2012 | Live Pretty on a Penny

An Ode to 2012

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I had a good time hanging with family and friends.  Every New Years Eve, I like to take a moment and reflect on the things that I have been able to achieve over the last year. 2012 was an overall amazing year, if I must say so. I was able to accomplish things that were merely thoughts in my head, like starting my blog and growing my freelance makeup business. Through the support of all of my readers, friends, family and clients,  I have made them both into my reality. Many, many thanks to those who supported me, held me accountable, and pushed me to be my very best. I thank you all! I have met some new friends, learned the importance of having the right tools (home and makeup), and overall have just enjoyed having interests outside of work.
If you are new around these parts (howdy), I have put together a recap of my top five posts. Enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


This was the most popular post on my blog. If I had to say why, I would guess that it's due to the simplicity of recreating. These shelves are super easy to make and create a fabulous finished product.

This is one of my favorite projects to date. I am in awe of change that took place with this table, going from orangey oak, to rich chocolate.  If you haven't checked out the tutorial, click on the link title link above.

Using the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation kit, along with new ceramic floors, I was able to take my kitchen from straight up drab, to semi-fab. While we have some updates we will be making in 2013, I was able to live with it this year :)

Updating a {Dated} Brick Fireplace

Looking back at how this fireplace looked before, it is no wonder why this post got so many views. That thing was horrible. I still don't understand how the fire got so hot that it burned the brick.

Anyway, I love the new stone that embodies this fireplace, and this winter we have been enjoying kicking our fit up in front of it. 


With a few coats of paint, some accessories, and new hardware, I was able to make over my half bath with ease. Oh, and under $100. Easy, peasy. 

So there you have it. My top 5 posts of 2012, well since since July 2012, when my blog actually started. I have enjoyed blogging over the past 5 months. I look forward to what 2013 will bring:) Be safe, and again Happy New Year!


Holiday Glitz & Glam Part Two: Six Holiday Cocktails That Rock!

Part of the fun during the holidays are mingling with friends, while enjoying a good cocktail. If I am alone in this matter, I'll take it :) But for those of you who are feeling me, I thought it is only fitting that I share some tasty holiday cocktails that are SURE to make the season bright. When those chilly days of winter hit, what better way to warm up than with flavors of the season!  All of these recipes are simple to make, and are sure to please anyone that you entertain!

Poinsettia Cocktail
3 oz of Cranberry Juice
Lime Twist or Fresh Cranberries for Garnish
*yields one serving
Combine ingredients in champagne glass. Use lime twist or cranberries for garnish.
Candy Cane Cocktail
2 oz of strawberry or vanilla vodka
1 oz of white creme de menthe
2 1/2 oz of cranberry juice (for coloring)
Ice Cubes
*yields one serving
Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.
The Happy Elf
1 oz of melon liquer
2 oz ofcitrus vodka
1 oz of  white cranberry juice
*yields one serving
Combine melon liqueur, citrus vodka, and white cranberry juice in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously, and strain into a cocktail glass. Add cherries.
Spiked Eggnog

Picture Source Unknown
 2oz of Rum or Maple Crown Royal
4oz of Egg Nog
*yields one serving
Combine rum or maple Crown Royal, and egg nog in an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into an 8oz glass. Use candy cane for garnish.

Santa's Sleigh Cocktail
Picture of Santa's Sleigh Cocktail Recipe
White sugar crystals, preferably coarse
2 cups store-bought eggnog, chilled
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 cinnamon sticks
*yields four servings
Dampen the rims of 4 martini glasses and then line the rims with sugar crystals.
Combine eggnog, brandy, amaretto, nutmeg, and ice cream in a blender; process until smooth. Pour mixture into martini glasses and garnish each glass with a whole cinnamon stick.

Pear and Cranberry Bellini

1 cup pear nectar
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 bottle Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine
*yields eight servings
Combine ingredients in champagne glass.


And for you or your guests that don't drink, here are a few non-alcoholic recipes that keep people happy and the holiday still jumpin':

Rudolph Cherry Bomb

 1 cup grenadine
1 liter clear citrus soda, or seltzer
18 maraschino cherries
*yields six servings

Place 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add grenadine; stir to combine. Pour mixture into two ice-cube trays. Freeze until solid, 2 hours or overnight.
Fill six glasses with grenadine ice cubes. Top with soda. Garnish with cherries, and serve.

