life with a side of awesome

A traveler and an ambassador of fun.

Crest® Be Toothpaste

I am a BzzAgent and I was excited to be selected for the Crest Be campaign. 

I wanted to like all of the Crest® Be toothpaste flavors.  I really did.  I wanted to Be Dynamic, Inspired and of course who wouldn’t want to be Adventurous, but I just couldn’t get past the taste. 

Maybe it’s because my mind has been conditioned to only accept and acknowledge a minty taste as be acceptable and an indicator that my teeth are clean.  I am not sure but whatever the case may be here’s my review of three new flavors of Crest® Be Toothpaste.

Crest Be toothpaste

I actually took these with me on vacation as they were travel sized and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try them.  So that right there tells you I had high hopes for the flavors.  That being said, I also am a realist and I brought a small tube of my regular toothpaste as well.  ;)

Crest Be Dynamic

The first one I tried was the Be Dynamic flavor which is supposed to be a lime spearmint zest.  It does smell like spearmint which immediately put my mind at ease.  There’s just a hint of lime to it.  It foams up just like regular toothpaste and does leave my mouth with a “minty” aftertaste so that was good.  Out of the three that I tried, this one was the closest to what I would actually purchase in the store.  Given a choice from my regular flavors versus this one, I would still choose the regular flavor.  Out of 5 stars I rated this 2 stars.

And just so you know, for scientific purposes I did eat some plain saltine crackers in between brushings to “cleanse my palate”.  ;)

Crest Be Inspired

Be Inspired was the next flavor that I loaded up onto my toothbrush.  I was definitely not digging the smell but it is supposed to be vanilla mint spark.  I can’t say that it smelled like vanilla or mint and it didn’t smell very “toothpaste-y” to me.  My preference of course is a stronger mint flavor.  The vanilla and mint blended well together and if I was ranking these in order of taste, it would be solidly in second place.  Out of 5 stars I rated this 1 star.

Crest Be Adventurous

The last flavor I tried was the Adventurous Mint Chocolate Trek.  I really wanted to like this one, but I couldn’t quite get there.  The overall taste was fine but I could just not get past the feeling that I was brushing my teeth with an Andes mint or something.  Perhaps because I am so used to a "minty fresh" taste, after brushing with the Mint Chocolate Trek I felt I needed to brush my teeth again so they would be clean.  For those that love chocolate mint this may be the toothpaste to try but for me, I’ll have to pass.  Out of 5 stars I rated this 1 star.

There you have it folks!  Let me know if you’ve tried any of the new flavors and check out my Facebook page, life with a side of awesome, for more updates!

Stay awesome!! ~lisa

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High 5 Friday!

WooHoo – it’s Friday again and time for another edition of High 5 Friday!!


First up is TREC aka the Texas Real Estate Commission.  I’ve recently decided to go for it and get my Realtor license!  WooHoo!!  Any advice from my Realtor friends out there?


This post seems to be heavily weighted towards DIY stuff but that’s okay because I love DIY!! 

We recently purchased a “new to us” front loading washer and dryer.  My hubby broke it all down, cleaned it up and when he went to put back together the washer he realized he was missing a critical tool.

spring expansion tool

This is called a spring expansion tool and this puppy ain’t cheap!  I googled it and it’s around $50-$60 and it’s basically a one-time use tool as he won’t be breaking down the washer again like that anytime soon.  We’ve asked friends but no one has the one we need so we may become the proud owners of a new spring expansion tool soon! 

And as a result of the “new to us” washer/dryer purchase I googled to find out if we could still use our homemade laundry soap (for the tutorial click HERE) that we made.  As it turns out, you can…woohoo!!!

homemade laundry soap

I had to google this because I was looking up something for a craft I am making.  Most everyone that knows me knows that I love to DIY and craft.  I have a friend that has an awesome blog and I am loving all of her DIY posts!  There is a super cute one of a little black and white striped ottoman that has inspired me to create my own version!  Of course, that post will be coming soon including all the deets.    

egypt valley ave

Y’all should definitely check out Erin at and let her know I sent you!  ;)  And if you have a blog you want me to check out, be sure and leave the link in the comments!

