Summer Bucket List

Hey y’all!

Have you ever created a bucket list? I love the idea of bucket lists because they allow you to dream and be adventurous. Bucket lists don’t always have to be completed before you die; they can be for a certain amount of time, like the summer! Summer is the perfect time to be fun and adventurous.

A couple months back I really became fascinated with home decor and antique shops so I Googled “antique shops in Lexington” and other similar searches and a whole list of new places were introduced to me. This made me curious about other “hidden gems,” if you will, in my hometown: cute little boutiques, hipster coffee shops or great food places. I was shocked at the number of places I came across over the internet. I was determined to make the most of my summer so I made a summer bucket list in my fancy dancy Bullet Journal (if you missed my post about Bullet Journaling, check it out here.) At first it was just a list of places that I wanted to go over the summer. They weren’t necessarily places that I hadn’t been to before. However, as my list was evolving, I wanted it to be more of a list of places that I had never been to. My list comprised of 76 different places like coffee shops, home decor stores, restaurants, and more.

On my days off, I would get on Google Maps and type in the addresses of several places that were near each other and would find the best route to visit them all. I made a whole day out of it. I would usually start with a coffee shop in the morning, then visit several boutiques or stores and then maybe a bakery for a snack or a restaurant for lunch and then visit a few more stores. I would cross several off in one day and it was great.

My favorite boutique that I visited is Queen Bee Gifts, located in Palomar Centre. I absolutely LOVE this place!! They have so much adorable decor items and gift ideas for every style. Every time I go in there I want to buy the whole store! Definitely check this place out!

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Look how cute this place is!!!

My favorite coffee shop is A Cup of Commonwealth. When I visited, I was probably in there less than five minutes because I was taking my coffee to go, but the staff made me feel so welcome and engaged in conversation with me about my day or my weekend. I really appreciate that. They also have a whole wall dedicated to paying it forward. People buy a cup of coffee, write on the sleeve for a specific person or type of person (IE: UK Alum) and then place the sleeve on the wall for someone to pick up. So cool!

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The Pay it Forward Wall

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I didn’t get to check off everything on my list, but I did get the majority. Most of the places  that are left are restaurants (contrary to popular belief, I’m not made of money.) I’m hoping to get those checked off when I go home for Christmas break or possibly next summer. This is what my list looks like currently:

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I only have 8 left!

If you have any questions about a place on my list, feel free to comment below and I’ll let you know what I thought about it!

I would highly recommend searching for “hidden gems” or places that spark your interest in your hometown and creating a bucket list to visit them all! I couldn’t believe the number of places that I didn’t even know existed after living in Lexington for almost my whole life. You’ll never know what you may find: perhaps your new favorite coffee shop or boutique!

Hope y’all have a fantastic Thursday!

Alyssa

DIY Drop Cloth Curtains

Good morning friends. Happy weekend!

Raise your hand if you like curtains.🙋🏼 Raise your hand if you like inexpensive curtains.🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼 I’m not sure why, but window treatments can be SO expensive!! So today I’m going to share a tutorial on how to make these AMAZING drop cloth curtains with y’all! These are so simple, inexpensive and look great! (Added bonus: the canvas material is a neutral tone, so if you’re trying to go for the farmhouse/Joanna Gaines look like me, these are absolutely perfect!)

Here are the items you will need:

  • 2 packs of canvas drop cloths
  • 2 packs of drapery rings
  • Tension rod if you can’t damage the walls or a regular curtain rod (make sure whatever type of rod you use fits your window)
  • Command hooks that can hold 5lbs if using tension rod (I used 3 to be safe)

Let’s get started!

If you are using a regular curtain rod that you screw into the wall, you can skip this step: figure out how far you want the rod to extend from both sides of the window and then place pencil marks on the wall a few inches in from that. This is going to be where the Command hooks will go on the ends. Measure from the ceiling to where the top of the Command hook will be to ensure that they are the same height. Then do the same thing in the middle. Expand the tension rod and place it on the Command hooks. Put your drapery rings on either side of the rod.

Sorry I don’t have any pictures from this step. My dad was helping me set it up during move in and things were a little crazy because I had to be at a meeting at 7 so we were on a time crunch.

Now that the rod is hung up, you can begin on the drop cloths! When you take them out of the packaging they are going to be wrinkled and creased from where it was folded. In order to get these out, throw them in the washer and dryer. They’re still going to be a little wrinkled when they come out, but the major creases will be gone for the most part.

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Let’s get these wrinkles and creases out!
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When I took them out of the dryer, I just draped them over my shoulder and it created a nice coat lol

The next step is slightly tedious, but necessary. Grab an iron and put on your favorite Netflix show and go to town ironing out both drop cloths. Drape the drop cloth you aren’t working on at the moment over a couch so it doesn’t get more wrinkled. They aren’t going to get completely unwrinkled, but they will look much better!

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These are the wrinkles left after they came out of the dryer. Let’s get those bad boys out!
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I watched Gilmore Girls while I ironed
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Drape the drop cloths over a couch so they don’t get more wrinkled!

Once you’re finished with this step, comes what I think is the hardest step (at least to all the perfectionists out there.) Fold over the top part of the curtain until it is the height that it won’t drag on the floor when it is hung up. Start with one end and then bring the other end over to ensure they are the same height. Then use the rest of the drapery rings to clip them spaced evenly.

