Saturday, March 25, 2017

5 Shirt Makeovers! Don't Throw Away Your Old Tees and Tops!

Here are a few ideas for changing the look of old shirts! Each of these tops was headed for Goodwill originally, and with a few easy techniques I  dramatically changed the look of each shirt!

Grey Lace Top with Rhinestone Button Detail

This top was originally off-white and did not have the button detail along the top. I was going to donate it because it became stained with blue dye from a pair of jeans in the wash.  Here is what I did to transform the shirt:

I bought black Rit Dye and following the directions on the package for a cotton-blend shirt, made a batch of dye and submerged the entire shirt into the dye. You should check on the color periodically until you reach the color that you want. Obviously, the longer you leave it in the dye, the darker the color will be. For this shirt I left it in the dye for about 50 minutes because I wanted it pretty dark. You will want to rinse the item (I used my kitchen sink) until the water runs clear and then run it through the wash (by itself.)  I allowed it to air dry.  Then, I picked up some buttons from Joanne Fabrics and added them along the neckline. That's it and now it's one of my favorite tops. The only precaution I will give is to wash any items that you dye with Rit separately for a while. Also, this top should probably be hand-washed because of the buttons.

Click here to shop Amazon for Rit Dye!

Click here to shop Amazon for Rhinestone Buttons!

Pink Dip- Dyed Cold Shoulder Top

This top was originally white, and was also headed for Goodwill because it had been washed with something red accidentally. I purchased pink Rit dye and followed the instructions on the box for a cotton-polyester blend shirt. I submerged the entire shirt into the dye and left it for about 20 minutes, rinsed in my kitchen sink and ran it through the washing machine by itself. Hang dry.

Click here to shop Amazon for pink Rit Dye!

Multi-Color Tie Dye with Fabric Heart Applique

This shirt used to be a plain white, long-sleeved tee and it was just dingy looking. I prepared a batch of pink, purple and yellow Rit dye following the instructions for 100% cotton. I placed the shirt flat on a baking sheet, and using a ladle, poured one ladle-full at a time onto different areas of the shirt, alternating colors. There really is no wrong way to do this part by the way. The colors blend together beautifully. I would just recommend that you choose colors that look nice together separately and when they blend. You want to make sure that the shirt is totally saturated with color all over, and then let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then rinse until the water runs clear, and run through the wash by itself and hang dry. The second part to this was adding the heart in the center. I drew the heart out onto a piece of cardboard and then traced it onto grey fabric and cut. Using the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine, I went along the edges of the heart. That's it!

Feminine Ruffle Neckline

I used a new white tee from Old Navy for this top. I cut a strip of the fabric that I wanted to use for the ruffle (about 3.5 inches wide). Make sure that it is long enough for the neckline by pinning it, and allow for an extra 1/2 inch at the top seam on each side that you can turn it under. Using the zig-zag stitch, I went along both edges of the strip of fabric. Then, I started a straight stitch down the center and folded the fabric randomly to create a ruffle. Then, I folded it in half length-wise and sewed it along the collar with a straight stitch and turned the edges under at the shoulder seams on each side. The only thing I will mention is that this fabric didn't have a wrong side to it, so if your fabric does have a wrong side (which most do), you will want to take that into consideration when you fold the fabric before sewing it onto the shirt. You could make the ruffle a single layer in that case, and would just need to make the width of the fabric strip smaller, do the gathering along one side and turn that edge under before sewing to the shirt.

Gold Ric-Rac Neckline

For this top I simply sewed some gold ric-rac along the neckline. I  started it at the shoulder seam on one side, sewing along the neckline all the way to the other side. I started with the inside first, and cut the ric-rac at the "v" so that it was two separate pieces.  By doing this, it keeps the fabric from pulling and buckling there.  You will want to try to match the ric-rac up carefully at the "v" so that it appears to be one continuous piece. I did also add a piece of interfacing on the inside of the shirt to keep the neckline extra smooth. This is a fun and easy detail to add, and there are many combinations of colors that would look great. Although I didn't do it with this shirt, you could do the same thing on the cuffs or along the bottom hem.

Click here to shop Amazon for Gold Ric-Rac!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Make Your Own Rag Wreath!

These wreaths are so easy and fun to make! Scroll down for instructions  on making your own.  I also sell these in my Etsy shop. Click here to visit!

