Momma Told Me

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Making A Timeless Mother's Day Gift (Under $10)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DoingThe99 #99YourMothersDay #CollectiveBias
This elegant vanity tray was made with materials from the 99 Cents Only Stores for just $6, and everything on it was only another $6! #99YourMothersDay #DoingThe99 #AD
My mother and I don't really do gifts.

There was a time when I would actually get scolded for spending money on her- and not in a cute "oh you shouldn't have" manner, in a very real "I gave birth to you and you'll do as your told, you've offended me greatly" manner.

Through the years she's mellowed a bit. (Don't tell her I said that though, she has a staunch reputation to maintain.) We still do bare minimal for most holidays, and Mother's Day is no exception- but I've found that handmade gifts are accepted much more graciously. After all, she might smack me upside the head for buying her a new blu-ray player but there's not much she can do when I present her with something I crafted from my own two hands.....accept tell me to spend less time and money on it next time.

We have a special relationship.
That being said, whether you are a mother yourself, are the grown child of a mother, or have a friend who is a mother, Mother's Day is rapidly approaching and it's always nice to have a gift in mind that looks like a million bucks but cost you more like a 100 Grand (the candy bar). Regardless of who you're shopping for this Sunday May 14th, you likely need a little inspiration. After all, a macaroni pencil holder or salt dough portrait doesn't quite fly when you're 30.

Luckily, being the savvy 99er that I am, I'm always looking for inspiration for a fun and unique project that would make a great gift. We try to stop by our local 99 Cents Only Stores at least twice a week, since new and exciting things are always hitting the shelves, and the aisles are always packed with amazing essentials as well as seasonal decor and necessities. One of these days I'll make a fresh fruit bouquet from all of the amazing fruit in the produce department! You really can't go wrong whether you're looking to fill in holes on your grocery list or build a gift basket last minute- there are plenty of name brands at amazing prices.
So a few weeks back on Pinterest I saw some 'suggested for you' PINs pop into my feed and one was of a handmade vanity tray. The tray looked amazing, but when I clicked through to check out the materials things began adding up very quickly. The blogger had essentially used a bought tray ($20) and painted/refinished it to fit her decor. It was cute, but I knew I could do better for much cheaper.

The toughest part of my mission, or so I thought, would be finding a sturdy and sizeable surface to be functional at a vanity, or by the tub, while still holding a decent amount of weight without falling apart. Our local 99 Cents Only Store always has a section of aisle (usually across from the kitchen-wares) with home decor such as frames, mirrors, plaques, canvas art and more. Surprisingly I found 3 different options for my tray base that suited my needs.
I ended up deciding on a framed personal wall mirror for $1.99- it had a nice stylish pink border which would have worked great in my home, but not so much my mother's. I knew I wanted to give the tray handles of some kind, to make it easily transportable, but they had to adhere on their own since the tray's surface was essentially a mirror. In the electronics and accessories aisle I found some adorable smartphone 'rings' intended to support up 4lbs weight (each), which self adhered thanks to a sticky back. Then all I needed to do was decide on a color to paint my frame, and pick up a few accents to adorn my finished product.
To begin this very simple, anybody can do it, project I first taped along the inner edges of the mirror to protect from any paint residue during the process of painting the frame. I also wanted to dress up the mirror surface a little so I used my tape to make an inner 'frame' which I could paint over to reveal a designed pattern.
I'd picked up some decorative baubles at my local 99 and wanted to tie in my copper color to them as well- giving the edges, or entire objects, a quick coat of paint really helped tie my finished product together and elevate it to a whole new classy level. How adorable is that ceramic pineapple and sea turtle?
Once my paint had dried I carefully peeled off the tape- it's okay if you weren't perfect on your lines, the mirror surface will often be covered and imperfections give it a handmade feel. You may want to give your mirror a clear coat finish if you are worried about scuffs or scratches in use.

