Monthly Archives

February 2015

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Free Art Printable: Rock On With Your Bad Self

Art Printable Rock On With Your Bad Self • Little Gold Pixel

Isn’t it funny, the supposed war between Beatles and Stones fans?

Some say The Beatles are pop and the Stones are rock. They say there’s no way you could like them both at the same time. No, for these die-hards, it’s an either/or question.

Which, give me a break, is ridiculous. They’re two entirely different bands. And, on the flip side, both are quintessentially rock bands. Downplaying one while talking up the other is a pointless debate. It’s like trying to determine which is better: chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream. Or like trying to choose between Strawberry Fields Forever or Brown Sugar.

THEY’RE BOTH DELICIOUS.

Dear readers, I’m sure you’ve come to realize that I’m a hardcore Beatles fan. What with all the posts and gushing and stuff.

But did you know that I’ve been to a Rolling Stones concert? It was pretty much the spectacle (in a good way) that I had been dreaming of. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards. They’ve still got it, man.

Rock on, rockers.

I made this free printable for you. I spent far too long getting the brushstroke just right, and I’m still not happy with it. Oh well, it wouldn’t be rock’n’roll if it was perfect!

 

Free Art Printable Rock On With Your Bad Self • Little Gold Pixel

Free Art Printable Rock On!

High-res PDF in 8×10 format, easy to print on 8.5×11 paper and trim to fit 8×10 frame.

Keep in mind this free version includes a watermark. The unwatermarked version is available in the shop.

THE FINE PRINT: As always, play nice. For personal use only. Share with friends. It warms my heart to see my printables on social media, so please tag me @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see the art in action.

Free Art Printable Rock On With Your Bad Self • Little Gold Pixel

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P.S. More freebies!

Spice Up Your Kitchen With These Free Printables (+ 2 Faux Food Pyramid Freebies!)

Psst — hi there! Did you find this post via Pinterest? If so, nice to meet you, and thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a few minutes to click around so we can get to know each other better. A few good places to start: There is a freebies page I think you’d like, as well as my About page and a roundup of my Favorite Posts


 

Recently I confided in a friend that my eating habits had been subpar. In fact, I had nothing to eat that day besides coffee and chocolate.

“Well, those are the essential food groups,” she joked.

My mind flashed to those food pyramid charts we learned as kids.

Did you know the pyramids are now “plates”? Plates broken down by grains/protein/dairy/veggies/fruit? No oils/fats in sight!

I’m saddened by this in an irrational way. It’s the same way I felt when Pluto got downgraded from planet status. And when Czechoslovakia split up. I still can’t remember the countries of Eastern Europe.

Anyway, I thought it would be funny to come up with a few faux food pyramids. They’re for those of us who would rather live off chocolate & coffee, or pizza & beer.

AKA everyone.

UPDATE 5/2016: I have recently finished an entire set of Cravings printables, available for purchase in the shop. Grab your favorite, or all of them at once if you’re feeling extra cheeky. (These make great gifts, too!)

Current options: Beer & Pizza, Tequila & Tacos, Wine & Cheese, Coffee & Chocolate, Milk & Cookies, Tea & Biscuits, Eggs & Bacon, Popcorn & Butter, Doughnuts & Cake

Get them now!

Oh, and don’t forget to keep scrolling down for a roundup of 20 more printables to hang in your kitchen!

Faux Food Pyramid Free Printables

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Chocolate and Coffee Faux Food Pyramid Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Download Chocolate/Coffee

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Pizza and Beer Faux Food Pyramid Free Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Download Pizza/Beer

Psst, have you signed up for the Little Gold Pixel newsletter? I send out a free printable with each one!

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel
To download: Click on links below. Links will take you to the original download page. Find button/link on that page, and download. Some printables are in PDF format, others in JPG format. Most are easy to print in an 8×10 size. Use your discretion if cropping for a different frame size. You can either print at home on photo paper (matte is my preference) or take a USB to your printer for a longer-lasting print on archival paper.

