The Importance of Being Reese: December 2013

{Cheers to a New Year}

Happy 2014

Every year, crops of new posts pop up with bloggers sharing their hopes and desires for the new year. It's become somewhat of a tradition, or at the very least, an expectation. I won't knock it though. I've read countless reports about how writing down your goals increases the odds that you'll follow through. And knowing that thousands of people are reading your words is a great motivator to follow through.

Last year I posted my goals for the year. I'm happy to say that I was able to cross off all but one goal for 2013. And I'm proud of myself for those little victories. Some of those accomplishments were a long time coming. Things to truly be thankful for. But this year, I'm doing things a little differently. This year I have no resolutions other than to just live. Truly be in the moment and enjoy life. In some ways, now that I'm finally finished with school, I feel as though my life is finally beginning. This huge cloud that has been hanging over my head for the past five years has finally dissipated and has opened up a world of possibilities. But then there's the fear.

I can't even describe how incredibly scary going to college in 2013 was. Once upon a time, if you went to college and got decent grades, you were guaranteed a cushy 9-5, with a quaint little house and a white picket fence. In 2013, things have changed. The pressure and competition is unbelievable.

So for now, I'm trying not to harp on that. I'm trying to focus on 2014. No resolutions, no expectations. I suppose that's the thing about creating resolutions. We never take into account the fact that we have a limited amount of control. Sure, you can graduate, but you can't force a company to hire you. Sure you can make plans to meet a nice guy or get married, but you can't control what happens in that relationship. What happens after we get the things we hoped for?

I want to set 2014 off by giving my expectations a boot and welcoming in life. Dirty, messy, real, life. A life that can't be micromanaged and organized all the time. A life that is full of spontaneity and brimming over with imperfections. I don't need a list to remind me to be a better mother or that I want to run a 10k. I'm just going to do it. And smile when I succeed.

2013 taught me that I can't please everyone. There will always a card I forget to mail and a dinner I neglect to cook.  And that's fine. I was not put on this earth for the sole purpose of pleasing everyone around me. And it took me an incredible amount of failures, and the inevitable guilt that comes attached to those failures, to figure that out. Happiness has to start inward and work its way outward. Not the other way around. Be happy with yourself. Be satisfied in your accomplishments. The rest will fall into place. And if it doesn't, then maybe it's not suppose to be there in the first place.

There's a lot to be said for just doing things to just do them. Not because others are watching. The truth is, we share this planet with 7 billion other people. Someone will always be watching. And yes, some will be secretly hoping you will fail. In the end, you are the one that ultimately decides whether it was a failure or a lesson. There's a great little saying by Winston Churchill, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts." My greatest hope for you in 2014 is that you continue. When life sends you to your knees. Pray. Get back up and start again.

So here's to a better day, a better year, a better life. May 2014 be a beautiful year for you. Happy New Year my dear friends.

Christmas in Our Home

This Christmas ended up in a completely different place than it started. We were supposed to head to a resort out in Virginia to spend Christmas with my family, but then life happened. So instead, the three of us enjoyed our first Christmas alone as a family. And I think we were all okay with that.

Mr. A and I didn't really get much for each other, but the gifts that we did get, came straight from the heart. As I watched my facebook newsfeed fill up with "Yay, hubby got me new diamonds." and "Loving my new tablet," I realized that we were both past that. Sure a nice gift or two here and there is fun, but at the end of the day, gifts just for the sake of gifts, with no real thought given are empty.

Jasmine got her first doll for Christmas. Mr. A and I have tried not to expose Jasmine to dolls, but we were fighting a losing battle. So instead, we came to the agreement that she only has one. Surprisingly, we've taken quite a bit of heat for our decision, but at the end of the day, every parent tries to do the best for their child. We're just choosing a different style. She seems quite happy with her new pal, and I absolutely love the story attached to the doll (expect more on that later) so I'd say it's a win-win for all involved.

