Tuesday, April 28, 2015

OOTD: Flowers and Fountains

It's no secret how excited I have been for spring and warmer weather, and I have definitely been taking advantage of that by wearing all of my spring dresses! Here is (yet another) outfit I wore the other day when it was a little cloudy out, but still nice!

I haven't told you guys, but I'm a secret duck whisperer.

Dress: Urban Outfitters
Cardigan: Aeropostal
Booties: Nordstrom

I really love wearing this long cardigan with dresses on days where it's not quite warm enough to only wear a dress! It's also a great neutral that goes with pretty much everything! The crochet is so pretty, too, and I love the pattern of it.

You might also notice that I got a whole new look for my blog! I'm so happy with it, and it was definitely time for a change! I have gotten really serious about my blog this past year, so I wanted a template that was more clean and simple, but still had some nice color to it. Let me know what you think! I am in love with it :)

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Word About Stress

I can't explain how stressful this week has been. I have had multiple midterms and a mountain of homework to conquer - I guess I didn't fully realize just how stressful college can get, since I haven't been this overwhelmed yet. On Wednesday, I had to just sit down and force myself to take a break from homework and studying because I was driving myself insane. I know that I push myself too hard sometimes, and it's so difficult for me to take a moment and realize that it's okay if I need to take a break in order to continue doing my best. I am a perfectionist to the core, so doing something with only half of my effort is never an option. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be unhealthy when I literally force myself to power through homework and studying to the point where I am in tears.
I have never dealt with anxiety and stress well, and being at college, it is only intensified. I worry about the littlest things, and when I'm stressed I am just a ball of nerves that gets worse and worse until I inevitably break down. I envy people who don't have anxiety; to go a day without worrying about every little thing would be a dream. Sometimes it's difficult for my friends to understand how I fixate on little things and have trouble making decisions because I worry about every single outcome possible. What if I make the wrong decision? Or what if this happens, or that, or even something I didn't even account for? I think about it all, and it makes me so angry with myself because I wish I could just easily make a decision and just be done with it.
All my life, my dad has always told me "It ain't nothin' but a thing" when I'm really worried about something, which helps put everything into perspective. Like the quote above, the way you deal with stress and anxiety is more important than the actual thing that is stressful. I know that I don't deal with stress and anxiety in the best way; I just try and focus on other people and never talk about my own stress with others because I don't want to be a bother to anyone. I love helping people and listening to their problems, but I just don't like to draw attention to myself since I'm a very shy person. I've slowly been realizing, though, that it's really important to talk about your troubles. Loved ones are the people you should be able to talk about anything with, and for me, that is my parents most of the time. It helps me when I get other opinions and advice, and to also put things into perspective. A big thing to me could be something small to others, which helps me realize that my worry just might be magnified in my eyes, or that I'm making something way bigger than it needs to be
I don't want this post to be just totally depressing, haha. Writing this is just a sort of therapy for myself after the week I've had. My blog is a creative outlet in which I can write about anything, and that sometimes includes things that are troubling me, or struggling with. I want the majority of my blog to be about all of the things that make me happy, but sometimes I need to talk about the hard things in life. I don't think it would be fair to myself or anyone else if I didn't share my own struggles, because we all have them and need to talk about them sometimes. So while I had a brutal week, I also know that it's finally the weekend and I can do nothing and just wind down from all of this stress!

How was your week?

Thank you so much for reading, and as always have a wonderful day :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

DIY tumblr Inspired Spring Decor!

I love changing up my room for the different seasons, and since spring is probably my favorite (I feel like I say that about all seasons once they come around...), I was super excited to do some DIY projects to spruce up my dorm room for spring!

 All of these projects were so fun to make, and pretty easy and inexpensive! I had a lot of the items lying around the house and you probably will too!

