Instagram Growth Part 2

5 months later here is part 2. HA! Thanks for being patient. If you missed part one…..stop and go read! Then come back to this one. In this post I want to talk alittle more behind the scenes and in-depth. Remember these are all MY thoughts and opinions and what has either worked and not worked for me.

Media Kits. Last year at this time I remember messaging a friend and asking what the heck was a media kit?! Let start by saying I am AWFUL at computers. Horrible. Im just old enough we really didnt work with them much in school…..and I did hair. So didnt use them at my job. So here we are. HA! I work on social media not having a clue what I am doing. Anyway…..a media kit is something you will need if you want to work with companies. Its basically your resume for social media. Some companies ask for them but most dont. It would have your stats. Pictures you have taken. Companies that you have worked with in the past. Rates. And a short bio. I found Zine online (free) and you plug in your info and it makes one for you. So when a company asks for one you copy and paste a link. Done.

Loop Giveaways. Here is where we get alittle iffy. Lets start by saying yes I have done them. Early on I did them to help grow my account a few times. Make sure if you are doing them with a good organizer/account. Maybe message some friends and ask for them to recommend a trustworthy account. Giveaways….you spend $30-50 and people entering follow you along with 50 other accounts for a chance to win a prize. Do you gain followers. Yes. Will you loose a lot once the giveaway is over? Yes. Here are my thoughts…..Once I hit 25k I stopped totally doing them. I wasnt growing. At all. My engagement sucked. I would do a giveaway and then that next week it was crickets on my account. Also it doesnt help you have to repost the giveaway post 2-3 times….and each time they will get very few likes/engagement. Thats only hurting your account more. Instagram sees you posting and nothing happening on that post. So next time you post a good picture they probably wont show it to many people. Here is the thing…..you want REAL followers that WANT to follow YOU. You want them there for you and not for a chance to win a Ikea couch. I really do think they are great in your 10-thousands. 10-20k. Get your account noticed. But you also want engagement. If your goal is to work with companies that is what they are looking for. You might have 15k and have amazing engagement…..you might get a “job” over someone with 120k and crappy engagement. DO NOT do the “secret” giveaways that you spend $500 and gain 10k. WHY??!! So now you have all of these “followers” that arent even real. You will get emails for this! Moral of the story. The number doesnt matter. It doesnt. Focus on your true following. The people that are there for YOU. Focus more on your engagement (how many times can I say that word) you can find that % either on your ZIne media kit or Social Blade. Social blade is a online tool that gives you your stats. Im sure that there will be people that do not agree with this. But I know for a fact and when I stopped doing them I grew. It has taken me almost 4 years to get 100k. My account didnt blow up over night like some do. But I know that my followers are here for me.

Be Social! Make friends! This platform is truly amazing and the friends I have made here is priceless. Get out there. Whats nice about this is even if you are shy no one might know! Get out of your comfort zone. But something else…..you will have jerks. Luckily I have ran into very few. But be prepared. People are jealous. People are bored. People are just plan weird. HA! Try to have thick skin. I blocked someone just today bc they were trying to make me feel bad. Just a bad person. Your block button just might be your new BFF. Just get rid of them before they get to you.

Hope you enjoyed part 2!! Part 3 will be coming soon!

She Shed Reveal!

Ahhhh friends! I am so excited! I have been patiently waiting to finally be able to show you what we have been working so hard on since July! I have dreamed about this day for so long. I teamed up with Bed Bath & Beyond to completely transform my shed into the coziest space I could ever have imagined.

This post is sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

This post is sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

I had a vision in my head. After YEARS and I mean years of dreaming, pinning, sketching…..I knew exactly what I wanted. Everything you see, decor, furniture, pillows, everything……is from Bed Bath & Beyond! They literally have everything to make over an entire room. One of my favorite lines they carry is Bee & Willow. The entire collection is just perfect. We will start with the rug. Its jute and if you have ever had a jute rug you are probably used to it shedding. I have had this same rug in my diningroom for a few months and its been great. And ZERO shedding. It also has a backing and I think that helps a ton. The loveseat is not Bee & Willow but from Bed Bath & Beyond as well! It is so beautiful! Finding a pretty slipcovered piece is not easy. They have a entire collection so if you want a couch in the same style they have it!

