June 24, 2009

Make It Yourself: Seashell Frame

It's summertime and what's better than a day at the beach! Searching for seashells is a great beach activity for children and adults too! There are many craft ideas that incorporate seashells, but one of my favorites is picture frame making.

During a recent trip to Sanibel Island in Florida with my family, I was wowed by all of the beautiful seashells. Together with my sister Jenny, we embarked on a shelling excusion. Who says shelling excursions are only for kids? We even dragged my sister's husband Bill along, what a guy! We spent hours on the beach searching for the prettiest little shells and found great delight in finding the most unusual looking shells. After the vacation, I brought all of my shells home and began crafting. I made a frame for my wall that was easy and fun:

1) Collect several handfuls of small shells on the beach, clean with soap and water and let dry.
2) Select any white wooden picture frame with a flat surface.
3) Place the shells around the frame covering the entire frame. Try to fit the shells together like a puzzle to conseal the wooden frame beneath.
4) Use a hot glue gun to fix each shell to the wooden frame.
5) Glue each end of a white grosgrain ribbon to the back of the frame so it's ready for hanging. You may want to Pull off the cardboard stand from the back of the frame so it rests flush against your wall.
6) Place a picture of your beach vacation in the frame.

How pretty! Not only did you save a lot of money by making the seashell frame yourself, but it carries memories of your shelling excursion and a great place to display vacation photos!

June 16, 2009

Delight In Lemonade

Last weekend as I walked through the town of Southampton, I came across a young boy and girl with their mother selling lemonade and cookies. I couldn't wait to get my dollars out fast enough to reward the children for working hard, seriously God bless them! I took my cup of lemonade and watched the children happily collect their coins and dollars from other customers. Who knew this much delight could come from lemonade? What a wonderful, easy and rewarding summertime activity for children. It inspired me to share a quick, easy and delicious pink lemonade recipe I found in Family Circle Magazine:

2 cups white sugar
9 cups water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice, chilled

In large pitcher combine sugar, water, lemon juice and cranberry juice. Stir to dissolve sugar. Serve over ice. How delightful!


June 14, 2009

Feel Fantastic By The Weekend

On the drive back to the city from Southampton, my summer housemate posed a question to the rest of us in the car: Girls, what can I do for myself in the next week to look and feel great by next weekend? (Susie was geering up for a trip to London with her man) The rest of us all shared our suggestions with her and I decided I want to pass our ideas along.

Simple steps to feeling fantastic by next weekend:
-Drink lots and lots of water this week.
-Wake up early every morning and start the day with a quick 20 minute powerwalk.
-No alcohol at all this week.
-Limit carbs to breakfast and lunch only this week.
-Limit salt for the week, no adding salt to anything.
-Get a manicure and pedicure on Thursday so you feel polished this weekend.
-Go to bed an hour early every night this week (Tell your friends you will talk to them on the phone next week, it will save you lots of time for sleep this week!)
-Workout at the gym or go for a run at least three times this week.
-Moisturize your skin before bed and apply vaseline to your lips so they are soft when you wake up!
-Skip dessert all week (if you need to end the day on "sweet" allow a single Hershey's kiss to do the trick without bringing the guilt!)

With five heads in the car, this is the list we created. I hope this list inspires you to make some simple changes (just for the week) so you feel fantastic by the weekend. Have a great week ladies!


June 11, 2009

Make It Yourself: Floral Headband

There are so many ways to create beautiful fashion accessories on a dime. My favorite place to shop for clothes is J.Crew. Recently they have introduced several fun and flirty belts, hats and hair pieces with flower appliques. I was ready to buy one when I checked the price. A headband with a flower was, um $38? Okay news flash, we are in a recession. So I examined the headband to see how it was crafted and I figured I could make a similar looking accessory for the cost of a few art supplies. Here's how to do it...

