My Mother’s Day Picnic

Picnics have always been dreamy to me. I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought it would be the perfect day time activity. I’ve always had this vision in my head with the big blanket, picnic basket, and cheese. Lots of CHEESE!! 

You might be thinking, Whoa Carrie, it’s just a picnic. But I have been planning a picnic since I was pregnant with baby K. I even bought a picnic basket before he was born. But after 2+ years of it sitting in the closet, I finally got to use it!

With having a child under 2, I have made up every excuse possible not to go on one. Just thinking of taking both boys by myself made me exhausted. The sucky part about being married to a chef, the hours. His only day off is Monday and he works every holiday except Christmas Day. Since I work M-F our schedules couldn’t be more opposite.

I had told my husband a few days before the holiday that I was finally going to take the boys on a picnic on Mother’s Day. A part of me didn’t want to go, because I wanted my first picnic to be with my husband and kids. I know it probably sounds silly, but it’s what I wanted.

While I was getting everything together to leave for our picnic, my husband surprised me and walked through the door (with flowers in hand) and told me he was taking me on my first picnic. I almost cried. He told me he knew how much it meant to me and that he wanted to be there.

So I finished getting the picnic basket ready and we left for the park. Baby K had fallen asleep on the way so while he slept, I watched my oldest and husband play catch and I laid on the blanket eating ALL the cheese. That’s acceptable right?! I mean, it was Mother’s Day.

Side note, I used mason jars for the lemonade and yogurt. Those seals are tight! Not one drop leaked out.

After we ate, we walked around the park. It’s crazy how we have lived less than 2 miles from this park for years and didn’t know anything about the history of the ruins tucked away in the park.

If you are interested, THIS ARTICLE provides more detail of the history of the statues. It was pretty interesting, but I am a nerd. 🤓

Anyway…

 As we were heading back to the car I was thanking my husband and oldest son for taking me on a picnic and as I was saying the words I started crying. What a sap. But I was so excited that I got to go on my first picnic with all my boys. It was the perfect day. Just as I had envisioned it. I know the boys did not want to go, but it made it that much more special that they took me with no complaints and let me enjoy my day. Best Mother’s Day EVER!

Well, friends that’s it. Thank you so much for stopping by. Your support means so much to me. ❤️ Also, if I have put you in the picnic mood and you need kid friendly ideas on what to pack, I included our super easy menu below. You can also shop the items in this post at the bottom.

 

The Menu

Peanut butter & banana sandwiches

Cheese & crackers

Lemonade topped with fresh lime juice

Vanilla yogurt topped with granola & blackberries

 

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Habanero & Grapefruit Margarita Recipe

I love margaritas! Especially in the summer and always on Cinco de Mayo. 🇲🇽 Usually I find a recipe on Pinterest, but most of them have a TON of ingredients. Some that I’m not even familiar with. For me, I start to lose interest with recipes when there is a long list of ingredients involved. Anyone else feel that way??

So I decided to make up my own recipe that has minimal ingredients. What’s crazy is my simple concoction actually tasted good! So good, that I am sharing it with you. I will warn you that it is spicy. I mean Habanero is in the title. Even though it has a kick to it, it’s still refreshing.

After pilfering through the spices in our cabinet I found Habanero Lime seasoning. Hence the name. I love it on corn on the cob, so why not try it on the rim of a margarita?? I found the seasoning at Walmart, but if you can’t find it, you can mix a little bit of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Basically the same thing without the lime. I also provided a direct link under “Shop This Post” at the bottom if you want to buy the seasoning.

Ok enough talking, now for the recipe.

Please note, this recipe makes 2.5 – 3.5 drinks (depending on your glass size). I used juice size glasses so it made a little over three. If you are using traditional margarita glasses you’ll want to double the recipe.

Ingredients:

3 shots of tequila silver
2 cups of grapefruit juice
2 red grapefruits
1 jalapeño
Margarita salt
Habanero Lime seasoning

Step 1: Mix some margarita salt and habanero lime seasoning on a plate. This is for the rim.

Step 2: Dip the rim in water then the margarita salt mix.

Step 3: Thinly slice the jalapeño. Muddle half of the jalapeño. You’ll use the other half for garnish.

