...because home doesn't happen overnight.


I’ve mentioned it before: I’m a hand soap whore. It’s something I’ve always felt a little guilty about because I can’t commit to one brand and end up bouncing around, going through several bottles a year. I recycle when possible, but I know I could do better. I’ve tried all kinds of refillable dispensers but haven’t had much luck. The practical plastic ones leave a lot to be desired. The “stainless steel” ones have actually rusted out on me (I’m guessing they weren’t 100% stainless steel). My favorite glass dispenser fell to its demise one morning during the before school/work hustle. (Cleaning up shattered glass and a pool of liquid soap from the bathroom floor isn’t my favorite way to wake up. Ironically, soap is terribly difficult to “clean”.)

One of my friends told me she uses a refillable, automatic soap dispenser in her kids’ bathroom because it’s the only way she can get her kids to wash their hands. I thought it was a genius idea, but then she told me it was horribly ugly and required batteries. Hey, you do what you gotta do!

So when the folks at simplehuman asked if I wanted to take their new foam cartridge sensor pump for a spin I was game…skeptical, but game.


The pump itself is made of high-grade stainless steel (for real) and houses a recyclable, snap-in soap cartridge. Thanks to patented air-induction technology, it takes only a small amount of liquid soap to create a rich foam which means the cartridge lasts longer than traditional soap of the same volume.


A hinged top opens to reveal a power button that controls the amount of soap dispensed, a cartridge release button and a recharge plug. Yes, you read that correctly, recharge plug. NO BATTERIES REQUIRED. A solid green ring lights up to indicate a full charge. One charge lasts up to three months! When the soap cartridge is empty, simply press the orange release button, remove the old cartridge and snap a new one in its place. NO MESSES REQUIRED.




I snuck one in the kids’ bathroom and you would have thought I put a unicorn in there by their reactions. “Mom! That soap thing is SO COOL!!” It’s not like they’ve never used an automatic soap dispenser before. (Hello, restaurants and gas stations.) But I think they were so surprised because the simplehuman pump doesn’t look like your typical automatic soap dispenser. It’s metal, not plastic. It’s sleek, not boxy. And it’s meant to be placed on a horizontal surface, not wall-mounted. (The kids’ vanity doesn’t have a ton of countertop space, and the pump fits perfectly.) All of a sudden my kids think hand-washing is fun?! I’m going with it.

I love the new pump because I’ve yet to find globs of unused liquid soap around the sink. Also, the touch-free sensor means NO FINGERPRINTS REQUIRED. #notacrimescene (If fingerprints do surface, the pump is water-resistant and can be rinsed in the sink.)



I love the pump so much that I added a second one in the kitchen to hold dish soap. This might sound persnickety, but being able to add soap to my dish sponge while simultaneously holding a dirty dish is pretty freakin’ awesome. Luckily for promiscuous me, several different hand and dish soaps are available for use with the pump. I especially like the lavender hand soap and verbena dish soap.


It’s especially user-friendly when it comes to washing out paint brushes, for big and little people.

We’ve been using the pumps for a few weeks now and we’re all impressed. We’ve yet to have an issue. The pumps are proving to be robust, and it seems like the cartridges will last for weeks to come. One thing I’d love to see in the future is reusable simplehuman soap cartridges that can be (re)filled with homemade foaming soap and used in conjunction with the sensor pump.

Today, simplehuman is giving one lucky reader a foam cartridge sensor pump and an assortment of hand and dish soaps. Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy hand/dishwashing!

*This post sponsored in part by simplehuman which offers tools for efficient living.


After we added shade sails to the back deck and, consequently, started spending more and more time out there on the sectional, I was itching to bring a little of our indoor style outside. I love it when outdoor spaces feel like just another room and reflect what’s going on indoors. I already had a few neutral outdoor pillows, but I was hoping to up the ante with more color and pattern…without breaking the bank. Outdoor pillows can be so expensive and tend to sport one-dimensional fabric that feels generic. I was looking for something a little different.


I ordered four inexpensive 16″ x 16″ kilim pillow covers from this etsy shop. The covers were priced at $9-$14 each. With shipping, the total cost for the four covers was $73. I hunted down four 18″ x 18″ pillow inserts suitable for outdoor use which set me back another $20. (FYI – Pillow inserts should be slightly larger than their accompanying covers for a fuller effect.) Then I spent $8 on a can of Scotchgard outdoor water shield. (It looks like the price has since increased. Google for the best price.)


I stuffed the kilim covers with the inserts and used a sweeping motion to spray on the water shield, making sure to cover all sides without saturating the fabric. The Scotchgard spray definitely has an odor to it, so it must be applied outdoors. I wouldn’t suggest using it on indoor textiles, but for fabrics that will be used outside and will be vulnerable to the elements, it’s a great option.


I propped the pillows up against our outdoor dining table to let them dry and air out for two days then tossed them on the outdoor sectional. I love them! Especially since they rang in right at $100 for all four.

A few of you have asked about the outdoor cushions and pillows in regard to rain. The shade sails are meant to provide shade only – not shelter from rain. We leave the cushions and pillows outside in dry weather and stash them on a tarp in the garage when wet weather strikes, to extend their life. (I wash them every fall and store them in the attic over winter.) Even so, I wanted the kilim pillows to have some sort of moisture barrier so they would be okay if we accidentally left them out in the rain or if they got a little damp from overnight dew. So far, so good.


I also added a striped outdoor rug to the deck since we tend to go barefoot and rugs always feel nice underfoot. I scored this ~7′ x 9′ rug for $100 from Overstock with a coupon. I’ve discovered that if I add items to my cart and wait a few days, eventually an Overstock coupon will show up in my inbox. #workingthesystem

I would never suggest using an outdoor rug on a patio, but on a deck where the rug is up off solid ground and air flows in between the deck boards, it’s a viable option because it can dry out completely between downpours.


Recently, a neighbor kid put a foot through the matching coffee table that came with the sectional. You can see the original table here. The glass top was off at the time, so he wasn’t hurt or anything. I can’t say I was sad to see the table go. I had always wanted a non-matching table anyway. This was my chance! I grabbed this teak table for $165, on sale and with a coupon. The chevron detail on the top is a nice touch and, so far, it has held up superbly to rain. (Teak will do that.) I plan to oil it every year to keep it looking like new. The legs are removable, so I plan to stash it in the attic over winter along with the cushions.


I picked up the SÖTCITRON self-watering planter, the STABBIG candleholder and the BELEVAD candle dish on a recent trip to IKEA. (I was scoping out kitchen stuff for the flip house! Details coming soon.) The planter is great for succulents and people whom have a history of overwatering (ahem, killing) them. The inside of the candleholder is lined in shiny gold and looks so pretty lit up at night. Which reminds me, I also found these oversize GLIMMA tealights and they’re my new favorite invention since the Target sheets with the ‘SIDE’, ‘TOP’ and ‘BOTTOM’ cheat tags. They burn longer than traditional tealights. Perfect for jack-o’-lanterns!

And with that, it’s just about time to take down the shade sails for the winter, stash the cushions and pillows in the attic, cover the sectional and bring the succulents inside. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. We’ll see you next year deck. Hopefully, even more than this year. It’s been real.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking