Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I'm still in the Halloween spirit, despite Hurricane Sandy and her wicked ways. It was a warm weekend in NYC with decent weather that made for perfect pre-hurricane Halloween partying. Here are a few photos (with my DIY costume) of my favorite friend and I.

I'm supposed to be a woodland nymph or fairy and she's Katy Perry.

Some pre-party photos...
Here's a photo taken at the party by the party photographer...
And this is us in K-town afterwards because we were hungry.
I'm not trying to downplay the hurricane but hey, it's been a pretty serious few days and it's nice to have a reason to smile today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

It's nasty in the NY/NJ area (and surrounding states) right now. The wind is so loud, it's frightening. I'm just trying to stay cozy with my dog and reading a book by candlelight.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DIY Headband / DIY Halloween

Halloween is one week away but the Halloween parties all start this weekend. Every year, I struggle with coming up with a unique costume idea and then struggle again with executing it with aplomb. I'm definitely a fan of DIY costumes, as this ensures that even if someone has the same idea as I do, our costumes won't be exactly the same. Admittedly, it's not as embarrassing to walk into a costume party wearing the same costume as another person as it is to walk into work to see that your coworker and you are wearing the same funky top BUT, it's always nice to stand out on your own.

This year, as I do almost every year, I'm celebrating one of my favorite holidays in New York City and I decided to do something a little simpler with my costume. AND the great thing is, I'll definitely be reusing some of my DIY-ed pieces on regular, non-costume, normal days. I've decided to be some sort of forest fairy or woodland nymph and make some flower headbands, bracelets, and a flowery bustier top. The headbands and bracelets will definitely be reused in my everyday outfits, especially once springtime rolls around.

For the headband, you will need:
ribbon
hot glue gun
hot glue sticks
silk flowers
scissors
optional: rhinestones, glitter, anything you want to add to the flowers to give them a little extra oomph
I chose these two types of ribbon. I picked a color theme of pinks, beiges, and gold, so that the look wouldn't be too overwhelming.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shopping, Anglophile-Style (2)

Okay, so I really miss London and I've been reading about all these new stores opening in Covent Garden and of course there was the Olympics this past summer so it kind of feels like people are just rubbing it in my face at this point.

So I did what I always do to make myself feel better: I did some shopping. And what better way to ameliorate my terrible case of Anglophilia than with a purchase from a British retailer? So I popped on Topshop.com and found this little card holder (which is sold out now but they do have this purse wallet thing). I'm in love with it; I just think it's so cute and I love that I know and have been to all of the little areas marked on the map.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New York City

I'm realizing that I never ever blog about New York City. I was born in Queens, grew up in Brooklyn, lived in Long Island for a few years, I have family sprinkled throughout the five boroughs who I visit often, I lived in Manhattan for a year while I worked in Yonkers, was the engineer on a project for the Hunter College expansion in Harlem, and I go so often (it's just a 30 min. drive away) that I guess I never think of it as a holiday destination.

But I have been making an effort to post my more memorable/fun outings to the city in my eats blog. Here are the links to a few NYC-specific posts.

Tea at the Plaza Hotel
Morimoto
Laduree & McNulty's Tea Shop
Tea at the Plaza Hotel
Morimoto

Laduree (NYC location)
McNulty's Tea Shop
I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to post more about NYC, considering it's one of the best cities in the world; it deserves the attention.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY Foxy Slippers

So, I have yet another DIY to share today: a pair of foxy slippers. I know, I know, another DIY? I promise you this is still a travel blog; I guess I've just been feeling rather creative lately or something. And you know, these shoes are sort of related to travel in that they are flat so they pack well and they're easy to slip on and off, which is great for going through security at the airport. Lastly, I made these while I was in Florida for work, so it's a fun and easy project that's achievable on the road.

For this DIY, I took a pair of cheap slippers and embellished them with an embroidered fox face. I was inspired by these Tory Burch velvet fox smoking slippers, which I saw a few months ago. I was incredibly tempted to buy myself a pair but I was deterred by two things: 1) the hefty price tag, $250 yikes and 2) they are sold out in my size. Smoking slippers are super trendy right now, and though I'm not usually a bandwagonner, the cute little fox was difficult to get over. I really wanted a pair.

