DIY of the month: reed diffuser

JamesDeMers via Pixabay.com Public Domain
JamesDeMers via Pixabay.com Public Domain

I’m all for repurposing items that are thifted, break, or simply no longer serve their original purpose. Keep reading to see how I turned marble soap dispensers into beautiful reed diffusers that make unique bath decor features.

While Black Friday shopping for the first time last November, I splurged on several marble bath decor pieces. A couple of those items – a pair of soap dispensers – didn’t have as long of a lifespan as I’d hoped. I knew the marble would hold up just fine overtime, but the dispenser tops started to rust after about a month or so and no longer worked smoothly. After throwing out the tops of the soap dispensers, I knew I wanted to keep the marble bottoms. Finally, a creative idea stuck.

I love reed diffusers and thought one would look great as a bathroom decor piece. All I needed for this project was a bit of white paint, diffuser fragrance oil and reeds. Simple. Here’s the full breakdown of what I did to turn rusted soap dispensers into unique reed diffusers…

My DIY reed diffusers www.fashionspeech.com
My DIY reed diffusers
www.thefashionspeech.com
  1. I had to scrub and scrape all the rust off of the rims on the base of the dispensers. Yuck.

    www.thefashionspeech.com
    www.thefashionspeech.com
  2. Then, I painted the rims with about three coats of a white acrylic craft paint, which I bought at Michael’s. I tried to coat the metal as completely as possible.
  3. Next, I filled the dispensers with a fragrance oil from The Aromatherapy Co. purchased at TJ Maxx for about $10 USD. It smells amazing, seriously. (Click the link to learn more about the scent I chose!)

    www.thefashionspeech.com
    www.thefashionspeech.com
  4. For the finishing touch, I artfully placed the reeds (also purchased at TJ Maxx) into the base of the piece. Ta-da! My DIY reed diffusers are complete.

This was a sweet and short project, and I am happy with the result. (And glad I found a way to repurpose this beautiful marble.)

www.thefashionspeech.com
www.thefashionspeech.com

Let me know what you think or if you’ve done a similar project in the comments below. Get your DIY on!

K.

Family, transitions, adventures… and other things I’m thankful for

Unsplash via Pixabay.com Public Domain
Unsplash via Pixabay.com Public Domain

So much has happened in my life since I graduated from college. I can hardly believe I’ve been out of school for more than six months—yikes! Time really does go by fast…

This month, especially, has been full of transitions. Although I give thanks each day, I’m feeling extra thankful this month as I reflect upon all the changes and events that have occurred.

July began with a whirlwind trip to the East Coast, where I was blessed to attend my boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding. I’d been out East many times before, but never to the state of New Jersey. Meeting more of his family and traveling together was a wonderful, exciting and unique experience I will never forget. That same Fourth of July weekend, we traveled back on the 4th by airplane and watched fireworks from the clouds. How awesome is that?! Needless to say, we loved it. :-)

To make the beginning of July even sweeter, the following day that weekend we traveled south of our humble abode in Central Wisconsin to meet up with my family for a three-year reunion that just wasn’t long enough. (We were literally there for three hours—maybe.) Too many family members and too little time, but I am grateful I got to see some amazing individuals, hear about their fabulous lives, and wish fond fair-wells. Hopefully I don’t have to wait until 2018 to reunite again… Wedding anyone?!

The second week of July included a simply lovely trip to Door County, Wisconsin. I mean, I love Door County. If you don’t, you can skip this part because you’re just crazy, and if you’ve never been, then you simply must go! Like now. Really. The boutique shops, restaurants and beaches are calling your name… and mine, again. I have loved summers in Door County ever since I was young, and they’ve become a family tradition of sorts each year. It’s a goal of mine to retire there someday, (in Fish Creek to be specific) so I will definitely keep ya’ll updated on my progress with that. Please, wish my 60-year-old self lots of luck!

With this past weekend and week came the transition to a new apartment! I love decorating and organizing, so moving was fun in that aspect. My boyfriend’s family and mine helped us complete the move, and I am thankful for all the assistance, not to mention the boxes and totes that made the process so much faster. I am extremely thrilled to be in a new neighborhood, do some exploring, and—of course—redecorate! If your Instagram feed seems blown up with interior decor pics, well, you can thank me later. ;-)

In all seriousness, it’s been a blessed month and I’m quite grateful. Life goes by fast… sometimes too fast. I urge you to spend more time with family and friends, go on an adventure, and make positive changes. I’m no life coach, but I’m absolutely sure you’ll be thankful for every experience.

