Tag Archive | blogging 101

Last Minute Christmas Gifts- DIY Hair & Body Oil!

I hope you are enjoying this series and ready to complete your gift sets today! If you’re just joining me, be sure to check out my previous two blog posts to catch up on the great d.i.y. gifts perfect for any occasion. Today, we are creating this oh-so-fancy (but affordable) hair & body oil.

This oil combines vitamin-rich, antioxidant, moisturizing properties to make a perfect treatment for dry, sensitive skin and for the treatment of hair damage and loss. It can be gently heated in water to use as hot oil treatment. Leaving you with rich moisturized and luxurious locks of hair.

The 3 oils that we will be using are: Olive oil, Vitamin E oil, and Sunflower Oil. Best of all the olive and vitamin e oil can be found at Dollar Tree! The large bottle of sunflower oil was purchased at Walmart for around $4.

Hair & Body Oils

I’m going to be adding in some scented oils which I purchased here . But you can also find some in store at Hobby Lobby (don’t forget your coupon on their website). I also picked up a few packs of these travel sized bottles at…you guessed it, Dollar Tree.

Hair & Body Oils bottles

I simply blended all the oils together and separated them in different bottles to make different scents and added fragrance oil to each. Lastly, I funneled the oil into each bottle. It is as simple as that!

While at Dollar Tree, I stopped by the craft aisle and picked up some bling wrap and glued it to the tops of the bottles to make them look a little fancier and giftier…is that a word?

Hair & Body Oils completed

I printed out the labels myself to identify the scents. I like that one is in a spray bottle which makes it perfect to use on the skin right out the shower. The other bottles can be carried in a purse for on-the-go moisture while another can be used for a hot oil hair treatment.

Hair & Body Oils gift set

So this series included: bath bomb truffles, shower jelly, and hair/body oil. These luscious gift sets would be great for any occasion. For a few dollars, you can create multiple gift sets for multiple people for the same price as one set purchased in the store!

I hope this helps you save a few coins and enjoy this holiday season.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you soon….

Last Minute Christmas Gifts- DIY Scented Shower Jelly!

Next up in this year’s series of affordable gifts is d.i.y. shower jelly. I’ve seen these pop up in recent years in the popular fancy bath product stores. I looked at them and said what I say when I see most things, “I can make that”. Although often times I say that and it turns out not to be true, this time….it was so easy that even I could do it. Not only was it super easy but also very affordable.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 8 oz bottle of Castile Unscented Liquid Soap
  • 1 oz unflavored Gelatin
  • 2 cups water

Shower Jelly Ingredients

To add color and scents you will need:

  • Food coloring (add a few drops to reach desired color)
  • Scented Oil (I got mine here)

Shower Jelly Color & Scents

These containers are the perfect size to create individual portions of the jelly. Best of all, you get 10 containers for $1 at Dollar Tree!

Shower Jelly Containers

Directions:

  • Pour 1 oz of gelatin into 1 cup of cold water, let sit for 1-2 minutes
  • Pour 1 cup of boiling hot water over the gelatin mixture, allow to cool for 5 minutes
  • Add 1/4 cup of castile soap to gelatin
  • Divide mixture if you want to make different colors and scents
  • Add a few drops of food coloring to each mixture until you reach desired hue
  • Add 10-15 drops of scented oil

I used a small funnel to easily transfer the gelatin mixture into the individual containers.

Shower Jelly in Funnel

I created 3 scents/colors: honeysuckle (green), black raspberry vanilla (red), and mango papaya (yellow). They all smell great and are sure to create an invigorating shower experience!

Shower Jelly in Containers

The above recipe filled all ten containers. I ended up mixing one with red and yellow to create the rogue orange jelly which created an interesting combo scent.

Lastly, put the containers in the fridge to set. Within an hour or two your shower jellies are ready!

Shower Jelly Finished Product

So there you have it. A cute, fun, and beautifully scented gift that your friends and family will love!! You don’t even have to tell them how easy and cheap these were to make, lol.

Stay tuned for the completion of the d.i.y. gift trifecta…..

