Sunday, September 8, 2013

September Haul!

September

I am so excited! POPSUGAR kindly sent over their must-have box for August and I  have to say, I absolutely love it!

It came with a bunch of items, but the lifestyle ones (that my mom didn't take!) were a weekly planner from May Designs that is the best one I've ever seen because it doesn't have dates in it so you can use it whenever! It also came with this beautiful gold circle necklace from Gorjana that is so pretty and delicate. It came with more items but I'll be reviewing them on my other blog, A Thing of Beauty.

I also picked up a Guess wallet during their Labor Day sale and I'm so happy I got it! It's the perfect size I've been looking for-so the next time you need a new wallet, check out what Guess has!

I'd love to know if you're a POPSUGAR subscriber & if you got last month's box-let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

On my playlist volume II ft. Lorde, Lana Del Rey, and J Walk

To check out past playlist posts, click here!


Affiliate links included

If you haven't heard anything by Lorde, I absolutely recommend "Tennis Court" to start out! She's an amazing teenage singer from NZ and her songs are very unique as far as pop music go.

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to the music charts by now and her song "Blue Jeans" is my absolute favorite of hers-the music video is also really well done!

J-Walk might seem like a wild card, but if you're an avid listener of Pandora, it's possible their song "French Letter" may have come up. "The Wasp" is another one of my favorites and goes along the same lines as "French Letter".


Thanks for reading & I'd love to know what some of your hit songs at the moment are!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

DIY glitter & studs candle votives! (And how to get the glitter to stay in place!)

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I'm getting ready to head back to college soon and I wanted some pretty things to put on my window sill-I saw a couple of ideas for candle holders on Pinterest and I thought they would be perfect!

I bought little battery operated tea lights from Walmart for $2.50 for a pack of 6, and they fit perfectly in the votives I found in the candle section for $0.74 each!

HINTS & TIPS
-Wash each votive out before you do anything with it. You want to get the Walmart germs out.
-I used tacky glue, but mod podge is probably the better choice.
-Wait overnight for the glue to dry. Trust me.
-If you don't plan to light anything on fire with these, spray them with a bit of hairspray to keep the glitter in place.

"Moroccan-inspired" votive and full glitter votive

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"Moroccan Inspired"
This is my favorite of the bunch! I wanted to do something different so I whipped out a nail art kit I had from Forever21 that was all studs to put on it. Here's how to make it:

-You'll need lots of small round studs and four accent ones.
-Paint a small strip of clear nail polish where you want to place the small studs and quickly place them down. It's time consuming, but doing it this way ensures the studs will actually stick.
-Mark out four areas on the glass to put the accent studs. You can do more, but four is a good number.
-Continue working in small increments around the glass. I was able to use a regular dotting tool, and I first dipped it slightly into the clear polish to make it sticky, and then I picked up the stud and placed it on the glass.

"Full glitter"
Be warned-this makes a mess!

-Work in sections-paint a stripe of glue with a foam brush and then quickly coat it in the glitter. Try to get an even application with the glitter so there's no spots.
-When you're finished and the glue has dried overnight, go outside and spray the whole votive with hairspray. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU PLAN TO PUT A REAL FIRE TEALIGHT IN IT. Hairspray is flammable and could catch on fire if you actually light a tea light inside. Spraying it with hairspray ensures the glitter will stay in place and not drop all over your carpet, but only do it if you plan to use battery candles inside.


"Striped" votive & candle

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To make the striped votive you can do one of two methods:
Use double sided tape to create crisp lines and then pour the glitter on
...or if you're lazy/cheap like me, use the same tacky glue to create a semi-straight line, call it good, and pour the glitter one one row at a time. Click here to see the other version of this project & how it's done.

The candle is also really easy. I don't plan to light it so I grabbed a cheap $1 column candle from Walmart. All you have to do is put masking tape wherever you want the stripe to start on the candle, cover it with tacky glue from there on down, and cover with glitter.
When you remove the tape when it dries, do it slowly because the glitter might want to remove with it!


