Cleaning up my dirty little secret with the best handheld vacuum around

Car Interior Quick Cleaning Guide -

Thank you to BLACK+DECKER for sponsoring this post and giveaway

It’s confession time.  I have a dirty little secret.  It’s my car. So apparently it’s a dirty big SUV-shaped secret. I cannot seem to keep that thing orderly or clean.  At all.  I clean out the grocery bag full of trash once (or twice) a week… but I cannot get myself to the car wash to get it vacuumed and pulling the dyson out to the garage is too much! Working moms have so many other things on their plates.  Vacuuming my car takes a very low priority.  And how sad, look how much this hardworking mobile trash can vehicle does for me:

SUV as mobile storage -

Childs things in back seat -

-hauler of my groceries
-keeper of my returns
-child’s toy box
-child’s wardrobe (jackets and shoes are overrated)
-child’s library

This is not even to mention that the front seat of this car is my P.S.D.U (personal starbucks disposal unit), mobile office, and mini emergency first aid center (conveniently located in front of the passenger seat, commonly known as a glove box.) I seriously couldn’t bring myself to show you that hot mess.

The intensity of this mess might be because I am feeling seriously stressed right now between the upcoming move… which keeps getting delayed due to seller needing time to fix things (ugh), our recent miscarriage, working part time, working here on illistyle (which is the least stressful and most fun of this list), and preparing to leave for 4 days to go to SNAP! Confrence (which might tie for most fun.) But I am feeling a bit stretched and in need of sanity and short-cuts.  So crockpot dinners are regular around here. So is this:

Quick Car Cleaning Essentials -

This is my quick car cleaning essentials kit.  Glass wipes, baby wipes, and the BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac. This is the best handheld vacuum I have used.  It is super powerful, and the head pivots so it can get into tight spaces. PLUS – all the filter and catch cup components are washable! A mother’s dream.

Here’s what I do to get the interior of my car in acceptable shape in the time it takes to pump gas:

1. Gather all trash into a grocery bag (or two… I keep extras in my glove box) and toss it out

2. Use Glass wipes to remove the gooey finger prints from the windows of the back seat

3. Use baby wipes to remove the dried juice spills from the inside of the backdoors, the plastic of the car seat, your kid’s face, maybe your face, – I have been there, I am not judging.*

4. Use the BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac to get the cereal, discarded stickers, and general debris that gravitates around young children from your floorboards, child’s carseat, and let’s be honest: your seat too.

5. Dump that debris right into the gas station trash can.

6. When you get home, put the vacuum back on the charger and then it’s ready when you need it for whatever else life throws at you :)

That’s it. So easy. Here’s how the vacuum works, in case you are skeptical:

BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac preformance -

The vac picked up a small beach worth of sand from my floor boards.  Check out what it got from the front seat area alone:

BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac review -

BLACK+DECKER handheld Pivot Vac -

That’s like 1/2 cup of Dirty McDirtness that was just hanging out and getting kicked up whenever I got in/out of my car or opened the windows, or shifted my feet… and a Kix. Apparently it found it’s way from the back seat to the front. Whatever.

BLACK+DECKER handheld Pivot Vac review and giveaway -

I am loving the time this is saving me, not to mention my sanity. You guys know how I am in my home, things are clean. Now my car can be clean too without me having to go to the Car Wash and pay big $$$ or dragging out the Dyson.  Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Want to stop cleaning and start living?  You can win a BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac too! Enter via the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Open to US and Canada only.  04/23/14-05/07/14. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

This post and giveaway were generously sponsored by BLACK+DECKER, opinions are strictly my own.

