DIY Salt Dough Ornaments

This is the first 128 Hours Christmas, so I thought we would get in the spirit and make something to help us remember our first holiday.

Here is an easy, kid-friendly project that will keep your kitchen tidier than baking cookies. You could also plan a fun project night for your  holiday gathering with the girls.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Krylon finishing spray [Michael's]

Step 1: Preheat oven 200 degrees F. After dry ingredients are mixed, thoroughly incorporate water until you reach a dough consistency.
Step 2: Flour your working space and roll dough to about 1/4" thick. I don't own a rolling pin, so I used an empty wine bottle.
Step 3: Use a cookie cutter-like tool to cut your ornament shapes. I used wine glasses to get a perfect circle (wine is becoming a theme!).

Step 4: Use a straw to cut the hole that will be used for hanging.
Step 5: Bake for about 4 hours, flipping over if necessary.

Step 6: After ornaments have cooled, go to creative town with your acrylic craft paint.
Step 7: Seal your design with a finishing spray to help protect your design.
Step 8: Tie a pretty bow and find a perfect place for it on your tree!

Make-Up Must-Haves

It made me feel like I've been doing something right when I saw some of the products I use highlighted in GLAMOUR's 2012 Glammy Awards article. I wanted to put my two sense in, so below are some of our favorites at The Other 128 Hours. You can find a newfound confidence when trying new beauty products, so I hope this post helps you feel fabulous!

CoverGirl's Lash Blast Luxe Mascara gives you that soft, natural look. I don't have long eyelashes, but this mascara helps separate easily and makes them look much fuller. For the price, it's a go-to product. Trish McEvoy's Lash Curling Mascara does a great job of lengthening lashes without any clumps. The best part... how it's removed. This mascara easily washes away with no smudging, or running. It will keep your towel spotless and white - AMEN!

Conveniently placed on drugstore and specialty store shelves, is my shampoo and conditioner bargain gem - Organix. Their hydrating treatree mint shampoo and conditioner is made from Australian Teatree oils [if that doesn't sound exotic enough!], which hydrates and strengthens your hair. They have an extensive line, and you can't go wrong with any of them.

I swear by my one and only hair styling product, Moroccanoil.  Their curl control mouse is the answer to every curly haired girl's prayers. Foam mousses in drugstores always left my curls crunchy and caused me to break-out along my hair line. Those are the least of my worries now! Moroccanoil Treatment is great for straight hair, and leaves you with an unstoppable shine. You can't purchase from their site, but most hair salons carry the brand, so you don't have to go out of the way to find it!  

Clean & Clear's Morning Glow Moisturizer is oil-free, and leaves your skin looking naturally brighter. While most facial sunscreens contain poor clogging ingredients, EltaMD's formula is made for sensitive skin and won't cause breakouts.

GLAMOUR hit the jackpot with this one. Another product I swear by is NARS Powder Blush in their most popular shade, Orgasm. I don't know what I would do without it, but it truly is the most complimenting shade out there for all skin tones. I find my NARS products at Sephora.    

Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipstick comes in a variety of bright and bold colors with a hint of shimmer in each stick. It's the perfect addition to your bag without spending a fortune. Don't let the tongue twister name scare you away from Pur Couture Vernis a Levres Glossy Stain by Yves Saint Laurent Rouge. This lipstick combines the texture and shine of a gloss with the long-lasting wear of a stain. You won't be disappointed!

Cyber Monday + Holiday Training

Happy Cyber Monday! A new workout outfit always gets me motivated, but there aren't many deals out there for the fitness gal this year. It's just another day at the office over at my favs - Lululemon and Patagonia. I did find Athleta has 20% off everything, so check that out.

Since I can't find inspiration in a new outfit, maybe this photo from Lululemon will help!
And as promised, here is my training schedule for the Hot Chocolate 15K on January 13. I get bored easily running day after day, so I developed the plan below with three goals in mind, incorporating the sports I love while improving my running speed and endurance.

1. Maintain triathlon sports. I am not working on form or drills, just maintaining my endurance
2. Develop muscle tone through weight lifting. During tri season this area will be cut back
3. Stay healthy through the holidays as sweets and sugary drinks are plentiful

Disclaimer: I am not a certified personal trainer or a doctor. My training plan was developed from experience alone and may not work for everyone.

Like us on facebook to join in on group runs and workouts!

Black Friday Shopping Survival Guide

By now, you know I’m the first to dive into a bargain, but the Black Friday mayhem becomes less appealing when the news headlines are of people getting trampled. Personally, I’m a Cyber Monday kind of chick. The deals are just as good, no long checkout lines, and you can shop from the comfort of your own home [or office]… It’s a win, win!

