Chevron Inspired Nails DIY

I’m not much for painting my fingernails, but it is a rare occasion when I don’t have some kind of color on my toenails.  During the summer its fun to spice things up and  add some designs and multiple colors to my nails.  Here is an easy tutorial I made after being inspired by this painting.  The design could work for both your fingers and toesies.
All you need is: clippers~nail polish remover~3-5 nail polishes in contrasting or complimentary colors~base coat~top clear coat
Below are some different color combinations I put together to inspire your creativity!
1) Remove existing nail polish and trim nails to preferred length, err on the longer side for more room to paint. 2) Paint base coat on all toes.  3) Let dry. 4) Choose 1 of the nail polishes to be your base, paint on a coat. 5) Let dry and repeat. I chose to use the lightest color as the base for my chevron design.
 6) After the base color is dry, start from the bottom corner of your big toenail (or fingernail) and paint diagonally upward toward the center edge of your toenail.  7) Repeat on other half of your nail.
 8) Repeat on the rest of your nails.  Note: Depending on the quality/color of your polish you may have do 2 coats per layer.  
 9) Repeat steps 7&8 with your third color, moving  about 2/3 of the way up your nail.  10) If you have more than 3 colors continue the process, leaving less space between the colors. 11) Once completely dry, finish with the top clear coat.

DIY Decorative Cork Ball Tutorial

Since Randy and I got married (1 year ago)  I have been trying to save our wine corks.  Let’s just say its been a slow process, I had collected about 6 corks the entire year. We really don’t have wine that often and half of that time we end up with those new screw cap wine bottles.   While shopping at Whole Foods last weekend Randy spotted a cork recycling center.  When he spotted it he knew I would be excited!! We asked the manager if we could have some of them and we ended up coming home with a gallon size bag of corks.  I mulled over the different ideas I had, a corkboard, a cork bath mat, coasters…but instead I decided it would be fun to make more of a decorative accent piece with the corks. After some research it led me to the idea of making a ‘cork ball’.  I brainstormed how I would make it for a while and have now written it out step-by-step!  Originally I had hoped to have enough corks to do at least 3 balls to stagger in the corner of our living room but I greatly underestimated how many corks it would take to make one ball.
What you will need: 5″ strofoam ball~ Brown spray paint (or any neutral dark color)~Glue gun and extra glue sticks~1/8″ silk ribbon (I used dark brown to match our dining room)~110-130 corks/5″ ball
1) Spray an even coat of spray paint over the styrofoam ball and let dry for 1-2 hours.  This step will help the glue to adhere better and make any empty space between the corks less noticable. 
2) After the paint is dry, heat glue gun up. 3) Line up corks. I organized the corks with the sides I wanted to glue going in the same direction so I wouldn’t have to check each cork as I went.  I looked for wine stains and/or corkscrew holes that I could hide as the base.
 4) Spread about a dime size amount of hot glue on the ugly end of the cork, spread it out and stick the cork to the styrofoam.  5) Press and hold firmly until dry
6) Repeat steps 5&6 moving outward from the initial cork until your entire ball is filled. 7) Wrap a string around the entire ball, weaving around the corks as needed and secure with a tight knot, as close to the styrofoam as possible.  8) Hang and enjoy!
 Tips: A) As you can see there are some spaces in between the corks, I did that because I wasn’t sure if I had enough corks to cover the entire space.  An easy remedy to that was painting the styrofoam a dark color to offset those spaces.  If you have 130+ corks this empty space wont be an issue. B) If you don’t have as many corks, another stylish look could be to paint two base coats of paint on the styrofoam ball that would match the other decor in your room.  Make the spaces between the corks more methodical.  This would make the spaces in between the corks  stand out with the accenting color. C) If the large quantity of corks is intimidating, you can downsize to a 2″ or 3″ styrofoam ball. 

Homemade Almond Milk

Due to milk allergies for me, and both Randy’s and my recent decision to follow a mostly plant based diet, cutting out 95%+ of our dairy , I am researching some healthy and delicious alternatives to our favorite fats.  One staple I always have in my fridge (and have used even before I cut out dairy) is almond milk.  It is great in smoothies, and works great in  many sweet and savory dishes.  We normally buy our almond milk at the health food store but even that has many added ingredients and chemicals to help with flavor and preservation that I would rather us not have.  I decided to experiment and make my own almond milk.  I made it in 3 flavors: vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate. Recipe yields 3-4 cups depending on the quality of your blender. Adapted from here.
Ingredients for vanilla: 1 cup of RAW almonds~4 cups of water~1/2 tsp vanilla~1-2 tbs maple syrup
For strawberry: add  1 extra tbs maple syrup and 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed) For Chocolate: add 2 tbs cocoa powder and 2 extra tbs maple syrup                                         1) Rinse and then soak almonds in about 4 cups of water overnight 2) When they are done soaking, drain remaining almond water into measuring cup and add additional water to reach 4 cups  3) Blend water and soaked almonds in high speed blender for 2-4 minutes or until ingredients are well combined 4) Add additional ingredients and pulse until ingredients are thoroughly mixed 5) Taste and make sure the milk is sweet enough for your liking 5) Run mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth to sift out the grit 6) Store in sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days  6) Sip and enjoy                                                  Note: For use in savory cooking use the basic vanilla recipe but omit vanilla, & maple syrup, and add  a 1/2 tsp salt.
My favorite way to have almond milk is in coffee.  My recent kick has been iced coffee, 1/3 almond milk, 2/3 coffee, extra strong coffee cubes, & a tbs of maple syrup.  I have also been experimenting with it in some pasta dishes and I can’t even tell the difference.