Happy 4th of July Freebie!

I know today’s not technically Friday, but it sort of is since we have tomorrow off. As with all holidays, I’m excited for the 4th of July and wanted to share an early Friday Freebie with you (along with some style inspiration)!

You’ve probably heard me talk about Zoya nail polish and checked out my easy nail art tutorials, so you know I am a big advocate of Zoya. I love that they are toxin free nail polishes with over 300 color choices, plus they run great promotions like this one!

4th of july free nail polish zoya

Photo Credit: http://blog.zoya.com

To get your 3 free nail polishes, you have from now until 7/6/14 (11:59 pm EST) to add at least 3 polishes to your cart at Zoya.com. Then use promo code: THREEDOM in the coupon field at checkout, and click “apply.”

The only con is you still have to pay $12 for S&H, but you could technically look at it as $4/bottle with free shipping. Math genius here, lol. However, these polishes normally run $9 a bottle and you’d still have to pay shipping, so it’s a great deal! You can read more details about the promotion here on the Zoya blog.

While you’re at it, make sure to checkout my past 4th of July posts for some style inspiration here and here.

Style Trials 4th of july Patriotic Nail Art TutorialFourth of July Inspiration - StyleTrials

I’ll be taking a 7 hour trek to Pensacola, FL with my Hubby to celebrate, and I’m excited to see family and some killer beach fireworks. I’m especially excited because we plan to spend a day in Destin and Seaside, where they filmed The Truman Show. I’ve never been and have always wanted to!

How will you be spending the 4th?


How to Make a Brooch Bouquet

Recently, I stood by their side as one of my besties and one of my husband’s besties tied the knot. There’s nothing sweeter than having two of your best friends get married to each other! The bride had a vision of a rustic wedding themed with burlap, gold, lace and TOMS, and asked me to make her brooch bouquet. It went perfect with her theme, and would be a keepsake from the wedding – plus something the bride could pass down to other brides she loved, or maybe a future daughter! Of course I was honored to help her and wanted to share how I made this easy DIY bridal brooch bouquet!

how to make a brooch bouquetHere’s the main materials you need:

  • 1 bushel of faux hydrangeas (this can be found really inexpensive at your local craft store)
  • Approximately 40-60 brooches/pieces of jewelry/faux or real flowers to add-in (i.e. burlap flowers like this one). The more you put, the less of the faux hydrangea you will see. I used about 40 pieces.
  • 22-gauge florist wire (I used about 2 rolls and chose silver because it would blend in when looping through my brooches)
  • Green Corsage Tape (I used 1 1/2 rolls)
  • Scissors/Wire Cutters
  • Whatever you want to wrap around the handle – In this case, burlap, twine, and lace ribbon
  • Pearlized Ball Head Straight Pins
  • Hot glue gun

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial

The brooches are really the expensive part of the bouquet, but you can typically find sparkly items like jewelry on clearance to help fill in the space. And if you want to take a sentimental approach, I really loved how my friend Katie collected her brooches and would recommend it to anyone.

Katie asked the special women in her life to bring one brooch to her bridal shower to add to the bouquet, that way she would have a memory of each person as she walked down the aisle.

brooches at a bridal shower style trials

She received brooches with history such as her Grandmother’s brooch, and others that people thought reminded them of her or vice-versa. She put a piece of tape with that person’s name under each brooch so she would always remember who gave her what. Katie’s bouquet ended up being an eclectic mix of jewels, which I think turned out beautiful – I personally love mixing metals. However, if you’re wanting to stick to one color or metal, you could plan that out to best fit your style and theme.

Step 1: Creating Stems for Each Brooch

You’ll need to cut the wire into 24″ long pieces, which you’ll loop in half through the brooch (giving you about a 12″ stem). For each brooch, I used at least 2 wires, then you twist them all together. Don’t worry if the stems end up being slightly different lengths after this is done, you’ll fix that later.

