Monday, February 18, 2019

Croix's Room - Curtains & Light Fixture

Jumping upstairs to Croix's room to show off his new curtains and light fixture!!

Let's start with the curtains...I swear curtains make a room come to life. This space has been getting happier with every added element, but the curtains really made it start to feel cozy and inviting. As for the selection of said curtains, I'm happy to report they were super inexpensive! Of course, I can't help but dig deep into the options, so I visited several fabric stores and got a ton of samples to consider.
As nice as a lot of them were none of these options felt right. I loved the bright colors and happy prints of some of them, but I didn't want to make the room too baby-ish or even kid-ish. Obviously it is a kids room and I want it to be happy but I don't 'want the boys to come to me when their 8 asking for something more mature. On the other hand some of the dark grays or even the plaids just felt a little too formal. That's when I decided a solid curtain in a fun color was a better direction. Of course this took me down another rabbit hole of options, so I was very excited when we happened upon yellow, velvet curtains at Ikea for a steal. We picked up a metal rod on the same day and by the end of the weekend the curtains were up. 

Next up was a new light fixture. Like every bedroom in our house this one had a ceiling fan. Functional, yes - pretty, not so much. 

The room needed to be anchored by something more fun, but it took me awhile to find the right thing. I wanted something oversized and cool but at a price point that wouldn't break the bank. I found the perfect light but the lead time was 8-12 weeks, ugh. So I continued the search to no avail. We finally decided to just pull the trigger and guess what...the light came in way earlier than expected. I slapped the ceiling fan on Craigslist and Brent went to work installing the new light.

Once up we were in love. 

It's the perfect scale, color and vibe and adds a splash of modern flair to the room. With these additions the whole space really feels equal parts cool and kid and I'm so excited with the way the whole thing is coming together. 

All photos are my own. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

5 Tips for Growing Your Fiddle Leaf Fig + a GIVEAWAY!

Back in January I posted a photo of my living room over on Instagram and got a lot of questions about my fiddle leaf fig tree, so I did a few Instastories talking about the steps I take for caring for and growing my trees.

I thought I'd list them on here too for anyone who missed the instastories and is interested. Now, let me give a little disclaimer here. My thumb has definitely gotten greener over the years but I blame that on dumb luck, some good advice and a house with really good natural light. I'm no expert, this is just what has worked for me!

1. Place your fiddle leaf fig near a window that gets good sun.

This is #1 for a reason because your little tree won't live to appreciate the rest of these tips if you don't find the perfect sunny spot for them to sit. If I ever see a green fiddle feaf sitting in a corner, I know it's fake because these plants will quickly start to die if they don't feel the sun on their leaves.

2. Water the plant once a week on the same day.

I really believe plants are like people in that they like routine and consistency. Overwatering a fiddle leaf fig can be as devastating, if not more so than under watering. A few years ago I picked Sunday as my watering day and try to water all of my plants on this day. This keeps me from second guessing and keeps the plants fed, but not drowned. 

3. Don't move the plant.

These plants are true divas and do not like to be moved. Once you find a spot for yours to sit where it thrives and seems happy, don't move it. 

4. But do Twirl the plant.

Like all plants the fiddle leaf fig tends to lean towards the sun, so every few months I twirl my tree so each side gets an equal amount of exposure. This keeps the tree from getting misshapen or leaning too far to one side. 

5. If your plant does get a brown spot or you inherit one that already has brown spots, cut them off. 

I adopted three fiddle leaf figs last year. One sits at my house and two sit at the Bell Cabinetry & Design Showroom. When I got them, they were in bad shape and their leaves were riddled with brown spots.  I ended up cutting off the brown areas, not the whole leaves, just the brown spots and while the leaves did look a little weird, the trees started getting healthier!

Now for the fun part - I want to give one of YOU a fiddle leaf fig tree for your house! That's right...I'm giving away a baby....

A baby fiddle leaf fig tree that is! Plants make me so happy and I love having them scattered around my house, so whether you have a home filled with plants or this would be your first, I'm excited to be giving away one of these green pretties today!

To enter to win follow these steps:

  1. Follow me on Instagram: _courtneyshearer
  2. Leave me a comment letting me know where you would put a fiddle leaf fig tree in your house.
  3. If you tag a friend it's a bonus entry. 

