Buying From These 4 Online Shops Will Help Animals

Graphic for Blog Post about online shopping to help animals

If you can’t tell yet, I am an avid lover of all living creatures-yes, even spiders. I don’t want them to be near me, but we do need them. Since you’re reading this, I assume that you love, and want to help, animals, too! Of course, we can always donate directly to organizations that are saving animals. However, wouldn’t you like to put your shopping to good use, too?! In order to help you do that, I’ve compiled a list of several online companies (I’ve gotta support the entrepreneurs, too!) that donate a percentage of purchases to various non-profits that support companion animals, wildlife, marine life, etc. Here it goes!

1. Phone Cases to the Rescue

i just want to drink wine and rescue dogs

Phone Cases to the Rescue has a pretty decent selection of both slim and tough cases with animal themes. Pictured above is the case I ordered for myself. One: Blue is my favorite color. Two: I love wine. Three: I have a t-shirt with this quote, too. My tough case was $28.99 with shipping. Slim cases are $22.99 with shipping. Both are great deals for a phone case AND a portion goes to the rescue/shelter of your choice. When you check out, you’ll find a drop down menu with groups the company currently partners with for donations. If you see your favorite group on the list then go ahead and choose that one! If you don’t, you can choose any random one. Personally, I chose Recycle A Bull Bully Breed Rescue, as that’s the rescue I volunteer with on a semi-regular basis(& how I found out about this great company). Feel free to choose that one if you don’t know any of the groups on the list 🙂

2. Sand Cloud Towels

Sand Cloud Towel

Sand Cloud Towels sells, as the name implies, beach towels. They also sell tapestries, necklaces, water bottles, bags, etc. 10% of all their profits go directly to non-profits that are supporting the preservation of marine life all over the world(the site lists the orgs they support)! On top of that, the products they carry are absolutely amazing! It’s worth noting that a towel can carry a hefty price tag of $47. However, these are hand-loomed, hand-dyed, and they go to support a fantastic cause. The beauty of the products speak for themselves, though. They are definitely worthy of the price tag. I bought the starburst towel, pictured above!

Bonus: They also have an ambassador program, as well as a rewards program. These are tied together, but not entirely. You can have the rewards program without being an ambassador, but you must have the rewards program to be an ambassador. Being an ambassador automatically entitles you to a 35% discount on all purchases! All you have to do is spread the word about the company, its products, and its mission, on social media. You can rack up rewards points to use on future purchases in the store by making qualifying purchases, referring friends, and following the company on social media. *disclaimer: I am an ambassador for Sand Cloud. If you make a purchase through this link, or sign up to be a fellow ambassador, I will receive rewards points. However, my overall mission is to give some added exposure to this company and the work it is helping to do with marine life.*

3. Pack Leashes

Teal Pack Leash

Pack Leashes are made from dynamic climbing rope and locking carabiners. They are definitely not your traditional leash, but they are so much better. Not only do they look like an adventure waiting to happen, but they are sturdy! You shouldn’t have to worry about your dog chewing up his/her leash(how the idea was birthed), or having it break on a hike. With every Pack Leashes purchase, 2 lbs of dog food is donated to a shelter! They also run discounts from time to time, so be sure to join their mailing list and follow them on Instagram! Now go check out their website for more info on the company and their products!

4. Iron & Rescue

Iron & Rescue Products

For the athletic folk on here, you can check out this workout apparel from Iron & Rescue that encourages animal adoption. On top of serving to increase the exposure of animal rescue, they donate 1 lb of dog food to shelters in need for every purchase made. Pricing ranges from $16 to $40, with only one item currently above $30. I’d say that’s a pretty great deal! They have tank tops, t-shirts, and hoodies with various designs that promote adoption/rescue. Click through to their website to see all they have to offer!

 

Graphic for Blog Post about online shopping to help animals

 

That’s all, folks-For now!

When I come across more online companies like this, I’ll do another post! I also plan to have a separate post with larger businesses that support animals through donations, foundations, etc. If you know of any businesses, small or large, please let me know! I’d love to include them in a future post!

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Five Ways to Boost Your Creativity

5 Ways to boost creativity blog graphic made with canva

If you’re anything like me, you go through multiple dry spells from the creativity well. I can’t tell you how many times I rack my brain for some creative juices to start flowing, and I come up with zilch. The thought river dries right up. Alright, I’ll try to stop with the metaphors now and get on with it.

Well, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve for when I fail to find inspiration. Today, I’m sharing them with all of you guys! Hopefully, something that helps me will be able to help you, too.

1. Watch TV/Movies

I know, I know. It seems counter intuitive.  The point is to be creative and productive. But, hear me out! When I watch something, I almost ALWAYS get an idea that sparked from something a character said or did. It could even be a prop or decoration in the room that gives me inspiration. Moreover, relaxing and thinking about something else helps to clear your mind. You’ll find inspiration so much easier!

