free printable gift tags!

This year I decided to try some cute gift tags to tie or tape onto our Christmas presents.  I found some awesome ones here and thought I would share  🙂  There are a whole bunch more to choose from though if you are interested!

I printed out the tags on a cut up manilla envelope to give the tags some texture and background color.  Then Brett cut them out and I taped them onto each gift with a bit of washi tape 🙂




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Happy gift wrapping to all!

the new mad scientist lab!

Brett and I have been interested in turning our downstairs into a bit of a mad scientist lab for a while now.  We’ve had this awesome ping pong table that Brett and Raj saved from the garbage, moved to the house they rented down the street from us with our friend Fred, and then moved to our house (by literally rolling it down the street in the middle of the night haha).  🙂  Sometimes the ping pong table has been used to play ping pong and sometime it has been too full of stuff to do anything fun with.  Well, we recently cleaned up the downstairs (including a HUGE trip to Goodwill) and figured out how to save our beloved ping pong table.

While figuring out what kind of desk space we wanted downstairs, Raj suggested turning the ping pong table into a desk.  Well!  This idea meant a trip to the ReStore to figure out how to support this new desk concept!  (I guess it is important to note at this point that the multiple moves and the fact that the ping pong table started in the trash has meant that the support systems on the poor table have been wonky for a while now).  🙂  At the ReStore, Brett and I found 4 filing cabinets and had the locks drilled out of each of them…the previous owner had donated the filing cabinets locked with no key 🙂  We hauled the filing cabinets home and put them downstairs.  That night, Brett and Raj took off the ping pong table’s edge supports and put two filing cabinets under each side.


Voila, a 4 station desk!  🙂


Underneath the center of the desk, Brett put a few cinder blocks and a board to hold some of the computers off the ground.  The cords were put into a metallic crate.  Brett also drilled a hole in the center of the table to allow the cords to more easily pass below the table.

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I even put my sewing machine down there 🙂  What do you think?  The new, HUGE desk was so low cost and created an awesome new space downstairs for us.  I think the next step for this space will be to make some curtains to hide the shelving more easily.  What do you think?  🙂  Have you created a repurposed desk from old things in your house before?

Girly Wednesday ~ xxxvi ~ FAQs from a Mary Kay consultant

MKpost2_5CatherineHello!  It is officially time for another post from our lovely Mary Kay consultant, Catherine!  If you missed it, you can see her first guest post here, where she talked about how she achieved the awesome looks that I and some of my bridesmaids had on our wedding day!  Today, Catherine is sharing the answers to some frequently asked questions that she receives as a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant.  Enjoy!



One person wrote in wanting to know “how to make a good foundation choice for when you want to look really fresh and pretty but without looking like you’re wearing makeup”

Such a great question…and the good news is that there is a lot of new technology in makeup these days…so much so that sometimes it can be hard as a consumer to grasp it all!  So, that’s why my first suggestion is to find a beauty consultant to help you!  If you are not in the Chicago area, go to and put in your zip code.  All consultations are complimentary!

With my customers, even though I have been with Mary Kay for 7 years, I still don’t know which foundation is perfect until we try it on.  (I often get it right on the first try though!)  You can’t try it on the back of your hand, or the inside of your wrist, because even though we all wear sunscreen every day (RIGHT?) our face is not the same as our arm or our neck.  If you want your foundation to look like you aren’t wearing anything, you have to try it on the place you’ll actually wear it!

Talking about liquid foundation


If you can, try testing the liquid foundation color in natural daylight.  I will apply some of the color, or the few I am trying, in a line, starting at the cheek and down past the jaw.  You want the color to appear to disappear.  Be careful not to use too much of the product in this test, but that will give you a great starting place.  Once you have determined the best shade, you will want to apply it all over one side of your face, on your check past the jaw.  How you apply it depends on your comfort level.  Some people use their fingers, or a sponge.  But a brush is a great tool too.  If you do use a sponge, be sure to wet it first.  Not only does it give you a bigger surface area to apply with, it makes sure so much foundation doesn’t get wasted by absorbing in to the sponge.  When you choose a brush, be sure to choose one with synthetic bristles, so that the hair won’t absorb the moisture of a liquid foundation.   Stippling (bouncing) the brush or sponge on your face is key.  Start in the center and move outward and downward.  I suggest checks, chin, forehead, nose.  Keep stippling until the foundation seems to disappear.  This blending step may take a few extra moments than you are used to, but it’s worth it to make you look like you aren’t wearing anything.  You may feel as though you are washed out, but that’s easily remedied with bronzer (which I will share later).

The purpose of foundation is dual: even out skin tone (redness, yellow, different shades) and protection against environmental factors.  Whether you wear a mineral powder, liquid or tinted moisturizer (or BB or CC Cream), I suggest you wear something to look more pulled together and protect your skin.

Finish with a light dusting of translucent powder

To make it look like you aren’t wearing any makeup, you have to find the right shade, formulation, and BLEND!

To make your skin look fresh, I suggest a tinted moisturizer or foundation with moisture in it.  If your makeup looks caked on later, you’ve probably applied too much, haven’t blended well, and/or don’t have enough moisture/moisturizer on before you started applying foundation.  Even if you are oil or blemish prone, find an oil-absorbing moisturizer to balance the oil while providing the moisture you need.


Why do I need to put on brow pencil?  How do I do it?

