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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!

What better way to beging the week than with a giveaway? It is Thanksgiving week after all and I am in a giving mood. And, what thing do people love most? Their phone, of course. So, when I partnered with Uncommon Goods to do a giveaway, I knew a phone gadget would be the most beneficial for my dear readers. I bring you the Leaf Universal Phone Charger.

leaf universal iphone charger

I tested it out first with my own iPhone (I have an iPhone 4S) and I noticed a few plusses and minuses with my particular phone. First off, the charger takes a few hours to completely charge (as is common with most portable phone chargers) and it lets you know just how much charge it has with a three color system. It varies between red, green and blue to let you know how much more time is needed to charge. It is handy to bring with you, because it comes with its own strap. I honestly just threw it in my purse, though. It is not very bulky, so it did not take up too much space in my rather small (but lovely) purse. It also fit nearly any phone, because it charged via a USB cord. The only downside I found is that the charge does not last for more than one or two days, so if you plan on charging it before the day of use. It is very cute, though and it comes in three colors. There is also a matching amplifier stand that looks pretty cool, too. Uncommon Goods has pretty unique Christmas gifts including stocking stuffers for men and iPad accessories.

But onto the giveaway! Use the Rafflecopter entry form below for a chance to win!

  • Giveaway will end 11:59 PM PST, December 14, 2013
  • Must be at least 18 years old to enter
  • Must be North American resident


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good Luck to everyone!



I am OB-sessed with almond milk.  So much so that I go through approximately 4-5 cartons a week.  And up until about a month ago, I would finish them off and toss them in the recycling bin—thinking, ‘What a responsible consumer I am!‘  Responsible? Possibly.  Innovative, creative?  Not so much.  It wasn’t until I recently took up running again that I realized what I was tossing out.  Because of my rickety knees and hips, running coming at a price for me.  That price is usually a few weeks of limping around at the onset of any new program.  Well this time, I had read about the wonder of ice baths.  Yes, they sounded just slightly more appealing than the hobbling.  But I was determined to get back in my Asics, so I took the plunge.  It wasn’t nearly as torturous as I had imagined it would be, and I was actually refreshed when I was done.  Even better, I had zero aches and pains.  Win-win-win!  The one down side was that keeping a supply of ice for 3-5 weekly baths was a bit cumbersome.  Then I stumbled upon a runner’s site that recommended freezing water in empty milk cartons to create large bricks of ice.  Yay, for almond milk addictions.  Now I can freeze my bottom off without hindrance.  And more importantly, finally reach my 10k time goals.

If you are harboring an equally ridiculous amount of milk cartons, but have no desire to to join the Polar Bear Club–here are a few other ideas for re-use (taken from diylife.com and a few other places)

Around The House

  • Floor protectors. Cut the tops off cartons and use the bottoms to cover furniture legs.  Now you can slide large items around without scratching the floor.
  • Paint containers. Cartons make ideal disposable containers for small painting jobs.  Trim the carton to the appropriate size, then add paint. No rinsing is needed – just throw the carton in the trash when you’re done. Not the most environmentally sound practice, but it is convenient.
  • Drawer organizers. Cut lengthwise to fit utensils. Cut the bottoms to make one or two (or more) inch-deep squares. These make very handy in-drawer storage containers for small odds and ends.  You can leave them with their original print for an eclectic feel or paint them to for an more uniform look.
  • Dispose of cooking oil. Fill a carton with newspaper and pour oil inside. The newspaper absorbs the oil and the carton keeps everything neatly contained, so no leaks. When it’s been used several times, throw it away.
  • Disposable cutting boards. Slit cartons open and spread them flat. Keep on hand for when you need to chop smelly items like fish. Or use them for draining fried foods. The paper side absorbs oil and the waxed side keeps oil from leaking through to the plate underneath.
    Liquid storage.
  • Use cartons for storing liquids in the refrigerator or freezer. They are great for freezing soup, frozen desserts and whipped cream. When you need some, you don’t have to thaw the whole container: just slice off a chunk as big as you need, then peel the cardboard off and thaw.

