Things I Love: PicMonkey

Thursday, January 28, 2016

So I started my blog in September with absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into and no idea just how much I'd love it. One of the biggest things I've had to figure out is how to display my photos. (We all know photos are HUGE to blogging.)

Guys, I had to learn how to use Blogger to upload a photo. That was my starting point.

Luckily, through lots of digging, research and late nights, I found PicMonkey - a website that offers photo editing, graphic design features and a photo collage maker for us amateurs to the photo game. 

PicMonkey is AWESOME for those of us who haven't taken classes in Adobe Photoshop and/or don't want to pay the monthly fee for it. (PicMonkey has a free option, $4.99/ month or $2.75/ month! Crazy)

To show you examples of what you can do in PicMonkey, I found stock images (post to come soon) on places I'd like to visit - Bucket List Byron if you're reading this!

Photo Collage
This is what I use PicMonkey for the most. If you upgrade from free, you have so many more options for your collages. Here's a basic one I made then added different texts.

PicMonkey has a few frames you can add to your photos. Here I added a frame and text. One of the things I don't like about this frame is that it dims the color of the photos. Which you can really tell in these pictures. I can't figure out how to keep the vibrant colors - kind of a bummer. 

PicMonkey offers basic editing tools such as cropping, changing the color of a canvas, rotating, exposure, colors, sharpening and resizing. They also have lots of effects, skin touch ups, overlays, textures and themes.

For this one, I was really just playing around to show you different themes and other ways to edit.

Here I added a snowflake overlay, snowfall effect, "Happy Birthday" banner and light effects. 

With their Design feature, you start with a blank canvas and can make anything you want. I use that a lot for fancying up words or salutations like this one -

I could go on talking and showing pictures of what you can do and how creative you can be with PicMonkey, but you should try it out for yourselves!

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas hit us hard with lots and lots of ice. Today is our second snow day = no school. Like I've said before, I LOVE my job and LOVE my students, but there's something special about a snow day! So I did what everyone else did - cook, watched Netflix and caught up on sleep and laundry.

I wanted to try out this new recipe from my mom - she made it for my brothers the other day and they loved it. (B did too!) It's a VERY simple recipe for Two Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins. All you need is Pumpkin Pie Filling and Devil's Food Cake Mix.

Start by mixing the pumpkin and cake mix together. It'll get really thick, but use those arm muscles and mix it well.

Then add the mix to the muffin tin. I put a heaping spoonful in each cup and was able to fill it perfectly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes.

They come out looking like they did when they go in, so if you want them to be pretty make sure to smooth them over.

Notes: 1) Next time I want to try Pumpkin Puree instead of the Pumpkin Pie Filling. The only difference in the taste is that the puree doesn't have the added spices. 2) Any flavor cake mix can be used. To make them more "pumpkin-y" try a spice cake mix. 3) Byron said these would be good with some chocolate chips too. :)

Confession: I didn't smooth my muffins over because I was too lazy/ didn't care what they looked like. Sorry.

Printable recipe here.

BSF Lesson 15: A Real Relationship

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Scripture Memory Verse - Revelation 8:13 (NIV)
"As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying midair call out in a loud voice, 'Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!' "

What was meaningful to you in the lecture?
One of the principles from our lecture was that, "God wants a real relationship with people and He will go to great lengths to show people that He is real." It's really easy to think you're lucky or something happened because of fate, but that's not the case. It's all part of God's greater plan and worked out the way it did because of Him. You're not lucky; you're blessed by God. God shows himself in these ways to build a relationship, that people misconstrue as something else. If people just open their eyes they'll see all of the blessings around them are from God.

What help did you receive from the notes?
"When people reject God or push Him to the margins of their lives, emptiness, bitterness and a kind of confused darkness inevitably results." There are so many people I know that are like this and need  a relationship with God. It's crazy for me think how I used to get through life before I knew Him and that's how they are. Crazy.

If you're interested in signing up for BSF, go here to find a class near you!

