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!
I have a long list of things that I want to do, but don’t have to do. Unfortunately, my list of things that I do have to do is almost as long, so I seldom get to my ‘wanna-do’ list. Near the top of that ‘wanna-do’ is start a compost pile. Every time I empty the trash, I wince at the sight of all those prime produce remnants headed to the trash bin. While I was discarding my perfectly good fertilizer the other day, it dawned on me that I could be throwing away other perfectly useful things. After a doing a little research it turns out that I was right. Used coffee grounds! I found that those little brown granules can do a lot more that just perk up your morning. They can help with your beauty regimen, your pets, your garden and more. And it doesn’t require a large area safe from children and dogs to sit and fester for weeks either. Which means, unlike my future compost pile, I may get to put our used coffee grounds to use some time this year. If you’d like to follow along, here are a few ways to repurpose your java remains.
In Your Beauty Routine
Banish cellulite: Are you ready to take your love of coffee to a whole new level? Mix 1/4 cup warm, used coffee grounds with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then apply the mixture to your “problem areas” (best to do this in the tub or over some newspaper). Next, wrap the areas with shrink wrap and leave on for several minutes. Remove the wrap, brush loose grounds off your skin and then shower with warm water. For best results, it is recommended to repeat this procedure twice a week. The caffeine is purported to help metabolize fat when absorbed by the skin.
Clear up acne: Coffee has natural astringent and antioxidant properties which makes it a great cleanser and toner for your face. And it’s graininess makes it perfect for exfoliation. Just mix your used coffee grounds with enough milk to make a paste. Rub it on pretty good for about a minute, then relax and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Whlie washing it off, scrub it around a little more and then rinse clean.
Make hair soft and shiny: When washing your hair, rub used coffee grounds through wet hair and rinse. You can also pour 1-2 tbl straight into your conditioner. For brown hair, coffee grounds will also add highlights.
Around The House
Deodorizer: Stop wasting baking soda just to absorb odors. Dry used coffee grounds out on a cookie sheet, pour them into the foot of some old nylons, tie off the end and then put them in in your refrigerator or freezer. You can also rub them on your hands to get rid of strong food smells, like onions or garlic.
Dust inhibitor: Before you clean out the fireplace, spread wet coffee grounds over the ashes to keep the dust under control.
Furniture scratch cover-up: Steep grounds in a bit of hot water and apply the liquid to furniture scratches with a Q-tip.
Cleaning product:Thanks to their slightly abrasive nature, grounds can be used as a scouring agent for greasy and grimy jobs. Just be sure that the surface is stain resistant :)
Pipe cleaner: Flush them down the toilet. Their grittiness will scrub your pipes of any slime and grime. Please note, this is not a good idea if you have a septic system.
Ward off fleas: Shampoo your dog or cat as usual and when they are wet rub their fur down thoroughly with coffee grounds. Massage the coffee grounds all the way to their skin and work them in. Rinse the coffee grounds away and your pet’s fur will be soft and clean and the fleas will disappear.
Make parchment: The next time your third grader needs to re-create The Declaration of Independence here is a simple soultion to make realistic looking parchment. Put some used coffee grounds in a flat pan of water and dip a white piece of paper into it. Remove the paper carefully and let it dry and you will have a decent copycat.
Make coffee ground fossils: Check out this how-to on these super cute fossils that use coffee grounds to lend an aged hue to the finished product.
In The Yard
Insect repellent: Sprinkle old grounds around places you don’t want ants, or on the ant piles themselves. They will either move on or stay away. This is great for my backyard since those buggers invade our patio as soon as the weather warms up. I like this solution because they blend in with the surrounding soil and I don’t have to use chemicals around the kids and dogs. Used grounds are also said to repel snails and slugs, but we don’t mind those guys around here :)
Mosquito repellent: Check out this simple how-to on how to burn coffee grounds to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
Kitty repellent: To keep Fluffy from tinkling in the garden, mix grounds with some orange peel and sprinkle it around your plants.
Grow better carrots: Mix fresh grounds with tiny carrot seeds to make them easier to sow. They also repel root maggots and other yucky bugs.
Plant food: Plants that prefer acidic soils (including rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreen and camellias) will appreciate the abrasive boost from your discards. Grounds can also add nutrients to your compost bin, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Salt icy walkways: Dried grounds make good grit to spread on icy sidewalks. It doesn’t effect the environment and the acid helps melt the ice.
