Not the Same Ol’ Gifts

By: Lydia Scott

I love Etsy. I can find pretty much anything on there – and not the same ol’ big box, mass-produced junk, either. The majority of the vendors on Etsy are small, local businesses who are either selling items they have custom-made or are reselling vintage items. Right now it’s especially my favorite, because…it’s Christmas. I also love that they accept Paypal, which christmas shoppingmakes my budgeting and shopping easy! Below are some of my favorite finds on Etsy, but this list is nowhere near complete. Oh goodness, no! Etsy is the place to go to in order to find those super-cool, “Where in the world did you find that??” gifts.

Know a jewelry fan who seems to have everything? I guarantee you can find jewelry on Etsy that your jewelry fan does not already have and will love! Some of my favorites: Sydney Elle Designs, Whittlers Roost, and Moonshine & Pearls. Most, if not all, of these jewelry artisans can make custom pieces for you, and I promise it is not nearly as expensive as you might imagine.

And for the folks who love their lawns and gardens, one of my favorite go-to Etsy artisans is aDOORnaments. Again, if you don’t see a garden flag or accessory that is exactly right, just email aDOORnaments. She can work with you on a custom piece that doesn’t make your wallet starve.

Have a craft beer lover on your Christmas list? Check out these personalized beer flight paddles. They make me want to become a craft beer fan! I could so see these paddles being used for serving anything from liqueurs to parfaits to shrimp cocktail at a fun dinner party!

Not sure on the specifics of what you need to buy, just that it needs to fit your cousin’s “bohemian” style? Or it needs to be a “wood gift for a man?” Or maybe you have a teacher who is a “dog lover” to buy for? Let the Etsy search engine pull up items for you that you never even thought of!

Give Etsy a try. Or, even if Etsy is not your thing, make a promise to check out some of our wonderful local businesses during your Christmas shopping this year. Go by Soda City Market one Saturday morning and peruse the goods there while you sip hot coffee and munch on breakfast made by local hands.

Puttin’ On My Face

By: Lydia Scott

I’ve never liked being in front of a camera, which is why I make myself do it. My job needs it, my hobbies need it, my confidence needs it. I got made fun of a LOT as a kid, and my first marriage reinforced that same confidence-killing concept, so I spend time trying to reverse 35 years of damage. Now, I try to take pictures instead of running from them. Still hate it though, hahaha! And I can see, as a 42-year-old woman, my face is starting to really show how much character it’s loaded with. Add to that the fact that it used to be poofed up with 145 lbs more of soft chubbiness, well…the wrinkles are peaking. I see my face changing. Okay, fine…we can deal with that, right?

But I also see my make-up making the lines of time look worse. Aww heck naw, y’all!! Can’t have that. Who wants to look MORE tired than you are or MORE weathered than you do with nekkid skin? Not this chick. I enjoy trying to look polished, but not because I’m an old shoe. I like my outside to at least kinda reflect some of the inside, ya know?

SELFIES

I recently took a good look at some selfies and at the mirror, and realized my make-up needed an update. The type of eyeliner, application, and face make-up weren’t doing me any favors. And I needed favors! So I appealed to my beautiful and knowledgeable friends for suggestions. I also told them I don’t believe in pricy make-up, so if I can’t buy it at Target or CVS, it ain’t gonna happen. And they didn’t let me down! They gave me some great product and application tips, and I’m going to share the ones I tried, plus a couple I went out on a limb with. I didn’t include mascara or lipstick in this update because I didn’t change anything. I stuck with the Maybelline Big Eyes Falsies mascara, and my Victoria’s Secret lip-gloss with a tiny smudge of rose lip liner.

My favorites

My favorites

EYE LINER

Of course, black liner is no longer my friend. Instead, gray, brown, bronze, taupe, and plum seem to be much better selections for my middle-aged, fair-and-cool-tone skin, dark hair, and brown/hazel eyes. Suggestions included Urban Decay liner pencils, shadow sticks used as liner, Wet N Wild pencils (surprisingly good!), and gel liners.

What I tried: L’Oreal Infallible 24 Hour gel liner in Bronze. I have super sensitive eyes. I can’t get anything even a little moist (pen or liquid liners) in my eyes, so gel made me nervous. But you know me and my crazy risk-taking antics!!

