Favorites

Favorites: Episode 2

Hobby Idea: The inner grandmother in me wants to learn how to cross-stitch so badly! I especially love this “take a hike” one that I found on Etsy. They are such cute pieces that are totally homemade, but still look very polished and cute. I would put this one with a gallery wall of other art, or leaned up on a bookshelf along with a fake plant and a candle.

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Via: Etsy

Song: Versace on The Floor by Bruno Mars has been my absolute jam this past week. Since it’s more of a ballad, I probably wouldn’t listen to it when I’m trying to get pumped about heading to the bars (grandma makes another appearance with how much of a struggle that process usually is). Regardless, I’ve been rocking out to this song with my shampoo bottle microphone, and loving every second of it.

Book: I know I’m late on the bandwagon with this one, but I started reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler at the beginning of this week, and only have about 20 pages left. Her stories about growing up and making it as an improv comedian in her twenties are refreshing and hilarious, but also really applicable to just being young and still having no idea what you really want to do with your life. It also sparked me to start watching Parks and Recreation, which Amy stars in, and so far it’s great. Keep an eye out for it to make an appearance in a future favorites…

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Via: Goodreads

Buy: Everytime I go to Target, I inevitably buy AT LEAST 3 things from the dollar section. I have a problem, I have accepted it, but I probably won’t do anything about it anytime soon. With that being said, on a routine trip to grab notebooks, toothpaste, and mascara, I stumbled upon this cute little heart pillow that was only $5! It added some texture and color (white is adding color to me?? I clearly have a neutrals problem) to my otherwise dark bedding. I also love it’s cheeky little shape, and with Valentine’s Day coming up I just couldn’t leave it. The one I have linked below is larger than the one I bought and a bit more fluffy, but for visual reference it was the closest I could get.

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Via: Target

Pointless but Highly Entertaining Buzzfeed Article: This montage of Disney jokes had me giggling during a welcome break from job applications this week. There is something so satisfying about wholesome articles like this that are there strictly for entertainment purposes. They are a great distraction when every time you get on the internet these days, there is more and more about all hatred going on in the world.

Until next week!

-Sarah

Interior Design

Ikea Hack #1

As a quick post for today, I wanted to share a mini project I did last year in my room. It included taking my Ikea Micke Desk, and adding a little personality to its otherwise blank facade. The desk before looked like this:

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Via: Ikea

I chose it because I wanted drawers, but also a cubicle as shown on the left side to store things like books and other office supplies. This desk works great, but I always found it a little boring. So, one lazy Sunday last semester I decided to do something about it! I went on Amazon and purchased this marble contact paper, fully prepared to deck out the entire top of the desk with it. Little did I know, I am the world’s worst contact paper putter on-er (is that even a thing?? oh well I think I just made it one). So bad, that when I was halfway through the top, there were so many bubbles in the paper that I just had to scrap it and go with plan b: using it for the front of the drawers.

This worked MUCH better, and was actually very easy to do. You just measure the amount of paper you need, peel off one corner of the paper and stick it to the corner of the surface, then flatten out as you peel back the remaining paper. I didn’t even have to use a credit card to keep bubbles at bay! It worked like a charm and you can see the end result here.

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It’s not an upgrade that makes the desk look more expensive, per say, it just gives it a little something extra!

I hope you enjoyed this short but sweet DIY post, let me know about any of your fun Ikea hacks that you have tried!

-Sarah

Activities · Lifestyle

What to Know Before Going to a Music Festival

In honor of the lineup for the 2017 Firefly Music Festival dropping tomorrow, I felt it was appropriate to write a post about my experience going to this specific festival in 2015.

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Via: Firefly

This poster. I have a copy plastered on the wall in my apartment, and every time I look at it I get hit with oodles of great memories from that fateful weekend two years ago. First, let me start off by saying that if you ever have the chance to go to a festival, DO IT. Do it with no questions asked, don’t worry about the money or the exhaustion you will encounter or the crowds, just buy those tickets and get excited for one of the best experiences you can have (in my opinion). I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to format this post, but I have come up with a list of what I would assume to be FAQs regarding festivals, so I think that’s going to be the game plan. Oh and of course I will throw in a few pictures from my festival experience, along with a few stories you have to hear to believe.

How much do festivals usually cost?