*Some people might be concerned using baby wipes on their vehicle’s interior.  Personally, I am ok with it.  There are wipes designed specifically for car interiors, but as a mom, baby wipes work just fine for me.   Mood Board Living Room -  Call for Contributors -

Embroidery Hoop Light Fixture   New Living Room Mood Board   Call for Contributors

Neutral Kid’s Bath Step Stool

Thank you to FolkArt and Ed Roth’s Stencil1 for sponsoring this post

Neutral Kids Step Stool in Greige and glitter crown stencil -

I have been wanting to repaint my little three-legged step stool ever since we moved in January. (Here’s the first paint job I gave it last year in this post)

eyelet lace design painted step stool -

The pastels and eyelet lace design I hand inked last year was cute in our sage green bathroom in our last rental (see photos here) but it was NOT working in my new white and neutral bath.

neutral bathroom panoramic -

Plus, the pastel colors showed all of Ava’s dirty little feet marks and toe prints. Which are precious but make for more cleaning for mama… and let’s be honest, I do not love having to wipe down the step stool every single day. I knew I wanted a fun greige like my favorite nail polish, Essie Chinchilly:

image source

 But I could not find the color I wanted. So I decided to create a custom greige color from these FolkArt shades:

How to custom blend greige paint -

Equal parts Parchment, Caffee Latte, and Medium Gray worked for me.  You may need to adjust your proportions to get the shade you love, but it is there, in all it’s warm greyness, just waiting for you.  And these paints work on more than just wood… glass, metal, indoor, outdoor.  My greige is super versatile. That’s why I saved it in a cupcake baking liner cup for future use (if you follow me on instagram then you saw that photo already.)

To redo my stool, first I lightly sanded with 180 grit paper and wiped with a damp cloth to remove the dust. Then did two coats of the custom greige.  Here’s a progress shot as I apply the second coat. Check out the greigy goodness of the previously pastel stool:

Greige and glitter step stool -

Since this is “Ava’s stool” I knew I needed to bring a little of her personality into it…  thats is where Ed Roth’s Stencil1 crown stencil comes in. It is so very regal.

Ed RothStencil1 reusable crown stencil -

Unlike some other stencils I have used in the past, these are durable, reusable mylar that don’t deteriorate.  They are very is easy to clean too.  After this project was complete Ava decided that she needed to use this stencil for a crayon master piece.  The crayon wax wiped away with some hot water and a rag.  Which is great because I really like this design and could see myself using again, specifically for Ava’s room.

Greige and glitter crown step stool -

I decided to give the stencil the royal treatment with some FolkArt Extreme  Glitter in Champagne.  Can we just talk about how my 4 year old and I both LOVE glitter.  I think it’s something I will never outgrown.  My love may wax and wane, but it never dies completely. Look how enamored she is in the above photo. Love her.

Neutral Kids Bath Step Stool -



Neutral Kid's Bath Step Stool -


These stencils are great to work with, and are available at JoAnn’s Fabric & Craft Stores.

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

This post was sponsored by Plaid FolkArt and Ed Roth Stencil1. All opinions are 100% my own.

Plaid : Blog // How to repair a leaking car or SUV sunroof at home for under $5 -   DIY Spring English Garden Wreath -   Roatan Rum Punch -

How to Fix a Leaking Sun Roof   English Garden Wreath   Roatan Rum Punch

How to fix a leaky sunroof

How to fix a leaking sunroof inexpensively -

I have had two Toyota 4Runners in my life. I have had the same issue with both: a leaky sunroof. Here’s the part that causes trouble:

How to fix a Sunroof Leak issue on Toyota 4Runner -


Here’s a view from directly beneath the open sunroof, as you can see, there is just a straight up hole in my sunroof… lame.

Sunroof rubber seal seperation issue and how to fix it -

Over time, expose to the elements causes the seam of the sunroof seal to separate and causes a leak whenever it rains, or I drive through the car wash, or my child gets cray with the garden hose. The first time it happened I took it to the dealership. They handed me a $600 estimate for repairs. Apparently, Toyota doesn’t make a replacement seal, they have to replace the entire piece of glass which already has the seal attached – it’s a packaged deal. But since I knew I could fix t for under $5 (thats a savings of over 80%!) I said no thanks. So this method is doubly tried and true because it lasted 5 years on my first car, and now has lasted over a month on this car and I am not anticipating any issues.

Here’s how you fix it:

Loctite silicon caulking for home repair of a leaking sunroof -

Yep, silicone caulking.  I like to use clear. And “aquarium safe” – cuz if it is good enough to withstand the water pressure of a fish tank then some rain should not be a problem.

I also suggest you have a paper towel handy.

