DIY: Picture Frames turned Jewelry Displays Tutorial

Picture-Frame-Jewelry-Display-DIYJust about a year ago, I pinned this photo of my jewelry being displayed at a boutique here locally in Cincinnati. Since then, I’ve had so many questions about where I purchased them or if it’s a long time blog follower – they pretty much assume this is just another one of my DIY projects. Sure enough, it was!

Since we’re moving downtown to a much smaller place, I thought these would be great to hang in our walk in closet;  just to display the inventory I have available for FENNOfashion. While the displays created for my closet aren’t quite as pretty, they’re made the same way. Meaning, you can just adapt the process to make any color or sized DIY jewelry display that fits your exact needs.

 Here’s what you’ll need:

diy-jewelry-display-using-photo-frames
  • Picture Frames (I purchased the large frame at Hobby Lobby for 90% off (Hello, $3.79)  and the rest at St. Vincent de Paul)
  • Small unfinished slates of wood (purchased at Home Depot by the foot)
  • Dowel Rods
  • White Spray Paint (or whatever color you prefer)
  • Saw-tooth hooks (for back of frames)
  • “C ” hooks (to hold the jewelry)
  • Small nails
  • Drill
  • Hot Glue Gun + Glue
  • Wood Glue
  • Mini- Hand Saw
  • Hammer

What to do:

First prep your frames to paint. If they had some sort of artwork in them (see the three I scored all for $5 at St. Vincent De Paul pictured below… they definitely needed prep work!) You want to get your frames to a point where it’s just the solid frame; no art, glass or the paper on the back.

DIY-thrifted-frames-into-jewelry-holder-display-tutorialOnce you have the frames ready to be painted, go ahead and spray paint them your desired color using the directions on the spray paint can.

DIY-jewelry-photo-frames-turned-jewelry-display-tutorialI had brown and black frames, so it took about 3 – 5 coats of spray paint to get the frames completely white. While I was waiting for the paint to dry on the frames, I went ahead sprayed the unfinished wood slates and dowel rods.

Let’s talk about the large earring display first:

DIY-framed-earring-holder-picture-frame-tutorialYou’ll need a drill bit that’s just a tad smaller than the dowel rods you plan to use.

Measure out how far apart you’d like the dowels to be.  I kept mine pretty close as I want the display to hold as many earrings as possible. If I was actually using these particular frames as a display, I might space the dowel rods out a little bit more.

Drill your holes on the backside of the frame where the glass would sit. Once you have the holes drilled, cut the dowel rods to fit securely into the holes. My husband used wire cutters to size down the dowel rods.  Whatever works, you know? Add a little wood glue to each end secure the dowel rods in the freshly drilled holes. The picture above helps describe these steps.

Because I underestimated how many dowel rods I’d need, some are still the natural wood color in the pictures, but I painted over them once they were set in place.

 The Necklace + Bracelet Display

diy-wood-frame-necklace-jewelry-display

The same principles apply when making the bracelet and necklace display. You’ll want to measure out how far apart you need the wood slats. Again, I’d probably spread them out a little if I was using this as a display and not something just to hold my inventory.

Once you have the wood slats measured, use a little hand saw to make them the length you need so they’ll fit securely within the frame. Hot glue them in place.

diy-picture=frame-jewelry-display-tutorial

If you’d like to add “C” hooks, measure out how far apart you want them. Drill a hole where each hook will go using a drill bit just a tad smaller then the diameter of the “C” hook. From there, they should will just screw right in – not hand tools necessary.

The last step is to add the saw-tooth hangers to the back of the frame so they can easily hang on the wall. Packages of saw-tooth hangers come with the small nails, so all you’ll need to do is hammer them into the back of the frames.

The finished product: 

creative-jewelry-displays-diy

DIY-JEwelry-Frame

creative-diy-earring-holder-Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

Must-Have Mondays: Moonstruck 3-D Fiber Lashes

Who doesn’t love long voluminous lashes? I mean as women, we spend a lot of money on make-up. Then you have false eyelashes, eyelash extensions and even products to make your lashes grow such as Latisse. While all those I’m sure work wonderfully, I honestly just don’t have the time. So, when I was introduced to Younique’s 3-D Fiber Lash Kit, it sounded like the perfect solution!

Here’s my review, some before and after pictures,  how to use it and where you can get your hands on this 3-D Fiber Lash Kit. Obviously, I’m a fan or I wouldn’t be sharing this and all opinions are my own. This is not a paid endorsement.

Moonstruck-3-D-Fiber-Lash-Mascara-Younique-CaseI heard about this product from a friend and of course, had to try it. This adorable case was what arrived in the mail; which holds both the transplanting gel and the natural fibers.

