My Apologies!!

Hello friends,

I apologize greatly for this leave of absence! The winter quarter was quite busy and overwhelming! But alas, spring break has come and gone and once again time has become more abundant. There will be many more tutorials coming your way, from bow ties to spring shirts and shorts! Once again I apologize for being MIA and want to thank you for your ever continuous support!

 

Happy Spring!!

 

 

Home Stretch

Well, the quarter is quickly coming to a conclusion. Creating and maintaining this blog has been quite the journey. I have received such positive feedback from both viewers and peers.

When communicating with classmates, the main response I heard was that the topic was captivating, trendy and interesting. Having such a trending topic benefited greatly it the amount of traffic the blog obtained.It was often compared to Pinterest, but many said that it was easier to navigate rather than having to click through links to find the instructions.

“Your blog was helpful and quirky and allows for easy step by step instructions for the reader to do homemade seasonal crafts,” said Zoe Michelson

Peers also appreciated that the photographs used were helpful in instruction and highly relative to the topic. The main criticism I received was in regards to the layout.”I dont like how the pictures are stuck places. If they fit together more cohesively, it would be easier to see. But its wordpress’s layout, its kinda out of your hands,” commented Rachelle Boudoin.

In order to keep this blog going outside of the class and outside of the quarter, there are a few steps that need to be taken. Readers gave feedback in regards to what they would like to see more of. In order to keep views high, this feedback would become routine.

It could potentially become financially viable if it were to be converted to a site with sponsers or advertisers. The number of views and hits that have been received could easily generate enough clicks for it to be profitable. Additionally, this blog has been professionally beneficial. Many companies are hiring interns and employees to run the public relations segment of their companies. These workers are responsible for updating and maintaining the company’s website.

Clearly taking the online journalism course has been of great benefit both for educational experience, but has opened many gates for financial and professional opportunites.

Thank you everyone who has been supportive this quarter. Having advocates has made this process quite encouraging and enjoyable.

Holiday Gifts

So Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Are you in need of a last minute host gift? Perhaps you want to show your appreciation to your neighbors, friends, or in laws? Here are a few ideas for some festive personalized treats.

The Classic Host Gift: Wine

For many events (especially large dinners) wine is typically a go-to gift for a host, Thanksgiving is no exception. But what kind of wine is best and how can you add your own personal touch?

Both white and red wines can work with Thanksgiving day feasts.

Whites

While chardonnay is typically a reliable standby ,its intese flavor may not be the best for such an overwhelming amount of flavors. Instead consider a lighter fruity choice. The most popular of these include Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Reds

Yes, red wine is typically served with dark meat, but lighter reds are just right! Stay away from tart choices like Cabernet. Instead try Pinot Noir, Zinfadel, or Syrah.

Or…

You could marry the two and choose a nice, pink Rose! Its light, crisp flavor may be a nice compliment for a hearty meal.

Personalization:

There are a variety of ways to personalize wine bottles. You can use printable holiday labels like this or this. Or you can customize your own label here. These sites let you choose whether you would like to print free from your home wine labels or tags to drape around the bottle’s neck.

Another way to add your own personal flare is to use a wine bag or box and customize it. You can add photographs, gift tags, and more!

NOT 21? NOT A PROBLEM!

Pumpkin Nutella Bread

This festive holiday treat is both scrumptious and easy to make.

ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
8 tablespoons Nutella (2 tablespoons per mini loaf)

directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Using non-stick spray, coat a layer onto your bread pans. If you do not have spray, canola oil and a paper towel will do the trick.
  2. In a bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together completely.
  3. In a separate larger bowl, combine sugar, canola oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and hazelnut. Make sure the mixture is a smooth consistency.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixture and continue to stir.
  5. When the ingredients are well combined, pour the batter into your pans. Add a spoonful of Nutella to the top of each pan. Swirl the butter into the mixture.
  6. Place the loafs into the oven. The bake time will vary based on the size of your pan. I used four medium sized pans and baked for 40-45 minutes. If you are using smaller trays you may be safer at 20-25, or if you are using one large pan it may take up to 60-65 minutes.
  7. You will know your bread is done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. When done, allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before attempting to remove from the pans. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

And there you have it! Yummy, simple treats!

