Category Archives: Lifestyle

HOW TO BE A HORRIBLE HOST

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Sure, there are lots of extra things you can do to be the ultimate host: fresh flowers, candles, extravagant meals made from scratch. Those things are great, but really not necessary to show your friends a good time.

There are some things, though, that need to be done to keep your guests from wanting to walk out. And I think sometimes the best way to learn is through what not to do! So, here are a few tips for how to be a horrible host:

Don’t clean your apartment, not even a little.
Let’s be clear about this: your place doesn’t necessarily have to be pristine. But various clothing items and shoes strewn about and dirty dishes in the sink can make guests feel like they are intruding or maybe you forgot they were coming over in the first place. Make sure your straightening up includes cleaning the table or where ever you intend people to eat, having enough dishes and silverware for them to eat with, and making sure your bathroom isn’t gross.

Shame people for not eating your food.
There comes a point in life where you have to accept that other people may not like the things you like. Sure, it can seem a little rude to let someone make you dinner and then not eat it. But you never know if they’re battling stomach issues or just an embarrassingly picky eater. Let it go. Hopefully whatever you made makes for good leftovers. (This is even more important when it comes to someone not drinking alcohol, by the way.)

Text / check your phone throughout the night.
The only thing worse than having people to your house who then sit on their phones the whole night is going to someone else’s house and having them sit on their phone the whole night. This has happened to me a few times, and I always feel like maybe I’m subpar entertainment for my host and want to leave. Not cool.

Be incredibly stressed the entire time.
As much as people appreciate you putting hard work into a night for them, if it’s causing you to stress out the whole time it’s probably not worth it. This is why make-ahead meals are great, and if cooking is out of the option for you, just order some good takeout and get some nice wine. Chances are no one will care, and everyone will have a better time!

There are, as with all things, exceptions to the rules. But generally speaking, these are good ones to follow. Or, rather, not follow!

FALL TABLETOP FINDS

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As the whether gets colder, I inevitably spend more time at home. And that has me wanting to freshen things up in here a bit! What better excuse than a little fall and holiday decor?

I’m always looking for a few things to celebrate the arrival of my favorite season. To me, fall and winter are characterized by delicious comfort food around a table with friends and family. So, the table is what I love to focus most on! Here are a few of my latest fall tabletop finds:

  1. Ikea | Sittning Vase | $9.99
  2. Modcloth | Winter Cocktails Book | $22.99
  3. Crate & Barrel | Linen Table Runner | $49.95
  4. Target | Gold Flatware Set | $19.99 for one 5-piece set
  5. Zara Home | Skull Wine Glass | $5.95 each
  6. H&M Home | Gold Acorn Plate | $12.99
  7. One Kings Lane | Amber Highball Glasses | $6.00 for set of 4
  8. World Market | Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein Dinnerware | $27.96 for set of 4

Happy Fall!

DIY BAR ART

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Crafty is not a word I typically use to describe myself. I don’t often craft, and I don’t consider myself to be great at it when I do.

That being said, I love easy, homemade projects that look unique and save money!

So far I’ve been able to decorate most of our apartment with artwork (and unofficial artwork) that we already had. I was looking for a little something fun for our bar area, and I’m so pleased with the results! Here’s how to make your own:
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Supplies
patterned 12” x 12” scrapbook paper or card stock (I got mine for $0.99 each at Joann Fabric)
adhesive vinyl letters (I used these*)
12” x 12” record frame (I used this one)
pencil & paper (post-its work great!)

*A quick note about the letter size: using the 4-inch letters that I did will only allow you to create 2 rows of text. I learned this the hard when when trying to write “Home Is Where the Gin Is” Tragic, I know. If the quote you want to put on your square will require 3 rows, I recommend you use these 3-inch letters.
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Instructions
First, make sure you choose a color combination (letters and paper) that will be easy to read. Sketch your quote out on paper (post-it’s are great because they are square) and decide which words will go on which line. Keep in mind the size of the letters and don’t make the lines too long.

Start applying you letters in the bottom left corner. Complete the bottom line and then move up from there. Place in the frame and hang!
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I love this project because it’s super easy. I found that these letters were actually able to be removed from the page (if done almost immediately) and repositioned if you accidentally misplace it. But I think some imperfections give it more charm!

This project is super customizable, take almost no time to complete, and can be done for less than $20. More money for booze and time to enjoy it!

SPLURGE OR SAVE: HOME OFFICE

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We’re down to one last room in our apartment to complete, and it’s going to be a home office! We both work from home often, so we’re really excited to have a designated space for us to get our shit done. Especially excited to maybe start eating dinner at our table more often, given the hope is it won’t be covered in laptops and chargers and papers and whatever else. #AdultGoals.

In pulling it together, though, I’ve learned once again just how expensive it can be to design a space like this. Or, if you look hard enough, how inexpensive! Below I’ve pulled together two really similar schemes. One’s a splurge coming in well over $2k. The other one comes in at a mere fraction!

