Archive | February, 2013

Helpful Remodeling and Decor Resources

28 Feb

Helpful Remodeling and Decor Resources

I, for one, love watching HGTV and the DIY Network and watch for interesting design ideas, remodeling techniques, and diy decor.  Unfortunately, these shows don’t always show you ideas that match your functionstyle, or budget.  Thank goodness for the internet!  I’m going to share some sites with you all that will help you customize your search for inspiration.

Houzz.com

Houzz.com is a wonderful site that I referenced when helping my parents revamp our living room.  We have a 1930′s Bungalow that was decorated with a mix of the 80′s and 90′s, and we needed some ideas that would balance our mix of modern and antique furniture and decor.  This site allows you to be picky!  You can choose the room your are looking to remodel, the style you are looking to get.  Once you find a remodel that you can see living with in your own home, there are tags that show you the paint brand and color (for perfect color matching!), the materials used and where they can be found (Ikea, Home Depot, etc.), and even some of the decor items are tagged.  You can even find local companies that do remodels and renovations, along with reviews and pictures of their jobs.  Houzz.com is an all around life saver, whether you are flipping an entire house, or just looking to update your foyer!

Remodelista.com

Remodelista.com is a bit more upscale and focused on modern and contemporary designs and architecture.  If this is your passion, then this is a great spot to find ideas and inspiration to give your home a clean and contemporary feel!  There are small projects and ideas – creating the perfect shower drain, or interesting lamps by designers – and BIG projects – skylights in your bathroom.  They also feature architects and designers, as well as garden and landscape designs.  Honestly, this site covers anything and everything you might think of, even how to set up for the perfect dinner party!  Check it out for some inspiration!

Apartmenttherapy.com

Apartmenttherapy.com is a great site for making your apartment functional and stylish, whether you live alone or are a family with three children.  There are tabs for local design, eco friendly design, designing on a budget, and even for classifieds where you can find materials for decorating your place!  I love that they focus on the seasonal trends so you can change up your small space for a new look inside as the scene out the window changes!

Casasugar.com

Casasugar.com is a great place to find decor, especially if you are working on a budget!  You can focus on a certain color palette, find designers that make pieces that just go PERFECTLY with your style for some decor items that no one else is going to have, and they even featured the best of the best from Target’s Spring Collection (I love Target!) You can also get tips on gardening and even buying flowers online to place in your home for a flash of freshness and life.  This is an all around good site for decor ideas!

Thank you all for checking out my page and I hope you find some inspiration for you projects, big and small, on some of the sites I have shared with you. :)

Change it up!

Leslie

Mindy Kaling: A Role Model At Last!

27 Feb

So I’ve been reading Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? and I have to say I haven’t laughed this hard at a book in quite some time! My husband and I watch Mindy’s new show on TV The Mindy Project and have seen her in the TV show The Office. So to say we are fans might be an understatement, but I mean come on! You have to love her!!

Okay maybe you don’t – but I do ;) She’s got a sense of humor that is straight forward, slightly sarcastic, and to be completely honest – exactly what everyone thinks but doesn’t say! Her book is some of the same, but it was definitely enlightening to see the depths of where Mindy came from and how it made her who she is today.

Here is Barnes and Nobles Overview:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

Since I’m a mom and reading does not come easy you’ll be happy to know that this is a very light read! I picked it up and put it down easily without feeling lost. Mindy has a great way of making you smile when you read, but not killing you with the boring facts which I have yet to find in any other type of book based on someone’s life! WIN WIN!

If you can’t tell yet – I love this book – which you should have by now because I’ve been rambling about it for hours :P

What I’m excited about next is buying this:

Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself: 50 Topics to Share with Friends

P.S. Thank you google for the pictures – or really thank you Mindy Kaling ;)

Are you reading anything great right now?

Love Always,

Jennifer

DIY Pet Accessories

26 Feb

DIY Pet Accessories

Today, I’m going to dedicate my post to our four-legged friends who love us unconditionally every day.  It feels great to spend some time making something for our furry friends to make them more comfortable!  Click each picture for a tutorial or original post!

