Getting Down to Business and Keeping the Motivation Alive

Can you believe January is almost over? Where is time going? I wrote a few weeks ago how I am doing a book challenge as part of my new year’s resolutions. (So far I have finished 3. Woohoo!). That’s not all. I also have a secret to share, I’m taking online classes! It’s taking up more of my time than I’ve realized. I’m also figuring out that being out of college really can make you out of touch with the latest trends.

I follow a lot of tech boards on Pinterest that are always telling me the latest trends in web design, graphic design, print design, social media, etc. You get the picture. Now that I’ve been at my “new” job almost a year, it’s time to focus on ways to improve my job, not just play catch up. It also means it’s time to get around to revamping my personal website. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, but couldn’t get motivated. After all it was going to be a huge project. My website is not mobile responsive. My sister’s is… yeesh even worse. This was motivation to get my life together.

My coworkers are also very tech savvy, and one was fortunate to find a certification program for Javascript. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s one of the three “languages” that make up a website. The way I like to explain it: HTML is the boards that build the house (website), CSS is the paint (or design), and Javascript is the electricity (or the things that interact with everything else). I could talk about websites and technology for hours, but that’s not what this blog is about. We’re here to test things from Pinterest. This week I really don’t have anything to “test”, but recently I’ve found a lot of posts that are great for getting my life in order. The majority are coming from my Quotes board.

My favorite is from C.S.Lewis. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” I’m highly considering using this quote in my next piece of art for my apartment. It’s motivational and universal. A goal can be as small as cleaning out that drawer to as big as going to the moon! After graduating I felt excited about all this free time. I would get home and do whatever I wanted. Usually that was eat, sleep and watch TV. I started this blog and learned to craft again. I started to pick up more books and now I can’t stop. I learned how refreshing it is to work out after a long hard day. I learned that one should never stop learning.

I’ve found that the hardest thing about making a new commitment or resolution is keeping the motivation alive. Working, reading, class, working out, cooking, cleaning. It’s easy to get burnt out.  That’s why I really love this compilation of motivational phrases. No matter what, I always find a way to get motivated. “I will succeed!”

If my future self could go back to my old self from a year ago, and tell old me where I’d be now, I’d probably be greeted with a half-assed smile and a quiet “thanks”. I was in a dead end job with a miserable commute and no time for friends. Now, i live with my best friend, have a job I love, a new(ish) car, and free time to do what I want. I’m living life how I want to live it. I have a lot of dreams and this past year has taught me that I can accomplish almost anything if I set my mind to it.

There are so many things I envision for this blog. I want to get more creative with my projects. I want to read every book on my books to read list, and cook every meal I have pinned while also looking incredibly fit (courtesy of all the workouts I pin). I want to build out our facebook and pinterest pages more. There’s so much I want, but everything takes time. I will accomplish these things. It may not be all as once, it may be piece by piece, but I will get there. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

-Rachel

I will leave you all with this piece of wisdom:

Adulting: How to Become a Grown up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

This past year I’ve made a lot of changes in my life. I’ve found a permanent job, bought my first car, moved out of my parents place, and now just signed up for my own health insurance. Hello adulthood! As a college student I had no idea what the real world was like. Well, that’s not true. I had SOME idea. I had a job in college, i learned to pay my bills, manage my money, cook some semblance of food. Now that I was out on my own I was expected to do a lot more than I ever dreamed.

This is how I came across Adulting: How to Become an Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps. It was on a list of 14 Books to Get You Through Your Quarter Life Crisis. This list also included Graduates in Wonderland which might possibly be one of my all time favorite books.

Adulting was listed in the Humor section of my library. I was expecting a pretty hilarious book. In fact I was expecting it to be on par with Graduates in Wonderland. It was not. I’ll admit I was dissapointed, but once I got through the first chapter I started to get into the groove of this book.

I see why my library listed it under humor, but I felt that it belonged more under self-help. Actually no. It belonged in both those categories and neither. It was too humorous to be in self help (plus, who in their target audience would ever find it?), but it was also too straight forward to be humor.

The ideal place for this book would be on the end shelf next to all the college graduation materials. In fact it’s perfect for someone who just graduated, or someone who is about to start life on their own. This book provides a lot of helpful tips including what to look for in an apartment, acceptable cleaning standards, paying your bills on time, etc. It really is a nice guide on how to get your life in order.

I’ll admit I found the dull in some spots, but extremely helpful in others. It’s hard to rate this because I came into it with such different expectations.

Grade: Cost: Time:
This is a hard one… I would have to give it a B Free (Library!) N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
I wish the book were a little more quirky.
Overall Impression:
It wasn’t what I expected but was good in its own right. There were parts I felt didn’t apply to me and others that I found to be really useful.

Lifehack : Unlimited Music

I listen to Pandora every day at work and there are few things worse than running out of skips. My coworker uses Soundcloud but I’m not a big fan. When I saw this lifehack for unlimited music with unlimited skips I was intrigued.

