February 28, 2014

I would rather...

I have been busy studying my ass off and I will be studying all weekend. 
Booo. It seems like that's all I do. My place is a disaster.  I am open to having someone come clean it.  Oh, but for free.  Because grad students don't have any money.  So here are a few things I would rather be doing than studying...

It's pretty obvious if you visit this place on the reg that I haven't been blogging much.  I mean, my Circle of Lights Christmas post stayed up for a week.  #sorrynotsorry.  But I have a bazillion things I want to blog about and all these blog posts I wanna read, but I never find the time to do it.  Alas, school comes before blogging.  

Don't act like you don't eat out of the carton too.  No judgsies. This ALDI cookies & cream ice cream and was actually able to get 5 "servings" out of it before I emptied it.  Most cartons last me like 3.  And don't act like you use the "servings" guideline on the side of the container.  If it can get in my bowl, it counts as a serving.  No matter how hard I pack it down.

I am a self-proclaimed TV whore and my DVR is one of my best friends.  I record so many shows I have to spend almost all weekend catching up on them (when
I should be studying... oops).  And 2 new shows that I am loving right now are Richkids of Beverly Hills and Are You The One?  Again, no judgement.  RKBH comes on E! and it is just amazing to see how much money these girls spend.  And Are You the One? is MTV's new matchmaking gameshow and it is pure entertainment!  10 guys & 10 girls are all in a single house trying to figure out which of the other sex is their "perfect match" (based on surveys and matchmakers that selected these 20 people).  So of course there is all kinds of drama when Susie likes Mike and Mike likes Becca and Becca likes Mike and Joey.  *names were totally made up

I get new songs stuck in my head and want to listen to them 24/7 until I am sick of then.  My iPod is schizo and my new downloads consist of Miley, Lady Gaga, 2 Chainz, 10 Years, OneRepublic, Chris Young, and the entire album from The Neighbourhood... just to name a few.

On a side note, how awesome is that mint nail polish?!  And it matches my earbuds too!

Omg, this is the greatest thing ever and I want to eat it everyday.  And Teddy Grahams come in like 5 flavors now!  
Who knew?! I get the apple flavored ones (with real fruit!) or cinnamon and eat away.  Definitely not high on the healthy chart, but I definitely never admitted I was health conscious.

Is it sad that 2 out of 5 of these things involved eating? And on that note, I guess I should be studying.

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February 27, 2014

What's in my shopping cart? 3

Well I don't think it's any secret that I LOVE FOOD.  Typical fat girl problem.  And since I am in class or studying almost every ounce of my free time, I look for fun, easy things to eat and cook.  I always try to find the newest things to test out (damn you elusive cookie dough Oreos!) So I love sharing my finds on this "series" of What's In My Shopping Cart?  If you haven't checked out 1 and 2 make sure you do!  And of course, if you have anything you think I should pick up next time I am at the store... please share!

Go Picnic Ready-to-Eat-Meal - I get these little guys from Target for 3/$8.  If you have seen these anywhere else, please let me know because I am obsessed. I love them because they are a full meal that don't require heating or anything.  They are easy to pop in my backpack or lunchbox and they are pretty healthy too!  Most are gluten free! 

Sweet Potato chips from ALDI - my new found love is ALDI.  I try to get everything I can from that place! And this bag of potato chips is yummy and cheap!  I will all of a sudden look down and I have eaten half the bag.  I guess that's why you shouldn't eat chips straight from the bag.... oops.

Cafe Escapes K-cups - Since I got a keurig for Christmas from Bobby, I am addicted to K-cups.  But I don't like coffee that much.  I am sure you have a big question mark over your head wondering why the hell did I want a keurig for then. But you can brew so much more than just coffee!  Like these Cafe Escapes guys.  They have coffee in them but are like a cappuchino or something because they are super sweet and you can't taste the coffee (and don't even have to add a ton of sugar & creamer!)  Yum!!

Dark Chocolate Cheerios - This box is already gone.  I love cereal anyway and when you can eat chocolate for breakfast it is always a win!

Nutella - I jumped on this train and bought my first jar of Nutella.  I don't really know what to do with it yet, but so far I have loved eating it with Teddy Grahams or on a multi-grain waffle.  If it's a healthy-ish waffle and you add Nutella, it's still healthy, right?

