Gift Guide: Balloon Animals

Not sure if it's just me, but I have a slight obsession with balloon animals. As I had mentioned, I am looking to reduce my waste when it comes to parties so I'm going to abstain from using real balloons. However, these cute balloon animal items are meant to be re-used, reworn, and displayed for years to come! If you're got a soft spot for balloon animals, check out my gift guide on all the best items to get! We've got jewelry, clothing, statues, piggy banks and more!

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1. Rose Gold Necklace 2. Happy Girls Sweatshirt 3. Purple Unicorn Piggy Bank 4. White T-Shirt 5. Pink Dog Earrings 6. Blue Elephant Piggy Bank 6. Teal Dog Statue 7. Balloon Animal PJ’s 8. Let’s Get Twisting T-Shirt 9. Blush Dog Phone Holder 10. Pink Dog Pin

Am I alone in this obsession with balloon animals? I just love them! What do you think about balloon animals? Love em? Hate em? Let me know in the comments below!

Steal the Look- Target's Art Class + Museum Of Ice Cream Collections

Oh my gosh you guys! Have you even SEEN the adorable Art Class + Museum Of Ice Cream Collections at Target?! Literally so jealous that all these items are made for kids. They get ALL the good stuff! The good thing is that although they don't have any adult items (cue tears) they do have some awesome items you can use for yourself. Check out these items you can snag from the Art Class + Museum Of Ice Cream Collection that will be sure to add some sweetness to your wardrobe!

Art Class + Museum Of Ice Cream Collections

Gummy Bear Fanny Pack
Ok, fanny packs don't exactly have the best rep in the biz. They're best known for being a 90's staple, or something only tourists and dorky parents wear. BUT I think this fanny pack can change your mind! First off, it has gummy bears. Yum! And second, it's transparent and will blend in better with your outfit. They're really rocking' the clear trends with this collaboration! Note that since this is for kids, the waist strap may be a little short. Buyer beware!

Sprinkle Print Lanyard
Man oh man do I love this lanyard! If you need to carry your ID card for school, work, or even going on cruises, you HAVE to get this sprinkle lanyard! It's such a perfect shade of pink, and it has a hanging ice cream cone. RUN, don't walk, to get it! If you don't carry an ID, it can be used for your keys, a mini-wallet for trips to the deli, or even at the gym!

Kid's 3pk MOIC Pin Set
Let's be honest- we all LOVE enamel pins! These are perfect to use anywhere, for anyone of any size. Put them on your purse, your lapel, your jean jacket... heck, even store them as wall decor! This set features a cute-as-pie ice cream truck, MOIC signature banana, and a soft-serve cone for obvious reasons.

Top Handle Crossbody Bag
Although it may be a little small, you can totally carry this mini purse around to the mall or on a small day trip! It'll fit the essentials- wallet, keys, lip gloss, and sunglasses. Plus it has a cute little sprinkle scarf and lining!

Banana Print Backpack
This backpack is bananas! No but seriously, how perfect is this backpack. It's perfect for commuters to carry their books and a snack, or just for wandering around in the park. Take it along hiking or to grab a few items at Target- the choice is yours! It's perfect for casual Fridays or to look cute anytime.

Lunch Bag with Ice Pack
If ever there was a reason to bring your own lunch to work, THIS IS IT!  Aside from being the freakin cutest little lunch bag, this comes with a soft-serve cone ice pack to keep everything cool. Bringing your own lunch saves money and the environment, since you won't purchase food that comes in one-time use plastics or styrofoam, then gets carried back to the office in a plastic bag. 

BTW- who do we have to contact to get these cute clothes in adult sizes?! Kids get all the good stuff! What do you think of this collaboration? Are you in love, or do you think it's nothing to brag about? Are you planning to get any items in the collection? Let me know in the comments below!

