Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Scrapbook on the Cheap!

I am one of those people. You know, the weird “grandma stuck in young body” women who like to clip coupons. One of my absolute favorite pastimes is to scrapbook. I have been scrapbooking for years and have mastered the skill of scrapbooking on the cheap pretty successfully.

The first scrapbook I made was in high school and not only did I spend too much money on it (over $100 I’m sure), I also didn’t really know what I was doing. I spent lots of money on individually themed papers, stickers, embellishments, tools and so forth. I had never scrapbooked before and really it was just a clusterfu-k. I learned a lot after doing it though‚Ķlike you need a plan, ideas, materials…and you need to do as much of it as possible without breaking the bank! Here are my tips:

1. Start stocking up on materials.
I always have an eye out for materials long before I need them. If a pair of craft scissors are on sale, I buy them. If paper packs are on clearance because they are out of season (Christmas paper, Valentine’s Day, etc.) I snatch them up. If I see Glitter pens at the dollar store, I grab them. It may seem annoying to keep this stuff around, but trust me it’s really nice to have them on hand when you need them. Just store it away in a shoe box in the closet like I do until you need it.

I got these packs of papers for a dollar each in the dollar section at Target along with the stickers. Total cost for 52 papers and stickers: $8. Normal cost of a pack of 36 papers alone: $7.99 in the scrapbooking aisle.

2. Use nonconventional materials and ideas.
I did a wedding scrapbook two years ago and a cheap and awesome idea I had was to use the cards from the guests. It was an awesome way to keep all the cards and well wishes from the guests and it also was an interesting twist to the scrapbook. It made it more personal and fun to look at later on. It was also cheap, since it was free. I used some of the fronts of the cards for wedding quotes and love quotes instead of spending money on the quote stickers at the craft store. It also was an easy way to theme my layout because I would use the colors on the card/font as my color scheme. More unconventional materials may be gift bags (baby shower bags are great for baby scrapbooks), wrapping paper (hella cheaper than scrapbook paper), buttons, etc.

This is actually my wedding scrapbook and here I used actual cards from guests.

3. Use craft scissors.
These are amazing. They seriously make any page look better. They are also expensive so buy them when they are on sale, when you have those beautiful 40% off coupons from Michaels and/or JoAnn Fabrics and at garage sales. And never let them go because you can use them for making cards too.

This is a page from my latest scrapbook for the baby I nanny (more pictures below) and you can see how I used craft scissors to make the pictures look more interesting. I love craft scissors!

4. Get ideas for layouts from the library or online-like here.
I go to the library almost weekly because I love all things free and I like to research. I absolutely love looking at scrapbooking magazines and books, which are plentiful. In these you get so many layout ideas that it really eases the brain fart you get when you sit down at your desk with a 12 x 12″ page and a million stickers and pictures to choose from.

5. Get prints on the cheap.
Get your pictures printed out when you have coupons, when stores have photo deals or print them out yourself from home (although, surprisingly I think this sometimes turns out to be more expensive).

6. Rough draft layouts.
It is really important for me to layout all my ideas first before I even purchase my glue stick. Once you start gluing and realize you f-ed up it’s going to be a pain the ass. I always lay out all my pages that I want to use, then place the pictures I want to use along with the embellishments for that page first. Then I usually go to bed because if I go any further something is going to end up messed up.

7. Editing the rough drafts.
Editing, editing, editing. Everything is edited. How many pictures can you fit on a page? (Sure you have 20 great pictures you can use for this page but how many are actually going to make the cut?) What is the color scheme? Which quotes fit the theme? Editing is so important when scrapbooking because once you glue something you can’t go back without having to get a new piece of paper, new embellishments, new pictures, etc. Very annoying. Ask my husband how many curse words I can rattle off when I f up a page.

8. Get the actual book (album) on the cheap.
Same as the papers and other materials, you can also find scrapbook albums cheap. They are usually quite spendy but if you are like me, you will use coupons, buy clearance albums or go to surprising places like Marshalls, Home Goods, and/or TJ Maxx and find them in the home decoration aisle on the severe cheap. I have been known quite often to find albums that are normally $30 for as cheap as $7. Holla! I just keep these like all other materials around until I need them.

It’s not a pretty process!

