Faux Farmhouse Table | DIY Dining Room Table Makeover

DIY Faux Farmhouse Table. Watch me makeover my old table and chairs for less than $100 and create this beautiful, high gloss farmhouse table that is an absolute stunner. This project is extremely easy and requires zero power tools.

DIY Rustic Barn Mirror | Mirror Makeover | Urban Rustic For Less Than $10 | Save Vs Splurge

DIY Rustic Barn Mirror. My DIY tutorial to take any mirror and give it that distressed rustic barn look and feel. This whole project was less than $10 and you can use any colors that suit your decor.

DIY Chore Chart For Kids | Easy To Make | Kids Love | Responsibility And Rewards Family System 2018

DIY Chore Chart that you can create for only a few dollars. In this tutorial, I show you how to create a customizable chore chart to make running your home a lot easier for both you and your children. I have included links to the printable files that I created in this video that you may download for free if you want to use the same chores that I did. You may print them like this, or customize them in Cricut Maker to fit your chores. Enjoy!

How Do You Spend Your Time…All 168 Hours Per Week?

Ahh, it’s that time of year again, when my birthday is looming just around the corner. Now, I should lead by saying that I do not dread birthdays, I am actually just really grateful for them. That said, they do make me stop for a moment and take the pulse of my current life and check to see if adjustments need to be made.

It occurred to me while writing this that I have a very specific set of numbers that I keep in front of me at all times. It’s on my phone, on my pantry door and in every journal that I am working from. If I know you in real life and we have ever discussed time management, then you have likely been subjected to my explanation of these numbers.

It’s all about the 168 guys and gals. Wait, what? What the heck is 168? It’s the number of hours in every single week. I don’t care where you are on the globe, what month of the year that it is or anything else. We all have 168 hours per week as of 12:00 AM on every Sunday. There are exactly 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes per week, every week.

During everyone’s week, we all have commitments that we have to keep, friends to visit, jobs to work, meals to prepare, offices to commute to and so much more. The thing with time is that it is a constant in an ever changing world. If you know what you are working with, you can be much wiser with how you spend or invest your time. Time is one of those things where ignorance is not bliss.

The thing that I love about this system that I use is that you can adjust it to fit your lifestyle, but the fundamental tenants are the same for every single person. It’s just that some people spend more time doing certain things than others. So, let’s look at the numbers.

How Did You Get To 168 Hours?

24 Hours In A Day x 60 Minutes In Each Hour: 1,440 Minutes Per Day

1,440 Minutes Per Day x 7 Days In A Week: 10,080 Minutes Per Week

10,080 Minutes Per Week/60 Minutes In An Hour: 168 Hours Per Week

I break time down into seven categories; Resting, Working, Fitness, Food, Community,  Growth and Management. I am going to give you some examples of each and a general explanation about what belongs in each category.

What Are The Categories? 

Rest: This is the amount of time that you spend with your eyes shut, not responding to text messages, not playing on Facebook and just recharging your body and mind. Some people can get by on 6 hours, while others require up to 8. I personally have always felt best when I rest for 7 hours per night and my math below is based on 7 hours. It also includes any activities where you are not doing anything else, but resting and just generally vegging out. Things like watching a movie, watching youtube videos, getting a massage would all qualify. The point is that in this category, you are not doing anything for anyone but you. You are rebuilding, restoring and replenishing yourself. If you are doing something like reading a book that is meant to help you grow as a person (self help, business, etc) then that would go in the Growth category below. However, if you were reading Harry Potter just because you love to escape into fantasy, then you would put that here in the Rest category.

Work: This is anything that you do for a living, to try to grow your career, to look for work, to increase the value of your personal brand, to receive payment for services, etc. In other words, this is not spending time on hobbies. This is any and all time that you spend of professional development. If you are a student, then studying is your current job, so this is where you would put that time. The average work week in the United States, where I live, is 40 hours, but I use 42 hours in my math below, because I am accounting for that time when you are just getting to work or preparing to leave work. All of that time is being spent at work, so I include it in this category.

Fitness:  This is all of the time that you spend actually doing your workouts, logging your workouts, preparing for your workouts and stretching after your workouts. I include the time that it takes you to prepare for your workouts and keep track of them, along with your actual workouts, because any workout enthusiast knows that this can be several hours per week. This category does not include your time commuting to the gym, as you will see all of that included in the final category at the bottom.

Food: This is one where most people spend far too much time. Here in America, our whole culture seems to revolve around food. This, undoubtedly contributes to our obesity rate and a whole slew of other problems. Food is not meant to take over your life. Food is fuel. It is nothing more than that. We glorify food and turn it into our therapists and we indulge on cheeseburgers when we are sad or overly happy. We use it as comfort food to accomplish so many other things that food was never meant to do. I am not saying that food is not important, because it absolutely is. I am saying that understanding the role that food should play in your daily life can really help you to save a lot of time. Obviously, family gatherings and holidays are a whole different ball of wax, but we are talking about everyday life here. This category should include the amount of time that it takes you to prepare (as in microwave or heat up) your food and eat it. Assuming that we should eat roughly 5 times per day and that each of those meals should take roughly 30 minutes to warm and consume, that’s 2.5 hours per day. That is the logic for my math below. Conversely, if you only eat 3 times per day, but you go out for each meal, then use whatever numbers work for you.

