Author Archives: EmilyJosy

10 Pieces of Advice to Make Your Pinterest Practical

Well folks, it’s been about six weeks into this Pinterest adventure. I have to admit, I was skeptical. For years I swam against the tides of womanhood and did not use my Pinterest account. I had too many projects, recipes, outfits, and activities that I deemed undoable and unrealistic.

But here we are, 10 Pinterest attempts later, and I just may be singing a different tune. I have to admit that I really enjoyed myself. Pinterest is not only fun, but practical. Each time I tried a new pin I felt a surge of accomplishment and learned something new – even if it didn’t work.

So, you want to start making your Pinterest practical? Here are 10 pieces of advice I would give to you based on what I learned:

1. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

2. Chocolate and peanut butter cure syllabus shock.

3. You don’t need a professional salary for a professional wardrobe.

4. The popular pins are not always the easy pins.

5. Saturday afternoons in winter were created for yarn projects.

6. Sometimes you need ingredients (or tools) that aren’t on the recipe.

7. Spread handmade love.

8. Household substances have multiple uses.

9. Invest in a black skirt.

10. Keep calm and love giraffes.

So that’s what I learned. It may not look like much, but I’m now a self-proclaimed Pinterest-user. The site can still be a huge time waster and a place where we lust after weddings, houses, and clothes we will never have. But now that I’ve actually tried to experience Pinterest, I see the fun and a way to use it for good.

When we first created Practically Pinterest we desired to do just that: make Pinterest practical. And we did. But in retrospect, maybe our title means more. Maybe, the four of us are so good that we’re practically Pinterest.

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Keeping Calm and Loving Giraffes

Keep calm and go to the zoo

Time commitment: As long as you wantIMG_20140214_151040_072
Cost: The cost of your local zoo
Ease of activity: 10/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 10/10

It had been a long week. Between bad news from a friend, forgetting about an important assignment, and not sleeping – by the time I got to Friday I was at the fringes of burnout. Not to mention it was Valentine’s Day and the only plan I had was a date with a Shamrock Shake.

Then, as it often does in a time of need, genius struck. Or more accurately, Pinterest struck. Just scrolling along, looking for something fun to do, when I saw the pictured pin: keep calm and go to the zoo.d2b92aa5230a347f344386c739323332

You don’t have to tell me twice, so off to the zoo I went to get some much needed R&R.

I only live 15 minutes from the Como Zoo in St. Paul. They are open every day of the year, and it’s totally free. I’ve never gone in the winter, because: Minnesota. However, it was so much fun. The animals are kept inside so it’s actually a warm activity, and you are able to be much closer to them than when they are outside.

It’s important for you to understand that I love giraffes. No, it’s so much more than that. When I read an article last week about a Danish zoo killing a “surplus” giraffe to feed to the lions I actually cried a little.

IMG_20140214_151250_444So, by myself on February 14th in Como Zoo, I spent a half an hour just relaxing and watching the giraffes. It was easily one of the best Valentine’s Days I’ve ever had and it made me feel much better after a crazy week.

Takeaway: Sometimes the best Pinterest projects aren’t actually projects. Social media is a gift, but it can steal from us the joy of actually living. Pinterest can inspire you to go on an adventure and remind you that what you love isn’t on a screen at all.

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3 Cures for “A Case of the Tuesdays”

Black maxi skirt outfit 

Time commitment: 5 minutes
Cost: Free
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 9/10

Some people talk about having “a case of the Mondays.” But for me Tuesdays are worse. Mondays you expect to be awful, but Tuesdays seem harmless. In reality, they only reinforce the fact that 7 am is not a normal hour for human beings.

Well, I had a case of the Tuesdays earlier this week. It was painful waking up and going to my internship. That’s the thing about adulthood: being awake isn’t enough; you must also make coherent sentences.

Fortunately there are a few cures.

My version.

My version.

1. Caffeine – Whether it be coffee, tea, or Coca-Cola: bring it on.
2. Coworkers – Working with coworkers encourage you and make you laugh is invaluable.
3. Looking great to feel great – How you present yourself has less to do with others and more to do with how you feel.

I blogged a few weeks ago about an outfit I saw on Pinterest that I recreated from my own closet for work. It was fun, easy, and helpful so I could look professional while on a student budget.

Well, it was so fun that I wanted to do it again. This time I searched for “outfits with a black maxi skirt.” My black maxi skirt is one of the best clothing investments I’ve ever made. Do yourself a favor and buy one like mine.

Pinterest version.

Pinterest version.

This outfit that I tried was also easy and I had all of the items already, so I didn’t have to buy anything. The best part was that it was comfortable and nice enough for work. It turned my Tuesday morning around and I was able to enjoy the rest of my day.

Takeaway: Tuesdays suck. But getting some caffeine, laughing with coworkers, and wearing a newly inspired Pinterest outfit can brighten the day.

When “Endless Blue” is a Little Too Real

Nail polish stain remover

Time commitment: 5 minutes
Cost: Free
Ease of activity: 8/10
“Re-Pin” Worthiness: 8/10

IMG_20140129_211613_253I’ve never been one for nail polish, but last year I found this great brand at Target called “Sinful Colors” that was cheap and lasted without chipping too much. Don’t worry about the title of the brand though; the nail polish has yet to be responsible for leading me down the path to unrighteousness.

