Category: do it yourself

The Voice

My Day at 'The Voice' Auditions

I have been meaning to write this blog post for weeks, but we have been in the middle of a big move, end of school year, dance recitals, swim lessons, a visit from my mom (and that was just last week!) Needless to say, I am happy to be sitting down in one spot for long enough to type this post!

Some of you know that I recently wrapped a 10 week seminar course on Commitment. It was pretty eye-opening, but I think most importantly, it allowed me to once again, reconnect with parts of myself that I have kept hidden from the world. It always seems to boil down to the fear/doubt/question, ‘who am I to… (__fill-in-the-blank__)? Thankfully I have started to talk back to that voice, (yes, I talk to myself), and answer with, ‘who am I not to?’

I grew up in a music house. My mother being a trained opera singer, music major and music teacher, was constantly singing and playing the piano. We almost always found ourselves gathered around the piano having a sing-along, (if you came over to our house in the 80’s – 90’s, you know this to be true.) Music was our love-language, and there was lots of it to go around.

But something happened as I got older. I became inhibited, and afraid of what you might think about my singing. I knew I could carry a tune and even harmonize at times, but at some point letting you hear my voice just felt way too vulnerable. I developed a ‘stage-fright’, that co-signed a story that I shouldn’t sing for people. And I definitely shouldn’t tell people that I sing, because then they might want to hear me do it, and then they might think I suck.

So what happened? What happened is, I recently grew a (figurative) pair, said ‘eff it’ to the booing crowd in my head, and signed up to audition for ‘The Voice’. I told no one, (not even my husband), for weeks. I think I needed that incubation period to let my impulsive choice set in. With every person I told, I anxiously awaited their judgmental laughter, but it never came. Instead, I was met with encouragement and support. And with each person I told, I felt a little braver and took more ownership of my choice, (and my voice).

The day before the audition, I ‘decided’ not to go about 50 times, each time coming up with a different excuse as to why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go. I waited until the very last minute to print my pass. I told my close group of girlfriends at the eleventh hour. It hit me. Once I told everyone in my life, I would be held accountable to show up for myself. With my pass in my hand, and nothing left standing in my way, I set my alarm for 4am.

The day-of was exhilarating. I pulled in to the LA Convention Center at 6am. The line of musical hopefuls wrapped around the building. At each turn, there were guitars playing, groups of people humming and singing, and lots of nervous chatter. It. Was. Awesome. All of these people had woken up before the sun, and showed up to their lives, that morning. I was already inspired.

Throughout the morning, we were moved in to several different waiting areas, each one filled with more and more electric energy. By this time, our neighbors were our friends. And once we were seated in the largest waiting room with hundreds of chairs, it was a full-blown party. The room would spontaneously and consistently break out in collective song. It was beautiful. It was the morning-sing-alongs from my childhood, a thousand fold. We sang ‘Journey’ classics, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Adele’, and everything in between. It was a collective of fully self-expressed Artists, and it was one of the most moving experiences I have had the honor of being a part of.

To be honest, the audition part of the process felt secondary to everything else. 10 of us waited outside of a room. When we entered the large, empty space, a small Asian man with glasses sat behind a large foldout table. In front of him was a semi-circle of 10 chairs, and a masking tape ‘x’  on the floor in the center of the seats. Enter: every single nerve in my body. I was filled with the feeling of “I don’t wanna’. I had practically forgotten that this is why we were here. I became very present to the fact that I was completely untrained and barely prepared for this. But it was too late, and as he pulled our names lottery-style, I awaited my fate.

After several vocally choreographed and incredible performances, it was my turn. Little old me, who’s recent vocal training consisted of a YouTube warm up tutorial. (Seriously). I got up. I sang (imperfectly), and I sat back down. It was done. I had completed my mission. I knew this wasn’t my best performance, and I didn’t care. The victory was in showing up, staring my fear down in the face and making it my Bitch. No one in my group passed through to the next round, not even the guy who had made it through the two previous years.

