Wednesday, January 16, 2013

FINISHED PROJECT: Striped Pencil Case

As part of my new year's resolutions to use what I have and keep simple, I decided to clean out my (new!) purse. After I was all done, I realized that I had nothing to hold all the random pens that were sitting on the bottom of my bag. I dug through my yarn stash to find some cute colors and - using what I already had! - whipped up a little pen case, which is also doubling as a checkbook holder.

I used Vanna's Choice in Linen and, uuuhh -- Pea Green, I believe! I used an H hook and didn't have a pattern - I just kind of made it up as I went.

All I did was chain with color A as wide as I wanted the case to be. After that, my pattern was just HDC, ch1, skip a stitch, and repeat. The next row had the HDCs in the ch1 space of the row before. I did that the entire way, two rows of each color, and then added a little scallop at the end. I just did 5 DCs in every other stitch of the last row. Sewed up the sides, poorly added a snap to the cover, and I was done!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baby's First Blazer

I can't be the only one that doesn't know how to wear a blazer. I see so many pins, magazine ads, girls in the mall all featuring cute girls with fitted-yet-oh-so-slouchy blazers who can pull it off so easily. I try on a blazer aaand I feel like a little kid playing in her mom's closet. HOWEVER - that time is ended. I've finally found a blazer I can confidently add to my wardrobe. Thank god, so far 2013 had been a bust.

cute blazers

To wear a blazer, I knew that I had to keep my style the way I like it as to not totally feel out of place. Enter: a neon blue comfy cozy sweatshirt. Obviously. It's not too dressy - a button up would be weird - I'd also wear it with a cute over-sized t-shirt, probably Misfits or Guns n Roses or something of the sort. I think I'm going to try it over a cute sundress tomorrow, layered with another plain sweater. We'll see?

And, as always, my trust combats at my side. Pardon the Cheez-Its. Also: what would I do without my Doraemon watch? And one last thing, the reason why my nails look white:

essie nail stickers

My new Essie nail stickers! They were soo cute, buuuut - only while they lasted. These guys were $9.99 at Target and looked great when they were one, but barely even lasted a week. I've had better luck with Sally Hansen. Maybe I'm too rough on my nails and working retail, digging coins all day, isn't the best for nails? Either way, $9.99 is a little high for only lasting 5 or so good days. What do you think? Have you tried?
Monday, January 14, 2013

What I Wore: Studs & Stripes

Hello! Last week it was so warm in MN (I'm talking like upper 30s and low 40s), so I decided to be inspired by the sunshine and wear a bright outfit.

It was so nice that Emily & I ran outside to take the picture!

My cute three-layer socks are from a shop in Shibuya at Shibuya 109. I regret not going there more than once, and not going alone - the only time I was in Shibuya this last trip was with Mark and one of his friends - it was lots of fun, but I felt bad going through each shop in the 8 story high shopping mall with two guys. Next time!

I was also excited to get a new bag! I had been eying some pretty expensive ones at that were so cute, but I couldn't bring myself to splurging on a new purse. I had plans to check out TJ Maxx after work, buuuut - I had gone to Target for some snacks for lunch and saw this beauty for $17! I love it.

Now it's back to sub-15 degree temperatures and my outfits don't seem as bright. I was lucky to get a long weekend - we went to the Twin Cities one day, but the rest of my time off has been cuddled inside on the couch with Markie, the kitties, and, of course, the professor.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shiver Inducing Pictures

While I hate getting into a frosted over car at 8 in the morning, and while I hate feeling like my fingertips are going to actually burn off after scraping off the car at 8 in the morning, I actually really do like winter. When I'm inside, really. But, once I can feel my little toes and nose again, even when I'm outside I like it, too. Here are a few pictures that I've taken during our white winter.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What I Wore: Layers & Spikes, a Winter Uniform

Cold weather means layers, which means I'm a happy girl. I love getting dressed and then putting more on. And then some more. Here's a pretty common looking outfit from my winter wardrobe.