2. Browse Pinterest

It should almost go without saying that Pinterest is the Queen of creativity. If you can’t find inspiration there, then I don’t know what to tell you! Just kidding, but really, it’s an amazing resource. If you’re not on Pinterest, then what are you waiting for? Hop on over there and pin your little heart out!

3. Mindless Tasks

If I’m being honest here, this is the absolute best trick I use to get myself thinking. At my day job, we have these coupons and inserts that we give out to guests. If I have some down time, and we’re running low on coupons, I’ll print some out and go to work on the paper cutter. By now, this is menial busy work that does not require any thought. I love doing this because I can just stand there, cutting away, and thinking about anything I want/need to think about. However, this can have it’s downside when I’m dealing with something particularly emotional, since it doesn’t take my mind off it. Rather, it allows me even more time to think exclusively about it.

When I’m home, something simple like doing the dishes in a quiet kitchen works just fine to open my mind and think freely. It doesn’t work as well when I have the TV on or I’m listening to music.

Above all, some quality alone time with yourself in the shower is the most valuable. However, lately I’ve typically been listening to podcasts while I shower. I don’t want to waste precious time when I instead could be learning about something new!

(My top 3 podcasts are Positively with Victoria Stilwell, Creative Empire Podcast, Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amaruso)

5 ways to boost creativity blog graphic

4. Journal

Now, this isn’t for everyone. Personally, this is my least used trick. It works when I use it, but journaling isn’t something I usually do. I have my day planner, but that’s about it. If I want to write about something, I’ll typically use the blog for it. With that being said, it IS a fantastic tool for those who like to journal. In my experience, even if I don’t have anything specific in mind to write about, I always end up with something after I get the first few sentences down. I think using a journal as a creativity tool works best for writers. Finding a list of journal prompts should be your first step if going this route. You can find a plethora of these by doing a quick google or pinterest search. I’ve linked a few great ones from Pinterest below to save you some time 🙂

25 Journal Prompts to Get You Writing from Mandy Wallace

April Journal Prompts from Life of Lovely

20 Thought Provoking Journal Prompts from Elana Lyn  (I feel that this one is truly fantastic, as the prompts really allow you to learn about yourself.)

If you’re interested in a journal, these beautiful journals are all available on Amazon from Peter Pauper Press; a family owned business that started in 1928 in Larchmont, NY!


 

5. Take A Walk!

This can somewhat fall under the category of mindless tasks. However, there’s more to it than that. When you take a walk, you can really take in your surroundings. Live in a particularly scenic area? Even better! Having some nice scenery can really spark the creativity in you! Bonus, if you have a dog, take them out with you! Even more bonus: You can download the app Walk With A Dog, choose a shelter or rescue, and start walking! When you walk, you help raise funds for the group you selected! Knowing that your walk is helping a good cause can put you in an elevated mood, make you feel better about yourself, and in turn, create the perfect environment in your mind to be inspired by everyday things.

Personally, I live in a rural, lakeside, village. I can walk a few blocks and be at the lake, or I can walk a few blocks and be in the country. Either way, they’re both picturesque and inspiring. Even if you don’t live in an area that you think is scenic, there’s bound to be something in your area that could inspire you. It could be something so small and finite, but be exactly what you need. Set aside the time to take a walking tour of your area and find what resonates with you. You could be surprised!

5 Ways to boost creativity blog graphic made with canva

That’s it!

So, there you have it. My 5 tips for finding inspiration in times of low creativity. I hope something on my list is able to help you! Moreover, comment below with any tips you might have. If you’ve used these tips, tell me your experience with them! As always, I’m here and ready to chat 🙂

*Disclaimer: Some links in the post are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from any purchases made after clicking the links. You are under no obligation to make a purchase. 🙂

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My New LuLaRoe Obsession

LuLaRoe Leggings graphic made with canva

I’ll start this by saying that I never had any intention of getting on the LuLaRoe bandwagon. I saw Facebook friends posting about them here and there, but I wasn’t interested. It wasn’t something that appealed to me. It just seemed like another Mary Kay or Avon.

Yes, it is an MLM with a consultant based selling platform. Very much like all the other MLM fads that I did not want to be a part of.

However, in January, the dog rescue I volunteer with had an online pop up fundraiser with several LLR consultants. With a $23-$25 price tag for a pair of leggings, I justified the purchase with the fact that it was a fundraiser for the rescue. I won’t lie; once I got my leggings and tried them on, my first thought was “wow, now I see why everyone is so obsessed with these. They’re SO comfortable!” I told myself I wouldn’t be buying another pair (again, hefty price tag for a single pair of leggings), which I didn’t… for a month. The consultants who formed the pop-up fundraiser turned it into a multi-consultant monthly pop-up group. Since I was still in the group, I started to get notifications when they were gearing up for their February sale.

LuLaRoe Peacock Feathers
My first pair of LuLaRoe Leggings! This was the only pattern that I liked in Tween from the pop up. **Those are a pair of mismatched Doctor Who socks :)**
LuLaRoe Cuse Colors
My second pair from the Fashion Squad Multi-Consultant Pop Up. This was before Syracuse didn’t make it into the NCAA Tournament I intended for these to be my Gameday leggings. Here’s to next season, though!

