My Friday Five

Celebrate good times… come on! It’s nice to have a few things to celebrate in the middle of winter. This week was filled with Todd’s birthday, Carter’s 100th day of school and of course normal work, school, home happenings.

1. Birthday Bash – Todd’s birthday was this week and we had some friends over to celebrate last Saturday night. We always have a lot of laughs over games and a few drinks. We were pretty proud of our bottle collection at the end of the night.

party-aftermath

2. Game of Things – Most people have heard of the hilarity of Cards Against Humanity, but I’m pretty sure The Game of Things was it’s predecessor. We’ve owned it for a few years and played it at our last few get togethers. It’s a similar concept except in The Game of Things, you have to come up with your own answers and then guess who said what. What a riot! I highly recommend both.

 

game-of-things

3. Craft Hoarding Justification – Carter’s school celebrated their 100th day of school this week. Without much notice, we were told we needed to bring in 100 small things. This is when I was happy about my craft supplies hoarding. I gave Carter the option of colored puff balls or googly eyes. He chose the colored puffs and practiced his counting at breakfast the day we had to bring them in.

100th-day-of-school

 

4. Minifig Mania – We finished up part of Carter’ Valentines over the weekend by making LEGO crayons. If you’ve never tried melting down crayons into shapes, it’s a super simple project.

Lego Crayons

 

5. Get a Leg Up – I’ve been trying to be more active lately and working on my Fitbit step goals keeps me motivated most days BUT I do find myself avoiding strength training in favor of trying to get all my steps in. I ran across this infographic workout from Cosmopolitan for a quick leg workout. (click the image for the full workout). I tried it last night and I could really feel it today! I was on a major hiatus from exercise this fall, so it feels good to get back into it.

cosmo-leg-workout

 

 

Carter is excited to get to spend time with his cousins this weekend, and we’re looking forward to a get together with some of Todd’s hometown friends. No big plans for the Super Bowl yet, but I’m sure we’ll make some treats to eat while watching the game. Have a great weekend!

LEGO Crayon Valentines

Make your own LEGO crayons perfect for a non-candy valentine or LEGO birthday party favor.

LEGO Crayon Valentines

It’s no surprise that my LEGO fanatic 6 year old wanted LEGO Valentines this year.  I ran across some LEGO molds earlier this year and bought them on sale thinking I’d use them for Carter’s birthday. I didn’t get around to doing anything with them at the time, but Valentine’s day seemed like a good time to put them to use. As with many schools these days, we cannot make homemade treats for school due to possible allergy issues for many kids, so making LEGO chocolates were out. My second favorite option was making our own LEGO crayons.

*Some supplies links may be linking to affiliate links on amazon.com or other trusted retailers.

Supplies:

  • LEGO Molds – I used both bricks and minifigure molds which I bought in a set.
  • Crayons – I recommend using Crayola. I’ll show you why later. For these you’ll need 1 crayon per minifigure and 2 crayons per brick.
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment Paper (optional – to protect your baking sheet)
  • LEGO Figure printable or other card/tag
  • Colored card stock
  • Small plastic treat bags

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the paper off of your crayons. HINT: I cut a slit down the side of each with an Xacto knife to make peeling easier.

melting crayons

Break up your crayons and fit them into your molds. You may need to cut them if you can’t get them roughly the right size by breaking them. This doesn’t need to be perfect, they will melt and fill in all the spaces. you can choose to do single or multi-colored. We made some of each. I preferred the single color, but Carter liked the multi-colored ones better.

Lego Bricks Mold with CrayonsLego Minifigure Mold with Crayons

Put into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until fully melted. Remove from oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes until semi or fully solid. Put into freezer for at least 10 minutes. Push crayons out from the mold. You may find it easier if you run the backside of the molds under hot water for a few seconds.

Melted Lego Crayons

 

Lego Crayon - multi-color head and body

I originally tried using random old crayons from restaurant kids meals, but found that they often have two much wax in them and the color and wax separated horribly in those. This happened minimally or not at all with Crayola crayons.

crayons with too much wax

We decided to put the LEGO crayons onto LEGO figure shaped cards. I found a LEGO figure outline and then used my Silhouette Cameo with the print and cut feature to make the cards. If you’re looking for a LEGO font, I liked this Lego Thick font from UrbanFonts.

LEGO Crayon Valentines

In order to hide the top of the bags, I made the head as a foldover, folded in the bags at the corners and then stapled together at the neck.

Lego-Valentine

If you have a Silhouette, feel free to contact me via email or through the comments and I can send you the cut file.

You could also just attach a little tag to the bags or print off the LEGO outline and let the kids color them in.

