Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day gift guide and Uncommon Goods product reviews!

If you are a long time reader of my blog, you already knew that I am a huge fan of Uncommon Goods. This will be my fourth time collaborating with this wonderful company for a review. You can check out my previous reviews herehere and here.

Uncommon Goods is an online marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. Uncommon Goods provides shoppers thousands of fun, unique, quirky, one-of-a-kind products ranging from home and garden products to jewelries, accessories and more! 

My lovelies, do you realize that Mother's Day falls on May 11th this year? If you are on a hunt for Mother's Day Gifts but is running out of gifting ideas, fear not. I have compiled my favorite products from Uncommon Goods.


Which item is your favorite? If your mom is a foodie or loves to entertain, then you need to check out these unique food giftsFor more Mother's Day Gift ideas, please click here

For today's post, I have chose two items to review. One of them is the reclaimed wood cookbook stand.

Here is the one I received!

I like my charming reclaimed wood cookbook for its rustic, weathered, old world flair! Made with thick solid wood, this cookbook feels heavy and sturdy. When I first laid my eyes on it, I can't get pass the many character marks and scratches on the wood, to be honest. However, I have grown to love it for its natural character and imperfections. It's a great addition to our home and I find it to be very useful for holding recipes, books or a tablet.

Another item I have picked for my review are the classic cocktail towels

Here is mine!

I love these fabulous cocktail towels! I have received two so I can have one in the kitchen and one framed as an artwork! Made with organic cotton and beautifully printed, I can't help but admire its attractive design. Personally, I don't drink but it is fun to learn what goes into each cocktail! I think this cocktail towel is a wonderful addition to any bar or bar cart and a perfect gift for someone who likes to entertain or make drinks!

*I have received these products to review for free but the views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

What are your thoughts on both products? Do you like them as much as I do? Don't forget to check out Uncommon Goods when you get a chance for unique birthdays gifts and gifts for special occasions. Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest post- Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Plants!

This article is provided by Andrea Vollf.

Spring is around the corner and for many of us, it will be allergy season. Although many allergies are pollen related, we still have several chemicals that can trigger allergies in a person, including but not limited to: ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, and benzene, to name a few. If you have been in a situation where as soon as you step outside your home you stop sneezing or your headache goes away, you should consider taking a closer look at the things you have been bringing home, as the indoor air quality (IAQ) of your home might be very poor.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the indoor air quality levels of a typical American home can be over 100 times more polluted than the outdoor levels and, while you can eliminate a large amount of chemicals from your home simply by adopting a green cleaning policy in your home, there are still items in your home such as carpet or insulation that will continue off-gassing toxins even years after its installation. 

Thankfully, in the the late 80’s, a study performed by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) revealed that certain species of plants can actually convert common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into oxygen. Since such discovery, many individuals have been incorporating some of those species into their home décor.

Besides softening empty corners in your house those plants will also help you to breathe a cleaner air since they will be filtering some of the toxins out of your home. Below is a list of some of the plants that will help you to improve the IAQ of your home courtesy of Controlled Comfort:

Aloe (Aloe vera) – Easy-to-grow, this sun-loving succulent helps to filter both formaldehyde and benzene, ingredients typically found on cleaners, paints, and certain adhesives. Aloe is the perfect choice for a sunny kitchen window. Besides its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help to heal cuts and minor burns.

Azalea (Rhododendron simsii) – One of my favorite flowering shrubs for cold climate homes and basements as this plant performs great around 60-65 degrees. Bring it indoors to filter formaldehyde from sources like plywood or foam insulation.

Bamboo or Reed palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii) – This small palm blooms in shaded indoor spaces, often producing red-orange flowers and small berries while filtering out benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde.

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah') – Easy to maintain, this evergreen filters out a variety of air pollutants and it will begin to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)  Besides bringing a beautiful gamma of colors during Fall, this mum’s flowers will filter out benzene, a substance normally found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent.  [Note: chrysanthemum loves bright light. Therefore, in order for the buds to open, this plant needs to be placed near an open window with direct sunlight. 

Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) – Also known as devil’s ivy, this plant is ideal for filtering out formaldehyde. Perfect for garages, as the car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde, and this plant stays green even when kept in the dark.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) – Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. One of NASA’s favorite for filtering out all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also be used to remove toluene and xylene.

Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata) – great option to filter out xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, typically found in lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.

Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii') – Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, the snake plant filters out formaldehyde and it is the perfect choice for bathrooms as such specie performs better when exposed to low light and steamy humid conditions.

Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) – If you have carpet in your home you should look for this plant as it will help to remove the pollutants typically found in carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.

Before you start this year's shopping spree, stop by your local nursery and pick up a few plants to improve your home's IAQ. You will love the results!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Travelling In Greece: Tips You Should Not Forget!

This post is provided by Sandy Chetz.

Greece is a popular holiday destination for tourists across the globe, since the country offers a great choice for holiday makers. Holidays to Greece can be quiet and laidback or bustling and vibrant because of the diverse tourist attractions that the country boasts of. Some may be looking for a holiday focusing on the cultural aspects of Greece, while others may just want to bathe in the sun and forget about everyday worries and troubles.

Fact is, Greece offers an unparalleled choice for holiday makers across the world, and there is absolutely a reason why it is known as the cradle of civilization. The country which gave birth to numerous philosophers and artists, to the principles of democracy and to much of the culture in the Mediterranean and the world offers an unparalleled experience for many travellers.

If you are thinking of travelling to Greece in the near future, yet do not know much about the country, you will find these tips useful particularly if you plan on moving around. Keep reading if you are at a loss on how to approach your Greek holiday.


Greece is generally cheap, particularly if you are planning on staying in the lesser known areas of the country. Cheap accommodation could go as low as £30, and dining and wining is even cheaper in some spots. Gyros still remain a widely consumed culinary delight by many tourists, and it is still quite cheap.

Travelling and transportation is also quite affordable, remaining as low as £20 to £30 for a day trip. This depends on where you are travelling but they are generally valid prices still. Trains in Athens could go as low as £1, while an average price for a bus is about £5 or so. Overall, when you are travelling, sleeping and eating you will be able to save up compared to some places in Northern Europe, for instance.

Cost saving tips.

1. Eat in the lesser expensive dining places, which are equally as delicious

2. Avoid busy tourist places like Mykonos, which are overly expensive.

3. Book everything early, from flights to ferries.

4. Do not stick to guided tours but explore more. Getting off the beaten path will prove to be fruitful and save you a bit of money.

Tips on which places to visit.

We can not provide detailed tips on which places to visit since Greece offers an absolutely amount of cultural spots which are must-see. It may be a good idea to start in places like the Acropolis, the Hellenic Festival in Athens, the ruins of Olympia and Meteora Monastery. The amounts of ruins and temples make this country absolutely breath-taking and historic landmarks are all an absolute must.

Lastly, you can also have a good time by the beach so it is not necessary to have a holiday which focuses on culture and history. Enjoy Greece in all its splendours.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A product review and giveaway- BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac, the Best Handheld Vacuum!

Truth to be told, I hate cleaning! I mean who doesn't, right? If you have a family, live in an older home or have pet(s), expect to clean a lot more! In my case, I don't have any pets, so no pets' hair for me to clean but I live in an older home with my husband and a young son, so trust me when I say I have a lot of cleaning to do everyday. I am not greedy, I just want The Best Handheld Vacuum available in the market, is that too much to ask for?

I have always wanted a new handheld vacuum because I have ruined the old one a few years ago. Okay, I have to admit, I was having one of those "what was I thinking moment?" when I decided to vacuum some rice that my little one has dropped on the carpet once while he was eating by himself. It ruined the vacuum forever because of trapped moisture from those itsy bitsy rice. Also, the odor that emits from the vacuum smells horrible! Even if the vacuum works, trust me, you don't want to use it ever again. So take it from me, my lovelies, even if you have the best handheld vacuum in the world, remember don't vacuum food that contains liquid/ moisture ever!

So you can imagine my excitement when I receive my fabulous cordless, handheld BLACK+DECKER pivot vac!

The sleek and beautiful BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac!

Since receiving my cordless hand vac, I have been making it work hard around my house!

Case in point: If you live in an older home like me (my house is about 40 years old), you are likely to get dust very often. Our home constantly oozes an excessive amount of dust even though I just cleaned the floors a few days ago. I am not talking about a thin layer of dust but monster dust bunnies type of dust every other day. It just drives me nuts!

I hate dragging out our big old vacuum so I always pick them up with a few wet paper towels for quick clean-ups. No more wet paper towels to clean my dusty floors now, I will use my BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac to get rid of the dust balls in my house from now on.