I ended up buying eight colors and have since made painting my nails a regular activity. One of my favorite colors is a bright blue called “Endless Blue.” (Does someone actually get paid to come up with these names? Does this person get fulfillment out of his/her job? Is this what all the people who major in women’s studies end up doing? These are the questions that keep me up at night.)

Little did I know how true the polish was to its name. After wearing it for a week I used nail polish remover to take off the color. But *gasp* my nails were still blue.IMG_20140129_213304_540

In the past when this had happened I would just keep repainting my nails until they grew long enough where you couldn’t see the color anymore. However, Pinterest came to the rescue.

With some toothpaste and water I was able to remove the majority of the resilient color. I had to put my fingers under water, rub them with toothpaste, and let it soak for a few minutes, but overall it worked pretty well.

IMG_20140129_214749_312The worst part about this experience was rubbing toothpaste on my fingers. I did not much enjoy that feeling. However, it worked decently.

Takeaway: Random household products can be used for things other than their intended purpose. Check out Pinterest as many users are really good at finding and sharing them.

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Spreading Handmade Love

Homemade Valentine Card

IMG_20140206_193042_824Time commitment: 10 mins
Cost: $3-$4; or use old scraps of paper like I did and it’s free
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 9/10

Well, it’s that time of year again. And by that, I mean it’s the time of year when roses are $350 a dozen and chocolates in the shape of hearts are more populous than China.

No, I’m not bitter that it’s Valentine’s Day. But just don’t expect a non-sarcastic answer to anything said on Friday. I apologize in advance; it’s been a long week.IMG_20140206_192339_800

Anyway, February 14 doesn’t have to be a day where all the single people sharpen their pitchforks and go into hiding from all the twitterpated people in their midst. You can still spend the day spreading love.

IMG_20140206_193520_450Last week some of my friends and I decided to make valentines. I had seen a photo on Pinterest of a homemade valentine that I wanted to try and give to a friend of mine. The original was cute, but I knew I could do better. Adding a little newspaper behind the colors gave it a more rustic, hipster look.

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Jane’s Valentine

The process was simple and quick and I ended up with a lovely card for friend. My 6-year-old friend Jane liked my idea so much that she tried it too. You know what they say: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Takeaway: Valentine’s Day can be annoying. But take the opportunity to share love to a friend with a handmade gift or card.

 You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.
~Victor Hugo Les Misérables

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Carbs and Electric Blankets – A Journey of Trying

Peasant Bread

Time commitment: 4 hoursIMG_20140207_171904_964
Cost: $18
Ease of activity: 5/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 7/10

If only had to eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be bread. Seriously. Carbs are fantastic, and bread goes with just about every meal.

I love baking, but have never actually made my own bread from scratch before. So, as I was browsing through Pinterest I found a recipe that I knew I kneaded to try. (Sorry for that pun, I just couldn’t resist…)

IMG_20140207_193719_265Well, little did I know that there was a reason that I’ve never made bread before: it’s hard.

The recipe I found has only a few ingredients, and mixing them together doesn’t take long. However, having the bread rise was not as easy as it looked. To get the dough to rise I had to cover the bowls with a heated blanket on high for about 45 minutes. Let’s just say that an electric blanket is not on the list of ingredients.IMG_20140207_202617_041

Regardless of the unconventional baking methods, the bread turned out pretty well. There’s almost nothing better than warm, fresh bread and this recipe definitely fit the bill.

It’s not an overly cheap or fast project for the time and money deficient among us, but trying something new was worth it. And having delicious bread at the end of it was rewarding too.

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So I encourage you to look on your Pinterest boards. What is on there that you’ve been dying to try? It may be hard, it may take more time and money than you’d prefer, but jump in anyway. All I’m asking is that you try.

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All Winter and No Crafts Makes Emily a Grouchy Girl

Mickey Mouse crochet hat

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Time commitment: 9 episodes of Parks & Rec… Wait what? Uhh, I mean 3 hours…
Cost: $9
Ease of activity: 8/10 – with some previous crocheting experience, this is an intermediate pattern
“Re-Pin” Worthiness: 9/10

If you’re in Minnesota, polar vortex has hit us an upwards of 30 times this season already. If you’re anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line, you can just be quiet. We don’t want to hear about your frigid 35 degree weather.

While I was shaking my fist at Punxsutawney Phil for seeing his shadow this weekend, I was also inwardly giddy at six more weeks of wintry Saturday afternoons. Cold weekends in Minnesota were made for the crafty among us.

The warm indoors gives me an excuse to stay inside, binge on Netflix, and take out my crochet hooks.IMG_20140205_205620_438

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, she’s one of those hipster girls who are trying to bring back activities that my grandma does.”

And to that, I can only say, “Yes, yes I am.”

While I’m not a hipster per say, I do think that I’m prepared for perpetual singleness with my cat, crocheting, and electric blanket. But seriously, crocheting and knitting are fun, easy to learn, and rewarding in the end.

