The Creative Closet | My Favorite Sunnies

Oh friends. Today has been one of those days. Our washer stopped working last night, and we have to wait until Dustin gets paid on Friday to either repair it or get a new one. Not having a working washer and a newborn don’t really mix (thank goodness for my bestie who is graciously letting me use her washer!). Felicity slept for 7 hours last night–which was great in the sleep department, but not so great for my boobies. I woke up feeling like those suckers were going to explode, and now I have a plugged duct. Which hurts like you wouldn’t believe and is also making me feel achy and feverish all over. Oh, it’s also over 100º outside right now, so that’s not cool either. Literally.

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But let’s focus on happier things. [Read more…]

Keeping Clean in the Kitchen + Sweet & Spicy Melon Salsa

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#NaturallyClean #CollectiveBias

After discovering my love for cooking in high school, I took every opportunity I could to try new things in the kitchen. I loved to make dinner for my family–especially for special occasions like birthdays, where I would usually prepare a 4 or 5 course meal. My mom had a definite love/hate relationship with my desire to make meals for our family. She sure loved not having to cook, but she hated the way the kitchen looked after the meal was over. Let’s just say I hadn’t quite learned the value of the “clean as you go” adage.

Sweet and spicy melon salsa with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips

After working in restaurants and going through culinary school I figured out just how important it is to keep your workspace neat and sanitary–not only because having dishes or any sort of mess build up around you slows down production time (which means grumpy customers!), but also because it is all too easy to cause a sanitation issue in the kitchen if you aren’t careful (which would result in even grumpier customers…).

The principle of cleaning as you go is important for sanity, too. I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation where we’ve prepared a meal and felt disheartened and overwhelmed when we glance around our kitchen and see the huge mess we have to tackle after expending our energy to make the meal in the first place! While you’re in the moment of cooking though, it’s easy to give things a quick wipedown or rinse dishes as you go–and your 30-minutes-in-the-future self will thank you.

Because cleaning up is my least favorite part of working in the kitchen (seriously, does anyone actually like that part?), I’m always happy to find something that helps me keep my counter clean and sanitary while I’m working so I have less to do at the end. I love Clorox Green Works new Pump ‘N Clean–it’s a convenient little natural cleaning product that hangs out right on my counter while I’m working. All I have to do is grab my rag and give a little push on top of the dispenser and wipe! It’s great for wiping up spills or cleaning my cutting board and knife in between chopping fruits and veggies–especially after cutting up onions. Because no one wants onion flavor on everything else they chop afterwards! Just remember that you should always, always, ALWAYS use a separate, clean knife and cutting board after cutting raw meat or seafood. Because food-borne illness is no joke.

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I used Pump ‘N Clean most recently while I was making some sweet and spicy melon salsa with homemade cinnamon sugar tortilla chips. Since the product is food safe, I used it to wipe down my knife and cutting board after cutting my fruit and before cutting my tortillas for chips. The salsa came out so fresh, bright, and perfect for summer! Besides being great with chips, it’s also a really delicious accompaniment to grilled chicken or pork.

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Oh and hey, in case you wanted to know the proper way to cut a melon…:)

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You can bet I had lots of sticky melon juices to wipe off of my counter after this…

Clorox Green Works Pump ‘N Clean can be found in the natural/green section of the grocery store’s household supplies aisle, next to some other awesome eco friendly and natural products from Clorox Green Works (we really like the Free & Clear dishwashing liquid too!). Target is the only retailer that carries the full range of Clorox Green Works products. From June 14-July 11,  you can use the Target Cartwheel app to save 10% on all varieties of Green Works products (including Pump ‘N Clean).

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How about that melon salsa recipe? :)

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Sweet & Spicy Melon Salsa

makes 1 pint

1/2 of a small honeydew melon, finely diced
1/2 of a small cantaloupe, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 TBS fresh, chopped mint
juice of one lime
small pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors can blend. Serve with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, or with grilled chicken or pork.

