DIY: Hangover Fairy Kit

Hangover FairyI know you’re clamoring to know how it went and I can now officially say that the bachelorette party was a rousing success. Adult women group sleepovers are the best and I’m glad that my apartment was able to handle all the commotion.

One of the surprises I put together for everyone was a hangover fairy kit. I looked around the Internet for ideas of what to include and all-in-all had a pretty good round up. I tried to think of what you would need before, during, or after the big night of fun. It had to be compact and useful. The finishing touch was a reusable bag that I decorated with love and each attendee’s first initial. Oh, and word to the wise, no party from here on out is complete without its own hashtag.

{Starting from top left}

  • Advil for your head and unexplained bruises
  • Ring Pops for something sweet
  • Hair ties for the morning-after pj-run to Starbucks (yeah that happened)
  • Mini Orbit for after that coffee and before you’re able to stand and brush your teeth
  • Lip balm for smiling in Snapchats
  • Mini nail files for avoiding pretty dress snags
  • Antibac for use before diving into the early morning plate of fries (also happened)
  • Face wipes for wiping away raccoon eyes
  • Gatorade for sustenance
  • Paper bag for accidents
  • Reusable bag for remembering the hazy times
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DIY: Pretty Storage

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t first start this post off with…

Image c/o E! Online

Image c/o E! Online

The royal babe is here. The past few days were the most fantastic. I am only the tiniest bit sad that he isn’t a she, but I am happy if Kate is happy. And now…back to real life.

Final

Finally! Online shopping is actually helping me out. Besides outfitting myself, I have started converting the boxes my goodies arrive in to functional storage. It’s a very easy process and will save you money to buy NEW clothes and the economy environment! All you need is your pretty box, a pair of scissors, and clear packing tape.

Box 1

Select your box and clear out a space to work. Easy enough.

Box 2

Cut open the bottom of the box so that you can look through it, and then cut along one of the connected sides so that you can open it up to lay flat.

Box 3

Turn the box inside out and realign the edges of the connected side you just cut. The pretty side should be facing out. Next, take your clear packing tape and fashion a piece to secure the side to make the box connected once more.

Now your box should look like this!

Box 4

While it seems a little counterintuitive, re-tape the bottom of the box, which you split open earlier in Step Two.

Box 5

Then all that is left to do is fold the flaps inward and you have your very own pretty storage box!

I’m using these boxes for my DVD’s, but there are even more scattered around for craft supplies, sewing projects and catch-alls. The next step is to figure out what to do with all my Birchboxes…ideas welcome!

Friday Find: Custom Desk Accessories

Custom is cool. Monogramming is major. I believe it has to do with my crafty side.

When I was looking for websites to create invitations for a bachelorette party I’m hosting, I came across Zazzle. I have to say, I am in love with it. The invitations alone are very cute and great quality. Now I’ve been exploring the other facets of their offerings.

Desk accessories are a must since I spend a lot of time at work. It’s important to make it a stimulating place to be. For example, my colorful assortment of pens are arranged in upcycled Starbucks cups.

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 9.45.21 AM

I decided to order the most alluring part of any desk: a mousepad. What surprised me the most was that you can link your Instagram account to Zazzle and use those pictures for your creations! And with the coupons they send me, I have yet to pay full price. I used this image from a Kate Spade purchase. Isn’t it just darling?

And here it is, live in action!

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 9.58.36 AM

Ah! I’m so thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that ohmygodiboughtthis.

DIY: Kiss Kiss Canvas

Image c/o The Warhol

Image c/o The Warhol

My favorite things to add to my home are typically one of a kind. My budget, however, doesn’t allow for such frivolity. Though every time I find something, I usually talk myself out of it. Where would I put this amazingly amazing little bird candle holder? That effortless-looking, quirky-cool-accouterments that somehow all fit together is what I’m constantly trying to achieve. I particularly struggle with art (and not just the actual hanging stuff up in a straight line).

Some of the most inspiring artists for me are Pablo Picasso (by far mi favorito), Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol, the creator of the above. All a little out there, I know, but I think what I like so much about this group and others like them is that whatever piece it is can’t rationally be explained.

Typically when people see something that they don’t understand they respond with, “Why is that art? My kid could do that.” Well, I don’t have a kid so I take a more passionate, emotional approach mostly because I am admittedly severely and hopelessly deficient when it comes to the actual academic side of art. I wonder what possessed him or her to have to create this and exactly this. And why at that moment did they look at it and say, “Yes, this is it“?

