7.20.2017

Total Newbie's Guide to the Natal Chart (+ a Workbook!)

A natal chart - or birth chart - is an astrological snapshot of where the planets were (in relation to earth) on the day of your birth.  Analyzing your natal chart can give you an in depth look at who you are & tell you where you may want to focus your efforts in order to become the best person you can be.  You'll learn that you have these little quirks for a reason and may figure out the hidden meaning behind a certain habit of yours.  I know I'm learning a lot from mine
Newbies Guide to Reading a Natal Chart
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
One of the best things about the internet is you can generate your birth chart, for free, on quite a few different sites (this is the one I used).  These sites will give you all sorts of in depth information on your chart but it can be hard to sort through.  Two of my favorite resources are Cafe Astrology & Dark Pixie Astrology.  You can also get a chart reading by a professional - that is the route I went when I was first interested in my natal chart.  I worked with Madeleine Jones.

If you're down to learn a bit on your own, here are the three sections of your chart that can help you get started understanding this snapshot of yourself:

Sun, Moon, & Rising Signs
If you've ever read your horoscope, you've probably read for your Sun sign.  This is the sign that is based off of the month you were born.  For example, I was born 12/15 so my sign is Sagittarius because that date falls with in the range of November 22 - December 21.  You may not know your moon or rising sign.  Generating your birth chart will tell you both of these by utilizing the exact time of your birth as well as your location.
Sun Moon and Rising Signs
This gives you a better idea of your whole self. If you just rely on your Sun sign you're getting a limited view of who you are.  Your sun sign is how you feel about yourself.  It is the key essence of who you are.  Your moon sign represents your passions & emotions.  Your rising sign represents what you aspire to be & is how others see you.  Your rising sign is what you try to present to the world.  All three of these signs have traits that make up our whole selves and when reading 

Wheel of Houses
There are 12 astrological houses that correspond to the same signs as the zodiac.  However, the zodiac wheel and the wheel of houses are two different things - The Wheel of houses in your birth chart is based on the earths rotation on it's axis in a 24 hour period.  Your personal Wheel of Houses is determined by your birth time and location.  It is a map of the sky at the time and area of your birth.  
Wheel of Houses Birth Chart
Various planets fall in your houses on your birth chart - the planets (including planets like Mars, Jupiter, etc + the Sun and the Moon) of the chart show how the signs in the houses express themselves.  The houses show in what area this will play out.

So for example - I have Aries on the seventh house cusp + Jupiter in the 7th house, therefore Jupiter shows how the sign of Aries plays in my house of Marriage & Relationships.   The 12 houses are:
  1. Self
  2. Possessions
  3. Communication
  4. Home
  5. Creativity
  6. Service & Health
  7. Marriage & Relationships
  8. Death & Regeneration
  9. Mental Exploration
  10. Career
  11. Community & Goals
  12. Inner or Hidden Self
If you imagine your birth chart as a clock, the first house falls below the 9 o'clock position.  Then you work counter clockwise around.  The 12 house then falls in the 10 o'clock position.  These houses are the main sections of your life.  The planets that fall in these houses or specifically rule these houses have an impact on those areas of your life.
Reading a Birth Chart
Planetary Relationships
The relationships of the planets to each other is another key part of reading your natal chart.  These are degrees of separation between the planets.  These relationships allow for more fined tuned understanding of the planets and show us where positive or negative or ease or difficulty expressed in these relationships.  This is also an important layer of your chart, just like only reading your sun sign gives you a limited view, ignoring these aspects gives you a limited view of how your planets interact.  

