Beauty Find Friday: Warby Parker Glasses Try On!

Buying glasses online is not for the faint of heart. 

When I finally got a new prescription, I couldn’t wait to start glasses shopping. My first choice was Warby Parker, a company I’ve talked about before. For $95, you get a pair of high quality frames, including special coatings, and unlike companies with similar prices (BonLook and Rivet and Sway) for each pair you buy, one pair of glasses goes to someone in need. They’ve given 500,000 pairs of glasses!

Instead of just donating the glasses, however, Warby Parker partners with non-profits that train low-income entrepreneurs to start their own businesses selling glasses. Instead of creating a culture of dependence, they’re creating jobs and encouraging the local economies. 

Although several websites, including Warby Parker, allow you to upload your photo to virtually try on glasses, it’s just not the same. So, Warby Parker actually allows you to pick five frames and try them on at home for five days, with free shipping. 

I picked the Leigh, Sims, Marshall, Finn, and Wilkie. They’re all so similar, and yet so different. You’ve got to help me decide! I apologize in advance for the poor photo quality, I was in a hurry to get this post up so we could get to deciding. 

My Old Glasses:


Similar shape to my old glasses, but more square and little darker.


A little bigger frames, which I like, because then I’m not always looking over or under them. 


These are the biggest frames. It might be just me, but I think I look like I’m playing dress up with someone else’s glasses!


Finn is a little smaller, a nice tortoise color, and not quite as square as some of the others.


The Wilkie is the most square shaped of all of them, and also the darkest color.

This is going to be a tough decision. I’m leaning toward the Finn or the Wilkie right now, but I could be swayed. So weigh in in the comments: what ones do you like best? 

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CREATE: Easy Cross Pillowcase

This pillowcase took me about an hour to make from start to finish. Since I have two pillow inserts from Ikea to use, I designed my own pillow cases using navy, mustard yellow, and a patterned Vera Bradley fabric, sent to me by Here’s my two pattern designs: 
I decided to start with the easy one first. This pattern makes a 20×20 inch pillow case. To all the measurements in the diagram, you’ll need to add half an inch for your seam allowances. So, you’ll need:
  • Four 8.5″x8.5″ pieces (mine are yellow)
  • Two 4.5″x4.5″ pieces (mine are Vera Bradley navy patterned fabric, c/o
  • One 4.5″x 20.5″ inch piece (the long piece down the middle)
  • One 20.5″x 21.5 piece for the back. The reason there’s an extra inch on the back is to create a flap for closing the pillow. If you’re using a zipper, you won’t need that extra inch. 

1. Cut out your fabric, and arrange it like it will look when it’s finished. Now, we’re going to sew each row, starting top to bottom on the left.
2. Sew the top left yellow piece to the blue cross piece, right sides together. Then, add the bottom yellow corner piece, sewing right sides together. Left row done!

3. Repeat with the right side, sewing the yellow corner piece to the middle blue cross piece, right sides together, and then add the bottom piece, right sides together. 
4. Place the middle strip on top of the left row: right sides together. Like so: 

Sew them together. Open it up, and it should look like this: 
5. Now, place the right row on top, right sides together. Sew the right side to the middle. 

The front is done!

7. Since I planned to close my pillow with snaps, here’s what I did. I made a small hem at the top of the front piece of the pillowcase, and a small hem at the top of the back. 
8. With right sides together, I sewed around the pillowcase. The back is about an inch longer than the front. The plan is to add snaps eventually, if having it open gets annoying. 

9. Turn it rightside out, and push out the corners. Iron out the wrinkles. 

10. Stuff it with your pillow insert, and you’re done!

Next up is the geometric aztec pillow, consisting of 44 navy two inch squares and 77 yellow two inch squares. Wish me luck!

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INSPIRE: 4 Steps to Refresh Yourself and Your Space

It’s August. It’s hot. You just took a vacation, but now you feel like you need a vacation because of your vacation. School is starting soon, and you miss the smell of just sharpened pencils and blank notebooks, and the clean slate of a new school year. Or maybe you’re about to start another year of college, but your summer internship is leaving you burned out and exhausted. You need a fresh start but don’t have time or money to run away to Fiji. This article is for you!

I guest posted on Sweet and Sage again, sharing four ways to refresh yourself and your space. And boy, was I feeling the need for a refresh last weekend! 
I did take my own advice, and Thursday night at about 8:30 pm, I tackled organizing our hall closet, that had previously been a big crowded mess. Friday I worked at the church and spent time hanging out with friends in the evening, binge watching “Say Yes to the Dress” while our husbands worked on cars, but Saturday I got back to organizing and finished the hall closet. Since I made a lot of room, I moved some things over from the pantry, and then decided to work on that closet too.



