Country Living...Island Dreaming

July 31, 2014

Necessary Maintenance

We all want our houses to look nice
but it's not always fun to spend money on the basic upkeep of our homes.

Over the past year our roof has developed a black discoloring on the front.  Our neighbor had the same problem and used a pressure washing company to clean it up.  I figured I would try them out too.  I mean, what did I have to lose?  Look at this disaster...

Gross, huh?
The stucco also needed to be power washed.  
Under each of the windows, you can see discoloration.  

And here is the roof after the power washing!
So much better!
Supposedly it will get even cleaner after a few rains.
(Oh and the stucco is much cleaner too!)

I really am thrilled with the results!
Like a new roof!

Here's a quick look again at the before and after...
Big difference huh?

I feel like clapping...

"Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof"

(I had to throw that it because my son just loves that song!)

Anyway, I really am thrilled with the results.  But as we all know, home projects tend to snowball....

While they were washing the house, 
I had them also power wash and re-sand the pavers.  
 I don't have a "before" but trust me,
weeds were growing up between and they weren't pretty!

But like I said about the snowball effect...
Since everything was so clean, we discovered the trim on the house needed to be repainted.
You can see some nail pops above.

The boxes in the dining room bay window also needed a fresh coat of paint.  We had replaced the trim on this window with PVC a couple of years ago but inside the boxed areas are still wood.

And after our harsh winter,
the trim around our garage desperately needed some repair! 

At the moment, this is what is going on at my house...
Now I have to be really careful not to crash my car mirror into the trim again!

For those of you from NJ who want your house or roof cleaned, I highly recommend PSI Pressure Wash.  
I am not being compensated in any way to mention them.  I just thought they did an excellent job!

Have you done any maintenance at your house this summer?

Linking to:


July 24, 2014

Pillow Talk

I have yet to find a bed pillow that I love...

Well, I kind of love the old flat pillow that I currently sleep on but it's just that...old.  I can't even imagine the dust mites that must be living in there!  Oh the thought of that just horrifies me!

Anyway, every now and then I venture out to the store in search of a new pillow that can take the place of the old, dust mite infested one.  You see, part of the problem is that I like a flatter pillow and the only pillows I find in stores are big fluffy ones that keep my head way too high in the air.  I have some back and neck issues so those poofy pillows can be torturous to my spine alignment.

My husband on the other hand
must have a whole stack of pillows to be happy...
I took this picture in a hotel room many years ago to compare how each of us like to sleep.  It is a bit of an exaggeration because he added a couple extra for the picture...just to be funny.  Though he does seem like the "Princess and the Pea" when it comes to pillows... As you can see,  I only like to use one pillow.

In addition to the typical synthetic pillows, I have also tried a down pillow but I felt like I sunk in too much.  I even tried an Ikea pillow which was really flat, flimsy and seemed like it would be perfect for my neck issues...but it ended up being too flat and flimsy for me to sleep on.

I am thinking I might try a wool or buckwheat pillow...I heard they might be good.  I like the idea of going more natural anyway...

So what do you think?
Can you recommend a brand 
or type of pillow that might work for me?

On a side note, I mentioned the story, The Princess and the Pea to my kids the other day and they had no idea what I was talking about.  I know it's probably more of a girl story, but it's a classic that I think probably most kids should read....I think I will pick it up from the library for them.

Linking to:


July 19, 2014

A Few Random Things

Well this week blew by!  
Where is this summer going?

Here are a few random things happening around here...

I picked up a couple pairs of summery pajama bottoms at TJ Maxx for $9.99 a piece.  Exciting huh?
Cute prints and easy to mix and match with solid t-shirts.
I can't be seen in old ugly pajamas at the beach house!

Speaking of ugly...
I backed out of the driveway Thursday and slammed the driver's side mirror into the side of the garage.  The mirror broke off and since the plastic pieces attaching it inside snapped off, I needed a full replacement of the whole part.
I just had to drive around for one day with this rubber brand bracelet wrapped around the mirror to hold it together.  Luckily the car dealer was able to order the new part quickly and they installed it yesterday morning. Yeah, I could think of plenty of other things to spend $400.00 on!

Speaking of spending money, I bought a new Ballard Designs lampshade for my 10 year old's room.
But he wanted to keep his white one instead,
so I tried the new one in the 8 year old's room...

It could work in his room once I move some things around a bit.
I just don't want to ship it back.  
I love the stripes... and I hate returning things!

I also did some more shopping this week at Homegoods.  I bought a few housewarming gifts for my friend hosting a girls night at her house.

The blue and white striped wrapping paper is so "me"!  I think I am going back for more.  I also love the pattern of these napkins and towels.  Shhh...I kept the napkins for myself!

