Holiday DIY: Goat Milk Lavender Soap

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Trying to come up with an easy gift to send to friends for the holidays? Homemade presents don’t have to be a struggle. Try this recipe and make some beautiful homemade lavender goat milk soap. It’s thoughtful, smells awesome and is a nice little way to appreciate some special people in your life.

Also, this is not going to be a DIY where you will have any room to fail. No pinterest fails here.

Start to finish in 20 min and will yield 12 bars of soap (if you use the same molds).

Ingredients: 

Instructions

Set up all your ingredients.

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Remove the casing from the goat milk base and cut it into smaller cubes. It does not have to be precise but the pieces should be of relatively similar sizes so that they melt easier.

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Put them all in a microwave safe measuring cup and melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until all pieces are completely melted through. If not all of the pieces fit the first time just repeat the process again for the rest of the soap base.img_5030

Now is the fun part! Add in your proportion of soap dye. I wanted a shade of lavender so I went with  10 drops of red and 10 drops of blue. Try out a few drops at a time and add in as you see fit. Once the color has been stirred in properly, now we can add the oil. It depends on how how strong of a scent you prefer but, I added 20 drops and my soap smells like lavender but is not overbearing.img_5051

Now it’s time to add the dried lavender. There’s not a right amount so just add in as you see fit! Stir it up and then you are ready to pour.img_5052

Pour into the soap mold and let it sit. That’s all, folks! Repeat for your second batch and your  stocking stuffers are ready to go.img_5060

Let them set for at least 5hours. Once they can easily pop out you can wrap em up or tie some sort of ribbon around them. I tried both. The first photo shows the soap with just ribbon and the one below is another idea I had.

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This recipe is a good base recipe. You can always get creative and change up the essential oil or the lavender to create a whole new variety. Some other ideas could be to use other things such as, dried flowers, oatmeal, etc. if you want to get creative. Enjoy!

 

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Crafting Valentine’s Cards

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I’m not sure how I feel about Valentines Day… on one hand, it pressures people to make out of the ordinary gestures to impress upon loved ones. But on the other hand, it gives us a day where we can reflect and truly appreciate the unconditional love that is given to us. Ideally, we should be doing a little bit this reflection everyday but it is tough especially when we get caught up in our routines.  So, even though I feel like Valentines day is a holiday for Hallmark to make money, it forces me to think about my loved ones and why they are special to me.

Not a huge fan of the consumeristic aspect of it all so this year, I have decided to make the process of Valentines card giving a little more personal by painting my own greeting cards. There will be no spending money on Papyrus cards and boxes of chocolates (I love both of those things by the way) !

Last year, I started learning a bit about watercoloring. It is a beautiful medium and is actually quite therapeutic for me. I took a few hours this weekend to sit down and create some originals that I would like to make into greeting cards for Valentines Day. Check out some of my brainstorming below 🙂

 

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I really regret adding script to this one :/

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Let me know what you think! I am hoping to come up with a few others ideas before making my final decisions for printing.

Love your loved ones! XO

Halloween Costume Roundup

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Halloween stresses me out. Not the night of but, just the lead up to the day. It seems that everyone gets worked up about the back-to-back halloween parties that they are attending and all the different costumes they are prepping for and I just want to eat candy. Though it is fun to dress up, buying and planning costumes is just not fun for me.

If you can relate, here are some costume ideas that require little time and effort. I still do not know what my costume will be so it’s likely that I will just put on all black and find some dollar store cat ears. But maybe my list will inspire me…we’ll see.

  1. Francophile — American apparel is extremely overpriced for basics but you can definitely put this outfit together with what you already own pretty easily!
  2. Little Red Riding Hood — you need a black dress and a red cloth for a cape!
  3. Rosie the Riveter — Super super easy. Denim and a bandana.
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  4. Dominos — this costume works well alone or with a group!