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Splurge

Desk | Interior Homescapes | $1,687.50
Chair | CB2 | $229.00
Lamp | Zara Home | $169.00
Wall Art | Urban Outfitters | $59.00
Pencil Holder | Anthropologie | $48.00
Total: $2,192.50

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Save

Desk | Overstock.com | $175.99
Chair | IKEA | $19.99
Lamp Base | Target | $29.99
Lamp Shade | Target | $16.99
Wall Art | ModCloth | $24.99
Pencil Holder | Target | $14.99
Total: $282.94

So, what do you think? Splurge or Save? Or meet in the middle?

FALL BOOTS UNDER 100 DOLLARS

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Boot season is here! Boots are easily one of my favorite things about fall. I’m pretty much always cold, so I relish the moment it becomes ok to wear boots everyday. Plus, they’re super comfortable and stylish! I’m in the market for a few new pairs this season, so here are a few fall boots under 100 dollars:

1. Nordstrom | Matisse ‘Frontera’ Tall Boot | $98.95 I love having a basic riding boot in my wardrobe at all times, and these Matisse boots are just my style. The buckles give them just a little edge. But other than that, they’re plain enough to go with anything.

2. Modcloth | Travel Buddies Bootie in Taupe | $49.99 These are perfect to just pull on in the morning and run around in all day! They’d look great with leggings or skinny jeans. These are the kind of boots that can pull together any everyday, casual look, but the stitching still gives them a touch of character.

3. Urban Outfitters | Monty Two Zipper Boot | $79.00 I love these boots. Their design is clean and smooth, but the zippers on each side gives them so much edge. You could easily dress up a pair of black leggings with these boots, or top off an already killer outfit.

4. DSW | Roxy Indio Combat Boot | $59.95 Lace-ups have always been my favorite boots of all. I love these in particular because they very much have that badass, combat-boot feel. But they’re softened a little bit by the feminine crochet detail. I love the color, too!

5. Macy’s | Sugar Tuko Fringe Booties | $69.00 This is for all of you who’ve jumped on the fringe train, and they might be cute enough to make me do the same! I love that these are clearly a Western style boot, but without being a full-on cowboy boot. The fringe is just enough to sway when you walk, but nothing overboard!

So, what do you say? Are you ready for boot season?

TAILGATE FRIENDLY RECIPES

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College football started last weekend and the NFL officially starts this coming Sunday! If you’re lucky enough to be going to a game, you should probably start planning your tailgate menu now! Regardless of what you’re going for, I’ve rounded up a bunch of my tailgate friendly recipes that are sure to please any crowd!

Late morning and midday games usually require more of a brunch-style tailgate. But it can be done!

Frozen Waffles are the perfect compliment to traditional breakfast sandwiches, and are even easier to cook up in a parking lot! Make a few the night (or week) before, freeze in a plastic bag, and transport to your game in a cooler. Heat them up on your grill as needed and you’re ready to go! Play it simple with syrup and butter or pre-slice fruit to top, too.

If you’re not an early-morning beer drinker that doens’t mean you can’t get started with everyone else. Make this White Sangria with St. Germain and Peaches for a bright start. Mix it up the night before and transport in a spill-proof drink dispenser or larger tupperware container (and pack a ladle).

If you’re really looking to impress and win the tailgate before you can even win the game, set up a full-on Bloody Mary Bar. This one takes a bit more prep and set-up, but you’ll be the talk of the lot!
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For lunchtime and beyond, Tortellini Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto is about as easy as it gets. It comes together in under 30 minutes the night before. Once you get to your tailgate, all you need to do is pull off the lid and serve. It’s also hearty enough to be a meal if you don’t have access to a grill.

While good corn is still in stock, this Garlic Parmesan Grilled Corn is a must. The only prep is to roast the garlic in advance, and then just pack it in tupperware (to keep it from getting squished). Throw your corn on the grill just like you would at home, dress it, and enjoy!
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For vegetarian tailgaters (or just for an extra flavor punch) these Southwest Sweet Potatoes are a winner for sure. Freeze them after baking if making them more than a day in advance. Pack them up and heat them on a flat griddle pan.

Finally, oo matter what time of year or what time the game, Simple Limeade Margaritas are always a good idea. Always.

Happy tailgating!

COFFEE READS

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Back to the grind after a long weekend? And a long summer, for that matter? Chances are you’re going to need more than one cup this morning. Here’s a few things from around the web to make it look like you’re working:

Life Explained Via 7 Post-It Note Graphs: From the end of the toothpaste tube to moving in together, this guy just understands. Follow him on Instagram for more universal truths via post-it note graph.

