Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hippie Halloween: DIY Floral Crown

I don't know about you, but I am a little lazy when it comes to Halloween. Okay, really lazy. As a child, I was a ladybug for 3-4 years until I grew out of the costume my grandma made for me, and then I was a "sleepy person" for several years. A "sleepy person" costume consisted of me wearing my pajamas to go Trick-or-Treating. Somehow, people still gave me candy.

This year wasn't any different, and when it came time for me to choose a costume, I wanted to find a way to accessorize my normal clothes into something Halloween-appropriate. Enter the floral crown.

There are lots of different ways to make floral crowns, and I learned to make mine from this post. They're super easy to make, which is good if you're in a rush to get a costume together quickly! First, you need some pretty faux flowers.

Supplies Needed: Wire flowers, Scissors, Floral wire.
Time It'll Take: About half an episode of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.
Cut the wire flowers off of their stems.

Bend the floral stems into a crown shape, sizing it to fit your head. Attach each stem to the next by coiling the wire around where the two pieces meet. The wire is pretty unnoticeable, but it helps if you can hide the it behind a flower or leaf. And there you have it! Easy as pie. I wore a vintage maxi skirt, a lace top, and a denim shirt, but lots of clothes would work well to give off the hippie vibe. 

 Hippie Halloween! Peace, y'all. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Healthy(ish) Halloween

Trick or Treat? Halloween will be here soon, and the whole country will be hyped up on sugar. It sounds great, doesn't it? When I was a kid, there was a man on my street who handed out apples for Halloween. He also made you do a trick before he gave you a treat, so all the kids did a little song-and-dance to then be tricked into getting an apple. No kid wants an apple for Halloween. Kids want Reese's, and Hershey's, and Twix. Thinking about this, I was curious to know which Halloween treats are really bad for you vs. the ones that are just kinda bad. Here's what I found out: 

Smarties and Starburst are the healthiest options for Halloween candy. One roll of Smarties contains about 25 calories and 0g fat. Starburst contain a little more calories, but they taste better, so it's a fair trade.

The main reason Pixie Stix are bad for kids is because they contain less than 2% artificial and natural flavors. Also, kids tend to want to snort Pixie Stix, which is never a good idea. Something interesting I learned about Pixie Stix is that they are the same basic recipe as SweeTarts. Parents didn't like the powdery mess that came with Pixie Stix, so they requested a hard candy-version of the same sweet. 

3 Musketeers, Snickers, Twix. Basically, if the wrapper is brown and/or shiny, it's code for "this is bad for you." A fun-sized Twix bar contains 10% of an average person's daily value in saturated fat. Wowzers. So, if you eat 10 fun-sized Twix (and let's face it, that's totally possible), you've eaten your full day's allowance of saturated fat. 

Your dentist probably hates candy corn. Besides the simple fact that it tastes gross (yes, that is a fact), 19 pieces of candy corn contain 28g of sugar (cavities!) and 140 calories. 

So, Smarties are the best-for-you treat and Twix are the worst-for-you chocolate. Interestingly enough, Twix taste the best. Given the choice between Smarties and Twix, I would choose Twix every time. I just won't eat 10 of them… In one sitting.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Keep Calm and Yarn Bomb

So, the Springfield Art Museum got bombed… By yarn!

Yarn bombing is apparently a thing, who knew? I didn't, so I learned about it. Here's some fun facts about yarn bombing: 

It is also referred to as guerrilla knitting or graffiti knitting, and in some jurisdictions, it is illegal. The sculpture in front of the art museum was yarn bombed by the IdeaXFactory in Springfield. They were invited to do this installation, so no need to scan the mugshots for these knitters.

Trees are commonly bombed. Often, yarn bombers will create materials in a studio or home and then transport them to the location of the installation. 

Yarn bombing is thought to have been originated in Texas in 2005. 

However, Americans aren't the only ones who enjoy guerrilla knitting. On June 11, 2011, a Canadian woman founded International Yarn Bombing Day. 

The installation had lots of fun little sections, and it would make for a good game of "I Spy." This bacon and eggs part was my favorite. 

My friend Lindsay came with me to check out the sculpture post-yarn-explosion. She's inspecting the installation in this photo.

While I was viewing the installation, I ran into a woman who worked on it, and she said that over 20 people had helped put it together. They put a lot of hard work into creating something to make people smile, and I think they did a good job! Go ahead and Google Image search yarn bombing. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Cyclopean

Spending some time in the dictionary is one of the easiest ways to learn something new, and it's super easy/accessible! Here's a word I learned today: 

Cyclopean. Cyclopean is a great word to use in everyday conversation, and it's easy to remember because you can just think of Cyclops, and then think of how huge Cyclops is in real life. I'm pretty sure Cyclops is real, right?

Word: Cyclopean
Definition: Grand, vast, etc.
Earliest known use: 1582
Use it in a sentence: Those cyclopean creatures at the corn maze were nicer than they seemed.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Banana-Peach Smoothie

Smoothies are my go-to Sunday snack. I usually eat a pretty big meal after church, sometimes I take a Sunday nap (more often than not), and sometimes I make a Sunday smoothie a couple hours after I ate that huge lunch because -- let's face it -- a girl's gotta eat. 

I usually make my smoothies with plain yogurt, but I didn't have any at the time, so I used the fancy greek yogurt instead. Y'know what I learned? It was better. 

Easiest Smoothie Ever - Serves two, or one really hungry individual
1 Banana
8 oz. Peach Nectar - You can use anything, but I used this Jumex Peach Nectar
1 Cup Greek Yogurt - I used Chobani Peach

Blend it up, and enjoy!

