Snowflake Candles (with Dollar Tree products & a $50 giveaway!)

This post is sponsored by Dollar Tree’s Value Seekers Club. All original ideas and opinions are my own.

December is absolutely in full swing around here, and it wasted no time. Combined, my husband and I have 3 family parties, 2 work parties, and countless get togethers with friends. I hate to go to any party empty handed, but I’m also not a millionaire. And let’s face it- no one needs another batch of cookies this time of year. So, I paired up with my friends at Dollar Tree and with a little help from their Value Seekers Club we’ve got the perfect thing for you to bring along.

diy snowflake candles dollar tree

I like to show up to each get together with something small for the hostess, it just needs to say I’m thinking of you- it doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy. This year, a candle seemed like the perfect fit. We live in New England, and by Thanksgiving we already had 7 inches of snow on the ground. Tis the season of annoying snowstorm power outages. Having a candle (or 20…) already out and ready is a seriously good idea.

inexpesive DIY hostess gift

I may have gone a little overboard on the supplies. I got excited.

These candles are super easy to assemble, and because they can be made completely with supplies from Dollar Tree they’re not going to break the bank. They’re also ridiculously customizable. Head on over to the Value Seeks Club website for the full instructions!

In addition to the snowflake candles, I made a few extras….

From left to right: holiday duct tape, silver bow, silver and white ribbon

From left to right: holiday duct tape, silver bow, silver and white ribbon

And if candles aren’t your thing, Dollar Tree has tons of great ideas equally as easy and inexpensive, just check out The Value Seekers Club site for inspiration galore. The site is basically an online club full of crafts, recipes, décor and frugal fun ideas that can all be created with Dollar Tree products- which is awesome because literally everything there is just $1.

And now, how about a little treat from me to you? I want to give one of you lovely readers a $50 Dollar Tree gift card so you can make some candles of your own. Or, if you’re not the candle type, check out all the other craft ideas on their Value Seekers Club site. To enter just head over to the Value Seekers Club website then come back here and leave a comment letting me know what your favorite project is!



I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Dollar Tree and Blueprint Social. But my Dollar Tree obsession is super real and all of these opinions are my own.

DIY String Art – an easy last minute Christmas project!

We’re having a $10 and under Yankee Swap at work this week, and instead of running around trying to find something to bring, I thought I’d make something I’ve been seeing for ages and ages but haven’t tried yet- string art!

string art how to instructions

This is such an easy project, and you can do it in any shape so it’s super versatile. Here’s the supplies:

supply list for string art

I got a 1×8 pine board and cut it down to about 15 inches, then stained the front and sides. Next, I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the tree shape (but you can just as easily print and hand cut whatever shape you want). The embroidery thread I already had on hand because I’m a hoarder (2 shades of green for the tree, cream for the base, and yellow for the star).

It doesn’t really matter what type of nails you use, as long as they have a wide enough head that the string won’t slip off (so no brad or finishing nails). I accidentally bought nails that had some sort of oily coat on them, but I just wiped down the tops with paper towel and it’s no big deal.

To start, I centered my template and spent about 15 minutes hammering in nails all the way around it. The more nails you use, the more spots you’ll have to wrap the thread.

embroidery thread string art close up


Tie a knot with the thread around the nail you want to start with, then just keep wrapping it in a random pattern until you think it’s full enough. When you get to the end of your piece of thread, just wrap it several times around the last nail and glue it into place (you can use, Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge, and I just used a tiny craft paint brush to apply it all the way around.)

diy string art - easy and quick holiday gift

I really love how it came out, and the possibilities for this are endless!!

It’d also be a really great kid project, just hammer in the nails yourself first and let them spend time wrapping the thread. :)

diy holiday christmas gift- string art


What do you think? Any string art making in your future?

Upcycled Kitchen Cabinet – A Furniture Repurpose

A few months ago one of my friends asked if I could make a jelly cabinet for her mom. So I said “YEAH! … what’s a jelly cabinet?”

Apparently it’s just a storage cabinet you keep in the kitchen, but really you can put anything in it. She sent me a picture of what she had, and it looked a lot like a regular kitchen cabinet so the idea to just repurpose an old cabinet popped in my head.

For $20 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore I picked up this hot mess:

kitchen cabinet repurpose - before

Zsa Zsa wasn’t totally on board, but it had good bones. I used a hammer and a pry bar to rip off that bit of trim at the bottom, then a palm sander to smooth it down and get some of the paint off.

