Jul 24

My $15 Wedding Invitations

As many of you know, I’m currently in the process of planning my wedding. Our invitations we out on Monday, but I felt the need to share, since I save a TON of money by designing and printing my own invitations.

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

I found a kit at a discount store called Ollie’s, which, according to their website can be found in 16 states, but they’re similar to Big Lots, but a bit cheaper. If you have an Ollie’s near you, I recommend going, even if you’re not planning a wedding. Anyway, the kit was originally from Target and came with 50 invitations, and as far as I can tell, generally cost between $18 and $30. At Ollie’s, I paid $7 per 50.

I designed the logo when we first started planning the wedding, and after looking at some invitations on Wedding Paper Divas,  designed the swag across the top in Photoshop. They turned out perfectly. But back to the invitations.

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

These invitations consist of fie parts – the invitation, the inner envelope, the RSVP, the RSVP envelope, and the outer envelope. The inner envelope was reminiscent of the logo that I created, and it ended up looking perfect!

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

The invitation itself has a similar design to the inner envelope, and it is intended to be used at the top, but it worked both ways, and worked better for me at the bottom.

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

I especially love the RSVP cards. The edges are embossed, and I was able to use our wedding logo and the fonts are beautiful. A great tip that I found on the About.com wedding page was to number the back of each RSVP card in case someone’s handwriting is illegible. These numbers correspond to the numbers that you put on your guest list, so if one comes back blank (this happened to me already), you know what happened and who you need to call. It turns out, one of my invitations came open in the mail, and the RSVP card came back to me, blank.

I’m considering offering this design for sale on Etsy as a custom file. Is that something you’d be interested in? Do you love my invitations as much as I do? What do you think?

Jul 22

Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work

SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to WorkOne of my biggest excuses for not going to the gym is the time it takes to change out of my work clothes and into my gym clothes. You have to change your pants, shirt, and bra, and my workout clothes are fitted, so in the hot locker rooms, things can get pretty sticky pretty fast. Paired with an hour long workout, and a 15 minute drive home, we’re looking at a good hour and a half of time to get something done that you really only planned an hour for.

Not long ago, I was thinking that I could skip the part where I change, and find some workout clothes that I could also wear to work, and I came across an article on Self.com. Now, my office has an extremely lax dress code. Essentially the only thing we can’t wear are t-shirts with logos, leggings as pants, bright tennis shoes, sweat pants, and inappropriately short or low-cut clothes. Generally, we just have to use our judgment. That said, the clothing mentioned in the Self article pretty much violates every one of those rules, so I can’t imagine how it would work for anyone with a stricter dress code.

So I thought it through, and this is what I came up with.

1. Figure out what you’re going to wear to the gym.

My workout outfit is pretty basic. I wear a perfect tank from Old Navy, leggings, a sports bra, a regular bra, and running shoes.

 

SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work

Pretty basic, right? But SO not something you can wear to work. Except, I HAVE worn half of this outfit to work. In the winter, it was so cold that I was wearing leggings under my jeans. And I regularly wear the perfect tanks as undershirts because they’re so comfortable, and I’ve even worn them with cardigans and denim shirts.

2.Layer!

The goal here is to put on your gym clothes first thing in the morning and have no excuse when you’re driving home after a long day at work. Here are some examples, one a little dressier, and the other a little more casual.

SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work
SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work

3. Rock it!

Don’t leave behind your accessories and hair. I’ve found that braids are best because they keep your hair out of your face, and if you’re wearing jewelery, you can just take it off and throw it in your gym bag with your heels when you get there. As for the sports bra, you can forego it altogether if you want to, or just wear it throughout the day if you need it. When I’m at the gym, I wear it with another bra because I need as much support as I can get, and I’ll just lift up the tank top and slip the bra on over my head without taking the tank top off. This isn’t the best solution, but it’s better than peeling off all of my clothes and spending 15 minutes changing.

Do you have any suggestions to help speed up your gym process? What do you think of the outfits I’ve put together here?

Jul 21

I Think I Subconsciously Hate My Fiance

I sincerely love my fiance. He’s one of my favorite people, and he’s hilarious. He gets my sense of humor, and he keeps me grounded when I am SO not.SwankyLuv: I Think I Subconsciously Hate My Fiance

But I’m starting to think that I subconsciously dislike him. Specifically in my sleep, I do every possible thing that could annoy him. The other night, he came home from work and I was positioned perfectly in bed. I was asleep on my side and there was no way that we would touch, so I couldn’t set him on fire in my sleep (apparently I get extremely hot when I sleep).

And then he closed the door. As soon the door clicked closed, I rolled onto my stomach and fully into the area that would make me touch him. He woke me up to move, and I slid over – half an inch. After a little bit of coaxing, I finally moved over fully onto my half of the bed, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m constantly laying across both sides of the bed, and sometimes I steal his pillows right out from under his head to hug while I sleep. I’ve pulled his blankets over onto me, and then subsequently flipped them off of the bed on my side.