Festive Fruit Punch
Festive Fruit Punch Recipe
4 cups tonic water or ginger-ale, or lemon-lime soda
3 cups ice cubes
2 cups pineapple juice, chilled
2 cups orange juice, chilled 
2 cups light cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1 lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 carambola (star fruit), sliced
*yields ten servings
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve immediately.

So there you have it! Spreading holiday cheer to all!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Holiday Glitz & Glam Part One: Champagne Dreams...Budget Decor Realities

I have to be honest with you guys...I am not doing much decorating this year for Christmas. I have just been too busy between work and personal life, that I can't find the time to completely"deck the halls."  Plus, my home is not where I want it just yet, so hopefully next year will bring more "cheer."

I have put up my tree, though. I wanted my tree to be pretty neutral and I found some serious bargains at my local thrift store and Dollar Tree. You would be surprised about all of the stuff people get rid of each year that is sold at Goodwill or any local thrift store. Decor that has never been used or barely used... but whatever...your gain and mine:)

Even better, I haven't spent any more that $1 on any of the gorgeous ornaments that drape my little 4ft pre-lit tree. Yes, the tree is 4ft. Why the 4ft tree tree? Well,  when we first moved into our house last year, the Christmas season approached really fast, and to be real, I just wasn't prepared.  I had no idea about the cost of faux trees, and the thought of purchasing a real tree mad me gag. No really, it did.  Very traumatizing ordeal from my childhood which made me loathe the smell of fresh pine needles. One day I will tell the story...not today...moving on...just marvel in it's cuteness;)

All of the silver balls that are on the tree were purchased as a variety pack of 12 from a local thrift store for $0.80.

The various sparkly ornaments were purchased from Dollar Tree. The angels are sold as a 5pk for $1.00, the star and the snowflake are sold individually for $1.00 each, the bows sold as a 5pk for $1.00,  and the Christmas tree ornaments are sold 5 for $1.00 as well. Oh yeah, and the star at the very top is also Dollar Tree and of course was $1.00. All in all, I spent about $6.00 plus tax on my tree decor. Not bad.

If after you read this post, you don't head to your local Dollar Tree or thrift store to check out some of the holiday offerings this season, then you are straight trippin'. If you don't have a Dollar Tree, then you're not trippin', but you may want to see what your local dollar stores have to offer. I'm just saying.

If you still have some decorating to do, then here is just a small sample of some additional items that were in the store. I didn't buy them, but you can't be the $1.00 price tag. They definitely have waaay more than just what I am showing:

All images courtesy of Dollar Tree Website

Check out  Dollar Tree site for additional seasonal options. 

Have you found a bargain way to decorate your home? What are some budget decor items that you are incorporating?

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. I haven't received any compensation from Dollar Tree. These are all opinions of my own.

Making Time For My {Other} Love

Some of you know, and some of you don't know...but I have a second love. No, not that kind of "love," but something that sparks another creative side in me and fuels my creative passion. Tired of the blabber, and you want to hear what it is, right? Well, it's makeup. I love to make women look at feel glamorous. I occasionally take on clients that allow me to enhance their outer beauty, which  I thoroughly enjoy. At this stage in my life, my goal is not to a big high -profile celebrity Makeup Artist, or whatever, but just to simply make people feel super glam, while educating them.That's it. So as my blog moves forward and grows, I will be featuring various product tips and tutorials on different looks for women of ANY color that can work for ANY budget. Don't worry, there will still be just as many home project tutorials, but I want this blog to be my portal to share all things creative. Beauty is universal and people within budget should be able to look pretty or have pretty things:) With the Christmas and New Year holidays approaching, I am sure some beauty inspiration is perfectly befitting for these occasions!  Here are a few samples of my work.

Photo Courtesy-TBD
Those are just a few of my clients that I have worked with. I look forward to sharing more beauty tips and makeup tutorials with you guys in future posts! Feel free to email me and tell me what you would like to see. 

Have a great weekend!

Tackling The {Coat} Closet

Entering our home, the coat closet sits to the right of the front door. Yet, it was still one of the most under utilized spaces in the home.  Over the past year, it sort of became the dumping ground for anything that didn't have a place anywhere else in the house.  Now that it's getting cold and close to the holidays which usually means more visitors, I felt it was time to get this area together. Not to mention, the icing on the cake was when I came home, and tripped over my husband's work boots that were in the middle of the floor. Enough became enough. So it was time to do something about using this space properly.

Here is our coat closet before:

This is seriously how it looked. I can't make this stuff up. A solid waste of space. 

Here it is now:

Much more useful and pretty! Now that you've got the urge to do the same, let me show you how we did it!