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Now, this obviously isn't all there is to know about natal charts.  I'm just a newb sharing what I've learned so far, in the easiest way possible.  So you may be wondering how you should put this into action for yourself.  I suggest starting with your Sun, Moon and Rising signs as well as the characteristics of each of your houses.  For example - my house of Communication (the third house) has Sagittarius on the cusp, so I'm talkative (check) and love to learn (check).  My moon sign is Libra which speaks to how I have a desire for a calm and balanced life.  Libra as a moon sign also apparently leans towards an extreme dislike of manual labor and I truly hate yard work...so there's got to be some validity here.
Creating a Natal Chart
Learn these guys and how the relate to you, first.  The first step here is to gain a better understanding of yourself.  I've seen that working with your natal chart can help you discover the small tidbits of yourself you can't put into words or, even better, the tidbits of yourself that seem contradictory. These small sections will help you get a good snapshot of who you are.  If you assemble this and think 'hey, this is cool!' you may be pointed into the next steps to take to work with more parts of your natal chart.

You don't have to do it all at once.

My current trajectory with my natal chart is to work the rising new moon energies into the house it is currently rising in.  For example, in May the new moon rose in Gemini.  Gemini is my house of Mental Exploration.  Gemini is also about communication.  So my work that month was in listening & learning and working with the Throat Chakra.  However you feel called to work with this chart is how you should work with it.  I plan to continue this work in the foreseeable future and then work in the aspects and planetary relationships when I am ready.
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I've put together a little workbook here for you to assemble all this knowledge & get to know yourself better through your natal chart.  If you sign up for the newsletter above you not only get the monthly newsletter but you'll also get New & Full moon emails!  We'll work together during the moon phases to manifest our goals & release what isn't serving us.  Most of the time we'll work with a chakra that corresponds to the sign the moon is rising in.  You can follow along with your own natal chart or just work with our collective goals for the month.  

This little workbook is sized perfectly to fit into an A5 planner.  These guys can print back to front (refer to your printer's instructions for duplex printing) on a standard letter size page.  Trim down the center & then punch it into your binder.  Then get to know yourself!

I hope this loooooonnnnggg post has helped you learn more about reading your natal chart.  Like I mentioned, this is not a comprehensive guide...just something to dip your toes in!  Just like me!  If you haven't joined the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively group on Facebook...c'mon over there too!

Looking for the Tarot deck used in the post?  It's the After Tarot & you can find it here.  Planner is from Simple Stories, find it here.

Are you interested in your natal chart?  Do you read your horoscopes?

xoxo, Moe

7.19.2017

Eight Ways I Currently Use Essential Oils Daily

If you haven't been hanging around on the blog too long, you might not know that Essential Oils have become my number one jam recently.  Currently, my main focus is using them to enhance mindfulness and help with my spiritual journey.  But I've found that I'm using them in a ton of different ways that that.  Practical ways at that!  I'm using essential oils in everyday ways too. These potent little guys fit right into your everyday routine - and can even replace some products you use consistently!  Here are the six ways I use essential oils regularly:
how to use essential oils daily
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Add a drop (or two!) to club soda/sparkling water
I just did this last night & that's what prompted this post.  I'm seriously considering giving up LaCroix + getting a Soda Stream to make my own sparkling water!  Self sufficient hydration up in here!  Did you know that there are only certain oils that you can ingest?  One - not all lemon or peppermint, etc oils are created equally & not all are safe to ingest.  The generic lemon oil you may pick up at the drugstore to make your cleaning products with or diffuse through your house might not be approved to take internally.  This is why I get my oils through doTERRA, as certain oils they offer - Lime, Grapefruit, Oregeno, Peppermint, etc - are safe to cook with & ingest.  I personally would not suggest staring to do this everyday depending on the oils you used, but its a great alternative to processed carbonated drinks.  Keep in mind that citrus oils can break down plastics.  I always use a glass container to drink from.

Diffuse to promote sleep
I always, always, always, diffuses something overnight to promote relaxation and sleep.  Currently I am diffusing a blend of Wild Orange, Lavender, & Vetiver.  I've been known to mix the Breathe blend from doTERRA and Lavender, Cedarwood and Lavender, Frankincense and Lavender, pretty much anything and Lavender since it's know to be relaxing.  Before I started to work with doTERRA oils I despised the smell of lavender.  The oils from doTERRA are very pure and its the only Lavender anything I've repurchased.