Community:  This category should contain any and all time that you spend connecting with others (dogs, babies, neighbors, friends, children, etc). Being in community is healthy. It is not healthy for us to spend so much time at the gym or the office that we become isolated. That is unhealthy. However, like all things, if you do not make it a priority, it’s easy to allow this to happen, so plan for your community time and keep yourself emotionally and mentally well balanced. Some examples would include; time spent on Facebook, watching YouTube videos (to a point and especially if you are part of a YouTube community), church, volunteering, reading your children a bedtime story, visiting with friends and family and more.

Growth: This is one of the most straightforward categories that should be very easy to use. When I say growth, I am talking about personal growth. That can include learning a new language, taking up a new hobby, learning to cook a new meal, reading a book and so much more. Growing as human beings is something that is vastly underrated. When people stop growing, they become stagnant, bored, unsatisfied with life. It’s hard to force yourself out of your comfort zone, but the benefits are well documented. Learning something new can help sick people to feel an improvement in how the feel physically, help depressed people come out of a bad time and can keep your mind sharp and young.

Management: I think most people would probably call this ‘maintenance’ rather than ‘management’, but maintenance is just an unattractive word. It makes people think of unpleasant emotions, so I use the word Management, because that makes people feel empowered, as if they are in control. It’s your time. You are in control of it. This management category includes the sometimes wonderful and sometimes mundane tasks that are required by human beings to thrive in life. Some examples include; commuting to work, taking children to extra curricular activities, grocery shopping, meal prep, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, paying bills and so much more.

That should help to provide you with a pretty structured framework for what is happening to your time. If you think that you have something that doesn’t fit into one of these categories, please leave it in the comments below. For now, assuming that we have covered all of our basis, as I can fit all of my time spent into one of the categories above, let’s do some basic math.

How Much Time Should I Spend On Each Category? (My Current Personal Plan)

Rest: 34%: 57 Total Hours Per Week

Work: 25%: 42 Total Hours Per Week

Fitness: 7%: 12 Total Hours Per Week

Food: 11%: 19 Total Hours Per Week

Community: 6%: 10 Total Hours Per Week

Growth: 5%: 8 Total Hours Per Week

Maintenance: 12%: 20 Hours Per Week


100%: 168 Hours Total

The, the, that’s all folks! If you are like me, you will look at those numbers and think, “No way!” You will, can and should double check my math just so that you know that I am not pulling a fast one on you. Trust me, the numbers don’t lie. The first time I looked at this a few years back, I reran the numbers because I just couldn’t believe it.

These are the numbers that I currently run my personal schedule based upon. You may shift your numbers around any way that suits you. The point is to be aware of the time that you have so that you are more careful and intentional about how you spend or invest your time.

If you want to run the math, just take 168 and multiply by the category percentage that is listed above. That will help you to arrive at your own numbers too.

Have you ever met someone who seems to have more time than you. They don’t. They have just figured out that time is short, that’s it’s a commodity like anything else and that there is a limited supply, so they are more careful about what they do with their time.

Another important thing to look at is to consider a typical day using these numbers so that you can see that this is in fact how most of your days are spent. Let’s do that.

What Does A Typical Day Look Like? Starting From Midnight….

Rest (7 Hours)

Eat breakfast, workout, shower, get ready and commute to the office (2.5 Hours)

Work (8.5 Hours)

Commute Home, Prepare Your Dinner, Eat, Laundry, Dishes, Watch a Show, Etc (4 Hours)

Spend Focused Time With Children/Spouse or Call Or Visit A Friend (1.5 Hour)

Read A Book (30 Minutes)


24 Hours Total

Yup, that’s a wrap folks. Cut, print, check the gate, because it’s tomorrow. That’s what an average day looks like. In the example above, I pushed a lot of items together instead of separating them by category just so that you could get a general idea of how fast time goes in a day.

The example above is based on a typical work day, but here is the good news. On the weekends, you get an extra 16 hours in your days (Saturday and Sunday) to spend any way that you like, because you don’t have to go to work. If you are like me, you will see very quickly that if you are careful about how you spend your ‘free time’ then you can make more time for yourself during the work week. For example, if you get the laundry done, grocery shopping and meal prep done and pay all the bills during the weekend, then you will have extra time when Monday rolls around.

One of the biggest ways that you can save yourself time during the week is meal prep. You can save so much time and money by simply adopting the practice of preparing your meals in advance.

The whole point of this blog post was to showcase how quickly time slips away. It’s not sad. It’s just a fact. It’s life. You can’t create time, nor can you buy it, but if you are careful about how you spend it, you can leave yourself time to go back and get an advanced degree, take up a new hobby or whatever you like.

