July 30, 2014

DIY Welcome Mat

Quote by Bob Dylan, as far as I know. (Thanks, Pinterest).

I've been wanting to find a cute welcome mat or rug for my new apartment, and I've seen some that I liked, but they were all surprisingly expensive. However, an idea got sparked last night after a conversation between my roommate and I on Facebook.

So, I did some digging around, some shopping around, and got a bit creative - and I'm in love with the result! It was honestly really simple to do, and I ended up with a unique welcome mat that will look awesome in our apartment. 


-Rug or Mat (I just went and bought a $5 indoor/outdoor accent rug from Walmart)
-Spray paint in your color choice
-Painter's tape (if you want a border)

The hardest part of this whole project was the stencils, for me. Since I was bound by the limited choices at my local Wal-Mart, since this was one of those "I need to do this and I need to do it NOW" kind of projects, I couldn't find any self-adhesive stencils or cutouts. So, I had to get creative.

I bought a pack of inexpensive sheets of craft foam (you know the kind) that had adhesive on the backs. I drew out all my letters in sharpie using the stencils, then painstakingly cut them out of the craft foam and attached them in the desired position on my rug.

I used the painter's tape to make a border around the edge of the rug, then just let the thing have it with the spray paint. I had to go over it several times with the paint to get it the solid matte black finish that I wanted. Then I let it sit out in the breezy sunshine for about an hour, like the can of spray paint said. Afterwards I removed the tape and the foam letters and voila! A quirky new welcome mat!

For reference, the rug is 18 x 30 inches, and the letters were made from 4 inch stencils. I thought I was going to have plenty of room, but I ended up having to go onto 3 lines. Ultimately, I like the way it turned out, but you might want to adjust the letter size one way or another for whatever saying you choose.

What saying would you want on your welcome mat?
Make Stuff

July 29, 2014

Believers & Skeptics

Sometimes it seems that the world is split into factions of two. Dog people or cat people. Pepsi or Coke. Marvel or DC. Angel or Spike (I've been watching A LOT of Buffy). 

Another big dividing factor, though a less-appreciated one, is the idea that you're either a believer or a skeptic. Most of the time, skeptics are seen as the smart, cynical ones, the ones that always have it together and never get hurt. The believers are always portrayed as idealistic, dreamy, blithering idiots that are insane and self righteous.

Listen, everyone has to choose things in their life to believe in or to be skeptical about. Everyone's lives are made of choices and moments, that's an undeniable fact. But things are rarely so cut and dry. 

I'm not sure I know, 100%, what my intent with this is. And I think that's okay, honestly. But what I wanted to say was: I've always been the believer. Sure, I have cynical days. Because sometimes life sucks, and it's easy to fall into a cycle of skepticism.

That's the thing: it's easy to be a skeptic. It is easy to go through life being afraid of things, being sarcastic and unsure and cynical. It's easy to shut yourself off from the world, because trust is scary and it hurts.

It's hard to believe in things, most of all yourself. It is so, so hard to open yourself up to something, to give something your all and know that you still might fail, that you still might get hurt. But, my god, isn't that all we have?

Life is messy, that's for damn sure. It's scary and confusing and uncertain. And that's exactly why you need to find something, anything, to believe in, to put your trust in. Have the courage to open yourself up to something, to put your faith in something. Believe in the strange and imprecise magic of this insane world. Believe that the Universe has a plan, if you want. Believe in a higher power than yourself, if you feel like it. 

If you believe in anything in this life, though, believe in yourself. It is the single greatest service you can do for yourself. There will come a time in your life, I can guarantee it, that you will be the only thing you have. You have to believe that you can do whatever you want to do. Because the skeptics will tear you down. Because the thing is, they're scared of the believers. They're scared of everything, deep down.

Be brave enough to believe in something. Believe in change, in love, in life. Believe that things will get better. Believe that you know what you're doing. Believe in people, it's not a weakness. Sometimes people can surprise you. Believe in books, in music, in the feeling of the sun on your skin. 

Don't live in fear. Don't be so skeptical that you isolate yourself from the world. Just believe in something once in a while. It's not an admission of defeat. It's a lifeline. 

Be brave enough to believe once in a while.

July 25, 2014

My Bookshelf: Eleanor & Park

I recently had a brief but tumultuous love affair with Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I'd heard great reviews about it from some of my favorite people (*cough* John Green, anyone?) and I'd lingered about, picking it up and putting it down about half a dozen different times at Barnes and Noble this past summer. For some reason, I was putting off buying it. But last Saturday I once again ended up at the bookstore, and this time I decided, enough was enough.