So my solution? DIY project! Though I took a Home Economics class back in 7th grade and learned to use a sewing machine, I haven't done much needlework since then. A handful of times, I've hand-sewn missing buttons and roughly hemmed a pair of too-long pants, oh and once, I turned a pair of pink flares into skinny jeans and did a decent job, but none of those stitches were professional, to say the least. What I'm trying to say is that this is an easy DIY because you don't need to be a skilled sewer. However, patience and the ability to endure sore fingers will be required.

You'll need:
a pair of smoking flats or slippers (mine were $16 on sale at Target, $20 regular price)
tan felt ($0.50/sheet)
embroidery floss in black, white, cream, and foxy orange ($0.39 per color)
krazy glue ($4 per tube)
ribbon ($0.99 per roll)
needle
marker
scissors

I started by drawing a fox face shape on the felt. Then I cut out two fox heads, one for each shoe.

Friday, October 05, 2012

DIY Jewelry

Okay, so I have yet another not-really-travel-related post. This time it's DIY jewelry. And again, I'll make my point that if you save a little money in one place, you can put it towards travel! I actually did this project over six months ago but kind of forgot about it and wasn't sure if I should post it but I thought it was worth sharing.

What you'll need:
oven-bake clay (from Michaels, under $5)
eyepins
chain
bead glue
gemstones/rhinestones (you know, sparkly stuff)
other useful tools: plastic knife, toothpicks, tweezers, scissors, pliers, ruler
The package of clay will tell you what temperature and time to use to bake the clay.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

DIY Decoupage Dresser

Okay, so this isn't really a travel-related post but I wanted to share it on my blog nonetheless. It is a money-saving idea and that saved money can be put towards a trip so I think it's sort of relevant.

I was in a decorating funk lately - my room has been feeling v. blah - so I decided to do something about it and I did a little decoupage to vamp up my old, dying dresser. Decoupage is a type of arts & crafts activity where you glue bits of paper to something to make it prettier. It's as simple as that. My dresser was brand new when I got it from Ikea back when I was a sophomore in high school (10 years ago!). Back then, I loved white (actually, I still love white) so I got a white laminate dresser and now, 10 years later, it's starting to peel a bit on the edges of the drawers and it's starting to look a little rough. But now, I think it looks pretty awesome and the decoupage distracts the eye away from the peeling.

What you'll need:
an image you want to place on your object (you can decoupage almost anything) printed onto appropriately sized paper
Mod Podge (available at most craft stores, I bought a jar at Michaels) - I like the matte version but they also sell glossy and satin finishes
foam brush, or a regular paint brush if that's what you have - make sure the bristles are soft and rinse immediately after use or else the Mod Podge will harden and ruin the brush

I started by measuring my dresser and choosing an image. I like this site because they have a lot of clip art in the style I wanted for my room - Victorian and classic - but you can use any site or image you want. Next, print out your image in the appropriate size. I had to use a plotter (meant for printing large scale plan drawings) and I used normal printer paper. If you're worried about tearing or wrinkling, you might want to use a heavier weight paper - I suggest FedEx/Kinkos for your printing needs.

I decided to use an antique fireplace image for my decoupage. I've always wanted a fireplace in my room anyway! You could use anything though - I was also considering ancient Roman friezes, stone griffin statues, and Egyptian vases.
I stuck my hand in the photo so you could get an idea of the scale of the image
Then I cut out the image with scissors, being careful not to snip off any of the lovely details. Then, I placed the image on my dresser where I thought it would look best. Then I marked off where the drawers were with a pencil. If there were empty spaces between the drawers, I would've marked those off too so I could decoupage some skinny pieces in the middle but luckily, I was able to save myself some time with my no-fuss dresser. It's hard to see the lines in that last photo but I took a straight edge and drew lines where I made pencil marks.
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