Friday, May 22, 2015

Keeping plants alive

I love plants. I've killed a couple but I've also kept the plants I have alive for quite some time. For me, it was all trial and error and of course research. Knowing what to do and what not to do is important, but it's also important to do what works for you. I don't do everything for my plants that I've read. I've taken things from here and there and also things that I know and I created my own routine. I've figured out what works for the plants I have so I'm sharing my tips with you. These are in no particular order.

Give them names.
This is something that not everyone does, but I like giving my plants names. I don't know why this matters (it probably doesn't), but I think that it's good for a plant to know that it's loved.

Talk to them, play music.
I talk to my plants. I play music for them. I give them encouragement to grow. I usually do this when I think about it, which isn't everyday.

Know when to water.
A general rule of thumb is to water when the first inch or two of the soil is dry. For some plants it's a little longer and for some it's shorter. I check all my plants once a week and if they're dry I water them. If not I wait a week. For my jade and snake plants, I don't check them every week because they don't need frequent watering. 

Have a schedule.
I check my plants on Friday morning. I like to have a set day to do this that way it's easier to keep track of. I always water in the morning.

Quick Tips:
(special things I do for my plants)
1. Water with rainwater.
2. Water once a month with 1 tablespoon of Epson salt mixed with one gallon of water.
3. Group plants together to increase humidity.
4. Mist with water every other day.
5. Rotate plants every day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

JaToya Reviews: Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.
So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.
From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness. 
Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .
For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.
Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

My Review:
Okay can I start off by saying this book made me feel all the feels. All of them. I cried and I cried and I cried some more. This book is sad. Not all of it is said, but really it is so sad. It spans over a period of decades so it allows the reader to experience life with the two main characters Tully and Kate. It's a long read that took me a while to get into, but once I did there was no turning back. I enjoyed seeing the girls turn into women. I enjoyed reading about their problems and how their childhood shaped them. Neither of them were perfect and I found myself loving and hating parts about each woman. The thing I loved the most however is that even though they came from two different worlds, had two different personalities, and they had their differences; they always had each other's back. They were true best friends in every sense of the word and that to me is so beautiful and rare. I didn't agree with the way they handled some things (there was some betrayal) but that's what made the characters and the supporting ones real. They were relatable. Like I said, the book is sad but it is worth the tears. There is also a sequel that I can't bring myself to read because I loved this one so much, but it's on my list. If you're looking for a book to make you laugh, cry, think, and feel all while being entertaining, then this book is for you. I highly recommend. You can thank me later.

Monday, May 18, 2015

DIY Splatter Nails

It's #manimonday. I love doing my nails so on Monday (not every one) you can expect a post that's nail related. This time I'm showing you how I did this splatter, speckled, marbled (???) manicure. I saw a variation of this on Pinterest and I decided to make it my own. That's what I love about doing manicures at home, you can make them unique by choosing different colors.

What you'll need:
At least 2 different nail polish colors. *I used 4 (one as a base color and 3 for the splatter effect)
2 straws *I cut 2 straws in half because I worked with 4 colors
Top coat and base coat *Optional (I didn't use either for this look)
Cotton swabs *To clean up because it can get messy
Paper towel *To rest your hand on so nail polish doesn't get everywhere
Nail polish remover *Again to clean up

Step 1
Apply base coat (optional)

Step 2
Apply 2 coats of whatever color polish you've chosen as your base (I chose Essie Playdate)

Step 3
After both coats of your base color is dry, it's time to splatter. Lay your hand on a paper towel to prevent polish from getting every (a flat surface is ideal). Next, using a straw, dip one end into the color of your choice. Using the other end lightly blow into the straw to splatter the nail polish onto the nail. Repeat on all fingers.
You can just use 1 color to splatter but I used 4. The process is the same. Just dip one end of the straw into the polish and blow into the other end. This creates the splatter effect. You can use as many colors as you want, but make sure to use a different straw for each.

Step 4
Clean up any polish that may have gotten on your cuticle with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.

Step 5
Apply top coat to seal in the design and allow to dry.

Step 6
Enjoy your work!

I think this looks really cool and I love that each nail is different. I can't wait to try this with different colors. Hope you enjoy!

*There may be other tutorials like this elsewhere. I am aware that I didn't "invent" this technique. I just thought it looked easy and I wanted to try it out for myself. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Choosing a houseplant

I'm no expert when it comes to houseplants. I just know what works for me. I've done research and since I have many of my own, I've kind of figured out what works for them. I do however have some tips that I've learned and things I do that have kept my plants healthy thus far. Here are some things I've learned along the way.