I went to the site and was very confused. It looks like an old DOS computer, run by commands instead of menus. It’s kind of cool in a turn back time manner. At the bottom it says the site is powered by Soundcloud. That should give you an idea what type of music is played.

I listened to a variety of music. I wanted to get the full effect. I tried rock, alternative, folk, pop, and classical. I had never heard of any of the artists. That didn’t mean that they weren’t good. Some were actually really good. Some were even in different languages. It was great background music. If there are no skips on soundcloud I don’t really see the reason for this site, but like I said I’m unfamiliar with that platform.

There are some really cool perks. Watch the star wars made out of keyboard symbols, or play Flappy Bird or Mario.

Grade: Cost: Time:
B Free N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
N/A
Overall Impression:
If you like new music that isn’t the same music you hear on the radios then you might be interested in this site. You wont hear Katy Perry under pop, you wont hear Blake Shelton on Country, nor will you hear Cage the Elephant on Alternative. If you want something different, give it a shot. You don’t have to register, you don’t need to download anything. If you don’t like it just leave.

How to Tuck Non-Skinny Jeans into Boots

I have an hourglass figure. Skinny jeans look terrible on me. I’m not saying that fishing for compliments. I honestly look terrible in them. I’ve tried different brands and none work right. If it fits my ass, it doesn’t fit my waist, or it’ll fit my waist and my ass but wont fit my calves. Did I mention I also have really large calves? It’s not a question of weight issues. It’s a family trait. I just have a lot of muscle in them. Regardless of that they are just incredibly unflattering.

So why do I keep trying them? I want to wear cute boots. Skinny jeans don’t have a lot of fabric so you don’t need to fight them down when putting on boots. Plus, anything other than skinny jeans also leads to baggy knees. Introducing : How to tuck non-skinny jeans into boots!

How to Tuck Non-Skinny Jeans into Boots

Look at it closely. Look at your hand. Bring it closer to your face until you smack yourself. I bet you’re feeling as stupid as I do. WHY have I never thought of it? Maybe because it was too simple. It might also be because most of my socks are ankle socks. I’ve been doing this now for the past few weeks and this trick is genius. It stops the saggy knees and lets me wear more flattering jeans!

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Free A minute
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
I don’t always roll before I tuck. Sometimes I tuck to the side first. It’s better for me because it doesn’t fight my giant calves, but if it’s not up enough the excess jean material can irritate your ankle.
Overall Impression:
Genius. Seriously, why didn’t I think of this first? The only real downsides is that there will be extra jean material in your boots. If you have really tight boots this could be a problem. The socks do a good job holding the jeans tight, so I haven’t really had a problem. The exception was with a pair of boots I have that zip up the back. Whether you wear zip up or pull on boots, this trick is very helpful.

 

2015 Reading Challenge

Woohoo! 2015 is upon us! A year of new possibilities, new resolutions, new healthier lifestyle… who are we kidding. How many of us ACTUALLY stick to our new years resolutions? The percentage is probably 0.00001%. I know I usually try for a healthier lifestyle. Then pizza, pasta, chips, rootbeer and free cake at work come in to play. I know a healthier lifestyle wont stick. That’s why I only planned to be healthy until my cousin’s wedding in February. Heck I even planned what I’m having the week after the wedding. BACON AND CHEESE COVERED POTATOES!  Yup. It’s happening and I can’t wait.

Since fitness isn’t going to happen I’m opting for something a little more exciting for this year’s New Years Resolution. I want to read more! Since graduating college I’ve more than tripled my free time reading. I picked up some books from Pinterest and others I found on my own. I actually feel pretty proud of what I’ve read. Most are books I SHOULD have read as a child, but never got around to. Childrens books are great at getting you to love reading again. Here’s just a look back at some of the books I’ve read. These are the ones I enjoyed. I split them into categories in case you’re interested in reading some.

Childrens:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books) by C.S. Lewis
  • Deep Blue  by Jennifer Donnelly
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Peter Pan by James Barrie
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Young Adult:

  • The Hunger Games (books 2 and 3) by Suzanne Collins (AH! Book 3! NO! Terrible)
  • Coraline – Neil Gaiman (is this YA or Fantasy? idk)
  • Legend (books 1-3) by Marie Lu
  • Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier
  • The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Thorn by Intisar Khanani
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth

Adult Fantasy:

  • A Song of Fire and Ice (books 1-3) by George R.R. Martin
  • Coraline – Neil Gaiman (is this YA or Fantasy? idk)
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Daughter of the Forest – Juliet Marillier
  • Thomas the Rhymer – by Ellen Kushner
  • Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn and Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier

Fiction/Historical Fiction: (This section is usually so much larger…)

 

  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

 

Mystery:

  • The Tale of Halcyon Crane – Wendy Webb
  • The Vanishing by Wendy Webb
  • The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero (My mom and I are STILL puzzled at this one. We can’t tell if we missed something or if it was that good…)

Nonfiction:

  • Just My Type (A Book about Fonts) by Simon Garfield – Fascinating book if you have any interest in Typography.
  • Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale
  • Night by Elie Wiesel (nope, never read that in High School)
  • Seargeant Stubby: How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation by Ann Bausum.

