Category Archives: DIY

Back to school.

This day and age, I feel like HTML knowledge is a good skill to include on your resume. While I’m comfortable with basic formatting code, etc., I have been tossing around the idea of taking a class or two to brush-up and improve my skills.

Before I spend the extra $$ and time required by an college-type class,  BF recommended I try Codeacademy.


I just started and have made it through the first phase in the “Web Fundamentals” lessons. It has been pretty fast and easy so far, but definitely good to ingrain the basics before moving on. Here’s an example of what the lessons look like:

codeacademy - web fundamentals

Basically, it gives you a quick lesson and then some instructions to what you are supposed to do. All your coding goes in the right.

If you do anything with websites at your job or in your spare time, even if it’s just a personal blog, I definitely recommend checking out this website! Already mastered all the skills? Why not teach?

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Tuesday Dudesday: Google Alerts.

Google Stuff Yourself? Who has time for that?

Is that phrase still going on? “I ain’t got time for that” – I don’t know. I don’t really keep up with the latest pop culture references but my Facebook friends sure do – thanks for keeping me in the loop guys – what would I do without you.


Google Alerts. Heard of em?

google_alerts copy

Well if you haven’t they are pretty sweeeeeeeeet.  They basically search the internet for whatever phrase you indicate and give you the latest back to your inbox. That might not seem that awesome but that’s because I haven’t show you what’s behind door number 3 …

Say I am a band and I want to know when my band is mentioned on the web o sphere.  I would just go to: enter in my band name, fill out the other criteria (see above), and viola – alerts sent to my inbox containing any mentions about my band. You can even search a specific site for a phrase – like Craigslist for the term “photographer”.  You would use a query like this: “photography OR photographer site: OR site:”

Hope this can be useful for you!

PS for my narcissists out there you can also Google your own name to make an alert about yourself

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Share Your Space.

From what I’ve observed, people usually love or loathe Ikea. I happen to be on the love end of the spectrum but also lose a little respect for someone whose apartment is ENTIRELY from their catalog.

But… did you know that Ikea has its own website for customers to share their room designs ?! I think this is genius. Its called Share Space.


It’s fun to scroll through and take a small peek into other peoples home  (I happen to really love this – to the point of slowing down as I drive by a home that has their blinds open and lights all on… sorry if that’s creepy. I feel like its partially their fault…). You can see how people have utilized their space and Ikea products used – then save designs that you really like (after creating an account – takes two seconds) and even upload your own submission.

I think my favorite part of this site, though, is their blog. The blog talks about featured photo submissions, new products, trends, before-and-afters (my favorite!) and more!

Want to spruce up your place in 2013? Stop by Ikea’s Share Space for some inspiration.

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Better late than never.

During my most recent blogging haitus, not only did I make that sunburst mirror, I also made the BF’s Valentines day present for 2012… which turned into a birthday present 6 months later… and then “I suck and I’m sorry I’m so late” present a few months after that.  Clearly this has become a trend. BUT! I finished it. (Just in time to do it again!)

Our rule for Valentines Day presents, which started a few years back, is that the gift has to be handmade. I seriously love this rule mostly because its always so fun to see what the BF is going to make!

So here’s the final product (to give you an idea of it’s size – it’s 69″x48″ – so it’s pretty big. Sorry, the colors are a little off in this one):


Here’s a more artistic version and a better representation of the colors:


Basically, I took a map from Amazon, laid out my design in Photoshop, got decals made for it, then stuck the decals on, painted over with acrylic paint, and peeled the stickers off (carefully!). I accidentally deleted the pics I had of the process but here is one before I peeled the decals:


It was a tedious process and since the paint is sitting on laminate, it is very fragile and can be scraped off easily, but it turned out how I intended.  It’s sitting over our couch right now which is not my favorite spot for it but… it will have to do until I find something else for that spot. Maybe something like below (only large canvas size)?! Too crazy?

sequin wall


Two weeks ago, I showed you my striped walls. Well, they just needed a little more oomph. So I turned to Pinterest – yes, I admit it. Pinterest. Like everybody else. And I found the sunburst mirror diy. To be fair, I made it before it was ALL over Pinterest… it was just sort of over it at the time.

Anyway, I started out by collecting a bunch of paint sticks from Home Depot. They were actually really easy to get – I just walked up and asked the kid behind the counter if I could take a bunch. Like… a bunch. He didn’t care – so I grabbed a few handfuls and awkwardly left.

Then I spray painted them all gold

I actually hated the color gold they turned out so went out and bought gold paint that had metallic shavings or something in it – it ended up being a much richer, more realistic gold than what the spray paint gave me.

Then I got a 12″ circle mirror from Michaels and divided it up like a pizza and hot glued the sticks on it. I did two layers: one shorter and one longer

Finally, I painted the inside of a 12″ needle point hoop gold and glued it on the mirror to frame it, glued a hanging thingy on the back and… Voila!

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So two weeks ago, I shared with you my recipe plan for the week. I ended up not really following the schedule but did make everything! Honestly, none of them were a fail. None. They all come recommended which is sort of unusual!

Because Thanksgiving is only a few days away, I want to highlight the Thai-spiced Pumpkin soup recipe because holy.crap. it was good. And would make a great addition to any Thanksgiving meal. I promise, people will rave. (sorry about the gross green bowls – not the most appetizing color for a photo…)

 Thai-Spiced Acorn Squash Soup

First, I would like to point out that, while the recipe says you can use any squash, it recommends you use acorn squash – why it wasn’t just called “Thai-spiced Acorn Squash Soup” – maybe acorn squash is a kind of pumpkin. Beats me.

