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Monday, April 27, 2015

DIY Beaded Tassel Necklace

Happy Monday!

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A few weeks ago I came across these cute beaded tassel necklaces and I immediately started searching for where I could buy them. But the cheapest ones I could find were $20 each. I felt that spending $40 on necklaces wasn't the best use of my budget, so I started thinking about how I could possibly make my own. After visiting a few craft stores, and searching for beads online, I finally found the perfect beads at Hobby Lobby. Between some of the beads being on sale, and using a coupon for the more expensive one, I was able to get the supplies to make 2 necklaces for $18 (less than half the price of the original ones, and I got 2 for the price of 1!). Plus I had some money left on a gift card from Christmas, so I practically paid almost nothing for the supplies...even better!

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They were rather simple to make and took me about an hour to make both of them, and that included time to try and figure out how many beads to use of each color. I think I re-strung these beads about 3 times before I finally got them right. My only regret is I wish I would have used more wooden beads, but I only purchased 2 packs, so I basically used what I had.

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As I mentioned I got all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby. Here are the supplies I used for 1 of the necklaces. I used the same supplies/same brands in pink colors for the other necklace, just didn't get a picture. I ended up using 20 of the wooden beads and the purplish/blue beads. I used 22 of the turquoise beads because I used 2 at the bottom to attach the tassel. So other than the 2 tassel beads, I used 10 of each color on each side. I also used some of Rick's fishing line as my base and embroidery floss to make my tassel.

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The first step is to make the tassel. I used this pin to help figure out how to make the tassel. I used a small picture frame to wrap almost the entire embroidery floss around. You do need to keep about 12" free to wrap around the tassel and finish it off. I made a loose knot around the top to hold it together and then carefully pulled it off the frame and then snipped the bottom. 

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I then strung my fishing line through the top loop of my tassel. I threaded 2 beads through both strands of the fishing line to hold the tassel on the line. I used a small rubber band to lightly hold the tassel together so it wouldn't fall apart until I was ready to finish it off. I then took 10 of each bead and strung it on each strand of the fishing line. I tied them off at the top with a few tight knots. Rick suggested I go back and use some super glue to reinforce the knots. I told him he was in charge of that.

After I finished beading my necklace, I finished off the tassel. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures but basically I untied the loose knot first, and then just took the extra long piece of floss and wrapped it around the top of the tassel. I then used a large needle to thread the end through the wrapped part at the top. I then straighted out my tassel and trimmed the bottom to make it even. If you have any questions feel free to email me. It sounds complicated, but it was really easy to make.

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Here are the finished necklaces. I love how they turned out and love how well they work together. I think they would also look cute separately, but I originally saw them together so I just had to recreate the look.

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I love how they add some fun color to this chambray dress that I got from Loft a few weeks ago. You know my love of Chambray, so when I got an email with this dress in it for 40% off, I might have immediately high-tailed it to Loft to pick it up.

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The dress is super soft and is perfectly worn in. It will be perfect to wear to work or for a casual event on the weekend. 

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These necklaces were a lot of fun to make, and so easy! I already have a few more ideas of ones I can make. I'm going to need to need some more jewelry storage, or maybe I'll just give them away as gifts.

I have a few more DIY projects to share in the upcoming weeks, so check back next week to see what I've created next!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Life Lately: Pink Sunday, Birthdays and More

Life has been a little crazy lately. There have been some rough patches, but there are also a few good things on the horizon that I'm hoping if all works out I can share soon. Today I thought I would share some of the fun things going on lately.

Did anyone else attempt the Lilly for Target sale? I totally anticipated there would be craziness online and the line would sell out immediately. But I had no idea the stores here in Central Ohio would be so crazy. I always thought Lilly Pulitzer was more of a southern brand and the people here in Columbus would have no idea, nor would they care, but that was not the case. I did score quite a few items on my wish list with some strategic shopping, and a lot of luck.

I was so nervous all day on Saturday because there were a few things that I really wanted. I stayed up late on Saturday night and decided to log onto Twitter to see what kind of buzz was going on and if anyone had any idea when the online sale would begin. Around 12:30 am, people started tweeting links to individual products that were up on the mobile site. The gold espadrilles were first, then one of the maxi dresses, then the blue weekender bag. I kept thinking this is crazy and should I start buying these items, even though they were not my wish list items, just so I could ensure I got something?

