Thursday, May 30, 2013

Snapfish Storage & Albums

I love to order prints of my travel photos on Snapfish. After every trip, I wait for a free shipping coupon code or a "# prints for $___" type deal and place an order. And then, I eventually make an album or scrapbook. I love blogging because it preserves a lot of memories but having a tangible album is awesome. Instead of displaying coffee table books, I leave out my travel albums.

Of course, not all of the photos I order make it to the album, so I keep them organized in a giant storage box (which I got from Michaels for $6).
{hydrangeas are my favorite flowers and I love Paris so this box is perfect for me}

Monday, May 27, 2013

DIY Camera Strap

Happy Memorial Day!

I've been on a bit of a DIY kick lately, if you couldn't tell. This is what happens to me: I get really excited and inspired and motivated in spurts. So obviously, as the title states, today I'm sharing a camera strap DIY. I was thinking about buying a new strap (because I'm just using the ugly default one that came in my camera kit) but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a skinny strap in a bright color with easy clasps for attaching and detaching. The only solution in these situations is to just make one myself.

I wanted it to be affordable (re: cheap) but pretty and of course, functional. My first idea was to buy some scrap leather but then I thought, hey, why not just go to Forever 21 or Target (or a similar store) and buy a cheap belt and use that... so I did.

I found this set of three skinny belts from H&M for only $9.95 - which means each belt is less than $3.32; pretty good, right? I really wanted a fluoro orange strap so I picked this trio.
2 large lobster clasps
2 large jump rings OR split rings OR D rings
needle & thread (sturdy thread)
big safety pin or awl
crazy glue
I started by snipping off the buckle end of the belt. Then, I bent the ends, about 3/4" and made sure the bend was big enough for my split rings.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

DIY Wire Name Bracelet

This isn't going to be a v. instructional DIY post because it isn't v. complicated. I just bought some 20 gauge wire from Michaels and used the little jewelry pliers/tools set I bought a while ago and molded the wire into a bracelet.

The wire was $3 - I chose a pink-toned one - and the jewelry pliers set was about $10 (can't remember the exact price, as I purchased it years ago).
It's a good idea to first draw out your name (or whatever word or design you choose to create) and make sure it's a size that will fit on your wrist and that it's not too complicated to create out of wire. I suggest writing in cursive, since it'll make it easier to create your design using a continuous line. And then, shape away. You'll need to create some sort of loop and lock feature to make sure your bracelet stays in place. I made a little circular loop at the start of my name and a little hook with the end of my wire that would slip into the loop.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Girly Post: Rose Nails

I'm sharing a quick post on how I like to paint roses on my nails. I decided to do a yellow base with peachy pink roses this time around.
Start with clean nails (use nail polish remover to strip the oils from your nails, which will help the polish stick better and last longer). Then apply a base coat and two coats of your base color. Dab on some peach blobs and light green blobs, using the bottle brush; no need to be super precise. Then, use a toothpick to draw the veins of the leaves using a dark green and another toothpick to draw pink swirls and C-shapes to create the roses.
So fun and summery, right?
Here's another close up:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Class of 2013

This coming weekend, my baby sister is graduating from my Alma Mater, Cornell. Ever heard of it? (FYI, if you didn't know, that's a joke from 'The Office' and not me just being a cocky weirdo).

I love love love Cornell. That's a pretty dumb statement because in general, I think most people enjoy their college experience. However, Ithaca is a really charming town with a lot of character and because I'd never lived in such a rural setting in my life, it was an interesting and special experience. My sister's graduation is a bittersweet moment because I no longer have an immediate excuse to head up to Ithaca but of course, it's amazing, because hello, she's graduating.

The ceremony will take place outside. I say this with certainty because on campus, we joke about the "Cornell weather machine." The weather always seems to be perfect for specific occasions, e.g. Cornell days (which is in April when prospective students come to visit); somehow every year, the weather is gorges (re: gorgeous) for the whole week. So, I'm pretty sure the weather machine will come through again.
prepping for my sister's graduation
I plan on wearing a breezy white dress from Zara because it's Memorial Day weekend and we can all officially start wearing white! Kidding. To be honest, I don't really follow that fashion rule because it's stuffy and white is an amazing color that should be worn year round. Since we'll be outdoors and I expect the sun to be out, I will be bringing a pair of sunnies and a straw hat to keep my face protected (on top of wearing an SPF lotion).