If you do decide to conquer the Black Friday crowds, keep your smart phone handy and take a minute to download the TGI Black Friday app. The app is free, and you can easily browse the store ads, find all the deals, and create a wish list. It’s a must-have for getting the best deals, and will be extremely helpful during your shopping journey.

Stray away from the mainstream and department stores like Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Macy's [to name a few]. Head to some stores many won’t think of, and you'll still be able to partake in Cyber Monday for any purchases you missed as your plan-b!

Francesca's has become one of my favorite boutiques, and new locations are popping up everywhere. Shop in stores to take advantage of their BOGO 50% off sale, or online for 25% your entire purchase. A little treat for yourself never hurt!
REI is having a huge sale where you can save up to 30% off. It's worth checking out if you're looking for a great gift for your handsome outdoorsman. I strongly encourage you to shop online first to check out their REI Oulet section online, which has savings up to 70% off. You have nothing to loose with free shipping and returns!
I know you have a Pintrest board of DIY projects you want to do, so take this weekend to stock up on all the supplies you need. This is perfect if you are planning on making some Christmas gifts, or you want some new holiday décor. Head over to Michael's where they have coupons for Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday. If you are in need of a Christmas tree, be there on Thursday to get their 50% off door buster deal… no need to wait for the post-holiday markdown!

Perfectly Prepped Pine Cones

I love decorating my home with items from mother nature herself. Her colors and designs come unmatched to anything you will find in the store. For this holiday season, I am using pine cones from my very own front yard.

I began gathering bags of pine cones and spreading them across newspaper for a misting of pearl paint. When I came outside to check the paint, I noticed little bugs crawling everywhere...eeek! With a little research I was able to prep my pine cones for use inside the home.

How to prep pine cones for crafting:
There are two ways to prep pine cones, soaking and baking. I don't have the patience for soaking and drying, so I went with baking.
1. cover baking sheet in tin foil
2. preheat oven to 200 degrees
3. collect pine cones in a bag
4. lay pine cones in a single layer on the baking sheet
5. bake for 30 minutes watching the pine cones closely
6. remove and set outside to cool
7. lightly mist with spray paint for extra shine. I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Pearl.
Not only does this take care of the bug problem, it dries the sap so you aren't left with a sticky mess.

Now your pine cones are ready for use. Fill glass jars or liven up a tired wreath (remember ugly bow wreath from my yard sale misfits?) I love her simple new look with the added pine cones.

Happy crafting this holiday season!

The First Friendsgiving

This year, a good friend made the executive decision that our group of friends should have a FRIENDSGIVING – brilliant! 

If you’re planning on doing something special with your friends, and want to present everyone with an invitation, I created a basic template for you to use for your party. Just download, and fill it in with your event info.

Tips for a successful Friendsgiving:
  1. Grab some post-Halloween sale décor for the tables
  2. Start an email chain so guests don’t bring multiple dishes
  3. Use paper plates -- A MUST!
Things to remember for next year’s Friendsgiving:
  1. Defrost turkey the day before
  2. Have someone bring gravy
  3. Be cautious of oven space
I slightly modified Alton Brown’s chipotle smashed sweet potato recipe for my side dish. It’s got a little kick and only five ingredients, which is why I love it so much.

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T of butter
  • 2 chipotle peppers, plus 1 T adobe sauce (canned)
  • salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Peel and cube sweet potatoes, and place in boiling water. Season water first with salt.
Step 2: Finely chop garlic cloves and chipotle peppers. I recommend taking the seeds out of your peppers because that's where the heat lives.
Step 3: Once potatoes are fork tender, mash them, and add in you butter.
Step 4: Incorporate all ingredients, and add the extra adobe sauce from the can.

America's Sweetest Race

Here at The Other 128 Hours, we love weekend races. Races are good motivation for early morning workouts and most always raise money for a worthy cause.

We are already planning our 2013 race schedule and have just signed up for our first race - The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Atlanta on Jan 13. The Other 128 Hours would love to have you join us. I will be posting my training plan soon and planning a few group workouts.

The race is also held in many other cites across the U.S., raising money for the Ronald McDonald House. So whether you run or walk, or go for the 15k or 5k, you will be doing good for both yourself and others.

Looking forward to a sweet finish! What are your 2013 run or walk goals?

Taking a YOU day

You don't have to go out of town to ask for those days off you have saved up. We all work hard, and deserve a little time to ourselves. Get recharged with a day dedicated to you - strongly encouraged!

Sometimes I get caught up in life and forget that I love to paint. It's been over a year since I've picked up a paintbrush [so sad!], so I took a couple of days off to exercise a talent I always forget I have.

