Monica Wants It: A Lifestyle Blog

Monday, October 13, 2014

Living Room Makeover Progress

My living room is the most used/lived in room of the house, and I really feel it's kind of neglected sometimes. A few weeks ago we moved the Barrister Lane tall bookcase we originally bought for the guest room over to the living room, and I think it's improved the space.

We used to have a chintzy console table in this spot, and now we have this beautiful bookcase by Sauder. It holds some photos I took on a NYC trip (I went to the library where Carrie and Big were supposed to get married in SATC), some of my beloved fall pumpkins and some cute photos of the pooch.
[Sauder Bookcase styled in a living room with white + punches of metallics.]
In this one photo above you can see two different ways of styling a bookcase by either using decor + photos or using your existing decor and working in some season pieces like spiders and pumpkins.

A tip when buying furniture is to try to think of at least 2-3 places/rooms you could use the piece. This will give you options should you revamp a room or get tired of seeing everything in the same place all the time.

In the photo below, we actually hid one of our two surround speakers behind the framed photo. You can't even tell, can you?

[Sauder Bookcase styled in a living room with white + punches of metallics.]
Although I love to decorate my home, I do find styling bookcases to be a bit difficult. Nothing ever looks right to me. Anyone else have that issue? I just choose to focus on showcasing things I this photo of myself and Bob Harper from 2011. Hardest. Workout. Ever.

The Sauder bookcase helps set a neutral tone in the room, which is great because it gives all my metallic decor on the bookcase and in the room a chance to really shine.

And Pee Wee seems to favor this corner of the living room--he's in heaven on his luxurious blanket that he won't let any of us use!

I think moving the bookcase in here is really helping me get on track for finally "finishing" this room--I plan to add a gallery wall, recessed lighting, a bar, and hopefully a new chandelier and flooring sometime in 2015. If you want to follow along with my ideas, check out my Home Inspiration Pinterest board!

If you're into the reclaimed wood look and need a big, beefy (heavy!) bookcase, I'd highly recommend this one. We've moved it to 3 different places in 2 different rooms and it's held up beautifully. I'm thinking of adding mirror tiles to the back of each cubby to brighten it up a bit and make it glam.

I'll be back on Wednesday with chronicles of my latest curly haircut mishap. Why, oh why, was I born with the world's most difficult curls?! Sigh.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What if you had 22 days to live?

I think usually I can be heard saying “life is hard” and “life is crazy”, but today I was thinking otherwise. Life is beautiful.

Two evenings ago I was trolling on Facebook, and I saw the story about Brittany Maynard. Essentially, this beautiful 29 year old woman (same age as I), has an awful form of brain cancer and has chosen to die on November 1. Two days after her husband’s birthday.

I cried. And cried. And cried some more.

I won’t go into whether or not I agree with her decision because that is a very personal decision that I am sure she didn’t take lightly. I admire her strength, and I pray for a miracle. I respect her decision to make a decision.

Her story, however, really has haunted me the past 48 hours. Twenty-nine. I could literally be in her shoes.

I am not.

I am not in perfect health judging by my obese stature. But I don’t have a death sentence just yet.

But I am alive, and I am here. My weekends and evenings and days and nights and mornings are spent worrying about work. I check my work email obsessively. I work long hours. I skip lunches, happy hours, and weekend outings. I plan 3-day vacations rather than 1-week vacations in order to avoid inconveniencing people at work. The last real vacation I took with my love was in May 2012. My husband’s vacation request for our 5th year wedding anniversary this May was denied because he had to work on the annual budget. We were simply going to drive 4 hours to Galveston to enjoy a 4-night mini-vacation.

So, we didn’t celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, which to me is a BIG deal. He’s put up with me for five years, y’all. He deserved the vacation.

I don’t know Brittany, but I am pretty sure that she will not spend the last 22 days of her life worrying about her job or her former job. She’s spent it on vacations and with those she loves. Something I forsake in order to work longer and harder. And then it becomes habit and expectation.

Today on this random Thursday evening, I urge everyone to find time to do what you really love with those you love. Life is short, but it sure is beautiful.

Thanks for the reminder, Brittany.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maple Bacon Instant Oatmeal Cookies

I know last week I asked you all to tell me what you all like to see on this blog, and many of you said you all like it when I keep it real. While my most favorite thing to write about is definitely DIY tutorials, I also love to bake and don’t do it as often as I’d like. So this weekend I pulled out the hand mixer and got to work. However, I like to bake things that come together super quick and don’t require a ton of foreign ingredients that I can’t find in Small Town USA.

I had seen the Maple & Brown Sugar with Bacon Instant Oatmeal at H-E-B and had bought some. It caught my eye because, hellooooo bacon, but also because it had a fancy “Primo Pick” tag on it. The Primo Pick tag means it’s new, limited release, you should buy this NOW kind of thing. So, if you have an H-E-B near you and want to find cool new things to eat, look for the Primo Pick tag near the item. The sea salt cashews are a Primo Pick, and we cannot stop eating them. Finding Primo Pick tags has become a new obsession with Daniel and I. We puffy heart food.