Cheers to the good, the bad, and everything in between! Life really is grand when you think about it.

See you all here next week! :-)

K.

Brow Game

Kaz via Pixabay.com Public Domain
Kaz via Pixabay.com Public Domain

With Cara Delevingne gracing the cover of this month’s Vogue, it’s more clear than ever: eyebrows are it. 

Brows frame the face, and a well groomed pair are a summer beauty essential for a no-makeup, carefree look.

I tend not to put too much time into my own brows during the weekdays when it comes to filling them in and applying a setting gel. But for nights out or a special event, I add a few minutes to my beauty routine to perfect my arches.

Although my brows are not as bold as the lovely Cara’s, I thought I’d share my tools of the trade for grooming and adding definition that can enhance any look – day or night.

Tools of the trade: brow gel by CoverGirl, brow pencil by Maybelline
Arches on point: brow gel by CoverGirl, brow pencil by Maybelline –each about $6-$8 USD www.thefashionspeech.com
Brows before and after www.thefashionspeech.com
Brows before and after
www.thefashionspeech.com
www.thefashionspeech.com
www.thefashionspeech.com 

Let me know what brow sculpting beauty products you love in the comments below. Get your brow game on, beauts!

K.

Let’s eat: Salad in a jar

condesign via Pixabay.com Public Domain
condesign via Pixabay.com Public Domain

A few weeks ago, I came across a fabulous idea for packing lunches on, what else, Pinterest. I typically pack my lunch every day for work and am always on the lookout for something new and healthy to try. Let’s face it, PB&J on wheat with carrot sticks just isn’t that creative.

Introducing, Salad in a Jar! The “recipe” for salad in a jar is SO simple — hence the quote marks. Unlike many of the recipes and DIY Pinterest projects I have attempted, this one actually turned out just like the pictures. Ahh, success.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own supply for a week’s worth of delicious, healthy and fresh lunches:

  • Mason jars with lids
  • Fresh greens
  • Chopped raw veggies
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced protein
  • Dressing

The best part of this recipe’s ingredients list is that you can put into the salad whatever you want. You really only need the Mason jars to keep the contents of your salad fresh all week until meal time. I like to do meal prep for my weekday lunches on Sunday night, and my favorite part of this recipe is that the salad really does stay fresh and crisp until I enjoy my last one of the week — thank you Mason jars! (Soggy salads = Ew.)

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here’s the how-to:

  1. Rinse out your Mason jars
  2. Prepare ingredients as needed (You may need to dice up protein, shred cheese, chop veggies, rinse greens, etc.)
  3. Layer ingredients into the jars like you would a typical salad, but in the REVERSE order (Dressing on the bottom, cheese, protein, veggies and greens on top)
  4. After all your tasty salad ingredients are tightly layered into the jar, seal ‘er up!
  5. Keep your salad in a jar in the refrigerator for no more than five days
  6. Enjoy a healthy, fresh lunch (or dinner) each day of the week! Simply use a fork to “un-pack” your salad from its jar into a bowl or onto a plate and eat.
www.thefashionspeech.com
www.thefashionspeech.com
www.thefashionspeech.com
www.thefashionspeech.com

Voila! There you have it. I hope you enjoy salad in a jar!

Have you tried this recipe or a similar one? Let me know what you think in the comments below. And…

Bon appétit!

K.

Shift into summer

Shifting into summer: Sparkle & Fade shift dress, Urban Outfitters; fedora hat, Target; and wedge espadrilles, Payless
Shifting into summer: Sparkle & Fade shift dress, Urban Outfitters; fedora hat, Target; and wedge espadrilles, Payless www.thefashionspeech.com

It’s July, and it’s hot. I mean, hottt. To beat the heat in style, one of my absolute favorite fashion staples is a classic shift dress. If you don’t own one, you really should. (Yes, an excuse to shop!)

The shift dress was created in the 1960s by designer Hubert de Givenchy. (Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.) And what a chic design it was then and still is today.

A shift dress is perfect for almost any time of the year, but especially during the hottest days of the summer. Who wants clingy clothing when the temperatures outside are soaring?

Not I.

My favorite Sparkle & Fade shift dress from Urban Outfitters is perfect for a hot summer day.

