Guest Post

DIY Bedside Table [Guest Post]

Today I’m doing something a little different and giving you a cool DIY project, presented by my good friend Christina. I had the pleasure of making friends with Christina last summer during our internships with American Eagle Outfitters. Her humor is infectious, and she’s such a stylish and resourceful fashionista… speaking of – go check out her blog, Resourceful Refinement!

So for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Christina. Nice to meet you.  I am a thrifter, couponer and all around frugal-living extraordinaire.  Having been relentlessly made fun of from my friends in college, I find it humorous how they all now (post-graduation) come running towards the frugal lifestyle. Go figure. My mantra is basically to not spend a fortune on anything when you can make, DIY or find it cheaper. This week, it was DIY.

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I just moved out of my mom’s house and into a friend’s apartment in Pittsburgh.  She had the home already decorated, but I still wanted to put my own spin on things since it would now be my home, too. First I started with the home cooking, like the Martha Stewart that I am [editor’s note: it’s my experience that, while Christina can cook, she cannot light a charcoal grill… and neither can I]. To give you an idea of what I was working with, my roommate did not even own baking pans. A regular dinner for her was chicken nuggets with mac and cheese. Delicious, but not nutritious. I then moved on to make us a small herb and flower garden, and now onto the furniture!

I was lucky enough to snag this great table from work… for free! It was on the “discard list” (aka throw it away), so it was up for grabs! First off, the table is amazing as it is.  I love all the little details on it that really set it apart from a regular old table.  BUT, I knew it could be snazzed up a bit. Now I am a DIY-er, but a lazy DIY-er. Well, I’m pretty lazy in life too. So I guess I’m just all around lazy.  So any DIY I do must be simple, easy, and cheap! Check, check, and check.

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DIY Bedside Table

Materials

  • Simple furniture to spice up
  • Mod Podge (I used matte mod podge, just as a personal preference)
  • Patterned paper (Get creative! Comic books, fashion mags, maps ect. If you are doing a larger piece of furniture and need larger paper than 18×24 try your local scrapbooking store or online)
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Brayer & scraper (can be found at your local craft store, usually by or near the mod podge)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clear Acrylic Sealer (not pictured, optional)
  • Pencil (optional)

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Time

Like 2 seconds. Okay maybe a little longer. But practically 2 seconds.

Directions

First, you want to prep your surface.  Mine was wood furniture so I sanded down any areas that I would be mod-podging my paper on to.  Make sure you wipe it down after sanding to give you a nice clean surface, smooth as a baby’s bottom.

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Prepare your paper. Like I said before, I am lazy.  In order to get the right size and shape of your paper to be mod-podged, I go back and forth between using a pencil and creasing the paper down on the edges of the furniture. I left a little extra space widthwise on my paper to account for the corners on the table. Don’t forget to double check after you cut out your paper that it fits the area properly!

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Then, you mod-podge! Using your paintbrush, apply the mod podge to the furniture where you will place your paper. You want a medium coat, so you don’t end up with wrinkles on your paper.

Place your paper on and use your brayer and scraper to smooth out the wrinkles and get rid of the extra mod podge.  It works best when you work out from the center to smooth your paper. Don’t press too hard with your brayer and scraper or it will give you a thin coat of mod podge, giving your paper wrinkles (also the brayer works best for larger surfaces while the scraper works really well for corners and harder to reach places!).

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Go over your paper with another coat of mod podge. Even though it looks a little foggy, I assure you, the mod podge dries clear.  But I use the scraper to give thinner coats on top of the paper to avoid the extra step of sandpapering out the brush strokes when it dries.  It also helps to keep a few paper towels (wet and dry) nearby to wipe up the excess.

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You want to apply at least 3 coats of mod podge on top of the paper, waiting at least 20-30 minutes between coats.  Go make a sandwich, eat a smoothie (like I did), watch your dogs poop in the yard (also like I did), call your grandma, etc.

