Monday, June 8, 2020

DIY Project: How to Hang Outdoor String Lights


One of the first projects I wanted to work on for our deck was to hang string lights. I just love the warm and inviting atmosphere string lights create. When we were house hunting, the deck was a big bonus for us. I envisioned hanging out back watching the kids play and eating meals al fresco. 

Today, I am sharing how to hang outdoor string lights and some helpful tips we learned along the way. This project was easy, effective and budget-friendly. The whole project cost me about $80. 

Before I bought supplies, I did some research on how I wanted to complete the project. I planned out the design for the lights, the distance the lights needed to cover and what type of lights I wanted to use. I love the look of Vintage Edison bulbs. I found a set on Amazon that were heavy duty to ensure they can withstand the outdoor elements like wind and rain. 

I had to decide how I would attach the lights. I researched lots of options, but ultimately choose to go with electrical conduit. It is durable, effective and budget-friendly. 
What You'll Need:
black zip ties
(1) 15 ft. outdoor extension cord
deck/wood screws (I used 6)

Other tools needed:
drill
ladder 

Once I bought all the supplies, I spray painted the electrical conduit black. You can also spray paint the coupling to match. I used the coupling so I didn't have to drill a hole in the pole to attach the lights. This prevents the zip-tied lights from slipping down the pole for any reason. 

Next, I mapped out where I wanted to attach the cup hooks into the side of our house and where the pole would need be attached. We used the conduit straps and deck screws to attach the conduit directly onto our deck. Once the cup screws and post were in place, we were ready to hang the lights. 

Before hanging the lights, test out the strand by screwing in a bulb and plugging it into the outlet. Our strand of lights did not have the bulbs attached. I recommend hanging the lights without the bulbs first so there is no chance of breaking any bulbs in the process. 

We started hanging the lights from the point where we plugged the lights in. We secured the strand to the cup hooks with a zip tie. Then, we extended the strand to the post and secured it with a zip tie in-between the screw coupling. We strung the cord back to the side of the house and so on. 

Once we finished hanging the entire strand, we attached the bulbs and plugged the lights in. I love how it turned out. The lights give off the perfect amount of light that is warm and inviting. I also purchased an outdoor outlet so we can control the lights with my phone or voice control with Google assistant. 

Helpful Tips:
  • Map out the design for your lights to ensure you buy enough sets to cover the desired distance
  • Test the strand out before hanging the lights.
  • Remove the bulbs before hanging the lights to prevent bulbs from breaking 
  • Start with the end that plugs in.  
We cannot wait to enjoy more time outside this summer with our new outdoor string lights! 









Friday, May 1, 2020

Meal Planning: A Month of Dinner Inspiration

Are you cooking alot more these days? Meal planning can be stressful and I want to help! I've put together some dinner inspiration for the whole month! None of these are my own recipes, but they are meals I have cooked for my family and have been our favorites! 

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration! Most of the recipes I'm sharing today are from my Food & Recipes board

My meal planner includes 4 weeks of meals. I typically only cook Sunday through Friday. I've included the links and some of my tips further down. 

I try to meal plan for an entire week before I  make my grocery list because multiple trips to the store is annoying. I hope you find this planner helpful.  What are your favorite meals to cook for your family? I would love to know- drop a comment below with your recommendations!


WEEK 1
Steak Stir-fry: Super easy recipe- just add your favorite veggies. My favorites are carrots, snow peas, baby corn and broccoli.
Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles: Feel free to add shrimp or chicken to this recipe

WEEK 2
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps: I don't care for water crests so I substitute with chopped baby corn and zucchini 

WEEK 3

WEEK 4
Air Fryer Honey Glazed Salmon: squeeze lemon in your glaze
Chicken Scampi I substituted the rice for angel hair pasta and served with peas or broccoli

Deck It Out: Inspiration for Your Outdoor Space

Our family has been spending a lot of time outdoors lately and our house comes with a great backyard and deck so I have been itching to start transforming the space.

Our deck has enough room to include a dining area and another section perfect for a grill and conversation set. I have been on Pinterest a lot lately looking for ideas. One thing is for sure, it can get pretty pricey! It will have to be a work in progress, but I am excited to get started.

I used some left over birthday money to make our first big purchase, a dining set. We have had great weather and I cannot wait to start enjoying the space and eating outdoors!

Since I have so much time to daydream, I thought I would share my idea for the space. Let me know what you think?





