Friday Wrap: Mashup

Hey, and happy Friday!

This post is a mashup of things I discovered this week that were both timely and downright appreciated. Maybe they’ll suit your fancy, as well?!

Blogged while sippin’ on Sassy Water.

{ONE} Lovely Labels


These labels were created by the stylish gals over at Eleven Magnolia Lane. I love using natural products, and these labels take the cake when it comes to adding just the right amount of style to plain ‘ol spray bottles. Here’s a PDF you can download and print yourself.

And there’s more…

This discovery inspired me to design a label for my natural bug repellent. I keep bottles of this on hand during bug season, which is already upon us here in Northwest Arkansas.

Bug Repellent Label

Download my bug spray recipe and free printable label here. And feel free to share!

{TWO} End of the Year Teacher Gifts

chocolate gift wrap

And just like that we’re at the end of another school year. One of the things we’ve learned is that Avery’s teacher is a big fan of chocolate. So when I saw this chocolately end of the year gift idea, I was sold.

We filled a gift bag with chocolates and attached Avery’s personal note with satin ribbon. I thought the gold polka dot tissue was the perfect way to top off the treats inside.


These are a few of the chocolates we tucked inside our gift bag. Mmmm.

The original idea came from a fellow blogger over at Kenarry, Ideas for the Home. She offers a free printable along with other neat stuff. You should check her out!

{THREE} Pretty Nails

cute toes

Look at those sweet feet! <3

The twins have a friend who is moving to Colorado this weekend. They’re super bummed about it. To keep things on the happy side, one mom organized a girls’ night out complete with pedicures, dinner at Olive Garden and cupcakes from Bliss!

I think the pedis were the biggest treat of the night, though. When the girls came home, they wanted to paint their fingernails to complete the look. We weren’t able to replicate the professionally painted flowers on their toes. Buuuuut, I did find some fancy-pants nail art tools to help paint matching polka dots.

nail supplies

This is a Sally Hansen nail art kit I scored at CVS Pharmacy. Below is the outcome of our nail art!

polka dot nails{FOUR} Garden Markers

garden markers

I found a pack of chalkboard sticks for $2.99 at Hob Lob and decided to turn them in to garden markers. I used a chalk marker – hoping it will hold up better in the elements than regular ol’ chalk.

garden markers in the garden

Here’s what they look like in the garden. Didn’t they turn out kinda cute? Speaking of cute, if you missed the girls’ fairy garden in yesterday’s post, be sure to check that out, too.

{FIVE} Start Where You Are – The Journal

Start Where You Are happiness exercise

Remember when I posted about this book a few weeks ago? Well, each time I pick it up I feel like it’s a shovel digging up buried dreams and a treasures I didn’t even realize I had within.

Each spread features a beautifully illustrated quote one one page and a writing prompt on the other. The quote shown is by Roald Dahl: “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

Yes, you will. And here’s today’s question…

What are three thoughts that made you smile today?

  1. It’s Friday already.
  2. My husband gives the best bear hugs.
  3. I get to see fun friends tonight.

What’s on your mind that makes you smile? Do tell. And have a killer weekend while you’re at it!




The Diary of a Real Housewife



A Front Yard Fairy Garden

My girls have been wanting to create a mini fairy garden for quite some time. We finally pulled it all together this week, so I thought it would be fun to share.

Here’s the garden – for now! We keep wanting to add things as we go.

fairy garden

Let’s take you back to the start.

After looking through pin after pin of adorable and quite elaborate fairy gardens, we decided to keep it simple and go with a large saucer as our base. We filled it with potting soil so it was ready to plant and decorate!

saucer with supplies

Below is a birds-eye view so you can see a few of the plants and fairy treats we planned to use.

top view of supplies

A plant tip

Think small in terms of your plants. Don’t use things that will grow too tall – like herbs. As much as I wanted to fill this thing with flowering thyme, I knew it would take over in just a few short weeks. For one, I used succulents, which are great for this kind of thing.


We’ll get to that fairy hut in a moment. Let’s keep talking about plants for just a quick sec.

In the next picture, you can see I also chose Creeping Jenny, which is a darling ground cover with tiny leaves. The girls and I think the fairies like to hide in these trailing vines.

