Friday, February 25, 2011

Starting my business!

Remember my post last week about starting my own Professional Organizing business? Well, It's actually kind of starting to happen! Husband and I talked about it and he said go for it - so I am. I actually have my first client this weekend! I want to give you guys (my blog followers!) a chance to learn about what I'm going to be doing, and also a chance to have a FREE consultation with me. I'll start my online courses for my certification after this semester of SEMO, so keep in mind that I'm not certified yet. I do have some great ideas already, even though I've just started learning. So if you have a room in your home that you'd like some advice with, please call me. We can talk about ways to make your life stress free! Check out the website for the National Association of Professional Organizers if you're still a little confused as to what it is I'll actually be doing. I'm excited to start!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Not perfect, but trying."

It's hard to find a blog that isn't positive. Most people are only drawn to happy, lighthearted subjects. I don't want anyone to misunderstand my personality through this blog. My job isn't fun, my marriage could use some work, and my son can sometimes be a pain. My life is not picture perfect. I struggle daily to be a joy-filled person. I like writing about happy things because it makes me happy, but sometimes I don't feel that way inside. I want to share this story with you, so maybe you'll get to know me a little better.

When we first moved into our new house, I was excited to get things set up the way I wanted. I hung pictures, I got new towels; you know, all the little things that a house needs. One thing I've always had in my home is a wall clock. I don't like alarm clocks because they're so bright at night, so I've always had a wall clock in my bedroom. My old clock finally gave out, so when we moved, I picked up a cheapo from Wal-Mart. It looked something like this:
Anyway, this clock had a VERY loud "tick." It didn't bother me, but it kept Daniel up at night. So, to make us both happy, every night I took the batteries out. This worked out ok, until one night when I fell asleep early and forgot. I woke up to Daniel taking my clock off the wall, opening the back door, and flinging my clock into the woods like a frisbee. We then both started shouting at each other about who knows what. I felt like he'd lost his temper and was being unreasonable, he felt like I'd ignored how he felt about the ticking by keeping the wall clock all together. We never really talked about it after that night, I just put up a photo in the clocks place and started using my cell phone to tell time.

Monday was our two year anniversary. Daniel came home and couldn't wait for me to open my gift. Here's what he got me:
A digital wall clock, that doesn't have an annoying back light. Most importantly, it doesn't tick.
He also gave me this note:
When it all comes down to it, neither one of us are perfect. But we are both trying to be, for each other. I definitely nag Daniel too much, and he sometimes loses his temper. The important thing is, we love each other more than ourselves. And that's what it's all about, right folks? Love.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Life to Old Stuff....

We just bought an old house for rental income and are in the process of remodeling. One major improvement to the house was the addition of all new windows. The house was built in the 1940's and the windows we removed were original to the house.

The cords you see coming out of the side of the windows were used as pulley's to open and close. I think these windows are really neat, and I'm thinking of doing some little projects with them. I only want a couple of them, and am willing to sell the rest if anyone is interested. I'll take $5.00 per window. I've seen windows similar to these sell online for close to $30.00!

Here are some ideas I've found for re-purposing old windows. I just did a Google Search of "Antique windows as art" and these photos popped up.
This person just added some fabric to one side of the window. Very cute!

Very creative idea! Window Coffee Table!

Once the glass is removed, the panes become a display case. This is kind of what I'm thinking of doing with my windows.

If you have any other suggestions on ways to use the windows, please share!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Style Inspiration

These photos are of real "Girls on the Street" from Lucky Mag. I have all the pieces to copy these outfits. Now to get around to wearing them in my everyday life....

Denim on Denim is broken up by a light pastel jacket. Very cute and very spring.

Very 70's. I'm excited to wear my flares this spring. Looks perfectly simple with the tucked in top.

Black and Navy. Love it.

I love tights and shorts. Not brave enough to wear them though! I think this weekend I'm going to do an outfit similar to this, only with a black skirt. Stay tuned...

Ultimate cool girl. White Tee. Camel Jacket. Skinny Crops. I would probably wear this with flats rather than the monster booties.

Skinny black pants that make your legs look a mile long, white tee and tough leather jacket. Very Moto Cool. I'd probably wear this with flats (surprise!) for toting around Little Man.

These next photos are from an album called "Stars Grocery Store Style" from People Mag.
I love seeing Stars in "Real Life" situations!

Kourtney Kardashian looks perfect shopping with her little man wearing riding boots, skinnies, and a white button down. Don't forget your giant diaper bag/purse!

Reese looks so cute shopping. I'm not a big fan of layering, (cuz I get sweaty. Ha!) but I would wear a plaid button down by itself without the sweater.

Rachel Bilson is so beautiful. The only thing I don't have to make this work are the suede booties, and I'm working on that :) This photo was from the album "Stars Airport Style."