Last but certainly not least I bring you a Fiskar bypass tree pruner.  This is not a pic of ours but ours broke while my hubby was trimming the trees.  I had to look up how to submit a warranty claim so we could get a replacement part. 


That’s it for this week folks.  Be sure and check back often and like my facebook page, Life With A Side Of Awesome for updates!!

Stay awesome!! ~lisa


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DIY Lampshade Makeover

I had this lamp that I knew would one day would find a forever home in my house.  I wasn’t sure if it would remain in the current state or evolve into something else. 

This past week it evolved into something else. 

The lamp base was originally a dark color and this is the lampshade that came with it.  I spray painted the base white and knew I had to do something about the shade.

first lampshade

I purchased a plain white shade and got it for a steal at $2 at what was once Garden Ridge.  I can’t remember what it is going to become but I was just happy to find the lampshade so cheap!

plain lampshade

I knew that it just needed a little bit of awesomeness to liven it up.

plain shade 

I had some pretty ribbon from a previous project that I hot glued around the top and bottom of the lampshade.

 hot gluing ribbon

ribbon being glued on

I then of course forgot to take pics of the next part but I used the twine leftover from the twine covered glass jar project { click here to see that } and wrapped it around the middle of the shade.  I wanted it to be thick enough that it looked like a band around the middle. 

I then added a pre-made burlap flower to the middle of the band of twine.

finished shade

And that was it!  Pretty easy peasy to transform a plain, boring lampshade into something cute!

Did you notice that super cute light switch cover?  That’s another DIY project that you can do to!  Read more about it by clicking HERE

lampshade makeover 1 

{Confession time}

I didn’t take into account where the lamp shade wires were.  I was solely concentrating on keeping the seam of the shade to the back.  When I put in a bulb, this is what I saw.

view with light on

Not exactly how I would have planned that and I glued the flower on and it wasn’t coming off easily so for now, I’ll just live with it.

What have you created lately?  Did it turn out as you expected? 

Stay awesome!! ~lisa

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Quick DIY Bookshelf

I collect Nancy Drew books and have since I was a kid.  Not the new ones but the *vintage* ones.  I occasionally still re-read them and if you have any that you don’t want…send them my way…haha!!  No, seriously, send them to me.  ;)

When I moved into my new office/craft space I wanted to have my Nancy Drew books out where I could see them.  We had some extra wood left over from the shelves we installed in the closet, admittedly I was the one *that* calculated wrong, so I asked the hubby to help me create a simple bookshelf and he obliged! 

We had two pieces of wood that were 50” each in length so we used those for the outside frames.  I knew that the bookshelf would be holding my Nancy Drew collection so we calculated the number of books and the number of shelves to figure out spacing etc.  We ended up with four 15” wide shelves.  Your measurements would of course vary depending on the wood that you are using.  The cuts would leave scraps but for me that’s just a bonus as I think of them as future craft projects.  :)

We measured the wood and he cut it down for me.

cutting the wood
{ if you look close you can see him making sawdust…haha! }

Then *we* began building the frame.  I say we because I was holding the nails and taking pics.  Both of which I consider crucial to the outcome of the project.  ;)

putting the frame together


The frame is complete!

complete frame

My hubby hung the shelf from a tree so that I could spray paint it.

hanging the shelf in the tree

Now don’t ask me why I don’t have a pic of the bookshelf hanging from the tree.  I mean, my only two jobs, aside from spray painting, were to hold the nails and take pics.  Oh well..

Here is the finished product. I chose gold because I was actually painting something else gold (that blog post is coming soon!) and so I thought it would be fun to have something else in the office that was gold as well.

painted shelf

Here’s the wall where it will hang.

where it will hang

Here’s the hubby using his awesome hanging skills to hang the shelf for me.


