Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Metallic Dotted Tumblers

With only a week to go till Christmas, you may be looking for some last minute gift or home d├ęcor ideas. If so, you might want to give this quick and fun tutorial a try, and make some cute Metallic Dotted Tumblers! I’m so in love with mine – they make fabulous holiday party cups, AND they look awesome with a candle inside too. Give it a go!

You’ll Need:
Glass tumblers
Metallic glass paint
Wooden skewers
Adhesive foam sheet

Step 1: Cut out your stamps
Cut out three different sizes of small circles from the adhesive foam sheet. Peel off the sticky backing, and stick them to the flat end of the wooden skewers. Now you have your stamps!

Step 2: Start stamping
Starting with the largest of your three circle stamps, begin stamping your glass with the paint. Simply dip the stamp and dot on the colour! Use the larger, concentrated circles at the base of the glass, then gradually move to smaller, more spaced out circles near the top.

Step 3: Admire

Let your tumblers dry and admire your work! Serve festive bevvies out of your trendy glasses, or stick a candle in for a cheery glow!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Potato Chip Bag Gift Wrap

I’m always on the hunt for cute and different ways to wrap gifts - After all, who doesn’t love getting a perfectly wrapped present!? I found some great metallic silver wrapping paper at the craft store, but it was so overpriced I just couldn’t justify buying it… So I decided to try this instead: Potato Chip Bag Gift Wrap! OK, I know it sounds kind of gross, but it actually works so well and looks absolutely adorable. Plus it’s super thrifty, and gives you an excuse to go buy a bag of chips (as if you needed one…)

- Empty potato chip bag with metallic inside
- Dish soap

1.  Cut your potato chip bag at the seams to get one flat piece & reveal the shiny insides
2.  Wash your bag with dish soap and water to remove grease, then lay flat to dry
3.  Wrap your gift and feel like a thrifty champ!

So easy and so cute, right?? This would look extra sweet in a Christmas theme with red ribbon and a little sprig of evergreen. It really is amazing what you can repurpose into something new and lovely!

Any other ideas on unusual gift-wrapping materials??


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Toxic Friendships and How to Let Go!

The relationships we share with those around us are central to our identity and well-being. Our friends can lift us up from the darkest places, celebrate our successes as if they were their own, and give us a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and belonging. But some of the people we share our lives with don’t play such a positive role in our story. We’ve all had them – toxic friends, poisonous pals, unhealthy acquaintances. These are the people in our lives who take more than they give and, in the end, leave us feeling resentful, drained, and frustrated more often than not. If this is hitting a little too close to home, it might be time to do a little housekeeping – sometimes it is in our very best interests to simply let go of relationships that no longer serve us.

So how do we identify these toxic types? Here are just a few of the red flags that I've noticed, that have helped me to ferret out my most parasitic pals:

1. Negative Nelly – oftentimes, toxic friends are the ones who always have something to complain about. There’s always something going on with these folks, and they don’t shy away from monopolizing the conversation with their tales of woe. What’s worse, is that when there’s nothing wrong in their life to complain about, they’ll often point out the shortcomings in yours. These types of people will go out of their way to either boo-hoo about their own plethora of misfortunes, or bring you down instead.

2. Green Monster of Jealousy – these friends are the ones who can’t stand it when you succeed or have a moment in the spotlight. While they should be celebrating your triumphs with you, they instead try to bring the focus back on themselves, try to best you at your own game, or try to knock you off your cloud by undermining your achievement.  These folks have no problem pointing out their own accomplishments, but give you the cold shoulder when you try to do the same.

3. The Toughest Critic – as if we aren’t hard enough on ourselves, toxic friends can be really rough on us too and snatch at opportunities to lower our self-esteem. Whether it is scoffing at your fashion sense, making comments about your weight, or telling you that you don’t stand a chance at that competitive program or promotion, these types will deflate you on the regular.