It's so Easy to Make Your Own Rag Wreath!

Here is all that you need: scissors, fabric, and a wreath form.

Cut fabric into strips approximately one inch wide by 8 inches long.


Tie the fabric strips around your wreath form with a single knot.


Add enough strips so that the wreath is full and none of the wreath form shows underneath. This is probably the hardest part, because it can be time consuming. Once your wreath is nice and full, trim off any loose strands of thread and hang (preferably indoors). Enjoy!

I also sell these on my Etsy Site. Click here for my Etsy Shop. .

I hope you enjoyed this easy craft tutorial, and were able to make something beautiful for your home. Please leave any comments or suggestions below. We love to get feedback.

Pretty Beads and Baubles for Spring!

Gorgeous pink, blue, green and white beaded necklace on gold string.

Super-cute, white rose earrings.

Fuschia, Gold and White Beaded Necklace.

Extra-long blue, green, grey and white necklace on gold string.

Pink, Purple and Gold Extra-long Necklace

Turquoise, White, Yellow and Gold Necklace.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Chicken, Almonds and Mozzarella Salad!

I have been trying to eat healthier recently, and have stumbled upon a pretty easy-to-make and delicious salad that I thought I’d share.  One of the things that I love about it is that it's filling but it doesn't make me feel too full or tired afterward.  It is simple-- a sweet and spicy chicken breast, on romaine with mozzarella, and almonds. I happen to think that the oil and vinegar dressing that I used (see below) really adds to it as well. I received an oil and vinegar set from a place called "Cleo's" in Annapolis as a gift recently and I'm hooked now!  Please scroll down for the salad recipe. I hope you like it! Total calories - 435!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken, Almonds and Mozzarella Salad!


1 Chicken Breast  (115 calories if you use half of a breast) 

1 tsp. Olive Oil   (45)

1 Clove of Garlic, minced

1/2  T. Cajun Spice

1 tsp Honey (21 calories)

1/8 C. Sliced Almonds (80 calories)

1/8 C. Mozzarella Cheese Shredded (86 calories)

1 T. Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing (70)

2 C. Romaine Lettuce (18 calories)

Start by mixing 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the minced garlic, Cajun spice and honey. Baste the chicken with this and cook on medium-high heat to sear the meat. Then, place chicken breast in oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Slice chicken, add to lettuce and add remaining almonds, shredded cheese and salad dressing. Enjoy! This is a recipe for one. I actually use half of a chicken breast for the salad, and save the other half.  Total calories- 435

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

9 Tips for Weight-Loss Based on the Latest Research


     Here are 9 tips for weight-loss based on the latest research. Please note, this does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please consult your physician before starting any new diet or exercise plan.

1Eat More Fiber.  Under Armour’s MyFitness Pal app examined data from users who came within 5 % of their weight loss goals. The only difference in their diets as compared to users who did not reach their weight loss goals was that they ate 29 percent more fiber, and that they did 5% more exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, women 50 and under should have 25 grams per day and women 51 and older should have 21 grams per day.  Here are some good sources of fiber: bran cereal, cauliflower, almonds, cashews, beans and peas, brussel sprouts; oatmeal, pears, citrus fruit and apples, whole grains, and vegetables. As for why eating more fiber helps us lose weight? Researchers think that fiber fills us up better partly because it takes longer to digest, therefore curbing cravings. Also, make sure you drink lots of water so you don’t become constipated!

2.      Eat a Bigger Breakfast and a Smaller Dinner. Have you ever heard the saying, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper."? Studies now point to this as being a key to losing weight, and it makes sense…we need more calories at the beginning of the day, not before we go to sleep.

3.     Drink a Glass of Water Before Each Meal. This is an old trick, but apparently is still recommended. It fills you up and you eat less at your meal.

4.     Get Enough Sleep! Apparently lack of sleep can contribute to obesity. A loss of even 30 minutes of sleep during the week raised the risk for obesity significantly. Lack of sleep has also been linked to overeating the next day, which can be as much as 20 percent.

5.      The Mediterranean Diet Wins Again! This is not new news, but it is still true that people who consume foods rich in olive oil or nuts lost more weight than people who are limiting their general fat intake. The other plus side of this of course, is that the Mediterranean diet is also heart healthy.