Final 3 Thoughts:

  1. You will notice that as you become more consistent about certain ways of spending your time, that other areas of your time will change as well. For example, if you become very consistent about your workout times, you will spend less time ‘socializing’ (read….drinking with your buddies), because you will value your results more than the constant repetition that is frequently associated with hanging out at bars and clubs.
  2. If you want to spend less time at work, you really need to focus on the Growth category. Figuring out ways to increase your revenue streams, will naturally mean you have to work less. Then, you may take that time and spend it on whatever you like.
  3. It’s important to make time for every single one of the categories above. It’s healthy and human to need human connection, to want to be fit and healthy, to continually grow as a person and to have a purpose to our work. You will find that so many of life’s problems could be solved by simply adjusting the way that you spend your time. Take the husband who works too much and never connects with his family and it ultimately ends in divorce. Take the fitness obsessed girl who never socializes because her whole life revolves around food and fitness and then she burns out one day, because she ‘misses her life’. Life is not meant to be stuffed into one of these categories. It’s meant to be diverse, fun, challenging, somewhat predictable and hopefully exciting because it’s filled with laughter and love.

 

Hey, by the way, if you know anyone who always says that they were doing this or that to kill time, please tell them that I will take their extra time if they do not want it. Thanks guys, your’e the best. 🙂

I hope you found this helpful. Make your own chart. Just go old school and grab a notebook and a pen and consider how you spend your time, where you are and where you want to be. Now that you have the numbers, it should be pretty easy to at least identify when you are overinvesting in one category and also to allocate your time to the categories that are important to you during this chapter of your life. I created a quick little PDF that you may download and print out use to get your own numbers.

Time Management Tracker By Raphaela Laurean

This is one of the greatest life secrets that I have ever learned and I hope that it connects with you in a meaningful way. Thanks for spending some time with me. See you around the blogosphere.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

 

 

5 Must See Fall Shoe Hacks

Hey guys. As I was preparing my shoes for all and winter, I decided to film this to share some of the tips and tricks that I use to protect my shoe collection, year after year. NO, I was not sponsored by Kiwi in any way, and these are just my personal recommendations based on the products which I have found to work the best over time.

Of course, most of these items are available at WalMart and other retailers, but frequently they sell out during this time of the year, so I am listing links below to the same or as close as I could find to what I used. Hope this helps. Enjoy, Share and Subscribe! Thanks Guys.

1st Hack: How To Store Boots, Restore Suede and Faux Suede

-*Pool Noodle: http://amzn.to/2dPn9nh
(Found these after filming the video, because I could no longer locate them at local Dollar Stores, etc. I ordered this exact set.)

-*Nap Brush: http://amzn.to/2dbW8LK

-*Eraser Bar: http://amzn.to/2dbWr9m

-*Protectant Spray: http://amzn.to/2e6ZzQz
(This link is for a two-bottle set, as that is how much I ended up using for two coats on all of my shoes).

-*Chinese Laundry Knee Boot: http://amzn.to/2edMMLw
(This is the exact boot shown in the video.)

2nd Hack: Remove Cloudiness On Hunter Rain Boots

-*Coconut Oil: http://amzn.to/2dPn03n

-*Shine Buffing Brush: http://amzn.to/2dp8yyr

-*Hunter Boots: http://amzn.to/2e77LjP
(This is the exact boot shown in the video.)

3rd Hack: Ombre Boot Polish

-*Shoe Polish Kit: http://amzn.to/2dPpHSp
(This little kit comes with black and brown polish, applicators, shine cloth and buffing brush. It is the one that I own.)

-*Shoe Conditioning Polish: http://amzn.to/2dphxQ1

-*Boot was purchased a long time ago. Unavailable. It did have a slightly darker tip and rear at the time of purchase.)

4th Hack: Stippling Nubuck on Faux or Real Leather:
http://amzn.to/2dPpHSp
(This little kit comes with black and brown polish, applicators, shine cloth and buffing brush. It is the one that I own. It is the same kit used in Hack #3.)

-*Black Boot: http://amzn.to/2eaFFc5
(This is similar to the boots in the video. I purchased the boots in the video at least 5 years ago, so they are not available, but these are almost exactly the same. The boots linked above are suede, not nubuck. That is really the only difference.)

5th Hack: Restoring Patent Leather

-*Coconut Oil: http://amzn.to/2dPn03n

-*Cleaning Cloth: http://amzn.to/2eoybBQ
(This is the set that I own. I also use these towels when I use my steam cleaner around the house. They are great for everything!)

-*Windex-:Like Cleaner: http://amzn.to/2dc0m61

-*Red Heels: http://amzn.to/2efFs3d
(This is the exact boot shown in the video. These are the most comfortable heels I have ever owned. I want them in every color.)