Coffee Talk

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel
Substantial Amount of Coffee / Coffee & Chocolate Food Pyramid / But First, CoffeeDelicious Any Way You Take It

You’ll notice that I didn’t put these printables in big galleries like I do for my other roundups. This is because kitchens are typically smaller, and most people will only have room for a small sampling, maybe even just one piece of art.

My kitchen is what I call a one-butt kitchen, meaning only one person can bend down comfortably at a time.

Normal people call this a galley kitchen.

There is literally room for just a few 8x10s on one sliver of a wall.

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel

For the Love of Coffee / Rise & Shine / With Coffee Anything Is Possible (+ more)

Black & White

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel

Beer & Pizza Food Pyramid / Screw It & Unwind

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel

Kitchen Conversions / Chicken (+ more)  / Take It or Leave It

I like all of these printables, obviously, or I wouldn’t have included them. The “Take It or Leave It” sign has a special place in my heart, though.

Our 4-year-old daughter thinks we’re short-order cooks lately. I don’t know where she got that idea, but I’m going to start telling her, “Take it or leave it.” I might even sing it, a la The Strokes.

Too Sweet to Eat

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel

Whip It, Sir Mix-a-Lot (+ more, including my fave “Pour Some Sugar On Me”) / All You Need Is Cake / Julia Child quote (NOTE 6/8/15: It appears the original download link has expired on this one, unfortunately)

If you don’t have room to hang printables on your kitchen walls, there’s always the fridge.

In fact, that would be a good way to switch things up often. Print out all of these bad boys and rotate them with magnets to keep your kitchen view fresh!

Another tip: Clear countertops and prop a small frame against the backsplash. Maybe put an apple in front of it so your kitchen always looks like a stylish Instagram photo.

I’m kidding. Sorta.

Free Printables Kitchen Wall Art • Little Gold Pixel

Let’s Eat (+ more) / Hot & Cold

Last but not least — I enjoy rounding up my fave free printables almost as much as you like reading these posts. I’ll aim to give you an update periodically, probably every other month or so. In the meantime, if you spy a free printable you think I’d enjoy, drop me a line with the link, and maybe I’ll include it in the next roundup (along with a finder’s shout-out!). I’m on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can tag me on Pinterest. Or use this email form if you’d like.

P.S. Past Little Gold Pixel freebies!

Weekly Pixels #7

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This is an update in my Weekly Pixels series, a weekly photo project for managing my family’s digital files in lieu of printed photos. At the end of the year I will create a yearbook out of my images. Here’s what the third week of February looked like for us.

H and Alexa gave me a new Canon Rebel for my birthday, so I promptly took 200+ photos of anything and everything.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Including but not limited to: Alexa’s hands.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Fluttershy? I think that’s the name of this pony.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

A sneak peek of the mess that is Alexa’s toy box.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

And testing out the kit telephoto lens (from inside my house).

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

In the middle of all that, I took my favorite photo of Alexa … ever. Twirling her hair, looking so quintessentially her.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

And then we decided to take some fun pics with props. Alexa with her toys, H with his.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

He’s serious about gaming, yo.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

And she’s silly about her ponies.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Down to the last bulb.

Weekly Photo Project • Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

During which Alexa was so eager for her fortune cookie that she nearly ate the fortune.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Water creeping up.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

My German valentine.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

The view walking to Ash Wednesday Mass, where I was tasked with keeping Alexa from destroying the hymnals.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

My name spelled correctly! Such a triumph!

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

This flower reminded me of the roses that were painted red in Alice in Wonderland.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Let it gooooooooo. This was the day Alexa decided she wanted to watch Frozen over and over again.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Sneaking in a photoshoot (late for her 4-year-old pics!) after dance class.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Snuggling with Daddy. “Mama, can you pet my hair?” she asks. This kid has it figured out.

