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‘e. claire’

Singing the praises of Stitch Fix

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Oh wow. My first blog post in six months. Clearly I don’t have much (any) free time these days. As the kids get older I am hopeful to find more time for my crafty passions. Until then, I wanted to share with you a discovery that is absolutely worth taking the time to discuss.

Recently, I complimented my friend, Kate, on her sense of style. She’s one of those girls who always seems so put together. I am quite the opposite. I have no time to shop. None. I feel like I have a handful of outfits that I recycle each week; none of which I’m really crazy about. So when she told me that she had a personal stylist, and that I could too, I was all ears.

Enter the world of Stitch Fix. It’s free to sign up and create your style profile. This is how your stylist gets to know you; your sizes, likes, dislikes, lifestyle, favorite colors, patterns you’d prefer to stay away from, etc. You can even create a specific board on Pinterest and link it to your style profile. Then as you spend time on Pinterest, just pin things to your Stitch Fix board and your stylist will better know what to send to you. (Finally, all that pinning has a purpose!)

Here’s how it works:

A “fix” consists of five items shipped to your door. You can sign up for just a single fix – to see what all the fuss is about – or you can sign up for regularly scheduled fixes. You can customize each fix so your stylist knows what you need, and what you don’t. For example, I requested no accessories, short dresses or coats. I asked her to send jeans, tops and sweaters.

There is a $20 fee for each fix. If you decide not to keep any of the pieces, Stitch Fix keeps your $20. If you decide to keep any of the items, the $20 is applied to the purchase. If you decide to keep all five items, you get 25% off of everything.

And the best part is you can identify your budget, so your stylist knows not to send items out of your preferred price range. How great is that?? No more falling in love with something on the rack only to be in sticker shock when you look at the pricetag.

So, all that being said…I got my first fix last night!

Let me just say that my stylist NAILED it. She sent me two pairs of jeans that I absolutely LOVE and three really cute tops.

She also included style cards that show several ways to wear each piece and how to pull them together to make different outfits.

Y’all, I didn’t have to go shopping. I didn’t have to fight traffic or deal with parking or tote around one (or both) kids. The shopping experience came to me and all I had to do was open a box. Amazing. Needless to say, I am completely thrilled with the experience. I’ve signed up for monthly fixes and I’m really excited to see what she sends me next month!

If you’re like me and need the shopping experience to come to you, you’ve got to check out Stitch Fix.

Okay, disclaimer: If you use my referral link I’ll get a credit toward future fixes. So, click here to make us both very happy!

DIY: facial treatments

Monday, February 18th, 2013

I’m really excited to have a guest blogger this week! Michelle Pino works at Skana spa in New York and has some really awesome DIY spa treatments that we all can make at home to feel a sense of luxury for a fraction of the cost. Who doesn’t love that?? Check it out!

DIY Facial Treatments: All Natural Ingredients For All Skin Types
By Michelle Pino

DIY, or do-it-yourself, has been very popular recently from plumbing to remodeling the kitchen. Cosmetic products have not been left behind in the trend. Facials, face and body scrubs, even shampoos and conditioners have gotten in on the DIY bandwagon. However, there is one important difference in DIY cosmetics.

Unlike plumbing or construction, DIY cosmetics do much more than just save money. The ingredients in homemade cosmetics are pure, and the user of the cosmetics can rest assured that they are safe to use.  Additionally, modern food and drug research points to the fact that certain fruits, vegetables and other natural products can benefit the skin from the outside as well as from within.

This is not to say it is OK to scrimp on the fruits and veggies we put inside our bodies. The benefits of applying vitamins and minerals topically are not the same as consuming them. Do both! Eat your fruits and veggies and wear them too. The key is in knowing which products are right for the skin you are in. Below are recipes for DIY facial cosmetics for dry or oily skin.