Verdict: Holy smokes, it’s awesome!!! Put just a little on the paintbrush that comes with it and you get a softer look. Put more on the brush for a heavier look. It stays put with no irritation. Score!

EYE SHADOW

I never seem to be happy with eye shadow, so getting a recommendation from a photographer who works with a bunch of models was gold for me. She suggested the L’Oreal Infallible 24 Hour eye shadows, with a focus on soft pink and brown.

What I tried: I got a few pots in soft pink, cocoa, and amber. I also picked up a set of eye shadow brushes. A lot of their colors are super glittery, so I used a little of the glitter and more of the creamy matte, and I got a nice blend.

Verdict: These do not disappear as the day wears on, you don’t need more than one swipe to get great color, and there’s no creasing! I really love the quality, the price (around $7 each), the color selection, and that they don’t irritate my eyes.

Facelift magic: Another trick I learned was using eyeshadow base. For fair-toned skin, look for an illuminating oyster color dry cream that’s basically like creamy eyeshadow. It primes your lid for the shadow so it goes on smooth and the colors pop a little more and stay on longer. The big trick I was taught though, was to swipe it under my eye, under the eyelash line from corner to corner. I even took it a little further down close to the dark circles I swear I don’t have. *Cough* Trust me. Do it. Instant facelift, or at worst you’ll like you had a great night’s sleep. I bought the tube of Rimmel Eyeshadow Primer, and it’s very nice, and not super glittery. (Do you see a pattern here?) NYC also sells an eye shadow set that includes a base and an illuminator. I got the one for brown eyes to try it out. The illuminator works decently as an eye shadow base. The shadows don’t stay on very well, but it’s not a bad set for the few bucks it costs`!

My new look

My new look

FACE

I also decided to use a liquid foundation instead of sticking with my lifelong devotion to powders and powder foundations. The powders were not laying on my skin right anymore. They were starting to make the wrinkles stand out and my skin look more haggard. I never liked cream or liquid foundations because every single one made my pores noticeable. But now, I just felt like my skin needs the creaminess.

What I tried: Being in the L’Oreal section already, I happened to see that L’Oreal now had a line of make-up to go with that sample tube of Invisible Lift Blur eye cream I found several weeks ago and loved. Okay, I thought, let’s give it a whirl! So, in the Invisible Lift make-up section, I bought the tube of foundation, the tube of correcting concealer for eyes with the cold rollerball at the tip, and the tube of blush. Admittedly, blush in a tube was a little scary, but again, that daredevil in me just told me to go for it! I also bought the True Match powder, because ya know…powder sets it all! But just a little. I also bought a set of those make-up sponges to use to smooth all the creamy goop over my skin because somebody somewhere said it made it work better. Might as well go for the gusto!

Verdict: Oh Em Gee. OH EM GEE. I am actually impressed at how smoothly it all went on, and how close to flawless it looked when done. No crazy pore dots showing through, either! The blush looked fluorescent until I rubbed it in (yes, fluorescent!), and then it was fresh and dewy! And I didn’t feel like I was wearing a cloak of armor over my skin either. And indeed, the sponge did seem to make a difference! Happy happy happy!

My new look

My new look

So, I’m pretty happy with my friends’ suggestions, because they helped me feel a little less frumpy and grumpy. That’s what friends are for!

Adding ‘Business Owner’ To My Resume

By: Sydney Yarbrough

I never thought at age 23 I would own my own business. However, at the beginning of this year, I found myself filing for a retail license, and soon after that, filling wholesale orders.

What started as a part-time crafting hobby was quickly growing into a larger-amount-of-time business, and I have loved every minute of it. I love the aspect of getting orders and forming relationships with my customers.

So what do I make? Jewelry. Well, mostly bracelets right now, but I have plans to grow the line into other types of jewelry in the coming months. Mostly I sell on Etsy. My jewelry is carried in a few boutiques, and I hope to expand into more!

Sydney Elle Designs

Custom orders are my favorite. I love designing for bridal showers, baby showers, or even individual customers who are going to events. I get a lot of requests from those who have troubles fitting standard bangles, some too small, others too big. I’m happy to do custom sizes!

Sydney Elle Designs

Everything is still in the beginning stages, but starting this business led to me figure out dreams that I never knew I had. The unknown is scary, sometimes, but also exhilarating. I get to meet new people and make beautiful things every day! What more could I ask for?

