Thursday, August 29, 2013

DIY Summer Popsicles

Photo from  Ink Spot Workshop
Nothing is better on a hot summer day than a cool popsicle! Try some of these creative DIY popsicle recipes form Ink Spot Workshop. They all look so good I might have to make them all! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Handle Noisy Neighbors

Having neighbors can be a great experience but what happens when they're less than pleasant? Communication is always the key to a good relationship and the same goes for good neighbors. 
The easiest way around troublesome neighbors is confront issues before they start. Here's some great advice from Reader's Digest: 

1. Get to know each other. 

Being a good neighbor doesn’t mean taking family vacations together. Just knowing them well enough to say hi, or maybe borrowing a cup of sugar or loaning a gardening tool, can build trust and understanding. Issues are much more likely to escalate among strangers than even casual acquaintances.

2. Head off problems before they’re problems. 

If you are throwing a party at your place, go to all neighbors who might be affected and offer them two things: a verbal invitation to the party and a card with your phone number. If the noise escalates or there is another problem, your neighbor can call you instead of the police.

3. Talk it out. 

Tell your neighbor what’s bothering you – don’t assume they know what the problem is. Be open and direct, not passive-aggressive. Ask for their input, and wherever possible, propose a solution that splits the difference and demonstrates a willingness to compromise. Stay cool and positive, even if they’re not.

Sometimes getting to know your neighbor just isn't enough. If there are still problems it's time to take action. It's important to be proactive about nuisance neighbors. You don't have to wait for your lease to end to get some peace and quiet. Here are 4 steps to deal with your neighbor issues from Yahoo Voices "Apartment Etiquette 101 - Dealing With a Noisy Neighbor"

Tip #1 - Keep A Record!

When having issues with a noisy neighbor - you should keep a record of dates and times when the noise was an issue - whether it was too loud, a minor annoyance or just plain overwhelming. While it's wishful thinking that the issue won't escalate to a true point of seriousness - it is better to be prepared and safe, rather than sorry later on.

Tip #2 - Remain Polite At All Times!

In some cases, your neighbor may simply be unaware that they're being too loud. Perhaps they simply have a heavy foot when walking across their floor (which may be your ceiling,) or they are unaware that their music is being heard through your shared wall (if they live above you, next to you, or below you.)

If this is the first offense and the first occurrence of the noise, then your safest bet is to go ahead and talk with your neighbor. Explain the issue with them - remember to remain calm and polite. If you go to their door and instantly jump down their throat, they will be less willing to work with you. By all means, do not go to their door and scream at them for being "the loudest, rudest neighbor on the face of the planet." Do not insult their intelligence level - "Are you just completely stupid and unaware of other people who live around you?" This will not help you, and your neighbor could report you to management for harassment.

You are better off with something along the lines of "hey - I live (next door to, above, below) you and I don't think you're doing it on purpose but your (music, or other source of noise) is a bit loud and I can hear it clearly through the walls. Is it possible you could turn it down just a little? I would really appreciate it." Remember, being calm and polite will get you farther than being rude.

Above all, no matter what their attitude may be - remain polite! Your neighbor will be more willing to work with you if you remain calm, kind, and polite - rather than attacking them as soon as they open the door. If you handle the situation correctly, chances are you'll get an apology and the noise level will decrease greatly. If you're really lucky, you won't have to deal with the issue again.

Whatever you do, do not resort to threats or violence. You will only hurt yourself in the long run if you give your neighbor a reason to get back at you. Threatening them will only escalate things into an unnecessary and possibly dangerous situation.

However, if the issue persists - you'll have to pursue more drastic measures.

Tip #3 - Time To Contact Management

If the noise issue continues, becomes more frequent, or becomes louder - it's time to contact your landlord. Again, remember to remain calm and polite. Your landlord will be more willing to deal with your issue if you do not call them and scream into the phone about your "ridiculously rude neighbor!" Keep in mind that your issue is with your neighbor, not the management (not yet, anyway.)

Remember that record you started? You can use this to reference all the dates that were issues and alert the management to the frequency or severity of the situation. Also be sure to inform them that you've tried resolving the issue yourself and that you politely asked them to tone down the noise and they did not. Remember to mark down that you contacted management - and how many times you contacted management if you end up calling them more than once.