3-D-Fiber-Lash-Mascara-Younique-CaseOnce you add a coat of your normal everyday mascara (the brand or kind doesn’t matter), you’ll then add a coat of the transplanting gel. While the gel is still wet, you’ll want to add a coat of the natural fibers. Sounds crazy, right? They’re literally little fibers that adhere to your lashes. It’s different, but pretty awesome once you see the results. You can put several coats of the 3-D fiber lashes on, but I chose to only apply one coat of each.

I opted not to put on any other make-up today so you can really see the results.  Here’s the before and after photos:

3-D-Moonstruck-Mascara-Fiber-Lashes-youniqueThe before photo is when I had one coat of black Chanel mascara on. The two bottom photos are when I used the Fiber lashes on top of the one coat of Chanel mascara.

I tried the Fiber lashes for the first time last week and what I like is that the fibers don’t flake off; which was a concern of mine. Also the make-up is easy to remove. If you happen to have allergies and your eyes water, this product doesn’t add insult to your watering eyes by turning you into a raccoon. It stays in place and from experience, you have my endorsement.

This revolutionary product increases the thickness and volume of your lashes up to 300% and I’m pretty sure will quickly become your favorite makeup accessory! For more information about 3-D Fiber lashes, click here.

mascara[You can purchase the 3-D Fiber Lash Kit here,  for $29.00]

Has anyone else tried this yet? I’d love to hear what you think about it.

The Many Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil

This post is a re-run from last year; but one that I definitely think is worth sharing again. Coconut oil is truly amazing and can be used for everything from beauty regimes to healthy cooking. Read on to see all the many things you can do with this special oil.

many-uses-for-coconut-oil-health-beauty-cooking-DIY-moreAfter using coconut oil for the first time in a Chicken Curry recipe, I sought out other recipes using this magnificent oil. But come to find out, Coconut Oil is great for just about everything!

After doing some research, listed below are one hundred ways in which you can use this very versatile oil.

Note: Please consult with your doctor first if you are planning to use Coconut Oil  to treat a medical condition and please, use at your own discretion.

many-uses-for-coconut-oil-health-beauty-cooking-DIYHealth:

  • Eat a teaspoonful for an energy boost or take a spoonful with your vitamins to help increase absorption.
  • Use Coconut oil to help soothe chicken pox, shingles and other skin irritations and rashes.
  • Another health use- apply it to athlete’s foot, ringworm or other fungal infections
  • Dab a little on a baby’s diaper rash
  • You can also use the oil to help with cradle cap.
  • Spread a thin layer on a burn to quicken the healing time
  • Ingesting Coconut Oil is said to help thyroid conditions.
  • Use in replace of massage oil
  • Consuming Coconut Oil while nursing is said to increase your milk flow
  • Apply to bug bites to sooth itch and sting
  • If you happen to get nose bleeds in the winter, coat the inside of your nose with a small amount.
  • It is said that taking a spoonful will help reduce and eliminate migraines
  • Massage into tired, achy or sore muscles to help relieve the pain
  • Mix a small amount with oregano and apply to the first signs of a cold sore
  • Dab on a canker sore to speed up heeling and help soothe the pain
  • Ingest a small amount and let it dissolve in your mouth and run down the back of your throat to ease the discomfort of a sore throat

Beauty:

  • Use as a super conditioner for your hair. Apply to dry hair, then shampoo as normal.
  • You can also use it as a styling agent for dry hair. Rub a small amount into your palms and apply to hair.
  • Put some in a small container to use as lip balm.
  • Dab a small amount under your arms to use as a natural deodorant.
  • Use it in place of shaving cream
  • Add a small amount to your bath water to create a moisturizing soak
  • Use as a make-up remover
  • Use around your eyes to help prevent wrinkles
  • Use to reduce the visibility of stretch marks
  • Apply to stomach when pregnant to aid in preventing stretch marks
  • Use as a mascara brush cleaner
  • Brush on eyelashes to help strengthen them
  • Use on pimple and acne to help heal it
  • Apply on cracked or rough heels
  • Massage into your nails and cuticles to help strengthen them
  • Mix with the spice nutmeg and apply to blemishes for 15 minutes. Wash off and notice a difference in your skin
  • If you wax at home, Use on your skin after waxing to help with the redness and to remove any access wax.

