Keep it Together Blog Hop: Low-Budget Project Life


I have always been sentimental – almost to a fault. I have saved so many photos, birthday cards, art projects from grade school, movie ticket stubs, programs from plays, etc. I started making scrapbooks in elementary school and have several scrapbooks of photos and memories from then through high school. In college I didn’t make time for scrapbooking (although I continued to collect meaningful items). During that time, we were all about sharing photos on Facebook.

After having not made a scrapbook for a while, I started to become interested again when I made Walgreens and Shutterfly photo books of  vacation photos. I hadn’t heard of Project Life or pocket scrapbooking until I saw it on My Favorite Things and started watching Simply Alexandra’s YouTube channel.

I was already familiar with Simple Stories because I used their 6×8 binder and the 4×6 pocket pages to hold my my postcard collection. They were perfect for that purpose, but I hadn’t really thought to use them for an album. I decided to give pocket scrapbooking a try!

First, I needed pictures. I like to print photos through Walgreens because they are often ready in 1 hour or less and the location is convenient. If I don’t need the photos right away, I wait to get a good coupon code in my inbox. The best deal that I have gotten is 10 cent 4×6 prints.

As a Project Life beginner, I found Simply Alexandra’s videos to be an inspiration and really helpful to learn what types of supplies to use.

Of course I wanted to have the stamps, cards, pocket pages, and washii tape – but all at low prices!

I don’t think I ever would have purchased Project Life cards if I hadn’t found value kits on clearances for $2 and $4 at Walmart. Looking at the original price, I knew this was an outstanding deal! I quickly fell in love with the colorful prints, fun wording, and embellishments.


After searching Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann fabric, I found Wal-Mart also had the best deal on the Simple Stories 6×8 album and this Fiskar’s paper trimmer.

Michael’s has been my go-to for the rest of my supplies. I have been able to find sales on both the Simple Stories and Becky Higgins brand pocket pages.  Before shopping at Michael’s be sure to look for their coupon for 40% off any regular-priced item!

Also inspired by Simply Alexandra, I have made my own Project Life cards using cardstock, scrapbook paper, unlined index cards, washii tape, and stickers.


A peek at a page from my San Francisco travel  album


Have you ever created a scrapbook or photo book?

What are your favorite brands for paper crafting ?

Where do you find the best deals on your memory keeping supplies?

Let me know in the comments, or better yet – join the link-up!


Glossies Made Me Do It- July 2018

Happy Independence Day!

This July 4th holiday, I’m thankful to have time off to spend relaxing at home. I love summer and today with temperatures in the 90’s, I’m waiting until dusk to go outside.

In the meantime, I’m catching up on my favorite magazines. What will Glossies Make Me Do this month?

The July 2018 issue of  Oprah magazine features Oprah (obviously!) sitting among beautiful flowers with the headline What Would Make You Happy?

I like how 2018’s magazine issues have each featured a thought – provoking question. I especially like this question because it’s not always something we take the time to think about. Many of us assume that happiness is effortless or that you either have a happy disposition or you don’t. Happiness is a conscious choice that we make in the way we react to situations, how we choose to spend our time and who we choose to spend it with. Knowing what would make you happy is the first step in making the right choices.

Summertime makes me happy and ice cream sandwiches are the perfect treat to enjoy on a staycation day!

This article on page 92 featured 10 different ice cream sandwiches with flavors including mango sorbet, strawberry, coconut, and key lime. Only 5 of the flavors had recipes in the magazine.

To make the Double Chocolate Mint ice cream sandwich, I went to Pinterest and found this recipe

The recipe was simple and easy to follow. For the first batch, I made them as drop cookies (see photo). In an attempt to make more perfect circles, for the next batch, I rolled the dough and used a drinking glass as a cookie cutter.

Purple Cow makes a delicious mint chocolate chip ice cream. Using an ice cream scoop, I placed one scoop of ice cream on a cookie for each ice cream sandwich. It helps to flatten the ice cream with a fork before pressing the second cookie on top.

The cookies are delicious on their own. Adding the ice cream makes a frozen treat to cool down the summer heat.

What have glossies made you do?

Click here for previous glossy posts

Glossies Made Me Do It – Royal Wedding Scones


It’s time for another edition of “Glossies Made Me Do It”.  Link up with Happy Pretty Sweet or Shooting Stars Mag to join the fun!

This article in the  May 2018 issue of Oprah Magazine made me recall the first royal wedding I have seen and made me excited for the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle.

The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981 was known as “the wedding of the century” and still makes headlines over 35 years later. My first royal wedding memory is of waking up early one Friday morning in April 2011 to watch Prince William and Kate’s wedding on my 26″ flat panel screen from the loft bed in my dorm room. I also remember the buzz surrounding Pippa’s dress and Princess Beatrice’s and Princess Eugenie’s hats.

