On My Mind...

April 30, 2014

There's this thing I do. I get an idea in my mind, and I struggle to let it go. I obsess over it and I think about every. single. detail. Then I obsess over it all over again thinking about every single detail again, in a different scenario, just in case the first idea wasn't good enough. Sometimes I dream about it (that's when I know the idea is really good). I personally think it's the curse that comes with a creative brain. Or it could be a side effect from being an only child; I had a lot of time to think. But, it's also fun to plan, design, and construct in my head then apply it in real life.

Although, not all of my thoughts are actually applied in real life. If they were, we'd be re-designing our home every year, different scheme, different layout, construction would be taking place all the time, I'd have a 60 acre garden separate from my immaculate yards and flower beds. I re-design our landscaping every summer - in my mind - and want to try something new every year, but don't worry, I don't actually do it. It's just stays in the "idea vault" for "some other time" that may or may not come.

Lately my mind has been on a garden (imagine that!) that I could "install" in my back yard or side of the house. I don't want something permanent because I may not always want it in that location. Also, I don't want to truly dig out a garden in the back yard. We have hard red clay that is a nightmare.



These are some of my favorite inspiration images. I REALLY like the raised garden made with troughs. I could see inserting individual pots inside the troughs for spreading herbs or veggies. It would be easy to move since it's just a trough and nothing built or settled into the ground. Perfect. I just need a good trough and a few pots, and some seeds, and a good sunny spot in the yard. Which I do have...

On another note, there have been some pretty severe storms pass through the country these past few days. I truly hope that everyone is safe and that no one had major damage, but if you did, you're in my prayers.

How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

April 28, 2014

Cleaning makeup brushes is something that I have always "forgotten" in my routine. I just didn't think about it. If I thought about it, it was while I was using the brushes or at a time that I knew I'd need to use the brushes shortly thereafter and didn't have time to let them dry. Well, I have tried to turn over a new leaf. 

Why, you ask? Because they hold on to oils from your skin. The more you use them, the more build up there is. Plus, wouldn't you want to clean off some of that old foundation build-up too? I would certainly think so. But, if you don't care about any of that, here's another reason: I've ended up with a "custom eye color" on my eyes due to the previous day's eyeshadow. Niiiiiice. So it also cleans residue and provides a clean slate.


It's pretty easy and really doesn't take long to clean brushes. It's almost silly to show the process, but I feel like other step-by-step cleaning instructions I've seen are pretty in depth. Special brush cleansers, hand mitts, soap mixtures, etc. Not for me. I just use good ol' every day shampoo. I mean, it's all hair, right? I used to put some shampoo in the palm of my hand and swirl the brush in it until it lathered and got all the product out (it's pretty amazing how much product stays in the brushes, honestly). Buuuuut that used a TON of shampoo and seemed wasteful. So, I simplified the process.


Get a small bowl and add water and shampoo - warm water works best. Swirl the brushes in the bowl until they're clean. It might take a couple refills depending on how dirty the water becomes, and depending on how many brushes you have. Once they've all been through the shampoo/water mixture, rise all of the shampoo from the bowl and fill it with warm, clean water. Follow the same steps swirling each brush in the clean water to remove excess shampoo.


Place the clean brushes on a towel to dry. I usually try to re-shape the brushes so they dry in their original form. I find that they typically take a few hours to dry all the way (so I wouldn't start this process if you're in a rush or if you need to apply your makeup soon). 

That's it! Easy peasy. Now you'll have fresh, clean brushes next time you apply makeup. As for how often this should be done...well, I'm not a good example. I maybe clean my brushes once a month or once every two months. It should probably be done every couple weeks. Just do as I say, not as I do. :)

Friday Favorites in Five

April 25, 2014

It's Friiiiiiidaaaaaay! I really have started to think that I spend the majority of the week hoping for Friday. Sad. Actually, I really live for about 5:00 Friday. Even worse. But, now that it's finally here...here's my collection of favorites.

Absolutely stunning entry. It's perfect in just about every way. I am really into the board/batten look.

This is so true!!! 


I very much have a love hate relationship with Piloxing. Especially if you fast-forward to the 1:08 mark. I'm not even sure this should be classified as a favorite, yet, but it needs to quickly become one so I can get in better shape!

I made this cheesecake last weekend. It was so good.

What a cute idea for a party! Although, I would need my own jar of pop corn. I have trouble sharing when it comes to pop corn. As in, the large movie tub with butter poured on it...oh yes.

Have a great weekend! What are you favorites from this week?

{Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth / Darci / April / Christina / Natasha}

DIY Project: Little Lanterns

April 23, 2014


These little lanterns have been one of my favorite DIY projects. I had been looking for about a year for something to decorate the top of my buffet. I used to have an older vase with a left over mirror from my apartment days. It was just okay. Nothing to write home about. It wasn't the right scale for the furniture or the room.

