Sunday, May 1, 2011

DIY: Spring Wreath

I've disappeared again for a while – life has been busy, and this is mostly a good thing. Anyway, I meant to post this back in February when I was only longing for spring.

I put together a spring wreath completely with materials from the Dollar Tree, for which the total was about $6. I wanted to add a little color while the weather was still gray.

Now, though, we're full into spring and moving into summertime.

Grapevine wreath:$1
Two bouquets of faux flowers: $1 each
Three greenery vines: $1 each

I didn't even have to use glue or anything. Simply tuck the end of the greenery vine into the grapevine wreath, wrap around to taste, then tuck the other end. For the flowers, just cut off the flower part, leaving enough stem to stick far enough into the wreath that they'll stay put.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

They should have a class for this

Lately, certain things have come up in life that I really wish I had learned in a class. In college, I remember hearing people discuss how there should be a "Life Skills" class. Certainly could have been more useful than some of the other classes I took!

Here are a few examples I've come across that there should be a class for:
  • Filling out forms when starting a new job
    This always makes me feel so dumb. At high school jobs, it wasn't so embarrassing to ask for help from my supervisor. But now I feel ridiculous asking for help. Do I claim myself, do I not? What does that mean come April?
  • Filing taxes
    So far I've received my two W2s from 2010. I've also been doing some freelance work (read: not paying taxes), so I have no idea how I'm going to go about filing my 2010 tax returns. Here's hoping I get some cash back this year, or at least break even!
  • Insurance plans
    At my old job, I had two choices for insurance plans. When I changed jobs, I had to get an individual plan, and I was completely lost. It took me forever to understand what a "deductible" is. Seems like the descriptions of plans are more cryptic than they need to be. I just want to know what is covered!
    On a related note: I'm so thankful to be back on my dad's insurance plan thanks to Healthcare Reform!
  • Negotiating pay/benefits
    I'm still not good at this and don't know if I'll ever be. Not a fan.
  • Credit: what your score means, and what is good and bad for it
    Currently, my credit is frozen because I experienced identity fraud a couple years ago. However, I think I have good credit — enough to be approved for the apartment anyway. I do know that having a credit card or two is good. My car is also now in my name, so I'm sure that helps. Thanks to my parents for looking out for me and making sure I was building some credit. Just wish I knew more about it.
Did I miss anything? What else should have been covered before entering the "real world?"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

DIY: Necklace holder

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but life sure has gotten busy!

Over Thanksgiving, I noticed a my mom's necklace holder hanging on the wall. She made it with wine corks glued to a wooden board — I knew I just had to have one.

I already had a vase full of wine corks, and previously, my necklaces were all hanging from one hook so I couldn't see them all.

Here is the result:

Sorry for the photo quality. Camera phone...

It's super easy to make. All you need are a bunch of corks, a wooden board, some thumbtacks, a couple wall hooks, a few nails or screws and some craft glue.

First, insert screws or nails into each end of the board. Then map out where you want each cork to go, and glue them to one side. Once the glue has had plenty of time to dry, screw hooks into the wall to hold up the nails on either end. You'll likely need one more nail or screw to go into the middle of the backside of the board to hold it an adequate distance from the wall; otherwise the corks will end up facing downward. Finally place the thumbtacks where you'd like to hand your necklaces or other jewelry.

So easy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

When did it become winter all of a sudden? Brrr.....

Lately, I've been obsessing over how delicious the food on Kath Eats Real Food looks and sounds. So yesterday when Matt and I took a trip to Trader Joe's and Kroger, I set out to track down the ingredients for this.

Some I was unable to find, but I decided to work from the base and add in ingredients I thought would be tasty together. Here's what I came up with (for one large bowl):
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 3/4 banana (I ate the rest)
  • 1/6 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup organic vanilla yogurt
  • 1 heaping spoonful natural peanut butter

After blending, I sprinkled Trader Joe's cranberry maple nut granola on top.

Looks a little strange, but so delicious. Even Jozy thinks so...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Free Greenery

Last weekend I was dropping off the trash on my way out to run errands, when I came across this...

just sitting next to the Dumpster!

At about 7 feet tall, this faux tree probably retails for about $100. (That's just a guess, but faux plants aren't cheap. I usually buy mine from Goodwill.)

What a find! Somehow, I managed to cram it into the back seat of my sedan car (with the top hanging out the window) to get it home. I did end up ripping off a branch trying to get it out of the car (where you can see a gap in the middle), but it's not a huge deal.

We gave the extra branch to the cats to play in, so everyone's happy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Heigh-Ho! Heigh-Ho!

It's been about a year and a half since I've been out "in the real world," "working for the man."

Immediately following college graduation, I took an unpaid internship for which I had to commute an hour each way. Don't even get me started on this economy — and yes, I am sick of the phrase.

After moving back home with my parents around the same time the internship ended, I found a full-time job working for a direct mail marketing company in the production department. While I was grateful to have a job (with a salary, benefits and paid vacation), it was never the best fit. It was a stressful environment, and I wasn't doing work that was in-line with my long-term career goals. Aside from these cons, the schedule was not at all flexible.

In July, I took advantage of a new opportunity — social media strategy for a startup internet company. I've really been enjoying the work I do there and feel more fulfilled in my work than I have since finishing college. Tomorrow I officially start full time, meaning five days a week in the office. For the past few months, I've only been in the office three days a week, plus some working from home on other days. Some "me" time is definitely what I needed after my frustrating first year out of college!

While I'm excited to take on more responsibility and play a larger role in the office, I'm certainly going to miss being able to sleep in, cuddling so much with my cats and mid-day runs. It's going to be quite an adjustment in my schedule. However, my schedule is much more flexible here — if I need to come in late or leave early, it's no big deal because I can make up hours on my own time. Plus, more hours will certainly be a good thing come payday!

Working for a startup has its own set of pros and cons, but I'm eager to see how we grow, and to have a part in it. Cheers to the future!

Monday, November 15, 2010

America Recycles TODAY

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted on here. I wanted to break my silence though as a friend/coworker pointed out to me last week that today has been labeled "America Recycles Day."

I think I've made clear my feelings toward recycling in the past, so I won't ramble on. But I wanted to share this website and its resources should you be interested in getting more information. Keep America Beautiful has lots of tips about why recycling and beautification is important and how to get started with small steps.

If you choose, you can also complete the America Recycles Day Pledge and start making a difference in your community. Here is what the pledge entails:
  • I pledge to find out what materials I can and cannot recycle in my curbside recycling program.
    (Or in my case, facilities in the area.)
  • I pledge to lead by example in my place of work or school by recycling.
    (I'm in charge of my office's recycling. I brought in a box and simply ask coworker to place recyclables there instead of the trash, and I take care of it when it's full.)
  • I pledge to recycle my used batteries, cell phones and other electronic waste through a take-back program or e-waste facility near me.
    ( is a great resource for finding places to recycle electronic waste. As I mentioned in an earlier post, most Target stores, now have electronic waste recycling bins.)
  • I pledge to tell five friends that recycling is one of the easiest things they can do to reduce their carbon emissions.
    (That's where you come in. I'm not sure how many readers I have, but I just want to get the word out. )
I know it's impossible to be perfect. But even if there's just one thing you can do differently to help out our planet and your community, why not put forth the small effort? Happy America Recycles Day!