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I'd love to know what you think of today's DIY! Don't forget to pin if you like or share on Twitter or Facebook!



Simply Swider

Sunday, August 4, 2013

DIY easy, classic bow makeup brush holders!

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I was previously using mesh pencil holders to keep my makeup brushes in, and I decided that I wanted something that would fit the vintage, classic decor of my dresser more. I was inspired by a myriad of projects on Pinterest and actually planned to use glitter on these, but I love how they look with just the bows so I keep it simple!


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Here's what you'll need
Small glass cups. I bought mine from the dollar store in the candle section. I also hand washed these prior to the project.
Tacky Glue. Hot glue might be better, but you have to be much more careful with it because the ribbon is thin.
Medium sized ribbon. I chose grosgrain ribbon because I thought it looked the nicest.
Glitter, it's optional if you want to cover the inside of the glass with it like this project here.


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The bows are pretty easy to create, but they're just time consuming. Start with two bands that will snugly fit where you want them to on your cups. Glue the ends, and leave them to dry completely.


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After that you'll need two more pieces to finish the bows: the actual bow part, which is a long strip with the ends folded into the center and glued; and a small strip to wrap around the center.

Once you've glued everything, slide a paperclip over top to help keep everything together and let it dry.

After that, you just need to slide it over the cup, and if it's sliding a bit, add a small dot of glue between the bow and the glass to keep it in place!


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And voila! Two beautiful makeup brush holders that look timeless sitting on any vanity!

Don't forget to pin & share, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero book review!


I'm not a self help book person. Call me biased, but I always thought that whatever some random person was trying to convey through words in a paperback were just that-words. But, the title "You Are a Badass" and the bright yellow color scheme just...called to me.

This is written by Jen Sincero who has written a number of other books & self help material, but I loved the approach she took in this book. To me it wasn't self help, it was motivational-the kind of thing that light's a fire under your ass and really tells you to stop, smell the roses for two seconds, and then pick back up as a new you.

Sincero also annotates many of her topics with anecdotes from her own life, be they personal experiences or her travels to India which really make it easy to connect to & believe what she says. "Love yourself" is something she puts at the end of the list of what you (the reader) are supposed to do at then end of each chapter-something that I like. Because if we don't love ourselves, then what is life worth living?

The main reason I finally caved & grabbed this book was because I've been a sufferer of OCD for most of my life-and not the "I'm a neat freak" OCD, but the "my brain acts like a broken record" OCD. While Sincero never even mentioned the disorder in her book, a lot of what she said meant something to me and has inspired me to go out and live the life I want to live and not just sit around in my comfort zone or let my subconscious make all the decisions for me.

Bottom line, even if you think you don't need "help", still pick this book up. At the least, you'll get a good laugh at parts.

What I thought: 4.25/5
What Goodreads thought: 3.95/5
Would I recommend it? Yes!

I'd love to know what you thought-is this something you might pick up? Let me know in the comments!

Check it out on Amazon! (affiliate links included)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIY Mondrian inspired dry erase board-from Modcloth!


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So I was cruising Modcloth's apartment section (we all know how many cute things they have!) and I stumbled on this message board that as a graphic design major, thrilled me to no end! However, it's $14.99 (insert sad broke college student face). Amazon also has one for $10, , but I decided to go even cheaper & make my own!

Here's what you'll need:
Small dry erase board-$1 (I bought mine at the dollar general)
Sharpies in blue, red, and yellow-$0 (If you don't have them lying around, they're less than a dollar each)
Ruler-$0 (still have mine from my elementary days!)

Total time: <30 mins


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1. Gather your materials. It's a lot less time to do the project if you hunt down the Sharpies before!

