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    Inspiring Pretty is a home for all the things in which women find beauty. From raising a family to planning a wedding to finding creative crafts and recipes and everything in between, we are here to share the things we love the most while beautifying your life as well. Read our site biography and our writer biographies in order to find out more about who we are!

Fabulous Etsy Finds: Doggy Gear

Even the toughest guy around enjoys spoiling his dog a little.  Admit it, there is a joyful satisfaction in seeing them wag their tail and jump on their hind legs in anticipation of something great—whether you’re tossing a tennis ball or sliding them a few scraps from the dinner table.  My dog is so loyal and undemanding (a refreshing break from the kiddos) so I like to keep him happy and healthy.  Here are a few things that I found on Etsy that can make life with your dog even better.  Some of them are pretty, some of them are practical and some of them are both. **Please note that you will not find any doggie outfits on this list.  I am not a fan of dressing up furry critters unless they live in the tundra.  It makes them look creepy and miserable and its just not right.**

$3.99

We all know the ‘cling, clang’ sound of your dog’s tag banging against his collar.  I personally think its cute, but do acknowledge that there are situations where it might not be ideal.  For instance, your baby is a sleeper or your landlord is anti-pets.  Whatever the reason, here is your solution.  These tags slide right on to the collar for a noise-free dog…well, except for the barking that is.  This seller also has a variety of super cute ‘noisy’ tags too!

$5

You know the drill: put on your shoes, leash the dog and ball up a plastic bag for the scoop of shame.  Instead of clenching that bag in your sweaty palm,  try this.  Here is a little monster pouch that attaches to your leash and holds bags for you.  So when your dog does the deed, you can casually slide your bag out with style.

$25.99

Have you ever tried to pick up a large dog?  Not very graceful, is it?  Niether you or the dog wants your hands down there.  This dog sling helps you lift your dog with ease.  It made me think of my mom’s dog, Lady Bird, who in her older years is taking more spills that she needs help recovering from.  but you could also use this on your young sprout who just needs a little boost getting into the car or whatever.

$6

Dogs get dirty.  Its what they do.  And after a particularly muddy romp outside they occasionally need some wiping.  This towel is made specifically for that purpose.  It is even equipped with a loop so that you can hang it right by the door.

$15

Dog treats are another burden that dog ownership requires you to carry around.   And once they’re gone, your hands smell like bacon for the rest of the day.  Well now you can relegate that bacon-aroma-snack-toting duty to this handy little pouch.  It clips onto your pants for added convenience.

$29.99

There is nothing super special about this leash and collar set.  I just think its pretty and its a great deal for a leather set.  That is all.

$12.50

This seller has so many splendid pet dish mats.  And they are all made of oilcloth so they wipe right up.  Clean floor,  clean mat, happy owner.

$5.25

Did you know that not all dogs appreciate frequent washing?  In fact, several breeds get dry, itchy skin when they are washed too often.  My Buster is one of those breeds.  So I love this product.  It deodorizes and protects against fleas in between washes.  You can just shake it on and brush, or you can even sprinkle it on their doggie bed and let them do the work for you.

$7

Now that their coat is in order, it is time to do something about that breath.  Dogs are notorious for stank breath.  These yogurt and parsley flavored snacks are just what the dentist ordered.  Give them a biscuit a day and soon they will be the envy of the bark park.

$12

Everyone gets a boo-boo once in a while, even Fido.  This therapeutic salve is naturally anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.  It relieves dry or damaged skin, and will help speed the recovery process because of its beneficial properties for the outer skin tissue.  It is a gentle, cooling, and soothing balm with a calming Lavender-Peppermint scent.  Its great for  raw/sore/inflamed skin; softening split or brittle nails; discomfort due to cracks, calluses and scratches; or tender paws after long walks on the hot pavement or salted snow.


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Lindsey - April 8, 2011 - 2:54 pm

OMG I am going to make some of these

Spring Clean the Green Way

 

The snow has stopped flying and our feathered friends are back singing their love songs. It is time to chase the winter blah out of the house with a good spring cleaning. But let’s do it Green. That’s it: Green Spring Cleaning! Yes!

