Friday, February 28, 2014

Life Lately: Dropping Like Flies

That pretty much sums up my kids this week. I have been to urgent care twice and to our primary's' once. Later today, we're off to the specialist. I guess when it rains it pours. Last Friday my son mentioned he wasn't feeling too hot. By Sunday I was exhausted from sleepless nights and constant crying. Off to urgent care we went. Turns out he had dime size ulcers in his mouth that had become infected. That infection spread into his ears, causing quite a bit of pain in my little guy. Thank goodness for drug stores that are open on Sunday's, because illnesses operate 7 days a week, you know.

Fast forward to Wednesday: Liam finally made it back to school. Here I thought to myself, Great, I get things done and get possibly get to the mechanic. Ho, ho, ho! This is when someone noticed my daughter grabbing herself. After a brief conversation with her, I was on the phone with my primary doctor. (We'll keep that visit private.) Off to the drug store!

On to Thursday: I noticed my oldest daughter's ear was yucky and full of gunk. Oh dear! It was obvious she had an allergic reaction to the earrings she was wearing and there was an infection. I took them out, soaked her ear lobe in peroxide (mostly to loosen the gunk so I could remove the stud), and wiped it down with a dab of antibiotic ointment. Huh, I thought, that's strange. Where is the earring back? I looked, pondered, then realized one small piece of information. When I put her earrings in, I specifically put the metal backing on, then put on a plastic back so the earring wouldn't dig into the back of her ear at bedtime. I looked. Here's the plastic backing, but where is the metal back? Eyes wide, I touched her lobe, noticing how swollen it was. I could certainly feel a knot in it, but was it just infection? Off to urgent care we went! Sure enough, the doc took an xray and came back, saying, "It's in there." That earrings' back lodged itself into her ear lobe! Oh my word! 

So today we're off to the specialist to see about getting that earring back cut out of there. I have yet to see the mechanic. Thanks for indulging in my week with me. Tomorrow I will finally get a day off. So stay tuned as I prepare to share the awesomeness that will be tomorrow with you. For now, have a great Friday and safe weekend.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Best Way to Love Your Body

For some time I have been suffering health issues. Minor things, but things I knew were not the norm for me and I thought could use some attention, so I sought medical treatment. I left the doctor feeling more discouraged than I did when I walked in the door.
Have you ever faced the struggle of having to justify yourself to someone? Not just once, but over and over, until all you begin to feel is sheer exhaustion? That is how I felt when I left. 
Most of my life I have been criticized for my size. I am an exceptionally small person and doctors grill me on this. The ironic fact is, I never suffer from body image until others point out the negative things about my body. I don't, on a general basis, look at myself in the mirror and feel disgusted by what I see. Do I like being my size? Not really. Pants are a joke to shop for! I get tired of having to convince doctors there's nothing wrong with me, it's hereditary  here wanna see a picture of my parents and my brothers?
I dwelled on this for some time. I prayed, asking the Lord to allow me to not be offended, but to take my doctors advice with a grain of salt. I was challenged a couple days ago when a woman in the drug store made a snide remark about my size, but then quickly backtracked and apologized. Never have I had anyone apologize.
More prayer. 
And then God showed me the verse above, reminding me that my body is not my own, it has been bought with a price, and that it is not for me to worry about who my body impresses as long as it glorify's the Lord. I need not worry about measuring up to any statistics or standards, because they are nothing more than an average for the population. My God is not average and does create "average" things. He does not create people to be average, either, as we are created in His image, the ultimate Holy of Holies! In that, my body was made perfect. It is simply my duty to maintain the health and integrity of it during my temporary stay in this little shell.
So that, sweet friends, is my Fitness Plan: To Love my Body As Unto the Lord. There is no greater way!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Free Photo Collages to Spruce up Your Blog Posts

 Images/Template © EW Couture
For those of you who didn't catch my guest post on Be Creative Mommy, we talked a little about our Exceptional Blogging series. In our last post about building an Exceptional Blog, we talked about the importance of eye-catching photos. One way to do this is by creating collages or story boards. It's your blog, so tell us your story! Collages are not only appealing to the eye, but they help break down some of the "clutter" an over abundance of photos can create in a single post. Sometimes you get lucky, and of those 76 photos you took, a good 20 came out stunning. Of course you want to show off as much of your hard work as possible. Why wouldn't you? You invested your time and effort into capturing great photos. Show off as many of them as possible with photo templates.

