Friday, January 2, 2015

Life Goals

I can't believe it's 2015! All I want to do right now is get my hands on a copy of Back to the Future: Part II

New Year's resolution season can feel a lot like this but it doesn't have to! I feel like we all put so much pressure on ourselves when the new year begins. Resolutions can be fun but they can also be extremely stressful and sometimes you end up feeling like a failure if you can't live up to unrealistic expectations. In the past I've come up with very specific resolutions relating to everything from diet and exercise to reading to blogging. This year though, I decided it would be nice to be a bit more relaxed with my resolutions. They're more like general life goals, and that somehow makes them feel much more doable. I like the idea of coming up with a few little things that I can remind myself to try to do each day like...

1. Make time for relaxing.
2. Make time to work on things that are important to you. (Things that you want to do rather than things you need to do)
3. Keep track of everything in a planner. (I haven't done this in a few years, it's much needed and I think it will reduce my stress level a lot!)
4. Do things outside your comfort zone.
5. Save up a little bit of money each month for something fun (like a vacation! It's always nice to have something to look forward to)

What are your goals or resolutions for the new year? My advice: Go easy on yourself. Set goals that will improve your life but are also attainable. Just do the best you can each day because your happiness is what really matters!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Decorating with Leftover Christmas Tree Branches

When we get our Christmas tree each year, we always end up having to cut off a few branches so that it fits in the stand (and so it's not touching the ceiling!). This year I saved those extra branches, because why let something that smells that good go to waste? I decided to make a few decorations to hang around the house using just three things: tree branches, copper wire, and paper snowflakes. They were super easy to make and would have probably taken 10 minutes, had I not been so particular about my snowflakes (and spent at last 3 times that amount of time perfecting them...ha!) 

1. Pick out a few branches of varying shapes and remove any extra bits from the end so that you have a clear space for you snowflakes. 

2. Cut paper snowflakes. I first cut white paper into 2 x 2 inch squares then folded the squares into triangles either 2 or 3 times before cutting. 

3. Measure out the amount of copper wire you'll need. I cut the copper wire about twice as long as the part of the branch that I was going to put it on, 

4. Wrap copper wire around the branch (starting at the bottom of the area you're going to be working with). Then thread copper wire through the middle of the snowflake and loosely wrap it up and around the branch again. Be careful not to make it too tight or you may tear the snowflake. Continue working your way up the branch, adding more snowflakes as you go. 

5. When you get to the top of the branch, wrap the copper wire around several more times and then create a loop from which you can hang the branch. Done! 

I think these look really nice hanging on a mantle above a fireplace or on a door knob. You could even hang them from a light fixture!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Travel: The Cliffs of Moher

I've been sick with a cold all week and it's a dreary day so I felt like reminiscing. While studying abroad in Ireland in 2012, I visited the Cliffs of Moher. More photos below (plus a little synopsis of our trip) if you'd like to see...

We took a bus tour from Cork, I can't remember for sure, but I think it may have been this one. It was just a day trip, but we packed a lot into one day. We started with a very quick bathroom stop in Limerick where we saw King John's Castle on the River Shannon. 

Next we stopped at The Burren, a national park where we saw lots of limestone, cows, and a tomb (above), dating back to the Neolithic period. 

We also visited the mini cliffs. They were impressive in their own right and looked a lot different from the Cliffs of Moher- much more rocky. The water was shockingly blue!

Looking down at the water from the mini cliffs.^

Finally, we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher and it was gorgeous! We got really lucky with the weather that day! Above is O'Brien's tower which you can climb up for a small fee, although I didn't find the view from the top to be any better than the view from the ground. 

 Expert tip: Expect wind, and lots of it! haha 

Don't look down!^


I was really happy that the bus tour company gave us plenty of time to explore the cliffs and take photos!

As always in Ireland, I would recommend packing layers, it gets windy on the cliffs and the weather can change in an instant! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gift Guide: For Everyone

1. A bocce ball set is fun to play at the beach (or in the backyard!). This silver and gold set is especially pretty, but you could also go with a cheaper version

2. This copper cocktail shaker is gorgeous. (Copper everything, please!)

3. ENO hammocks are easily portable for taking a relaxing nap just about anywhere.

4. These hexagonal mirrors are such a cool decoration, they come in a set of 10 that can be arranged any way you like. 

5. This bamboo tablet stand would be great for watching videos or reading recipes. It can be adjusted to 3 different angles!

6. Everyone could use an extra throw blanket, especially if it's an ombre one! 

Last year's gift guide for everyone!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you're having a beautiful day, whether or not you're celebrating!

We had these AMAZING rolls with Camembert cheese, inspired by this recipe, but we used this recipe for the rolls themselves... 

...And spent lots of time hanging out by the fire :)

Check back tomorrow for the last of the 2014 holiday gift guide!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gift Guide: For the Host/Hostess

1. This scalloped cake stand would be a lovely way to serve all kinds of desserts (not just cakes!)

2. This minimalist vase from the MoMa Store is so cool!

3. A few simple but useful kitchen utensils, like this wooden pasta fork, would make a great host/hostess gift!

4. Who couldn't use a shatterproof drink set? (Especially around the holidays!)

5. A drinking game, like this simple (but effective) spin-the-shot game would make for a fun party.

6. This wood and marble serving platter is SO beautiful and only $30!

Check out last year's gift guide for the host/hostess!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gift Guide: For the Guys

1. I love the worn look of the metal buckle on this belt. (The burgundy one is also nice!)

2. This duffel bag looks so sturdy and stylish! Plus, it has a shoulder strap and handles on the sides and the ends for easy carrying.

3. This leather key chain looks much nicer than a plain metal key ring. 

4. I think men should wear scarves more often. After a lot of searching I think I've found the perfect one, a gradient plaid scarf- at a very reasonable price!

5. For the bearded man, this shaving kit would make a wonderful gift! It includes soap in a mahogany box and a boar bristle brush!

6. These nested shot glasses, containing the words for a Spanish toast, are such a fun gift!