March 30, 2015

Brentwood Farmers Market in California


I'm wearing the Pollen All Ivory and Red Floral Print Dress from www.Lulus.com which is currently out of stock :/ It may come back though and I will keep you updated! 

This Sunday I decided to check out another one of Southern California's amazing farmers markets! I didn't realize it, but with the general lack of traffic on Sundays, Brentwood was a super close only 15 minute drive! So worth the trip! 



I picked up some amazing berries. I'm not sure what it is, but if you get fresh fruit from a farmers market it tastes at least 100 times better than store bought fruit. I can never resist and once I'm home, it only lasts maybe a few hours. Yes, it costs more... but it's worth every penny!


The Brentwood Farmers Market also had some awesome clothing, jewelry, and hat stands. So much fun! I didn't spend too much time browsing the racks, but there were definitely some great items there.


And let me tell you about these amazing cakes! Probably horrible for you and loaded with sugar... but oh well, they tasted amazing. Not to mention I was a bit of a latecomer, so I snagged a great deal. Vendors often will give you lower prices if you're there near closing, but be warned that you might miss out on the best items and freshest produce if you aren't there early in the morning. 


Plus, let me tell you about how big of a sucker I am for flowers. Even better are flowers at amazing prices! I bought a bouquet of these lovely hot pink snapdragons that are now decorations my entire apartment. 10 stems can definitely go a long way! I spread them out into four mason jars so that each room could be brightened up a bit. The snap dragons are such a full flower that 2-3 stems can definitely fill up a small vase or jar. 


The greatest surprise to me was the petting zoo at the south end of the market! There were goats, pigs, chickens, sheep, horses, and even alpacas! This particular farmers market was great and I will probably be finding myself back there next Sunday!


Dress: Lulu*s
Boots: Steve Madden
Camera Bag: Jo Totes
** This post contains affiliate links, If you make a purchase through a link I could be compensated. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own! 


March 23, 2015

10 Quick Tips on How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship



This past week I've been doing some reminiscing. I loved my time in New York, but being in a long distance relationship was hard. Time differences are rough, living separate lives with completely opposite experiences can be tasking, and goodbyes are the most dreadful thing ever. It wasn't easy, but I am happy to say I am someone who survived a long distance relationship and as a couple we turned out stronger because of it.That time in my life was so hard, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It led me to where I am today and made me understand how my relationship can withstand even the toughest strain. Hopefully if you're in a long distance situation you can make the best of it too. 

Here are 10 quick tips to help you survive a long distance relationship:

1. Dedicate Time for Each Other

Dedicating time for each other should be obvious, but I've seen relationships that fail because it's easier to get caught up in your own life than to carve out time for one another. If you don't dedicate time, you're not working for it. Long distance relationships will only succeed with work. Lots and lots of work! Really listen to each other and be there for them. You can't really problem solve from afar, but you can be a support to each other by just being there with your ears and words. 

2. Keep Things Fresh

Mix it up! If you regularly talk on the phone, then Skype each other. Actually, just Skype each other anyways. If you talk on a schedule, call at a random time. Send texts or Facebook messages to each other throughout the day. Have times when you're Skyping where you just turn on music and dance. Be silly! Show appreciation for each other. Talk about things that common like news stories or a mutual friend. Don't put so much pressure on the relationship. Just stay connected and don't get into a rut.

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3. Have Something to Look Forward to

Whether this is a visit or an end date, having something in mind to look forward to makes the distance seem a bit more bearable. Talking about future plans helps you correlate as a team and feel more connected. Talk about goals and dream about the next time you'll see each other. 

4. Download a Cheesy Relationship App

We had the app 'Avocado' and it was a great place to keep lists, have a collection of photos, write each other silly love notes, and give each other virtual hugs and kisses. Another great feature of the app is that it alerts you if your partner's phone battery is low. Great information to have! Don't knock it until you try it.