I did some of the hard work for you and rounded up 85 FREE blog boards for you to begin telling your stories in various eclectic ways. Each of the attached links are PSD (Photoshop) files. If you read through our original post on Exceptional Blogging, you'll see we talked about investing in your blog and investing in Photoshop. It's not daunting, I promise! You can even follow along with me on the blog and read up on our Photoshop tutorials. I would be happy to share a tutorial, showing you how to do use these. All it takes is the knowledge of layers and clipping masks.

Polished Picture Web Boards || Ginger Pixel Storyboard Templates || Elizabeth Halford Blogit Board

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Hunt for the Perfect Cobalt Blue Handbag

Let's take a walk through downtown Boone while we talk about the hunt for the perfect cobalt blue handbag. I don't know if you dears remember me talking about my crush on cobalt, and my longing desire to find a cobalt blue handbag. I am happy to report that after a year-and-a-half of searching for that perfect, reasonably priced handbag, this beauty above fell into my lap. And quite by accident.
I had found the perfect bag. It was remarkable. And on Hautelook for only $35 from $149. When I saw it on the daily deals list, my jaw dropped. A perfect shade of blue, lazer cut. It was stunning. The item was marked "ON HOLD" in someone's cart, but "on hold" doesn't mean "sold out." So I hit my refresh button every second, over and over, just waiting for said person to let go of my little precious. And low and behold, it became mine! Check out never felt so good!
I waited and waited for UPS to drop the box off at my door. I'm talking seeing his truck and running frantically down the street after him like a dog on a chase. After hunting down something to pry the box open with, I pulled back the flaps to reveal a stunning ... turquoise handbag.
Yes, turquoise.
Surely you can imagine my sadness. After over a year of searching, I had been let down. (The way Hautelook works is they only get, say, one of something, so once it's sold, that it's. There are no exchanges for the "correct" or a duplicate item.)
Days after I got my refund from Hautelook (amazing customer service, by the way), I was out with my honey, getting him a haircut. He says to me, "Why don't we go into TJ MAXX? Maybe they'll have a handbag you like." Little Miss Mopey here, however, replied, "I doubt it. I was there the other day." And I went home.
The next day I thought, I guess it couldn't hurt. I need to look for gifts for the kids anyway. So off to TJ MAXX I went.
And there it was, this perfect leather cobalt blue handbag, just the size I wanted, and for only $35. I should have known their merchandise changes on a nearly daily basis. They were just waiting for me to get my refund from Hautelook before they put this beauty out on the floor. Silly me, I should have known better. And what better way to pair it than with an all natural outfit, just for that one extra special pop of blue color.
The lesson to be learned here? When all else fails, TJ Maxx will come to the rescue! They're like super heroes. Btw, this was one of my favorite spots in downtown Boone. I mean, if you're going to graffiti a wall, make it memorable. Then make it doubly memorable by gluing pieces of glass to the wall in the shapes of eyes. Honestly, it was so random, my photographer and I couldn't stop laughing.
Handbag: TJ Maxx || Sweater: Thrifted || Vest: Thrifted || Watch: Thrifted || Bracelet: GroopDealz || Boots: Payless?
Photography by Heather Thacker Photography
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Walking in Memphis in High Heels || The Pleated Poppy || Still Being Molly

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Style Guide: Valentine's Night Out

