Thursday, January 31, 2013

Saw It, Pinned It, Did It: Valentine's Printable

I am in love with printables.  They are a super easy way to add quick, cute decorations for any holiday or occasion.  I don't have any Valentine's decorations for my house (although I've seen some super cute things from this link up that I might have to make), but I wanted something valentine-ish to put up in my living room.  So of course, I headed to pinterest to find a cute Valentine's printable and I found this great pin:

There are so many cute ones on this site, but I choose this one:
I printed it out on cardstock as a 5x7 to fit my frame.  I cut it out, put it in my frame, and ta-da!  Easy Valentine's Day decor!

Photo collage on my living room wall.

That is Kevin's Fantasy Football Trophy next to it...he INSISTED that the trophy go in the living room.

Head on over to the Saw It. Pinned It. Did It. link up that Katie and Steph are hosting to see other great pinterest projects from other bloggers!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Get Healthy, Not Skinny

You might remember one of my New Year's Resolutions was to get healthier.  With my wedding coming up in just 5 months, I want to look and feel great!  Not to mention, I'd love to feel more confident in my bathing suit on the beach this summer.  I found this really great Get Healthy, Not Skinny link up that I think will help hold me accountable for getting healthy.

I've been a little nervous to share my "story" on here, but for the sake of getting healthy, I thought I'd do it.  And maybe there are others out there who can relate.  So here it goes...

First of all, I don't think I'm fat and I'm not intentionally trying to loose weight.  My goal is to get healthier, get in better shape, and get toned.  If I loose a few pounds in the process, great.  If not, that's fine too.  For me, it's more about how I feel, not about what the scale says.
A little background:  Not to sound conceited, but I've always been pretty thin (except when I was a, did I have some rolls!).  It's just my body type.  I've always been involved in sports and have been playing them since I was in first grade: basketball, softball, cheerleading, volleyball, and track.  When I got to high school, I could only do one sport per season, so I did basketball, cheerleading, and softball (all four years of high school).  I also took a "fitness & wellness" class my junior & senior year of high school, where we got to work out in the gym for the class hour.  All during high school I was working out anywhere from 5-7 days a week and sometimes more than once a day (fitness&wellness class, practices, games, conditioning, etc.).  Since I was working out so much, I didn't pay attention to what I was eating, and I would just eat whatever I wanted.  It didn't matter so much then because I was burning so many calories with my work outs every day.  My senior year of high school I was in the best shape of life.
Cheerleading in the early days. (I'm in the back, first one from the left...I'm a "base")

Varsity Softball Team (I'm sitting on the ground with my hands on my head)
After high school, I went to a local college (no sports teams) and worked.  I played some church basketball during the winter for a couple of years, and some slow-pitch softball during the summers.  However, my exercising was no where near what it was in high school.  And my bad eating habits continued.

Playing slow-pitch softball
After I finished college and moved out on my own, I really started noticing how out of shape I was.  It wasn't  what the scale said, it was how I felt.  I wasn't as fast (running in softball) as I used to be.  And I wasn't as confident with my body like I used to be.  My body wasn't "toned" like before.  The first apartment I lived in provided a gym membership, so I tried to go to the gym once or twice a week.  I did that for a while, but didn't keep up on it like I should have.

Really need to get back to snowboarding as a winter exercise activity!
Fast forward to today.  I'm getting married on June 29.  I want to look and feel great on my wedding.  I have become more aware of what I have been eating.  My fiance and I don't go out to eat as often as we used to.  We are better about cooking meals at home and eating healthier snacks.  We've been going on walks more often (although this cold and snowy winter weather is not helping our outdoor activities).  I joined the Love Your Body Challenge on  I won't lie, I haven't been doing the challenges as I should, but I have found some great, quick, easy, and fun workout routines that I've been trying, and hope to incorporate them more in to my every day routine.

I'm hoping this Get Healthy, Not Skinny link up that Cherish is doing will help motivate me and keep me accountable for getting healthy in time for my wedding day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Birchbox v. Glam Bag

You've probably seen one of my posts about my monthly Birchbox.  I've been receiving Birchboxes for about six months now, and I've always been happy with them.  I recently heard about something called Glam Bag from Ipsy.  It's the same concept and price as Birchbox, and I've heard people say they really like it, so I thought I'd try it out.  I received my first Glam Bag a couple weeks ago and I LOVED it!  Great samples, and big sized samples too.