Immune support
The On Guard blend really, really shortens my colds.  Diffusing the blend when I need a bit of immune support gives me some peace of mind!  I remember when I first started working with essential oils I'd gotten a cold.  I thought 'what could it hurt?' and it really soothed my throat, opened my airways, and shortened my cold.  There is a whole line of On Guard products I'm dying to try.

Spiritual healing & alignment
Here's the big one.  I work with essential oils mainly in my spiritual practice.  My spiritual practice isn't something that is really defined by a book, it's rather intuitive.  This is my favorite way to work with essential oils because I can really hone in on what my spirit & body need.  For example, this last month (July 2017) I worked with my Solar Plexus chakra to nurture & support myself.  The main oil I chose to work with was Wild Orange.  I used my intuition to create different blends with Wild Orange as the base to uplift & to nurture.  If you haven't joined the Live Creative Facebook group, you really should get over there!  I share so many essential oil & crystal pairings.  Click here to join.

Mood enhancing roller ball
This goes a long with the spiritual use of oils.  I try to work with a certain oil + supporting oils over a month to really connect with the oil.  I've created a few roller bottles that are specific to the moods I'd like to encourage.  Balance is a blend created by doTERRA that I really connect with.  It grounds me, balances me, and brings me calm.  Using Wild Orange + Bergamot is a great way to brighten & uplift.  

Dishwasher tabs
I honestly was sick of buying the tabs for so much money!  So I decided to make my own with washing soda, baking soda, kosher salt, & lemon essential oil.  Clean dishes is a win.  Honestly, what other cleaning concoctions can I make?

Air & Fabric Deodorizer 
The purify blend is perfect for this!  Seriously.  Trash sit a little too long? Diffuse Purify.  Jacket just a teeny bit stinky? Spray some diluted Purify right on there.  Car a little too fast food friendly?  Get your Purify out.  So easy.

Blemish treatment + skin care 
I've been using Tea Tree oil for a long time to treat any blemishes on my face. But there are quite a few oils that can work great for the skin - Frankincense & Myrrh to name some.  Each time I have a break out I put a dab of Tea Tree oil right on the blemish!

So those are the 8 way I use essential oils daily.  I've found that I can fit these guys right into my regular routine with little effort!  Its so funny how I've found so many uses and I didn't even know it until I compiled this list!  Originally I'd only considered 5 or 6 uses...I came up with a few more as I was writing!

This is a completely personal regimen of mine - some individuals that use essential oils do not ingest them, some only diffuse them.  I would suggest speaking to your doctor if you have any concerns.  This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any ailment.  Please let me know if I might be able to answer any questions about essential oils for you!

Let me know how you use essential oils - doTERRA brand or otherwise - over in the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creative Facebook group.  I'd love to know which oils you connect with! You can read more about essential oils on the blog here.

How do you use essential oils?  Any tips, recipes, tricks?

7.14.2017

Free Sticker Friday // I Love the 80's Mini Kit

When I was younger my sister, brother, & I used to watch Saved by the Bell nearly every morning during breakfast.  I mean Kelly Kapowski is still a style icon of mine and literally the reason I love LuLaRoe because of the amazing 80's inspired patterns.  I mean, I still tie my Carly dresses into knots...I'm so down with that.  I'm not sure if the 80's are making a comeback, but I'm bringing it back with my clothes and with this mini kit.  I was born in the late 80's and was only 3 when the decade was over.
Free Weekly Planner Stickers
I still have nostalgia for a lot of retro things - like give me an avacodo colored kitchen from the 70's any day of the week and I'll also take an 80's poofy prom dress please.  Being a person that loves a really good thrift store, retro holds a big piece of my heart.

