30 before 30: #14 – Go on a “Girls Only” Trip

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you have been enjoying your time off with loved ones. Time off has given me the opportunity to get caught up with overdue projects, which has finally allowed me a little time to update you on my travels in 2013, and the tasks I’ve accomplished on my 30 before 30 project!Read more

DIY Christmas Bunting Banner

Got an hour to spare this weekend before the big day arrives next week? Get out your holiday scrapbook paper and get to work! This quick, easy-to-make Chirstmas bunting banner is sure to brighten up your home during your holiday festivities!

DIY Christmas Bunting Banner

Materials Needed:

– Scrapbook Paper, 2 sheets in 3 separate Christmas-related designs/colors

  • Craft-Laminated Burlap

  • Jumbo-Sized Jute String

  • “Clipboard” Self-Adhesive Letters

  • 15 Wooden Clothes Pins

  • Christmas-Themed Ribbon

  • Two Clear Push Pins

  • Scissors

 

Instructions:

1. Cut the scrapbook papers and burlap. Make a template stencil using scrap paper or cardboard. I used this blog post for guidance on the dimensions for the stencil for my last project, the Thanksgiving Bunting. However, since “Merry Christmas” takes more letters, I decided to cut down my dimensions a little to fit the space better. You can see the dimensions I used in the picture below. Cut enough flags for the saying you’d like to hang, alternating the colors.

Bunting Flag Dimensions cut burlap flag dimensions Christmas burlap flag colors

 

2. Attach letters to the cut flags. If you’re able to find the self-adhesive “clipboard” scrapbooking letters, these will work best. Otherwise, find letters in lightweight material, and use adhesive spray to attach them to your flags. Keep in mind the color pattern you want when you hang them (Ex: mine was “burlap, orange white, burlap, orange, white…” and so on).

clipboard adhesive letters clipboard adhesive letters clipboard adhesive letters clipboard adhesive letters

 

3. Measure and cut jute string. If you can recruit a friend, family member, or roommate, have them help you measure out how much jute you will need to string the flags across the wall. I left extra jute on each side to tie bows and let the excess hang down in a light spiral.

4. Clip flags to jute string using wooden clothes pins.  At this point, I laid the string across my living room floor, and got to work. I spread out the flags, pre-tied the red ribbon into a bow, and spaced it out to my liking. Then, one by one, I clipped the flags onto the string, using my feet to keep the string taut as I went along. I used a pin to attach the bow, as well (this way, I can take the bow off easily when I go to change out the bunting flags for the next season). Let me tell you, once you have done this the first time, replacing flags in the future while the jute is already pre-hung is a piece of cake!

5. Hang banner on wall, using clear push pins to secure. Again, if you can recruit someone to help you, this will be easier. Use a tape measure to see where on the wall you will place the first push pin. Once the push pin is in the wall, tie one side of the banner around the push pin in a bow, double-knotting if necessary. Measure the next side so the flag hangs evenly. Adjust as needed.

 

And, voila! Easy-peasy, done-in-a-few-hours project for Christmas. AND, the Christmas bunting banner makes for a great backdrop for pictures!


Christmas themed bunting

 

Have you made bunting before? How did yours differ from mine?

Did you partake in any last-minute Christmas holiday crafts this season?

DIY Thanksgiving Bunting

It’s one week before Thanksgiving, but JUST in case you’re a last-minute DIY-er like me, here’s a quick Pinterest-inspired tutorial to spice up your living area for the quickly-approaching holiday!

PS: This is part of my 30 before 30 project (completing and posting 30 Pinterest projects before I turn 30). I used this pinthis pin, and this pin for inspiration.

Easy DIY Thanksgiving Bunting Flag Banner Picture

DIY Thanksgiving Bunting Banner

Materials Needed:

– Scrapbook Paper, 2 sheets in 2 separate designs/colors

  • Craft-Laminated Burlap

  • Jumbo-Sized Jute String

  • “Clipboard” Self-Adhesive Letters

  • Wooden Clothes Pins

  • Autumn-Themed Ribbon

  • Two Clear Push Pins

  • Scissors

 

Instructions:

1. Cut the scrapbook papers and burlap. Make a template stencil using scrap paper or cardboard. I used this blog post for guidance on the dimensions for the stencil. Cut enough flags for the saying you’d like to hang. Ex: mine was GIVE THANKS, so I cut 10 flags (3 orange, 3 white, and 4 burlap).