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After getting married, I have an appreciation for what weddings represent. Weddings are celebrations that bring people together – and this time on a world-wide level.

Also, despite there being  no monarchy in the USA, I along with most little girls in America grew up with fairy tales, Disney movies, and princess dresses.

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There’s something special about seeing an American girl become a royal.

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 The Oprah Magazine article about how to host a royal wedding watch party, has a recipe for Devon scones.

The first time I remember having a scone was when  a high school friend made them after returning from a summer with her grandparents across the pond.

I had been thinking of trying to make them at home for a while, and the royal wedding seemed like the perfect occasion. The recipe in the magazine looked more like a biscuit and I wanted something sweeter, so I tried this recipe from Pinterest.

I’ll consider this a Pinterest Win since they were not only picture perfect but also very tasty.

What have glossies made you do?

Click here for previous glossy posts ❤


A Style & Savings Guide to Birthday Freebies

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Whether you’re celebrating your 21st birthday, or looking fondly looking back on those days, birthdays are always a reason to celebrate!

Birthdays are a time to reflect, to be grateful for another year , and to time spent with people who make you happy.

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Indulging on your special day doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of stores and restaurants that offer free gifts for your birthday.

All of these treats require minimal effort to create an account by signing up with an email address. If you don’t already, I would suggest setting up a separate email account for store coupons and rewards cards.

Some of the treats don’t have to be collected on your actual birthday – so you can extend your celebration all month long!


Panera – Sign up for MyPanera and get a Free Pastry reward added to your account. The offer is good until 1 week after your birthday.

Starbucks – Sign up for Starbucks Rewards to receive a Free Drink, of your choice in any size. Must redeem on your actual birthday, offer is only good for 1 day.


Firehouse Subs – Sign up for the Firehouse Subs rewards program to receive a Free Medium Sub. The offer is loaded to your account immediately and is good for up to 6 days after your birthday.

Shopping Trip

Sephora – Once you sign up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider Rewards, you will receive an offer for a Free Birthday Gift, which is a small sample size of a popular brand-name beauty product.

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – Must sign up before your birthday month begins to receive a Free Classic Pretzel for your birthday. This perk is automatically loaded to your account on the first day of your birthday month and you have until the end of the month to use it

Dinner & Dessert

Applebee’s – Sign up for Applebee’s email club to receive a Buy One, Get One Free Entrée reward, good for up to 30 days after your birthday. Bring a friend!

Chili’s – My Chili’s Rewards members receive a Free Dessert birthday reward

Olive Garden – Olive Garden eClub members receive a Free Dessert on birthdays

Cold Stone Creamery – Join Cold Stone Club Rewards to get a Buy One, Get One Free Ice Cream offer added to your rewards account. Bring your bestie : ) The reward is available 1 week before your birthday and can be used up to 1 week after

*Note: There are other restaurants not mentioned above that will give free dessert on your birthday if you ask!

What are your favorite Birthday Freebies?

Where do you like to celebrate?



Lemon White Chocolate Cheesecake


It’s time for another edition of “Glossies Made Me Do It”.  Link up with Happy Pretty Sweet or Shooting Stars Mag to join the fun

 Redbook’s April issue has Jessica Alba as the cover girl, wearing a floral blouse and jeans – a casual, laid-back springtime look.

An ad in this issue made me bake The Perfect Cheesecake

I spent Saturday afternoon in my Grandmother’s kitchen with my Auntie – the Queen of desserts. She likes to try new dessert recipes and also has some go-to specialties like my favorite coconut cake, so I knew this would be a fun activity for us to do together.



 The vintage mixer pictured above was given to my Grandparents as a wedding present                At 61 years old, this mixer is still doing its job  – they don’t make ’em like this anymore!


The original magazine recipe is for 12 individual cupcake-size cheesecakes. We decided to make a full size cheesecake instead. Using a pre-made piecrust decreases prep time, but a full-size cheesecake needs to bake much longer in the oven than the cupcake- size cheesecakes would.

Next time I make this dessert, I will swap the cream cheese for calorie-saving Neufchatel cheese. Eight ounces of Neufchatel cheese is 70 calories compared to 100 calories for the same amount of cream cheese.