How to make a brooch bouquet for a wedding

Next, you’ll wrap the green corsage tape around the metal stem, which helps hold all of the pieces together and camouflages the wire. It’s a little tricky to work with, but I found that the tighter I wound it while making sure to overlap the tape, the better it stuck. I kept it on the spool and simply twisted the stem around to quickly get this done.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 1

Step 2: Making the Stems a Bouquet

This next part was actually not as easy as I had imagined. You’ll now want to take the hydrangea to use as your base, then place each stem strategically  in the hydrangea making sure to keep it’s round shape. You’ll want to be extra careful as to where you place the brooches, because once they’re in the bushel it’s hard to rearrange because the wires may get tangled….especially towards the end when you have already placed a bunch of wire stems.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 2

It’s up to you whether you want to show any part of the hydrangea, because if you have enough brooches you can literally cover the entire thing. You’ll see we added burlap flowers to the bouquet as well to tie into Katie’s theme, so you really can customize it. It’s also up to you whether you want to remove the green leaves from the faux hydrangea all together, but I left a few to tie into our green bridesmaid dresses.

Next, cut the stems at the bottom to your desired length, which also makes sure the bouquet is one length.

Step 3: Wrapping the handle

This next part was pretty easy, and I just followed what a real florist typically does to wrap the handle. Here you can take ribbon, or burlap from a spool as I did here, and tightly wind it around the handle.

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 3 burlap

With a brooch bouquet, it looks best if you wrap the entire handle rather than leaving exposed “stems” since they are really a bunch of wires. You could use a hot glue gun to hold together, but I used decorative push pins to lock everything into place. That way I could easily adjust things if needed, it added an extra design touch, and again this mimicked what florists do with real bouquets.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

I wanted to add a little something to finish the top of the handle, and the bride also had a personal touch to add as well. For the top handle part, I took a piece of lace ribbon, sewed across the top to create a stitch line, then cut a stitch at the end to pull. When the thread was “pulled,” it created a natural ruffle to the ribbon. This step isn’t necessary though, and I think the results would have looked just as good if I didn’t “ruffle” the ribbon. I just pay way too much attention to detail!

DIY Brooch Bouquet tutorial 4 lace

Next, I personalized the handle by taking a spool of twine, winding the twine around itself and hot-gluing into place. I glued a “W” charm on top of the twine background because this would be the bride’s new last initial.

Brooch Bouquet with family member picturesThe bride added these adorable picture charms to the handle, and printed pictures of family members who were no longer with us as a type of memorial. These were simply pinned in place as well. Doesn’t she and the bouquet look gorgeous?!

Bride with Brooch Bouquet

What do you think of the results? Will you be making a brooch bouquet?

Please let me know what you think of this tutorial in the blog comments! :)


OOTD 6: Polka Dots and Pleats

In fashion, I love the juxtaposition of sweet versus edgy. That’s why I pulled together this look, mixing sweet, girly classics like preppy collars, polka dots, and pink frills with edgy components.polka dots and pleats outfit of the day style trialsThe shirt is also a little sheer, and I played that up by pairing a black tank under the nude top to add to the edgy factor.

outfit of the day style trials polka dots and pleats  The pleated schoolgirl skirt breaks the rules because of the high hemline and “leatherette” material.

outfit of the day pleather skirt style trialsI’ve also been obsessed with mixing prints lately, and love pairing these pointy-toe snakeskin printed shoes from C. Wonder in unexpected ways. I think they add a style statement to the look making it less “safe” by mixing it with the polka dots and pleats, and the neutral color definitely helps. Together, it all works!

outfit of the day wiw c wonder snakeskin ballet flats

Polka dot blouse: Marshalls (old), similar 1, similar 2, similar 3 | Pleatherette or Vegan Leather Skirt: Forever 21 (old), similar 1, similar 2|  Shoes – Snakeskin Ballet Flats: C. Wonder (now only available with a heel) or ballet flats similar 1, similar 2, Headband: Candies from Kohl’s, similar 1similar 2, similar 3

What style combos or prints do you like to pair together?


Tips for Taking the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo

I had planned on doing this post back when I got married and found I had to take another passport and license photo. I completely forgot about it until my recently married friend mentioned that she too just got her new license, and sans makeup or brushed hair found herself frantically taking her photo. She laughed about making the lady take her picture multiple times, but I can definitely relate as I did that too! Hey, it’s something you’ll have to live with for awhile, so why not treat it as a photoshoot? Here are a few quick tips on how to take the best license photo, school photo, or passport photo….or at least avoid looking like this.

