January 2, 2018

Coffee Crawl: Silver Grizzly Espresso

Howdy! It's a well-established fact that I am a coffee addict. What can I say, it taste good, it helps you stay alert, and coffee shops always have the best atmosphere.  I love going to different shops and studying or catching up with friends!  My love for coffee shops spawned this idea that what if I shared my experience at different coffee shops I try.  I decided I'd call this new series "Coffee Crawl".  I'm honestly very excited to start this! Partially because I have an excuse now to drink coffee & because I love inviting y'all into parts of my life! 

To kick off Coffee Crawl, I went to a local coffee shop in my hometown, Silver Grizzly Espresso.  This shop is fairly new.  It only opened in 2016. This was my second time going. I love the ambiance of the place.  Its located in downtown Longview, Texas which gives it a quaint feel.  They have this large window bar seat which I just live for! Both times I've gone that's where I end up sitting.  I'm a sucker for natural sunlight so any time a place has adequate window seats its a plus in my book. Of course, if darker is more your style, they also have plenty of seats away from the window, as well as a variety of seats that offer people a place around and talk over a cup of joe.  A variety of potted plants (biophilia in the works) adds a relaxing vibe to the whole place!  According to social media, they host a variety of different events such as art walks and barista showdowns. Honestly, if I went to school in Longview, I'd probably live at the Silver Grizzly Espresso.  

Of course, by this point y'all are all wondering "well hows the actual coffee"? The answer: Good! I've had their drip coffee and did not have to add any sweetener or cream to it at all and it was super tasty! If you pay an extra dollar on their drip coffee, you can actually have as many cups as you want.  I think this would be perfect if you were there late studying! Additionally, I tried a latte, and you can definitely taste the espresso, but overall it was a smooth latte to drink! Looking at their menu, they also offer tea, craft beer, and pastries.  Honestly, I think anyone could find something they like there. 

I brought my camera with me, with the intent to take some quality photos, but as life would have it I only got a few shots before the battery gave up on me! So to give credit where it is due, about half of the following photos come from Silver Grizzly Espresso's facebook page. Totally check out their page to see more awesome photos and for details on the location, menu, and hours.  If y'all happen to check it out, let me know! 

January 1, 2018

DIY New Years Resolution Mug

Oh, New Years. The time for resolutions and goals that aren't kept because life begins to happen.  I personally never make "New Years" resolutions, but every semester I make goals for the semester.  I always find it easier to keep with a goal if I only look at it from a short-term perspective. With that being said, I went ahead and made some long-term, overarching goals, for the purpose of this DIY!

When brainstorming up New Years DIYs, I wanted to come up with something that would actually be helpful in reminding me of different resolutions.  It is a well-established fact that I am a full blown coffee addict.  What do coffee addicts use every day? A mug of course!! What a perfect way to start your morning off by visually seeing your resolutions as you drink your cup of joe! This DIY New Years Resolution Mug is a helpful, and useful, reminder of your New Years goals.

Materials Needed:
White Ceramic Mug
Metallic Sharpies
Black Sharpie
Washi Tape

To being, take your tape and section off your mug in a variety of different crisscrossed pattern.  Next, take your metallic sharpies and color each section in fully.  Once the sharpie is all dried, take a black sharpie and write one of your resolutions in each of the sections. Now, let air dry for 24 hours.  The next day, set your oven to 350 degrees and place your mug in for 30 mins. This will seal the sharpie on the mug.  You can wash this mug no issue now!  After thirty mins are up, carefully take your mug out of the oven and let cool.  Now you're  good to use your mug! Let me know what some of your new year's resolutions are below! Happy New Year!

DIY New Year's Headband

Happy New Year! Wow, it's 2018! I am so excited to see what this year has in store for everyone! I have a feeling this will be a good year! I don't know about y'all but whenever I hang out with people for New Year's I just love to wear the classic New Year's headbands. Unfortunately, you always have to buy the New Year's headbands in a pack, which can cost you around $10.  I'm a poor college student. I wanted to figure out how to make a headband for less! This DIY New Year's headband cost me around  79 cents. Talk about cheap!  Here's how to DIY your own New Year's headband.

Materials Needed:
Old headband
Glitter Ribbon
Glitter Paper
Hot glue

To begin, hot glue the tip of the ribbon to the end of the headband. Then, carefully wrap the ribbon around the entire headband, being sure to cover it all.  Next, you'll take your glitter paper and cut out the year. To help with this, I got on my computer and printed out the numbers in order to give me a bit of a template to use. Once your letters are all cut out, hot glue them to the top of the covered headband.  Using leftover ribbon cut and curl the ribbon using your scissors.  The best way to curl the ribbon is to slowly glide it across the blade. Be careful not to slice yourself! Then, hot glue these curls in any pattern you like. I put mine around my year.  Finally, Cut a small piece of tulle, roughly the length of the headband, and scrunch it up.  You will then glue it to the backside, behind your year.

