Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DIY Cinnamon Stick Ornaments

With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to get in just a few more fun, Christmasy posts!  So, I thought I'd share with you how to make some ornaments that have just recently begun to grace our Christmas tree: stars made from Cinnamon sticks!  Not only are they cute and rustic, but they make the house smell nice, too! 

All you need to make these little guys is five cinnamon sticks per star, some scrap yarn, and a glue gun.

Starting with the top point, overlap two of the cinnamon sticks, and glue in place.

Add two more cinnamon sticks to create the bottom points of the star, and glue these points in place as well.

Finally, add the last cinnamon stick right across the top to create the last two points.  Glue these points in place as well.

Although our star ornament is already looking really nice, I did want to make them a little sturdier, so once I was sure the rest of the star was glued in place, I also put a bit in the gaps that occur beneath some of the sticks.  This just makes sure the stars stay nice and stiff.

Finally, tie a piece of yarn to one of the points, and it's ready to hang on the tree!

I hope you enjoyed this little DIY!  These ornaments are incredibly easy to make, and no two will ever look the same!  I love them on my tree, especially since this winter we've had what I like to think of as a "glamorous forest" theme going on, and these add such a nice, rustic touch!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mulled Wine Recipe

This year, I started experimenting with mulled wine a bit, and now that I've come up with a good recipe, I can't imagine this holiday season without this festive beverage.  Since I've come to be so fond of a good mulled wine, I thought I should share my recipe and tips with you.  So, you'll find the recipe below, but here are some of my favorite tips:
  1. For wine, I prefer the Rhubarb/Raspberry Blend from Forestedge Winery
  2. I prefer to use the Christian Brothers brandy above any others
  3. Add in the cloves slowly, these spices can be a bit overpowering to some people
  4. When in doubt, use Agave over honey.  I don't know why, but it just tastes better
  5. If given the choice between cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon, go with the sticks.  They make the wine taste better, and let's just be honest: they look pretty cool, too.

- 1 bottle of red wine
- 1 peeled and sliced orange
-1/4 cup brandy
-18-20 cloves
-1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
-3 cinnamon sticks or 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-2 tsp ground ginger

All you have to do is combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat on medium until the mixture starts to steam a bit.  Usually, this takes about 20-25 minutes.  Then, you can either strain, or leave the spices in the wine, and serve as is.  Personally, I like to leave the spices in, and allow an orange to float on the surface of each glass as a garnish.  This does leave the wine a bit thicker, but it's a bit like orange juice.  If you like a little pulp, try leaving the spices in; if you don't, I would highly recommend straining the mixture!

As a quick aside, I want to mention that I have tried this recipe with several different wines, and my favorite has been the Rhubarb/Raspberry Blend from Forestedge Winery.  This particular wine may be a bit difficult for some of you to get ahold of, because it's from a teeny tiny town of about 115 people called Laporte in northern Minnesota.  It really is amazing, though, so I would highly recommend at least checking out their website: here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Spiced Apple Toddy Obsession

If you are not a fan of the Spiced Apple Toddy scent from Bath and Body Works, then you do not want to come to my house.  I have had a slight obsession with for the past three years, and my passion for it has not waned, yet.  Which is naturally why I had to write a full blog post about it!

For those of you who haven't smelled this lovely candle, it is described as "the fragrance of a warming blend of apple brandy and spiced plum, infused with mulled cider and tart cranberry."  It smells so spicy and Christmasy, it's truly amazing.  Which is why I had to have it all over my house.  We have a few of the traditional, larger candles sprinkled around the house which is pretty standard for this time of year.

We also have a couple in little votives like the one above.  I'm hoping to do a Christmas House Decor video for you guys soon, and when I do, you'll have to watch for these votives in particular.  There are two of them, and our stockings hang beneath each one!  

But, since candles stay pretty localized unless they're actually burning, this year I decided to take this little obsession one step further when I saw that Bath and Body also had Wallflowers in the scent this year!  We have one in just about every room in the house, which makes it smell lovely all the time, and with the cute, Christmasy bases, they double as decoration!  Personally, we really like the Poinsettia flower for most of the rooms, which you can see in the photo above, and the pine branches in the photo below as something different.  There are a ton of cute options, though!

