Spring Break Edition

Spring break 2015– decoding the hot spots

Spring Break is a wonderful, yet chaotic travel time. While I have always traveled during the spring break period, I am unfortunately homebound this what is no longer a “break” in the adult world, due to upcoming travels. Now that I am out of college, I prefer to travel to less crowded spots – even if that simply means heading to a secluded section of a beach. However, I had my share of party spring breaks….

1) PCB – Panama City Beach

This is the fraternity/sorority sophomore year spring break trip at many universities in America. Everyone piles into cars, road trips to florida, heads to the Wal-Mart for supplies (where everyone conveniently forgets to put on any sort of beach cover up), stays at the same hotel & you realize the sheets have not been changed from the last spring breakers and there is sand in your bed. The beaches are packed – there’s a DJ, beach contests and lots of sun. It is definitely possible to lay out if you disperse from the main location. The clubbing/bar scene is a hit, allowing you to get in at age 18– but they are very strict on drinking inside the building. I had a wonderful time in PCB, but I could never do it again. It was a giant party – people are friendly, everyone parties with everyone – in hotel rooms if it’s raining out, or on the beach – but it requires the energy of a 19 year old. You can also rent hotel rooms/ time shares next to the main hotel that everyone stays at. This would give you more space, cleanliness and more relaxation. image

2) Vegas

I went to Vegas with 2 of my college girlfriends our senior year for spring break- for 5 days. We had a blast, but 3-4 days would have been sufficient. The pools are just beginning to open, the weather is great and the parties are there. This is definitely a spot that is filled with all ages- from 21- as old as they come. We stayed at Treasure Island (the pool/people were great); As far as clubs go, we LOVED the day beach party at Encore, Marquee at the Cosmopolitan & having a drink on the rooftop of PURE (Caesar’s Palace) just for the view. My favorite hotels were Encore, the Cosmopolitan & the Venetian — but ours was great for the price. Tip? Pack bars, bread, peanut butter, powder packet chasers (lemonade, etc) & alcohol in your suit case. And don’t plan on sleeping….

Encore Beach Club

Encore Beach Club

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3) South Beach, Miami

The Beach, Shopping, Trendy Restaurants, Potential Celeb Sitings, Clubs & Ultra. South Beach is a great spot for those who are out of College holding “Adult paying” positions if you want to experience the trendy South Beach, with its steeper prices. There are also more budget friendly spots if you are looking for the College spring break beach party. And of course, if Ultra is up your alley- this is your spot.We stayed at the Loews Hotel and had a great experience – much more relaxed than the college spring break. 

Other Spring Break Party Hot Spots?

Daytona Beach, Acapulco, Cancun & South Padre Island

Looking for a non college/party spring break destination? You can still head to “spring break destinations”, just stay at nicer hotels and avoid the crowds on the beach- which are typically centered around the loud djs/music.

I grew up traveling to the Florida Keys (Marathon, Islamorada & Key West) and St. Pete Beach and they are both great family spots. Still aiming for the Florida Panhandle? Try Destin- very family friendly! Where are you headed this year? Have fun, be safe & happy Travels! 🙂

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Coconut Oil as Shoe Polisher?! Genius!

Coconut oil saves the day, again!

image I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this Chicago winter is finally coming to an end. I like to hydrate my leather riding boots before I put them away for less use during the spring, and realized I was out of the leather cream and anyway it’s hard to find one without harsh smells/chemicals. I decided to use coconut oil. I just dabbed a white tea towel into the solidified oil and rubbed it all over my boots- and they look great! The picture above shows one of my boots after it was polished. What are your favorite uses for coconut oil? …. face cream, cooking oil (try it with stove popped popcorn, granola base)…. Enjoy!

DIY Household Decor/Furniture — Make Room for Change

Take the Challenge & Make Room for Change. 

I love finding a new purpose for old “junk” – and the feeling you receive when you design and create something that turns out looking like something you obsessed over from the latest Pottery Barn magazine.

I challenge you this spring to let your creative spirit out, save money and let spring bring something new into your space. This can be as simple as one change, or hey, maybe you will be inspired and redo a whole room! It can be hard, but it is so healthy to let go and make room for change- room for more fresh, positive energy.

Here are my own personal 7 favorite DIY furniture / Decor projects I have completed in the past year:

Project 1: Our Entertainment Center

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I walked up to a garage sale and inspected this blah yellow dresser, noticing the bottom drawer was stuck and it desperately needed some new paint. What instantly attracted me was the invision I saw- the dresser had beautiful antique knobs and wheels on the bottom (I love the antique era this style gives off). The price tag read $50- a little high given the work I would need to put in, and comparing price tags to Ikea….