Get rid of the clutter.Reading materials the first to go as they are easiest. Newspapers are easy to deal with as they can simply be recycled. Let go of them if they are more than a few days old. If you want to to keep an article, cut it out within the first few days avoid a buildup, and start a scrapbook to save them. Magazines more that 2-3 months are outta there! Again, cut out your special tip and add it to your scrapbook. You can donate these leftover magazines to a nursing facility for elders to enjoy, locals schools and daycare centers for crafts projects and and research resources.

Moving on to bulkier items. Broken toys may be difficult for your kids to part with, but they are simply dangerous and an eye sore. Toss those. It’s better for your child and the whole family. Other toys that your kids don’t use, donate to a daycare, charity or thrift store. Don’t worry, your kids won’t miss them, because they don’t use them. Do you have sports equipment sitting in your house our garage unused or barely used year round? Gather it up and either donate it to a thrift store or charity or sell it in a garage sale. Make a few extra dollars to your summer vacation and avoid adding to the landfill.

Once your house in uncluttered, it’s now time to get down to the business of cleaning. Keep chemicals out of the house as much as possible.It’s feasible to use non-synthetic cleaners in lieu of chemical-based cleaners. Green Works by Clorox is an example. Check labels for ingredients to be sure. You can also make your own natural cleaners to save money and a trip to the store. Undiluted white vinegar can cut grease and odor. At a ratio of 3:1 mixed with water, it cleans windows inside and out to a clear shine. Use coffee filters to wipe dry. They are best to use, because they don’t leave streaks or lint. Keep a spray bottle of this handy to take the winter film off of mirrors and tiles. Baking soda can also work wonder all by itself. Sprinkle onto a damp sponge to scrub sinks, countertops and tub residue. Lemon juice down the drain eliminates bad odors and neutralizes the stink of onions and garlic. 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil mixed in a 1 cup of water will banish mold from tile grout with some scrubbing. It works great in the shower and on the fireplace, too. Grapefruit seed extract liquid concentrate in a 30-60 drop does into 32 oz of water is the safe and natural way to kill germs. Use it to clean and freshen trash can and clean pet dishes withough chemicals. However, rinse dishes well, because grapefruit extract doesn’t have the best taste.

The last to go is the dust. Microfiber dusters pick up almost everythng and can be washed for repeated use. Don’t forget to look up and those cobwebs with a long wand duster. Wash the drapes to get rid of staleness and musk. Hang them outside to dry rather than using the dryer, if possible, to bring the fresh air inside.

Now that your house is spin and span, enjoy! Your home looks, smells and feels asa fresh as a pretty Spring.

 

 

photo courtesy of Spark Your Wellness


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Handmade Wednesday’s: Pioneer Woman Lasagna

Well, normally I do a craft for my Handmade Wednesday, but I decided a recipe would just be just as handmade!  Unfortunately, I can not claim this recipe as my own, but I did make a few tweaks to it so I figured I would put it up and share. I stole it from The Pioneer Woman, whom Bonnie and Claire say I have a “woman crush” on.  I do think her life seems great and I aspire our blog to be even half as wonderful as hers, but that is all besides the point of sharing this lasagna recipe!  Crazy Lindsey getting off track…..

Yummy Lasagna

-Start by setting your oven to a cozy a 350 degrees-

  • Well, first things first I didn’t have a lot of ground beef but was not desiring to make a strictly veggie lasagna, so I cooked about 3/4 lb. ground beef (though Pioneer woman suggests 1 1/2 lbs beef and 1 lb. breakfast sausage.)  Then I added 1 clove minced garlic (if you do Miss Thangs meat proportions she calls for two cloves.)
  • Once the meat was cooked to a brown, I drained off ALL the fat.  Pioneery says drain only half for more flavor, but I can’t stand the thought of having extra fat in my meat so I always get rid of all of it.
  • Of course, I was missing the canned tomatoes, so I just added to the meat one 6 oz. can of tomato paste, almost half a bottle of chunky pasta sauce and one chopped roma tomato. The pasta sauce’s already mixed in seasonings gave the lasagna a nice taste.  If you go this route, find one with a great flavor that you enjoy.
  • I did finally follow Pioneer Woman’s instructions on parsley and basil – 2 tbsp. of both.  Though we both used dried, I prefer at least fresh parsley.  I don’t know about you….. Then add 1 tsp. salt.

