Blogging Diary: 4 Months and Counting

Helloooooo internet!

I wanted to write a post today about my experience with blogging thus far, because I think it is going to be really important for me to chronicle as the blog grows, and may serve as a good source of information for those who may want to start a blog in the future. I have been actively posting here in Wonderland for about 4 1/2 months now, and also survived one whole semester of blogging as a college student, so I want to share what I’ve learned already! December has been my toughest month in terms of blogging so far, but I am prepared to learn from my experiences, and maybe help you out too. Here goes!

1) Do spend time planning your brand, but don’t stay rigidly within it.

Before posting, I took almost 2 months to doodle in a journal, compile projects and inspiration, and establish my version of a brand for my blog. I spent weeks tweaking the website layout and trying to decide exactly what my blog was going to be like, and this was both good and bad. If I had just up and started blogging with no planning period, I most likely would have quickly become frustrated and given up.

That said, I was really mentally rigid in my plans for this blog when I first began, and that in itself was a source of frustration and confinement for me. Like any other new experience, I didn’t totally know what blogging was going to be like until I started actually doing it. My vision has already changed a little, and I think that is a really really good thing. I am confident that my blog will continue to evolve and adapt the longer it is up and running, but I’m also sure that some of the original stuff will stick around. It’s healthy and necessary to have a balance of both, and I like that.

2) Your content reservoir will run out!

In that month or so before my posts started running, I also photographed, wrote, and completed a ton of posts to get ahead of the game. It made blogging really easy at first and was extremely helpful to have that reservoir as I initially adapted to college. However, I wasn’t creating anything new, just posting things I already had completed, which kind of went against why I began blogging in the first place. I would suggest stockpiling posts, sure, but also continually creating content as you go, so that you have backup content for those crazy weeks and a creative outlet during all the other ones.

3) Don’t be scared of the learning curve.

Even after what seemed like endless prep before beginning my blog (I’ve wanted one for years!), I still had so much to learn once posts actually started going through. Things from downloadable links and music playlists, to photo taking and editing, to my style of writing itself all had to develop in a classic case of “you don’t know what you don’t know!” My earliest posts don’t have great photos, and the first time I published a music playlist it was 5 songs long and all separate links to YouTube, which made it impossible for someone to listen to it easily! But I have taken hints from other blogs, have been learning, and will continue to learn as my blog keeps going.

4) They aren’t lying—this is just like a job!

The thing about blogging is that if you choose to, you are constantly producing content. Every couple days or so there is a new post, new editing, new Instagramming and Pinteresting to do. And to be honest, I’ve never really experienced that before. As a high school student, my life cycled between semesters of work and pre-determined break periods, whereas my blog is a constant thing. But just because my college semester ended doesn’t mean my blog semester has. Like any job, you can allot some vacation days, but I think it’s important for me to keep going and keep creating content! Another note here is that blogging takes a lot more time than you think it will. So yes, it is a big commitment.

5) Flexibility is your friend.

On the other hand, all the things I have previously discussed are in reference to my own blogging schedule, in which I currently try to post up to 4 times per week. I know of excellent blogs that both post more and less, so it really is up to you! I have weeks where I post less or post more, depending on what’s going on in my life, and I think that is one of the perks of blogging! There are definitely perks to posting more often in terms of followers (or so the articles I’ve read say), but I make a point to refocus myself if I’m stressing majorly over getting a post done in time. I have to remind myself that I love blogging because it is a creative outlet and escape for me. I want to post often and post well because I care about this, but I know that if I put unnecessary pressure on myself to perform, I will probably burn out. That is the last thing I want for this blog—for it to fizzle out because of my own stubbornness!

6) Your posting plans may fall through, but make them anyway.

After my first month of blogging, I started making a calendar for my posts at the beginning of the month as per the suggestion by this post. It really did help me gain a sense of direction for the month in terms of posting, but there were tutorials I didn’t complete, posts I put together instead, and the always scheduled but never planned Mondays in Wonderland! It is important to make a schedule as a general plan, but also be really flexible to new ideas that come along and old ideas that just aren’t good.

7) Blogging is truly a labor of love, especially at first.

I am finally at the point where I get a few page views every day and occasional comments, but in all honesty, my bog is still very small. It is very easy for me to let this get me down. As I discussed in this post, I am proud of what I am doing and I want the world to see it. That is why I must remember that I am not blogging for pride or recognition.