DIY:

  • Use it as a base for a homemade body scrub, toothpaste or lotion.
  • In addition, you can also use Coconut Oil as a base for a vapor rub.
  • Try mixing it with lemon balm, tea tree oil or rosemary for creating an insect repellent
  • Use instead of WD-40
  • Mix with baking soda to create a non-toxic form of Goo-Gone
  • Use as a metal polish, however, test a small area first.
  • Also use it to season cast iron pans
  • Use to remove chewing gum from the bottom of your shoes

Home:

  • Use to condition your wooden cutting boards
  • Use as a leather moisturizer. However, test a small area first!
  • If you have gum stuck in your hair and before grabbing the scissors, try using a small amount of coconut oil. the gum should come right out.
  • Use as a guitar string lubricant
  • Use a little on a damp cloth to clean a slimy shower. Wipe the surface again with more oil followed by spraying with vinegar and wipe dry
  • I’ve read Coconut Oil works as a non-toxic flea treatment for cats and dogs
  • Use on artificial or real plants to shine leaves in replace of the chemical-filled spray that can be purchased.
  • Add a small amount to a cloth to detail the inside of your car
  • Use to clean brushes and hands after painting with an oil-based paint

Cooking:

  • Replace the less healthy oils in your kitchen with Coconut oil
  • Add a teaspoonful to smoothies to help add flavor and added nutrition.
  • Use to oil your pans and baking dishes instead of pan spray
  • Put a small amount on toast and add cinnamon for a healthy cinnamon toast
  • Use as a base for homemade candy, such as chocolates.
  • Mix with garlic and use it to make food extra flavorful
  • Add a teaspoonful to soup for added nutrition
  • Add flavor to baked goods
  • Make your own peanut butter with the base being Coconut Oil
  • Use to lubricate scissors when cutting up sticky things such as marshmallows for recipes
  • Use instead of shortening when making pie crusts or biscuits

[Resources for this post: 1,2,3,4]

On the Table: Lunchtime Fun with Fruit Shoot

Bug_Themed_Lunch_Idea_Fruit_ShootThis little face. He’s all smiles in this picture but if try and get him to eat something healthy that isn’t in some “creative” form, it’s nothing short of a meltdown. Getting a picky toddler to eat healthy can sometimes become a challenge.  Any moms out there with me? Aside from using bananas in spinach smoothies or any other tactic to help aid my son in eating healthy, I sometimes have to get a little creative with food.

Fun_Healthy_Luches_for_Toddlers_and_KidsToday we went with a “bug theme”.  Because making these creative lunches are special, I want to also treat him to a special drink, Fruitshoot. I’d like to say I’m pretty selective when it comes to what my son drinks and I limit his options to just milk, water or juice… until he actually knows better. What I love about Fruitshoot is that it’s perfect for kids of all ages, even 3-year olds. The easy-to-grip bottle has a no-spill cap, so it’s the only drink I don’t mind taking in the car with us. Plus, it contains no fructose corn syrup and no added sugars; making it a much better option than other flavored drinks.

Fruitshoot_Bottles_Four_Flavors

These vibrant fun colored bottles come in tasty flavors of Orange, Apple, Berry Burst, and Strawberry/Raspberry. With four choices in flavors and brightly colored bottles, it makes it fun for Myles to pick out which flavor he’s in the mood for.

Fruit_Shoot_BeverageFruitshoot is definitely my go-to when I want to treat Myles to something special and well…myself too! (Hello, 20 calories?! That’s it and it tastes amazing!)

Fruit_Shoot_Beverage_AppleIn regards to making healthy food fun for kids, I try to pick a theme that’s broad and easy enough to work with. “Ants on a Log” which is just celery, peanut butter and raisins, was always a favorite of mine growing up. The “Bug sandwich is turkey on wheat bread with swiss cheese on top for the wings. The eyes I had from Myles’ second birthday party. Completely edible, Wilton makes a lot of fun products to help spruce up a plate of food. Pretzel pieces make up the the legs and antennas and the grapes are stuck together with toothpicks to create “caterpillars”.  Just remember to always let your child be aware they are there and to not try and eat the toothpicks.

What are some of your favorite and creative ways to get your picky eater to eat healthy?

[Many thanks to Fruitshoot for sponsoring this post]

For more information, make sure to  stop by their Facebook page. 

Recipe: Super Easy Chicken Lo Mein

Easy-Healthy-Chicken-Lo-Mein-RecipeThis is another one of my most recent favorites. I love that you just toss all the ingredients in one pot, let it cook and you’re done. Plus, it makes for a great “left-over” meal.

