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It’s that time of year again. . . when the inside of stores turn various shades of pink and red, flowers suddenly triple their value, and all the women band together in mutual agreement that (at least for now) chocolate calories do NOT count. It’s also a time to reflect on those you love: the ones who make the hard times bearable and the good times memorable. Our family, friends, and that one co-worker who always grabs your stuff off the printer for you.


A few years ago (okay a decade), I married my high school sweetheart. He and our three little boys make this time of year particularly lovely. I could fill pages and pages with loving words about my guys but right now I would like to spend a little time on something else I have truly come to love: Sage. I started Sage to fill a creative need that wasn’t being met at my current job. I have always enjoyed this flavor of design and longed to be a part of it. Living in a small town, access to this outlet was non-existent. So I created my own! In the beginning, it was just a fun way to express myself, but it has grown into such a wonderful publication. I enjoy putting this together so much and I am so happy that it has developed into a haven for artists, boutiques, crafters, and bloggers (among many others) who can share what they love with our readers. Sage has become a place for these creative people to express themselves in the hope that like minded readers will find them. It’s social networking meets window shopping meets design and I couldn’t be more proud! So here’s a big thank you to our contributors and readers. You took my dream and made it into something great!


We need . . .… Contributors

If you’re creative and love to write, we want you to contribute to Sage Magazine! If you would like to contribute, please email your ideas to with the subject line “I want to contribute!”


We’re looking for small businesses and individuals who sell beautiful, inspired products. If you’d like more information about advertising, including rates, email sagemagazineonline@gmail. com with information about your business and the subject line “Advertising.”

we can’t wait to hear from you!

Love & Romance

Penny Jar Dates by:

Photography c/o Brandy Cardarelli Photography

Book Love Letters

Choose a page in a book and create a custom love letter from existing words. Black out words & phrases in marker. Leave only the words & phrases to be read.


Hit a bucket of balls, taking turns to see who can hit it farthest. Take your skills to the putting green & see who can get their ball in the hole with the fewest number of shots.

Bed Fort

Build a fort together adorned with twinkly lights & comfy blankets. Spend the night exchanging love letters, talking, playing games, & eating your favorite snacks.

Star Gazing

Pack up a blanket, astronomy chart of constellations, and a thermos of your favorite beverage & look for constellations in the sky.

Memory Lane

Revisit special spots, recreate an entire date from a past time, or look through old pictures that have significance in your relationship. Talk about your memories together while sharing a meal that has significance as well.

“The only thing worse than No Flowers are Half Ass Flowers.”

Valentine’s Day was our Superbowl by: Julia Pawlik Fincher Valentine’s Day. For some, this holiday brings to mind sweet cherubs, fancy chocolates, and people who are happily in love. For me? Not so much.

These days, I just want a card. Things like joint bank accounts make the allure of pricey roses and extravagant dinners less ‘fun’ and more ‘stupid’. Back in high school, however, I was much more direct. I wanted When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think flowers, and I wanted them delivered to competition. In my eyes, Valentine’s Day my high school. Having flowers delivered is the holiday that turns normally nice, to my school was a really big deal. sweet, well-mannered ladies into crazy, wildly competitive Ultimate Fighters. There My high school (Nerinx Hall) is an allare many ways to ‘score’—from diamonds girls Catholic high school. The arrival to chocolates, and flowers of any male was a huge to champagne. Believe me deal—word spread around when I tell you that every the halls like wildfire and gift and every card is noted suddenly, every girl would on an imaginary scoreboard. have to go to the bathroom This scoreboard might not be (read: troll the hallways visible to men, but to women until the boy was sighted). it is as big and as bright as the scoreboard at The University Valentine’s Day was our of Michigan. Superbowl, and it was played between the Girls I think the trickiest part of this With Boyfriends (GWB), “score” is that many times and the Girls Without there is no way to formulate a winning Boyfriends (GWOB). As with any good strategy, mainly because the opposing Superbowl game, the preparations were team (usually the Ladies) has made the impressive and the rivalry was fierce! path to victory a secret. How many times do men hear the answer “I don’t need The day before VD (isn’t that a terrible anything, just you !”—which, if this is not abbreviation for Valentine’s Day?! Maybe their first rodeo, they will realize is a Big a sign from Above...), the preparations Fat Lie. began. Each team had a different strategy.

For the GWB, several long tables were carried into the lobby and set up. They also worked on their ‘smug’. For the GWOB, the preparations were less elaborate—markers, paper, and an increasingly bad attitude held the keys to victory.

I was firmly in the GWBs camp. I dated the same boy for all four years of high school (and some of college).

Our freshman year, we had only been dating a few months and I had no idea the magnitude of Valentine’s Day at Nerinx and The tables were erected for the plethora therefore I did not receive flowers. of flower arrangements. Before 10am, the lobby of my high school Our sophomore year, he blew it and did not resembled an upscale have ANYTHING delivered to school. florist. The scent of the blooms was Junior year, I had flowers delivered. intoxicating, and In fact, he personally dropped was a constant them off. In theory, this sounds reminder of The great-—especially the personal Score. In this game, delivery part. Unfortunately, the the Scoreboard was flowers he dropped off weren’t not only visual—the big, red roses. They were tables and tables neither red nor roses. They full of flowers— were carnations—two (white), it also had a in fact, nestled in some brownplay-byplay. Every tinged baby’s breath. The whole time a delivery arrangement (and I use that term loosely) was made, the was shoved into a small frosted glass vase. lucky lady’s name was called to come If this sounds like something you would to the front office. Classes find in a hospital gift shop, you are, in fact were a joke that day as no one right on the money. My boyfriend prided could concentrate. The GWB himself on his “frugal” inclinations and had were anxiously waiting for their in fact stopped by the hospital on the way name to be called over the PA to Nerinx and picked them up in the gift system; and the GWOB were busy shop, His rationale was that the hospital whispering to each other how stupid the never changed the price on flowers, and whole thing was. As outward sign of their why should he waste his money? (In his protest, the GWOB banded together in the defense, by the time we were graduating, “I Hate Boys Club”. This club was very vocal he was buying me David Yurman jewelry.) in their displeasure, and frequent chants of “We hate Valentine’s Day” and “Boys Suck” The only thing worse than No Flowers are could be heard throughout the hallways. Half Ass Flowers.

