Handmade Gifts: Lotion Bars


I’ve made a few other beauty products from home, but I’ve never tried lotion bars! It looked a little complicated for some reason (it isn’t at all), so I always avoided it. My handmade gift series compelled me to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did!


Ingredients: (you’ll use about equal parts of shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil)

shea butter, I got mine here

beeswax pellets, I got mine here

Coconut oil, you can find at your grocery store

Vitamin E, also at a grocery store or Whole Foods

Essential Oil, I grabbed the vanilla scent from Michaels, but any essential oil you like will work!



a mason jar for dedicated use for lotion making (Or one you want to throw away. It’s not worth the hassle of cleaning)

a spoon dedicate for lotion making, or one you want to throw away

hot pads


soap mold, I got mine at Michaels


I’ve found that you can be a little flexible with the ingredients based on all the other recipes I’ve compared online. It seems most common to mix equal parts of shea butter, beeswax pellets and coconut oil, so depending on the amount of lotion bars you are making, you can go from there. I used 2 oz portions of each of the items I just listed, and that was enough to make 3 lotion bars of approximately the same size (a little smaller than the palm of my hand).

1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a gentle boil.

2. Drop equal parts shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax pellets into a mason jar.


3. Place mason jar in boiling water, and allow the ingredients to melt (should take about 8-12 minutes). It will be 100% liquid one it’s fully melted.


4. Very carefully, remove hot mason jar from the pot with pot holders, and place in a safe place in order to add the last ingredients.

5. Drop in anywhere from 10-15 drop of essential oil, or fragrance of choice. At this time you’ll also pierce 2 Vitamin E capsules with a knife and squeeze the contents into the mason jar as well. Swirl together.


6. Carefully pour liquid into mold, making sure the mold is completely flat and even.


7. Allow to set until completely cool, and then pop them out and wrap them up! I was a bit distracted while these were cooling, so I’m not exactly sure how long it takes for them to cool. I’d say anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. You’ll know they are cool when they turn white in color and are solid.


I found this perfect packaging at World Market (that seems to be a theme thus far in the handmade gift series!) and the lotion bars fit in the boxes perfectly! I also think it would be beautiful (and in hindsight I wish I did this) to put some pressed flowers in the mold before you pour in the liquid so the tops of the bars have a little decoration!

Another packaging option is to tie 2-3 lotion bars that are stacked together with some string, and stick some flowers on top of the stack.

These really are simple to make, and the personal touch of fragrance and packaging would make this a perfect gift!

Preparing for Baby #2

Much to my shock I realized I have started my 3rd trimester this week.

This pregnancy is flying by! I’m so grateful to be feeling good still, sleeping well, and feeling the baby move around so much!

Anyway, I’m beginning to think through what I’ll need to get out of storage, what I’ll need to buy, and what I’ll pass on this time around.


1. Ergo : I think I’ll end up wearing this baby a lot more in order to have my hands free to play with David

2. Zip up swaddle : forget folding and wrapping, zippers are the way to go!

3. Rock n’ Play Sleeper : David slept by my bed for the first month of his life (then he moved to the nursery) and I liked how the rock n’ play sleeper kept him propped up and “snuggled”.

4. Newborn bath : I always feel terrible for bathing babies before their cord comes off because it seems so cold! And it will be the dead of winter again! I liked how the mesh kept David above the water, but a good part of his body could be in it too.

5. Burp cloths : these were my absolute favorite, especially during David’s peak spit up time.

6. Solly Baby Wrap : This will be much more streamlined and lighter than the Ergo, so I’ll practice a bit more with it for this next baby!

7. Our monitor can handle another camera, so I’ll need to buy one of those

8. Another diaper pail

9. fresh pack of onesies (I’d love to hear what brand you find to be softest!)

10. peepee teepee‘s (if it’s a boy). I just never used them!

11. Anything with buttons because ain’t nobody got time for that. I don’t care how cute the outfit is. Zips for the win! Or just separate tops and bottoms.

All in all, I’m excited to meet this next baby! I watched a video documenting the birth of a baby the other day and cried over all the emotions it stirred up in me! It seems like just yesterday I was laying on the cold operating table, taking long, deep breaths in anticipation of David arriving! And then hearing the first cry? OH FORGET IT MASCARA.

I would love to hear some of your “must have for every single baby” items (other than the obvious diapers, wipes, etc). Is there something I have never mentioned that was a life saver for you? Also, if you have two babies about 14 months apart, I’d love to hear any advice or tips you may have!

The kitten eye


Sometimes the cat eye is a little bit more dramatic than I’m interested in, so if I want a bit more of a glam look, I’ll do the kitten eye. It’s a smaller version of the cat eye, in case that wasn’t obvious in the name.

I’ve heard from women that liquid liner can be daunting. It’s challenging to work with. And doing a cat eye, or kitten eye, is a talent in and of itself! But, after a bit of practice, I’m sure you can master the skill. Plus, the perk of the kitten eye is that it’s shorter, so you don’t have to worry as much about your “flicks” matching, like you do with the cat eye.

Frankly, we aren’t dolls with painted on makeup in the first place, so if your flicks aren’t exactly symmetrical, that’s okay. It’s better that they both match the direction you are doing (up and out) versus obsessing over them having the exact same length.

Or, just do what I do, and do the kitten eye.