DOWNLOAD I LOVE THE 80'S KIT HERE


In this download you'll find PNG files to cut with your Cricut Explore, studio files to cut with your Silhouette Cameo or Portrait, as well as a PDF to cut by hand (though this tool is pretty neat).  There are also two skin tones to choose from - both 80's ladies have blue hair, pink shirt, and amazing purple eyeshadow.  Remember to size the files to 5.5 x 8 inches in Cricut Design Space.
Planner Stickers for Cricut Explore
Remember, all printable files on the blog are for personal use only.  Do not claim any part of the design as your own.  Do not sell the digital file or sell the printed product.  Do not print and distribute in mass quantities.  As always, thank you for playing nice.

If you're planning an 80's themed party or just want to throw it back a few decades, this kit is perfect.  I like to use these smaller kits in my Memory Planner since I combine a bunch of different kits, leftovers, and decorative stickers together.  But this is also perfect to use in something like the Mini Happy Planner.  Make sure you check out my YouTube channel for fun plan with me videos!
I Love the 80s Planner Stickers
If you want a quick lesson on how to cut the stickers posted on the blog (and the Cricut Ready Planner Sticker Group) with your Cricut Explore, check out this video.  You can also learn to design your own stickers - check this playlist for tips!

Do you have a decade of style you love?  How do you throw it back?

xoxo, Moe

7.12.2017

Cultural Appropriation in my Communities

I am a part of three major communities - the blogging community, the witchy/woowoo/tarot community, and the planner community.  Each of these communities has it's own version of cultural appropriation...and it really bugs me.
Hear me out now..I don't think I'm over reacting.  I don't like to add disclaimers, but I'm adding one : If you don't agree with me or don't find problem in this, okay.  That's great, please go about your day. (/sarcasm)  But if it even irks you in the slightest, I ask you to take action.  I also ask for grace as I am doing my best to explain this feeling in this blog post.

First off, in the last few years certain things have been brought to the forefront of our attention.  If you've noticed that everyone is talking about Cultural Appropriation its because, well, they are.  CA is not something new..it's been around for ages.  I am also not an expert, I am merely examining my privilege and sharing experiences.  In each of these communities I get really put off by the use of terms originating from other cultures so.......willy nilly.

Most notably the use of words originating Native American or First American & African American culture.  No, I will not join your tribe.  No, we're not going to have a blogging powwow.  No, I'm not a spiritual gansta.  Less often I've seen the word ghetto or other terms from AAVE (African American Vernacular English) used wholeheartedly to describe something they shouldn't be used to describe.  You're glorifying a culture while simultaneously marginalizing it.  YOU'RE not a part of that culture, so you don't need to be using those words.  It is for this reason I chose to call my energy clearing kit DIY an Energy Clearing Kit DIY and not a smudging kit - those are not my words. I can not use them.  I even touch on that in the actual blog post.

The second thing I've seen quite often is the use of imagery that originates from another culture because it's pretty.  Dream catchers are pretty.  Sugar skulls are pretty.  Feathers, tipi , headdresses, etc, etc are pretty.  But the aren't yours.  Again, glorifying an aspect of a culture while not supporting it....is not a good thing to do.

In the witchy/woowoo/tarot community I've seen Spirit Animal, tribe, & smudging used too much.  There are things that I struggle with - am I allowed to use the term Chakra?  Does that fall under cultural appropriation (CA), or not? If its not my word I should not use it.  Just because it is popular doesn't mean it is right.  There are generic terms for many things and there is no reason to use a sugar skull for decor.

Cultural appropriation is a very, very real deal.  When we use terms or images because they are hip, trendy, cool, fun, pretty, etc while simultaneously marginalizing the group that they come from - that's not appreciating the culture, that is appropriating it.  If you have to sacrifice the alliteration & trendiness of your tag line for respect, then you know...you should do that.  Its not a sacrifice for you to respect others.