6.      Work Out First Thing In the Morning. And, if you work out before breakfast it may help you consume less throughout the day. This is not to say that you should skip breakfast though, just workout before you have breakfast.

7.      Count Your Calories. Exercise has less effect on our weight as our diet, so to see the scale move in the downward direction you will need to consume less. Use a calorie tracker like “MyFitnessPal,” which is free. If you aren’t sure of how many calories you should be consuming per day to lose weight, check out this tool at Mayo Clinic. Don’t forget to talk with your doctor about any new diet or exercise plan.

8.      Weigh Yourself Every Day. The old recommendation was to weigh yourself once per week, but researchers now recommend that you step on the scale every morning at the same time. This helps to keep you on track, and correct for slight gains quickly.

9.     Exercise. Do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, 5 times per week for weight loss.  Don’t forget the diet component mentioned above, because that is key!


Sunday, March 12, 2017

15 Tips For Feeling Your Happiest!

15 Tips for Feeling Your Happiest!

Every now and then we can find ourselves in a rut. Whether it’s due to a negative life event or just a case of the “blahs,” here are some ideas to get you back on track.

*Please note, consult your doctor before starting any new exercise programs, supplements, or diets. This information is not meant to substitute for a doctor’s advice.  If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. It is a free, confidential call and available 24 hours per day.

1.      Exercise. More and more evidence points to exercise as being one of the best treatments for anxiety and depression. The Mayo Clinic recommends doing 30 minutes or more per day for three to five days per week, although even 10 to 15 minutes of exercise can help. How does exercise help us to feel better? When we exercise, the brain releases neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids, which are all considered “feel-good” brain chemicals. Exercise also helps to reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen depression and increase body temperature which has a calming effect on the body!

2.      Drink Water and Eat Right!  The recommended amount of fluids is 9 cups or 2.2 liters per day according to the Mayo Clinic, so drink up! Other benefits of drinking enough water include more radiant skin and eyes, and overall the body functions at its best when it is well hydrated.  Also, some people may not realize that our diets can have a profound effect on our brain and mental health. According to the Harvard Health Blog article, “Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food,” people who take probiotics (supplements that contain good bacteria for your gut) their anxiety levels, perception of stress and mental outlook improve, compared with those who did not take probiotics. Also, people who eat either Mediterranean diets or traditional Japanese diets have 25% to 35% lower risk for depression. These diets are high in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and unprocessed grains. Another possible key to these diets is that they don’t contain processed and refined foods and sugars, and many of the unprocessed foods are fermented and act as natural probiotics.

3.      Get enough sleep. The Mayo Clinic recommends 7 to 9 hours per night.

4.      Be Productive, Feel Productive! Make a list each morning of three things to accomplish, and then do them first thing. It’s amazing how feeling productive effects your overall feeling of self-worth and happiness. Tackle the hardest chores first to feel extra productive and then keep going if you are on a roll!

5.      Meditate. There are literally hundreds of free meditations on Itunes. Two of my favorites are “Meditation Oasis” and “Meditation Station by Stin Hansen.”  There is an abundance of evidence regarding the positive effects of meditation on our mental AND physical health. Carve out an extra 10 minutes in the morning and see how it can change your mindset for the whole day!

6.      Learn Something New. Listen to a “TED Talk,” sign up for a course at your local community college or log on to You Tube to learn about something that interests you. Other ideas that get the creative juices flowing include music lessons, sewing or craft classes, or dance classes.

7.      Help Someone Else. You could formally sign up to volunteer for an organization that interests you, or you could reach out to someone in your family or community that needs help. It feels good to help others. Sometimes, simply doing something for an immediate family member that you don't normally do is really appreciated by them and also makes you feel good.

8.      Connect with others. Dial up your friends from high school, throw a little neighborhood cookout, or invite your mother-in-law to lunch. There is something about connecting with others that boosts our mood.

9.      Turn Off Negative News. This is self explanatory, especially lately.

10.   Read a Good Book. Find something that you can completely escape into!

11.   Spend Less Time on Facebook. I am as guilty of this as anyone, but really it can suck up so much of our precious time. Try to limit yourself to a certain amount of time per day, maybe 30 minutes.