{Please note that what I got from this lesson is not necessarily the same as what others did. People can get very different takeaways from the scripture and questions based on prior knowledge, life situations, faith, etc.}

Product Review:

Saturday, January 23, 2016 is an online clothing boutique located in China specializing in vintage fashion and contemporary style (?). The clothes are very inexpensive and they offer free shipping worldwide. I stumbled upon on Facebook and was immediately drawn to their low prices and FREE SHIPPING. The pictures online are cute so I bought two sweaters on impulse.

Stylish Turn-Down Collar Print Long Sleeve Coat For Women $14.54

I bought a Large - fits like a Large.

Women's Stripe Cardigan Long Sleeve Cotton Coat $12.14

I bought a Large - fits like a Small.
I ordered the two sweaters on October 6th with a note saying they "will arrange speedy shipping as soon as we receive your payment." The next day I got an email saying shipping takes 10-25 BUSINESS DAYS. One of the sweaters shipped the October 7th and arrived late-November. The second sweater shipped October 24th and arrived in December. I honestly forgot I had even bought them. 

Pros -
- Inexpensive
- Free shipping worldwide
- Wide variety of clothes

Cons -
- Shipping can take months
- Cheap material
- Sizes not accurate

In my opinion the clothes from are not worth it - they're similar quality to Old Navy which has been questionable to me the last few times I've gone in there. (Shrink and weird fitting.) If you are going to order from them, just prepare yourself for a long wait. Don't buy anything from there that you need ASAP cause you'll be disappointed.

Funny Friday: Convos With My 2-Year-Old

Friday, January 22, 2016

This is such a funny series on YouTube! It's actual conversations these parents have with their two-year-old daughter, as re-enacted by them and another full-grown man in a quick three minute video. It's absolutely hilarious to see this full-grown man, play the little girl.

Convos With My 2-Year-Old - "Playtime" Episode 5
Season 1 - Episode 5 "Playtime" is my favorite! I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I do. Beware - you'll get hooked watching multiple episodes in one sitting.

Wknd Recap: AbFab Weekend at the Beach!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sorry, this post is a day late and a dollar short. But I had to share what we did this weekend because it was absolutely fabulous! Byron is lucky enough to not only work for his boss, but to be very good friends with him as well. Their family feels like our family and it's always so nice to spend time with them. They own a beach house down here in NC so we spent the weekend relaxing and unwinding there with his family.  #wewerespolied

The weather was gorgeous so we took lots of long walks on the beach. (My hip flexors hurt from the sand - is that a thing?) We also celebrated Courtney's birthday with lots of great food and her favorite cake, made by Beth!! Beth is Byron's boss' wife - she's an AMAZING cook. I know Byron's hoping some of it will rub off on me.

Throw in some football, more food, good music, card games, more walks on the beach and lots of gin & tonics = my perfect long weekend!

Here's to a short week!

BSF Lesson 14: God's Love

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Scripture Memory Verse - Revelation 7:17 (NIV)
"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; 'he will lead them to springs of living water.' 'And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.' "
Day One
What did you learn from the lecture?
Do people see God's attributes in us? Are we as Christians showing God's love to the people around us? Do the people around me know that I am a believer, affiliated and aligned with God?

What help did you receive from the notes?
Revelation 7:1 talks about The Angels and the Winds - "He orders them to delay the devastation. They are to do no harm until God's servants are safe." Before the winds, God gives people even more time to repent, honor and love Him. He is showing love, mercy and patience here to those people who have not yet repented. God wants everyone to be saved. For those who are - he makes sure that they are safe, not harmed by the winds and judgments.

Day Six
What have you learned about God or prayer in this week's study?
So we started reading Revelation chapters 8 & 9 - not gonna lie, it's pretty scary and definitely gives me a sense of urgency to share the word and make sure people I love don't have to go through any of those judgments! Woah!

In this week's study I was reminded about God's character and love. We talk about it every week, but for some reason, these notes really helped me get it. He's not only sovereign, mighty, just and the ultimate father figure, but He's also patient, merciful, loving, caring and compassionate.

If you're interested in signing up for BSF, go here to find a class near you!