I'm not perfect on this.  But like any person who wishes to grow the community in which they live, I must change.  I must keep up with it, be aware of my words, and use them intentionally.  And speak up when I see it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  I hope that you've gained insight into cultural appropriation and may be able to notice it in your communities.  I hope that you will speak up & also change your ways to respect others.

Please let me know how you feel on this subject down in the comments or over in the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group.

I couldn't find the original article/blog post I read that really inspired this post, but I consulted the following article while writing this ::  6 Ways You Harm Me When You Appropriate Black Culture – And How to Appreciate It Instead.  It is a good read and breaks down how black culture is commercialized and sold to the white population - it's cool & trendy while its commercialization doesn't support the original culture.  Please take time to read it. 

xoxo, Moe

7.10.2017

Make it Monday // Branded Blog Image Templates Using PicMonkey

A while ago, PicMonkey introduced Templates to their photo editing options.  These are great for making graphic projects like cards, invites, social media posts.  But, I think the greatest thing you can use this feature for is to create branded blog images!  Pair the template feature with Hub + some stock photos and you've got yourself a consistent look in no time.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Start by choosing a template to work with.  You may want to choose from the Long Pin tag or the Pinterest tag.  To show the template tags (these act like categories) look on the left hand side.  You may have to select Show More Tags to see other options.
Choosing a template that is longer than it is wide is the best way to ensure peak performance on Pinterest.  I used to be a horizontal girl, and it wasn't until recently - like last week! - that I decided to take the leap into vertical images for my blog.  One of the key points to remember when adding images to your blog, though, is to use maximum real estate in the body of your blog post - make your image the width of your body content (learn how to find the width of your blog post here).  PicMonkey limits the width of each of the Pinterest templates to 600px.  If that is too small, you may need to try something like a 6 x 9 inch template, filtering by size.  Additionally, subscribing for the Premium or Supremium account will get you access to many, many more templates (and fonts, and what not!)
Once you've chosen your template, its time to add your image.  Stock photos are a great resource for this if you don't have photos you already take for your blog.  Here's a list of a few stock photo sites I love as well as some tips for using stock photos on your blog.  Today, I'll be using some of the free stock photos I offered here.
Add your image by selecting the butterfly icon on the left hand column, then click on the Your Own button, and selecting My Computer.  You can also use images from Facebook, OneDrive, Flickr, & DropBox.  A little note here - make sure you have permission to use the images you choose commercially.  Free stock photo sites are plentiful, so don't steal any images from google!
Size them, stack them, do whatever you need to do to get the layout you need.  You can also create a collage in PicMonkey first (tutorial here) then upload that collage through the same process.

One of the new features I love is the layers pane.  This places your elements in front of or behind each other to achieve the look you're going for.  Send your pictures behind your text using the down arrow on the pane.  You can also use the Overlay pane to flip the images horizontally or vertically depending on the design you're going for.  I chose to use one image, flipped vertically for this example. 
If you've made a style guide for your blog already, get that info out.  A style guide is a way to keep your blog cohesive, it is in line with your branding.  You'll most likely have 2-3 fonts & colors that you'll use consistently through your blog design, images, and other materials.  Here's another blog post on pairing fonts.
Use these colors & fonts to create a cohesive look to your image.  PicMonkey allows you to access fonts already on your computer as well though their library is pretty extensive too.  If you're designing your blog header in something like PicMonkey you can stick with the fonts they have.  You can even choose fonts that are close enough to the fonts on your template and get away with it.  For example League Gothic is a lot like Bebas Nueue, Didactic Gothic is close to Centruy Gothic, etc.