Tuesday, April 28, 2020

DIY Custom Beaded Bracelets


This past weekend I was brainstorming some ideas for Mother's Day gifts. It's been challenging to think of gifts since I can't exactly make it out to stores. Thanks for Michael's curbside pick-up option, I thought it would be fun to get crafty this year. 

It also helps to pass the time while we are all spending more time in the house. 

I was browsing the bead selection and loved the idea of rose gold bracelets. 

Today, I am sharing this super easy DIY project that only requires a few things in addition to a pair of scissors.

WHAT YOU NEED:

elastic magic cord
alphabet beads for personalization
beads for the rest of the bracelet






 HOW TO ASSEMBLE
Step 1: Set aside the alphabet beads you'll need for your custom message/name
Step 3: Unwind the elastic and start adding filler beads. I used 25 beads before adding my alphabet beads. I added 25 more beads. *You may want to measure out your wrist to ensure it fits comfortably on your wrist. 
Step 4: Wrap the bracelet around your wrist to ensure a comfortable fit and cut the string. Leave it a bit longer so you can tie the two strings together. 
Step 5: Triple tie the knots to secure the bracelet. You can use glue to ensure the knots are more secure. 



I made sure to make a set for myself too since I had the extra beads. 


They pair perfectly with my Apple watch that is also rose gold. 

This project was fun, super easy and only cost me about $10 total for the 11 bracelets I made.

Since I have some beads leftover, and to celebrate Mother's Day, I'd love to make a custom set for one of my readers! 

TO ENTER:
1) Follow me on Instagram (@glitterandjuls)
2) Like my last three IG posts
3) Tag a friend or two
3) Comment below with your custom set request.

I'll choose a winner this week! Good luck! 


Monday, April 27, 2020

3 Tips to Staying Active with Young Kids + Matching Mother-Daughter Sets with Fabletics


Keeping up with exercise is a hard enough task for anyone, but when you have kids it's even more difficult. Most of my time is filled with mom-duties for my four young kids. I struggled with finding any time to exercise, but starting in 2020 I wanted to really focus on my health.

I've learned some things that have helped me prioritize fitness and today I'm sharing 3 tips for staying active with young kids.

[1] FIND THE RIGHT TIME: This is probably easier said that done, but I realized the best time for me to work out is when my kids are asleep. I am pretty exhausted by the end of the night after the kids go to bed so I knew evenings wouldn't work for me. But, I am a morning person so I knew sacrificing a little bit of sleep in the mornings would work best for me. Definitely, do what is best for you because you do not want to dread working out.  I found that working out in the morning is a great start to my day. I feel accomplished, I enjoy my me-time and I don't feel rushed.

[2] MAKE YOUR WORKOUTS FUN: Let's be real, not everyone looks forward to working out. But I have found ways to make workouts fun. I love dancing and high energy type workouts so when I gravitate toward dance and barre workout videos. I have a subscription to Pop Sugar Fitness on YouTube and they have some great dance workouts. I also love the Fit On app. The trainers are excellent and workouts go by so quickly when you are having fun. If you haven't had a dance sweat session with trainer Aubre Winters, I highly recommend! Also, workout to your favorite music. Pamela Reif has some great song workouts.

[3] STAY ACTIVE ALL DAY: Even when you don't have time for a structured workout, make a point to stay active anyways. If you're working, use your lunch break to take a brisk walk. I found that wearing my Apple watch helps me to stay motivated. Gotta close those rings! If you have an Apple watch, you know what I'm talking about. Another fun feature on the Apple watch is sharing your activity with friends. It becomes a friendly competition to help motivate you even more.

BONUS TIP
[4] If all else fails, GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED: Some days are just harder to get a workout in when you have young kids. Instead of feeling defeated, get the kids involved. Especially during quarantine, we go on walks around the neighborhood at least once a day. They get to burn some much needed energy and you all get your steps in! Win-Win. And I am sure everyone benefits from the fresh air.

MATCHING MOTHER-DAUGHTER SETS WITH FABLETICS

Do you like twinning with your daughters? I thought I would do it more often, but after seeing these cute work out sets I want to twin more with my girls!

I am excited to share Fabletics and Ginger Ressler released a Mother-Daughter capsule just in time for Mother's Day. I could not be more in love with this collection.

This capsule is super fun and meant for kids to feel confident, comfortable and cute! I know I feel motivated to stay fit when I feel good in what I'm wearing. It can inspire your kids to want to focus on staying active too! 