First, you should find a liquid liner that you love. The brush, the product itself, and even the weight of the wand will all factor in when finding the right liquid liner for you. I also like to make sure to add plenty of highlight around my eyes when I do something a bit more glam, to balance it out. In this tutorial I’m featuring YSL’s Eyeliner Noir Liquid Liner and YSL’s Touche Eclat (in shade 1.5). I have heard beauty bloggers talk about the wonder that is Touche Eclat for a long time, so I was happy to finally pick some up! I happily accepted the assistance of an employee at the Nordstrom Beauty section to pick the YSL Touche Eclat shade. I thought it was a universal highlighter, and was surprised to see such a range in colors! I wanted brightness that looked natural, so we settled on the shade 1.5.

I like to keep the eyeshadow minimal when I’m doing dramatic liner, so for this look I used a soft neutral shade all over the lid, and a brown shade about 2 shades darker in the crease. YSL makes a really pretty eyeshadow palette called Pure Chromatics (which can be used wet or dry) and the shade No. 9 would be the perfect neutrals to both wear everyday and in this simple kitten eye look.


On my lips is Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Coral.



My biggest tip when it comes to liquid liner is to work slowly, in a well lit area, and work with short strokes. You can always go bigger and bolder with liner, so keep it narrow and precise to start out with. My favorite thing about the YSL Eyeliner Noir Liquid liner is the brush. It is extremely detailed, and the perfect amount of tightness to allow a brush-like stroke, without creating a mess. Also, the formula is inky and dark, but not too liquid-y. It would be hard to apply too much liquid with this liner. I’ve used some that need to be scraped off on the side so it didn’t glob onto my lash line, but you won’t run into that issue with this one.

In order to determine how pointed upward, or pulled outward, the flick should be, follow the direction of your lower lid. The further outward you do, the more narrow your eyes will look, BUT the more dramatic the eye will look as well. So for a dramatic cat eye, pull that flick out! But, for this look, staying in the natural direction of your eye shape will be pretty, and different, without being over done.


You can see from the green arrow that my flick followed straight up from where my lower lid was angled.


To add brightness around the eye area, hit your brow bone, the top side of your nose, and the highest point of your cheek.



Finish with a generous bit of mascara on the top lashes, and hit the bottom lashes with just enough to add definition, but no more than that. The focus is the liner and the top of the eye, so don’t worry too much about adding definition along the bottom.


I like mixing a bold lip color with the kitten eye, and while this one is a custom shade I created over the summer, I think this would be fun to wear these holidays as well!

I always love shopping around for beauty products at Nordstrom, and wish I lived closer to one! Although, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t! There are a handful of brands that I haven’t yet tried there, and the gift sets that are available this time of year are so tempting!

 This post was created in collaboration with Nordstrom

Shortbread Cookies


There was no shortage of sweets around my house when I was growing up. My mom’s love language is, among other things, food.

My dad’s mom was similar, and loved to bake. I’ve been told that she’d make a pie for absolutely no reason on a tuesday just because.

Justin doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I look forward to passing on the “sweet” traditions of my family onto our family. Shortbread cookies are practically a theme of my childhood.

Oddly enough, when my mom and I were baking these this week, she mentioned that I stopped liking them as a teenager despite loving them as a child. Who on earth knows what was going on internally, because when I took a bite of this batch I was brought right back to about age 7, and enjoyed the entire cookie!

I had never baked them before, they always simply appeared, so it was interesting to see how few ingredients and how non-precise these are!

Shortbread Cookies


1 lb butter, softened (not melted)

1 C sugar

4 C flour

generous pinch of baking soda


1. Cream butter and sugar together.

2. Add flour and baking soda while mixer is going.

3. Form into 4-5 rounds (balls), and press out on the ungreased baking pan until roughly 1/2 inch thick. No need for the rounds to be precise.

4. Pinch outsides with fingers to create a decorative edge, or press lightly with a fork.

5. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Allow roughly 20 minutes of additional time only if your oven tends to bake slowly. My oven runs hot, and these were ready in 60 minutes like anticipated.




Links and Loves

Sometimes I have things I need to tell you that don’t necessarily fit into a blog post. And since my posting has been a little lighter these days, I thought to myself that now is as good as a time as ever to add a little mini-post to the end of the week.

So, links and loves.



Would you rock rose gold hair? I could be talked into it I think.

I’m sure you’ve already heard about this podcast because I, too, have been seeing it everywhere, but I’m only into the first episode and it’s pretty interesting. I’m not a good multi-tasker when something visual is on (tv or movie) but I can focus on something and listen to a podcast well. While I’m at it, if you’ve never listened to any stories from This American Life, you should start. I love imagining the time when the prime media entertainment within the household was radio.

I cannot seem to be satiated when it comes to clementines. Little is riskier than committing to an entire box of clementines at the grocery store, am I right? Rumor has it they should be heavy, firm, and bright in color. The strategic orange mesh can be deceiving. Make sure you look up close to make sure they are actually bright orange!

I’m a CND Vinylux lover, but I’m curious about this hyped up new nail lacquer.

Perhaps the most classic watch in history. . . in rose gold! PLUS promo code “thesmallthings” for 15% off at danielwellington.com

I tried to get into my bed the other night and didn’t quite make it. Like, I sort of slid off the edge. Aka, my belly got in the way. I’m only 26 weeks pregnant. I think I may resemble a torpedo by the end of January. This isn’t a link or a love, I just had to tell someone.

I’m not in the market for a new bag, but if I was . . . this one would be on my short list!

My friend Kacia got me hooked on drinking water from these cute jars when I was in pittsburgh a few weeks ago. She even sent me a few as a gift! Now I’m pining for a leather cuff.

Um, YUM. This crock pot apple cider looks both easy and delicious.

A new way to wear blush.