Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grabbing Winter by the Crochet Hooks

Something about winter makes me want to cozy up under some blankets, turn on the tv, and crochet until my wrists hurt.  When summer comes along I always forget about this particular hobby (because who wants to be surrounded by balls of yarn when it's 90 degrees?!) but as soon as the temperatures start to drop I remember that, yes, I was in the middle of making a ten foot long blanket.  Seriously, I once made a blanket that was so big I could not fold it by myself.

I used to stick with fairly standard stitches - you know, the single crochet, the double crochet, maybe toss in some chevron for kicks.  But lately I've been feeling up for a bit more of a challenge.  Luckily, Pinterest has been throwing some great new patterns my way.  Here are a couple of my new favorites:

Okay, so maybe that last pattern didn't have a name so I made one up.  I think Starburst is very appropriate.  

Have you accepted crochet into your life, and subsequently have many scarves you need to pawn off on unsuspecting friends and family members?  Do you have any favorite patterns to share?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paint Twister

So, depending on your level of internet addiction, you've probably seen this image floating around:

Paint Twister
I was like, "Paint? Twister? Where do I sign up?!"

I showed the picture to one of my friends, he showed it to his mom, and it was all downhill from there.  We bought some washable paints ($1.06 on sale at Michael's.  I remember exactly how much the bottle of paint was because the cashier rang up each separately in order to give me the best discount), threw on some old clothes, and poured a healthy dose of paint on each circle.  



Unfortunately it turns out I'm pretty bad at Paint Twister so I got out early each round.  On the bright side, that gave me plenty of time to take pictures.  

Next time, we're definitely doing this outdoors during the summer ;)

Paint Twister

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Their Way / My Way: Christmas Decor

Now that it's post-Thanksgiving I can officially stop complaining about stores and radio stations celebrating the holiday too early and start getting into the Christmas spirit myself.  Last weekend I took the boyfriend to cut down Christmas trees with my family and some friends, and yesterday my roommate and I finished putting up our holiday decorations.  I actually managed to complete another Pinterest project for our mantle:

I ended up deciding I didn't want the canvas itself to light up, and put the final product up with a string of lights instead.  

I started by laying out the text and fonts I wanted in InDesign and printed off the design.  I tried to trace over the letters with permanent marker so that it would bleed through to the canvas.  Turns out I used too thick of paper so the marker didn't bleed through at all.  Instead, I ended up semi-free handing with pencil based on the design I printed out.

Next I filled in the sketch I made with Martha Stewart metallic paints.  These aren't very thick, so I put several coats on to make it opaque.  

I added some polka dots for good measure, of course.  

Next up: Lots of Christmas music and cookie baking!  Have you started celebrating the season yet?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ensemble: Turkey

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  With three turkey dinners in as many days my stomach was quite pleased.  All of the colors in this outfit reminded me of a Thanksgiving dinner, with cranberry sauce of course.  Velvet jeans have really become my go-to this fall.  They're so comfy and soft, I want to wear them every day!  

Sweater: Old Navy / Velvet Jeans: Target / Boots: Bandolino / Necklace: Loft / Ring: World Market / Manicure: Essie Powder Clutch

Whenever I rock this particular ring the boyfriend starts to get nervous, he calls it my brass knuckles.  Don't worry, I've never used it for harm.  I actually got it from World Market, which often has some cool pieces for cheap.  Unfortunately the store by my apartment recently closed so that a Walmart Express could move in.  Double thumbs down.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Break


Thanksgiving is traditionally the craziest holiday of the year for my family.  We try to jam pack as many traditions, outings, and family gatherings as possible.  As a kid it was a little overwhelming (especially when I had homework!) but now I love it!

On that note, I'm going to be taking a Thanksgiving Break from blogging for a couple of days.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and see you next week!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Cash as a Gift

I usually hate giving cash as a gift.  I know a lot of people like receiving cash (umm, including me!) but giving it always feels like a cop-out to me - like I couldn't be bothered to think of a gift for you.

That is, unless I find a way to give cash in an amusing or creative way.  My brother sent out a list for his birthday, and about half of the things he asked for were cash designated for specific things he wanted, like brewing beer and buying a new computer.  I thought to myself, those are noble causes.  Perhaps I should contribute.

I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was cute but maybe a little cheesy for my older brother:

But you know what isn't too cheesy for your older brother?  Beer.  Wrapped in money that's designated for making beer.  

Failure of a blogger that I am, I neglected to get pictures of the whole process.  However, I'm sure it's pretty easy to fill in the blanks.  

