Turkey Pilgrim Pumpkin

My favorite time of year is finally here!  I feel like this year has flown by and I can’t believe it’s basically already Thanksgiving, which might just be my favorite holiday.  It’s super low key, meaning you don’t have to get gifts for anyone and its main focus is eating.  What more do you want in a holiday?  Also, while I do love decorating, there’s just less pressure to decorate for Thanksgiving and I enjoy the subtly of decorations for Thanksgiving.  Although, I have seen some light decorations for Thanksgiving on peoples’ houses here in San Francisco.

Today I’m featuring a super easy craft – a turkey pilgrim pumpkin.  I found something similar on Etsy and thought “I could make that!”  However, if you don’t want to make it, you should buy one from WoodNDoodads.  Also, my version is definitely the “cheap way” because it’s made with cardboard instead of wood.

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Here’s what you’ll need:
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A few cardboard boxes
Acrylic paint of various colors – brown, red, green, yellow/gold, black, white
Sharpie
Scissors
Duct Tape
Round wooden sticks
A more heavy duty scissor/cutter
Pencil

Here’s how to make it:

1. Using a pencil , trace feathers, beak, and head with hat.  You’ll want three large feathers and two smaller ones.  I did this freehand, so it might take a few tries.  The head with the hat is definitely the oddest part since it’s hard to envision those as one.  Cut them out.
2. Paint all of the parts. You can use whatever color scheme you like!  I used brown for the feathers with green, red, and yellow for the feather accents.

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3. Add sharpie tracking along the feathers, bib, and hat.
4. Glue the nose on your turkey’s face!
5. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you will want to adjust the length of the skinny wood sticks.  Cut them using the more heavy duty scissors (I actually used garden shears).  Tape them to the back of your feathers and turkey head.
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6. Take the skinny wood sticks (now attached to the turkey pieces) and stick them into pumpkin in a way that they all fit.  This shouldn’t be too difficult, but if there’s a pointy end of the wooden sticks, you might want to use those to make the hole first and then put the rest of the sticks in.
7. Enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving!
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My Skincare Routine and Cocokind Review!

For the record, this post is my own view and I did not receive any compensation for this post.  Other than my two online orders and my Instagram likes of their posts, Cocokind doesn’t know I exist :).

For a few years now I have been making a conscious effort to be more aware of the beauty products I am purchasing.  I am strongly against animal testing in the beauty industry and overall have been making an effort to reduce the amount of chemicals I bring into my home.  I’ve been working hard to find beauty products that are not only completely natural, but also animal testing free and vegan.

For a while I was using Origins products, but then I was disappointed to learn that while they don’t do animal testing in general, they sell in China, which still requires animal testing.  Also, their products are not as natural as I’d like.

While I was finishing up my Origins stock, I decided to search for some new beauty products to try.  I settled on two that I liked: Cocokind and 100% Pure.  100% Pure has a entire line of beauty products ranging from makeup to face washes to body wash, while Cocokind mostly has face care products.  I decided to go with Cocokind for skincare because they are a bit more affordable, and I appreciate their commitment to maintaining affordable prices.  I was attracted to their organic, simple ingredients, and I admire the fact that that their founder is focused on empowering women.  The brand is also local to me here in San Francisco!  (For the record – although it’s more expensive than Cocokind, 100% Pure is great and also empowers women.  I actually get my makeup products there, so more on them in another post!)

Cocokind products are oil based, which believe it or not, is not as bad for your skin as you were lead to believe as a teen.  You can buy their products online or in certain retail stores, like Whole Foods (although it depends on your area, so check Cocokind’s website before you go).  Most of their products are also vegan!

I was really excited to try out Cocokind, so I headed to my local Whole Foods and picked up close to the full line of products (some I ordered online).  Here’s what I bought and how I used them:

Organic Facial Cleansing Oil – was using to cleanse in the morning and at night
Organic Sea Moss Exfoliator – every other morning as an exfoliator
Organic Rosewater Facial Toner – after cleansing, morning and night
Organic Facial Repair Serum – after cleansing and toning, morning
Organic Matcha Face Moisturizer – after cleansing and toning, night
Organic Chlorophyll Mask – when needed
Cocokind Collective – MyMatcha moisture stick, Macabeet tinted moisture stick, Turmeric spot treatment – when needed

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My Cocokind haul!

OK, now onto what you really what to know – how did it go?