Wow was it really that many?…. That’s not even a complete list. Well, it was a lot. My proudest accomplishment was reading nonfiction. I’ve always shied away from it and looks like I read 4 nonfiction books this year! Plus I managed the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. Can’t believe I never read that as a kid either.

Well now you know what I’ve been reading, it’s time to look forward to the next year. I’ve decided to participate in this 2015 reading challenge  from Popsugar. I’m hoping to tackle a bunch of books from my Books to Read board. I’m also hoping to knock out a number of the books I brought with me when I moved.

I tried to plan out early what books would fit what category but I learned that it’s easier said than done. A lot of the books fit multiple categories. I just finished Divergent by Veronica Roth this morning. It was a book recommended by a friend, takes place in my hometown, has a one word title, part of a trilogy, set in the future. If I marked off all those for one book my list would be done before I even tried!

Some of the books I hope to tackle this year include:

  • The rest of Divergent Series.
  • The Bone Forest – Robert Holdstock
  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Book Thief – by Marcus Zusak
  • Le Morte De Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
  • Neverwhere – by Neil Gaiman
  • Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly.
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Various freebie books I’ve picked up via Bookbub

I’m open to suggestions on more books to read. If you have any favorites, let me know!

2015 Reading Challenge

Grade: Cost: Time:
? Free (Raiding my bookshelf and local library) Ongoing all Year
Level of Difficulty:
Medium
What I Would Change:
It illudes to reading different categories (ex set in the future is totally dystopian, and non human character can be sci/fi or fantasy) but I think listing the categories would be better. How about picking up a book from the humor section or a coffee table book? They seem pretty ignored.
Overall Impression:
My year last year was spend on childrens books, Young Adult and learning to love to read again. I’m looking forward to this! Last year proved that nonfiction isn’t as scary as it seems. I honestly think Graduates in Wonderland is on my top 10 of favorite books ever (not including mandatory ones you read in high school and college which can also be really good). I’m not making a strict list now because I’ve found that my taste in books change. There are great books in all categories and I think this is a nice reminder to give them a chance too.

Polka Dot and Reindeer Christmas Nails

I love nail designs. It’s probably evident in how many we’ve done. I wanted to do 5 different designs for Christmas, but only had time to do one. I opted for these polka dot nails with the reindeer accent nail. It looked different from the usual candy cane and Santa nails I’ve seen.

Christmas Nail Design Ideas

It didn’t seem too difficult.

You will need:

  • White nail polish
  • Light brown nail polish
  • darker (medium) brown nail polish
  • red nail polish
  • black nail polish or black sharpie

Steps:

  1. Paint nails with a white base coat. Let dry. I used two coats.
  2. Use light brown paint to make base of reindeer body.
  3. When light brown is dry, draw on antlers with darker brown.
  4. Add white dots for eyes. These will take a while to dry. Once that is completely dry add a smaller black dot for the pupil. You can use a sharpie for this step.
  5. Add red for reindeer nose and for polka dots on all other nails.

image

 

Here is another tutorial with red sparkly nails instead of the polka dots.

 

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Free 2-3 hours
Level of Difficulty:
Medium
What I Would Change:
I’ve also seen this with red sparkly nails instead of the polka dots. I wish i saw that idea first. I think the red nails complement the reindeer more than the polka dots.
Overall Impression:
Cute! if you do it with the red nails it’s a little more classy festive, versus the polka dots are more young and fun.

 

I’m Dreaming Of A White Wine Christmas

A few months ago I found this sign on Pinterest. I fell it love. It would look PERFECT over our mini bar during the holidays.

I’m Dreaming of a White Wine Christmas

The original sign looks like it’s made with chalk on chalkboard paint. This sounds way too messy for the holidays. Imaging packing that up. It makes it a more versatile sign but I’d had redoing it every year. That’s why I’ve opted for paint.

I began using a black paint with a slight sparkle. Rather than paint in vertical even strokes as I did on the porch rules sign I opted for random strokes. This gave it a nice texture that complimented the text on top. It also proved to be a lot more beneficial later on.

I decided I wanted to freehand the letters. I just didn’t have the patience to draw it out on the black. I messed up a few times, but since the stroke of my black paint was irregular, you couldn’t tell I messed up.

The paint I used was silver. I’m still debating whether I should go over all the text in white, or only go over “white christmas” in white, and go over “red” in red. I’m giving this to my mom on Christmas, so I’ll leave the decision on alterations to her.

image

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ $10 2-3 Hours
Level of Difficulty:
Medium
What I Would Change:
I decided to freehand it. You could copy it directly or freehand it too. Also it looks like they used chalk on chalkboard paint. I used paint on paint.
Overall Impression:
Love it! My writing is a little sloppy but I don’t think it’s too bad. This is the best saying I’ve ever seen. We’re going to put it over our bar cart.
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