Geometric Advent Calendar

We went black + white + geometric with this year's advent calendar.

Geometric Advent Calendar

I love our advent calendar tradition and this one fits right in with our other home decor so I don't mind having it up earlier. The boys have been changing the configuration up each day.

Geometric advent calendar

I stamped numbers on the back so we knew which day we were opening. 

Geometric advent calendar

I wrote about how I put it together on All for the Boys. I love how it looks on our bookshelf in the front room!

Fall Dinner Party Prep & Easy Cleanup

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Electrolux via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Electrolux.

I LOVE a good dinner party. Many of you know (because I brag about it often) that my husband is an amazing cook. A few years into our marriage we decided we were all happier when he did the cooking and I did the cleaning. As much as I don't like to clean, I know when to admit defeat. We've had this arrangement for about 10 years now and it's worked great! Especially when we have dinner parties. Since I do all the cleaning, I've had my eye on the Electrolux Stainless Steel Dishwasher with IQ-Touch™ Controls (EI24ID50QS). Gorgeous right?!

Electrolux Stainless Steel Dishwasher with IQ-Touch™ Controls (EI24ID50QS)

Having friends over for dinner is one of my favorite things to do. Fall is the perfect time to do it, especially in Phoenix because we can eat inside, outside, have a fire, or not. It's gorgeous and the perfect time to spend with friends. Here are some tips for making dinner parties a bit easier on the setup and cleanup:

  • Choose your wine/drinks ahead of time. I hate trying to choose the best drinks at the last minute. It always stresses me out. Clean wine glasses early too so you're not doing the last minute wipe down!
  • Find out about any food allergies/issues ahead of time and see if you can accommodate. If your guests want to bring their own food - let them! Since I have to eat gluten free I know that it can be intimidating for people who aren't used to it to prepare food that way so sometimes it's easier for them and me to bring my own!
  • Make sure the dishes are all clean before cooking so that after dinner (or first couple courses) are done, you have room in the dishwasher. I love that the Electrolux Stainless Steel Dishwasher with IQ-Touch™ Controls (EI24ID50QS) has a 30-minute fast wash so when I leave my (not so fun) job until the last minute I can have professionally clean dishes quickly! Yes. Please. 
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  • Having simple white dishes makes planning a place setting easy since they can be formal or casual and work for any season. They also work with any new or old white dishes or serving pieces so you can build up over time.
  • I love creating fun, simple tablescapes or place settings even at the last minute. If I'm planning ahead I'll have the dinner table set up before. Here are some of my favorite ways to make some place cards that you can work and set up a day or two before!
 Write names on a leaf (real or fake) with a metallic marker.

Write names on a leaf (real or fake) with a metallic marker.

 Use fun initial ornaments or tags.

Use fun initial ornaments or tags.

 A small succulent with chalkboard label makes a fun take home gift, but is great for you if the guests can't take them home!

A small succulent with chalkboard label makes a fun take home gift, but is great for you if the guests can't take them home!

 Using small Fall symbols like pumpkins or pinecones make a great spot for simple name cards or just to decorate the setting.

Using small Fall symbols like pumpkins or pinecones make a great spot for simple name cards or just to decorate the setting.

 An initial coffee mug makes a great looking place setting and a fun gift!

An initial coffee mug makes a great looking place setting and a fun gift!

  • Make sure you have plenty of ice! I'm always running last minute to get more ice.
  • If you can, sneak away between courses or after dinner for a minute to run a load of dishes. If your party runs later and you need to have another course you'll have clean dishes ready to go! Since we have an open floor plan, I don't do this often now because the dishwasher can be pretty loud (ok, VERY loud). The Electrolux Stainless Steel Dishwasher with IQ-Touch™ Controls (EI24ID50QS) has Luxury-Quiet™ sound packages as low as 47 dBA and the dishwasher features Clean Light that alerts you when the dishes are clean! Another reason it's on my list!

What are your favorite dinner party prep or clean up tips?

