“I Do” to the Erin Condren Wedding Planner

Now that I have the bling, I had to get the planner. Before we move on, in case you haven’t read “I Got Distracted…

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Anyway, shocking, I didn’t just get any old planner, I got myself an Erin Condren Wedding Planner! Ok, so I may have gotten it MONTHS ago with the HOPE that I’d be marrying this man. I kept it hidden away and forgotten in its little box, waiting patiently to be used. Obviously I’m super excited to now have the chance to use it! My teacher planner and Life Planner have been AMAZING, and I’ve gotten wedding planners for other friends; so finally getting to use it for myself is double fun! For ease of life, I am just using my wedding planner as my life planner for the next year as well- why not!? I use the month view more than anything and I have plenty of stickers left from my life planner this past year! It works!

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Front and Back

The front portion of the planner has month views for which ever month span you chose. After each month view is a notes page, similar to the teacher planner. I write my work schedule, birthdays, meetings, and obviously, when to get wedding things like sending save-the-dates out!

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The second portion of the planner is like a wedding planning guide. There is space for a guest list, bridal party, reception stuff, wedding tips, a time line, a budget checklist, music, photography, flowers, cake and food tastings, and vendor contact list. We have excel spread sheets for our guest list and budget, but I also hand-wrote our budget in so that when we are having conversations with vendors I have that info with me!

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PS our photographer is the always lovely Kate Serbin of Freckled Perspective. She’s amazing!

ENTIRE last section of the planner has blank pages and lined pages for doodles, writing notes, ideas, and lists.

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There is also the usual clear pocket pouch in the back that is GREAT for keeping business cards! It comes stuffed with EC Compliment Cards, coil clip, do-it-all dots, and referral cards to hand out to friends who love your EC.

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The stickers in the back are specific to the wedding planner. They say things like: register, caterer, photographer, bridesmaids, mani-pedi, hair appt, book honeymoon, shower, bachelorette, bachelor, favors, programs, big day, get license, limo/shuttle, save the dates, book hotels, website, officiant, music, bride gifts, groom gifts, buy invites, bakery, buy rings, party!, dress shop, fitting, and blanks. There is a sheet of varying shades of purple and a sheet of varying shades of blue. The last 2 sticker sheets are completely blank in the basic rainbow of colors. I had left over stickers from my 2015 Life Planner that I cut out and slid into the back pocket of my wedding planner.

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I have already started taking notes, and getting stuff from my pinterest and writing them down in my planner. We are definitely in full wedding planning swing! How is it that even though the wedding is almost a year away, it feels like everything gets done in the first 6 months! :O

This is the perfect gift to give to any newly engaged Bride or get for your own wedding organization! Use this referral link to receive a $10 coupon to get your own Erin Condren Wedding Planner, Life Planner, or one of her other AWESOME products!

Easy Homespun Garland

Have some time on a Saturday? Want to get in the holiday spirit? Make something that will last for years? Then THIS is for you! All it takes is time, twine, some homespun fabrics and pinking shears.

Supplies:

Spool/roll of twine- as much as you’ll need to stretch as far as you need

1  yards of three DIFFERENT homespun fabrics. We got ours at JoAnns. You may do any variation of fabrics as long as you total about 3 yards of fabric total. This may vary if you are doing more than 1 spool of twine.

Pinking Shears

  1. Using your pinking shears, cut 1inch by 6 inch strips of your fabric. This a wee bit time consuming. If you have friends or children that are very good at cutting in the lines, this is a good time to get them involved.
  2. Measure out lengths of twine. Make sure it spans the width you need, plus a few extra inches for “swag.” Cut them to length.

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  1. Taking all of your strips, simply double knot them onto the twine. One can very easily come undone over the years of packing and unpacking. You can do a pattern or random- what ever floats your boat.
  2. When you’re done, knot the ends.

We used clothes pins to pin the garland to our valances. Mom embellished with some old mittens and cute ornaments. This also looks really pretty on a Christmas tree. We did not do that this year, but have in previous years. Decorate til your little heart’s content. You could easily use this same process to make garland for other holidays throughout the year. With a little time, this craft is a simple, lasting project you can enjoy for years to come!