1. Know your living space.
It's important to know what kind of environment you live in. Does your space receive low light or bright light? Do you live in a humid area? A cold climate? All of these (and others I didn't mention) factor in when deciding what type of plant would best suit your space.

2. Do your research.
Before thinking about getting a plant you need to do your research. Find out what plants do well in low light. Find out which ones require little care or which ones are a little more high maintenance. Find out which ones are harder to kill (hello snake plants). It's so important to know what a plant needs so make sure you know before you buy.

3. Know the type of houseplant parent you'll be.
You know better than anyone the amount of time you have to care for a plant. All plants need some type of care. If you know that you don't have time to, then you might want to choose one that's low maintenance like a succulent. 

4. Choose a healthy plant.
When buying plants, there's nothing more important than buying a healthy one. That's where doing your research comes in. Knowing what a healthy plant looks like comes in handy. Make sure to check for dying leaves, pests, and other things that can make any houseplant you chose a bad one. You do not want to start off on the wrong foot. 

There are so many more things I could share but these are the basics. I hope this helps. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Are you a settler??

I'm somewhat of a settler. What I mean is that I settle. I settle with how things are and sometimes I don't expect them to get better. It's something that I'm working on because let's face it, it kind of sucks to be a settler. I mean settling is a bad thing, right? I'm so much a settler that I won't speak up even when I feel things aren't right. I'm talking in relationships and in my daily life. One example that comes to mind is the time I ordered a ring online. It was a ring that I really wanted so I was excited to get it. The ring is beautiful (I still have it) and I don't regret buying it. When it arrived at my house, the band of it had little indentations in the silver. It wasn't much, but looking back I was just satisfied with it not being the way I originally thought it was online. I could have (and I should have) just returned it and got another one, but because I'm just so much of a settler (not sure what else to call it) I just accepted the ring. Maybe not a good example but I think you get the gist. I'm not sure why I'm so comfortable with things the way they are, probably because I'm a little impatient. It's not a bad thing to be happy in good times as well as bad. I'm just saying that sometimes getting so comfortable with things when they're bad can lead you to never accept and expect things to be good. Or never even try to live the life you deserve simply because you're comfortable. Like I said, it's something I need to work on. I know that I'm worth so much more and that I (and you for that matter) should never settle. I don't care what is in life. Whether it be a ring you ordered online, a guy that you're not happy with, a job that you hate, or whatever. Settling just sounds so mediocre, and I don't want no mediocre.

What is something that you've settled on in life?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pin-spiration Friday

It's Pin-spiration Friday! If you're new, this is where my obsession with Pinterest and my love for blooging meet. Here I share a few of my favorite pins from the past week and sometimes there's a theme. This week's theme is plants. Houseplants. Garden. Green. I'm obsessed. I plan to talk more about that next week, but for now you can follow my new instagram page dedicated to my plants here and you can always follow me on Pinterest here because I'm always pinning. Let's get started!

I love everything about this picture from the hanging planters to the plant itself. If you're wondering its a donkey's or burros tail and I recently added one to my little collection.

I have one word, OBSESSED. Okay I have a few more words, but I just love this. I have 3 snake plants in my collection, this photo makes me want even more!

This is literally my dream.

Succulents. Hot pink gravel. Enough said.

I have 4 jade plants so I'm a kind of biased but I love them. They're so easy and practically indestructible. Also this diy vase is amazing!

That's all for this plant themed Pin-spiration Friday. Are any of you guys as obsessed with plants as I am? I can't be the only one. 
Have a great weekend guys!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Let's talk about...plants

I want to start this off by saying I hope you guys are liking some of the changes I've made to le blog. I'm changing my content up a little and I'm going in a little bit of a different direction. My whole vision for this blog has changed drastically. Well maybe not drastically (that's me being all dramatic) but its changed. Things are still in the process of being perfected, but so far I'm liking it. Let me know if you are. So back to the subject at hand. The subject of plants. Houseplants. Succulents. That sort of thing. Over the past few months, I've become literally obsessed with plants. I'm not exactly sure how it started but the love is real. All I want to do is fill my space up with as many plants as possible. I love the way they look and not only that I enjoy taking care of them. I also enjoy, probably more than I should, going on Pinterest (you can see what I've been pinning here) and looking at all the plants and how people have decorated with them. I research how to take care of them and everything. I told you the love was real. I've even created an Instagram page (follow here) with my mom to showcase all our plants. I'm crazy, but there are worse things to be obsessed with. I thought that since plants are the new loves of my life I could incorporate them into my blog. If you're not into this stuff there will be plenty of other content, but that's just where my head is at right now. I've done so much research on how to choose the right plant for you, how to take care of it, and all that stuff. I'm somewhat of an expert, not really but I like to think I am. I want to share my knowledge with you all here cause we're friends. So let me know what you think, and if you think I'm crazy that's okay. I agree.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Don't take it personal

