Thursday, May 30, 2013

DIY Wedding Thank You Cards {Budget Friendly + More Personable}

The wedding is over and now you have the treasured task of writing thank you cards to all those who attended and gave gifts.
I personally was looking forward to writing my thank you cards and sending each of my guests a note to convey the gratitude I had for sharing in my special day.

Unfortunately, I became stuck. I steadfastly looked all over the internet for the perfect card. I was pretty sure that I wanted to order some with a photo from our wedding on it. I even asked my photographer for some high resolution photos in advance.
The more I looked and previewed what my thank you cards would look like, the more I became disgruntled. I kept thinking that I was an idiot for not ordering all my stationary from one place so I could have matching thank you cards. " But I absolutely love my handmade invitations..." I would argue you back at myself. 
Then it hit me!
I can make my own thank you cards to reflect more of the style of our invitations and the wedding itself.
So this is what I came up with...and I must say I enjoyed making these. While it took extra work on my part beyond just writing all the thank you cards, it really pulled my wedding together and was my final wedding craft. Not to mention,  I added up the total from what I spent making these and I cut the price originally from $300 down to about $40. (This may vary depending on the supplies you may already have.)

And so, I offer this small project to you. Whether you are looking to save money, or just want to make the last wedding gesture a personal touch...this is a great way to do both!

DIY Wedding Thank You Card
This is the front of the finished product! It turned out so cute!

Here is what y'all will need!
I was able to go to Hobby Lobby and pick up a pack of 50 blank Ivory fold-over note cards with their envelopes. This color really matched my invitation color as well.
I then picked up the Thank You stamp, Mr.& Mrs. stamp, and a small design stamp. Along with those, I picked up a grey and yellow stamp pad (those were my wedding colors).

I stamped the Thank You on the front middle and the Mr.& Mrs. on the lower back.
I learned not to press too hard or your stamp will pick up and distribute additional ink. I am not an avid stamper so this is probably common sense to those who are.
This is an example.

I then also used yellow to stamp the small design I had on the inside.

Finally I folded all the cards and made bows out of the extra 'rustic' string I had used for the invitations and wedding. I used a hot glue gun to apply.
When you tie your bows you may need to snip off the ends if they are not the same length. I'm not the best free style bow maker so I had to do this a lot.
Also, another tip is to make sure you press the bow on with some force so that it really presses into the card. Fluffier bows were harder to stuff inside the envelopes.

I hope this inspires you to think outside the box of traditional wedding thank yous and most importantly do what works best for you and your taste!

Cheers!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Daddy's French Toast {BEST EVER}

Several times over this past month I have woke up craving french toast! I don't really know why...maybe I am missing home! My dad used to make us french toast on the weekends. He would get up early and either make pancakes or french toast. Of course, I would always vote for french toast.
So I have made french toast like crazy this month and I thought I would share the recipe my dad shared with me. I did some research on other french toast recipes and for some reason I just keep coming back to this one. My favorite.

Thank you Dad for this awesome french toast recipe!


My Daddy's French Toast

Here's what you'll need!
Ingredients:
4 Eggs
Bread (Try to use thicker toast)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons 2% Milk
Cinnamon to Taste
2 Tablespoons of Butter

Next you will need a shallow pan to mix your ingredients in. I like to use a pie dish, because it works really well. You will also need a pan to cook your french toast in. You can use a griddle (that is what my dad used), but for the purpose of this recipe I'm using a deep frying pan.

Okay! Onward!

Step 1: Put 2 tablespoons of butter in your frying pan. On medium heat. We don't want the butter to burn.

Step 2: Crack your four eggs in your pie pan and beat together with fork.

Step 3: Add 2-3 tablespoons of 2% milk and beat together, again, with fork. Start with 2 tablespoons, but add more milk depending on how well it mixes together.

Step 4: Add Vanilla and beat together. Then add cinnamon. I usually coat the entire top of mixture then beat in. My favorite cinnamon is by Penzeys.