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

My most favorite Christmas cookie ever is the Chocolate Crinkle cookie. I realized while making them the other night that it’s pretty close to a brownie batter…maybe that’s why I love them so much! They are soft, chewy, chocolatey and classic.

Ingredients:

1/2 vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups of flour

4 oz bakers chocolate

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

  1. Melt your bakers chocolate in the microwave
  2. In a mixer combine sugar, vegetable oil and melted chocolate
  3. Very SLOWLY add in your 4 eggs. The chocolate is hot so if you dump them all in at once they’ll scramble!
  4. Sift 2 cups of flour with baking powder and a dash of salt- slowly add to your chocolatey mix. Your batter will be thicker than a cake batter, but not as dry as a regular cookie batter.
  5. Transfer to some plastic wrap to chill in the fridge. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! 3hrs-over night is best. I left mine in over night.
  6. In a bowl add powdered sugar. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

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  1. Using teaspoons or a small ice cream scooper, scoop small portions of chilled dough, roll and drop into powdered sugar to coat.

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  1. Place on parchmented cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE or they will end up crunchy and they are best nice and soft. I bake mine for 9-10 minutes.
  2. Remove from baking sheet and place on cooling rack.

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ENJOY! These guys are best with a giant glass of milk and no care for your waist line. This is a hard cookie to have just 1 of. 🙂

Makes about 5 dozen cookies!

Flannel Blanket Scarf

Hi. My name is Anna and I have an addiction. I am addicted to scarves.

Last fall, the phenomenon of the “blanket scarf” occurred. The American Eagle blanket scarves were selling for upwards of $30. From my research, $20 seems to be about the average cost of a blanket scarf. Funny enough, you can make one yourself, for less than $10 if you use your coupons right.

What you’ll need:

1 1/2- 2 yards flannel (preferably plaid) fabric

Scissors

Seam Ripper

  1. Go to a fabric store, like JoAnn’s and get your fabric. I used a flannel from JoAnn’s Plaiditude line. The fabric was on sale for $5.99/yd and I had a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase. For 1 1/2 yes of fabric I spent less than $7.
  2. Trim your fabric so that it is even- AKA follow the plaid lines
  3. On the raw edges, the edges that aren’t “finished” and will fray, pull the horizontal threads to create the frays. I used the point of a seam ripper to help pick out the threads. I only went in about 1/4 of an inch or so, I didn’t want long dramatic frays. Totally up to you though.
  4. WEAR!

Literally took me 45 minutes INCLUDING travel time to my local JoAnn’s and back. So, really, it took me about 15 minutes to trim and pull the frays. The colors of the plaid I used will make mixing and matching a breeze this winter. I can not wait for the weather to cool off enough for me to actually wear/use it. It’s so easy to wear and is comfy and professional.

This would make an AWESOME, inexpensive, and greatly appreciated Christmas gift.

I Got Distracted….

I was supposed to publish a post yesterday. It’s written. I have the pictures embedded, I was simply waiting to get it up. It will be up later today. But then I got distracted….Christmas came a little early…

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I was COMPLETELY surprised. As per usual, everyone knew but me. Seriously, our friends played dumb so well it’s scary! I was not expecting it even a little bit! The ring is PERFECT! The silver ornament was in the box with the ring. A friend of ours made it and it says “Dearly Beloved” on each side with 12/2015 on the edge. I love the word “beloved,” it must be an English major thing. We haven’t picked a date yet but I can not wait to start planning forever with my best friend! ❤

PS- The Erin Condren Wedding planner has already happened. I will be posting wedding planning and wedding planner fun stuff! YAY!

Spice Vox Box

I don’t remember where or when I heard of Influenster, but I saw that I could potentially get free stuff to test in exchange for honest reviews. Who doesn’t like free stuff? And, well, I like reviewing things. I was notified a few weeks ago that I had been picked to get one of 10,000 Spice Vox Boxes through Influenster. I got the free stuff, now it is my turn to do the reviews!

