Giftcard Giveaway!

So it's been a week since I've posted, but I hope this will make it up to you guys!

I am super excited today to bring you a great giveaway! All of the sponsors of Southern Beauty Guide have pulled together to bring you a Beauty Lovers Dream! This month there are tons of ways for you to gain a chance to win a giftcard to Sephora or Ulta worth $165! Happy Holidays & Good Luck!

You can enter in the Rafflecopter box below!

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Congratulations to Stephanie, the winner of the $165 gift card!

DIY Jewelry Organizer

I don't know about you guys, but I have way too much jewelry and almost no where to put it! It's not that I wear jewelry a lot. I just can't help myself when I see a beautiful necklace. And don't even get me started on buy 1, get 1 sales! I like to tell myself I'm building up a nice collection for when I become a teacher and have to dress nice. :)

Because of this collection I've accumulated, I needed a place to put them. More importantly though, I needed some organization to the madness! So, inspired by a pin I saw almost a year ago of a typeset tray turned into a jewelry organizer, I went on the hunt for my own to makeover!

I don't have a lot of wall space in my one bedroom apartment, so I was trying to figure out where I was going to but a big typeset tray! Luckily though, I found a smaller one that was perfect! It was already stained a lovely dark brown so all it needed was a new knob up top and some hooks!

I added some hooks to the bottom to hang necklaces and my watch on! They were kind of a pain to screw in, so my sweet boyfriend helped me out. I believe he tapped them gently with a hammer to get them started and then screwed them in the rest of the way by hand.

He then added a few hooks to the back piece of wood the same way to hang my dangly earrings on. I don't have a lot of dangly earrings so the other little cubbies I just set my studs and rings in.

After all the hooks are in, I added a simple blue knob that I got from Hobby Lobby for $1.50! Score!

And hanging directly above it is my sunflower painting that I painted with my cousin when she came to visit me for Spring Break this year! We went to Spirited Art, a painting studio where they teach you step-by-step how to paint their pictures! It was so much fun and I love how mine (and hers!) turned out so I had to show it off!

And you can see on the side, I have a bunch of my scarves hung up on my wall too. Let's just say that I may have a problem with scarves too. ;)

I love that all of my jewelry is in one place now instead of sitting tangled on my dresser or hung on doorknobs of every door! I now know where everything is and because of that, I wear my jewelry more often!

I would love to know how you guys have your jewelry organized! Especially bracelets, cause I'm still working on that one! Let me know in the comments below!

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Unwind Dystology

I'm doing something a little different today on the blog!

I want to share with you guys one of my loves - reading! As an English major and one-day English teacher, I read daily. While most of the time I'm reading Neo-Classical literature or poems from the Renaissance (yeah..not my favorite either), I still make time to read for fun. Right now, I am loving dystopian literature and lucky for me, it seems like there are a million of those out right now!

UnSouled by Neal Shusterman
If you guys have not heard of Neal Shusterman (I'd honestly be surprised if you haven't) then let me introduce you to him! He is amazing! I have a thing for trilogies. If I like a story, I never want it to end.

I heard about Neal Shusterman and The Unwind Series when scouring Barnes and Nobles website for a new book to read. I saw it had a 4.5 rating (out of 5) and knew I had to read it. I read the first two books, Unwind and UnWholly, in a week. Yes, they were that good! But my favorite thing about them is that they were nothing like anything I have ever ready before!

The third installment, UnSouled, came out a few weeks ago and I literally dropped everything to read it! And just like the previous two, it was incredible.

Since UnSouled is the third in the series, I really don't want to go into what it's about or anything that will spoil the story for those of you who have not read any of the series yet. So instead, I'll give you a little preview of Unwind, the first of the series, and maybe I can entice you to read it for yourself! :)

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Second Civil War in America, or The Heartland War, as it is more commonly known as is brought about because of the debate over abortion. Both sides come to an agreement by enacting The Bill of Life, a bill that states that all children must be born, but at the age of thirteen, they can be retroactively aborted through a process known as "unwinding." Unwinding, according to the government, does not end a child's life. It simply leaves them in a "divided state" where every piece (99% of them to be exact) can be harvested and used for those who may need their organs.

This practice has come to be commonplace in society with harvest camps popping up all over the nation. Troubled teenagers are now known as "ferals" and the push to unwind them is gaining more and more steam.

The story is told through many perspectives, 3 of which are from the 3 main character's point of views - Connor, Risa, and Lev. Connor, a teen who often finds himself in trouble, learns that his parents have signed his papers to be unwound. Now on the run, he crosses paths with Risa, a ward of the state who is on her way to a harvest camp because the orphanage she lives at is out of room, and Lev, a tithe whose unwinding has been part of his life's plan since before he was born.

Shusterman does an amazing job exploring such controversial topics, especially through the eyes of children. He makes us, as readers, question things that we may have never even thought of before, which to me is what an author is supposed to do.

I'm about to go all book nerd on you guys, but one of my favorite authors of American literature, Mr. William Dean Howells, believed that the authors main job was to tell a story as realistically as possible. I think Shusterman did exactly that. Although the premise of the story is fictional (unwinding is not a real scientific possibility at this point in society), the characters and their interactions are very much believable.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has not read it and is looking for a new book to read! And for those of you who love series, it was going to be a trilogy, but Shusterman recently announced there will be a fourth installment! Now that's something every bookworm loves to hear! :)

So have any of you read anything by Shusterman before? Or have you heard of The Unwind Series? What are some books or series you're into right now! I'd love to know since my to-read list is constantly growing! Let me know in the comments below!

