How to Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments (They Make Great Gifts Too!)


When I was a teen, I had this crazy idea one day that I was going to make over our Christmas tree. I was bored of the traditional looking trees and wanted something completely different. I decided to do a pink and gold theme and even spray painted old ornaments we had gold so I would only have to buy new pink ones.

While I was doing this, I suddenly got the idea that I wanted to have pink flowers as part of our Christmas tree. Flowers are really trendy now and I've been doing "Christmas garden" type trees for years now, but back when I was a teen, it was pretty uncommon. I didn't care, I wanted flowers in my tree.

So I went to Michaels and purchased some clear glass ornaments and other items like faux, shimmering snow and fun glittery picks.  Then, I used existing faux flowers that we had at the house and I carefully shoved the flowers into the ornaments and added faux snow and they were beautiful and made the tree look elegant and pretty.


 (some ornaments I made this past weekend)


I continued to make these style ornaments for a couple of years and then I just found myself not having the time and just bought ornaments.

I had a craving to make some again this year so H and I headed to Michaels and he patiently perused the store with me as I selected what would go in the ornaments this year.  I like to do a mix of textures and stay in the same color family.

Some of the items I love to use:

  • Faux shimmering snow
  • Faux flowers (keep in mind that the flower has to fit into the ornament so try to choose a smaller style)
  • Glittery picks (feathers, trees, snowflakes)
  • Glittery stars (basically anything glittery that can be cut)
  • Feathers (I used white)
  • Ribbon (printed)
  • Glitter tape


As far as the ornaments themselves, you will need clear glass ones with removable tops. Michaels sells these but they are not on the website, so this link will show you what I mean.   They have a variety of sizes. I prefer to do mostly large ones and then some medium and a few small ones. 

The key to these ornaments is that the top just pops right off, allowing you to insert what you like and then put the top back on. It's so easy!

Here are some tools you'll need:
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • A hard surface to work on
  • A funnel (to put the shimmering snow into the ornament)
  • A tarp or garbage bag if you have one (to catch the glitter...which is now all over my house, I wish I had done this)
  • A vacuum cleaner (for all of the glitter that will inevitably be left behind)
The thing that is so great about these ornaments is that they are meant to be imperfect. It's always a fun experiment with different combinations inside of the ornament to see what works.  

As you "shove" items into the ornament, they kind of take on their own shape, thus making each ornament unique.  I like to use my scissors to gently help me insert items into the ornament---just be gentle as you do this since you are working with glass. Some softer items can just be inserted using your finger, but again, be careful as the tops of some of the ornaments may have a tiny piece of glass sticking out that could prick you (yes, I speak from experience).

I've added some photos I took while making the ornaments to give you a visual idea of how the items go into the tops of the ornaments. Then I'll show some photos of the finished products.





The total cost to make more than 30 ornaments was just over $60. I bought a lot of the items at 50% off and also used another discount coupon.  I have leftover crafting supplies as well, which is great!

These ornaments add a great personal touch to your tree and also make wonderful gifts. They are also completely customizable to any color scheme and fairly inexpensive to make.  I've also inserted black and white family photos into these ornaments in the past. It's a little tricker but a nice way to honor family members.

Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you plan to make your own ornaments this year!  Our tree should be up in the next few weeks :)

Here are some of the final products:


and some other goodies that will be on our tree this year (from West Elm):


Thank you for reading!

How We Found Out I was Pregnant!

Thank you to everyone who left such sweet and thoughtful comments on my last post.  We are just over the moon about the baby and I cannot wait to share our journey with all of you!  I was so touched by so many of you who told me that being a mom is the most incredible feeling in the world---I've always longed to be a mother and I cannot wait to feel that overwhelming sense of love for our child. I am also slowly working on responding to all of the beautiful emails and messages many of you sent---so thank you again for your patience, I promise I will respond soon!

After this post about trying to conceive, I am going to do a summary post that covers my entire first trimester and then I'll do weekly updates from then on (starting this Wednesday with 14 Weeks).

My husband and I decided to start trying to conceive this September.  During the month of August, I started to take prenatal vitamins and began to discontinue taking the prescription medications I was on (an antihistamine for my chronic hives and an antibiotic for my acne).  By the time we were officially trying, I had been off all medications for just over two weeks. Since I went off the pill in January, my cycles have been between 36 and 37 days long, for reference.

At the time, I was also reading the popular book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which I highly recommend to any woman who is trying to conceive or simply would like to know more about her body.

