My Lifestyle

Nothing has brought me more joy in life than the thrill of adventure and activity. I try and live each day fully engaged in this world and aware of my ...

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My Edible Enjoyment

My food philosophy is simple. Cook from the heart, for the heart. I like to make dishes that not only taste good but also feel good. After years of being ...


My Arts & Crafts

Art has been found in many parts of my life. For me, these experiences with arts and crafts have almost been more empowering than the finished product. My crafting abilities ...

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all from my ice skating heart! I’m happy to celebrate this holiday with my loves.




{diy} homemade bath fizzies

[Disclaimer: Please stop reading this post if you are my mom, sister-in-law or are a female member of my boyfriend's family. This is your Christmas present, and I can't resist posting before Christmas for timeliness.]

This was a big year for homemade crafts in my household. This Christmas, I put myself on a budget, and I told myself that I would not use my credit card for any gifts. I’ve successfully accomplished that (though now I’m hoping for cash presents since I’m spent!). I did end up buying myself a pair three pairs of boots for Christmas (on my credit card), but they were on sale with free shipping, so I’m justifying that (I will never get out of debt but at least I’ll look nice!)

Nevertheless, this year was dedicated to homemade gifts for him & her. I receive Martha Stewart daily organizing tips in my email (a godsend) and saw the idea for back in November. It seemed easy enough and cost effective, so I decided to create my own.

I probably spent around $60 for all materials including the ingredients, essential oils (which are expensive), display jars, ribbon and bags. This $60 equals 11 gifts to family, extended family, and a few friends, so I’d say that’s a pretty good deal. It’s easy to spend $20 per person on someone during the holidays, which would have been $220. That’s a savings indeed.

I went with three different scents: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Lavender. This actually proved to be difficult because I discovered my roommate is allergic to Lavender, and so I had to make a separate batch in the (dirty, yucky) basement. For those of you receiving lavender, consider yourself special.

I used a variety of bags and jars based on the person. I tried to give larger amounts to the people I know take baths. For those who might only take one occasionally, I provided bags. I’m a big fan of the bath fizzies over the sugar scrub I made two years ago. I saw the scrub sitting my stepmom’s bathroom unused last time I was home for a visit so I thought maybe I enjoyed making them more than people enjoyed receiving them. I don’t feel bad; sugar scrubs aren’t for everyone! Also, some people just aren’t into baths. I get that too.

I found really cheap tags/labels at Pat Catan’s (similar to Michael’s but in Pittsburgh and better), and I labeled ALL of my gifts with them. I like them because I think it gives it an older, more classic feel. This year in general I spent more careful time with gift picking, labeling and wrapping and I feel it shows my care more than a gift I haphazardly picked out at Wal-Mart. (Note: I did shop at Wal-Mart for a few things. But they were carefully and thoughtfully picked). I also bought some sparkly paper and cut circles for the lids of the jars (see picture above). I tried to create a more “fizzy” feel, and I think this adds a lot to a basic Mason jar, don’t you?

Alongside the bath fizzies, I created a few jars of spice rubs for the guys in my boyfriend’s family. I wasn’t sure what to get them, but they are all really into meat and grilling, so I made a few. I ran out of ingredients pretty quickly though, so I wasn’t able to make as many as I wanted.

I love a good DIY Christmas. Here’s hoping my family and friends do too.

my ugly sweater: the gift that keeps on giving

My friend Kelly asked if she could borrow for a holiday work contest. We had coffee last night at , swapped presents and cards, and I handed over the sweater (complete with a light-up pocket).

Imagine my pride when I received a g-chat message from Kelly at lunch, indicating that she had won her office party. The grand prize was a big $10 gift card to Giant Eagle. She’s the second from the right.

I think the sweater/turtleneck combo looks much better on her. I guess someone at her office even wrote “Kelly, duh” on her voting card. I agree – the prize most definitely goes to Kelly. Duh.

crazy loud fun

A baby. Apparently that’s what it takes to slow me down. A little boy baby with curious eyes, a dimpled chin, and arms that squeeze.

Last night I took a break from Christmas. I took a break from homemade gifts, silver ribbons, wrapping paper. I took a break to see my college friend Jenny and her son Victor, who were both hanging out at home on a not-so-snowy Pittsburgh Tuesday.

Sometimes, this scene doesn’t even look real to me – Jenny, who we used to call “Crazy Jenn” in college, with a little boy in her arms (there may have been boys in her arms in college but.. she certainly didn’t give birth to them). What I remember of Jenny is long talks in the hallway between our rooms junior year of college. Dancing and singing (to “My Humps”) at any hour of the day. Crunk Tuesdays down the street. Going to a club in England and being idolized for being Americans. Trips to the local Indiana mall on the school bus (it was always a bust). And just laughing. A whole lot of laughing.

Like any friendship, we had our down moments, too. I remember one blow-out fight that resulted in her leaving the house in a flurry. There was some yelling. I was kind of a jerk. Later, we both apologized to each other. Water under the bridge now.

Now when I visit Jenny it’s all about kids, mortgage┬ápayments, and credit card debt.

The days of our college “crazy loud fun” are starting to slowly disappear. But honestly? I’m okay with that.

That little baby boy made me think. Sometimes I imagine that I will have a baby and it will be completely different than everyone else’s experiences. The baby will be quiet, well-behaved, and will never wake me up in the middle of the night. Sort of like having an adult that’s in the form of a baby. I’ll keep living this lifestyle: going to the gym, working on crafts, spending a lot of time with just me.

But then I see my friends with their kids and realize I will never escape the time and dedication that comes with child-rearing. Someday, I will join the rest of them. I will spend my evenings with a little babe on my hip, completely unable to get the things accomplished I do now. And by then, I will be content with that. Happy even, I bet.

Until then, I’m going to continue the crazy, loud, fun times in my late 20s. More likely in a muted manner, but in CLF style nonetheless.

[Disclaimer: Crazy, Loud, Fun, was a catch-phrase coined in college by Cat and Sam. They were looking for it one night, and I think they found it for the next four years. We named our softball team CLF {we never played a game} and continued to make shirts for each year and each wedding that followed.]

christmas cheer

I think working should be optional this week. My morale is low. I keep going to the office, coming straight home and working on gift wrapping, homemade gifts, decorating, cards, etc. I’m staying up too late. I’m spending too much time on details. But honestly, I sort of like the craze that comes with Christmas. Yes, I could put my grinch face on and do nothing. But I like getting into the holiday spirit.

Last night, while beginning my TV journey with Sons of Anarchy, I worked on wrapping gifts. I displayed them in our “fireplace” under the cards.

Christmas 2011

For comparison’s sake, I decided to find last year’s photo taken around this date. Interesting dichotomy.

Christmas 2010

At first I thought my poor/broke lifestyle was showing too much. Then I realized that Christmas 2010 included Cat’s gifts; this year doesn’t. I’m also waiting on about 6 presents to come in the mail, so that makes a difference. As far as cards go, we either have fewer friends or people are took cheap to send them. Hard/tough economy, guys. I get it.

At least our stockings are in place. Oh, and those jars of water that will forever be on the mantel (long story, I’ll tell you sometime.)

Although the living room is intact with Christmas cheer, my craft corner in the dining room certainly isn’t. Oh, to have a room dedicated to crafting! Someday that will happen for me. Until then, I’ll slum it in any corner I can. I promise myself this will be cleaned up by Jan. 2.

Time for more Sons. Slowing down is good. The occasional TV show is necessary. So can Christmas get here already?


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