This is what I saw when I opened my very first Vox Box

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It contained:

2 Yogi tea samples- Vanilla Spice Perfect Energy and Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy

Sinful Colors Sinful Shine 2 Step Manicure

Foot Petals Killer Kushionz

Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Cream

Soapbox Shampoo and Conditioner

Veggie Sticks in Sea Salt

Not Your Mother’s Whip It Up Styling Mousse

According to the list of products and the video that shares what is in the box, I was supposed to receive Foot Petal’s Give Em the Boot wool insoles, but those were NOT in my box, much to my disappointment.

The first products I tried were the shampoo and conditioner. I am one of those people that reads the label on the bottle. I am also a bit of a brand snob and have faithfully stuck to Organix hair products for over 2 years. Any time I forget my shampoo/conditioner or grab some “cheap stuff” in a pinch, I hate myself for it. I just love the way my hair feels using those products, so deviating is a big step for me. Thankfully I LOVED these products. They smell like coconut which is one of my most favorite smells. It’s clean, fresh and left my hair smelling the same! They are full sized bottles which is also super awesome. Having long hair right now, sample or travel sized bottles would not have allowed me to really use the product more than twice. I used it for 3 solid days before forming my opinion, and I definitely LOVE it. My hair was soft, shiny, and wonderful. On top of that,

“With [each] purchase [of SoapBox products] you are giving a month of clean water to someone in need. We work with Splash, an organization that comes alongside local governments and aid organizations to take the clean water infrastructure multinational food corporations use and apply it to orphanages and children’s hospitals. Splash’s goal is always to be out of the picture by a set date with a self-sustaining clean water infrastructure in place, sustained by their local partners. Of all water-filtration related disease cases, 90% are affecting minors. Check the special Hope Code on the back of your bottle to see where your donation will be made.”

Good hair AND helping the world! I like it even MORE! I give this product 5 stars and 2 thumbs up! Check out their bundles! You can get shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and hand soap for $19.19!

The next product I tried was the Not Your Mothers Whip It Up Mousse. It smells like sugar cookies. Really. It smells sooooo good. As the bottle promised, it did not leave my hair or my hands sticky or crunchy. DOUBLE WIN! Nobody likes crunchy hair or sticky hands. Though I’ve had no where fancy to have to have my hair “done,” I did use some before blow drying a few days. I liked the smell and little extra manipulation. I have fine hair but a lot of it. Even a basic pony tail can be annoying to whip up. It was just enough extra body and fullness to make working with my hair a bit easier. It’s not something I’ll use EVERY day, but definitely a product I’ll be keeping in my cabinet to use. My boyfriend liked the smell as well….but what boy doesn’t like to snuggle with a girl that smells like sugar cookies!?

Having just finished student teaching, I was a crazy person and wore heals on the regular. I have a pair of basic, black, pointed pumps from Target. I wore them at least twice a week. I managed quite well and never put in in-soles. Once I got this VoxBox I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try. I stuck my new Killer Kushionz in my pumps….and they didn’t even make it the 20 minute drive to school. They were SO thick that my feet were squished in my shoes and it was so uncomfortable I had to rip them out. They did not make it an hour. Maybe I didn’t give them enough of a chance. Maybe I didn’t have them in the “right kind of heels.” All I know is that I couldn’t wait to rip them out of my heels.

One of my more recent blog posts is a review on MaryKay’s botanic effects moisturizer. I 100% stand by my review. My box came with Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Cream. I used it twice before I gave it to my mom. It has a very strong rose smell, being that it’s made with rose hips. I’m not adverse to the smell, but it was VERY potent when you first apply it. I used it right after showering and exfoliating on nice clean and clear skin. I felt like it didn’t really absorb into my skin, but more sat on top. I feel like it left my skin a bit greasy. This may be because my skin is used to the MK moisturizer. Either way, I didn’t love or hate this, I just have a product that I like better. My mother, however, has enjoyed using it and has had no issue.

