journey of doing »

I’ve been a long time loyalist to my La Mer skin care routine.  I love the refining facial, but it’s not exactly an energizing facial.  It’s pretty low key and it’s one of the few products that doesn’t burn or irritate my skin.  As a result, I’m hesitant to try new products because of the cost associated with finding out that they don’t work.  I spend such little time shopping that I rarely find myself in a position to test products at the store.  So, when Influenster sent me these products to try, I was excited but a definitely little dubious.  (For reference, my skin type is normal.)

Disclaimer:  I was sent complimentary products in partnership with Influenster in exchange for an honest review.  This post may contain affiliate links.

journey of doing - energizing facial with OriginsP I N I T

Origins Pink Water Cream – Energizing Facial

Step One – Origins Retexturizing Mask

The first time I tried the mask, I had just settled into the bathtub after a long day.  I lathered the Origins mask on my face and neck and set a timer for 10 minutes.  I expected to hate it because of the strong citrusy scent, but I got used to it.  The mask stayed fairly soft, but I could feel it drying and tightening my skin.  When it was completely dry, there was a light pink tint to it.

After 10 minutes, I splashed my face and neck clean.  I was not expecting my skin to be so soft!  The other thing that I noticed was that my energy level had picked up considerably.  An energizing facial?  What is this?!

Step Two – Origins Renewal Serum

After I finished feeling my face (keeping it real), I put a thin layer of the serum on my face.  I was worried that the combination of the mask and the serum would cause my skin to react, but it didn’t!  YAY!  The serum had the same citrusy scent and created an even more smooth texture.

What I really liked about the serum was that it went on smooth and didn’t feel sticky.  I’ve used serums in the past that left me feeling like I had just clogged my pores with glue.  I didn’t feel that with this one.  It felt like I had just covered my skin with silk.

Step Three – Origins Matte Moisturizer

If I’m being totally honest, the moisturizer looked so unappealing when I opened it.  It looked like it might feel gritty or feel heavy.  Again, it had the strong smell of citrus, so I thought it might burn.  I went for it anyway, dabbing a little bit on at a time.  No skin reaction.  It went on smoother than I expected (I was wrong) and my skin absorbed it quickly.

When I was done with the entire treatment, I felt ready to conquer the world.  Seriously.  My second wind kicked in, and I felt awake, alive, and ready to get things done!  (This, of course, was slightly problematic as I had an early morning the following day.)

Energizing Facial – Final Thoughts

Not to be swayed by a single use (and inspired by the second wind of energy), I started using this energizing routine on a more (read: very regular) basis.  I threw caution to the wind and refused to be bound by their 1-2 times a week directive.

I dried my skin out and burned my eyelids.  (Those directions are there for a reason.)  But, I really do love the energy that I get from these products.  There’s something about the scent and the feel that gets me up and going!  I’ve cut back to using it once a week (or less), and I absolutely love it.  If you’re looking for an energizing facial routine or some new products to try, I highly recommend this combination for an at home spa experience!

journey of doing - energizing facial with originsP I N I T



share on Facebook.tweet to a friend

As I mentioned a few months ago, one of my goals was to start updating and repurposing blog content (or pictures that have lived alone on my hard drive for far too long.)  This week’s mini apple pie recipe is brought to us via Little Bit of Funky.  When I saw these on pinterest, I knew they would be THE perfect fall treat or addition to my Thanksgiving menu.  When we were dating, my husband shared that he only ate pumpkin pie, so making an entire apple pie seemed silly, especially once we started our getaways to New Orleans.  Since my family is small, it was very easy to half this recipe.  Is it just me or is anything mini WAY cuter?  I mean, my regular pies aren’t this cute.  My mini blueberry pies though?  Definitely cute!

This post may contain affiliate links.  

journey of doing - mini apple pie recipeP I N I T

I had big plans for this mini apple pie recipe. Those plans included acorn and leaf cookie cutters.  Fall, however, managed to thwart me at every turn. (Read: I refused to go to 16 stores in search of cookie cutters a la the great candy corn hunt for Thanksgiving cookies), so I had to settle for an apple cookie cutter.  Bah humbug.

A 2.5 inch round cookie cutter was slightly small for the cups, but the 3.5 inch was WAY too big.  (I bought this set to be prepared for everything!)  You may need to play around with it depending on how deep your muffin tins are.  Don’t be afraid to go for it!

journey of doing - mini apple pie recipeP I N I T

journey of doing - mini apple pie recipeP I N I T

 Mini Apple Pie Recipe (halved)

