My Favorites of 2013

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My favorite new pet- my mom’s kitten who came to live with us. I didn’t know her name so we named her Piper (after the witch from Charmed).

2013 was filled with ups and downs but definitely there are some favorite moments, crafts, recipes, and such from the year.

Here are some of my unforgettable favorites!

Favorite Song- Cups by Anna Kendrick (This is my favorite rendition, being a tapper!) 

Favorite New Recipe- One Pot Wonderful Pasta

One Pot Pasta BEFORE

Favorite Photo of the Year- Taken January 29th, 2013 at the Cleveland Metropark Zoo

Favorite Buy- Pink Sparkle Sweatshirt by Aerie (no longer available)

rose pink sparkle sweatshirt @Aerie by American Eagle by American Eagle

Favorite Craft- DIY Anthropologie Diorama Bookends

DIY Anthropologie Diorama bookends

Favorite Nail Design- Pink french tips with black bows

Pink Bow Nails

Favorite New App- Cocoppa (for iPhone)

Favorite New Font- Lavenderia

Favorite Book Read- “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova

Favorite TV Show Watched- Downton Abby

downtown abbey quotes | Downton abbey quotes - Google Search | Downton Abbey

Favorite Family Trip- Going to see the Lake Erie Monsters Hockey Team!

I’m sure that there are more favorites floating about my brain, but those are the highlights. =)

What are your favorites from 2013?

DIY Fairy Photo

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Recently I had the privilege to create a fairy out of my adorable “niece” Hailey. I had so much fun with the photo that I also took a photo of Moira with the sole purpose in mind of turning her into a fairy as well. Well, people liked the photo tons, and many asked how I did it. Hence I am creating this tutorial showing the process that I use to create a soft, magical type of photo. **There are many many ways to do things in Photoshop, I’m sure that there are different things that you can do to create the same effect. This is simply my process. **

fairy photo how to

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 4.18.14 PM

1. Open your image in Photoshop. (I use Photoshop CS6)

2. Color correct the image and balance the brightness like you would any image.

add overlay

3. Create a new layer and change the layer to “Overlay”

soft white brush

over lay effect

4. Using a soft white brush, highlight the skin. This will look very bright and not normal at first, just go with it.

turn down opacity

5. Turn the opacity down to something that looks more magical glowing than ghostly.

6. Compress the layers into one.

peachy glow

7. Now is where you can add color effects and whatnot. I used an action called Peachy Glow from The Coffeeshop Blog.

If you aren’t familiar with actions, they are AWESOME.

The Coffeeshop Blog in particular is my favorite source of actions.

add new layer

8. Once you are satisfied with the effects, create a new layer. This is where you are going to add the wings and the glitter effect.

add wings

wings

9. Find a brush pack that has wings that you like. I got mine from Deviant Art but there are tons out there.

Play around and find a pair of wings that you like and add the them to the empty layer.

You may have to do a little positioning and erasing to get the effect that you want.

add glitter

10. Once you are set with the wings open your glitter brush. (Same deal as the wings, do a search there are tons of glitter brushes out there.)

**Make sure you make another layer so that you have more control over what is going on.

11. I added some larger glitter effect to the dandalion she was holding, turning into a magic wand.

I also add some sparkle lines to add a magical effect. It is all about taste and what you are looking for.

12. From there you can crop the photo or what not. That is the jist of how I turn adorable kids into fairies! Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions.

(This was the first time doing a tutorial like this so there is a pretty good chance I am going to confuse someone about the process, lol!)

before and after

Today…

IMG_3107Today I am:

{Listening} to my girls play house with 1980’s Battle Beasts, too cute!

{Watching} Lilo & Stitch (for the 1,000th time) with Moira

{Eating} leftover cilantro-lime pork tacos… yummo….

{Wearing} my DIY bird’s nest necklace and loving it!

{Feeling} excited to substitute some upper level jazz classes tonight

{Playing} Bollywood music to choreograph to

{Reading} gardening blogs, websites, and books for inspiration

{Hoping} that I can find some new recipes to use all our awesome produce

{Smelling} my Scentsy Hello Yellow candle warmer… if I was a smell this would be it!

{Counting} the days until the garden sale near my house, we need flowers asap =)

{Loving} the warmer temps and all the fresh green outside… bring on the sun!

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Happy Monday friends!

The Importance of Sisters

I have sisters, lots of sisters in fact. They are wonderful ladies who are there for me no matter how much time has passed, no matter how far apart we live, and no matter how busy their lives are. They are my family and they are very important to me. They are my sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha.

It is no secret that I have had a less than great childhood. Even today my blood-related family gives me enough grief to remind me why I  prefer a couple states in between me and them. It wasn’t until college that I started to let my guard down, when I joined ZTA and became part of something that really is forever. And I am lucky enough to have three daughters that understand that all these ladies are their “aunties” and that they are also part of this awesome organization.

Two year ago!

In the past week I have seen a couple of sisters whom I haven’t seen in years. Even though we don’t live too far from one another our lives are busy, we all work in and out of the home, and time seems to fly by. But the stars seemed to align and I have gotten together with them three times in one week… and it is like we just saw each other yesterday. We just picked up where we left off, our kids played happily, and we got to talk and catch up. It was lovely to say the least.

Yesterday at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Four Zetas and a lot of kids, lol!

I am so lucky to have these ladies in my life. I don’t have to pretend that my life is picture perfect, I can be real. I don’t have to be super-mom, have perfectly polite kids, and I don’t expect any of them to be that either. We are family. It is refreshing to be with gals who get me and know where I am coming from. And the fact that all of our kids get along despite not seeing each other often is icing on the cake.

My philosophy is that life is all about balance and fate’s way of making up for my lack of a blood-related family is to give me my Zeta sisters. When I feel down about how things are going I remember that, call up a sister to talk, and keep moving forward. And I would do the same for any of them, no questions asked. Love my sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha! ZLAM ladies!