Have you tried any of these things?  Do you have an awesome recipe for Nutella?  If so, I wanna have it!!

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February 15, 2014

Circle of Lights

Is it really February?  I'm not sure because I totally still have my Christmas tree up.  Don't judge me. And since I never told you about our trip to the Circle of Lights trip in December, I might as well share them with you now!

The Circle of Lights is a tree of Christmas lights around the Indiana Soliders and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis at Monument Circle. Travelocity stated it was one of the top 5 Christmas trees to see during the holiday season.  The IBEW sets up the lights and they are turned on during a televised event the night after Thanksgiving.  The event includes musical acts, Santa, snow, and brings a crowd of 100,000.  The city offers a coloring contest to select the child that will flip the switch to the tree. The event is totally free and has been taking place for 52 years. 

The lights are also surrounded by toy soldiers and candy canes at the base of the monument.  This year Indiana Power & Light lit their building with a Christmas tree that was visible from the circle.

The monument is a memorial for Hoosiers that served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars and the Spanish-American War. It offers an observation deck at the top of the monument to view the city.  You can take a virtual tour of the monument here.

It was stupid cold the night we went to view the lights.  Like single digits cold with negative windchills.  But it was Christmas Eve and it was perfect.  The monument is breathtaking with the limestone structures very detailed and HUGE.  Visiting at night gave a great view of the city lights. 

The tree stays lit until mid-January.  I was able to enjoy it every morning on my way to work at 6am as I drove down Meridian Street.  Now you can enjoy a few artisitic pictures that I took. 

If you ever come to Indy to view the Circle of Lights, make sure to let me know you're visiting!

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February 14, 2014

Things I am Loving Right Now

Happy Valentine's Day! Or Happy Single's Awareness Day.  Whatever you choose to celebrate.

I will be spending my day at work and school with my boyfriend in Alabama.  Yay me.  But instead of boo-hoo'ing about my aloneness, I wanted to share with you a few things I am totally loving right now.

This rapid ramen cooker.  I am sure most of my readers are fully aware that I eat ramen.  Like a lot.  And this little guy that I picked up from CVS cooks it in 4 minutes without having to even boil a pot of water.  Any way I can encourage my impatience is a win for me. It also works as a bowl which helps me with my aversion to washing dishes.

This meme.  Why people run to the grocery store to stock up on milk and bread during winter storms I will never figure out. Alabama has literally shut down for THREE DAYS over a few inches of snow.  I get it... they don't have the proper equipment or manpower to deal with slick streets.  But it has been over 32 degrees everyday so it just melts by noon.  I haven't seen above freezing temps in Indy this entire month! 

This sexy lamp.  If lamps could be sexy, this one would be on the cover of Playboy.  I found this little guy on clearance at Target (damn you Target) and is now chillin' on my bedroom nightstand. It helps encourage my laziness because now I don't have to get up to turn off the lights.

This Candy Cane Chapstick.  Another Target clearance find and thank goodness I found some this year.  I try to stock up on these every holiday season because I love them that much.  So now I have a stick by my bed (next to my sexy lamp), my couch, and in my backpack.  Winter is drying my kissers out like crazy.

This outfit.  So I'm not a fashion blogger.  Like at all.  So when I actually figure put how to put a cute outfit together, I love it.  I got this summer dress on clearance at Kohl's.  But it's winter.  So I had to get a scarf (and leggings, le duh) to go with it. Now I am also in love with this scarf because it is stupid long. Perfect date night outfit when I finally see my date again.

I swear I do more things that just shop at Target and spend money. What are some things you are loving right now?  How are you spending your Valentine's Day?

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February 12, 2014

Pinteresting: DIY Coasters

This Christmas I was definitely strapped for cash.  I love giving Christmas gifts, so I had to get creative and make some DIY gifts.  And like all of my Pinteresting projects, it had to be easy.  I found these DIY coasters and I loved the idea and the different directions I could go with it.

I made multiple sets and different types of these coasters and got rave reviews from everyone that received them!  Here is how to make your own!

Items Needed:
4x4 ceramic tiles
Foam brush
Clear glaze
Black felt
Hot glue gun
Choice of decoration (see options below) 

Paper Coasters
There are so many directions you can go with these!  I chose different types of scrapbook paper based on a common color theme.  You can also use magazine clippings.  You will need to cut out squares of the paper a little smaller than the ceramic tile.  I cut a piece of cardboard the size I wanted and used it as a template to cut each square.