Then there was the food. This was another first for us as a family. Our first family feast. We started with breakfast. French Toast, potatoes, ham, sausage, and egg nog with a little dash of something special. Then we moved on to dinner, Cranberry and rosemary cornish hens, mac and cheese, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, veggies and a few other sides.

Basically, our day was spent in our jammies, stuffing our faces, napping, watching movies, listening to music, dancing and reminiscing about the "old days."  We played dressed up and tea party with Jasmine, who loved the fact that we were focused solely on her. Somehow, she managed to go through three outfit changes throughout the day. Apparently, even when she's in PJ's, my daughter is a diva.

In true nerd fashion, Mr. A and I ended the night by curling up together on the couch and watching the Dr. Who Christmas special. I spent the whole episode sobbing --if you're a Dr. Who fan, you know why. Mr. A held my hand and patted my back. That's how I know I have a good one ladies. If you can console a sobbing woman who is crying over the death of a fictitious character, you are a true gentleman.

So maybe our Christmas wasn't the Stepford Wife-esque Christmas. Maybe Jasmine wasn't dressed in a perfect Christmas dress. Maybe we didn't attend an overcrowded Christmas party with bad booze bad fruitcake (isn't that a bit redundant?) Instead, I'd say what we had was the perfect imperfectly day. The type of day that is perfect without even trying. There was no pressure. No expectations. Just the three of us. That is so much more than others have. And we cherished every minute.

How was your Christmas? Do you spend the holidays with extended family, or do you prefer to spend time alone with your family?

{Merry Christmas & A Happy 2014}

Merry Christmas my dear friends. I hope your day is filled with laughter, love, merriment and good cheer.

I wanted to take a few moments to thank you all for following along with my adventures this year. The comments, tweets, shares and genuine well-wishes have kept me going. I truly could not have gotten this far without YOUR support. Even during my two-month long absence, you guys kept in touch and made me feel as though my presence was truly missed. You guys are a big reason why I came back.

2013 has taught me so much, and I just know 2014 has some equally wondrous lessons up it's sleeves. For now, I'm going to spend the next few days drinking spiked eggnog, lavishing my little one with all the love and affection she deserves, and sneaking in kisses from Mr. A under the mistletoe.

It is my deepest hope, that wherever you are, and whomever you are with, you and your family have a wonderfully amazing and Merry Christmas. And may your 2014 be just as bright and blessed.

Suit up with

This is a sponsored post

I admit, I'm a sucker for a man in a suit. Call it Barney-Stinson or Harrison Wright Syndrome, but a well dressed man is like a Porsche--rare and exciting. Which is why when approached me, I jumped at the opportunity to spread the word. As far as I'm concerned the world would be a better, or at the very least, a more fashionable place if more men wore suits.
(Source)                                                                                                                                                 (Source)

So ladies, with 2014 right around the corner, now is the time to suit your men up, and will make it even easier for you to make your guy the talk of the office, party, church and everywhere and in-between. Because, let's face it, if you're like 99.99% of the couples I know, you're doing most, if not all, the shopping for your guys. And yes, I speak from personal experience *stares pointedly at Mr. A*

Unlike similar sites, specializes in making sure that you find the right suit and look like a million dollars without breaking the bank. With thousands of designer suits, coats and tuxedos, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein anyone?

Suits, Men, Tuxedo, Barney Stinson, Designer

If your guy isn't into suiting up, fear not, eSuit also offers a wide variety of  jeans, and casual wear. And as if that weren't enough, eSuit has a ton of tips for people like  Mr. A and I who were not blessed with the ability to tie ties and bow ties.

And the risk of sounded a bit like an infomercial--but wait, wait, there's more! As a special holiday bonus, will be offering an additional 20% off their selections. So be sure to stop by and check out their collection. With designer suits at a wholesale price, will make sure you get it right!

*Note: Although I was compensated for this post, all thoughts and opinions, as expressed above, are entirely my own.