Yesterday was gorgeous in Springfield, so I sipped my smoothie outside.

Smooth sailing, friends!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Storing Perfumes

Once upon a time, I read that the best place to store your perfume is the refrigerator. Um, what??

Perfume, the smell-good stuff people spray on their bodies, just chilling there next to some turkey. Or margarine. Or leftover meatloaf. No, no, no. That doesn't seem right at all.

As I researched this suggestion, it turns out there is some rationale behind the idea. Here's why some people put perfumes in the fridge:

The two biggest things that could affect perfume shelf-life and scent are light and heat. Too much light and/or heat can cause the fragrance to expire faster, and it can also cause the scent to give off different tones than when you first purchased it. I'm no chemist, so I have pretty much zero clue as to why, but I learned that's just how it is. To be honest, if you asked me to think of a cool, dark place, my first thought would probably be Alaska in the winter. My second thought would be the fridge, though, so I kinda see why people think that's a good idea. But only a little bit.

If you're like me and think cold-fridge-perfume is just too weird, here are some other "cool" ideas for storage:

Since the sun gives off both light and heat, keep your perfumes out of direct sunlight.

Put your perfumes in a darker location, perhaps in a dresser drawer. Bonus: If you put your perfume by your socks, maybe your socks will smell good. It's worth a shot.

Keep perfumes out of your bathroom, since the humidity can also affect how long your scents last.
Remember to keep the bottle tightly closed!

If you choose to store your perfume in the fridge, more power to you. But my fridge is already full of food!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Giggle Guide: 5 Ways to Increase Serotonin

So, since my last post was on the sad side, I figured I'd lighten the mood. (Mood. Haha. That was a pun, but you might not realize that yet. We'll get there.) We're talking about serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is widely believed to affect mood. That being said, many nutritionists believe the higher your serotonin levels, the better your mood. To some degree, seretonin = happy. 

So let's boost that serotonin, eh? Here's 5 ideas for how to do it:

1. Chocolate has been known to boost serotonin. Do you really need an excuse to eat more chocolate? I didn't think so. Also, as a big Harry Potter fan, I can say with confidence that chocolate has been statistically proven to increase moods because it is the best food to eat when dementors make you sad.

2. Spending some time in the sun is one of the best ways to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), probably because being outside is good for the soul.

3. Exercising is another thing that's good for the soul. 20-30 minutes of cardio/day is the best way to exercise away the seasonal blues. 

4. Sleep is good. This requires no further explanation. 

5. 99.9% of the scholarly articles I read on serotonin mentioned that tryptophan is the best way to raise your serotonin levels. High concentrations of tryptophan can be found in things like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, but most importantly, turkey. If you're American, this makes a ton of sense. Turkey probably makes you think of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving probably makes you think happy thoughts. Therefore, turkey makes you happy, ya dig?

Well, I'm off to eat a turkey now; I'll catch you guys later!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dealing With Loss

Under normal circumstances, I would have been blogging more than once a week, but life has been crazy lately on pretty much every level. My kitty unexpectedly passed away recently, and it has been a sad transition. If you know me even a little bit and/or follow me on Instagram, you probably know that Florence was my favorite.

Here's what I've learned.

1. Be thankful for the times you had together.
2. My friends are the best.  

I'm sure I'll learn more about this as time goes on. Sorry to all of my friends (mostly everyone) who never got to meet Florence. She was a cool cat!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Home-Brewed Iced Coffee

Who doesn't love coffee? Better yet, who doesn't love iced coffee? It's about to be real chilly out here in Missouri, so I will soon be trading in my iced drinks in favor of some steamier selections, but I'm going to savor my last week of cold beverages while I can. That being said, there are 2 main ways to make home-brewed iced coffee. (Hint: Neither of them involves making hot coffee and putting ice cubes in it.) The first way you can home-brew iced coffee is with a french press. I'm not a fancy enough coffee-drinker to have my own french press, so I did it the second way.

Take one cup of coffee (the stronger the better) and six cups of water.

Pour the coffee in the water. You can do this! It's so easy!

Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

Now here comes the exciting part. I don't have a photo of the exciting part (blogger fail), but if you're doing it right, it should look something like a weird science experiment. Place a coffee filter inside a mesh strainer, and put the strainer on top of the pitcher you're going to put the coffee in. Slowly pour the coffee through the strainer, and the filter will catch the grounds.

And there you have it! Home-brewed iced coffee tends to be less bitter than regularly brewed hot coffee, so it may not need as much cream and/or sugar. Or go crazy with that pumpkin spice creamer. It's your life!

First Post, Y'all!

Write what you know.

If you've ever taken a writing class, you've probably heard that statement somewhere between a billion and a trillion times. Writers, aspiring writers, and random kids who took a creative writing class in college are told to write about what they know because it makes for interesting content. It's a lot easier to write about things you've experienced and emotions you've felt than to try to imagine what it might be like to feel or think something different. We write what we know because it is real.

So the whole point here is for me to write about things I don't know. Why? Well, because I am a rebel ex-English major, for one (meaning I graduated, not that I divorced my major.) In retrospect, I probably should have majored in communications instead. They probably would have taught me how to blog with a communications degree, maybe? Do they teach that stuff? As an English major, I learned the proper use of semicolons. And now I'm going to learn some more stuff. Starting tomorrow.

If you want to read a condensed version of this, or if you want to read more half-jokes that might make you half-laugh, check out my About Me page.