We ended up having a lovely girls get together with tons of appetizers and sangria!  Her husband even made an appearance and grilled us some amazing shrimp and eggplant on the grill.  Yum!

And the sangria was delicious!  I have to get her recipe!
I also think I need to buy a cute drink dispenser!
(But I think I spent enough money this week!)

And on a non-shopping note...

Those of you with sons will want to see this!  - I stumbled upon a preview for the new movie, Boyhood and I really want to see it!  It's a story following the life of a boy and was filmed over a 12 year period using the same actors!  The idea is just brilliant and since Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke are behind it, I know I will adore this movie.  If you are fans of the Before Sunrise films, you will understand why I feel this way... Listen to the cast and director discussing the film - Hollywood Reporter - Richard Linklater Reveals Why 'Boyhood' Took 12 Years to Film.  Do you think it is something you will go see?

What's new with you this week?

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July 15, 2014

Gorgeous Accomodations

Where did Bachelorette, Andi stay in the Dominican Republic, you ask?

Don't tell me you don't watch The Bachelorette...

Well, I happen to know many of you out there indulge in the same guilty pleasure!  Whether you want to admit you watch or not, I am sure you would at least love to see the luxurious resorts featured on the show!

Apparently, last night's episode was filmed at three different resorts.

Andi and Nick had dinner and visited the "Fantasy Suite" at Puntacana Resort and Club - Tortuga Bay.  How incredible it would be to stay out one of these amazing beachfront villas - designed by Oscar de la Renta, I might add...

photo via
You have to go check out the photo gallery
of the gorgeous interiors!
Oh, and check out the Estates while you are there!
"Amazing!" - as they frequently say in the Bachelorworld!

On to the next...

Andi and Josh had dinner and visited the "Fantasy Suite" at the iconic Casa de Campo...I have had friends who have stayed at Casa de Campo and LOVED it!

I doubt my friends stayed here though...
photo via
Yeah, that's one of the villas!

And last but not least, Andi had dinner with Chris at the stunning Paradisus Punta Cana Resort.  She sent him home before they made it to the "Fantasy Suite" but I am sure the suite would have been fabulous!  And I would like to add that although Chris left broken hearted, I am rooting for him to become the next Bachelor!  What a sweet and classy guy!

Ahhh paradise!

And speaking of paradise, did you see which Bachelor/Bachelorette alumni were cast in the new show, Bachelor in Paradise?  The show is due to premiere on August 4th and I will be watching - for the scenery, of course!

Have you been to any resorts in the Dominican Republic?
If so, please share where you stayed!


July 14, 2014

Shopping with the Brothers

I mentioned the other day that Drew and Jonathan Scott AKA The Property Brothers were making an appearance at the grand opening of World Market in Livingston, NJ.  Well, my kids and I managed to get ourselves out of the house in time Saturday morning to attend the event!  Yay!

The first 200 people who donated 5 non-perishable food items were given a ticket with a number to stand in line.  We were number 161.  After the first 200 people, they gave out sticky notes with numbers for all the extras.  Those people were not guaranteed to get in but it looked like the store was going to make an effort to accommodate everyone.

We had some time to shop before the line outside formed.  I was so excited to see all the merchandise in person since I have only shopped online previously.  The place was obviously packed with fans of the Property Brothers but people were also buying.  Since my boys were with me, I only had a chance to pick up one little lamp.  They were getting a bit impatient with the whole shopping scene.  But they were very excited to meet the Property Brothers!  Both of my kids watch their shows with me and since my 10 year old would like to be an architect someday, he was looking forward to chatting with Jonathan and Drew!

But before meeting them, we had to stand in line in the sweltering sun...

Luckily, a bunch of pretty umbrellas provided some sun coverage but it was very hot and humid that day!  World Market did a great job of keeping everyone hydrated with dispensers of water, lemon water and cucumber water.  We stood near a friendly crowd of people and everyone was excited to see the Brothers.  The line moved at 25 people at a time so overall the wait wasn't too dreadful.

But we were thrilled to finally get inside the air conditioned store!  And from that point on, the line moved pretty fast.

Jonathan and Drew were as dynamic in person as you would imagine....and tall, very tall!

They actually took a moment to chat with everyone.

Yeah, I know - I don't normally post pictures of my kids but I wanted to share their excitement with you.  Actually, those two kids aren't even my boys.  I just grabbed them from the crowd for the picture....

It was a thrilling day for everyone!

Do you have a World Market in your area?
Are you a fan of the Property Brothers?

Linking to:


July 11, 2014

Guess Who is in Town?

Well, maybe not my town...but my state!

