Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Minimize a Long Face

We all are born with a specific face shape. The first step is to find your face shape with this ehow.com article. I don't even need to do the measurements. I know mine is long. If you have an (ob)long face too, here are some fashion tips that I learned (30 years too late) to minimize it. 
These make the face look shorter.
And like you're wearing caterpillars.

1. Eyebrows: Keep eyebrows parallel to the ground. Arches are not your friend.

These just make the face look longer.

2. Hair: Have your hair cut to add bulk to the sides of your face. Wear bangs to the side. The worst look for this face type is parting hair straight in the middle and wearing it straight down. The other worst look is a mullet.
Why I've always wanted curly hair.
It really rounds out the face.

My high school yearbook picture.

3. Clothing: Wear tops that come to or up your neck. Think high-collared blouses, turtlenecks, and halter tops. Also, V-neck shirts that only have a thin V can look good. Don't wear crew necks.

4. Glasses: Stick with straight lines for the top edge of your glasses. This is the same principle as the eyebrows. Round frames look bad.

5. Makeup: Wear blush on your cheeks. Aside from giving a little color to your face, blush add another horizontal element to your face.

Follow these tips and you're on your way to getting rid of that noticeable long face. Adding a smile never hurts either. This Works for Me!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

My husband goes We go through a lot of hand soap. I keep trying to buy bulk refills that are free of triclosan and sodium laurel sulfate. It can be done, but they're pretty expensive. Luckily, I found an online recipe for making my own. Here's all you need:

1 empty foaming dispenser
1 tsp. glycerin
1/4 c. liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's almond)
~ 1 c. water (or fill to the top)

Add everything to the dispenser. Tada! You can find vegetable glycerin at health food stores or online at vitacost.com, my new source for green products. I've found Dr. Bronner at health food stores and Target. The essential oils in the soap make it fragrant.

What does the family think?

Husband: I like your hippie hand soap. Keep making it!
Baby (aka the parrot): Hippie soap.

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

P.S. I will be ending this blog on June 30, 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

12 Steps to a Great Multi-Family Garage Sale

I had a brilliant idea a few weeks ago. Hold a garage sale. In my garage. When it's going to be freezing and snowing/raining. I invited a few other people to join me in the freeze-a-thon, which is what it turned into, aside from making us some cold, hard cash. Here are some helpful hints I learned from my very first yard sale.

1. Check the weather. People will still come if it's nasty cold, but it helps with nice weather. I'm thinking our nice weather might turn up as one nice week in July this year.
If these sweaters weren't so small, I would have bought them
all and layered them on for sheer warmth.

2. Make it a party. Invite people that you like or that are willing to sell their junk with you. It's much more fun talking with people you like during the slow times. I also had the privilege of helping some ladies who don't live in convenient places be able to reach a larger audience. Don't forget to invite your neighbors! Most of my neighbors came over and said, "I wish I'd known you were having a sale. I wanted to have one too." 

3. Split up the work. Make it very clear when people are working their shifts, when people should bring their stuff, and when they should pick it up if it doesn't sell. I had about 500 plastic bags I'd been saving and another girl had 10 tables. Have someone get the change for the sale too!

4. Assign tag colors. Since K-Mart only had a few options for yard sale stickers, I bought a couple of packages with 3 colors in them and gave everyone a color. We split the cost of the stickers and it was very clear whose items were whose. If you want to use the same colors, you can write your initals on the tag.

5. Advertise well. With multiple people, the cost of a newspaper ad (however primitive-seeming) doesn't cost much. We bought the yard sale package (3 days, 4 lines, with stickers and 2 signs) for $17 and divvied it up. I posted a free ad on Craigslist the day before the sale and then put up signs on the main highway the morning of the sale.

6. Don't forget to advertise and bring big ticket items. We had info about a Bowflex and ice axe (it could still be yours!) hanging up and a 1963 Ford Falcon parked in the front of my house, all for sale. If you don't want to budge on a large (or small item), write FIRM on the price tag. If you are willing to negotiate, tell the people on that shift how low you'll go.