By the time senior year rolled around, I was getting desperate. I had a boyfriend every year on Valentine’s Day, and on the day it counted the most I had nothing to show for it. As I am one to take charge and control my own destiny, I came up with a game plan. I broke the Girl’s Code of Good Behavior and told him exactly what I wanted—flowers, not necessarily red roses but something above the gift shop at St. John’s hospital— and how I wanted it—delivered to school during classes so everyone could hear my name on the PA system. All day, I was on pins and needles. Every time I heard the click of the speaker turning on, I froze, my limbs ready to propel me to the door. By midmorning, I was almost out of my head with all my anxiety. By lunchtime, I was starting to get concerned. That afternoon, we had a school wide program in auditorium. At this point, I was seriously considering jointing the I Hate Boys Club. By the end of the program, not only had I joined the IHBC, I was practically the president. As everyone stood up to file out, an announcement was made- “Julie Pawlik, you have a delivery”. Yes! This was it! Wait- Julie? I have never, ever in my life gone by Julie. I am JULIA... and my boyfriend of four years didn’t know that? What was going on? Was it possible they were flowers for another Julie and somehow it was the last name that was wrong, not the first? I ran out of the auditorium, leaping over anyone who dared to get in my way. It was my turn, damn it! I had waited three very long years for my prize. As I rushed into the

Julia Pawlik Fincher is a super busy gal: mother, wife, bill-payer, gym-goer, friend. She lives with her (very patient) husband and her (already opinionated) three-yearold daughter outside of Atlanta

front office, I saw them. They were not the big, elaborate display I had been hoping for, but they were red. And they were roses... And my boyfriend had written my name as “Julie” (I would deal with him later). So, in the end this story has a happy ending. Except THAT EVERYONE HAD ALREADY GONE HOME FOR THE DAY AND SO ONE COULD SEE ME IN MY GLORY. Is it any surprise we didn’t make it for the long haul? Young readers, please marry a man who can follow directions. I did, and it was the best decision I ever made!

With Valentine’s Day here, we feel like we are going to see quite a few pink cakes popping up. We rounded up a few of our favorite pink wedding cakes to share with you from bakers all over the world. That perfect slice of pink velvet cake with white chocolate ganache was photographed by Rikki Snyder Photography.

Click HERE to see more from the Wedding Chicks

Although the first cake on our list is not 100% pink, we could not resist showing it to you. Designed by Wild Orchid Baking Company and photographed by Mark Davidson Photography. Wild Orchid Baking Company actually is also the creator of Make Your Own Cake Flowers out of Fruit Leathers, one of our favorite do-it-yourself projects. Wild Orchid Baking Company is located on the coast of NH, serving NH, ME, MA & beyond. Beautiful & delicious works of cake art is their specialty!

We could not resist showing you one more rainbow cake. This time from Australian cake designer Blissfully Sweet. They Incorporated every color in the rainbow in this ocean inspired wedding cake. Such a lovely cake for a brightly colored beachthemed wedding. So pretty ‌ don’t you think?

Click HERE to see more from the

Wedding Chicks

Allison Kelleher of AK Cake Design in Portland, Oregon created this tremendously gorgeous pink cherry blossom cake. As a sculptor turned baker, Allison strives to create beautiful cakes that taste amazing. She really enjoys the entire process from consultation to decoration and really does love when it all comes together – the look, the scent, the taste – something lovely and delicious from pure, simple ingredients

This pink swirls and red peonies stunner was designed and baked by The Couture Cakery. An incredibly cute cake boutique that bakes wedding cakes for the Central Pennsylvania area. Easily incorporate yellow and red into your color palette for the perfect spring time wedding cake.

The Pastry Studio located in Daytona Beach, Florida whipped up this exquisite Pink Ombre Ruffle Cake. So incredibly perfect for a soft and romantic wedding. Picture a lovely room with vintage white table cloths, milk glass bud vases filled with single stemmed peonies.

Our next favorite pink wedding cake is designed by UK baker Sugar Ruffles. She designed this particular cake around a Chanel Dress, incorporating the delicate branches and beautiful flowers as well as representing the fabric and frills of the dress. Sugar Ruffles loves to use fashion as inspiration for her cakes.

This vintage inspired cake was created by another cake designer Cotton and Crumbs. These crafty bakers specialize in creating beautiful bespoke cakes. So perfect for a vintage inspired tea party wedding with a color palette of soft pink and muted purples. We especially love the cupcake display below the cake.

Click HERE to see more from the

Wedding Chicks

Sweet and Saucy Shop in Orange County, California created this super pretty wedding cake. This flawless cake in shades of pink and topped off with a gold heart was captured by Carlie of Gabriel Ryan Photographers.

Classic Cakes by Lori based out of Texas whipped up this 5 tiered ombre ruffled wedding cake captured by Kelly Hornberger. To add to their rustic country theme they used a tree stump for their wedding cake stand. A trend that we feel will continue on, and can be an affordable option if you happen to know someone with a chain saw.

Click HERE to see more from the

Wedding Chicks

Cake Avenue designed this stunning white and pink wedding cake adorned with romantic sugar flowers, including Peonies, David Austin Sugar Roses, berries, buds, leaves and tendrils. Finished with an elegant lace trim for a vintage feel. A cake like this would serve 160 coffee portions. Cake Avenue is based in Sydney (Australia), and delivers their cakes to the Blue Mountains and up to Lithgow. The above cake was photographed by 3.2.1 Photography.

Sweet On Cake designed this regal pink and gold wedding cake. Ideal for a wedding fit for a prince and his princess. Sweet On Cake bakes delicious and stunning cakes for the Napa, CA, San Francisco Bay Area and Wine Country. This cake was captured by Jennifer Skog Photography. This also wraps up our favorite pink wedding cakes so far. Which one is your favorite?

More Date Ideas by: Love, the Grows

Go to the batting cages. Have some fun Horse-drawn carriage ride. Go downtown hitting baseballs all night. It can be a good and take a carriage ride! workout! Quiz night. Quiz each other about your At home cooking class. Go online and find personal favorites. Have a piece of candy some recipes with ingredients you already for each correct answer or keep score and have. Then teach each other how to make have a prize! the recipes you’ve found. Create a stop motion movie. Have some Make marshmallow guns and have a fun taking lots of pictures and putting it marshmallow war. Buy some PVC pipe together to create a movie. from a hardware store and make your guns. Then have an all out war! Romantic park dinner. Take those tea lights and that sparkling cider to a public park Paint twister. Make sure to go to a place and have a romantic candlelit dinner. where you and your surroundings can get dirty! Put paint on the appropriate color Create a scavenger hunt for each other. Use dots. Then play twister. clues only you both would understand. Camp at home. If you have a tent, set it up Improvise dialogue for a movie you’ve in the living room and tell stories. Make never seen. Rent a movie, put it on mute, sure to make smores! and make up the dialogue Theme night! Mexican, 50s, Christmas. All Make ice cream sundaes. Pair it with a good food and activity must surround this theme. movie and you’re set for a perfect date. Go to a sports game. If you don’t have a lot Put together a puzzle while watching a of money, go to a little league game and documentary. pick a side to cheer for and go all out. Build gingerbread houses. Who cares if it’s Go to the zoo. Christmas? Do it anyways.

Make a Pinterest craft. All of those crafts People watch at the mall and create stories you’ve been pinning to your DIY board. Do about the people you see. Hungry? Try one! some mall food you’ve never tried before. Go star gazing.

Go to an arcade. Nickelcade anyone?