Walking back through the convention center, past all the hopeful artists I could not wipe the smile off my face. I felt a sense of pride in myself–in all of us, that I can’t properly put in to words. I think being surrounded by thousands of people honoring their artistic gifts, and choosing to live out loud for that day, filled me with the most beautiful sense of adventure. I wish this feeling for everyone, because it is an unparalleled feeling.

So here is what I am proposing. I am proposing that just for today, you honor that secret gift that no one knows you have been hiding from the world, (we all have them). I propose you affirm to yourself “I am an artist”, and allow yourself to play. I am proposing that you make your fear(s) your Bitch, just for today. Sometimes we feel like we need permission to live from this space, so here it is, I am giving you permission to Play Big, today. And I hope that you will report back to let me know how it goes.

xo, Em

Displacement, Migration & Blog Planning: An Update

I like to think of this as a Lifestyle / DIY blog, although lately it has been much more of a lifestyle space. Typically I blog from the comfort of my own home, but for the past 4 weeks–(4 weeks!), we have not been living at our home. I suppose ‘displaced’ would be the appropriate word to describe our current situation, but in reality we are staying with my in-laws. 

Update; chasing ayden

I also just tackled the ever-so-fun task of switching my blog from, to a self-hosted site, (a detailed how-to is in the works). For those of you who don’t blog, this is a bit of a milestone–yay!, (and bit of a pain in the a$$.) I used several tutorials to help me with the first steps, but ultimately relied heavily on the help of the insanely talented (and patient), Deb Foley. (If you would like to avoid the headache of this task, I highly recommend her services.)

Needless to say, things have been chaotic, but I hate to be out of touch for long. Also, I didn’t want you to think I was just being a slacker. The good news is, I have had a ton of time to get my (million and counting) ideas down on paper, (in my new blog planner). I have some really exciting things planned for this year that I can not wait to share with you.

epic blog
blog planner by: By Regina


In addition to my own ideas, I would love to know what you would love to see more of: collaborations, DIY, contests, personal pieces, life hacks, tutorials, photos, etc! So please join (or start) the conversation below.

xo, Em

The Best of Pinterest

Best of Pinterest

Alright crafty friends, (and wannabe crafty friends). It’s a new year and the DIY possibilities are endless. So let’s talk about Pinterest. Pinterest offers an infinite abyss of clever DIYs, beautifully styled homes, delectable-looking recipes, insanely cute outfits and pretty much anything else your inner idealist could hope for. Let’s be honest, it’s fun to lay in bed, scrolling through images of ‘ideas’ (or ideals). In fact, one could even argue that it is like a virtual vision board, helping you to manifest a life you desire… Am I pushing it? Regardless, it is fun and a great place to get ideas for projects.

When I joined Pinterest a few years ago, I made a non-spoken agreement with myself, that if I was going to play in this perfect little fantasy-land, I had to at least attempt to execute some of these projects. Otherwise, it seemed like a huge waste of my time. Through a lot of trial and error, (and a few epic fails), I have selected what I believe to be the best DIY projects of Pinterest. Some I have recreated, and some are still on my to-do list.

My criteria for this are as follows:

  1. Easy to execute and emulate.
  2. Fun.
  3. Functional.
  4. Realistic.
  5. Within a reasonable budget.

Button Magnets

Hey you! Yeah you, the one with the pizza delivery and taxicab magnets (that you got for free in the mail), adorning your fridge; this one’s for you! It really doesn’t get much easier than this, and the finished product is nothing short of adorable. All you need is some buttons, magnets and your hot glue gun.


Scrabble Art

I am a bit of a self-admitted word-nerd, so obviously I love me some scrabble art. Wouldn’t this make for a cute gift? I made a piece of art like this, but I used an actual scrabble board as my canvas. It included my family’s names, with words like ‘family’, ‘love’ and ‘home’ woven in perpendicularly. It currently resides in our humble abode.

scrabble art

(We also used my scrabble creation as wedding decor)
(We also used my scrabble creation as wedding decor) Photo cred: Sarah Field Photo

Earring Holder

Here is another genius idea, and happens to be one of my very first successful Pinterest DIYs. I love a functional craft! To spruce things up, (and because I didn’t have chicken wire or screen on hand), I used black fishnet instead. I use my earring holder for my larger, dangly earrings.