My Favorite Photography Items for Beginners

One of my favorite parts about blogging has become photography. I love seeing my DIY ideas come to life through my tutorials. I imagine people seeing the photo on Pinterest or Instagram, getting that excited feeling in their chest, and excitedly clicking on the link to see more. I remember the days before I had a blog, going onto Pinterest for hours and browsing all the amazing ideas on there. I also remember wishing I could have my projects on there too. The fact was though, my photos were NOT good enough to be on Pinterest. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I didn't want to be up there unless I could be as good as everyone else. I knew my craft ideas were good enough, but my photos were not.

I had a few skills I had learned over the years, including some from an intro to photography summer course in college. We learned a bit about the features of the camera, but we only used auto mode, and were told never to use flash. The class focused on teaching us about the composition of a photo (and what makes a good one) rather than really getting into the nitty gritty of how to use the camera. So while I took some really cool photos in this class, I found that my skills were really only good for taking cool photos outdoors.

When I started working on my blog around April of 2016, I used a few of my basic skills to take my first set of photos. Now, while the photos weren't necessarily bad, they weren't good either! They were dark, unevenly lit, and a bit blurry too. Not exactly the makings of a professional blogger! While they say comparison is the thief of joy, for me it was the catalyst to improve my photos...Right away. I upgraded all my equipment and finally started to see some major changes in my blog photos.  

Since I had a very limited budget for my photography upgrades, I found some decent equipment (mostly on amazon!) and made the most of it. I have to say though, these upgrades, along with new editing skills, took my photography game to a whoooole 'nother level. So, without further adieu, here's what I use (and love) for my blog photography.

Looking to improve your photography? I’ve got my essential items for beginner photographers that are super affordable! #photographytips #photography101 #betterphotography

Backdrop Stand- Since my attic has some lovely sloped walls, I needed something to give the illusion that they were totally normal, flat walls. I decided the easiest and probably cheapest solution was to go with one of these backdrop stands. It's been helpful for so many posts in conjunction with a seamless vinyl backdrop. I used to put it up only when I needed to take pics, but since I have the space, I just keep it up all the time. Sometimes I trip over it (ugh) but it's worth it to have the photo studio ready to go at any moment. This set comes with fabric backdrops, but I use a vinyl one which doesn't have wrinkles. See below for that!

Softbox Lights- In my honest opinion, these have been the most helpful change I made to my photo setup. Before I bought these lights, I couldn't take bright, evenly lit photos no matter how hard I tried. I was rejected from craft sites due to my photos and I didn't understand how I could possibly fix it, until I started using these lights. They are seriously a game changer, and they do fold down pretty small, so they can be stored in a closet or something. If you're serious about photography, I highly recommend getting them and finding a place to store them. I also suggest buying an extra set of bulbs. I accidentally knocked my lamp over and shattered a bulb and couldn't work for a few days while I waited for the replacement!

Seamless Vinyl Backdrop- This seamless vinyl backdrop is perfect for using as a backdrop on photos! I've used it for DIY's with larger items like my Cricut and for photos of myself. It's most useful for party posts, because my studio is in the attic with sloped walls, which don't look fab in photos. 

White Backdrop - for small desktop items, I purchased this small white backdrop. I put it on my desk/folding table to have a crisp white surface for photos. It's easy to clean and reusable, so it's perfect for craft projects. I do recommend covering it if you're doing something really messy though. One time I spilled oil paint on it and the stain couldn't be cleaned. But, for everyday stuff like glue, acrylic paint, or glitter, it's perfect!

Step Stool- If you are taking any kind of overhead photos, please oh PLEASE invest in a small step stool. DO NOT USE A CHAIR. I used a chair at first, whatever, I don't want to go downstairs and get the step stool. However, I did fall down and fractured my toe, and couldn't walk for a month! Then I had a walking cast for another month. Not worth it. Chairs are meant for sitting. So park your butt in your chair and order the step stool :p

Desk/folding table- To take all these photos, you'll need a nice, empty surface. I recommend having a dedicated desk for photos if you have the room. Otherwise, purchase a folding table so that you can have a dedicated surface when you need it, then put it away when you're done. Don't go too cheap with a folding table, because you don't want it to tip sideways or fall over if you accidentally bump it. This folding table is cool because the height adjusts! 

