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January 31, 2014

Favorites with a Bonus Announcement!

Well, this girl is still sick but desperately praying I'm getting over this and will get through it without going to the doctor, something my body hasn't been able to do for years.

In the meantime, it's time for some favorites!

1) My birthday this month brought what I wanted most: my first iPhone--in gold! :O (Which means I now finally have Instagram!) And so of course it needed a case, which I found in gold... I wasn't planning on that color until I saw the phone that way and couldn't give up the color while needing the protection. So gold it was. It's from Amazon. :)

And of course my current (and potentially permanent) favorite nail polish, Good as Gold by Essie, which I mentioned last week, just so happens to match. I'm wearing it here topped with Swing Baby by China Glaze.

2) While The Civil Wars sadly might need to get their act together professionally, this Grammy 2014-winning song is pretty awesome. I've never been really into the duo, just neutral about them, but when I saw they won for this song, I looked it up and had to buy it.

And I bet this video took longer to make than the song did to write... Wow.

3) And I'm now on Bloglovin! In case you're not familiar with it, Bloglovin is a happy little (or not so little) place where you can follow all your favorite blogs, and it logs all their posts in one convenient place so you can keep up with all the latest posts without having to go to each blog individually.

And if you don't already have a ton of blogs you follow, you can do some exploring and search Bloglovin by category, like photography, food, or fashion, and you can also find a specific blog by its url.

Handy little place. So if you're on there, I would love for you to follow me there! And if you're not, do give it a look! :)

January 29, 2014

Simplicity Has Arrived

We're well into the new year--already--and also well into new pieces in my Etsy shop!

Somehow I'm in a simplicity kick, so minimalist lovers, there's a lot here with your name on it!

My jewelry making tends to come in phases, so while simple's here for now, who knows what's next!

Top left: goldstone. Oh my word, it's the night sky in a pair of earrings.... :O

And since I finally, finally, finally have graduated from small clear boxes to big ol’ drawers for my supplies…

...things are really gonna start getting exciting! Just as soon as this cold or whatever it is finally goes away and I’m back to my version of normal (see my about page for what in the world that means).

So go ahead and do some looking around! And if you're not into minimalism, there's a whole lot more than that waiting for you in my Etsy shop. :)

Almost forgot about this intricate gem--now that took a while...

See something you love? You know what to do! ;)

January 27, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Happiness

Well, I'm sick on this lovely winter day and hoping I can manage this post of deliciousness for you. Cause this dish is da bomb.

The amazing recipe is from the Plain Chicken blog, and you can see it here. I found it through Pinterest. :)

 Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken

You'll need:

4 thawed chicken breasts or several tenders
Lemon pepper to taste
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 Tbsp bacon bits (I used Oscar Mayer)


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (The most important step! ;)

2) Place the chicken in a baking dish and season with lemon pepper and then a mixture of the Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, and paprika.

3) Bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove, sprinkle with bacon bits and cheese, and then put back in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Post-baking, pre-cheese and bacon.

Post-cheese and bacon, pre-last 10 minutes.

All done. :)

Oh, and make sure to drizzle the chicken in the leftover sauce when you eat it. ;) I highly recommend having this with rice (I use Minute rice), green beans or salad, and sauteed mushrooms.

I just sautee the mushrooms in butter and soy sauce--just make sure the soy sauce specifically says gluten free on it, if you're wanting that of course.

And simple as that stuff is, it is amazing.

This meal is quite close to my favorite meal at Texas Steakhouse, which is like, one of my favorite meals ever. So yeah, this recipe is pretty awesome. ;)

January 25, 2014

Calling Soldier Sweethearts!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, this week's sale is a big one:

Yep, my whole new Military Sweetheart Collection is 20% off today and tomorrow only!

Lockets and keys in silver and bronze...

With roses in either red, white, and blue or camouflage!

Rings in bronze or silver...

And a unique camo bracelet:

So many options, perfect for Valentine's Day gifts!

Use coupon code MILITARYCOLLECTION20 for 20% off any of the pieces from this collection January 25-26 only. They're waiting in my Etsy shop, so jump on it while you can!

January 24, 2014

Friday Favorites: Chocolate and Gold and their Musical Equivalent...

It's Friday! And time for three of my favorites at the moment:

1) I'm currently pretty addicted to these:

I have never been a dark chocolate fan, but these are free of gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish (what IS in them??) and meet my current diet needs' requirements. And they do not taste like dark chocolate. They are amazing.