Change the sizing of the text as needed,  Pay attention to how it looks here - you don't have to be a design pro to understand when something looks yikes!, meh, good, or great.  If it looks off, change it...don't just settle for meh!
Once you have the image the way you like it, select the Save button with the little monkey by it on the top of the screen.  This will save your image to the Hub.  The Hub is PicMonkey's cloud storage system.  This way you can edit the template (or photos) over & over again.  This is GREAT for creating branded blog images!  You can go back to your template, with your custom colors, and your custom fonts again, and again, and again, and again!  In order to access hub you'll need a Premium or Supremium plan - it's totally worth it for the access you get to fonts, overlays, storage, etc.  I currently have the Premium plan that only allows 50 hub images.  If you're just creating templates there's really no need to save the image you create every time so you may not even use up the 50 images.  If you create a lot of brand images, the Supremium plan will allow you to categorize your images through Hub.  I suggest upgrading!  You can start a free trial too! Sign up here!

To save the image to your computer, click the Export button at the top.  This will save the image locally to your computer or you can choose either DropBox or OneDrive.  Next, upload the image to your blog post, size it properly, and you're ready to share!  When you're ready to add an image to your next blog post, simply open the image from Hub, Save it as a copy, and edit away! Easy peasy...no complicated software to work with.




I've recently created a FREE ebook called Five Ways to Revamp your Blog Today!  This 10 page book will give you great tips on reviving old posts, automating your process, and keeping you on the right foot!  You can download it by signing up for the newsletter above or by clicking here!

I hope this tutorial inspired you to try PicMonkey for your blog branding.  Its always hard when you're new to something to get a grasp on the process.  PicMonkey makes it super easy to create perfect Pinterest images with out shoveling out hundreds of dollars on design software.

Check out even more of the tutorials on the blog using PicMonkey here!

Happy blogging!

How do you use PicMonkey? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group!

xoxo, Moe

7.06.2017

5 Ways to Track your Spiritual Journey in your Planner

Tracking your woo-woo tendencies in you planner is a great way to carry your spiritual journey with you everyday.  If you've got a ton of different journals it's hard to bring all you'd like to bring with you around everyday - especially if you carry small purses like I do.  Heck, half the time I leave the thing in my car!
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
Since I carry my Mini Happy Planner planner with me everyday and it is my place for everything, adding a bit of my spiritual journey into my weekly & monthly planning seemed natural.  It is my quick reference guide to my mundane week, why can't my planner be my quick reference guide for my spiritual week as well?  Here are 5 ways I track woo-woo in my planner:
Record daily Tarot pulls with a weekly ombre sticker
Like many who read, or are learning to read Tarot, I pull a card (or a few cards) each morning.  I do this not only to familiarize myself with the cards of the deck but to also having something to meditate on or work on through the day.  I have a specific journal that I use for my daily pulls & bigger spreads (the Moon Planner actually!) but instead of lugging that guy around all day I simply mark the tarot card down in my planner.  Of course you could mark it down on the box of the corresponding day, but I like to put them all in one place on a weekly ombre sticker.  Keeps everything in one place.  Make sure you're a part of the Cricut Ready Stickers group on Facebook for access to free weekly ombre stickers in the files!
Track the Moon phases and lunar cycles with simple doodles
Not all planners mark the moon phases in their monthly or weekly views but it is super simple to add in a circle with the moon phase right in the corner.  I do this on my monthly view in my Mini Happy Planner in order to see all the phases in one place.  My minimalist monthly planning keeps the important things at the forefront - like blog posts, videos, moon phases, & rituals!  You can even add a quick doodle of the sign the New or Full moon is rising in if you plan to set intentions at each New moon.  This is helpful to know what areas of life you should focus on.  Make sure you use a Pilot Frixion pen in case you're doodles don't turn out as you like.  You can quickly erase them!
Special stickers for special rituals
There are a ton of witchy & woowoo style planner stickers on Etsy!  I hadn't even thought to look that up until recently!  (Don't forget to sign up for Ebates to get cash back on your Etsy purchases)  But any sticker you deem to be special, is a special sticker.  The 'Me Time' stickers in the weekly kits I've purchased from Ruby Red Iris Prints on Etsy are perfect to mark rituals.  Half boxes or even icon boxes would be perfect to mark anything special to you.  Having custom stickers made or even learning to design your own can give you a really special & personal way to mark rituals or Sabbats.  Seeing the same sticker over & over gets me excited for my personal rituals!

