Monday, April 7, 2014

Victoria's Secret Giveaway { 3 WINNERS }

Hey guys! I know, it's been a long, long time and I owe you all some real updates. But in the meantime, we're giving away (3) $10 Victoria's Secret Rewards Cards over on Fabuless Life! Be sure to stop by and enter. The giveaway ends on the 16th at midnight EST. I'm putting the Rafflecopter widget below, but make sure you head over to FL to read about the terms and conditions!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Heroes are for Girls

Whoever said Super Heroes are for boys was sorely mistaken! When I asked M a few months ago what she wanted to be for Halloween, this response was immediate -- "Wumber Woman". Fast forward to this week, the Story Time teacher at our local library asked everyone what they were being for Halloween. All of the girls said "Cinderella", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Rapunzel".... anything and everything fairytale related. Until she got to M, who gave a resounding "Wonder Woman". Proud Momma moment, right here.

Now comes the dilemma. Target & Walmart don't have Wonder Woman costumes this year. Spider Girl. Super Girl. Bat Girl. But no Wonder Woman. Next stop, the Halloween store. Yeah, they wanted $50 for something that had no sleeves and no warmth to it whatsoever. Not happening. What's a crafty Momma to do? Make it herself, of course.

I actually finished this whole project in only a few hours. I made everything except the tiara and wrist cuffs, which I did buy at the Halloween store for $8.

The shorts were originally a pair of jeggings that we already had from Walmart (you can still get them for around $10, I think). I cut them to fit as shorts and she'll wear a pair of skin color stockings underneath for warmth. The jeggings were perfect because they already had the stars on them!

Next, I took M's pair of white snow boots and turned them into Wonder Woman boots. How? That, my friends, is the miracle of red duct tape. Even better? When Halloween is over, I can just remove the duct tape and she can still wear them for winter. I was actually really afraid that the boots wouldn't come off as Wonder Woman boots, but I finished one, M walked in and exclaimed "WONDER WOMAN BOOTS?! COOL!!!!" Once she said that, I knew I was in the clear.

The last step, and probably the most time consuming, was the shirt. Do you know how hard it is to find a PLAIN red long sleeve shirt for GIRL'S at this time of year? Yeah, pretty much impossible. So I hit the boys section at Target and spotted one for $5. It was big, but that's where being able to sew comes in handy. I used a shirt that fits her as a guide and took in the sides and arms. I also shortened the sleeves so that she wouldn't have to roll them up. A few stitches and cuts later and we've got ourselves a plain red, GIRL'S long sleeve shirt.

After that, it was a cake walk. I used 2 Tulip Gold Glitter Iron-On Transfer sheets (I grabbed these at Joann Fabrics & used a coupon to make them around $6 each) to make the logo and the belt. The belt was easy. Just cut to shape and iron on. The logo, I found an outline online and sent the sheet through my printer so that it would print on the backside of the transfer sheet. This was the best idea I think I've ever had. Why? Because when I ironed it onto the shirt, I could still faintly see the black outline through the applique. PERFECT for the black fabric paint outline!

All in all, this project cost me around $25 including the tiara and wrist cuffs and around 4 hours of my time (not including drying time for the fabric paint). Not too bad for something that's warm and has pieces that can be re-used!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Healthier Eating

Sometimes there are foods that just taste better when cooked with olive oil. Some of my favorites are sauteed vegetables, tortellini and even salads. But aside from the taste, olive oil is really just healthier all around. There is no cholesterol, trans fat, salt, sugar or gluten. It also helps protect against heart disease, aids in digestion, and has been known to promote healthy aging.

Did you know that people in the Mediterranean countries, like Italy and Greece, have the lowest rates of heart disease & Alzheimer's disease? They also have the longest life expectancy. So, there really is something to be said for swapping out your butter and margarine for some olive oil.

Over the last year, since I was let go from my office job, I've been making it a point in my household to eat and cook healthier. We've shied away from processed foods and eat a lot more raw and natural foods. We've even started a little balcony garden with tomatoes, beans, spinach and strawberries. I try to cook with olive oil whenever I can instead of butters and margarines. As a result of this  healthier eating (and being more active), I've lost around 50lbs. You can read more about healthier eating, olive oil and the Mediterranean diet over on Filippo Berio's website.

