Rustic Napkin Ties

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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!

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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Boscia Facial Sponge

After seeing Konjac sponges EVERYWHERE, I decided it was finally time to give one a try and see what all the fuss was about.

When I took this Boscia sponge out of the package, it was hard as a rock. I was a little skeptical – was this going to be too harsh on my skin? Once it got wet, the sponge was super soft and felt really nice to the touch. I thought it did a great job cleansing without leaving my skin feeling dry and tight. Another thing I love is how the sponge exfoliates, but it’s gentle enough not to irritate my skin if I use it every day.

I have definitely found a new holy grail in my daily skincare routine.

 

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Edible Flowers

I have fallen in love with adding rose petals to my food – especially desserts! I think they really transform any dish into something a little more colorful and unique.

I had seen this done many places and wanted to give it a try. It’s SO easy that you’ll want to add a rose petal garnish to just about everything. All you need are some fresh roses in a color that complements your dish. Rinse them off, let them dry and place them in a vase with fresh water until you’re ready to use them. The roses should last up to five days this way with daily water changes. I’ve noticed that darker shades have a more pronounced flavor, so it’s worth trying out different colors to find one that matches your taste. A word to the wise: while all rose petals are edible, it’s important to avoid those that have been sprayed with pesticides—yuck!

This raspberry tart I made is pretty enough on its own, but I think the garnish of rose petals added an elegant touch. Not only was it pretty to look at, but the pink roses added a subtle, yet pleasant flavor. Now I’m on the lookout for other dishes that could use a sprinkle of rose petals!

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Are Tieks Worth The Price?

I’m constantly on a hunt for comfortable flats, and have tried countless brands. The latest to catch my eye is Tieks by Gavrieli. For those of you who don’t know, Tieks are an update on the classic ballet flat. According to their website, Tieks are made from full grain Italian leather, and feature a compact foldable design that lets the shoe fold to fit in a purse. I’ve been seeing Tieks everywhere lately, and from what I can tell, women love them. I was recently out shopping and noticed several women wearing them. I even asked one of them what she thought and she said they’re one of her best discoveries and she doesn’t know how she lived without them. I’ve also talked to friends and co-workers who have Tieks and they all rave about them. Despite all the positive reviews, one question lingered for me: At $175, are Tieks worth the price? I knew the only way to find out was to purchase a pair to try for myself.

Tieks are sold exclusively online, so I headed for their website to check out the boutiek (that’s what they call their online store – cute, right?). The first thing that stood out was how many colors they have!! And not just colors, but patterns, textures, and leathers. They even have a vegan line! I knew I wanted a neutral color, but I had no idea I’d have so many choices. Tieks truly has every shade of shoe you could ever want- black, white, cream, grey, brown, you name it! I wanted something that would be suitable for the office, but could transition easily to the weekend as well. My first thought was to purchase the Matte Black. After all, black goes with everything. However, after browsing for a bit, I settled on Metallic Pewter. It’s such a beautiful neutral, and I’d remembered seeing it on a coworker of mine and thinking how much I loved the metallic sheen! I placed my order and my shoes were shipped out that same day. Not too shabby, Tieks!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who anxiously checks the tracking every day to see when my online purchases will arrive and my Tieks were no different! I couldn’t wait to try them on and see what all the fuss was about. Two days after they shipped, my Tieks arrived at my front door. The first thing I noticed after opening the box was how adorable the packaging is. Tieks are packaged in a bright blue box (I think they call it Tiek Blue) and wrapped with an embellished flower box. Every pair comes with a pouch to store the shoes, a tote to store your heels after you take them off, a little card showing you how to care for your Tieks, and a handwritten note (which was my favorite part.)

Now for the shoes themselves: as soon as you take them out of the box, you know you have a quality product. They are just stunning! From the hand-stitched insoles to the buttery leather upper, Tieks are truly a work of art. I was so glad I decided to go with the Pewter pair. The color is absolutely beautiful, and I know it will go with almost everything in my closet. Finally, I loved the smell of the Italian leather! You know the one…it’s the same smell that accompanies luxurious handbags and high end leather boots. Even though I was smitten with the look of my new ballet flats, I knew the final test would be comfort. After all, you can’t wear a shoe all day if it hurts, no matter how beautiful it is!

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I decided to take my Tieks for the ultimate trial run – a weekend conference. I was a little skeptical they would hold up the entire weekend, so I packed a pair of already broken in backup flats, just in case. As it turns out, I could have left my backup pair at home. My Tieks were so comfortable from the moment I put them on, I just couldn’t believe it. The way the luxuriously soft leather molds to the shape of your foot is simply magical. I’ve tried so many brands of ballet flats, and I’ve never had a pair fit me as well as my Tieks. They were a little snug at first, but by the end of the first day at the conference, I could tell they were forming to the shape of my foot. I kept waiting for that signature, back-of-the-heel, blister that comes with a new pair of shoes, but it never came! I think this is because the back of Tieks are cushioned, rather than elasticized. I was astonished by how many women at my conference recognized Tieks and came up to me to share their own stories about how much they love their Tieks. One woman told me that Tieks were the only shoes she could wear during her pregnancies while still feeling stylish!

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I’ve had my Tieks for a full month now, and I have to say, I’m impressed. Unlike other flats I’ve tried, Tieks offer extra cushioning and support that keep my feet happy after a full day of wear. I receive compliments every time I wear them, and find myself reaching for my Tieks multiple times a week – so much so that my other flats are making their way to the back of my closet! A shoe at this price point needs to be a quality investment, and Tieks are just that. The company really stands behind their product, which I love, and their customer service is outstanding. I’ll be sure to report back in a few months on how my Tieks are doing, but for now I can say YES YES YES! Tieks are absolutely worth the price. I’d recommend them to any woman, and can definitively say there will be additional pairs of Tieks in my (near) future. I’d love to add a few more neutrals to my collection (basically any of the styles on this page) but I have my eye on the fuchsia as well!

If you own a pair of Tieks, I’d love to know what you think of them! Do you find yourself always wanting another pair? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to check back for updates to my post!

This post is not sponsored. I bought my Tieks with my own money.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Red Wine Facial? Wine Not!

Oh red wine. Is there anything it can’t do? Delicious, good for the heart AND good for your skin? It sounds too good to be true, but my glowing complexion is proof!

Maybe you’re saying, “red wine on my face? Shouldn’t it be going IN my face?” We’ve all heard that a glass a day of red wine is good for your heart, but thanks to being rich with an antioxidant called Resveratrol, it also has loads of anti-aging benefits for your skin.

This is perfect for those situations when you’ve got a close-to-empty bottle of red that you aren’t sure what to do with. This DIY mask is great if you’re looking for a skin care treatment that does triple duty: red wine with it’s anti-aging properties, honey (a natural anti-inflammatory) to handle any blemishes and redness and yogurt to leave your skin soft and moisturized.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup of plain yogurt

2 tablespoons of honey

4 to 5 tablespoons of red wine

In a medium sized bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, and red wine one at a time and in that order. Stir until the mixture is blended and apply a generous layer to your face. Let it work its magic on your skin for about 20 minutes and wipe off with a warm washcloth.

My skin looked great afterwards, and since the ingredients are gentle I didn’t break out or experience any kind of irritation. I definitely look forward to incorporating this facial into my skincare routine and enjoying a glass of wine while I pamper myself!