earring holder earrings

Scrabble Coaster

Love. These. Coasters. These are on my to-do-someday list. The word possibilities are exciting and endless.

scrabble coaster

Mason Jar Chandelier

I think the proper words for this rustic chandelier are, “I die”. In fact, my super talented friend, Steph, has one of these puppies hanging over her dining room table, and I assure you, it is even better in person. Steph’s home is one of my absolute favorite design spaces, and if she lets me, I will be doing an upcoming blog post, spotlighting her beautiful home.


Memory Jar

Every year I say I want to start a memory jar–this is MY year. I am doing it, people. Come December 31, 2015, The McAllister family will have a jar full of memories to read!


Stencil Pillow

More crafts with more words. Seems easy enough, right? Plus who doesn’t love a throw pillow?


Ticket Keepsake

I am one of those sentimental people, that saves every show ticket I have ever been to, (even down to my very first concert; The Grateful Dead, Fall 1993 Tour.) When I stumbled upon this DIY, I knew it was fate and quickly proceeded to create my own ticket collage. If you’re a romantic (like me), these could make for a really cute anniversary gift.

ticket keeper


Animal Silhouette 

Craft paper, scissors, tape/glue and a frame. Quick and easy nursery, (or in my case, bathroom) art.

animal sil

Sharpie Mug

Really, the ideas for this one are never-ending. So easy. So cute.


Faux Zinc Letters

Remember my tutorial on these babies? I love my faux zinc letters. And you will love yours too! #pinterestdoesitagain

zinc zinc1zinc2

DIY Nightstand

A spray-painted trash can turned upside down. Definitely one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’, moments.

night stand

$1 Chalk Sign

Easiest chalk signs ever. You can buy trays like this (and other various shapes), at your local dollar store. Slap some chalk board paint on them, and you have instant party decor. I have used these for many a party. (You can see an example in my gallery from Ayden’s 1st Birthday Party, here.) 

dollar chalk sign

Painted Table

I am in love with this whimsical, space-saving idea, aren’t you? You could even mount a mirror above it and make it in to a vanity. Ideas, ideas…

painted table

Menu Board

Need help meal planning and staying on top of your grocery list? Make a menu board. Game-changer, and pretty darn easy to make.


Revamped Folding Chair

I have two folding chairs just begging for a makeover. Stay tuned for a step-by-step in the near future.

folding chair

Glitter Shade

Sparkly is my favorite color. If it’s glittery and shiny, I like it. This one is a yet-to-do for me, but I am sure that I will find a lampshade (or two) to try this on.

glitter shade

Numbered Drawers

I gave our boring old dresser a super easy makeover, using this idea. It gave our dresser a whimsical, personalized touch.

nmber drawersdrawers

Painted Drawer Interior

Cute, cute, cute! I love a pop of color; so many options with this.

painted drawer int

Gold Mug DIY

This combines 2 of my favorite things; coffee mugs and gold. love how the gold sharpie turns metallic when baked in the oven! (I will be putting this to the test, asap).

gold mg

Gold Letter Magnets

I have a zillion of those multicolored, kiddie, letter-magnets. A coat or two of gold spray paint, and you have magic.

gold magnet

Gold Rock Book Ends

(Told ya I liked gold).

book ends

Fabric Garland

I love me a garland, a bunting, a banner and pretty much anything cute and hang-able. How darling are these? Don’t feel like making one? Buy one from my friend, Shanna.

Fabric garland

Available at: Neni & Co.
Available at: Neni & Co.

Jello Playdoh

I want to make this. The end.


Gold Dipped Feathers

You thought we were done with the gold, didn’t you? Wrong. I have a ar of my own sparkly, gilded feathers on my computer desk. They inspire me and they’re pretty. ‘Nuff said.

dipped eathers

I will continue to collect fabulous Pinterest DIYs for you guys, so keep an eye out for a sequel to this list. I’d love to see your creations, so pretty please show them off to me!

xo, Em

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