Stayin’ Alive for the Cookies

My semester has decisively started out with a bang. I only now feel a teensy bit like I’m getting it all under control, and even then it’s threatening to slip out of my grasp (for instance, if one of my “blow-off” classes decides to assign any homework. At all.). But thankfully, I was able to get everything under control so I can enjoy my weekend, which starts Thursday night. So I made cookies!
   Sure, they’re just NestlĂ© Tollhouse cookies, but I learned a few very valuable lessons. Like Betty Botter? She knows what she’s doing. Half of my butter was old, and it made the dough taste weird. And I didn’t have any vanilla, so you know what I used? Maple syrup. It worked surprisingly well. However, I used about 1/2 cup so my cookies got a bit flat. I would suggest cutting back on a bit of the butter (better butter) and making sure you keep the dough cold until it’s baked.
  Also, baking cookies not only gave me a chance to pig out and relax, but I got to use one of the most adorable Christmas presents ever!

They’re measuring cups!

These adorable measuring cups from Fred Flare and matching spoons were a present from my mom this Christmas, and the cookies last night were their maiden voyage. I love them. That’s all.

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Water, Water, Everywhere

Source.

This lovely graphic has been circulating for awhile on Pinterest and Tumblr, and I’d like to tell you that it’s all true, and more! This winter, I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking a ton of water and herbal teas, and I’ve definitely seen the benefits.
   There are a thousand and one reasons to keep yourself hydrated. Here are a few that I’ve noticed in the past few months:

  • If I get dizzy or my vision blacks out for a moment after standing up, I know I need to drink more water. I did a few test scenarios of this during my yoga classes last semester, and I found that when I drank a lot of water before class, this didn’t happen.
  • Winter is much less harsh to my hands and lips if I’m properly hydrated. When my hands start getting dry and I can’t stop licking my lips, I do reach for the moisturizers, but I also down another glass of water.
  • Hydration reduces the chance of split ends (which we could all do without!).
  • Water helps keep a hungry stomach at bay. I can’t tell you how often I find myself starving in the middle of class. If I have a bottle of water, I can at least stop my stomach from grumbling embarrassingly. 
  • Water also helps keep you from eating too much. It takes time for food to settle in your stomach for you to stop feeling hungry, so if you eat too quickly you can easily eat too much. Sipping water in between bites is a healthy way to slow down the eating process and, of course, keep yourself hydrated.
  • Water stops a hangover dead in its tracks. Alcohol dehydrates the body, so if you make sure to drink lots of water with all of the booze, you can wake up the next morning without the headache.
  • Just plain old headaches can be a side-effect of dehydration as well, so drink up!

I know no one needs to be convinced water is good for them, I’m just not sure they realize how beneficial it really is. There are many things our bodies can do naturally, without expensive products or crazy fad diets, but they can’t do it without the necessary fuel.

Antiquing, DIY, and Pinterest Success

Well, I’m all moved back into my dorm! It’s not as small as I remember it, but it’s still lonely and overpriced, so I’m already looking forward to moving into my apartment this summer. My roommate is already living there, so while we were out antiques shopping yesterday, I found this gorgeous winged table and… well, sad to say, I bought it.

Sorry about the photo quality, I didn’t have my camera.

I’m also sorry to say that I don’t regret it. The man who sold it to me told me that it used to belong to an historic family from my college town (he said this after I had run my credit card, so it wasn’t just sale patter!).
  It’s about 3.5 feet in diameter and when it’s fully open, it makes a great dining table for four. When it’s completely folded up, it will be perfect for an entryway. I can tell this is a piece I’m going to hold onto, and for only $75!

Classes haven’t started yet, and work really hasn’t either, so I’ve had to find inexpensive ways to entertain myself, especially after buying that table. Firstly, I finished my rug!

It perfectly complements my dorm-room style and its completion kept me occupied for an entire well-spent afternoon. I highly recommend this project; rugs make any room cozier.

This evening I needed something to keep me busy, so I got on Pinterest. Thanks to Pinterest, I now have a much better way to procrastinate than Facebook!
  I found a tutorial for this very cute crocheted soap scrubby in which I placed a bar of sweet-smelling Aerie soap. I might have to shower tonight instead of in the morning because I can’t wait to test it out!

Adorable. I just love a happy ending.

