Why You Should Switch to a Toxin-Free Lifestyle.

Look under your kitchen sink, pick out any random cleaning product that you have purchased and use, turn it around and look at the label, I would be safe to bet that you couldn’t tell me what more than maybe three of the ingredients in that bottle are. That’s because companies don’t want you to know exactly what is in their products because some of them might scare you! Environmental experts say that the average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals that we routinely expose our bodies to, from phthalates in synthetic fragrances to noxious fumes in oven cleaners that we willingly heat up! These common ingredients in our household products have been linked to some seriously scary things like asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption, neurotoxicity and the list goes on and on! I know some of you are thinking, if this what such a outright cause of these diseases why hasn’t something been done about it and why are they still being made and used without any second thought? The answer to that question makes me sad, scared and angry all at the same time, manufactures continue that in small amounts these toxic ingredients  aren’t likely to be a problem but you can’t tell me that you use a product once and throw it away and if you have found something that you think works well you go buy more right!? Well that’s the issue, the routine exposure to these chemicals and in combinations of other products you may use with it haven’t been studied and it’s impossible to accurately gage the risks that you are exposing your body to. There is no federal regulations of chemicals in household products nor are they required to meet any safety standards, supply in testing data or notifications in order to bring the product to the market. This is why you see many household products, like Roundup and Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder, come out years later as products that have been substantially linked to cancer.

Ok so now that I have officially freaked you out, let me help you. We are all keepers of our respective households, you control what comes in and what leaves. Now is a better time than ever to ditch and switch your toxic everyday products for mirroring ones that give you the same result without harming your body. Most of the time the excuse people have is that it’s too expensive and you already have the products so you may as well use them and I totally get where you’re coming from because I have been in your shoes but it’s also really not that expensive, and many of the products/cleaners you can make for yourself with other products you already have around your house. I have made the personal choice to add essential oils to my lifestyle because they have so many great benefits that are natural and do not harm my body. My personal choice in an essential oil company is Young Living because I like the platform they stand on and they are 100% upfront and honest with what exactly is in all of their products but not only that, they tell you where each and every product is derived from. This give me a peace of mind knowing that I know exactly what I am breathing in or putting into my body and allows me the freedom to make cleaner choices within my household. I haven’t even mentioned their cleaner but you know how cleaners tell you to induce vomiting or call poison control in chemical is ingested, well Young Living Thieves Cleaner just says to dilute with water. Ummm what?! How crazy is it to know there is a cleaning product out there that is so toxin free that even if it does get ingested all you have to do is drink water to dilute it because your body doesn’t need that much essential oil!

Change is possible people and the time is now to rethink what is under that kitchen sink! You are the keeper of your own home and only you have the power to make a difference in what products come in that door!

Small town feel, big town dreams

Drone View

We just bought our dream home in Peoria. It’s much bigger than our last home and we sold most of our furniture when we moved from St. Louis. Now we know where we’re living, it’s time to pick out some furniture. Check out the pictures from the listing!

Front of house picture
Here is our dream home! I can’t wait until it’s spring and I can see all the great landscaping in bloom!
Second Living room Picture
This room is huge! We are trying to figure out how we want to arrange it.
Kitchen
This is truly my dream kitchen!
Family room picture with fireplace
I can’t wait to have a fire in the fireplace and snuggle up with a good book!
Guest bedroom
One of three guest bedrooms.
Guest bedroom 2 - Pink
Second guest bedroom. There is a third guest bedroom on the upper level too. One of these will inevitably become Kyle’s IU room.
Hall bathroom
I love the decor in this bathroom! The tile in the shower continues the brown and blue theme.
Master bedroom
These rooms are so big! I will probably need a bigger bed!
Master bathroom
The master bathroom has a unique style, and I am all here for it!
Master closet
This closet is a dream!
Laundry Room
A great laundry room with a custom, hand-painted mural. The washer and dryer are practically new!
Basement Bar 2
A shot of the basement bar area. Custom painting, copper sink, mini fridge. A great place for entertaining. The door to the right of the bar holds the utilities and irrigation system controls and a crawl space.
Basement Den Picture
The door at the bottom of the stairs is great unfinished storage with tons of shelves. The den will be a great hangout space. Now we just have to figure out where the foosball table goes.
Basement bedroom
One of many guests bedrooms. There are built-in storage and desk; this room will likely be a guest/craft room.
Basement Bathroom
Elegantly styled basement 3/4 bathroom with custom shower curtain.
Backyard picture 2
Backyard and patio picture. Stunning professionally landscaped backyard. Twinkle lights adorn the pergola with a great wooden swing.
Kitchen Picture 2
Great apron sink, concrete countertops, marble-topped island and a Sub-zero refrigerator.
Kitchen 3
The stove will be my pride and joy! A Viking double oven with a flat top!
Another picture of the kitchen
I am very excited about the Miele coffee system!
Dining room picture
A beautiful chandelier graces the center of the formal dining room.
Study room picture 2
A smaller room which was formerly used as a study or an office. How will we use it?

Let me know if you have any ideas how to arrange the rooms. I am open to suggestions!

How To Make String Art


Are you looking for a cute wall piece to liven up your living room, or a cute meaningful gift for someone that is hard to buy for? Why spend a ton of money at a department stores for decorations or gifts, when you could simply make them yourself!

I have always been one for arts and crafts, and with pinterest constantly filling my head with crafty ideas and do it yourself projects, string art just looked and sounded something cool to do! If you know how to handle a hammer and can tie a knot, this project should be easy and fun.