I am blogging because I love writing and making things and being positive, and I wanted an outlet for those things as I go through the grind of a college education. If you start a blog with the objective to quickly gain a following and make money, it probably won’t go as you think. I’ve read this again and again from successful bloggers, and the slow growth of my corner of the internet is certainly a testament to that.

But hey, I am happy. Although I needed a little break in the midst of finals and holiday madness, I’m ready to get going again! I have some fun tutorials coming up, some really pretty dresses, and a few weeks’ break from school to regenerate the good vibes! I hope if you stumble upon this or anything else on my blog that maybe it brightens your day or gets your creative juices going! Those are the kind of objectives that I think are important to stay true to!

What’s your blog journey been like, new or old or about to begin? Any advice for me as I trek along?

Stay lovely,

Monday in Wonderland: Be Lovely

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Happy Monday in Wonderland! How was Christmas? Goooood?

Just a reminder to be a great human being this upcoming week, whether or not you think other people deserve it! Be sweet and be good and be your lovely fine self!

Stay lovely,

Merry Christmas Lovelies!

I hope your day is full of time with loved ones and the peace of Christ!

Monday in Wonderland: Blessed

Happy Monday! Sorry this is super late—Christmas crafts are calling me!

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There something about this time of year that never fails to remind me just how blessed I am. I love being surrounded by family, hanging out with friends, and laughing all the way! The holidays are just simply magical and beautiful and full to the brim with love.

I encourage you to count your blessings this holiday season and never forget the reason we are all here—because of love and family! I as much as anyone tend to forget this simple truth and get caught up in finding/making the perfect gift for all those I love and whether I'm spending enough time and money on people! But as my parents pointed out recently, the most fun I have had recently is hanging ornaments on the tree, blasting Christmas music, and eating all the M&M’s (as our family tradition goes)! It really is the little things, isn’t it?

I pray that your Christmas is truly blessed, and that you take a minute along with me to see those blessings in your life. Because cheesy as it sounds, the best gifts have absolutely no monetary value at all! Merry Christmas, babes!

Stay lovely,

More DIY Ornaments!

Hello once again, my friends! Today I thought I’d share a collection of a few more very simple and inexpensive ornament ideas that are currently in use on our tree. It’s not necessarily anything super fancy or original, but simple things that you can make inexpensively and that still look really cute! I am loving the way our tree is coming together so simply, whimsically and somehow gracefully! Also, there is nothing breakable up there yet! So for cats, dogs, small children and klutzy adults, these ornaments are totally safe! (I’m… dreaming… of a non-flammable and non-threatening Christmas... Catchy new song in my opinion.)

Jingle bells

Large jingle bells of your desired color scheme (so gold for us—duh!) and coordinating ribbon will quickly have you jingling to a visibly decorated tree!

Origami ornament friends!

We found some GORGEOUS gold-foiled Christmas scrapbook paper and had to use it. And from there, YouTube and Pinterest supplied all the origami tutorials you could ever need! I struggled through an elephant and Sammy made a T-Rex, then I gave up and made seven swans a-swimming with my middle-school origami expertise! And then stars and hearts and things :)

Simple is better for these, because scrapbook paper is heavier weight than origami paper, and therefore can start to tear if you get too complicated! If you want to avoid this though, you can also find Christmas patterned origami paper! Which would’ve been way way smarter—but not as sparkly!

Golden feathers

I didn’t get these up on the tree before taking photos, but I think they are both eccentric and adorable! I added 2 coats of liquid leaf* to stiff craft feathers and a sprinkle of fine gold glitter on top. Insert the stems of the feathers into a Styrofoam block to dry. Then thread a needle, stitch through the stem of the feather, and knot it off into a loop!

*This product has heavy fumes and requires paint thinner to get off your brushes, so you may want to opt for gold acrylic or spray paint instead!

Gilded baking soda ornaments

Just use this recipe, cookie cutters, random textured objects, and a little gold acrylic paint to highlight your textures! You can also sprinkle glitter on the ornaments before they dry or use Mod Podge to add glitter afterward! Super cute, fun, and easy!

Everything else you see was either included with our $20 Craigslist Christmas tree, or purchased at Hobby Lobby when it was half off. Well except for the water color paper ornaments and flower garland!

Homemade ornaments really do warm my heart, and adding a few to our tree brought some bittersweet nostalgia for sure. How’s your holiday decorating coming along?

