Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

This year has just flown by so quickly. I feel like I say that so often but it's so true every time I say it. My theory is that as you get older, each year seems to pass much more quickly because the proportion of time that a year takes in relation to your lifespan gets smaller and smaller. So, when you're ten years old, one year is a whole 10% of your life whereas when you're twenty-eight years old, one year is 3.5% of your life. Does that makes sense? No? Well, it does to me.
Anyway, I think this year was a particularly good one. I did a lot of traveling this year. I revisited old favorites and discovered new favorites. I was sent to North Dakota for work, which I dreaded but it was a great opportunity and I got to see one of America's coolest sites. I did a ton of crafting and even more cooking. I'm so grateful that I've managed to sustain my two blogs. My food blog has helped me to grow my skills as a home cook and it's starting to gain some traction. This blog right here has been a great travel and life diary, of sorts, and I'm excited to look back at my posts one day when I'm old and grey. I loved 2014 and I have some high hopes for 2015.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Revitalash Update

It's two days until Christmas. You'd think I would have some festive post to share. Nah, I'm just showing you closeups of my eyeballs today.

I've still been using Revitalash daily and it's still working. My lashes just keep getting longer and longer and thicker. It's awesome. I thought I would share another update. It's been about four months and I'm still loving it. I'm also still on my first tube, which is great. And, it's worked so well that my sister is going to give it a go. See? It really works! To be fair, it might not work for everyone, so don't go into it expecting miracles to happen. If you lower your expectations, then you'll be okay. If you want, you can read my initial review and see the results from within one month of use for some more details.
I'm not sleeping. I'm just trying to show you my lashes. And sorry that I look so greased up. I had just done my evening routine and my face is slathered in coconut oil there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DIY Puppy PJ's

I am an animal lover, and I'm not shy about it. Every year, when I pick out the calendars to hang in my office and at home, they're always animal themed (e.g. 'Baby Animals' for the office and 'Puppies' for my kitchen). I don't think I would necessarily relish cuddling with every single animal out there, but I think all animals are cute and hope that they're all leading happy, fulfilling lives.

In my childhood, I think I was a cat person. When I was brought to Toys 'R Us for my 7th birthday, I picked out a Kitty Surprise instead of  Puppy Surprise. Do you guys remember those? Well, people really do change because I am a full-fledged dog person now. I appreciate cats and think that they're cute but my personality is much more suited for owning dogs. Especially because dogs like to wear onesies and I like to make onesies for them. We're just a match made in heaven.
You'll need:
fleece (amount depends on the size of your dog, I used about 1/4 yard)
faux sherpa fabric (just enough for a little trim on the hood)
needle & thread (or sewing machine)
paper for making patterns

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Italy 2015 Brainstorming

I had a brief three or four days in Rome back in 2009 and that has been the extent of my interaction with Italy. To be v. honest, even though Italy is a major hotspot for travelers, it's never been high on my list. Despite my love of pasta, I've always been a bit nervous about traveling in a country where I don't speak the language.

But, as I have mentioned here and again on my blog, I like trying new things and as much as I'd love to revisit the places I've fallen in love with again and again, I want to see what else is out there in the world and step out of my comfort zone once in a while. So, my favorite travel partner (baby sister) and I are headed to Italy in April.

I had no idea that Milano Malpensa (MXP) was such a happenin' airport. I say that because the flights there were extremely reasonable. Out of JFK, I managed to find direct flights for $650. Can you even believe that? So deliciously affordable, I can barely stand it. Ultimately though, I ended up forking over an extra $75 to fly out of Newark (EWR). I live so much closer to Newark Airport; it's just a 25 minute drive from my house. JFK, on the other hand, takes an hour and a half to get to even when there's no traffic and it's just hassle to be picked up there as well. That's $75 well spent, I'd say. And in other good news, the euro and the dollar are a little more equally matched these days, so any of the flights we book through Easyjet and/or Ryanair right now will have a friendlier exchange rate.