Case in point: My 7-year-old likes to make art and a messy eater to boot so there is always tiny pieces of papers and food crumbs lying under the dining room table all the time. With my new handy handheld vacuumcleaning everyday house messes is not a chore anymore!

Case in point: Oh, did I mention that I have long, thick hair? It was a blessing until you need to pick them up on a constant basis. Now, with my new cordless hand vac, picking up hair from the floor is a breeze. 

So, what makes this nifty little appliance stands apart from other handheld vacs?

• Innovative, patented nozzle pivots to clean up high, down low and even in tight spaces.

• Its high performance motor provides superior suction capability when compared to other BLACK+DECKER cordless hand vacs.

• The cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from the filter keeping suction power strong.

• 3-stage filtration system with a pleated filter design offers the highest level of filtration to help prevent clogs and improve air exhaust.

• Wide mouth design scoops up large debris.

I just love its sleek and beautiful design!

Designed with an extendable nozzle to vacuum those hard to reach places.

 Comes with a handy little brush for upholstery cleaning, etc.

Easy on and off button, just slide forward to 1 to turn it on and slide back to position 0 to turn it off.

Mini icon to show where the pivot lock button is located.

 A closer look at the pivot lock button.

Just push the bowl release button to access the filter area.

Simply push the release button to empty dirt.

Slide out nozzle to reach those tight nooks and crannies. 

As I mentioned earlier, there is always shreds of papers (besides dust, food crumbs and hair) on our floors. I made a short video to show you how well my new cordless hand vac works!

See how effortless my husband maneuver the vac?

Overall, I am pleased with my wonderful new handheld vacuum! It's beautifully designed, lightweight and most importantly has strong suction power. I like that it is still going strong even after 20 minutes of vacuuming (I haven't tried beyond 20 minutes yet). Very user-friendly, convenient and powerful, what's not to love about this thoughtfully designed appliance?

Stop cleaning, start living!

For more details and specifications regarding the fabulous BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac, please click here.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BLACK+DECKER but my love of the Pivot Vac is all my own.  

My lovelies, today is your lucky day because you will have a chance to win a BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac (valued at $79.99)!

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

To enter:

1. To win, click here to learn more about BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac, then leave a comment letting me know how/ where you will use this handheld vacuum. (You must click through the link to be eligible to win!) Don't forget to leave me an email as well so I can contact you if you win. (If I can't locate your email, another winner will be picked.)

Extra entries:

2. Mention this giveaway on your Facebook status (include a link back to this post and leave a separate comment.)

3. Tweet about this giveaway (include a link back to this post and leave a separate comment.)

You have a maximum of 3 entries.

The last day for entries is May 15, 2014. The winner will be chosen by and announced on Friday, May 16, 2014. Good luck!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest post- Spruce up your bedroom for spring!

This post is provided by Ella Mason.

Spring is a time for color and it is a perfect excuse to give your bedroom a makeover (you could also do a bit of spring cleaning in the process). Here are some tips for sprucing up your bedroom for spring.

New bed

One way to completely change the look for your bedroom is to get a new bed. You might be moving onto something more modern or you might want to simply update your current style. Take a look at to get an idea of what is available to you.

Fresh flowers

Flowers can inject a little bit of spring into any room. You do not have to go all out and buy expensive bouquets every week but a small bunch of daffodils would go down a treat. A beautiful vase filled with flowers not only brightens a room but it can instantly make you feel more cheerful too.

Daffodils are perfect for Easter and spring as they represent re-birth. Tulips are also a great spring flower to have in your home as they last a long time and symbolize true love, happiness and affection.

Fresh bedroom linen

A bed takes up a lot of space and it can make a room look disorganized if the sheets are not in keeping with the rest of the look. Treat yourself to new bed sheets, perhaps even more than one set, and make sure they are neutral in color or match the look of your bedroom.

Refreshing the space

If there is space, consider rearranging your room. Take into account things like Feng Shui or just move things around and see how you feel about it. A new room layout can take some getting used to but give it some time and you might find that the extra space will feel much better. 

Look through interiors magazines and websites to get some bedroom layout inspiration.

Modernize furniture the easy way

If you have bedroom furniture that needs updating but you can not afford to buy new items, consider just changing the hardware on drawers and cupboard doors. This can really reinvent your room and bring everything together. It might not be as good as replacing worn out furniture but it can certainly make a difference in the interim. 