Yes, World Market just opened a store in  Livingston, New Jersey!

I couldn't be more thrilled!  I can't tell you how many times I have been wanting to see something in person but could only purchase merchandise online.  Well not any more baby!  Woohoo!

And speaking of "seeing in person"...

Tomorrow, as in Saturday, July 12, 2014 - the Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott will be at the Livingston, NJ store!  See more details HERE.  I am sure there is going to be a HUGE line but I am going to try to make it if I can.  My kids even like them so I could probably bring them along.  They better not get in the way of my shopping though!!  Actually, it might be helpful to bring them along so they can help CARRY all the stuff I buy!  Hey, maybe I can talk the Property Brothers into designing my kitchen...

Here are a few things I have my eye on already...

Possibly for my son's room...

Even Rosie selected something she likes...

I already own the Chloe console table
but maybe I could use a little accent table to go with it..

The Chloe table is shown below in my spring vignette...

Here's a side view of the table...

Believe me, after this weekend, 
this won't be the only World Market piece in my house!

I just cannot wait to get shopping!

Do you have a World Market near you?

July 8, 2014

What's Under Your Rugs? A Rug Pad Review

Rug Pad USA provided rug pads for me to review but all opinions are 100% my own.

If you read my blog, you know that I am becoming more and more conscious about the products I bring into my home.  Recently, I was contacted by Rug Pad USA which is a rug pad retailer based outside the Greater New York area (my neck of the woods).  Their rug pads are eco-friendly and made in the USA which is important to me because it seems the only rug pads you see in retail stores are those toxic PVC types that are imported from who knows where!

Anyway, after providing them with measurements from a couple of my area rugs, Rug Pad USA sent me two of their Super-Lock Natural Rubber rug pads custom cut to my specifications.  I chose the Super-Lock Natural pads because they work well on tile floors, are made with untreated natural rubber and are resistant to mold, mildew and odor causing bacteria.  Since one of my rugs is under the kitchen table and the other in our back hallway, I wanted to choose something that could hold up to spills and high traffic.

As you can see, I was in desperate need of some new rug pads around here.  Plus who the heck knows what those old ones were made from!  I want my home to be as healthy as possible..

And when you have kids and pets, eco-friendly is the way to go!  As you can see, Rosie had to get involved in the set up...
"Can I open my eyes yet?"

The rug pads grip well to the floor and don't have any kind of toxic smell to them.  They only smelled like rubber when I opened the package but after I put the rugs over them, I didn't notice it anymore.  Plus, the rug pads are made from natural rubber harvested from rubber trees, not from synthetic latex.

After placing the pads, my son gave the comfort approval...
and I was happy to be taking another step towards a healthier home!

Click over to Rug Pad USA
to see which of their pads would work best in your home.
They have a 20 year warranty, free shipping
and you can use coupon code Pr15off to get 15% off your purchase!

Have you thought about what's under your rugs?


July 7, 2014

Beach Break

This morning we drove back from our 6 day visit to the Jersey Shore.  Today is the first time I have turned on my computer since we left last week.  I mean, I had every intention of blogging and checking emails but the closest I came was posting a few pictures on Instagram and making a couple comments from my iphone.  It actually felt great to be slightly unplugged for almost a week!

Our first couple of days were beautiful...

Kites on the beach...

Then the storm rolled in and we found ourselves having to entertain ourselves on the 4th of July...
I spent the morning with my niece and sister-in-laws at DSW.  Since we were near Seaside, I thought these were Snooki-worthy!  Needless to say, they were not my style - but I did try to scare my husband by texting him a picture.  He was not amused.

It rained most of the day but we found some ways to keep busy...

By late afternoon, the skies cleared and we headed up to the Seaside Heights Boardwalk for some rooftop golf.
The "greens" were still a little wet but we had fun anyway!

The next day we tried paddle boarding for the first time!  Loved it!  My niece brought her board and each of  us tried it in the bay.
It was harder than it looked but we got the hang of it pretty quickly.

 My 10 year old really mastered it 
and is already begging Daddy to buy one!

My 8 year old was a little nervous
but my niece rode along to help him feel more comfortable. 
Luckily the bay is very shallow in this section so it wasn't too scary.  

I don't have any pictures of my husband because:
a) - I was videotaping instead...
b) - I was laughing too hard...
c) - Both of his attempts were too fast to catch on camera!

Apparently the athlete of the family found something he is not very good at!  But at least he was a good sport and gave us all a laugh!

A few more trips to the boardwalk to enjoy the rides...

And we ended the weekend with a visit to Breakwater Beach Waterpark all day yesterday.

For some reason I now have a hoarse voice and a sore back.  These boys really wear me out!

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