Tuesday, April 29, 2014

[how to] Write a Thank You Note

I have to admit, writing thank you notes is not something I have always managed to stay on top of. In an effort to have more of an "attitude of gratitude", I stocked up on pretty note cards from the $1 section at Michaels and re-learned how to show my appreciation for even the simplest acts. 

When to Write
Handwritten, personalized thank you notes are necessary when you have been given a gift and the giver was not present for you to thank in person. Thank you notes that should always be sent, regardless of the "presence" rule, include shower gifts, wedding gifts (as soon as possible, but within at least three months of receiving the gift), congratulatory gifts or cards (like for housewarming or graduations), gifts received when sick (as soon as you are feeling better), and condolence notes or gifts, which should be written by a close friend or family member on behalf of the recipient. It is nice, but not mandatory to send a thank you note when a host has treated you to a party, after a job interview, or when someone has done you a kind favor. [source] [source]
How to Write
Use blank note cards or a postcard. Short and sweet messages will look way too small floating on a full size sheet of paper. Email and text message thank you's are only appropriate for very close friends.
Handwrite it. Never type thank you notes, as it is impersonal. Use blue or black ink and your very best handwriting. Use cursive if yours is legible, but regular print is fine, as long as you take your time and write a personal message.
Better late than never. Although it is best to send thank you notes promptly, within a week or two, it is better to send it late than not at all. If your note is a month or more late, don't make excuses, and don't be embarrassed, but write something especially thoughtful.
What to Write
Greet the giver. Use their names and address them the way you would if you were speaking in real life.
Start with a personal message. Begin with how nice it was to see or hear from your gift giver and mention your relationship.
Express gratitude. That's what we are here for, right? Say thank you and mention exactly what the gift was, unless it was a cash gift. Be heartfelt and sincere with your thanks.
Mention how you will use the gift. If the gift was a tangible object, mention how you will use it or how the gift will affect your life (Like how you can't wait to wear the sweater when the weather gets colder, or how the beautiful flowers looked great in a vase on your dining room table.) If the gift was a monetary object, mention what you will be spending it on (Like saving to help with college expenses or putting it towards a honeymoon vacation). Be sure that the giver would approve of what you plan to spend their monetary gift on, or word it strategically (a wild girls weekend in Vegas might be written as 'a much-needed vacation'). If you are thanking a host for a party or occasion, mention how much fun you had (Don't forget how beautiful the decor was or how much you enjoyed the food).
Thank again, and again. Say 'thank you' multiple times throughout your note and allude to how meaningful the gift is to you.
Sign off. Depending on your relationship to the giver, end your note however you feel is appropriate. Only use "Love" for family members or very close friends. "Kindest regards" or "All the best" sound less formal than "Sincerely" and friendlier than "Regards".
Exaggerate. Be thankful, but don't lie about how much you liked a gift. If you are lying about a gift you didn't like, they will see right through your note. It is always kind to appreciate the gesture, even if the gift was not to your liking.
Reference specific amounts of money. Any gifts of money should be referred to as "your generosity" or "your kindness".
Ramble. Keep your note to the point, while getting your thanks across. Don't include anything in your note that is unrelated to the gift or occasion.
Be too formal. A handwritten note should feel personal. Even if you do not know your gift giver very well, it is better to be friendly and warm. Show your personality and write your note the same way you would speak to the person face-to-face.
Assume. While you may think that an in-person "Thank You" is enough, it never hurts to show appreciation with a personal, handwritten, and thoughtful note. Never be afraid to show gratitude for trivial things. Not only will you brighten someone's day by recognizing their favor, but it might get you that invite or extra help again next time.

Thank you notes are such a simple and easy way to show gratitude and recognition for the kindness of others. When you were younger, did your mom sit you down with your Lisa Frank stationary, like mine did, and force you to write thank you notes? Has the tradition carried on until today? What other manners have you forgotten or tried to improve upon as you've grown up?
Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Diane Von Furstenberg | #JourneyofaDress

I thought I had missed out on seeing the exhibit at LACMA honoring Diane Von Furstenberg and the 40th anniversary of her iconic wrap dress, but I was so excited to find out that the engagement was extended until the end of April. On my next day off, I hopped an Amtrak train up to Los Angeles and met up with my friend Robby to catch the exhibit before it closed.
Upon entering, you're greeted by black and white flooring and hot pink walls covered in press photos of DVF wrap dresses, ads, and personal letters. A neon sign boasts the quote "Feel like a woman. Wear a dress!" at the end of the hallway. Off to the right is a traditional gallery of artwork, including many portraits of DVF and a video from one of her ad campaigns.
The main room, with its many bright wallpapers, shows off hundreds of wrap dresses from collections dating all the way back to the first wrap dress of 1974. The dresses are grouped by color and pattern and range from casual to formal, short to long, even with a few jumpers in the mix.
It was so much fun to look through at all of the dresses and try to guess what era they were from without looking at the little year plaques. The popularity of colors and patterns change over time, but DVF has managed to choose so many timeless options that only tiny nuances like pointed lapels and asymmetrical hems could give away their age.
There was a little booth in the gift shop that would instantly print out your instagram photo if you hash-tagged #journeyofadress. Here's the mirror shot Robby and I posted!