Make and decorate a cake. Go all out. And Go play at the planetarium. if you can’t eat it all on your own, give it to Redo your first date. You could even go all someone! out not kiss (unless you kissed on your first date... gasp!!) Play Scrabble. Have a fondue night. Try new things dipped Go to a book store and read your favorite childhood books to each other. Chicka in cheese or chocolate! chick boom boom will there be enough Paint coffee mugs for each other. Use room? sharpie or paint pens and make sure to bake them so you can save them forever! Pretend to be in the market and go look at model homes. Build a fort and watch a movie. This is a favorite. Dessert only night. Oh yes. You heard me. Only desserts Walk around the city all night and find a place to eat breakfast in the morning! Go Video game night! This is a favorite. When home & sleep for a long, long time together. I proposed this to Josh he was more than

happy to oblige. And we got super into it Make a time capsule. Include current and ate crappy food all night. events, letters to your future selves, hopes and dreams and expectations. Find those Make cookies and deliver them. Because old movie tickets and fortunes and throw let’s be honest. You don’t need another them in. Hide it in a safe place (and not the dozen cookies for the two of you. So make kind of safe place you’ll forget...) them, save a few, and give the rest to a neighbor, friend, or someone completely Take personality tests. Jung, True Colors, random! The 5 Love Languages, or my personal favorite The Color Code. Have breakfast in bed. No matter what time of day it is, make some french toast Go to a concert or local band show. Most and bacon and relax in your bed. small local venues are cheap and have great undiscovered music! Or you can go Card games and dips. Make some onion all out and see what great artists are playing dip for ruffles, try a homemade salsa and near you. tortilla chips, make a cookie batter dip for vanilla wafers. Then play UNO and Phase Grab breakfast to go and go on a morning 10 all night. picnic! Enjoy being outside in a park while it’s still quiet on a Saturday morning. Grab Watch kids movies and eat your favorite donuts, bagels, McDonald’s, whatever suits childhood foods. Macaroni and cheese and your fancy! some Toy Story sounds great to me! Create alter egos and meet up for a date. Go to a thrift store and buy each other gifts. Stick to your alter egos. Get into it. Dress Set a dollar limit and buy each other a gift. up if you want. Phil and Claire Dunfy style. Take it home and wrap it up and give them Except maybe keep your clothes on in to each other. public. Be a tourist in your own town.

Pet Love

A Very Furry Valentine’s Day by: Megan Strange

Let’s face it. Some of us don’t have significant others to spend Valentine’s Day with. Some of us only have cats, dogs, hamsters, ferrets, or fish to treat to a fancy meal, give red and pink gifts to, and lather with affection. Then again, some of us have significant others, but choose to spend Valentine’s Day celebrating with our pets, because after all, there is no truer love. For example, my husband is an accountant and in the midst of busy season, so the chances of him being available for a date on February 14th are very slim. My cats, however, cleared their calendars and left that Thursday wide open. To express my

gratitude for their generosity, I have elected to celebrate my love for my felines with special gifts and activities. Originally, I planned to make homemade cat treats, but after researching, I realized lots of things outside the pet aisle in the grocery store are really bad for pets, and I didn’t want to risk a trip to the animal hospital, especially on such a special occasion! My favorite gift on Valentine’s Day is chocolate, because … obviously. However, chocolate is deadly for most pets, so while they might appreciate the gesture, they will die shortly after expressing gratitude. So, I

found safe ways to show my love for my best friends in the whole wide world. • Buy some fancy pet food. Normally, my cats get weight control, natural, healthy food, because apparently cat diabetes is a real thing, and I’m a worrier, but I figured on such a momentous occasion, the cats could have a special treat. Plus, it came in a pink package. So, obviously the purchase was necessary. Make the meal special. Let them eat off human plates. Allow them to sit at the table, no matter how much your husband whines about it being unsanitary or “disgusting.” • There are oodles of pink pet attire all over the Internet. However, if you’re on a budget or your husband has implemented a rule in your household that you can no longer buy any outfits for your pets no matter the holiday, you can always just let your furry friend borrow something. For example, I repurposed this Valentine’s-ish human scarf into a beautiful Valentine’s cat scarf for my cat, Lucy. Despite the look of disapproval on her face, she really felt beautiful. • If you have a dog, you should consider taking him/her on a romantic walk in the park. Dogs love romantic walks in the park. • If you have a cat, you might notice they don’t really like to go on walks. They prefer

to sleep. Occasionally, they play with feathers and fake mice. I went with some Martha Stewart cat toys this year. They were all read and pink and just screamed “classy pet toy.” We like to be fancy on the day of love. Martha Stewart also has a whole line of red and pink dog toys for those of you whose pets prefer playthings with a squeaker inside. • The most important activity to include no matter who your Valentine’s Day date is, though, is some cuddling. I know my cats’ favorite place in the whole world is in my lap…or on a fleece blanket, but either way, give them some tender loving care and remind them how much better, and smellier, your life is with them in it.

Peony In Love

Blog Growing up, I had the misfortune of never having a “sweetheart” on Valentine’s Day. Every year, on Valentine’s Day, I had a gift though. My father would get me a flower, a card, or some other show of Valentine’s Day. At the time, the gesture meant a lot to me, however I might have traded that flower if someone had offered me a sweetheart in exchange.

dances. It showed me something and taught me something about love, that I could never have learned from a stuffed teddy bear from some boy or spending my night smelling rented tux while slow dancing to Whitney Houston. Love, no matter what the retail industry tries to convince us at Valentine’s Day, is so much more than just that romantic kiss, that proposal on bended knee, those dozen red roses. It is tangled through our whole lives and all of the people that live within our life.

Whenever romantic love rebuffed and rejected me, my father was there. He would take me to the movies on the night of dances that I hadn’t been asked to. As an adult, I am almost grateful that I never did have a “sweetheart” on Valentine’s As I get older, I discover every day a new Day, or a date for some of my high school layer to the love my family, my friends,

my husband, my God has for me. If we While there, she meets a scholar, whom look around, every day is Valentine’s Day. she speaks with, breaking all taboos. The opera goes on three days, and all Peony In Love by Lisa See is an eloquent three performances, she sneaks off to letter about love, in all forms, from young meet with the scholar. On the last day, infatuation love to mature love. her father announces her betrothal and that her betrothed is right there. Peony Lisa See writes about different periods refuses to look, in love with her scholar. in Chinese history, After this, Peony becomes but does so from the obsessed with The Peony woman’s viewpoint, Pavilion, reading all her always. Peony In Love copies, making notes and is about a young girl in composing poems. 17th century China. It’s loosely based on actual She begins not eating, she historical figures. The fights with her mother. Peony Pavilion was She wants to be the main an opera that became character in the opera. The popular during that time. main character falls in love It was censured, due to with someone taboo. She the frankness in it about dies. Upon death, her spirit sex, about love. It was goes to the man. They are inspiring young girls intimate. He then brings to starve themselves to her back to life. She is still death in emulation of “unsullied” since intimacy the main character in the as a ghost doesn’t count. opera. Women were gaining a cultural Their love reigns. foothold in the literati scene at this point, the end of the Ming dynasty, the beginning Peony begins to hope for this type of of the Quing. ending with her scholar. She becomes sicker and sicker. She knows the time The main character, Peony, witnesses to go to her new husband’s home is the opera because her father let it be there. Right before, her father gives her produced and shown at their family something which sparks in her a new compound. Peony is fifteen, the age excitement for her marriage. Her family where girls are betrothed. She has been begins the rituals done when someone informed of this fact. While watching the is on the brink of death. She feels they opera, which Peony already has read and are doing the rituals that happen when loved, she sneaks off into a different part a girl leaves her home to go to her new of the compound. one. She doesn’t realize until she is lying

