Foodie Penpal: July

As I’ve mentioned before I participate in a fabulous little monthly club called the “Foodie Penpal” program put together by the lovely Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  After you sign up {here}, you are randomly matched up with someone to send a package to and another person that will send you a package!  After contacting your person, you put together $15 worth of food yummies {can be anything from local classics, to favorite snacks, to homemade goodies}, package it all up and send it their way!  Then for the bloggers in the world, on the 1st of each month you post about the package you received.  What a fun way to connect with other food lovers across the country!

This month’s foodie penpal package gets the award for Most Adorable Packaging!  Kim from She Wines Sometimes sent over the cutest box full of super yummy {and thoughtful} goodies all wrapped up in twine {girl after my own heart}!


Everything I pulled out of the box just got better and better!!

  • First up…one of my personal favorites Pirates Booty!!  If you haven’t tried {your crazy} go to the store immediately and buy some.  It is a delicious snack!!
  • Justin’s organic chocolate peanut butter cups {its organic…so its not bad for you…right??}
  • Grave’s Mountain Apple butter – little does she know I am OBSESSED with apple butter! Love that stuff.
  • HOMEMADE gluten free maple sunbutter granola {i’ll share the recipe with you soon…so GOOD!}
  • Tazo Peachy Green tea – which fits right in with my 1-2 tea a day habit
  • and last but certainly not least HOMEMADE Peanut Butter Blondies…holy goodness…sweet, delicious amaziness. {stay tuned for this recipe too…you will NOT wanna miss this one!}


Kim not only put together an awesome package, she spent so much time preparing such yummy treats {all of which fit into my weird eating habits} she also sent me the recipes for all the homemade goodies so I could make them at home!! {Totally recreating those amazing blondies for my next family get together}  I know that I have made a fabulous “blogger” friend in Kim and I’m thankful that Foodie Penpal’s set us up!!

Cheers & Happy Eating!
~ Jillian


Monday Mantra: Smile

Life is full of challenges.  Some that are exciting, some terrifying, some overwhelming but ALL are put in our path to teach us something about ourselves.  To show us that we can do so much more then we ever thought possible!  So embrace these challenges, find ways to turn those obstacles into something inspiring and most important pass on those lessons!  Share your joy, your smiles and your strengths with those around you.  You never know when something you say or do could be JUST the thing that someone else was missing.

“Give someone one of your smiles, it might be the only sunshine they see all day.
It can change the world, maybe not the whole world, but their world.”



If you follow HSE on facebook…you might have caught this fabulous video: Make the homeless smile.  This is what social media should be used for!!  Encouraging people to share joy with those around them  So let’s follow this new “trend” and use our voice for good!!   

To a wonderful week
~ Jillian

{Pin-spiration} – Wooden Tray Makeover

Don’t forget to enter to win the Datevitation giveaway!
The winner will be selected tomorrow, July 25!

Brittany is on FIRE lately with her DIY Pin-spiration activity {the rest of us need to Get On it Already!}  After seeing this simple but tons-o-impact  update, you will be ready to jump on the DIY train once again!

The next project in our Pin-spiration series was motivated by the need to refashion a large serving tray in my home.  Once I saw this pin from Centsational Girl on Pinterest, I knew I had to recreate it.

Wooden Tray Pinspiration

The tray came inside of a storage ottoman, which is used as a coffee table in our living room.  The tray is a good size; perfect for a few beverages and a snack bowl or a vase of flowers.  However, the tray came in a dark espresso brown – the exact same color as the ottoman.  I’m not a fan of everything matching.  I typically leave the tray out on display and wanted it to stand out and bring some pattern and visual interest to the room.

Wooden Tray Before

After wiping down the tray with a damp cloth, I painted a couple of coats of leftover Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Old White.   If you have not heard or or used AS paint, you must try it!  There is no need for a primer or sanding with AS chalk paint.  It is incredibly easy to use and covers well.

Next, I added a couple of coats of Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, to seal the paint and protect the finish.  This was my first time trying a wax finish and I found that the AS wax was also easy to use.  I simply rubbed it on with a soft cloth and then buffed it off a few minutes later.  Once the wax was dry, I cut a scrap piece of fabric down to fit the inside portion of the tray.  In order to protect the tray and fabric from drinks, I had a custom-size piece of glass cut at Home Depot for $8.

The result was a brighter, patterned tray that can be changed up with the seasons, holidays or if I ever change the decor in the living room.  All I need to do is cut a new piece of fabric and place it under the glass.  Boom – a brand new tray design!


So, what do you think of this simple wooden tray makeover?  Have you made over any items in your house lately?  Stay tuned for an upcoming Design School post on how to achieve a non-matching, yet cohesive design in your home.