Creeping Jenny will do just what it says – creep along the ground. But it’s easy to cut back or even divide and replant somewhere else in the garden, if needed.

creepy jenny

A few things you’ve probably noticed are the “flying” ladybugs and wood chip stepping stones. Those all came from Hobby Lobby! They have a small section of miniature garden supplies under the brand of My Garden Friends. <3

Some cute things you’ll find from My Garden Friends.

red mushrooms ladybug picks wooden chairs

I actually bought our mini trellis and furniture from a garden store many years ago. They were stashed away with my gardening tools. I was a happy camper to uncover them for our project.


Now, our fairies were from Hobby Lobby. That was something we didn’t already have, and is a must-have item. Right?

Something to keep in mind if you have birthday parties coming up: these make awesome presents.

You could package up a fairy garden kit as a gift!

Our kids gave a package of fairies to our Mimi for Mother’s Day. As many of you know, she’s a master gardener. We thought this was a perfect gift and addition to her lovely garden. I’ll take a picture of where her fairies landed when I visit next!!

Now, are you ready for the fairy hut?! The secret supply, IMO, is this moss-on-a-roll. It’s genius.

supplies for fairy hut

It is incredibly easy to unroll and hot-glue to any surface. It has a mesh backing that holds the moss together.

All I did was buy an inexpensive plastic plant liner and glued strips of moss to the outer edge. We also cut an opening so the fairies could easily crawl inside for a cozy rest.

more supplies for fairy hut

That’s pretty much the grand tour of our mini garden. Here’s another angle of the finished project so you can see all of the pieces in place.

top view

And here’s what it looks like tucked in our front garden.

in the garden

Big note here…the reason it’s in the front is because Puppy Leo has suddenly decided he wants to dig holes to China in our backyard AND eat anything he sees that’s new or interesting in the garden.

I wasn’t about to risk putting the girls’ project back there and have it torn apart or eaten. So, in the front yard it went. Now all of our friends and neighbors can enjoy it, too. That’s a plus.

We’re off to watch our garden grow and fairies fly.

Have a sunny, fun day.



What to Say to a Graduate

If there’s a new graduate in your life, you’re about to celebrate someone who has just spent the last four years working hard, learning, exploring, questioning, and growing. Yes, they may have made some stupid mistakes along the way, but that’s part of life’s education.

They’ve made it this far, and they deserve some words of praise and encouragement.

Here’s a list of quotes if you want to say something more personal than “congrats, man!”

Also, some of these would make nice gifts on their own.

And lastly, to all of the graduates out there, here’s my personal message to you…

I can’t wait to see how you’ll change the world!



Friday Wrap: Things I Love Right Now

Other than my kind, adorable, funny and sometimes crazy family, which I fell in love with long before this week, here are a few things on my Love List:

{ONE} Embroidered tea towel from Mimi

embroidered towel

My mom gave this to me on Mother’s Day, and I was so touched by this gift. I can just picture her sitting in her floral armchair under the light of a soft table lamp stitching each and every inch of this design. Needless to say, this has taken center stage on the oven handle in my kitchen. And I have already given the “please don’t use this for wiping pizza sauce or grape juice off your fingers” talk to the kids. This one is special!!

{TWO} New cleansers


I had the pleasure of attending the Bentonville Film Festival (#BFF) last week. The mission of this festival is to shine a light on the need for diversity in the film industry. Geena Davis and her foundation for women in film is a strong force behind it all, which led to several women-oriented brands being sponsors of the event. All of that to say, there were tons of free samples being handed out by these sponsors, and I was able to enjoy many of them.

I fell in love with these two items: cleansing oil from Burt’s Bees and makeup brush cleaning cloths from Eco Tools.

The oil is light, smells awesome, and lifts makeup right off your face. I have acne-prone skin (sad face) so I was a little afraid to try this. But I haven’t had any issues with this product so far. Promise. (back to happy).

I have a small confession on the brush wipes. I hardly ever remember to clean my makeup brushes. I know, that doesn’t help my complexion, but who thinks to do this and when is there time? I don’t want wet brushes when I’m frantically getting ready in the morning. Anyway, these wipes might be my thing. They’re like little baby wipes for your brushes and they clean really well. I have already used them twice this week and am starting to feel better about the whole brush situation.

{THREE} Linen and room spray

linen and room spray

This, my friends, is the number one secret ingredient to making a 13-yr old boy’s room smell better. In fact, it smells quite “handsome”. Not to be confused with “pretty” or “nice” or “lovely”. I’ve quickly learned those words hold no cool points and therefore shall not be used as adjectives linked directly or even indirectly toward boys – especially teen ones.