Stuff for the Doggies!

DIY Dog Bed

Above is a tutorial for a terrific bed that can be for small or large dogs.  It is simple and you can fix it up by using a paint that matches your home :)

DIY Name Tags

Thank you, Martha!  Martha Stewart has great ideas for making your own tags for your dog that represents your pet’s personality and keeps them safe if they feel like going on an unexpected adventure.  Safety and style for your loving, barking best friend!

This is a great idea for a small dog.  I say this just because if you have a big dog that rips up his or her toys, this might not be a great option.  My little dog loved the toys that made crinkle-plastic sounds and now I wish he were still here so I could make him one of these!  This is simple, easy, inexpensive, and you can make them over and over without a bunch of trips to the pet store paying for pricey toys.

DIY Doggy Jacket

I used to hate seeing my dog, Cody, standing outside in the cold or the rain to use the bathroom.  Since we love our pets so much, lets shelter them from the elements while they do their business or want to play in the cold!  Using this tutorial from sewdoggystyle.com, we can use our boyfriend/husband/fathers’ old shirts and turn them into a plush little outer coat for our chilly pups.

Stuff for the Kitties!

Four Poster Bed

This is a wonderfully simple way to make your cat feel like royalty.  Yes, they seem like they already think so, but let’s humor them!  Just turn an old end table upside down, paint, place a cushion on the underneath and you have yourself a frame and mattress for your crazy cat.  Depending on how large the table is, you can do the same thing for your dog. :)

Suitcase Beds

When I saw these, I just DIED!  So cute and so eco friendly, reusing damaged or thrift store suitcases for your pet is a great way to make a comfy bed with just a pillow :)

The picture above sends you a link to an etsy store where you can order one of your own.  Personally, I think this would be a great craft challenge and I would spend a day scouring thrift shops for a retro suitcase!

This is even great for your pup!  Click the pic for a DIY tutorial.

And you can make it FANCY!

Retro TV Bed

I love this idea!  It seems EVERYONE has an old television set they are trying to get rid of, and you can find many different types of old sets at thrift shops and I can’t even tell you how many I drive by in a month, just sitting there waiting for the junk yard.  One thing I never thought of – one man’s trash is a kitty heaven.  I though this was just adorable!

Cute Cat Toys

Click the picture for some cute cat toys with style that won’t fall apart like the ones from the pet store.

Need to find Nemo? All you need is a quarter!

I wasn’t intending to feature fish as a pet, but if a four legged friend isn’t a part of your lifestyle and you prefer a friend with fins, you can make an aquarium out of an old gumball machine for an eclectic and ingenious touch!

Well, that is it for my pet finds.  I hope you all enjoy these ideas I found and hopefully your pets will reap the benefits. :)

Woof, Meow, Have a nice day!

Leslie

The Monday Blues!

25 Feb

Not everyone enjoys a Monday morning – heck most of us can’t stand a Monday morning! So today I’ve found a few things to help you perk up your Monday and hopefully make it a little more tolerable ;)

Hopefully this brightens up your day a bit ;)

Love Always,

Jennifer

Pinteresting Recipes!

22 Feb

Some Pinteresting Recipes I found – going to see if I can try one out and post it for you soon ;)

 

Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip – we eat apples in this house like most people eat chips. I LOVE finding new dips :)

 

Eggplant Panini with Pesto – eggplant has become a new favorite in this house and I loooooove panini’s!

 

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf – whoever was the brilliant person who put lemon and blueberry together deserves an award. YUM!

 

Dirty Shirley: cherry vodka, grenadine, sprite – now I am not a big drinker. In fact one of these tiny glasses would get me drunk – but this drink is delicious :D

 

Which recipe should I try?! Do you have a great recipe to share with us?

