Tuesday Ten: Pumpkin Decorating

It’s October! This is when the leaves start to change, cuddling under blankets becomes a must, and things get spooky, festive, and fun! This is one of my favorite times of the year – it’s a great excuse for parties, baking, and crafting. This year, I’ve become a little obsessed with finding new ways to decorate pumpkins. Of course, I won’t do away with the traditional carving – I just couldn’t not carve a pumpkin, that would be ridiculous! So instead, I intend to buy several pumpkins and choose a few new things to try out on them…which I’m sure is going to drive my boyfriend crazy when he’s down to visit and I drag him to a pumpkin patch to load up on pumpkins (Sorry in advance, Jim).

I’ve linked most of the pictures below to the site where you can find directions on how to create that type of pumpkin. There were a few that I couldn’t find, but they should be similar to the other pictures within that category. Just click on the photos to find out how to execute each design. Happy decorating!

  1. Glitter – You can make glitter polka dots, glitter shapes, glitter covered pumpkins, use colored glitter, and so much more.

  2. Rhinestones – With rhinestones there are endless possibilities. You can vary the shapes, make a design, make abstract art – let your creative side go wild!

  3. Ribbons, Tulle, & Buttons – These embellishments are a very classy way to upgrade your pumpkin decor. My mom always taught me that tulle can be a girl’s best friend when used correctly.

  4. Black Paint – By using black paint, you can give your pumpkins a different vibe. Be creative, make them spooky or goth-esque, ad stripes or dots, or just paint on a jack o’ lantern face!

  5. Paint – Paint in general is a great way to make your pumpkins stand out exactly how you want them too. Use different types of paint, paint on designs, or let your kids go free and make their own pumpkin designs without the mess of pumpkin guts.

  6.  Lace – Simple and elegant  Use tights or lace fabric. I actually found some Martha Stewart lace pumpkin covers at JoAnn’s Fabrics a few weeks ago and snapped them up to try this year. I looked online and couldn’t find a link, otherwise I would’ve posted it to show you.

  7. Polka Dots – This can be done in many different ways. I’ve already shown you how to do it with glitter and paint up above, but this is creative in a different way.
  8. Chalkboard – Super fun for kids or classrooms. Totally cute and simple.
  9. Sequins – Here’s where your crafty side would need to find some patience. Using sequins may take a good amount of time, depending on your design. But doesn’t it look adorable?
  10. Stencils – This is an easy way to get the design that you want without all of the fuss.


Tuesday Ten…Plus One: Fall Recipes

It’s fall y’all! I went through a bunch of recipes to decide what I wanted to put in this post (hence it being late…sorry about that). I couldn’t settle on just 10, so there’s an extra one to make 11. I’m lucky I got it down to that number! These are some really fun recipes that look absolutely delicious. Hopefully, I’ll get to make at least some of these this season! Let me know if you guys try any of the recipes and let me know how they turn out!

  1. Apple Steal Cut Oatmeal – Get the recipe here
  2. Crock Pot Minestrone Soup – Get the recipe here
  3. Classic Beef Stew – Get the recipe here
  4. Apple Cider Chicken – Get the recipe here
  5. Split Pea Soup with Ham Hock – Get the recipe here
  6. Snickerdoodles or Sinickerdoodle Cupcakes – Get the recipes here and here
  7. Skinny Pumpkin Pie – Get the recipe here
  8. Apple Turnovers – Get the recipe here
  9. Spice Cupcakes or Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Homemade Caramel Sauce – Get the recipes here, here, and here
    * You can also use a boxed spiced cake mix for a quicker cupcake fix.
    * Instead of using the bottle Magic Hat #9 for the sauce, try using Blue Moon Caramel Apple Ale (seasonal) instead!

  10. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread – Get the recipe here
  11. Inside Out Caramel Apples – Get the recipe here

Belated Tuesday Ten: Keeping Your Skin Healthy

Skincare is very important. It’s important not only for your looks, but for your health too. Here are ten ways you can help keep your skin healthy and looking good.

