Top notch top knots

My life goal… at least for my hair is to figure out how to create the perfect top knot for my personal style. I have figured out how to get one that looks really good but for some reason it looks super formal so it doesn’t pair well with my daily wardrobe choices of shirts and cardigans or simple sun dresses…. so the hunt continues! However,  I do love a good top knot. Have no idea what I am talking about? Let me show you!

So the basic gist of the top not is to create the sloppiest mound of hair on top of your head and be able to pull it off as chic and sophisticated. Let me just tell you my first attempts at this little hair-do were less than stylish and most certainly laughable. I am only sorry I did not capture it on film to share with you here, because I know you could all probably use a little Thursday pick me up, although I am still reeling form my weekend which in my new job occurs on Tuesday and Wednesday… which is really cutting into my weekend cooking and crafting and exploring, but such is life, soon I will no longer be the low man on the totem pole and I will return to the schedule of a normal person in the corporate world. Ok, so that was a look at some different top nots, but I have some more for you that I am looking in to trying soon!

ok I am definitely a big fan of this one! I love braids and I love buns so the combination of the two is really just perfect. I have been wanting to do this as hair for a like 3 different dance I have done, but something always goes awry…. but one day I will make it happen. I just love how elegant it looks, and for some reason the braid makes it look less sloppy…. even though its really just the same, love it!

Also, I love this one. Why? because it looks like the easiest thing EVER to do to your hair so I probably won’t mess it up and the braid gives it some texture and makes it look more complex and interesting… AND you don’t have to spend all that time teasing your hair like you do with regular top knots… you see where I am going with this right? Simplicity is key when I am trying to get ready and my brain is not working.

This top knot is more for the minimalist. In my mind this is for running errands in gym shorts and a t-shirt or a day at the pool or lake… not for looking stylish and posh. OR it could be for you if you are anti bun, but I am most certainly NOT. My inner dancer loves a bun and I love even MORE that buns are now considered to be some high fashion solution to the drabness of a pony tail. Its like a dancers dream come true.

I REALLY like this one. its pretty similar to the one I tried as far as the end result, but getting there seems to be a completely different process. Mine was just a high sloppy pony tail teased like crazy, wrapped like a regular bun, but very loose, and pinned in place. So this one has a little bit more texture and some other things going on. I am thinking, but don’t quote me on this, that some combination of the two would look pretty awesome, again something I will have to play with.

OK for real, this look so good on her, but if I did this, with this outfit someone would ask me why I chose not to wash my hair and still put on such a cute outfit. So I don’t think I will be trying this one out but if you can pull this look off, I thought I would give it to you as another top knot option.

Finally I like this last one because it reminds me of that women’s rights “We can do it” poster that you always see!

its like the modern version of that vintage look! I think thats why I love it. If you don’t see it, let me help you out!
See!!!!!! So now you can get in touch with your inner woman strength AND look posh at the same time. So get to it, do some teasing and braiding and knot that hair up and you too can be stylish, chick, and sophisticated. There is a top knot for every look and style. Best of luck to you in your stylish endeavors.

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A little facelift

No room deserves to be drab, no matter what it is. In college for SOME reason, I decided I wanted my bathroom to be all black and white. Well, now I am OVER it and the black decor doesn’t go with the other rustic looking items I have in my bathroom. So, you can imagine my excitement when my friend sent me a housewarming gift in the mail. It was one of those perfect gifts, in the form of plastic, that was designated to be used at a Target. Just what I needed to bring a punch of color and some more spice to my bathroom! So thats exactly what I did!!!