If you are mod podging and area that will be handled a lot (ex. dresser, top of a table), definitely do an extra one or two coats for good measure!  You may also want to seal it with clear acrylic sealer so it can withstand a little more.  Since my mod-podged area was on the side of the table, I opted out of using it. And Voila! Just to blow your mind, this entire DIY cost me $15.49. Tell me I’m not amazing and you would be lying.

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Be warned: this DIY is not for the freshly manicured. Mine clearly got destroyed.

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Have fun and happy thrifting!

xoxo
Christina

More places to find Christina:
Twitter: @Cldaniels001
Instagram: @cldaniels001
http://resourcefulrefinement.com/

Questions of the Day:
>> Do you ever DIY?

>> Are you into fashion/décor? I wish I was good at fashion and decorating… I like to imagine I could be :p

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Being Okay With Being Single [Guest Post]

Today I’m super happy to have my beautiful friend Cassie guest-posting for me. She’s basically my soul mate (no, really, our numerological matchings make us soul mates), and I became friends with her separately from the blog world. I ask her for advice all the time. She’s very sage. Enjoy her wisdom about something very near and dear to my heart – being single. 

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Hi everyone. I’m Cassie, and if you are a regular reader of Nutty for Life, you’ve probably seen me around these parts. I blog about trying to grow up and be a real adult at Almost Getting it Together, but mostly I talk about healthy recipes, running, traveling and maybe occasionally something else.

In case you don’t know me, I’m 25. So old, I know. I feel like not only are Angela and I friends, but I like to think of myself as her mentor as well. She told me I could write about a recipe, running or life and I thought – why not write about being single? Disclaimer, I’m not currently single, but before I found myself with a really wonderful guy, I was obviously single and I spent a lot of time learning to not only be okay with it, but enjoy it as well.

Being single is a stigma in the United States, or at least it is in West Virginia/Western PA, where I have spent most of my life. Both family and strangers are very quick to ask if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend and often the “no” answer is met with a look of pity.

Being single isn’t a disease, it’s typically a choice, and it’s much more healthy to be single than settling with someone who doesn’t make you happy or being in a destructive relationship. People think having a significant other will always give them something to do, something to look forward to, and therefore, happiness. Yes, the person you are with should increase your happiness, but you should be capable of being happy without them as well. Never depend on another person for your happiness.

I’m not saying being single is easy once you’ve been in a relationship and especially not when you first break-up with someone. Trust me, it’s hard. Sometimes it seemed easier to have someone on the back-burner so I knew that if worse came to worst, I wouldn’t be spending my entire life alone. However, when you are thinking about how insane that back-burner person drives you (please don’t call me dumb nicknames like ‘Little Cass,’ it makes me want to throw up), it’s better to not be stressed out and to be single. You can’t meet someone new if your heart is closed trying to not strangle someone you’re not really into but is in your life.

First, you have to figure out what it is that makes you happy. Personally, I don’t like spending my Friday and Saturday nights out at a crowded bar, fighting for the bartender’s attention for a crappy drink and not being able to even have a conversation, so going out to the bar doesn’t make me happy. I realized I need time alone on the weekends – I like coming home and doing nothing but catching up on blogs and TV on Friday nights. I like to go to bed early so I can wake-up for a long run or go to yoga on Saturday mornings. I stopped feeling like I was supposed to go out every night. Even when I was visiting friends, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the bar. If I’m going to have a drink at night, I would rather it be at a cool cocktail bar or restaurant where I don’t have to hear a Pitbull song and I can have a meaningful conversation with my companions. This is where the stigma comes back – if you’re single, you’re expected to go to the bar and be social and meet guys. Spoiler alert: the chance you are going to meet your future husband at the bar is low.

Second, once you’ve figured out what makes you happy, you now have a lot of extra time to do those things. Traveling makes me happy because not being in Pittsburgh makes me happy. In 2013, I probably took twenty or so trips. Yes, a lot were random weekends visiting my friends who live in different cities and a handful were for work, but now I suddenly had both the time and inclination to travel.