For some reason my face had decided that it didn’t like my previous routine anymore and I was breaking out like crazy.  So, when I tried Cocokind it was in pretty bad shape.  It took about two months for my face to become accustomed to Cocokind’s products.  It didn’t get any worse, but it wasn’t getting any better.  After about a month and half, Cocokind introduced their Raspberry Vinegar Toner, which seriously helped my skin.  I saw a decline in acne after using the Raspberry toner in the morning and at night in lieu of the Rosewater Toner.  At night I also add some watered down apple cider vinegar to my cotton pad for some extra umpfh.  I use the Raspberry Vinegar Toner every day now, unless I’m going somewhere fancy and don’t want the chance of my face smelling like vinegar.  It’s definitely not a strong scent, especially when you put moisturizer and makeup on top of it, but there’s still something about knowing you might smell like vinegar that might ruin a fancy event or date.  So in those cases, I just use the Rosewater toner.

However, even after the improvements I saw with the vinegar toner, my face wasn’t really where I wanted to it be.  I was still breaking out some and noticed an increase in large-ish blackheads.  I decided my face needed a little something stronger, so I searched for a natural facewash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.  I found Alba Botanica Natural Acnedote Deep Pore Wash and this has worked fantastic.  Alba Botanica is also fairly natural and against animal testing, so I was OK with using it.  I realized through this process that sometimes you need some reinforcements.  Instead of Cocokind’s Facial Cleansing Oil, I now use the Alba Botanica cleanser every other morning (the others I use Cocokind’s Sea Moss Exfoliator) and at night and my face has gotten significantly better.

 

Another change I made to my skincare routine was how I sleep. I realized my hair was probably a source of breakouts since it usually has some kind of product in it.  Now I wear a satin bonnet when I sleep and I’ve also noticed a significant improvement in my skin.  They are super cheap and you can get them on Amazon.  Also, change your pillowcase often!

While my face was telling me I needed a stronger cleanser, I really love what Cocokind’s other products have done for me.  My face looks brighter and I know that my skin is absorbing nutrients and not chemicals.  After using the Organic Chlorophyll Mask, my skin just glows.  The Cocokind Collective sticks are also great for skincare on the go.  I have a reminder on my phone to use the MyMatcha moisture stick under my eyes every afternoon around 2pm, and I use the Macabeet tinted moisture stick as a natural blush and lip balm.  The Turmeric spot treatment is also great for those breakouts that still sometimes emerge because, well, I’m not perfect!

Overall, I’d highly recommend Cocokind’s products.  I love how they make my skin feel and how they are good for the environment.  I also love everything the company stands for and their founder’s (Priscilla Tsai) commitment to her products and making skinCARE.

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Fall Wreath

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving!  I was seriously behind on my Thanksgiving crafts this year.  I meant to make a few things in the beginning of November, but didn’t have time to head out to Michael’s or JoAnne Fabric to get supplies.  But, I was finally able to find some time last weekend to make the trip.  In addition to getting some fall craft supplies, I was also able to stock up on some holiday supplies, which is always good.  Although we are nosediving right into the holiday season,  I still wanted to post this super cute fall wreath I made yesterday on Thanksgiving.  There are still a few days left in “fall” (aka November!).

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Materials:

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Styrofoam wreath 12″ diameter
Yarn (you want the color to look like a snowy branch)
Felt squares (fall foliage colors)
Squirrel ornament
Mini pinecones and acorns
64″ Burlap ribbon
Pencil
Hot glue gun & extra glue sticks

Directions:

1. Freehand or using a printed template, trace and cut out multiple leaves out of your fall foliage color felts.  I ended up cutting out 4 of each color (20 total).

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2. Using the hot glue gun, glue the yarn onto the styrofoam wreath.  You’ll need to keep the yarn together, so I just looped the entire bundle through the wreath each time.  I would also put a small line of hot glue on the top and underside of the wreath, and wrap the yarn around the wreath, attaching with the glue.  This is a tedious process, but necessary so the yarn doesn’t slip around.  When I arrived back at the beginning, I did another quick loop with the yarn around the styrofoam to make sure I didn’t have any of the styrofoam peaking through.  The second go does not have to be as tight as the first.

3. Once your yarn is set, arrange your leaves how you’d like to them to be clustered.

4. Flip the cluster of leaves over (kind of like flipping a pancake) and glue the cluster together.  You can do this by seeing which parts of the leaf overlap another and just glue that little part.  Your cluster should basically be one entity when you pick it up.

5. Glue your cluster of leaves onto the wreath, leaving space for your squirrel ornament.

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6. Glue on your squirrel ornament, pinecones, and acorn.

