D+I+Y

New Year, New Smile | Smile Brilliant

We all have big plans for the new year. Honestly, it can be a bit tough to get started right away especially when it’s a health goal. I love coffee and red wine so my teeth have taken a beating over the years. I’ve partnered with Smile Brilliant to meet a health and beauty goal in just a short time with out completely giving up two of my favorite things to drink.

Smile Brilliant specializes in high quality custom teeth whitening trays. They are made just for you so no need to worry about those generic strips that slide and move around as you use them. Smile Brilliant starts by sending you an amazing fully stocked kit that includes materials to make your custom molds,pre-paid postages, whitening gel, desensitizing gel and a storage case for your trays.

I felt a bit overwhelmed at the thought of making my teeth molds on my own at first, but the detailed directions made me feel like a pro. Once you send in your teeth molds, Smile Brilliant quickly sends back your custom whitening trays and you can start your professional whitening system at home right away.

I love that I can whiten while I cook dinner, do laundry, clean, and even write for my blog. No dentist appointments, time off from work, or inconvenience, yet this system is exactly what you would get at the dentist office.

I remember falling and chipping my tooth as a kid. One of the worse things about that happening was how terribly painful it was to eat or drink cold and hot things afterwards. One of the best things about this kit is the desensitizing gel that it comes with. You don’t have to worry about your teeth being sensitive to hot and cold things after you whiten.

I know you want to know how well it works so here are my real results!!! I can be a bit off a sceptic sometimes so after each session, I would closely inspect my teeth to see if I noticed a change. Putting my before and after pictures side by side made me so giddy! I am so impressed with the results after just 4 short sessions. In those 4 sessions I whitened for 45 mins at a time. You can whiten for up to 3 hours but I wanted to take a slow and cautious approach on this. I can’t wait to see more progress over the next few weeks!

Want a Smile Brilliant system for yourself? Enter my giveaway to win your own right here!  Enter to win a Smile Brilliant system! If you can’t wait until the giveaway is over you can order your own now. Use discount code “authenticallyb” for a 5% discount.

I’ve even included a Youtube video so that you can see how the system works in action 🙂

10 Hair Styles for an Undercut

The other day someone told me that I had a brave haircut. I smiled and on the inside I wished everyone felt like they could do something brave with their hair. You may think having an undercut  would really limit how you can style your hair but for me the possibilities seem endless. I put together a snapshot of ten styles I could create with an undercut and box braids. Hopefully this will give you the push you need to do something “Brave” with your hair. Leave me a comment about which style is your favorite.  Enjoy!


  1. Top Knot

2. Side Braid

3. Side swept & down 

4. Straight back braid 

5. Ponytail 

6. Half up, half down 

7. Low ponytail (hidden under cut)

8. Low twisted side bun

9. Bow up do 

10. Messy bun

How to Upgrade Cabinets for Under $15 | DIY

As many of you know our family appeared on HGTV’s House Hunters earlier this year. When we began filming we weren’t even close to being ready to move in. While we were still prepping, I was able to knock out small projects that were fun, easy to do and inexpensive. Let’s be real, renovations are not cheap so I was definitely looking for projects that would make a real impact for not a lot of cash.

This easy DIY helps you provide a serious upgrade to your cabinets that are easy to change anytime you want. Our home was built in the 1920’s so everything isn’t perfect but it will last forever. Our cabinets don’t have backing so to spice it up a bit I created patterned backings to make the bare wall look amazing. To start gather large card board boxes, scissors, fabric of your choice, a tape measure and a hot glue gun.

  1. Measure the length and width of the inside of your cabinets.
  2. Once you have those measurements, cut out card board pieces in the exact measurement and shape of you cabinets.
  3. Take your fabric and make sure too cut a section that will cover the front of the card and slightly fold over the edges and corners.
  4. Use your hot glue gun to glue the fabric to the card board on all four sides and let it cool.
  5. Carefully insert the covered part so that your fabric is visible inside the cabinet.
  6. Press it firmly into the back of the cabinet until its snug.
  7. Repeat these directions until you cover all or part of your backings.

I hope you found this cabinet upgrade simple to do. It can pack a real punch in an otherwise ugly or boring cabinet. Leave me a comment and upload photos to show me how this easy DIY worked for you. Enjoy!

