Saturday, January 31, 2015

9 New Ways To Remix Classic Dates

Original CC image courtesy of Gabriel Li

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it's no surprise that you may be looking for something more interesting to do than your typical cheap dates or stay-at-home ideas with your favorite person. Whether you're a new couple still learning about and bonding with one another or in a seasoned partnership looking to spice things up, these nine great ideas are surefire ways to mix up those recycled date night plans and add just a little more adventure to your already-compelling romantic entanglements!

The Classic Dinner Do-Over. Start this traditional date night off by heading to a new restaurant, or even an old favorite. While you're there, switch it up by ordering meals for one another! Bonus points: select an adventurous new beverage for each other to try as well.

The Window-Shopping Charade. Have you ever wanted to pretend to be someone else for a day? As it turns out, date night can be a great night to try on someone else's shoes, and, uh... no, not in the way you're thinking. For this shopping date remix, dress up in your most elaborate disguise and pretend to be act just like the grown-up you are! Find a home on the market you're in love with and drop in at the open house! That new car you've been eyeing up? Take it for a test drive! Do I even have to mention a visit to the animal shelter? Bonus points: use the first half of your date to shop for your disguise.

CC image courtesy of Miguel Tejada-Flores

The Matinee Mix-Up. Instead of ordering the same old movie snacks from the counter, leave a little early and stop at your local dollar or bargain outlet store. (i.e. 5 Below, Ollie's, Big Lots, etc.) Places like these often have a wide variety of inexpensive candies that you may not typically consider, so take a chance and be a little adventurous! Bonus points: dump everything you buy into a purse or opaque bag and select all movie snacks at random.

The Bookstore Bash. Fancy yourselves a night in with a good book? Too bad! Take your introverted asses out to your nearest bookstore and do some shopping. You don't even have to buy anything really, just do some really thoughtful "browsing" and exchange meaningful glances every once in awhile as you silently judge everyone around you. Wait, what do you mean there's no "remix component" to this one? There you go being all judgmental again. Bonus points: there is a coffee shop in the bookstore and you both drink the coffee.

CC image courtesy of MorBCN

The Paintball Picnic. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but here I go anyway: Picnics are boring. Gear up for some paintball instead, and in a few hours your body will be crying for something as gentle as a gingham blanket or a wicker-basket. Bonus points: make it a competition! The loser makes the sammiches, and the winner chooses what to do on the next date!

The Urban Explorers. Leisurely walks may be a wonderfully relaxing pastime, but if you have an avid affection for the abandoned, take your enthusiasm to the next level by taking the time to explore those beautifully-decrepit buildings and ghost towns you're always fawning over. Oh, and don't forget to pack your camera! Bonus points: make up stories about the places you're visiting: the people who lived or worked there, the romances and comedies that took place, the sad tale of a beautiful building and why it was left to decay.

CC image courtesy of Rob

The Stationary Shopping Trip. It's been said that going shopping with someone is a great way to get to know them! Even at a regular old department store, you can learn about a person's favorite food, music, movies, and other interests just by doing a little bit of browsing. The idea behind this shopping date remix is to leave behind the nuisances of wasting gas by driving to each individual store, being annoyed by all the crowds, and ultimately spending ridiculous amounts of time in a place that only your significant other wants to be. So find a nice coffee shop, McDonald's, or library, bring your laptop or tablet, and enjoy some one-on-one shopping time from across the table. You might just learn something new about each other! Bonus points: buy something online to spice up your next offbeat date!

The Conspiracy Theory Coffee Date. Why spend an awkward afternoon at the coffee shop when you both can bring along your laptops and research a mutually interesting topic? For my friends and me, this outing would surely include some two-hour-long conspiracy theory documentaries, as well as trading interesting Youtube video URLs. This is also a great idea for a first date, as it involves discovering exactly how intelligent, gullible, or downright crazy your potential partner may be. Bonus points: convert a nonbeliever!