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

1 small package yellow corn tortilla chips
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS cinnamon
oil for frying
salt for sprinkling

Cut the tortillas into eighths. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Fill a shallow pot with about 1 inch of oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, fry the tortilla triangles in small batches until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Sprinkle each batch generously with cinnamon sugar mixture and with a small pinch of salt.

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Are you super messy in the kitchen, or are you good at cleaning as you go? How do you stay neat and clean in the kitchen?

The Creative Closet | A Pop of Neon

I cannot tell you how good it feels to be somewhat back into my normal blogging routine–at least as far as The Creative Closet is concerned. Even though I only took 3 weeks off, I missed this a lot!

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Funny story about this week’s outfit–I had a shop credit with JustFab and decided to use it to get these super cool neon shoes just for this prompt. However, when they got here and I tried them on, they totally didn’t fit. They are weirdly narrow in the toe area and it did not look cute with how squished up my toes were. Oh well! So I decided to go for a little more of a bohemian, barefoot vibe instead. Baby girl jumped in on this prompt with me too, to rock her tiny little neon bow that Dustin snagged in the hospital.

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Maegen and I were totally on the same brainwave with our neon shoes–she wins though, since her shoes actually fit! And can we all agree that Britt seriously rocks the neon coral? popofneoncollage

The other funny thing about my shoes is that if Felicity were my size, she could probably wear them. Girlfriend has loooong super skinny feet. She got that from my dad. :)

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Top: Clad & Cloth
Jeans: c/o Pink Blush Maternity
Shoes: JustFab
Picnic Blanket: c/o Fairthread
Felicity’s Dress: Mine, from when I was a baby! :)

Even though I’ve missed out on participating in The Creative Closet for the past few weeks, I’ve loved seeing the awesome styles you came up with! I’m really loving Nadia’s look from last week–her baseball tee, skirt, and sneakers are the epitome of Sporty Chic!

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Can you believe we’re wrapping up June’s prompts already?! Make sure to join in next week for June’s final prompt–My Favorite Sunnies.

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Please don’t forget to link back to my post or Maegen’s and let people know you’re joining us for The Creative Closet! Alternately, you can share the button in your post or on your sidebar.

The Creative Closet

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On My Summer Wishlist

While I’ve been awake for late night nursing sessions with Felicity, I’ve been doing a lot of “window shopping” with my iPhone. I follow a lot of cute handmade shops on Instagram, as well as some larger companies and I’m constantly finding new things to love and add to my wishlist. Here’s what I’m totally loving lately. Hint hint, husband. ;)

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Avery Bracelet from Salt & Birch

I’m in love with tassels lately, and I can’t get enough of the bright colors in this bracelet. Perfect to add some interest to an all white outfit–which I love to rock in the summertime. Make sure to read to the bottom for a little Q & A with Chelsea, the owner of Salt & Birch, and an exclusive discount code for my lovely readers. :)

Anthropologie Swimsuit (on sale!)

I LOVE the cut of this swimsuit! The ruching around the waistline would be super flattering for my postpartum body too. Hehe, I couldn’t really do much in the way of getting swimsuit ready for this summer–and I still have to wait until almost the end of July before my doctor will clear me for any sort of exercise!

Piper & Scoot Poppy Morrocan Dress

Two words: Breastfeeding Friendly. :)

Camden & Kate Mommy & Me Kimono Set

I am dying over Camden & Kate’s instagram feed–their kimonos are adorable and I want this mommy and me set so bad! Of course, Felicity would have to wait until next summer to rock her kimono with me, but that’s okay.

MAC Lipstick

Loving this color! I’ve been wanting to try some fun, bright lip colors for summer. Do you have a favorite summer shade?

Eucalyptus Flower Crown

Miss Stevi Marie makes the most gorgeous flower crowns! I’m loving this simple one she recently added to her shop that is made with real eucalyptus–can you imagine the amazing smell?!

You made it through my wishlist! I’m so excited to introduce you to Chelsea from Salt & Birch–I’m lucky to know Chelsea in real life. We lived in the same building in college and I was always so impressed by her sense of style. She recently started her own boutique that has such a fun collection of accessories! Take a peek and use the code lifecouldbeadream for 15% off until July 6th and keep reading to get to know Chelsea a little better!

