Monday, December 17, 2012

The Art of Shaving: Review & Sale

7 days 'til Christmas! What?!?!?! Christmas is a week away! Are you done with your Christmas shopping??? I am and, wow, it feels good to say that.

I had a lot of people on my list this year including some for whom it's impossible to shop for: the men. The men in my family are hard to shop for, seriously. So what's a girl to do? I started to think of past presents they have loved and I remembered a trip we took to a mall at the end of the summer. While strolling through we walked into The Art of Shaving and had the pleasure of watching a demonstration. We learned that a proper shave includes four steps:
1) Prepare
2) Lather up
3) Shave
4) Moisturize

My husband loved the idea of taking care of his skin during a daily ritual and bought a starter set right then and there. He's been using it for two months and recently mentioned he was running out of products. I figured it would be a great idea to get him the full set for Christmas and introducing these wonderful products to the rest of the men in the family. They will be getting the Full Size Kits, each in a different scent. I got the Sandalwood scent for my husband so that he could try something different and because I love the smell. The lemon & lavender scents are very fresh and they also carry the kits in an unscented version.

I wanted to introduce my brother to these products as well but, since he's a pilot, I ended up picking the Travel Kit. He gets to sample all the different products without having to worry about checking his bag each time. Furthermore it all comes in a great leather carrying case that screams "Merry Christmas" and "Sister of the Year" :)

Are you ready for some shopping? The folks at The Art of Shaving are generously extending an offer to my readers. They will give you Free Ground shipping and $15 off your purchase of any The Art of Shaving Full Size Kit until 12/30/12 if you use Promo Code: 15offFSK at checkout. Simply follow this LINK and start shopping!

I'll be back with more holiday shopping ideas this week... until then, happy shopping!


Friday, October 26, 2012

DIY Halloween Notebooks

The kids are so excited about Halloween that we had to sneak in one more craft before the big day. With an early release from school (thanks Hurricane Sandy) and some time to spare, we got to work. We had made a quick trip to the Dollar Store the previous day and had gotten some cute mini composition books (see below). The kids decided to glam them up to include in some goodie bags they were shipping to their dear friends across the country. They glued some construction paper to the cover and then decorated using stickers and a black sharpie. They loved them so much that they decided to make some for themselves. They even made me one that I can't wait to use!

We hope you too are crafting with your loved ones and sharing with friends. Stay tuned for another Halloween Post this weekend featuring the costume I made my daughter.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vintage Personalized Dinosaur T-shirts

Stegosaurus for Oliver

My friend's son is obsessed with dinosaurs. He has every dinosaur thing you can imagine, and even some you can't. I had seen a boy wearing a cool vintage-looking t-shirt at the park a couple of weeks ago and decided to try to make it since I was pretty sure my friend's son didn't have that one. Of course my son had to have one too!

T-Rex for David
I used the Sure Cuts a Lot software along with my Cricut to cut out each of their favorite dinosaur and the silly labels for underneath. I then used some fabric paint I got at the craft store from the clearance section (37 cents!) and ta da! You need to heat set the paint, and the easiest way to do this is with your iron. I found a great article that explains it in great detail here. I let the paint sit for 24 hours and it worked great! My son loves his t-shirt and has now decided he needs one for each type of dinosaur! It's a good thing they're easy and cheap to make!

I also quickly made this Angry Birds inspired one for my daughter's friend who was turning 6. I love the vintage look of these t shirts and especially how soft they feel.

Proudly linking to these awesome parties!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Journaling for the Heart

If you have been reading my blog for some time you probably have noticed the decrease in posts recently. To say that I have had a hard 18 months would be an understatement! My mom passed away last year in May and we lost my Dad unexpectedly this past June. My heart hurts and I've lost much of my craftiness. I find that when I have free time I spend most of it reading, perhaps as a way to escape my thoughts. With the kids back in school I am trying to take care of myself both inside and out. When I saw Ashley's The Lil Journal Project I knew it would be a great start for me!

I love keeping journals but have found it hard to write since losing my mom. I have a lot of thoughts that I need to get down on paper but that's not always easy. Perhaps that's why I'm enjoying Ashley's project so much. She has a daily prompt that makes it effortless to keep up with the writing. As you can see from my pages, I didn't buy a blank journal. Instead I am using a day planner that my parents gave me a long time ago. It has a leather cover and I love the way it feels and looks on my night table. Every time I pick it up I think of them and it warms my heart. I'm hoping to be able to write about them soon.

