Saturday, May 25, 2013

DIY Colored Pencil Organizer

Hi friends,

Here is a super easy project to do by yourself or with your kids.

I originally spotted this idea on Pinterest and decided to enhance it a bit and make it my own. Basically, you will be recycling toilet paper cardboard tubes into pencil holders. Very neat!

Here is what you need:

  • 12 cardboard toilet paper tubes
  • A box to fit all 12 (mine is the bottom of one of my Birchbox deliveries)
  • cardstock or scrapbooking paper in assorted colors (I used the small stacks as they fit perfectly and require less cutting. Also if you use a stack, it also comes in assorted and coordinated colors, so there is no need to brainstorm a color scheme)
  • Mod Podge
  • Brush (to apply the modpodge)
  • Scissors, tape and
  • Decorations of your choice, in my case I used leftover chipboard.

I really was tired of having pencils all over the place, some in their original box, others in Zipploc bags. I like Zipplocs, but as far as I am concerns , they are better used for food and travel. Anything outside of that just looks messy to me.


So I gathered my tools...We have been keeping the cardboard rolls for the last two months or so for that purpose.



My plan was to use the bottom of a Birchbox as a support for the rolls, but you can use any other size box you want, to make this smaller or bigger, depending on your needs.

This project is very easy to complete and requires no special skills.
First you will need to cut your scrapbooking paper to size. I chose the small stack variety (6x6) since it fits best without having to measure and cut too much out of a single sheet.

Using tape, I attached the edge of the paper to the roll. This is only so that the paper would stay in place as I glued it to the roll.
Once secured into place, I used Mod Podge all over the inner surface of the paper, and rolled the tube over it, pressing gently to ensure all the paper was glued to the tube.

I left about 1 inch or extra paper which I cut into small strips up to the edges of the tube. This allowed me to cover the rim with paper. You do not have to worry about the bottom part of the tube since it will be hidden inside the box.



You also do not have to worry about a perfect job, the pencils will cover the inside of the tube anyway.


Using my brush, I applied Mod Podge to the outside of the tube as well as the inner rim, and put it to the side to dry. Repeat the same process with all the other tubes.


For the box itself, I simply wrapped it with paper as though a gift wrap and applied Mod Podge all over it. I did not bother with the inside of the box since the tubes would cover it all.






Once all the tubes are back inside the box, you will notice that they may be a bit too snug and not all that straight. To contain them and keep them tight, I used paper clips and clipped each individual tube to its neighbor. It worked great to stabilize the box and keep the tubes together.


For decoration, I found some leftover chipboard from a previous scrapbooking project and used glue dots to affix them to the box. I only had one O for the word COLOR, and used a Q instead, but placed a matching dog decoration over it...pretty clever, you can't even tell it's not an O!


Once in place with glue dots, I brushed a layer of Mod Podge over the letters to seal them and give them the same finish as the rest of the project.

Let's add the pencils and voila!






All together this was done under two hours. It's a great project to complete with kids and quite frankly, I can see myself doing something similar for makeup brushes, and other like items.

Thank you for liking and sharing my post.
Sophia, NJ

You can find me on

*This site contains affiliate advertising. All opinions are my own.

EcoEmi May 2013 - Open Box

 Hi friends,

Each month I patiently wait for my new EcoEmi box and this month was yet another great sample collection!

I am not going to review products here, since I have not tried them all as of yet, so please stay tuned for my May 2013 review! In the meantime, you can always check my April 2013 Review or my March 2013 review.

This is another exciting box from Christine at EcoEmi:



In all, I received 9 samples with three full sizes (cereal bar, mascara and lip balm), possibly 4 if the nail polish is also a full size. There was no satin pouch this month, however, my box came with this summery piece of felt with a paisley pattern. Strangely enough, I really like the pattern and will probably recycle it as a box liner of sorts.

The Seaweed Bath Co. - Seaweed Powdered bath with Hawaiian Kukui Oil - Lavender Scent .

