Author Archives: sjo423

A Little Morning Motivation

Life can be discouraging. At the tail end of school, I’m battling the fear of graduating without a job and not knowing what I’m going to do with my life. I love quotes on Pinterest that are inspiring and remind me to stay positive and keeping me motivated. Lately I’ve been feeling particularly discouraged, so I decided to print out a bunch of the quotes I’ve pinned to hand around my apartment.

Be so good they can't ignore you Half way there Hustle Joy

The little bits of inspiration throughout my apartment have been a great reminder to stay positive. Whether it is work, school, the job hunt or just life in general that is getting me down, they cheer me up and keep me going. I hung the above pins as well as a few others. It’s been great to see them every morning! They remind me to choose happiness for the day and to control my own mood instead of letting life control it. I’d encourage you to hand your favorite quotes up in your living space in order to encourage and inspire you!

What do you do to stay inspired? Let me know in the comments below!

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Stressed Out? Try Yoga.

School is stressful. I find myself with little sleep, a lot of neck tension and splitting headaches several times a week. I’ve always been a fan of yoga for a great stretch, but after reading an article from the Huffington Post, I’m going to take even more time out of my week to slow down and do a yoga session. The article points out that yoga helps boost your immune system, ease migraines and helps you sleep better, among numerous other benefits.

I took to Pinterest to find a great yoga tutorial. I found this awesome video.

It is part of playlist (click-through to watch it on Youtube, not just on this blog) and for someone who does yoga pretty frequently, I though this playlist was great. I was really relaxed by the end of the second video and feeling great. The first routine is only 5 minutes and mostly breathing exercises, so it’s easy to do between things. I usually take 30-45 minutes every few days to do a deep stretch routine, but this was a great addition to my repertoire.

If you find yourself stressing out this week, take a few minutes to relax and do some yoga! You’ll feel better, I promise.

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3 Hairstyles for Curly Hair

I have stick-straight hair, so a lot of the pins I see on Pinterest for hairstyles will never work. So, I recruited my friends Aunica to showcase some curly hair pins! I stared with a low messy bun with some side twists. It was pretty easy to curly her already curly hair around my fingers in order to get the top texture. I pinned them at the nape of her neck. I then gathered the rest of her hair and spun it into a bun, which I secured with a hair binder and bobby pins.  This is definitely something someone with curly hair could do quickly in the morning to dress up their look. Super easy!

Low bun

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Next I tried a pin that isn’t just for curly hair, but I really want to see it done. It’s a hair bow. You gather all of the hair in a ponytail and on the last time through the binder, you leave the ends in so there is a bubble of hair. Then you divide the bubble to either side and pull the ends of the pony (the tail) and pull it over to make the center of the bow. You pin them down with bobby pins to secure it. Fluff until you’re satisfied. I was actually really happy how this turned out, and it was super easy! I’m sure it would be more frustrating on straight hair, though.

Bow

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For the third style I decided to do a semi-up do. You leave all of the hair down and pull strands from each side. You twist them as you bring them in and fasten them in the center, I used a hair binder. You do the same thing twice more, further down the hair. While this one was easy, I can’t say it’s my favorite. It’s pretty, but just not my style.

Three Strand

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So are you like me and envy the hair type you don’t have? Do you think Pinterest makes this worse? Let me know in the comments!

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I Left My Heart In Minnesota… sort of.

Time commitment: 15-30 minutes
Cost: Free-$15, depending on how many supplies you need to buy
Ease of activity: 7/10
“Re-Pin” Worthiness: 9/10

They say that there are 2 seasons in Minnesota: winter and road construction. While I love the summers here, I can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan of the cold and snow that comes with almost half of the year. As I prepare for graduation in May and look at finding a job, I find myself attracted to Washington DC and all it has to offer in the realm of political communications. I love the area and can not wait to transition into living away from home for the first time (because let’s be honest an hour away from home for college is really not being totally “away.”) However, I will always be a Minnesota girl at heart. The fishing off the end of the dock, wakeboarding, swimming, snowboarding and snowmobiling will always be fond memories, even while I’m climbing the ladder in our nation’s capitol. I decided that this week would be an appropriate time to make the below pin, so I have something to take with me when I move!

diy19

How adorable are these?! As you may have read, I’m kind of in love with glitter… so I was really looking forward to this craft! Here’s how I did it.

