Tag Archives: beauty

Easy Succulent Centerpieces for a Marriage Conference

Easy Succulent Centerpieces

I’m quite deficient in the crafting department. Notice that all of the kids’ crafts that I use to have gospel conversations with my kids are simple and truly kid-friendly! Or should I say mama friendly?

My husband asked for my advice and help with centerpieces for our marriage conference. (But he made sure I got help haha!) He wanted something that “the guys” would like as much as the ladies, and I instantly thought of wood grain and succulents.

I asked a good designer friend of mine to help me pick out containers so that I didn’t pick something that would be hideous. 😉

We found some great wooden boxes and white glass square candle holders at Hobby Lobby that we planned to use for the planters. The white glass containers were my favorite – we bought every one that they had and placed those on wooden planks so that all of the centerpieces coordinated in some way.

If you’re wondering how to make succulent centerpieces, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Er… 4.

  • I used a Walnut stain for the wood (staining is something that is so easy to me – very quick and painless).
  • I lined the wooden boxes with black plastic from a trash bag so that the water wouldn’t damage the wood too much. You can also seal the wood with a polyurethane coat, but I chose not to.
  • At the nursery, I laid all of the plants out in groups and took pictures on my phone. This is so that I would remember later which ones I thought went well together. This was a lifesaver for me!
  • After planting them, I took pictures again to make sure everything made sense. I used this at the venue to place them on the tables.

planning centerpieces

Now it’s time to feast our eyes on some beautiful succulents!

succulent centerpieces 2 succulent centerpieces succulent centerpieces 4 succulent centerpieces 3



Intentional May – Connecting Kids’ Crafts to the Gospel, May Flowers, Week 2

May Flowers Kids Craft

In May, I am picking a relevant scripture each week to focus on. My conversations with my kids will be about the verses, and bonus! – I’ve picked a craft to help us (and you!) talk through spiritual things.

Don’t forget – you’re the primary influencer in your kids’ lives, so be intentional about sharing God’s truths with them! I’d love to hear if you have success with these. Share in the comments!

Week 2

The craft this week is all about May Flowers. We already covered April Showers. 🙂

We’re always planting and gardening around here, and I know I have random flower pots hanging around in the garage, so this little craft will be super fun. We’re going to make thumbprint pots like these:

thumbprint pots

I guarantee you my kids’ pots will start with thumbprint butterflies and end up looking like a brown goopy mess, but that’s not the point! 😉 I will take them to our favorite nursery to pick out a cheap annual for their pot. They love taking care of things!

The Bible verse is:

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. (Matthew 6:28a, NIV)

The whole point of April showers (which God provides) is that you get May Flowers – God even provides for the beauty of creation! Of course, He also would provide for His own children.

What is True Beauty? YouTubesday

Every Tuesday, I’m going to share one of my YouTube videos. I created a channel not only to share videos of spiritual encouragement, but also to share my ideas for daily stewardship.

So far I’ve created videos for recipes, gardening, family management, cloth diapering, encouraging your husband, and discipling your kids! Subscribe to my channel here.

Today, I’m sharing a short video of how beauty came up in a conversation with my daughter. Listen in!

Tell Your Daughter Why She’s Beautiful

It seems that girls and women are just wired to want to feel lovely, beautiful, and special. In fact, it’s so ingrained in us that we can idolize our beauty over Jesus.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV)

My first daughter, Emma, loves to feel beautiful. She can sit for 20 minutes in front of a box of bows and just quietly “do her hair”.

She has dressed herself in layers and layers of glittery, frilly, pinky/purply clothes since she was 2.

She asks us constantly, “Do I look beautiful?”

And of course she does, and of course we say, “Yes.”

Tell Your Daughter Why She's Beautiful

But I didn’t desire this obsession with beauty for my daughters. I personally constantly fight to reject outward beauty as the most important thing. I made a conscious effort to not teach her to focus on her looks or certain colors or what she wears.

She desires beauty all on her own.

Instead of smashing that desire in her (which my reactionary parenting longs to do), I decide to inject the truth into her desire.

When I put her to bed at night, I tell her, “You’re beautiful. You know why?”

“Why?” she says with a smile.

“Because God made you.”

After all, we all desire beauty and perfection in some form – it’s one way we see that our hearts ache for real beauty and real perfection.

At the age of 3, knowing that she’s beautiful because God made her is important. He’s made so much beauty from dust!

This simple statement is an illusion to the fact that we are image-bearers of our Creator.

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, NIV)

I share this verse with her, and as she gets to the age where abstract learning is more reasonable (around 5 or 6), I hope it settles into the crevices of her heart.

It’s good to desire beauty; it’s a pure desire.

Let’s tell our daughters why they’re beautiful, and let’s leave out anything relating to clothes, makeup, weight, hair, skin, body type, or height.