Then I came across a link to the Pineapple Sandals, which were my top wish list item, and I immediately purchased them and awaited an email confirmation, sure that this was totally a mistake. Then I saw a link for the Fan Dance Shift Dress, which was also a top item on my wish list and immediately I purchased that one too.  Both purchases went through and shortly after I got email confirmations. Each time I got a confirmation I ran out into the hallway and screamed my victory to Rick who was downstairs playing video games. He thought I was totally nuts but I was just so excited that I got my two big wish list items. I debated on purchasing some other items, but didn't want to spend a ton of money and figured my credit card company was going to start calling me and wondering why I was making all of these individual purchases at 1 am on a Sat night. So I decided to go to bed and get up early and head to the store when it opened to check out the rest.

So I get to the store at 7:50 am, and there is about 50 or so people lined up and I am like WTF!! I quickly get in line and watch as more people line up behind me. I'm thinking seriously, I only know 2 other people here that even know about Lilly Pulitzer, so why are all of these people here?? They open the doors at 8 am and everyone starts sprinting in the door. I lucked out because the majority of the people were rushing to the left where all of the clothes were, and I was more interested in the makeup bags and the home goods, so I went right to find those items. Luckily I was like the only one who did that, so I had my pick of most of these items and got everything on my wish list from those areas. The only thing that I didn't get that I had my eye on was one of the scarfs, but all of the clothing and accessories were completely gone by the time I got over there, so I missed out on that. But I got all of the other items on my wish list, so I can't complain, especially after hearing that some people didn't get anything.

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Here are the items I scored at the store, and I'll have to share my dress and shoes once they arrive. I learned the next day that some of the items on the mobile site launched too early by mistake, so it was sheer luck that I was able to purchase those items so early and I do have to thank Twitter for that! Corporate quickly caught wind of what was going on and shut down the site until about 3 am. Luckily they still honored those transactions and I already got a shipping confirmation for both. So I'll be obsessively tracking these items until they arrive safely at my door. I just hope they fit as I had no idea what size I would wear, and really wish I could have seen them in person at the store.

In other not so crazy news...

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This guy had a birthday on Saturday. All he wanted was to go to Smashburger for his birthday dinner. Mission accomplished.

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This was the first time we have ever been and I really liked it. The burgers and fries were similar to Steak-n-Shake, but a little fancier. We both had the Avocado Club (which was amazing BTW) and I got the Smashfries which had rosemary, olive oil and garlic on them, which I highly recommend...so good!

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Later we went home and watched the movie Noah (which I had mixed feelings about), and had some birthday cupcakes from Gigi's. Mr Napoleon decided he needed to get in on the birthday pic.

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My brother also had a birthday earlier this month, and we celebrated last weekend with the kiddos. This last round of the 21 Day Fix hasn't been too easy with 2 birthdays and a few other things going on. But it's all about moderation and birthday brownies and cupcakes have no calories right?

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Another fun thing we did this weekend was start some seeds for our garden. Rick's parents gave him a greenhouse for his birthday, so we have all of our seeds started and we are hoping they will be ready in the next month or two to plant. I can't wait until we have fresh herbs and veggies to cook with!
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Last but not least, I wanted to share there is a Bikini Boot Camp starting next week, so if anyone is interested in joining one of our challenge groups let me know. Memorial Day is a little over a month away and then it will be shorts and swimsuit season, so now is the perfect time to start. I lost 8" during my first challenge and some of the other challengers lost 5 lbs to 15 lbs, all through clean eating and 30 mins of daily exercise. There are only a few spots left, so if you are interested leave a comment below, or send me an email at lifeloveandpuppypaws@gmail.com. A month from now you will be glad you started today!
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Love

Happy Friday! Let's kick-off the weekend with some Friday favorites.

{ ONE }

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Last week Shopbop had a big sale and everything was 25% off. I took the opportunity to get my first ever Kate Spade bag. I just love the bright blue color and the scallops. It's a little bigger than I expected, more of a tote bag than a purse, but that didn't stop me from swapping out my stuff to use it as a purse. Gives me the opportunity to lug around more stuff like my planner, my Nook, water bottle, makeup bag, snacks...yes I'm one of those people that likes to be prepared and carry everything with me.

{ TWO }

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I got this striped blazer at Target a few weeks ago and I am obsessed with it. Its a really soft textured knit material so it is really comfortable to wear, not stiff like many other blazers, but looks really dressed up. I wore this outfit the other day when I traveled to Chicago for a work event and it was comfortable on the plane, but really dressed up my jeans and I thought looked like a good combination of professional and casual.


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It finally warmed up enough to bring our furniture out on the deck. I'm so excited to be able to sit out on the deck in the afternoons in the warm sun to grill out, enjoy cocktails and spend some quite time catching up with a good book. I just recently started reading Giuliana Rancic's new book Going Off Script, and so far I'm loving it. I've always been a fan of Giuliana and Bill, so I was really excited when this book came out.

{ FOUR }

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I just had to share my new pink glitter monogrammed water bottle. I found it on Etsy, and it really does make working out so much more fun.