Comparing my January Birchbox and Glam Bag, I would say I liked my Glam Bag better than my Birchbox this month.  I think I received bigger and better samples in my Glam Bag.  On Ipsy's website, you can see past glam bag's, and when I compared those to my past Birchboxes (here, here, here, and here) I felt like the samples in the Glam Bags were better, so I decided to cancel my subscription to Birchbox and just receive Glam Bag.

Here are a few of the differences I've noticed between the two:

- Birchbox gives you points for various things such as referring friends, posting reviews of products, and buying products.  You can redeem the points for $$ to spend on Birchbox's website.  From what I can tell, Glambag does not do anything like this.

- When you sign up for Birchbox and Glambag, you fill out a short survey/profile about yourself.  Birchbox tries to send you samples that fit your likes, skin type, etc.  It seems like all Glambags are the same (for the most part), so they aren't necessarily created to your specific profile.

- Birchbox comes in a box each month and Glambags come in a little makeup bag each month.

Overall, I think it's just personal preference about which one is better.  For me, I decided on Glambag, although I've always been happy with Birchbox too.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox or Glambag?  What do you think?  Do you subscribe to anything else like these?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saw It. Pinned It. Did It: DIY Grout Cleaner

Today I'm linking up with Katie and Steph for Saw It. Pinned It. Did It.  And I'm featuring some DIY grout cleaner!  How un-exciting, I know.  But let me tell you, it worked!  I was cleaning my bathroom this weekend and realized how gross and dirty the grout was on the tile floor.  I'm embarrassed of how dirty it was, but for the sake of SI.PI.DI., I'm showing you.

I remembered pinning some grout cleaner on one of my pinterest boards, and since I had time, I decided I would try it out.
Original Pin:
Amazing Grout Cleaner. 7 c water, 1/2 c baking soda, 1/3 c ammonia, 1/4 c vinegar. Spray on, scrub, wipe off. NON-TOXIC!

The original "recipe" called for ammonia, but I didn't have any, so I just skipped it.  On the website of
the original pin, it has the original formula and also a halved and quartered version. Since my bathroom was pretty small, I used the quartered version:

1 3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ammonia (I didn't have any, so I left this out of mine)
1 Tbsp vinegar

I mixed the ingredients in my spray bottle and found an old toothbrush that I would use to scrub the grout (they make grout brushes for this purpose, but I didn't have one). I sprayed some of the cleaning mixture on to the grout lines and let it sit for a few seconds and then started scrubbing away with my toothbrush.

After I scrubbed one row, I wiped it away with a clean towel. And boy was I impressed! My grout lines weren't perfectly clean, but they were wayyyyy better than before! It didn't take me too long too complete my entire bathroom: probably only 30-45 minutes.

Here are some before and after shots of my bathroom floor tiles:



The top half has been cleaned and the bottom half has can really see the difference!

Now every time I'm in the bathroom, I stare at the floor in amazement of the clean grout (is that weird?). I'm hoping to do this on kitchen tile grout this weekend if I have time. I think my kitchen grout lines are more dirty than my bathroom was, so I can't wait to see the results when I finish!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Facts of Me

Have you wanted to know some weird interesting facts about me? Well good, because today I am doing a fun link up with Whitney from I Wore Yoga Pants to Work called The Facts Of Me. I hope you enjoy reading these little tid-bits as much as I enjoyed thinking of them :)

- I tend to eat my food one item at a time. For example, if I have ham, potatoes, and green beans on my plate, I will eat all of my green beans, then all of my potatoes, then my ham. I don't mix it up, and I usually save my favorite food item to eat last. Weird, I know. 

- I also don't like my food to touch each other. I'm getting better about this. If my mashed potatoes touch my ham, I can live with it. However, on Christmas, my little cousin had a pickle and jello on her plate, and they were touching and I couldn't stand it. Again, weird, I know. 

- I love my dog like he is my child. I didn't know I could love an animal this much.  I mean, how could you not love that adorable furry face?

- I played three sports all four years of high school: basketball, cheerleading, and softball. And yes, I consider cheerleading a sport. 

- I LOVE football. It's my favorite sport. Baseball is a close second. I'm a huge Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers fan. 

- I love getting a good deal shopping. I can't justify paying full price for things when I know I can find it on sale later, or find something similar for cheaper somewhere else. I love a great deal :) 

- I'm a little bit of a neat/organization freak. I can't stand when things are out of place or dirty (just ask my fiance). However, if you ever come to my house, you will see that this is a constant work in progress, and my house is far from organized or perfectly clean. 

- I'm addicted to Pinterest (you can follow me using the link on the right side of this page) and Diet Dr. Pepper.