House Hunters Episode Information

Violeta Roots by Juliana Alonso- The Art of Precious Memories

Several years ago one of my husbands aunts passed away and at the memorial service each family member was given a rose. That rose stayed on the dashboard of his car for a very long time, dried out and was eventually thrown away. After our wedding a few years ago my bouquet became a beautiful center piece in our house for a little bit then of course they died.
Now I know that artist Juliana Alonso could have beautifully preserved my wedding bouquet and my husbands rose. She then could have created one of a kind pieces that would have served as beautiful memories and home decor. I call it “The Art of Precious Memories!” Juliana is the queen of custom flower preservation heirloom art!

Meet Juliana Alonso! She’s originally from Bogotá, Colombia; A city in the mountain valleys of the Andes in South America. She now calls Houston, Texas home and provides a unique personalized experience to each of her clients. Juliana is a natural born helper, idealist, and creator. She likes to say that she’s composed of equal parts sentiment, compassion and goofiness. Not only is she a ball of fun, she’s incredibly serious about fully feeling and witnessing life! Juliana loves cats, uplifting animated films, practicing yoga and training in Capoeira martial arts.

Juliana’s creations acknowledge and honor the meaningful moments that define who we are. Now that you’re as obsessed as I am, check out her website and stalk her social media. Don’t skip the opportunity to meet Juliana and see her creations in person this weekend at Mamas+Makers Market this Sunday, July 31 at The Merrill House. It’s family friendly and indoor so you stay cool!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1025713674188949/?ti=iclEnjoy!

http://www.violetaroots.com

Instagram- @violetaroots

Facebook- Violeta Roots

Pinterest- Violeta Roots

Yarn Earring DIY

Ready for another fabulously easy fashion DIY? Well these beautiful yarn earrings cost next to nothing and take about 15 minutes to make. The great thing about them is that they are so easily customizable. You can make them in any color yarn comes in to match any style. I know y’all would expect me to go for black and white yarn so I went for the opposite just to spice it up. Light, bright and contrasting colors look best for these earrings. The only materials you need are yarn, scissors, and jewelry wire.

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Materials: Yarn, scissors, and jewelry wire.

1. To begin take one color of your yarn and cut 8 equal pieces that are about 7 inches long each. 

2. Take your jewelry wire and cut about 7-8 inches from the roll. Gather the 8 pieces of yarn together and wrap the wire around the center section of the bundle of yarn. Leave the left over wire sticking up in the center. That will become the part that goes in your ear. 

3. Take the next color of your yarn and from left to right start wrapping it around the wire to cover it. When you first begin wrap the yarn directly on top of itself so that it doesn’t unravel. 

4. Once all the wire is covered hold both bundles of yarn together and wrap around both of them to create a circular loop at the top. 

5. Continue to wrap the yarn around both ends until you like the amount of color showing in the earring. 

6. To end it, tie a loop pull it and repeat the loop one more time. 

7. Cut the access yarn from the earring and at this time of you want the hanging strands to be a bit more even you can trim them as well. 

8. Lastly, take the remaining wire and bend it to the desired length and cut off any access wire. 

Done!! I hope you enjoyed this fashion DIY, leave me a comment about how you may style these cool yarn earrings. Enjoy! 

Collar Necklace DIY

Do you ever wish you had beautiful accessories to wear to the pool or beach with out the risk of losing or ruining something pricey? This DIY necklace solves this problem and you only need a few things to make it.

Designer Karissa Lindsay of A Leap of Style was kind enough to donate scrap fabric to a craft material hoarder like myself. I promised her I would create something amazing and I think I came pretty close.

For this DIY all you need is scrap fabric, a hot glue gun, thin cardboard or card stock, and a small amount of t-shirt yarn. To start, draw the shape that you want your necklace to be on your cardboard. Once you like the shape take your card board and lay it on top of your fabric.


Use a pen to trace around the card board about a half inch to an inch. Cut out the shape to remove the excess fabric from around your necklace.


To make gluing the fabric to the cardboard easier, cut small slits into the fabric so that it will lay flat when it’s glued around a curve.


Go ahead and glue the fabric to the cardboard. Once thats done, take your t-shirt yarn, unroll one end and glue it to the end of the necklace. Repeat that same step on the other side and you’re done. Fast right?!?