outside the door. Then she knows that she when you need the comfort of melancholy has starved herself to death. (you all know what I mean! Those times we watch a sad movie while eating ice After death, she goes to the afterworld. She cream!), read this book. It isn’t a long one makes her way to the Viewing Platform, and you will turn the pages quickly. When where the ancestors can view their families you close the book, think of all the love on earth. She observes that her ancestral that Peony finds during her time as a spirit, tablet, through the blindness of grief on from all places expected and unexpected. her parents’ part remains unmarked. This You’ll see what I mean, and maybe Peony means that until it is, she will remain to will teach you some of the places to find wander the earth, becoming a “hungry those threads of love to surround yourself ghost”. with. Lisa See writes a book that is mournful. It’s hopeful. It’s tears. It’s comforting touches on our foreheads. It’s expected and surprising. She weaves the tale with language that puts us at a different speed, a slower speed. I really don’t want to go too far into the plot, as it will spoil the book. I will say though that Peony’s wanderings teach her about youthful love. It teaches her about the love parents’ have for their child, as the child. It teaches her the love one has as a parent for a child. It shows her how what one person thinks is love, another feels hate. This is a tragic book. I know, weird that I’d recommend it for Valentine’s Day. I do though, because at the end, you’re left with a full knowledge of love. Not just Romeo and Juliet killing themselves over a doomed romantic love, but love as the thread that binds us all together. So, do yourself a favor. Go and buy Peony in Love by Lisa See. Save it. At a time,

Further Book Recommendations: Mystery: Still Life by Louise Penny— introduces a small town outside of Quebec and some pretty unforgettable characters. Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly---if you’ve seen the movie recently, don’t read the book, as it is very similar. But definitely still worth the read. The movie was phenomenal because the book was. Chick Lit: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. Very fun and charming book. Memoir: Summer At Tiffany, Marjorie Hart. This is definitely not written by an experienced author, but the detail Hart remembers her time at the end of World War II in New York City is a treat. She opens a window on a period of history that we all remember the iconic photo of (the sailor kissing the woman passionately) but don’t know about much of the life that happened around that picture. Kimberly Campbell Moore has spent the last 30 years devouring books and is always on the hunt for a book that will end up devouring her. She believes in wearing t-shirts sporting literary quotes, as well as this quote from C.S. Lewis: “We read to know we are not alone.”

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.” ― ~Gustave Flaubert “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― ~Dr. Seuss “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” ― ~Harper Lee


the 3D Fram

Hi! My name is Kelly...I’m just a girl who likes to ma offers little in the way of this is my cre and DIY and pretty stuff...but I’m not perfect. I just

med Heart Art

ake things. I have a full-time job that eative outlet. I enjoy photography t make it up as I go along.

He was a dark and stormy knight... I mean IT was a dark and stormy NIGHT. Sheesh. The lightning flashed, the thunder crashed, the lights went dark and out I dashed. It wasn’t was the one-armed man! Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But this fabulous Valentine art needed a proper intro...

Start with a paper mache heart, some scrapbook paper & a frame of your choice.

For your heart to look just right, you’re going to need to cut it in half. So, first seek out the vise from its hiding spot in the corner of the garage. See that it’s covered in icky spiderwebs, retreat to locate your trusty garden gloves and THEN go back and get it.

Set it on your {husband’s} little workbench next to the pieces of another project that are still unfinished. Wrap some paper around your fragile heart so as not to scuff it up in these vicious, unforgiving jaws of death. Sorry, more drama.

Next, choose your weapon.

Waver between the hacksaw and the coping saw. Start with the hacksaw just because the teeth are finer, and seem to work better on the paper, but switch anyway when you get to the bottom and need more height on your saw. Hmmm. . . Make your cut slightly off center at the bottom. Shrug and move on.

Be a little surprised that there’s actually newspaper inside.

Pick and paint your heart half in whatever fashion makes your own heart happy. Choose the fancy frame because, well, it’s fancy. Paint over your fancy frame with a creamy color and distress lightly.

Discover your frame has a couple pieces of cardboard behind the glass and do a little happy dance. Why? Because you can attach your scrapbook paper to the cardboard so its sturdy & doesn’t pull out of the frame when you attach the heart.

Then you have to decide what part of the paper you want to use. Go with the part that has the fun little bunting and smile. Search {in vain} for your spray adhesive, shake your head and wonder why SUCH an organized person can’t find stuff. Ha. Give up and hot glue your paper to the cardboard. Put your frame back together, placing the glass somewhere behind the piece of papered cardboard.

Attach the heart to the front with hot glue. Ta da! Hmmm.... Decide it still needs a little something... Add a key cut out when you are unable to locate the old rusty key you KNOW you have somewhere. Remember the incident with the spray adhesive and vow to change your disorganized ways.

What do you do with the rest of that awesome scrapbook paper? Put it in an Ikea frame that’s been waiting around for another project! There you have it... your {almost} step-by-step guide to framing your heart. I LOVE it and I hope you do, too!

by: Kelly from “the moon and me” Sooo, I’ve got the paint picked out for the half bath downstairs. I just need to find my motivation to get started and pick up supplies. Hunh. Sometimes I put off larger projects by doing smaller, easier ones. You, too? Well, here’s a good example. Most of us have a few of these hanging around the garage or basement. Real beauties, I tell you what! Did you know that’s quite the easy fix? Yep, spray paint to the rescue! I had seen a picture on Pinterest that linked back to a Flickr feed. So it wasn’t even a DIY was a photo of a bunch of chairs at some cafe in Europe. I thought to myself: Self, this is a great idea! I had two like the one pictured above with the cushion. I primed the cushion really well with the Rustoleum primer. Let it dry for at least 24 hours...good to go! garage was coated...along with my feet! The rest, I just wiped clean and started The Rustoleum I used was okay...but still spraying. I learned some things about spray quite a bit of dust. The Krylon covered well paint. It is NOT all created equal. and had the least amount of over spray. And there’s my two cents worth. :) I never could find a LIGHT orange so I ended up with two pinks. However, I tried three Oh, and with two coats for each chair...I different kinds...wanna know my opinion? used one can per chair. Krylon was my favorite. I really like the difference it made on the With the Valspar spray paint there was appearance of these chairs. Now they’re so SOOOO much over spray dust - the whole much more fun!

