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!

Day Planner Supplies

Hi everyone, today I’m going to talk about planner/agenda supplies! I do have an electronic day planner that I use and love (Cozi for IOS devices) but it wasn’t working for my blog. At some point, even an electronic planner can get cluttered. So I decided to go back to a paper planner, but just for my blogging. I did have a disc bound planner and some printables, but I wanted to save that notebook for different things. So I bought a Lilly Pulitzer agenda. To go with that I decided to get some accessories. When I initially went into the store I planned to get just a couple sheets of stickers. But Joann’s happened to be running a 40% off sale on their stickers and paper crafting supplies, so between the sale and some of the great things I found. Well… I think you can guess what happened. Yeah, I got a bit carried away.

I decided to try something different with this post. I filmed a video for you all! In this you’ll see what I bought and how I’m using it. Let me know what you think!

Now my craft room is still a work in progress so I need a place where I can have easy access to some of my stationary supplies. So I converted our kitchen junk drawer into a stationary drawer! I share the space with my husband so I just removed his stuff for the photo, but the rest is mine. I literally use this drawer several times a day. It makes me so happy just to look at it. All that washi tape! I swear I spend half the day looking for places to stick it. I actually have some framing my laptop screen right now. ;)

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I think even after I get my craft room up and running I’m going to keep a small stationary “command center” in the kitchen. It’s just super practical. I love having a small stash of thank you notes, along with pens and some fun tapes right there in my kitchen. I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this years ago. Having them in some closet is a pain, this makes sure my notes get written promptly! And having some washi tape close by is always a good thing! Never know when you’ll need it. :)

I wanted to also take a moment to show you all what my current planner looks like. I’m using this until my Lilly one comes in (it’s backordered, plus it doesn’t start until August). I have June already filled in but didn’t want to share what’s coming up next week, so I’m only showing you July. As you can see it’s very simplistic but it still works. It’s bright, colorful, and with the label stickers it’s easy to just look at it and go “Oh, next week I’m doing X so I’d better get on it”. I also have enough room to fill in other little things like doctors appointments and such that I might need to work around. Like this month, I have two doctors appointments and I may have to have more in July. So I have some washi (which is often removable) in my June pages showing that day, and notes on how I can keep myself on track if I don’t feel up to writing.

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I love looking at how other people decorate their planners. I could watch those videos on YouTube all day. In the past I found this really challenging but over time I’ve gotten better at it. I think it also helps if you don’t really need to write that much down. For me I’m aiming for one post a week. So I have one day where it’s always going to be blocked off, plus the other side of the week where I can write a note or two. The rest of the space is then free to decorate.

If you’re wondering how I put these pages together it’s actually really simple. To start the top of the page where the month and year go I used the scrapbooking paper I showed you in the video. I used double sided tape to stick it down, and just used some letter stickers I had on hand. If I wanted to keep things simple I could have just written what I was going to post every Monday in the square, but adding a cute label sticker really jazzes it up. Same goes for the notes I wanted to add for later in the week. The long labels that cover Thursday through Saturday also serve the dual purpose of blocking off all of those days, since that’s the time I’ve planned out to write. That leaves me with Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to add additional notes or to decorate. With the printables I’m using there’s also a Notes section off to the far right, but I elected to cover that section with more scrapbooking paper to add a little color. The addition of some washi tape was just a fun way to add even more color, patterns, and tie the whole look together. To keep the pages I want together open I used some star shaped paperclips I found at Ikea.

For July I pretty much copied what I did in June, just in another color scheme. The only really difference is the addition of a few doodles. All in all this is very simple to do, but it really helps when you have coordinating supplies. For the most part everything I used is from the same line and they’re made to go with one another. But you can pull an organized look off even without using matching sets. I think it’s always easier when you start with a color scheme and go from there. There’s also a lot of great inspiration on Pintrest and YouTube, and there are so many bloggers who write about nothing but day planners. There are even some groups that pick a color scheme (or other design inspiration) and challenge all of their followers to decorate their moth or week around those colors. So it can take a lot of the guess work out of it for you.

