Refreshing Our Front Door

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, which you know I do pretty rarely, so I promise it’s a good one! I couldn’t pass this one up and I’m excited to share! 

I’m pretty hesitant to do sponsored posts around here. I know they can be annoying for readers (I read a ton of blogs myself, so I get it!) but I think they’re a great tool when they’re done well. I mean, who doesn’t love to learn about awesome new things? So, when I got an email about reviewing a Kwikset SmartCode 913, I was very intrigued. My sister has a similar lock on her front door (and has had it for years) and her family loves it…and I’ve always thought it was so cool.

As intrigued as I was about my sister’s lock, I never really thought we’d be interested in having one ourselves, until a couple of weeks ago. Corey and I carpool to work, which means that every day one of us ends up with the car and drops the other one off. Well, our car doesn’t require the key to be inserted in order to drive (it just has to be in the car with you) and I happen to have an extra car key in my purse. But no extra house key. So one day during the insanely hectic first week of school, I was rushing out of my classroom to pick up Corey and Jackson and I left the actual key ring (with the house key) laying on my desk at work. But, of course, I was still able to get home because I had the extra car key in my purse. So, when we got home and suddenly realized we didn’t have a key to get in the house, we weren’t pleased, to say the least. We managed to break into our house, but it was seriously inconvenient and would have been disastrous if we hadn’t been able to break in (we would have had to drive the 25 minutes back to my school, which isn’t fun with a tired, cranky, just-wants-to-be-home husband baby).

So needless to say, when I saw that email I knew we had to try it out.

I was also excited about this little project because I took it as a kick in the pants to get a few other things done to our front door that I’ve been itching to do for a while. Corey and I are pretty good about keeping the inside of our house looking clean, nice, and updated, but the outside? Not so much. We’re those neighbors with the constantly overgrown lawn and bushes, and no matter how hard we try to stay on top of it all we are constantly falling behind. So I decided that with this new lock, we were also going to upgrade a few things on the front of our house and make things look at least a little bit nicer out there. Because, really, when this is what you’re working with, it’s not that hard to make improvements:

Lovely. I absolutely love our yellow door but it was looking a bit worse for the wear (yellow is hard to keep clean!) and the porch light has driven me crazy since the day we moved in. Add to that the out-of-control bushes (not pictured, but trust me when I say you don’t want to see them) and the random crap we have laying around out there (I honestly have no idea why the gas can is there, but it’s been there at least a month!) and you’ve got the perfect formula for the ugliest front porch ever.

What I really wanted to do was re-paint the front door and trim, and completely re-do the flower bed in the front. But to be quite frank we have higher priorities in our house, like the fact that our bathroom is still in complete shambles. So I made myself keep the projects limited to things that could be completed in an afternoon, and for a minimal amount of money. On the agenda?

  • Cleaning the front door
  • Cleaning the porch
  • Putting away the gas can (why is it there??!)
  • Changing out the porch light
  • Changing out the doorbell button

There were a ton more things I would have liked to take on, but this was a good start. Corey worked on installing the new lock while I cleaned the door, and I was surprised at how quick the process was – he was done in about 20 minutes!

It was a very straightforward install, and thankfully the new lock matches our door handle pretty perfectly. The instructions were clear and easy to follow (though honestly, Corey barely even looked at them since it was all so basic) and I think the hardest part of the whole process was deciding what code we wanted to use. You can program up to 16 different codes (so you can have a master code that only you know, plus codes for different people who may need to get into your house), but we’ve only got one in for now.

We both held our breath a little when it was time to test it out, but it worked perfectly! I’m pretty excited to not have to fumble with a key every time we come home (it’s a pain when you’re holding a baby and a million other things), and locking the door is just the press of a button now. I love it! You can, of course, still use a regular key with it, but I’m looking forward to just keeping my key ring in my purse for now…between the car not needing me to insert the key and now the house not needing a key, I’m feeling pretty excited!

You can set it to automatically lock after 30 seconds, but we’ve got that function turned off for now – our door is old and clunky, and you have to press on it in order to get it to lock. So, when we eventually replace this door, we’ll probably use that…it’s an awesome function when you’ve got little ones running around!

We’ve only had the lock installed for a little over a week, but we’re big fans already. I feel pretty good about us continuing to like it long-term, since my sister is still using hers after quite a while!

As for the rest of the makeover? Well, it’s nothing drastic, but I think our entryway is looking a bit more taken care of. You saw the before, but did you notice that rusty, disgusting doorbell? I almost felt bad making people use it…

Now it’s nice and shiny and new. We need to caulk the edges still because it doesn’t fit exactly like the old one did, but it’s looking so much better now!

