CLEANING TIPS, DIY, HOME

Lemon, Rosemary & Vanilla Stove Top Potpourri

So I feel like I’m a little late on a couple things. Okay, maybe really late.

First of all, stove top potpourri. Why have I never tried this until now? I’ve heard about it, seen it all over Pinterest, but never thought much of it until now. It just never seemed like something I needed in my life. Boy was I wrong! I finally got around to trying it, and now this may be one of my favorite things ever.

So in case you don’t already know, the idea behind stove top potpourri is basically just to combine things like fruits, herbs, and spices in a pot, cover them with water, and then let all of that simmer and fill your house with whatever scent combination you’ve come up with. You can let it simmer all day or as long as you’re home, refilling the water as needed. It’s such an easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your home using all natural ingredients. Continue Reading

HEALTH & WELLNESS, LIFE

DIY Passion Herbal Tea Sugar Scrub

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone has had a wonderful week, and hopefully you got the chance to take some time for yourself. If not, why not take a break today and pamper yourself a little bit?

One of my favorite drinks to enjoy during spring and summer is the Iced Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks. It’s so refreshing and summery, the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. I often make it myself at home using the Tazo Passion Herbal Tea.

Tazo Passion Herbal Tea contains a blend of hibiscus, orange peel, rose hip, and passion fruit. As I’m sure you can imagine, this lovely blend of floral and citrus smells pretty amazing. Once brewed, the tea becomes a beautiful shade of dark pink.

I love the smell of this tea so much that I decided I would use it to try out a homemade sugar scrub recipe. Have you ever made your own sugar scrub before? It’s incredibly easy and so much cheaper than buying them from the store. There’s no need for artificial dyes, fragrances, or plastic beads. You can easily make a homemade sugar scrub using all natural (and edible!) ingredients. Continue Reading

CLEANING TIPS, HOME, ORGANIZATION

How to Declutter Your Entire House in One Week

Last week I shared with you some tips to make cleaning your house a breeze. Have you had the chance to implement any of those into your cleaning routine yet? If so, let me know how it’s working for you so far!

So you know how to make your regular cleaning routine a little more manageable, but this time of the year many of us are looking to go a step further. This is the time of year for deep cleaning, for finally getting to the deepest, darkest corners of your home that have been neglected for months, or maybe even years. It’s time to get a fresh start. One sure way to do this is by purging your home of clutter.

Even if you’ve cleaned your entire house from top to bottom, it doesn’t feel very clean if you’ve got junk piled up in every room. Not to mention it’s so much easier to clean your house when you don’t have all that junk getting in your way. A good clutter purge can be therapeutic and totally freeing. Continue Reading

BEVERAGES, FOOD

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Wow, what a week it has been here in the Stark household. Between a three day power outage and both my husband and I getting sick in the midst of it, we’ve certainly been having a time over here. Thank God for our parents who gave us hot meals and a place to shower, and thank God for my husband who kept our water supply stocked and our generator running while dealing with his own illness. Luckily, the power is back on today and we’re both finally starting to recover. I’m beyond happy to feel like myself again, and especially to have running water. Continue Reading

HEALTH & WELLNESS, LIFE

35 Self Care Ideas

Lately I have been trying to make a lifestyle change. A change that will allow me to take better care of myself, slow down, and appreciate life more. I’m doing this through a number of ways.

First of all, I’m looking at it from a physical standpoint. I’m being much more conscious about what I put into my body and how I treat my body. Instead of obsessing over a number on the scale and counting every calorie, point, gram of fat, etc., I’m trying to switch my focus to eating foods that I know are nourishing to my body, drinking plenty of water, and being more physically active. I’ve always believed that moderation is key, so I still enjoy going out to eat and the occasional junk food. The difference now is that I don’t feel guilty about indulging in these things when I know I’m making much healthier choices the other 90% of the time. But I know myself, and I know that if I never allow myself to have pizza again, I’m not going to stick to that lifestyle.