This particular hat is something that I thought would be a lot harder than it actually was. The pattern was quick, free, and easy to follow.

IMG_20140202_152632_130I’m very excited about this hat because my older sister has loved Mickey Mouse ever since she was born, and is now pregnant with her fourth child. This hat fits at 3-6 months old, and will fit just in time for my new niece or nephew’s first Minnesota winter.

Take away: Learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby to pass the time during next few weeks of winter. Pinterest has great connections for beginner crafters for dozens of DIY projects.

Stay warm my friends. Yes, even you southern folk.

Do you have any projects you like to do on winter afternoons?

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Sometimes DIY Means Do-It-Imperfectly

DIY t-shirt scarf

Time commitment: 20mins
Cost: free – assuming you have an unwanted shirt and scissors, otherwise most plain t-shirts run about $6-$10
Ease of activity: 5/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 6/10IMG_20140126_152305_264 (2)

Count ‘em: 1, 2, 3…35. I own 35 scarves. It’s an addiction, and I’m over here in the corner praying that scarves will forever be in style so I won’t have stop wearing them for fear of people telling me my neckwear is “so 2013!”

It starts off innocently enough. You buy a cute one at Kohl’s that goes with your favorite cardigan. Then you get some as Christmas gifts. Then you go to Europe for three weeks and come back with one from every city. And then you decide to take up crocheting. An introvert in front of the TV and 15 skeins of yarn later…

IMG_20140126_153911_673 (2)Needless to say, I wear a lot of scarves.

I’ve seen this DIY t-shirt scarf around Pinterest for a while, and it looked innocent enough for my collection. I took an unwanted tank-top of my sister’s and a scissors and got to work.

The first parts were easy enough: cutting, and stretching. When it got to the braiding and tying, I was wishing I had my Eagle Scout brother there to teach me his knot tying ways. Many of the end lengths didn’t match up which made connecting the two sides together tricky.

I made this one a little more difficult than I probably had to, but it was definitely harder than the pictures led me to believe. Overall it didn’t turn out horribly, and I’ll probably wear it occasionally. It’s just not my favorite.IMG_20140126_160942_792 (2)

Take-away: Pinterest looks easy, real life is not always so easy. This scarf looked simple and cute, but mine isn’t picture perfect. And that’s ok. I’m going to keep trying. There are other crafts that I love and succeed at. Here’s to trying, learning, and persevering.

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How do I dress like a professional without a professional budget?

Skirt and cardigan outfit for work.

Time commitment: 8mins
Cost: Free!
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 10/10

I have to grow up. It’s a reality that has been creeping up on me slowly over the past year. It began subtly, paying for gas, making my own meals, consistently updating my résumé. Then it got a little more real, rent payments, waking up at 6:45am, and a 25-minute commute.

The one thing I wasn’t prepared for: dressing professionally every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to wear dresses and skirts. I own dress pants. But I love my Levi’s. I probably own 10 pairs of jeans and they are so comfortable. So dressing up on a daily basis can be a bit of a struggle.

Currently, I am interning at the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS). It’s a great organization that brings awareness to the dangers of drinking while pregnant, and provides assistance to those who are diagnosed with an FASD.

The Pinterest Version

The Pinterest Version

The dress code at MOFAS is business. In preparation for working there I had to figure what I could wear that is comfortable, but professional, all while keeping in mind I don’t have much of a budget to buy anything new.

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The Emily Version

Hop over to Pinterest. What can I find on the site that is professional, but also in my closet? Alas, you see the final product: the pin vs. my version. It’s not exactly the same, but I didn’t have to buy a thing.

Take away: use Pinterest to search for items in your closet and figure out what you have similar. Recreate the outfit with what you already own. No, you won’t look like the professional, photoshopped, multi-millionaire model in the picture. But you’ll be you. What’s better than that?

P.S. Casual Fridays? Yes please. My Levi’s and I thank you.

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Relax, It’s Time for Chocolate

Chocolate Peanut Butter 7-Layer Bars

Time commitment: 35mins
Cost: $12
Taste: 7/10
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 8/10

IMG_20140120_182249_755  I think it’s the smell that gets to me. Whenever I get stressed out, I have the overwhelming desire to bake something with chocolate in it. The scent of baking chocolate somehow soothes me into believing I can handle whatever it is I’m overreacting about.

As my last semester of college began, I thought, “You know, who neIMG_20140120_184640_544eds a degree anyway?” When my syllabus shock started to wear off a little, I knew I needed brownies. But not just your grandma’s brownies, something with a little kick to them.

IMG_20140120_183327_824The recipe I’ve linked above is a lovely mix of chocolate and peanut butter that was sure to satisfy my sweet tooth. Or, at the very least, put me in a sugar coma until I was emotionally stable enough to deal with the pile of books on my desk.

It’s a quick and easy recipe that left me with minimal dishes, frustration, and left-overs. It is the perfect recipe for the last minute potluck you inevitably forgot about until the day of. (Or is that just me?)

 So grab your apron, preheat the oven, and relax with some chocolate fumes wafting through the air. IMG_20140120_192523_752

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