 

Needless to say, I checked out the albums once the sale was open and decided to buy another pair. I figured that since they were so comfortable, and I was practically living in the one pair I had, that I should at least get a second pair to switch them out with.

Again, I intended for that to be my last purchase. THEN, a fellow rescue volunteer was participating in a Battle of the Hostesses in a consultant’s group. Of course, I wanted to help her win and get free hostess perks. It should go without saying that I purchased my third pair of leggings in this group. That was really when the obsession started to take hold.

 

LuLaRoe Graffiti and Gold Flowers
The graffiti pair on the left was my third pair from the group my friend was a hostess in. The right was the pair from the auction that I talk about more below.

A friend of mine invited me to a bunch of LLR groups and it was all downhill from there. I ordered another 3 pairs of leggings by the end of the week. Although, one pair was won in an auction on the $1 Lulovers Auction Page (All auctions start at $1). That pair, unfortunately, must have gone through some shrinkage, because I could barely get it to fit. I ripped a few threads on the way up. These were Tween’s made in China, which are typically the most loose fitting out of all the leggings. Soooo, I’m fairly certain they had some shrinkage. It’s unfortunate, because these leggings were beautifulll (blue and gold pair pictured above).

I had a pair that became “my unicorn’s,” that I was searching for everywhere in my size. I was only able to find them in One Size, so I came to the conclusion that the pattern isn’t made in tween. As I learn more about LLR, I learn that 1)leggings made in China and Vietnam are sized slightly differently. The ones made in China are slightly bigger, and the material is thicker. Vietnam is a little tighter and has thin material that is still soft, but in a different way. On me, the Tween’s in Vietnam just fit like a second skin. The OS from Vietnam(the only OS pair I currently own; my “unicorn”) fits smoothly, but, of course, a bit big for me. 2) Patterns aren’t made in all sizes. There are limited amounts of leggings in each print, and sometimes you will only find that print in a certain size. This is why there are certain “unicorn” prints. They are more rare, or hard to find in a certain size. You’ll see people flipping unicorns for over $100, when they were only $25 to start with! It’s kind of ridiculous!

LuLaRoe Teal Roses
It took me days to find this at retail price, and when I did, it was only in OS. I broke down and bought it. I thought I’d hem if it I needed to, but it really wasn’t that bad. I fold down the yoga band and pull them up a little bit. It does the job. I abso-fricken-lutely love this pattern.

Anywho, I purchased one more pair this week, and I’m really, really, trying

LuLaRoe Pink and Teal Flowers
My last pair for a little while. I’m just waiting for these babies to come in the mail.

to be done for a little while. I will have a total of 5 pairs (not including the pair that was too small.. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that pair yet), and I think that’s enough for now. I’ve spent too much money in the last month on leggings.. aaaaand I did just buy this new desktop I’m blogging on.
An expense I certainly didn’t need, but, damn, I never buy anything for myself that makes me happy. I deserve to do something for myself every now and then.

LuLaRoe Aztec
When I do buy another pair, it will likely be these. That is, if I’m able to find them again. I’ve seen loads of consultants with this pattern though, so I’m not overly worried.

On a related note; I was seriously considering becoming a LuLa consultant, until I looked into the onboarding packages and the requirements. I can tell ya right now that I don’t have $4-6k to drop on the initial inventory. The cheapest onboarding package doesn’t even include leggings. Honestly, leggings would be the only thing I’d be interested in selling. I can’t even wear any of the shirts or dresses because they’re too big. Anything “flowy” on me just looks ridiculous. I wouldn’t want to sell something that I can’t even wear. If LuLa had a leggings only option, I would be aaalll over that.

Alas, they don’t, so I won’t pursue that business endeavor. I’ll keep on lookin’ for the next business opportunity(I would give anything to just be in business for myself and not have to hold a full time job anymore).

However, that doesn’t mean I love the leggings any less! I’ve also been looking into trying out Honey & Lace, as well as Fabulegs. My friend turned me onto both of those, too. They’re less expensive than LuLa, but the sizing is different. I’m not sure how they’ll fit me. I’ve been told that they’re just as comfortable as LuLa though! If I do end up ordering any at some point, I’ll be sure to post about them once I form an opinion!

That’s about all I have for this post. Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, or want to find some awesome LuLaRoe Facebook groups, just get in touch with me! I’ll be more than happy to help. 🙂

With love, Jessi

 

 

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When you lose your motivation

I had so many goals for the blog in February. Goals that I did not even come close to meeting. I posted one whole blog for the entire month of February aside from my February Goals post.

To be honest, it was a combination of factors.