{ FIVE }

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I came across this Strawberry Basil Margarita a few weeks ago and think this weekend would be the perfect time to try it. We have all of the ingredients on hand, so why not. I think I might try to use honey instead of the simple syrup to make it a little more healthy, so we shall see how that works out.


I love the show Fixer Upper, and especially love Joanna Gaines. She seems like such a genuine person, and has amazing style. What I would give to have her and Chip come to Ohio to makeover our home. The other day I came across this interview, and have watched it approx 150 times. I have so needed to hear this as I've had many struggles with the fear of failure and worrying about what people may think. But God has a purpose for me, and for you, so we all just need to trust in him and follow our hearts.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

6 Tips for Living With Less Stress

Stress is something that I seem to deal with on a daily basis. I’m not sure about you, but my biggest problem is setting too high of expectations for myself with a “To Do List” a million miles long. I worry am I being a good wife, employee, sister, daughter, friend, and what more can I do to make sure everyone is happy with me. Sometimes I get all stressed out over being too stressed and it turns into a vicious cycle. Can anyone relate?

Stress can be an annoyance, but the bigger problem here is that stress can really affect our health and we may not even notice it or realize some of our health issues are stress related. Some common effects of stress include: headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, sleep problems, lack of motivation or focus, irritability/anger, sadness or depression…to name a few. Stress that’s left unchecked can also contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Struggling with losing those last few pounds, belly fat, or that muffin top? Stress can increase cortisol levels, which causes your body to actually resist losing weight. One of the biggest health issues I deal with are stomach issues, and my doctor has informed me stress is probably a huge factor in those issues. Yes diet and exercise help, but getting my stress under control is also an area I need to work on.

So what can we all do to relieve stress and get back to being healthy?

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Get moving
Sometimes the last thing I want to do when I’m stressed is workout. My daily scheduled is usually jammed pack and doesn’t always have room for exercise. But I’ve found that doing some sort of physical activity can really help to reduce stress. It can help pump up your feel-good endorphins, clear your mind so you can focus, and help to increase your self-confidence. You don’t have to spend hours to get the benefit, just spend 20-30 minutes doing a little yoga, take a run or a brisk walk or even just fit in 10 mins of ab work. I actually heard of this company called Oscar Insurance that pays their members to get moving with their incentive program. Each member gets a free Misfit fitness tracker and can earn back cash rewards every day they hit their personalized goals! You can click here to check out their site.

Get some sunshine
Sunlight can boost serotonin, which helps balance your mood and can help with depression. Sometimes when I’ve had a stressful day I’ll take a quick walk around my neighborhood or my office complex, or I’ll take my lunch outside to eat. I also love to jump in the car, put the sunroof back, blast some tunes and just enjoy the warm sunshine. The sun just seems to melt the stress away.

Have a few quite moments
I’m slightly introverted, so whenever I’m really stressed I go through periods of needing some alone time. I love to take a bubble bath, read a book and enjoy some hot tea. I recently started using these Lavender Epsom Sleep Salts in my bath, and they are heavenly and just help to melt the stress away. It is also great for calming you down before bed. .

Read an inspirational book
Keeping positive and motivated is another great way to battle stress. If you have a positive outlook on things, you are more likely to be positive about dealing with a stressful situation. But sometimes it's hard to be positive in a sometimes negative world, so I love reading inspirational books to help me see the brighter side of things and keep my motivation up. I'm currently reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and I do have to say I'm really enjoying this book. There are a lot of great inspirational messages around all sorts of subjects such as finance, health and wellness, and going for your dreams. I also loved reading Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity. You don't have to give up the other things you enjoy reading, I'm actually reading both The Slight Edge book and Giuliana Rancic's new book Going Off Script at the same time. You just need to read about 10 pages, or 10 minutes worth, of the book each day to keep the positivity going and then you can move on to whatever else you enjoy reading (books, magazines, blogs, etc.).

Listen to some music
If I’ve had a really rough day at work, the best way for me to clear my mind and regain focus is to listen to some music. Sometimes I like to listen to something more relaxing (the Pandora “Spa Radio” or a Classical station is sometimes nice and relaxing), or sometimes I’ll try something a little more peppier (type in Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocket Full of Sunshine” for some great feel good music). What I love about Pandora is I can type in any song that fits my mood at the time and it will generate more songs just like that.

Shut down the electronics
I am so guilty of this. I feel like between my email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, I’ve become ADD and have a hard time focusing anymore. I’m also really guilty of having to check every notification on my phone the minute it pops-ups, which makes me easily distracted. I’ve also found myself getting antsy when there are no notifications or no new items in my newsfeed. Like I worry I’m going to miss out on another post about a bag/shoes I can’t really afford, or another Starbucks/donut that I really shouldn’t drink/eat. I really need to start implementing a no Social Media weekend, or even a rule to shut things down after 9 pm at night.

Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month and has been since 1992? So now’s the perfect time to work towards taking steps to reduce your stress? I’d love to hear more about ways you reduce your stress, or things you would like to focus on for the month of April.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Clean Slate Cookbook Review + 2 Recipes (Almond Crusted Chicken & No-Bake Strawberry Bars)

I have another fun cookbook to share today. I have had my eye on this cookbook for a while now, and was really excited when it arrived. I was in the middle of my 1st 21 Day Fix Challenge and looking for some healthy recipes that I could add to our healthy dinner rotation. And it's from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living, which I love, so it's just got to be good right? Well now that I've had it for a month or so, I can say that this book is completely full of healthy, and delicious recipes.

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So what is this book all about. Well there are 2 parts to the book. The first part is more of a guide book to healthy eating. It includes useful information, such as healthy food swaps like switching avocado for mayo and greek yogurt to sour cream, tips for eating clean and choosing whole foods over processed foods, and tips for restocking your pantry. There is also a menu with recipes for a 3-Day Detox and a 21-Day Detox. I have not tried the detox plans yet because I've been using the 21 Day Fix eating plan, but I may try the 3-Day Detox just to see what it is all about. Both plans are meat free, which I'll be honest I'm not crazy about the idea of eliminating a food group, but for 3 days it might not be too bad. I'll have to try it and definitely follow up.

The second part is full of recipes. There were a few of them that I have tried so far and have loved. I have 2 below to share. They are all healthy/clean-eating recipes and I love that each recipe has a key so you can quickly see if it's vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free. It's perfect for people with food sensitivities.

All of the recipes are sectioned off into categories on how the foods can help get your body healthy. These sections include: Replenish, Reboot, Recharge, Reengergize, Restore and Relax. My favorite section is the Relax section which is full of healthy dessert recipes such as Chocolate Walnut Brownies, Popsicles, Truffles, Berry Crisp, and the No-Bake Strawberry Bars which I've included below.

I wanted to share two of my favorite recipes that have become a part of our dinner rotation. The first recipe for Almond Crusted Chicken I swear we ate 3 weeks in a row, and I have it on the menu for this week as well. Thankfully Rick likes it as it has become one of my favorite meals. Serve it either with a salad, some green beans or sweet potato fries.

The second recipe is a dessert that is so good. The crust is made of dates and macadamia nuts and I swear it almost tastes like a pretzel crust. The first time I made this recipe it didn't really stick together very well. The second time I made it I made sure to really pulse the dates and nuts so they became sticky, and then added a little honey to help it stick together even more. It's still a very fragile dessert, but so yummy!

My only issue with the cookbook is there are a lot of recipes with ingredients I'll be honest I'm not even sure where to find. It's definitely a cookbook for a more sophisticated palate, and will require trips to a food specialty store or a health store for some of the ingredients. There are still plenty of recipes with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store, and I'm sure you could swap a lot of the ingredients. But this was something that I took note of, and you really have to take the time to go through the cookbook and figure out what recipes will work for your tastes and the ingredients you have access to.

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Almond Crusted Chicken
3-4 Servings

-- 1 lb chicken breast or tenders
-- 1 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
-- 4 tbs olive oil
-- Salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 375. Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken. Then place your almonds in a food processor, along with 4 tbs of olive oil and pulse until it's a textured paste. Then cover your chicken with the almond paste and place in the oven and bake for 25 mins.

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No-Bake Strawberry Bars
6 servings

-- 2 cups of pitted dates
-- 1/4 cup of raw macadamia nuts
-- 2 tbs of old fashioned oats
-- pinch of sea salt
-- drizzle of honey
-- 15-20 strawberries

Place your dates, macadamia nuts, oats and salt into a food processor and process until the mixture is like pebbles and starts to clump together. This make take several minutes. Then drizzle some honey and pulse a few more times.

Spray a small pan or pie dish with olive oil, and place the mixture on the bottom of the dish. Then take about 10 strawberries and mash with a fork or place in the food processor to make a jam-like spread. Then spread on top of your date/nut mixture. Then cut about 5 more strawberries to make a pretty design on top. You may want to place in the fridge before serving so the mixture can harden a little and will be easier to remove. Note this will only last a day or two in the fridge.

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I love to enjoy these bars with a hot cup of tea.

Does anyone else have this cookbook? If so, what recipes should I try next?

If you are looking for another great healthy cookbook, check out my review of Supermarket Healthy.

I recieved this book from Blogging for Books to review.

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