Feel free in the style of the summer…

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 6.53.37 PM
Glasses by Warby Parker www.thefashionspeech.com
Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 6.55.27 PM
www.thefashionspeech.com

Check out my Pinterest board The Wishlist for more stylish shift dress ideas. And take a peek at the links below to see some of my favorite options in stores now.

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 7.09.38 PM

Forever 21 | AnthropologieTarget

Shift on, fashionistas!

K.

 

DIY of the month: jewelry organizer

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 6.39.58 PM
Kaboompics via Pixabay.com Public Domain

I have always loved the feeling of making something with my own two hands. Do-it-yourself projects are the perfect way to get a little dirty, express your creativity, and make something totally original – all within a reasonable budget. About a couple months ago, I decided that my current wire jewelry organizer just wasn’t working for me (functionally or ascetically). I searched retail websites and planned to make a purchase, but nothing available at the time really struck me as “the jewelry organizer for me.” Silly as that may sound, I do like a good purchase that inspires – especially when it comes to organizational and home decor pieces. (Am I right?!)

Having no luck shopping around, I started perusing Pinterest for DIY jewelry organizer ideas. I found zillions of unique options, ideas, how-to’s and more. Starting to feel more inspired, I decided to embark on my first “serious” DIY project. Yes, I have painted, used tools, and done similar crafty projects before. But, I wanted this piece to be especially great as it would display a lot of my jewelry in an organized and ascetically pleasing fashion if done well. (Thankfully, it all worked out as planned.)

After a bit of planning, I got right down to it. I headed to my local Goodwill and found the perfect wood piece to begin my DIY project. The former mail/keys/calendar organizer I purchased was complete with cork board and hooks for a tiny price tag of about $3 USD. Score! Next, I purchased a grey-ish wood stain, paintbrushes, fabric and glue from Michael’s craft store. After I arrived home with all my parts and pieces, I put a lot of thought and planning into what would work where, what to do first, and how to complete the piece.

After a few days of work – two evenings spent painting, another spent gluing in fabric and foam, and the final evening spent, well, finalizing the piece – my DIY jewelry organizer was complete! I am proud of my creation, partly because I created it, but also because it’s functional and works beautifully for what I needed in a jewelry organizer. This was a fun project to work on, and the end result was absolutely worth the small amount of time and money put into this piece.

Voila!

My completed DIY jewelry organizer. http://www.thefashionspeeh.com
My completed DIY jewelry organizer. www.thefashionspeech.com

I definitely recommend taking on a DIY project if you never have before, as this was an enjoyable, stress-free experience. The most rewarding aspect is that I now have a beautiful, functional jewelry organizer that is totally unique and was relatively inexpensive, too.

Let me know what you think or if you’ve completed a similar DIY project in the comments below!

It’s time to get crafty y’all.

K. 

Stay golden

Stokpic via Pixabay.com Public Domain
Stokpic via Pixabay.com Public Domain

Every summer I page through magazines and never fail to find several articles covering sun-safety topics, which often include a listing of top sunscreens and self-tanners. Although a perennial topic, sun-safety and skincare are increasingly important. There are a variety of SPF and self-tanning products available on the market. Still, beginning at a young age, there are many Americans who frequent tanning salons – learn more in this detailed New York Times article. Skin cancer is now the most common type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

This season, after reading numerous articles that include statistics and additional facts and figures, I’ve begun to wonder: when will the weekly-tanning-bed-appointment, sunscreen-skipping madness end? There’s no sign of this gold-digging beauty trend coming to a decline, yet there are many safer ways to get that summer glow and show our skin some love this summer.

Hit rewind

Thanks to our beauty science friends, there are more products on the market now than ever before aimed at anti-aging and even age-reversing/damage-repairing – all for our skin. Health magazine’s June 2015 issue included an article containing information about DNA-repair enzymes. The article explained that these skincare products have the potential to strengthen DNA and help reverse the negative effects of UV exposure.

Wait, anti- and reverse-aging power? Yes, you can have it all; health and beauty are one-in-the-same in these innovative products. Health’s article recommends Neova Damage Control Everyday Broad-Spectrum SPF 44. I did a little looking and found some additional options: Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum and Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. Calypso Blue Organics has a full line of products that offers a variety of natural choices, if that’s more your style.

