Joss & Main

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tryde Coffee Table Finished!!

I know that I have shared with many of you(on Facebook) about my excitement of the upcoming Allen Home Renovation. Well here is the first part in the furniture chapter. The Tryde Coffee Table!! The plans were taken from It's super easy to build, just ask my husband, and if you have the tools or know someone who does you can build this too.

This is the pile of pre cut wood from Home Depot. It was $40 all total but if we had a circular saw or a table saw it would have cost us $30.

This is Rich building the base of the table. 

Here are the legs with the leg joiners. When you don't have a work surface you have to get creative. Although this looks somewhat effective working on cardboard killed his back.

Table with legs, joiners and supports. 

This table was built in Dec-Jan. So we had to bring it inside for the night because 1. we had to park our car in the garage 2. we didn't want it outside in the cold.

The table put together and wood puttied.

See more ingenuity, that's one of our kitchen chairs my hubby is using as a bench to sit on.

More creativity. When you live in military housing, they don't really allow for extra work space on projects like this. Plus in the middle of January it's a little too cold to be staining in the garage. So we did it in the living room!!

Don't worry we had a window open with a fan in it sucking out the bad fumes lol.

The products we used: Minwax Wood Finish in Red Mahogany and Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in Gloss.

Our finished product!!

Isn't she beautiful? There will be more furniture on the way in the month of February!! 

All in all this project took about two days to build. It would have been one day had Rich had everything he needed. The staining took a total of 4 days. Two to stain and two for poly. That was the longest part. But it was enjoyable watching my baby create his first masterpiece all by himself!! I'm so honored!! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Subscription Alley

This past November I was introduced into the world of beauty subscriptions. I received my first taste of this blooming trend back in 2010 through Kim Kardashians shoe subscription service Shoe Dazzle.
My first impression was that hey I love shoes and I love a good deal. But I was also skeptical because I didn't want to have to pay every month. I was on the fence originally about signing up. Then I found out that if you hit the "Skip This Month" link they won't deduct your hard earned pay from your account. And since I discovered that I have been hooked!

I currently subscribe to three beauty/fashion services:

JewelMint, BeautyMint, Julep Maven, Birchbox and ShoeDazzle.

They all basically work the same way. You go to their site, fill a quiz that helps them determine your style need and enter your info. Your monthly subscription doesn't start until you make your first purchase. The differences are the price points and the products they offer.

JewelMint- offers a monthly subscription of $29.95 for jewelry. You pick one piece you like from your showroom and you buy it for that price plus free shipping. You can earn credits towards a free piece of jewelry. You receive so many credits per purchase.  You can earn 1 credit per monthly subscription. But within the first five days of the month you can "Skip the Month" and you won't be billed.

BeautyMint- They deal with skincare. They offer you a beauty quiz and then you're given a skincare regimen. The price varies based on your product needs. But it's recurring like Proactiv. You do have the option to "Skip A Month" up to two days before your billing date.

Julep Maven- is a $19.99 monthly subscription for your nails. You receive $40 + in products a month. They offers polishes and tools for mani's and pedi's. They have a large variety of nail polish colors, gift sets and nail care essentials. You can also try a new style if you don't like the monthly selection provided for you . You have from the 20th to the 24th to try a new style pull or to skip a month.

Birchbox- is a $10 a month beauty subscription service. You receive 4-5 beauty samples in your Birchbox and a lifestyle sample. You have the opportunity to earn points. You can refer people and have them sign up which rewards you with 50 points for use in the Birchbox shop. You earn 10 points each month via your subscription or if you leave feedback for products you've purchased you get 10 for each one. $1 equals 1 point. But you cannot skip a month with this subscription service. You can however cancel your subscription.