Hopefully this planner keeps working for me and I’ll be able to keep up with my posting schedule. I know I haven’t even been doing this a month but so far I really like knowing every Monday there will be something new up. This is no longer a source of stress for me. I just come up with something and I write when I get the chance, and schedule it to go live when there’s an open slot. I hope all of you are enjoying the posts. I know they’re all a bit random and this blog doesn’t have a clear direction if you will. But for me, it’s just sort of all my favorite things to read about in one spot. Ballet gear, crafting, sewing, stationary, Pintrest (OMG Pintrest!), and more. I have to assume I’m not really that unique and this stuff would appeal to a lot of other people as well. I’m always surprised by how many hits I get on this blog everyday, so it’s clear the what I’m writing about is working for at least some people. I don’t know. I just love reading “fun” blogs, and I like the idea of maybe being one of them. :)

See you next week!

In Defense Of The Pintrest Hairdo

You may have noticed there’s a lot of hate on the mommy blogs. It’s often directed at anyone who dares to enjoy parenting, getting dressed in the morning, or even showering on the regular. If you ask me I just see these outburst that claim others are “judging” to be insecure whining. And there’s a special sort of rage directed towards any woman that uses Pintrest. I’ll never understand why. No, no one’s life is Pintrest perfect, we all know this. So stop the hate okay? It’s not healthy. Today I’m going to show you all two variations of a great style I found on Pintrest that I love to do. It’s easy, and it’s a fantastic alternative to your basic ponytail or messy bun.

For me, I never wanted to become one of those mothers that loses herself, I wanted to keep my fancy hair. It’s one thing to be totally devoted to your kid. But it’s another when you no longer realize that you’ve walked out the door in pajama bottoms. Granted if the kid’s still a baby you totally get a free pass, it’s hard to function on 3 hours of sleep. But when your baby is entering fourth grade? No excuses. One of the big things people seem to let slide is their hair. Now I’m going to be honest here, I’m soooo guilty of this. Not in the styling, but definitely in the cutting of it. My friend is a hair dresser and there’s a lot of head shaking when she asks me when I last got it cut and I say, “Oh, remember the last time you flew out. Six months ago? Yeah, then.” She does not find me funny. I either need to see her more often (she’s 3,00 miles away, sniff sniff) or I need to cut it out and find a local stylist. Even though I know they’ll never do as good a job!

My hair is pretty long, so it’s easy to hide the fact I neglect trims. Sort of. I purposely didn’t do the “mum bob” so many women do. You know, you have a baby and you just lop off all that long hair you grew during pregnancy thinking it’ll be so much easier. Yeah, I wore my hair short for years. So I knew it wasn’t easier, that I’d have to keep up on my trims if I wanted it to stay looking good. Do I get points for putting effort into thinking about how to be lazy better? No? Eh, worth a shot.

Well, with long hair you can just toss it into a ponytail and call it a day. But I found that actually pulling my hair into something a little more elegant is well worth the extra time. It’s also practical to get it all up, especially since I do neglect those trims and my hair has gotten pretty long over the years (it was nearly waist length before my last trim!). I do this one style that’s netted me countless compliments and it literally takes me four minutes to do if I’m rushing. I do a two stranded french rope on the sides and a bun with the ponytail. It looks very similar to this, just with both sides braided and the bun is in the center.

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It’s the perfect style if you have bed head, if you’ve gone too long between washing, or if you haven’t had time to style your hair after washing (mine looks a little messy/fluffy if I haven’t flat ironed it).You can make it more intricate, or you can pick up big sections to save time. It took me several tries before I had this down to under five minutes, when I first started it took me more like fifteen. But it’s definitely worth looking on Pintrest (or YouTube) and finding just one or two hairstyles and practicing them. Do it once every few days until you’re confident.