Crystals & other tools
Personally, I try to work with crystals regularly & though I often journal about my experiences when I feel called to do so. A quicker way to keep track of these tools is adding a short line in your planner.  Many weekly pages have a notes section.  This section is perfect for tracking the crystal of the week, meditations, or any tools you may work with in your spiritual practice.
Habit trackers for spiritual actions
Each morning I try to meditate.  Lately, it's not been happening because again I've been choosing sleep over nurturing myself.  So a simple habit tracker that one may use for water, cleaning, vitamins, is perfect to track actions you take towards your spiritual practice.  This is kind of an obvious way to track woowoo but you know, gotta throw it in there.

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I still struggle with using the word spiritual when it comes to the journey of self-love, self-development, & self-reliance.  Personally I don't like how close the word is to religious.  Changing my perspective on things though has really opened my eyes to the fact that everyone's journey to their greatest good is different.
Tracking my growth & spiritual goals in a place I look at everyday means there is one place I can go when I need to reflect.

Oh, in case you're wondering - you can get the constelation planner cover perfect for your Mini Happy Planner here, and make the Aligned cover from this DIY

How do you track your spirituality in your planner?  Share below or in the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group here.

xoxo, Moe

7.04.2017

Trend Tuesday // A Day with Lindsay & Sarah

So I don't think I've ever done a post related to bathing suits on my body on this blog. Usually I just show some nice bathing suits on other plus size bodies and call it done.  But today I really wanted to put myself out there.  I really like these suits and I really like these cover ups.
LuLaroe Beach Cover
You all know my obsession with LuLaRoe right now so I wanted to share with you how to wear two styles that are sort of reserved for winter weather - the Sarah and the Lindsay.  Depending on the fabric, these guys can been great beach cover ups.
Plus Size Bathing SuiteLuLaRoe Sarah Cardigan Beach Cover Up
Solid one piece bathing suit + patterned Sarah
I love this bathing suit!! This has been my go to style of suit for a long, long time.  I love the silhouette and the ruching.  If you're a bit reserved on the beach a solid color may make you feel more comfortable rather than a pattern.  I know that companies want to sell plus size ladies black bathing suits in the summer to be figure flattering.  While I find that to be 100% a personal opinion (and the only opinion that matters is the one of the person actually wearing the bathing suit), I also recommend getting out of your comfort zone by choosing a brighter, solid color.  Which is why I love this coral color.  I've had two of this style suits both in the same color.

Pair the solid suit with a patterned Sarah cardigan for more coverage.  I personally like patterns and find that it adds something fun to a solid suit.  The Sarah adds much more coverage to the suit and is also warmer if the beach day turns into a beach night.
Plus Size LuLaRoeLuLaRoe Lindsay Beach Cover Up
Solid one piece + patterned Lindsay
Again, a solid one piece in a fun color is very cute while still covering you where you want to be covered.  I also like the halter style of this suit - it is very retro looking.  The cut and ruching give a vintage silhouette.

Pairing the one piece with a shorter Lindsay gives a little less coverage but I love this look because I find that sometimes the Sarah may get in the way.  The Lindsay is still long in the back and will cover your booty but not as long as the Sara.  If the day is super windy......you may get all caught up in your Sarah!
LuLaRoe Beach WearPlus Size Bikini
Patterned Bikini + Solid Sarah
Now we're going to get into pattern mixing!!  I love this super structured push up bikini.  I am not sure where I got it from (maybe Wal-Mart?) but this is similar.  Wearing a bikini is something I haven't done since I was probably super young.  BUT - I find this super liberating and super cute.

