Extreme Makeover: New Apartment Edition

Ok, don’t get too excited because I only have two makeovers ready for publishing, but I guess it’s a good contrast to my usual lengthy posts.

With the move and fixer upper moments behind us, it’s time to improve the things that we’re actually keeping for our new apartment!

  • Bookshelf Makeover: I bought this shelf for my brother at Walmart a few years ago for his books, and it actually made it through one move with us already. It was badly beaten and falling apart, some of the nails had gone through the wrong side and broke the wood, etc. So I took out all the splinters, fixed the positioning of the back slat and nailed it down more precisely. I filled the spaces left by the missing wood chunks with wood glue, and then spray painted the whole thing a dark brown to match our new bathroom drawers. Then, I bought a Con-Tact brand non-adhesive shelf liner from Target with a pattern similar to the marble counter top of our bathroom as well. Even though originally the shelf was meant to be thrown out, this was a cheap makeover (all I spent were the $5 on the liner, everything else I already had) and it’s proving to be super useful storage for us!
  • A Quickie Makeover For a Lazy-Eye Sun: so my mom is really obsessed with suns, and she has all kinds of sunny paraphernalia around the house. But there’s this one sun I REALLY wanted to leave behind/gift/throw out or whatever to not see it again. I really wasn’t a fan of it at all, especially because the artist kind of gave it a bit of a lazy eye when he made it. Since my mom refused to part ways with it, I compromised with her by giving it a bath of rose gold, since by now you know I live, breathe and sleep on cans of rose gold spray paint. It took the depth of the design away since it’s all one flat color, but I actually quite like the little guy now!

That’s it for now! You know there’s plenty of little projects to do when you move in to a new place and especially with reorganizing all our things, but with the day to day of work, orders, and events, I’ve had to turn down the crafting for a bit. I hope you guys like these projects and get inspired to re-purpose or makeover some stuff as well!

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DIY Fascinators Fit For The Royal Wedding

And we’ll never be royalllllllllllllllllllllls, it don’t run in our blood… but we sure can pretend for a day!

My friends and I decided to be royally extra this past weekend, and have a watch party for the Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness, Prince Harry and his new bride Ms. Meghan Markle aka Her Royal Highness, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. The event was everything you could’ve expected, and so, so much more. No detail was spared and the love was felt throughout social media. Our watch party I mean!

My friend Alisha decorated the room with all kinds of red/white/blue garlands, and even a Mr. & Mrs. sign! She greeted us with York peppermint patties and muffins. THE WHOLE NINE!

Ever since the engagement, our group chat has been non-stop with every appearance and detail revealed about the royal affair, and we were READY for what was sure to be an unforgettable event. As we inched closer to the day, I found an invitation online for a “Fancy PJs and Fascinators” sleepover/watch party and I knew immediately we had to do the same. I shared with my friends and OF COURSE we were all 100% on board with getting ourselves some cute fascinator hats to wear so we could be part of the day, even with an entire ocean standing in the way.

Since I’m still in the process of moving and much of this has been a huge undertaking as a de-cluttering experience for me, I didn’t want to buy a hat. The good thing is, I have materials of all kinds and I was sure I could pull something together with what I already owned. So I pulled out some fabrics, ribbons, headbands, and my trusty styrofoam head, and got to work.

I decided I would either do something in purple or gold because 1. duh, royal colors and 2. I probably had the biggest amount of materials in those colors. I started playing around with fabrics to see how they could bend, and which could sustain a form once pinned down, arriving at two very different options. The gold one was my least favorite, as it looked good on the styrofoam model, but not on me 😦 #bigheadandforeheadproblems. I thought it looked quite chic and it made me think of Victoria Beckham a little, but it was a no-go for my head.

I moved on and decided to focus on the purple one. I had a bunch of tulle circles (from honestly I don’t know when or for what I bought them) which I noticed were holding shapes, so I stuck to playing with them. Some folds, twists, and a few pins later, I arrived at my final product. To be honest, I think it kind of looks like a loofah but I also love it, so I called it a day and proudly wore it to the watch party. For the fancy PJs, I wore the set that my friend Michelle got as a gift for the bridesmaids to get ready in the day of the wedding. And without further ado, here are the final shots!