If you want some more ideas you can always search buzz feed or pinterest! Good luck to all those who struggle on Halloween costumes. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Money Matters: For Your 20’s

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For some folks financial intelligence is built in but, for me it is not. I am learning how to create a financially simple life for myself as I explore the world of adulthood. Throughout college I was completely dependent on my parents but I have just completed my first full year of financial independence. It was tricky to navigate my money matters but I feel proud that I did it successfully. Some things I have learned from my younger sister (who is much better at this stuff than I am) but I have also learned from my experiences over the last year. Here are some approachable tidbits of advice that I am sure can help most people starting out.

Disclaimer: I am no expert but, we all have to start somewhere!

Open an Investment Account
Opening a brokerage account is probably one of the more straightforward things you can do. I was intimidated and did not feel confident about investing but opening the account is the first step. Usually the minimum investment needed to open an account is $1000 but there are funds that have a smaller minimum. As for choosing a brokerage firm, there are plenty–but, a couple of popular ones are Vanguard and Charles Schwab. All of the sign-up process can be done online and in a matter of minutes. Once you open your account there are many online “how to” guides that you can browse. I’m sure they are helpful but, I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed. Instead I read, The Bogleheads Guide to Investing. This was a really great and extremely approachable book about how to allocate your money based on your age, background and goals. I would highly recommend at least skimming before investing your money.

Pay Off Loans, Debts and CC Statements
It seems that loans, debts and credit card statements haunt many people in their 20’s. If it’s a loan, set up a plan for yourself to pay things down in a set number of months. Make regular payments and a bit more!

Last year I bought a car and will be paying it off for at least another 3 years. In addition to my monthly payments, I am trying to pay a little bit extra off every year. To make it easier on myself, instead of pocketing my tax return, I put it towards my loan. It worked out nicely since the tax return felt like money that was already lost or spent but instead it helps me reduce my debt.

As for credit card bills–there are always mixed reviews about whether paying in full or partial helps with your credit score. In my opinion, you will build credit over time so don’t worry about building credit by paying partial statements. Pay cc bills in full–you do not want to spend the money you do not have!

Set Financial Targets
Budgeting and goal setting are things that I have the most trouble with but setting short term as well as long term goals is important to be financially healthy in the long run. Personally, I have created 6month, 1 year, 3 year and 5 year goals for myself. For example, my 6-month goal is to create an emergency savings fund and my 3 year goal is to have my car completely payed off. You can add in increments for whatever suits your personal finances but it is important to think beyond a couple of years. I met someone while traveling who told me that she and her husband saved up $100,000 over the course of a couple years solely to spend on a year long vacation abroad. Whatever it is you want to do or spend your money on whether its graduate school, buying a car, or getting married, it is easier to manage if you have planned your finances ahead of time.

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Ask for Money Back!
This is one of the easiest money savings tips! In the last year, I have had countless occasions where I have received money back by just asking for it. If you like shopping like I do, most stores do price adjustments. If you buy something full price always check back. Most of the time things goes on sale and you can get a refund for the difference. I had a similar experience when I was renewing my car insurance. I admit that it’s a little bit of a nuisance to call the insurance agent every 6 months but, the last time I called I got a $50 price reduction in my payment! The small savings will add up in the end so do your due diligence!

Hope these tips were helpful and approachable! Save on!

Wire Wrapped Earrings

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This is probably one of the simplest DIY projects you can try. It takes around 10 minutes and you will easily have a final product that you are happy with. These earrings are great to give as gifts since they are handmade and look professionally done.

Materials:

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Gold Wire (24 guage)
  • Earring Wires
  • 2 flat head beads
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I found all my materials at the Beadazzled store. Also shop at beadazzled.net

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Hold with pliers and twist wire upwards .25in

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Make a mini loop

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Continue wrapping until you cover about half the bead or as desired

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Cut off extra wire and tuck under

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Loop onto the earring wire. Make the other and you are done!