Well, maybe that last message is really a word to our own hearts, moms.

5-Month Clothing Fast {Challenge}

Five-Month Clothing Fast

::Deep Breath::

I have started a fast – from purchasing any clothing, shoes, or accessories for myself – until January 1, 2014.

I know!

It sort of just got into my head this past week, and I’m not sure why. Or, maybe I do. Here’s why I might want to fast from purchasing clothing et al for 5 months:

  • Purchasing clothing is “easy” for me. If it’s in the budget, I just buy it. I do a lot of my ordering online at my favorite shops – Target Daily Deals and Groopdealz. I felt like it was getting too easy – too comfortable – to just click that button to Place Order.
  • To identify with the poor – there are many across the world who have 1 set of clothing. ONE.
  • I have plenty of clothes, and I don’t have a need for more.
  • Spiritual discipline -when I am struggling with this fast, or when I’m tempted to purchase clothes – I remember my God instead who gave everything for me. I replace that ease and comfort with concentration on the Lord. (I hope!)
  • To reject consumerism. Most of the clothes I buy are made by the poor who are not getting a fair wage. For at least 5 months, I can say that I don’t support that through my clothing purchases (buying fair trade makes ALL of our wages go up – please support fair trade!).

Here’s why this fast will be difficult for me:

  • Comfort is my idol, and my clothes wear out quickly. I’m very clumsy, and I have two kiddos. So I at any given moment am staining and ripping and washing and shrinking clothes. Once there’s a stain I can’t get out or the fit isn’t “just-so,” I never want to wear it again. It just picks at me all day.
  • I do enjoy buying clothes and finding that sweet spot of comfort, style, uniqueness, fit, and price.
  • I already have my eye on a friend’s boyfriend jeans, a new pair of black skinnies, and new boots… none of which I will be purchasing.
  • I am almost really good at endurance. I push and push and push until the…very… end. And then I kind of quit early.

Why am I telling you?

  • Support – would you pray with me for the struggles and the joys that will be present during this fast? Ultimately, that I would seek Christ and others more because of this?
  • Accountability.
  • Challenge – I’d love it if you would join me! If you want to fast with me, please let me know! Post a comment, let me know on facebook, or tell me in person. Feel free to grab the image above and use it on your blog!

Image source

A Great Haircut IS a Makeover

haircut before and afterSometimes it’s rough when you’re pregnant, and a mommy, and working, and have ministry and other committments. It’s hard to find time to take care of yourself!

Case in point: once I stopped filming, I stopped getting my haircut. Now, this wasn’t on purpose. I kept saying, “I really need a haircut.” And then I’d never make an appointment or try to get it done. I mean, who has the time for an appointment!?

So it just grew out and grew out and the cut I had was no longer really there. When my hair grows out, it starts to look like a big triangle. Poofy and thick at the bottom and fine at the top.

It doesn’t help that I’m not highlighting my hair while I’m pregnant – it just looked BAD. Oh well, at least I could put it in a ponytail! 😉

Well, my hubby apparently knew I wasn’t going to make myself an appointment, so he made one for me! Yeah. It was that bad.

And since I’m not filming, I was allowed to cut it any ole’ way I wanted – I haven’t been able to do that for a long time! So I went shorter and got some SIDE SWEEP BANGS!

What do you think? I really love it. I had to train my bangs because my part was moving ever closer to the middle. In fact, when I was at the salon, the gal washing my hair was like, “Is this your part?” What she meant was, “Is this zig zaggy thing that starts over here and ends up over here your part?” That’s because I never even parted it with purpose – I had really given up!

Since getting my haircut, I had a lady at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame tell me I look like a model, and the dude at Costco told me I look like the Princess Bride. Can I keep this haircut forever!? (By the way, the haircut was by Stylin Salon and Spa in Austin – go to Blanca or Alex!)

I told my husband, “If my hair ever looks like that, PLEASE make me cut my hair.” He was like, “…I did.” Haha! 🙂

My haircut really did make me feel great, and it makes me style my hair, which is something that sets the tone for my family. If I actually get myself groomed, it’s like I’m saying, “Hello gorgeous husband – I want to be your gorgeous wife. Look at me! Feast your eyes on me!” And to my son I’m saying, “This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

While I love beauty and rejecting my comfort idol in this way, it is absolutely vital to me that I remember where my true beauty lies, in the eyes of my Maker:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

How long has it been since you got a great haircut? Make an appointment!

DIY Date Night Nails – Tips for Sally Hansen Salon Effects

date night nails
Spring Break means that Samuel’s Naunie, who’s a teacher, is available to babysit for me. Which means a 3-day sleepover for Samuel. Which means a date night for mommy and daddy! :):):)

I know, I know. We should be having three date nights, but alas, Brad ended up with meetings on 2 of the nights we were free. (It’s just comes with the job!)

