Gift Ideas

Tidy up with #OXOSpringCleaning

OXO is always looking out for us by providing tools to make cooking and cleaning up afterwards as easy as possible. Their latest tools might just make spring cleaning fun!

OXO Spring Cleaning
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Homemade Lip Balms Revisit

Get kissable lips at home with homemade lip balms made with coconut oil. So easy you make you may never buy lip balm again!

Homemade Lip Balms Revisit 2
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February 2015 Stitch Fix

Having your own personal stylist isn’t just for the rich and famous. Sign up for Stitch Fix and get real style advice for real people.

Stitch Fix

It’s Stitch Fix time again! I don’t shop much beyond groceries and crafty things these days so it’s fun to get this box in the mail. What I like best is that you can pick how frequently they arrive from as frequently as once a month to as little as only when you ask for one. Right now I am thinking every other month may suit me. For more details on Stitch Fix and how it works, check out my post from December 2014. Otherwise, let’s dig in!

Side note: Stick through the entire post and you’ll also get a chance for a free month of another fun fashion service – Rocksbox.

Feb 15 Stitch Fix 1

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14 DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Give gifts from the heart this Valentine’s Day with this list of DIY gifts. From homemade lip balms to red velvet hot chocolate, I’ve got you covered. 

Making a gift for your dude? Paint a mug with loveable phrases, inside jokes, monogram, favorite sports team/movie/whatever and fill it with a bag full of homemade hot cocoa mix and marshmallows. Heck maybe he’d enjoy some manly peppermint lip balm too.

Wanna go crazy and make gifts for your friends? Doodle hearts onto the mugs and fill with a bag of chai tea mix, homemade chocolate lip balm, and some sparkly hair ties. I’m tempted to make myself the same combo.

And in case you are also in need of menu planning ideas, check out the links below for previous years’ Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundups:

14 DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
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DIY Painted Mugs

Personalized mugs make great gifts and they are easy to make thanks to Sharpie paint pens! Draw your design on a clean mug, bake, and revel in the awesomeness.

DIY Painted Mugs 6

If you are familiar with Pinterest I am sure you have seen at least one pin showing how easy it is to make your own personalized mug using a sharpie. After looking into it, there are mixed reviews on the durability of the design after washing. However, I also discovered through my search that there is a thing called Sharpie paint pens which produce much better results. So I grabbed my handy JoAnn Fabrics coupons, bought a few Sharpie paint pens (and some Rust-oleum universal metallic gold spray paint to try that too), and then gathered some inexpensive oven-safe black and white mugs.
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DIY Hair Ties

Love those knotted hair ties but refuse to fork over the money? Make your own in any color with this easy and inexpensive DIY project.

DIY Hair Ties 3

Every January there are leafy green shortages at the grocery store and an increase in gym participation, due to all the New Years resolutioners. With the move I have regressed and not done anything active (besides shovel and lug boxes) since I came down with the flu on Christmas eve. I hope to get back into my usual gym routine soon though once the house resembles some sort of order. I have to decide if I want to rejoin Lifetime Fitness, try LA Fitness because it’s right down the street, or sign up for the Ohio State gym and work out before/after work. Decisions, decisions.

DIY Hair Ties 2

In the meantime, while I’ve been slacking off I’ve been doing creative little things such as making homemade elastic hair ties to give to my friends over the holidays. Because whether you are a member of a gym or not, everyone can use some hair ties. These are ridiculously simple to make and yet they are sold for up to $3 a piece. I found a pack of 4 fold over elastics at Walmart for about $4 and made about 30 ties. The best part is picking out your elastic. There are all kinds of colors, prints, and glitter. Have fun!

DIY Hair Ties 1

Two years ago: Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Three years ago: Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bricks

Four years ago: English Muffins
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Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

Get your vanilla chai tea fix at home in an instant with this homemade mix. Simple ingredients and a great gift too!

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix 2

My apologies for my lapse in posting the past couple days. It’s been a whirlwind with the holidays and preparing to move. In fact, today marks the beginning of the big move to Ohio! One week to move everything into the new place, unpack, and get situated before my new job starts on January 12th. And do you know what the weather forecast for Columbus, OH is today? A steamy high of 18 degrees! What a stark contrast to my move to Memphis, TN where it was 115 degrees the day I moved there. Of course that was in August not January, but still interesting to note.

With the bitter cold, driving most of the day and unloading the truck, a warm cup of tea may be in order. Hopefully I will be able unpack some apparatus in order to warm water to do so. Conveniently I recently made this instant vanilla chai tea mix made from milk powder, non-dairy powdered creamer, sugar, instant tea, and spices. It smells as wonderful as it tastes and makes a great gift during these cold months.

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix 1

One year ago: Pizza Quesadilla

Three years ago: Gluten-Free Brownie Cookies

Four years ago: Blue-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes
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DIY Word Magnets

Make your own homemade word magnets to express yourself on your fridge or favorite magnetic chalkboard. It’s easier than you might think!

