GALENTINE’S GIFT GUIDE: DIY GIFTS FOR YOUR VINA

Hello, vinas! Galentine’s Day is coming up quickly, and we like to think of it as one of the best days of the year. What’s not to love about showering your besties with affection? Read on for a list of awesome DIY gifts for those special vinas in your life!

PICTURE PUZZLE

Friend puzzle.pngWhat better way to show a vina you care than to give them a picture of the two of you?! Websites like Walgreens, Shutterfly, and Walmart let you upload your favorite picture to their website and turn it into a puzzle! Your vina can make and break the puzzle apart as many times as she wants, or she can make it once and frame it!

ADVENTURE JAR

Paola shared a drawing with youAre you and your vina always looking for a new adventure to go on? Then make her an adventure jar! All you need is a mason jar, popsicle sticks and paint! Write different adventure ideas on one side of the popsicle stick and color code the other side with the paint by price range, indoor / outdoor, or whatever you think is best! Combine all the popsicle sticks into the mason jar, color side up, and decorate the jar as you please.

FLORAL LETTERS

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Everyone deserves flowers sometimes, so shower your vina with a floral arrangement made with love! All you’ll need is a cardboard letter of your vinas initial or initials, floral foam, hot glue, scissors, and fake flowers of your choice. Cut the face of the cardboard letter off and glue the floral foam inside of the letter filling as much of the letter as possible. Insert the fake flowers into the foam, gluing them if necessary.

4. S’MORES BAGGIE

S'mores baggie.pngLet your vina know how much you appreciate her with a s’mores kit! Gather chocolate, graham crackers and a heart-shaped marshmallow in a baggie and write up a card saying “Life is s’more fun with you.” Don’t forget to make a baggie for yourself, too, so you can make s’mores together!

Have a Happy Galentine’s Day, vinas! Don’t forget to check out the discovery tab on the Hey!VINA app for some gal plans in your area!

THE SHINE THEORY: WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT

Happy 2019! Let’s start the New Year off right by talking about the Shine Theory. This concept, originally coined by journalist Ann Friedman and media strategist Aminatou Sow, is based around the idea that “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” It is all about collaborating and not competing with others, especially other women.

We applaud that over here at Hey! VINA. Imagine the jealousy and hatred we can eliminate if we befriend other females instead of hating them because of their accomplishments. The workplace is an incredibly hard place for ladies to succeed, so instead of competing for those female roles in the workplace, we should be teaming up and creating even more female roles! Surrounding yourself with powerful, successful, positive women will only make you a better person yourself. Use those connections as an inspiration, and be a role model for those who are not yet as successful. Share tips, tricks and advice with each other. And also be there for each other as a shoulder to lean on. Positivity only breeds more positivity!

 

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All the way back in 2008, President Obama’s female staffers noticed that they were the minority in the workplace and were being passed over in meetings. Instead of getting discouraged or becoming wall ornaments, they chose to back each other up. When one female staffer would make a point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to the original staffer. They began to do this on a daily basis until the men took notice. They called this method “amplification”. By President Obama’s second term, women were on par with the male staffers.

So what do you have to lose? Lights are brighter when shining together.

Jump on the Hey! VINA app and create a powerful, positive vina gang to start shining!

THE BEST MEDITATION APPS FOR BEGINNERS

Meditation. It’s not just for yoga-loving, holistic lifestyle-living, Instagram perfect people. Meditation has so many benefits and is often misunderstood. Many think meditating is about losing all thoughts and being one with yourself, but mediation is what you want it to be, and what you make it. I’ve tried a couple different meditation apps and have found my favorite, so take a peak and try one (or them all) for yourself!