Yay! Another bath product! Last month's Aura Cacia Comforting Geranium was amazing and I am really looking forward to relaxing in a hot bath with this new one. This is from the card:

"[ ] this bath powder provides a therapeutic bathing experience. it moisturizes and nourishes your skin while detoxifying your body and calming your mood. Empty contents of pouch into running water in the bathtub and swirl with hand. Bath water will turn a greenish brown color from the seaweed. Soak in bath for 15-30 minute. Carefully exit bath, allow oil to absorb into skin. Rinse tub and rub clean with a wet towel".

Hmmm, last month I was asking for a colored bath soak and got my "prayer" answered, but this one looks like after relaxing in it, I am going to have to work and clean the tub. Not sure if that is a great trade off but I am still excited to try it. $3.89 / 2 OZ. A bit pricey for something I have to clean up afterwards.

Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) - Premium Aromatherapy - Volume Plus for fine hair.


This shampoo smells very nice. I am a bit concerned about the voluminizing effect since my hair is the dark version of Labradoodle gone wild. But I will try it since it is organic/natural and 100% vegetarian. $2.99 / 2OZ travel size.

Suncoat - Sugar Based - Vegan Mascara


Here is an interesting product to try, a vegan/all natural mascara! I am not crazy about the color as it seems a bit too brownish red but still excited to try this as I am always looking for new mascara.

All Terrain - Herbal Armor Insect Repellent &
All Terrain - Aqua Sport - SPF 30 Sunscreen

Insect repellent is $8.99/4 OZ.

"[  ] highly effective , safe, natural DEET-free, insect repellent that uses six natural-repelling oils. Herbal Armor is non irritating, allergy tested, and safe for sensitive skin. Herbal Armor is sweat and water-resistant for active lifestyles. Use code ECOEMI for $1.00 off any All Terrain products 3 OZ or larger, expires August 31, 2013."

Cool, a coupon code! First of all, I am a mosquito magnet! If there is one mosquito left in the world, it will feast on me! And since I am about to plant my garden this week, it's coming at the right time too. I sure hope it works because we have mutant mosquitos here in these parts of NJ!

SPF 30 - Sunscreen is $ 12.99 / 3 OZ.

"Aqua Sport SPF 30 lotion is a highly effective, safe, natural sunscreen providing full-spectrum protection. Proven effective after 80 minute in water, AquaSport is very water/sweat resistant. This is non-greasy, fragrance free and won't cause eye sting!"
Here is another product I will use when gardening this month, I burn so easily that you can always tell when I have been outside, whether it was a sunny day or not.

Eco Lips - Mongo Kiss Honey Vanilla Lip Balm


Woo hoo! Another lip balm! This one looks delicious and is huge too, much bigger than a regular lip balm (e.g. chapstick). It features " Mongongo Oil which is used to moisturize and protect your skin. Mongongo oil is sourced from a rural village in Zambia, Africa. This oil is helping the people create both self-worth and net-worth. USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, GMA and Gluten Free"

So of course I tried it right away and so far I love it, it glides on, does not have much scent or taste and seems to have good staying power too. Love it! Full Size is $1.99. I'd stay it is a fair price for such a huge size lip balm.

Lauren Brooke Cosmetic - Pink Champagne
Powder Eye Shadow


I was not sold on the last Lauren Brooke eye shadow I received in last month's box but this one is in powder form and looks like a good size sample too. As you can see above on my own skin (as fair as you can get) it looks like a very pale shimmery pink. I actually like the color a lot and am looking forward to trying it on my lids. Full size is $9.00. They are available in base, matte or shimmer. I am going to assume this is Shimmer. I would like to try the same one as a matte though. All eye shadows are preservative-free and all-natural.

Suncoat Girl - water based Nailpolish in Coconut.


So lately, I have been wearing a lot of nail polish. The issue for me has always been the same: the longer I use nail polish the more damaged my nails are. They become brittle, they split and are impossible to grow to a pretty and feminine length. Above is this nail polish on my left pinky, one coat only. You can tell I don't have the greatest nails. This is water-based and has " no harsh chemicals, it contains mineral-based pigments, plastic glitter and carmine. This polish is virtually odor-free, releasing water vapor when applied versus toxic chemical fumes. Water based nail polishes are truly the most natural nail polishes around!"