Maybe I’m just a really bad person to sleep with.

Does your partner do anything funny to you while you’re sleeping? Do you drive your partner crazy when you sleep together? Should we just get a king-size bed?

Apr 21

Household Chemicals

So, the other day I came home and my apartment smelled weirdly of bleach. Which was really strange because I didn’t ask anyone to clean anything with bleach. I very specifically said “Please clean the stove with the rubbing alcohol” because I wanted to know how the thing that I had found on Pinterest (and regrettably didn’t re-pin) worked on our gross looking stove.

SwankyLuv: Household Chemicals

So, when I asked how it worked, I was told “not very well. But the Brillo pads you bought worked really well!” Except it’s still gross because it was my fiance who cleaned it, but I digress.

The rest of the conversation went a little like this:

K: So the rubbing alcohol didn’t work? Why does it smell like bleach?

C: I mixed it with bleach and a little bit of water.

K: That’s not what I told you to do. Did you look it up first?

C: You didn’t tell me to look it up

K: I also didn’t tell you to mix it with bleach!

And then I looked it up, and it turns out that when you mix bleach and rubbing alcohol, you make chloroform! So, after airing out the house for a few hours (did I mention it snowed the day before this happened?), I made a chart.

Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that any of these will or won’t work as cleaning products. I also can’t guarantee that this is accurate. Most of the answers I got were from science website and product sites, and none of these (except for bleach and rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide and baking soda) have been tested by me.

 

Chemical Vinegar Bleach Ammonia Rubbing Alcohol Hydrogen Peroxide Baking Soda Borax
Vinegar No Waste Yes No Waste Yes
Bleach No No No No Yes No
Ammonia Waste No Yes No Yes? Yes
Rubbing Alcohol Yes No Yes Yes? Yes Yes
Hydrogen Peroxide No No No Yes? Yes Yes
Baking Soda Waste Yes Yes? Yes Yes Yes
Borax Yes No Yes Waste Yes Yes

And, so that I don’t leave you hanging, I found a couple of great-sounding mixtures of some of the above chemicals that are supposed to be fantastic cleaners:

bleach and baking soda

borax and hydrogen peroxide

What do you clean with? Have you accidentally mixed the wrong chemicals and made something that you totally weren’t supposed to make? Should I be killing my fiance right about now?

Sep 02

Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

This past weekend was the Detroit Jazz Festival in downtown Detroit. It’s kind of a big deal around here, and there were tons of people there when it first opened on Friday. They closed down all of Woodward for this festival and there’s tons of music and food and everything that you could ever expect at a Jazz festival.

I spend all of Friday staring longingly out the window from my cubicle on the 14th floor at the green and yellow lemonade vendor calling my name. We had a carnival at work, so I had my fill of hand spun cotton candy, and when six o’clock rolled around, I bolted from my desk to the elevator, which promptly stopped at EVERY floor, and walked over to the lemonade stand with two friends from work.

 

Where they then told us they did not take credit cards.

 

Neither did the elephant ear stand. Now, I understand if, five year ago, you would have had to have an internet connection or phone line (which, by the way, I can almost bet was included in the huge cables running to each of the vendors since the Chicken Shack next door took cards) but there are so many ways to get a connection, or collect payments without it, that it doesn’t make sense NOT to accept credit cards.

1. Square

One of the most popular options I’ve seen is the Square reader. It seems like everybody has a Square… even my Pure Romance party consultant, Allison, whipped out a Square at her party so she could accept credit cards on the spot.

SwankyLuv: Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

Square costs 2.75% for each transaction, which, on a $5 lemonade is 14 cents.

2. Paypal Here

Paypal has a relatively new card scanner for iphone and Android that is very similar to Square, but with the familiar Paypal logo.

SwankyLuv: Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

Paypal Here costs 2.7% of each transaction, which would equate to around that same 14 cents, but save a penny on two.

3. Intuit GoPayment

Naturally, Intuit has a reader on the market with very similar specs to the other two. Familiar logo, similar design, but they offer two different types charges.

SwankyLuv: Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

You can either pay $12.95 a month, then 1.75% per transaction, or that familiar 2.75% that everybody else is doing. That really depends on the volume of your business. 1.75% adds up to 9 cents per $5 lemonade.

I doubt it would be a very big deal to your customers if you passed the cost of the credit transactio on to them. Or if you split it with them. Lord knows I would have had NO problem paying an extra 14 cents for my lemonade on Friday.