So this varies between the different festivals, but my 4-day pass to Firefly ended up being ~$350 (I don’t remember the exact amount, but for reference the 2017 passes are starting at $290). The reason I paid more is that the tickets for Firefly are sold in tiers. Keep this in mind, the first round of tickets went on sale for me at a specific time in the day, so if you track the festival’s website I’m sure you can find when that time is. What I failed to predict, though, was my computer totally crashing as I tried to buy my ticket. I think the issue was the amount of people attempting to do the same thing as me, and the website crashing because of the insane amount of traffic it was receiving. So, once I finally sorted my computer out again, the lowest tier tickets (under $300) had sold out. I was super bummed, only to see my Firefly group message blowing up about how the same exact thing happened to pretty much all of my friends that were going. So if this happens, it’s not the end of the world! Another thing to expect are *fees* that go along with your ticket. Who even knows what they are for, but they can be anywhere from $20-$40, so expect that to add on to your total at checkout.

How much should I budget for things once I am actually there?

There are a handful of things that you will need to be prepared to buy before entering the festival grounds. Food, alcohol, LOTS of water, ect. You will also need a camping pass ($170 for six people and one car), and a car pass ($40) if you expect to have more than one car. I tried to be good about eating at our campsite since the food is insanely overpriced, but I must say I don’t regret the $10 pulled pork mac and cheese I bought one day. They have the most insane kinds of food at festivals, even if you don’t buy any I still think it’s fun to explore and see all the options.

What are the necessities to bring with you to the actual stage site?

For Firefly, the campsites are about a 25 minute walk from the actual venue, so you have to pack a small bag each day when you are ready to go to the actual festival. They don’t let you bring outside food/beverage in, but there are totally ways to sneak in alcohol if that’s what you’re into (think empty sunscreen bottle filled with vodka). You will need your wristband, to be worn at all times, ID, cash/credit card, sunscreen, sunglasses, and your cell phone. I got burned so badly one day from forgetting sunscreen that I had to sit in complete shade the next day, quite literally feeling my skin peel off. So listen to that nagging voice inside your head (aka your mother) and wear your sunscreen!

If there was something you would do differently next time, what would it be?

Ah, if only I could have asked my future post-festival self this question before I went to Firefly. Yes, there are definitely a few major pointers I can give as far as things to bring, and general first-hand-experience knowledge for what I would have done differently. First off, I would have brought a pair of rain boots as my main source of footwear, or really any waterproof shoes for that matter. I made the mistake of bringing only flip-flops, and vans. As shown in the picture below, this didn’t work out too well.

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Why yes, those mud covered little feet belong to me!

Regardless of the weather: festivals will always be muddy. There is no logical explanation as to why this is, but it’s a fact, and you should prepare for it in advance. It also didn’t help that there was a quasi-monsoon while we were there, but that’s a whole other story(peep this news article)…anyway back to tips!

I would also stock up on a bunch of those big multiple-gallon containers of water. While there are water stations available, I sincerely question their sanitation levels, so just save yourself the concern and stick to your own water. Plus, you will be using this water to “shower” with, so buy a lot more than you think you need. You will use it all, I promise.

One last thing I would recommend having is a large tarp with grommets in it, and some bungee cords. We brought a tarp, but failed to have the cords, so when it was pouring rain and the sunroof of my car was stuck open, we were forced to physically hold the tarp over it throughout the night. Not exactly fun but a great story to be told after the fact! Speaking of my sunroof being stuck open, maybe don’t let your friends try to charge their phones using your car because your battery WILL die and you WILL be very sad. Also make friends with your awesome neighbors so that they can jump-start your car for you on the last day 🙂

Phew, sorry for the lengthy answers! To wrap up this post in a more visual style, here are a few pictures from 2015 (most taken on a disposable camera because we were so cool like that). I hope you enjoy!

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Had to caption this: my friend T and the stray kitten we found at our campsite. We named her Jude because we saw Sir Paul McCartney perform, and fed her water out of a frisbee.

I may write a few follow-up posts about my own personal experience, some tips while you are actually at the festival, and the best gear to bring to have a seamless stay on the campsites. Until next time!

