Rose Petal Beads

Roses are red … for a while.  And then come late February, my beautiful Valentine’s Day present turns into this.

Since I’m a little bit of a sentimentalist (a.k.a. hoarder), I like to hold onto these things! I have my 1 year anniversary flowers hanging in the kitchen …

… and then there’s Valentine’s Day 2011, which didn’t end up as pretty.

So since I save these things anyway, I decided it was high time to put them to good use. I found this really cool craft for turning old flowers into beautiful works of art that you can wear all the time to remember the reason you got the flowers in the first place.

The idea was inspired my darling mother and my very sweet (and much missed) grandmother. When my grandma died, my mom found a woman who  turned the flowers from the funeral into beautiful jewelry to remember Grandma by. They turned out absolutely gorgeous!

I wrote an article for American Cheerleader magazine last year about this craft and some other cute things to do with your old flowers, and I wanted to be sure to pass it along on EmJoyable. It takes quite a few petals to do this, I’d say about 2 – 3 dozen roses worth (depending on how many beads you want, of course), but I think that with this year’s petals added to my collection, I will have just enough! I had every intention of making these today until I realized I do not have a blender. #fail! I will certainly get my hands on one this weekend and post pictures of my finished product!

Rose Petal Beads

Supplies:
Dried rose petals (you can also use fresh petals if you want to retain the scent)
Water
Blender
Cheesecloth (which you can find at a grocery, craft or hardware store)
Small block of Styrofoam  (I just use a piece of the packaging from a waffle iron or something like that that I have lying around.)

1) Remove the petals from the rest of the flower and place them in a blender.

2) Add just enough water to cover the petals.

3) Blend the petals on high for 10 seconds at a time until they’re smooth and reach the consistency of thick soup. (Tip! If you added too much water, you can strain the extra in the next step.)

4) Spread cheesecloth over a bowl and pour the petal mixture into a pile in the center. Pull the corners of the cheesecloth together and squeeze out all excess water from the mixture—careful not to remove so much that it becomes a stiff clump.

5) Take a little of the mixture and work into a ball about the size of a marble.

6) Use a toothpick to make a hole in the bead. Leave the bead on the toothpick and stick it into a piece of Styrofoam—making sure the bead does not touch the surface. Continue making beads until you run out of petal mush.

7) Leave them in a cool, dry place for several days to harden up. Twist them slightly every day so they don’t stick to the toothpick. When they’re completely dry, remove each from the toothpick and string on fish line or jewelry wire to make a necklace or bracelet.

What do you do with your old flowers?!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Whether it’s the unseasonably warm weather in Chicago, the excessive windows in my apartment taunting me with sunshine or the fact that all my college friends are planning their spring break trips, I’ve really been craving summer lately. Since I can’t slip away to to any white-sand beaches any time soon, I decided to bake a little something summery. I found this recipe on Pinterest for Crinkly Lemon Cookies and knew they were just what I needed for a break from the Windy City winter.

As it turns out, they were super easy and pretty cheap. I will certainly make these again. Check it!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

1 box lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon zest (I used a little less and just used the zest of 1 lemon.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Granulated sugar for coating (about 1/2 cup)
Powdered sugar for coating (about 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add first six ingredients (everything except the sugars) into a bowl.

Stir until well blended. I just used a fork. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Use a cookie scoop and drop small dollops of batter first into the granulated sugar until coated, then into the powdered sugar and then unto a non-stick cookie sheet.

Bake for 6 – 9 minutes or until edges are gold brown.

Enjoy!

A Major Award

I am super excited about this post!! For a lot of reasons, but largely because I feel like I’m starting to form a blogging community of sorts, which is very exciting! In short? I won an award!

Thanks so much to my friend Steph from one of my FAVORITE blogs, Pumpkin Love, for this award! She is by far the craftiest girl I’ve ever met and has SO many cute ideas! She is also the best crocheter … probably ever. She is certainly my inspiration in all my crocheting endeavors. She’s just another example of how you meet the best people working at Starbucks.