Next I pulled out my smartphone 'rings' and applied them in the center of each of the mirror's shortest ends. Voila! Instant tray! I was surprised how strong the grip of these rings were, and they easily carried a full load of items.
This elegant vanity tray was made with materials from the 99 Cents Only Stores for just $6, and everything on it was only another $6! #99YourMothersDay #DoingThe99 #AD
I have to say pictures don't do this beautiful tray justice. The metallic paint really pops and you can't tell I only spent $6 on it- I definitely want to make one for my own home now, too! It is incredibly sturdy and functional, and if it ever gets damaged no tears will be shed. I don't know about you- but those are some magical features to a mother!
This elegant vanity tray was made with materials from the 99 Cents Only Stores for just $6, and everything on it was only another $6! #99YourMothersDay #DoingThe99 #ADThis elegant vanity tray was made with materials from the 99 Cents Only Stores for just $6, and everything on it was only another $6! #99YourMothersDay #DoingThe99 #AD
I'll admit, I really 'broke the bank' spending an extra couple of bucks at the 99 Cents Only Stores on my accents. What can I say- everything on the tray itself was a whopping $7. I included a few moisturizers and a bamboo bath scrubber to add some functionality to my gift, as well as Godiva chocolates to sweeten the sentiment. This is definitely a gift I'd love to receive; and I know my mother will be proud of (when she hears how little I spent.)
This elegant vanity tray was made with materials from the 99 Cents Only Stores for just $6, and everything on it was only another $6! #99YourMothersDay #DoingThe99 #AD
Some of life's luxuries can still look expensive without really breaking the bank- that's something my frugal mother taught me. Mother's Day  is definitely a day to pamper the mothers in our lives and this $6 Custom Vanity Tray does just that! Of course if I haven't inspired you to creative-ness, you can also visit your local 99 and make an amazing gift basket your mother will love. Now, tell me, what are your plans for this Mother's Day?

The Masks We Wear- Featuring Imagine By Rubie's

Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Momma Told Me: Masks are an accessory, only you can define the person behind them.

With all of the Marvel and superhero hype over the past few years the topic of superheroes is constantly brought up in discussions with friends, as well as during the children's free play. Girl or boy, the kids in our group can't get enough of superheroes. But an interesting question was asked by the 8 year old, and promptly answered by the 5 year year old just the other day;

Daisy (8): "If superheroes are so awesome, why do they need a disguise to cover up who they really are?"

Lynnsey (5): "Because nobody would believe they had super powers if they didn't wear their uniforms!"

Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Of course any self respecting nerd knows that superheros commonly devise a uniform, or disguise, as a way to ultimately protect their identity from the villains who seek to harm them. More specifically, to protect the identity of those they love and care for most. But this did bring up an interesting theme for a conversation. Most modern day superheroes follow a universe story-line in which their identities are quite public. Sure, some people need their mask to function as part of a suit (Ant-Man, Iron Man, etc) but do superheroes need a uniform in order to be super?
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
The answer is, of course, no.

When I was a little girl Momma forbid masks in the house. While I suspect this was party due to a -minor- incident involving a Halloween mask, the upstairs hallway, and my father's lack of appropriate timing in something that was otherwise humorous (long story,) she maintained that "While you will wear many hats in your life, you need never wear a mask." It was her argument that I could be whatever I wanted, no matter what I wore. She was right, of course.
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
But are masks always used as a crutch, something to hide behind?

