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Did you get the Memo(bottle)?

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As a business student, I have looked a lot into start-up businesses this year, in particular, the importance of crowd funding and how it has changed the landscape of entrepreneurs in the last decade … Mind you, the word crowdfunding really only emerged in 2006 so technically speaking not even a decade ago but lets not dwell on examinable details like this because ITS SUMMER TIME! Oh golly I am so excited because I’m going on two trips and I’m decking the halls tomorrow!!!!

If you ever have a moment to spare, go onto Kickstarter and have a look at some of the innovative ideas out there. There are some weird and wonderful ideas like the Folding Lamp & ONELID and something that personally interests me greatly: The Spark Planner but there are plenty others that have great potential. One of these ideas that has successfully made it off the site is Memobottle, a project that was launched back in May 2014 and backed by 6118 pledgers and $ 261 148 AUD. To learn more about their journey towards production and distribution, click here.

Memobottle is kind of a sick concept. I don’t know about you but when I used to be a basic beesh with a cylindrical drink bottle, sometimes I would walk around with this curved thing pressed against my spine … well Memobottle has solved that weird back rubbing for me. Its very slim and flat which means it’s the perfect shape to fit in those made to look battered messenger satchels and this season’s It bag, the Chloe Faye, so essentially its hipster and couture approved. I fit into neither of those demographics and after using it for a month I approve too and so do my secretly jealous friends haha. They’ve also just released an A6 size next to their original A5 bottles and you can learn more on their Site, Instagram, Pinterest, FB and Twitter. #ONEBOTTLEMOVEMENT

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DIY Marble Side Table

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Thought I would up my bed side table game by hopping on the marble trend in the least expensive way possible. Considering marble will be out of trend within the next few years, I wanted to do something that would cost me next to nothing. I have been contemplating ordering marble contact paper for a few months now but some rolls cost up to $50 on Etsy which is ridiculous since my side table was probably less than half that price!

ONE To create this side table, print off several copies of this marble print (download here). Take out your drawer and unscrew the knob. TWO Then, trim off the whites of your marble paper and affix it to the surface of your drawer using a gluestick. THREE Neatly, cut away all excess paper and fold it behind. FOUR Measure a piece of contact paper large enough to cover the surface of the drawer and the edges too. FIVE Slowly peel back the contact backing and smooth it over your drawer. If you fail at contacting surfaces, maybe practice contacting some old magazines to ensure your final product is always bubble free. SIX Trim off excess contact and re-pierce the hole where the knob is meant to go. SEVEN Screw knob back into place and you are finished! EIGHT (option lol) Artfully style your DIY, take many photographs and boast to family and friends 😉 Make sure they always stand 5 metres away so they can’t tell if its actually marble or not.

OPTIONAL: Before attempting this side table, I actually made a jewellery holder first. I printed off the marble sheets, glued them to card stock, contacted the whole thing and affixed it to my cork board using white push pins.

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Shelfie

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Did you know bookshelves say a lot about a person? Take the bookshelf test here and then share your shelfie with me! I am a bit OCD with my Ikea expedit shelves; I need them to be their aesthetic self but at the same time, I need them to be functional and hold as much junk as possible. Here are my tips!

ONE: Collect a bunch of boxes and magazine holders to store the unattractive bits. You can also buy very cheap binders and decorate them like I have done here a la Kate Spade.

TWO: Hold onto those champagne bottles, glass candles and jars and fill them with fresh, dead or fake flowers.

THREE: Display your favourite accessories that you never seem to get to use. For me, these are my quirky clutches and my cat flats which have died a bit.

FOUR: Let it go. Its basically impossible for your shelf to resemble a Pinterest shelf so don’t worry too much. Have fun, switch it out regularly and inject as much personality into your bookcase as possible. Magazines, gift bags, candles, travel memorabilia and picture frames are all great space fillers. Try stacking stuff sideways and if all else fails, shove it in a storage bin and try again tomorrow!

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Speckled Easter Cake

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Here’s an indulgent (both in terms of time and calories) type of cake that you can spend your easter long weekend making and eating. Its a four layered densely packed whopper that should be able to hold you over for at least four days!

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Banana Cake

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Prepare two round pans and set aside. Mash ripe bananas in a mixing bowl with a potato masher or fork and set aside. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add in the sugar, and mix until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and eggs – one at a time. Stop the mixer.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients. Mix in the yogurt or sour cream. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the mashed bananas until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until golden – about 22-25 minutes for the recommended size. Cool on a wire rack. Invert the cakes out of the pans once they are cool enough to handle. Cool completely before slicing each cake in half horizontally to create four layers of cake.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 block of dark chocolate

Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whisk until combined. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to cream a double-boiler. Heat, whisking occasionally, until the egg mixture is hot to the touch. Once hot, remove from heat and place bowl on mixer. Whisk on high until the bowl of the mixer becomes room temperature. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the vanilla, butter, and melted dark chocolate. Once added, mix on medium-high until smooth. Place buttercream between each layer of cake before frosting.

