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category: lifestyle

Circut Room Makeover with J-14 and Jenna Ortega

Jenna Ortega Room Makeover

OMG, it’s been such an exciting few months and I finally get to share some of the reasons why! I, along with J-14 magazine and the oh-so-awesome team of Cricut, was given the opportunity to totally makeover a room for the adorable teen star, Jenna Ortega!

Let me tell you, it was such an incredible experience. From selecting amazing furniture & decor from Hayneedle to traveling to Palm Springs to make it all come to life, it was an opportunity for the books! Not to mention, Jenna has a heart of pure gold, and the best part…I found she was like a mini version of myself – which made this project that much more special. Transforming this up-and-coming teen’s room wasn’t just about the room makeover. It was about giving a teen sister duo a space they felt amazing to be in, all while growing with them throughout their teen years.

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I wasn’t just designing a room for Jenna, but also her sister, Aliyah, who shares the room with her. I wanted to be sure the girls had something fresh, unique, stylish, and something they could grow up with, yet still felt current no matter what phase they might be in during their teenage years. Once I was able to know Jenna and her sister through meeting them (and, of course, checking out their social media) I felt totally at ease. I discovered our styles are totally in sync and I knew their quirky and adorable selves would absolutely love what I had up my sleeve.

Keeping to my favorite classy and chic styles of black and white with pops of fun color and textures, the room transformation began to take place. Here’s the style board I created to conceptualize the room before it all came to life.

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All in all, this room makeover project was a super rad experience. I learned a lot – not only about the teens of today, but also about handling certain design challenges and, as Tim Gun likes to say, how to ‘Make it Work’. Giving Jenna a room she can grow up in with class and style was a dream come true.

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As always, a special thank you to Cricut and of course to J-14 Magazine. Read more about my experience with a fun Q&A over at Cricut.

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We have more to details to share about this (and how to make many of these projects yourself!) and ANOTHER fun project we collaborated with Cricut on, but for now, make sure to check out their new Cricut home decor page and you might have a chance to win a style session with me … along with your own Cricut Explore Air 2 bundle, and a shopping spree up to $2,000 on hayneedle.com! What the what?! Good luck!

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3 Hacks To Making Holiday Card Writing A Breeze

Maybe you’re like me and you absolutely LOVE writing cards to people. Or maybe you are like my husband, who considers writing cards a fate worse than death (sorry for outing you honey!). Either way, it is the time of year where you are likely gearing up to send out all of those holiday cards, and the task can seem overwhelming.

That’s why I’ve put together these three hacks so you can get those cards done!

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Holiday Card Writing Hack #1 – Make an Outline

Come up with an overall idea of what you plan to say. By this, I mean, are you writing about your life or are you writing to send your best wishes to the recipients? Or maybe it’s both. Either way, having an outline of what you plan to say will keep you from stressing each time you sit down to write the card.

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Holiday Card Writing Hack #2 – Organize Your Addresses

I know making sure I have the right address can be a struggle. This is where Google Forms can come in super handy! You can either google “Google Forms” or look in your apps section via your Gmail.

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Once you scroll down and click on forms, it should look like this:

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You can name your form (and come up with something wittier than I did! hahaha)

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Then, you can add in the information you want from your potential recipients (i.e. First Name, Last Name, Address, etc.)

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Make sure for Question Type, you select “text” so that people can enter their information.

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I made mine required questions, so that people didn’t miss something and leave it blank.

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Then click “Add item” to add the next question, and go through the same process again.

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Once you have put in all that you want to know, you can then click “Send form”

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This will open up a box, where you can copy and paste a link to share with your friends and family.

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The BEST part of all of this though is that Google will save this information  in a Google Doc spreadsheet. That way, you can easily access it from anywhere (your phone, computer, tablet) AND you can sort it by name, address, etc. It saves you the struggle of trying to compile everyone’s addresses and it puts the work on the recipient to send their info to you!

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Holiday Card Writing Hack #3 – Keep Your Supplies Together In A Moveable Container

I personally keep all of my card writing supplies in a laptop case, only because it has handles and can zip shut. But however you want to store it, keep your cards, stamps, writing utensils, envelopes, and other supplies all together. Not only that, but make sure to house them in a container that you can move around and carry with you. That way, you can bust it out when you have spare time. I often will write cards during the commercial breaks of my favorite shows. It both gives me something productive to do and keeps me from having a heart attack over Olivia Pope. You can also store the supplies in your car to do while you’re waiting for your kids in the pick up line at school. Or take them with you to do in a doctor’s waiting room or on your lunch break from work. Whatever it is and wherever you take them – having the supplies be easily movable makes your card writing a lot less stressful.