To wear the necklace make a simple tie behind your neck with the strings. I made three necklaces in different sizes and layered them for a statement look. Leave me a comment to let me know where you would wear this DIY necklace, Enjoy!

Mel’s Modern Caillgraphy

I first met Mel when she came aboard at our school as a second grade teacher. Like many teachers she is multifaceted and crazy talented. It only took knowing her for a short while to realize this. As the school year started I saw her classroom come together beautifully. I could not help but notice all the unique hand lettering  and calligraphy. Of course I went to ask where she had found such cool things for her room and her response was, “I made them”. My mind was pretty blown at that point. I later found out that she held a job while she attended college that allowed her to create cool custom stationary that helped her to nourish her creativity.

Not long ago Mel decided it was time for her to start her own business and named it “Three M Designs” (Melodie Marie Musgrove). She later changed the name to a much sweeter one to avoid any confusion with other companies with similar names. Her design company is now called “Maggie Elaine Designs” after her beloved weimaraner Maggie and her favorite character from the tv show Seinfield.

When Mel invited me to her home to take these photos I was even smitten with her living and work space. It is so vibrant and indicative of her talent as well as her artistic abilities. Every element and piece is carefully selected and in its right place. Her dining/work table is covered in butcher paper to protect it from craft materials and one small chalk board at the entry way allowed me to feel welcome and ready to create as soon as I walked in. The two stars of Mel’s home include a custom 5’by 6′ canvas piece hung carefully on the wall that says ” If you love what you have, you have everything you need ” and an original 1970’s sofa gifted to her by her grand parents. The sofa is adorned with bright floral prints and is built to last just like the special bond she shares with her family.

When I asked Mel what the future holds for Maggie Elaine Designs she said, “To continue to give her customers special stationary made from the heart”. As she continues on her path as an educator and future principal she will continue to design one of a kind creations. Check out Maggie Elaine Designs on Etsy for custom graphic lettering and stationary. Nourish your creativity. Enjoy!

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DIY Tassel Earrings | Earth Day

 These DIY tassel earrings cost me pennies to make but look like they cost top dollar. I can’t lie, I’ve been pretty obsessed with up cycling old shirts over the last few weeks. As I helped my friend Amber, who is an art teacher cut old t-shirts into t-shirt yarn, I ended up having some craps of fabric that couldn’t be used for much else. Amber had jewelry wire and through trial and error, I came up with a simple earring DIY that happens to be a spring/summer trend. With Earth Day coming up this Friday, these tassel earrings are a great fashionable way to reuse, reduce, and recycle. I made a video of me making one because it would have taken a thousand pictures to show it accurately. (It’s my first video on A+B:0) Give this a try for Earth day, Enjoy!
    

  

 

Vintage Stripes and Gold DIY

Earth Day is approaching and I want to give you two really chic ways to save the planet! This OOTD mixes two things that I love the most, black and white stripes and DIY. Thrifting and buying vintage clothing is one of the most tried and true ways to reuse and recycle. I got this 80’s dress from my friend Heather Petrey over at Lone Star Vintage. I love the elongating vertical black and white stripes paired with the classic button up collar. The front pocket detail along with a 4 inch split in the back makes it feel very modern.

The gold floral earrings are a DIY of mine, made from plastic lids from food to-go containers. Of course I will give you a complete DIY tutorial for the earring soon 🙂 These earrings a literally one of a kind! They are melted into a floral shape and can be colored with sharpie before hand or spray painted afterwards. Either way they will all be unique. When you wear these earrings you don’t need to worry about many other assessories because they are a true statement piece!

I prefer outfits that are simple to put together with no fuss! Including my trusty black lace up heels that I wear with everything, this look is only 3 items. Earth day is Friday so start thinking of chic ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Enjoy!

Earrings-A+B DIY

Dress- Lone Star Vintage

Shoes- Aldo


  
  
  

DIY Statement Necklace

You should give this DIY statement necklace a try because it’s easy, beautiful, cheap (free) to make, bold, and super comfortable! You know I’m all about comfort. The necklace is made from cotton so it fits my life. Lol

Materials

  1. T-Shirt yarn
  2. scissors
  3. clips (binder clip, paper clip)
  4. Needle and thread

 

My inspiration for this necklace came from the skirt that Lupita Nyongo is wearing in her recent Instagram post.