Green Frosting

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • A dash of salt
  • Green food colouring

To make frosting, in large bowl, beat softened butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on low speed until incorporated; beat on high speed 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt; beat 1 minute longer. Add green food color 1 drop at a time, beating until a light green colour is achieved.

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Speckles

  • 1 tablespoon of baking cocoa
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

To make speckles, stir the 2 ingredients together to create a paste, load it onto a dense paintbrush and flick at your cake.

Decorations

  • Instant Noodles
  • Mini Eggs

Break instant noodles into large chunks and assemble like a nest. Fill circle with mini eggs!

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DIY Lipstick Clutch

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I came across this clutch a couple of weeks ago and for a cool 450, you can make it your cutest night out bag. But today, I have a cheap as chips and easy as pie DIY that cost me less than 10 bucks and 10 minutes of my Friday night in. You’ll need a plain box style clutch (mine was $5 from Colette!), a used lipstick and a red rubber. Make sure you visit my blog again next week to see how I styled it for a night out!

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Start by scooping out all your old lipstick and filling it with some glue instead. Cut off a chunk of your rubber to create the bullet. I was lucky enough to have a red rubber at my disposal but I think red polymer clay or bluetack stained red could possibly work as well. To ‘shape’ your bullet, rub it against a flat surface so the hard edges disappear. Then push your bullet in the hole and glue the entire lipstick to your clutch! Make sure you glue it on the back side so you can still open your purse.

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Galentine’s Day

gday3Happy Friday The Thirteenth! Ominous much? Also infamously known as Galentine’s Day – the neatest holiday invented by my favourite public sector gal Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. According to Leslie: “Oh it’s the best day of the year. Every February the 13th my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we come and kick it, breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” 

Due to some bad post scheduling on my part, it is yet again another illustration filled post so please excuse me! I am however super ecstatic to be featuring Yasmin from yours truly, Yasmin in today’s post. She is super talented and does amazing little drawings and typography so make sure you give her some love because it is Galentine’s Day after all! Personally, I think three things make a party: food, friends and some groovy tunes. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the friends part but food and music? Yesiree!

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Heart Beats Martini: /Alcoholic// Fill shaker with ice. Mix 1 part Vanilla Vodka and 3 parts Godiva White Chocolate liqueur. Add a couple drops of food coloring and shake. Assess coloring and add more food coloring if needed. Pour into martini glass decorated with a pink sugar rim. //Non-Alcoholic// Place sanding sugar in a shallow dish or plate. Slice six thin rounds from the middle of lime; set aside. Rub lime wedge around rims of six glasses; dip each rim in sugar to coat. Pour 1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup into bottom of each glass. Place grapefruit juice and 2 cups ice cubes in a blender. Process on high speed until ice is crushed. Pour frozen mixture into glasses, and stir to combine with syrup. Garnish with reserved lime rounds, and serve immediately.

gday4Heart Pie Pops: Using a heart shape cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry pieces as your heart (haha) desires. Then add the apple pie filling into the centre which consists of: 1 medium tart green apple, peeled and grated, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cold butter, grated. Pop in some lolly sticks and bake until golden.

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Pink Pasta & Red Pepperoni Hearts: This one is really very easy but fun to cook! To make your pasta pink, cook it like you usually do and then ‘dye’ it using either red food colouring or you can try boiled cranberry juice, red beet juice or pomegranate juice. To make the hearts just cut our your pepperoni pieces to heart shapes.

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A Galentine’s Day Playlist: Run The World (Girls) – Beyonce // 22 – Taylor Swift // Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper // Dancing Queen – ABBA // New Romantics – Taylor Swift // Wannabe – Spice Girls // BOSS – Fifth Harmony // Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michelson // Team – Lorde // Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar // Primadonna – Marina and the Diamonds // Milkshake – Kelis //  Do It Like a Dude – Jessie J //  Work – Iggy Azalea // Man! I Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain //  Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani // Wings – Little Mix // How to Be A Heartbreaker – Marina and the Diamonds // Flawless – Beyoncé

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With those final few words from Ms Knope, I bid you adieu!

sign offPS: Happy Valentine’s Day for tomorrow as well!

Inspired Workplace

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I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I was excited about 2015. Then she re-enlightened me to re-consider my own thoughts because I re-alised that I wasn’t actually excited about the new year but the concept of the new year.