A Grown-Up Letter to Santa


*Originally posted December 5, 2012

As December 25th  is rapidly approaching, I thought it best to clear up any lingering questions in regards to my behavior this past year. First, let me begin by saying that I always had the best of intentions. I am aware that my actions may not have defined the aforementioned intentions as clearly as they could have, but I don’t think that I should be held accountable for these minor transgressions. I think that before you make any hasty decisions regarding which list my name will appear on this year, you should at least hear me out.

Now Santa, I realize that you may be somewhat disappointed in my overall behavior this past year, but in my  defense I didn’t start anything, I merely reacted to the obstacles that were placed in my path.   Why should I be held accountable for other people’s actions towards me? I mean sure, it probably wasn’t right to use such colorful language and matching hand gestures, but I felt that by using this form of communication, my point could be made more clearly. I was really just trying to do my part in clearing up any lingering confusion.

As for my road rage sir, it has recently come to my attention that the DSM IV now classifies road rage as a disorder, therefore, I cannot be held accountable for my actions this past year. I’ve already mailed you an updated copy of the DSM. You’ll find the section on road rage on page 540, section A, lines 2-55, I even took the liberty of highlighting the section for easier reading.

In an effort to avoid a repeat of the Christmas of 09, I feel that I should fully explain my sarcastic nature. Honestly Santa, and we gone over this before, it's not my fault half of the people in the world can't take a joke and don’t quite understand my sense of humor. I feel like you should at least give me some credit for all the times that I didn’t give in to temptation, but instead bit my tongue. Yes, I do mean that both figuratively and literally, and I have hospital records to prove it. In fact, I’ve mailed you a copy of those as well.

Santa, it is my sincerest hope that you will take this letter into consideration while you are making your rounds this year. Remember, we don't want a nasty repeat of the Christmas of 09, do we? (My lawyer is still on speed dial.)

May you have a very Merry Christmas sir, and please give my regards to your lovely wife.

P.S. - I almost forgot to mention how great you are looking this year. I just love how the red in your suit brings out your rosy cheeks. Red is definitely your color sir.

DIY Tile Photo Magnets // Homemade Christmas 12

So today is the final day-- or more accurately, night-- of my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas series. I hope you all have had just as much fun creating special gifts for your loved ones as I did. When I first started this series, I had no idea how it would turn out. Honestly, I had started doubting my crafting ability. But then midway through, I was so inspired it was actually hard for me to narrow it down to only 12 projects. In fact, I may have a few more tutorials drafted and ready to go for next year *wink wink*

Anyhow, I don't want to hold you up. So let's get down to business.

Remember the tile beer coaster tutorial from last week? Well, meet that projects lesser known cousin, the tile photo magnets. Once you've purchased the supplies for the photo coasters, the only thing you'll need for this project are magnets and small tiles. You can purchase a pack of 50 at any of your local craft stores for under $5--even cheaper if you print your 40% off coupons.

For this project you will need:
    • Small tiles 
    • HARD COAT Mod Podge
    • Acrylic Spray
    • Magnets
    • Photos of your choice, sized to fit the tiles
    • EZ-600 glue
  1. First, cut your photos to match the size of your tiles.
  2. Next, apply a coat of Mod Podge to the tile and place your photo on top of the glue. Make sure the photo is not crooked. Once the glue dries, you won't be able to move it. 
  3. Next, apply a coat of HARD COAT Mod Podge to the top of the photo and tile. Be sure to cover the whole tile, not just the photo. You'll want the entire top part of the magnet to be waterproof, so apply liberally. 
  4. Let the Mod Podge dry for 30 minutes to an hour. Apply another coat. Allow this to dry overnight. (note: I know some of the other tutorials say 30 minutes will do, but in my experience, the Mod Podge will need ample time to cure. If you don't allow these to dry properly, you'll end up with coasters that stick to everything. Not cool). 
  5. The next day, apply a few coats of acrylic spray, allowing time in between to allow it to dry. 
  6. Finally, glue magnets to the back of the tile. Let this dry for 30 minutes to an hour.