  1. I lost interest in keeping up with it
  2. My laptop is TERRIBLE and freezes ALL the time. It severely limits making graphics, searching for linkable content, and producing my blog posts. That alone deters me from trying to blog(I just impulsively bought a Lenovo All in One IdeaCentre to better do work online. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog more with this new computer).
  3. My efforts have been focused on other things at the moment.. I have been using most of my free time to learn as much as I can about animal behavior, training methods, and animal science. My ultim goes is to become a positive dog trainer to help keep animals in homes and out of shelters. The most common cause of an animal surrender is behavioral issues, which can be addressed with training. I want to use my training expertise to a) work with shelter/rescue dogs to help them get adopted, and b) provide low cost training options to help keep animals home with their families. I see far too many training programs that charge excessively high rates for 4-6 week courses, and insane amounts for private sessions. I would definitely make sure that I could be an affordable trainer.

Now that I’ve told you why I fell off the bloggin’ train, I can tell you how I plan to hop back on.

First, I have this new computer that is, so far, working amazingly on bluehost and wordpress. I haven’t tried to launch Canva at this point yet, so we’ll see about that. Aside from my laptop just being terrible at processing jobs, I also find it to be a non-motivator to sit on the couch with my laptop. I just can’t get into “work mode.” I feel way more motivated and productive when I’m sitting at an actual desk working on the computer. As I write this, I currently have it set up on a small side table next to the couch. I’m also sitting in a chair and hunched over the keyboard. That’s certainly not the best of situations, but I just bought it tonight and wanted to get it set up. I have to get a small desk set up in the living room to work at, and it’ll all be gravy. I’ll be back on the bloggin’ train in no time.

On another, semi-related, note, I have been locked out of my Instagram. My Instagram crashed out and logged me out of all my linked accounts. I was able to get back into my personal one through facebook, but I haven’t been able to log in to diycandothat or my doggie Instagram (yes, I became one of those people who make instas for their animals. Honestly, I only did it so I could follow other doggie instagrams without flodding my personal newsfeed with doggies. I decided to have a newsfeed full of purely doggies, because I love ’em so much 😛

I hope to be back into my diycandothat Instagram soon so I can get back to socializing with my fellow crafty people. I’ll worry about my doggie Instagram after that.

 

This is just going to be a short post before bed, so I’m all done… Expect *fingers crossed* a legitimate blog post within the week! I made a doggie bandana for Pretty Girl a few weeks ago, so I’ll probably do my next blog post about that 🙂

With love, Jessi

 

 

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DIYing my Debt Attack for 2017! You Can Too! 

As I have said countless times, you can DIY anything. If you’re doing it yourself, it’s DIY. With personal finances, if you’re not paying an accountant, it’s DIY!

It’s even more DIY if you’re like me, and like to create spreadsheets and worksheets for your finances. Last year, I found myself extremely broke in the beginning of January. I had even run my main credit card up to it’s limit. It was not a good time for me. I had a hard time keeping track of my due dates. Subsequently, I was repeatedly slammed with late fees, worsening the situation.

I decided that enough was enough. I built a spreadsheet from scratch that fit my needs, and went to work. It truly was a work of art. I managed to get on top of my finances, and stay on top of them, for a good part of the year. I didn’t miss a single due date all year. However, plenty of things happened through the year that still forced me into using more of my credit than my actual money. THEN, I remained broke by putting all of my money towards credit payments each month, as well as rent, food, gas, etc. My boyfriend’s work also went into the slow season, which meant I was paying for more than just myself.

January of this year brought me a new financial epiphany. It started when I saw a promotional purchase on Care Credit was going to be ending the first week of February. It was for $231. Once that promotional purchase time is up, all deferred interest from the past 6 months would be charged to the card. I couldn’t let that happen, so I went ahead and paid that whole amount. I was able to do so, because I sold my “temporary” car for $1000. I used the cash for anything I spent, and all of the money in my bank account was freed up for paying bills.

I realized that if I just pay large chunks off each week once I get paid, I could drastically cut down my debt in a short time. Seems simple enough, but I always just tried to pay a little bit more than the minimum. Of course, on my higher balance cards, the interest comes up quickly. I was looking at my spreadsheet from 2016 a few months ago and realized that on one card, even though I had paid every month for 6 months, I had only brought the total balance down by $200. I was paying more in interest than I was on the actual balance!

With my new debt strategy, I can pay off all of my lower balance cards by mid march, and cut my two main credit cards down to a very manageable amount.

These are what I’m tackling:

  • My CareCredit
  • My Grandma’s CareCredit (two of my cats are living with her, so she takes them to the vet and pays with her card. I pay off the card)
  • Amazon Store Card
  • Amazon Visa Rewards Card
  • SEFCU Credit Card
  • Capital One Credit Card

My tax refund came in on the 31st, and I went to work on my Debt Attack Spreadsheet moving numbers around and working with the formulas to see how much I could afford to pay on each one, and what the new balances would be. I love the way I set up my formulas, because I can easily tweak things and see what the new outcome would be. Before I made the spreadsheet, I was just writing down my balances on scrap paper, subtracting the payment I was going to make, and finding out what I was left with in my account. If I wanted to change the numbers and pay more or less to one of the cards, I had to scribble it out and redo it all. Now that I have my spreadsheet made, it makes it so much easier.