1 package (4oz.) Baker’s White Chocolate

1 Shortbread piecrust

2 packages (8oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 lemons  (1/4 cup of juice, 1 tsp. zest)

2 eggs


Heat oven to 325 degrees

Melt 2oz. white chocolate (microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds) and set aside

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl

Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and melted chocolate

Add eggs, 1 at a time with the mixer on a low speed

Pour pie filling into shortbread pie crust

Bake for 50 minutes, then cool completely

Melt remaining 2oz. white chocolate

Drizzle white chocolate on top of the cheesecake

Sprinkle additional lemon zest for decoration

Refrigerate  for 2 hours

Serve & Enjoy!


Linking up with The Blended Blog for Tasty Tuesday

A Wrinkle in Time

On the March issue of Oprah Magazine, Oprah shares the cover with her co-stars of the new movie A Wrinkle in Time. Seeing some of my favorite Hollywood stars together made me want to go see this movie.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle is a Newberry Award winning children’s fiction book that was recently made into a movie directed by Ava DuVernay  and starring Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and Storm Reid.

I have a vague feeling that I read it in elementary school, but since I didn’t remember the plot I decided to read it before seeing the movie. I searched for it on the library website – I have been making great use of the public library lately, having access to so many books for free is wonderful! (#styleandsavings)

Of course there was  a waiting list, but I was happily surprised when it was available for me to pick up a week before the movie came out. Luckily, A Wrinkle in Time is a quick read and I was able to start reading on Monday and finish it by Friday evening.

A Wrinkle in Time has really withstood the test of time – probably because when it was written it was decades ahead of it’s time. The main characters are strong women. They are not waiting to be rescued by any man – they have the insight, intelligence and bravery to be the rescuers. I’m sure that Mrs. Murray being both a scientist and a mother was not a typical trait in children’s books of the 1960’s.

Most times when I read a book and see the movie, I like the book better. There’s usually something in the book that the movie leaves out or a major change that I wish they had kept the same.

This time was an exception to the rule – I liked the movie so much more than the book. There were a few very noticeable differences that I’ll refrain from spoiling for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but they didn’t make me like the movie less.

Besides the beautiful scenery, what I liked most about this movie was the diverse cast. Diversity was present not only in the main characters Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who,  Mrs. Which and the Murray family, but also in the background characters in the neighborhood, at school, in Mr. & Mrs. Murray’s science conference and even in the other parts of the universe.

In the Oprah magazine article “Brave New Worlds” director Ava Duvernay says “When you’re dealing with fantasy, storytellers have no excuse not to embrace new visions”.

If you haven’t had a chance to see A Wrinkle in Time  – I recommend a trip to the theater. This is a good reason to spend an afternoon with friends or to inspire a younger girl in your life.

Life According to Steph

Linking up with Happy Pretty Sweet and Shooting Stars Mag  for “Glossies Made Me Do It”  and Jana Says and Life According to Steph for “Show Us Your Books”

Previous months of glossy posts can be found here

More Wine Please !


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The pastel pink dress worn by Redbook’s March cover girl Gabrielle Union made me feel relieved that spring time is just around the corner!

Gabrielle Union has had a long acting career, but I am most familiar with her character Mary Jane Paul of  BET’s Being Mary Jane. For those of you who have yet to tune in, the show is about fictional news anchor Mary Jane Paul and the challenges she faces as she climbs to the top of her career, struggles to date & keep the right man, and takes care of her family members in Atlanta who have various issues of their own.

Recently, Gabrielle Union has also gained fame for writing a memoir titled We’re Going to Need More Wine Stories, which was my February book club pick. In 2017, I found myself reading lots of memoirs by celebrities including Gabourey Sidibe, Joanna & Chip Gaines, Lauren Graham, and Mindy Kaling. Each of these books was entertaining, had moments of humor and gave insight to what their lives were like and obstacles they overcame before they became famous.


This book was so real and honest. She really didn’t  hold back on taboo topics or embarrassing stories. On an episode of Essence Magazine’s Yes Girl! podcast, Gabrielle mentioned that the book was partially the result of notes from therapy sessions.

Many of her stories are painful to read, but were topics that were worth discussing. Many women would find at least some elements of her stories to be relatable such as feeling out of place in her community, coming of age, relationships with men, and not feeling attractive relative to culturally narrow-minded beauty standards. While this book addressed difficult topics, having the courage to talk about them is the way women can help each other and make others feel that they are not alone in the struggles they face.

Seeing Gabrielle Union’s stylish outfits in the Redbook magazine article made me enter the sweepstakes to win a $1,000 shopping spree to NY & Company. As I find myself in my late twenties, wanting to be young and stylish and professional, NY & Company has become one of my go-to shops.


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Where will you shop for spring styles?

Have you read any memoirs lately?

Life According to Steph

Linking up with Happy Pretty Sweet and Shooting Stars Mag  for “Glossies Made Me Do It”  and Jana Says for “Show Us Your Books”

Previous months of glossy posts can be found here