Project Specs: Start to Finish Time: 30 minutes Level: Beginner

DIYFabric Bracelet

What you need

1 Hand sewing needle 1 Toggle Clasp 1 16 1/2” x 2” scrap fabric Scissors Clear Ruler Pencil Iron Fray Check (optional) Sewing Machine Needle 12 or 14 Thread

Step 1: Cut your strip of Fabric and iron flat Step 2: Place your clear ruler an inch from bottom of your strip and draw a pencil mark, along the middle of the fabric

Step 3: Press with an Iron both sides inward towards your pencil mark, like so. Then fold over both outside edges

Step 4: Begin to pin along your strip Now it’s time to sew.... yippy!

Step 5: Set your machine to Zig Zag stitch, 5 Width, 3 Length, 5.5 tension

Step 6: Sew forward and reverse a little bit at the beginning and then begin to sew down the middle of your strip repeating the reverse and forward at the end, like below

Step 7: Cut your thread. Thread a hand needled with a long piece of thread and begin adding your toggle clasps. Bring your hand needle from the bottom side of the fabric, but not through the top layer.

Step 8: Now it’s time to tie our decorative knot at the center of the bracelet. Lay it side by side to make sure your knot is in the middle of your bracelet, as best as possible.

Complete: Enjoy, have fun, add extra bracelets, & be creative with colors!

Hilani Ellis I’m a sewaholic and love being creative. Outside of being a mom, wife, and friend . . . I create hand sewn items for all ages.




Thirteen Winks

Carla of Thirteen Winks can turn your treasured family recipe into original art for your home! Makes a great gift for family members and loved ones. Keep memories close for years to come by having your favorite family recipe in your heart and your kitchen. Visit the Thirteen Winks Etsy shop to place your custom order today!

Toilet Paper Chandelier Materials: Toilet Paper Core Fishing Line Spray Paint Needle Nose Pliers Hanger Wire Lamp Kit Step 1: Using the wire cutter portion of the pliers, trim the hanger down to the approximate size you want. Bend the hanger into a circle to form the frame of the chandelier.

Step 2: Cut the cardboard toilet paper roll in half and lay it flat.

Step 3: Cut the roll into 8 equal rectangles.

Step 4: Spray paint both sides of the cardboard.

Step 5: Using an Xacto knife, poke a small hole near one end of each rectangle.

Step 6: Thread fishing line through the hole and tie a knot.

Step 7: Tie three rectangles onto each fishing wire strand.

Step 8: Tie the strand onto the frame you made in step 1. Continue steps 6-8 until you have filled the frame with strands all the way around.

Step 9: Take the lamp kit and securely wrap wire around it. Step 10: Wrap the wire that you wrapped around the lamp kit to the frame of the chandelier. Step 11 (Optional): For a two tier chandelier, repeat steps 1-8, but make the frame smaller. Once the frame is filled with strands, suspend the smaller frame from the larger frame using finishing line.

I’m Kirsten, the owner and designer behind Kirsten Danielle Design. To say I love beautiful homes would be an understatement, and my blog, “Through the Front Door,� will attest to that fact. Click below to follow along as I share my passion for design, DIY and fabulous home decor.


f to l e urs ng o g y owi n i w is kn o l l a Art s i . .� ms y s p t a i e d tiv stak kee A a t i t e o r co “C ke m nes t S ~ ma ich o wh


Stamped Quote

Cuff Bracelet

The hardware store can be a treasure trove of affordable and unique options for jewelry and crafts. With a little inventiveness and elbow grease, you can turn simple aluminum strips into custom, hand-stamped bracelets. What you need Metal stamping alphabet (find these at your local craft store or on eBay) Aluminum strips (Measuring .5 inches by 3 feet) Find this in the “metal pieces” section at your local hardware store.) Steel wool Permanent marker Hammer Orbital sander with medium grit sandpaper, or metal file Metal snips Or heavy-duty wire cutters Steel pipe (to help you bend the metal) Note: You’ll need a very hard surface, like a concrete floor or stamping block to stamp onto. If this is your first time to stamp, plan to practice on a scrap section until you get the method down.

Cut aluminum into 6 inch strips with metal snips. Mark off the middle 3 inches for your working area.

Be sure to choose a quote that groove and try again. This takes will fit within two lines, ten words some practice! maximum. Plan out your words and how you’ll place them before stamping.

When you’ve completed your quote, fill in the grooves with a permanent marker. Polish off the excess with a piece of steel wool. Be sure that your letter is the right Round the sharp edges of the way before stamping. With a metal with a metal file or and household hammer, give it one, orbital sander. solid blow. This may take a while, so be patient and be sure to round out all those edges. Sand over the quote for a distressed look.

I like an imperfect, uneven look to give it character, so I space the letters as I go. It should leave a deep, even impression. Be sure not to apply too much pressure Bend the piece of metal around to one side or the other. a piece of steel pipe into a cuff If you must stamp harder, line shape. Bend slightly when on the stamp up carefully into the wrist.


Kayli Head I’m a blogger, PR writer, artist and yard sale junkie. I’m loving feathering our new nest in Nacogdoches, Texas, with my hubby Derek, and two puppies. I love traveling, good indie music and pumpkin-spice lattes.

Fashion & Beauty

Say hello to this fun classy dress! Wedding season is approaching; you will no doubt turn heads in our Don’t Say Goodbye Dress! Flattering on almost any figure this dress is perfection! Don’t Say Goodbye Dress: Mint BUY NOW

We love everything about this chevron dress! It is comfortable and classy, perfect for any occasion! Head Over Heels For Chevron Dress: Coral Pink BUY NOW

Colorful skinny pants & perfect for this warm weather! HELLO totally a staple that should be in every girl’s closet! Girl On The Prowl Pants: Sky Blue BUY NOW

You can surely believe that we love a good blazer... And this striped mocha/brown blazer is just our style! Rouched sleeves around the elbow and a fit you can’t resist. Beauty Brains & All Business Blazer BUY NOW

Ark & Company has to be one of our favorite designers! This dress features an intricate floral crochet detail on the bottom and a Kelly Green pop of color at the top! More bonus features on this amazing piece are pockets and an invisible zipper!

Ark & Company: Pride & Joy Dress BUY NOW

Green is the HOT color this season and how perfect is this skirt for spring? This skirt fits like it was tailored just for you with the most beautiful embroidery. South Of The Border Skirt: Kelly Green BUY NOW

Looking for the perfect wedge to wear this spring? Here it is these adorable wedges the perfect neutral colors to be paired with almost anything! This is a 5 inch cork wedge.

