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OWNING VACATION RENTAL PROPERTIES IS NOT ALL HOLIDAY

After renting out properties in Chicago, Lake Arrowhead, and now Florida, Reid and I have seen it all. Well, maybe not everything, but pretty close. We’ve had new chairs ruined by renters making holes in the seats, oven knobs shirred off, and another oven broken for 2 months. You never know what will happen next. We have compiled some highs, and not-so-glamorous realities below.

Like many of you, one of our financial goals is to have residual income in a variety of investment types.  Think barstool.  Each leg is a different means of income.  Vacation rental properties are one leg, but lots of stress. Is it worth it? Keep reading.

TIP: Properties require maintenance, visit your rental once a month to check-in.  As an investment property, you can stay on the property 14 days out of the year for holiday.  However, we recommend you visit the property at least once a month for maintenance and check-in.  It is work, not a vacation.  We use a local property manager for support, but we still find it necessary to keep things looking clean and maintained ourselves.  Management varies by percentages and involvement. Ours doesn’t cover landscaping. We pull weeds, scrub walls, change light bulbs, power wash the exterior and caulk sinks/showers.  Sweat equity is always worth it. I secretly love weeding, especially when there’s not a million mosquitos biting my legs.

TIP: Do things that require professionals during the off-season. The complication to your vacation rental is you have a small window of time between bookings to schedule big maintenance items, so plan-ahead.  We replaced our crawl space insulation with spray foam.  This isn’t a fun expense, but over time it will keep utility costs down.

TIP: Interior design is pivotal to your vacation property brand, but keep durability in mind when making a purchase.  We noticed after only six months of guest, the upholstery is already looking worn.  Keep knick-knacks and breakables to a minimum in the house.  To decorate, we used antique books around the house.  Books add warmth, are cheap, non-breakable and easy to replace.  The basic rule is, don’t get too attached. Your rental will likely experience lots of wear and tear and plan to budget to replace furniture at least once a year. Despite the losses, broke items, highs and lows, is it worth it? We say yes.

TIP: Bring your gently used furniture from your primary house into your rental. You don’t wanna buy new for a rental that gets A LOT of wear and tear. We recently brought our ottoman and rugs to our rental to freshen up the interior and take out the rugs that have seen better days. We’ll enjoy new rugs in our home while our rental gets a glow up.

How about you, have you taken the rental plunge? Share your tips below! Or email me shalice@shalicenoel.com

NSALE Home finds

by Shalice Noel

Sheets // Honey Art Print // Wall Art // Black Box // Indoor garden // Duvet Cover //

This is our new sectional from Kathy Kuo Home

Exact one HERE


We have a new addition to our home.  A new sectional.  With seven people in our home we are often fighting for seats, so a new sectional was a part of our peace treaty.  When picking out a sectional, keep size and scale in mind.  We’ve discussed this before when we purchased our Pasadena house sectional.  See article here.

For our current home, the space is not large.  In Georgia, they call it a Keeping Room.  A sectional is a big investment, so study the specs carefully.  To make sure the dimensions work for your space, a helpful tip someone gave me is to use blue masking tape on the floor to match the sectional dimensions. It’s a great way to visualize how the sectional will look before it’s delivered. Genius!

In terms of style, I like a modern look with sharp corners and rectangular geometry.  I prefer couches that sit off the floor as if it was floating.  I also like cushions that are fastened down to keep the kids from having pillow fights.

The color is beige and coordinates with our fireplace stone work and mantle.  I LOVE how this room turned out. A perfect marriage of modern and traditional. What do you think?

I’m not one to air my dirty laundry, but here are five reasons to switch to a “clean” laundry detergent. 

We recently made the full-time switch to a non-toxic laundry detergent after my son was experiencing daily itchiness.  (Non-toxic in the sense of normal conditions of use). Add this laundry detergent to your monthly subscribe and save now, for the most bang for your buck.  One bottle is about 32 loads of laundry.

1)    Big-box laundry detergents typically have overwhelming fragrances that make me gag.  This laundry detergent has a soft jasmine fragrance and keeps your clothes smelling fresh.

2)    My son’s skin sensitivities have not been an issue since we switched.

3)    The detergent is so “clean” it is greywater safe, meaning…if you have a greywater system in your house you can use the used wash machine water to water your garden.

4)    A “little” detergent goes a long way.  Less than a capful.  We do one load of laundry a day and go through one bottle a month.  Perfect for the monthly subscription that saves you 15% off.  That way, I save a trip to the store and buy more impulsive snacks we don’t need.

5)    We even got Reid’s mom to make the switch.  She always bought whatever was on sale at the grocery store, but now she’s tried it and loves the value and quality.

Use code SHALICE for new customers – $10 off!

Stay tuned for an amazing giveaway with Calinicoastal!

Also, see our kitchen in a magazine! Way to go!! Read all about it in this link

PENDANTS FROM CALINICOASTAL // NEOLITH COUNTERTOPS in calcutta luxe // SINK with accessories // FAUCET // ANTIQUE MIRROR TILE

Images by Jill Blue Photography

DIY custom framed art

by Shalice Noel

I was getting tired of the inflated shipping and delays, but wanted some killer framed art for the kitchen.

The last time we were in FL, Reid took some beautiful pictures in Alys Beach. Can you tell that’s our happy place? More of our FL house and 10 things to do in Destin HERE.

Ok, so how did you create this custom look, you ask, for roughly $80 each? Notably, it is nearly half of what I would spend otherwise. Keep reading.