So, the rules for this award are:
1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them (see above).
2. Tell 7 things about yourself (see below).
3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they’ve received an award. (I have to cheat on this part … because I don’t follow that many blogs! I know I should start! But I’ve modified it to my top 10. Please forgive me!)
7 things about me:

1. My best friend is 4 inches tall and green — my little birdie named, Aiko!
2. I am currently addicted to the Hunger Games.
3. I seriously love candy … like a ridiculous amount. Favorites include Sour Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and gummy Life Savers
4. I cannot stand rude people or people who ignore basic social conventions.
5. Despite my lofty adventures in baking, basic sugar cookies remain my favorite thing in the world to make.
6. I worked at Starbucks for exactly 6 years … I’m still not sure there’s a better job on the planet. (My favorite drink is either an iced grande nonfat caramel macchiato or a tripple grande nonfat no whip 3 pump peppermint mocha, in case you were wondering. I feel like people always do!)
7. I’m an advertiser’s dream … as in if I see people in an ad having fun using/doing/buying X, I always want to use/do/buy X so I can have fun too!

10 of my fave blogs…ready, go!

1. Alex from HRH Collection has taught me everything I know about fashion….which unfortunately still is not that much. She’s just adorable!

2. My brother Adam and his girlfriend Kayiu built Ourchived which other than having a genius name, is a collection of beautiful photos and text about their adventures together! I LOVE it!

3. Kayiu also has her own Tumblr, KHOXXXXX, with her cooking endeavors, which all look incredible! She is such an ambitious and creative cook! Just another reason to wish I lived in NYC with them!

4. Ellen and Aileen from Love & Lavender have taken my premature wedding planning to a riduclous obsession! I can’t wait until I try to get my cozy, DIY and slightly hipster wedding featured on their blog!

5. My friend Emily from Embo has a darling Tumblr that is just lovely! She is SUCH a good writer! I really enjoy her style and the way her personality and humor shines through. I really feel like she reading her posts to me. Props, Emily!

6. Denise from SUPERWOWOMG is a friend of Adam & Kayiu’s, and they got me hooked on her blog. She’s a classic NYC fashionista who is everything that I’m not. She has stunning photos in beautiful outfits that I wish I could rock.

7. Steph actually got me hooked on Molly from Urban Nester, and she is just so refreshing! She’s just adorable and optimistic and she hangs out at coffee shops, and I just really enjoy her blog!

8. Talk about pretty things … I really enjoy Grosgrain, which is a crafting blog that has some really great inspiration for home decor crafts.

9. Staci from Crafty Staci has some great tutorials!

10. I just love the girl from Pretty Girls Cook, who is giving a great name to pretty cooks everywhere! (Don’t know her name though =/ eek!)
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Thanks again Steph for the award and for all my favorite bloggers who inspire me everyday!

Cheers!

Easy Cheesy Crispy Chicken

I feel really old saying this, but when I get home from work at 6PM, making dinner is seriously the last thing I want to worry about. When I only have five hours to myself everyday, I really try to make those count! I would much rather be writing my blog, creeping on Facebook, working on my web coding, editing videos, playing around on Illustrator, etc., all instead of making dinner. I love baking and decorating delicious sweet treats, but dinners just don’t grab my attention in the same way. People often suggest crock pot meals to me the second I verbalize this complaint. My response is that it’s hard enough to get me to make dinner when I’m hungry, let alone the night before (or god-forbid in the morning!).

Ranting aside, even if I don’t like making, dinner, I like eating dinner, which lands me in an unfortunate place. I found this recipe on Pinterest (shocking, I know), and thought it really hit the nail on the head. It was delicious and seriously easy. There are three steps: cut, dunk, bake! Pretty cheap, too! This one’s for all of you 20-something people out there who feel me.