Now you're ready to rock New Year's Eve in style! I got a ton of compliments on this when I wore it to my festivities! Let me know what some of your New Year's plans were down below in the comments! Happy New Year's Y'all!

December 31, 2017

12 Truths About Being a Landscape Architecture Student

If you've been following my blog for a while or read my about me page, then you more than likely know I'm studying landscape architecture at the greatest university known to man, otherwise known as Texas A&M for all y'all none cult members (hate to admit it, but us Aggies are a cult).  I adore my major.  I transferred into it my sophomore year (as well as transferring schools in general), and I still believe that was one of the best decisions I've made. 

Landscape architecture isn't an incredibly popular major, with graduating class sizes averaging 30 people, so undoubtedly its a misunderstood major. I thought it would be fun to share some little truths that all landscape architect students know about all too well. 

  1. Projects will never be done// Oh you will spend hours, days, weeks, months on a project, but truth is, it'll never truly be finished. Sure, you'll get it to a point where you can present it and turn it in, but after having it chewed over by the critics you'll come to discover that there is SO much more that you could have done.  That's the thing with designs, there is always more than one solution and elements you can change and alter.  When the time comes for you to include the project into your portfolio, you'll probably still hop into Photoshop and tweak a few things before putting it in there.  Heck, even semesters down the line when you're looking at work from previous design studios you'll think to yourself "Man, I really should have done this or added that to this project". The work is never done. 
  2. People will mistake your major for a landscaper or lawn service// "Wait, so you're going to college to mow lawns"?! Yes, this is actually something I've been asked. Some people get a little closer and mistake the major for landscaping, although they still question the need for a 4-year university with that too. I've started to get into the habit of telling people that landscape architecture is like civil engineering, but we make stuff pretty. 
  3. Friends & family will want you to design their yard// People you know will volunteer their yard as "free practice" and want you to have a look it, and come up with a cool design for them. I mean I can't blame them for asking, they are just using their resources.
  4. You'll start analyzing every outdoor space you're in// The more you learn about landscape architecture theory and urban design, the more you'll analyze every space you're in and try to figure out why certain elements were used, what makes the space work, and what detracts from the space. All the while, explaining everything to your non-architect student friends. 
  5. You'll call plants by their scientific name// "Oh, look at that beautiful Quercus virginiana." After spending a couple semesters learning the scientific names to over 300 plants, you're gonna wanna show off your mad skills to people. 
  6. You forget the last time you slept// Oh all-nighters... you can't truly call yourself a landscape architecture student if you haven't experienced the derangement that ensues after seeing the sunrise at the studio.  When you see the clock tick along and the only thing you want to do is have a sweet date with your bed, all you can do is cry a little and wait for the sun to come up. Well, I take that back, your eyes will be too tired to cry!  While sleepless nights are inevitable, almost all the best studio stories occur in the wee hours of the morning. Those are the memories you'll bring up at every class reunion. 
  7. Coffee Addiction// I promise, I can stop at any time... You see coffee will trick your adenosine receptors so you won't be sleepy. The perfect liquidy goodness for those long nights in the studio. Even if you don't like the taste of coffee, chances are if you're a landscape architecture student you still drink it. 
  8. Health & hygiene get pushed to the back burner// Long nights at the studio means your food options are limited (i.e. vending machines), exercise doesn't happen (unless you count T-square baseball), and showering is a luxury for the lucky few who get to go home before sunrise.
  9. Other majors pity you// All you have to do is tell someone you're an architecture major and they'll automatically go "Oh you poor thing".  Its widely accepted fact that architect students put in the most hours a week studying (22 hours on average according to this study). Our work is often subjective too, which makes grading slightly harder because there isn't always a right or wrong answer like with other majors. 
  10. You start using buzzwords// Juxtaposition. Conceptual. Biophilic. Innovative. Texturize. Place Making. These will be just a handful of your go-to words you use when giving critiques or talking about your own work. 
  11. You have a love/hate relationship with AutoCAD// Oh AutoCAD, its an amazing tool, but also can be downright stubborn and infuriating.  Don't even get me started on trying to correct the scales on prints... oh the horror.
  12. Your studio mates will become your best friends// At the end of the day, the only other people who truly understand the pain and suffering you're experiencing are your classmates. Y'all spend years together, go on trips together, stay up together, and share a common goal.  These people will become some of your best support system throughout your time at college. I'm not sure what I would do without my amazing Land ShARCH friends.

So, to all you high schoolers out there, wanna be a landscape architect student? 