DIY Facial for Dry Skin
Avocados contain vitamin E and natural oils, making them great for  moisturizing. Combined with yogurt, this DIY face treatment will both soften and exfoliate, or help slough off dead skin cells that can dull the complexion.

Ingredients for Avocado-Yogurt Moisturizing Facial Mask:
1 ripe avocado
4 TBS plain yogurt

Method:
Peel and seed the avocado. Put into a blender and add the plain yogurt. Blend until smooth. Avoiding the eye area, apply the mask and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.



DIY Facial Mask for Oily Skin
An astringent is an agent that shrinks body tissue. Honey, a natural astringent along with green apple, another astringent,  makes a great facial mask for oily skin. However, you should only use a facial mask for oily skin once or twice monthly. Oily skin needs exfoliating too. Adding nutmeg will accomplish this.

Ingredients for Honey & Green Apple Facial Mask
-1 TBS honey
-1 tsp nutmeg
-2 TBS grated green apple

Method:
Peel, seed and grate the apple. Put the apple and the other ingredients in a blender. Blend the mixture well. Apply and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.


Michelle Pino wrote this article. Michelle currently works at Skana Spa at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, where she learns tips and tricks to share. Michelle enjoys writing, cooking, crafting and blogging of course!

e.Claire’s Super Delicious Juice Recipe

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I work full-time, I have a nine month old who is everywhere at all times, and I’m six months pregnant with baby #2, due in the Spring. So yea, life is a nonstop, blurry race to the end of each day. While I don’t have much spare time these days to explore crafty projects, I have been keeping my DIY lovin’ spirit content by making all of my son’s food (more on that later) trying new recipes (gotta love a crock pot!) and by perfecting my juice recipe.

I got a juicer for my birthday last year and I quickly became addicted to trying new fruit and vegetable juices. I’ve tried countless recipes and I think I’ve perfected what I’m calling the best recipe of them all. Bold, I know. But I stand by my claim. This stuff is pure GOLD.

On the weekends, I hit the farmer’s market and stock up  so I can make a big batch that we live off of for a few days. While I wash everything thoroughly, I’m very mindful of the fact that it’s not meant to have a shelf life, so I try to drink it within 3-4 days. I juice complimentary items together and reserve the pulp to make carrot cake, baby food and pasta sauce.

Okay, so here’s the recipe and some additions/substitutions. Let me know what you think!

e.Claire’s Super Delicious Juice Recipe
Makes about a gallon

1 five lb. bag of carrots, peeled
1 small head of celery*
4 organic red apples, cored and sliced
4 organic green apples, cored and sliced
3-4 pears, cored and sliced
3 oranges or 6 tangerines, peeled
2 bags of organic spinach
2 cucumbers, chopped (lots of nutrients in the skin, so don’t peel these)
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 lemon, peeled
1 quart of blueberries
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

*Celery has a really strong flavor, which I don’t mind, but you might want to start with 1/2 half a head and go from there.

Seasonal additions:

In the winter, I’ll toss some sliced beets or beet greens into the mix, which I LOVE and are so amazingly good for you, but they totally, totally dominate the flavor so be conservative at first.

In the summer, I’ll add a few peaches to the recipe…but it could be argued that fresh summer peaches are meant to enjoy all by their delicious selves. So, I only juice them if I have an abundance on hand.

Just make sure to wash everything really well. I also core, seed and slice everything so as not to overwork my juicer. Shake or stir before pouring each glass as it will settle and separate in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

DIY: arm candy and a BIG announcement!

Monday, August 20th, 2012

I had some girlfriends over for dinner last week and when my friend, Kristen, arrived I noticed she was wearing the cutest little collection of bracelets. Some were braided and some were beaded…they were a perfect assortment. I pretty much spent the evening coveting her arm candy.

I hardly ever wear bracelets because I have the teeny tiniest of wrists. Before buying anything, I have to make sure I can make some adjustments to shorten the clasp, remove some beads, etc. It’s just too much work to justify the expense, so typically my wrists are naked. And a little sad.