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Clip the drapery ring on the fabric. Easy peasy!
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I folded the edge of the cloth on the end rings so that it gave it a more finished look than just the edge of the drop cloth showing.
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Line up the edges of the folded part on the opposite end to make sure they are the same length
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If you use Command hooks, slide the last ring over the hook so that it won’t slide off the end.

You can hang them however you want. I folded mine over and made “pleats” in the fabric or you can just clip them and let it flow like my favorite blogger, Sarah @ Little Vintage Nest did (where I got the inspiration to do mine.)

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I folded mine so that it gave it a “pleated” look
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Sarah’s are more ruffled. Hers look great, but when I tried to make mine look like that, it didn’t look right. But she is perfect so everything she does looks amazing. I think this style works better if you have more space to work with.

Now that you have one up, repeat the same process for the other side!

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One side is done! (Sorry for the huge glare, I should have closed the blinds lol)

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You would think that it would be pretty straightforward and simple from here, however, I am convinced that even though the packaging said they were the same size, that one of my drop cloths was slightly bigger than the other because I hung the other side up so that the bottom wasn’t dragging on the floor and the folded part was way shorter than the other side! And if I made the folded part the same length, one side would be dragging on the ground. It didn’t make any sense to me.

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Both sides up, but oops! The folded over part on the right side is way longer. Gotta fix that!

I liked the length of the left side better so I attempted to make the right side even. I arranged and rearranged and took it off and put it on the floor and tried to get it even with the other side probably 15 times. My neck was killing me because I was straining to look up while standing on a chair trying to fix them! I even took off one of the drapery rings to see if the larger spacing helped. It definitely looked better! So I only used 6 of the 7 drapery rings that came in the pack on both sides.

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I tried laying it on the floor, to see if that helped. It didn’t.
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This is with all 7 drapery rings. The “pleats” just look too close together. Not at all what I wanted!

I finally asked some of the girls on my football rotation if they could come over and help me and it literally took 5 minutes!! I made the folded part longer than the other side and then folded a couple inches from the top over the back so that they were the same length and it wasn’t dragging on the ground! The folded part is a little less than two feet in length. I think the main reason why I was struggling was because I was trying to do it by myself and it’s so much easier to have other people available to help hold things up while you’re doing one side. Thank you girls!!

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With 6 drapery rings, and the folded parts are even! Its a miracle!

I apologize for the lighting being so poor. There isn’t an overhead light in the living room area (why? I’m not sure) so one of my roommates is bringing a lamp stand when they move in.

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They really make the space so much more homey! (you’re welcome for the sneak peak of the lodge!)

I’m so pleased with how they turned out and for only $11 a panel, it’s so affordable!! I want these curtains in every room of my house when I get my own place. The arranging is the only hard part, but it’s a necessary evil to getting them to look the way you want.

I hope your summers are ending on a great note. I’m so excited for fall! It’s my favorite season and my birthday is during fall, but fall means that it will be winter soon and winters in Indiana are not so great. Oh well, I’ll just enjoy the weather until then.

I also just want to give a big thank you to everyone who continually supports my blog; y’all are the best! Don’t forget to like this post, or share it on Facebook. You can even follow A Kentucky Girl’s Thoughts so you get notified every time I post something new. Just click the follow button at the bottom and enter your email address 🙂

xoxo,

Alyssa

DIY Mail/Key Organizer

Howdy y’all!

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA on the blog lately. Packing and moving back into school can get a little crazy, but I am officially all moved in! It’s so weird to say that, it seems like I was just getting back home for the summer. At least I have another month before classes start (I’m here early for my athletic training clinical rotation. I’m with high school football this fall! Although our group hasn’t actually got to go to practice yet, because our background checks weren’t done over the summer, so we have to wait until that is taken care of. It’s just been a bit of a mess to start the year lol) Anyway, I know you’re all dying to see my lodge and how I decorated it. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing a post soon to show y’all everything 🙂

I only had one slight catastrophe on move in day when I realized after my parents were already halfway home that I had accidentally left my purse in their van (major face palm). Everything turned out fine, though, they overnight shipped it to me, so it’s back now!

I wanted to share a little DIY project and what I learned from it with you lovely people on this fine Tuesday. Some people constantly struggle to keep track of their keys, so hopefully this mail/key organizer will make that a little easier! Added bonus: you can put mail or whatever you want on the built-in shelf. Since we don’t get mail sent directly to our lodge, I’m just planning on putting some decorations on it!

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I stumbled across this gem on Pinterest a little while back and thought “hmmm that would be nice to have since there are 6 hooks and there are 6 girls living in the lodge.” I then saw the attached price tag, immediately scoffed and said “I can make that for under $30.” And that I did.

Luckily, in the description, it had the measurements of the piece, so I just took the picture with me to good ‘ole Home Depot and asked an employee there about what kind of wood I should get. The gentleman that helped me was named Chris and he was oh so helpful! He even helped me load the planks in my car. Shout out to you Chris!

