Custom Artwork for a Baby Girl’s Nursery

I have a lovely client who is an orthodontist and owns her own practice in College Park. When she opened the space, I painted 2 large paintings that still hang in her dental chair rooms. I was honored when she reached out to me again to complete another piece for her baby daughter’s nursery, and I had to share the painting and the gorgeous room she put together. I think it’s the prettiest nursery I’ve ever seen!

baby girl gray and pink custom nursery room artowrk style trials

She is an avid reader, and always has wonderful visions for the paintings. This one was a quote by Mary Oliver, and I think it is SO PERFECT for a baby or kid’s room. She wanted it to match the paint colors in the room, so she told me what she was working with and I coordinated. She also had a vision of a chalkboard look with various fonts, so I sketched up a draft in a few versions and let her decide. Here were the options:

Option 1 sketch

Option 1

Option 2 sketch

Option 2

Option 3 sketch

Option 3

Option 4 sketch

Option 4

And the winner was……….dunnn dunnnn dunnnnnnnnnnnnn…… #3! Here it is complete, size 24 X 36!

mary oliver quote painting baby room style trials

custom painting baby room style trials

Close up shot

Now, look at how cute it is in her beautiful nursery! I love her nursery color scheme of gray, pale pink and blue-green.

baby room quote artwork

baby girl gray and pink custom nursery room artowrk style trials

In case you were wondering, the paint colors she used in her baby girl’s nursery are all Benjamin Moore in colors BM Palladium Blue, BM Touch of Pink, and BM Hearthstone.

What do you think of the painting? Isn’t the color scheme she used adorable?!


True Blood Party Recap & Halloween Party Ideas!

Halloween party ideas style trials blood splatter cake

Yesterday was the season finale of True Blood (maybe you followed along at #RIPTrueBlood and #TrueToTheEnd ). After watching the series since the beginning, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to throw a themed watch party and say farewell in style! These ideas would work for any Halloween party too and were super easy to pull together. Whether you’re wanting to throw a spooky party or specifically vampire or blood theme, these ideas would work great!

food and drink party ideas halloween

style trials halloween food ideas true blood finale watch party #riptrueblood I obviously stuck with a red theme for food. Red Terra Chips and Coke cans were as easy as just buying and putting them out, and I also made up an easy and tasty treat of Ritz crackers, cream cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Sweet peppers laid around ranch dressing also added visual and yumminess appeal. Sticking with the Cajun theme of the show, Hubby made a delicious Bon Temps, Louisiana style gumbo and cornbread! And of course any red juice would do for the True Blood, but we used V8 fruit juice and put it in a carafe. The color was perfect. If I had more time I would have printed off a True Blood label to add to it. If that’s something you’d like to do, you can get a free printable True Blood label here, courtesy of PixelWorlds. And of course there was…dun, dun dunnnn….the cake….

diy splatter cake halloween party

diy blood splatter red velvet cake halloween party

I’m not really a baker, so I was quite proud of my blood splatter cake! It had to be red velvet of course, and I used traditional cream cheese frosting. To make the blood splatters I simply mixed the below as a starting point and adjusted for color and consistency as needed:


Blood Splatter Recipe

(courtesy of Yum and Yummer’s Slaughter Cake)

  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 or 2 drops of green food coloring (this will darken the red and make it look more realistic)
  • 1 tsp chocolate sauce
  • 1 tbsp water (or add more if too thick, it will splatter better)

 Before splattering, take the cake to a location that will not be a problem to get messy because you will end up getting food coloring everywhere which is difficult to remove and stains. Possibly outside on top of a protective covering somewhere.  I found this looks best when you have the cake on the platter it will be served on, so you can add drips to the platter too. You can use something like a basting brush to dip into the “blood,” and let it drip/splatter across the white frosting. I also added faux flowers (pre-washed) and splattered blood on those too.

Look how cool it looks when you cut into it!

red velvet splatter cake slaughter cake

diy splatter tablecloth and halloween decor

A lot of the decorations were bought at a local Dollar Store, and I was pleasantly surprised that they had Halloween decorations out already! I picked up some rubber spiders, rat, mouse, bat and utensils, and also bought a plain white plastic table cloth for $1. I used this tablecloth to create a bloody backdrop with watered down acrylic red paint. For an added effect, I mixed a tad of green to give it a more realistic deep blood red color (similar to the cake splatters), and also added a few bloody hand prints. I set the tablecloth outside when splattering so I wouldn’t get paint all over the house, although I somehow still managed to get red paint on my curtains. UGH! I tried a few methods but found the best blood splatter effect I got was by whipping the watery paint at the canvas and also simply holding the paint brush up high and letting it drip.

diy bloody table cloth halloween party

true blood vampire party decorationsI am sooo reusing that rat for Halloween time….or a practical joke. Lol.

dress the part

 Last, I’m a sucker for playing dress up. I actually had this Merlotte’s Sookie True Blood costume from a previous Halloween costume, so I had no excuse not to dress the part as hostess! If you want to really go all out, let guests know to dress up too!

true blood sookie costume party style trials

 Have you ever thrown a watch party for a popular TV show? What idea would you reuse for a Halloween party? Leave me a comment below!

 

 


How to Organize Nail Polish

style trials how to organize nail polish shoe box container store

I missed the Spring Cleaning train, but recently had an itch to organize everything. This was especially true for my under-the-sink cabinet, which was being consumed by millions of nail polishes. I had them in a box which looked like this below….not pretty. If you’re like me and have way too many colors, it can be tricky to figure out how to organize nail polish, maximize space, and clearly see all of the colors you own.

How to organize nail polish style trials beauty blogger

I’ve heard of a ton of different ways to organize nail polish, but I found that a lot of those solutions wouldn’t work for me. First off, let’s just state the obvious. I own waaaay too many colors and tend to hoard them. Not to mention the nail art tools and accessories that wouldn’t fit in those solutions. Second, I also wanted them tucked away someplace where they couldn’t be seen but could easily be transported if needed. So a wall shelf or anything like that would not work for me.

The Container Store opened near me recently, so I figured if I was going to find a solution then it would be there. However, I found that the traditional acrylic beauty bins they had were made to hold individual nail polishes, meaning you could only fit a handful of polishes and they had to be a specific size.  They also didn’t stack on top of themselves and were pricey. I asked the salesclerk if they had another recommendation, and they offered small acrylic boxes which were just too small and I didn’t think was easy enough to get to. I browsed for about an hour (you’re welcome :-) ) and realized exactly what I needed. Something I could use in an unconventional way which just happened to be exactly the right height, stackable, portable, clear, and easy to access a ton of different polishes…….clear shoe drawers! They were only $8.99 a drawer and I bought two, although I may go back and get another!

Each clear shoe drawer from The Container Store holds about 45-55 nail polishes, depending on the sizes of the bottles. I also love that they are drawers and not just boxes, so I can easily get to everything. My under-the-counter sink went from this to this, and I have so much more room!

style trials under the sink organization the container store I really think this is a great way to organize nail polish, especially if you have a checklist like me.

Is it kind of weird that I get a kick out of cleaning and organizing since becoming a homeowner? Haha, my Hubby thinks so but also loves it at the same time!

How do you organize nail polish? I’m sure you have a ton of other great ideas, so please share them in a comment!


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!


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