Saturday, January 30, 2016

14 Days of {FREE} Valentine's Activities for You and Your Honey

Valentine's Day makes me think of construction paper crafts, school parties, and store-bought valentines. Even though they don't taste very good, I like conversation hearts for their cheesiness. As it is only second to my love of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to do a sort of advent calendar for Valentine's Day. Here are fourteen free Valentine's Day activities to do with your SO:

I hope your Valentine's Day is fun and just a little cheesy ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

12 Thoughts You Have as a Diet Coke Addict

  1. I'm bummed/happy/annoyed. I could really use some Diet Coke right now.
  2. Where is the nearest vending machine?
  3. Maybe I should run to the store and buy some for home.
  4. Yay! This fountain soda has extra syrup! Best diet coke ever.
  5. How much money do I spend on diet coke a year?
  6. Is this really as horrible for my health as people say?
  7. Oh well, basically everything that tastes good is bad for you. If diet coke is wrong, I don't want to be right.
  8. Ahh, this fizz is amazing! So much carbonation.
  9. Just one more glass.
  10. I finished this 2 liter already? Good thing I bought multiple.
  11. What do you mean, you only serve Pepsi products? Diet Pepsi is not the same!
  12. I will never stop loving you, Diet Coke.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fashion Inspired by Food: Macarons

Is there any food cuter than macarons? I don't think so. These colorful French treats are perfect for Instagram-ing:

Since these cookies are so adorable, I decided to make an outfit inspired by them:


Macarons by ijustbeolivia

I thought the ruffled top was the perfect allusion to the middle of the cookies, which also look a bit ruffled. The bow on the flats and the quilted purse are subtly French-inspired. And then there is the phone case, which is not so subtle. 

Would you wear this colorful outfit?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Analyze Someone's Personality Based on the Titles of their Pinterest Boards

Pinterest is one of the most popular social networks out there. It's a fun time-waster disguised as a way to find productive ideas for things like house decorating and party hosting. Since there are about a million types of pins from all over the internet on this one website, there are endless possibilities for the subject of a user's boards. As a Pinterest user, I've found that the way a user names their boards can say a lot about their personality. Here are some of the most common types of board titles and possible personality implications:

1. They have the two different boards for the same category.
Someone who has a "fashion" board and a "style" board is slightly disorganized. Their real life closet is probably a mess (though I shouldn't be talking...mine is not what you would call neat). They're probably late to things pretty often, but it's part of their charm. They're the Phoebe of your friend group.

2. Their boards all follow a similar naming pattern. 
If number 1 is the Phoebe of your friends, this person is the Monica. Their boards might be named in verbs, like "Move" for workout ideas, and "Cook" for recipes. Maybe they use certain symbols throughout, like always using the ampersand instead of the actual word "and." It is pretty impressive that all of their boards have the same naming pattern, considering you can add more boards whenever you want. They had to purposely remember this pattern and care enough to use it. This person has a very clean house, and is probably the blogger from whom you get all of your amazing, just slightly impractical organization ideas.

3. They only have a couple of huge boards.
Their two boards are labeled "Life" and "Things to Buy." This person is probably new to Pinterest, and will soon realize that way too many things fit into these categories. This person is a go-with-the flow person who thinks big. Life is too much of an adventure for them to spend time making lots of specific Pinterest boards. They pay more attention to the broad picture than the details. Put them together with #2, and they'll plan a great party.

4. They belong to 10 group boards.
This person is the networker. They are a hardcore blogger or social networker, and they know how to work the room. This person is the social butterfly, and would do well in marketing or sales. They are charming, and they get things done.

5. The names of their boards all have those weird, frivolous symbols, like this: ╰☆╮.
This person might have a butterfly tattoo on their hip, or they like 3D nail art. They probably talk a lot, especially about reality TV. They use cutesy nicknames for things, like "froyo" for frozen yogurt. I would not be surprised if they had a board solely for puppy pictures

6. They have a board devoted to their job.
Seriously, have you noticed how many Pinterest users pin about nursing and teaching? This person is admirable. It is difficult to get on Pinterest and not get distracted by the 5,000 calorie desserts and funny Tumblr pins. This person is driven and serious about their career. They fully commit to things. They are a great friend who always remembers birthdays and gives great gifts. Basically, they are Leslie Knope.

