Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tute Thursday: Know Your Stitches

While trying to find some awesome vintage patterns, I came across this test pattern which gives you directions on how to do certain stitches. I thought it would make a great sampler. What a great way to learn the different stitches, practice your lettering and make something cute in the process. 


Because I can never resist anything with a puppy on it, I had to put these gals up. The one ironing is killing me...what a sassy over the shoulder look she is giving! 




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Like Stuff: An Honest Review of Subscription Boxes



It seems like every time I check my email or look at Facebook I see an ad for some sort of subscription box. They range from beauty samples to dog treats to organic food. There is a subscription box for everyone! 

Just what is a subscription box? For a monthly fee, usually 10-50 dollars, you get a box filled with goodies. Some will make you fill out a questionnaire and they will customize the box, the majority of the time, especially with sample boxes, you get whatever they have on hand. Below are a few of the more popular subscription boxes out there. 

Birchbox:
This was the original beauty subscription box for me. I kept hearing about how great it was and what wonderful samples were in it. The samples are all beauty products, from make up to hair products. It is 10.00 a month and arrives at your door around the middle of the month

The Pros:

  • I liked that there were products that I usually wouldn't try. There were a lot of companies that were completely new to me. 
  • You are able to buy the product that you try.


The Cons:

  • I always received a fragrance that I would never in a million years use.
  • I never received anything but a sample size, they touted that you would get full sizes and I never did. 
  • I received more advertising than product. 


Bottom Line

While 10.00 seems like very little a month for beauty product, would you really spend 10.00 a month on a sample that you might not use? I traded some of my unused samples with friends. By the end of the 3rd month, I was tired of getting perfume meant for someone half my age, a sample that I would probably get at a store for free and a box I had to recycle. I ended up canceling my subscription and using the 10.00 for monthly online donations to my favorite dog charity. 


Ipsy: 
Because I couldn't get enough makeup and I am a product junkie, I decided to give Ipsy a try. Ipsy is another beauty sample box. Each month, for 10.00 you get a little make up bag, samples and full size beauty products. Each month there is a theme and the bag and products go with that theme. 

The Pros:

  • Full size products! I love that every one of the bags comes with several full size products. I have fallen in love with a lot of what they have sent me and I will be buying the product again.
  • Discounts on the sample products. You will get an email with discounts if you want to buy the beauty products they send you. A lot of the stuff is already affordable but a discount never hurts.
  • The make up bag. Yeah, they are cheap but they are great for craft supplies
  • They do not use a box to ship, you get it in a padded envelope that is pink and shiny. 


The Cons:

  • You have to be on a "waiting list" to get Ispy, which I suspect is really a bunch of BS. If you go on Facebook and say you want it, then you get off the list. Basically, you have to advertise for them.
  • I did receive mascara that I believed was out of date and mentioned that to them on Facebook but got no response. It kind of bummed me out that they didn't acknowledge it. Not really a con, but still ticked me off. 
  • You will get product that you won't use. 


Bottom Line:
This subscription, I believe is worth it. The full size products alone are worth 10.00. I love their themes and none of the product I have received has gone to waste. 

Barkbox:
Barkbox is a box for your dog. Each month, for a price of 29.00 (you can pay all up front if you want to) you will get 4-6 treats, toys, and sometimes a grooming product. 

The Pros:

  • They do have allergy sensitive dog boxes.
  • They offer boxes for different size dogs.
  • They will replace defective items in the box.


The Cons:

  • The price is a bit steep for me, but if you really love to pamper your pet, it may be worth it. 
  • Your dog might not eat the treats. Since you don't know what you are getting, you may be wasting your money.
  • Not sure if this is a pro or con, but if you sign up for more months, you get a discount. 


The Bottom Line:
I am on the fence about this one. It would be nice to treat my dogs every month but I'm also wondering if we are wasting money if they don't eat the treats and splitting it between 4 dogs. It might be good for a one dog person. I do like that they have excellent customer service. I guess if you are willing to spend the money, then give it a try. 

Graze Box:
Okay, so this one has me stumped and maybe that is because I like in a city that caters to healthy and organic eating. You can sign up for every week or every other week deliveries of healthy organic snacks for 6.49 a week. 

Pros:
I am really trying to figure out a pro to this....

  • If you don't have time to shop, you can have healthy snacks delivered to your door
  • There are multiple choices to pick from


Cons:

  • You can find healthy snack alternatives at any store or even on Amazon. 
  • If you have any allergies, you can't order.
  • Even though 6.49 seem inexpensive for snacks, you are paying that 2-4 times a month and you really don't get a lot for the price


Bottom Line:
It is a complete waste. A little bit of work and you can have the same snack and in greater portions for you to break down. Just don't do it! 

This is just a few of the subscription boxes out there. I started looking around and couldn't believe all the options there are now. A word of caution, they can get expensive and if you are doing 2 or more a month, you might want to look at the value again. So many of the boxes are merely samples that you can get for free if you just take the time to do the leg work,  so basically you are paying for their advertising. On the plus side, they are special little treats and will open you up to new products to try. My advice, buyer beware and read the fine print! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tie One On Tuesday



Did you know today is Aviation Day? Yeah, me neither...but it is and I am here to give you some yummy cocktail recipes that will send you sky high!

Let's kick off Aviation Day with a an Aviation Cocktail! This cocktail is an oldie but a goodie. Its first appearance was in 1916 and variations of this yummy gin drink have been flying around ever since. If you like gin, with a little bit of sweet, this is the cocktail for you. I can attest that this is a very good drink! If you do not like gin, try this cocktail and I will guarantee that you will fall in love.