Clearly, Spiced Apple Toddy is my favorite candle of the season, but I'd love to know what your favorites are, too!  There are so many amazing scents this time of year, whether it's the spicy cinnamon scents like this one or the more mellow bakery scents, etc!  Let me know what your favorite scent is this time of year in the comment section!

Monday, December 1, 2014

DIY Felted Dryer Balls

When Joe and I got married this past October, one of the gifts we were blessed to receive was a set of dyer balls.  If you are unfamiliar with dryer balls, allow me to explain.  They are little wool balls that you toss in your dryer along with your clothes, which act as a natural replacement for dryer sheets.  They have been so handy to have around the house, because the typical dryer sheets you can get from the store tend to leave a greasy residue behind that can really irritate your skin - at least it does for us.  Since these dryer balls are essentially just felted wool, we don't have to worry about that, though.

Another benefit is that they're really easy to make, and having been on the receiving end, I can safely say that it's a great gift idea this holiday season as well.  All you need is some non-washable wool yarn (I used Paton's Classic Wool in Dark Grey Marl and Dark Grey Mix), the leg from an old pair of stockings, a yarn needle, and some essential oil of your choice.  Personally, I think Lavender is a nice, calming scent.

Wrap the yarn into a ball until it is about the size of a tennis ball, then cut the yarn, leaving a long tail.  Thread this tail into a yarn needle, and push it through random areas in the ball to secure the strands in place.  Then, repeat this process until you have your desired number of dryer balls.  You can get about three balls per skein of yarn, which I think is a good number if you're giving these away as a gift.

Once you have made as many balls as you would like, put them in the stocking, one at a time, tying a knot between each ball.  This keeps the balls from falling apart during the felting process.  Then, toss the stocking into the washing machine first, washing the balls on hot.  You can also toss them in with clothes if you would like.  Then, dry them on hot as well.

Repeat these last two steps until the balls resemble those in the picture below - it took me about three times.  They will likely have a "wet dog" smell to them, which is where the essential oil comes in.  Just add a few drops of oil to the balls so that they have a nice, clean scent,  and you're done!

Let me know if you try to make these yourself, and how they worked out!  Make sure to send me a picture either on Instagram or Twitter so I can see your creations!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bringing Up Baby

I'm not sure if you've heard of or seen Bringing Up Baby before, but as for me personally, I can't believe I hadn't thought to review it earlier!  I was first introduced to this film back in college, when I took a class on film and literature.  I liked it back then, especially since it starred the adorable Cary Grant and the lovely Katharine Hepburn (I could easily watch her movies just for her voice!), but upon a recent viewing, I fell in love with it even more.  Though, to be quite honest, the reason why I love it so much more now won't be incredibly surprising.

The film is centered around a paleontologist, David Huxley (Grant), who is trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, but bumps into a flighty, rather annoying heiress, Susan Vance (Hepburn).  They run into each other several times, each time resulting in absolute chaos, before David is finally conned into visiting Susan at her apartment, where he meets Baby, who happens to be a domesticated leopard.

As you may have figured out if you've followed me for very long, this set up is very similar to my family, though on a much more exaggerated scale with completely different personalities.  First, you have David, who is what some would call slightly nerdy, who coincides a bit with Joe's love of computers - though I hardly think you could call Joe nerdy.  Then, there's Susan, who has a love of all things pretty, where I have a beauty vlog, blog, etc.  Finally, you have baby, who is a leopard, where we have Cricket, who is part leopard.

That's essentially where the similarities end, however.  The events that take place in this film could really only take place in a screwball comedy, and are hilarious to watch!  This is definitely a film that I would recommend watching, especially since I don't think it gets nearly enough credit for how amazing it is!  Really, please watch it and let me know what you think of it!

