My inspirations for 2012

I don’t really believe in New Years Resolutions. Not necessarily because I don’t think they’re a good idea – mostly because everyone else is doing it, so I won’t! But, I am discovering a lot of sites and people that are inspiring me, and hope to continue to be inspired by them in the coming year. I am sure this list will grow throughout the year and I look forward to all the new inspiration this year!

Here is the list of the people, sites and links that inspire me. I would love to hear who inspires you!

DIY/Home Décor

Pinterest. If you have not joined Pinterest, you must! Create your own virtual idea boards – it’s so addicting! Need an invite? Let me know!

Design Sponge. I love this site, especially the ‘Before and After’ and ‘DIY’ sections. So many great ideas on this site! (Facebook | Twitter)

Ana White. I just discovered this site. She is a true modern homemaker, wielding powertools with the best of them! Great site for DIY’ers like myself, with project plans for building furniture and home décor. Can’t wait to build my own bed this year! (Facebook | Twitter)

The High Low Project. Sabrina Soto hosts this show on HGTV. She designs a room first with all high-end furniture and décor –usually the cost runs around $25,000. Then, she redesigns the same space for closer to $4k, and it looks exactly the same! My hero! (Facebook | Twitter)

Lowes Creative Ideas. They send a free magazine every couple of  months with fabulous DIY projects for your home, outdoor living, and woodworking. I love this site! (Facebook)

 

My Life – entertainment, fashion and laughs

Hello Giggles is a super-fun, girly site, started by actress/singer Zooey Deschanel and her friends. Fun trends, fashion, articles for single gals, and a place to feel safe for still holding on to your Hello Kitty purse. (Facebook | Twitter)

The Bloggess. This gal cracks me the f*#$ up! Her brash humor comes with such honesty. I never leave her site without tears of laugher! (Facebook | Twitter)

Serendipity Photography. Ok, so Kaela and I have been friends since the first day of junior high. But that doesn’t mean I’m not constantly amazed at her photography! Who else could make me look so amazing in these photos? Need an ego boost? Family photo? Boudoir photos? Kaela can do that!

Buzz Deb. Deb’s a friend of mine with a passion for trends and fashion, and a great sense of humor (and lovingly patient hubby!) (Twitter)

 

My Dreams (may never happen, but always good to dream)

Mystery Trip. This site from American Express plans a mystery adventure for you based on your travel profile. I want to do this SO BAD! I am an ‘Adrenalista’, btw! (although Detourist is a close second).

Drive a Tank. My dad and I both have this on our bucket list. Hoping to find somewhere closer than Minnesota to do this, but if not, I’ll totally travel!

The World’s Longest Yard Sale. 675 miles of yard sale in the midwest! If I’m gonna travel to Minnesota to drive a tank, I may as well rent a truck and yard sale nearby!

On Living Alone

This last weekend marked the one  year anniversary of my living alone for the first time in my life. Before getting married, I had always lived with my parents, or dorm mates or roommates, primarily for financial reasons. When the marriage ended, I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to keep the house and live in it alone. It was an exciting, but scary prospect. For the first couple of months, I heard every strange noise in the dark, and kept pepper spray by the bed (ok, I still do). But soon, I felt comfortable and relatively safe and settled in to enjoy the time alone.

There are a few things I miss about having roommates. Most of these fall into the category of ‘shared responsibility.’ Having someone to share the chores, whether it’s doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or vacuuming. The last few weeks at work have been so stressful, and I’ve been taking work home nearly every night. My coworkers are in the same situation, but they’re all married. When they work at home in the evenings, they still have someone who cooks them dinner, and washes clothes and keeps the house organized. I eat fast food or delivery, have dishes piled up for a week and am digging deep to find the granny panties in the back of the drawer ‘cause nothing else is clean. I miss having someone who can step up when I can’t do much, and then being able to return the favor when it’s their turn.

I also miss the entertainment – there’s always a funny story to share, personal problems to discuss or even just a night sharing a fun tv show. Facebook and texting make this much easier (which explains my frequent postings), but its not as much fun as snark in person. And it’s fun to have a readily available buddy to go shopping with, or go on impromptu movie outings.

On the other hand, there is so much I enjoy about living alone. There is the lack of responsibility – if I don’t want to do dishes, I don’t have to. If I want to throw my clothes on the floor, I can. If I wanna curl up on the couch and eat junk food and watch tv all night, no one can make me feel guilty except myself. Of course, then I’m stuck cleaning up later (see above).

I enjoy the quiet. I don’t have to be “on”, I don’t have to talk about my day or answer questions like “is everything ok” when I just want to chill out and read all night.

And really, my friends aren’t that far away, and are still crazy enough to talk me into a midnight showing of the latest Twilight movie on a work night (thanks Stef!) or IM all night about the ridiculous costumes on Dancing with the Stars (Becky!)

I still get nervous sometimes. I own a gun now (Smith & Wesson M&P .45). I go jogging with pepper spray attached to my wrist and a switchblade clipped to my waistband (you never can be too careful).

But overall, I love living alone. I feel like I am finally the strong, independent woman I always thought I could be!  (Although, I really should hire a maid service).