I am pretty excited, folks! In a few weeks I will be going on a birthday trip! This is monumental for a few reasons. 1) I am turning 30. 2) I haven’t been on a successful overnight trip away from the kids in nearly 7 years. 3) I am returning to my hometown(ish), Chicago (I am actually from the suburbs, but still have family in the city). 4) My birthday happens to be on the same weekend as St. Patrick’s Day. And 5) the best part, I will be traveling with my very own Claire Bear.
Now that we have the major details (airfare, hotels, rental car…) ironed out, it is time to get to the fun stuff. Accessories!! Having lived in Southern California for the last 10 years, I am slightly ill-equipped to brave the elements of a windy Mid-West winter. I have a coat and some boots, but my other winter gear has gotten lost in the shuffle that is my life. I haven’t truly celebrated St Patty’s Day since, umm…ever. And this may be the last time I do for a good many years. So since I am shopping specifically for this trip, I figure why not green it up. And while I was at it, why not find a few pretty things for our nighttime bash? I looked a few places locally, but as we all know Etsy is the place to go for eye-catching finds. Here are a few things on my Fabulous Etsy Finds to-buy list:
If you ask me, this pin is just the most charming way to not get pinched. And I have a feeling that the good people of Chicago take their pinching seriously.
I ike this headband because its simple, but the sheen still makes it stand out just enough.
This cozy little bit of green keeps you in the spirit of things even when you’re all bundled up.
This hat is for the girl who is not content with blending in. The seller also has some festive beanies that are a little bit more toned down, but still oh so cute.
This wrap is a beanie in the front and a headband in the back. I like it because it keeps your ears and face warm without making your hair all scrunched up and itchy against your head. Oh, and the fact that it’s made by a an Irish granny almost makes me feel obligated to buy it for St Patty’s Day.
I’m not sure that I could get away with fingerless gloves in Chi-town, but these are cute enough to make me want to try. Perhaps, I can just carry a latte around all day…
If I thought that I could force Claire to wear it, this bearded hat combo would be on it’s way to her doorstep as I type. It’s cool because you can detach the beard and just wear the beanie if you decide that peple are not taking you seriously enough.
This earflap cap has a retro feel that seems to pull me in.
These hairpins mimic the Irish flag and they add a chic burst of color to any coif.
These hair (or shoe!) clips are any elegant way to Irish up your outfit. These would be so feminine clipped to the back of a pair of black heels.
I heart conversation starters, especially when you are in a city where you hardly know anyone! This unique ring offers plenty to talk about.
It’s vintage, it’s romantic, it’s green. This ring was custom made for my big St. Patty’s Day.
I am not sure what to make of this ring. It’s sorta modern, without being bland. It’s kinda vintage, without looking old-fashioned. It is the best of both worlds, and most definitely Irish looking.
It is nearly impossible for me to resist any sort of cameo, so it should come as no surprise the these earrings made my St Patty’s Day list.
Aren’t you happy Spring is finally here? The snow will finally melt giving way to flowers, birds heading home, and the ability to go outside without a heavy coat, among other things. It’s one my favorite times of year, if not my favorite. I love it because spring marks the beginning of outdoor fun, school breaks and more. Sadly, not everything is roses, though (ie: spring cleaning). To help you get through it and enjoy spring to the fullest from the very beginning, here are some helpful uncommon uses for common things to wade through the not-so-fun activities.
Save some money by keeping your green onions perpetually growing. Green onions can live and grow in water alone. Just submerge the white ends into water and put them in a window where they will get lots of sunlight. You can then harvest the green onions for as long as the white roots last.
For a quick and intense spring clean of your oven, cover the bottom in baking soda and then pour vinegar over it. Let the concoction sit for 20 minutes and then wipe away easily. It’s cheap, natural, quick and as effortless as possible.
Save your kids’ favorite shirts from armpit stains by covering the spots in vinegar and allowing them to sit for 20 minutes. Nature’s bleach has strong cleaning power that can work wonders on clothing.
Get the perfect manicure by applying petroleum jelly around your cuticles with a q-tip before you start. This way, if you make a mistake while painting, you can simply wipe it away once you’re done. No nail polish remover and nail polish reapplication necessary.
If you want to add a new coat of paint to the house, don’t rush out to get all the supplies right away. You can reuse paintbrushes even if they’re hard and covered in old paint simply by soaking them in vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse them off with water afterward and allow them to dry before you use them. They’ll be like new!
