DIY: Wedding by Pinterest

As seen in our February issue…

Gifts for the bride and groom don’t need to be off a registry—lots of crafty girls are using sites like Pinterest to get unique ideas for wedding presents!

Pinterest boards can be sources of inspiration when you’re not sure what to get the couple who has everything. Try scrolling through tagged boards of wedding crafts the newlyweds are sure to love and will make them smile (and takes the stress off searching through tons of stores for that special present!).

These homemade gifts are extra-thoughtful and aren’t very difficult to make. Take a look at our February issue for several cool ideas straight from Pinterest that won’t break the bank or look like everything else on the gift table!

For more cool pins, ideas, and DIYs, check out Bella’s very own boards on Pinterest!

DIY: Easy Interior Decorating

Change is good – whether it’s getting a new hairdo, starting a new job, or renovating your lovely home.

Speaking of your home, redecorating has never been easier thanks to FrogTape! FrogTape painter tape’s premium performance helps you try fresh, cool looks – chevron, accent walls, stand-up stripes, etc. – the EASY way, keeping lines sharp. FrogTape is the only painter’s tape treated with PaintBlock Technology – an exclusive technology (with super absorbent polymer) that gels to the surface, helping you achieve clean paint lines and saves time (and money!) by eliminating the need for touch ups.

How perfect!

 

 

Tea Bag Treatment

Everyone loves their beauty sleep. But sometimes, no matter how long you rest, or how well you sleep, you wake up with dark, puffy (even swollen) circles under your eyes.

Dark circles are very common. They are due to leaky capillaries – small blood vessels, surrounding the eye, that break and then nest under the skin under your eyes. Yes, it’s harmless, but it can make you look aged and feel insecure, affecting your mood and self-esteem.

So, here’s a quick DIY to get your face back to beautiful.  A very popular (and effective!) method is the tea bag treatment. Grab tea bags with lots of caffeine, as well as antioxidants – the caffeine removes excessive moisture, and the antioxidants soothe the skin. (Green or black tea are good choices to roll with.)

Use the tea bags for your tea, then place them in plastic bags and refrigerate them overnight. You want the tea bags very cool when you use them. Cooler temperature reduces redness and puffiness. Lie down comfortably, and place the tea bags over your eyes.

Make sure they are covering the affected areas under your eyes. Leave them on your eyes for about 15 minutes. Repeat as often as you wish – or until you see results. Remember to swap out used tea bags for fresh ones.

Good way to feel beautiful and refreshed – and use your tea for something other than as your beverage!

 

Summer Cookout: Sultry Sides

Whether it’s hot dogs, chicken, or hamburgers, nothing is better that an entrée done right over a flame. Everyone has the entrees down, but what is there to do about the sides? Of course there are always the classics of potato salad and baked beans, but every now and then don’t you want to switch it up?

The first side to try is a twist on a classic: grilled corn. You’re going to want to remove the silk, but keep the husk and soak in cold water for ten minutes before grilling. Once you’ve done this, lay the corn on a piece of aluminum foil and spread a thin layer of butter over the ear(s). Then sprinkle the ear(s) with a little pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Wrap the corn tightly and lay on the grill and cook for ten minutes or until soft.

This next item is sure to have your mouth watering for more. Get a few sweet potatoes and slice them like French fries as thick or as thin as you like. Place the wedges on aluminum foil and sprinkle with paprika, lemon juice, salt, and a dash of pepper then coat with a tiny amount of olive oil. Wrap the foil around the wedges and make sure it is securely sealed at the top and place on the grill. Let these cook for about ten or fifteen minutes, let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.

You know of grilled vegetables, but a well-kept secret is grilled fruit. Take a wooden spear and soak it in water for about thirty minutes. Chop up fruit like apples, mangos, pineapple, oranges (with peel still attached to side that will touch the grill), and cranberries that will make this treat even more delicious. Place the fruit pieces on the spear according to personal preference and grill for seven to ten minutes each spear.

These quick and easy sides make even the most cliché grilled dinner full of life. Adding semi-sweet touches to your favorite grilling classics can send your taste buds soaring and wanting more.

 

Veggies, Vitamins & Kids

There is no denying that most kids cringe at the mention of anything healthy. Since this is often the case, it is difficult to find the necessary balance between pleasing kids and giving them a healthy diet at the same time. Below are some tips to get your tot on the right track:

1)  Appearance, appearance, appearance!

Make fruits and veggies look fun. Every now and then it’s okay to play with food and if kids can have fun with it, then they’re more likely to want to eat it.

2)  Let them help.

“Mommy’s little helper” is a merit badge of awesome for kids. If they have a part in making the meal, then they will be excited to eat it.

3)  Show ‘em how to shop.

Kids like to feel independent; show your children fruits and veggies and let them pick the ones they that the think are “cool.” This way, it won’t be as much of a struggle when the food is on the plate.

4)  Make it easy.

One reason junk food is so popular is because it’s quick and kids can grab it easily in their downtime or between activities. Simple changes like making healthy fruit smoothies and having them ready and accessible can drastically improve kids’ diets. Also, small vegetables (like mini carrots) that have been pre-portioned are great for a kid on the go.

5)  Don’t make junk food an option.

