diy bunting valentines

I sometimes am not in the mood to buy cards.
Because they can be so dang expensive.
[a fact that will amuse those of you who know what I do for a living]

Last year I designed my own Valentine's Day cards in Adobe Illustrator and printed them out on cardstock.
This year I went a bit more hands on for a more whimsical approach.

To create you will need just a few things that you probably have laying around your house.

fabric (mine is from the dog's halloween costume, a baby quilt, leftover curtains and a random fat quarter.  I should be on an episode of fabric hoarders)
glue stick
red and white thread
sewing machine
stamps and ink pad (both of mine are from Target)
The how to?  Pretty simple :)
 First, cut a bunch of different sized triangles from your fabric.

 Then arrange five or six of them (depending on your card size) in a curved line.
Secure with a little bit of glue so they stay in place when you start sewing.

 You probably could hand sew these if you wanted to, or glue a piece of ribbon down as the bunting line.  I used my sewing machine, putting the white thread on my bobbin (so it would blend in on the inside of the card) and the red thread on top.
Stitch a curved line following the tops of the bunting flags to secure them.

Using stamps, or your favorite pen, craft your message inside the card.
I've been obsessed with using these mini alphabet stamps lately.  I love how perfectly imperfect they turn out, not quite in a straight line or all with the same amount of ink.
Plus I found them in the Target dollar bin last year.
Can't beat that.

You can see in the card above why I used white thread on the bobbin - blends in the stitching a bit instead of having a red line on the inside.

Sign and send you Valentine to someone special!


on blogging and life

There have been a lot of posts floating around as of late regarding blogging, readers, comments and the balance of it all.
I won't reiterate all the discussion.  But here are some stellar reads:

Em  -  E  - Jenni  -  Megan

I really try to keep it real here.
Sure I share all the adventures I have and a bit too much about food.

Life isn't always days at the lake and sunshine and laughter.
Sometimes it's real.

There's something to be said for being able to share that freely.
With people I've never met.
But I feel like I know some of them better than myself.

And so I'm thankful.
For having someone halfway across the world send me an email with a perfectly sarcastic comment to make my day that much brighter.
For someone a few states away to send me the sweetest snail mail card.
For someone two hours away to send me the most-needed pick me up package.
 For anyone to leave an uplifting comment or tweet.
Right when I need it most.

I never asked for anyone to do this.
I never expected anyone to.

I am absolutely amazed by the friends I've made through blogging.
It's internet dating friendship at its best.

You guys are the bees knees.
Even though I wasn't aware that bees even had knees.


And onto something equally as amazing and vague.

I had some pretty steep New Year's Resolutions.

I've been chasing a dream for a couple years.
And recently realized I was chasing the wrong dream.
But that's okay.  It's okay to get lost now and then.  To follow something blindly.
It always leads to something better.

Finding your passion in life isn't easy.
And when you do find it, it can be terrifying.

Terrifying or not, I figured out what I want to do with my life.
I suppose [vaguely] putting this on the internet is my way of holding myself accountable.

So that's it.
I'll keep you posted.


beauty with a purpose

 I rarely post something on the fashion blog I write for and feel the need to post it here as well.
But some things just need to be shared.
And I want to make sure no one misses out.

There are over 27 million slaves in the world today.
Over 2 million people are trafficked annually.
Those numbers are absolutely astounding to me. 
And frightening.
And while many people and non-profit organizations are fighting to end human trafficking, I was amazed to find one for-profit beauty company with such a mission.

Radiant Cosmetics was founded on the belief that for-profit companies should be working just as hard as non-profits to transform the world into a better place. 
Brilliant.  I know.

But why cosmetics you ask? Well, the cosmetics industry generates $170 billion annually. Women dominate this industry and of the over 2 million human beings trafficked each year, 80% are women and girls. Nicole Marett, the founder and owner of Radiant Cosmetics has a dream to awaken a generation of women to not sit back and allow this injustice to happen to our fellow sisters. 
Her dream is to set the captives free, one lipstick at a time. 

At least 20% from every Radiant Cosmetics purchase is donated to help stop human trafficking.
And believe me, it isn't hard to find something you love.
Currently I'm in love with their moisturizing lipsticks. Bold, rich colors like Park Avenue combined with Vitamin E are the perfect way to brighten up your face. 

Currently on a spending freeze but want to help spread awareness? 
Radiant Cosmetics is running a campaign TODAY by asking women everywhere to model your favorite lipstick and take a photo holding this sign:
Upload them to Radiant Cosmetic's facebook page TODAY and you could win some amazing lipstick prizes! 

