Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm Gonna Soak Up the Sun...

Hi, guys! I had the good fortune of being tagged with not one but two Sunshine Awards! I feel so loved :'). Since my darling Z (of Sometimes Z Takes Pictures) got to me first, I'll answer her questions - but thank you so much for thinking of me, Jess (of Bookworms in Dresses)!

The rules:
You have to post a picture of the Sunshine award in the blog post.
Post 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 11 wonderful bloggers.
Write 11 questions for them to answer.
Also let the bloggers you nominated know you have nominated them.

11 facts ahoy!
1. I go out for ice cream after a long day like some people go to the bar. I would go out for ice cream in a blizzard. I think it's a Massachusetts thing?
2. I've been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old.
3. This might be evident from the pictures on the blog, but at least 50% of my wardrobe is polka-dotted, and at least 50% (but probably more) of my accessories are animal themed.
4. I once visited 4 countries in one day.
5. I used to compete nationally in public speaking.
6. I consider myself to be a very good gift-giver because my memory retains every small detail about everything that people like.
7. I'm a Writing and Publishing major, and my favorite thing to write is horror stories! This is often confusing to people in my workshops because I am prone to wearing things like dog-printed collared dresses (see fact 3).
8. My very first job was working for a NYC-based burrito restaurant in a centralized call center. It was as strange as it sounds.
9. I'm obsessed with fruit-flavored Mentos. I literally always have a roll in my purse.
10. My usual Starbucks order is a Venti Iced Soy Green Tea Latte - as delicious as it is pretentious-sounding.
11.  I start listening to Christmas music on November 1st.

11 answers!
1. How do you read blogs? Morning/afternoon/evening? All at once? Sporadically?
I binge-read sporadically - it's like how some people unwind with People magazine, I read a ton of blogs when I'm looking to chill for a bit.

2. What's one item from your childhood that you've held onto?
I still have a Mickey Mouse doll from a childhood trip to Disney World - now, he sits on my windowsill! :)

3. What are you going as for Halloween?
I'm Jesse Pinkman, and Craig is Walter White! Ignore the creepy implications of that and instead focus on me in a giant sweatshirt and beanie, because it's hilarious.

4. Are you a big accessory person? What's your favorite to wear?
I wear a lot of accessories! I always wear my Claddagh ring from Dublin, but my favorite is without a doubt my grandma's white elephant necklace.

5. If you could hop on a plane and go anywhere for a week, where would you go?
That's a tough question! I'd like to go back to Italy and maybe see Venice or Florence.

6. What wakes you up in the morning?
A very annoying alarm. I give it funny notes like "Ghoul-d morning" and put a lot of emojis in it so that I can smile a little bit when I turn it off, hah! Unless this question was supposed to be more metaphorical instead of which case, oops.

7. Socks, slippers, or bare feet?
SLIPPERS. Nothing is worse than cold wooden floors. My mother got me a great pair of Ugg slippers and they are so comfy.

8. Do you have any tattoos? Do you want any?
I don't have any, but I've toyed around with some small ideas - I want to make sure I'm totally sold before I make it permanent, though! :)

9. If you could have lunch with any famous person, alive or dead, who would you choose?
AHH this is such a loaded question. I'd really like to chat with F. Scott Fitzgerald - I think he'd make for very interesting dinner conversation!

10. What's your favorite season? Why?
I'm a very seasonal person - I find things to love about each time the temperatures change. I guess that fall would probably be my favorite, though!

11. What's your current obsession?
So many things! I'm getting into Mad Men now, so there's that - but I also just started reading David Sedaris, so...this is a struggle.

Tag, you're it!
1. Mollie of Molliepop
2. Laura of Girls Fighting Evil
3. Ayley of American Sunday
5. Churrts of the Astronista
6. Isabella of Sincerely, Isabella
7. Jennie of Jennie & Husband
8. Rachel of Daydream Frenzy
9. Jess of Jessthetics
10. Bel of Rags of Love
11. You! Please do link up and share in the sunshine! :)

Questions for you lovely ladies:
1. What was your best childhood Halloween costume?
2. If you could move anywhere for a year, where would you go?
3. What is your dream job?
4. What's your favorite Thanksgiving food?
5. What was the last book you read?
6. What's your must-have wardrobe staple for fall this year?
7. What are you looking forward to most about winter?
8. What was your favorite subject in grade school?
9. What was your first job?
10. What was the last movie you saw in theaters? Was it any good?
11. If you were on Supermarket Sweep, what would you stock up on?