Now step back and admire your lovely work. The best thing about this project is you can basically make as many as you want. I ended up with about 20. I'm planning on gifting them in sets of four. That's five presents for less than $5.00. Not bad. Not bad at all. 

So that's all folks. I hope you enjoyed this series. With all the holiday gift guides floating around the internet, it can get easy to get consumed in buying the most expensive and trendiest gifts. Without even realizing it, we're missing out on the thing that matters the most, the thought that goes into the gift. Anyone can go to the store and purchase the latest iPad. It takes time and thought to create something for someone that they will treasure for the years to come. But those are the most special gifts of all. The gifts that come from the heart.

It is my warmest wish that you and your loved ones have a wonderfully happy and merry Christmas. 

Rhino Shield: It's Not Just Paint

This is a sponsored post

With 2013 quickly coming to an end, Mr. A and I have already started laying out our New Years resolutions for 2014. Buying a home is at the top of this list, and now protecting our home with Rhino Shield is also at the top of that list. Never heard of Rhino Paint? Here's the skinny:

As I'm sure you are all well aware, over time, the exterior of your home can go through some major wear and tear. Storms, constant exposure to sunlight and other factors can completely destroy the paint on the outside of your house. Most homeowners will repaint their homes every 3-5 years. Rhino Shield, however, offers an affordable solution to a sticky situation. Rhino Shield is a never flake, chip or peel ceramic coating that is guaranteed to outlast and outshine any and all other products. The best part? Rhino Shield comes with a 25 year warranty. So in addition to saving you tens and thousands of dollars, Rhino Shield can save you a lot of time an effort.

What makes Rhino Shield so special?

  • Unlike regular paint, which is composed of 60% water, Rhino Shield is almost 80% solids, making it 6-9 times thicker than regular paint. It comes in virtually every color, and can be used on nearly every surface, including aluminum, wood, and brick.
  • Rhino Shield  reflects over 90% of direct sunlight, saving your home from expensive A.C. cost in the summer, and cutting down on the unattractive fading process that most homes go through every 3-5 years. 
  • Rhino Shield paint contains a nifty little additive that keeps mold, algae and mildew from growing.
  • Not only does Rhino Shield protect your home from harsh weather conditions, it is also a great re-selling feature for homeowners interested in selling their homes. The 25 year warranty is transferable and can give the overall value of your home a nice little boost. 
Pretty sweet huh? As I said before, this has gone to the top of our wishlist. Although it's a bit more expensive right off the bat, in the long run it can save you a TON of money. And as you guys may have noticed, I'm all about saving money.

If you're interested in finding out more about Rhino Shield, be sure to visit their newest franchises at Rhino Shield of Michigan and Rhino Shield of California, or find them on facebook.

*Disclaimer: Although I was compensated for this post, all  thoughts and opinions, as expressed here, are entirely my own.

DIY Apple Pie Moonshine//Homemade Christmas 11

As promised, today's homemade tutorial will be quite delicious. Unfortunately, it is only intended for those 21 years or older. So younger readers, please don't try this at home...

Today we will be making homemade Apple Pie Moonshine. I would love to take credit for this tasty creation, but this sumptuous drink was made by Courtney of Sweet C's Designs.  And she did a fantastic job. So fantastic that by the time I finished reading her tutorial, I was literally salivating at the mouth. Not pretty, I know, but so very true.

As you all may recall, Mr. A and I visited Gatlinburg this past Memorial Day, where we had our first encounter with Apple Pie Moonshine. And let me tell you, it was love at first sip. I've never been the hard liquor type, but this drink has made me rethink a few things.

This is the most expensive tutorial I will do for you, however, you can get about 10 gifts out of these ingredients, so it balances out. All together I spend almost $25.00, however I already had some supplies, so if you don't already have some of the supplies it will cost you a few dollars more. I will caution that one of the ingredients is especially difficult to get a hold of depending on which state you live in. Unfortunately, North Carolina does not sell Everclear. Fortunately, we live less than 15 minutes away from South Carolina, which clearly has no qualms about selling it.