My friends all got theirs off of Amazon, and though I was tempted, I’m glad I stuck to my DIY option and I love the outcome. Did anyone else have a watch party/got or made fascinators? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to check out pictures from fellow royal subjects!

Why Mr. Kate is not only a healthy obsession, but actually the best role model ever

Consider this my official application to FULL STAN status to Mr. Kate, her entire brand, her life, her hair, I’m here for ALL OF IT!

Last year, I wrote about how I found her and I was sucked into her channel and began to religiously watch her videos, and by now I’ve caught up on almost all of her series AND I got her book (I asked for it as a gift, and my friend got me a signed version, yay!). A year and change later, I’m not only a fan of her work, but I genuinely admire her as a person and I wish more people got on this bandwagon, because the world would be a better place if we all were a little more like Mr. Kate. Much like BuzzFeed, I’ve actually come up with five reasons why Mr. Kate is my new religion:

  1. She is a savvy, trend-setting businesswoman: because of her family, Kate could probably pull strings to get a show on HGTV or any home improvement channel, but what she did instead was to put on a TV-quality show on YouTube, and is probably THE top interior design content creator on the platform. QUEEN. Also, she’s an author and runs a retail operation with beautiful merch on her website.
  2. Helping & giving back is important to her: lots of entrepreneurs on the rise are solely focused on succeeding and reinvesting earnings back into the business, but Kate has a strong conviction to give back to the community (or to fans) in various ways. For every 100K subscribers reached on YouTube on her way to one million, she gave 1K to charity. When she reached the million subscribers milestone, she gave away a 10K makeover to a fan. One of the charities she donates to is the LA Youth Network, which helps homeless and foster youth in the Los Angeles area find their footing in life with transitional housing. Aside from the monetary donation, she also dedicated and donated one of her makeovers to their center, to make it an even better environment for the teens.
  3. She’s unconventional, a total #CreativeWeirdo: if you’ve seen any of her content, you know she’s completely unafraid to take massive fashion risks on a daily basis (despite being bullied for it earlier in life), and I think the pink hair has brought that out in her even more. Her business name is Mr. Kate because she wanted to beat the girly image stereotype and beat down barriers. In one of her videos she spoke openly about not really being the type of girl that wanted to get married, so her and her partner Joey simply had a courthouse elopement which her accountant recommended for ease of paperwork and filing taxes. She doesn’t wear an engagement or wedding ring, yet her and Joey couldn’t possibly be more committed to each other, being partners in life and business. She is unapologetically herself and is a huge advocate for everyone expressing their individuality as well.
  4. She is confident in her work, but also extremely humble: there’s something my dad ingrained in me since I was little, and it was an admiration for humility. He is really not a fan of cocky people at all, and his disdain for overt conceit was directly funneled down to my DNA. Anyway – this is something that I really admire in Kate, she truly walks the line between confidence and humility so gracefully. You can tell she believes in herself and her vision when she does makeovers for others (which is so nerve wracking, to get someone’s taste and create an entire environment for them based on that, it’s insane!), but she also is genuinely relieved when people love the outcome of her work, because at the end of the day, creativity always comes with a dose of self-doubt.
  5. She keeps it real, for real: even though on her makeover videos she sticks to her cheery side, on other more personal videos, on her book and when it comes to social media, she is more unfiltered and open about the not so glamorous side of life – which is not common among public figures. One of the things she does that I admire the most is when she shares her creative process for designing her bullet journal (a type of more free agenda-running), and she unabashedly includes the pictures of all pages listing when she has things like therapy – which still has a huge stigma attached to it, and to someone like me that is incredibly reassuring. Seeing someone that seems to have it all figured out in life taking care of her mental health in spite of stereotypes and any backlash is absolutely inspiring and admirable.

As you can see, my love and admiration for Kate only grows with every video and I pride myself in learning from her and looking up to her as a virtual mentor. I am a proud member of the #CreativeWeirdo family and I look forward to everything she’ll continue to create and make over in the future.

#MyBestFriendsWedding Final Chapter – The BIG Day!

