Friday, August 22, 2014

DIY Backpacks

With the school year right around the corner (or already started!), you may be wondering if you're fully prepared for the semester ahead. And if you're anything like me, then you probably aren't. All the books, supplies, etc... it's enough to stress anyone out. So if you're looking for a way to prepare for school and not feel totally bummed out about it, check out these three DIY backpack projects!

1. Sewn Backpack
If you're feeling particularly crafty and have access to a sewing machine, check out this DIY backpack. This one is a little more complicated, but it allows you to have an entirely unique backpack without having to drop a ton of money on it.

2. Recycled Tote Backpack
If you're not feeling quite so crafty, why not try recycling an old tote bag? This one still involves a little skill, but you don't have to use a sewing machine and there's still a lot of room to be creative with it.

3. Simple Backpack Revamp
And if you're hanging out in the laziest group of DIY-ers (like me!), then give this one a shot. This woman did it for her daughter's preschool backpack, but you could apply the same basic tactics to any old backpack!

Good luck with your upcoming school year and have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Color Wheel: Black


The color black has always been popular. It is great for fashion, decorating, and countless other things. Although popular, some are afraid to use it in their own fashion and décor. Today we briefly go over the color and encourage you to embrace it!

Black, the darkest of all the colors, is the result of absence or complete absorption of light. Black is often paired with white since they are opposites and contrast one another nicely. Throughout history professionals, royalty, and government officials have worn black. Black has been associated with many things over the course of history, but more recently it has been associated with power and elegance.

Recently, black has become the color for high fashion. Because it is associated with power and elegance, you will find black on anything trying to make a statement including dresses, tuxedos, sports cars, and logos. 

Black can look great in the home as well, bringing the elegant high fashion look with it. Most modern looking décor focuses on the high contrast of black and white and works out nicely. Contrast is always needed to make a room really work, and black can help bring that!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Short Guide to Grilling

Summer and grilling are undoubtedly a great combination. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and make some great food. For the grilling pros, there’s not going to be much here you don’t already know, but for the starters we got you covered with the basics for a good grilling get together.

To get started you obviously need a grill! Some will argue that a charcoal grill is better than a gas grill, or vice versa, but this is completely up to you and what is readily available. Then you need to decide what you want to eat! Grilling is just like any other art; in order to get better you have to try some new things out. Try some weird recipes online, add some herbs and spices, it can be as basic or complex as you’d like. 

Some easy things to grill are steak, chicken, burgers, and hot dogs among other things. These are good foods to start with if you are new to grilling. If you are just starting, well done will probably be the way to go until you get better at judging the meat’s readiness.

Some other things you can grill are vegetables, buns (just for a bit to get a crunchy toasty bun), and even some desserts. I have come across recipes online for grilled banana smores and grilled banana splits.  

Grilling out either by yourself or with friends is just a great way to make a summer dinner. Some music, good drinks, and some outside games will contribute to the fun if you’d like to make it a little bit more. Just enjoy it, try new things, take advice, and grill!

 Happy grilling!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mediterranean Style

Not going to make it to the Mediterranean any time soon? Don’t worry; we’ll give you some tips on how you can bring that sweet summer feel to your place in this month’s style spotlight.

The Mediterranean style originated in the countries just north of the Mediterranean Sea including Spain, Italy, and Greece. The style has a very laid-back summer feel that uses colors from the sea and sky. Because of this, the palette consists mainly of blue and white with some warm color accents.

If you are considering adding some Mediterranean to one of your rooms, you’ll want a room with a lot of natural light. In the Mediterranean style there is a large emphasis on natural light, natural light can really open a room up and with the soft, natural, colors it gives the room a relaxing vibe. Also, if you have a room with a textured wall this would be ideal as well as glazed plaster or textured walls are a big part of the style too.


For decorating, you can go with a range of furniture. From classy to simple, quite a bit can work. Light color wood furniture or furnishings with carved or ornately turned feet are the popular choices for this style. Urns, vases, and candlesticks make good decorations for around the room.

Overall the Mediterranean style is one of my favorites and can bring a cool summer feel to any home. There are plenty of examples online and the great thing with a laid back style like this is that it can be as expensive or inexpensive as you’d like!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iowa State Fair

On some level, you aren't really a true Iowan until you've visited the Iowa State Fair. When I was a kid, my family used to go for a day every summer (which is pretty weak, tons of people camp out and go every day). We'd check out the animals, go to the Native American village set up (and I'd try to convince my mom to get me a bow and arrow), and eat a lot of food on a stick. I haven't gone in a few years, but it's gotten even more busy if that is possible.

There's a Midway, a ton of crazy food, art, and tons of agriculture and livestock. There are tons of things to do for everyone. Whether you want to just walk around and stuff your face, play on the Midway, or check out the animals. Honestly, there are too many things for me to tell you about!

The fair is located 3000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa. Even if you aren't located in that area, getting down to Des Moines is worth it for an awesome summer day activity. And this week is the week to go since it won't be the typical August 90-100 degree weather!

If you're looking for something more on the cheap side, here is a link to all the free stuff at the Iowa State Fair.

The fair is open from 7am to 1am. Here is a link to all the details on pricing.

The fair is going on from August 7th through the 17th, so this week is your last chance to get your fill of the fair.

Friday, August 8, 2014

DIY Summer Treats: Popsicles

When was the last time you had a popsicle? The answer is not recently enough!

Recently, I found some old popsicle molds from when I was a kid. And sure, having my mom make popsicles for those hot Iowa summer days was amazing then, but let me tell you, it is even better now. As it turns out, you can make almost any liquid into a popsicle. I've made a ton out of juice and pop, but the possibilities are endless. All you need is a popsicle mold (or some cups and popsicles sticks if you don't want to get a fancy mold!)

Check out this Buzzfeed article for some ideas! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Color Wheel: Emerald


Ah, emerald green. Some might think of this color as more of a St. Patrick's day thing, but with summer exploding all around us, the green seems just as fitting in August.

Emerald is most commonly seen in it's namesake, the gemstone. Shout out the May birthdays here (like me!) for having one of the best birthstones.

Green is the color of growth and rebirth. With school starting up again soon, I think it's a color that everyone can appreciate. Not to get too sentimental here, but school starting is always a big event for me in terms of starting fresh. A whole new school year to grow and learn and push myself.

That being said, I'm sad to see summer on its way out. All the bright green grass and warm days have been a wonderful contrast to the long and cold winter we had here in Iowa. So, here is a big splash of green for the end of your summer. Happy August!