Frozen Berry and Milk Smoothie Popsicles With Zoku Molds!

Hello all! I just got back to the mainland last night and I’m working quite hard to get as many posts written as I can because apparently, I’m going away again next week! Crazy right? Well, I’m sick as it is so I may as well use this brief break from ballet to get something done!

I originally wanted to do this post sooner, but as it happens, life got in the way. I actually planned to make these pops in Hawaii using these molds.

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I actually bought mine from World Market last month for half the price Amazon is selling them for. Williams-Sonoma had them on sale as well. Given that it’s so late in the season you can probably get these for a steal in a local shop if you’re willing to look. I first bought the individual molds at a local supermarket and my son and I thought they were so cool when we saw these we knew we had to have them as well. We know own most of the brand (hangs head in shame). But basically they’re silicone molds that you fill with your chosen recipe and once frozen you pull straight out. The silicone turns inside out, and you’re left with the coolest (pun intended) frozen treat! So what you see in the photo is actually what you’ll get.

I know there’s a lot of hype now about how all sugar will kill you, so lets all be miserable. Or something like that. So people are trying to cut out the store bought foods and make things from scratch. I don’t mind the store bought things. A sugary popsicle is something every kid should know, and a few a week, a few months out of the year, is not the end of the world. Everything in moderation, right? That said growing up I had both. My mother had these plastic molds from tupperware.

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If you’re feeling nostalgic, these “vintage” popsicle molds can be found for a pittance on eBay and Etsy. This photo actually comes from Etsy, but tragically it seems this item has sold. :(

The way my mother used to do it is the way I’d imagine most mothers did. You take whatever juice you have in the fridge, fill them, stick them in the freezer, and a few hours later voila popsicles! Amazing to your average toddler. I can still remember the way they tasted, with that healthy no sugar added juice that I swear tasted like incense my mother bought from the food co-op (my mother is a hippie, there, I said it). I do things a little differently. Here’s a recipe my son and I like.

Frozen Cherries

Milk (I prefer Silk Coconut but use your favorite kind)

Yougurt (This is a sometimes for me, I don’t always have it around. I like Fage Greek yogurt when I use it)

Take all these, and blend until smooth. Fill the Zoku container to the fill line and pop in the freezer overnight. Be sure there’s enough liquid, otherwise these might not freeze solid enough. If you’ve ever just had a frozen fruit straight from the freezer (especially cherries) you know what I’m talking about. If you’re using a fruit with a high water content like watermelon you don’t even need to add any liquid. Just stick the fruit in the blender and blend until liquid. You want it to be quite soupy. Once you fill the molds, and before you add the sticks I recommend giving the mold a few firm taps on the counter to force any air bubbles to rise. With the cherry mix I’ve found sometimes you may even want to wait a few minutes before doing this since it seems to separate and froth a bit at the top. Don’t ask me why, it just dose. It doesn’t hurt anything, nor does it taste different. It’s just not very pretty.

So that’s it. I don’t see the sense in simply freezing juice. Whole fruits are better for you because they have the fiber, vitamins, and other good for you things that pressed juices just don’t have. The milk and or yogurt adds calcium and vitamin D, and depending on whether you used dairy or not, sometimes other things because they tend to add stuff to the dairy substitutes. I really want to keep experimenting with these. I feel like for the most part you can’t go wrong. You could use just plain juice if that’s your thing. Some people just love that texture. But for me, I like freezing smoothies. It just gives the pop a ice cream or fudgesicle quality.

Now comes the boring part, clean up. Washing these things seems like it’d be a pain but it’s really not. I’ve found that if I pull the silicone part straight up and out, I can put them on the top rack of my dishwasher. If you don’t do that, then basically you just have a cup in there collecting water regardless which way you turn it. Hand washing them isn’t difficult either if you don’t have a dishwasher. I’ve done it both ways and they come up plenty clean. I’ve just found that it helps if you rinse the mold as soon as you remove your pop. Everything seems to just come off (assuming there’s anything even on there, it’s usually just a sticky film) if you rinse it promptly. Otherwise it turns to glue, just like when you have a smoothie in a glass and let it sit in the sink without rinsing. Not that I ever do that…

So that’s it for now. I’ve got some fun stuff planned in the coming weeks, I’m going to get to work on those posts now and come back and edit them later before they go live, I hope. See you next week!

Discount Dance Leotards Review

***I am so sorry this post didn’t go up sooner. I have no idea what happened, WordPress totally failed me.***

Hello all, I’m coming to you from Hawaii again this week! I’ve been taking a lot of classes while staying here, and having just a few leotards isn’t cutting it. As I mentioned in a past post Discount Dance was having a big sale so I figured, why not? They had a few leotards that were on my wish list and I had them shipped here. They arrived today (it’s a Friday) so too late for this weeks classes, but they’ll be washed and ready for next week!

If you remember my last post where I talked about the leotards I bought, I bought two brands, Wear Moi and Bloch. I’ve never bought either of those brands before and had only tried on a couple of Bloch ones in the past, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve tried them all on, but haven’t washed them or worn them in class yet so this is just an overview and my thoughts. Also, I’d like to make something clear. I’m not happy with the way I look in any of these. The meds I’m taking for nerve pain have made me gain an epic amount of weight and I’m not loving the cellulite I now sport. I also didn’t really bother with my hair, so there we are. :(

First up, the Bloch leotard.

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My my first impression of this is that it’s a decent quality leotard. The shelf bra is nice and I’ll never say no to one. The lace is also pretty nice. There’s a hook and eye at the top and you’ll need to use it. The zipper is good it slides really well. That’s a good thing, but it’s also why you’ll need that hook and eye. Zipping it up without it fastened meant the zipper just kept sliding back down if you put it down to switch hands (I can zip myself up). Once up though it stays- so far.

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The fit on this was pretty good. The size is a Large which is what I’d usually order and it did fit despite my weight gain. It was comfortable enough that I’d be able to wear it now, but it’ll be better once I can get the weight off. Something to consider if you have a long torso, the zipper doesn’t stretch. Now I thought about that when placing my order but I know some won’t think of it, and it’s important. Because it’s nearly two thirds the length of the leotard that won’t stretch and that could spell disaster for some. So if you’re very concerned maybe try and see if you can try it on in a local dance shop or buy it knowing you may have to pay for return shipping. Overall I think this was a good buy, it’s totally worth the $35 it’s selling for full price, but it was a downright steal on sale.

Up next are the Wear Moi leotards.