Full size is $7.99. I am not sure whether I received the full size or a sample size. If this is full, it is pretty small for the price (think little girl nail polish bottle). That said, I actually like the color, but based on that one sample I can tell you already what I do not like about it: the brush! I am hoping this is a sample size and that the full one comes with a better brush because this one is so small, it also does not spread, so when applying shimmering nail polish, it leaves out streaks.
But it is true, absolutely no odor, none whatsoever, completely odorless - which is great!

Athena Bars - Pomegranate Greek Yogurt Bar 

That looks really yummy, not to mention it is packed with probiotics and antioxidants. $22.68 for 12 pck. That's a bit pricey for a protein/cereal bar! But it has two full servings of fruits and vegetables so I can totally see the trade off happening here.

Okay, that was the May 2013 EcoEmi Box. Another great box (but not my favorite)!

Thank you for liking and sharing my post.
Sophia, NJ

You can find me on

*This site contains affiliate advertising. I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned above or EcoEmi. All opinions are my own.


EcoEmi April 2013 - Box Review

Hi friends,

What a great box this was and without further ado, here is the April 2013 complete review and grade!

This is the box I received for the month of April - very exciting (and intriguing) product samples:

As always, I will review and grade each sample, in no specific order:

Shea Radiance - Moisturizing Hair Milk - A+

What an amazing product. This leave-in conditioner/serum is meant for curly/kinky hair. My hair is curly and frizzy and can at times become kinky as well. It has always been difficult to manage, especially in mid and long length. I am actually so fed up with my hair right now that I am considering cutting it short to simply blow dry it every other day and am really not looking forward to the effort either. That said, this moisturizing milk came at the right time for me and I would go as far as saying that it created some kind of truce between myself and my hair (let's see how long this will last!).
Let me start with the scent: though ingredients are chamomile, hemp and avocado, this smells like a mix of nut, coconut and peppermint! It smells amazingly fresh and could be used as a hair fragrance as well. Overall I felt it did wonders to my curls, separating them while maintaining a good bounce. It also completely tamed the frizziness on the top of my head. It lasted throughout the day but as with most serums, once brushed out, the curls would not come back into shape, yet my hair remained manageable and silky. I really like this product and am considering purchasing the full size. That said, there was one single thing I did not like about it and that is the packaging! The spray itself is not a fine mist, more like a tiny jet that comes out with force onto your scalp. I am not sure whether this is a problem with the sampling bottle itself or whether this is the way the spray is meant to be. Either way, by not providing a finer mist, the product goes unevenly on your scalp, with gobs of it where the spray hits your hair and not so much in surrounding areas, so you do have to brush afterwards to even out the application. It is not a huge problem but I could see where real kinky hair may not look their best as a result. I still love it though. You can purchase Shea Radiance Moisturizing Milk for $16 - full size.

Oluv - Care - Intensive Relief Salve - A

This is supposed to be a miracle product that does it all from cuticle softener/moisturizer to boo-boo cream. It comes as a thick waxy paste with no scent. I tried it on two areas of my skin: first on my nose to heal a major sunburn that had turned to peeling and on my cuticles before going to bed. I am not sure how it would work as a  relief for skin conditions or a scar eraser since I do not have any issues in this area. But I can attest to the fact that my peeling skin was gone the following day! What? Yes, gone and I don't know where it went either. As for my cuticles, they felt moisturized and overall my nail bed looked better. I have not used this product consistently enough so I cannot review its effect on nail growth and/or nail strength, but as a cuticle cream I would say this is a very good product. As a sunburn treatment, even better. This tidbit is from their website:

