Reasons to Smile

31 August 2011

{Warning: Science Geek}

Reasons to Smile:
  • Working out for three days straight at the gym (accomplishment)
  • Having less classes that senior year of college
  • Seeing so many friends!
  • Actually having time to get homework done
  • Coffee. 'nuf said
  • Dreaming I went to California to see Kim
  • Successfully inflating a balloon inside a flask (see above)
  • Technology
On that last one, technology, I am heavily doting right now. Computers as a typing resource (probably about ten times as fast as writing), copiers to make duplicates of textbook pages, and my Kindle to read 80 page articles on instead of on a computer's lit background. YES. 

Hope your week is going well!

DIY T-Shirt Bag

30 August 2011

We all have t-shirts lying around right? Can I hedge a bet that some of yours don't fit any more (or perhaps never did)? Well, here's a fairly easy craft you can do to use that t-shirt for a better purpose - although be willing to spend up to an hour using duct tape.

My sister showed me how to make a duct tape bag before we went to the beach together. The steps are easy, it just takes a while to do all the duct-taping. 

What you need:
  • t-shirt 
  • stapler
  • duct tape (if you have fun colors use them)
  • scissors

1. Of course, you start with a t-shirt. Then you cut the sleeves off. I somehow neglected to take a photo at the very beginning but the only step taken before this photo was cutting the sleeves.

2. Fold shirt inside out. Duct-tape like crazy. Start at the top of the shirt - cover all of it - and pull the tape down just past the bottom hem. There is never too much duct tape! Do both sides of the shirt. Yes, it takes a while. 

3. Cut off the excess tape right above the hem (so you'll be cutting some of the t-shirt off and tape). Cut out below the collar and also any excess around the sleeve holes. 

4. Now staple the bottom of the bag closed. Keep the staples pretty close together.

5. Put a piece of duct tape over the bottom of the bag and fold up on either side to cover the staples. 

6. The first picture shows the bag with short handles if you want to keep it that way (totally fine!). The second picture has taken the sleeves that were cut off in Step 1 to make longer bag handles to work as a satchel.

7 (optional). If you want to make the long handles, take your sleeves and make one cut across the tunnel so that you have a long strip of fabric. Staple one end of a sleeve to one shoulder area of the t-shirt and staple the other end of the sleeve to the other shoulder area on the same side of the t-shirt. This way, if your t-shirt has a pattern it will still be facing outwards (like the above Earth Science image). After stapling sleeve to shoulder area use duct tape to cover the staples like you did in Step 5. 


If you use a colorful t-shirt or bright duct tape (like my sister did with her American U t-shirt) then this turns out to look quite sassy with a color pop. It's a great way to use an old t-shirt that doesn't quite cut it as a top any more. Plus, it is sturdy. Mine can even hold my laptop and a binder or so. Very handy. 

Have you been trying any DIY projects lately?

*Excuse the mess in the photos, they were taken in my dad's basement when my sister was moving all her stuff from one college apartment to another.

Laughter for the Soul

29 August 2011

{image via}

Here are some links to sites that make me laugh or smile. Hope they brighten your day a bit too!

LOL Cats always does Noah in. Something about cats makes him laugh every time.

I also saw this Switcheroo for the first time yesterday. Boyfriends & Girlfriends swap clothes and you get some funny results.

America's Funniest Home Videos.  I'm a fan of dorky little videos that They also have an app that you can check out for your iphone/ipod.

PostSecret. Have you heard of PostSecret? It's kind of a big deal. It's a way to share secrets anonymously with other people. Perhaps letting go and sharing one of your secrets with the world will make you feel better about it. Give it a shot!

My Life is Average is a listing of status-like updates stating why someone's life is average and, sometimes, awesome. 

And, of course, I must end with a little video about pugs. 

What makes you laugh? Pugs always get me with their funny, scrunched up faces. Do you have a certain friend that gets you every time? Lately I've been laughing a lot and I believe the phrase "laughter is the best medicine". Something about laughing makes your day seem brighter. Have you ever heard of laughter yoga? It's strange to watch people practice it but I would enjoy taking a class in that type of yoga! Hope you have a fun, smile-and-laugh-filled Monday!

(In honor of starting graduate school, here's a post from The Shine Project about slowing down and simplifying life. Yes, it's ok to relax!)


28 August 2011

My reason to smile today is friendship.

Friends rock.

Yeah, it's that simple. I've been making coffee, lunch, and dinner dates like crazy and have planned a game night for this coming weekend.

Your turn.

Make a reason to smile this week. Text or call a friend right now and schedule a friendate. That's a FRIEND DATE. I'm sure Merriam Webster will want to add that word to the dictionary any day now. Now go call or text a friend. I'll wait, seriously.


Didn't I tell you to go call them?