The Road Trip Remix. Instead of carefully planning your destination, let the road drive you! Determine how far you are willing to travel and in which direction you are most likely to come across something interesting (using your best judgment, of course) and don't stop until you see a sign that calls your name! Bonus points: reference to find some cool places along the way!

CC image courtesy of Sam Agnew

How do you remix your reused date ideas to add a little variety? For more great ideas for couples, be sure to check out my collection of inexpensive outings or stay-at-home date night ideas, perfect for both parents and pairs of introverts! Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Treasures 50

I have to be honest; I secretly picture myself in a future home with an over-abundance of adorable pillows! It's no surprise then that these mountain- and creature-inspired creations from Three Bad Seeds have absolutely captured my heart! These are just some of my favorites, but there are even more cute critters to be found in this creative Etsy shop!

Update a boring old pair of sweater-tights with some pretty pearl beads! I already have some pearls on hand and can definitely see myself picking up a few new pairs of tights to decorate, like this wonderfully-creative DIY idea from Silvia of Born in '82!

I always love discovering new ways to beautify outdated pieces of furniture, and this gorgeous succulent-covered dresser makeover from A Beautiful Mess is no exception! Find out how to update any old set of drawers using Emma's step-by-step guide.

I love the little designs and patterns in the red panda's fur and in the leaves and trees of the piece below, entitled Found You There. These uniquely-textured nature-inspired works of art by Sandra Dieckmann are so detailed and thoughtfully imaginative that I can't help but sit and stare for awhile...

This gorgeous black City Light lamp by Marion Westerman of The Paper Moon Factory is just breathtaking! Seeing all the cozy little cottages lit up reminds me of a long drive home on a Winter night.

Thanks for stopping in to celebrate the 50th issue of Tuesday Treasures, my weekly collection of favorite DIYs, handmade finds, and artisan-crafted treasures from all around the web! If you've missed out on previous issues, be sure to check them out in the Tuesday Treasures archives! What are your favorite new discoveries this week?

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Beachy Engagement Scrapbook Layout

Hey, folks! Today I just wanted to share a quick little Valentine's Day-themed scrapbook page that I made! Although I've been crafting cards for quite awhile, I'm still fairly new to the world of scrap-booking, and I must say I'm rather proud of how this page turned out! These photos are from the day that Brad proposed to me in Port Orange, Florida.

Before he proposed, Brad and I managed to catch a glimpse of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, which I had previously mentioned wanting to visit in my Travel Plans post for our little excursion in Florida last March! While I didn't get to climb to the top, we have plans to come back to the area with Brad's family again soon.

The only thing I love more than the pictures on this scrapbook page are all of the pretty pearls! They fit in with the beachy theme so nicely, and they're especially appropriate because of the beautiful pearl engagement ring Brad gave me that day! I'd really love to provide some better detail shots of this page, but the picture quality of my scanner isn't the greatest, and I still haven't found myself a lens for my new Nikon. Anyway, thanks for stopping by to check out my newest scrapbook page! If you enjoy scrap-booking or have some friendly advice for a beginner, please let me know in the comments. See you next time!

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog & Business Goals: 2015

Image courtesy of Steffen Ramsaier

With January just about in the bag and my wedding less than six months away, I've had quite a bit on my mind. There's still an incredible amount of money to be saved by July, and with financial issues at the forefront and work hours keeping me constantly busy, it's really started to put things into perspective, and has me reconsidering how much my time is really worth. And, as my free time dwindles, my blog has been steadily growing. As such, it's been more and more important for me to focus on my aspirations and take the time to prioritize to really help my blog grow. To do so, I set myself these four blog & business goals for 2015:

Generate income through my blog. As it stands, I currently spend about 98% of the time that I'm not at my actual job working on this blog. Granted, I started blogging just for the fun of it, but if it's something that I'm doing anyway and there's money to be made, however small, I'm in need of it now. It's time to take my passion to the next level.