My Secret Elf On The Shelf Addiction. Help, I Have A Problem

Hey Everyone,

Yes, it’s been like 35 years since I have written a blog post. Ok, not 35 years, but way too many months. If you follow my other social media channels, then you know that I post to them, and my YouTube channel almost daily. I really want to challenge myself to get back into blogging, because there is something about the written word that just reaches people and clarifies my soul like no Instagram post ever can.

I was posting my Elf on the Shelf ideas to my personal Facebook account, when a friend of mine (thanks Tracy) suggested that I should blog these ideas, because she had not seen anything like them before. If I may be so bold, she even used the word ‘Innovative’. 🙂

Anywho, it must be fate or something, because I have really been itching to blog lately, so here we go.

Let me start off by saying that up until about 2 weeks ago, I was (everybody hold onto their seats) genuinely irritated when I heard people talking about the whole Elf on the Shelf thing. Why? Simple. I am a bad person :-). Alright, no, that’s not true. It’s because I really didn’t understand what it was, and I kind of thought it was a little creepy.

Two weeks ago, as I was picking up my son from day care, he showed me his Elf at school, and asked when ours was going to arrive. Never one to take the last open seat on a bandwagon, I said, “Um, I will have to text Santa and find out.” After the kids went to bed that night, I looked up the general idea of the Elf kind of policing children for Santa, and by extension for me, and thought, “Yeah, I’ll give that a spin.” Oh, don’t judge, you know how this ends…with me spending $30 on a somewhat creepy little elf like millions of other parents.

I went to Walmart, then Target, to try to purchase this little North Pole Narc, and they genuinely laughed at me. They were like, “those things have BEEN sold out.” Ok, well, excuse me for not knowing that the freakin’ Elf was #trending. 🙂

Moving on. In comes my personal favy favorton Amazon.com. With the click of a button, my own little personal Elf was on it’s way from the North Pole…Ok, yes, I know it’s from the Birmingham, Alabama Amazon fulfillment center, but go with me here. We are dealing in suspended reality.

He arrives. The kids go through a slew of names from Stinky and Jingles, to Flake and finally circle the wagons back around to Chippy. Yeah, super original, I know. 🙂 Cut them a break, what they lacked in originality for naming our Elf, they make up for in creative ways to destroy their bedrooms, so I guess it all evens out.

The first night, I read them the story, and explained the rules, at which time I was promptly informed that, “Everybody knows that stuff mommy.” Oh, my bad for missing Elf 101 at the local community college. Geez, where’s the magic anymore?

After I put the kids to bed, I had two choices; 1. Hit up Pinterest for ideas. 2. Search my own brain for crazy stuff and see what falls out. Of course, you know I chose option 2, because I feel like I need to make everything in my life vastly more difficult than it actually needs to be :-).

The first night, I wasn’t feeling that adventurous yet, so I stuck him in the cookie display, and positioned him like he was holding a cookie and got stuck in there.

Night 1: Chippy Got Caught With More Than Just His Hand In The Cookie Jar.

Originality Score: I don’t really know, but I am assuming it’s somewhere near a 1, on a 1 to 10, 10 high scale.

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Elf In A Cookie Jar

The kids freaked out. They loved it. They were yelling at him about stealing their cookies, and laughing that he got caught. They of course overlooked the most obvious question…How Did That Elf Escape From His Packaging Without Mommy Touching Him? Ah, the magic that is Elf. 🙂

Night 2: Elves Need To Netflix and Chill Too

Originality Score: I think I was probably tickling like a 3 here, maybe.

Night two. I am starting to feel a little more like I can actually do this. I was studying while sitting on the couch, and I thought, man, I would really just love to Netflix and Chill right now. Then it hit me, Elves work hard too. Those little guys deserve to kick it on the couch in their fat pants too, and so this next idea was born. I staged him with an empty soda, and a half eaten popcorn bucket. I crushed up some Oreos and Cheese balls and sprinkled them around him. I added a remote for good measure, on account of it being somewhat difficult to Netflix and Chill without Netflix. Sure, he could have watched it on his iPad, but we decided to go old school, and use a real TV.

 

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This Elf Needs To Netflix and Chill

The kids were sold! This one really made them think this little guy was for real. The crumbs were the real hero of this set up, or as I like to call them, The Elf Question Closer. There was no doubt left for the kids, this little dude was up and about in our house while they were asleep. They said, “he must have been so tired from flying to the North Pole and back.” Yup, mommy win!

Night 3. Elf with OCD

Originality Score: I feel like this one pushed me over a solid 5. If not, please allow me to exist in my own delusion. Thank you very much. Hey, not everyone’s work is appreciated during their lifetime, ok?

So the kids had gone to bed. I was sooo tired that night. I was unplugging the Christmas Tree, you know, because I don’t want to burn my house down and all. Yes, I have a real tree…GASP! I digress. I accidentally knocked a candy cane off of the tree, (clutz) and it hit me like a 2 x 4 between the eyes. Let’s get Chippy to try to fix the broken candy canes. Oh yeah baby, it’s show time.

