Beachy waves ...It's the messy but still-refined-in-a-laid-back-kind-of-way hairstyle that every woman wants but doesn't know how to create without the help of some expensive hair products (Bumble and Bumble surf spray, anyone?!). 

If you follow me on instagram {shameless plug} then you already know that, recently, I cut off seven inches of hair and have since been looking for ways to style my hair other than stick straight or pulled back into a "mini bun" (can I even call it a bun?!) at the nape of my neck. In my quest for some fun ocean-like waves for cheap, I was able to come up with my own concoction that, for a few bucks, works just as well if not better than the name brand stuff. 

Here's what you'll need to make your own surf spray...

  • Hair gel of your choosing {...this is what I usually use when I want to let my hair run free in it's naturally curly state of mind, errrr, hair.}
  • Melted coconut oil {1 tablespoon}
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Heat resistant measuring cup
  • Epsom salt {2 tablespoons}
  • Boiling water {1/3 cup} 
Measure out your epsom salt {you can find this at the drugstore in the first aid aisle, easy peasy} and put in the bottom of your heat resistant measuring cup. Next, add your hair gel. I used two quarters worth but feel free to use as much or as little as you want -- it just helps with the hold. 
After adding your gel, go ahead and add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil. The salt can be very drying so it's important that you add a moisturizing component -- in this case, the coconut oil -- to ensure that this spray doesn't dry out your hair.

Pour 1/3 cup of boiling water {this is why you need to use a heat resistant measuring cup} over your salt mixture and STIR until all of the salt is dissolved.
You can see in the above photos that I prefer to make this spray in a "liquid measuring cup" (i.e. measuring cup meant for liquids... not the stack of scoop measuring cups which are often referred to as "dry measuring cups") over a regular bowl because it has a spout which makes pouring your concoction into an empty spray bottle, also known as the next step, way easier (and less messy!).
At this point, your spray is hot {boiling water, anyone?}. Allow it to cool completely before using. 

Once your spray is room temperature, go ahead and shake the bottle to re-mix the ingredients together in case they separated. After that, all you have to do is spray your hair and style {i.e. scrunch with your fingers and/or wrap some hair pieces in a ringlet for a few seconds to create controlled curl}. I like to wait for my hair to be almost dry {but not completely} before spraying. This allows me to get optimal texture and volume out of the spray.
As I said before, I have naturally fine but curly hair. This means that I don't use this spray to create wave, just to enhance what I've already got (aka, tame my mane). I love the beachy vibe it gives my hair, especially with my not-quite-but-oh-so-close-to-shoulder-length locks. 

So now it's your turn. Go ahead and make this spray and let me know what YOU think. Better volume? Some nice waves? I want to hear all about it in the comments section. Annnnnd, GO!
 
 
I love the look of fresh flowers; light, airy and lush, they're just perfect. What I don't love, however, is when flowers don't last. Luckily, that's now a thing of the past. 
Enter, the spiked vase water. Just add a tablespoon of Vodka to your vase water to keep your flowers looking fresh for longer.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "vodka for my flowers?" Yes, your flowers need a drink, too. Don't we all.

Oh, and if you're wondering, the picture at the top of this post was taken the day I got the flowers. Fast forward a week and a half and, see for yourself. Still going strong. Bottoms up!
 
 
In keeping with the wedding recap, I thought I'd share my most recent Huffington Post piece about wedding DIY. The original article, pictured below, can also be read here.
It is once again wedding season -- that time of year when every weekend starts to hazily blend together as a mixture of rose petals, champagne toasts, and the occasional hora. It's no wonder that brides these days are looking to do something different, something DIY to make their special day truly a unique occasion. As a DIY blogger, perpetual crafter, and recent newlywed, I've devised my top six tips for personalizing your wedding... one DIY project at a time.

