December 16, 2014

DIY Flameless Fire Pit

Lights are an integral part of holiday decorating, that much is true. But beyond the classic lights on the tree, lights on the house, lights on the.... stairway (?) what else is there to do?

For those of you who still have to sort out your last minute holiday decorations (like me, let's be honest) I thought I'd show you a super quick DIY project that will add a little whimsy to your holiday light displays (and let's face it, you're gonna want to leave this up all year).

This project was so easy, and the best part was, the only cost was the $2 strand of lights from Walmart's holiday section!

To start, arrange your stones in a circle of whatever size you'd like your base to be. If for some reason, you feel like you're going to want to move this display, or if you're not building it exactly where you're leaving it, I would suggest constructing it on a piece of plywood for easy handling.

Arrange your lights how you like them within the circle before adding the sticks, as it's way too difficult to do it afterwards (learn from my mistakes, loves).

Next, prop up your sticks in a "teepee" shape like you would a real fire pit. I chose to use a bit of hot glue at the top to secure them in this position so that they would be as stable as possible. And also because I had a hard time convincing my kitty to just stop and admire the beauty of it, instead of crashing wildly through the middle of it in a mad frenzy. Funny, that.

How are you spicing up your holiday lights?

December 6, 2014

New Haven: A Playlist for Sunny New England Days

I would like you all to know that I am currently putting off studying for 2 exams, editing a group project, learning lines for a scene, and cleaning my apartment. But today it is sunny for the first time in weeks and I feel somewhere between apathetic and incandescent and I wanted to make a playlist.

Also, disclaimer, this playlist is like 99% The Avett Brothers (okay not really). Also, it is so named because I have an all consuming obsession with New England now that I've decided to go to grad school there in a year. 

Carry on, exam takers. Carry on.

>>I And Love And You, The Avett Brothers - Three words that became hard to say/I and love and you/what you were then, I am today

>>Rescue, Yuna - That girl is you, yeah/and that girl is me/that girl is stronger than the raging sea

>>Video Games, Lana Del Ray - I heard that you like the bad girls/honey, is that true

>>Open Door, You+Me - But I know/that home is just some place I always leave behind/it's with me everywhere when I close my eyes

>>Despite What You've Been Told, Two Gallants - Despite what you've been told/I once had a soul/left somewhere behind/with an old friend of mine

>>Comes and Goes (In Waves), Greg Laswell - And this part was for her/does she remember

>>Die, Die, Die, The Avett Brothers - She puts her hands behind/the life she had/living with ignorance/blissful and sad

>>Junebug, Robert Francis - And that was when I loved you best/we were kids then/we shouldn't think about the rest

>>The Girl, City and Colour - I wish I could do better by you/cause that's what you deserve

>>Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, The Avett Brothers - Decide what to be/and go be it

>>Atlas Hands, Benjamin Francis Leftwich - I will remember your face/cause I am still in love with that place/when the stars are the only thing we share/will you be there

>>Wildest Moments, Jessie Ware - Wherever there's smoke there'll soon be fire/what could bring bad luck/I've been looking at you too much

>>Blue Skies, Noah and the Whale - This is the last song I write/while still in love with you/this is the last song I write/while you're even on my mind

Listen to it on Spotify here!


December 4, 2014

Winter Essentials

>>Red Lips - While I love dark plum and berry colors for fall and winter, there's something about the holidays that calls for a good old fashioned red lip. This is Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Melted Ruby, and I'm in love with it. It comes in a lip gloss like tube, and goes on like a gloss, but it dries into a matte finish. Plus it has this really luxe velvet applicator that makes it super easy to apply.

>>I couldn't leave out candles, naturally. I have a hard time with holiday candles, because I'm not a fan of cinnamon or evergreen scented things, which seem to be ever present around this time of year. However, I love love love sweet, vanilla, cookie scented things. One of my favorites is Merry Cookie from Bath and Body Works.

>>Sweaters, obviously. I can never have enough sweaters.

>>Coffee. Say it with me, coffee. And once more: coffee.

>>I've been really obsessed with heeled ankle boots recently (I mean, join the club, right?) but since I spend most of my days running back and forth on campus from class to class, heels are hardly a practical move. But a couple weeks ago, I found these booties that have the perfect mixture - the heel is small, sturdy, and comfortable enough that I can wear it on campus, but it still has the same look as one of the higher heeled ones.

