Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween! The past two years, Halloween in this area has been ruined by natural disasters. Two years ago, we had a major snow storm and last year, Hurricane Sandy blew in and took away all of the children's candy. This year though, Mama Nature decided to let us have some fun.

My sister and I decided to be Louise and Tina Belcher (respectively). We made our costumes, of course. I say "of course" because we're cheap-os and we don't like to spend a lot of money on something we'll wear once.

I'm sharing how I made my Tina wig. Posting a DIY today is a little bit useless because it's Halloween already so even if I share this, will you have the time to make it? Actually, it's a pretty easy project so maybe you can make it. Whatever, I'm sharing it because maybe you can save it for next year.
You'll need:
4 pieces of black felt (8.5" x 11")
black thread
tacky glue
yellow paper
And this is how you'll want to cut out your felt. It's a really boxy "wig" if you can even call it that, but it's pretty comfortable and easy. The middle top piece is for the back of the head, the two side pieces are for the sides (duh), and that lumpy bit is the front bangs.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apple Picking

For my sister's birthday a couple of weekends ago, we went apple picking at Alstede Farms. I wrote a post in the summer about how we went strawberry picking at Alstede Farms and shared a bunch of animal photos.

Because I don't have any major vacations planned in the immediate future, it's been important to me that I find fun activities to do in this area. New Jersey, despite its strange reputation as being the armpit of America full of nuclear power plants and industrial hot spots and terrible drivers, is actually the garden state, and with good reason. If I head just 20 to 30 minutes south of my home, I end up in farm country where there are countless pick-your-own orchards, horses, cute baby goats, and awesome hiking trails. It's a luxury that I will never, ever take for granted.

Luckily, the day we decided to go (the Sunday before Columbus Day) it was the perfect weather. The skies were bright blue, dotted with fluffy white clouds, and the air was crisp but not overly cool; it was perfect sweater weather.
The apples were plentiful and I'd be lying if I said we didn't eat a few (re: a dozen) while we were picking.

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY Painted Planter

This isn't a super helpful instructional DIY post. For one, it's literally just slapping some paint on a terracotta planter so it's hardly impressive. But also, if you pop onto Pinterest and type in "DIY painted planter" in the search box, you'll be bombarded with a plethora of creative designs that are a lot cooler than mine. And yet, I still want to share this with you. Why? Because of the greenhouse for which these planters were meant. Bam! I didn't end that sentence with a proposition so props to me.
As you may know, my kitchen renovation took over my life for the past few months. This renovation has required several trips to Ikea and way back when, during a particular trip in July, I fell in love with a mini tabletop greenhouse. My sister discouraged me from buying it at first because she kept insisting we should wait until our kitchen was finished to buy decorative items. But finally, during our most recent trip to Sweden's greatest gift to us, she caught me lusting after it again and told me that I was obviously in love with that thing and I should just get it. Hoorah. Great decision.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Current Top 10 Dream Destinations

These aren't in any particular order.
  1. Santorini, Greece - I've wanted to go to Greece ever since watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
  2. St. Petersburg, Russia - I want to see those iconic onion domes in person, while sporting one of those fur hats.
  3. Machu Picchu, Peru - I've been to a Maya site and I'd love to see an Inca site. Plus, the nature, the hiking, the ruins; those are some of my favorite things.
  4. New Zealand - Have you ever watched Flight of the Conchords? I'd like to hang out with kiwis for a bit. Also, my best friend in 5th grade (who was also called Rachel) was from NZ and I fell in love with her accent. I'd practice saying 'no' in a kiwi accent, which is a combination of 'noy' and 'nor.' Try it.
  5. Bali, Indonesia - Every paradise photo I like on Pinterest is usually a shot of Bali. It looks sublime.
  6. Phuket, Thailand - The pretty temples and street markets are a big motivator but I mostly want to go here for the food. 
  7. France (but not Paris) - I've been to Paris thrice so I'd like to go to France and roadtrip everywhere else. I would visit Annecy, Nice, Provence, Toulouse, anywhere scenic and quaint.
  8. Masai Mara National Park, Kenya - Going on safari is high on my list of things I want to do in my lifetime. I'd wear khaki, bring binoculars, and cry with happiness to see an elephant in its natural habitat.
  9. Iceland - I want to take a swim in the Blue Lagoon and I really want to see the Northern Lights. I actually didn't know anything about Aurora Borealis until I read The Golden Compass in my fantasy fiction writing seminar freshman year of college.
  10. Darjeeling, Pondicherry, and Agra, India - Darjeeling because it's my favorite tea; no, I'm kidding. I'd love to go river rafting and hiking here. Pondicherry because the name sounds adorable; kidding again. It's one of the most popular spots in India for a reason. And Agra because of the Taj Mahal, duh. India's always had a spot in my travel heart since reading A Little Princess as a child.
What's on your top ten travel destination list?


Monday, October 07, 2013

My Favorite Blogs

Every (weekday) morning, I stroll into work a little early to give myself a little "me time" before things get busy. I fill up my water bottle (which is really just one of those reusable clear Starbucks insulated cups), settle in with my breakfast (usually a green smoothie or a piece of fruit), and open up my computer and read some blogs.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites. I'm a pretty eclectic person so I look at a lot of different blogs.

Favorite Food Blogs
Spoon Fork Bacon - More than the recipes, I'm so in love with this duo's food styling and graphics.
Smitten Kitchen - delicious, homey food that makes me feel comforted and happy.
What Katie Ate - Katie's food photography skills are so enviable.

Favorite Style Blogs
Olsens Anonymous - I'm an Olsen lover. I, too, have crunchy hair and a love of hobo-chic.
Cupcakes & Cashmere - Emily has a feminine and refined style which makes me wish I were more elegant and put-together.
Barefoot Blonde - Amber is tall, thin, blonde - everything I'm not - but I like her style and her dog is precious.

Favorite Lifestyle Blogs
The Pioneer Woman - Does this count as a lifestyle blog? I love the Pioneer Woman's food, photography skills, and wit.
A Beautiful Mess - This blog is written by two sisters that share recipes, DIY projects, home decor, and everything else in an accessible, sweet way.
A Subtle Revelry - I haven't been following this blog for too long but the style jives with mine and it inspires me to make my home and food prettier.

Other Favorites
Luxirare - Her high fashion and intense food and pretty awesome photography inspires me.
Suri's Burn Book - Snarky and fun.
Books of Adam - My favorite comic blog; love his style of drawing as well as the actual content.

It kind of feels like I'm scraping the barrel for post ideas (though I really did want to share this). I've been so preoccupied with my kitchen renovation that I haven't had time to think about much else. I highly doubt that I'll be going on any more holidays this year, but I did spoil myself with four, yes, four trips last year so I can't be snooty about it.

I do have more than 2 weeks of PTO time at work though, so I think a few staycations are in order. Those are always fun.

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