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Our Documentary List {By Brandi}

It usually takes some convincing to get my husband, Denny to watch a movie. He’s just not a fan. Usually because he’s afraid to invest his valuable time in a plot that he may or may not enjoy. So, I wasn’t surprised when I asked a last week if he wanted to do a popcorn and movie night at home, and I got a big fat no. He said, “I would just rather watch a documentary than an actual movie.” And I said, “Well let’s do that.” And we did. It was so interesting and fun for both of us, we have watched two more since.

Our choices are as random as we are. Living on One Dollar, Tyson, and Mortified Nation. See I told you complete randomness.

Living on One Dollar. Four young friends set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in Guatemala. Armed with only a video camera, they battle extreme conditions of hunger, potential diseases, and extreme financial stress as they attempt to survive life that is a reality for so many.

Holy emotional. Truly a gripping journey these guys embarked on to bring awareness to the desperation and poverty 1.1 billion people suffer around the world. Touching and raw footage that made you feel hopeless and hopeful all at the same time. The bond of the community and seeing those with hardly anything to give, give the most is just plain inspirational. At the end, Denny was like I would so do this. I could see him packing his bags. I actually had crazy dreams that night that he got us a one way ticket to Guatemala and I spent the whole time searching for food.

Tyson. (As in Mike). I am not a boxing fan, but Denny convinced me to watch it with him. It wasn’t all boxing. It had to do more with Tyson’s life from the earliest memories of growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, to having it all as Title Champ to losing it all. Abandonment from his mother, death of his greatest mentor, hard work and dedication, physical and mental strength, partying, rape conviction, failed marriage, and six kids later you truly got to see every side (mostly scary sides) of Mike Tyson.

At one point I was petrified of him at another I wanted to give him a hug. There were definitely parts that we uncomefortable to watch.  How Tyson spoke of women and his cheating ways.  Not ok. Again, crazy dreams. These ones, of course, involved a boxing ring.

Mortified Nation. By far my absolute favorite, and such an amazing initiative. It’s a documentary about adults who share their most embarrassing private childhood writings in front of total strangers. Yes, people reading their old diaries, journal entries, and letters they wrote as teenagers to an audience of people. It was hysterical. I’m not sure if Denny and I have laughed out loud together more. First love, first rejections, first total freak outs retold by the original authors. The mortified nation participants stated how liberating it was to poke fun of their younger selves over events that seemed so important at the time. One girl drew an entire story line of her crush when she was 14 years old. Descriptive pictures of them at the movies, holding hands, walking in a field, riding a horse, swimming in the ocean, getting married. Seriously, classic stuff. Everyone’s story was either so touching or so funny.   And this is an initiative with shows throughout the US encouraging people to get up and show their vulnerabilities by sharing captions of their lives back when. Honestly would you ever do this?

I absolutely adore that Denny and I are bonding over these documentaries. Love the conversations that come out of watching these. Send any documentary recommendations our way.



DIY - Jewelry Organizer

So I've been on this kick lately of getting all my things in order. I lucked out and got a bunch of new Stella & Dot Jewelry at a friends Sample Sale, which was fabulous, and now I'm hooked and want everything! Well once I started putting my new jewels away I realized that I have necklaces laying on my dresser, earrings in my bathroom, and bracelets the counter. I do indeed have a jewelry box, but it's just that-- a box. I needed something more spacious, somewhere to really display them.

I looked at buying those full size mirrors that open up and have spots for everything but they were pricey and I just wanted to do something different. I decided to go with a 'jewlery wall'. Again, I forgot to take a "before" picture, so I had already taken down the hooks that used to be up on the wall (which were just covered in sweatshirts anyways). So once I got that off I remembered to snap a pic, so this is what it used to look like (yes, there was two colors of white paint and don't worry after seeing this picture I also washed the door and trim):

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Then I went off shopping in search of

- Wooden Dowel (One long piece, cut into 3 measured pieces)