Easy-Healthy-Chicken-Lo-Mein-Recipe-3

Ingredients:

1/2 LB  of chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
12 OZ of whole wheat linguini, broken in half
1/2 bag of baby carrots (Or I happened to find some pre-cut carrots in the veggie section of my local grocery store and used those)
1 bell pepper, diced. (Again, I found pre-sliced pepper pieces for only $1.00, so I opted to use those instead.)
1 TBSP of minced garlic
1/4 cup of light sodium soy sauce
1 TSP garlic powder
1 TSP corn starch
1 TBSP of sugar
1/2 TSP of red pepper flakes
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup of water
2 TSP of extra virgin olive oil

Easy-Healthy-Chicken-Lo-Mein-Recipe-2Directions:

Add the uncooked chicken, followed by the pasta, then the remaining ingredients to a large skillet or pot and cover. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and reduce to a simmer. Keep it covered, but stir every couple of minutes until everything’s fully cooked, about 15 minutes. You’ll know when the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the liquid is gone.

* Prep time is about 15 minutes. Cook time is also around 15 minutes; making this one easy meal to throw together on a weeknight. It’s delicious and another added bonus, it’s a lot healthier that carry out Lo Mein and has absolutely no grease!

Easy-Healthy-Chicken-Lo-Mein-RecipeEnjoy!

 

Onto Our Next Big Adventure: Moving!

I’ve had all sorts of different emotions over the past few months from excitement to fear to painfully keeping our plans on the down low until everything was finalized.  But the “for sale” sign went up last night and we’ve already broke the news to all of our dear neighbors and friends. So… I’m pretty excited to share all of the many reasons why I’ve been cancelling plans, why there’s an absence in blog posts and why my spring line of jewelry hasn’t been produced yet. John and I have literally spent every night working on getting the house ready to sell (with the exception of our trip to Cancun mid-February).

Did you have the chance to read this post I wrote in January about living with less? I’ve been working on that New Years resolution every single day since I clicked publish on that post. I feel like I should have been crowned the queen of decluttering! Really, we were pretty organized for the most part…but just had soo much “stuff”.  We have a big enough house with plenty of storage meaning, we  just ended up just stashing things in bins to deal with at a later time. That later time has been these past few months.

The decision didn’t come easy. After several months of research, long talks and weighing out the pros and cons, John and I decided we wanted to try the urban life by moving to downtown Cincinnati.

So badly we wanted to move to New York City after graduating from college, but our student loans held us back. In hindsight, that was probably for the best. But we still have that curiosity of city living. While downtown Cincinnati is no New York City, it’s still pretty darn awesome. Surrounded by parks and nestled in between the Reds stadium and the Bengals stadium, we decided on The Banks.

The-Banks-in-CincinnatiAs we told our family about our decision, so many questions came up. The biggest one: Why?  Here’s our explanation:

Devils-Backbone-HomeWe love our house dearly. This is our first home and the memories made here are countless. This is where we brought Myles home from the hospital. This is also where we met some of the nicest neighbors who are way more than neighbors;  more like family. We learned so much about home-ownership and how to “try” and maintain a professionally landscaped yard. I remember telling John the day we moved in 4 1/2 years ago that this was it. This was the home I wanted to live in the rest of my life. I loved everything about it; especially that fact that it was “ours”.

But as time went on, our priorities changed. Several months after Myles was born was more or less the beginning of our turning point. We felt like every weekend we were trying to pawn off our baby to the neighbors and friends; just so we could get some work done on the house. The yard alone could be a full time job in the summer. Myles is growing up so fast and we don’t want to miss anymore time with him. We want to enjoy the weekends together as a family exploring downtown, going to Red’s games and participating in all the fun activities that take place downtown; without the upkeep of a home. At least for now.

The other big question was what’s going to happen to Adobe, our German Shepard Husky. The answer is nothing! She’s coming with us. That’s one of the main reasons we chose The Banks. There’s plenty of nearby parks and places to walk her. Besides, she’s getting older and constantly begs to be inside with us; despite her nice set-up outside with a large yard, invisible fence, and her own garage with a bed and toys.

Lastly, school for Myles came up. We aren’t quite there yet. If we’re still living downtown when the time comes for him to start kindergarten, we feel as though private schooling would be the best solution. But only time will tell.

Anyway, we’re off on another adventure. While it’s sad to move, we’re also very excited for the next chapter of our lives to begin.

Here’s just a few photos of our new place:

The-Banks-in-CincinnatiThe-Banks-Cincinnati-8The-Banks-Cincinnati-7The-Banks-Cincinnati-3The-Banks-Cincinnati-Aerial-ViewSmale-Park-CincinnatiThe-Banks-Cincinnati-6The-Banks-Cincinnati-4[More to come with photos on how I downsized everything in my entire life --  next week]

Photo sources: 1, 2,  3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Myle-isms: Conversations with a 3-year old

Myles-isms-conversation-with-funny-three-year-oldI’ve been thinking about adding our funny conversations to the blog for well over a year. Although, I’m not completely disappointed that I didn’t start blogging about these conversations until now. I’ll  have plenty of time and many more laughs to come.  Plus the more Myles learns, the more humorous our conversations become.

