Monday, February 4, 2013

Sewing Adventures

For Christmas I was given a sewing machine by my handsome husband, and I've been on sewing adventures ever since! I'm not very good yet--which is to be expected since the last time I touched a sewing machine was probably more than 20 years ago when I was just a child.

My first big project was a flannel baby blanket for a little fellow named August. Here he is wrapped up in his little "welcome to the world" gift.

What do you think?

The green one underneath him wasn't made by me. I made the one with the blue border :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Homemade Guest Room

My husband and I live in a roomy, open floor plan apartment, but it only has one bedroom. No guest room! This is difficult since we live at least 2 hours from most of our friends! He's lived here for over 2 years, and I have for over 7 months. Since our wedding, we've had a few overnight guests, and a few guests decline because of our lack of guest room options. This past week, a friend of mine told me about her interest in a studio-style apartment and that got me would she have overnight guests in her apartment? It inspired me to consider room separation from that perspective, and I decided to "build" my own guest room. I love crafts--anything handmade, really--so it was exciting to try something totally different from what I'm used to doing!

First, this is the view from the living room, our current guest space. We have an inflatable mattress that can be used as a bed for our guests, and when they're lying in bed, this is what they see. The kitchen. the bathroom door, and right by that bathroom door is our room. So when we get up for breakfast, coffee, bathroom breaks, etc., there they are, there we are, and it's awkwardness for everyone.

Well, you can see what I made, because the homemade curtains are already hanging in this picture. We actually like the way they look, so we're keeping them up now.

The creation of this room divider was so easy, and if I'd been more confident in my sewing skills beforehand, I would definitely have made this more creative. But for a first time, pretty good. 

The door curtain on the left was the easiest. We used a tension shower curtain rod to hold it up (Lowe's for $12) and miraculously found that curtain for $8 at WalMart, and it already matched the measurements I needed to the inch!

The bar curtains were not so simple as that, but the solution was easy enough. We happened to find that extra long rod at Hobby Lobby where we'd gotten all our other living room curtain rods, and it was only $21. 

The curtains were a little more expensive at about $10 a set (also from Lowe's) and their measurement was originally twice the length I needed. I decided to grab one set of striped and one of red, for the added colors. I cut the curtains in half and stitched up a simple hem, and voila! Brand new curtains for the bar. 

As you can see, it's much more private now. Our friends who came to visit for New Years' were here from December 30 to January 1 and I had to work on the morning of the 31st. My husband and I were able to get our morning coffee and breakfast without disturbing them and work in our room until they were up. I have to admit, I can't wait to have guests again! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thirteen Goals for 2013

New Years' Resolutions are a big thing. I hear them mentioned every time a new year rolls around, and then I never seem to hear them mentioned again afterwards (at least not until December regret rolls in), but of course that's a different concern. Everyone has their own way.

Last year my New Years' resolution involved working out, writing a novel, and traveling, and since then, I achieved with flying colors!

  • I entered a body building competition last winter and shed inches from all of my "fatty deposits." (Ladies, you know what I mean.) I also succeeded in lifting some really high numbers! I purchased a wedding dress that fit and ended up having the whole thing altered to fit my new slimmer and trimmer self. Very exciting. 
  • I not only wrote a novel in 2012, but I wrote 3. They are unfinished, scattered first drafts that need lots of polish and revision, but they're novels. And I wrote them. 
  • I traveled to Hawaii for 2 weeks on my honeymoon in June and went on a long weekend trip to Seattle and the Olympic National Park with my husband in November. Not quite as many trips as we took in 2011, but we definitely traveled farther!
  • I didn't mention "reading" in my New Years' goals, but I did participate in the 2013 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. I said I could read 20 books in one year (didn't want to be too daring with a wedding, full time job, and all those other resolutions) and I rolled out of 2012 with a grand total of 21 books. 
  • Another unofficial New Years' goal last year was to make amazing cupcakes, because my husband bought me a cupcake baker last year for my birthday. I haven't baked as much as I would have liked, but my cupcakes have been a hit wherever I've brought them! 
This year, I have a few other goals I'd like to throw in since I'm so excited with the way the last ones turned out!

New Years' Resolutions for 2013

1. This year my #1 most important goal is to complete the novels that I strove so hard to write in the first place. I have never yet successfully revised a novel to completion, but I dream of it, and that which you dream of you ought to achieve, lest your life be wasted. So when all else fails, this dream must be my main focus. That's why it's #1. 

2. Next, I want to learn to sew and do it well. My husband bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and I've already done a few silly, pattern-less projects on it and they've turned out all right for a first-timer. I want to be able to make myself an article of clothing, and to create gifts for my friends and family this year. 

3. I hope to work extra hard on promoting TreasuredDetails. I love my little shop, and it's been a source of joy for me since I started it in June 2010. I just love creating beautiful designs for people who appreciate them and can't wait to be called upon to do more. This goal involves me trying to enter a craft or bridal show this year as well! 

