Current Favorite Higher End Crafty Gadgets

If there is one thing I've loved longer than makeup and planners it is craft supplies.  One of my favorite traits about myself is my creativity.  I love that if I have an idea I can execute it - for the most part.  Being able to create anything under the sun means having an amazingly stocked craft room/area.  Honestly, I feel so thankful to be able to have the fun gadgets I have to make nearly anything possible.  I've shared my favorite paper crafting supplies in this post, and I've also shared my favorite craft supplies in this post, but now I want to share my current favorite higher end crafty gadgets.  Some of these could be considered middle end (which makes no sense, I know) rather than high end but if you're an average crafter I feel like these are things you save up for or ask Santa for and don't really pop into a Hobby Lobby and throw money everywhere.

I've been in love with these gadgets since I got them and find them so, so helpful for many different things!
I found my Explore on sale at Menard's (a hardware store) of all places.  It was severely discounted and I just snatched it up.  Since owning it I've used it to make stickers, planner dividers, & scrapbooking embellishments.  I'm looking forward to trying to make some vinyl decals and seeing what I can cut with it.  There are tons of free shapes and cartridges to create super simple projects.   There is even a monthly or yearly subscription service so you don't have to buy a zillion cartridges all at once. The Design Space is easy to learn (reminds me of using PicMonkey) and the creation process is really simple.  The Cricut software also has a print then cut feature as well.  I would have never been able to create kiss cut stickers if it weren't for this machine.  I also wouldn't have been able to create small embellishments in various shapes with out a million punches if it wasn't for my Cricut.  The precision cutting is amazing as well - no more uneven planner dividers!
I recently created my own planner using the Cinch and my Cricut Explore.  I never would have been able to bind a little journal like that with out this little contraption.  I was super intimidated by this little machine and just stared at it for a long while.  Turns out it is super easy.  If you're looking to create any sort of memory book or notebook.  It is perfect if you need to make a little notebook in a pinch - like for a gift or something.  But you can also take your time and make a super detailed scrapbook.  It can also double as an A5 size hole punch to punch pages for your planners!  I like it because I can make notebooks super fast.  I'm going to try to make some little notebooks out of Project Life cards as little gifts this year for Xmas.  You can also create a junk journal of sorts and punch in your pictures to create a flip book.

Sewing Machine
I. Love. My. Sewing. Machine.  I don't even do a 10th of the things it is capable of but it is so inspiring to just feel like creating something out of fabric and then being able to.  If I want to sit down and sew something I can...and fast.  Hand sewing would make me get super bored of the project I was working on.  I find that I get bored with a project if I can't see it develop quickly enough.  I've loved using my sewing machine to make a few aprons, my fauxdori, some garb for the SCA, and just general sewing two pieces of fabric together.
This is one of those things where you can justify not picking it up every time you see it in the craft store.  I finally picked one up to set eyelets and punch holes in my fauxdori.  I now think it will be super handy when I want to set eyelets in other crafts - maybe scrapbooking? Who knows?  I haven't really found assorted uses for it yet, but I'm sure I will!

These are my 4 current favorite higher end crafty tools.  Now I can make all the things!

What are your favorite crafty gadgets?  Anything I should try out?

xoxo, Moe


Make it Monday // Crochet Halloween Coffee Cup Cozie

In between my planner obsession I've picked back up a little bit of crochet.  Over the long weekend when I made these face scrubbies, I also made a few Halloween inspired coffee cup cozies!  I even went out and bought another travel mug to go with the cozies I made.  You always need a new mug right?  Right.
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
When it comes to crocheting 9 times out of 10 I'm like 'I want to make something....but...... I...don't....know.....what......'  That is when Pinterest comes to the rescue.  I think I was looking for patterns for face scrubbies when I stumbled upon a pin, that led me to another pin.  None the less I settled on this coffee cozie pattern.

While I'd say I'm pretty good at making up projects on my own, this couldn't have been more perfect.  This is actually one of my favorite stitches and back when I tried to sell some of my crocheted hats this was the stitch I used to make a lot of them.  It looks sort of like you're knitting in the round like you would with crochet.  Instead of going in the top loops of the row, you slip your hook in the loop behind the top two loops.  You're going into the back of the yarn over part you did to create the stalk (if you will) of the half double crochet.  Once you get this down the stitch is beautiful.  And if you're like 'man, I had crocheting in the back loop only...takes FOR.EV.ER!'  I promise you this stitch totally doesn't.
You do need to use a stitch marker - a proper one or a safety pin or a little piece of yarn (or you can be a rebel and not use one, I don't) - because you won't be joining and turning between rounds.  You'll keep going and going until you're satisfied.  The pattern I used called for a button, but I had bigger plans.

I searched, and searched for a tiny scull applique pattern and tried a few out but they all came out too big.  I finally found this one and did a slight modification.  The chart really helps you see where you need to be placing your stitches and what stitches will become what part of the scull.  When I reached the last row of the pattern I continued on with a slip stitch in a few points around the mouth part of the scull.  I did two slip stitches in the corners of the mouth to give it a little bit of a square shape and just even off the finished edge.  Then I joined with a slip stitch to the final row just at the middle of the scull, right above the mouth piece.  Leaving a tail, I used that to sew the scull onto the coffee cozy.
You could leave it as it is, or you could crochet yourself a little bow, a video how to is above.  Using a bright, neon yellow yarn I started with a ch of 4, then 2 double crochets in the 4th ch from the hook, 3 ch and joined with a slp st.  Then I ch 3, 2 dc in the stitch I just joined in, ch 3 and slp st back into the stitch I worked the dc in.  This creates two little flower petals that are perfect for a tiny bow.  Leaving a tail again, I used that to sew the bow to the cozy by wrapping the yarn around the center of the bow then into the cozy and back out again, wrap around, repeat.  much like you would sew through a button hole.