Here are the highlights over the past week.

#1: I’m walking by the bathroom and see Myles with his HEAD in the toilet and bare behind in the air.

Me: “Myles! What’s going on?”
Myles: “I’m pretending to be a dog and drinking out of toilet- Roof!”
Me: “Gross! I don’t think that’s a good idea, lets do something else”

I turn to John and mumble: “Myles is like have a miniature DRUNK around!”

Myles: “You don’t call me an elephant TRUNK!”

#2:  We’re eating breakfast at the table and Myles spots this picture shown below.

downtown-cincinnati-the-banksMyles: “Hey Mommy, is that downtown?”

Me: “Yes.”

Myles: “Downtown Cincinnati?”

Me: “Yes.”

Myles: “I want to live in that building,” as he points to the Great American building — with the arch on the top.

Me: “Oh yeah..that’d be fun.”

Myles: “Mommy, I mean it. Up at the very top.”

Me: “I don’t know. That’s really high up and there aren’t any doors or windows to protect you all the way up there.”

Myles: “Downtown Cincinnati doesn’t have doors anymore?!?”.

#3. I’m eating a Spinach Salad with dinner.

Myles: “Mommy, are you eating leaves?”

Me: “More or less, yes…”

Myles: “Did you get them off the trees outside?”

Me: “No, because the trees outside don’t have any leaves on them. It’s winter.”

Myles: “Oh. You got them at the grocery store?”

Me: “Yes”

Myles: ” What?!?  Come on, did you pick them off a tree in the grocery store? That’s fancy!”

#4 Baby Bellies

To set this story up, the sweet lady that puts up with Myles on a daily basis is pregnant with her third child and Myles can’t seem to wrap his head around pregnancy.

We’re in Target the other night.

Myles points to an elderly woman and in the loudest voice possible, asks “Mommy, does she have a baby in her belly?”

Me: “No, sweetheart. I don’t think she does.”

Myles pointing to another woman: “How about her?”

Me: “Myles, use your inside voice and not every lady we walk past has a baby in her belly. I don’t.”

Myles: “Yeah, well…(sigh)…they should just buy them at Target!”

#5 Fancy Boobs

Myles and I ran into TJ Maxx to purchase new hangers. We pass the bra section as we head to the back of the store.

Myles: “MOMMY MOMMY! LOOK! Look at all the boobs for sale!”

Me (trying to not burst out laughing): “There’s a lot, huh?”

Myles lets go of my hand and dashes over to get an up close look before I can even process what’s going on.

Me: “Hey sweetie, we came in to look at hangers.”

Myles grabs a hot pink polka-dot bra and hold it up to his chest: “Do you think these fancy boobies look okay?”

By this time, we have an audience. Myles goes into a full-blown tantrum when I try to remove him from the bra aisle and take that “fancy” bra out of his hands.

Myles: “MOMMY! Just let me look at the fancy boobies, OKAY?!” and ” I want fancy boobs! Let me GO!” until we left. Without the hangers.

Monday Must-Haves: Nail Polish Picks

Sometimes you just don’t have the time or just aren’t in the position to get a professional manicure every other week. I know I don’t have the time, the patience or to be honest — have the desire to spend the money.

Luckily though,  there are some great alternatives for those of us who like to have a little DIY manicure at home without much of an investment in time or money.

essie-three-way-glaze-review

Today for my “must-have” items, I wanted to share with you my favorite nail polishes. Since writing a tutorial for this DIY Shellac (which I highly recommend), I’ve come to fall in love with Essie’s 3-Way Glaze. No matter what nail polish I use before or after applying the three way glaze… it lasts. No chipping, no wearing. I picked it up for around $7 at a local drug store and use it every single time I paint my nails. I apply a coat before applying color (so the color doesn’t stain my nails) and then I apply another coat after applying color.

 

sally-hansen-insta-dri-nail-polish-monday-must-haves

As far as my favorite colored nail polish, my go to is usually in the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri family, which range in price from $3.00 to $6.00 (including shipping) online. I can’t stand sitting still waiting for my nails to dry. With the combination of the Essie Three Way Glaze and the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, painting my nails typically takes five to ten minutes tops from start to finish. As in, I can touch things without the polish smudging 10 minutes after freshly applying the polish.

Shown above are my three most favorite colors:

I think all of the color choices in Insta-Dri are nice. These just happen to be my current “must-haves”. You know, thinking spring with bright colors, right?

