Monday, May 31, 2010

Easy DIY: Grapvine Ball Lights

No really, this is so easy that I am almost embarassed to post it! Have you seen these uber cute grapvine ball lights at Target? I am sure there is similar stuff elsewhere, but I think they have been at Target for a few years and I have always wanted them. So we went to Target yesterday and they were on sale for $10 a package, and since we just purchased a new patio set, I HAD TO HAVE THEM. So we bought two.

And so, we get home, put up our new pation umbrella, and I want to hang the string of lights around the edge of the umbrella...aaannnddd, the two strands of lights (10 lights on each) only get about halfway around the umbrella. Then I am thinking, "am I seriously going to spend $40 on these dumb lights?! I could have made these for half the cost!" And so, since I was not that brilliant, let me share with you the easiness of making these for yourself.

Step one: Get a strand of white lights (if you have a house you most likely have some Christmas lights you can use!), we'd probably have to use a strand of 50 lights, but maybe you need 100 lights. Anyways, I found a 50 light strand online as low as $5.

Step two: Buy some grapevine balls. I am pretty sure I have seen them at lots of stores, including Michaels - not sure how much they are - however, I found some online for 49 cents each.

Step three: Do a happy dance because your strand of lights and your pretty grapevine balls probably only cost you $25, and you would have spend $50 at Target if you'd just bought the premade light strands. Plus, PLUS!!! You have one light strand which is WAY less of a headache than putting 4 or 5 light strands together (such. a. pain.).

You can thank me in baked goods or coffee, kthnx.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dress Me Up

I am definitely a jeans and t-shirt or cute blouse kind of girl. And whenever I do need to purchase a dress, or any clothes for an event, I usually wait until the very last minute and buy something just OK and never want to wear it again. Oops. I have/had a few events upcoming this month and over the next few months, so I went ahead and started to look around for dresses, and I even purchased 3(!!) already! So I wanted to share with you my cute finds :)

Beach Brunch Dress from Modcloth - I LOVE this dress! I have favorite way too many dresses on this site, and it was hard for me to chose just one, but I am super happy with this one.

Elle Brushtroke Mixed-Media Dress from Kohl's - This dress is SUPER cute and I love the colors. It was a tad short for my taste so I wore some black tights with it.

Brooke Polka Dot Dress from Delia's - Super comfy and the length we perfect for me. I was worried about it being too HAI I LOVE AMERICA, but it wasn't :)

Confession: I totally ordered dress #1 for two back-to-back events that occured this past weekend, but of course it came ONE DAY LATE. So I had to go out and find a dress to wear, which ended up being dress #2 a Kohls. Doh!

What are you favorite places to buy cute dresses from? I think this is going to be a bad habit from now foward :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Books, they make you smart. Or something.

I used to read a lot when I was younger. Not so much when the high school and college days rolled around, and now I just find myself skimming through Real Simple and reading blogs. Some twittering about The Babysitter's Club books kind of got me thinking about my favorite childhood books. Here are some of my favorites:

Ohh, that was fun! What were some of your favorties? :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quarter Century

No it's not my 25th birthday, yet (aghhh 2 months, yikes!). Today is my parent's 25th wedding anniversary. It's easy to always remember the amount of years they have been married because I was born the same year :) When my mom was 7 months pregnant with me (at 24 years old, actually!), my parents got married.

I know a lot of people think they have the greatest parents in the world, and there are a lot of people who don't have the best relationships with theirs, but I really think my parents are amazing!

Some tidbits about my parents:

  • They have always been super encouraging of anything we wanted to try out. My sister and I were involved in so many different sports and activities when we were younger. Between me and my sister (off the top of my head) we did ballet, jazz & tap dance, baton twirling (lol), soccer, softball, swimming, synchronized swimming, sewing, horseback riding, misc. church activities, girl scouts, piano lessons, drum lessons, and probably other random classes I can't think of.

  • Family was always #1. My dad was telling me & Chris about all his various work-ventures throughout his life the other day, and numerous times mentioned how my mom would always encourage him to go for it. All he wanted to do was provide for a family and give us a good life. Even though there were some hard times, we always had a nice house and everything we needed.
  • My mom is a talker. She is also a therapist. When you meet her she will expect your life story and ask 80 questions. Be prepared. What I did not inherit from my mom is her energy, she loooovesss hiking and goes multiple times a week. CRAZY WOMAN :)
  • My Dad loves text messages and writes them in email format, complete with "Dear Alyssa" and "Sincerely, Dad". He also has this great memory that I definitely did not inherit. Whenever he hears a song from "back in the day" he can tell you the band and what year and MONTH (usually) the song came out, what he was doing at that time, and random facts about the band.
  • They live less than 2 miles away from us and I normally at least text one of them every day. When my Mom hasn't seen me in a few days she texts me that she misses me :) Love it. Probably one of the big reasons I haven't moved away is because I would die if they lived far away. It would be sad times (hence, Operation: Move Entire Family to Washington).

