Category:Cool Stuff’

Glitter picture frame

 - by Sarah Lipoff

glitter picture frame

It seems all I’ve done lately is clean. From going through closets to wiping down counters, I am crazy in the midst of spring cleaning. We’ve been in this house for just about three years, making it the longest time the husband and I have ever lived in the same spot. Instead of moving boxes that haven’t been unpacked (like ever), I’m on a serious attack of dust, old stuff, and more dusty old stuff.

I came across a whole box of unused frames – even one that had never ever been used – along with some other really awesome vintage frames. This one was boring and made of black plastic or something. It seemed a shame to not do something with it, and, while cleaning out the craft drawer, came across some super-fine glitter…

Super sparkly glitter picture frame!

This a fun project for both kids and adults. But, WARNING! If you aren’t a glitter person this is NOT the project for you! Super-fine glitter is even more invasive than the regular stuff. You’re going to have glitter in your house (and maybe your hair) after this project.

I’m all good with glitter at my house.

All you need is an old wooden or plastic picture frame, super-fine glitter, a wide paintbrush, an old shaker-top seasoning container, and Mod Podge. It’s a good idea to cover your work area with a sheet of paper to help make clean-up easier. Remove the glass and backing from the picture frame, give it a quick clean, and then place on the paper.

glitter picture frame

If you have small packets of glitter (like I did), open the packets and pour into a container with a sprinkle top. You can buy super-fine glitter in sprinkle ready containers, but I went with the mongo-multi color package at the craft store…. I used three small packets of glitter for my 8 x 10-inch frame.

Using a wide brush, generously coat the frame including the sides. Now the fun part – shake, shake, shake the glitter all around the frame. You can work in sections if you prefer – or if working with young helpers that might take a bit longer to shake-a-shake (you don’t want the Mod Podge to dry!).

glitter picture frame

Let the frame dry for at least an hour.

Gently pick up the frame and tap it while trying not to manhandle the frame. If you’ve got any areas that need more glittering, dot with glue and then coat with more glitter. Keep going until the entire frame is covered. When done, you can gently fold the paper to collect the glitter and then pour back into the container.

Let dry again for at least an hour

Give that frame a final few taps to release any not glued glitter and then you are good to go!

I had the perfect picture for our finished glitter picture frame and love looking at it hanging on the wall. Just think how cute smaller glitter picture frames would be – sparkly pink for baby girl pictures, bright silver for wedding frames, or vibrant red for the holidays!

 

Echelon Vineyards: All kinds of wonderful

 - by Sarah Lipoff

This week was full of ups and downs. The tot and I had a few disagreements (but what’s new, right?), a couple of things changed with my work stuff, and the cats continued being cats and waking me up the minute they saw the sun. But, there was one wonderfully, shining moment early in the week – the moment an actually somewhat-hunky guy showed up on my doorstep bearing wine – and he wasn’t my husband.

Thanks to Echelon Vineyards and the Clever Girls Collective, I had the opportunity to sample a few bottles of Echelon wine. Let me tell you up front, I wasn’t paid to write this review – just offered a few bottles to taste test and then share my honest opinion. I mean, really, twist my arm and all that stuff.

(I couldn’t wait to start sampling!)

Honestly? I pretty much like all wine. But, I do have a bit of a wine-snob husband. He worked his way through college while waiting tables at the San Ysidro Ranch and part of his job was checking out wine – and we’re talking the good stuff. He’s a bit of a snoot and is brutally honest while tasting, so I enlisted him to assist. I decided what better way to really get a full understanding of the flavors than by cooking up a special dinner for each bottle.

Let me tell you.

All kinds of wonderful.

We started out with the 2010 Echelon Vineyards Chardonnay that I paired with grilled garlic and oregano marinated boneless skinless chicken thighs over rice and fresh spinach topped with homemade tzatziki sauce. We had a sip of the Chardonnay before eating and both commented on how light and smooth it was. Neither of us had read the label, but the husband noted instantly the hints of honey, pear, and apple. It went wonderfully with our dinner, and, I’ll be honest, there wasn’t any wine left once we were finished. Echelon’s Chardonnay is a complex but light wine that I would bring to any barbecue.

EchelonVineyardsChardonnay

The next night we cracked open a bottle of the 2010 Echelon Vineyards Red Blend. We both had a bit of hesitation – the idea of a red blend had me concerned (headache in the morning), but we figured we’d have a glass and then (potentially) use the rest for cooking. While putting the finishing touches on our oven-baked vegetarian eggplant parmesan, we sampled a small glass and both couldn’t keep sipping. Once again, neither of us had read the label, but commented on the light, fruity flavor of the blend and called out the oaky-ness as well as the smoothness, which didn’t leave a dry feeling in the mouth. Once again, there wasn’t any wine left at the end of dinner….

EchelonVineyardsRedBlend

A few nights later I made barbecue chicken breasts along with a hot lentil salad with roasted red pepper, radishes, and beets. We couldn’t wait to try the 2010 Echelon Vineyards Pinot Grigio because the other bottles had been so good. Let’s just say we’d both had a nice, big glass before we even sat down to dinner. It was so cold and fresh and the husband noted the light but super-crisp flavor with the slight fruit undertones.  I simply tasted all kinds of goodness. We both decided this was our favorite bottle of the three – by far. It also went wonderfully with our dinner. This is a perfect summer wine and lovely with anything from grilled meats to big salads

EchelonVineyardsPinotGrigio

Echelon Vineyards has won its fair share of awards and I can see why. Their wines are easy to drink and not overly anything in any way. And, they are wonderfully priced ($10-$15 per bottle), making them taste even better.