Sydney Elle Designs

You can find my jewelry on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SydneyElleDesigns.

Sydney Elle Designs

I’m constantly adding new things! So make sure to follow my store. I’m also on Instagram @SydneyElleDesigns.

 

Sydney Elle Designs

Feel free to email me at SydneyElleDesigns@Gmail.Com with questions!

French Dip Sandwiches

By: Brady Evans

I was a pretty big tomboy when I was younger.  I so wanted to be a boy that I went to a birthday party at my neighbor’s house wearing only my older brother’s swim trunks.  I guess I wanted to be just like my big brother.  What little sister doesn’t?

Young Brady

I even regularly attended his boy scout meetings.  In retrospect, I feel badly for him. Perhaps my parents should have forced me to stay home instead of allowing me to tag along.

I remember being at our den mother’s house one day learning how to properly construct a fire.  She had us practice setting tiny teepee-like fires up in her fireplace.  Then we’d light a match and watch it burn.  I didn’t get to make a fire that day but I remember kneeling against the fireplace watching the older boys practice and being perfectly content.  Eventually most of the scouts went home but my brother and I stuck around for dinner with the den mother and her kids.

She served the most amazing french dip sandwiches.  I had never encountered such a meal before and I ate my weight of the stuff.  I remember the giant lazy susan she had in the middle of her oversized dining table.  Round and round it would go as I would load up on another serving of beef and bread.  I assume the message of how we enjoyed this meal was relayed to my mother.  Soon afterward my mother began making the french dip for our family and it was such a treat when I found out we were having it for dinner.  Carbs, meat, and greasy-in-most-delicious-way au jus.

French Dip Sandwiches

This recipe brings back all those memories.  It is absolutely delicious and a rare treat at our house.  I can eat it over and over again and not get sick of it (which happens when you’re cooking for two and chuck roasts come in 3+ pound packages).  My husband likes to put cheese on his sandwich but I prefer not to.  The choice is yours!

French Dip Sandwiches (barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth/stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ~3lb chuck roast
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6-8 sandwich rolls, split
  • 6-8 slices of provolone or white American cheese

Instructions

  1. Slice the onion into ~1/4-inch rounds. Keeping the rounds intact, place them in the bottom of the crockpot.
  2. Add beef broth, water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic to the crockpot.
  3. Salt and pepper both sides of the roast and place on top of the onions.
  4. Cook on low 8 hours until beef is fall-apart tender.
  5. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and shred using two forks. Reserve au jus.
  6. Remove the onions from crockpot and add to shredded beef.
  7. Heat the broiler. Place the split sandwich rolls on a lined baking sheet and toast for 1 minute or just until the bread begins to brown.
  8. Pile the beef onto the bottom of the rolls and top with cheese.
  9. Return to the oven just until cheese is melted. Top with sandwich halves and serve with small bowls of au jus from the crockpot.

Favorite Finds!

By: Sydney Yarbrough

I’m so excited that we’re finally into warmer weather! Spring and summer are my favorite time of year, and I love finding new clothing and being able to eat outside on a patio. Here are a few recent things I have found while being out and about!

  1. These strappy nude wedges from fab’rik in Trenholm Plaza. Fab’rik is a brand new store with lots of great clothes and accessories at great price points. I highly recommend it!Fab'rik shoes
  2. Saluda Shoals Park, located off of I-26 & Bush River Road. I had never been here before last week, but it is beautiful! Lots of places to walk, bikes to rent, and it’s right on the water. You can find exercise and serenity all in one place! Saluda Shoals Park
  3. These awesome koozies that I found at Goodwill for $0.75! Can you tell I’m ready to be at the beach? I highly recommend going thrift store shopping for summer clothes. Goodwill also had bathing suits that Target had donated as overstock (with the store tags still on) for around $2-$3 per piece!Goodwill shopping
  4. Gin’s Juice! I came across Gin while she was downtown at First Citizen’s Café. Such a sweet girl! You can also find her at Soda City on Saturday mornings. Her drinks run about $5 or you can buy a growler for $15 and have it refilled for $12. Super healthy and refreshing on those “famously hot” days!Gin's Juice
  5. This brunch at Café Caturra. The picture says enough, but I HAVE to point out that breakfast pizza! Perfect Saturday morning in Forest Acres. Cafe Caturra Brunch

Thrifting

By: Leah Prescott

For better or worse, I am a thriftaholic. I just can’t help myself. There is something so thrilling about sorting through veritable junk to discover something surprising or unique. Or just incredibly CHEAP. Most of my friends scratch their heads at my shopping habits. But some are curious when they see the irresistible deals I haul home. I try to share the love with my friends, so they often ask me to search for particular items. When I stumble across something specifically on my “in search of” list, I feel like I’ve won the Gold Medal in bargain hunting! (Too bad shopping doesn’t actually tone the body; if it did, I’d be super buff).