Weekly Pixels #7 • Little Gold Pixel

Are you doing a photo project this year? How do you keep track of your family photos?

P.S. Past photo projects: 2012, 2013, 2014
P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Oscar Ballot 2015: Free Printables

Oscar Ballot 2015 Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel

It’s Oscars weekend!

For those of you who don’t know, I work in the entertainment biz. So I should care about sound editing. And short films. And original score. The thing is, I just don’t.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume you feel the same way.

If so, I made some ballots that will help you focus on the important stuff. Best picture, actor, actress, etc. I didn’t include Best Song. (But just so you know, it should be “Everything Is Awesome.” If it isn’t, I’m calling shenanigans.)

Anyway, these printables would be great at your Oscar viewing party this weekend. They’re short and sweet. And you don’t have to pretend you watched any of the foreign-language films. *Ahem.*

So tell me: Who’s going to win Best Picture?

For your reading pleasure: Honest titles for 2015’s Oscar-nominated films.

Oscar Ballot 2015 Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Oscar Ballot 2015: Free Printables

High-res PDFs in 8.5×11 format, easy to print on 8.5×11 paper.

Minimal

Oscar Ballot 2015 Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Download

Gold

Oscar Ballot 2015 Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Download

THE FINE PRINT: As always, play nice. For personal use only. Share with friends. Tag @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see the art in action (it totally makes my day)!

P.S. More freebies!

5 Tips for a Less-Hellish Commute

tips-for-a-commute

You’ve been stuck on the freeway for more than an hour, in stop-and-go traffic. Break lights as far as the eye can see. The road rage is real inside you. You feel like pounding your fists on the horn while screaming obscenities.

My friend, I’ve been there. I’ve actually shouted at the top of my lungs “I AM MISERABLE!”

(I don’t think anyone heard me.)

I’ve suffered several years of long commutes on L.A. freeways. Suffered being the key word. But, in that time, I finally found a formula that keeps my blood pressure down. Read on for some commuting zen.

5 Tips for a Better Commute

1. Make a playlist.

Listening to the radio or to a fast-paced album is a quick way to make yourself feel stabby. Radio playlists are too repetitive and too sporadic. Speedy beats are a terrible choice for heavy traffic.

For the longest time I was coming home ready to bounce off the walls with anger. One night I listened to a batch of uptempo rock’n’roll and it occurred to me. I was growing angrier by the minute. In fact, it sent me down a road rage spiral from hell. That was when I realized that I needed to control my playlist.

It seems counterintuitive to listen to quiet music while you’re trying to drive. After all, I grew up on road-trip music! Boston! Journey! Def Leppard!

But whereas road trips are fun, annoying commutes aren’t. Road trip music is loud and fast because you’re driving loud and fast. But your commute is likely annoying because you’re stuck in traffic. When you’re going 5 mph, no amount of shouting the lyrics will appease your need for speed. Know what I mean?

Spotify is your friend. Make a chill playlist with some smooth, easygoing beats. (Smart Is the New Sexy is a good one.) Or go to your happy place. I made this Hawaii playlist full of island and reggae tunes we heard on our trip in December. Always puts me in a good mood.

2. Listen to an audiobook.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, this is my saving grace. I love to listen to a good audiobook as I’m driving. When you’re getting swept up by a story, time goes faster. Some nights I arrive home but consider zipping around the block to hear more of my stories.

I know, right.

My go-to app is OverDrive. I rent audiobooks from the Los Angeles Public Library website. I love it; works like a charm. Ask about your library’s digital loans if you haven’t already. There’s a whole new world of literature at your fingertips. Plus you never even step foot inside the library.

I tested Audible before and liked it, too. But the monthly subscription plan didn’t mesh with my voracious audiobook appetite.

3. Find a good podcast.

One word: Serial.

And apparently there are more where that came from: This American Life, Comedy Bang! Bang!, 99% Invisible, The Nerdist, I Was There Too for starters.