Scrapbooks are hard work man and usually take weeks to complete. In the end it’s usually always worth it. There’s nothing more thoughtful than something you made yourself to give to someone. I’ve made scrapbooks for boyfriends, girlfriends, babies, weddings, etc. and it’s always a winner. My latest project was a scrapbook I made for the parents that I nanny. I nanny their little baby girl and throughout the last 7 months I took pictures in secret and made them this scrapbook for Christmas. Get inspired and steal some of my layout ideas! Happy crafting!

Last name blurred out for privacy reasons ūüôā

More pictures and CLOSE UPS! Click to enlarge pictures:


Are you on my level?

Here we go all. Day 1 of my lifestyle change. So as if it’s not already bad enough that it’s Monday and I have a night class tonight, I also am embarking on healthy eating. So far? Blah! Breakfast consisted of bran cereal that tasted like literally nothing with almond milk. (I used to be a HUGE avocet of rice milk‚Ķbut more about that later.) So far, so bland. But that’s alright. It’s a step in the right direction. I may even eat a fruit for my morning snack today. Yes sir, you read it here first, I am going to eat a piece of fruit. (For any of you who don’t really know me, I am a vegetarian that eats very little vegetables. And almost no fruit. The fruitiest thing in my diet is wine.)

So as I jump forth into this new territory of conscious eating I had to have some sort of backbone and goal to motivate me through this. I found a pretty cool book called “Eating for Health” which is part of the Teach Yourself series and is written by Sara Kirkham. In it I found a little quiz that tells you which level you are at on the “health scale.” At one end of the spectrum, 1 is Junk and 10 is Optimum Nutrition. Ideally you want to be at a 10. I am between a 4 and 5. That’s freaking’ terrible.

Anyways, the chapter goes on to describe how to achieve a 10, or at least how to try to achieve a 10. Our bodies, as well as any other changes we want to achieve, can only adjust in stages. So I need to make realistic goals. I can only aim to make a few changes to move to the next level. Bottom line‚ĶI’m not going to be at 10 by the end of the week. So what realistic goals do I have for this week?
1. No alcohol.
2. Consume at least one serving of fruit and at least two servings of veggies a day. (We’re suppose to eat like 5+ servings of this stuff a day, but hey, I said realistic goals.)
3. No white icky carbs like donuts, cakes, etc.
4. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
5. No use of the salt shaker.

Let’s see how today goes. I already am bored, but I need to redirect my thinking. I eat to live, not live to eat! Here’s the quiz from the book‚Ķsee what level you’re at!

How many servings of fruit and vegetables do you eat a day?
a. One or less, and unlikely to be fresh
b. 2-3
c. 4-5
d. 5+

How much water do you drink each day?
a. none
b. only if I am thirsty, or in coffee and tea
c. A couple glasses a day
d. 8+ glasses

What sort of carbs do you eat?
a. Croissants, doughnuts, cakes
b. French bread, white bread, white rice
c. Grain breads
d. Whole wheat/whole grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta

What type of proteins do you eat regularly?
a. Ground beef, processed deli meats, hot dogs
b. Yogurts, milk, cheese, meat products such as bacon and sausage
c. Mainly red meats including pork, lamb
d. Mainly fresh fish, soy, nuts, and/or some organic meat

What types of fat do you consume?
a. Lard, salad dressings, sauces, margarine, a lot of refined fats (biscuits, pastries, etc.)
b. Butter, vegetable oils, limited amount of refined fats
c. Vegetable oils for cooking, low fat spreads
d. Olive oil for cooking, vegetable oils for salads, no refined fats

Which of the following fibers do you eat regularly?
a. White bread, breakfast cereals (think typical kid’s cereals)
b. Bran
c. Whole wheat cereals, oatmeal
d. Fruit, veggies, brown rice, oats

How much alcohol do you drink?
a. Above 8 (10 for men) drinks weekly, drinking either every day or binge drinking on weekends
b. Between 6 to 8 (8 to 10 for men) a week
c. Between 3 to 6 for either sex
d. Under 3 a week

How many drinks of coffee, tea, or pop do you drink each day?
a. Over 6 cups (are you crazy?)
b. 3-5 cups
c. 1-2 cups
d. None

How often do you eat sweets, refined convenience/ready-made foods?
a. In every meal or several times a day
b. At least once a day
c. Few times a week
d. Rarely

How many meals do you eat each day?
a. I often miss meals and have coffee and/or snacks instead
b. One of two meals, I usually miss breakfast and eat more later in the day
c. Usually 3 meals a day, including breakfast
d. I eat throughout the day including breakfast and healthy snacks


How’d ya score?