ShoeDazzle- is a $39.95 a month fashion subscription with free shipping per month. Primarily for shoes, they also have DazzleDeals and other varieties of fashionable pieces. You can also choose to skip the month within the first five days of the month. And you have the opportunity to request alternate shoes if you don't like what was provided for you. . You have the ability to earn StylePoints by referring friends, monthly subscription and more. Earn 1 credit a month when you're billed and that money is not used towards a purchase. You can have a maximum of 5 credits at a time. When you reach that you will not be charged until you use them. 1 credit is good towards any redeemable purchase.

*All of the images above are trademarks of ShoeDazzle, BeautyMint, JewelMint, Birchbox and Julep Maven. They were borrowed for this blog post and there are links that link to the individual pages. Thank you!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Ton of DIY Safe Recipes You Can't Pass On

Has anyone ever been concerned about the chemicals used in everyday household cleaning supplies? What's in that Swiffer bottle? What are my children inhaling as they run their hands over the table as they eat? What chemicals are they bathing with in the bathtub? I have and I do. I hate looking at the back of bottles that are supposedly safe and they say rinse afterwards. If it's safe to use, then why should I rinse the surfaces down after? 

I've been on a hunt to find DIY safe inexpensive recipes that clean well and can disinfect.
I'm going to go through quite a number of recipes with links to the original sites so you can gather more helpful and useful information. Some of the recipes I've doctored to my taste.

Allen's Homemade Powered Laundry Detergent:
 Serving size 1 tbsp for regular load, 2 tbsp for large loads

2c Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
2c Borax
1 bar Fels-Naptha Laundering Soap

First measure out the washing soda and borax into a mixing bowl. 
Then grate all of the Fels-Naptha laundering bar into the bowl. You can buy a simple hand held grater at any store. Or if impatient cut into chunks and grate it in a food processor.
 Mix all the ingredients fully until you have a nice powder consistency. I use a wooden spoon when mixing all of these products. My preference. It's easier to handle and harder to break. 
For my personal touch I add two capfuls of Lavender Vanilla fragrance and mix thoroughly. It gives the detergent a light fresh scent once absorbed. 

I've been using this recipe for months now and I absolutely love it. I love opening the jar to draw some out. I always take a few deep breaths lol. 

Allen's Homemade Liquid Handsoap

1 Bar unscented soap(Ivory will work)
10 c water
1 tbsp glycerin
Stock pot
Old milk jug for storage

First grate one cup of soap.
Measure your 10 c of water, pour into water into stock pot and heat to a slight boil.
Add in grated soap. Mix until fully dissolved. 
When dissolved add 1 tbsp glycerin. This helps keep the soap in liquid form. 
Mix the soap with a whisk or hand mixer.
Cover the stock pot and let soap sit overnight for best results. 
In the morning re-mix and the distribute into soap containers. Store the rest in old milk jug or soda bottle.

1 c Borax
1 c Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda or baking soda
1/2 Citric Acid
1/2 Salt (optional)
White Vinegar

Serving size: 2 tbsp per load

In a mixing bowl combine Borax, Super Washing Soda and Citric Acid.
If using baking soda you'll need to add the salt for cleaning purposes. 
Pour mixture into soap compartment and add vinegar as a rinse aid.

1 1/2 c Warm Water
1/2c Castile Soap(Dr. Bronner's)
1 tbsp White Vinegar
1 tbsp Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/8 tsp Tea Tree Oil(optional)

Whisk all ingredients together until blended. Store in an old soap dispenser or old dish soap bottle.

Hot water
2 tbsp Baking Soda
1/8 c favorite fabric softener
Empty spray bottle

Measure and pour baking soda into empty spray bottle.
Measure and pour fabric softener to spray bottle. 
Fill with hot tap water.
Shake to mix and use! It's as simple as that!

1/2c White Vinegar
2tbsp Baking Soda 
1/2 gal water
1 gal airtight container 
Combine Vinegar and Baking Soda in container. It will fizz. 
Add water. 
Distribute into spray bottle.
Alternative DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

1/2 gal warm water
1/4 c White Vinegar
1/2 c Ammonia
1/8 c Baking Soda

1c Vinegar
Few Drops Baby Oil
1 gal Warm Water

Mix all of the above and mop your floors.