7. Don't open the garage until you're ready. You may never get it back down again, even though things are obviously NOT set up and are scattered helter-skelter around a garage that needs to be swept. Do as I say, not as I do.
Don't you just want to decorate your home with this cute sign?
8. Organize your stuff. Even though we lagged behind our customers, I had printed category signs off my computer the night before. We eventually hung them up. Some people said it was the most organized sale they'd ever seen. (I filed that compliment away immediately, as we should all do.)

It may look like the orange stickers were few and far between,
but I commanded high prices.
9. Create a pay tally. I took a simple piece of paper, drew some lines on it, and stuck the stickers under each person's name as the items sold. It helped to put the stickers on my hand so I could add them together before I stuck them to the page. If a sticker wouldn't come off an item, I just wrote down the amount on the person's column.

10. Offer something free. I couldn't sell baked goods in good conscience because it's not legal here (I called and asked), but I could give away free cookies. Some people took one, or two, or three.... We also had lots of free items ranging from empty egg cartons to my old dish strainer. (Seriously, who would want that?)

11. On the other hand, charge something. We had a fairly nice foosball table that one girl wanted to get rid of. (She undercut us with her prices.) She put "FREE" on it, but it wasn't moving. Since she wasn't there, I decided to put a $5 tag on it. It sold in 5 minutes.

12. Get rid of the leftover junk. We have lots of local places that take donations, but don't forget to try a flea market for neat finds, kid (and grownup) consignment stores for clothes, and used bookstores for book credit.

Multi-family sales Work for Me! What's your best garage sale tip?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

5 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. This post is for everyone who thinks that poetry

A) has to be written by introspective, dead people
B) has to rhyme, or
C) is only for people under the age of 12.

Poetry can be written by anyone, about anything. It can rhyme, but it doesn't have to. Most poetry does, however, address something about what it means to be a human, including emotions. Here are five fun ways to get you (and your kids) celebrating.

1. Book Spine Poetry: Arrange books you already have in your house to make a poem. (Here are mine, but check these out too.)
Very serious.

I got this one to rhyme!

I love children's books.
2. Word Clusters: Take 4 words and write a poem out of them. You can mix up the order and add other words too. For instance, I used green, table, rock, and sorrow. (Or make up your own four words and write a poem.)

Moss grows thick on sun-baked rocks,
Which squirrels use as dinner tables.
Sorrow (that blue monstrosity) cannot settle here -
The green moss beat her to it.

3. Ransom Note Poetry: Cut out words of a published poem (or any written piece really). Rearrange them to form a poem. Tape them to a clean sheet of paper. (It helps to enlarge the type before you print out the poem. You also don't have to use every word.)

I used words from "There is another sky" by Emily Dickinson.
4. Sidewalk Chalk Poem: Pick a short poem to write on your driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. Here is a link with lots of poems you could use.

5. I Love You Because...: Write a short poem about someone you love. It can be romantic or silly.

For Baby
I love your smile
I love your teeth
And when you brush them
They smell sweet.

But if you don't
They'll start to rot.
So love the smile
And teeth you've got.

Visit Works for Me Wednesday for lots of fun tips.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easy Truffles and Toppings

From left: red velvet cake truffle, chocolate ganache with
chocolate topping and butterfly, chocolate ganache
rolled in cocoa powder
I've posted before about making truffles, but I just made them again with a friend and they are too easy not to share.

Chocolate Ganache Truffles
{chocolate to cream ratio is 1:1}
Chop good quality chocolate and put in bowl.
Heat heavy cream in saucepan until just simmering.
Pour cream over the chocolate. Wait 5 minutes.
Stir until chocolate has melted.
Cool in fridge for a couple of hours.
Shape into truffles by hand.
Coat with other melted chocolate or cocoa powder.

Red Velvet Cake Truffles
Mix one cooked and cooled red velvet cake with  2 c. cream cheese frosting.
Shape into balls.
Dip into melted white chocolate.
Add sprinkles liberally.