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7. Take your burlap ribbon and loop it into the wreath.  Tie a bow at the top and hang!

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My Book Review Blog

For the past five years or so I’ve been keeping another WordPress blog about books that I read, called Read This!…Not That.  Because that blog is so old I don’t really want to start new on this blog, I’m keeping everything over there.  I wanted to give ya’ll a heads up if you’d like to take a look!

My most recent post is for a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

Enjoy!

Felted Fish Tank

I received a Fido Felts for my birthday from my boyfriend’s parents and I was very excited. I had never tried felting and it seemed like a really cool new craft to try.  I also love dogs, so I was excited to make the mini felted dogs the kit offered.  If you’re not familiar with felting, it’s pretty simple.  You take some wool and essentially stab and shape it with a needle until it’s in the shape you want.  The dogs from the kit are actually quite difficult to make, but I still had a good time making them.

Recently my grandfather has been in the hospital and a rehabilitation center, so I wanted to get him something.  He lives on the other side of the country, so it’s not easy for me to visit.  I figured flowers are very cliche, and I like making things.  I did a lot of googling on things I could make or get for him other than flowers and I came across a post on radmegan where she made a goldfish aquarium.  I thought this was a great idea!  My grandparents have a huge fish tank in their living room, so I thought this might give my grandfather a touch of home at the hospital.  I made some tweaks to what radmegan did, so here is my take on a felted fish tank.

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Materials:

Felt for felting – specifically orange, yellow, black and white felt
Felting kit (needles, styrofoam, etc)
Large jar (I used an old pickle jar)
Blue ribbon
Aquarium gravel
Pipe cleaners – blue for fish stands, green for plants, purple for starfish
Silver & white small pom poms
Hot glue gun

Instructions:

  1. Ensure your jar is clean.  If you’re using a repurposed jar, there might be lingering smells, so be sure to clean thoroughly.  If you want to keep the top, you can definitely do that, but I find it difficult to completely remove smells from the jar top.
  2. Felt your fish.  I created a large goldfish and two smaller yellow fish. I used this tutorial on Youtube and thought it was very helpful.  The changes I made were that I added felt eyes by felting some white onto the body and then two small black dots inside.  I also added a smile.  For the yellow fish, I did not add a top dorsel fin and I made their tails slightly longer than the goldfish.

  3. Once your fish are complete,  take the green pipe cleaners and mold them into a wavy pattern for the plants.  I used 4 pipe cleaners that were cut down a little, but depending on the size of your jar you may want more or less.  Fold the bottom of the pipe cleaner into an “L” shape and using the glue gun, glue the bottom part of the “L” onto the bottom of the jar.
  4.  Use the hot glue gun to glue pipe cleaners onto the fish.  You’ll want to cut your pipe cleaners to the lengths you’d like your fish to be at.  Then, fold the pipe cleaners in a “]” shape, glue gunning the top part to the bottom of the fish, and (when that part is dry) the bottom to the bottom of the jar. I used the same pipe cleaner for the two small yellow fish.

bottom-of-tank15. Once the glue is dry, pour your aquarium gravel into the bottom of the jar until the glued bottoms of the fish and plants are no longer visible.
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6. Create a starfish out of pipe cleaners and place into jar.
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7. Take one or two silver and white pom poms and drop into jar (I imagined these as sea urchins).
8. Lastly, take your blue ribbon and tie it around the top of the jar.  I glue gunned it down in a few places so it would not slip around.
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9. Enjoy!

“Pulled Pork” AKA BBQ Sweet Potato Sammies with All of the Slaws!

This sandwich, as the post title states, is a vegetarian take on pulled pork.  Personally, I find it just as delicious and it’s super easy to make.  It makes a great lunch because you can simply make it the night before and you’ll have plenty to bring for a few days of lunches.  Plus, it’s great because it goes great with a variety of different slaws, which I’ll include below too.

BBQ Sweet Potato Sammies

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
BBQ sauce of your choosing (4-5 tbsp is good – feel free to add more/less. I like more.)
Olive Oil cooking spray
Buns (for sandwich)
Some kind of slaw (directions below)

Directions:

  1. Wash and skin sweet potatoes.  I usually just like to cut off the top/bottom of the potatoes and remove any weird spots from the skin.
  2. Shred potatoes.  You can either use a cheese grater for this, or you can use a spiralizer machine.  The spiralizer machine will cut your potatoes into curls, but I usually just take the curls and chop them up a little.  This is the easiest way, but the cheese grater method makes it a little more like a pulled pork texture.  I’d say if you’re making this for a party, use the cheese grater.  If you’re making it for yourself, use the spiralizer.