I had also purchased a Clear Blue Digital Ovulation Prediction Kit so that I could have a better idea of when I was about to ovulate to increase our chances of conceiving.  Truthfully, one of my biggest fears has always been that I would not be able to get pregnant. I don't know why I had that fear, but I think it's because I have always wanted to be a mother so badly and I'm a chronic worrier that "things won't work out." I was the same way about our new house (thinking our buyer would fall through) and the same way about my new job (worried, for some reason, that they wouldn't hire me after all.)  So I wanted to educate myself about my body and give myself the best chance possible so I felt more empowered.  I realize that for some, this may seem like overkill, but I really wanted to try to have my first child by the time I was 30. To each their own, I suppose :)

(I was pregnant in this photo---I had just found out a couple of days before it was taken!)

After reading TCOYF, I was much more aware of the physical signs that your body is about to ovulate.  One day at work, I noticed some of the telltale signs and when I got home that evening, I used one of the Clear Blue ovulation prediction sticks and immediately got a smiley face (a positive read for an LH surge).  It was the first time I had used the ovulation predictor because it was the first month we tried, so I never used more than that one stick, as I had missed the window to start testing at the time the packaging says to start.  Instead, I tried to first recognize the signs in my body before actually testing to see if I was right about what my body was telling me---and that day, I was. 

A couple of weeks after I got my positive read on the ovulation predictor, I started to experience PMS/pre-period-like symptoms.  I had a lot of dull cramping that was quite frequent and my breasts were tender and sensitive.  I truly thought my body was preparing for my period, but that was okay because I figured we had plenty of more months to try again.  Of course I thought it would be incredible if I did get pregnant, but I was almost certain my body was just preparing for my period.

Then one morning, as I was about to step into the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and noticed that (TMI alert!) my nipples looked a little darker in color.  Though I had the cramping and tenderness, I still felt there was no way I was pregnant---but after seeing that change, I briefly entertained the idea since I had never noticed that particular "symptom" before I got my period.

I also started taking my temperatures for about two weeks after I got my positive ovulation predictor test, but really, charting is not effective unless you do it for your entire cycle. I was just doing it to see if I was seeing a consistently higher temperature. I did notice that my temperature seemed to stay on the higher end, but I didn't really get my hopes up because I didn't have a few months of charts to compare it to. I told myself I would chart consistently the next month.

I didn't want to test too early, so I waited until one day before my missed period.  I had purchased a Clear Blue Digital pregnancy test (I liked that it was a simple "pregnant" or "not pregnant" answer) and placed it on my bathroom counter to use the next morning.

My husband and I both got up to get ready for work and I told him "I'm going to test now."  He walked down the hall to use the other restroom and I went into our master bathroom to pee on the stick.  As I sat there, holding the test in my hand, staring at the blank screen, my heart was beating harder and faster than I ever remember.  Within about 20 seconds the screen went from blank, to the word "pregnant."  I was stunned. I ran out of the bathroom and yelled to my husband "oh my gosh it's positive!"  and he said "what do you mean, I was gone for less than 30 seconds, how is that possible!?" and I said "I don't know it just turned positive really quickly." And then we hugged and just took in the moment---admittedly, I was still in a state of shock. I drove to work that morning and was in a happy daze at what had happened at home.  


(both of my pregnancy tests- it had been 24 hours so the screen on the first one went blank )

My husband, still amazed that the test was positive jokingly told me to take another one the next morning.  So I did, and that one was positive too.  The digital tests stay "on" for about 24 hours and I remember how surreal it felt to see those two screens say "pregnant" every time I saw them on my counter.

So, there's the story of how we found out!  We feel incredibly fortunate for this amazing blessing and could not be happier.


(my very first ultrasound---I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time here and I cried like a baby.  
I also joked that the baby looked like an engagement ring)

As far as what is to come for this blog, I am finally feeling like I have some more energy, so expect more posts in the coming weeks. I hope to resume outfit posts as well. I am still fitting into all of my regular clothes so I look forward to when I have to dress for my bump because that will be a fun challenge for me (or maybe not so fun...we shall see!)  

I will of course be blogging about the pregnancy/baby but I am not sure how often aside from the weekly updates and these initial announcement/how we found out/first trimester recap posts. Personally, I have really enjoyed following all of my blogger friends on their pregnancy journeys and into motherhood, and I hope you'll follow me along on mine :)

Thank you again for all of the well wishes, thoughts and prayers.  To answer a few questions before I go---YES we will be finding out the sex of the baby (probably at our 20 week a/s, if not sooner) and yes, we have some names picked out but I won't share those until later on.

Have a great week everyone!

Thankful.

This Thanksgiving is particularly special to me. Last year, I made it my resolution to be more thankful. Instead of asking God for things to happen in my life or constantly focusing on my problems (and asking God to solve them), I made a conscious effort to instead focus my energy on thanking God for all of the amazing things in my life that I was appreciative for- that I have a loving husband, we both have jobs, loving family members and friends, a home we both love, cars to get from point a to point b and just the little things in life---like being able to have a nice brunch with friends or having a really great day at work.


