Valentine’s Day Heart Pie Pops

nsm_9660

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I’m getting in the spirit with these adorable pie pops! My friend is throwing a Galentine’s Day party on Monday, and I’ll be baking a fresh batch of these babies to bring with me.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your favorite pie dough
  • 1 large egg, with a splash of water
  • your preferred flavor of jam
  • Lollipop sticks (make sure to get the oven-safe kind)
  • Heart cookie cutter

nsm_9601

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure your dough is rolled out nice and smooth, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out hearts using the cookie cutter, and spoon jam into the center, leaving a decent amount of room around the edges. (I recommend using a slightly larger cookie cutter than the one I used.)

I chose to make some pie pops and some mini pies. Make sure to add the popsicle sticks before the jam and the top heart.

nsm_9638

Use a fork to press the edges of the heart together to seal. You’ll most likely have some jam spilling out—just embrace it!

nsm_9639

The last step isn’t pictured, but you simply brush the dough with the egg wash and stick them in the oven for 20-30 mins. The egg wash helps them get nice and golden. And there you go!

nsm_9651

 

DIY Peppermint Foot Soak

nsm_4191

I’ll be the first to say, I love wintertime. I love the snow and getting to wear boots and cozy sweaters daily. That being said, winter is always really tough on my skin, so I make sure to take extra great care of it during the colder months of the year.

I think our feet are one of those things we forget about often, opting to focus more on our face or hands, but in my opinion during the winter there’s absolutely nothing better than a rejuvenating foot soak.

I’m sharing one of my favorites today, and it’s incredibly easy to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 2 TBSP loose peppermint tea
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
  • jar or container

nsm_4167nsm_4173

For the loose tea I simply opened up a few peppermint teabags, which works perfectly! Once you’ve collected all the ingredients just mix them all together in a bowl and voila!

nsm_4182nsm_4183

I like to store the powdered mix in small mason jars, and I think of them like single servings. When I want a soak, I just pull one out and mix it with hot water. The peppermint smell is so relaxing, it makes for the perfect pre-bedtime ritual.

nsm_4188

These also make great gifts—just look how cute they are all packaged up!

nsm_4192

 

Clip Lens Review

tks_2668

Over the holidays I participated in a white elephant gift exchange with some friends, and part of the gift I picked was this 3-in-1 clip lens. Now, let me just preface this post by saying that this is probably the cheapest phone lens set you can buy. These are not high quality lenses by any means,  but I figured I’d test them out and let you know my findings anyways. If you’re interested in high quality phone lenses, check out Moment.

So here goes. The set comes with three lenses: macro, wide, and fish eye. Also included are lens caps and a carrying pouch.

tks_2676

The lenses are easy to attach and using the clip on is super straightforward. You simply screw on whichever lens you want to use, and clip the lens over the camera on your phone.

Now for the fun part! Here’s a normal photo with no lens (left) versus one with the wide lens (right):

I was actually pretty pleasantly surprised at how this came out, and how little quality loss/distortion there was with the wide lens.

Here’s a normal photo with no lens (left) versus one with the fish eye lens (right):

As you can see the fish eye lens is true to its name, and like all fish eye lenses there’s lots of distortion, but again minimal quality loss.

Here’s a normal photo with no lens (top) versus one with the macro lens (bottom):

img_1698fullsizerender-6

I was actually most surprised by the quality of this lens. It allowed me to get in very close and get a good image with lots of detail.

Overall, for less than $6, this product is actually better than you would expect. For the occasional picture taker who wants a few fun lenses, it’s not a bad buy. It could even be a great gift for a tween or teen who’s just getting into photography and wants to play around before investing in more expensive equipment.

As for me though, I’ll be sticking with my big-girl camera 😉

 

 

 

 

Rustic Napkin Ties

napkin

I’m hosting a ‘Friendsgiving’ at my place this year and I’ve been thinking about ideas on how I want to decorate the dinner table. I wanted something rustic, yet chic and sticking with the theme of autumn.

One of my brilliant ideas (there were a lot of bad ones first) that I came up with were these cute little napkin ties. They were so simple to put together, but I think they add the perfect touch!

nsm_9096_lr

Here’s what you’ll need:

Cinnamon Sticks – (are you surprised? Hello, blog name!) these are a bit larger than the ones you might find in the grocery store. Try looking in a specialty store or when in doubt, Amazon!

Twine – this adds to a nice rustic touch and it’s easy to find at most stores. If you’re sticking to a specific color scheme, you can always swap out the twine for ribbon in your color of choice.

Rosemary sprigs – this looks pretty and adds fun little pop of green. Plus, it smells delightful! If you’re not a rosemary fan, you can do the same garnish with thyme, lavender, sage, etc. Be creative!

All you have to do it fold your napkin into a rectangle, lay down your herb sprigs and place the cinnamon sticks on top. Once you’ve done that, tie your twine or ribbon so that the bow is on top of the herbs and cinnamon sticks.

And there you have it! A fun little napkin tie fit for a fall feast!

At Home Silver Cleaning

silver

I have always loved the look of silver but the thought of having to scrub it using really harsh chemicals was a big deterrent. However, when I came across this amazing silver tray at an estate sale, I was determined to find some less caustic alternatives!

nsm_9036_lr

As you can see, this tray was pretty tarnished. I decided to try cleaning the tray with toothpaste, window cleaner and hair conditioner in three sections where the tarnish was the heaviest. Here’s my take on each:

Conditioner: While it did make the tarnish less black, it did make the tray look more dull. Since you probably want your silver to shine, I would recommend skipping this one.

Window Cleaner: This one was just okay. It worked, but not without a lot of scrubbing. If you’re polishing a small piece of silver, this method might be okay, but it felt like a lot of effort would be needed for the entire tray.