DIY Word Magnets

Did everyone have a wonderful Christmas? Hopefully you had a better time than I did, as I played the role of a snotty boomerang. You see there has been some illness spreading around lately that I thought I managed to avoid. But while cooking dinner on Christmas Eve, the night before I planned to head up to Rochester, I started sneezing a lot and by the end of the night was stuffing tissue up my nose (so hot).But still I set my alarm to depart early the next morning. Upon waking I realized my health had not improved (hence snotty) but told myself I just had to get to Columbus (6 hours away) where I would then carpool the remainder of the trip (another 6 hours). In the end I managed to get a little over 2 hours out before turning right back around and promptly falling into bed again (hence boomerang). I got the flu for Christmas and at the rate I’m going I’m not sure when or if I will make it up to Rochester before the big move to Columbus. Evidently Santa thought I was so bad that he gave me the flu instead of coal.

DIY Word Magnets 2

But I digress. Let’s talk about these word magnets (which would look great with your DIY cookie sheet chalkboard) and how they are easy, yet tedious, to make. To make these I used several different colors of polymer clay (I bought a pack from JoAnn Fabrics but later discovered it’s cheaper at Walmart), ~1/2-inch wide magnetic tape, ~1/4-inch alphabet stamps, rolling pin, craft blade (I used a pizza cutter instead), scissors, cookie sheet, and parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
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December 2014 Stitch Fix #6

Having your own personal stylist isn’t just for the rich and famous. Sign up for Stitch Fix and get real style advice for real people.

Stitch Fix

The first time I heard about Stitch Fix over a year ago I signed up immediately. Haven’t heard of it before? Simply put it is an online styling service. You create an online profile by answering questions to help define your style, link to some of your Pinterest style boards so they know what your tastes are and then leave the rest to the stylists! Based from this information, they send 5 items that get delivered right to your door either once a month or whenever you want one – there’s no subscription. For example, after 5 fixes I hadn’t ordered another fix in a year but this month I jumped back on board for fix #6 with the prospect of my new job and to snag a couple new items for the colder climate to which I am moving.

Once the items arrive, you have 3 days to try everything on and figure out what you want to keep. Want to send a few things back? Toss everything into the provided prepaid USPS envelope and drop it in the mail. Want to keep a few things? Log onto your stitch fix profile and check out. The total amount gets deducted off your credit card with a receipt sent to your inbox. And if you keep everything you get 25% off the total!

Dec 14 Stitch Fix 1

Great things about this service:

I tend to get bored with what retail stores have to offer and it’s refreshing to find new items that I cannot find anywhere else.

Online shopping is already my primary method of shopping, and it’s so easy to return any unwanted items.

You can leave comments about each item, and the more feedback you leave, the more info the stylists have to use, the better your box gets.

You can pick your price points. I selected the “the cheaper the better” price option. But if you are looking to splurge on a particular item you can choose what you are most comfortable with.

The stylists really do look at your Pinterest style boards if you provide one. I pinned a couple items from the Stich Fix blog and actually received one of those very items in my next box!

Things to be aware of for this service:

Before your fix is shipped, you do pay a $20 styling fee. This is the cost for the stylists to pick clothes, box them up and ship them. But that money is not lost! If you decide to keep anything from your fix, $20 gets applied towards your total. I have yet to not like at least one thing in my box and therefore have never seen that $20 go wasted.

Sometimes you get hits, sometimes you get huge misses, and sometimes they have been so spot on I already owned something similar and had to return it anyway. This is where the feedback when you checkout is very important – tell your stylist what you did or did not like.

The only thing I don’t like it not being able to exchange items for a different size. While they do a great job sending things in your indicated size, some brands fit differently. It doesn’t happen often but so far two items I have really liked were not quite the right size. There’s a slight chance they might have the other size in stock, but so far no such luck. Of those two items, one I kept anyway and the other I had altered.

Dec 14 Stitch Fix 2

Ready to see what I got this month? This months box is the best I have received thus far (which is why I joined in on the trend of sharing my fixes on my blog like many others). Here goes…
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DIY Cookie Sheet Chalkboard

Jump on the chalkboarding trend and turn an old or cheap cookie sheet into a fun chalkboard. Use as a serving tray, menu, or whatever strikes your fancy!

DIY Cookie Sheet Chalk Board 3

A Saturday post without any Ohio State football game? What is this nonsense? Since #PBChocSat has been retired until next season I’ve decided to share some of my recent DIY projects and I’m going to call it #Crafterday! (Making up hash tags is what all the cool people are doing.) With my impending move I have started attacking a bunch of DIY projects that I have been wanting to do for quite some time, because crafting is obviously more productive than packing…?

DIY Cookie Sheet Chalk Board 1
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