Reflections

Hello, friends!

We just finished the Christmas season, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven to grow into a man and then to eventually die on a cross to save us from our sins. It’s quite an exciting time, even if you don’t believe in Jesus and God. This is a time for selflessness (and selfishness), giving, love, and celebration.

In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating the coming of the new year! 2014: A year of new beginnings, big changes, and lots of eraser dust as we struggle to remember to write “14” instead of “13”.

Let’s not forget those pesky resolutions: “I want to lose 40 pounds this year”, “I pledge to eat healthy every day”, “I pledge to be a nicer person”.

It took me a while to figure out why the idea of New Year’s Resolutions always bothered me, but a few years ago I finally realized why: It’s because breaking these resolutions is as commonplace as making them in the first place. I’ve never been too keen on laziness or lack of will, and that’s what the whole idea of New Year’s Resolutions means to me.

I understand that the idea of making a life-changing decision has so much more importance and significance when it is made on the first day of the week, month, or year, which is why New Year’s Resolutions are so popular. However, I believe that every day should be a time for making life-changing decisions.

We don’t have to wait for the start of a New Year to make the world a better place. We just need the will to carry it out every day, even if we failed the day before.

If you still want to make a New Years resolution to lose weight, or join a gym, or be a kinder person, or whatever you do, I want to encourage you to keep it up. Don’t quit and laugh it off like so many do. Keep it up. Every day is a new beginning, don’t be discouraged if you slip up once in a while.

After all, we’re only human.

With Love ❤

Hebrews 11:1

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Christmas Nail Designs!

Hello, friends!

It’s that time again, when you can’t go into a store or turn on the radio without hearing Mariah Carey or Justin Bieber singing a catchy Christmas tune. Everyone’s house is covered in twinkly lights and a glittering Christmas tree peeks out through every living room window.

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This time of year is so magical and happy. I hope you all have someone (or a lot of people) to share it with.

I wish I could give all my readers gifts, but I guess these tutorials will have to do. =)

Nail Design 1: Itty bitty Holly Leaves!

You’ll need:

  1. Clear base coat and top coat.
  2. A gold, shimmery polish. I used OPI’s “Glitzerland”
  3. A dark green polish. I used OPI’s “Don’t mess with OPI”
  4. A bright red polish. I used OPI’s “Perfectly Red”
  5. 2 toothpicks.

Step 1: Base Coat
To help the polish go on smoothly and to protect your nail, apply a clear base coat. I always use Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength. It comes in a pretty bottle, and it strengthens my nails, too!

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Step 2: Paint your nails gold.

Paint 1 to 2 coats of sparkly gold on your nails. I used OPI’s “Glitzerland”. It’s sort of sheer, so I painted 2 coats to make it more opaque.

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Step 3: Add Holly Leaves

Using a toothpick and your dark green (I used OPI’s “Don’t mess with OPI”), begin to paint leaves. This may require practice, so use an extra sheet of paper if you want to. (I practiced on my bare nails before starting the tutorial).

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Begin by dipping your toothpick into the nail polish bottle and painting the stem of your holly leave diagonally on the nail. Next, dip it again and draw 4 pointy tips out to the side of the stem, 2 on each side. It should look something like this at the end:

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Like I said, it takes practice. They won’t all look the same. Just do your best. =)

The end result should look something like this:

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Step 4: Holly Berries

Using the other toothpick and your red (I used OPI’s “Perfectly Red”), paint holly berries. This will be much easier than the leaves.

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Dip your toothpick into the bottle of polish, and then paint a bunch of 3 berries onto the top of the holly leaf. It should look like this:

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Make sure you put the berries at the top of the leaf, and try your hardest to make them look like 3 separate dots, not one blob.

Step 5: Finish off with a top coat!

Make sure you wait a while before you add the top coat, because chances are your leaves and berries will be pretty thick and will take a while to dry. After 10-15 minutes, it should be safe to add your top coat. I always wait a little longer, just in case.

Once you’ve added your top coat, you’re done!

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Thanks to my lovely roommate, Rachel, for volunteering her hands!

Nail Design 2: Candy Canes!

You’ll need:

  1. A clear base coat and top coat
  2. A red. I used OPI’s “perfectly red”
  3. A white striper and a silver striper. I got mine from a drug store.

Step 1: Base coat

As always, start with a base coat.

Step 2: Paint your nails red.

Do just one coat of bright red. I used OPI’s “Perfectly red”.

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Step 3: White Stripes!

Using your white striper, make at least 3 diagonal lines across your nails. If you don’t own a striper, you could use a toothpick dipped in white polish.

This is the striper I used.

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If you don’t know what a striper is, it’s essentially just a very thin nail polish brush. I highly suggest investing in some if you intend to get hardcore about your nail designs. I own a white one, a black one, and a silver one, and I use them all the time!

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Here are a few of my nails already done:

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Step 4: Silver stripes!

Add a bit more flair by painting silver stripes next to the white stripes you’ve already painted. this just gives the nails a bit more glamour.

This is the striper I used.

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Step 5: Top coat!

Once your polish is dry (give it a good 5-10 minutes after you’ve added the silver stripes), add a top coat to seal in the color and keep it from chipping.

