Delicious Legs 

Unfortunately ladies, until winter is in full swing, we have to shave our legs regularly. But there is a way to make it easier, more effective, and last longer!

Shaving is much better with exfoliated skin. When you shave without exfoliating, you’re simply shaving off a layer of dead skin rather than getting actual hair (this also causes ingrowns.) But if you exfoliate first and then shave, you get straight to the matter at hand, the hair, and the result is a super silky smooth “like a baby’s behind” leg. 

This easy DIY scrub takes to it a completely new level and is made with ingredients you have around the house. And it’s not just for women, men can absolutely benefit from soft exfoliated skin. 
 
Simply take 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup coconut oil, and the juice of one lemon and mix them together in a bowl. Scrub onto to your legs, shave, and rinse. For extra smoothness, apply scrub once more after shaving and your legs will be so slippery smooth you won’t even be able to cross them! Happy exfoliating! 

sugar baby 

Here’s a throwback from just a few months ago (in case you didn’t read the previous post, I’m reposting some “oldies but goodies” this week) but it was just so darn cute I had to share again. 

I realized today I haven’t been to a baby shower in like six years. None of my friends are having kids! So I guess that fact, millions of unused Pinterest ideas, plus the fact that I’m not having my own, made me pretty excited for the shower I’m going to tomorrow.

I decided to make some cute baby themed sugar cookies in the color scheme of her registry and the party.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a lot of work. But the result is well worth it and people love them! One nice thing is you can make the cookies ahead of time. I make a double batch of Martha’s recipe (found here) as well as her royal icing recipe which is just 2 cups of powdered sugar and 5 Tb of meringue powder mixed with a little water. The trick is getting the texture right, you want it nice and thick for piping the outlines but then thinned with water for flooding the cookies. It sounds complicated, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty simple. Here’s my stack after the baking stage. 

 

That’s a process in itself but now for the real time consuming fun, icing and decorating. I actually enjoy it though and find it somewhat therapeutic, it’s slow and methodical and a great time to binge watch Parenthood on Netflix! Once you pipe and flood the cookies you have to let them dry for a good amount of time.  


And then you can decorate! I got some of my inspiration from Pinterest and some just from the old noggin (wow I really thought spell check would get me on that one, turns out it’s a real word!) Here’s the finished product! 

   
     

Pretty cute if I do say so myself! If you like these, check out my tea party inspired chalkboard cookies here

We be Gellin’…

  

Even though I have about a million bottles of nail polish in my arsenal, I always go back to my classic red nails and it’s usually OPI’s Big Apple Red. But lately I haven’t been happy with OPI and it’s such a pain to go to the trouble of painting your nails just to have them chipping and peeling a few days later. I know gel manicures are all the rage now but I just don’t have the time or money to go get my nails done on a regular basis. So when I saw this new Sally Hansen “Miracle Gel” polish, I had to give it a try!
I, of course, went for their reddest red, Red Eye    along with a bottle of the clear gel topcoat which is in a black bottle…maybe something to do with ultraviolet light or something? I don’t know Jim, I’m a girl not not a scientist! Ok, ok, calm down feminists, it was a harmless Star Trek joke, not a slur against women and their ability to be scientists.

Sally’s website gives these easy steps;

The ONLY TRUE 2-STEP GEL MANICURE with no light needed. Over 61 shades that wow! And it’s only from Sally Hansen. Leading the revolution in gel technology.

For Best Results: Make sure nails are clean and dry. Use nail polish remover to wipe away any residue on the nail.

Step 1: Apply 2 coats of Miracle Gel™ Color. Allow color to dry for 5 minutes

Step 2: Apply 1 coat of Miracle Gel™ Top Coat

OMGel! Let natural light do the rest!

I followed the easy instructions and the result was a beautifully shiny and strong manicure that dried remarkably fast as well! I took these pictures after seven days of wear, swimming, dish washing, etc, and they are still good as new, other than a little growth at the ends but even a $50 manicure can’t stop that! (Plus my nails grow very quickly, which I guess is a good thing, but super annoying.)  

(Don’t mind my cuticles, they’re pretty atrocious, I know.) Not a red person? Check out some of their other shades!

 So whichever color strikes your fancy, you should definitely give this gel polish a try, you’ll love it! 

 

In love with my DIY midcentury coffee table

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I’ve gained quite a few readers since I first started blogging so I decided to repost one of my favorite projects, and the first project the Butcher and I did together! It was so inexpensive, SO easy, and truly one of a kind!

First, you’ll need a pencil, drill, sandpaper, and measuring tape.

