Archive | Life

A New Way To View?

19 Apr

Hey everyone! I came across a new website the other day and thought I would share it. It’s a mix between blogging and pinterest. For those bloggers who like short & sweet posts with pretty pictures this may be for you! It’s called :

It looks so similar to the way you view pinterest with the blocked off sections and topics to choose from but these are all bloggers or magazines who blog! Although I haven’t used Sulia to write a post on I have used it for reading material and finding new blogs. It’s been interesting to flip through this in the morning and see what else new is going on. I tend to check the crafts tab which looks like this:

I’d flip through until I found something that caught my eye and then yLou can click the link or add them to your “trusted” sites to view. This is like wordpress’s reader. You trust or follow someone and get to see their new posts on your “feed”. I found this bib necklace interesting so I l clicked on the link to see the blogger!

Needless to say I got distracted for a little while! I don’t know if I”ll be checking in on a daily basis to see what’s happening over there since half of my reading time is following most of you on wordpress ;) but who knows – this could be future!

What do you think of Sulia?

Love Always,



Moving Tips!

17 Apr

Now that I have been packing the house for DAYS and listened to some seriously helpful tips on here I’ve decided to share my process of moving with you all in hopes that it helps someone else stay organized!

First things first – I made a list! I I planned out my weeks on which days I was going to pack what and in what order. I decided to pack items from least used to most used. So items in the storage, closet, and pushed back in cabinets that we weren’t touching were packed or given to the thrift store.

After going through the whole house and getting that out of the way I decided to pack room by room of all the things that we wont’ be using except for the next two weeks we are here. That means all of my clothes – minus two weeks. All my books except for the one I’m ready, all my desk things except the stuff I’ll be using for packing and last minute things.

Having an organized list and timeline has made this process so much easier! The best part is I’ve left myself two days off each week to do other things like errands or just plain relax after packing for days!

Next I got colored labels! This was my favorite idea. I bought rolls of colored labels and each color represents which area it goes in. Yellow for the kitchen, Orange for the craft room, Green for the storage and so on! Now I don’t have to waste time labeling boxes for which room it goes in and just quick write plates, paint, or xmas things! Saves me time and headaches. Another reason I decided to do this was because we are having a lot of extra hands help us move. I plan on printing out which color label goes where with little signs around the house so no one will have to ask where things go – they’ll follow the color like candy land! <3

Another useful tip I got from friends and family was to not spend money on boxes. Local ABC stores, grocery stores, and retail stores will gladly give you their boxes if you just call and ask to come pick them up! I’ve avoided spending any money buying boxes and the best part is 99% of them are very heavy duty boxes which is great for moving! (Don’t forget to purchase packing tape – that YOU WILL NEED!)

So far I’ve gotten half of the house packed up. One more weeks and we’ll be living in a house full of boxes – two more weeks and we’ll be moving!!

I think the hardest part I’ve noticed so far is getting it through to Emma that we are moving. She’s walked through the house during our inspection, seen pictures online a thousand times, she watches me pack things and asks if they are going to the new house and if we are going too – but I don’t think she’s quite gotten it yet. I’m wondering how she is going to take it!

Have you moved with young kids before? Any tips for me?

Some Sweet Things for Your Ears!

16 Apr

Sorry for the late post, everyone!  Life has gotten a little hectic lately, and I have had some last minute emergencies that took priority :( Boo! But here is a nice mid-morning treat for you all with some music videos that I hope everyone likes!  I love music and when I get stressed and overwhelmed I find myself taking a few moments of relief in the beautiful sounds that others make for us all to enjoy!

Kaoru  Ishibashi is an incredibly talented singer and musician who grew up in Norfolk, VA (A real Hampton Roads guy!)  He studied the violin classically and has so much talent and skill the share with us!  He has worked with Regina Spektor, of Montreal, and even The Last Bison (also of Hampton Roads, VA.)  I proud to be from the area when I hear him play :) .  He uses looping, beatboxing, singing, classical violin, and some amazing plucking to bring happy tears to our eyes!  He will be playing on June 14 at the 2013 Friday Cheers event on Brown’s Island produced by Venture Richmond and you can see him for $5!  Definitely worth it.

This is “Heartaches and Pain” by Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band.  They a funk/jazz group formed in 2008, and with the help of Charles Bradley, they take us back to the 60′s and 70′s with their music.  Love this!  Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires are playing June 7th at the Friday Cheers Festival in Richmond.

