Friday, May 31, 2013

Photo diary

Insta-what have I been up to when I'm not here, delighting with you? Let's see ....

 I've been working on getting my studio set up. These fabrics will be put to great use. We're going to have curtains and a re-upholstered chairs soon. By the way, these rolls of home decor fabric are all from Goodwill. In total, they cost $7.

 I was gifted three dozen cupcakes, so I've been eating cupcakes for breakfast. Yum!

 My son, Liam, was not only student of the week, he learned to count money. He's saving to buy a Lego pack he wants. It's true I'm that mom. I make them earn any new toys.

 My honey surprised me with this sparkly necklace. On our first date he gave me a green pendant similar to this and I was floored by the intricate design. Ever since he always surprises me with new murano glass pendants when he finds them.

Yesterday's thrifty finds were spectacular. This mirror was bursting with character. I just need to decide what color to paint it. Any suggestions?

And don't forget to follow me, @newlymynted, on Instagram so you can see all my daily craziness firsthand.

So much love from me to you. Have a blessed day!

Love dearly,
Steph 
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Come into my home

Last week I gave you the behind the blogger look at what you would find if you walked into my home, but there's more than my daily tasks. I'm surrounded by things and people I love. I want you all to delight in these things with me. They are forever growing and I find it so important to document these small moments while I have them. I am so grateful to each and every person who stops by my blog, and I want you to know who you're going to find here.

This particular nook is one of my favorite parts of my home. It's actually the only spot in my home that is actually "styled" as of yet. And even then it's incomplete, not quite perfect. This area is truly me. It reflects the kind of colorful, eclectic person I am. It displays my favorite things, my hopes and dreams, and it is full of sweet memories!

I picked up this typewriter at the Goodwill right after I moved to this little town. $8, can you believe that?! I was floored! It's perfect for me. I love vintage things and I love to write.

I long dream of one day becoming a published author. In fact, the last several days I have been writing again. My manuscript has been sitting here for over a year, more or less collecting dust. But I've begun again, editing with the recommendations previously given to me by an editor. Eight pages in and already I'm reminded how difficult it is, how tedious it can be, how much patience it requires, and most importantly, how much I LOVE those voices that prattle on in my head. Funny thing about writing fiction, those fictional characters are never pretend to you. They are as real as the physical people around you. You learn to love them as much as any other person you meet.

This wine bottle is near and dear to my heart. I needed to keep it, so it got a glitter makeover. This bottle is from a date my honey and I had when we had no babysitter, only each other, this bottle of wine and a platter of cheesecake. If I could find a way to bottle his laugh in there, I would!

Tarnished silver and bright pink flowers become my hearts delight. I smile ear to ear just looking at these precious photos. Where do you go wrong with things that are bright and cheery? I hope you all feel happy and delighted and cheery when you come here. 


Thank you for walking through my home with me. I am always fond of visitors. My desire is that this blog become as much a part of my home as this small nook, and that each of you readers become as dearly loved as the people in it.

Have a blessed day, all!

Camera print: Design Editor // Mom Poster: MoodKids

Love dearly,
Steph
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday funnies

My son brought this home from school yesterday, as one of the assignments he did in his kindergarten class. Initially, I was just impressed by his knowledge of expression. I complimented him on his use of detail by including tears in the second picture. 

Then I turned the paper over, saw my jaw on the floor in horror, and laughed out loud!

I hope this brought a little smile to your face today. Have a sensational weekend. I will be sunbathing, continuing to teach my son to ride a two-wheeler, attending a new church and barbecuing. What are your plans?

Love dearly,
Steph
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wear


Wrap and earrings: Whippy Cake (for Africa collection) // Bracelets: Maurices (Hope for Cancer) // Skirt: Chan Luu

If you stepped into my home you would find me ....

With a cup of coffee in hand. It's rare not to.

Giving my girls squeeze hugs. They love this, especially my littlest. She's the cuddlebug of the bunch.

Browsing Facebook for pictures of my niece. My brother became a father for the first time this past year, and I rather enjoy loving little Ella from afar.

Throwing myself together in a matter of minutes. Odds are my hair won't be washed. I dislike doing my hair very much. 

