Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Day With Lowe's At The UpSkill Project

This is a sponsored post by Lowes but as always- all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Lowe's invited us to document a project called The UpSkill Project and as soon as we heard what it was we were on board. Basically, The UpSkill Project is an initiative to help customers learn right in their homes the DIY skills that will bring their home improvement projects to life. The project has two components: a contest and a community day.

To enter the contest you had to submit a video telling Lowe's about the projects you needed help with. The winners received the help of employees from their local Lowe's store for 2 days to finish these projects, $2000 to purchase the materials, and professional design consultation. They chose 5 winners in the Nashville area, and Savannah and I got to follow one of the winners through their kitchen renovation.
Meet Jose and Myra Frias! Jose and Myra have been wanting to renovate their kitchen since they purchased their house 2 years ago.
This was the sink faucet situation they were dealing with, so I'd say that The UpSkill Project came just in time!

What really impressed me about our time with Lowes and the Frias family was that the employees from Lowe's actually taught the Frias' how to do the things they needed help with. By the end of it, Myra was teaching a friend how to install the backsplash tile. Jose finally got a kitchen faucet that worked, and they both got kitchen lighting that was desperately needed.

We weren't really sure what to expect. I kind of expected that the Lowe's team would just take over so they could finish more quickly and get out of there. Instead, they really walked through each step with the family. Also, the employees that came to help out, work at the Lowe's store closest to the Frias'. So in the future as they tackle other projects, they will be able to go to their local Lowe's and know the people who can help them- because they've literally worked on projects together. How cool is that?
The other component of The UpSkill Project is the community day where Lowe's will be teaching different skills at one of their stores. If you are in Nashville on November 18th, Lowe's is having one of their community days where they will teach you:

- Tiling: Get your hands dirty and learn the proper techniques for laying and grouting tile (application techniques include floor and backsplash)
- Plumbing: Learn proper plumbing techniques specific to installing a faucet into a vanity
- Tool Demo: Receive expert advice on the safe operation, features and use of a compound miter saw, tile wet saw and oscillating tool
- Upcycling: Learn proper prep and painting techniques for refreshing an outdated piece of furniture, cabinet or dresser. Bring in your own dresser drawer or cabinet door to start your project off right
- Drywall: Learn how to properly patch drywall and hang common household d├ęcor items

If you have a project you want to finally finish, I encourage you to stop by. We will be there learning with you! Learning from someone in person is so much easier than watching a tutorial on YouTube. Plus, you have someone there so you can ask lots of questions.

Okay, so let's scroll through some before and after photos!

They also installed some under cabinet lighting that changes colors to music. Something that is perfect for this self-proclaimed "party house".

Savannah and I are obviously really into DIY projects, and we share our DIYs with you because we want YOU to feel empowered. We want you to know that if we can do something, then you can too. We have figured out how to do things from other blogs and YouTube channels and asking for help from stores like Lowe's. What is really cool about The UpSkill Project is that it teaches you how to do things that aren't too advanced, but also beyond what the average person could do on their own.

We are really impressed with The UpSkill Project as its mission is much like ours. We both want to encourage you to do for yourself. With a little help, you can DIY almost anything!

Nashville peeps! Join us this Saturday at Lowe's for The UpSkill Workshop!