4. Keep a journal. I've already been working on this one and made a post about it a few weeks ago. See that post here.

5. Travel outside the U.S. I want to make it my goal to visit England this year, but I'm not sure if that one's in the cards this time. If not, Canada will do :)

6. Spend some time visiting friends. I have a lot of friends around the country, and since I moved away from home in 2012, I learned the value of friends who want to visit (as well as their actual visits!) and I want to do the same for my faraway friends. 

7. Make new friends! I am determined to be less antisocial in my new city, to get involved in things, and to meet new people. And that means more people than my friendly neighborhood Starbucks baristas!

8. Join a Bible study group. 

9. Organize and downsize my life! Moving has taught me that I own too much stuff. I want to store the stuff I need and lose the stuff I don't. I want to make my house neat and organized, with a minimum of clutter and knickknacks. 

10. Eat healthy. My husband and I try not to eat UNhealthy, but our efforts to eat healthy come in spurts. I'd like to include more fresh vegetables and meats into our diet and remove more sugars and artificial ingredients. 

11. Resume winter workout. I started a body bulking workout before Christmas, but time is not in my favor over the holidays. I haven't decided whether my body is ready for weights or if I'd rather venture into something like yoga, because I do truly need some flexibility! But I will be doing something this year. 

12. Write more letters. I feel like the lost art of letter writing has really gotten lost. I used to write letters non-stop, and it's just tapered off over the years. Friends, I've just bought some new stationary. You'll hear from me soon :)

13. Relax more. I really need to learn to relax, and I don't mean sleep. I mean de-stress! I haven't felt anything less than all keyed up since I started college, and that was almost a decade ago. I remember what they say about stress levels and early death (remember, but can't think about it because it stresses me out. Figures!)

What are YOUR New Years' resolutions for 2013? Please share!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Great Gatsby

I'm getting even more excited now about The Great Gatsby coming out this spring. They have finally released a longer trailer.

 Will you be seeing this film?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A New Years' Challenge

The January issue of The Writer came to my house on the weekend of December 8 and there was one article in it that really spoke to me. It was called "Your Journal, Your Self" by T.F. Joyce. The premise is a reminder that writers should be true to themselves by keeping a journal that really chronicles their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and most importantly, captures their voice, their true self.

The part of the article that really got to me was that the writer was explaining their own tendency to "cloak" their journal entries in code languages, third person narration, etc., for the sake of anonymity  and I can completely relate to feeling that need, but it's true, when you look back, there's a disappointment in the lack of frankness, the masked self, the missing pieces.

My New Years' challenge to myself is to keep a real, unguarded journal of myself. I want to capture my voice, nourish it, make it my own. I bought myself a beautiful journal -- which always is a great incentive for me -- and I've already started writing in it, because I don't believe in New Years' resolutions. If I want to do it, I start doing it. So that's what I did!

Who's in it with me?

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Daily Regimen

Last week a friend of mine posted a Facebook note asking her girlfriends to share their skin care and make-up regimen so that we could all benefit from learning each others', and I thought it was such a great idea, I decided to write a blog post about it! It's true, sharing your personal care can be a great way to teach friends good ways of caring for themselves, and can also help you to learn where you might be doing something wrong.

Skin Care

I believe that skin care is step one to any beauty regimen. If the skin you're applying make-up to isn't healthy underneath, that make-up won't do it's job as needed! My foundation skin care is Serious Skin Care which is sold on HSN. It all started with a sample of the C line face wash, and it became a love affair ever since. It makes my skin feel silky-smooth, it keeps away blemishes, it prevents uneven skin tone, and it works on wrinkles! I use the A line and the C line, alternately, and I'm bad at using it every day, but I usually succeed in convincing myself when I look in the mirror and tell myself, "You're almost 30. Take care of your skin now while it still looks good, because you'll regret not doing it when it's too late." I mean, even once the aging process becomes visible, it's not too late to reverse it a little, but I'd rather work on keeping it healthy now. The lines come with a series of washes, scrubs, moisturizers, skin food, and eye cream. It's all very gentle and soothing to the skin. It's amazing to see blemishes clear up because of vitamins instead of because of harsh chemicals like alcohol.


My make-up changes periodically, when something better comes along. I use a mix-and-match collection of products based on what's been my favorite. My make-up is very simple and no-nonsense because I'm a super low-maintenance person. I'd rather just get it over with and move on with my life!

I use a foundation, pressed powder, mascara, eyeliner, and once in a great while, lipstick and blush, but not every day. Some days, if I'm just running around or going to the gym I will skip the eyeliner, but I've recently been introduced to be best eyeliner in the world, so I have lately been wearing it every day. I'll get to that in a moment!

My foundation and pressed powder are the L'Oreal True Match with Sunscreen. I'm all about the pale! I never tan anymore--haven't since I was about 19 years old. My grandma, my best friend's dad, and my father-in-law have all had experiences with skin cancer, and while those have been for various reasons, it doesn't seem right to mess around with your odds. 

The mascara I'm currently using is Maybelline The Falsies. I've been kind of a rouge mascara user lately. I've gotten tired of my usual and wanted something with volume boost! We'll see where I go from here. 