Easy Cheesy Crispy Chicken
(I totally made up that name, btw)

Chicken:

2 chicken breasts
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (or knock-offs)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dried parsley (optional)

Sauce:

1 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons butter

Use a rolling pin, blender, food processor or your hands to grind up the crackers.

Cut each chicken breast in thirds.

Place the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs in separate bowls.

Dunk each chicken chunk in each bowl, in that order, and then into a foil-lined baking pan. (Why foil-lined you ask? So you don’t have to clean! I forgot to do that in my picture, but there’s still hope for you!)

Bake at 400ºF for 35 minutes.

And done! Unless you want the sauce, which is good but not great. It all depends on how ambitious you’re feeling. I’ll tell you how and you can decide for yourself.

Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan with a whisk over medium heat until warm. That’s all!

To serve, pour a spoonful of sauce over the chicken and top with parsley in you like.

Silk Ends

Trimming my excessive amount of split ends has become a kind of gross past time of mine. I thought that a cheap haircut at Hair Cuttery might trim those problems away. I was wrong. In fact, my $13 hair cut ended up costing me $35 because mid-cut, I got the harsh reality check of just how shot my hair really was. I probably got had because I’m sure there was an acceptable conditioner for less than $20, but she inspired me to take better care of my hair so I thought she could use the sale. 

Anyway, I bought the expensive conditioner and few other products, and I can’t believe how incredible my hair is lately! It’s stronger, shinier and softer than ever before! I’m not normally a big beauty product person, but I did want to make a point to share my new products with you because I’ve been so incredibly happy with the results. None of it’s too pricy and all of it you should be able to find at CVS or a hair salon. 

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Shampoo
Herbal essences Touchably Smooth Smoothing Shampoo
$3 

 

Not sure this really had much to do with the recent results, as I’ve been using it for years, but I thought it was worth sharing.

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Conditioner
Redken Real Control Intense Renewal 
$12

 

I use this every other day. I put it in right after I shampoo and leave it in while I shave my legs, so about 5 – 10 minutes. (The other days, I use the matching conditioner to the Herbal essences Touchably Soft collection.) 

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Heat Protectant
got2b crazysleek hot smooth flat iron & blow dry lotion
 $3

Before my haircare product binge, this was the only product I ever used. I can’t say that I absolutely love it, but it certainly does the job. I think it is definitely an important addition to the regimen. This particular kind is running low, and I may or may not purchase the same brand. I’ll keep you posted.

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Split End Protection
Herbal essences Touchably Smooth Split End Protector
$4

I LOVE this stuff! So freaking much. This stuff is what really added the silkiness and strength. I’m obsessed with it. Since I have pretty long hair, I rub it into most of my length and stop a few inches from my scalp. If you buy any of these things, buy this! (No, I’m not being paid to say that.)

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And that’s it! Small price to pay for beautiful hair! I hope this was helpful!

Crochet Shamrock

I wanted to share a fun little crochet project I just learned. It’s a cute little shamrock that’s pretty simple to make. I have shared crochet projects before, which I’m sure you know I love, but I feel like my instructions are hard when they’re typed out instead of demonstrated. So I built a little makeshift camera rig and got to work. I’ve never made a crochet video before, so I’m sorry if I got out of the shot sometimes. I tried really hard I promise! I hope you guys find this helpful!

I got the idea from Pinterest and the directions from Skip to my Lou. I plan to stitch my into garland like this.

If you are familiar with crochet instructions, here are the steps:

Chain 4. Join with slip stitch to make a ring.

Petals: Chain 3, tc, dc, tc, ch 3, slip stitch in ring. (Repeat 3x)

Stem: Chain 6, skip 1, sc into remaining 4.

Go Do Cute Things – Valentine’s Day

I’m excited to announce a new component of EmJoyable called “Go Do Cute Things.” This is a video series that provides lots of ideas for cute things to go do! It’s all very simple. This is also my first video on EmJoyable, and I’m super excited to add the new dimension! So I hope you like it and that I’ve inspired you to go do cute things for Valentine’s day!