Ok, now invite them out to coffee or lunch sometime this week. Make paper airplanes and have a contest to see whose will fly the farthest. Meet in a park, draw french mustaches on your fingers, and then hold them to your face while taking a picture to make a fun photo shoot. Make some jewelry together or have a movie night with popcorn. It doesn't matter what you do but call up a girlfriend you haven't seen in a bit and tell her that you'd like to spend some quality time with her this week!

Taking the time to talk to a friend can make a huge difference in your day. Hope you have a great week and a great date with your friend!

Reasons to Smile

27 August 2011

Graduate School Edition

I have revamped the blog a little bit and hope to focus my blog in a new direction. My plan is to get more DIY projects in, list my reasons to smile more often, and to make more reasons to smile.

This blog has been wonderful for me as a personal outlet during just over half of my undergraduate career and I hope to continue the process during grad school. I am always amazed at how blogging has allowed me to meet people across the United States and all over the world. It's incredible. Glad I can continue on this journey, life, with you.

Reasons to Smile:
  • This past week was amazing.
  • One of my best friends brought me a scarf from Turkey, a bracelet from Florence, and rocks from Mt. Etna. How cool is that?
  • New blog design: a gift from Noah
  • Using my ipod for quick, easy photos
  • Grad school starts Monday!
  • Sunny days
  • I'm a redhead once again
  • Rediscovered the joy of making jewelry
  • Meeting with three friends today!


26 August 2011

{beautiful sunsets are one of my reasons to smile}

With graduate school about to I'm going in with a very positive mindset. As a worrier, this is hard for me with practicum and student teaching coming up this year but I know I can do this! Finding reasons to smile in my life (or making them!) will be more important than ever so I thought I'd revamp that part of my life too, here, at Reasons to Smile. I'll probably be moving some stuff around this weekend.

Speaking of, here is my list of Reasons to Smile for this week:
  • Lots of meetups with friends
  • Sitting on the Quad and enjoying quality Big & Little time
  • Talking about Love Wins
  • Watching freshmen move in (experiencing nostalgia)
  • School starts in a matter of days

Book Review: Love Wins

25 August 2011

My sister read this book and suggested it to me. My sister is very similar to me I believe in our spirituality and religious beliefs. So, the title on it's own, LOVE WINS, caught my attention. 

I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again, I have questioned where I have come from, where I am now, and what I am heading towards. After 'leaving' the church I grew up in (meaning I still attend but do not necessarily agree with all the doctrines) I have felt lost. Yet I doubt that I will ever reach a point in my life when I think that people do not have a spiritual aspect.

That's where this book comes in. What does religion mean? What does faith in Jesus Christ mean? What is the most important aspect of Christianity? The book has incited a lot of controversy but it's supposed to help bring people in who have uncertainties, people who want to have fellowship and community, but can't commit to certain parts of the faith. 

I've been attending discussions on this book for the past four weeks. It's been a wonderful experience. We talked about heaven, hell, and whether God gets what God wants. It's an interesting read and I've already read it through twice in the last month. If you're questioning some of your beliefs (from a Christian standpoint) I'd recommend this book to you.

Have you read this book? Any others that you would suggest?

Walk in the Park

24 August 2011

Noah and I went for a walk in our local park this morning which was much needed as we haven't seen much of each other these last few weeks. I'm a little bummed because I only took my ipod with me and not all the photos uploaded onto my computer properly. Now they're not on my ipod either.... Bummer!

Yet today will be a great day. I feel it.

After all, I'll be seeing one of my Circle K Littles today and tonight is the last Love Wins discussion. I'll be sure to fill you in on all the talks tomorrow!

Get By With a Little Help

23 August 2011

from my friends

Since school is starting up in one week that means this one should be a lot of fun. Everyone is getting back and catching up before we're bogged down with work. Hope you're having a great week and that you get some time to catch up on your friendships!

Last Week of Summer

22 August 2011

{Balloon Flowers}

Hello again. We're more than halfway through August now and that means graduate school starts up in one week! I'm quite ready. I've had the good fortune to be able to relax once my summer classes ended but I am more than willing to jump back into my activity-laden school year.

I'd also like to make some sangria before school to mark another goal off my list! I was thinking I'd be going with that linked 'recipe' but if you have a certain one that you like link it to me here or on Twitter. I'm all ears!

As school starts up again, remember that education is important... maybe more so than your wife being eaten. 

The Purist by Ogden Nash
I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist,
Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
"You mean," he said, "a crocodile."

What I'm Loving

21 August 2011

And Then She Saved, a blog about saving and cutting debt

Ideas for Instagram photos

Make a Hogwarts Acceptance Letter

Mailchimp for easy e-newsletters

Baby Monkey app (based on this song)

Dinosaur Sippy Cups, am I too old for one?

Erin posted these Harry Potter posters. LOVE THEM.