I will pick a winner Sunday night!

I plan to purchase the tree online here, so if you don't win - just know these trees don't have to be super expensive. You can Amazon Prime one to your doorstep or pick up one of the small ones from Home Depot (I got all of mine from there!), I saw them the other day for $19.99. Next, use the tips above to grow your little fig into a tree taller than you! Good Luck!

All photos are my own. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Story of Lot - Intro

Well, we have some big news to share over here on the homefront, in the blink of an eye, 13 days early our January Baby decided to make HIS grand entrance on December 26th at 5:01 PM.

Meet Lot Thomas Shearer

For the second time I had a due date that was uncomfortably close to Christmas. If you know me, you know I'm kind of a date freak. Like, I have absolute feelings about certain numbers and birthdays and always swore my kids would have pretty dates. With my first pregnancy I was due on December 22nd and Croix arrived 5 days late on December 27th. This time, my due date was January 7th, a full 2 weeks after Christmas so all I wanted was #1 for the baby not to be born on Christmas, #2 for the baby not to be born on Croix's Birthday and #3 for the baby to be born in January so he/she could have their own birthday month.  Well, 2 out of 3 wishes isn't bad, right? I swear, I plan and God laughs.

Just like I did with Croix's birth I want to recount the day, because I love reading other peoples birth stories and I like the idea of documenting all the details while they are fresh in my mind so I can look back on them one day. No blood and guts, promise, just big picture details..

This pregnancy was very much like my first, I was nauseous (when I didn't eat) for the first 12 weeks and then felt it was pretty easy, and other than getting bigger and bigger I chugged along like normal. I will say I was more sore this time around. Like my body actually ached, my hips, my feet, I basically felt like a 100 year old at the end. One stroll around Target would have me dead on my feet for the rest of the day. My doctor said it was typical to feel more aches and pains with the second baby but that the labor/delivery would be faster and easier so I held on to that little fun fact.

Fast forward to the last month of pregnancy. I was busy. We had several projects going on at home (Pool...Croix's Big Boy Room/Closet...Guest Bath Remodel) + work was crazy busy with tons of projects to button up and a photo shoot to knock out before the baby came. All of that on top of an always busy December with tons of gatherings, Christmas decorating, gift buying, etc. At the end of every day I was beat and I had this weird feeling early on in the month that if I didn't start trying to slow down the baby would come early. But then I was like, nah - I (like baby Courtney) + my sister was 2 weeks late and Croix was 5 days late, so fear not, I would not be early, nay it would likely be in the double digits of January before he/she graced us with their presence. I worked all the way up to December 21st, the Friday before Christmas. It was a slow day at the office as a lot of people had already taken off and my CAD Designer - Wanda and I worked ALL DAY. We sent out so many drawings and quotes, we didn't even eat lunch, we just powered through and I'm so glad we did because this would be my last day of work....until late February.

The days leading up to Christmas were busy, but fun. My parents came into town on December 22nd and we did some shopping, some food prep, went to church, watched Christmas movies and just got all ready for the big day. For the third year in a row we hosted Christmas dinner at our house. We extended our dining room table to hold 21 of us and it was so fun.

We ate tons of food, played a game, opened was a great day, but an exhausting one. By 9 o'clock Brent and I were both beat. We actually excused ourselves, leaving guests in the den and food still out on the counters/tables to go to bed. I put Croix to bed and when I got back to our master bedroom, Brent's only comment to me was "you better not go into labor tonight or I will be of no use to you."Ha! Well, my body listened because I did not go into labor that night. Nope, I waited until the next morning...

I woke up feeling somewhat rested but a little off. Brent was having issues with his sinuses so I decided to head out to Publix to grab some medicine and a coffee for me and my Mom. When I got to the Publix parking lot I felt kind of crampy and actually waited in the car for a few minutes, hoping for it to go away. Well, it did and that's when it occurred to me... wait a minute...was that a contraction?! NO! It couldn't be....I got the medicine and the coffee and the cramps/contractions continued, but I was NOT HAVING IT. No this was not happening. I got home and realized it was garbage pick up day so I rolled the cans to the street,  pausing to let another contraction pass and then headed inside. I think I honestly felt like if I just pretended like it wasn't happening, my body would get it's life together and stop this craziness. soon as I filled Brent in on what was going on, he lept into action mode. Go take a shower, let's pack a bag, I'm going to go tell your parents. WHOA WHOA WHOA, what part of this isn't happening today was he not getting? Ha - I feel like I was the same kind of obstinate last time around. But it grew increasingly obvious that it was in fact  happening so I slowly started getting my stuff together.