Strut Your Stuff Wedges: Camel/Gold BUY NOW

This tank top is bound to be your absolute favorite ever! It’s so soft and has a perfect fit. The Softest Tank Ever: Emerald/Coral/White/Black BUY NOW

Comfort and style are two things that you cannot go wrong with together! Our Don’t Hold You Back Shorts are flowy and cute! They feature pockets, pleats, and an elastic waistline. Don’t Hold You Back Shorts: Navy BUY NOW


Brown Sugar & Honey Facial Scrub

Coffee Grounds in Conditioner

Brown sugar exfoliates the skin ridding the pores of all dirt, oil and dead skin cells causing blemishes. Honey is naturally antibacterial, so as the brown sugar scrubs away the things clogging pores, the honey cleans out the sources of the buildup to prevent future breakouts.

This one is really simple. Instead of throwing old coffee grounds away, toss them into your conditioner to make your hair extra shiny. That’s all it takes!

ural Beauty Recipes Using Everyday Foods


Lemon & Egg Facial

Soften Skin with Oatmeal

Have red splotchiness on your face? Soothe both symptoms away easily by mixing together one egg yolk and the juice of one lemon into a paste. Cover your face with it and leave it on overnight. If this seems like too much work, leave it on your face for an hour. You might not get the optimal results with this amount of time, but you will see a difference.

There are many concoctions and mask recipes that involve oatmeal, but you can use oatmeal by itself to help your skin. Ground up about 1 cup of oatmeal using a blender or coffee grinder, and add it to bath water to soften skin to baby-like quality.

Click here to see more great recipes from

Step 1: Brush your hair – you want to remove any knots or tangles before you start to braid. Step 2: Start on the right (or left if you prefer!) – I’ll explain as if you’re on the right, but pick whichever side you part your hair. Take a large section above your right ear and split into three. Step 3: To make a Dutch braid, cross the right piece under the center section. Then bring the left piece under the right. Step 4: Next add more hair to each section as you braid. Try to add in even amounts on both sides so you keep the braid shape equal. Step 5: Keep braiding, bringing the right section under the center, and the left under the right. When you run out of hair to add in, bring your right hand around to the front and braid to the end of your hair. Step 6: Secure the braid with a small clear elastic and then stretch out your braid.


Hair Romance shares tutorials, tips, tricks and beauty advice to help you to love your hair. Hair Romance posts hair news daily to bring you hairinspiration and ways to have fun with your hair.

In the Kitchen

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Valentines Prep time: 15 mins Total time: 15 mins Serves: 1 dozen Ingredients 1 dozen strawberries, rinsed & dried 1 cup good quality melting chocolate 1 Tablespoon Shortening Instructions Place the Chocolate & Shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at halfpower for 30 seconds at a time, mixing every 30 seconds. Once your chocolate is smooth and melted, carefully dip each strawberry into the chocolate, tapping & shaking gently after each strawberry so there is an even coating. Place dipped berries on a piece of wax paper. If you are adding sprinkles, do so after dipping each strawberry (contrast color of chocolate can go on using a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off of it later). Once berries are all dipped & sprinkled, place in a cool place (like the fridge) to set & then enjoy!

Teacher by Day, Chef by Night

Blog 20-something living in North-East Pennsylvania. Blogger, when not searching for recipes, thinking about food, or cooking & photographing my cooking (or everything around me) I enjoy teaching (computer technology to upper elementary students), spending time (outside whenever possible) with my dogs, enjoying a good book, keeping fit (still working on finding some sort of exercise that I actually like though), being with my friends & family‌.. After moving into my own place I truly started experimenting in the kitchen (and yes I now feed my parents a lot more than I ever did when I lived in their house). Summer vacations are my time to truly experiment in the kitchen but I strive to make each and every meal I make worth my time that I spend making & eating it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

by “Teacher by day, Chef by Night”

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), at room ½ teaspoon vanilla extract temperature ¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 1½ cups light brown sugar 4 large eggs To make the cookie dough filling, combine the 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on 1 teaspoon baking powder medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 1 teaspoon baking soda minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed ¼ teaspoon salt milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. 1 cup milk Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips bit, about a half hour. Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Line cupcake pan with 24 liners. To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture. attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light or the frosting and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), at room temperature scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. 1 cup all-purpose flour Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on ¾ teaspoon salt low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning 3 Tablespoons milk and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted Divide the batter evenly between the prepared with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. flour and salt. Mix in the milk (I used at least an Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer extra tablespoon compared to this recipe) and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended. to a wire rack to cool completely.


the cupcakes:



the filling:

4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 6 Tablespoons light brown sugar


Frost the filled cupcakes as desired and sprinkle with mini-chocolate chips. Store on the counter or in the fridge (fresher if kept in the fridge) and then you decide if you like them cold or room temperature!

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms by “Teacher by day, Chef by Night”

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total ½ cup panko bread crumbs (or crushed crackers) time: 30 mins ¼ cup grated parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) Serves: 2 as a main dish Instructions Line a baking sheet with foil & pre-heat oven to 450F. Clean the mushrooms and bake until Ingredients 4 big portabella mushrooms, stems and gills softened, about 10 minutes. removed While the mushrooms are pre-cooking, mix the 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper, along with drained and coarsely chopped 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and about ¼ cup of the crushed crackers or bread crumbs. coarsely chopped Divide the filling between the mushrooms and 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 2 Tbsp sour cream sprinkle on the bread crumbs and top with the ¼ cup shredded mozzarella rest of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Roast until the filling is hot and the breadcrumbs 3 cloves garlic, chopped are golden brown, about 10 minutes. salt and pepper to taste

Mardi Gras:

It’s all about the food

Mardi Gras was celebrated on February 12th, this year. It is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate, because I get to share some of my Cajun roots with my friends here in northern Virginia. Each year, I like to make a menu of delicious Cajun foods, drinks and you can’t forget the king cake! I put my own twist on things of course, since not everything is exactly like home.

Now if you aren’t familiar with Mardi Gras traditionally, you may envision crazy parties with topless women, beads and drunks on the streets. Not at all. Mardi Gras, translated means “fat Tuesday”, and always occurs before Ash Wednesday, which is always changing so you could be celebrating in February or March depending on the year. The reason it is always celebrated before Ash Wednesday is because in the Catholic religion, that day

is the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras is the last day to get in all your indulgences before your fast. It is celebrated with society balls and carnivals. The colors, green, purple and gold represent faith, justice and power. At my house, the party drink of choice are good ol’ hurricanes in a hurricane shaped glass. Instead of a traditional king cake, I bake king cake cupcakes with green, purple and yellow sprinkles, complete with a surprise baby inside. Hearty dishes would include, Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee, Gumbo or Jambalaya. Finger foods range from fried shrimp, catfish nuggets, crawpuppies with a lemon remoulade or boudin sausages made into bite size pieces. My older brother sometimes dresses as a witch doctor complete with voodoo stick, and painted faces and masks are encouraged!