The new Electrolux dishwasher provides a professional level clean with its 30-minute wash and dry cycle.  As the highest rated dishwasher on Reviewed.com (http://dishwashers.reviewed.com/content/electrolux-ei24id50qs-dishwasher-review ), it also features SatelliteSpray Arm technology which provides 400% more water coverage than a traditional dishwasher. Visit ElectroluxAppliances.com for more information on this and other stylish and functional options available from Electrolux.

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Loving Lately

I love inspiration. Sometimes it's so hard to keep it all in one place! Here are some things I've been loving (and pinning) lately

Loving lately
  1. Kal Barteski just loaded some awesomeness into her shop - this is one of my faves.
  2. Love this masculine office from Lolly Jane.
  3. I need to just buy this print already - only thing holding me back is that I wish it was black.
  4. These southwest inspired pumpkins have me thinking of Fall.
  5. Loving my new floors.
  6. This tutorial on how to arrange store bought flowers makes me want to buy a bouquet at try it out this weekend!

Shaw Floors Resilient Vinyl

Disclosure: My friends at Shaw Floors provided us with this flooring so we could share our experience with all of you. All thoughts and opinions shared here are my own.

Shaw Floors Resilient Vinyl

It's been no secret that we have been doing a major floor renovation around here! I am so excited to finally share the outcome! With the help from our friends at Shaw we decided on Shaw Floors Luxury Vinyl Plank Northampton with the Shelton Pecan color. This floor material color combo is SO perfect for us!

Shaw Floors

So why did we choose to go with Shaw’s Resilient Vinyl Flooring? Here's some info in their brochure. For me the look was definitely huge on my list but we also need something that can stand up to the boys, the dogs, parties, in and out with the pool etc.

Shaw Floors
Shaw Floors

To be honest though, I cared a little more about what it looked like so the fact that I could have everything I needed was icing on the cake!

We chose to let the professionals from Floor Source here in Phoenix, AZ do the removal and installation because of the amount of work being done (1500 square feet) and I am SO glad we did. The preparation of the floor is so important to how the floor wears over time. This was the biggest issue with our home. Our floors were un-level up to 1/2″ in some places and whoever laid the tile used A LOT of thinset so that alone was well worth the cost of having someone else do it. They knew exactly what to do to remove and prep all 1500 square feet of the floors so that the installation of the Shaw Luxury Vinyl Plank would be perfect.

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The prep of the floors was a lot of work and did not at all look like fun so I'm SO thankful for all the hard work the guys at Floor Source did. They did a quick and awesome job getting everything just right for the flooring we chose.

Shaw flooring

The planks are long but flexible so are a bit easier on the hands to install than laminate planks. Each one clicks together on all 4 sides for a tight fit. The floors we chose do not need glue or a special layer underneath - they are ready to go.

The baseboards that the guys at Floor Source installed for us are the perfect finishing touch to the flooring. They make such a big difference and they did an awesome job on these corners!

Shaw Flooring
Shaw Floors
Shaw Floors
Shaw Floors
Shaw Floors

I wish you could all see it in person because it's such a cool product. We've gotten so many questions about it just in the couple of weeks we've had it! The color is perfect and I can have that bit of rustic / industrial modern look I love without the cost or maintenance of real wood. The floors are soft, warmer than tile but still keep the house cooler in the dead of summer. They also don't have that loud clacking noise that laminate has.

The other interesting "plus" that I hadn't thought about before is that if down the road I get an itch to replace the flooring again - after the baseboards come out this will come right off SO easily. I would NOT want to be the one removing this much tile.

Shaw Floors
Shaw Floors

Have you looked at Shaw Floors Resilient Vinyl Flooring? Definitely add it to your list if you're looking at flooring options! 

You can also ask questions or stay in touch through their site / Facebook /  Instagram / Twitter (you can also ask here and I'll find out for you!). If you’re in the Phoenix area we definitely recommend you calling/emailing Floor Source. They are awesome to work with their prices were great (I had done some research before on removal/installation pricing) and they did an awesome job making sure our floors were installed perfectly so they can last a LONG time. You can find them and their info on their site and Facebook.