For more information on human trafficking and what you can do to help, please visit http://radiantcosmetics.org/human-trafficking for resources.  


something's different

I got a makeover from Lulapalooza Designs.
Lula is the bees knees.  Gorgeous, brilliant and great to work with.
Also, she's from Lisbon, so she has that international flair.

I'm smitten with the new look, are you?

more food

I apparently don't do anything in the winter but eat.
I'm not really seeing the problem with this.
Today is Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon.
Cue Sisqo's 'unleash the dragon' playing in your head.  It happens to the best of us.

We have some friends who are part-Asian and extremely good cooks.  That combination comes in handy around Chinese holidays.

 So we all got together and had a big Chinese New Year celebration, complete with too much food.
Just kidding, there's no such thing as too much food.

I'd love to tell you what we ate, but I couldn't pronounce, let alone spell, anything.
I did consume dried fish flakes.  Which were a surprisingly salty treat.

 Adam and I threw together some potstickers, which were pretty good for our first attempt working with wonton wrappers.
Those suckers took us 20 minutes to find in the grocery store.

But the real show-stopper was this dish I will call 'soup' because I don't know the actual name.

It was tasty.

By the way, I was born in the year of the Ox.  Which won't come around again until 2021.  I think I might throw myself a party that year.  Kind of like a Chinese New Year, the best year, party.

Congrats to Candice for winning the Poshlocket giveaway!  It must be fate that you share your name with one of the pieces :)


baby it's cold outside

As in nine degrees.
Which isn't really all that cold for Ohio.  That's the sad but true part.  I'm not at all a cold weather person and Ohio is pretty much next to last on my list of places to live.  But we live here for certain reasons - that's a whole other post someday.  And until we can retire south of the snow line (in like sixty years), we have to come up with ways to stay warm in the cold.

Like stop in at a hole-in-the-wall Cambodian restaurant.
We pass it all the time, but never think to go.

They have the most amazing homemade spring rolls.
I might just order eight of them next time for my meal.  They were divine.

 The best part was that you have three levels of spiciness for your food (mild, medium and hot).  So naturally we ordered medium, which was spicy enough to keep us warm inside.

Oh pickled cabbage.  You are the way to my heart.
Err, stomach.

I think we may have found a new favorite.
I love discovering amazing food.
Impromptu date nights.
And staying warm.


ps - last day to enter the poshlocket giveaway!!


poshlocket giveaway

Pretty enamored with this Penny Gibson Moon bracelet from Poshlocket.

It's so gorgeous.  And I cannot wait to pair it with more outfits for a bright pop of color.  The quality is amazing too.  
  Which doesn't help my bank account since now I'm coveting about twenty other pieces from this fabulous online jewelry store.  Particularly the Candice Pearl Pave Ring, Wynona Belt Bracelet and the Hallie Honeycomb bracelet.

In love as well?  Lucky you, because Poshlocket is giving one Busy Girl reader a $20 store credit!!  And with the majority of Poshlocket jewelry being between $10-$35, you have a lot of gorgeous pieces to choose from.
Oh and did I mention they have free shipping?
Music to my ears.
How can you win this $20 store credit to Poshlocket?
So glad you asked.

MANDATORY ENTRY (leave a comment): 
Visit Poshlocket and let me know what your favorite piece is!

Other ways to ENTER (leave a comment for each):
Follow Busy Girl via Google Friend Connect
Tweet/Facebook/Blog about this giveaway

Winner will be selected THIS Friday, January 20th by random.org
[open to US residents only]


half moon

Winter in Cleveland can be downright depressing.
Other than the fact that we finally, finally got hit with a legitimate snowstorm this weekend.
Hey, if it's going to be cold, why shouldn't there be snow?

It's hard to incorporate bright colors in the winter, since the majority of my colorful clothing isn't quite winter-appropriate .  So even if I'm bundled up in neutrals, I like to add a pop of color.

I felt very equestrian in this for some reason.

This Penny Gibbous Moon bracelet from Poshlocket brights up my day.  The bright turquoise and tangerine remind me of warm summer days on the water.
Even on days when the weather is a little chilly.

[ruffle shirt from urban outfitters, cardigan from loft, jeans from express, belt from f21, bracelet c/o poshlocket]

Also, I successfully executed the fish tail braid.  I think.

It seems so simple in concept but apparently my fingers are not as coordinated as I'd like to think.
Not bad for the first attempt that stayed for more than twenty minutes.



