Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Get Rid Of Your Cold

Welcome to cold season, my friends. While I wish I could say I have avoided getting sick, I have unfortunately caught a cold, not once, but twice. (Talk about bad timing.) Who even knew that was possible?! Regardless, I've had to take several actions in order to try to quicken my cold as much as I can and since so many people are dealing with colds right now, I thought I would share some of my tips for getting rid of those annoying symptoms!


Stock up on kleenex.
Buying quality tissues like the lotionized kind can really make a huge difference when you're blowing your nose every five seconds. Not to mention, if your school is notorious for running out of tissues like mine, having a travel pack with you at all times is a great idea. 

Get lots of sleep.
I cannot stress this one enough. Coming from someone who has always needed lots of sleep, getting in your rest really is the main thing that will get you feeling better the fastest. It is so crucial to get as much sleep as possible, even if that means sneaking in a 30 minute nap after school. 

Stay really hydrated. 
To ditch your cold as soon as possible, make sure to drink lots of fluids. Even though drinking water or juice may seem like the last thing you want to do when you're under the weather, it is super important to clear toxins in your body and clear out your system. 

Consume tons of Vitamin C. 
My love for citrusy things really comes in handy when I'm sick ;) Drinking as much orange juice as possible, as well as adding lots of oranges to your diet, can really help boost your immune system and get you back to feeling normal again.

Now I'm interested to hear: any tips you live by to get rid of the common cold?


Written by Caroline of Citrus & Style


Monday, October 27, 2014

Blogging Organization: How To Manage It All

I frequently get questions from my readers about how I manage blogging, school, and extracurriculars and thought sharing my blogging organization tips would be the perfect way to explain this! There have been plenty of nights where I stay up too late just so that I can have a blog post ready to roll in the morning. I do this because 1. I love blogging and 2. because I usually have so much content that I want to make to the blog and if I don't post something everything falls behind. Ideally, I have almost all of my posts for a week written out before the week even starts but we all know how life happens and things constantly get in the way.

As awesome as it would be to devote a vast majority of my time to blogging that will probably never be the case. I am a full time college student with two labs this semester, hours of field work to get done, applications to fill out, and meetings to attend and that doesn't even include the studying, class, social, food, and sleep aspects. For me to be an effective and efficient blogger I am forced to use my time wisely. I have summed up the steps I take when planning out posts and hope that they help you out! If you are new to the realm of blogging and want some tips and tricks for beginners check out this post with my best advice for getting started!


Create a system.
I've been blogging for nearly 3 years and have only recently "perfected" my system. I have come to understand what type of posts my readers want to see, what graphics y'all prefer, and I am getting a grasp on the mixture of my post topics for each week. I am most productive with my posts (if I follow the steps below) when I am working on them alone and have begun thinking through them prior to writing the post. If I could blog in the shower my content would be so much better since that is where some of my best ideas hit me! I have found that creating images and writing the text are awesome breaks for me when I am studying and that is when a lot of the content you see gets written. By knowing that I write an outline of the post first, create the graphic second, write the text third, and grab the links last I am able to break things up into smaller chunks.

Keep an idea list going at all times.
This is the best advice I can give! I always have my blogging notebook with me and am constantly adding post ideas to the list. Usually I write down whatever month it is so that I can have it for reference and write away. Whenever I have completed one of these post ideas I cross it off with a yellow highlighter. Ideally, I have more ideas than days for posts and some of the ones that didn't get used during the current month get to become options for the next month allowing you to always have some idea of what you can talk about next. I have found that by doing this I am never desperate for an idea and therefore not writing a sloppy post about something I don't really care about. 


Preschedule & plan ahead when you have time.
My blog is processed through blogger so I am not well versed in the world of wordpress however, I imagine that it has a preschedule option similar to that of blogger. Prescheduling is the only reason y'all see posts on particularly stressful school and event weeks and is the absolute only reason y'all saw anything this summer while I was at camp. By already having a long list of post ideas when you find yourself with extra time you can go ahead and write a few of these out and schedule them for future dates. These are the posts that usually save me and allow me to sleep during especially hectic weeks.


Have an editorial calendar and plan by week and month.
Probably the most important thing you can have as a blogger is an editorial calendar. In the past I have put what post is going up each day in the same planner that I use for school but this year I have found a new system that works even better for me. As more opportunities present themselves I've discovered that academics and blog related things just will not fit in a single calendar. I have a Kate Spade agenda solely for blogging and I really only use the monthly over view. This is where I write out what post is going up which day and I take time at the beginning of the month to map things out. This is especially important if you are planning a post with a company or have a giveaway coming up that way those get placed first and won't be forgotten. I just recently started using a weekly blog planner and am now seriously questioning how I ever lived without it. Mine is from Heart and Arrow Designs on Etsy and is catered perfectly to a bloggers need. With squares for me to put check marks for different aspects of the planning process and more squares for me to check off once I share my posts on social media it is any organization fanatics dream come true. By seeing exactly what content is going up this week as well as seeing the month at a glance I can productively manage my time to make sure everything is good to go by when it should be. 

