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April 30, 2014

Wear-It Wednesday: In the Happy Summertime

Well, this is the part where I'd share how I'm doing since my surgery, but since my day started with more pain than I'd like to talk about, I won't. ;) On to happier things!

When I first figured out I could use my own jewelry in Polyvore, I was so excited to style these earrings. They are one of my favorite pieces I've made!

Jeans // Top // Green Bracelet // Black Bracelet // Earrings // Sandals

Of course I had to put them with some bright yellow skinny jeans and a white top. I added black strappy sandals and finished the look with layered green gemstone and black stretchy bracelets. I think this look is so perfect for summer!

Dress // Jacket // Necklace // Bracelets // Earrings // Sandals

For the second look, I put a comfy denim jacket over a flowy white maxi dress, with strappy yellow sandals. I added green bracelets, a long yellow necklace, and of course the earrings.

I think these looks are so bright and happy! And of course the earrings are available in my Etsy shop!

Would you wear these looks, or these earrings? Are you on Polyvore? You can follow me here! And are you as excited for summer as I am? We waited all winter for this! ;D

P.S. Linking up with Trend Spin Link Up, Style Sessions, Monday Bloom, What I Wore Wednesday, Lovely Thursdays, and Fashion Informant.

April 29, 2014

Tuesday's Two Cents: Behind Every Great Book

{original photo source}

I know we've all heard "Behind every great man is a great woman." In a past life, I was a freelance editor (I know, I've lived so very long...), and couldn't help thinking the above phrase during my time at that job. ;)

The general public sees a book when it's completed, but editors see them in a different state, sometimes a pretty rough one. The first book I ever edited contained no chapter names or even divisions for chapters--I got to decide where they went and name them accordingly, along with the 5,000 other usual editing tasks of course. One novel I was given liked to change characters' names as the story went on and misnumber its own chapters. Then there's always the completely wrong references given for Bible verses, misquoting celebrities, totally questionable statements, and the occasional heresy. In the 36 books I edited, I feel like I saw it all.

Now keep in mind that editors are only human too, and sometimes things will still manage to slip by. But all this to say, every book you love first went through the hands of someone (and often many someones) who helped make it what it is. Yes, the author brings the book to life, but the editor, whose name is often not given in the finished product, helped sand off the rough edges and polish up every single word so that its greatness can really shine through.

~ ~ ~

Today's the last day to enter to win this Katya Valera necklace! Don't miss out! 

P.S. Linking up with Wake Up Wednesday, Thinking Out Loud, and Be.YOU.tiful Link Party.

April 28, 2014

Make-It Monday: Simple Beaded Earrings Tutorial

Well, as you may have heard about in Saturday's post, I'm not really able to hobble around in the kitchen making food and taking pictures of it. So this was the perfect opportunity to finally do a jewelry tutorial post for you guys--since it can be done sitting down. ;) (You know, leg wrapped up, propped up, with ice on it all the while...)

A regular customer of mine recently requested a simple, silver and cobalt beaded necklace. Here's what I came up with:

And she loved it. :) But she also wanted some very simple clip-on earrings to match, with just one dangling bead. So I wanted to show you guys how to make these simple earrings.

It really is easy, and gets even easier the more you do it--the hardest part was definitely attempting to get good pictures of what I was doing. I tried, y'all!

You'll need:


  • My pliers are 3-in-1: round-nose, "flat-nose," and a wire cutter farther in. (Can you see those?) So if you just have round-nose pliers, you can use nail clippers to cut the wire instead. (This resource will tell you everything you need to know about pliers.)
  • This tutorial works for any kind of earring hooks.
  • You can get any of these supplies at any craft store or on Etsy.

How to do it:

1- Thread a headpin through one of the beads and trim it to about 3/8" sticking out of the bead.

2- Do the same with the other headpin and bead, and eye-ball them to make sure they're the same length.

3 -5 - Grasp the end of the headpin with your pliers and bend the wire into a curve away from you--you'll want to do this bending motion while pushing back against the wire toward yourself, if that makes sense, so that you get a prettier c-shaped loop as opposed to an ugly cane-shaped loop.

6 - Slip the headpin loop through the loop in whatever type of earring hooks you're using--you may need to gently re-open the headpin loop a little bit to give it room first.

7 - Once the loop is through the earring back's hole, insert the pliers into the loop like you did when you made the loop and begin to close it.

8- Finish closing the loop by very gently clamping it shut with either flat-nose or round-nose pliers (flat works better for this, but either works).

All done!

