Favorite Things 2018!

I want to share with you some of my most favorite things for gifts, decor or treats for yourself! Not in any particular order.

My Favorite Things!!

The kids named him Bob and he is the most amazing addition to our family! I have not pulled out our vacuum in months! MONTHS! You set him up to “vacuum” the house and he sticks to his schedule. We set our timer at 10 pm and every night he makes his rounds around the home. When we wake up the floor is spotless! He moves back to his charger when he’s finished like a good boy. If he gets stuck on something, he stops himself so nothing will break. Yes, he does hard wood and carpet. You guys. Genius.

Ecovots Deebot

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I did not discover the Kringle until last year. What is the amazing confection I’ve been missing out on? The Kringle is put out on Trader Joe’s shelves during the holidays. You can find them near the bread section. I am a die hard fan of the almond, which basically tastes like almond paste and a croissant and I cannot get enough.

Trader Joe’s Kringle

So we all know that basically everything Chip and Joanna Gaines does turns to gold. Agreed. I’ve been decorating for Christmas this past week and I have literally shopped at every store that sells Christmas decor, including Target, Michaels, Merrifield Garden Center, Amazon,Google, etc. The best green garland I have found is from Hearth and Home at Target. I’ve gone back for more twice because it looks so darn good. I will post my Christmas table soon to show you my set up.

Garland Pine by Hearth & Hand 

I feel like if you want to be happy on the daily it has got to be intentional. I know I have to work on it. This is a really cool journal that will hold you accountable and help you work on consciously being happy. Who doesn’t need that?

The Happiness Planner

You know I preach it and I live it. Self care is not something to be dismissed. It is vital to our physical and mental health. I practice meditation, mindfulness and naps 🙂 My therapist of 12 years has this wonderful weighted blanket in her office and I finally bought one for myself. I use it every single day. You can buy them in different weights based on your weight. I would recommend going a little heavier. You don’t have to sleep with it unless you want to. You can use it when you feel overwhelmed, anxious, upset or you’ve had a difficult day or hard conversation. We don’t need to be overcome by the world and its stress. We can push against it and care for our minds and bodies. It will become a close friend.

And Gus is a huge fan.

My Calm Blanket

I have jumped on the celery bandwagon and I swear it works! A few of my beautiful neighbors have juiced celery for years and they have improved their health by leaps and bounds. It’s hard to turn your back on the hype. For the past two weeks I have had celery juice and I feel less bloated, less hungry and my endocrinologist says less blood sugar, which was creeping up due to my PCOS. The guy behind the craze is the Medical Medium. Before you jump to judge just take a look what he has to say here. You are meant to use a juicer (not a mixer) and have pure celery first thing in the morning.

William Sonoma has a great sale going on now.

William Sonoma Breville Juicer

 

Y’all, I have a really embarrassing secret. I’m a closet puzzler. I loved to do puzzles with my dad when I was little. We always had a huge one going on a card table in the family room. I now have a puzzle going at all times in my living room and it’s not just a puzzle – it’s a magic puzzle. The magic comes when you tween daughters sit next to you and all of a sudden start spilling all their concerns and fears and stresses. You are both looking at the puzzle, but what is happening is that you are connecting in a no-pressure setting. It’s a beautiful thing! I also go to my puzzle when I’m anxious and my hands need a mindless activity. I’ve been told by therapists that this is a great tool. PS –  the more I talk about my secret puzzle life the more I find out that there are many closet puzzlers out there! Of course I have my favorite brand, Ravensburger.

Ravensburger Puzzles

Brush Trees are everywhere this year. You can get the really pricy ones at Anthropoloie and Magnolia or you can go to your local craft store. They’ve been around for a million years, but all of a sudden shops have bought into the simplistic, cleaver design. Here is the Magnolia brush tree.  But, again, you can find cheaper on Amazon, Etsy or your local craft store.

Bottle Brush Tree

I’m 41 and I’m really into skin care. Foreo is a silicone, vibrating exfoliator. I use it every night. It does not dry you out like a loofa or a harsh face brush. It’s an amazing product. It’s small and you can fit it into any little travel case or leave it out on your bathroom sink without it getting in the way.

Foreo

As an introvert I literally laughed out lough when I saw this mug on the beloved site, Introvert Dear found here. Not much else needs to be said.

The Introvert Dear Mug

 

I am not a fan of eating pigs, but Dear Husband sure does love some good bacon. For his birthday I got him a Bacon of the Month club. He LOVED it! Every month you will get a big box of bacon from all different parts of the country. You can taste and decide which ones you like and order from that source!

Bacon Club

If you are looking for a gift for a child please don’t under estimate the power of a squishy. My daughter sleeps with out 20 of them a night. She struggles with ADHD and they really do help her. I’m a huge fan. (Not suitable for toddlers and babies). Squishes are the only thing she has asked Santa for this year. Amazon sells all kinds. Look for the “slow rising” squishies.

Slow Rising Squishy

I’m a tea lover and recently discovered this cute this pot for loose teas. It is the perfect size as it makes about one cup for me a few times a day! I just use my favorite loose teas, pour boiling water in, steep for 3 minutes and pour into my tea cup.