"Natural multi-use salve. Made from estate-cold-pressed, 100% extra virgin olive oil, medicinal herbs, raw unfiltered Shea butter, virgin coconut oil, unfiltered bee’s wax and lavender essential oil. OluvCare absorbs quickly to smooth, repair and revitalize even the most damaged areas; cuticles, elbows, minor cuts and burns. It is effective for diaper rash, great for soothing eczema and other skin conditions, and it is a wonderful face moisturizer
Ingredients: 100% extra virgin olive oil, plantain leaf, chamomile flower, rosebuds, cleavers, calendula, Echinacea, clover blossom and lavender flowers, raw unfiltered Shea butter, virgin coconut oil, unfiltered bee’s wax and lavender essential oil."
Very good product, you can find it as a 0.25 0Z or 1 OZ container. Price varies between $5 and $16 depending on the size. Visit their website at: 

Rainwater Botanicals - Dead Sea Mud - Face Mask - B-

I was super hyped about trying this mask but unfortunately was disappointed, not by the result, but by the overall application process itself. I have tried mud masks before and was always pleased with the results. This one left my skin very soft with a visible difference in the size of my pores on nose and cheek areas, it evened out my skin tone and pores looked much less visible with regards to color. That said, and despite the great results, I did not like the experience at all. This was not a relaxing and enjoyable spa-like moment for me. The mask itself is hard to apply because it comes out as gooey and gel like in texture, so I had to go over the same areas several times to ensure it was evenly applied. Then, it dried quickly and to a point where my skin started to pull and tingle (almost burn). I ended up running to my sink to splash it off before it was completely dry since I could not stand how it felt on my skin anymore. Not good! Basically I am torn about this product, it works great but it is not a relaxing experience (at least for me), hence the B- grade I give it. I did not find the mask itself on their website (Rainwater Botanicals) but they do have other products you may want to consider.

Lauren Brooke - Cream Eye Shadow - Dahlia - B-

I would have liked this eye shadow to be easier to apply. I was expecting it to be similar to Maybeline's color Tattoos and though it is similar to a mix of Barely Branded and Inked in Pink with regards to color, it was not as creamy and did not apply with ease. The color itself is sheer and very good as a base color for your eyelids. It does not have an overpowering shimmer (a good thing) and overall, I found it had good staying power. I am not sure if the hardness of the cream was based on the fact that this is a sample or whether this is its true form. Lauren Brooke's full size cream eye shadows come as sticks rather than tubs ($9.00) and I can see where the product may be less subject to drying as a stick form. Either way, I can't say I would switch to this product since I absolutely love the Maybeline's color Tattoos line of cream eye shadows. You can visit Lauren Brook's website to view more organic cosmetics.

Colorganics - Organic Hemp Shine Lipstick - C

You can either wear this lipstick alone as a lip balm or over your regular lipstick to boost its shine. I personally do not care to put these kind of products over lipstick since the pigment from the lip color ends up rubbing off onto the balm stick itself and it not only looks gross after a while, it also ends up coloring your balm and pretty soon your lip colors start getting all weird and not true to their shade. That said, I tried it several times as a lip balm itself and really did not like it. I felt it was hard to apply, the balm itself is not smooth, and does not glide at all. I am not sure whether this was specific to my tube and others may have had a different experience. But for me, this was not a product I enjoyed or would continue using. So this was one of the two products (alongside the mud mask) I did not like in the April 2013 box.  I would not mind trying one of their pigmented lipstick since I have seen some interesting colors on their website. Full size is $17.25 which is way too much for what it does (just my opinion).

Crystal - Body Deodorant Towelettes - B

I thought it was weird to try a deodorant that came as a towelettes rather than a stick and as I mentioned in the open box post, there is a bit of a shift to be made here. That said, it worked great. The towelettes are large enough, they could be smoother in term of texture but they did the job in that by end of day, my underarms were just the same as in the morning, post shower (you get the idea without me having to go into details about sweat and BO).  I really like the idea of a deodorant that is organic and does not contain aluminum and other ingredients proven to have negative effects on your health. I know there are other forms of crystal deodorants (solid and cream) and I think I would prefer to use those rather than the towelettes themselves. That said, I can see where they would come in handy for traveling or at the gym. So my grade reflects the packaging rather than the results. This product works but as a towelette form, it is expensive ($2.99/6pck). You can find this product (stick or towelletes form) at your local drugstore, or by visiting their website.