  1. Wash your face regularly. You should wash your face at least once a day with a gentle face wash. Depending on your skin type, you may want to do this twice a day, but be careful not to dry out your skin.
  2. Exfoliate. At least once a week, wash your face gently with a face “scrub”. The little beads in these types of face washes help to get rid of dead skin and keep your pours clean. If you don’t want to spend money on a separate kind of face wash, you can easily exfoliate with warm water, your regular face wash, and a warm, wet washcloth. Just scrub your face with the cloth, but be careful not to scrub too hard. Some magazines tell you not to use a washcloth because it may be too harsh for your face, but I’ve spoken to a friend of mine who is a skin care professional and she says that’s not true. If done correctly, exfoliating with a washcloth shouldn’t hurt your skin at all.
  3. Use a moisturizer. You want to keep your skin hydrated and looking fresh, so finding the right kind of moisturizer is essential. Do some research, try a few out, or talk to a skin care professional to find the best moisturizer for your skin. I use Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 for sensitive skin.
  4. Take off your makeup at the end of the day. Sleeping with your makeup on can be damaging to not only your skin, but your eyes and eyelashes too. Make sure you use a gentle makeup remover to take off all of your makeup before calling it a night. I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover or Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes – Night Calming (lavender scented).
  5. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. This will keep your skin looking healthy, feeling hydrated, and decrease chances of stretch marks by keeping your skin’s elasticity intact.
  6. Use sun protection. This is not only important for beauty purposes, but also for your health. Sun protection is a very important step in our daily routines that is most of the time, overlooked. Sunscreen is always best (For my face, I like to use an oil free sunscreen that is specifically made for your face), but if you don’t have the time for that, moisturizers and face powders can serve as a mild substitute. Many moisturizers these days have a SPF of 15, but it is possible to get higher. Also, there are some powders out now that have sun protection in them. bareMinerals has an entire line of powders, moisturizers, and foundations that help protect your skin from the sun. Check those out here.
  7. Don’t pick at your pimples. That will only make them worse, spread them, and leave scars. The best thing you can do when you have breakouts is keep your skin clean, and use a medication or acne treatment. Lately, my favorites are Clearasil Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream and Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish Pads.
  8. Get enough sleep. Sleep allows your body to heal and rejuvenate. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night will increase your chances of having healthy, clear skin.
  9. Take a multivitamin. Vitamins help give your body the nutrients that it needs, but doesn’t get enough of. Taking a multivitamin can help your skin be healthier overall, and give you that extra boost you need to look your very best.
  10. Have a healthy, balanced diet. Making sure you get the nutrients you need can’t just be left up to vitamins. Your eating habits are a big part of your skin’s outcome. If you’re constantly eating junk food with a lot of grease, you’re more likely to have breakouts. Eating a balanced diet will help to keep your breakouts more in control. Also, there are some foods that are absolutely great for your skin – avocados, mangoes,  and almonds are just a few.

Tuesday Ten: Favorite Quotes

I love quotes. I love advice from wise people. And I love sharing these things. There are a lot of people out there that can make sense of what you can’t, or who can take the thoughts in your head and turn them into what you’ve wanted to say all along. Some people are just good with words. Here is a list of ten of my most favorite quotes. These quotes speak to me – I believe in them, and they’ve either helped me through some things in life, given me some direction, or been exactly what I’ve felt or thought at some point in my life. Hopefully you can take some wisdom from these as well.

  1. “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
    ― Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
  2. “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”
    — Margaret Shepherd
  3. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
    ― Steve Jobs
  4. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
    — Henry Ford
  5. “Finish your day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. “Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet. Cherish them.”
    — Unknown
  7. “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
    ― Audrey Hepburn
  8. “To me, “FEARLESS” is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. FEARLESS is falling madly in love again, even though you’ve been hurt before. FEARLESS is walking into your freshmen year of high school at fifteen. FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again… even though every time you’ve tried before, you’ve lost. It’s FEARLESS to have faith that someday things will change. FEARLESS is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even if you can’t breathe without them. I think it’s FEARLESS to fall for your best friend, even though he’s in love with someone else. And when someone apologizes to you enough times for things they’ll never stop doing, I think it’s FEARLESS to stop believing them. It’s FEARLESS to say “you’re NOT sorry”, and walk away. I think loving someone despite what people think is FEARLESS. I think allowing yourself to cry on the bathroom floor is FEARLESS. Letting go is FEARLESS. Then, moving on and being alright…That’s FEARLESS too. But no matter what love throws at you, you have to believe in it. You have to believe in love stories and prince charmings and happily ever after. That’s why I write these songs. Because I think love is FEARLESS.”
    ― Taylor Swift
  9. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
    — Joseph Campbell
  10. “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
    — Steve Jobs (2005 Stanford Commencement Speech)

Tuesday Ten: Surviving A Long Distance Relationship

There are more people in long distance relationships than you’d think. I myself, am currently in one. I’ve been doing the whole long distance thing for about a year now. My boyfriend and I had only been dating about 3 months when he had to leave to go to a college two states away. But when you love someone, you know. And when someone is worth going through the tough times, you know. And I knew. I have a long distance blog on Tumblr, and the number of people in the LDR community astounded me. You don’t really think about it until you’re in one, but there are so many different ways to be in a LDR. Being with someone who is serving our country, meeting online, meeting on vacation, going away to school, etc. It’s crazy! But it’s so wonderful to see all the love and effort that goes into making all of these relationships work. So here are my top 10 ways to make sure your long distance relationship works and lasts.