I go into the garage and grab every kind of glue that I can find; Elmer’s glue, glue gun, Shoe Goo, Gem Tac, yup that’s it. I fooled you with that last statement, huh? I made it sound like it would be like 20 different kinds of glue. Seriously, I was just using a little puffery. Maybe you should lower your standards a little. Who the heck has 20 different kinds of glue?

Aluminum foil in hand, I set Chippy up on the back of the glue gun and touched the gun to the cane. Of course, I had to break a few more candy canes to really sell it, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Whack! Sorry little candy canes, it’s all for the cause.

elfontheshelf, elfontheshelf2015, elf, ideas, fixing, candy, canes, ocd, hot, glue, funny, easy, creative,

Elf with OCD Fixing Candy

The kids were particularly fond of this one. They said, “Man, Santa must really get angry when the Elves break candy canes, huh?” I’m thinking, “You better hope so, or our little elf Chippy has a wicked bad case of OCD. Let it go Chippy, it’s a candy cane. You can buy a whole box for a dollar at Walmart.”

Night 4. Time to Get Shredded Little Dude

Originality Score: I am definitely somewhere near a 6 or 7, but not yet at Innovative.

Ok Elf, If you’re going to stay, then you gotta stop eating that garbage and get fit! We don’t play around about fitness in this house, and I think that Chippy the Elf was feeling like he may have overdone it on his cheat meal of Oreos and Cheeseballs. As I was getting my own gym bag packed for the next day, I thought that maybe Chippy could get in on my bodybuilding action.

He really went ham and decided to lift 200 marshpounds, but hey, Go Big or Go Back to the North Pole, right? I set him up with my Beats headphones, some BCAA powder and a polka dot straw with two large marshmallows. Side note; it is super frustrating when you are trying to complete your evil Elf plan and you can not find the Sharpie, again! Why kids? Why must you constantly take Mommy’s one marker, when you have an entire basket of crayons and markers? Ugggghhh. I showed them. I went into my daughter’s room and took one of her markers to finish this set up. Nanny, nanny boo boo. My marker! 🙂

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Elf Getting Shredded

The kids literally dragged me out of bed at 5:10 in the morning to show me that Chippy was messing around with my gym stuff. Some parents have golf clubs, dishes, or electronics that you don’t touch. I have BCAA’s, protein bars, and Beats headphones that are punishable by death. 🙂

They said, “Oh Mommy, since Chippy has your headphones, I guess you can’t go to the gym today.” My face went blank. How had I not considered this outcome? Don’t freak out. I’m freaking out. I calmly said, “It’s cool, mommy has another set of headphones in my gym bag, so I’ll just use those.” Translation, once you are buckled into the car, I will say that I forgot my lip gloss and make a mad dash to separate Chippy from MY headphones. Bad elf!

Last Night. Night 5: Twisted Elf With Weight Issues

Originality Score: This is the one that pushes me over a 9, and may even qualify as Innovative. Hey, relax, I said may.

Alright, as you can clearly see if you have read the post to this part, I may be a little too invested in this Elf situation. Pump your brakes their Judgemental Jenny, you may want to find a mirror, because you’re the one who read all of this. We may just be in this Elf thing together. 🙂

All of that said, when you are this far down the rabbit hole, who knows what you will find, so of course, I keep digging.

I have to attend an event next week, and I have to wear a dress that is very elegant, but in no way forgiving. Though I work out like a crazy person and am super careful what I eat, I think this dress is going to give me nightmares. I keep trying it on thinking that it will fit differently next week, and yet, same result. Hey Oreos and Red Wine, you’re up. I quit :-).

I decided to make the Elf the living embodiment of my struggle. I went to my daughter’s room to pull a dress off of one of her Barbies to complete the look. Sidebar for a second: Remember when dolls had dresses that came off? I had to go through 5 dolls to find one where the top of the dress wasn’t permanently affixed to her body. Who are we kidding here? What Barbie wants to wear the same dress, day in and day out. Who is making these dolls?????

Alas, I found one. My victim was to be none other than, Cinderalla. Naked doll in hand, I tossed her back in the bin and went looking for her shoes. Why can’t those things be glued on? Oh, there you are shoe, in the VERY LAST bin that I looked in. The Barbie Gods are against me, but I will prevail!

I grabbed my scale, an empty wine bottle (give me a break, who doesn’t keep empty wine bottles lying around their house), some Oreos, the shoes, and a tissue. I propped Chippy up, with his butt not able to fit in the dress. Let’s overlook for a moment that he was even trying to put a dress on in the first place :-).

He clearly tried to fit into the dress, which he could not (no comment), probably because of his Oreo and Cheeseball binge from the night before. Sure, blame it on the water weight Chippy. We feel you. He weighed himself, saw the nasty cold hard number staring back at him from the scale, and decided to cry himself to sleep after drinking wine and eating more Oreos. Yeah Chippy, that’s the way to solve that problem. You show those Oreos who’s boss!

