The Adorable Outdoors

How cute is this deck makeover from Gina? Answer: Way cute.  That is a lot of style and color packed into one small space, and it looks fantastic!

It reminds me ever so slightly of a deck ‘makeover’ we did at our first apartment when we were newlyweds approximately 100 years ago.  Spoiler alert: it was nothing like this.  I’m pretty sure it included a resin bunny sculpture and some dollar store windchimes. I am also 100% sure that took a plastic milk crate, sewed a cover for it out of an old shower curtain and called it a ‘table.’ That’s probably where I set the bunny sculpture. I think I was aiming for ‘outdoorsy.’ Wow.

Go scrub the mental image of that out of your brain by visiting Gina’s lovely blog What Gina Says.

Deck makeover full of color |

Deck makeover full of color |

PS: I get asked this question a lot, and it always surprises me that so many people don’t know, so I thought I’d answer it here.   Question: I have a before and after to share, do you take submissions?  Answer: YES!  Absolutely! Send them my way at betterafter(at) No need to have a blog or a link, just some nice clear pictures is all I need!

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2014 Ugly Lamp Contest: Round 2

Oh hi.  You’re back for more I see.  You didn’t get scared off after yesterday? Or fired?  Excellllent.

If you haven’t checked out Round One yet, you can do that and vote for your favorite (or least favorite) right here.  As of this moment Satan’s Booger and Moose Knuckle Chuckle are miles above the rest and will most likely make it to our final round. I personally voted for Grannytastic, because I love an underdog, and I also hate that lamp.

And now, onward! To Round Two!!

But I must warn you, you really need a strong stomach for today.  No, really.  Gird up your loins.  Brace yourselves.




Are you braced?




Are you ready?




You’ll never be ready.




Here we go.



7denafrom Dena

Must have been arts-and-crafts night at the local brothel again. Bless their hearts. It looks like what shame feels like.



8patriciafrom Patricia

You want some Mickey Mouse lamps? I gots some Mickey Mouse lamps right here.  What do you mean, ‘they don’t LOOK like Mickey Mouse?” Listen kid, Mickey Mouse is trademarked, you understand?  These is close enough. I call em’… ehh … Mikey Mice. Put em on your table, light em up, they glow real nice, nobody knows the difference.  Yeah. That’ll be forty bucks.



9betsyfrom Betsy

“Greetings soul. Coooome this way.  Follow the light.  Not that light. Thiiiiis light.  I am Zorbious, your guide to the underworld. Ok, that’s stretching the truth a tad. I’m your guide to the foyer of the underworld. I’m up for a promotion though, as soon as I meet my quota for this millennia.  Just a few more souls to go! Would you like a butter mint? Can I take your jacket before I usher you into the darkest abyss from whence there is no return?”



10mariahfrom Mariah

You know how when you work at a pet food processing plant, there’s always that ONE guy who wants to turn a beef femur into a lamp? Don’t be that guy.  Don’t even talk to that guy.  Probably that guy needs to get fired.



11katefrom Kate

It’s a lamp! It’s a statue! It’s a planter! It’s a water feature! Wait, wait, wait. It’s a lamp AND a water feature? That sounds terrifyingly dangerous. Who approved that idea?

faceI see.  Carry on.



12melfrom Mel

Despite her wistful smile and suggestively unbuttoned raincoat, this lovely lass is suffering from an alarming case of IBS.  Intestines as Bagpipes Situation.  Seriously, I think she’s snuggling a colon. The dog seems concerned.


Vote Now!

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Can’t see the poll?  Try here!  Still not working? Try this!

Don’t forget to check out Round One if you missed it!

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2014 Ugly Lamp Contest: Part 1

Did you wake up this morning with a gnawing sense of dread? A burning pit of fear and anxiety growing in your stomach? That can only mean one thing.


It’s time.

It’s here.


The 5th Annual Better After Ugly Lamp Contest has officially begun!!!

ugly lamp logo 2014


Get the eyebleach at the ready. Or a barf bag.  Or a therapy animal. Better get all three, to be safe.