Thanks for tagging me, Z and Jess! This was fun :).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fright Nights: Last-Minute Costume Ideas

Hey everyone - happy almost Halloween! I thought I'd cap off this (very) mini series with a few tips on making last minute costumes, if you happened to get invited to a Halloween party you weren't quite ready to get dressed up for. As I mentioned before, I work at a Halloween store, so I've seen a lot of people blow through with some pretty creative ideas! These are some of my favorites:

"What Does the Fox Say?"

This is a Leg Avenue fox kit we sell in my store. You can find it online, too. Literally all you have to do is put on a cute/comfortable outfit, pop on the ears and tail, and wear a sign that says "What Does the Fox Say?" Or, you know, only respond to people by saying "WA PA PA PA POW" when they try to talk to you. Or communicate by mo-o-o-o-orse. Whatever floats your boat.
Effort: minimum. Pop culture impact rating: 9.

"Rosie the Riveter"

Do you have a chambray shirt and jeans? Do you also have a bandana and a curling iron? Boom, Rosie'd.
Bonus: you can spend the whole night flexing and making fierce faces at people. And you never have to think about your pose in group pictures!
Effort: almost none. Pop culture impact rating: 3.

"Minnie Mouse"

The old standby. If you have a lot of bows and red and white polka dotted things at your disposal (Lord knows I do), then you can definitely do this. All you need is some mouse ears, which many people already have from a trip to Disneyland. If you don't, they're pretty cheap at Halloween supply stores. This costume is very cute, and really fun to accessorize - you can definitely make it your own.
Effort: minimum. Pop culture impact rating: 4.

"Grumpy Cat" >:(
My friend told me she was going as "Hipster Grumpy Cat" this Halloween, and I was so delighted. Every costume store has tons of cat ears, tails, and whiskers for sale, and if you're good at makeup, you can take this costume from "vague reference" to "OMG your costume is the coolest." Any tan-hued outfit will do.
Bonus: you can make this face at everyone all night. And that is awesome.
Effort: minimum to medium. Pop culture impact rating: 8

"Walter White"/"Heisenberg"

This one will probably require a trip to the thrift store, unless you have a penchant for dressing like a chemistry teacher who also likes fedoras, and sunglasses. All you need to get is a black jacket, a plaid shirt, a black fedora, a bald cap, shades, and a fake goatee, if you can't grow one yourself. Dipping sticks are optional. A serious 'tude is mandatory.
Bonus: get your friend/significant other to dress like Jesse. Buying the components for Jesse is both cheaper and way more fun (really obnoxious oversized sweatshirts and graphic tees). I may or may not know this from experience. Okay, Craig and I are going to be Walter and Jesse for Halloween.
Effort: moderate/high (my store is out of fedoras already). Pop culture impact rating: 10.

But seriously, what are you guys planning on being for Halloween? Spill the beans. I LOVE hearing about peoples' costumes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Off-Campus Style: Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

So I realized "Boston Campus Style" doesn't make much sense when I don't live on campus, eh?

I don't know if it's just this time of year, but I've felt crazy busy the last couple of weeks! I didn't think midterms were going to be a big deal this year, but I've been buried in work and school obligations for days. Every night I just hit the pillow and fall right asleep! So in a way, I guess it's good?

It was a beautiful fall day last week - not too warm, not too cold. The nice thing about this new 'hood is that there are plenty of big, green outdoor spaces to hang out in! It's the perfect stress reliever. So Craig and I went and had a picnic in the park. He's getting good at these outfit photos, don't you think? :)

Dress: Primark
Cardigan: Target
Tights: Alloy
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Minnetonka
Earrings: Flea market

Guest appearance by Craig's shadow.
An aside about this dress: a few weeks after I got it, I saw Aidy Bryant wearing it on SNL! I died. She has the cutest style.
ETA: I just realized this is my 50th post! Wow! It feels like a lot more than that, but maybe because I'm so bad at consistently updating :). Thanks for coming on this ride with me - here's to 50 more!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fright Nights: The Best Horror Movies on Netflix Instant

Hi, guys! Somehow I didn't foresee that my job at the Halloween store became more demanding as it neared Halloween. Fantastic insight on my part. But even though I missed a week, I felt like I should carry on sharing some of my favorite things from my favorite holiday with you!

I really, really love horror movies. I'm the first in line to see every crummy new scary movie at the theater, just hoping to be one of the first to uncover a diamond in the rough (a la the Conjuring and You're Next this summer). In high school, I even tried to watch 100 horror movies one October. Um, obviously I don't have that kind of time on my hands anymore. But I still make sure to watch a few of my favorites (and try to scope out some great new flicks!) this time of year, and frankly, all year round.