If you find other small applique patterns, you can have endless amounts of coffee cozies for the fall!!  Yay!!!
Hope you enjoyed this fun little project to work up in an afternoon!!!  If you're looking for a beginner class (or just looking to brush up) be sure to check out Crochet: Basics & Beyond class here on Craftsy.  You can also purchase some amazing supplies on the Craftsy site I love their variety of yarn!

xoxo, Moe


Meet Sweetie B // A Post on Pet Adoption

The other day I got a notification from Facebook to look back on some memories from that day in the past.  Turns out that day was the day, 2 years ago, that Emrys came to stay with us.  Growing up we never had a dog...my parents only got a dog when I left for college.  So having Emrys come stay with us was a big deal.  What was supposed to be a temporary arrangement turned into a forever home for a little guy.  This is going to sound crazy - but from the first time I met Emmy back in 2012 visiting Zach's parents for the first time....we were friends.  He would always come sit with me, cuddle me, etc.  I didn't think anything of it at the time.  But when he came to stay with us, he definitely crawled up in my heart and stayed there.  So loosing him was horrible.
It was only about 2 weeks between losing Emmy and adopting Sweetie but it felt like ages.  All I wanted was for someone to give me a dog.  I went to a few shelters and all the dogs seemed too much for me to handle.  I talked to a breeder of Corgis and it just seemed like I was going to be alone for a long time.  It seemed like I'd never have a fur ball in my life again.  I'd find a dog on a shelter site that I liked, they'd always end up being adopted.  (Which was wonderful, but when was I going to find my dog?)
I went to a shelter by my work, only to find out that the dog I saw online had been adopted.  I decided to look anyway..... and there she was.  A super cute, lemon colored female dog estimated to be about 1-2 years old.  I was told by the workers there that she was really sweet, kept her kennel clean, etc.  Honestly it was like 'why was she even dropped off here?'

I asked to see her.  We went into their little visiting area and I can't express the love I felt for her right there.  I'm not even exaggerating.  I knew I had to apply for her.  So I did.  And I waited.  And I was so stressed.  I tried to look up reviews on the shelter - and some I saw were negative, and I got nervous.  I've run into a place before where the shelter hardly ever adopted animals out....the owner apparently was like an animal hoarder!  But, thats beside the point of this story.

They called me.  I got her.  She was mine.  

I went to pick her up with a new collar and leash.  I signed for her, and we walked out the door.  She did not want to get in the car so I had to pick her up.  We went home.  I don't really remember the first few days except that I was super nervous this wouldn't work out.  I didn't know what to name her - I had a name picked out for another Corgi, Sandy for a girl or Calder for a boy (my favorite artist is Alexander Calder) - but with her yellow coat I thought Sandy was too obvious.  I named her Sweetie because of how frickin' sweet she is.  The B initial is for Zach's last name.

We went for her check up where everything initially went fine.  I was told, however, that she was in heat.....and I could be having puppies on my hand come a few months.  She turned out healthy though.  Over the next few days, however, she developed a horrible case of kennel cough.  They even thought it might be the dog flu.  I remember her sneezing and having to clean the snot out of her nose.  Have you ever seen a dog with a snotty nose?  Neither have I!  She was just so sick.  We took her to the vet twice.  We got a few rounds of antibiotics, got her some fattening wet food, and she got better.  Like night and day better.  I honestly thought I was going to lose her.  I also thought that if something was seriously wrong, I couldn't just give her back.  I got her, I looked her in the face and told her she was mine, I couldn't just give her back.  But I didn't know if I could go through something crazy again like losing another dog.  But like I said, she got better!
So then I had to do all the things you do with a dog....like train them!  I will tell you - she got on my last. damn. nerve.  Everything was a struggle.  She would potty on the floor at night by the door to the bedroom.  She would get into. every. damn. thing. She wouldn't listen.  It was more than that though - all of this was brand new.  She didn't trust me...she didn't know who I was - we had to work together on this.  But she's frickin' smart.  She got better at not pottying on the floor, she hasn't had an accident since I can't remember when.  She stopped pooping in the spare room - I thought that was more hilarious than anything else!  Every time I'd open the door...she'd poop in there.  It was ridiculous.  She now knows to sit, to wait, to lay down, to shake.  She can be by herself and I'm not afraid she's chewing on something.  We've only had 3 washi tape casualties.  She loves socks.  She still gets on the counter.  She still jumps up on people.  I'm pretty sure she loves Zach more than me.  But she's very trusting now.
I also think it is hilarious how good of a guard dog she is. I named her Sweetie because of how utterly sweet she was when we met.  She didn't bark & she wasn't aggressive towards me.  Now that she's realized this is her home and we are her humans she's gotten to be a little bit protective!!  I have to explain to people how sweet she really is while she's barking her head off.  We've gotten better at that too (for the most part).  If you ride your bike down the street or are in your yard while we are on a walk you're ok.  If you're a group of people or you're trying to come up to me or Zach while we're on a walk....prepare to be barked at.  If you come in our yard, prepare to be barked at.  She's a pretty good guard dog.