Most apartments have a "3 strikes" sort of policy, meaning it only takes 3 complains before more serious consequences are imposed onto the offending neighbor. It may only need to be 3 legitimate complaints by a single neighbor, or 3 different neighbors making the same complaint. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to your case to speak to the other neighbors who share a wall (or ceiling/floor) with your loud neighbor. Chances are if you hear the booming bass (or other noise,) then they can too - and it probably irritates them just as much as it irritates you.

Presenting a united front to your management will more than likely alert them to a serious noise issue. It will also help get faster results in managing your unruly neighbor.

Also, check into your lease. Chances are there are designated "quiet times" which are generally from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. The same applies for city ordinances - this is especially helpful if your neighbor tends to be more noisy later in the night. You can also use this information later if the issue continues to escalate.

Tip #4 - Involve A Higher Authority

The general rule of thumb is 3 complaints - if you've contacted management 3 or more times about the noise your neighbor is making, then it's time to move to a higher authority.

When making a noise complaint to the police - stay calm! Again, your issue is with your neighbor, not the police and chances are if you've gotten to this point, you're probably pretty aggravated.

While you may feel that you are annoying the police with a minor, petty annoyance - it will not help you at all if you just simply allow your neighbor's bad behavior to slide. If you are to the point where the noise is occurring on a regular basis and you are contacting the police on a regular basis, it will only help make your case stronger for more serious consequences for your neighbor. Don't feel bad at this point, your neighbor is no longer being reasonable and is clearly inconsiderate of others around them.

On the off chance that several weeks of police knocking on your neighbor's door to tell them to tone down the noise isn't helping - there are two last resorts.

Take a look at some horrible neighbor stories from Huffington Post! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hot Spot: Text Book Outlet in Ankeny

With school just around the corner the Text Book Outlet in Ankeny is this weeks Hot Spot! They are now accepting Fun Money so that you can get the best deal on all your must have school supplies. At Text Book Outlet they understand the fundamentals of the college experience: study, have fun, and save money on text books! As a student you don’t have too many options when buying books for classes and prices keep going up. So make the smart choice!

They’re committed to offering you an alternative to the BIG BAD BOOKSTORE. At the Text Book Outlet you aren’t just a number or a dollar sign. They want to sell cheap textbooks to students – period.

So if you’re a college student who wants to save a little cash each semester – get your books from the Text Book Outlet. When you’re finished with your books, they’ll buy them back! They buy textbooks every day!

They are located across the street from DMACC’s east entrance, a couple doors down from Wig and Pen Pizza Pub.

Call them today at 515-956-4238.
Address 2005 S Ankeny Blvd | Ankeny IA 50023

Or visit their website here. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clever DIY Organization

School is just around the corner, for some of us it's already here. This time of year I always find myself waist deep in planers, calendars, and easy organizers in an attempt to start off the school year right. Here's a list of clever DIY tricks to keep you a little more put together this year. All of these projects are quick and simple. Most you already have the supplies for! Find these great ideas and others at Brit & Co.
Palette Jewelry Holder from Martha Stewart
Paint palettes are the perfect storage for your rings and earrings. 

DIY Charging Station from Make It and Love It
This is a great way to cut down on desk top clutter.

Washi Cord Organizers by Our Thrifty Ideas
So clever! The Washi tape really adds to this project. 

All you need are some cans and craft paper!

Easter Egg Snack Storage via Real Simple and Kailo Chic
This is too cute! These would work great in lunch boxes instead of using disposable baggies. 

Message Board Jewelry Holder by Dated by Design

Laundry Room Peg Board by Girlfriends Get Organized
This is so much better than shoving everything in one tiny closet. We'll be doing this in my apartment soon! 

Drawer Pull Organizers by Better Homes and Gardens
I never thought about using handles as hangers, they'd work great for scarves. 

Easy Filing by Better Homes and Gardens
Try repurposing a dish drying rack as a letter holder. 

Magnetic Spice Jars by  One Lucky Pickle
a cheap and simple way to organize 

Notebook Organizer with Envelope Simple As That
I can't get over how simple this DIY is! Ditch the floppy folders and glue envelopes inside your notebooks. 

Magnetic Bathroom Rack by  Darkroom and Dearly
This might make that pack of bobby pins last a little longer. 

Ice Cube Tray Jewelry Holder by Real Simple
Simple and stackable! 

Wine Box Shoe Organizer by Three Years of Death
If you don't have a wine box try creating your own card board dividers. 

Twine Keeper by Whisker Graphics and ‘A Casarella
Twine might not be a necessity for most people...but I know this one will be appearing on my desk shortly. 