Craw-puppies: Serves 8-12

1 cup all-purpose flour ¾ cup cornmeal 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 egg 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted 1 ounce cream cheese, melted 12-16 oz frozen crawfish tails 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 jalapeño, minced 1 clove garlic, minced Oil, for frying Directions: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar until well combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, butter, and cream cheese until well mixed. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until most of the flour mixture is moistened. Add the crawfish, shredded cheese, jalapeño, and garlic and mix until well combined. In a deep pot, fill it with enough oil to cover the puppies. Heat until about 350F. Scoop the mixture by the rounded tablespoon into the hot oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until the craw-puppies are golden brown all over, about 4 minutes. Drain on a wire rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Blog Miemo Khamvongsa lives in Northern Virginia, on the outskirts of our nation’s capitol. She is a graphic designer, wanderlust, and food enthusiast.

Lemon Remoulade: Makes about 2 cups Ingredients: 2 cups of mayonnaise ¼ creole mustard 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 2 tsp paprika ¾ tsp of ground red pepper Directions: Whisk together all ingredients until blended. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


10 things you should never say to your kids Re-printed with permission from Brenna Hicks, The Kid Counselor (�

When I think about all of the phrases,

what they worked at, rather than what you anecdotes, and sayings about the power think about it. of the spoken word I am reminded of how I changed my way of communicating 3. Don’t argue with me. with children upon learning Play Therapy principles. I realize that using Play Therapy Children are programmed to question, based language is a learned and practiced analyze and wonder about situations. skill that requires time and effort, so I This can sometimes present itself in an thought it would be helpful to share ten argumentative manner, but this is actually commonly used phrases parents say to their a normal part of development. Instead of kids. I will also give the Play Therapy based cutting off the conversation, you can say, “I alternative with a short explanation of why know you want my answer to be different, it is more effective. but it will not change”. You can also train yourself to make sure the child fully 1. No (running, hitting, yelling, fill understands your response, with “I just told you my answer. Do you have a question in the verb)! about it?” This allows the child to present their opinion or get clarification. Either Kids hear the word “no” far too frequently way, the child is allowed to express their (Read more about that here). You can always thoughts or concerns and feel validated rephrase the sentence from a negative to a without an argument. positive, which will correct the behavior without sounding critical. Train yourself to say what you want them to do instead 4. Wait until your Dad/Mom/ of what you don’t. So, you can say “Walk, other person finds out about this. please” instead of “No running”. This does two things. First, it creates anxiety and fear in the child, especially of 2. Good job! the person who you are going to tell about whatever happened. Second, it ignores I have spent a good deal of time on articles your responsibility to deal with the issue on the difference between Praise vs. at hand and passes it to someone else. By Encouragement, and this phrase is arguably the time a child has gotten in trouble for the most commonly spoken praise children something, they already feel guilty, sorry hear. Train yourself to respond with “You did and embarrassed about it. Threatening to it!” or “You got it!” or “You figured it out!”. tell someone else rubs salt in the wound. Notice the common element is starting with Choose whether the other person really the word “you” and then acknowledging needs to know about the issue, and if yes,

let the child decide who will tell them. “Do you choose to tell (Mom) what happened, or choose for me to tell her with you there to make sure that I explain it correctly?” This gives the child respect and responsibility for their actions.

do something the “right way”, when it could have been done in several ways. If a child is coloring the grass purple, it is easy to tell them it must be green. A kid can sit down on a chair facing the back, and we make them turn around. Train yourself to acknowledge their behavior without a judgment, such as 5. If you do that one more time... “You chose to sit the other way on the chair” or “You colored the grass purple instead”. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear This gives them the freedom to be creative that phrase when around other parents, even and discover things without expectations. though it is highly ineffective. First, you are threatening a child, which makes them 7. That is what happens when you... fearful of you. Second, the threat is usually not something that is feasible to do (we are We often try to teach lesson to kids about going home, you are going straight to bed, life at the most inappropriate times. If a child you don’t get dinner, you are grounded for gets hurt because they were doing something a week, etc.) What we say in frustration is dangerous or inappropriate, they already not only impractical but easily forgettable. learned their lesson. It is wasted words to Then we contradict our credibility. You can try to express a rule when a child is upset, train yourself to be clear and concise, using as they focus on one thing at a time. Instead, choices. “If you choose to (continue that train yourself to say, “You realized that you behavior), you choose to (receive whatever jumped off the chair and got hurt when you consequence has already been established as landed on the ground”, rather than, “See, a punishment)”. You might say, “Erin, if you that is what happens when you jump off the choose to poke your sister again, you choose chair”. The former acknowledges that the to not watch TV for the rest of the day”. This child already figured out the problem, but is clearly communicates the expectation and still comforting. the consequence, without a threat.

6. You are doing that the wrong way. Parents tend to want control all of the time, and it takes work to allow kids to have freedom to do what they choose. Of course, there will be times when a task must be completed in a certain fashion (homework, etc.). However, many times we force kids to

8. You can’t/Don’t do that.

When redirecting behavior, it is difficult to know how to phrase things in the best manner. Telling a child that they can’t do something makes them prove that they can, by telling you or showing you that it is in fact possible. Telling a kid to not do something makes them want to argue or rebel. Train yourself to explain the reason behind your

statement. “That is not safe” or “Your skin is not for coloring on” is specific and helps them learn why things are off limits, rather than just that they are.

9. We are (whatever the child doesn’t want to do at that moment), OKAY? In an attempt to be kind and loving to children, parents tend to ask kids for their approval. I understand the rationale behind it, but I believe it becomes a habit when trying to convince a child to comply. Parents will often say, “We are leaving the playground now and we’ll come back again, okay?” The reality is that asking your child if it is okay sets you up for an argument when the child says no. You already know that he doesn’t want to leave, or you wouldn’t be negotiating with him. Train yourself to state things in sentence form, while acknowledging the child’s feelings. “Kevin, I know you want to stay and play, but it is time to go. We can come back another day”. This helps the child feel understood, but still communicates that leaving is non-negotiable.

10. You are making me really mad right now. When I was a child and fought with my younger brother, I would complain to my mom that he made me mad about something. She would (and still does) respond with “No one can make you feel anything. You choose to get mad.” At the time, I hated that phrase. However, it is very true. Parents tend to let

their children control their emotions, when it is the parent who is ultimately responsible for how they feel. It is also important for kids to understand that they choose what they feel, and they are not creating emotions in you. Train yourself to say, “I need a break right now because I am getting upset” or “I am angry right now”. You can communicate your feelings to your children without placing the burden of cause on them. Retraining your way of speaking will take time and energy, but can be done. I would encourage you to do it one step at a time, and feel proud when you hear yourself respond differently. It will not happen overnight, as I liken it to learning a new language, but it can happen with practice!

Site Previous to becoming a full-time Mom, Brenna ran a highly successful Child Therapy Private Practice. Brenna has been blogging and writing articles on Parenting since 2006, and is currently getting her PhD from the University of South Florida.

Who am I?