In theory, we could wake up one epiphanic  day and decide today is the day: to quit sugar for good / start saving our moolah / keep in touch with friends  / give ourselves more me time / learn a new language. But in reality we procrastinate these things until New Year’s Eve where we decide that tomorrow will mark the first step to a better life.

I wish you the best of luck in keeping your 2015 resolutions …. but let’s be real, I’ll probably break half of mine by the second of January! Nonetheless, there’s something quite magical and fragile about a new year and like the prepared person I like to think I  am, I’m starting 2015 off with a short series that will hopefully inspire myself my readers to have a kick butt twenty fifteen! Today’s post is all about inspiration, next week’s will be preparation and the one in a fortnight will be reflection so get excited kids.

* {whoops I was going to try to be more selfless this year}

I think one of the best ways to start a work day or study day is to have a clean desk. I think one of the best ways to start a new work or school year is to have a desk makeover. That’s why I’ve been really inspired by WeWork: a platform for creators that  provides the space, community and services every blogger needs for their creative endeavours. They know the importance of finding a place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we’. I wanted to reciprocate their co-working values through my desk area because for me its a place where I can express myself on my blog whilst being part of the blogging community.

To really see what you’ve got to work with, remove everything from your desk so you can have a blank space baby to add your new supplies. Wipe down your desk, test out all those dried gel pens from 6th grade on some paper and then proceed to throw them away.

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Personally I am a big fan of mood boards, they make any bland space grand and this is the first year I’ve done one right onto the magnetised wall on my desk. Go ahead and gather all your favourite pictures and power fuelling quotes from magazines. Or if you can’t bare the heart wrenching pain of stabbing your magazines with scissors, try free papered items that you pick up at your shopping centre (This is the time to use them! Stop hoarding them in your house!). My favourites include Lorna Jane, Kikki K and Broadsheet.

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After papering your walls, you can start adding the little knick knacks and random things that make you happy. Oh and the practical stuff that you know, you need to write things with.

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Here’s a neat little idea for a potential 2015 project. I started a quote journal back in 2014 – its a notebook filled to the brim with uplifting quotes that I’ve collected along the way. It might seem a bit tedious and pointless at first but trust me, whenever you’re feeling down, hopeless or like a quitter, pulling out something like this will get you back on your feet fast!

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Below are some examples of how I decorated my space very inexpensively! Starting from the left: an empty Champagne bottle from Christmas with a single fake rose, an ikea vase filled with unattractive markers and a framed paper bag from Kikki K’s Live Bright collection that clearly bounces off my desk with all that lilac and pink.

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SQUIRREL

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“Be like the squirrel girl, be like the squirrel/Give it a whirl girl, be like the squirrel” {White Stripes ‘Little Acorns’}

Considering this is my fifth post AND we’re only a month away from Christmas (27 SLEEPS!), I thought it was time we added some DIY-ing onto Style Smorgasbord. So today, I have a tutorial for some ornaments that I originally saw at Bed Bath and Table. I’ve been seeing a lot of twine kinda ornaments this year so when I saw this ornament in store, it was about $5 and I thought, hey I could totally make it myself! Of course, my take doesn’t produce the most uniform of decorations but I was really pleased with the result! To learn how to make these really inexpensive ornaments yourself using materials you’ll no doubt find in your house, keep reading! Oh and since I am obsessed with Christmas, expect a few more tutorials in the upcoming weeks!

acorn1ONE: To begin, take one sheet of newspaper and scrunch it up until it is egg shaped in size. Tape these acorn bodies into shape to make sure they hold together.

acorn2acorn3TWO: Taking some glue, spread it all over your egg and begin wrapping twine around your acorn, beginning one third of the way down and wrapping it tightly until you get to the base. Hold the base for about 30 seconds and it should stay in place nicely. Alternatively, hot glue could speed up this step!

acorn4THREE: Cut off a short piece of twine and attach it to the top of the acorn using tape so it creates a loop.

acorn5FOUR: Now this step took some experimenting and I used a variety of materials until I found a really solid one! I ended up using thin cardboard, cut into little semicircles but you could also try paper bags and cereal boxes. Then glue each semicircle around your acorn starting from the bottom to the top. The more semicircles you have, the better it looks!

acorn8Five: And then you’re done!!! If you want to make some branches like I did, just go hunt for a few thin but sturdy branches, tape them together, paint them white and stick them in a nice glass vase. Mine’s a maple leaf from a Canadian maple syrup if you’re wondering! I think these acorns would also look super lovely on a traditional tree or strung as a garland above the fireplace. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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