I hate the pre-made bouquets available in supermarkets so I'm thinking about making my own bouquet to bring up. I'll let you know how that works out.

As far as graduation gift ideas are concerned, I've gathered a few ideas and broken it down into three categories: work, practical, and fun, and into three levels of preparation, from super thoughtful gifts to quick ones you can grab in a pinch.

Graduation Gift Ideas

  • Work-related gifts: The new grad is most likely starting a job soon or looking for one so this is a great starting point for ideas.
    • If you have the time and cash, consider getting the graduate's diploma framed. It's eventually going to be displayed in his or her office and (s)he will always think of you whenever it's viewed.
    • For a less pricey, less time-consuming option, consider purchasing a nice laptop bag or portfolio. These days, everyone has a tablet so a professional-looking portfolio that has space for a tablet as well as a notepad is great.
    • Oh no! You forgot to get your grad a gift! Run into Target or a department store and pick up some desk accessories, like a pretty pencil cup or some nice stationary. Or, if your grad is a coffee (or tea) drinker, a nice thermos is great idea as well.
  • Practical gifts: These gifts are not as "boring" as the work-related gifts but are still quite functional.
    • A computer upgrade is a great gift, especially if the grad has been using the same computer since freshman year; at this point, it's gone through quite a lot.
    • These days, everyone has a smartphone with an amazing camera. However, I quite like my CSC and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for something that's a step up from a point & shoot. If your grad loves to travel, this is going to be an awesome gift.
    • Crap! You need to get a gift but you don't have a lot of time or cash! Head into Target, Walmart, or even most grocery stores and you'll find a huge selection of gift cards to retailers and restaurants.
  • Fun gifts: If you're a "cool parent" or the grad is your friend or sibling, you probably want to get them something 100% recreational.
    • If you've got the budget, you can fund a trip for your grad - whether it's plane tickets or train tickets or a rental car. If the grad already has a trip planned (backpacking in Europe, anyone?) then why not get them some nice luggage?
    • Or, you can gift them with supplies to enhance their hobbies, like a new bicycle or rollerblades for the sporty grad or new paints and an easel for the artistic grad; you get the picture.
    • Whoops! You totally forgot to shop for a gift! No fear, cash is always appreciated. Just make sure to include a card with a little blurb to congratulate them.
Congratulations Class of 2013!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Current Pre-Summer Wishlist

With Memorial Day a little over a week away, I'm dreaming about the sales at the mall and what I'd really love to purchase for myself. I'd been wanting a great crochet dress for the beach and a pair of round lens sunglasses and I was able to find both in one shopping outing a few weeks ago. Thus, I'm able to cross both of those off of my list and my current wish list looks like this:
my 2013 pre-summer wishlist
  1. cute & casual mini backpack: I'm looking for a backpack in a distressed leather or canvas that will be perfect for quick trips to the beach as well as my upcoming Belize holiday. It needs to be big enough to hold my new camera but small enough to prevent myself from overpacking. I love the mint green Aztec print backpack by Victoria's Secret but that particular pattern seems to be sold out (boo).
  2. baggy scallop hem shorts: I've been dreaming about a pair of pretty scalloped hem shorts for a few years now, but have yet to find the "perfect pair." I'm looking for ones with a paper bag waist (or similar) with a bit of a baggy fit.
  3. chunky low block heel sandals: These don't look ultra chic but that chunky short heel takes me straight back to my childhood. I always felt so grown-up wearing my 1" to 2" heels; and ironically, now those same heels make me yearn for my youth. I love a good sexy skinny heel but there's something about the way these shoes look that make me happy; what is it? Ah, yes, the fact that they look comfortable enough to wear for hours and hours.
Sometimes I dream about having an unlimited income and then I think about whether or not shopping would be more or less fun. For me, half of the enjoyment comes from the coveting and wishing and hoping that the perfect ____ that I'm looking for will come along. Would that desire-related enjoyment disappear if I had a swimming pool full of money? I could be the world's most shallow philosopher.