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So first impressions were “wow”. Something not mentioned in the description is that the flocking detail is metallic on the black leotard. When I see myself straight on in the mirror the detail is black, but as I turn to the side it shifts to a really pretty silver. It really is lovely. Something else I noticed straight out of the packaging was the little flocking flecks all over the leotard. :( I was pretty disappointed in that. For the price I expected a bit more. I don’t know how well this one will hold up but I’m hopeful. Something else of note, there’s branding on the outside of the leotard. I personally don’t care for labels all over the outside of my clothes (dance or otherwise). I’m just grateful it’s not super obvious, if it was I’d have sent this back.

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This one is pretty snug, more so than the Bloch one. It fits and is comfortable, but it’s certinaly not the best fitting one I own. I’m hoping it won’t ride up or anything, if it does I can always wear my tights over top to hold it down but I’d rather not be forced to wear it a certian way. Again, I’m hoping when I lose the med weight it’ll fit better. As you can see the branding is largely invisible which makes me happy (though not as happy as if there were none). And if you notice the flocked design looks just plain black here compared to the silvery way they look in some of the other photos. And that’s pretty consistent. Sometimes they appear matte black, other times a glittery silver. This one really is pretty and a nice option if you’re only allowed to wear black.

As far as the price goes, it’s just over $50 which I think is a lot for what you’re getting. This is a nice leotard and all, but the $30 Bloch one managed to include a bust liner. Why does this one cost nearly double but lack the same amount of detailing? Espically since the blue and purple ones I own (same style) have a full front liner. Obviously with a lighter color (which they are) you’re going to need a full liner, but including a shelf liner wouldn’t have killed them. If I hadn’t gotten this on sale I think I’d be upset. I paid around $43 for this and I think that’s okay. But given that a Elevè leotard, purchased on sale will cost $51 (that’s the least one will run you) it’s almost better to hold out for an Elevè sale if Discount Dance isn’t running a sale or you don’t have a coupon. Unless of course you really, really love this design. For me I’m glad I got the oppertunity to try something new and I know I’ll wear these a lot, but I’ll probably stick to the custome ones in the future. The Bloch one was just so well priced I can only hope they come out with some more colors and styles in the future that speak to me. Maybe I’ll get lucky and this winter they’ll have some in burgundy or hunter green. As I’d like some darker colored leotards.

This next one is the same as the above Wear Moi, just in the color Pacific which is a Aqua color.

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Comparing this one to the black it’s like a totally different leotard. The material feels different, softer, much softer. And the flocking wasn’t shedding. It also has a full front liner. It does have the same branding but it’s almost impossible to see, much less obvious on this color than on the black so I’m pleased by that! The fit was also completely different. I bought a Large in both colors and this one fits infinitely better. I have no idea why. I also purchased one in Lilac and that one was shipped to Washington. I have seen it via FaceTime but I told my husband to leave it behind. I don’t need that many here, I can wait until I get home to try it on. But when I do you can be sure I’ll update this post. I really want to know which color is off in terms of sizing.

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As you can see, when its worn the flocking appears more blue. The mesh is also pretty opaque, though it’s still mesh so you can still see through it a bit. I feel like the promo images make it look like it’s totally opaque and only through reading the description did I learn this leotard featured mesh. It has a decent stretch in both color ways and it’s comfortable. It’s also pretty thick (probably why it’s not super sheer) but that’s a good thing because it means that it’ll hold up well over time. I know at some point the flocking may start looking shabby but the rest of this should hold up really well.

You may have noticed that I’m wearing a bra in all of these photos and I did that on purpose. I picked one that was close to my skin tone but just off so you could see just how sheer each leotard was. I feel like what you see in the photos is exactly what you get. So all of these are good options for girls and women who feel like they need to, or simply want to wear a bra. If you pick something similar to your skin tone it’ll be very difficult to see underneath. Something else I like about all three is the neckline. I do like the sweetheart neckline with the higher neck in mesh, I have a couple of those from Elevè and I know it’s one of their best selling styles. So it makes sense the mainstream brands (as well as Etsy sellers) have started selling similar styles. Personally I don’t like a high neckline because I think it makes my shoulders look even bigger, but if it’s too low I feel self conscious if we’re bending over a lot. We do sometimes have men in my regular classes and though I know they’re not staring, I still don’t like flashing my boobs in class. So this makes me feel more covered, while still getting to enjoy the prettier low neck styles. Really a best of both worlds thing.

While this is primarily a Discount Dance/leotard post I thought I’d throw this in as well. I bought this skirt from Amazon and it’s just so pretty.

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This pattern is called Twilight and I really love it. I stumbled across it by accident. I also own the Celestial Black one and I’m forever getting compliments on it. Everyone always wants to know where I bought it but it was in a dance shop in Massachusetts so that’s not much help to anyone at my studio. I’ve been searching for it for two years when I spotted it on Amazon! It wasn’t there before, that’s for sure. When I discovered it I saw they had two other patterns and this one was just so pretty I knew I had to add it to my collection. The material is nice, it’s almost impossible to wrinkle. The only thing I dislike is if you notice in the front, there’s this rippling? Yeah… The hem isn’t the best and it curls either up or under depending on its mood. My other one has mostly just the rippling and not the curling. I don’t really mind it though because the prints are so pretty and the length is just absolutely perfect. If it really bothered me I could fix it, but I haven’t felt the need. This is a superb skirt for adult who want to feel covered, but don’t want to wear something so long they look like the teacher. I haven’t worn my orignal skirt much (though that’s changed recently) and it’s still looking brand new. I’m sure two years from now this one will also still be in pristine condition. Here’s hoping!

Side note: I do apologize for the picture quality on these. As I said I’m not at my regular house so I’m working with different lighting issues and I’m not used to taking pictures here. I’m also pretty unhappy with the way I look and that’s not a feeling I’m accustomed to. So I feel like this post really suffered as a result and I’m sorry. I also have one more of the Wear Moi leotards in Lilac and when I get back to Washington I’ll take some photos and will add them to this blog posting. I’ll create a new post with a link so if you’re subscribed you’ll get an email and won’t have to keep checking back. :) I have another two weeks or so here before I head back and I’ll probably have at least one more pointe class while I’m here. I’ll be writing about that in the coming weeks as well. So if you haven’t subscribed yet may I suggest that you do? There’s a button on the right hand side, just click there. And I wanted to give a big thank you to all of my current subscribers. I honestly still can’t believe I have so many, thank you again for joining me here. ❤️

See you next week!

Something New In Children’s Television

I know I usually only really talk about ballet, makeup, clothes, and that sort of thing on here but today I wanted to talk about something different. I’ve mentioned before I’m a Mum, but its never been the focus of this blog and I don’t consider myself a “Mommyblogger”. Despite that, having a kid definitly affects my life. And one of the ways it does that is by being forced to watch kiddie programming. Sadly in this day and age there’s a lot of complain about when it comes to kids shows. That’s not right. Caillou is whiney as is Angelina Ballerina, Ruby is bossy, and Daniel Tiger is just massively annoying (there was actually an episode where he literally was a special snowflake, it was horrifying). It’s to the point where I don’t allow most kids programs to be turned in my house. But some friends of mine are working on something totally new, and it’s called Mokan Nokan. Here’s what the characters look like.