2. Attach letters to cut flags. If you’re able to find the self-adhesive “clipboard” scrapbooking letters, these will work best. Otherwise, find letters in lightweight material, and use adhesive spray to attach them to your flags. Keep in mind the color pattern you want when you hang them (Ex: mine was “burlap, orange white, burlap, orange, white…” and so on).

3. Measure and cut jute string. If you can recruit a friend, family member, or roommate, have them help you measure out how much jute you will need to string the flags across the wall. I left extra jute on each side to tie bows and let the excess hang down in a light spiral.

4. Clip flags to jute string using wooden clothes pins.  At this point, I laid the string across my living room floor, and got to work. I spread out the flags, pre-tied the autumn ribbon into a bow, and spaced it out to my liking. Then, one by one, I clipped the flags onto the string, using my feet to keep the string taut as I went along. I used a pin to attach the bow, as well (this way, I can take the bow off easily when I go to change out the bunting flags for the next season).

5. Hang banner on wall, using clear push pins to secure. Again, if you can recruit someone to help you, this will be easier. Use a tape measure to see where on the wall you will place the first push pin. Once the push pin is in the wall, tie one side of the banner around the push pin in a bow, double-knotting if necessary. Measure the next side so the flag hangs evenly. Adjust as needed.

 

And, voila! Easy-peasy, done in a few hours project for Thanksgiving. AND, it makes for a great backdrop for pictures!

Easy DIY Thanksgiving Bunting Flag Banner

Have you made bunting before? How did yours differ from mine?

Did you partake in any last-minute Thanksgiving holiday crafts this season?

 

Linking up with: Wow Us Wednesdays, And Sew We Craft, From Dream to Reality,

 

DIY Halloween Wine Bottles Decor

It’s that time of year, folks! As September crept by, I began to see the rollout of Halloween decor in all my favorite stores. Of course I made the annual grumble, thinking, “It’s still 100+ degrees out, how the hey can I get in the mood to buy halloween stuff right now?!” But, truth be told, I love Halloween and fall decor. Fall has become one of my FAVORITE times of the year, and I love the pretty colors that go along with this season.

So, during this time, I wanted to try out a new DIY project I had pinned a while back:

Decorative Halloween Wine Bottles

(It should also be mentioned that I’m a bit of a wine-o, and I admittedly indulge in a glass or two of red wine each night.) I took inspiration from here, here, and here, and got to work.

Materials Needed:

  • 7 wine bottles

  • Large pot for soaking bottles 2 at a time

  • Tempera paint in: red, green, white, orange, and black

  • Brushes for painting: a wide brush for base coats, a small brush for details

  • Halloween-themed ribbon (or black tulle if you opt for that look)

  • Krylon gloss finishing spray

 

Directions:

Step 1: Take off the wine labels.

Like an amateur, I attempted to just peel off the label on my first go. Yeah, that doesn’t work too well. So, I Googled some ideas and finally opted for soaking my bottles in a pot of hot (but not boiling) water for 15 minutes at a time. I noticed that adding some dish soap helped for the extra pesky labels.

After soaking, use a butter knife to scrape off the wet labels. It’s ok if some residue from the glue does not come off, but keep in mind this will keep your bottle from having a completely smooth finish.

Empty Wine Bottles for DIY Project Soak Wine Bottles to Remove Wine Labels Soak Wine Bottles to Remove Wine Labels Wine Bottle Removed from Wine Label

Step 2: Paint!

I noticed that the inspiration photos seemed to have a spray paint base, but let’s face it, I’m a college student, and if there’s a way to save money but have the same overall effect, you better believe I’ll find it!

I opted to paint both the base coat background and my designs for the Halloween wine bottles with Tempera paint. Plus sides: Super cheap, dries extra quickly to make coating to faster. Down sides: Goes on thin, so will need plenty of coats, dries with a chalky finish (I found the remedy for this downside, keep reading to find out), and can crack or get air bubbles if you don’t wait for the coat to dry completely before coating again.

painted halloween wine bottles

 

Step 3: Spray with Finish and Top with a Bow.

Because I wasn’t a fan of the chalky finish, and I wanted to make sure my bottles would last more than one season, I went out to the craft store and picked up some gloss finishing spray from Krylon. This stuff is great, since you can use it on practically any surface, and it leaves a clear shine to whatever project you’ve completed. Best part? The store was having a buy 2 deal, so I picked up some chalkboard paint spray from Krylon as well (to use on other projects as seen here and here and here!).