- I love *NSYNC.  I was heartbroken when they broke up.  I'm still convinced that I'm going to marry Justin Timberlake.  It doesn't matter that he's already married and I'm getting married in 5 months...does it?

Ok, I think that's enough about me for one day. Hopefully I haven't scared you away. Thank you Whitney for hosting this fun link up today!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Before & After: Bathroom

I realize that I've never posted pictures of our house AFTER we moved all of our stuff in and got settled.  That's because we aren't really "settled" yet.  Even after 5 months, I still have boxes that are still unpacked, walls that need to be painted, and things that need to be hung on the walls.  However, one room that is pretty much finished is our main bathroom.  Here is what it looked like when we bought the house:

It didn't really need any work done to it.  I'd like to paint the walls some day, but the color works for now.  Here's what it looks like now:

Still looks pretty much the same.  All we've done is add a shower curtain and put some of our "stuff" on the shelves over the toilet.  We also changed out the shower head.  We liked the one that was there, but it wasn't detachable, and we really wanted a detachable one so it would be easier to give the dog a bath. 

I'd eventually like to get some cute baskets or something to organize our stuff on the shelves.  I'd also like to get some curtains to hang (we have blinds for now), but other than that, this room is one that is pretty much finished.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Long Process

It's been just over a year since we started looking for our first house.  It was a long and stressful process, but totally worth it now.  It took eight full months from the time we decided to start looking for a house, to the time we closed on our house.  We put offers on two other houses (that we didn't get) before we found our house.  You can read more about our house hunting process here.

Even though it was a long, almost depressing, eight months of looking for houses with no luck, I think it worked out for the best in the end.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and we couldn't be happier in our house.

We love the neighborhood, the house itself, and having our own yard.  I love that the house didn't need any work before we moved in, but I also love that there are "projects" that we can do to update the house and make it our own.  I love being able to paint the walls and buy stuff for the house.  I even loved raking our OWN yard this fall.

Owning a house is definitely different than renting an apartment.  We have to shovel our driveway, rake our leaves, and mow our lawn.  If an appliance breaks or there is a leak, we have to fix it (or pay someone else to fix it).  There is no calling maintenance to come take care of it.  But you know what?  We love it.  We love being able to say we are home owners.  It makes me feel so "grown up."  I feel like I've accomplished something.  I'm not saying renting is wrong or bad, because we did it for two years, and that was right for us at the time.  Buying a house is not for everyone, and it doesn't happen for everyone at the same time in their lives.

I can't wait to finally unpack the last few boxes, get everything in it's place, and get things hung on the walls.  I can't wait to do more painting and projects in the house this year.  And I can't wait to marry the love of my life on June 29 and start our life as a married couple in our house <3

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Birchbox

Another good month with my Birchbox!  Here's what my box looked like and a description of each product:

Deborah Lippmann the Stripper to go - This are nail polish remover wipes. They would be great to take with you on vacation or leave in your purse in case you want to take your nail polish off and you aren't home. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm excited about it!

theBalm® cosmetics Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One - I don't know about using this as a shadow, but I love it as a blush!  It's just the right color.   Not too bright, but gives just the right hint of color your cheeks.

Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo - I haven't tried this shampoo yet, but I'm happy I got it.  It's supposed to help clean up all of the buildup of products in your hair.  It's a good sample size too, which is nice.

Aerie Shimmer Fragrance - I really like this fragrance.  Light and girly.  The sample size will probably last me a few days.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè (24-Hour Miracle Cream) - I used this instead of my daily moisturizer in the morning and I really liked it.  It was light and did a good job moisturizing my dry face.  It also says it can be used as a makeup remover if you add some water to it.  The sample size will probably last me a week or two.

Do you have any "box" subscriptions?  What are they?  Have you been happy with it?  Do share :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year everyone!  I had a lot going on during the New Year...Christmas parties, cleaning the house, and watching my cousins (can't call it babysitting, they aren't babies anymore!).  We played Headbandz, watched a movie, and ate popcorn.

As for New Years resolutions, I suppose I made a couple.  I made the typical eat healthier/exercise more resolution that I make every year, but this year I'm getting married and really want to look and feel great in my wedding dress and in a bathing suit on the beach on our honeymoon (just booked our hotel in Atlantic City!!!).  So I joined the LoveYourBody series on  It's great and I love it!  They post printable workouts and videos of them, calendars, meal plans, recipes, etc.  It's a fun motivating tool for me to get serious about getting in shape.