Knee High Socks: always over black leggings, sometimes paired with another set of legwarmers over the top. Provides maximum leg warmth for the girl who doesn't care to wear long underwear under jeans for the entire season.
Summer Dress & Then Some: Just because there is snow on the ground doesn't mean that I want to give up my sundresses. What do I do? ADD TO IT! A cute crew sweater, a belted long cardigan, add another skirt under for maximum length. Suddenly, the sleeveless dress is oh-so-appropriate for the weather.
Scarves on Scarves: This outfit is actually an exception to my uniform, as I usually wear two at once, but I felt the size of the scarf was decent to be worn alone. Scarves should be able to double as FUNCTIONAL and FASHIONABLE; keeping you warm outside but not driving you crazy when you're indoors. Huge pashminas do the trick - this mint color helps, a hint of spring but still Christmas-y. Perfect, no? 
BIG OLD BOOTS: See below!

Yum yum yummy! These spike-toed combats are the most delicious brown color, and, thanks to my lack of caring about matching colors, they go so perfectly with all my outfits. Tuck some skinnies in there? OK! Match em up with some lacy socks and a frilly skirt? Of course. They're comfy and extra-sweet when they're left untied. Pow!
Friday, January 4, 2013

10 Small Ways to Live Simpler in 2013

Many New Year's resolution lists I've read so far in 2013 have included the concept of living a simpler life. I really like this idea and think it could be applied to a lot of different aspects of my life. I've read many tips on ways to cut back on clutter, streamline your day, and enjoy your free time.

However, a lot of these lists include pretty dramatic ways to revamp your life; month, or even year long, shopping embargoes; complete house overhauls; starting your wardrobe from a 100% clean slate; buying gadgets, apps, or electronics to help you become more organized. I'll be honest and say that many of these ideas probably wouldn't work the best in my life. The idea of overwhelming myself with total change doesn't sync up with a calmer existence.

I took a look around at the most common activities in my life: cooking and cleaning, running errands, working, crafting. getting dressed, and looking around online. I thought of what I didn't like about these tasks or hobbies and what could make them better. Here are ten LITTLE things that I have decided to do in 2013 that will help me become more relaxed and productive.

It's like my purse is barfing. Barfing a lot of paper that I don't need in there. 

Keep My Purse Clean: Big or small, it doesn't matter - my purse is always packed with stuff I just don't need. My bag is full of so much crap: old receipts, candy wrappers, three different shades of lipstick, used up gift cards, movie ticket stubs, Japanese coins, shopping lists, bobby pins, and seriously so on. I should save the sentimental stuff in a shoe box (I can't throw away all those five yen coins!), but just trash the rest. What good will that old Caribou gift card do, anyway? I need to learn to keep the essentials, (wallet, phone, chap stick, keys, sunglasses), and nothing else. It'll save me time digging through the junk and will be nice on my shoulder, too.

Balance My Checkbook Daily: Online banking and smart phones have been the death of a well-kept checkbook register. I used to be fairly decent at saving my receipts, logging them at least every other day, and being on top of my daily balance. However, now I can just log on to my bank's website and check a total and go on my way. Money comes and goes without a thought. When I physically go through each receipt and write down and subtract all that I've spent, it hits a little harder, right? I need to be in more control of my finances in 2013 and balancing my checkbook the old fashioned way is the way to go. Which leads to:

Weekly App Clear Out: I hope I'm not alone, but I have downloaded so many productivity apps to help keep my life in order and have only ended up with an iPhone low on storage. Budget apps, schedulers and to-do list organizers, even a yarn database app so I know just what's in my stash without looking. The time it takes to keep all of these applications up to date really negates the time they are supposed to save me. Not to mention all the games I have sitting in multiple folders. Every week I want to lay in bed and, instead of playing just more round of Bubble Blitz Mania, delete any apps I haven't used in ages.

Too many! This isn't even my "main app" screen with the ones I actually use!

Organize and Utilize My Garment Rack: My wardrobe is a hot mess right now. Each hanger has at least three different items of clothing hanging off of it and there is absolutely zero sense of organization. 2013 is when I will finally just get rid of what I don't wear, box up the items I want to keep but won't be wearing anytime soon (high school shirts, Halloween costumes, old formal dresses), and create a cohesive closet. I want to pull out all my favorite items for the season and hang THOSE pieces on my garment rack in order to keep my style in line. This will also help with pairing items that I never would think of wearing together! Mix and match.