I guess I'm taking my new year's resolutions seriously this year.
I've kept up with my line-a-day-journal.
And painted lots of trim.

Because the previous owners painted the majority of it dirty ivory color.  And the portions left along are all different types of wood and no where near match each other.  It really makes the house seem like a cave in the winter.

So I grabbed my paintbrush (and my husband) and got to work.
Three coats of Behr Interior Satin paint later we went from this:

[sorry older photo, excuse the dog]

To this:

I could just die I'm so happy.
The way to my heart?
White trim.

Don't ever say you don't know what to get me.


homemade stir-fry

We have this little market in the town I grew up in.  It's a cool 35 minutes away from our house now, but whenever we go to visit my mom we make it a point to stop there and stock up on, well, everything.
Which means we eat healthy for two weeks.
And Wendy's stock goes down.

I'm sure they'll survive the hit.

Last night I grabbed pretty much everything and threw together stir-fry.  Which, minus the sodium from the soy sauce, is rather good for you.
And super-easy to make.
Other than all the chopping.

lots and lots of veggies - use whatever you have!  Last night I used: green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, snow peas, baby bella mushrooms, bean sprouts, green pepper, onion and broccoli.
meat (optional)  Last night I used: split chicken breasts, cleaned and diced into 1 inch cubes
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Minced Garlic
Brown Sugar
Rice or egg noodles

 Chop everything.  In a small bowl mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and brown sugar.  I start out with 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp garlic and 3 tbsp of brown sugar.  After that I don't really have exact measurements since I keep adding ingredients until I have the amount of sauce I'd like and the taste.  Keep the sesame oil to a minimum as it can be overpowering and just play around with the proportions until you have a sweet garlicy sauce.  You can spread the sauce further by thinning it a bit with some water.

Pour half of the sauce in a frying pan with the chicken and saute in sauce until cooked through.  Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.  Add veggies to the pan and the rest of the sauce.  Sauté for about 10 minutes on med-high heat.

Prepare your rice or noodles during this time.  Once the veggies are done, add the chicken back in for about two minutes.  Remove from heat and serve over the rice or noodles.

Easy.  Fresh.  Delicious.  And a great way to use leftover veggies.


"i don't think that was supposed to happen"

You know it's winter and that life has slowed down when we have time to go to things like a building implosion.  We did other cool things this weekend like paint trim and drink wine, but I'm sure you'd rather hear about this.
We went up to the marina yesterday to get some stellar seats for the tear down of an old mining facility at the mouth of Huron River (it dumps into Lake Erie).
Here's the big boom...
[click on the picture, there's a video that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to upload]

I know, Ohio looks depressing in the winter.  But I swear, it is beautiful the rest of the year.
And we have cool events like this to attend.  gala, schmala.  Give us a building to blow up.



Feeling inspired.
By all things beautiful,
and glowing.

All can be found on my Pinterest page.

Have a lovely weekend friends - xo


gettin' woody

 [scarf c/o french connection, peacoat from old navy]

This is our woodpile.  In all its glory.
When people come over, we get all excited and run them out to the side of the house with only short sleeves on and scream, look! Isn't it glorious?!
I think we've succumbed to suburbia.

You have to admit.  It is pretty impressive.
Especially since Adam chopped all that wood.
My lumberjack.

In other news, you can find me over at Megan's [Across The Pond] today.  Sharing the tale about the first dinner I ever cooked for Adam.  This story regularly comes up at family gatherings when the wine has been a'flowing.

Be sure to follow Megan.  She's my twin.  But not really.  We just pretend.



Welcome to the new year.
So far it hasn't been half bad.
Other than this snowstorm.  But if it's going to be 20 degrees here, I'd rather there be snow.
Even if I have to do things like clean off my car after work.

We ended up throwing an impromptu New Year's Eve party at our house.
Since no one made plans.  And it's too cold to venture to the bars.
And expensive.  Seriously.  I'd have to sell our unborn first born in order to attend one of those events.  I don't think my husband would approve.

So instead everyone came over for a casual night of celebrating.
And incredibly good food.
Adam made these mini-stuffed peppers from Giada's cookbook - mini bell peppers stuffed with ricotta and parmesan cheese, pancetta, onion and green peas.

To die for.  Rather easy to make too.  Recipe is here.

Maybe next year we'll do the whole formal celebration thing.  So I can get all dolled up in sparkles and heels.  Instead, you'll have to make do with this semi-glittery tank.

Which does not look the least bit glittery in this photo.
Oh well.

Happy New Year!  May you be incredibly blessed this year!
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