Supplies
Construction/scrapbooking paper
A print out of your state (an outline works great!)
Glue (I used Mod Podge because apparently I don’t own Elmer’s glue)
A brush to smooth out the glue
A frame (if you want to, not necessary)

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I cut out the outline of Minnesota and then covered it in Mod Podge. I then dumped glitter onto it and pressed it down.

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While that was drying, I cut my background paper down to the size of my frame. I also cut out a tiny little heart to glue on in over the area of my hometown. Once the glitter was stable, I Mod Podged it onto the background and also placed the heart. It turned out pretty well!

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Have you ever moved far from home? Across the country? What advice would you give me as I prepare to make my move?

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Easy Custom Mugs!

Time commitment: 1 hour
Cost: $1-$10, free if you already have the mugs and markers
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 10/10

If you love coffee and tea as much as I do, which is a lot, then you probably have your fair share of mugs to drink out of. However, I don’t think you can ever have too many mugs! When my mom did this craft with our middle school youth group last night because someone donated a ton of mugs, I asked if I could nab a few. I later found a tutorial on pinterest and tried it for myself!

PIN PIC

I loved the chevron pattern that the tutorial used, so I decided to recreate it and also try something more colorful. For the chevron, I used tape to make the vertical lines straight. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about the fact that I needed to have an even number of columns in order to make the lines line up (since each column’s lines switch directions), but I ended up making the handle black and scribbling in space on either side of it. I actually ended up liking how it looked!

2014-02-13 20.47.57 2014-02-13 21.25.43 2014-02-13 21.25.53I loved how this one turned out! Even though the lines weren’t perfect, I think it looks great. The imperfections are just part of the charm!

Next I tried something less geometric and decided a tree with colored leaves would look sweet. I put on the pink, then purple and finished up with the blue.

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The mix of colors blend well and look awesome. I also put a quote on the back. 

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Once you’ve finished drawing, you place the mugs in the oven and turn it on to 350 degrees. It’s SUPER important that you let the mugs warm up with the oven. Leave the mugs in for 30 minutes and then let them cool down with the oven as well. After they cool you can pull them out and enjoy!

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Patriotic Polish

I have to admit that I really enjoy the Olympics. I find myself being the smart-alec friend who knows a lot of the rules about different sports (thanks Wikipedia!). My favorite things to watch are figure skating and anything with snowboarding. I don’t care who you are, you  can’t help but feel patriotic while rooting on Team USA! I regularly sport an American flag keyboard cover, but I decided to support Team USA with this red white and blue manicure I found on Pinterest:

RWB

I used OPI Blue My Mind, Essie Fifth Avenue and So Easy Stripe Rite in white in order to recreate this look. I also used Scotch Tape.

I started with a base layer of the OPI. It’s a pretty thick polish, so I only had to do one layer. Let it dry completely before you start to tape it off in order to apply the red. If your tape is too sticky and it will pull up your polish, stick it to the back of your hand before putting it on your nail. In the pin, you can tell that the red stripes are hand painted and that she applied the white over the blue instead. I don’t own a white polish that has a standard brush, so I chose to do the Essie next. Since the base blue is so dark, it too a pretty thick coat of the red in order to get the color I desired. Too thin and it looked maroon.

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After peeling off the tape (immediately, while the paint is still wet) and letting the red coat dry, I painted on the stripes. first I did the horizontals, then the diagonal. These look better on some fingers than others, since they’re freehanded. I also used a polish with a very thin brush. If you don’t have one, you can use the tip of a pen or pencil or a small paint brush. I decided to omit the glitter, since I didn’t have any that would go well like the original star glitter.

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After they dried, I applied a top coat and viola a super patriotic manicure!