HEADSPACE

This was by far my favorite meditation app. The app is laid out nicely and easy to navigate. There are meditation packs for different things, for example, health packs, happiness packs, student packs, sport packs, and of course the foundation packs. There are also single meditations for different scenarios and mediation minis for a quick moment to check in with yourself. The app even has a whole section of kid’s meditations for all you vinas with little ones! I started off with the first basics pack which has ten sessions. When starting, the app asks some basic questions to help you get started. I chose to meditate for five minutes and dedicated time after my shower at night to sit down and meditate. When starting a meditation, there is always a little text to read before starting to get you ready, and on some days, there is even a little animated video to put your mind at ease. During the actual meditation portion, the recording guides you through what to do, helps you breathe, and makes you feel comfortable with words of encouragement. I definitely recommend this app for those who don’t think they can meditate properly, or who have had a hard time meditating in the past, like I had in yoga. The first basics pack is free, and there are other packs you can try a session for free, but Headspace is a subscription-based app.

CALM

Calm has a couple different tabs: home, sleep, meditate, music and masterclass tabs. When starting the Calm app, I was asked my goals for meditating. I was then prompted to sign up for a one week trial which would turn into a yearly subscription. The intro to meditation is 7 sessions long, perfect for the free trial. On day one you learn the basics and the recording walks you through how to breathe and what to do. After the first day of meditation, you are asked to confirm your goal for what you want to work on and how many days a week you want to meditate. The app also has sleep stories to help you fall asleep, meditations for different scenarios, and music for things like sleeping, relaxing, and focusing.

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10% HAPPIER

I recommend this app for anyone who is skeptical about meditating. I actually found this app reading a book called Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, which gives you access to corresponding meditations in the app. The first 8 meditation sessions are free in the basics course, but the other 8 and the rest of the content need to be unlocked with a subscription. The full version gives you meditation courses, a meditation of the day, single meditations for different scenarios like stress, sleep, focus, happiness, etc. You also get coaching with real meditators with 10+ years of experience to answer all your questions. Both the book and the app stemmed from a TV news anchor, Dan Harris, who was a normal person who took up meditation after having a panic attack on national TV. The app brings together scientists and teachers to help even the biggest skeptic find the benefits of meditating.

So what are you waiting for, vinas? Start meditating and find your zen (and your vina) today!

5 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR APARTMENT LOOK BIGGER

Happy September, vinas! Whether you are moving back into your college dorms and apartment, September is a great time for new beginnings and fresh starts. What better time to reorganize and redecorate your space?! I had the honor of talking to Jacqueline Clair over at York Avenue Blog about her favorite ways to make your apartment look bigger. (Sidenote: I have a serious vina crush on Jackie and her photos, so be sure to check out her blog!)

Here are Jackie’s five ways to make your apartment look bigger:

LIGHT WALLS

“Light colored walls and ceilings are another classic strategy for making a space feel more expansive. While dark walls absorb light and can make a room feel smaller, light colors visually expand by reflecting light and appearing to recede. One exception: if you have a small space that doesn’t get much light (like a bedroom), light colored walls can look dingy and dull. In that case, it can make more sense to just embrace the moody, cozy feeling by painting the space a dark color to channel a cozy, enveloping vibe.”

COHESION

“Another strategy for making your space feel bigger is to try to maintain a sense of cohesion throughout in your decorating. When different areas are decorated in wildly different styles or colors it can create a sense of choppiness, which makes a space feel smaller. Strive to carry elements such as furniture styles, color, and pattern throughout the whole space in order to create a sense of continuity and balance.”

OPENNESS

“Another way of making a space feel bigger is to avoid blocking anything off. When living in a small space such as a studio apartment, it can be tempting to want to block off a “bedroom” area using a room divider. While this can certainly be an effective way of managing your space and creating a visual illusion of two rooms, it can also block light and create a closed-off feeling that makes the apartment seem smaller. In order to make things feel bigger, you can opt out of the divider idea and simply embrace the open plan. It will help your space to feel more light and airy – and therefore expansive! If you are set on dividing the space, one option for doing that while keeping things feeling roomy is to use a light, airy divider – such as a delicate decorative screen (one made of lucite is an option). This way you get the visual feeling of a division without creating a “wall” of sorts that can make the space feel smaller.”