Here are my steps start to finish to help you to successfully make a beautiful and one of a kind string art project perfect for a gift, or simply as a decoration in your own home. Trust me, people will be asking where you got them.

 

Lets Get Started!

 


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

First you must decide what kind of material you would like to work with( wood, canvas, etc.), and collect all of the supplies you will need. In this project, here is a list of the supplies used:

  • Wood (size is optional, however it must be at least a half inch thick to ensure nails can be        hammered deep enough to prevent them from coming loose)
  • Nails- (16mm-25.4mm long)
  • String (color is optional)
  • Printed string art pattern or stencil
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Wood Stain (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

 

 


Step 2: Hammer Time!

For this project, I chose to print out an outline, and tape it to my surface. If you would rather, you can draw the image straight on the surface, and follow the lines that way. The benefit of taping your outline onto the board is that you can remove the stencil later on and not have unwanted lines left behind. It also makes following the pattern very simple and easy.

As you can see in the pattern above, the lines are quite complex. If this is your first time attempting string art, I would suggest a less intricate stencil, and work your way up to more difficult patterns.

When hammering the nails, space them about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart.

Once you have finished hammering, go back through and make sure each nail is secure. This is VERY important to do to ensure that while stringing, the nails will not be pulled out, or loosen. This is also crucial to do before the outline is removed because when pulling the outline off, nails that are not secure will come out.

After removing the outline, I chose to stain the piece of wood in order to create a more bold background for the string to stand out from. This step is optional, however, it definitely adds to the piece.

 


Step 3: Ready, Set, STRING!

For this project, I decided to do a thick cross string pattern.

Essentially, there is no pattern to follow, simply begin by tying a double knot around one nail, this will be your starting point. Be sure to leave a long tail to connect your end piece of string with. From there, create the outline for your pattern by looping the string around the outer points of the pattern.

Once you have the outline strung up, begin crossing the string through out out the nails and fill in the pattern. Decide whether you want your pattern to look more ‘holey’, meaning the board beneath is visible, or more filled in where you cannot see the board.


Step 4: Finishing Touches

This step is just for tying up all the loose ends. (Literally)

Be sure that the string is tight and you have gotten the look you want. For extra securing purposes, use a hot glue gun to glue the two trimmed end pieces that are tied together. This is of course optional, however it does help the piece to last for years to come.

Katie Buckley is a University of Montana Senior in pursuit of a Marketing Degree as well as a certificate in Event Management. She loves Pinterest and gains a lot of her DIY inspiration from the creativity of others and hopes to share her own ideas projects with the world and inspire others.

Montana: by a Northern Californian

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-47-46-amIt is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).

“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan

“Sacramento, California!” – Me

“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan

“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me

Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”

I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.

By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor

5 Things I’ve Learned From Moving

AirplaneWing

Over the course of my lifetime I’ve made three major moves across the country. To some people moving is ridiculous. They cannot believe I’ve had to leave the town I grew up in! At the same time, there are people that don’t bat an eye at this many moves because they had already moved ten times by the time they were in high school. However you might look at it, I view this as a pretty cool experience in my life because every place I’ve lived has been so unique and different from the last.

For me, it all started in the Midwest, Northwestern Iowa, to be exact. Then, my family moved south to Tennessee. Now, we are located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. I hated moving at the time. It felt like being torn away from everything I had known and learned. Now, looking back, I am so glad that I was able to experience these different parts of our country. I feel it has given me great perspective. So, I would like to share with you all 5 things I’ve learned from moving.

  1. Beauty is Everywhere
    Depending on where you grew up, you probably have different connotations of beauty and where it is or isn’t. For example, when I was growing up in NW Iowa I thought that the lakes around that area, where my family used to go camping, were gorgeous! Now this isn’t to bell lakesay that they aren’t in their own way, but my standards have changed a little since I’ve hiked to the top of a few mountains in Montana. With that being said, if you spend enough time in any area, you will be able to find some beautiful views, people or experiences (however, it might be easier in some places than others).
  1. Most Stereotypes are Bullsh*t
    In this day and age, you can’t really stereotype any group of people or place. America is one huge melting pot with all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Whatever stereotype used to be, is probably no more. Iowans don’t only eat corn and not all Montanans ride horses.
  1. Southern Hospitality is a Real Thing
    I realize this contradicts my previous point but, can you prove me wrong? If you haven’t been “Down South” you need to go to experience how nice a person can be. The majority of “Southerners” are raised to be respectful and welcoming. It’s infectious too! When you have children and adults alike addressing you as “Sir” or “Ma’am” all day long, you start doing the same. All of us “Northerners” can take a lesson or two from these tea drinkers.
  1. Rednecks are Everywhere
    Whatever you define a “redneck” as, I promise you they are not bound by any state line. I’ve seen bird dogs, fishing poles and garages full of tools and beer in every state I’ve visited. If you think rednecks are scarce where you live, just go down to any gas station that sells worms in the same cooler as drinks and wait ten minutes. Listen for a diesel.
  1. Family is Consistent
    The older you get the more you will begin to realize that your family is one of the most consistent things in your life. Whether you move with or without your family. When you start a new job and hang out with new people in a new place, one day you will call your mom or dad and, most likely, IMG_1805talk about the same old things. Which is nice when everything else around you is moving at 100 mph. I have definitely learned to better appreciate my family and all that they do/have done for me the older I get. This lesson really rings true when moving away from family. You know the old adage, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” Mom’s cooking and dad’s stories are a couple things that fall into this category.

Don’t get me wrong, I have learned more than 5 things in 23 years, I just think these are a few of the good ones. Agree or disagree? Let me know what you think!

Written by: Nate Christoffels