The reason I'm writing this post is because today I just realized she can pretty much have the whole run of the house and she doesn't get into anything.  I also found her laying in her crate earlier....just hanging out in there...which means she finally feels that it is a safe place!  She's also fattened up well.  She walks alright on a leash.  I feel like my baby girl is all grown up.
I think it is crazy that you can train a dog and that they are so smart to know what you mean!  Adopting her was hard.  It really was.  But she filled a hole in my hear that Emmy left.  And I thought that would be weird.  But I know she isn't him, I know she's got her own personality - which is so weird. That has been another thing that's been crazy to get used to - her personality.  She asks for things differently (she stamps her feet when she has to poop and she just plain acts bat shit crazy).  She snores when she sleeps, she takes up the whole bed, she makes little piggy snorting noises.  I never thought we'd get here.  I never thought that she'd be as responsible as she is.  She just makes my life so much better.
Oh, and she loves the crap out of Zach......she thinks he's her boyfriend.  No lie, kisses his face all day, all night, if she could.

But I also wanted to ask myself this question 'would I adopt again?'  I don't know...I think I got lucky, but I also think that the dog finds you.  I was very nervous about adopting since you don't know what the dog might have gone through, what might trigger something, etc.  I think I got super lucky.  I think she makes the perfect addition to our family.

So, meet Sweetie B.

xoxo, Moe


My Planner Journey // How I use Multiple Planners

A few months ago I became a two planner girl.  Then a little while after that, I became a three planner girl.  (I've since dropped back down to two planners....but three is always there for me if I need it!)   Is this necessary?  Probably not, but if you're a planner junkie like me you kinda can grasp the idea.  I think I got really into planning a little over a year ago .  Baby planning Moe was dead against pretty planning.  In this video I outright say that I don't understand those that fill their planners with stickers and washi tape and paper clips and journaling cards, etc.  I'm here today to say I've changed my ways.  I've come to the dark side....and I kinda like it.
my first planner was this half size binder from Target.
My next planner was a Filofax Saffiano - very affordable.  It was the A5 size so a little bit bigger than half letter size.  It became too big for me.

Honestly, I don't know when it started - probably with my Teal Color Crush planner.  It was from a scrapbooking company and I've seen so many scrapbookers come over to planning and I think the decor thing for me was born out of my love of Project Life (which I've mentioned before is horrrrrriiiiibbbbllllyyy neglected.  Though I do have plans in the works.  Promise).  I used my Teal Color Crush for everything.  Because it was so thick - even for a personal sized planner - I had my blog, etsy, youtube, and personal planning in there.  I moved down from my Saffiano A5 to the Color Crush and I still felt like I could fit everything.  Then my baby showed up on Zulilly over Easter this year.  Yes, I remember ordering it on my phone from the car I was in with my Aunts and Grandma in Michigan.  Yes, I realize this makes me crazy...but I did it, ok?
This is my teal Color Crush planner - it is super thick.  See a comparison video here.

So as soon as she arrives in the mail, I melt.  I try to stuff everything up in there...and I can't.  I have a planner melt down (not really) and wonder how I'm going to have all the things.  Then hits the Erin Condren sale in early Summer 2015-ish.  I get an ECLP for $25.00 (ps. save $10 on your first order with a new email address by clicking here) and move into it as my blog/etsy/youtube planner.  I love it because it has three sections per day - perfect to divide my three areas of business into.
My Flouro Filofax in the personal size along with my Happy Planner - you can see how much the Filofax is stuffed here!
I started to use the month pages in the ECLP as an editorial calendar and then the weekly pages to plan what I would do under each section of the week.  This helped because I had a lot of space for exactly what needed to be done and I didn't have to put it in the small areas in my personal planner (the Flouro Pink Filofax Original - set up here).  I also used the notes pages in the back for future planning, youtube schedule, and blog ideas.  I continued to use my Filofax for personal planning.  If I needed to mark out time for filming or something I made sure to put that in my personal planner so I wouldn't think I could do something else then.  That was really the only cross over.
You can see a plan with me in my ECLP here.
As for carrying my planners, originally I had both the ECLP and the Filofax in my bag.  It has only been recently that I've realized carrying both of those planners wasn't helpful.  I hardly ever looked at my ECLP when I was out...so why did I need it?  Planner separation anxiety I guess.  Shortly after moving into the ECLP I realized I didn't have enough room to jot down ideas.  I was having to use sticky notes on one blog page in the back of the planner for fear I'd run out of note space.  Soon after this the MAMBI Happy Planner was released.
After some back and forth over the fact that the tabs weren't laminated, I decided to pick it up.  The MAMBI Happy Planner has a set up much like the ECLP but guess what?  It is discbound so you can add your own sections in & out of the planner.  I picked up the planner itself, the pre punched paper, a package of the dividers, and a package of folders.  Once home I made my frankenplanner - I kept in the months July through January, added three sections at the back using the pre punched paper and 3 of the dividers, and added a folder at the back for stickers because I did like that in the ECLP.  Now I had room to take the blog/etsy/youtube notes I was making in my Filofax to the planner they belonged in.  I still have those sections in my Filofax in case I'm out and have an idea but currently I'm thinking of removing them

