Thursday, December 27, 2012

What I got for Christmas



Sorry about the lack of posts! I've been sick for going on two months strait now. :\

Here's what I got for Christmas:

A DVD/Blue Ray Player!
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The Big Bang Theory Trivia Game
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Warheads Popsicles
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Super soft puppets from Costco (no picture)

This awesome sweater
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Hinged Bangles in orange and orange/navy (these are the only bangles I've ever had that can actually fit on my small wrist) (No picture, from Target)

Nail Polish (China Glaze, Gothic Lolita)
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Eyeliner (Covergirl Liquiline Blast, Green Glow)
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Disclaimer: None of these pictures are mine! I only used them as a way to share what I got for Christmas. All pictures were found using google image search.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giving Back Without Going Broke

The Music of Life: Giving Back Without Going Broke

I love the Christmas season and I always try to give back to my community during this time. I usually participate in things like angel trees or Operation Christmas Child, but this year I want to try and give back and spend little to no money doing it. So here are some ideas of ways to do it. (Some ideas from familyeducation.com, but mostly, these are mine.)

Donate handmade goods to a charity
There are so many charities that take handmade goods - if you are a crocheter or knitter, check out Seaman's Church Institute, Halos of Hope or Purple Stitch Project, to name a few. You could make stuffed animals or baby hats for a local hospital. You could make a blanket (easy fleece, or hand crocheted), scarves, hats and so much more. Warm clothing drives are common in cold areas. You could also read a children's book on tape to donate to a children's hospital. (This is also a great way to get children to practice reading aloud!)

Donate Your Time
There are many places that I am sure would love volunteers, not just during this time of year, but any time. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters or distribution centers, Christmas plays, crisis pregnancy centers and so much more. Take this time to find a place where you can give back.

Go Caroling
I must warn you, if you carol outside, you will most likely get sick. But it might be worth it to spread some cheer. I went caroling with a group (like, we're all musicians and had a tuning pipe) one year and we definitely got a request to go sing for some guy's birthday. Plus it's fun to get hot cocoa and wander around downtown where all the lights are while being happy and singing Christmas carols. Another (warmer) option is to go to a local senior center and spread your Christmas cheer by singing there.

Make Cookies
For me, this would cost too much money. But for some of y'all, I'm sure you have every cookie ingredient already in your pantry. My family has a neighbor that always passes out cookies this time of year - as a child, we always looked forward to getting her tin. What a cute way to spread some Christmas cheer.

Donate Used Goods to Charity
Many charities are looking for old coats this time of year (which works well with children's coats since they outgrow them so fast). They may also be collecting warm clothing, gently used toys and many other household items. You can also donate to a local non-profit secondhand store to help them raise money for goods. Plus, you get rid of stuff you don't need.

Give Spare Change to Salvation Army
So this costs a little bit, but I'm sure if you search those couch cushions and your glove box, I'm sure you could find something to drop in those red bins. Every little bit helps.

Decorate!
This is more of a way to spread general Christmas cheer - by putting Christmas lights up outside or even just putting a wreath on your door, you are helping to make the season just a little bit more jolly.

Get Rid of Those Old Cans of Food
How on earth did you end up with pickled beets? Canned sweet potatoes? Whatever it is, take some time to pull all the unused (and possibly unusual) cans out of your pantry and give them to someone who could use them. Find a local food bank or food donation center and give them away.

Be Cheery
Smile at people - you'd be surprised how many people (regardless of how grumpy they look) will smile back. Without even saying a word, you just made someone smile! Wishing "Merry Christmas" never hurts either. (Fallacious reasoning, I know. Just go with it.)

Make Christmas Cards
Take some time to make Christmas cards for children at a local hospital, senior centers or soldiers abroad. No matter how simple they may be, you can still bring a smile to someone's face.

Make a Gingerbread House
Okay, so this one costs money too. But, it is so much fun! Back in high school one of the clubs I participated in made gingerbread houses for a local senior home. We had a ton of fun making them, and the seniors just loved having home-made decorations adorn their tables.

Have any more suggestions? Leave me a comment!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Break Bucket List

The Music of Life: Christmas Break Bucket List


Here's what's on my personal Christmas Break Bucket list. Hopefully it will inspire you to make a list on your own!