Guys, can you believe it?! Just over a year ago, I began this series of posts following the journey of my best friend’s road to the altar, from the proposal & the surprises I gathered for her, the engagement party & proMOHsal, saying yes to the dress, the bridal shower, the stamp serendipity, the bachelorette, rehearsal, all leading to this: the big day.

Michelle’s vision was absolutely beautiful and cohesive, and it came to life to perfection (as perfect as possible considering something ALWAYS happens when it comes to parties or big events). Of course, that was to be expected, given that she’s a kick-ass event planner for her job, but corporate and social events are very different, and she managed to pull off a gorgeous wedding in the middle of back to back big work events and constant travel. So let me start off by saying: congratulations biff! You did it, you did it real good!

From the moment the planning began, she made me part of the process and I was so happy to be there every step of the way that she’d let me – everything except whatever had to do with the bridesmaids, because obviously she wanted me to be somewhat surprised with that part. Originally, there were more things that I would make/do, but as time went by, she wanted to focus on big pieces and the rest either got done a different way, or was scrapped altogether (for example, I really wanted to make hotel “do not disturb” signs for guests that came out of town, but it ended up not making sense to do it because of the logistics). All gorgeous pictures courtesy of Melissa Perez from   @SimplyCaptivating!

In the end, this is what I did make:

  • Custom Champagne Flutes for the Bridesmaids: even though we ended up not using them because we went from having all the time in the world to rushing out of the house, so the rosé just sat there, poured in our custom glasses as we made our way to the church in the party bus… they’re still cute ❤

     

  • Bride Jean Jacket: I made this literally the night before the wedding during our sleepover because Michelle forgot to give me the jacket after the rehearsal dinner, and it was a mission to get the vinyl to stick (and I cut it wrong, but we won’t talk about that because no one could tell, and you can’t either 😉 …)
  • Cake Topper: inspired by one Michelle found on Pinterest and made out of layered rose gold card stock (and I had to cut it several times, but we won’t talk about that either…), it looked so stunning at night, especially in the background of the picture where Michelle’s parents are giving their speeches!
  • The Seating Chart: since I can’t put into words the stress, amount of time, anxiety, logistical work, glue, and panic attacks this caused me, I’m just going to say this is probably my proudest accomplishment TO DATE. EVER. I’m pretty sure the two months of insomnia I had leading up to the wedding were over the seating chart alone. Also, because I messed up my table (on purpose, trying and erroring as usual) I literally finished the seating chart AT THE VENUE, during cocktail hour. But, it came out PERFECTLY ❤ Also, I may or may not have spent time taking pictures of people looking at the chart… First, the process:

 Some action shots from my phone

And the final result, with STUNNING shots by @SimplyCaptivating 

  • “I Do” Shoes: I love Pinterest. But also Michelle’s shoe soles were ribbed so I have no idea how long the vinyl stayed on… It was all for this shot!

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  • Signage: a Welcome sign adorned with flowers from @EverAfterFlorist, a wedding sign to let guests know they were at the right venue, and a social media sign that never made it out to the party… has there been any item without mishaps? HA!

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  • Table Menus: 15 tables. Two menus per table. 30 total. Incredibly tedious and long process to make them. Gorgeous outcome ❤

Seriously, I cannot believe that it has all come and gone so quickly since the day Brian texted me to let me know he was proposing. It’s been such an incredible experience to be by my friend’s side through this huge milestone moment, and I’m so happy to have been able to help and put a personal touch to so many aspects leading up to and during the big day. Thank you all for following the journey!

#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 8 – Rehearsal Dinner Bowquet

One of the responsibilities of a Maid of Honor is to collect the ribbons and bows from the gifts the bride receives on her bridal shower, and use them to make a fake bouquet (or bowquet as I like to call it) for the day of the rehearsal, so the bride has something as a placeholder when she practices her walk down the aisle. I’m not sure why, but this was one of the things I was most excited to make, and I loved the end result!

The one thing that I had a bit of difficulty with during the process was that I’m a fan of symmetry, and since you rarely get the same bow twice, that wasn’t very likely to happen… but more importantly, the colors of all the bows were also different, so the combination looked a bit messy and maybe even a little tacky.