For this recipe, you will need:

1 750 ml bottle of Everclear - $15.99
1/2 Gallon of Apple Cider- $3.00
1/2 Gallon of Apple Juice- $3.00
3/4 Cups of Brown Sugar $0.99
3/4 Cups of Granulated Sugar- $0.99
4-8 Cinnamon sticks $4.00
4-8 Mason Jars (which ever sizes you would like, just make sure you have enough)- $12.00

Like most of my other tutorial, this will be super simple to make.

  1. First, clean your mason jars. I boiled mine just to ensure they were germ free.  
  2. Next, add the apple cider, apple juice, brown sugar and granulated sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the stove and bring the mixture to room temperature. 
  3. Once the mixture is cooled completely, add in the Everclear and stir. Add the cinnamon sticks to the mason jars, and then pour the mixture into the jars. 
  4. Add those nifty little labels I showed you guys how to make yesterday, and allow the Moonshine to sit for 1-2 weeks before consumption. Enjoy.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn't warn you about Everclear. Everclear is extremely strong. Seriously guys. There is a reason the state of North Carolina prohibits the sell of Everclear. Be careful when indulging in this tasty beverage. It taste so yummy you're going to want to drink it like it's sweet tea. It is not. Drink and gift responsibly.

Be sure to stop by for the FINAL day of the 12 Days of Homemade Christmas tomorrow. Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

DIY Printable Labels// Homemade Christmas 10

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. You may have noticed I neglected to post a Homemade Christmas DIY tutorial last Friday. I was so busy prepping for graduation on Saturday that I forgot to hit the publish button. I'm sure you all completely understand so I won't harp on it too much except to say, I'm sorry I skipped a day. (Even though it was for an awesomely amazing reason).

So welcome back to the 12 Days of Homemade Christmas. Today is day 10 and we're going to have a two parter today! Since it's Monday and I know you are all still struggling to unwind from the dreaded manic Monday back at the office, today's tutorial will be super simple and FREE!

Today we're going to be using PicMonkey to create free printables for some of these homemade gifts. The first set we're going to use for tomorrows DIY gift, but the other's can be used on anything we've made thus far. We will be using PicMonkey for this tutorial. If you have never used PicMonkey before, let me be the first to tell you, it it AWESOME. The coolest thing about PicMonkey is that it is free. You can choose to pay $25 a year to unlock some additional text and overlay options, but the free version offers a ton of things.

First things first, type blank white background into google and save one of these images to your computer, you will need it later. Go to Click edit a photo, upload the blank white background you just saved. This will be your backdrop for this project. Once you open the background, resize it. I resized mine to about 900 x 900. Now click on overlays and scroll down until you see postal overlays.

Once you've clicked on your overlay and resized that to your liking, you're ready to add in some text. Play around with the fonts. Mix and match and get a little funky with it. I tend to like bolds mixed with a dash of cursive.

Once your done with your fonts. you can add graphics to your label. Scroll to the top of the overlay menu and click the "your own" option. Just surf the web or your picture gallery until you find something you like. Then save the image and upload it to your document. Once it's there, resize it to your liking.

Play around with various graphics and text until you feel comfortable with your finished product. Click save and save it as a PGN file.

If you'd like to design more labels, click on overlays again and scroll down to labels and banners. These sections offer dozens of shapes and labels for you to get creative with. The pictures below are my final products, but feel free to create your own designs. That's the best part about making homemade gifts. You can personalize everything, including the gift tags.

Finally, as I promised, I have some premade labels for you guys to enjoy. You can find those adorable labels you see at the top of this post here. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow's homemade tutorial. You'll get a chance to use the Apple Pie Moonshine label. *hint hint*

As always, Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Stacey Cohen Interiors: Home Office Chic

*This is a sponsored post

It’s no secret that I enjoy interior design. In my eyes, a beautifully decorated house makes a happy home. Today, I’d like to showcase one of the hottest designers on the market—Stacey Cohen-- a L.A. based interior architect with clients in New York, L.A. and Detroit. Stacy strives to provide the very best for each client-- utilizing both her experience and their individual wants and needs to design the perfect living space, or in this case, working space. Her style is equal parts couture and chic with a little dash of whimsical.