Follow us on Pinterest at: ‘

 

Love Always,

Jennifer

The Sean Petersen Experiment

21 Feb

The Sean Petersen Experiment

I first heard of Sean Petersen at The Weekend Pub in Newport News.  I like to go on open mic night on Wednesdays to see some new talented artists, as well as the regulars that are always amazing.  One of these nights, everyone was abuzz with news of Sean Petersen to play on Friday.  I had never heard his name and I was curious as to why it was the topic of conversation over the course of my three hours at the Pub.  Luckily for me, Sean showed up for a preview.  Mind you, the Weekend Pub is a very small, hole in the wall, lovely little place for music lovers.  He played everything from covers of “Hey Ya” by OutKast to original songs such as “Sattelites.” I was immediately captivated by his one-man performance and was determined to get an interview and feature him.

This fantastic musician used to sing on key in his toddler years, but no one would take him on as a student for voice lessons because of his age. His mother, obviously wanting to encourage his musical intuition, found a woman who taught suzuki violin lessons to young children and he trained for about 10 years.  He attributes his pitch sensitivity and keen ear to his early years of violin.  And let me tell you, this boy can sing! He was active in theatre and opera at an early age, and he opened at the Jefferson Opera House in the first performance the theatre saw. He switched to guitar because violin wasn’t “cool” anymore in his adolescent years, found his father’s guitar, and taught himself to play.  Now, he plays the guitar, bass, and mandolin, as well as implicating the use of digital sound technologies and programs on the computer and using a synthesizing station.

Petersen became familiar with sound recording at a young age, as well.  He used to play around on his parents’ PC and open the sound recorder and would record himself playing rythym guitar (if anyone remembers this simple program, it requires a dinky computer microphone and cuts you off after 30 seconds), and he would clip it, try and sync it up and paste it until his song lasted ten minutes.  I remember playing with this program, but I definitely didn’t get that creative or work that hard.  Generally I just made weird noises and like to listen to myself played back.  But Sean took this program and forced it into being just what he needed to create full songs!  Sean maintains that his education in these using this and other technologies and acquired deftness at guitar was not glamorous at all, and consisted of him sitting in a room and playing and recording by himself for hours.  You can see live that he is so confident in his playing (probably a result of his long practices at home) and he now enjoys getting to perform, finally getting to share his hard work with some lucky listeners.

He says he was hesitant to get into electronic/synthetic music using looping and such and feels that “the looping thing will run it’s course” and that what he does by himself doesn’t produce the same energy as having a full band.  However, the energy he got from the tight-knit crowd at the Weekend Pub in Newport News didn’t reflect any need for more players – the fact that he was able to create entire songs complete with rhythm, percussion, melody, and a bass line, with just his instruments, a pedal, and his Mac made him a golden boy for the open, but experienced, listeners.  If he thinks he can harness more energy from the crowd with a full band,  then I can’t wait to see him collaborate with some other artists because good things are going to come from his devotion to music as a lifestyle.

Here is a video of Sean Petersen playing his original song, “Satellites” live at The Weekend Pub in Newport News.

Be sure to check out more of his music at his site (just click to jump to his personal page) and to the page to see what he is working on,  find out when and where you can see him play next, or just to click “like” and show your support!

*As a side note, I’d like to thank my friend, Kari Velandria for allowing me to use her gorgeous pictures for my post!  Click on any of these pics for a link to HR Media Management and Booking to get into contact with her, or head to  to see some of her other sessions and/or book a session for yourself.*

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Leslie

It’s A Handmade World!

20 Feb

I think by now you all know that Leslie & I love to make do our own DIY projects. If we had more time and money that’s probably what would we spend most of our time on ;) As of right now I have an online shop on Etsy and Leslie is working on creating her own as well so we are both working hard on the aspect of selling our items, pictures, inventory, budgeting and the whole deal!

The other day I was trying to find some good books and advice on doing these things because I feel like there’s a lot of information out there that could really be helpful to us as well as others who are interested in making their DIY projects a source of income or at least feed the hobby of DIYing! Am I right?

It only took a few minutes to find some awesome book titles to check out as well as a website I couldn’t take my eyes off! is a great source of information and I feel like a goober for just now finding it!! This group of Etsy Shop Owners dedicateds their time to help others by writing articles and finding information to help build and maintain small business through Etsy and online! What else is so great about them?