Blouse: Thrifted || Sequin skirt: TJ Maxx || Shoes: Hautelook || Bow: Whippy Cake || Gold Clutch: Thrifted || Chain Link Bracelet: GroopDealz
Images courtesy of Heather Thacker Photography
Valentine's Day is in just four days and many ladies are browsing around to get that perfect look. It's not everyday us mom's get a legitimate excuse to go all out with our wardrobe's. But if you're anything like me, you'll find any excuse to wear gold sequins! This mom is also not made of money, unfortunately, so I've got your tips on finding that perfect Valentine's date night outfit on a budget.
Tip #1: Be Thrift Happy
I picked up this designer blouse at Goodwill for a happy $3.75. It still had the tags and additional button attached! The vintage gold clutch was also picked up from Goodwill for $1. I almost always buy my clothes from thrift shops. I can get quality brands like, J.Crew, Ann Taylor, and New York & Company for a fraction of the retail price. I never pay retail price for anything.
Tip #2: Repurpose Accessories
This bow bracelet isn't a bracelet at all. In fact it is a hair accessory from one of my favorite designers, Whippy Cake. It is the most expensive item I am wearing, costing $20. Yes, I will spend that much on just one hair accessory, because the quality is that good. So be selective; inexpensive doesn't always mean quality. And in this instance, I got more bang for my buck, because when I don't want anything in my hair, I can strap it to my wrist!
Tip #3: Hook Up with Discount Retailers
For my meager budget, I feed my fetish's through discount retailers and boutiques, like TJ Maxx,  Hautelook, GroopDealz, and Ace & Ivy. I flipped to find that gold sequin skirt at TJ Maxx for only $14.99. My fuschia stiletto's were a steal on Hautelook for $14 and the chain link bracelet was a freebie on GroopDealz (just pay shipping). Be sure to subscribe to your favorites so you get their latest updates straight to your inbox, then you're always ready for a fabulous steal. 
Image Map
All images are © Heather Thacker Photography and may not be distributed without consent and/or proper sourcing.

What are your favorite ways to style on a dime?

Happy shopping!
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Amazing Weekend Finds

I have been quite sick for several days. Toady is my first day out of bed. I certainly wasn't going to leave you cringing, biting away at those pretty fingernails, wondering if there would be a blog post. While I have a couple of drafts going, I thought this morning I would take it easy on myself, yet make it exciting for you. Today I have a collection of some of my favorite finds from my time on bed rest. We have style inspiration and decor inspiration for you to feast your hungry eyes on. 

1. Learn how to tuft and reupholster a sofa over at Classy Clutter. Honest to goodness, her living room made my heart swoon! I want a gray lounge chair in my living space, so this was just the right inspiration I needed for a future DIY project.
2. With summer almost in reach, many of us are working on getting ourselves bikini ready. Yesterday I nearly gasped at this scalloped one piece from Nasty Gal. I also love this suit because it gives the right amount of coverage for my self-consciousness. I do not like to flash my stretch marks and this one covers that area exactly while still allowing me to feel great in my skin.
3. Last week I stumbled upon the sister duo Jeans and Teacup after Jessica linked up to Funday Monday, which I co-hosted. I was instantly impressed by their blog, so I stayed awhile and browsed around. I was so glad I did, because I found this amazing emerald skirt Jessica flaunted. What a statement!
4. I honestly could not say what it is about this rancher hat from Anthropologie that makes me happy, but it just does. I love hats!
5. One of my favorite magazines is Better Home & Gardens. I am always browsing through a mag or on their site, looking for new inspiration. And they never disappoint, like this decorative floral mirrors made from egg cartons. I think I will be saving the next few dozen eggs I buy!

6. Have you ladies heard of Ace & Ivy? They are an up-and-coming discount beauty boutique, and just this morning I saw these darling floral wayfarer sunglasses posted up for only $6.99! How cheap is that? I already snatched myself a pair, so head over and get yours too. They are only available at this price for a brief period of time.
What goodies inspired you this weekend?


Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean

1. Start With A Clean Kitchen
Starting with a clean kitchen makes your time in the kitchen much more enjoyable. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a pot only to discover it's sitting in the sink. Or trying to cut vegetables with a cluttered counter. Have the kids quickly pick up any messes in the kitchen when they arrive home from school. My youngest, four years old, loves to wash the dishes. She feels important when she does.