This Happy Planner was my favorite for sure.  I didn't carry it with me as the discbound system seems not well suited to carrying in a purse.  I kept it out in my creative area and used it to plan in my new day on one page planner as well.  It gets planned in/decorated every week to plan out what I will do for the blog/etsy/youtube.  The monthly calendar is still used as an editorial calendar.  The weekly layout is the vertical style with three headers.  The boxes are slightly taller than the ECLP which I like, but the width of the boxes is the same.  So any ECLP stickers I have fit perfectly.  The notes pages in the back mean everything is in one place - I don't have to reach for multiple planners if I'm just working on the blog, etc.
I used to use weekly inserts like the inserts above but now I use vertical inserts like the ECLP or MAMBI planner.  You can find free half letter sized inserts (fits A5) here.
My filofax is still for weekly planning.  So on Sunday I'd plan out the week in my Happy Planner and my personal Filofax.  Usually I'd plan one (the Happy Planner) and then the other (the Filofax) but sometimes things would overlap personal to business or business to personal so I try to be flexible.  Because I plan weekly I noticed I was getting super overwhelmed and not completing any tasks.  So many weeks in my Happy Planner had zero tasks marked off because I tried to do so much I just didn't know where to start.
Then the Target Day Designer came out in the middle of my No Buy July and I was so jealous.  #PlannerEnvy if you will.  So I sat down with an old notebook I had and made my own day on a page planner.  At first I thought, why the hell do I need another planner...especially since 98% of my day is me working at a job that I really don't need a planner for.  I thought about it for a while and decided to just make one with the divisions I'd like to have in a daily planner.  The most important was to have sections for the tasks for blog/etsy/youtube & a to do list.  Loosely based off the day designer design I came up with a day on a page with those sections as well as an hourly schedule, a tonight section, a top 3 section, and an important section.  This has helped me tremendously because I now only see what needs to be done today.  The important section is only for things I need to remember in the coming days or weeks - birthdays coming up, things to be done the next week, or things I need to research/plan.  I don't feel overwhelmed with this set up now.  After I used this set up for a bit I decided to break out every gadget I have in my crafting arsenal and create my own planner to fit my needs.
My crazy three planner set up!
I continued to use my DIY day on one page planner that I made with my Cinch - super cool tool by the way - for a little while.  But then the A5 flouro in the A5 size showed up on Amazon.......and I scooped it up.  I moved out of my Happy Planner and into the A5 flouro.  I couldn't stand the way the ECLP inserts stuck out of my Filofax so I designed my own half letter sized inserts in a vertical format and loved it.  I now use this for my blog/etsy/youtube planning.  With the rings I can move things in and out and the whole set up is a bit more sturdy than the arc system that was the Happy Planner.
I liked my vertical set up in my A5 so much that I made a smaller, personal sized, version to fit my personal planner. I also made day on one page inserts to fit my personal planner since I knew that the weekly views were so overwhelming to me.  The vertical version in my personal sized planner divided the week in to 3 days on one spread and 4 on the other - it was a week over four pages.  And then I didn't need my day on a page any more!! I love the vertical layout so much.  I'm not overwhelmed when the week is broken into sections.  Hooray!

My current set up is a 2 planner system...and I don't know if I'll go back!!

How many planners do you use?  Any tips for multiple planner systems?

xoxo, Moe


Make it Monday // Halloween Notes Pages using PicMonkey

Remember way back when I posted this video about making some stinking cute notes pages for your planner?  Well, I'm back for another round!  Halloween is coming up and for some reason I'm all about the Halloween planner supplies.....why? No idea, but I'm all over that mess.  I recently saw a picture on a Facebook group of the Halloween notes pages popping up in the Target Dollar Spots and knew I needed it.  
This post contains affiliate links, please see my full disclosure here.
Well, the nearest two Targets to me are 30 min away in either direction so I thought I'd get to crafting.  I have a printer and PicMonkey....so I'm good to go.  Here's how I did it.

Pretty much, you'll want to follow nearly the same tutorial as in this post.  Open a blank canvas, crop it using the iPhone 5 crop option, unselect scale photo, and set your back ground color.  I chose to keep a white canvas to preserve ink but do as you wish.
Next, move over to the left menu bar and click on the apple.  There you will find a bunch of different overlays and effects by category.  I chose to work from the Day of the Dead and the Trick or Treat category.  To create a wall paper type pattern, just place different elements in different areas of the canvas.  Be sure to put the elements hanging off the edge of the canvas for a seamless look.
To create the space to write, overlay a rectangle sized about a half and inch smaller than the original canvas.  Increase the fade setting until you can slightly see the design through the rectangle overlay.  Once you're satisfied, save your file.  Create as many as you'd like.
Then move into word and follow the end of the video tutorial here to align and print your Halloween themed notes pages!  If you don't have Word you can try any word processor, just be sure to size the images so that they are 6.75 inches tall.  This is the height of a personal sized page and the width will only give you a little bit of an overhang.
You can see here that leaving a good amount of space around the white box is helpful for punching the holes.  Be sure to leave PicMonkey open while you're printing your pages so if you do need to change something you can.  You can also just save these images as iPhone backgrounds!! How fun is that!  Maybe even add a little Halloween saying?   I think I'm going to do that now!