Tuesday, April 21, 2020

3 Ways to Style a T-Shirt Dress





Because I needed a reason to wear real clothes, I decided to do a style session with this Target t-shirt dress. It's actually on sale today for $10.50 so with so many versatile ways to wear it, it definitely pays for itself. It comes in several other colors also. 


The first way I styled it is with a pair of statement earrings and my favorite Grayson button up tied in a knot over the dress. I added some block heels for a dressier work option, but I could totally see myself pairing it with a pair of flats too for a more casual look. 


For the next look I swapped out the earrings and added a denim vest. I've owned this vest for several years and I love being able to pair it with so much to add some texture. I slipped on a pair of sandals to complete the outfit. 


For the third look I added some Nickel & Suede earrings and tied a chambray button-up around my waist. I wore some sneakers for a super causal look. 


I can think of so many other ways to wear this dress so I am happy I bought it. I love pieces that I can wear multiple ways. What's your favorite way to style a t-shirt dress? 

Which of these three styles is your favorite?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

One Month of Quarantine: What I've Learned



Yesterday marked one month of self-isolation and quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  My kids have been out of school, my husband has been working from home (I was too, before being furloughed), and Noah and I have only been out of the house for quick essential trips to the store.

During this time, this is what I've learned:

1. I've never spent so much money on groceries in my life. With 6 people in the house it is impossible to make groceries last more than a week.

2. Thank goodness for sunshine. I'm thankful we can spend some of our time outdoors. The sunshine is an instant mood booster and going for walks is a great way to get us moving. I try to get all of us out at least twice a day.

3. Kids are troopers. Through this time I don't think we have given our kids enough credit. They have had their little lives turned upside down too. Their usual structure of school and relationships has been thrown out and they have had to adjust to so much change in a short amount of time. They miss school and they miss playing with their friends. I am proud of the way my children have been handling the whole situation.

4. Americans are some creative problem-solvers. We have faced all kinds of unique challenges through this time. Hospitals are in need of PPE, Teachers are teaching from a distance, businesses are closed, etc. I have loved seeing all the stories of how everyone has found creative ways to solve all the challenges. People are sewing masks, restaurants are thinking outside of the box to serve their customers, we are using technology to help kids continue their learning and more.

5. I am over doing dishes and laundry. Anyone else?

6. I'm content with less. As a family, we used to find ourselves at Target every weekend almost. You know what happens at Target. You go in for one thing and come out spending way more. This whole situation has shown me how bad our spending habits were.

7. Self-care is so important. Spending 24/7 with your family is great and all, but it can be a lot. I have been getting up before my kids to get some alone time and it makes such a difference. During the week I use that time to get a work out in. On the weekend, I just sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy it while its still hot. Just 30 minutes is great for your mental health.

8. It is okay to give yourself a little grace. The days are long and we have so much on our plate. Whether it be the emotional burden or all the extra tasks we are adding on, it can be tough. Perfection is an illusion and it's okay to not do it all. We are all doing the best that we can.

9. It is alright to grieve. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions. I have tried to put on a brave face for my family, but some days are harder than others. I've learned that it's okay to just have a crappy day. It's okay to grieve the things that have been taken from us due to the pandemic.

10. During this time, I remain grateful. I am grateful the virus has not reached my close friends/ family members. I am grateful Noah and I still have jobs. I am grateful for the best support system anyone could ask for. The list goes on and on. This pandemic has been a great reminder that we still have so much to be grateful for.

We will all get through this. We just have to keep the faith, be kind to ourselves and others, and STAY HOME.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Quarantine and Chill: What to Watch During Corona Quarantine


Since we are self-isolating and spending more time at home, I thought I would share some of my picks for shows/movies to watch. 

On Netflix, you have to check out Tiger King. I promise you have never seen anything like it. Just when you think it's nuts, it gets even more outrageous. Another series/show to watch is Ozark. Season 3 was just released and Noah has been binging it. This is one series I need to catch up on and now that quarantine has been extended to May 30th I think I can manage it!  If you are into something more light-hearted and in the romance department, I would check out Love is Blind. It is a dating show that tests the concept of falling in love and getting engaged without ever seeing one another. 

If you have HBO, checkout Westworld. Season 3 premiered earlier this month. If you like Sci-Fi or AI, this show is right up your alley. It's one of those series that has you asking a million questions but it's really good! 

Interested in a kid-friendly movie? I took the kids (minus Mia) to see Disney's Onward when it was in the movie theatres. I didn't go into it expecting to like it that much, but it was a super cute and heart-warming movie. Because of this craziness with the corona virus, Disney + is releasing this movie early! 

