Singles Awareness Day – DIY Gifts For Yourself

iStock 000033980356Small Singles Awareness Day   DIY Gifts For YourselfDo you feel like Valentine’s Day is really Singles Awareness Day? Well don’t despair because you’re not the only one! Instead of moping around and feeling like you should have an S.O., embrace the benefits of being alone by following the philosophy of Treat Yo Self. Here a few DIY gifts you can make just for yourself and not have to share them with anyone!

Crayon Color Block Candles
Materials:
-Wax
-Votives
-Crayons (any colors you’d like)
-Dixie cups
-Wicks
-Popsicle sticks

Instructions:
Pour some wax into the Dixie cup and partially heat it up. Remove the label from the crayon, cut it up into little pieces then add it to the wax and melt. Once the wax and crayon are melted, stir them together so that they form one solid color. Place one wick in the votive then pour the melted crayon wax into the votive. Repeat this several times with various colors so that the candle is color blocked. Wait between wax pourings so that the previous layer can solidify.

Magnetic Bowls
Materials:
-Magnetic parts holders
-Paint (any color you’d like)
-Magnets (optional)
-Glue gun

Instructions:
Simply paint the magnetic parts holders and let dry. This will make them colorful and easy to spot when you want to just throw your bobby-pins or paper clips somewhere. You can also glue gun a strong magnet onto the back of the bowl. This way you can place it on your fridge and put miscellaneous metal objects around the kitchen in it.

Jewelry Block Holder
Materials:
-Small block of wood
-Small gold metal rod
-Wood glue
-Sawtooth hanger
-Wood stain
-Hammer

Instructions:
Stain the small block of wood then, once it’s dry, hammer in the sawtooth hanger into one side of the block. Use the wood glue to glue the metal rod parallel to the opposite side of the sawtooth hanger. If you cannot find a gold metal rod, buy some gold paint and paint it. Make sure you the block of wood is in the middle of the rod so that you can string jewelry on both sides of it. You can use this for bracelets, earrings, or rings.

How will you celebrate Singles Awareness Day?

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Valentine’s Day Recipes For Dinner

iStock 000018995634Small1 Valentines Day Recipes For DinnerValentine’s Day is a little over a week away so you need to start thinking about that dinner date! There are plenty of restaurants that will be doing specials and have the whole place decorated by why wait in line at some fancy place when you can make your own fancy meal? Here are some great recipes we’ve found that have hints of reds and pinks to capture the famous holiday.

Creamy Pesto Shrimp (from allrecipes.com)
Ingredients:
1 pound linguine pasta
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pesto
1 pound large shrimp, peeled

Instructions:
1. Boil a large pot of lightly salted water then add the linguine pasta and cook for 8 to 10 mins.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet then stir in the cream and pepper and cook for 6 to 8 mins.
3. Stir the Parmesan into the cream sauce until mixed. Blend in the pesto and cook for 3 to 5 mins.
4. Stir in the shrimp and cook until they turn pink
5. Serve over the hot linguine and pair with a delicious white wine.

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze (from allrecipes.com)
Ingredients:
2 (4 oz) filet mignon steaks
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine

Instructions:
1. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides of each steaks.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and place steaks in then cook for 1 min on each side or until browned.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover and cook for 4 mins on each side.
4. Place steaks on two warm plates to keep from cooling and spoon on the glaze over each steak.
5. You can serve this wish a potato and green beans paired with red wine.

Grilled Shrimp Scampi (from allrecipes.com)
Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp minced garlic
Pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and some black pepper. Season with the red pepper and add the shrimp. Let marinate in the fridge for 30 mins.
2. Preheat the grill on high heat and thread the shrimp onto skewers.
3. Lightly oil grill and grill the shrimp for 2 to 3 mins on each side.
4. Serve over pasta or brown rice, paired with a white wine.