The occasional Oreo is okay, but leaving cookies, chips, and other unhealthy foods around conditions kids’ pallets to crave that type of food. By feeding kids healthy things from the start and limiting the amount of junk food that they’re allowed will help them become familiar with healthier foods, thus training their pallets to crave what’s good for them.

Is Organic Food Really Better for You?

As women we are constantly looking for ways to boost our health and the health of our loved ones. A recent trend is the demand for organic foods, especially produce. But does organic actually mean healthier? And is the product worth the price?

The difference in organic versus non-organic foods is simply the methods in which they are grown. Organic farmers use fewer pesticides, and those that are used are naturally occurring.

While many non-organic farmers use growth stimulants and hormones, organic farmers are closely watched and must be given certification to farm according to USDA organic standards which does not allow artificial hormones. The products are more expensive because farmers go through various assortments of certifications, guidelines, and natural methods to produce a back-to-basics product. Sounds great, right?

Make sure to be careful when buying organically. Check for spots and holes on produce because sometimes the lack of pesticides means small creatures burrow into the product.

Also, be mindful that USDA organic does not mean 100% organic; it just means that at least 95% of the product came from organic methods, and that 5% can make a big difference on some items. Unless the product is considered USDA organic or 100% organic, chances are only 70% of the original material is organic. Be mindful that organic foods do not have synthetic preservatives and thus can go bad quicker.

Basically, organic foods do have their benefits and can be much safer than synthetically produced items. However, just like with any trend, there are many foods made to look organically produced that aren’t and there are some organic foods that are produced using the same methods as the one without the sticker.

Remember to shop smart and know your facts before being lured by the organic kick!

 

Sip in Style

Hand-painted wine glasses are the trendy DIY project this season and are perfect gifts for any occasion including birthdays, bridal showers, and many other holidays.

All you need are small bottles of acrylic paint, small to medium paint brushes, a plain wine glass, and an index card.  I recommend purchasing quality wine glasses because dollar-glasses tend to break even if you’re not the Hulk, and you certainly wouldn’t want to break your work of art!

Before you begin, draw the design on the index card or print out a design from your computer.  This trick is especially handy for names.

Directions:

1)  Ensure that your glass is clean and dry.

2)  Tape the index card with your design to the inside of the glass.

3)  Load your brush and begin painting the glass, carefully tracing over your design.  (Practice using your paintbrushes on a spare sheet of paper to see the full range of strokes.)

4)  Allow the glass to dry for 1 hour.

5)  Place the glass in a COLD oven, and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The bake time is 30 minutes, but remember to add the preheat time into the bake time.  Leave the glass in the oven until it’s completely cool.

6)  Voila!  A customized, hand-painted, unique work of art.

For simple designs, polka-dots are versatile (not to mention easy), swirls are always stylish and animal prints are chic.  Complex designs such as flowers and animals can be tricky, so practice on paper before painting the glass.  Note that acrylic paint dries quickly but it’s forgiving when wet, so if you make a mistake, have damp paper towels or Q-tips on hand for a quick clean-up.  Don’t forget to decorate the stem!  If you don’t want to paint it, a pretty ribbon quickly adds that final, feminine touch.

Of course, this DIY project isn’t limited to wineglasses!  Try painting margarita glasses, stemless wine glasses, and martini glasses.

 

Home Grown Herbs

While vegetables are the most popular container plants and flowers the prettiest (although not as useful), herb gardens can be both beautiful and delicious.

When deciding which plants you’d like in your herb garden, look first at the herbs you know and use the most (perhaps the most empty jar in your spice rack), but don’t limit yourself to that. You can look up herbs online (try Annette’s Herb Garden) and see which are most commonly used or simply go to your local nursery and pick out the ones that smell the best.

Here five of the most popular uses and some gardening tips (in order of my favorite to least favorite):

Rosemary – First, it’s delicious. It also dried wonderfully and can be used indoors. If you plant this herb, consider harvesting an entire stem at one time, freezing it, and using it as a skewer later.

Basil – Also, delicious. There are many varieties of basil so it is very customizable, but make sure to break off a leaf and smell it before you buy it. This herb likes a lot of water, but be careful because it can mildew.

Mint – My parents’ favorite use for mint is in a mojito, but we use it in several other things as well (probably because of, again, the bush). Be careful about controlling your mint. You can also pinch the buds off to keep it from cross-pollinating.

Thyme – This herb is great because it requires minimal watering and can grow little, purple flowers. However, it tends to get “woody” and may have to be replaced every couple of years.

Sage – Also needs to be replaced (usually every three years), but dries easily. It does, however require a lot of maintenance to keep it from getting “woody” too soon.

Of this list, thyme tends to be the least used (such a shame considering the wealth of puns it opens itself up to, of which I am resisting). If you’re thinking about planting thyme or even have thyme in your garden, but lack ideas, check out Home Cooking.

Lastly, here are just a few tips to maintaining a happy, healthy, herb garden:

Herbs need full sun, but don’t like to be cooked. Use good quality soil so the plants can drain properly. Go easy on the fertilizer or don’t bother with it at all. And finally, don’t be afraid to harvest a lot at once. The herbs are truly happier this way and you deserve to reap what you sow!

 

The regional magazine for women