Saturday, November 18, 2017
Lowe's- 410 Genie Ln.
Smyrna, TN 37167

xo, Casey and Savannah

Thursday, November 9, 2017

recipe: pumpkin spice golden milk

Last night we had some friends over and as the night got later, Casey decided she wanted to make some Golden Milk. It's a cozy non-caffeinated drink and it was pretty cold out- a perfect match for the evening! She made enough for everyone and soon had them asking for the recipe. So that's why I'm finally writing this post that we took photos for over 2 months ago. Time really gets away from me!
We originally made a big batch of golden milk mix for our Girl Boss party, and we had a lot left over. Our recipe was inspired by Tropically Lina's recipe. We personalized the recipe a bit, but the most important thing that comes from her recipe, that is SO important, is the coconut milk powder. We had never used this in our Golden Milk recipes before nor had we ever heard of it. It really is a game changer, y'all. Don't skip on this part if possible.
Now if you buy all of these ingredients, you might as well just make a big 30 day batch because you're going to end up with a lot of stuff. They don't sell coconut milk powder in a one-serving bag. We wanted to make this with all good organic ingredients, so we bought everything on Amazon and ended up with a 5 lb. bag of turmeric. *woops!* We hope to make enough golden milk to use it all up, but we are going to need to share and drink a lot!
Okay a few notes about the recipe... We add 1 packet of Truvia per serving when actually making the milk. We also add coconut sugar to the batch mix. I'm not sure if you've ever tried something sweetened with sugar and something sweetened with Truvia, but they taste very different. Sweetening it with a little coconut sugar at first and finishing with Truvia gives you the perfect sweetness without tasting fake. You can use whatever sweetener you like. If you like plain Stevia, do it. Like straight up sugar? Go for it! I'm not here to judge. Truvia is just our tried and true sweetener at the moment.
Okay, back to the coconut milk powder for a moment. If you want to make this right now and you don't randomly have coconut milk powder on hand, just make it without! It will still taste creamy and delicious. But definitely get you some CMP and try it. Next level. Just sayin'.
Pumpkin Spice Golden Milk Recipe (One Serving)

- 1 Cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 Tbs Coconut Milk Powder
- 1 Tbs Coconut Sugar
- 1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon Powder
- 1/8 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- a pinch of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- a drop of vanilla
- 1 Stevia Packet

1. Warm 1 cup of almond milk on the stove or in the microwave.
2. Add warm milk and all other ingredients into a blender.
3. Blend on high for 30 seconds.
4. Pour and drink!

Pumpkin Spice Golden Milk Recipe (Big Batch- 30+ servings)

- 2 Cups Coconut Milk Powder
- 1 Cup Coconut Sugar
- 1/2 cup Turmeric Powder
- 1/8 Cup Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/8 Cup Cinnamon Powder
- 2 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Powder

1. Mix powdered ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.
2. When ready to drink, add 1 Tbs. of mix to blender with 1 cup warmed almond milk and any extra desired sweetener (we use 1 packet Truvia).
3. Blend on high for 30 seconds.
4. Pour and drink!
Okay enough about golden milk. It's good for you and is a great bedtime drink, so just do it.
And if you liked this post, please share it on your Pinterest!

xo, Savannah

**This post contain affiliate links.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hiking at Long Hunter State Park

Casey and I have been hiking a little more lately because it is a form of physical activity that we enjoy. Also, we probably won't be camping anymore this year because of the colder weather. This is the same vibe as camping, but only takes a couple hours! Anyway, last weekend we went to Long Hunter State Park to do the 4 mile Day Loop hike.
I would say we did this hike in the prime time of the leaves changing. Thank goodness they actually changed this year!
This was our first hike in our new hiking boots. Usually we just hike in whatever tennis shoes we have, but we decided it was time to get the real deal. We both got the same boots (these), classic us, and so far we love them! I just felt like my feet and ankles were more supported (because they were) and I'll never hike in a tennis shoe ever again.
My favorite part of this hike was this lookout you can go down to see over the lake. You are as high as the tree tops, so it's a pretty cool little section.
We are thinking about doing a bigger hike in the Azores when we are there for my 30th birthday trip next year. It would be a trip where we would hike up and camp overnight, but we are still working out all the details on that! Over time we are going to do more mileage on our hikes, but for now we are just hiking around Nashville and getting comfortable.