After dropping Sammy off with Naunie, I treated myself to a trip to Ulta – one of the great DIY beauty meccas! And if you know me personally, you know I’m all about DIY beauty. I do my own pedicures; I highlight my own hair; I even wax my own bikini – yup!!!

But mommyhood sometimes gets in the way of momma’s beauty. And I’m OK with that. For a time. But then it’s time to rev it back up – I want to look good for my man! He knows I do it primarily for him, so when I try a new lipstick or get a new blouse or wash my hair, he seems pleased. What man wouldn’t stand taller for a woman who wants to be a feast for his eyes only?

It’s definitely been awhile since I was able to take care of myself, so I had to stock up at Ulta. New pedicure tools, new waxing and shaving supplies (my razor was YEARS old and had mold on it – yeah). And I decided to try something new:

Sally Hansen Salon Effects. Have you heard of these? I know they’ve been out for awhile now, but I rarely paint my fingernails, so I’m kinda late to the game. They’re basically like nail polish stickers.

And I’m in love with them!

Everything you need is in the little kit, except for a swipe of nail polish remover. You do a little prep to your nails (with the kit tools), then you apply the stickers one by one. The kit comes with several sizes, including extras, and each sticker has a squarish edge and a curvy edge so you can choose which is right for your cuticle area.

I would say the whole process took me about 30 minutes. I’m a little fastidious (i.e., anal), so I spent a little extra time making sure everything was just so. After you’ve done it once, I bet you could cut 5-10 minutes off the process.

This is definitely a project you could do while relaxing in front of the TV, too. It’s not super messy (no wet nail polish, just stickers and sticker pieces).

The prices of the kits vary from about $2.50 – $9.99 for new/popular patterns. Mine cost about $5 at Ulta. A steal for a fun little manicure!

Are you ready to try it? Here are my tips:

  • Read the instructions through once before you get started. They’re very simple, but this will help you feel confident as you move forward.
  • Sit somewhere with good lighting! I did this in my dimly lit bedroom, which was a mistake.
  • Choose and line up which stickers will go on which nails before starting. I just lined them up from left to right, pinky to thumb for the left hand and thumb to pinky for the right hand.
  • When choosing the stickers, consider the fact that your nail beds curve down on the left and right. One sticker I chose was a little skinny because I didn’t factor that in – but it still ended up looking good!
  • If this is your first time, choose a pattern or glitter kit, rather than solid. If you make some minor mistakes, you won’t be able to tell.
  • When you put the sticker on, line it up in your cuticle, and then press in the middle of your cuticle. Keeping your finger on the cuticle, press up from there. In other words, stick down the center of the nail first. Then, move from the center to the sides.
  • After using the wood stick to smooth the edges, check if you got a little bit of overlap off the side of your nail. If you did, you can use the pointed side to get rid of it. Simply “outline” the edge of your nail with the pointed end, like you’re drawing over it. Don’t be too rough or you can damage the sticker. Just be firm and go over it a few times. The excess piece will start to disconnect, and you can take it off.
  • Make sure to crease the sticker over the front of your nail and rub it down. Then, use the file as instructed to get the excess to come away. You want to put the file on top of the sticker rather than underneath so that it stays connected to the rest of the nail. With light filing, once the excess starts to separate, you can gently pull it away or continue filing until it’s completely removed.
  • Do both of your thumbs last. You’ll see why. 😉
  • Enjoy!!

Oh! I also painted my toenails for date night using crackle polish (I was in a hurry so don’t mind the bad polish job):

date night nails

How much do you like DIY beauty? Could you use some more help with it? Let me know in the comments!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Time to Hike Up Your Big Girl Panties

Time to Move On

Christmas came right before Samuel was born (which is so convenient, by the way!). I had several baby requests on my Christmas wish list.

One involved underwear. 😉

You see, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect after giving birth, but I knew that some… ahem… healing had to occur, so I asked for some “big girl panties” – as in: cotton, printed, armor-like shield-undies. (You’re welcome for that visual.)

My mom delivered for me (thanks mom!). But when I pulled them out of the gift box? I laughed! They looked gigantic! I thought, Hmmm, I may need a back up plan.

I didn’t.

I needed every cubic inch allotted by those granny panties in my post-partum world. But you’ll be glad to hear that I ditched those things the moment I knew I didn’t need them anymore – ha!

But the memory of those big girl panties is a good reminder to me. A reminder that sometimes what we’re given in our lives – a difficult situation, truth from Scripture, a cross to bear – is not what we wanted or imagined. But we still have to hike up our big girl panties and move on.

For some, this may mean saying goodbye to some hurtful feelings or painful memories.

For others, this may mean rejoicing in something that you did not want, recognizing that it’s God’s plan for you.

For many of us, this may mean taking Scripture at its word, rather than only clinging to the truths we like.

What does it mean for you today?

Original photo by aToy.