Friday, April 18, 2014

Sometimes I have really good ideas...

...that I stole from others.

Over the years, I've been collecting useful tips & tricks and storing them in my brain. Disclaimer: This storage system may not be the most reliable so I'm sure a lot of great ideas have leaked out. I also can't take credit for these ideas - they're a compilation of my own ideas & things I've learned from the internet, friends & family. Check it out!


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Health & Beauty Tips:
- Use coconut oil as as eye cream
- Rinsing your face with salt water gets rid of pimples (works for me!)
- Baking soda & water make a great face scrub
- A rolling pin makes a great foot massager! (Don't forget to wash it before making bread.)
- Gargling with mouth wash really helps a sore throat
- Put Vicks in your Scentsy burner to help clear your stuffed up nose



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House & Home Tips:
- Put salt in a cold wash to keep colours from running in the wash 
- Stick a Swiffer cloth to discrete areas, like under the couch, where dust tends to collect. Apparently, these will help draw in dust bunnies & keep your home cleaner!
- Freeze balloons filled with water instead of dumping a bag of ice into your cooler - you can reuse the balloons!
- Apparently, feeding your plants the leftover cold tea in the bottom of your mug is great for them!
- A ball of tin foil makes a great bbq grill scrubber
- Use one of those cheap pop-up laundry hampers as a garbage bag holder. You can get them at the dollar store and they're useful for yard work or camping.



Source

Food Tips:
- Apparently putting plastic wrap on the "knob" of your bunch of bananas keeps them fresh longer
- Have too much yogurt? Freeze it in an ice cube tray & throw it in your blender for smoothies
- Don't have an air popcorn popper? Put a bit of oil in a pop & throw in your kernels on low heat. Don't forget the lid & swish the kernels around often to keep them from burning. (THIS is what people did before microwaves!)
- Freeze your chicken breast in a Ziplock bag with marinade in it. The meat will marinade while it's thawing.
- For easy meals, boil bone-in chicken breasts for 30-40 mins (or until fully cooked), shred the chicken, and freeze it in a Ziplock. When the chicken thaws it will be really juicy and delicious. I even add blanched veggies to the chicken & sauce - then there's a full meal in a bag & all you have to do is thaw & stir-fry it.
- When you're barbecuing, add an easy veggie side dish to the grill. Wrap frozen string beans & carrots in tinfoil with a bit of Thai sauce added, put it on the grill & cook for about 20 mins. Delicious!


What are your best tips & tricks?
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cozy little backyard


I've been meaning to "renovate" my backyard for about a couple of years now... Major fail... but, really, who is surprised? I've got ten thousand pins and countless blog posts listing all the creative things I want to do, yet very few get done. In all honesty, I just love making lists and dreaming about what could be...but I have no follow-through. So... uhhh... I guess I'm going to make another vain attempt at motivating myself to do something I pinned. I wrote a similar post to this in 2012 but this one is better because I MIGHT follow through on my ideas! You should poke me in a month and see how it's coming along. Maybe we won't have any snow left by then...

So, here we go. This is my backyard... or at least, this is what it looks like without 3 feet of snow on top of everything. I can hardly remember. All I see when I look out the window is while... and it's April! Agh!
It's pretty tiny back there but I like how cozy it is. It could be a lot cozier, though, which is where the hard work comes in. 

First, I think I could use a little mood lighting... How romantic! I think a set of patio string lights (like ones you can buy from ChristmasLightsEtc.com) would be nice across the fence. Then, I think some rope lights around the perimeter of the patio would finish it off nicely. 

Then, something that really needs to be done is to put down some pavers or stone of some sort to cover the ugly crushed stone. I really like the idea of using do-it-yourself stone molds like these Pathmate molds I found on Pinterest! 

Belgian-Style Molds from HSN.com
Since I need something cost effective, I think this might be the best way to make my backyard look neater & more polished.

This DIY bench would be really useful, too. Storage is rare at my 80+ year old house. We don't have a garage or shed so all of our gardening tools get thrown down in the basement. The extra seating would help when we have barbeques, too, and would look great on the patio!

Bench DIY project from Better Homes & Gardens
 Now... how can I con my hubby into building this for me?

These upholstered tree stumps are pretty adorable, too. Another cute seating option.