1) Buy an artificial flower at the craft store that suits you.
2) Cut off the stem so there is one inch left.
3) Use electrical tape to tape down the stem of the flower to the side of a plastic headband. Adjust the flower so that the petals cover the part where the stem is taped.
4) Select a 1/4 inch thick satin ribbon that matches the color of the flower. Start at one end of the headband and glue down the ribbon using a glue gun. (you won't see this part because it will rest behind your ear when you wear it.)
5) Wrap the headband with the ribbon tightly moving along the headband.
6) When you reach the stem just maneuver the ribbon around it and continue wrapping the entire headband.
7) Secure the end of the ribbon to the headband using a hot glue gun.

Voila! You have a stunning hair piece that you designed and created yourself and it only cost you a few dollars! Not only will it be beautiful to wear but it's sure to be a conversation piece too!

June 8, 2009

The Creative Run Around

There it is again! Everytime I go running I see more and more girls sporting the running skirt. Yep, that's right, apparently there's a new trend in womens running wear and it's the skirt. It is essentially a spandex skirt with spandex bloomers attached. Being a girl who loves to wear dresses, I had to get my hands on one to see for myself what the fuss is all about.

I easily found one at Lululemon Athletica on the Upper West Side and thought I'd give it a test run (no pun intended). When I got home and put it on, already I was thrilled and I hadn't even left my apartment. It was just so cute that I was tempted to put a ribbon around my ponytail and start cheering, okay not really but you get the point. I ran for three miles and afterwards I concluded that the running skirt was not only adorable, but functional as well. I was comfortable the whole run and I didn't have to worry about annoying shorts riding up or looking hideous in tight spandex pants. I even noticed that I was being noticed, haha amazing!

Running skirts aren't rocket science, after all women have been doing the tennis skirt since the beginning of time and no one fussed about that. But somehow after my running skirt experience I thought to myself, this idea is genius. Well, maybe not genius, but definitely creative!


June 6, 2009

You've Got Handwritten Mail

When is the last time you received a casual note in the mail from a friend just to say "hello"? I can't remember either! How nice would it feel to come home after a long day at work and get a card in your mailbox for no particular reason. I would be so happy to receive a note in the mail! Personal communication through handwritten mail is one of the easiest things you can do to make someones day. Writing a note and taking the time to address it, stamp it and walk it to the mailbox, says that you really care about the recipient. It takes time to send a note by hand. Nothing says you care more than taking time out of your day for someone.

When you send an email, it usually gets read while the recipient is at work. It may only skimmed or possibly dismissed all together. It certainly doesn't get the appreciation and attention that comes when you send a note in the mail. 64% of Americans prefer receiving handwritten personal communications to electronic communications. (2005 Greeting Card Association Study) Think about someone you care about and decide that you are going to make his or her day by sending that person handwritten mail. I guarantee you will make the recipient feel nice inside upon receiving your card AND you will make yourself feel nice inside too!

June 3, 2009

Everyone Needs A Hobby

A group of my friends were sitting around chatting one day about my love of arts and crafts. I was being teased because arts and crafts are kind of nerdy, but I didn't mind because I love my hobby! During our chat, my friend Julie (sorry Jul) "confessed" that she enjoys knitting. My roommate (sorry Kate) piped up that she loves needlepoint. What??? I was so excited to hear this!! Why are girls hiding these crafty hobbies? Hobbies are wonderful additions to our lives but surprisingly, too many of us busy New Yorkers forget to engage in our hobbies. I truly think that everyone needs a hobby. Whether it's an artsy hobby like mine, an athletic hobby or an intellectual hobby, we all need one to free us from stress and worry. Hobbies keep us happy and stimulated and have nothing to do with our jobs. Not sure what your hobby is?

The last time I did _____ I just loved it!
Wow, I am pretty good at doing _____ and I enjoy it!
When I am sad, doing _____ makes me feel better.
When I was little I used to love to_____.
I could do _____ for hours and it feels like minutes.

Hobbies are activities that come easily. If you are taking classes to get better at an activity, that may be a hobby, but only if it doesn't bring stress into your life. Whatever your hobby is, discover it, embrace it, share it and love it. No hobby is too common or too nerdy. Lets face it, in these gloomy economic times everyone needs a little sunshine. Everyone needs a hobby!

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