Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy [late] Memorial Day!

I know Memorial Day was yesterday but I was far too busy grilling out and lounging poolside with my closest friends to pause and blog about it. We had a delicious cookout by the pool with shrimp & steak kabobs, grilled corn, baked potatoes and fruit salad. I literally would not have changed a thing we did with the food so I wanted to share this amazing, yet simple, cookout menu with you.

But before I do, I have to say that as fun as drinking by the pool, or on the beach, and grilling out all day with your friends is, we don't have a day off of work and school for no reason. Our veterans worked hard so that we could lounge by the pool all day worry-free. They fought not only for our country, but so each and every one of us could have our freedom, and they still are, every day. Make sure you show those people fighting how much you appreciate it. It's easy to forget that we are in a war when we are safe over here in our warm beds, when our biggest worry is what we are going to make for dinner and if something is too casual/dressy. Make sure our United States military men and women know you appreciate them. Write a letter, hug a vet, send a care package. It will take no time at all, but mean the world to them.


Like I said, yesterday we grilled out by the pool. I particularly like using the grill at my apartment because it's charcoal and I think it gives it a more genuine 'smoked' taste. We decided to make kabobs, grilled corn, baked potatoes, and fruit salad. 

For the potatoes, we actually baked these in the oven since they take almost double the time on the grill. We wrapped the potatoes in tin foil and baked them on 400 for 40 minutes. After they were done we opened them up and added butter, low fat Ranch dressing, and salt.

For the corn, we wrapped up the corn in tin foil and added butter inside the tin foil and threw them on the grill for about 20 minutes. When we unrolled them out of the tin foil all the butter had soaked in and it was amazing!

The fruit salad was simply cut up pineapple and strawberries. We colored the tops of skewers different colors so we would all know which skewer belong to whom. It a really good idea because then you don't have to keep up with your skewer.


The kabobs were the best part. We marinated zucchini, portabella mushrooms, jumbo shrimp, and chopped steak in butter, salt, pepper, and greek seasoning. We then put them on the skewers and grilled them until they looked done (around 20 minutes). They were DELICOUS [and fairly cheap]! :)



In lieu of cookouts, I was browsing Southern Living for party ideas (for when I'm no longer on a college student budget). Here are some of the amazing things Southern Living came up with for a Memorial Day/ Fourth of July cookout! If I start saving now, maybe I can have a festive July 4th cookout!

These napkins/place cards are to die for and simple to make!
Newspaper's faded tones lend these projects vintage appeal. This hat is brightened by a glittery rosette, a blue band trimmed with pinking shears, and a simple name banner in a bold typeface


Thoroughly saturate a 3 inch sphere of floral foam and add in desired carnations. Each sphere holds about 50 carnations. Carnations are inexpensive and can be beautiful if arranged properly! These white and red ones would make beautiful center peices at your cookout table!

I also scanned MarthaStewart.com for ideas and inspiration.

Star Medallion Decorations

I really like this jar of sand with sparklers inside idea. It's very festive, especially for July 4th!

DIY Painted Glasses. This would be perfect with freshly squeezed lemonade!

Napkin, Spoon, and knife covers. So cute!

For more information about these DIY crafts and other unique ideas go to http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/patriotic-crafts

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Holiday and thank you to all my friends and family that made mine perfect!



Saturday, May 28, 2011

There's an opportunity to change someones life around every corner..

I am sure all of you have heard of or visited stumbleupon.com but if not, you should. Today I was 'stumbling' the web and came across something everyone should read and learn from. I read it and it touched my heart so I decided to share it with you all. [Story is by an unknown author and pictures are from google images].

Five Lessons About How To Treat People-- Author Unknown


1. First Important Lesson - "Know The Cleaning Lady"


During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


2. Second Important Lesson - "Pickup In The Rain"


One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.


3. Third Important Lesson - "Remember Those Who Serve"

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "50¢," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "35¢!" she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.


4. Fourth Important Lesson - "The Obstacles In Our Path"


In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand - "Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition."




5. Fifth Important Lesson - "Giving When It Counts"

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.


 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things..

