Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Favorites


Welcome to one week closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, friends! I am full-on Christmas music'ing it all day long, every day now so for those coming to visit the Clark household over the next few weeks, you are warned!

My sister, brother-in-law (he loves when I mention him in my blog, being the faithful reader that he is - so 'Hi Sam! Thanks for keeping our streets safe from flapping license plates!'), niece and nephew are coming Monday through Thursday. My best friend Jenna comes the following week, Sunday through Wednesday and my parents fly in Tuesday while Jenna is here for Thanksgiving!

I love visitors and am so happy to have everyone here! I might be most excited for Thursday evening when my mom and I get all of my Christmas stuff out to decorate. It's best to do it when she is here because we usually have the same 'eye' for decor so she's quite helpful!

So if my posts are more limited over the next few weeks, my excuse this time is visitors. Lots of visitors I must host! :)

Friday Faves, here we go!

Do you have a pair of shoes that are your go-to's during the warmer months and then during the chilly months? 

My black Madrid Birkenstocks are literally worn every day in the warmer months. I LOVE them for the comfort and ease! 

When it gets colder, these babies become my toss-on-and-go shoes! The LL Bean Wool Slipper Clog are shoes you will have forever! Why do I say that? Because I have had them forever! 

They are super warm - warm enough to wear out in very cold temperatures - and comfortable! 

I own the black, but love this gray color. For $69, these are lifetime winter shoes. 



I have followed The Thrifty Pineapple blogger (also known as Angela) for a few years now. She had lived in Texas, and then when I contacted her to work on something for Two Dots, she had since moved to Fayetteville, Ark. I mean... small friggin' world, right?! 

Anyway, she had posted this on her InstaStories from the same salon I had went to in Fayetteville... and she was in love with it! 

It's a mitt that removes all of your makeup (even mascara - and we know the issues I've had there), then you rinse it with some soap and you're good to go! 

Sounded too good to be true. But I ordered it. And I actually really like it! I still use my makeup wipes (which I don't need to do, but it's habit) and my eye makeup remover (testing out Neutrogena's Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover). But I have this in the shower and do a once-over before I get out on my face and eyes because it never fails, I always have mascara under my eyes! 

I have really liked it for this use and until I find another new invention to try, I will keep this up! 


Does anyone ever have those moments when they are watching an InstaStory and someone has something on and you are like "CRAP! I need to snap shot that as fast as I can before the story goes away..." And then you either get the picture or you hit the power button without hitting the home button, too? Or is that just me?!

Well, either way, I was able to snap a pic of this in time. Honey We're Home blogger Megan had it on and said it was the softest sweatshirt ever.

Don't have to tell me twice since I'm an official sweatshirt-loving wearer!

It's from Nordstrom and is the burnout knit, so not your typical Hanes sweatshirt, but one that is actually cute with booties for a more dressed up look or Uggs for an errand look.

Comes in lots of great colors - I opted for the pink and olive!


Facebook has been showing me lots of ads from American Eagle lately. And I haven't shopped at American Eagle since 2005 (it was the only cute store in the Manhattan mall when I was in college). 

But I have definitely been clicking on the ads when they come up because they are showing me some cute shoes! These booties definitely have intrigued me and then yesterday, these velvet loafers were screaming my name! 

Perfect with denim or black skinnies... and velvet is the 'ish right now. I told my mom I hope she saved my freshman year homecoming dress because velvet is back, baby! :) 



And because you guys are my favorites... here's a sneak peek at a new top that Two Dots will be showing off this weekend at the Gift Gallery. We got it in the red/navy gingham and black/white gingham. It's seriously the cutest top -- and am certain it will sell quickly. 

BUT we will reorder for those of you that know you need it in your closet! It's perfect for winter and the upcoming holidays! 

Who wants one?! :) 


And that's all she wrote today, folks... have a wonderful weekend! I will be traveling back from KC on Sunday after a weekend selling Two Dots with my mom and sister! Excited for a fun trip.

And... as always...

Go Cats! Beat the Mountaineers!!! 

XXOO,
Allyson


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Never-Ending Car Debacle


When my husband was in college, he drove a min-ivan.

It had been his parent's before he acquired it... and was sent straight to him from 1992.