And, of course, we have the new lights. These probably made the biggest impact since they were replacing awful, rusted fixtures that were obviously from the ’80s. These new ones make a huge difference!

Overall I’m pretty thrilled with this little mini makeover! We obviously still have a long way to go (new paint on, um, everything, new plants in the beds out front, and a new door!) but this makes the whole thing a lot more tolerable in the meantime. And there are no words for how nice it is to not have to fight with a key when I’m getting home from work and trying to juggle carrying all of my stuff and Jackson – pressing those little buttons is so much easier!

Would you ever have a keyless entry for your house? Anyone else do any mini updates this weekend?

Sponsor Love: April

Ahh – April is finally almost over. It’s been a long month for me, and with summer right around the corner I’ve had a hard time being patient. Luckily, May is almost upon us and that means there are only a few weeks until my glorious summer begins!

The end of the month means it’s time to give a quick shout out to all of the fabulous companies we work with. As a disclaimer, any companies you click on (other than Sparefoot) are affiliate links, which means if you purchase something, we get a small commission. And now, let’s get to it!

sparefoot storage facilities

SpareFoot is basically the only way to ever find storage if you’re looking to unload some stuff from your garage or attic. They’ve got a fantastic database of every kind of storage facility you can think of, and you can browse around until you find the perfect one for you.  These guys make self-storage completely foolproof, and they’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you’re looking for a way to get rid of some of that extra junk you have lying around! I’m also a little bit more in love with this company after this past week – they’ve been donating storage units to families who were affected by the explosion in West, Texas. I love a company that gives back!

I just recently discovered Craftsy, and I am so excited that it exists. They’ve got a selection of online classes for all things crafty – as of right now, their classes focus mostly on sewing and quilting, but there are also classes on cooking, cake decorating, and lots of other home-decor-related topics. I’m basically in love with it. They give you a free sample class just for signing up and they give you a discount on your first class. They’re constantly adding new classes – I’m dying to try the “Drab to Fab Furniture Upcycling” class! You should definitely check ‘em out!

Oh, Blurb. I love them. I love them so much. I know I say this almost every month, but Blurb is the only company I’ll trust with my photo albums – I’ve tried several different photo companies and Blurb is the only one that consistently delivers flawless books that I’m incredibly proud to display in my home. We use them every time we need a new photo album (which is more often than you might think) and I’m never disappointed. LOVE them. They’ve got a 20% off sale on Mother’s Day gift books right now until May 10…perfect Mother’s Day gift!

One Kings Lane is an amazing flash sale site that has a ton of ridiculously amazing items from various designers and companies. The products they offer are stunning and it’s never the same stuff more than a few days in a row, so if you see something you love, act fast! I love that I can visit their site every day and always find something new. They’re amazing!

Layla Grace is another company whose items I covet regularly. They’re kinda similar to One Kings Lane (they offer items from a ton of different designers and brands), with a slightly higher-end feel, and there is never any shortage of amazing things to browse on their website! There’s a great sale on wedding gifts right now (it is wedding season, after all) and you can get $20 off of $100!

ModCloth offers a ton of cute clothes, accessories, and home decor items. I love their stuff and have purchased from them a few times in the past – and I’m never disappointed! The clothes they sell are very high quality and the fit is awesome – their dress selection is always out of this world and I browse it regularly during the warmer months…I’m a total dress girl!

And those are our lovely and wonderful and amazing sponsors! Give ‘em some love because they are pretty much the best sponsors a girl could ask for!

Sponsor Love: March

With how slooooowly February went by for us, I’m shocked that we’re ALREADY almost to the end of March! One month closer to summer…can you tell I’m excited?

Today’s the day we do a quick roundup of all the awesome people who support us here at Love & Renovations by giving a shoutout to our fabulous sponsors. Check ‘em out and give them some love – they’re all amazing!

sparefoot storage facilities

SpareFoot is a pretty ingenious company – it’s one that most people may not have heard of yet, but trust me when I say they’re awesome. The whole idea behind their website is that if you’re looking for a place to store some extra stuff around you’re house, they’re the place to go. They’ve got a huge database of storage facilities that you can search by area (or a ton of other criteria) to find the one that would work best for you. They’ve got reviews, deals, and tons of details so you can be sure you’re picking the right place to keep your stuff safe safe. This is such a fantastic resource to make sure you’re putting your things in good hands, and I love that it exists! If you’re interested in a bit of (seriously entertaining and occasionally hilarious) storage-related blogging, you can check out their blog. I kind of love it!