7. The names of their boards are written with spaces between each letter, l i k e  t h i s . 
This person identifies as a hipster/artist/emo. They think outside the, space. They are proud of their creativity, and probably give lots of cool DIY gifts. Maybe they listen to sad music, or they take their sketchpad with them everywhere they go. They say things like "music is my life."

8. They have lots of "future" boards.
This person is a planner. They love their (probably Lilly Pulitzer) agenda. They think ahead, and would be a perfect event planner. They have a future wedding board, a future baby board, a future home board, and a future husband board. I admire them for not feeling super overwhelmed all the time. There are too many things to do when you live in both the present and the future! As a side note: the future wedding board is kind of a requirement for joining Pinterest...I think 90% of users have one.

9. They have a board for all of their fandoms.
This person probably has a Netflix or Hulu account to stream all of their favorite shows. They are a trusting person who doesn't have trouble making friends, including fictional friends. They probably spend a lot of time on Tumblr talking to fellow fans. They may also be a writer who enjoys writing fan fiction. They embrace their inner nerd.

10. They have 50 boards.
This person was the annoying honor roll student who had a million extracurriculars. They are interested in everything, and they are somehow good at all of these things. You have to admire them for their drive, but you also sort of hate them.

11. They have a generic "Love" board with lots of artsy couple photos of strangers. 
This person is a romantic, who would have loved hanging out with Wordsworth or Lord Byron. They've read "Pride and Prejudice", and they love romantic comedies. They also like to pin lots of pictures of sepia toned flowers and people running in a meadow. This person is an optimist who sees the best in people (after all, they've learned from Elizabeth Bennett not to be prejudiced). It's possible that they leave the stock photo print of the cute family in the frame after they buy it.

Of course, there is more to a person's personality than how they describe their favorite pins, but many hours wasted on Pinterest and my interest in psychology has made for some fun observations.

Friday, May 15, 2015

9 Wedding Planning Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding

My wedding was almost a year and a half ago, which seems crazy to me. It doesn't feel like that long ago! It was everything I wanted and such a blessing. Once your wedding is over and the planning is finally done, there's a mixture of emotions. I was relieved to not be stressing over the cost of the wedding and planning the details, but I felt sad that this wonderful day that I had spent months looking forward to was suddenly over. I felt so happy to be a Mrs., but I felt a little like Monica from "Friends". After her wedding to Chandler, she said despondently, "I'm not a bride anymore; now I'm just a wife." Being a bride is such a fun, magical time, but being a wife is much more rewarding.

So, for those of you who are planning a wedding, congrats! I hope you have a great time planning your wedding. It is so fun to dream about your day. Remember not to let it stress you out too much. To help make your planning smoother, I've made a list of tips for planning that I learned while planning my wedding.

1. Don't try to DIY everything...just certain things.
When I first started planning, I wanted to DIY as much as possible. Keep in mind that DIYing is a great way to save money, but can also cause a lot of stress and put a lot of pressure on you. Try to estimate what is reasonable for you to DIY in the amount of time you have. Certain things are often better to be done by professionals. I know that it can be frustrating to hear that and it's tempting to just try to do everything on your own, but it will probably end up causing unneeded stress. Here are some examples of DIYs that we did for our wedding:
   -Kyle and I had his uncle make our invitations with a computer program. We sent him a picture of an invitation we found online that we liked, and he made it with the details of our wedding. He put it on a USB and we took it to Office Depot and had it printed. Then, we cut them up ourselves. They were pretty and simple, and saved us so much money. We did the same with our programs. I designed them in Word on my computer with cute fonts that I downloaded online. Then, we had them printed and stamped them with little leaf stamps from Michaels. Stamping our invitations together became a fun memory for Kyle and I.
   -Decorations are also a great detail to DIY. I wrapped a wooden letter "S" with twine and put it on our head table during the reception. I also framed a few sayings, such as "with my whole heart for my whole life" and put it on a table with the escort cards. They were fun to make, and they didn't cost much or take long to do.