Favorites from this hike:

xo, Savannah

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Indian Summer Playlist

A while ago I used to share playlists on here that I've made, but somewhere along the way we got away from them. I really love making playlists and I'm always in the middle of making one. This one I'm sharing is called "Indian Summer" because I finished right around the time that the fall weather heats up one last time before Winter really kicks in. The feeling of this playlist is perfect for listening as the sun is going down and the air is getting cooler. I listen to it all the time, but that's the "feel" I get from this playlist. Anyway, give it a listen. I'll be sharing the playlist I'm working on right now in a month or so!

xo, Savannah

Friday, November 3, 2017

What I Wish I Had Known- 10 Tips for New Airbnb Hosts

This is a sponsored conversation with igloohome. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

We have been hosting on Airbnb for nearly 3 years. Sometimes it feels like it's been much longer, and sometimes it seem like we started yesterday. With almost every stay, we learn something new. You'd think we had learned and thought of everything by now! But even still, there are a few basic tips that every host should know before they start hosting.
1. EASY ENTRY. You are going to need a way for your guests to get into your house. I know you are thinking, duh, the same way I get into my house. But I'm talking about when you aren't there. Even if you are hosting at your home, there are times when you cannot meet your guest when they arrive. Having a key management system is crucial. Check out the Smart Keybox by igloohome on Amazon. Our favorite thing about it is that you don't have to install a new door knob! It's so easy. You put your keys in the lockbox and provide your guest with a code. Just like that your guests have a key to your house, and you didn't have to schedule time to meet with them! Another important thing about this system is that you can create a one time use code for every guest, and the system integrates with Airbnb, making your life much much easier.

2. MORE INFO IS BETTER. You may not think you need to put something obvious in your listing, but put it in there anyway. Provide as much information and as many pictures as you can. Our upstairs is small, so we make sure we mention that in several places. Make sure you are clear about the flaws of your home. Do you live in an old home? Do the floors creak? Is there a coffee maker in your space? Does your guest have to walk up stairs? Put all of these details in your listing. Your guests will be happier if they know what to expect.

3. REITERATE YOUR MAIN POINTS. When someone books, make sure they have read your listing in its entirety. I cannot stress this enough. We have spent a lot of time and money decorating our space. I think people get caught up in the decor, and they don't read the listing. They just want to stay here because they like the decor. They miss that our upstairs is small and/or that they will be sharing a bathroom. People usually have the same complaints (because no one's house is perfect), and they have those complaints because they didn't read the listing. You can explain your space in perfect detail and it won't matter if your guest hasn't read what you've written. When this happens, you are more likely to get a non-perfect review. We like to mention the big "flaws" in our message before we agree to book. We will say, "Hey! We just want to make sure you read our listing in it's entirety, specifically noting that we have three dogs and are 6 miles from downtown and you will be sharing a bathroom." Be really thorough with them so the expectations are where they should be. We have had people change their minds because we pointed out these "flaws."

4. SAY WHEN IT ISN'T A GOOD FIT. Don't be afraid to not approve a guest if it isn't a good fit. When we first started hosting, we would let anyone stay with us. This isn't a wise choice for any party involved. Pretty early on we realized that we needed to be more selective with who we let stay in our home. After all, this is our home and we live here while our guests are here. We are two ladies, we have dogs, our home is older and therefore has it quirks. If it seems like someone isn't going to vibe with that, just let them know it isn't a good fit. I promise they will be happy that you were honest with them, because they don't want to be uncomfortable in your home.

5. LESS IS MORE. This may sound counterintuitive, but we have found the more "extras" we offer guests, this provides more opportunity to complain. We also noticed that offering extras did not improve our ratings or guest satisfaction. We used to offer snacks (this was not advertised. It was just a nice gesture), and someone complained that we didn't offer healthy snacks. This is just one example. Be sure to be clear about what you offer and what you don't. If you only offer the necessities, that is okay. Just be clear!

6. MEET YOUR GUESTS.  This is mostly for people who are hosting in their own home. Do your best to meet your guests at some point. We have found there is a direct correlation between 4 star reviews (you want 5 star reviews only) and meeting our guests. Meeting your guests puts them at ease and the more they like you, the better review you will get. You can answer questions at this time and overall set the tone for their stay with you. Every now and then we have to let a guest check-in on their own, and that is where the igloo home Smart Keybox comes in. If this is the case, do everything you can to make their entry easy and smooth and then make sure you meet your guest sometime before they leave just to make a connection.

