Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Travel Guide | Santa Monica

Shifting very quickly from the east coast to the west coast, my next travel guide is on the beautiful Santa Monica. Located in sunny Southern California, Santa Monica has some of the best shopping (and sun-tanning) around. If you ever visit Los Angeles, Santa Monica is one city you will not want to miss out on! 


I can't say that I'm a food expert in Santa Monica, but I can say for certain that I enjoyed my meal at Blue Plate Taco. With a gorgeous oceanfront location on Ocean Ave., take a seat on the patio and enjoy some delicious Mexican food with a coastal influence. I couldn't stop staring at the interior decoration! I ordered a delicious steak quesadilla that came with guac and salsa. Absolute perfection let me tell you. A few other places on my Santa Monica food bucket list are DK's Donuts and Cookie Good.

the beautiful lanterns in Blue Plate Taco
some stunning flooring
steak quesadilla = ooey gooey beautifulness


If there's one thing you must do, it's spending some time on the Santa Monica Pier, the classic landmark in pretty much every beach pier music video. Most of the rides aren't worth it in my opinion, but the ferris wheel is a must. Although $8 is pretty pricey for one ferris wheel ride, the view is stunning from the top. Going down to the beach is a must as well, and make sure to go under the pier when the sun is setting because it really quite pretty! Another place you don't want to miss is Third Street Promenade. I literally can't think of a more perfect outdoor shopping area that has such a wide array of stores from Nike to Madewell, and the best part is that it's a 15 minute walk from the beach.

view from the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier

stolen from Instagram
It's so beautiful underneath the pier!
spotted Cameron Dallas on the beach

Have you ever been to Santa Monica?


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Recipe | Iced Coffee with a Twist

When summer comes around, it's hot, hot, hot in California. I always like a nice cold drink, but as much as I would love to go to Starbucks everyday, it's just not the best thing for my wallet. Here is a recipe that I saw on Buzz Feed (and then all over the internet) that I think is the perfect summer drink, especially for those who need a summer slump boost. If you ever need a light caffeine boost, this is definitely the way to go. The best part of this iced coffee recipe is that you can prep it one day and then you'll have iced coffee for a good week!

You will need: (each tray makes approx. 8 servings)
  • one cup of strong black coffee (I tried this with chai tea and it worked great too.)
  • one to two tsp. of sugar or agave nectar
  • milk of your choice (I love almond milk!) 
  • ice cube tray

1. Brew your coffee/tea.
2. Mix in the sugar or agave nectar while it's still hot.
3. Pour the coffee/tea into a pitcher or pyrex cup if you're clumsy like me and can't get the hot liquid into the tray without spilling it everywhere. 
4. Pour the coffee/tea into your ice cube tray.
5. Let it freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. 
6. Place a few ice cubes in a glass and fill the rest of the glass with milk. Stir it around a bit and watch the coffee slowly seep into the milk. This is definitely my favorite part!

What is your favorite summer drink?


Saturday, July 4, 2015

DIY | Square Polaroids

I'm one of those people with a billion pictures on my camera and phone, but I'm usually too lazy to go and print them out. However with the exciting reminder that I will be decorating my dorm in September, I actually had the desire to print out my pictures. Regular 4x6 photos are fine but not super cute in my opinion, and since I don't have a polaroid camera, I used this opportunity to create my own square polaroids!

Method 1 (Computer)

1. Compile all your pictures from your phone and your camera into one folder. This step took me the longest as I had to go through thousands of pictures to choose the ones I actually wanted to print. Play some music to help you get through it, and use this as a fun weekend activity to relax.

*The next three steps (2,3, and 4) should be done to each photo all at once so you don't have to open the same photo three times.

2. Edit the photo's brightness, contrast, etc. on Photoshop, PicMonkey, or any other photo editing software you have. Tip: Photos tend to print darker so always edit brighter.

3. Crop all photos to a square.

4. Add a thick white border. I did mine on PicMonkey. Edit < Frames icon < Simple Edge < Change outer color to white < Increase thickness on both outer and inner edge until you reach your desired thickness. Tip: Always make a larger border because the printer often zooms in when printing which cuts off the outer edge of your photo if you get your photos printed outside. For an actual border of 1/4 in. (0.63 cm) thick, my border measured 3/8 in. (0.95 cm) on PicMonkey. The first time around I created a very thin border and the printer completely cut my border off.  

5. I chose to get mine printed as 4x4's (in inches) at Walgreens for $0.39 each (with a 33% discount code at the time), so it was quite reasonable! Tip: Always preview your photos when you upload them online to make sure parts of it aren't being cropped off in their frame. The pickup was ready in an hour, and they gave great customer service being that the first round of pictures had no borders at all but the lady let me adjust the borders and reprint for free.

Method 2 (Mobile)

*Do steps 1 and 2 together

1. Edit photos for brightness, contrast, etc. on apps like VSCO cam, Afterlight, etc. Tip: Photos tend to print darker so always edit brighter.

2. Crop photos into a square.

3. Add a white border using apps like Whitegram, Squaready, Afterlight etc. Tip: Make sure to call the company that you are using to print your photos to ask them if the outer edge of your photo will be cut off. Sometimes printers zoom in when printing, so be sure before you make your border.

4. Print 4x4 (in inches) photos using apps like PostalPix for $0.39 each plus tax (if your state/country taxes) and shipping.

Will you be trying this tutorial out?

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