Make more Etsy sales. I was so excited to make my very first sale through Curative Creations last year! This year, I'd love to spend more time making greeting cards, adding new items to the shop, and driving more sales.

Give Curative Creations a makeover. Since starting my business and making my first sale, not much has changed. Naturally, I've been wanting to make a few improvements here and there to spruce up the place, such as updating my visual branding, packaging, and diversifying my products.

Create better blog content. I've always wanted to use my blog to teach, inspire, and to share my creations. In an effort to improve my content in 2015, I'd like to challenge my own creativity by including more craft tutorials, and, once investing in a proper lens for my Nikon, complimenting my content with higher-quality images.

Purchase my own URL. This is a goal I've been wanting to accomplish since the very beginning, but I don't imagine it being a priority until after we've tied the knot and have some extra spending money.

Of course, I have a few more specific blog and website goals that focus on reader engagement, gaining followers, improving statistics, and driving traffic, but that's the ever-changing reality of running an online business. Ultimately, I just want what everybody wants: to do the things that I love doing and to build these things into a career that I love. I also would like to take the time to say thank you for reading this! I know that I'm truly able to achieve these goals because of you lovely readers and all of your wonderful words, and I wish you all the best in 2015.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Treasures 49

I am so in love with these delicate & sexy ring designs! According to artisan Lorena of Gemagenta, these pretty pieces of jewelry were inspired by lingerie and sawed by hand! You can see a step-by-step video of her jewelry-making process here!

This bohemian lamp cover by Maegan Tintari is beautifully ethereal, and surprisingly easy to create yourself! The dangling feathers are just perfect!

This refurbished royal purple chair is nothing short of exquisite! The cheerful floral print on this one-of-a-kind piece by Boltonk is especially amazing when flanked by those two gorgeous carved dragons, and the matching plush seat looks super-comfortable!

My favorite artist this week is definitely illustrator and motion-designer Stacy James Eyles of New Zealand! These battle-ready creatures are just bad-ass!

This easy message board DIY by Amy from Home Remedies can be found over on Lolly Jane - and of course can be customized depending on your own organizational needs! I totally want to make one of my own!

Thanks for stopping in for another edition of Tuesday Treasures! For more of my favorite finds each week, stop in every Tuesday or check out my previous posts right here! See you soon!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

How To DIY Your Workout

Have you made a New Year's resolution this year that you've already broken? Perhaps you haven't even started it yet? It's okay; I get it. This year was supposed to be your year, but perhaps something got in your way - work hours, special equipment, the social anxiety that comes with working out in public, the inability to find the right workout videos - am I ringing any bells?

For me, the momentum of the new year (and the 6 month wedding deadline - yikes!) was enough to get me through almost two weeks of daily exercise before fizzling out, even though I haven't met my goals. Now, I know I'm not the only one doing this. Each January, tons of people flood into gyms to fulfill annual resolutions or to work off some holiday weight, but after the first few weeks of grueling labor without visible progression, the gyms start clearing out and at-home workouts become less and less frequent. But why is it that people have such a hard time sticking it out?

Maybe you've started a workout that's a bit above your physical limit, or your workout requires equipment you don't have access to. Maybe your goal involves a huge lifestyle change that's been hard to get the hang of, or maybe a gym membership isn't an option for you financially. The fact of the matter is, each person has different physical capabilities, workout resources, and schedules, and to top it all off, everyone's goal is incredibly unique. There is not currently and never will be just one lifestyle change that works for everyone, so the trick is finding out your own personal system to achieving your goals.

Step One: Know your goals.
While it's important to create a workout that targets all individual muscle groups, you may have a specific region that you'd like to pay special attention to toning down, or even a specific goal measured in inches or pounds.

My personal goals include slimming down my abdominal area before my wedding, working on my cardio, strength, and improving my eating habits.

Step Two: Set your schedule.
Decide how many days per week you will be devoting to your workout. If you have a specific goal in pounds or inches, you can use an online weight loss calculator like the one below from FitWatch to give you a general idea as to how many calories to burn per day and how many days per week you should work out in order to achieve your goal.