  1. Communicate.In a long distance relationship, communication is key. Don’t ever be afraid to say what you feel. Your boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t with you, so they can’t get a good sense of what’s going on in your mind and heart. You need to have a very open and honest relationship that allows both of you to speak and feel freely, and talk things out. This will help you to have a strong connection and build trust, which is incredibly important in a long distance relationship.
  2. Figure out your schedules and make time for each other.Whether it be work, school, time zone differences, there is always something that can keep you from having time to Skype, or text, or call. And these things can sometimes be mistaken for lack of love and effort. So make sure that you and your loved one talk about both of your schedules, find times that work for both of you to sit down and Skype or talk on the phone. And texting is great too, because it allows you to multitask and keep in contact throughout the day. In my relationship, I make sure to know when Jim has classes, and he knows when I work, and we keep each other updated on changes in our schedules. That way, if one of us isn’t answering a text, the other knows it’s just because he/she is busy at that moment. Also, unless one of us has a really late engagement, we make sure to Skype every night and talk about our day. It’s a good way to wind down and get some quality time in each day.
  3. Surprise them.Send them cards, little gifts, leave little love notes on their Facebook wall, whatever you can. There are all sorts of free online cards and apps for iPhones that allow you to send little notes and cards, and there are plenty of websites that have great personalized gifts and goodie baskets that can be sent straight to your loved one’s house – or you can even make your own! And sending flowers to a girl is always appreciated. Just putting in the extra effort, saving up some money to remind them that you love them can help keep a relationship alive. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that you care about them even though you may not be able to be there in person to show them.
  4. Go on dates.Well, not necessarily go, but have dates. Virtual ones. It may seem silly at first, but having a date over Skype or through the phone is actually kind of fun! Make dinner together while Skyping, rent a movie and watch it at the same time while texting or talking on the phone, or pick a few TV shows that are put on Hulu shortly after they air on TV and vow to only watch them together online. That’s one of my favorite things to do with Jim. It’s so simple, but it’s almost like sitting on the couch, bumming around together watching TV. We both love it.
  5. Plan for the future.It’s hard to keep waiting when you don’t even know when you’ll be together. Try your best to get some kind of time frame on when you can either visit one another, move in together, go to school near each other, etc. Having a date or time frame to look forward to will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  6. Play games together.Play a game online, or have a running game of Draw something or Words with Friends going. (Jim & I always do). It’s a fun, easy, and simple way to do something light-hearted together. When in a long distance relationship, it’s often the simple little things that you miss the most. This might help with that a little.
  7. Flirt.Send a steamy text message in the middle of the day, share a fantasy, or compliment your loved one randomly. Because you can’t be physical, you have to find other ways to keep the fire going. Being flirty (or dirty) allows you both to have some fun, feel good and wanted, and gives you both something to look forward to when you do finally get to be together.
  8. Don’t let snail mail die out.Love letters are a sweet, classic way of communicating and expressing love. Writing a love letter shows a person that you care enough to take the time to write something sweet. Write or find a love poem that reminds you of your significant other, or write a letter that sounds old-fashioned (like something from a Shakespeare play). Spray the letter with your perfume or cologne so that when he/she opens it, they’ll get a whiff of you. Trust me, they’ll love it. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy getting mail?!
  9. Make Kodak moments.Share photos of yourself, of the places you go, or of a random activity that you do. Jim and I are always sending each other pictures through text messages of simple things that we do, or things that remind us of each other throughout the day. We also end the night with a goodnight text message and a photo of ourselves. Photographs are a great way to feel like you’re together during the day. You see what they see, and they see what you see. It’s almost like you’re right there. Plus, it’s just another way to communicate and let them know that they’re on your mind.
  10. Make a list of all the things you want to do when you’re finally together. Include date ideas, movies you want to see/rent, places you want to go, etc. Writing these things down gives you a sense that someday they will happen, and it gives you something to look forward to. Don’t be afraid to get excited about these things either. Without hope, a long distance situation can get pretty difficult. Even talking about these things together can help build a connection, learn about one another, and spark new conversations.
    For more long distance advice & info, check out my LDR blog: Loving Long Distance

Late Tuesday Ten: Date Ideas

Dating is fun, but it can also get boring after a while if you don’t come up with some fresh ideas. So here are some ideas that I’ve come up with to liven up your dating life.