Anyway, this particular fragrance is called Basil Blue Sage and really is great for the whole house. I’ve sprayed the bathrooms, the sheets, the towels, the closets with stinky shoes, the laundry room, and even the dog. Oopsie.

{FOUR} Wasp repellent

IMG_0706Okay, you’re gonna wanna remember this one…

I just learned that peppermint oil keeps mean, nasty wasps at bay. I’m here to tell you (without any stings) that it works. Put a few drops of oil (not peppermint flavoring, but oil) into a spray bottle of water. Shake and spray away. It will not only repel wasps, because apparently they dislike the smell, but also kill active wasps and their eggs when you spray the nest.

I sprayed a “live one” that was sitting on the window ledge. It started flying right at me, so I kept spraying as fast as I could until my finger cramped up. To my relief, he dropped mid air…because it worked.

{FIVE} Guitar pickin’

evan and guitar

This picture makes me happy. Looks like Leo loves the guitar, too.

Guitar music is my chill pill, so when Evan showed interest in learning how to play, I was all. about. it. The guitar was actually purchased for the girls last Christmas, but after the first blister on their finger, it was downhill from there. Evan recently claimed it as his, and I honestly don’t care who sits behind it. I’m pumped it’s getting some play time and that Evan wants to not only learn, but also teach himself. His first personal assignment is to learn the theme song from Harry Potter, and he’s well on his way. Here’s to many backyard concerts in our future!

What are you loving these days? I bet there are tons of new ideas in the link ups below. Be sure to check them out AND have a fantastic Friday the 13th (filled with nothing but luck.)




The Diary of a Real Housewife



Gifts that Graduates will Love

Welcome to graduation season!

I have the honor of celebrating three college graduations in my family this season. Two of my nieces and my one-and-only rock star nephew are receiving their diplomas. I actually have another niece who graduated in December, so it has definitely been the year of commencements around here.

I’m so stinkin’ proud of each of them and am excited for what’s ahead in their lives. So I wanted to make their gifts special. As I was brainstorming ideas, I decided anything from the three categories below would be appreciated and appropriate for someone stepping out on their own and launching a successful career.

{ONE} Be practical.


Any graduate would simply love a stack of cash. After all, they know what they need better than anyone. This is probably the most practical gift you could ever give. If it feels too impersonal or boring, you can personalize the gift with a heartfelt, handwritten note and a creative wrap.

Gift cards can fall into this category, as well. One way to personalize a gift card is to get it from a place that’s meaningful. For example, pick a nice clothing store and include a note about wanting to help buy their first interview outfit.

If you’re still not sold, keep reading…

Another practical idea is a beautiful day planner. This is actually my gift of choice for my nieces who love pretty things, journaling, and staying organized.

The Day Designer has a mid-year edition, which just went on sale, and is perfect for grads. This gives them a totally fresh start to their new lives. I mean, who doesn’t love opening a new planner?! What I love most about this particular planner is that it offers tips for goal setting and developing your personal vision and mission statement. Those are things you don’t learn in school but need to know as you plan to set the world on fire with your skills and dreams.

{TWO} Get sentimental.

This ruby ring belonged to my Mamaw. I connected to her not to mention super fancy any time I wear it.

This ruby ring belonged to my Mamaw. I feel connected to her (not to mention super fancy) any time I wear it.

If you have a special family item, such as a piece of jewelry or watch, now would be the time to pass it along. Graduations, weddings and births are three occasions where family treasures make perfect gifts. Be sure to include the backstory on the item. Write it down on a card and include it with the gift so the significance of the item is passed along, as well.

If you don’t have anything pass along – or if the graduate isn’t necessarily a family member – you can still give a gift that’s sentimental. Think about where they grew up. Is there something you could give that would always remind them of home? For instance, you could make a fun gift basket that includes local flavors and a “home” tee…

{order here}

The bonus about these tees is that 10% of your purchase goes toward MS research {order here}

{THREE} Add a personal touch.

This site has tons of personalized options.

This site has tons of personalized options.

Sending a personalized gift shows you not only care about that person, but also put a lot of thought into the present. For instance, if your graduate is going to be a teacher, you could give him or her a personalized tote bag or clipboard (like the one above) along with a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Another idea is to have their graduation announcement framed, so they can proudly display it in their first office.