Here are the materials you’re going to need:

  • Wood planks: I used a 2″ x 4″ x 8′ and a 1″ x 6″ x 10′. However, in hind sight, I would have used something smaller such as a 2″ x 4″ x 6′ and a 1″ x 4″ x 10′ (Keep in mind that these are the common measurements, not the actual ones. Actual lengths are about 1/2″ less.) Either way, you’re going to have a little bit of wood left over. You can use those pieces to make another fun DIY project (like the one I mention later in this post.)
  • Wood stain (I used Minwax Jacobean)
  • Polycrylic top coat
  • Eight 1″ wood screws and two 2″ wood screws (get the Phillips head if possible)
  • 2 packs of double prong robe hooks (you’ll have one left over)
  • Tape measure
  • Hand saw (a circular saw would have been ideal, but a hand saw gets the job done)
  • 100 grit sandpaper to smooth edges

Now that you have all the materials, let’s dive right in!

The first step is cutting the wood into the lengths you need. If you use the smaller dimensioned planks (not what I used) then you’ll need four 23″ long pieces and one 20″ long piece of the thinner wood. Then take the thicker plank and cut two 11.25″ long pieces. REMEMBER: measure twice, cut once!

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I had never seen this kind of hand saw before, but I’m so glad we had it because it’s so much easier to use than a regular saw!
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One plank done!

Side note: The thinner wood I got was too wide for the piece at the top so I went back to Home Depot and asked them if they would be willing to cut it horizontally to make it about 3.25″ wide. They said unfortunately they aren’t able to cut horizontally, so I thought “I’ll just do it myself.” I was kind of annoyed that they didn’t suggest a skinnier wood to begin with, but oh well, sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. But let me tell you THIS WAS SO ANNOYING! It took forever and I had wished that I would have gotten a skinner plank to begin with. However, it would have been much easier to cut with a circular saw, but I realize not everyone has one of those just lying around the house (I don’t.) So don’t do what I did, get a smaller plank!

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Measuring out the new width

This was my set up:

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I used textbooks to hold the other end down while I cut
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About halfway there! This was so tiring
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Done!

The next step is to sand down the edges where you cut, to smooth them out. This goes by very fast.

I then arranged the pieces how they were going to go, to get an idea of how it would look. (FYI: If you are using the smaller dimensioned wood three of the 23″ long pieces go on the back (2 touching side by side on the bottom and the one you see at the top. The other one will go in the front. The 20″ one will go on the bottom acting as the shelf)

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Next, we need to stain (or paint, whatever your preference) the wood. Allow 8 hours for the stain to completely dry before adding the polycrylic top coat. This needs only 2 hours to dry (I did two coats.)

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There is an extra piece here because I was making something else as well

I used the other piece in this photo to make this fun little sign for our bathroom. At first, I didn’t like how “perfect” it looked with the starkness of the white paint against the dark wood so I scuffed it up a little bit with sandpaper to make it look a little more rustic. I like it much better now!

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Back to the mail/key organizer! Now that your wood is finished, it’s time to screw the pieces together. Disclaimer: Make sure that the power drill is charged before you try to do this (mine wasn’t so I had to wait until the next day to finish because it needed to charge for 9 hours!)

I had very little experience using a power drill before so I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t even know how to attach the screw to the drill! So what did I do? Googled it. I watched a Youtube video and figured it out. Turns out there is a thing called a drill bit that you put in the hole and then tighten. If my description isn’t helpful, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FjCpf1uUB8

Start with the back pieces and use a level to make sure they are straight (if you used a handsaw to cut the wood, chances are they aren’t going to be perfectly straight. That’s okay, just ballpark it.) Screw the thinner wood into the vertical pieces using the 1″ screws. It helps if you hammer the screws in just a little bit before screwing them in all the way. I only had four 1″ screws so I had to use 2″ screws for the top piece (It took two trips to get the correct ones. I accidentally got 1.5″ screws instead of 2″ the first time.) When drilling, make sure you apply a good amount of downward force to the drill to keep the screw straight.

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Hammer the screw in just a little bit

Once that is finished, flip it over and slide the bottom piece in between the two vertical pieces. It’s going to be a tight fit so you can use a rubber mallet to carefully put it in place (don’t use a hammer, it will damage the wood.) Next take the two 2″ screws and screw them into the sides.

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It should look like so at this point

Next, take the last piece and screw it on the front using a 1″ screw (again, I used the thicker wood so I used a 2″ screw, but I would recommend using the thinner wood for this part and the bottom shelf as it will cause the whole thing to be much lighter.) Theoretically, I could have cut the thinner wood lengthwise again, but it was just so much work, I used the thicker wood instead.

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I had some trouble with the last screw going in all the way. I think it’s because there was a knot in the wood that was preventing it from going any further, but because of this, the drill kept slipping off of the screw and would damage the wood. Eventually the head of the screw became stripped so I couldn’t get it in anymore and just took a hammer and pounded it in the rest of the way.

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You can see the head of the screw became stripped and the damage to the wood where the drill slipped off

With a little stain, you can hardly even notice any damage now!

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The final step is to add the hooks! Take your tape measure, find the middle of the board (should be at 11.5″) and place your first hook there. Take the screws and hammer it in a little bit and drill the rest of the way in. Find the center between the edge and the middle hook (5.75″) and repeat with the other two hooks.

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Find the center
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Hammer the screw in just a little bit
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Drill the rest of the way
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After one was in
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And the rest!

Ta da she’s all done! In hind sight, I wish I would have spread the end hooks out a little more. I was so focused on getting the exact measurements, instead of what I really wanted, but I think it still looks great! From start to finish, this project took me 3 days to complete (it would have been 2 if my power drill had been charged!)