Decorative accessories

Find yourself some bright ornaments and accessories to bring life to your bedroom. These might be cushions, a vase, a pretty ornament or a throw. Not everything has to match; play with colors and patterns.

Get it all covered with a rug

If you have a worn out carpet but do not have the time to redo it, you can spruce up your bedroom with a rug. These look great in the main walk way between the door and the bed. If you have a large bedroom, you can put them at the end of the bed for added visual interest.

Color is completely up to you. You could go modern and either stick to something in a color block or monochrome, or you could go for something bright and patterned.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy birthday to me!

I turned 34 years old today. In the beginning of this year, life has been challenging for me. It's hard to believe but most of the challenges have been blog-related (one crazy obstacle after another, some technical issues and some financial ones) and it made me almost want to quite blogging altogether. Honestly, I was quite depressed for many, many weeks.

Fortunately, my sadness subsided and I am feeling happier recently. We have some exciting plans ahead, a few wonderful things I definitely look forward to! We are supposed to have an early celebration last Saturday but something came up at the very last minute so our celebration is postponed to this Saturday instead.

My plans? It's simple. This Saturday, I am planing to go to Chicago and have dim sum in Chinatown for brunch, then shop for a desk chair (it will be a birthday present from hubby) and have the best roast duck in town (according to Yelp reviews) for dinner! This is the desk chair I have in mind.

I like how it looks but I will need to take a test drive to make sure it works for me. Do you have this West Elm chair? What do you think about it, comfort-wise? Ideally, I would love to have this desk chair from Jonathan Adler but it was out of our price range.

This chair is gorgeous isn't it? But for $695 (before tax), it is quite expensive for us. Maybe one day! A girl can dream....

How do you celebrate your birthday, my lovelies? Do you have quiet celebrations with your loved ones or throw big parties to celebrate the special occasion? Do you wish to receive home goods for your birthdays as well?

How To Achieve A Special And Memorable Holiday!

This post is provided by Sandy Chetz.

There are several reasons we go on holiday; they are an escape from the usual humdrum of daily life, something we can tell our friends and family about, and the perfect chance to catch some sun and sea. Ultimately, we go on holiday to have an experience we will cherish forever, long after the tan has faded. If you want a special and memorable holiday then you will love these top tips!

Pick Your Travel Agent Wisely

Always make sure you pick a travel agent that knows exactly what they are doing, unless you want your holiday to be remembered for all the wrong reasons. With Thompson and other reputable travel companies, you can make your vacation more special and memorable. Trusting experts to handle your time away will ensure you have the most incredible time. We all hear horror stories about delayed flights, substandard hotels and dirty bedrooms, which is why picking your travel company wisely is so important.

Choose The Perfect Destination

Where is the one place you have always dreamed of going? Is it far across land and sea? Does it have unique cultural wonders? Now is the time to pick that ultimate destination and visit it; after all, there is no time like the present. If you want a holiday that is truly special and memorable then make sure you choose that perfect destination. If you are unsure where you want to go then pick up some travel brochures, scour websites and guide books, then make a list of all your options. Once your list has been made you can pick one at random or go for the one that screams “Pick me!”

Do Not Forget The Camera

Last, but by no means least, is the camera. However great our memories are, it would not be long before you forget exactly what that white-sanded beach looked like. If you want something that will last forever then it is time to get snap happy. You can take selfies with dolphins or professional style shoots of the pyramids, just remember to take that camera with you. When you get home make sure you get some printed, before putting them online and making all of your friends jealous.

A special and memorable holiday does not have to be expensive or extravagant; it has to be about you. If you want an experience that you will cherish a lifetime then follow our tips, and your heart.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guest post- Why self storage might help your design success!

This article is provided by Andre. 

So much of interior design is about space. What do you fill it with? How much of it should remain empty? Making a room or a house look the exact way you want requires a lot of trial and error. There are units for self storage in Atlanta, Austin, Albany—everywhere really that are packed clear full of those errors just waiting to find a good home.

But there is also the process of repurposing space or individual items that frees something from your living area and leaves it in need of a secure home. The point is that things are forever coming and going, and the thriving interior design scene in most cities will feed the process for you year-round. Storage listings in the Atlanta area, for example, reflect that city's overall demand for a place to care for large or delicate items that are standing by for their newest new life. Think about how your decorating plans put you in need of ways to preserve living space. 

I Found It...Now Where Can I Put It?