Distressed Mason Jars
 What You Will Need:
-Mason Jars
-Acrylic Craft Paint
-Paint Brush
-Rubbing Alcohol
-Cotton Rounds
-Sand Paper (not pictured)

1. Start off by cleaning the Mason Jars with Rubbing alcohol to make sure all of the oils are off of the glass and the paint will stick.
2. Begin painting the Mason Jars with a thin first coat. Let the first coat dry completely before you put on a second!!
3. Paint on a second coat once the first is completely dry.
4. If using a lighter color, paint on a third coat once the second coat is completely dry. I had to do this with the pink since it was so pale.
5. Let all of the coats dry over night. This is very important!
6. Once they have all dried completely over night, you can start to sand them to create a distressed look. I had a 120 grit sandpaper, which I found to work great! Just go around and sand wherever you want the paint to look old and distressed, and make sure to especially sand the words so they stand out.
 The finished products!

I used them as vases when my friend got me flowers!
This project isn't difficult, you just have to make sure to wipe the jars down with rubbing alcohol or else the paint won't stick well, and you have to let the coats dry really well! 

Sea Glass Jars
 What You Will Need:
-Cheap plastic cup
-Milk bottles (I got mine from Michael's)
-Elmer's glue
-Dawn Dish Soap (any dish soap will work just fine)
-Blue and green food coloring
-Paint brush

1. Add 2 tablespoons of Elmer's glue to the cup, and 1 tablespoon of water (it's a 2:1 ratio if you want to change up the amount). Mix until water is incorporated.
2. Add 3 drops of blue food coloring and 1 drop of green, as well as 1 drop of Dawn dish soap. Mix until the "paint" is a nice sea-foam green color.
3. Begin painting one, thin layer onto each milk bottle.
4. Once each milk bottle has a thin layer, you are done! Just let them dry overnight and they will look like the picture below! Don't worry if they look streaky while drying, they will dry to be a nice opaque color! I was skeptical while I was watching mine dry but they turned out just fine.

The finished bottles! I put some fake peonies in them because I thought it looked so adorable.
This project seems like it would be difficult, but it was actually really easy! I love how they turned out, and I'm so excited to change up the flowers in them!

Mini Flower Wreath
 What You Will Need:
-Small grapevine wreath
-Little fake flowers on a "vine"

1. This project is really simple and self-explanatory; just take the "vines" of flowers and weave them through the wreath! Keep doing this until you are satisfied with how the wreath looks, at which point you are done.
I think it turned out so cute, and it's the perfect way to add some color to your room!

Alright, well those are all of the projects! I basically went on a DIY frenzy over spring break which was so much fun. I think I'm going to do a lot over the summer when I have more time! So expect a lot more hehe. You can also check out the video I did on all of these projects to see a more in-depth explanation for each one!

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Eat Gluten Free

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that I have to eat gluten free because of an allergy, but lately I've really been wanting to spread the word about living gluten free! I found out I was allergic to wheat about three years ago, and man was it rough cutting out all gluten! Just think of the best foods (bread, pasta, and for me, my mom's dumplings), and imagine never eating them again! Okay, okay, it isn't that bleak, but it was definitely a challenge! Today, there are so many gluten free options available so it really isn't even that hard, you really just have to readjust your taste buds! I thought it would be cool, though, to start sharing my gluten free tips with you guys, and just break down exactly what gluten and gluten free eating is!

So, what is gluten anyway?
Funny you ask! Many people have heard the term "gluten" or "gluten free," but have never actually looked it up before. The more science-y definition is a mixture of two proteins that are present in wheat, rye, and barley that can cause anywhere from mild allergic reactions (things like skin rashes), to more severe ones (like Celiacs disease, in which a person can't even have food that is processed in the same factory as wheat). Basically, gluten is in wheat flour, so anything with flour in it is a no-go. Personally, gluten gives me really bad headaches, stomachaches, and oftentimes a very unhappy tummy. Gluten allergies can be determined with a simple allergy test from your doctor, so make sure to get one done if you are having any food allergy like symptoms (skin rashes, upset stomach, itching in the mouth or throat, etc.).

