Last month I kicked off a new series called the Creative Habit, inspired by Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit (which I highly recommend reading). For September’s Creative Habit challenge, I encouraged you to embrace the last few weeks of summer weather and go outside every day. However, I really urged you to take it a step further, be present in the outdoors, appreciate your natural surroundings, and remove the extraneous technology, noise, and distractions to better connect with your environment.
Now that fall is in full swing, we’re slowly but surely beginning to spend more time inside. Sometimes these cooler months and increased confinement indoors can really stifle our creativity. We may start to feel more lethargic and less inspired to be creative. That’s why it’s more important than ever to develop and maintain a creative routine!
As we get older and as technology advances, we begin to work with our hands less and less. Instead of writing with pen and paper, we type on a keyboard or tap on a touchscreen. Instead of making cookies from scratch we buy dough at the store or order a batch on Seamless. When was the last time you gardened or painted or did any type of work with your hands?
I recently had an experience that reminded me of the value in working with your hands and experiencing the sensation of touch. I attended a Salsa/Burlesque class, and the instructor encouraged us to touch and feel the movement of our bodies as we danced and use our hands as an extension of movement through our arms. It was here I remembered how the hands can be used as a mode to express and communicate. I realized what a powerful tool we have available to us.
During the month of October, make a creative habit of working with your hands. Find a fun DIY project or pottery class and build something. Pick up an instrument or take a sign language class. Get festive and carve a pumpkin or craft a handmade Halloween costume. The opportunities are endless! How are you going to take on this month’s Creative Habit challenge? Please share your experience making a habit of working with your hands using the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit
Holiday Gifting Tips – Part I
Halloween is behind us. November has hit. It’s that time of year when the holiday season is truly knocking at our doors and our pocketbooks. Maybe you have a big family, maybe you have a million friends, maybe you have a special someone in your life, or maybe your a new mom. No matter what season of life you’re in, the holidays get expensive. If you’re the ultimate champion of gift-giving, deal-busting, and extreme organization, it’s possible you started gearing up for the 2013 holiday season on December 26, 2012. I may be a pretty darn good gifter, I may love a good deal, and I may be a bit of a planner, but even I am not that diligent. I venture to say most of you are like me: just looking to keep your holiday cheer as you watch your paychecks vanish into Secret Santas and potluck parties. Gift giving can and should be fun and rewarding. Let me help you keep your spirits high and your pockets full with ideas on how to maintain your budget and your sanity this holiday season. Over the next two months, I’ll give you tips on how to stay organized, scope great deals, delve into DIYs, and have fun!
1. Get started by making a list of everyone you will likely be buying a gift for this season. I recommend placing people in categories – get as specific or general as you want.
2. Assign general budgets to each category that represent how much you would like to spend per person within that category. If there is someone within the category who is an “exception to the rule,” note that for yourself. For instance, maybe you and your significant other agree to not go over the top for the holidays, so you will spend less on that person than other family members. Perhaps you would like to get a nicer gift for your boss than your other co-workers. You get the gist.
Family ($40 per person)
Friends ($30 per person)
Work ($20 per person)
Kids ($250 per child)
3. Time to check in! Now you’ve got a general idea of how much this holiday season is going to cost you. If you think it’s reasonable to spend $30 per friend, and you have 10 friends on your list, you’re looking at spending $300 on your friends for the holidays. Don’t like how that sounds? It’s time to organize a Secret Santa or gift swap of some kind. If you can eliminate the number of friends (say 5 out of the 10 could participate in a group gifting experience), you could up the amount to say $50. Math time: 5 friends at $30 each + 1 friend at $50 = $200. Now you just saved yourself $100. This could work with your family as well. If you start tallying other categories and they exceed your budget, now is the time to tweak them so you can stick to a plan that is realistic and feasible for you.
You’re one step closer to the best and most budget-friendly holiday season yet! Stayed tuned between now and December 26, 2013 for more tips!
It’s almost 5 o’clock. Maybe you’ve got a small spooky gathering to get to tonight. Maybe you’ll be hanging in handing out candy. BUT, you’re a major procrastinator, and you still don’t have a Halloween costume to wear! Now, you’ve started rationalizing your freaky faux pas:
I’ll wear last year’s costume. (which you already did last year, you repeat-costume offender – you can’t be a sexy angel every year!)