2. Find a venue that includes more than just the space.
My venue had a list of vendors it worked with that the owners of the venue hooked us up with. I was able to find great vendors who had already been cleared by the venue as giving legit, quality services. This made my planning so much easier. It can also be a lot cheaper and less time consuming to use a venue that includes more than just the space.

3. Find a venue with a back up plan.
If the weather doesn't behave as predicted, it's important to have a venue that can quickly accommodate the change and move the ceremony.

4. Make sure you LOVE your vendors, especially your photographer.
Kyle and I had to interview a few photographers before we found the perfect one. It's important to find vendors who understand your vision. Sometimes one vendor will just click with you, even if the other vendors you interviewed were great as well. Keep searching until you find the vendor that fits you and your fiance. You'll feel much more at peace about it.

5. Be prepared to change your mind.
I started out wanting a mint and gray wedding color scheme, and changed to red and charcoal later in my planning. I also changed my date a few times before finalizing it. It's okay to play around with different ideas, and it will cause you less stress if you go into your planning knowing that there may be some changes down the road. It's also good to keep in mind that you may need to be flexible on the day of the wedding as well. I couldn't find my cake topper soon before my wedding day, so we had the florist put some flowers on top instead. It turned out beautifully and no one knew the difference.

6. Find fun alternatives to tradition.
For our guestbook, I made a Shutterfly book with our engagement pictures, as well as older pictures of us throughout the years. I added white text boxes on the pages with questions such as "What will you remember the most from our wedding?" and "What should we name our kids?". I also included a couple of simple pages at the end for people to sign their names. Our guests had fun answering the questions in our book. Kyle and I love looking at our guestbook at our old pictures, and we have a lot of fun reading the answers people wrote to the questions in the book. I found the questions online by searching for fun wedding guestbook questions. I loved having a personalized guestbook.
   Additionally, we did a sand ceremony with our wedding colors instead of a candle lighting ceremony. Now, we have the vase of sand from our ceremony as a great memento. The sand ceremony also has a very cool meaning. Basically, it means that once the two vases of sand are poured together into one vase, you can't separate them. This symbolizes the union of marriage.
   Kyle and I also saved some money by having our caterer make a dessert bar. We had a small one-tier cake for a ceremonial cake cutting and pictures, but no one actually ate the cake. We were glad to still do the cake cutting and have the photos, and we saved money in the process.

7. Accommodate family without letting them take over the planning
Certain things aren't worth fighting over. If it's important to a relative that you invite their siblings or friends who you don't know well, you may want to go ahead and invite them to keep the peace. It won't make much of a difference on the day (though I understand that it will increase the cost of the day some). It's important to keep a balance between pleasing your family and remembering that it's your wedding day. 

8. Look forward to marriage as well as your wedding day.
It's so easy get so wrapped up in the planning that you forget the whole point is to be married to the one you love. Remembering that the wedding is just one day and that soon, you'll be married to someone wonderful is a good way to de-stress from the planning. Getting pre-marital counseling is great for preparing for marriage. Even if you don't feel like you and your guy need counseling, I highly recommend it. Kyle and I had a lot of fun setting aside time to talk about our relationship. Our counselors became great mentors to us. Getting counseling before marriage also helped us know what areas of our relationship may become difficult during marriage. That way, we can prepare and it won't be a surprise if we run into a hard time. For a fun but related distraction from planning, look at Pinterest for great date ideas and marriage articles.

9. Keep some perspective.
Remember to relax and do fun things totally unrelated to the wedding. Sometimes, your wedding day seems so important it clouds out other things, but it's just one day.

What tips have you heard that have helped save you stress while wedding planning?