Filippo Berio is one of my favorite brands of olive oil. They have a variety of types, including Extra Light Tasting and Organic oils. Their website even has a nice little guide (found here) for selecting the perfect olive oil for the type of meal you're cooking. For example, if you're scrambling eggs, you can use the Extra Light Tasting. If you're drizzling it over your favorite vegetables, you can use the Extra Virgin olive oil or the Organic olive oil. They even have recommendations for soups. stews and boiling pasta.

Olive Oil is a staple in our home now. I love it on my salads with a little vinegar or sauteeing with it. I'm not a huge fan of the strong flavor of olive oil in a lot of foods, so we tend to stick with the Extra Light Tasting olive oil and it's perfect. It's not too strong, but it has enough punch to really make your meal special.

One of our favorite meals to make with Filippo Berio is Three Cheese Spinach Tortellini with Garlic & Parmesan. It's the hubs' specialty. We boil some three cheese tortellini for a few minutes (we like Bertolli!). Then, we put it and the spinach in a giant frying pan with some EVOO and minced garlic (when we're running low on garlic, we use garlic powder) and sautee it for a few minutes. When it's done, we top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

What do you guys like to use olive oil for?

NOTE: I received a free bottle of Filippo Berio via BzzAgent in order to write this post. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions and thoughts are my own. Facts are available on Filippo Berio's website.

Summer Time Fun [ Wordless Wednesday ]

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Really Late 4th Birthday Update

I feel like I've been on the go non-stop for the last few months. I barely have time for myself anymore. I still haven't found a new job for myself and I'm beginning to wonder how I managed to take care of our home and work all the same time for the last few years. How did I find the time? I can barely manage to get it all done now and I'm not working!

The Little Monster turned 4 in February. She requested a Ninja Turtles party. TMNT decor was few and far between in February and now, of course, it's all over the place. It's okay, we managed. I made some pretty awesome decor for her and she had a blast. In the end, that's all that really matters.

One of my favorite pieces from her birthday party was the birthday banner.

I designed the whole thing myself and it took FOREVER, but I really love the way it came out. I backed it up with some green streamers and balloons in the colors of the turtles (even though Leonardo is her absolute favorite). I listed the banner in my Etsy shop - you can get it personalized or instantly download it unpersonalized - and it's quickly becoming my new best seller. That's really exciting for me since I'm not working right now. I even expanded it and added a whole printable birthday kit. I'm still kind of glad that I made the banner myself. The party stuff now in stores features the new Nickelodeon turtles while mine features the originals.

So much better than the CGI ones, if you ask me. There's just something that irks me about the new ones and you can't find these in stores anywhere. I did manage to grab some napkins from the vintage section of Etsy though. 

I did use the CGI turtles on her pinata, but that's only because I used wrapping paper. I bought a Tinkerbell pinata, removed the cardboard pieces on the front and back and then used double-sided tape to reattach them to the pinata. Voila - instant pinata! I'm so glad I thought of this because she had been begging me for a pinata for a whole year.

You can kind of see it in the background of the top picture, but I made green ruffled streamers for our living room wall (and they may or may not still be up now :P). I got the idea from Dana over at Made!

A friend of mine whipped up some homemade TMNT cupcakes. They were a big hit and tasted amazing. We ordered some pizzas and I have a pizza baked ziti, too (what TMNT party wouldn't have pizza??).

All in all, it was a good party and M is so happy she isn't 3 anymore. She still asks me every day, "Mommy, I'm still 4, right?".

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hiring Your Kid a Tutor?

Growing up, I had a close friend whose family used to hire him and his sisters tutors all the time. I thought it was funny because we were only in kindergarten, first and second grade, but his parents would hire him tutors for classes we didn't even take in school yet. It was very weird to me that I couldn't hang out with him sometimes because of that.