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They look totally crazy right? Well they’re aliens and they live for inspiration. I think this is what I like most about them. They don’t whine, they don’t sulk, or throw tantrums, they actually strive to encourage kids to do something positive. Crazy right? The show also seeks to get parents involved which I like. If a kids show doesn’t appeal to parents, kids don’t get to watch it. The aim is for it to be not just a TV show, but an interactive experiance. There will be an accompanying kidsafe website and club where you can actually post videos of yourself (or your kid) doing something inspiring, and it’ll be a place where you can interact positively with people from around the globe.

Honestly I love the concept. Anything that inspires kids to get out there and do good in their community is a good thing. I also love that kids will actually get the real chance to see themselves featured alongside what I’d hope will become beloved characters in the vein of Barney and such. In the past it was always take a video and hope yours was chosen from the thousands that were sent in. This interactive website means you will get to be seen, if not on the show then at least on the site which is meant to be used in conjunction with the show. Another element will be going through pictures to see people and kids just doing creative and positive things. It’s a feature you’ve probably seen before on Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, and Blue’s Clues. I always loved those segments on shows and I still love them as an adult so I’m glad something that primarily features these segments is being made. Another goal for the show is to slow things down. So much of children’s programming is blink and you’ll miss it. Why? Yes kids have short attention spans, but they’re capable of watching and interacting with something for more than 15 seconds. You don’t need these lightning fast clips that a ton of studies have already shown aren’t good for kids.

Right now the whole thing is in preproduction and the goal is for the pilot to be shot soon. If it’s done in time the hope is to bring it to Cannes where they’re having a festival for children’s programming, if not there’s a second one in Vegas this winter. I’ve seen the clips on the website and while they’re just stationary images it’s tough to understand them. But the clip of them dancing is great, the way they move is so cool and I’ve watched it a bunch of times already. My son seems to like them too, so he watches with me. But I may like them a bit more than he does, lol.

I really hope this all gets done in time and that the pilot gets picked up. There really isn’t a lot like it on TV right now and I’m sick of the lack of options. The nonsense in most kids programming means we watch a lot of movies. My son does like Daniel Tiger (whom I believe has made a pact with the devil to destroy me), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and The Adventures of Chuck and Friends. But I love to watch Road to Avonlea, and some Disney movies with him, but that’s basically it. Mokan Nokan would be a great addition to the line up. And honestly, the notion that we could film little videos of us on our travels doing things and engaging with the world and have a safe place to upload them to share with other families seems really cool. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. With a little luck by this time next year you’ll all know the characters and will love the show. Fingers crossed!

See you next week!

Home In Hawaii

I just wanted to do a quick update. Originally I was supposed to be back in WA by now, but we had a change of plans. On our orignal fly date my husband discovered he had a lot more time off, though he did have to work (for a week straight). So he flew home by himself to go to work and my son and I stayed behind in Hawaii. He’ll be back soon then we’ll have more than a week together before we have to fly home for real.

So I know I have a post every Monday but that might have to go on hold for a smidge. I usually have a few posts lined up but I’m going to be out as of the 3rd. I am hoping to do a few small posts but I don’t really have the time, so we’ll see if I can squeeze them in.

Once I’m home I promise I’ll get back to my usual schedule, I have lots to talk about. Here’s a little preview.

I decided to buy some new leotards from Discount Dance. They were a little pricey for leotards that are off the rack, but DDS is currently running a sale, but three get 15% off select styles. They had a lot of leo’s that were on my wish list and though I wasn’t willing to spend fifty dollars a piece on them, I was willing to buy them on sale. As you my already know Elevè leotards start at sixty three dollars and I always buy on sale. So spending pretty much the same amount when I didn’t get to pick every detail seemed crazy. Here’s one of the leotards I bought.

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I bought this in lilac, black, and pacific. I also bought one by Bloch and it was about half the price of this one. Here it is.

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I’ve never bought a Bloch leotard, but I’ve tried them on and thought they were nice enough. I also like a lot of their lace designs so I’m excited to try this out. The styling of both of these is reminiscent of some Elevè designs and is probably why I like them so much.

If you also like these, the sale is still going for the rest of today so hurry! I was suprised to see so many newer styles included in this sale. Usually it seems like it’s always the stuff no one wants, but this sale included a ton of really pretty styles!

And I do want to say that I bought these knowing full well I may not keep them. It’s been so long since I bought leotards off the rack and I don’t know how these will fit or what the quality will be like. My instructor says she loves Wear Moi (the purple leotard) so I’m hoping they live up to expectations. I will do a review on them and let you know how they compare to the custom brands once I have a chance to really check them out. I also have another Elevè order on the way. I bought during the last sale and im about halfway through the wait. So fingers crossed I’ll have that stuff by the end of the month. I’m really glad everyone’s been having all these sales. I’ve taken a ton of classes with my orignal teacher since I got here and I only bought four leotards with me, and I now remember why I started buying more. It’s a pain to having to wash everything right after I get home so it’ll be dry and ready by the next time I need to wear it! I have only two classes this week but next week I have class almost every day, and over the last two weeks I had class about eight times. I was supposed to have class yesterday but I messed up and went to the wrong place. :( It’s okay though, I could do with a rest! When I go back home I’ll be doing five classes a week (four days, two classes on Saturdays) so I could really use them at home too.

We’ve also done some fun stuff since getting here so I’ll probably write about that. Not too sure but we’ll see. :)

My First Pointe Class

I just had my first pointe class today (it’s 7/11) and I have to say, I’m so glad I finally did it. I didn’t plan to do class here in Washington, I really was planning to wait until I got to Hawaii. I upped the meds for the nerve pain yesterday and the last time I tried that it went really badly. I thought for sure I’d be a drooling mess. So I told my instructor I’d see her at the end of the month thinking I’d miss the last two classes. Instead I feel just fine, great even. The increased dosage is helping for sure. And despite being a little tired, I’m fine. So I decided to go to class. Saturday’s are the only dedicated pointe classes and it happens after an hour and a half intermediate class. I struggle with that one, if only because it’s sooo early in the morning. I literally roll out of bed and head to class on days I go to that one. So I’m not exactly at my best on those days. By the time pointe class came I was fine though. I had a quick bite to eat and went back in and started tying my shoes on! I did need a little help from another girl though. I did one just fine, but the other… I don’t know what happened. She tied it for me, lol. Then I went to the barre, my teacher talked me through it a bit and I was up! I managed to keep up with the rest of the class, to my utter shock and amazement.