Since I have cans and cans of rose gold spray paint from all the crafting for the shower/bachelorette/wedding, I figured I could paint a few of the bows rose gold, to try to even out the scheme. I luckily also had some burgundy bows in my gift wrapping stash, so that made it get even closer to the color scheme of the wedding, which I thought would be a nice touch. Anyway, enough talk, let’s see the pictures of the process, and I also included a list of materials at the end:

And here are some action shots from the rehearsal:

Materials:

  1. Gift bows/ribbon
  2. Cardboard roll (from gift-wrapping paper)
  3. Rose gold spray paint
  4. Paper plate, bowl shaped
  5. Hot glue gun

What do you guys think of the bowquet? Have you made one? Drop links to your pictures below if you have them!

Travel Gift DYI: Worldly Robe

I’m not usually in favor of hand-making gifts for my friends – there’s nothing wrong with it but I just feel like the types of items my friends like are not usually things I can make myself – but I broke my rule for this one, and it actually wasn’t by choice.

My good friend and I (we call each other twin due to our similarities) went to enjoy some summer pool parties in Las Vegas in summer of 2017. While at one of these pool parties, my twin noticed a girl wearing a gorgeous teal robe that had a world map in some orange pattern fabric in the back. It was very pretty and as soon as she said it I made a mental note to look one up for her after the trip, which would be her birthday gift the following January.

The trip ended and I began my search for this robe. I looked for weeks – on Google, on Etsy, on any site that had a working search engine – and I found nothing. There wasn’t a single map robe to select from. I was at a loss for words trying to imagine what kind of custom-made job this was when the light bulb went off: I could make it myself!

Again, I’ve never felt like my crafts would make a nice enough birthday present, but this one seemed like the perfect fit and I knew my twin would love it, as she loves travel and all world-themed paraphernalia.

I found a robe on amazon and I stuck with the teal because she loves that color too, and I decided to go with gold glitter heat transfer vinyl (HTV) for the map.

I had a little bit of a hard time deciding how big to make the map, because it’s not going to look its best stretched out across the whole back, so after some googling, I figured that 16.5 inches would be a good width for the map. I cut it (using my Cricut as always) and prepared it for ironing and went over it like 45 times with the iron to make sure it stuck well. In the end, I was very happy with the final result!

Then, I was at the liquor store one day and came across these world map glasses (kind of like these, but in gold instead of etched) that perfectly complemented not just the color scheme, but the vibe of relaxing in a nice robe while having a drink, and my gift was complete.

My twin absolutely LOVED the robe and she definitely appreciated it, although she did not really remember the girl in Vegas – which I had a feeling would be the case. It still turned out to be a great gift & surprise!

Do you make gifts for your friends often? What’s your recommendation for ensuring “store-bought” quality results? Leave a comment below with your tips or links!

#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 5: The Bridal Shower

Ok guys, so by this point I’ve shown you the invitations and the place tiles, and I’m going to try to make this as short as possible so – welcome to my best friend’s Moroccan Bridal Shower!

AH! The first big event I’ve been preparing for for MONTHS as Maid of Honor finally came and went and I have to say, mishaps and all, it went so well and the most important part is that Michelle loved it and had an awesome time! Michelle’s mom and I planned it together and she was a crucial part in all of it turning out as nice and great as it did, so thank you Marta for all of your help and support with it! Some behind the scenes info:

  • Michelle had mentioned she wanted a Moroccan themed bridal shower before she was even engaged, so I knew that would be the theme, BUT it usually comes with an extremely colorful scheme. When I started my Pinterest board, I tried to focus on the ideas that had the most white, orange and pink to make it more bridal. And then, Michelle fell in love with rose gold, so that became the main accent color next to the white.
  • A few months into the planning, Michelle said to me: “you know I want people to actually come dressed in Moroccan attire, right?” and I was like no, I did not know that, but we can absolutely make it happen! And so we did, as almost everyone came donning their best kaftans and headpieces ❤

With this all said, let’s split the party in sections so that I don’t keep you reading for three hours:

  • Custom Glasses: when Marta and I were looking into tableware, I didn’t want to have plastic cups because they would cheapen the look, and then I remembered the acrylic stackables I used for my Friendsmas party a couple of years back. The problem was, people don’t usually keep track of their cups at parties, so I decided to use vinyl to put their names on it, solving the missing cup issue and also adding a favor they could take home! Win, win!

