Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FitBit One Review

I know there are all types of pedometer/heart rate monitors on the market, but I never really paid attention to any of them. But then I had several friends get FitBits, and after hearing all of them rave about their FitBit, I decided to look into what was so great about these little gadgets.

Well, a couple of things really got me intrigued. I loved that it synced so easily with Apple devices. I loved that it seemed like it had a really user interface. And I loved that it could track your sleeping - after my seizure I was very interested to get a better feel for how well or poorly I was really sleeping at night.

I originally had my eye on the newest model, which is the FitBit Force. It was out of stock for months, and I finally just picked up the One for myself. It all worked out really well in the end- I love that I can just clip the One to my bra or shirt or pants and nobody knows it's there. There has also been some kind of recall on the Force so it all worked out well in the end.

 
Source - Fitbit.com
Once I got the Fitbit out of the box and charged, all I had to do was pair the Fitbit to my iPad and iPhone Bluetooth signals. It then walked me through the very short set-up and I was ready to rock.

Guys, I freaking love this thing. It tracks steps, stairs climbed, calories burned, and my sleep. There are also ways to track your food and exercise, and link it to My Fitness Pal. It will send prompts to your phone if you are close to one of your goals (like Steps or Stairs) to help push you to walk just a little bit further. I can look either at the FitBit screen or on my iPad or iPhone app to see where I am for the day, and I also get a weekly report with all of the days' tallies.

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The sleep tracker really has been interesting to see. I am a lot more restless at night than I ever would have guessed, especially when kids are in the bed. Seeing the reports broken down into numbers has also helped nudge me into going to bed earlier to try to get 8 hours of sleep....it doesn't always happen but hey, it's better than before!

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I kind of messed this one up with the start and stop times but you get the general idea. You can go into the app and add or adjust the sleep log if you forget to press the buttons, which is really really nice.

It is pretty impressive to me how many steps and stairs I can rack up, just being in the house all day. I am sure every mama knows how much two little kids can keep you on your feet! And it is good motivation to take a walk up to the grocery store or library with the kids, because that is a quick way to get to my 10,000 step a day goal.

If I had to come up with any complaints about my FitBit, I would say that I wish it had a heart rate monitor. The other thing I am not crazy about my version is that it came with a wristband to wear on your wrist while you are sleeping, and you are supposed to slide the FitBit into the pocket. I kept having problems with the FitBit either falling out of the pocket or the whole wristband coming off, so I finally just gave up and leave it clipped to my bra. I find that it's still generally accurate although I am sure the wrist is better, if you can get the band to stay on. Overall though, these are minor inconveniences, and the pros of this little gadget very much outweigh the negatives!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

One of my favorite memories from my pregnancy with Anna was the wonderful baby shower that my friend Kathryn hosted for me. So I was beyond delighted when I had the chance to return the favor and celebrate Kathryn and her baby boy, due in May.

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This baseball shower was SO much fun to put together, and I was thrilled with how everything turned out. And I was very grateful to Sarah of Fresh Design Group for taking all of these pictures!!

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I served up the standard baseball fare - hot dogs, popcorn, soft pretzels, sandwiches, and some fruit salad as a nod to something healthy on the table.

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I found this cute sign on Etsy and sent it home with the Mommy-to-be. Maybe we will see it in a special little someone's nursery!

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Cookies
Publix cake is a given around here! It says "Congratulations on your new MVP!" And those cookies are my very first attempt at royal icing.

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The favor table - Cracker Jack boxes (of course!) and chocolate baseballs. Kathryn also brought a scrapbook for everybody to personalize a page.

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The tables - I usually like to set up the tables on the porch but since the weather has been so unpredictable, I had everything set up inside. I loved those pinwheel centerpieces, and the hardest part about them was keeping my girls away!

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We played a game that I came up with called "Hot Seat". Everybody got to ask Kathryn a question (all baseball and baby related). If she got it right, she got to pick a prize out of the basket. And if she got it wrong, the question-asker got a prize. Kathryn pretty much got them all right, even though I intentionally threw in some stumpers! It was a fun game anyway.

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Presents! And aren't all of those baseball outfits darling? Kathryn got a few other baseball outfits in her gifts so this baby boy will have quite the wardrobe for all of the Braves games.

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 I can't believe I've been friends with this girl since elementary school!

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All of our guests!

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We are so excited for Kathryn and can't wait to meet her baby boy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thredup Review

This post is waaaaay overdue too but real posts, with actual words? Who has time for that anymore? Haha. Anyway, last year I had several friends mention a website called thredup.com, which is like an online consignment sale for kids' clothing. I love shopping consignment sales, although I rarely get the chance to do it, and I also enjoy visiting one of my favorite kids' consignment stores near my house to find clothes for the upcoming season.

One night, my friend Laura passed along a code to get a $10 credit for new customers, so I finally created an account and started shopping for some more summer dresses for Anna. Thredup for sure has a vast inventory, but I do find it pretty cumbersome to sort through, even when setting filters for size and brand names. They have cute stuff though, so it's worth some time to sit down and wade through the pages if you are trying to add a few things to your kiddo's wardrobe. I did find the prices to be a little higher than I would expect at my local consignment store.