4. The Perpetual Victim – feel like everything is your fault when things go wrong in the friendship, even when it makes absolutely no sense to feel that way?  Are you the one that is always apologizing even though it defies basic logic? That’s because these types of people have mastered the art of spinning a scenario so that they come out the looking like the victim, and you’re the bad guy. These folks will never admit that they are wrong, won’t take responsibility for their own actions, and will manipulate a situation to ensure that the blame falls entirely on someone else.

5. Take, Take, Take – in every relationship there should be some give and take. Sometimes our friends need all the attention, love and support, and that’s ok – as long as it sometimes swings back the other way. Poisonous pals will not respect this balance, and will expect more from you than they are ever willing to give in return. Perhaps it’s constantly asking you for favours which they can never reciprocate, or maybe they simply monopolize the conversation and expect you to care about their life when they can’t afford you the same courtesy. Either way, all these types do is take and take and take – and this can leave us feeling empty and resentful.

Now that we know how to identify our unhealthy acquaintances, it may be time to do a little housekeeping. Here are some tips on how to get safely out of a relationship with a toxic friend:

Cut them Off – you have to be careful with this one. Sometimes we feel like we just want to sever all ties and call it quits NOW. However, this can often backfire, cause a huge blow-out, and exacerbate the situation. That said, sometimes this is the last and best option. If you’ve tried everything else, this one might be the one for you!

Get Busy – throw your time and effort into something that makes you happy, and become busy with it – too busy, in fact, to spend time with your toxic someone. Eventually they may get the hint and move on too. If not, at least you’re spending time doing something you like, with people you like, and your happier self may be better able to just say no to your toxic friend.

Stand Up for Yourself – Set boundaries and be honest with your poisonous pal. They are bound to hate this, especially since they dislike hearing negative feedback and being stood up to. But hold your ground! You are an important, intelligent, worthwhile person and you deserve to have your voice heard and respected.

Say “Whatever” – try to detach emotionally from the person and their animosity towards you. If you are able to realize that these are just sad, unhappy people with low self-worth, then it becomes less impactful when they are unpleasant.  When they don’t hold that kind of power over you anymore, it might just become easier to let go, and walk away.

Now move forward! Cleanse your life of the toxic relationships that are weighing you down, and go surround yourself with people who love you, support you, and balance you out.  When you are part of an inspiring, uplifting network, you will feel happier, healthier, and more in tune with the real you!

*Side note: It’s important to realize that sometimes our most toxic friends aren’t truly bad people – it might be the case that we just aren’t a good fit together. Two people really can bring out the worst in each other, and that’s no kind of relationship to spend effort maintaining! If you feel like a relationship isn’t helping you be your best self (or worse, is making you into your worst self!) then it’s probably just time to let it go. It doesn’t mean that either of you are terrible people, you just don’t work well as a team, and that’s ok!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cake Batter Caramel Popcorn

Here’s an incredibly delicious recipe for Cake Batter Caramel Popcorn. Yes, you heard me correctly: CAKE BATTER. I’m really into popcorn, and caramel corn in particular, but this version is by far my favourite.

Stuck on what to get someone for their birthday? Stuff a cute little baggy of this delightful snack into the gift bag, and they’re going to love you (and beg you for the recipe, trust me.) While you’re at it, download my free printable below to tie on it with some ribbon. Well now, aren’t you just an adorable, Martha-Stewart-style gift-giver!

Cake Batter Caramel Popcorn:
(Makes approx. 8 cups)

- 6 tablespoons popcorn kernels, unpopped (about  8 cups popcorn, popped)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup funfetti cake mix (or vanilla, yellow, or similar)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 250F and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Spritz the parchment very lightly with cooking spray.