With my refund, I completely paid off the remaining balance on my Grandma’s care credit, paid a few hundred towards my Capital One, and the rest was split up between the other 4 credit accounts. I made my spreadsheet from the last week of January to the 3rd week of March. By March 16th, I can have my CareCredit, Amazon Store Card, and Amazon Visa Card completely paid off. I’ll only be left to chip away at the debt on my two main credit cards, which will also be down to below 2k on each.

The way my spreadsheet works is based on projected income each week. I estimate what it will be at the lower end, so that if I do end up with a higher paycheck than that, I can put a little bit more towards each card. This Debt Attack will only work if I make payments on each card every week when I get paid.

I won’t lie, once I get everything paid down, I will still continue to use my Amazon Visa card. The rewards are just too good to not use it at all. I just have to keep my charges at a reasonable level so I can pay it off at each statement. 

With my Amazon Visa, I get 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases, and 2-3% back on everything else. Moreover, I get reward points to use on Amazon! 

I figure, as long as I’m paying it off each month without accruing interest, then it is definitely worth it. It stops being worth the rewards if you’re paying more than the savings in interest. 

I aim to be more responsible with my credit from this point on. I wasn’t necessarily irresponsible before, but I relied too heavily on my credit options. 

How I got here:

  • I made big cash purchases that forced me to rely on purely credit for several weeks. I bought two used cars within one year because my first car had serious issues with it. My boyfriend and I also purchased a camper in between that. We planned to live in it on his moms property. 
  • I made a lot of small purchases that added up quickly. Gas tank filled once a week, ordering food, groceries, etc. I put them on my credit card for the reward points, but went past what I could reasonable pay off within that month.
  • Interest! My Capital One has an interest above 20%, as does my CareCredit. High balances yield extremely high interest fees. Those interest fees make it nearly impossible to pay off if just paying the minimum. 

Knowing how the debt builds is the first step in tackling the debt. It also teaches you what not to do once you have a handle of your debt. You don’t want it climbing right back up! 

My strategy for attacking debt can’t apply to everyone. I’m in a unique financial situation. I share an apartment with 3 other people. Therefore, my rent is only $200 a month. We share groceries, or we order out and share the expenses. I pay for all the streaming services, and the other couple in the apartments pays for the internet. I’m still on my dad’s family plan for my cell phone, and he doesn’t ask me to pay towards the bill. I don’t have children, so I don’t need money for that. I also make a few dollars more than minimum wage.

Really, I only need to keep money for rent, gas, and some groceries. Other than that, I could be saving so much money towards my dreams. My monthly credit card payments stop me from doing that right now.

I figure that if I can just sacrifice any excess spending for the next month and a half, I can definitely pay down debt and start saving. My payment plan leaves me with no less than $100 in my bank account each week so I still have a bit of cash for gas and food, and anything else that might come up. Once I reach March 16th, I can keep more, and build on top of it. 

I shouldn’t be 25, working full time, with minimal financial responsibilities, and only be able to keep so little in my bank account. Once I’m out of debt, I’ll hopefully be stable enough for my current life situation. 

If you’re in a similar financial situation, then this debt attack strategy will work for you. If you want, I can email you a clean copy of my credit payoff spreadsheet. I can even help customize it for you for the length of time you need to pay everything off. Just comment below with your email address, or email me personally at jessicaschneider@diycandothat.com to get the ball rolling! 

I’ll be sure to update in March with how my debt attack is coming along. Hopefully I’ll be able to say I’ve cut my debt by more than half! 

Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or advice down in the comments! I’ll be glad to chat! 🙂 

With love, Jessi ❤

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February 2017 Blogging Goals

Well, since I launched mid-January, February will be my first full month of blogging!

I ended January with just over 100 page views. I can thank most of that to participating in promo threads on the Blogging 101 Facebook group, as well as Blogging Newbs. I also found a lot of awesome blogs through the groups!

This month, I hope to take the time to grow my blog and social media accounts. I love blogging, but it’s even better with an audience and a community to engage with!

On the personal side of things, I’m spending the next month and a half severely cutting my debt in half. I’ve created my own spreadsheet to keep track of my weekly income and credit card payments. If I’m able to follow it exactly, I can completely pay off my lower balance cards, and be left with my two main credit cards to pay down. Then, I can put a couple hundred to those per month, and save the rest!

(I may post about DIYing my personal finances in a separate post!)

Credit has been what’s saved me in times of financial distress, but now it’s what keeps me in financial distress! Constantly putting money towards credit payments leaves me with no money for anything else.

My tax refund came yesterday, so I already put most of that towards cards and I am continuing to pay weekly on everything until it’s manageable. I figure, if I can sacrifice having money for just over a month, I can be able to start keeping and saving more of what I make the rest of the year.

Anyway, since I’ll be tackling my debt until late March, I won’t have much money for supplies. I don’t imagine having many diy related posts in February. I do have a good chunk of crafting supplies already, so I may be able to throw something together for a few posts here and there.

However, I think this month I’m going to focus on lifestyle blogging. I know the title of my blog is DIYcandothat, but as I said before, I think you can DIY anything in life, without it actually being a craft or project. Therefore, I’ll be focusing on DIYing life.