For a long time I struggled with this myself. As a blogger I find I am almost constantly wearing some form of mask- whether it's a touched up photo, or simply the best angle of my home on camera. My physical impression is loud, dramatic, and strong- but it's just the surface of what I have to offer, and what lies beneath. At the same time, the socially awkward, anxious, introvert that first put on this mask 5 years ago has found confidence and strengths behind it. Strengths I take with me when the mask is off. The person I am when the camera is away, when I'm 'on my own,' has tremendously benefited from the mask I wear.
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Our masks in life are our accessories. They don't define our superpowers, and we are no less fantastic once we take them off. Okay, it would be a little strange watching a man in a button down and jeans fly through the sky to rescue a woman from a burning building- but that's only because we're conditioned to look for something flashy and different in the first place. Clark Kent doesn't become Superman, he is always Superman, uniform or not, his powers, his heart, his determination, don't go away. So, the next time in your life you feel as though you are naked, caught without a mask, remember it was you who conquered and overcame every single time before.
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Of course, us modern day superheroes have to make due without all the glitz and glamor of custom outfits, cascading capes, and glittered masks. It's just not practical on a blogger's budget, you know? But you and your little ones can enjoy authentic DC licensed masks and costumes from Imagine by Rubies. No, this is not a sponsored mention, we just happened across 2 of their masks and have thoroughly enjoyed them. You'll find the My Super Best Friends (glitter) kid's mask and DC Batman mask made by Imagine by Rubie's seen above on Amazon and at a variety of toy retailers nationwide. Regardless, let's discuss what it means to be your own superhero and what types of masks we wear in the real world today!

What Daughter Says: Be your own superhero, no matter the uniform.

Bring The Best Of The Outdoors To Your Car This Season With Clean Air + A D.I.Y Vent Clip Freshener

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFreshBreeze #CollectiveBias
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
Momma Told Me: The air's fresher outside.

I'm the sort of person who pays attention to the air I'm breathing.

In our living room we have a portable air purifier, as well as on the night-stand in the master bathroom. Though we have a cat and a (allergy friendly/fur free) dog I am constantly vacuuming and lint rolling away the traces of them. And, of course, I keep an eye on the local pollen counts and air advisories. Living in Southern California we're also at risk for long periods of ash falling from the sky, during brush fire season, and notorious for poor air quality in the form of smog. Thankfully, we live a good 40 miles from the main 'inland' cities, on the coast, so pet dander, pollen, and the occasional ash are my most common concerns.

In our home we clean vents, replace air filters, and keep the windows closed on poor air quality days. I like to think we maintain the (allergen/irritant) risk factors quite well. And, for many people, this is quite common in modern times. However, how do we maintain a pleasant breathing experience when we are on the go? Arguably, our car, is one of the places we are potentially subject to the most, and widest range of, air pollutants.
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
I keep a lot of air fresheners in my car because I like a 'stinky drive', as Jay likes to put it. But, as much as I like to envision flowers growing out of my vents, the term air freshener might be deceiving and without proper air filtration I might literally be breathing in irritating pollen as the flowers bloom over the next 6 months. Air fresheners really don't do much but mask odors- odors commonly caused by smells (bacteria) lingering in various aspects of your car. (Yuck!)
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
When I bought my current vehicle last year it was the newest (for me) vehicle I'd ever owned. While it was a 2005 model it had had but one owner (a grandmother who used it for casual cruising when the grand-kids were in town.) It had a whopping 54k miles on it and had been garaged nearly all it's life. Because it was in such impressive condition, I began investing more time than usual on maintaining it's quality with a few small automotive DIY projects. We refurbished the headlights, I replaced a few simple parts, bought new windshield wipers, and took it in for a full tune-up and oil change at my local Walmart automotive center. Even the mechanic complimented the condition the car had been kept in, but we were both surprised to learn one item was still in 'like new' condition. The cabin air filter compartment sat there, under my hood, with the original manufacturer's seal sticker still taped over the front. The previous owner had never decided to install one.
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
In fact, you just might be surprised how many people could be driving around without a cabin air filter in their car. Certain makes/models don't include cabin air filters off the lot- despite having a perfectly functional designated space for one. And many people get the cabin air filter confused with their engine air filter- they are NOT the same thing. Just as your engine air filter is important to ensure your engine is breathing nice clean air the cabin air filter directly controls the quality of air that is pulled from outside your vehicle, inside, through your car's air conditioning and vent system. Even more alarming the air inside your vehicle can be up to 6x dirtier than the air outside!