I haven't figured out exactly what we're going to do while we're in Italy for nine, almost ten days. When we went to France earlier this year, we really enjoyed city hopping via train and plane and I think I want to do something similar with this trip. Again, I'm quite nervous because of the language barrier and also because I really don't know that much about Italy, but I'm excited nonetheless and of course, I'm incredibly willing to learn more. I even bought a little phrasebook to get myself acquainted with the language. I have to brush off my French and Spanish hats and don my Italian one. A fedora, perhaps? If you're wondering, I picked up this little book from Anthropologie during the Black Friday weekend. It's really cute and compact and I know it's going to come in quite handy.
Here's where I'd really love to go (which I have to narrow down to a list of just three, maybe four):
  • Positano (or anywhere on the Amalfi Coast)
  • Vernazza (or any of the five cities in Cinque Terre)
  • Alberobello (Puglia)
  • Corinaldo
  • Isola Bella
  • Anywhere in Sardinia
  • Bergamo
  • Bosa
  • Atrani
  • Monte Isola
The thing is, I need to pick great locations that form an easy, doable loop via plane and/or train. This is going to take some coordination. I think that we're going to go from Milano to Vernazza (via train), maybe spend a day in Genova (Genoa), then fly to Bari and spend a day in Alberobello and a second day in Polignano a Mare and then fly back to Milano and finish off our trip with a few days there. That's the tentative plan for now. I was whining to my sister about how I really wanted to go to too many places and she said, "You know, we can always go back to Italy." So true, and yet, it depresses me because there are just so many places I'd love to travel to, it seems like my bucket list will never be completely crossed off. Perhaps one day, I will be brave and quit my job and devote a few years to a nomadic existence. Until then, I will just look forward to the handful of holidays that I get to plan each year.

Anyway, once I set things in stone (which might not happen until the new year), I'll share the plans and prices here!


Thursday, December 04, 2014

36 Hours in Philly: Eats

I shared all of the sites from Philly last week. Today I'm here to share the best part: the food.
My sister and I had eaten a bagel prior to getting on the road. However, we'd purposely split one bagel so that we'd have room to stuff our faces once we'd gotten to Philly.

Monday, December 01, 2014

DIY Dog Coat

One of the most fun parts of owning a small-ish dog is the clothes! I have a mini schnauzer/shih tzu mix whose hair grows to outrageous lengths. When he gets his hair cut in the autumn and winter, he gets really chilly so he likes to sport a sweater. I say "he likes" because he seriously likes it. He'll shiver otherwise so when we grab a sweater from his toybox, he'll come over, eager to put it on.

Turns out, dog clothes can be kind of pricey. I mean, I hesitate to spend $20 on a sweater for myself so I have a hard time justifying spending that much on a sweater for George Michael. Simple solution: make some clothes myself!
Just an FYI: this is a relatively simple DIY and it involves just a little hand sewing. If you have a sewing machine, this should take you one hour, tops. If you don't have a sewing machine, it should take you three hours, tops. Caveat: you must have some basic sewing skills and an understanding of the way garments are sewn in general. But yes, it's that easy. The secret is in the fleece!

Friday, November 28, 2014

36 Hours in Philly: Favorite Sites

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We stuffed ourselves to the brim and it was awesome. Whilst I enjoy my long weekend and full belly, I decided to blog about Flip Flip Flipadelphia! That's an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference, for those of you who aren't fans of the show.

A few weekends ago, I went to Philadelphia with my sister to visit my cousin and her husband. They're the ones that used to live in Houston. I think my whole extended family - those of us that live in the northeast - was pretty excited to have them living so much closer. We did a ton of walking; Philadelphia is super walkable. And I have some snaps and recommended activities to share! This is quite a photo-heavy post; you've been warned.
The drive was a quick hour and forty-five minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pamper Evening

I love the idea of spa days but I'm a really big homebody and I'd rather indulge myself in the comfort of my own home. So, I just DIY a spa night in my own house. I especially love pamper evenings when the weather starts to get cold. I just think it's lovely to warm up in the bath, relax with some candles, maybe some bubbles, and definitely some Netflix.
First things first, you need to gather up all of your loveliest skin-loving products.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mohonk Mountain House