I'm embarrassed to show this! But it'll be so nice when it's nice, RIGHT?

Tidy Up My Blog Subscriptions: At the time I was writing this entry, my Bloglovin feed had over 800 unread blog posts. Does that make you want to dive in and start reading some entries? Uh, no. That's called I'm going to check out two or three of my friend's blogs and call it a day, ignoring any and all things marked unread. Browsing blogs shouldn't be a chore and it shouldn't take hours out of my day. I need to cut down drastically and unsubscribe to all sites that I usually skip past when I check for updates. Easy.

Get Back into the Planner Habit: After graduating school, my weekly planner became a lot more empty. When I started my M-F 9-5 office job, the poor thing got even more sad. I used to love writing all my to-dos, plans, work schedules, and deadlines in my moleskine; a different highlighter for each aspect of my life, checking the little boxes when I was finished with my tasks. In 2013, I want to get back into that habit - not just for my work schedule, but for reminders to set up appointments, when my automatic bills get paid, and so on. Especially with my wedding coming up in a year (!!), I'll need as much written organization and to-do lists as possible.

My awesome new 2013 Laputa planner! Thanks Markie!

Grocery Shop Once a Week: This is going to be a big one, but a hard one, too. I'm so guilty of just buying what I need for supper that night and that's it. I want to do one big trip to the market to get food for the whole week. This will save time, money, and will make meal planning (and eating healthy!) a lot easier. After I get into this habit, I want to try to push it to every two weeks, and eventually just once a month.

Finish All My Crochet Projects & Use What I Have: I have the yarn disease. I think of a new projects and buy new yarn. I start a new project and get halfway through and want to start another new project. Which I need new yarn for. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This leads to a serious overabundance of yarn and more unfinished pieces than I care to admit. I've already started this to some success, but I'm going to try to go as long as possible without buying new yarn. I seriously have plenty. I'm also going to find all my projects that I haven't completed and either get them over with OR frog them and use that yarn for something else.

Uh, seriously, this is ALL. YARN. :/

Get Rid of What I Won't Ever Use: Old movies I haven't watched in years, impulse clothing buys, shoes I've forgotten after I bought a cuter pair, MAGAZINES MAGAZINES MAGAZINES. I'm a pack rat by nature, and I have a high level of sentimentality for many things, so I can't see myself just trashing everything I don't use daily, but really, I have a lot of magazines. Oh, and throw away my old makeup, too.

Don't Guilt Myself into Productivity: When I have a night off, don't beat myself up for just sitting on the couch watching TV for a while. As long as I have my important stuff done, I can afford to just relax and enjoy doing nothing. So many times I come home from work and feel like I have to read, write, play something, crochet something, start a new project - really "take advantage of my free time" - which leads to resenting something I'm doing because I'm too tired and not in the mood, or half-assing it. I gotta learn to let myself take it easy!

What do you think? What are your goals for 2013?
Thursday, January 3, 2013

Some Christmas Goodies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas season and a great New Year. I definitely had a busy season, and, even though I have a nasty cold right now, I am ready for 2013 to be underway. Before we start into the New Year, I want to share some of the Christmas goodies I got this season!

Me with my new Finn backpack and Jake stuffed animal & blanket. 


Four new crafting books; I'm especially excited for the connecting granny squares book. I have her book about motifs, so I know that I'll love it. 

Chester photo bombing my two new Too Faced palettes; Romantic Eye & my prized possession, Shadow Bon Bons, the Christmas themed set. 

I gifted myself that gingerbread girl hairclip, but the sweater was so perfect for me that TWO people gave it to me as a gift! My mom and my coworker. I love it! 

Mark was lovely enough to pick up the Onch Movement Hello Kitty Forever pretzel necklace from Forever 21. So cute.

Markie did great with this, too; the cutest little heart patterned cardigan from Forever 21. I love it! 

And last but not least, TWO awesome figures from Mark. A bendy Finn with a changeable face, and - I am SO EXCITED about this - a Revoltech Gamera Figure! How beautiful is he? I might just have to make an entire post about him.. :')
Me! MaDonna! © 2013.

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