Thankfully, I was able to browse the in-store automotive department at Walmart on my last trip. I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter stocked on the shelves, so an employee was happy to assist me. In fact, he not only helped me find the right air filter for the year, make, and model of my car, but he assured me that most cabin air filter replacements could be done by owners with little to no car care experience. He also told me that Fresh Breeze® cabin air filters help filter up to 98% of dust, dirt, and allergens entering my car, and are the only cabin air filters that use the natural deodorizing qualities of ARM & HAMMER® baking soda.
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
I'll admit, while I've been doing more and more 'at home' car maintenance lately, I always get a bit of anxiety whenever I have to go under the hood. The first-most important thing when preparing to install your FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter is that you have the proper filter for your car- refer to to determine the appropriate model number, and local Walmart availability, for your particular vehicle. While I'm about to share the simple process involved in changing my 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser (Convertible, Turbo)'s cabin air filter you will find more specific instructions and installation videos by part number on the website.

Here's what I used for the job:

*FRAM Fresh Breeze® Cabin Air Filter CF10900
*Needle Nose Pliers,
*Both A Phillips and Slot HEAD Screwdrivers
*A Large Bowl/Container (For Loose Parts)
*Some Baby Wipes/Paper Towels
*Good Music/Companionship Optional
In my 2005 Chrysler PT Cruise the cabin air filter is located under the hood in the upper left (passenger's side) corner of the engine compartment. PT Cruiser vehicles are notoriously annoying for any sort of 'under the hood' work as the engine compartment is very compact and things can be touch to get to/navigate. In some vehicles the cabin air filter may need to be accessed through a glove compartment.
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
To get to the cabin air filter box I had to first remove the top grill of my engine compartment. This is a 2-piece, long, grated plastic cover that interlocks in the middle and has both top and side screws. The screws are inserted into caps and both the screws and caps will have to be carefully removed in order to pull the grill. Depending on the age of your vehicle the plastic caps your screws are inserted into may be brittle and subject to breaking. Carefully use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove them without damage. There were a total of 5 screws, and 5 screw caps on our vehicle. We kept an oversized bowl in the middle of the engine compartment to hold our screws while we continued the project.
As with all 'under the hood' projects you'll want to be mindful of your hands, and how greasy they may become. You may be tempted to rest your hands, or lean, on the outside of your car. Since my car is cream, and I didn't feel like adding a full afternoon of detailing to my chore list that day, I kept my wrists on the outer engine seal whenever I needed to brace myself for a better look.
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD PTCruiser
While you can get away with only removing one half of this upper engine grill/cover you will be best served to remove both as they interlock in the middle and it takes a bit of coaxing to get the passengers side free. We ended up partially closing the hood to allow better rotation access in the upper left corner. Once I'd tiltes the back corner up it twisted out and the panel was easy to lift out.
With the upper engine compartment open I could immediately see the (in our case empty) cabin air filter box. With a flat head screwdriver I easily popped the two tabs holding the front cover in place and pulled it out. Be sure to keep one hand on the cover as you do this to prevent it from falling down into the compact engine compartment.
So, in about 8 minutes of prep-work I was ready to install my brand new FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter at last! The air filter was clearly labeled  indicating which way should face in towards the cabin for proper air flow. Install your air filter with the arrows facing in towards the inside of your car, with the lighter side of the filter facing out towards you.
How to change your cabin air filter- and other simple tips to refresh your car's air quality! #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
Again, PT Cruisers are notorious for tight engine spaces and having the washer fluid basin directly up against this compartment made for some colorful language on my part. You may want to clean your hands, and the area around the air filter prior to attempting installation. If you have a second set of hands to gently pull the washer tank back, every 1/4 inch of leeway helps when sliding this chunky air filter into it's new home.
Once your FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter is happily seated in it's new home you can begin moving backwards to reassemble that which you disassembled. Again, the only tricky part is getting the two upper panels to interlock, then it's just pop the screws back in and you're done until next year, or about 12,000 miles (when it's suggested you replace your cabin air filter again). *Follow recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual.
DIY Flower Car Vent Clip Air Freshener + Tips To Improve Your In Car Air Quality. #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
In celebration of my new FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filter and the 9.5 pollen rating forecast for the upcoming week I decided to revamp one of my favorite automotive DIY projects with Spring and Summer in mind. Pretty much anyone can literally make flowers spring from their car's air vents with this simple Vent Clip Air Freshener tutorial. Here's what you'll need:

