August 31, 2011

Surprise from my Husband

I was at a Womens Bible Study info meeting until about 9:00 last night. On my way home, I figured my husband, Justin, would be either in bed or heading to it very soon. He has long days, so he goes to bed at 9:00p.
I walk inside, he comes down to greet me, and I begin telling him about my day. Finally, after I finish all of my stories, he tells me he's been working on my new office upstairs.

{ Back story: We were talking yesterday about how he doesn't use his office anymore for studying, he's in school, so if I wanted to move my computer and craft-ness from the guest bedroom to his office that that would be fine! We didn't share an office before because, well, he was studying and I was listening to music gluing things together. Kind of different levels of work. :)

I told him that sounds great, and as soon as I can have a day to do the move I'll do it! I'm going out of town tomorrow so I figured it would have to wait until I got back! }

So we walk upstairs, and he has moved almost all of the stuff I had in my craft corner in the guest room into the office! He cleaned out a bunch of his stuff and made room for me! I was really touched that he took on this project by himself!

So here is the work in progress:
{like my screen saver? Click here for your own!

That little slice of wood that is acting as a coaster was taken from clean up day after the Raleigh tornado's in April. It's become a little reminder to appreciate the things you have, because in an instant, they can be gone.

Sorry about the lighting in the photos. . .its kind of dark in here in the morning. 

But I absolutely LOVE my new space! And I love that we can have a clean guest room that is ready for our guests! And I LOVE my husband for surprising me with this!! He's great.

I'm thinking of hanging a large canvas that I'll paint using my Cutting Edge Stencil that I won over at Hyphen Interiors! Have you seen Cutting Edge Stencil's website? They have GREAT stencils for great prices. I cannot wait to get mine!

August 30, 2011

DIY Coasters

DIY Coasters

These coasters are super easy AND I've finally figured out a way to not have the sticky mod podge residue. 

What you'll need:

4 tiles, doesn't matter if the sides are unfinished
Mod Podge
Scrapbook Paper
Paint brush, or sponge brush, or finger :)
White Spray Paint
IMPORTANT: Clear Coat Spray Paint (whichever gloss you prefer)
Wax Paper

I love Rust-oleum for all my spray painting projects!

1. Start by spray painting the rough edges of your tiles with white spray paint.

2. Once the paint dries, place the tiles on a sheet of wax paper. Smear about a teaspoon of the mod podge on the tile and place the cut squares of paper on the center of the tile.

3. Once straight, smear/paint a good amount of the mod podge over the entire tile. Make sure you get the edges of the paper!

4. About an hour later (just to be sure they are completely dry, spray paint with CLEAR paint over the top of the tiles. This will prevent the sticky mod podge feel.

5. Hot glue little squares of felt onto the bottom of the coasters. 

6. Finally, enjoy your beverage!

You won't see as much of the "lines" on your coasters if you use a sponge brush. I used my finger because I forgot to grab a brush at the store!

August 29, 2011

Bouncy Curled Under

This is one of my favorite ways to style my hair, especially when it's at it's awkward stage. It's not really on my shoulders, it's not really above my shoulders. . .so I need a very loose and bouncy style so it can go where it wants to!

All you'll need is hairspray, duckbill/alligator clips, a comb, and a flat iron.

I sprayed a generous amount of Aquage Uplifting foam at my roots, then blew dry upside down. My hair was washed with Redken Body Full and conditioned with Redken Extreme Conditioner.

This can be done on any length of hair, but the shorter the easier. If your hair is much past your shoulder blades, or really really thick, you may be better off just using Hot Rollers and then running a flat iron over the curls to soften them.

Part 2 + Backcombing

(wow, thats a good look.)

Please let me know how it goes for you! Again, even if you have a super short haircut, you can do 3-4 sections just on top of your hair for extra lift! 

August 28, 2011

Let The Sun Shine

Well hurricane Irene has come and gone from Raleigh. It left us with a dreary rainy and overcast day, but not a ton of damage.