Step Three: Learn how to create muscle groups.
Even with a gym membership and access to the proper equipment, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. Learning which muscle groups to exercise together can help you to pinpoint the perfect routine. The key is knowing how many days per week you're able to commit to your workout.

If your schedule only allows for exercise one day out of the week, then this step is fairly simple; you will want to spend your limited amount of time on a full body routine, and find exercises that require you to work out multiple muscle groups simultaneously. For a two-day schedule, consider dividing your days between upper- and lower-body workouts, respectively.

For a longer routine, you'll want to learn how to divide your time wisely, while giving each muscle group the two days of rest needed to rebuild after an intensive workout. Some common muscle group combinations for a three-day routine include:

Day 1: Chest & back
Day 2: Arms & legs
Day 3: Abs & glutes
Day 1: Abs & arms
Day 2: Chest & glutes
Day 3: Legs & back

For a four-day workout, feel free to incorporate a full-body routine to your schedule, keeping in mind that you should allow each muscle about two days of rest before reworking.

If you choose to devote five or more consecutive days to your workout, you may want to spend a full day on abs, another on arms, then chest, back, legs, and butt. There are also split routines for intensive strength-training, which you can read more about here.

Be sure to keep your goals in mind while molding your routine, paying special attention to incorporating these target areas often, but once again not without proper rest periods in between.

Step Four: Create your calendar.
Be sure to create a calendar to keep track of your new workout plan! There are plenty of free applications to use; I enjoy the free Google Calendar browser extension for Chrome, which can be used to easily sort your workout and other tasks into custom folders. I'm also a big fan of Todoist, a free to-do list-scheduling program that also tracks your productivity rate! Whatever you decide, be sure to find something that will keep you motivated and organized!

I hope this guide has been super-informative in helping you to DIY your own workout! If you have any words of wisdom to share on the topic, please do so in the comment form below. Thanks for reading, and best of luck in all of your fitness goals!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Treasures 48

Okay, now can you honestly tell me that this little log-shaped pencil case and pincushion from Hitree aren't the cutest little school and sewing supplies you've ever seen? The pincushion is appropriately named Mr. Stump, and his likes include singing songs about fungus, turning carbon monoxide into oxygen, and cuddling. I can't even...

I love these cute camera-inspired cards by Melody of A Paper Melody! The filmstrip ribbon is absolutely adorable and matches the snappy lettering all too well! Great use of sequins, too!

This rug is so diverse and colorful - I'm actually antsy to make one myself! That's why I was so excited when I discovered that the full tutorial by Sara Plath uses a super simple cardboard loom!

The pretty kitty paper dolls and awesome hand-shaped cardigan clips by Jordan Grace Owens are crazily cute! I love the kitties' hairy little bellies and disinterested expressions - especially that little guy in the tuxedo on the right!

Chester, a project by Oya-Meryem Yanik and Anastasiya Koshcheeva of Berlin, is a stunning experimental stitched-wood material that is nothing short of divine!

Thanks for stopping in for another issue of Tuesday Treasures! For more weekly works of art, heartwarming handmade treasures, and favorite finds from around the web, be sure to come back next Tuesday or browse previous issues in the archives. See you soon!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

17 Creative Craft Show Display DIYs to Beautify Your Booth!

I have a confession: I've never sold at a craft show. For as long as I've been attempting to sell my own greeting cards, I've always dreamed of getting my act together and making it happen, but I just never felt ready to risk potential failures, or I've made excuses regarding my lack of stock or cute displays. This year is different. This year, I'm getting married, and I have six months to go until the big day. Needless to say, the hustle is on like Donkey Kong. This year, I'm putting myself out there because I need to, and because I need to start making some extra money instead of making excuses.