Last month, I drove up to New Paltz for a little conference for work. The venue of choice: Mohonk Mountain House. So yes, these photos are way overdue, but I thought they were gorgeous and full of autumn cheer and perfect for this lovely Thanksgiving week.
It was a great time of year for being in the countryside because the fall foliage was at its finest. I took a lot of photos and you will be subjected to an overload of autumn colors and crunchy leaves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Providenciales Part 10: Sunset

The sun has gone to bed and so must I-I-I-I! Part 10 is the final installment of my Providenciales series. And appropriately, it's all about the gorgeous sunset.
We went out to watch the sun set on four separate occasions.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Providenciales Part 9: Ocean Sports

Even in my old age (jokes, or am I?) I still love trying new things. For the most part, I'm all about traveling to new cities and this year, I drove around France for the first time ever. But for this recent trip to Providenciales, I was hard pressed to find a new thing since I'd been there before and basically did all there was to do.
Luckily for us, our hotel had complimentary rentals on water sports equipment. And since we'd never tried ocean sports before, we decided to give it a go.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Providenciales Part 8: Beach Beauty

While we were in Providenciales, we did our best to take great care of our skin and hair.
It's v. important to pay attention to what I call "beach beauty" when you're hanging out in sunshine 10 hours straight every day for a week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Providenciales Part 7: Pool

One thing that I love to do when I'm on a beach holiday is to "rinse off" in the pool. If there's only one bath that you're sharing with others when you're on a beach holiday, it's really not the most pleasant experience to wait for your turn to have a shower while you're sticky and gritty with salt. So, it's nice and refreshing to jump into the pool and get rid of that salty feeling. Plus, if you've been baking in the sunshine for hours, hopping into some cool water is a great way to stop the "cooking" process.
This post is kind of pointless. It's not informative and it doesn't really tell a story or anything. It's just a bunch of photos of my sister and me in the pool. It sounds boring but I think these are hilarious.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Providenciales Part 6: Food

If you know me at all, you'll know that food is a huge part of my life. I mean, I've got an entire blog devoted to eating. So, it should come to no surprise to you that while we were on this lovely tropical holiday, we ate a lot of delicious food.

You might be like, "Uh, what? You stuffed your face even though you had to sport a swimsuit all week?" Yeah, because that's just how I roll. Get it? I roll around because I'm so chunky and round? Sorry, I'm sure that didn't need explaining.
You might not be all that interested in the fact that I jumped around on a beach or that I went snorkeling a bunch but if you like food, then this is the post for you! I should make mention that I described my meals in depth over on my food blog, but I picked out the prettiest, most enticing photos to share over here.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Providenciales Part 5: Beach

Obviously, our trip to Providenciales was totally beach-based. 80% of what we packed was swimwear, we toted four bottles of sunscreen with us, and we were staying right on Grace Bay, which is known for being one of the best beaches in the world.
I thought I'd share some of my favorite beach photos today. It was hard to be selective so I might have gone a little overboard but hey, I don't think a little gratuitous turquoise water action is going to be objected to by anyone, especially now that it's getting friggin' cold outside.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Providenciales Part 4: Smith's Reef

I've got more snorkeling shots to share today.
Last time, we didn't find Smith's Reef to be all that interesting. But this time, we loved it. It was so much more fun than Bight Reef.

We started parking along this little road, which was great because it brought us to the perfect spot.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Providenciales Part 3: Chalk Sound

If you're ever in Turks & Caicos, you've really got to visit Chalk Sound. It's a little cumbersome to visit because despite the fact that it's a national park, there is no official entrance. You've basically just got to drive around the residential area and pull into empty lots (most of which are for sale) and creep around to get some good views.

Luckily, it's not crowded and the residents aren't bothered by visitors (as long as the visitors aren't on their private property) so it's actually quite nice.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Providenciales Part 2: Bight Reef

Last time we were in Provo (which was also the first time we were in Provo), my sister and I were obsessed with the snorkeling at Bight Reef. Because it was the dry season, the water was crystal clear and the visibility was incredible.