After having fun making the karma bracelets recently, I decided to dig out my supplies and see if I could make any magic. I have a ton of beads and stones, twine and clasps…so why not try to turn them into something?

You know what happened? I fell in love! It’s like I tapped into a passion I didn’t even know I had. I got into such a rhythm that I was making several bracelets in one sitting. Here are a few photos:

I decided to do something that, looking back, seems WAY overdue….and I’m super excited to announce that I’ve opened up my very own Etsy shop! Yep, eClaireCreationsShop is open for business!!

I’m totally addicted to making these little bracelets, and I’m starting to explore other types of jewelry, too. I’ll also be adding some knitted hats & scarves, decoupage projects, wine cork crafts, etc. so I hope you’ll stop by often to see what new little gems are available!


DIY: our little man cave

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Okay, here it is…Tiny T’s little man cave! I’m so happy with how it all came together. At least once a day, I find myself sitting in the rocking chair admiring all of our handiwork and envisioning our little guy sleeping in his crib or picking a book to read with his mom and dad. It’s just such a sweet place to be. I can’t wait to bring him home and enjoy the feeling of true completeness.

A field trip to the antique market!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Remember my mention of the to-do list that keeps growing? Well, one of the items at the top of that list is a dining room table. We really want to find a rustic farmhouse style table. There certainly are a lot to choose from at places like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, etc and they are all lovely, but we want to find something with a little bit of individuality. Perhaps an actual antique.

Not too long ago, I took a trip to Scott Antique Market and was blown away. It was my first trip and while I had heard stories of how cool it was, I really wasn’t expecting to be so charmed by the place. It is the world’s largest indoor antique show. It comes to Atlanta once a month and is a mecca for anything and everything you could imagine; antiques, art, pottery, silver, rugs, vintage clothing, collectibles, accessories, jewelry, etc. You could easily wander around the place all day long. I did. And I plan on going back next month. Perhaps I’ll find our dining room table there. I’ll keep you posted for sure.

Here are some random images from my recent trip:

I'm still kicking myself for not buying the orange one...

...proof that you really can find anything and everything!

I loved these refurbished tables!

more along the lines of what we're looking for...

I love these antique desks!

I really liked these free standing cabinets, too. Perfect for a kitchen island!

coolest floor lamps, ever.

 Take a look at all the neat uses for old coffeebean bags!

messenger bag

bar stools

ottoman - how cute?

Market dates are the second weekend of every month. I’m going in June to continue the hunt for our dining room table. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Our wedding photos (finally!)

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I can’t believe it’s been more than three months since the wedding. It went by in a flash. All the more reason we are grateful for our photographer, Heidi Geldhauser with Our Labor of Love.  She captured the entire experience and we will forever have breathtaking photos to memorialize our special day.

I know I’m long overdue posting proper photos and details of our wedding day, especially since I documented every single bit of the planning process and the prep work involved. Well, I was waiting for a very special reason. Style Me Pretty, one of my favorite wedding blogs, decided to do a cover feature on us!

So here it is, our wedding day, in all of its sweetness.

Style Me Pretty: Georgia Lake Wedding by Our Labor of Love

I won’t lie; I’ve looked at it pretty much all afternoon.

And here are some of my personal favorites.

Words can’t express how proud we are. We pulled it off! Our vision became a reality and we were able to share it with our most beloved friends and family. It will undoubtedly remain one of the best days of our lives!

Pottery class: learning the wheel

Friday, January 7th, 2011

My oh my. I can’t believe that I am this excited after just one lesson. I will say that pottery on the wheel is really challenging; you have to use a lot of upper body strength and be forceful with the clay, but you also have to be really gentle. It will surely take me a while to figure out the balance of it, and learn my own techniques, but already, it is totally awesome.  I can’t wait to go back to MudFire for more instruction!