Mix all of that together and let it simmer uncovered for about 45 min. (if you are going for Pioneery’s proportions).  I let mine cook about 25-30 minutes since my meat wasn’t as thick.

  • While the meat was cooking, I began the lasagna noodles. Here are Pioneer Woman’s direct instructions (I couldn’t say it better or different – she’s fabulous):  (I wanted to do it her way, but I still screwed up the noodles because I didn’t add olive oil.  They stuck like crazy!)

“Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the water, as well as 1 tablespoon olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. Cook the noodles “al dente” so they’ll still have quite a bite to them. When they’re finished cooking, drain, rinse with cool water, and lay the noodles flat on a sheet of aluminum foil. That way, they’ll be easier to handle later.”

  • Next, I wanted onions in my lasagna, so I cooked up about half an onion in olive oil until they were just a touch brown.
  • While I had those 3 burners going, I moved onto the next part which is to mix together 3 cups low-fat cottage cheese (or ricotta if you hate using cottage cheese), 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 tbsp. parsley and 1 tsp. salt.  Stir them up well!

 

Then, it’s onto the fun part of putting it all together in your baking dish.

  • Start by laying four of your cooked noodles on the bottom of the dish, overlapping as you along (I then had to put a thin layer of tomato or pasta sauce along the bottom and top layers because of my meat shortage – as you see in the picture).
  • The layer away! Pioneer Woman suggests you layer: noodles, cottage cheese mix, parmesan, meat and then noodles.  I highly recomend this route, but since I had about half the meat she did, I made 3 layers instead of two and did it as so: noodles, pasta sauce, cottage cheese mix, cooked spinach, parmesan, noodles, meat, cottage cheese mix, parmesan, noodles, sauce, cottage cheese mix, cooked spinach, parmesan.
  • Bake it up for 20-30 minutes in the oven.  Or Pioneer Woman says you can cover and freeze or refrigerate it unbaked for up to two days before baking.

I know I don’t have an official “Finished Product” image, but that’s because when it was done, my family was so hungry it got gobbled up before I could say ” Hey! Wait for the camera!!!!”  Sorry folks.  I tried.

FYI: if you go to her website, don’t judge my photos.  Hers are amazing and she’s got an awesome camera.  I’m working out the kinks in mine.  Thanks!!!


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Wedding Trends: Shoes

One area women truly outshine men in the wedding is fashion. Other than the dress, the shoes are the next biggest display of this. Obviously, women outdo men in terms of options and style for wedding attire, but we’re lucky when it comes to footwear as well. Men can basically wear dress shoes that match their suits – not much choice. Women can wear nearly anything of any color for several reasons. Shoes will most likely be only somewhat visible throughout the day, several shoe styles can be used formal occasions and possible colors truly just depend on your theme colors. Almost any pair of shoes can be used in a wedding, but as always, there are trends. The most common and lasting tradition still exists: high heels. High heels will always be the epitome of elegance, and every girl wants at least a touch of elegance on her big day no matter how casual the affair may be. Breaking the tradition now though, many heels are no longer just the classic white to match the white dress. Many brides now want their heels to match their theme colors to add that memorable flair. And much like hair accessories, there are 3 major designs elements on bridal high heels today as well: bows, flowers and feathers.

Bows define old-fashioned beauty and nowadays can come in many designs and sizes. It’s very hard to go wrong with bows on high heels as they can match every wedding gown I’ve ever seen. If you want a bit of the bygone eras of the 30′s, 40′s or 50′s, bows are the greatest elements to have on your feet.

Flowers are also an all-time favorite for every every era. They are the perfect top-off to make anything pretty, especially shoes. They come in many styles and sizes to perfectly suit your dress and personality. The sky is the limit in terms of high heels with flower decorations.

