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?

Feb 28

Veggies

This was originally posted on kimschoenherr.wordpress.com on July 11, 2011.

 First of all, it rained today, so yay! The power actually went out at work for 3 seconds, which doesn’t happen. This is from earlier today:

SwankyLuv: Veggies

So, when I was pulling weeds on Saturday, I was admiring my vegetable garden, and I thought I’d share.

SwankyLuv: Veggies
That’s one side, with the 4 tomato plants, 3 of which are significantly larger because they get sun 13 hours a day, while the fourth gets it about 9 or 10.

These are my current pride and joy – my onions. I didn’t expect these to grow at all, let alone this big. I thought I’d get maybe 2 or 3 small onions, but at this point, every single one that we planted is growing, and they’re pretty big. Each leaf represents one layer of the onion, and they’re all at least 8 or 9 layers so far.

SwankyLuv: Veggies

They smell amazing, too.

I’m also pretty in love with my carrots. These were planted early June from seeds, and I didn’t expect them to grow at all, let alone how many of them are growing. They’re pretty darn cute, too. Here, you can see some carrots next to our super cute

SwankyLuv: Veggies

Here’s the cucumbers you can’t see in that first picture:

SwankyLuv: Veggies

I hope they’re the climbing kind instead of the bushing kind. I don’t know, though, I wasn’t there when they were purchased. The climbing cucumbers did really well last year, though, so I’m hoping these do well too. They were pretty tasty.

Another thing that did amazingly well last year was zucchini. I think we actually still have zucchini bread (just don’t tell Mike and Brandon) from last year, so I hope these do well this year.

SwankyLuv: Veggies

They were planted in this super rich soil from a seed after memorial day, and today, after the rain, those buds opened up and were a beautiful orange color. Which means we’ll get fruit soon.

The thing that I was MOST excited about in my garden was the spinach. I LOVE spinach. I could eat it all day every day. And ONE plant came up early and was getting big enough to be picked. Then Saturday, I went out to the garden and found this:

SwankyLuv: Veggies

Some stupid rabbit ate my spinach! They didn’t eat the carrots, just the spinach (carrots are actually bad for rabbits’ digestive systems) but REALLY rabbit? was the necessary? I really need to put up rabbit fencing.

So finally, there’s the love of my life, my basil!

SwankyLuv: Veggies

I planted it earlier this year from a “plant in the package” kit that was a year old. I expected one or two seeds to come up, not ALL OF THEM! I guess I’ll be buying Buzzy Seeds from now on. They’re the ones you get in the dollar bins at Target, which, if you actually read the packaging, they’re guaranteed to grow. The tomatoes are Buzzy, too. I’ll let you know the flavor when we get some tomatoes out of it, but the basil is an amazing, strong flavor, and I can’t wait to make pesto.

Speaking of Buzzy, we bought a bunch of cutesy pots with the names of the herbs on them (chives, parsley, etc) but it was impossible to get them out of these round pots. I thought I’d killed them all, but we seem to have chives growing.

Back to the basil, though. I planted this in Marchish, and then moved from school and back into my mom’s house. Well, I set the bag of basil on a box in the back of the truck so that I could organize some stuff, and it ended up being closed up in the back, driven around campus a bit, and falling to the floor of the truck! Poor, traumatized basil.

I did prune some basil today. There was a terrifying moment with a beetle, and I’m still too creeped out to look at pictures of beetles to identify exactly what kind it was. It’s sitting on my counter, looking pretty SwankyLuv: Veggies

SwankyLuv: Veggies

What are you gardening?

Feb 27

Batter Up!

This was originally posted on kimschoenherr.wordpress.com on July 10, 2011.

I actually googled muffin jokes for that title. Embarrassing.

So yesterday, I mentioned that I got rid of an obscene amount of mail. Here’s about half of it:

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

I’m a little upset that I missed the rain barrel truckload sale, but oh well. It’s not like it rains anymore anyway.

So after I did that, I made muffins. Now, these aren’t ordinary muffins. I’m on weight watchers, and an ordinary muffin is too many points. These are low fat, low sugar, super muffins.

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

Can you tell what I forgot? Yup, the sugar is still in the cabinet above the coffee maker.

I got kind of excited, so no pics of the process, but I measured out the ingredients and mixed them together, and they were this fun grayish color. I also got a little cocky with the eggs and continued to try to separate the first one after the yolk had broken. Lame. Then I put them in the oven and went “Oh no! Pictures!”

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

It’s a bit blurry because I didn’t want to melt my phone, but you get the idea. Beautiful, grey muffin mix. I’d paint a room in my house that I don’t own that color. Just so I can think about these muffins all the time.

And then they cooked. For 30 minutes. It was torture. Which you now get to experience with me.

While I was choosing ingredients, I discovered that we have two different kinds of vanilla extract. One is Costco brand, and the other is from Mexico.

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

My vanilla choosing process went a little something like this: “Hrm… Kirkland? Xel-Ha? Doesn’t vanilla COME from Mexico? Ooo, this one was on sale!”

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

“I wonder how many dollars that is. I’ll google it later. Why does it say pet?” Then I turned the bottle back around and went “OO! Pretty temple. Gonna use the ZelXel-haaahahahahaaa

It’s $9.38, if you’re wondering.

Two muffins are in the oven. One turns to the other and says “Gosh darn its hot in here.” The other muffin replies “holy crap a talking muffin!”

I also love this flour scoop.

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

His name is scoopy. He’s going to mysteriously disappear when I move out unless I acquire a similar one.

Anywhooo, without further ado, blueberry volcanoes!

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

Don’t they just look amazing? This guy’s my favorite:

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

There’s actually a CUP of blueberries in these 6 muffins, which is a lot, but I love blueberries, so I’m a fan.

They’re a touch dry, so the next time I make them (And I will make them again soon) I’ll probably move them down a rack and cook them for 25 minutes and use more oil.

SwankyLuv: Batter Up!

It’s like a blueberry dream. I’m probably going to try something with raspberries next. Or the basil poppyseed ones that I found the other day. We’ll see.

Here’s the recipe

Blueberry Muffins
Yield 6
4 pp. each

Ingredients:
-1 1/4 cups  flour
-1/2 tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
-1 tbsp canola oil
-3 egg whites
-1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
-1 cup blueberries
-1/8 cup sugar (I used baker’s sugar)

Instructions:
-Line muffin pan
-Preheat oven to 375
-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda
-Combine all other ingredients (with the exception of the blueberries) in a separate bowl.
-Toss blueberries into the dry ingredients and make sure blueberries are well-covered in flour.
-Mix in the wet ingredients just until moist
-Spoon batter in muffin pan and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Note: if you don’t toss the blueberries in the flour mixture, the muffins will come out blue.

And here’s some nutrition facts:

Nutrition Facts
  6 Servings
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
Amount Per Serving
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Calories 161.9
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Total Fat 2.7 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Saturated Fat 0.3 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Cholesterol 0.5 mg
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Sodium 260.8 mg
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Potassium 93.5 mg
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Total Carbohydrate 28.5 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Sugars 7.4 g
SwankyLuv: Batter Up!
  Protein 5.7 g

I love this recipe builder at sparkpeople. It’s pretty convenient.

Sep 02

Why Your Business NEEDS to accept 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 to accept 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 to accept 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 to accept 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?

SwankyLuv: Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

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