Here’s what she looks like hanging in our lodge. I used four command hooks that can hold 7.5lbs each (it weighs a whopping 18lbs, but I would rather be safe than sorry!) This is why I suggested using the skinner wood for all the pieces that aren’t vertical. It will save you several pounds and command hooks!) I’m just praying that it will stay up there and it won’t come crashing down in the middle of the night, completely destroying it (fingers crossed!) It survived night one so far! I just can’t wait until I have my own place where I can do whatever I want to the walls and don’t have to mess with command hooks anymore. I’m screwing that sucker into the wall as soon as I get the chance!

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I’m the only one who has moved in so far, but you get the idea!

Now that you’re finished, sit back, admire your work and give yourself a pat on the back for making something yourself instead of shoveling out more than double what you paid to buy one off the internet. Sometimes it’s just better to do things yourself! I’ve been really proud of myself this past summer for doing things with my own hands that isn’t something easy like a painted mason jar. I remodeled tables entirely by myself! It taught me the valuable lesson of hard work and using my bare hands to make something come to life. I’ve really enjoyed watching an idea I have come to fruition with a little creative thinking.

If you’re considering doing a DIY project there are two things that you should keep in mind: time and money. Ask yourself “how much money is this going to save me?” and “how long will it take me to do it?” If it will save you money but take a long time to complete, it may not be worth the effort. Or maybe perhaps it won’t take a long time to do, you just simply don’t have the time to spend working on it, thus buying it would be your best option (or you could find a friend who loves DIY projects and ask them to make it for you 🙋🏼) The best DIY projects save you money and can be done in a short amount of time!

I hope this inspires you to try to make something yourself that you’ve had your eye on instead of overpaying for it!

Much love,

Alyssa

Hiking at Red River Gorge

Happy Monday Friends!

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to go hiking. Kentucky has some incredibly beautiful places for hiking some of which include: Natural Bridge, Raven Run, Red River Gorge and the Pinnacles.

However, this summer I hadn’t had the time to go with my friends as in previous summers because our schedules just didn’t match up and we weren’t free at the same times. Sunday was the first time all summer I got to go, which is kind of sad because this is my last week in Lex before I go back to school!

I had been thinking about buying a small hiking backpack the whole week before we went and I just totally spaced and forgot to buy one until the night before (face palm) so I didn’t get to have it for the actual hike. But the next time I go, I’ll have it with me! I ended up taking a normal-sized backpack because of its sturdiness even though I only had a few things in it (wallet, two water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, snacks and a charging case for my phone.) Even though it was bigger than I needed, it was so much better than a drawstring bag! Those things just flop around when I hike.

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The hiking backpack I bought (too late for this trip)

Sunday morning arrived and Sabrina and I got breakfast at North Lime Donuts and headed to Red River Gorge! It takes about an hour to get there from Lexington.

We always joke that we can never do anything or go anywhere without something funny/interesting or sometimes unfortunate happening to us and this was no exception. That’s why I always build in an extra hour or so into our tentative schedule because something always happens where it takes us longer than it’s supposed to!

I looked up the “address” for RRG online and put it in my GPS. It said it was on Robbie Ridge Rd, so when it was time to turn onto this road, I automatically knew we were in the wrong place. It was a VERY steep, one lane drive that had a sign that said “PRIVATE DRIVE-NO TRESPASSING.” Sabrina and I just looked at each other like “of course.” So I tried to turn around, but the road was basically on a cliff so that was impossible. I ended up just driving a little bit farther down the road where there was a very small parking lot where I could turn around.

At this point neither one of us had any cell phone service so we couldn’t look up any other directions. So we just drove around and hoped that we would see some signs to point us in the right direction. We finally found a sign for “Nada Tunnel-Red River Gorge” so we turned there and drove. And drove. And drove. It seemed like we were driving forever! Then we came to the Nada Tunnel. Let me tell you this thing is AWESOME!!! It’s a single lane, low clearance tunnel that literally goes through the side of a giant rock. The other side is visible from the start so you can see if a car is coming or not.

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What the tunnel looks like from the outside
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What the tunnel looks like on the inside! So cool!

Once through the tunnel, there are several parking lots off to the side with different trailheads. We had no idea where we were going though, so we were hoping to find a map or visitor center so we could look at the different trail options. We finally ran across a visitor center and talked with a worker inside about the trails. We decided on Gray’s Arch, which is about 5 miles.

We parked by the trailhead entrance and started our adventure!

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Since we only had a donut and coffee for breakfast, we stopped a few times along the way for a snack break. I would consider this trail moderate in difficulty.

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Some interesting things we saw on trees
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Some interesting things we saw on trees

I do think there needs to be a little more signage as to where to go. Especially at one point, there were just a mountain of rocks that looked out to the forrest. We assumed that was the end of the trail, but checked our Fitbits and we had only gone like 1.5 miles and it was 2.5 one way so we knew there had to be more. We decided to climb the rocks and the rest of the trail was located at the top. We kept on trucking, going uphill, then downhill, then uphill again, down a huge flight of stairs and then finally came out to a larger open space with a creek. There were several ropes blocking off certain parts with signs that said it was closed for restoration purposes. So we weren’t really sure if the part that was blocked off was the trail and that was as far as you could go or if the trail continued across the creek. It was just confusing so we decided to turn around and go back the way we came so we wouldn’t get lost. When we got to the mountain of rocks we had climbed before we had to scoot on our butts down them because they were very sandy which made your shoes slip a little. Our legs were jello by the time we were finished!