1. Pick the top three wedding elements that are most important to you.
Before breaking out the glue gun and seven yards of diamond white tulle, take a minute to think about what elements of your wedding are most important to you. Maybe you feel strongest about your dress, the venue and signature cocktails, or maybe you're more of a food, dancing, and entertainment kind of bride. Now that you have identified what elements are at the top of your "wedding wants" list, see how you can incorporate some DIY touches into these most important areas. For me, I knew my dress was of the utmost importance and making it "different" from the 74 other dresses I tried on was at the top of my DIY list. No, I didn't hack off the bottom half of my dress. I did, however, create and attach a cobalt blue fabric flower to the field of white silk dupioni flowers that made up the bottom half of my dress. What can I say, I wanted a very obvious "something blue."

2. Doing it yourself is cool. Telling your vendors what you're up to is even better.
Now that you have identified what areas you plan to DIY, make sure you tell your vendors upfront what it is you're up to. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it's important that you let those in charge of many of these elements in on what your vision and plan of attack look like. For example, if you want your grandmother to make your wedding cake, it's important that you check with your venue coordinator as many places (especially hotels and other indoor wedding halls) have contracts that don't allow for outside food to be served to guests. While this may upset you at first, realize that your venue likely has a purpose -- like health code violations! -- for shooting down your special touch dreams. On the other hand, let's say you want the table centerpieces to be a trio of mason jars filled with fresh cut flowers. Rather than order a case of mason jars online, try calling your florist. He/she may already have the jars you are looking for and will allow you to use them for free!

3. Realize that most DIY projects are not as easy as they seem.
Perusing the thousands of Pinterest wedding boards for DIY inspiration is great but, before you max out your credit card on floral tape and acrylic paint, know that most projects are not as simple as they seem. No I'm not telling you this to scare you off, but I do think it is important to be completely aware of the fact that a woman who has been sewing for fifteen years will likely do a better job at making a wedding veil than you, the bride to be, who has never used a sewing machine let alone threaded a needle before in her life! This is not to say your DIY dreams are doomed. Just keep in mind that it might take you a few tries to make your project a Pinterest worthy masterpiece (and that's okay!).

4. DIY is sometimes spelled DIWH -- Do It With Help.
One of the most important things to remember when "doing it yourself" is that you don't actually have to do it yourself. It's okay to have your bridesmaids, mom, or other helping hands help you out with your DIY endeavors. In fact, if someone you know is an expert in an area where you've chosen to tackle a project yourself, it might actually be a good idea to get him/her involved. Case in point, you want to have a signature drink at your reception but you don't know where to begin: fruity, refreshing, strong, sweet? The options are endless but your time, not so much. This is when calling your friend who moonlights as a bartender is the way to go. Not only will he/she feel as though you value his/her opinion but, come the big day, you can be rest assured that your guests will be sipping on the perfect cocktail creation.

5. Wedding weekend touches can be fun, too.
Your special DIY touches don't all have to revolve around your wedding day. In fact, it's not a bad idea to add some DIY lovin' to your entire wedding weekend! This is because, looking back on your wedding, most of your guests will remember not only your big day, but the rehearsal dinner, sendoff brunch, and all of the hours in between as well. Actually, the night before my husband and I walked down the aisle, we had a dessert and DC bus tour planned for all of our out-of-town guests. Seeing how my mom used to have her own baking company, she gleefully volunteered to make a buffet of sugary treats. With small pastry boxes in hand, guests were able to pack a dessert goodie bag of sorts and bring it with them onto a fifty-person coach bus that later drove us around DC's famous monuments. As much as I'd like to take credit for this idea, it was actually something that my parents did the night before their wedding twenty-something years ago. Tradition or not, the dessert bus tour was definitely something our wedding guests remembered and proved to be a special wedding weekend touch that will keep all of our friends and family talking.

6. From scratch is not always best.
Not all special touches need to be completely DIY to be special and scream YOU! When I first thought of giving out hand sanitizer as a wedding favor, I knew I liked the concept but needed to work on the actual execution. After some online detective work, I came across a company that manufactured mini personalized hand sanitizer bottles (less than three ounces so out of town guests wouldn't have to worry!). All I had to do was determine what I wanted the label to say -- ended up going with "Signed. Sealed. Sanitized." -- and, for me, that was enough of a personal touch.