1. Read! I have so many books I want to catch up on! Here are some books on my list (although I probably won't get to all of them!)
  • Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott CArd
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray
  • Sweet By and By by Sarah Evans
  • Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
  • Mister Monday by Garth Nix
  • Storyteller by Edward Myers
  • Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
  • Every Thing on It by Shel Silverstein
  • No Impact Man by Colin BEavan
  • Sleeping Naked is Green
  • In Between by Jenny Jones
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • The Tortilla Curtain by Boyle
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
  • Twilight Graphic Novel 2 by Stephenie Meyer
  • Love Finds You in Hope, Kansas by Pamela, Griffin
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson
  • A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Fisher
  • Body and Soul by Stacey Kade
  • Extra Virginity (I promise, this book is about olive oil)
Okay, so I probably won't be able to read even a small portion of these. But this list is going with me to my local library and I am going to fill my bookbag.

2. Crochet! I have so many projects I want to make, so little time.
The Music of Life: Christmas Break Bucket ListThe Girlfriend Cowl from Crochet Today's November/December 2012 Issue
The Music of Life: Christmas Break Bucket ListThe Country Music Pig from Crochet Today's January/February 2013 Issue

Just for the Girls Throw from Crochet 1-2-3 (No pic, but it's awesome and pink and purple and soft.)

3. Drink hot cocoa I'm obsessed with hot cocoa. I love it. If I one a million dollars, I'd open my own hot cocoa shop. Plus, my family's coming up for Christmas and it'll be fun to watch the snow (if it ever snows here) and drink hot cocoa.

4. Go to a local coffee shop Another thing I want to do with my family, especially my little sister. If you live in the Flagstaff area, there are two fantastic local ones. Macy's has fantastic hot cocoa, and sometimes they have add designs in their whipped cream. Campus Coffee Bean has fantastic everything - I'm currently in love with their chocolate croissaints. (Which I dare say are better than the ones I had in France.)

5. Try new recipes I have so many recipes I want to try and then share with you all, and I might actually have time to make them all. Coming up next are tomato basil soup and apple cranberry pastries.

6. Go skiing I've only done it once, but I looooved it. And since I live so close to Snowbowl, I figure I better take advantage of that!

7. Watch the pinecone drop Flagtaff has a tradition of dropping a giant pinecone downtown for New Year's Eve. (Who needs a giant glittering ball?) I might freeze my buns off, but I have to do it at least once before I graduate.

That's all I've got - what's on your Christmas Break Bucket List?

Friday, December 7, 2012

College-Kid Advent Wreath

I made this adorable Advent wreath a couple years back. I love Advent and I love celebrating it, but as a college kid living in the dorms, I can't use real candles. I also don't have a lot of money - hence this little, practical Advent wreath.

College Kid Advent Wreath from The Music of Life
Materials Needed:
5 electric tea lights
purple, pink, red and green ribbon
scissors
tape

Directions:
1. Cut ribbons so that they can completely surround the candle. You need three lengths of purple, one of pink, and one each of red and green, longer so you can tie a bow.
2. Tape the ribbons on the candles. If you don't like the look of tape you can also try glue, but the tape holds up pretty well and is almost invisible.
3. You're done! Happy Advent!

College Kid Advent Wreath from musicmicetro.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fashion Copy-Cat 2

Here's another fashion copy-cat for you!

The inspiration comes from this pin, pinned from polyvore.com. You can find this and lots more on my Fashion Pinterest board.

Fashion Copycat from The Music of Life
 
Fashion Copycat from The Music of Life
The whole look
Fashion Copycat from The Music of Life
The top
Fashion Copycat from The Music of Life
The bottom
Fashion Copycat from The Music of Life
The adorable shoes

The breakdown:
Earrings: $6 for a pack of six (so $1, basically) from Walmart
Camisole: $6 at A'Gacci
Shirt: I've had it forever - I think it's been in my closet since I was born. So I have no idea.
Jeans: $30 from Kohls (but worth it!)
Shoes: $12 at Payless (plus it was BOGO, so I saved money on either these or another pair of shoes)
Nail polish: $2 on clearance at Ulta

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekly Summary 3

No new posts this week. Boo. But... I did get a new car! So instead, here are ten reasons I like my new car.