Now your materials. From Lowe’s I purchased…

1 piece of pre-cut 20×45 wood
1 small can of walnut stain with polyurethane mixed together
1 paintbrush
4 angle top plates (make sure they are angled, that’s very important to get the right look) they look like this
4 metal hairpin or wooden taper legs (I bought mine on ebay, they are real vintage legs from the 50’s!) but you can find new ones here

Sand your table and prepare stain according to package directions. Apply stain to table and legs. I did two coats on the table and one on the legs. Let dry according to directions. Once dry, turn the table over and measure for the leg placement to be centered on all 4 corners (ugh math). Finally, screw legs into table. Turn it over. Take your hand and reach around to your back, all the way, you can do it. Now pat yourself on the back and prop your feet up on the table, maybe even with a cocktail…just don’t forget to use a coaster!

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Blog Update:

I just received an email from one of my readers, Rebekah Selle, with this picture along with the message… “Here’s a picture of the table after I finished it. Turned out great, it was such a helpful tutorial!” I am tickled pink that I not only have people that follow and read my blog but that actually try out the projects and recipes I post! She made the coffee table featured here. Comment on a post that you’ve tried or email me at Lorirao@gmail.com and I’ll feature you on the blog too. Thanks to Rebekah and all my readers!image

dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead deat ant…

That’s what the Pink Panther said when he stepped on an ant. Ha! Get it?! If not, read it again, really fast. And if you still don’t get it, or you don’t know who the Pink Panther is, take your right hand, slowly raise it about 3 inches from your cheek and then smack your cheek as hard as possible. Thaaaast’s it, you got it. 

Around these parts, dead ants are actually a good thing. Those ambitious little pests can really be a nuisance in your home, especially in the summertime. But fear not! I have a quick and easy solution that will make them virtually disappear! 

First you’ll need Borax. Never heard of it?
Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a mineral and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used as a fire retardant and as an anti-fungal compound.

The term borax is used for a number of closely related minerals or chemical compounds that differ in their crystal water content. Commercially sold borax is partially dehydrated and used in various household laundry and cleaning products, including the “20 Mule Team Borax” laundry booster and “Boraxo” powdered hand soap. It’s even used in some tooth bleaching formulas! 

There are all sorts of household uses for the powdery white compound, but today we’re focusing on those pesky little ants. 

Simply take 4 Tb of borax, 4 Tb of sugar and mix them together with 1 cup warm water until they dissolve. Then take cotton balls, soak them in the solution, and place them in the spots where you’ve seen the ants, most importantly the spot you think they are coming from. 

WARNING: You will see a LOT of ants! This is good! The sugar is drawing them out. (Also another warning, don’t leave this stuff lying around because it’s clear liquid and somebody could accidentally ingest it. I mean I don’t know who just randomly picks up a container of “water” that’s sitting out on the counter and drink it but apparently it happens….reminds me of a story my friend told me once where he slept over his friends house and didn’t have his contact case so he put his contacts in a glass of water. The next morning the glass was empty…turns out his friend’s grandmother had gotten thirsty in the middle the night and drank his contacts! so apparently people do just pick up a random glass of water and drink it…anyway back to the ants…)

I was spurred to do this post due to some little ants I found in our bathroom (of all places). So when I saw all the ants coming out from behind the tiny little opening on the floor behind the cabinet, I panicked a little bit but then realized they were all just clamoring to get to the sweetly poisonous cotton ball. Getting easily distracted as I tend to do, I watched them for a while then left and didn’t return to the crime scene until the next morning. To my surprise, all the ants were gone! I guess I assumed they would eat the solution and die right there on the spot. But apparently they take it with them back to their home first?  

 This made me feel a little bad, I’m not gonna lie. I could just picture a daddy ant proudly bringing back some “candy” for his kids and them all huddling around it excitedly only to drop dead a few hours later…But not bad enough to want them in my bathroom! And at least this was a natural diy solution and some chemical laden awful storebought solution. So that makes me feel a little better…I guess. 

so corny 

  “Um…can I have a little more corn salsa please?” That’s me every time we go to Chipotle. I’m a sucker for a good sweet/savory combo and their corn salsa takes the cake. The crunchy sweetness of the corn mixed with a spicy jalapeño and lime flavor is just divine. But alas, the nearest Chipotle is a 40 minute drive, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own. What says summertime more than fresh delicious salsa?! It’s pretty yummy if I do say so myself. Here’s the recipe;

Large package of frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeño, finely diced

about 1/2 C. red onion, finely diced

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

juice of one lime (roll it on the counter first, this helps release the juices)

a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt (taste it, you may need more)

a lil’ black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Allow to sit in the fridge until ready to use. Doesn’t get much easier than that! This would also be great on top of grilled chicken! 