  • Décor: all I will say here is that I depleted Home Depot of their rose gold spray paint (but good thing rose gold/copper is in because I was definitely able to find TONS of things that were already rose gold, and in some cases, Moroccan too!)

  • Favors: I found these jumbo tea lights from IqraMehndiDesigns on Etsy. She was so great to work with and made the order to fit our color scheme beautifully. Did I mention she’s all the way in Bulgaria and thank God for planning with due time, because it takes two months between making and shipping these to arrive?!?! After the timely arrival, all we did was put them in boxes with filler, a ribbon and a tag 🙂

  • Food & Desserts: Marta took care of ordering the food from a Mediterranean restaurant and it was very yummy! I also asked the groom’s mom, Mayda, to make her infamous Greek salad which is always a hit at parties, and it absolutely was! For dessert, we ordered baklava, and also had some delicious “bundtinis” from Nothing Bundt Cakes, as well as some Ferrero Rocher chocolates, which you guessed it, we sprayed them rose gold too 🙂

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  • Games: I asked the rest of the bridesmaids to help me figure out games that were fun, and we came up with: wear the ring and don’t say bride/Michelle, how many kisses in the jar, Michelle trivia, and find the groom (a picture of Brian hidden somewhere in the party, which he hid himself and it was hilarious!) The prizes were baskets filled with a small bottle of Rosé, a picture frame, a notepad, and a pen – all rose gold of course.

  • Guestbook: since Michelle didn’t want to have a traditional guestbook at the wedding, I thought it would be cute to get her a photo book with pictures of her whole relationship with Brian, and ask guests to fill it with advice for her. She absolutely loved it and it wasn’t a big expense since Shutterfly constantly runs free album offers, so all I had to cover was shipping (plus a few extra bucks for a specific theme that had rose gold, of course).

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The digital proof of the guestbook cover ❤

  • Setup: from the moment I started thinking of the party, I knew that I wanted it to be in my backyard because I had a very specific vision of the table setting around the pool, with a tent for the weather + vibe. It all came together so nicely and Michelle kept telling me she thought the layout was genius, and she loved it all! With a little math figuring out table sizes and organization, it all worked out great!

  •  Snapchat Geo-filter: after Michelle’s engagement party, her sister Andrea was like “we forgot the filter!” and ever since then, I had a mental note to do it for the bridal shower. I worked with DesiPaperThings on Etsy to bring it to life, of course, in white and rose gold.

  • Welcome Sign: I had spray painted my silver easel to make it rose gold for Michelle’s wedding, so I figured we could use it for the shower as well. And because repurposing is queen, I recycled a canvas from a “Paint With a Twist” party that I didn’t like by using gesso to flatten the surface, and with the stencil I created for the failed backdrop I turned the whole thing into a welcome sign 🙂

Of course, I also made props, including a big frame. Marta brought over a portable speaker for the music (we used a Latin music Spotify playlist). We made frosé as the signature drink of the event, and everyone genuinely seemed to have a great time ❤

Because I really try not to make everything seem perfect as we tend to do in social media, here are some of the things that didn’t go as planned (but of course we didn’t let it tamper with the day):

  • Restaurant forgot falafels, which Michelle was looking forward to the most
  • The weather: the amount of wind we got that weekend, we’ve seen only for tropical storms. It was INSANE. The setup was a mission, the tent people got there late because they had to buy sandbags for everyone they set up that day, and it was madness. We also got some rain the morning of while we were setting up the linens, but thanks to the unruly wind and the sun that came out later, everything dried off in time for the guests’ arrival.
  • A table flipped: the wind was so crazy that one of the tables flipped AFTER we had set it up with plates/place tiles/cups (and we used bottles of water and the tiles as weights to prevent things from flying off, but this entire table fell into the pool). Michelle’s dad helped us fish everything out of the pool, but a couple of the place tiles remained under water until the next cleaning… Action shot of the fishing out!

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ALL IN ALL – amazing time, so happy with how it all turned out, and I know Michelle enjoyed it so: Mission – ACCOMPLISHED!

Check out this 1-minute video slideshow that showcases the whole event in just 60 seconds 🙂