But I'm ready for the sun to shine again:

Have a nice Sunday and be sure to check back tomorrow for a new hair tutorial! 

August 27, 2011

Pioneer Love

If you've met me in person and spent more than 15 minutes with me you would have learned that I have a love for Pioneer Woman that runs deep. She's great. I will always be grateful to my friend Allyson and my client Pat for making very sure that I knew who she was.

Her Food Network show premieres today and I am SO excited. You can really see in her blog writing that she's witty and I look forward to seeing that play out in the show. AND I'm excited to see her cook!

So click here for details about her show and make sure to watch it if you are able!

August 26, 2011

Scarf Pins

I'm very, very ready for Fall. I'm ready for scarves, and even more Starbucks drinks (Caramel Apple Spice & Hot Chocolate). 

And to prepare, I made a larger Ruffle Flower and put a pin on it so I can attach it to my scarves (or sweater, or necklace, or hair, or shoes, or purse, or gift, or a belt, etc.) this fall!

I've got a few for sale on Etsy, and also a ton of new jewelry! 

It's Gravy's birthday today! Yes, I am that person that celebrates my cats' birthday. No, not the kind that makes them a cake or anything. . .we just tell them "Happy Birthday"!

I would have taken a photo of him this morning but he's asleep on the work bench in the garage and I hate to disturb him.

Plus, I stumbled across this photo of him and it is perfect.
Gravy is the calmest, sweetest, easy going cat. We got him in December 2009 from Alley Cats and Angels (want to win some cash? They are hosting a raffle!). Today he turned 2!

In other news, any big plans this weekend? Living on the East Coast means we are all waiting and watching for Hurricane Irene. Although, Raleigh is in far enough that I don't think we will see the worst of it. BUT, we did have an earthquake tremble here earlier this week so who knows what to expect! 

Have a great weekend, stay safe and dry if you are an east-coaster {or wherever you live. . .you can stay safe and dry too:)  }, and make sure to check back MONDAY for a new hair tutorial!

August 25, 2011

Flat Iron In A Bottle

Besides my favorite volumizing products, there is a another product that needs to be mentioned here. It's Redken Real Control Slim Supreme. It is what I call, "flat iron in a bottle". It will give you smooth silky hair that is weightless and shiny. It can be used wet AND dry. And it never gets greasy or heavy during the day. It's wonderful in humidity and it excellent for smoothing down those stubborn frizzy areas of your hair.

I usually do 1 pump for shoulder length hair, and 2 pumps for longer hair and slick it on before I blow dry. Then after the hair is dry (and even after flat ironed), I'll slide another pump over the midshaft-to-ends part of the hair.

Basically, I haven't met a person who doesn't love it. I snatch up samples every time I get my hands on them and give them to my clients to try it. They all love it. I mean it. Not a single person has told me they weren't impressed.

So if you are looking for something for smoothing, finishing, shine, softening, and completely weightless--here you go!

August 24, 2011

Homemade Pizza Dough

Before my wedding, my friends threw me a shower that included tons of recipes submitted by the guests! I was elated. Since I couldn't cook at ALL before getting married (ask my husband, he was scared), it was good to know I had some tried and true recipes from my friends! 

And of course, in typical Kate fashion, the most used recipe of them all? Pizza Dough. It's my absolute favorite. I love pizza and I love the crust, so to make my own is perfect.

And it's crazy simple.

Here is the recipe (from memory :)   )

Oven: 400 degrees, Cook Time: 20-25 mins

3/4 C warm water
1 pkg Rapid Rise Yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbps Olive Oil

1. Mix the sugar, water and yeast together. Let stand for 3-5 minutes. Make sure it's frothy before you add it into the dry mix. If it isn't, start over. There's no recovering from here. :)
2. Mix flour and salt. Add Yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix well until ball of dough forms. I use my dough hook on my Kitchen Aid. Works like a dream.
3. Drizzle olive oil in a bowl, place dough inside, turning once to coat. Let rise for 45min-1 hour. 
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough to desired thickness.
5. To ensure a crispy crust, bake the pizza dough for 8 minutes before putting toppings on it. Then, take it out, cover in sauce and cheese, or whatever else you would like, and then bake it for an additional 12-15 mins, or until cheese is golden brown in places.