Images are from here and here

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Emma's Hat from Dreamy

Those of you that follow me on Twitter may know that I've been fairly well obsessed with the show, Once Upon a Time the past couple weeks (Thank goodness for Netflix!), and I've been doing my best to play catch up so that I'm ready when Season Four airs the 28th of this month!  As a way to celebrate the upcoming season premiere, I thought I'd write up a couple of knit hat patterns based on some of the ones in the show, starting with one of the most recognizable hats: Emma's beanie from the episode 'Dreamy'.  I hope you like this pattern, and if you make it, please let me know by sharing pictures on Instagram!  I'd love to see your creations!

Size 2 circular needles
Size 6 circular needles
Caron Simply Soft in Heather Grey
Cable Needle
Stitch Marker
Yarn Needle

cf4: slip 2 sts onto a cable needle and hold to front, k2, then k2 from cable needle.
cb4: slip 2 sts onto a cable needle and hold to back, k2, then k2 from cable needle.

Hat Ribbing
With smaller circular needles, cast on 120 sts.  Pm and join.  Work in k2, p2 ribbing for 10 rounds.  Change to larger circular needles.

Hat Body
Round 1: k3, k2tog around - 96 sts.
Round 2: {(p1, k1) 3 times, k1, p3, k7, p3, k8, p3, k7, p3, k1, (p1, k1) 3 times} twice.
Round 3: {(k1, p1) 3 times, k1, p3, k7, p3, cf4, cf4, p3, k7, p3, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times} twice.
Round 4:{(p1, k1) 3 times, k1, p3, k7, p3, k8, p3, k7, p3, k1, (p1, k1) 3 times} twice.
Round 5: {(k1, p1) 3 times, k1, p3, k7, p3, k8, p3, k7, p3, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times} twice.
Round 6: as Round 4.
Round 7: {(k1, p1) 3 times, k1, p3, k7, p3, k2, cb4, k2, p3, k7, p3, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times} twice.
Rounds 8-10: as Rounds 4-6.
Repeat Rounds 3-10 four more times.

Round 1: k2tog around.
Round 2: k around.
Repeat Rounds 1-2 three more times - 6 sts.
Cut yarn and thread through remaining sts.  Pull tight.  Weave in any loose ends.

Also, make sure to follow this blog to see when I post more Once Upon a Time inspired knitting patterns!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

August Glossybox

So, I just recently got my August Glossybox, and it is unfortunately the last Glossybox that I will be receiving for a while.  It's not because this particular one came so late, or because I've been particularly unhappy with it, though.  It's more because the museum where I work is closing the end of this month, and I simply won't have the funds for the moment!  So, in honor of this last box, I thought I'd do an unboxing for you.

The first item in this box is a Skinny Liquid Eyeliner from Eyeko.  It's been pretty amazing in my quick trial run.  It's nice and small, portable, and it leaves a nice, dark line.  It's by far my favorite item in this box, and is perfect for keeping in your handbag or for travel.  It retails for $16, which is quite a bit more than the ELF liquid eyeliner I'm so fond of, but it's much sleeker, and may actually be worth the money.  I'll keep testing and let you know my results! :)

There was also a full-size Sparitual nail polish from their Explore line, called Navigate.  I probably won't get much use out of this, because even though it really is a gorgeous, frosty blue, it's really just not a color I gravitate toward.  However, there are several other very pretty colors in the collection, and if I didn't have such a large nail polish collection of my own, I might consider picking up something in a different shade, like North Star, which is a pretty, dark purple with the same frosty finish.

Then, there was an Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream.  I haven't heard of this brand before, and I haven't been able to try it out for very long, but I'm excited to see how it works out.  I always love to try out new eye creams, but they're always so expensive!  A full size of this particular cream retails for $85, so getting some in a subscription box is much more preferable!

Another new brand I get to choose is this Uberliss Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner.  I know absolutely nothing about this, other than it claims to be sulfate-free and to leave hair fibers soft and easy to comb.  We'll see how this one fairs once I've tried it out!

