August 31, 2013

Fashion and Self Care {Self-Care Saturday}

I hear comments from some of my readers that they don't read the fashion posts on my blog... they just aren't interested in that sort of thing.

Perhaps they find it frivolous or don't think that their personal style is important. I want to share with you why I think that fashion is an important vehicle for RADICAL SELF CARE!

Fashion is about more than wearing the latest trends. It's about feeling great because you know that you look your best. It's about looking good on the outside to reflect how you feel about yourself on the inside! But it goes beyond even that.

August 30, 2013

Build a Wardrobe Series: Fashion Basics

Every wardrobe needs basic pieces to be well balanced and versatile, yet many of us never take time to step back and look at our closet through the eyes of a stylist! 

Adding the key basics to your wardrobe will build a strong foundation that will mix well with almost everything in your closet.

August 29, 2013

Rocks ROCK! The Lake Superior Agate

I'm crazy about agates and I found some absolutely gorgeous ones on our recent Lake Superior camping trip. I'm not only crazy about them... you could probably (ask my husband and kids) say that I'm a little obsessed with them. As soon as I set foot on the beach my eyes are scanning for the white bands!

found by me!
Folklore says that the agate is believed to discern truth, accept circumstances, and is a powerful emotional healer. Legend says that Agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty. 

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It is believed to prevent insomnia and insure pleasant dreams, to enhance personal courage and protect one against danger. Agate provides a calming influence, improves perception, concentration and helps to develop and increase one's analytical talents.

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Maybe all of these wonderful properties are the reason that I love agates so much... maybe it's the thrilling prospect of finding a large "laker" that excites me so... maybe the color of oxidized iron is my favorite color. 

not agates... but my husband and I each found heart shaped rocks for each other!



August 28, 2013

Family Road Trip! WE'RE BACK!

This post brought to you by Pep Boys and Techron. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you are a regular follower of "A Beautiful Little Life" you'll recall that we spent the latter part of last week camping on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior. We had SUCH a wonderful time!


How To Create A Family Photo Gallery

Using family photos to decorate is a great way to get the wonderful photos that you've accumulated over the years off of your computer (guilty!) and out where you can enjoy them!

Pottery Barn's website is a great source of information on creating a "memory wall", and they suggest that you should try choosing a mix of objects from similar materials - like grouping wooden pieces (frames, clocks, mirrors) in a range of finishes and textures - for a look that still looks pulled together.

August 27, 2013

The Hemingway Book Order: Why not read them again?!

I love to read and can be found with my kindle in hand every night before bed. Last month Meg Biram's blog featured a post on reading that was really fantastic... something that I had never thought of. Her mother recommended to her that she should read a series of books by Ernest Hemingway in a particular order! I've read several of the books, but not this way, and this post had me firing up my kindle faster than you can say “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

August 26, 2013

Getting Rid of an Underground Wasp Nest OR "Under the Dome"

Nothing can disrupt a beautiful day like a swarm of BEES! Here in Minnesota this is an especially bad time of year for what I call "garbage bees" (actually yellowjackets) because they swarm around trash cans. 

Right now, we have an underground nest of these bees in our backyard. (we call it the "B-Hole!) 

August 24, 2013

At Home Facial {Self-Care Saturday}

You don't have to go to an expensive skin care specialist for a facial. You can do it yourself at home if you just take the time to pamper yourself!

August 23, 2013

Mom's Apple Crisp - The Absolute BEST!

As I have mentioned before, I am CRAZY for a crisp. This recipe is one that my mom made for years and it will ALWAYS be my favorite.  

Mom never skimped on the two best things... the sugar and the BUTTER! That's what made this apple crisp so incredibly delicious. 

August 22, 2013

Hottest Short Haircut for Fall 2013

One Cut - Three Ways! The hottest cut of the season is a shaggy blunt pixie bob with long bangs. There are endless ways to style it, but here are three!

August 21, 2013

Getting Away From It All! Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior

Today I am busy packing it all up for an annual camping trip. Each year in August, my boys and I head up to Lake Superior and camp at Temperance River State Park. By the time you read this post, we'll be on our way!

August 20, 2013

Fall Fashion: Splurge or Save?