For my last day of student teaching, I wanted to look put together. A few weeks ago I had had to clip and file all of my nails down. Working at JoAnn fabrics and handling cottons and fabric so much had zapped the moisture and life out of my hands and nails. They had finally grown back enough for me to shape and paint them. The Sinful Shine 2 step manicure seemed promising. The color went on wonderfully. It wasn’t thick, gloppy or streaky. It went on very smooth and dried quickly. After 2 coats of color, I did 2 coats of the top coat, as instructed. Again, the top coat dried quickly. The next morning I woke up and was definitely in LOVE. The hot pink color was right up my ally, my nails were shiny and pretty. I went to school that day bragging to my co-op about how I had gotten this manicure set and loved it. By third period (about 9:20am) My 2 thumbs had chipped. By the time I went to bed that night, all 10 nails had peeled and chipped. I was SO BUMMED! This is not the first time I’ve had this issue. I used the Revelon 2 step gel manicure system and the same thing happened, they peeled right off. I don’t understand. I guess if you’re a princess and never have to use your hands for anything, this might be great for you. So, if you’re a princess, this set is definitely for you. For us humans, well, good luck.

I hate vegetables. I eat corn and potatoes and green beans. I think that’s the extent of my vegetable eating. you’ll also notice that 2 of those 3 listed are actually starches, not veggies. I was hesitant to try the veggie sticks. Some of the teachers at my school eat these things. My mom told me she has kid at school that eat them. They’re OK. I’m not in love. If I had a choice, I’d pick regular chips, but, I mean, for what they are, they’re pretty good. The different colors do have different flavors. I fed the greens ones to my dogs, the yellow were my favorite and the orange is ok. They’re sitting in our chip basket for when my health conscious boyfriend is in town, he’ll eat them. For those of you that care, they are organic as well.

Last but certainly not least are the teas! I love tea. So does my ma. We have a whole cabinet of it. I was SUPER excited to see these two samples in the box. I love them both. Tea is good for the soul. Tea is good at any time of day. Tea is good for any moment in life…except finals week. Coffee takes over at that point in time, but any other time in life is good for tea. Yogi tea is relatively popular and accepted in the tea community as pretty good as well. I would certainly recommend either the vanilla spice or sweet tangerine to any tea drinker. Vanilla spice would go well with a good comfy book while sweet tangerine would be great for a morning wake-up tea!

For my first VoxBox through Influenster, I must say that I am happy over-all. It’s fun getting stuff to test and review.

Quick Christmas Gift-Checkbook Cover

Sometimes, when Christmas rolls around, friends and family have very specific wishes. Sometimes, that makes everyone’s life VERY easy. You know EXACTLY what to get. Other times, it makes life very hard because that item is no longer around.

Grandma asked for a Vera Bradley checkbook cover. I thought that this would be an easy no brainer. My own mother has one. When I worked there, we had bins of them. JUST KIDDING. I went to the outlet, retail store, and a few independent retailers- NOTHING. I refuse to support the bulk buyers on eBay. So what was my alternative- MAKE ONE! I mean, look at who we’re talking about here. In less than an hour I was able to make my own version of the checkbook cover!

Supplies:

Thread/bobbin that match your fabric

1 fabric fat quarter- pattern of your choice

Ruler

Good Scissors

Pencil

  1. Using the Vera Bradley checkbook cover that I had, I used that as a template and made 2,  7 1/2 x 7 5/8 rectangles. This gave me about 1/4 inch seam allowance all of the way around. I then made 2, 7 5/8 x 3 1/4 rectangles. These would be the flaps that hold the checkbook covers. Again, this allowed for a seam allowance. I cut them all out.
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One flap sewn, back side, unsown flap, Vera template

  1. I first did a seam across the top of what would be, the 2 inner flaps. It would be near impossible to do once you sew everything else together, so do NOT skip this step.
  2. With one of the larger rectangles, I sewed the flaps along 3 sides. BOTH were PATTERN side up, this is important.
  3. Now that both of my inner flaps were attached, I place the outer, second large rectangle on top so that the pattern side was facing the pattern side of the inside. I sewed around 3 3/4s of the whole thing. This left me with a hole to turn it right-side out.
  4. I very carefully hand-sewed the last 2 inches to seal it.