#elfontheshelf, #elf, #elfontheshelf2015, #ideas,

Elf With Weight Issues

I snapped the picture of Chippy with the wine bottle for you guys, but I don’t think leaving that out for the littles would have won me the Mother of the Year award, so I did the responsible thing. I pitched it into the trash can with reckless abandon and almost woke up the kids. Way to go Mom!

The kids were laughing so hard at this in the morning. They were like, “Oh Chippy, you can’t fit it the dress because you ate too many Oreos little buddy.” I wasn’t sure that they would understand the set up, but they totally did.

Again, I was really not thinking ahead on this one, because I left him in the middle of the kitchen. Elf:2 Mom: 0. Now I have to tap dance around this Calorie Crime Scene until the kids go to bed tonight.

If you want to know what other crazy ideas that I come up with, I put these pictures on a Pinterest Board for you. I will add a new one each morning. I don’t promise that they will all be ‘innovative’, but I may have 4 or 5 more slam dunks rattling around up there.

I just wanted to say another thank you to Tracy for taking the time to not just click like, but to encourage me to get blogging again. I forgot how much fun this is. I am usually sitting here laughing while I am writing, and hope it brings a smile to your day.

Gratefully,

Raphaela

 

Do It Yourself ‘Kind’ Protein Bars? Yes please!

Homemade protein bars.

Yeah, yeah, I make words out of my food. It also happens to be super delicious. Homemade Kind-Like Protein Bars. #yummy

Hey Everyone,

When we went grocery shopping at our local Costco last month, we purchased a rather large box of Kind bars, because they are so tasty. I thought that the whole box was dark chocolate and sea salt, wrongo. I grabbed one the other morning on my way to a meeting. It was one of those dreary, rainy, cold New Orleans mornings where your breakfast is the only comfort that you have for this terrible weather. When I stopped at the red light, I unwrapped it. I took a sip of my warm coffee and thought, “Best combination ever-the dark chocolate, almonds, and coffee.” Then I lifted the kind bar to my mouth, took a bite, and ………..

It was like a slap in the face. I was betrayed by my own breakfast. What was this thing in my mouth? Where is the chocolate? Where are the chunks of sea salt bouncing off of the sweet honey and raw almonds? Yuck. I quickly turned that little wrapper over and there it was staring back at me, as if to say, “Read the box next time sunshine.” The label read Madagascar Vanilla Almond. I don’t care how fancy you make it sound, this protein bar was like having happy hour with your Tax Accountant….boring and unpleasant.

Needless to say, my tummy was growling during this meeting, because their was no way on God’s green earth that this thing was making a second run at my mouth. No way. Hello circular file. I will be donating the rest of these to my church, because they love to put out snacks on Sunday. Hopefully someone there does not have my discerning protein bar palette :-).

Anywho, onto the homemade protein bar journey. I did what any red blooded American with Pinterest would do, I created my own and took pictures. I originally made them for my husband and I, but while I was cutting one for him to take and try as breakfast, the kids asked to try. They freaked out! They each wanted their own. I knew that I had to share this immediately, because if you can get children to voluntarily eat, this is Breaking News! Here is the text from my hubby after he ate it while driving to work.

"Best protein bar I've ever had! Thx."

“Best protein bar I’ve ever had! Thx.”

Yup, my protein bars bring all the boys to the yard, because mine are better than yours. 🙂 Sorry, I got a little out of control there for a second. I am sure your protein bars are delicious too.

So here is the recipe;

Step 1: Grab a 5 x 9 cooking dish and spray with cooking spray.

Step 2: Mix all of these dry ingredients together.

-1/2 cup Oat Flour (I just took oatmeal and put it in the blender for a few seconds-voila oat powder)

-1/2 cup Quick Oats (not the regular kind, but the kind in the little packets or anything that cooks up super fast)

-1/2 cup Rice Krispies (I just used a box of chocolate rice krispies that the kids voted off the island last month. Haha, I win. I got them to eat it anyway. I am so sneaky 🙂 )

-1/2 cup Vanilla Protein Powder ( I personally have an obsession with BSN Vanilla Ice Cream protein powder, but anything works. If you want to use the same protein that I did, you can grab it here: http://amzn.to/1IiobhB)

**Optional, but I added:

-1/4 cup Pistachios (shells removed, unless you are trying to break your teeth)

-1/4 cup crushed Raw Almonds (take almonds, add to ziplock bag, think of someone who frustrates you, attack bag violently with hammer, rolling pin, your fists, whatever. Don’t judge me.)

Stir all of this together and set aside.

Dry DIY protein bar ingredients

Dry DIY protein bar ingredients

 

Step 3: In a small pot, gently melt;

-1/3 cup Raw Honey

-1/3 Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Step 4: Gently fold the honey, peanut butter, vanilla mixture into the dry ingredients.

Step 5: Press into the bottom of the pan. I mean really press it down, because this is how you guarantee that you are going to get that thick, dense, protein bar consistency.

*Step 6: Optional, but I did it. Melt dark chocolate squares in the microwave, roughly 1/3 cup, for 30 seconds at a time until it is smooth and creamy. Drizzle over bars, smooth with spoon, sprinkle with sea salt.