 
 
Finally, pics of my dashing groom on our big day! I could go on and on about my now-husband and his wedding day look but, instead, I'll leave you with the following: hubba hubba HUSBAND!

Cue the pics.
Swoon.
 
 
Below is an article of mine that recently published on The Huffington Post. Before graduation season ends, I thought I would share it with you here on TLM. You can also read the article {pictured below} here on HuffPost.
This post is adapted from a blog entry Lindsay Simone wrote and published on her blog,The Quote I Wrote, in May 2012.

This past week has been an interesting one. If you don't know this about me already, then let me tell you that after two years at New York University, I decided it was in my best interest to transfer to the University of Maryland. I knew I wasn't happy at NYU, and I knew that unless I took some sort of action, things weren't going to change. Whereas I thought my transferring to UMD meant that I would get to spend more time with my family (something I desperately wanted and perhaps even needed), the way things actually panned out was very different.

A few months into my Junior year (my first year at UMD), my parents moved to Florida. Now, my mother and I constantly argue about this particular subject (so mom, if you're reading this please don't take it personally. Oh, and I love you. A lot.) but my feeling is that, at the time I transferred universities, I really needed my parents. I had almost died a few years prior, recently walked in on one of my closest friends trying to commit suicide, and I was just starting to make headway in my battle with bulimia. In other words, I was a lost and utterly lonely individual. I get that my parents wanted to move on with their lives (they had just finished dealing with their own issues), but had I known that they were going to pack up and move the second I moved back to my hometown, then I probably wouldn't have transferred... at least not to UMD that is. Nonetheless, if there is something that I have learned over the years, it's that there's no point in dwelling on the past because, let's face it, dwelling on the past won't do diddily squat for your present or your future. That said, I have also learned that if I feel a certain way, regardless of its level of rationality, I have to honor the fact that that is how I feel.

In response to my transferring universities, I must admit that, to this day, I still feel as though I downgraded myself. I had gotten into NYU, was a double major, and then decided to throw all of that away so that I could move back home to be near mommy and daddy. And then, when mommy and daddy moved, it was really like I had thrown everything away because now I had nothing. I felt as though I was back where I started, only this time, instead of attending a prestigious university, I was at state school. In fact, I think this has a lot to do with why I pushed myself to graduate in three and a half years (with a sh*t ton of excess credits, mind you), because I think in some way, it was my personal way of "making up" for the fact that I had downgraded myself when I transferred. Now, with all of that said, let me back up and tell you the following: by no means do I think that the University of Maryland is a bad school. It's quite the opposite actually.

In comparing the degree of difficulty from my classes at NYU to those I took at UMD, I must tell you, the latter was harder. Then again, perhaps I feel this way because I didn't like the formality of UMD's curriculum. It was rigid, boring, heavy on "busy work," and all in all, very much what one could/would/and should expect from a state school. On the other hand, NYU's curriculum seemed -- I don't know -- more relavent. It didn't matter that I was pursuing some random double degree (a BA in journalism and a BS in food studies, should you be at all curious). At NYU, the material was predominately taught by adjunct professors who also worked in the industry that they themselves were teaching. They knew what emerging graduates would need to know in order to excel in the modern version of the field at hand. They knew how to eliminate the textbook while feeding you the facts. UMD?... not so much. But enough about college curriculum, and back to what this article was supposed to be about: this week has been an interesting one... for an array of reasons.