I saw these lanterns at my local Carolina Pottery and couldn't resist. I liked the style, and thought they'd be just the right size. I bought three, but only used two here (the third has a spot on an end table in another room). They needed a little "pizzazz" so I used some rock that I had on hand and bought some spanish moss for vase filler. 

First, I gathered the items for the small lantern. Just about a handful of moss, a small battery powered candle (mine are the 2.25" x 4" from Pottery Barn), and the little lantern.

Next I placed the moss in the lantern and created a little "well" in the middle. This gives a good spot for the candle and helps it to stay level in the moss.

Pull up any moss that got pushed down too far and make sure it covers the base of the candle.

Now for the larger lantern...notice an odd craft supply? Yes, that is a toilet paper roll. I just cut a little bit off the end to make it the right height for the amount of rock I had. This will serve as a base for the candle so it will be a more proportionate height for the lantern.

Place the toilet paper roll in first, right in the center of the lantern.

Fill the lantern with rock until it's even with the top of the toilet paper roll. Now set the candle on top. There should be a handful of rock left over.

Once the candle is in place, put the left over rock around the candle to hide the base (and the toilet paper roll).

Place them wherever you like! The lamp was in our "collection" and just needed a new lamp shade. Now it's the perfect little grouping of objects.

And there you have it! Two easy DIY lanterns. If moss or rock isn't your style, just pick something that suites your home. Follow these same steps and you'll have your own custom lanterns.

Chocolate Anyone?

April 21, 2014

It might sound strange, but I'm not really a cake person. Don't get me wrong, I like cake and all, but ice cream is my preference. I'd even go so far as to say that I prefer yellow/white cake over chocolate 8 times out of 10. Knowing that, let me tell you, this cake is delicious. It's a basic chocolate cake mix (yep, from the box), but it has a semi-sweet chocolate fudge drizzle. If that wasn't enough...it has little semi-sweet chocolate chips sprinkled over the top. The fudge. Oh my. It's definitely lick-the-bowl-good.


The best part? It's SO easy to make. If you don't have a bundt pan you could do two layers with yummy fudge in between and on top!

A similar version of this recipe was originally seen in a magazine...but I can't remember which one. Since then I've seen it in various places on the internet (like Christina's blog, which must be fate because I've lost the made-from-scratch cake part of the recipe).

Chocolate Chip Fudge Cake
sweetandsimplelifeblog.com

Ingredients:
1 package of chocolate cake mix (moist)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Prepare cake mix according to box directions. Place mix into a greased bundt pan. Bake until batter is pulling away from pan (approximately 45 minutes). Heat cream, corn syrup, and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and set aside until slightly thickened (approximately 30 minutes). 

Place the cake on a platter or cake stand. Drizzle chocolate glaze over the cake and let set for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the cake if desired.

Friday Favorites in Five

April 18, 2014

This week's favorites are all about drinks. I didn't mean to make this a themed version of Friday Favorites, but it turned into one because everything I was pinning became all about refreshing beverages! So, pull up a comfy lounge chair and enjoy.

Blackberry Smash. I'll admit, it caught my eye because of the colors, and the photography. But it sounds good too...so I might have to test this out!

Summer Sangria. I love a good sangria. It is an easy drink to make, and perfect for hot summer nights!

Pink Lemonade Margarita. Those are all of my favorite things combined! If anyone knows the correct link for this, please let me know!

Flavored Ice Cubes. YES! What a perfect way to add some flavor to your water.

Strawberry-Thyme Infused Simple Syrup. It sounds fantastic...especially with the homemade lemonade recipe they share!

I hope everyone has a great weekend (hopefully it's a long one if you're off work today) and a Happy Easter!


Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

April 16, 2014

Ever apply eyeshadow and go throughout the day wondering why in the world the shadow creases, rubs off, ends up lop-sided, and just looks downright terrible by the end of the day? I recently started using an eyeshadow base, and oh my goodness, night and day difference!


I have been using the Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base for about 6 months. It has pretty much changed my life (as it relates to eyeshadow...and I'm not exaggerating). I am prone to oily lids, and this stuff keeps my eyeshadow locked in place all day. When I say all day I don't mean 5 hours or so, no, I mean 12 hours or more.



It is a sheer white color. It's not white when blended into the lid, but there is a hint of brightness that provides a clean base for the eyeshadow.


If you are searching for a good eyeshadow base/primer, check out the Nars. It's a little pricey, but so far it's worth it. It will last me a while because it takes the smallest amount to be effective.