I decided on a cute small ribbon with Halloween colors that would go with all the bottles. I’ve seen some pins where people opted for black tulle, or even spray painted burlap black for a BOO-rific shabby chic look. This is a fun way to change up your halloween wine bottles decor look each season by simply swapping out the ribbon!

diy Halloween painted wine bottles

Halloween painted wine bottles diy project

(Please ignore the Christmas PJ Pants… I obviously have my holidays a bit mixed up! 😛 )

So, what do you think? Have you dabbled in any budget decor for Halloween season? What’s your favorite upcycling technique with wine bottles?

Until Next Time…

Oops, I’ve been MIA!

Hey there my dashing dears!

I meant to blog more these past few months. I realllly did! But I have been MIA: Missing in Action Adventure!

I’ll have plenty more scrumptious restaurant reviews for y’all soon enough, but I just wanted to give you a taste of why I’ve been virtually absent on here the last couple of months!

Late May through Mid-June

I flew back home to sunny California and had a great time catching up with family and friends.

20130527_144625 20130527_144642 IMG_20130527_170923 IMG_20130530_184922 IMG_20130531_213052 IMG_20130601_214446

 

In June, my girlfriends and I set off on an adventure: our first girls-only trip outside of California! We’ve known eachother for 6+ years, and were so thankful to have the opportunity to catch up with one another on a 9-day long trip to Maui, Hawaii!

I will blog more about that adventure later, but here’s a little teaser from our time in paradise:

Boarding the Plane to Maui aerialview jump threeamigos bay luau

And of course, after all the fun, it’s time to head back to reality! Since my return back to Texas I’ve been working, starting my first semester as a Senior in college (I’m set to graduate December 2014), and enjoying what my little college town has to offer!

Just popped in to say hello. I will be back with adventure catch ups and DIY projects SOON!

 

 

DIY Sock Bun Tutorial

I don’t know about you, but I try to wash my hair every other day because of its oily-ness. My roots get oily, but my ends stay dry and brittle, especially if I over-wash. Unfortunately, wearing my hair down isn’t always an option, whether it’s because I’m on-the-go, don’t have time to do my hair, or am experiencing a case of “second-day hair.” When this happens, I turn to the sock bun.

I love a well-made sock bun, because while it takes just minutes to complete, it looks chic all day, and is work, school, restaurant, gym, bar-ready. It’s one of the most adaptable hairstyles depending on the occasion, and is easily accomplished in just 3 easy steps. See for yourself and learn how to perfect the sock bun in my Step-by-Step video:

Step-by-Step Video Tutorial for a DIY Sock Bun

 

Pictures and Written Instructions

In order to create your sock bun, you will need the following items:

DIYsockbunneededitems

 

To create the sock bun cushion, follow the steps provided at the beginning of the video. You will want to cut your sock as shown in the following picture:

cuttingsockforbun

The sock bun is so versatile, and can be achieved in three easy steps:

3 step sock bun

Step 1

Step 1 Put Hair in Ponytail

Step 2

roll bun with sock cushion

Step 3

 secure sock bun with pins

The Final Result

After these three simple steps, you should be left with a donut-shaped bun like this!

diy sock bun tutorial result

 

 

Let me know how it turned out for you, and what other hairstyle tutorials you would like to see! Stay tuned for more DIY tutorials to come! 🙂

 

The Brilliance of Using Bedsider.org

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bedsider.org. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

“Hey Mom, I want to get on the pill.”

Levora Birth Control PillThis doesn’t seem like the typical thing one would openly say to their mother, especially when away at college and just-turned 21. But what an outsider may not realize is that my decision to start taking birth control was not for the typical desire to keep from getting pregnant, but rather for stability.

I was always very irregular then it came to my Time of the Month (TOTM). Sometimes I’d start at the end of the month, sometimes I’d have my TOTM in a three week gap, other times I’d go 2 months before starting again. This irregular cycle was crippling in my life. I would cramp up at random times, and be in extreme pain when I’d skip a month. I would get moody and irrational, and not realize until after the fact that this was due to PMS, as I didn’t know when I was supposed to have PMS. And forget wearing white or khaki, I never knew if today could be the day I started when I put on clothes. I can’t tell you how horrifying it would be to be in the middle of cheering at a football game in high school, and after finishing a routine realize that I started, and had exactly 5 minutes to make it to the bathroom before I visibly stained my white cheer skirt.Read more

Review: Cajun Cafe at the Market in NOLA

Disclaimer: A Dash of Sarah was not compensated for this post by The Cajun Cafe at the Market in any way, shape or form. All of the following is of my own opinion, and does not reflect the opinion of those who work or own the establishment.
Restaurant Rating
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Food was flavorful and excited tastebuds with spice, without being too hot.
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The cafe itself was colorful and vibrant, while the food was delivered on basic dishes and plastic holders.
Pricewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Exceptionally priced, given the high-tourist area and high-quality food. However, you must pay separately for water.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Coming out at a 4.5, Cajun Cafe is a great choice for cajun food in New Orleans, LA.