This time around, we were visiting during the wet season, though I'm wondering if I should put quotations around the word "wet" because it only rained once during our trip. Anyway, the water levels in general were much higher and the waves were a little more violent so visibility wasn't great and it was much more difficult to swim against the currents.
Despite the less-than-ideal snorkeling conditions, we managed to swim out here two separate times and I snapped a few photos with my underwater camera to share.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Providenciales Part 1: The Sands

Hello! Yes, I am back from holiday. It was a week of paradise; perfect weather with plenty of sexy sunshine and a completely relaxing itinerary make for the ideal getaway. I'm totally bummed to be back but I'm pretty excited to plan my next adventure. I'm thinking about three trips right now: one nature-filled trip (where my dog can come too), a trip to Italy (Positano is a must-see on my list), and a late summer trip to Greece (Mykonos and Santorini are on my bucket list). Don't worry, if anything comes to fruition, I'll share it right here. In the mean time, I'll be sharing bits and pieces of my trip to TCI.
Up until just a few years ago, I hadn't been the biggest fan of tropical getaways. I'd always been more inclined to visit busy cities (particularly European ones) because I felt like you'd get the most bang for your buck. And besides, I live near the ocean, a beach is a beach, right? But now that I'm older, I appreciate the "lay on the beach all day like some lazy S.O.B." style trips where you're laying on flour-soft white sand whilst staring at crystal clear waters. A beach is not always a beach. The Jersey shore hardly compares to the perfection of the Caribbean.

This might've been the best tropical getaway yet (I say that every time I come back from a trip though so there might not be much merit to that statement). You might know that I'd visited Provo back in 2012. So, because I'd done it before, this time around I felt absolutely no pressure at all. I knew the island so driving around wasn't a pressure-filled anxiety attack with my sister and me yelling at each other to look at the map. I'd seen all there is to see so I didn't feel like I was "wasting" time by sitting and relaxing at the beach all day. And because it was the off-season, it was much less crowded (not that it gets v. crowded there in general) so it was extra relaxing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Standard Grill

I went out to dinner in the city a a few weekends ago. My three friends and I went to The Standard Grill and had a lovely meal. Excuse the slightly poorer photo quality. I didn't have my good camera but thankfully, my new iPhone is not bad at all.
We started with cocktails.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DIY Cake Toppers

Hi everyone! I'm still on holiday so I'll be sharing T&C related goodies when I return. In the meantime, I wanted to do a quick post on these DIY cake toppers that I made for a friend's wedding.
You'll need:
wooden letters (I got mine from Michaels for about $0.50 each)
spray paint (preferably food safe)
untreated wooden dowels
craft glue

Friday, October 10, 2014

Turks & Caicos: Packing List

Tomorrow, I'm flying to Turks & Caicos for the second time. I'm really excited. I'm definitely in need of a break and I'm excited for beach-worthy weather and sun and sand and surf.

By the way, if you're wondering, "What's so great about T&C that you're heading there again?" Well, first of all, the beaches are pristine. The sand is powdery soft, like flour, and it's white like the background of this blog. The water is crystal clear and unreal and the snorkeling is amazing. Secondly, they use the American dollar and the electricity outlets are the same as the U.S. so it's super convenient. Third, it's so close - 3 hours from the NYC airports - and the flights are typically v. affordable, if you book early enough. It's just the perfect tropical getaway. And now that the weather's getting a bit chilly here, I'm so ready for some steaming hot temperatures.

Here's what I've packed:
turks & caicos 2014

I'm hoping we get a good amount of sunshine but seriously, even if it rains, I'll be on cloud nine. I just need to relax and get away and have some me-time away from work. Last year in Belize, we experienced a rainstorm or two, but it was kind of perfect because our hotel room had a bunch of jigsaw puzzles. What can I say? We love our puzzles and games.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

36 Hours in Toronto: Food

If there's one quality that I must have in a travel partner, it's a mutual love of food. I can't be on holiday with someone who won't get excited about scoping out the best restaurant to grab our next meal. And I can't be on holiday with someone who is satisfied eating ready-made meals from the sad little fridge section of the grocery store.

Luckily for me, H is friggin' awesome and enjoys food as much as I do.
During our 36 hour trip, we managed to hit up five different eateries. Yes, we are impressive. So, be warned, this post is on the longer side.