-Sarah

Activities

Gaming in a Guys World: A Girl’s Perspective

When I created the “Activities” category on this blog, I had anticipated using it for things that were fitness-related. However, the topic of this post does fall under the activity category, albeit in a less traditional sense. Today I will be discussing my take on video games; the culture behind playing them, a few favorites, and how they can be a much needed change from the monotony of watching TV/movies!

This may seem like an odd topic to discuss, but I think it’s pretty interesting. Growing up with an older brother, I spent far more time picking a line-up in Backyard Baseball than I did dressing up American Girl dolls. No offense to the dolls, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything based on how that tomboy side has shaped who I am today. I would also be lying if I said that my small amount of video game knowledge didn’t help me impress at least a few hotties in my lifetime 😉

I was a PC/Xbox person in high school; I loved The Sims like everyone else, but was also a closet Need for Speed junkie. I enjoyed the games that weren’t quite as popular as the classics like Halo and Call of Duty. One distinct favorite I can remember is the Star Wars Battlefront game for Xbox 360. I spent countless hours fighting battles on Tatooine and getting destroyed by my brother in multiplayer mode.

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Via: YouTube

The stereotype behind “gamers” is one that I by no means fit into, mostly because I really don’t play them that often and don’t have a console of my own (other than a Nintendo DS that I’ve managed to misplace). However, I think that consoles and the variety of games available are becoming less targeted towards that specific demographic, and more towards the average Joe. For example, the new Nintendo Switch is a gaming system that you can take on the go or play in your living room. It has a great multiplayer function that I can see appealing to a variety of different people. To me, this function seems almost like the board game of the 21st Century since it gets everyone at a gathering involved.

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Via: Here

 I think a lot of people brush video games off as childish these days, but really they are a lot more stimulating than zoning out on the 10th episode in a binge watching frenzy on Netflix. They improve hand-eye-coordination and keep your brain guessing. I also find that video games are great when you want to get a little lost in your own world. I was a pretty avid Runescape player (dorky, yes, but SO much fun) in middle/high school, and that is a perfect example of a game where you can just escape and instantly become someone else. There are also millions of ways that the game can go depending on what you choose, which makes it that much more exciting.

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Via: Photobucket

And now to another stereotype, that playing video games is a total guy thing. This is so false! There are games that are definitely more geared towards guys, but that can also be said about one’s for girls. Give me one person who doesn’t enjoy a good stroll around Kanto in search of the perfect Pokemon (you totally can’t).

I think there is something very universal about becoming invested in a game and spending hours working towards beating it. There is no advantage/disadvantage in being a specific gender while playing, so if you ever assume that video games are just something for guys, think again! There is bound to be a game you will fall in love with if you’re willing to hunt it down.

With how much the content and graphics of video games continues to improve, I can definitely see myself starting to play again sometime soon . I think my brothers Xbox 360 is still in my basement at home, I’m thinking of digging it up and giving it another go! Until next time,

-Sarah

Lifestyle

Beat the Back to School Blues

Ah late January. The conclusion to a blissful month-long vacation from deadlines, lab reports, and grouchy professors. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. I just got back to school and am in the weird transition period from having nothing to do, to becoming insanely busy overnight. I’m also a total baby when it comes to change, so I’m also already feeling a little homesick. That’s when I got the idea for this post. I have a few things I do almost every time I come back from a winter break and they really help me transition from a homesick mess to a boss little lady who is ready to conquer the semester ahead. Enjoy!

Reorganize your room: I thrive when my space is clean, organized, and laid out in a way that is appealing to me. Ask my roommate, I have rearranged my room approximately 10 times since moving in last year. It just makes me happy, as weird as that may sound! Below are before and after pictures of what I did today.

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Before

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After!

Chat with a friend/boyfriend: This one seems like a no-brainer but it really is something that works. It helps to make you feel less alone, even if the interaction is done over the computer or phone.

Watch an episode of your favorite show: I started to feel a wave of panic about being back come over me, so I took a deep breath, made a mug of peppermint tea, and put on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. The familiarity of this ritual instantly made me feel better.

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My favorite mug…guesses on who gave it to me??

Write in your planner for the upcoming weeks: This goes with the theme of organization equaling some sort of peace in life. I outlined my schedule for the week and it lifted a little something off my shoulders, which in turn improved my mood.

Treat yourself to something extra special: Whether that’s a face mask, an extra helping of dessert(always my go-to), or a little online shopping,  pampering yourself more than normal will definitely help make you feel better.

