Monday, December 22, 2014

A Belgium Apartment

Oh my goodness you guys. I've finally got an apartment in Belgium. I'm actually here. I simply cannot believe it. I'm sorry if the quality of these photos aren't the best, but I only have my iPhone right now. In addition, I really only have four windows total. So not that much natural light.

Yes. Unfortunately, that is my kitchen. No oven. There is a microwave, but its hard to use. I'm going to have a hard time baking brownies or cookies here.

Big screen TV and a big couch! Super stoked!

I'm kind of excited about that wardrobe. I can just hop in and pretend I'm in Narnia. 

Its actually a pretty nice place. One of my co-workers has promised to take me to IKEA so hopefully I can give it a little Heather Flair. Also does anyone know if command hooks are sold in Belgium? I was told I can't put any nails in my walls, but they look so blank. I need to do something. :(

The owner calls this a 'desk'. I see a vanity waiting to happen. What do you think of my new place readers?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Camera Wish List for Birthday

Is it bad I'm already thinking about what new camera accessories I want, and I don't even have the camera in my hands? I still have two weeks to before I can even touch it (it was shipped to my apartment in the States. I don't get back until December 18th). Then, I need to test it and decide if I should keep it! HOWEVER, if it had it now, I think these are the things that I would buy for it.

1- I really am in love with this bag from ONA. It has the look, the style, and the size that I want. However, $300 is a little much for a bag right now. I have to start saving for a house you know!

2- This is another bag from ONA. Still $300 and just way too expensive. This kind of bag is more for those days you don't need much. Just a wallet, a camera, and your keys. 

3- So this is actually an insert. Say you found a bag that is perfect. It has the look you want. It's the perfect size and color too. However, there is no protection for your camera! Well you can buy one of these guys and voila! That bag is now meant for a camera! And it can still be used as a purse too!

4- I'm actually about this close to buying this bag from Jo Totes. It is classic looking and would go with just about anything. 

5- I'm absolutely in love with this bag. It isn't as professional looking as the other ones, but it is just so darn cute. It has that nautical theme that everyone is into right now. It is also from Jo Totes.  

6- I am absolutely in love with this camera strap. It's purple (my favorite color) and you can monogram it!! Ahhhh!

Do you have a wishlist for your camera? If so, what do you have on it?

Have a great day!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

European Travel Edition: Hostel vs Hotel

In my recent trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, I had the wonderful opportunity of staying in a hostel. I'm using the word 'wonderful' VERY liberally here. 

One of my co-workers loves to stay in Hostels. He thinks they are great experiences to meet new people, which I completely agree with him. However, there are the things like having to wear shower shoes, not knowing if your sheets are clean, and the fact that I could be robbed at any moment, that don't really suit my tastes in living arrangements. 

He is just more of a free spirit than I am. I can stay in Hostels if its for one night. If its more than that, I'm going to draw the line. I think because I have practically lived in a hotel for the past six months, I'm just spoiled now. I like knowing all of my sheets are clean and none of my stuff will be touched. 

Readers, what do you prefer? Hostels or Hotels?

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cooking in Belgium

*Please Note: This post has been imported from my previous blog, Organized Magnolia*

As everyone knows last week was Thanksgiving! I was starting to get very homesick because I don't get to go home until Christmas. After talking to some of my American co-workers, we decided to have a little Thanksgiving here. Guess what I was in charge of? Dessert! I decided to try a very easy apple pie my mom and I made last year. The reason I went with something simple like this was because I had never baked in Belgium and neither had my co-workers! This recipe is very basic and so I was sure that I could find the ingredients in the local grocery store. Thankfully I did!

A lot of things were in Dutch though so thankfully I had a phone where I could just whip out the Google Translate app (Get it. You'll be so thankful you did). The only thing I was worried about was the flour. I knew it was flour, but I didn't know what kind. As you know, flour can make a huge difference in baking. 