Obviously it's best to paint from real life, but I worked from a photo that I took while on my Italy trip. I fell in love with the small, quaint town of San Gimignano, and this photo just makes me want to drive straight to the airport! Excuse the crappy photo, but maybe I'll take a new one when I have a nice place to hang it:

My First Link Party

I am officially 'attending' my first link party December 4th. The party theme is holiday mantels, hosted by one of my favorite blogs, The Lettered Cottage. I have been looking forward to decorating our 10 foot mantel since the day we built her for our little cottage - photos here.

Ballard Design and Pottery Barn, please stop sending me your completely cozy holiday catalogues, tempting me with perfectly constructed strands of garland and clusters of 'real' pine cones. I have my adorable yard sale misfits, a blooming holly tree outside and more pine cones than I could ever use, right in my front yard. So what should I do?
Pottery Barn pine cones  pictured above $20
Something simple and elegant like the mantel from Thrifty & Chic:

or something lavishly lush from Family Holiday:

and then there is always cute and crafty:

Check back November 30 to see the finished mantel all dressed up for her first Christmas. And let me know if you will be joining. All shelves and ledges are welcome too.

JCT Kitchen Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a holiday staple in my family, so when Ally and I saw them on the menu at JCT kitchen, we had to order. After all, Ally and I have been celebrating the holidays since August.

I decided to make this classic southern recipe the next weekend to pair with my husbands secret-recipe-ribs on his new smoker.  I went with a traditional deviled egg recipe and added prosciutto for a JCT taste. Deviled eggs take about two minutes to make once the eggs are boiled and cooled, so they are also a perfect app for a last minute holiday party.

JCT Kitchen Deviled Eggs with Prosciutto
6 eggs - boiled, cooled & peeled
2 tablespoons mayo (Duke's is the best!)
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon white vinegar - I have also used Sherry Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar
salt and pepper

to garnish:

to create:
Carefully cut the eggs in half long ways. Pop the egg yolk out into a bowl. Set the empty egg white on the serving tray. Once you have all of the egg yolks in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients. Honestly, I do a little of that, a little of this, until I get a nice consistency and a mild taste (not too mustardy, not too salty) but the amounts above will work too. Mix until creamy. Spoon the yolk mixture into the empty egg whites. Garnish with paprika and prosciutto.


Popping the big question... to your bridesmaids

As my wedding is underway, I decided to do something special for my favorite girls to ask them to be a part of the big day. My little bridesmaid package consists of a custom painted frame and an elegant card I designed. This easy project costs about $3 for each bridesmaid, keeping the total cost under $25. Can't beat it!

For my card, I listed each person's name, and included some fun and quirky facts about each of them as a fun way to introduce the girls to each other. Click here for a free downloadable template. For the savvy brides-to-be with Photoshop, a PSD template is also available.

  • Unfinished wood frame [$1.99 from Michael's]
  • Craft paint [$1/each from Michael's]
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper [optional]
  • Photos
Step 1: Take out the glass part of frame, and paint entire frame with your base color.

Step 2 [optional]: After paint has completely dried, go over with a piece of sandpaper to give it a weathered, rustic look.

Step 3: Use a your second color of paint to write your message. I painted, "Will you be my bridesmaid?" GET CREATIVE!! I used a different color and cursive writing for the word "Bridesmaid" so it stands out a little bit more.

Step 4: Insert your favorite photo of you and your friend. Your girls can even swap out the photo with one from your wedding day, making this a cute keepsake project.

A list of each bridesmaid, fun facts, and attire for the day. 
After the wedding, your bridesmaids can swap the photo out with one from your wedding day!

Submit your favorite holiday cookie!

The holidays are creeping up already, and we want our kitchens to smell as good as yours! THERE ARE NO RULES! We can't wait to see what delicious treats we'll be making. I'm sure the hubbies won't be disappointed either. 

The Bestest Birthday Book

Throwing birthday cards away may be one of the hardest things I do. I try to save at least one from every person who writes. I think of all the time and effort they put into buying, writing and mailing the card, just to bring me a smile on my birthday. But I just can't keep them all. This is why I love the Birthday Book.
Over ten years ago, I started the Birthday Book with my lifelong friend and cousin.
Here's how it works:
1. Choose a quality journal that will last.
2. On your bestest's birthday, write in the journal, what you would typically write in a card
3. Include sketches, fun questions about the future and most importantly the date
4. Choose one photo of the both of you together from that year and tuck inside
5. Send to bestest of friend
6. On your birthday, they write a message on page two, include another photo and send back
7. And on and on and on

This way you can keep all of your precious birthday messages without the clutter. After 10+ years, it's also quite hilarious to read. I only have one of these books, but would love to start more with my closest friends and other cousins. I would love a whole book shelf of birthday books!