This is a band called Local Natives and they are one of my favorite bands!  I particularly love this “Take Away Show” where they walk through a shopping plaza for some amazing acoustic effects and a really bare sound.  Just lovely, and it is great to hear the percussion so purely.  And anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with good harmonies – these guys just have it.

Another one of my favorite band (and a favorite of many others I know!) is Iron & Wine.  Folksy, twangy, soothing sounds with great harmonies from this guy, I just can’t get enough of it.  He will be playing May 16th at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, a fitting setting for his lovely sounds!  I will definitely be there.

Okay that is it for my little musical post, and I hope you all enjoyed it.

I am going to dedicate part of my post today to remembering the 32 lives lost at Virginia Tech 6 years ago today.  I became a freshman at the school in Fall of ’07, and  I am truly blessed to have been a part of such a strong community of students and teachers.  Through this tragedy, the community of Blacksburg came together with a new respect for life.  Each of the souls that moved on on this day 6 years past left an imprint on the world even in their short time.  They are a testament to the great things that our generation can do with motivation and dedication, and we need to remember them, appreciate life, and honor their work by continuing to influence the world as each of them did.  I know that for many, remembering is painful, but I find remembering their lives to be an inspiration for me, every day.

Also, my heart goes out to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.  It may seem as though tragedy is sweeping the nation over and over again, but we must all recognize that there are acts of kindness and love every day that are not reported on the news.  And each  one of us has the power to contribute to that every day.

Repair your soul with music,


Pinteresting Sunny Finds

12 Apr

The warm weather is here and it’s my favorite time of year! <3 I’m a sunshine type of girl so as you can probably guess – I’m all about finding fun things to do in the sunshine. Check out my latest finds on Pinterest for those warm weather days :)


Over sized bags for keeping all the necessities in ;) Towel, water, book, sunscreen, sunglasses, wallet, snacks, you name it – I’ve got it in my bag!

A change up in recipes! No more weigh me down food and more light and fun food!

A warm weather reading list! I love basking in the sun with a good book!

Fun flirty dresses! Now I’m not stuck in layers of clothing anymore – I can breath!!

Yummy sangria! Nothing like a refreshing glass to keep you cool on a nice warm day :)

Exploring new places! Getting outside and having an adventure!

Flippy Floppies!!!!!!!!!!!! I love sandals and flip flops!

Frozen Treats – Especially the home made ones!

Warm weather arts & crafts! Not to mention all the DIY projects that we’ve been waiting to do ;)

and don’t forget the seriously awesome amount of sunglasses to choose from!

What are you favorite things about warm weather?

Love Always,


Pack Pack Pack it up!

10 Apr

This girl is packing up!

But don’t worry we’ll still be here posting ;) I just wanted to share the good news with you! We bought a house! We are moving at the end of this month so things you have to look forward to coming May – new home updates, new home projects, home decor projects, shopping trips, budgeting, and probably a ton of ridiculous photo’s of me trying to do more than I can handle ;)

Although you might be a little disappointed because all of this:

Will now be packed up in boxes – which makes doing DIY projects a little hard. So until then I’ll be  keeping you posted with things that I can do while I’m in the middle of boxes ;) I’ll be focusing on organizing, spring cleaning, and time management – because we all know I’ll need all of those things in order to get through this move! Haha!

And because I’m just so darn excited about it – check out the new place:

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! Here are a few projects Brian and I have already decided on doing when we move in:

~ Painting painting painting!

~ Crown molding

~ Buying some new furniture!!

~ Setting up my new craft room & light room for pictures

~ Staining the cabinets (if Brian lets me)

~ Painting my desk

~ A little yard work

What are you excited about seeing?

I’m also excited about the thrift & consignment stores this place has! I’ll be taking pictures so you can check it out with me but I have a feeling just stepping foot in those stores is going to make my project list triple! Luckily this house is really move in ready. There isn’t much to fix but cosmetic things so what you’ll be seeing are finishing touches to make it our own but knowing how I am – I can easily find projects to do ;)

I think I’m especially going to go project crazy since all of my things are going to be in boxes for the next three weeks! Is it just me or is it impossible to not be crafty for that long!? I don’t know what I’m going to do but I have a feeling my pinterest board is going to fill up quickly!


Do you have any packing tips to share with me? I’d love to hear them!

Love Always,


Craft Hope! Project 21 – Are you in?

8 Apr

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to share with you today a small group of people who are making a HUGE difference in the world as well as the handmade community!