These days, working from home is becoming the norm. As a work-from-home blogger myself, I can truly attest that your office space can either make or break you. With more than 15 years of experience and the successful launch of her own collection, Stacey has a knack for striking that perfect balance with designing work spaces that are both visually appealing, and work inspiring.

In case you’re more of a visual person, take a look at some the office chic pieces in her new collection, which coincidentally, have just made it to the top of my wish-list.

1. Zeon Contemporary Lamp -This lamp adds just the right amount of color to a room without being too overpowering. Bonus: I'm currently crushing on lime green.

2. Buckner console - I'm so in love with this console. Crafted with pine wood, this makeshift desk is a bit out of the ordinary in terms of a desk, but who does ordinary anymore??

3. Sunny office chair- If you're anything like me, your fanny will truly appreciate this new addition to your office.

 4. Exotic Vibe Modern Throw- It's taken a few years, but animal print is finally starting to grow on me. This funky rug adds an element of playfulness and style.

As a bonus, here are three tips from Stacey on how to create an office space to that is both visually appealing and functional.

Let the desk choose the style of your office. Choose from a true desk, a clean dining table or  a  secretary-style credenza-desk. The last provides a fun twist and works well in a small space.

Remember, comfort is key when choosing a task chair. Pick one suitable for your body and compliments your daily activities.

Lighting is important. Position your work station near natural sunlight and then compliment the space with one to two task lights.

For more great designing tips, products or services by Stacy, visit or find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

*Note: I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

3 Hours

Life has a funny way of never working out the way you think it will. Had my life gone according to plan, I would be living in Greenwich village with a Scottish Terrier named Zeus and would probably be working a job that made me ridiculously miserable, but paid an outrageous salary.

Luckily for me, life decided to pull me in another direction. One that includes an adorable baby girl who lights up my world, and the sweetest man who, thankfully, can still stand being around me.

Today I realized my time as a college student is rapidly coming to an end. I now have 3 short hours to say goodbye to an institution that has been a huge part of my life for the past five years.

So what's next?

Who know's? That's the beautiful thing about life. We never truly know what's at the end of that tunnel. I do know one thing for certain--I have absolutely no intention of packing away my books and letting them collect dust. I suppose that's one of the most common misconceptions about college and learning. People automatically assume that once you've graduated you've learned everything that there is to know.

To me, graduation is only the beginning. I have every intention of taking advantage of the extra free time. Maybe I'll finally learn German, or Spanish, or both.

Maybe I'll finally have time to find a person willing to publish my book. Maybe I'll write another. Maybe I'll do all the things I every dreamed of. And maybe I'll do nothing. I suppose this is the great paradox of life. I know exactly what I'm leaving behind, but I have no idea what lies ahead.

Although I'm graduating a bit later than most of my peers, in many ways, I think I'm right on time. I have no illusions about this world. I know the difficulties I will face. Three years ago, I was somewhat sheltered. Today, I am all too aware. Today, I am ready for battle. And in 3 short hours, I will gear up for a whole new battlefield.

This is both thrilling and terrifying. But I'm okay with that. If it's one thing that my time on this beautiful planet has taught me, it's that sometimes the things that scare you the most are the things that are worth fighting for.

DIY Brick Bookends// Homemade Christmas 9

It's Day Nine of the 12 Days of Homemade Christmas, and today I have another DIY gift for the guys. I'm not sure about y'all, but our house is filled with books. With two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, two medium sized bookcases and countless boxes overflowing with books hidden in the crevices of our closet, we might as well just hang a sign outside that says "Library."

Today's tutorial was inspired by our constant hunt to find any nook and cranny to stash books. Hopefully, this will cut down on the random piles of books that tend to accumulate on our nightstands.