 Step 5: Make sure that your pan is even coated with butter and is sufficiently heated. Get your bread ready to quickly coat. If you have thicker bread than I do here, I would use that.

Step 6: Coat your bread QUICKLY on each side. I use a fork to flip toast on each side and transport to the heated frying pan.

Step 7: Cooking evenly on each side until starts to brown up a bit. This also depends on taste and how toasted you like your french toast. I prefer mine on the soggier side :) (But well cooked)

Step 8: Add some butter to each side and a hefty amount of syrup (if you are looking for a healthy version you can skip this...) ENJOY!

Cheers!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stranded on an Island {3 Makeup Products I LOVE!}

Have you ever played those games where you can only take one item while stranded on a desert island? We like to ask others what they would bring and vice versa.
Well I'm not stranded on a desert island, but as I was staring into my makeup drawer I was thinking about what makeup products I really like. And, if I could only buy and wear three makeup products what would they be.

So that is the basis of this blog post...what products do I never want to be without as I pull open my makeup drawer.

1. Eye Liner
Yes. Eye liner. I would choose this over mascara. I have small eyes (in my opinion) and they tend to be on the narrow side. When I wear eye liner it is like my eyes just open wide up! It really creates the wide awake look rather than half asleep. While mascara and eye shadow help create a great eye, it isn't that necessary. I can tell a huge difference when I don't have eye liner on. My current favorite eye liner is NYX Retractable Eye Liner.

2. Blush
I think blush adds life to my face. I have very fair skin and it generally doesn't have that natural glow to it. Blush really make my face come alive and glow. Some will say that bronzer does the same, but because I am fair toned the bronzer makes me look unnatural. So therefore the second product would be blush. My current favorite blush is by NARS.

3. Finishing Powder
Finally, my third product that I just wouldn't want to wake up without is my finishing powder. I have oily to combination skin so I tend to get shine on my T-zone throughout the day. Especially in Florida... where I seem to be in a constant heat. The finishing powders not only help set any foundation, but they also control shine. For me this is important. My current favorite finishing powder is the MAC Skinfinish in Natural.

So...you are stranded on an island and can only have 3 makeup products with you, what would you take?

Cheers!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How I Stay Organized {Personal + Household Management}

Starting a little mini series here. Nothing too formal, but every once and a blue blog post I will be posting a How I Stay Organized {Insert Topic Here} type of blog post.

This particular blog post is going to feature a brief overview of how I manage my personal to-do lists, household chores, meals, and a bit of filing. This is not by any means the full extent of my household management. I may break up some additional pieces of my household management system and post about those pieces(birthdays, travel, Joey's scheduling, family events, etc.) in the future.

After I rise and get ready for the morning, I make myself a cup of tea and go over my schedule for the day which I had finalized the night prior. Usually I am making changes and plans up until then.
I have shared this before, but for those that don't know I use my handy filofax! Now I am in the process of ordering a different one that has a few more accessories associated with it, so that will help me be even more organized (happiness!)

 My Filofax calender is tabbed by month and it has three days a page.
So for each day I plan and schedule what I'm doing. Some of my schedule I assign a time to for example, my walk with Rebel; others, like my Week at a Glance (which you will see in a minute) is left open ended because it takes time throughout the day to accomplish.
The new Filofax I'm ordering will have a day per page. This will allow for more room to schedule. I also use the month on two pages. This is where I keep monthly chores like my first of the month chores, birthdays, Joey's activities/schedule, Rebel's appointments and medicine, and travel.

So because I am limited on space in my Filofax, I use it for the individual chores and to-dos that I want to get done that day. However, there are things that I do every day of EACH week that does not change. These are set in stone.

For this list, I have a Week at a Glance calender on my fridge next to my kitchen office drawer.

So here is my calender for the week that is labeled Our House: Week at a Glance. You will notice that it is labeled Monday through Friday and it has my chores that take place every day, every week. I usually add different chores and to-dos for the day in my Filofax but these are the constant, always need to be done.