That big gap at the top part really stood out (it’s where crown would have gone when it was an upper cabinet), so I flipped the cabinet over- having the gap at the bottom made a lot more sense. .

The sides where the biggest challenge though- they needed to be built out to line up with the facing and to hide the original purpose of the piece.

kitchen cabinet redo - meter 1x2 sides

I cut down some 1×2’s at a 45 degree angle and framed out the sides. To attach, I used both Gorilla Glue and finishing nails (the black stick next to the nails is called a puncher, it helped me to bury the nails).

I used wood filler to make my joints a little more seamless, and because I knew I was going to paint this piece I caulked all the seams between the 1×2’s and cabinet as well.

repuposed kitchen cabinet after

To lift the cabinet up and get it looking more like a freestanding piece, I just screwed in some heavy duty top plates and pre-drilled legs.

After 3 coats of black paint, a little charcoal gray on the inset of the door, and several coats of wax- I think she’s looking pretty darn good.

diy storage cabinet from old upper kitchen cabinet

It’ll be off to it’s new home in a few weeks, but I staged it in my sunroom in the meantime. And you know what? I freaking love it there. Looks like I’ve got my next project lined up. I think I’m going to try to build my from scratch though. ;)

upcycled cabinet inside - storage solution

My quality control inspectors decided it was good and sturdy, and super useful for extra storage as well.

Here’s the side by side:

kitchen cabinet redo - upcycle before and after

I know the whole mitered side thing seems intimidating, but I promise it’s very doable and it’s the hardest part of this whole project. For just about $50 this is a good, long lasting piece that looks pretty timeless as well.

What do you think? Don’t you want one now too?!


Unique Ways to Display Ornaments

A few days ago I was chatting with my husband’s aunt and she asked me if I had any good ideas for displaying her vintage Christmas ornaments, because they’d get lost in a whole tree and she didn’t want to just put them in a bowl and call it a day.

I’m not much for Christmas decorating, so I asked a few of my blog friends if they had any good ideas and they totally did, so I thought I’d post a little round up and share with all of you!

unique ways to display Christmas ornaments

1. Plum Doodles- hang them on their own little tabletop tree:


2. Pretty Handy Girl- stack them in an apothecary jar:

pretty handy girl- apothecary

3. House of Hawthornes- display ornaments in an old colander or punch bowl, mixed in with some acorns:

house of hawthornes- colander

4. Mommy is Coo Coo- group the ornaments together on a wreath and hang in front of a frame (or mirror):


5. New House New Home- create a little vignette on a buffet:

new house new house- buffet

6. Pretty Handy Girl- place them under a cloche:

pretty handy girl- cloche

7. House of Hawthornes- hang ornaments from a chandelier with some festive garland:

house of hawthornes- chandlier


I don’t know which idea I love most- maybe the tabletop metal tree though because it’s just so simply and places the attention in just the right spot. Which is your favorite? Do you have any other ideas?

Kitchen Favorites & Wish Lists

Tis the season for tons of eating, amiright? For us, last week it was Thanksgiving and soon it’ll be Christmas. As a little Italian lady-in-training, I spend a mighty amount of time in the kitchen so I thought I’d pair up with my friends at Wayfair to show you what kitchen stuff I already own and love, and what is on my wish list (and should be on yours too! treat yo’ self!). kitchen appliance must haves First up is the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable Slow Cooker . Guys. I travel at least an hour and a half to all family gatherings. And this thing plugs into my car (my car has an outlet in it). It is amazing. For example, let’s say I’m making meatballs (because I usually am). I can prep them the night before. I can pop them into the slower cooker in the morning. Then I can put the slow cooker on the floor of my car and finish the cooking while I am driving. Ugh. You need this. Next there’s the classic Pizzelle Maker. This is only about $50, but I’ve been holding off buying one because I know my grandmother’s is coming straight to me some day. And while you can’t beat a nice, worn in, thin style pizzelle maker- this is a close second. Mmmmmmm pizzelles. Do yourself a favor and make a few with cocoa powder too. You’re welcome. Finally, if we’re wishing for things, let’s go big or go home. Starting with this KitchenAid Mixer . I don’t know how I don’t have one of these yet, but it’s been on my wish list for like 3 years. I particularly like the glass bowl over the stainless steel one, for no reason other then aesthetics. easy table scape I don’t set up elaborate centerpieces or tablescapes, because that leaves no room for the food. And while I like my cookware new and shiny, I like my table settings old. The gold flatware, wine glasses, ceramic serving plate, and glass spoon rest are all family heirlooms. The amber plate set I got at my city’s online auction for $6 (for a set of 4!). The napkin is a rolled piece of scrap fabric because let’s face it… we’re going to use paper napkins…. and the tablecloth is actually a leopard scarf. I dare you to find an Italian woman who does not have a spare leopard scarf. Oh! And if you’re not in the market for big budget wish list items, here’s a few smaller things I can’t live without: small kitchen must haves

garlic press / cheese grater / wooden utensil set

What’s on your kitchen wish list this year?