2. Speedy Clean List
Have a speedy clean list, making it your goal to never spend more than 20 minutes cleaning your kitchen. In that 20 minutes you should be able to wash the dishes, wipe the counters and stove (drip pans included), and sweep the floor. Twenty minutes a day doing this will go a long way in maintaining the integrity and joy of your kitchen.

3. Never Go To Bed With Dirty Dishes

This is our best secret. One of the biggest ways to make a kitchen look dirty is by having a sink full of dirty dishes. It also takes a lot of stress off the next day knowing you don't have dishes awaiting you. You can easily fill the coffee pot with water, because you don't have to shove a bunch of dishes around. Odors don't develop overnight from leftover food and you spend less time, within 20 minutes, in the kitchen later because you're not spending all your time scrubbing stuck on food. Why is this my best secret? you wonder. Because I have one great tip for you on this: RINSE AND LOAD. Recite that like a mantra in your home. Say it to your kids until they are sick of hearing it: RINSE AND LOAD. It literally takes less than one minute to rinse a plate and place it in the dishwasher. Take this free printable I created, hang it over the sink or somewhere else in your kitchen. But make sure your kids, and yourselves, consistently remember to RINSE AND LOAD.

Graphic courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

4. Clean While You Cook
This is something my mom taught me when I was learning how to cook. Instead of throwing a skillet into the sink when you're done using it, give it a quick rinse first. Instead of using three different spoons for stirring each pot, rinse one off and reuse it. If you spill on the stove while cooking, wipe it up with a paper towel right away, instead of letting the egg or sauce dry. This is something that drastically increases your clean time later. We want to do anything that might help keep our kitchen time down to 20 minutes.

5. Clean Your Fridge Twice a Month
Refrigerators are one of the biggest breeders of germs in your home. Food gets shoved to the back and grows mold. You lose more plastic storage containers than you can shake a stick at. Clean your fridge twice a month (or when you go grocery shopping). This will get the smells and rotten food out, free up any storage containers you can use, and give you a better idea of what is truly available when you are ready to go grocery shopping.

6. Use Non-slip Rug Pads
One of my biggest pet peeves is when bottles get tipped over in my fridge and in my cabinets. This clutters up the space, liquids leak out, and generally becomes a huge mess. To prevent this from happening, use non-slip rug pads on your flat surfaces. Your glass bottles will no longer slip around in your fridge. You can spray paint them, too, to a little pop of color to the inside of your refrigerator door!

7. Use Designated Containers for Kids
I don't know about your kids, but the first thing mine do when they get home from school is raid the kitchen. They make messes without even realizing it, and eat half the house before dinner is even served. To maintain their clutter, have designated bins for them.  Use some vinyl to adhere their names to a plastic container, and fill them with what they may have that day. This will keep your food budget under control and teach your kids limitations. If they have leftovers from their sack lunches, they can put them in their own bins. 

8. Make Use Of Storage Racks
These days you can buy storage racks for just about anything, from spices to pots and pans. Fully invest in these. Some may be pricey, but they make organizing your cabinets so much easier, which in turn makes your time in the kitchen less painstaking.

9. Store Bagged Items Properly
In continuing with your cabinet organization, invest in storage containers for your bagged items, such as a cereal, beans, or rice. All those bags do is create clutter. In my home, they tend to get stacked on top of one another, and I never know if I have a bag of rice or a bag of black beans available. Oftentimes I wind up buying rice when I already had a bag there. I just didn't see it!

10. Deep Clean Once A Month
My final tip is to deep clean your kitchen once a month. And by deep clean, I mean the whole thing, top to bottom. Scrub the floorboards, beneath the cabinets, inside and outside of the cabinets, on top of the fridge, inside the oven, and so forth. Keeping up on these necessary chores helps keep your kitchen sparkling all year long!