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The huge flight of stairs we had to climb back up

We never got to see “Gray’s Arch” which was a little disappointing, but we still had a great hike and it was time for lunch!!

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Gray’s Arch-what we didn’t get to see

For lunch, we ate at Miguel’s Pizza which is a hole in the wall, but very popular!! I had heard many great things about it before, but had never been so I was excited!

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When we arrived, there was a line out the door, but we didn’t care. We were so hungry at this point, it didn’t matter. It’s a build-your-own kind of deal so you could get pretty much whatever you wanted on your pizza. We both filled out our order slips and when we compared we literally had the same exact thing-two slices of BBQ Chicken pizza and an Ale8.

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The line when we first arrived

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They had a wide variety of apparel and gear for purchase. I ended up getting a small sticker to put on my water bottle (we also got free Red River Gorge ones as well) and a pastel yellow t-shirt with the Miguel’s logo on the back.

 

When they brought out the food, they actually gave us three pieces instead of two, but I think it was because the slices were smaller than usual. It was delicious and hit the spot after a long hike!

Once our bellies were full, we hit the road back home!

I would highly recommend hiking at the Red River Gorge! Natural Bridge is also in the same area and they have great trails as well. We had both been to NB plenty of times before, so we wanted to try something new by going to RRG. If you go to either one of these places, you must visit Miguel’s too!

Although, I’m slightly disappointed it was my first and last hike of the summer, I’m glad I got to go as a last hurrah before going back to school!

Hopefully I can go hiking somewhere in Indiana this semester.

Do me a favor and enjoy God’s creation by going out on a hike!

xoxo,

Alyssa

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DIY Floral Bucket Decor

Happy Monday y’all!

I hope your weekend was eventful or restful (depending on what you needed!)

Today I’m going to share with you a really easy DIY decor idea that will add a nice touch to any space!

First, you need to find a vessel that you’re going to put the flowers in. I got this galvanized bucket at Hobby Lobby for 50% off! I actually went there to get something else but as soon as I saw it I was in LOVE!! I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but I knew I had to have it (and for 50% off why the heck not?!)

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LOVE this bucket!!!

Originally I was thinking I wanted white flowers in it, but the more I got to thinking about it, I already have enough neutral colored decor items. I know, I know farmhouse style is all about neutrals, but I just wanted a little pop color and when I saw this on the other side of the display, it was exactly what I was looking for. I love the sunflowers and they have a nice farmhouse feel as well.

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I thought these specific sunflowers were too bright for the look I was going for and the filler pieces looked too fake for me, so I looked elsewhere. I ended up getting five larger sunflowers from Michaels and some star grass all for 40% off. I love how realistic the star grass looks!

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Star grass for the filler

I immediately went home after I had the supplies and started piecing it together. I trimmed the sunflowers using wire cutters to the length I wanted and took out sections of the star grass and wrapped it with floral wire so it had somewhat of a structure. After I had everything in the bucket, I thought it looked a little bare in some places so I ended up putting three other smaller sunflowers I already had in the middle to fill it in.

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The smaller sunflowers in the middle were used to fill in bare spots
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Finished product!

 

My only slight complaint is that the star grass tends to peek through the openings of the bucket so you have to gather it as much as possible and put it straight down into the bucket.

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Star grass peeking through the openings of the bucket

 

This project is very easy and takes very little time to do! I’m extremely happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to move in (exactly 2 weeks from yesterday!) to play around with all my decor.

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Example of how you can pair items for decoration

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You can use any vessel or any color/type of flower depending on the look you’re going for. See different styles below. Just have fun with it!

 

Hope your Mondays aren’t too Monday-ish!

xoxo,

Alyssa

 

Destiny Rescue: Dessert and Destiny Night

Happy Tuesday Friends!

As many of y’all know, I am an advocate for a nonprofit organization called Destiny Rescue. Their main goal is to rescue young girls from the sex trade overseas.

I got involved in Destiny Rescue when they came to speak in chapel at my school this past year. After hearing their mission and real stories of rescued girls, I was moved to do something. But that little voice in my head (AKA Satan) told me “You don’t need to do anything, someone else will do it.”

After chapel, they had a table in the mallway of our student center where you could buy jewelry to support their efforts or just get more information about what they do. I debated with myself on if I should go to the table or not. I don’t know why I was so scared to just go to a table. I think it was partly because of the fact that I could get involved in the organization somehow and I had never done that before.

I finally put on my big girl pants and walked over there. I browsed through the jewelry they had available and bought a bracelet. Then the girl working the table asked me if I wanted to sign up to become and advocate. The warmth in her smile made me feel so at ease and I took the opportunity to say “yes.” I was so glad that I pushed that voice in my head to the side and trusted God to take that first step.

I didn’t hear anything from them for about 2-3 months. I was slightly confused. Had I made a mistake? Did they even look at the sign up sheet? Then one day I got a phone call from Sharon. She asked me about why I signed up to be an advocate and explained some of the ways that I could get involved. The main thing that I was interested in was the “Dessert and Destiny” jewelry party.