12.  Clear the Clutter and Clean Your House. Clutter literally can clutter our minds, or at least add unnecessary stress to our everyday lives. There is truly something stressful about looking at piles of junk around your house. It can be overwhelming to get started with de-cluttering, so here is a great tip taken from one of my favorite books with a really weird name, “Sink Reflections,”by Marla Cilley. She suggests that you look for a set number of items each day to get rid of. You can keep a box in the hall closet where you keep these items and then sell them on Ebay, offer to family or friends or donate to charity. By making it a habit, it’s not so overwhelming and eventually helps you to reach your goal of being clutter free! For cleaning, Cilley also suggests setting a timer for a specific amount of time and limiting yourself to cleaning one room as fast as you can during this time, until moving on to the next room. I love this idea, because you really can make a big impact on your whole house in a short amount of time if you move fast. It’s amazing how much we can get done when we are timing ourselves! If you are wondering about the title of her book, “Sink Reflections,” it refers to the one thing she wants all of her readers to do first thing when they wake up—clean their sink so that it shines and you can see your reflection. She believes that it all starts in the kitchen!

Click here to purchase!

13.   Focus on Self-Care. This could include taking a long, luxurious bath, getting a nice haircut, a massage or makeover. The idea is to take extra-good care of yourself.

14.   Be Inspired! Maybe you have always been interested in starting your own business, eating healthier or learning how to invest. Or maybe you are thinking of a career change but aren’t sure how to get going with it. One of the things that I do is listen to podcasts on Itunes. It is an unbelievable resource for pretty much any topic under the sun. One of my favorites, which helped motivate me to start writing for this blog again is called, “ A Better Life with Rachel Rofe- Practical personal development for an amazing life and business.” Here are some of the podcasts that I have listened to of hers that are phenomenal: “How to have a better day with 5 minute morning boosters;” “How to keep reinventing yourself with Thai Nguyen,” “How to feel highly energized and healthy: an interview with Shawn Stevenson,” and “How to get through a dark period.” So, check out her podcast or another one that inspires you!

15.   Spend Time Outside!. For me, my go-to place will always be the woods. It is my absolute favorite place to go when I need to recharge my soul. But for you maybe it’s the beach or a local park. Or even a stroll through your neighborhood. Being outside, especially on a nice day is good for your mood, and it’s also good for your Vitamin D intake which we get from the sun. Not getting enough Vitamin D can have a negative affect on our moods. This is why some people have a harder time with depression in the winter, because they are not outdoors as much and getting less natural sunlight. Of course, don’t overdo it and always wear sunscreen!

I hope you found a few tips that you can use! Please leave comments below. I would love to hear your additional tips for happiness!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

3 Younique Products I Tried and Never Stopped Using!


Okay, I really do love Younique makeup. I would like to make some recommendations, if I may... Here are by far, Younique's best sellers and also my personal favorites. For each of these, I tried them once and never went back to another brand.  A little disclosure here, I do sell Younique. I fell in love with the products mentioned above and decided I might as well get a discount by selling them since I knew I'd be buying more in the future.  Scroll down to see the three must-haves!

Here is a link to my page if you are interested in checking any of these products out! click here to shop!

Item #1- Mineral Touch Liquid Foundation. It is amazing, and will make your skin look perfect. You put it on with a foundation brush (can be purchased at any drugstore or Younique sells very nice brushes too). What is nice about the foundation is that you can apply it light or heavier for full coverage as you need. I tried it once and was completely hooked.  See below for some before and afters, and also a color chart to help you match. Younique also allows you to return anything that you don't love for a 100% refund.

 #2- Moodstruck Minerals Eyeshadow Palettes. These are just the most gorgeous eyeshadows I have ever tried, quite simply. They are highly pigmented, so you just need a little, and the colors....well see below! I use these for eye shadow and eyeliner, by adding a little bit of water to a flat edged eyeliner brush. Again, you can purchase brushes through Younique or at your local drugstore or Ulta. I even found an amazing eyeliner brush at the dollar store recently!

Palette 1

Palette 2

Palette 3

Palette 4

Palette 5

 Item #3- 3D Lash Mascara. This product has revolutionized the mascara industry. It is a 2-step process, and involves a gel coat and a top  coat containing small fibers that adhere to your lashes. You can build it up to be as long and thick as you like. It can be subtle or dramatic for a night out. I haven't worn anything else since I tried it!

Have you tried any of these?
Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below, thanks!