My other resolution is to be more organized this year.  We moved in to our house at the end of August and there are still boxes that have yet to be unpacked.  I want to get everything put away and organized in our house so that I can start tackling some other projects I have in mind...such as painting, moving the "laundry room," and some other DIY projects.  I have so many ideas of things I want to do, but I feel like I need to everything put away and organized before I start making more of a mess doing projects.  I found a great site to help with getting organized called Home Storage Solutions.  They are doing something called The 52 Week Organized Home Challenge that I am going to try to keep up on.  They give you weekly things to clean/organize in your home.  It doesn't seem too overwhelming and I think it will be a good way to stay on task.

Of course, I'll end with some adorable pictures of The Admiral and Nera over the past week:

This is how I can tell they are related....they both like to sleep on their backs.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Re-Cap

I know I'm a little late with this post.  Ok.  A LOT late.  But things were so crazy busy over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, that I decided to wait and try to re-cap everything when it slowed down a little.  I'll do Christmas and New Year's in two separate posts so I don't overwhelm you ;)

Kevin and I went to our parents for the entire 4 (5 for me) day weekend of Christmas. His brother was in town and my sister was in town, so we spent all of our days off spending time with family and going to Christmas parties.  And guess what?  I forgot my camera!!  So the only pictures I have are from my phone.  If you follow me on Instagram (erickamarie87) you might have seen some of these already.  My mom and sister had their cameras, so I'm tagged in some of their pictures on facebook.

Friday we had a Christmas party at work, and there is a contest for "Most Creative Holiday Attire."  The girls on my floor decided we would dress up like Christmas Trees...needless to say, we won the contest:

I painted my nails green and red with a hint of silver for Christmas, and did a very sloppy job of it:

On December 23, Kevin's family had a bridal shower for me.  One of Kevin's Aunt & Uncle are living in China right now, so this was the only time that they would be home before the wedding, so they decided to do the shower when everyone could be there.  Here is a picture of all of the WONDERFUL gifts we received!

My Dad, sister, and myself took a trip to the casino Christmas Eve morning...and we all left winners!!!

On Christmas Eve we celebrated Christmas with Kevin's Dad's side of the family and then Kevin came to my parents and opened his gifts from my parents and my sister.  My parents got Kevin two Nerf guns...have I ever mentioned he is just a kid trapped in an almost 25-year-old's body?  So we spent part of the night trying to shoot an empty beer can off a chair with the Nerf guns:

Admiral and I on Christmas Eve:

On Christmas day, I opened presents with my parents and my sister, then went to Kevin's dad's to open presents, and then to my Grandma's for our family Christmas party.  Kevin had to head back to our house after that because he had to work the next day.  I took the day off to go shopping :)

I did go shopping the day after Christmas and got some good deals, but nothing too exciting.  I was so excited to go shopping and then when it finally came time to go, I was so worn out from the busy weekend, that we only went to three stores and then I was ready to be done!

Random: Admiral loves sticks.  He loves to carry them around and he loves people to chase him to try and get the stick.  My parents have a wood burning stove to heat their house.  So Admiral went in the basement to help my dad load the fire, and he came up with this.  He was very proud.

Kevin's brother and his wife are currently on vacation in Hawaii (late honeymoon), so we are watching their puppy, Nera.  She is actually Admiral's sister, just from a different litter.  We took her back to our house with us after Christmas and will have her until the 14th.  Her and Admiral have so much fun playing together, they tire themselves out and love to nap together.

And that is my Christmas in photos :)  I'll post my New Year's re-cap later this week!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


First off, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!  A holiday recap post will be coming eventually...but until then, here is a fun little money saving wedding post :)

Kevin and I decided that we want to have the little bottles of bubbles to hand out to people after the wedding, so they can blow bubbles at us as we walk out of the church (instead of doing bird seed).  One day, I was just randomly browsing wedding stuff on craigslist and saw an ad for someone selling 191 of the little bottles of bubbles for just $15!  Want to know what's even better?  They were PURPLE bottles!  In case you didn't know, purple is our main wedding color.

I emailed the girl and she still had the bubbles, so we met up and I bought them.  The girl had an outdoor wedding, but it rained, so they didn't use the bubbles, although she thinks some of the kids may have taken some bottles to play with, hence 191 bottles instead of an even 200.  

When I looked up the cost of purchasing bubbles, it would have been about $25 plus tax and shipping to order them online, so I think I got a good deal.  If you are looking for cheap wedding decorations, don't rule out craigslist as a never know what you might find!