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Transform Your Home Into A Green Living Hub

iStock 000030302928Small Transform Your Home Into A Green Living HubIt seems like everyone these days is changing something out for something more sustainable and now it’s your turn! Whether it’s making sure to shut off the lights when you leave the room or do air dry your laundry instead of heat dry, there’s always something you do better. Here is a list of ways you can conserve your home’s water and energy, reduce the toxic waste, and improve its overall sustainability!

The most common thing is recycling. Go to the store and buy a couple extra trash bins or even a specific recycling ones and set them up where you know you’ll use them the most. Learn about the various recyclables and to dispose of them. Rinse out every receptacle before throwing them in the bins and separate the paper, glass, and plastic into their own bins.

Something very simple you can do is buying a reusable water bottle and what would be even better is one that’s make from recycled materials! You can find these are the grocery store or a sports store. Don’t waste the water by dumping it out if you know you won’t drink it right away, instead, put it in the fridge or use to cook with.

Switch out your plastic baggies and storage containers for alternative ones. Glass jars are a great alternative! You can use all those old mason jars you have lying around and there’s plenty of fun jar recipes on the web for you to check out. Just make sure to check if you can put them in the freezer before doing so, they might explode with the freeze. Another great alternative is food grade stainless steel. These are also great to use as sandwich boxes instead of sandwich bags.

Most people don’t realize but there are plenty of toxins in the air. Houseplants are a safe and pretty way to improve your air. Aloe Vera, Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Boston Fern, English Ivy, and Gerbera Daisies are just a few of the plans that clean. Be sure to properly care for the plants and they will continue to properly care for you!

How have you greenified your home?

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Bathroom Remodel Basics

iStock 000031633478Small Bathroom Remodel BasicsRemodeling a bathroom can be quite the task to take on. It can be as easy or intense as you want it to be. If it’s just putting a fresh new coat of paint then that’s easy. However, if it’s picking out a new bathtub, pulling up the floor, moving the location of the sink etc. That’s a whole new ballgame. Here are some tips to help you decide what to do and how to do it.

The Floor
Ceramic tiles are a classic choice. They’re easy to clean and extremely durable but they can be slippery as well. Choose smaller tiles instead of larger ones so that there’s more grout therefore more traction. Another option is vinyl. It’s easy to install, easy to clean, and will last a long time. If you put felt or foam underneath the vinyl, it’ll create a sort of cushion in case of slip-and-falls. Last but not least, cork. It’s environmentally friendly and water resistant. A finishing coat on top will?protect it from spills.
Just remember to take into account who will be using the bathroom, how often it will be used, and how often you want to replace the flooring when choosing it.

The Wall
Ceramic tile, like above, is a classic choice for the walls. The moisture and steam won’t be an issue but you probably don’t want to use tile on the floor and the walls. It’s just too much ceramic. When choosing paint for you bathroom, go with satin or semi-gloss paints. They will withstand the steam better and are easy to clean. Just be sure to let the paint dry for 24 hours before showering. The last wall finish we will discuss is wallpaper. This can be tricky because in the past, the steam from the shower made the wallpaper detach itself from the wall which completely defeats the purpose. Vinyl or vinyl coated wallpaper will be your best bet. Both are water resistant and self adhesive which makes for easy installation.

The Shower
You want to go all out and really give your bathroom a whole new look so you aim for a new tub. The amount of space you have in your bathroom has an impact on what type of shower you have. Shower-tub, walk-in shower, claw-foot bathtub etc. There’s plenty of options out there so choose what fits your personal preference, style, and overall theme of the bathroom, as well as practicality. Our favorite is the claw-foot bathtub because of the vintage look it puts off.

The Decor
The last step to remodeling a bathroom is the decor. Don’t go crazy. This is typically a small space so decorate tastefully and keep in mind the overall ambiance of the bathroom. Seashells, canvas artwork, candles, whatever suits you and your room!

Share with us some of your bathroom remodeling tips!

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Cooking With Winter Vegetables

iStock 000029919498Small Cooking With Winter VegetablesWinter can be hard when it comes to cooking. Typically you stick to soups because they’re warm and comforting. Well if you’re tired of the whole soup thing, try these new winter recipes that will keep you wanting more! The following is a list of the most popular winter veggies.

In season veggies:
Beets
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Kale
Red Onions
Shallots
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips
Winter Squash

Mini Sweet Potato Pizza (from Love & Lemons)
Ingredients:
Sweet potato, peeled into ribbons
4 mini naan breads
olive oil for brushing on the dough
1/2 clove of garlic
Ricotta cheese
Shaved red onion
Shaved brussels sprouts
Few pieces of kale
Pinches of red chile flakes
Grated pecorino cheese

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Toss sweet potato ribbons with some olive oil and salt
3. Brush a little bit of olive oil on each piece of naan and rub it with the garlic
4. Top each pizza with some ricotta cheese, a few slices of red onion, few shaved brussels sprouts, kale, and a few ribbons of sweet potato
5. Top each with grated cheese and bake for 20 mins

Red Thai Curry (from Amuse Your Bouche)
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
250 g butternut squash flesh, diced
1 onion, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
200 g parsnip, diced
2 small carrots, diced
2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
400 ml coconut milk

Instructions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large wok and all the vegetables. Cook over medium heat and stir often until the onion is soft
2. Add the curry paste and mix, then add the coconut milk and simmer for 15 mins until vegetables are cooked
3. Once the vegetables are soft and the sauce is at a desired consistency, serve the curry topped with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime

Savory Sauteed Leeks (from Martha Stewart)
Ingredients:
6 slices of bacon
8 cups of sliced leeks
8 eggs
Thinly sliced chives

Instructions:
1. Cook bacon until crisp then crumble
2. Saute leeks in bacon fat until soft
3. Make 4 wells, break 2 eggs in each and season
4. Cover and cook until just set for about 5 mins
5. Top with bacon and chives

Fried Rice With Kale and Scallions (from Taste Editors)
Ingredients:
1/2 pound kale, stems discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 large scallions, cut into 1/8 inch diagonal slices
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Instructions:
1. Cut the kale leaves in half lengthwise then crosswise
2. Steam the kale for 7 mins
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 mins
3. Add the kale and scallions and cook for 2 mins over medium heat
4. Add the rice and cook for another 2 mins then add the soy sauce

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How To Zenify Your Home

iStock 000039902770Small How To Zenify Your Home Winter can bring depression and anxiety due to the weather and lack of sun. Don’t let this fret you! Try some of these zen inducing methods and decorations to work your way through the crazy emotions.

Positive Energy
There are many ways to bring positive energy into your home. Smells and positive emblems are some of those. Frankincense comes in oil form and stick form like in incense. The resin is thought to promote calm and peace, which will of course promote zenness. Sage is another herb that will have similar effects. Some positive emblems that will make you feel calm and relaxed include a hamsa or a dream catcher. Both are symbols of protection from evil and an invitation for good things.

Colors
Earth tones will bring you the most zenness because you will feel connected to your environment. Colors such as Chartreuse, Stony Ground, and Calm Meadow are great colors to paint your bedroom or kitchen walls, rooms you spend more of your time in. If you don’t want to put in the effort of painting an entire room, think about bringing in objects that have those colors. Flowers, globe of beads, or just painting a canvas a certain color are all great ways to bring new colors into your home.

Smooth Lighting
Having a space that is zen can be only be fully achieved by having the right lighting. The bright lights are often hard on our eyes and make us less calm. One way you can smooth out your lighting without having to switch all your light bulbs is by painting them. I recommend sepia tones to make the light less harsh. You can also paint a design onto the light bulb. When you turn the light on, it will shine the design onto the walls.

Comfy Spot
Having a place in your home where you can go and be zen is essential. It can be difficult to sometimes find that spot so I suggest making one in the corner of you bedroom. All you need is some awesomely comfy throw pillows and a couple of big ones, some fuzzy rugs and blankets and a couple of candles. Setting this all up will create a comfortable pod for you to relax in and feel zen.

How have you zenified your home?

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Five Easy Wedding DIYs

iStock 000051977542Small Five Easy Wedding DIYsIt can be difficult finding the right budget for a wedding. These DIYs will aid with that and add some entertainment and decor to your ceremony and reception!

S’mores Table
If you’re looking for a fun food event for your wedding reception and don’t want to spend a lot of money or a lot of calories on candy, try this! Find a long rectangular box, wood, metal, plastic, whatever goes with the overall look. Buy three or four cans of sterno and enough bags of pebbles to fill the box. Place the cans in the pebbles so that they stick out just enough to let the flame out. If you’re not a fan of how the cans look, simply paint them!

Glittered Champagne Bottles
It can be difficult thinking of a wedding favor for your guests to take home. A great way to use a wedding favor as a decoration then as a gift is to glitter mini champagne bottles! Just Modge Podge the bottom half or entire bottle if you’d prefer, and sprinkle glitter on it. You can pick various colors depending on your color scheme or go for a classic?gold or silver look.

Sunflower Balls
Backdrops can be a tricky thing. If you’re not getting married in a church and would like something behind you and your future spouse as you exchange vows, try these sunflower balls! The amount of sunflower and foam balls you use depends on how many balls you’d like to make. Simply cut the stem from the flower and glue fun it to the foam ball. This also makes for a great wedding party table backdrop!

Self-serve Open Bar
Deciding whether or not to have an open bar is mostly based on budget. If you are adamant about having one but know you can’t really afford a bartender or two, you can still have one! Put your handyman to work by having him build a bar with three or four beer and margarita spouts. Write above each spout what the beverage is and hook some kegs to the back. Everyone will be happy and grateful!

Reception Entertainment
Photo booths are quite the popular wedding entertainment. If you’d like to have one without worrying about the cost, make your own! All you need is a black or white sheet, a way to hang it up, a nice camera, and props. Hang up the sheet, set the camera on a tripod and make sure it has a 5 or 10 seconds timer. Your guests will be able to take their own photos and you can decide what props are available. You can also invest in an instant photo printer so people can take their photos home right away and you’ll have it for future use!

Share with us wedding DIYs that you’ve used before!

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Healthy And Easy Snack Recipes

iStock 000039410552Small Healthy And Easy Snack RecipesYour New Year’s resolution may have been to get in shape or eat more healthily but that’s not always so easy. Here are some quick and easy snacks you can make ahead to snack on later when you get a craving.

Baked Apple Chips
All you’ll need for this one is some apples and brown sugar. Simply cut the apples up in whatever shape you’d like and sprinkle some brown sugar on top. Preheat oven at 200 degrees then bake chips for 1 hour. After an hour, flip the chips over and bake for another hour or until moisture has completely left.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites
Slice up the bananas into equally sized little pieces. Melt some dark chocolate (healthier than milk chocolate) and lay out some wax paper. Spread the peanut butter between two banana pieces, like a sandwich. Once the chocolate is adequately melted, dip half of the banana sandwich into the chocolate and set on the wax paper to harden. As soon as you’ve filled an entire wax sheet, put it in the freezer so that it hardens more quickly.

Greek Yogurt Covered Blueberries
Greek yogurt is a better choice than your average yogurt because it has quite a bit of protein in it as well as calcium. Put some wax paper on a cookie sheet and make enough room in your freezer to put it. Place a blueberry on a toothpick or a skewer and dip it into the yogurt. Make sure to get the entire blueberry covered then take it off and place on the wax paper. Once the sheet is full, pop it in the freezer for 30 mins and voila! Of course you’ll need to keep the blueberries in the freezer when you’re not eating them so they don’t melt.

Parmesan Garlic Zucchini Chips
These are similar to the apple chips above. Slice up the zucchini to form chips and lay out on a cookie sheet. Spray the chips with some olive oil then sprinkle some parmesan and garlic powder on top of the chips. Bake them at 250 degrees until chips are crisp and browning.