If you'd like to download the set created in this post, please click here.  Remember that this set is for personal use only, please only link to this blog post when you share with you're friends.  Do not sell this or claim it as your own, I work hard to provide the interwebz with free things!  Just play nice and I will thank you for it!

View all my PicMonkey tutorials here!  Oooooohhhhhh....I sooo haven't been keeping up with the journaling cards I really wanted to continue to make this year...whoooopppss!! But, if you're interested, there's a free set right here!

xoxo, Moe


Wednesday Decor // How I Tackle Cleaning

I shouldn't be the one writing this post...honestly.  But I am...because I want to share with you how I tackle cleaning my house.  First off I'd suggest you not be creative in the least bit.  If you are creative you'll end up with a messy house because either you're too busy being creative to clean or your creativity is the mess.  I have both problems.
I've struggled forever with being neat and tidy.  Ask my mom.  Well, don't really....she probably doesn't want to relive that.  Ask my room mates, ask my sister, ask any one - I was and still am a messy person.  I do blame it on being creative...I really do.  Once Zach and I moved in together, though, I realized that having a place for everything really made the difference.  I'm pretty sure I've talked about this here on the blog before but being stuffed into one room growing up, one room in college, one room in a house after graduation, was the problem.  I was trying to do too much stuff with one room.  Now I'm happy that we have so much room in the house - not only can we fill it all with crap but we can fill it with the crap that goes in it's own space!  Imagine that.

I will continue to say that if you were to come over to my house today, right now, I'd probably say give me 20 minutes and then when you arrived you wouldn't be allowed in certain rooms because I threw all the shit in there...but for the most part the house stays nice and tidy (until I have something to make).

Here's how I've adapted myself to cleaning (see what I did there?)

Divide and Conquer 
Rather than run around like a crazy person and stress out each weekend when I tried to clean I decided that I really needed to break the house up into chunks.  I'm sure I saw this tip somewhere, but honestly I couldn't tell you where.  So I broke my house into - living room & office, kitchen & dining room, bathrooms, and bedrooms.  Each section gets it's own day.

Previously, I would just spend time each day cleaning that section.  That got way, way, way overwhelming especially when I had things that needed to get done like blog posts, life stuff, etc.  I decided I needed to divide even more.

Each day of the week - Monday through Thursday - I clean one of these sections.  But each day that the chore falls on I pick three things I need to clean.  So for example, Monday is living room & office day.  I will choose three things to do - vacuum/sweep, coffee table, and dust. Then the next week I will choose three more things - vacuum/sweep, bookshelf, desk.  I try to vacuum and sweep each time I do a room because it's just good to do that you know.  Plus we have a dog and though she doesn't shed as much as our previous dog did, she still sheds a bit.

Set a timer
After I'd assigned sections to each day I'd just clean until I thought I was done....but then I'd get discouraged and end up not cleaning the other rooms for the rest of the week because I wanted to do something else.  Originally I'd set the time for an hour.  I found that for me, that was too long.  I'd get frustrated that I wasn't able to execute all the things I had on my mind because I spent an hour cleaning.  Then I was tired.  Then I still had to make dinner or something.  It's annoying being an adult.

So now I lower it down to 30 min a day.  Obviously this isn't a deep clean (I still need to come up with a seasonal cleaning list) but it keeps everything nice and tidy.  If I do feel like something needs a deeper clean that will be my focus of the 30 min, if I can spare it.  The stove is one of these things.  Sometimes it just gets to where a wipe down isn't enough.  Or the kitchen floors, the bathtub, the toilet, etc.  Something that definitely needs more attention will get it.

But a timer ensures that I'm doing the chore and am not burned out on chores for the rest of the week.  Also, it's like a little game and as stupid as I thought that reason was...it seriously does help.

Create a place for everything
This is still something I need to really focus on but for the most part there are general places for things in the house.  And, if I'm cleaning an area and run into something that doesn't go there I do my best to put it back and not just set it in the area it belongs.  So like if I've got a crap ton of craft stuff on the coffee table I should sort it quickly and put it away - not just dump it all in a pile on my desk.  Right?

For me, this is where smaller, specific storage comes in.  I know that all of this thing goes in this thing so that makes it easier to put away and less tempting to just dump it all on my desk.  This also helps when you get to the next area and you are cleaning or tidying it up.  If you've put the crap away then you don't need to put it away or move it around a second time.  Saves you a bit when you're moving around your cleaning areas day to day.

Like I said, I'm not organizing guru I just know what's been helping me out to keep the house tidy.  I've posted on this topic before and I think I've since grown but I keep incorporating the same strategies.  In this post I share how to come up with the perfect cleaning list and in this post I share how I refocused my list into small, one-liner chores during our renovation.

However you do it, you've got to do something that works for you.  This is a constant struggle for me but something I do like adapting.  I've found myself complaining less about the state of the house but understanding myself and breaking things down into smaller parts.