And here’s how it looks!  I’m not really adding anything else to the shelf as it is actually behind the door that is never closed so no one will ever really see it.  Except y’all, who are reading this blog…haha!!  If you have any ideas on how to liven it up, I’m all ears.  I’m just smiling because I can see it from my desk so that makes me happy. ;)

the finished shelf

And that’s it!  Super easy peasy and we completed this entire project in one day. 

What projects have you completed lately?

Stay awesome!! ~lisa


DIY Curtains

I needed, or rather wanted, something super simple to hang in my office until I came across the *perfect* pair of curtains.  I hunted for a set of flat sheets on the clearance aisle, snagged them up and brought them home to create some curtains.

Since they are already sewn, I just cut a small notch out of the back of the curtain at the top to slide the curtain rod through.

cutting a notch into the curtain

I then threaded the curtain rod through and hung the up.

plain sheets as curtains

They were a little on the plain side, don’t you think?  So I bought some ribbon to sass it up just a bit.

first curtain look

I had both sides pulled back like the one side you see here, but I just didn’t like how that looked.  I decided to buy some curtain tie backs and think of a way to pull them back.

I purchased the tie backs at Hobby Lobby and used my 40% off mobile coupon to score them for cheap!  Hubby spray painted them white for me and I installed them.

curtain tie back

Yes, sometimes I actually do some of the *work* on my projects.  ;)

Next i took the rest of the ribbon and sewed the ends so they wouldn’t fray.  I then added grommets to each side. 

second curtain look

I pulled both sides back and this is how it looks now.

finished tie backs

I am much happier with this look.  It will probably change again soon as I am working on the bench cushion right now and I know that I’ll want the fabric I use there to compliment the fabric for the tie back, but for now…this will work. 

What awesomeness have you created lately?

Stay awesome!! ~lisa

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High 5 Friday!

I know you are saying, but wait it’s Saturday!  And you could have said that had I posted this yesterday but now it’s Sunday, and I say, better late than never!  ;)  Now let’s get to it.


Y’all know that I LOVE to upcycle things.  It’s just so fun to see something turn into something else!  We had tuna for dinner the other night and so yeah…the empty can got me to thinking…I should start saving these and make something.  I of course googled it and found this:

 snowman tuna can basket

{ sqeeeee!! }  WHAT A CUTE SNOWMAN!!  So I saved that pic as I will definitely be making it.  You could put peppermints in it and give it away at Christmas to your co-workers.  I’m sure it’s super simple to make and of course I’ll post the tutorial after I am finished.

tub of soap

This my collection of hotel soaps.  I used to have them in a glass container in my bathroom but I’m thinking of doing something else in there, so now I have a small container full of soaps.  So what can you do with that?  As it turns out…you can make more soap!  haha!  I have been s-l-o-w-l-y working on some homemade washcloths so I figure I can add a small bar of “homemade” soap and tie it up with a pretty string and give it as gifts.  Can I really say it’s homemade if I’m just melting it and remolding it?  hmmmm…I will have to think about that.

I originally had my office curtains like this

office curtains1

It wasn’t quite happy with that so I started thinking about ways I could change it and decided on curtain tiebacks.

curtain tieback

I am going to use the same ribbon but sew the ends and add grommets.  I’ll post that tutorial as soon as I finish them.  I hope they are as easy to do as they are in my head! ;)

Have you ever heard of bubble football? 

bubble football

I never had until I saw a video (click here to see it for yourself) and it looks like a lot of fun!  I think this would be a ton of fun with a youthgroup or something. 

I got my hair cut and can you guess what I changed?  Yep…I got bangs. 

{{ she bangs }}  {{ she bangs }}

Seriously…you were thinking it too…I just said it.

ricky martin she bangs

Well that’s it for this week…I’ve got several craft projects in various stages of completion and I can’t wait to share them with y’all!

