Friday, 20 January 2012
One of my greatest joys in life is to give my friends and family gifts that are meaningful to them. But, sometimes this can be hard and expensive. The ultimate gift that I have ever given, I have actually done twice, with no re-gifting. This gift is a slideshow of memories and pictures.
The first time I did this was because I blindly volunteered to create a video for my family at my grandparents conjoined 80th birthday party. I volunteered because I thought it was a good way to showcase my skills and talent that I learned with studying at Elon. However, this was a lot more time consuming that I had every thought. My first step was to harass everyone in the family for pictures of their current families and from when they were little. This was very hard and that is why I use the word harass. Once I have compiled all the pictures, I had to figure out an order to put them in the flowed and made sense. So because my family is over 35+ people, I divided it into chronologically and by family. The next thing I had to do was to pick out the right song. I used "Remember me this way" and "We are family." I started with thinking about songs about families, but I also wanted a humorous, upbeat song and songs that related to my grandparents lives. Once I got all the pictures and songs together, I spent a lot of man-hours on making it perfect. It seemed like that last week was dedicated to pure milliseconds of songs to make it transition perfectly. The most satisfying part of the whole gift was not the creating of it, but when I showed it to the entire family. There were laughs, tears and so many congratulations. With all the hard work I put in, I would not have changed it for a second, or millisecond.
I created another slideshow for my group of high school friends when we graduated from college. This was a little more extensive, since we have many, many, many more pictures together. I pretty much did the same thing as I did for my family slideshow by picking tons of pictures, putting them in chronological order and then picking fun and meaningful songs. Some of the songs I choose were "You've got a friend in me" and "I get by with a little help from my friends" and "SexyBack." It was hilarious to see their faces when I gave them the DVDs. They were shocked and in awe of this wonderful creation I made.
Making a slideshow is a cheap and fun way to show your family and friends how much you care about them. It is amazing to see all the wonderful memories that you have created and shared together. I still look at the videos I have created about once a month and am exploding with emotions because of the memories from these pictures.
Monday, 9 January 2012
After graduating from Elon in May, I was convinced my life was going to take off and flourish and all these new and exciting things were going to happen. The most important improvement was the ability to move out of my mom's house and move into my own place. However, this was not the case, so instead I did a few improvements to my bedroom to make it feel like it's "my own."
These are the steps I took to improve my bedroom
- Find inspiration for a focal piece:
When I first started renovating my room, I knew that I wanted to make the bed the focal point of my room. Its important to have a painting, flowers, or a bedroom set that can be the main inspiration for your room. With that knowledge, I shopped for the perfect duvet cover. When looking for the perfect duvet cover, the most important aspect that I took into consideration was color. This Moroccan-inspired duvet cover (from Bed, Bath and Beyond - look for discounts) to the right was the one I choose. Not only were the colors beautiful, but also the tribal print matched my personal style. Because your room is an extended reflection of yourself, your room needs to match yourself and your everyday style.
- Make the remaining furniture compliment your focal piece:
Once I found my duvet cover, I took the color scheme from it (black, white, red and purple) and incorporated them into my furniture. My desk and dresser were both chunky and made of wood, while my bed not only had a new modern duvet cover, but the frame was black and modern. Thus, I realized that black and modern was the way to go with my complimenting furniture.
There are two ways your can update your other furniture to compliment your focal piece. One would be to take an existing piece and paint it (dresser) or to purchase a whole new one (desk):
Dresser: I decided to paint my dresser black, because I already liked the shape of it, I just needed it to be a new color. HGTV taught me that painting furniture is a quick and cheap solution to new furniture. All you need to do is go to the local hardware store and buy a small can of paint. Once I painted the dresser, I purchased clear knobs from Anthropologie.
Desk: Since I was not allowed to paint my desk, I purchased a cheaper one from target. I wanted a desk that was modern, black, and had storage available.
- Paint your walls to match color scheme:
It is important that after all this hard work, that you should not forget the framework for your room, the walls. The walls and color serve as a frame and a backdrop. Before my room renovation, my walls were a shade of Tiffany's blue. However, this color did not blend with my duvet cover at all. Because of this I went to Lowes and looked at hundreds of shades of off-white. After hours of contemplating on the right color, I decided on a shade called antique white.
- Rearrange furniture:
The finishing steps I took to make my room my own were first to rearrange my furniture so there was more of a flow to it. Because my room is smaller, I put my bed in a corner so it did not take up the whole floor and moved my dresser and desk next to one another. This created a path in between them and made it easier to get to my closet.
- Last minute touches - accessorize:
Accessorizing a room can really make it look over the top. There are two ways how I accessorize my room to add personal touches. The first is to find vintage pieces from flea markets, auctions or a retail store. My favorite vintage piece is my bronze mirror that sits on top of my dresser (pictured above). My mom actually found the mirror for me at a local auction and purchased it without even asking me because "it screamed Leah." My chair and the knobs I choose for the dresser also have a vintage quality to them. I like the idea of mixing vintage accessories with the modern furniture because they balance each other out. The other way I accessorize my room is with a lot of pictures and memorabilia from trips that I have been on. I think both, pictures and memorabilia, are great accessories for the bedroom because it adds a personal touch to the room and brings back great memories from the past.