You can stack even more beads onto each headpin for a bolder look too. The possibilities are really endless with the colors and combinations you can make. And if you're still trying to figure out what to get Mom for Mother's Day, here's an idea! Make her a couple pairs of earrings! Or you can always browse the earrings section in my Etsy shop. ;)

Don't forget there's still a couple days left to enter my giveaway!

Share It Link Party, Wake Up Wednesday, Wildly Original Link Party, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Mother's Day Categorically Crafting Party, All Things Thursday, and Handmade Cafe.

April 26, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up + Sweet Deal Saturday!

Well, Friday is finally over and I sit here in its aftermath. Thanks to the curse of being a pale redhead with a plethora and a half of suspicious moles, I've got my leg propped up on a chair with an ice pack to help the pain from surgery yesterday.

You may recall that I got six moles removed about a month and a half ago, and all those biopsies came back fine except one, which came back moderate. (I hear ratings go mild, moderate, severe, and melanoma.) So I got to wait a month until they finally had time for me and go back yesterday for surgery to really remove it. It was fun. So now I can't really walk from the pain/wrap around my leg. I'm just trying not to think about the fact that this will likely be a common experience for me as time goes on as, like I said, there's plenty more where that mole came from.

Anyway, the rest of my week was a whole lot better than that, with a highlight being eating corn for the first time in six months! It's one of the many foods that have been off-limits while I'm on my gut repair diet, and so far so good. I'm hoping I can continue eating it, but we shall see.

Meanwhile, here's what went down on the blog this week, in case you missed it, or just want to re-live the happiness. ;)


This Honey Balsamic Chicken is special occasion-worthy (but don't let that stop you from eating it once a week...) and healthy. Seriously. And I was so excited to share it!


I shared what this verse, a long-time favorite, means to me.


I showcased the many new pieces that have come to Katya Valera in the past few weeks, including this necklace, which you can still enter to win! The giveaway is going on here and ends April 30th!

I hit my 100th post! And shared the posts that you all have liked most from April.


And I rambled about why Jena needs to win American Idol and why Nashville is awesome, particularly Scarlett, and discovered a long-searched-for song on iTunes (which I currently have on repeat as I write this :D), by the guitar-wielding lady above. Please check out the post and then check out the song. Gorgeousness. (You guys, I could go on and on about music. Really. Like a lot. I really had a grand time writing that post. :)

And now that you're caught up and we've reached the end of another month (don't even get me started on that...), it's time for Sweet Deal Saturday!

This month's deal: Buy any pair of earrings in my shop, get any clearance pair for $1!

You can shop all my earrings here.

Yep! All my regular-priced earrings are in my shop, and all my clearance earrings are in my Clearance album on Facebook--and even on clearance are a lot more than $1 each! Here's how to do it: you can either tell me in a note at checkout what clearance earrings you want and pay for them separately afterward (no additional postage) once I list them for you, or message me on Etsy or Facebook ahead of time, and I'll list them for you on Etsy to buy at the same time as whatever regular priced earrings you want.

And there's no limit on this deal (except when I run out of clearance earrings!)--wanna buy 3 pairs of regular priced earrings and get 3 more clearance pairs for $1 each? Go for it! So go have fun shopping--this deal only lasts through today and Sunday and ends at midnight EST!

So tell me, how was your week? Have you ever had skin surgery? :/ And would you like to see more posts of me waxing eloquent on music?

P.S. Linking up with Funday Monday, Little Friday, High Five for Friday, and Link Love.

April 25, 2014

Friday Favorites: Why Jena, Kate, and Clare are Epic

This Friday, it's all about music--TV Music. It was a big night for music Wednesday night, and all I want to say will easily fill up this week's Friday Favorites!

I knew when I saw Jena Irene audition on American Idol that she was special. When America first got to vote people through weeks ago, she didn't make it, but the judges picked her as one of the three saves--thank. goodness. (Hey, I voted!) And as the weeks have gone on and one of my three favorites has gone home and the other is still in it but isn't soaring like I thought they would (and think they could), Jena has taken the top for me.

It was already pretty clear she was awesome, and then she sang "Creep" last week and proved she is head and shoulders above the rest of the contestants, at least to me (and evidently also to Jennifer Lopez based on her comments). I do really like Jessica, you can't help liking CJ as a person, and Caleb is clearly extremely talented, as is Alex. And Sam does have a nice voice. But I really think Jena is in a league of her own.

