An Update to the Side Yard

Hi there friends!!

Here’s a quick update post about our little side yard.  It may not be all that exciting to some of you, then again, with all the lawn hating going on these days, you just might be very interested.

More lawn gone, you ask.  Yup.  Seems to be a trend around here.

Of course, here’s a part of my yard that I so BADLY wanted a lawn.  In fact, we tried everything to grow a strong, lush, green lawn and in the process, we spent lots and LOTS of money.  None of it held up very well since the soil is pretty much the worst ever.

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This second picture was one of those time where we kinda had a lawn.  This was right after we put in the ficus all around the fence to cover our neighbors ripped privacy screen, which drives me Gwen Stefani BANANAS.  That screen has died.  Let’s just bury the thing already.  Amiright?!

That little slope was also once the home of a huge pine tree that was knocked down in a crazy windstorm.  Needless to say, over the years there have been a few changes… some are working, some just ain’t.

The plan was easy.  Dig up the dirt about 3-4″.  Cover this with a steel mesh to deter any gophers.  Add in a retaining wall for the dirt and to make the hill look legit.  Add a drip system to the side greenery and hill.  And then grade the whole play area with decomposed granite.

Now, we have this.


The frog?  A vintage find from an old park.  The plane?  From Costco – Where else?

Let’s break it down, shall we?

The retaining wall?  Each wood piece was $20 and we needed 14 = $280

The mesh I bought here and needed 5 rolls for a 700 sqft space, $66 x 5 = $330

The landscape edging, $20 for each piece x 6 = $120

Drip stuff (I can’t tell you every piece here) was $200

The big cost?  The DG was $25 a scoop and $50 for delivery.  I bought 12 scoops for $385


And then of course, there’s the labor portion of the whole thing.

I didn’t lift one. single. finger.

Digging out, refilling, leveling the whole thing was $500.

Capping the old lines, and adding in the drip system $100

Putting in the retaining wall and edging $100


All in all, it was a cool 2 grand.

With our goodies put back, it’s like our very own playground.


I love it so very much.

It’s funny, the hub doesn’t really get too involved in my grand schemes, but when I told him I was thinking of doing this project he definitely eyed me suspiciously.  He didn’t say no, but he wasn’t enthused either.  Now that it’s done, he’s beyond thrilled.

It just looks so clean.  Weird word, I know.  But it does.  It’s intentional now.  This space makes sense.

We are thinking of adding a few more shade sails, flowers, and benches… you know, the fun stuff!  All in due time Watson!

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Inspiration for Arrow’s Room


This week I started the fun process of creating a blank slate in Arrow’s room.  You can see all the before’s here.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m headed yet… But I know what I like when I see it.  Are you the same??  I’m pretty sure that I’ll have some hand-drawn wallpaper look – I’m just obsessed with how awesome it looks.  I’m also thinking that I’ll do that myself… maybe… probably.  Unless, I break down and just buy the teepees below.  So. freaking. cute.

Penguin Wallpaper, Teepee Wallpaper, Stylefiles


Blog Lovin’

Other than that, I’m very drawn to a color palate of blue, black and white.  I’m going to paint the dressers white, for sure.  Should I add legs?

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And the crib will get a make-over into a toddler bed.  I just love the one here.  Mine won’t have round edges, but I’m determined to figure out something where I can use the crib I have and transform it into something more modern.


Land of Nod 


Amber Interiors

My hope is to update the room so that the bones are solid and that the fun comes in with bedding and accessories.  I think a little calm would be nice in a house full of boys.

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Target – Pillow Fort

Just yesterday I was looking for the paint that I used originally in the room (actually there are 3 colors!!) and I could only find ceiling paint.  Arg.  I wasn’t planning on painting the whole room, just the two walls that need it.

That’s what happens when you open a can o’ worms.  You get yourself some surprises.

More to come.

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8 CHEAP Beauty Products I love and 5 I’m dying to try!

Yo there!

It’s summer and hot, like so freaking, unbelievably hot.  And my kids want to play outside.  Non-stop.  Outside.  Is anyone hearing this?!?  Outside in the sweltering hell that is Southern California right now.  Honestly, why are kids so dumb sometimes?

My therapy in all this is a trip to a nice air conditioned store, where I can usually indulge in a teensy fun buy.  I LOVE to try new products, but I’m especially thrilled when they’re actually great.  So, I thought it would be fun to share a few cheap products that I swear by!


Terracotta Foot Scrubbers, L’Oreal Lip Pen, Micellar Water, Liquid Eyeliner,


Kirkland Shampoo/Conditioner, Goody Stay Put Elastics, Grapefruit Scrub, Anti-frizz Creme