This is a look at how my monthly overview looked in August. With so much extra time I wrote everything in all cute and colorful and while I would like to say they all look this way, current months are still colorful but are just written in my normal handwriting!

Keep your computer files and images organized.
Maybe this is just me but my desktop becomes blog central when working on a post. Everything I am doing is saved to my desktop until it gets put into a draft of a post. Once it is up and rolling then the images make their way to my blogging image file keeping my screen tidy and chaos free. I am not sure if anything is quite as annoying as losing a graphic that you have worked super hard on and by saving it to your desktop that no longer becomes an issue. This also encourages me to get started on those posts so the graphics don't linger and clutter my desktop screen space. If you have word documents specifically for posts, emails, or anything else blogging related be sure to consolidate it into one large blogging folder to save yourself some time later on down the road.

The only chunk of what I do that I haven't really covered is my email inbox because honestly, I am still trying to figure that one out. I am good about starring emails that I need to get back to but sometimes school and life gets in the way and those emails linger for more time (usually an embarrassing amount more) than they should. I am excellent at checking my emails but responding is a whole other story, I'll blame it on my phone's gmail app and my reluctance to reply to any mail messages on it!

Please feel free to share any (and ALL) of your wisdom with me seeing as I am still trying to find a balance with the whole process and especially email! 


Written By Dorothy of Prep In Your Step

Friday, October 24, 2014

FF: Danbury Of Ireland

Skirt: Dubarry of Ireland ℅, Boots: Dubarry of Ireland ℅, Necklace: J.Crew, Bag: Tory Burch (similar)

I am so excited to be sharing this post with Dubarry of Ireland today!  Say hello to the most amazing pair of boots and a fabulous tweed skirt that has leather trimming on the pockets.  These boots are durable while keeping a classy look that will be great with so many outfits.  I can not wait to wear them with boot socks once the weather finally decides it's fall here in Georgia.  Anyway, here's the most exciting part!  I am hosting a giveaway through my Instagram with Dubarry.  A photo from this post will be posted this afternoon which will allow you to enter to win a pair of Longford Leather Boots and a Tweed Clover Skirt, just like the ones I'm wearing above.  So exciting, right?  

Stay Tuned!


Written by Rachel of A Preppy State Of Mind

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chocolate Swirl Caramel Apples


One of the things I love about fall is all the scrumptious foods that accompany it. My favorite sweet treat, other than pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes of course, is delicious melt-in-your-mouth caramel apples. I'm not talking about that prepackaged nonsense you get at your local grocery store, NO! I'm talking about the freshly dipped (personally I like mine double dipped) honey crisp apple, where the caramel is still warm when you eat it. Growing up I would take trips to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Think "Disneyland - meets biker city, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains." I wouldn't leave that town without a fresh caramel apple from one of the bake shops. As a kid, it was the highlight of my trip. 

Since I currently live so far away from these sweet treats, I realized the only way I was going to get my caramel apple fix this fall was to make them myself. I decided to go the traditional route, but with a twist, adding some chocolate to the mix. I mean who doesn't love chocolate and caramel together?!

Chocolate Swirled Caramel Apples

What you'll need:
  • Honey crisp apples
  • 2 bags of Kraft Caramels pieces (2 packages = about six apples)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream 
  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Baking Chips
  • Sticks to hold the apples (store bought or free in your own backyard)
  • Non-stick aluminum foil 
Now Follow Me:

Wash all of your apples, dry them and then set aside. For the sticks, you can either purchase candy sticks online or at your local craft store, or for a free version you can use sticks from your own backyard. If you choose to go the free route, I HIGHLY recommend washing them with soap and water. I mean you're only going to be using the stick to hold the apple, but it's better to make sure they're clean. Real sticks also give your caramel apples an added touch!

Make sure you have everything cleaned, sticks placed in the core of the apples, and ready to go. *You may need to use a skewer to start digging the hole in the core of the apple. Sometimes a stick isn't strong enough to get deep into the core. The caramel does NOT stay melted long, so you have to act quickly. Unwrap one bag of your caramels in a microwave appropriate dish (I recommend this one) and add a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. The cream helps the caramel melt more evenly and stay thin, easy for dipping. Start melting in 30 second increments, stir and continue till mixture has a "soupy" texture. * It may look tempting to stick your finger in the delicious caramel and taste it, but DO NOT! I have warned you! If you want to burn your finger off, go ahead. Quickly dip your apples, coating as much of the pealing as possible and set down on non-stick aluminum foil to dry. Repeat the melting process with second bag, or until all apples are coated. Leftover melted caramel? Double dip them!! This is the one time double dipping is acceptable.