If you’re looking for other LEGO Valentine ideas, here are a few of my favorites:

LEGO Star Wars Glow Stick Lightsabers

Let’s Build Something Together

Heart Shaped Lego Necklaces

My Friday Five – Live from New York

My week included a work trip to NYC at the beginning of the week. Now I’m playing catch up both at the office and at home. Thankfully Todd and Carter held down the fort well while I was gone.

1. Night Sights in Midtown – I arrived in New York City on Monday evening in time to catch dinner with some co-workers. It was fairly nice (for January), so I decided to take a walk after dinner to get my 10,000 steps in for the day (more later on that). Our office is in Midtown, so pretty close to Rockefeller Center. Since it was MLK Jr. Day, there wasn’t much open and not to many people out and about. I get to NYC fairly often for work, so I generally don’t do much touristy stuff, but I always love walking around (and shopping if I have time, sadly not this trip).

NYC-Midtown

Clockwise from top left:
Helmsley Buildiing / Ice Skating Rink Rockefeller Center / Radio City Music Hall / NBC Studios

2. Random Finds – Getting ready for my trip this week, I cleaned out my purse, and it’s always interesting to see what random things I’ll find (and realize how long it’s been since the last time). I thought a few of the items were pretty telling of being a boy mom, a crafter, and a wine lover. A combination I’m quite proud of! Had the Laffy Taffy been banana, it would have been eaten long ago!

purse-findings

3. DIY Leather Cord Keeper – You may have caught my post earlier in the week for the monogrammed cord keeper I made prior to my trip. It definitely helped manage my tangle of cords.

DIY Leather Cord Keeper with optional monogram

4. Workweek Hustle – our annual health challenge started at work this week. A group of us who all have Fitbit’s are participating in a workweek hustle challenge. With traveling the first part of the week, I wasn’t sure how I’d do, but I managed to get my 10,000 steps in each day. The hotel gym + walking to and from everywhere while in the city helped. I won’t lie that I had to do a few laps within my hotel room one night to hit the 10k mark. I found this meme to be so true! (source: Pinterest)

Fitbit Meme

5. Good Eats – Of course I pretty much counteracted meeting my step goals by eating out in the city. Tuesday I had a fun night with good food and good wine, and good company of course. PJ Clarke’s is a NYC historic staple, but I had never been to its semi-private Sidecar restuarant upstairs. We went in a little discreet side door and up the back stairs.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any of my own pictures. (source: flickr)

pjclarkes

We’re celebrating Todd’s birthday this weekend by having some friends over on Saturday night. Our kids are all around the same age, so we always have a good time getting together. We’ve been playing Cards Against Humanity the last few times we’ve gotten together. So wrong, but so fun! Any other recommendations for good party games?

Linked Up At: Five on Friday; High Five for Friday; Oh Hey Friday

DIY Leather Cord Keeper

Keep your cords secure and tangle free with this stylish diy leather cord keeper. I even personalized mine by stamping the leather with what else – a monogram of course!. 

DIY Leather Cord Keeper - with monogram

I’m in New York City this week for work and while getting packed up I always struggle with all the loose cords floating around in my bag. iPhone, iPad, earphones, I’m forever untangling them – or I use extra hair ties to keep them together. I had supplies out getting ready to attempt to make this leather bracelet, so I decided to try to make something to corral some of my cords.

Supplies:

  • Leather Strap – approximately 3″ length
  • Hitch Post fastener
  • Leather hole punch (you can also use a drill or hammer and nail)
  • Xacto knife or other cutting tool

Start by creating a hole at each end of your leather strap. They will likely need to be different diameters. One will need to be big enough for your hitch post to be able to open and close over. The other is smaller for the bottom (screw part) of your hitch post. This will vary based on the size of your post, but mine were 4.5 and 2.5 mm respectively

Then on the end with the larger hole, you’ll need to cut a small slit from the hole towards the longer part of the strap so the hitch post can open and close more easily.

leather-punch-1leather-cut-slitPut your hitch post bottom piece (with the screw) through the smaller hole and then screw on your top post.

leather-cord-keeper-add-hitch-postleather-cord-keeper-hitch-post-1

At this point, you could be done, just wrap around your cord… and go!

leather-cord-keeper-loopDIY Leather Cord Keeper

I decided to try to try my hand at stamping on leather. I used my metal stamps to stamp a monogram into the leather. This is very similar to stamping on metal, but I found it much easier and more forgiving.

leather-cord-keeper-stampedleather-cord-keeper-monogram

leather-cord-keeper-monogram-1

Todd tends to lovingly eye-roll when I show him my latest and greatest projects, but this one he actually requested his own. He travels at least every other week for work, so he should get some good use out of it (or at least that’s what he’ll tell me!).

DIY Leather Cord Keeper - with monogram

I feel like these look a little masculine with the brown leather, so I may try to find some bright colored leather like red or blue to make some more for me and for some gifts.