Step 4: Pour the tequila & concentrated grapefruit juice into a shaker over ice.

Step 5: Cut both grapefruits in half. Set one of the halves to the side. That is for garnish. Squeeze the remaining grapefruits into the shaker then add the muddled jalapeño.

Step 6: Shake the mix and pour over ice. Then garnish with a grapefruit wedge and slice of jalapeño.

Step 7: Enjoy!


Super quick and simple! Bonus, you don’t need google to figure out any of the ingredients.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. If you end up trying this recipe, I would love for you to tell me what you think! Please feel free to comment below or message me Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns

Thanks for stopping by! Xo

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Laundry Room Makeover – Part 1

Upon moving into our first home I hated the laundry room. It was outdated, the flooring was warped,  and there was an old ADT system mounted on the wall. Do you know what an ADT system looked like before wireless?!? This.

 And all of the accessories surrounding the box was part of the system. All I can say is thank god for the advancements in technology!

 

Add a water heater and furnace crammed into the already small space and you have yourself one heck of an eyesore for a laundry room. See…

 

 

 

 

 

Yup, eww!

 

What actually triggered this project was two things 1) I love starting new projects when I have multiple projects that I already started that need finished and 2) It became the catchall room after our Loft got a makeover. So much that you couldn’t see the floor. Not kidding at all. It was getting to be so bad that my husband came home one night from work and told me that every night he comes home he plays the “trust” game. Meaning he trusts that he isn’t going to fall or trip over something and break his neck. He does work late, so by the time he gets home it’s dark, the lights are off, and the doors are closed. Thinking more about it now, his comment was fair to say the least. With that said, operation laundry room makeover commenced!

 

The first thing I did was create an inspiration board. I knew I wanted a modern look with touches of farmhouse & greenery. I fell in love with the Wash & Dry sign from Magnolia and knew that I wanted that in the laundry room, so I used the sign to set the tone of the room.

 

 

After I had an idea of what I wanted, I got to work! The first thing I tackled (besides cleaning it out) was tiling the wall behind the washer & dryer. I decided to do tile because we had three cases sitting in our garage that a friend gave us. Yeah, you read that right. GAVE us!! It was free ninety-nine. The tile sat in our garage for over a year so I’m glad I remembered it! Initially I had planned on using that tile to do a backsplash in our kitchen, but I installed my DIY open shelves instead. You can see that tutorial HERE.

 

After reading multiple tutorials on tiling, I felt confident that I could do it by myself. If you have been thinking about installing tile yourself then THIS TUTORIAL offers several good tips as well.

 

Below are the tools/materials you will need, regardless if you are using a manual tile cutter or electric wet saw.

 

Trowel
Spacers
Grout
Caulk
Caulk gun
Thinset Tile Mortar
Sponge or cloth towels
5 gallon bucket
Tape measure
Level
Pencil

 

If you are using a manual tile cutter I would highly recommend investing in the tools/materials listed below as well.

 

Tile file
Dremel 3000
Diamond wheel Dremel accessory
EZ402 Dremel accessory
Clamp
Safety eyewear

 

This is a list of additional tools/materials that you might consider, but are not necessary.

 

Tarp
Gloves
Painters tape
Putty knife

 

I would bucket tarp with the required materials if you are not planning to take up the flooring. Grout is EXTREMELY messy and will get EVERYWHERE! But since we did take up the flooring for this project, I didn’t care about the mortar or grout staining the floor.

 

The cost for the actual materials were pretty reasonable. Under $75. However, I didn’t have any of the major tools. My goal was to spend the least amount of money humanly possible, so I purchased THIS $20 tile cutter from Lowe’s. It was manual, and the process was PAINFUL, but it got the job done, so I would say it was worth it. Adhering all the tiles that didn’t require cutting was a breeze, but the tiles that required a special cut, ugh. Especially doing it with a manual tile cutter & a ceramic tile file.

 

Tip 1: if you use a manual tile cutter, treat it like a wet saw. After measuring out the tiles, I submerged them in water, and even poured water directly on the tile after the tile was secured in place. Doing this made it easier and the cuts didn’t look jagged.