Stay awesome!! ~lisa

P.S.  Did you want to see my bangs?  Here they are!

she bangs!

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DIY – Toilet Paper Roll Wall Art

*Disclaimer – I sometimes very loosely follow directions so your results may vary ;)

I found a toilet paper roll wall art project that I wanted to try.  Several actually, but I settled on one.  Suzy’s Artsy-Crafty Sitcom had the one I chose and she called it, Faux Metal Wall Art and even had free patterns!  Love FREE stuff!! 

For this project you will need:
Balsa wood strips
Lots of empty toilet paper rolls
Several empty paper towel rolls
Craft glue
Spray paint

balsa wood and toilet paper rolls

Her instructions call for 3/8” Balsa wood strips.  My husband bought 1”.  I will not be undeterred!!  I am a crafter and can overcome any obstacle!  ;)

I cut the wood to 10” strips and hot glued them together.  I also tried gorilla glue, and craft glue and neither was working to my satisfaction.  I may regret the choice later but for now it’s working.

frame corner

My frame is also not completely level or square or whatever you call it.  One end doesn’t lay completely flat on my work table.  Either my work table is off or the frame is.  You take your pick.  Still, I pressed on. 

I gathered my supply of toilet paper rolls (I have quite a few) and prepared to cut them.  I, of course, changed the pattern to 1” cuts to match my frame. 

 marking the cut lines

Some of the rolls I cut lengthwise first and then cut into strips.

cutting lengthwise

And for the others, I “folded” them in half and then made the cuts.

rolls folded

{ random fact – some toilet paper rolls are thicker than others.  weird. }

{ random fact – toilet paper rolls are not all the same length across.  weirder. }

Back to my project…

I went ahead and cut up about 9 or so rolls in 1” pieces and some in strips. 

cut up rolls

And of course I still have enough left over to try another project, which I just so happen to already have.  That is coming soon! 

bag of rolls

There are lots of design examples online to replicate but after I got started, I decided to try and let my creative juices flow and see what I could come up with. 

It started to take shape…

putting it together

In the pic above you will notice that I have paper clipped some pieces together.  I did this to make sure that they didn’t separate as they were drying.

As I glued the pieces to the frame I used binder clips and clothespins to secure them in place until they were dry.

binder clip and clothespin

And this is how it turned out!

almost finished

Now to paint it!

I used just plain gloss black spray paint.

spray paint 

And I put my project in a box to try and contain the spray paint from getting everywhere.

spray paint box

Okay – remember when I said I *may* regret using the hot glue gun?  Well, I did not clean up my glue residue very well so after I finished spray painting I noticed it and tried to just scrape it off.  This is what happened.

glue repair

No worries though – I just used my craft knife to even that out and repainted that area.  Good as new and you can hardly tell unless you are super up close…and why would you be doing that?  haha!

And this is my finished product!

toilet paper roll art

It was a pretty easy project and VERY inexpensive!  The only thing that was purchased was the balsa wood, which was just a few dollars.

What cool projects have you tried lately?

Stay awesome!! ~lisa


Placemat Tote Bag Experiment…at least I learned some things…

I love, love, love crafting but my visions do not always turn out.  Even when following a tutorial.  Take tonight for example.  I had purchased two placemats on clearance at Khol’s for $.79 each.  What a bargain!  I started to follow this tutorial ( –> CLICK HERE ) to create the bag.

Here are the things I learned in this experiment.

  • Accurate measurements are important.

I measured out the bag and cut the corners per the instructions which said to draw a line 3” in from the side.  That line that I drew as my sew line looked way too far in.  I went with my gut and my keen observation skills (I referred to the example in the tutorial) and ended up drawing a second line only 1 1/2” in.  I also marked in PEN which is really never a good idea either.  


  • Check to see what stitch setting you are using.

I hadn’t used my machine in FOREVER.  As in years….many, many years.  I *thought* I had the stitch set to straight.  I did not.