I’ve got to have some cat ears around here somewhere! (Boring! Been there, done that!)
I’m too cool for a costume. (P.S. There’s nothing cool about NOT wearing a costume.)
I’ll just be festive and wear black along with every orange accessory and piece of clothing I own! (Nice try, but you’re still not wearing a costume!)
DON’T be a party pooper this year! DON’T disappoint your trick-or-treaters by showing up to the door in your yoga pants! DO copy my costume – it’s cheap, easy, and awesome!
I took a page from Jeremy Scott’s Spring 2014 runway show and made the easiest, cutest alien costume ever.
1. Simply swing by your nearest craft/fabric store on the way home from work (don’t worry, I would never send you to a Halloween store on Halloween), and pick up some iron on letters and a neon shirt of your choice (if needed – who knows, you may have something like this lying around!).
2. Pair it with things you already have! Grab those metallic bottoms in your closet: skirt, denim, leggings. Don’t have metallic bottoms? Go for coated denim, leather, basic black, or anything with sparkle and add any metallic accessories you have, maybe a purse or jewelry (come on, I know you have some bling that could take this look out of this world, cheesy pun intended).
3. Add your own twist! I attended a Halloween party last weekend, so I had the chance to snag some antennae, glow sticks, and a little laser gun to complete my look. Jeremy Scott’s model was styled with sunglasses. Make it your own! HAPPY HAUTE HALLOWEEN!
Tomorrow is Halloween! Do you have all your ghoulish goodies? Is your house haunted with holiday decor? How about your costume? I’ve got everything you need for a last minute haute Halloween!
Only five components make your perfect Halloween goodies from The Girl Who Ate Everything. You’ll need:
1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
2. Butter-cream Frosting
3. Red Food Coloring
4. Mini Marshmallows
5. Slivered Almonds
No hunch punch needed for your cauldron this Halloween. Try this Spiced Amaretto Apple Cider from How Sweet It Is for your brew of choice. You’ll need:
1. Apple Cider
2. Amaretto Liqueur
3. Spiced Rum
5. Optional Garnishes:
Cinnamon’sugar mix for rims
Apple slices for garnish
Cinnamon sticks for serving
Cushy Black Cats
Run to your nearest Nordstrom for last minute Halloween decor, like this black cat pillow. P.S. Much of this is on sale for a great deal!
Carving pumpkin is a serious undertaking, particularly when there are other ways to find some yummy pumpkin seeds to munch on. Here is an easy and awesome way to make your pumpkin festive from Young House Love. P.S. Since you won’t be carving, your pumpkin will keep til Thanksgiving. You’ll get the most bang for your buck!
Why not spook up your car, fridge, or magnetic board? This skull magnet will add a little sugar and spice and everything nice to your wheels, kitchen, or office. P.S. Live in Roswell, GA? You can snag this magnet tomorrow just in time for Halloween at The Pie Hole Roswell!
The Ultimate Guide to Your Best Halloween Costume Ever!
Ladies, this is by far the most extensive collection of Halloween costumes I’ve discovered yet! Check out this guide from Rent the Runway. You will win the costume contest with one of these looks!
Ever have one of those days where you just don’t want to get out of bed? If you decide to play hooky, a little retail therapy never hurt. Today I’ve got a deal from one of my favorites: Free People. Hautelook is hosting a Free People event now through Friday at 11am EST. Here are my picks to cozy up with while you’re dreaming of curling up in bed!
1. Striped Pullover: Every girl needs a basic stripe in her wardrobe, and this black micro-stripe pullover is pure perfection for Fall. This top keeps it trendy with a pop of lace detail on the sides!
2. Cape Dress: If you love a bohemian look, this is the ultimate flowy frock. Transition this through Fall with a knee high boot and a structured jacket.
P.S. Thinking of being a hippie for Halloween? This would be the perfect costume to wear after Halloween! Great investment piece!
3. Lace Top: Lace is the ideal texture to add to your Fall wardrobe. Layer this lace top with leather or fur for a fabulous Fall look!