diligently working towards a Masters degree in anthropology. Noemi’s biggest concern is what to wear on a night out but this is all about to change drastically after her family receives a disturbing letter from her cousin, Catalina.

Catalina is a bit older than Noemi and has been married for about a year to the handsome Virgil Doyle. She lives a fair distance away in the remote El Triunfo in the Doyle estate called the High Place. Noemi’s family assumed she was too busy being a newlywed to be in contact often and her letter is the first correspondence they’ve had since the wedding. In her letter, she describes hearing and seeing ghosts and desperately requests Noemi’s presence.

In exchange for checking in on Noemi, her father will allow her to go to a co-ed college to continue her studies. So, she packs her bags and makes her way to the High Place. Noemi’s destination is a looming estate shrouded by mist and an overwhelming darkness. The dark cloud is not limited to the property itself but to those who inhabit it too.

What used to be a flourishing mining community run by the Doyle family is now limited to a handful of zombie like servants and the remaining Doyles. There is Catalina and her husband Virgil, Virgil’s aunt and cousin named Florence and Francis, and Howard who is Virgil’s father. To Noemi, each one seems more unpleasant than the next and she has half a mind to turn around and go home.

The rules of High Place are strict and something that Noemi is not used to. No talking at dinner, no smoking, speak in hushed voices, and not to disturb Catalina because she needs her rest. The longer she is at the Doyle home, the worse Catalina seems to get and Noemi begins to get a taste of what her cousin suffers from.

Noemi starts to have dreadful bouts of sleepwalking, distressing nightmares, and terrifying encounters with the Doyle family. She used to scoff at the idea that there are ghosts lurking in the High Place but begins to see that Catalina might be right. High Place had a dark past and even more disturbing plans for the future of the Doyles. Will Noemi and her cousin make it out alive? Read Mexican Gothic to find out!

Upon finishing Mexican Gothic, I felt rather torn. I liked the book overall but found the plot twist to be extremely farfetched. Then, I began to take it for what it was despite its unlikelihood and decided it was still a very worthwhile read. I am not used to reading books with a touch of dark magic (Which is all I will say about the grand reveal.) and found that I enjoyed it even more after having time to digest it.

Noemi carried this story so well as the only narrator and I loved her sass, determination, and panache for bending the rules. She came to High Place with a mission of protecting her cousin and refused to leave until that was fulfilled. This showed so much strength and perseverance on her end because the easiest thing for her to do was simply leave – especially because the villains were completely despicable.

I will admit that some parts of Mexican Gothic kind of dragged on but it wasn’t as slow of a burn as books I have read recently. It continued to hold my attention until the very end and I will rate it with a seven out of ten stars. This is not a read for the faint of heart but if you dare to visit the High Place, you won’t be disappointed!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJMaxx Haul: Nicole Miller Pants Edition

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TJMaxx Haul: Nicole Miller Pants Edition

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by on lifewithlilred! Yesterday, we took a look at a new crop top that I got to wear with a pair of Nicole Miller floral print pants. And, today, we are going to be discussing said pants! There was only one pair of these bad boys in the entire store and I fell in love with them instantly. In fact, I was thinking to myself “please fit” before I tried them on lol. Obviously, they did so let’s get to it:

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Patterned pants are a relatively new phenomenon to me because I much prefer my old standby of black skinny jeans. That’s not to say that I don’t like the idea of a good pair of patterned pants, though, and I just never found the right pair for me. Thanks to some recent TJMaxx hauls, I was able to explore this side of clothing that I never got the chance to before and I am so there for it! Now, the main concern is finding things to wear on top lol and we’ll discuss some pro tips for that shortly.

These Nicole Miller pants are, honestly, everything that I have ever wanted in a patterned pair of pants and MORE. When I saw them hanging up, I couldn’t believe my good luck and would have been so disappointed if they didn’t fit so thank god for an elastic waistband! I adore the jogger shape, watercolor style flowers, and the adorable back pockets. 😀

Looking back on my experiences with trying on patterned pants and instantly vetoing them, I now realize what I was doing wrong. Every pair that I liked even a little got put back because I had nothing at home to compliment it. Rather than finding something that would work with it, I just said no and that was my mistake. As you all know from yesterday’s post, I made my second round in TJMaxx specifically to find a shirt to go with these pants and had GREAT SUCCESS. This is what shopping and building outfits is all about!