One of the great ways to create a unique, eclectic décor is to pick up intriguing pieces any time you see them, whether you feel like you have a use for them right now or not. It might be a beautiful tapestry that could one day be the focal point of the room. Maybe it is a versatile table that could go many different directions. Regardless of what you have or where it came from, it is a step on a journey of design, not the destination. It may take you time to complete the picture, and until then you can put it in climate-controlled storage to preserve its condition and beauty. Then when the remaining pieces fall into place, you get everything together and complete the project. 

Of course, you can beg or borrow space at a friend's, or even a cranny at your workplace. But if your goal is to preserve and conserve these items until they can be put into place--and to have an easy process of retrieving them--you will want to store them in a space that is made for storage. There is no need to climb stairs, borrow a key, or worry about theft with storage that is at ground level, climate controlled, secured, and easily accessed at any time (or that has elevators if your unit is in a multi-floored building).

I Like It...Now Where Can I Make It?

Scarlett O'Hara, one of literature’s best heroines, did not let a dearth of available fabric keep her from looking fabulous. She took down the curtains at Tara and fashioned them into a beautiful dress. If you have a habit of tracking down great ideas for making clothing, furniture, or other items and just do not have a place to do it, it might be time to execute an analysis of the rooms in your home and determine which one of them should be emptied to make space for your crafting and other projects.

Or you can work out a compromise. For example, in most cities, the summers are warm and encourage outdoor socializing, so you would not need as much indoor seating. Let summer be your sewing season and keep the room for living space the rest of the year. Whichever duty is off duty, take those items to storage to keep them clean and climate-controlled while they rest for a few months.

I Don't Need It...Now Where Can I Store It?

Sometimes a room or a project just fizzles out, or fades so far from fashion that it is time to hang it up. Your Monet print, the couch you found in your local thrift or antique shop, or maybe just a unique piece that has lost its appeal--you might choose any or all of them for long-term storage in the interest of preserving them until you find a better destination (or until they return to fashion).

Or it may be that corner room that you are not using at all. It is stacked with underused furniture and fills square footage that has so much potential. There may be a great view of a tree-lined street or a beautiful building that would be so perfectly framed from the window, and you just have not made anything of that room yet. Clear out the unneeded items, store them, and create an exciting new space in the area they once wasted.

This is a far better option than selling these items at a loss. Rest assured whether you need self storage in Atlanta, or Boston or Kansas City—the units surrounding yours are likely full of similar items with similar owners, all wanting to make sure that precious items are not destroyed even if they just do not work out in the home anymore.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest post- Maximizing your shower space!

This article is provided by Ella Mason.

Bathrooms should be an area of any house or apartment where you can find a little peace and privacy. Even if you live alone, and have sole ownership of the shower, you may consider the space to be too small, and or in need of updating and modernizing. If this is the case, the good news is that a lot can be achieved in a tight space with a little planning. A good place to start looking for inspiration for shower and bathroom accessories is

A new wave of luxurious, affordable and practical bathroom designs are emerging to accommodate both the joy of sharing and the comfort of space during the morning ritual. They are revolutionising shower styles to enable more to be done with the ordinary home’s bathroom space.

What designs are out there?

Traditionally speaking, shower designs fall into three main areas. These are walk-ins, shower-bath combinations and whole wet rooms. According to House to Home, shower-baths are generally the most efficient in terms of space and functionality. They combine both utilities in an average space of 1.7 meters by 0.7 meters at current British standard bath sizes, as shown on Money Saving Expert. However, if you have your heart set on a walk in cubicle, you may have to forfeit your bath.

Wet rooms are creeping into British bathroom designs from mainland Europe where they have been popular for many years. They are usually open plan with a semi-covering glass panel provided for the shower area alongside tiled floors sloping into centralised drains. If you are lucky enough to have oodles of space you can even have an open shower area with two shower heads on opposing walls, presenting the perfect solution to showering apart-together for both fun and practicality.

Choices, choices.

The bespoke variations you can choose within these three main arrangements are virtually limitless these days. Frosted, mirrored or clear panel glass, heated floors, L-shaped baths affording more space at the shower end, rain showers, mosaic or plain tiles and a whole host of others.

There is a vast array of shower mixers to suit whatever direction you choose to go in. From the thermostatic energy efficient options to the DIY tap-and-hose kits and twin shower head sets. These give you double the refreshment of piping hot water blasting against your skin. You need not panic when it comes to money either. Aside from installation costs, good quality shower mixers scarcely exceed the £120 mark.