Friday, August 30

Beauty Find Friday: Warby Parker Glasses Try On!

Buying glasses online is not for the faint of heart. 

When I finally got a new prescription, I couldn't wait to start glasses shopping. My first choice was Warby Parker, a company I've talked about before. For $95, you get a pair of high quality frames, including special coatings, and unlike companies with similar prices (BonLook and Rivet and Sway) for each pair you buy, one pair of glasses goes to someone in need. They've given 500,000 pairs of glasses!

Instead of just donating the glasses, however, Warby Parker partners with non-profits that train low-income entrepreneurs to start their own businesses selling glasses. Instead of creating a culture of dependence, they're creating jobs and encouraging the local economies. 

Although several websites, including Warby Parker, allow you to upload your photo to virtually try on glasses, it's just not the same. So, Warby Parker actually allows you to pick five frames and try them on at home for five days, with free shipping. 

I picked the Leigh, Sims, Marshall, Finn, and Wilkie. They're all so similar, and yet so different. You've got to help me decide! I apologize in advance for the poor photo quality, I was in a hurry to get this post up so we could get to deciding. 

My Old Glasses:


Similar shape to my old glasses, but more square and little darker.


A little bigger frames, which I like, because then I'm not always looking over or under them. 


These are the biggest frames. It might be just me, but I think I look like I'm playing dress up with someone else's glasses!


Finn is a little smaller, a nice tortoise color, and not quite as square as some of the others.


The Wilkie is the most square shaped of all of them, and also the darkest color.

This is going to be a tough decision. I'm leaning toward the Finn or the Wilkie right now, but I could be swayed. So weigh in in the comments: what ones do you like best? 

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Wednesday, August 28

CREATE: Easy Cross Pillowcase

This pillowcase took me about an hour to make from start to finish. Since I have two pillow inserts from Ikea to use, I designed my own pillow cases using navy, mustard yellow, and a patterned Vera Bradley fabric, sent to me by wholeport.com. Here's my two pattern designs: 

I decided to start with the easy one first. This pattern makes a 20x20 inch pillow case. To all the measurements in the diagram, you'll need to add half an inch for your seam allowances. So, you'll need:
  • Four 8.5"x8.5" pieces (mine are yellow)
  • Two 4.5"x4.5" pieces (mine are Vera Bradley navy patterned fabric, c/o Wholeport.com)
  • One 4.5"x 20.5" inch piece (the long piece down the middle)
  • One 20.5"x 21.5 piece for the back. The reason there's an extra inch on the back is to create a flap for closing the pillow. If you're using a zipper, you won't need that extra inch. 

1. Cut out your fabric, and arrange it like it will look when it's finished. Now, we're going to sew each row, starting top to bottom on the left.

2. Sew the top left yellow piece to the blue cross piece, right sides together. Then, add the bottom yellow corner piece, sewing right sides together. Left row done!

3. Repeat with the right side, sewing the yellow corner piece to the middle blue cross piece, right sides together, and then add the bottom piece, right sides together. 

4. Place the middle strip on top of the left row: right sides together. Like so: 

Sew them together. Open it up, and it should look like this: 

5. Now, place the right row on top, right sides together. Sew the right side to the middle. 

The front is done!

7. Since I planned to close my pillow with snaps, here's what I did. I made a small hem at the top of the front piece of the pillowcase, and a small hem at the top of the back. 

8. With right sides together, I sewed around the pillowcase. The back is about an inch longer than the front. The plan is to add snaps eventually, if having it open gets annoying. 

9. Turn it rightside out, and push out the corners. Iron out the wrinkles. 

10. Stuff it with your pillow insert, and you're done!

Next up is the geometric aztec pillow, consisting of 44 navy two inch squares and 77 yellow two inch squares. Wish me luck!

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Monday, August 26

INSPIRE: 4 Steps to Refresh Yourself and Your Space

It’s August. It’s hot. You just took a vacation, but now you feel like you need a vacation because of your vacation. School is starting soon, and you miss the smell of just sharpened pencils and blank notebooks, and the clean slate of a new school year. Or maybe you’re about to start another year of college, but your summer internship is leaving you burned out and exhausted. You need a fresh start but don’t have time or money to run away to Fiji. This article is for you!

I guest posted on Sweet and Sage again, sharing four ways to refresh yourself and your space. And boy, was I feeling the need for a refresh last weekend! 

I did take my own advice, and Thursday night at about 8:30 pm, I tackled organizing our hall closet, that had previously been a big crowded mess. Friday I worked at the church and spent time hanging out with friends in the evening, binge watching "Say Yes to the Dress" while our husbands worked on cars, but Saturday I got back to organizing and finished the hall closet. Since I made a lot of room, I moved some things over from the pantry, and then decided to work on that closet too.