But let’s say your customer DID have a problem with eating the 2.75% cost. You would then have two options – either refuse the business, or take the cost yourself. When we were told that they didn’t accept credit cards, the lemonade stand turned away THREE paying customers, and probably countless others of our coworkers who don’t carry cash because we work in the financial industry.

Would you pay an extra 14 cents for the ability to use your credit card on tasty, tasty fresh squeezed lemonade? Have any thoughts for other was that businesses can accept credit cards?

Aug 26

Hexagons

I don’t follow home decor trends. But I do follow a lot of blogs, and I definitely noticed a trend this year that’s become HUGE.

If you’ve been following me on Pinterest recently, you’ve probably already seen that my n key doesn’t work my “Hexagos” board and all of the pins I’ve been adding to it. If you haven’t, well, you’re about to!

It all started with this post from Vintage Revivals where Mandi’s daughter(?) gets a bedroom makeover that is TOTALLY AMAZING.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

 

And then I kept seeing it. I found theseSwankyLuv: Hexagons shelves on Amazon and I’m obsessed with them. They’re leather and super cute, and they sort of look like they’re flying out of the walls. They also come in tons of colorsSwankyLuv: Hexagons and styles.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

If you’re looking for a more DIY version of these, A Beautiful Mess has a version over here. I’m obsessed with these and I really really need them.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

If you’re looking for something a little more subtle, Mr. Brown Home has this amazing ($2200) Angeline Chandelier that looks like it could be very easily DIYed. Look for that in the next few months if I can ever figure out how to do it best.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

And as long as we’re talking about trends, we should probably include my favorite trend – concrete. I’m a little surprised I don’t just have a concrete board on Pinterest, but I spent way too much time carefully organizing all those boards to throw in a random one that doesn’t have a home.

Anyway, I recently came across these coasters on Spark Living and I’m obsessed with them. They’re $48 for 4 coasters and oh so worth it.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

And we cannot forget the joys that Ikea has brought us with these HÖNEFOSS mirrors. I love that these can be arranged a million ways, and there are TONS of things to do with these mirrors. Here’s a headboard-like arrangement that I found over on Apartment Therapy.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

How do you feel about the hexagon trend? I clearly love it and want it to continue. I like it a lot more than ikat and chevron, but it’s a pretty even race with pink and gold.

Aug 19

The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

I want to preface this by saying that I am not a truncator (That’s not a word) and I will never be a truncator, but a lot of people are, and a lot of people do it very very badly.

Not only am I a blogger, but I’m also a blog-reader. I use Feedly, since Google Reader went all dodo bird on us.

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

I really just wanted to use that image. Look at his creepy little hands. And Alice is just like “sure, I’ll take your creepy little man-bird hand.”

So, on mobile Feedly all of the feeds have the title of the post, a two line bit of the post, an image, and the name of the blog. Usually, it looks like this:

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

And everything is wonderful. There’s an interesting title, a relatively interesting image, and a good first few lines to make me want to click on things. If any of these blogs truncate (one of them does, and I’ll get to that soon) I’m more likely to click on their blog and actually want to read more, which makes me more likely to want to visit their blog and give them pageviews. Just like how interesting content makes me more likely to want to comment, which means more pageviews.

But sometimes, my feed looks like this:

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

Every single one of these blogs truncates their feed, and every single one of them makes me sad because the way they truncate doesn’t make me want to visit their blog, and actually makes them LOSE the pageviews that they’re hoping to gain by truncating their blogs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure avid fans of these blogs will visit and comment no matter what the feed looks like, and if you have an awesome title, like “Creating a Dream Bathroom“, you’re more likely to get those pageviews, but if you’re a small blog with no followers (you know, like me) truncating your blog in an uninteresting way is never going to get you where you want to go.

So what’s the best way to truncate your blog for the greatest amount of readership? Take queues from some blogs who do it really, really well. That blog that I mentioned above that truncates? That would be Roadkill Rescue, which is written by the same person who writes a number of other blogs, including Infarrantly Creative. She’s pretty much a genius truncator, and if you’re going to truncate your blog, you should model it after hers.

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

Interesting title? Check.

Interesting photo? Check. (Also great for Pinterest)

Interesting blurb? Check.

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

I almost always click on the “read more” link because the truncated part of the feed is so interesting.

The formula for a good truncated feed is pretty simple. Write a good title, write a good first paragraph, create a relevant image, link to your blog, and you’re good to go! But you have to do ALL of them. I’ve seen truncated posts that just say “visit this blog to read the rest!” and don’t link to the post or the blog and it’s like… that’s absolutely NOT going to happen.

I do have to add this. I am vehemently against truncating posts. I could write a whole post about it, but  Kim Werker already did that over here, so you should go read that.

Aug 14

Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

What? A post on a Wednesday?