This post was written in collaboration with Wayfair, and while I was compensated for my time all stereotypical Italian references and kitchen wish lists are true.

Influenster Nation

Oh hi all! While you’re cooking up a storm and mapping out your Black Friday plans, I thought I’d  throw up a quick post about Influenster for you to mull over as well. I’ve got several invites if you want one. :)

Influenster was one of the first sites I signed up for when I decided to start blogging. Basically, it’s a website where you can not only write reviews for products you use- but also potentially receive some products in the mail to test out and try. You don’t have to be a blogger, just someone who’s active on social media

oh yeah... and there's an app for that.

oh yeah… and there’s an app for that.

This has not just been blog fodder to me. A lot of the stuff I’ve received I’ve then turned around and purchased on my own:

- Colgate Optic White toothpaste ( totally works and is literally in my bathroom right now! original post here)

- Dickinson Witch Hazel toner and make up removing pads (these have become a staple in my house, I even mentioned them in my last health round up. I also mentioned them in a post May of last year. and the original post is  here)

- Victoria Secret sports bra and knockout crop pants (I use these pretty much every day, unless they’re in the wash. original post here)

- Urgent Rx powders (this stuff takes care of headaches like whoa! original post here)

- KISS fake eyelashes (awesome at my bachlorette! original post here)


Let me know if  you want an invite! Just comment below (and make sure to include your email address).

Healthy Living Check In: November

Since the summer I’ve been sharing a few personal check in posts, and I thought what with the holidays that it may be a good time to give an update.

Fitness & Weight

  • I have sort of plateaued at 14 pounds of weight loss (since June). I have about 5-6 more pounds to go, but seriously, now is not the time for that. My goal is to maintain my current weight loss throughout the holidays, then get back to trying to lose in January/February. BUT, for anyone, weight loss shouldn’t be the only goal! I want to be more fit and that’s more important then the number on the scale. So, my fitness goal is to run a 5k in April. It’s one my family fund raises for each year so it’s important to me and also doable.
  • T25 has been a great fitness routine so far! My husband and I did 2 rounds of Alpha and now we’re moved up to Beta- which I think we will also do 2 rounds of. There’s a Gamma level as well, but I think I want to try something new (Piyo? Hip hop abs?). Really, I just want to run outside but it’s winter in New England so that’s not going to happen right now.

funny running quote

Health & Mind

  • I’m still going strong with my allergy shots and I’m still feeling good about them! At this point I get them once a month (3 in total), and my arms usually hurt that evening and are a little tender the next day, but it’s no big deal.
  • I overloaded this semester… and I write about time in semesters because I’m a full time college advisor and a part time faculty member. I agreed teach 3 classes this semester (in addition to my 40 hour/week full time position) because we needed/wanted the money, and that was too much. I need to scale back on the work and realize we are financially stable despite how much I want all our debt to be paid off right this second.
  • Trying to give back in small ways has become more important to me. I have a harsh and sarcastic personality, but in my mind all I want to do is save animals and empower women. I don’t think it comes across that way in real life. Hmm. I need to figure something out for this.

she believed she could inspirational quote

Skin & Beauty

  • As much as I tell everyone I stopped aging at 25, I didn’t. Ugh. Skincare is important, particularly because I have psoriasis. Winter is harsh and for some reasons my legs feel it the most. I’ve been using this Aveeno souffle on my legs every night after I shower, except on the nights when I shave my legs and then I use this ahhhh-mazing body oil by Farmhouse Fresh. I super recommend them (and those companies don’t know who I am, these are just products I use and recommend to you).
  • I’m a big fan of all things Dickinson’s, so this witch hazel toner is also amazing on my face after my shower, and I haven’t had a break out in months. Bonus: my husband uses it too!
  • I’m in desperate need of a new shampoo/conditioner combo that isn’t a million dollars, but isn’t super cheap either. Tresumme and Fructis just aren’t cutting it any more… any suggestions?

kindness quote

How are you keeping healthy lately? Got any programs to recommend? Shampoo/Conditioners I’m missing out on?


See previous healthy living posts here: June / July / October