Mason jar valentine + free printable


Mason Jar Valentine +Free Printable

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we have been busy making little cards for Sean’s preschool classmates and teachers. I had this idea to make gifts for his teachers, and decided to just turn it into a printable so you could enjoy it too!

You’re going to need:


Each printable is enough to decorate 4 jars! You can either color the sheet, or print it out on some scrapbooking paper if you want to skip this step. Cut each piece along the dotted lines and you are ready to get started!


Wrap the paper band around the mason jar and tape it in place. I tried using an ‘off brand’ 16 oz jar, and for some reason it did not fit. The good ol’ mason jar worked perfectly.


Tape or glue the heart in place to cover the band seam. Fill it with your candy or chocolate and it’s all done! I used the colorful conversation kisses. I think that all the colors make it so pretty! Now that I’m thinking about it, I bet it would be really fun to put a homemade cookie mix in it! It makes a really cute teacher gift when the kids decorate it with their stamps, stickers, and crayons. You could even use it as a vase to put flowers in.


This doesn’t just have to be a ‘gift jar’. Use it as a cute date night jar, blessing jar, or an adorable coin bank. Get creative and show me what you came up with by tagging me @TokyoBlossom on Instagram or Twitter!

Click the heart to get your free printable!



Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

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Making Yourself a Priority to Serve


Making Yourself a Priority to Serve

For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you guys know that my sister, Joy, came to hang out with us, not too long ago. We did everything from play with makeup to having a much needed girl’s night. But outside of laughing till we cried and acting crazy like we normally do when we’re together, I learned somethings really important about myself. We were talking about church, work, etc. when all of a sudden she looked at me and asked, “Julie, what do YOU want to do?” The last several years have been full of learning experiences that have stretched us. It’s matured me, made me more practical, and taught me some really important lessons, but in the process I lost something…

I had spent the last several years pouring my heart and soul into my family and business, but I had quit making it a priority to invest in myself, outside of the basic necessities, like my devotions and physical health. It was a scary moment for me, because right then, something clicked. I thought I was being practical, unselfish, and hardworking… but in reality, I was tired, burnt out, and disappointed by the lack of little dreams that brought sparkle to my life. Was it possible that I could spend my entire life not making myself a priority at all, in the name of ‘serving others’? Was it possible that I would look back and regret what I didn’t do, because I thought I was doing a good thing?

I think it’s VERY important to pour out to others, unselfishly serve, and do our very best to bring honor to the Lord. But if I denied my family things like opportunities to cultivate their dreams, moments of relaxation, and fun times with friends, they would probably think I was heartless, yet here I was doing that to myself. It was a huge reality check for me, and here is what I’m doing to fix it:

1. Be honest with yourself.

The biggest lie we ever tell is often to ourselves. ‘You don’t deserve happiness’, ‘you’re being overindulgent’, ‘other people will think you are lazy if your take time for yourself’, are all lies that can fill my mind if I let them. Just stop! Talk to yourself like you would talk to a loved one. Being honest and direct, with a heart of compassion is far more productive than the ugly lies will ever be.

2. Realize that you have to fill up first.

It’s very tempting as a mom to dive into my day, head first, before investing in myself. My kid is hungry, we woke up late, I have to be somewhere early… All of those things are legitimate reasons to go into overdrive, but without filling up our soul with the proper care, we won’t have much to offer. I start my day out with my quiet time with the Lord, and I exercise most days, but I am trying to add one more thing just for the pure fun of it. That may be reading a chapter in my favorite book, or it could be watching a funny video clip that makes me laugh. Whatever it may be, I want it to be something that helps me to start my day off on a fun note.

When you fly on a commercial airline, the flight attendant will instruct you to place the oxygen mask on your own face BEFORE you help anyone else. There’s a reason for that. If you are oxygen deprived, then you won’t be able to help anyone else efficiently. It’s the same way in life. We can’t expect to be able to help others, if we are constantly running on empty.

3. Schedule yourself in.

Go on, do it! You’re not being selfish when you make time for yourself. This is going to sound silly, but I used to try to avoid taking a nap as much as possible. I would think, “What a waist of time!” until my body was so desperate for rest that I would fall asleep sitting up. I started blocking out time on the weekends to take an afternoon nap and it’s made a huge difference. I put lavender oil in my oil diffuser, put on some relaxing music, and allow myself to get some quality rest. My family is much happier when I take the time to rest! By the way, I use the Essential Oil Diffuser for Aromatherapy – 100 ml Premium Aroma Cool Mist Humidifier with changing Colored LED Lights, Waterless Auto Shut-off and Adjustable Mist mode to help me relax and I absolutely LOVE it!

4. Remove negativity.

Sometimes we are in situations that can’t be changed right away. Maybe you are facing tough financial times, and while you are working towards paying it down, you’re still dealing with the stress. We can’t always remove all negativity from our life, but we can all remove something. Start with what you can do!  Maybe it can be something as simple as seeing your current situation with new eyes and choosing to be more grateful for it, or something as difficult as letting go of unhealthy relationships.