Baking Soda 
Bowl of warm water

Dampen your sponge with warm water.
Apply baking soda to wall with dampened sponge and scrub. 
Wipe off with damp clean rag or sponge.

DIY Homemade Baby Wipes(Disposable and Cloth)

Empty Container
1 Roll Paper Towels 
Serrated knife
2 1/4c water
2 tbsp baby soap
1 tbsp baby oil

Cut paper towels in half with knife
Pour water, baby soap and baby oil into container. Mix gently.
Put paper towels in container. Once the solution is absorbed remove cardboard roll. 
And you're done!

1 tbsp per load

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
Sun Oxygen or OxiClean Free

note* using soap on cloth diapers can lead to build up and can be harsh on baby's bottom areas.

Mix equal parts of the baking soda, washing soda and oxy cleaners.
Seal in an airtight container.

DIY Homemade Anti-Bacterial Wipes

Squares of Cloth (old white t-shirts, microfiber cloths or white washcloths)
Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner's can be purchased at Target or online at Amazon)
Tea Tree Oil
White Vinegar
Sealable container for storage

In the container: place cut up shirts or half of the paper towel roll.
Pour 1 c of water, a squirt of Castile Soap, 3-4 drops of tea tree oil and a 1/4 c of vinegar over the shirts. 
Let the solution absorb.
Then use!!

Disposable Method

Roll of Paper Towels
Castile Soap
Tea Tree Oil
White Vinegar 
Old Clean Clorox or Lysol Container.

Cut paper towels in half horizontally. Remove inside tube. Place paper towels in tube.
Pour 2 1/4 c water, 2 squirts Castile Soap, 5-6 drops Tea Tree Oil and 1/3 c Vinegar over paper towels and let absorb.

DIY Homemade Bathroom Cleaners:

Below is a variety of bathroom cleaners that are sure to get your bathrooms sparkling clean!

3/4 cup baking soda (slightly heaped)
1/4 cup castile soap (I use Dr. Bronners Peppermint)
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon vinegar

In a bowl, combine the baking soda and castile soap. Add the water and stir with a fork.
Lastly, stir in the vinegar. The mixture will fizz a little. Stir to make a nice soft, paste-like, consistency. (This is important – the vinegar must go in last or else the scrub will be like sludge instead of a creamy paste.)
Scoop out the scrub with a sponge and start cleaning.
This scrub can also be used to clean the toilet.

  • 12 ounces white vinegar
  • 12 ounces liquid , blue dawn detergent

  • Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.

  • Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.

  • You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

    1/2c Baking Soda
    10 Drops Tea Tree Oil
    1/4c Vinegar

    For extra tough cleaning, pour the baking soda into the toilet bowl, add the tea tree oil.
    Next add the vinegar. As it fizzes scrub the toilet and then flush.

    There is no storing this solution because of the reactive nature of the vinegar and baking soda. But keep pre-measured amounts of each ingredient nearby for easy use. Or store each individually in jars with a measuring tool nearby.


    DIY Window Cleaner

    1/8C Ammonia
    1/4C White Rubbing Alcohol
    Warm H2O

    Mix the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour into spray bottle and fill the rest with warm water. There you have. Super simple super effective!

    All of these recipes have been provided by other wonderful people, who have taken their time to figure out what is safe for all of us and what actually works. A big thank you to all of them. Please as you're scrolling through take the time to visit their sites and offer a thank you.

  • Girl's Bedroom Make Over

    Ever since my first little girl was born, I have dreamed of creating the perfect girl space for her. Pink, ruffly, super girly you know, a princess room. Then when baby girl number two came along that desire grew. But unfortunately, my husband and I couldn't afford the cost of creating such a room. Back then, I didn't know about Pinterest and DIY blogs that could provide help at a moments notice. 