I love looking through magazines to get ideas, but sometimes models wear things I could never pull off here in Southeast Missouri. I think all of these looks would be acceptable for our area, don't you?

What are some of your favorite websites for style inspiration?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If I were to have my own business....

Here's what I have been thinking lately.

I'm wondering if you have ever heard of a "Professional Organizer?" It's secretly my dream to become one. Someone who helps you clear out the clutter in your life, someone who helps you shop smartly and professionally, and someone to be there for you if you need them. Kind of like a counselor, only not really.

What I'm thinking is.... wouldn't it be neat to help someone organize their garage to be clutter-free and efficient? Or what about helping someone shop for a waredrobe that is functional and affordable? I know a lot of moms in this area that are really busy. Women that are too busy to organize their craft room; too busy to take the time to meal plan; and even too busy to decide what to wear in the morning. I want to help. I am by no means perfect, but I do have a gift for organizing and cleaning.

You know that show, Hoarders??

I love it. It would be my dream to meet someone who has a severe problem with hoarding possessions and show them that there's more to life that hanging onto items with no meaning.

This is a photo from one of the episodes. See how the mess is actually in organized piles? This person probabably knows where everything in their home is, even though it looks like a disaster area to us. Through counseling and help organizing, this family ended up finally getting some relief from the stressful, cluttered world they lived in. Wouldn't it be so satisfying to help someone in that way?

My only concern, is that we live in Southeast Missouri. Sometimes people around here are too proud to admit when they need help. They might know inside that they could benefit from someone helping them get their life organized, but they would never actually take that step to call someone for fear of ridicule. They might have this sort of mentality:
I would hope not, but it's possible.

Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud about my dream business..... I'm sure getting a degree in English Lit won't help me, but I think there are some classes and certifications you can take to actually become a Personal Organizer....or Life Coach as some call it. What do you guys think? Do you think SE Missouri could benefit from this type of service?

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Dye Leather Boots

It's been awhile since I've done something creative, and it's making me feel too structured.

Remember my post about my lists? I make "Short Term" and "Long Term" lists. When my Short Term List is close to being completed, I usually start working on a couple of my Long Term goals. One item on my Long Term List is to buy a pair of Cognac Riding Boots. I've been searching for the perfect pair since last year.  A pair that's not too expensive, but still made of real leather. I have yet to find boots that meets both these requirements. A couple of months ago I picked up a pair of leather riding boots from Target $29. They fit great, but the color is.....well, kind of blah.

 Another negative is that the first week I had them I got white paint on them that hasn't come off. So now they look really blah and aren't the perfect Cognac color that I want. Just when I was beginning to think I'd be stuck with these blah boots and never find that perfect pair I discovered this:

It's leather dye, in the most perfect Cognac color! I watched a video from Lucky Magazine on how to dye leather shoes, so I thought I would give it a try. I bought this brand from Hobby Lobby for $4.99. Bonus: It's Eco Friendly!

Ok, so here is step by step what I did. I tried to follow the video the best I could.

Step 1. Clean the boots with a leather cleaner.
I bought this brand from Bucheits. It didn't remove any of the paint though! It cost $3.99. I rubbed the leather cleaner onto the boots with a scotch brand sponge, using the "green" rough side. I applied the cleaner directly to the sponge, and rubbed it onto the boots in a circular motion.

I let the cleaner dry for 30 minutes on the boots. The boots didn't look any different than before. Kind of a waste of money if you ask me. I could have just cleaned them with soap and water and probably gotten the same effect.

Step 2. Carefully apply the dye.
I first laid the boots onto an old towel. The leather dye stains so I also wore an old apron. I used a sponge again to apply the dye. I tried to keep the dye just on the leather, but a little got on the sole of the shoe. I used a Q-tip and dipped it into the leather cleaner and rubbed it onto the sole, and the dye came right off. Here's a pic of the first coat of dye after I applied it to the boots.

The dye didn't cover up the white paint sploches though. Kind of a bummer.

I thought the boots might need another coat, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Here they are, in all their Cognac Glory.

Happy Dyeing Friends.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Day.

I went home from work early because of the snow, and here's how JD and I spent our afternoon.

We looked out the back patio door and tried to find Josey.....she was missing for a couple hours! When she finally came home she had ice in her whiskers.

I taught JD how to jump on the bed. He's a natural, of course.

I started cleaning my mess of a closet. Still a long way to go!

Squeezed in a little light reading.

Evaporated about a dozen pot's worth of water into the extremely dry air. JD and I both had nose bleeds last night so I'm hoping to avoid that tonight!

And finally, we tried a new recipe for dinner. Shrimp Quesadillas.
Here's the recipe.