A funny thing happened when I started thanking God for what I had instead of asking for what I wanted or asking Him to solve all of my problems. The more I thanked Him, the more and more I saw His favor light up my entire life. There was a radical, noticeable positive shift in nearly every aspect of my life.


I got an amazing new job that I love and that fulfills me every day. My anxiety seemed to melt away completely. I became re-committed to my workout routine. I felt better than ever, especially mentally and emotionally.


Now, what is this post really getting to? I suspect many of you have figured it out by now. I know I haven't been myself lately at all. I've really neglected my blog and I haven't been my normal, energetic, motivated self. I haven't been as responsive to emails and haven't written a lot of content...but I think you will understand why when you read the rest of this post.


My husband and I are thrilled to announce that we are expecting our first child in May! I have always wanted to be a mother and I feel so incredibly blessed. We are so excited to become parents and grow together as a family. Some days, it still doesn't feel real.

I am going to write separate posts about how we found out, ultrasound updates, skincare routine updates, cravings, etc, but I wanted to share this news on a special day, Thanksgiving, because we are truly more thankful than anything for this incredible blessing.



I am 13 weeks and 1 day along now and have had a lot of symptoms that have kept me from being my normal self, which is truthfully why I have not been blogging. It was difficult for me to just let everything go and offer no explanation to my incredible readers...but I had to listen to my body and I also did not feel comfortable making the announcement earlier into my pregnancy. I hope you all understand.


I have had the opposite of morning sickness, which basically means that I am nauseous every day from about 3 or 4 p.m. until I fall asleep (and it worsens by the hour and there is never relief because I never actually throw up). I also have zero energy. I can make it through the workday (barely, some days) and then I usually sit on the couch for a couple of hours to wind down and I go up to bed at 8:30 most nights and am asleep by 9:30 or so. I had to hire a cleaning service recently because I didn't even have the energy to clean our home (and I usually LOVE cleaning). Last weekend was the first time I was able to clean the house (with H's help) since I found out I was pregnant (I will do an updated posted about cleaning products too since I switched to natural ones for the pregnancy.)


I am not complaining at all about my symptoms---they come with pregnancy and as long as our baby is healthy and happy and growing, I really don't care much about how I feel---but I wanted to clarify why I haven't been around lately. It's been tough because I love blogging and I love interacting with my readers and getting excited about putting together outfits each morning. 

During my first trimester, I feel I've been focused completely on this pregnancy and really listening to what I needed, and it was rest. Since I am on the computer all day at work and write a lot as part of my job, it felt really draining to me to come home and whip out the laptop again (which, before I was pregnant was my normal routine and I absolutely loved coming home to work on a blog post). As I get further along in my pregnancy, I notice days where I have more energy than others and I am hoping that my energy levels continue to increase as time goes on.


Thank you to everyone sending their well wishes and for all of those who checked in with me during my blogging break to make sure I was okay. It really means a lot to me and I thank everyone for their patience as I've been taking a break for these past few months.


More than anything, I am so excited to share this journey with you all---and I am so glad I can learn so much from my readers who are mothers and have lots of great advice and wisdom to share.



(from our NT scan at 11 weeks)


Thank you so much for reading and for your support, thoughts and prayers---and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Living Proof's Prime Style Extender Really Does Extend Your Style (Really!)

When I first saw a magazine ad for Living Proof's "Prime Style Extender" I totally thought it was a gimmick.  In the past couple of years, makeup primers have become a "must-have" item for every girl's makeup routine, but I personally never cared for them.

I had always been pleased with Living Proof's products and have used many of them including their full shampoo, straight spray and thickening cream.  But for some reason, the style extender just sounded gimmicky.

However, I kept seeing it promoted in the Sephora catalog and when I was making my Sephora friends and family sale wish list, I decided to check out the reviews for the product and was stunned to find an abundance of rave reviews.

At just $20 for a 5 oz tube, I thought it wouldn't hurt to test it out.  One of the issues I have with my hair is that I do have to re-style in in the morning after sleeping on it. It kind of gets kinks in it and if it's straight (blown-out) it just doesn't hold the same shape once I sleep on it.



When I use the Prime Style Extender, I apply it from the nape of my neck down to the ends of my hair only. Personally, I do not apply any kind of smoothing products to my roots, only volumizing ones.  You can also add any other product on top of the primer, so I add some Kerastase serum or another smoothing product.

I blow out my hair as usual with a round brush and set it in Velcro rollers like I do every time I have first day (just-washed) hair.  The ONLY difference was that I used the Prime Style Extender.