2. Using your ruler, create guidelines for the solid black lines. It doesn't have to be perfect, and I used the Modcloth one as a guide. Best part is, if you make a mistake draw over it with the dry erase marker and it will erase!

3. Once you have all the lines, color in the solid blocks of color. I recommend doing this first because the colored Sharpies will easily mix with the black and create a nasty muddy color.
*Also, make sure none of your Sharpies are slightly dry. My blue one was and it was a nightmare to color in with!

4. Very carefully color in the solid black lines, being sure to let sections sit for a few seconds and dry before moving on.

Overall, it was very simple! Here are some pros & cons I found from this project:

Pros: saving money//easy to make//no artistic talent needed

Cons: can't draw over the permanent marker with dry erase marker, or it will erase the whole design

What do you think? I'd love to know-are you going to try it? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to style denim or chambray shirts!

Denim1

I recently participated in the Sears Style Twitter party, where we chatted all about fall fashion (and I won a $100 Sears gift card for which I am SO thankful!) and one of the topics was denim, and I noticed how a lot of people said they weren't sure how to wear denim shirts.

I'm sure we all remember Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake's memorable denim ensembles in the early 2000's (if you don't, click here at your own risk!) so it's understandable that no one ever wants to repeat that. I have a favorite denim shirt in my wardrobe that I wear way too often-it's such a staple piece! I thought I'd share a little post on my favorite ways to style my polka dot chambray shirt that I got on clearance from Kohls for just $10.80! It's still available online here if you want to buy it!

Without further ado, here's my favorite pieces to wear with a denim shirt on top!



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Circle skirts, white shorts, and colored denim (I swear those jeans are pinker in real life!) are the easiest and most stylish ways I've found so far to wear denim shirts.

I always get compliments when I wear full circle skirts with it-the combo just looks so fresh & girly!

I'd love to know-what's your favorite way to wear a denim shirt? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

EW's Top 100: My take on No. 33, "The Graduate"

Welcome to "EW's Top 100", my mission to conquer the lists of top 100 movies/books/music albums that Entertainment Weekly released in July 2013. To see the full list, click here. Today, I'll be featuring #33, The Graduate.


If you haven't seen The Graduate, here's a quick rundown of cast & plot (no spoilers):

-It stars Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, and Katharine Ross as Elaine Robinson (the main characters).
-The soundtrack is one of my all-time favorites, done by Simon and Garfunkel. It also opens with my favorite song of theirs, The Sound of Silence.
-Basically, it's about Hoffman, who's just graduated from college and has no idea what to do with his future, so he begins an affair with a family friend, Mrs. Robinson while also growing closer with her daughter, Elaine.

What I really loved about this movie was how realistic it was-Dustin Hoffman was just as awkward and confused as I thought he would be, and Anne Bancroft was just as alluring and corrupting as she should be.

One of my favorite scenes was when Benjamin celebrates his 21st birthday by wearing a scuba diving suit in the deep end of his backyard swimming pool and all you hear is his Darth Vader-esque breathing. It's a very striking moment where you really feel the inner turmoil that Dustin Hoffman's character is going through, wondering what his future is going to be.

The film was also wonderfully directed by Mike Nichols-it had some really beautiful scenes of Dustin Hoffman floating in the pool, and it was overall cut really well. Pretty good drama if you're a fan of 60's films!

Here's what I thought overall: 8.5/10
What it's rated on IMDB: 8.1/10

Click here to buy The Graduate from Amazon.com (It's available for free streaming on Amazon Prime!)

Affiliate links included

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Check out this Zara Office City Bag dupe from Target!

ZaraDupe

I've had my eye on the Zara Office City bag for ages, but have never come close to forking over $90 on a bag. So, I have come across this amazing dupe on Target.com for a fraction of the price!

I stumbled on this bag on Target.com, and it says it's sold in stores, but it's actually on price cut for just $27.99 right now! So after tax & shipping I paid $34.97 total-not bad for a dupe.