If you really want your nail polish to last, check out this tutorial on DIY Shellac at home. It’s well worth it but takes a little longer than my method mentioned above.

Happy Monday!

30 Thoughts on Being Thirty

30th-sparklers

It’s a true blessing to have the kind of friends in your life where you can call them up and feel as if you can pick up right where you left off; whether that be weeks, years or even a decade.

Last Friday night made me truly appreciate those kind of relationships. Chatting with one of my best friends from high school, I happened to have our senior year book readily available from a basement re-model I’m in the middle of. One of the things we added in the year book as seniors was our “ten-years-later” life predictions. While I read ours and a few of our other close friends predictions, it’s really intriguing to see what people “expect” to happen when you get near the age of 30 (really this was for when we were 28 but close enough). Most predicted to be married, with kids and a successful career. While I can’t say I strayed too far from my predictions, the road to where I’m at now was no easy ride. I learned that the only thing that is constant, is change.

2002-year-book-predictions-as-high-school-seniorsSo, my last named changed and I may live in a shoe box of a house as opposed to a mansion, but I didn’t stray too far away from what I thought my life would be like now but predicted back in 2002.

Let me just say that I’m thankful for turning thirty. It’s a privilege most get, but not all.

Predictions and mansions aside, here are thirty things I’ve learned since being that 18-year old high school student who aspired to break 100 lbs and make it big in the real world:

high-school-sweethearts1. Follow your intuition. after  graduating from high school, my dad accepted a job offer at Clemson University in Greenville, South Carolina. While it would have made sense for me to relocate with them and possibly get a small break on tuition, I opted to stay in Tallahassee and live with John (husband now) and his mother. Much to my family’s demise, I did what I felt was right at the time. I went to Tallahassee Community college on full scholarship before attending Savannah College of Art & Design, which brings me to my next life lesson.

2. Never let anything get in the way of you and your dreams. John and I wanted so badly to attend Savannah College of Art & Design. As freshman on Friday nights, we opted to stay in and work on scholarships applications for SCAD as opposed to going out to clubs and bars. Of course the temptation was there, but we were on a mission. And we succeeded.

3. Appreciate your relationships. Not many people meet their soul mate in high school. I’m one of the very few lucky ones. When I first met John in Advanced Placement Art, we sort of stuck together. The only thing we had in common was that we were the only freshman in a room full of high school seniors. Little did I know by thirty, we’d be married six years and have a child together.

4. College was one of the more challenging times of my life, but it prepared me for the future in a way I’d never expect. Not through books, but being able to being a full time student with a full time job. We spent countless nights where we just couldn’t go to bed due to the amount of homework we had. John pulled over twenty all-nighters in just one quarter. I maybe did twenty all-nighters throughout my time in school, but I know what lack of sleep is. You know it’s time to go to bed when telephone poles start swaying as your stopped at a red light. Red means stop, right?

5. Life after college is just as difficult but in a much different way. Job hunting…figuring out the next step and what you’d ideally  like to do in life. Yeah I mean, we all had goals in fashion design school; it was to be the next top designer showcasing our work at New York Fashion Week. But then there’s reality. You know, student loan bills start kicking in six months after you graduate. At $650 a month for EACH of us, that was enough to stifle quite a few dreams.

6. Sacrifice can be a good thing. John gets the first job out of college and unfortunately, those pesky student loans aren’t going to pay for themselves. So we move from Savannah, Georgia to Austin, Texas. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know where Austin was on the map until I actually lived there. Looking back, I still think it’s odd when I say “Oh yeah, I lived in Texas for 3 years; it was an interesting chapter of my life.” But moving there gave me a different perspective on life.

7. Things don’t always work out as planned. Ideally we have this end goal in our head…or at least I did.  I just worked my butt off the past four years, paid crazy amounts of money to go to an outstanding college and was ready for that high paying awesome first job. I’d wake up bright and early every morning while residing in Texas, fine-tuning my portfolio, scouring Craigslist for freelance opportunities only to end up becoming a bartender. Saying it was a blow to my ego would be an understatement.

8. Life works in mysterious ways. Luckily pouring booze late at night brought in decent money. Enough to invest in starting my own fashion and accessory design business. Under the name MEWfashion, I started designing clothes and jewelry. My website launched August 15, 2007.

9. Being your own boss isn’t all what it’s chocked up to be. Many dream of having their own business. But taking action puts that idea of owning your own business from high up on a pedestal, to questioning what the hell your doing. I  mean, I just invested more than I should have on a fabulous e-commerce website. I spent countless hours making jewelry, purchasing sergers and Quickbooks, in addition to turning the 2nd bedroom into a studio. Why weren’t orders pouring in?