Invest in that new Keurig

Getting that early morning or afternoon coffee fix can also help out your body’s largest organ. According to a study by Journal of the National Cancer Institute, individuals who drink four cups of coffee a day or more may be 20 percent less likely to develop malignant melanoma. Feel free to pour yourself another cup this morning, sunshine!

Do a little reading

Let’s learn. Some say knowledge is power, and it can never hurt to read up. ChooseSkinHealth.com is a good source for additional sun-safety advice and tools including self-check kits and screening information. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and Neutrogena have partnered to provide these resources and info – definitely worth checking out, even if you prefer a classic sunscreen, like Coppertone. (I’m forever a Neutrogena fan!)

Go shopping

Sometimes a little beauty-shopping spree can be all you need. Faithful to Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, I can say that there are products available to give your natural skin tone a subtle glowy, golden boost. Jergens’ newest product: Tan Extender Daily Moisturizer is perhaps one of the brand’s best yet. If you want a glow that lasts all week, it’s definitely worth the tiny price tag of about $10 USD. Another product I really like (and even occasionally mix a dab in with my usual) is L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion. L’Oreal’s self-tanner is perfect for that shimmery, golden, straight-from-the-beach look.

Cover up

Grab some shade – via nature, a sunhat or a lovely sundress. Let’s face it; applying sunscreen everywhere can seem almost impossible each time you step out. So go out in a style that looks good and is good for your skin, too. Check out revolveclothing.com for some chic styles that will shield your arms and legs, while keeping you cool in hot temps. Chambray shirts and maxi skirts are also great options to stay safe and in style under the sun.

Knowingly harming our bodies, especially our skin, in the name of beauty is just plain stupid. This summer, choose to be beautiful just as you are. And if you need a little beauty boost (who doesn’t now and then?) please, opt for a safe solution instead.

After all, you’re golden.

K.

Work it

Picography via Pixbay.com
Picography via Pixabay.com Public Domain

Is it worth it? Let me work it. I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.

Yes. The answer to that lyric is yes, working out is totally worth it. Okay, maybe that’s not at all what Missy Elliot meant, but you get the idea: Our bodies were made to move! And move on the regular, too.

Maintaining an exercise routine is something I’ve done well and done not-so-well at times. When your day-to-day schedule creates a bit of a time-crunch for squeezing in an hour on the treadmill, skipping a day at the gym can quickly turn into missing an entire week.

Yet there are so many benefits of physical activity, it really is hard to justify missing out. Once I get into a good routine it becomes sort of addicting, which is why it’s important to find that sweet spot in the day. Whatever time of the day works best, stick to it. Even 20 minutes or a half-hour of scheduled movement is better than a day-off on the couch.

There are plenty of motives to get up, get out and work it:

It’s science-y.

According to a March 2015 article in Vogue titled, “Perks of Recreation,” exercise can actually reverse the aging of our skin. In a study at McMaster University in Ontario, women age 40 and older who exercised at least three hours a week showed signs of reverse-aging in their skin. Firmer skin was the result of an increase in blood flow, which delivers more nutrients to the skin during physical activity. According to Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., who directed this study, cell-rejuvenating proteins are released as we exercise, also contributing to this age-reversing phenomenon. (Say no more, right?!)

It’s stylish.

Working out is whaaat… Yes. With brands like Fabletics, Athleta, SwoobFit, and more – why not work it while you werk it? These brands offer styles that work with a busy schedule. No more running errands in those grey gym sweats. Say hello to fashionable, affordable and functional workout gear. And, if you’re into wearables like Fitbit, Apple Watch, or Garmin’s Vivofit, be on the lookout for designer collaborations. One of my current favorites is this Jonathan Adler & Garmin collab. Check out this collection at garmin.com/style.

It just feels good.

A good runner’s high, fitting into those denim shorts, increased energy, and less stress – the rewards of maintaining a workout routine feel great. For me, nothing feels better than the wind in my face as I speed down new blacktop on my Trek Lexa SL road bike, or a brisk walk around my neighborhood and practicing yoga outdoors. Setting aside some time for yourself each day – call it an hour of selfishness, perhaps? – allows you to unwind and de-stress. Trust me, it feels good to focus on your own health and wellness each day.

Gromovataya via Pixbay.com
Gromovataya via Pixabay.com Public Domain

Getting motivated and staying motivated are two different things – we’re only humans, here. But whatever your fitness goals or motivation may be, do your best for you. We’ve only got one body…

Let’s werk.

 

K.

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