I found out I have to go gluten free...now what?
So begins your journey with rice flours, coconut flours, xanthan gum, and all of the other flour alternatives! The most difficult part of eating gluten free is starting out. You have to find substitutes for all of your favorite gluten filled foods, and learn how to cook and bake with gluten free ingredients (trust me, it can be difficult at times!). Rice will become your best friend (it's one of my favorite foods!), as will veggies and fruit!
When you first find out you have to eat gluten free, start by making a list of all of the foods you eat that contain gluten. Now, start to look for gluten free alternatives to those foods. Breakfast can be difficult since a lot of cereals have wheat in them, as do pancakes and waffles, but with a little research, you can find some really great gluten free brands! Personally, I have the gluten free waffles from the brand Vans every morning topped with peanut butter, and honestly, I like them so much better than I ever did regular wheat waffles! Gluten Free Works is also a great website to get started with gluten free recipes and foods. Pinterest is also a wonderful resource to find all of the gluten free recipes you could ever need or want! I would also recommend simply going to the gluten free section of your local grocery store, and start trying out the alternatives they have. Annie's has some great gluten free products (their mac 'n cheese is the best!), as does KIND for things like granola and power bars.

Okay, I tried some gluten free food, and I think the cardboard box it came in was better. Is this how all gluten free food tastes?
No! It does take some trial and error to find your favorite gluten free brands (my family can definitely testify to this...we have tried some horrible gluten free brands in the past), but eventually you find some really great food! After a couple of months you will easily fall into a gluten free routine and find which foods work and which ones don't. Some of my favorite gluten free brands that haven't let me down yet are Annie's, Bob's Red Mill, Vans, and KIND. They have really wonderful substitutes (Bob's Red Mill has great gluten free flour, and gluten free mixes), and recently Krusteaz has come out with a really great pancake mix; it is amazing and smells like vanilla cake!

What do I do when I go out to eat?
This can be really difficult at first, because gluten can be hidden in the craziest of places! Be weary of soy sauce, because it contains flour, and make sure to ask if they have a gluten free version! To be safe at first, always ask the waiter or waitress if the dish you would like to eat contains gluten. That way, you can be 100% sure that what you are about to eat won't put you in the bathroom all night throwing up! Personally, I always go for rice dishes, salads, or roasted veggies! Restaurants often have gluten free menus, so make sure to ask! You can usually request that your dish be made with gluten free pasta instead, and you can't even tell the difference. Season salt also usually contains wheat, so if you have a really bad allergy and order fries, make sure you let the waiter know to tell the chef to not put seasoning salt on them.

What about when I go over to a friend's house?
This can be a little tricky, because you don't want to seem rude and refuse to eat anything they cook you, but you also don't want to end up with an allergic reaction. The safest way to avoid an awkward situation is to simply tell them ahead of time that you have a gluten allergy, and won't be able to eat anything like pasta or bread. People are usually totally fine with the heads up, and really appreciate it so they know what to cook! I sometimes offer to bring my own food to fix if a lot of people will be there, or if it's an event where you can bring a dish, make sure it's gluten free, and something that you wouldn't mind making a whole meal out of!

My tips
-When it gets really hard and all you want to do is go to the first grocery store you find and eat a giant loaf of bread, just remember what happens when you eat gluten! Also try and remember that what you're doing is so good for your body, and it will pay off to not make yourself sick for the small satisfaction of eating gluten.
-Think ahead and always have gluten free snacks available. You don't want to be stuck anywhere starving, with the only option being your long lost favorite lemon pound cake from Starbucks.
-Try out as many gluten free recipes as possible, and make a go-to list! That way when you have no idea what to eat, you have a whole pile waiting in the wings.
-Try and start with naturally gluten free foods. Foods like fresh veggies and fruit will be your best friends at first, because you know for a fact they are gluten free!
-Get in the habit of always reading the ingredient lists on food! There can be hidden wheat in the smallest of places, so just to be safe, always always always read the ingredients.
-If you are at a restaurant and you aren't sure whether or not a food is gluten free, just ask. It can be tedious at times, but it will be worth it in the long run.
-Try and find other glutards (people who are allergic to gluten), and compare recipes/strategies/motivations/anything else that is helpful, because you will learn a lot from them!