Once the caramel apples are dry, you can begin to melt your chocolate using the same dish you used for the caramel (clean of course). Melting chocolate is WAY harder than it should be. It burns easily and can turn into a chunky mess. So I highly recommend baking chips. They melt better than regular chocolate chips at your grocery store. Melt about a cup of chips, starting in 30 second increments and stirring. Once melted, take a spoon and drizzle the melted chocolate all over the caramel apples. Make sure to leave the apples on the foil till everything has dried. I'd say about an hour or more, to make sure the caramel has hardened. 

Plate your apples on a fun dish and serve. Happy Fall Y'all!


There are a million and one ways to make caramel apples. Personally, I like to stick to the original recipe but add a little twist of my own. These chocolate swirled caramel apples will make a great impression on all your party guests!


Written by Kristyn of First Impressions

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DIY: Rustic Drink Name Tags

Rustic Drink Name Tag DIY - DC Girl in Pearls
Are you ready?
But actually, are you ready? Do you have a coffee/PSL/chai tea in hand right now? Because this week is gonna be a par-tay on DC Girl! I played hostess last Sunday for a fall get-together and I’ll be sharing my decor DIYs, cocktails and recipes this week on the blog. As easy as it would be to pretend to be the perfect hostess from behind my computer screen, I’m going to be upfront with you. I was behind schedule and when my guests arrived, I was sans makeup and my hair was only halfway dry. Emily Post would have run screaming from my building. Super attractive. Totally together.
But I’ll get to that part soon enough.
I was digging around Target’s $1 bins on a Friday because you know, I live on the wild side and I can’t be tamed because I’m like Miley. I found these glass milk bottles (2 for $3) and immediately grabbed them because they 1.) were too perfect for a autumn shindig and 2.) scored a perfect 10 on the Pinterest scale. Winner winner chicken dinner. Add some twine and an old-timey tag and we’re in business for a rustic drink name tag DIY.
Rustic Drink Name Tag DIY - DC Girl in Pearls

Supplies

Twine
Milk Bottles
Scissors

Directions

Write your guests’ names on the hang tags, allow about 5 minutes to ensure thorough drying.
Cut the twine to about an arm’s length. For these hang tags, only one line of twine could fit but if the holes of the tags are bigger, you might want to double or triple up. Think of how impressive your bow will be!
String the hang tag through the twine.
Wrap the excess twine around the bottle and tie into a bow.

Rustic Drink Name Tag DIY - DC Girl in Pearls

Rustic Drink Name Tag DIY - DC Girl in Pearls

Rustic Drink Name Tag DIY - DC Girl in Pearls
Rustic Drink Name Tag DIY - DC Girl in Pearls

Written by Lauren Anne of DC Girl in Peals

Monday, October 13, 2014

How To Cure The Travel Bug Without A Trip

If you're like me, you always have the travel bug.
it doesn't come and go, it resides permanently inside 
you. but - due to jobs, finances, & responsibilities, etc - 
sometimes it's not possible or realistic to go on an 
exotic trip in the near future.. so, what do we do? 

here are some simple tips:

1. try a new restaurant: it's easy to get in routines and eat at the same place over and over -- we do it too! but picking a new restaurant to try can feel like a mini vacation and something different you haven't experienced before. if you're REALLY craving a trip, pick an exotic restaurant with a type of food you haven't tried before! {peruvian, anyone?}

2. walk/bike/drive down a new road: there are times in the city where i look around and think: "i have NEVER walked down these street before!" i love seeing new buildings, corner stores, and just a new road. every week when we walk to church i make us take a little different route so we can walk a new road we haven't been on...chase is nice to put up with this :)

3. watch the sunset somewhere new: sunsets always connect me with a place and make me appreciate this world and how it's linked together. find a good view and watch the sunset and realize how lucky we are to be on this earth!

4. go OUTSIDE: sometimes we have the travel bug because we're spending too much time inside -- at work, in the car, at the movies, at the store, at home...it can be draining and dull! make a point to go outside -- even if you work outside for an hour, read outside, or go exercise you'll feel a lot happier and more adventurous :)

5. go see something you haven't: i can PROMISE you there is something in your town/city that you haven't seen. even if it's small, or odd, go see something new. of course i feel like we've done all the major SF sites so many times, but there are millions of new things and places to see! look things up online and you're bound to find plenty of uncovered gems in your own city.

6. book a tour where you live: this is one of our favorite things to do. as fun as it is to tour and learn about new places, shouldn't we know just as much about the place we live? we love learning and knowing all about where we live and feeling more connected to it.