Step 7: Cover dish with wrap and refrigerate overnight.

DIY Protein Bars

DIY Protein Bar Cake Getting Ready to Chill

Step 8: Using a pizza cutter, cut flattened protein cake into 8 bars.

World's Most Awesome Protein Bars.

World’s Most Awesome Protein Bars.

Step 9: Bag individually and stick in the fridge. If you want the little bags that I used, get them here: http://amzn.to/1yw0Mcu. Dirt cheap 1000 bags for $16 with Amazon Prime.

Step 10: Grab on your way out the door in the morning, and know that you are freakin’ awesome! Seriously, you are awesome because you totally made your own breakfast bar, and there will be NO more surprises at the next traffic light when it hits your mouth.

I honestly can not express to you how delicious these are. You can mix up the ingredients and add anything that you want; cranberries, flax seed, anything you want. It’s your breakfast, so go crazy!

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. I would love to see your creations or hear what you think of this recipe when you try it. Enjoy!

XO

Raphaela

Homemade protein bars.

Wrap into little bags. Enjoy!

 

 

DIY Travel Mirror That Everyone Will Try To Steal From You! Adorable and Affordable.

Hey guys,

I wanted to take a moment to share my little DIY mirror idea with you. I love this mirror so much, and I use it all the time. Many of my friends have duplicated this idea, and they just love them. They are also fantastic gift ideas, because they are relatively inexpensive to make (roughly $25) and they are so unique. I just could not stand to be crammed into a bathroom while traveling to have access to a mirror during the holidays. For that reason, I decided to redesign the whole compact mirror idea, and it is just too cute not to share.

Total Cost for This DIY Mirror: $25 (Details Listed Just Below This)

Items Used in This Video:
You may use any mirror or case that you like, but I have had friends try to recreate this without knowing the measurements, and they ended up ordering items that don’t fit together, so here are the proper measurements below to make it easier for you.

Handheld mirror (9 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall-without the handle-just the mirror face and border)
*I looked on Amazon to see if I could find one here with the correct dimensions, and I don’t see one, so I would recommend just picking one up at WalMart or your local drugstore, because that is where I picked this one up a long time ago. Just make sure that you measure. It was roughly $7-10.

Ipad Case: (9.75 Wide by 7 1/2 Tall)
Available on Amazon for only $15.99 and it qualifies for free shipping. Also, they have a ton of colors to choose from, so go and pick the one that you love. I have given these away as gifts and people just LOVE them.: http://amzn.to/1BU2WlF

#diy #mirror #compact

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean

Cauliflower Pizza Trick. Must Try…

Hey everyone,

I wanted to share the link to the YouTube video that I just created for my new Cauliflower Pizza trick. If you love cauliflower pizza, but you do not like the long process of trying to get the water out of your cauliflower before turning it into Cauliflower Dough, then you have to see this. I tried this tool that I found for something else, and it works like a charm. Sorry about the sound and light in this video, but I was so excited about this discovery that I shot a video at night, which is a major lighting no-no :-).

Hope you find this as helpful as my family does.

To Your Health,

Raphaela

Mirror Mirror On The Wall..DIY Luxury Gold and White Mirror Redesign

DIY, To, Do, Tips, Mirror, Design

This is a fun and super quick project to change the way your mirror looks. Create Your Own DIY Luxury Mirror for Only $3.00.

We are finally just about settled in here in New Orleans. This city is absolutely amazing. You will never want for something to do if you live or visit here. That said, I have spent most of the last 8 weeks inside the walls of our home, not out of them. Am I a recluse? Um, survey says, No!

Then why would I do this? I am the kind of person that must settle my home after a move. I have this cathartic need to open every box, ask myself if I still need it and what I need it for. If I no longer need it in its current form, I try to repurpose it, or to redesign it. If that doesn’t work, I call the Salvation Army and make a sizeable donation.  They will pick up your stuff, so that you do not have to pack it all up and haul it over there. Check, that’s one less thing on my to do list :-).

I have been ‘designing’ things forever. As a result of being a military family, we move quite a bit, so I have a lot of practice. I know that I love to read about how other people repurpose or redesign things, but I definitely have my own wild and crazy design ideas. It just never really occurred to me that others would be interested in that. However, after seeing some of my projects, my mother in law suggested that I should be showing other people how to do this. So, I thought about that, then I bought a domain name, and now I am writing the first post for that new section of my blog ‘Girl Meets Tool’.

The mirror in this project survived my final round cuts of ‘Flip It or Skip It’ (this is the name that I have given this ‘sorting’ process every time we move). I have become absolutely obsessed with painting everything. There were so many items in our home that have been given a new personality with a simple touch of color. Seriously, the people at our local hardware store know me by name, so I think ‘obsessed’ is a fair word to describe how much time I have spent in their store building my paint and tool collection.

