Merry Christmas!

10:02 AM


The day is finally here. Or, should I say, it's already here! December has gone by so fast! Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, I'm taking the day off from writing a full blog post. But I hope you all have a marvelous Christmas day and a happy New Year!

I'm heading up to my grandparents' house today and I'm so excited!! I'm definitely going to try to soak up every moment today and enjoy being with all of my favorite people.

Wow. New Year's Day is only a week away now. I'm looking forward to a new year and a fresh start. And to the next Sherlock season! I've been looking forward to the first episode of Season 4 for ages and it's finally almost here.

Anyway, enjoy this holiday season and your time with family and friends today! Merry Christmas!

Printable Christmas Gift Tags

6:01 PM


Christmas is officially a week from today! I can't believe that it's that time of the year again. I've been busy this week wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and doing a bit of last-minute shopping. I've also been avoiding the area around the mall at all costs. It's worse than Black Friday in there!

For today's post, I've created these simple little gift tags to help you in wrapping your presents. I used them on a few of the gifts I wrapped and liked how they turned out!

I recommend printing them out on cardstock, just so that they're a bit sturdier and can handle marker or Sharpie or whatever you use to write on them.

Print them out here.

Merry early Christmas!


A Catch-Up

1:11 PM



Hello! It's me! (Anyone think of the Adele song just then?) No, but really, it's actually me. This is the first post in a couple months that hasn't been pre-scheduled. That's because I'm officially on winter break and have finished my first quarter of college! And wow, has a lot happened. I will definitely give you the run-down on how my first quarter was and show you pictures of my dorm room (that's my dorm room above, by the way), but for now, I'm just going to write up a simple post sharing little things that I've been loving lately.

What I've Been Reading
Actually, I haven't read a really good book in a while. The last few I've read have only been mediocre. I think the last really good book I read was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was a different sort of book, in a good way. I liked it a lot.

What I've Been Listening To
So many things! Firstly, the most recent One Republic album came out a couple months ago, in October. I've listened to it so many times! I think my top favorite songs are Future Looks Good, Born, Better, and Human.
Also, I've been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack nonstop. I was a bit late to this bandwagon, mostly because I didn't really get it. I didn't understand why people enjoyed listening to the soundtrack of a musical that they will never see in-person. I was mistaken. It's so good! I didn't have any trouble following the story. I also discovered these videos (1 and 2) on YouTube and have watched them multiple times!! (Just skip the long Obama speech at the beginning.) They're even better if you've been listening to the soundtrack for a while, then you get to match the voices to the people and they look way different from how you imagined them (at least, that's how it was in my case).
Okay, last one. The Serial podcast. I finished Season One and am halfway through Season Two. It's basically a crime show in podcast form. It's very entertaining, and it's a true story.

What I've Been Watching
Honestly, I've been watching a lot of YouTube and not a lot of TV or movies. Besides Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, of course. If you haven't seen it, you must! I've been on a renewed Harry Potter kick lately. I've reread the first two books in the series and am starting on the third. I've also become very fascinated by J.K. Rowling. I didn't realize what an interesting person she is! I've watched all three of these interviews (12, and 3) on YouTube and found them all super captivating.

What I've Been Smelling
That might have sounded a little weird, but I had to find a way to share one of my favorite little things about the Christmas season. Every year, right after Thanksgiving, I get out my Bath and Body Works Twisted Peppermint lotion. I love this scent. And since I only let myself use it during December, the scent reminds of the holiday season. You know how a smell can take you right back to a feeling or place? It's like that.

It's good to be back on the blog. And a bit weird! I must admit it was nice to have a post go up automatically every Sunday morning without me even thinking about it!
I'm so glad to have my first quarter of college under my belt and am looking forward to spending a whole month with my family, enjoying Christmas! Hope you're all having a great, and not too stressful, December so far. See you next week!

My Favorite Etsy Shops Part 3

8:00 AM



Here we are at the last installment of this series (the miscellaneous edition)! What a perfect start to December, the gift-giving month of the year! If you're in need of some one-of-kind gifts (or just want to treat yourself to something this month), this is the post for you!

Oatmeal with Kefir

8:00 AM




I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving last Thursday! (And I hope you aren't too sick of turkey sandwiches and turkey soup!)

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite breakfasts: oatmeal with kefir. It's delicious and healthy, especially when you add dried fruit, chia seeds, chopped nuts, and other good stuff!