CLUTTER-FREE

“If you’re looking for an easy (and free!) way to make your space feel bigger immediately, decluttering is your best bet. Clutter can be problematic in a few ways, but one of the biggest problems is that it can make your home feel much smaller than it actually is. Removing extra items from surfaces like coffee tables and counters will have an immediate impact in making your space feel more roomy and open. If you’re not ready to depart with your belongings, you can easily stow some decorative objects away in a cabinet or drawer and then switch them out to change up the look of your space when the mood strikes. Clearing away extraneous papers, magazines, pens and other detritus is something that can be done in one go and maintained daily, and though it isn’t the most fun activity, the space-expanding rewards make it more than worth the time and energy!”

MIRRORS

“Mirrors are a tried and true strategy for making a small space feel bigger. By bouncing light around, they serve as an effective tool for visually tricking the eye into seeing a space as larger and brighter than it truly is. One thing to remember is that wherever you place a mirror, it will reflect what’s across from it – so to get the full space-enhancing impact, you can try placing a mirror opposite a window. Also remember that you’ll be seeing in the mirror whatever it reflects – in effect doubling that view – so be sure to place it across from something you want to see twice (a beloved piece of art or a great view rather than a dark doorway, for instance).”

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Thank you, Jackie for these amazing tips!

Need some help finding fun vinas to help you redecorate? Get the Hey! VINA app now!

JULY 4TH RECIPES TO IMPRESS YOUR VINAS WITH

Happy July 4th, vinas! Besides fireworks, this is a time to impress your vinas with super patriotic foods that are totally Pinterest-worthy.

My absolute favorite thing to make for this holiday are refreshing red, white and blue layered drinks. I find it is best to prepare the drinks right before the party starts to avoid the ice melting too much or the colors mixing before your vinas can enjoy them.

The other trick is to pick three different colored drinks with three very different sugar contents since that is what will keep the layers separate. For example, Ocean Spray’s cran-apple juice with 40 grams of sugar, SoBe’s pina colada with 25 grams of sugar and blueberry-pomegranate G2 with five grams of sugar. Take your cups and fill them with ice, then slowly poor each drink into the container with the most sugar first. Use clear glass cups and add festive straws to add to the fun!

I also absolutely love making a sparkler cake for dessert! This is a patriotic-colored cake with red, white and blue frosting sprinkles on top. This cake takes a little extra time than your normal cake would, but is still super easy to bake.

Ingredients:

1 box (15.25 oz.) white cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and egg whites for the cake mix (directions on box)

Red food coloring

Blue food coloring

1 container (12 oz.) white frosting

Red, white and blue sprinkles

Instructions:

• Preheat your oven according to the directions on the cake mix using a 12 cup bundt pan.

• Make the cake batter as directed on the box.

• Pour 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl and stir in the red food coloring until it is well mixed and the shade you desire. Pour another cup of the batter into another separate bowl and stir in the blue food color until it is well-mixed and the shade you desire.

• Pour the red cake batter into the bottom of the bundt pan. Carefully pour the white batter over the red batter in pan and repeat with the blue batter over white batter (the blue batter does not need to cover the white batter completely). When you add the batter to the pan, do not mix with a spoon. The colors should be layered and not mixed.

• Bake the cake as directed on the box.

• When the cake is baked, let it cool for 10 minutes. Place a cooling rack over cookie sheet. Turn the bunt pan upside down onto cooling rack so that the domed side of the bundt cake is on the top.

• Let the cake cool completely, for about 30-45 minutes.

• When cake is cool, divide the frosting evenly into 3 microwavable bowls. Microwave the bowl of white frosting uncovered on HIGH for a few seconds until it is smooth enough to drizzle over the cake. With a spoon, drizzle the 1st bowl of frosting onto the cake.

• Microwave the second bowl of frosting until it is smooth, then stir in the blue food coloring until it is well blended and the shade you desire. Drizzle the blue frosting over the white frosted cake, making sure you don’t cover all of the white frosting.

• Repeat with the 3rd bowl of frosting and red food coloring, making sure each color of frostings can be seen on the cake.

• Sprinkle the cake with red, white and blue sprinkles, then let the cake stand at room temperature until the frosting is set before serving.

Get ready to be called VINA Crocker because these recipes are sure to be a hit!

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Have a great Fourth of July!