That's all I have for now, and this will get you off to a good start! Just make sure to do as much research as possible so you can find the right resources for yourself. Don't be afraid of the phrase gluten free - it is something that can be well adjusted to with a little bit of time, and I promise it will get a lot easier! If you put in a lot of work in the beginning, it will really pay off in the long run. Good luck, fellow glutards! :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

19th Birthday Snaps

I am now officially nineteen. What?! When I woke up yesterday it actually hit me that I'll now reply "nineteen" to the question "How old are you?" Twenty will most likely be much more scary, but I think nineteen is significant because it means I have been an adult (okay, legally) for a whole year. It was also my very first birthday away from home, which was really strange! I ended up having a wonderful birthday, and got to go out with my two best friends during spring break a couple of weeks ago to celebrate with them as well.

My outfit that I wore!

Good company meant lots of smiles!
Look at how beautiful my risotto was. It tasted as good as it looked!
They even put a candle on my creme brûlée!

I would just like to point out the man in the top left corner...
And again....
The exact moment my candle went out before I blew it out!

I had such a wonderful evening with my two best friends, and I'm so glad I got to celebrate early with them. As you get older, you start to realize who is truly important in your life, and who really cares for you! And even though it gets more difficult, spending time with them is really the best thing in the world.

On my actual birthday, one of my best friends and my floor mates in my dorm threw me a little surprise birthday party! I was so surprised, and super happy! Unfortunately, I didn't get to take any pictures but it was caught on camera! If I end up putting it into a vlog I will definitely post it here. My parents also surprised me (and brought my dogs!) so that was so great as well.

Thank you as well to all of you who have wished me a happy birthday! I had a wonderful day overall, and I also got the CANON T5I!!!!! I cannot contain my excitement, so expect lots of pictures soon.

Also, if you would like to see it, I filmed a 'Get Ready With Me' for my birthday!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

How to Get Over the Spring Break Blues

It's never easy going back to school after a break, and it's even harder when you only have a week off between quarters (or semesters if that's what you're on). To make that transition easier, I came up with some tips that always seem to help me!

1. Try and get back into your normal school routine ASAP!
I like to jump right back into my daily routine that I have at college. Since things are so much more relaxed at home, this can sometimes be hard, but I'm definitely someone who has to go for it with gusto! As soon as I get back to my dorm, I like to go work out since that's what I always do after classes, and eat a nice healthy dinner (because I just had a week and a half full of my mom's cooking, and ate way more of it than I should have).

2. Look at pictures from your break - but not too often.
It's perfectly fine and normal to look at all of the pretty pictures you took on a trip, or just your break in general, but don't get lost and dwell on the past! Remember that you have to get on with your new term at school, and completely focus on that. Don't just sit around and wish you were still on spring break, or wherever you went during your time off. As Dumbledore said, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." So, if Dumbledore said it, it must be true.

3. Focus on school, and getting your first week back organized.
Focusing on your first week back helps so much to keep your mind off of break. Get excited about your new term and classes! Also, use your planner to plan out your week! I have always been a planner user because they are so great for keeping your life on track, as well as a huge help for staying on top of homework. It's super important to make sure you have your first week figured out, because you will be stressed enough with trying to find all of your new classes! This also helps to set up your new term on the right foot, and it will definitely have a snowball effect into the next weeks. I don't know about you, but writing my schedule down in my planner also helps to relax me and de-stress.

4. Spend time with your friends.
Instead of sitting in your room all alone, go out and spend time with friends! If you don't have time to leisurely hang out (I have already had so much homework, so I completely understand this!), then do homework together! You can actually get a lot more work done this way because you are all encouraging each other to be productive by getting work done. Study breaks can also be thrown in, and you all can just talk for five minutes! I love doing homework with other people because it allows me to get work done, and be social. A lot of my friends are taking similar classes as well, so we can help each other out!

5. Remember that summer isn't too far away, and will be filled with even more fun.
If you really can't get spring break out of your head, then just think of how close summer and warmer weather is! There will be more fun adventures to be had over this long break, so keep that in mind. However, don't wish your time now away! Each day is so precious, and it's important to have fun now as well, and not to wish whole weeks away. It is a fine balance!

I hope this was helpful to those of you who are missing spring break (let's be honest, we all are!), and also to those of who are kind of stuck in a rut right now!

Do you have any fun plans for summer yet?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful weekend! :)