You know, the rage directed towards the “Pintrest Mum” really is just misdirected anger. I know a lot of people hate the Pintrest hairstyles claiming them to all be too much. But really, they’re not all impossible. Some are really, really simple. Picking a couple to have up your sleeve for those off days when you still want to look put together but you’re short on time is a good thing. And while I know I’ll never master the bow bun, this one I can do. I accept that particular failing and move on. It’s not a big deal and doesn’t make me any less of a mother/wife/person. I promise, if you can’t manage this hairstyle then it’ll have no bearing on your abilities as a mother/wife/person. You just need to try something different, maybe the bow bun is your special talent. If it is I’ll be eternally jealous. But at the end of the day, it’s just a hairstyle from some website. How doing stuff you saw on Pintrest became synonymous with being a good mother is beyond me. They really have little to do with one another.

This is another, very similar hairstyle I’ve been known to sport.

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You have to admit, these are a lot more chic than your standard ponytail. And if you have a baby or toddler that’s grabby finding a style that keeps your hair away from them is a good thing! For a long time if my hair was down my son would stick it in his mouth or just yank. I literally could not carry him in the ergo if my hair wasn’t in a bun of some sort. He used it like reins, and yes, it was painful. Something else I like about these hairstyles is they contain “growth” if you will. With the summer months coming I know some of you out there will be battling the humidity. Sometimes it’s easier to just put down the hot tools and admit you’ve lost this round. These are good styles to keep fluffy and frizzing hair in check without a ton of pins. And if you do have to use them, at least they can be hidden in the braid. I hate how when my hair is in a pony tail or just regular bun I have to use those stupid little clips, you can see them and they never really contain everything. Stuff escapes and I just look sloppy and only half put together. This is a much nicer alternative.

So there you are. Two variations on a very easy, yet elegant hairstyle that’s simple to master. It would look good on any woman, of any age. You will need hair that’s at least past your shoulders though. I’m sure I’ll be wearing my hair up like this a lot during these upcoming summer months. Sometimes I even like to wear my hair like this to ballet, it’s always held up great!

Hope you enjoyed this post, see you next week!

A Review Of My Newest Elevé Leotards

I mentioned on here months ago that I ordered a new Elevé leotard. Well a few weeks after that they had a sale so I ordered three more. There’s free shipping on orders of $150 or more, so really I was saving money by ordering more. ;) I decided since the orders were placed pretty close together I should just wait until I had all four before doing a review on them. My first leotard took about six weeks to the day to arrive, so technically ahead of schedule. These last three took closer to eight, being one day shy of the day I placed my order. I’ve often found that the more I order at once the longer it takes for my order to arrive. Makes sense, I seriously doubt they spread different items from the same order to several seamstresses. They likely go to one, and she (or he) is responsible for the total order. And they finish when they finish. I’m fine with that, these are worth waiting for.

First up is my new Vinzant leotard. I picked “Bed Of Roses” for the base and “Celery” for the mesh. The size is Large and it feels a bit snug in some areas, as well as a smidge short. I’ve found that this is just the way the shiny spandex seems to be. It’s just tighter. My last Vinzant was in the matte spandex and even though the tag says Medium (an error on their part, I only noticed the other day) it fits fine.

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The next up is the Anna style. The base is “Blush”, the back is “Bed Of Roses” and the trim is “Ivory”. I bought a size Large and it’s spot on. I want to caution that the Blush color is very sheer. So sheer in fact I will not be sharing detailed photos of it. I even pulled on a pair of tights thinking it’d fix it, but nope. So you either need to be willing to wear black (or another dark color) tights, or shorts with this. I really wish I got the full front liner but it’s too late now. :( I tried a neutral thong, but it’s painfully obvious. As are the tights. This color is basically see through and I almost wonder why they didn’t contact me to say “what are you thinking”. The bust panel seems to do a decent job of covering up the girls. But I could obviously just wear a bra with this style. I have another Anna with a mesh back (and a back hole, I asked for that to be omitted from this one) and when there’s mesh a bra doesn’t look so great. Although I have been know to wear them sometimes, but I wear a bright contracting color so it’s clear it’s a deliberate choice.