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The Bloody Mary Meat Straw: An American Story: Turns out meat straws are a fairly new invention. Have you had one? I haven’t. I guess I need to find some for my next Bloody Mary bar.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Pasta: Chances are, you think you know how to make pasta. If you’re doing any of these things, you’re wrong. Get it together, and then make my mom’s simple clam sauce.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing: Have you read this super popular book? It’s all about how to de-clutter your home and your life, mostly by getting rid of things you don’t truly love. I’m pretty good about keeping clutter under control, but I bet there’s a ton of stuff I could get rid of, especially according to this book…

What’s In My Bag? What Refugees Bring When They Run For Their Lives: It’s likely you’ve been hearing tons about the migrant crisis in the Middle East and Europe right now. This article might bring you closer to realizing just how dire the situation is for the hundreds of thousands of people are in. Not sure what the Syrian refugee crisis is all about? Vice News put together a great, comprehensive timeline of the conflict there, bringing you up almost to today.

DRY BRUSHING: WHAT AND WHY

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A few months ago, on my path to hippy-hygiene, I started dry brushing. I first tried this because I had just moved from a humid, jungle-like climate to a much, much drier place. My skin was already prone to drying out and I was not looking forward to how much worse it could get.

I was so pleasantly surprised with the results, and have been doing it (almost) everyday since then! The skin is, of course, our largest organ, and dry brushing turns out to be a great way to care for it. Here’s the scoop:

What Is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is pretty much what it sounds like: brushing your dry skin. It can be done once or twice a day, or just whenever you remember or feel the need to.

Which leads me to…

Why Dry Brushing Is Awesome

Dry brushing helps clear your skin of dead skin cells it’s constantly shedding. Our bodies shed tens of thousands of skin cells every hour! Most of them fall of on their own and become house dust – gross, but true.

Some of them stick around, though. And that’s not cool. First of all, they can clog pores. If you’ve ever had little red bumps on the top of your arms, there’s a chance that was at least partially due to pores being clogged by dead skin. Dry brushing removes a lot of that excess dead skin and leaves your pores with less chance of getting clogged.

All those shed skin cells can also work a bit like a barrier when applying lotion to your skin. This is where I have seen a huge difference in my skin since starting dry brushing. Before dry brushing, I had been applying body lotion atop layer(s) of already dry, dead and unable-to-absorb-it skin. Dry brushing has removed a lot of that top layer, and my skin now soaks up so much more moisture than ever before. This has resulted in much softer, smoother skin.

Dry brushing also does great things for your circulation. I find this especially helpful as a morning shower-person. I’ve heard it can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, but I’m not bold enough to make that claim on my own!

How To Get Started

First, get yourself a brush. I use this one, but I’ve heard good this about this one and also this guy, too. All are inexpensive.

The best time to dry brush is right before you shower. That way, any skin cells that are loosened but not completely brushed off with likely be washed away once you shower. Also, most people apply lotion directly after showering.

Start at the bottom (your feet) and work your way up, always going towards your heart (that’s the circulation booster). Use as much pressure as is comfortable for you. You can either work in a small, circular motion or use quick, short strokes.

And…you’re done! This adds approximately 1-2 minutes to your shower routine and can have really great results for your skin. Clean your brush weekly with soap and water (or more frequently if you often brush after working out).

What do you think, will you try dry brushing?!

SPLURGE OR SAVE: AT HOME

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Furnishing and decorating a new space (or updating one you’ve been in for a while) is not an inexpensive job. There’s just no way around it. But, for every piece you must have (maybe it really just ties the room together) regardless of the price tag, there’s usually a cheaper option.

Here are some splurge or save (or both!) options that can meet just about any budget:

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Graphic Throw Pillow

Save: H&M Home: $9.99
Splurge: DENY Designs: $39.00
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Acrylic Sphere Table Lamp

Save: Target Base, $19.99 and Target Lampshade, $16.00
Splurge: Zara Home, $169.00
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Area Rug

Save: IKEA, $19.99
Splurge: Crate&Barrell, $199.00
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Metal Frame Leather Chair

Save: CB2, $329.00
Splurge: Anthropologie, $1,199.95

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a “save” option to complement this Alpaca Head from Anthropologie, so you’re just going to have to fork over the $1,600 for that one.

COFFEE READS

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My findings from around the web, lately!

New Study Suggests that Shakespeare Might Have Been a Stoner: This seems pretty far fetched to me, but it’s fun to imagine anyway. Though it definitely feels impossible for him to have written hundreds of plays if he was stoned the whole time.

A Day in the Life of a Stock Photo Model: This one made me laugh. It’s about as good as the people in the pictures that are in frames when you buy them.
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The Basted Egg: A Foolproof Play on the Poach: I have never basted eggs before, but after reading this I think I need to try. It looks way too easy. And that trick with the tortilla and the salsa? Um, yes.

Stitch Fix: One of the best parts about having sisters is they let you in on great secrets! Have you tried Stitch Fix? It’s essentially an online personal stylist! You create a personal style profile and are sent 5 items based on your style and budget. You keep what you love and send the rest back, and if you love it all there’s a discount! I’ll definitely be giving this a try soon.
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A 1930s Rental Made to Feel Like Home in Atlanta: I love how light and bright this home is! It feels like the perfect blend of old school and modern.

Watch This Hilarious of Artisanal Food Makers: This seriously made me laugh. Just watch it.