And isn't it compulsory to take a photo with the "Urban Light" display by Chris Burden?
 After we saw the exhibit, Robby and I had lunch at Union Market and dessert at Bottega Louie, where the macaroons are to die for. I took the train back to San Diego and unknowingly sat with a bunch of ex-cons who had gotten out of prison that morning. Tres chic. Watch my video of the entire day trip below!

Were you able to catch the DVF #JourneyofaDress exhibit at LACMA? What did you think? Did you enjoy this post? Want to see more like this? Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, April 25, 2014

[clambake] Festival Season DIY's

With two weekends of Coachella down and tons of other weekend-long events on the way, that time of year has finally returned: festival season! I have tons of DIY projects planned for this summer's season, but first, let's review:

How To: Update Boring Clothes
 Because it's always HOT during festivals, keep cool in some breezy pom-pom trimmed shorts.
DIY: Glitter Cowboy Boots
If you are headed to a country music festival, these attention-grabbing glitter boots are sure to sparkle. This DIY could also work on any kind of canvas or leather shoes, in case country crooners aren't your style.
DIY: Flower Crown
 Flower crowns are a must for every festival, so you can still feel pretty while you get drunk in the dirt and heat all day.
DIY: Flower Headbands
 If you can't commit to a full on head-bouquet, try one of these simpler towered headpieces.
DIY: Spirit Animal Hood
Spirit Hoods have been popular for a few years now. They are crazy comfortable and help keep you warm when desert temperatures drop after dark.
How To: Avoid a Hangover
 We all know, festivals often come with coolers of beer at your tailgate party and ten dollar margaritas inside the venue. Follow these tips to avoid a hangover and keep your party going for all three days of your festival fancy. Remember to drink responsibly and always stay hydrated if you are out in the heat!
DIY: Eye-Catching Sunnies
If you're out in the sun all day, don't forget to protect your peepers so you can still see all of your favorite musical acts! These stunnas can be customized to match your outfit and will sure to be conversation starters with all the new friends you are going to meet!
How To: Daisy Dukes
Daisy dukes and mom-shorts are another staple of festival fashion. Learn how to patch your most
hole-y denim before you are flashing other festival-goers on the dance floor.
How To: Survive a Music Festival
And finally, my pro-tips for keeping it all together during whatever festival or event you happen to be attending this summer. Follow these instructions and you are sure to have a great time.
Lot's of people like to make fun or talk smack about this festival or that one, or how much they cost, or how "mainstream" they might be, but as long as you are having fun and making happy memories with your friends (and staying off of instagram), the opinions of all of the basic little haters just become whiny complaints from people who are bored and stuck at home behind their computer screens.
Keep checking back here for more festival DIY's to keep you creating all summer!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

[DIY] Emoji Signs

After finding emoji stickers in a vending machine in Vegas, it started to seem perfectly normal to flash emojis at people during face to face conversations (Pro tip: It's not). But because we only got a few of them, and they were still pretty small, I decided to create these larger emoji signs for practical everyday use. Whether you want to use these as photo booth props, or to flip off the car that just cut you off, these emoji signs are super simple to make and can be used for so many things!

You will need:
Google Images
White Cardstock
Tongue Depressors or Popsicle sticks
Google images of emojis to find the ones you want. Choose the images with the best resolution. In your computer's editing software, crop as close to the image as possible without cutting it off and rotate each image so that they are all facing either "portrait" or "landscape".

Print your images on white card stock. When choosing your printer settings, choose the option that fits two images per page and select auto rotate.

Cut out your emojis and glue tongue depressors to the back, about an inch up from the bottom of your emoji symbol. 
This DIY was so simple but SO fun! If you have an iPhone, you know emojis can be so personal and have the ability to convey all the right emotions when you can't find the words. As soon as I finished mine, I hopped on SnapChat and annoyed all of my friends with a hundred silly pictures.
Tweet me photos if you make this DIY! I would love to see which emojis you decided to use.