C was made by a wonderful woman named Jade. She had a dream of making the world a better place and decided to create this website to do just that. On Craft Hope’s website you’ll see projects which they do. They find a place, people, or charity in need and figure out what handmade item would best benefit it. For example when a tornado hit southeastern USA, they decided to collect handmade security blankets and send them to those who survived – 366 blankets were made! For the wildfire in Texas they collected sock monkeys for the children who lost their homes – over 600 sock monkey’s were collected and delivered.


If there is one thing I love – it’s giving to someone in need and to give something handmade just makes me ten times happier. After starting my business online on Etsy and being welcomed into the handmade community with open arms and more help then I could ever ask for – I can see how this site has become the massive hit it’s been.

This week they posted They are collecting blankets, scarves, and hats of all kinds. Crocheted, knit, sewn in all shapes and sizes! This is a huge effort to keep the children in Romania warm throughout the winter and I couldn’t help but sharing this! Let’s all join together and make a difference in these children’s lives! You can click on the link above to see the details and where to send the blankets to. If you decide to join in the fun please comment below to let us know and feel free to share pictures of what you send to us by email at acharmingtwist(at)gmail(dot)com!

Are you in?

Love Always,


Eye Shadow Tips and How-To’s

4 Apr

I have never been one for outrageous eyeshadow.  I go for the neutral colors, minimal liner, and occasional mascara (I HATE when the stuff smudges!)  However, I have recently become an owner of a large palate of eyeshadow colors.  I figure, it is time to learn out how to put them to good use.  I guess one of the reasons I have never experimented with my make-up is because I didn’t have the know-how, just got into a comfort zone where I had favorite colors (ahem: purple & brown shades) and repeated the same steps any time make-up was necessary.  I have very sensitive and blemish prone skin, so I really avoid foundation when possible, and so I usually overlook the effects that a little bit of make-up can have on my overall look.  I suppose it is time to explore some eyeshadow tactics!

First, let’s start off with some beginning tips:

1. USE PRIMER!  This is not as necessary unless you are trying to get some bold colors to hold onto the lid, but in general, using it will make your shadow stand out and last longer.  I actually found a recipe for some easy, inexpensive, homemade  primer using your own foundation.  This is great because if you are using foundation, then the primer is going to blend with it and keep your lids from looking unnaturally light or dark when beginning to apply color.  The only two ingredients are your foundation and some avocado body butter at a 1:4 ratio. Click the pic for a link to a more in-depth tutorial!

2.  Don’t underestimate brushes!  They all do something different, and with each one you use, you are adding a new effect.  Eyeshadow is more like painting than I had originally thought!  There are brushes for smudging, shading contouring, the works.  Learning how to use them correctly can make a huge impact on how sophisticated your eye shadow look appears.  Here is a short, simple list of the brushes that are out there for your use.

I suggest buying the brushes you want to use, and actually investing in a good one!  I have bought some brushes in my life for using stage make-up for my dance recitals.  Buying the cheapest thing usually lands you with loose brush-hairs in your face and eyes!  Take my word for it: it is not ignorable and completely annoying to deal with this.

3.  Use concealer for puffy eyes or under-eye darkness.  I have had so many friends complain, after finishing all of their make-up, that they still had dark under eye circles.  Right before you walk out of the door, this is a difficult thing to correct quickly.  If you are having one of those days, take the extra minute to focus on the under-eye so you will be completely satisfied with your eye make-up.  I have never really used concealer, but have definitely felt that dark-under-eye-gloom and decided to see if there is a method specifically for dark under eyes.  Well, I found one!  I really love this blog (click the pic to link to the site) and will definitely be using it for some more make-up advice in the future.

4.  Learn about your eye shape.  There is no denying that each of us has a different eye shape and so different things are going to work better for each person.  It is good to get an idea about your eye shape and learn which looks are going to best complement your eyes, open them up, and accentuate their specific qualities.  I found some sites with great explanations!  This was really great for me, because I have slightly-hooded eyes (I found out!) and I always wondered why I couldn’t make my eyeshadow and eyeliner look like the models.  Well, I guess it is for the same reason clothes don’t fit me like they fit on models!  I have a naturally different shape to work with.  But I can still work it!

Here are some eyeshadow tips.  Sorry the print is so small!

And here are some eyeliner tips!