Monday, October 06, 2014

36 Hours in Toronto: Graffiti Alley

Graffiti Alley, also known as Rush Lane, was one of the coolest parts of this short Toronto trip. Apparently, every summer, graffiti artists come and take over the corridor for 24 hours of legal vandalism.
We made our way over on our bike share bikes (as I mentioned in my previous post).

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

36 Hours in Toronto: Bike Share

I am not a fan of exercise. Let me clarify, I am not a fan of going to a gym and running in place. However, I love certain active activities. Active activities; I need a thesaurus. Anyway, I love walking so I was excited that Toronto is such a pedestrian friendly city. But then we stumbled upon a bike share stand. I really love biking and H biked everywhere when she lived in the Netherlands so we were sold immediately.
It's $7 for a 24 hour "subscription" (or $15 for a 72 hour "subscription") and as long as each ride is shorter than 30 minutes, it's free. If you ride around for longer, you'll be charged $1.50 or more depending on the duration.

Monday, September 29, 2014

36 Hours in Toronto: Kensington Market

Our weekend in Toronto was a dense one, in the best way possible. My past visit to Toronto (in 2010) was a whirlwind. We arrived via bus (10 hour ride), checked into our hotel, had dinner, partied, and hopped back on a bus back home. We didn't do anything Torontonian.

This time though, we flew in (1 hour ride), checked into our hotel, and enjoyed a flurry of activities over the course of 36 hours. Holly and I both enjoy travel immensely. But despite that common love, we haven't traveled together as a duo before, which is unfortunate because we make quite the pair. We were super in sync and we really enjoyed ourselves.
From the airport, we took the Rocket Bus to the subway to another bus into Chinatown and checked into our hotel. We thought we'd just drop off our bags because it was only 10:00 (and regular check in time is at 14:00) but our room was ready!

Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY Yogurt Face Mask

I love skincare. It's somewhat of a recent obsession. I didn't take great care of my skin when I was younger, which I definitely regret, but it's never too late to start. So, since about sophomore year of college, I've been obsessed with lotions and face masks and facial exercises and massages. I have a few different store bought masks that I use weekly - mostly clay ones - but I love DIY ones too. The DIY ones are awesome because you know exactly what's going into the mask (no chemicals or weird ingredients) and they're quite affordable.

This particular mask that I'm sharing today is awesome because it's all natural and it works.
All you need are these three ingredients: egg white, honey, and of course, yogurt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Revitalash Before & After

Yes, I'm back from Toronto, hooray! I've got loads of photos to share but I've got to dig through them and edit them and organize them before I share. In the meantime, I have a little beauty review to share.

I know there are plenty of Revitalash reviews and blog posts on the internet already but I'm here to add another one to the pile.

I bought a two-pack for about $100 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I bought it on a whim, just hoping it would work for me. I've been using coconut oil for about a year, just smearing it on my lashes and eyebrows to hydrate them, which helps them to resist breakage. It did help my lashes to grow stronger and to make them look thicker but it did nothing for the length. I thought maybe Revitalash would do the trick.

The tube looks like mascara and the applicator is a small brush that looks like a liquid eyeliner brush.
The product itself is pretty thin, but it's thick enough that it doesn't drip off of the brush. And that makes for the most perfect consistency because it's easy to apply the product and spread it across your lashes (without needing to double dip) but it won't just leach out and make its way onto your eyeball.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

36 Hours in Toronto: Packing List

Here's what I'm thinking about packing for my short trip this weekend:
36 hours in toronto

I'm packing low-maintenance dresses - ones that will be comfy for the plane rides up and back - and of course, a fun clubbing outfit for Saturday evening. I'll be wearing comfy boots so that I'll be happy walking all around the city and a light jacket, in case it gets chilly.

I'm so excited to carry a tiny travel bag that's stuffed with just two little outfits because I'll be able to go through security in a flash. Of course my camera is coming with me. I've been to Toronto several times but haven't explored it in a touristy setting, so I'm really excited. I looked up cool places we should visit and I have a few sites that are high priority. And we'll certainly Yelp our tummies happy once we get there.