Suds are for duds…

Growing up there was nothing better than a head full of suds paired with a bubble bath beard and a good ‘ol rubber ducky. But those “suds” were actually completely unnecessary and drying out your skin. It’s due to a chemical called Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), a detergent found in many personal care products like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc. SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent that, unfortunately, causes skin and eye irritation for many humans and animals. I was one of those humans and could not believe how many products list SLEA as its second or third ingredient. (I dare you, look through your grocery store’s soap aisle or even your own bathroom and count how many times you see it.) My skin and scalp were begging for a healthier more moisturizing cleanser so I went searching for one. 

The solution? Castile soap! Castile soap is unique and different from other soaps in many ways. This is a completely earth friendly, biodegradable soap which contains no harmful chemicals like other average soaps. Castile does not require any animal products like tallow which is widely used by regular branded soaps. Rather, Castile soaps are made from 100% pure plant oils. This is a revolutionary soap in the industry and can be considered as a true soap which contains no chemical detergent.

In earlier centuries, an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. By the turn of this century, “Castile” had come to mean any vegetable oil-based soap, which is distinct from animal (tallow) fat-based soaps which can be extremely drying.

Although Castile soap does produce a foaming lather, this comes from it’s high coconut oil content, which makes a more luxurious and richer lather than any detergent could ever create. “Pure-Castile” is your guarantee that what you are using is an ecological and simple genuine soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream created during manufacture and detergents’ slower biodegradability. Unfortunately, many synthetic detergent blends are deceptively labeled as “Liquid Soap” even though they contain absolutely no soap whatsoever.

This soap is available in bars, flakes and liquid form. Liquid is my favorite, as it is much easier to mix and measure. Castile soap is famous for its affordability, simplicity, and it’s variety of uses. I used to buy mine on Amazon but now you can find it at Target and I’m sure other stores as well. 
It’s also an all purpose household cleaner. The cool thing about it is that you can experiment using different essential oil herbal infusions to the soaps to diversity and customize your Castile experience. You might feel like a scientist testing out with various products and with different results each time. It’s fun! (Well, at least my idea of fun, I have to do something to make cleaning more fun…) Maybe you prefer lemon blossom to your floor, and orange on your dishes. Some prefer lavender in their laundry and lemon in their bathrooms, the choices and possibilities are endless and you can try something different every time to add more “fun” (again, playing fast and loose with that word here) to your life.

Here are ten ideas on how you can use the Castile soap…

   
1. Shampoo- Mix it with some almond or avocado oil. Add a little peppermint essential oil for a tingly clean! 

2. Laundry Detergent- You can make yourself a chemical free, safe laundry detergent with simple, common ingredients. Mix your soap with hard water to the ratio 1:3 and there you go. This way you can save loads of money and helping the environment in the process. Use lavender or citrus scented soap to give your clothes a pleasant (but not overwhelming or chemically…I know I know, it’s not a word) smell.

3. Dish Soap- Take half a cup of castile soap and mix it with half cup of water and vinegar. Put the whole mixture in a plastic squeeze bottle, shake up well and you have a high quality dish detergent. You can even use it as a hand wash.

4. Dog Shampoo- What’s good for you is also good for your pets, use the same ratio that you use to prepare your body wash to create an awesome dog shampoo. I put lavender in mine because it has a calming effect and anything to help calm Raven down from the torture that is bathtime, I’ll take it! 

5. Car Cleaner- Take one fourth of a cup of Castile soap and mix it with hot water, it will work wonders to remove stains from cars and keep it clean.

6. Use it as a Floor Cleaner- Use castile soap to mop your floors, all you have to do is add one eighth of a cup of castile soap and safe ratio of vinegar and mix it with one gallon of warm water. A few drops of lemon essential oil and your whole house smells divine.

7. Household Cleaning Spray- It is a great way of cleaning your regular household items; mix with water to dilute. 

8. Carpet Cleaner- Castile soap could act as a great carpet cleaner, mix one fourth of a cup of castile into one cup of water. Blend the solution and stir until it forms a stiff foam. And you get a nice solution of eco friendly carpet cleaner that really works! 

9. Body Wash- Use castile soap as a body wash with your choice of essential oil. You can directly buy the Castile bar soap which is available at all retail outlets or you can mix the liquid soap with water in the ratio 2:1. I prefer the liquid. It’s great for shaving too! 

10. Scrubbing Solution- Make toilet soft scrub with the help of baking soda and castile soap. Fill a spray bottle with soap and water in the ratio 1:3. Spray the area you want to clean with the solution, and then add baking soda to it. Rub it with a sponge and watch the stains disappear, it also works on ovens, stovetops etc.
* it should be noted that I’ve also read castile can be used as an insecticide for indoor and outdoor plants buuuuuut….since I don’t have a green thumb and haven’t tried this myself I decided not to list it as number eleven. 

Who knew you’d learn so much about soap today and I never thought I’d say the word “castile” so many times in one post!