Ready-to-go Snacks
Celery sticks and peanut butter
Fruit skewers
Hummus and carrot sticks
Hard boiled eggs
Edamame

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

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DIYs To Improve Your Kitchen’s Look

iStock 000038651114Small DIYs To Improve Your Kitchens Look

 

You may be wondering what it is about your kitchen that just does not make you want to cook. I have the answer! Your kitchen has gotten boring. Simple as that. You need these DIYs to spruce up your kitchen which in return will spruce up your cooking.

Twine Placemats
Materials:
- Thick twine
- Glue gun

Craft on:
This might the easiest DIY you ever do in your crafting life. The end product should be a round twine placemat so naturally you’ll need to glue the twine in the spiral shape. Simply take the end of the twine and began to spiral the twine around it to create this shape. you’ll need to continuously glue the twine together so that it stays neatly pressed down and in the spiral form. You can make the placemat as big or small as you’d like.

Colorful Wooden Salad Utensils
Materials:
- Wooden salad utensils
- Paint (any color you’d like)
- Bowl

Craft on:
Pour the paint into the bowl. You’ll want to pour enough paint so that you can easily dip half of the handle of the wooden utensil into the paint. Once you’ve poured a sufficient amount, dip?half of the handle into the paint. Set aside for an hour to allow time for the paint to dry. You can do this which all your wooden utensils and various colors to easily recognize which utensil goes with which.

Light Bulb Salt And Pepper Shakers
Materials:
- Two identical standard see-through light bulbs
- Glue gun
- Drill
- Two metal rings

Craft on:
Remove all the electrical work from the inside of the light bulb. Drill a small hole into the end of each light bulb. Glue the metal ring onto the bottom of the light bulb, where it is most curvy. And that’s it! Super easy DIY that will leave your table looking as original as ever. Don’t forget to wash out the light bulbs before filling them with salt and pepper.

Something really easy that you can do to improve your kitchen’s look is to switch out the ugly soap bottles for pretty ones! Most antique stores will have ornate soap dispensers that you can put dish soap, hand soap and even lotion in for those roughed up hands.

What are some DIYs you have done in the past to enhance your kitchen?

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Golden DIYs For A Golden Year

iStock 000052552832Small Golden DIYs For A Golden YearForget the boring colors and bring back the gold! What better way to celebrate 2015 than by incorporating gold into everything? Well maybe not everything, but at least something in each room of your home.

Gold Dipped Candle Wood Holder
Materials:
- Wood carver
- Tea candle
- Gold paint
- Bowl
- Log (small enough to sit on a table)
- Wax paper

DIY on:
Given the materials, this might seem difficult but in reality it’s extremely easy. Simply carve out a hole big enough for the tea candle to sit down into the log.?Next, you’ll want to pour the gold paint into the bowl so that you can dip the bottom of the log into it.?The amount of gold paint you pour corresponds to how high you want the paint to go on the log. Once you’ve dipped the log, hover it above the bowl to allow for the excess to drip off then flip it over and set on the wax paper so that it can dry. You may accelerate the drying process by blow drying the paint if you’d like. Regardless, when the paint has completely dried, flip the log back so that it’s standing up right and place the tea candle into the hole.

Gold Lamp Shade
Materials:
- Black circular fabric lamp shade
- Gold spray paint
- Gold glitter

DIY on:
This one will be a little tricky because you need to cover the outer black part of the lamp shade so it doesn’t get any gold on it. You can do this by tapping wax paper to the outside of it or by free handing it and hoping it doesn’t get any paint on it. You may also buy a white lamp shade and simply spray paint the outer part black once you’ve finished the gold. Either way, you need to spray paint the inside of the lamp shade and quickly glitter it before the paint dries. When you place the finished product on the base and turn the light on, the light will catch the glitter and make it glisten.

Gold Dotted Canvas
Materials:
- Big gold confetti
- White canvas
- Glue gun

DIY on:
Simply glue gun each gold confetti to the canvas in a trickle down effect. Meaning, glue a lot of confetti to the top of the canvas and as you make your way down, disperse them more and more. You can also make a simply polka doted canvas for a more elegant look.

Share with us your brilliantly gold ideas!

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