I'm also incredibly excited to update my blog when I get back. I've been traveling so much this year and it's been awesome - Texas, DC, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Teddy Roosevelt National Park, France, Miami, and soon I'll be adding Toronto and Turks & Caicos to the list. I think this might be my most travel-y year yet. Oh! And because my cousin and her husband have moved to Philly, I expect that we'll be doing a short trip there soon. I'm having so much fun and I feel so blessed. So many local trips mixed in there, which is nice because they're budget friendly as well.

Thanks for reading! xoxo.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What's In My Carry On

This weekend, I'm traveling to Toronto with my friend, H, who is also a huge travel buff. I think she's the only person I know who is probably more wanderlusty than I am, and I think that's saying quite a lot. We're headed up because one of the best clubs ever (The Guvernment) is closing its doors soon and we wanted one last awesome cheers. I'll be sharing the good bits of the trip here, I'm sure. We're flying up on Saturday and flying back down on Sunday so we'll have plenty of time for exploring before and after we party.

Since I've got all of that fun stuff going on, I thought I'd share an updated 'What's in my carry on?' since it's been about two years since I've last shared my carry on contents. Not much has changed, really, which I think speaks to how streamlined and cool I am. Jokes! But seriously, it does speak to my preferences because I'm not an over-packer but I still love to have certain essentials at my disposal when I travel (namely by plane).
When I say "carry on" I mean the little bag that fits in the space below the seat in front of me. I never check luggage so all of my bags are technically carry ons but the one that goes in the overhead compartment isn't exactly the most convenient thing to rummage through once you're aboard and flying. That bag has clothes and shoes and underpants in it. The more accessible bag has stuff I might need throughout the flight.

Friday, September 12, 2014

4 Years!

What the heck? Has it really been four friggin' years since I started blogging over here? That's crazy to me. I actually started this blog as a way to document the 10-day, 4-city Euro trip I was planning with a former beau. I wrote down every bit and bob of the decision-making and booking process and then relived it afterwards through this online space. I had never meant for it to be anything more than a personal diary.
This blog has changed a bit since its early days. I've been sharing quite a few DIYs and even a nail tutorial here and there. I've traveled to several new countries (including Turkey and Belize) and I learned that I love to snorkel. And lucky for me, I've got a few consistent visitors and my readership is pretty impressive, considering this is still just a fun little hobby for me.

Here's to another many more years filled with traveling and DIYs and lots of fun. Thanks to everyone who reads. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Miami Snapshots Part 4

This is the last installment of photos from Miami. It's just a mish-mosh of stuff from our last day.
Actually, it's not just stuff from our last day, it's a mix of stuff from the whole weekend. I just got around to sorting through everyone else's photos and there were some fun gems in there.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Miami Snapshots Part 3

The purpose of our Miami trip was for a bachelorette weekend. Three of us flew in on Friday and two more met up with us on Saturday. Once all five of us were together, we started the real fun.
There was a free drink check-in offer through Yelp at our hotel so we met up in the bar before dinner.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Miami Snapshots Part 2

Our second day in Miami was glorious.
We started our morning off properly: with breakfast.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Miami Snapshots Part 1

Happy Labor Day! I was so incredibly grateful for this past weekend. I haven't had a quiet, vegetative, relaxing weekend in months. And if you know me, you know that I'm pretty introverted and I love alone time so I've been growing more and more anxious with every busy weekend. But, I finally got a chance to cool off - and a long weekend at that - so I'm feeling a lot happier.
That isn't to say that I haven't had fun during my super busy weekends. Last weekend, I flew down to Florida for a girls' trip with three of my fellow bridesmaids and the bride-to-be for a bachelorette holiday. Miami was so friggin' awesome. We had a fun time and I wanted to share a few snaps from the trip. I'll be breaking the photos up into four posts because we took so GD many.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DIY Mini Veil

For D's bachelorette last weekend, we went to Miami to relax and hang out and party. My fellow bridesmaids and I wanted to have a few kitschy, cliche aspects so JL brought along a sash and I made a little veil. I was going to make a tiara but I didn't have a spare headband and I think it worked out a little better because this veil screams "I'm getting married!" more than a tiara would. Plus, I think it looks a little prettier.