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Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest

Chelsea’s top picks from Salt & Birch: The Avery Bracelet, The Sofia Necklace, and The Caitlin Bracelet

What inspired you to start a boutique?
I’ve worked with multiple boutiques with my fashion blog, and I always thought it would be fun to own my own boutique. The timing just happened to be right, and my husband was very supportive in me pursuing my dreams.

How would you describe the style of items in your boutique?
I would describe the items in my boutique as unique. I love the mixture of dainty and statement pieces in the shop.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style changes quite frequently. I would probably describe it right now as casual chic. I love light layering and adding the perfect accessories to finish off an outfit.

What is one piece of clothing you think every woman should own?
The one piece of clothing that I think every woman should own is a chambray shirt. It can be dressed up and dressed down, and there are so many styles of it now. It goes with everything!

So friends, tell me–what is on your summer wishlist?

Easy Cuban Sliders

This post means I’ve survived my first week doing the mom of two thing by myself! My mom left town last Saturday after two weeks of taking care of Joshua while Dustin and I were in the hospital and basically waiting on us hand and foot once we came home from the hospital. She even cleaned our carpets…#MyMomIsBetterThanYourMom

Dustin’s two weeks of paid paternity leave (MAN! I love his job!) ended as well, and he started his new shift on Monday. Since I’ve been alone with my two kiddos while still recovering from my c-section, I’ve been planning my meals based on ease and simplicity. I remembered these delicious Cuban sliders my sister-in-law made for dinner when we visited them in Hawaii over Christmas and I thought I would try recreating them! They turned out amazing and they were so easy and quick to put together.

Mouthwatering easy cuban sliders are perfect for feeding a crowd!

I also love that there aren’t a lot of dished generated by this meal, since all you do is layer the sandwich ingredients in a casserole dish and pour the sauce over the top. Bing, bang, boom!

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It’s easy to make a bunch of these at one time–they would be perfect for feeding a large crowd. Try them out for your next pot luck or party!

Easy Cuban Sliders

makes 12 sliders 

*I didn’t include an amount for the pickles or banana peppers–put on as few or as many as you would like!

12 soft dinner rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
5-6 slices Swiss cheese (depending on the size of your rolls)
7 oz Black Forest ham
pickles (sweet or dill, depending on your preference)
banana peppers
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS poppyseeds
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS minced onion

Preheat oven to 325º F.

In a lightly greased casserole dish, layer the bottoms of the dinner rolls, the Swiss cheese, ham, pickles, banana peppers, then the tops of the rolls.

In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and the minced onion. Pour the mixture evenly over the sliders.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are browned and crisp and the cheese is melted.

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Enjoy! :)

What are some of your favorite quick and easy meals? I would love suggestions for my meal planning for the next few weeks! :)

Where I Want to Travel + Win Airline Tickets for Your Summer Travels!

Now that Dustin is all graduated and working a stable job, I’ve been thinking a lot about places I want our little family to travel. The list is pretty long and has a good mix of domestic and international destinations. I’ve been blessed to be able to do quite a bit of traveling in my life. I’ve been to England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, St. Lucia, and Mexico, but there are still SO many places and cultures I want to experience. There are even a few places I’ve already traveled that I would like to revisit. Germany and Austria are at the top of that list. I’ve been to both places twice. Dustin served his mission there, which means he lived in Austria and Germany for two years. I would love to be able to go back with him and have him show me the areas he lived and meet people he got to know while he was there.

Aside from going back to Germany and Austria, this is my short list of places I would really like to visit in my life.

1. Greece

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Ancient Greek culture is something that has always fascinated me–the mythology especially. Traveling to Greece and seeing how one of the oldest civilizations in the world fused into modern times would be so interesting to me. Plus, Greek food is one of my favorites. :)

2. Japan

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I’ve always wanted to travel to Japan, but after Dustin had the opportunity to go there last Spring for work I’ve wanted to go even more. Dustin was fascinated by how different Japanese culture is from American–something I would like to get to experience for myself. Plus, legit, fresh sushi? Count me in. Oh, and I’m way down to try any weird delicacies that haven’t made their way into Americanized Japanese cuisine as well.