Last Minute Christmas Gifts-DIY Bath Bomb Truffles!

Here we are again at the Christmas Season…’tis the season to be jolly. However, some are not so jolly because they are worried about what this time of year may do to their pockets. Well, smile again because I’ve got you (and your pockets) covered! This gift is not only inexpensive but smells good and looks good enough to eat…actually most of the ingredients are edible but I doubt they would be delicious.

So let’s get started. You will need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 6-8 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • food coloring
  • 12-15 drops premium fragrance oil
  • bath bomb mold

Bath Bomb Ingredients

Most of the above are sold at Dollar Tree with the exception of the citric acid. The citric acid was purchased from Walmart for less than $3 and can be found in the kitchen supply section since it’s used for canning and pickling.

Bath Bomb Ingredients2

I bought the silicone mold from Hobby Lobby. There is usually a 40% off coupon available on their website so be sure to use it! I purchased premium fragrance oil on Ebay which can be found here.

I also saw these fragrances at Hobby Lobby:

Bath Bomb Scented Oil

Mix all the dry ingredients then slowly add in the fragrance oil and melted coconut oil and stir until you reached a clumped consistency that looks like this:

Bath Bomb Consistency

It’s important that you make sure your mixture clumps and holds together otherwise, your bath bomb may crumble. You can gradually add in more melted coconut oil as needed to reach this consistency. You can also add color at this point. I divided the mixture in different bowls to create a variety of colors. Add the mixture to both sides of the bomb mold until it is slightly overflowing. Close and press the mold and leave for at least 1 minute. For extra solidity, you can place it in the freezer for a few minutes. Carefully remove the bombs from the mold.

To add a little sparkle and jazz to your bath bombs and make them look almost edible, you can use a little Writing Icing, Sprinkles, Food Coloring, and Cupcake Cups. These can all be found at your local grocery store or old faithful Dollar Tree.

Bath Bomb Ingredients3

Decorate your bath bombs to look like a dessert truffle. You can scrape it off easily before you add it to your bath or leave it as it is sugar and will dissolve in bathwater. Enjoy!

Bath Bombs

I’m not exactly an Artiste but I still think mine came out kind of cute. If you have a little more creativity, the ideas are limitless as to what you can create.

The goal is to have a little fun, save a little money, and enjoy the gift exchange.

You know I like to do gift ideas in 3’s, right??? Stay tuned for the next fabulous DIY Christmas gift!

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving…And a Healthy Leftovers Week!

Thanksgiving is one week away and most people are looking forward to indulging in all of the richest foods of the season. There are a slight few who might be concerned about the inevitable weight gain that happens over the holidays.  Welp, I don’t have an easy solution for you because I’m most likely going to eat some stuff that will cause me to acquire a pound or two. However, I do not plan to turn Thanksgiving Day into Thanksgiving Week so I do have a solution to minimize the impact of “leftover calorie-pocalypse”.

Three dishes that are of the most popular and calorific are: Dressing (aka stuffing), Macaroni & Cheese, and Candied Yams. I’ve lightened these dishes up and created a tasty & healthy substitute that combined with baked turkey and my greens recipe, will lessen the weight gain impact. 

So, here we have Quinoa “dressing”, Mac & Cheese, and Sweetened Yams. I realize that the three of these together are still a carb explosion so….maybe eat one at a time.

First up, Mac & Cheese. I used gluten free organic brown rice & quinoa pasta…. I know what you’re thinking but when you boil this pasta in chicken broth and add a dash of salt, flavor explosion!

I made a cheese sauce using fat free half & half  slowly melting in shredded cheeses until I reached the desired consistency (approx, 1 cup of each).

Layer pasta with cheese sauce making sure to add cheese/sauce to the top and bake until you get these lovely brown bubbly bits on top….enjoy.

thanksgiving-sides-macncheese1.jpgAccording to Webmd: a 12-ounce serving of Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese has 529 calories, 25.7 grams of fat, and 10.6 grams of saturated fat. This recipe has 215 calories, 27 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 11 g protein, 5 g sugar.