Since I had an empty shelf in our bedroom closet, I moved all the bedding in there. That made enough room to move things off the floor and have nice piles of towels and cleaning rags. 
Other side of the closet before:

We used to keep the vacuum in the pantry, so my big goal was to be able to fit it in this closet. Mission accomplished!

I also spent time on Saturday doing something just for fun – watercolor painting. I’m excited to show you my painting, although if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen it.

The only piece of advice from my article that I haven’t taken yet is to do something new. I have a few ideas in mind for ways to interpret this, but I will share those with you later, if they come about. 

Now I’d like to hear from you – are you feeling the need for a refresh? How do you refresh yourself when you start feeling stuck and unmotivated? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Beauty Find Friday: Free Shopping and Style Help

So, let’s talk about shopping. I have discovered that I really don’t enjoy shopping at a mall, most of the time. There’s so many options, so many stores, distracting loud music and large crowds – it makes it hard to think clearly. I’ve recently collected a few helpful websites that pertain to shopping and style that I’m really excited to use! So for this week’s Beauty Find Friday, I’m sharing them with you! – I discovered this blog a few weeks ago. The author posts almost daily pictures of her outfits, usually business casual, with some weekend outfits too. I love that it’s REAL style – totally wearable, affordable, and looks good on real women’s bodies, not just super model types! I also enjoy her posts about how to pack everything you need for trips in one suitcase. Since I’m trying to maintain a capsule wardrobe of 100 items or less, having the visual inspiration different ways of combining pieces is great! – I discovered this website from reading about it in Real Simple. It provides you with a personal stylist, who will create 5-7 looks for you based on your style, or even a specific occasion, for free! The stylists are paid a commission if you purchase the items in the looks they create for you, but there’s no obligation or pressure to buy anything. I’m seriously considering trying this, just to get some new ideas and a better vision for my wardrobe. – If you have your eye on a particular item that’s out of your price range, this tool will altert you with an email when it goes on sale! I’m planning to use this for a few investment pieces I’d like. – Similarily, this site creates a customized list of what you’re looking for that’s currently marked down. Here, you can pick from broad categories, like “brown riding boots under $100” etc. – Sometimes when I’m checking out online, I’ll do a quick Google search for the store name and “coupon” or “discount code.” Sometimes I’ve found some great discounts that I didn’t know were going on! Other times, the codes didn’t work. ZenDeals verifies all the coupon codes on their site daily to make sure they’re still current.

Have you used these sites and tools? What did you think of them? What makes shopping easier for you? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments!

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DECOR: Living Room Reveal

Yes, I’m still talking about home decor. I can hardly contain my excitement – we got a rug! Last weekend we went to Ikea again (this is becoming a date night tradition) and I used the last of my birthday money on a living room rug, four pillow inserts, two pillow covers, and a set of six drawer organizers. 
Remember the living room before? Probably not, because I didn’t really take pictures of it. This is the best I could find: 

I debated with myself over what rug to choose. Brian loved modern designs in neutral colors, and I wanted something colorful and classic. I’ve referred to two rooms on my Pinterest inspiration board time and time again:
This apartment was featured in Better Homes and Gardens a few years ago, and I fell in love with the deep blue, rustic textures, and bold prints. Since this apartment has white walls and light colored wood floors, just like our place, it made a great model to base our apartment off of. I made navy and white striped curtains for the living room to imitate the bold navy and white curtains shown above. 
The Nester
This house is also my inspiration. It uses a more neutral color scheme, with touches of cottage and modern style. I love the cow skin rug, but so far, Brian strongly opposes it. He’s more concerned about the feel underfoot than the appearance, so he voted for a cream colored rug that looked like a big piece of shag carpet to me. Since I was spending my own birthday money, I got to make the final decision. 

I went with the more colorful inspiration. This rug is slightly larger than 5×7, and cost $69.99. The blue toile pillow covers add a touch of French style, and match my blue and white dishes collection and the blue and white curtains.
I have two more pillow inserts, not in use yet. I plan to sew my own pillow covers for them, and I’m in the process of creating my own designs! 
The rug really pulls together the living room. The light blue in it matches the blue wingback chairs perfectly, the navy matches the curtains, and the red and gold adds warmth. Eventually, I’d like my kitchen to be red, yellow, and French country, so it will all tie in nicely. 