He loved it! It hauled around LOTS of people. The seats could easily be taken out to fit even more people (totally illegal and I'm certain he probably never did anything illegal in that van). I'm certain he slept in it on a few occasions and hauled around God knows what...

But he loved it!

He shared the mini-van love with my best friend, who also drove around her parents minivan in college.

I, on the other hand, did not drive a mini-van in college. I drove a small four-door white Pontiac Grand-Am. And I put many miles on it driving to see my mini-van loving man.

Fast forward 11 years and it's like time had not passed one iota. We were two kids in to marriage and were looking for a bigger vehicle. There was basically no discussion because to Matt, a mini-van was the only way to go!

(Though I had to remind him that this mini-van would not probably serve the same purpose as his did in college, except for hauling many people around. That, we would still be doing!)

So. I got a brand new white Honda Odyssey.

I can't lie. It was a beaut. Almost spaceship like.

And a total mom car.

Van moment.
These bad boys are made for moms: sunshades on the windows, a mirror to see everything going on in the back, space, space and more space.

And yet, it was still a mini-van! I know that without a doubt, when I drive by, I am in a mom car. No, this is not a bad thing, but a stigma that I just want to hurl out the window.

But it still leaves me wishing for a non-mom car.

After only three and a half years in the trusty steed, we have managed to put over 87,000 miles on it. Call us crazy or call us travelers... but since we have lived nowhere closer than three hours to family since the kids were born, we've put many miles behind us to make sure we get to see everyone!

Despite it being a Honda and that there's a chance it will run until it hits the 250,000 mile mark (which means we'd have it for atleast six years), we discussed that before it gets to 100,000 miles, we possibly look for at buying a new(er) vehicle.

In Matt's words: "Maybe a Tahoe, another van..." See. The man can't give it up!


I don't plan on getting another van. Despite how wonderful it has been to us, I will be ready to move on to the next stage of life vehicle.

But what should that be?!

Matt has had two Tahoe's in his short 36-year-life and the last one he had, I wasn't a big fan. I liked the overhead DVD player... but that was about it!

And also, I don't know if a Tahoe will fit us or fit us for very long? At some point, our goal is to live maybe 15 minutes from family rather than 10 hours so we don't plan on putting 87,000 miles on a vehicle in three years again. So the traveling long distances, packing big bags and strollers, won't be us forever!

So maybe the Tahoe would be OK?
I also mentioned a Suburban. Matt's take is that it's too big. My take is that it's the halfway point between a Tahoe and a van. 
Others that have been brought up: 

Buick Enclave -- My parents have it and I love it... but it's a Buick. My parents aren't old enough for a Buick so I can't call it an "old person's car" ... but Buick has a stigma attached to it like a van does.

New Chevrolet Traverse -- I had researched these before we got our Ford Edge (we've had lots of cars) and wasn't a fan when I drove it... but the new version looks snazzy!).

Toyota Sequoia -- I LOVE these, but gas mileage is also a big deal to me and these are gas guzzlers I believe!

So now is when I'd love feedback! You all were fantastic when it came to mascara and eye-makeup remover. Surely you're just as great with cars, right?! ;)

Leave me a comment and let me know anything you got on family vehicles for five!

XXOO,
Allyson

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why I love IKEA and You Should, Too...


When we moved to Minnesota in 2010, it was the first time I had lived in a city large enough to house an IKEA.

And I didn't fully know the magnitude of IKEA's amazingness until that point in my life.

Why would one want to go somewhere with three levels of furniture, home decor, food, faux plants,  and the best brooms you will ever find?

Well... why WOULDN'T you?!

I admit it, if you don't live near an IKEA and can't go whenever you'd like (AKA NOT on a weekend), a trip to IKEA is overwhelming. It's usually packed with people, you don't know where to start, but you know you need one of almost everything.

And it's so darn cheap. Which definitely is worth noting. You don't go to IKEA for heirloom pieces.

You go on the 'need now' basis. One of those 'I've only got a little cash but need a new couch' moments in your life.

Or you're just cheap like me and know you can leave with a rug, umbrella, sofa pillow, cutting board and kid utensils for under $45.

That might have been me today.

But let me show you some things that we have purchased at IKEA that have lasted and will last until we just don't want it to last any longer.


EKTPORP Series


Let me tell you about these couches.

