Can someone please tell me when all of this wedding mania became such “thing”? I’ve no doubt that TLC and Pinterest had a lot to do with it, but I was really surprised to see how many parties now need to be thrown (an engagement party, a bridal shower, bachelorette/bachelor parties, a rehearsal dinner AND the wedding reception itself!), and how many gifts need to exchange hands before two people can be joined in marriage. Of course, I’m using the word “need” very loosely here, and none of these things are at all necessary to tie the knot. A truly alternative bride might be able to shut out all of the noise and omit all of these superfluous bits and baubles (a path I did consider), but after having been given memorable “Will you be my bridesmaid?” gifts from many of my best girlfriends, I decided it was only fitting to reciprocate.
But what exactly is the best way to ask your closest girls to join you at the alter on your big day? In the past, I’ve had the honor of receiving a lovely personalized bottle of wine (very eco-friendly when bestowed upon a lush like myself) and was also delighted to open up an adorable ring pop bridesmaids proposal box (a Pinterest favorite). But when it came time for me to pop the question myself, I was baffled.
After much introspection, I decided that I wanted to ask my bridesmaids for their hands in a way that was both punny and practical. The following is what I finally came up with. Warning: extreme corniness ahead.
My friend Mary’s little one is already a toddler (where did the time go?), but I recently unearthed these photos of the winter-themed baby shower we threw for her back when she was still expecting. Since the celebration took place around the holidays, the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” motif made perfect sense! Read on for all of the sparkly, snowy DIY ideas we incorporated into this fun alternative to a typical pink or blue baby shower.
This past spring, my BFF Amy’s beau Dave let us in on a little secret: he was ready to propose! Dave was envisioning a proposal surrounded by Amy and his loved ones, but other than that, he wanted to keep it simple. I had other ideas. Thinking back on all of the fond memories Amy and I have shared together, and knowing her eye for thoughtful details, I really wanted fill this special moment in her life up to the top with lots of bells and whistles. I know that Dave’s surprise alone would have been plenty to take Amy’s breath away but I think she appreciated the little DIY touches we prepared for her. Read on to see all of the engagement party ideas we employed and get some inspiration for your own pre-nuptial event.
NOTE: Apologies in advance for the smartphone pics. We were so excited about setting up the party that we forgot to bring a proper camera!
I love pickles and can finish a jar off in one sitting, but then I’m always left with a bottle of brine that I end up pouring down the drain. While it’s not the end of the world to let that leftover pickle juice go to waste, I often wondered if it could be reused in some way and finally came up with a solution – use it to make pickled daikon! If you’re not familiar with it, pickled daikon is a popular Asian side dish/condiment (here is a recipe if you want to put some elbow grease into it and make it without the lazy man’s cheat I’m about to show you) that pairs particularly well with Bonchon chicken or other hearty dishes that could use a crisp, acidic bite.
Okay, so you probably guessed it by now, but all this DIY really entails is chopping up some daikon (to clarify, I used regular radish for this tutorial since that’s what I already had), tossing it in your leftover pickle juice and letting it brine for a few days. How easy is that? You don’t have to go through the trouble of mixing up a new batch of vinegar, salt, etc. and if you’re using a brand of pickles you already know you enjoy, you don’t have to worry about testing out the right proportions to get the taste you like just right. Plus this DIY would work with lots of other veggies like pickled peppers, pickled pearl onions or just pickles (sliced up cucumbers). They make great gifts too!
Refreshing, adorable and packed with booze, these cute ‘lil watermelon line Jello shots are the perfect thing to bring to a summer BBQ or potluck. I made them last week for Jeanne and Serena, who weren’t ashamed to let me know that next time, they need “a lot more liquor.” Point taken! Click on Page 2 below to read the DIY recipe so you can make your own.
Cinderella is one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time, but did you ever think about what it teaches little girls about shoes? First of all, instead of comfortable flats that could be worn every day, the protagonist is given a pair of totally impractical glass slippers that she would probably never don again – except perhaps on her wedding day (although from the looks of this pic, she wore white heels). Furthermore, the lost slipper is what allowed Prince Charming to finally find her, placing even more emphasis on the importance of footwear in a young woman’s life. And if you need yet more evidence of the central role of the shoe in the story, how about the fact that it’s also known as The Little Glass Slipper?
So where am I going with all of this? I’m not quite sure. But I do know that I have way too many shoes. Luckily, I recently found a smart, easy and cheap way to store some of them that’s a bit more elegant than simply piling them in a heap. Read on for the 30-second DIY.
Please ignore the ghastly condition of my cuticles. I garden and do crafts all the time so ’nuff said.
Terrariums and DIY nail art are two trends that I’ve been really excited about, so I thought it was high time for a mashup between the two. Okay, so the title of this DIY tutorial is admittedly a bit misleading. It’s not like you’re really growing living plants on your nails though I would applaud anyone who could actually do that, instead I’m going to show you how to take tiny leaves and stick them onto your nails for the really pretty effect you see above. Unlike the other beautiful nail art tutorials you might see on Pinterest, this terrarium nail how-to is something you can actually achieve and keep for at least a few days and the glassy sheen of the clear manicure creates a, well, polished look over the pressed leaves.