In order to hold myself accountable, I’m going to list out my goals below, and come back to them in the beginning of March.

  • Have 200+ page views for the month of February
  • Organically double Instagram followers (44 currently)
  • Publish at least 2-3 posts per week throughout the month
  • At least 3 DIY/Craft project posts in the month
  • Create and stick to an editorial calendar
  • Organize all of my craft supplies!!
  • Connect with other bloggers
  • Learn one new thing from my personal mission to do list.

So, let’s get February going! Connect with me if you have any advice/suggestions to help me meet my goals!

With love, Jessi ❤

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Purging My Beauty Products That Test on Animals

You’ll come to find out that I am a HUGE animal lover. Personally, I am an advocate for pit bulls and bully breeds. The stigma and stereotypes surrounding them speak nothing to what the breed is actually like. My boy, Blaze, was the most loving and loyal dog I ever owned. He was a staffordshire terrier; what people would commonly just label as a pit bull. There are multiple different bully breeds, only one of which actually is a “pit bull,” which would be the American Pitbull Terrier.

As I learn more about bully breeds, rescue, and animal welfare in general, I also have learned more about animal testing in the beauty industry. Honestly, I never really thought about that still occurring today.

After learning that it does, in fact, still occur at a large scale, I have decided to do research. I have found two great blogs, crueltyfreekitty and logicalharmony, that have compiled lists of brands/companies that are cruelty-free, as well as ones who do still test on animals.

The posts are FANTASTIC resources when shopping for beauty products.

For me, I used their lists as a way to inventory my beauty products and purge all the products that go against my beliefs. I can not consciously support brands that test on animals.

Sadly, I also have to end my Birchbox subscription, as not everything offered is cruelty-free. Their site says that they do not partner with any brands that test on animals except where required by law. In other words, they have some products tested on animals.

As I’ve recently learned, a good way to know if something tests on animals, is if you know it is sold in China. China requires any beauty products made by a foreign company to be tested on animals prior to distribution. Therefore, any company that sells in China cannot be considered cruelty free.

I will say that a good chunk of stuff I’ve gotten from birchbox is cruelty-free, such as multiple Marcelle products. Marcelle is a Canadian company with no distributions in China.

I was incredibly happy to learn that Marcelle is cruelty-free, because their makeup remover is the best remover I have ever used. I’m so glad that I didn’t have to trash it. I also love my Marcelle mascara that I use everyday.

Overall, my entire daily makeup regimen is already cruelty free, minus my Maybelline liquid eyeliner. Sadly, that has to go in the trash. However, my friend uses Kat von D’s tattoo liquid eyeliner and she recommended that.. I think I’m definitely going to try that out. In the meantime, I’m using Modster eyeliner.

While I don’t use lipstick very often, I do have my two favorite shades… Unfortunately, those too are in the trash pile. On another plus side, Kat von D has a huge lipstick collection, so I will certainly be trying those out.

lipstick items that are not cruelty free. sephora, chapstick, stila, revlon, covergirl

This was just from going through what I had in my purse. Also, the ones I used most frequently. It’s depressing to throw these favorite shades out, but not as depressing as the inhumane tests that animals go through for these products to be sold. 

Of course, KvD has pretty expensive stuff. Thanks to the aforementioned blogger, I know of several drug store brands that are cruelty-free…. except, I hate Wet N’ Wild lipstick, because it’s always SO dry (sorry!!) My coworker uses NYX lipstick, and hers always looks great, so I may look into those.
If you’re looking to get more information about who is and isn’t cruelty-free, head over to the two blogs I linked to and check out their guides. They both have so much information on everything. Logical Harmony’s site has much more extensive lists, but there are also ones included on CFK’s that aren’t on LH.

I used both for my purge, as well as some independent researching on brands that weren’t listed as either cruelty-free or not cruelty-free.

makeup that is not cruelty-free. revlon, maybelline, stila, covergirl,
The end result of part 1 of my purge. I still have more stuff to go through. This is everything that has been “confirmed” (through my online research along with the use of the two blogs) to be from non cruelty-free companies. 

I still have to go through all of my hair care products to toss what’s not cruelty-free. I do know that Aussie tests, so I stopped using that. I had some Temple Spa samples of shampoo and conditioner from a past Birchbox that I never used. I’ve exclusively been using that at the moment, as I’m fairly certain that they are cruelty-free. Bonus: They have essential oils in them, too!

not cruelty-free makeup purge with my dog
Pretty Girl was more than happy to join me as I got rid of everything that tests on animals! 

After part one of my purge, I am very happy to say that I was able to keep a lot of my products. Now, I don’t really use a ton of makeup on a daily basis. I mostly just use eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. Occasionally, I’ll use lipstick. It’s not often that I wear much makeup. I’ve been getting birchbox for years, and I have barely used a fraction of what I have received. I have a bin just of samples that I haven’t tried yet.

Not everything was makeup though. There was also lotion and various skin care products to go through too.