Stay lovely,

DIY Christmas Flower Garland

I gotta say, although my childhood home is nice and my future dream house is tempting, the little place I share with my sister at the moment certainly has its perks. For starters, I have a live-in editor and sometimes photographer, and can eat way too much mac and cheese and drink my weight in chocolate milk. And whether it’s my pink bedroom or the bright, mint green kitchen and metallic artwork in the living room, this college residence can be as obnoxiously girly as we want to make it! And so I kind of ran with that this year, and decided that our sweet little Christmas tree definitely needed some flower garlands!

And yes, I know you can just buy flower garlands, but I wanted the blossoms closer than they come on any store bought piece I could locate, and my lighted fall floral garland wasn’t going to fit that bill either. Plus, stringing all these white flowers was kind of my nod to the classic popcorn garlands, which I have never been lucky to spend hours constructing! 

You will need:

Small white faux flowers (I used various bunches and flowers off of less superior store-bought garlands :P)
Little green leaves, also fake (And again, from bouquets or garlands)
Dark green string
Large needle

Remove the flowers and leaves from the bunch or garland by gently pulling them off the stem. You may need to cut them depending on the flowers you buy. Then, if you used a couple different bunches, divide them into type and count how many of each blossom you have so you can establish some kind of pattern as you string them on. You can see this alternation in the strand depicted above. (I am a little bit of a crafting control freak, I know.)

Then just string them on as you would popcorn on a garland, alternating buds with leaves folded in half as shown. How you do this will depend on the flowers you purchased. Some of mine were strung on through the plastic piece at the bottom of the flower bud, while others I just went through the petals near the base.

Tie knots on the ends of the garland if desired, and leave a tail on each end. I used this extra string at the ends to loop around branches on the tree and secure the garland in place.

Click here for the DIY Watercolor Paper Ornaments

I know this project looks a little time consuming, but it actually went very quickly for me and was a great way to stay creative while studying for finals! Ok, and watching Parks and Recreation. (I recently got so hooked on the show!) However, this would also be fun to do with some food, friends, and holiday music in the background!! And if you could swing it for fresh flowers—oh my goodness that would be just lovely! I digress.

I actually used three shorter garland pieces instead of one long one that would wrap all the way around the tree. Because our tree is pushed into a corner where no one can see the back, this saved me time, money, and the excitement of being a contortionist trying to get behind the tree to string up flowers! If you are feelin’ it though, why not make a super long string of wintery flowers?!

What quirky ways have you embellished your tree this year? I don’t think that this tree would mind a few more embellishments of that sort!

Stay lovely,

My Christmas Gift to You (and a DIY too!)

Christmas is almost here!!! I am so so so excited! And in honor of that excitement and the Christmas magic and Jesus (for reals though), my Monday in Wonderland this week isn’t the usual doodle and rant. In fact, all I promised you on Mondays was some doodling and typing and both those things are here, right now.

My little, early Christmas gift to you is some fun, free downloadables to make gift tags and cards! It really is as easy as print on cardstock and cut out, thanks to my tech-savvy sister!

Then again, could I really make things that easy? The downloads are just black and white, and I like to throw the kitchen sink at my crafts around here (definitely an expression, not literally…), so I also included a couple fun ways to embellish said gift tags and cards! Really, this is like a collaboration between me and any of you lovely souls who want to use my doodles to dress up your gifts!

Watercolor (because, watercolor!!)

I have been obsessed with watercoloring things since I made some watercolor paper Christmas ornaments a couple weeks ago. (My last Monday in Wonderland actually had watercolor also.) So these gift tags got a fun treatment too! To make sure the colors blend together well, you will need to add water to all the wells of color you want to use before starting. Then work really fast and with lots of water! It’s also helpful to kind of wash your lightest shade over the whole thing as the last step! A little messy, but so pretty!

A Touch of Gold (this shouldn’t even kind of surprise you by now)

All I used for these was an extra-fine tip sharpie oil based paint marker in gold. Because even though I am proud of my little drawings, I think a little metallic embellishment makes them even better!

And finally, after all my rambling, here are the actual links to download!

I hope y'all enjoy my little holiday gift to you guys! Have the merriest and brightest next few weeks!

Stay lovely,

PS: If you use these guys, tag me in a pic! It would make my heart so happy!