Next up, my version of dressing that has all the same flavors with a fraction of the calories/fat. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions substituting in chicken broth for the water. Saute the seasoning blend until softened and lightly caramelized. 

Combine the above ingredients with these seasonings. I season according to taste so keep adding teaspoons until it tastes like you like it!

When its all mixed together, you have this yumminess. And it tastes just like dressing with a slightly different consistency!

According to USDA data, a single one-cup serving of prepared bread stuffing provides 390 calories, 5 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 134 mg of sodium, and 27 grams of total fat. This version has 82 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of protein, 22 mg of sodium, and 0 grams of sugar!

These yams (sweet potatoes) aren’t “candied” but they are no less delicious. Coconut sugar is far lower on the glycemic index than white or brown sugar. Coconut oil has many health benefits over butter and has been shown to even help burn fat! So I sliced the potatoes, and sprinkled with coconut sugar (to taste) and a tablespoon of coconut oil distributed throughout. 

Season with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of salt. Cover with foil and bake in a  400 degree oven until softened.

I added a dollop of whipped cream to mimic the highly sugary marshmallow topping. 

According to a highly rated recipe for candied yams on Allrecipes.com: 
Per Serving: 397 calories; 7.9 g fat; 79.4 g carbohydrates; 3.7 g protein; 20 mg cholesterol; 179 mg sodium. This recipe has 165 calories, 35 g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 2g protein, 83 mg sodium, 11g sugar. 

All in all, Thanksgiving is a holiday for enjoying food and family. It’s ok to indulge for one day and if you normally eat a healthy diet, one day of extra calories is not going to hurt. The day after however, is no longer Thanksgiving so enjoy my recipes until all the turkey is gone….your body will Thank you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Fall Fashion Looks: Work,Casual, and a Night Out.

The smell of freshly fallen leaves and pumpkin spice flavored things are everywhere which means that it must be Fall. For the fashion industry, Fall is the prime time of year to feature all the high fashion looks. Most just love to finally have some relief from the blistering heat and being able to pull out the jackets for some cute layered looks.

Even though it it now technically Fall, it sometimes reaches 80 degrees where I am. Through September and early October, I will probably be mixing some lighter Summer pieces in my Fall looks.

This first look combines two of my favorite things: A crisp white shirt and animal print. Every wardrobe should include a well fitting white shirt and as far is I’m concerned, animal print is a neutral color.

Avenue White Top Leopard Skirt2_edited-1

Fall is…..an over-sized sweater and leggings period…

Vera Wang Gray Lace Sweater2_edited-1

Playing around with solid colors and animal print to create a simple but statement look that can be worn for work or a casual day.

Black Embellished Top Magenta Long Skirt_edited-1

A well made cardigan sweater is a great investment piece and can be worn for a polished, professional look or paired with a tee and jeans for a clean, casual look.

Tan Sweater Animal Print Skirt02_edited-1

Everyone needs a great evening look. Whether its date night or girls’ night out, pairing a top with a little bling with a black pencil skirt is an easy, chic look.

Navy Blue Top with Sequin Embellishment2_edited-1

I hope this post gave you some inspiration to have some fun with your Fall looks. I noticed that I wear a LOT of animal print so I guess you can say it’s my favorite “color”.

I have more looks coming soon so stay tuned!

Shop these looks in my eBay store…Dazzling Emerald plus sizes (affiliate links)

Avenue Brand White Shirt Size 22/24

Express World Brand Animal Print Skirt Size L

Simply Vera Wang Gray Lace Sweater Size 2X

Black Long Sleeve Top Fits Sizes L-2X

Croft & Barrow Fuchsia Tiered Long Skirt Size XL

Talbots Tan Cardigan Sweater Size 2X

Lane Bryant Animal Print Wrap Skirt Size 28

Saks Fifth Avenue Navy Embellished Top Size XL

 

Spending My Summer in the Backyard Part 1…

So, I’ve been missing all summer from these blogging streets. Let’s just say that I’ve been taking some time to stop and smell the flowers….

