Friday, June 28, 2013

Homemade Sangria Recipe {Warning: Not for Lightweights!}

Homemade Sangria Recipe - Warning! Not for Lightweights!
Today I'm finally going to share with you one of my favorite summer party drinks. I had every intention of sharing it right after I posted my DIY Etched Glass Mugs Tutorial last November, but then I thought it might make more sense to wait until summer. It's officially summer, and amazingly, I remembered!

This Homemade Sangria is great for summer parties and BBQ's - it goes perfectly with sunshine, sitting by the pool, flip flops, fire ants, sunburns, short shorts, and sleeping in.

I'm not kidding when I say this Homemade Sangria isn't for lightweights. Let me tell you from experience: this is a beverage that can knock you on your ass!

Wine AND rum?!? Well, I know it's crazy, but trust me, it tastes delicious. A little too delicious. Consider yourself warned (and please be sure to pass along that warning to whomever you decide to share this tasty beverage with).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Achieve Perfectly Polished Complexion - Simple DIY Microdermabrasion Treatment

DIY Beauty recipe: simple baking soda face scrub for a perfectly polished glow
If you've ever indulged in a microdermabrasion treatment at a spa or a really good microdermabrasion home treatment system, you are probably aware of all the benefits in using these products; wonderfully soft, smooth skin and a gorgeous healthy glow.

If you have never experienced microdermabrasion or are unaware exactly what it means, I'll tell you briefly so we can get to the good stuff!

Microdermabrasion is basically a fancy word for a very fine exfoliant, much finer than your typical face scrubs which can have pretty large grains. The finer grains slough off more dead and dying skin cells to reveal the newer, more vibrant layer of skin below. It's this fresh new skin that tends to 'glow'.

Normal face scrubs achieve the same thing, to an extent, but the difference is much like the comparison between using very rough and very fine sandpaper. The rough stuff certainly works to scratch up the surface, but the finer stuff achieves a nice, smooth, polished finish.

One problem with these microdermabrasion productss is that they can be pretty expensive ($50 and way up for an average of 2.5 oz), and the other is that they can contain a lot of chemicals and toxic ingredients!

So I'm going to share my secret all natural DIY microdermabrasion recipe with you! Ok, it's not really a secret, and it's not really a recipe. It's too easy for that!

I like to call this stuff my "Face Polish," and after you try it for the first time you'll see why! Let me put it this way....when I first tried it and I asked my fiancé to touch my face and see if he could feel a difference, I ended up
yelling at him to "STOP TOUCHING MY FACE!!!! later that same evening. Of course, I couldn't stop it either, but still. LOL!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Etsy Fort Worth Sets up Fund for Hood County Tornado Victims

This year's theme for the annual Etsy Craft Party is "Crafting for the Community". Etsy Fort Worth, our local street team, has put together a fund to collect donations on behalf of our neighbors to the south in Granbury and Cleburne (and the rest of Hood County) to help them rebuild their community after 18 tornadoes ripped through their lives leaving many of them homeless and injured. Several lost their lives in this terrible storm - the worst to hit the Dallas Fort Worth area in 50 years.
This devastated community does not qualify for government assistance, so we'd like to do our part to help these good people to rebuild and heal. Join us on June 20th for our Etsy Craft Party, where we will be folding 1,000 origami paper cranes to raise $1,000 to donate to the United Way of Hood County, who will distribute the funds to help those affected by this disaster. Visit for more information and to make an online donation if you are unable to attend the Craft Party!
Donations of all sizes are welcomed and appreciated. Please help if you can, if only to spread the word and send this message out to as many kind hearted people as possible!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One Year Ago Today... He Proposed

me and my sweet man right after he proposed on the beach at sunset!

I love this pic of us, even though I'm blurry and he's sunburned and not-quite-smiling. We snapped this right after he proposed on the beach!

It was the last night of an amazing vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We had spent the week with our dear friends, witnessing two of them getting married. Some of Alan's family was even there, and we had such a great time! It couldn't have been more perfect, I was thinking to myself as we walked along the beach at sunset.
Boy, was I wrong!!
He stopped in his tracks and turned me toward him. "WIll you stop here with me for a minute?" he said. "There's something I want to ask you."
The water rushed up over our sandy feet, and my heart did a back flip in my chest. Oh my gosh, is this what I think it is?? His hands grasped mine and he stared deep into my eyes. I had to fight not to scream "YES!!!" before he had even asked it.
"I've never known anyone like you. You're my best friend - the love of my life - and I want to spend every day for the rest of my life making you happy...
Jessica Barst, I want you to be my wife.
Will you marry me?"
Tears welled up in my eyes - and possibly his too, but he'll never admit to it. I said yes, of course, about a thousand times. He slipped a beautiful sparkly ring on my finger and I melted into his arms.
beautiful halo diamond ring
I love my gorgeous ring!