The last item is also very intriguing to me, as it's a highlighter by Kryolan for Glossybox.  It's a really, really pretty color, that is nice and subtle, yet frosty enough to give off a beautiful glow.  I'm really excited about it, and was really hoping that Glossybox would come out with their own makeup line!  I love the packaging and logo, plus they've worked with so many awesome makeup companies, you just know that they have to come out with something good!

I haven't tried it out on my actual face, yet, but I'm really optimistic about this product, and I imagine it will be a fast favorite of  mine!

So, that's everything that I got in my last Glossybox for a while!  I think this is the first time I've actually done an unboxing on my blog, so please let me know what you thought of it, and if I should do more.  Even though this is the last Glossybox unboxing for a while, I do also have a Boxycharm subscription that has proven a bit more difficult for me to part with. :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Bridal Shower

This past Saturday was my bridal shower, and it was so much fun!  A ton of my aunts and church friends were there for a brunch complete with plenty of tea, baked oatmeal, games, and of course pearls!  Plus, I absolutely loved my outfit, so I thought I'd share it with you lovelies!

My dress was a BB Dakota dress that I found from, which is one of my favorite places to get clothing!  They put together so many fun looks, so you can see how to style different pieces!  My necklace was from the LeTote subscription service, and is a Noir Luxe Chloe Antique Necklace.  I've gotten so many compliments on this lovely necklace, it's definitely staying in my closet for quite some time!

If you've been around for a while, you've probably seen this purse before.  It is a Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Mini Affair Bag I found on Shopbop (NOT Shop Bob - I can't even tell you how many times my finger has slipped to that spelling!) ages ago, and still use all the time!  It's such a nice, simple staple item, that I couldn't live without.  My bangles are from Dailylook - surprise! - and I've had them long enough where they are unfortunately not available anymore.

My shoes are from, you guessed it: Dailylook.  I don't know what is wrong with me, but I really haven't been shopping in many other locations!  Oddly enough, I've gotten a lot of compliments on these bad boys, too.  Once, I even had someone offer to buy them off of me!  Thing is, they're easily available online in a ton of different colors.  Apparently, you just need to go online and get some :)

I really did have an amazing day!  All of the games were so much fun, particularly the one in the picture below, where teams dressed their "brides" in the most fashionable gowns made of toilet paper!  I personally got to present the dresses, from risqué, to classic, girly, and trendy!  It was so much fun, and I sincerely wish each and every one of you could have been there!

My Outfit
Dress: BB Dakota | Necklace: LeTote | Bangles: Dailylook (unavailable) | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Shoes: Dailylook

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our Engagement Pictures

I am honestly still in shock.  We are exactly one month away from our wedding, and I'm getting really anxious!  Not anxious nervous; anxious excited :).  So, in honor of that fact, I thought I'd share some of our engagement pictures with you guys!  These pictures were taken by our friend, Dana, from Dana J Photography, but she likely won't be able to take our wedding photos, as she's expecting her first child just a couple weeks after the wedding!  

This first one you will probably recognize if you follow me on Instagram (if you don't, you should!), and is very special to me.  It was Casablanca inspired, which is a movie I absolutely love, and the airport is just a good backdrop for us, in general.  Joe loves flying, and has actually been working on getting his pilot's license, and I must admit I've been caught up in it, as well.  There's nothing like flying through the clouds in a little plane!

This photo was actually taken on the beach where Joe proposed!  I won't go into too much detail about his proposal, since the entire story is up on my short-lived wedding blog, Pearls & Lace Bride.  So, if you'd like to know how he did it, just head on over there!

Ah, the classic ring photo!  I adore the way Dana captured this, because not only do you get a lovely view of the ring, but it also has such a lovely, graceful, and romantic feel to it!  I cannot figure out how she did that, because to be honest, neither of us are particularly graceful, and thrive more off gentle teasing than romantic gestures.

Which, is probably why I had to show you guys this next photo!  Dana was helping us pose, and I believe Joe wasn't entirely sure what we were supposed to be doing, so I was teasing him about it a little.  Really, that's how most of the pictures were taken: one of us was consistently giggling if the other didn't understand what we were doing!