{Please note that what I got from this lesson is not necessarily the same as what others did. People can get very different takeaways from the scripture and questions based on prior knowledge, life situations, faith, etc.}

Funny Friday: Hangry

Friday, January 15, 2016

Yep, this is me. Whenever I'm on edge or acting kinda looney, my husband asks if I'm hungry. Gotta keep snacks with me at all times.


DIY (Sort of) Recipe Binder

Monday, January 11, 2016

Like I've confessed before, I'm fairly new to the whole kitchen thang. I've been married for 2 1/2 years, so I've been cooking for about 2 1/2 years. I am, however, very organized and wanted to get all of the recipes I make on the reg. into one fancy recipe binder. I found some really cool editable recipe binder kits on Etsy and went with one from Love VS. Design for only $12!

My Love VS Design kit came with 21 printable pages including:
Spine logo
Back cover
11 section covers (Main Dishes, Apps, Sweets, etc.)
Recipe page
Recipe page with photo
Weekly meal plan
Monthly meal plan
Meal ideas

To make your own recipe binder you'll need a binder, sheet protectors, a printer and Adobe Acrobat Reader (to write on the recipe pages.)

Once you've printed everything off, start writing your recipes on the pages, print and pate the picture, put it in the sheet protector and add to your binder. It's really easy!

If you're looking to spice up your recipe binder and/ or looking for something fresh and personalized - check out Etsy or Love VS Design!

BSF Lesson 13: Eternity

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Scripture Memory Verse - Revelation 6:16-17 (NIV)
"They called to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?' "
Day One
What was meaningful to you in the lecture?
One of the principles from the lecture was, "The Great Day of Wrath will create suffering and chaos. Today in your heart, set apart Christ as your savior and Lord." We were also given Psalms 46 and asked, "How are you doing on monitoring your eternity?"

What help did you receive from the notes?
One of the sections talked about the martyrs' victory and how a Christian's victory comes through faith in Jesus. This is helpful, because it gives me hope that through all of the craziness that is to come, I'll know an eternity with God because of my faith.

Day Six
What has God revealed to you or transformed in you through this week's study?
I was reminded of our challenge as Christians - "to know God's truth, believe the gospel, share it with others and stand firm for Christ in the world."

If you're interested in signing up for BSF, go here to find a class near you!

{Please note that what I got from this lesson is not necessarily the same as what others did. People can get very different takeaways from the scripture and questions based on prior knowledge, life situations, faith, etc.}

Photo Cred: The Hem of His Garment Blog

Product Review: Vidalia Chop Wizard

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Vidalia Chop Wizard is a fast and easy way to chop or dice fruits and veggies - especially onions! I got this last Christmas as a gag gift and use it ALL THE TIME to cut onions! I cook with onion a lot and the Vidalia Chop Wizard helps so that I don't get teary-eyed like when I cut an onion on a cutting board.

The Vidalia Chop Wizard comes with a chopping blade, dicing blade and lid cleaning tool. I cut my onion in half then put pieces on the blades and push down really hard. The onion gets cut then goes into the clear compartment on the bottom and bam - you're done!

Pros - 
- Easy to use
- No tears when cutting an onion
- Dishwasher safe
- Cuts fast

Cons - 
- Annoying to clean. Needs to be pre-washed before going in the dishwasher
- Cuts better with smaller pieces

The Vidalia Chop Wizard can be found at: Bed, Bath & Beyond, Amazon,,, Target, Walmart, etc. for about $20.

Funny Friday: Returning to school after Christmas Break

Friday, January 8, 2016

This has been me all week. . . . fresh to death.

Things I Love: The Beauty Department

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Beauty Department (TBD) is one of my favorite makeup tutorial blogs. The blog is run by Amy Nadine and Kristin- two amazingly talented artists who breakdown hair, nails and makeup for the rest of us who aren't as in touch with our creative-feminine side. They show step-by-step tutorials on how to do everything from braids to lip liner plus the latest trends in the beauty world.

Their Tutorials, Obsessions and Inspirations sections have a smorgasbord of their posts from their Hair and Makeup sections. If you're looking for something in particular - those are the sections to start with.