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The Bee & WIllow dresser was added to help add some storage and organization. The color is just perfect. Alittle wood….alittle whitewash. My plan is use to my shed as a office and just a plain time out space for me. Hoping I can get a lot of time outs. The barn picture above the couch adds some color and the size is perfect for a larger space. The window mirror is such a pretty accent piece too! I love bigger pieces because it takes the guess work out of trying to come up with something else to fill the space.

So when I decide to be nice and invite the boys into the shed……I added these floor pillows for extra seating. Willow has already claimed them as hers. I mean she is a girl so she is always welcome in the she shed. We do not have electricity hooked up yet. Lines are ran to the house but just not connected. We need to get that done before the snow flies. I went with 2 Bee & WIllow lamps and LOVE them both. The black lamp is adjustable! I do not think I have seen anything like it! The wooden lamp is so pretty and BIG! The base is gorgeous! I want this lamp everywhere now!

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Lets talk chairs! I posted a sneak peek picture a few weeks ago and included this striped chair. Its basically the cutest thing I have ever seen. If you are looking for an accent chair this is it! The size is perfect for a smaller space. The natural turned legs just might be my favorite part. The wicker chair will be my desk chair once I get Kenny to make me one…..in his extra time! HA! This chair is so pretty and white washed. They would be perfect ends for a dining room table too! The little turned legged table has a vintage feel which I love! The size is perfect as a little end table and could go anywhere.

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Accessories! My plan was to get pictures printed out for the frames……but failed. The boys drew me pictures for them which is just as special. Linking the frames here for you….. white frame. House Frame (Link not available) Barn Wood Frame. The fake roses are a perfect dupe for the real thing! They even feel real! Chicken Wire Hurricanes. Jute Laundry Hamper…….I use this to hold extra blankets and pillows. Speaking of blankets! This cable knit throw from Bee & Willow is so cozy. Wicker Wrapped Candle holder link not available. Last but not least…….The Bee & Willow coral pillows. If I could have designed the perfect pillow this is it. The muted Coral color is perfect for Fall. The fabric is almost vintage and alittle faded. The pillow that comes inside is perfect! Chop approved! And pictures do not do them justice. Just go purchase 2. One is not enough….trust me. The cream and white ticking pillows are so pretty too…..this pattern is always a great way to add alittle texture and they will go with everything. You never can have too many pillows! But don’t ask Kenny…..he will tell you that pillows are ruining his life. I have literally have heard him say those exact words while taking the 39489 pillows off the bed.

Whew! I hope you got a lot of your source questions answered here! Bed Bath & Beyond were so amazing to work with for this project. If you haven’t checked out their website or stores lately you need to! Can you believe that I ordered everything for the inside of my shed from my couch!? Yes! Everything was ordered online. The shipping was extremely fast. Also their exclusive Bee & Willow line doesn’t disappoint, The entire line is just plain pretty.

Do you have more questions regarding the shed? Keep a look out for my next blog post about all the other details on my shed! I will be going over everything else that we did to get us to this point. Thanks for much for reading!

EveryPlate Has Hit Our Door Step!

Have you heard of EveryPlate? They are a meal delivery service that delivers fresh food right to your door! We have been getting it for a while now and the food is GREAT! Trying to juggle sports, work, kids, cleaning……all while trying to figure out dinner isn’t easy. Knowing EveryPlate is showing up is a major relief! My favorite day to receive EveryPlate is Tueday. Then I do not think about dinner until Friday and then we are hopefully getting pizza! Every meal that comes in the box is easy enough ANYONE can make them. All around 30 min or less. The recipe cards are easy to follow and so nice to keep!

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Each box comes with everything you need other than staples like pepper, butter, etc. The meat comes in the bottom of the box and always super cold. Even this Summer in the extreme heat. Still cold! Have I convinced you yet? Maybe a code will help? Score 18 meals for $3.33 by using code FOREVERFARMBLOG30 and clicking this link. When you do the price break down its the same price as a cup of coffee! No excuse not to try it! Whatever to make life easier as a Momma I will take! Comment below if you try it!!