I did a little more researching before I bought it, and if you'd like to see another review with more photos, check out this review from The Glamorous Gleam-she's what convinced me to cave & buy the bag!

Overall, I'm really happy with the bag. It comes with three compartments total: the first has space for pens & little stuff, the second is an open compartment that can be enlarged by unbuttoning the sides, and the third is specially padded for electronics. My 15.6 inch laptop doesn't fit in the padded electronics compartment, but it does fit in the center when I unbutton it. I'd say if you had a laptop that was 15 inches or less, it would fit in that compartment.

I'm definitely glad I made this purchase because the bag doesn't look cheap or like a knockoff-it's the perfect accessory I need for meetings & events.

Click here to buy the Merona Large Structured Tote Handbag online!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments on the bag-I'd love to hear what you think in the comments!

Monday, July 8, 2013

On my playlist ft. Feist & Gary Jules!

Welcome to "On my playlist", basically where I showcase two songs I've been enjoying at the moment (aka they've played on my Pandora & I really liked them). I have a pretty...eclectic taste in music so there'll be a good mix of genres.

This week, I've been loving "My Moon My Man" by Feist and "Mad World" by Gary Jules.


Affiliate links included.

"My Moon My Man" is one of my all-time favorites; I love the guitar and the rhythm is literally perfect.

"Mad World" is a very mellow song that has a really pretty piano melody (I can actually play this on the piano) so it's definitely not something I'd recommend if you're sad! It's still a really beautiful song, almost haunting in a way.

So what do you think? Have you listened to either of these songs? I'd love to know your thoughts on them in the comments!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to shop for a dorm room on a budget!

DormRoom

Dorm room shopping can get out of hand-and out of your wallet-quickly if you don't keep a tight handle on what you need & how much it is. For the coming school year, I've set myself a strict budget of $200 & I'll show you how I do it & where I shop to get maximum savings!

First step-make a budget
I use Excel to map out a budget-I write a list of everything I need, and what the approximate price is going to be. Then I add it up at the bottom using AutoSum so when I actually buy things, I can enter their price and the sum will change to accommodate it.

Second step-do some price comparisons
Yes, that comforter from Target may be really cute, but you may be able to find something similar for a cheaper price at another store. For example, the trashcan with a lid that I was going to buy for my bathroom would have been $11.97 at Walmart, but I waited to go to Five Below where I found a smaller one for $5.

Third step-shop clearance aisles
You never know what kind of a good deal you'll find in the clearance pile! I've picked up many a notebook or pack of pens on clearance for less than a dollar.

Fourth step-use coupons
No, I don't mean clip them out (unless you need food & cleaning supplies) because you won't find coupons in the Sunday paper for the general merchandise you need in a dorm room. Instead, here's my number one saving tip-sign up for store emails/coupon programs. These are my most used:

-Bed Bath & Beyond-if you sign up for emails, they'll give you a 20% off one item coupon! Total score if you need to buy a fan, ottoman, chair, etc.
-Meijer-if you sign up for mPerks, they occasionally have coupons for 15% off a general merchandise product. A little goes a long way if you have to buy a microwave!
-Ulta-they'll often have coupons for "$3.50 off a $10 purchase" or $20% off an item" on their homepage, which you can use to stock up on shampoo, makeup remover, cotton balls, etc.
-Target-once the dorm room stock hits the shelves, Target has online coupons that they'll often use to post savings on lamps, comforter sets, etc.

Fifth step-stick to your budget
It's really easy to justify an extra $5 poster, but when you do that three or four times, your balance adds up. Print out your budget & take it with you to remind you to only buy things you've allotted for!

Here's a list of the stores that I mainly shop at for good deals:
Five Below
Dollar General
Walmart (online there's fantastic deals on appliances)
Amazon (do bulk orders of $25 or over so you can get free shipping!)

So what do you think? What are your tips for budget shopping? Share them in the comments!

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