It’s great to have “another episode” to look forward to at the end of the day.

4. Save a treat just for the ride home.

On good days, this can be as simple as saving a bottle of cold flavored water for the ride home. On bad days, chocolate.

For the rest of the days, set aside gum or hard candy like mints or butterscotch. So what if it makes you feel like a elderly person to buy Werther’s Originals.

5. Use a stress ball.

So you feel like banging your head against the horn. Or screaming four-letter words at bad drivers. Here’s a tip.

Squeeeeeze.

Just squeeeeeze on a stress ball (perhaps one with a smiley face on it). Alternate hands. This is a good way to make sure you’re not death-gripping your steering wheel. Your shoulders and neck muscles will thank you later!

What I’ve Been Reading

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel • Lydia Netzer, Liane Moriarty, Station Eleven, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Shine Shine Shine, A.S. King, Hemingway's Girl

I’m happy to report that I’m one book ahead of schedule so far this year. I get irrationally stressed out if I do not keep pace with my goal, so yay. No staying up late reading, no falling asleep with my face on top of my phone (it’s been known to happen).

So far this year all of these books have been … audiobooks. I feel like maybe I should be ashamed of this fact, but let’s face it. The only free time I have on a daily basis is when I’m driving to and from work. So take advantage, I say!

Interesting to note: Two Liane Moriarty books this time around, two books about 1970s adolescence, three 5-star reviews out of 11 books.

This is an occasional series that chronicles my quest to read 80 books in 2015. This is the first roundup. Let’s see how it went, shall we?

(Do you follow me on Goodreads? You should!)

Book Reviews 2015: 11/80

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot / David Shafer
File under: WTF, conspiracy theory, thirtysomething drama, paranoia
Plot: Three seemingly unrelated people band together to fight a media conglomerate that is angling to be Big Brother.
Review: I loved it. A little big thriller, a little bit life-crisis humor, 100% relatable despite (or because of) being 100% kooky.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Station Eleven / Emily St. John Mandel
File under: Dystopian, Shakespearean, literature, everything is connected
Plot: An acting troupe roams the countryside after a rogue illness sweeps out 99% of the world population.
Review: Amazing. The first dystopian novel I’ve read where the overall message was HOPE.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Everybody Sees the Ants / A.S. King
File under: Y.A., coming of age, bullies
Plot: Bullied kid Lucky and his mom spend a summer living with family out of state, where Lucky “figures things out” — or not.
Review: I expect greatness from A.S. King. This was just OK to me. At times I wasn’t rooting for Lucky because good grief was he kinda a dick.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Hemingway’s Girl / Erika Robuck
File under: Historical fiction, Key West, Hemingway, fan fiction
Plot: Mariella remembers her time working for and befriending Ernest Hemingway in the 1930s.
Review: Robuck does a great job mixing fact/fiction, reality/fantasy. Just as good as Call Me Zelda.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Shine Shine Shine / Lydia Netzer
File under: Literature, humor, magical
Plot: The love story of Sunny and Maxon, a bald miracle and a savant astronaut who are the centers of each other’s universes.
Review: Every sentence Lydia Netzer writes is pure gold.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

#Girlboss / Sophia Amoruso
File under: Memoir, motivational
Plot: Woman goes from petty thief to CEO of Nasty Gal.
Review: First half of the book was interesting, second half totally dropped the ball.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Three Wishes / Liane Moriarty
File under: Chick lit, beach read, Australia
Plot: Triplets interfere in one another’s lives, often with disastrous results.
Review: Moriarty’s formula works like a charm here, although one sister ends up enduring far more turmoil than the other two, which left me feeling somewhat bitter.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

If I Knew Your Were Going to be This Beautiful I Never Would Have Let You Go / Judy Chicurel
File under: 1970s, coming of age, literature
Plot: Katie spends the summer after she turns 18 hanging out with a damaged, gritty group of burnouts and lusting after a damaged Vietnam vet.
Review: A maybe-too-quiet but beautiful read with a lot of nuance, mostly about how you can never come home again.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