Canon Eos Rebel T6- In December 2016, I switched to this camera and it made a huge difference! This camera packs a lot of bang for your buck and it's a nice size. I didn't have a huge budget, so I use the 18-55mm lens it came with. Somewhere down the line, I hope to get a fancier lens, but this one works just fine for now. I hoarded gift cards for a while to buy this camera! If you've got a gift-giving occasion coming up (Christmas, birthday, graduation) be sure to spread the word that there's a camera you've got your eye on, and that all you really want is some assistance to purchase it! Or, have a family member (like a sibling or husband) suggest Visa/Mastercard gift cards to family members so that you can purchase it. If there's a will, there's a way.

Adobe Cloud- Aside from using Photoshop to edit photos (which works amazingly!) I use Bridge to sort my photos and Lightroom to do a tethered capture. This allows me to see my photos on my laptop screen and be able to assess them before I need to edit them! Since I'm usually doing DIY posts, my camera is way up and I can't see the viewfinder or screen at all. For only 10 bucks a month, these programs have made a world of difference for me!

Horizontal Camera Mount- ok DIY bloggers, this one is going to blow your mind!! You honestly need this if you're doing overhead shots! It's perfect for recipes, step by step tutorials, party setups, or any type of flatlay you can imagine. It's lightweight and perfect for getting a shot with your hands in it! 

Seamless Backdrop Paper- I purchased some backdrop paper in Tulip and Baby Blue and I want all the colors now! it's great for changing up the look of your photos or even your room. I used it for my Pink Disco NYE Party and my Polly Pocket Iron On Tee pics. It's not super cheap, but it comes with quite a bit of it!

Lens Cleaning Wipes- These are amazing for cleaning your camera lens, laptop screen, or even your cell phone. They don't leave streaks, dry quickly, and are lint-free. Plus, since they're individually wrapped, you can pop them in your camera, purse, laptop bag, desk... anywhere you may find yourself needing a screen wipe!

Mouse & Keyboard- When I use my laptop, I usually use it on my lap (hah) and use the trackpad to get everything done. But, when I'm taking photos, I use the tethered capture and have my laptop across the desk from me. So, I use the mouse to get everything done! I use it to click open apps, zoom in, and press the button on Lightroom to actually take the photo. The keyboard is obviously used for typing, but it's also good for zooming into pics with the space bar, or for rotating images without needing to right click and squint to see the options.

Inexpensive Tripod- If you're just getting started, I recommend starting out with an inexpensive tripod. I used this one for months while I browsed Ebay to find an affordable fancier one. But honestly, this one did a great job! It was able to hold my horizontal camera mount, and was perfect for taking photos horizontally. I mostly upgraded because I wanted to get a camera mount to take vertical headshots and photos.

Wrapping Paper- For smaller items or messy craft projects, I like to use some cheap wrapping paper to add a pop of color. It's easy to throw away and cheap enough that I don't mind. I buy mine at the dollar tree, but you can find them almost anywhere. I recommend something slightly matte so that it doesn't reflect too much of the item on it.

If you're looking to improve your photos, I've created a FREE photography e-course to help you do just that! Be sure to sign up by clicking the photo below!

So, there you have it. My favorite photography items for beginners and bloggers! What are your must-haves for your photos? Did I miss anything? Any questions I can answer? Let me know in the comments below!

Must Have Craft Supplies

For those of you who are unaware, I'm in the process of cleaning & organizing my craft room. Let's just say, it's been an adventure. Although I have a whoooole lotta stuff, some people may want to know, what do you need to get started? After all, not everyone ends up with a whole room full of craft supplies overnight, right? To help all you aspiring crafters, I've created this list of my must-have craft supplies, along with a FREE printable you can download and take with you to the craft store! This way, you can start your post-apocolyptic craft bunker too ;)

Creating your Crafting Arsenal

Ok, way back in March of 2017, I told you how to be efficient to get all our crafts projects done in time. Now, let's talk about the supplies we need to do them! Here are some of my favorite, must-have items in your craft stash.