1. Sun visor (my old one looked like Swiss cheese)
2. Defrost and heat that work quickly
3. That awesome blinker clicky sound
4. New car smell
5. A non-disintegrated steering wheel
6. Automatic lock remote
7. I can fit a cup in my cup holder while the car is in park
8. Air conditioning that works
9. Decent sound system (no more cassette tapes!)
10. It's sparkly!

This week's new products:

Anything peach mango is amazing. And now there's peach mango softlips - which is my favorite chapstick. I usually own about four or five so that I always have access to one when I need it. (Chapstick seems to go missing and reappear at the oddest times and places.)

Lion Brand Hometown USA Yarn. Super thick, super soft and warm. (And not made of wool.) I used this to make an awesome mobius strip/infinity scarf, which I will hopefully feature on Friday. I've also used in the past to make this scarf.

Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel. Yum! I had to stay in town for Thanksgiving since I had to work, but I still had a ridiculously fantastic meal. And for only $9 too!

New Etsy Listings
Apparently I can't post any pictures because I've run out of storage... interesting.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Summary 2


This week's blog posts:
Grilled Pepper Onion and Sausage Calzones
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
This week's products that I tried for the first time, and liked enough I would buy again:


This week I was feeling the "yogurt and granola" vibe. And it was a good decision! This is the vanilla yogurt I used (a huge tub!) and boy, was it delicious. Unfortunately, the granola I tried wasn't that great.


Um, yum! This has almost a teriyaki flavor to them. They have a tad bit of spice, but not so much that it bothers me, the wimp of spicy foods.


And lastly, (with no picture, sadly), Fantastic Sam's "Fantastic Ten Style Prep". This is a spray leave-in conditioner that works fantastically! (Like my choice of words? =D) It works as a detangler on semi-wet hair, makes and keeps my hair super soft and has prevented a lot of split ends - normally my split ends would have split ends by now after a hair cut.

New Etsy Listings:



Also, sorry for the lack of posting lately! I apparently have bronchitis... so I've been trying to get healthy. =) Have a great Thanksgiving week!




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

I picked this book up at Walmart from their "bargain books" bin. I read it in almost a day, thanks to the fact that my ride from Phoenix to Flagstaff had to clean her car (or something like that). I basically ended up in a random car place in Phoenix that had two benches and a TV playing a Spanish soap opera. It was an amazing book! Turns out it is a sequel (to the book Wings), but it was still fantastic. I've already ordered the prequel, Wings, and sequel, Illusions, to this book on Amazon. Here's to hoping they get here soon!

*Spoilers, for those who haven't read Wings*

This book is about a girl who struggles to balance her life in the fairy world and the human world. She grew up adopted by humans and only recently discovered that she is a fairy. She must train to protect her family (and the fairies as well) from the trolls.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grilled Pepper, Onion and Sausage Calzones

So I made this recipe back in August, but I haven't had a chance to share it with you. My parents got me a George Foreman grill for my birthday, and this was a great way to use it.

The original recipe is from myrecipes.com.

Grilled Pepper, Onion and Sausage Calzones
Homemade Pizza Dough
Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 cups flour

Directions:
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand five minutes. In another bowl combine cold water, oil, sugar and salt.
2. Combine yeast water, cold water mixture and 5 1/4 flour in large mixing bowl. Mix with hands or on low with a stand mixer until dough begins to form. Knead bread until "smooth and elastic", or about two minutes. Add last 1/4 of flour to dough as you are kneading it to prevent it from sticking.
3. Divide dough in half and place in ziploc bag or tupperware. Seal and chill overnight up to two days.

Calzones
Ingredients:
Homemade pizza dough
1 sweet onion
2 bell peppers
1 pound Italian sausage links
1 can pizza sauce
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1.Remove pizza dough from fridge and let stand at room temperature for an hour.
2. Warm up grill.
3. Cut onions into flat slices and bell peppers into eights or so. Grill vegetables until browned.
4. Grill sausages about eight minutes or until done, making sure they are brown on all sides.
5. Cut onions into smaller slices (two inch long strips) and cut bell peppers into half-inch strips. Cut sausages into diagonal slices.
6. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Divide each ball of dough into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9x5 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread pizza sauce on rectangle; add sausage over half of rectangle. Top with onions and bell peppers and then about 1/3 cup cheese. Fold dough over, press edges together to seal. (You need less ingredients than you think!)
8. Put the calzones on a cookie sheet. Coat them with cooking spray (or brush them with oil). Bake for fifteen minutes.
9. Wait until they are cool and then enjoy! These can also be frozen for later snacks.