T
his was my boring black shower curtain, Sorry this picture is so bad. I didn’t look at it and then I took the curtain down and hung the new one… and now here we are. BUT since it looks so bad in the picture, it makes the new curtain look a bajillion times better. Plus, when you aren’t allowed to paint the walls, you need SOME kind of color, so thanks to my good friend Michelle, I was able to get this fun and cheery shower curtain only paying about $2 out of pocket, because Target is awesome!
It literally blows my mind how something as simple as switching out the curtain can change the look of the whole room. I guess now I need to get rid of my black and white rug, but it will do for now. I think I will want something that looks a little more natural like this bamboo rug from World Market 

I think it would look great and then I can upgrade all my bathroom accessories from the black things I have now to something that will be more fitting of the decor, like a mason jar soap dispenser and some kind of rustic looking tooth brush holder and hand towel holder. And then that room will be complete. More updates as these things develop (aka as I get money to buy more things)

Chicken Enchiladas

If its possible to have a guilty pleasure that came from a weight loss cook book, this is mine! When I was in high school my parents did PHC, aka our whole family did PHC. We ate a variety of different meals most of which were typical diet meals (a low fat protein, a lot of veggies, and some water), but it was my favorite thing ever when this recipe came up in the rotation! These enchiladas literally defy the idea of bland and boring diet foods, and not to mention they are quick and easy! 

We also served this with the homemade  tortilla chips I posted about previously! And it was top notch! If we had some Monterry Cheese dip, I would never need to go out to dinner to eat mexican again!

Ingredients: 
4 large flour tortillas
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded
8oz Nonfat cream cheese
1 – 4oz can of chopped green peppers
1 can enchilada sauce
1/4 cup of non-fat mayo
3 tbsp. of water

Instructions
Season chicken with salt and paper and boil. Let chicken cool and shred it.While the chicken is cooking Mix the mayo, water, and enchilada sauce until creamy. In a separate bowl, mix the Chicken with half of the block of cream cheese and the entire jar of green chilies. Preheat the oven to 425 and then cook the tortillas in the oven for 5 minutes (wrapped in aluminum foil) or until warm. Place a fourth of the chicken mixture inside each of the tortillas.

Then,  roll them up and place them in the pan(with a little bit of the sauce on the bottom) seam side down.

Then pour the rest of the sauce on top. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 15 minutes.

Then remove foil place dollops of the remaining cream cheese on top and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Let cool and then enjoy!

Movement Mondays- FANattics

ok, I love dance moms, but I found this on youtube and this is CRAY. These two grown men went and stalked the studio and were frolicking in the snow talking about how much they love Abby Lee and Dance moms. Spekaing of dance shows I love: Dance Moms Miami is getting pretty legit, Abby Lee is back on June 6th, and SYTYCD started this past week, can’t wait for some new ballin dancers on that show! Additionally if you are a fan of any show, you should use this video to gauge your level of obsession.. on a scale of one to ten, these people are like at a thirty. Here a good laugh for you, at least.

Back Porch Gardener

Ok, I hate to miss out on an opportunity to brag about things, and I have been seeing people posting on FB and other blogs about their blooming hydrangeas. Well, now its my turn! First of all, I don’t even like walmart, but the walmart near my apartment has a garden center and the flower section in the parking lot that is literally the same size as the store. WHICH IS AWESOME. The best part, all the plants were healthy and watered and CHEAP! I got my hydrangea plant for $14, my hanging plant for $10 and my herb mixed bucket for $5. So, what, like $30 for all my plants and as soon as the herbs get to the point I can use them, I will be saving so much money on buying all that stuff!  I thought for the cheap price that the plants wouldn’t last that long, or that i would never be able to get the herbs to sprout, but so far they have all been doing great, between the rain, my watering them and the sunlight they get on my little porch

I still can’t even get over how gorgeous this $14 plant is! I love hydrangeas, I think they are like one of my favorite plants ever, they are just so luscious and vibrant! And I like the science behind it, so if next year I want a different color I can just change the acidity of the soil, its like getting a new plant every year. Also, side note about the pot they are in. I found that at this weird little gardening store at home. I had never even noticed it was there, and its next to this weird little chines place and ALL they sell is flower pots and they have SO many different ones. I loved this little clay pot, the design on it was awesome and I think I got it for like $20 because when I got it they were buy on get one half off and my mom bought one as well. But I still would have totally paid $40 for it.

I like this little hanging plant because it makes my apartment look bright and cheery from the outside, although I can’t compete with this lady on the first floor who must be growing a jungle on her balcony. I don’t have space, patience, or money for all that nonsense so my hanging plant and hydrangea will have to do! Additionally, I have my little herb sprouts, which I am anxiously awaiting the day I can use them to cook with! They aren’t as exciting to look at but, here they are!
It doesn’t look like much now, but this little bucket was about $5 and it has six different herbs inside it (basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, and one other I can’t remember) So, that should pretty much cover my cooking needs for the most part. Hopefully I don’t kill them because they will be an awesome money saver in the future, and much more delicious in my meals that store bought dried herbs.

Hopefully I can keep up my streak of luck with my green thumb and keep these plants alive through the season!

DIY Headboard

If you have been following for a while, I am sure you remember my mentioning I would bring you a tutorial on that awesome headboard my dad built me for my new apartment, well this is it. If you have ambitious dreams, a lot of spare time on your hands, and an immense amount of patience, and a friend with power tools, then this could be this could be your DIY dream project. If not, well…. when you find all of those things, you will be prepared!
Remember this? Well, you might be surprised to know that it started out as THIS…..

The entire headboard is built around this frame, which is what was used to mount it to the wall…. in several locations because it ended up being kind of heavy. My headboard was 80in long and 40in tall (for a king size bed), I believe. I wanted it to be pretty tall and still have some space for the bottom of it to rest below my mattress, so before you start I definitely recommend taking a measuring tape to your bedroom and playing with heights so you know what you’re looking at before you get started. So to build the frame we had to two longer pieces for the top and the bottom, and then the outside edges and an extra support in the middle. Additionally we used a second piece on the top to create a lip that would be flush with the back of the headboard, but would hang over on the front to create a…ledge I guess is a good word for it. So, after that, we moved to this:

We used a thin piece of wood cut to pitt flush on top of the frame we made and then right up against the over hang and fastened it with small nails. Next we attached decorative molding to give the top some detail. I used two different types of molding because… when the headboard is over 3 ft. tall, you need something a little larger, so heres how we got that:

 I used a traditional molding with a little bit of curve to it and then a decorative rope molding on top of that which sat flush underneath the overhang we created, so after attaching them together and making sure that they were peeeeeerfectly arranged we got this

 Then it was time to attach the 4 squares, which we used toe molding to make. It was just a very simple trim, nothing too fancy, just enough to add some dimension AND create the divisions for the decorative pieces! Attaching these was kind of a chore, and we had some struggles with nails coming out the side or not going all the way in because the molding was rounded, so just a little warning for when you get to this party, slow and steady wins the race! After you get them all spaced equidistant and have them attached, you should have something that looks similar to this. Additionally, these squares should be proportionate to the decorative pieces you use.

Speaking of decorative pieces, I am sure you are all wondering how I got those awesome little cutouts. NO, I did not stand around and hand make those. They are PVC cutouts that I ordered from Overlays and they have TONS of different options with varying prices. Mine were $10 a piece, which was pretty much the top dollar I was willing to spend, so, these are the ones I got.
Before painting the headboard and the decorative pieces we filled all the nail holes with wood putty and sanded it down. Then we painted the headboard a teal blue, sanded to make it smooth and painted it again (yes, that was paint, sand, paint) This process took a few days, and the molding wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing I have ever painted either. But once we painted it it looked awesome!
 beware of bugs that will fly into the wet paint, get stuck and make you angry 😦 On another note, BEFORE  you paint the overlays make sure you kilz them because the paint doesn’t take to the PVC very well, additionally with these, patience is key as well. Patience and a small brush.

After everything was dry and ready to go we attached the cutouts to the headboards using quick dry adhesive  superglue… thing, leaving no room for error when attaching the pieces, so… don’t mess it up!  And once you get everything all squared away it will look like this:

Now, as far as attaching it to the wall, we used dry wall screws, and picture hangers (4 across the top) and two L- brackets on the bottom. These were attached to the wall and then the bottom is attached to the  L bracket to stabilize it on the wall.