So there you have it! The best three hacks to make your card writing not be too much of a struggle bus! Let me know in the comments if you have any other hacks!

Until next time!

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3 Ways To Outsmart The Black Friday Madness

Some people love the thrill of camping out or staying up for days on end just to be one of the first people in line to nab that killer Black Friday deal. If this is you, then awesome! Enjoy it :) For the rest of us though, we need our rest and can’t handle the thought of dealing with the crowds on top of dealing with everything else that the holidays bring. This is why I put together a quick hit list for the three ways you can outsmart Black Friday and still score some amazing deals! (Plus, you can do all of these while sitting in your PJs)

(1) Shop Online

While there are some stores that do in-store exclusive deals, many of these deals are also available online. While this may require you to stay up late (for me, that was 4am last year), you can then sleep in the rest of the day. Be sure to check out websites like BFAds and Hip2Save who have the advance copies of the Black Friday ads. You can check to see which stores are offering the same deals online and then make your list accordingly.

(2) Use Ebates

If you are shopping online, you HAVE to use Ebates. I have mentioned Ebates before, but in case you missed it – here’s the rundown:

Ebates was one of the best things that someone ever told me about. I started using it in October of 2010, and I have earned almost $800 back over these past 5 years.

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How it works (image copyright of Ebates):

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I know you’re probably reading that and thinking – there’s no way this can be true. This has to be a scam.

That’s what I thought when I first read it as well. However, I saw that it had been featured on CNN, USA Today, The Business Insider, Today Show, and Good Morning America, as well as the fact that it has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Not to mention, almost every store you can think of is on there. Examples include: JCPenney, Bloomingdales, Old Navy, Sephora, Amazon, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Levi’s, and on and on and on. All of these things convinced me to give it a try – and I am SO glad I did!

One of the best ways to use it is when they do the “Double Cash Back” promotions. One of my favorites is around the holidays, Magazines.com will run a 50% cash back promo. My mom LOVES People Magazine, and it can be expensive for a year-long subscription ($126, I believe). BUT – if you order it when they are doing 50% cash back, you will only end up paying $63 for a year (which is around $1.15 an issue). These kinds of deals are available for a wide variety of stores, and they usually go all out to promote them closer to Black Friday and Holiday Shopping time.

A final Ebates hack is also to use the Google Chrome extension:

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Since you have to click through to the Ebates website to get the cash back, there were times I would forget to do that and would miss out on the money. Once I got the extension though, it pops down to remind me to activate it before purchasing. Since then, I haven’t missed a cash back opportunity!

(3) Take Part In #SmallBusinessSaturday

It seems lately that people are much more interested in hand-crafted or smaller scale and more unique items than mass produced ones. With that in mind, you can score unique and amazing  gifts by searching the hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday for the Saturday after Black Friday. These items, from candles to paper goods, can be the perfect gift for that person on your list that already has everything that someone might need.

So there you have it! Those are the best three ways to outsmart the Black Friday madness! I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving!

And if you know of any other tips, please let me know in the comments :)

Color coded love and all of mine,

Amanda

 

 

3 Steps + 15 Minutes to a More Peaceful Bedroom

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Your bedroom is supposed to be a sacred place.

A place where you go to relax, decompress, and fall asleep peacefully and smoothly. . .

Buuuuut, how many of us have a bedroom that is crowded with stuff, from the multiple versions of outfits we tried on that morning, to random things that were placed there because we had no where else to put them?

Having a cluttered bedroom is bad on your psyche. From the moment you wake up, it’s like a little injection of stress right as you are starting your day. It leaves you feeling tense and can play out throughout the rest of your waking hours.

So the best thing to do would be to clean it, right?

Except by the time we get home, we are exhausted, we just want to eat and watch some Shark Tank/America’s Next Top Model/Scandal before falling face down in our pillow and starting all over again the next day.

Well here’s a simple step by step guide that will take you just 15 minutes and can leave your bedroom full of peace and tranquility – making YOU start your day in a much better mood!

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I know, I know. I sound like your parents. But trust me, it really does make a difference! And if you think you can change out the sheets in less than 5 minutes (because you are just that good), then go ahead, that’s even better. Otherwise, pull the comforter or bedspread up, fluff up those pillows and be done with it.

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Do you have them tossed around all over? (I know I do!) If so, let’s deal with them quickly and get it over with.

The dirty ones need to go into the hamper. If the hamper stays in sight, make sure it has a lid. If the hamper is in the closet, a lid is not really necessary (but a “nice to have”).