Aura Cacia - Comforting Geranium Mineral Bath - A
What a great product! I love mineral bath salts for several reasons: one, they do not foam (bubble bath) and therefore do not leave crazy goo all over your tub. Two, they are spa-like with regards to the experience and effectiveness and three, they always have great fragrance. This one was really good. It contains all natural oils of geranium, rose and lavender and while bathing, each note takes turn in that you would at times smell the geranium over the lavender, then the lavender, then the rose and again. Which is pretty neat. You can tell these are natural essences because the scent really does penetrate your lungs (if that even makes sense). What I am trying to say, I guess, is that it is pretty intense with regards to fragrance. The sample itself was very big and I think I could have split it into two baths. The salts melted quickly (no gritty stuff at the bottom of the tub) and the scent itself had good staying power. I am not sure about the "comforting" element to it, to me a bath is a bath. But it was a good bath!
The only thing I do not like about it is that it is colorless. I like bath salts, but this one is completely clear. I have used salts that had a slight tint, not the kind that would leave your bathtub in all sorts of rainbow colors after you drain it, but still, a hint of tint would have been nice, only because I don't really care to look at my humongous legs as they lay under water! It did leave my skin soft and I would say this is a great experience on a night where you feel like bathing before heading up to bed. It is a tad expensive ($2.63/pkt) but it also comes as a 16 OZ jar which would allow you to have more control over the amount to use. Personally I felt this was a luxury product with great quality and I would be interested in purchasing more or even trying their shower tablets (you put them at the bottom of the shower to release the fragrance). Their website offers a lot of varieties of essential oils and skincare products, so you may want to check it out.

Simply Organic - Guacamole Dip - A-

Before I get into reviewing this food item, I need to let you know that I am not one to judge Mexican or Tex-Mex or any kind of food that would fit in this category. I do not care much for Mexican Food in general. I do go to Chipotle once in a while and enjoy that, but I would not consider myself a connoisseur. My husband is the one who actually tried this product on the night he made us burritos (not my favorite night of the week, LOL). What you basically do is mix this powdered/dehydrated food with an avocado and create a pasty guacamole. The taste was very good and color was true to guacamole itself. We used it to stuff our burritos rather than as a dip. I did not find it to be overly salty and quite frankly I liked it enough, but I can't say it is a replacement of choice for actual and fresh guacamole. I did not like the texture itself, not sure whether it was Scott who did not mix it well enough, but I did not think it came out very creamy, it was more gritty than anything else, but still very good to taste. If you are short on time and ideas for dinner and want to add a little condiment to your table, that would be it. And it's all organic, always a plus! Simply Organic offers a large variety of healthy food items, and you may want to check them out. This one dish packet sells for $1.69 which is probably much cheaper than all the ingredients combined together to make real guacamole and I can see the advantage of using it in stead of the real thing.  Their website also offers a lot of printable coupons for a variety of their products. Their coupon for the guacamole mix is $0.50 on two, which doubles to $1.00 at your supermarket (if your supermarket doubles coupons). That way, you could buy two mixes at $1.69 and only pay $1.19 each, so why not try it! 

Overall, this was again a very good box from EcoEmi and I give it an overall grade between B+ and A-.  There were two products I did not care for (lip shine and mask) but I was still excited to try them. So far, I have not been disappointed with any of my EcoEmi boxes and am always looking forward to the new one.

Again, and my opinion only, EcoEmi is a great way to try natural and organic cosmetics/Skincare/food items without breaking your bank since it only costs $15/month. I continue to believe every box has great payoff and is worth way more than the $15 I invest in it each month. If I had only one wish: I would like to see more skincare items in the like of moisturizers and eye creams.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.
Sophia, NJ

* This blog contains affiliate advertising. I receive a commission from the purchase of items advertised on my blog but I am not solicited to review any products. I am not affiliated with EcoEmi, Maybeline or any companies included in this post. All opinions are my own.

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