I stayed at the barre for the entire class, but honestly I still did everything everyone else did. Maybe a few less relevés here and there, and I did some on two feet instead of just one foot. But my teacher gave me that option. I still remember her saying I didn’t have to do any on one foot but I decided to give it a shot and I could do it. It’s funny, cause I thought it would all be so hard. That I’d struggle to do more than ten minutes of class, but I managed to go the full half hour (class was short today). I probably could have gone even longer. Especially once I got going. In the beginning I had a pain behind my right ankle (by my achilles, sort of) and my big toes! Ugh… But after a few minutes my ankle was fine and after a few minutes more my toes were okay too. It was weird. They clearly didn’t like it in the beginning, and they really started to hurt at one point. I told my teacher and she said I may just need a bit more padding. But I don’t know if I’m going to add any. It’s just 10 minutes or so until they adjust and I’d rather be able to feel the floor. I don’t want too much padding in my shoes. I like my Ouch Pouches, they’re perfect. I don’t want more in my shoes though. I think a lot of this is just figuring out what it’s all supposed to feel like. It’s not like say, pants. Most people will wear pants in their life. There are rules to how they should fit, and everyone you meet will likely have an opinion on how they should feel but the general rule of thumb is to get something that feels comfortable. Pointe shoes, and pointe work isn’t like that. Yes there are rules as to how the shoes should fit. But if you’re hurting somewhere your teacher may say work through it, whereas another might make you get different shoes. A lot of it just seems like you have to experience it for a while before you can even ask questions.

So much of it is strange. I said to my teacher, it’s crazy but balancing en pointe is actually easier than on flat. So much of it is actually coming easier to me than when I “dance” on flat. Even that, I say “dance”. But where pointe is concerned, I feel like that’s coming- and fast. My instructor actually said she thinks I’ve finally found my niche in the ballet world, and it’s pointe work. I have to say, I agree. Today was probably my most successful class ever. I never thought this would come easily. I thought I’d struggle until I made the decision to come off pointe, or my teacher suggested it. So I’m happy this is working out. Now granted there are drawbacks to this. It was my first class, I spent 30 minutes on pointe, and my shoes are already pretty soft. My teacher was showing my how to shape them now that they’re all warmed up and she said I really need to get a stronger shank. She said they’re a really perfect fit for my feet otherwise. So I just bought the same exact shoes just with the hardest shank Grishko makes. Hopefully that’ll make a difference. I don’t want to have to buy new shoes after every third class. I’m lucky I can afford to buy them at all, I’m not going to be wasteful. I bought the harder shoes and I’m going to have to learn how to glue them as well. I think the harder shanks will make a real difference.

I’m headed to Hawaii next week, though by the time this goes live I’ll be back home. While in Hawaii I’m going to be taking pointe class, I’m hoping things continue going well when I’m there. I’m having my shoes with the harder shanks shipped there incase the ones I have now die. I’ll be sure to update on here how it’s going.

See you next week!

Elevé Skirts And Pointe Shoes!!!!

Well, it’s been two years of classes and it’s official, I started pointe! I knew I was going back to Hawaii and I said to my husband if I’m going to start pointe I’d like to do it with my original teacher. So I said to her I’d like her to assess me when I come out and see if she thought I was ready. And she told me to get fitted! I actually went the next day and was fitted before class. After class I talked to my teacher and told her I also wanted her opinion on whether or not she thought this was a good idea. She was actually very enthusiastic and told me I was totally ready. I was pretty surprised by that. I’d been putting off asking week after week, month after month because I thought for sure I wasn’t strong enough. But after starting the meds for nerve pain, the lidocaine patches, and the steroid injections…. Something has changed.

*Time Out*

Those who have followed this blog since the very beginning know I have been suffering from chronic pain since my c section 2+ years ago. For those of you who are new here, well now you know. And I haven’t mentioned it on here before now but I’ve been seeking treatment and so far it’s working. The meds are hard core and not easy to be on, but it’s getting better. I’m hoping this sticks because I do not want to have to keep getting the injections or stay on these drugs indefinitely. I’m still in pain, but I’m a lot better so it’s easier to cope with. And it wasn’t until now that I thought I could do pointe. You need your core to do it, and until very recently I simply couldn’t use those muscles. Now I can.

*Time In*

Before when I went to do something like a pirouette, I’d arch my back, wobble wildly, and fall out of it. I’d do the same thing whenever I’d try to stand on one leg, etc. I started treatment and suddenly I was landing pirouettes, balancing, and my arabesque is halfway to decent. My teacher actually asked what happened and mentioned that my abs are now pretty prominent under my leotard. It really was like night and day and I suppose it probably seemed strange. I go away for a few weeks and come back a totally different student. But because of it I was actually feeling confident. I still worry the whole thing will come crashing down under me, and that overnight I’ll be back to where I started. And given that I still have sudden surges of pain I know I’ll probably be bed-ridden for a while if it all suddenly stops working one day. So I’m crossing my fingers that this holds. And I’m going to make the most of it while I can so I’m happy I have the support of two of my instructors. And then there’s what I was fitted with…

I tried easily fifteen pairs of shoes and five different brands. The Gaynor’s were my second favorite but they didn’t have my size. I’ll probably try them again in the future if I find someplace with a bigger selection just to see. The Bloch’s were a nightmare, but I wasn’t surprised since their flat shoes never fit me. Eventually we got to the Grishko’s. The sales lady didn’t think I’d be able to wear them, she said they were too hard for a beginner. But nothing else was working. Well, I can more than get over my box in them despite earlier predictions. I bought the Grishko 2007’s and I have to say, at the time I’m writing this I really like them. As I start actually wearing them, that might change, lol. If my feet are strong enough to do that despite never having done pointe before I’m sure I’ll kill them pretty quickly which is sad. But I didn’t get the hardest shank they make (I bought the medium) so I can still go up one. Regardless of all of this, I’m super excited. I’ve worked really hard, taking as many classes as I can. Pointe was a goal, but it wasn’t my main goal. If I never ended up on pointe I’d have lived. After all, I didn’t bring it up to my current teacher even though I’ve been at that studio taking enough classes, and for long enough for them to have given me the green light. I’m glad I waited until I felt ready.

Now that the big pointe news is out of the way, my newest Elevé order is here! This time I bought skirts! This is something totally different for me, previously I’d only ever ordered leotards from them. I’m glad I decided to branch out though, these skirts are super cute. I decided to buy colors and patterns that matched my favorite (at the time) leotards. I really love the look. Here they are!

