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Bucket List Item #26: Practice Calligraphy

One of my best friends Chelsea has always had beautiful penmanship and practiced calligraphy years ago. She’d send mail with the fanciest addresses on them and it was a skill I admired.

When we were doing some of the DIY decor for our wedding in the summer of 2021, Chelsea drove up from Salt Lake City to hang out for the weekend. While she was here, I asked if she would write on name on all of our party favors. I tried to recreate her pretty letters myself but they just looked so amateur in comparison. Calligraphy is definitely a skill that takes some practice!

Last year, Zeb bought me some Calligraphy workbooks and pens so that I could have some guided practice. Since I had these new fun and beautiful resources, I wanted to make sure they had a place on my bucket list so that I made sure to use them!

Switching gears – though I promise I will relate these two topics soon – last September, I joined a “mom group” called MOPs. It’s an international organization with chapters all over, and my local Boise chapter has 100 women with a waiting list for more. MOPs stands for Moms of Preschoolers, though you can join as soon as you are expecting and stay until your last child turns 5 years old. I joined because my good friend Hayley speaks really highly of it and has met almost all of her friends through the program. As someone who is always looking for other girls to connect with, I was happy to see what it had to offer and meet other local moms around my age. :)

Many of the moms in my chapter have several kids and have been in the program for years. They provide an incredible brunch spread of homemade dishes on our biweekly Friday meetings, from quiches to crockpot oatmeals, banana breads, fruit salads, and even mini avocado toasts. You are assigned a “table” that you sit with for the entire year; so even though there are 99 other women, you always sit with the same 9. That way you can get to know each other and continue to build relationships and trust and conversation.

Since it’s all been my first time experiencing this program, I did not even think to bring a little Christmas gift for my table when our December meeting came around. I felt super lame arriving empty-handed when I saw my fellow table-mates bring cute little baked goods, homemade crafts and other sweet little gifts. I made a mental note to bring something for everyone on the next holiday – Valentine’s Day!

Here’s where my two topics combine :) I used my “Practice Calligraphy” task to write out little Valentine tags for every mom at my table to attach with their little Valentine’s Day gift.

I found these really cute earring sets online and got a pack of girlie stickers. I cut out some tags, one for each friend. I tried out different calligraphy fonts from my workbook for their names. I did have to throw away a handful of tags because the letters looked too funky or they just didn’t end up in a straight line. I have a newfound respect for calligraphers because it’s not as easy as it looks!

When I had a tag for everyone that I felt looked decent enough, I used a hole punch and then threaded a ribbon through the tag as well as the earring cardboard. I added a valentine sticker to the back and curled the ribbon tails. Voila! A cute little table gift and a perfect excuse to try my hand (haha pun intended) at calligraphy ;) It was a fun little activity while my daughter was taking her afternoon nap, and I’ll need to make sure I breakout the pen set for all my future gifts, cards, and tags!

I’m really impressed with how well-organized the MOPs program is. The schedule and email communications are always timely, professional, but personable. There is FREE childcare for babies through 5-year-olds. Each table takes turns providing a giant brunch and coffee spread for the group. There are scheduled Mom’s Nights Out and Play Dates every month. There is a “giving table” to bring in any children’s clothing and toys you want to donate; fellow attendees have first dibs to take anything they want from the giving table, and everything else is taken to a donation facility. MOPs headquarters also has a really well put-together magazine that is automatically sent to members, as well as a podcast with all kinds of topics from budgeting, marriage, decluttering, and discipline. It is a Christian-based organization and I’m very open about the fact that I am not a religious person and I do not attend church; I respect people’s faith and beliefs but I am primarily involved with this group for connection to other women in my community that are also wives and moms to young babes.

My calligraphy is not professional looking, but I got in a little practice and I’ll keep working at it.

Time to get to bed because I have a BIG day tomorrow that I will share with you!

Stylizing the Senior Year Apartment

Today brings…a lil’ sneak peek inside my casa. I’ve been working so hard to make my personality shine through! I’m very happy with how bright and fun everything has turned out. :)

Stylizing the Apartment DIY (

My thoughts on decorating: Invest some money to make yourself happy and comfortable with your living space! Just because you are a “college student” doesn’t mean your style has to suffer. By the time you are in your 20’s, you might want to replace the thumb-tacked posters and beer bottle tower with actual items like, you, candles, pictures in frames, books.