Also, they don't know what a 'pie' is here. After talking to some people, I figured out 'tart' crusts are what I wanted. Thankfully, those come pre-made as well.

If you get stuck in a jam like I did, my recommendation is to do a little research first. 1) Make sure it is an easy recipe. You don't want to try the Caramel triple chocolate cake on your first baking experience here. Follow my mom's rule for life: KISS (Keep it simple stupid). 2) Research your ingredients. If your grocery store doesn't have it, is there something else that could work? 3) Research your equipment. I showed up at my co-worker's apartment and found out she had no measurement cups or spoons. Thankfully she had a tart pan, but what if she didn't?

Finally, enjoy what ever happens! If this pie had turned out to be bad, we had all agreed to bring it to work the next day and tell everyone that was how it was made. Just have a good time whenever you are baking! The easy apple pie recipe that I used can be found here.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Travel Edition: Chile

*This was imported from my previous blog, Organized Magnolia*

Hi everyone! I know I created this blog to talk about my creative organization and decoration ideas, but a blog should change as a person's life changes right? So every now and then, depending on how much I travel, I'm going to write a 'Travel Edition' post. I'm going to cover different challenges that I have had to encounter while travelling to Chile and now moving to Belgium. Yep you heard right ladies and gentlemen. For 3-6 months, I will be living in Belgium for work! I'm so honored to be given this opportunity. 
My first view of Chile from the plane

So for my first edition, I wanted to give some advice and hints about Chile, since this country is a little different from the rest of South America.

Santiago at night

Most of Chile is in the Eastern time zone. During the Northern hemisphere's summer/Chile's Winter, both are on the Eastern Time Zone. However, during the Northern Hemisphere's Winter/Chile's Summer the time is different by around 2 hours because of Day Light Savings Time.

View of the mountains from Puento Alto

The water is fine to drink in Chile. All of its water comes down from the mountains. I stayed down here for 5 weeks in a row and never encountered Montezuma's Revenge. 

This made me giggle too much. Drive thru for McDonalds

Santiago is a lot like San Francisco in weather and the atmosphere. It is a very artsy kind of town and full of young people. 

The "River" that flows through Santiago

One of the best things here is that if you don't speak Spanish, its ok. A lot of people are very friendly and will still help you out. Watch out for cabs though. They like to rip tourists off sometimes and charge higher rates.


If you want to learn a little bit of Spanish, Doulingo is a great app to get you started. It can teach you basic words to full sentences.

It rarely ever rains here because Chile is a thin slice between the ocean the mountains. This creates a perfect climate for wine though!

Me at the Undurraga Winery

Chile is often called the Europe of South America. I think it is because it is the most urbanized and stable country. There is even a district called 'Sanhattan' because that is where the wealthy people in Santiago live.

Me at the Concho Y Toro Winery

The biggest difference from the US is that waiters/waitresses are not allowed to take your credit card away from the table. They bring little tiny credit card machines to you and swipe the card in front of you. Watch out though because they do ask if you want to pay for your dinner in installments. 

View from my hotel

Its also customary to always tip 10%. Giving a smaller tip is considered rude. 

Pisco Sour!

Finally, drink a Pisco Sour! Pisco is a South American brandy and it is really good!

Happy Travels!

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kate Spade-esk Champagne Sign

As I said before in this post, I have finally decided on how to design my dining room. My first challenge, the gallery wall. I started with some easy prints to create! The first one is a very popular sign "but first, CHAMPAGNE". Seems perfect for my dining room. I whipped out my gimp program and started creating!

Michael's happened to have a wonderful 40% off sale on frames when I stopped by, and I grabbed this cute and simple frame! 

Put them together and voila!

Isn't it just so cute?

Happy Crafting!