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Aren’t you just in love with how the back of the tank style Vinzant looks with the matching mesh? It’s so pretty! Here’s a look at the skirt on it’s own and a closeup of the fabric.

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If you notice those crazy zig zaggy lines they aren’t a problem with the image, the fabric actually does this. I do not know why. But when it’s just presented as a single layer like on a leotard or in the skirt while worn it’s not something I’d noticed. This is the skirt folded so it’s four layers thick as that produced the most accurate colors. These colors are true to life. Somehow the skirt seems more vibrant than the leotard, but it’s definitely the same fabric and I’m thrilled! You’ll also notice that the skirt is longer in the back and may I just say, I love that. It’s a very flattering look. Now it’s not longer by much, as you can see. So if you have more of a rear end it may appear level with the front. I suppose this is one of those times I’m grateful to have no butt to speak of, lol.

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This one I didn’t think looked as good as the Vampire/Paint Your Roses Red combo. I think it’s because the reds just sort of blend together and it creates softer look overall. But this one has lighter mesh paired with a very dark spandex so it’s a little more jarring. Not that I think it looks bad, cause I don’t. But this is something to think about. I’ll actually probably be pairing this with some of my other leotards for now simply because it’s summer, and we’ve been having a heat wave. Mesh or not, I have no desire to pass out so sleeveless is the order of the day for now! That’s okay though, it’ll be fall before I know it. After all, September is only two months away.

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The colors you see in the first image are true to life. I feel like the closeup is just a bit paler and less blue overall. It’s mostly seen in the background. The background color is a very noticeable light blue that’s not as green leaning as it is in my second photo. I think this one would look fine with my black leotard, and I’ll probably try it out with my purple one. But I wish I had a green one to pair it with. I think that would look super pretty.

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I show you the back in this last photo not because I like the way it looks (I think it looks fine BTW) but to show you how the Tri looks with a skirt. The back panel is very long and designed to show off mesh/lace (although you could do a solid spandex if you wanted). And with the sheer skirt you’ll see that it covers part of it, even if it’s not much. So just keep that in mind if that’s going to bother you.

This leotard and skirt were incredibly difficult to photograph. The colors either come out way too bright or too dark. In these photos the colors look like they’re the same, and that’s good because they’re supposed to be (both are Raspberry). But they most certainly are not. Just take a look at the following photos.

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This skirt is very bright and the leotard is very subdued. I did not expect this. I know Kathryn Morgan likes to match her mesh to her leotard and hers all seem to match really well. They have a leotard on their site called the Michelle and it’s a mesh/solid spandex leotard and the colors are the same. The mesh sleeves on that leotard are the same vibrant pink my skirt is made out of. Sadly they didn’t list the fabric info on that one so I can’t see if they just used the wrong color. Honestly if I’m going just off their Fabric Gallery I’d say this looks like their Lipstick color and not like the Raspberry color.

I had a feeling they’d have another sale for the 4th of July and I was right. So I ended up buying a few more skirts and a couple more leotards. I said to my husband it’s barely a week into July and I’ve burned though almost half of my allowance already and he just laughed. But it’s totally worth it. My allowance is supposed to cover the expenses he doesn’t understand anyways so he can laugh all he wants. I don’t regret the purchase at all. Since this is being written in advance by the time this goes live we’ll be almost halfway though the wait till they arrive. I’m so excited about it. All I’ll say is that while there are both leotards and skirts, one of the skirts is lace. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. :D

See you next week!

How To Travel With Makeup

This is a common question asked online in forums and on beauty blogs, what do you pack for cosmetics when you travel. Well, I travel a lot and I like makeup. I forever find myself answering this question online other places and it just gets too long. So I’m going to do it once here, and be done with it. It’s taken me years to work out this system and I honestly hope it can help some of you who might still be carrying a lot. I used to be a super heavy packer and though I still am to a degree, I’m a lot better! Here’s a list of everything I carry for cosmetics and application.

-A Unii Palette stocked with my favorite powder cosmetic shades

-Two eyeshadow brushes from Sephora

-One Sonia Kashuk blush brush

-One retractable powder brush

-One foundation brush

-One eyelash curler

-Setting spray

-Eyebrow gel

-Concealer

-Sunblock

-Foundation

-Powder

-Mascara

-Eyeshadow primer

-Eye makeup remover

-Vera Bradley Medium Cosmetic Bag

And that’s it! It might seem like a lot but honestly, it really isn’t. Just take a look!

 

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See, it’s really not that much. I really love my Unii pallets, I have near a dozen of them. I like to fill mine with eyeshadows that I already know will work well together, and enough shades that I could do a few different looks. For the most part I stick to neutrals though. I generally don’t have time to be messing with brights while I’m on the road! I try to be sure whatever blush I pack will work with any eye look I might come up with. And I think I should mention that when I get to my destination all of these things live in my cosmetic bag, but they generally don’t travel in it. If I’m going by air anything liquid will obviously have to be packed separately. Even though I have NEXUS I could always be pulled aside for extra screening because the TSA likes to make their own rules. So I keep my liquids separate and easily accessible for that reason.

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When it comes to tools I try to keep it to a minimum. I have two eyeshadow brushes and I can generally do any look with just those two. I’ve found over the years, having a dozen brushes at your disposal is nice and makes things go faster in the morning. But it’s a lot to carry. And if you have to, most people can more than get by on just a few. So I have one general application brush that’s smaller. And a larger one for either blending or for doing an all over wash of color (using a somewhat shimmery light color allover the lid will make you look more awake when you’re jet lagged, it’s also quick and easy to do). I bought mine at Sephora (you can find them here and here) and I specifically picked these ones because of their shorter handles. They’re not travel sized so they’re nicer to use, but they fit in most every bag I’ve ever used. My foundation brush is by Pixi and I bought it at Target but you can also find it here. My blush brush and retractable powder brush are Sonia Kashuk from Target, I just manage to squeeze that blush brush into my bag but it’s worth it. It’s not the nicest brush I’ve ever used but I just can’t find one with the same shape and bristle density that I like better so I stick with it. I’m not willing to carry another bulky brush around so I used a retractable brush for my powder. The one I have is so lightweight it totally makes up for the size being a little larger than I’d like. You can find the blush brush here and the powder brush here.

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When it comes to primer it seems like Too Faced and Urban Decay are forever throwing “deluxe trial sizes” at you. So I usually carry one of those. It saves just enough weight and space that I save those smaller ones just for travel. Mascara is another one that every brand on earth is just dying to give away. There was one year I didn’t even buy mascara. I had enough of those travel sized ones I’d gotten for free that I just used those. I keep them for travel now as well. There’s usually more than enough for a week or two. My eyelash curler goes because I can’t use mascara without it. I used to have a travel sized one and it was okay. But I just felt like a full sized one was easier to use and really wasn’t taking up that much extra room.