10. Persistence and patience are only words, but their meaning can be life changing. My jewelry started to sell in boutiques, I was invited to participate in multiple fashion shows, including Austin’s first ever fashion week. I was even given the opportunity to try out for Project Runway and meet Tim Gunn. Remembering these two words along with outpouring support from my family is all I ever needed and I still believe in that to this day.

11. Good things come to those who wait. And at the end of 2007, John proposed to me in front of the capitol of Texas. We took a carriage ride through the streets of Austin that were illuminated by all the colorful Christmas lights of the season. I had no idea he was about to pop the question and when he told me he had something for me, the first thing that came to mind was a ring made out of a straw wrapper. No worries, I still get straw-wrapper-rings to this day and probably have about twenty saved in a keepsake box.

12. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. We kept our wedding in Greenville, South Carolina small. Since it was remote for just about everyone aside from my mom and dad, it was more intimate. We were able to have our bachelor and bachelorette parties together. All ten of our bridesmaids and groomsmen were from nine different states. It was so amazing to have all of our closest friends, from every chapter of our life thus far, together.

13. Being married didn’t change much. The two biggest changes: my last name and our car insurance payment. It dropped significantly…but that could have been because we were coming up on turning 25.

11. Home is where your heart is. While not everyone could agree with this, it’s a phrase that stands true for me. Maybe I would have felt differently if I hadn’t been uprooted from Cincinnati at age 12 to relocate to Flordia. Maybe I wouldn’t see the city as a place with such fond childhood memories. Regardless, I was proud to be from Cincinnati and I wanted to move back and call the Queen City my permanent home.

purchasing-our-first-home

12. Take risks. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say I (we) took risks. After deciding to move to Cincinnati from Austin, we flew to my parents house in South Carolina and drove a rental car up to Cincinnati to buy a house. That’s right. We had four days to find a house in our price range –  praying it’d pass inspection so we could get approved for a loan. This was all before we told John’s company we were moving across the country. He had this whole work-from-home proposal figured out and only hoped they’d give him a chance to work from home. That home we just purchased whether his company liked it or not. Ironically, five years later, he’s still working from our very same home. Speaking of homes…

13. Home ownership has just as many downs as it does ups. It was in just about everyone’s future ten-year-plan in the yearbook: to own a home. We were beyond excited to move in. Every weed that sprung up overnight wasn’t a  big deal because we owned it. That weed belonged to us damn it and we could do what we want with it. We killed like ten plants in our yard the first year, but it was okay because they were our plants and we could replant anything  our nature-loving hearts desired. Let’s just fast forward past literally one-hundred other issues we’ve had from our deck caving in to water literally pouring over the breaker box. Owning a home is not always fun or rewarding.

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14. Trying new things keeps life interesting. The only thing that comes to mind is wearing trash bags over my legs while I cleaned out our worm-infested pond. Those things weren’t normal worms. They had to of been water snakes or something. If anything, it made for a funny picture.

 

 

15. Finding out your pregnant is both the scariest and one of the happiest moments of your life.

16. Bringing a new life into this world is a long, exhausting and emotional journey. I always thought that woman exaggerated when they mentioned all the weird cravings they’d get while being pregnant. But after reluctantly telling my doctor I wanted to devour a porcelain bowl, she  informed me that this in fact comes up more than you’d think. It’s caused by an iron deficiency and adding a little more iron to my diet made that go away. But crying hysterically when my husband passed gas in the car and it was making me sick – that stuck with me throughout the entire pregnancy.

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17. It’s okay to be and have and only child. I’m an only child. My husbands an only child. We were both fine with it growing up. I mean, we both shared moments where we wished we had siblings to play with at times. But overall, it wasn’t so bad. I feel as like there’s so much pressure to have more than just one kid. I’m not buying into it. One is plenty, both emotionally and financially.

18. Cherish good health. Even though I’d say I’m in pretty good shape, things can still go wrong. I’ve had Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer), multiple foot surgeries, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, some weird dent in my hip so deep I could store change in it (that went away on it’s own but hurt for about a year) along with  heart failure and multiple blood transfusions. I feel like I should be a lot older jotting down some of my major health issues I’ve had over the last decade but yeah. I’m only thirty and a little over 100 lbs.

19.  Accept the way you look and learn to love it. My stomach may never look quite the same and I’ll always have a little extra skin from having my son. I spot gray hairs from time to time and my hands feel like those of a construction worker from making jewelry for so many years. Who cares.