Okay I think that's enough blabbering for now. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! <3>

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birthdays & Baked Goods

Whenever we have a family or friend event to go to, I have a bad habit of volunteering myself to make dessert. Ok so it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't always try to do something new and unusual and totally exhaust myself. (Or, the time when I baked a cake super last minute, only to have it overflow in the oven & burn to a crisp, leaving me no choice to pick up something at the store.) But it's fun! And I love when people are impressed with whatever it is I've come up with.

Of course my niece's 1st birthday party was no exception! I volunteered to do dessert right off the bat, and had planned to do rainbow cupcakes. A few days before the event, she told me there'd be 40 people coming. Yikes. So I tried my best not to procrastinate and do something fun. Even though it took forever, it was pretty simple.

The cupcakes. Ok they came out all cute and dandy & tasted delicious. But can I tell you how utterly retarded it was to find cupcake liners that weren't white, Dora the Explorer or metallic. Such a pain. Glad to get that off my chest!
Some stats on the cupcakes: 3 boxes of white cake mix, divided into 3 bowls & colored pink, yellow & orange. Buttercream frosting from this recipe. The flower idea was stolen from Bakerella, thanks Morgan ;)

I also made a mini cake for my niece, Madelyn.

The death of said cake.
And, last minute I decided to make some red velvet cake pops. I picked up a round piece of styrofoam & fake flowers from Michaels. I cut just the flower parts off the stems and stuck them in the styrofoam & wrapped some ribbon I had around the edge. Voila! Also, if you haven't made these yet I highly suggest it. I don't know what is better than a mixture of red velvet cake & cream cheese frosting, for reals.

And, let me throw some more cuteness into the mix:

Hopefully that wasn't too much cuteness for you. She is the most adorable baby girl ever!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Make Yourself At Home

A couple weeks ago we started to put some elbow grease into our guest room. It was previously an ugly light yellow room, where we kept our turtle, always had the door closed because it was a hideous mess, and we always threw random junk in there when guests would come over or if we had nowhere else to put something.

Exciting, right? So here is our guest room now :) (Oh & sorry about some of the lighting, a storm rolled in just because I took pictures, offfff course!).

We painted 3 walls this pretty green color...

I love this bedding from Target, I am still unsure about the bit of pink in it, but I love it. Need a few more pillows though. We also purchased a night stand on sale at Target, and a lamp at Wal Mart. I already had the curtains, but plan on buying some blinds still. I also need to fill the wall behind the bed with something...

Our cat was admiring the weeds outside, hah.

My most favorite part: the decals! I purchased them from an Etsy shop, designedDesigner. I highly recommend because they were cheap compared to similar decals and they were shipped super quickly! We painted this wall a super light grey.

View from the bed.

I love these prints that I purchased from Etsy, via GreenNest, so cute. & they were buy 2 get 1 free!

This room will also house most of my deer collection :)

I love this room, I wish it was our bedroom, hah! I didn't show the wall with the closet because we didn't put the doors back on yet, oops. Still a few things to do to fill it up but I think it's coming together nicely :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I took this last Friday off for an extra long weekend, because we had a few friends staying with us. Here are some snippets of my weekend - cell phone picture version :)

A drive from Bakersfield to LA.

I was determined to find a good eatery in LA that had been feaured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. I made a list of all the places in LA, and we ended up at Oinkster. We also happend to see a famous person! Zach del la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine was eating solo and having a heated conversation on his cell phone, hah. (Ok, so I definitely wouldn't have known who it was if it wasn't for someone else who pointed him out, shh).
I had the Oinkster Pastrami and it was FAB. Note to self, order plaintains instead of fries next time (I tried a friend's an they were AMAZING).

We ended Friday evening walking around Hollywood & Highland Ave.
We stayed the night in LA, then had a gigantic breakfast Saturday morning, followed by a pitstop at Ikea on the way back home.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing random things and thrifting :)

This caught my eye in a local antique store because Jimaie had just purchased something similar. I may or may not have picked it up for her to match :)

I didn't buy this bitty-squirrel-on-a-nut but I thought it was hilar!

We also went to see peacocks at a local park, and I finally got a good picture of an albino peacock! We lured her in with french fries :)

My friend Mallory and I.

I hope you had a lovely weekend!! I promise to post more soon, including our guest room makeover :D yay!