All of the jewelry they sell is beautifully handmade by the survivors of the sex trade. They have earrings, bracelets and necklaces in a wide variety of colors and price ranges. I emailed the coordinator 3 weeks before the date that I wanted to have my party and they sent me all the necessary supplies free of charge. They even included a card swipe you can plug in your phone! All I had to do was make the desserts and invite the people.

I took to Pinterest to find some dessert recipes for the party. I decided on fruit pizza, frozen cheesecake bites, buckeyes, dessert kebabs and raspberry sherbet punch. I really enjoyed making all of the desserts and preparing for this night!

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The frozen cheesecake bites were made in an ice cube tray! (Topped with chocolate) They were pretty difficult to get out once they were done and most of them came out in pieces, but were still delicious regardless!
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The dessert kebabs had strawberries, marshmallows and brownie bites on them. I drizzled melted chocolate over them too.

My two best friends were halfway across the country and world (California and Scotland) on the day of my party so they obviously couldn’t make it. So Sabrina came over before she left to buy something and I sent pictures of the jewelry to Betsy so she could pick something out as well! I’m so thankful for such supportive friends that even if they are literally across the world, they are still there for me. Love y’all!

I had my Dessert and Destiny night this past Saturday, the 15th. The desserts were made, the jewelry was set out and I was ready for the people! I prayed right before it started that even if only one person showed up that I would be okay with that because God’s will would still be done.

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The delicious spread!!
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All the beautiful jewelry!
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Some beautiful flowers and my new letter board came in handy! If you missed my post about letter boards check it out here!

I wasn’t sure how many people to expect as it was my first time having an event like this. I invited 40 something people on Facebook, but I wasn’t sure how many people would be available to come. I was hopeful for the best!

I had two girls from work come and buy several pieces and eat the yummy desserts! Thank you Erica and Mallory!! Y’all rock. They were the only two that came and I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed at first. But I had to remind myself that it’s not about how many people showed up, it’s that I had the courage to take the initial step to say “yes” to becoming an advocate 6 months ago. It’s that Destiny Rescue was introduced to 40 something people via Facebook. It’s that the money that was raised is going to help rescue girls from the sex trade and if I hadn’t had the courage to take the first step, none of that would have happened.

Here is what I learned from this whole experience:

  • If you feel God nudging you to do something outside of your comfort zone, listen to Him. He know you better than anyone else, so if He is calling you to do something, it’s for a good reason.
  • Satan is going to tell you that you can’t do it or that you don’t need to do it because someone else will. DON’T LISTEN!!! Shoving those negative thoughts to the side is the only thing that will allow you to take that step.
  • This was my first Destiny Rescue event, so it’s okay that not a lot of people came. Next year, I’ll do more to get the word out.

If you weren’t able to come to the Dessert and Destiny Night, don’t worry! I still have plenty of jewelry available for purchase! I just have to ship back the remaining jewelry by July 31st, so if you want to purchase something, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I can send you pictures of the jewelry or bring it to you!

Check out Destiny Rescue’s two websites! (The first one is the link to their shop, which has some of the same jewelry that I had available, if you’d like to purchase them online or you can donate on their main website.)

http://www.destinyrescueshop.com

https://www.destinyrescue.org/us/

Again, thank you so much to everybody who prayed for this event and invested financially. Your support is going to help so many young girls be rescued and introduced to the unconditional love of Christ.

Much love,

Alyssa

Letter Board Love

Hey Friends!

Before technology ruled the world, times were much simpler. Written word was used just about everywhere. One way was by a letter board. Restaurants and churches used these for menu boards, attendance numbers, as well as a multitude of other things.

I have been wanting a letter board for quite some time now, but the ones I had found online were so expensive! (Over $25 plus shipping—no thanks.) So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that Hobby Lobby was having a sale on their letter boards for 50% off!! (Thanks to a local Lexington blogger I follow on Instagram!) That’s right! I practically ran to my car and raced all the way down Nicholasville Road.

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When I got there, I picked up the last one in the size and color I was wanting. I took it as a sign that it was meant to be. And it was only $14!! PTL

Obviously when you go to Hobby Lobby you can’t just get what you came to buy. It’s like Target, you get sucked in. I could literally spend years in Hobby Lobby and never get bored. And guess what? Like half of the store was half off!! Not really, but metal and wood decor items were (and what else do you really need, amirite?) I got two other items for 50% off as well and walked out of the store grinning from ear to ear. That is until I saw a Christmas tree. A CHRISTMAS TREE. DECORATED FOR FALL. IN JULY. WHAT. You can’t mix those two things!! It was an outrage let me tell you.

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Back to my letter board. There are endless possibilities when it comes to decorating your letter board. You can change it up as often as you’d like and you can display it in a variety of places. I just really enjoy the simplicity of it all and the fact that it doesn’t require me to have good handwriting. This requires zero talent to decorate. You just put the tabs into the grooves on the board and VOILA!

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This is what the letters look like when you first open it. Gently break off the letter and place it on your board!
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The tab on the back of the letters

Here are some examples of different ways you can style your letter board:

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You can display your letter board on a hutch
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Or hang it on your door
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Style it on a bookshelf
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Display it anywhere around the house!

I hope you enjoyed this post! I know I did! I can’t wait to play around with my board again!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Alyssa

DIY Floral Wreath

Hey y’all! Hope you had a wonderful fourth!