7. CHECK IN WITH YOUR GUESTS. We found that if we had a guest who had a complaint or need, they often didn't mention this until they left their review. The day after a guest checks in, send a message through the Airbnb app and ask how everything is going and/or if they need anything. I can't tell you how many people actually say that they need something. If we had never asked, they would've just gone their whole stay without mentioning what they needed.

8. BE HONEST. An Airbnb stay doesn't end when your guest leaves- you still need to leave a review for them. Be honest in your review of your guest. Leaving a bad review can be uncomfortable, but if you don't, then this person could give another host a hard time. Hopefully, you will never have to leave a bad review. Most of the time people deserve good reviews, but it's important to note even little things that might help someone else out. Also, utilize the private review option. This way you can make suggestions to your guest without anyone else seeing what you said. Side note- make sure you check the room/house before you leave a review. You never know how someone left the space until you check it out.

9. SAY NO TO WHITE. Trust me. Yes, white looks crisp and clean. You think you can bleach white linens. But you cannot bleach out make up stains. There are a lot of stains you cannot get out, in fact MOST of them don't bleach out. We've had to get rid of all things white. We have dark grey sheets and navy towels, and I cannot recommend this enough. We had a beautiful white coverlet and we had to replace it with something darker. People will eat pizza on your beautiful white bed. They will spill coffee. So spare yourself the heartache, and avoid white linens. 

10. HAVE MULTIPLES. Make sure you have multiple sets of linens, but don't have too many. If you have too little then you laundry will be your life. However, if you have too many linens, then you could get lazy about laundry and let it pile up because you have so many sets. And again laundry will be your life. Three sets for each bed is our magic spot. If I'm honest, laundry is still our life. We swim in laundry. Maybe this tip should read- hire someone to do your laundry. :)
Well, we hope that these tips can be helpful to you. I definitely wish we had thorough resources when we first started hosting. We didn't know what we were getting into! If you are still leaving your keys under the mat for your guests, check out the igloohome Smart Keybox that we are talking about. The system takes seconds to install, and makes the exchange much easier (and classier) for your guests. Plus you can buy it right on Amazon- our favorite store in the world, not even kidding. If you have any more hosting questions, we would love to hear them! We will tell you the truth and hopefully make hosting a bit easier for you.
Being a host on Airbnb has allowed us to meet some really cool people we would've never met. We have actually made friends with guests who have stayed in our Airbnb. The extra income can help you live your dreams, as it has for us. Being a host is a lot of work, but if you manage your expectations and do your research- you can set yourself up for success!