Since I had an empty shelf in our bedroom closet, I moved all the bedding in there. That made enough room to move things off the floor and have nice piles of towels and cleaning rags. 

Other side of the closet before:


We used to keep the vacuum in the pantry, so my big goal was to be able to fit it in this closet. Mission accomplished!

I also spent time on Saturday doing something just for fun - watercolor painting. I'm excited to show you my painting, although if you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen it.
The only piece of advice from my article that I haven't taken yet is to do something new. I have a few ideas in mind for ways to interpret this, but I will share those with you later, if they come about. 
Now I'd like to hear from you - are you feeling the need for a refresh? How do you refresh yourself when you start feeling stuck and unmotivated? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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Friday, August 23

Beauty Find Friday: Free Shopping and Style Help

So, let's talk about shopping. I have discovered that I really don't enjoy shopping at a mall, most of the time. There's so many options, so many stores, distracting loud music and large crowds - it makes it hard to think clearly. I've recently collected a few helpful websites that pertain to shopping and style that I'm really excited to use! So for this week's Beauty Find Friday, I'm sharing them with you!

OutfitPosts.com - I discovered this blog a few weeks ago. The author posts almost daily pictures of her outfits, usually business casual, with some weekend outfits too. I love that it's REAL style - totally wearable, affordable, and looks good on real women's bodies, not just super model types! I also enjoy her posts about how to pack everything you need for trips in one suitcase. Since I'm trying to maintain a capsule wardrobe of 100 items or less, having the visual inspiration different ways of combining pieces is great!

KeatonRow.com - I discovered this website from reading about it in Real Simple. It provides you with a personal stylist, who will create 5-7 looks for you based on your style, or even a specific occasion, for free! The stylists are paid a commission if you purchase the items in the looks they create for you, but there's no obligation or pressure to buy anything. I'm seriously considering trying this, just to get some new ideas and a better vision for my wardrobe.

Hukkster.com - If you have your eye on a particular item that's out of your price range, this tool will altert you with an email when it goes on sale! I'm planning to use this for a few investment pieces I'd like. 

ShopItToMe.com/threads - Similarily, this site creates a customized list of what you're looking for that's currently marked down. Here, you can pick from broad categories, like "brown riding boots under $100" etc. 

ZenDeals.com - Sometimes when I'm checking out online, I'll do a quick Google search for the store name and "coupon" or "discount code." Sometimes I've found some great discounts that I didn't know were going on! Other times, the codes didn't work. ZenDeals verifies all the coupon codes on their site daily to make sure they're still current.

Have you used these sites and tools? What did you think of them? What makes shopping easier for you? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments!
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Wednesday, August 21

DECOR: Living Room Reveal

Yes, I'm still talking about home decor. I can hardly contain my excitement - we got a rug! Last weekend we went to Ikea again (this is becoming a date night tradition) and I used the last of my birthday money on a living room rug, four pillow inserts, two pillow covers, and a set of six drawer organizers. 

Remember the living room before? Probably not, because I didn't really take pictures of it. This is the best I could find: 

I debated with myself over what rug to choose. Brian loved modern designs in neutral colors, and I wanted something colorful and classic. I've referred to two rooms on my Pinterest inspiration board time and time again:

This apartment was featured in Better Homes and Gardens a few years ago, and I fell in love with the deep blue, rustic textures, and bold prints. Since this apartment has white walls and light colored wood floors, just like our place, it made a great model to base our apartment off of. I made navy and white striped curtains for the living room to imitate the bold navy and white curtains shown above. 

The Nester
This house is also my inspiration. It uses a more neutral color scheme, with touches of cottage and modern style. I love the cow skin rug, but so far, Brian strongly opposes it. He's more concerned about the feel underfoot than the appearance, so he voted for a cream colored rug that looked like a big piece of shag carpet to me. Since I was spending my own birthday money, I got to make the final decision. 

I went with the more colorful inspiration. This rug is slightly larger than 5x7, and cost $69.99. The blue toile pillow covers add a touch of French style, and match my blue and white dishes collection and the blue and white curtains.

I have two more pillow inserts, not in use yet. I plan to sew my own pillow covers for them, and I'm in the process of creating my own designs! 

The rug really pulls together the living room. The light blue in it matches the blue wingback chairs perfectly, the navy matches the curtains, and the red and gold adds warmth. Eventually, I'd like my kitchen to be red, yellow, and French country, so it will all tie in nicely. 

Now that my birthday money is finally all spent, there will probably not be any more trips to Ikea, and this home decor streak will come to an end. Next up, I have several ideas for some great crafts that I can't wait to try, and then share with you. 
How do you decide on a rug for a room? I'd love to hear your tips!
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