Cajun Cafe at the Market Review

Overview

In March, I visited a close and old friend Brooke in New Orleans (I know I know, why the heck does it take you so long to review a place, Sarah?! Forgive me, my head has been buried in the figurative sand that is college). During my few-day trip, we decided to eat any and all cajun/creole food I had heard was to die for there. While items like poboys and beignets were on the list, one obvious entree to be consumed during this road trip was jambalaya. The question was, where?

After a quick trip to Cafe du Monde (quick being the key word… Brooke and I only had a certain amount of time on the parking meter, and had to make our visit at the French Market FAST!), we headed to the French Market and began browsing fast-paced-walking around.

Atmosphere

Jambalaya sign

We suddenly stopped when we came up to this festive, bright little cafe on the side. In big bold words their chalkboard sign read: JAMBALAYA, CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE, GUMBO, and RED BEANS AND RICE. Although we had just consumed our share of beignets, we knew this was the place we had to stop at to get my real feel of New Orleans Cajun-Style food — The Cajun Cafe at the Market.

The little cafe is small and quaint, and colorful, which is probably what grabbed our attention so quickly. There were numerous chalk signs saying things like “Vegans Eat Here” and “Kids Burgers and Hot Dogs,” showing that this little place caters to any and all tourists, no matter how picky.

beverages displayAlong with the food suggestions, there was a cute little drinks display, bearing the words “ICE COLD WATER” among other terms like “sweet tea” and “can of soda.” How festive and bright are their displays? It just puts you in a happy mood to be sitting up at their little bar there.

They had every drink imaginable from the obvious water and sodas to Monster energy drinks, Minute Maid, sweet tea, Powerade, and little barrels of various-flavored fruit punch. Brooke and I had just enjoyed a latte over at Cafe Du Monde, so we decided on just having water, but I couldn’t keep from snapping a shot of the whole display! I love places that make their drink options visible like this. Especially in a fast-paced and busy atmosphere like the French Market. It makes the selection that much easier.

pulled pork and hot sauceWhile we were deciding on what we would eat, I checked in on FourSquare and noticed that quite a few people were recommending the Cajun Cafe at the Market as the go-to place for hot sauce. Apparently, while lots of shops on Bourbon street and around the market have a variety of hot sauces to purchase, the Cajun Cafe has a great selection at a reasonable price. Just look at the variety there on the shelves in that picture! I wasn’t in the mood to buy any since we were already sitting down to try a new cajun meal (and let’s be honest, my heartburn won’t allow for it), but I can see why people would come there for that specific purpose.

Cajun Cafe at the Market Food Review

Finally, by looking around at what others were eating at their small bar, we decided on an order of Veggie Jambalaya, and an order of Crawfish Étouffée. While we waited for them to make up our food, we were in a prime spot for people watching. And let me tell you, the people watching is FABULOUS at the French Market!
Me and the MealsIn a decent amount of time, our plates were ready and presented to us. The Crawfish Étouffée came in a sturdy ceramic bowl, while the Jambalaya was delivered in a paper to-go carton, with decorative black-and-white paper wrapping around the delicious-smelling entree. The Crawfish Etouffee had a hearty scoop of rice placed in the middle, and both dishes were served with a wedge of bread.

I’m one for a kick of spice in each mouthful, so the Veggie Jambalaya was hands-down my favorite. Each bite produced the savory, spicy flavor that accompanies a jambalaya dish. It had enough heat to have me reaching for the water bottle every couple of spoonfuls, but not so much that I was sweating or breaking out the Prilosec. I was a bit apprehensive to get the veggie jambalaya (I chose this option as I wasn’t in the mood for sausage), but I’m so glad I did. The heaping helping of veggies was the perfect amount of food to keep me full, but not over-stuffed, while allowing me to enjoy the delicious flavors of the dish. Every bite I consumed reminded me I was in New Orleans and finally getting to grub on some real, downright authentic cajun food.

Brooke took a liking to the Crawfish Étouffée, partly because it was the milder entree of the two. However, I can’t blame her fondness over the dish. As I write this, I’m craving a serving, myself. The dish was creamy and flavorful, but without being as spicy as most cajun dishes. You have the flavor of the crawfish without it being too fishy (you know, that taste which gives it away that the meat in your meal used to swim in the water), and the spices soaked into the rice, which was cooked perfectly. Each spoonful screamed of the perfect cajun comfort food, and left you with a smile on your lips. We seriously couldn’t help but murmer “Mmm!” with each bite!