Starting a craft stash? Click to find out my must-have items for crafters of any skill level, plus some tips to save money and to rock a DIY party!

1. Glue Gun 2. Jewelry Tools 3. Cricut Explore Air 4. Paper Cutter 5. Circle, Heart, Star Paper Punches 6. E6000 Glue and Photosafe Glue Stick 7. Glue Gun Caddy 8. Mini Iron 9. Small Scissors and Large Scissors 10. Washi Tape 11. Paper Roll 12. Self-Healing Cutting Mat 13. Fringe Scissors 14. Craft Caddy 15. Paintbrushes and Paint Tray

1. Glue Gun- this one needs no explanation, but I'll give you one. Glue guns are handy for almost everything! They're good for craft projects, sure, but you can also use them for temporary fixes, party decor, etc. I've used it on nearly every project I've done, including my Pineapple Garland, Snowcone Party Hats, and Cotton Candy Garland. I guarantee if you buy one, you'll find a reason to use it. So, go get one!

2. Jewelry Tools- I purchased these for making jewelry once upon a time, but they're just handy to have around. I've used them for several crafts projects already on the blog, like my KS Inspired Bracelets and Wood Bead Tassel Necklace, but they're also good for cutting fake flowers and even for fixing your own jewelry when it breaks! Unlike regular tools, these are smaller, so they're better for tiny objects and precise fixes.

3. Cricut Explore Air- I resisted buying a Cricut for a while, but it's so handy to have! I used it for the Rapunzel lanterns at my Disney Themed Engagement Party, for my sister's Halloween costume, and for my Mean Girls Conversation Hearts. I'll probably be using it for my wedding too! It cuts a whole bunch of materials as well, not just paper and vinyl! It's an investment for sure, but I think it's really fun to have.

4. Paper Cutter- This little gadget is perfect for cutting a straight line. It's great for making banners and cutting out Printables from the internet. I've used it for my TGIF 90's Themed Slumber Party and my Nautical Notecard Birthday Banner. It's easy to use and small to store. Remember those giant paper cutters we had in school that looked like a guillotine? This is a much smaller, safer version of that. 

5. Paper Punches (Circle, Heart, Star)-  These punches are great to have on hand if you need to spruce up a project. So far I've used them on my Nautical Notecard Birthday Banner and Rock Candy Christmas Trees. They're easy to use and small, so they're easy to store!

6. E6000 Glue and Photosafe Glue Stick - E6000 is my second favorite glue, after glue guns. It adheres to nearly everything! It's a little smelly, so you need to use it with a window open, but it's great. I've used it for my DIY Dollar Store Candy Jars, my Zebra Party Tray and my Circus Animal Drink Stirrers. The photo safe glue stick is great for scrapbooking projects, making cards, and making collages! I used them for my DIY 90' Pun Valentines.

7. Glue Gun Caddy- I actually found this product while creating this blog post, and HAD to buy it. It holds your (hot!) glue gun, glue sticks, and protects your table. It's amazing! Never again will you be holding your half glued project mid-air while trying to remember where you left your glue sticks!

8. Mini Iron- A mini iron is great for small craft or sewing projects. I used it for my Mean Girls Conversation Hearts, the eye masks in my TGIF 90's Themed Slumber Party, and for touching up a wrinkly tablecloth on my Glam Friendsgiving Dinner. It's perfect for iron-ons!