What if you have a high school grad on your hands?

university gifts

High school graduates who are headed off to college love nothing more than a gift that’s adorned with their new school logo. I love shopping at Zazzle for this kind of thing.

You could go with one really nice gift or pick a smaller item from each category above. Either way, your thoughtfulness is sure to be cherished.

Happy shopping and congrats to all of the accomplished scholars out there. Here’s to being awesome!!



Friday Wrap: Self Care for Mama Bears

It’s a TGIF kind of Friday, my friends. I had every intention of whipping up a few additional posts this week, then life happened. My son came down with a cold, work was super busy, and I had a few routine checkups sprinkled into the schedule. It’s all turning out, it just tired me out.

As we gently ease into the weekend and prepare to celebrate our moms on this special Mother’s Day weekend, I think we should practice a little self care. Who’s with me?

Here are five things this Mama Bear plans to indulge in over the next 72 hours. And any of these would make lovely gifts for the mamas in your life, so hopefully this gives you a few ideas!

{ONE} Facial Teas

We know drinking herbal teas can help detox your body and skin, so it’s no surprise one of the latest beauty tricks is an herbal facial steam. All you have to do is boil a pot of water, drop in some loose tea, then put your face over the steam so the magic can happen. This process provides a deep cleansing of your pores, draws impurities, and leaves your skin with a soft glow. Um, yes, please.

I already have a few teas at home I could try, but this pretty jar or even this sampler would be quite the treat. Wink, wink, Brandon.

{TWO} Hand Yoga

Earlier in the week my niece, Mallory, shared a link about hand yoga. Have you ever? I was seriously fascinated by this whole process. I love yoga, but I have trouble getting to a class or rolling out my mat at home. I’m kind of like that e-card that says, “I did yoga today. And by yoga, I mean shaving my legs.” So when I saw I could do at least some yoga in the confines of a traffic light, carpool lane, or easy chair while sippin’ on my chardo-nay-nay, I was all in.

Here’s a quick pose to improve your energy. Give it a try!

The Pose: Touch the tips of your ring and pinky fingers to your thumb. Stretch the index and middle finger out straight.

The Meaning: Prana mudra is all about vitality and the life force. It helps you access dormant sources of energy and corners of your mind. If you’re feeling sluggish, this mudra can help you make mental connections and wake up.

I wonder what would happen if I did this while drinking coffee? I might be set for an entire week. Snaps to that.

PS. A way to give this as a gift is to print out a few poses on paper, tuck them into a pretty card, and package it up with some fancy hand creme, like this amazing tube from Anthro. It’s a fave. >>

{THREE} Epsom Bath Salt Soak

epsom salt

Did you know many women have a magnesium deficiency? I keep reading about all of the benefits of this mineral, which include relieving anxiety, PMS, headaches, and depression. It’s pretty astounding. To be sure you’re getting enough, you could increase your leafy green veggies, nuts and seeds – or take a vitamin. I also choose to soak in a tub of Epsom salt, which is a great source of magnesium, and it absorbs through your skin.

I found a large bag of Dr. Teal’s at Walgreens that includes lavender oil, which is basically an herbal lullaby. One warm tub with this salty mixture, and you’ll be sleeping like a baby. I poured some into a jar and put it my bathroom. (Yes, this would make a super easy and thoughtful gift for your mom!)

{FOUR} A Long Book Walkaudible logo

Taking a walk is one of the best forms of medicine for me – other than gardening or cleaning out my closets or getting hugs from my kids or eating Snickers. Apparently, it’s easy to medicate me. Regardless, walking is awesome. And I love strolling around our neighborhood with my headphones on listening to a juicy podcast or interesting book. (Remember the time I listened to Carry On Warrior and walk/laugh/cried every day for nearly a week? I looked flat-out crazy, but it was worth it for this life-changing book.)

I plan to do some major power walking this weekend, while listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest Big Magic. Have you read/listened to this, yet? If so, tell me what you think.

When it comes to audio books, I like using Audible. I think a subscription to this service would make a great Mother’s Day gift. You could even pair it with some bright-colored laces for her walking shoes. Snazzy!

{FIVE} Wardrobe Makeover

Y’all, this video is the best. It’s funny, and so spot on. I have vowed to try my best to remove these “items” from my wardrobe starting immediately. I hope you will, too. Share this with any of your mom friends this weekend, and they’ll love you for it. I’m just sure of it.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and the loving moms in your life.




The Diary of a Real Housewife