She even said last week of herself and Caleb, "We practice too much." That means: they practice like they should. I feel like the rest of the contestants are just singers (sorry to those who love the others who are left...), while she is undoubtedly an artist. Yes, everyone who wants to sing needs coaching, and these are all young people competing, but you shouldn't have to tell them the same things to work on week after week and they just never catch on. You have to have that almost indefinable something that is simply sheer, unignorable, unhideable talent, and Jena has that.

Keith knows what I mean... [Source]

Unlike the judges, I was thrilled with her performance of "So Small" last night. It honestly made me tear up, and I don't just do that with this show. (Angie Miller from last season was probably the last AI contestant to make me do that, especially when she went home. I wasn't mad at all. Anyway.) I don't know why the judges didn't like it that much, and I get that she was redoing a Carrie Underwood song, but unlike Caleb's redo, which I found pretty rough, I thought this was pretty brilliant. And it's the first one of hers that I have thought, Man I have to buy this. Did you see it?

Moving on, if you're a fan of Nashville, you know that they keep stringing us along with weeks between episodes. I have no idea what's up with that. But this week they aired a Nashville On the Record concert with the actors, actresses, and songwriters performing some of the songs from the show. I gathered that the concert held a lot more performances than we got to see, but still, it was pretty epic. (I don't say that much. ;)


I was so happy to see Kate York on there. I saw her in a special songwriter's performance back in 2009 at a music conference in Nashville and will always remember her song "Go."

My awesome pictures documenting the occasion... That's her in the middle! :)
See the guy on the left? (I do not remember who he is...) That's the stance of someone who doesn't write deep, sad songs hearing an awesome, deep, sad song. Her co-performers were as blown away as I was.

And oh. my. gosh I haven't been able to find a recording of it all this time, and just found it as I'm writing this!! My day is made. I can't believe I remember the chorus so well after only hearing it once. I can't find it on Grooveshark or YouTube to share it here, so just search for it on iTunes (I really don't know how I couldn't find it before)--you have got to hear it. :D :D And they have just got to use this song in Nashville, if it's back for season three.

But back to Nashville! Out of the cast, I think Clare Bowen will always be my favorite singer (and I'm dreading what's going to happen to her character, as I'm expecting she'll be killed off honestly...), and "Black Roses" has got to be one of the best songs from the show. It proves, contrary to what a "big wig" once told me, that there is still a place in the world today for deep songs. And that is so encouraging.

Do you watch Nashville? If you do, do you think there's hope for Scarlett to get the help she needs and get better? Do you think Nashville will be back for season 3? And who's the frontrunner for you on American Idol this season?

P.S. Linking up with Thinking Out Loud, Lovely Thursdays, Little Friday, and Fab Favorites.

April 24, 2014

Amazing April: 100th Post!

Well, I somehow missed my one-year blogiversary on March 6. It really didn't feel like it had been a year because my blog got a new look and really got going in January. So Happy Late Blogiversary to us. ;)

But I definitely noticed as my post numbers rose and rose, and here we are now at 100!

For this reason, April has really been amazing, which works out really well with I Am Mrs. K's April blog challenge! You dear readers have responded to posts from this month overall more than ever before (besides a giveaway post in March ;), and I am so grateful!

In honor of April being the best month for Life, KV Style yet, and since there are lots of new readers here who may have missed out on some of these, I wanted to revisit the posts that have been most popular this month:


This post was kind of a whim but pulled straight from the depths of my heart. It was hard to share but something I felt I needed to. And I'm so thankful for the response it got.


This post was also part of Mrs. K's April blog challenge. It was so hard! But I could talk about music all the time ... so you'll be hearing lots more about my favorites on here--maybe even tomorrow. ;)


I was so excited to share this recipe, as it's one I almost totally dreamed up on my own for once. ;) I promise, it's healthy and tasty!


When the fifth anniversary of my great-grandmother's passing came on April 9th, I had to do something special. And the best way for me to do that is to write. This post meant so much to me.


And you all just really liked this one! I think maybe the word "Popcorn" is what did it, and while it doesn't really taste like popcorn, it really is tasty. And goes well with chicken... What doesn't??

So big thanks to you guys for making April pretty amazing here in blogland. It's been pretty hard in reality (skin surgery on Friday, to name just one thing), except I did finish the last stage of the special diet I've been on since November (though I plan to stay on the food part of the diet for a while yet, as opposed to all the supplements), so I really appreciate all of you who have helped make this a happy place.

How has your April been? You can make it even better by winning a Katya Valera necklace over on The Style Worthwhile!