Other than my new Rebellion Again top, I genuinely don’t have anything else at home to wear with this purchase. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have ideas! There are so many different colors that I can pull from the pattern to assist me the next time I go shopping. I hope to find a dusty rose or yellow cami to wear on top and tying it all together with a tighter fitting jean jacket. I can’t wait. 😀

I like to fancy myself as an excellent outfit builder and this Nicole Miller number taught me something that I never considered before. TJMaxx continues to surprise me and soothe my soul every time! ❤

Are you a fan of patterned pants? Why or why not? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJMaxx Haul: Rebellion Again Crochet Crop Top Edition

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TJMaxx Haul: Rebellion Again Crochet Crop Top Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to the next item up for discussion from my most recent TJMaxx Haul! It is amazing what a little retail therapy can do to lift my spirits so who needs regular therapy anyways? …. Me and probably everyone, actually, but I digress! Today, we are going to be talking about a darling crochet crop top by Rebellion Again that I found during my second round throughout the store. Let’s get to it:

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In my TJMaxx Shopping Pro Tips post, I talked about the importance of making two rounds in the store. This is essential if you feel like you missed something or you need another piece to build an outfit with something you plan on purchasing. The second example was the case for this top because I found a gorgeous pair of Nicole Miller floral print pants and had nothing to wear with it.

I decided that I wanted a cream colored top to pair with the earthy grey base of the pants and found it in this Rebellion Again crop. It was exactly what I had in mind and knew that it would work perfectly before even trying it on. I loved the floral crochet pattern, the scalloped edging on the bottom, and the tank style straps to hide away bra straps. It looks fabulous with the pants that you will see tomorrow!

Not only is this top ideal for what I needed but it also makes for an amazing summer top in general. As you all know, my wardrobe was severely lacking in that regard and my haul helped remedy this massive problem. This top will be adorable paired with shorts or high rise jeans. I also have visions of wearing it over the top of a dress or a tighter fitting long sleeved top come fall for some layering fun. 😀

Stay tuned into lifewithlilred for more from my TJMaxx Haul as well as a new Lil Red’s Book Club post coming very soon!

What is your favorite neutral color to wear? How would you style this top? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Ways To Upgrade Your Life

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3 Ways To Upgrade Your Life

Sometimes you just know that you are in need of a change, even if it is not immediately obvious what the nature of that change should be. If that is the position that you are in right now, then there are a lot of potential things you might want to think about, changes which might be necessary for you to make in your life. In this post, we will take a look at some of the biggest kinds of upgrades that people commonly consider:

Move House:

First of all, you might want to consider moving home. This can often act as a very significant change to your life, and if you do it right it could be exactly the upgrade that you are hoping for. Moving home is a great way to make a big change in your life, especially if you also make a point of moving to a completely different area or even a different country. There is a reason that they say it’s one of the biggest life events you will ever go through, after all. If you want a big change, consider moving house at some point in the near future, and setting up a new life somewhere. It’s amazing how much of a difference this can make to your life, and how much it can help in general.

Remodel Your House:

Of course, you don’t always have to move home to get the feeling of being in a new home. You might want to simply remodel the house that you currently have. This can be beneficial in a number of ways, including the fact that it can make you feel like you are experiencing a fresh start without having to actually move. Remodeling your house is a huge undertaking and one which you are going to need to have the right help for. Getting a home remodel by Distinctive Homes, for instance, will ensure that it is professional and that it’s working out as it should, so that’s something that you should think about while you plan.

Change Careers:

Are you stuck in a career that isn’t really suited to you? When you are in this position, it can be a very tough place to be, and you might find yourself feeling that it would be better to simply change careers. This is an option that you always have available to you, so it’s worth thinking about whether you want to do that. Changing careers in this way can help you to feel a fresh start, and that can mean that your life suddenly has a lot more meaning again.

Whether you take big steps like the ones above or small, we should always strive to continue upgrading our lives!

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TJMaxx Haul: Solitaire Top Edition

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TJMaxx Haul: Solitaire Top Edition

Hello!! After a simply awful week and change, your girl needed some retail therapy so, naturally, I went to TJMaxx to ease the pain lol. It was just what I needed and I FINALLY found some new tops, which I am thrilled about because I was having no luck in that regard for a while. Today, we are going to start off my latest haul by checking out a gorgeous new top by Solitaire in a perfectly persimmon hue. Let’s get to it:

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As I was making my rounds at TJs, I spotted this top on one of the display racks and knew instantly that it was going to be a winner. I was in love with the unique color and I have nothing even close to it in my wardrobe, which made it even better. The shape of this top is what really sold me, though. The exaggerated puff sleeves paired with the bold collar and tighter fitting middle is divine. And don’t even get me started on the sweet buttons and floral embroidery! This top is *chef’s kiss* perfection.