Tree stump diy from Fun.Kyti.me
So... I guess I could keep complaining about the snow on the ground... or I could finally make
some of these things I've pinned! The bench could be started in the basement & assembled as soon as the patio is clear.

Do you have any suggestions for making my little backyard cozy? I'd love your ideas!

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Etsy finds

I've got $50 burning a hole in my PayPal account!

I'm brutal. I love shopping even though I have absolutely no spare cash to spend. But my PayPal balance doesn't count...right? Mmm... bring on the Etsy browsing!




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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spice World Drinking Game

Yes, you read that correctly.

I'm here to give you the ultimate party game - The Spice World Drinking Game, sure to make your weekend complete.

I created this drinking game for this guest post on Venus Trapped in Mars but wanted to repost it just in case you missed it. I know you've all been dying for a Spice Girls drinking game. What can I say? I give you what you need.

I should preface this by saying the game was actually created back in 2004, one Monday night in a small university residence when 5 girls just didn't have anything else to do but drink coolers and keep the whole house up singing Spice tunes. Unfortunately (...or fortunately...?), photographic evidence seems to have been lost in the past 10 years. But I have since formalized the game for your enjoyment!

So, pull out your old VHS player, put your hair in pigtails and strap on your platform sneakers! We're ready to roll!


Possible house rules:
2 drinks every time someone in the room accidentally starts talking with an English accent
1 drink every time you get the urge to slap someone
1 drink every time you get caught looking at the muscle men’s crotches

Photo Credits:
 
 
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beat the Block with Lena!

If you haven't met her yet, you absolutely have to go see Lena from Tiny Painter! She is one talented lady whose blog you absolutely have to read front to back! You'll be super impressed by her blog, by her artwork, and by how freakin' adorable she is!


Since I love her blog so much, I'm thrilled to have Lena join in on the Beat the Block series! Earlier this month, we heard from Taylor from Pink Heels Pink Truck, Bre from Peacoats & Plaid, Olivia from The Lovely Sisters & Erin from Living in Yellow. They all came to hang out & chat about how they beat writer's block! 

Check out what tips & tricks Lena's got for us!



1. Why did you start blogging? And why did you continue?
I started blogging back in May of 2012. It was summer and I had just finished art school and wanted an outlet for all of the pent up creativity I had! At that point my blog was called This Lovely Little Day, it has now undergone a recent rebranding and I can be found at Tiny Painter!

I continue to blog because I love the community I have gotten to become a part of! Everyone is always so friendly and warm and there is always new inspiration to be found when hopping about the blogosphere! :)


2. What are your 3 favourite blogs?
That is a tough one! I think my 3 favorites must be The Secret Life of Bee (http://www.thesecretlifeofbee.com), Selective Potential (http://www.selectivepotential.com) - {Tieka and I are from the same hometown!}, & Being Little (http://www.beinglittle.co.uk)
 
3. What is your blogging routing? Do you brainstorm & create a list of ideas once a week? Do you sit down to a blank slate everyday? Tell us your secrets!
At the beginning of the month I usually find a day to just pour all of my ideas out on paper. I make lists and lists of things I could potentially blog about throughout the month, and what I hope my upcoming month is going to look like! The things that happen in my life have a huge impact on what happens on my blog! I write about life, so if I have goals or hopes for the upcoming weeks, it keeps me active! {Otherwise, I'll probably nap through all of my spare time!} I don't stick to the lists all the time, but if I ever am feeling a little dry on content, I can look back on it and see all of the ideas that I have!


4. Spill the beans. Do you ever get writers block, too? How do you react? How do you conquer it? 
I do! Don't we all? Usually if I am blocked, I take a step back, relax for an afternoon, make plans to do something I love, and let the inspiration come to me. If that doesn't work: I go to the list.



5. What do you do when you're looking for blogging inspiration?
I am always active when following other blogs on bloglovin'... They inspire me sometimes, other times I will find something I love on Pinterest, and sometimes I get inspiration from the outside world {you know, the real world}.. that can be anything from the sound of the river when I go down to be favorite brainstorming spot to the pattern on a vintage teacup I find at an antique shop! 