This post is sponsored by EveryPlate but all thoughts are my own.

This post is sponsored by EveryPlate but all thoughts are my own.

DIY Concrete and Cedar String Light Planters

Have you sat outside on your deck or patio and tried to figure out how and where the heck your string lights were going to go? Where they going to attach to the house? Then string out like a French Bistro out to a non existent tree. “Honey….we need to plant a tree. Or add on so I have someplace to attach my light.” Believe me……I tried to figure this out for 3 years and was never happy with my light set up. If you are looking to complete your patio or deck its string lights! So dont worry! I have a solution for you! I started taking pictures after the boxes were built. Sorry. But I will explain the best I can!

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We luckily had cedar decking laying around. We had bought a used deck off FB Marketplace last Summer to build a small deck on the cheap for around our pool. I believe new cedar decking is roughly $10 a board. I cant tell you how much it took exactly. I would buy 4 boards to be safe. Since ours was old decking it was a gray color so we ran it through our planer to expose the raw cedar again. The boxes are 27” tall x 16” wide. And square. Kenny made 5 small squares/boxes. (This is where I failed getting pics…..I was pressure washing. Fail and sorry!) For this he just use a brad nailer. Then once he had all 5 made he stacked them rotating each box. So finished side, raw end side, and so on. He was VERY proud of this idea. HA! At this point he added a bottom with 2 small pieces of cedar both brad nailed on. Below in the picture you can see how we used leftover 1x3s to attach all of the small boxes on the inside. And you guessed it brad nailed those on too. If you do not have a brad nailer I know that you can rent one from Home Depot or Lowes. Or if you are looking to purchase get one that is battery powered! Best purchase ever!

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On to the concrete! Do this in the grass because the concrete will sweep out of the cracks of your planters. Quickrete we purchased at Lowes. It was $2.50-ish a bag and pretty genius. 1 bag per planter. All you do is pour the entire bag into your planter then add the appropriate amount of water. No stiring at all! It sets up pretty quickly but not that quickly but you still need to support the pole somehow. Our poles we had laying around and are 8’. You could even go 10’ depending on where you are attaching the lights on your house. We added nails temporarily on the top to hold string to secure the pole until the concrete set up. Make sure its level! Grab a level and check it every few minutes.

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You are almost done! At this point (No pic) I stapled a thick black trash bag on the inside. Mainly to hold in water and dirt so it doesnt leak all over my patio when I water the flowers. Make sure there is still alittle drainage gap at the bottom of the bag. Once it was set up I put them on the patio and then filled 1/2 with fill dirt. Then the other 1/2 with better flower soil.

At the top of each pole we added a hole, screwed in a hook (one that is completely closed so its more of a circle) and attached the lights with a carabiner.

Im sure I am missing something and let me know in the comments if you have more questions!! Hope this helps you figure out patio lighting without adding onto your house! HA!

Thanks for reading!

Erica

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Pre-Summer Break Cleaning, Organizing, and Decluttering

Are you a happier person when your house is clean and not cluttered?  I know I am and everyone around this house knows it! LOL! Messy house = Angry Mom.  One of the tasks I like to get done before the kids are home all Summer is to do some decluttering.  It makes it easier to keep my sanity to have less “things”.  I shared this tip over on my Instagram page and you loved it! It helps me so much…..I like to keep a large box around as my “donate box”.  If I always have one around stuff is more likely to get thrown into the box than back into the drawer.  Too small clothes…gone.  Random toys no one will ever ask for again. GONE!  Usually, I keep the box in my closet then once it's full off it goes to donate.  Also giving your kids a smaller box to do the same.  Let me warn you……it never will get filled up.  But here's to hoping someday!  This week I have plans to go through every closet and ditch the Winter clothes.  One thing I have learned over the years…..clothes do not keep well.  So now I donate all of them rather than saving.  If your kids are very close in age this probably isn't the case.  But mine are 4 years and then 5 years apart and by the time the next child is ready to wear them the elastic is usually shot.  And I have become MUCH more of a “less is more” type of person when it comes to clothes.  They end up wearing their faves anyway.  From my first son (10 years ago) buying TOTES of clothes for each size. DUMB. Now to my 3rd boy and he maybe has 3 pairs of pants and 4 shirts. Total! Live and learn!