Photo Coasters 
 For more of a personal touch, you can use photos to decorate the coasters.  I printed 5x7 sized black & white photos on regular copy paper.  I allowed each piece of paper to dry overnight so the ink would not smear.  I used my cardboard template to cut each picture like I wanted.

Spray Paint Coasters
These coasters are simpler and do not take as long to make, but I had  a few problems with these.  You can choose to paint the coaster solid or wrap some lace around the coaster to give it design.  I used spray glue on some to hold the lace down and found it just to be messy. The issue is removing the wet lace and making sure to spray the perfect distance away so you don't saturate the design but don't miss spots either.

I wrapped the lace around and under the tile and got better results.  Once your lace is in place, you can spray paint any color you want.  You have to pay particular attention to the distance from the tile because if you are too close, it will saturate the lace and become a big pile of paint, but if you're too far away you will not paint it thoroughly.  You have to carefully remove the lace when you are done painting (otherwise it will dry in the paint and stick).  If you want to make spray painted coasters, skip to step 6.

1.  Collect your 4x4 ceramic tiles.  You can purchase them at Lowe's for $0.16 each.  Make sure each one is clean and without dust.

2.  For paper & photo coasters, place a thin layer of mod podge with a foam brush onto the back of your paper and place onto the tile.  Ensure the paper is straight and press out any bubbles.

3. Apply a thin layer of mod podge to the surface of the paper. Ensure the layer of mod podge is thin or you will cause the paper to get too wet and it will cause holes.

4.  Allow any mod podge coasters to dry overnight.

5.  Next add another thin layer of mod podge across the paper tiles.  Use this step to ensure that your paper is not loose on any edges.  If an edge is not fully podged (is that a word?), apply a small amount of mod podge under any loose corners.  Allow to dry overnight.

6.  After all coasters are completely dry and paper is fully adhered to the tiles, apply a layer of clear glaze to all coasters (paper, photo, or spray paint).  Allow to dry overnight.

7. Cut out 4x4 sections of black felt (use your cardboard template). 8x10 pieces of felt are available at Wal-mart for $0.10 or less.

8.  Use a hot glue gun to apply the felt to the back of all your decorated coasters.  Allow to fully cool.

Now you have a set of personalized and beautiful coasters!  But if you're like me, something has to go terrible wrong when you attempt a Pinterest project.  I knew I wanted to use spray paint and also needed to apply the clear glaze and I was on a time crunch to complete them before Christmas.  The problem?  It was below freezing outside and snow covered the ground.

After ensuring it was safe to spray paint inside (I checked the safety on Krylon's website), I set out to make a "well-ventilated" area.  I taped clear plastic on the floor, opened the windows, and set up my box fan to draw out any fumes.

 Let's just say I felt sorry for my neighbors (I live in a townhome), because even though I thought the area was "well-ventilated", spray paint fumes are crazy stout and I smelled them all night!  Not to mention that is was stupid cold in there!

I hope you find this DIY project simple and fun!  Let me know if you make them!!  Oh, and make sure to follow me on Pinterest!

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February 10, 2014

What do you do with your old textbooks?

So one semester of grad school is done and another one is in full swing. Only 4 more semesters to go. I'm back on my strict student budget and eating ramen every week.  Joy.

When I was getting prepared for the new semester, I had to find a place for all my old textbooks. Now how awesome would it be if you could find something to do with those old textbooks as well as make money? With you can.

With Rent Back, you can rent out your old textbooks instead of simply selling them.  This allows you to get rid of the book and make money on it each time it gets rented. You can actually make money on the same book for multiple semesters! You have the potential to make 2-4x more money than simply selling your textbook.

The best part?  You don't have to do any dirty work! You print a free shipping label and ship the book to Rent Back and they will handle all the deets.  Check out how it works!

And when you're on their website getting ready to print your free shipping label, make sure you rent your books for your new semester.  You can save up to 80% by renting your books instead of buying.  You can still highlight in the textbook and they offer free shipping when its time to return it! 

Make money on your old books. Save money on your new books. Sounds like a good deal to me! Make sure to check out and their awesome Rent Back program!

I received compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own.

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