Toothpaste: The winner! To be perfectly honest, I was a little skeptical at first, but the toothpaste managed to make the tray look brand new and so shiny!

nsm_9053_lr

I’m so happy that I found an easy way to shine my silver and restore the lustre of this beautiful tray!

Pumpkin Flower Arrangement

pumnpkin-flower

With an abundance of pumpkins everywhere I go, I can’t help but feel inspired to do as much decorating as I can with those gorgeous gourds!

I decided to try my hand at this DIY that incorporates pumpkins and beautiful fall flowers. It’s so easy and a fun way to add a little fall color to your home.

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • A pumpkin
  • Your choice of fall flowers
  • A pairing knife
  • A package of single stem water picks. You can find these at a craft store, local florist or Amazon, of course. These water picks will also keep your flowers from wilting so your arrangement will last longer!
Using your pairing knife, cut holes around the outside of your pumpkin. You will want these holes to be a little larger than the top of the water pick.

flower-pumpkin-2.jpg

Fill your single stem picks with water and place a flower in each one. Insert the vials into the holes you cut and push them in so the flowers sit flat against the pumpkin.

I absolutely loved the way this turned out and can’t wait to make them again as a Thanksgiving centerpiece!

Stove Top Room Scents

scents
Fall is easily my favorite season. Sweater weather, an abundance of honey crisp apples, the incredibly vibrant foliage and that unmistakable smell of fall. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just something so cozy about fall that I knew I wanted my entire house to smell like it.
As much as I love candles, I wasn’t really interested in going the pre-packaged, artificial route. And really, why should I when so many of the notes in those candles are the same fruits and spices I already have in my kitchen?
Inspired by a few things I found on Pinterest, I decided to try my hand at making my own stove top room scents.
Here are three recipes that will have your house filled with a delicious aroma in no time. For all of these, you’ll want to 2 to 3 cups of water brought to a boil. Add your ingredients to the boiling water and then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Note: there are no measurements for any of the ingredients. You can put in how ever little or much you’d like depending on your preference.
Citrus Autumn Spice
  • Orange slices
  • Apple slices
  • One or two sprigs of pine
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • A few dashes of ground cloves, ground allspice and ground nutmeg
Fall Getaway Potpourri
  • Lime slices
  • Blueberries
  • Vanilla bean
  • Coconut extract or flakes ( I use both because I love coconut!)
Calming Citrus Mint
  • Lemon slices
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Mint leaves
  • A few drops of lavender oil
This couldn’t have been easier to do and my home smells absolutely delicious! I’m excited to dream up scent combinations for other seasons, but for now I’ll be enjoying these cozy fragrances of fall.

Three Cheers for BarkBox!

barkbox_2

I’m no stranger to monthly subscription boxes and I figured it was time to get my Greyhound in on the fun! I love to spoil him rotten and BarkBox looked like a fun way to do that.

If you’re not already familiar with the service, BarkBox is a monthly subscription box just for dogs and contains healthy treats, toys and other cool things with your four legged buddy in mind. When you sign up, you can choose your dog’s size so BarkBox can send appropriate sized items. This way your Papillion isn’t going to be overwhelmed with a toy made for a Mastiff. Since my Greyhound is a pretty big boy, I went with the Big & Bold option for our subscription.

tks_3288_lr

The theme of this month’s box was ‘Teacher’s Pet’, so the items had a back-to-school vibe. I particularly liked the “composition book” for the pamphlet that listed the items in the box. Definitely brings back memories of my own days in school!

tks_3280_lr

This box included two bags of treats and a ‘woof stick’ for chewing. The Apple Duck flavored biscuits were a major hit with my dog, so I’ll definitely have to keep a bag of those on hand.

tks_3283_lr

We also got two toys! My dog has never met a squeaky toy he didn’t love and I thought these two were extra adorable. I mean a little milk carton? Come on! Too cute! The ‘book’ is currently his most prized possession and he’s been carrying it all over the house.

BarkBox is definitely a subscription we’ll continue to look forward to every month. It’s a great way to discover new brands and products and my dog definitely isn’t complaining about getting new toys and treats!

neutral

Finding the Perfect Neutral

There’s nothing like having a go-to neutral nail polish. It’s always in season, flatters every outfit you own and is right for all occasions. The trick is finding the right neutral. It’s like finding the perfect shade of makeup that can enhance your features. The right neutral nail polish should be chosen the same way you select a shade of foundation or concealer—it should complement your skin tone and the other subtleties of your complexion.

I have five gorgeous neutral polishes that are sure to flatter a variety of skin tones!

Samoan Sand – Of the five polishes, this one is probably the most versatile of the bunch. The peach undertones look really nice against fair to medium skin tones. If you tend to gravitate towards wearing earth tones or warmer shades, this polish is the neutral for you.

Don’t Bossa Nova Me Around – The name alone is enough to win someone over. This polish has a light grey undertone that really compliments cool skin tones. It also looks beautiful with cool-toned clothes, like fuchsia or turquoise.

Otherwise Engaged – If you like wearing bright colors, this neutral is a great choice! It has a bit of a pink-purple hue with a coverage that’s iridescent and a little bit of a cream finish.

Dulce De Leche – Some people think this taupe-y rose color is a little ‘mature,’ but those people are wrong. I have fair skin and this nail polish strikes a great balance of being neutral while adding a little bit of color. It also looks fantastic with very classic colors.

Taupeless Beach – Another winning name! This one is a dark grey taupe that strikes a great balance of being soft while adding a unique, edgier look. It’s also very versatile and compliments all skin tones!

What’s your favorite neutral polish? Do you have a go-to shade or are you still on the hunt?