It’s been a while, so let’s jump right in!

If you’ve experienced the sticker shock of pre-made floral wreaths, this post is for you! It’s kind of insane how expensive they can be. By making your own wreath, you save so much money and it’s pretty easy too!

Let’s start with the needed materials:

  • 18″ Grapevine wreath
  • Faux flowers
  • Floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional decorative sign
  • Paint for sign (if applicable)
  • Glue gun to attach sign

I got my grapevine wreath from Michaels for less than $5 (and I had a coupon!) Do me a favor. Don’t ever go to Michaels without a coupon. They have them available ALL THE TIME. Join their rewards program and you’ll get even more deals! I promise you will save so much money.

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The only thing I don’t really like about the wreath is that the branches that stick out some  break off easily. Other than that it’s great! It even has a little metal ring you can use to hang it from!

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I got my flowers from Michaels and Dollar Tree. I wanted pink, blueish/purple and white! The floral wire is also from Dollar Tree. Cut the flowers into individual stems with your wire cutters. Do not use regular scissors for this step! You will cut yourself like I did a few weeks back. Wire cutters are so much easier. This is what they looked like after I separated them into individual stems.

 

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The next step is where your creativity comes in. You just stick the flowers in the wreath into a design that you like! I wanted the blue and pink flowers intermingled and the white on the edges. Just make sure the metal ring is at the top! I put all the flowers where I wanted them to go and then realized the ring was on the side (face palm) so I had to redo it.

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After I got the flowers placed where I wanted them

The next step is kind of tedious. Flip your wreath over and use the floral wire to secure the branches that are loose and then trim the stems that are sticking out a lot with the wire cutters. The easiest way to secure the floral wire is by tying it like a bread tie.

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Secure loose stems by tying floral wire like a bread tie

The final step is to use you glue gun to secure your decorative sign! I got my 12″ hello sign from Etsy for $14. It was originally unpainted but I painted it white. I think the sign really pulls it together! Without it, the wreath is a little plain. It just adds the last needed touch! Another option you could use is your room number/address number or the letter of your last name.

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My “hello” sign I purchased on Etsy
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The final product! I’m in love!

That’s all there is to it! This project is so fun and simple and not to mention cheap! The total cost was about $27. That’s less than half of what some pre-made wreaths sell for! So worth it!

Hope y’all enjoyed this post!

If you make your own wreath, I would love to see it!

Much love,

Alyssa

Bullet Journaling!

Happy Hump Day!

Bullet journaling is the latest trend when it comes to planners/organization. When I discovered the amazingness that is bullet journaling I was so stinking excited. I wanted to start IMMEDIATELY!

If you don’t know what bullet journaling is, let me explain. It’s kind of whatever you want it to be. If you want it to be an agenda, it’s an agenda. If you want it to be a book of lists, then that’s what it will be.

However, let me say that what the official bullet journal website considers bullet journaling and what creative/artsy girls around the world consider bullet journaling are two very different things. The bullet journal website intends it to be very clean and simple. No decorating, no pictures, just words on paper. What fun is that?! If you look up bullet journal on Pinterest, that is the version that I’m focusing on. So with that said, there are pretty much no rules when it comes to bullet journaling.

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The official bullet journal website version. BORING!

The main thing that sets bullet journaling apart from other planners/organizers is that you do ALL the work. That’s right, there are no pre-made layouts.

I mainly use my bullet journal as an agenda for school, work, and all my other activities. I had been using the Lily Pulitzer agendas which I LOVE, but sadly they are getting pretty expensive and YOU DON’T EVEN USE HALF OF IT. It’s an 18 month agenda instead of a 12 month one so there are 6 months of overlap that you don’t even use. That was annoying me so I decided to try something different for this school year.

I had looked online for some different bullet journals and I decided that I wanted a fuchsia dotted Moleskin journal. One day after class I went into the bookstore to try to use up some of my points since it was near the end of the semester and I FOUND THE EXACT BULLET JOURNAL I WAS WANTING! I practically jumped up and down right there. I immediately bought it and ran back to my dorm to get started.

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My Moleskin dotted journal

The classic bullet journal has dotted pages (similar to grid paper but with dots.) You can use grid paper if you want, but personally I think the dots make a cleaner look.

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The official bullet journal website has a how-to video guide on setting up your bullet journal. This isn’t exactly necessary, but can be helpful if you’re looking for organization. The only things I took from it are the key and index.

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The Key: I really only use task, completed task, event and completed event
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The Index

I do a monthly spread for each month that has a full calendar with all of my events in one place. The weekly spreads follow and are more detailed.

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This is what my monthly layout looked like while I was still in school
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When I came home for the summer I obviously didn’t have as many “tasks” so I made a calendar for fun events and a separate calendar for work

You can also do some fun pages like “Places I want to go this summer,” mood trackers, “Movies I want to see,” etc. I love the mood tracker because you can see your moods of the whole year at once. I’ve been working on my “places I want to go this summer” list. I started out really well and got a bunch checked off in a short time, but then I went on vacation and started working on my tables and then work got in the way so I haven’t gotten to check much off recently. Hopefully I can get back on the wagon. I’m about halfway there! (Considering I only have a little over a month left of my summer, I need to get going!)