If you have clothes that aren’t necessarily dirty, but you don’t want to hang them back up, then designate an area in your closet for them. Get a basket or another container to put them in so they are easily distinguishable from your other clothes.

For clothes that don’t go in the closet (such as your underpinnings) and aren’t dirty, give them a quick fold and put them in a dresser or wherever they normally go.

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With the two biggest clutter factors taken care of, now you need to remove or straighten up all the other random items invading your sleeping space.

Keep in mind the daily rule – if you don’t use it daily then it needs to be put away – and then put them away!

A #protip: this is NOT the time to clean out the nightstand drawers. If you are anything like me, you get cleaning ADD and can’t help but jump from one thing to the next. If you are going to put something in the nightstand or dresser drawer and you see a mess in there, you think MUST CLEAN EVERYTHING! However, save that task for another day when that is your only focus.

If you must keep items out, be sure they are clean and organized in a fashion that does not appear to sloppy. For example, if you’re an avid reader like me and have a pile of books and magazines laid out everywhere next to the bed, stack them neatly by putting the smallest on top and the biggest on the bottom.

If you have time, give any mirrors a quick wipe.

That may seem like a lot to get done in only 15 minutes but if you take a 1, 2, 3 approach (bed, clothes and random objects), you can declutter your place of refuge and be feeling full of zen as you start your day!

Feel free to let me know in the comments below if these tips helped! And you are always welcome to come say hi over at The Color Coded Life!

How to Build the Perfect Cheese Board

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As the holidays are quickly approaching, more and more of us are spending a large amount of our time entertaining! One quick mention of having a friend over for a cup of spiked cider turns into a dozen friends and a punch bowl. And you know what pairs perfectly with friends and cocktails? The perfect cheese board, of course. They are so simple to put together, and you don’t have to worry about your make-up running, or ruining your fabulous outfit standing over the stove preparing some outrageous appetizer.

To start, make sure that you have a sturdy serving platter, or even a large plank of rustic wood would do. I think it is important to have variety when it comes to food, and quality is exceptionally important. You have to eat, so why not eat well?! Plan on buying 3-4oz. of cheese per person, and having at least 3 different varieties and textures of cheese. For example, have a soft cheese such as a creamy brie or goat cheese, a semi-hard cheese like fontina, cheddar or gouda, and then a hard cheese like a wedge of parmigiano reggianno. I love to try out different types of your standard cheeses as well, like a smoked aged gouda, or as pictured, a pesto jack cheese.

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Then comes the fun little extras. Again, variety is key when it comes to the perfect cheese board, so mixing up flavors like savory olives or roasted red peppers with sweet fig jam and fresh concord grapes are very pleasing to the palate. You can even check your grocer’s bulk bins for roasted nuts and be sure to have some cured meats such as salami, prosciutto, smoked sausage, or capicola on hand. Lastly, have one or two breads or crackers to serve a a vehicle for the cheese, fruits, meats, and savory bites headed your way.

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A few insider tips and tricks to making the most of your cheese board is to let your cheese rest for 30 minutes or so before serving. Cheese tastes much better after is has come slightly to room temperature vs. straight out of the fridge. Also, leave the cheese in it’s block form, sliced cheese tends to dry out much faster, and no one wants dry cheese. Keep the conversation flowing by labeling all of your cheese, leaving the guessing game out. And most importantly, have fun!!

Fresh Fall Produce Guide

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Hello fellow foodies! – It’s Rhea from Hot Dog it’s a Food Blog. I first off wanted to introduce myself as a soon-to-be familiar face here at idieh design, bringing you all things foodie, in the kitchen, and out and about.

Even though I live in the desert, I am a leaf-changing-obsessed, pumpkin-spice-fanatic, and the fall season is my spirit animal. With the cooler temps, comes a whole slew of fresh produce to the markets, and I take every opportunity to hit up every local farmer’s market that I can, especially in the fall. There’s something about supporting local, and picking out in-season produce that just makes a girl’s heart sing.

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There’s something wrong about finding watermelon in the store in February. It is important to buy in season, not only to keep your wallets full, but to ensure that you are getting the freshest possible product. Fall produce is all about long-simmered soups, baking fresh pies, and dark-leafy greens. Here is a comprehensive list of what is in season for you to tinker with in the kitchen this autumn: crisp apples, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts (my fave), carrots, fennel, figs, grapes, leeks, mushrooms, pears, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.

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My favorite go-to recipe for fall is a roasted beet salad, which leaves no part of the beet or its stem to waste. Simply, drizzle the beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then wrap in tin foil and roast at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool, then slice. Chop the beet greens and stems and toss with the sliced beets. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and white wine vinegar. Bon Appetit!

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