 

 

Tip 2: Buy a tile file! Just do it. If you are using a manual tile cutter, the $10 you spend on this ceramic tile file is worth EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. A tile file will smooth the edges of the tile after it has been cut. I cannot stress enough how dependent I was on this tool.

 

 

Tip 3: Make all your tile cuts at once and write out the measurement on the back of each tile and on the wall where that tile will be secured. It was tedious, but it saved me a lot of time trying to figure out which tile goes where. Plus you won’t be able to see the pencil marks once the tile is up.

 

 

 

Even though I tried to avoid buying any power tools, by week 3, I caved. After several failed attempts of trying to do a 90 degree angle cut with the tools I had, I realized I either needed to a) have a professional do it or b) buy the appropriate power tools. So first I called all the local tile shops and the most inexpensive place I found wanted $109…for only 9 cuts! I knew the tool I needed was less expensive, so I broke down and bought it.

 

 

If you have not been introduced to a Dremel, and you plan on tiling a wall yourself, BUY THIS TOOL! There are several versions of a Dremel, so make sure if you buy one you get one that has multiple speeds. I bought the Dremel 3000, which was the least expensive one that I knew would cut the tile. If you buy a Dremel, more than likely it will come with a starter kit. HOWEVER, you’ll need to buy the diamond wheel and the EZ Lock EZ402 accessories. Both are sold separately and NOT included with the Dremel kit. I didn’t realize that until I got home, so I had to make another trip to Lowe’s.

 

 

When cutting the tiles, I used a clamp to hold it in place. I did the cuts on my kitchen island and just laid a tarp over the island for protection. It was messy and I would recommend doing this in a garage or outside. It was rainy the day I did this, so just did it in the kitchen.

 

 

From here, I am not going to go into crazy detail on tiling since THIS TUTORIAL does a really good job explaining the steps. I mean, why try to recreate the wheel?

 

I do however have a few more tips I would like to add after completing my first tile job.

 

Tip 1: I was lazy and didn’t wipe all the mortar off, so there was a lot that dried on the tiles. But instead of scraping with my nails, I used a putty knife and it worked like a charm and it didn’t leave any scratch marks on the tiles!

 

 
Tip 2: Clean out the leftover mortar and/or grout mix in the 5 gallon bucket immediately after your done. They both dry quickly and it is impossible to clean out after it sets. I went through 3 buckets figuring out the things you shouldn’t do. Bucket number 1 bit the dust because I covered the  bucket planning to  use it the following day. Bucket number 2 was letting the grout mix sit too long before cleaning it out.

 

Tip 3: Lay a tarp down/over anything you don’t want the grout to stain. Grout and mortar are both incredibly messy. Especially grout. I opted out of the tarp only because we were going to lay new flooring down. Otherwise, I would have used one.

 

 

 
Tip 4: Take off any outlet plates you plan to tile around before you start tiling. 🤦🏻‍♀️

 

 

This may sound like common sense, but this was my first time tiling and I thought the tile would look good around the plate. Wrong. It didn’t help that my tiles had beveled edges, so they stuck out like a sore thumb. However, the new outlet cover I bought covered the edges enough, so crisis adverted!

 

After three long weeks of tiling, grouting, and caulking I was done!

 

 

So pretty!!

 

Once the tile wall was done, I removed the baseboards. Initially I was going to buy rapid fit baseboards to put over the existing one, but when I was planning out how I was going to lay the flooring I knew I would need to remove the baseboards if I wanted the flooring to look right along the edges of the walls.

 

Removing the baseboards was actually quite easy. I used my handy putty knife and a crowbar and it came out easy peasy and still intact! I found THIS TUTORIAL to be super helpful.

 

After removing the baseboards it was time to paint the remaining walls, trim, and door. I went back and forth several times about painting vs. shiplap. Believe me, I LOVE shiplap as much as the next fixer upper farmhouse lovin’ junkie, but after tiling I was ok with just painting. I ended up going with HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams in Delicate White from Lowe’s.

 

This was my first time using this brand of paint, and honestly I was not super impressed with the coverage. I usually purchase  the Emerald line from Sherwin Williams. That stuff is AWESOME, but expensive. Since I had to buy the tools for the tiling job, I decided to use a less expensive brand of paint.

