Monday, January 6, 2014

Nailed It: Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips

We're almost a week into the new year, and I'm definitely itching for some crafty-type projects. I've got a couple up my sleeve, but nothing completed quite yet. So until then, I'll share a different type of DIY "project" - my recent experience with nail polish strips.

It’s amazing to think about the time and money that’s spent on those little blank keratin canvases at the tips of our fingers—from Fench manicures to gel manicures to Shellac to bling and other nail art (have you seen some of those fancy nails on Pinterest?).
Lots of women keep their nails impeccably manicured in some form or another on a regular basis. I am not one of those women. Sure, I’ll paint my own nails every once in awhile, but I’ve only gotten a professional manicure (or pedicure) maybe twice in the past five years. I probably should go more often just to keep my nails in better shape, but it’s just not something I want to spend my money on.

However, I do find myself intrigued by all these DIY nail products on the market today. The at-home gel manicure kits, for instance, promise professional results at a fraction of the cost. But it still seems like a lot of time and effort to me; plus, you can’t just remove them with regular nail polish remover.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Furniture Revamp: From Two-Toned to Too Fabulous

Several years ago when we were back in college, my husband (then fiancé) built a ladder shelf and matching A-frame end table for my birthday. Probably because I was always complaining about needing some shelves for all my stuff. He had stained the vertical supports a dark reddish color and left the shelves natural (with a poly coat) for a two-tone look. They were solid, well-made pieces and easily the nicest furniture that I had back then. The shelves traveled with us to our new apartment after we got married, and then to our current house where they reside in our living area.

In the meantime, we’ve acquired a lot more furniture and most of it is either deep brown or black with a worn/antiqued finish. So the two-tone look of the ladder shelf and end table started to seem a bit outdated and mismatched. And as you can see, the shelves kind of blended right into our gold-ish wall color. But giving them a makeover wasn’t really a top priority, so I didn’t do anything about it until recently when I was feeling motivated and needed a new DIY project.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DIY Candy Bar Taste Test

Halloween is over, but if your sweet tooth still remains intact after all of the candy consuming, then I've got just the thing for you!

I recently wrote two articles which were published on Lydia, a new lifestyle site for women. Check out my candy bar taste tests to see if the homemade version stacks up to the original, and then be sure to browse around the rest of the site while you're at it!

Enjoy, my fellow sweets-eaters! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Easy Pumpkin Decorating for Fall

I'm a little late to the game, considering fall has been here for a month already. But this past weekend, I finally gave our front porch a proper (albeit cheap & easy) seasonal makeover.

The star players in my display are the perennial fall favorites: pumpkins & mums. I bought three big pumpkins at Aldi for only $3 each, and four potted mums at Dillon's for $3 each. I prefer pumpkin painting over carving, but I had already done the black & white thing a couple years ago. This year I decided I wanted to go for the gold instead, so I bought a gold paint marker at Hobby Lobby for about $3.50. 

The first thing that came to mind was polka dots, which were simple enough to do freehand (and no one would notice that they weren't perfect circles). 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Baking: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I realized it's been two months since I've posted anything, and this makes me sad. There just haven't been a whole lot of new developments with our house, despite the fact that our unfinished basement keeps taunting me every time I go downstairs to do laundry.

One thing I've found myself doing a lot of lately, however, is baking. Since it's officially fall (albeit unseasonably warm), I felt the need to use some of the canned pumpkin that's been patiently waiting in my pantry since last year. In search of a recipe containing ingredients I already had on hand, I found one on Pinterest for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (via fifteenspatulas).

Since I followed the recipe word for word, you can just head to the original source for the instructions. Basically, all I'm here to say is that they're delicious! The combination of the spices with the gooey chocolatey goodness was perfect. I had one (or three) fresh out of the oven with a glass of milk, and I was a happy girl. They're also probably the softest cookies I have ever made, and they stayed soft even after a couple days. (Although I'd recommend popping them in the microwave for a few seconds to make them warm and melty again.)

One thing worth mentioning is that the original recipe states one batch makes one dozen cookies. Since I felt this was not nearly enough, I doubled the batch. Well, I found myself putting cookies in my oven all evening until I ended up with about 50 of these babies. They were big, too. Don't get me wrong, you can never have too many cookies. Just be forewarned.

So in order to avoid temptation and premature winter weight, I sent some with my husband to take to his office and also stuck some in the freezer to be enjoyed later. And since I only used one cup of pumpkin for these cookies, I still have quite a bit left to try out another recipe!

What's your favorite fall treat? Pumpkin recipes welcome!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Going Paperless: A Window Treatment Transformation

For the past five years, I’ve been on a mission to destroy all of the temporary paper shades that we put up to cover the windows when we first moved in our house. It’s been a slow process because A) I just don’t want to spend a lot of money; and B) some of our windows are odd sizes which makes it a bit tricky. But so far I’ve gotten through our living room and master bedroom, and this past weekend I finally de-papered the guest bedroom.

Close-up of the shade in all its pleated, papery glory

This particular window is about 45” wide by 46” high. Based on my experience, I hadn’t seen any window treatments to fit those dimensions, and I wasn't going to pay to custom order something. So I was going to have to get creative. There's definitely no shortage of DIY curtains on Pinterest, from drop cloth curtains to tablecloth curtains to no-sew roman shades.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baby Shower Gift Idea + Pretty Packaging

When it comes to gifts, sometimes I’m a buy-it-off-the-registry-and-stick-it-in-a-gift-bag type of person. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Other times I like to have fun and be a little more creative with my gifting, if only for my own enjoyment. Case in point: my sister-in-law’s baby shower this past weekend. I had seen a couple cute ideas on Pinterest and this was a perfect opportunity to try them out.

1) Onesie Cupcakes
(inspiration pic below)

2) Washcloth Lollipops
(inspiration pic below)

Adorable, right? So first I went out shopping in search of some onesies. The only challenge was, because they don’t know the sex of the baby yet, I had to find something gender-neutral. On top of that, it was very hard (in my experience anyway) to find something gender-neutral and colorful. So, I ended up with some white & tan ones with little monkey designs on them. Not very cupcake-y looking, but they would have to do. I also had to settle for white socks.


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