My name is Justin, and I am going to be a father. I also might die before my child turns 30 if I continue with the lifestyle I’ve been living. I have tried several times to lose weight before but gave up after either not losing weight fast enough or giving into my cravings.

What am I doing?

I am giving up on what the government and media tell me I should eat. It may work for some people, but not me. With the help of my friend, I will be following one guideline, if God didn’t make it, I won’t eat it. I also will NOT be trying to get 6-pack abs in 6 weeks, nor will I take a dozen supplements a day. I will eat healthy, natural food, and getting good exercise every day I can.

About My Wife

I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Bridgette, since July 2011. She is the love of my life and my biggest encouragement. Without her I would not be doing this.


About My Nutritionist

This is my good friend Jeremiah. He’s done some nutrition stuff in the Army, and now I’m enlisting his help to get me on the right track.

Weight-in Week 12.. I decided to hold off my weigh-in update an extra week so my next post would be the 2-0 (spoiler alert!) These last 2 weeks I broadened my focus to more than just food. I’ve detoxified the inside of my body, now it’s time to detox the outside of my body. I made the switch from “normal” body products to products that use chemical free ingredients. I changed my soap, shampoo, face wash, deodorant, hair gel, and shaving cream to brands that are completely natural, using no lab-created ingredients. And to my surprise, I feel cleaner than ever. It took a couple of days to get used to a new smell (all the fragrances in commercial products are chemically based), but now I like it.

I have the word of the gardener herself that she picked them out of her garden the day before. Enough of my ranting, let’s get to the results. After the last 2 weeks, I lost 3.1 pounds, putting my total at... 20.2 Pounds!!! Big milestone. I’ll be honest, I feel a lot better, but I can’t really see a difference in my own eyes. Bridgette says she notices it mostly in my face. My clothes do fit better, but I’m not quite down a shirt size yet. But overall I have gone down 3 belt loops, so that’s been nice. So, to put it into perspective, so far I have lost the amount of weight equal to: -A car tire (mind=blown)

Fun Fact: Did you know that the typical soap/body wash you buy at the store has so many chemicals -A karaoke machine in it, it can’t even be labeled as soap. It’s actually a If you’ve been following my Facebook page, you “detergent”. saw that I ran 2 miles for the first time in a long But the thought of washing yourself with detergent time. That’s my new minimum. It takes me about can seem a little scary, so the name brands get 35 minutes to do it, and I’ll be super happy when I around that thought by labeling their products as, can do it in 30. My first goal this week is a simple “beauty bar, moisture bar, body wash, body scrub,” one, keep the kitchen clean. I blew my last goal of cooking all our meals for a week all because I didn’t and all sorts of other labels. Something else I focused on the last 2 weeks is keep the kitchen clean. I gave the kitchen and fridge trying to buy locally grown foods. I’ve looked at a good cleaning yesterday, and I got food to cook for meat markets, stopped by a farmer’s market, and each day of the week, planning ahead. I also bought really investigated where my food is coming from, whole ingredients to make for me and Bridgette. even at restaurants. Why? Because I want to support I am roasting my own turkey breast and slicing it my community. I get to live in the great state of for sandwiches, I am baking our own bread (with Texas, which is so large and diverse that our land stone milled whole wheat), and I baked and sliced can provide most commodities that people need. As chicken breast for our salads. I got just enough a result, many products are cheaper here because food to last us till Saturday, when I will be visiting they come from our own state, and money keeps the Waco farmer’s market for more local and fresh flowing within Texas. That’s why the Texas economy food. My second goal this week is to go the whole has bounced back from the recession faster than week eating only locally, with a 3 meal mercy. So other states, and why we haven’t suffered as much if a social opportunity presents itself, I won’t be all as other states in this economical disaster we’re “elitist” and decline. I’ll also continue running. in. So at the very least, I try to spend my money in Texas only, but I especially try to support the local My apologies to Jack in the Box. True, you were communities of Belton, Temple, Killeen, and Austin. very kind to my wallet, but now I am being kind Furthermore, I don’t want to eat food that was to my body instead. Why should I die earlier than I shipped all the way from Montana (did you know have to? there is no regulation on the transport of food???). I want to eat something as fresh as possible, and My apologies to Casual Male XXL, you’re when I bought vegetables from the farmers market, going to lose my business in the future.

scary mommy confessions Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect

I hated being single. I hated dating. I hated being engaged. I hated being married. I hated being divorced. I hated being a single mom. I HATE being remarried the most. I really miss when skeevy guys used to whistle and yell “Hey baby!” in the street back when I was skinnier. Sometimes when our friends say “you got so lucky with your son he’s so good!” I wanna punch them. My son is good cause I’m a good mom. Their kids are brats cause they suck at parenting. No luck involved. My BFF and I combined our 2 households into 1 huge house. It’s great! We share expenses, childcare, chores, wine, laughs. It’s like sister wives without sex. We will never live any other way :) $10 until payday! Take that world! Ds1 just added a LOT of salt to his dads coffee I’m not saying a word that’s why I Don’t let him sit on the table idiot! OMG 5 years of TTC and I think I am holding a positive pregnancy test. The line is so so faint. I just dunno what to think. Could it be? Be still my beating heart... I just ate my coworkers candy Spied on my neighbors with binoculars today. I think I’ve reached a new level of nosiness. Sometimes I “forget” to close the door when I get the mail in hopes that my DH’s psychotic cat will run away. I’m a combination of sorta pretty and sorta smart. I would give anything to be dumb as a post but hotter then hell. I spent 4 nights in hospital and I was devastated when they discharged me. It was so nice laying in bed all day, being given morphine and sleeping pills and meals and not having to take care of anyone else. My 13 month old is eating the dog food out of her bowl again, and at this point I don’t even feel like stopping her. She’ll just be back in it in 5 minutes anyway. I swear that when there is ice cream in the freezer it speaks to me....EAT ME. EAT ME.... I love my ds10mo so much and I miss him when I’m at work. But I’m not a very good mom. When I’m with him I just watch TV and let him play w toys. I have come to a point in my life where I honestly hate anyone who makes me wear pants, or anything besides pajamas, on the only two days I have off every week. I also ignore phone calls. I need my me time.

You can read more anonymous confessions here

Stuff My Kid Says Valentine’s Day is silly because hearts look like butts. Ian, 5 To get a boyfriend you have to dress nice and brush your teeth. That’s why I don’t brush my teeth! Abby, 7 My wife is going to be just like my mom, only prettier. Kase, 6

Talk About a Deal!

Love is when two people kiss a lot. Then they have the same germs and don’t make each other sick. Dylan, 7

Have a funny quote from your child? Email it to with the subject line “Submission to Stuff My Kid Says”

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Sage Magazine - Feb. Issue  

Online lifestyle magazine showcasing fabulous products, gorgeous photography, and brilliant how-tos.

Sage Magazine - Feb. Issue  

Online lifestyle magazine showcasing fabulous products, gorgeous photography, and brilliant how-tos.