I bought the beautiful special edition copy that had lovely fanart on the inside cover:

Getting down to brass tacks, though: I haven't been this enchanted by a book in a very, very long time.

Oh, I've read a lot of great books this summer. But this was really something special. The book is about a lot of things, of course. Adolescence, depression, music, domestic disputes, the 80s, high school - I could go on and on. But above all, above everything, it was about falling in love for the first time.

John Green (I can't get away from him) said of the book: "Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book." And like usual, dammit, I can't say it better than him.

I can't explain exactly what made this book so magical, because to do so would immediately diminish the magic of it. I just know that it's one of the more truthful and beautiful books I've read recently.

I guess I should stop being all vague and mystical, and explain a bit about it. The story follows Eleanor, a peculiar and sullen red-head with a less than perfect family life, and Park, a music and comic book obsessed member of the high school's upper middle class. And somehow, through everything that happens, they fall in love. 

One of the things I really loved about this book was the truthful way it depicted a person's first love. While I had really nothing at all in common with either of these characters or their stories, I understood and recognized immediately the "first love" feeling. It made me think that maybe it's not all that different for everyone. 

And maybe that's the thing: even though I couldn't be more different from the characters and scenarios in this book, it still resonated with me down to the very core. Love and loss, comfort and pain, they're all universal truths that this book explores in detail. It's beautiful, breathtaking, heart breaking, and at times, extremely irreverent. I loved it all, and I'm sad it's over.

Last year I read another of Rowell's books, Fangirl, which was equally as amazing (seriously, I should write about that, because it was perfect for a nerdy, fan-fic loving, anxiety riddled college girl - go read it) and I've added her other two novels, Landline and Attachments, to my wishlist.

PS: Can we talk about how adorable all her book covers are?

Have you read Eleanor and Park? What did you think?

July 22, 2014

Geek Chic with Beacon by Warby Parker

Hello, friends! I was very excited when Warby Parker contacted me to help them announce their newest eyewear collection to the world!

I've been a wearer of glasses since I was about seven years old, so you can bet I've had my fair share of frames. And, well, there's not a great way to say this... sometimes glasses don't look that great.

But Warby Parker has found a way to make glasses, well, cool again. Their new Beacon collection - four styles of eyeglasses and sunglasses in all - is inspired by all the best parts of being young, wild, and free.

From their one sheet:

"Our Beacon collection is inspired by impromptu, can't-duplicate-them all-nighters, when having no plans brings endless possibilities. [...] The collection name is a hat-tip to the morning star, which you can catch just after sunset or just before sunrise, depending on the time of the year. We designed our Beacon collection frames to make a similarly fine companion to late night dates, rooftop sunrises, and everything in between."
 I just love that! It sounds like my Pinterest boards come to life. So, I thought I'd share a few ways to style these fantastic new frames, since Warby Parker is making brainy the new sexy. (Sherlock reference anyone?)

Geek Goes Grunge

I just love the flannel shirt/combat boots combination, and I honestly can't wait til fall to start rocking it again (don't hate me).

The frames featured here are Warby Parker's McKee style in Whiskey Tortoise.

Shop the look: tee//boots//jeans//flannel//bag//lipstick//ring//mug

Prep School Drop Out

I love all the fun, preppy details in this. And I'm really digging that cardigan, no lie.

These frames are Warby Parker's Garrett in Oak Barrel. 

Shop the look: jeans//cardigan//tee//tote//watch//shoes

New Century Nancy Drew

Okay, I had a little bit too much fun with this one. Yes, that is a magnifying glass necklace. I would straight up wear this every day, though. And I really want that dress.

These frames are Warby Parker McKee in Moonstone.

Shop this look: dress//tights//shoes//barrettes//bag//necklace

You can check out - and try on - Warby Parker's whole line of eyeglasses here! Which ones of the Beacon collection are your favorite?

Product images and quoted text provided by Warby Parker. All opinions - as always - are my own.

July 21, 2014

The Weekly

This post was supposed to be published yesterday, but life had other ideas. Anyways, here's a peek at what I was up to this past week.

I got some new watercolors and decided to try my hand at painting for the first time in way too long:

This was my outfit of the day Saturday, rocking a definite 90s vibe:

It was my best friend's birthday that same day, so I cross-stitched her a heart warming message. I'm thinking of starting an Etsy shop of mainly cross stitched rap lyrics. More on that as it develops:

I woke up one morning to see some very pretty sunlight streaming in through the window, so I had the presence of mind to grab my phone and snap a picture before falling back to sleep:

I had some iced coffee in a mason jar on a sunny morning, and I guess I couldn't resist taking a picture. I mean, I could have. But I didn't:

What kind of shenanigans have you been up to this week?