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This one is the Laico With Sleeves. The Base is in “Jade” and the mesh is “Flower Bunches”. The size is a new one and it’s X-Large (please note as of the time I placed my order not all styles were available in an X-Large). Given how much trouble I had with this style I decided to try it out. I found that it is a much better fit. I laid this one out on top of my other Laico and as you can see there is a real size difference. Now granted it’s more in width than length but that’s okay, because it’s a four way stretch fabric. If you need more stretch one way, and less in another, the fabric will give where you need it. I often buy tights too big so that they’ll have the stretch lengthwise. So it’s snug enough, yet the perfect length. The fabric really blew me away too. I pulled it out of the mailer and it just took my breath away. These photos don’t do it justice. The Jade is bright! I tired taking photos under different lights but it made no difference, it refuses to be accurately captured, but the closeup of the mesh is spot on. It’s just absolutely stunning. I desperately want a skirt in this pattern now. Fingers crossed they have another sale soon cause I don’t think I’ll be able to resist. It’s funny too, since I knew I liked this pattern but it wasn’t at the top of my list or anything. I bought it because I was pressed for time. They announced a sale when I was at Disney and my husband wanted us to get ready for the day so we could hit the park. So I really rushed through the order. Clearly the best thing that could have happened to me since this is my new favorite leotard.

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This last one is one of their newest styles, the Tri. They describe it as being for mesh lovers and I would definitely fit that description! I picked the “Raspberry” color for the base and the “Black Tulip Lace” for the top/back. I bought this one in a size Large. Once on this fits perfectly, but getting it on is another story. This lace doesn’t have the best stretch, so it’s a bit snug going over my hips. That’s something you might want to keep in mind if you’re planning to do something like sleeves. Often stretch lace is two way stretch only so I’m not too surprised by this. Four way stretch fabrics are much more comfortable but most mesh and lace fabrics just don’t come in four way stretch, some printed spandex fabrics are two way only as well. So that’s something to remember when buying these crazy/fun patterns. If you’re concerned about fit I’ll tell you what I always do, just contact the company they’re happy to help. I opted for a sleeveless style so my broad shoulders and somewhat flabby arms wouldn’t be restricted. I’m glad I did. I feel like the photos on the website don’t really showcase the tulip design as well as they should. Somehow the tulips get lost in it, probably because the photo is taken from a distance. The photo on the site makes it seem like the lace is a smaller pattern, but in reality it’s very generously sized. The Raspberry fabric is to die for as well. I had a hard time photographing this one as well, but it’s just such a beautiful rich color in person. It’s actually much brighter and more pink in person. It’s very much a fuchsia/raspberry shade.

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All in all I’m very happy with this order. I’m definitely addicted to these leotards, they’re one of my favorite things. If I were Oprah there’d be nothing on my list besides these leotards and maybe washi tape, lol. I just love them that much. I really can’t think of a single bad thing to say about the brand or company. I had to contact them about this order and they got back to me straight away as they always do. And you can just tell the people who work for the company are happy. You can almost hear them smiling in their emails.

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This last photo is a comparison of the lining material they’re using. The one on the right is new, and the left is from my last round of leotards (I think that one is my Lauren in Smoke). The material is thicker, and more like a microfiber versus the same sort of spandex they use for the rest of the leotard. I really like it and I know that if my Anna had been fully lined in it, it would have been fine. Also worth mentioning. There was no bleeding when I washed these leotards. I know some people have mentioned a weird fluorescent yellow that comes off of their leotards for the first few washes and I thought it might be coming from the lining. Given that there was no bleeding (not even with the pink one) I think it’s safe to say it was probably the lining material and the new stuff doesn’t do it.

I do want to apologize for the photos in this post. I’ve been having trouble with my phone and computer and I had to email these to myself. The quality really suffered for it. Then there’s the lighting. I’m just horrible at selfies, sorry. The exposure is always off when I take them. I hope you’re all still able to get a good idea of what these look like in real life. I know there are a lot of people who visit my blog just for these reviews, so I try to get the best photos I can. But what can I say, I’m no great photographer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment on this post if you have any questions I didn’t cover in the post. I’m always happy to help out!