Worst License Photo

Photo Source: mnbikingvikings.blogspot.com

Cstophecklist DONT’S for the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo:

  1. Don’t wear crazy large patterns or stripes. They don’t tend to photograph well.
  2. Don’t wear something too trendy, meaning clothes, makeup, and hairstyle. You can have a passport for up to 10 years, and as we learned from the past, you may get sick of crimped hair and blue eyeshadow!
  3. Don’t wear anything too low cut or too high neck. Sometimes the photos are really close up and if you’re wearing something with a high neck (let’s just stay away from turtlenecks in general, k?), you’ll look like you literally have no neck. You also don’t want the “ladies” popping out….unless that’s your plan on getting out of a traffic ticket! Ha!
  4. Don’t wear statement jewelry. Sure, that ginormous chunky rhinestone necklace may be “adorbs,” but when thinking about these photos classy and understated is best. Simple stud earrings are usually my choice.
  5. Don’t wear something without sleeves. Trust me, even the tiniest of girls may not photograph as well if wearing spaghetti straps, sleeveless, and definitely not a tube top (you’ll look naked!). This mainly goes back to how the photo is cropped, so it’s more flattering if you have sleeves…even short sleeves.
Style Trials how to take a good license photo

Example of my license photo following the tips below!

checkmarkChecklist DO’S for the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo:

  1.  Do think about what kind of top you’re wearing. Some photos you won’t see it, others you will (I’ve had license photos where you can and can’t see it, and my passport and school photos you can see it). I usually go with a solid color, either bright but not neon bright (think cherry red) or neutral. I think a color like navy or cherry red makes the picture less boring, but you can’t go wrong with neutral.
  2. Do put on makeup. And when you put it on, make sure you actually put more makeup on than you normally would in real life. From my days of professional dance teams and modeling, I learned that eyeliner, lots of mascara (or false eyelashes if you’re going to the extreme with stage makeup – not necessary for this), more blush than you normally would, and some kind of color on your lips is best. The lighting on these pics will not be great, and this will prevent you from looking washed out.
  3. Do wear your hair like you normally would. Don’t do some crazy style or go to the extra effort for beauty pageant hair, you still want to look like your everyday self. Remember, people will be looking at your i.d. to identify YOU. I usually just wear mine straight and down and pull it in front on both sides. If you pull it back or wear it up, you may end up looking like you have no hair.
  4. Do ask to retake the picture if you see it and really just can’t live with it. Of course do this at your digression as it may not make sense if you have a line behind you, but I purposely get these pictures done at times that I know it will not be as busy. It’s not a weird request, just don’t ask them to do it more than 2 or 3 times max.
  5. Do SMILE! Now is not the time to throw the camera your best pouty face. Keep your eyes open and bright, and smile big. :)

Do you have any other Do’s or Dont’s to add to this list, or a funny experience you had when taking one of these photos? Let me know in a comment below!


Sketching with the BIC ®-4 Color Pen

This post brought to you by BIC 4-Color pen. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hello sketch style trials with bic penBeing an artist and creative thinker, I also tend to be a multi-tasker. That’s why I was excited to review and play around with the BIC ®-4 Color Pen! It reminded me of a pen I used to have when I was a little girl, where you pushed down and several colors were conveniently right there. This doesn’t have my elementary school colors of bubble gum pinks and cotton candy blues, but rather 4 Inseparable Colors in 1 Pen: Green, Black, Red, and Blue. I would rate this as a fun all-in-one pen that’s office or student appropriate, which is great for organizing or even doodling.

I just watched The Great Gatsby movie (I know, where have I been?!), and loved the era and flapper style. I guess that was on my mind, because this is what I ended up drawing during lunch with my BIC ®-4 Color Pen. I started with the eye, then nose, lips, face structure, hair and flower.

portrait girl bic pen sketch style trialsNails:  Zoya Purity | Bracelet: Murano glass from Murano in Italy

It’s also an easy way to outline writing or organize thoughts through color coding.

to do list bic 4 color pen style trials

Colors give off different meaning and can be a fun expression of your mood, so I thought it was really creative how BIC® gave each color a distinct personality. For example, Blue is definitely the boss, Green is the jealous type, Red likes it when everything is correct, and Black, well, he just doesn’t get it. I would say I resonate with Red the most, but checkout these videos to see what I mean!