I think it came out super cute so I'm sharing the DIY here.
You'll need:
4 pieces of tulle, 6" x 10"
1 metal bendy clip
pearl beads, sequins, or gems
piece of felt (white or cream is probably the way to go), 1/2" x 3"
hot glue

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DIY Car Freshener

I'm back from Miami, which stinks. But you know what doesn't stink? These DIY car fresheners that I'm sharing today!
You'll need:
colorful cardstock
essential oils

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY Baby Prints

My friends E and B are having a baby soon! I went to a baby shower earlier this month to celebrate baby boy C and it was a ton of fun. They live in Vegas but they came all the way out to the east coast, which was such a lovely treat. But because they live in Vegas, I had to ship my gift so they wouldn't have an overwhelming amount of luggage on their way home.

I bought a few things but I also wanted to do something handmade because that's just my style. I ended up making a print. Of course, I gave them a little FYI that I wouldn't be offended if they completely hated it and tossed it because I'm not a fan of forcing stuff on people. But hopefully they enjoy it!
Can you guess what the print says yet?

Monday, August 18, 2014

D's Bridal Shower

Today I wanted to share fun snaps from the bridal shower that my fellow bridesmaids and I threw for our fave gal, D. I want to share because 1) I'm proud of the work we did, 2) the space we were able to use was gorgeous, and 3) because it was such a happy occasion. Plus, maybe you can glean a few ideas from us for your own shower.

D's a classy lady with understandably high standards (we're v. similar in that regard) so the four of us threw together a sweet tea party shower with the cutest tea bags and food signage ever (courtesy JR), fun and un-cheesy games (that was all L), lush flower arrangements and plenty of booze (thanks to D's sister, JL), and a giant cake (which was my doing). Garden party was an unofficial theme. We didn't have an actual theme-y theme because D thinks that's tacky (as do I). We just wanted to look pretty, eat pretty foods, and enjoy each others' company.
If you're wondering, I'm sharing the recipes over on my food blog so watch for those. A few are up and a few are scheduled to go up soon. Run on over! But only if you care about food.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Miami Packing List

I'm heading to Miami in a week! Whoo! What's the occasion? We're heading down for my favorite friend's bachelorette party. It's going to be a blast, I'm sure. I'm hoping for gloriously hot weather so I can work on my tan. I've got a few new swimsuits and dresses that I can't wait to show off. Here's what I'm thinking about bringing:
miami weekend

I'm bringing mostly cream-formula makeup for a dewy look (which will also be achieved naturally through sweat and shine) and plenty of breezy clothes because I've been to Miami in August. I know it's going to be disgustingly hot.


Monday, August 11, 2014

DIY Soy Teacup Candles

I love candles. I know that almost everyone enjoys candles but I seriously love them, almost to a fault. I have a stock of hundreds of tealights - which I tend to light almost everyday in the autumn and winter - and several larger jar candles scattered throughout my room. I'll find a jar candle with a scent that I enjoy and then I'll stock up on them and be hesitant to burn them too long because I don't want to run out. See? There's the fault.

Anyway, today's craft is a fun little idea I cooked up for a friend's bridal shower. She's one of my favorite people in the world and she's super classy and cool so my fellow bridesmaids and I had quite the task on our hands. We decided on a garden party theme with tea sandwiches and macarons with tons of flowers. We thought afternoon tea would also be elegant and since we were purchasing actual tea cups for the occasion that would never be used again, I thought it would be fun idea to repurpose them into candles so that everyone could take them home as party favors. This was also an economical choice for us, since we had a limited budget to work with and I already had all of the materials for candle making.

