Monday, October 26, 2015

36 Hours in CT: Seaside Sanatorium

Remember last month when I shared a post about a weekend in Connecticut? Well, I shared a few photos of our jaunt to the Seaside Sanatorium but I have a bunch more. I've edited them with a sepia filter and edited it to make them super creepy. And since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought it would be so much fun to share these.

The Sanatorium was originally built as a place to treat children with tuberculosis. Then, at some point, it became a home for the elderly and then a place to treat the mentally disabled. At some point, it was a well-known fact that the patients were being abused so it was shut down. It's been closed for about twenty years and the entrances and windows are boarded up. There's a super creepy looking playground with overgrown weeds and some of the windows are broken so you can see inside.
I was hoping to capture some orbs in my photos but we didn't actually go inside. We watched some teenagers make their way inside (by climbing in from the perimeter balcony) but to be perfectly honest, I was too scared. Plus, the structural integrity is probably pretty questionable at this point so it didn't seem v. safe. (Or at least that's just an extra excuse I'm spewing to mask my cowardice.)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Apple Picking 2015

So far, autumn has been just gorgeous - *touch wood* that it stays that way - and I have definitely been savoring the sunshine and trying to take advantage of it every chance I get. There have been one or two rainy weekends, but on sunny days, we've been taking GM on hikes at a nearby park and I've been going for bike rides.

Before it got too chilly, we decided to go apple picking. Last year we didn't make it to the orchards. I think we were distracted by our trip to T&C in October and then I was too obsessed with making Thanksgiving plans in November. So this year, we went all out and ended up spending $60 on pick-your-own apples; basically, we picked 30 lbs. of apples. I'm going to be making several pies and eating at least an apple a day for the next month.
We've been going to Alstede Farms the past few years for all of our pick-your-own adventures (mostly because we like to hang out with the animals afterwards) but we visited an old favorite, Riamede, this time because they have more varieties of apples and bigger apple trees.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

DIY Medusa Costume

So I'm celebrating Halloween twice this year, once in New Orleans and a second time in my favorite city, Manhattan. Since I went pretty cliche and simple for my NOLA look (I'm going to be a cat that weekend) I decided to go with something a bit more glamorous and a little more intense for my NY weekend since I'll be closer to home and can go a bit more complicated with the makeup and accessories.

I started off thinking that I wanted to be a vampire but I didn't want to have to stick those false teeth to my canines. Then, I got thinking that it would be easy to be a Grecian goddess since I just got a new pair of gladiator sandals but that wasn't creepy enough. So, I settled on Medusa. I can wear Grecian-looking garb but I have the added fun of gold accessories and snakes in my hair.
You'll need:
snake headband
wide headband
small plastic snakes (I used about a dozen)
gold spray paint
gold glitter spray paint
green glitter spray paint
hot glue

snake hair clips
hair pins
spray-painted small plastic snakes (I used about a dozen)

snake arm cuffs / choker
gold floral wire
spray-painted small plastic snakes (I used 2 per cuff and 1 for the choker)

white flowy dress
gold belt
gladiator sandals
any other gold accessories

Monday, October 12, 2015

How To: Make a Travel Map

Last week, I wrote a post about planning a trip itinerary. In that post, one of my tips was to make a travel map. Today, I wanted to share a little more about that. And how fitting that it's Columbus Day! Sharing a map-related tutorial on a holiday devoted to an explorer is so proper. Too bad Columbus was actually kind of a d-bag but hey, he did sail that ocean blue.

In the days before the convenience of making my own electronic maps, I would just pick up a paper map at the airport or city welcome center and then scribble on the sites I wanted to see. But in this paperless era, I've since switched to an easier, cooler way of mapping. Don't get me wrong, I still love paper maps and still grab one when I can (because phones eventually run out of battery) but because I love planning trips so much (seriously, it's like a fun hobby), I love making my maps ahead of time.

So, whenever I am planning a trip, as I'm researching cool sites and yummy eateries, I pin them on a map. I used to use the pinning features on Google Maps but recently, they switched over to a feature called My Maps. For a while, I hated it because there were a lot of kinks and flaws and Google gave the option to switch back over to the old user interface. However, it seems like they've responded pretty positively to all of the feedback and I'm actually really into it now.
It's a pretty simple mapping tool but in case you're tech illiterate or you're just curious what I do to make my travel maps, I'll be sharing every step.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

DIY Draped Waistcoat (Zara-Inspired)

I have another sewing project to share today. I made it the same weekend that I made my sleeveless turtleneck dress.

I saw this amazing waistcoat from Zara last year but couldn't justify the $200 price tag so I got over it and moved on with life. But, recently while perusing Pinterest for camel-colored outerwear, I saw a pin from the Brooklyn Blonde sporting the infamous waistcoat and my love was revived.

If I couldn't justify the $200 price tag last year, I certainly couldn't justify the $400+ asking price on eBay so I decided to make my own. I took a jaunt over to JoAnn Fabrics to see what they had on offer and I found a really pretty camel-colored flannel that I knew I wanted to use. The original coat is a thicker woolen-looking material, but because it's so drapey, I think almost any fabric will work. Luckily, the sold flannels are about $3 per yard so it was definitely much more budget-friendly.
You'll need:
3 yards of camel-colored flannel
matching thread
fabric chalk or disappearing ink pen
sewing machine

Monday, October 05, 2015

How To: Plan a Trip Itinerary

I've booked two semi-spontaneous trips that are coming up in the next few weeks (New Orleans and Grand Cayman Island). A few friends were impressed when I told them that I just jumped at the cheap flights when I had the chance and then figured everything else out afterwards, all without the help of a travel agent.

After being hounded for tips and answering many questions that began with, "But how...?" I thought it would be nice to share some of my tips for planning a trip itinerary. There are some general tips mixed in with some pretty specific tips. The advice I'm sharing is targeted towards anyone who wants to book and plan a trip on their own (sorry travel agents, but we don't need your help) and of course, help you figure out where you want to go and what you want to do when you get there.
As I've mentioned countless times before, I enjoy planning so I find this is one of the most enjoyable parts of vacationing. I find it especially rewarding because planning beforehand makes the actually holiday a breeze and I enjoy myself so much more.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

DIY Lace Cat Mask

I've been excited about Halloween since early September when H and I booked our flights to New Orleans. We're going down the weekend before Halloween which is when they have their parade and party (because the actual weekend of the 31st they have their voodoo festival).

I've been debating about my costume for weeks. I wanted to do something kind of cool but low-maintenance (since I have to travel with it) and since I expect it to be 70F in NOLA, I wanted to have a light costume that wouldn't leave me sweating. Well, I found a "catsuit" (emphasis on the quotations) and decided that, though it's been done before, being a cat would be fun and classic and super low maintenance.

But, to amp it up a bit more, I decided to DIY some more elements to accompany the outfit. Instead of the typical cat ears, I got inspired by my own bib necklace (I still have tulle leftover from that project and from my woodland nymph bustier project) and I made an easy cat mask using just some fabric paint and some ribbon. I've seen a similar DIY done before but I always like sharing my own version because I list my personal tips and tricks that may help you.
You'll need:
tracing paper
black marker
puffy paint (I used black but you can use whatever color you like; there are some pretty glittery ones that could be awesome)
strip of tulle, about 4" x 8"
parchment paper
fabric glue
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