Mini Apple Pie Recipe...
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Sara
  • 4 large apples (Note: I used Honeycrisp, because that's ALL Kroger had two days before Thanksgiving?!. I also used five and I had plenty of leftover apples. You could probably use 3, but I don't want you to have too few and then yell at me.)
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 boxes of Pillsbury roll out pie crusts (4 total)
  • 2 tablespoons of cold butter (plus a little extra to melt)
  1. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/2 inch bits. You should have four cups or so of apples. (I did this the day before and stored in an airtight container to save myself time on baking day.)
  2. Mix apples with dry ingredients in large mixing bowl, making sure to fully coat all apples.
  3. Unroll your pie crusts and cut 12 rounds. Press into muffin tins. Also, cut 12 or so tops... in my case, I cut 12 apple shaped tops.
  4. Fill muffin cups with heaping tablespoons of apples.
  5. Cut butter into 12 equally divided pieces and place a piece on each top.
  6. Cover as desired with left over dough (or in my case, apple cutouts... that started to look like pumpkins just to irritate me...) and brush tops with melted butter.
  7. Bake at 400F for 18-22 minutes. I baked mine for 10 minutes and then checked on them every 2 minutes, and ended up taking them out after 20 minutes. After they cooled, I used the tip of a knife to gently pry them out of the muffin tins.

Serving Suggestion:  Enjoy with vanilla ice cream.

journey of doing - mini apple pie recipeP I N I T




share on Facebook.tweet to a friend
  • erin vancura - i love love love the apple! these are SO CUTE and look SOOO GOOD!!!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - They are just adorable!ReplyCancel

  • cara - This look so cute and yummy! Love the little apple shape!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders - These seriously look so delicious! Apple pie is my husband’s favorite dessert, so I know that he’d be all over these mini ones!ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - So cute and they look delicious! Perfect for this time of year! Did you pick up your apples from an orchard or just the grocery store?ReplyCancel

  • Kasie Chelanne - Sara, these are absolutely adorable and they look absolutely mouthwatering! What a fabulous spin on an autumn and winter classic. I would FOR SURE end up eating a full batch in one sitting.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - Do you deliver to MI? These look SO GOOD!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - How cute are these?! LOVE the cookie cutter shapes <3ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis - These look amazing! I’ve never tried anything like it but perfect treat for Fall.ReplyCancel

Happy Friday from the most northern-western part of MA before you get to New York and Vermont.  I’m in Williamstown, visiting the aptly named Williams College for another day before I drive down to Cambridge and hunker down at the Charles for application fun for the rest of the weekend!


Linking up with Christina and Amanda to share a few fall things for this beautiful Friday…

[One]  If we’re not friends on Facebook, you didn’t see this article about my organization that made its way into the Chronicle of Higher Education this week.  It’s long and so very necessary to read if you want to understand what I do and why I’m a little bit crazy.  This is the second story Eric has written about us this year, and this one makes me cry more than the first, but they both make me cry for different reasons.

[Two]  After I interrupted my regularly scheduled programming to rant about the lack of debate around gun control, my post on DIY photo coasters didn’t republish.  One more thing to blame on guns… I kid.  I kid.  Kind of.

[Three]  Max and Russ – I ordered end tables for the living room last week (as part of my “transition to fall” plan and I haven’t received any kind of status update on them from .  It would be nice to know they were coming.  Or when.

[Four]  I’m going to NYC at the end of the month to present at College Board Forum.  I finally realized that I can’t extend the trip and take the weekend to hang out in New York.  I have to get back for apps.  Adulting kind of sucks in that respect.  (Also – the hotels are ridiculously expensive.)  The latter part of the year has been REALLY expensive conference locations.  It’s clear the economy has recovered in some ways.

[Five]  I’m completely fascinated by fall so I’m just going to leave you with some pretty pictures from last night.  Perhaps that also makes me lazy, but I’m not going to lie – I’m exhausted this morning but this is going to be what motivates me to get out of bed.  (That and that fact that I’m on a business trip?)

Friday 5 - All Things FallP I N I T

Friday 5 - All Things FallP I N I T


share on Facebook.tweet to a friend
  • Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders - I so wish that we had fall in Texas! All of the fall colors are seriously so incredibly beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - Happy Friday! Those fall photos are BEAUTIFUL!! Even though you can’t extend your trip in New York, I hope you enjoy your time there! We’re hoping to finally make our first trip there next year.ReplyCancel

  • sarita @ it's my girls' world - Adulting does suck sometimes lol. Happy Friday! And beautiful picturesReplyCancel

  • Bri @ My Life As - I miss northern fall so much!! I’m seriously considering driving to Arkansas one of the first weekends in November just to see the leaves! I suppose I could also go to East Texas…ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I like the idea of gauging the economy by expense of conference location! Congrats on your article. And those fall photos are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - Lovely fall leaves!

    I’m so glad an article about your organization has been published. I don’t really have time to read it right now, but I’ll make sure to come back and take a look later.

    Also, I feel you on not being able to extend your New York trip. Sucks. 🙁 There is always so much to do in NYC. I can never get enough of it! I guess you’ll just have to plan another trip there in the future. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis - All the Fall foliage is so gorgeous! Wish we had a real Fall in Florida.ReplyCancel

For More Dove Mountain Postcard Photos (and tips & tricks):

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain

Dove Mountain Postcard Photos-1.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-2.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-3.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-4.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-5.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-6.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-7.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-8.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-9.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-10.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-11.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-12.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-13.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-16.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-14.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-15.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-17.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-18.jpgDove Mountain Postcard Photos-19.jpg

share on Facebook.tweet to a friend
  • Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders - So pretty! I think that the mountains and the cacti all around are so stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - Where is Dove Mountain?