Good luck with the start of your semester!

-Sarah

Favorites

Favorites: Episode I

I want to start a new segment on my blog that centers around some of my weekly favorites that will go up on Sundays, so here I give you the first! These favorites will be slightly random, and will obviously fluctuate depending on the week. However, I love reading these on other blogs so I figured it was only right to start my own. So without further ado, I give you my favorites from the week of January 21st.

Song: Ed Sheeran’s new single, Shape of You. I was so excited to see he was starting to release new songs off of his album Divide, and this one definitely doesn’t disappoint. In true Ed Sheeran fashion, it’s a blend of heartfelt lyrics and a rap-esque speed that makes it insanely catchy. I’ve had it on repeat and I’m sure you will too after the first listen!

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Via: Spotify

Organizational Tip: I was watching a video on home decluttering to get some much needed inspiration to do something about my absolute mess of a room, when someone in the comment section mentioned the KonMari method of folding. This comes from the infamous Marie Kondo book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I still have on my list as a must-read. Since all of my clothes will be shoved into packing cubes while in Europe, I figured this would be a very useful skill to have so I could maximize the space in my backpack. This article on the folding method gives great visuals (and even video tutorials) on how to fold each specific item. I tried it out and it works surprisingly well!

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Via: Pinterest

App: Afterlight is my go-to choice for editing pictures. It has the best variety of filters, plus lots of customization for things like saturation, brightness, and clarity of an image. It’s super user friendly, and at only $.99 I think it’s well worth the price for the quality of pictures you end up with.

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Via: Google Play

Food: I know this may sound super lame, but I have been obsessed with this trail mix over the past week. It tastes like it wouldn’t be as good for you as it actually is, which is the way health food should be! Although I’ll admit to mixing chocolate chips in with it for a post-dinner snack…diet is all about balance right?? PS I bought mine from TJ Maxx where it was on sale for only $3 a bag.

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Via: Amazon

Video: A random thing I LOVE watching on YouTube are audition videos for The Voice. This particular one is probably my all-time favorite, and to this day I still have no idea why he didn’t win his season. After revisiting this old favorite this week, I also found myself belting out “Listen” only to realize I most definitely don’t sound like him, try as I may.

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Via: Wikipedia

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of my weekly favorites, stay tuned to next week for Episode II!

-Sarah

Lifestyle

Keep the Change

So I sit here drinking a glass of rose, wearing a baggy sweatshirt, and sporting last night’s makeup while listening to my family talk about savings. Ugh. Fun fact, I am not exactly a wizard when it comes to money. But when did it suddenly become the norm to already have a bunch of money saved up when you just barely gained the ability to legally drink alcohol?

*Lizzie McGuire gulp*

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Via: Here

I’m not as worried about money for the future, however at the moment when I am unemployed and on the brink of graduation, it’s hard not to be concerned. I take solace in the fact that I am totally not the only person in this situation. Being in my early twenties, I know some of the best times of my life will happen in the next five years, and I can only hope that I will have a financial situation figured out by then. In the meantime though,  becoming educated on the topic seems to be the smartest decision.

This article from Kiplinger, while a little dry, gives some great advice on savings. For example, it states that saving $100 a month (which you can pretend is a bill you must pay) starting at the age of 25 will compound to around $345,000 by the time you are 65. I don’t know about you but that’s an insane amount of money to me! Keep in mind that this tip doesn’t apply until you have a steady income, trust me there’s no way I could accomplish this now.

Something else that I have picked up from my parents is keeping all of your change, and putting it into a container at the end of the day. I’ve definitely been guilty of just dumping change into a tip jar when I have been too lazy to carry it around. Little did I know I was giving up more money than I knew, so I have tried to be better about saving change.

One other tip I have is to cancel subscription services that you know you don’t use enough to justify their price. I had a subscription to Chegg for a few years, which was $16 a month, and I had a Netflix account as well ($10/month). So, that was $26 a month for two services that evidently weren’t worth it. By cancelling both, not only am I watching less TV and not cheating on homework assignments by looking up the answers, I am also saving $312 a year! It’s a win,win,win.

Saving money doesn’t have to be a treacherous task. There are definitely ways to simplify it and I hope these short little tips make even the thought of starting a little more attractive.

-Sarah