Feathers on high heels are a new fad, although the style has been around for years. It is a sophisticated throwback that is coming to prominence now. I personally love this new style and feathers on heels would perfectly pair feather hair accessories.

There are a few other styles that exist as well. Glitter is also emerging, but not quite taking over right now. It is a flashy yet cute touch perfect for some personalities. Ruffles are also starting to surge to the top and are almost becoming as popular as bows and flowers.
Footwear can also vary by the area you come from as well. Many brides wear cowboy boots or sandals which go with their personalities and their venues. Pearls are a superb vintage detail and jewels can add some flash just as glitter does, but in a more fanciful way.

No matter which shoe color and design you choose, make sure it fits your theme and personality and gives you that extra edge of style that men are so unfortunate to miss out on.

photos courtesy of stylemepretty.com

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Claire - March 5, 2012 - 11:16 am

@Samantha – I don’t know where you could find those shoes specifically. I would look where badgley mishka shoes are sold

Samantha Brown - March 5, 2012 - 7:32 am

Yes, the 3rd picture. I’m looking for prom shoes and those match my dress identically! Where can I buy them?

Claire - March 4, 2012 - 1:53 pm

@Samantha – the pink ones? they’re badgley mishka

Samantha Brown - March 4, 2012 - 12:53 pm

I love the strapless ones with the flowers!! Where can I get them?!

claire - June 3, 2011 - 2:55 pm

glad you love them! which one is your favorite?

Alyx - June 3, 2011 - 4:25 am

oh my gosh…so wonderfull!!! i love those shoes…they are so fabulous..so gorgeous….love them!!!!

Fabulous Etsy Finds: April Fools!!

I do realize that TODAY is April Fools Day, making it difficult for you to actually use any of these products.  So, APRIL FOOLS! my April Fools post is late.  Hahahaha…no?  Okay.  Well, they’re still fun to look at.  And you can keep them in mind the next time you need a gag for any other day of the year.  Without further ado, here is April Fools Day the Etsy way.

$12.25

This is probably the most benign, and possibly sweetest, April Fools prank you could pull.  This listing is for 6 mystery cupcakes.  Your job is to guess the flavors.  Its a tough job, but somebody has got to do it.  This is perfect for a new girlfriend, or possibly buttering up your boss.

$14.50

This one is a little more cruel.  It is a fake slice of cake which the seller will directly ship for you if you so choose.  Great for detering someone off of their diet.  I know if I got this in the mail, I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about chocolate cake until I had a piece.  In fact, I can’t stop thinking about it now.

$14

This faux cup of spilled coffee is just begging to be brought into the office.  Place it on the breakroom table.  Or if you have a personal vendetta place it on a certain someone’s stack of papers ala Jim Halpert.

$6

Freak out house guests by placing this guy by the sink in your guest bathroom.  This fake snake is guaranteed to get a few good screams from unsuspecting friends.  I am tempted to put one in my master bathroom just to keep the kids out.

$3.75

What’s better than freaky snake soap?  Exploding Frog Soap, of course.  This seemingly innocent, slimy little guy’s ‘skin’ quickly dissolves causing his ‘guts’ to ooze out when exposed to warm water.  And he comes in Easter wrapping, so it’s not too late to scoop this one up!

$12

Have people coming up to you all day (“uh, I think you have gum in your hair..”) with this chewed gum hair pin.  You can use the opportunity to freak out and begin pulling at your hair or use it as a conversation starter.  I’m a little weird, but I think that this would be great to wear to a singles mixer.  It breaks the ice and shows a guy that you don’t take yourself too seriously.  Extra points if you use it in an elaborate up-do.

$11,723

This is by far my favorite April Fools post on Etsy.  A mom selling her quite adorable little girl…syke!  Mom details how useful her little girl is and then says ‘April Fools!’   Here is her disclaimer:

“This listing is obviously not actually offering anything other than a teeny bit of comedic value. I know she is really cute, but please do not actually purchase this listing. Should anyone actually purchase this listing they will receive a photograph of 3 year old Eve (pictured), and a thank you note (signed by Eve herself).”


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Mommyfriend - April 2, 2011 - 8:55 pm

That was such a fun post, I showed it to my husband!

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