3. Costa Rica

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A trip to Costa Rica would mean major adventure! Zip-lining, hiking volcanoes, seeing amazing wildlife, and swimming in the ocean or in rivers with gorgeous waterfalls sounds super exciting to me!

4. Alaska

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My mom was born and raised in Fairbanks, AK, so Alaska has always been on my list of places I want to travel. I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience the beauty of such a wild and untamed place. If I could travel there with my mom and have her show me where she lived, that would be even better.

5. India

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I feel like cuisine is such a huge influencer of where I would like to travel–because that’s a major draw of why I would want to travel to India.

Where would you like to travel this summer? How would you like me and some other fantastic bloggers to help you get there? 17 of my favorite ladies and myself are teaming up to give you the chance to win a $300 Delta Airlines gift card! Be sure to visit these fabulous bloggers to say thanks for this opportunity and enter using the Rafflecopter below. :)

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Brought to you by:

Life Could Be a Dream // A Prioritized Marriage // Life With Grace // A Beautiful Exchange
Hey Kerri // The Lady Lawyer // Gardening in High Heels // Boone & Owl
Aubrey Zaruba // Miss in the Midwest // Life in the Lost and Found Bin // Making Mrs. M
Becoming Adorrable // Wetherills Say I Do // T.O. & fro // Gold & Bloom
Two Places at Once // Twin Stripe

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on June 17th until 11:59 pm EST on June 22nd. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize before a new winner will be selected. Entries will be verified, so please be honest. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Sorry, international friends!

Good luck! :)

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Becoming a Family of Four

I just got these gorgeous photos back from Kayla Brooke Photography and I could not be more in love with them! Kayla captured every moment I was hoping she would and so much more! If you live in Utah, I highly recommend working with Kayla.  :)

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I feel like most of the blogger birth stories or pregnancy announcements I’ve read recently have touched on becoming pregnant after long periods of infertility (or even secondary infertility) or multiple miscarriages. My heart is always so full after reading how my friends who have tried for a baby for so long are finally blessed to bring a sweet little miracle soul into the world.

Our journey to becoming a family of four was nothing like that. Our story isn’t tear-jerking. We got pregnant with Felicity immediately after we started trying. We didn’t have to wait and worry and wonder, but her little life and becoming a family of four is no less of a miracle to me.

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It’s a miracle to me that I have two healthy babies–even though one of them isn’t so much a baby anymore. He’s independent, curious, strong-willed, and incredibly smart. He’s also one of the most tender-hearted people I’ve ever known. Joshua had an immediate fascination with and love for his little sister that has made me feel so blessed and grateful to be his momma.

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It’s a miracle to me that I have such a strong and caring husband who is an amazingly intuitive and tender father. I hear and read so many complaints from women on the internet and in the news about their lack of support in parenting from their husbands that all I can do is think to myself, I am one of the lucky ones. Dustin handles the sleepless nights and providing for our family with a smile and no trace of complaint. Watching him still make time to play with Joshua and make him belly laugh like no one else can while also gently soothing our daughter in the middle of the night makes my heart burst.

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It’s a miracle to me that my heart has room to love my husband and both of my kiddos more than I ever imagined I was capable. Before Felicity was born, I was so worried that I wouldn’t have enough love left over for her–after all, Joshua was my world. He still is. But somehow, God has given me space for Felicity to also be my world, without diminishing my love for Dustin or Joshua. There’s room for everyone. It’s just like The Grinch–my heart has grown three sizes so there is an equal but different space for everyone inside.

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All images c/o Kayla Brooke Photography
Pom-pom swaddle blanket c/o Blankie Your Baby
Headband c/o MaeFlowers Handmade

Felicity’s Birth Story

She’s here, she’s here, she’s here! Most of you probably saw our announcement on Instagram on Monday that our sweet baby girl arrived safe and sound. As I’m writing this, we’re still hanging out in the hospital–I like to get my kiddo’s birth stories written while they’re as fresh in my mind as possible.