Overall

Brooke and Sarah at Cajun Cafe at the MarketBrooke and I left with satisfied stomachs and smiles on our faces after tasting the two dishes. I’m not sure that the employees at Cajun Cafe had seen two little blonde girls scarf down cajun food so quickly, but hopefully they took it as a compliment that we sincerely enjoyed our meal.

I definitely recommend trying out The Cajun Cafe at the Market if you’re in New Orleans and looking for some good cajun/creole food while taking in some sight-seeing. While it may have a busy, hurried vibe (depending on the time of day), and seating may be scarce (Brooke and I got lucky and grabbed someone’s seats as they were just leaving), the food is spectacular, and you can avoid the seating issue by getting your meal in the cute to-go cartons and taking walking to one of the many available tables along the French Market area. They’ve not only got their great food going for them, but they’re an ace on location, cooking up food smack dab in the middle of the French Market!

How many of you have been to New Orleans? Where was your favorite place to eat while you were there?

 

Starting the 30 Before 30 Challenge

Have you ever woken up one day and wondered where the last few years had gone?

Welcome to my current dilemma. Don’t get me wrong, I’m young. I’m just barely starting my twenties. But, I don’t want to use that as an excuse to wait and keep myself from living. I mean really living. Experiencing new things and being able to smile back on all the crazy memories later on. There’s only so much time in our lives we have to do ALL the things we want to do, so why not start crossing those wishes and dreams off of our list and making them a reality NOW?

And thus, I decided to create my very own 30 before 30 list (at the age of 22 in 2013). Here goes!Read more

DFW Bloggers Spring Meet Up 2013

Remember how I talked about how much fun I had co-hosting and getting to meet fresh bloggy faces back in Fall? Well, I was lucky enough to do it allll over again with the DFW Blogger Spring Meet Up!

Strawberry Basil MashThanks to the lovely Nicole of Three 31 who put together this whole get together, we enjoyed a wonderful time bowling, mingling, and sipping delicious drinks at Lucky Strike in Fort Worth., a swanky bowling establishment that offers a full menu and a tempting drink list. See that Strawberry Basil Mash pictured there? It was DELISH.

We each took turns bowling the occasional strike and the ever-present gutter ball. Between turns we swapped blog stories and caught up on what we’ve all been doing both on and off the virtual grid.

Photo via Three 31
Photo via Three 31

Nicole was kind enough to provide cute little bowling awards for us to look forward to throughout our playing. I somehow managed to receive the top bowling champion award, which I find impossible since I’m typically the queen of gutters, but hey, I won’t complain! I guess these gals just bring out my beginners’ luck. 😉

We finished off the good time with dinner at Brownstone Kitchen across the street. The decor of the restaurant was understated and classy, in my opinion.

Pomegranate ChickenAfter an extreme case of indecisiveness between sandwiches, crab cakes, and other mouth-watering choices, I finally decided on the Pomegranate brushed hen with roasted potatoes and green beans. The chicken was a bit over-cooked, but the seasoning and pomegranate glaze was uh-mazing. We were offered complimentary blood orange mimosas toward the end of our meal, which was delicious, as well.

For a more thorough review and more pictures, check out any of these ladies’ review of the event:

Taylor from Pink Heels Pink Truck

Nicole from Three 31

Heather from Dallas Single Mom

Sprummer WreathAs if it wasn’t enough to get to see this girls AND win top bowling champion, I also happened to be lucky enough to walk away with a super cute “Sprummer” wreath (Spring/Summer), made by one of Nicole’s church friends. How cute is it that she implemented flip flops into the wreath’s design? And it contains two of my favorite summer colors: Pink and green! I guess the “luck” of the night just rubbed off of me when I was drawn for that!

All of us ladies left with swag bags filled with goodies and blogging tidbits at the end of the night. My goodie bag contained some Scentsy products (car freshener and room spray), lotion, discounts on various online stores, and cute handmade “Hello.” stationary notecards from Airing Your Dirty Laundry!

Place SettingI seriously appreciate all the hard work and touches Nicole put in for this event (like the bag of socks for those [ahem, me] who forgot to bring some despite constant reminding, the notecards with our names and blogs on it for our place setting, the chevron/striped straws for our drinks). I had a much-needed wonderful time with these ladies, and still smile looking at all the photos. Now, the only question that remains is, when is the next one? 😉