Monday, February 1, 2016

DIY Clipboard From the Target Dollar Spot

Today's DIY was inspired by a recent trip to Target. I often fall in love with cute gift bags (and the ones in the Dollar Spot lately have been on point), but other than for gifting they serve little purpose sitting in my closet. Spotting a clipboard in the Dollar Spot last week sparked an idea. Here is a simple way to turn $4 of materials, $3 for the clipboard and $1 for the gift bag, into a pretty clipboard. This would also work with any thin gift bag and wooden clipboard.

Step One is to gather your materials. You will need a wooden clipboard (painted or unpainted), a gift bag of your choice, a large brush or foam brush, scissors, and matte modpodge.

Step Two is to carefully cut out the design of the bag. I left a thin border around the design because I liked that aesthetic. I also cut out the hearts because I thought they were cute for Valentine's Day.

Step Three is to paint a thick, even layer of the modpodge onto the clipboard.

Step Four is to place the design onto the modpodge and paint a thick, even layer over your design. I left mine with slightly raised edges because I liked the dimension it gave and the design was still sturdy after it dried completely. If you would like, you could go back in with glue to seal down any edges. If your clipboard will be getting frequent use you will also want to add a clear seal on top of the design after the modpodge has had at least 24 hours to dry.

Now your clipboard is ready to use! I have mine propped up behind my desk as decoration and I'm planning on using it to gather sticker orders for upcoming videos. If you decide to try this project, I would love to see it! Comment below with your project or join in the conversation with your favorite bargain find.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Little Changes

The first week of the new year is drawing to a close and I am feeling quietly content. Much of the week was spent getting caught up at the office, and the free time that was left over often found me curled up under my favorite blanket with a book. This quiet beginning embodies much of what I want 2016 to look like. I didn't make any sweeping resolutions, and I'm not looking to turn my life upside down. Instead, I am working to continue the theme that I began several months ago. Little changes that make a positive impact on my daily life.

It all started with my overflowing laundry bin. I had just returned home from a trip to Disneyland towards the end of October and between my suitcase and what was leftover in my laundry bin there was a problem. I had developed the habit of letting my laundry pile up, on just about any surface, until I noticed a distinct lack of something in my closet. Generally, this led to stress. That Friday I began a new habit that has continued to stick with me. I don't go into the office on Fridays, and very rarely go out during the day, so I've designated the day for laundry. The small piles are easy to work on between other tasks, and I'm no longer left with the frustration of having nothing to wear.

This simple change, that did little to disrupt my daily life, had an impact that left me looking at other areas in my life that could benefit. My reading habits became the next target. If you look at my Goodreads account, my reading habits last year were awful. The problem was, I was trying to retain the reading schedule of my school days when I would often read late into the night. Now that I work in an office, I'm often tired by the end of the day and don't have the extra focus necessary to pick up a new book. What I do have is a lunch hour. Instead of using that time to finish a project, or check my email, I take my book somewhere outside while I eat. I just started this week and I've already finished three books, which is more than I've read in the past several months combined. I'm also finding that I'm more likely to read in the evening once I've already become invested in the story.

My next two changes are tied together into a new evening habit before going to sleep. I did a massive cleaning overhaul before New Year's Eve last week. I cleaned out drawers and shelves of anything that didn't bring me joy and found a distinct home for everything I decided to keep using some of the ideas from the KonMari Method. Now all it takes is a few minuets to tidy any clutter that has accumulated throughout the day. I've also been adding a few minuets of outfit planning and lunch making to make mornings less stressful.

Did you make any resolutions this year, or are you trying something a little different too? I'm looking forward to seeing how these little changes add up throughout the year.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fresh Face Forward

Resolutions. They are one of the top things on my mind at the start of the new year. Beginning last year I took a more laid back approach to my yearly goals and, along with saving myself the stress, I found that I still have some lasting results from several of my 2015 resolutions. Skincare holding the top of that list.

I have always had sensitive, dry skin. I spent much of my childhood years in the dermatologist's office, but by the time my twenties rolled around I became careless with my skincare routine. While my breakouts weren't bad, my skin had developed a rough texture that no moisturizer seemed to heal. Now that I'm inching closer to my thirties I decided last year that I needed to get my skin under control.

After finding out that I was allergic to several ingredients commonly found in skincare products (which is why no moisturizer seemed to work) I had a new starting point when it came to trying new products. After several months of trial and error, these are the products that have come out on top.

Simple Cleansing Micellar Water | A few drops of this on a cotton pad works wonders on makeup. Even my waterproof eyeliner comes off after a few seconds without rubbing. This has become the first step in my nightly skincare routine, and even if I don't go through the full routine I'll use this to make sure my makeup is off before going to sleep.

Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator from The Body Shop | On the hunt for a good exfoliator I was recommended to their Vitamin E line. Gentle enough to use on a daily basis, I use this after the cleansing water remove any dry skin and build up from the day. Mild and creamy, I also love that this doesn't have a strong scent.

Clarisonic Mia 2 | I was recommended this product during a trip to the spa. While I was hesitant at first due to the price, this has been a game changer for my skin. Through regular use I've seen the texture of my skin change, and breakouts become even more infrequent. This is the final part of my nightly routine before moisturizer.

Korres Wild Rose Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial | After using the 24-Hour Moisturizer from this line for a few months I decided to pick up their night cream as well. The natural rose scent is beautiful as you work this into your skin and the thickness of the cream means a little goes a long way. My skin feels so soft in the morning after a night of wearing this.

Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing & Brightening Cream | This was my introduction to the Korres line. After spending some time with the Sephora skin care expert, she recommended me to this line and I have been smitten ever since. The rose scent is strong, but unlike with the night cream it doesn't linger after you've massaged it into the skin. This leaves my skin feeling dewey and creates a smooth base for my makeup.

After a year of taking better care of my skin, I'm still amazed with the difference. If you're thinking about starting or enhancing your skin care routine this year, I encourage you to go for it! Before you start to look into products, take some time to determine your skin type and decide what your concerns are. Skin care can be overwhelming so definitely utilize available experts as you search for your top products and routines.

What are your goals for 2016?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

7 Simple Steps to an Organized Bookshelf

photo credit: Red Bookmark via photopin (license)

September is here and the desire to clean and organize is beginning to take root. Even more than spring cleaning, the beckoning boxes of pretty holiday baubles has me ready to declutter and create space for seasonal decor. There is something inherently satisfying about looking at a newly cleaned shelf, housing only your most favorite possessions. Over the next month I will be sharing some of my favorite tips for freshening up your space for fall, and today I'm going to kick things off with some simple techniques for sorting and purging your bookshelf.

My shelf of books ranks among my favorite possessions and always poses a problem when I need to pare down. Having the space for only one shelf of novels means that unless I want to be overrun I need to give it a good sort at least once a year. It also means that I often must be ruthless in maintaining my collection. Even if you do have more storage space, or a smaller book collection, these tips will help you to cultivate shelves that makes choosing your next book an enjoyable (and not stressful) task.

Step One: Decide how you want to organize your books. Do you store all of your books together, or do you keep certain genres separate? For example, my novels (both fiction and non-fiction) are kept on the same shelf while my cookbooks have their own home closer to the kitchen. For this exercise I will be using my novel shelf as an example, but the tips can be tweaked to any type of book that needs organizing.

Step Two: Gather all of your books in one place and separate them into two categories - Books you have read and books you haven't. Be honest. Did you only read the first chapter before putting it down? Did you make it halfway through? Into the TBR stack it goes!

Step Three: Starting with your TBR pile, take a close look at the books you haven't read. On my most recent sort I had books that had been gathering dust for over ten years! As you hold each book in your hand ask yourself, "Do I honestly want to read this book?" Life is too short to read (or finish) books that you won't enjoy and keeping those books around just encourages guilt. Guilt for buying a book that you're no longer interested in reading. Guilt for not reading that book challenge that you started years ago or that book that you bought on a friend's recommendation. It's time to let it go! Keeping only the books that you are interested in reading makes picking your next read a breeze and by finding new homes for your unread books you could be helping someone find a new favorite. Go through your keep stack at least twice, setting the books you want to re-home aside for now.

Step Four: Decide where you want to keep your TBR. Even after my sort, I still had a sizable collection of books that I want to read so I designated the top two shelves of my bookshelf. If you are more disciplined about book buying than I am your pile might be a good fit on your nightstand or next to your favorite reading chair. Once you decide on your designated space the books in your keep pile are ready to be put away.

Step Five: Now it's time to take a look at the books you have already read. This task can be easier because you have an idea of what you thought of the book, or it can be more difficult if you have the tendency to form emotional attachments to books even if you didn't enjoy the story. Before you start really digging in, decide on your criteria for a keeper. It can be based on space, book rating, or any combination of the two. I typically do two sorts of this pile. On my first sort I keep any book that I know I liked enough to give four or more stars. On my second sort I take an honest look at whether or not I could see myself reading the book again. I have some books that I gravitate toward over and over again, but some books (even with beautiful stories) have a shelf life. Eventually I want to have a collection like my mom's, shelves curated over the years to contain only her most favorite books.

Step Six: Congratulations! If you have reached this step it means you are ready to put your bookshelf back together. After having my books organized by color over the past few years, my recent organization project has them back in order by author and genre. The colors were pretty, but made finding what I needed difficult. Using your desired method, put your books back in an order that makes sense to you. Don't be afraid to re-home more books during this stage either. You will often find that as you see your shelves come together you can be increasingly honest about what books you truly want in your collection.

Step Seven: Re-home any books that you have trimmed from your collection. Host a book swap with friends (resisting the urge to add too many books to your newly organized shelves). Donate them to a school, library, or shelter in need. Take them to your local used book store. The possibilities are many!

A newly organized bookshelf is much easier to keep neat, but I recommend reevaluating every year or so. Tastes change and besides, you may be reminded of a favorite you haven't re-read in a while. Here is my finished shelf, moving from towering stacks on the floor to room to grow. Have you organized you books recently? Share a link to your shelves in the comments!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Thanks to a radio contest, I had the opportunity to catch an advanced screening of the new Mission Impossible earlier this week. Near the top of my most anticipated movies this summer, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation didn't disappoint. Full of everything you would expect from the Mission Impossible franchise, from explosions and intricate car chases to near impossible tasks and futuristic tech, Rogue Nation was also full of humor and a surprising amount of heart. I love it when a team comes together. The plot was straightforward and the "twists" were predictable, but this is a must see for any action movie fan.

I've rounded up some fun secret agent themed finds. What is your favorite spy movie franchise?

1. Mission: Impossible Art Print | A classic pose and a beautifully minimalist poster.

2. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Tote Bag | The combination of bold colors and a clean design make for a fun tote bag.

3. Vintage Mission Impossible Hardcover | For the vintage book fan. I love the 1960's art and the color wrap.

4. MovieCat Mission: Impossible | MovieCat is adorable.

5. Secret Agent Bookends | Some secret agent swag for you media collection.