friday favs: the links I love

It’s Friday!! Ok, I’m usually pretty happy for the weekend (even though I don’t have a traditional weekend off of work…huh…that’s kinda weird). But right now I’m even more excited!! I still have a few days of work left, but I am almost to our vacation!! 11 glorious days together off of work. Or at least off of our day jobs. We both still have work to do, but we will get plenty of time together too. Plus I’m meeting up with a friend for lunch and a few other exciting events scheduled!! But, that’s not the focus for today. Today is all about the links I love from this week! Honestly, it’s a pretty short list. Not because there wasn’t quality stuff out there. More just my focus has been a little off this week, so I didn’t do quite as much reading as I normally do. But either way, I hope you enjoy the links I love…maybe you will even love them too!?

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Along with the links I love, this is one of the places I love. The May photos turned out great!

Recipes

Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Almonds from Gimme Some Oven

Ham and Swiss Quinoa Egg Bake from Organize Yourself Skinny

Fitness

Create an Amazing Home Exercise Routine FOR Free With The Fitnet Workout App from Organize Yourself Skinny – I haven’t tried this yet, but I think I might soon! As most of you know, I have been still struggling with my back issues for the past few months, so Kayla’s BBG really hasn’t been possible for me. I’ve been keeping up with the treadmill, but that’s about it. I’ve been leaning towards kinda giving in to the reality that starting BBG again isn’t going to happen soon, so I need to start figuring out a new routine that I can do with my back issues. I’m hoping this app will have some options that I can try!

You Are More Than Your Body (Fat) from Girls Gone Strong – This hits on so many issues I either have struggled with or continue to struggle with. Fantastic read and really thought provoking.

Creating Your Own Home Gym from Kate Moving Forward – A home gym is awesome! And you don’t need a huge amount of space to have one. I would love to have a gym membership, but that is a little out of our budget right now. So I love the home gym I’ve put together! (of couse, I’m really lucky I had parents who were done with their treadmill, but you can still do a lot without that)

Art and DIY

Inspired Idea: DIY Gilded Roses from Lauren Conrad – I’m going to admit something…I’m not a huge fan of roses. They are ok, but I have a lot of flowers I prefer over roses. But these! These are so pretty!

Blogging and Business

The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Your Blog Content from Melyssa Griffin – This is something I’m still struggling with! I’m going to have to put a lot more thought into some of the techniques and platforms she talks about here…Especially Periscope? I have heard a ton, but haven’t checked it out yet! Any Periscope users out there with tips?

How Not to Get Caught in the 6-Figure Blogger Suck-in from by Regina – I’ve seen a lot of this on the web and I love how she lays this out. Great read.

Style

2 Hacks for a Front Braid on Dark + Straight Hair from The Small Things Blog – Ok, so my hair is only straight sometimes. But it’s definitely dark! And I’m going to be trying this style and tip in the next few days! I’m always a little disappointed in my braids, mostly because they just kinda blend. Here’s hoping this will help!

That’s it for the links I love this week! I love what I did find and I hope you did too! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sara

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Bingeable Podcasts

How do you entertain yourself? Radio, Pandora, TV? Podcasts maybe?

While I do love Pandora and probably would go crazy without my daily dose of jazz, I listen to a lot of podcasts almost every day. A LOT…like 5-7 hrs a day most days. My real-world job is pretty much menial tasks and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought. Enter podcasts!

I actually only started listening to podcasts at all about 6-8 months ago. I know, I’m really behind on the times! So instead of being bored, or just daydreaming (though I do a fair amount of daydreaming anyways), I can use the time to learn new things, listen to interviews, be inspired, or just be entertained!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorites!

History:

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  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – This is by far my favorite podcast! I have listened to many of his episodes multiple times. I just recently finished up re-listening to his series on World War I. His use of first-person accounts really makes me connect with the events he’s telling about.
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class – This one is a lot of fun and so random sometimes! I have learned about so many different topics that I would never have even thought to look up or find out about. Just today I listened to ones on Mary Ann Cotton, the Amazons of Dahomey and an interview with the author of “The Billion Dollar Spy”.
  • The Egyptian History Podcast – I have been into Egyptian history for as long as I can remember (at one point I could write my name in hieroglypics) and this one has been so fun to listen to!
  • The History of Rome – I am actually planning on re-listening to this one soon. There was so much detail and I would like to absorb more of it!