So, if you’re feeling ambitious and looking for a way to spice up your bedroom, this is a great project, and I foresee myself using this headboard for an extensive period of time, even it it means repainting it and getting some new overlays or something like that. I mean its one of a kind, so why not get the most out of it!

The woMAN cave

Ok, so, I realized the other day, that for those of you who are following the decorating of my new placed I totally jipped you a room, perhaps my most important room! My den, or my woMAN cave, as I jokingly like to call it…I mean lets be honest, it kind of is. If a man cave is the epitome of everything that men represent (primarily sports, TV, and beer) then this is the culmination of all the things I love (primarily, crafts, papasan chairs, and fun decorator items) So, here is the final room I have to share with you, my den!

Things you might recognize from this room….. a lot of things, if you have been following me for a while… The first is my refurbished lamp, featured in a post a few months ago, visit the craft time page to see how I made it or to check out how I made the puff balls in the corner (something you might also recognize) OR maybe you recognize my sofa from when I mentioned getting it as a steal at that furniture store that was closing own in Augusta, the same goes for that great little teal accent table. OR maybe you remember the days I spend sanding and refinishing that old trunk that I have turned into an awesome coffee table?? No, well, then you have some catching up to do, ya better hit up the archives, you might find some great crafty ideas, and money saving tips.

As for that decorative piece having above my sofa. I’m already over it. I never quite got it to look the way I wanted AND to top it all off it fell off the wall the other day and now its just hanging there looking a shambly mess of cut up toilet paper rolls while some of the mirrors are laying in the floor. I haven’t even managed to pick it up yet because I am still so annoyed by the fact that is just…. fell off the wall despite my wonderful efforts to try to make it work, you know by using my cure all…. hot glue. The worst part was that when I hung it I thought to myself, hmmm I wonder how long I can make it before this thing falls off the wall and shatters… I guess I got lucky because there were no broken mirrors (so hopefully that saves me from bad luck in the future) but I do have the sad misfortune of figuring out how to rework it and make it worth the nails I put in the wall… more coming on that!

Other than that sad misfortune, I like to think that I have done a pretty jam up job of making myself a cozy little place to relax during my down time! Now I just have to figure out what else I am going to craft, since my place is pretty much done… maybe I can commission out my skills for friends… and then blog about it! haha, who knows. I do have a few projects on the brain, I just haven’t gotten around to them, but not to worry, I won’t let my paint brushes miss me too long! Ok, off to relax on my steal of a deal sofa, or maybe to lounge in my favorite papsan chair. :::sigh::: such decisions!

Summer on a Stick

Ok people, I know this might come as a surprise to some of you, but I have a confession to make. I am a grilled food addict. I don’t just mean I like to eat a steak every once in a while, I mean I crave all kinds of things you can smoke or grill. Salmon, chicken, chopped veggies, corn on the cob, pizza… you throw it on the grill I am probably going to AT LEAST debate eating it. So, after this confession, it should come as no surprise to you that the idea of being away from home and my dads masterful grilling has been somewhat of a struggle for me, especially in the summer when my hypersensitive nose can pick up the scent of a bar-b-que from a few blocks over. Well, imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when my boyfriend informed me that he in fact DID like to grill, and I was open to make suggestions for grilled foods we might want to make over there summer months (although communal apartment complex grills don’t quite get me as excited about slapping together a grill friendly dinner) BUT, nonetheless that is exactly what we did this past week. Confession two, my new career has landed me with a weird schedule so I was off in the middle of the week last week, so don’t just think I am sitting around having all this time to cook, I just got lucky. Anywho, back to the purpose for the post, one of my FAVORITE FAVORITE  FAVORITE things to have in the summer is kebabs. Did I mention this is my favorite, because it is. AAAAND!!!!!! because I had some time off and an epic craving for something top notch from the grill I took to the produce section to create my perfect summer kebab, and BOY was it perfect, ranking right up there with those stuffed shells I shared with you a few months ago winning accolades like “the best thing we have ever cooked” and “my favorite meal we have made”.