This is everything I’ve been able to keep, so far. I have another small pile of items that are currently in limbo until I can do more research on them. 

It took me a few hours to sort through all of this stuff, and I don’t even have a sh*t ton of products.

If you decide to make the switch to a cruelty-free beauty routine, I would recommend printing out the guides from the blogs before you pull out all of your products. I know that it definitely would have expedited the process for me. Scrolling back and forth through the pages, and up and down the guides, really added extra time to it for me.

When you’re done with it, be sure to Recycle/Reuse ♻️ the papers in some fashion 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to read about how I’m dumping the cruelty from my life. I’ll post soon about all the individual brands I had that I dumped. I’m also thinking about some creative way to dispose of the products that I can record… of course, to help spread awareness of who’s still testing on animals, and to show that consumers do NOT support cruelty..

If anyone has any ideas regarding this, please reach out!

With love, Jessi ❤

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My Ultimate Cross-Country Dream Train Trip

adventure is waiting make the time for it graphic

So, a lot of you have probably seen the viral post about the train trip that goes from San Francisco to NYC for $213.

Well, I took that itinerary and made it my own for my hopeful mid-late 2017 adventure.

I live in Central NY, so I already couldn’t take the same exact train trip. I could have done it backwards with SF being my end point, but then I’d have to double back to go home.

Instead, I incorporated that blogger’s travel suggestion into a trip that suits my needs/wants.

A few years ago, I took a solo train trip to Minnesota and back. My transfer was in Chicago, but I didn’t get to spend time exploring the city.

This time, I fully intend on spending time in Chicago to visit the typical tourist spots: The Bean, the Field Museum, etc.

Next stop: Minneapolis, Minnesota. My cousin lives there, so I definitely want to spend some time visiting with her and checking out spots I didn’t get to last time I was there.

One place I absolutely have to get to is the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN(she is my absolute favorite person!). It’s only about a 2 hour drive from MNPLS. I went there on my last trip, but the main museum was closed for renovations. We toured the house and shopped in the gift shop though, so that was cool.

Judy garland museum
Standing outside of the Judy Garland Museum in MN, freezing my a** off!
Did I mention that it was -17 degrees the day we went there?! My trip coincided with that infamous polar vortex of January 2014. It sure made for an interesting time!

Below zero freezing temperatures
It was purty damn cold in MN! The Governor canceled school statewide in anticipation of the windchill. On this day, we visited the Mall of America 😉
Anywhoos, after I leave MN, it’s a straight through train ride to Portland, Oregon. My boyfriends brother lives there, and he hasn’t seen him in several years. We plan to spend at least 2-3 days there so he can have time to catch up with his brother.

From Portland, it’s on to Denver, Colorado. The transfer for that trip is in Sacramento, CA, which brings us into the California Zephyr train line. That train line is the one that starts the SF->NYC itinerary the blogger took.

We want to spend a day and a half in Denver, and then continue the rest of that line back up to Chicago and transfer back on to the North Shore Limited line back home.

I’ve worked out the pricing of each individual train trip, and compared it to the 15-day travel pass through Amtrak. It’s one price that includes 8 separate train trips within a 15 day period(transfers on one line count as two separate segments).

For the amount of stops we want to make, and the time spent at each stop, it definitely works out to be a better price with the travel price. It’s not too big of a difference, but it is cheaper.

We could even extend the trip by an extra day past the 15 and it’s still cheaper to pay for the last segment on top of the travel pass.

The best part of the travel pass is that you can buy it without having your itinerary set in stone yet. You have a year to redeem your paper travel pass, and then the travel needs to be reserved and completed within 330 days after that. It can even be used as a gift for the wanderluster in your life to plan their own perfect trip!

Minnesota sunset from the train
I believe this was on the way out of Chicago heading toward MN. What a beauty.
Some people say that taking a train is outdated. I think it’s so much more beautiful to ride the train through sights you can’t see on the road, or flying over.

I saw some truly beautiful sights on my last train trip to Minnesota, and that was only through a few states around the Great Lakes. Imagine the sights that could be seen in the west.

Sure, it takes longer to get to your destinations. But if you’re traveling by train, it’s because you want to enjoy the trip, not just the place you’re going to.

I personally can not wait to take time off from work and go on this adventure across the country. I have the vacation time to go, but staffing is just not available to cover the time off I need to take for it, currently. Moreover, the industry I work in is extremely busy in the summer, and it’s not feasible for me to take a huge chunk of time off at once during the peak season.

So, I’m either looking at a mid-late spring trip, or one in the fall. I just have to make time in my schedule.

adventure is waiting make the time for it graphic

It also depends on when I will be able to afford the trip. I’ll be honest and say that I’m sort of in a great deal of debt at the moment. My main priority for the next two months is paying down my debt as much as possible so I can start saving. I have a plan of attack where I have already budgeted out each estimated paycheck (including my tax refund) up until the 1st week of march. Just in the past two weeks I’ve paid down $500 in debt across different accounts. I won’t get into too much detail in this post about it, but look forward to seeing a progress post in the next week or so.