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I have to say, I am SO happy with my birthing experience this time around. Although I had c-sections with both babies, Felicity’s birth was vastly different from what I went through with Joshua’s birth story. If you kept up with my bump updates this pregnancy, you probably recall me mentioning how much I hoped to be able to have a VBAC for this birth. Although that would have been ideal, I felt apprehensive about it from the beginning, due to the reasons I needed a c-section for Joshua’s birth. Since Joshua was such a large baby, I couldn’t birth him vaginally. My biggest fear going into Felicity’s birth was that my attempt at a VBAC would fail because she would be too big as well.

Thankfully, my doctor was so sweet about listening to my concerns and making sure we did everything we could to make me feel comfortable with whatever decision I made regarding this birth. At my 39 week appointment on May 29th, we did an ultrasound to help us determine if our girl was going to be big like her brother. According to the ultrasound, she was already measuring 8 lbs, 11 oz. Add that to the fact that I had experienced no contractions and zero cervical change in dilation or effacement for 2 weeks and I was pretty sure my chances for a VBAC had just gone out the window. My doctor made sure I knew that he was open to whatever I wanted to do–if I still wanted to have a trial of labor, he was all for it. However, Dustin and I decided a scheduled c-section was the best thing for us–so we set the date for June 1st at 7:15 am.

We arrived at the hospital bright and early on Monday, June 1st–5:30 am, to be exact. After getting all checked in, my nurses got my IV in (for which I almost passed out–I’m kind of a baby that way.), I got changed into my gown and I walked down the hallway to the OR at around 7:20. The anesthetist got my spinal taken care of and I laid on the operating table waiting for the nurses to finish getting everything set up. Little Miss was moving around like crazy while I laid there, and the nurses were oohing and aahing about how perfectly you could she her moving in my belly.

Shortly after, my doctor and Dustin joined us in the OR and we started the surgery. C-sections are so weird, by the way. I absolutely could not feel any pain, but I could feel my skin being poked at, or pulled. It’s a very strange sensation. About 8 minutes into the surgery, my doctor announced that he could see her head and was ready to pull her out. The doctors gave a mighty push on top of my belly and Dustin peeked over the curtain to see our daughter’s head being born. She started screaming even before her body was all the way out. As soon as she came out at 7:49 am, my doctor said, “Wow, she’s looking pretty big–what did the ultrasound say again? 8 11?”–at which point everyone started making guesses on her weight.

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Everyone guessed too low! Felicity Isabel Tolman came into the world weighing 9 lbs, 6 oz. After her weight was announced and everyone in the OR “wowed” that our girl was that big even before my due date, my doctor peeked over the curtain and said, “Well Jana, I think it’s a good thing we decided to do this c-section!” I couldn’t agree more.

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It took about 15 more minutes to get me all sewn up and wheeled back to my room. The whole birthing process was done in about an hour–a definite improvement from the 24 hours of labor and then c-section I had with Joshua.

So that’s it! The whole process was easy and stress free for me–after all, what could be simpler than laying still on a table while everyone else does the work for you? I seriously just closed my eyes, held Dustin’s hand, and relaxed during my daughter’s birth. It was absolutely perfect for me and I am SO pleased with how this birth went.

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We are enjoying our time in the hospital with our sweet girl. Our nurses have been angels and my recovery has been going very smoothly. Felicity is such a sweet baby–she is the spitting image of what Joshua looked like as a newborn and it just blows my mind. She LOVES to nurse and she’s already a pro at it–she’s a very easy latcher and I’m so grateful for that. She hates having her diaper changed, but she’s going to have to get over that quickly, considering she is a major pooping machine.

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Joshua has been in to visit his baby sister and my little momma heart has been in a puddle on the floor. He is so sweet with her–I can’t wait to share about him meeting Felicity for the first time!

Thank you for all of your love and prayers on our behalf! We are just thrilled to pieces to be the parents of two beautiful kiddos and I have felt so blessed by your kind words of congratulations and encouragement. :)

DIY Fringe Clutch from Stefanie from theStyleSafari!