Happy Pinning!


Monday Mantra: Happy time

Oh what a happy weekend!  We celebrated soon to be newlyweds, soon to be parent’s and one very special little lady’s First birthday!!  It has been quite a year so far, and we just couldn’t be more thankful for all of the blessings, love and joy spilling out around us!

“You are just as happy as you make up your mind to be”


Have a happy happy week!
~ Jillian

{Pin-spiration} – Cork Burst

Today, we are starting another series – “Pin-spiration.”   We love Pinterest for inspiration, craft ideas, DIY tutorials, recipes, etc.  Like many, we are guilty of pinning and never actually recreating these pins.   In order to force ourselves to stop pinning and start creating, we thought it would be fun to share our results on the blog.  Without further ado, Brittany is sharing her first completed “Pin-spiration” project…

Cork Burst Pinspiration

I found Camilla’s cork burst craft tutorial on Pinterest, of course!  Her photos and instructions made this craft project look like an easy task.   I drink wine.  I have a glue gun and an Exacto knife.  This will be a cinch!  What I didn’t realize is that collecting 60+ corks would be quite the time consuming process.  I’ll admit, I enlisted the help of some fellow winos, who  saved some of their corks for me.  Thanks, ladies!

So, here we are….a year later and I have finally assembled my cork burst.

Admittedly, the assembly of the cork burst was the easy part.  Mindless, really.  I gathered my supplies: a bag of collected corks, glue sticks, glue gun, an Exacto knife, cutting mat and a 2.5″ styrofoam ball.  I parked myself in front of the television, to catch up on DVR recordings.

Following Camilla’s suggestion, I cut the corks into wedges to fill the gaps.

Cork burst_gaps

Half an hour and a few hot glue burns later, I was done!  Isn’t she lovely?!

Cork burst

My favorite part of this project is the “2009” cork that was collected for me by my best friend’s mom.  It is the year my husband and I purchased our home, making the cork burst a bit more personalized and sentimental.

So, tell me….have you finished any of your pinned crafts or DIY projects lately?  Or, are you in the process of collecting the components for future a project?   Happy Pinning!


{Thrifty Finds} – Westclox Clock Redo

Welcome to the first of many in a new series we are calling “Thrifty Finds”.  We love to scour Goodwills and thrift stores in hopes of finding something awesome that needs a new life!  Not only is it easy on the budget, and a good thing to keep all those treasures from going to the trash; its also a great way to bring some unexpected loveliness into your life!  Sometimes these finds are perfect as is and just need a new place to call home but other times a little TLC is required to bring them back to glory!  So stay tuned for lots of thrifting adventures to come!  First on the thrifting train is this awesome redo from one of our favorite HSE contributors…take it away Brittany!!

Clock Before and After

I was browsing in Goodwill, when I saw this old Westclox clock.  I was drawn to the shape of the frame, but that green velvet had to go!  The frame also had a crack on the bottom and the clock did not work.  But for $5, I was willing to take it home and attempt to repurpose the frame.


After removing the clock components, I wiped down the frame with a solution of warm water and vinegar.  The crack required a little wood filler and sanding.

Cracked Clock Frame

Next, I painted a couple of coats of stain-blocking primer and sprayed the frame with a few coats of Krylon’s Dover White spray paint.  While the paint was drying, I covered the hideous lovely green velvet with a couple of layers of burlap and hot glued a wooden letter “D” {also painted with Dover White} onto the burlap covered board.  Voila…a piece of inexpensive and personalized artwork for my home!

Here it is….finished and hung on a previously unoccupied sliver of wall space.  The frame was the perfect size for this small space!   Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to put a little work into a great thrift store find.  My total time investment {excluding the drying time for paint} was maybe an hour.

Clock After on Wall

Don’t forget to enter the Datevitation giveaway!  The drawing will close at midnight on July 25, 2013.  

~ Brittany

Monday Mantra: Little Things

Its monday {they come around so fast these days!}  Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  We spent the weekend with family, reminiscing and meeting some new friends {we have such awesome neighbors!!}  Last week was a bit of a long one, some good moments, some not so good.  But as I went thru the week, I had the opportunity to stop several times to just take a breath; to observe the world around me.  I realized as I watched the baby deer explore around my backyard, or watched my sweet little niece trying her hardest to take those first steps; that the things in life that stick with you the most, are the things that we so often miss.  Life gets crazy and we forget to stop and breathe in the amazing things happening around us.  So this week, take a moment to breathe.  Stop and watch the wind blowing through the trees or the rain drops hitting the ground.  In those moments you might just find clarity and if you are really lucky, something that brings you heart filling joy!

“Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things.”


~ Jillian

Inspiring minds want to know…

Have you ever had one of those moments when you are having a tough day; stressed or overwhelmed and then out of nowhere someone sends something your way that just slaps a smile on your face and changes your outlook?!  Well consider this girl SLAPPED!  The sweet and lovely Audra from the blog Joyosphere has nominated me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”!

inspiring blogger

Here’s how this lovely award works…

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you. {thank you thank you Joyosphere!}
  • Post the image of the award.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself… here it goes…
  1. I was born in a small town outside of Seattle, Washington called Snoqualmie.  We lived up a gravel road in the middle of the woods!
  2. I currently have a 10′ long old church pew in my entry way {thanks dad!}
  3. There are about 100 nicknames between me, my husband and my dog.  Things can get very confusing in our house if you aren’t in the know
  4. I have the world’s cutest dog…seriously…look at her!  {she also happens to be possibly the most spoiled dog on the planet…and I take full responsibility for that…she’s just so dang cute!}
  5. I was a butterfly in the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremonies {and have some really awkward pictures to prove it}
  6. I am an only child, but I have an uncle that is only 7 years older then me {what up Unca Tot!!}
  7. There are twigs and branches all over my house; I have a mild obsession with all things natural.  So much so that my sister-in-law has given me the name “Evil Twiggy”

And then last but not least nominate 15 other fabulous bloggers out there that inspire me and inform them of their nomination! That’s easier said then done…there are SO many amazing bloggers out there…so here goes nothing…

  1. Enjoying the Small Things {LOVE Kelle!  also check out her fabulous book Bloom}
  2. The Lean Green Bean {founder of the fabulous Foodie Penpal program}
  3. Young House Love {duh…if you haven’t fallen in love with this sweet family…you are about to!!}
  4. Burlap & Blue {awesome blog with tons of inspiration…written by a pretty awesome lady!}
  5. A Beautiful Mess {such adorable sisters with so many great ideas!}
  6. Bower Power {hilarious DIY blog written by one super cool chic – who I still owe a wine date!}
  7. The Ugly Duckling House {great house & DIY tutorials…and such a great girl}
  8. One Good Thing by Jillee {recipes, homemade solutions and awesome ideas!}
  9. Miss Mustard Seed {love her country chic style}
  10. Vue Photography {my #1 fav photographer out there…who also happens to be one of my best girls!!}
  11. Remodelaholic {awesome ideas for your home}
  12. Just a Girl {fabulous interior design ideas on a budget!}
  13. Elements of Style  {gorgeous lady with a fabulous sense of style}
  14. Smile and Wave {funky vintage style & home decor ideas along with the cutest little family!}
  15. Shanty 2 Chic {great DIY tutorials for adding style to your home on a budget}

So much love flowing around the blog-o-sphere right now.  I just can’t even contain myself {picture this girl sitting at her computer grinning from ear to ear…my cheeks hurt!}

Share some Joy today!!
~ Jillian

* I have to take a quick second to say thank you for all the sweet words and thoughts that have come my way the last couple days.  My family lost a wonderful lady this week that will be MISSED!  I am so blessed to have such caring friends and family.  Love love Love and will miss my Granny!!!

Giveaway – Datevitation (closed)

***This giveaway is now closed…Congrats to Maren S. on winning the custom date coupon book from Datevitation!  You will be contacted with details on how to claim your prize.***

8 - Datevitation Logo is the web’s first online platform that allows users to create a custom love coupon book. Unlike the pre-packaged love coupon books on the market, you are able to hand-pick the “date” activities and can customize the text to your liking.  Once you are done customizing your book, Datevitation will print it out on high-quality cardstock, wrap it in a cute “Surprise” envelope and ship it to you.  You can read all about my experience with creating my first Datevitation coupon book for my husband here.

1 - Datevitaiton Book

2 - Datevitation String & Button Packaging

The Datevitation library contains over 350 date ideas ranging from skydiving to stargazing, shopping, rock climbing and even some adult-only activities. They also have over 100 book cover options to suit any occasion.

7- Datevitation Perfect For Any Occasions

In addition to being the perfect romantic gift for your sweetie, Datevitation recently launched its “boy” and “girl” characters with over 200 new activity illustrations specifically for kids and parents.

3 - Datevitation Thougtful Date Ideas 5 - Datevitation Love Coupons for Kids 6 - Datevitation Love Coupons for Parents

The team at Datevitation were so excited to hear about my wonderful experience, they have offered up a FREE customized coupon book to one of our readers!