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    Outside

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    Inside with both flaps, turned right-side out

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    Compared to the Vera Checkbook Cover

    What I would do next time: I would get some interfacing to give it a little more heft. It’s fine as it is, and adding cardboard would definitely be way too much, but a little interfacing to give it some more structure would be great! Due to the size of the project, I can’t imagine needing anymore than 1/4 of a yard.

Mary Kay Botanical Effects

I have finished student teaching. Please, accept my apology for being the worst blogger in the world. I am decompressing from full teacher mode, holding my bladder for hours at a time and all! ANYWAY….

One of my bestest friends in the entire world has become a Mary Kay consultant. We are obsessed with Vikings, eat more cookie dough than we should, and do weird things like dress up as the witches from Macbeth…1560597_10202962879618080_378525325_n

And in a few months I’ll get to walk down the aisle and stand next to her as she gets hitched!

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WOO HOO!

On top of all of this, Liv and her fiancé have been called to be missionaries in Russia. Yeah, my friends are pretty darn cool. In order to help finance this calling, Liv has joined the Mary Kay world. As a child, my mom was a MK addict. I was too young to enjoy the spoils and have never really used MK products. I love to review things, but I don’t really review “makeup stuff.” Honestly, I don’t wear or use enough of it any more to be any sort of voice of reason. I’ve been a coconut oil addict for years, and that’s about the extent of my beauty regime.

Bi-yearly, my skin goes through this weird phase. With the changing of the seasons comes a changing of my skin. My cheeks get dry and flakey, while my forehead looks shiny and greasy enough to fry an egg. Exfoliating, coconut oil, vinegar…honestly, I haven’t been able to find a “natural” remedy to fix this issue. I have (thankfully, praise Jesus) grown out of acne for the most part. I just have this ghastly dry/oily skin issue. Science tells us that our faces get super oily because our face is so dry and in order to keep up with our dry skin it makes tons of oil to try to combat it, hence, my shiny forehead and flakey cheeks.

Liv told me to check out the website, and let her know if there was anything I was interested in, she was making an order. I’m not one of those crazy “health nuts,” per say, but I do try to use relatively natural stuff. The Botanicals Effects line caught my eye. They have a line of products, but I was really only interested in he moisturizer…for now. A few weeks ago I visited Liv and she gave me my order. I’ve been using Botanical Effects hydrate, dry/sensitive skin for about two months and I AM IN LOVE! Really, I know I already told you I have little credibility and authority on this subject, but as someone who suffered from skin problems ALL throughout high school and has struggled with this dry/oily thing for years, I got this one.

It does not leave my face feeling greasy or dry. I can put it on right after my shower in the morning, get dress, blow dry my hair, and put makeup right on. I don’t have to wipe off grease or apply my makeup any differently. I wash my face and put it on at night before I go to bed as well. In just the first week I noticed a serious change in how my skin looked and felt. My forehead oil production was already SO much better and improving every day. My cheeks do not feel dry, flakey or itchy! I have cut down to exfoliating every other day or so, which I’m sure my skin appreciates as well.

I have never been able to so gracefully go through the skin adjustment period. I think it is safe to say that she now has a loyal customer…at least for the moisturizer! I am looking forward to trying the Cleanse Formula, Mask Formula and Freshen Formula in the future!

To visit her Mary Kay consultant website and shop MK products, click HERE! Follow her on Facebook to find out about new releases, discounts and specials!

*I was not paid to post this. Really, I just love this product and enjoy helping out a friend!*

I’m Alive! I Promise!

I haven’t posted in about 3 months.

I haven’t had time.

That whole teaching full time and working a part time job doesn’t really allow for much blogging time. Or time to bake. Or be crafty. Or read books for myself. Or share about the dogs. Or any of the other random things that I usually blog about. But between now and getting my certification number so that I can sub/teach, ALL THE THINGS will be happening. Baking, planning, crafting, cleaning, reading- everything that I have put on hold to focus on my students will be happening.

I’ve got a stack of books.

Footie PJs, dog jackets, a quilt, and a quilt/crochet baby blanket have been waiting patiently for their turn to be picked up.

I have a list of recipes to the moon and back.

And I have a solid week to smoosh as many of them in as I can.

I am going to be a functional human again! 😀