Making The Most Out of Late Gift-Giving

With Christmas just around the corner, this post might be very timely for you, so pay attention!

As I imagine it happens to many of us, the gift I ordered for my friend didn’t arrive in time for her birthday. We’ve all been there at one point or another – whether our fault or not – and it sucks. It happens to me a lot more frequently than I care to admit, and I’m working on it. Amazon Prime has made me overconfident to the point I think if I order a gift five minutes before I leave to the party I’m attending it’s going to arrive on time (and I’m not talking about Prime Now. #JustCrazy).

My friend’s birthday was December 2nd, but the gift didn’t arrive until today, December 5th. I didn’t notice the delivery estimate until after I’d placed the order, and I’m assuming Black Friday/Cyber Week orders trampled all deliveries. I didn’t want to be empty-handed since I’d actually see her ON her birthday, and I know I could’ve just told her what I got her or gotten her a card, but I wanted to make it a little extra special. So…

I got my friend a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, that comes in a very unique and pretty color I thought she’d love. I looked up the packaging, and I decided that it would be cute to make a little imitation box. Do you remember in elementary school when they taught us how to make 3D cubes and other figures with construction paper? That training came in handy for this! I went over to my trusty PowerPoint, pulled some images from the interwebz and used shapes to create some tabs where I thought I’d be making the folds, and printed it out – #FixItMoment: I forgot to print on thick card stock, and printed on regular paper. Since I didn’t want to re-print, I just glued the paper to the card stock with a glue stick and called it a day. #ItsHandled. Also, since you can’t really gift a Polaroid camera without film, I got her a pack of black and white film to play with! Which also came in today… so that got a little cute box too.

So that’s it! If your gift is late, your friends and family will understand regardless, but going the extra mile so that you don’t show up empty-handed and getting them excited about what you got them in a cute way can always give you extra brownie points 😉

 

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Carlos’ 60th Birthday Cuban Musical Props

My best friend’s father-in-law to be just turned 60 years old this past weekend! What a milestone, and such a beautiful number. I am very fond of the 60th birthday because while doing some research when I was planning my mom’s 60th turn around the sun (shh, please don’t tell her I mentioned that number, anyone who puts her over 35 goes on a kill list! haha!) I found out that in Chinese culture, the 60th birthday is sort of a re-birth. 12 x 5 = 60, and that means that by the time you turn 60, you’ve done a full life cycle around all the signs (and sub-types) in the Chinese Zodiac, so it’s a new beginning. Anyway, I digress…

For Carlos, one of the things he has most fun doing is dancing, and since he’s Cuban, salsa is probably at the top of his favorite genres. His birthday was a perfect moment to go all out, celebrate his Cuban heritage and the music he enjoys so much. Check out the props & banner I was asked to make for the occasion!

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Some bongos, maracas and musical notes represented the hobby and genre he loves so much! The fedoras & cigar were a nod to his Cuban heritage and style!

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Rhymes and banners, nothing is… smarter? 😉

The birthday boy danced the night away and all the guests took turns posing with the props. Cheers to Carlos’ 60 Years!

Liana’s Fabulous #BubblyForBubsie NYC Bachelorette Props

What do you do when you’re going on a bachelorette with your group of closest friends? Lots of things, but if you’re me… You. Make. Props!

One of my really close friends, Liana, is tying the knot at the end of the month and so we’re going all out with the “last fling before the ring,” all the way to one of her favorite places: New York City. Her sister and Maid of Honor, Katrina, very kindly requested I made some props for the big weekend, and of course I was very excited to make this set, being for such an amazing friend and what was promising to be a super fun weekend. The color scheme of some of the bach items was pink and gold, so I knew I’d stick to that for the props. Without further ado, some pics of the set (I forgot to do my semi professional set-up before leaving, so the pictures aren’t that great. Also, we barely got to use the props because of the back-to-back schedule we committed to haha! #BachLife

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The props were a surprise for Liana, and when she saw them she said she may be biased, but this was her favorite set I’ve ever made! I’ll take that type of bias any day 😉 Happy wedding my dear friend!

A Small Personalized Gift for the Best Dad Ever!

My dad is the best dad ever. Don’t @ me.