Now when it comes to packing all this up I like Vera Bradley’s cosmetic bags. I use a medium size and it’s perfect for holding everything I need, plus the inevitable extras I toss in there (usually fancy hair clips). These bags are machine washable and lined in plastic. Have you ever had something break or leak in your cosmetic bag and it just ruined the bag? Yeah, buy one of these and never toss a bag again. I love them.

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This one is called “Make Me Blush” and I bought it when the pattern was brand new- in summer of 2010. I could really do with a replacement. Not because it’s wearing out, not at all. It actually still looks brand new, you’d never guess it was is as old as it is looking at it. I’m just getting a bit bored after all these years! Most of my Vera bags are really old and you’d never guess it. They say they’re made of cotton but I’ve yet to wear one out. This one gets a ton of use and it’s been more places than many humans but it still looks like it did the day I bought it. I don’t think I’ll ever purchase another brand for cosmetic bags so long as I live. And I know some of you may think “Granny” when you see that quilted paisley but that quilted fabric is a New England favorite I’ll have you know! Also, it’s slightly padded which means I’ve never had anything break in here. Leak, yes. But powder cosmetics? Nope, nothing’s ever smashed! This is why I also tend to put any expensive hair things I might be carrying in here. The bag keeps them safe.

Vera Bradley does make another bag now, it has a separate pocket for brushes and after staring at it for some time I took the plunge and bought it when my favorite print was discontinued and went on clearance.

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It’s pretty cool. They do have a larger size which is great if you’re still struggling to pare things down. But I went with the medium size since it’s what I’m used to. It is still a smidge bigger, by an inch in both width and height if I’m not mistaken. I love that I’ll be able to stay even more organized now. I typically keep mesh covers over my brushes to protect the bristles and keep things a bit more clean but now I won’t be forced to. I’ll even be able to keep my bandaids in the little zip pocket. I hate how they always end up crushed at the bottom of my current bag. But now they’ll be safe. :) I also hope my blush brush will fit. If it doesn’t it’ll be a really sad day. I won’t mind having two for everyday, but I will be forced to find a new travel brush. The pockets do seem generous though. They have a video on the site showing Real Techniques brushes in there and they have some crazy wide handles. So I could pick up one of those at least I know it’ll fit! And if you really feel like you have to have a lot of brushes, you might be able to fit two eye brushes per sleeve. And having that extra room in the main compartment because the brushes are no longer in there will be nice. Depending on how much room I gain I might now actually be able to do away with my jewelry pouch (I no longer carry a roll unless I’m going to be in formal wear). I like to use just tiny pouches like what you’d get if you bought a charm at Tiffany’s (you can also just ask for some when buying anything) and I put them into a velvet lined, leather pouch (Pandora used to go all out with their Gifts With Purchase!). But I may now be able to do away with that pouch which would make me very happy. Anything to lighten the load!

So there you have it. Exactly what I bring when I travel and how I carry it. This set up has worked well for me for years, hopefully it can help some of you out there that don’t travel very frequently or who do but need to find ways to pair down what they bring. I’m actually in Hawaii this month and this is exactly what I’m bringing. I’ll still be posting while I’m away and stay tuned for next week because I have some big news!

Sneak Peek Of Things To Come

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If you want to find out more you’ll have to keep checking back each Monday. :)

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda Review

Hi all! A couple of weeks ago I showed you all my day planner supplies and mentioned that I’d ordered a Lilly Pulitzer agenda. Well, it’s finally arrived! Here it is.

This is the Large agenda, and the pattern is Wild Confetti. Honestly this is the first one I’ve ever bought from Lilly so I wasn’t too sure which size to go with, but I think the Large will work fine for my purposes. This agenda will be strictly for keeping track of my blog posts, and YouTube videos (should I decide to keep making those). Since I won’t be using this to keep track of my normal day to day (for that I use coz) and it’ll live in the house I opted to get a bigger planner. If this were for my everyday I don’t think the Large would have been too big, but I’d have probably sized down simply because it is rather heavy. Honestly, if you’ve ever owned one of those hard sided, spiral bound notebooks, this is the same size only heavier. So it’d be a lot to lug around. I’m going to try this out this year and if I like this brand I may actually size up despite this. Just because I don’t care how much it weighs if the farthest I’ll carry it is from my craft room to the living room. I’d rather have the writing space. I actually thought about exchanging this but decided to just stick with this one this year.

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Something you might not be able to see in the photos is the shine the artwork has. The following colors are matte, navy blue, white, purple, light pink, and coral, so are about half the tulips. So it has a really pretty effect when you see it from different angles. When you open it up the inside cover has the hashtag #RESORT365 and the definition of that. The opposite/first page is really fun. It’s actually a pocket! It’s double sided so there’s the palm trees on one side and a Lilly Print (I forget which one) on the other. I love this simple little feature. I tend to just write stuff wherever. Before digital address books half of my addresses were just ripped from envelopes and stuffed inside the front cover. Now I simply lose them, lol. But in all seriousness, pockets are my friend.

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The next page has a full sheet of stickers. Now this is my first Lilly agenda, but from what I understand they always include a sticker sheet and this year was no exception. I think they’re really cute and totally plan on using them!

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After that there’s a page that says “Welcome to Palm Beach” the following pages include what I’m sure is a totally accurate map of Palm Beach. ;)

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Now one of the things I really like about this agenda is this. In the front there’s all of your months one after the other, further into the planner there’s another full month view followed by the daily pages you’d expect. It goes like that for the rest of the planner. I’ve heard some people complain about this, saying it’s just unnecessary and they wish these pages weren’t included. But I think they’re a good idea and I’ll tell you why. Digital calendars are the norm now. Paper is very “old fashioned” and even if you use a paper planner odds are you probably use a digital one as well. And we all know that with digital calendars you scroll through the months. You can see years fly by with the swipe of your finger. So having a section where every month covered by this agenda runs back to back just makes sense. You can put you’re “super important” stuff on there and you won’t miss it. Birthdays, big vacations, doctor appointments. Basically big stuff that you might not be able to reschedule. Flipping through your whole agenda is a pain and this keeps it simple for those who are used to just scrolling down before they commit to something. So I’m glad it’s there and I hope they never do away with that section.

Now after the month by month section there are your “Dates To Celebrate” for your birthdays and anniversaries and such. After that there’s what’s probably my favorite part. The travel section! I love how it gives you a space to write where and when you’re going. Your flight info, activities you have planned, and a packing list. It’s really perfect. Even though I’m using this for my blog, I totally plan to also use this section. Simply because even after all these years, I’m still forgetting to pack something. Like the Disney trip I took last summer where I forgot socks (and by that I mean ALL of my socks, yeah…). Then there’s the itinerary. I’m still asking my husband “So what are we doing today?” and I need to get better about it. So yeah, I’ll be using this (and in total koolchicken fashion I’ll then be ripping the page out and stuffing it somewhere random never to be seen or heard from again).