I have also been lucky enough in my lifetime to see many of these artists’ works in person. The exhibits I geek out for most are typically of Pablo Picasso. When I was in Madrid studying abroad, a few of my classmates and I went to Museo Reina Sofia one afternoon. It was very close to our apartment and a beautiful, sunny day. After taking a turn about most of the museum, we came to where Picasso’s Guernica was displayed. For years I had seen it in my Spanish textbooks gloomily depicting the bombing of the city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War in 1937 (Okay, history lesson over. But c’mon, for those of you that took a Spanish class or two, you’re with me, right?). Then when I was finally standing in front of it, it took my breath away (literally.) It was giant! It was all I could do to just simply stand in awe of it with the other onlookers from all over the world.

Another big moment for me happened that day when after the museum I had my first and only Big Mac.

So after all that non-sense, I am here to tell you that you can make your own works of art despite having only one credit hour of 7th grade Introduction to Art. I was recently inspired by Andy Warhol’s Lips (Stamped). The femininity of pinks and the lips very much appeal to me.

All you will need for this is a blank canvas, easily acquired at Michael’s, a pencil, a black, fine-tipped permanent marker (to sign your masterpiece!), and your favorite lip glosses or lipsticks in varying colors. Make sure to have a partially damp washcloth to wipe your smoochers for new applications.

Lip TreatmentsI applied my first color and then kissed the top left corner. From there, I very lightly marked seven dots in a vertical line with my pencil to make sure that I evenly spaced out the rows. Then I just went about my business placing various colors of lips in accordance to where they landed in the Warhol work. I would recommend making at least three prints with one color before wiping it off and choosing another. Be careful not to smudge as your canvas starts to get full. And don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly right or a flaw pops up. It’s art and it can look however you gosh-darn please.

At the end of it all, take your permanent marker and ink your signature in the bottom right corner. Et voilá!

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 11.46.05 AMC’est magnifique!

What other famous works of art are worth DIY-ing?

DIY: Reupholstered Shelving

My Own Image

Do you ever obsess about something without any actual follow through? Keeping it strictly legal here, I do that all the time. Literally all the time. I attribute it to my Scorpio nature. Thankfully my type of short-circuited thinking is limited to crafting (and sometimes outfits). You should be inside my head when I’m reading a magazine or cruising through Pinterest. Actually, no, you don’t because I would drive you bonkers.

One of my long-outstanding projects was to rehab these wooden shelves (a euphemism because I’m not actually sure what they were originally a part of) that I found discarded in my apartment building’s recycle room. After carefully checking that no one was watching me (who wants to be seen carrying trash out of the room?), I carted it off like a squirrel with half a moldy baguette. Okay, good, now I have this dirty piece of wood. I’m not about to sand and paint it. I’m too lazy and I have zero room to do so. Now what?

My genius conclusion? It sat against my wall, empty and forlorn waiting for my busy brain to have a eureka moment. It wasn’t until I was consumed with coveting everything from the IKEA catalogue (sure, it’s totally disposable furniture, but I just love it, okay?) did I get my answer.

Image c/o What’s Ur Home Story

That dresser is covered in fabric! I couldn’t believe it. I knew that with a few simple tools, as you will see below, I could turn my sad, brown block of wood into a faboosh storage piece.

Etsy was exactly where I wanted to get my fabric (you can see all of my Etsy favorites here). This brings me to a caveat in my obsessive thinking. When I do obsess over something, it is very much concentrated into the span of a few hours. During said few hours I am a woman possessed. I skip meals and sleep and phone calls. That is how I conducted my search of the perfect fabric. Though I didn’t end up choosing my material from this particular store, I fell in love with The Fabric Fox. There were so many amazing choices I had to ask my friends for help in deciding.

What I eventually selected (I think it took me about five hours) was this shimmery, gold, lace from Shades of Glory Fabrics. I decided on lace because I knew it would be forgiving if I messed it up and didn’t get everything aligned just so. I didn’t need an off-centered pattern eating away at me in the night.

My Own Image

After that baby arrived in the mail, I needed to make a visit to my local Home Depot to get my affixing tools. My dad was proud.

My Own Image

Using the sixth (preceded by laser, water, Nerf, glue, and potato), and second to last (other than nail), gun I’ll ever use, I was unstoppable. The tools weren’t actually purchased until weeks after the actual fabric arrived. And it was a couple more weeks until they were physically taken out of their packaging and used. What can I say? When it comes to deadlines for myself, all bets are off.

