Category: General

GeneralDIY: Wine Cork Coasters

All right, winos; this blog is for you! 
 
For the last four years or so, I have been avidly collecting wine corks, poaching them from my parents’ kitchen, my friends’ recycling bins, and restaurant tables. By the time last November rolled around, I realized that I had quite the stash and it was time to do something with them. After a bit of Google crafty research, I stumbled upon the idea of creating (drumroll, please) . . . 

 
 
Because I was making these for Christmas presents, I did this over the series of several weeks and numerous hours in front of Netflix. However, it’s a super easy project, and the only thing you have to wait on is glue dry time.
 
What You Need
 
  • 8 corks for each coaster
  • Really good glue (I suggest wood glue or tacky glue; hot glue doesnt hold strong enough and it leaves a chunky mess)
  • Cork matting
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon (Optional)
  • Heavy books or other weight
 
 
 
What You Do
 
Step 1:  Glue together the corks two at a time. You want them to be roughly the same width and as close to the same length as possible. Do this to all of the corks so that you have four sets of two corks. Let dry.
 
 
Step 2:  Glue the sets of two together. You can either alternate the directions or have the corks all facing the same way. Glue together and let dry. On the left, you can see that I used plastic corks; on the right, I used real cork. Both options are fun to work with, but I won’t lie:  the plastic ones are usually way more consistent in same-sizeness.
 
 
Step 3:  Measure a square of cork matting that is just barely smaller than the bottom of the cork coaster. (To be honest, the square below is probably a bit too small; you probably want it a little bit bigger, but as long as it gets the bottom flat, that’s what counts.) Cut it out, and glue it to the bottom of the coaster to create a flat base. (Note:  my cork role had a “sticker” base that I tried to use at first, but don’t be fooled:  it pops right off. I just put glue on top of the sticky, and it held that way.) Cover with a heavy book or other weighted object to glue the matting firmly in place.
 

Step 4:  Ta-da! You’re done. If you want to make a cute gift, sign the bottom of two coasters with the date and your name and wrap them together with a bow.
 
 
Tip:  Another fun twist on this is to make trivets for hot plates and pots. I bought $1 wooden picture frames from Michaels, flipped them over, and glued corks in cool batterns all along the frames. I also glued some corks directly onto the bottom of the glass of some picture frames for another twist, like it the one I made below. I’ve already used mine for pots of pasta! 
 
 
Ready to try your hand? Pop open a bottle and get started!

GeneralSite to See: Cutest Food!

 
It’s time to give props to one my favorite new sites, Cutestfood.com. Aside from the obvious eye candy (and cake) the sheer inventiveness of some people will have you scrolling through page after page. So roll on over to Cutestfood.com for a peek at cookies, cupcakes and ice cream (oh my!) like you’ve never seen before!
 
 
 Loving this puppy Bento box and llama-themed curry dish. Even savory dishes deserve a chance at cuteness!
 
 
My personal fav is the pink bear doughnut with one eye munched out, but I may have to give this little elephant pancake a proper syrup bath one of these days.
 
 
What’s the cutest dish you’ve ever seen?

GeneralDeclutter Your Life: 6 Ideas for More Zen This Year

I don’t know about you, but I am certifiably one of the world’s biggest pack racks. Given, I do magically always have on hand that superglue/lemon zester/papershredder/pizzacoupon that everyone always wishes they had, but the time has come for me to let go of that cat calender from three years ago and move on to 2012. 
 
 
Okay, so maybe my room will never look THAT clean, but in the spirit of a new year and a fresh start, I decided I was going to declutter my life! I mean, I think the 39,000 emails in my inbox are starting to get a little dusty. Now, I have had this inspiration before, but it was all too overwhelming and I ended up sitting in the middle of my floor playing with my old Barbies. This time, however, I have rounded up some tips that are SURE to help me (and any of you wanting to declutter, too!) make a zen start to this year.
 
1. Start small: spend five minutes a day cleaning something . . . anything. 
 
It doesn’t matter what you decide to tackle; five minutes of cleaning is going to make something in your house much cleaner. In fact, you’d be surprised to see that 5 minutes can pretty much clean an entire bathroom.
 
 
2. Buy an 8 pack of cute file folders.
 
Label them with the names of papers that pile up in your car, desk, and counters. Examples could be receipts, coupons, electric bill, etc. That way, you’ll have everything together and can deal with each thing one at a time without having to dig through the trash to find that shopping list or water bill. To be even more organized, buy one of those expandable folders that comes with dividers in between; that way all your papers are together yet separate.
 