Flowers, rhinestones, and feathers.. I love them all. But when they are combined, especially on a wedding day, they bring out the beauty in each other. Some may disagree and say this is tacky, but, to each her own. I have been wanting to be a wedding planner since I was a little girl but when I came to college I decided to opt for something a little more realistic and study public relations instead.

[Intimateweddings.com]

This past year though, I reacquainted myself with my long lost dream. I owe a big thank you for that to TLC's My Fair Wedding, Say Yes to the Dress, and Bridezillas. I also owe it to my mom for never throwing away those 10lb wedding magazines that she receives at her work and letting me flip through them for hours while still on the clock.
All my friends make fun of me for religiously watching TLC, but I love, love, love weddings, and just so my friends, family, and readers know this does not mean I am ready to walk down the aisle. Anyways, my love for weddings has caused me to browse the web quite frequently (some might even say at an unhealthy level to not even be engaged) for all things wedding-related. Recently, I've fell in love with Etsy.com. Etsy is a website where all types of people post their crafts for others to buy. There are some really unique and adorable things on Etsy, but for this post I'd like to focus on their wedding section. There are so many amazing wedding goodies any bride would die for on this site (and they are reasonably priced!). My favorites just happened to be floral, bejazzled, with a with feather or two. 

NEW ITEM - Bridal Diamond White Hair Flower with Rhinestones Center and Feathers  Accents - Bridal Hairpiece 
Bridal Flower for Hair [by designbypris]

White Wine Spritzer Feather Fascinator : F012 made to order
Bridal Flower for Hair [by Jrcastillo]

Elegant Bridal Bouquet
Elegant Bridal Bouquet [by crossingstem]

SATINE Silk Dupioni Rhinestone and Feather Bridal Garter Set
Bridal Garter [by bellesandcrystals]

Tulle and Organza Bridal Sash Centered with a Cluster of Swarovski Rhinestone Piece and Soft Ostrich Feathers, Available in Black, Ivory, White and Diamond White
Bridal Belt [by marisolaparicio]
I think this would look beautiful on a simple white dress!

Maybe you're not as into weddings as I am, but even so, you should check out Etsy.com, they have some amazing and unique finds on there. If your crafty, maybe think about selling some of your stuff!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yearning for Yurman

I have been obsessed with David Yurman since I was in high school and saw an ad for some of his jewelry in, what was probably a Cosmo, magazine. His designs are different from others because they not only make a statement, but they are beautifully colored. I love how many different stone options they are. I decided to blog about my friend Dave today, and yes we are in love so I can call him Dave, for one reason.. one of my best friends KeS received a David Yurman for college graduation and came over last night to throw her pretty tan fingers, adorned with Dave, in my face!

Just kidding.. Of course, I was the one trying it on jealously and wishing I had a Yurman of my very own! KeS had been wanting this same ring since she was 14 and totally deserved it on her special day!

Anyways, after obsessing of KeS's new bling, I decided to go to the David Yurman website to browse through all the things my lovely college budget cannot afford. Here are some of my favorite Yurman rings.

Cable Wrap Ring- Lavendar Amethyst ($1,350)

Multi-Stone Oval Mosaic Ring ($1,450)

Moonlight Ice Ring, Hematite 17mm ($1,600)

All these rings are great but there was something else on DavidYurman.com that caught my eye that made me love David Yurman even more than I previously had. He now has a collection called Jewelers for Children, an organization where a portion of the profits go to children who have been affected by illness, neglect, or abuse. As amazing as this is, the peices are pretty amazing and timeless as well:

Prices start at just $375

As if I didn't already have enough reasons to love David Yurman. Maybe one day I will be able to afford one of my very own!



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crazy Bout' Claddaghs!

Last summer, I visited Dublin, Ireland and was educated in what is now my most prized item of jewelry, my claddagh ring. I love it not only because I am part Irish, but because Dublin was the most amazing place I have ever been and while other girls may have the ring, I have memories and an adventure behind mine from none other than Dublin, Ireland!

My Claddagh ring, right after I purchased it in Dublin, Ireland!

 My best friend SgH & I at the Guiness Factory, which has a 360 view of Dublin.
IMG_9538.JPG
My sweet boyfriend even surprised me with this adorable charm for my Pandora bracelet!