Step one: tape a whole lotta dollar bills together.  The more singles you have, the better.  After I went to get to the bank to change some twenties into singles, I felt like I was headed to (or perhaps from) the strip club every time I opened my wallet.  

Since you want the recipient to be able to spend these at some point, don't go too crazy with the tape!  I just put two little pieces on either end, just enough to keep them together. 

Step two: obtain some nice beers that come in a handy cardboard carrying case.  I went with Goose Island Pere Jacques since I knew it was one of my brother's favorites, but you could choose this kind if you prefer:

Step three: remove the bottles from the cardboard container.  Take a looksie at your box and eyeball approximately where the base of the bottle would hang out if it were still inside of the container.  Slice a  vertical slit in the box so that if you were, say, to have a dollar bill wrapped around the bottle, it would be able to escape through that slit if it wanted to.  I just used a plain old pair of scissors to achieve this, but for safety purposes you should probably use an exacto knife.  Make your slit about 2.75 inches long and 2 - 3 mm wide.

Step four:  This is the tricky part.  Remember the long string of dollar bills you made in step one?  I want you to wrap it around the base of one of the beers, leaving a long tail.  Stick the tail of the bills through the slit, then slowly put the bottle of beer back into the box, pulling the tail out of the slit as you go.  Did you do it?  Phew!  It took me a couple of trys to actually get the bottle in too.  Now you can roll your bottle back and forth until just a bit of the first dollar bill is sticking through the slot. 

Step five:  Write some directions on the box so the recipient knows what to do when they open their gift.  I simply chose "pull."  

Step six: Give.  And then laugh a whole lot.  Seriously, everyone at the table was dying.  Even though I knew what was coming I still laughed so hard I cried.  Luckily, the blog sister managed to capture a few actions shots:

Brother says, "Hmmm, what's this attached to my present? 

"Maybe I should follow the clearly marked instructions!" 

Huzzah!  What a lucky boy!

I'm sure my brother would like you to know that he usually does not wear suspenders, a bow tie, or a button of himself to dinner.  Or maybe he would...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Decorate: Home Office

I've been looking a lot at home offices lately (for reasons I'm not ready to share quite yet) and have been dreaming about decorating the perfect workspace.  A while ago I shared my desk, but for obvious reasons, it isn't very useful as a workspace.  The more and more time I spend on this blog, the more it seems like typing away while lounging on my bed isn't the greatest idea.  And doing graphic design while lounging, sans a mouse?  No, not really working for me.

When I think of my ideal workspace, I think clean, streamlined, and full of inspiration.

I love the colors in this room, as well as the different work areas.  

The colors in this room are bright enough to be exciting, but not bold enough to distract you from actually working.  I also am a fan of the all-white workspace, it looks so clean and modern.

The orange chair is so fun!  I wonder how comfortable it would be for actually working.  

I love all of the gold accents in this room, it makes the space feel so elegant.  The gallery wall also functions as great inspiration.  

Do you have a home workspace you love?  If not, are the pretty pictures starting to make you feel like you need one?  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ensemble: Bookworm

Between the glasses, bow, and cardigan, I really felt like a librarian in this look.  But in a good way!

Blouse - LOFT / Sweater - Old Navy / Jeans - Gap / Booties - Kelly & Katie

I would definitely consider myself a real life bookworm, I usually go through about a book a week.  I used to buy paperbacks from one of the Borders in my life (had one on the same block as my apartment and one on the same block as my office) but when they went out of business I decided it might make sense for me to get an eReader instead of lugging around heavy books in my bag every day.  I re-read the Harry Potter series (ahem, I may have been involved in a reading race with my sister) right before I took the Kindle plunge, and it nearly broke my back.  Right now I'm in the middle of "Grub" by Elise Blackwell and "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen.  If anyone has any favorite books to share, I'm always looking for recommendations!

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Favorite Font

Do you ever get obsessed with a font and start using it everywhere?  My new obsession is Ostrich Sans.  I seriously want to put it on everything.  It's a problem. 

Free Download Here
In other news, I'm having a second Thanksgiving dinner for lunch today and then going to an unlimited sushi/saki party tonight.  Then I will probably roll around on the ground for a while and moan.  Unfortunately, I'm guessing none of the sushi will involve Doritos.  I hope you all have fun weekend plans! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Inspiration: Naomie Harris in Skyfall

Growing up, whenever my brother turned on James Bond marathons, I would walk out of the room.  I liked the theme and concept of the movies, but thought they were all a bit boring and had the same plot on repeat. 