My previous eyeliner was Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen, which is applied like a marker, but I was never happy with it. It's always too hard to get right on the lash line, which I need because my lashes are so light. And then... *cue angel music* I was at Target the day before Thanksgiving and they had already brought out these sale 1 get 1 free for make-ups. I picked a waterproof liquid black eyeliner. My eyes have been thanking me ever since! It's Revlon Color Stay Liquid Eyeliner in a little tube, and I have never experience anything go on so perfectly smooth. If you look closely in the mirror while applying it, you can see it dry. It changes from shiny to matte in about 10 seconds. I have not had it come off yet, and I've even cried a few times while wearing it! (Changing birth control makes me emotional. Don't judge.) Anyway, it can be good to use the marker to make the line, and then the liquid to fill it in. 

My blush is usually Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends in Pure, but I recently picked up L'Oreal True Match Naturale (see above link to True Match line), just because of my love of the True Match line. So far, it's just okay. I think I need a slightly darker color, but the one I really wanted was sold out at the time. 

If I wear eye shadow, it's always silver, but to be honest, I usually don't bother. Eyeliner and mascara is all i need. Lipstick is occasional, but not frequent. I got a great little tube from Vanis when I went there for my wedding make-up and I usually wear that now, or the Neutrogena tinted lip balm


I started having my hair done at a professional salon in about 2006 when I made friends with a girl who worked at a luxury salon. I've never looked back since! My hair has been healthier, happier, and prettier. The salon uses Kerastase products which are a little out of my budget, but I use their products for heat protection, mousse, and conditioning treatments occasionally. 

My shampoo is a few steps down from that, but still a few above the grocery store brands. I use Redken Blonde Glam shampoo and conditioner, though sometimes I venture out into their other lines, like the Full Body line. I love the Blonde Glam because it smells like grapefruits, and feels clean and adds brightness. Also, just as a but of advice, I only shampoo my roots, and only condition below my head. This keeps hair cleaner near the scalp, because when you think about it, that's really the only place that gets dirty. As long as the shampoo runs down the rest of the hair, there's no need to scrub the length. All that does is promote damage, split ends, and dullness. I also seldom blow dry my hair because it dries relatively straight. 

I've only had short hair twice in my life--when I was 13 and when I was 19--and it's been almost 9 years...I'm thinking about taking the plunge again. My hair grows so fast, it can't really hurt!


You might wonder what this has to do with skin and hair health! I think it's very important for women to have a workout regimen, but also to supplement their body with added nutrients. Most people don't get all they need even from a balanced diet, and let's face it, most people don't eat a balanced diet either! I take a daily multivitamin from Optimum Nutrition that's LOADED with everything you need in a day, as well as Smart Fats, and/or Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil. I also take Branch Chain Amino Acids, Glucosamine, Protein, and Calcium when I'm lifting. All of these supplements help maintain a strong and healthy immune system and good hair, skin, and nails. I also periodically take probiotics to improve digestion, simply because my experience has shown me that poor digestion leads to poor sleep and that leads to bad skin!  

When I slacked off on my supplements for a few months this summer, no joke, my fingernails and toenails all started breaking off. I think that the body starts to love the nutrition and when it's gone, it really shows as a deficiency. 

For women not engaged in active working out, I still recommend the multivitamin and Smart Fats, but you may also choose to take Andrew Lessman's Hair Skin and Nails formula. (Also, his Friendly Flora probiotics receive great reviews...I have usually used Pearls myself, but may give his a try.)

My Beauty Resources

In case you've never visited this website, I think every girl should know that Lauren Conrad's website, The Beauty Department, is an excellent resource for hair, skin, nails, and more! You should definitely check it out. 

Also, about a month ago, I happened to pick up Allure magazine (it's the Keira Knightley issue still on the shelves now) and there was a "Black Friday" special for a beauty box for $29. I snapped it up immediately! It arrived with at least $150 worth of merchandise in it, and I was ecstatic. I've been trying out all kinds of new products, including that Neutrogena tinted lip balm that I mentioned above. I don't know if any of these items will be added to my future routines, but if they are I will definitely let you guys know! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals Deciphered

Looking for some Cyber Monday deals to make your shopping worthwhile?

First stop, Amazon. Their list of deals is constantly refreshing. I've already bought 4 things today. And if you're looking for the Kindle Fire, use coupon code FIREDEAL to get this baby for $129, today only! 

Like supporting small businesses, wearing retro fashion, AND being modest? Look no further than Shabby Apple! This website helps small business fashion designers get off their feet by selling their designs. Get 20% off the top today with coupon code JOYFULSEASON. 

Love shopping on Etsy? Some of these Treasuries are assembled by the keyword "Cyber Monday Sale," but this is just a small sampling of the sales available on Etsy. Check out my shop, TreasuredDetails, and use coupon code ITSCYBERMONDAY for 30% off your entire purchase.

You like Kohls? Get an extra 20% off all online purchases, today only.

Feeling blue from the lack of bookstores in your area? Don't forget to stop by Barnes and Noble's website to get your Cyber Monday book fix...for less!

Please comment to share any other deals you've found. We all want to shop! :)