My Favorite YouTubers

8:00 AM


Hello and happy (early) Thanksgiving! Is it really that time again? I don't have a Thanksgiving-themed post for you today, unfortunately, but I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends (and lots of food)!

Today, I'm going to share seven of my favorite YouTube channels with you. YouTube, in my opinion at least, is one of the greatest facets of the Internet. It can teach you practically anything, allow you to upload your own videos for free, and, perhaps most importantly, provide a source of endless entertainment. Whenever I'm painting or scrapbooking or doing anything that only requires a fraction of my attention, you can bet I'm watching YouTube videos.

My Favorite Etsy Shops Part 2

8:00 AM


Today I'm back with another round-up of my favorite Etsy shops! This one, just like part one, is centered around stationery. (Part 3, coming up, will be a collection of miscellaneous shops.) There are so many creative, talented people out there in the world, and so many incredible Etsy shops. Here are just a few of them. 

Artists I Love

8:00 AM


I recently read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon and it was one of the best books I've ever read on creativity. One point he makes in the book is that nothing is original. We can't help but be influenced by one another, building off each other's ideas and work. Austin Kleon included this quote by Jim Jarmusch in his book:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."

I love the thought of collecting ideas and weaving them into your work, whatever your work may be (art, writing, music, or something else entirely). Another quote I loved from Steal Like an Artist is this one by Wilson Mizner: "If you steal from one author, it's plagarism; if you steal from many, it's research."

DIY Chalkboard Bunting

8:00 AM




Tomorrow is Halloween!! Are you ready? Is your costume prepped? Have you bought your candy? As with every year, I am struck by how strange this holiday is. But I'm not arguing. I love holidays. They're opportunities to make memories with friends and family, have fun, and forget about the daily grind of life. So have fun tomorrow, whatever you're doing (but do be safe!).

This chalkboard bunting is so versatile. I decided to spell out "Happy Halloween", but you can pick any phrase, and change it up whenever you want! I'm totally going to bring it back out for Christmas and New Year's. It's super easy to make and very inexpensive. The only material you may not have already is chalkboard paint, which you can easily pick up at Michael's.


My Favorite Etsy Shops Part 1

8:00 AM

Etsy. It has expanded like crazy since it began in 2005 and now has over a million sellers and over 25 million active customers. That's a lot of people! I love Etsy and even have my own shop (check it out here!), so I decided it would be fun to start a series featuring my favorite Etsy shops. Since I have so many favorites, this series will be posted in three parts throughout the next few months. The first two parts are going to completely consist of stationery shops (since those are my favorites!) and the last part will consist of other miscellaneous shops I really like. But first, as a bit of a disclaimer, I want to say that I haven't actually purchased anything from these Etsy shops (unless otherwise stated), though I would very much like to someday! 

DIY Halloween Costumes

8:00 AM


Halloween is just around the corner, believe it or not! We have just over two weeks to come up with the perfect costume! I love making my own costumes. Handmade costumes are so much more fun than those cheap ones you can buy at Spirit. For a bit of inspiration, I gathered up six DIY costumes from across the Internet to share with you. (I didn't even realize that five out of the six were food-related until I put them all together. Oops!) Which one is your favorite? I think I like the strawberry one the best.

DIY Cinnamon Sugar Lip Scrub

8:00 AM



I've been trying to wear more lipstick lately, just because it's fun and gives me an immediate boost of confidence! Sure, you have to bother with reapplying multiple times throughout the day, but I think it's worth the extra effort. That being said, dry lips and lipstick do not go well together. That's why I decided to whip up this sugar lip scrub! I try to use it every night and always follow it up with a generous amount of lip balm. That way, in the morning, I'm prepped for my pink lipstick!

This lip scrub is super super simple to put together. It's made of ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen and can be mixed together in five minutes or less.


10 Things I've Been Loving

8:00 AM


It has been so long since I've done a favorites post, so today, that's exactly what I'm doing! I love sharing little things that I've been enjoying and this post was really fun to put together. There are so many things I could include in this list, but I narrowed it down to ten. Let's get right to it!

Chai Tea Latte Recipe

8:00 AM



The fall season is upon us! One of my favorite things about fall and winter is enjoying warm drinks! Sure, I drink tea all through the summer, but it's even better when it's cold outside. So I'm taking advantage of this season by making this delicious chai tea latte! I always order chai tea lattes whenever I go to coffee shops (since I don't really like coffee!) and I've been wanting to try and make it at home. This recipe makes enough for three to five servings, so you can enjoy it all week!