Pumpkin Candle Votives

Have leftover pumpkins that you feel guilty throwing away? Here is a waste-free way to use them!

Materials

  • Pumpkins (smaller sizes tend to work best)
  • Knife
  • Tea light or votive candle
  • Lighter or matches

Directions

  1. Take a damp cloth, wipe down the top of your pumpkin stem to remove excess dirt or blemishes.
  2. Using your candle as a guide, dot around the border of your candle with a knife.
  3. Take the knife and cut your circle connecting the dots. Be sure to only carve as deep as your candle need be. You dont want it sinking to bottom or falling through completely.
  4. Insert your candle, you may have to clean up the edges in order for it to fit better.
  5. Once in place, melt the wax on the edges to conform to the pumpkin’s shape.

You now have a fun, festive candle! This project is very quick and extreamely easy!

And there you have it!

A complete list of thoughtful, simple ideas that anyone would appreciate receiving!

Have fun and enjoy your holiday festivities!

5 Reasons to Use Pinterest

For those who are unaware, Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to “pin” or save items to “boards,” or themed albums. The posts often include photographs or link to websites that people found interesting. Here are just a few reasons why this website is helpful.

  • ORGANIZATION

The unique organizational structure of Pinterest is one of the biggest draws to this technology. Not only are users free to use as many boards as they choose, they can set how public or private they want the board to be. With such a wide variety of information circulating the site, being able to break it down into categories allows for easier accessibility for future reference and for friends who are seeing your pins. The easy navigation allows for an enjoyable experience.

  • MOTIVATION

Pinterest has a large database of healthy living items such as exercise routines and nutritional recipes. The wide array of fitness and dieting is quite motivational in nature, making it both fun and easy to find exercises that will work on areas you are most concerned with.

  • INSPIRATION

This website is full of inspirations for gift ideas, home decor, seasonal decorations, holiday gifts, wedding displays and favors and so much more. In addition to this, there is a large following of the fashion industry that displays trends and seasonal looks. Whether you are planning a large event or just want to change-up the appearance of your home or yourself you can find numerous ideas here.

  • SOCIALIZATION

Pinterest allows you to connect with your Facebook and email friends. You can see what people you know are pinning and even have the option to “like” or “repin” their posts to one of your boards. You can also search the site in general and can connect with others with similar interests and boards.

  • TIPS & TRICKS

Pinterest is full of do-it-yourself tutorials. There are all kinds of recipes and projects for making things yourself. There are a vast array of ideas for remodeling old furniture, making art or decor with household items, making your own clothes, tips and tricks for baking and cooking, and so much more.
It is both a fun way to spend time and to save ideas for future reference. It is a great way to get and share ideas with others. Overall it is a highly recommended site for lovers of crafts!

 

 

Wall Garden

Sick of living in a room with monotonous white walls? Ever wish you could add a touch of color to a room without having to use paint? Well the answer is here.

Tapestries have been an implement element of decor since the 3rd century B.C. They not only add color and texture to a room, but they can also be quite expressive. The types and styles have a variety of ranges, from elaborate depictions of famous artwork such as this piece recreating”The Birth of Venus” or the more simplistic designs like this elegant floral design.

Recently, tapestries have been trending in design and decor stores (such as Urban Outfitters, World Market, and Pottery Barn) and can be found in younger, hipper spaces. They are popular among college students and young adults alike.

Cal Poly freshman Rebecca Taylor explained what drew her to purchasing one. “I like how it makes it feel more homey,” Taylor said. “It completely changes the mood of the room.”

But many of these shops charge upwards of $50.