He got my brother and me tickets to go to El Clasico friendly game between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in Miami. We were beyond ecstatic to go to the game and experience the energy of that match that NEVER gets old between two of the biggest franchises in the world, not to mention the opportunity to see players like Messi, Bale, Neymar, etc. live. It’s something not everyone gets to do, and we were so grateful to him for that awesome gift. The only problem? Our dad is a Real Madrid fan.

Just kidding. You’re free to love any team here on this blog, it’s a safe space for all ❤ Anywho, our dad was originally supposed to go to the game with us, but due to some unfortunate AF circumstances, he could no longer make it. We were heartbroken because of course, he got us this amazing gift and we wanted to enjoy it with him, and also, we got him a sick team jersey which I customized for him, and it would’ve been awesome for him to wear it at the match.

Some logistics info: all the teams change their clothing up every year. We were able to find a 2017-2018 season Real Madrid jersey for him, but we got it blank because he doesn’t really have a favorite player on the team, and he actually dislikes Cristiano Ronaldo (biggest fan contradiction ever, I know, but I LOVE it!). So, I decided that it would be cool to put our last name in the back of the jersey, that way he could sport it forever without worrying about players being traded or leaving (forever traumatized by LeBron James and Wade, what am I supposed to do with my Heat jerseys now?!)… Back to the team logistics – I couldn’t for the life of me find the 2017 font, so I had to settle for the 16-17 season one, but it still looked pretty good.

Once my dad was finally able to come see us, we gave him the jersey and he LOVED it!

Love you pa! Thanks again for the tickets to the game, and glad you loved your shirt ❤

My Adventures in Orlando – Making Over My Brother’s Room!

Due to the flexibility of my schedule, I spent the past few weeks in Orlando with my little brother, which was much needed together time as I miss him terribly and he is starting new responsibilities at his job. I was glad to be there and help out with his apartment/chores so that he had one less thing to worry about.

He’s been living in that apartment for about a year now, with one of his high school friends as his roommate. For the most part, guys have a reputation for not being great decorators or paying much attention to beautifying their surroundings. My brother’s roommate has lots of flags and posters in his room and around the apartment, so in that sense there’s definitely a good amount of visual stimuli in the common areas, but my brother is another story. He’s never been one for posters or any type of decor – and to be quite honest, he’s like 0.5% handy. I’m the one that puts the furniture together, and he’s a great cook. Role reversal to the face, so take that, stereotypes!

At the beginning of my stay, I realized his room was all white walls and grey/black furniture. That was it! For my colorful self, I really couldn’t fathom waking up in that color scheme for days without going a little crazy. I needed to add something to the space, keeping in mind 100% my brother’s taste because of course I’d only be there temporarily and he would be the one that had to stare at it extensively. Aside from the lack of art, the room also needed a little love in general. The toilet seat was broken/unhinged, the shoes took up all the space in the closet floor so it was not really a walk-in, the curtain didn’t reach all the way down the window so light would get through (and my brother decided to stack some boxes in that space to block the light haha!), etc. So, I’m going to stop talking (writing) and show you how over the course of a few weeks, I transformed my brother’s room!

Room Improvement 

 

The next part was a bit tough. It’s always a challenge to decorate for a guy, because adding art while keeping the guyish vibe is a very fine line to toe around. I think I managed pretty well, see for yourselves!

Artsy Remodel 

 

Other details

 

These changes were done slowly (even though it really could’ve been done in a day) but they really completely made a difference and my brother liked and appreciated them all. I had no budget for this, so I tried to spend as little as possible, so this is a testament to the fact that a little can go a long way if you get creative and get your hands dirty!

Buying vs. Making: Concert Shirts for J. Cole!

Let’s talk about concerts for a minute, shall we? It has gotten truly ridiculously expensive to go see your favorite musician lately. Ticket prices + venue fees + parking/Uber cost + refreshments/food at the venue + artist memorabilia = where do I file for bankruptcy?! It’s a lot. When I was little, of course I’d beg my parents for the shirt or hat or bandana or keychain or any memento I could keep as a souvenir, but now as an adult, I dare not even glance over at the merchandise section.

I usually wear normal clothes to concerts, but as the date for the J.Cole concert in Orlando was approaching, my brother suggested I should make some shirts for us. I was super surprised he had this idea because 1. Neither he nor I are the type to do this and 2. I really hadn’t thought about making myself any artist-related clothing item for a concert, ever. But this was a cool moment for me, since my brother never asks me to make anything and I was so touched he wanted me to do it that I was 100% in.