 

 

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If you’re not sure how to make t-shirt yarn check out my How to Make T-Shirt Yarn instructions.

Start with your t-shirt yarn and decide how long you want the  necklace to be. [Tip: Go for longer pieces because once everything is sewn together it will appear much shorter] Cut the yarn about 1/3 longer than you want it to be. Braiding it will make the length a bit shorter. Cut 2 more equal length pieces of yarn for the braid. (3 total)

Get a clip ready and be sure your pieces of yarn are facing the same direction as pictured above.

Clip the 3 pieces together with your binder clip.

Gently braid the 3 pieces until you reach the end. Don’t pull the yarn too tight because it will result in a very thin braid and you want it to be thicker.

Repeat the same process 3 more times making each braid shorter in length each time.

One side of the braid will look simple and the other side will look more intricate because of the rolling of the fabric. Decide which side you want to appear in front and flip it over. You are going to want to sew the side that will be unseen.

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When you sew down the loose ends it’s best to do so by layer, sewing one strand of the braid down at a time. It will look messy underneath but the visible side will look awesome.

Start with the 2 longest braids. Center the shorter braid in the middle of the longest braid. Use a thread color that is close to the fabric color. Thread your needle and tie of the end with a simple knot. Remove your clip from the shorter braid and overlap the loose ends onto the longest braid. Use a simple “over and under” stitch to connect the braid together at the edges where they meet. The trick to making it look seamless in being careful not to sew into the front side of the braid. Since the fabric is rolled there is lots of wiggle room.

Be careful to keep the “U” shape as you connect the braids.

 

Repeat this same process for the last two braids. Remember to sew close to the edge where the braids meet. To connect the back of the necklace simply remove the clips, overlap the ends and do a few neat stitches on the underside that won’t be shown. No clasp needed! Just put it on like a t-shirt.

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Done! People are going to want to know where you got your necklace from. Smile and tell them it’s a hand made original. Enjoy!

 

Sugar & Cloth Color Wall

All of my DIY lovers know all about Sugar&Cloth blog. For those who may not here’s your spill. Sugar&Cloth is a DIY lifestyle blog  created by Ashley Rose that features all things DIY from travel to food. Everything you could need for DIY inspired living is on Ashley’s blog. (Go check out Sugar&Cloth because I’m passionate about DIY and I could go on forever. Lol)

Yesterday Sugar&Cloth debuted the color wall that has been in the works at the new Head Quarters office space building on Canal St. It’s a beautiful gift given to our city among many other beautiful creations and murals by local artists. It will definitely be a go to spot for photography for a good while. Go give it a look-see and take your camera when you go! Enjoy!!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

DIY T-Shirt Yarn

I’m beyond excited about a DIY statement piece necklace that I made for FREE! Yes, FREE!!!! All I used was scissors, a t-shirt my husband didn’t want anymore, a needle and thread. I made the statement piece necklace from t-shirt yarn so in this post I will show you how to make T-shirt yarn. Once you have t-shirt yarn the possibilities are endless. You can make so many different things with it and its free or cheap. Just tell your friends and family to give you any of their unwanted t-shirts:-)


If your t-shirt has any graphics on it that you don’t want on the yarn just cut below it to separate that portion of the shirt from the rest. You will be left with a “tube” that will become your t-shirt yarn.

 

Lay the tube flat, pick a starting point and cut up and parallel to the opening. I chose to make my strip about 1 1/2 inches wide to ensure that my yarn will be thick enough to craft with.

Continue to cut parallel until you run out of t-shirt.

Lastly, pull the strip taut to encourage it to roll over on to itself and not fray.



Easy enough right?!?! Stay tuned for the statement piece necklace. Enjoy!

Easy No Fuss DIY Head Wrap

Who else adores head wraps but are a little intimidated by how to actually do the wrap? (Me!!!) I mean, they are so cute, very stylish, and can fix a bad hair day like non other. I decided to fix that problem for free by making this no fuss DIY head wrap from a T-shirt that I got from my husband. (Go Rockets!) This size is a mens extra large.