Earlier this year, I wanted to take a solo trip, so I went to Nicaragua by myself. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and forced myself to make new friends which I would have probably not done with a boyfriend (or at least old Cassie with a boyfriend wouldn’t have done). Go travel, sign-up for a triathlon, take that cooking class you always wanted – once you begin growing as a person, you don’t even have time to worry about being single or what your ex is up to (probably not anything as interesting as you).

Lastly, you can’t be afraid to be alone. Being alone isn’t scary – it’s liberating! Take a book to a restaurant and have a leisurely meal. Can’t find a friend to go to a concert with you? Go by yourself! Once you’ve learned that it’s okay to be alone, more and more opportunities will start opening up to you because you don’t have to wait for someone else to want to do something.

More places to find Cassie:
Twitter: @cpisone
Facebook: Almost Getting it Together
Instagram: @cpisone
Pinterest: Cassandra Pisone
Email: cpisone@gmail.com

Thanks for posting, Cass! I hope you all loved her advice as much as I did. And if you’re already taken… well, I’m happy for ya!
We’re also linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud today. Thanks for hosting, Amanda!

Questions of the Day:
>>Are you currently single?
>>Do you think being single is a stigma?
>>Are you okay with being alone?
>>Lastly, I want to hear your thoughts!

 

Chocolate Covered Almonds [Guest Post]

Today you’re getting one of my favorite snacks ever from one of my favorite bloggers ever, Erin from The Almond Eater. I didn’t even tell her to make these! She reads minds, I guess. If you’re not familiar with her, I’m sure you’ll love her immediately. Erin is as goofy as I am, and I love that she lives near me! Another blend (blogger + friend) match! Take it away, gurrrrrl. 

Hi guys! I’m Erin and I blog over at The Almond Eater. When Angela asked me to guest post, I paused and thought, ehhhhhhhhhhhh. I’M KIDDING, I didn’t have to think about it for one second. Ang and I both live in Pittsburgh and have recently become blogger-turned-friends, which is kinda cool. [editor’s note: um, only kinda cool, Erin?? jk.]

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So anyway, my blog is called The Almond Eater because I’m obsessed with almonds. The funny thing is that I usually prefer them raw. They’re just so. darn. good. But if I had to choose another way to have my almonds, I’d choose chocolate covered.
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I have no idea when my almond obsession started… I believe it was a few years ago… but I learned rather quickly that chocolate covered almonds are a food that I absolutely cannot keep in the apartment. Yeah, they’re in the same category as Nutella. What category is that? It’s the if-I-have-these-in-the-house-I-will-eat-all-of-them category. It’s bad, but also so good.
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Try to find me someone who doesn’t like chocolate covered almonds. Just try! Oh, and people who are allergic don’t count–sorry guys.
I had never made chocolate covered almonds before but, as you’d imagine, they’re pretty easy to make. Just see for yourself, and thanks for reading!
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Chocolate Covered Almonds

Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao (cocoa powder will work too, but the raw cacao gives them a richer flavor)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Directions 
  1. Place the almonds in a mesh strainer overtop of a bowl.
  2. Sift the cacao through the almonds so that they are covered but that the bowl underneath the strainer catches the leftover cacao.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds-1 minute.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate overtop of the almonds, making sure they are evenly coated.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almonds onto the paper.
  6. Place in the refrigerator just long enough for the chocolate to harden onto the almonds.
  7. Enjoy!

More places to find Erin:
Twitter: @TheAlmondEater
Facebook: The Almond Eater
Instagram: @erin_thealmondeater
Pinterest: The Almond Eater
Email: thealmondeater@gmail.com

Questions of the Day:
>> Have you ever made homemade chocolate covered almonds and/or nuts?
>> What’s your favorite flavor of specialty almonds?