Earlier this week, the boyfriend convinced me to see Skyfall, which is perhaps the first Bond film I've seen start-to-finish.  I was surprised at how much I liked it, the characters actually seemed fleshed out and the action sequences were phenominal.  What really caught my eye, however, were the feminine and flirty costumes they put Naomi Harris in.  I was dying over that black and white print blouse and mustard skirt she wears near the beginning of the movie. 



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Man-Pleasing Chicken

I found a recipe last week for Man-Pleasing Chicken and was like, "Hey, I want to please my man.  But mostly me."  This recipe managed to do both.  It was sweet and tangy and savory all at the same time.  And of course, the boy ate two helpings, which is always a good sign.

This recipe just had a couple of ingredients and didn't require much cleanup, which are two things I love in a meal.  

Man-Pleasing Chicken

1 package of chicken thighs
1/3 cup dijon mustard (I used whole grain dijon from Trader Joes, which is less creamy but added some nice texture
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 TB rice/rice wine vinegar
Fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

First, preheat your oven to 450.  Next, line a baking dish in foil (this is just to prevent a big mess, you can skip this step if you want).  Then mix the mustard, syrup, and vinegar in a small bowl.

Put the chicken into the baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

Pour a little more than half of the mixture over the chicken, lifting each piece so that the marinade gets underneath.  If you have the time, cover and let this marinade for 1/2 an hour in your fridge.

Bake for 40 minutes, basting occasionally with the reserved sauce.   If you did end up using whole grain mustard, put it under the broiler for the last five minutes so the seeds on top get crunchy.  

Add some fresh rosemary on top and let sit for five minutes.  Serve and enjoy!  

P.S. This goes really well with Rosemary Baked Potatoes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Glasses from Firmoo!

So I've been dying for a new pair of glasses.  You know, a pair that I wouldn't be embarrassed to wear out of the house.  When Firmoo asked if I'd like to try out a pair from their site, I was like, duh!

Firmoo's site is full of different glasses, but I knew exactly what I wanted and went straight to the Wayfarer section and used the virtual try-on tool to see how they would look on my face.  I went with the .  I'd show you a screenshot of my virtual try-on, but I had just woken up, was unshowered, and may or may not have been out on the town the night before, so that's something I'm keeping to myself.  Instead, I'll share this lovely gem that my sister took.  Yum.

I did initially have some issues getting the virtual try-on to work, it turned out my picture was just too big of a file (d'oh!) so I shrank it down and then it worked perfectly.  Silly Macbook camera, your photo quality is just too dang good! 

My biggest question was how would I get ahold of my prescription.  In the past, I've always ordered contacts or glasses directly from my eye doctor so I was worried that asking for a copy of my prescription was like cheating on your hair dresser.  I even thought about cheating and using the prescription off of my contact box, but it turns out those prescriptions usually aren't the same.  Also, your prescription includes something called your Pupillary Distance.  I tried to measure my PD at home but was off by quite a bit.  It turns out asking for a copy of your prescription is no big deal.  Just do it.

Anyway, once I managed to get ahold of my prescription, it was easy sailing.  I submitted my order, and a week later a gorgeous new pair of glasses came flying my way.  I've gotten compliments on them from everyone, including both of my grandmothers and my hard to please sister.  Although to be fair, I was also told that both by my boyfriend and brother that they make me look like a caricature/cartoon character when I make faces.  Especially when I'm wearing my winter hat.  They may have a point.

Interested in trying out Firmoo?  New customers can get their first pair free, just click here to redeem.  Please note that this offer does not apply to designer eyewear.

I'm definitely going to be using Firmoo again.  I have my eye on some new prescription sunglasses, or maybe I'll buy someone a new pair for Christmas.  You know, as a merry way of saying, "I want your face to look better."

Note: While I did receive these glasses free of charge from Firmoo, all of the content and opinions in this post are my own.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ensemble: Daytime Sparkle

Just like a raccoon, I'm naturally drawn towards anything that has a little shine or sparkle.  I've had this skirt for a year or two, but thought because of the sequins it could only work for night.  Recently I challenged myself to get more use out of my closet instead of just wearing the same pieces on repeat, so I decided to try to make this skirt work for daytime.  One blazer and long sleeve tee later, I think I accomplished the task.

Blazer - NY&Co, Shirt - H&M, Necklaces - LOFT and F21, Skirt - Express, Booties - BCBG

I was rocking these amazing booties when I took these photos, but then realized I can't actually wear them for more than 20 minutes without wanting to cut my feet off at the ankles, so I settled for a more practical flat boot.  Poor booties, these rarely make it out of the house.  Such is the life of a gorgeous but impractical shoe.

Do you have anything in your closet you wish you got to break out more?