Okay, let's just get it out of the way. I'm totally singing don't take it personal by Monica right now, it's in my head. I can't help it. But in all seriousness, don't take it personal (baby, personal baby). There's a quote (and I'm paraphrasing here) that says there's freedom in learning not to take everything personally. That is so true. I'm one of those people who takes everything personally, or at least I used to. I'm sensitive, but I also thought everything was about me. I thought this person is doing that just to get back at me or they're doing this because they know I hate it. That kind of thinking is so self centered and stupid and to be honest, I'm neither of those things. Don't ask me why I thought this way, I'm going to chalk it up to just being immature. It's amazing what a few years and life experiences can do for you. Back in college I had a string of bad roommates (we'll save that story for later). I'm talking messy, loud, partying, and disgusting roommates. We didn't get along because little old me was in college to study not to party, what a concept! Every last one of them would do things like leave dirty dishes in the sink for days, leave food out, leave clothes everywhere; you get my drift. I would always think that they were trying to annoying me or get back at me; that they were doing it intentionally. Who knows? Maybe they were, maybe they weren't. Maybe just maybe it wasn't about me at all and that was just who they were: slobs. Everything is not about me, it's not about you. People are going to do things that might make you mad and that you don't agree with, but I had to stop taking responsibility for what other people were doing. I had to take me out of the equation. Sure there are vengeful people out there that do things to get a rise out of other people, but again, that's not my problem. It's not personal and if it is, I have to stop taking it personally. There really is such freedom in that like you wouldn't believe. It's amazing to not let every little thing someone does get to you. When people would do things to me, it would hurt and I would turn it around on me. People still do things that hurt me (and they probably always will) but the way I respond has changed. I don't let it get to me. Instead of thinking it's all about me, I realized that it's on them. They're the one with the problem and I've got enough of my own. And sometimes they might want to make you mad, but isn't it amazing to be calm when people expect you not to be? This is totally unrelated but I love that quote (again paraphrasing) what people think and say about me is none of my business. I'm going to turn it around and say what and how people act towards me and how they treat me is none of my business. Unless I'm being a bitch then it's on me.

Do you take everything personally? What are some ways you can change that?

Friday, May 1, 2015

JaToya Creates: DIY Gallery Wall

I'm obsessed with gallery walls. I loved the idea of having one in my room, but since my living situation is one that I hope isn't permanent, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on one yet. I know that when I get my own space having a gallery wall will be something I spend more time on, but for now, something easy and temporary would do the trick. I love the way it turned out and it's perfect for my room at home which doesn't have much space. It looks harder and more expensive than it actually is so I'll show you how I did it. Remember the best part about this is that is can be easily customized!

1. Choose the images you want to print.
I chose a combination of quotes and fashion illustrations that I mostly got on Pinterest. When I get my own space I definitely want to order some prints but hey, a girls gotta work with what she got.
This is also the stage where I figured out what size I wanted the prints to be. I did a combination (with no rhyme or reason) of 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10 prints.

2. Print out your images.
I just used regular printing paper which is something that I would recommend if you're just starting out and I used a regular printer. Nothing fancy yet.

3. Find your frames.
Again, we're doing things the inexpensive way so I just got frames that were sleek and plastic. I think the frames I have are around $1, maybe a little more. If I were really decorating a space that was mine, I would get better frames. These work just fine for now.

4. Cut your prints to fit the frames.
Most inexpensive frames come with a cardboard insert. That is what I used to trace along the back of the images. I did this lightly with a pencil. It's an easy way to make sure your prints fit in the frame you're using. Just make sure you have the cardboard centered around your image and that you don't press too hard with your pencil. After you're done tracing, cut around the line you traced and your print should fit perfectly in the frame.

5. Figure out how you want to hang your prints.
You can get all fancy with this step, but I didn't at all. There are tips on Pinterest (really what doesn't Pinterest have) that show you how to figure out how to hang pictures. I just went with it and hammered nails in the wall in a way that I thought would look good. I don't recommend that, but it's what I did. I liked the idea of the frames being hung in different ways but also creating a uniform shape. Again, it worked for me but you might want to take more time on this step.

6. Hang your prints.
Once you've figured out how you're going to hang your frames and you've placed nails in your wall; it's time to actually hang them. You can play around with this and have fun until you're satisfied with how it looks.

7. Enjoy.
Again, I love the way it turned out. It looks really chic and no one would know I did it myself. 

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