Backyard Bending Pose Zinnia_edited-1

For the past few years, I’ve been really trying to work on my green thumb. Pinterest has me inspired and thinking that I can do anything! And what I can’t do, I can convince hubby to do!! lol! The picture above features a preview of the patio hubby built a couple years ago and the pergola he built this year. The flowers though…that’s all me!

Backyard Flower Bed

We’ll get to the details of the full patio/pergola design as well as the decorative touches that I add in part 2. In the meantime, the flowers are courtesy of of box of Zinnia seeds that I purchased from none other than Dollar Tree! One box claimed to contain 100 seeds and produced all this!

Backyard Orange ZinniaBackyard Pink Zinnia

They attract the most beautiful butterflies!

Backyard Black Spotted ButterflyBackyard Black Spotted Butterfly2

You have to appreciated God’s creations and how He perfectly coordinates the body of the insect to the wings! And did you see that extra splash of blue and orange??

Backyard Umbrella Stand

Another of my Pinterest inspirations was this umbrella base. I used a large 16″ flower pot from Home Depot, one and a half bags of cement mix, a pvc pipe, and spray paint. After everything set, I added dirt and flowers. This thing is heavy and holds a large 8 foot umbrella and all for less than $40!!

Backyard Pepper in Garden

Did I mention that I garden now too?? Well, I actually started that last year after hubby and daughter built a garden bed for me. I grew a variety of peppers and herbs this year.

Backyard Peppers Harvest

I harvested these peppers and made some deliciously spicy tacos!

I realize that summer is coming to an end but where I live, fall is an even better season to enjoy the outdoors. As fall approaches and the temps cool a bit, I’ll be adding the finishing touches and will share it all in part 2 so stay tuned!Backyard Standing Zinnia Pose_edited-1

DIY Summer Hair Color: No Bleach, Cover Grays, and Add Shine!

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she wants a little change in her look. Our hair is usually the easiest change to make and the easiest to reverse if we don’t like it. Well, I’ll be honest and share that I had some gray strands that were becoming downright disrespectful so I needed a little “highlight” to help me calm them down.

(Affiliate links are used throughout the blog and when you make a purchase using them, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.)

I went over to my local Sally Beauty to purchase a few items to begin my mini-transformation. Here comes some demi-permanent color to the rescue! I chose the color medium burgundy brown. From my understanding, the demi lasts longer than a semi-permanent but still washes away after about 20-25 washes.  I purchased this burgundy color because I wanted a not too obvious but show a little something in the sun type of color. I paired with with this 10 volume developer per the package instructions.

Dye Hair Materials

I mixed it all together in a non-metal bowl. I used equal parts color to developer because I wanted a strong enough pigment to match the level of disrespect to those pesky gray strands, lol.

Dye Hair Mixture

 

I gathered a few other necessary items to help me get the job done: hair clipsglovesplastic cap, and an optional application brush. The last item you see is an old t-shirt that I usually use to dry my hair so I don’t mind getting it messed up in this process.

Dye Hair Tools

 

I sectioned off portions of my hair and made sure that each part was saturated. I then twisted the section and added a clip.

Dye Hair in Hair

I put on the plastic cap (not shown here) then sat under my bonnet dryer for about 40 minutes.

Dye Hair under dryer

I applied a heat protection and proceeded to use a hair dryer to dry my hair stretched but not completely straightened. I then used a curling wand to create a wavy, curly look.

Dye Hair Styling Tools

Dye Hair After pics2

The result is va-va-va-voom! You have to squint one eye and turn your head in the sunlight to notice the color but it’s there and most importantly, no grays!

Dye Hair After pics

Still can’t see the burgundy too well in this pic but check out my bouncy curls, lol!

I’m working on editing a video that will give you more detail on this look so stay tuned for that if you’re interested!

Summer is nearly upon us and I have a lot of grand ideas from outdoor decorating, around town festival-ling and mini renovations that I’m excited/scared about executing. So I hope you follow the blog so you don’t miss all this excitement!

Until next time, friends….