In the meantime, I've been getting prepared: making as many extra cards in my free time as I can, and of course focusing that other little issue I mentioned - displaying my crafts! If you too are prepping a booth for your first craft show, or even if you've been on the scene awhile and are looking for some inspiration, (like my good friend Ashleigh who requested this post - hi!) I'm sure you'll find just what you're looking for! Let's get started!

Even a craft show novice like myself knows that the basic building block of any crafty booth is the table, but what do you do if you need more room to store your supplies or small objects you'll be restocking often? This gorgeous ruffled table-covering has handy little pockets on the back for anything you may need - the full step-by-step tutorial is up on Just Me & Macy!

Once your table's set up, be sure to create varying levels of product displays to maximize your table space! These cute cake stands are a great way to achieve that lift, and can easily be crafted using items you already have on hand. If not, that's nothing a quick thrift-shop stop won't fix! The full DIY from the Centsational Girl shows how to make them so they're hand-washable!

To create a unique bust display to feature your very favorite necklaces, consider this tutorial from the Vintiquities Workshop, adorned with decorative flourishes and a beautiful weathered texture!

As gorgeous as the previous necklace display is, perhaps you need a low-cost alternative that you can easily reproduce. This is where this super-easy free template & tutorial from Stella + Hodge comes into play! The best part is how easy it is to customize this project to match your brand!

If you've a collection of bracelets to sell, try whipping up one of these classy and surprisingly inexpensive displays! Jenn from IHeart Organizing describes this as an instantly-satisfying $2 project! You'd be silly not to make one to sell bracelets off of!

For a creative way to display pairs of earrings, key-rings, or a whole host of possibilities, check out this multi-purpose display rack from The Other 128 Hours, and learn how to turn one quick trip to the hardware store into something much more!

To display earrings that aren't attached to backing, this adorable earring holder can be crafted from plain old cardboard and decorated with a unique frame for each pair! This cute idea from Blah to Tada! is simply genius!

For other tiny bits and baubles, break out some old books to display your pieces with vintage charm! Jessica Biscoe also has a few other ideas up her sleeve to show off these pretty bow rings!

Alternatively, showcase individual pieces or group items of a set by placing them in decorative bowls, like this pretty vignette styled by Lynda Davids!

It's no surprise that the most successful of craft-sellers have a wide variety of products that cover multiple price ranges. That's why you're going to need a display unit that can handle being changed around to meet your many needs, like this Peg Board Display Case DIY from Sugar Bee Crafts. I must admit I fell in love when I first laid eyes on it...

If you're a card-maker like myself, you may benefit from showing off your crafty side with some of these cute little card-holders, created from spools by Jessica of Miniature Rhino! I love that this idea can easily be reinterpreted and created from pine cones, blocks, corks, or even pieces of driftwood - once you get your hands on a hacksaw, the possibilities are endless!

Larger items can be a bit tricky, so try taking a cue from Amy of Ponder & Stitch! Give an old dresser drawer a makeover with a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware and display it proudly!

Consider showing off handmade hair accessories on a neat little mannequin head! I love the way Kelsey of Poofy Cheeks updated this one with some Mod Podge and wrapping paper!

While you're at it, why not DIY a whole dress form to match? Carol of The Polka Dot Closet did just that, Mod Podging some cute patterned paper and embellishments from The Graphics Fairy to match!

If you have a few more ensembles that will need displaying, you can whip up one of these super-easy A-frame garment racks with these step-by-step instructions from Smile and Wave!

When all else fails, use your ingenuity and crafting skills to create a display that's unique to your brand, like these adorable argyle plushie stands by Katharine Miller!

If you've sold at a craft show before, then I'm sure you're no stranger to the idea of withstanding windy days. If you're bringing your own canopy, however, you're going to need to take some extra measures. These portable cement-filled PVC weights from The Etsy Metal Blog can easily be strapped down to the legs of your canopy to ensure it stays put!

What unique ways have you discovered to showcase your creations? For more creative business inspiration, be sure to follow my Creative-Business-Creating board on Pinterest! Thanks for reading!

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