TBD covers any and all aspects of hair including: hair color, wedding hair, braid tutorials, hair styling, hair accessories and even popular hairstyles for men! Here's an example of one of their braid tutorials.

I love their makeup section - it's the one I use the most. TBD covers it all including: makeup hacks, DIY, lashes, brows, lips, tips, tricks of the trade, seasonal inspiration, Splurge vs Steal and much more. Here's an example of one of their makeup tutorials.

This or That
My favorite section! TBD does case study's to show the difference between two looks, products, styles, etc. Here's their Matte vs Shimmer Eye Shadow Case Study -

Check out TBD on Pinterest for even more ideas and inspiration!

One Kings Lane

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One Kings Lane is another one of my favorite places to shop for our home while getting amazing design inspiration. It's an online marketplace that launches new sales every day on top-brand, vintage and designer items lasting about 72 hours. Once an item is sold out it's gone,so you have to be quick if you really like something. 

They have "Daily Sales" for everyday items,  "Vintage & Market Finds" for one-of-a-kind finds and "Tastemaker Tag Sales" - a fancy mix of both. One Kings Lane sells everything from bedroom and bath to art and decor plus a bonus section with gifts and jewelry! At Christmas they even had cute pajamas!

Here's an example of how it works -

I went to their "Decorative Pillows" section and found this beautiful Kim Salmela "Melati" pillow. This particular pillow only has three more available and the sale has 6 hours and 40 minutes left.

You can also shop their "Living in Style" featured rooms. This particular Hamptons-style room is one of my favorites! We live in the south three hours from the beach, but I grew up on the water in Maryland, so beach, preppy chic is what I love most. (Byron limits how many beachy things I can have in the house though. Sad face.)

The fun thing about their "Living in Style" featured rooms is that you can shop the look. Everything in this room is available from the couches to the whicker baskets, plus so much more not seen in the photo. 

Christmas Break Recap!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Wow! What a whirlwind Christmas break it's been. Byron and I have been lucky enough to have many of our family and friends come visit and stay with us here in NC. Here's just a snippet of the last two weeks . . .

Lazy 5 Ranch - 
I started off Christmas break with trip to the Lazy 5 Ranch with the Zeller's! We had a great time. I even got to feed the giraffe's this time - made my trip! (Somehow I didn't get any pictures of the boys.)

Christmas - 
By the time Christmas rolled around we had a full house! Byron's whole family came and we had a great time celebrating with everyone. Christmas Eve we all went to church then drove around Sunset Hills for their annual Lighted Christmas Balls. A great way to get into the Christmas mood!

On Christmas morning there were so many people here we had to do two rounds of opening presents - we all started to lose focus in the morning.  Such a bad problem to have. :)

Batting Cages - 
After some of B's family left, it was time for my family! My mom, dad and brothers came down and we had another Christmas - dinner, presents and all! We took my  brothers and nephews to the batting cages as part of their Christmas presents. I HIGHLY recommend going! It was great for our 3 y/o nephew all the way up to their grandpa! I'm hoping B and I can go back for a date night - I think I missed my calling.

Ringing in the New Year - 
We had a fabulous NYE with our friends in Charlotte! Couldn't have asked for a better crew to be with at midnight! We went to "Howl at the Moon," a dueling piano bar where we danced, sang, danced and sang some more!

We ended our NYE celebrations with a trip to Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Greensboro. If you're ever in the area you have to go. This will definitely be our new go-to place to take out-of-town guests. What amazing food!

I've been blessed enough to have two full weeks off of work - life of a teacher! Tomorrow = back to the daily grind. I'm well-reseted and ready to see my kiddos and co-workers/friends at school!

Funny Friday: BBC Funny Talking Animals

Friday, January 1, 2016

So this video is a family favorite and always makes me think of my three nephews from Colorado.  It's hilarious, but even better when I watch it with them!

We were lucky enough to spend the past two weeks with them at our house and thought this video was appropriate, so I'm dedicating this post to them - Jaden, Fynn & Emery! Love you guys!

BBC Funny Talking Animals

Hahahaha that makes me giggle every time.

Oh, and before I forget . . . . 

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