We left for the hospital around 9:30am and by 10:52 am I was in a room and the nurse confirmed I was in labor and already 4cm. Around noon I got my epidural (hallelujah), around 2pm I was 7cm so the doctor broke my water and at 5:01 Lot was born.

He weighed 8lb 0oz and was 20" long. 

Labor and delivery is no joyride but I felt a lot calmer this time around and the whole thing seemed to go faster and more seamlessly. For the first hour it was just me, Brent and Lot in what they call the Golden Hour. After that family was able to come in and meet our newest addition and while everyone was happy to meet Lot, Croix's reaction and genuine excitement took the cake.

He was and still is SO excited to have a baby brother. 

Croix turned 3 the day after Lot was born and could not of been more excited to come to the hospital and just hang out. We are pretty sure he thinks the baby is his ultimate birthday present :)

Thanks to a pretty straightforward delivery my physical recovery has been a lot easier this time. My mental state has also been a lot better. I had struggled with some postpartum depression after Croix, but luckily there has been none of that this time around. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I had done this whole thing before and knew what to expect. I knew/know that while there may be moments of frustration, discomfort, exhaustion,'s all very short-lived and will be over in the blink of an eye. It's probably my personality, but the knowing has made such a big difference and I'm so thankful for that.

We spent two nights in the hospital and then got to go home where we have been settling into our "new normal." The good news is we are now 1 month in and Croix is still just as excited to see Lot as he was the day he met him. Like open mouth kisses excited. We have to watch him like a hawk so he doesn't love on baby Lot too hard, but it really is so sweet to see. Life is good and once Lot decides to start sleeping through the night all will be right in the world again. :)

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Guest Bath Remodel - THE BEFORE

Late last year, amidst being 100 months pregnant, the holidays, Croix's Birthday, wrapping up projects before maternity leave, our Patio Project and Croix's big boy room + Custom Closet projects we decided it would be a good idea to add one more tiny little thing to our plate - the remodel of our downstairs guest bath.

Just writing that I realize how insane that makes us sound, and to be honest I think we did stretch ourselves a bit too far, I mean we literally set our Christmas Dinner table (for 20+ plus guests) on CHRISTMAS DAY! Nothing like the last minute...OY! But there was a method to the madness, so let me explain...In 2017 I designed the bath display for the Luxury Living Show at Phipps Plaza. You all may remember me mentioning it...

Photo via AH&L Magazine.
After the show the displays were disassembled and all cabinets came back to Bell Cabinetry & Design (company I work for). For months the cabinets sat in the warehouse until it occurred to me that I could use them. We have 4.5 bathrooms in our house and I knew Croix's Bath Remodel  was on the horizon and who couldn't use another vanity + giant pink towers? So, Brent and I went and picked them up. Once we got them home we stored them in the space between our kitchen and dining room - the space we had dubbed our future home office. As we have worked to re-do and organize various spaces in our house, this area, the "future home office" area, has become the dumping ground for all the things. Every home has a space like this, problem was, this space is wide open to the rest of the house. There are no doors to block or hide what we have going on in here and worst of all, if you should come visit and enter through the front door, you have to walk past this monstrosity to get to the other areas of our home.

Exhibit A:

If you've been following along you know we re-did Croix's Bath earlier in the year so that got one of the 61" vanities out of the space, but we still had a lot of other items in here including another vanity + giant pink doors and shelves (the actual towers were still back at Bell). It was driving me nuts and knowing that we would have people around for the holidays + the fact that I would be at home for maternity leave first of the year I really wanted to get this space cleaned up and cleaned out which meant re-doing Guest Bath. Let me introduce you to this space...
Much like Croix's bath upstairs, there was nothing wrong with this bathroom. Everything worked properly, but there were two points I hoped to correct by re-doing the space. 1. I wanted to make the bathroom more efficient. Our home was built in the 1920's and before the big addition that was done in 2007 (before we owned the house) this bathroom was the master. So, it came with two vanities.
Two vanities is a plus in a master or a shared bath, but for a Guest Bath it was unnecessary and when you have two 8 foot towers that could take up that space and provide a TON of storage it just made sense to shake things up. And 2....I just wanted to make the space more "us" know, freshen it up a bit visually. There was way too much brown going on in here...
So, the plan was to remove both vanity cabinets/countertops/fixtures, the floor tile and the shower tile. A vanity would go back in front of the tub/shower but the vanity beside the toilet would go away forever. The plumbing would be capped and this would be the future location of the linen towers. The tub and toilet would stay, but all other elements would be removed.