2) This nail polish:

Essie's "Good as Gold." I saw this nail polish a while back on Pinterest and finally tracked it down recently. This stuff is just so me. Keep an eye out for it in a future Wear-It Wednesday Post!

3) This song:

I first heard this song when the duo debuted it on The Voice a couple months ago. I tend to multitask while I watch TV, and it made me stop whatever I was doing and watch. It was captivating, and the official music video is even more so (warning if you're not into crying...).

This song makes the writer in me excited and hopeful that there can be songs of substance that are also enormously popular finding their way into the market today. And it also shows that repetitiveness can be deep and meaningful if done just right. Incredible song, incredible performance.

And now it's gettin' to be time to go paint my nails gold again... :)

January 22, 2014

Are You Ready for Valentine's Day?

So, we totally just had Thanksgiving ... and Christmas ... and now it's about time for Valentine's Day--and time to get ready for it! Thus goes the world, but it means tank tops and flipflops are getting closer, so I'm good with it! ;) (And I write this as a few inches of snow sit outside the window...)

If you're a gentleman looking for a unique gift for your lady, or a lady looking for some new Valentine-themed jewelry for yourself, I've got lots of options for you!

Of course, any piece of Katya Valera jewelry would be the perfect gift for the special day, but if you're going for specific Valentine-y hearts and pink and red and roses, then take a look!

You can get more details on all these pieces and order them before someone else gets to them in my Etsy shop.

And there's also my new Military Sweetheart Collection, whose pieces are all just perfect for Valentine's Day, military or not!

Camo and red, white, and blue, in either silver or bronze. So many options!

And as if that's not enough, there are even more Valentine's Day pieces in my Clearance album on my Facebook page! If you see something there you'd like to buy, feel free to message me on there or on Etsy and I'll gladly list it for you there!

January 20, 2014

Gluten-Free Waffle McGriddles

When I went gluten-free about two years ago, one of the (many) things I missed was McGriddles from McDonalds. Of course they always made my stomach hurt when I ate them, but I still missed them…

So my husband figured out this easy gluten-free alternative. No, it’s not exactly the same (it’s not bad for you! ;) but man, is it delicious.

Gluten-Free Waffle McGriddles
(makes 1 depending on how loaded you want it ;)

You’ll need:
2 gluten-free waffles (I used Van’s)
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
ab. 1 tbsp. milk (optional)
Sliced ham
American sandwich cheese slices (or whatever cheese you want)

1) Heat the waffles according to the package. I like to toast them in the oven, which takes a little longer. If you microwave them, heat them when everything else is ready so they don’t get cold.

2) Scramble the eggs in a bowl with the salt, pepper, and milk (optional—will make them fluffier). Melt the butter in a skillet to cover the bottom, pour the eggs in the pan and let them fry, then flip over to finish frying. Of course you could use scrambled eggs too, but I prefer the eggs to be a solid piece, which you can cut to whatever size you want.

3) Fry the ham in a separate skillet for just a few minutes until the edges start to brown and curl up.

4) Drizzle syrup on each waffle, then stack the ham, egg, and cheese on one waffle, and put the other waffle on top.

If you’re real ambitious, feel free to make your own waffles. But I’m not that ambitious yet. ;) Also, I’ve tried this with sausage, but it just wasn’t as good as with the ham. I don’t know why. But feel free to try that too! 

And even if you're not gluten-free, this is a great option for when you're stuck at home and can't get to McDonald's. :)

These are perfect for breakfast … or dinner … or a snack (hey, when you're gluten free, you can eat more!) and definitely filling. And it’ll most certainly help with McGriddle withdrawals. :)

P.S. Linking up with What We Eat Wednesday.

January 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: Danielle Bradbery and Other Happiness

It's Friday! And time for just a few of my very favorite things right now:

1) When Danielle Bradbery was on The Voice last year, it was pretty clear to me, and evidently a bunch of other people, that she would get pretty far in the competition. So when she won, I was quite thrilled for her. Then her album finally came out, and when I previewed it on iTunes, I just had to buy it.

It's a really great album, but one song in particular is just amazing. And even though the album came out nearly two months ago, this song is still repeat worthy. I'm not sure if it's possible to get sick of it ... but we'll find out.

I knew right away that whoever wrote this song (come to find out, Katrina Elam, Josh Kear, and Chris Tompkins, according to trusty Wikipedia ;) was definitely not messin’ around—this is perfection, complete with an unpredictable hook and two key changes (my personal favorite songwriting “trick”). And it's no wonder this one has an extra something to it, because that's the only song on the album by those three writers. Home. Run.