How do you tackle cleaning?  Have you evolved your cleaning strategies?

xoxo, Moe


3 Tips to Take the Best Selfie Ever

I'm going to try not to regurgitate all the apps I love in yet another post but it's hard not to when you keep discovering features in your favorite apps - honestly.  I have a few tips to share with you today about using apps you probably already use (ahem....Instagram) to get your best selfie ever.
Light, light, more light
This is the first thing I want to mention - you need good light.  We all know that the front camera  on the iPhone sucks for taking pictures in general but if you subtract light, all you get is a grainy blob of what the hell am I looking at?  If at all possible get in some great light.  Try to find light that illuminates you from all sides, evenly.  Not just the top or directly in front or from the left or right - you want light that is the most flattering.  A cloudy/overcast day is the best - where the light filters in from all sides.  Obviously, you won't be out in the park on a cloudy day so when there is only direct sunlight around try to step into the shadow of something.  Don't go too dark though you just want the harsh, direct light off of your face so you're evenly lit.  
When all else fails, and there's just too much or too little light - turn your photo black and white.  Boom, you're soo deep....you're such an artist....so meaningful.  But, really it will save a bad picture for memory keeping or Instagraming.  I have a whole post on the greatest apps to make perfect black and white photos here and even how to work with the two B&W filters in Instagram.

Natural, enhancing filters on Instagram
Yeah, right? I know, but there are some.  If you've gotten a nice bit of even light in your photo there are a few filters that will work great to enhance the colors, contrast, and overall feel of your photo with out making it look over processed.  

One of the best features Instagram ever introduced with the ability to adjust contrast, brightness, etc.  Equally the best feature is that you can now adjust the strength of the filter by tapping on the filter again.  SO. Amaze.  My favorite filter for selfies with even filtered light or even light in a bit of a shadow is Valencia.  I like to overlay Valencia, take down the filter a little bit, and then play with the contrast.  This combo works great for a selfie in the car!
The key with making the most of Instagram is to be creative but to keep it simple.  Try out different filters and the more images you take the more you'll see what you like.  If there is a filter you always go to, you probably go to it for a reason.  Keep playing until you get your perfect, natural but creative edit.

Some other favorite edits that don't have to do with selfies:
Lark makes blue skies bluer and its great for a landscape photo full of blue sky.  I like to take down the filter a little bit so it's not too intense but still leaves the sky blue.
Ludwig is great for some food photos (for me at least) I love the way it made the red of the tomatoes pop in this one.  I also used the tilt shift option successfully - in this image it looks like the original image had greater depth of field than it really does.  Tilt shift is best used when you're able to focus on a single point and you're not pushing something out of focus.  It is most successful here because Sweetie is already in the background so it is reasonable to see that she may well have been out of focus in the original shot.
Ok, back to selfies.

Fix unwanted spots with SnapSeed
I've talked about SnapSeed app about a zillion times here on the blog.  And I'm going to talk about it again - did you know there was a spot healer in this app?  I didn't!  Until I posted a photo where Zach looked better than I did!  I'm not saying this is the best picture ever - this is a real life example here - but when I put this in the eventual Project Life album it ends up in.....I'll wish I'd covered that zit!
Simply open the image in SnapSeed, click on the little pencil and select Spot Repair.  Use your two fingers to pinch and zoom in, use two fingers to move around the photo, and then tap, tap, tap, until the spot is repaired!  (This works great if there's something small in a photo that you don't want as well...not just for zits)  I'm not saying I'm the greatest at this...sorry for the close up on my skin, the small format of Instagram fixes minor blemishes too.

I realize how insane this next statement is but, selfies are a big part of social media right now!  And we all like to be a little vain now and again...why not be vain and perfectly edited?  Remember though, life isn't about being perfect - life is about living, and if you happen to capture moments that aren't so perfect...we'll that's fine too!

If you'd like to read more iPhone photography posts, click here.  There are general tips for taking the perfect shot with any camera plus using your iPhone to create some cool edits.

I am all about that selfie game - so follow me on Instagram, why don't you?  Search @fivesixteenths!


Make it Monday // Cheap & Easy DIY Dollar Store Planner

If you've ever thought to yourself 'man, those planner inserts are pretty....to bad I don't have a planner to put them in.'  I've got something cheap and easy for you *snickers*
Today, I've got another DIY planner idea.  This planner is super cheap to make - I found all the supplies (minus the inserts) at the dollar store!  Don't worry, I know some Dollar Store DIY's are not that great...but this one is going to be good, like real good.  I made this planner 8.5 x 5.5 because that is the size of the planner freebies I offer on the blog but you can adjust the sizing to fit your needs.  If you're a personal sized girl (or boy) go ahead and experiment with different sizes to find what fits you best.
Supplies :: poly folders or file folders, binder rings, ruler, scissors, hole punch, printable inserts (I have some linked below), craft knife & surface to cut, paper trimmer, corner rounder or round item like a dime.  Optional - laminator and laminating sheets, scrap paper, planner band, keep it together band, or project band to keep your planner closed, instead of folders you could also use a cutting board from the dollar tree like in this DIY,

First, you'll need to decide the type of material you'll use for the cover and dividers.  There are two options here for making the covers/dividers:

