Our New Home! (Outside Tour)

In my last post I took you on a tour inside our new house. Today I want to share the outside yards with you, and talk about what we plan on doing with the yards. I also want to share some ideas on how to make them a little more drought tolerant AND beautiful to look at. Like most people, we definitely want our outdoor space to be a family friendly, active and usable space! I say that because it’s relatively easy to make a space “pretty” or “drought tolerant”, but not always as easy to incorporate those ideas into a “family environment”. So we will see how this all ends up!

Now, onto the yard tours!


Walking up to the front door there is A LOT of grass on the left side and bushes as well as trees on the right. There is a good chance that most of the bushes on the right will be removed, and that part of the yard will become a lovely rock garden with succulents and native and drought tolerant plants (xeriscaping), or  it will become “decorative” front patio extension. We are debating on how much of the grass will be removed on the left side since it takes SO much water to keep it lovely and lush.


As you can see, the grass at the front corner is dried up. We will be ripping most of that grass out all the way up to where the border is at the bottom of the picture and extending the flowerbed all the way down to the sidewalk. The plants in the flowerbed will most likely be changed out and xeriscaped.


As you can see here there is a lot of grass, it actually wraps all the way around the sidewalk to the front of our house.


In the back yard there is also A LOT of grass that is dying out in places. We are planning on pulling out all the dead grass in this picture, and extending the patio out and adding a pergola to create a functional BBQ area and outside dining area, since we spend quite a bit of time outside.


This area actually gets a substantial amount of shade during the day, so the grass stays nice and green. I am advocating to keep the grass over here, but we have also tossed the idea around of turning this area into a separate brick patio for lounging, and even possibly a fire pit.


Here is my “favorite” (insert sarcastic eye roll here) part of the back yard. It doesn’t make sense to me to have a hot tub in an area that can gets upwards of 115+ degrees during the summer. Plus, I’m just not a big fan of them. So, it will definitely be removed.


While this area along the side of the house looks super barren and desolate (and drought friendly at this point), I actually have a few ideas on how to make this a comfortable usable space. One idea includes an awesome brick patio and pergola that runs the length of the house. Another idea includes planter boxes and a cute little (drought tolerant) veggie garden.


We were also bequeathed with this back yard decoration. While I like the idea of it, right now it is looking a little down trodden and junky. I think I may give it a little face lift and add some more succulents to bring it back to its former glory.

So as you can see, we have a lot of work ahead of us. I am excited to incorporate xeriscaping into our new neighborhood, and hopefully will inspire others to do the same! Not only is it a fantastic way to utilize drought tolerant and native plants into your yard decor, it can also be really beautiful. For us it just feels like the most responsible way to keep our yard looking pretty. I found some great sites like Growing Nature, and California Native Plant Society for native plant ideas in our area, but if you do a quick Google search you can find lots of sites that will tell you the plants native to your area.

I can’t wait to share our progress, and would LOVE some suggestions on yard/landscaping ideas!

Until Next Time…

**Just a FYI: We got our keys at the end of June and immediately started doing a few renovations/updates (mostly painting projects) before we moved in. We have only been living in our new home for a little over 2 weeks now. That said, some of the “projects” I am talking about on this “Home Tour” have already been done, and I will share about those in later posts. I originally wanted to share our move-in progress, but wasn’t able to because my IPad stopped working for a while. Now we are back on track, and I can’t wait to share all of our DIY projects and interior design ideas! **


Our New Home! (Inside Tour)

As many of you know, we recently just purchased a new home! Well not a brand new home, but a new-to-us home. It’s a bit older (built in the early 1990’s) with all of those charming 90’s details, including: decorative gold/silver faucets, white tile with grey-beige grout in the bathrooms and kitchen, faux “marble” cabinet and drawer liners, black kitchen appliances, built-in wood cabinets with that popular 90’s golden brown stain color, and the piece de resistance– a forest green jacuzzi!

While the previous owners did do some updating (they painted a more modern color scheme throughout the house and added a few new light fixtures), there are still a lot of DIY projects on our honey-do list. We keep joking that we didn’t realize that we bought a “fixer upper” because of all of the little projects popping up that we feel need to be done to make this place feel like OUR home. But that’s okay with me, because it gives me the opportunity to share with you some great DIY projects and fabulous interior design ideas! (Especially for those of us on a budget!)