Because I didn't want to go into the activity blind, I thought I should do a test run. And the test run was a success, duh, because I'm sharing this today.
You'll need:
cute teacup (I bought mine from Christmas Tree Shops for $3)
soy wax flakes (available at craft stores but it's so much cheaper on Amazon.com)
fragrance (I used coconut)
double boiler and metal container with lid (or a container specifically meant for melting wax)
stirrer (something disposable like a wooden skewer)
hot glue
tag & marker (optional)
Start by cleaning the teacup. You don't want any residue on the cup that might end up either floating in the candle wax or preventing the wax from sticking to the cup.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Dakota Zoo

The Sunday after the rodeo, I had to check out of my Bismarck hotel and head back to Beulah. I had the whole day with no plans so I decided to check out the Dakota Zoo. Admission was only $7.25 anyway so why not?
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't really expecting much, especially considering the cheap admission. But this zoo was actually really nice! The way that most of the enclosures were set up was really nice because they allowed you to get decent shots of the animals. I ended up having more fun than I thought I would.

Now, this isn't a lesson in animals, so I'm just going to share what I saw.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Rodeo!

This post is a month and a half overdue but I had too many other posts lined up and I didn't want to disturb the flow. Anyway, back in mid-June, while I was still working in North Dakota, my coworker and I got "kicked out" of our hotel for one night because they were overbooked. So, we decided to head to Bismarck for the evening. Lucky for us, the PBR Bull Riding Competition was in town that weekend so it wasn't a waste of a trip to town. I know what you're thinking, Pabst Blue Ribbon? No, no, it was the Professional Bull Riding competition.

I never, ever thought I'd go to a rodeo - though this was technically not a full rodeo, as rodeos feature several different components of cattle herding and related competitive activities, but you get the drift. Anyway, it turns out that when you're in this neck of the woods and there isn't much going on, you are easily persuaded into these things. General admission was only $18 and the Bismarck Civic Center was small enough that anywhere you sat was bound to be a decent seat.

The evening started with a prayer - which I found interesting but cool - and then a local girl sang the National Anthem. You know you're in the midwest when the singer is wearing fringe and she sings, "that the flag was still there..." and pronounces it "fleh-y-g."
The bulls were kept in their little pens and I thought they were so cute! I'm a big softy when it comes to animals so I can appreciate almost anything furry (except rodents, gross!). I've read about the controversial issues regarding animal welfare and cruelty associated with bull riding so I was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing but these little guys seemed to be okay with their lifestyle, especially considering the small scale of this event. I mean, I didn't personally interview every single bull, but they're being fed and cared for and no one's eating them for dinner, right?

Monday, July 28, 2014

DIY Beach Caftan

We're done with France posts. I feel like I could end that sentence with the word "finally" or "sadly" - I'm torn and I can't choose. It's kind of like, whoa dude, you managed to write 20+ posts about a weeklong trip, overkill. But at the same time, I'm sad it's over! I loved reliving the trip when I was writing the posts (I wrote them all over the course of a week or so and spread them out over the past two months because it's my blog and I do what I want) and I loved reliving the trip as I re-read the posts that I wrote. It's been a fun journey and I can't wait to do it again and again with every holiday I experience.

Anyway, now that we're done with France, we can move on to the other current happenings in my life. A few months ago, I went to JoAnn Fabrics to get some vinyl fabric for my DIY clutch. My sister was with me and we were both in crafty moods so we spent a little while walking around, digging through stacks upon stacks of fabrics to see if there was anything we wanted to grab for some other DIY projects. While I was browsing, I spotted the most glorious pink and gold fabric that I thought would be great for making a beach coverup. The bolt was practically empty but that leftover piece was the perfect size for my craft.

Inspired by a beautiful Marena y Sol caftan that I have, I decided to make a simple, functional, and chic caftan with my fabric. I was all set to make this prior to summertime but then I got sent to North Dakota so I had to put my DIY on hold for months. Well, a few weekends ago, I finally got around to making this durn thang, so here it is!
You'll need:
1.5 yards of fabric - my fabric was a mesh-type that doesn't require hemming and the bolt itself was 54" so my fabric was a perfect square piece
needle & thread (or sewing machine)
straight edge
measuring tape
Okay, so here's what you're trying to accomplish. You want to create a slit in the middle, which is where your head will go. Then, you'll fold it in half (with the slit parallel to the fold) and then sew two vertical lines that start from the open edge and go up about two-thirds of the way towards the folded edge. Your torso will go in between the two sewn lines, your head will poke up through the hole, and your arms will just jut out into the open sides.
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