Who knew that I would stay up until almost midnight making Ashton Kutcher posters on a Tuesday night when I CLEARLY should have been sleeping? I heard bits of his speech from the Teen Choice Awards on the radio on my way to work on Monday and it really resonated with me, but by the time I’d gotten home from work, I’d forgotten about it. Then I saw it on Facebook. Then I saw it on Facebook again. Then I listened to the whole thing and it really struck me as inspiring.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s the video.

Ashton won the ultimate choice award, which I think is something like the lifetime achievement award? And he gave the greatest high school commencement speech ever.

So here’s some posters:

SwankyLuv: Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

(4×6)(5×7)(8×10)

SwankyLuv: Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

(4×6)(5×7)(8×10)

His third point was just too long for a poster, but I think these are the more important two. I’m considering downloading the audio and just listening to it all day every day.

What did you think of Ashton’s speech?

Aug 12

Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

I’m a little less obsessed with Monty Python than I am with the movie Sliding Doors.

If you haven’t seen that movie, go watch itSwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art. Now. Seriously one of my favorite movies.

Anyway, one night I was minding my own business, thinking about the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, and I HAD to make these two posters.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

(8×10)(4×6)(5×7)

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

(8×10)(4×6)(5×7)

This was also shortly after reading The Great Gatsby and downloading a bunch of fonts for my wedding invitations. It was like a whole big pot of creative gumbo swirling around in my brain.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

I try to live my life looking on the bright side. It’s not always easy, and I can often come across as cynical, but my goal in life is to just make people laugh and help them be comfortable. Things can always get better, and life is what you make it. Sometimes you have to fight to find the bright side of things, but it’s way better than being miserable all the time.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

These don’t have a permanent home yet. They don’t even have permanent frames. The one that matches the solid black one is at work with a picture of my brother and I in it. The black swirly one doesn’t even have a wall hanger on it (You’re killing me, Target!), but these will find a home some day.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

I have quite a few more of these swimming around in my brain gumbo, so if you like them let me know and I’ll keep making them! What other posters would you like to see?

Aug 05

Potter Park Zoo

The clematis have bloomed. All three shades of purple, actually!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

On the fourth of July, I had the day off and my brother and his girlfriend had come into town to go to the Toledo zoo. I got a little jealous and decided that wanted to go to the zoo and it wasn’t fair.

Cue Veruca Salt.

So we went to the zoo.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

It was quite a bit of fun and I really enjoyed it, despite all of the crazy mosquitoes and biting flies.

When you enter the zoo, there’s a gift shop on the left with this cute little sign outside of it that I almost died over. SO CUTE!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

To the right is the former home of the coral reef exhibit that I had gotten really excited about while reading Yelp reviews on our hour drive up to the zoo, only to get there and find it inexplicably closed forever. Sad face.

There were super cute mangy arctic foxes (they were shedding their white winter coats for summer) next to the ADORABLE otters. Apparently there were 6 of them, but they had to put them out in threes because one was violent.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Over at the petting zoo, the pygmy goats were hanging out like… goats. One decided to scratch his belly on a log. I regret not going in and petting the goats.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Across the way were some llamas. Doing llama things.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

It was interesting to see a black rhino, considering I’d only ever seen white ones at the Detroit zoo. It gets me all excited to see new animals at all the other zoos.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

What I’m not excited about? PEACOCKS.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Yes, they’re pretty, but oh. my. god. I don’t know what it’s called when birds are trying to get it on, but Potter Park Zoo has a LOT of peacocks who are DEFINITELY trying to get some.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

I got to see a white peacock close up for the first time, too.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

 

The poor peahens were all stuck up on top of everything while the peacocks freaked out and screamed all day.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

I could not get enough of these meerkats, though. They are the most ridiculous, expressive animals in the world and I love them.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

This little guy on the lookout was the best of all, and later when they all started digging holes and lounging in the cool sand, people stopped by in droves to giggle at how adorable they are.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Around the corner, the mongoose were strutting their stuff in their sandy little enclosure.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

This one was my favorite. WORK IT!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Inside the bird and amphibian house, this iguana was being all iguana-y and chilling on a log.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

And in the middle of it all, there were three tigers. One of them outside:

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

And three of them inside behind glass. We were able to get closer to the tigers than I ever had been and it was really exciting!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

The king vulture was quite possibly my favorite animal at the zoo. He reminded me so much of Friar Tuck from Robin Hood. I swear I almost broke into his enclosure and took him home.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

He will be mine and I will call him Friar and I will love him and squeeze him and hold him…

I guess I can’t bring home a vulture, can I?

I almost forgot to add these little gems to the story. Throughout the park, there’s these animal cutouts that you put your face in (I’m sure there’s a name for them) and we took pictures in the tiger one. Me…

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Aaaaaaaand my charming mom:

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

The tigress.

Can you tell we’re taking photos specifically to scrapbook?

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

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