The only way we could swing this was to hire out the labor this time around. At this point in my pregnancy and in our lives we couldn't tackle this DIY style. A project that would take us months to finish up could be completed by a professional in a weeks time, so we decided to give the whole hire a professional thing a whirl for this project. Obviously this is a more expensive route than DIY'ing the project so the name of the game was to keep costs to a minimum with the material selections to balance things out. I also had to make decisions quickly which doesn't come naturally for me in my own home for some annoying reason, but I did it and we are very happy with the end results both visually and monetarily. Here is a shot of our living mood board for the space:

The project wrapped in about a weeks time and while I'm currently nailing down some final details with art, etc...the bathroom is totally usable (already been used by several guests!) and the linen towers are full stocked and organized. It's a happy space and I'm excited to show you the AFTER soon.

PS - If you follow me on Instagram you've seen some of the after shots of this space in my stories and on my feed, follow along for the inside scoop on some of these projects before they hit the blog... _CourtneyShearer

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are my own. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

How Paperless Post & I Became Fast Friends This Holiday Season

This time of year I lick more envelopes and address more cards than any other time of year. 

For the last 3 years, Christmas + Croix's Birthday (December 27th) has given me a workout all on it's own, but this year the correspondence game was inflated even more because we hosted a Christmas Dinner. As much as I love good ol' fashion snail mail I just didn't have it in me to order, address and send out one more clump of invites so I was THRILLED when Paperless Post approached me about trying out their site.

For those of you unfamiliar Paperless Post is an online card company where every invitation, greeting card, holiday card, etc. is sent online via email. I'm sure most of us have received an "evite" of some kind before but Paperless Post definitely takes it up a notch. There are several things I really liked about my experience...

Let's start with the pretty factor, which was a really big factor for me. Again, I really like cards and correspondence so I was NOT all about some corny email invitation, I wanted something pretty and elegant that I would choose if I was ordering, stuffing and hand addressing.  Luckily the selection of cards is great - so many options, most of which can be customized with fonts, colors, etc. I had fun not only picking out the card but playing around with the wording to make it exactly what I had in mind. 

Another feature I really liked was the tracking feature. Once you have selected and customized your card you enter the individual email addresses for each person or family and the number of individuals invited. Once the cards are sent out you can see not only who has RSVP'ed yes or no, but you can see who has opened the invite. It tracks total numbers in this area as well so you can keep a running tab of your head count as your event nears. 

I'm so glad I had such a good first experience with Paperless Post because I ended up needing a quick invite. I had originally had these adorable 3rd birthday invitations made on Etsy
We mailed them out and all was set for a big jump jump party on the 29th BROTHER decided to join the world a week and a half early. I'll have more on that soon - but needless to say Croix's birthday party needed to be postponed so I quickly created a new invite using Paperless Post, letting everyone know the party would be rescheduled for January 5th. 

All of my email addresses were already saved and now, 24 hours after sending I have a good idea of the final headcount because most of us are more likely to RSVP with the click of a button vs. emailing or texting the host to let them know. I I right or am I right? 

Needless to say I've given Paperless Post a good workout over the last few weeks and I'm happy to say it's a site I plan to use again and again. If you have any events or notes to send out in the new year you should definitely give them a try - highly recommend!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas, xoxo - The Shearers

Happy Christmas Eve's Eve's Eve! This has truly been one of the most magical Christmas seasons I can remember and it all got kicked off in mid-November with a visit to Santa. 

Croix was not a fan of Santa last year, but this year, he was all about it. 

We booked our session with Sara D. Harper Photography and could not be happier with the photos. A festive atmosphere while we waited (hot cocoa, treats, holiday music), a pretty backdrop, a beautiful/authentic Santa and the best part.....natural light. Haha - just kidding, the best part was of course the happiest, most curious and slightly timid Croix Boy, who as you can see  really hammed it up with good ol' Saint Nick. 