Japanese Tea Pot

I saved this one for last because it takes a special commitment. I have been volunteering this year at three local animal shelters socializing the cats and walking the dogs. There is nothing more rewarding. I joke with Dear Husband that I want our house to be like Noah’s arc except I’ll opt for just one of each animal (minus cats because I’d like at least 20). If you can open your home to an animal please know that these cats and dogs NEED you. If you have the opportunity to walk into a shelter your heart will be transformed. I personally believe that every home needs an animal. We learn more from them than many other relationships. Cheers to Pokey, my childhood cat, that saved my life!

Lost Dog Cat & Rescue

This was so fun! I hope you like my picks. Have any of your own items you can’t live without this season? Let me know and I’ll pick a few to share!

 

…spray painting lake cabinets

IMG_1988

When we bought our little lake house last year we knew there were a few cosmetic things that we wanted to work on. We had some painting, reorganization of furniture and rooms, more painting, cleaning out, more painting and a little building. DH and I do not shy away from a home project. In fact, we secretly love it. However, I have to admit, I had to ride DH to get him to agree to paint the kitchen cabinets. I think he was a bit nervous to change anything for resale, but we are not selling any time in the next 20 years and this mama wanted white cabinets!

Here is a look at the process. The before:

IMG_8108

It wasn’t bad. It was fine. But, I wanted white to lighten up the great room. We talked about Chalk painting the cabinets, but Brent wanted them to look professional, not shabby. Since he was up for it, I agreed. So, he collected his materials, including a paint sprayer, and set to work.

This project is not for the faint of heart. It requires very ambitious painting, the right materials, time and patience. The good thing is is that when Brent gets to work on a project, he does not cut corners. He took this one on himself while I wrangled children and cheered him on. Oh, I am also the clean-up crew.

IMG_1983

He took off all the cabinet doors, taped everything and painted the framing by hand. The doors were another story. This picture makes me think of Walter White and Breaking Bad! I had no idea he was decked out until I peaked in the garage. OMG.

IMG_2004

He sprayed all the cabinets with Benjamin Moore Simply White (the 2016 Color of the Year). We chose the a satin finish because it has a slight sheen to it like you want in the kitchen. The color was perfect.

IMG_2050

What a trooper! Again, if you want a professional look like we chose, you will need to really plan. That paper on the floor is pretty darn important to.

Here is the after:

fullsizeoutput_caec

fullsizeoutput_caee

IMG_2132

We are going to be working on the countertops next and I think we settled on doing concrete to keep costs down. You may have notice that the Gaines from Fixer Upper like this look too.

I am so pleased with the result of the kitchen and the lightness it brings. We are working on creating a light, airy space to mirror the lake. Here’s a peek.

fullsizeoutput_caf9

IMG_2043

IMG_2136

DH definitely deserved a nap and a few days off. Not sure when that will happen though

IMG_2015

Check out my new lifestyle blog for books, food, health, etc! Subscribe to Christen Bensten Lifestyle here. Connect here for social media.

 

…i’ve been working on a lake house

Hi Friends!

I am here, but I am a busy bee this summer. I am working on our little lake house and will be for most of the summer. I am going slowly because, well, I want to play in the lake!

IMG_9358

Yes, there is a part of me that would just like to “fix”, update and redo everything around me, and there is another part that wants to experiment and try something a bit different. I don’t want to have the same exact decor here as I do at home if that makes sense. I want to create a feeling that will refresh my family, calm us and help us recharge. At first I had the idea that I was going to literally paint everything in eye sight white – including the floors, which I still want to do.

This is what I was envisioning.

29f7ff1f34d860d43a1eb85a7ca0bd9e

768b8b311caf0795439f9d23b82ef2c3

747eeb2374bf25842cf918b71b33b05d (1)

d5b62cded0e1731ef5b900f5e663faeb

Can I get an amen?!

And I plan on doing many of these things as inspired by Pinterest. I will eventually paint the kitchen cabinets, a fireplace, some wood furniture. But, part of me wants to incorporate the shades of blue that I am noticing in every catalogs that comes in the door. Like this:

9a6ba5ebb71dae91faa4766650314cce

062016_BlueandWhite_Manuel Rodriguez

I think the risk is that with a lake or beach home, you don’t want to decorate too literally. Some blue and make one pillow referencing a lake is okay, maybe a few shells, but you don’t want to overdo it because I think it can be come a bit too much. I want it to be a subtle nod to the water around us.

I think when planning out a space you need to collect pictures that inspire you. You may not know why you feel moved by them, but that does not matter right away. What you want to get an idea of is the tone of the space. Pinterest is a great place to make a motivational board or even a three-ring binder with magazine clippings. I have at least two of these going at all times. If I see something in a catalog or magazine, I will tear it out and stuff it in the binder. It’s not very organzied in there, but it is all in one spot. I found myself really loving some of this gold, white and blues. Now, how to work it all together?

I keep going back to the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” with Jack Nickolson and Diane Keating (one of my fav movies!). The Hampton’s Beach home was literally to die for. I think I’ll start there. Oh – and she was a writer! Like she wrote her plays at the beach house – can you imagine? I can think of nothing better. Truly inspiring for this gal.

1

Something’s Gotta Give kitchen 5 2

3b

Somethings-Gotta-Give-house-front-porch1

Somethings-Gotta-Give-House-Sold-for-41-Million2

PS – It wasn’t until I started looking up these images that I found out that this very beach house is an extremely popular search for its decor.