 

 

I applied two coats and let the paint dry overnight. More like over-week. I work full-time, so I feel that’s acceptable. Right?

 

After the walls were painted I tackled the flooring. Initially I was going to just lay the planks over the existing linoleum, but after reading several tutorials I decided to take up the linoleum and lay the planks directly on the concrete. The reason I decided against laying it over the linoleum was because the existing floor was warped in several places and not even.

 

 

It may sound like a lot of hard work, but taking up the linoleum was actually quite simple. The previous owner only had adhesive along the edges of the linoleum, so pulling it up was a breeze.

 

Look at that beautiful concrete!

 

 

Laying the planks down was also super simple and the only prepping I did before starting was sweep the floor.

 

Once the floor was clean I started laying the planks down. I started at the corner of the room behind the dryer, then staggered the planks from there. It was so simple that I didn’t even have to take the washer and dryer out of the room! Crazy right??

 

 

So much better!!

 

We used  Safari/Brown Peel-and-Stick vinyl planks from Lowe’s. I planned on buying the gray driftwood vinyl, but decided on a darker tone at the last minute. I am so glad I did! Now that the flooring is down, I don’t think the gray would have looked right with the color scheme.

 

Tip: In most of the tutorials I read, the bloggers were saying to use extra adhesive on the planks, but I didn’t  and I’ve had no issues with the planks coming up. However, I took the existing flooring up first. So if you intend to use peel-and-stick flooring and plan to lay the planks over the existing flooring, I would recommend using the adhesive. 

 

The floor isn’t finished yet because we are in the process of moving the water heater, so I will share more angles when it is finished in part 2 of this makeover.

 

Now it was time to start decorating the walls!

 

First up was the outlet on the tiled wall. I switched out the standard white outlet plates for antique brass plates. Such a simple change, but I love the brass, black, & white color contrast.

 

My amazing FIL installed an extender box for the outlet on the tiled wall. I wanted the outlet cover to hide all the tile edges around the outlet. I’m so OCD about things like that. I got really lucky that a normal sized outlet plate covered all the edges. I should have taken the outlet cover off before measuring the tile. Rookie mistake. 🤦🏻‍♀️ However, the plate covered it enough, so no worries!

 

Next, I hung the Magnolia sign & clothing bar.

 

 

I made the clothing bar using galvanized pipe. Super easy! I attached all the pieces, then spray painted it Matte Black from Rustoleum. The best part, I already had everything to make the clothing bar from past projects!

 

After the clothing bar was mounted it was time to tackle the shelf above the washer. I was anxious to mount the hardware for our shelf. However, after all my hard work tiling, I  was TERRIFIED that I would crack the tile when trying to drill into it. So I looked up several tutorials and THIS TUTORIAL was the most helpful.

 

I purchased the anchors, screws, and drill bit. I had standard plastic anchors on hand, but with the weight of the shelf and brackets I wanted to be extra safe so I purchased toggle anchors that can hold up to 159 pounds.

 

 

Also, screws come with the toggle anchors, but they were silver, and I wanted black to blend in with the brackets. The screws were only .37 cents so I just bought them instead of spray painting the screws that came with the toggle anchors.

 

If you intend to mount a shelf on a tiled wall you’ll need to buy a special drill bit made to penetrate tiles. Otherwise your tiles will crack.

 

 

As stated in the tutorial I referenced above, drilling into tile takes patience. I was extra careful and did not put any added pressure on the tile so I wouldn’t crack them. After about 35 minutes I had the brackets put into place and the shelf ready for decorating.

 

Step 1: Use blue painters tape where you will be drilling. Then make a dot on the tape where the holes need to be.

 

 

Step 2: Start drilling on low-speed. You can increase the speed slowly as you start to see the hole form. Continue drilling until the drill bit is all the way through.

 

 

Tip: Make sure the size of the anchors coincide with the size of the drill bit. Meaning, I used a 5/16 inch drill bit, so purchased anchors that were 5/16 inch in diameter.

 

After the anchors were in place, I put up the shelf.