This post is sponsored by Swiffer. All thoughts and reviews are my own. Thank you Swiffer for making a amazing product!

This post is sponsored by Swiffer. All thoughts and reviews are my own. Thank you Swiffer for making a amazing product!

Now to cleaning.  It's all I do so I should be a pro at this, right?  One thing that has made my life so much easier is my Swiffer WetJet Wood.  Every time I use it I still can not believe the dirt it picks up when I think my floors are clean.  With 3 boys, 2 dogs, and countless animals outside…..we need all the help we can get keeping this house clean!  The Swiffer WetJet Wood  {Available on Amazon) has a special formula that breaks down and dissolves stuck on food and grime but is safe on the wood.  Clean enough to eat off the floors…..literally.  Because that ends up happening here daily.  

Once Summer hits we also do chore charts.  I am a firm believer that kids can help out around the house.  They will have more respect for your home and hopefully want to help keep it picked up.  Chore charts always include unpacking the dishwasher. Because I HATE that job.  Putting laundry away.  Making beds etc.  Anything to help out us Mommas and make life with kids a little easier.  What are your favorite cleaning or organizing tips? Tell me in the comments!  

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Fridge Upgrade!

10 years since our last new fridge and a lot has changed! Different house. 3 kids. And just the efficiency of a new fridge was mind blowing! Our last one ran a lot. The water didn’t work in the door anymore. And just the style (side by side) wasn’t working for us anymore. So much wasted space…..when you use the fridge part 90% more than the freezer having this style wasn’t right for us anymore. We need space! 3 boys that eat constantly…..and they will only eat more as the days go on.

We switched to a Samsung French Door Counter Depth. I knew I had always wanted counter depth mainly for the streamline look but also in our kitchen the fridge sticks out into the main walkway through the kitchen. So anything to open that walk way up I knew we needed! Check out the difference! A few inches is HUGE.

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Old Fridge

New!

New!

Can you believe that!? I had no idea the difference it would make! Funny thing is the inside of this fridge is smaller than our last one. But the way this fridge is set up it seems so much bigger. I was worried about the less space but its no issue at all.

Now lets talk about the inside! Complete 360 from our side by side. Everything is eye level. Will my husband be able to find stuff? Probably not. But here is to hoping! Loving the shelf on the left (Where the creamer is) that flips up to accommodate a tall pitcher. I always struggled with that and never could fit my large gallon water jug in my last fridge.

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We also went with the ice and water on the front. It what we are used to and use this 349302 times a day. Ice maker is quiet. I cannot say enough great things about this Samsung Home Fridge. I hope this answers some questions about the counter depth feature!

This post was sponsored by Samsung Home. All thoughts and reviews are my own. Thank you Samsung I am in love with this fridge!

Mother's Day Gift Guild With Safavieh

Can you believe its Mother’s Day already!? Can someone explain how Winter is 393940 months long and then we wake up one morning and its the middle of May? Not fair. Especially if you live in the MIdwest like me. We deserve a full 12 months of Summer after this past Winter. Yikes! If you are a Mother of kids/dogs/cats/goats……its YOUR day! I am so honored to work with one of my favorite brands Safavieh and pull together a Mother’s Day Gift Guild!

I pulled together alittle bit of everything and all alittle modern farmhouse. I was able to snag of couple of the pieces from the collection to style in my own home!

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First up my patio got a little refresh with the Pomona Lounger . Hello gorgeous! I always love adding warm wood tones into my decor and the color of this wood is beautiful! I have it paired with the Bermuda Collection rug. I had a darker rug in this space before and I am loving having the brighter shades of this new one!

Another one of my picks were these counter stools. Something so small as changing your kitchen stools can make such a difference! I chose the Eleanr X Back Counterstool and they are beautiful! I love the mix of the wood and metal!