 If the T-shirt has any print on it just cut below it to detach the solid color from the top of the shirt. That amount also happens to be the ideal amount of shirt I needed for my hair wrap.
 Once you have cut the bottom portion completely off you should be left with a “tube” that will become your new no fuss head wrap.


You can wrap your hair 3 different ways and even make a mini infinity scarf with your “tube”.

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  1. Mini Infinity Scarf– Place the tube around your neck and loop it 1 time. Adjust the length as desired. 

2. High Knot– Place the tube around your head.Lay it flat around the back of your head and pull the length up. Twist it in one direction to create a “rope”. Coil the rope around itself and tuck in the end.

3. Crown Wrap-Place the tube around your head and loop it 2 times. Lay the first layer flat and gather the other top layer near your forehead to form a “rope” or crown.

  

  

4. Low Knot-Place the tube around your head.Lay it flat around your forehead and pull the length down. Twist it in one direction to create a “rope”. Coil the rope around itself and tuck in the end.

I hope you like this simple but useful DIY. Leave a comment and post pictures of your version of he head wrap. Enjoy!

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Kool-Eggs | Easter Egg DIY

This Easter DIY is super simple and uses things you may already have in your kitchen. When you dye Easter eggs with kool-aid you won’t have the stinky vinegar smell which means the kids will want to help even more!

Materials

  1. Hard boiled eggs
  2. Kool-aid packets (variety of colors)
  3. Containers with 2/3 water
  4. Spoon/scoop

First boil your eggs and let them cool. Put 2/3 cup of water into each of your containers. Empty one Kool-aid packet  into each container. Once you put the eggs in you only need to leave them in the coloring for about 5 minutes. It really doesn’t take long before you start see them change color. Use your spoon or scoop to take them out and let them dry for about 10 minutes and you’re all done! Easy as pie, Enjoy!


  
  

 

 

 

DIY | Easy T-Shirt Pillows

I will be the first to say that it’s hard for me to get rid of things sometimes (all the time). I may no longer want it for its intended purpose but I can find tons of other ways to use the same item.

In this case, I took clothing that I was done wearing and turned them into pillows for my son’s room. He has a black and white themed bedroom and I had some black and white items that were headed to Goodwill. You know what that means?!?!?! DIY PROJECT!!!!! I’ve even included pictures of me wearing the items just for fun. (Ha ha)

My friend that has a sewing machine sewed 3 sides, and I hand stitched the 4th side after inserting the cushion. You could easily hand stitch all the sides, use iron on tape, or my personal favorite, a hot glue gun. In this DIY project, the fabric was free, the cusions were about $6 each at Wal-Mart and it was fast and easy to do. Grant loves the soft feel of the cotton and I love that he has unique throw pillows with mixed prints for his big boy room. Enjoy!

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Previously a tank top.

 

I worked around the house in the tank and my painters pants.

 

Previously a shirt.

 

 

6 months pregnant with Grant around Christmas of 2012

 

Still wearing the shirt after Grant was born

 

Previously a dress.

 

Way before Grant was born.

  
  
  

Tapered Progress 

Happy Friday all! I hope this week was amazing for everyone. On Fridays we all celebrate the progress that we’ve made by making it to the end of a work week. I thought I’d share some progress pictures of my current hair goal which is a tapered afro. The time span has been from November up until now. Check it out and leave comments about your current hair goals. Enjoy!

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Most recent, I’m almost there!

How to Make a TeePee

Once I was sure about the direction I wanted to go in for Grant’s room, I started organizing my projects. Up first on the list was this DIY play teepee. I wanted something unique and whimsical in his room that would give him a place to read or just hide out. Most of the teepee’s for sale in various places either cost more than I wanted to pay ($60-$100) or were way too large for the space. Since I was working with a limited amount of space, I knew it would have to be smaller than the teepee’s I researched online. I gathered my materials mostly from Home Depot and Hobby Lobby and took a full day to knock it out. (Just so we are clear, a full day in this case included a late start, a two hour lunch break, a nap and two glasses of wine) 🙂

This teepee is easy to make, fun, unique and can be easily moved to other rooms or even outside with out falling apart. There is no right or wrong way to put this together. Just try your best to make it sturdy. This is definitely a DIY you’ll want to try. (Steps are detailed on each photo for easy reading) Enjoy!