“I was looking to get one, but when I saw how expensive they were I decided against it,” stated Brianna White, a Cuesta student.

Here we will be showing how you can make it yourself for under $20.

HOW TO!

The tapestry we will be making here will look as if a garden is growing out of your wall!

You will need:

  • White sheer fabric ( your choice of yardage, I got about 3.5 yards and it cost about $15)
  • Needle, pins and thread
  • Fabric flowers of choice ( I used red roses from the dollar store, 2 bunches of 6 flowers)
  • White Christmas lights (optional)
  • Push pins

Directions:

  1. Iron out your fabric so as to eliminate wrinkles. From her cut the buds off of your flower arrangement. Be sure to save the leaves for this adds to the effect. 
  2. Position the fabric flowers to your desired position. Be sure to change it up so it does not look too orchestrated. Have some facing upward, outward, down, and sideways. Maybe cluster some and have others solo.
  3. Once positioned, sew the flowers and leaves to the fabric. They do not need to be sewn completely around, just tacked on in one spot enough to hold the position.
  4. When finished, take a step back. Decide at this point if Christmas lights are something you would choose to incorporate.
  5. Begin hanging! Using push pins, pull the fabric tight and put a pin in each of the four corners. Add more around the border for security as necessary.

And there you have it! 5 easy steps

Shakespeare Press

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While wandering campus, I came across Cal Poly’s vintage Shakespeare Press Museum. The building houses a working 19th century printing office. The press was a donation to campus in 1964. It has been restored to its original condition and still prints quite beautifully. The museum is open to the public weekly and is located in the Graphic Arts Building.

Harvest Season

The month of October flew by! Here is a look at some of my autumn festivities:

My brother, mom and myself at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, CA.

Underwood Family Farms

I went home for the latter part of this month and was lucky enough to visit Underwood Family Farms. Underwood in a family run farm in Moorpark, CA that allows the public to pick their own fruits and vegetables. During the fall, the farm hosts a harvest festival which includes live entertainment, hay rides, food vendors, corn mazes, countless game and activity booths, and of course, a pumpkin patch!

The festival attracts guests from all over Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. It’s a great family fun environment and a full day of activities.

The farmers market is still available during the festival as well. Fresh produce as well as fall decor are abundant and available to purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Many people are familiar with the LACMA mainly for its exhibits and correlation with the La Brea tar pits. But often times this magnificent structure goes unrecognized. Outside of the main museum this display of varying light posts decorates the walkway. The lights however do not come on until after hours, thus many patrons do not even realize their purpose.

Visitors can walk through this vast structure. The ambiance is absolutely beautiful and sets a very hopeful and inspiring tone.

My dear friend Joseph and I at the LACMA

Sycamore Springs Spa and Resort

Sycamore Springs Spa and Resort, located on Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo is a beautiful getaway. Whether you are coming from near or far, the staff is quite friendly and accomadating and requires quite unique services.
For my birthday, I treated myself to a massage and a soak in the natural hot springs.

The staff was very friendly and prices were quite reasonable. The resort also has many lovely hiking trails through orchards or on the beach. There are a variety of gardens as well that are spread throughout the property.
Yoga and pilates classes are offered throughout the year and are welcoming for students of all levels. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and recommend it to anyone in need of a day of relaxation.

 

 

 

 

21!

For my 21st, I had a relatively classy evening. Being a school night my friends and I took it easy and decided to get dinner and dessert at the Madonna Inn, a gem of San Luis Obispo. While it is a bit pricey, it is completely worth the treat.

My friends and I split two large pieces of pink champagne cake. It was decadent and delectible and quite appropriate for the occassion.

The Madonna Inn is most recognized for the themed guest rooms and lavish decor.

Its a fun place to stop in for a bite to eat or to stay the night.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy checking out these fun spots, I sure did! Stay posted for the next Do-it-yourself project!

Nail Polish!