Again the Sarah cardigan gives this swim suit a ton more coverage while still looking cute.  I think this helps with acclimating myself to actually wearing a bikini!  If you're wearing a solid bikini, try a patterned Sarah.  I like this solid color with the pattern to not be so overwhelming - especially with the length of the Sarah.
Plus Size Swimwear
Plus Size Swimsuit
Floral Bikini + Geometric Patterned Lindsay
This is my favorite look because it really gets into pattern mixing.  The floral bikini top looks great with the geometric pattern of this Lindsay.  A great way to pair patters is in this floral + linear fashion.

As mentioned above, the Lindsay is long enough to cover your booty, but just short enough to be super cute!  I love that this look seems to fall of the shoulder and look effortless.  The Sarah is more structured - staying up on your shoulders - while the Lindsay is loose - the sleeves are flowy and more casual.

The whole point of this post is not only to show you two ways to wear the Lindsay & the Sarah during the summer but to also show you how to wear two bathing suit styles with confidence!  Please know that you can wear whatever you like as long as you are comfortable and having fun. 

While these two pieces weren't provided by Cinnamon of LuLaRoe Cinnamon Little VIP, I recommend joining her group to shop!  Find the VIP group here and follow along on Instagram.  You can read all of my LuLaRoe related posts here.

What will you be wearing beach or pool side this Summer?

xoxo, Moe

7.03.2017

Make it Monday // How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press

About a 2 weeks ago I picked up some coffee concentrate from the grocery store.  I'd heard about this crazy concoction from my BFF when we were in Florida (she doesn't even like coffee!!) and finally decided to pick some up.  Apparently you can dilute this magical juice with water, milk, etc and have a delicious cup of coffee.
Cold Brew Coffee At Home
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Let me tell you - I love this stuff!  Since picking that bottle up I've had a cup of cold brew coffee each morning with just milk.  I've cut my intake of sugar and that processed non-dairy creamer stuff by doing this.  Though I can't say the impact of that yet, the cup of coffee isn't too bitter and I can stand to drink it with out the pump of sweetness.  Never thought I'd be able to do that.

So, because I've found a new love & because I have a French press that is collecting dust next to my coffee bar I thought I'd try my hand at making my own cold brew coffee concentrate.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press
supplies :: french press, coarse ground coffee, room temp water, 14-16 hours, mason jar (optional), fine sieve (optional)

Personally I used the coffee grounds I'd had on hand but a lot of the blogs I read suggested coarse ground coffee for a sweeter flavor.  It seems that the grinding process heats up the coffee beans and the finer you grind, the more heat is generated.  Science, it makes sense.  And that heat is what creates the more bitter taste.  So take that as a suggestion.  I do plan on getting a coffee grinder for myself.
Cold Brew Coffee At Home
Cold Brew Coffee At Home
Add 1 cup of the coffee grounds to the French press and top with water.  Leave about an inch at the top so that you can add the lid and plunger with out causing overflow.  Cover the press and set aside for 14-16 hours.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Once the concoction has steeped for 14-16 hours, add the lid and press the plunger down to push the grounds to the bottom of the container.  My french press has a fine mesh over the spout as well but you may need a sieve here to remove the rest of the grounds.  Either pour the magical goodness into a separate container like a mason jar to store it for later or pour into a temporary container, clean the french press, and transfer the unicorn blood back into it.

Store in the fridge for about a week because you'll drink it all in that time frame.  No need to worry about it going bad, you're gonna down it in no time!
DIY Cold Brew Coffee
Cold Brew Coffee At HOme
I dilute the coffee concentrate with milk and drink it cold.  I have tried to dilute it with water - both drinking it cold and hot - and personally I don't like it.  I'd need a little bit of sweetness to drink it that way.  Milk - we drink Skim milk but this would be great with almond or soy milk - is the way I choose to take my coffee.  I don't measure out the ratios but about a shot of coffee in a mug topped with milk seems to work just fine.

I can't wait to try different coffee recipes with this coffee concentrate.  I see a gourmet coffee shop right on my kitchen counter in the future!

How do you take your coffee?  Are you down for some cold brew?  Let me know below or in the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group here.

xoxo, Moe