10 Fall Baking Must-Haves

8:00 AM


Fall officially begins this Thursday, and we all know fall is the season for baking! I love baking all year (it's one of my favorite things to do!) but somehow in the fall, it's even more fun. I've gathered up ten fall baking must-haves that I use and love whenever I step into the kitchen. I hope you find some baking inspiration!


Dorm Room Haul

10:14 AM

At last, the time has come to share everything I've collected over the past few months for my dorm room! I am moving into my dorm room this Saturday, so this post is very fitting, since this week will be dedicated to packing and buying last minute things for move-in weekend. I really love how everything came together in the end.

I tried to find links to these items on the Internet, but was unable to find a lot of things. (I bought most items on sale or at stores like Marshall's and HomeGoods.) If I was able to find a similar item, I linked to that instead.

On My Mind // Vol. 1

10:57 AM


Hello, my lovely readers! I'm doing something a bit different today. Sometimes writing tutorial after tutorial makes me feel a little burnt-out, which is never a good thing, especially in the realm of creative projects. So I thought I'd start this series to basically brain-dump things I've been thinking about -- good, bad, sad, happy, etc. Anything goes. Just to shake things up a bit, both for you and for me.

Another reason I decided to start this series is because my blog can start to feel really impersonal when I'm just "teaching" you how to do something week after week. And I want to change that. My name is Trina and I'm a real person! And I know you all are real people, too, not just numbers on my Google Analytics page.


How to Throw a British Tea Party

8:30 AM

 






One of my all-time favorite TV shows is the Great British Bake Off on PBS. A few weeks ago, the Season 3 finale aired here in America. Before watching it, I threw a little tea party, complete with pretty tea cups, tea sandwiches, and traditional English Madeira cakes, to celebrate! It turned out to be really fun and I love how it turned out, so I thought I'd share it here!

I had the incredible opportunity to actually have tea at Harrods in London last summer and it was so fun! (See pictures from the trip here.) This tea party is decidedly less grand, but still very enjoyable.


DIY Bud Vase

9:41 AM



I absolutely love having fresh flowers around. They completely brighten up a room and have actually been proven to improve your mood! This DIY bud vase is a great way to display a single flower picked from the garden or the last surviving one from a bouquet. And all you need is a glass bottle (like a soda bottle) and spray paint in the color of your choice. I used Krylon ColorMaster in bright white.

DIY Cactus Tote Bag

7:51 AM




Okay. This may be my favorite DIY ever. I know I've said that before, but this one was really fun! I bought this tote bag at Joann's for a couple bucks a while ago and had such a hard time deciding what to do with it. Then, it came to me. I sat down and designed these cacti in Adobe Illustrator, printed them out on some transfer paper, and ironed them on. Voila! It's really easy and super cute! Perfect for your next grocery or farmer's market run. (And it eliminates all those annoying plastic bags you bring home every time you go to the grocery store.)


Adventures in Colorado

11:55 AM


Well, I've finally sorted through the hundreds of pictures that I took while in Colorado and am here this Sunday with a post recapping my trip! It was wonderful, with beautiful nature at every turn and lots of laughs and good times with family. 

5 Tips for Starting Your Own Blog

2:36 PM



Wow. The past few weeks have been crazy! I've been travelling practically nonstop for the past month and a half! I'm not complaining, of course, but my busy schedule makes it hard to keep up with this blog! So today, I'm sharing a post I actually wrote a while ago. I had planned to post it on my blogiversary, but decided to save it for a day that I needed a post, which, as you can guess, happens to be today. So, here we are! Five tips for starting your own blog! These are just a few of the things I've learned in my first year and a half of blogging. (And I have definitely come a long way since I first started! Check out my first post here. Yikes!) If you haven't thought about creating your own blog, I encourage you to at least think about it. My blog centers around my passions (DIY, baking, photography, etc.) but you can go wherever you want with it! All you have to do is find your passion and role with it. It can be a journal of your daily life, a place to write your thoughts, a way to share your music, art, or travels... the possibilities are endless! It's a very very fun and rewarding experience. Trust me.

If any of that piqued your interest, read on so that you can start on the right foot!