If you've found some stinking cute poly folders (those are the plastic feeling pocket folders, not the paper ones) then you're good to go.  These will hold up much better than their counter part the file folder.  While these are plastic coated heavy card stock, for the most part these can get dinged up.  Feel free to laminate them at home (I use 5mil laminating sheets so my covers stay super durrable) or take them to a store like Office Max or Staples.  If you're not too rough on your planner, you'll probably be fine but if it's coming in and out of a bag often, stick with the poly folders if you can't get file folders laminated.
Next, decide on the size.  Like I mentioned above, all the free planner printables on the blog are half letter size so I decided to make mine accommodate that sizing.  If you're changing the sizes you'll want to be sure you're accommodating for any dividers you'll have in your planner.  I made my covers 5.75 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall, each divider will have that same sizing too, we'll put the tabs in later.
Using your craft knife cut away the folder part from the front cover.  I found it was easier to slice my folder down the center fold, then use the craft knife to slice the pockets off by placing it under the fold and gently pulling up.  Do this in slow strokes so you don't accidentally cut off any small slices of the front of the folder.
Once you have two rectangles of your folder you'll want to start trimming them down to size.  I cut the folders in half horizontally - making each cover/divider 5 and 3/4 inches wide.  I would use a spare insert you've printed to determine the size.  If you're folder is a different size than mine, trimming exactly at the half way mark maybe too small for the size inserts you're using.  I decided on a front and back cover and two center dividers - this means one poly folder made my whole planner.  To decide the height I added 1/8th of an inch to the 8.5 inch measurement.  I sliced each of my four pieces down until I had four 5 & 3/4 inch wide x 8 5/8 inch tall pieces.

Once you have everything trimmed down, choose the pieces that will be the dividers - for this project I chose to create two dividers to will give me three section.  A great tool to use to make dividers is an envelope punch board by We R Memory Keepers (I plan to do a DIY post or video on this, I just haven't gotten to it!) but if you don't have that you can use something like a dime to create your rounded tabs or a corner rounder.

If it is helpful, use a post it note to mark divider 1, divider 2, and divider 3 so you know where you're to place the marks that will create your tabs.
Flip the two dividers over so the wrong sides are facing up - this is where labeling the dividers helps, so you can keep them straight when marking and cutting.  During this process try not to pick up or move the orientation of the dividers as you may get confused!  Measure exactly the center of each divider across one of the taller sides.  Place the insert you are going to use in your planner flush with the opposite side of the measurement you just marked.  Draw a line down the side of the insert, onto the divider, to mark where your pages will stop.  This is helpful so you don't cut the tab on your divider too deep.  Using x's, mark the top skinny rectangle on one divider and mark the bottom skinny rectangle on the other.  The rectangles with the x's are the parts of the divider you will cut away to make your tabs.
In the picture above, the tab on the top is the first tab and the tab on the bottom is the second tab.  You can see that they are alternating.  If you were to make 3 tabs, divide the longer side into threes and repeat.  If you were to make 4 tabs, divide the longer side into fours and repeat.  Same for any number of tabs you'd like - just make sure you have enough folders for that many tabs!

Now that you have your four pieces - front, divider one, divider two, and back - it's time to round the corners.  I used a corner rounder with a tighter radius as I didn't want the inserts to peak through the rounded corners.

If you don't have a corner rounder, you can use something small like a dime to create your corners.  I used the dime on the inside of the tabs since the corner rounder won't reach.  Simply use your scissors and trim into a rounded shape after tracing the dime onto the divider.

Once the corners are all rounded it is time to hole punch your inserts and your covers and dividers.  Using a spare insert or another trimmed page as a guide, measure down about .5 inches on each shorter side.  Make a line connecting these two measurements.  Measure the center along one of the longer sides and mark it so that the measurement falls onto the long line you made.  Then, along the same long side, measure up about 1.5 inches from the top and bottom.  Make sure these measurements fall on the line you drew as well.  Using your single hole punch, punch holes on each of the dots - where the measurements meet on the line you drew against one edge of the paper.  Use this guide by centering it on one of your covers/dividers and punching holes.  Use the same piece of the poly folder to punch all the poly folder pieces.  Use the paper guide to line up and punch all the planner inserts.  This will make sure everything is even.  (If you've adjusted the size to fit your needs, mimic these types of measurements to evenly space your holes.)

I created a vertical weekly spread just for this post (yay) and you can find it here.  These are designed to print on already trimmed, half letter pages (so trim your printer paper in half to create 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages to run through your printer).  If you're looking for all the planner printables - click here.  There's even a post on creating lined pages for your planner!  As always, these printables are for personal use only - meaning you can't sell them in any form (digital or otherwise), disseminate them as your own, or otherwise claim that you created them.  I make these out of the kindness of my heart!  Please play nice - and do share on Instagram, I'd love to see you use them!
Using the binder rings, hook all your planner pages together!  The best part about this planner is you get all the flexibility of a ring bound planner (like a Filofax) but your get the range of motion of a spiral bound planner (like the Erin Condren)!  I love this DIY!  You can even create little notebooks for yourself, too.  If you get tired of the inserts and find new ones.....change them up!  These half letter size inserts also fit perfectly in A5 sized planners.  They aren't exactly A5, but they are super close.  You can also create a zillion covers/dividers...yes, a zillion...quite literally, if you have the time.

If you want to find the DIY for the journalling card used in the last photo, click here for a simple tutorial!

ps.  The vertical inserts in this DIY totally fit Erin Condren designed stickers.....so you don't have to feel left out!!