Under this I have my active shopping list folder and my meals for the week.

Any shopping list that I am currently adding to in order to prepare the next weeks meals go in here. My meal note cards are a bit sloppy. I am still looking for something that works a bit better here. I was thinking a white board, but I don't have that much space and don't want the marker to dry on the board during the week.

So switching directions a bit...my Action folders.
On my breakfast bar lives my action folder which is basically for paperwork that comes and goes out of the house.
I apologize for the slight blurriness. I have hidden much of the personal information, but this is my action folder. It has 4 tabs in which I file the paperwork accordingly.
-Receipts to Record (for our budget)
-To-Go: Any coupons or mail to be mailed out
-Active Projects: This is vacation planning, DIY project measurements, paint swatches, and even birthday cards for an upcoming birthday.
-To-File: This is for when we get any important mail that needs to be filed, any new gadgets that we need the manuals for, etc. I file away anything located in this tab every Friday.

These tabs will change as our system changes, but for now this is what works with us.
We don't have tons and tons of space in our condo so our filing system is just two of the mini filing systems. As we grow our paperwork (most of what we do is online), we will consider a bigger filing system.
 So these contain are personal files dealing with insurance, cars, bank accounts, etc.

Many people ask me how I stay so organized and I have to be honest with them. It is one simple little device that I use like it's my job (haha...get it)!



Yes! My labeling machine! I use this for everything (well mostly everything). All my filing, bins, tabs, and more are labeled. Either by this little guy or additional labeling products.

I recommend that this is an investment you make. You don't need the most expensive one or a HUGE one. Just get one that fits your home and it will make your life just a little easier.

Thanks!
 How do you stay organized?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Product Rave: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizer Cream

Finding a good moisturizer is a journey; one that I have been on for awhile. The journey is long, hard, time consuming and worst of all a money pit. But once you find that moisturizer cream that works for your skin, it becomes the holy grail of products and you never want to part.

I have tried many products...
 ...and I have learned a lot about ingredients and what I like on my skin (especially my face) along with what I can't stand. I have been through drying products, greasy products, morning only creams, night only creams, creams you can't use with other products, so on and so forth...

I did gather one piece of knowledge that I didn't know about my skin-and that was how sensitive my face is. I used to think that I had a face of steel. I could go out in the sun and when my face would get some color everything would be okay. Or, that a little bit of stinging when using a product was okay because...it had to be working right?

This was a pivotal point in my journey to a moisturizer that I could call mine.
After all my trials and errors, and that's not to say some of the creams I tried didn't help, it just wasn't ideally what I wanted to continue using; I finally found something that sounded like it might be good for my sensitive skin.

Let me rewind because I feel like I'm not explaining myself too well (shocker right?). Over my time trying to find a moisturizer that worked well with my skin, I had developed a criteria that helped as I was searching for new products to try.

My Criteria
1.Has to work with my sensitive skin- As I explained, I have really sensitive skin especially under the eye area and when I use creams or products they can end up stinging. I needed something sensitive in nature.

2. AM/PM usage- Yep. Products cost money and when you are dealing with nicer, more expensive, higher quality products having to purchase one for the AM and then another for the PM can get crazyyyyy! I just wanted something that works at both times of the day ;)

3. Applicable over other treatments- I have some topical medicine that my dermatologist prescribed for my acne scaring and hyper pigmentation on my face. I needed a product that was able to go over that medication. The medication also dries my face out so I was really in need of a moisturizer that could help combat that.

So there you have it my little list of criteria that I had. Now I'm sure there are several other products that fit that criteria but I have found one that I really, really like!
This is the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream.

I am in LOVE! I have been using this for about a week now and I can already tell a difference. It is for sensitive skin so I can get it close to my under eye area without any stinging.

You can also use this product for AM/PM.
And, as you can also see here in this snapshot, you can use it alone OR over a treatment serum. Basically, it is okay to use with another product. I have not had any reaction while using with my medicine.