Every girl loves a great pair of heels, but hates the blisters they bring with them. Save yourself some pain (and skin) by dabbing a little bit of petroleum jelly in problem areas of the shoe before slipping them on. If you don’t want to use store-bought petroleum. Make your own with this recipe.
If you do happen to get a blister from those shoes, then just apply an antiseptic mouthwash to the effected area. It will clean the blistered part quickly and thoroughly. Or, you can make your own mouthwash.
This may sound odd, but you can avoid using a room freshener and still make your house smell sweet by rubbing vanilla extract on light bulbs. The scent will slowly be released in the house from the heat of the light.
Spring cleaning is deep cleaning, which means cleaning from top to bottom. One top portion that is often ignored is the ceiling fan. Clean off that caked on dust with a pillow case. Not only does it grip the top, bottom and sides at once to clean it quickly, it also captures all of the dust into the pillowcase, so it can’t settle somewhere else.
If you happen to get a bruise when doing heavy lifting during spring cleaning, speed up the healing process by swabbing it with vinegar. When you’re done, you will still be able to wear the warm weather clothes you just pulled out of the closet with smooth, even skin.
For a quick and easy test to see if you’ve lost power when on spring break, use the jar trick. Freeze water in a jar while it is on its side. Once it’s frozen, stand it upright. If the water is settled on the bottom or frozen on the bottom, they you will that you lost power while you were away, saving your from eating food gone bad.
If you’ve ever tried to reheat any bread in the microwave, you know how quickly it is hardened. Keep it moist when reheating by placing a cup of water in the microwave with it.
Remember chores, appointments and grocery lists with a dry erase board made to your liking. Just find a picture frame and wallpaper, wrapping paper or scrapbook paper for a background to create a stylish way to remember everything you need.
Clean away the mildew that invades your plants by planting a line of mint leaves through the middle of your garden. Mint is a superb natural garden cleanser that will last into the autumn.
One of of downsides of spring is the return of bugs. Mosquitoes are usually the most tiresome of these critters. Take the annoying itch away from this pest with vinegar. Just rub vinegar on the bite with a cotton swab for immediate itch relief.
When cleaning the tiny, nearly invisible glass shards off the floor after a glass has broken(you know, the kind that can only be removed from your feet with tweezers?), wipe the scene of the accident with a wet cotton ball. This will get all of the tiny pieces that sweeping leaves behind.
If your copper pans have been blackened from Christmas cooking, brighten them up by soaking them in hot water with a few pinches of lemon/vinegar and salt. After soaking for an hour, you can easily scrub the pots clean for a bright shine.
For meals that come with plenty of sauces and spices, create stations of sauces with ice cube trays. To make it even easier for guests, lay out a few different tray stations, so guests can get everything they need quickly and easily.
Hang photos in a synch by using a pop can tab. Attach the tab to the nail on the back of the frame and secure it well. Then, you can hang up the photos with ease and precision like never before.
Remove stains on clothing by spraying them with hairspray. Let the garment sit for 10 minutes and then wipe the bulk of the stain off with a damp cloth. For the slight stains remaining, just wash as usual.
Save some money and a trip to the store by making your own Oxyclean. Mix together equal parts hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for the powerful cleaning agent.
Make it easier to weed your garden (and keep it weeded) by pouring vinegar on the problematic plants. A good douse will kill weeds down their very roots leaving your gardens and walkways weed-free for the some time to come.
Spruce up your house design by adding a drawer to your side table decor or using it as a tray for breakfast in bed. It’s simply chic and recycles the odd item in a very cool way.
Clean the microwave quickly by microwaving a bowl of water with one tablespoon of vinegar and then wiping away the residue with a cloth. The water will loosen up the residue and the vinegar will sanitize the microwave.
Keep the drinks in your cooler cold and colorful with balloons. Freeze water balloons and then place them in the cooler to keep your beverages cool. It saves you from the pool of water that everyone hates reaching their hand in. And, as a bonus, kids have some ammo for water balloon fights once they melt.
For those very-difficult-to-reach areas during spring cleaning, fix an old sock to the end of a yard stick and secure it with a rubber band. This cleaning device is perfect for reaching behind the fridge.
To collect all of crumbs off of your keyboard from your winter hibernation, use the sticky side of a sticky note to clean the spaces in between the keys of your keyboard. For a thorough cleaning, run a q-tip along the ridges as well.