After that there’s your standard numbers and addresses page (watch, I’ll totally end up using this more than my digital address book then I’ll toss the planner at the end of the year). After the address page theres a really solid note section, ten whole pages! I have to say, this is one of those sections that you either love or you hate. In the past when I used paper agendas I’d get frustrated with these sections because I’d use half a sheet then it wouldn’t be relevant anymore but I’d feel like the sheet was “ruined” and I couldn’t just rip the page out cause the other side was still good. So they’d often just sit blank (while I scribbled in the margins or stuffed them full of note paper like a lunatic). But this time I plan on seriously using them. Hopefully I won’t forget my plan at the end of the year, but I really want to keep this agenda as a record of my blog. So I plan to use this section to record ideas for posts. At the end of the year I want to then take my top posts and print them off and attach them in there. Then over the years I’ll be able to look back and see when and where I came up with the idea, and how well it panned out. And I mean, yes wordpress keeps track of my most read posts and stuff, but it doesn’t know about all the stuff that went into the posts. What I thought I’d do, and what I actually did. That sort of thing. So it’s like a proper history of the blog. As told by a madwoman who will write every word in a different color ink so it’s barely comprehensible…

After all of those little sections you finally come to the main body of the agenda. This one starts out in August, so it’s perfect for people going back to school or for those of us that are too impatient to wait for January. Each month starts out with a two page spread with some beautiful Lilly artwork that’s the “theme” for that month along with a little quote. The first two pages are you’re typical two page month at a glance pages, and they’re identical to the ones seen at the front of the book. I really like the little “To Do” section off to the side where I can write in ideas I came up with that specific month. We’ll see how I actually end up using it, but that’s the plan for now.

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After the month at a glance section comes what I think is the part that’ll make it or break it for most people. Assuming you know what kind of person you are. Every brand seems to have their own way of doing the daily pages. Erin Condren has little boxes, Filofax will give you a page per day, and so on. I really like how Lilly did theirs because it’s actually very similar to the way a Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes I’m dating myself here) planner I had years ago was laid out. I was in the 10th grade and I still remember it all these years later because I liked it so much. Basically you’ve got your whole week in front of you and it’s just lined spaces to write. No wasted boxes, no hourly look at the day, no wasted space at all. Just write if you want/need to and it’s super simplistic. This is actually great for writing down homework assignments which is what I did in that Buffy planner and I swear it’s the reason that particular one worked for me.

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Now I should point out that this agenda doesn’t end where it starts. It’s a August through December planner which means that you’ll need another one not in August of 2016, you’ll need a new one in January 2017. I don’t know exactly when Lilly Pulitzer puts out her agendas but I’ve heard they do, do traditional ones that start in January as well. If that’s the case then I guess it’s what I’ll buy, but I’ve obviously got plenty of time to figure that out!

I really do hope this planner works out. I “share” a calendar with my husband, it’s an Apple one so everything’s synced so it’s nice. But it really feels more like it’s his and not mine. He does work outside of the home so that’s fair. But I felt like cluttering it with notes and ballet and childcare stuff wasn’t fair to him. I also couldn’t see it when I added it (cause Apple only shows like one thing per day the rest is just a note telling you there’s more that day). Coz has really worked for me on so many levels because it’s my calendar, shopping list, to do list, journal. and more. If I have multiple things per day I see all of them. And it’s synced with all of my devices. I can also add my husband to my account (been meaning to do that for ages, oops) so he can see things and I can send him stuff. My favorite feature of it is that I can set it up so it’ll remind me of stuff I need to do and it’ll text me up to three times so I can’t forget it. It’ll also email me. Score! I did try using that to help me keep track of the blog, but again, clutter. After a while having 18 things on a single day is just too much in one spot. I needed to break things down even more. I used a few printable planner sheets I had on hand to test drive the paper version and so far, so good. It’s really working for me. So I think this is the best option for me.

I have to say. I think I’m really doing well keeping up with the blog. I set that goal about one post a week and with the help of my planner it’s been easier than I thought to keep up with it. It’s to the point I’d totally recommend other bloggers just starting out, or hoping to start posting more constantly, should consider trying it. You don’t have to shell out for something fancy in the beginning. Just do what I did, or even just use a basic notebook, just to see if it works for you.

Polymer Clay, Ideas and a Tutorial!

Hello everyone! I’m back this week to offer up some fun ideas and a tutorial. It’s summer now and for many people, that means kids are home (and in your hair, lol). This is going to be something fun you can do with a slightly older child, it’s not really toddler friendly simply because you can’t risk them eating the clay. The website says it’s non-toxic but honestly, it’s flexible plastic so it’s really only suitable for older kids. I like Sculpey clay, I’ve used it ever since I was little and I find it to be a really great product. There are other brands of polymer clay out there that others swear by, use what you like (or can find). I bought mine during a half on sale Joann’s was having so each 2oz bar was around $1.50. Even at full price it’s not that expensive and a little goes a long way. Today we’re going to make a small marbled bowl, all told it’ll take a quarter of a block so you’ll have plenty left over for other creations! Now, lets get started!

First thing you’re going to do is pick your colors. For this I picked blue, two different greens, and white. I find that picking colors that’ll mix nicely together is key. So either pick similar colors, like my greens and blues, or pick colors that will mix to create a new color like red and blue so you’ll get purple. I’ve tried a lot of different combos but find that the colors mix so easily that while pink and green might look great together, mixed they create a really ugly shade. So think your color combos through first!

Now that you’ve picked your colors it’s time to start mixing them. I like to roll mine out into logs, then I twist them together and roll them out again.

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After I’ve rolled out my giant log, I fold it back on itself and twist and roll again.

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Then I start to smush it up a bit. Have fun with it but remember not to do it too much! You want the colors to swirl and blend. But if you play with it too much you’ll lose the swirl effect we’re going for. Once you’ve got it to the point you want it roll it into a ball in your palms.

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Then grab your rolling pin and start rolling it out. As you’re rolling things out try to ensure you’re rolling it out evenly, and pay attention to the swirl pattern you’re creating. Halfway through I recommend flipping it over to see what the other side looks like. If you prefer one over the other then focus on that side. In this case I ended up liking the bottom side better, so I flipped it.

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Now it’s important to keep an eye out for air bubbles. They can expand in the oven and totally ruin your piece. So if you see one, just pop it with one of your tools then smooth it out with your finger. Due to the swirled nature of the pattern you’ll never see it later.