Head on over to Echelon Vineyards for more information about their wines and where you can pick up a bottle. Do it – seriously, do it now. You’re entitled to a nice glass of wine!

 

*Once again, I wasn’t paid to write this post – just provided with some really amazingly good wine to sample. I also wasn’t asked to write a blog post about the wines, but I did because they were that good.

Get it Guide: Kicking some butt

 - by Sarah Lipoff


 

There’s no denying the holiday season added extra jiggle to my already gelatinous middle.  As it is I’ve barely got enough time in the day to get the basics done, which means putting aside a few moments to work out hardly ever happens. And stepping on the scale is out of the question. So when my latest Get it Guide Guru post was to try out some new fitness DVD’s to ring in the New Year, I was ready.

ME

I describe my fitness level as: okay.  I’ve got several pounds hanging around that wouldn’t be missed.

I exercise: 20 minutes 3 times a week (sometimes). Hey, I’ve got a toddler – that’s a work out.

My usual reaction to fitness DVD’s is: Boring.

Keep on reading, or head on over to Shine, to see which fitness DVD’s I checked out – and if I’m still using any of them….

Read this article »

Get it Guide: The hottest holiday toys

 - by Sarah Lipoff

 

I’ve got a toddler, which means our home is a playground/toy store. Nothing holds her attention for more than a couple of minutes and most toys are trashed, making us feel like we wasted our money while purchasing the “latest and greatest” goodies.

So when a special box arrived from Yahoo! filled with this holiday season’s hottest toys, we couldn’t wait to check them out. My daughter is a bit young for it all, but I’ve got a niece and nephew that were eager to dive in, and a husband that couldn’t stay away either.

Check out the what all the Gurus had to say over on Yahoo! Shine or keep reading for what toy won out at my house…

Read this article »

Picking out the perfect Christmas tree

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Today we had a wonderful adventure picking out the perfect Christmas tree. The thing is, nothing ever goes as planned – especially when there’s a toddler involved. I wanted pictures, the tot was running amuck, and the husband was focused on finding the ultimate tree.

Doing holiday stuff with a toddler can be challenging at times.

But, after we had a little chat about how running in the tree farm is a no-no, trying to pick up the mini trees isn’t a good idea, and holding hands is actually fun, we finally found a pretty-near-perfect tree.

During all this I was crazily attempting to get a few pictures of the unfolding events. My parents did a great job of taking pictures for us to look back on and I wanted to do the same for my daughter.

Once we got home and finished putting the (unbreakable) ornaments on the tree, I had a brief moment to look at the pictures I had snapped. They were fun and cute, but what to do with them? I could pop them up on Facebook or share a few on Twitter….

Bah.

I was recently introduced to LiveOn.com, and let me tell you – they kinda rock.

keep on reading…

Get it Guide: Finding the perfect jeans

 - by Sarah Lipoff

 

I love wearing jeans – but have the hardest time finding ones that fit. Either they droop in places they shouldn’t, or hug too close in all the wrong spots. So when my latest Get it Guide Guru assignment from Yahoo! Shine was to find the perfect pair of jeans, I honestly thought it wasn’t possible.

I was wrong….

Find out what my favorite pair were by heading over to Yahoo! Shine or keep on reading below. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite jeans over at the Get it Guide!

Read this article »

Butternut squash, kale, blue cheese bake

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am really excited to be heading to the homeland to hang with the family and do some cooking. The turkey basically remains the same year after year, so I wanted to mix things up as far as the sides go. When I got the chance to check out Marzetti Simply Dressed Salad Dressings, I knew the blue cheese would be perfect for something I’d been dreaming about….

Butternut squash kale blue cheese bake.

Yeah.

SO good.

here’s the recipe

It’s not just a bag…

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Something really special landed on my doorstep this week.

This bag.

A big thanks to the Clever Girls Collective and Epiphanie  for this beauty.

And, it’s not just a bag – it’s a camera bag!

It arrived right in time, too. You see, we’re packing up and heading out in just over a week for a Thanksgiving panacea of turkey cooking and family enjoyment. That means this fantastic Epiphanie camera bag is going to really be put to the test as it will be packed with the laptop and tons-o-camera stuff.

Along with all that I’ve got to include goodies to keep us all entertained during the flight and extra clothes for the post-potty-trained tot.

Don’t worry, I’ll take pictures of it all to share with you later.

Meanwhile, head over to Epiphanie and check out these amazingly cool camera bags – and pick up one for yourself!

 

Comforting stuff: Homemade fire starters for the holidays

 - by Sarah Lipoff

*This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I don’t know about you but as soon as Halloween is over I’m all about planning for the holidays. I check my favorite recipe sites, take notes, spend tons of time day-dreaming about all the tasty things to cook and bake along with the cool things to create for handmade gifts…

The majority of this time is spent while on the couch with my trusty laptop in front of a nice, raging fire.

Yeah.

I’m a big fire girl.

So when thinking about my favorite holiday comforts, having an amazing fire (and some fabulous food) are at the top of my list. This year I figured I could combine my love of making stuff with that cozy fire and create something really special…

Scented fire starters.

Here’s how to make them…

Smelling like a celeb

 - by Sarah Lipoff

R to L: Bieber, Aniston, Spears, Beyoncé. Photos thanks to the hubs (aka Dean Lipoff)

I’ll admit that spending cash on something that’s going to make me smell fabulous isn’t high on my list. But, I’d totally love to walk by the husband (and the rest of the population) and leave an impression from the amazing scent I’m wearing. So when I had the chance to check out some of the hottest celeb perfumes as a Get it Guide Guru for Yahoo! Shine – I couldn’t wait to spray away.

Here’s what I thought…