Today I’m going to show you the inside of the house before we fully moved in. My next post will be the exterior and yards. So, without further ado- onto why we are here today! The house tour! (The inspiring interior designer in me can’t wait to share my design journey with you!)

Front door

Front Entryway

Formal Dining room

Formal Dining


Kitchen- the old faucet HAS to go. It drips and almost won’t turn off- not good for the pocket book or the environment- we are in a drought! We will be replacing it with a gooseneck faucet in an oil rubbed bronze color to match all of the hardware on the cabinets and drawers.


Full Kitchen (during move-in)- I actually like the colors that are used in this kitchen. Eventually we will update the white tile with a granite countertop, and I will be removing and replacing ALL of the dirty faux marble lining in the cabinets and drawers. We also plan on adding some pendent lighting above the “bar” area.

Little breakfast nook- right off the kitchen

Little breakfast nook- right off of the kitchen


Family Room


Family Room Fireplace- the fireplace and mantle just feel dated and that golden brown color doesn’t really flow well with the whitewashed brick, or the dark wood floors in the rest of the house. I plan on painting the wood a bright white to help coordinate the room, and give it (and the rest of the house) a modern beachy/boho esthetic.


Hallway (cabinet)- the whole hallway is painted the same color as the dining room, the “loft”, and office/sewing room. While I really like the color, it makes the hallway feel closed in and dark. Eventually we will brighten it up with a lighter color. I will also paint the cabinet a bright crisp white to freshen it up and give it that “chill beachy vibe” I just love so much!

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom- in this picture as you can see the room is a neutral tan color, pretty much matching the carpet. Boring! First we will paint the whole room a nice light grey-blue to evoke a peaceful “beachy” vibe. Eventually we will also add hardwood instead of the carpet.


Master Bedroom- (Alcove) This will be repainted a nice bright white to help brighten up the room even more with the light grey-blue we are going to do the rest of the bedroom.


Master Bathroom- where do I even start in this room? This may be a “long-time-coming” project because I want to totally redo everything about this bathroom!


Master Closet -No your eyes are not deceiving you, the light in the closet made everything look yellow! (Yuck!) The closet color actually matches the master bedroom and bathroom, and will be repainted (a nice serene light color), and the light fixture and bulbs will definitely be changed out to give a pure bright light.


Office/Sewing Room- this room feels dark in this blue color because it’s on the small side, and the light fixture is old and noisy. I plan on eventually painting at least one wall a lighter color and updating the light. I will also finish matching the mounding at the baseboards.


This will be kiddos room!


Tree decal in the kiddos room- I wanted to take it down, but he insisted on keeping it… for now. I’m not sure how I will make it work in his “Dino” themed room, but I will try! (At least he let me take the pink butterflies off.)


Hallway Bathroom- we will definitely be painting or replacing the cabinets, as well as updating the old faucet. This room is also in desperate need of a vent fan!


Laundry Room- we purchased a new washer and dryer (obviously not pictured), and the door was replaced with a fire rated door that does NOT have a doggy door! Besides that, we will be painting the cabinets.


Stairway up to the “Loft”


Right side of the “Loft”


Left side of the “Loft”


Looking into the loft from the stairway- the color on the walls look really dark, but it is actually the same color as the formal dining room area and hallway. I can’t decide if I want to repaint this big room or not. I have a handful of ideas on what to do with this space including a “guest suite” as well as a playroom/man cave, or even a legitimate library/study! I just can’t decide!

I am truly loving working on making this house a beautiful home, and I am super excited to share the process with you! Next up is the outside of the house! I have some really fun ideas on how we are going to make our yard(s) more “environmentally friendly” since we are currently living through a serious drought.