5. Learn EVERYTHING About Each Other

I'm pretty convinced we formed the strongest base we could for a relationship because we found out about each other thoroughly. I'm talking his favorite activity in the fifth grade, every pet he's ever known, stories behind scars... EVERYTHING. I find it fascinating how complex and multifaceted someone really is and how awesome it is to learn all about them. Talking for hours on end might not be your thing, but think about it... If this is the person you want to spend your life with, you need to be attracted to each other when physical romance might not be an option. Spoiler alert: if you don't like talking with someone, they aren't the one for you. 

6. Surprise Each Other

We live in a digital age where things like Amazon, flower delivery services, and food apps exist. Send each other gifts from time to time or maybe just old fashioned snail mail. I can't tell you how perfect it is to receive a hand written letter in the mail from the one you love. It's something physical you can hold on to. Another great idea (taken from experience) is ordering soup for your loved one and having it delivered to their place when they're sick. So romantic! 


7. Do Things Together

You don't have to even be in the same building or even country to do things together. Play online games, read a book, or watch a movie with each other! You can even cook the same food at the same time (or order in) and eat a meal together. During my year of long distance with my boyfriend, we would put on  a movie and watch it together through Skype. Listen, video and sound quality aren't that great when you are watching through a camera that's pointed on a tv, but it's worth it to actually feel like you're doing something real together. 

8. Keep Jealousy at Bay (and Also Don't Be a Cheater)

This is a BIG one. Always be completely honest and transparent with each other, but you don't have to track each other's every move. You can't actually be around each other, so if you see a picture of your significant other at a party or gathering hanging out with who knows who, don't work it up into something it's not. Many fights can be avoided by having lots and lots of trust. Oh and also just don't cheat on each other (duh!) because that will ruin all trust and your relationship. 

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9. Understand and Communicate all Feelings

It's hard, but for someone you love it's worth it. Make sure you are on the same page and really understand each other's expectations and feelings. There has to be a mutual regard for the relationship and talking about feelings is a big deal. Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows and you don't have to pretend it's so. Just don't avoid having hard talks.  Believe me, if they're the right person, you will come out stronger because of it. On the opposite end, you can never show too much love and affection from afar. Let each other know how much you love one another! Nobody wants to put in an awful lot of effort for someone they "might maybe have feelings for."

10. Remind Yourself That It Will Be Worth It

Loving someone always has difficulties but being long distance adds that much more hardship. But remember this: you are so much stronger than you even know, and with the right mindset can accomplish anything. On those days where you feel like you can't bear the distance anymore, remember that it's worth it. Think of the good times you've had and look forward to the next time you'll be reunited. If it's right, it will work out. I promise!


Comment below and share your long distance experience! Do you have anything to add to the list or something that's on the list that didn't work for you? Let me know! 


*Photo Credit: Lisboa - city of love via photopin (license)
**Photo Credit: Love in the Sand via photopin (license)

March 20, 2015

Cricut Flash Sale!


Stop whatever you're doing and get yourself over to Cricut.com
(That's a link... I'll give you some great reasons why to click it and go shopping crazy!)

This weekend only Cricut has an AMAZING sale going on! All supplies are 40% off! This hardly ever happens so it's time to stock up. Maybe you still need a scoring stylus (love this tool!), want to invest in a deep cut blade (by the way only 17.99 during the flash sale), or simply decided it's time for some new cutting mats (just 20.99 for a variety 3 pack!). Seriously, 40% off?!? Go buy yourself some new supplies! This offer ends Monday, 3/23 so get on it! To make things even better, all clearance supplies are 75% off... but only until Monday.


(**This post contains affiliate links and I will make a commission if you purchase through my links. All opinions are my own!)

Also, use code MARCHSHIP to get free shipping! There's no minimum for this code so even if you just need one Cricut supply you get 40% off and free shipping. What a deal!

Hurry hurry hurry before it ends!!!


And remember to try out the new Cricut Design Space iPad app!


Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade Margaritas

Yesterday I received a basket of fresh, organic, farmers' market strawberries from a friend. Yum! Surprisingly, I haven't eaten them all yet. Something about sweet and juicy fruits inspires me to make drinks, whether that be juice or cocktails. I also was given a full case of bottles of Hubert's Lemonade in the watermelon flavor. I just had to make something with these great ingredients!