 

I just recently discovered Craftsy, and I am so excited that it exists. They’ve got a selection of online classes for all things crafty – as of right now, their classes focus mostly on sewing and quilting, but there are also classes on cooking, cake decorating, and lots of other home-decor-related topics. I’m basically in love with it, and I can’t wait to try a class out! They give you a free sample class just for signing up (I haven’t taken mine yet – I’ve been so busy with this competition – but I can’t wait to!) and they give you a discount on your first class. They’re constantly adding new classes – I’m dying to try the “Drab to Fab Furniture Upcycling” class! You should definitely check ‘em out!

Layla Grayce is one of the best places to go if you’re looking for amazing stuff for your house. They’ve got some of the most gorgeous lighting, accessories, and furniture ever, and I’m regularly inspired by the drool-worthy images all over their site. They’ve amazing, and you should absolutely check them out of if you haven’t before. They’ve currently got 15% off all of their throw pillows – go check out the sale!

 

Oh, Blurb. I love them. I love them so much. I know I say this almost every month, but Blurb is the only company I’ll trust with my photo albums – I’ve tried several different photo companies and Blurb is the only one that consistently delivers flawless books that I’m incredibly proud to display in my home. Basically all of our photo books are from them, and I continue to use them over and over – obsessed! And, of course, they’ve always got some sort of awesome deal going on – like 15% off of your book with the code SPRING15OFF and 20% off of one of their new Designer books with the code DESIGNMYBOOK – both are good through the end of the month, so use ‘em quick!

This site is basically  the mecca of all things amazing for your house. Seriously. I check One Kings Lane on a pretty much daily basis to drool over their sales (they’ve got rotating flash sales that change all the time, so it’s always something new!) and I’m consistently surprised by how well-priced their stuff is. They’ve got some seriously awesome deals on some seriously gorgeous stuff, so if this site isn’t currently on your must-check-every-day list, add it now!

 

I’m a huge fan of ModCloth - they have some amazing clothes and accessories, including dresses that are so cute they kind of make me want to cry. And I can speak personally to the quality of their clothes – they’re extremely high-quality and I adore how they fit. Even better, they have some seriously amazing home decor that you don’t want to miss out on.

And those are our lovely and wonderful and amazing sponsors! Give ‘em some love because they are pretty much the best sponsors a girl could ask for!

Containing Cord Clutter: A MOS Organizer Review

Okay, it’s time to get real today and talk about some of the not-so-pretty parts of our house.

Like this.

UGH.

Corey and I have quite a few electronic gadgets that we use all of the time in our living room, and unfortunately the cords for keeping them all charged and ready to use are less than easy on the eyes. We both have laptops, and Corey also has an iPad that we like to be able to have charged at any time, so that leads to quite the mess of cords next to our couch, and I don’t know about you guys but I’m not a fan of the tangled up cord look.

Luckily, we’re able to hide the majority of them behind our curtains, which means that they aren’t too visible most of the time. But what happens when we actually want to use them? We have to go digging around behind the couch to find the plug, and that usually means that everything gets pulled out from behind the curtains and we have a big mess on our hands all over again.

It also means that we usually just leave the cord hanging on our couch, which leads to this super-cute look.

It gets old. Fast.

So, when I got an email from MOS (Magnetic Organization System) asking if I wanted to check out their cord organizer and review it, I jumped at the chance. You guys know me – I don’t do a lot of reviews, and when I do it’s only if I’m truly excited about a product, so you’ve gotta know this one is good.

Basically, it’s this cute little aluminum guy (they also come in white and black) that is magnetic and holds all of our cords in one place. It’s a simple concept but it makes our lives oh-so-much easier, and I’m a big fan of it. They even send along these cute little color-coded tags that have magnets in them, just in case your cords aren’t magnetized. This means that when we’re done using a plug, we can just toss it back on our little MOS and it’ll stay there, nice and out of sight, until we need it again. And we no longer have the cord-hanging-over-the-couch look going on, which makes me very happy.

The other cool part? It comes with a 3M adhesive circle that you can stick to the back of the organizer so that you can attach it to the wall (or the side of a desk, or wherever you want it) so that you don’t have to take up your table space if you’re limited on room!

This little guy has definitely been a huge help in keeping our cord craziness a little more contained, and I no longer have to spend five minutes digging around the couch to find my laptop plug when I need it, which is fabulous! I’m definitely a fan.