The Husband’s Secret / Liane Moriarty
File under: Chick lit, Australia, kinda-sorta suspense
Plot: Cecilia comes across a letter from her husband she’s not supposed to read till he dies. She reads it anyway.
Review: Moriarty’s formula feels tenuous, with three storylines that would work better as one (Cecilia’s), but I was on the edge of my seat anyway and invested in the outcome.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

Sister Golden Hair / Darcey Steinke
File under: 1970s, coming of age, literature
Plot: Jesse details what it’s like to grow up in working-class Roanoke in the 1970s.
Review: This book, while it gives you a good sense of time/place, is flat. There’s no real resolution or growth to speak of.
Amazon Goodreads

Book Reviews 2015 Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao / Junot Diaz
File under: Dominican drama, family tree, literature
Plot: The entire de Leon family has bad luck. Is it fuku or simply hereditary stupidity?
Review: This was OK. I kept waiting for the titular character to be more interesting than every single secondary character, but that never happened.
Amazon Goodreads

In a Nutshell

Three to read: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Shine Shine Shine, Station Eleven

Two to pass: #Girlboss, Sister Golden Hair

So there you have it. 11 down! 69 to go!

What have you been reading lately? I’m always on the lookout for a good book … do share recommendations in the comments. Have you read any of these books? Do you agree/disagree with my assessment? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Linking up with modernmrsdarcy.com, a great place to find good reads. Check it out.
THE SMALL PRINT: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Little Gold Pixel!

Weekly Pixels #6

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This is an update in my Weekly Pixels series, a weekly photo project for managing my family’s digital files in lieu of printed photos. At the end of the year I will create a yearbook out of my images. Here’s what the second week of February looked like for us.

You Are Dashing! Alexa’s homemade valentines were a family affair.

2015Feb10_0086

I’m a treat-bag-packing pro now.

2015Feb10_0089

Ta-da!

2015Feb10_0093

Walking across the street at night. I like the motion.

2015Feb10_0102

A friend took me out for birthday cream puffs. So good.

2015Feb10_0108

I’m a sucker for bright colors.

2015Feb10_0113

Happy birthday to me … I was very much happy to have my two loves waiting for me when I got home. Alexa helped me make a wish.

2015Feb10_0144

Backlit palm trees in the night.

2015Feb11_0082

The request: An Elsa braid. I did my best. Her hair is juuust shy of the right length for a good braid.

2015Feb12_0075

I love the preschool art wall.

2015Feb13_0065

Roses are red …

2015Feb13_0066

This flower (whatever it is) is pink …

2015Feb14_0022

It’s totally normal to work on your manuscript in the nude, according to Frye’s, the weirdest/darkest tech store ever, in my humble opinion.

2015Feb14_0023

Pretty soon she will outgrow this car seat. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

2015Feb14_0024

Accidental sunset bokeh is the best.

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Pink sunset over the harbor.

2015Feb14_0055

We watched a Tinker Bell movie together to finish our mama-daughter afternoon.

2015Feb15_0007

Are you doing a photo project this year? How do you keep track of your family photos?

P.S. Past photo projects: 2012, 2013, 2014
P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Heathers Quote Free Printables

Heathers Quote Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel • Our love is God. Let's go get a slushie.

The movie “Heathers” and I go way back. In hindsight I am pretty sure 11-year-old girls were not the target audience for this movie.

My first viewing was at a friend’s house. She was super smart, in the gifted program, and I always thought she was beyond mature. Her mom talked to her like they were peers, and actually rented this movie for her. We watched it while eating cookies after school one day.

If you’ve seen this movie, you’re probably thinking, “Seriously!?” Because yes, two little girls dunking cookies in milk, watching teens do very bad things.

We, of course, were hooked.