Until next time…

**Just a FYI: We got our keys at the end of June and immediately started doing a few renovations/updates (mostly painting projects) before we moved in. We have only been living in our new home for a little over 2 weeks now. That said, some of the “projects” I am talking about on this “Home Tour” have already been done, and I will share about those in later posts. I originally wanted to share our move-in progress, but wasn’t able to because my IPad stopped working for a while. Now we are back on track, and I can’t wait to share all of our DIY projects and interior design ideas! **

DIY Leather ‘O’ Ring Snap Bracelet Tutorial (inspired by Joanna Gaines)

Last fall I challenged myself to try working with leather (or leather like) materials more, and I have been having a lot of fun these last few months experimenting! I truly have a new appreciation for all those leather artisans out there, because working with leather is not as simple as you would think. (Check out some of my previous DIY posts about working with leather.)

With that said, it should come as no surprise that I would eventually venture into making jewelry. Have you seen all of the beautiful leather jewelry out there?!

It’s also no big shock that this bracelet project was inspired by one of my favorite reality TV “stars” (HGTVs “Fixer Upper” Joanna Gaines). If you have never seen the show Fixer Upper, you are definitely missing out on some family fun, beautiful design, and a great positive message- not to mention the woman has GREAT style!


I don’t remember if I first saw her sporting her leather “O” ring bracelet on her show, or if I saw it on Pinterest or Instagram, but I immediately fell in love with it! I had to have it! So I ventured to the Magnolia Market webpage, and low and behold- there it was in all of its glory! But my heart dropped when I saw it was priced at $66. Yowch! Sadly, that price was just a little out of my budget. Then I started thinking about it (and couldn’t stop thinking about it), and I decided that I would try making this lovely piece of jewelry on my own.  So, I did and I LOVE it! I wear it ALL of the time! It wasn’t very difficult to make, so I thought I’d share!

Here is how I did it!

What I used:

  • 1 brass O ring 1.5″ inches (38mm)
  • Strip of leather (1″x14″)
  • set of snaps (cap/socket/stud/post)
  • snap setting tool (like this one)
  • hammer
  • Small piece of wood (for hammering on)
  • All purpose punch tool (or an awl- something to make a hole through your leather-I got mine here)
  • measuring tape and ruler
  • rotary cutter (or razor) & self healing mat

How I put it all together:

  • I started by measuring my wrist at the smallest point (for me it was 6.25″).


  • I next cut my strip of leather 1″ wide by 14″ long. After some trial and error, I found that 14″ was the perfect length for my wrist. It’s a tiny bit loose, but I wanted it that way.

(*note: using my measurements as a starting point, I suggest lengthening (or shortening) your strip 1″ longer (or shorter) for each inch that your wrist is bigger (or smaller). For example, if you had a 7-7.5″ wrist, then you would cut a 15″ long strip of leather and so on.)

At this point, I did a bunch of measuring and marking on the underside of the leather strip.

These next measurements will be for your snap placement:

  • Once I had my 1″x14″ strip of leather cut, I measured 7″ from one end and made a mark. (This should be in the exact center of your leather strip.)
  • Next, I measured 1″ inch from the center point on each side, and made another 2 marks. So, you will have 3 marks in the center of your leather strip.


  • Then I measured 1/2″ from each end of the leather strip, and made a mark. These marks will be hole punched. (I punched my holes at 3.2 mm with a leather hole punch.)
  • Now, take your leather and punch a hole at the exact CENTER mark, as well as at the 1/2″ marks at each END of your leather strip. You should now have 3 holes in your leather strip. (*See image below for reference.)



This next part you will be making the two strips that will wrap around the ring. (It can seem really confusing, but it will make sense, I promise! If you get totally confused, just review my pictures for reference. That always helps me!)

  • Next, from the holes you just punched at BOTH ENDS of the leather strip, measure 1/2″ toward the center, and mark.
  • At this point you should now have 4 more marks (2 on each end, and the 2 you had already marked at the center). From here, I made a very light 5″ line connecting the marks at the end and the center. Do this on both sides. (See image below for reference.)



  • Next (using your ruler as a guide), take your razor or rotary cutter and cut down your 5″ line. This will cut your leather into 2 strips. (*Important!- Don’t cut all the way to the holes you punched! Stop at the marks you just made before you get to the holes!)



Voila! After all that confusing work you should have a 14″ strip of leather with 3 holes punched in it, and 1 slice down the middle of each side! Congrats! You are now ready to add the hardware!