When it comes to these things, I try to be as frugal as possible. If it’s not something I can see myself wearing often, I will not splurge on it. Plus, if it’s a DIY, it should be cheaper, right? Right. So, when it came to the Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), I decided not to buy any, but make use of what I already had. No need to spend extra or go crazy with that. And for the shirts, since I had the experience with the ones I made for my Game of Thrones watch party, I knew I’d find something at Walmart. I found a black shirt for me for under $4, and even though my brother actually didn’t like any of the options there, he ended up finding a v-neck at TJ Maxx for $4 as well. With the amount of HTV I ended up using, each shirt basically came out to $6!

When it came time to design it, I wanted to have J.Cole’s face and hair silhouette which has become a big part of his brand, and also incorporate the crown from his Born Sinner album artwork. I ended up designing/cutting/putting it all together the same day of the concert because #ProcrastinationNation. And the crazy thing here was that since I was only using what I had, there was no room for error. Whatever I’d cut, it had to work. Because of the amount of each color I had, I decided that my brother would get Cole’s face silhouette, and I’d do my shirt with only the crown. I looooved how they turned out!

 

And here’s the best part of it all: during the concert, there was a lot of camera focus on the audience, and at some point my brother caught us on the jumbotron, BECAUSE he recognized the print on his shirt! It was so cool to see my shirts on the big screen, looking like official merch, but made by me :’)

 

Guess who’s never paying for merch ever again?!?

Winter Is Here – A Proper Game Of Thrones Watch Party (**Minor Spoilers!**)

Up until last year, I wasn’t interested in Game of Thrones or any of the events that came to be on the show (#RedWedding), but with all the social media ruckus about Mr. Jon Snow, it peaked my curiosity just enough to watch the first episode of season 6 to find out whether or not he’d make it through… Except that, as avid watchers know, we don’t get an answer until the last moments of episode 2. By this point, a few other interesting things had happened, and let’s just say I’d found a new favorite thing to do with my Sundays at 9pm. I watched the rest of season 6 without any prior knowledge, something that came in handy with the episode “The Door,” because while everyone was distraught mourning the death of one of their favorite characters, I wasn’t anywhere near the level of attachment everyone had built over the prior 56 episodes. #HoldTheDoor crisis averted.

Needless to say, I was hooked but also a little lost – as much as I picked up on things, there’s way too much ground covered in 5 seasons that cannot be deduced during 10 episodes, especially not on this show. But I also didn’t want to get hooked… So, I let months go by until I couldn’t wait any longer and I finally binged seasons one through five in a week, then re-watched season 6, feeling the proper things we’re all meant to feel (#RedWeddingVictim)… and this brings us to yesterday.

7.16. The date that has been tattooed on our brains for months as we anxiously awaited season 7 (not to mention it started at a later date and coming with less episodes than any prior season… see, it’s like I’ve been here from day 1!), and this time I was on time and part of the gang! I had been victimized by George R. R. Martin, David Benioff and Dan Weiss along with millions of others, and I was ready to continue being a masochist, but I wanted to do it in style. Thanking the old gods and the new for Pinterest, see below my Night’s Watch approved watch-party, which I must start by saying I was not willing to spend any money on. Everything you’re about to see was whipped up from items I already owned. I know, I’m a crafter and not everyone has these things handy, but I’m proud to say the only money I spent specifically on this party was a grand total of $6.40.

It all started with an Iron Throne

But then when I placed the throne against my TV station, it looked weird. It needed a better backdrop. So…

I wanted to make a banner with all the house banners, but once I was done with it, it was longer than just half of the TV station… more red fabric, to the rescue! (FYI this is where I spent my $6.40, printing the banners!)

And the whole shebang –

Some other details –

I had all of this planned out and then one of my friends who was coming to the party suggested we make shirts for ourselves. You know I don’t need to be asked twice…

And what I think was THE BEST decor item EVER, and will forever be grateful to Pinterest for providing this amazing idea –

That’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed seeing this watch party come to life 🙂 I’ll leave the decor up for the remainder of season 7. Have you done something like this for your own watch parties? Any ideas for upcoming episodes? Let me know in the comments below!