P.S. Linking up with April Blog Challenge, Thinking Out Loud, Wake Up Wednesday, Lovely Thursdays, Little Friday, Be.YOU.Tiful Link Party, and Throwback Thursday

April 23, 2014

Wear-It Wednesday: What Spring Brought With It

The official arrival of spring has brought a bunch of new pieces to Katya Valera over the past few weeks!

3D hoop earrings // Cobalt and gold earrings // Gold and bronze wavy leaf earrings // Silver hammered disc earrings

There's also a couple of new bracelets:

Cobalt and gold bracelet // Rainbow spring bracelet

And of course: necklaces!

Aqua triple strand bib on silver chain // Teal chunky bib on gold chain

Gold and teal double strand bib // Cobalt triple strand bib

Bronze and gold hoop necklace // Dainty cobalt and silver necklace

Hawaiian flower and aventurine charm necklace // Spring pink double strand necklace // Silver hot air balloon necklace

Vintage blue and gold charm on gold chain // Vintage green and bronze charm on bronze chain

Bronze butterflies and orange teardrops long necklace // Green and gold teardrop long necklace

Layered silver and yellow vintage teardrop necklace // Silver wavy leaf double strand necklace

And don't forget that you can win that last piece in a giveaway over on The Style Worthwhile! Ends April 30, open to the US and Canada.

Which piece is your favorite? All are available now in my Etsy shop!

April 22, 2014

Tuesday's Two Cents: Not Ourselves

Back in high school, this verse first really stood out to me. So much so that I included it on my class ring (right opposite the year in Roman numerals--I absolutely love Roman numerals). I know some verses can resonate with people in different ways, but this one really spelled out one thing to me.

Being human, living on earth: it's all we've known. You just live. So for some reason, in our limited human minds, it's really easy to subconsciously feel like we are owed things--health, happiness, wealth, fairness, kindness, success, etc.--simply because we're here. And simply because we're here, we can sometimes get the idea that we're in charge.

Yet we had absolutely nothing to do with our creation and birth, and so we aren't inherently owed anything and certainly not in charge. Yes, God wants what's best for us, including joy and happiness, but we don't just arrive on this earth with a list of rights that we're owed. And He has the say in even whether we breathe another breath or not.

To me, this verse spells out: You didn't put yourself here, so what makes you think you're owed or in charge of anything?

It's all about perspective.

P.S. Linking up with Wake Up Wednesday, Thinking Out Loud, and Be.YOU.Tiful Link Party.

April 21, 2014

Make-It Monday: Honey Balsamic Chicken--Gluten-free, Dairy-free

I'm so excited to share this recipe I recently found on Pinterest! It's originally from here, but as always I made a couple of changes.

I've made this twice already in the past week, and it tastes like a special night meal or something that belongs in a restaurant. (But of course that's not gonna stop me from having it like every week. ;) Definitely one of the best recipes I've tried from Pinterest (and I've tried a good many...) and one that totally would be on my list of The Best Pinterest Recipes if I'd found it sooner.

Honey Balsamic Chicken

You'll need:
For pre-cooking:
2-4 chicken breasts, thawed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic
a pinch of salt (I use sea salt) and pepper

After marinating:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. honey
a pinch of salt and pepper

1) Cut the chicken into roughly strips.
2) Place the chicken, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large sealable bag, shake/mix around, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3) Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat then place the chicken in it. The chicken will take about 10 minutes on each side. (Be very careful with the oil--it likes to pop.)

4) Once the chicken is done, remove it from the skillet, lower the heat, and add the 2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar to the pan. (The original recipe called for butter here also, but since I can't have that and coconut butter would have given it a coconut-y taste I didn't want, I left it out, and it was perfectly delicious without it.) Stir the balsamic vinegar around the pan to dissolve the leftover gristle and such.
5) Raise the heat back to medium and add the honey and let it simmer into a bubbly glaze for 3-5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to the glaze, return the chicken to the pan, and stir around to coat.

I served this with brown minute rice and broccoli steamed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic (which I now know is better fried and not steamed--just a tip). Oh and grapes. Of course!

Not only is this dish tasty, it's healthy! :D Gluten-free and dairy-free as always. Enjoy, and let me know how you like it!

P.S. Linking up with Funday Monday and Musings of a Housewife and Sassy Moms in the City's Real Food Recipe Roundup, Do Tell Tuesday, Time to Sparkle, Good Tips Tuesday, Show Me What Ya Got, Share Your Stuff Tuesday, Delicious Dish Tuesday, Share It Link Party, Pretty Wednesday, What We Eat Wednesday, Wildly Original Party, Wake Up Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, and All Things Thursday.