They accept Guest Posts

They have great tips

You can be featured there!

They have free tools to help you.

They have E COURSES for those who need extra help.

and so much more!

This is by far my favorite internet find so far. It’s going to take me weeks to soak up all the information they have, who knows – this may just inspire me to start a building your own etsy shop series!!

What do you think?

Love Always,

 

Jennifer

Some Artistic Inspiration

19 Feb

Artistic Inspiration

So I know we are supposed to be sharing our lives with all you lovely readers, so I thought I might share some artists and creations that inspire me in my life, wether I’m crafting, painting, or just looking for an interesting read.  I hope maybe a few of you will be inspired by these works as well!

One of the greatest influences I have had over some years is Australian sculptor, Sam Jinks.  He style is considered hyperrealistic  he mainly uses silicon and sculpts the human figure in great detail.

This sculpture is called “woman and child” and is made with silicone, silk, and human hair.  Really makes you think about the circle of life!  I will never get over how realistic all of his pieces are.  Just click the picture and you will be sent straight to his official website for a complete look at his current works.  Remember, his sculptures are hyperrealistic, and some have nudity, so maybe cover the kids’ eyes for a moment!

This sculpture is named “Shade” and was made with silicone, calcium carbonate and human hair in 2012.  He did not use silk in this creation, meaning he carved all of the ridges in the woman’s cloak with absolute perfection!

I also enjoy reading books and discovering interesting writers.  I was browsing around on google one day, and came across the writings of a wonderful, young poet floating around the internet.  It is definitely dramatic and emotional, with a touch of the bittersweet, but I am always captivated by the emotions another’s writing can illicit with a personal story and clever word choice.

I wrote a poem for you
The day before I met you

When I didn’t yet know a soul can be shipwrecked
Or that the sun can have secrets
When I hadn’t yet learned to look for symptoms
Or dreamed you could become my weakness

You entered me like a sickness
From your first ‘hello’
You whispered my world red
And smiled it yellow

You came to me; a sonnet
A decorated soldier
Dressed in sentences and statements
With which to catch a schoolgirl
In succulent surprise

Your eyes kissed me
Long before your lips did
And under the spectrum of your splendor
My heart bloomed a blushing orchid

I was a slave to my sweet-tooth
You, a dulcit daydream
That knew just how to turn me
From still life into story
And in so doing, you cast me -
A shapeless statue -
Into your private purgatory

You created a planet
With just us living on it
And a snakepit, a sinkhole
With which to swallow me whole

I wrote this poem for you
The day after I met you
I thought it worth to mention
Why I started to regret you

So please pay close attention
(As I’m trying to forget you):

My innocence
Though far from inner sense
Was no less common
Than the unoriginality
Of your sugarcoated sin

You can check out some more of her writing at  or click the link attached to the title.  She also writes short stories so take a look!

Another medium inspiring artistic creation has caught by eye, and it includes two of my favorite things: books and art.  The subject is book carving!  New artists have found fantastic ways to take an old book and (tediously) create a masterpiece.  I always thought that to destroy a book would be a waste, but these artists have drastically changed my perspective.

Alex Queral

This is a creation by Alex Queral, born in 1958 in Havana, Cuba.  He recycles old phone books and carves very realistic reliefs using an artist scalpel.  Hello, Clint Eastwood!  He has also done likenesses of Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra, the Dalai Lama, and President Obama.  All have very detailed facial expressions that made you double take and wonder if you are seeing the real person.  Once again, click the pic for a look at his very large portfolio.

 Guy Laramee

Guy Laramee, of Montreal,  is famous for his breathtaking portrayals of landscapes, mountainsides, and man made structures using vintage books.  The details of the sides of the mountains are just so realistic (yet tiny!) it reminds me of photographs I took at the Grand Canyon and Sedona in Arizona.  It takes me back to the red clay, layers of sediment, and cliff dwellers homes in the red rock valleys.