Entertainment:

  • The Art of Slaying – My guilty pleasure…Buffy the Vampire Slayer! This podcast is an episode-by-episode analysis and discussion. I have not finished this one yet, but I loved what I have listened to!

Art:

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  • Artists Helping Artists – While I am not a painter (though I wish I was!), this podcast has inspired me artistically, entertained me, and helped jumpstart my putting my studio together.
  • The Potter’s Cast – This podcast makes me wish that I had my kiln already! I am planning on getting one soonish, but these interviews are just so inspiring and motivating! (And as a complete side-note, this podcast helped confirm that the brand of kiln I’m planning on is the right one to go with)

Fitness:

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  • The FitCast – So many good interviews and information! I can’t say enough good things about this podcast. It’s entertaining, informative, and motivating! Every time my motivation is lagging, The FitCast gives me a boost!

Humanistic:

  • TED Radio Hour – One of the top podcasts (to me) on this list! I have listened to so many episodes, on so many topics. I have smiled, laughed, cried…so many emotions have been inspired by this podcast. I have heard amazing stories from incredible people. The episodes are thought-provoking and moving. Their most recent 2-part episodes called “Screen Time” was fascinating!
  • On Being – A very spiritually-based podcast, she interviews so many amazing people. Their stories, their messages, and their lives are so beautiful to listen to. There have been episodes that have inspired changes in my life, especially to try to be more mindful in my daily life.
  • Invisibilia – Another NPR production (like TED Radio Hour), this podcast is still pretty early on. Only one season in, I am eagerly anticipating their new episodes. With episodes like “How to be Batman,” “Fearless,” and “Our Computers, Ourselves” this podcast is not to be missed!

That’s all for now! Do you have any favorite podcasts? Have you listened to any of these ones? If you have, what is your favorite one?

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Lessons in Gardening: The Conclusion

This year has been a year of exploration for me…one of trying new things and pushing my boundaries. One of those things I pushed myself on was learning to garden. Something that I’ve always wanted to do but never tried. Gardening intimidated me. It still does.

That being said, I am super excited about how this first foray into gardening went! I still have a HUGE amount to learn, but I did manage to grow some tasty veggies and herbs in the backyard and some pretty impatiens in the front.

Here is how they are looking now:

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There are a few little tomatoes still growing, but overall the plants seem done. That’s ok though. We did get some veggies out of them (like the ones pictured below!) and it was a fun experience!

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Just for some perspective, here is how the garden progressed over the summer:

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I do need to do some more research between now and when we plant next year. Things like when to harvest, how often to water, etc were all things that were beyond my knowledge this year. For example, I really struggled with getting the impatiens to grow originally. Thankfully I have a very patient dad who dealt with my calls asking if my plants were dying (they weren’t) and if the veggies were ready to harvest (they were actually past due on that one 🙂 )

With this initial experiment in gardening a success, I can’t wait to plan out our garden for next year! We are tentatively planning on one raised garden bed instead of the pots for the veggies and herbs. In the front, I am hoping to find some more shade-lovin’ plants to put up there and really overhaul patchy yard.

Oh, and check out this little guy I found crawling around when I took these last photographs! Anyone know what type of caterpillar it is? It’s pretty cute and fluffy!

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What about you? How is your garden growing? Are you a first-timer like me, or more experienced? If you are a first-timer, are you planning on doing it again next year? I would love to hear about your experiences and any tips you might have for me!

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DIY Glass Etching: Personalizing Glass Candle Holders

Decorating the home can be difficult, trying to balance between bringing in your own personality and managing costs. One way I have found to do this is buying things that are basic and inexpensive and then adding my own personality to the item.

Now I am by no means a decorating guru! I am still feeling my way through this journey as my dad and I remodel this house, and this project is just one of the many steps on that journey!

This is not the first time I have done glass etching, but this is the first time that I have made my own stencils for it. At least, it’s the first time I have made them successfully 🙂 I am thrilled with the results!

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I couldn’t seem to get a very good picture of this, but hopefully you get the idea! I have actually had this candle holder for quite a long time, but I finally decided to play with it some and make it my own. I knew I wanted to do glass etching, but there are very few style options in pre-made stencils. So I decided to make my own! Using a roll of Magic Cover Clear Transparent vinyl (like this one), I sketched out a few designs. It took a few practice attempts before I had any success at transferring a stencil to glass, but it’s all part of the learning process! I will detail out some of the difficulties as we go.