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Fall Hydrangea Wreath

Now that Halloween's over, it's time to take down my Boo door hanger. As always, I waited until last minute to make my wreath I was going to put up. :)

However, I am very pleased with what I came up with and how it turned out!

I was inspired by this pin I found a few months ago on Pinterest.

I love hydrangeas and it looked like an easy DIY project (which was a key factor since it was Halloween night and I wanted my Boo sign down by morning).

To make this wreath, all you need is:
medium size wreath base
6 hydrangea flowers (3 each of 3 different colors)
hot glue gun and lots of hot glue
ribbon for a bow
wire for the bow

After I got all of my supplies, I bent the stems of the flowers and laid them out on the wreath base so I would have an idea of how I wanted the arrangement. Make sure to do this before you cut the stems. You might need more or less depending on the size of the flowers and wreath.

Then, I cut the stems fairly close to the flower. I made sure to leave about 1/2" so I had something to glue to the wreath.

Here's an idea of how much stem I left.

Once you get them all cut and have a small pile of hydrangeas in your living room floor, it's time to get gluing!

I covered the ends in a lot of hot glue and them stuck them one at a time on the wreath. A couple of mine were too squished together in spaces which left gaps in others. It was easy to take them off and re-glue them, so if you come across the same problem, don't worry! It's an easy fix!

After I had them all glued, I hung it up to see how I liked it! The colors looked so pretty! I was already in love! know me. It needed more!

So, I made a bow!

I had some leftover brown glitter ribbon from the burlap wreath I made my sister. It was the perfect size and color to add to my wreath! 

I think the glitter adds a nice touch and some more dimension!

On the original wreath that inspired mine, there were leaves that went all around the back. I had a bunch of leaves that came on the stems with the flowers, but my boyfriend accidentally threw them out thinking they were trash. What do you guys think? Do you think I should leave it as is or add the leaves?

I think the green of the leaves would look so pretty with the browns and reddish orange of the flowers! I'm leaning towards adding them. :)

I had a few hydrangeas leftover, so I added them to a new vase I found at TJ Maxx. You may remember seeing it in my post about my table makeover! I think I may need to slow down on the hydrangeas for a while and start buying other kinds of flowers before my apartment is full of them! They're so pretty though so they're hard to resist!

Have you made a Fall wreath this year or any other Fall crafts! I'd love to see them! Leave me some links in the comments!

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Yarn-Wrapped Monogram

A friend of mine asked me if I could help out with one of her projects that was not turing out how she wanted.

She gave me a wooden initial that was painted turquoise attached to a bow that just wouldn't stand up if it's life depended on it. She wanted it to be wrapped in yarn, but didn't know how to go about it, and honestly, neither did I. But after a couple nights of working on it, this is what I came up with!

All you need is:
an initial
chevron burlap
paint (optional)
hot glue
staple gun and staples

I'm not sure where my friend got her initial exactly but I know you can buy one at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or any other craft store. She had already painted it for me, and I'm glad she did because if there are spots that aren't covered completely by the yarn, it will be hard to tell since the color is the same. I definitely recommend painting your initial before covering it in yarn.

I'm not going to lie, I was totally scared to do this at first because I've never done it before. And M isn't exactly the easiest shape to begin with. But, the most important thing I learned is just focus on sections. It makes it so much easier and it isn't as overwhelming if you only worry about one section at a time.

I started by doing the two long sides of the M. I tried to get the strings as close together as possible, stopping occasionally to glue pieces of yarn to the back to keep it in place. I got as close to the edges as possible so the top edges would be completely covered.

Next, I did the middle section. This was a little tricker. Since it was at an angle it was hard to wrap the strings around. So instead, I cut pieces of yarn and attached them separately and glued them to the back. I covered as much space as possible. It's okay if some wood is showing through. This is just the first layer.

For the little edges at the top and bottom of the sides of the M, I cut little pieces and attached them instead of wrapping it around. I found it easier to do it this way.

Here's an idea of what the back will look like. It looks totally crazy, but that's okay! It's the front that matters, so don't worry about all those crazy strings on the back!

Now it's time for the second (and final) layer! I took this picture to give you an idea of how I did it. As you can see, I did the second layer horizontally. I started at the top and wrapped it all the way down to the end of the V in the middle, then did a section that goes across the whole width of the M. Then, I continued down the rest of the right side.

Before beginning on the left side, I did the little section in the middle. Since this section wasn't covered as well in the first layer because of the angle, I made sure to cover it well in this second layer.

Since the left section was broken up into two, I did the top first. Again, make sure to keep the strings close together so the sides will be covered since they weren't in the first layer.

After you do the bottom section, you're done! Yay! The hard part is over!

I just had to share this. This is how much yarn I had left over. No joke. I used a WHOLE thing of yarn!

This next step is optional, but I think it makes it look better and more professional. I got a piece of stiff felt from Hancock Fabrics and cut it in the shape of an M. Then, I stapled it on.

I put the staples close together so there would be no puckering or bubbles.

While you don't have to do this step, I think it looks better, especially if you're doing it for someone else! It looks better than all those crazy strings sticking out everywhere.

I liked the basic shape of the bow she made, and kept it almost identical (sorry I don't have a before picture of the bow!), but it fell flat because it was burlap. I bought some fabric stiffener from Hobby Lobby and painted it on with a throwaway brush. I let it dry overnight and then shaped it in the morning. I also cut a piece off the end and wrapped it around the middle to cover the wire I used to bunch the loops into the shape.

All that's left is stapling it on the back and you're finished!

From Instagram
I love how it turned out and so did my friend, which is what really matters! I think it's going to look great on her front door!

I might even make one for myself now that I know what I'm doing! :)

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