Here’s the finished result!

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As you can tell, my stripes are a bit wobbly, but it’s okay. They’ll still look like candy canes!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tutorials and that they get you in the Christmas mood! Merry Christmas!

With love ❤

Luke 2:1-21

Gifts for that Man in your life

Hello, friends!

This post is specifically going out to my readers with two X chromosomes.

I get it. Men can be hard to shop for. Still, there IS a way to figure out the perfect gift that will bring a smile to his face on Christmas day. I want to help you find that gift!

First, you have to consider your relationship. Let me lay out the relationship spectrum, which I have just decided to call the Admiring Acquaintance to Amorous Adoration (AAAA) spectrum.

Admiring Acquaintance to Amorous Adoration (AAAA) Spectrum

Friend (Stage 1)
If you guys are close friends, but definitely not dating, you might want to buy him a present. Be careful though, because he might take a present to mean that you want to be something more than friends, which may or may not have disastrous results.

Best Friend (Stage 2)-
Have you two labeled each other as besties?  A platonic, close, mixed-gender relationship is rare, but it does happen. Presents are probably in order if this is you.

Fresh, new relationship (Stage 3)-
If you guys have been dating for about 3 months or less, and haven’t really gotten serious, Christmas present shopping could be a stressful experience. You need the ideal gift that won’t come off too strong.

Serious dating relationship (Stage 4)-
Okay, you guys have been dating for quite a while. You know a lot about each other, and you know what he likes. Make sure you get him a great gift to keep the relationship fresh and fun.

How do you come up with ideas?

  1. What are his favorite things? What TV shows does he watch? What’s his favorite movie? What sports teams does he root for? There are tons of websites that sell items relating to TV shows or athletic teams. T-shirts, hoodies and hats are always a great option.
  2. What are his activities? Does he play sports? Is he a camper? An artist or musician? You could always buy him some much needed supplies, like new sports equipment, a utility knife, paint brushes, or guitar strings. Sure, they’re not romantic, but I guarantee that he will like them.
  3. What is his love language? The 5 love languages are Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Touch, Quality time, and Acts of Service. He might feel loved if you spend an afternoon with him watching…some…athletic…sports thing. Maybe Gifts isn’t his love language, so you can just give him something small, and then spend the day with him. Be careful though. Make sure you know him well enough to know that Gifts definitely isn’t his love language, so he won’t be offended without a physical present.
  4. What does he wear? Pay attention to the key pieces in his wardrobe, what he wears most often, and what looks best on him. Does he wear hats all the time? Or oversized hoodies? More importantly, do you like how he looks when he wears them? Take this opportunity and buy him a clothing item!
    If you’re concerned about sizes, try to sneak a peek at the tags in his clothes. If you haven’t had the opportunity, hold the piece of clothing up in the store and picture him in it to see if it looks like it would fit him. Keep the receipt just in case an exchange is necessary.
  5. Have you asked him? Unlike women, most men do not expect us to be mind readers. He probably won’t be upset if you ask him exactly what he wants for Christmas. If you want him to be surprised, tell him to give you a few options.
  6. Make a list. I’ve got a hidden list that I use to jot down gift ideas. If I ever get struck by a great gift idea, I write it down quickly before I forget. Then I don’t have to sit down later and think back through my day, trying desperately to remember what it was.

Have these questions helped you brainstorm a little bit? I hope so. If not, here are a few other ideas:

  1. A personalized gift basket- Pick up a basket from the dollar store and fill it with all of his favorite snacks and anything else you think he’d enjoy. Arrange it so it looks pretty and not like you just threw candy and other stuff into a basket. (Suggested for AAAA spectrum stages 1-4)
    If you want to make this more romantic, attach a sticky note (complete with a gushy love note) to each item. (Suggested for  AAAA spectrum stages 3-4)
  2. Picture this- Get a sweet picture of you two developed and frame it so he can put it on his shelf or windowsill. (Suggested for AAAA spectrum  stages 3-4)
  3. Are you crafty/artistic?- Do you crochet, knit, weave things or do anything crafty or artistic at all? Use your gifts to create something homemade and special for him! Knit him a hat, paint him a picture or immortalize him in fiction by writing and illustrating a comic about him. (Suggested for AAA spectrum stages 1-4)
  4. Buy him tickets to a concert for his favorite band or a game for his favorite team. (Suggested for AAA spectrum stages 1-4)
  5. Feed him- Is there a meal that he absolutely LOVES? It can be one that his mom always used to make, or one that you introduced to him. No matter what, they say food is the fastest way to a man’s heart. Take advantage of that. Last year I baked a gigantic brownie brick for Kevin  and made it look like the bricks on Minecraft (With chocolate icing as grout). He still talks about it. (Suggested for AAA spectrum stages 1-4)
That was a monstrosity. The plate is about 1 ft. in diameter, just for reference.

That thing was a monster. The plate is about 1 ft. in diameter, just for reference.

If you still want other ideas, check this link out! Andrea from Andreaschoice has some great ideas for gifts! Click here! 

If all of these suggestions STILL don’t help you, just google “gifts for men”. Pinterest is also a good place to look, too!

With Love ❤

Hebrews 11:1