Popping into the thrift store for the possibility of a two dollar item. This morning's find was a bike for my daughter.

Editing photos.

Jotting notes for inspiration of blog posts or things to make.

Thinking about what to make for dinner, then dismissing the thought. I do this a lot. I do not like to cook, and it exhausts me pondering it.

Sometimes you find me sewing, but today will be running errands instead.

Washing dishes. I wash a lot of dishes. Blech.

Tucking my kiddos into bed with a story and prayers.

Then I will settle in with a glass of wine and either a book or something on Netflix. Lately it has been Downton Abbey.

Love dearly,
Steph
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pleated poppy

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

To Oklahoma


There was this moment yesterday as I sat down at the computer to publish the days blog post, where my eyes froze, fixated on the screen. All I could think was, God, please no!

You see, before I get to a blog post, I always go through the daily headlines. I believe it is important to keep up to date on what's going on with our country. For one, we have been at war, two, I vote, and three, the end times are upon us. I do not say that dramatically, of course, for I cannot wait for Christ to return!

But yesterday the words "devastating tornado sweeps through Shawnee, Oklahoma" crossed my screen. My dear, sweet cousin lives in Shawnee. She lives there with her husband and their five children. I think this was the one moment in time I was honest to God grateful for the existence of the Internet and Facebook. I immediately opened a new tab in my browser and allowed myself to exhale as I read Kaci's updates. Her and her family were fine, although the storm was in sight of them.

I borrowed this photo from her. This was from Sunday as it began to descend upon them. 

While I am thankful my own family is safe, I know there are many others whose families are not, and for that my heart aches. For those grieving, my prayers are with you. For those unaffected, please stand together and extend a hand to our fellow neighbors, in whatever way you can. 

A pastor I know once said, "If you donated $20 today, awesome. If you donated $2, even better. For you only had $2 to your name and you were willing to give it to your church."
If you need to know if you're loved one is safe, visit Safe and Well. You can also register yourself as safe if you're in the Oklahoma area.

Disaster relief donations can be made through the American Red Cross or Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Website.

More aid information can be found here.

So many love and prayers on this day,
Steph
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Wear: Styling Wardrobe Staples


Blazer: H&M // tank: Modcloth // Jeans: Boden // Pumps: Bergdorf Goodman // Necklace: Guess

I firmly believe that a trim blazer is a must-have for any woman's wardrobe. I own one in black, one in pink and one in white. With warmer, brighter days ahead I've assembled my favorite ways to style said hot pink blazer, starting with stripes! I am really into black and white stripes this season. They are bold, chic and make a big impact on your styling. I have been concocting various ways to incorporate this into my wardrobe, as well as my decor. To keep it casual chic, pair with slim fitting jeans and a coordinating striking pump.

Pink blazer
Dress: Reiss // Shoes: Miu Miu // Earrings: Kate Spade

The word P-R-E-C-I-O-U-S comes to mind here. Don't be afraid to play it coy every now and then.A woman that appears soft and delicate makes quite an impression when her eyes are fixed on a target. Flaunt your femininity by dawning a white summer dress and bow inspired accessories. The blazer easily becomes its own statement.

Pink blazer
Shoes: Neiman Marcus // Sunglasses: My Wardrobe

Without a doubt a little black dress is a wardrobe staple, but sometimes they tend to feel played out. So tuck away your LBD once in a while and hit the town in a bold print. A pink blazer paired with a figure flattering leopard print dress burns with sultry goodness. Pull on a pair of heels that flatter your ankles and paint the town red -- or pink!

Pink blazer
Bandeau top: Betsey Johnson // Shorts: Delias // Sandals: Farfetch // Hat: JulesB

Getting back to the good ol' days of summer, where your skin is glowing, breezes are welcome and ice cold lemonade never tasted so good. A pink blazer with a pair of floral shorts is fitting for a day such as this. Show off that glowing skin with a bandeau top and floppy hat to match, and you're set for a walk around town or for bathing in the sun.

Love deary,
Steph
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Beauty bloggers you'll love

My dreams are big! Besides dreaming of becoming a published author, another of my goals is to study makeup artistry. The North Carolina School of Arts has an astounding wig and makeup design program and it is on my bucket list to attend. I know I'm almost 30, but that doesn't mean it's too late for me to go back to school, right?