How to repair a leaking car or SUV sunroof at home -


How to repair a leaking car or SUV sunroof at home for under $5 -

I like to squeeze the caulking into the seam, and then smooth with my finger.  I then use the paper towel to clean my finger and touch up the seam if needed.  I suggest you also do the top of the sunroof seam (on top of the car) for added protection.  It is best to follow the package directions regarding drying time, but to be honest, this time I did not… and took the car out in the rain only 1 hour later.  Still, all is good and there are no more leaks.

Have you ever done your own car repairs? Any tricks for us?

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

(I am not an auto mechanic, nor do I guarantee this method will work for everyone and every vehicle, but I have tested this method twice and have had great success)

DIY Spring English Garden Wreath -   how to fix a broken book spine -   Printable-Animal-Mask-Templates

English Garden Wreath  How to Fix a Broken Book Spine   Free Animal Mask Templates

DIY Word Banners

DIY Word Banner

What?! I am in shock – It’s been two years already? I also feel like – Wait, it’s only been two years?! lol. But yes, illistyle has been bring your crafts and DIY for the creative home for two years exactly.  I have made amazing friends (some of whom I have yet to meet face-to-face) and I have loved getting to know you guys and your stories.  I decided to throw myself a little blogiversary party, so I spruced up the office with this banner:

illistyle banner - illistyle.comI love it and it was so simple to make. Check it out:

text banner supplies - illistyle.comI found these “Chipboard Alpha” letter packets in the dollar spot at Target. Score!  I bought three because “illistyle” has 3 “L”s in it.  So I have to have 3 packs since there is one of each letter to a pack.  Also grab some yarn or string and tape.

how to create word banners - illistyle.comI just flipped my letters over and (and reversed the order) and then layed the string over the backs and taped them on. Easy peasy. (obviously these letters are spelling something else… you will see soon, promise.)

Here it is in the office looking all cute:

illistyle office banner -


I love the simplicity.

Ok, so the party decor is pretty simple, but I am going out to dinner, so that’s celebrating right? :)

I would love to hear: What would you do/have you done for your blogiversaries?

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

Multi Color and Burlap Pom Pom Wreath -   10 Resume Tips from an HR Rep -   cWild for You Non-candy Valentine Treat -

Multi-color Pom Pom Wreath   10 Resume Tips   Non-Candy Valentines




Blogger Business Cards – How to make a lasting impression

Happy Friday friends! This week has flown by as I have been watching the son of our dear friend while the mom (my amiga) is in Washington on business and the dad is working locally. I have such a greater respect of moms with more than one child now.  Managing one preschooler is tough, but two… that’s some serious emotional energy. Props to you moms of multiple kiddos.  I might join your ranks some day – Lord willing.  But needless to say – hey ho it’s Friday! I am over at Plucky’s Second Thought today sharing my thoughts on what to include on your Blog Business Cards.  This is a HUGE series she is doing all about the do’s/dont’s tips and tricks of blogging. So if you are a blogger or you have questions about blogging as a business – Will you join me there?

What to include on your blog business card -

 creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

DIY Chocolate Coffee Spoons for all relationship statuses -  breathe-smaller  top-5-craft-supplies

Valentines Chocolate Coffee Spoons   Devotional Review   5 Craft Supplies Every Home Needs

DIY Valentine’s Coffee Spoons

DIY Valentine's Day Craft Chocolate Coffee Spoons -

Sometimes the simple acts are the sweetest. Like a coffee date. Why not sweeten the deal with these simple DIY Valentine’s Day Chocolate Coffee Spoons? They are an easy craft to do the day before and make a big impact. You can make them for all your relationship statuses or just for that special someone to show them how you really feel.