Typically, I curl my hair with a curling iron the day after I do my blowout (so, on second day hair). I then touch up my curls on my third day hair before washing it again that 4th morning. However, after using the Prime Style Extender, I literally brushed my hair after waking up and it looked good enough that I did not have to curl it or apply heat. It just somehow retained its shape from the day before better than I ever remember.

I have no idea how or why it works, but it just does  (the description on Sephora.com says Prime Style Extender is powered by Living Proof’s “miracle molecule,” OFPMA, which protects and extends the life of your style twice as long, saving you time, day after day. It weightlessly perfects strands while smoothing and correcting hair texture).

Science.  Always winning.  Thank goodness for miracle molecules.  You can purchase Prime Style Extender here.

Have you tried this product? Do you love it as much as I do?


FTC: I purchased this product with my own money and these are my honest thoughts.

Transformative Beauty: A Curled Lash

There's a saying: "It's the little things." Normally when you think about "transformative beauty," you think of major makeovers -- but in my case, something that completely transformed my beauty routine is when I started to curl my lashes.

It sounds simple, right? And you're probably wondering how it can transform your look to simply curl your lashes. But it does, and it's why I do not leave the house without curling my lashes. Maybe that's a bit dramatic, but hey, we all have our beauty vices.

I didn't start to regularly curl my lashes until my first year of college. I don't know what made me decide to be consistent about it, but one day, after curling them and applying mascara, I realized how open and awake my eyes looked.


I have smaller, almond-shaped eyes and very straight lashes. In fact, they are so straight that they cannot hold a curl unless I use waterproof mascara (regular formulas tend to be too "wet" and weigh down my lashes). Because they're so straight, they really don't make an impact at all unless they're curled. Curling them creates an illusion that my eyes are really "open" and awake, and it also defines my eyes in a way that eyeliner alone can't.

As if my lash-curling obsession wasn't enough, I also have a very distinct method that I use every.single.time. I heat my lash curler with a hair dryer. For my lashes, it simply doesn't work any other way.

So, here's the trick that works every time: Heat the head of your lash curler with your hair dryer for about 5-7 seconds. Next, place the head of the lash curler in your hand and gently squeeze to make sure the curler is not too hot to be near your delicate eye area. Then, curl your lashes as usual, holding the curler in place at the base of the lashes for a few seconds to really "lock in" the curl.


I curl my lashes before applying eyeliner and mascara. It protects your lashes to curl them when they are free of any products. I also find that for women who don't like to line their upper lash line, curling lashes right at the base can create an illusion of more thickness and volume, enough that the eye is defined without using liner.


So, are you convinced that curling your lashes will transform your beauty routine, too? Let me know if you love curled lashes as much as I do -- or if you're planning to try it out.


This post is part of BlogHer's Transformative Beauty editorial series, made possible by Sonia Kashuk at Target.

In Case You Missed It...

Here's what I got at the Sephora F&F sale!






...there are some other fun purchases too :)

Check out of my friend's Etsy shop for adorable (and affordable) jewelry designs:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/mintTangerine?ref=shop_sugg

My Sephora Buys:
Benefit Eye Bright- http://www.sephora.com/eye-bright-P1278?skuId=108811
NARS Laguna- http://www.sephora.com/bronzing-powder-P12790?skuId=537878
Living Proof Prime- http://www.sephora.com/prime-style-extender-P375668?skuId=1460138
Clarisonic brush head- http://www.sephora.com/replacement-brush-head-P229205?skuId=912196
Bare Minerals stroke of light- http://www.sephora.com/bareminerals-reg-stroke-of-light-trade-eye-brightener-...
DiorShow waterproof- http://www.sephora.com/diorshow-waterproof-mascara-P99901?skuId=838763

Banana Republic:
shawl collar sweater: http://rstyle.me/i2zg4jgj6w
striped cardigan: http://rstyle.me/ivdm7pgj6w

GAP racerback bra- http://rstyle.me/innqr7gj6w

Outfits Lately

I haven't posted a ton of outfits lately, mostly because I've been recycling looks you've seen already, but I did pull some shots from my iPhone (some workwear and some casual/weekend wear).

Also, my year end review is this week and I have been spending a lot of time working on it these last few weeks and I haven't had the energy to think much about blogging when I get home (especially now that it gets darker sooner, it always makes me feel less motivated). Thank you for everyone's patience, I know I haven't been posting a lot lately.

I've been pretty much LIVING in my Lululemon stuff on weekends. It is SO comfy and perfect for running errands.  

So, here are some of my office looks lately: 





...and my weekend looks (my personal favorites!)





and an adorable nap time shot of our sweet Lulu <3 font="font">



Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend--- yay that tomorrow is Friday!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...