In the meantime I live vicariously, learning from those who are skilled in this trade and are awesome enough to share it with the world. Here are a few of my favorites:

Images © Kandee J

This little beauty (blogger) is Kandee Johnson. This is one woman I would LOVE to share a seat beside. And when I say LOVE, I mean it, too, is on my bucket list. What an honor it would be! Yes, it's far fetched and not likely to happen, but it's on my list anyway. A girl can dream, right?! And I dream BIG!

The past couple of years I have pondered the idea of a 1920's party, a way to celebrate leaving my twenties. (That day creeps closer and closer, but it doesn't look like my party will happen. *sigh*) Anyway, a year or so ago I looked up some tutorials on flapper style makeup and happened upon Kandee's Youtube video. Her humor killed me! I was sold. I've been a blog stalker of hers since. I cannot tell you how I longed for Kandee during the days I stopped blogging and no longer existed within the community. Besides being a phenomenal makeup artist, this lady has the most beautiful heart of any blogger I have ever happened upon. I cannot put her love of life into words. She doesn't merely instill confidence through beauty and makeup, but rather through a persons heart. There was a day I was not doing as well as I would have liked (the day she went blonde above) and her video exhorted her readers to feel beautiful no matter what, from the inside out. I cried that day. I honestly believe God had her words for me. If you don't already follow her, do it. I promise you won't regret it for a moment.


Image © Whippy Cake

Do you know beauty and style blogger Becki, owner of Whippy Cake? I met Becki in high school, although we went to different schools. Well, technically I was in high school, she was in middle school. I am exactly one year to the day older than her. I was a freshman and she was in eighth grade. But we clicked! Did you know even at 14 she loved making pretty things and styling hair? Yes, this is how we spent our weekends together. She had a terrible habit of needing to sneak off to the restroom to fix/reapply her mascara. She would give me such a hard time because I didn't wear mascara on my bottom lashes back then. If she wasn't painting red lips on her purple comforter, she was styling her hair. Back then her spider web hairstyle was quite a hit with the church group.

I remember when she first launched Whippy Cake. MySpace was still the "it" online social media outlet. I was so excited when I got her email and saw her all cute holding a hot pink cupcake! I have followed her blog since she started it. I own many, many Whippy Cake jewelry and hair accessories. I am so proud of everything she has established for herself and her company. I miss her terribly, and she is most certainly one of the first people I contact on the rare occasion I go back to Phoenix.
Image(s) © MaskCara

First, can we take a moment to grin and applaud politely at Cara's creative wordplay? As a writer, I was quite tickled with this! MaskCara is my go-to blog for beauty tips. I found her via Pinterest, actually, when I stumbled upon her Baggage Post. My grandfather cursed me with this atrocity, and the older I get, the more defiant my eyes become. I tried Cara's tip on applying concealer and was hooked. I'm always eager to learn, so I peek in on her in my spare time to see what's new.


******
I want to extend a caution to any beauty tips you find and use across the internet. Be sure the people offering these tips are licensed and knowledgeable in the trade. Any honest beauty blogger will not share some of their techniques, as they know the dangers that can occur if you aren't skilled with certain chemicals. A simple eye shadow application is one thing, but I would hate to see someone with chemical burns because they tried applying rhinestones to their eyes and used the wrong adhesive. My heart fell once when I saw a video of a girl sharing hair styling tips and she burned her hair right off with the styling wand. So please be careful!
****** 

Love dearly,
Steph
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Boy and the Burn

The date was Friday, Februrary 13, 1998. It was my dad's birthday. Him and my mother had gone out to a movie together and my oldest brother, Scott, had driven to Ahwatukee (Phoenix) to spend the weekend with his friends. We had recently moved to Glendale the summer before, so this was something he did quite often. 

I was at my friend Nicole's house. Every month her church held a dance for those between the ages of 14-17. We were teenage girls and there were boys, so of course we went. This particular dance was of great interest to me though, as there was one boy in particular that had my attention. For discretion's sake (I am still friends with his twin sister, you know), let's call him "Joe," shall we. 