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Materials

  1. 1 inch pvc pipes (4) $16
  2. 2 yards of plain yellow fabric $10
  3. 1 yard of Tribal patterned fabric $5
  4. Yellow Poly Rope
  5. Drill
  6. Hot glue gun/spray adhesive/needle and thread (just one of these)
  7. Pins (for draping)

 

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Toddler Room Inspiration

Once I got the bones of Grant’s room corrected, I starting building my Pinterest inspiration board for his décor. Not only was Grant going from baby to toddler, but we were going through a transition of buying our first home. Of course this meant we were super excited to really have a place to call our own.

I have grown very fond of minimalist colors like gray, black, and white because of its understated elegance. I think using a basic color scheme will make future transitions easier as well. I searched around for the perfect pop of color for quite a while before I found it. I tried to think of a color that matched Grant’s personality and finally came up with yellow as the accent color for his room. I mean, what’s more vibrant and loud than Grant and the color yellow?!?!? Ha ha.

This collage contains most of my pins from his room board. Having this helped me to stay focused and DIY with things I already had. This kept the budget low while yielding the same aesthetic results.

If you or your little one is going through a transition, (baby to toddler or toddler to school age) it may be time to start thinking about adjusting the space to match the growth. Begin with collecting inspiration and go from there. If you start with the right base and get creative with things you already have you can keep your $wallet$ intact in the process.

Enjoy!

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Modern Cottage|Grant’s Room

Our cottage was built in 1929 with 1 bedroom, 1 living area, 1 bathroom,and the kitchen. Somewhere along the line the previous owners added an addition(2nd bedroom) and a detached single car garage to the house. The second bedroom is now our son Grant’s room. Since our total space is about 891 square feet we decided that using one continuous color through out the house would make a big difference in making the space feel open.

Grant’s room was being used as a dining area previously and needed lots of love because of the salmon colored walls and horrible pink tile. The first order of business was to paint the walls. After looking at paint chips for days we finally got some samples and tested them in the house. (Boy was that exciting!!!!) We chose a beautiful Behr Marquee Natural Gray paint in the perfect tone. It wasn’t too dark or too light, and most importantly, not too brown. (I hated the idea of having any brown/tan paint in the house at ALL!) Behr Marquee paint is a bit pricey but it saves you some time, energy, and mental anguish by knowing that all you need is ONE coat. That was important to us because every room in our house needed to be painted.

Next, I tackled the floors.The rest of the house has hard wood floors that we refinished. The tough part was finding flooring to match the original refinished hardwood in the rest of the house. We ended up finding a really good deal on laminate floors in the perfect color at Lumber Liquidators. I was able to put down the floors by myself over a few days but I must admit, the first day was the toughest because I wasn’t prepared. If you ever plan on putting down floors start by taking an entire day to just watch installation videos on youtube. (seriously,Lol) Also, be sure to get a complete kit with spacers, rubber mallet, etc. Have the proper tools to cut boards with as well. I found that a circular saw worked much better than a jig saw in this case. Never the less, I got it done.

Another important note is to remember that if you are using a flooring product that goes over existing floors, it will affect the doors. I wanted the flooring to go inside of the closet as well so I had to remove the doors while I was installing the floors. Before reinstalling the doors, I had to trim some length from the bottom of the closet doors so they would fit the new space.

It was a ton of hard work but we saved some serious $money$ by doing it ourselves. After completing this project I felt like I could take on the world! I hope this will inspire and encourage you to spruce up your living space however you see fit. Just know in your heart that if I can, YOU can D.I.Y. (Do it yourself )

Enjoy!

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Gray Paint-Behr Marque Natural Gray Semi Gloss

Floors-Lumber Liquidators Dream Home Chrisma African Rosewood

 

Matte Nails

I have been wanting to try almond shaped nails for the longest and I finally did! (I think I love them. Lol) The icing on the cake is the matte finish. The good news is you can get trendy matte nails at home! Even in the nail salon they just use a top coat to create a matte nail look. If you have a polish that you love and want to make it matte go to your local drug store and pick up your preferred brand of matte top coat. Apply it and give it enough drying time and you’re done. Enjoy!

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