As for the designs, I really like the flowing feeling of the scrollwork and wanted to mimic that in my designs for the glass holders. And you may have noticed that I enjoy floral, henna-inspired designs.

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I only took pictures of two out of the five while they were in progress, but they all looked pretty similar. This is the part that I had some difficulty with is earlier practice pieces.

The first attempt was one a spare wine glass. After sketching out a simple floral design, I cut out the design and then tried to transfer it to the glass. It would not line up, no matter what I did! I figured it was the curve of the wine glass, called it a learning experience and moved on. I then tried another practice design on a straight glass and had the same problem.

Overall, both of these practice attempts showed that to successfully transfer the design, I had to apply the vinyl to the glass after I sketched it but before cutting it out. Once I learned this lesson, it worked much better!

After cutting out the design, I applied a coat of the Armour Etch with the paintbrush. While the directions on the bottle say 5 minutes for custom stencils, I found that leaving the Armour Etch for closer to 7 minutes seemed to work a little better.

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Once the 7 minutes was up, I washed the Armour Etch off, removed the vinyl and wiped down the glass with a paper towel.

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I am really happy with how they turned out! I love being able to personalize the decor in our home!

What do you do to bring your personality into your home? Do you like adding your own touches and DIY decor projects?

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DIY Painted Dresser: My First Time Painting Furniture!

Hey everyone! I am really excited to bring you this DIY project: a painted dresser for my basement art studio! I am currently working to pull together different pieces of furniture (mostly stored in my basement) and making them nicer for my in-progress studio. These pieces are mostly left over from old roommates and a lot of them were originally from thrift stores.

I could go on, but basically what I am trying to impress upon you is that these are not nice pieces of furniture 😛

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Beautiful, am I right?! 🙂

One of the reasons I picked this dresser is that I am trying to get my studio set up and need more storage. But probably the main reason I picked this for my first project learning to paint furniture is that it’s a pretty simple dresser. No carvings, straight lines, etc. It’s a good piece to learn on!

I started out by taking out the drawers and removing the handles. (What of the handles were left to be removed) As you can see, I have plenty of projects to work on after these are done too!

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I sanded down all of the surfaces I planned on painting, then moved on to filling in the original handle holes with wood filler.

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Once the wood filler was set, I sanded the filled areas down, wiped down the dresser with a clean cloth and then painted it with primer.

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The day after the primer was painted, I painted the dresser a deep grey. I ended up putting on two layers, using a fine paint roller, with a paintbrush for the few tricky spots.

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While it still needs hardware, it ended up looking pretty nice! Not bad for my first project trying to paint furniture! It’s pretty plain, so I’m trying to find some colorful, fun hardware to install. Maybe a trip to Hobby Lobby is in order? 🙂

Do you have any projects you are thinking about trying that are new for you? Have you ever painted furniture? I still have a lot to learn about this and would love to hear some tips and tricks!

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DIY Painted Lamps: Adventures in Spray Painting and Budget Remodels

Hey everyone! This week is the first of hopefully many (but at least 4) weeks of DIY projects for the home! While I have always loved doing DIY projects, I have never taken much time to develop any real skills at them. At least ones that aren’t art-related.

Now I find myself really getting into them and wanted to learn some new skills as well. We have been working on remodeling our house for a few years now and I have started to get a little frustrated at the lack of cohesion in the decor. Most rooms are a mash-up of items from my childhood, ones given to me or left by past roommates, some art projects I’ve made and a few art pieces I’ve collected.

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June Favorites and July Goals

Hey everyone! Welcome to the first installment of ‘Favorites and Goals’! A few of the reasons I started this blog were to keep myself motivated and document life’s moments. In this new series, I’m going to post some of my favorite pictures from the previous month and lay out a few goals for the new month. In future posts for this series I will also add in how I did on the previous month’s goals. 🙂

Onward to my favorite pics from June!Read More

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Learning Henna

Henna is something that I had seen before, but hadn’t had any personal exposure to until around a year ago, when I went to a small gathering teaching about henna. I didn’t do any myself, but was shown how to and had a design done on my hand. I was hooked! I immediately went home and started researching, reading as much as I could. I ordered some from Henna Caravan shortly after that and started practicing. I honestly haven’t done much yet, but I am slowly working to build my confidence.

Here is some designs I did last summer. Read More

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