I went with Nicole to her weekly church youth activities, mainly so I could see Joe. We quickly became quite fond of each other. He had kissed me just that week, so it was of the utmost importance that I attend this dance.

I did my makeup and dawned my burgundy 3/4 sleeve top. It had silver glitter butterflies on it, and Joe had once complimented it, so of course it became one of my favorites.

After I had finished getting ready, I went out to Nicole's kitchen while she finished. Her sister Britni and brother Ryan were going to be home alone that evening. Britni was not yet old enough to go to the church dances, so she got stuck babysitting. She was making a pot of macaroni and cheese for her and her brother, but quickly realized there was too much water in the pot and it was close to boiling over. 

This was where intelligence failed us both. The pot was too heavy and boiling and neither of us were able to safely lift it to the sink to empty the water out, so we carried it ladle by ladle from the stove, across the kitchen to the sink. 

I turned and heard Britni say in a calm voice, "Careful. I don't want to spill this on you." And no sooner than those words escaped her lips, we collided, boiling water splashing all over my arm.

I gripped my arm in agony, wailing, "FUCK!" so loud, I later found out neighbors three doors down heard me. Nicole came running in from her room. She panicked, unsure what to do. All I could think in that moment was that my arm was really hot and I wanted it to stop being so hot.

This is the second time intelligence escaped me. On instinct, I reached for the bucket of ice cubes in the freezer and plunged my elbow into it. Have you ever gone from a cold environment, then submerged yourself into a hot tub? You know that feeling you get when you first enter the warm water where it seems absurdly hot and prickly against your skin? It takes your body a minute to adjust to the temperature change. 

My arm did not adjust to the temperature change. That tingly feeling was more akin to a hell blaze being thrust against my skin. The burning worsened and seemed to be spreading. I jerked my arm out of the bucket of torment and my eyes grew wide when I noticed my skin was still in the bucket. Flesh was now visible on my arm.

"Ew, gross!" Nicole's brother whined. Simultaneously, all three of us girls gave him stern glares.

Unsure what to do, I rushed out of Nicole's house and to my friend Chandra's. They lived on the same street. But much to my dismay, they weren't home. I ran to my house, but no one was home there either. I had no car of my own and these were the days before every household owned cell phones. It was still cool to have a pager then. 

Finally, down the road from my house, my friend Heather and her parents were home. Her mother, God love her, calmed me. I was in hysterics, yelling, crying, panicking. I can't recall too well after all these years, but I remember screaming. I can only imagine how I looked running through the neighborhood, screaming and carrying on as I was. The neighborhood busybodies probably (officially) thought I was a lunatic, a demon child of some kind. This particular family was always concocting silly stories to paint us as horrifying children. I'm willing to bet I had given them the right ammo that day. I'm giggling at that thought right now!

Anyway, back to the story. I couldn't remember which movie theater my parents had gone to, so Heather's mother called the two near us. They were at the second, seeing a chick-flick if I remember correctly. The usher went into the theater before the movie had started and announced that they were looking for Bart and Cathy Urich, that there was an emergency, their daughter had been burned.

Brace yourselves, for this is the one moment in life that my father's heart stopped. 

I later found out my parents were seated at the back of the theater room and my dad heard the usher wrong. He heard, "Your daughter has been murdered.

My poor dad. He burst into tears right there, fled down the stairs. He was a mess, getting odd stares from people wondering why he seemed to be overreacting the way he was. It took a moment for everyone to understand he had misunderstood. Can you imagine his relief when he learned it was just a burn, not my life?

In the meantime, I had gotten in touch with my brother at his friends house. He was closest and had rushed home to get me, and we were to meet my parents at the hospital. That was the first time in my life I drove 80 MPH through the streets of Phoenix, hoping to get pulled over so I could get to the hospital faster, only to not get pulled over. (If you've ever been to Phoenix, you'd understand this. They crack down HARD on speeders and drunk drivers.)

I suffered severe second degree, minor third degree burns. I was treated with prescription strength Noxema. Yes, the stuff they gave me was just like Noxema. The nurse was a shrew too. She most certainly did not like children and she made that clear to me. She also did not enjoy treating me. She twisted my BURNED arm this way and that, telling me to stop whining every time I cried out in pain. Thankfully my mother was there to tell her to stop. Oooh, the glare that nurse gave my mom ...! He-he!