    Recently we inherited two 40 yr old twin beds from my grandparents. Our girls had pretty much destroyed their toddler beds and were in need of an upgrade. Now those ancient beds are falling apart too.   So my wonderful husband, in the next few months, will be building our daughters their own beds and dressers modeled after furniture from the PotteryBarn Kids and PotteryBarn Teen lines. I am SO excited!!! Finally after all this time I, I mean my girls, will be getting the princess room they've been dreaming of.  Now nothing is set in stone yet and I will be doing before, during and after photos of the process. But here are some ideas:

    The Bedding:
    I didn't want to pay $600+ to cover my girls beds if they're going to pee and puke in it you know? That's how kids are. So I found this beautiful duvet cover set and some sheets and accessories from Target.

    The Girls Dresser. Modeled after PotteryBarn's Camp Dresser.

    The Storage Bed. It's comprised of three compartment boxes side by side.

    Ana White's $10 ledges. There will be two 2ft. ledges, one above each dresser. And then two 3ft. ledges, one above the other, closer to the ground. These will be the girls bookcase.

    This is a paint swatch of Antique White by Glidden. This will be the color of all the furniture, shelves and picture frames in the girls room.

    Lace Covered Canvas. The art in the room won't be identical to this. But we will be doing lace covered canvas to decorate the shelves above the girls dressers. One canvas will be be painted in the above Antique White and covered in light pink lace. And the other will be painted in a light pink paint and covered in antique lace. In the center of the canvas' there will be the first letter of the girls nicknames painted in silver.

    Keep checking back. There will be a lot of updates of this project and others over the course of the next  two-three months!!! Did I mention that I am SOOOO excited to finally be doing this??!!!

    All the images in this post were provided by outside sources such as Target, Ana White, Glidden and Against the Wood Grain. I will be linking all of these pictures to their prospective webpages.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    January Birchbox

    Today couldn't have come fast enough!!! I feel so spoiled to get little presents in the mail every month. It's like my birthday!! :-) I got so used to Christmas and signing up for Birchbox and Julep Maven all in one month, I kind of expect it now. I am not let down with this month's supply of goodies let me tell ya!! One of them I ate already(just blame the pregnancy cravings lol). 

    Now I just, like just got this in the mail. The only thing that I have tried was the edible sample lol. But I'm going to go through what I have received as my dedication to the service.

    From left to right:

    Just tried it. Smells very flowery to me. It reminds me of spring time. With all the blossoms coming to life and the warm rays of sunlight. Mmm I could imagine this forever...

    This as described is the type A overachiever eye serum. It packs a punch to knock out puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. Use in the morning and evening under your eye for best results. 

    This is, you guessed it, a night cream. It contains rice bran and cocoa. The rice bran in this moisturizer increases the elasticity in the skin. And the cocoa has caffeine which increases the circulation in the skin.

    This nail color is part of the Feel Collection by Zoya. Zoya is a special company in that it produces without formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate. Formaldehyde as we know is used mostly in preserving specimens for dissection. But here is a link explaining the many everyday uses of formaldehyde. Uses of formaldehyde.

    Toluene is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners. It is a solvent used in most common nail polishes. It is also used as an inhalant drug for it's intoxicating properties. But if inhaled can cause severe neurological damage. 

    Dibutyl Phthalate is a plasticizer. It also serves as an additive to adhesives or printing inks. More information on Dibutyl Phthalate.

    After reading up on all of this information. I think I'm going to stick with Zoya nail polish lol.

    These yummy bars come in a variety of flavors and they really are tasty. The one I had was called Cherry Pie. These bars a healthy and nutritious for you too. Each bar has nine ingredients max. There are no nasty additives and they are vegan friendly too. The additional flavors are: Blueberry Muffin, Carrot Cake, Peanut Butter Cookie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. They're the perfect size to toss in your purse and grab to munch on when you're in a hunger bind.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    How to Apply Nail Polish

    Julep has this awesome video, well there a series of videos on YouTube about how to correctly apply nail polish to get it to last. And how to do a manicure on yourself. Take a quick minute to check them out.