DIY Makeup Organizer by Irina’s Cute Box
Every girl needs one of these! 

Embroidery Hoop Hamper by Making Nice in the Midwest
All you need is a pretty pillow case and you're in business. 

Modular Storage by Bright Bazaar
This looks fabulous and gives you ample storage. 

Milk Jug Storage by Spoonful
What a great way to recycle!

China Jewelry Organizer by Marcus Design Inc
If you don't have a plethora of china already saved up just hit up your local second hand store. They'll have lots of options! 

DIY Accessory Organizer Brit + Co. 
This one's not only for earrings, try storing sunglasses and even pens!

Bungie Cord Hangers by Brit + Co.
Clever use of bungie cord! 

Dream Catcher Earring Holder by Brit + Co.
I've always loved dream catchers, now I have an new use for them! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hot Spot: The Funky Zebras

Our latest Hot Spot in Ankeny is The Funky Zebras. They're minutes away from DMACC Campus, located at 305 SE Oralabor Road Suite A, Ankeny.  The Funky Zebras is now accepting Fun Money, so grab some friend and head there today! We all could use a fresh wardrobe before school starts and The Funky Zebras has women's fashion for all ages.

Cheryl Hayes opened The Funky Zebras in 2011 to offer a little something differnet that the everyday boutique.  They have new merchandise every week so stop in often to stay up to date on the latest fashion. The Funky Zebras gives away a FREE pair of jeans EVERY WEEK! Follow them on Facebook for the chance to win! Visit their website to learn more about this unique boutique.
The Funky Zebras is open:
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

More about The Funky Zebras
The Funky Zebras is a women's clothing and accessory boutique offering a unique, neighborhood shopping experience. New visitors to the store often comment their WOW experience is due to the great selection, and reasonable pricing. Stop in often, as we update and add to inventory each week.
We also offer after hours Diva and Fundraising Parties. We commonly provide beverages & snacks, for these after hours private shopping events. Call or stop by to select a date convenient for you.
Return Policy: As a valued client we want you to be happy with your Funky Zebras purchases and will gladly accept returns for credit for most items within 5 days of purchase with receipt. Jewelry however is not returnable for hygiene reasons.
Contact them by phone at 515-964-0332 or email at

Friday, August 9, 2013

DIY Studded iPad Case

Today is a fun DIY project that I did myself! It was so cheap and easy I had to share. If you're like me you love the stud/spike trend. You find it everywhere, boots, clothes, accessories, you name it! So take fashion into your own hands and dress up your plain accessories with studs and spikes. Here's how:

So where do you start? 

 Well the first thing you need is something to stud. I choose this pink iPad case I got at Target for $4.98. I know, what a good deal! I wasn't completely in love with it when I bought it so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try out my new stud obsession.  I bought these studs at Hobby lobby near the leather crafts for $2.00 a bag.
Next decide on a pattern you want to use. These are some simple iPad cases but feel free to get creative! If you're studding a pair of jeans or anything else take to the internet for great ideas and patterns.

It's important that you choose a material that wont be too hard to push the studs through. I decided to stud the outside pocket of my iPad case since it was thinner than the rest. Next mark out your pattern and stud away! My pattern was so simple I did it free hand with no trouble. 

Once you've pushed the stud through the fabric you need to clamp down the legs. This part was actually very easy, I didn't even need pliers. But to be on the safe side you should keep them handy. 
Simply continue studding until you have the desired look. This project took me about 20 minutes from start to finish. It's the perfect way to spice up some old accessories for the new school year. 
The grand total = about $7.00! With just a few minutes and a few dollars you can fall in love with your old accessories all over again. Happy DIY! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Color Wheel: Black

Black may seem like a color that's best used in moderation, but that's not always the case. Think of it this way, you look stunning in your little black dress right? We wear black when we want to look sophisticated, so why not do the same for interiors.  Black can make the perfect neutral accent but can also stand alone. Bold and sexy, black looks good in all situations. Here are some dark design inspirations that we've found just for you.

Black + Feng Shui

Black color is full of the feng shui energy of mystery and sophistication; it holds the energy of power and protection. The color of night, deep waters and universal void, feng shui use of color black adds depth, strength and definition to any space. 

While it can convey a heavy feeling if used in large proportions, black color is a necessary feng shui grounding element to any decor. It can be used sparingly to emphasize other feng shui colors and bring strength and presence to any room. 