Now on to the fun part- banging stuff with your hammer!

Before you begin- Here is a helpful tutorial on how to set your snaps. If you have never done it before, go check it out. Got it? Okay lets move on!


  • On one end of your leather strip, hammer your “cap” and “socket” into place with your snap setter tools, making sure that the smooth “cap” side is on the outer finished side of your leather. (This will become the part you see on the outside of your bracelet!)



  • Next, with the raw side of your leather facing up, take your ‘O’ ring and fold the leather over it, “hooking” the ‘O’ ring. The finished side of the leather should now be on top and the ‘O’ ring in between the 2 “strips”. (See images below for reference.)


  • Line up your end hole and center hole, and put the “post” of your snap thru both of the holes (as seen below).


  • Next, sandwiching the leather between the “post” and “stud”, hammer into place with your snap setting tools.



Congratulations! You’re awesome leather ‘O’ Ring Bracelet is ready to wear! Yes it was just that easy to make! You did a great job!

Here is how to put it on-




With your ‘O’ Ring on top, take the end with the “cap” and loop it up through the middle of the ‘O’ Ring making a circle. Slide your over wrist, and snap into place! Now go out and enjoy your new accessory! (P.S. Don’t be surprised at all of the compliments you will get when you wear this awesome new piece of jewelry!)

If you love this piece of jewelry, but don’t want to make it yourself, you can visit my Etsy shop (here) to purchase it!

Until Next Time…


*This is post was in no way affiliated with Magnolia Market or Joanna Gaines. It was just inspired by her great sense of fashion!* 






2016 Summer Bucket List!!

HAPPY SUMMER! Well almost. I can’t believe it’s already June! In less than a month Summer Break officially starts for us, and Oh Boy! do we have a busy summer ahead! Along with our other summer plans (I can’t wait to tell you all about it- but not just yet!), I wanted to be intentional about doing some fun family activities together with my guys. So I decided to make a Summer Bucket List again! I was originally inspired by my friend Becky (from Star Wars Wife) because she always has such fun ideas and great adventures with her beautiful family during the summer! My last attempt at a Summer Bucket List was 2 years ago (check it out here!), and we got close to doing almost all of our activities! We had so much fun checking off our “list”! My personal favorites were “Riding our bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge” and “Visiting the New Exploratorium”!

I love the idea of a Summer Bucket List because it offers your family a plethora of ideas and great activities to GO out and DO, rather than just sit in front of the TV all summer long. Plus, everyone gets to do something that they want to do! So, I asked my guys to tell me what activities they wanted to do, and together we came up with 20 fun adventures to have this summer (see it below!) I’m really excited to check all of them off of our list this year! Happy Adventuring!

If you want to follow along with our adventures this summer, I will be doing my best to share photos on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #SANCHEZFAMILYADVENTURES.

2016 bucket list



Until Next Time…

Finding Fashion: Simple Spring Maxi

Finding Fashion Spring Insp.

(P)inspiration Outfit Photo

Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to find something to wear when the weather decides to flip-flop back and forth between cold and hot. At least that’s what we’ve been experiencing. It’s super chilly in the morning, and by the afternoon it feels like the sun is mercilessly blazing down on you. That is why I was so drawn to this outfit. It’s a great transition outfit for in between the seasons. The longer maxi dress, and lightweight cardigan are great for the cooler mornings, but not so heavy that you are drenched in sweat as the day gets warmer. Plus, you can easily take off the cardigan without compromising the whole look of your “outfit”. Are you ready to see what I found? Here it is!

Finding Fashion-Simple Spring Maxi(When I was online “shopping” for this specific outfit, I could not find a simple white/cream colored jersey maxi dress that fell within the parameters of my Finding Fashion challenges, so I opted to switch the color of the dress and cardigan.)

Are you loving what you see here? Want to shop this look? Here is where I found it!

Outfit Total: $102.73

Saw it. Pinned it. DID it!

imageIn March I decided to go out and shop for my Finding Fashion Challenge: Black & White, to show that you CAN find these looks in the stores and actually WEAR them. And let’s be honest- sometimes it’s hard to tell how the outfit is going to look together (as a whole) just in separate pictures!