 

 

 

I found the Crates & Pallet shelf brackets at Home Depot online. They were exactly what I was looking for. Durable yet modern. I’ve bought a lot of shelf brackets in my day, but none compare to these. The brackets come in several sizes, but I purchased the 12 inch brackets to ensure the shelf would be wide enough for the canisters.

 

 

I had to make sure to add greenery to this space, so I moved the wall planters from our entryway wall to the laundry room. I think the greenery brings this space together.
I also love the mini wicker basket for lint. I found this clever idea from @brepurposed She recently made over her laundry room and it is truly swoonworthy! 😍 I tied the basket to the hook using twine.

 

After the walls were decorated, I decided I was going to paint the door black. Initially I was going to change out the gold doorknob for a black, but I couldn’t find a black door knob I loved. I also didn’t look very hard.

 

I had the black chalk paint on hand, so I just decided to paint the door. It was a darker shade of white than the walls anyway. At least that’s what I told my hubby. 😂

 

 

I applied three coats and voila! New door. I still plan to buy a new door knob and hardware for the door, but it will be another week until that’s done. I will have the door finished for part 2.

 

Even though I still need to finish the floor, add the baseboard, put up the new blind, and change out the door hardware I am so happy with this transformation! It seriously looks like a different room!

 

 

I would consider myself a seasoned DIYer, but this DIY project had me in tears a couple of times. Of course I want to encourage you to DIY when you can, mainly to save money & give you a sense of accomplishment, But sometimes DIY projects are not all rainbows and butterflies. They can be time-consuming, painful, and at some point make you question your sanity. However, after all the blood, sweat, and tears I would do it again. Mainly because of the cost savings. I spent roughly $300 for this makeover (granted the tiles were free). If I would have paid a contractor to do it, we would have easily spent over $1000. Crazy!! So basically, this makeover would have never happened. 😑

 

 

Well friends, that’s it for part 1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you found inspiration to take on a big project and I can’t want to show you the final reveal in part 2. Stay tuned!

 

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Work Wear Capsule Wardrobe – Part 3

Hello friends and welcome back! For all of you that have been following along, I hope you have found this series encouraging and helpful to start building a work wear capsule wardrobe that you love! Also, congrats on making it to the final part for the #acarriedaffaircapsule series! If you haven’t been following along, no worries! Part 1 is HERE and Part 2 is  HERE. But if you don’t have time to catch up now, that’s ok too! For all of you that are just tuning in, I’ll do a quick recap.

First, let’s define what a capsule wardrobe is. According to dictionary.com it is, a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential.

Now here is my definition, a wardrobe of pieces you love & feel your best in.

In Part 1, I discussed minimizing your clothing inventory. I donated more than two full trash bags after going through my closet. After my friends went through all the clothes and took what they wanted, I donated the rest to dressforsuccess.org Its a non-for-profit organization that takes gently used work wear clothing and provides them to women I poverty that are trying to find their economic independence and get back in the workforce. It’s truly a wonderful organization and if you haven’t heard of them, I would recommend checking them out to see if you have one near you. It made me feel so good knowing I helped others, while creating a manageable wardrobe for myself. Win, win!

In Part 2, I provided a free downloadable capsule work wear guide that will help you create a wardrobe for work that you love. You can also download it HERE if you’re just getting started.

I created the guide based on my experience as I took the steps to create my work wear capsule. I also asked my fellow women coworkers to review the guide and provide feedback as well as found some inspiration from a couple of guides that were already in-existence. However, the guides I found online were tailored towards everyday wear, whereas mine is tailored specifically for work wear.

So let’s back track a little…I decided to do this series because my closet had become overrun with pieces I thought would look good on me because they looked good on the model in the picture as well as pieces that were way past their expiration date. I’m talking dresses two sizes two small.  Basically I had a little bit of every style based on the clothing phase I was going through at that time. However, that wasn’t really me or what made me feel my best when I was wearing it. It’s a red flag when you put something on and you do the wiggle dance trying to get it on. And with that, I started my capsule journey.

With working in Corporate America, the guidelines on appropriate dress attire is pretty straight forward, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be boring. The best way I have found to make my work wear outfits pop is with accessories & shoes! So for the remainder of this post I will be talking about my favorite accessories and shoes to turn an average work wear outfit into a stylish and classic one!