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If you are still struggling on a Mother’s Day gift or you are a Mom and you just want to treat yourself…..make sure you check out the full gift guild with Safavieh! I hope you have a great day and hoping someone makes you breakfast! You deserve it Momma!

**this post was sponsored by Safavieh. All thoughts are my own. Thanks for the opportunity Safavieh!

Spring Table Setting

*This is a sponsored post with Bed Bath and Beyond. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*This is a sponsored post with Bed Bath and Beyond. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In a land of no kids…..this is what my table would look like 365 days of the year. But back to reality and 3 kids. It is just not going to happen! Everything on the table as well as the rug and pillows are from the Bee and Willow line from Bed Bath and Beyond. The ENTIRE Bee & Willow line is what dreams are made of! Everything just goes so well together and fits my style perfectly. Can I tell you a secret? This is the first time I have EVER set my table like this. Now I need to host every holiday in the next few days. HA!

The mix of rustic burlap and with the bright colors of the vintage flowers…..it is all so dreamy.

The mix of rustic burlap and with the bright colors of the vintage flowers…..it is all so dreamy.

We really needed to upgrade everything in our cabinets. And the Bee & Willow line had everything we needed to do that. I love the mix of textures yet everything still goes together. I feel so much like a big girl now that my table is set. Now to go super glue everything down so no one will mess with it. True story……next time I have some thing like this to do…..table setting or anything with a lot of pieces…..very breakable pieces. Get child care for 2 hours. Real life coming at ya. I had a baby eating a granola bar over my setting so I had crumbs to clean off the table. He was grabbing the place mats and took off. Whats that saying…..”Cleaning with kids is like eating a Oreo while brushing your teeth” This morning was just like that!

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Thank you to Bed Bath and Beyond for creating this amazing line. If you need a gift, anything and everything is this line would make a perfect one! Hello Mother’s Day! Or treat yourself. I know as a Mother (dog Mom, cat Mom, calling ALL Mothers!) we sometimes (ALL) let what we need slip. I can’t tell you how many times I go shopping for something new for me and come home with only things for my boys. Treat yourself to something for YOU.

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Now off to super glue everything down so I can sit back and enjoy this table scape for a month.

Instagram Growth {Part 1}

When I started a blog a couple months ago the main thing I wanted to have was a landing place that I could write all the things down that was either too long or when Instagram just wasnt the ideal place for it. And when I asked my friends on IG (YOU) what you wanted to see on my blog, one of the top answers was to write about Instagram growth. I feel like so many people either dont like talking about it…..like keeping secrets…...dont want to help others in success……all of it. (Which I don’t understand. Why?! There are plenty of followers, collabs, etc to go around! Trust me!) I was so lost in all of this just a year ago. I wish more people would talk about it. So lets jump right into it! Im warning you this is going to be all over the place because I have a lot to say and Im just winging it. HA!

Let me start off by saying…..I was NOT one of those accounts that took off and 2 months later had 100k followers. Nope. It took me awhile but numbers weren’t my focus (as they shouldn’t be yours but I know that that is tough to look past). My house isn’t new and huge. In all reality there is SO much not done here I have to be careful on how I take my pics. Unfinished drywall here……missing wood floors there. But! I also think there is a HUGE following for these accounts. So dont feel like you have to have a mag-worthy home. People want REAL. Raw. (I hate that word!) They want you. Recently I was reading something and it stuck with me. When you gain followers they are probably following for your pics….at first. But they stick around for you. You are the reason they are following.

How I like to run my IG. This is what works for me and not saying its right. Your pictures should be your “resume”. First glance is a beautiful feed. Your stories should be everything real life. What makes you YOU. Stories have become more popular then scrolling so make sure you are active! A few tips about your feed. Make sure your pictures all flow together. If you are going to use a preset stick with 1. Take pictures at the right time of day. Some days I just dont post bc I miss the “good light window” or its raining out. I would rather not post than post a crappy light picture. My house is hard to take pics in. Lots of windows can be good and bad. So I usually only have a couple hour window to take pics. And truth be told…..some days my house just isn’t in a state for pics. Insert 3 kids 2 dogs and a husband. When posting before and after pics ALWAYS make sure your before pic is the 2nd pic. So the after is the one that shows up in scrolling and on your feed. Everyone LOVES before and afters. They are the photos that do the best on my feed.

