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Sterling silver jewelry is both known for it’s beauty and ability to stand the test of time. But just because it’s durable doesn’t mean it lacks the need for special treatment. Read below to find out exactly how to care for you sterling silver jewelry!

Tarnishing
Over time, sterling silver can and will tarnish. Tarnish is a darkening that forms over metals as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Usually it’s due to the piece’s natural exposure to air, but can also be from water, hand lotions, and other foreign substances. For this reason, it’s important to remove your sterling silver jewelry when showering, exercising, washing your hands, etc. I know it’s convenient to leave your jewelry on, but removing it will keep your piece shinier longer. Furthermore, it prevents any damage or pitting to the surface that cannot be fixed and will make it appear dull even when polished.

Cleaning
1. Polishing Cloth. Fortunately cleaning sterling silver jewelry can be done at home. The best option is to purchase a polishing cloth, like Goddard’s. What’s great about the cloth is that it can be used on all jewelry, not just sterling. I highly recommend it. In fact, if you purchased your ring through my jewelry shop, the cloth that came with your order is, in fact, a small sample of a Goddard’s cloth.

2. Vinegar. Another remedy (and green too!) is to warm a class of white vinegar and allow your piece to sit in it. This may take longer that chemically-based options but it will get the job done.

3. Fine steel wool. Fine steel wool can be used to polish your piece and can easily be purchased at your local hardware store. However, it may not be able to get into the nooks and crannies and will shed as you use it, so be sure to polish over a trash receptacle.

4. Baking sodas. Another “home remedy” is to create a mixture of baking soda, water, and lemon juice. Rub your piece with the concoction and a tooth brush to remove any tough to reach tarnish.

Restoring Design Details
With all this cleaning, any oxidized areas purposely placed to highlight details and designs may fade. Although as the piece re-oxidizes (tarnishes) the details will be restored, the fastest option is to color in the areas with a Sharpie and remove any excess with a polishing cloth or fine steel wool. It’s fast and works every time.

Green Fingers
Not an urban myth, sterling silver CAN still turn fingers green. If you’re not normally allergic to sterling silver, there’s most likely a residue on the inside of the band that is causing the skin reaction. Clean with the above methods daily until the reaction stops occurring.

There you have it! Follow the above directions and your sterling silver jewelry will always be in tip-top shape!

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When I first saw this pyramid stud bracelet on Annabelle from Viva Luxury, I was in love. But I was not in love with the fact that it was sold out. Being the DIY’er that I am, I was able to source the gold pyramid studs from Ebay and then find the stretch cord at Michael’s and voila! Pyramid stud bracelet with supplies to make another one to keep or give away as a gift. Keep reading for the deets below and make your own!

Pyramind Spike Stud Bracelet DIY

{What You Will Need}
Gold pyramid studs, Ebay
.8mm Stretch cord, Michael’s
Paper clip or black binder clip
G-S Hypo cement, Ebay (optional)

{Directions}

  1. Take your wrist measurement. If you don’t know the circumference of your wrist, take a string, wrap it around until the ends meet and you have a comfortable fit, and measure this length.
  2. Add 3″ to this and cut a piece of stretch cord this length.
  3. Pre-stretch the cord 2-3 times to ensure your bracelet won’t become too big and saggy over time as the cord stretches naturally.
  4. Attach a clip to the end of the cord. This will prevent the studs from slipping off the end.
  5. String your studs. Keep stringing until you have a length of studs that matches your wrist circumference + 1″. For example, my wrist is 6″, so I strung a 7″ length of studs. The extra inch makes the fit comfortable but not too loose and allows for the extra length that’s taken up by the thickness of the stud. (Just trust me here. Add the extra inch!)
  6. Tie off your bracelet with an overhand knot. Don’t tug the ends closed super tight as this will put too much tension on the cord and not allow you to slip it over your hand. To tie an overhand knot, see the video below.
  7. *Optional* Dot knot top and bottom why G-S Hypo cement to seal. DON’T use super glue or something of that nature as this will eat away at the stretch cord over time!
  8. Fin! Enjoy your new pyramid stud bracelet!

<3
Andrea

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Man… I cannot believe it’s Friday already. Wow. I guess that’s not a bad thing but I kinda feel like summer is slipping through my fingers! Anywho, I’m linking up with Lauren from My Grey Desk again! Here’s what made my week exciting:

1. My new love, Revlon Balm Stains!!! Read my review with swatches.
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

2. A tasty Wednesday night tofu recipe the Hubby actually liked!!

3. A brand new necklace I’ve loving in my Etsy shop. Meet my tiny chevron necklace!

4. Picked up a slew of swim separates from Old Navy that will look so cute mixed and matched. Check out their sale going on now!

5. Added the new sharing icons to my blog posts. Aren’t they so cute?!

What are your top 5?