5.  Learn about the different contours of the eye and get a general idea about where each layer or color of shadow will have the greatest effect.  Here is a very clear diagram.  Now I’m sure there are variations and feel free to explore: make-up is art and it has no real parameters.  But this is something that can help you start out  with some basic shadow combinations.

6.  Learn which colors accentuate your eye color!

This site has some quick tips for matching eyeshadow with eye color: 

If in doubt, look at a color wheel!  The color directly opposite of your eye color should bring out your eye color because they will be contrasting colors.  Of course, there are other things to consider, such as skin tone and hair color and possibly the colors in your outfit.

7. Learn how to BLEND your shadows.  It seems easy, but sometimes it takes some time and a little technique.  I found this site with some great beauty tips and a picture tutorial for how to blend!  Click on the pic to get to the site!

Also, here is a video that goes into blending a little more.

Okay, now I am done with the tips so lets get to some of the different eyeshadow tutorials to try out at home!

I can’t wait to dip into my colors!

Glitter & Glam

So I am going to start us off with a look at something VERY outrageous :)  This colorful-glitter eye is great for a club night out when you want to look funky and fun, but very girly.  Grab your favorite color and go glam!

Smoky Liner

Here is a great way to use your eye lining as the main focus of your look!  Great for something dramatic without a lot of color! Wear your red dress out tonight! ;)

The Movie Star

Here is another more bold and smoky night look!  This is red carpet intense, but quite beautiful!  You won’t need a bold lip color with this, your eyes will have all of the attention!

Cool & Collected

I fell in love with this tutorial!  I am always a fan of a gold or bronze on the top lid (the neutral-color-lover in me) but I love how just a little splash of color on the bottom lid makes the look completely different – the eyes are accentuated and the look has become fun with a bit of personality.  To me, this look just says: BEACH GIRL!  Use your favorite color (or one that will bring out your eye color) and get cute!

Everyday Natural

This is much more my usual style: neutral, safe, casual.  This is great for accenting your eyes’ natural beauty and I just love it for everyday.  A soft brown or a light, neutral pink is a great little bit of color that is not so noticeable and makes your make-up look effortless :)

Smoky & Colorful

Because my eyes are a hazel with some green, brown, and grey, I often go for purple when I do occasionally decide to go all out with the color.  This is a playful, bright look good for going out, or for lunch with the ladies!

The Bronze & The Beautiful

I love this bronzy, coppery look!  It mixes my love for the neutral with a little bit of glitz and boldness!  You can change this up with a different palette of colors, but this is the one I would go with!  Love it.

Green Goddess

This is a beautiful eye!  I love the smoky green look with the copper lower lashline that looks sleek and adventuresome.  I love that the colors aren’t neutral, but they come from nature!  A perfect look for a classy St. Patty’s, as well!  Too bad I am late with this selection.  But next year we will all look smokin’!

If you don’t feel like making your eyes the center of attention, it is a good idea to amp up your lip wear!  This is a great tutorial for making lips that look plump and bright! I love the idea of the shimmer in the center of the lip for some oomph.

So this is the end of my beauty post!  I wish I could keep going, but life is calling me and I would like to free up some time for trying out some of these tutorials!

Bat those eyes, Ladies!


Goodbye Easter!

3 Apr

It’s detoxing time in our house. We are FINALLY packing up the Easter eggs and getting rid of all the candy in the house. There comes a time after every holiday where I can’t take the sugar rushes or the temporary holiday decor and it gladly disappears! Here are some cute Easter things I found that I might have a harder time letting go if they were at my place ;)


Are you ready to get rid of your Easter things or you are you hanging on to something you aren’t ready to let go of yet?



Love Always,


Working Moms!

29 Mar

Hey everyone -

I’ve decided to write about a topic that is been on the news recently about working women, what choices they have to make, how much they have to sacrifice, and is it all worth it to “have it all”. My parents watch Rock Center where they had interviewed Erin Callan – Former CFO of Lehman Brothers about being the women on top and having it all and wishing she had done things differently. This seriously hits home to me because I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and my sister is a work oriented person. We couldn’t be polar opposites but this interview actually spoke out to both of us in a unique and different way! Take a look at it here:

(Sorry this video embed wouldn’t clip)

Basically what I’m getting from this interview is she’s saying it’s OKAY to be a work oriented mom as long as you are making the right choices for you a long the way and finding a good balance in your life. She’s also saying it’s OKAY to not be work oriented. It’s okay to stay home and do what you love the most. It was a nice change of pace from what we usually see with controversial debates about what is the right and wrong thing and I think it’s refreshing to hear someone say it’s okay to be either or both.