I hope you will join Ashley and me on this adventure! I promise you wont be sorry if you do! I'm on Day 5 and already having a great time looking back through past entries. This would also be a great thing to do with your kids.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Baby Shower Gifts

Babies here, babies there, babies everywhere! In the past month I have been to three baby showers! I love making gifts for babies and have had a blast coming up with presents for all these new people coming into our lives!

Each baby gets a giant granny square blanket made with a different yarn. For this one I used multicolored yarn with an edging done in a sparkly pink. I love that the edge looks like a delicate ruffled lace edge.

I'm relatively new to crochet, typically more of a knitter so I used a great pattern called How to Crochet a Granny Square. It goes step by step and is perfect for newbies.

I also made each sweet girl a "necklace onesie". These onesies are all over Pinterest and are a cute way to personalize the clothing item that babies will wear the most the first few months. I created the necklace using the eraser of a pencil dipped in fabric paint. I then attached a felt rosette using a snap so that the mommies can take it off to wash the onesie.


And lastly I put everything in a cute basket and wrap it up with some cellophane. I love the presentation and know one can never have too many baskets to organize tiny things in the nursery. Sometimes I get wicker baskets with liners and have the liners monogrammed, it depends on what I find and the decor in the nursery. 

I also like to bring the baby and mom a gift once they get home. Along with the usual flowers and food I like to bring something that is personalized. Last week I decided to try my hand at some subway art for the nursery and made this for my friend who had a beautiful daughter. I created the "tags" in photo shop and then arranged them on a canvas using mod podge. I love the way it looks except I think next time I'll cut out the words using my Cricut and I'll paint them on to the canvas. I don't like the choppy look of the words on the canvas. I still love the idea and I'm thinking about making one for each of my kids even though they are not babies anymore.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: My Artist’s Way Toolkit

The My Artist's Way Toolkit is the online version of Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity. Like the book, the online tool kit presents a self-guided 12-week program which include daily and weekly exercises. These can be done online and offline and the expectation is that throughout these activities one will find the artist we all have hiding within us. Lastly it is important to mention that it is a subscription based program so there is a fee involved.

My favorite part of the program is the weekly 'Artist Dates'. I love that they are specific enough that I don't have to worry about the what when I'm writing. This week's prompt was "Go to a candy shop and buy yourself some of your favorite kind of childhood candy." It just so happens that I am in my native country and so this was a really fun one for me. I got tearful while writing about my favorite lollipops that my parents, who are now both gone, always used to buy for me. Writing about these lollipops was a wonderful exercise for my heart!

My least favorite part perhaps is the writing online, but after two weeks I have gotten used to it and actually enjoy it. I also like that I can do the exercises from everywhere since I always have my iPad or iPhone with me. If I only did these exercises in long hand then I probably would quickly fall behind since my journal stays at home. I find I do most of my creative writing while waiting in the carline at school- sad but true!

A note to keep in mind is that if you cancel your subscription they will keep your data for 60 days in case you change your mind. I love that!

This is a great toolkit for someone that needs help in self discovery, it's a great "wake-up" of sorts to get your creative juices going. We all go through dry periods and I think once in a while it's a great idea to try something new. I'd recommend this as I find that for me it's been a great tool!

Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about the My Artist's Way Toolkit.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: The First Husband

The First Husband by Laura Dave should be the first book you read this summer. Throw it in your beach bag or enjoy it on the plane, you will not be disappointed!

Dave carefully tells a tale of a woman who thinks she has it all until one day she hears those awful words, “we may need a break” (Dave, 7) Those simple five words grabbed me and I found myself immersed in a love story like no other I have read. The twists and turns are not only unpredictable but also very realistic. I felt like I was in Annie’s shoes many times while reading and found myself upset, elated , depressed, happy, etc.

This is not your typical boy meets girl story were they don’t like each other, then they do and end up together at the end. This story is more like something that would happen to your best friend and the way Dave writes it’s as if your friend was telling you about it over a latte at the local coffee shop. At one point I found myself asking “why” out loud while I read. Annie doesn’t necessarily take the easy route but perhaps that’s what makes the tale so interesting to read.

This book is one that will resonate with people in and out of relationships. It might hit closer to home for those in a relationship because the beginning of the book is a common nightmare. However, for those not in a relationship it will be interesting to see how someone falls out of love and the ability they have to learn to love again. Dave weaves this learning to love again in a way that is suspiciously easy when in reality Annie struggles and fights like no other.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy soon to enjoy this summer!
Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about this book.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

 My kids have wonderful teachers this year! As Teacher Appreciation Week starts tomorrow we spent some time this weekend making gifts for them.