How do you keep your cords contained?

Disclaimer: The people at MOS sent me an organizer to review, but all the opinions are totally mine, and I wouldn’t be talking about it if I didn’t actually use it and love it! 

Sponsor Love: February

February is just about over. One more day. FINALLY. Is it just me or is the shortest month of the year the one that feels the longest? I swear, there was a point where I was completely convinced that February was never going to end. But finally, it is going to…which is awesome, since it means that March is going to get started and spring break is officially on the horizon. 

But, we’re not finished with February yet – one more day! And, since it’s the end of the month, that also means it’s time for our monthly round-up of our awesome sponsors, and time to give you a chance to check ‘em all out and give them some love. Let’s get to it!

To kick us off this morning, I’m introducing a brand new affiliate that I’m incredibly excited about – Craftsy!

I just recently discovered Craftsy, and I’m thrilled about it. They’ve got a selection of online classes for all things crafty – as of right now, their classes focus mostly on sewing and quilting, but there are also classes on cooking, cake decorating, and lots of other home-decor-related topics. I’m basically in love with it, and I can’t wait to try a class out! You get a free sample class just for signing up (you get to choose it – I chose the “Sewing Machine 911″ class, since I seem to break every sewing machine I come into contact with), and they give you a discount on your first class. I have full intentions of trying out a class very soon (I’m thinking about the container gardening class!) and I’ll be sure to come back and report how awesome it is. I am so excited about this – want to try it out with me?

sparefoot storage facilities

 SpareFoot is one of my sponsors that people have typically never heard of, and I’m telling you – you need to know about them! IF you ever have a need for extra storage around your house (and really, who doesn’t?) then SpareFoot may be able to help you out. They’re all about making storage for all of your furniture and accessories (or whatever else you’ve got laying around) as easy and headache-free as possible. You can search their huge database of storage facilities (including storage for things like cars or wine!) and read reviews, find deals, and scope the place out entirely to make sure it’s a good fit for you before you choose which place to store your stuff in. I feel like trusting a company to keep all of your extra furniture and memories safe is a pretty big deal, and having a site like this to make sure you can do all of your research first is huge. They’ve also got a pretty hilarious blog that I read pretty regularly. Who knew a storage facility blog could be so entertaining?

Cutting Edge Stencils is an amazing site that carries tons of gorgeous stencils that you can use on your walls, your furniture, or anythign else you can possibly want to stencil. We’ve used ‘em before in our own house and absolutely love the product, so I can recommend them wholeheartedly!  Their stencils are so well-made, beautiful, and incredibly easy to use – and Cutting Edge makes it even more simple for you with their how-to videos (they totally saved my life when I was doing my own) and their blog that will give you a ton of ideas if you want to use a stencil but can’t decide what to paint!

And, of course, Cutting Edge Stencils has offered Love & Renovation readers a 10% discount just for being awesome! Just enter “LR10″ at checkout to save some cash!

Layla Grayce is one of the best places to go if you’re looking for amazing stuff for your house. They’ve got some of the most gorgeous lighting, accessories, and furniture ever, and I’m regularly inspired by the drool-worthy images all over their site. They’ve amazing, and you should absolutely check them out of if you haven’t before.

 

Oh, Blurb. I love them. I love them so much. I know I say this almost every month, but Blurb is the only company I’ll trust with my photo albums – I’ve tried several different photo companies and Blurb is the only one that consistently delivers flawless books that I’m incredibly proud to display in my home. We just got yet another book from them a couple of weeks ago (our 2012 family yearbook) and it’s once again completely flawless. Love them! And, of course, they’ve always got some sort of awesome deal going on – like 15% off of your book (through today…use it fast!) with the code SAVE15. 

This site is basically  the mecca of all things amazing for your house. Seriously. I check One Kings Lane on a pretty much daily basis to drool over their sales (they’ve got rotating flash sales that change all the time, so it’s always something new!) and I’m consistently surprised by how well-priced their stuff is. They’ve got some seriously awesome deals on some seriously gorgeous stuff, so if this site isn’t currently on your must-check-every-day list, add it now!

 

I’m a huge fan of ModCloth - they have some amazing clothes and accessories, including dresses that are so cute they kind of make me want to cry. And I can speak personally to the quality of their clothes – they’re extremely high-quality and I adore how they fit. Even better, they have some seriously amazing home decor that you don’t want to miss out on.

And those are our lovely and wonderful and amazing sponsors! Give ‘em some love because they are pretty much the best sponsors a girl could ask for!