One show that I cannot wait to come back is Killing Eve. I love a strong female cast and this show is so good for so many reasons. I love the love and hate relationship between the two characters and if you love crime or thriller type shows, you have to check it out! You have time to binge the first three seasons in preparation for the release of Season 4. 

I love a good show to binge or discovering a new movie. I stumbled across the movie "Yesterday" over the weekend and I really liked it. It wouldn't be a movie I'd necessary pay to watch, but it was a cute little love story with awesome Beatles music. It made me laugh too. 

My guilty pleasure shows are singing shows. I love American Idol, The Voice and Songland. If you like a feel-good makeover show, then I encourage you check out QueerEye. I love the Fab Five! 

Other great series/movies I've loved: 
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Stranger Things 
Dark
Game of Thrones
The Affair 
Outlander
Parenthood (so good!)
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Outsider
Succession
Big Little Lies
Sharp Objects
True Detective 

What shows/movies are you guys watching?? I'd love to know! Drop some recommendations in the comments!!

Monday, March 30, 2020

My View From Home

Three weeks ago, I was starting a new job. It was my first week in the office. It also happened to be the week when everything turned upside down because of Covid-19. For weeks prior, the virus was some foreign issue most people were not paying much attention to and now it suddenly became very real.

Three weeks ago I was feeling so excited for a fresh start and I was starting to feel settled in Charlotte, but alot has happened. Self-isolation/quarantine is being extended, schools are cancelled, businesses are closed, people are dying and the impact of it all is heavy.

As each week passes I feel a little more anxious. I have been fortunate to still have a job and the ability to work from home, however that could change tomorrow. My company has been doing it's very best to protect our jobs, but business is tough so I feel like the rug could be ripped from beneath me at any point. We recently received some discouraging news with Noah's job too.

This quarantine is not a vacation. It is affecting the lives of so many. I know our family is feeling it. Like others, we are worried about the bills to pay and our 4 beautiful kids to protect. I think about the people on the front lines of this pandemic and they are risking their lives so they can try to get a handle on this. These are unprecedented and scary times.

I also feel frustrated. Frustrated at those who aren't taking this serious. The more people ignore the advice from medical professionals to adhere to self-isolating, the worse this situation will be.

There is so much we cannot control at this time. That is a very hard thing for anyone that suffers from anxiety. I try to put on a brave face and I've been doing my very best to keep my stress from showing to my kids. We are spending some great quality time together as a family, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't also terrified. I know we aren't the only families that live paycheck to paycheck. So we feel the effects immediately if one of those paychecks doesn't come. I don't share that because I am looking for help or seeking pity. I am just sharing a real concern of ours. I am also worried that every trip Noah and I make to the grocery store is adding more risk to our health and the health of our babies.

On a more positive note, our family is choosing how we respond to this situation as best we can. We choose to do our part in flattening the curve by staying home.  We choose to be kind to the grocers that are working hard to stock the shelves with the essentials to get us through this. We choose to support others when we can. We have been watching our spending because of the job situation but when we do eat out, we are picking places local to us to order from. We are choosing to not be too hard on ourselves when trying to homeschool. We are choosing to make the best of this isolation and getting outdoors as much as possible and staying connected with friends and family virtually.

Here are some photos from this weekend. The weather was so nice and warm enough to break out our mini pool. We took advantage of both Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the sunshine and splash around.

I am praying so hard for everyone. I pray that this will all be behind us soon and we can resume our lives. It definitely puts into perspective what we have taken for granted. I do miss strolling down the Target aisles, but I am very grateful that my family and friends are staying safe and are healthy. We will get through this!











Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Floral T-shirt: 3 Ways to Style a Floral Tee



Yesterday, I wrote a post and rounded up a few of my favorite spring items. One of them was this floral tee from Target. They had a similar one last year and I didn't end up getting it. It must have been popular because they released it (or a similar one) again and this time I snagged it right away.

I love a good graphic tee and this one is perfect for spring. I love the colors and all the different flower prints. Did you know that tulips are my favorite flower? That, along with hydrangeas, peonies and I love the smell of gardenia. That makes me want to go out and by myself some flowers right now!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share 3 ways I styled it in today's post. So let's get to it!


I love mixing prints so for my first look I paired the tee with my favorite leopard skirt and threw on a denim jacket. I was inspired to pair these two prints from my friend, Emily, of @emily_soto. She posted a picture last year and I just loved it. 