<3
Andrea

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{Photo credit}

My husband is a steak man. So anytime I try to even mention tofu instead of real meat, I get met with resistance. But considering the amount of red meat eaten in my household has gotten out of control as of late, I took matters into my own hands. Scouring AllRecipes.com, I came upon this tofu pesto pasta recipe, which seemed pretty tasty. So, without giving any inclination that we were having the dreaded tofufor dinner, I cooked up our meal and presented it to my hungry husband.

First reaction? “Oooooh.. looks good.”

Two seconds later with squinty eyes (and before tasting it first): “Wait a minute…. this is tofu.”

Defending my lovely meal and arguing that I was not trying to pull a “fast one” by him, I encouraged him to try it. And the result? After his first bite, a sly smile came across his face–a sure fire sign he was sheepishly conceding to defeat. Yes! I had won the tofu battle, and by a landslide no less (He asked for seconds!) Try the winning recipe below!

{Tofu Pesto Pasta}

Ingredients

1/2 to 3/4 box of spiral pasta (tri-color or regular)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups milk
1 (1.2 ounce) package creamy pesto sauce mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (16 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup sliced black olives (optional)
1 tablespoon capers (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 sprig fresh basil

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in spiral pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend 1/4 cup olive oil, milk, and pesto sauce mix.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place tofu in the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Remove from heat, and drain on paper towels.
  4. Place mushrooms into the skillet, and cook about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Mix in the tofu and pesto sauce. Continue cooking until sauce thickens and then serve over the pasta. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and basil.

Enjoy!

<3
Andrea

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Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain Romantic L-R: Smitten, Lovesick, Sweetheart, Cherish, Darling, Honey, RendezvousRevlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain Romantic L-R: Smitten, Lovesick, Sweetheart, Cherish, Darling, Honey, Rendezvous

I love make-up but when it comes to lipstick, I’m lazy. I’ll apply it in the A.M. but that’s about it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. That’s why I LOVE stains. Put it one once in the morning and you’re pretty much good to go. Any they look natural. So when I heard Revlon was coming out with balm stains, I was more than jazzed. And as you can see, I’ve amassed quite the collection! Of the 12 available, I have 8–the 8 that suit me most.

L-R Above:

Romantic
Smitten
Lovesick
Sweetheart
Cherish
Darling
Honey
Rendezvous

From Revlon:: It’s a pampering balm fused with a lightweight lipstain in an adorable chubby crayon. Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain gives softer, smoother lips with a perfect flush of color that lasts hour after hour. The gel formula comes in 12 vibrant shades that match any look or mood

From Me:: So far, I’ve really been enjoying these. They aren’t drying and really do leave a lovely stain. The only complaint I have is that the pink colors can kinda look the same on the lips, especially Lovesick and Sweetheart. AND in my experience, after reapplication, the color will appear deeper than the first application since your lips are already stained. So be aware of this. But all in all, I think these will be something I will use all summer. The pinks really are gorgeous and the red is going to be great for winter or more vampy looks. Rendezvous, the orange, may not be a color that gets as much use since it is ORANGE, but it’ll definitely blend well with a pink gloss or another stain to even it out.

Verdict:: Must buy, but don’t pay the full $7-8 each for these. Wait for them to go on sale in the drugstore and then go crazy, like I did :)

Enjoy the swatches below!

<3
Andrea

 Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain Swatches

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China Glaze Pink VoltageNot to brag, but I have quite the nail polish collection. In fact, I have a whole salon-style rack full, and it holds over 90 polishes. So, yeah… I have a lot to choose from. Which makes the fact that I repeatedly chose this color–Pink Voltage from China Glaze–that much more impressive.

It’s neon pink, which is obvious, but what makes it different is the slight blue duochrome that runs through it. It adds that special pop and shininess that I LOVE. It’s neon but not NEON. It glows but doesn’t GLOW. Does that make sense? Oh, and it makes you look WAY tanner than you actually are. (Pasty girl high-five!)

Anywho, give it a try. Top it off with Seche Vite top coat to make it shine like candy and you’ve got the perfect summer pedi!

 

<3
Andrea

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how to make ranch, best ranch ever

So, I know I’ve built up this recipe with the post title. And the recipe isn’t really Earth-shattering or anything. But seriously, I’ve always felt that bottled grocery store ranch was a little “off.” And this recipe is sooo much better than that bottled stuff. It rivals what’s termed “Restaurant Ranch” in my house. AND, because you’re making it yourself, you can use the ingredients you want (i.e. organic stuff) to make it healthier and less corn-syrup-weird-ingredients-I can’t-pronounce filled. So if you think you can handle having your Ranch world rocked, read on! (And I kid you not. It will rock your world. We actually take this places where we know there will be a need for Ranch. Weird, I know. Apparently we take our food way too seriously.)