Reasons to Smile:
  • School starts in one week
  • My Kindle is getting a non-stop workout
  • Noah has off tomorrow
  • Free gym membership this year 
  • Game nights coming up this week
  • My future brother-in-law is coming to visit tomorrow (ok, Noah's brother but I just like the idea of having "in-laws" within a year!)
  • Booked our photographer and wedding location, officially

If I Tell You These are Mountains

20 August 2011

I think sometimes we see what we want to see. Remember today that we have the power to see things in a different light using only our thoughts. Happy weekend!

Making an App

19 August 2011

I've been working on a basic app for iphones and ipods for my home church. Who knew it could be so simple? If you want to try making an app yourself type "Conduit Mobile" into Google and take your first option. 


18 August 2011

Today I'll be making a trip to my hometown to work with some vendors for the wedding. I'm so happy to have the ceremony and reception locations and photographer picked out (as well as a good idea for a minister)!

I'll also be meeting my future mother-in-law for lunch which will be good since I haven't seen her for two weeks. I'm ready to make some progress (as well as make some deposits) in order to officially start marking items of my Wedding To Do list!

On a side note, my town is starting to get more crowded once again which means college kids are moving back in. Soon, the days of summer will be gone and it will be time to get ready for student teaching!

Thrifting (at the beach)

17 August 2011

During Family Camp, Wednesday is always a free day for the campers. It gives people a chance to go out and explore the local areas (such as Cape May, Assateague, via jet skis, ferries, etc.). This year I went with my second family to a couple of local thrift stores. Most were ordinary where you go in and there are racks of clothes and you pick a couple for two or three dollars each. However, one was the most unique shop I think I've ever been in.

It wasn't just clothes, but rather a collection of items: some new, some vintage.  There was a whole alcove of vinyl records, shelves of lighthouse-themed items. Baskets hung overhead throughout the entirety of the store. It was the strangest mix of items I've seen. I'm thinking about only buying items from thrift stores for a few months. I have no income right now and am actually shoveling out money towards food, gas, and wedding venues. I need to buy clothes for student teaching so any regular day clothing items that I can pick up at a thrift store I should. Plus there are so many great items for amazing prices. 

Have you picked up any great thrift store pieces? 

Camp Music

16 August 2011

My favorite part of camp is playing during the Worship Services in the morning and evening. There's something so refreshing to me about playing my saxophone with the Praise Band. Bill, the older guitar player, is like a second father to me and when I first started playing with the Praise Band in about ninth grade there were some Sundays where it was just him on guitar and me on saxophone. Those were some crazy days in our church. He is always looking for me to come home on the weekends and play with him again although now our entire praise band is different from when we started, but it's good. I'm glad to have new people (especially our younger generation) involved. 

Plus our music directors at camp, Brenda and Judy, move me every time I listen to them or play with them. They bring a whole new feel to the music with their talents. I feel so privileged to know them and play with them. They've led my spiritual journey for years through their talk and spirit. Now they'll have an impact on my life in a different way because Noah and I plan to ask Brenda to wed us next summer.

(and you can click here to hear the song Shabach)

Beach Camp

15 August 2011

I'm safely back home and happy once again after a great week at the beach. I've been on a spiritual kick since reading Love Wins almost two weeks ago. This week was what I needed for myself and for a part of me that I've been ignoring for too long now.

Every day had a morning worship service and a closing evening vespers. Both include songs and a mini-sermon (and sometimes not quite so "mini"). Our focus this week was on doubt which, clearly, hit home for me and I was a part of a few discussions that shed some light on others in my church. Sometimes it's easy to think that we're the only ones who have doubt; it seems like we're often discouraged from expressing those feelings. Yet, this week we opened up discussions to them and it helped to remind me that I'm grateful my church is open to thoughts and accepting of those who express them.

This week I'll be doing some posts about the camp, more for myself than anything, so that I can remember what weeks like this are like for me.

Here's one of the new songs that I learned this week for voice, saxophone, guitar, band, etc. It will be a fun reminder for me when I come back to these posts in future years. My favorite song, Shabach, I'll link on the post that I cover Camp Music in.

Sunday 101

14 August 2011

More work on my 101 in 1001 goals! Going over the list there are a couple I want to give a try this week while I have some time off before school (anyone have hints about making macarons?).

9. Read two books a month. August is complete! Love all the book time I'm getting. I'll do some posts soon about the books I've been reading.

12. Write at least 5 letters to Make a Child Smile. Letter 2 is sent!

85. See my sister at least once a month. Check! This time it was the beach.

89. Build at least two outfits from a thrift store shopping spree. On the works. I went to a thrift store on our free day this past week (more about that to come) and I'm thinking I may make a new goal for the year.

97. Visit Bethany Beach, DE. I'm so glad I can check this one off the list!

What are your goals? Do you share any of mine? 
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