I followed the instructions basically to the ‘T’ (as I always aim to do – definitely not competent enough to “wing it”) but I have a few suggestions:

1) When the step comes to mix the ingredients with a hand mixer, just pour it in your blender instead – it should all fit. This will reduce the amount of mess you make (it splatters EVERYWHERE with a hand mixer) and the amount of chewing required when eating your soup (who wants a chunky/grainy soup? not me.)

2) The recipe suggests adding a little water or veggie stock to get it the thickness you want – I ended up using veggie broth instead and needed the whole can (regular size) to get it the thickness I wanted (again, not trying to chew my soup).

3) Instead of just one teaspoon of the Thai Curry paste, I ended up using 6. Yes, 6. So did the girl who wrote the recipe though so I guess it’s common and depends on your taste. BF and I also added a whole bunch of salt and pepper.

This soup was seriously so good. And surprisingly filling! Also, this soup would be equally good served cold – if that’s what you’re into.

Do you have a recipe you’re “famous” for making in your family? This may become mine. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Stripe Hype.

So the BF and I have lived in our apartment for just about 2 years now and we have had striped walls in our little nook between our bathroom and bedroom for probably about a year and a half of those 2 years. But I’ve been meaning to share it with you.

I ordered a roll of black vinyl that was about 6 or 7 inches tall, used an exacto knife to cut the stripes, and an old cd case to make sure it was adhered (high-tech, I know) –  and we went to town:

Of course the crappiest photo I have of the project is the final one – sorry about that.

These were surprisingly really a  challenge to put up – mostly because of them having to be perfectly straight – if one stripe is even a liiiiittle off, it could mess up the other ones farther up. It worked out and it was so worth it – the stripes are definitely my favorite part of our decor! My favorite view of them is from our bedroom (sorry about the shoes – typical.):

And that’s that!

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Punch A Fork In It.

While Pinterest seems to be my dreamland of recipes, after a total fail attempting one, I am a little weary about trying them out. All Recipes is usually my go-to with reviews, comments, etc. BUT – I just discovered what seems to be a good combo of the two – PunchFork.


Basically this is a “Pinterest” type website with only recipes. On this site, you can view recipes and all the ingredients, some ratings, and a link to the website so you can view the original instructions.

After I came across PunchFork, I decided to go ahead and plan our meals for the week. So without further ado… what BF and I will be eating this week (click photos for link):

Chicken Tortilla Soup:


Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps:


Broccoli Parmesan Fritters (obviously with chicken or something, too):


Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup (again, with something else):


Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw (minus the bun)


Chicken Pot Pie (on Saturday, our “Cheat Day”)


Best Steak Marinade


I’ll let you know how they go. Have a great week!

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Seedy Snack.

I just wanted to let you know that chia seeds – yeah, the same chi as the commercial “Chi-Chi-Chi-ChiiIIAA” work very nicely in sugar free Jell-O.

Chia seeds are supposed to be super healthy for you. According to the Washingtonian, “One serving size includes 18 percent of recommended daily calcium and four grams of protein, and they are a great source of fiber and potassium—plus they’re low in cholesterol and sodium.”

There are all these recipes out there – you can add them to smoothies, soups, pretty much anything. So, after discovering that sugar-free jello is allowed in our “4 Hour Body” slow-carb diet, the natural thing to do was to combine the two. BF, who previously LOATHED Jell-O, and I are on day 2 enjoying them and he keeps telling me that I just HAVE to share this tasty/healthy discovery:

So here’s what I did to make the chia Jell-O Jigglers… I basically followed the regular Jell-O Jiggler recipe.

Add 2 TBSP of seeds to 1 cup water – let sit for about 15-20 minutes or so (I let them sit
in my big measuring cup/pitcher thing) – go shower, throw in some laundry, whatever. The seeds will form this weird seedy gel-like concoction.

Add water to the seed gel stuff so that there is a total of about 2.5 or 2.75 cups – then
microwave until it boils-ish (I microwaved for 4-5 min)

Add 2 packs of Sugar Free Jell-O – the bigger box that has 8 servings (I used
Cherry). And STIR. Stir a lot. I found this crazy nasty gel clump at the bottom that I had
to stir the crap out of to get it to go away. A whisk is a good tool for this.

After that, pour your jello-seed mix into a greased pan and put in the fridge.

Once cold/hardened, the texture of the jello is slightly thicker than a regular jello jiggler. This whole concept – or may be just the idea of Jell-O – may sound gross… but they were actually really good! And good for you Warning:  While Jell-O jigglers are technically “finger food,” these guys made my finger bright red- like back in college after a night of Jell-O
shots! I supposed it’s the nature of the beast.

I may experiment with the water a little more – but in general, I feel like it was rather a success! (I’ve realized with this posting what should’ve been very obvious – Jell-O does not photograph well…)

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Ohemgee these were good.

So I want to share a great recipe I recently discovered from Picky Palete via Oh Joy!

Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls!

These obviously aren’t the ones I made… but they actually came out looking pretty much the same (surprisingly enough)!

Ohemgee these guys were good! I found this recipe a few weeks ago and obsessed over them every day for an entire week until I made them. They were totally worth obsessing over. The recipe makes 10 – but I dropped one on the floor so BF and I ate all 9 the day I made them. They were AWESOME and really easy– no weird ingredients or anything!

Need a recipe idea for an upcoming party? Try these.  Or other recipes by Picky Palate. You’ll be the most popular person there!

***click on the image above for the full recipe.***

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