Easy-peasy T-shirt Rug

I love being on break because when I want to craft, I can. I’m not hindered by classes or work or that essay due in a week that I really should start but lack the willpower. On break, I’ve got glue and fabric and time on my hands, and it’s great. So today when I was struck with the desire to begin a t-shirt rug, I did. And I’m pretty excited about it so far.
  A crocheted t-shirt rug requires a lot of t-shirts and a lot of cutting, so after about an hour I stopped for fear of developing a blister from the scissors, but the rug itself is simple. All you need are some old t-shirts, scissors, and crocheting skills.

The first step is to cut up some t-shirts. I do this by cutting in a spiral, starting at the bottom and working up to the armpits. It doesn’t really matter how neatly you cut, just keep in mind that thin strips will yield a neater-looking rug. I varied mine because I’m going for a carefree-cute-crafty vibe.
  On the first t-shirt I attempted to cut up the whole thing up past the armholes, but it wasn’t worth it. I say just cut until you run into a hole.

You can make your rug rectangular or circular, crocheting with a t-shirt isn’t too different from crocheting with yarn. If you choose, you can go buy a huge crocheting needle that’s great for projects like this, or you can do like me and crochet with your fingers. It’s surprisingly easy.

This is my rug after an hour of work. There’s hardly anything to it! I’m not counting row numbers, but after the initial magic circle, I crocheted one row of two stitches in each stitch and then continued with alternating one and two stitches in each. My rug just now started to crinkle on the edges so I’ve switched to one stitch in each, and I’m just going to keep adapting that as I go. I can’t wait to have this in my dorm next semester!

Also, I would like to share a really awesome thrifting find. I usually don’t look for shoes in thrift stores, but when I saw this pair at Goodwill I couldn’t resist.

They’re just my size, genuine leather, and 100% hipster! I paid $8 for them and wore them the very next day. This, my friends, is why I thrift.

Repurposed Tea Box

I love tea. And I love more than one type of tea. I habitually drink three teas, and I casually drink about 20 more, meaning I usually have about six tea boxes in my kitchen. And even six tea boxes can take up a lot of space. I’ve been dying for a tea chest for quite awhile now, but the nice wooden ones can be pretty expensive, or at least out of my price range. That’s when I found that a silverware divider worked just as well, for a fraction of the cost.

This bamboo drawer organizer from Bed Bath & Beyond fits my Stash teabags perfectly and only cost $5.99. I labeled mine with a soldering iron, because I need everything labeled. And it’s pretty cool. Drawer organizers come in all shapes and sizes, so choose the one that’s best for you!

Adventures in Natural Skin Care

I was blessed with clear, healthy skin throughout high school. I rarely used any sort of concealer or foundation and cleansed with only a mild astringent at nights. Now I’m in my second year of college and my hormones have decided to have a party on my face and not clean up the mess. It’s not like I can’t go out in public or anything, but for someone as untrained as I am in the ways of acne products, it’s a bit traumatizing. I’ve committed all sorts of skin care faux pas trying to muscle my skin into submission, leaving my skin dry, itchy, blotchy, and using lots of chemicals in the process. That’s not what I want.
  No, I want the clear, natural skin I had a few years ago, and I don’t want to rely on some chemical, specially-formulated, commercial cleanser for the rest of my life. That’s why I’m going to try the oil-cleansing method.
  Tsh at SimpleMom.net has an extremely popular post that’s still going around on Pinterest, and it’s the best resource that I’ve found. Tsh goes into excellent detail about what’s going on when you clean your face with oils and offers great advice about different oils you can use and how to use them. The best part of it is that she has used this method for over a year and still loves it!
   When I first found the post, I didn’t have any castor oil, but I had tea tree oil, so I mixed that with some extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and tested it out. After just one night I swear I had fewer blackheads and my softer skin. Today I bought some castor oil and I am quite excited to try it tonight.

The ratios in the mixture are flexible depending on your skin care needs, so I began mine in the middle:

  • 1 part EVOO
  • 1 part castor oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil

Money-saving tip: I found castor oil pretty much right next to the tea tree oil in the health section of my H.E.B., but it was way cheaper in the laxative section at the pharmacy. I paid $2.75 for the castor oil, $3.58 for H.E.B. brand EVOO, and $7.99 for the tea tree oil. I barely made a dent in the bottle over the past few nights, so it looks like this is definitely a green, frugal choice!

UPDATE 1/14/12:
Tsh says this, but I didn’t believe it until I tried — this stuff is great for removing makeup! In my opinion, it’s worth it just for that. Also, I’m not sure whether it’s just hormones or the OCM, but my skin has definitely cleared up in the past few weeks. Either way, I’m going to keep using it!