We love giving flowers to make their desks pretty so I had each kid write "Thank you" and sign their names on a mason jar. I had them write it with a Sharpie so that the writing won't wipe off but they can scrub it off at a later date to use the jar for something else. We wrapped the edges with some ribbon and called it a day.

Lastly I made the teachers a washer necklace. These are all over Pinterest and I have been dying to make some. I found really nice quality washers at ACE Hardware and the leather cord and beads are from the craft store. My husband had to help me with the actual stamping and we found that if you wrap the washer in masking tape it prevents them from moving around and thus prevents 'shaky' letters.

I hope the teachers love their presents and more importantly I hope they know how much we appreciate them! 

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: You Have No Idea

As a fan of memoirs I was thrilled to be picked to review "You Have No Idea", the untold story of Vanessa Williams' life. I'll start by saying that I knew very little about her before starting this book which may or may not have influenced my reaction to it. I found it to be a beautiful story about a mother and a daughter. Because of the way it’s written with both Vanessa and her mom Helen telling the story at times it feels like we are eavesdropping into their conversations. Vanessa was thrown into a lifestyle of fame without much preparation and throughout the book we see how her mother was able to help her with the transition while teaching her very important life lessons.

Perhaps the most striking part of the book for me was the retelling of her winning the Miss America pageant. Not the actual crowning, but what happened later. Vanessa writes "The first black Miss America. I'd made history!" (pg. 31) Unfortunately this win was not received well by everyone and she faced racism from both sides of the fence. Later the crown was taken away from her because of an unfortunate leak of inappropriate pictures that had been taken years before. But before that happened her reign was shadowed by threatening calls and mail from those who felt she didn’t deserve this title.

This would be a great book to give to any mother or daughter because more than a memoir it seems like a great story of the relationship between Vanessa and her mom.

Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about this book. This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Airplane Goody Bags for Kids

Our dear friends are moving to Colorado in a couple of weeks :( Our entire family is heartbroken about it. I keep reading this quote I saw on Pinterest "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" but it's not really helping. They left this afternoon to find a house and school so we decided to make some goody bags to keep the kids happy on the plane. I found these re-usable vinyl bags at Walmart and thought they'd be perfect for the job.

I let each kid pick the items for their friend and they had so much fun. As you can see they picked coloring stuff, notepads, notebooks, a matchbox car, pen, a lollipop and a granola bar. Hopefully this kept them busy for at least the first flight!

I try to teach my kids a lot of things... one of the main ones is to be a good friend. I talk a lot about this with my daughter especially because she is older and more apt to understand. We talk about what a good friend is and how being there for someone when they need you is crucial for a good friendship. As both of my kids put together these bags we talked about how much they would miss their friends and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I bawled the whole time.

P.S. My friend just texted me a pic of her boys enjoying their goodie bags on the plane- score!

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Friday Fun Party
Project Party Weekend
Friday Favorites
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Look At Me Party
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: The Book of Jonas

Long time readers know that I love the BlogHer Book Club and truly enjoy reviewing books. However, I had a really hard time reading The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau. Regardless, I still think everyone should read it. As citizens of the world we think we know about wars, but this brilliant tale brings to light many of the truths that we would rather NOT know about wars. As a mother of young children my heart broke as I got to know and love Jonas. And it further crumbled as I met Rose, a mother trying to preserve her son's memory.

Dau does an incredible job in describing the feelings of a young boy who has lost everything due to war and been shipped to another country. As if 15 isn't already a hard age, this young is thrown into a new culture and family with little support but that provided by a court-ordered counselor. It is this aid who helps put him in touch with the mother of the soldier who saved his life. And their meeting brings about a beautiful union of two lives that under any other circumstance would have never intermingled.

I found myself putting down this book and embracing my children. I was more thankful as a mom during the time that I read this book. I hurt for Rose's loss and it made me realize that no matter how much we hear about wars on television and in the papers we really don't know the full story. Perhaps it's a defense mechanism because our hearts would truly break if we knew everything that is really happening over there.

Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about this book.
This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nest Cupcakes

These mini cupcakes were the perfect end to our Easter picnic last weekend. They are simple vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting. The three "eggs" add a whimsical touch of color and sweetness that everyone will love.

The kids are off school tomorrow and we're planning on spending the entire day at the pool. Have a great weekend!

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