It's Friday!!! Get ready for some good times and let's make margaritas! Margaritas are such fun drinks. They are pretty, colorful, and can be made in many different ways. Sometimes I like to cheat just a bit, and that's where Hubert's Watermelon Lemonade comes in! This wonderful sweet and sour juice provides the perfect sour base. Also, I'm often a simple person (or lazy... take your pick) and I left out the triple sec or cointreau from the margarita to save me a trip to the liquor store. You can add this in if you feel so inclined, but this simple recipe tastes amazing with just tequila for the alcohol added.


To the watermelon lemonade, I added strawberry simple syrup. I made this myself in a matter of minutes by combining water, strawberries, and sugar into a saucepan and let it boil and reduce into a delicious syrup. The plus side to making the syrup yourself is that your house will smell amazing! If you don't feel like sparing an extra fifteen minutes, you can just buy the strawberry simple syrup and keep your kitchen a bit cleaner. 


I lined the rim with a mix of salt and sugar. First I dipped the glasses into a bit of the leftover strawberry syrup and then dipped it into the salt/sugar mixture. I added the watermelon lemonade, strawberry simple syrup, a shot of tequila, and then garnished with a strawberry. Yum!


Strawberry Lemon Margaritas
Prep Time:
10 minutes
Difficulty:
Easy
Strawberry Simple Syrup
1. Prepare strawberry simple syrup by combining boiling a cup of water with a half cup of sugar.
2.Once boiling, add 8-10 chopped strawberries. Boil at low-medium head for approximately 15 minutes until the water has reduced and the strawberries are mushy.
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool.

Cocktail
1. Dip the rim into the syrup you just made (or use a lime around the rim).
2. Dip the rim into either salt, sugar, or a mixture of both.
3. Add three parts Hubert's Watermelon Lemonade.
4. Pour in two parts simple syrup.
5. Add in a one part (or a shot... or however much you're feeling) tequila.
6. Stir and garnish with a strawberry
Enjoy!




If you want a virgin option, just leave out the alcohol! The strawberry syrup is a great addition to the already delicious lemonade. Adding the sugared rim, garnish, and a decorative straw will liven up any party.

Let me know what you think! Comment below and share your thoughts :)

March 18, 2015

Disneyland Fun

Saturday afternoons are reserved for the good things in life. It's the only day in the week for most that you can enjoy the whole day without worrying about working the next. I don't mess around with my weekends; whether it's a full day of relaxation or full day of adventure, fun times are guaranteed to be had.


This past Saturday I had the opportunity to meet up with a few of my cousins and my sister at Disneyland! It doesn't matter how many times you've been, the happiest place on earth is always, well, happy! A few things have changed since I've been last and I even saw a few things that have been around a while and I just never made it to in the past. It was a great day! So keep reading as I share a few highlights of my most recent Disney trip!

March 13, 2015

My Favorite Dresses- Lulu's (with Coupons!)

I have a few loves in my life. There's the obvious- my boyfriend, my dog, my family... they're the best. Then there are the things that make life a little better- random adventures, pizza, crafting, and dresses! If I could wear dresses eternally, I would. And let's face it, I live in Southern California so that's basically just what I do! I feel that dresses are the most versatile type of clothing. They are one piece, super comfortable, and can be worn fancy or casual. I don't have to sit there matching outfits, and I don't even have to wear a bra half of the time. It's love!

A few months ago, my best friend had her wedding (which was beautiful and you can look at all of her amazing photos on her blog at MrsDestiny.com). She picked out her bridesmaids dresses at Lulus.com and I must say, we looked hot! But seriously, amazing dresses that flattered us all and were under 100 dollars? She's a saint for not dressing us up as fluffy pink cupcakes!

Photo Courtesy of www.mrsdestiny.com
(**This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link I provide, I will be compensated. As always, all opinions are my own!)