When I first saw this top, it instantly made me think of Halloween since I am an elder emo and I’m always thinking about it. I cannot wait to style it with the happiest season of all in mind and already have lots of ideas. In fact, it will be featured soon in a new OOTD so keep it posted for that. But *spoiler alert* I’m thinking my black Almost Famous skort, Adora hat, and Kenneth Cole heels for a super fun color blocked look. I’m swooning just thinking about it!

There is nothing like a good shopping trip to put some pep back in my step. Tune in all of this week for more from this amazing haul!

Has anyone else had some retail therapy recently? What did you find? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Top 2022 Home Decor Trends

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Top 2022 Home Decor Trends

Do you want to upgrade your home or give it a new look, but you’re not sure where to begin? When you want to make a change in your home, it can be overwhelming with the plethora of options that you can choose from. This can turn what should be a fun and exciting project to embark on into a stressful one. It shouldn’t have to be that way!

To help you on your journey to create an improved space, you may wish to learn the top home decor trends in 2022. This can help you see what is popular right now and hopefully spark some inspiration while you design your rooms. It can be great fun to experiment with new furniture choices and color palettes that you may not have thought of before. The fun thing about trends is that they introduce you to new ideas and concepts. Here are some of the most popular decor trends you should know about:

Patterns:

While 2019 to 2021 took you in the direction of neutral color palettes, it looks like 2022 is taking you in the opposite direction with bold and unique patterns. People seem to be embracing large and bold prints on their wallpaper and furniture while contrasting this with a more subtle flooring installation such as vinyl. The most popular patterns being used are animals print.

Vintage:

Decor from the 70s and 80s is quickly coming back into style and there appear to be no limits. From the bright, neon colors to the chunky furniture, it is all making a comeback. Elements from the 70s and 80s are a great way to add pops of color and visual interest into any room and can be adapted to suit your personal color preferences. You can even opt for additional features such as neon signs, brass shelves, tropical prints, rounded accessories, and much more.

3D Art:

Perhaps as a result of spending more time inside from the COVID-19 pandemic, people are pushing toward adding more life into their homes. 3D art is an excellent way to make your home unique and turn the heads of your guests. Whether it is sea shells or portraits that pop out from their frames, they are both stunning and whimsical additions to your home. They can bring your walls to life and add character to a bare room.

Smart Storage:

The increase of remote working has changed the way that people live and use their homes. Many rooms have been adapted into multi functional spaces so that they can do more at home. This is a great way to make the most of your space. This is anything from home offices, home gyms, libraries, nurseries, craft rooms, and much more. For a multi functional space to work, you will need smart storage solutions. These are custom designed storage spaces, such as cupboards, that keep your space free from clutter and able to adapt for multiple uses.

If you’re not sure what upgrades to make to your home, follow these top decor trends of 2022 to help you spark some inspiration. Happy decorating!

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Fun Summer Activities For All

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Fun Summer Activities For All

With the summer vacation still in full swing, you may be busy thinking of ways to keep the children entertained through the summer. There are countless ways that you can do this and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – many places will offer deals regularly to save you money. Take a look below for some amazing ideas for summer:

Theme Parks:

First on our list is theme parks! Most people enjoy the adrenaline rush they get when they attend theme parks. You could make it your mission to visit all of the theme parks around your surrounding areas by going to one per summer. Make a list and tick them off as you go. If you are venturing out with all the family, then make sure everyone is aware of what they can and can’t go on. You don’t want any last minute tantrums when the children aren’t tall enough for a ride.

Aquariums:

Something that is both amazing and relaxing at the same time is aquariums. They are full of marine life that you can spend hours watching. Watching these beautiful fish and mammals swimming around can bring you a feeling of utter peace and tranquility. Being closer to nature has this effect when you take it all in. Taking the children along to an aquarium means that they can attend the talks and feeds throughout the day. This is a great educational experience for children and they can learn all about marine life and how to play their part to keep it safe.

Museums:

If you want to do something that involves being quiet for a couple of hours, then how about a museum? Children love exploring museums and you are bound to have a couple nearby that you can take them to. This doesn’t just have to be art museums, you could also take a road trip to the natural history museum or the science museum. Both of these have exhibits that will keep the children entertained and in awe for hours on end. A lot of museums offer free entry during the summer break, which is a great way to save money.

Bowling:

Bowling can be fun and competitive for the whole family. Many places are giving families great value deals over the summer. One such example is Bowl. Dine. Unwind. Family Fun at your local arcade. The great thing about bowling alleys is that you can now wear your own shoes. Provided these are not high heels or open toed. A lot of people were very self-conscious or grossed out about the bowling shoes so many refused to go. This development means that they have opened themselves up to everyone now.

Summer break is the perfect time to make and capture memories that you and your family will remember for years to come. Have fun with the above ideas!

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