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Mini Porch Makeover

With Mother’s Day around the corner I thought it would be a great time to treat myself to a patio makeover. As a busy mom of three I think it’s important to take time every once in awhile to focus on myself and sneak in a few minutes of relaxation. One of the best ways I like to relax is with a good book, only problem is I don’t have a quiet and relaxing spot to read in. So a few days ago I set out a budget and went shopping at Kmart to makeover my patio into a relaxing area filled with some of my favorite things.

In case you’re wondering here’s the before. As you can see there are toys everywhere! If you look closely you can even spot chalk scattered on the other side of the bench. Not relaxing at all!
The first thing I did was obviously clean up the area by storing the toys in the garage. It already looked ten times better but it was a little bare. I was left with only a bench, which meant it was time to accessorize. So my favorite shopping buddy and I went to see what we could find. Of course no shopping trip is complete without pushing a lawn mower around the store…

I am in LOVE with the yellow pillows. And guess what? They were only $10 each! I also made some placemat pillows. Can you tell I love the blue and yellow combo? It’s pretty much taking over my house. The placemats were less than $3 a piece, which were right along with my budget for this makeover.

Another fave is this tea light chandelier. I like the scroll design and the fact that it doesn’t have to be plugged in. Ahhh I can see it now..a nice Summer evening sitting on the porch watching the kids play with their friends while I relax in a lit patio. Just thinking about it makes me happy!

I picked up two side tables as well. One is to accessorize and hold my drink/book/etc and the other to display flowers on. Since the furniture is black the flowers and pillows add a nice splash of color. I’ve thought about spray painting the tables, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to. I’m afraid I won’t like it so for now the classic black is OK in my book. :)

 I also found these solar lanterns. The round one came in blue, yellow, orange, and red.
 I’m already looking forward to spending a lot of quality time on my patio this Summer.
 In honor of Mother’s Day Kmart has their outdoor cushions, umbrellas as well as planters, fountains and garden decor for 20% off from May 6-12. #KmartOutdoor
If you’re in need of a patio makeover visit
Linking up to these parties, TCB, My Repurposed Life, Home Stories A2Z
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric.

Sandra’s Summer Carnival in NYC

Last week I had the honor of meeting my longtime idol Sandra Lee in NYC. It was an experience of a lifetime! Sandra Lee was so sweet and welcoming. Her personality in real life is nothing
like you see on TV. I’ve always liked her but what you don’t see on TV
is how incredibly funny she is. She’s down to earth, fun, and hilarious! I’ve decided to break up my recap into two posts, but be warned there are lots of pictures to share!

It all started out with an invitation…

The Sears, Kmart and Collective Bias team invited me along with 20 other bloggers to fly to NYC to celebrate the launch of the new Sandra by Sandra Lee line. The fun began Thursday night at Cafe Centro where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner party. Our guest speaker was Mark Bonchek, the senior vice president of communities and networks for Sears holdings. He spoke about the history of social media and it’s influence.

At the end of the night we enjoyed a delicious dessert that was almost too pretty to eat..almost. ;)

Friday morning we met with the Sears representatives and designers that have worked
on the Sandra line now available at Sears and Kmart. At the Newport Mall we learned about all the brands and celebrities
Sears works with and their best selling lines. Its amazing all the work
that goes into creating a line. The sears trend expert travels all over the
world to spot and predict trends in the upcoming years (we even got a sneak peak at some color trends for next year). They spoiled us with product demos and even more treats throughout the store. Some of my favorite appliances were the Kitchen Aid stand mixer, Hamilton Beach toaster oven, and Keurig machine.

After our trip to the Newport mall we met up with Sandra Lee for brunch.
We were treated like celebrities with a red carpet entrance,
professional photographers, and videographer. As soon as we walked in I
was amazed by the beautifully decorated room. The tablescape was
incredible, perfectly decorated with Sandra products with a red and
white theme. Some of these photos were sent from the professional photographer. I could only wish to be that great at taking indoor pictures. :)

What’s amazing is that Sandra Lee took the time to get to know us by doing research of our blogs! After brunch and introductions we had some fun creating tablescapes using products from the upcoming Sandra Christmas line. We were separated into groups and given a box full of goodies to create a tablescape with.

The beverage table was
even styled! Check out the drink fountains, aren’t they pretty? I think
I need them at our next party.

 The chandelier was gorgeous and how cute is the bunting?
We then moved to another room where we learned about all the new Sandra products. I had read
about them online but having her show us how multipurpose they are was fun. The day before the Sears representative told us that Sandra Lee
dedicated a lot of time creating this line because she wanted to create
products that would help simplify our lives. Most of the products have
multiple purposes or an extra detail that makes it unique, yet still affordable. My favorite
is the indoor/outdoor grill that completely comes apart so that you may put
it in the dishwasher. Another favorite is the cute mini grilled cheese pan below. I’m pretty sure we need one in our house.
 We ended the day chatting in a small beautifully decorated room.I’m telling you Sandra Lee is hilarious! She had us all laughing.

As part of our swag we received an autographed copy of her Easy Entertaining at home book and were told to go back into the room filled with the displayed Sandra products and pick out whatever we wanted. I’m really grateful to have had this opportunity, it was definitely the best I’ve had as a blogger.
To learn more about the Sandra by Sandra Lee line visit the Kmart and Sears website. I even have a special code to offer my readers! Use the code BYSANDRALEE to get $5 off any $15 purchase at Sears. The code is valid until 05/26/2012.
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Sandra Lee blogger event by Sears, Kmart and Collective Bias #CBias. Travel arrangements were provided for me. All opinions and experiences are my own.