Monday, April 30, 2012

Tropical Gradient Hibiscus Nails

This week my nails were inspired by my friend Leslie. Leslie sent me a picture of a gradient manicure she gave herself, inspired by a Pinterest pin. She gave me a few pointers and I decided to give it a try. Since summer is practically here, I decided to go bright! I intended to do an angled gradient, but it turned out a little more vertical! I also added a white and purple hibiscus to my ring finger.
Thanks for the inspiration Leslie!  Who knew makeup sponges could have such a cool effect!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

No Heat Curl Methods: A Review

I have really long thick hair and sometimes wearing it straight everyday gets boring. However I am also really lazy, so styling my hair for work is pretty low on my priority list. I decided to test drive some no heat curl methods. How much easier could it be, wash hair, roll into curls, sleep, wake up, look amazing. Right? Here are my reviews on a few methods. (Please excuse the less than flattering photos of me...I start work at 6am.  I dont look human for at least another 2-3 hours!)

Technique #1: Andrea's Choice Twist Curls (See the tutorial HERE)
For this method you basically divide damp hair into sections, twist around each other, pin into place, sleep and then untwist.

 This technique was really easy to do, however I was not impressed with the results. My curls were not well defined even after styling gel and mousse. As the day wore on they became giant frizz twists.
Score: Fail

Technique #2: Braided Waves
For this technique I divided my damp hair into sections, braided it, slept, then undid the braids.
Like the twist technique my curls were more wavy than defined and became increasingly frizzy as the day wore on. Also, tying the ends of the braids with hair bands left kinks and straight ends.
Score: Fail

Technique #3:  The Sock Bun (You can view the tutorial HERE)
For this technique you roll your damp hair around a sock, sleep, unroll and apparently get amazing curls
I tried this technique 3 separate times and each time my hair turned out like this. Frizzy, no real defined curls, just basically a mess.
Score: Fail

Technique #4: Sock Roll Curls
A friend explained to me how to do this, she did it on her daughter's hair.  You take damp hair, divide in sections. Wrap each section around a sock.  Roll each sock to your crown and tie the ends together. Sleep. Wake up, untie each sock and curls! I saw the pics of my friend's daughter and her curls turned out great! So I was optimistic.
 This is what it looked like when I first unrolled the socks. Unfortunately, only a few curls in the front even looked like curls.....
After some styling gel and mousse it became this giant mess. Unfortunately my curls were not cute and bouncy like my friend's daughter. They were mostly a tangle mess.
Score: Better than fail but not a pass.  This method has potential.  My friend's daughter had great curls, so I know its possible.  But maybe just not on my hair. *sniffle*

Technique #5: Twisty Roller Curls (You can view the tutorial HERE)
This technique required me to purchase twisty bendy rollers (yes that's the official term).  I picked up a cheap set from Sally Beauty Supply.

These curls turned out lovely, very tight and defined.  However due to sleeping on the rollers some of the curls weren't really curling in the right direction.  Also, sleeping on these rollers sucked. I wrapped my hair in a silk scarf to keep them all in place. It was extremely uncomfortable.
Score: Pass but not perfect. If the rollers were more comfortable, this would be perfect! Perhaps a different kind than what I bought would work better.

Technique #6: Bohemian Headband Curls (View the tutorial HERE)
For this technique you wrap damp hair around a headband, sleep, unroll, curls!

The first picture is when I first unrolled the headband. Then a closeup, then what my hair looked like at the end of my work day. I actually had forgotten to put any product in my hair, so I was pretty impressed with how well the curls held after a 9 hour day.
Score: Pass
This method had the most consistent and nice looking curls.  There wasn't much for kinks or frizz, and that was also without product! The curls aren't quite as nice as heat styled curls, but they serve as a great alternative.

Technique #7: The Scrunch and Go
This is my usual curl technique. Wash my hair, scrunch with gel and mousse, air dry. This works great on hot summer days.  However going into work with wet hair just isnt really the look I'm going for.
Score: Pass.  The curls are great for a daytime look in the summer, but it doesn't dry quick enough in the morning for me to do it for work without going into the office with wet hair. Its also not great in Minnesota winter.  Nobody likes icicle hair. But overall, great curls....but then again, it is my natural texture! 