Monday, May 13, 2013

DIY Garden Markers

I haven't tackled a big and fun DIY project in a while. Half of it was laziness and the other half was a lack of inspiration. However, since the weather had finally warmed up enough for me to feel comfortable to start my garden, I finally got some motivation. I decided to DIY some garden markers. I wanted them to be functional and durable but still look cute. Let me show you what I came up with:

Want to make these too?
Here's what you'll need:
little wooden signs (I got mine from Michaels for $0.29 each)
wooden sticks - I bought a square dowel from Michaels ($0.35 each), popsicle sticks would also work
acrylic paint
paintbrushes in varying sizes + a foam brush for laying the base color
water and a paper towel (to rinse and dry off the brush in between colors)
letter stamps (completely optional)
hot glue or wood glue
clear acrylic spray coating (UV resistant)
I started by painting a base coat of paint on the wooden signs. I used white but any pale color would've be nice (like pale yellow or pale green). I like using a foam brush because it paints nice and evenly without leaving any brush strokes. The base color serves two purposes: it seals in the wood and adds to the waterproof factor (which will prevent the wood from rotting) and it provides a clean smooth surface for painting the veggies and letters on without the paint bleeding into the grain of the wood.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Girly Post: Blue Eyeliner

I've been daydreaming out warm weather and beach holidays for quite some time now - probably the second I stepped on the plane to leave Puerto Rico back in November. I recently bought a blue eyeliner from Makeup Forever (Turquoise 7L) because I wanted to take it with me to Belize to rock some awesome beachy looks but I thought, "why wait?" and rocked in on a random work day.

These photos have been edited a bit (because I wasn't smart enough to take them in decent lighting), but don't make any mistake - the blue eyeliner is seriously bright.
I took this crazy scary close up photo so you could see the eyes a bit better. I created this look by lining my eyes with the blue eyeliner and winging it out. Then, I went back in with a regular black cream eyeliner and lined quite close to my lashes and just under the wings of the blue liner to give my eyes more definition. I did use an eyeprimer, but I have to say that the MUFE eyeliner is budge-proof. It lasted all day without smearing or creasing or fading. You can definitely find cheaper colorful eyeliners at the drugstore, but none in this quality. [Like I mentioned above, I bought this myself so I'm not being paid to say how much I like this eyeliner, FYI!]
When my eyes are open, you can't see the blue across my lids but you do see a little peek of it in the wings, which I quite like.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Girly Post: Fluoro Pink Nails

Though we Americans usually say "neon," I tend to prefer the word "fluoro." It sounds cooler. Is it just me? Maybe. I don't care.

I just wanted to share my super crazy bright nails. I used a Sally Hansen base coat, followed by two light coats of China Glaze's Pink Voltage with a light coat of a pink sparkly Forever 21 polish (it doesn't seem to have an official name - it's just called "iridescent pink nail polish"), and the Seche Vite top coat. Blinding, isn't it?
And it so perfectly clashes with my phone case. It's a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Belize Tour Groups

I'm not usually a fan of going on guided tours, as I prefer exploring sites at my own pace and leisure. However, sometimes, you need a guide. For example, when I went to Puerto Rico back in November, we used a tour guide to see El Yunque Rainforest and it was great because we learned a lot and saw a lot in a reasonable amount of time.

For my trip to Belize, I know I want to see some of the amazing Maya ruins. If I have to pick just one, I think it will be Lamanai (which means 'submerged crocodile' by the way, just so you know). Just google it and you'll see why I want to go. Since we'll be staying on Ambergris Caye, I've been researching what will work best for us - whether it is to take a ferry to the mainland and then rent a car or take a guided tour. Lamanai can be reached via river so I'm thinking the journey itself will be as fun as the destination.

Here are a few links to tour groups that I've found so far with decent reviews:
Tanisha Tours - I don't know how much the tour costs, but I've emailed them and I'm waiting for a response.
Seaduced by Belize - $155/person
Viator - $200/person
Lamanai Tour $125/person
**FYI, these prices are for trips to Lamanai from San Pedro.

I definitely won't book anything until it's much closer to the date so that I can check the weather conditions and make sure our visit is as awesome as possible but of course, I will update which group I go with and whether or not I recommend them.


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