Mostly a’s: Place on the optimum nutrition scale: 2-3. You do need to change your diet. You need to limit the use of convenience foods, reducing salt and sugar intake, and drinking less coffee, tea and/or alcohol. Increase your servings of fruit and vegetables and eat regularly through out the day.

Mostly b’s: 4-5. Some changes need to be made. Look at the questions which you answered b or a and try to improve specifically on those areas. Altering different areas of your diet slowly without too many drastic changes is the best way to adopt a healthy diet and improve your health.

Mostly c’s: 6-7. You eat better than most people but would still benefit from a few more changes. Most of your diet is fairly healthy but you may want to cut back on coffee, tea, alcohol or sugar. Address specific questions that you answered a, b, or c to.

Mostly d’s: 7+ Well done. You are already close to eating an optimum nutrient diet. Look back at the questions you answered a, b, or c to and improve on those particular aspects of your diet.

See you tomorrow-Happy Monday!


Turning over a new leaf…on Monday.

As my archives will reveal, I have been on hiatus. With my first semester at graduate school coming to an end, it’s definitely time to return to my beloved blog. I miss writing for enjoyment, as well as writing to vent. My current issue? My expanding waistband and deteriorating body. What have I done while on hiatus? Three words: Too much eating. Overeating. Emotional eating. You name it. Not to mention a whole lot of drinking. Too much drinking. Over drinking. Emotional drinking. So where does that bring me now? Brings me to a need for a lifestyle change!

As I’ve been consuming all things I know to be terrible on my body, like massive amounts of carbs, cheese, treats and alcohol I feel like poo. Vegetarian or not, my body doesn’t like me too much right now. Every year it seems like I have the same New Years Resolution: become healthy. And each year I do pretty damn well‚Ķbut it has never lasted a full year. It’s never even lasted 6 months. It’s time for a change. Life change. And it begins on Monday. Yes folks, I am one of those people. I need two days to actually prepare for this change. I also need two days to still consume left over cake and beer.

See you on Monday, where I will be documenting my journey to become a “healthy” person. Writing about it will actually make me accountable-this is going to suck be awesome!

Have a good weekend!


PSMF; Day 10

Alas! Finally there is some improvement. My giants have deflated, my scars are starting to fade, and new breakouts are far, far less frequent! Hallelujah! What can I really contribute to this success? Well, I tried to eat more leafy vegetables and salads, I washed my face 2x a day (morning with Clearisal face wash, nighttime with Clearasil Nighttime Wash) and applied benzoyl peroxide nightly (Clean & Clear 10%). I totally ditched the Tea Tree Oil. Too stinky and ineffective. I still have a long ways to go though…need to up those veggies, down the water and cross my fingers that working from the inside out will help improve my skin even further! (I still look like crap, but hey, not breaking out is a good start!)

Glycemic Index Knowledge

While I am trying to cut high glycemic index foods out of my diet for the sake of my face, I realize that cutting out the high glycemic index foods could also help out other factors in my health, such as my weight. I am not an overweight person by any means, but the weight that I do have I know is not proportionate in muscle and fat. I am carrying lots of extra fat, which shows in my thighs and gut.

Basically in a nut shell high glycemic index foods are “bad” carbs. They are usually high in sugar so when you consume them in excess they raise your blood sugar, causing your body to store more fat. So I am more convinced than ever to cut these out of my diet. Here I have a list of the highest gylcemic index foods, and the lowest so that we can all shed some pounds and also clear up our acne! (Anything not listed here falls in the “medium” section of glycemic foods and can be consumed in moderation.)

Waffles, doughnuts.
Rice cakes, white bread, white rolls, baguettes.
Golden grahams, puffed wheat cereals, Rice krispies, Cornflakes.
Ice cream.
Watermelon (of course, my fave fruit). Bananas.
Rice pasta, brown pasta! (Shocking! Something I thought was good for me, is actually harming me?! Oh why!? Cruel world.)
Macaroni and cheese.
Chips, potatoes, mashed potatoes-basically any potatoes but sweet potatoes.
Corn chips, jelly beans, pretzels.
Broad beans.