    That sunset is so beautiful, so colorful! Did you plan to shoot sunset there or did you just pull off the side of the road when you saw how gorgeous it was going to be?ReplyCancel

I pin a lot random things (like DIY photo coasters).  I forget where I pin them. Eventually, I get bored, sift through my pins, and get inspired.

When I needed a wedding shower gift idea for Tom’s brother, I wanted to do something personal.  I had taken their engagement pictures, and I knew I wanted to incorporate them somehow.  Eventually, I found something completely inspired me.  I emailed my trusty sidekicks, Erin and Elizabeth, and decided to push forward on the project.

This post may contain affiliate links.  

journey of doing - DIY Photo Coasters and Gift IdeaP I N I T


DIY Photo Coasters – from Oopsey Daisy Blog

DIY Photo Coasters – Materials

  • 4.25″x4.25″ ceramic tiles (Mine were .16 at Home Depot. .16!!)
  • Photos (I ordered 4″x5″ photos and cut them down to by 4″x4″. I also used matte photos, because the resin is high gloss… and becauseiforgottochooseglossy.)
  • Glue that will adhere to ceramics (I used E3000.)
  • EnviroTex Lite Resin
  • Drinking straw
  • Felt mounting circles

journey of doing - diy photo coasters and gift ideaP I N I T

DIY Photo Coasters – Directions

1. Glue your photos to the tiles. I put a piece of paper over the photo (so I didn’t cover the picture with fingerprints) and used the straight edge of a ruler to make sure it adhered securely and completely.

2. Mix resin mixture in a disposable container using a disposable mixer according to directions. (See my notes below for details on what NOT to do.)  Pour a small amount of resin onto the photo-covered tile and spread evenly.  I used a flat cake spatula to scrape off excess.  Move finished tiles to a clean workspace to let tiles set and dry. Blow out any air bubbles through a straw if needed.  (I didn’t have too many bubbles.)

3. Let tiles set. After 10 hours, mine were “soft set” and no longer sticky.  I moved them to another cleaner area to finish drying.  After 24 hours, they were hard set. After 48 hours, I felt comfortable putting the felt mounts on the back of the tiles

4. That’s it. Seriously.  It’s one of the easiest projects EVER. They dry beautifully with a gorgeous glossy sheen.

journey of doing - diy photo coasters and gift ideaP I N I T

journey of doing - diy photo coasters and gift ideaP I N I T

DIY Photo Coasters – Notes:

If I had more time, I would have done these again just to redo the small imperfections that bugged me. I did learn a few things while doing this project:

  • Use a glue that is ceramic friendly. E3000 is supposed to be, but I think there may be more adhesive glue for ceramics.
  • Mix your resin in a disposable container with a disposable utensil.  It’s really difficult to clean off things.  I pretty much got it everywhere.  I managed to mostly clean it off, but I also ruined a knife by not cleaning it soon enough.
  • Less is more when it comes to the resin. I would use a disposable paintbrush to apply the resin.  I think it would have gone on more evenly and smoothly with the paintbrush – and I wouldn’t have used as much.  Or made quite as big of a mess.
  • Make sure you transfer the coasters to a clean (covered) surface to try.  If you look closely at my pictures you can see I left them sitting in the excess resin, which led to difficulties when trying to loosen them from the surface.

DIY Photo Coasters – Gift Idea

  • Wrap the coasters up with ribbon in sets of 4! (I made 10, lost 1 to sticking on the surface, and didn’t want to give the awkward number of 9.)
  • Add a set of white coffee mugs… because who can’t use a set of mugs??
  • In conclusion, I think this would be a great idea to do with all those travel photos I keep taking!

journey of doing - diy photo coasters and gift ideaP I N I T



share on Facebook.tweet to a friend
  • erin vancura - I seriously love these! And I’m totally going to make them!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - this is fabulous! i’ve pinned these coasters before too, but props to you for actually making them! it makes me want to try them for real too 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Quiddity - Lesson I’m learning right now … make sure your photos are really, really down and secured and dried and STUCK because once that resin goes on, it’ll get under edges. Good thing I got two copies of all of the pictures. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Sara Elizabeth - Quiddity – you are so right!

      It is good to have duplicates the first go around, because there are a ton of lessons to be learned!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams - What an amazing idea! They are useful and I’m sure they will treasure them for years to come!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N DreamsReplyCancel

  • Kasie Chelanne - Hi Sara, it’s so wonderful to be back to blogging and connecting! These coasters are a genius gift idea. I can think of A LOT of family members of mine who would love to get them for Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • All the Fall Days » journey of doing - […] DIY Photo Coasters and Gift Idea! […]ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - That is a pretty awesome gift idea. I need to start thinking about Christmas. Argh. :-/ReplyCancel