I had so much fun actually shopping for my Black & White outfit that I decided to do it again for this look today! Some of the items I already had on hand, so I was able to save a little money because of this. That’s what makes fashion so great! You can be inspired by something, and then go put your own unique twist on it using what you already have. Most of all, I love seeing these inspiration outfits on non-models! For me it just goes to show that you don’t have to look like the “industry standard” to make fashion look good! So, here is what I came up with!


(I opted to pair my outfit with some cute sandals instead of heels.)

  • Dress: H&M ($17.99 purchased in store), Cardigan: Target ($12.49 purchased in store on clearance), Belt: my own from years ago, Shoes: my own from Target, Purse & Necklace: my own (gift from the hubby)

I LOVE this outfit! It is SO comfortable, and lightweight! Great for running errands, or a date night!

What is your favorite “Finding Fashion” success story? I’d love to hear about it!

Until Next Time…



**PLEASE NOTE: This blog is in no way affiliated with the above mentioned retailers. These retailers and their websites are used for the sole purpose of my Finding Fashion Challenges- finding high end clothing & looks, at ready to wear/budget prices.**

Bits of Bliss: 10 Spring Inspired Treats

The gloom and gray is finally subsiding, and spring is peeking it’s sweet face just around the corner! Let’s enjoy some Bits of Bliss in honor of those beautiful delicate flowers, bright blue skies, and all of that lush green loveliness popping up everywhere you look! Go treat yourself to a little something special to celebrate. These are my favorite spring inspired goodies, and I am sure you will love them too! *BONUS-All (but one) of these are $10 and under!*

Bits of Bliss300

This minty nail color is such a fresh and bright color that fully embraces the lightness of spring. Brighten your mani/pedi with a fun color like this one! Plus, it lasts a good long while without chipping off! Nice product for a great price!



  •  Feel Good Mini Facial from Origins! ($FREE!)

YES, you read that right! I said FREE! Free is such a great word in our home! (Especially when it comes to getting a special treat like a custom facial fit for your skin concerns!) If you have an Origins in your neighborhood, I highly suggest trying them out! I don’t think you’ll be sorry. Did I mention- IT’S FREE!



I am SO loving the Chambray right now! Not only does it look good on pretty much anyone, it evokes a casual airiness and confidence that makes you want to know the person who is wearing it! Plus it’s comfortable! You can dress it up with heels and cute necklaces for a date night, or dress it down with flats or sandals and a cute fedora. Either way, you will definitely be seeing me sporting one of these dresses all spring & summer long!


  •  Bubble and Charm Body Wash and Lotion in “Cups of Tea($9.99 ea.)

I found this product around Christmas time, and instantly fell in love. I adore the lightly sweet vanilla scent with a hint of bergamot- it’s not too sweet or too masculine (just oh so delicious), AND it’s lavishly moisturizing! This body wash & lotion has definitely become my new go-to during and after my shower. If you enjoy yourself a nice cuppa, you will definitely enjoy these!


Since my skin tone is on the fair side, I opted for the pinkish “Caramel” color. But there is a good variety of colors to choose from. I also like that this is a lip-balm, but has just a hint of color. Enough to feel polished, but not so bold that it feels showy. Plus it tastes a little sweet! I think it’s just perfect for spring!


I’m not a huge fan of Burt’s Bees products, BUT I absolutely LOVE this Lip Balm. I can honestly say that I use this lip balm Every. Single. Day., multiple times a day. Especially on the days I have spent significant time outside in the sun (or if I haven’t been drinking enough water- oops!). I keep one in my purse, one in my bathroom, and one in my bedroom so I will always have one nearby. It glides on lips so smoothly, and they stay hydrated! So if you are looking for a new lip balm, try this one out!

Tasty Treats71o6nqCS-yL._SY550_

If that peaceful “zen” feeling had a flavor and scent it would be this tea. The delicate aroma of fresh lavender and warmth of honey all mixed together in a cup is nothing short of amazing. Add a spoonful of your local organic honey to the mix, and your tastebuds will thank you forever! I truly drink this just about every day!