Really quick, let me just say how adorable the studio is. I walked in last night and was instantly charmed. Artists were scattered around the room working on their individual projects, but engaged in friendly conversation with each other. Music was playing and there was a little lounge area and big potted plants sprinkled around. Shelves showcasing pieces of work, in all shapes and sizes, reached all the way to the ceiling.  It was warm and cozy and inviting. This place truly is a community.

My wide eyes must have alerted the staff that I was a newcomer, so I was greeted pretty quickly and assisted with the initial paperwork and then I met my instructor, Stephanie. She looked about my age but told me she had been a member of MudFire for 5 years, so I knew I was in good hands.

We went over the basics; the wheel, the tools (my good friend, Kathy gave me pottery tools as a birthday gift, so I came prepared!) and then I was given my very own 25 lb bag of clay. Wow.

She sat at the wheel and demonstrated a few key techniques…a big part of learning how to throw pottery is learning how YOU best fit the wheel, the way YOUR hands are most comfortable handling the clay, and really just getting a feel for it. She had me work with my eyes closed at times so I could really recognize the feeling I was looking for. It was SO cool.

There were moments when I felt I really wasn’t getting it, but she talked me thru it and let me find my way. And you know what? I made three bowls!! Okay, okay… she pretty much made the first one, but the other two were all me! They might be a little lopsided, but I think they are precious. I even got a nod of approval from a girl sitting nearby, “That’s your first bowl, ever? Wow.”

That totally made my night.

They have to sit for a few days to dry before I can go back in and trim them, which I plan to do next week. And, while I’m there I’ll practice throwing some more…I have a massive bag of clay to get thru!

Here are some shots from last night:

my clay!

Stephanie working the wheel

my first pot!!

e.Claire's creations!

I have a long way to go. But already, I’m intrigued and inspired and just can’t wait to get back into the studio. Stay tuned!

Forming resolutions. Finding inspiration.

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Happy New Year, everybody!

As a kid, I tried to imagine what the future would be like. I always assumed that by the year 2011 there would be flying cars in every driveway and robots in every home. I’m sure there are plenty of engineers and researchers working to develop both…all in good time, I guess.

Personally, I’m working on developing some inspiration for myself. With the wedding three full months behind us and with the busy holiday season also a happy memory, I’m looking ahead and I’m eager to see what 2011 will mean for me.

I want it to be a year of discovery. I want it to be a year of growth. I want to learn anything and everything that I can. But, I’ve been having a hard time finding some direction. As a student, I am very curious to see if I can master something; if I can learn a skill. But often, once I’ve mastered the skill, I find myself looking for another challenge…which means I guess I haven’t yet found ‘my thing’; the one craft that challenges me to really dive in and explore.

So, in the New Year, I’m determined to find my niche. And I’m getting started right away. I received a membership to a local pottery studio for my birthday from my amazingly thoughtful and supportive husband.

Located in Decatur, MudFire Studios is a pretty unique concept. Rather than signing up for a series of classes, your membership is an all-access pass to all of the tools, equipment, glazes, firings, and lessons!

I’m heading there later this week for my first lesson and I am really excited about it! I will document the discovery process, like I did with the sewing classes I took over the summer. So, stay tuned!

If you’re local to Atlanta and want to explore pottery, check out MudFire Studios. Maybe I’ll see you there!

MudFire Studios
175 Laredo Drive
Decatur, GA 30030
phone: 404-377-8033
fax: 404-371-1554
www.mudfire.com

e.Claire gets a facelift!

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Figuratively speaking, of course!

I’ve got to give major kudos to Eric and thank him for his help giving my blog a new look for the summer. He’s an amazingly talented designer and can read the “matrix” (a.k.a. work all the coding) and lucky for me, he’s patient enough to teach me HTML.

Thank you, my sweet E!!

So, do you like the new look? I’ve love to know what you think!

And, if you have a “button” that I can link to your blog, let me know!