I was in love with the dialogue. There are so many naughty turns of phrase, so many pithy, tongue-in-cheek one-liners it’s hard to pick my favorite.

Heathers Quote Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel

“Our love is God, let’s go get a slushie” is a top contender, for sure. And it just feels right, with Valentine’s Day tomorrow and today being Friday the 13th. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of sour. Let’s roll with it.

Free Heathers Quote Printables

High-res PDFs in 8×10 format, easy to print on 8.5×11 paper.

“The Veronica”

Heathers Quote Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel • The Veronica • Our love is God, let's go get a slushie.

Download

“The J.D.”

Heathers Quote Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel • The J.D. • Our love is God, let's go get a slushie.

Download

BONUS

Valentines Bonus — Print them out for your someone special!

Heathers Quote Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel • Valentine's Day Cards • Our love is God, let's go get a slushie.

Download

THE FINE PRINT: As always, play nice. For personal use only. Share with friends. Tag @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see the art in action (it totally makes my day)!

P.S. More freebies! Heathers fashion!

P.P.S. Sign up the the newsletter below for a special periodic Little Gold Pixel freebie not available on the blog. I have it on good authority that this week’s will be also be Heathers-related. Hint, hint:

Heathers Quote Free Printables • Little Gold Pixel

DIY: Make Your Very Own Old-School Heart Valentine

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

If you’re new around here, you might not recall the fact that I’m not terribly crafty. There was the time I had to amputate a giraffe. And then there was the time I got tangled in baker’s twine and pinecones.

That’s why it may come as a surprise to you that, when tasked with bringing valentines and treats to Alexa’s classmates, I decided to make this a mama-daughter (and even daddy) craft project.

Granted, it would’ve been easier to whip up some cute little valentines on the computer, print them out, make Alexa sign them, and call it a day. Or I could’ve used any of the many good free printables out there (heck, I made some just a few weeks ago). Or, laziest of all, I could’ve succumbed to the bajillion loud and cheap options at Target.

But then I wouldn’t have seen the look on Alexa’s face when I told her we were going to make valentines.

“We are!?!” she gasped, clearly delighted. She then requested that they be My Little Pony cards, throwing a wrench in my plan to steer her toward something super classy. Gah, thwarted again.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

We did a rough search on Pinterest for “free My Little Pony printables” and found a few coloring pages.

Of course it had to be Rainbow Dash. And it haaaaad to be this particular Rainbow Dash, according to Alexa.

Alternate method: If you’re doing this by yourself while your kid is asleep, you could find one of their coloring books and simply cut out some of the characters that have been colored in already.

As for us, we started coloring our printouts. This was where I learned that my daughter has quite the color palette, and she’s already bossing me around when it comes to choosing which colors go where. (At one point she chided me for coloring sloppily.)

In hindsight it might’ve been a good idea to look for an easier Rainbow Dash to cut out. It was a monster of a job, so I had to take over. If we were going for polished and smooth, I would’ve taken my time.

But this is a kids’ valentine! Imperfections are part of the charm, am I right?

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

At this point, Alexa needed a break to paint her nails, so H and I hammered the ponies into place with some elbow grease and glue — mostly glue — all while making a ginormous mess on our table.

I folded pieces of construction paper in half and cut out a half-heart. Do you remember when you learned this trick? I think I was in kindergarten.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

Then Alexa returned with newly painted nails to sign her name on the backs of the cards.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

Isn’t it funny how little kids love that water-based nail polish? I think 50 percent of the thrill is peeling it off after it dries.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

Rainbow Dash had to drop in to check out our work. She gave her blessing, but she did mention that some of our Rainbow Dashes were loose interpretations at best.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

The morning of the party, I set to work adding the clever phrase I spent all night dreaming about.

I kid, I kid!

Bad puns run in my blood, but in case you’re coming up emptyhanded, you can always search the Idiom Dictionary to find a few ideas related to your phrase.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

My original idea was “Dashing Your Way to Say Happy Valentine’s Day” but it was far too long.