Then, after it's finished, I usually throw a bit of kosher salt over the top. Why? Because I love salt. That is the only reason. Try it yourself. You'll see.

So today, with this dough recipe, I made a little Margarita Pizza! Unfortunately my fresh basil had wilted, so I had to use the dry stuff. And it turned out pretty good!

Yummy juicy tomatoes

fresh mozz!

yes, I can hear your stomach growl.

Look at that crust? Perfection! I'm telling you: that pizza dough is the best!

So what kind of pizza is your favorite? Mine is definitely Meat Lovers (sausage, ground beef, pepperoni and bacon) or Margarita! 

August 23, 2011

A quick messy braided hairstyle

Since I'm off today, I didn't wash my hair. There was no point in putting effort into it when I was just going to be cleaning the house, cleaning out the car, cooking a bit, and going to the gym. Plus I try to give my hair a break every once in awhile. :)

So, I saw this tutorial on Pinterest for a french braid on one side, but it was left down. I just gathered mine up in a mess, wrapped a clear rubber band around it twice and pulled a few hairs loose in front.

super quick, super easy, but a little bit more interesting than just a ponytail!

Game Changer

Have you had Via yet? I think I tried a sample of the vanilla flavor a long time ago and I wasn't terrible impressed. Besides, I was trying to enjoy Americanos instead of high calorie latte's. 
And then I went to starbucks and they were pouring Caramel Via into tiny starbucks shot cups at the register. So I tried it.
Then I bought it. 
I considered buying 2 packs but I held back.
1 pack to start. 

It is delicious. Not too caramel-y, not too strong, and just perfectly cold and refreshing. And I also thought to myself, "Wait. . .fall is coming. . .I'm not going to want cold drinks in the fall" and the I remembered I live in NC and fall doesn't start until LATE November AND I probably will empty this pack by the weekend. 

So what I'm trying to say is go buy it. And you will understand when you take the first sip. 

August 22, 2011

How to Curl Your Hair With a Curling Iron (full head tutorial)

After receiving numerous comments from my readers asking if I can show a "full head" video of how to curl your hair with a curling iron, I finally made the video!

Warning: It's 10 minutes long. :)

Here is a YouTube link!

Like the earrings I'm wearing? They are for sale here!

And a completed look photo:

Good luck!

Wrap Around French Braid

This style is great for getting your hair out of your face, but still looking as stylish as ever! And braids? They are everywhere. And I totally get why. They are great. 

It would be easiest to have hair that's grazing the top of your shoulders or longer for this style. But it could absolutely be a messier and looser look with shorter hair too, just make sure you keep the braid as low as possible (close to the base of your hairline). We don't want it to start moving up and look strange once you get around to the other side of your head. :)

Here is the video featuring my BEAUTIFUL sister and a sneak peak of my kitty, Grits. I love my cat. . .but yes, he can be a hellion. :)


Here are some close ups!

{note how loose the braid is from her scalp at the bottom. That's good! You don't want it to  look disproportional} 

I, personally, love this side the most. I like the hair that naturally just fell out around her face, and how it just effortlessly was slid into a french braid. 
Make sure you start the braid at least 2 inches behind your ear (whichever side you choose) so, again, it isn't too tight on one side. Plus, you don't really want to see the braid from the front. 

So good luck! Let me know if you need any suggestions or further explanation of what is going on! And send photos of your successful Wrap Around French Braids! 

