October 31, 2011

And the winner of cutest costume ever is...

Just had to give a little shout-out to my friend Laura who handmade the most adorable costume ever for her little girl after seeing some inspiration pics on Pinterest. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Audrey Hepburn...

Adorable, right? And just as reference, here's the original beauty...

Way to go Laura, you earned yourself another blue ribbon! I'll link up so everyone can see your skills :)

By the way, if you're interested in getting one of these little dresses for your own little one, check out this one on Etsy. A friendly reader says this is the original that got everyone on Pinterest so excited. Thanks for sharing!

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Frugal Friday

October 26, 2011

Pretty hair with a pear!

A few weeks ago I was perusing  through an issue of Whole Living magazine and found a recipe that caught my interest. But it wasn't a recipe for something to eat, it was for my hair! I often see DIY skin and hair treatments but a lot of times they have ingredients that I don't have on hand or can't find at my local stores. But this one had simple ingredients and if it worked I would be stoked!

The article says that pears contain sorbitol which moisturize hair and nourish the scalp. A quick search on the interwebs will result in lots of info on why apple cider vinegar is good for you both internally and externally. In terms of your hair, apple cider vinegar can result in volume, shine, and can reduce dandruff and hair loss.

This is so easy, folks. Peel your pear (the article says that the darker varieties of pears have more of the good-for-your-hair stuff), cut it up and throw it in the blender, discarding seeds, stem, and any hard spots. Blend it up with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two cups of water. Strain mixture and discard solids.

Now just massage this mixture into your hair after shampooing and before conditioning. Be sure to rinse well because no matter how well you strained the mixture earlier, you'll feel little hard pear bits in your hair. Then just style as usual!

I'll be the first to admit that there may be a little bit of a placebo effect going on here, but I really do see a difference after I use this. My hair looks healthier and shiny and seems to have a little more volume than usual. I also love the idea of using all-natural ingredients for beauty/hygeine purposes and avoiding all the nasty chemicals that are in most mainstream products. This little experiment has me excited to try other skin and hair care treatments that I can make myself!
Have you ever tried any DIY beauty treatments? If so, I'd love to hear about your favorites!

What I Whipped Up Wednesday

Delicately Constructed Friday

October 24, 2011

Things that made me smile

Just a quick post to share some things that have made my life enjoyable over the past few days...

These are the bomb-diggity and I'm kicking myself for not getting more when they were BOGO at Publix last week. DELISH!

Pretty flowers, mason jar, burlap-y ribbon. Adds a little fall cheer to my desk at work... for cheap!

Yummy lunch! Salad from home; creamy potato and leak soup and cheddar/scallion biscuit from Greenlife (Whole Foods). That soup and biscuit were PERFECT on a cold day.

My sweet kitty has been especially cuddly since the weather has gotten colder and I. Love. It.

I love spending QT with my hubby at Lowe's. It sounds silly but tackling projects at home together is so exciting and makes me look forward to all the things we have waiting for us in the future!

Wonderful hubby strikes again! Thanks for the right hand bling!

October 20, 2011

Southwestern Chicken and White Bean Soup


Today while I sat at my desk eating one of the most suprisingly delicious and satisfying lunches I've had in a really, really long time (salad from home; creamy potato and leek soup and cheddar scallion biscuit from Greenlife...ohmygosh!) I remembered a soup that I made several weeks ago that some of my FB friends had asked me to share the recipe for. Because I made it a while ago, I don't remember any major details other than:

1. It was mucho simplo (that's right, I speak fluent Spanish...)
2. We liked it!

That seems like good enough reasons to share with my friends. I do recall cooking the chicken the night before (I chose to grill some thin chicken breasts on my cast iron grill pan and then shredded it) and I used homemake chicken stock and cooked white beans from the freezer instead of the canned stuff. We topped ours with cheese (mine had some sour cream as well) and I made basic cheese quesadillas to eat with it. Great warm comfort food for this time of year. And who doesn't LOVE a crockpot recipe??

Southwestern Chicken and White Bean Soup
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breasts, shredded or cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (but who's counting? I always add more garlic!)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (16oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 large onion, chopped
1. Mix ingredients together in crock pot.
2. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours (or 4-5 hours on high).
3. Top with your favorite goodies and enjoy!

This recipe seems very flexible, and I'm thinking next time I could just throw my chicken breasts in the mix in the morning and when its time to eat just shred the meat. This soup would also be really easy to make on the stove top.