When I got to college, I thought about getting myself a tutor for a couple of my more difficult classes. We used to get emails in our school inbox that would say things like "search now for the perfect tutor" or telling us to head over to the building on campus that had the student tutors. I even contemplated becoming a campus tutor at one point, but the pay wasn't great and the hours were practically 0. It wasn't worth it.

Now that I'm a mom and M isn't in school anymore, I contemplate hiring her a tutor just to make sure she's on top of all the stuff she's supposed to be learning before kindergarten. Then I think, why? She'll be headed off to kindergarten in about a year and a half. We go to the library a few times a month for "story time" and other "classes" (but mostly just to interact with the other kids). I also try to work on writing and phonics and money with her. Why hire a tutor now when I can do the same things myself?

Have you thought about hiring yourself or your kids a tutor? What decision did you come to?

Pre-Summer Fun { Wordless Wednesday }

I won't say spring because we skipped from 50 degrees to 90 in a matter of days. So we're in pre-summer!

She was too afraid to roll down the hill, so she ran instead. :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bidets are funny

Have you heard of a bidet? If you live in the US, Canada or Australia chances are you probably haven't. A bidet is a low basin used for rinsing yourself after using the restroom. If you click here, you'll also see it can be a sprayer instead of a basin. These are used instead of toilet paper and are supposedly very popular outside of the 3 countries I mentioned. But I spent 2 weeks touring in France a few years ago and didn't see a single one. So how popular are they really?

I do know that bidets are often a target for humor. I remember in the movie Get Him to the Greek, Aziz Ansari and Nick Kroll sing praises after using Jay Z & Beyonce's his and her bidets at a party.

Comedian Bill Dwyer has a whole skit about using a bidet.

Bidet humor isn't a recent development. The first time I ever heard of a bidet was in the 1986 movie, Crocodile Dundee. Bidet, Mate!

I don't know what it is about a bidet that makes it so funny. I guess because we don't have them here in the US? I know I've never seen one. Have you? Have you used one before? I think I'd give it a whirl if I ever came across one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Computer Crashes + Data Backups

In our digital world, everything nowadays is being stored on computers. From pictures to music to videos. Everything. One of the worst feelings in the world for me was the day my computer crashed last year. I tried everything I could think of to bring it back up, but it was a no go. I lost hundreds of pictures of the little monster when she was born. Thankfully, I had uploaded most of them to Facebook, so I was able to re-save them, but I still lost the original, untouched copies (because who doesn't touch up their photos?).

Ever since that crash, I've been making sure to back up my pictures and anything important (patterns, documents, etc) on either and external hard drive or even in my email. I've been thinking about getting a larger external hard drive or other storage device that I can just plug in and copy stuff over to. I have 2 right now, but I'd rather have 1 bigger one. Maybe not something quite as big as Backblaze Storage, but that is pretty cool. I think if I ever start doing graphic design more seriously I may have to look into that kind of storage pod to keep my work on. I think I need to upgrade my way outdated desktop computer before getting a new storage device though.

What do you guys use to back up your data? Flash drives? External Hard drives? A good old floppy disk? Oh, the days of floppy disks. I had hundreds of those guys. haha.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Subway Art { Freebie! }

I know it's been a long while since I've posted an update about my life. Life has been crazy and not in a good way. I haven't really been too up to talking about it lately, but I'm hoping to get a real post up sometime soon with some updates.

In the meantime, I've been trying to get back into graphic design more seriously. If you've been to my Etsy shop in the last month or so, you may have noticed a bunch of Ninja Turtle themed birthday printables listed. I originally designed those for M's 4th birthday party last month. People are loving them. So, keep an eye out and you may see some birthday packs popping up there more often.

A friend of mine asked me to design her a bunting that says Happy Easter and a Spring Subway Art for her home. You can find the Easter bunting here, but I thought I'd post up the Subway Art for you guys for free, just in case anyone wanted it. It's inspired by a piece she saw on Pinterest, but that we couldn't find available for download or purchase anywhere.

If you guys use it, I'd love to know or see some photos of it in your home!