I hope you enjoyed this review and maybe found some techniques to try! If you do, please leave your reviews in the comments.  I'd love to see how these work for different types of hair.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Belle of the Ball

"Tale as old as time...." Beauty and the Beast, one of the best Disney movies ever! (Next to the Little Mermaid---but I may be partial to red heads!). My friend Amie was throwing her adorable daughter a Belle themed birthday party.  This little princess was in love with all things Belle and I got to be the lucky one to make desserts for her!  We decided on cookies, cupcakes and cake focusing on the dress and the rose.
 There were a couple of boys attending the party so I made sure to include a few beast cookies too.
Thanks Amie for letting me make these fun desserts! I hope Audrey's party was a huge success!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Decorative Scissors Nail Art

Welcome back from the weekend! Yeah, a little too enthusiastic for a Monday eh? I cant help it, this week my nails are screaming rock 'n' roll! I was cruising the nail polish at Target and came across a matte top coat.  I had to try it! Normally I like my nails extra shiny but trying out the matte trend has been on my to-do list so I picked it up.  This week I decided to do a half matte, half glossy look. Check it out....
 First paint on the hot pink followed by a coat of shiny top coat. I allowed to dry for about an hour. Then I cut strips of blue painters tape. I trimmed the edge of the tape with some decorative scissors from my scrapbooking supplies. Gently press the tape to your fully dry nail, covering about half of the nail with tape. Make sure the decorative edge is sealed down tight. Then coat the exposed nail with black polish, then the matte top coat. Remove tape strips right away, while polish is still wet. This is tricky so be careful not to smudge! Allow to dry completely and you have this rock 'n' roll, shiny 'n' matte, funky manicure!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fairytale Direction Sign

I am so excited to share this project! We are having an unseasonably warm spring in Minnesota, so I have been anxious to get out in my yard. Its still to early to do much in terms of planting, so I got started on some yard art.  I fell in love with this pin:

(This pin's source isnt accurate. I've tried to find the original source without success. If you know it please message me.)

I have a small corner of my yard that could really use some landscape help this year. I decided to recreate this idea for my yard. (Don't mind the plants around it, I'm working on that later in the season!)
To make this sign, I first chose the names/locations from my favorite books, movies, and real life places. I figured out how many signs I wanted on the post. Fortunately we had lots of random pieces of wood in our garage from other projects. I gave everything a coat of white exterior paint. I searched online for free fonts that matched the places I picked. I adjusted the font sizes as necessary, printed them in the reversed mirror image so it would read correctly when I transferred it. I placed each name ink side down and I used rubbing alcohol to transfer the text onto each board. I just dabbed it on with a cotton ball. Carefully peeling the paper away you will have a light transfer of the text.  Enough to paint over with black paint. I used acrylic craft paint. I gave it a quick coat of sealant before constructing it all.
Do you know where all the places are from?
The Great Valley:  The Land Before Time, a childhood favorite movie for my family
Edinburgh: Scotland. I studied in a nearby town during college. Edinburgh is one of my most favorite places on the entire planet.
Hogwarts: Harry of the books and movies. My sister and I went to the midnight release for a few of the books and all of the movies.
Narnia: The Chronicles of Narnia, another childhood favorite that I loved even more when I read them again as adult. I also loved the movies that have come out so far!
The Ivory Tower: The Neverending Story, probably my most favorite childhood movie. Bastian had to try and make it to the Ivory Tower to save all of Fantasia.
The Shire: Lord of the Rings, books I actually red while studying in Scotland, so its duly sentimental.
Diagon Alley: Again, Harry Potter
Emerald City: Wizard of Oz, my goal is to get shoes just like Dorothy's!
District 12: The Hunger Games, my new love
Rivendell: Another Lord of the Rings reference. This was actually more my favorite place in the movies. It was beautifully portrayed.
Magic Kingdom: I have been to Disney World too many times to count. It is another one of my most favorite places in the world.

I guess you could say that this Pinterest project was a success!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blue Coffee Filter Wreath

I've never been a "have a wreath year-round" kind of girl. I've only hung wreaths in fall and at Christmas. But I've been coming across so many beautiful wreaths for all different occasions or no occasion at all, that I'm starting to rethink this year-round idea. I came across this great tutorial on I'll Get You My Pretties. Kristy is like me, loving the coffee filter craft trend but dang that stuff looks time consuming.  She made this beautiful folded filter wreath....awesomeness in half the time. Be sure to hop on over to her blog for the full tutorial. Now, I loved her idea, but had to put my own spin on it. This is what I came up with....
Before folding the filters I soaked them in bowls of water with blue food coloring. After about an hour I took them out and let them dry on the dish rack in my sink. Now I know what you're thinking, isn't this supposed to be a fast craft?  Well, I did the filters in the morning, you know, when I made coffee. Put them in the sink and went on about my business for the day.  Later that afternoon when I actually had time to craft they were dry and ready to go. Easy peasy, with a great color effect.
In addition to dying them blue, I inked the edges with Distress Ink, and misted with some Glimmer Mist. I had some glitter feathers and peacock feathers so I glued those on.  I also happen to be obsessed with crepe paper flowers.  Since I've been making them like crazy, I just popped one on the front.
I am in love with this wreath! I may even be inspired to make more wreaths before the fall/winter season!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pinterest Fail: Tie Dye Roses

I love Pinterest! I find so much inspiration there. I came across this pin about tie dye roses and thought I would try it for myself!