**Giveaway time !! 

  • Prize: Your choice of  (1) customized coupon book
  • To Enter: check out the details via a Rafflecopter drawing
  • Bonus Entry: To increase your chances of winning, leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite sweet thing you like to do for your special someone
  • Giveaway Closes: July 25, 2013 at 8pm
  • Details: The winner will announced as an update to this post. {so be sure to check back!!}  Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

REMINDER: As a special treat for Her Split Ends followers, Datevitation has also extended a discount of $10 off your coupon book orders during the month of July!  Use discount code  ‘SPLITENDS’ for $10 off your purchases through July 31, 2012.  Books normally start at just $20.  That means you can get your loved one a one-of-a-kind gift for any occasion starting at just $10!

Datevitation is a family business, run by the husband-wife team of Alex and Olga Karpman.  You can get to know them on the Datevitation blog, where they offer video guides to date ideas and romantic gestures.   


Let’s make it a date.

HSE is pumped to welcome back one of our fAvOriTe contributors, Brittany!!  Stay tuned for more fabulous posts to come!  WaHoo!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post.  These opinions are 100% my own.  I’m a very pleased customer that is sharing my experience with a wonderful online retailer (and small business owners), Datevitation.

I discovered Datevitation while reading one of my favorite fashion blogs, Putting Me Together.  Once I saw the Datevitation website, I knew I had to make a book for my husband!  I was looking for a “just because” gift, to celebrate the end of his school semester.    He works full-time and is also a part-time grad student.  So, reaching the end of a semester {with our sanity still intact} is quite the feat and I always try to get him a little celebratory gift.

Datevitation is a web-based service that allows users to create a custom love coupon book.  Now, I know some of those coupon books can be cheesy.  Not this one!  Unlike the pre-packaged love coupon books in stores, you get to pick the “date” activities from a library of more than 350 date ideas and can customize the text of the coupon to your liking.  The coupons feature cute {and quite impressive} stick figure drawings, which are acting out the date activities.

Here are a few examples:

6-24-2013 1-52-03 PM6-24-2013 1-53-16 PM 6-24-2013 1-53-59 PM6-24-2013 1-54-38 PM6-24-2013 1-52-33 PM

 See!  SO much cuter than the coupon books you have seen before, right?!

Datevitation books are not just for couples!  The website has activities geared toward males, females and children.  When you create a book, you are asked if you are girl/boy/woman/man and then if you are giving the coupon book to a girl/boy/woman/man.  Finally, the book asks the nature of your relationship with the recipient.

6-24-2013 2-05-29 PM6-24-2013 2-06-13 PM

This is key information, because it suggests “dates” with that person, based on your relationship and the age of the recipient.  Also, the cartoon stick figure people will represent the recipient and gift-giver.  I told you…this service is so much better than your average coupon book!

Parents could totally use these as rewards for good behavior, kids can give the books for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, or you can create one for a close friend.

3 - Datevitation Thougtful Date Ideas5 - Datevitation Love Coupons for Kids 6 - Datevitation Love Coupons for Parents

As you choose your dates, they are displayed in a preview window above the date options.  This preview window allows you to not only review what you have selected, but also provides the pricing for your book.  Each book comes with 5 coupons for $20.00 and additional pages are $1.00 per coupon.

6-24-2013 1-50-53 PM

After selecting your dates, it is time to customize.  The service allows you to edit the text to the right of the illustrations on each of the coupons.  You can add your recipient’s name and special messages, to make everything personal.

Once you are done customizing the text in your book, Datevitation will print it out and ship it to you.  Each book comes bound in thick, high-quality paper with a printed card stock cover.  The service allows you to pick a cover from a choice of many categories and designs and include a personal message page at the beginning of the book.

7- Datevitation Perfect For Any Occasions2 - Datevitation String & Button Packaging

My husband’s coupon book arrived in its very own gift envelope too, which read “Surprise!”  I didn’t even have to find a box or gift wrap it.  Gift giving just became easier!  The quality was far above what I ever expected.  On the back of each coupon is a fun, colorful design to keep the book from being too plain.  The paper and cover quality are excellent, the printing was crisp, and the whole book is professionally bound.  I was very impressed!

My husband’s Datevitation book:


Here’s the good news for YOU:  Datevitation was so excited to hear about my positive experience, they have extended a $10 discount to Her Split Ends readers!  Enter code “SPLITENDS” promo code during checkout, to receive $10 off an order placed by July 31, 2013.

Books normally start at just $20. That means you can get your loved one a one-of-a-kind, totally customized gift for any occasion, starting at just $10!

Happy Shopping!

~ Brittany