Terrariums – glass containers with little gardens inside – are really popular these days as home accessories, but they make lovely fashion accessories too! All you have to do is make one on a slightly smaller scale in a bottle like this one with a ring attached to it so that you can wear it as a necklace. If you know someone who loves plants, these terrarium necklaces make really special gifts and will last a heck of a lot longer than flowers. They’re really easy to make too – read on for the DIY instructions.
If you’re tired of digging through a jewelry box to find your rings or frustrated with fighting necklace tangles, I think you’ll enjoy being able to organize your bits and baubles on a tidy display wall you can make yourself. Not only does this easy DIY project allow you to see all of your jewelry at once glance so you can see what’s available to you (same idea as the Pinterest shoe collection and fridge triage box), it also does double duty as wall decor! Of course if you aren’t that into the idea of a bunch of bling being too visible on your walls, you can pick a less obvious space like the one I chose – a small sliver behind a door. This DIY will only take you about half an hour, and once you’re done, you won’t believe how good it will feel to have all of your jewelry nice, neat and right at your fingertips.
Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday, so I wanted to create a really special centerpiece for our table this year. At first I thought “cornucopia?” but then I decided those were pretty snore-nucopia (don’t you agree?). Then I starting thinking about Japanese kaiseki ryouri, where chefs present edible arrangements (the kind that aren’t dipped in chocolate) as tiny treasures and brainstorming about autumn in the city and it hit me! The High Line! Sorry CP, but the High Line is hands down the best park in NYC and quite possibly the world, and with its oblong shape and varied textures, it’s really the perfect landmark to recreate as a captivating miniature tablescape. I knew that it was imperative that I make all of the “flora and fauna” out of veggies and other T-day eats, but I was baffled about what to create the actual structure out of. It finally dawned on me – again, while I was binge eating in Japan – sushi takeout boxes! Read on to see the DIY steps showing how how you can turn some recycled chopsticks and plastic containers into a mini High Line Thanksgiving centerpiece that even Sandra Lee would be proud of!
This femme floral frock is a one-of-a-kind Clossette original refashioned from a dress from the 90s. I cut away a heart shape from the front of the dress, creating a negative space that I filled with some sheer tulle left over from Sandy’s bridal shower tea party. The re-design was inspired by a somewhat unlikely source – a futuristic office design that transformed two plain Jane old houses into a dynamic office by cutting away bits and pieces of the original structures. Sometimes subtraction is way more effective than addition, you know?
Material: Recycled polyester dress, sheer tulle
Condition: Gently worn/almost new
Lace back tank tops and t-shirts have been really popular lately, and it’s easy to see why – they’re breezy (lot of ventilation), pretty and add a lot of visual interest to what might be an otherwise boring outfit. If you’ve been scouring the stores for the perfect sheer back top but haven’t found one you fancy, why not try making your own using a shirt you already have? Despite their complex look, sheer back shirts are extremely easy to make yourself, especially if you’re just refashioning a tank top that you’ve grown bored of. To see how to complete this simple fashion DIY, click on the pages below for the full instructions.
Bobby pins are an essential beauty tool for most women (at least those of us who enjoy voluminous ‘dos), but keeping them organized and easy to find when you need them can be a vexing task. If you need a cheap and simple solution that will keep your bobby pins right at your fingertips, look no further than your fridge. You know those promotional magnets that takeout places give out for free? Read on to see how to turn one into a DIY wall organizer for pins and small earrings.
Babydoll shirts with all sorts of weird bunching and shirring used to be in style until we realized that they made everyone look equally preggers. So now there are a ton of these unflattering tops floating around unloved even though many of them still have nice, bold prints like the Marc Jacobs-esque large flower pattern on this one. If you’re the owner of one of these shirts and are not quite sure what to do with it, here’s a really easy, no-sew fashion DIY showing you how to turn an ugly babydoll shirt into a summer skirt just in time for the warm weather. I think you’ll really be surprised at how simple this tutorial is, and depending on the shirt you use, you can make the bottom into a skirt and the top into a cute bandeau.
I recently dug up this old Paula Abdul cardio dance video with the intention of burning some calories when I realized that A. I’m allergic to exercise and B. I no longer own a VCR. Downtrodden but not completely hopeless, I inspected the relic like an archaeologist and was impressed with both its uber-simplistic 90s colorblock design and the sturdiness of the box’s closing mechanism when it came to me – this could make a really unique DIY clutch. After all, the dimensions are pretty much spot-on and it’s just so wonderfully kitsch/nostalgic/ironic. And the beauty of it is that you can pretty much use any video box that you want for your own clutch (I highly doubt anyone else owns this Paula Abdul workout video or will admit to it?). Technically, you could even use the box as a clutch unmodified but I wanted to add a few touches to make it more obvious that it was an actual purse and not just a video that you’re carrying around.
Another really cool thing about this DIY is that if your video case is the kind with a transparent sleeve and piece of paper that slides in and out, you can swap out the graphic with whatever you want to make this a really versatile clutch. For example, if you have a piece of paper from another video – say The Breakfast Club – you can just remove Paula Abdul and slip that in instead. Or you can even leave the clear sleeve empty and use it as a white clutch. The possibilities are endless!
For the full DIY tutorial, scroll down and click page 2.