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My list-I need to get going!
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“Year in Pixels” Mood Tracker. Since I started in April, it’s not the entire year
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The “future log” allows you to see the whole year at a glance

When I first started I did a ton of Pinteresting to find layouts to use. I’m not kidding when I say I worked on it for like 7 hours the night I got my bullet journal. I think part of the reason it took me so long is because I was so OCD about it. Every page had to be perfect, but now if I mess up a little, it’s not a big deal, the world still turns.

Here are some fun pages I discovered on Pinterest that I hope to add to my journal one day:

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Map of the states you’ve visited
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Movies you want to watch

A big concern for people who may be interested in starting a bullet journaling is time. It takes a ton of time on the front end to get your bullet journal started. However, once you have your key, index and monthly layout done, it really doesn’t take a ton of time to do each weekly spread. I usually do the next weeks spread each Sunday.

The other thing that may take up time is decorating your bullet journal. You can make it as plain or as decorative as you want. I keep mine pretty simple since I can’t draw. I write in colored pens to add some pop and maybe use some washi tape or little doodles here and there.

Here are some examples of my spreads:

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Add some fun doodles like the succulents in the bottom right corner
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Have fun with it! Add a verse of the week, gratitudes or even the weather forecast
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Add washi tape for some added flare

Overall, your bullet journal should be exactly what you want it to be!

Have fun journaling!

xoxo,

Alyssa

How to Style a Coffee Table Vignette

Happy Thursday y’all!

A coffee table vignette is a fun and easy way to incorporate home decor on a budget and look great too! There are endless many ways you can style a vignette, so let’s get started!

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There are five main things that you should keep in mind when styling a vignette:

  1. Tray
  2. Elevation
  3. Greenery
  4. Books
  5. Trinkets

First let’s start with the tray. This creates a boundary for your pieces. Without the tray, your table just looks cluttered. There are lots of different types of trays: wooden, plastic, wicker, metal, etc. The type/color of tray you pick depends on how you want it to look on your table or what style you’re going for. I got my tray at the Vintage Market for $25. Since my coffee table has a dark finish, I wanted my tray to be lighter to have contrast. See the difference with and without the tray:

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Without the tray the table looks messy
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The tray groups all the pieces nicely!

The next element is elevation. This creates a sense of dimension and is far less boring than if everything were the same height. Elevation can be achieved in a few different ways. One is obviously having pieces that are different heights. If you have pieces that you have your heart set on using for the vignette, but are all the same height, you can create “faux elevation” by stacking items. For example, putting a mason jar on top of a stack of books next to a lantern. Having two or more different elevations is ideal. I got the lantern at JoAnn’s Fabrics for $20 (it was originally $40!) I already had the LED candle inside which was from Target.

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Up next is greenery! Whether it’s real or not, having some greenery will brighten up any vignette and bring the whole piece together. My personal favorite are succulents (I’ve only killed one of two so far!) The terra cotta pot is from an estate sale that I got for free! (it was the original terra cotta orange so I painted it a light blue and used sandpaper to scuff it up a little) I got my succulents from Kings Gardens for $8 and the dark pink flowers are from Dollar Tree. I got the dome and cotton stems from the Vintage Market. The mint julep cup is from Bargain Hunt ($5) and the light pink flowers are from JoAnn’s Fabrics. While I was cutting some floral wire for the flower bouquet, I accidentally cut my finger. It wasn’t very big but I couldn’t tell how deep it was. I didn’t end up needing stitches, but I was 30 minutes late to work (crafting can get pretty serious sometimes, lol.) See some greenery examples below:

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Multiple “greenery” options (only the succulent is living.) I’m planning on putting a wood circle underneath the wood dome
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After I got the blood cleaned up from cutting my finger

Books are the next piece that bring the vignette together. They can be cute, coffee table books that you plan for your guests to thumb through or old books that are simply for looks. You can even paint old hardcover books to give them a fresh look! I got mine from an estate sale for $1 each. Magazines can work too, but you should at least have one actual book. I actually just bought The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines and I absolutely cannot wait until it comes in so I can read it all in one sitting! I love that family so much. So I might use that in my vignette at some point.

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Cute coffee table books
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Painted books from my fave farmhouse blogger Sarah at Little Vintage Nest! I love the piece of lace that ties them together so beautifully (figuratively and literally)
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The old books that I have

Last but not least are trinkets. There are tons of varieties of trinkets out there so this is where you can have some fun. Whether it’s a little dish or figurine, trinkets add the finishing touch to your coffee table vignette. I got the blue bird from Queen Bee Gifts (I LOVE THIS PLACE!) for $8 or $9 I believe. The horse shoe was $5 from Feather Your Nest. I used to have several from the horse camp I went to for several years when I was younger and I wish I would have kept them! Oh well. The gold hexagonal figurine was $2 at Tuesday Morning. The Kentucky shaped item is actually a cookie cutter. I wasn’t planning on using it for my vignette, but when I was grabbing items that I could possibly use for this post, I saw it and thought “hm, that could work.” I probably won’t use it at school because none of my other roommates are from Kentucky. It is a cute way to add a personal touch though.

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Cute trinket options

Overall, make the vignette yours! Add pieces that are part of your personality. And lastly, have fun with it! If you’re not happy with how the vignette looks, change it up! Move things around every once in a while. Mix it up at the start of a new season or when you’re getting bored with it. See multiple options below:

 

Have fun styling!

Alyssa