9. Small Scissors and Large Scissors- I love that these scissors are so dang cute. Can we start with that?! I don't need to tell you why scissors are handy, so I'll just say that these small ones are great for when you need to do something precise, like making tassels, since they have pointed blades. These larger ones are great for cutting pieces of paper, cardboard, or other large things that require a straight line. I've used them in nearly every blog post, but they were especially useful for my Cotton Candy Garland and Rock Candy Christmas Trees.

10. Washi Tape- Washi tape has so many fun uses! It's great for temporarily sticking things together, for spicing up a project, or even organizing your planner! I used it to paint my beads for my Wood Bead Tassel Necklace, and it was super handy.

11. Paper Roll- This paper roll is great to avoid making a mess. You just need to pull a sheet long enough to cover your workspace to keep it clean. Ever dripped paint on your desk, or written with a marker that bleeds? This will help prevent them from staining! Sure, you can use newspapers but that means that 1. if you take photos of your project it won't look clean and neat, and 2. you'll have to find the newspapers. I highly recommend having this on hand!

12. Self-Healing Cutting Mat- This is one of my newest purchases. I haven't really used it yet (except as a really pretty backdrop for some craft projects) but it's got a ruler, which is great for measuring projects while working on them. It's also really thick and reversible, so you get twice the use and durability! Plus, the pink is SO much fun.

13. Fringe Scissors- Back when I made my Mini Faux Pintatas, I didn't have a pair of these scissors and I regretted it. They're so handy for making pinatas, fringe, and shredding up paper. It has 5 blades, so it makes more cuts and gets your project done faster! Again, VERY good for when you're making multiple projects at once!

14. Craft Caddy- A craft caddy is great for holding all your supplies and keeping them organized. I highly recommend having a spot that you use to store everything so that you can find it when you need it. There have been so many times that I lost my glue sticks, my paintbrushes, or my paper punches when I needed them. These crafting supplies are only useful when you can actually find and use them (duh). So, be sure to find a place where they can all stay together, like one big happy crafting family.

15. Paintbrushes and Paint Tray- These paintbrushes have a variety of uses! It's great to have multiple sizes so that you can do broad strokes quickly, but also have a nice thin one when you need to be more detailed. I really should invest in a new paint palette because mine is old and full of dried paint ("invest" = probably $3!) but paint palettes are really useful for pouring out just a little bit of paint or mixing colors. I've used paintbrushes on so many projects, including my DIY Donut Party Platter, my Colorful Leaf Garland, and my Circus Animal Drink Stirrers.

How to avoid going broke on craft supplies

I know what you're thinking- craft supplies can be expensive! I recommend adding a few items at a time, or using coupons! Michael's has plenty of sales and coupons you can use. There's also stores like A.C. Moore, Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts, and Hobby Lobby. If you want to save even more, your local dollar store and even Walmart has a huge craft selection for cheap! Target also has some craft supplies, but not as many as Walmart. However, Target has some really CUTE stuff! Start small and keep adding more over time. Your crafting empire wasn't built in a day, right?

Do you already have a craft stash? What's in it? What can you NOT live without? I think for me, it's my glue gun. I even have one at work! Let me know your faves in the comments below.

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy (day after) International Women’s Day! Today I wanted to spend some time highlighting some of my fave female business owners! There are so so soooo many amazing women out there doing a variety of things, but I wanted to highlight my fave small business/shop owners! These ladies make and curate some amazing content and I felt it was only fair to give them a shout out on this holiday. So, get that credit card ready- you’re gonna want to support these ladies!!

Happy International Women's Day! Today on the blog I'm sharing my favorite colorful shops- all owned by some amazing ladies! Click to see the full list.

1. Ottoman 2. Pillow 3. Sunglasses 4. Clutch 5. Unicorn Pin 6. Necklace


Joy/ OhJoy!- I’ve loved Joy’s items from the very first time I saw them at Target. I’ve probably wanted every single piece! She’s now also got an awesome shop chock full of goodies, a furniture line, luggage (!!) as well as a Cheeky collection at Target! 