The next day, I received a notification that Thredup had sent me a refund. I was a little dismayed because I thought maybe one of Anna's "new" dresses weren't available, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got the shipment that week that had all the dresses included! Thredup had included a note that said their team had found a small flaw on one of the dresses that hadn't been noticed when they bought it, so they had fully refunded my purchase price and they sent along the dress anyway. I wouldn't have even noticed it if they hadn't pointed it out, so that was a major mark to their business in my book!

These dresses have been among Anna's favorites, and I plan to give Thredup another perusal in time for this summer.

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Selling to Thredup, however, was a different story. I recognize that this is a relatively new business, and I am sure that they have streamlined the process since I sent in my bag late last year, but I do want to share my experience. In my delivery of Anna's dresses, they sent along this big plastic polka-dot bag for me to send in clothes to sell. I have very little patience for selling/consigning baby stuff to begin with, so I was immediately dismissive of it, but then as I thought about writing a review of this site I figured I should give it a go just to see what happens. I filled the bag to the brim with brand-name, worn-maybe-one-time items like Ralph Lauren, Baby Gap, Gymboree, etc. Some of it still had tags. The bag had pre-paid postage, and all I had to do was seal it up and drop it off at the post office.

I got an email a few days later saying that they had received my bag. But they were so backlogged with other bags that they took TWO MONTHS to get to my bag and to pick through what they wanted. They kept sending emails about it with discount codes as an apology. Finally, when they sent a credit to my account, I logged in and just had to laugh at what I saw. A bag full of clothes and 2 months worth of emails and discount codes was apparently worth $3.50. They had picked ONE thing out of that entire bag to sell, and the kicker is that by the time I logged on to look at what they had bought, it had already sold, so obviously my stuff wasn't completely worthless. I have no idea what happened to the rest of the clothes, I assume they donate it to some kind of charity and write it off on their taxes.

Long story short, absolutely go on there and shop if you want to add some clothes to your family's wardrobes (they have women's stuff now too), but I think that there are much better options to selling your old items. I would so much rather go through a local consignment store, or just donate it all in one efficient bundle to a local thrift store or family shelter and save myself the headache.

If you have used ThredUp I would love to hear your experiences, too!

Downstairs Bathroom Makeover

This project has been completed for some time now but we wanted to share our downstairs bathroom makeover! The main floor in our house has a full bathroom which is connected to the playroom, but the shower part of it was in such bad shape that we really just kept shoving it to the bottom of the to-do list since we never needed it anyway. Once we realized though that we no longer had a guest room, we decided that it was time to knock out this decorating project and get this bathroom up to snuff.

The bathroom when we moved in, painted toilet lid and all


One of our biggest complaints about the way this house was built and decorated over the years is that the projects were done as cheaply and as quickly as possible...for example, not using any kind of primer or prep work in hanging wallpaper. So, when we go to remove any of it, the paper tends to take entire strips of dry wall with it - no matter what kind of removal method we use. This bathroom in particular was very tough to get de-wallpapered, since it was a textured paper. And because I am fairly confident that they used Super Glue.

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We painted the powder room section of the bathroom when we first moved in, although we quickly grew tired of the dark golden brown that we had picked. We have the same paint color in our kitchen and in our master bedroom, but in such a small space, it seemed claustrophobic and dirty. I was itching to brighten it up and to throw in some color. Coincidentally, I am also itching to repaint our bedroom but Steve goes temporarily deaf whenever I bring it up.

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That's our clothes steamer in this picture...it was the only thing that came close to getting off the wallpaper without damage to the walls.

We had a bunch of the beadboard wallpaper leftover from Anna's room re-do, so we decided to give it another go in the bathroom. It has held up much better in the bathroom than in the room with a very artistic and rambunctious three year old, so keep that in mind if you decide to use these pictures as inspiration, haha. It also helped cover up some of the gouges in the dry wall.

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Steve also added in crown molding, you can see the start of that in this picture.

After dozens of paint chips and several paint samples, we settled on Benjamin Moore's Kittery Point Green for the wall color, and we replaced all of the gold and brass fixtures for more modern chrome versions. The light fixtures got an upgrade, too! I also need to give a shout-out to Moen...we realized in trying to replace the shower fixtures that our 1989 original plumbing no longer coordinated with the newer shower models, so it was highly unlikely that any of the fixtures from Home Depot would work. We reeeeally didn't want to have to pay to have a plumber to come out and re-plumb the entire shower, so I called Moen, talked to a very nice customer service woman, emailed her pictures of the shower pipes, and told her that we wanted a chrome finish. She called me back within 20 minutes with the ONE chrome shower set they made that would work, and thankfully we were very happy with it. She saved us SO much work and headache - thanks Moen!

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I use the closet in the shower room as my storage place for all of my cleaning supplies, light bulbs, vacuum cleaners, etc., so we added a small cabinet to hold extra toilet paper and towels. We also added hooks along the wall for guests to hang their wet towels.

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The final touches (and my favorites!) were the two pieces of art that Steve and I picked out as our anniversary present to each other (yes, in September...like I said, I'm a little late with this). The one in the powder room reminded us of the park that we used to walk in together all of the time when we first moved into this house. The second was just gorgeous and had all of the right colors. We found both on Etsy.

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We love how this all turned out, and we have been happy to have a full bathroom for guests to use if they need it. We have converted the playroom into a temporary guest room on several occasions now and it's been a perfect layout!