Around The Yard

  • Winter bird food form. Cartons are ideal for storing homemade suet or peanut butter-based mixtures.  Pour hot mix into a carton.  When it’s completely hardened, use a sharp carving knife to cut into inch-thick slices. Peel off the cardboard around edges. Each slice fits perfectly into most wire suet holders.
  • Seed starter. Cut cartons in half lengthwise and punch drainage holes in the bottom.  Fill with potting mix.  Now you’re ready to grow some seeds!
  • Toe guard. Camping?  Try using bottoms of cartons as tent peg covers.  They’ll help prevent painful stubbed toes.
  • Weight.  Fill cartons with sand or pebbles.  Punch holes in tops.  Use them to weigh down a tarp or drop cloth when it’s windy.  Thread rope through the punched holes and tie them down for added security.
  • Compost.  Schools in LA collected 200 tons of school lunch milk cartons, which the city converted into compost and used to plant trees in bare urban areas.  You can do the same on a small scale.  Just shred them before adding to your compost container.

Clever Crafts

  • Bowling alley. Empty cartons make great (free!) bowling pins for kids.  Let them spend a rainy afternoon decorating the “pins” with paint before the all-important first game.
  • Coin purse.  A super cute way for young girls to keep their purses organized.  Perhaps even an idea for little girls to give to their friends as gifts.  Check out the tutorial at CutOutandKeep.com
  • Blocks for baby.  Wash and dry cartons, then stuff with scrunched up newspaper or junk mail.  Fold down the triangle top and tape shut.  They make wonderful blocks for babies and toddlers to play with and practice their stacking skills.
  • Candle mold.  Trim carton to size. Anchor wick at the bottom on the inside, making sure the wick is a couple of inches longer than the container is tall.  Pour hot wax inside and let it set.  **Ice variation**Coat the inside of a clean carton with cooking spray.  Anchor the wick inside, then fill with ice cubes. Pour in hot wax. The melting ice creates beautiful formations in the wax.
    Bird feeder. An easy homemade feeder that encourages kids to learn about birds.  Cut a hole in a carton and insert a piece of dowel for a perch just below. Fill with seed and hang from a branch.
  • Decorative bird house. A great craft idea for kids or adults.  Decorate a clean carton however you like.  Cut holes and decorate by gluing little craft “birds” into the doorways or on top.  Use twigs, raffia and moss to create their “nests.”
    Pencil holder or vase. Clean and trim old cartons, then decorate with paints, papers, ribbon, glitter – or whatever catches your eye.  Use them as pencil holders or even as flower vases.
  • Ginger bread house. Very young kids don’t have the dexterity to work with real gingerbread house kits.  So let them use cartons for a firm foundation.  Just clean and trim a carton, then let the kids glue ginger cookies onto the sides, using white icing for “glue.”  Add candy, pretzels etc for added decorations.
  • Doll house or toy town.  Each carton can become a room or tiny house in your child’s imagination.  Help kids cut the sides out of cartons and decorate. Glue them together to make a house … or a whole town.



  • Prasanth - June 4, 2012 - 7:36 am

    Nice. Thanks.ReplyCancel


If you have ever been on a diet, you know the struggles that come with abstaining from sweets. I love sweets and not eating them is just plain wrong – especially around this time of year. Pumpkin is simply not to be missed, and I have found a way to enjoy pumpkin all its natural glory at only 200 calories. That makes it worth passing up the pumpkin drinks at Starbucks. The secret to getting your pumpkin fix in a beverage without consuming the caloric equivalent of a meal is the base of the smoothie. Most people use Greek yogurt, frozen yogurt, or ice cream as the base of their smoothie, but this is very heavy and can pack on the calories quickly. These ingredients can also add a multitude of other hidden ingredients in the process. The trick is to use a frozen banana. It might seem weird, especially in a pumpkin smoothie recipe, but it truly is the best smoothie base. The tastes of banana is lessened when it is frozen and it blends with pumpkin flavor quite well. A banana also adds a bit of its own sweetness and whips up much better than yogurt. To top it all off, you cannot beat the fact that a banana is completely natural and costs about 20¢ – a far cheaper price than any yogurt.

Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe
Serves 2
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Beverage, Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
At 100 calories per serving, this delicious pumpkin smoothie recipe will fix your sweets craving without breaking your diet. It is also full of calcium, fiber, potassium and all-natural ingredients to keep you healthy as well.


  • 1 cup almond milk (60 calories total (unsweetened, 30 calories per 8 oz. serving))
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (35 calories)
  • 1 banana (frozen and cut in half, 100 calories)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (6 calories)
  • stevia (sweeten to your liking)
  • 1 dash pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 dash cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 dash nutmeg (optional)
  • 5 ice cubes


Step 1 Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you have a smooth consistency.

This makes two servings ooooorrrr one large serving. You are guaranteed to be full if you drink this by yourself. Or, you can share with someone else. I am usually selfish, because I am a pumpkin fiend and it is the best natural sweet treat I have found for 200 calories. If you have any variations on this recipe, let me know below. This pumpkin smoothie recipe is my favorite fall treat, so the more I can jazz it up, the better.


  • Karin - November 8, 2013 - 7:32 am

    Yum! Will try.Helps to pass up pumpkin pie.ReplyCancel

  • lacie - December 1, 2013 - 8:16 am

    I can’t taste the pumpkin. It just tastes like a banana smoothie :(ReplyCancel

  • Claire - December 1, 2013 - 11:25 pm

    @Lacie – did you freeze the banana?ReplyCancel

Halloween Painted Pumpkin

Okay so it’s Halloween Eve. Are you finding yourself decorationless?  Yeah tomorrow is Halloween and kids will be out roaming from house to house excited to get their candy but also to see some scary decorations. Moviestar and I try to put up some stuff around our apartment {we live in a bungalow type place with a front and back door so its easy to put up outdoorsy  stuff}. But if you find that October was spooked away so quickly that you don’t have any pumpkins carved on your front porch like these below carved by myself, Moviestar, Bonnie and her boys, why not try painting some pumpkins?

Jack-o-Lantern Collage

Literally today I decided to try this and though I wanted to do more intricate details on it {like spray painting over lace to give it a pretty look or a few lines and chevrons}, I decided it would be much easier to just give my pumpkin a creepy high gloss black look.

Painted Pumpkin Collage

Having gone through it now, I would have just sprayed the stem first and then once dried, covered the stem and then sprayed the black {to be honest, I tried doing a gold chevron along the center but it just wasn’t going to work with the ill planned way I tried to do it. Ha!} But if you have a little time to put together a few decorated pumpkins, follow my lead or take a step further and try one of these!

Candy Corm Painted Pumpkins

Striped Painted Pumpkin

Monogram Painted Pumpkin

Painted Face Pumpkins

Chevron Painted Pumpkins

Skull Painted Pumpkin

Painted and Decoupaged Lace Pumpkins

Lastly, if you dont even want to bother with the painting or just want to paint one or two and decorate others a little more simply, try these out:

Fishnet Covered Pumpkins

Lace Covered Pumpkins 



mine craft cake

You may have seen a few weeks ago that we celebrated Avery’s birthday. It was Asa’s turn this week and he was fortunate enough to the first grandchild to ever get to spend this birthday with his grandparents. As you can imagine, the extra steps to make his feel special (aka spoil him) were taken. He asked certain gifts, he got them. He asked for crab legs, he got his own personal plate…..to eat in front of his brothers, he asked for a mine craft birthday cake, and he got it. The poor kid was running a temperature on birthday, though. He still loved having all the stops pulled out for him, especially with his mine craft birthday cake. Bonnie and our mother made it using jello, rice crispy treats and dark chocolate cake {our favorite chocolate cake recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. You’ll thanks us for it}. She then printed out and folded the Mine Craft characters, because buying plastic cake toppers was ridiculously expensive. Printed though, they look pixelated, which is how they are meant to appear, so it was actually probably the best idea.

Overall, it was a good birthday for the little kid as he turned seven, and now all of the kids have Halloween to look forward to in a few days. It will be their first time trick-or-treating in Colorado. They will be following the same route I have since I was eight years old. I have to admit that I am a little sad that I won’t be there, and a little jealous that they get to go trick-or-treating in my neighborhood while I am stuck in Los Angeles with a midterm on Halloween.


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