20. Being a mom is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever have. It never stops. Even when your child isn’t physically with you, you’ll think about them all the time. Even at the age of 3, I still get up in the middle of the night with Myles. Last night it was because there were purple witches under his pillow. Yeah… it’s easier to spray air freshener and tell him it’s “witch go away spray” over heating up a bottle, burping and changing him several times a night, it still takes a toll on me the next day.

21. Never stop working on your marriage. Kids can wreck havoc on a relationship. Thankfully I learned sooner rather than later that it’s important to make time for just the two of you. Even if it’s just going out to dinner once a month kid-free. It’s a great feeling that was taken for granted prior to being parents.

22. Everything happens for a reason. This may not be true, but I believe it. It might just be me trying to find the good in what would otherwise be a bad situation.

23. Losing loved ones is inevitable.  I know everyone goes through some sort of  loss and grief – followed by questioning. But I’ve come to terms with knowing it happens to everyone and sometimes without explanation. Losing my mother-in-law in 2010 was a tough, especially being pregnant, hormonal and not yet out of the morning sickness phase.

24. Success isn’t measured the way I once thought it was. There are many types of success that doesn’t involve having a fancy car, new designer clothes, a  big house and  a lot of money in the bank. I now base success on happiness and fulfillment rather than material things.

25. Follow your passion. Throughout the course of all these various life events, I never gave up on my business. Sometimes I dropped down to as little as only working on it 10 hours a week, but it’s something I worked so hard far. I’m  passionate about what I do and because of that, I really don’t feel like what I do is work. (see #8 on how & why I started my business)

26. Push boundaries. I would have never imagined that I’d have a daily radio segment on Cincinnati’s top 40 station or that I’d cut commercials for my favorite stores like Michael’s Arts & Crafts and IKEA  or be on national TV.  But when I was offered a job at Hubbard Broadcasting only 4 months after my son was born in 2011, I jumped in with both feet and rode it out until the position was discontinued 5 months ago.

27.  Try not to take things personal. That took me awhile to figure out. I still struggle with it. But things happen, people change, businesses change and life goes on.

28. Cherish friendships. The amount of friends you have is far less important than the quality of  your friendships. I consider myself very fortunate to still have several friends from elementary school that I talk to on a regular basis.

29. The only thing certain in life is change. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and accept the way things are and try to find the positive in the situation or adapt to the change. This is definitely easier said than done.

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30. Life balance is essential. Taking time for myself is still something I’m working on. However, I’d say going to Cancun, Mexico for my 30th birthday is a good start.

There you go. There’s my thirty thoughts on being thirty. I can’t wait to read this at forty to see how things have changed. But until then, I’m going to continue to challenge myself,  never stop learning and enjoy my thirties to their fullest!

Monday Must-Haves: Nerium AD

I’m kicking off a new column, “Monday Must-Haves” starting (drum roll, please….) today!

This weekly column will be about anything from my favorite pair of heels that are both comfortable AND cute (I find that to be a rare combination) to a clothing line I adore or a beauty product that is worthy of sharing. I love sharing things that make me happy and if I can inspire or introduce new things then hey, I think it’s a win-win for everyone!

*Links below are fixed as of 2/11/14 at 8 p.m. Sorry for any inconvenience! 

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Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on Nerium AD Night Cream as I thought it was only appropriate to cover the topic of fine lines and wrinkles on the last Monday I’ll be in my twenties. Laugh all you want, but seriously…I’ve got some fine lines appearing and I don’t know whether to blame my three-year-old or my age. Regardless, I want to stop them in their tracks while also using preventative measures.

Last August, I met a sweet woman named Vonnetta at a fashion event who is a representative for Nerium. Honestly, I’ve heard of the product before but never thought too much about it, other than it’s just another skin care product claiming to fix damaged skin. But as she went into detail, I learned that Nerium AD isn’t the same as any ordinary night cream. It benefits your skin in more ways than just correcting fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps smooth skin and if you happen to have any skin discoloration, it’ll help even out your skin tone. Using an extract from the Nerium oleander plant in a way that preserves its unique and beneficial properties, it’s really a revolutionary skin care solution.

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To the left is my before and after picture. I had some forehead lines going on, but after 30 days of      using Nerium, it made them nearly vanish – which is AWESOME!

Nerium is definitely no secret; with over 99,000 facebook fans and even people like Justin  Timerlake’s mother selling it, there’s something to be said for this miraculous multi-purpose anti- aging cream.

For more information about how you can try or purchase Nerium for yourself, I’d suggest chatting with Vonnetta Mc Colgan. She’s such a sweet person and is so passionate about Nerium and what it can do for your skin. You can find Vonnetta through her website: http://www.nettagi.nerium.com or through email:

nettagibeauty@gmail.com

All the opinions stated above are my own and is not a paid endorsement.

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