August 21, 2011

7 Tips and Tricks for Hairstyling

I get asked a lot of questions about hair but probably the most frequent one is how my clients can style hair the same way I style it. After having a few styling lessons, here's what I have figured out: 
1. Move slower. A lot of times hair is something that people really care about, but they don't spend enough time on it. And it's okay to spend time on your hair. Adding 10 more minutes into your morning can make a world of difference. 
2. When flat ironing, or curling your hair, slowly glide the tool through your hair at an even speed. Racing the flat iron over a section, large or small, will be completely ineffective.
3. Don't be afraid to get right down to the roots. Nothing screams amateur quite like flat hair at the roots, and volume at the ends. Yes, round brushing helps that, but sometimes all you need is to inch that flat iron just a little closer to your scalp for lift! 
4. Do not be afraid of hair products. Use them! Generously! When I'm showing a client just how much root lifter, or hair spray, or straightening serum to use, they are usually surprised. If you are going to pay for good hair products, you deserve good hair. Use the products!
5. There is no such thing as a cute "wash and go" style. It will usually always look like crap in about an hour. Just go ahead and decide that you have to do something to your hair if you care about how it looks. 
6. The reason Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon's hair always looks great 1/2 up or in a ponytail is because they began with well styled hair. If you style your hair as if you are going to wear it down, put some hairspray or finished products in it, andthen pull it back, it will style much easier. It'll have more bounce. It'll have more "grip" with the Bobby pins and ponytail holder. 
7. Blowdry upside down and finish will a "cool shot" of air all over.  Easy way to get lots of volume.


Have you heard of it? It's a vitamin that you can take that supports healthy hair, skin and nails. And it works! It's not going to make your hair grow like a weed, but you will likely see stronger nails and a slight increase in the rate of hair growth. And it doesn't only apply to the hair on your scalp! So get ready to shave those legs and wax those eyebrows more. I'm taking it for my weak peel-y nails, my sad sad eyelashes, and to help my hair grow stronger and quicker!
You can find it at GNC or Target

*I'm not a pharmacist, so do your own research
**I feel like I have to say this: always talk to your doctor before beginning a supplement like this.

My favorite candle

This candle is one of the best smelling candles I have ever experienced. It's a subtle fragrance that will fill a room in no time. 

And it was a mere $16.00. 

Just one more reason why I love Francescas

August 20, 2011

New Hair Accessories!

I made a few hair accessories this afternoon that are for sale in my sister and I's Etsy shop! Go check them out! I'm happy to customize ANY order, so don't hesitate to ask if you would like something specific made.


Last night I went on a lovely little date with my husband. He took me to 518 West which is a cute little Italian restaurant downtown. Afterwards, because he knows me so well, we went to a Frozen Yogurt shop and got dessert! And it was surprisingly mild out so we were able to sit outside on a picnic bench. It was a great end to a long week. :)

I plan on a doing a bit of crafting this weekend too! I bought a candle from Target (my FAV) a few weeks ago and I've finally burned it all that I can. So I'm planning on "melting" out all the other wax, possibly spray painting it, and turning it into a "catch all dish". If it's a success, I'll share it here! And in all likelihood, I'll be working on this project with my new favorite blogger. :)

Finally, I've been on a desperate search for a new blog template. There's a good chance I've already seen everything that is out there but I'm open to any suggestions! I'm looking for clean and simple, and inspired by these colors:

And LASTLY! The Giveaway WINNER is announced!
I assigned everyone a number in the order they commented, put those numbers into
and the winner is...

I usually wear it down with waves or twist my bangs back if they need a trim :)

Congratulations Valerie! And thanks for entering! Please send me an email @ so we can arrange the details for your package!

August 19, 2011

Loose curls with a headband

I had to share this before the weekend simply because I cannot wait to share another hair idea until Monday!

I don't have a tutorial because I didn't plan on doing this, but I can explain what happened.

I curled my hair with a curling iron (see video here, also I'm remaking it to include my whole head, btw!) but I did it a little bit looser. For whatever reason, I just wasn't feeling it. So I grabbed my new headband and put that in.