7. read a new book about somewhere far away: one of the reasons i always loved books growing up is that they took me to other worlds when i couldn't. look up books that are set in the next place you want to go, and let that book take you there in your mind! sometimes imagining it is even more fun :) this is a good one that took me all over, especially paris + the french riviera...i wrote about it a little bit here.

8. bring a destination to you: this one sounds cheesy, but it's the best. plan a little themed dinner party or date night around a destination! if we're craving hawaii, we go get plate lunch at L&L with our favorite hawaiian sun guava juice and some pineapple. if i'm missing paris, we have a crepe night with friends and listen to carla bruni. i love being taken somewhere new in my mind!

9. write / paint / create something new: one of the draws of travel is that it allows us to feel creative and refreshed. we crave the newness of it that lets our soul loose. bring this energy in a different way but creating something of your own! i am not too crafty and i definitely can't paint, but i love to write, make books of our travels, or work with chase to make something for our place. create a travel wall, paint a wall a new color, do something to feel that creative energy!

10. plan your dream trip: even if you can't book it right now, do some research and plan details of your dream trip -- so when you book it, you know all about it! this also gets the creative juices flowing and helps you explore a place even if it's just online :)

11. learn a new language: craving a new culture? learn something new! take language classes online, a pasta-making class, or something that will connect you with another place.

12. re-live past vacations: part of the reason i love documenting our adventures is that i get to re-live them later! i can't tell you how many times i have gone back and watched this video or gone through pictures from past trips and remembered experiences. travel stays with you and that's why we love it! don't let the memories fade!

14. scrapbook: when you want to focus on adventures and travel, create a book from one of your vacations. this always puts my mind in a vacation mode as i permanently document a trip in a photo book.

15. photograph your home/hometown/ simple things. there's beauty to be found everywhere, and especially in the familiar! i walk around SF with our big camera all the time because as much as i love documenting new places, i love documenting the simple things in our everyday life even more. that's what i have the most fun looking back on because it's our real life in between all the big trips and events. so document what you love where you live.


Those are a few of my tips for easing the travel bug
when it's not possible to take a trip soon.

What are your temporary cures?
(because there is no CURE, only temporary remedies :)


Written by Emi of The Well Traveled Wife


Sunday, October 12, 2014

DIY: Monogrammed Pumpkins


Love carving pumpkins? Hate the mess? 
This DIY is perfect for you! 
Skip the traditional carving route and opt for painting your very own monogrammed pumpkin!  

Step One - Gather Your Supplies!
First things first, you need a pumpkin! Head to your local grocery store or pumpkin patch (can you say photo op?) to pick out the perfect little pumpkin! You'll also need Acrylic Paint, Elmer's Glue, Glitter (optional), Paint Brushes, a photo of your monogram and your creative cap! 

Step Two - Pencil On Your Monogram
Using a photograph or an item with your favorite monogram, draw your monogram on your pumpkin using a pencil or pen! We used the Marley Lilly Monogram Wallpaper App for ours!

**Keep in mind this does NOT have to perfect! 
You can always cover up your mistakes in the next step!**


Step Three - Trace your Monogram with Glue
Carefully trace the outline of your monogram with Elmer's Glue! If you made a mistake with pen or pencil, you can cover it up here! We found using this type of glue was easier because it takes a little longer to dry! You will have plenty time to trace the whole monogram before applying the glitter!


Step Four - Glitter Party
Dump glitter all over your monogram! The more the merrier! I might suggest doing this outside because glitter gets everywhere. (EVERYWHERE!) Plus, it's pretty hard to clean up! If you do decide to this this inside, we would suggest using lots of newspaper to cover the area before you start dumping the glitter on!


Step Five - Clean It Up
There will be some places with extra glitter! You can clean these off using a clean, dry paint brush! Just brush them off or sweep them to the side into another part of the monogram!

Step Six - Go To Town Painting
Now it's time to get really creative, paint the rest of your pumpkin with stripes, polka dots - the possibilities are endless! 

Step Seven - Instagram It!
If you didn't post the finish product on Instgram, did it really even happen? We want to see YOUR pumpkins! 

Need some additional inspiration? 
Here are our pumpkins from last year!


While we still love carving pumpkins, we realized that painting was faster, cleaner, safer and more kid friendly (ie. there were no sharp objects involved and no sticky, pumpkin seed messes to clean up!) We did use trash bags to protect the table from paint, and even though we did all of our glittering outside, we are still finding glitter EVERYWHERE!  

After you're done searching the Internet for every possible DIY pumpkin inspiration (I dare you to type in the word "pumpkin" in your Pinterest search bar....mind boggling), head to your local Starbucks and reward yourself with a Pumpkin Spiced Latte!

How are you planning on using pumpkins this fall? 

Peace, Love & Monograms
ML Staff