See you next week!

DIY Etched Glass Water Bottle

I know I mentioned that I was going to share with you all a craft I saw on Pintrest that I thought was really cool. It’s finally happening! It all started when I saw this awesome etched glass water bottle and I loved it, but it was sold out. So I did what I usually do, turned to Pintrest to see if I could track it down elsewhere. While I didn’t find that same bottle, I did find a tutorial I could follow to make my own.

how to make an etched glass water bottle with a voss bottle and martha stewart glass etching cream

This water bottle looked awesome so I knew I had to try it. First thing I did was head to JoAnn’s. There I found the exact same type of stencils, you can also find them here on Amazon.

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The second shot is just a close up of one of them. I haven’t used this set yet but I have plans for it!

I also bought some glass etching cream and paintbrushes, I really liked these Martha Stewart ones. They wash up so nicely and work very well. I’d definitely buy more of these in the future.

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Then I had to track down a water bottle. I used a Voss bottle like in the tutorial, but you could use any glass bottle you happen to have. First thing I did was remove the paint from the bottle. In the tutorial I linked to they used a paint scraper but it’s really overkill if you’re using a Voss bottle. I literally took a Brillo (steel wool) pad to it and the paint came off with no effort whatsoever. Then I rubbed the whole bottle down with a little rubbing alcohol.

Next I had to decide where to place my stencils. Once I found my ideal placement I stuck them on (they’re sticky!) and grabbed some gloves. The glass etching cream is pretty dangerous so you need to be sure your skin is protected. I actually have a really big prescription pill bottle that I keep mine in because I’m paranoid about my son getting into it. I couldn’t find the Martha Stewart brand they use in the tutorial, but I found this one and it worked just as well.

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I’ll admit, I slapped this stuff on and waited the required time. I wiped it off and honestly, I thought it hadn’t worked. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t in a super well lit area (remember the cave I used to live in?), maybe it’s because the stencils were still on. I don’t know, but for a minute there I was like “Oh man, another bogus pin”. :( But after I took the stencils off and washed the bottle I was like “Woah!” It looked so cool! So here she is, in all her glory.

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Do you know how hard it is to take pictures of something semi-translucent on something totally clear? I didn’t, now I do. Still, it looks really good in person. I totally want to do this again and I’m sure I will. I still have the stencils (they’re reusable) and some of the glass etching cream left, not that it was very expensive. In fact the priciest part of the project was probably the stencils and they were only about $10. They sell them lots of places and Michaels and JoAnnes have 40% coupons a lot. You can reuse them (as well as the paintbrushes) so that saves you if you plan to do this several times. I recently had this great, totally original idea to do this on some of my Pyrex dishes. Then I looked online and realized a million other people had already had this totally “original” idea. You can actually buy monogrammed ones on Etsy.

If you like these stencils but don’t want to use the preexisting patterns you can make your own as Martha Stewart sells sheets of this stuff.

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I should warn you though, it’s not adhesive. You’ll either have to tape it down or use spray adhesive but it’s the same flexible material. You’ll be able to cut through it with an exacto knife.

So there you have it. An easy craft anyone can do, that yields some pretty amazing results. You could do this in an afternoon. I wouldn’t recommend letting kids help, maybe a teen or very mature tween. As for food safety I’m fairly certain these are fine to drink out of since the etching was done on the exterior of the bottle. I scrubbed it well before use though. Just don’t go trying to sue me if you do this then decide I’m responsible if you drop your bottle and it breaks or something equally ridiculous. And while I do intend to do this on some of my Pyrex dishes I’m going to do it on the outside of the dish. So bottom line. I’ve been using my bottle for almost a year with no ill effects. I followed all of the package instructions on the etching cream and I treat it likes it’s a glass bottle, because it is. So use good judgement!

That’s all for now, see you next week!