I've made a pledge to shop SMART this fall! No more cheap cardigans from Target... they just don't last! I have a few that I purchased last year that didn't even make it through the whole season.

Buying better quality sweaters is a start... but when is it better to pay more for good quality? and when is it ok to save money?

August 19, 2013

How to Make Beautiful Book Covers - DIY

Do you remember making paper bag book covers when you were younger? I sure do! Everyone is gearing up for "back to school" and I have seen TONS of tutorials on how to make book covers. It got me thinking - why not use some really special paper to make a beautiful book cover? They don't really HAVE to be made out of brown paper, right?

August 17, 2013

The Health Benefits of Massage {Self-Care Saturday}

I always look at getting a massage as a LUXURY - and because of that, I seldom indulge myself. However, the health benefits of regular massage therapy are huge and "indulging" in the occasional massage can make a big difference in your health and well-being. 

There are different types of massage, but Swedish is my favorite. I like to leave a massage feeling relaxed, not beat up!

August 16, 2013

No Fail Popover Recipe + 3 Flavored Butters


Around here we are all crazy for fresh, hot, popovers. This recipe is SO easy - you don't even have to preheat the oven - and it comes out perfect every time.

I like mine with butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, but if you're entertaining, why not make some flavored butters to serve with the popovers? They are super easy to make but taste delicious! I have recipes here for cinnamon sugar butter, raspberry butter, and bacon herb butter!

August 15, 2013

Where to LEGALLY download e-books ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Did you know that you can download thousands of books absolutely free & 100% legally? There are several reasons why a book might be free. Many have expired copyrights, like the old classics. Some authors self publish books and provide them free. Some are open source textbooks.

You don't need a kindle or other e-reader to enjoy these free books. You can download the kindle app for your computer OR because many of the downloads are pdf files you can read them right on your computer without any special software.

August 14, 2013

ReUse Altoids Tins! Crafty Fun Ideas!

When I am under a lot of stress, one of the best things that I can do for myself is create something of beauty. That's part of the reason that I started this blog in the first place! A small, simple project can be just what the doctor ordered, and these crafts using empty Altoids tins are perfect!

I've covered a few myself with cute paper and a bit of Mod Podge, but these folks have really gone all out! Check out these projects - all made with empty Altoids tins!

August 13, 2013

Style Spotlight: Rock and Roll Icon Joan Jett!

Last week Dave and I were watching Jimmy Kimmel and I was so happy to accidentally catch Joan Jett debuting a new track on the summer concert series stage! 

I know that she never stopped performing, but her new album comes out in October and by the sounds "Any Weather" she has stayed true to her roots and will not disappoint! She is still one freaking AMAZING rockstar!

August 12, 2013

Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, M.D. {Book Review}

Dr. Rankin does a great job of making this book not only full of mindblowing information, but also making it fun and easy to read! She says, "When people are doing everything right...eating organic veggies, avoiding... processed foods, exercising daily, sleeping well... we should expect them to live long, prosperous lives and die of old age while sleeping peacefully, right? So why is it that so many health nuts are sicker than others who pig out on barbecue, guzzle beer, sleep five hours a night and veg out on the sofa in front of the boob tube?" TOTALLY! Right?

Enter to WIN! Why not #FuelABetterYou?

This post brought to you by Nutrisystem, Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

I often post about fitness and healthy eating, so when information showed up in my inbox about this sweepstakes, I definitely wanted to share it! It's from Nutrisystem and they have been helping people lose weight for over 40 years by delivering food and meal programs directly to their door. It's super convenient and a great way to learn how to lose weight and live healthier.

The thing that I like the most about Nutrisystem is that they provide live counseling online and over the phone so you don't have to go to a weight loss center or weigh in publicly. It's all done in the privacy of your own home and it's so empowering! With a motto like "Fuel Your Goals. Fuel Your Greatness." you know they are working to bring out the best in you.

The Nutrisystem Fuel A Better You Sweepstakes is a great way to try their food, and with over 150 perfectly portioned® entrees and snacks on the menu, you're sure to find all of your favorites! They also offer vitamins, supplements, cookbooks and lots of other weight loss tools.

Yes, um, that's FREE FOOD!  All you have to do is head on over to the Nutrisystem Facebook Page, click on the "sweepstakes" tab, fill out the entry form and click on the "enter" button.  

  • Four (4) Winners who will receive one Nutrisystem® Select® program with 28 days of food products delivered to their door 
  • One (1) Grand Prize Winner who will receive one Nutrisystem® Select® program with 28 days of food products delivered to their door and five hundred dollars ($500) cash.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nutrisystem, but the opinions are all mine so head on over to the Nutrisystem Facebook Page and enter to win!

Visit Sponsor's Site

August 11, 2013

August 10, 2013

Grandma's Strawberry Freezer Jam - SO EASY!

I purchased a ton of organic strawberries at Costco and wanted to preserve them. I froze some for smoothies, but made a SUPER yummy jam with the rest.

It's easy to make, my guys all LOVE it, and I know that in January I'll be so happy to have the taste of fresh berries!

August 9, 2013

TIPS: Get Ready for a Late Summer ROAD TRIP!

Summer days go by so fast that it has to be a priority to get out and enjoy the warm, sunny days while we can! Our family takes a camping trip each year in August, but that week long camping trip is one that I spend weeks preparing for!

I have learned a lot over the years and have some great tips that I've pulled together to help make your trip more enjoyable! Just click on the slideshow below to start - and if you scroll down a bit more you'll see links to each tip sheet on my Pinterest board. Feel free to download, share and repin!

August 8, 2013

Beyonce with a PIXIE? Beautiful!

Beyonce revealed a new cropped hairdo via Instagram & she looks absolutely beautiful.

August 7, 2013

In Love With Leopard for Fall 2013

It's a little bit hard for me to believe that animal prints are still red hot for fall 2013, appearing on runways all over the world in lines from Burberry Prorsum, Dolce & Gabbana, J Crew, Tory Burch and more.

Once a cougar wardrobe staple, leopard has become red hot and it is everywhere for fall! My wish list gets a little bit longer every day, but here is my leopard lust list... I'm totally obsessed with those leopard print Converse All Stars! GOTTA HAVE 'EM!

August 6, 2013

5 Healthy Favorites + CRAP FOOD!

I have some FABULOUS things to share with you today - all health and fitness related!

Not like Jillian Michaels screaming in your face health & fitness... but awesome things I've seen lately that make it easier to make healthy choices!

August 5, 2013

Decorate with a Lace Doily

If you are like me, you've got treasures that you can't bear to part with but you just don't know what to DO with them! Some of those treasures were inherited when my husband's mother passed away and some are gifts that I received from my mom over the years. These beautiful things deserve a place of honor in our home and I came up with a great solution for TWO items! A stunning vintage frame and a lace doily.

My husband loved it and he recognized immediately that the items were from his mom's apartment.

August 4, 2013

Be Kind... Always {Sunday Inspiration}




Sometimes it is better to be KIND than to be RIGHT.



August 3, 2013

Have You Heard? Shop H&M ONLINE!

Print Dress $34.95
H&M has finally launched online shopping! They feature inexpensive fashions for ladies, men, kids and for the home. Here are a few of my favorite things!

August 2, 2013

Fysiko Lash Growth Serum - Final Before & After Pics!

I have been testing the Fysiko Lash Growth Serum for 16 weeks now and I can honestly say that I have noticed a significant difference in the length and thickness of my eyelashes!

Lower Fat & Higher Protein! Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares Recipe

Warm puff pastry, a creamy, sweet filling and cinnamon sugar top... what's not to love about sopapilla cheesecake squares? 

By using neufch√Ętel (a creamy French cheese) instead of cream cheese, you get 1/3 less fat (6.6 g per oz. vs. 9.9) AND more protein. (2.8 g per oz. vs. 2.1) 

It's a pretty significant difference when you're trying to make smart choices but still want the good stuff!

August 1, 2013

Lessons in Self Care

I mentioned briefly yesterday that I injured my finger last weekend. I actually smashed it, breaking the bones in the tip of my finger and requiring 8 stitches. My nail is still on, but not for long, and the whole thing basically looks like someone took my finger and gave me a zombie finger instead.