Pop your corn. Place 3 tbsp of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold over the top of the bag, and blast in the microwave until the popping slows (about 2 minutes). Repeat with the remaining 3 tbsp of kernels. Scooping with your hands, place the popcorn into a large bowl so that you don’t get any unpopped kernels in with the good stuff (nobody wants a broken tooth on their birthday!) Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan on the stovetop. Add the cake mix, sugars, corn syrup, and salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.  It’s okay if the mixture bubbles a little, but avoid a rolling boil. When smooth and thickened, remove it from the heat.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn, tossing to evenly coat. Spread the popcorn into a flat, even layer onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 18 to 25 minutes. The coating may thin out and appear to “drip” on the bottom of the baking sheet and that’s okay. Do not let the popcorn brown. After removing the baking sheet from the oven, toss the popcorn with a spoon or spatula to redistribute any of the caramel that has dripped off during baking.

Once the popcorn has cooled and hardened, break clusters apart by hand. Serve immediately or package in an airtight container for up to a week.

Click HERE for your free printable! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Plum and Gold Nails

Fall weather is here, and that means it’s time to bundle up in cozy clothes and paint our nails in equally warm and luxurious tones! With this look, I was inspired by the colours of the changing leaves – the golds and purples especially! 

I’m very happy with how this look turned out! The way the plum polish fades into the gold looks so pretty. And with these fun fingertips, I am able to check the first thing off of my Fall To-Do List! If you’d like to try these out for yourself, here’s how I did it:

1.  Slick on a basecoat (if you have thin, ridged nails like me, I highly recommend Essie’s “Fill the Gap” basecoat. It gives you a perfectly smooth nail surface to work with!)
2. Apply a plum-coloured polish. I used OPI Plum Full of Cheer. Let dry completely.

3. Once the base colour has dried, apply a thin, uneven coat of a metallic gold polish just to the tips (I used OPI Gift of Gold): Use a very small amount of polish – you almost want the brush to be dry so that you get a gentle fade instead of a hard line. Concentrate more of the colour at the tip of your nail, and run the dry brush down from there to extend the colour and get a fade effect.
4. Apply a topcoat and enjoy your sparkly, fall-inspired fingers!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Upcycled Sweater Slipper Boots

It's getting chilly, ladies and gents! I'm a huge slipper person, so when Buzzfeed blogger Pippa Armbrester contacted me with the challenge of coming up with an upcycled slipper DIY, I was so in! This DIY project will show you how to create your own cute and cozy slipper boots from an old sweater - and it couldn't be easier. You don't even need a sewing machine! I think these would make excellent Christmas presents for basically anyone on your list. Here's how you do it:

1. Collect your supplies. You’ll need scissors, pins, yarn, a large darning needle, and an old sweater (try to find something with a tight enough weave that it won’t begin to unravel when you cut it - felted wool works great for this)

2. Trace your foot. Make a rough outline of your foot on a piece of paper or cardstock. Give yourself about 1.5cm of extra space around the edge for comfy slippers and easy sewing. Cut out your shape, and repeat for the other foot.

3. Cut the sole pieces. Place each cutout on the body-area of the sweater, and cut around them to create two sole pieces. It is best if you use double-sided tape to keep the paper from slipping around while you are cutting!

4. Check the boot length. Stick your foot into the sleeve of the sweater through the opening at the wrist. Pull the fabric around your leg to the desired boot length.

5. Snip around your foot. Very carefully, cut the fabric of the sleeve away from the sole of your foot. You are trying to make it so that just the bottom of your foot is exposed. Now you have your leg piece!

6. Pin it together. Connect the sole piece to the leg piece with large pins. Start with one pin at the toe of your bootie, and one pin at the heel. Then stretch the fabric as necessary to line the two pieces up and pin them together.

7. Blanket stitch. With the pins in place, blanket stitch the sole piece and the leg piece together. To do a blanket stitch, (1) push your needle through both layers of fabric from the top (2) pull the yarn through until only a small loop remains (3) bring your needle back down through the loop (4) pull the yarn tight. You can also add a blanket stitch around the opening of your boot to make it look extra polished!

8. Try it on! Pull on your new upcycled sweater slipper-boots, and get cozy!