Now that my birthday money is finally all spent, there will probably not be any more trips to Ikea, and this home decor streak will come to an end. Next up, I have several ideas for some great crafts that I can’t wait to try, and then share with you. 

How do you decide on a rug for a room? I’d love to hear your tips!

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CREATE: 10 Back to School Crafts

Classes resume this week at Arizona State University, and even though I’m graduated and done, I’m feeling very back-to-school sentimental. So, for those of you who are actually going back to school, here’s ten great DIYs for decorating your dorm room, organizing your space, and adding some fun to your clothes. For those of us who aren’t going back to school, we can vicariously live through you by making these too!

1. Gilded Seashells

Create an elegant display of your summer vacation souvenirs following AttaGirl’s tutorial on Seven-thirty-three blog.

2. Whimsical Elbow Patches.

Cutsey-up your back-to-school wardrobe with racoon elbow patches from Imagine Gnats, or keep it simple with these heart elbow patches from A Beautiful Mess.

3. Book Page Headboard

Book page crafts put me in the back-to-school spirit. This would make a great backdrop for a dorm room wall, plus it’s a good use of an old textbook. Here’s how I made it.

4. Book Clutch

A cheaper alternative to the Kate Spade version, carrying this clutch makes you look studious everywhere you go.

5. Scarf Hanger

Even if you’re not dealing with limited dorm room closet space, you can make use of this easy DIY from Pinching Your Pennies to organize your scarf collection.

6. Foxy Throw Pillow

This felt fox pillow from Maureen Cracknell Handmade will brighten any room.

7. Feather Stamped Fabric

Use this technique to embellish pillows, clothes, and anything else you can think of.

8. Floating Bookshelf

These floating bookshelves were made with old bookends! From Upcycle Us.

9. Coffee Tea Lights

Keep yourself up for an all-nighter with these candles. The heat from the tea lights releases the scent of the coffee beans!

10. Hogwarts Sweater

Because you know you want one. Or if you don’t, you can make it for me! Here’s the tutorial.

If you’re looking for more dorm room ideas, check out these decorating and storage ideas, part 1 and part 2. 

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FAITH: Strangely Dim

Have you ever been driving down the road, playing the radio in the background, when suddenly a song comes on that you’ve heard a thousand times before, but this time the lyrics just jump out of the speakers and stab you right in the heart, leaving you sobbing over your steering wheel? (Total driving hazard, by the way.) That happened to me yesterday.

“Strangely Dim” by Francesca Battistelli is one of those overplayed songs on the Christian radio, but from some reason, yesterday, the lyrics perfectly captured what I’ve been experiencing the last few months, especially the first verse.

Strangely Dim

I’ve had all these plans piled up sky high
A thousand dreams on hold
And I don’t know why,
I got a front row seat
To the longest wait
And I just can’t see
Past the things I pray

But when I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don’t look around
Any place I’m in
Grows strangely dim

Sometimes where I stand
On this narrow road
Is in a raging storm
Or a valley low
But oh

When I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don’t look around
Any place I’m in
Grows strangely dim

I don’t know, I don’t know
What tomorrow may hold
But I know, but I know
That You’re holding it all
So no matter what may come

I’m gonna fix my eyes on all that You are
‘Til every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
Let all my worries fade
And fall to the ground
I’m gonna seek Your face
And not look around
Til the place I’m in
Grows strangely, strangely, strangely dim.

The phrase “strangely dim,” is from the chorus of the old hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Have you ever been touched by the words of a song you’ve heard? Tell us about it in the comments!

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DECOR: My Gallery Wall Progress

I figured out it’s not a delayed spring cleaning impulse that’s making me all gung-ho on decorating. It’s definitely because we signed our apartment lease to renew for another year. Yay for going a year without moving!
Remember my dining room gallery wall? 
That’s how it looked last fall. I edited the buffet top to include fewer wedding photos, and I hung the black “LOVE” letters on a different wall. I consolidated the random books scattered around the living room, and added the marble bust. It’s hard to see, but instead of the collage frame with our wedding photos, I used my thrift store score typewriter photo holder.
Since this is my craft and art space, I wanted the pictures I chose to reflect that. As my creative space, it’s usually somewhat chaotic, so I decided to go for a symmetrical picture arrangement to create some order. 
I kept the French poster, the Eiffel Tower photo, and blue jay painting by Brian’s great-grandmother. I added one of my watercolors, and then some kraft paper squares to symbolize where other art would go. 