Maybe some sweet xoxos for the one you adore?

xoxo chocolate coffee spoons -


or something more platonic for those you just kind of like?

patonic valentines chocolate coffee spoons -

or maybe some sweet hearts for your sweet heart?

heart sprinkle chocolate coffee spoon DIY -

or… show your spouse your intentions (I am not judging, get it girl!)

crazy love chocolate coffee spoons -


Valentine’s Day Chocolate Coffee Spoon Recipe

Wax or parchment paper
Plastic Spoons (or you could use your own silverware)
Chocolate (for candy molds)
Double boiler (or pot with glass bowl on it)
Optional: Tiny cookie cutters

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside
Melt chocolate in double boiler
Dip spoons into chocolate to coat completely, ensuring a lot of chocolate remains in the bowl of the spoon
Set on parchment to dry
Using sprinkles, decorate spoons as desired
Refrigerate overnight (let’s be honest a few hours should do it)

DIY valentines choclate coffee spoon supplies -


How to make chocolate coffee spoons at home -

Valentines Chocolate Coffee Spoon decoration with tiny cookie cutters -


DIY Chocolate Coffee Spoons for all relationship statuses -


What would you say to your Valentine?

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

Valentines-Day-Sangria-in-a-pitcher   DIY Owl Hand Warmers with PDF Pattern -   25 Paleo Cookie Recipes -

Valentine’s Day Sangria   DIY Owl Handwarmers   Paleo Cookie Recipes

Shared at: SITS Girls, DIY Dreamer

Brown Paper Packages Tree Garland Advent Calendar

brown paper packages advent calendar tree garland -

Advent Calendars – do you do them? We do. And this year’s calendar is so cute.  I made an inexpensive one from paper lunch sacks and number stickers.

Materials Needed:

Number stickers
4-5 brown papaer lunch sacks (I only needed 4, but 5 would be good for any mistakes/sewing errors)
Thread & sewing machine

Brown Paper Packages Mini Advent Calendar / Christmas Tree Garland -


Cut the bottoms off the paper bags.

brown paper packages advent calendar tree garland -

Lay the bags flat (two-ply bag) and cut into strips.

Christmas Tree Garland Advent Calendar Countdown - illistyle.comDiscard the center strip and then cut the side strips into thirds, horizontally.

Christmas Tree Garland Advent Calendar Countdown - illistyle.comSew up the bottom and side of the strip and fill with goodies.

Christmas Tree Garland Brown Bag Advent Calendar -

Sew the opposite direction across the top and add the sticker numbers.

Christmas Tree Garland Brown Bag Advent Calendar -

Used tiny clothes pins (found in the office supply section at Walmart) to attach to any existing garland and hang on tree.

These are legit brown paper packages tied up with string… these are a few of my favorite things. (Tee Hee.) Well, they include my fav things because we fill them with strips of paper that indicate the days’ activities – like “Bake Cookies” or “Go to Disneyland” or “Go to the snow”. We like to do family things for our calendar. How do you guys do yours? (Really, I want to know!)

brown paper packages advent calendar tree garland -


Do you celebrate advent? How do you guys do it? I need ideas for next year!

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

White Pom Pom and Jingle Bell Winter Christmas Holiday Wreath -   National Cookie Day Recipes Dec 4 -   DIY snowglobe -

Pom Pom and Jingle Bell Wreath   20+ Cookie Recipes   DIY homemade Snowglobes

Jingle All the Way Pom Pom and Jingle Bell Wreath

Jingle-All-The-Way-WreathI love me a good wreath. No joke, I LOVE wreaths.  They are so festive and fun.  This one is easy, looks like snow, and sounds like Christmas-time. All you need is your trusty hot glue gun a white styrofoam wreath, 400 pom poms, some gold jingle bells, and a lil bow. I just added the pom poms, largest to smallest, and then the bells and bow. Check it out:

White Pom Pom wreath - illistyle.comThis is what 50 – 1.5″ pom poms look like on the wreath.

White Pom Pom wreath - illistyle.comAnd heres what 100 – 1″ pom poms look like.

White Pom Pom wreath -

And 125 – 3/4″ pom poms.

White Pom Pom and Jingle Bell Winter Christmas Holiday Wreath - illistyle.comAnd 125 – 1/2″ pom poms, 16 bells, and 1 bow.  How simple is that?

Are you making a wreath for Christmas? What does it look like?

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

Multi Color and Burlap Pom Pom Wreath -  fall chalkboard wreath - illistyle.comValentines Day Arrow Wreath Tutorial -

Multi Color Pom Pom Wreath     Chalkboard Wreath     Arrow Wreath