For your deep bathroom cleaning, rid your showers and sinks of lime buildup with this simple homemade paste. Mix together one teaspoon of vinegar and two teaspoons of salt and rub the mixture on the surface for a quick natural clean.
Keep floorboards quiet by sprinkling talcum powder over them. Just sweep up the mess, of course :) The powder in the cracks will silence the boards. To keep your floors from getting scratched when moving furniture, cover the furniture legs with old socks.
Shine up your leather goods and minimalize scratches by rubbing distilled white vinegar on them. It may be the cheapest and most natural leather shine you will find.
Pack up valuable glass vases and figurines when moving or just storing with cardboard milk cartons. Their cushioning will keep your valuables much safer than newspaper can. Just make sure you wash them out thoroughly first, because there’s nothing quite like grandma’s vase smelling like old milk.
Shine up your best leather shoes with vegetable oil. Only one or two drops are needed to polish each shoe thoroughly. The shine is as good as store-bought items and is natural as well.
Add two tablespoons of vinegar to eggs boiling in a pot for two benefits. It prevents eggs from cracking while boiling, and makes the shells come off easier when done boiling.
Kids can play Twisteroutdoors with just some spray paint on the grass. You can make it small enough for your kids only or big enough for all of the kids of your block. This Twister fit any size and last for as long as you wish. Depending on the length of your grass, you can can mow it away usually in a matter or days or a few weeks.
Turtle wax can shine up more than your car. Coat your dustpans in turtle wax for the dirt piles to fall right off when tossing them in the trash.
Keep your broom and mop handles from leaving marks on the wall by covering the tops of the handles with the finger cutoffs of cleaning gloves.
Hate how some ingredients stick to sides of measuring cups when cooking? Get the ingredients out easily by first rinsing the cup in hot water. Don’t dry the cup, though. The little beads of water will get the sticky ingredients, such as peanut butter and sour cream to pour out much more smoothly.
Shave your legs with conditioner rather than shaving cream to save yourself a few dollars and while getting much smoother legs.
Hate how your shaving cream and other metal bottles to rust in the shower after awhile? Prevent that wear by applying a thin coat of clear nail polish to the bottom. It will last as long as you have the bottle.
Kill germs naturally in your bathroom and kitchen with full strength vinegar. Just spray on and wipe off to kill the germs and remove residue.
For the little ones still learning to use glass cups, wrap the glasses with a few rubber bands. This will keep the glass from slipping from those little hands when too hot, too cold or slippery from condensation.
If you run out of toilet tablets, just toss in a few antacid tablets. They’ll work to get to rid of stains in just 20 minutes, so you can easily scrub them away with minimal effort.
Burnt your forehead with a curling iron? Dull the pain and reduce the redness quickly with yogurt. It’s a perfect healing method and breakfast all in one.
Put those plastic Easter eggs to use after Easter Sunday by using them as snack containers. They are not only reusable, they are also an easy way to help with portion control.
For those difficult coffee stains, cover the spot with salt and watch as the tiny crystals soak up the brown spot. After significant soakage, throw the salt away and wash the clothing as normal and the stain will removed.
Bring a fake spring smell indoors with your own fake Febreeze. Mix together two cups of water, a quarter cup of your favorite fabric softener and one teaspoon of baking soda. Pour into a spray bottle for all the fake fresh smell you can handle.
There you have it! Have a great spring enjoying your newly clean house and newly bloomed flowers. Be sure to check out our uncommon uses for common things summer tips, autumn tips, and tips on how to not lose things as well!
The winner of our Renovation Tea giveaway is Leah Shumack with entrance #442. Congratulations to our winner. Thanks to everyone for entering and thanks for reading Inspiring Pretty! And be sure to check out Renovation Teas for natural and tasty remedies for your body.
Did you know that our motto here at Inspiring Pretty is “A Pretty Home, A Pretty Faith, A Pretty Life” …? Probably not. If you were a regular reader and you were asked to describe what our site was about you would most likely say it’s focus is writing posts about pretty things like weddings, DIY crafts, giveaways and yummy recipes, right? And you would be correct. However I’m sure you would not mention that we throw some inspirational posts out there focusing on the Christian faith, would you? No. And why not? Because there haven’t been any in a really long time.