October 17, 2011

Googly eye wreath... and deals for you!

Ok, before I share my wreath I need to make sure everyone knows about No More Rack. I know there's a million and one daily deals sites out there, but this is definitely one you need to make note of! They offer 8 GREAT deals every day at noon (Eastern time) and I think this will be a great resource for me (and YOU!) as I work on marking names off of my Christmas list.   But if I'm going to be 100% honest, my favorite thing about it lately has been the deals on BOOTS! Really, ladies, you CANNOT beat the deals the have on boots and I've scooped up two pairs  within the past two weeks. The combined retail value for both pairs is around $200 and I got both of them for less than $30...total.

Another great thing is that you can earn credit by inviting friends to join in on the fun. So, use this link and help me earn credit and then you'll get your own link to share with family and friends. This is one of the main reasons I've been able to score such great deals. Friends = money. haha

Alright, now that you've all joined and are finding amazing deals... I don't decorate our home for Halloween. I don't celebrate it. Adam loves horror movies (I made this piece of art while we watched Cujo) and he always declares October "His Month" to take the horror movie-watching to new levels. That is the extent to which we participate in Halloween. I would rather decorate for fall and focus on the season with family and remembering our many blessings.

That being said, I've had this idea in my head for a while now to make a wreath using googly eyes. I thought October would be a great chance to do something a little creepy...but more silly than creepy. It is a fun way to enjoy the cute and quirky side of Halloween without getting into the evil and dark side.  I used googly eyes from Dollar Tree, ribbon from the dollar bin at Suck-Mart, and another one of those wonderful free cardboard circle forms for the base. I spray painted the cardboard with black paint and just hot-glued the eyes on top. I wish I could have found some other seasonal ribbon that would have matched without using the "Happy Halloween" one, but alas, no luck finding any. I'm not going to make a big deal about it. It's hanging up on my office door at work and everyone knows who I am an what I believe and that my intentions were good!

Love it? Hate it? How does your family have fun with costumes and parties without celebrating Halloween?

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CSI Project: Halloween Extravaganza Challenge
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October 16, 2011

Quick Art Re-Do

My lovely and talented mother painted a little somethin somethin for me last year for Christmas. I think it's cute, but the problem is that while four rooms in our house have some blue and brown going on, none of the colors in the painting matched any of the shades in our house. So after getting my mom's blessing to pretty much destroy it, I set off to create something new! This is what I started with:

I had found a quote on Pinterest a few days ago that I thought would be sweet to use in our house somehow, so this was my chance! I used some foam letter stickers to haphazardly form the quote. I've used this "jumbled" arrangement of words for pretty much my whole life for art projects because it's so much easier than trying to do things in straight lines. Lazy? Genius? You decide.

It says "My favorite part about HOME is who I share it with" and then 5-22-10, which was our wedding date.

Out came the trusty "Ocean Breeze" spray paint...

Then it was just a matter of letting it dry (and picking off the bugs that got stuck on it while drying... one of the hazards of doing this kind of thing in the back yard) and then carefully pulling off the stickers. Now I could definitely go back and modge podge some designs on it or a number of other ideas, but I sort of love the simplicity of it. The pretty blue color pops on our brown bedroom walls and the message is just kind of like the icing on the cake! It's neat how mom's original painting peeps through. This is definitely one of those things that looks better in person but I tried to take different pics to give you an idea of the finished product.



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Boogieboard Cottage

October 12, 2011

Blog detour!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Head over to A Merry Life where I'm guest posting for a sweet college friend (who's getting married this weekend!) and sharing one of my FAVORITE soup recipes (Chicken and vegetable soup with tortellini). Mary is such a fun girl and her blog is great! It's full of inspiration and ideas on living a healthy lifestyle and I know you'll love it.

And come back soon because I have lots of fun things coming up!

October 10, 2011

And I'm back in the game! PLUS- Help a family bring home a new addition!

First things first: Head on over to Dreams of Grace and enter a raffle to win some super cute goodies from Thirty-One. All money raised is going towards this sweet family's costs to bring home their beautiful daughter, Grace, that they're adopting from China. Donating is easy and can be done straight from the blog. Visit their site, hear more about their adoption journey and show some love and support!

