DIY Jewellery Tree

April 25, 2016

Spring is here, and with the warmish weather comes my semi-annual room revamp. I love making DIYs that are as useful as they are stylish (like my DIY Paint Drip Bottles and my DIY Chalk Message Boards), and so I decided to make a DIY Jewellery Tree. I've seen jewellery trees in multiple stores over the years, but each time I asked my mom for one she would promptly turn me down. So, I resorted to hanging my favourite jewellery on the various statues, bottles and perfumes I have on my vanity. I guess, it's true that good things come to those who wait (and wait, and wait, and wait) and decide to take action, because now I've made my own.

If you're like me, then you probably have jewellery that you never wear because you can't see it (the whole "out of sight, out of mind" conundrum). So, this jewellery tree solves all your problems by making anything from rings, to earrings, to necklaces easily accessible, while adding a nice metallic pop to your bedroom. So without further ado, here are the steps to making a DIY Jewellery Tree.

The best part about this DIY is that it's super easy to make and requires very few tools. All you need is:
  • Dried branches
I only chose 3, but feel free to pick up as many as you like. I got mine from good ol' Mother Nature and picked these dry ones off the ground. However, if you're not surrounded by much greenery then Michaels should have some as well. Either way, make sure that the branches have many smaller branches sticking out of them to maximize the amount of jewellery you can hang and to make the DIY feel more "treeish".
Note: When using real branches you want to preserve them before using them. I used the glycerin and water technique outlined in this eHow article
  • Golden metallic spray paint 
Make sure to read the instructions prior to using the spray paint. For example, mine stated that the metallic lustre would fade if left under direct sunlight, and they sure were right. I ended up having to redo the layer, so save yourself the time and read the instructions carefully.

Note: It's best to get a spray paint suited for wood. Check the label carefully

Here comes the best and most fun part. In a well-ventilated area, lay your branches over some newspaper and begin to spray the branches. Do as many coats as you feel necessary and leave it to dry for the dsignated amount of time. Don't forget to rotate the branches!

Once they're dry and to your liking, get a small vase and place your branches inside. You can also use a few of my DIY Paint Drip Bottles or DIY Crackle Bottles, to spread it all over your room (P.S. the turquoise and the gold look beautiful together).

Now, hang your favourite jewellery, place your new tree in a nice corner of your room and voila.

In the mood for a switchup? You can always remove the jewellery and wrap the branches in lights, to make a pretty illuminating mantelpiece. 

How do you like to spruce up your room in the springtime? 

4 Famous Soundtracks to Boost Focus and Concentration

April 11, 2016

Hello Spring! Hello the dreaded exam season! If you're like me, then the infamous senioritis may already have kicked in. So, you're probably experiencing all of its symptoms at their peak -- especially fatigue and an inability to stay focused. While this is usually a sign that you need a break, you know as well as I do that this is crunch time. Like Troy Bolton said it's "now or never", and now is the perfect time to whip out my secret weapon in my time of need, music. According to  music helps to keep you happy, and even boosts learning and memorizing abilities. While I know from experience that you can't listen to catchy pop music while studying for math (it usually results in dancing or at the very least some mild foot tapping, and no actual math practice), film soundtracks strike a good balance between fun and focus. Why? Well, if you take the soundtrack to one your favourite movie, it often feels like you are actually in the film (which serves as a bit of inspiration) and the lack of lyrics helps you to focus on the task at hand. So, without further ado, here are 4 scores bound to help keep you sane as the X Season begins and senioritis sets in.

Note: Spotify and 8tracks are great places to hear all of these soundtracks in full (they're my go to apps).

Peter Pan  (James Newton Howard)

One of my all time favourite tales (ahem, Ms. Tiger Lilly), and one of my most beloved  film soundtracks. I listen to this whimsical score when I'm stressed before a test, or when I'm in need of inspiration. The Peter Pan soundtrack is very emotive and every song feels as if you're being sprinkled with pixie dust and are soaring through the Neverland sky. So. I like to save this for my social science classes, and when I need to formulate essays.

How to Train your Dragon (John Powell)

Powerful, bold and fast-paced, I love to listen to the How to Train Your Dragon score whenever I am completing lengthy assignments, when I am doing research, or making study notes. Each piece is charged with endless levels of curiosity and wonder, and so it's the perfect soundtrack to get me in the zone and to jolt me out of any daydreams that may occur.

Pride and Prejudice (Dario Marianelli)

Math is my least favourite subject by far, and the only way to make it the slightest bit tolerable is with some music. So, I tend to play the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack on a constant loop while doing homework or studying in order to counteract my negative emotions towards the subject. The soundtrack makes you feel light and airy --almost like you too are falling in love with Mr. Darcy-- and the contrasting emotions is great fuel to help me power through and get the work done as quickly as possible.

The Nutcracker (Pyotr IlychTchaikovsky)

Just listening to the masterpiece that is The Nutcracker, elicits images of duels, mice kings, Christmastime and all of the adventures that Clara and her dashing (and horribly cursed) Nutcracker prince face. Every song within the ballet is like it's own chapter of a book, which makes it the perfect accompaniment to any creative/artistic type assignments or classwork.

~Alexandra XO

What do you do to stay focused?

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12 Life Lessons Learned from My Friends This Spring Break

April 04, 2016

I once read the book titled Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life where young pubescent Jeremy was following a trail of clues left by his deceased father in order to find the key to a chest. A chest which held the meaning of life. Spoiler alert (sorry): the box was full of rocks and on each rock was a "milestone". Ultimately the meaning of life was moments and experiences over the course of one's life. Milestones that if I were to send someone on wild goosechase would be filled of moments ranging from the first day of grade 1 when I made my first best friend, the day my baby sis was born, the day I scored my first goal in soccer, the day I got into my dream university and finally (and most recently) my spring break/graduation trip to Varadero with a few of my best friends.

 A few people from an even larger group of friends who've gotten me through crazy teachers and late night assignments, and who've been with me through some even crazier adventures and late night chats. Whether it's staying up until midnight studying for an exam, or until midnight dancing and singing under the Cuban starry sky, I'm fortunate to have people around me from who I am able to learn these lessons and share these moments with. Because sharing these experiences is the best way for them to be remembered and ultimately, remind yourself of how far you've come and how far (or little) you have left to go.

12 Life Lessons Learned From my Friends This Spring Break

  1. Let loose (but not too loose)
  2. Everyone has the same worries… just not at the same time
  3. Hydration is key (especially if you're spending the day roasting under the hot sun)
  4. Dance like no one is watching, even especially if everyone is
  5. You're stronger than you think you are
  6. If you're giving it you're all, keeping on giving (even if you're the worst person there)
  7. A plate of crispy fries and "catsup" are always the answer
  8. Friends who nap together, stay together
  9. Music brings everyone together
  10. A sincere smile goes a long way
  11. Comparison truly is the thief of joy
  12. Don't worry about what other's think of you

~Alexandra XO

What are some lessons that your friends have taught you?