First let’s talk accessories. Some of my favorite work wear accessories include:

Watch paired with chunky bracelets 

My husband bought this watch for me for my 30th birthday and I still wear it EVERY DAY.  I love wearing it with my favorite chunky bracelet.

Silk scarves with fun prints

There are so many possibilities to style a scarf. Use it as a belt, wrap it around your neck, use it as a hair accessory. I love to pair long scarves with jeans & flats on casual Friday’s.

Pearls & statement necklaces

Pearls just scream classic, and there are so many variations of them. I love long single strands as well as the layered look. My favorite place to shop for necklaces is J Crew. Shocker, right.

I like to pair statement necklaces with solid button down shirts. It is quick way to make your outfit pop.

Some great places to buy work wear accessories are listed below:

J. Crew

Ann Taylor

White House Black Market

The Loft

Kohl’s

H & M

Now let’s talk shoes! I will admit, I LOVE wearing heels, mainly because I am 5’3 and need that extra boost. But honestly my heart belongs to flats. I love them! Plus you can get them in fun colors and styles to make your outfit pop while not worrying about breaking your ankle. 😉 My favorite flats right now are lace-up and gold hued flats. I wear a lot of black and navy so pairing my outfit with gold hued flats gives my outfit that pop of color that looks classy and stylish. For me shoes are where it’s at. Who’s with me?!? 💃🏻 I spend a bulk of my clothing budget on shoes. My favorite place to find classic, stylish, yet comfortable flats is J Crew. Bonus, more so than not, they have sales, so it’s rare I pay the full price. 🙌🏼

For this last part I am offering some tips & tricks that I have been doing long before capsule wardrobes became a thing that make my pre-work morning routine almost effortless.

First, let me tell you a secret. It only takes me 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. The crazy part is I still look presentable.  Since I work in an office, it’s kind of required.

If your mornings are hectic and stressful, then these simple tips and tricks will make your mornings SO much better. At least that’s what my family says. Also being prepared ahead of time for the next work day will allow you to take that extra time you would have been getting ready to do more important things…like sleeping in. If you know me personally, then you know I hate getting out of bed in the mornings. I am nocturnal, so sleeping every extra second in the morning counts! However, I would consider myself a morning person because once my feet hit the floor I’m ready to go. Weird right? I ask myself how is that is possible on the regular. I think my husband wonders the same thing…

Tip 1: Lay out your clothes & shoes the night before. It sounds trivial, but it truly helps make my mornings less stressful!

Doing this is more of a night before thing. Mainly because you don’t know how you’re going to feel a week from now. Maybe you’ll be bloated from eating too much Mexican food so you won’t feel like wearing your high waist work pants or maybe you didn’t take the time to shave your legs when you showered so skirts and dresses are out of the question.

Actively thinking about how I feel and what I think will look best on me for the next day is always taken into account before picking out my outfit. If I know what shirt I want to wear, but not sure on the bottoms I’ll  search through Pinterest to get some ideas of how I could pair that said item with clothes I already have. Once I figure out what I am going to wear, I set the clothes out on my clothing rack or what I like to call my Inspiration rack. Done and done!

Tip 2: If you are a coffee drinker prepare the coffee the night before.

Every night when I get home from work, one of the first things I do is clean out my coffee tumbler from that day and prepare my coffee for the next morning. I even add the sugar to the mug, put the lid on, and put it next to the coffee maker so everything is ready when I get downstairs from getting dressed.

Tip 3: Set the accessories you plan to wear by your car keys.

Setting your accessories out will prevent you from forgetting them, like I use to…almost weekly. I have a briefcase for my work laptop that I take to work daily, so I set the accessories on top of it. That way I won’t forget them. Then when I go to leave I put the accessories on, grab my briefcase, car keys, work badge, & my coffee then I’m out the door!

And that concludes the #acarriedaffaircapsule series! I hope you found inspiration in this series and encourages you to start building a work wear capsule wardrobe that you love and feel your best in! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or message me on Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns

Until next time. Xoxo

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Please note, some items are not the exact same as pictured. The originals of those items are no longer available.