The key to wearing a headband and not looking like an 8 year old is this:
style your hair as usual, put hair behind your ears, then slip the headband into it's place. In other words, only use the headband as "decoration" instead of function. Use your ears as a guide and just slide it in right behind your ears. Is that making sense?

Let me show you what I mean: 

You can especially see here that the hair in front of the headband isn't slicked back to my head. It's soft and natural looking. It also doesn't give you the headband headache that can occur when headbands are too tight. :)

Anyway, I hope this helps with headband wearing!
And have a great weekend!

August 18, 2011

Bobby Pin Giveaway!

UPDATE: The Giveaway WINNER is announced!
I assigned everyone a number in the order they commented, put those numbers into . .
and the winner is. . .

I usually wear it down with waves or twist my bangs back if they need a trim :)

Congratulations Valerie! And thanks for entering! Please send me an email @ so we can arrange the details for your package!

If you've read any of my posts about hairstyles lately, you may notice that I mention using high quality bobby pins. I'm talking professional quality. And while it's completely normal to purchase hair products and even hair styling tools from your stylist, bobby pins are one of those "forgotten" items.

Bobby pins are so important and will determine the success of your hairstyle. And the cheap ones from the drug store? Terrible. I've tried 'em. They simply don't hold.

I always have a stock pile of bobby pins since I do a lot of bridal and wedding party hair, and I would panic if I didn't have my bobby pins with me. 

I'd rather heat my curling iron by holding it next to a lighter than use bad bobby pins. 

Are you catching my drift here? :)

Anyway, I want you to have some too. Just because I like ya.

I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY of 20 bronze bobby pins + two bronze bobby pins with little rosettes attached! Those could be added to any hairstyle for a little something extra. Maybe the twisted bangs? Or a ponytail? Or slip one in near the half french twist?

And the great think about the high quality bobby pins? They can be reused! These are strong little guys. 

I could keep going but I think you get the picture. 

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite way to wear your hair. Down? Up? 1/2 Up? Braided? Twisted? Fish Tail? Anything and everything counts!

Details: giveaway only available for US residents, only one entry per person.

The Winner will be chosen Saturday 8/20/2011 at 8:00am EST by Random.Org.

THE Rosemary Bread

Well this post has perfect timing. I'm fresh off of a delightful dinner with my friend Allyson who shared this yummy bread recipe with me! While I'm still trying to perfect mine, hers is always absolutely delicious.

Here is her recipe:

Rosemary Bread
(makes 2 happily rustic loaves)

1 packet dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
1-2 tsp. fresh Rosemary (plus some to top loaves)
2 tbsp. butter*
Kosher salt

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and sugar. Add flour, salt, and rosemary and stir until blended. Do not knead. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Pour a little olive oil onto your hands and separate dough into two. Round the dough as best you can, and place the bread onto a baking sheet with a Silpat or one coated with oil and topped with cornmeal. Cover again with a towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise for another hour.

Brush each round with melted butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt and more rosemary. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, and then reduce to 375 and bake for 15 more minutes.


Peel and roughly slice two cloves of garlic and add to butter, then melt in the microwave.  Brush on the loaves and bake as usual.  Oh my goodness.  It's heaven!

Slice it into strips and dip it into the olive oil and cornmeal that's left on the pan and it is likely to change your life.

August 17, 2011

Jersey Flower Tutorial

Jersey Flower Tutorial

These little flowers can be added to so many things for a little extra pop! Pin it to a necklace, a t-shirt, a headband, and bobby pin, a purse, a scarf, etc. 

Here's how to:

1. Cut a square of fabric. Mine is approximately 2 inches by 2 inches.

2. Fold in half

3. And half again

4. While holding the folded center of the square, cut an oval out.

5. Repeat at least 3 times and then lay the flowers on top of one another

6. Grab a few beads (these are from Michaels)

7.  Sew into the center of the flower

Here is a finished version!

Here it is pined on a necklace!

Try using different fabrics or an assortment of beads for the center!