Ooey Gooey Deliciousness



Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Summary

Here's where I would like to sum up my week in blog posts - but unfortunately, I didn't post at all this week! Instead, I worked, traveled to Phoenix to observe a classroom, recorded a CD with NAU's choir and got sick. Bleh.

This week's products that I tried for the first time, and liked enough that I would buy them again.

I was headed to an event and didn't have much time to prepare, so I spent five bucks on a 2 pound bag of sliced apples and then grabbed some caramel to dip them in. I got sick and didn't end up going to the event, but I loved the convenience of having a health snack readily available. They were delicious, just sweet enough and crisp, and convenient. Although they did cost five dollars, I would definitely buy this again.

Okay, so I really bought these earlier than this week, but I loved them! I've been trying to make healthier choices when eating, and these live up to my standards. They're super sweet and don't taste like cardboard like other products might. I'm starting to fall in love with Sunbelt Bakery's products.

Another great granola bar - this time with protein! This is a great way to start the day, since the protein prevents you from getting hungry too soon. Plus, it's sweet and almost like a candy bar


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sippin' Saturday

Happy sippin' Saturday! Here are a couple of new drinks I've tried and enjoyed.

Sweet tea - this stuff is amazing! I went through two gallons of it in like a week. Oops.

Peace Tea, Sweet Lemon Tea - I've had so many of these. They have the perfect balance of sweetness, tea and lemon. I've also tried the raspberry Peace Tea, which was pretty good, but not my favorite flavor, and the green tea Peace Tea, which wasn't sweet enough for me. (But I like sugar a lot, so don't not try it just because of me)

Zeigler's Autumn Harvest Apple Cider - Yum! What a perfect autumn drink.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Homeade Rosaries

A couple of weeks ago, while deciding what to make as gifts for my family and friends, I pondered upon the idea of making a rosary. I loved the idea - making them is almost as soothing as praying them. I originally got my inspiration from about.com, since I had no idea where to start. Here's how I've made them.

Materials needed:
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Crucifix
Rosary center piece (available cheap online)
Eye pins
53 Smooth beads
6 slightly larger or different colored accent beads


Here's the basic directions.
Place your bead on the eye-pin.

Use the wire cutters to cut excess wire off of the eye-pin about a centimeter away from your bead. This will get easier to eyeball as you go.

Use your needle nose pliers to create a loop at the top of the bead. Simply use the pliers to pinch the top and then roll them down - the pliers will do the shaping for you.

Make sure not to close the loop yet.

Attach the current beads to your previous bead. Use your pliers to close the loop

Continue in this fashion until you are done

The order for your beads is: Crucifix, one large bead, three small beads, one large bead, rosary center, ten small beads, one large bead, ten small beads, one large bead, ten small beads, one large bead, ten small beads, one large bead, ten small beads. You then want to connect the last of the ten small beads onto the rosary center by opening the eye-pin with your pliers. Then you should have a complete rosary.

Here are pictures of finished rosaries. All should be listed in my etsy shop within the week.


This is a St. Patrick rosary I made for a friend. Green beads, Celtic crucifix, St. Patrick center

This one is made with glass pearls

Linked up at





Friday, November 2, 2012

Fashion Copy-Cat

I have a habit of pinning a lot of stuff on Pinterest. So I'm trying to make it useful. And hence - fashion copy cats. This copy cat comes from this pin:

From my Fashion Pinterest board.

Here's my version (pardon the angle, it's hard to take pictures of myself!):


The breakdown:
Jeans, $30 Kohls (The most I've ever paid, but worth it!)
Camisole, $7 JcPennys
Tank top, $7.50 Rue 21
Camisole, $10 JcPennys
Scarf, $14 JcPennys
Shoes, ?? at Payless (I used to have a discount)


I figured it'd be fun to use a patterned top instead of a plain white top. Plus that meant I got to wear a tank top in the fall. =) Oh, and everything above was already in my closet, I just wanted to experiment with making different fashion combinations. The only accessory used above was a lime green bracelet, which I don't own, so I used my own accessories:

Pearl earrings!

Cute peacock ring (also, candy corn nails!)

Linked at




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