15 Fun Gift Ideas Under $15

Hey guys! It seems like most of my holiday get-togethers this time of year involve some sort of gift swap! It’s an easy way for everyone to get a little something without everyone spending a fortune, and can be pretty dang entertaining. And while gag gifts can be super hilarious, I’m the "lame" kid who usually puts something good in. (If anything, my presents tend to be a little whimsical rather than totally silly or cheap!) And I really enjoy these “good gifts” because I just love shopping for them! I also have a fun time picking up cute little things for my friends this time a year! (Or expressing my love with literally all the cookies.)

So in case you need an idea for a cute, small gift that’s maybe just a little on the quirky side, here are some gifts I’ve been giving, receiving, or desiring!

1. A classy cosmetic pouch, and sweet smelling lotion and soap! Or crazy nail polish or sparkly eyeliners or luxurious lipstick (red obviously)—oh my!

2. Jenga and a chocolate bar (everyone loves a usable gender neutral gift!)

3. A Ninjabread cookie making kit and perhaps extra gingerbread cookie mix

4. A chocolate milk kit: patterned straws, a bottle of chocolate syrup, and a cute glass! (I thrifted mine for $1!)

5. Cookies for Santa kit: A cute plate (you could easily DIY your own), sugar cookie mix, and a cute cookie cutter!

6. A mini Christmas tree with unconventional ornaments

7. Nerf guns! (Or a cheaper knock-off version. Because seriously, what children, or childish adults, don’t love shooting each other with foam bullets?)

8. A dorm-room photo kit: cute washi tape, colorful push pins, and an inexpensive picture frame (Maybe even a printed photo or two if it’s for a particular friend!)

9. Adult coloring book and colored pencils (I NEED this Alisa Burke coloring book in my life.)

10. 1. Torani holiday syrups sampler and a festive mug

11. For your single friends: “The Perfect Man” cookie cutter and ice cube tray (A perfect man frozen in time?! My bae, Steve Rogers?!)

12. Letter writing kit: Colorful pens, cards and envelopes, and maybe even a few stamps! And a request that they write to you first.

13. Fun food socks and a corresponding gift card! So for donut socks, throw in a Dunkin’ card! (Target and Forever 21 are great places to get these cheap. Also, I really want a donut now…)

14. Brownie in a mug kit: a few baggies with brownie in a mug mix, a tablespoon, a small bottle of canola oil, written instructions, and a mug of course!

15. A DIY ugly sweater kit: include a basic sweatshirt ($3-5) or thrifted sweater, a mini hot glue gun ($3-6), some felt, a bit of tinsel, pompoms, or whatever other crazy supplies you want to throw in!

What are some go-to gifts you fall back on for friends and get-togethers?

Monday in Wonderland: Kindness is Contagious

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Some recent interactions in my life have caused me to think a lot about basic kindness in everyday life. It seems like the common behavioral response to stress and threat is to take out that behavior on others, and I understand that behavior because I’ve done this many times myself. To an extent I think it’s a natural outlet for pent-up negative emotions.

That said, this world could use a lot more kindness all the time. I guess all I’m suggesting is that in daily encounters, even with strangers, it would be so amazing if we as humans were accustomed to showing more compassion. Keeping needless comments to ourselves, sharing genuine smiles and conversations, and treating other humans as just that, even when we may be struggling ourselves.

Because kindness is contagious. Happiness is reciprocated. And you never know who may be needing a little simple kindness even more than you do, regardless of holiday shopping or finals or even the big things you are very likely facing. We are all humans and we could probably all benefit from a little more love.

This Monday in Wonderland was short, but the message is pretty simple, and how I intend to approach things, at least until the end of the semester. (But hopefully for much of my life!) Care to join me?

Stay lovely,

PS: If you are looking for some ways to increase your kindness and support for others, I found out about the Dressember foundation and in this past week. Check out the websites if you are interested! And good luck in all you may be up against right now. *virtual hugs*

DIY Watercolor Paper Ornaments

At home, it was always a tradition to decorate the tree while eating M&Ms and listening to Christmas music. And with tons of ornaments gathered over the years, it usually took a few hours! From gifted ornaments to first Christmas teddy bears, and the precious little homemade trinkets my parents got far too many of, there was seldom empty space on our Christmas tree. There were popsicle stick reindeer, and rice wreaths, and handprints galore!  And NOW, since me and my roommate/sister have our own tree (snagged on Craigslist for quite a discount by the way), the ornament making has commenced once again! As cheaply and simply as possible…

This first DIY is pretty basic, but could be adapted in so many ways! I think it would be totally great for kids too, because they probably have just about as much fun experimenting as I do! There are a few fun techniques we used, but you could do anything you’d like!