During the next few weeks, make sure you tune in to support our athletes. Do something out of your ordinary routine to show some patriotism! Go Team USA!

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A BLT, but Better

While Sriracha sauce has been in the news lately for not-so-good reasons, it is still having its moment and I am one of many people who have become obsessed. Specifically, it started with liking spicy mayo with my sushi and evolved into eating it on pretty much everything. When I came across the pin for today’s blog post, I couldn’t help myself.

See, a BLT is my favorite sandwich. I’m not such a fan of eggs, but the allure of spicy mayo on a BLT made me want to try it. Throw in some avocado and I’m a sucker, I just had to.

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Ingredients:
6 slices thick-cut bacon, fried
4 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)
2 bunches of baby romaine lettuce
1 tomato, sliced + seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 avocado, sliced + seasoned with salt and pepper
2 eggs, cooked as desired

To spare you a step-by-step tutorial of how to make a sandwich, you toast the bread and then assemble the sandwich. I found that frying the bacon first and then the egg is the best way to keep the warm ingredients from getting cold. Due to my love for spicy mayo, I own a pre-made bottle. The lady in the post uses mayo and sriracha sauce, but I think that’s more expensive and not as easy. My sandwich turned out pretty dang well, but it was a bit messy since the yolk of the egg broke while I was chowing down.

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Time commitment: 15 mins
Cost: Depending on how many ingredients you already have, $10-20
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 10/10

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The Most Frustrating Manicure I’ve Ever Attempted

One of the most fascinating areas of Pinterest to me is the nail art boards. Mine is full of ideas I’d love to try, but I rarely try because I’m afraid to fail. I’ve followed nail art blogs for years and about a year ago, I finally decided to give the basic “scotch tape mani” a try. That’s simply when you take scotch tape and use it to create lines and patterns on your nails. This advanced into me ordering dotting tools (use an old pen or pencil if you don’t want to buy them) and striping tape. I’ve had decent success with those tools in the past, which lead me to trying the pin below.

nails image

I started with a layer of black polish as my base. Make sure you keep this one thin, you want it to dry quickly. If it is gloopy and takes a long time to dry, you’re going to be really frustrated when it comes to the taping process. The base layer doesn’t need to be perfect, if it’s sort of transparent you won’t be able to tell in the end.

I didn’t have glittery polishes that I thought varied in color slightly enough to be an ombre, so I chose various shades of turquoise and minty greens/blues instead. I used OPI Fly and two of the five bottles included in an ombre set from Forever 21, which they no longer sell.

I started by sectioning my nails into three parts using the tape, pushing the edges down using tweezers (sorry I didn’t get pictures, I only had so many hands!) This is a tedious process and the hardest part about doing this type of manicure. Once a whole hand was sectioned off, I opened all three bottles of polish at once and did one nail at a time. You have to immediately pull of the tape before the sections dry, or you run the risk of pulling off large chunks of polish. This is why I did a whole nail at a time, so that the different colors don’t dry while doing the other nails. This is also where the thin base layer comes into play. When you go to pull up the tape to reveal the black lines, you might pull up black polish. This is seriously frustrating. If this happens there may be a few culprits: 1) The base layer was too thick 2) you base layer was still tacky or 3) your tape was too sticky (solve this by sticking it to the back of your hand before putting it on polish). I had this happen more than once, but instead of starting all over, I used the black polish with a really thin brush to paint in the ruined areas. Cheating, I know, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

In the end, I liked the way this manicure turned out. However, it is super time consuming and takes a lot of extra tools if you want to recreate the stripes accurately. It also requires an immense amount of patience!! This is how mine turned out:

Time commitment: 1.5-2 hours
Cost: Depends on how much of the stuff you already own, free-$10
Ease of activity: 4/10, the taping process knocked this one down.

What is the most daring manicure you’ve ever tried? How did it turn out?