6. What's your best blogging advice?
My best advice is to believe in yourself! Just because you aren't spilling over with ideas at this very moment doesn't mean you won't ever have another moment of genuine inspiration again! It will come. You have what it takes to be a great blogger, and don't let the block get you down! Reflect on who you are and what you love and soon enough it will come to you! I promise! :)

Enjoy more Lena love by following her on Instagram & Twitter!
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Friday, March 21, 2014

5 things I should be doing instead of playing Candy Crush


1) Reading a freakin' book! My brain cells are committing suicide with each moment I spend on this stupidly awesome game.

I'm currently reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed (awesome!) & The Book Thief (only a couple chapters in so far so I can't really comment).


4) Starting DIY Xmas gifts... Yes, I went there. What... is it too early or something?

I particularly like this easy DIY project from Good and Messy!




3) Knitting... Seriously. My closest friend is pregnant & I have a lot of work to do! I already picked out like a millions things I could make...


You can see the the full post about baby knits here!

4) Actually doing things I've pinned...

... like totally smart organizational projects like this one from Simply Organized! I am so simply unorganized...
 

5) Sweeping, vacuuming, washing, dryer... all those kinds of boring things that adults do. Sigh... Maybe I will just keep playing Candy Crush...






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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beat the Block with Erin from LIY!

I'm freaking out a little. Erin from Living In Yellow is on my blog today!

I'm so honored by the huge names I've had on my blog this past week for the Beat the Block series! Taylor from Pink Heels Pink Truck! BreAnna from Peacoats & Plaid! Olivia from The Lovely Sisters! And now Erin! Each lovely lady stopped by to tell us how they conquer writer's block & to offer up some great tips & tricks!



Erin is total blogging royalty! Hers is the first blog I ever actually sat down and really read; and hers is one of the few I make time to check daily. She is one fantastic & funny lady who really knows her stuff. How does she keep LIY readers coming back everyday for more? Read on to hear her secrets about beating writer's block & finding inspiration!

Here we go!



Why did you start blogging? And why did you continue?

To be honest, I started blogging because my husband didn’t think I could do it. I have this theory that women are usually right and men typically have no idea what they are talking about, so I wanted to prove him wrong ;) I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I published my first blog post three years ago, I just knew that I wanted to give it a try. Within two weeks I was hooked and haven’t looked back. I continue to blog because of many reasons-I love the creativity side of it. I have evolved as a writer, photographer, entrepreneur, etc due to my blog. I also love the community that comes along with blogging. It has been so fun meeting people (online and in real life) during my first few years of blogging. I also love the business side of it. Fortunately I have been able to turn my blog into a part-time job for me and it is so much fun spending my days doing something I love!



What are your 3 favourite blogs?

I have so many favorites and these answer most likely changes daily. As of right this second I am going to have to say Momastery, I Wore Yoga Pants, and Story Of My Life.
 
What is your blogging routing? Do you brainstorm & create a list of ideas once a week? Do you sit down to a blank slate everyday? Tell us your secrets!

I am a very “in the moment” type of blogger. The only posts I plan in advance are sponsored content. Other than that, I sit down to my computer everyday around 1 pm and have from then until 5 pm to figure out what I am writing about the next day. During that time I also answer emails, read blogs, edit photos, etc. So yes, I do have somewhat of a routine however I hardly know in advance what my day is going to look like until I am in it. 

Spill the beans. Do you ever get writers block, too? How do you react? How do you conquer it?
Writers block?! What’s that?! Kidding! Of course I get it from time to time, sometimes for way too long of a time. When I am feeling uninspired I get off of the computer and go do something life enhancing. This could be making a good meal, going out with girlfriends for a cocktail, watching The Ellen Show, taking my dog on a walk, filling up a huge glass of wine and sinking into the bathtub, etc. When I distance myself from the computer and allow my brain to think it’s own thoughts I typically become inspired by something I am doing. If that fails I will read through several different blogs and see if I can gain any inspiration from them. If none of the above works I say “screw it” and come back the next day (or week).
 
What do you do when you're looking for blogging inspiration?
Much of what I said up above in number three. Alcohol typically helps inspire me so I turn to that often ;)

What's your best blogging advice?
It’s so cliché but it’s so true—Work hard, be yourself, and make friends along the way. If you do these three things, everything else will take care of itself. 


As if I need to say this since you definitely follow her already, but check out Erin on Instagram & Facebook!




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