I pressed on though!  I mean, who was going to inspect the seam anyways?  This was just my test bag and I was using it to work out the kinks.  As it turns out, there were a few more kinks to come.

  • Consider the pattern of the material you are using.

In the tutorial, and where my keen observation skills failed me, it was not mentioned that I should have maybe checked the pattern of the placemat.  I was just so thrilled that it was $.79!!!  So when I sewed it together and turned it right side out…I saw this.


{ sigh }

And I was trying to be all fancy and making a gusset and everything! 

  • Again, accurate measurements in relation to the size of the project, are important.

When you peek inside the inside, you will notice the seam that I actually reduced, still looks way to big. 


I’ll have to recalculate next time I make a tote bag.  Which may be a while because of the next thing I learned.

  • Check the size/type of needle you are using for your machine *before* beginning your project.

Otherwise, you are likely to end up with this…


A broken needle. 

There ya have folks….my awesome crafting/diy/sewing tips for the evening.

You welcome.  ;)

Stay awesome!! ~lisa

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High 5 Friday!!

Another week has already passed?  My how time has flown by!  We’ve been a little under the weather at our casa but we’ll be just fine.  How’s everyone feeling in your neck of the woods?

high 5 friday 06.27.14

1.  My middle triplet, Sarah, graduated from Columbia Basin College last Friday.  We were not able to make it for the festivities but we were able to watch it live stream!  That was pretty cool!  I of course had to google the link but it was a pretty cool thing.

sarah at graduation

Do you know what this is??


It’s a pair of FRINGE scissors!!!  I seriously did not know they even existed!  I saw it mentioned on one of the many mini piñata tutorials I read through so I had to google them to see if it was true…and it was!!  They are pretty inexpensive and I’m contemplating buying a pair.  Yes, even though I have no real use for them.  Well take that back.  I actually am going to be making another piñata so that’s it!  Problem solved!  Purchase justified…haha!

Do the items in this pic look vaguely familiar?

cut up toilet paper rolls

If you guessed cut up toilet paper rolls…you were right!  When I was googling for projects made with toilet paper rolls I came across a really cute wreath.  After reading up on how to do it I decided to create a toilet paper roll “rose” wreath.  I think it’ll look pretty awesome when I am done.  I am about to paint my other project, Toilet Paper Roll Wall Art, and I will post a tutorial to go along with it.

You may have heard me mention a time or two…or twenty…that my little grandson loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Well, I decided to try another pinata project and I am going to make a TMNT pinata!  I needed a pattern to cut out the head so I googled it.  :) 


Last but not least I remembered seeing a tutorial on making tote bags out of placemats.  I was in Kohl’s the other day and these were on clearance for $.79 each!!  What a steal!!! 


Since I have never tried this before these are my “test placemats” so in case there’s an oopsie, it will be okay.  I hope they turn out though…I’m pretty excited!

Anything interesting going on where you are at?  Leave a comment and tell me all about it! :)

Stay awesome!! ~lisa


Mexican Grabbits

You are probably wondering what they heck they are!  Well, wonder no more.  Mexican Grabbits are a tasty version of meatloaf on a corn shell with a Mexican twist.  When my mom first made this recipe for us, she used mini taco shells.  Old El Paso doesn’t make those anymore so we’ve had to improvise. 

We now normally make them using Tostitoes Big Scoops, but tonight I decided to change it up a bit and made them in regular size taco shells.  They turned out pretty good and here’s how you can try them out for yourself!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Taco shells or tortilla chips

the ingredients

Here’s what you do:

Mix all the ingredients together except for the shells or chips.

mix it together

Pop them in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes.  Flip them over to the other side and back for an additional 25 minutes.  If you are making them on the chips you’ll of course adjust and reduce your cooking time.

bake them

After baking let them cool just a bit and then they are ready to eat!


We usually serve ours with hot sauce and sour cream but there are lots of options!


Let me know if you tried them and how they turned out!

Stay awesome!! ~lisa

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