Chocolate Butterflies
Melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and stir until smooth.
Spoon melted chocolate in parchment paper tubes or a piping bag with small tip.
Pipe out beautiful designs onto wax paper. It helps to make wings separately.
Allow chocolate to dry, then peel them off.
Secure to truffles with more melted chocolate.
{tip: make your designs somewhat thick so they don't break off, like my poor wing did}

This post is being linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Mom's Crazy Cooking (This Week's Cravings).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grandma's Zesty Snack Mix

Some of you may not think that Grandma and zesty belong in the same sentence, much less the same blog title. But for my grandma, it's totally appropriate. She's a spunky kind of gal, who wears Airwalks with skulls and crossbones. (She thought they were turtles.) She also makes a huge batch of this snack mix before Christmas. I was able to make it this year before I was bedridden with food poisoning (not from snack mix though). If you're not feeding a crowd, half the recipe. Store it in large, airtight containers or give everyone their own plastic zipping bags. This will reduce arguments.

Zesty Snack Mix
(Yields 12 quarts)
In a large bowl (or in 2 big, greased aluminum baking pans), mix:
11 c. Cheerios
8 c. Chex (rice, corn, wheat, or a mix)
6 c. Shredded Wheat (or more Chex)
10 oz. Fritos
8 oz. salted peanuts
8 oz. pretzels
7 oz. sesame snack sticks*
7 oz. shoestring potato sticks
In a saucepan over low heat, melt 1 pound butter.
3 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. garlic salt
Stir until dissolved. Pour over the cereal mixture and stir to coat. Place in large, greased roasting pans. Bake, uncovered, at 250° for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

*These are getting harder to find. Store-bought breadsticks are a nice substitute.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First Annual Picky Person Gift-Giving Guide

Hopefully, you've started your Christmas shopping and taken advantage of some of the deals that were offered over the weekend. If not, I've racked my brain for the best gifts I can think of for the special (read: picky) people in your life. I have not listed any gift certificates, but I have included a few gifts you shouldn't give.

For the Lifelong Learner
An audio or DVD course from The Great Courses. Although the original prices are expensive, I've seen quite a few of the courses in the catalogs I get (almost daily) on sale for under $30. They're a great way to maximize the time someone spends commuting or doing housework. My husband's listening to one about critical decision making and I would be listening to one about writing great sentences if my car's CD player wasn't broken.

For the Pregnant Woman
Massages are actually
the perfect gifts for everyone.
Two words: pregnancy massage. Make sure that they specifically offer pregnancy massages. Some places might not have the special table. Pass on: Jumbo T-shirts that have phrases like "Bun in the Oven." Ghastly!

For the Bookworm
If you don't know what kinds of books they like, give some interesting bookends. I literally had no idea so many bookends existed. If you're handy, make them more bookshelves. (Because I assume we're not the only people with that problem.) Pass on: Gadgets for a Nook or similar reading device, unless they have expressed interest in such device. Personally, I'm a fan of paper.

For the Classy, Professional Man
You can't go wrong with a Cross pen. In fact, that's what my husband wants. (But a very specific Cross pen. You may want to ask first. We are talking about picky people here.)

For the Young Person Just Out on His/Her Own
Fill a food basket for the young guy/gal in your life. Include a cookbook, the ingredients to make a recipe from the cookbook, and a few kitchen utensils they might need.

For the Kid Who Has Everything
A magazine subscription! I enjoy Family Fun, but there's also the Cricket family of magazines for the more literary types and all kinds of other children's magazines out there. (I know because they've all rejected me recently.)

For the Person Always on the Go
This is a gift my dad gave my family two Christmases ago. He gave us each $25 with the stipulation that we had to spend it doing an activity together. My husband and I took him to lunch and then to a family fun center so we could play mini-golf, go go-kart racing, and hit some balls at the batting cages. It was a fun memory.

For the Mom Who Refuses to Spend Money on Herself
She says she'll feel guilty getting anything, but she would secretly love receiving a trendy purse or purse/diaper bag combo. Also, she'd love anything homemade from her kids or if her car's CD player was magically fixed. (hint, hint) Pass on: Actually listening to her and getting her nothing.

For Someone Who's Passed on (whom you want to honor)
Purchase something from the Samaritan's Purse or World Vision catalogs. They'll send you a card in memory of that person that you can share with people who still remember that person fondly.

Visit Works for Me Wednesday for more Christmas gift-giving ideas.

[Disclosure: I get absolutely nothing from recommending these specific products than the peace of mind that you've found the perfect gift for that picky person.]