So far this product meets my criteria which is why it came home with me. I had heard many great things about Kate Somerville products and the line has a few other face creams that may meet the needs of other people's skin better. 

When I read about the use of Goat Milk it got me interested in the concept.
The information here on the box really does what is says it will do. It nourishes my skin and hydrates the areas on my face that dry out due to my medicine. I also notice that any redness or hyper pigmentation spots that I have tend to fade away after 5 minutes of applying the product.

This product does really well under makeup and I tend to use less concealer all together because of how it treats the redness on my face.

I do take one issue with this product. The smell. It doesn't smell horrible, but the scent of this product is not fragrant. There is no vanilla, yummy, floral, or fruity scent to this product.
It just kinda smells like a cream. After the product absorbs on your face (5 minutes or less) the smell is non-existent in my book.
If you are someone that cannot handle different smells this product might not be for you. 
But trust me when I say, it's not that bad and totally worth it.

Finally, I really enjoy how the product dispenses.


You push down and just enough product comes up for an application on your face. You don't have to dip your fingers into the entire product which makes it a bit more sanitary.

I am still getting used to this product wearing on my face, but I did want to share my initial thoughts with you all. If you are in the market for a new moisturizer and have similar criteria as me, then I would recommend trying this product. You might even check out the other creams in the Kate Somerville line as well. I know I will be trying some others!

Let me know if there are any products you have found to be the holy grail!

Cheers!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DIY China Cabinet Project + {How to Paint Laminate Furniture}

I had been searching, for sometime now, for a china cabinet to put in our condo. I didn't have much to go off of...just looking around.
I had been wanting one, then once the wedding happened and we received numerous gifts of our china, silverware, and serving dishes, it was time to HAVE one.
I had completely run out of room in my kitchen cabinets and still had boxes piled on the floor.

Anyway...we started an intense search. I was online, looking at furniture stores, antique shops, and everything was a bit out of our price range as we're starting to save for a home.
We live by some local thrift shops and decided we could check out the furniture there.
We scored!

Found a vertical, 77 in cabinet that comes in two pieces for $40! 
Yay!
I was a happy, happy lady! I was mostly please with the size of the cabinet and the fact it had glass all around the top half. I will show you in a minute.

We purchased that baby up without even thinking of transporting it home...
We ended up having to rent a u-haul van!

So we got it home and laid down our project sheets all ready to go!

Before


 Like I had mentioned it is two pieces and the top just sets right up on the bottom

The first step was taking all the hardware, glass shelving and front pieces, and doors off.

Next we had to clean each door and piece of wood so that the primer paint would adhere the best.


 To clean it, we vacuumed every piece and then just rubbed them down with rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol makes it so that we didn't have any water sitting on the furniture. It dries super fast.

The china cabinet we picked up was not real wood, like most furniture isn't now-a-days unless it is your really nice furniture. We had to do some research on the best primer to adhere and work with that laminate furniture. Many primers and paints won't cover it so it can be a challenge. Several blogs that I read mentioned this product as being like gold...and it was just that! 

This primer worked so fast. It cured in an hour so we were able to do the two coats in a matter of hours for each piece.
This is available at Lowe's for $18.

We started applying!











A day later we were read to assemble all the pieces back together!

I made sure that all my glass pieces were cleaned with my favorite glass cleaner before Joey put them back in.
 The only glass cleaner I use :)

I also painted the drawer in the bottom cabinet "Sweet Mint" by Valspar. We got the little color sample paint jar at Lowe's for $3.

We set it in it's home and it is ready to be filled!

















It looks so cute!
 I will post a picture of it filled when I get that finished on my Instagram (@youngnasawife)

This was such a fun weekend project and we were able to save a ton of money by re-purposing this older china cabinet. I am ready to tackle our old lamp now!
I would encourage you that if you are looking for a specific piece of furniture and you can't find one that fits in your budget or within your taste...check out antique malls and thrift shops; you never know what you may find! A project just may be around your corner!

Hope you all are enjoying the start of your week!