This is a perfect gift for the bookworm in your life. My favorite part? It can be done with less than $10. For my set however, it only cost $2.82. If you'll remember, in my last post I mentioned how I tried to do tutorials that utilized the same materials to cut down on the cost. Because I already had the spray paint and glue, it shaved $8.00 off the cost. Not too shabby.

For this project you will need:

  1. Two bricks ($0.41 a piece at Lowes)
  2. Spray paint (color of your choice)
  3. Two figurines ($1.00 a piece at the Dollar Tree)
  4. Glue (preferably E-600 or liquid nails)
First, glue your figurines to the top of the brick. Wait at least 30 minutes for the glue to set. 

Once the glue is dry, spray paint the bookends. Allow the spray paint to dry. Spray at least two more coats. Allow the bookends to dry. 

Next, step back marvel at how ridiculously simple this project was and reorganize your overflowing bookshelves. 

Liked this tutorial? Spread the love and pin this on Pinterest, and be sure to swing back by tomorrow for day 10.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

DIY Tile Beer Coasters// Homemade Christmas 8

Welcome to day 8 of the 12 Days of Homemade Christmas. This gift is one for the guys and is another favorite of mine. I made these last year, so I have perfected this process. Unfortunately, the first time I made these, the first few batches turned out to be flubs. After a bit of experimenting (and a few extra dollars spent on supplies) I figured out the problem. For this project, you will need the HARD COAT mod podge glue. The regular mod podge glue will not work. I can not stress this enough. I ended up with two dozen photo coasters that had a tacky surface because the other tutorials neglected to mention this. So be sure to take note of this.

Last year I took the more traditional route and made tile coasters out of family photos, this time around I decided to be a bit more playful and made beer coasters for one of our close friends who is quite the beer aficionado. The possibilities for this project are endless. You can experiment with patterns, photos, possibly even fabric. Don't feel as though you have to stick to one particular style. Make these your own. But most of all, just have fun!

For this project you will need:
  •  Floor tiles (you can get them from Lowes or Home Depot for $.20 a pop)
  • HARD COAT mod podge
  • Felt squares
  • Photos of your choice
  • Acrylic Spray 
  • Note: if you want to stay within the $10 budget, be sure to visit the coupon section of Hobby Lobby, Michaels and A.C. Moore to get your 50% off coupons before heading to the stores. Because all three of these stores are located so closely together, I typically print and use one coupon for one supply at each of the three stores. I once saved $25 this way, so be sure to print those coupons!

  1. First, glue felt squares to the bottom of the coaster. This will keep the coasters from scratching each other when they're stacked. 
  2. Next cut your photos to match the size of your tiles and glue them to the tiles. Make sure the photo is not crooked. Once the glue dries, you won't be able to move it. 
  3. Next, apply a coat of HARD COAT mod podge to the top of the photo and tile. Be sure to cover the whole tile, not just the photo. You'll want the entire top part of the coaster to be waterproof, so apply liberally. Let the mod podge dry for 30 minutes to an hour. Apply another coat. Allow this to dry overnight. (note: I know some of the other tutorials say 30 minutes will do, but in my experience, the mod podge will need ample time to cure. If you don't allow these to dry properly, you'll end up with coasters that stick to everything. Not cool). 
  4. The next day, apply a few coats of acrylic spray, allowing time in between to allow it to dry. 
And boom! You're done. Super simple, super cheap, super cute. The best thing about this project? Once you purchase the mod podge and sealant, you can make about 40-60 of these. That's about 10-15 personalized gifts for less than $10. Definitely my kind of present.

If you decide to give these a go, be sure to swing by and leave me a link so I can showcase your coasters. 

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!

Decorative Chalkboard Plate// Homemade Christmas 7

This project is so simple. It can be done in a matter of minutes, but it can give your mantle the little touch of the Christmas spirit it deserves.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've turned into quite the thrift store junkie. I managed to snag the plate you see in the picture for $0.25, the reindeer was $0.50 and the chalkboard paint only cost me $1.07. Basically this project cost me 2 bucks. Definitely my kind of project.