Brevity = your friend. Especially when you’re stepping and repeating over 20 cards.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

Remember how I said I did a shoddy job cutting? It’s OK. It adds to the charm, I promise. You want these to look like they were made by a preschooler, not an art professor.

DIY: Homemade Heart Valentines • Little Gold Pixel

Hey, Alexa even managed to amputate a few pony legs when she helped cut. Like mother like daughter. Amputating clueless animals in the name of crafting since 2012.

Supplies

  • Construction paper
  • Crayons/Makers
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Printer paper/coloring book

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day cards this year? Let’s chat in the comments!

36 Oh-So-True Things I’ve Realized in 36 Years

36 Oh-So-True Things I've Realized in 36 Years • Little Gold Pixel

For the past several years I’ve been making jokes about my second, third, fourth, fifth 29th birthdays. It’s not really because I am upset to be in my 30s.

Although, if you want to pick hairs, if we were in Logan’s Run or Wild in the Streets the youth would’ve already kicked me to the curb and left me for dead. Never trust anyone over 30, indeed.

It’s just that being in your 30s comes with an unspoken set of expectations and milestones that need to be crossed off, all with the group understanding that you’ll finally get your grown-up card.

Now, six years into this decade (happy birthday to me), I can say with all honesty … you NEVER get your grown-up card.

Well, maybe when you join the AARP in your 60s, but even that’s up for debate.

Tonight, as I blew out my candles and made a wish, I realized that I do not feel any older now than I did when I was in my 20s. The only difference is that I definitely do feel wiser.

Clouds

36 Oh-So-True Things I’ve Realized in 36 Years

1. Comparison is a trap.

You’ve heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy,” right? It’s true, and today’s social media culture is making things different for everyone. It used to be that you might try to keep up with the Joneses, those stylish neighbors next door who were always one-upping you on technology or toys. But now you can see in everyone’s perfectly curated living room and it can be downright panic-inducing if you do not keep a clear head. Focus on your own problems/life/fun, and you’ll be happier for it.

2. Chocolate is always a good idea.

Always.

3. Makeup is unnecessary.

Trust me on this. You are beautiful. Take care of your skin. If you must wear makeup, make sure it’s composed of natural ingredients. Don’t put something on your face you wouldn’t feel comfortable swallowing. It’s the only face you have, for crying out loud!

4. Find a non-strenuous hobby and start enjoying it.

One day, cross your fingers, you will be old. Your body may betray you. You might not be able to do all the physical things you were once able to do. Cultivate some interests now that will keep you happy/occupied in your senior years. Reading, knitting, puzzles, watching the 100 Movies … you get the picture. I’ve seen it happen to family members, and trust me you do not want to make it to retirement just to be depressed about your physical situation.

5. Some things are just overrated. Ignore/bypass accordingly.

See: Dusting, braces, etc.

6. After having kids, you WILL turn into your mother/father. Plan accordingly.

Most of the time, this is a good thing. I love my mom. But sometimes, when I notice that I’m fuming and/or giving Alexa the silent treatment, I have to pinch myself and force myself out of these annoying patterns. Did your mom do some things that drove you batty? Take note now and try to keep yourself in check in the moment.

7. Your parents will someday die, and you will never be ready for this.

Never, ever. If your parents are still alive, say I love you often. Call more. Visit more if possible. Even if your parents drive you insane, their absence will be a gaping sinkhole in your heart that can never be filled. Just know this. On your birthday, buy your mother a present. I always wanted to do this, but I didn’t get around to it and then it was too late.

8. If you can’t find a place to put something, do not keep it.

Resist the urge to hoard. Things are just things. If in doubt, take a picture of the object and let it go.

9. Only buy clothes you can wear NOW.

And by now, I mean this very second. Not 10 lbs. from now, not a year from now. NOW now.