DIY Wall Hanging

5:24 PM


I'm going to be doing a lot of dorm shopping this week. (To read more about my college plans, check out this post!) But in addition to buying all the necessities, I have to remember to decorate my dorm and truly make it mine. This DIY is one thing that will definitely find a home somewhere in my dorm room. I love how it turned out! I was actually inspired by something I found on Etsy and decided to just make it myself! 

You can choose any word you want for this project, or even shrink the letters a bit and fit in a whole phrase! I added pom-pom trim to mine (leftover from this DIY), but feel free to customize it any way you want. I'm thinking of adding some tassels later!

DIY Drawstring Sunglasses Pouch

5:27 PM




Hey hey! As you all know, I went on a trip to Mexico earlier this summer. It was so hot and sunny! Luckily, I had my sunglasses. But as I was packing them, I realized that the only sunglasses pouch that I have is an old one that my parents lent me years ago. It works fine, but, let's be honest, isn't the prettiest. So I rushed downstairs and quickly sewed up this one! Really, it's that easy. It hardly took any time at all. Fortunately, I thought to take pictures along the way so I can share the how-to here!

While I was at it, I added some glittery corners to the black frames of my sunglasses just by swiping on some gold glitter nail polish! That tutorial is also included in this post.

Hope your summer is wonderful so far and full of adventures!
(See how to make the cover-up in the picture above by clicking here!)

Tahoe Weekend

2:49 PM


Exactly a week ago today, I took a weekend trip to a cabin up in Tahoe, which is only about 2 1/2 hours from my house. I went with my parents and sister as well as my aunt, uncle, and cousins. It was such a relaxing, slow weekend. I had a great time, and I want to go back! 

I know it's Friday, and I usually post on Sunday, but I wanted to share a few pictures from this trip and I have so much planned for the blog this summer that I don't have a Sunday slot for this post! So here are the pictures. On a Friday.

DIY Beach Cover-Up

8:00 AM




As you know, I recently came back from a trip in Mexico! (I recapped my trip here and here.) I knew there was going to be a lot of pool and beach time, so I decided to sew up this cover-up before I left for my trip. It was as I was working on this project that I discovered my deep love for pom-pom trim! It instantly made the cover-up so much cuter! I found my pom-pom trim at Joann's. You can buy it by the yard or by the roll. I'm trying to think of more ways to use it, like on a tote bag or a scarf. We'll see what I come up with!

Anyway, if you'd like to make this cover-up for yourself, follow the steps below!


Mexico Trip Video

10:55 AM


I hope you all had a fun and safe Fourth of July! As promised, here is my Mexico video! (And my new URL!! Yay! And FYI, it does redirect if you type in the old one.) If you missed my last post, you can find it here. I recapped my trip and shared a few pictures. But today I have for you the 2 minutes and 39 second version! 


Like the song in the video? It's "Mexico" by Tigers in the Sky, one of my favorite bands. When I found out I was going to Mexico, I immediately thought that song would be perfect for a video! Listen to more of their songs here. Thanks for watching!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4:18 PM

 

Happy July Fourth weekend! I hope you're enjoying all the staples of this holiday: family and friends, swimming, fireworks... I know I will be tomorrow!

Last Tuesday, I returned from a six-day trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! It was such a fun time with my family, discovering a new country and having all sorts of adventures. I love going to different countries and I consider myself so so lucky to have been able to visit three already. It is so interesting to interact with people from different cultures and, in this case, try to use some of the Spanish I supposedly learned over the past four years of high school! In this post, I'm just going to talk about my trip and show you some pictures I took!

But first, I have a little announcement! I'm finally getting a domain name for my blog! (Yay!!) That means my blog URL will now be www.theyellowmailboxblog.com, without the "blogspot" part. (I'm not sure if it will automatically redirect you to this new URL if you type in the old one, so I just wanted to let you know before it went into effect.)

One more thing, then I'll stop rambling for sure. I created a video of this trip that will be up on the blog on Tuesday, July 5th. So look for that! It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself...


Recent Reads

9:00 AM


Hello summer! One of the best things about summer is having more time to read. I'm trying to read at least five books this summer. Considering my 2016 goal of 24 books, I think that is more than doable. There are so many books out there that I want to read!

Here are eight books that I have recently finished and that I recommend for your own summer reading. I tried to stay away from picking really common, popular books that you've probably already read. But these are definitely just as good! I will leave the links to each book on both Amazon and Goodreads in case you want to check them out!