I’m also looking at this from a mental/emotional standpoint. Mental health is just as important as physical health. I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who tends to put too much on my plate while forgetting about myself. I often put my own wants and needs on the back burner in order to please others first. Between work, relationships, and keeping up with chores around the house, I often feel like I’m getting pulled in every direction. As a result, I get easily overwhelmed and burned out on life. To overcome this problem, I’m trying to focus more on self care. Every day I try to take a little bit of time just for myself. I don’t think about work, chores, or anything else. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, it helps me to relax and recharge a little bit. Continue Reading

CLEANING TIPS, HOME

How to Make Cleaning Your House a Breeze

Spring is just around the corner, and I for one cannot wait. Even though our winter has been extremely mild here in Michigan this year, it still feels like we’re finally starting to come out of a long hibernation. We had a few days last month when February decided to give us a little taste of spring. My husband and I spent most of it outside getting things done around the house. He was able to take his bike out for a ride and I went on a long walk with my mom. We even started getting some quotes for the new deck we’re building this spring 🙂

While I love cozying up on the couch with some Netflix and fuzzy blankets, it was so refreshing to not be cooped up inside for once. It’s amazing how much the weather changes us. Nice weather can make us much more productive and give us a fresh new perspective on life. Continue Reading

APPETIZERS, FOOD

Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potato Bites

Yesterday I posted my recipe for garlic redskin mashed potatoes, and I promised you another recipe today using the leftovers. Cooking for two people can sometimes be a challenge for me. I always seem to make way too much food. Because of this, I love coming up with creative ways to use leftovers.

I’ve made my mashed potato recipe about a gazillion times now, so I have the measurements figured out pretty well for just the two of us. But whenever we do end up with leftovers, I love turning them into these mashed potato bites. I discovered this awesome idea on The Kitchn. They’re super easy to throw together, and they make the perfect little finger food for snacking on. Sometimes I purposely make extra mashed potatoes just so we can enjoy these little bites later in the week. You could certainly use fresh mashed potatoes made just for this recipe if you want, but it’s a great way to use up leftovers if you do have some. Continue Reading

FOOD, SIDE DISHES

Garlic Redskin Mashed Potatoes

I have to tell you something you may never believe. Something almost unimaginable. For years I refused to accept it. I was convinced that it couldn’t be real, but it’s the honest truth.

Here it is.

When I met my husband, he didn’t like mashed potatoes. Seriously! This was something I had honestly never encountered in my entire life before. At first I didn’t know how to handle it. I knew he was a picky eater, but mashed potatoes? Isn’t that what picky eaters actually like? Like when you have Thanksgiving dinner and you’ve got someone who won’t touch half the food, you at least know they’re going to eat some mashed potatoes, right? The idea of someone disliking them was just something I couldn’t wrap my brain around. Continue Reading

APPETIZERS, FOOD, MAIN COURSE

Barbecue Chicken Nachos

This weekend my husband Robby and I made one of our favorite meals of all time – barbecue chicken nachos. We started making these a couple of years ago, and we have been hooked ever since. We literally cannot get enough of them. This usually ends up being our Friday night cheat meal, and honestly I think we both love it even more than going out to eat.

I simply cannot express enough how much I love these nachos. If you’ve never made nachos this way before, you definitely need these in your life. And I am SO excited to introduce them to you!

You don’t need much to make these nachos. Just make sure you have some chicken and your favorite barbecue sauce as well as plenty of tortilla chips and cheese. The rest of the toppings can be adjusted to your preferences.

Making these couldn’t be easier. We always assemble them on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Sometimes in the summer we will make them in little foil pouches and throw them on the grill. Doing it this way also makes for an AWESOME camping recipe! Nachos are perfect for almost any occasion – a party, the Super Bowl, camping, or just because you can. Continue Reading

DECOR, HOME

Where to Find Affordable Throw Pillows

When I started decorating my own house, one thing that gave me serious sticker shock was the price of throw pillows. You could easily spend hundreds on throw pillows for just one couch. I’m all for paying extra money for good quality, but it’s hard for me to justify spending a small fortune on pillows that a) are primarily decorative and b) I will probably get tired of quickly and change out with the seasons anyway. Who else is with me?

The thing is, something as simple as throw pillows can really change a room. An otherwise boring couch can be brought to life with some awesome throw pillows. It’s an easy way to add style or a pop of color to any space. Unfortunately, due to the prices I was finding, I put off buying these since we moved in to our house even though we could really use some. We have a super comfy gray couch that I love, but the couch paired with the gray carpet and gray walls in our living room feels a little cold and plain if I’m being honest with myself. The couch did come with a few matching pillows, but I need something with a little more style and color. Something that’s a little more me. Continue Reading

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