I have so many exciting DIY projects to share with you over the coming months. I have taken hundreds of pictures and videos to use on this blog, so let’s get started with this super easy mirror redesign.

This mirror sat in our entryway for years, and for some reason it escaped my clutches until now. I was sorting through all of our mirrors after everything was opened, and this one was the right width and height for my new vanity, but the color—yuck! Spray Paint to the rescue.

I took this dull metallic mirror from drab to fab for about $3.00.

 

Painters, Tape, Mirror, DIY, Butcher, Paper, Redesign

This is the mirror before anything was done to it. I taped off the edges with painter’s tape and butcher paper over the mirror.

Total Cost: $9.50 **Materials used for this project were only about $3.00, because I still have a lot of all 3 left over.

$4.50 Each Can of Paint (I could do another 2 or 3 mirrors with the paint that I have left)

$ .50 Painter’s Tape (I still have 75% of the roll)

Tools Needed:

-Spray Paint: Flat White and Metallic Gold (I use Krylon with primer)

-Painter’s Tape (Any width will do for this project)

-Piece of Paper (old magazines, a trash bag, anything to cover up the mirror)

-Pair of Scissors or Exacto Knife (to cut sharp corners in the tape)

Step 1: Cover the mirror with anything that will block out excess spray paint. Some suggestions would be; a piece of paper, a bill that you don’t feel like paying :-), or that nasty old shirt that your boyfriend/husband just will not throw away.

Step 2: Spray the entire mirror flat white. 

Flat, White, Luxury, DIY, Mirror

After taping over the mirror, spray the entire mirror border and sides flat white.

-Put some old books, bricks, or whatever you have on hand down under the mirror to lift it off of the ground while you are spraying. Otherwise, you will almost always get these little marks where the mirror was in contact with the surface that you were spraying it on.

-Walk around the mirror when it is on the floor and spray from each side to make sure that you cover all of the angles and sides evenly. For example, stand one side of the mirror and spray the side across from you, and the edge nearest you. Then simply keep moving around the mirror until you have completed all four sides. Yeah right, like I am the only one who dances with the things that they are painting :-).

-Three light coats are better than one heavy coat. Allow 2-3 minutes between coats. If you try to cheat on this step, you will end up with paint drips, so just don’t do it. Trust me, I have old projects that still stare at me every time that I walk by them and beg to be repainted, because I tried to do it the easy way.

Step 2: Allow mirror to dry overnight.

-Your project requires two things inspiration and patience. Don’t put the tape down just yet, or you may rip it off when you go to pick it up. I find it helpful to work on three or four projects at once, so that I am always rotating back and forth between them. This way I am not only distracted, but patience isn’t really an issue, because one of the four is always ready for the next step.

This is my patient face :-)

This is my patient face 🙂

 

Step 3: Add painter’s tape to the inside corners only. This mirror has a recessed lip so that was easy, but if yours does not, just create your own by moving the tape in about 1/4 inch from the border all the way around.

Mirror, DIY, Design, Idea, Inspiration

Apply the tape just inside of the mirror’s border.

Step 4: Very Important Step: Respray the mirror in white.

-No, I am not drinking on the job. This looks requires very precise lines. I read once (sorry, can not remember where) that to make sure that you have very sharp lines, always spray a coat of the base color (in this case white), before spraying the accent color (in this case gold). When you pull the tape, you will see why. The lines are perfect every time, but DO NOT SKIP this step. You do not have to wait more than 2 minutes before beginning to spray the gold.

Step 5: Spray the border (the area without painter’s tape) in gold.

Spray, Paint, DIY, Mirror, Lux, Luxury

Spray the border, not the edges to complete this look.

-For my mirror, I wanted the gold to just be a small line, so I did not spray the side edges of the mirror. I also did not want to tape off each edge, so I just sprayed the gold on from across each side to make sure that I only hit the trim area with the gold spray paint. In other words, if you are standing at the foot of the mirror, you would spray the top trim piece only from that angle, and then work your way around the mirror. This will give you a nice gold trim piece, while leaving the edges a beautiful white.

DIY, Gold, Luxury, Spray, Painted, Mirror, Idea, Project.

See how the gold is only on the trim area, but the sides are still white.

Step 6: Another heaping helping of patience. Relax, it’s manageable this time. You will be able to paint your beautiful face in this one before your hot date tonight.

-Wait about 20 minutes (or 10 if you are just too impatient) and then pull the tape off slowly. I find pulling tape straight up and back leaves me with the cleanest lines.

Painters, Tape, pull, direction, guide

Pull the tape straight up and back to get crisp clean lines every time.

Step 7: Hang on your wall, stare at your unbelievable beauty, and figure out where to invest all of the money that you just saved yourself. 🙂

After, DIY, Mirror, Redesign,

Finished DIY Mirror.

I hope you love this DIY mirror tutorial, and that it sparks an idea in your mind to do something fun with a mirror that you already own. I would love to see your take on this idea if you want to share. Stay tuned for many more of these types of DIY projects.

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me.

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean