DIY Date Night Mason Jar

DIY Date Night Mason Jar

I LOVE date nights, but sometimes we have a really hard time deciding what to do.  So when I stumbled upon this Date Night Mason Jar DIY on Pinterest, originally crafted by Life in the Green House, I thought this was an absolutely brilliant idea for us.  Daniel and I tend to be pretty indecisive when it comes to activities, sometimes wasting hours of time trying to decide on a variety of options.  I loved the idea of committing to just pulling a stick out of the jar and boom, there’s our date night with no decision making required!  I also thought it would be a good opportunity to think of more creative or unique dates, so we don’t fall into the same dinner and a movie pattern.  I’ve had this DIY on my list of to dos forever, and I finally finished it!  See below for my modifications and instructions:

Date Night SuppliesHere’s what you need:

  • 1 mason jar
  • Jumbo popsicle sticks
  • Ultra Fine Point Sharpie in black
  • Red acrylic paint
  • White acrylic paint
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Red food coloring (optional)
  • Mod Podge (optional)

Paint MeasurementsHere’s what you do:

The first thing you want to do is decide on your categories and colors, and then come up with some date ideas!  I chose red, dark pink, light pink, and white. One thing I changed from the original DIY was how the sticks are colored.  Instead of spray painting the entire popsicle stick, I decided to just paint the tips, creating a paint dipped effect.  To do this, I simply measure about an inch and a half below the tip and made a pencil marking on both sides.  I used the first completed stick as a template for the rest.

They turned out exactly how I pictured.  I love how clean and modern they look!

Date Night Color Categories

Here’s what I did for color coding and some of my date ideas for inspiration!

Red sticks are mostly nighttime dates out on the town, and they are a little more expensive and take some planning.

  • Sushi dinner
  • Downtown “food hop” (appetizer at one restaurant, dinner at another, and dessert at a different one)
  • Dinner and a movie (a little cliche, but we rarely go out to movies, so I still love this one!)
  • Dinner and drinks on Mississippi Ave.
  • Weekend away
  • A night at the theatre
  • Concert or sports game

Dark pink sticks are also nighttime dates out, but are less expensive.

  • High school mall date (go see a movie and eat at the food court, haha!)
  • Bowling
  • Ice skating
  • Drinks and dessert at a fancy restaurant (great way to try a more expensive restaurant without breaking the bank!)
  • Afternoon matinee and dinner at home
  • 4th Friday free museum night (check out your local museums, many have free nights!)
  • Happy hour and bar games
  • Dinner and beer sampling at a brewery

Light pink sticks are date nights at home.

  • Homemade sushi and movie rentals
  • Matinee out and dinner at home
  • Homemade pizza and board games
  • Fondue dinner and dessert
  • At home wine bar and cheese plates (grab a few different bottles of wine and do your own tastings!)
  • Strip games and drink champagne while taking a bubble bath (this is a great one to spice things up!)
  • Hot oil massages (another spicy date night, great way to connect and a free massage never hurt!)

White sticks are daytime dates.

  • Oregon zoo
  • Wine tasting at vineyards
  • Lunch and beer sampling at a brewery
  • Museum and food carts
  • Rock climbing gym
  • Aquarium
  • Matinee
  • Brunch and a hike or a game of tennis
  • Dim sum and a walk at the nature preserve
  • Baking and puzzle making
  • Ice skating
  • Movie or TV marathon with delivery

I chose to repeat a few of the dates, because a couple of them fit into more than one category.  This was a really fast and easy DIY, I think the longest step was coming up with the date ideas.  Take a look at the finished project!

Date Night Ideas

Date Night Mason Jar

Date Night Jar Close Up

While I don’t think I’ll have a problem remembering the color coding, I did like the idea of a color code key just in case.  The original DIY had a printed label attached to the jar with a ribbon.  I had wanted to paint the lid in chalkboard paint and create a key that way, but the jumbo sticks were a little taller than I initially realized.  So instead, I painted a popsicle stick in chalkboard paint and created a key that way!

Color Code Key

I abbreviated some things to make it easy.  N is for night, D for day, In means at home dates, and the $ signs are for expensive and less expensive.

Date Night JarBonus:  As you can tell from my pictures, my mason jar is red.  I had seen a lot of pins about mason jar tinting around the same time I saw this DIY, and I really loved that look.  So I decided I might as well stick to my red tone theme!  I followed instructions on Momtastic, and I believe I used roughly 20-30 drops of food coloring to get this deep red color.

This was such a fun DIY, I don’t know why I waited so long!  This will be great for our indecisiveness and give us the chance to be more spontaneous!  I’ve even left some room to add new dates as I think of them and when the seasons changed.  What are some of your favorite date nights?


Detox Bath: Home Remedy for Cold & Flu Season

As I sit here writing this post, my boyfriend is sick and I’m starting to feel like I’m catching whatever he has.  Oh no!  Temperatures are dropping outside, it’s wet, and the air is frigid… It’s cold and flu season.  Perhaps even more so for us because we’re transitioning to a new, colder climate!  Well, as I try not to think about that fact, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share what I have come to find as the miracle home remedy for when I’m feeling ill… The detox bath.

I first stumbled upon the detox bath on Pinterest (surprise surprise), where I found my go to recipe on the blog Beauty Bets.

Ginger Detox BathHere’s what you need:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Baking Soda
  • Ground Ginger

Here’s what you do:

  1. Draw a hot bath, as hot as you can possibly stand it.  You want to SWEAT, I mean, seriously sweat.  This will help you release toxins.
  2. The original recipe suggests you add three pints of hydrogen peroxide (3%), but I usually only add about half of a large bottle.  Hydrogen peroxide supposedly helps to oxygenate the body and help expel toxins.  It is also antiviral and antibacterial.
  3. Add about 1 cup of baking soda.  The original recipe does not include baking soda, however, after reading about detox baths on Healthy Living How To I now add it to any bath I take.  Baking soda helps neutralize chemicals (such as chlorine) and increases mineral absorption.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of ground ginger.  Ginger is anti-inflammatory and helps increase blood circulation.  I’ve taken baths both with and without it, and I found that the ginger definitely helps you sweat more!
  5. Soak in the tub for about 30 minutes, or as long as you can stand it.  PLEASE listen to your own body!  Depending on how I feel, I will soak anywhere from 15 minutes to the full 30 minutes.  Don’t overdo it!
  6. Drink LOTS of water before, during, and after.  You want to replenish your body after sweating out all those toxins.

Tips:  I personally only take detox baths when my boyfriend is home, as you do sweat profusely and can feel a little lightheaded.  Better safe than sorry!  Also, please stand up slowly when getting out of the tub.

When you’re rinsing off, please use only natural soap that is free of harmful chemicals.  You’ve opened your pores from the hot bath and released a bunch of toxins; you don’t want to add them back into your body!

I only take this bath right before bed because it does wear you out, and makes your body will feel a bit like jello.   I usually chug a few glasses of water and go straight to sleep.  And boy, do I sleep!  This bath makes me sleep like a baby, and by the time I wake up I feel SO much better.

I’ve taken this bath during varying degrees of sickness, and I ALWAYS feel some percentage of better the next day.  I’d say somewhere between 75-100% better every single time.  It may just be the placebo effect, or the fact that the bath forces me to drink more water and get a good night’s sleep.  But considering any time I take this bath, a cold that would usually last a few weeks only lasts a couple of days… with those results, I think I’ll continue this home remedy regardless!

Here are a few other variations I often use:

Epsom Salt Detox BathHere’s what you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Epsom salt

Almost all of the directions from above apply to all detox baths.  You want the hottest bath you can stand, you want to drink lots of water, and you want to use chemical free soap when rinsing off.

  1. For this bath, I add about 2 cups of Epsom salt, which helps draw out toxins.  Epsom salt also helps decrease bloating.
  2. I also add about 1 cup of baking soda.  Again, baking soda helps neutralize chemicals.
  3. Soak for about 30 minutes.  I usually take this bath when I’m not feeling well because of my own doing.  Perhaps I’ve been eating too much sugar and junk, or have been drinking a bit too much alcohol.  This bath is great for a general detox to rejuvenate your body.

Lavender Detox BathAnother variation I do is basically the same as the recipe above, but I had 5-10 drops of lavender oil to the bath.  I especially like this bath when I feel bloated or stressed out (or both!).  Lavender has a calming effect and, again, Epsom salt is great for decreasing bloat.

In case you need some extra help, here are a few other things I do when I’m sick:  I up my intake of Vitamin C, and I take Goldenseal Echinacea drops three times a day.  You can find Goldenseal at most health food stores, I bought mine at Whole Foods.

Well, I think I’ll definitely be taking my general detox bath tonight.  Hopefully that will prevent me from fully catching my boyfriend’s illness!  I hope these detox baths help you survive cold and flu season!

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, and these recipes are only suggestions of remedies that work for me.  They are not intended as a diagnosis or prescription, and should not be in place of medical treatment and/or advice from a professional.  Please always consult your doctor first before trying any home remedies.


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I hope you all finished your costumes in time and got a chance to carve your pumpkins!

We carved ours last week before we left for a romantic getaway in Rockaway Beach in Oregon!  I can’t wait to tell you all the best spots to visit!

Pumpkin Carvings

I carved Boo and Daniel carved Edgar Allan Poe!  We found these great patterns on Zombie Pumpkins.  This site has an enormous selection of pumpkin patterns in a variety of categories, and they range from easy to difficult.  For just $5 we were able to download 25 patterns – such a deal!  We now have enough patterns to last us many Halloweens.

Well, I just wanted to say a quick hello and a Happy Halloween.  I hope you all have a fun and safe night tonight!  I should have my next round of apple recipes up soon, so stay tuned!


DIY Halloween Wine Bottles

Halloween Wine Bottle Inspiration

I love wine and I love Halloween, so when I saw this great DIY project on Pinterest by Lombardo Lagniappe, I knew I had to try it.

Our house is severely lacking in Halloween decorations, but this DIY was a pretty quick, painless, and somewhat inexpensive (depending on what supplies you already have on hand) way to fix that.

I mainly followed the original design, but changed a few techniques and aesthetics to suit my needs.

As you can see, I chose to vary the shape of the bottles rather than keep them uniform like pictured above.  I really loved how each bottle seemed to fit each “character” perfectly.  I already had these lying at home in our recycling bin, but if you don’t (and you want to keep this project inexpensive), you can’t go wrong with 2-Buck Chuck from Trader Joes!

Halloween Wine Bottles Before

In fact, the bottle on the left is Charles Shaw Chardonnay, and the bottle on the right is Charles Shaw Merlot!

Being on a budget, I couldn’t really justify buying all of the spray paint colors that were used in the original DIY.  Specifically because I didn’t know when I’d use them again, since I didn’t have any projects in the works that used spray paint.  So I chose to only buy the Frosted Glass spray paint (which I found at Home Depot), and use acrylic paint I already had for the rest of the color.

I’m sure it definitely took longer than just spraying them and using paint pens for the detailed work.  But I have to say I really liked the texture that came from hand painting them.  Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment!

And here they are, my ghoulish wine bottles!

Halloween Wine Bottles After

I followed the taping suggestions from the original blog post.  For Frankenstein, I sort of followed both examples.  I cut the notches first, and then put the tape on the bottle.  Once the paint was dry, I used an exacto knife to trace over the notches again so the paint wouldn’t peel off with the tape.  Because I couldn’t find black glitter at the store, I decided to nix it.  And in the end, I don’t think they really needed it!

Halloween Wine Bottles

Here they are on our dining room table!

A pretty spook-tacular addition, if I do say so myself!