If you’re new to the Ugly Lamp Contest, here’s how it works.  A panel of judges including myself have sorted through every single submission and selected only the ugliest of the ugly.  It was not an easy task, no sir.  I am sad to have left out many truly heinous lamps in an effort to bring you the widest assortment of ugly possible.

There are 18 contenders total. Voting will begin today with the first set of six, then the second set of six tomorrow, and so on and so forth. On the fourth day, the top two vote-getters from each round will go head-to-head, or bulb-to-bulb, in a final showdown before we crown our ultimate winner on Friday.

Are you excited!?  Nauseous?  A little gassy?  Then you’re all set.

Let it begin.



1elisefrom Elise

Oh my land!  What a dirty little mess you are! Have you been hiding bodies in the woods again?



SAMSUNGfrom Sarah

I hung this lamp in my children’s room and told them that every time they misbehaved, Satan’s booger would light up.  It worked like a charm.  I haven’t seen them since.



3crystalfrom Crystal

If you’ve ever wished for the style and convenience of a granny-lamp-and-picture-frame-all-in-one, you’re not alone.  Wait, yes you are.



4elizabethfrom Elizabeth

I call this lamp “Angry Naked Boy with Permanent Chocolate Milk Mustache Riding Even Angrier Dolphin, Probably Into the Depths of Hell.”  I was going to name my band that, but it was a little too long. I think we might just go with Demon Dolphin of Fury. Haven’t decided yet.



5cindyfrom Cindy

Judging by his passionate embrace, it seems that this roadrunner is having trouble giving up on the ‘southwest’ trend.  Let it go man. It’s over. It’s like, way over. Please stop making out with the lamp. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable.



6dawnfrom Dawn

There are so many things wrong with this lamp, I can’t even.  On a scale of one to even, I can’t. It really boils down to two words.

Moose Knuckle.



Vote Now!

customer surveys


If you are on a device and having trouble seeing the poll, try clicking here. And if that doesn’t work, try here!

 See you tomorrow for Round Two!

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A New Design for Listerine

>>>This post brought to you by Listerine. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you guys remember Christopher Lowell and his show Interior Motives? It was on TV waaay back in the late ’90s. I was probably the only middle schooler in the country who watched that show with such fervent devotion. I knew Christopher and I were soulmates when he mentioned on one episode that his perfect evening consisted of watching the biography channel while organizing his junk drawer.

Christopher taught me many things about interior design that still stick with me, like which ‘big-ticket’ items to invest in, the correct spacing between a sofa and coffee table (“Eighteen inches! What do you need all that extra space for, square dancing?!”), and he always, ALWAYS decanted bathroom products into prettier containers.

I blame Christopher for my compulsive toothpaste hiding habit. My husband loves this about me. (Not really).

So when Listerine asked me to check out their new ‘decorative’ bottles, I perked right up. My kids actually love using mouthwash, but because I tend to hide it under the counter, they forget it’s there.

So let’s have a look:


Cute!  Currently, this is the ONLY decorative item in there.  The kid’s bathroom hasn’t made its way to the top of the Need-To-Decorate list of the new house yet.  So it adds a little splash of color and fun and encourages healthy habits too.  Could you ask more of a bottle of mouthwash?  I think not. Oh wait, it’s also the #1 dentist-recommended brand.  Overachiever Alert!



This flavor is Fresh Citrus, my kids favorite.  Not too minty, (or “Spicy!” as my daughter describes it).



Listerine also has newly designed bottles for their other flavors too: Cool Mint, Fresh Mint, and Arctic Mint.

 photo 02225-57_listerine_izea_400x450_zps2bfd58fe.jpg

Save Now with Target Cartwheel

Pick ya one up today!  They are only available at Target and for a limited time!  Would Christopher Lowell approve?  I bet he would.  I’ll let you know when he finally realizes we are best friends and gives me a call.

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