You will need:
Watercolor paper (we used this 9 x 12, 140 lb weight Canson brand)
Watercolor paints
A ruler
A circular object roughly 2.5-3” in diameter
Gold curling ribbon and scissors
Creativity and whatever other supplies your heart desires! (Our additional supplies were gold acrylic paint and cookie cutters.)

The basic process:
Measure and divide your watercolor paper into twelve 3” squares, paint the paper, trace your circles on the back, and cut out the circles. Punch a hole near the top. Fold a 7” piece of ribbon in half, and feed through the hole. Then feed the loose ends of the ribbon through the loop created by the fold, to make a somewhat flat knot resembling an ornament hanger. Tie another basic knot at the top of the ribbon so that your ornament can be hung from the tree! If your ribbon is only shiny on one side, follow the pictures above to keep the shiny side facing outward.

Now here are a few painting techniques we used:

Pick 4 simple patterns, and using a very small brush, paint each in 3 different shades, as shown above. This is obviously up to your discretion, but I really loved the cohesion continuing patterns and colors brought to our little tree!

Create an ombre wash by using more saturated paint at the bottom, and adding water as you move upward. This may take a little practice but never fear, you can always go solid or embrace the messy. I used the same technique of the three different colors, because I wasn’t sure I could extend the ombre across the width of the page! Then add patterns similar to those above with gold acrylic paint or liquid leaf! (The patterns also hide the fact that my ombre is pretty subpar ha!)

Or experiment with other gradients by mixing paint colors! This is actually way easier than the ombre and almost always comes out really pretty!

Last but not least, we used the initial painting techniques then cut out different fun Christmas shapes! Make sure the size of you initial squares (and therefore areas of pattern) are still big enough, paint, then trace your shapes on the back using Christmas cookie cutters! Cut from the paper, punch, and tie in the original manner!

As you can see, these ornaments come out a little crafty and definitely homemade, but they totally work for our simple, whimsical, and surprisingly coordinated approach to our tree! Plus talk about an inexpensive project and easy storage! (I’d rather spend my money on all the cute gifts I plan on making my sisters!) If you try this DIY out, tag me on Instagram or leave a link so I can see what painting techniques you experimented with! :D

What traditions do you have for decorating the tree?

Stay lovely,

Eat Me: Spice It Up!

Hello internet! Today I am talking about soup, because it’s basically the cure for cold weather. It always reminds me of fall and family and yes, I do get nostalgic about just about everything. Also, it’s been my vegetable source of choice since college started! I particular, we get vegetable-blend soups at HEB, which I know is in Texas only, but now they have an expanded online store! (And no, I’m not being paid for this. They are just good grocery stores with good soup!) I like these because they come in good flavor groupings, are full of veggies, and are just creamy enough! The only thing is that they aren’t too heavy on the spices—but that’s where this post comes in! I’ll be sharing some fun and quick spice blends to fancy up your soups! Here we go!

Pumpkin Pie Chai Spice


Go easy on the cloves and nutmeg, moderate on the ginger and cardamom, and heavy on the cinnamon! I don’t have exact measurements, because preferences and base soups differ, but you can always start off light and add more!

Garden Fresh

8 oz HEB green soup (pea, zucchini, and kale)
Ground sage
Sea Salt (we use Himalayan pink salt, and not just because it’s pink and I’m basically a child. Tastes good too!)

Heaviest on the salt, moderate on the other two.

Tex-Mex Roasted Corn (Yes, this is fall to me in Texas)

8 oz HEB yellow soup (Yellow carrot, corn, and yellow bell pepper)
Chili powder
Sea salt
Lime zest 

Zest lime, mix with the salt, and chop through the mix a few times with a kitchen knife to grind it together and make lime salt before adding to soup. Then just a sprig or two of cilantro, and a moderate dose of chili powder!

I really hope that you can find some alternatives to the soups I used, because these flavor combinations are so tasty and simple to dress up any meal! We just heated these in the microwave after adding spices, but I think slowly heating on the stove top with spices already mixed in would be AMAZING! (Maybe I’ll actual have time to try it that way! Ya know, after finals…)

What’s your favorite soup for the holiday season? (Assuming that I am not the only one who associates soup with the holiday season!)

Stay lovely,