December 30, 2017

Favorite Beauty Products of 2017

Another year has come and gone! I swear, the older I get the faster time goes. Can someone slow down the clock for me? While there is a lot to say about the year of 2017, I can definitely say I found some pretty great beauty finds over the course of the year! 

I by no means can afford a lot of luxury beauty items so when I do try something, it's got to really be worthwhile for me to enjoy it! I wanted to share some of my favorite beauty products I discovered during 2017! I'm sure several of these beauty products actually came out prior to 2017, but I personally didn't discover them until this 2017.  Let me know if you've tried some of these beauty products and how you enjoyed them! What products are you hoping to try in the New Year? 

Yes to Tomatoes Charcoal Collection// I can not rave about these products enough! This past semester my acne has been in full force due to bad sleeping & eating habits and stress (if you wanna know more about that check out what it's like to be an architecture student).  So many acne washes and blackhead exfoliators that I've tried just have not been up to par. A while back I was reading this article about Zendaya, who has flawless skin, and she said her secret was she tries different face masks. Well, this made me want to give her routine a go and while I was a target the Yes to face masks really caught my attention and at only $2.50 I thought, " hey why not try these".  I chose the charcoal mask since I've always heard charcoal can really pull out dirt.  I was not disappointed! My skin looked amazing the next day! This made me decided to invest in the noes kit and the bar soap as well. Honestly, Yes to has a forever customer with me! I highly recommend trying these out.  I'm interested in seeing how their other products work as well!

Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa System// For years I've wanted a Clarisonic Mia skin cleaner but over $200 dollars that just isn't in my budget. This summer, however, I was watching Kalel's video on her skincare routine on Youtube and she showed her Vanity Planet system and gave a discount code which made the system super affordable! This product is amazing for getting dirt and makeup out of all the small crevices in your face! It came with three different type of brushes (daily cleaning, exfoliating brush, and silicone brush for massaging) and it has dual speeds! It even comes in a nice case! You can use any of your basic facial cleansers with it.  It helps me fight breakouts all the time! 

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser// I have incredibly sensitive skin. Using the wrong soap can send my face into volcano forming mode. After having a nasty case of acne this summer from using this soap at a hotel, I figured it was time to decide what really worked best for my face. I found Cetaphil which claimed to be great for sensitive skin.  It did not disappoint.  It's great to combat dryness, acne, and irritation. I was worried it wouldn't fully remove dirt and makeup but combined with my Vanity Planet it works phenomenally!

Pond's Cold Cream//  Y'all Pond's has been around for ages, and there is a reason why. It works! As I previously mentioned,  I have sensitive skin so even a lot of facial moisturizers cause me to breakout. Which is frustrating because then most acne medication dries out your skin. It's like you can't win! I actually bought Pond's in the travel size just to take with me on a trip, and honestly, I was blown away by the fact that not only did it not break me out but my skin was so soft afterward! They have several different varieties, and I still actually buy the travel size because it's the perfect amount to be able to use up and take with you places!

OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Anti Breakage Serum// I straighten my hair a lot. Like every day pretty much. Most people are surprised to find out that my natural hair is actually extremely wavy! But with all that straightening comes damage. I'm the queen of dry brittle hair. In fact, an ex of mine used to always comment on my "brittle" hair. Which let's face it, even if an ex is a jerk you will always remember their words. So I decided to purchase this product because you always here coconut oil is magic for your hair.  Sure enough, my hair has felt so much healthier! I've even had people comment on my hair being soft! Which is a first for me!

Too Faced Sweet Peach Collection// I've actually done a whole post raving on this collection before, but I still love it! The colors are great, the pigment is fantastic, and its longevity is worth every penny! Did I mention the whole collection smells like peaches?!

Anastasia Brow Wiz// So I'm far from a makeup expert. Honestly, I can't even do eyeliner. With brows always needing to be "on fleek" I needed to find a product that was easy to use and effective. Y'all if your makeup challenged like me but still want good eyebrows I recommend this Brow Wiz.  It's so easy to use and it's pigment and longevity is so good you never have to worry about your brows. After all, your eyebrows are the frames of your face!

Crest 3D White Brilliance 2 Step Toothpaste// Hi I'm Michelle and I'm addicted to coffee. Y'all know what an unfortunate side affect coffee addiction is? Stained teeth! All I want in life is for my teeth to "twinkle just like the stars in space" and "sparkle adding beauty to my face" (If Y'all get that reference comment below and we'll be best friends forever) Most white strips cost too much and lets not even begin to mention professional whitening... I'd have to sell my kidney on the black market to afford that! But Y'all, Crest came out with this two-step toothpaste that actually does an amazing job and getting the tough coffee stains! So this system comes with a daily cleansing paste and then a whitening paste and honestly it's fairly cheap for how well it works! If you're not sure whether you want to pay 12 dollars for toothpaste, they actually offer a trial size!