Shrimp Quesadilla's
4 8-inch tortillas
1/2 a container spicy three-pepper hummus
6 oz peeled, deveined, and cooked medium shrimp
1 jar artichoke hearts chopped
1 pkg feta cheese

Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. Place tortillas, sprayed side down, on work surface; spread with hummus. Top half of each tortilla with shrimp, artichokes, and cheese. Fold tortilla's in half, pressing gently.
Heat large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat for 1 minute. Cook quesadillas, tow at a time, for 4-6 minutes or until golden browned and heated through. Serves 4.

Here's a pic of the finished product.

Just looks like a regular old quesadilla. Only it's filled with delicious hummus and shrimp :) Daniel said he liked it, so looks like this meal has made the recipe rotation!

What did you all do today on this snowy Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What to buy me for Valentine's Day or My Anniversary....

Like most women, I have a "Want" list.

Do I NEED the things on this list? No.

Will I obtain all of the items on this list? Most likely No.

Do I spend a portion of my day thinking about these items and or looking at them online? Yes. (Ashamedly so.)

Here's my current obsessions list. Feel free to mention one or all of these items to my hubby, because this month is Valentine's Day and our Anniversary (Feb 21st)

1. These Suede Booties

Aren't they adorable? I would wear them now with skinny jeans and sweaters, and in the Spring with skirts or rolled khakis. My favorite part is the rubber sole; so comfy! Tell Daniel I need a 7 1/2 :)

2. This Perfect Spring Top:

Would go with everything in my closet and is such a cute color! :) Size small please and thank you!

3. A Sewing Machine

It's a basic model, just to get me started. I would eventually like to make tote bags, clothes for JD etc. It's pretty reasonably priced for under $70.00....I don't know much about sewing machines but I hear that Brother brand is pretty good.

4. Another Swimsuit

I already have this same adorable swimsuit, but it fits so perfectly I'd like it in another color. If I had it in white I could switch up the top and bottom with the navy suit I already have. I'm a small top and a medium bottom please dear :)

5. A Gift Card to my Favorite Place :)

Annie Laurie's Antiques! I could spend an entire day just daydreaming about shopping here! Lately I've been in a rush every time I'm in, so it would be a great gift for me to have a free afternoon to shop.

Well, that's about all for my "wants" list. (this week anyway! ha!) What's on your current obsessions list? Post the items you're wanting for Valentine's Day and I'll try to nudge your significant other in the right direction for you! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hair and Makeup!

I always find it interesting on fashion blogs when writer's post their makeup routine, and the products they use. I don't have much of a routine, but I can share with you the products I have found to actually work for me. I have been using the same shampoo, face wash, and makeup for about two years; after about five years of testing these and other products. I will indicate my favorite products as the "Product Pick".  Hope this post is helpful and/or interesting to you! Please leave comments if you like or dislike! :)

In highschool I had pretty oily skin (like most other teenagers!) I used Proactiv products from about age 12-17. I did not use Proactiv as instructed, just every once in awhile. I had breakouts, like everyone else, but never too severe. I recommend Proactiv to anyone in desperate need of help with acne problems. It works if you use it as instructed (3 simple steps!) Just make sure to educate yourself on the ingredients. Proactiv contains Retinoids and Beta Hydroxy Acid that can be harmful to pregnant women. Remember, anything topical you put on your skin is absorbed!

Since Highschool, I would say that I now have normal skin. I occasionally get a couple blackheads, and I do go through dry spells in winter. Since Proactiv was recommended for severe acne only, I stopped using it. No need to continue putting harsh chemicals onto my face!

Once acne was no longer a real issue for me, I went through a phase where I wanted only "high end" products and began to use Clinique Bar Soap. Love this stuff. It's just a mild, fragrance free, all around good soap for people with normal skin. If your budget allows, I highly recommend trying it out. Around here, you can get it at Macy's for about $14.00.
For me, I would rather spend a little more on my hair products (I'll get to that in a bit) than my face products, so I switched to Neutrogena. You can get it at any drug store, and it works for me just the same as the Clinique. I even like it better because it comes in a pump, rather than as a bar.

The Fresh Foaming Cleanser is mild and fragrance free. It retails for about $4.00. This is my Product Pick out of all other face washes!

Now that I've gotten a little older, I know the importance of protecting my skin from the sun. I use a sunscreen/lotion every morning to keep my skin wrinkle free! (Haha Hopefully!) I got this lotion for Christmas as a gift, so that's really the only reason I'm using it right now. I normally wouldn't spend so much for a lotion:

I think it's around $20.00. It works really well though and I don't feel greasy after using it. Hopefully it will last until my birthday and maybe someone else will get it for me haha!

This is really my Product Pick as far as lotion's go. It's affordable, oil free, and does what it's supposed to; moisturizes.

It's also got SPF 15! This moisturizer usually costs around $10.00 at Wally World, but it lasts me several months because I only use a tiny amount in the morning. $10.00 well spent!