Nail art has become one of the peaking trends in fashion. Stars like Zooey Deschanel have made this art form quite popular. Deschanel arrived to the Oscars sporting little tuxedos on her fingers and received endless attention from the media. This along with many other festive designs for holidays can be seen just about everywhere.

However, getting your nails done is not the cheapest of thrills. Kim & Co. Salon in downtown San Luis Obispo charges $25 just for basic polish, add a fancy design to the mix and you are looking more along the lines of $40.

Karin Choi of Nails Town in San Luis Obispo said that people are constantly getting designs. “For parties and graduation people enjoy looking special. We can add flowers or designs, but it does cost extra” Choi stated.

But getting the look at home is much more cost efficient and quite simple. Felicity Neher, a nail art enthusiast from Simi Valley explained that doing your nails at home is much cheaper. “Nail polish is like $5-7 a bottle. Youtube is where I get most of my inspiration,” explained Neher.

Mallika Mehrotta, a Cal Poly student shared what manicuring styles she has witnessed recently. “I’ve seen the different layers a lot and colored french tips. The marble effect is another one that seems to be pretty popular right now” said Mehrotta.

So how exactly can you emulate these looks? The tutorial begins now.

COLOR BLOCKING

    Materials:

– Nail polish colors of choice (Anywhere from 2-3 colors) You can find relatively good deals at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart or Sally Beauty Supply

– Tape (Scotch tape works best)

– Sparkle/glitter color (optional) My personal favorite is from Icing

– Clear Coat (optional)

How To Get The Look:

  1. Paint your nails using your first color choice. Do this as you normally would. You do not need a clear coat. Allow the nails to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  2. When nails are completely dry, tape off the desired section. Be creative, use a variety of line directions. Another way to assort your shapes is by using varying sizes of the different colors. Mixing horizontal and vertical lines will give your nails a more color-blocked effect. Be sure the tape is pressed down firmly on the edges so paint can not leak underneath. 
  3. Paint in the exposed section of the nail. Use the tape as a guideline and be sure to maintain gentle strokes. Allow the polish to dry slightly before removing the tape. This lessens the likelihood of smudging or smearing. 
  4. Once you have completed both hands, allow the polish to dry further. If the polish is still tacky, it could potentially ruin the look. 
  5. 05. If you are using three colors, repeat steps 2-4 with your third color.

06. A fun way to add even more pizzaz to the look is to go over one of the colors with a sparkle or glitter layer. This step is optional, if glitter is not your taste or if you are happy with your use of color, you can skip this step.

07. To keep your polish in tact longer, use a clear coat finish.Not only will this protect your nail color, but it will add a gloss to your final look. Yet again, this step is optional. If you do not have or wish to use clear coat, you can skip this step.

And There You Have It! 

Reflection

The amount of positive feedback, both in the comments and in personal emails, has been overwhelming. The do-it-yourself topic appears to be widely appreciated and draws a myriad of readers.

When speaking with peers, they commented that all of the posts were up-to-date and incorporated ideas that tend to be trending. Readers enjoyed the mix between crafting, foodie, and beauty tutorials and found the photographs beneficial. Its so rewarding to hear that viewers are taking these ideas and using them themselves. The step by step process in tandem with progressive photos was one detail that was given high regard. It was also expressed that displaying the prices encouraged people to part take in the activities.

Judging by the traffic numbers, the views sky rocket on days in which posts go up. On days where posts have not been made, the number of visitors to the site tends to decline. Since the tutorials draw more of an audience, keeping on top of this will be a must. According to polls, people do what to see more and are liking what they are seeing. Twitter has been helpful in that it allows followers to know in advance when a new topic is going to be be posted so they can keep an eye out.

The main criticism I have received is that the titles of posts, while charming and intriguing, are not something that is going to be easily searchable. It will be more difficult to navigate to the site if the title does not contain popular wording. Another element that viewers commented on was that they would like to see more linking.

Comments? More feedback? I would love to hear it!