>>Another thing I love for the holidays is glitter, everywhere. Christmas and New Years parties especially are the perfect excuse to bust out the sparkles. I'm loving this CK One eyeshadow palette, which gives me just enough shimmer without feeling like I'm a backup dancer in a Ke$ha video. Extra props to the rose gold glitter Stila makeup bag too.

>>Another essential for winter in Michigan is mittens. I love the kind that can switch between mittens and fingerless gloves because, hello, texting. (I'm not proud, just practical).

>> Cozy slippers for snow days and sleepy Sunday mornings are a must. I love the moccasin variety (remember in 2012 when everyone wore these things everywhere? Yeah, I had a grey pair that I absolutely loved but I completely ruined since I could never remember to not wear them on campus when it was raining. Ugh).

>> A favorite scent for the holidays is Bath and Body Works Forever Red. It's a little departure from the usual evergreen/vanilla sugar cookies/peppermint scents that are usually typical around this time of year, but I still feel like it's a really great holiday scent. It's got like pomegranate and vanilla rum scents with notes of marshmallow, firewood, peony, and apple. It's a really luxurious scent, I like it for special occasions.

November 30, 2014

Sticking to a Budget + Free Printable Budget Worksheet

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me (or has spent more than 20 minutes with me in Target) that I have a trouble making or keeping a reasonable budget. My main problem comes from never sitting down and figuring out my monthly expenses as opposed to my income. Instead, I just sort of hand over my card and hope for the best - don't get me wrong, I usually know how much is in my bank account, but let's just say it's not the best strategy anymore.

As a college student, part time barista, blogger, and freelancer, money isn't always guaranteed. So I decided, for the new year, it was time to get it together and start doing a monthly budget. 

I've compiled a list of tips and tricks for making and keeping a budget, especially if you're on a tight one. 

1. Don't forget to save! Want a simple and easy saving plan? Try this: every time you get a $5 bill, tuck it away in a jar or box, wherever it will be safe. You won't miss five dollars here and there, and they add up quickly! Every time you reach $100, go deposit it in your savings account. 

2. Separate items you want from items you need. Textbooks, pencils, and binders? Those are things you need. That new Kate Spade bag, red Hunter rain boots, and a venti PSL every single day? Sorry, but those are wants. Make sure you always have room in your budget for the necessities so that you can use a little of your budget towards the things you want.

3. Save receipts. Do you find yourself asking, at the end of the month, "Where did all that money go?" It may seem cumbersome, but saving the receipts every time you swipe your card can give you a good physical representation of how much you're spending. When you only have an abstract idea of your bank account balance, a pack of gum, a cup of coffee, takeout, or a movie ticket might not seem like all that much on their own. But if you add them all up, you could easily spend $50 and not even know where it went.

4. Use a financial tracking app. If the idea of wads of receipt paper lining your purse or backpack makes you cringe, try something a little more 21st-century. Apps like Mint, Spendee, and Toshl make it easy to get an idea of how much you're spending, as well as helping you stay on budget. Find one that works for you!

5. Write it down! While apps can be really helpful, if you're anything like me, writing down your goals and budgets with a good old fashioned pen and paper helps more than anything. So, I've included a free printable budgeting sheet for your use! 

Click here to download as a PDF or right click > Save Image As then print and use!

Still looking for more help with budgeting and saving? Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale is geared towards helping customers achieve financial peace of mind this holiday season. While you may have gifts, greetings and get-togethers on the brain, it's important not to lose sight of your financial goals. All of Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale deals are designed to encourage consumers to keep their finances top of mind. Visit their page here to check out all the details of their deals! 

How do you plan on achieving financial peace of mind in the new year?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

November 19, 2014

Ultimate Cash Giveaway with Oh My Gosh Beck

Ultimate Cash - without names.jpg

My blogger friends and I have teamed up to bring you another fun giveaway! One lucky winner will win a $750 cash prize (via Paypal) and it just might be you!

If you want a chance to be the lucky winner, here’s what you need to do - bookmark this page and come back every day to enter and earn bonus entries by sharing the giveaway with your friends on social media. Good luck!


Prize: $750 cash (via Paypal)
Organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. All entries are optional. Giveaway ends 12/16 and is open worldwide.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
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