My next look is one inspired by Heather of @lifegardenstyle. We have the same pants and I love how it brings out the yellow in the tee. This is probably my favorite look of the three! 


My next look is another great one. I took the greens from the tee and paired it with my green pants and animal print mules. Also, I added my most recent DIY beaded necklace. This was a last minute pairing but I like how it turned out. 

I love finding new ways to remix clothes. This tee is $8 and such a fun add to your spring wardrobe. I linked some similar items just in case you want to recreate any of these outfits! I hope you enjoyed this style session because it was a lot of fun! 


Monday, February 24, 2020

My Spring Picks


Spring has sprung for most brands and over the weekend I saw so many awesome spring trends. It's all about pastels, flower prints, neutrals and fun accessories. I thought I would share with you my early spring picks. 

1. Kendra Scott recently released their spring collection and everything is just so gorgeous. I really love the Hallie Statement Earrings that were gifted to me. The details in the wire braiding are so fun and eye-catching. These make a great statement, but are so light and airy. 

2. I love a good t-shirt dress. They are so comfortable and make an easy go-to outfit. Throw on a light cardigan or denim jacket and pair it with sandals or some white sneaker for an effortless look. I really love this dress in green, but it comes in several colors too. 


3. If you need a shoe to go with everything this spring and summer season, you'll need to snag these sandals. They are comfortable with a nice block heel and they will be for sure be a repeat offender in your wardrobe. 

4. You will need a classic chambray top in your spring wardrobe. Just like the sandals I mentioned above, a chambray top will also go with anything your wear. I love the ruffle detail on the sleeves and it just so cute! 

5. It's not surprising that I would gravitate toward blush when I saw this dress. It's light and airy and so flirty. It comes in several colors too. This dress in white would be so fun too! 


6. I love my cognac Madewell tote I wear every day but mixing in a rattan handbag for spring is so fun and will instantly give your look some flair. How cute is this bag? 


7. White sneakers are one of the biggest spring trends right now and I found the perfect pair. The eyelet and scallops gave me instant heart eyes. It's another great pair to add to your closet. 


8. I snagged this floral tee over the weekend and I love it. I have seen it a lot recently when I scroll through Instagram and I've already been inspired to wear it so many different ways. Would y'all want to see how I mix it up? I think that would be a fun post! 



So, what are your favorite picks? 




Sunday, February 9, 2020

4 Fun Ways To Celebrate Valentine's Day With Your Family + DIY Valentine Dessert Charcuterie Board



Valentine's Day has become more about showing my family love than it is a romantic holiday for us. Ever since I had the kids I have had so much fun celebrating with them. Since it's the start of Valentine's Day week I wanted to share some fun ways to celebrate this week of love with your family.

1. Festive Family Dinner - On this week's menu I thought it would be fun for us to make our own heart-shaped personalized pizzas. The kids always have a blast customizing their pizzas and it's a great way for everyone to get involved and spend time together over a yummy meal. I'll be sharing how our pizzas turn out later in the week on my Instagram Stories so if you aren't following me, make sure you do so you don't miss out on our adventures (@gitterandjuls)

2. Love Notes - I usually get small candy treats for the kids and last year I included handmade valentine cards. As part of kids' valentines this year, I am including love notes that lists 14 reasons why I love each of one of them. I can't wait for the kids to read them and I hope they feel extra-loved!

3 - Acts of Love & Kindness - I am challenging everyone to reach out to someone in an act of kindness each day this week. For every act of kindness they get a Hershey kiss. I  think it's important to spread kindness every day and this is just a fun way to positively reinforce it!

4- Friday Night In - This year, Valentine's Day is on a Friday. A fun way to celebrate that doesn't cost much for a family of 6 is to order take-out and snuggle up for a good old fashion movie night! I took a stab at creating my very first Valentine dessert charcuterie board. I thought it would be a fun treat for us to have while we watch a movie together. I did some Pinterest-ing for inspiration and I wrote down a few treats to pick up that I know everyone in my family loves like strawberries, Twizzler's, gummies, popcorn, pretzels and chocolates. You can create your own DIY dessert charcuterie board with your own family's favorites! Simply assemble everything on a big platter or board and utilizing any little bowls you own. Just have fun as there is no right or wrong way to create your own charcuterie board! Friday is a still a few days away so you still have time to create your own! Here is a closer look at my first attempt my own charcuterie board and I can't wait to recreate it again on Friday!




How do you plan to spend your Valentine's Day? However you spend your day/night I hope you're surrounded by love!!


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