The man who owned the dresser walked over to me and says $10 and I’ll put it in your car. Sold. It’s nice when no bargaining is necessary!

We popped the dresser in the trunk and headed home to pick out paint colors. When picking out paint colors, I tend to pick colors from the Restoration Hardware & Pottery Barn Palette (and then take the name & number into Home Depot to have it made in a cheaper paint brand like Behr). I picked out an off white. We sanded the dresser and then painted the dresser an off white. We rubbed dry soap (just use any bar of soap) on the drawers to help them slide in and out better and the dresser was good to go. While this sounds really easy, I owe a ton of thanks to my dad- who happens to be handy and always manages to have the supplies I need on hand 🙂

PROJECT 2: My Bedside Lamp

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I began looking for a lamp for my bedside table when I moved about a year ago. I found an old, gold lamp sitting in my parents attic and they said they were going to get rid of it at some point. I headed to Hobby Lobby and found a burlap lamp shade and grabbed a bottle of Krylon Glass Paint at Home Depot. I took the lamp outside and sprayed all of the gold. Then I sprayed the glass, blotted it with a wet paper towel, and blotted it again until I had the desired effect. pottery barn inspiration indeed!

Project 3: Framing Quotes

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I love to surround myself with positive, inspiring quotes. I mean, What better way to start the day than to empower yourself with some motivation from Ghandi as you walk out the door? I have a section on Pinterest where I keep quotes that I love, and one day I bought an 8×10 frame and had no clue what to put in it- I purchased it on a clearance without the glass and I knew a regular photo would not look right. I thought I would give “printing off pinterest” a try, and it worked! I sent a few quotes/fun photos to shutterfly (definitely recommend using shutterfly or snapfish for the photos to turn out and reduce blurring) and put them in frames. I get compliments on them all the time, and it’s incredibly cheap!

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Project 4 : Shelves & Spray paint

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I think a lot of people often forget that when we look at something, we can see what our eyes see visually, OR we can imagine what our mind wants to see. Shelves are an abundant garage sale item- the catch? They’re typically painted funky colors that are unappealing to the eye. Chances are, you notice the color rather than the item. I brought home these green shelves and Michael instantly said those are not going anywhere in our home. I told him to be patient, and hours later….similar to what is currently displayed at Pottery Barn!  2 coats of an off white spray paint and these shelves were good to go. Total cost? $11 ….Spray Paint-$5, $3 for each shelf.

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Project 5 : Fabric Canvas

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I bought this grey and white upholstery fabric to reupholster chairs and ended up deciding I did not want such a strong print on the chairs. I wanted to use the fabric however, and happen to have a wall that needed something different than the average frame. I bought a large canvas at Michael’s and headed home for the day. I measured out the fabric- if you are using a print, make sure it is even- and used the staple gun to staple it on the backside all the way around. This will take 2 people- one to hold while pulling the fabric and the other to staple. A huge bonus of the fabric canvas is the weight– 2 small nails hold this huge piece up! Don’t forget your 50% off coupon at Michael’s / Joanns for the fabric and canvas!

Project 6:  Knobs

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Changing knobs is such an easy and cheap way to add a pop of color or elegance in your home. There are so many colorful and fun knobs to pick from, and they can make a huge difference!  Hobby Lobby has a huge selection (I bought mine there and they often have 50% off sales- I paid $2.50 a knob), World Market has a great but smaller  selection and Anthropology has beautiful knobs, but at a price of $16+ per knob.

After I re-stained this desk, I put on these glass world knobs– a perfect touch for the office 🙂

Our guest room closet door knobs were basic white- and this beatiful European floral design gave the closet a pop of color.

Project 7:  Upholstering chairs

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I bought my first table off craigslist – a beautiful white oval table from Crate & Barrel (with leaves) for $45 and bought these 2 chairs for $10 a piece. They had been upholstered by the previous owner with a white pleather fabric- It was not my style. I picked up this off white upholstery fabric at Joann’s, washed the fabric and ironed it (Don’t skip this step!). I took apart the chairs, removed all of the old fabric and staples, and with the help of my mom (when using a staple gun, having 2 people is always helpful) we stapled on the new fabric. All this really amounts to is making sure the fabric print is even, and that the fabric is being pulled the right amount & is tucked in– A lot easier than it sounds!!  I love my new chairs, and remember to spray them with a protective fabric spray!! This will make life SO much easier when food/beverages get spilled.  (I also painted & upholstered our office chair, see below!)

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Now it’s your turn!  I want to hear about your favorite spring projects. Please Share!!! And please do not hesitate to ask questions on paint colors, etc. 

Thanks for reading!! 🙂