We bought this couch with the chaise lounger in 2012 in Minneapolis. It is slip-covered and came with the white slipcover so to save money, we went with it.

Knowing we had two small children living in our home. And a dog who lived inside five months of the year.

Five years later, that couch is still apart of our family! It has seen the best and worst of times. I won't go into too much detail, but Reece went through a period in his life when he would smear poo on anything that was white.

This couch survived. As did our washer and dryer.

Can I tell you that I think this couch will last another five years? Yes, I think it could. Will I force it to go another five years? Probably not. But will I consider getting another one down the line? You betcha. For less than $600, this couch has been amazing!

You might recall our moving fiasco earlier this summer when the movers didn't think they'd be able to fit any of our couches through the doors of our new place. Luckily, these couches come apart in three pieces so this one fit! Did our expensive couch from Nebraska Furniture Mart make it? No... it did not.



So back to IKEA we went for another EKTORP couch that now sits proudly in the front living room!

I love that I can take off the covers and throw them in the wash! I love that it's just a simple, classic couch and that it's pretty darn comfy!

Like I said... these most likely aren't heirloom pieces, but they are pieces that will get you through that time in your life when hands and feet are messy and food is buried under the seats and crayon streaks are found everywhere. Even on your furniture.

(We even bought this chair and absolutely love it!)


KALLAX Series

When I was working on Sloane's nursery, I wanted a piece that I could use for books, for baskets of hair bows, hats, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.



I found this KALLAX shelf that fit perfect in her room and had eight open shelves on it to fit whatever I wanted on it!

This was our first encounter with putting IKEA furniture together (and found out that this would be the EASIEST piece to put together ever).

It fit perfectly in her room and served its purpose well!

Then we moved to Bentonville and acquired an actual playroom. So this piece got turned on it's side and used to store toys and still to this day, is used for that purpose!

It is the PERFECT size for this use. I can get a lot of baskets in this and all kinds of dump trucks, tractors, police cars and fire trucks!

This series has LOTS of different sizes - bigger, smaller and in between this size. This $60 piece of furniture has gotten lots of use from the Clark's!


HEMNES Series

When Sloane was born, the dresser in her room had been one of Matt's old dressers that we painted white.

Then when Reece was born, he got the dresser... and Sloane got the free dresser we found down the street that we painted and put new hardware on.

And then when Tess was born, she got Reece's dresser, which left Reece without a dresser.

Hello, IKEA!


We bought the Hemnes 8-drawer dresser in a blue color before we moved from Minnesota to Arkansas, knowing we wouldn't have the luxury of running to IKEA anymore in Bentonville !

They sadly do not have the blue color anymore, but I LOVE it! It's the perfect dresser for him and will definitely grow with him as he... grows.

If you ask Matt if he will ever buy a dresser from IKEA again and I'm certain he will tell you no (no, no, no, no). It took him at least half a day to get the dresser put together, but man... once it was finished, it looked great!

In fashion, pain is beauty. In home decor, pain is IKEA furniture. :)


HOME DECOR

I not only found our queen-sized bed on day one of IKEA when we moved to Minneapolis (which is now Reece's bed), but I found lots of great home decor items. From pillows, to faux plants, to lanterns and frames.

I filled my staircase wall in Bentonville with IKEA frames and though they did sometimes fall and break, the good news was that I had only spent $5 on it so I didn't need to shed a tear (just a tear for how long it would take me to get back to an IKEA)!

We bought huge clay pots for our plants there (that would normally cost you more than $50) and lots of greenery for inside the house.


And I'm currently deciding if I go back and get this...

We also are big fans of the kids utensils which are wonderful and in fact I bought more of today (because we somehow mysteriously have lost most of our kid forks - Matt blamed Tess - which makes me think I should look under the chair by her highchair)! You can't beat 18 pieces of plastic silverware for $3.

You just can't!

I've bought napkins, this fantastic umbrella, cutting boards, pitchers, wedding decorations (See: Lauren's wedding!), wooden hangers for Two Dots, pillow inserts and pillow covers... you name it, I've probably bought it.

So with that, if you are hesitating a trip to IKEA or dread it, let me just tell you that it's worth the time. Try and go on a weekday, right when it opens, get a parking spot up front, buy the 50 cent IKEA bag and fill it up!

Enjoy!

XXOO,
Allyson




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