 
3. Buy cheap baskets or organizers in the same color.
 
I actually really like this idea for two reasons. 1. The same-colorness brings a matching continuity to a room, 2. it gives me a specific spot to put things, and 3. it makes things that always look messy look not messy (think odd-shaped items or bags, etc.). Okay and secretly 4. it gives me a place to stash things when I don’t want to fold.
 
 
4. Organize a cleaning game with your roommate/husband/cat
 
I love this idea from Better Homes and Gardens:  Get a bunch of pingpong balls, write tasks on them like “vacuum the living room” and “clean out hall closet.” Whoever accomplishes the most amount of tasks by the end of a set amount of time gets a prize (think pedicure, massage, catnip ball).
 
 
5. Make up your own kind of list that makes sense for your living arrangement.
 
I love this one from Little Lucy Lu.
 
 
6. Clean out your computer while you’re watching TV.
 
When you’re just sitting there watching marathon episodes of How I Met Your Mother (cough, what?), multitask by deleting old emails, files, and programs that are slowing down your computer and cluttering up your life. Pick a cool desktop background and make sure your desktop is organized and doesn’t have too many icons – mental clutter is just as distracting.
 

 
  “Three Rules of Work:  Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” 
 
- Albert Einstein
 

GeneralWine Snob 101: Popular Types of Wine

 
One of my favorite college memories is of the time I lived in France and my host brother brought me and a friend to a wine tasting party. While they all tasted kinda gross at the time, the experience really sparked my interest in wines, their histories, and their creation. 
 
However, there are a dang LOT of different kinds. Even now, I am confused half the time about what I’m drinking unless I read the bottle or Google. BUT…having a general idea of what you’re drinking is a really good knowledge to have, especially if you’re bringing a bottle as a hostess gift or serving it with a meal. 
 
As such, I’ve created a list of some popular kinds of wine you might find in the supermarket, what they taste like, and what you might serve them with. I’ve left out a ton, but hopefully these will get you off to a good start!
 
White Wines
 
 

Chardonnay
Taste:  Wide bodied, buttery, velvety, and often with fruity citrus and melon, as well as creamy coffee, coconut, toffee, and vanilla flavors
Pairing:  Fish, Salmon, Chicken
 
Pinot Grigio
Taste: Crisp and dry 
Pairing: Versatile
 
Savignon Blanc
Taste: Normally shows a herbal character suggesting bell pepper or freshly mown grass. The dominating flavors range from sour green fruits of apples, pears and gooseberries through to tropical fruits of melon, mango and blackcurrant.
Pairing: Seafood, poultry, salads
 
Reisling
Taste: Light and fresh with an aroma of fresh apples 
Pairing: Chicken, pork, and especially fishes like tuna and salmon. Also good with Japanese food
 
 
Reds Wines
 
 
Pinot Noir
Taste: Delicate and fresh; it has hints of cherry and strawberry, often with notes of tea-leaf, damp earth, or worn leather.
Pairing: Excellent with grilled salmon, chicken, lamb and Japanese dishes (especially sushi!).
 
Cabernet Savignon
Taste: Full-bodied, but firm when young. Hints of Current, bell peppers, and oftentimes vanilla
Pairing: Red meat
 
Merlot
TasteScents include blackcherry, plums and herbal flavors
Pairing: Versatile
 
Zinfandel
TasteA zesty flavor with berry and pepper.
Pairing Tomato-sauce pasta, pizza, and grilled and barbecued meats.
 
Syrah
TasteMeat (steak, beef, wild game, stews, etc.)
PairingAromas and flavors of wild black fruit (such as blackcurrant), with overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat. 
 
Others Wines
 

 
White Zinfandel
Taste: Aromas of strawberries and raspberries, with a subtle sweetness
Pairing: Good for cooling down spicy foods or for a refreshing drink on hot days
 
Moscato
Taste: Sweet and fruity
Pairing:  Desserts!

Santé!
 
(Wine info paraphrased or quoted directly from French Scout. Pics courtesy of Pinterest.com.)

GeneralMemories of Paris

Can’t quite afford a trip across the pond at the moment? Then daydream your way through Paris with this collection of “memories” I’ve composed especially for all of YOU lovely LuLu*s ladies! 

Preparing for the trip 

 

Finding transportation

 
  
Sightseeing
 
  
 
Strolling past fragrant bakeries and charming cafes


 
Touring the museums 

 

Shopping on the Champs-Élysées  


 
Drinking wine by the Seine 


 
Snapshot memories


  
Falling in love
 
 
 
(Pics courtesy of Pinterest, We Heart It, and Google Images.)