*3-4 Sheets of Colored Felt- I prefer to have at least 1'stiff' felt sheet for my base layer
*Small Clothespins
*Hot Glue Gun/Sticks
*Essential Oil of choice (I used Lavender)
*This nifty, FREE, printable template and Scissors
DIY Flower Car Vent Clip Air Freshener + Tips To Improve Your In Car Air Quality. #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
It may seem complicated but piecing these felt flowers together is easy- just print 2 copies of our FREE flower template printable and cut the outer shape of your flower of choice into 3 layers of felt at the same time. If you can choose a base layer that is the stiff kind of felt sheet and top with 2 layer of the traditional softer felt. This will make cutting and assembly much easier all around.
Reserve your bottom (single piece) layer and set aside. Next cut the most obvious, outer, shapes from the template on the second layer of pre-cut felt. Lastly, cut the 'background' layer/shapes into the 3rd. Everything from layers 2 and 3 will fit together like a puzzle, just mix and match however you'd like the colors to pop through. With the rose template you'll want to cut all the shaped out of both the 2nd and 3rd layers then just place them together into 1 single layer (leaving half leftover for a second rose) and glue them directly onto a single layer base.
DIY Flower Car Vent Clip Air Freshener + Tips To Improve Your In Car Air Quality. #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
DIY Flower Car Vent Clip Air Freshener + Tips To Improve Your In Car Air Quality. #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
You can go simple with your leafs- they mainly serve to act as a small pop of color and the portion that will stick primarily into your car's air vent. Securely glue them together, over-lapping partially, then glue them onto 2 clothes pins. Lastly, glue your completed flower onto the leaves.
DIY Flower Car Vent Clip Air Freshener + Tips To Improve Your In Car Air Quality. #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
Add a few drops of essential oil to the felt flower- preferably at the top where fingers won't have to directly touch to pinch and insert the clips into your vent. Or course you can also clip the flower into your vent and apply the essential oils after. Depending on the quality of fragrance (and where you're in a warmer climate where your car might 'bake' during the day) a few drops will last a week of more for fragrance. These little air freshener clips can be re-used endlessly, just add more essential oils.
I like to make these vent-clip air fresheners as gifts, and seasonally to add a handcrafted touch to my vehicle. They're quite affordable to make and I find 4 felt sheets will make about 6-7 with scraps left over. Best of all they're the perfect compliment to my new FRAM Fresh Breeze® filtered air!
DIY Flower Car Vent Clip Air Freshener + Tips To Improve Your In Car Air Quality. #FRAMFreshBreeze #AD
With the warmer months upon us I'm sure we will all be driving more, to some pretty exciting places and adventures. When was the last time your cabin's air system had a refreshing? Chances are it's long overdue. I'll admit, I was pretty horrified when we opened up our engine compartment to see we'd been breathing the air through our car vent system without and form of filtration! Thanks to FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filters at Walmart the entire family can breathe a sigh of relief- and, thanks to my adorable vent clips it smells FABulous. Now, dish- did you know your car had a cabin air filter? When was the last time it was replaced?

What Daughter Says: The air inside your car could be 6x more contaminated than the air outside. Maintain your car's cabin air filtration system for a better in car air experience.