peace, Casey

Thursday, November 2, 2017

camping in Florida in October

Let me start by saying that this was my favorite camping trip that we've been on yet! The crazy thing is that we waited until October to go to this campsite because it was the only time they had open when we were trying to book. At first I was worried that it may be a little cold when we went, but turns out Octobers in Florida are AMAZING. The weather was perfect. There were a couple nights that we were pretty chilly, but the days were so comfortable. The only problem with camping in Florida- sand in all of your gear, for months to come. Even my purse is still producing sand somehow. Anyway, I'm going to share where we stayed and everything about our trip, so we hope you read through this post :)
This was the first trip where we got to try out our new tent. We hesitated to buy the tent because we only had one camping trip left for the season, but I'm so glad we just bit the bullet and purchased it. We started out with a 4 person tent for two twin air mattresses and 3 dogs. We were a bit squished in there. It worked for a while, but we really just needed more room. In the 4 person tent, we weren't able to bring any bags or gear in there except for our purses. There just wasn't enough room. Now we can stand in our tent and bring our clothes in there and not trip over the dogs. It's glorious!
When we first arrived in Florida, we stayed the night in Pensacola. I'm so glad we did because we got to visit the dog beach! This was great because we were able to hang on the beach that day and the next with the dogs. 30A beaches don't allow visitor dogs and most beaches don't have a dog friendly option. So being able to do this gave us extra time on the beach.
We headed to Grayton Beach State Park the next day for the rest of our trip. This trip was very different than our other camping trips because we were in a destination area. All of our other trips had been in the middle of nowhere and camping was our destination. This time it was a mix of the relaxing that comes with camping, but also being in a place that you want to explore.
Grayton Beach State Park has it's own private beach (you have to pay to enter if you are not camping there) and it's beautiful and serene. We walked there with the dogs the first night to see the sunset. Dogs are not allowed on this beach, but they are allowed on the stroll there and the sand dune hike that is right by the beach.
One of our IG friends was our inspiration for the location of our trip. She and her husband were camping at the park and it's looked idyllic, so we booked our stay. She also had been to a place called Black Bear Bread Co., so that was something we knew we wanted to check out. Tip for every traveler ever- share the places you go and love because you never know who needs advice on where to go! We wouldn't know about half of the places we go if we hadn't heard about them from someone. Traveling and finding good places to visit can be really overwhelming, especially when you read articles named "15 Best Restaurants In Tulum." How will I ever visit 15 restaurants in Tulum during my one week stay?!? Seeing a friend or family member say they just went to + loved a certain restaurant or place makes it easy for me to know where I want to go.
This place was super cute. They have huge cinnamon rolls that are delicious, a croissant sandwich that was melt-in-your-mouth good and an oatmeal bowl (Casey ate this twice she loved it so much)! And, they serve Stumptown coffee, so you know it's good (Casey tells me this is the good stuff).
Hazel kept having sand mustache at the campsite.
Side note- this is my favorite flavored sparkling water of all time. It's almost like you are drinking a Sunkist, but without all the sugar. It's a very pleasant beverage!
One of the days in Grayton, we took the dogs to doggy day care. This allowed us to have a whole day of exploring and doing things that we couldn't do with them, like go to the beach at Seaside.
The next day we went on two hikes with the dogs, one on the sand dunes in Grayton Beach State Park and one that we happened upon while driving around Santa Rosa Beach.
Some of the hike was closed due to Hurricane Irma damage, but we enjoyed the part that was open anyway. Hiking in the sand is weird, y'all.
The second hike we did was in Point Washington State Park. We had no idea this park existed, but we drove by it on our way to Grayton, so we knew we wanted to check it out. This is what we love about camping. If we were coming to vacation in Florida, only planning to lay on the beach all day everyday (which is fabulous and something I love to do), then we would've never noticed this forest or spent time exploring it.
But I'm so glad we spent time here because it was gorgeous.
We felt like we went through so many ecosystems on this hike. It was an easy hike, but definitely worth doing with all the landscape changes that happen.
After the two hikes, we decided to try to go to this restaurant that Casey wanted to try, but with the dogs..... Guess what we have never done? Taken all three dogs to a restaurant- except the time when Hazel was a teeny tiny puppy, we did sneak her into a Cracker Barrel by putting her in Casey's purse. It was the day we had picked her up in Ohio and she weighed 3 lbs. That was a lot easier! But the dogs actually did pretty well. We sat in their outside area where they allow dogs and everything was fine. We did have to settle them down a couple times, but for the most part they just chilled and watched us eat.
The restaurant was called Chiringo, by the way. The cocktail Casey had was perfect, can't remember what it was called though.
When we were done eating, the sun had just set, but there was still a little light. There is an entrance right across the street from Chiringo, so we headed over there to catch the a last glimpse.
Okay I'm only putting these photos of our dogs in here because these were all taken with Casey's iPhone.... Portrait mode is AMAZING y'all.
One day we are going to do a post on traveling/camping with dogs. We have learned a lot of tips and tricks that we think could be beneficial to our readers :)

The sunsets here were so amazing.
Hazel clearly didn't want to leave. She was protesting by laying on all of our stuff as we were packing up our campsite.

Anyway, we really loved this campsite. We were staying at campsite 11, but I really don't think there was a bad space there. If you plan on making a trip to Grayton Beach State Park, make sure you book way in advance. They book very quickly.

Some of our favorites from this trip:
- Our new tent!
- Clip-on LED light
- Our new cots
- This cooler
- Our straw hats
- Aquafina Orange Grapefruit

If you liked this post, share this post on Pinterest!
xo, Savannah

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