You can get one of these awesome pens at Amazon or your local Staples, and they’re less than $6 for a 3-pack! Also, if you’d like to follow more of Red, Blue, Green, and Black’s shenanigans, make sure to follow BIC ®-4 Color Pen on Facebook and Twitter.

What color fits your personality best and why? What do you like to sketch/doodle with?

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Bench Makeover & How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

My friend just moved into her new home, and is having a lot of fun making it her own. She luckily received some hand-me-down furniture (we all know how expensive it can be to furnish a new space), and wanted help revamping this bench for her guestroom! It had a really sturdy base, but the upholstered top was dirty and outdated. This fix took LESS THAN 1 HOUR – including going to the store and buying fabric! Here’s how we did it, including how to calculate fabric yardage. 

Style Trials Bench makeover no-sew hgtv chevron fabric - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

We proceeded to Jo-Ann Fabrics (which is 2 minutes from my house), and immediately started looking at their upholstery designer fabrics. I like to pair larger organic prints such as paisley or florals with hardlines such as stripes or a mini print. We fell in love with this grey HGTV chevron fabric which is part of the HGTV designer fabric collection. It offset her paisley bedspread and green walls quite nice, and is a trendy print that would immediately bring this bench back to life!

Grey chevron and printed paisley fabric Style Trials

Figuring out the yardage was pretty easy, so I’m going to quickly walk you through a little math lesson. Luckily I have an interior design degree and worked with custom fabric treatments (i.e. windows coverings, pillows, etc), but I know this can be the hardest part and potentially a costly mistake. Using these tips on how to calculate fabric yardage will hopefully help!

How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

First, we measured the area being recovered. This bench was only 45″ wide and the fabric bolt was 55″ wide, so we didn’t have to worry about seams or railroading (turning the bolt sideways) the fabric. 55 inches minus 45 inches = 10″ total of allowance (or 5″ per side) to wrap around the back of the bench and staple – perfect! Next I had to figure out the depth so I could determine how much fabric I needed cut from the bolt.

The bench was about 16″ deep, and I wanted to allow an extra 4″-5″ on either side for staple-gun allowance. 16 inches + 5 inches (allowance top) + 5 inches (allowance bottom) = 26″ total. That’s what I based my overall yardage on, since the 55″ width of the bolted fabric is a standard that stays the same as they simply unroll the bolt for how much fabric you need.

From here, you take the amount in inches (in this case 26″), and ALWAYS divide by 36 to convert inches into yardage of fabric needed. That gave me 0.72 yards of fabric needed. I typically round up to the nearest 1/4 yard because it doesn’t hurt to get just a little extra fabric in case your calculations are off. You can judge this yourself based on how much seam allowance you included and how far off from the next 1/4 yard you are. We ordered 0.75 or 3/4 of a yard.

How to Recover an Upholstered Bench No-Sew Technique

  1. We started by unscrewing the top of the upholstered bench from the base using a drill.
  2. We decided the new chevron fabric was thick enough that we could simply recover the bench over the existing fabric, that way we didn’t damage the padding or loose it’s shape. If you can do this, it makes the entire process SO much easier.
  3. We laid the face of the chevron fabric down so it was facing the ground. Then we put the board on top, front side down. Because this is a geometric print with a repeat, I wanted to measure to make sure it was evenly spaced out on the fabric. I measured the center of the board (where the purple pen is shown below) and lined it up with the center of a chevron point like this. I also eyeballed where I wanted it to hit on the sides. style trials Measuring fabric to recover seat - How to Calculate Fabric YardageIf you’re not sure, you can always wrap the fabric around the board with your hands and look at it real quick to make sure you like how it’s placed. It’s always better to double check!
  4. Next, we proceeded with stapling the fabric around all 4 sides before proceeding to the corners. Make sure to read my tutorial from when I recovered my kitchen chairs on exactly how to do this, and how to fold the corners which can be the trickiest part.Staple nosew recover fabric tutorial diy - How to Calculate Fabric Yardage
  5. From there, simply drill the seat back on the benchtop and you’re done!