2) In case you haven't gathered by the fact that I make and sell jewelry, I am definitely pro-handmade. At least half the gifts I gave for Christmas were handmade, whether by me or others, and I'm to the point I feel kinda bad buying things at, say, Walmart that I know I could find on Etsy, made by someone like me who could use the money a whole lot more than some retail chain.

So when I was set up at an Arts and Crafts fair in my area a couple months ago, and the nicest lady ever was set up next to me with all of these cute handmade purses and photo cards and coasters and more, I went to town. My grandmother, cousin, and niece-in-laws all got purses for Christmas ... and I got two. ;)

I decided to use this one first, and I love it.

If you look closely at the top of it, you can see the striped lining--it's reversible!

I've always loved this design, which I'm sure you've seen before, whether on a vintage bedspread or modern lampshades.

A close-up for ya
And even though gray/black aren't my usual colors, I just couldn't pass it up. The beige makes it passable. ;) The wonderful lady's name is Martha Davis, and she doesn't currently have an Etsy shop or else I would totally link it here. But if you'd like to get in touch with her, just comment or email me and I can get her email address to you. :)

3) And in case you missed it, this stuff is awesome:

If only I'd found it years ago. Now my nails can actually last more than a day, and that, my friend, makes me very happy. :)

So go paint your nails with this stuff, and then while they dry, do some good old USA Etsy shopping and listen to some Danielle. It'll make you happy...! ;)

January 15, 2014

Essie and Sally are Best Friends

So maybe it's because I've been using super cheap nail polish, though gorgeous. Or maybe it's because I wasn't letting my nails dry long enough between coats. It's hard to tell...

But all I know is I've finally found a way for nail polish to both look amazing and last more than 12 hours! :P

I had been doing one coat of clear nail polish, two coats of whatever color I was using (with very little time between) and then another coat of clear. And I'd get up the next day and it would chip--bad. What in the world??

Now, you can't really blame me--I knew next to nothing about nails and just did whatever I had gathered from Pinterest. Well.

However, Pinterest had also gotten Essie into my head. So I found these two bottles on clearance at T.J. Maxx: "Orange, It's Obvious" and "Fear or Desire."

The awesome nail polish

The secret weapon

I skipped the first coat of clear (which I probably could have done) and just did two coats of the colors, using the lighter orange on my ring finger. And I just waited a couple of minutes between each. Then I let them dry for a good 45 minutes to an hour. Then I did a layer of Sally's awesome No Chip Top Coat and generously let it dry as long as I could. (What do people do while they take two hours on their nails?? I watched TV and then got brave and got on my computer. Anyway...)

And they lasted a good 4 days. And when they did finally start chipping, it wasn't hideous gashes out of them but little ones on the ends.

So maybe if I'd waited longer between coats of color it would have lasted even longer. But regardless, I am pretty thrilled!

January 13, 2014

Budget DIY Jewelry Organizer

In case you haven’t already guessed, I am a jewelry freak. And since I just discovered making jewelry a couple of years ago (you can shop my jewelry here), that leaves a whole lotta years of amassing jewelry. (You know, since now I usually can’t bring myself to buy jewelry unless it’s handmade, preferably by me. ;)

So for a long time, my collection lived in bead boxes and such, but it would always end up all tangled together. And that’s just not very helpful when you’re already running late and have to wear jewelry…

So of course Pinterest had its suggestions on how to organize your jewelry on towel rods with shower hooks, and you mount it in your huge closet, etc. Well, I don’t have a huge closet or the money to buy and mount such awesome hardware. So, I came up with my awesome budget version. :)

Behold, $20 fantabulousness: my necklaces, bracelets, and rings … and some headbands … and belts (I don’t wear earrings) in one place!

For the necklaces and belts:
 Majorly cheap curtain rod (under $5—pretty much the cheapest they had)
C-hooks for a shower curtain (again, these cost about $1 for a dozen)
For the bracelets/rings/headbands:
Tie/belt organizer (probably in the vicinity of $12)
The rod and the tie organizer are then mounted with 
command poster strips (all from Walmart).

And that’s it! All my jewelry is finally organized clearly and conveniently and can be put on a wall on the back of a door (where I had it where we used to live), or on the wall behind a bedroom door (where I have it where we live now), or wherever you prefer!

The tie organizer was a bit of a splurge that I didn't have to do—you certainly could use a curtain rod in place of it, which would cost even less, or if you don’t have gobs of jewelry like I do, just one curtain rod might be plenty!

Just be creative, and see what you can come up with!