{What You Will Need}

Ranch dressing mix (Found in the dressing isle. I’m not sure if you can find this organically in your local organic market but if you can, this recipe can be made 100% organic.)
Mayo
Sour cream (We use Fage yogurt as sour cream in my household. It has less fat/calories, tons more protein, and you can barely tell the difference in taste.)
Milk
Empty container
Funnel
Wisk or silicone spatula (The silicone spatula is ideal for scraping the bowl later. In general, I prefer these spatulas and have quite the collection. I get them at the dollar store. Get one. You’ll love them too.)
Medium size bowl

  1. Gather your supplies
  2. In bowl, add sour cream and mayo according to package directions. I’ve made this so many times now, I just eyeball the amounts I put in. I usually use 8 oz. (1/2 a container) of Fage yogurt and about 1/2 cup of mayo to start. I add more to taste if needed before I add in the milk. Now add in the dressing mix and mix the sour cream, mayo, and dressing mix together.
  3. Now add milk, little by little, until you get a slightly runnier than optimal consistency. The ranch will get thicker when you refrigerate it, which is why I do this.
  4. Use funnel to put ranch into your chosen container. I also use a silicone spatula to scrape the bowl so there is little waste. This stuff is so good, you won’t want to waste ANY.
  5. Refrigerate for 10-20 mins (if you’re impatient like me) and then use. Or you can be proactive and make way before you need to use it, if you’re good like that. Me? Not so much.
  6. Enjoy!!!

So, there yah go. Best Ranch ever. If you’re a Ranch lover, you’ll love this. My husband LOVES ranch and he practically drinks this stuff.

<3
Andrea

P.S. Thanks to Heather from Simply Sjostedt for turning me on to this great alternative. Ranch dressing will never be the same in my household.

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1. First blog post since our Germany return. (Post w/ pics to follow!)

2. Getting a second Etsy e-mail feature! Cannot explain how exciting this is!!!!!!!!!!! (Too many explanations points…?)

Email Feature 2 Blog Graphic Father's Day

3. Discovering a new way to unload some of my un-loved but lovely wardrobe pieces (and shop others’ closets!) through Threadflip! A thrifter’s dream!

4. Finishing The Great Gatsby. I’ve decided to re-read books I was assigned but Sparknote’d and thus half-a$$ read in high school. The verdict: a fun, easy read that was surprisingly funny at parts. Any recommendations on what to read next??

5. A recent obsession with vintage cross-body bags. Say hello to some of my new friends.

vintage coach dooney bourke

Bonus #6: Registering for the Warrior Dash in Windham, NY with some of my family. This race is by far the best mud run!! {Pics from last year below}

Warrior Dash Windham NY 2011

Happy Friday!
<3
Andrea

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Yay. It’s FRIDAY!!! Fortunately this week has zoomed by. Is that a phrase? “Zoomed by”? Eh. Anywhoo, here are my top 5 from this week.

1. FINALLY catching up on Season 2 of The Walking Dead. I’m not a horror movie fan but I LOVE zombie/epidemic movies. Not sure why. They’re just really intriguing to me. And for those of you wondering, no, this has not come out on DVD yet. We, ahem, “acquired” the episodes somehow somewhere on the Internet. ‘Nuff said.

The Walking Dead

2. Making some custom doggies tags for my little ladies on Sunday. They have needed these for weeks and I finally made time to do it. Awesome. See tutorial here.

DIY Personalized Dog Tag How To

3.  Getting to go downtown to First Friday with the hubs tonight. I usually sell jewelry there and this will be my first time as a customer and not a vendor. Woohoo!

First Friday NC May Poster

4. Getting my updated passport with my married name on it in the mail. Phew. Huge weight off my shoulders. I now don’t need to worry about our upcoming trip to Germany in 2 weeks. It’s coming up and I’m soooooo excited!

US Passport

5. My second order of the Zara Basic Sandals in blue & mint fit! So happy. Love these! I was so sad when the first pair fit weird. Luckily, it was a fluke and not the standard for these. Anyone else think Zara’s shoes are inconsistent when it comes to sizing?

I Basic Sandal Zara Mint and Blue

K. That’s it. Happy Friday everyone!

~Andrea

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So, I’ve finally found a way to keep the bottomless pit I call my purse organized!! And, as an added bonus, I can change bags quickly and easily as I rush out the door to get to [insert destination here] on-time. The girls, like me, that are perpetually late will especially appreciate this tip.

It’s my purse organizer. It’s leopard. It has a multitude of pockets. It’s just the right size for medium to larger purses. And, oh, it only cost $10. Ebay comes through again for me!

PURSE ORGANIZER INSERT
{MY PURSE ORGANIZER. MAKING LIFE SIMPLER SINCE 2012}

If you do a search for “purse organizer” on Ebay, you will be hit with copious options, both in size, style, and color. Seriously, get one. It’ll help you brush some dust off those cute bags you hoard but are too lazy to transfer stuff to. C’mon. They need some love too :)

<3
Andrea

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