Editing. Also something I get asked about a lot! So aside from having a good camera phone…..yes I have my phone purely for the camera. (I have a Google Pixel XL I dont have a real camera.) So once you have your picture taken in the best lighting possible…..turn off all lamps etc. I take it over to Snapseed or Lightroom. Both free apps. If you are doing a preset then it needs to go to Lightroom first. I will get into editing more some other time. But on Snapseed I use the “Brush” feature usually on a 3. Then I brighten. Lower highlights. And sharpen. Not a lot bc you really want the pics to still look the same….just better. Make sure your pic is straight! This is such a huge thing for me at least. You can also “rotate” the pics in Snapseed too. That helps straighten it up.

Share Groups. These are small groups that you share each other in stories or on your feed. Usually by alternating 1 a week. These help engagement. And helps followers find new similar accounts. I love these and would recommended them to anyone wanting to jump in! However. If you say yes to one of these follow through! Share on time. Share quality stories'/posts to help your friend out. You will grow so much more if you are trustworthy and supportive!

YAY! Ok I have a TON more to share but Asher is waking up. So be on the lookout for PART 2. I want to get into a lot more. Giveaways (my thoughts), media kits (I have no clue what the heck this was last yr), engagement, partnerships. Everything! Thanks for reading and being here!

Love Erica

Keeping Our Wood Floors Clean

This post is sponsored by Swiffer. But all thoughts and reviews are mine.

This post is sponsored by Swiffer. But all thoughts and reviews are mine.

You know how I know I am getting old…..getting excited about cleaning products. HA! I’ve been using and loving Swiffer products since our old house on our laminate floors. When we moved I switched to something different and I’m not sure why.  I didn’t know that Swiffer even made a special formula for wood.  But when I first used Swiffer WetJet Wood I  couldn’t believe the amount of dirt that was on the pad when I thought my floors were clean. Yikes!  I was actually embarrassed to show anyone.  Swiffer pads are designed to get all of the dirt and grime and they sure do!

Either you install wood floors, which is an investment……or you move into an older house with existing wood floors (like us) that you want to take care of.  Knowing Swiffer makes the solution safe for your floor gives you peace of mind.  That the solution is not sticky and fast drying is such a bonus too!  

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With all of that being said….I am so happy with my Swiffer WetJet for Wood! Anything to make life easier I will take it!

Sunroom Refresh

*This is a sponsored post with Cambridge Casual. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*This is a sponsored post with Cambridge Casual. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Welcome to the 36th month of Winter in Iowa! Every year at this time we talk about how next year we are booking a vacation in the month of March. Guess what never happens? Because life happens and that money is used for super fun things like propane gas. HA!

Working in the sunroom the past week has been such a tease. All I want is to open the windows and head outside. But until the 175” of snow melts…..I am thankful we have a sunroom! We still have some changes coming to this area but wanted to give a update how far we have come! For the past 3 years the sunroom was a storage room for all of our outside stuff and was constantly dirty. I had dreams of making it something we could actually use and enjoy. Last Summer we finally purchased a shed so we were able to clean out the room. I regret not taking a picture of how packed of stuff it was. But this is what I did remember to take….once it was all cleaned out. Hello orange wood!

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Que the angels singing…….Our new outdoor furniture from Cambridge Casual is here! It is the Palma Collection and absolutely what dreams are made of! The mix of warm teak wood and the wicker is stunning. Each piece was shipped in its own box and extremely easy to assemble. I did it myself (because my helper, Mason, took off after 5 min.) in under a hour. The entire set! This set will last for years to come.

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I cant wait to share what else we have planned for this room! But for now……I will be dreaming of Spring. Here is to a great week ahead! Thanks for reading and following along as always! I promise to start to blog more often! -Erica