Obsession: Jell-O Shots | Part One: Failure

I LOVE Jell-O shots. It’s liquor happiness wrapped in a jiggly package! Lately I’ve been obsessed with not just a yummy tasting Jell-o shot, but also the perfect serving mechanism. I mean, little plastic cups works for a bar, but if you’re serving them at a party, you want them to be tasty and pretty! I’ve made Jello-O shots a dozen times, but always have served them with a spoon, or by hand. Bo-ring.

I was inspired by this blog post with these beautiful lemon shots. This research led to a few other gorgeous shots, including these Strawberry Margarita Shots, and these Ice Wine Shots. The presentation on these are amazing. So, for my most recent party, I thought I’d give it a try. I decided to try lime margarita shots and fuzzy navel shots.

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Extending the life of your pressed powder compact

Compacts are a staple in my purse. It’s perfect for touch-ups mid-day, covering the shine that comes after a long day at work, or as a bit of tone-evener for splotchy skin. I never leave home without it.

As the compact wears down, you know what happens. The middle wears down to nothing until the edges crack. One day, you open it up and get crumbled powder all over the front of you, or in your purse. I always hated to toss it, as what’s left can be nearly a quarter of the compact.

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I found a way to save it and continue using it as loose powder instead.

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Dry Shampoo–Does it work?

batiste-dry-shampooRecently, I have been hearing more and more people talk about dry shampoo. I’m not sure how long it’s been around, but I was definitely intrigued. You’ve probably heard that you should only wash your hair 3-4 times a week – the shampoo and water can strip moisture from your hair and damage it. Or so “they” say. But, thanks to some fabulous genes from my dad’s side of the family, my hair gets pretty oily after one day. In the cooler, less humid fall and winter, I can get away with washing it every other day. To help cope with the oil, I use translucent powder and ‘powder’ the roots of my hair the morning of the second day. It helps, but by the end of the second day, my hair is usually pulled up in a ponytail. All this to set the stage for my excitement at the idea of dry shampoo!

I went to my local ULTA store, and found a couple different types. I went with Batiste Dry Shampoo. Its $7.99 for a 12oz aerosol can. Seemed a little pricey (shampoo is pretty cheap and the bottles are bigger!), but I had a 20% off coupon, so all was right in the world!

Day One –Tuesday Morning: To start the experiment, I washed my hair Monday evening. (Note – I always wash my hair the night before. I have pretty thick hair and it takes forever to dry, so I let it dry overnight). I am styling my hair as usual. I use a curling iron, but no hair products.

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Confidence! The single girl traveler’s best defense

As a single person, traveling alone becomes inevitable. When the choice is to stay home, or to explore the world, I hope everyone chooses to explore! But traveling alone is a bit of a scary prospect.

Recently I went on a business trip to NYC. I had never visited the Big Apple, so I decided to go a couple days early to explore the city. I had never taken a vacation on my own before and was more nervous than I’d hoped I would be. I think of myself as a very independent girl. I am strong and tough and confident. But I was still so nervous. I talked with a single girlfriend of mine who encouraged me to just go for it. Her advice was perfect – in all situations, show confidence!  I was determined not to let my trepidation get the best of me, so, being a planner by nature, I figured out the things I most wanted to do and see while I was there. It’s easier to be confident when you have a plan.

In the cab on the way from the airport, I gave myself a good pep talk. I have to admit, seeing downtown NYC from across the Hudson brought up excitement and extreme nervousness. The entire drive over, I followed our path on my phone’s mapping application and planned out what to do first. I discovered Carnegie Deli was a block away. Continue reading

Be the hostess with the mostest!

A single girl cannot sit at home and wait to be invited to gatherings – parties, barbeques, game nights, etc. Odds are, many of your friends are married, or coupled. Sometimes they have their own ‘couples’ events. Don’t let yourself be forgotten or written out. Keep yourself in the loop by showing what a great addition to a party you are! And the best way to do that is to plan the party yourself!

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Being a good hostess is like being a good friend – put others first and make sure you always provide a warm, welcoming haven for your friends. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re planning your next soiree.

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An Introduction to the Modern Homemaker: Single Edition

This blog is dedicated to my mother and all the other strong women of the world

Growing up, we had an old fashioned family – my mom stayed home and my dad provided for the family. But when it came to home repairs and such, they were both involved equally. My dad designed the plans for our house, and I watched my parents build our home when I was just five years old. My mom worked right alongside him, even operating a chainsaw and the power tools. To me, it seemed normal to have a mom who could do just about everything my dad could.

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Despite that show of strength, I guess I mostly just saw the partnership of it. I still had this thought that life started once I got married and I had someone to work alongside. My parents had married really young, and I assumed I would to. I kept waiting. And waiting. I finally got married at 30 years old. I was so excited that we had our own house that we could fix up together. But I soon found that he was really no good at home projects. He didn’t enjoy it or seem to have any interest in it. It seemed so unfathomable to me that a man could have no desire to take care of a home, or even to learn how. I quickly realized I was perfectly capable on my own. Why did I need someone else to do the manual labor for me? Why had I waited so long to do all these things that I really enjoyed doing? Four years later, and for a variety of additional reasons, I am now a single girl, managing my household. And loving it!

And you can, too. I hope to share with you what I’ve learned. You can take care of yourself and your household – whether you live in a house or apartment. I don’t claim to know everything, but I’ve learned a few tricks I can share. And I would love to hear any tips you may have along the way.