First, we removed everything out of the closet and decided what really belonged and what did not. For ours, we wanted to keep coats and shoes of course, but also other items such as our dog leashes, cd books for the car, shoe sprays ( for hubby's boots), and other things. So we knew we would need ample covered and uncovered storage, and to figure out a way to make good use of the entire closet space. 

I started by painting the closet with leftover paint that I used for my general areas (Behr Castle Path). It was originally pure white. 

Once painted, we decided to add some shelving to the bottom in order to make use of the vertical space for shoe storage. We built the shelves using one 1x4 cut into the three pieces as the brackets to support the shelves, and one 1x8 cut into two pieces to make the shelf.

*As a note, the longest bracket should serve as the length of the closet, while the shorter brackets should only be as long as you would like for your shelf to extend out in the closet. Just make sure it does not extend too far out, or else you won't be able to close your door. Ours extends a little over half the width of the closet. 

Once the brackets are secured, place the 1x8's on top and screw them into the 1x4's using wood screws. 

Following placement of the shelves, I went ahead and painted them white using some leftover paint. 

Next, I knew I wanted to do something to add to the "pretty" of this project. Being that I wanted to stencil somewhere in my house, I thought the closet would be great practice:) After searching some stenciling choices online, I came across this great free stencil template.  Yes, free! So of course I had to try it. 

I printed this template out, traced it on cardboard a got to work tracing it on my closet interior. I am going to spare you guys the lengthy step by step of stenciling. For a more detailed tutorial on stenciling, click here.

Stenciling is a very tedious and boring process, and took about 3 hours total, including the tracing and painting.  I split it over 2 evenings. But, I love the end result and definitely plan to incorporate more stenciling somewhere else in my home:)

Its so pretty! Too bad it's covered with coats!

Next, I added some storage boxes that I purchased from TJ Maxx, and affixed some chalkboard labels on them using hot glue. The chalkboard labels were spray painted using Kryolin Chalkboard Spray Paint and raw wood pieces purchased from Hobby Lobby. Super easy. The boxes hold our "stuff."

We then put the coats back into the closet, along with my husband's work boots, my rain boots, and other shoes that we use in the backyard, etc. We also added some additional storage to the bottom and over the door hooks for scarves, hats, or my purse. 

Thats pretty much it. I am so happy that I took the time to take on this closet. It was much needed. It also allows me to check out TWO things on my 30 by 30 list...woo hoo! Here she is again in all her glory.

All in all, this project cost me about $50, with the purchase of the storage containers, 1x4 and 1x8 from The Home Depot. Everything else I had on hand, and of course the stencil was a free printable. 

Do you have any closets in your home in need of some TLC? What are some of the ways that you keep your closets organized? Please share! I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for stopping by!
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The Hostess With the Mostess {Thanksgiving Tablescapes & Decor}

Thanksgiving is just one short week away, and for those of you who may be entertaining,what better way to showcase your hostess with the mostess skills than to create the perfect tablescape and/or decor.

While, we may not be hosting Thanksgiving this year at our home (ummm, lack of dining room chairs), I am still gaining inspiration and in awe of some of these beautiful tables and easy DIY decor ideas. These photos are examples that tablescapes and decor can be fun, yet pretty and inviting.

Check out some of my favs:

I love the infusion of autumn colors in a metallic and modern way. The large candles help to make the table feel super cozy and intimate.

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Just because you are setting a kids table, it can still be fun and cute. Check out this table with a drawn placemat on paper that kids can feel free to mark up with crayons on colored markers.
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How about infusing nature with decor. This table is showcasing beautiful warm candles, Fall leaves and acorns, topped with Fall florals. You can use real or fake flowers. Hobby Lobby is the perfect place for fake florals at a deeply discounted price.

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Looking for something more simple? How about just some spray painted pumpkins that match your personal decor, along with decorative balls on a tray, in a bowl, or even a glass hurricane. Or what about a simple white plate, a colorful linen napkin and simple tablecards for your guests. Very simple and inexpensive.

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Tables decorating not your thing? How about a mantle, or floating shelf? You can bring the spirit of thanfkful into your home in so many ways. Don't have a floating shelf? Read my post on how to create your own!

Or how about this super cute and easy Thanksgiving banner. I didn't create it, but one of my favorite bloggers did. Here is the tutorial.

As you can see, with a little creativity, ambiance, and the perfect infusion of functionality and style, anyone can put on the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Oh yeah, and I guess you need the good  food too:)

Happy early Thanksgiving to everyone!