The Aviation
2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce maraschino cherry liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
A small shake of Creme de Violette (the original had this, the updated version does not)
Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon or orange rind.

Even if you can't enjoy an actual flight, you can still celebrate Aviation Day with the Paper Airplane. Drink a few of these and you will have enough courage to fly your digits over to the cutie at table two.

The Paper Airplane
3/4 ounce bourbon
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce Nonino Amaro (this is an Italian liqueur, usually consumed after dinner)
3/4 ounce Aperol (this is comparable, but less alcohol than Compari)
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass


I will never ever ever consume this next cocktail ever again thanks to my college years and the fact they were a dollar a shot at Four Corners in Chapel Hill. I felt like a Kamikaze was in my stomach, shooting his way out. That shouldn't stop you from having one. Go for it, but you have been warned. 

Kamikaze Shot
1  ounce vodka
1 ounce Triple Sec
1 ounce lime juice (please, for the love of all things holy, use fresh limes)
Add all the ingredients together in a shaker and pour into a shot glass. 

Today we pay tribute to those trailblazers who took the skies and made traveling a bit faster. Look up, raise your glass and thank those birdmen and women! PS-don't drink and fly, unless you are doing some sort of fly dance, then by all means, do it and put it on YouTube! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Long Week



The death of Robin Williams hit me hard for some reason. I thought, if someone who seemed so happy and finally able to put his demons behind him, could still be so lost-what does that say about the rest of us? Are we all just doomed? Robin Williams was someone everyone could enjoy. He was loved by so many generations. From Good Morning Vietnam to Mrs. Doubtfire, he could add a sparkle into any role. You felt as if you weren't seeing a character in a movie, but a little piece of him. 


A few days later, a Hollywood legend passed away, Lauren Becall. My goodness, the voice, the look...everything about her was amazing. Her romance and marriage to Humphrey Bogart was better than any story Hollywood could dream up. Humphrey's nickname for her was "Baby." I just love it. Him just cooing over baby makes my heart smile. My favorite movie starring this powerhouse due is The Big Sleep. It just screams Noir, everything from the sets to the somewhat corny for today dialogue. I love that Lauren refused to get caught up in the antics of growing old. She believed that every line on your face told a story so why hide them. She was beautiful, smart, and sassy. 

I like to think that Humphrey Bogart was waiting for Baby at the pearly gates. When they passed through, he told her that she has to see this new comedian that just got there. They go off to a wonderful 1940's floor show and everyone is happy once again. 

We may have lost some beloved icons, but I guess with the way things are going, the big man upstairs needed a few laughs and to class up the joint. Thank you Robin and Loren. Rest in Peace. 

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” 
― Rumi

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Scrappy Dog Sunday: Big Brother

Since we got Iggy Pup, Pete is no longer the baby. He is now the big brother. He isn't so sure how he feels about not being the baby any longer.

You have to put up with a little brother following you around everywhere, even trying to share your bed.

Everyone loves the baby so you have to find ways to stand out and get attention (Thanks Fonzi for the sombrero!)

You get a little tired of your mom taking pictures of "her boys."

Finally, you just give in and realize that being the big brother isn't so bad. You have someone to blame everything on. 

You also have someone who looks up to you and thinks you are the coolest ever. 

Having a baby brother isn't so bad...even when he steals your toys...
video

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tute Thursday: Fun Summer Bracelets

Have you ever been in a store, saw something very cool and thought to yourself, "I could so make that!" I do that quite a bit. It's not that I WILL make it, it's the fact that I CAN make it. Lately I have been seeing a ton of bracelets that are so easy to make but cost a fortune. What are companies thinking? Today's video is all about how to make those fun summer bracelets that all the cool kids are wearing. 


In this Craftster video I will show you how to make hemp bangles, memory wire bracelets and nylon rope bracelets. Customize your bracelets to fit your personality, from gypsy boho to big city elegance.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Like Stuff: An Honest Review of Paderno Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer


Have you jumped on the zoodle bandwagon yet? I had a few friends posting recipes and I couldn't resist trying them for myself. In order to make zoodles, you need a veggie spiral slicer. After much research, talking with friends, they all suggested the Paderno Tri Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer. 

I ordered the Paderno veggie slicer through Amazon and the cost was a little more than I wanted to spend but since this was the Cadillac of slicers, I went for it. It was 35.96 and I got free shipping with my Amazon Prime account. It comes with three different blades: one for thin spaghetti like noodles, a thick noodle blade and one for ribbon like noodles. 

Pros:

  • It is hand operated so there is no need to store a cord or look for a place to plug in
  • The clean up is very easy. Everything is plastic or stainless steel and can be washed
  • It is very easy to use. Just pick the slicer you want, attach the veggie or fruit and start cranking the handle
  • It has suction cups on the bottom so the slicer will not move around while you are shredding your veggies


Cons:

  • Although it comes with three distinct blades, I haven't done a lot with it. You can make noodles and that's about it. I have made apple slices, and curly fries besides zoodles. The curly fries were a bit on the small side but they were still good. 
  • It does take up counter space. The design is a bit awkward and can take up some counter space
  • Several people have told me that it was a bit time consuming to use


Bottom Line:
While I was initially concerned about what I could make with this, I decided to search the web and Pinterest to find recipes. A lot of the recipes I found were for various take offs of spaghetti and slaw. There are complete websites and blogs devoted to this slicer and what you can make with it. So the limitations are up to how much research you want to put into it. Would I buy it again? Probably so. I really do love the freshness of the zoodles. I think I am just scratching the surface of what can be done. If I take more time, I will learn to love it more.