5. Find accountability.

If you have struggled in the past to make yourself a priority, be sure to set people around you that will keep you on track. Wether your tell a friend or close family member, make sure it’s someone with your best interest in mind and genuinely loves you. Chances are, if it’s someone who is near and dear to you, they’ll already be aware of your struggle and will want to be there for you. When I talked to my husband, he was already well aware of what was going on. It was so nice to be able to tell him everything and then ask for suggestions on how I could make these new changes a reality. He had some very helpful ideas that I know he will bring it up if I start to drift off track.


You can also get my free “Stand Up and Sparkle’ check sheet, to keep you on track, when you sign up for our email club!



Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page.

The easiest sushi you’ll ever make!


The easiest sushi you’ll ever make!

When most people think of sushi here in America, they generally associate it with the appetizers that are offered at a local buffet, or ‘1/2 price roll night’ at the local hibachi steak house. For me, it makes me think of everything from a Japanese art form that chefs spend years training for, to a simple ‘chirashi’ or scattered sushi that looks more like a casserole that you take to a potluck.

There are so many variations to this Japanese food, but today I’m going to be sharing a really basic recipe that’s a favorite at my house. I’m able to get all of the ingredients at my local grocery store without having to make a special trip to an Asian food store.

You’re going to want to have the following before you get started:
  • 2 cups Calrose or a short grained sushi rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 Tbs Japanese rice vinegar (I use Mitsukan brand)
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Salt
  • A square pack of toasted seaweed
  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 3 Tbs Mayo
  • A sushi mat


I use a rice steamer to cook my rice, but you are going to want to cook the rice and water according to the package instructions. After the rice has cooked, stir in the vinegar, sugar, and salt, giving it a chance to cool to room temperature. There is a great tutorial on food network where you can see the sushi rice being prepared. In this tutorial, he uses some smaller rectangular sheets of sushi, but for ours, we will be using the larger square sheets.

While your rice continues to cool, mix the drained tuna with your mayo. This is going to be your filling! Lay your mat out flat on the counter and put a sheet of seaweed, rough side up, on top of it. Spread your rice mixture in an even layer across the seaweed, leaving a 1 inch gap across the top of the sheet. The gap helps the roll to ‘seal’ when your go to roll it.

Spoon the tuna in one thick horizontal line across the rice, then gently lift up the edge of the mat that is closest to you. Slowly begin to roll it away from you. Be careful! Don’t let the mat get rolled into your sushi! Keep going until you’ve rolled it completely around, and now you have your first tuna roll!

Now that you’ve rolled them, your going to slice them into bite size pieces. The key to getting a clean cut with your rolls is to make sure your knife is wet before you begin. This will help to keep the rice from sticking to your knife, and allowing it to cut right through. Don’t worry if your end pieces fall apart. It’s normal for that to happen, and you can always eat them as a snack before dinner. Hehe.


Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!


This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page.


The encouraging letter box.


Do you ever forget to keep in touch with people that you may not see on a regular basis? Solution = the letter box!

I’m going to show you a little letter box trick that has helped me to write my loved ones more often. I’m seriously introverted, so above calling or texting, I love letter writing via the old fashioned, snail mail way. Plus, it really gives me an excuse to buy pretty stationary!

When you set up your letter box keep in mind that this is the system that has worked best for me, but you can get creative with the concept, to make it work for you! I started off with a pretty box that would hold the notecards I have on hand. I think this was actually a box that I got on clearance at the craft store. It ended up being perfect! Whatever box you use, make sure it’s something you really love. I don’t care if it’s new or repurposed, but it needs to be something that you really enjoy using. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are going to want to use it!


I put everything I would need to write an encouraging note into the letter box. Pre-stamp, and label your envelopes. By making it easy to just ‘grab and go’, you’re making it easier to form a habit! I have a list of loved ones that I write on rotation. Postage can get a little pricey, so I send out the letters on designated days, and then text people on the other days. You can change up how you plan it, but I’ve found that having set ‘mail days’ helps me to actually do it.

A little card might not seem like a big deal, but sometimes it’s those little cards that give us just the encouragement we need for the day!

Hey! I hope you enjoyed today’s Periscope! If you didn’t catch it live, you can always see it again here.

A week of new things.


This has been a week of new things for me. Everything from a crazy girl’s night out to the web site launch has kept me on my toes! Here’s a little look into what I’ve been up to.
New planner accessories.
My line of planner accessories launch in less than two weeks!! I’ve had a lot on my plate this last month, so there has been a lot of last minute work happening, but I’m so excited about how each color/piece/design is coming together. Something about all that glitter just makes me so happy. ?
More family time.