March 12, 2015

New Layout Design, Upcycled Chair

Years ago I bought this chair in the hopes of reupholstering it. I didn't get very far and the faded ice blue velvet has remained. This chair was one of those finds that I couldn't pass up... 40 dollars at the local Goodwill! I have this thing about not buying upholstered items secondhand, but I took a chance because of the great bones and general comfiness. Happily I report, there were no bed bugs or gross things of any kind, just a somewhat faded spot from many years of being sat in. It doesn't bug me; the chair feels loved.

When I bought the chair, I was still living with my parents in Nevada. After a move to both New York and then to California, the chair ended up in the back of my parents' guest bedroom. Finally on a visit last week I was able to fit this chair (which is deceivingly bigger and heavier than it seems) into the back of my car to take back to California. My poor 70 pound giant of a dog had to squeeze into the front seat, but she's a trooper and we all made the four hour trip with no complaints. 

Upon arrival, the chair stayed in the car for the next day until I had some more muscles to help me lug it up the stairs. That's what boyfriends are for, right? Now it's placed in the far corner of the living room right next to where a tall bookshelf will eventually be. Currently in that spot is just a stack of books, but pulling together a room takes time! Or I'm just busy and slow- it's hard to tell. The point is, after almost a year of living here it's coming along. 

My boyfriend has declared this spot as the "blogging chair." And that's what this heavy blue chair really is! It's right next to the coffee table so I can easily enjoy a cup of tea, it has perfect sunlight during the day for reading, and for some strange reason it helps me to creatively think. I love this spot!



As far as reupholstering the chair, I'm not sure. So far I'm loving it just the way it is in its new spot. My living room almost feels complete and the blue color mostly fits in with the color scheme. It feels comfortable, which is what I'm all about! I definitely love this piece. 


I'd love to hear about your own secondhand finds! Comment below and share any comment or questions.

March 9, 2015

Cricut Sale and Spring Cleaning!


As most of you know, I am seriously in love with my Cricut. It is a staple for my crafting and used almost every day. Because of this, I'm always looking for a good deal! Luckily for me (and everyone else too) there are lots of great things to currently check out on their site.

Head over to Cricut.com for Spring Cleaning. So many items are on sale! Plus, on top of all that, shipping is free on orders over $35 with code MARCHSHIP

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you purchase through the link. All opinions are my own. 



Also, make sure to check out their new iPad app. Creating has never been so easy! You can now design on the go. Cricut has also updated their Design Space, and all of the changes fix all of the bugs that I've previously complained about. They definitely have been listening to user feedback! So many reasons to love this company!

Hurry over and check out the spring cleaning and free shipping before the deals run out!


March 3, 2015

DIY Handmade Cork Coasters with Cricut Explore

I'm one of those girls that's an eternal wedding planner. I've got my mind on my wedding and my wedding on my mind! Technically, I'm not engaged... but that's a small detail that shouldn't stop anyone. My future fiance (or boyfriend as normal people would say) is fully aware of my wedding crafting obsession and even pretends to go along with it. He saves empty salsa and sauce jars because I may need them later, and he's even started a savings for a honeymoon fund (hello European backpacking adventure!). The point is, I've got extra time to plan out my DIY wedding without any of the stress or pressure added on just yet.

So much extra time for event planning is wonderful because you can test out your DIY projects, figure out what works and what doesn't, and allot for the proper amount of time and money needed for when the event gets closer. The only real problem I find with this scenario is using project ideas for other parties or gatherings that are sooner than the event you were actually planning it for because, well, impatience. When I'm excited about something I have absolutely no ability to wait. Don't ever tell me exciting news that you want kept secret. It will probably end up here on my blog...

So today, I'm sharing one of my ideas that I have for my outdoor summer beach wedding that I have tentatively planned for July 2016. (Yes, I know... I'm not even engaged. I can't hear you.) I'm even sharing the DIY!



Before I get to the whole process of it all, I want to talk about the finished product when it's done right. Aren't they adorable? They can be customized to any shape, any writing, and any size! They make amazingly cheap coasters for many occasions that add a touch of personalization and crafting chic-ness (if that's a thing). With that being said, let's get to it!