So, I used to be a die hard Reese’s PB cup groupie. I pretty much always had one somewhere in my house. Then one day I was in line at the grocery store and my eye was caught by the simple white packaging and “handwritten” font. It seemed to beckon from the shelf “Taste me!” with a wink and a smile. My curiosity got the better of me and I took 2 home (one dark chocolate, and one milk chocolate). Needless to say my love affair with my former go-to sweet treat has come to it’s end… and I have not looked back. (P.S.- Try their Honey Peanut Butter, it’s AMAZING!)


If you read my last post about delicious DIY Organic Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops, then you are probably familiar with this drink from Trader Joes! I love that’s it’s not too sweet or too tangy- just the perfect amount of both. I can say with certainty that this will be on hand at our house ALL summer long; not only as a refreshing drink, but of course for ice pops as well! If you love lemonade and have not had this yet, try it out. I promise you won’t be sorry you did!

Once Upon A Vine A Charming Pinot 750 ml

Okay, so I will admit that I initially judged this winery by it’s label and wine names like: Big Bad Red Blend, A Villanous Zinfindale, A Charming Pinot, The Fairest Chardonnay, and Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc. I was immediately intrigued, and being a total sucker for a great Fairytale I tried out the “A Charming Pinot“. We loved it so much that it has now become our “family label”, and have since tried each of the other wines (with the exception of the Lost Slipper) and loved each as well. So, if you are looking for a great wine at a great price, I definitely suggest trying this as your next tasting adventure!

What are some of your favorites for this spring? Anything inspiring catch your eye? I’d LOVE to hear all about it!

Until Next Time…


**Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies or products listed. These items are just some things I have purchased myself, tried out, enjoyed, and decided to share. Enjoy!**

Simple Organic Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops


Hello Sunshine! It sure has been getting warm around here, and you know what that that means… It’s time to break out the frosty cool treats! Hooray! If your family is anything like ours, you probably consume massive amounts of delicious frozen, icy treats (like popsicles or ice pops)- especially during the hotter months. Not only are they refreshing and cool, ice pops are a great way to stay hydrated as well.

I recently discovered Trader Joes Organic Strawberry Lemonade, have you tried it!? If not, go grab a bottle! It is refreshing and sweet (but not too sugary), yet not too tart like some lemonades can be. So, while I was sitting outside watching the kiddo play and enjoying a cool glass, I had an Ah-HA! moment…

Try it frozen!

Yep, I will definitely have this on hand ALL summer long! It’s AWESOME as an ice pop! The bonus for me is that it’s only 28g of sugar per 8oz serving, and since each of our ice pop moulds (from Ikea) are about 2oz each, that means each pop only has about 7g of sugar! Mom for the win!

Plus, these are so easy to make, you feel like you are cheating!

Simple Organic Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

Here is a great, simple DIY frozen “cheat” for you and your kiddos to enjoy on those warmer days!

What you need

What you need:

  • Ice Pop/Popsicle mould with handles/sticks
  • Trader Joes Organic Strawberry Lemonade
  • freezer


Pour Trader Joes Organic Strawberry Lemonade into your Ice Pop/Popsicle mould, put handle cover or stick into top, and pop in the freezer until they are fully frozen.


We usually wait until the next day (about 24 hours) to dig into these tasty treats, but if you can’t wait that long I think about 6 hours should freeze these delectable goodies pretty well.


This awesome frozen “cheat” not only tastes wonderful, it’s a fun way to introduce the kids into the kitchen. Teaching them how to “prep” or “make” something that they can eat is an essential tool for healthy eating habits! It’s something simple that you can do together, with minimal mess and clean up. My little guy was SO proud of himself when he got to enjoy the benefits of all of his hard “work”! Yum!


What are your favorite tasty “cheats”? Do you have recipes that your little ones enjoy helping with? Let’s share!

Until next time…

*Disclaimer: this blog is in no way affiliated with the aforementioned products used in this blog. They are just products that I have found, tried, loved and wanted to share our experiences and thoughts with you about!*

**Please Note: We used 2 different ice pop moulds to make our delicious ice pops, so in the last 2 pictures the handles are different from the first 2 pictures. The first two are from Ikea, and the second two are from the Dollar Store (I think).**