DIY and apartment decorating on the blog! (

My mom and I found this elephant shelf in Sedona last spring, which I use to hang my costume jewelry. The hardest part about decorating was finding simple and inexpensive ways to fill up so much empty wall space! Target, Wal Mart, Bed, Bath & Beyond and most other home decorating stores have simple canvases with pictures and quotes to spruce up a bare wall, and I found several to play up the blank spaces in my room.

Elephant Shelf from Sedona (

DIY and Decorating (

Pinterest craft #7345: Map boxes. My room majorly lacks STORAGE for odds and ends like cords, chargers, random papers, loose change. Solution: I used empty shoe boxes wrapped in maps like Christmas presents! The boxes are displayed on my book shelf and storage bins. Little does anyone know that they contain 3 Target receipts, a stack of post-its, a pack of pens, some gum, chapstick, hair ties, paper clips and my electricity bill. ;)

Map-covered boxes and exercise shelf ( of course I have an “exercise shelf” ;)

Clothes Pin pictures are also all over the Pinterest page (what would I do without that site?) and I made my own version to fill up some wall space. It reminds me of a mobile, since it’s vertically oriented. But this is the spot where I lay out my zebra-print yoga mat to stretch out after a good long run and I love looking over at my favorite pictures of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, New York and SoCal. Having a ton of pictures around the room is also really fun for when new people come visit. Sometimes there’s an awkward lull in conversation, but pictures tend to bring up stories. Instant conversation starters. :)

Clothespin picture display (

My dining room is the second most used room in the apartment, because I like doing my homework and work there. I bought this table and assembled the set (50 minutes each chair = not my favorite day) but I’m proud of it now. The beautiful wildflowers outside of our unit will serve as the centerpiece until winter kills them off and then I’m sure a pumpkin-something-or-other will replace them.

Upgrading apartment style // dining room and coffee cart (

The picture on the right is my coffee cart. Another awesome way to clear up counter space and fill up space in the empty room. I haven’t decided yet how to use the bottom two shelves or the hooks on the sides but something tells me Pinterest will solve that problem fairly soon.

So that is a glimpse into my home. It feels good to be here. Mostly I just feel like living here has made me feel like an adult when I’ve felt like a kid thus far. (I installed my own door knob! HGTV here I come!)

DIY and Apartment Stlye (

My point with all of this? It’s 100% worth it to invest at least a little extra in your living space, whether that be a shared dorm room, a new apartment or your first house. Your room is a representation of YOU and your whole mood will improve if you create a positive place reflective of your personality. Just my thoughts :)

P.S. I considered making this a true “Cribs” experience with the what’s-in-my-fridge segment, but you guys already see enough of what I eat ;) Ha!

Stronglikemycoffee.comI love that my evening walks around the apartment lead me to views like this. Senior year is so drastically different than my previous three years of college…..and I like it. :)

Make Your Own Coffee Creamer

This morning started out with a experiment in my kitchen that included cinnamon and coffee. What a wonderful way to wake up! I can hardly wait 10 months of the year for the delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte. So I decided to make my own Pumpkin Spice Creamer with no idea how it would turn out. I am happy to report that the experiment was a success and I am drinking some Pumpkin Spice Coffee at this very moment.

I’ve had cans of fat-free sweetened condensed milk in my baking cupboard for about a year with no idea what to use them for. Into the creamer they went!

In a medium saucepan, heat 7 oz. fat-free sweetened condensed milk with 3/4 cup non-fat milk until well-blended.

Next, add in a dash of nutmeg, a pinch of cloves, 1/2 tsp. all-spice, and 1 tsp cinnamon. YUM! Smells like Autumn…

Continue to whisk together and allow to heat until it begins to steam (not boil!). Cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring into container and refrigerating. Lasts in fridge approx. 10 days.

Pay no attention to the fact that it is August and I am already bringing out Fall decorations ;)

I used an emptied water bottle for my creamer container, and this recipe makes about 1 1/4 cups of creamer (10 servings of 2 Tbs). Though it is fat-free, there is still a significant sugar content because of the sweetened ccondensed milk. A serving of 2 tbs is 60 calories, 13 grams of sugar and 0 grams of fat. A homemade pumpkin treat? Priceless.

I would imagine this would be pretty darn tasty in a bowl of oatmeal too…There will be more creamer flavor experiments in the future!

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