Today I have no visible scar on my arm, however I burned the nerve endings off and the skin around my elbow is darker. The most painful part of the treatment was having to flex my arm everyday so they skin would grow back loose. Blech and ouch!

As for Joe, I was devastated I did not get to see him that night. I remember thinking to myself all night how disappointed I was. I wondered if he noticed I wasn't there, if he missed me since we had "made plans" to both be there. I wondered if someone else caught his attention in my absence. When you're 15 years old, things of that nature are crucial at the time. Funny how dramatic we can be. No one else caught his attention and our little tryst continued (secretively) for quite some time. 

Funny, though, he wasn't even my happily ever after ....

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Friday, May 17, 2013

My "lot"



The topic at hand is discussing something difficult about my "lot in life" and how I overcome it. The truth is, I could never pack all that into one blog post. It would need an entire series dedicated to it. Because the truth is my "lot" will never go away. I am, and will always be, a mother. And not just any mother. 

A single mother.

My lot in life is accepting that my marriage did not go the way I intended the day I dawned my white wedding dress nine years ago. 

My lot is learning to love, nurture and care for three young children on my own. 

My lot is being the only disciplinarian.

My lot is making sure there is food on the table and warm bath water running.

My lot is putting children, life and all my daily tasks above writing, creativity and my dreams.

My lot is stifling the jealousy I feel when those I know celebrate anniversaries with spouses and boast about how happy they are. They have every right to boast about that, do they not? I have no right to be envious, for LOVE does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4).

My "lot" is hardly anything to complain about. I have my children. I have a home. I am loved. I want for nothing. And it is only through God's grace that this is. That is how I overcome it: 

By the grace of God!

Love dearly,
Steph

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Caramel Apple Banana Bundt Cake

The other day I needed to come up with a dessert for my kiddos. Now, without sounding boastful, I ought to tell you, I am well known for my banana bread and my coffee cake. And on this day I had a bunch of ripe bananas, as well as a can of caramel apple pie filling. I decided to try an alternative to my banana bread recipe, making a scrumptious cake instead. My kids love it!

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C banana, mashed
1/2 C caramel apple pie filling (reserve 1 tsp caramel sauce)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 lemon, juiced

Icing:
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
1/8 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp caramel sauce (from can)


Instructions:

1: Preheat oven to 350°.

2: Coat your bundt pan in shortening and flour; set aside.

3: In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

4: In a large bowl, whisk together egg and sugar until well blended. Fold in bananas, pie filling, and sour cream gently. Juice lemon into bowl.

5: Add the flour mixture to the banana cake bowl a little at a time, stirring with each addition until everything is thoroughly combined.

6: Poor the cake mix into the bundt pan; bake 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

7: Let the cake stand for up to five minutes, then remove it from the pan, transfering to a cooling rack. Cool cake completely.

8: In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for the icing and drizzle lightly over cake.


***Tips & tricks***
Freeze bananas a day or two before using, then pull them out the morning of baking. They will be the ripest and most delicious.
When juicing lemons, use your hand as a sieve  Cut the lemon in half and hold it right-side-up in your palm. This will allow your hand to catch any seeds that may squeeze out. You also get the most juice with this grip.

Love dearly,
Steph
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#banana bread #banana bread alternative #uses for pie filling

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Daily deals

I know it's important for new blogs to blog every weekday, and I apologize for the lack of post yesterday. It is a busy week around here, though. Yesterday I had a new stove delivered (woohoo!) and got the leak in my bathroom sink fixed. That also included a new faucet! Then there were trips to the store, finishing my sons costume for his school play on Friday, cleaning, dinner with my neighbors, more cleaning, shower, then bedtime. I was whooped!

Today won't be much slower, but that's because I will be busy installing new gold shelving for my studio space and sewing curtains for my living room. You'll be seeing these up in no time. 

For today, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite deals going on. 

Feast your eyes and indulge!


Well, I believe it to be an acceptable time of morning to begin hammering on my walls. If you have any daily deal sites you'd like to share, please do. I follow tons of them. I am, after all, always looking for great ways to stretch my budget the best I can.

Love dearly,
Steph
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