I’m not sure I’ll have too much time to get out and about in the city this trip, but I’ll share a few pics late this week in My Friday Five.

My Experience with WEN Hair Care

I’ve been using WEN cleansing conditioner for quite a long time now. It’s not for everyone, but I’ll share both the good and the bad for you to decide and some tips for use I’ve learned along the way.

First, I’ll start out by saying I’m not affiliated with WEN in any way. I actually have used the cleansing conditioner consistently for the last 3 years, but I don’t buy it directly from their company (more on that later). Here’s what my hair looks like when it was at its longest last year. I could never have had it this long without using WEN.

family-pic

Like many of you, I saw an infomercial on WEN by Chaz Dean and got sucked into watching. A few things spoke to me about their pitch. I was desperate at the time to find something that would fix my hair issues. After I had my son, my hair texture had gone a little wacky. Two years later, I was still struggling. It was medium length, very dry at the ends but would get oily at the roots. It looked bad! I also kept losing hair at a rate that didn’t seem normal and my color would get brassy looking not long after having it colored or just really flat and unnatural.

Here’s a picture of me at the time. I seemed to have gotten rid of the worst pictures, but I think you can see the difference in texture between this and the one above.

reading-with-carter

I figured I’d give WEN a try. It was a last ditch attempt before I felt like I had to cut my hair much shorter.

Getting Used to The Product

It took me a week or two to figure out how to use the product. The first few days I was not impressed, but after reading several FAQ’s, I realized I wasn’t using enough product and I wasn’t getting it all rinsed out either. Both made my hair really greasy looking and flat. After realizing this, I made adjustments and within a few weeks my hair looked better than it had in years.

My Routine

I have fairly fine hair and it’s currently medium length. I fully wet my hair when I get into the shower and then evenly distribute 5-6 full pumps into my hair. This may seem like a lot of product and it seems counter intuitive. but you definitely need to use enough to clean your hair, within reason that is. I don’t use the comb they provide but I can see where it would be helpful for some hair types, and I also don’t user nearly as much as they recommend. It did take a while to figure out the right amount for me.

After about 30 seconds, I splash just a little water in my hair and then add 1 more pump of cleansing conditioner into my hair evenly and massage it into my scalp a little bit.

how-much-wen

Then I go about the rest of my shower business. I try to let it sit on my hair for at least 3 minutes. Then I thoroughly rinse it out. They recommend 3 minutes of rinsing. I definitely don’t do a full three minutes probably somewhere between 1-2 minutes. Again, I have fairly fine hair though.

At that point I dry and style my hair as normal. I know they say you can use it as a leave in conditioner, but I find that doesn’t work with my hair. For the record, I wash, blow dry and flat iron my hair almost every day.

WEN has really helped make my hair a more even texture, smooth, stopped much of my hair loss and really helps keep my color looking fresh for a long time. My first hair appointment after using WEN consistently, my hair stylist immediately noticed and asked what product I was using. I was a little embarrassed to admit it at first that I had ordered something off of an infomercial!

Once in a while, my hair feels like it has a bit too much “build-up” so I use regular shampoo and conditioner about once a month.

My preference for my hair type is the Pomegranate. I’ve also tried the Sweet Almond Mint, but it seemed too heavy for me. The scent is nice though.

wen-pomegranate

Other WEN Products

Initially I ordered directly through the WEN site. They always sent all these other products that I was essentially paying for but I never really used. I tried them out and they just didn’t work for my hair. I’m not a huge styling product person, so they may just not be for me.

Issues with Auto-Shipping

As I mentioned, I no longer buy directly through their site. I wasn’t happy with a few things.

  1. They sent extra products that I had to pay for, but I didn’t use. They kept saying you could change your options, but you couldn’t do that on the website and I never was able to just get my shipments to just include the cleansing conditioner. I’ve sold the unused extra products on ebay. What a pain!
  2. Cancelling was a royal pain that took me months to get straightened out. They won’t let you cancel online. You have to call customer service. I thought I cancelled 3 times over a 4-5 month period and ended up having to pay for 2 additional shipments I didn’t want. They threatened to send me to a collections agency.

I order primarily through Amazon or QVC, whichever has the better price at the time. Generally for me that’s Amazon since I’m a Prime member and get free shipping, but sometimes QVC runs great deals.

Price

It may seem pretty expensive (and it certainly isn’t cheap), but for me it’s a lot cheaper. I’m not buying both shampoo and conditioner, but the main thing is that I don’t have to get my hair cut and colored as often as I was before. I generally go 4-5 months between color appointments now. I could go even longer if it weren’t for those pesky grays that keep popping up! For a while I was going every 8-12 weeks because my hair looked so brassy, or I was buying even more products to try to combat that problem between color appointments.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, so if you have used WEN and want to offer your experience or have questions, leave them in the comments.