It was hard to narrow down just one photo for our Christmas card, 

Family has already started to trickle into town, the house is all decorated, cooking has started and our shopping/wrapping are all done. Can't wait to take the next few days to soak it all in and remember the reason for the season with so many of the people we love. 

From our family to yours......Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Friends!!

Xoxo, The Shearers

Friday, December 14, 2018

All I Want for Christmas is... a New Toothbrush

A few weeks ago Smile Brilliant sent me an electric toothbrush to try out and boy did it come at a good time. You see,  I've used an electric toothbrush for awhile now, but about a year ago I left the stick at a hotel on one of my travels. I had big plans to purchase a new one, but those things are pricey, so much to Brent's dismay he and I shared a stick, not the toothbrush head, I'm not a total savage, but the stick. I was forever "in trouble" for not putting the stick back on Brent's side after using it, griping at him when he took the stick with him on his travels, leaving me to brush my teeth by holding the tiny wasn't pretty. Sharing is caring, but apparently that does NOT apply to toothbrush sticks.

So, as you can imagine when Smile Brilliant reached out, both Brent and I were all about me trying out this electric toothbrush!

The toothbrush is a the cariPRO Electric Toothbrush and the game plan was for me to try it out for 2 weeks and then report back on my thoughts. As soon as it came in the mail I got her all charged up and I've been using it twice a day, every day since.
Photo from Smile Brilliant Website.

As a person that has used an electric toothbrush before I was interested to see how this one could possibly be "special enough" to dedicate a whole blog post to; I mean how different can a toothbrush be? Well, I'm happy to report  this one has quite a few praises I'm happy to sing.

First up....the brush modes... all 5 of them! 
Each and every time you brush your teeth you can choose between the following modes:
  1. Clean
  2. Whiten
  3. Massage
  4. Gum Care
  5. Sensitive
It's cool because the modes are designed to function for 2 minutes around the 4 sections of your mouth (top left, top right, bottom, left and bottom right). After 30 seconds the brush vibrates letting you know to move it to a different section of the mouth. In general the main pro to using an electric toothbrush as opposed to a standard one is the fact that you are less likely to wear down your enamel by brushing too hard, but this tooth brush takes it to the next level by ensuring all of your teeth get equal attention. This is definitely not a feature any other electric toothbrush I've ever used has had and truly do find myself utilizing the various settings, especially the "Clean" and "Whiten".

The Battery Life is another feature I've been really impressed with. There is nothing I hate more than  phone/computer updates, empty gas tanks or dead batteries, I mean who has time for any of that!? Well, this toothbrush is different, it's very low maintenance and holds it's charge for so long! According to the manual, once charged for a full 24 hours, the toothbrush stays charged for 30 pre-timed brush cycles!! Per the instructions I let my toothbrush live on it's stand when not in use, so I've never run into wanting to use it but not being able to because it's dead. For someone who craves efficiency, this is HUGE to me. 

The price is another pro for this product. If you've ever shopped electric toothbrushes you know they can be quite the investment. Not only are the toothbrush systems themselves expensive but the toothbrush heads can be pricey as well. Well, this toothbrush is different, for all that it offers in terms of features it is extremely affordable as are the accessories that come with it. If you go to the site and shop the packages you will see that their prices are at least 50% less than other options on the market.  Plus, they back up their product with a 60 day guarantee where they will do a complete refund if you are not 100% satisfied. All of that in addition to the fact that they offer free shipping make this about as close to a no-brainer as it gets if you re in the market for a new toothbrush. 

After spending a few weeks with my cariPro, I'm overall a fan, but in the name of being truly transparent and real I do want to  speak to the fact that If there had to be a con I would say it would be the look. Don't get me wrong, it's a good looking tooth brush, but there are prettier versions on the market - matte black, gold, etc. HOWEVER, for me personally, I care less about aesthetics and more about dental care, so this is not a deal breaker for me. I'm very thankful to have this toothbrush and would definitely recommend it!

Before any of you go and purchase your own I'm excited to say I get to give one away!! To enter the giveaway follow this link and enter! And if you are not the lucky winner, fear not I have a 20% discount code for all of you! thecowspot20

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.