DIY Handmade Cork Coasters With Cricut Explore

This DIY starts out a bit like a what not to do.  My test of this whole Cricut cork cutting extravaganza started as a big mess. I think I ruined my Strong Grip mat, I almost (and by almost I mean actually, but just for a second) jammed up the inside of my machine, and I wasted a lot of cork. But all of this knowledge will benefit you from making my mistakes!




Something in my brain told me to get the adhesive backed cork roll, but of course I did not. The plain cork would not stick to my Strong Grip mat for the life of me and I ended up using packing tape to hold it down, which did not help. Once the cork was cut, it ripped into so many pieces while taking it off because the packing tape was pulling at it. Also, my mat then had so many little cork bits covering every inch of it. It's just a mess.



Take two showed promise. Before going back to the store (because I'm lazy today... I'm literally walking distance from a Joann's) I decided to test out a piece of cork by gluing a piece of paper to the back of it. I probably should have just made my way to the craft store because glue takes FOREVER to dry. When I got to it, the glue wasn't all the way dry because well, impatience. Because of this, the cork did get a bit snagged in the Cricut. It still cut clean for the most part. My problem was that the marker was just too close to the cork (because of the snag) and dragged a blue line across the left side of the heart. The rollers inside of the Cricut smeared to wording because the ink wasn't dry, so next time I think I will just pause the machine (yes, there's a handy pause button!) and give it a few seconds to set.




Take three! I'm now on my Standard Grip mat because I washed off my Strong Grip due to the obscene amount of cork mess. I walked over to Joann's and purchased a small roll of adhesive backed cork. This time I used masking tape to keep it in place and put it onto the mat cork side down (backing side up). Because of this I just did the cut, not the writing (click on the little eye looking symbol on the "layers" section next to the writing you want to hide and it won't show up!). It worked perfect! After it cut, I also cut out a heart using the same pattern but with cardstock, peeled of the liner on the cork heart, and stuck it right to the tacky side.




The only problem I had with this trial was using a piece of cork that had lettering on it. I attempted to cover it up with gold paint, but the lettering was branded in with a large indentation. It still showed after the paint. Womp womp.



So on to take four. I used masking tape to hold the cork piece onto the mat with the cork side facing up. I added the writing back into the design. My settings were just a bit off using the cork preset (just need to up the pressure a bit) and so I had to cut out a portion of the edges with scissors. Not a big deal. I added a cardstock backing like in take three and once it was finished I swiped the edges with sandpaper to make sure they were super smooth. And TADA! Success!




I redid step four, but increasing the pressure, changing the text, and changing out the pen. This time I used a Faber-Castell medium size black artist pen. The thickness of the pen worked great but I almost killed it... cork definitely dries it out so this pen wouldn't last for bulk cork coasters. This one was my favorite and it could definitely double as a favor! A little change in text and it can be personalized as a seating card.



In review, I used the 1.6mm Cork Preset on the Cricut (my cork was 1mm thick), but upped the pressure to around 185. It cut cleanest with the adhesive side up, but I preferred cork side up so that the Cricut could write. I definitely recommend using masking tape along the edges to keep the cork in place. It's thick and a slip can jam up the machine! Since the cork was adhesive backed I added on a paper backer, but this step can be swapped out with a different material (like chipboard for thickness or felt so it can be soft on a table) or omitted completely. Definitely an awesome DIY!

So adorable for an event! Everything about this project is customizable from size to shape to the text on the coaster! The wording can be customized for any event and the shape of the coaster can be easily swapped out to whatever your heart desires. The possibilities are endless! If you don't have a Cricut of your own, go check out the sales going on at Cricut.com.




(**This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you purchase through the links. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own!)

DIY isn't always easy. It takes trial and error and A LOT of patience... or at least persistence. It's messy and often frustrating, but it can definitely be worth it! I hope you found some inspiration for your next event and save some time by not making all the mistakes I did.


Comment below and let me know what you think! I would love to see what you tried and how it turned out!