I've been out of the couponing game for a bit now, and by that I mean I've not really been doing a lot of matchups or stockpiling. That's sort of the beauty of the couponing life, because it allows me to stock up so I don't have to buy certain items for months! I've also been concentrating a lot on buying more organic and natural products, so my costs have gone up a bit. However, I was getting low on a few things and decided to start back at it! I headed over to CVS and Bi-Lo last week and snatched up some goodies! Also, Blogger is being a jerk and moving my pictures around, so please pretend that my pictures are centered.

First up was CVS where I found a good deal on Dove products. My shampoo/conditioner stockpile was depleted so I grabbed a couple of each. To round out the deal I chose to get some men's deodorant (Adam's got plenty for now so this may find its way into someone's stocking this Christmas!), and lucked out to find a package that was buy one, get one free. With coupons and extra care bucks I paid 40 cents for each of the Dove products (technically 20 cents for each deodorant), and I used a CVS coupon for 50 cents off on the sponges.  I get most of my cleaning supplies (sponges, brushes, etc) either free with store rewards or on the cheap at the dollar store. Not sure why anyone would pay more...

Next up was Bi-Lo, and this was a prime example of why you should ALWAYS pick up a raincheck for an item that's on sale but the store's supply is gone. I've found that if I hang on to the raincheck (which doesn't expire), I almost always come across a really good coupon eventually that makes it a better deal than it was during the orignal sale/coupon matchup.

  • 3 organic spaghetti sauce jars- FREE with Bi-Lo survey coupon
  • 2 Colgate toothpastes- FREE using raincheck and coupons; my raincheck still has a quantity of 4 on there so the next time a coupon comes around making it free I'll pick those up. I NEVER pay for toothpaste.
  • 2 boxes of Bounce- $1 each with raincheck and coupons
  • Powerade- FREE with coupon "bought" with mycokereward points
  • Temptations kitty treats- 20 cents. Jonesy already has a couple packages in his "stockpile" so these will be going in his Christmas stocking. What...? Your cat doesn't have a stocking??
I hope everyone has a great week! I'm excited about a week of great weather, a chili cookoff at work (I'm entering my white chili!), and projects at the house this weekend. We're going to be putting down tile in our master bathroom and installing a new vanity for the hall bathroom. Can't wait to cross those things off The List!

October 4, 2011

Gettin my Fall on!

A quick Google search tells me that the first day of fall this year was September 23, but I beg to differ. In my world, fall began this past Sunday afternoon when I wore my first scarf of the season and had my first ever pumpkin spice latte. It was sort of like the best day ever.

After an afternoon avoiding the house so my dear husband could focus on homework (and I could do a little shopping...) I came home and met up with my frenemy, the glue gun and we spent the evening together working on a new wreath for our front door to celebrate the season! This was by no means an uber creative project, but it was CHEAP and still turned out really cute, so I call it a success.

This summer when I started getting really excited about making wreaths, Adam brought home a stack of cardboard circles that are somehow used in shipping/packaging at his work but I guess eventually just get thrown away. I love that he thought of me when he saw trash :) Anyway, I used one as a base for this wreath. I had also picked up some tissue paper and wire leaves at the Dollar Tree a couple of weeks ago. So I just began hot gluing the leaves to the form...

I ended up doing one circle of leaves around the outside of the form and another in the center to cover the cardboard. I was going to use a burlap-type ribbon for hanging, but I ended up using a light green satin ribbon. It matches the stuff I have on the front porch really well and allows me to keep using my springy-green pillows and flower pots into the fall season. Here's the finished product! It's sweet and simple, and although I could definitely add to it (or bend the wires in the leaves to make the wreath more full) I kind of like just the way it is!

While I was at it, I added just a couple things to the top of our piano (which I pretty much use as our "mantle" for decorating) to make it fun for the season. I reused the yarn-wrapped dollar store vases from a recent baby shower and added some cheapo grocery store flowers (still cute, no matter how cheap!) and set up a couple of pumpkins that I scored (and totally forgot about!) at a yard sale at the beginning of summer. Again, no major redecorating here, but it does make the space feel more special. The ginormous picture of the hubs and I (I gift from my aunt/wedding photographer) is not a permanent fixture up there, but we just recently had it custom-framed and have yet to decide where to hang it. I like the "leaning" look, but I don't necessarily like to have myself staring at myself while watching TV every night...

Have you begun your fall decorating? And have you fallen in love with the pumpkin spice latte yet???

What I Whipped Up Wednesday

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CSI Project Fall Wreaths Challenge
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The DIY Show Off