If you know me, you know I have never worn much makeup. In fact, it's about 3pm right now and I've been to the grocery store and coffee with a friend and haven't put any makeup on all day. If I do wear makeup, it's these four items: Brown Mascara, Grey Eyeliner, Powder, and Chapstick. I save eye shadow and blush for times when I go out, and more often than not I just use mascara and none of the other three.
Here are my Product Picks:

I have really sensitive eyes. Some mascara that has "lengthening" or "plumping" elements can irritate me. I have found that this mascara perfect for me. It's hypoallergenic, and at the same time makes my lashes look longer and plumper!
It's by Almay, and it retails for about $5.00. I always buy black/brown or brown because I think black can look too harsh with my eye color.

I only apply a thin strand of eyeliner to the top lid. I sometimes put it on the bottom, but just in the evening. I uses any kind of eyeliner that has a built in sharpener. I also try to stick to a grey or brown color.

Revlon seems to work pretty good for me. It doesn't irritate my eyes so that's a plus! Since this liner has the built in sharpener I think I paid $6.50 at Wal-Mart.

Ok, so I'm about to tell you a little secret that few people know: I have a really hairy face. I'm not a gorilla or anything, but I do get a crop of thick blond hair on my chin and upper lip. Needless to say, tweezers are my best friend. I occasionally go to the salon and get a wax, but it's pretty embarrassing leaving the salon with a bright red upper lip! That in mind, liquid foundation has never worked for me. It gets stuck in the little blond hairs and looks clumpy! I have found that mineral powder makeup is my favorite. It never looks heavy or greasy, and it makes my skin look even and less red. Since I don't use it very often, I go through a small container about every 6-8 months. I do splurge a little for this one, and use Bare Minerals. They have a few different shades, and I keep two colors on hand: The Light and the Medium. I only use the medium if I've been tanning or in the summer. Otherwise my skin is pretty fair.

You can get it for about $20.00 online. I get mine at Elements Salon and Spa right here in Cape. Gotta support the local businesses!

I'm a chapstick junkie. I pick one up almost every time I'm at the drugstore. Currently I'm using this:

Its really smooth, and also has a little bit of shine to it. I also cycle through Burt's Bees and Blistex brands. I do have a tube of lipstick in my purse (You're welcome, Mother!) that I use on RARE occasions. It's some that a friend gave me and I've had it so long the label rubbed off. It's just a creamy pink color. I think that lipstick looks really fake on me for some reason. Wish I could pull it off!

I used to be slightly obsessed with my hair. I had to wash it every day, straighten it everyday, and use only salon-bought products. Here's a picture of me from a couple of years ago when I was going through this phase.
Looks like I'm about to play a mean game of Rock Band. It also looks like I'm a crazy person. And I was. Crazy about my hair. I had to have it highlighted every four weeks on the dot, not mention all the money I spent on hair smoothing oils and gels. Yep. I was crazy!
I now have a much more relaxed view of my hair. I still get it highlighted, but only every 6-8 weeks. I also don't highlight my entire head, I just do a "partial" as my stylist calls it. She just highlights the top of my head only and leaves the underneath naural. After about two years of this my hair is back to its natural color "underneath." It's a dirty blonde/light brown color. The top part of my hair (the part that's visible) is highlighted with both blonde and brown high and low lights. The result is a much more natural look! I've also ditched the straightener and on most days go with my natural, wavy hair. Here's a pretty recent picture:
I'm still me, but in much more relaxed, natural way. My hair is naturally wavy, and to keep it from getting too fly-away, I use a scrunching mousse straight out of the shower. No brushing involved.

I found that this mousse is my Product Pick. The reason I like it so much is because it leaves my waves feeling smooth, and not crunchy. Some hair products make my hair really tangly in the shower, but Pantene doesn't. I can also blow dry my hair with this mousse in it and my hair still doesn't get frizzy. How bout them apples?

Shampoo and Conditioners and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate how much salon products are, but I love how healthy they keep my hair. I love how affordable drug-store shampoo's are, but I hate how I can tell a difference in quality. After years of testing every drug store shampoo under the sun, my Product Pick for shampoo and conditioner is this:

Biolage Hydrotherapie Shampoo $19.99

Biolage Hydrotherapie Detangling Solution $25.00

Yes, I know that's a lot of money to spend on shampoo and conditioner. But I am being completely honest when I say I have found no other comparison. The shampoo makes my hair feel thick and healthy and the detangling solution does just that; makes my hair more manageable. It hurts every month when a portion of my spending budget has to go towards these items, but I made a deal with the hubby that if I can't get it at the grocery store, then it has to come from my spending allowance. Sigh.

Now you know what products I love most. Have something you think I should try? Let me know! Have a good weekend friends!