 A list of the best scary movies is all well and good, but where the heck are you supposed to get them, Blockbuster? Every time I see something on a list I want to check out, I instantly cross-check it with Netflix Instant. Since everybody and their brother has Netflix, I thought I would save you guys the work, and share some fantastically spooky things you could watch this very minute, if you were so inclined. The horror section can be a dreadful and treacherous place filled with bad acting and even worse special effects, so trust me to weed out the truly stupid and point you in the right direction. I'm practically a professional.

Cabin in the Woods is an absolute must-see if you're a fan of horror movies. I'll try not to say much more as it's better to go in blind, but know it's incredibly inventive, genre-subverting, and nothing like you'll expect - in the best way possible.

The Evil Dead is a total classic if you're into cheesy B-Movie horror. If you've only seen the remake, you don't know Evil Dead. Remember when I said I would steer you away from stupid? I may have lied just a little bit, but Evil Dead is worth it. It's gross, silly, and inspired 1000 imitators - but there's nothing like the original.

The Caller is a surprise hit. I found this one on a whim this weekend (Craig and I were amused by the casting of Bill the True Blood vampire against Victoria the Twilight vampire), and was pleasantly surprised. It's not perfect, but the concept is pretty unique, and there are enough surprises, thrills, and chills to keep you hanging on the edge of your seat til the end.

Red State is a rare foray into horror by slacker-comedy god Kevin Smith, and watching it made me surprised he didn't live in the genre in the first place. This is an exploration of just how scary cult-like Westboro Baptist-type churches can be. This isn't a jumpy-scare flick, it's truly terrifying in the way that movies that seem as if they could really happen are.

Okay, I'm kind of cheating. After horror movies, my secret Netflix Instant obsession is the documentary section. I've talked about that, and this movie, before. The American Scream is a really cute little movie about people in a small town in Massachusetts who put a whole lot of effort into making free haunted houses for trick or treaters in their backyards. If you're not feeling like getting spooked tonight, but you still want to get in the holiday spirit, this is your best bet.

I saved the best for last! Pontypool is one of my top five favorite horror movies of all time. It's both a deep exploration of how we as a society interact with language and a very scary zombie movie almost exclusively set in the sound studio of a radio station. There are a lot of twists, turns, and secrets about how the zombie disease mutates so I won't give anything away, but know that it's really smart and so, so awesome.

Do you have some spooky Netflix recommendations for me? I'm always looking for new movies to fall in love with!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Boston Campus Style: Hot Spiced Apple Cider

I have been craving a hot apple cider for about 3 days, I'm not even going to lie to you guys. This outfit seemed like the physical manifestation of that drink. Fall camouflage, if you will. The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, and it's time for tights, riding boots, and cozy sweaters! And also peacoats, apparently, because I was pretty chilly in this outfit. Is it very cold where you live? I just wasn't prepared for this!

I'm a Looney Toon.

Dress: Forever 21
Tights and Cardigan: Target
Boots: Kohl's
Earrings: Betsey Johnson
Necklace: ? (super old)
Tote: Shakespeare & Company

I was reunited with my beautiful blogger buddy, Z! I missed her photographic assistance/frolicking around the Common with her. I love my new neighborhood, but I do miss having this beautiful space as my backyard!

Did you notice the big change on my head (other than my ridiculous roots)? You may remember I was thinking about getting a pixie cut - and about a month ago, I took the plunge! It takes me much less time to get ready in the morning, it looks less less silly when I wear statement necklaces and big earrings, and I feel a lot more "me" this way. I'm very glad I did it!

How is your fall going? Have you picked out your Halloween costume yet? As a Halloween pop-up shop worker, I like to know these things :).

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fright Nights: My Favorite Halloween Books

This is no secret, but I really love Halloween. I start looking for costumes in August, I binge watch scary movies, I go to haunted houses, my apartment already has 3 pumpkins in it...this year, I'm even working at a costume pop-up shop. It's kind of my thing. So I figured what better way to celebrate than to do a weekly feature with you guys?

I really do love to read, so I figured a few of my favorite spooky books were a good way to start. There's nothing like curling up with a good scary story and a mug of tea on a fall evening, I think.

Linda Petrushevskaya - There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby
Ridiculously long titles aside, this book is a very enchanted collection of short, scary fairytales. Despite having been written only a couple of years ago, it has a magical, old-timey feel - like stories your grandfather might tell you to spook you this time of year. The titular story is wonderful, and I would also highly recommend "There's Someone in the House" and "My Love."