I did a little googling first and found that this whole concept of splitting the rose stem and putting each piece in a different glass of colored water was a pretty popular method. If it works, I'll end up with some awesome roses! So I stopped off at the store and picked up an inexpensive bouquet of white roses.
Using a box cutter I very carefully split the stems and placed in colored water.
Some instructions said to leave for 24 hours in the glasses.  Here is the progress about 6 hours later....
You can see they are starting to take some of the color in! How exciting! I was very optimistic.
However, 24 hours later this is all the color they had absorbed, and most of them were starting to wilt.  A few hardly absorbed any color at all!
Unfortunately I have to categorize this project as a Pinterest Fail. So why share it? Why not! Now you know, these are the kinds of results you may end up with.  Save yourself the trouble and keep your roses white and hopefully in better condition.  I had to throw mine out because they weren't even worth salvaging.
Has anyone else tried this project?  Were you successful?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sorta Samoa Mini Donuts

I had some left over coconut pecan icing in my fridge. I've been eating it with a spoon when no one is looking. Its delicious. I've also been craving donuts lately. I started thinking combining the two would be a great idea. Thus the Sorta Samoa Mini Donuts! 
 I used my Babycakes Donut Maker to bake their Buttermilk Spice Donuts. Then I dipped them in melted dark chocolate. Once that was set I topped the other side with the coconut pecan icing, drizzled caramel over that and then more melted chocolate. This donut recipe is pretty firm so it was almost like a donut cookie!
I'm going to go wait by the phone. I'm sure the Girl Scouts will be calling me to market these donuts any second now!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Tablescape

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter holiday!  This is my small, modest Easter tablescape for this year.
I made these daffodils from crepe paper. Flower making is my latest endeavor. Expect to see lots more of these!
Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Suspended Mason Jar Herb Planters

I love cooking with fresh herbs, especially basil. I use a lot of basil. I love how it makes my kitchen smell, I love the flavor, and I love the bright green color. Since I live in Minnesota and its not exactly warm year round, I wanted to find a way to bring fresh basil into my kitchen.  However, I also have a really small kitchen. I don't have the space for a counter top herb garden. So I came up with this idea instead!
I filled mason jars first with some gravel and sand, then potting soil and I split a fresh basil plant in two. The jars are suspended by hose clamps. The hose clamps are connected to the cabinets by a metal plate and screws. 
Now I can have fresh basil whenever I'd like! I may even add a couple more jars with different herbs too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Farewell Fiesta

It seems there has been a lot of changes at my full time job lately. I had to say goodbye to another long time coworker, John.  John retired from my company so we threw him a going away party. John wanted to have a taco feed and his favorite cake, German Chocolate with traditional Coconut Pecan Frosting. We threw "Taco John" a Farewell Fiesta! I brought the cupcakes of course! It was my first time making the coconut pecan frosting from scratch.  Wow, I could stick my face in the whole bowl and eat it up! It was delicious! The cupcakes turned out pretty fun too, John loved them!
 Its been a pleasure working with you John.  Happy Retirement!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Makeup Organization Ideas

Spring has finally arrived! That also means its time for spring cleaning. One of the many organization projects I have on my list is to get my makeup under control. I do not wear much makeup.  Mostly eye makeup and lipstick/gloss. Somehow my "minimal" approach to makeup still dominated my bathroom. I decided it was time to purge.  I got rid of a lot of shadows and liners that are old and I'll probably never wear again. I sorted my makeup into categories of everyday wear and special occasion wear. The special occasion (a.k.a. makeup in crazy colors that I can only pull off at night, on the town with the girls) was neatly put away in a case in the closet. Then I was left with my everyday wear.  It was not enough to make it worthwhile to put in a big bulk case, but not small enough to just leave out.  I decided to try magnets!
I glued magnets to the backs of all of my shadows and....
Viola! Now all my everyday shadows are on the inside of my medicine cabinet!  Off the counter, out of the way.  I love it and so does my boyfriend who is cursed to a life of sharing a bathroom with a girl.
Now there was of course the pesky question of what to do with my brushes, liners and mascara. So I headed over to Michael's with my handy 40% off coupon and picked up a square vase.  Then I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a 99 cent bag of split peas....
Taaaa Daaa!! Organized brushes and liners! Now everything is in plain more digging around in my bottomless pit of a makeup bag. 
It all looks so nice and neat that even my boyfriend thought makeup organization was cool.

What spring cleaning projects are you working on?


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