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After you’ve got your clay to your desired thickness grab something to trace a circle. I found a large plastic cup to work perfectly for this. Cut around the perimeter and get ready to lay it into your bowl.

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Find an oven safe bowl you don’t mind donating to the cause. Once you use something for polymer clay you really shouldn’t eat off of it again. So far as I know no brand has tested whether it’s safe to use these items again, but it’s recommended against. You can easily pick a glass bowl up from the dollar store, or just use one you don’t like. I have several of this same red cafe au lait bowl so I used that. I plan to use it in my craft room so I didn’t mind using it for this.

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Lay your clay circle in the bowl then bake according to the clay’s instructions being careful to watch the clock so it doesn’t burn!

Now, if you’re like me you’l get this far and do something stupid. For me, I was in my dimly lit kitchen and wearing an oven mitt when I decided it would be a good idea to poke at what I thought was a bubble (there was no bubble). Since I had my circle just laying in the bowl and not pressed into the center there was space. A smart thing to do would have been to tip the bowl upside down and tap so my clay bowl would fall out. Instead I put my finger through it. Grrrr.

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You’re clay will still be somewhat pliable and slightly brittle when it’s still piping hot from the oven. Hence the weird cracking it did when I trashed the bowl. But I was able to press it back together and it’s fine and not especially noticeable now. I know some of you are thinking “why didn’t you just start over and never mention you screwed up”. Well, I think it’s fair to show your failings. And if I can help someone else learn from my mistakes, that’s great. I’ve made a number of these with no issues, but the time I set out to photograph it for the blog this happens. And hey, maybe it happened so I could share my experience, who knows? So I’m leaving it in.

When it’s cool you can leave it as is, or you can glaze it. I decided to gold leaf the edge and glaze it. This is the gold leaf paint I used. It’s seriously the coolest stuff in the jar, liquid metal. I glazed my bowl using Sculpey glaze. When using polymer clay you can’t use just anything on it. No acrylic paints or nail polish or what have you. Over time it’ll degrade the cay and cause a gooey mess, not good. So be sure you’re using clay safe glaze.

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I did make a tiny little bowl from my scraps. I thought about just mixing them together and making a kawaii creature (another plus of using coordinating colors). But just decided to roll them out into an irregular shape and make a very tiny bowl. There were some air bubbles in this one and I’m glad for it, it gives you all a chance to see what they can look like. They aren’t that bad in this piece, but you can see how this might ruin a sculpture.

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Another fun thing you can make using very little clay and a lot of imagination is fun charms or pocket pals. I’m seriously addicted to making these. I actually still have a ladybug I made more than fifteen years ago. He’s back in the Hawaii house somewhere, I’ll need to find him and bring him back. I haven’t played with this stuff in ages though. But I’m glad I took the craft back up, it’s very relaxing. And it’s a great thing to do on days you’d rather just sit inside in the AC because it’s too hot for the kids to play outside.

Here are some of the cute little things I’ve made over the past several days.

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I really like this particular YouTube channel, she has a lot of cute little tutorials that show how to create these.

There are also a lot of cute inspirational pictures on Pintrest. I’ve created a special board devoted to these cute little guys, you can see it here. I’ve also started to use Instagram. There is someone on there with my name (I do not find it funny) but you can find the real koolchicken here.

I do want to be completely honest. I try to post tutorials I think anyone could do, so you can follow along and come away with something cute and feel good about yourself. I really feel like a lot of the Pintrest hate out there is because the site sets people up for unrealistic expectations. Yes, there’s something for everyone out there, but a lot of this stuff is hard and you have to know how to pick your projects. This bowl really is super easy and any four year old could manage this (with a little adult help for the cutting and baking). But where the little clay animals are concerned, you may struggle. I actually started a new medicine for nerve pain and was pretty drugged when I made the strawberry, mushroom, watermelon. This is one of my talents, I can and have made these while struggling to speak properly. I come from a long line of artists and though no one else has sculpted (to my knowledge) I’ve been doing it for years. I once managed a complicated vase on a pottery wheel on my first try, I wasn’t even ten. When we played with clay in school I was always the weird kid who managed some elaborate figurine when everyone else made ashtrays and snakes. I was making canes at 12. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just trying to be honest and say that the little figurines are tricky if you’ve never done it before and they may take real practice. So you may not be able to just watch a two minute video and recreate this perfectly on your first try, even if you’re sober. I’m sorry. But, I truly believe that if you look over my Pintrest board anyone could find something they could make with a bit of practice. I’ve got a good mix on there. Regardless of whether you’ll be able to make something exactly the same as someone who’s been doing this for years, this stuff is still really fun to play around with. If what you’re making isn’t coming out the way you like, smush it up and start over. No big deal. The main purpose of this all is to have fun. Stressing about making something perfect isn’t fun. If you make a mistake, just go with it. It’s okay.

Now, some tips to make playing with this stuff a bit more fun and successful.

*First up, protect your work surface! I like to lay down some wax paper. I tape it down so it doesn’t bunch or shift. You can also lay it out on top of your clay to make rolling it out easier. I’ve been wanting a piece of marble tile for a while now, just to use with some of my other craft projects. I think it’ll work especially well with my clay, and I’ve seen others using them as well. They can be bought individually at the hardware store for very little.

*When it comes to rolling out your clay you can either use a bit of waxed paper to protect your rolling pin, or you can use a dedicated rolling pin. The one I used in the tutorial can be bought here. It was inexpensive and comes with removable guide rings that make rolling out your surface evenly easy.

*If you’re looking for tools to use with your clay, nail art tools can be very handy. I recently bought some from eBay, you can buy the same ones here. You can use them to glue pieced of baked clay together, for painting, and for picking up small pieces. It can also be helpful for smoothing out the clay and attaching pieces.

*If you want to glue your clay, E6000 is the only glue that seems to work on polymer clay. This is a restricted item many places. In New York I used to have to show ID to buy it. But it’s very strong and I love it. It actually works better than super glue and is more effective on many surfaces. So I tend to use it for more than just clay. You can buy it in many supermarkets, Target, Walmart, etc.

*Clean up can be a little tricky. After you wash your hands they’ll often still feel as though they have a film on them. Just using a bit of rubbing alcohol or some hand sanitizer will remove that residue instantly. It can also be great to have it with you when you’re working with the clay so when you swap colors, the red that’s on your fingers doesn’t transfer to your white and turn it pink! Baby wipes also seem to work well.

So there you have it. I hope you all feel inspired to get out there and start crafting. Polymer clay is a lot of fun and a great boredom buster. This stuff can totally keep most kids occupied for hours, and you’ll probably feel compelled to join in on the fun too. It’s hard to resist this stuff. :)

See you next week!