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bubba Keg Painting

*Please Note: This post has been imported from my previous blog, Organized Magnolia*

Ah summer time. Makes me love being out by the pool, beach, lake, and the river. In Georgia, you have easy access to all of them. One of my favorite things for summer are bubba kegs. When everyone thinks of a bubba keg, they unfortunately think of an alcohol storage cup. Don't be fooled! This thing is amazing for all kind of drinks that need to be kept cool. I use it for water a lot of the time! If cleaned and cared for correctly, they can last a long time. Unfortunately, they don't always come in the best colors. So here is how I made mine look so cute!

I implemented the method I wrote about here. That includes the spray paint, ModPodge, and MinWax.

My method is awesome. I applied multiple thin coats of the MinWax and it has held together so well!

My friends have even declared that I have to paint them one for their Birthdays. Oh well. I guess the demands will never end.

Happy Crafting!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to Paint and Seal a Cooler

*Please Note: This post has been imported from my previous blog, Organized Magnolia*

Back in college, all of the sorority girls would paint their formal dates a cooler. Its a really great idea, if you A) really know the guy or B) like to paint and craft. A lot of girls actually hated painting the coolers because it took so much time and effort for something that was probably going to chip off in a day. I, however, have figured out the way to make paint stick to coolers. It takes some commitment and a couple of days. BUT it sticks! 

I have painted three coolers with this method and every single one has the paint still on it with little to no chips. Here are a couple of images from the coolers I did before:

So after seeing all of this, my mom decided I get to make my grandfather's birthday present this year. Mind you, his birthday was in the middle of February, but since this will be intended for football season, I don't think he will mind waiting. 

My list of supplies:
Polyurethren (MinWax)
Acrylic Paint
White Spray Paint
Painter's Tape
Paint Pens

The first step is to take off any labels that are on the cooler. Then, use the painter's tape and tape off any spots you don't want to be covered with spray paint. Here is my grandfather's cooler with the handles and wheels covered. I didn't want to hassle with try to paint those areas. 

Next, I spray it with the spray paint. Make sure it is completely white. I don't want to be able to see any color (in my case navy) peeking out. This is kind of like priming your wall when there is a darker color underneath it. It makes a HUGE difference.

After you let that dry, its time to paint! Depending on how detailed you want it to be and what you are doing to it, this can take a couple of days. First start with sketching what you want with a pencil. Don't use a mechanical pencil because they don't work well with shading or light traces. And they can pick off the white paint. If you can't draw very well, you can always try a tracing method. KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms has a wonderful tutorial on how she traced a monogram onto fabric. You can use the same method for tracing onto a cooler. (Find it here) Here are some work in progress images:

*My grandfather is an alumna of the University of Mississippi*

A really nice tip that I have picked up is using sharpies for outlining and paint pens for writing. Sharpie has actually just come out with a paint pen! I really like it. It doesn't clot like normal paint pens do. I was able to outline the below fairly quickly and easily.

After you are done with the painting, put a layer of Modpodge on it. I buy the shiny modpodge because I like the way it looks. Lots of people prefer the matte version though. I normally put a couple of layers on because it makes me feel better, but you should be okay with just one or two.

Then, I put a layer of Min Wax on it. Make sure to coat it really well with this layer, but not too much because it has a yellow tint to it (aka white becomes cream if its too thick). This is the waterproof seal that makes sure it doesn't flake or peel off EVER. I have made three coolers with this method over two years ago and the boys still say it hasn't chipped. Let this dry for a really long time (about a day). Note: when using Min Wax, the brush can't be cleaned with normal soap and water like acrylic paints. You need to use mineral salts to clean it. Or if you are really lazy like me, buy the cheapest brush at The Home Depot, and throw it away once you are done. Go buy another when you need it. They are like $1. You can freeze the brush in the freezer in between coats!

So after you do that, feel the cooler. Does it feel sticky? If it does, add another layer of Modpodge! If not, its ready! I've been interested in trying this with ModPodge Outdoor. I just discovered it, but didn't have time to try it out. Maybe on my next cooler?

Happy Crafting!

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