- Shelf

- Frame

- 6 Screw in White Hooks

- Towel Bar

- Plastic Anchors

- Metal Screen

I got all of the supplies at Walmart and Home Depot really cheap. The metal screen is to add to the frame to hang my earrings on. I haven't gotten that far yet because I wanted 1/4" metal screening and Home Depot was out of that size and I didn't want to drive all around Toledo in the snow. So when I do get it, I will remove the mirror that's in the frame now and replace it with the metal screen (which you can paint any color you want, and just staple to the back of the frame). It took me a few days to do everything since I had to patch some holes and repaint the wall white. Then I started with the shelf and worked my way up. I put the shelf at a height that my upright laundry basket would still fit under with some space. I hung the shelf with brackets, and then moved upwards to the dowel rod with the bracelets. I screwed in the white hooks first, then laid the rod across them and kept moving up. The dowel lengths I got cut were 2 pieces at 25" and 1 piece at 15". Then, when you want a bracelet off, you just lift up one end of the rod and slide it off - unless it has a hook.

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I also used the towel rack to hang on the wall behind the door for my scarves, because those were just hanging all over the house too. It's a perfect spot because it's close enough to the wall that the door doesn't hit it and it keeps them organized!

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I am going to put a ring box on the shelf to hold all my rings and then switch out the mirror to the metal screen (see below for what it will look like when the screen is in place). I also got that awesome wooden sign above the mirror from a friend, Betsy, who makes & sells them on her Etsy Shop Color Me Lucky. The other sign is a metal sign I got as a gift from my stepmom so I don't know where she got it, but I'm sure Betsy could make that as well!


Well that is all for now! Just thought I would share my latest project with you and give you a peak inside my closet space! Don't worry, I have many more projects up my sleeve ;) I love having the time to work on them, it's been so much fun. Happy Sunday! I am now off to watch The Grammys!


Homemade Laundry Detergent

I decided to try making my own Laundry Detergent! I have friends that make their own and I've often seen people online make their own so I thought I would go for it. I did my first load with it last night and it  worked great! There is one thing I would do differently if I make it again and I'll post that below. Besides working great, it smells amazing! I actually had to open a window while making it, because of all the "dust" from dumping all the ingredients together. I started out with the biggest bowl I own and ended up having to dump it into a baby bathtub because I couldn't find a big enough bucket and I wanted to make sure it got mixed well. 

The best part?!? It costs a whopping total of $34 dollars and would last ONE YEAR if you do 4 loads per week! You only use 1-2 Tablespoons per load! It also dissolves just fine in cold and hot water! On Facebook I had some people ask about using it with High Efficiency Washers. I gave my mom a bottle who asked the same question. It actually works really well! This is mostly because it doesn’t create any suds so it is actually better for the washer. Alright, without any further adieu....


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1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean- Found in the detergent aisle

2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle

1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle and usually also in the Detergent Aisle

1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener - Found in the detergent aisle


I actually found all of these ingradients at Walmart so they should have them at any major store. Now, the only "time consuming" part is getting the soap down to size for the detergent. I have heard of grating the soap bar, microwaving it (it becomes dry and crumbles) and also a food processor. I tried all 3. I wanted to know the easiest and best way so that I could share it with you. Hopefully I saved you some time ;) 

The food processor wins. The microwave method was messy and just kind of annoying. The grater worked well but it still got all stuck together and made bigger chunks than I wanted once I started mixing. I just used a little chopper that I had and it worked PERFECTLY. Next time that is definitely the route I will take. It only took a few minutes and you can grind it up small. The smaller the better. You will see mine was kind of chunky, that is probably because I used 3 different methods for the soap but that is what I would change, I would definitely make SMALLER pieces of soap.

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Next you just drump everything togather! I wouldn't do it all at once, I did a little at a time to make sure I could mix it well. Again, the baby bathtub seriously made it so much easier to mix and move around! 

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And this ladies and gentleman is the finished product! Again, if only the soap pieces were more fine but I'll make do ;)

I bottled up a few bottles for my Mom and Grandma to use in the Purex Crystal containers:

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Then I wasn't sure what to put mine in... so I ran up to Walmart and grabbed a glass canister, a coffee scoop (which is exactly 2 tablespoons) and some hemp string. I decided to get crafty and paint stamp my container so below is my total finished product! I love it! Total cost for all the detergent and container plus accessories $52!

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I hope you try to make your own, it was so cheap and easy! Do you already make your own? Is your recipe different than mine?! If so, please share it! Feel free to send me a picture or a note about how yours turns out if you make it, I would love to hear!

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