  1. Go miniature golfing. It’s fun to feel like a kid again! Laugh, goof off, and have a blast! For a little extra fun, go at night when they turn the lights on – in my opinion everything is always better with light up stuff, haha.
  2. Take a romantic walk through some gardens. Look up what nice gardens or hikes there are around your area, grab your camera, and enjoy the view. I just recently did this with my man, and we had a great time and got some really great pictures. Most places are free for self guided tours.
  3. Take a cooking class together. Or just cook a meal together. If you have the money to spend, sign up for an interesting cooking or baking class of some kind. If not, just pick a recipe that looks yummy to both of you and get cooking! It’s a great way to reconnect and have a delicious meal.
  4. Plant a small garden together and take care of it. Buy a box planter, go to a nursery together, and get those hands dirty! You can grow flowers, vegetables, fruits – whatever you want! Just make sure to water your plants and feed them fresh air!
  5. Pretend you’re meeting for the first time. Dress up, meet at a bar or a coffee shop and act like you’re just meeting each other for the first time. Your guy can hit on you and buy you a drink, and you can flirt with him and boost his ego. Who knows, maybe you’ll even go home together… ;)
  6. Go out to dinner, but get dessert first. Turn a casual dinner into something a little fun and crazy. Confuse your waiter by ordering dessert first! Get as many as you want or taste them all! Then, depending on how full you are, you can order your meals, split one, or get an appetizer. We all deserve a little extra sugar every once in a while.
  7. Go house hunting. Go to open houses and pick out your dream house that you may want some day. Have fun talking about your future and discuss how you might decorate.
  8. Test drive fun cars. Test drive sports cars, cars you can’t afford, or even your dream car. Have fun living a fantasy life together for a day.
  9. Go crazy with paint. Set up a big canvas or paper in the backyard and throw/splatter paint at it together. Make sure to wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and make sure you’re far enough away from the house so that paint won’t splatter on it.
  10. Laser tag. Go to a local arcade or laser tag place and play a game or two. It’s different, it’s fun, it’s definitely something your guy will enjoy.

Tuesday Ten: Before Summer is Over

It’s already mid July! Summer 2012 seems to be flying by so quickly. But while we still have some time left, I thought I’d share with you 10 things that I feel you simply must do before the end of the summer.

  1. Go on a picnic. Make some sandwiches, grab a blanket and some friends or a loved one, find a grassy patch in a park and have yourself a good time.
  2. Go to an amusement park. Any kind you want. Play games, go on rides, walk around until your feet hurt. Enjoy a day away from work, school, and stress. Just play.
  3. Play with water.Have a water balloon fight, buy a couple of water guns and go at it, go swimming, run through the sprinklers, walk along the shore, take a trip to a water park. However you want to do it, get to it! Summer is the best time to get wet and wild.
  4. Take a drive.One of my favorite things to do is drive through the hills near my house. It takes a bout 30 minutes if I take the short way, and that’s just enough of a break from all the traffic, drama, and craziness that life has to offer to allow me to clear my head. You can go with a friend, or just blast music by yourself, whatever fits your mood. So grab your keys, pick a route, and start driving!
  5. Go to the movies.They keep it cool in theaters, so it’s a perfect way to get out of the heat for a while. Plus, movies are just fun – especially with all the popcorn and candy.
  6. Lay in the sun.Grab a chair, a towel, or whatever you have handy, find a nice spot (whether it be in your backyard or on a beach). Lay back and relax as you soak up the sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen though! Make sure you cover yourself in that first so you’re not left with a bad sunburn.
  7. Make s’mores.Who doesn’t love making s’mores?! Have a bonfire on a beach, light up the fire pit in your backyard, or simply open your oven. Roasting marshmallows doesn’t have to be a camping only activity. You can do it wherever you want! Make a date out of it, get some friends in on the action, and enjoy!
  8. Make a smoothie. Grab your favorite fruits, toss ’em in the blender, and you’ve got a healthy and delicious snack. There are some great smoothie recipes here.
  9. See an outdoor movie. I lovegoing to the drive-in. It’s such a fun experience. Bundle up, bring blankets, a car with a big trunk or seats that fold down, your own popcorn and candy and you’ve got yourself your own traveling theater. This is perfect for date nights and family outings. And drive-ins aren’t your only option. Some parks show movies on big screens outside, some boardwalks show movies on the beach, and you can even turn your backyard into a theater with a projector and a big sheet.
  10. Have a Barbecue.There’s nothing better than an old family-style BBQ. Have a potluck, throw some burgers and dogs on the grill and have an evening of food, friends, and conversation.