And, as the title would lead you to believe, when you make this meal it literally tastes like everything summer, right there, on a stick, on your plate. AND we had some top notch grilled corn with it, which also tasted a lot like summer… and was on a stick because I didn’t have any cob holder… things. Anywho, I am sure you are wondering how you can serve up a platter of summer on a stick, well, here ya go, if you don’t enjoy this…. don’t come back! Just kidding, if you didn’t enjoy it there are only 3 options 1. you didn’t marinate it properly, 2. you didn’t cook it correctly. 3. your tastebuds are broken.

Ingredients:
– bone less skin less chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
– 1 bottle of italian dressing
– 1 small red onion chopped
– 1 small sweet onion chopped
– 1 red/gree/yellow bell pepper chopped (I used all 3)
– mushroom caps
– Corn on the cob
– Olive oil

Instructions:
– Marinate the chicken in 3/4 a bottle of italian dressing, leave some dressing for on the grill marinating to add some delicious flavor!
– Also, ahead of time soak the wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes in water so the chicken and veggies won’t stick on them while the are cooking and I guess so they don’t catch on fire or something!
– chop all the veggies and assemble the kebabs placing a few pieces of chicken  and a variety of veggies on each stick

– After the kebabs are made, prepare the corn for the grill by tearing off one square sheet of aluminum foil and placing olive oil, salt, and pepper on it, and coating the corn cob in the mixture, then wrap the corn up leaving knots on each end for easy grill removal, as shown below!

Cook kebabs on the grill until the chicken is cooked all the way through, occasionally marinating the kebabs with the remaining italian chicken. Cook the corn on the cob for about 20 minutes inside the foil, on the grill. Make sure to leave everything in the grill for a few minutes with the lid closed so it can get that nice , charred, smoke flavor that screams “I taste like summer, eat me!” Once everything is cooked all the way through, remove from the grill and celebrate the deliciousness of summer. Also, please note that you have received this recipe just in time to start off summer right, by serving to all your favorite people at your memorial day celebrations, enjoy and kebab and think of me, because I will be at work, making that cash money, so I can do more awesome things to tell you about on this blog! lucky you! Happy grilling, I know you will enjoy this one!

Movement Mondays- Living

Happy Movement Mondays, dance fiends! I found this video last week while I was stalking stars dance studio trying to figure out how I felt about their style of dance…. and this piece made me realize I OBVIOUSLY am obsessed with it…because the level of “artistry” as Victor and Angel always say, is so high… but I think my biggest thing is the level of musicality they have in their choreography, and if you have been following this series on my blog for a while, you know how I love that because I love songs, and how they can influence movement, and I think this is such an awesome example of it. These kids make this look sooooo effortless, they don’t even stop moving for a second, its just one seamless piece of choreography, how could you NOT love it!

Sesame Glazed Baked Salmon

We had this for dinner the other weekend, and it was so delicious! Clearly I have been trying to post about my new apartment and other fun exciting things so my food posts have been piling up, but lucky for you, when I run out of craft posts or home decor posts, you will get more recipes than you could possibly know what to do with!

This salmon was pretty delicious to have not been freshly grilled on the green egg (my favorite form of preparation for any meat!) But with just a few ingredients, you too can have this delicious salmon served up for your family.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds raw salmon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Sesame Ginger Honey Glaze (to apply after cooking)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over salmon.


Instructions:
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the broiler in your oven. (Or preheat your grill, etc if you prefer to use something else.)

Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place directly on the wire rack (I put mine on a piece of tinfoil inside the oven) . Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place under the broiler. Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness (our’s was just about an inch thick), until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. You can flip the salmon halfway through cooking if desired.

Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and the glaze.