Veronica/Sharptooth Snail -Veronica is a personal friend of mine that I met online through a class I took! Aside from being the most amazingly helpful person, she’s got an awesome geeky-cool shop filled with pins, resin figurines, and T-shirts. Oh, and did you know her work was used by NASA?!? Pretty freakin amazing! 

Kelly/Studio DIY- Kelly’s shop is filled with all kids of colorful, happy items! There’s so much to choose from, but my favorite has to be her Can’t Clutch This subscription! As a kid, I never had enough money for monthly subscription boxes, so this totally makes my day every time it arrives! 


Kara/Kailo Chic -Kara had got to be one of the busiest little bees I’ve ever seen! She’s always releasing new blog content, along with both handmade and designed items. I love everything she does, and I’m personally in awe of how she gets it all done so quickly! If you’re into confetti housewares and colorful throw pillows (who isn’t...?) you’ve got to visit her shop!

Ashley/Sugar & Cloth- Aside from her cutest creation, little baby Gwen, Ashley launched a gorgeous collection with Amazon!! If that’s not goals, I’m not sure what is! Some of her items sold out immediately and I’m not surprised- they’re gorgeous! 

Caren/Caren Kinne Artwork- Caren’s abstract, colorful paintings are the perfect addition to any space that needs a little excitement! Her fun figures are often based on real people, and to me they’re reminiscent of the Little Miss Sunshine- type books from when I was a kid. If artwork isn’t your think (who are you?!) Caren also offers her paintings on tote bags, etc. 


Jenni & Leah/Love & Lion- Taking temporary tattoos to. Whole new (adult) level! I love all their amazing designs and they even do custom tattoos too!  

Natalie/Cultivate Love LA- Natalie’s Smart and Pretty Club obliterated the idea that a woman has to be either/or. Her shop is filled with books and it’s only growing! Stop by to grab your next read or my personal fave, this pin! 

Marisa/The Neon Tea Party- I met this sweet little lady at a NYC meetup with Jeff and Kelly of StudioDIY. I actually thought she was someone else but my opening line to her was “do you make jewelry?!” Interestingly enough, she did! I really love her fun Pom Pom arts but if you’re itching to learn, she teaches classes in NYC too! 


Emma & Elsie/ABM & Oui Fresh- ok, what don’t these girls do? They’ve got their Oui Fresh Shop, happy mail, natural makeup and essential oils line, cookbooks, an app!! 

Mary/Uncustomary Love- despite the fact that she’s a child of the rainbow, Mary spouts positivity in all the best ways! From a stuffed animal slumber party to sending snail mail, her  shop is full of quirky and amazing things you can’t find anywhere else. One of her best offerings has to be her body positivity course! In a world where we are taught to hate our bodies, it’s so important to give it some love. 

Amber/Dixie and Twine- from banners with all the trendiest sayings to adorable confetti, Amber’s ship has everything you need to make your party hip! Plus, you gotta love her amazing product photography!


Abbey/Daily Disco- If ever there was something that seemed like a fun hobby-turned-career, this is it! Abbey’s chainstitch embroidery is colorful, cool, and coveted! She does amazing custom jackets for brides, moms, kids... it’s adorable! She also sells patches that you can add to any item you want. 

Jess/The Knit Knack Shop- my husband has known Jess’ husband since elementary school, so I have the pleasure of knowing her in person! She’s a teacher by day, crochet-er by night. My favorite things from her shop have to be her little cactus plants! I kill every plant I get, so having something that can’t die seems perfect! She’s also a huge Harry Potter fan and makes all sorts of adorable amigurumi animals, characters and monsters. 

Cathy/PartyHarDIY- Yep, that's me! I opened my shop in December 2017 and it's filled with colorful statement jewelry and fun keychains! And, I have big plans to expand it this year. You can save 17% off with the code MARCH17 until St. Paddy's Day!

There you have it! Some of my very favorite shops from my fave biz babes out there on the interwebs. Who are your favorite female-owned businesses? Let me know in the comments below!