Tortellini Salad with Tomato and Bacon

April 14, 2014

Pasta salad is one of the best side dishes, in my opinion. Of course, anything pasta related rates pretty high in my book! Add a cheese-filled pasta and it's just...YUM. This twist on a traditional BLT pasta salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. If you want left-overs I suggest setting a little to the side before you share it.


Tortellini Salad with Tomato and Bacon
sweetandsimplelifeblog.com

Ingredients:
20 oz. package cheese-filled tortellini
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chives
1 cup cherry tomatoes
7 pieces of crisp bacon, fully cooked and diced into small pieces
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain water from tortellini and set aside. 

2. In a large bowl, mix together milk, mayonnaise, and sour cream until blended. Add in onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and chives. Whisk until combined. Stir in tomatoes, bacon, and shredded cheese. 

3. Add tortellini to the bowl slowly until fully coated with the sauce mixture. Allow the pasta salad to chill for 15-20 minutes or until ready to serve. 

{Linking up with Mingle Monday @ Life of Meg}

Friday Favorites in Five

April 11, 2014

Oh Friday, where have you been!?! I feel like this was a long week, anyone else? It was probably because I kept looking out the window at work (which I'm so thankful I have) seeing the lovely sunshine. Then I'd start day-dreaming. If only that window could open! 

I have high hopes of doing some yard work this weekend. Call me crazy, but that excites me. We have a couple flower beds that I 'expanded' last year and have yet to fill them in. So I have this really nice stacked stone border and nothing inside it. That'll all change soon! I'm going to get some dirt, get some more rock, and some flowers (the best part). Time for my gardening gloves to come out!

Here's my favorite things this week...

Favorite Way to Organize. This would add so much character to a kitchen!

Favorite DIY Project. You can truly customize the color scheme, or do several different colors! 

Favorite Neutral Eye. This is perfect for day or night! It could easily be done with this palette too!

Favorite Roll. Oh. My. Goodness. They look so light and fluffy! I want some...

Favorite Graphic Calendar. The simplicity is perfect! I also love the fonts...

What plans do you have this weekend? Share below!

{Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth}

Flower Arranging

April 9, 2014


Having fresh flowers on display in the home provides such a personal touch, and if you actually arrange them yourself, even better! I don't live close to a flower shop (I'd love to walk down the street and see a little flower stand like this one), but I do live close to a grocery store that sells flowers. Kind of the same thing, right? Not really, but it's the best I have. 


Usually when I buy a bundle of flowers from the store they look a little sad, but today I'll show you how to turn that into what looks like a professional floral arrangement. It's easier than you might think!


First, gather some supplies. I used kitchen scissors (but anything would work), and I wanted a smaller vase for the arrangement. Unwrap the flowers and loosen the arrangement.


Begin cutting the stems so they will fit the size of your vase. Because I used a smaller vase, I left about a 3-4 inch stem.


Separate the types of flowers. I like to organize them to know what I have to work with (plus, I just like organizing in general - to each his own). In this case, I had one large lily and some smaller flowers that were perfect for fluff.


Place the largest flower in the vase first. I wanted the lily to be in the center knowing that it would spread out over the smaller flowers as it bloomed.


Start adding the medium sized flower around the centerpiece. It doesn't have to be perfect. We'll tweak it a little more later for the finishing touch.


Now add in the smallest flower. It looks best when they're mixed in randomly. You're really trying to fill any gaps in the arrangement and because this was a brighter color than the rest of the flowers, it added just the right pop.


Once all the flowers are placed into the vase, it'll probably take some minor fluffing. By that I mean that some flowers may need to be pulled up and others may need to be pushed down into the vase further. I just played with it until it looked balanced. I wanted some of the flowers to be hanging over the side of the vase slightly. Once you're satisfied, you're done! Add some water to the vase and place it in a sunny spot to enjoy.

Liebster Award...Wow!

April 7, 2014

I was so excited (and honored, and surprised) to learn that Marci from If These Walls Could Speak nominated me for the Liebster Award, which is an award given to promote newer or up-and-coming blogs! I wish I knew where it started so I could give a little more background information, but after much searching I still can't find the official starting point of the award. If anyone knows, please comment below!


{Rules}
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the questions of the person who nominated you.
3. Create 11 new questions.
4. Nominate 11 new bloggers, and be sure to tell them about it. (I had trouble finding an official number of followers a blog is supposed to have to be nominated...some things say under 200, some say under 1,000.)

So...here it goes!