One of the reasons why Bonnie and I originally started this website was that after years of writing passionless P.C. posts for other people, we wanted a safe place where we could insert some of our beliefs without worrying that condemnation would come from our boss. We were the boss, and could write whatever we wanted! But as time as gone on, we’ve lost sight of that. Well, the Lord has been tugging at my heart strings lately and reminding me that I have a place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a safe forum for people to discuss their feelings and ask questions about this Christian faith. I have given my life to God and promised to do whatever He wanted me to, so I feel that I must obey this call to “Faith Writing”. Please join me on this journey and don’t hesitate to ask me questions, voice concerns or just discuss what I’m writing. The Lord is with us and this will be a safe place.
I’m going to start off my new venture here with the Book of James. At my church (Metro Calvary Chapel in Santa Monica, CA), the Women’s Ministry works through different bible studies, usually written by Beth Moore. Have you heard of Beth Moore? Well, if not head here to learn a little bit about her. I find her to be an amazing teacher who’s life has been anointed by God in so many indescribable ways. If you are new to her, you might need to get use to her methods and personality but once you are you’ll feel like she’s your best friend and you never know how you lived without her – that’s just one of the ways God uses her in the lives of women. Anyhoo, she writes these studies on books of the bible or topics that the Lord has pressed upon her and her most recent study is ‘James: Mercy Triumphs’. Now, these studies include a workbook with homework for 5 days a week and then a video session that she leads, which we watch at our bible study meeting one night a week. Feeling the Lords leading, I wanted to blog about my journey with this study and the book of James – the brother of Jesus. I’m about a week behind in my sharing so what you read will be what I went through the week before, not what I’m currently on. Here we go.
Beth started out – as she usually does – with a bit of a history lesson. I love history but sometimes (to be honest with you) get bored with this. However, it’s like my memory is selective because she does this every study and every study I realize how important it was for me to know where in history we are, what has happened or is currently happening and information about the people involved in the writing – in this case, James. So, I grumble through this part only to feel blessed weeks down the road when I would have been lost without it. Thanks Beth! And thank you Lord for giving her a passion for learning.
We discussed how James is the biological half brother of Jesus. How amazing to be in that family! Or would it have been? How would you feel to know – and see – that your big brother is perfect? If you are a middle or younger child you already feel like your big sibling is perfect. This hit home for me. I love my older sister to death. She and I were best friends in the heart for a very long time, but as we grew and she took her path and I took mine, I began to think that she made all the perfect choices while I fumbled around, uncertain. She now has a little house next door to the Folks, a job as a teacher, an amazing husband and one year old girl who lights up everyones life with her smile. While I’m living in a small apartment, working a part-time job with no kids. I am married to an incomparable man, but I get him, though most don’t. So, as we were going through this, I felt for James. Unlike my situation however, James’ brother was actually perfect. And James was a sinful human being. I’m sure there was jealousy and frustration inside of him, as Beth says:
” You can still have a relationship with the most loving, gracious, accepting person on earth and still be jealous of him.” (James: Mercy Triumphs, pg. 19)
She also helped remind me through scriptures that some members of Jesus’ family thought he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21 NIV) and that James enters the bible as an unbeliever (John 7:5 NIV). Whoa, what??!! One of Jesus’ half brothers, who lived with him his whole life and heard those glorious stories from his parents, didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah?! How could this be? Though I don’t fully understand it, I do believe it was all in Gods perfect timing. Because in the end, James believes to the glory of God. And not only does he believe but he writes a letter by the hand of God. After the resurrection of Jesus, James is one of the first people Jesus reveals himself to. And then in the upper room of Acts 1:12-14 (focus on 14) he is present with the apostles for constant prayer. That no longer sounds like an unbeliever. Praise Jesus that though our families may not understand our faith, there is always hope!
Beth continues this week on how James ends up a pillar in this new Christian movement (what a long journey he had!) and tells us more of what his ministry was like. She compares him to Paul who’s calling was to reach the Gentiles, whereas James was called to the Jews. James was a very devout Jew and wanted nothing but to see his fellow Jews -God’s chosen people- realize the fulfillment of their scriptures for the Messiah. How beautiful.
As I said, this week was more of a history lesson and less personal application, but a great learning experience none-the-less. Though I wasn’t able to spill all the (workbook) beans here today, I hope this gave you a small taste of my first week with this study. All and all I felt I learned a lot about not only James, but the early church. What an exciting, yet frightening time. It sure required a ton of faith. Faith that what they were doing was right and that God was helping them, though they faced constant persecution. But that’s for next week!
Please come back next Wednesday because the second week of this study has been incredible. God has spoken to my heart through the pages of James and I can’t wait to share it with you.