Of course, look out for an actual DIY post this week, as well. I’m tentatively going to say that I will be putting out new blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As I’m just starting my journey into DIY, I’ll probably have just one post per week dedicated to DIY until I have more to post about.

In the meantime, check out the DIY’s I’ve already tried!

With love and creativity, Jessi ❤

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Week after launch check-in time!

Hi all! Welcome back!

Well, it’s been a week since I officially launched the blog. As expected, I haven’t really had many visitors to the site. That’s OKAY! I wasn’t expecting a crazy amount of views or comments.

I could go months without a single person reading my blog and it would be just fine.

Why?

It’s because I’m having fun doing this. Having this blog is giving me some sort of purpose outside of my career. It has potential to turn into a wonderful hobby for me. When Tumblr first came around, I was obsessed with it. Before constantly re blogging gifs and random stuff was the main draw of tumblr, I would spend hours blogging about what was on my mind, what I did that day, reviewing episodes of Supernatural, etc. I only had probably 4 or 5 people that consistently read my blogs.

For me, blogging on Tumblr was like telling my story to someone, even if no one was reading it. At that point in my life, I was out of school, but not working yet. My friends were all busy most of the time, so my social interactions were definitely lacking. Blogging was SO helpful to me because I could say everything I was thinking even if I didn’t have any specific person to talk to.

Barbara Kingsolver Quote

Even after I started my first job at 18 (which I stayed at for nearly 5 years!) I kept up with my Tumblr blogging for a really long time. Eventually, Tumblr just turned into reblogging gifs, so my archive quickly became filled up with purely reblogs.

I’ve used my Tumblr very sparingly in the past few years. However, I’m pretty excited to restart my blogging journey over here on diycandothat.com

Back then, my blog posts weren’t centered on anything other than my life. The primary focus of this blog is about my experiences in learning how to do new DIY’s and (hopefully) inspiring other beginners. Although, I do plan to stay close to my roots and squeeze in a bit of a lifestyle/personal blogging into this site.

I want my eventual readers to know me, my life, and who I am. As I share my DIY journey, I want to also share my life journey along the way.

As I grow my blog, I may start talking about different topics here and there (Friday’s post is going to be about my epic train trip I hope to go on sometime this year!).

Don’t get me wrong though; As the name of the site states, this will still remain a primarily DIY blog. I’ll just also be sharing my life with the online world.

If anyone has any advice, questions, suggestions, etc., feel free to email me, comment below, or connect with me on Facebook or Instagram. I’m always looking to make new friends!

With love and creativity, Jessi ♥

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Under 15 Minute DIY-Mini Pallet Coasters!

Guys, this is probably my most favorite thing I’ve ever done. Why? Because it’s cool, fast, cheap, and easy!

DIY Mini Pallet Coasters

Once I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it out. The next day, I stopped at Dollar Tree for some supplies, and made sure to pick up some popsicle sticks while there.

(my main purpose for the Dollar Tree excursion was to get office supplies to make my perfect home/life management binder. Pinterest inspired me to start one, and I can’t wait to start using it! Expect a post in the near future about it!)

What you need to get this party going:

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Coffee/tea/wood stain(optional)

At first, I wanted to test out the “fast drying” glue I bought from dollar tree during my last trip. I quickly learned that this was not the project to try them for. It just doesn’t work. They don’t dry quickly enough to get through the project. A hot glue gun is the way to go. My boyfriends brother has a high performance one that I used, but you can pick up a low heat glue gun for $2.99 practically anywhere(I saw ones at that price at both Michael’s and Jo Ann Fabrics).

Once I switched over to the glue gun, the project went by in a snap. Here’s how it went down:

First, I cut off all the rounded tips of the popsicle sticks to make them look more like pallet slats.

I used a plate for my work surface as to not get any glue on the carpet.

Once I was finished with that, I gathered all 12 sticks and went to work.

Initial framing all done! 


All finished! I used a gray sharpie for the “nails.” Because of the grain of the sticks, the ink bled sideways, so it doesn’t look all that great. At this point, Chris decided he wanted to make one too, so you can see his work in progress in the back. 


Mr. Charming also decided he wanted in on the action. 


*drumroll* aaaand the final result of both our pallet coasters! Chris wanted to use less on the top, but I followed the instructions of the video and used 12 Sticks total. It’s more stable that way. Chris didn’t realize that they were meant to be used as coasters ha. 

This video by The Sorry Girls is the one I followed, and it explains everything in a completely understandable way. In the video, they use coffee to stain the sticks, but I left mine bare. I mostly just wanted to test out the methods and see how easy it could be done. I do plan on making more in different stain colors, and even painting some.

I’ll skip the step-by-step instructions and let you watch the video tutorial. It walks you through the process way better than I could ever explain it through text.

As always, let me know if you try this easy craft out. It’ll be even more fun if you add your own spin into it. I want to see! Tag @diycandothat on Instagram to share your creation!

With love and creativity, Jessi ❤

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