For this project, you will need:

1. Chalkboard paint
2. Decorative plate
3. Decorative embellishment (optional)
4. Glue (preferably E-6000

Basically, all you're going to do is paint the center of the paint with chalkboard paint. It will probably take you 3-4 coats to cover all the spots. Once you're done painting, glue whatever embellishment you would like to the plate.  And you're done. See, super easy.

I'm planning on making a few more of these for friends and family. With a price like this you just can't go wrong. Hope you enjoyed today's post.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

DIY Jewelry Organizer// Homemade Christmas 6

Welcome to day 6 of the 12 Days of Homemade Christmas! Here's another one of my favorites. I designed this priceless craft for my sister last year. Instead of hitting up the usual craft stores, I ventured into some thrift shops. And boy did I luck out. I managed to snag two antique silver dishes for $1.00 a piece that I used for this project. I also snagged a few more candle sticks for $1.00. If you're looking to stay within your budget for this project, hitting up thrift stores may be your best bet.

Most of my crafts include the same materials. I try to plan it this way so that I spend as little money as possible. It can be a bit tricky, but the dollars that are saved as a result of this meticulous planning  are totally worth it.

For this project you will need:
Two decorative dishes
One candle stick 
Spray paint (color of your choice)
E-6000 glue

This is a very simple project. First, use the E-6000 to glue the candle stick to the dishes. Be careful when lining up the candle stick. I rushed through this part and as a result my dish is a bit lopsided. No bueno :( Allow the glue to dry--when working with E-600 glue, I typically let it dry overnight just to be safe.

Next, spray the stand with your spray paint. Try to spray in bursts rather than holding the button. This will keep the paint from dripping. Wait about 15-20 minutes, and then reapply a few more coats. Once the paint is dry, apply a few coats of sealant. 

Once that dries you're good to go. See, I promised, super simple. As always, if you decided to give it a go, swing by and let me know how it turns out.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for day 7. 

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

DIY Mason Candy Jar// Homemade Christmas 5

IMAG0763_zpse8b6f0e6Here's another one of my favorites. I actually already have a tutorial for this one, but because I love it so much (and these would make great Christmas gifts) I decided to re-post this one in case you guys missed it the last time.

All together this project would typically cost about $12 for both jars, including the candy. However, because I already had most of the items from previous projects and I used the 40% coupons for Hobby Lobby and Micheal's, it cost about $5.00 instead.

As far as tutorials go, this one is about as simple as they come. Basically anyone can do this. Although, a word of caution, if you're doing this with a small child, be sure to keep an eye on them when they are working with the glue. If you use the E-600 glue that I used, it can get real sticky real fast.

For this project you will need

  • A Spaghetti or Mason jar (note: if your a big fan of spaghetti, just make spaghetti the night before and save the jar. Now dinner is made and you have one of the supplies for your craft)
  • A candle stick 
  • A small knob
  • Paint, color of your choice
  • Sealant


Basically the first thing you're going to want to do is get started painting the candlesticks, lid and knob. Be patient because you're going to have to apply a few coats. Once that's dry, spray it down with some acrylic sealant and let fully dry.

Next, you're going to apply the E-6000 glue to the top of the candlestick and carefully press the Mason Jar to the candlestick. Press down for a few minutes to give the glue time to start setting. I actually wound up putting a tin of oatmeal on top of the jar for about an hour just to ensure the jar didn't shift during the drying process. While that's drying, you can go ahead and glue the knobs to the lids.

Finally (my favorite part) pick out your candy, and pour it into the jar, and viola, project complete. Now you can sit back admire how adorable these jars are. Unless you plan to give them away, in which case you can head to the store to pick out the perfect candy to compliment the perfect candy jar.

If you guys decided to give this project a go, swing back by and let me know what you thought of it. Also, be sure to leave links so I can come by and check out your projects.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!