This past week, my friends from NYU graduated. This past weekend, my friends from UMD graduated. This past week and weekend, I have not been able to go on Facebook and look at the pictures on my newsfeed without feeling. Yes, just that: "feeling." Sometimes I feel anger -- mad at myself for transfering. Other times I feel joy -- happy that I was able to grab my life by the horns and get out of a school that, despite providing a great education, left me feeling alone and unheard. And then there are the times I log onto Facebook, I see these photos, and I think: What would have happened had I not transferred? How would my life be different? Well, for starters, I'm almost positive that I wouldn't be the happy girl that I am today. I was lost and lonely at NYU. I might not have loved my time at UMD, but I loved that I was able to find myself, re-connect with my religion ("challah" at my fellow Jews), and, most importantly, find my way to my husband (who, despite transferring from UMD to NYU -- our time at NYU overlapped -- I might have otherwise never met).

All in all, I guess you could say that everything ended up falling into place. Yes at times I am still frustrated by my decision to transfer schools, but let's face it: my transferring schools wound up transforming me. Had I stayed at NYU, sure I would have been able to wear that purple gown in Yankee Stadium and walk across the stage in Radio City Music Hall, but I wouldn't have been the "me" that I am today -- and in all seriousness, I think I turned out pretty darn well... minus the small ego trip I just sent myself on. And, while my life has not exactly been the journey my elementary school self thought it would be, the truth of the matter is, I wouldn't change a thing... the absurd level of cheesiness in that last line included.

 
 
The long awaited wedding recap is finally here! Since our photographer sent over 1,800 photos (no joke) to the now husband and me, I'm thinking that the best way to tackle the whole "wedding recap" blog posts is to make it into a series. So here it is -- part 1.

The day started with my bridesmaids and the moms all getting our hair and makeup done. As a gift to my bridesmaids, I chose to get them each turquoise silk robes embroidered with their first initial in white.
You can see from this last picture that I chose to wear my hair up and to the side, adorned by a (fake) white flower that I made myself. As for makeup, I cannot say enough good things about the makeup artist, April, that did all of the makeup for the day. Seriously, this woman is a master with a makeup brush. She did this amazing peachy/rose colored look that was freakin fierce.
After makeup and hair was done, it was time to get in my dress and get ready to see my almost-hubby at our first look. Finding THE DRESS was not an easy task. I'm pretty sure I tried on over 70 dresses before stumbling upon the one. That said, and sorry to crush every female's wedding dress dreams, but there is no amazing ball your eyes out moment when you try on THE DRESS. There just isn't. Instead there's a "I guess this is it. Okay, yeah I really like this one. Turn around, now turn the other way. Okay, this is it" moment. I actually knew that my dress could never be the one unless I added my own DIY touch to it (duhhh). Enter, the blue flower on the bottom. Perfection.

Another bridal selfie for ya...
I know you definitely have already waited long enough, but you'll have to wait just a little bit longer for pics of the groom/now husband on the big day as well as for details and pics of the ceremony and reception. Check back later this week!
 
 
Apparently Friday's "Dear TLM," post was a big hit. I don't know if it's because the tip was so great (I mean really, dryer sheets in your shoes to eliminate odor -- c'mon, that's a good one), or if it's because everyone (myself included) is sick and therefore stayed home on Friday night. Regardless, you all seemed to be really into it and when you guys like something, I try my best to deliver. So here I am, delivering (I can't decide if that sounds sexual, prenatal, or [hopefully] normal).

From now on, if you have a question, a concern, and/or a need for some wholehearted TLM advice, tweet at me including the hashtag #DearTLM. Get it. Got it. Good!

Later, Gators.
 
 
 
 
Just realized I never showed you dudes and dudettes the HTB's and my STDs -- that would be save the date cards people. No gonorrhea here. High fives all around.
So, save the date peeps. Come March 18th, I'll be a "mrs" and TLM will be flooded with pics of me all in white. Perhaps I'll include a pic or two of the HTB (my then-hubbster). Side note: still working on a name for the HTB post-marriage. "Hubbster" just doesn't seem to cut it in the name-calling department. Brainstorm with me in the comments section, por favor?!
 
 
Look what came in the mail today!!! Our wedding invites!
Holy crap balls this is really happening. 52 days. And goooo.