That foot scrub??  Awesome.  I love it.  I used to buy plastic ones for the summer at drugstores and they sucked, didn’t work well, and got tossed after a month or two.  Not these.  They also look waaay cuter hanging in the shower.  The lip gloss is so easy to put on and wear.  I’m not much of a make-up wearer, so I like things that are easy and work – this is the best!  Micellar water, where were you hiding?!?  This is a new product that I grabbed on a whim and have been using for about a month.  It’s perfection… so key when I’m lazy about washing my face at night (which is just about every night #reallife).  The eyeliner… again, I’m no good at make-up and I was good at using this.  The first time.  Hella ya.  And it stays put, but washes off without chemical grade ingredients.  The shampoo/conditioner is like a surprise score.  Costco doesn’t sell it on-line, but cummon, we all know you go there at least once a month.  Grab a bottle and read the label… paraben and sulfate free, Cool, Vegan, huh?, Gluten free, Um ok.  I never knew I’d need a vegan shampoo, but that’s got to be a good thing, right?  Just try it.  After I wash with fancy Kirkland, I rub in some Garnier anti frizz into my damp hair, then let it air dry.  It’s not sticky or oily, like almost every other anti-frizz I’ve tried, oh and it only costs 3 bucks!  I think everyone and their grand mammies uses the Yes to Grapefruites/Tomatoes/etc brand.  I especially like this scrub and use it once a week… I also like the tomato one, but don’t use it as much… so if I had to pick, I’d go grapefruit.  The hair ties are a no brainer – they hold my hair in a pony tail.  Nothing else works as well.  Nothing.  I buy these in bundles, use them twice and then toss.  They are so cheap, I use ’em like disposable contacts.

Omg, that was long.

But are you so excited about your next Target trip?  Yeah, me too.  And actually, I have a few things that I really want to try.  These are not all cheap though.  Dang it.  But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try.


Womfy Anti-wrinkle PillowBellaflash Hair Removal System, The Wet Brush, Issa Toothbrush, Eyeliner Tool

Recently I was getting my hair done and my girl says, What, you don’t have a Wet Brush?!  That’s all it took.  I need one.  Stat.  Maybe the next day (or three) my mom says to me, What you don’t have an anti-wrinkle pillow?!  You guys, I weelly need this.  Anything with “anti-wrinkle” is pretty much on the list.  An at home laser hair remover?  I’ll try that.  A toothbrush with no bristles?  Yup, that’s my jam.  And a tool that’ll make my eyeliner even easier to use?  Is it my birthday yet?!

Okay, now that I’ve bared my cheap loving soul, please share!  What are some of your favorite budget products??

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My backyard, through the years…

This little house of mine has always been a never-ending project.  However, the backyard certainly takes the prize.  Like the prize that no one really wants, but you can’t just not give the kid who sucks but tries their hardest nothing.  Or can you??

Anyway, here was the backyard and pool when we purchased the house roughly 10 years ago.

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And here she is now…


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Never mind that wonky umbrella… I actually quickly took these for a pool tile company.  Oh yes, my friends, the tile is getting cleaned up!!  We’ve had the new pool/tile for almost 5 years and that seems to be how long this tile looks good for… well, maybe 4 but shits expensive so we pushed it a bit.  You may be thinking that you’ve never cleaned your tile and it looks fab, but this is black glass and it’s more demanding than a model on a diet.

Another fun thing on the list, is cleaning the quartz stone.  If I thought the tile was pricey, getting these quotes was like a punch to the gut.  Just the cost of the sealer is $2,500!  Just. the. sealer.  Anyway, it requires a week of not touching the stone, which is way too much to ask of 4 crazy pool kids who wake up at 5am on the weekends begging to go in the pool.

I don’t ever remember liking the pool that much.  Do you?

Anyhoo, we’ll do this at some point in the near future.

You can see that the hill/slope/whatever you want to call it, in the back, has always been a thorn in my side.  It’s fairly steep so it’s not fun to climb and plant into.  Also, the soil isn’t all that great… it’s real sandy and I’m pretty sure the pine needles from the neighbors have made it uninhabitable for most plants.  But I keep trying.  Each year I plant a bunch of stuff and see how it goes.  Right now, I have 2 olive trees, 3 desert cassias, a magnolia and a pink magnolia that seem to be doing quite well.  Recently I added the red poker succulents… just because the name KILLS ME.

In a few years I’m hoping the hill looks more like this

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AND!!! next week I’ll be putting in a row of japanese boxwoods because I’m so damn obsessed with topiaries.  I think it’s going to look awesome!!

As for the rest of the hill, well, I’m going to let it be this summer.  It gets well into the 100’s and I think planting in the heat is just a recipe for dead plants.  I’ll get back to it around September-ish… My thought is to slowly cut the water and see which areas get bald spots.  There is one big one to the left of the hill… it’s the receding hairline no one wants to stare at directly.

That’s it for now!!  I’m still finishing the right side or area formerly known as Gopher Paradise, too.  I’ll share more soon.

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An Updated Room for a Toddler

Yup.  I’m coming to terms.  I’m trying to get on-board the toddler train and accept the fact that my baby is now a “big boy.”  A fact of which he has repeatedly informed me of way too many times.

Yup.  I’m slowly accepting.  It’s happening.  Kind of.

To make it a bit more fun for the both of us, I’ve been thinking that Arrow, now two years old (Ah! DENIAL!) is ready for his very own room make over.  He’s been living in a room that was designed with the intention of having 2 cribs for his twin brothers, and it’s less than zen.  The lack of balance is hurting my little eyes.


Here is the room as it stands today.  Originally there was a crib on each side of the koi fish and a dresser next to each crib.  It used to make sense.  Now, it jus don’t.



Lots of gear for the littlest brother… there’s maybe 2 new things in there.  Gifts, of course.  I buy this kid a whole lotta zippo.



That’s the full 360!

And a lot of it’s going to change… I’ve just got to get my design on and find some inspiration.

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