Brian Dettmer

Both of these are photos of the works of Brian Dettmer, of Chicago.  He uses old dictionaries, text books, and illustrated stories to sculpt into the contents of the book.  You see the story in the story, the animals in the zoology book, and the random creatures and finds in an encylopedia.  His works are fantastic and blow my mind!  Carved one page at a time using a razor blade, I have a true appreciation for the spectacular outcome.  Once again, just click the pic to learn more!

Okay readers!  That is it for today, but I hope to be sharing some more of my artist explorations with you in the future.  I ensure you I have endless amounts of material from my Macbook meanderings and hope you will share some of your favorite artists as, well.

Okay, one funny pic referencing Lichtenstein :)

I’m in love with this halloween costume!  But I’m also not sure if I would want to wash all those dots off!

Have a lovely day!

Leslie

Perfect playground shoes, for the stylish Mom!

18 Feb

Hey Everyone!! Today we have a special Guest Blogger here showing off an awesome DIY craft! If you love this post from Dee, you can find other posts by her on her blog at

I love TOMS, but when you spend your day playing in sandboxes and muddy playgrounds it can be hard to keep them clean. So thankfully there’s a solution….DIY TOMS!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You need:

-replica TOMS (I bought mine from Five Below for $5 )
- hot glue gun
-scissors
-ribbon
-fabric Paint
-lighter

First, you need to measure and cut the ribbon. You are just covering the heel portion of the shoe, so you do not need much.
Did you know, that in order to prevent your ribbon from fraying, you can burn the end of it with a lighter? You only need to do it for a second. You DON’T want the ribbon to catch the flame, just heat it enough to singe the ends.

Time to glue! Make sure your ribbon is lined up to the seam. Then start gluing. I recommend only doing small areas at a time, you don’t want the glue to cool to quickly and get bumpy.

Yay, we are almost done! Are you ready to paint?

I made little hearts to play off of the red in the trim (plus, it’s probably the simplest design to make).
Before you start, you should think about the heart placement, it’s easier to add then it is to subtract. Since you want it to look like an all over print try to keep everything as consistent as possible, and remember keep the hearts small!

Keep Painting, your almost done!!

Take a step back and admire your work, you’re done!
Now, go find a place to put them so that they can dry, and then start planning your outfit for tomorrow… these are way to cute to be left home!

Pretty simple right?! Plus, they’re so cute no one will care that they are fake!

Now, it’s time for you to submit a pic of your DIY TOMS! Make sure to stop by my page at and show me your SHOES! Or, to see what else I am up to!

xo, Dee,

Thank you so much Dee for sharing this with us! If you would like to guest post for A Charming Twist – feel free to let us know here!

Traveling With Child

15 Feb

Traveling with a child is not always as easy as it sounds!! When we first had Emma we just assumed she would sleep the entire time.

How wrong we were!! Now a days we always travel prepared, so here’s a few tips to keep your little one travel friendly:

1) Always keep the things he/she loves the most easy to get to!

Emma loves her taggie and pacifier and I don’t know what we would do without them!

2) Snacks and Drinks! The more the merrier!

I always have a bag full of every kind of snack that’s easy to travel with ready to go in a moments notice. We keep in stock to go juice boxes for those tough times when the hick ups just won’t go away!

3) A toy that’s entertaining but can also be updated! We bought Emma the Leap Pad when she started getting bored in the car.

The best thing about this toy is that I can plug it up to my computer and buy her a cheap new game (from $2.99 and up) to give her something new to do while sitting in the car, or she can just play with all other old games, TV shows, and books!

4) Plan to make stops on the way. Sometimes we all just need to move our feet and change the scenery.

I like to take Emma to restaurants and give her a whole booth to herself. She knows she is contained to that area but it gives her enough space to spread her legs and move around. We also like to dance and jump around right after we get out of the car!

5) When all else fails sing your way out of it ;) This is my go to when Emma can’t handle it anymore – we sing ABC’s, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and more until she finds something else or takes a nap!

Gotta love traveling with children ;)

Do you have any tricks or tips for traveling with kids? We’d love to hear them!!

Love Always,

Jennifer

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