I was able to fill one of the slots with the egg print, downloaded for free from The Graphics Fairy. I’m thinking about printing off some more, and maybe just hanging those. But for now, I’m going for the eclectic look.
I was about ready to call it good enough for now, when I remembered that I already had a small piece of art that would be just the right size. I painted the hands holding a heart several years ago as a present for Brian after we got engaged.

I think it fits with the other hand-painted art, the peonies and blue jay… at least they all have blue in common.

I also like how the pink in the peonies and the red of the heart tie in with my colorful DIY aztec tablecloth!

I just need one more little piece of art, and this wall will be done! Well, I’m sure this area of the dining room will go through more revisions, but I like how it’s coming along. If you’re interested in trying a gallery wall, the two how-to posts I linked to in the gallery inspiration post on Friday are super helpful to prevent your walls from looking like swiss cheese from nail holes.

In other home decor news, I bought this from Ikea last week. Happy Birthday to my feet! My bedroom design is coming together. 

I’m not sure what I’ll tackle next. What spaces in your home are on your list for some TLC? Let me know in the comments!

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The DIY Dreamer

Beauty Find Friday: Gallery Wall Inspiration


A Beautiful Mess

I don’t know if it’s the anticipation of fall, or a delayed spring cleaning reflex, but I’ve been in a home decor-y mood lately. I showed you my inspiration for my ideal bedroom, and for this week’s Beauty Find Friday, I want to talk about gallery walls.

A gallery wall is a large arrangement of photos, art, or objects. Sometimes, gallery walls have a theme, style, or color scheme.

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LIFE: Twenty-Three

Sunday, I turned twenty-three. Oddly enough, I’ve wanted to be twenty-three for some time. I think it’s because that’s the age people would always guess that I was when I was in the 18-20 range. I thought I might actually feel like my age and mental age match up, instead of always feeling older than I am. But nope. Now I feel 26. Oh well, I’m still happy to be twenty-three! It has a nice ring to it.

Usually, as you would know if you have followed this blog long, I start writing about and anticipating my birthday anywhere from a month to two weeks out. This year, I honestly forgot all about my birthday until my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law reminded me a few days before. Last week was a crazy emotional rollercoaster for several reasons, and it just wasn’t on my mind.

We were in California for the much anticipated fun trip with the youth group over the weekend, so I celebrated by getting to hang out with my sister-in-law at Knott’s Berry Farm, and Brian surprised me with cake and candles.

Now that I’m almost caught up on sleep, I celebrated today by dressing up, opening my presents and cards, eating pancakes, and writing a list.

I got this idea from Joy the Baker. The premise is that each year brings with it increased wisdom, so each year I can create a longer list of things I’ve learned. So for this year, here’s a non-comprehensive list of 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years:

1. Saying “Yes” to something means saying “No” to something else. Even if it’s just your free time, every time you agree to something, you’re making a sacrifice somewhere, so choose wisely.

2. If you feel any hesitation, don’t hit “Send.” If it gives you a tingly feeling in the pit of your stomach, you probably shouldn’t say it. Even if you don’t think you’re mad anymore, just hold off until you can feel good about sending it.

3. Simple is best. This applies to design, decor, style, art, writing, problem solutions, etc.

4. Use good pens. They make writing so much better.

5. This too shall pass. Remind yourself of that often.

6. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Thanks, Eleanor Roosevelt.

7. Smile. It really does help.

8. Dress the way you want to feel. If you want to feel put together, add some accessories and real shoes. If you want to feel powerful, put on your blazer. If you want to feel comfortable, put on your slouchy sequined sweatshirt.

9. Smart is beautiful. Kind is beautiful.

10. People are more important than things. Spend your money and time where it matters!

11. An apology fixes many things. As hard as it is, an “I’m sorry,” can really turn things around.

12. A soft answer really does turn away wrath. Proverbs 15:1.

13. Forgiveness sets the forgiver free.

14. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

15. Quality is usually worth paying for. In the case of shoes, shoes that cost more are almost always more comfortable, better for your feet, and longer-lasting.

16. Don’t hesitate to take lots of photos. Those will be memories preserved, so don’t feel bad about it.

17. The only way out is through. In other words, you have to face your fears in order to conquer them.

18. Don’t save things for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion!

19. You are and always will be an introvert, and it’s ok. Take a book with you.

20. Real growth sometimes looks a lot like being lost.

21. Failure isn’t final. Quitting is, so don’t quit.

22. Life doesn’t turn out the way you want. You’ll have to learn to deal with this.

23. Even when it all comes crashing down around you, you are still loved, chosen, and have a purpose.

Happy birthday to me!