Use freely in the following feng shui areas of the Ba-Gua: North (Water), East (Wood) and Southeast (Wood). Avoid black in the South (Fire) area of your space, and use in moderation in the children's rooms, as well as in the main entry and kitchen and dining. 

Because black color brings the feng shui energy of grounding and stability, its best use indoors should be not much higher than the eye level (this does not apply to commercial or retail spaces.)

Being a Water element color, black can be a powerful feng shui cure to use in the North area of your space to attract career opportunities. 

You can bring it with furniture color, black and white photos in black frames, or a mirror (also water energy) in a black frame. 


Pair with Color

Black makes any color pop. You can go bold with a stunning red or yellow. Or try pairing it with another neutral like the Camel hue below. The brass wall decor is beautiful addition and bring a little shine to the space.

Mount Your Artwork

Use a black wall to mount art work.  If you have a great piece of art of even a decorative mirror you want to showcase, consider mounting it on an all black wall.  Common in art galleries, the black background will back the piece stand out while the wall fades int the background.

Classy Contrast

Black is a bold move for a bathroom, but these spaces are stunning! I love the contrast of the black walls against the white ceramic bathtubs. 

Black and White

Black and white is a timeless combination.  Be sure to think about what shades you're pairing.  "As with any color," say the designers, "you have to be careful what black you select and what white you choose as an accent; they too, have a spectrum. - HGTV (see the article here)

Paint the Walls

Every manufacturer offers black paint, but it's typically used for the front doors of Colonial-style houses, or for trim in old Victorian homes. But black can be much more than just an accent color. Cover one wall — or even a whole room — in black, and the result can be daring, dramatic and definitely sexy. 
The shade and finish of black that's just right for a given room will vary greatly with the light, says Sassaman. So, just as you would with any other color, try paint samples on the wall and examine them at various times throughout the day.
"Dramatic and Sexy Black Decorating Ideas" by HGTV
"Even in small doses, the challenge with black is to keep it from looking funereal," says Drake, author of Jamie Drake's New American Glamour

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DIY Wall Art

If you're apartment style is in need a little something extra, try making your own art work. DIY art can adds a personal touch to any space and is sure to impress guests.  Not to mention you can create a unique piece for a fraction the cost of store bought decor.  We've compiled a list of inspirational DIY art piece that will brighten up your space. 
 I love this quote from Where the Wild Things Are! Try mounting your favorite lyric or quote for that personal touch. 
Framing fabrics is a cheap and versatile way to dress up your room.  I do this in my own bedroom, it's cheap and easy to do. All you need are the frames and changing your style is as easy as switching out the fabrics. 

Geometric patterns are is always in. Thankfully you don't have to spend big bucks to get this cool modern look.  All you need is some acrylic paint and tape! 

Get creative with your favorite quotes! There are so many ways to put your own style into your DIY art. 

String art is to cool and surprisingly easy. just trace an outline of the image you want, hammer in some nails, and wrap away! 

What a cute mesh of photographs and patterned paper. You could try using paint samples or scrapbook paper. 

Do you have any unique DIY art you'd like to share? Email us at

Monday, August 5, 2013

Style Spotlight: Farmhouse

Whether you live in the country or not, quaint farmhouse decor can make any space feel like home. Be inspired by these Farmhouse style interiors and learn how to decorate you space with a country theme.
Country decor is fun and easy!  These simple items are easy to find and give your space a country vibe.

Easy country decor:

Mason Jars
Flowers and Herbs
Pretty Plates
Antique Photographs
Worn Tins and Jars
Old Books

  • Try bringing the outdoors in with fresh flowers and veggies. Adding green to your space will make it feel connected to nature even if you live in the city.
  • Plaid, strips, and floral patterns look great in country spaces.  Use it in your fabrics or on walls to achieve a farmhouse style.
  • Animal decor, real wood, and leather can make more a more masculine country feel. It doesn't all have to be lace and frill. 
  • Farm house kitchens are meant to look lived in, which means open storage is a must have. Try using hanging pot racks to display your utensils. Ornate plates can double as decor so display your dishes proudly.
I love the shabby chic style of country interiors. Furniture and fabrics can look slightly worn or aged. This is a great opportunity to repurpose used furniture and decor.  Get creative, Farmhouse style is eclectic and personal so make your space your own.
Do you have a country inspired space? Send them to us at