As I stated before – my sister loves her job, she loves the work she does and it makes her happy to be so work and goal oriented. Because of this, she has become an AMAZING sister to look up to. Seeing someone excel in something they love is like an eye opener that you really can do something you love and make a living out of it. Me on the other hand, I love to stay at home with my daughter. I don’t always love cooking, cleaning, or do laundry, but you bet your bottom dollar I’ll do it just so that I can teach my daughter what it means to be a good person, a friend, a female, and give her the attention I feel like I had growing up with a stay at home mom. But either option my sister or choose – is the right one for us and that’s what it should be!


The other thing about me you might not know is I’m also a work from home mom! That’s right!! While I”m staying at home and doing chores – I’m working as well. I provide child care for two other children besides my own daughter as a source of income on the side. Sure it doesn’t make as much as I’d be making if I worked outside of the house but if you subtract gas money, child care, eating out, and time away from my family (and still coming home to chores) – I think my income exceeds what I’d be making out the home as well as the happiness it’s given me to do so.


After seeing that interview, I saw a post on with a few mom’s talking about it. Check it ou (If you want to skip to the above part it’s at 9:40 but they also talk about a bunch of other things like blogging so I hope you’ll listen to the whole thing):

Wow! This was exciting for me to listen to – partially because I am a young 20′s mother so hearing that I have the posibility to “have it all” just not at one time makes me feel like I hit the jackpot in having my daughter so early. I KNEW there was a reason I wanted to have a family young, I just thought it was because I wanted to have enough energy, spend time with them, and then when they got older and left I’d still be young enough to travel and have fun with my husband ;) haha!! But this just makes me even more excited for my future.

I also love that they talk about working from home/blogging and how other people don’t see it as a job. I love blogging and I love sharing it with Leslie – but it is almost a FULL time job! As you other bloggers know it sucks up a lot of time in our lives – especially because not only do most bloggers love to blog, they love to read blogs as well. That takes time!!

So I’m excited to hear what you all have to say about these videos and how it applies to your life!

Love Always,


Leslie Life Update

28 Mar

So I was planning on doing a profile on my friend and local artist Wendi Goodwin, but she gave me so much material (which is awesome!) that I am going to take the time to get everything perfect.

So I’m going to give everyone an update on what has been happening in my life!

As usual, I have been keeping up with local music and art, but I have had a couple of exciting things happen.

I have applied to graduate school for social work and I am waiting till May to find out if I have been accepted into any programs. I have been doing the usual, my nanny job with three girls who are AMAZING and I love spending my days with them.  But since I moved back to the area, I have been trying to get an internship or volunteer position at many of the local social services departments and non-profit organizations, in order to get some experience and to learn about how these departments are run.  After months of calling around and running around on a wild goose-chase, I have gotten a volunteer position at the social services department in my area!  Woo hoo!  The assistant director talked to me and was so helpful, and she will be assigning a social worker to teach and oversee my work.  I am so excited to put my skills to work and to get back to LEARNING!  Since leaving school, I have been reading, blogging, crafting, and doing anything to keep my sponge of a mind content.  It feels great to know I can finally get back to the grindstone and to be contributing a necessary service to my community!

I am also taking a trip to Blacksburg to spend Easter with my sister, who is a student at Virginia Tech.  I have missed Hokie House, the beautiful campus, and Thai cuisine from Cafe De Bankok, yum!   I’ll probably be having some good food this week, mostly some pad thai, falafel, and some calzones from my old job at D. P. Dough.  I can’t wait to see my old co-workers and visit some of my professors that supported me and wrote letters of recommendation for my graduate school applications.

An even bigger plus?  It has been snowing the past few days in the mountains there!  The last time I visited Blacksburg, a snow plow destroyed my driver-side side view mirror, so it is great that I get to see the new snow AFTER all of the mess has been cleaned up.  My poor car gets a break!  I can’t wait to spend some time with my sister and to get to spend the holiday with her.

This is a picture of my lovely sister, her wonderful roommate, and me (plus the pier store guy!) this past summer on family vacation in Oak Island, NC.

I love getting to hang out with them and it has been way too long.  Plus I love long road trips where I get to play music and sing as loud as I want to with no judgment!  Hopefully, some innocent driver will pass me and get a glimpse of my rock concert face :)

Wish me luck on the drive and Happy Easter to everyone!

Happy Holidays, All!



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