Thrift Store Haul

4:46 PM


One of my favorite things to do is go thrift shopping. You never know what you're going to come away with! This past week, I headed to my favorite thrift shopping spot, an affluent town about half an hour away from where I live. (Affluent towns are perfect for thrift shopping because a lot of the items are either in really good condition or hardly used at all.) I always find something fun, and its always a surprise! The best part about thrift shopping? It's guilt-free!

I decided to share my latest thrift store finds on the blog. (Plus this was good Photoshop practice! I'm still trying to get the hang of it.) So I hope you find some inspiration!

//one// Thrift stores are awesome for buying stamps! In this trip alone, I bought three sets of stamps and I love them! This one will be great for adding borders to my scrapbook.

//two// This was a random purchase. It's a little heart box that I thought would be fun to decoupage someday. (See? I told you each trip is a surprise!)

//three// This calendar stamp is the second stamp that I bought. It didn't come with all twelve months, but you can't expect perfection at thrift stores. I'm still pretty excited about it.

//four// More stamps! This is a whole set of little alphabet letters! I totally scored with this one. After I bought it, I took them all out of the bag and went through the alphabet and was super excited (and surprised) when I discovered that it had all the letters! In addition to an exclamation point and a question mark!

//five// Books are also great to buy at thrift stores. Whenever I go on vacations, I like to bring a book I own so I don't have to worry about messing up any library books. And you can't turn down a book for 25 cents! Besides, Eragon by Christopher Paolini is a book I've been meaning to read.

//six// This was another surprise find. I don't know how to explain it other than it's like a crochet trim. I was thinking that it will look great sewn onto a bag or scarf or shirt. I haven't decided what to do with it yet but it's really cool. And I got four entire yards of it for only $4. I recently bought pom-pom trim at Joann's for a project and I was shocked by how expensive it was, so I think this was a pretty good deal.

//seven// I really like all of Sarah Dessen's books and she's written so many that I can almost always find one at the thrift store. I haven't read That Summer yet so I'm excited to bring it on an upcoming trip.

//eight// I love this jean vest! Jean jackets and vests can be surprisingly expensive in stores, so I was pretty excited when I found this one for less than $5.

//nine// I've been really into easy, comfortable dresses this summer. When I just don't feel like wearing pants/shorts, I can wear a comfy dress and still look presentable. This one was originally from Forever 21 and I got it for less than $5. I wore it today to church with my jean vest and it was perfect!

//ten// Last one! This was a random purchase, too. It's a bag of gold star confetti. I know I can find a use for it somewhere. (I don't know if you can tell, but the craft sections at thrift stores are my favorite!)

That's it! I hope this inspired you to try your luck at thrift shopping! I may do a post on the Dos and Don'ts of thrift shopping in the future, so stay tuned for that.

Let me know what you love buying at thrift stores!

DIY Dyed Napkins

6:38 PM


Happy Sunday! Today I want to share a really fun DIY with you. At least, I had a lot of fun with it! The other day, I found some powdered dye packets at the craft store and realized that the last time I dyed anything was when I made tie-dye shirts as a kid, so I decided to buy some dye and experiment. I tried folding the napkins a lot of different ways and it was such an exciting surprise every time I unfolded the napkin to see the resulting design! In this post, I am going to share my favorite ones. I dyed ten napkins in total, but in my opinion these were the best five. 

Easy DIY Painted Basket

1:44 PM


Happy summer! I am super pumped because I am officially on summer break! Even better? I'm done with high school! I've served my four years and am sooo ready to move on. The past few weeks have been crazy, with finals and graduation and grad parties, so I was all for an easy, simple DIY. I bought this basket from the thrift store a while ago because I needed a place to store my (massive) yarn stash. It works great, but I decided to jazz it up with a little spray paint.

Portabella Mushroom Tacos with Spicy Jalapeno Sauce

7:12 AM



I once tried to be vegetarian for a whole month. It lasted about three hours until I wanted In-N-Out for dinner. So, I had to accept my weakness for In-N-Out and decided instead to eat plants as much as possible, but still allow myself to eat meat. This is easier for everyone, especially since I am still living with my parents and, well, have to eat whatever they put on the table for dinner. (So, in retrospect, you can see how this vegetarian-for-a-month challenge was doomed from the start...)