Image © Chalon Handmade || Graphic Design by NewlyMynted

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DIY Burlap Coasters by Put a Bird on It

Hello there! I'm Daniela from Put A Bird On It. I'm super happy to be guest posting here at NewlyMynted. Stephanie has the best style, am I right? Her Great Gatsby printables are to die for - I'm so obsessed. At Put A Bird On It, I am all about simple & inexpensive crafts and DIY projects. I also love giving my readers free stuff and try to have lots of giveaways! I hope you'll stop by and say HI. :)

Today, it is my pleasure to be sharing with you a FUN and easy tutorial for making your own burlap coasters! I seriously swoon over anything and everything burlap. In fact, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this lovely fabric, which you can find HERE. I was at Michaels with my husband and 1-year old daughter, Ava, when I found their burlap section {of course!}. They had these small burlap squares and my mind immediately went to COASTERS. I've been wanting to DIY some coasters, but have only ever seen the tile ones, which aren't bad, but not exactly what I've been looking for. These burlap ones are more my style, and I was so excited to snag them and get started. The only other things I needed were a few tubes of acrylic paint and a couple of foam brushes {so cheap, right?}. I'm a visual learner, so here is the tutorial in pictures. Enjoy!

Burlap squares
acrylic paint in color(s) of choice
foam brushes/pouncers/q-tips
acrylic sealer {not pictured}

I have foam pouncers I usually use for my polka dots, but I wanted to show you how you can use a simple household item to make polka dots: a Q-TIP. This cheap trick works for painting polka dots on your nails, too.

I wanted to experiment with designs & colors, so I made a glittery gold, gray, white & pink "aztec" coaster. I used a small foam brush for the triangles, a q-tip for the polka dots, and broke a q-tip in half and used the non-cotton end to draw the arrows.

Your last step is to spray your coasters with an acrylic sealer. This will ensure that your coasters are waterproof. I tried one without sealing it first and my dirty diet coke sweated all over the coaster. Not good! Don't forget this step!
{intrigued by my Dirty Diet Coke? don't get too excited - there's no alcohol here! my version is sooooo yum you will become addicted like me. get the recipe HERE!}

My favorite coaster: the gold heart!

Thanks to Stephanie for having me. I had a blast sharing my easy coaster tutorial with you guys. I hope you are inspired to make an awesome coaster -- maybe even put a bird on it. :)


Show Daniela some link love. And head over over to her blog where I am sharing a last minute DIY gift for him this Valentines day.

Monday, February 3, 2014

#FundayMonday Link Party CO-HOST

This week I am thrilled to be Co-Hosting Funday Monday with Molly of Still Being Molly and Carly of Lipgloss and Crayons. These are a couple of my fave blogs, so it's quite an honor to be selected  as a co-host this week. And, thank you, ladies for featuring my post on Exceptional Blogging. An honor and a privilege!

Over the weekend I met up with Heather Thacker Photography for a fun photo shoot through Downtown Boone. We had such a great time! Here's a little sneak preview:


Welcome to Funday Monday! Here are a few of our favorites posts from last week’s link-up:funday-monday-feb-3_2238

The Rules for #FundayMonday Link-Ups:
    1. Follow your hosts Molly @ still being [molly] & Carly @ Lipgloss & Crayons! And, be sure to follow and check out this week’s guest hosts: Whitney @ Whitney 'Nic' James and Stephanie @ Newly Mynted.
    2. Grab a button and / or post a link back here in your BLOG POST (NOT your blog’s main page) so your readers know what all the #fundaymonday-ness is about. We love you guys linking up and we do go through and read all your posts… so if you do not give credit, we will have to remove your link. That’s no fun, right? Right. So be nice and share a link! Pretty please?
    3. Link your blog post up using the linky tool below! It can be ANYTHING! An outfit post, a giveaway, a story, a recipe, whatever. Why? Cause it’s #fundaymonday!
    4. Visit a blog or four that you’ve never been to before and leave a #fundaymonday comment – you never know, you might “meet” someone new that you will lurve!
    5. Have fun! Cause it’s Monday!

Want to cohost #FundayMonday? We are currently accepting weekly cohosts! Please email us at for more info!