Ray Bradbury - Something Wicked This Way Comes
Bradbury is obviously one of the masters of horror, and it wouldn't be Halloween without him. My first introduction to him is still my favorite - Something Wicked This Way Comes is a classic for a reason. This is a classic tale of the power of friendship, but the eerie carnival atmosphere and fantastical spooky happenings make it a must-read. And if you read it as a child like me, it's certainly worth another look - it really stands the test of time!

Thomas Tryon - Harvest Home
It's kind of hard to get a copy of this book, but I highly suggest putting in the effort. No one since Faulkner has evoked such a perfect atmosphere of a creepy, close-knit town with a dark, seedy underbelly. I can't tell you much without ruining it, but know that this is an impeccably crafted slow burner that will have you sleeping with your nightlight on.

Alvin Schwartz - Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
What can I say about this one? This was first introduction to scary stories, and it holds a very special place in my heart. The illustrations never fail to scare (if you can find a copy with the originals, that is). And honestly, some of these stories stand the test of time - "The Red Spot," "Harold," and "High Beams" still freak me out when I read them now!

Do you love Halloween as much as I do? What are some of your favorite books to read this time of year?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

DIY Apartment-Sized Vanity on a Budget

Hi everyone - welcome to my new space! I know it's been a long time - moving into my new apartment and starting junior year really wiped me out. I decided that I should make this return on a new platform - Blogger! I've been a Wordpress girl for a while, but I didn't like the lack of creative control the platform afforded me (without shelling out a whole lot of cash). As a former Web Design student, it felt a little stifling. I love the new look - the gorgeous new header and contact buttons are courtesy of Katherine from Of Corgis and Cocktails - aren't they just the cutest?

So here I am, this will definitely be my last move, and I'm happy to start this new (and hopefully more consistent) blogging chapter with a fun tutorial!

When I saw that the rooms in our apartment were going to have a little extra space to breathe, I decided that a fun DIY project was in order. After watching way too much Flea Market Flip (and being stunned by online price quotes), it became obvious what I had to do: make a vanity!

Vanities are super fun and can really help put a pep in your step in the morning. It makes you feel much better than schlepping your makeup into the bathroom every morning, and it adds such a nice, classy touch to your bedroom! This vanity was made with a lot of stuff I reclaimed from around the house, so for this, I think the out-of-pocket cost was under $50. I'll explain, but here's the basics of what you will need:

Small table (with drawer!) - color can be changed later, but if you have one you like already, then perfect!
Large oval mirror (thrift this!)
Small vanity tower
Chair or stool, cushion
Optional: mirror tray, jewelry tree, magnifying mirror

For me, it all began with a table. This was in my parents' dining room, and my mother helpfully donated it to the cause, along with this old chair from the basement. If you don't have delightful benefactors, consider cruising around for thrifty deals: my local Savers has a ton of small tables and chairs for under $10. This table began life as an ugly pea soup green:

But a simple coat of spray paint gave it a new candy apple red lease on life (I used Rustoleum American Accents in Apple). I can't believe how much a coat of spray paint can change a piece of furniture! Now it serves as a really bright focal point of the room.

I hunted a long time for the mirror, but I finally found one for $12 at a local Flea Market. Some more spray paint took it from an ugly tin color to brilliant, shiny gold. Because my place is a rental, I can't put nails in the wall. if you're in a similar situation, try picture wire and 2 Picture Hanging Command Hooks to hang up your mirror. The trick is to rest the bottom of it on the edge of the table. Et voila!

This mirror tray was at Savers (a local thrift store) for only $5! I think it gives the whole vanity a nice vintage feel. The IKEA spice rack turned out to be a great way to stash all my nail polish. If you can put nails in your wall, you could even get it flush against the wall next to the vanity!

I already had this jewelry tree; it was from Marshall's and I really adore it. If you have a ridiculous amount of necklaces like me, this is kind of necessary.

This tower is also old, but I know it's from Wal Mart. It's a nice way to keep my hair styling stuff and some other toiletries on hand.

This is probably the best part of the vanity! This $3 cutlery organizer makes all the difference. This way, I can keep my eye, face, and lip makeup separate - it's so much easier than the train case I was working out of before. Now, I'm ready in a snap!

So for me, the only out of pocket costs were:
$4 (spice rack) + $3 (cutlery organizer) + $7 (chair cushion) + $5 (mirror tray) + $10 (spray paint cans) + $12 (mirror) = $41!! If you have some of this stuff on hand already like I did, this could be just as cheap for you, and it really adds so much to a room!

(Do you spy the Bubby & Bean art print? It makes me smile every morning!)

Happy primping!