Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Valentine's Day Crafts

Valentine's Day always seems like the best time for handmade gifts. What better way to pour your heart out to the ones you love than with a creation all your own? Here are three things I've been working on this year that are so easy and cheap, they don't even need a tutorial. And I think the simple sweetness of each speaks for itself.

Handmade cards
I bought the supplies for these handmade cards at Michael's for maybe $5 including a coupon. The only thing I had on hand already was the paint. These blank cards with envelopes are available in packs of 10 and come in a few different colors. I thought the brown would give these cards the rustic, handmade feel I was going for.

To make the shapes, I found images in a Google search, put a piece of paper on my computer screen and traced the shapes with a pencil. I then cut them out so I could use them as a stencil for drawing them onto the cards or for cutting out shapes with the fancy paper. You can buy individual sheets of the sequin paper and the lace paper for a nominal value. For the lace card, I just cut off the lace edge of one of those sheets of paper and glued it on with my glue gun. I painted the heart and lips using my water colors.

Bow Hair Tie 
This craft only cost me a $1.50 because this velvet ribbon was on clearance at Michael's. I tied a bow and pulled on the ends and the loops of the bow until it was the size I wanted. Then I cut the ribbon still attached to the spool to match the length of the other side. I glued a hair tie to the back center of the bow with my glue gun. To make it look a little more polished, I wrapped a shorter piece of the velvet ribbon around the center (and over the hair tie) and secured it with my glue gun.

Heart Wreath
Do you ever start crafts that you don't finish? Me too! It is my goal this year to finish this heart wreath that I started a few years ago. I started it by bending a wire hanger into a heart shape using pliers. Then I cut thin strips from a yard of cheap red fabric. Using the end of the wire hanger as my needle, I poked a hole through the center of the fabric, essentially threading the wire through the fabric accordion style. I still have a long way to go and I need to buy more fabric, but until then I actually think this looks kind of artsy and cool.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

3 Cute Outfits for When It's Cold

So far, getting dressed this winter has consisted of me finding the longest, thickest, most turtleneck sweater in my closet and pairing it with pants. There's not much else you can do with weather like this. So in an attempt to change it up and fight this winter style rut, here are three cute outfits for when it's cold. 

Mia Embroidered Boots, $59.97
Or go to ZuLily for more sizes and a cheaper price, $49.99

I got these boots for Christmas, and I have been hesitant to wear them with all of the snow and salt. But, if you are just hopping into and out of an Uber for the night and you don't have to worry about hiking through mountains of snow, these are a nice way to add a little color and texture to the sweater and black leggings we've all been living in this winter.


ASTR the Label Tie Sleeve Sweater, $19.97
(Similar Nordstrom Rack tie-sleeve sweater here and here, J.Crew tie-sleeve sweater here)
If you can't embellish your footwear, embellish your sweater. When I first got this sweater, I thought you were supposed to tie it the way you see above, but apparently the ties are supposed to be in the front. Personally, I think it looks good either way and it's not the only way to make your sweater game more interesting. It seems like there are an endless amount of options for sweaters. Bows, ties, fringe, pom-poms, sequins, appliques, embroidery, you name it!


Thread and Supply Wubby Fleece Pullover, $78
Though this pullover may be for when you made plans with your friends and then decided to stay at home instead because it's just too damn cold, I still think it's cute enough to be worn in the light of day. That is if you do decide to leave the house! The fur elevates it from an everyday pullover to something a little more special. And if you do decide to stay in, put on your leggings and slippers, grab your hot tea and just lean into it. No one will care because everyone else is just as cold.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Finding balance



I’ve been thinking about writing about the topic of finding balance for a long time. And since I guess you could call this my resolution for the year, I thought this might be a good time to bring it up. I’ve had this increasingly nagging feeling over the last year or so that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A feeling like not everything on my list of things had been accomplished. It felt like there was something missing that I wasn’t getting to, causing me to feel frustrated and anxious at times. And that feeling only grew over the holidays as obligations for work and even my social life began to pile up. It wasn’t until the last present was put away and the last champagne flute was cleaned that I started to feel a sense of calm and equilibrium come over me. I have suspected this for a long time and it’s clear to me now, more so than ever, looking over the past year, which was wonderful in so many regards, that I didn’t really carve out enough time for myself. My schedule became so full, so fast that I never really took the time to examine it and ask myself if this was truly the way I wanted to be spending my time. I just went with it. And now, as a full-fledged adult living on my own for officially six and a half years, it seems that I’ve finally come to the realization that I am the person who sets my priorities and decides how I spend my time. If I want it to be different, I have to change it, which is where the idea of finding balance comes in.

As a former figure skater, the concept is not lost on me that even though everything can feel like it is moving really fast, if you have balance, you can achieve great things. Beautiful things. Given the fact that my life will probably stay really busy and hectic, the best thing I can do to make sure I am doing everything that I WANT to do, is to make priorities and allocate an amount of time that seems appropriate for that particular priority, whether it is spending more time with friends or reading a good book. For me, one of things I have really missed is blogging. And I made several failed attempts at blogging over the last few months. Everything else kept getting in the way. I finally realized if I wanted this to happen, I needed to schedule it. This idea didn’t click until I heard Elizabeth Gilbert, on an episode of her podcast Magic Lessons, tell a busy woman trying to write a novel that she needed to make time for her writing, even if that meant giving up something else.

Thinking about all of the other priorities in my life, such as family, work and friends, blogging doesn’t really compete, but I decided it does fall somewhere on my list of priorities because it is something I enjoy. And as you know, the whole not spending time on me thing was a problem last year. So I’ve set aside time on Saturday mornings to work on my blog. I decided that little bit of time on Saturday mornings is just the right amount of time to commit to this given how it ranks in comparison to all of the other priorities in my life. I am sure there will be times when other priorities take precedence or when I spend more time on my blog than I thought I would. There may not always be balance. Psychotherapist F. Diane Barth, L.C.S.W., said in her blog post 5 ways to find balance in your life for Psychology Today, “…balance is about navigating transition - rather than trying to 'nail' a spot and (desperately...er...um) gracefully hoping to stay in it.” So I humbly recognize this is not something I will always get right. To quote my yoga teacher and something I am sure I begrudgingly learned many times during my years at the ice rink: when you fall, you learn. Finding balance takes work and practice, but I definitely think it’s something worth working on and focusing on for the next year. What do you think? Do you struggle with finding balance, too? Is there something you’ve done that has helped you find balance in your life?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A few of my favorite things


I'd like to start the year by sharing a few of my favorite things from 2017. This is not only a way to share what I feel are great products and finds, but also a way to reflect on a year of smarter purchases. As I look through old blog posts, I seem to start every year with the goal to save more money. And that goal has morphed to not only include saving more money each paycheck, but saving more in the long run by purchasing clothing and products that I know will give me long-lasting value. As I look back at 2017, I am proud of myself for making fewer, smarter purchases. Here are the ones that I thought were worth sharing:

Cool Metal Jewelry

  Ten Thousand Villages Necklace / Studebaker Metals Amelia Cuff  I'm not a big jewelry person. I wear the same necklace and ear...