Before & After Pics:

Before and After Bench Seat Recovered - How to Recover an Upholstered BenchStyle Trials Bench Recover Before And After - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

Style Trials Bench Makeover After Grey Chevron Print

Not too shabby for less than an hours worth of work, huh? She plans to eventually stain the piece darker and add new hardware, but at least now it looks fresh and part of this century! :)

What do you think of the finished piece and have you tried doing anything like this before? If so, let me know below…I’d love to see your before and after pictures!

 


We Got Another Puppy! How to Introduce your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hubby and I noticed that our long-haired chihuahua, Milo, is extremely social but has lost a little spunk this past year. We don’t think it’s because he’s getting older (he still acts like a puppy around other dogs), but rather that he’s at home by himself all day. He needed a friend…I mean, look how high-strung he was? :)

We’re excited to announce that we adopted another furry friend this past weekend. Meet Charlie Bear. :)

Charlie is a purebred AKC registered long-haired chihuahua, just like his soon-to-be brother Milo. When researching, I found great resources on the AKC website that can definitely help anyone interested in finding a dog. For example, they have this tool where you can search for breeds to get info on each kind such as grooming details, temperament, size, and where you kind find breeders. We figured going with the same breed would probably make the most sense for us, since we are familiar with long-haired chihuahuas and hoped they would bond quicker. I also liked that they have an AKC Rescue Network, where you can find dogs that need a new home.

Whether you’re getting your new furbaby from a breeder or a shelter, of course you’ll want to do your research. Getting a dog is a major life decision, so here are a few tips/questions I found to think about when making your choice.

Breeder Questions

1.) If working with a breeder, make sure the breeder is responsible. You should ask to see the puppy, the parents (or at least one of them so you can get an idea of what your puppy’s future may hold), and the premises where the puppy is being cared for. It should be clean and odor free, and the puppy should be well fed and not appear sickly.

2.) Pay attention to how the pup interacts with the breeder. Does it shy away from the breeder? Does the breeder seem to genuinely care about the puppy?

3.) Don’t expect to bring the puppy home until it is 8-12 weeks old. The puppy needs that time with it’s mom and littermates for socialization and to grow strong.

4.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The breeder should want to answer all of your questions, and likewise want the puppy to go to a good home. Good questions to ask would be about the breed’s strengths/weaknesses, any knowledge of genetic diseases, and documents. The breeder should be able to share proof of health and make sure the pup is up-to-date on it’s shots/vet visits while still under their care.

Below is a great example of responsible breeders…and seriously, can we talk about how cute these mini wirehaired dachshund puppies are?!

Shelter Questions

1.) Don’t be afraid to ask why the dog is in a shelter. Was it rescued, a stray, surrendered by the previous owner (and if so, why)? That knowledge may help determine what kind of care the dog will need.

2.) What was the health condition of the dog when he came to the shelter, and what kind of vet care has the dog received since? Are there any special medical conditions or dietary needs you should know about?

3.) Training – is the dog housebroken, good around kids, other pets, strangers, etc?

Of course Milo will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll never forget the first day I brought him home.

We read a lot on how to introduce your new puppy to your resident dog, and went with these steps. It went flawless, so I wanted to share!

Tips on Introducing your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

  1. Introduce your dog to the puppy on neutral ground, that way he won’t get territorial. Avoid your house and yard. We let them meet at a school playground down the road so there was a lot of open space, and did this on the weekend so there wasn’t anyone else around.
  2. Ideally you should put them both on the ground, and stand with your legs apart in case the puppy gets scared and wants to seek refuge under you. Avoid holding the puppy and letting the dog smell him because he will feel trapped.
  3. Keep a CLOSE eye on them, and if any fights break out of course separate them. Luckily Milo is a little lover, so I didn’t have to worry about fights.
  4. Bring them back to your home, and let them start out in your yard before bringing them inside. Baby steps. I let them both hang out on our back porch too, then finally brought them inside.
  5. From here, try to keep your schedule that you had with the resident dog the same. You don’t want him to resent the puppy, and of course always keep an eye on them when together until they are very comfortable around each other.

dog meeting puppy for first time style trials

I admit I was nervous for the transition and having to train a puppy again, but I just know once they get comfortable they will be best buds. Charlie already seems pretty comfortable himself.

long haired Chihuahua puppy style trials

They really are so much more than just pets, aren’t they?

Do you have any tips or ideas on introducing a new puppy to your resident dog? I’d love to hear them, so leave me a comment below!

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