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  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Once it’s heated up, cook your potatoes for 10 minutes.  Stirring semi-constantly.
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  4. After the 10 minutes, add your BBQ sauce and cook while stirring for another  5 minutes.
  5. You’re done!  Time to make the slaw.

For the slaw, I’m not the biggest fan of regular coleslaw (too much mayo), but I’m sure this will taste just fine with that.  I prefer vinegar based slaws, so here are a few I’ve made and I think taste really great with the BBQ sweet potatoes.

Clean Eating Mango Slaw

This slaw adds a nice sweet and salty flavor to your sammy.  I found this recipe on iFoodReal.

Ingredients:
1 lb white cabbage, shredded (thinly sliced is fine too)
1 large mango, diced
3 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp white vinegar (or 2 if you’re like me and love vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:  Combine all ingredients and toss in a large bowl!

Red Cabbage Slaw

This is a nice crunchy and colorful slaw to add to your BBQ sweet potatoes.  I found this recipe on Real Housemoms.

Ingredients:
1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions: Toss ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for at least one hour.

Ginger Lime Asian Slaw

This slaw adds a nice sweet, but tangy flavor.  It’s a bit more involved than the first two, but it’s worth it.  I found this recipe on Real Food Real Deals.

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Ingredients:
8 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar

Directions:

    1. Combine cabbage, carrots, apple, salt, and lime juice into a large bowl.
    2. In a medium skillet, cook the onion, in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and cook for another 30 seconds.
    3. In a bowl, mix together remaining tbsp of olive oil, honey, and rice vinegar.  Add the veggies from the pan.
    4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and mix.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Halloween Crow Wreath

My favorite season, Fall, is here and Halloween is fast approaching.  I’m not afraid to admit that I essentially love everything “basic” about this season.  Although I do find pumpkin spice lattes a bit too sweet, I love decorating, going to pumpkin patches, and the impending chilly weather (but in SF it’s more like the weather finally matches the season).  In the past I had put some maize corn on our door as a decoration, but last year I saw some really cute fall wreaths on Pinterest and decided to make my own.  Here’s how you can make this really cute wreath yourself!

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Materials:

materialsStyrofoam “donut circle” – 12in diameter
1 yard black ribbon
2 yards chevron orange and white ribbon
Toy crow
Gold felt pen
1 ft twine
Hot glue gun & extra glue
Black felt square
Small piece of fabric of your pattern choice – I purchased 1 yard at the store because I knew I’d use it again, but really you only need enough to make your crow a large enough hat.

Instructions:

1. Start with the chevron orange ribbon and styrofoam. Using the hot glue gun, glue the beginning end to what you’ll deem the back of the wreath. Then, slowly wrap the ribbon around the styrofoam.  Every two wrap-arounds, use the hot glue gun to glue down the ribbon.  In the image below, I would put a small line of glue where the ribbon is hitting the styrofoam.  Do this until you have again reached your starting point (it’s OK if it overlaps a little), and make sure the end part of the ribbon is glued on the back.

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2. Take the twine and measure the length you’ll have the “boo” sign reach one side of the styrofoam to the other and cut.  You’ll want a bit of slack so it looks like the sign is hanging.  Do NOT glue on styrofoam yet.

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3. Cut out three small triangles from the black felt and write out “BOO” with each letter on a separate triangle.

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4. Using the hot glue gun, glue each triangle onto the twine.  Once the glue has dried, glue the twine onto styrofoam at the points where you previously measured.

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5. Time to make a cute hat for your crow!  Take a piece of fabric and roll it into a cylinder hat shape that is an appropriate size for the crow.  Use the hot glue gun to glue it together.  If you’d like, you can take a piece of twine and make a bottom liner for the hat and glue on with the hot glue gun.  Once you’ve created your hat, glue onto the crow.  I found the easiest way to do this was to put some glue on the crow’s head approximately how wide the hat is and press down lightly.

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6. Hot glue gun your crow onto the wreath wherever you’d like him to sit.  I also took some twine and feathered the edges to make it look as though he was sitting on a broom.  Hot glue gun that near his feet!

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7.  Lastly, figure out where you’d like to hang the wreath.  Take your black ribbon and loop in around the top of your wreath and tie the top into a nice bow.  You can shorten your ribbon if you’d like the wreath to hang higher. boo-close-up

8. Hang your wreath and enjoy!  Happy Halloween!

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