10. Wear white year-round.

Nobody cares about these fashion faux pas, really. Wear whatever you want, whenever you want. That’s a perk of being an adult!

11. Speak up.

You won’t regret it.

12. On the other hand, listen.

Don’t just wait for your next turn to talk.

13. Most of the time, the right answer is “yes.”

But when it’s “no,” be respectful yet firm.

14. Adults need time-outs, too.

Put yourself in one if you are getting out of control. Don’t let yourself out until you can articulate what you are upset about in a calm manner.

15. Do not soak dishes in the sink.

Because then you are cleaning them twice instead of just doing the work once.

16. Buy a comfortable couch.

Life is too short to suffer rock-hard furniture.

17. You’ll never be 100% happy with your body.

Wear a swimsuit anyway. Go to the beach. Go to the gym. So what if you jiggle. It’s not a big deal.

18. Besides, everyone is too busy thinking about themselves to worry about judging you.

So stop being self-conscious already and do the Elaine dance.

19. Take photos of yourself.

Or step in front of the camera. Who cares if you’re fat or having a bad hair day. The only thing you’ll care about when you’re 80 is how positively, absolutely YOUNG you looked.

20. There’s never a good time to have kids.

If you want to be a parent, do it before it’s too late.

21. Audiobooks. Listen to them.

They are not for the super old or super blind. Or maybe they are. Who cares? They’re awesome!

22. Trust your tickets.

Last month you bought tickets to the concert/event or made plans for the party/beach. Now it feels like eons ago. You are comfortable at home. You are in your pajamas and do not want to get dressed. Do it anyway. You will never regret going.

23. Ask for help.

You won’t look weak. You’ll look efficient. It’s a waste of time to flounder when you could quickly find a solution by swallowing your pride.

24. Be willing to take a stand.

I once had a boss who accused me of stealing $20, which was untrue. He tried to make me sign paperwork saying I stole the money. I quit on the spot. A girl has to have her principles.

25. Nobody cares if you buy the cookies you brought to the homemade bake sale.

And if they do, eff ’em.

26. Do not go to sleep angry.

Figure it out, even if it takes all night. As I said before, be communicative. And when you think you’re done communicating, do it some more.

27. Unconditional love is a unicorn.

It’s magical, it’s rare. It’s also easy to take for granted. Don’t do that. Feed it and pet its hair.

28. Take yourself to school often.

And no, I do not mean literal school (but that’s totally fine, too). I mean: Read up on new things, sign up for workshops, do not stop bettering yourself.

29. Heels are evil.

I’m sorry. They aren’t comfortable for more than one hour, no matter what Friend X says. (I hear that celebrities inject Botox into the balls of their feet so they can stand around in stilettos, so … yeah.)

30. You will never regret a vacation.

So TAKE ONE NOW.

31. Do not sign up for credit cards.

OK, maybe one. But they are bad news in general. This is a lesson I’m still learning.

32. If something is really pissing you off, ask yourself, “Will this matter to me at the same time tomorrow?”

If yes, it’s worth the stress. If not, ease your grip on the situation.

33. When in doubt, use flattery.

You definitely do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Smile at people who grimace at you. Do not take their faces personally; it belongs to them, not you. Your smile belongs to you. Use it. Say “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” Hold doors and elevators for people. Be nice. It makes a difference.

34. True friendship can survive time and distance and lapses in conversations.

You should be able to pick right back up where you left off. If it’s not this easy, you might have a frenemy on your hands … or perhaps just a passing acquaintance. That’s OK. Not all friendships last.

35. You will never feel like a grown-up.

Except for maybe when you’re making out your will. Or buying a minivan. Or getting your AARP card. You get the gist.

36. You know nothing.

The older you get, the more comfortable you are with this. When I was 20 I thought I knew everything. The definitives have dwindled over time.

What have you learned over the years? Do share in the comments! I’m very curious to hear your life advice.

P.S. Five tips for a happy marriage & Never Grow Up!