I simply had to share this last one with you!  It's stunning, and really does capture the fact that we're small-town Minnesotans quite well!  But, I had to also share with you that I thought I was for sure falling out of this tree!  Being a county girl, I've climbed my fair share of trees, but if you look closely at my hand, you can see there's a big bald spot where the bark has worn away.  This made it crazy slippery, but I'm so glad we were able to capture this moment!

I hope you guys have enjoyed this little peek into my life - I know it's not the kind of thing I typically share with you on this blog.  But, as it's consistently occupying my brain at the moment, and I try to make a point of sharing things I love with you guys, I thought it still  kind of made sense :).  Oh, and if you're getting ready to take your engagement photos, here's my two cents: listen to your photographer's direction, but be you as a couple - it will make your photos more memorable!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Nars Amour Blush

Those of you that have perhaps watched my makeup videos for quite a while may remember that there was a Nars blush/bronzer duo that I used almost exclusively, but I never spoke aloud what the name of the blush was.  It's a rather well known blush, and I'm sure many of you would recognize it, even without my referring you to the description box where it was listed, but I have since moved on to a different, yet similar blush with a much more appealing name.

The blush I've instead been using is the Nars blush in Amour, which is basically the same peachy pink as the other blush, but whereas the blush I previously used had a bit of shimmer to it, this one does not.  Really, it couldn't be more perfect for me.  I'm not crazy about blushes with a lot of shimmer to them to begin with, but loved the color of the Nars blush enough to continue using it.

Essentially, it is the more ladylike, grown-up version of my last Nars blush, and I'm so thrilled to have found it.  It is just as pigmented, just as smooth, etc.  But, it has everything I've been looking for in a blush.  I couldn't be more thrilled with this purchase!  What are your favorite blushes?  Let me know in the comment section below!  Oh, and if you're wondering what that other blush was, I'm not saying it!  I simply find it too inappropriate!

Friday, August 29, 2014

August Sweater: Ballerina Wrap Sweater

Can you believe that we are already preparing ourselves for the autumn months?  This year has simply flown by, and with the sweater I'll be sharing with you today, I will have officially crossed the halfway point in my goal of making one sweater for every month of the year.  I think every month I talk about how that month's sweater was my favorite to make,  which is true of this one, as well, but it's most definitely my favorite to wear!

This is the Ballerina Wrap Sweater, from Vogue Knitting, just like all the sweaters I've done this year.  It features a lovely peplum-style bottom, with a ruffle edge detailing that hides the snap-button closures.  It's just a lovely, intricate piece.  It's certainly not a beginner project, though.  There were several times that I had to stop while knitting this piece and scratch my head a while, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do - particularly when it came to the ruffle over the closures.

As for my outfit, I decided to pair this sweater with some jeans from American Eagle.  I love American Eagle jeans.  They just fit me better than any other jeans I've worn, and they're incredibly comfortable.

As for my shoes, I wore a pair of simple, matte black Tieks that I wear All.  The.  Time.  Honestly, I probably don't actually need another pair of shoes, I wear them that much.

For my accessories, I decided to keep it simple with some nice silver bangles from White House | Black Market that were a gift, and some small pearl stud earrings.  I forgot to actually take a picture of my earrings, but you all know how much I love my pearls, and stud earrings are always a classic piece.

The lipstick I chose today has been my favorite of the moment, and it's this Tara Tarantino lipstick in Penny Arcade.  It's a fun, bright pink that is just dark enough to not qualify as hot pink, and I absolutely love it.

Also, for those of you wondering how I was able to find such an amazing place to take pictures, I would like to introduce you to the gorgeous building in which I work.  If you watched my vlog channel, you may know that I work in a museum, and if you know which museum I work in, you should definitely come check it out!

My Outfit
Sweater: Vogue Knitting | Jeans: American Eagle | Bangles: White House Black Market (gift) | Flats: Tieks | Lipstick: Tara Tarantino Penny Arcade

 Past Sweaters