So then I kind of chickened out on eating the oatmeal as intended for breakfast….until now. I also got some of this Apple Crisp soda which I’ll talk about in a moment.

Maple Bacon Instant Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Bacon is like the “it'” thing right now all over Pinterest and life in general, but I wanted to use these to make Daniel some tasty oatmeal cookies. He LOVES oatmeal cookies and they’re so quick to throw together. With about 10 minutes of prep + 10 minutes of baking you can have yourself some tasty, gourmet cookies.

Maple Bacon Instant Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Maple Bacon Instant Oatmeal Cookies (Makes about 24-28 small cookies or about 12-16 large cookies)

-6 packs of H-E-B Maple & Brown Sugar with Bacon Instant Oatmeal Packets

-1 cup of all-purpose flour

-1/4 cup of white sugar

-1/2 cup of brown sugar

-1 egg

-1/2 cup of butter (room temperature)

-1 tbsp. of milk

-1/4 tsp of baking powder

-1/2 tsp of baking soda

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add in additional wet ingredients until well mixed. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients together.

-Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

-Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, form little balls of dough and flatten to about a quarter inch thickness (see below). Using a tablespoon makes you a ton of smaller cookies and using 2 tablespoons gives you that big cookie that you can get at the mall. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and crispy. Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Maple Bacon Instant Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Maple Bacon Instant Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

These cookies don’t have in-your-face bacon flavor, but they do have a slight smoky, bacon taste that pairs beautifully with maple and brown sugar. The hubby gives these 2 thumbs up!

Finally, I also convinced my hubby to help me create a fall shandy. The H-E-B Apple Crisp soda has a delicious, sweet natural flavor that I thought would be great in a beer. Being the beer nerd he is, he picked the perfect pairing that even non-beer lovers would enjoy.

Apple Shandy Recipe (Makes about 2-4 servings depending on glass used)

2 Paulaner Beers

2 cans of H-E-B Apple Crisp Soda

-Fill a glass 2/3 of the way with Paulaner beer and fill the remainder of the glass with H-E-B Apple Crisp soda (both are seasonal Primo Picks!). Drink and enjoy!

Fall Apple Shandy Recipe

This drink really foams up a lot, which to me makes for beautiful presentation. You can definitely taste the apple, but it’s not overly sweet so as to make the beer taste awful. It’s a smooth, refreshing drink. The cookies and beer go well together for game day on Sundays.

Fall Apple Shandy Recipe

Hope you all enjoy these recipes! Two weekends ago, my husband and I demolished our fireplace mantle. It was a bit of a “Oh my god, what have we done?!” kind of moment, but this past weekend we finally pulled up our boot straps and got to work on revamping it. You guys…wait until you see it!

I’ll be back with more about that later this week. For now, I’m off to enjoy a conference in Oklahoma where I am getting an award for social marketing! Wooooo! It’s definitely an honor, and I hope I win the gold award.

Although silver or bronze would work, too. It’s just an honor to be nominated.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What Do You Want From Me?

I don’t really mean that to sound as blunt as it does, but I do mean it…as a blog reader what do you want from me? What do you like me to write about?

At the core, this blog started out as a blog about things I wanted, which is very open ended. Which was an intentional move. Then I started focusing more on crafts and DIY home stuff because at MY core it’s what I love. I sprinkled in recipes and weight loss (which kind of contradict each other), and then came sponsored posts and reviews.

I had a reader comment that I had a lot of sponsored posts in a row over the summer, and they’re absolutely right. So, I’ve stopped. I haven’t applied for any opps, I’ve turned away some all in an effort to get back to what I love to do on this blog and that is help readers feel inspired to make their life more beautiful. That can mean creating decor for your home or learning to love yourself right now, this very minute. I want my readers to leave my blog having laughed, been inspired, or learned something. I’ll even take a smile.

There were times when this blog had comments and engagement, and I slowly want to churn out high quality content that will earn your trust again and make you WANT to engage with me on these pages. I won’t lie and say I’ll never do sponsored posts again, but I will be pickier and make sure they’re relevant.

So, if you’re reading this right now, what do you like me to blog about?

Sometimes I am in the midst of a DIY project or idea, and I don’t blog about it because I don’t know if you all like “in progress” posts as well as “reveal” posts. Sometimes I just want to show you all gorgeous decor I see online that is super cheap. Other times I want to rant about something completely random. I want to share my thoughts sometimes even if it’s not a tutorial. I just want to know that my blog can recover and that you’re along for the ride.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, although if you feel like being mean, maybe come back next week. I’m having a rough time right now in my professional life/job so keep it honest, but keep it nice so I don’t go cry in the car while singing Adele songs. That would suck and my mascara burns when I cry.

Much love, hugs, and sparkles,


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