Multi grain bread, whole grain.
All bran cereals.
Almost all fruits.
Protein enriched spagetti, fettucine, vermicelli, whole wheat spagetti.
Sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, yam. (In my opinion, gross, gross and gross. Oh well, time to broaden my horizons.)
Peanuts, jams. (Yay peanut butter and jelly!)
Tomato soup.
Basically all veggies.


PSMF; Day 3

So far PSMF has been going rather fair. Fair defined as that I’m on the way there, but getting there very slowly. Given that it’s day 3, I know that I shouldn’t have expected miracles yet but I do wish I was seeing some sort of difference. The only large changes I’ve accomplished so far is washing my face twice a day, applying the Tea Tree Oil, and not wearing makeup. Of course these are just the changes I’ve been making from the outside. Inside, I haven’t incorporated too many vegetables or fruits yet. For a vegetarian, I am a very poor veggie/fruit eater. On the other hand, I never miss a chance of consuming a carb; Which is probably my biggest problem thus far. According to information I had already found out weeks before, dairy and carbs (high glycemic index foods) are very bad for your skin and cause acne. I know this, and yet I still cannot put that piece of bread down! I need help people.

Many sources, including researchers in Australia have shown that there are “tremendous results in reducing moderate to severe acne by administrating a low carb, low glycemic index diet to patients” so I need to cut the crap, I mean carbs. Damn. I made it sound so easy to quit caffeine and pop, yet I don’t even know where to begin with carbs. I think my biggest challenge in decreasing carbs is that I need to increase fruits and veggies. Pooey. So that’s my next challenge; Finding fruits and veggies I like in order to stop eating all these carbs! (Hopefully I’ll lose some weight in the process too, no?)

So far my opinion on the Tea Tree Oil is that (1) it just smells and (2) it’s too soon to know.¬† I have a fear that the Tea Tree Oil has done nothing for me but make me sick from the odor. Given that it’s only day 3, I don’t truly feel that I should give up on the Tree Tea Oil just yet…but I am going to incorporate the aide of benzoyl peroxide. I understand that my face may peel a bit but you now what? Peel away! Peel away the top layer too while you’re at it! More later! Here are pictures of my “progress” (or lack there of).

PSMF; Day 1

I enjoyed a stroll through Target’s beauty section today, looking for the topical and face wash of my dreams. I’m starting to think I should have gone to Ulta. Anyways, I settled on Clearasil’s new Overnight Face Wash. I have no idea why it’s different than any other face wash since it’s active ingredient (like everything else) is salicylic acid-10%. But after looking over the label it does look like it carries other ingredients, and it also promises to reduce redness and size overnight. Hmm. Sounds good, if it works that is. So I put it in my basket. Next on the list, a daytime face wash. Well since I’m not really into mix and matching products I stuck with Clearasil’s acne face wash. Nothing exciting for this boring lassie. Alright, so far so good. I’ll give these things a try and if it doesn’t do anything, or worse, makes things more unbearable I will stop being so cheap and go to the freaking makeup counter at Macy’s.

Next, a topical. I didn’t like Target’s selection, since nothing really seemed natural enough to put on my face so I headed over to my fave place, Trader Joe’s. Here I found all natural tea tree oil. I had read online that this essential oil can kill propionibacterium acnes (big words for skin dwelling bacteria that causes zits). Compared to benzoyl peroxide (which is in dermatologist’s fave-Differin), tea tree oil has fewer side effects since it’s all natural. I shouldn’t experience itching, burning, stinging or dryness. Nice. I was even more sure of my decision when my teenage cashier said “Oh! This stuff is sweeeeeeeet!” Score! A puberty stricken teenager applauding tea tree oil!? This stuff has to work.

So tonight after washing my face I opened up the bottle of (expensive) tea tree oil. Holy crap. It smells. And not like flowers. It’s like opening up a cheap bottle of vodka¬† and inhaling it deep into your nostrils. Gagging will ensure. I dabbed the stuff on my face while complaining to my husband that I was going to vomit, and exited the bathroom, which now reeked of the stuff, as fast as possible. I didn’t know how I was going to go to bed tonight folks. No joke. My face smells. WIth every turn, every whiff, I smell a strange, strong, potent, mixture of cheap vodka and strong tequila. This stinks. Literally. But now that I have sat here and blogged for a while, the smell is (A) either gone or (B) I can no longer smell it.

So sweet dreams ladies and gents, lets see if there’s improvement in the morning! This smell better be worth it! Good night!

Day 1 of PSMF