This is our history in the making. And he surprises me every day with his kindness, selflessness, and loving nature. I feel like I won the lottery with this man, and every single day I thank my lucky stars!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Adorable Mason Jar Themed Save - the - Dates and Postage Stamps

Mason Jar and Fireflies save the date magnets

I am so excited to get my save the date custom printed magnets from Zazzle last week! I fell in love with this design a couple of years ago and had it pinned to my Pinterest Wedding board. (Yes, I had a wedding board long before I was engaged. And thank goodness I was presumptuous enough to start early, or I'd be about 3 years behind!!) 

Then I forgot all about it until a couple of weeks ago when I was frantically looking for another pin, as is becoming more and more common these days. I think we all fell into that trap, didn't we? We believed them when they told us it was a convenient way to keep track of bookmarks and stuff to save for later. Well, it's a little too convenient if you ask me. Every time I sign on to Pinterest to look for something I've already saved, I end up saving a gazillion more things and forgetting what I was looking for in the first place. Oh well. It sure is fun!  

Mason Jar and Fireflies save the date magnets

Anyway, ever the procrastinator and feeling the weight of too little time + so much to do + my little angel on my shoulder reminding me to "keep it simple, stupid!", I decided to toss out all my most recent crazy photobooth obsessed Save the Date ideas right out the window. (But don't worry! I still have plans for a DIY photobooth at the reception. I'll let ya know how that goes!)

Mason Jar and Fireflies custom postage for wedding invitations

After I customized my adorable Save the Dates, I couldn't help but splurge on the matching Mason Jar with Fireflies custom postage stamps. How cute are these?? You put the wedding date right on them!!

I could not be more happy with the quality of these custom printed items. I was really hesitant to order the full quantity without seeing one in person first, but I read the reviews and felt comfortable enough to just go for it. They are awesome!! I will be ordering these matching mason jar & fireflies wedding invitations soon :)

I had always had in mind that I would make some mason jar hanging lanterns if I had an outdoor wedding, and when I saw these I just knew it was right. I don't know that I can pull off fireflies in October, but I think some lovely little flickering lights will do the trick. I will be sure to post the tutorial as soon as they're done!

If you're looking for any kind of custom printing with NO minimum, then be sure to check out You can upload your own images or choose from thousands of customizable templates for tons of products, ranging from t-shirts to neckties and coffee mugs as well as awesome wedding invitations and postage stamps!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

DIY Ultra Moisturizing Hair and Face Mask

DIY Beauty Recipe: Ultra Moisturizing Avocado Hair and Face Mask
I've been doing a lot of research lately on DIY hair and facial treatments, trying to find easy recipes that will yield good results. (Yes, I have become slightly more vain of late as my wedding date nears; only 4 months...eeek!) I found lots of great recipes for each, but in an effort to remain frugal with both money and time as well as 100% natural & chemical free, I wanted to see if I could come up with a recipe that would work for BOTH my hair and my face to have me looking so shiny and smooth that people will think to themselves, "Oh my, she's too YOUNG to be getting married. For shame!" (Heheheh. I'm 35 :)

I researched lots of ingredients that kept popping up and built this concoction based on maximum effect for both applications with the fewest number of ingredients and minimum effort. I decided on Avocado Oil instead of the actual fruit for having so many benefits for both skin and hair but longer lasting (for storage purposes) and without the lumpy consistency of guacamole.

I have been using this recipe regularly for 3 and a half months now, and am confident that both my hair and skin have proven it worthy of being shared!

How to Make Your Own Ultra - Moisturizing Hair and Face Mask

• 2 TBSP Organic Avocado Oil
• 1/2 cup Homemade Mayonnaise* (see recipe below) or Organic Mayonnaise
• 1 TBSP Organic Raw Honey

To Make Homemade Mayonnaise:
Mix one organic (preferably pasteurized) egg yolk with 1/2 cup organic olive oil in a bowl and whisk until it looks like mayonnaise! 

*Note: This homemade mayonnaise recipe is meant for beauty recipes so it won't have much of a flavor at all. You'd need to add a few more ingredients to make this actually taste like the mayo we all know :)

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