After I got used to the kickback of the staple gun, I just was a stapling machine. I was pretty liberal with the staples and just made sure that I kept the fabric taught.

My Own Image

All surfaces ended up being covered and I’m just thrilled at how it all turned out!

My Own Image

Do you just love it?!

My Own Image

Even through the shoddy camera phone pics (and that a certain visitor said, “It looks like it’s from my grandma’s house.”) you can still appreciate its beauty and my blood, sweat, and tears that went into it. Just the perfect little spot to house my blankets, magazines, and other oddities (on the far left is the book that Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere signed! In person!! EEK!!!) Oh, and wave hello back to Kate!

Late Night Goodness

Yesterday at work I received some particularly upsetting news: my very wonderful supervisor is moving out West with her husband. I was caught by complete surprise and a not so thrilling day set out before me. Plus it was raining outside. Most times when rain is falling I am delighted since it reminds me of The Homeland and my curly hair and freckles seem to dance off my head. But on this day it would not be so.

Post-work, I prescribed myself a workout and a baking adventure. Yes, endorphins and sugar. That’s just what the doctor ordered.

I leafed through The Cupcakes Diaries that my man gave me for Christmas. It’s a mixture of recipes and the stories behind them written by the sisters of the famed cupcake shoppe (fancy word for “shop”, pronounced “sho-pay”), Georgetown Cupcake in DC. While, I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting it in person, I imagine it is a heavenly place with heavenly smells.

My selected recipe was Lemon Blossom Cupcakes. They were a little bit more work than your average box. The “little bit more work” also entailed me making an emergency visit to the 24-hour CVS to pick up new flour (and one particular impulsive extra that I swore to myself I wouldn’t buy). I found an entire bug kingdom inside the stash I had on hand. Ick. The cupcakes turned out beautifully though. Dare to dream how delicious they will taste when I make them from this and not my casino-begotten handheld mixer (don’t ask)!
In the recipe below, I’ve included my notes about how I cut corners because I took advantage of the fact that I’m clearly not a professional. I left them unfrosted so I could have them as muffins. My thoughts behind that are if I have to take some extra effort to frost them, I won’t be as likely to do so and thus avoid consuming unneeded calories. Gen-ius.
Gor-geous. She was my impulsive buy. Are you waiting for the rationale behind my purchase? Have you come to expect it? Okay, good, because here it is. A.) I LOVE September for its textbook-like magazines of pages dripping with fall fashion. I want to sip coffee and light candles and wear black-rimmed glasses (which I don’t have or need) and soak up every last bit information. B.) It has Kate Middleton on the front, DUH. C.) (Unrelated) Hey, Vanity Fair. “Kate the Great” has already been used. Newsweek. April 2011. I should know because the cover is hanging up, framed on my wall.
The result of the evening? Complete success. Happiness achieved.

Lemon Blossom Cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake

Makes 12 cupcakes (I got at least 24 out of this)

FOR THE CUPCAKES

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup freshly grated lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard cupcake pan with twelve paper baking cups, or grease the pan with butter if not using baking cups. (Cute baking cups are a must.)

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper and set aside. (My tiny, tiny kitchen did not allow for this luxury. I just added in as is, sans bugs, and hoped for the best.)

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.

4. Add the vanilla to the milk in a large liquid measuring cup.

5. Add one third of the dry ingredients followed by one third of the milk, and mix thoroughly. Repeat. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the last third of dry ingredients followed by the last third of milk. Mix slowly until just incorporated. (Suck it up and just do this extra step. I swear it makes a difference.) Add lemon juice and zest (I have found that I am not very skilled at grating), and mix thoroughly at low speed.

6. Scoop the batter into the cupcake pan using a standard-size ice-cream scoop (Perhaps a little over-the-top. A spoon will do.) until the cups are two-thirds full (I filled mine 3/4 full in the second batch and they came out much better) and bake for 16-18 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) (I took them out at 15 minutes, but I like them a little underdone), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

FOR THE LEMON CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING

(I did not make this. I can only be bake-from-scratch-girl for so long.)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup freshly grated lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)

Combine the ingredients in a mixer and whip together at high speed until light and airy, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Frost the cupcakes with the signature swirl (You’ll have to buy the book to find that one out!) , and top with a lemon wedge or piece of lemon zest.