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My New Favorite Snack Dip

What is better than food? I think a lot of you would agree with me that the answer to that question is “not much.” As wonderful as it is, as a college student I fall into a vicious cycle with food. Wake up early, skip breakfast, grab lunch on the go, dinner, snack, snack, snack! I often times find myself with chips, candy, fruit snacks, or other snacks that make me feel gross. One of my goals for 2014 is to add more variety to my food. Pinterest is a great way to do this! The first snack I tried is Garlic Feta dip and oh my word, I love it.

Garlic Feta Dip Image

It’s a little expensive due to the amount of feta used (and the fact that I didn’t own any spices prior to this), but if you have the the other ingredients already, the price isn’t too bad. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. FETA CHEESE
  • 8 oz. CREAM CHEESE
  • 2/3 cup MAYO
  • 4 GARLIC CLOVES, minced (you could use less if you don’t like a lot of garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon DRIED BASIL
  • 1/2 teaspoon DRIED OREGANO
  • 1/4 teaspoon DRIED DILL
  • 1/4 teaspoon DRIED THYME

Like I mentioned before, I didn’t own any of the ingredients before making this snack so it was around $17. If you owned the herbs and garlic, it wouldn’t be nearly that much.

The instructions were pretty simple: “Crumble the feta if it didn’t come already crumbled. Stir together all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Put in a serving dish and chill until you are ready to serve.” At most it took 5 minutes to dump everything in a bowl and mix it up.

Garlic Feta Dip

I love pretzel chips, so I chose to enjoy the creamy dip with those! It is a bit heavy on the garlic, so if you don’t like a lot of garlic, just don’t add as much.

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This is easily one of my new favorite snack dips. I made it over the weekend and I ate it all week!

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9 Easy Braids You Can Learn!

Braids are the best.  They can be dressed up for a night out or dressed down for a lazy day in sweats or for the gym. For today’s post I decided to recreate all of the images in the pin below! My lovely friend Sadie volunteered to have her hair pulled so that I could try these out!Braids PinUnfortunately, the pin doesn’t link to a tutorial, so I had to use my resources. I’m absolutely obsessed with the beauty vlogging community on Youtube, so I turned to them for help on this pin. I started with the basic three strand braid, which I have known how to do for as long as I can remember. Super easy! 3 strand The next one was a french braid, also pretty simple. French is when the hair comes over the top and down into the braid. FrenchThe reverse of the French braid is the Dutch braid, where hair comes up from the bottom and through the braid. This is the braid that’s easiest for most people to do on their own hair. DutchAll three basic braids are easy to do on your own hair. Now we get more complicated! The waterfall braid is a little confusing, since you pull strands of hair and drop them after one section of braid. I have done this braid before, but I never remember exactly how to do it, so I found a great Youtube tutorial. The one I found most helpful also taught the feather and ladder braids too!

Waterfall

Waterfall

Feather

Feather

Ladder

Ladder

These braids were super simple after watching the tutorial. They definitely look a lot more complicated then they are. However, they would be a lot more difficult to do on yourself.

The one braid I have never mastered came up next. The fishtail. I understand how to fishtail but no matter how many times I’ve tried it always ends up looking terrible. After several tries, I finally got one that I liked.

Fishtail

Lace braids are my favorite braid, but not the way the pin shows it. If you do it across the back of your head like in the pin, most of your hair ends up on one side of your head. This braid involves picking up hair from one side of the braid and never dropping it (Unlike the waterfall and the feather braids). I like to do them on one side of my head in order to pull back the hair that often falls in my face.

How I normally wear a lace braid

How I normally wear a lace braid

Lace

Lace

The final braid is a twist. I don’t think I would consider this a braid necessarily, and it’s hard to make it look as tight as it does in the pin. Doing this one made me miss my Conair hair twister I had as a kid!

TwistOverall, these braids were pretty simple  to do as long as someone was showing me how to do them. Here is the collage I made up to match the pin.

Cost: Free
Time Commitment: About 5-10 minutes per braid
Ease of activity: 8/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 8/10

Braid CollageWhat is your favorite braid? Have you tried these ones before? Do you have a braid you’d like to see me try? Let me know! Until then, happy braiding, friends!

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