I hope this DIY was fun and helpful for you!

xoxo, Moe


Trend Tuesday // Five Eye Palettes for Fall

If there is one thing I love, it's a good rosey pink eye palette.  There are quite a few of all rose gold or all mauvey pink eye palettes in my collection and I can't wait to bust them out for the fall.  Who am I kidding, I'll bust them out any time!  I have however been neglecting my eye palette collection.  For the last few makeup baskets I've posted I've only been using singles or some quads from the drugstore.  I want to break back into some of my most love palettes and bring out some that I've only tried a few times.  Each of these have rosey tones and some great complementary shades to create some great fall looks.
this post contains affiliate links, please see my full disclosure here
L'Oreal La Palette Nude 1
I've only busted this one open a few times.  I think I had it in a makeup basket once, previously, but I was impressed.  It is fairly expensive for a drugstore palette (however I would recommend this one over the 10 pan palettes from Maybelline - I've got a review here and a first impressions here).  This palette has an assortment of mattes and shimmer shades - in the perfect combo.  The three matte shades are beautiful blending shades plus a great deep brown that can create a wonderful nude smokey eye.  The lightest shade on the far left is actually a shimmery shade and not matte as the picture makes it look.  Each of the shimmery shades are more like a satin finish where as that lightest shade looks like there's some glittery bits.  Not bad - just not matte and not like the other shimmers!
These pans are huge for any palette and the color payoff is great for a drugstore palette.  The shades can go from subtle to buildable.  If you can get this on a 40% off sale at Ulta or even part of a buy one get one 50% off (make sure you pick up the other La Palette Nude 2 to get on for 50% off!) I'd suggest it.

Lorac Pro 1 Palette
This is a staple palette.  If you ever get the chance to get a Lorac palette - do it!  I have the 1 and the 2 and some other smaller palettes and love the quality of the eyeshadows.  So buttery, so pigmented.  If you're afraid of applying too much eyeshadow you'll need a light hand with this!  The top row is all matte and the bottom row is all shimmer.  These shades do kick up a lot of powder and as you can see the palette gets super messy - I can't keep it clean.
The shades in this palette are great for fall.  Not only is there a mauve matte shade - my favorite blending shade - there's a coper, an orangey color, and I love the gray.  These shades don't blend away easily and you'll get a distinct look between each shade.

Exposed 3
This is a super close dupe to the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.  I picked this on up on Groupon in a set of all there Naked palette dupes - Exposed 1, 2, & 3.  This is made by Beaute Basics and really makes me want the Naked 3.  The palettes are actually on Groupon currently, though not in the deal I got but still for a pretty great price.  (Additionally if you sign up for Ebates there is 6% cash back at the time I'm writing this post...hot damn!)  Anyway - this is a go to palette for an all rose gold look.  This palette has 3 matte shades as well - a nice highlight shade, a nice rosey mauve, and a deeper brown-mauve.  The other shades are shimmery, not chunky glitter.
The color payoff is awesome for the price as well.  I would say it is better than the L'Oreal La Palette Nude but not as great as the Lorac Pro.  Very decent for a beginner and way more affordable (if you grab in on a deal!) than the Naked 3.  I was reaching for this palette until I got the smaller version - the Wet n Wild Smoke and Melrose palette from the drugstore (it is great for travel). If you have that in your collection you can totally get a great rosy look as well.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
This palette has a bunch of different tones for fall.  I love the shade that I believe is called Peanut Butter.  It is the burnt orange shade in the middle, on the far left.  There are deeper rosey shades in this palette as well.    There are 5 matte shades - including a large matte highlight shade - and 11 shimmer/glitter shades.  The gold in this palette is to die for and would be a great look for fall.  
If you're into neutrals with a pop of color and shadows that are very easy to work with, this is your palette.  The color payoff is also amazing on these shadows with out blending away.  These can be built upon to get a more intense look and the deeper shades can create a smokey look.

Ulta Rose Gold Palette
This is a new one to hit the drugstore and it is also a take on the Naked 3 style palette.  It is structured almost like the Lorac palette in that the top row is shimmer and the bottom row is matte. This one has a lot of shade similarities to the other palettes listed - there are a few mauve blending shades, a gold, a matte pink, and a great champagne color.  The shade Breathless is a beautiful matte brown.
These shades perform well, too.  They are easy to work with, easy to blend.  They aren't as smooth as the Lorac shadows but perform as well as the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette, I'd say.  You won't get a multitude of looks with this palette though - the shade range is pretty one dimensional.  You have the lights and then the darks. You can get a distinct natural look and a distinct deeper, smokey look.  Not really the dynamic palette like the others listed but still pretty great for the drugstore!  If you're into being not intimidated - this is a great palette.

I've mentioned before in this post on saving money on cosmetics, but Ebates is the way  to go for saving money on cosmetics online.  Ulta is currently having 3% cash back through Ebates and then if you use the $3.50 off $10 for the drugstore products...you're on your way to saving $$$$.  I'd see if you can find like the Lorac Palette on other sites that may have more cash back through Ebates.  Sign up here.

What do you recommend for Fall?  Any go to looks you have?

xoxo, Moe

*all of these palettes were purchased by me and all opinions are my own.