Claddagh rings are special and unique because it tells the public if you are in a relationship, single, married, looking for love, or uninterested. It is an old Irish tradition. The Claddagh's distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart with a crown above it. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown).

Claddagh rings may be used as friendship, relationship, eternity, engagement, or wedding rings depending on the intention of wearer and, in the case of a gift, of the giver. There are three traditionally accepted ways of wearing the ring which may signal someone's relationship status:
1. When worn on the right ring finger with the heart pointing to the fingertip, the wearer is free of any attachment.
2. On the same finger with the ring turned around, it suggests someone is romantically involved.
    [Disclaimer: the previous picture was taken before I fully understood the rule & mine should have been turned the opposite way]
3. When the ring is on the left hand wedding ring finger it means the person is married or engaged.
[Wikipedia]

There are many different designs of the Claddagh, here are some of my favorites I have found while browsing. You may not be able to purchase them in Ireland, but many of the websites are companies based in Ireland. Hey, you win some, you lose some, either way, they are very beautiful and romantic.
<em>Irish</em> Celtic <em>Claddagh</em> CZ Sterling Silver Friendship Ring
Overstockjewelry.com

<em>Claddagh Rings</em> "Friendship Love Loyalty" "Chevron <em>Design</em>"
Steve Hydock Jewelers

10K <em>Gold Claddagh Ring</em> - Personalized Jewelry
Limoges Jewlery

Celticattic.com
[This one is actually made out of a spoon at a celtic store, so neat!]

I think these are going to be one of the next big jewlery trends. Maybe it's because I've been obsessed with mine ever since I got it, but I feel like I've seen a lot of girls sporting Claddagh rings lately.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Creative Branding

I secretly love when I pop a bag of popcorn, add in butter and salt, then eat it straight out of the bag. Maybe it's the fatty in me, but I just really like licking the salt and butter off my hands. Apparently, I'm disgusting and am just now admitting it to myself. Regardless, Orville Redenbacher finally came out with a pop up bowl! It is pretty awesome. You pop the popcorn as you normally would, but then peel back the top and you have a free standing bowl.


The Pop Up Bowl retails for $2.99 for a 3-pk and $4.49 for a 6-pk and is available now at grocery and mass retailers nationwide. It is available in five flavors, with Butter, Movie Theater Butter and SmartPop! varieties available now, and Kettle Korn and Ultimate Butter flavors coming in June.

This got me thinking of other unique ways to brand and sell a product. After doing some of my typical web browsing/research here are my favorites. (Yes, I know some of them are a little strange, but I happen to like the strange and unusual.

Creative Packaging Design - Tequila Gun Packaging
Tequila Gun Packaging

Creative Packaging Design - Hanger Tea
Tea on little baby hangers

Creative Packaging Design - Wine Packaging
Wine that comes with its own folding rack! Now, that's neat.

Creative Packaging Design - Pop-up Popcorn
It seems as if Orville wasn't the first one to think of this idea! Scandalous!

Creative Packaging Design - EarBudeez Headphones
Head phones.. I just love these. They are so adorable and creative.

Happy Branding!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Furoshiki

On Christmas morning, or any other event involving presents, I always feel so terrible throwing away all the beautiful wrapping paper. My family spends ridiculous amounts of money on making our presents look beautiful for one another, and then tear it to shreds, only to be thrown away.
With everyone 'going green' it amazed me that there had not yet been a solution to this problem. After a bit of research, I found one! A company called Furoshiki came up with reusable wrapping paper. Furoshiki originates from Japan and uses a method similar to that of origami.  The reusable paper comes in many different shapes, sizes, and prints. It can be used to wrap an item, grocery shop, to carry your day to day belongings, etc.

Their website, furoshiki.com also has a section that shows you all the different ways you can wrap and mold furoshiki. It also gives you hundreds of different uses for your Furoshiki. Amazingly, it can be used as a skirt, headwrap, purse, to wrap flowers, etc. I think Furoshiki is exceptionally awesome because it would be like getting two gifts in one and you would be doing your part to reduce waste while helping the environment. Here are some examples:
I know I probably should have saved this post until Christmas, or a more appropriate time, but I couldn't help it. These are so cute. Happy wrapping!