I’m not going to lie… 2015 wasn’t one of our finest years. We had a lot of amazing things happen, but we really let a lot of important things slip through the cracks. One of those things was actual quality time as a family.
We would do a few things here and there, but by the time we got around to having a family night, we were so stressed out that our minds were elsewhere. This year we are making an extra effort to ‘turn off’ everything that’s going on and focus on each other.
I tried the Cheesecake Factory for the first time!


My sister came to spend part of the weekend with us, and while she was here, she took me out for a girl’s night. I did a lot of things I had never done before! We drove to a mall I had never been to, ate at a restaurant I had never tried, and even went into a makeup store that I was a little intimidated by. (It was fancier than I was used to.)
I was so excited because, most places don’t have a gluten free dessert menu, but the Cheesecake factory had the most amazing GF chocolate cheesecake. Did I say it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G???
Hey! I hope you enjoyed today’s Periscope! If you didn’t catch it live, you can always see it again here.

Colorful Bobby Pin DIY

Today’s colorful bobby pin tutorial is super easy! Chances are, most of you gals will have the materials on hand. All you need is:
  • Your favorite color nail polish. (bright is best)
  • The type of bobby pin you normally use.
  • A piece of card stock or thick paper.


You’re going to want to slide your bobby pins onto the piece of card stock. You can use a regular piece of paper if you don’t have card stock. This is going to help to keep the pins from sticking together when you paint them. When you’re painting more than one pin in the same color, it’s ok if they are side by side on the card as you paint them. If you’re changing up the colors like I did in this photo, be sure to give yourself enough room to keep the colors from mixing.


For this project, I used COVERGIRL Xl Nail Gel Whole Lotta Guava 710 0.44 Fl Oz that I found on clearance at Target. If you use black pins like I did, make sure the colors you pick are really bright. I tried to do one in a dark purple, but the color didn’t show up as well as I would have liked.

As you paint the tops, don’t worry about getting the nail polish on the card stock. For some reason, when the polish is completely dry, the pins will slide off clean with no problems. Just remember that making sure that the polish is COMPLETELY dry is key. If you pull them off too soon, they will smudge or end up sticking together!


The result is so pretty, and nobody will ever know that you did it yourself unless you tell them!

Hey! I hope you enjoyed today’s Periscope! If you didn’t catch it live, you can always see it again here.

Don’t forget to sign up for the email club so you can get the free ‘Stand Up and Sparkle’ printable! I’m so excited about going through the check sheet with you guys starting next week!


This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page.

Learning to stand up and sparkle.

I hope your enjoyed the very first ‘stand up and sparkle’ Periscope show! If you didn’t get to join in live, you can always see the replay here.

It’s been some week prepping for this show! I’ve done everything from learning how to set up automated emails so you can get your free ‘Stand Up and Sparkle’ printable when your sign up for my email club, to learning how NOT to open up a P.O. box at the post office. But I love you guys, and you’re totally worth it! 😉

All of the hurdles I had to jump, leading up to launch day made me realize how much this show is just as much for me as as it is for my listeners. Just a few years ago, I would have probably ran and hid after bumping into the first obstacle, but if I had, I would have missed out on making friends with so many of you guys through Periscope!


Call it what it is!

So many times, we create elaborate explanations for why we won’t do new things. We say that it’s not our passion, we don’t have time, or it just wasn’t meant to be. Those things all could be true, but more often than not, we use it as an excuse to not do the things that we’re afraid to do. So call it what it is! You’re afraid…

We’re afraid of what other’s might think of our new venture, we’re afraid of failing, or we’re afraid of rejection. Whatever it is, until we admit to the root cause, we can’t move forward. So face it and get it out of the way, because we’re gonna do big things together!

Close your eyes and jump!

Sometimes we try to wait till we’re not afraid to make that first move. We’re waiting for the courage to make the jump, to send that scary product pitch, or to tell people about our big dreams. But what we don’t realize is, that doing those very things that terrify us is what breeds the courage to do more. It’s ok to be afraid when you take that first step. It’s not ok to let that fear keep you from starting.

You can’t go anywhere until you start!

Have you ever been afraid to do something new because you had a fear of messing up, or not being able to do it as well as you thought you should? I have. I tend to be a perfectionist, and while that helps me to work on details, it can also be my #1 enemy when I get ready to do something new. Even as I was getting ready to launch my site, I was having second thoughts. I kept thinking things like, “What if someone thinks my site looks mediocre, or what if there’s a glitch along the way.” I had to just close my eyes and hit ‘publish’ and realize that I couldn’t start moving forward until I actually started!


Thanks again for being a part of my blog/show! It means so much to me to see familiar faces coming back to join me each day. If this post, or today’s show was a help to you, please share it with your friends. More than anything, I want to be a blessing and a help to others, and that’s only possible when I have amazing readers like you who share my work with their friends! I love you all, and don’t forget to sign up for the email club and get your free printable!!