Retro Radio Flyer Trike $7.50

Retro Radio Flyer Trike $7.50

My personal strategies for thrifting:

  1. Frequent, quick visits are usually most productive. Occasionally, I will spend an hour sorting through clothes, but in general, my stops are usually 10-15 minutes, tops, when I am out running other errands. I move quickly through the perimeter of the store, hitting the hot spots of interest to me: housewares, toys, shoes, kids’ clothes. I don’t even look at books and adult clothing unless I have time to sort, sift and try on.
  2. Consider locations. Thrift stores operate on donations. Therefore, some of the best items can be found close to wealthier areas of town, even if the location itself may not be considered prime retail space. Though the storefront may not look appealing, the contents could be fantastic, so keep an open mind. While traveling, I once found some high-end children’s shoes and boutique toys at a hole-in-the-wall location. That’s part of the fun!
  3. Know your brands and keep a list. If you know what brands are worthwhile, you will save yourself some time. This is especially true of kids’ clothing. I have expensive taste, with a modest budget, but that’s ok. I have learned to quickly scan through a rack and can typically spot the quality items from cut, texture and sometimes pattern.
  4. Be patient. With my quick stops, I often leave empty handed. But when I do find something awesome, it makes all the other trips worthwhile. Like the time I stumbled across a gorgeous blue Le Creuset Dutch Oven, in pristine shape for $8. I thought I had died and gone to bargain heaven. Even though my next dozen trips to the housewares section might be fruitless, that bargain goes down as one of my best finds to date. So don’t be discouraged, be persistent! Even if this trip is a bust, next time you might have your $8 Le Creuset moment.
Le Creuset dutch oven $8

Le Creuset dutch oven $8

Now, I admit it, I’m tempted to keep some of my tips to myself, but, out of the goodness of my heart, I’m about to share with you my very favorite thrifting spot in the area: Palmetto Thrift on Fernandina Road. I love this store because it’s clean, organized and reasonably priced. The staff is incredibly helpful and friendly, and best of all, they support a wonderful local cause: Children’s Chance, a charity that helps children right here in our area who are suffering from cancer. Even if you aren’t a thrifter, please consider donating to this fantastic organization. They even offer free pickup and, of course, donations are tax deductible!

Vintage Candyland $1.50

Vintage Candyland $1.50

Convinced yet? Need some examples of bargain finds from local thrift stores? Here’s a sampling of my favorite steals: TOMs shoes ($4 each), kids Crocs ($1.50), Le Creuset dutch oven ($8), Hanna Andersson kids clothing (90% or more off retail), vintage housewares, Emu boots, homeschool curriculum, Twinkle Toes, retired American Girl dolls and other items (less than $10 each), vintage My Little Pony toys for pennies, Bunn Coffee Maker, stainless steel kids’ cups for a fraction of retail, Learning Tower (one of my favorite kid items ever), Rody pony, large plastic kids’ toys for a buck or two, wooden Thomas train items, and a surprising amount of matching clothing for my twin girls! Most of my clothing is thrifted as well (brands I couldn’t typically afford like Ann Taylor, Garnet Hill, White House Black Market, NYDJ, Lucky Jeans). And books, oh the books! The abundance and variety of childrens books for pennies will amaze you.

Baby Board Books $.25 each

Baby Board Books $.25 each

So if you run into a mom with twin curly headed girls and a precocious toddler at Palmetto Thrift, be sure to say hello. Just don’t take my vintage Corelle dishes. I will fight you for them.

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Sydney Yarbrough

Sydney Yarbrough, one of our new Every Woman Bloggers, is already an experienced blogger. She loves fashion and design, and even makes her own jewelry. Meet her in this video.