Brows, when done right, frame your face.   For most people, you will need to remove some of the hairs (through tweezing, waxing, threading, whichever way you prefer).  Have a professional help you shape them.  There are three main points.  Using a long straightedge (an eye shadow brush is perfect), place it along your nose straight up.  This is where the brows should start.  Between the two sides, you can remove any of the hairs that fall here.  Next, from the outside corner of your nose, through your pupil.  That line where it ends in your brows is the second point, and should be your high point of your arch.  From the first point to the second your brows should be fullest.  Finally, from the outside corner of your nose, to the outside corner of your eye, that’s your third point.  Your brows should stop here.  (When we talk about eye shadow, no eye shadow should fall below that line.)  Between the second and third points, your brows can taper off.  Now for most people you need to fill in with either brow pencil or brow powder.  I prefer brow pencil, because that’s what I’m used to.  Be sure the pencil is sharp and using short, feather like strokes follow the shape of your brow.  You don’t want to draw on one long line; the short strokes will mimic hairs.  If you use powder, use a short angled brush and feather the powder in the same fashion.  For most people, your brows can be a shade or two lighter or darker than your hair color.  In fact, in the summer, when my hair is lighter, I have to use a different brow pencil!   Practice makes perfect with this…give it a few weeks and I promise you’ll be on board with me!


How do I make my powder foundation stay all day?

1. First make sure you have cleansed and moisturized.  Be sure to allow a few minutes from the moisturizer to settle in.  This is a bit different than with liquid foundation.
2.  Try an oil mattifier. Press, don’t rub, this in to your skin in your oily areas, generally the T zone.
3.  Foundation primer!! Primer gives your foundation something to stick to.
4.  Apply any concealer nextApply this to any areas that are always red, and or the triangle under your eyes.
5.  Apply thin layers of powder foundation, depending on the level of coverage you want.  2- 3 thin layers of foundation will wear longer than one heavy layer.  Be sure to buff, or blend, well.
6.  You don’t really need translucent powder if you are wearing powder foundation.
7.  Finally finishing spray! Different consultants may suggest a different order of application, but I generally say after you have applied all powder makeup (eye shadow, blush) but before any liquid (lipstick, mascara).  This is a matter of personal preference and you’ll have to see what works for you.  Spray about 1/2 arms length away from your face (be sure to close but not squeeze your eyes shut).  If you are really oily, do it in an X and T but if your skin is normal to dry, you only need to do an X.

Remember that powder foundation is a more sheer coverage than liquid so it won’t wear as long, but these tips should help it last longer than it was before.  I love this Lasting Looks Collection.  It has many of the items necessary for helping your look last all day!



How do I decide if I want to use an eyeliner pencil or liquid eyeliner?

I answer that by asking two questions, how dramatic do you want your look and how often do you personally use liquid eyeliner?  If you want a dramatic look, especially like a cat eye, and or you have a steady hand from using liquid eyeliner frequently, then I say go for the liquid eyeliner!  An eyeliner pencil can be more forgiving.  You can apply the pencil in short strokes.  Liquid looks best applied with a long continuous, steady line.  Be sure to get it right in there where your lashes come out…I really don’t like to see any eyelid between the lashes and the liner.  Personally, I wear pencil on a regular daily basis.  The liquid comes out when I am getting all glammed up, like my husband’s company holiday party, or my sister’s wedding in a few weeks.

And that’s it!  Some of our FAQs!  If you have any more, there are a few ways to have them answered…

Have you been watching Project Runway All Stars?  Mary Kay is the official beauty sponsor and I am so excited about this.  Each week, the designers send their models to the Mary Kay makeup studio, and I am so impressed with the makeup looks they create!  A few days later, the looks appear on Pinterest, and you better believe I am pinning those looks and trying them out too.  Sometimes I do have to alter them from runway to real life!  But they are HOT!



Thanks Catherine!  I’m going to her sister’s wedding in a few weeks too!  I’m excited to try some of these make up tips!  I think I’ll even jazz up my look a bit with some liquid eyeliner 🙂

P.S.  Here is an easy way to use liquid eyeliner to get the perfect cat eye!

a holiday date weekend

Brett and I haven’t had a date night in a while 🙂  With the holidays just in front of us, we decided that it was definitely time for an evening to ourselves before all of the crazy family hustle and bustle begins!

We went out to dinner to a quiet Japanese restaurant in town….it took driving by three places to find one that hadn’t closed down haha 🙂  (I told you that it had been a while!)



After dinner we went on a sleigh ride…this is what Brett’s family calls driving through town while looking at other people’s Holiday lights 🙂

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The next day we continued the holiday festivities by running errands and getting some more decorations for our home.  Leaving the driveway proved to be a bit of a challenge though because some more snow had fallen 🙂




I guess we were inspired by our sleigh ride the night before because Brett and I added a whole new dimension to our Christmas decorating 🙂  At the hardware store, I found these awesome, little red bows like my mom decorated our entire house with…I just had to have them!  I put a round of them on our small Christmas Tree and one on the Eiffel Tower in the living room for good measure.  I wish I had 100 more to cover the house 🙂



We also bought Christmas lights!!!  Brett hung them up in the backyard 🙂



I thought we were ready for the holidays before but now I know that we are!  Have you found yourself adding more decorations and embellishments to your home as we approach the holidays?  🙂  Do you have any favorite things (like my new red bows) that you include in your decorations?  🙂