DIY – Places We’ve Been Heart Maps

When I first saw the “Places We’ve Been” pin, I instantly knew I wanted to replicate it as an anniversary gift for my boyfriend Daniel.  I originally thought it was a DIY tutorial, only to find out later it was actually from an Etsy shop.  While I LOVE the way it looks, I certainly did not have over $500 to spend.  I also wanted to make it myself because I always feel that adds more meaning to a gift.  So here we are – below is my DIY of the “Places We’ve Been” pinspiration!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pieces of Matboard, both at least 12×12
  • Mod Podge (or any glue you prefer)
  • Sharp scissors
  • A heart stencil
  • 12 printed maps
  • 12×12 picture frame
  • Cardstock, or any thick paper (optional)

Obviously this project is all about the maps, so the first thing I did was figure out how I wanted them to look.  I did this DIY right before moving to Portland, so I was working on limited time and a small budget.  Because of that, I personally chose to use Google Maps and print them out at home.  I also chose to use Google Maps because I wanted to control the zoom of each map and what would be seen.  But you could also use an Atlas, Thomas Guide, or look for old maps at a thrift store!

Because we were about to move from Los Angeles to a new home in Portland, I chose to include a map of the neighborhood we dearly loved but had to leave behind.  You can use any heart stencil you’d like – as for me, I didn’t have one (remember that whole uncrafty crafter thing?).  So I just searched for an image of a heart I liked and printed it out on cardstock, and made my own stencil!

I stenciled and cut out each heart, and before I knew it, I had perfect little sentimental maps laid out before me.  This is the moment when I got really excited because I knew the project was going to turn out just as I had imagined it!  At the widest part of the heart it measured 2 1/2″, and from the top point to the bottom point it measured 2 3/4″.  This size worked perfectly for me based on 12 hearts and a 12×12 frame.

Next, I pasted each heart on a piece of matboard with Mod Podge and then cut out each heart again.  The reason I did this is because I wanted the hearts to have a 3D effect.  I used a pair of scissors to do this, and even though they were REALLY dull, it was still fairly easy to cut through the matboard.  With sharp scissors it should be a breeze, but use whatever cutting tool works best for you!

I tried to get fancy and penciled in a mathematical grid onto the matboard, to try and ensure all the hearts would line up perfectly.  It…mostly worked.  The grid was totally wrong, but it still helped me eyeball them into the right placement!

I pasted each heart onto a 12×12 piece of matboard using Mod Podge (you will most likely have to cut your matboard down to size), and weighed it down with heavy books for about 48 hours to make sure the edges wouldn’t curl up.  As for placement, I arranged the maps mainly by how they looked, not by chronological order.  I didn’t want two mostly blue hearts next to each other, same with the green, I also wanted to make sure our neighborhood heart was kind of in the middle, and because a lot of the places we visited were in California and on the East Coast, I tried to vary those from each other as well.

After that, all that was left was putting the finished project in a frame!  I really liked the idea of a white picture frame, since almost all the frames in our house are black, but apparently they aren’t very popular.  I searched for a LONG time to find the perfect white 12×12 frame, and still didn’t have that many options.  In the end, I decided to go with this frame, and I am more than pleased with it.  It’s not the highest quality frame I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t look cheap and feels very sturdy.

So, here it is, my completed DIY Places We’ve Been Heart Maps!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison.  What do you think?  This is the project I am most proud of to date.  And in total it only cost about $20!  Love it!

Bonus:  The Gift Wrap!

I love to make gift wrapping just as meaningful as the gift itself, and I thought I’d share what I did in case anyone is looking for some wrapping inspiration.  This had so much meaning behind it, but was super quick and inexpensive!

All I did was take brown packing paper (which came from an Amazon shipment), and with a black Sharpie wrote the lyrics from our song in cursive (in case you’re wondering, our song is “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley).  Simple as that!  I completed it with a red ribbon, because I felt it needed a little color – the color of love, to be exact.

Thanks to all for reading!  I hope this tutorial gave you all Pinspiration to make your own Places We’ve Been DIY!