    How to Apply Nail Polish

    How to Apply Your Top Coat

    This is awesome!! I know that all you ladies out there have messed a mani after leaving the salon or after doing one on yourself. Here is a tutorial on how to fix those little accidents.

    How to Repair Your Manicure

    How to Shape Your Nail

    Julep Maven Mystery Box

    Good morning everyone!!!! Have you ever had one of those days where you just wanted to go into a deep sleep for a a day or two to rejuvenate yourself? That's how I feel this morning. 

     It was a late night last night and a rough morning. Hubby was out playing games with his friends, and my mom was over which was cool. But then she left lol. And I was stuck with a groggy 2 year old who doesn't like to sleep if there is any light or noise. Maddalaena, my youngest, has this thing where when she's tired, instead of carrying a lovie she HAS to hold your hand. If you move she freaks out crying and screaming. Non-stop too. And there's no substitute at all!! If you have an itch or a boogie or something, she just won't let you get to it. Not on her life. I transferred her to our bed and went to get some water and she was O-U-T. You could slap her and she wouldn't budge. So now here I am 12am alone in my dark house with my thoughts. And let me tell ya that's some pretty scary stuff lol. I texted my hubby and essentially made him come home. And now he's out helping a friend move into their first house!!! 

    Congrats to Mike and Clarice Boardman for purchasing your first home!!!

    IMPORTANT!!! is having an amazing deal for the next two days. You can get any two nail colors for free!!! You just type in the code: ZOYA2012 and pay the shipping which is only $6.95. The polishes retail for $8 each. So hurry up this offer expires on January 9th. You only have a couple of days!! Zoya Nail Polish Giveaway. I ordered mine and it's on the way!! 

    What's also great about this brand is that it is planet friendly and safe for you to use. 

      Ok onto the better stuff.

    About the Mystery Box. It came down to the decision of whether or not I was going to get my monthly Julep box or this super cool mystery deluxe box. Since both were the same $19.99 I chose the bigger gamble. I could receive a box that had up to $200 in merchandise or I could get the regular box which had between $40 and $80 in merchandise. It was a no brainer. I'm going to show the individual items with my review on all of them. I also added links incase you all wanted to become a Julep Maven or just purchase the products.

    First up I got the Beautiful Hands To Go Gift Set

    Included in this set is a: 30mL or 1 FL OZ of the Julep Facial For Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub
    and the 30mL or 1 FL OZ of the Julep Glow On Age Defying Hand Brightener

    I love the this set, especially in the winter time. Not only does it smooth your hands by getting rid of the dead skin cells but it also brightens and moisturizes your hands for a youthful glow and appearance. This is originally retails for $22.

    This nail file is like no other that I've seen. Honestly for a stay at home mom who doesn't get out much, this was an awesome surprise. A Crystal nail file? Come on!! I mean how cool is that? It's so cute and chic I love the way it feels and it works great. This retailed for $12. Now marked down to $5.99!

    Julep Nail Venis in Carrie

    It is the epitome of spring and carnival rides. It is a bright, cheery cotton candy pink that goes on smooth and creamy. I love the color but even with a base coat and top coat(2 layers!) it still has a tendency to chip. It's super cute with a navy blue outfit!!

    Julep Nail Vernis in Jodie

    Jodie is currently not for sale. But I love the maroon-esque of this color. It is subtle and dark with a bit of a metallic fleck. For me this is perfect for those casual days where doing nothing is always an option.

    Julep Nail Vernis in Christina 

    This has to be my favorite color so far from the Julep line that I have tried. I always thought that I would hate this kind of color. But in reality it is super fun!! It's a great way to add a pop of color to an outfit. It is a deep shimmery orange color that really shimmers when you step into the light.

    All of the nail colors retail at $14. And they are awesome!! Go check out the website and a skin care product and nail color that are perfect for you!!