1.First, I ordered 2 8×10 images that Reid took, in matte on Walmart.com and had them shipped.

2. Next I ordered a 24×24 frame from Amazon. Unfortunately, I noticed its not available right now, so I linked similar

3. I needed a 24×24″ matte with a 8×10 opening so I found one on Etsy, you can customize your opening. I chose 8×10. $30 each wasn’t bad! I love a rectangle within a square.

I love the look and this was a super fun project, though I hurt my hands a little doing it.

What do you think?

The mild temps are making a comeback here in the south.  I know it’s still taking a bit of time for the rest of the country, but don’t get impatient, the warmth is coming.  You will be out on your patio in no time.  With the spring season fast approaching, we decided to make some furniture upgrades to our pool deck. 

We first moved some old outdoor pieces around.  We took our large teak table that seats 8 and moved it into the cabana, in front of our outdoor fire place.  While the evening is a bit of a chill, the fire place makes dinning al fresco romantic and comfortable.  We also added some new rockers to the pool deck.  Do you prefer lounge chairs or rockers?  While I love getting vitamin D in a lounge chair, it’s still a bit too early for that.  That’s why I love these rockers, they are comfortable and modern.  The grey cushions go well with our flagstone deck.  We placed the rockers on a new striped outdoor rug giving the chairs a nice smooth rock.  The rug will make a great place for the kids to lay down a beach towel as well, come summer.  Add planters and colorful spring plants around the space to add color and texture.  Walmart has an assortment of faux flowers.  Add faux flowers to oversized vases and if the temperature drops a few nights, no worries.  The faux flowers always look fresh!

While enjoying the new rockers, we decided to make homemade malts.  We rocked on our chairs and looked out at the pool while listening to the waterfall.  I love sitting outside, sipping my malt and reaping the benefits of sunlight and nature.  It’s time to get outdoors ready with Walmart’s Patio Furniture selections.  They have great pieces designed to fit a variety of styles and outdoor spaces.  Show me your plans.

Use this malt recipe for your first spring patio party.

Vanilla Malts

Makes 7 – 1 cup servings

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 1/8 cups granulated sugar

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup malt powder (add more to taste)

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

Pour out the mixture into a freezer bowl.  We use this:

Ice cream maker – 2 quart

or

Kitchen Aid 2 quart Ice cream maker mixer attachment

I love how this area came together, from the planters, stripe pillows, outdoor rug, string lights and new rockers!

Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post!

8 Internet faves

by Shalice Noel


“Progress over perfection, consistency over perfection, balance over perfection”

Side table, drool! Love this veining so much!


Gold chain bag 20% off!


High Tops (get your true size)

Love at first site: New blazer in DOE


I get asked often about this bag


Boucle chair

Coffee table book 


Obsessed with gallery walls lately.  

Don’t forget to make my snickerdoodle recipe!

Hand bags under $300

Get this suit for Zoom meetings

Latest TJ MAXX finds

Follow me on Pinterest.com/shalicenoel

My Favorite TJ MAXX finds

by Shalice Noel

So many good finds at tjmaxx.com! I’ve been wanting a luxe coffee table book, large vase and found them all online. Tjmaxx.com is my secret to finding great home finds for our Florida house. Lots of design and decor pieces for home and beyond. I’m loving this sequin dress that is perfect for date night. Tip: add a denim jacket and sneakers for a dressed down look.

Sequin Dress in small // Coffee Table Books and this one // Similar Vases //

Shop them easily when you click on the images below.

Thank you tjmaxx.com for sponsoring this post!

LED candles (AA and AAA battery powered) // Sherpa jacket // Black lanterns // Vacuum // Smart TV and mounting

We have a fun family tradition called gift exchange night.  It started with my family as a child.  As my siblings and I got married with kids our exchange night turned into quite the event.  We would all meet at Oakbrook Mall, near Chicago, draw names and give each other a gift limit.  As the years progressed, it got harder and harder to do the gift exchange at the mall.  Sticking to our price limit was a huge challenge.

We then moved away from my family and no longer could carry on the tradition with the extended family, but we started making it a night for our immediate family.  With young kids, we couldn’t do this at the mall so we moved the gift exchange to Walmart.  It is a perfect place for the gift exchange.  There is something for everyone.  Reid loves workout stuff, so Brooks found him a jump rope.  Brooks loves golf, so Mathias found him a new golf hat.  I love anything for the home and Levi bought me a cool star fish and shell for my console table.  Everything was $10 and under!

We have so much fun running around the store and finding something within the limit but also meaningful to that person.  We then rush home and without even wrapping anything, we sit in the living room and starting with the youngest, we exchange our gifts.  It’s a really sweet time.  You must see the video of Levi giving me my starfish.  His face was precious.

With the inspiration of the starfish, I expanded my home décor even more from Walmart.  I found LED “flame” candles and a couple black lanterns.  The LED candles really warm up the living room and dress up the space for both Christmas and throughout the year.  With the fun of decorating, I’m motivated to clean.  With the new beach house, we’ve been needing a new vacuum.  We found this one at Walmart and it has been perfect for our wood floors and soaking up all the sand.

As we love our gift exchange night and making memories, I hope you try this tradition for yourselves.  Check out Walmart and all the meaningful gifts you can find for every budget. I’m thankful our family gift giving will carry into life long lessons of thoughtfulness. We plan on doing this throughout the year to remind ourselves to think of others.

Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post, all opinions my own.

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