Hi Everyone! I’m so excited to be guest posting on Life Could be a Dream today, and even more excited that I get to share with you one of my favorite pastimes, DIY! I have been a long time crafter and seamstress so I am thrilled to share with you my latest project: a multi-colored fringe clutch.

Easy DIY Fringe Clutch

I have been digging the fringe trend for a while now and have seen it on everything from jackets to bags to jewelry to footwear. In order to minimize purchases for this project, I decided to dig through my closet for an old worn out clutch to up-cycle to a much more fun fringe version.  This colorful fun accessory will quickly become your go to piece to jazz up any outfit! I took mine everywhere last weekend and received tons of compliments, so I’m sure you will too!

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What you need:

1. An old clutch – preferably one with a top closure, but you can also decorate around a flap if that is the style you already have
2. Scissors
3. Fringe – your choice. I went for rayon corded fringe, but check your local craft store for leather, feather or even beaded options to experiment with. I chose to do a gradient pattern of fringe on my bag, and since this clutch is 8” wide, I was able to buy 1 yard of each color, which allowed for 2 rows on the front and back of the clutch
4. Braided trim (optional) – I decided that the braided trim would be a nice way to finish off the look of the clutch when finished, but the choice is up to  you
5. Glue – Pictured above is the trusty E600 all purpose craft glue and a paintbrush which I like to use to apply it cleanly. The disclaimer is that once I opened my glue I realized that it had all dried up, so I had to use hot glue to attach the glue to the clutch. I still recommend the E600 as the heat of hot glue can ruin leather or plastic material on your clutch
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Step 1: Layout your fringe pattern from the bottom of the clutch upwards, and glue your first section on. Let Dry.
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Step 2: Cut the fringe where it reaches the end of the clutch, and be sure to cut right in-between the fringe cords. Finish the end of the cut with a thin layer of glue so it doesn’t continue to fray. Repeat upwards until you have your desired pattern. I chose to do 2 rows of each color fringe to make sure the fringe was really thick and you don’t see the clutch color underneath.
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Step 3: Once you get close to the top of the clutch, glue the decorative braid detail to hang over the edge slightly. You will then continue to layer the remaining pieces of fringe over the braid to give a seamless look.
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Step 4: Finish layering your last row of fringe, and repeat on the other side! Make sure you allow for plenty of time to dry before you take it out on the town. I watched 2 episodes of Real Housewives while doing this so something mindless in the background is always a good idea :)
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The finished product!IMG_8032
I hope you enjoyed today’s DIY project, and if you are ever looking for more DIY, personal style or travel inspiration pop on over to my blog theStyleSafari!
You can also follow me here:
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Things Joshua Says

I figured it was time for a post dedicated to my silly boy. He makes me laugh daily with the things he says–his perspective on the world is so funny. I want to be able to remember what he says at the stage of life he’s in now.

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Whenever T Swift’s “Shake it Off” comes on the radio, Joshua says, “That’s ‘Sick Beats’ song!” And when she gets to the part where she says, “You could have been getting down to this. Sick. Beat!” Joshua yells, “SICK BEAT!” at the top of his lungs.

Anytime I say stub my toe, gasp in pain, etc. “You do mommy? Bonk you toe? That is too bad.”

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If I tell him he can’t do something he wants to do, like watch a show or have a treat he says, “Yeah, mommy. You tell me yes.”

Joshua points to my wedding ring. “That’s like belt. For finger.”

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When Dustin puts him to bed, he usually sings “I am a Child of God” to him along with “Rock-a-bye Joshua.” If Joshua isn’t ready for Dustin to leave yet he’ll say, “No, no, no!” Then count on his fingers, “I need one…two…three more Rock-a-bye Joshuas.”

Often, Joshua will take his socks off and put them on his hands and very proudly tell me, “Look, mommy, look! I made mittens!”

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He likes to quote Go Dog, Go. “Hello! Hello! Wike hat? Do not wike it! Good-bye! Good-bye!”

He has a plastic Easter egg that he pretends a duck hatches out of all the time. “Wook, mommy! Wittle baby duckwing! It’s so cute! You hold it? I put it here?”