{11 Facts About Me}
1. I have a degree in Interior Design.
2. Originally, I am from the Sunshine State of Florida. It's very humid there, and HOT.
3. I love flip flops (probably because of #2).
3. When I was little I used to sing in front of the mirror and pretend I was on a big stage.
4. I'm extremely afraid of speaking/singing/anything in public or on a stage (ironic?). 
5. I used to take violin lessons. 
6. Fall my favorite season, for many reasons, but mostly because of college football.
7. Zumba is the one and only workout that I have ever stuck with for longer than a month, and  I actually enjoy it. It's a miracle.
8. I worked for a summer (or two) in residential construction during college.
9. Scarves are my favorite accessory.
10. My husband and I have a little miniature schnauzer. She doesn't realize that she's a dog. :)
11. My husband and I dated for 4 months before we got engaged. Truth.

{11 Questions from Marci}
1. Why did you start blogging? 
I've been following blogs for a few years, and I have seen so many talented women share their lives. It's inspiring, really. Through these other bloggers I discovered that I have many different interests. Because I have a creative brain (which means I'm terrible at math) I wanted to create an outlet for these other interests of mine. Plus, it was a perfect opportunity to sharpen my photography skills! 

2. What is your biggest phobia? 
Well, you could see my #4 fact, but I'm also afraid of heights. Climbing a ladder higher than about 6 feet? Forget it!

3. What is your top item on Pinterest that you really actually want to try? 
I think it would be this skirt. I'd like to learn how to sew better; primarily because it's hard for me to find clothes that fit just right.

4. What is your favorite thing to do in your city? 
Go to the lake. For sure!

5. What is the #1 blog you would recommend someone to follow? 
Wow, that's such a hard choice! There are several amazing blogs out there. The one that I first started following was The Small Things Blog, and it's still a favorite. I also love Liz Marie Blog because she's so talented with DIY! They both seem like great people too...I feel like we're friends and I don't even know them!

6. If you have to dress/get ready and leave in a hurry what is the one thing you can easily cut out of your routine? 
Ironing. Who am I kidding? I rarely iron as it is!

7. What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far? 
To accept the Lord as my Savior. 

8. What would constitute a perfect day for you? 
Sleeping in late after staying up into the wee hours working on a project - drawing, editing pictures, painting, blogging, etc., eating a late breakfast, renting a few movies, and being lazy all afternoon. Oh wait, that was college! Ha! Everyone needs a day like that once in a while. 

9. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
Good question! It would probably be the ability to let things go. I over-analyze everything.

10. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
My computer. It has pretty much all of my pictures stored on it. It's become my photo album.

11. Are you currently watching a season of something on Netflix? What is it? If not - what is your top favorite TV show?
I don't do the Netflix thing, but my husband and I record several shows on our DVR. I'm not sure if I can come up with one favorite, but I'd have to say Parenthood is a top choice because it just seems so real-life, and it has ups, downs, comedy, and family love. A guilty pleasure is Real Housewives of whatever the city is at the time. Sad, but true, because it's completely mindless drama and it makes me laugh. Shallow, I know.

{My 11 New Questions for the Nominees}
1. How would you describe your blog using 5 words or less?
2. How long have you been blogging?
3. What is your personal style?
4. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be, and why?
5. Do you have a signature recipe, and if so, what is it? If not, what is the one recipe you want to try and make?
6. What is your favorite season, and why?
7. Coke or Pepsi?
8. What did you want to be when you grew up (or what do you want to be when you grow up)?
9. If you could go back in time, what time period would you choose to explore?
10. What one person (or people) have inspired you in life?
11. Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?

{My 11 Liebster Award Nominees}
If you have already been nominated in the past, I'm sorry. There's nothing in the "rules" that says you can't be nominated more than once though...just go with it!
1. Rebecca @ The Becca Ruth Blog
2. Christina @ Happy or Else
3. Norma @ Paint Me Pink
4. Sarah @ Joyfully Organized
5. Jasmin @ Jasmin Daily
9. Marisa @ A Lovely Living
10. Lindsey @ My Vintage Window

That's it! Thanks again to Marci for the nomination! Be sure to visit the blogs listed and leave them some love! 

Friday Favorites in Five

April 4, 2014

I certainly hope that you experienced the beautiful weather this week. It hit 80 a couple days here, and it was amazing. Of course, it was sunny and 80 while I was sitting at my desk. :) Overall, it was a good week, and this weekend I'm going to a baby shower for one of my college friends. It should be fun, and I'm excited to see her! I might also take a little trip to buy some spring flowers. It may be time. 

This Friday, I'm into these things...

Favorite Sandwich. Not only does it look delicious, but it's so pretty too! Need to try this.

Favorite Front Yard. I love the splashes of purple. I have dreams that my front yard looks like this.

Favorite Look. Those shoes are perfection. Check out her blog for more!

Favorite Floral Arrangement. So rustic and simple.

Favorite Strawberry Dessert. Love anything strawberry with white cake. Yum!

Have a great weekend!!