5 Favorite Spotify Playlists

It takes a while to find a Spotify playlist you really like. To get you started, here are my top 5 suggestions:

  1. Happy to Be Home – Thanks to my cousin, Danielle, for introducing me to this one! This is a great option if you’re in a great mood and have the urge to listen to some not-so-mainstream jams.
  2. Jimi, Janis, Creedence, and then some – When I’m in the mood for some good oldies, this is my go-to. Eleven and a half hours of pure classic rock tunes, yes please!
  3. ¡Por Fin Viernes! – I like this one to get myself pumped up for the weekend. Sometimes a skip is needed, but only for the one or two crappy Flo Rida songs. It also has a couple Latin songs, which makes for a much better variety than the typical top 40 playlists.
  4. Coffeehouse – This should be my #1 on this list. I love this one for working, blogging, studying, lounging, E V E R Y T H I N G.
  5. Sweet 90s Sound – This was made by a friend from college and has every single notable 90’s era song. It is SO good and it never fails to give me a memory from my adolescence.

I would LOVE to hear your suggestions – share them in a comment!

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Making Progress

Twenty hours of labor,

five Spotify playlists overplayed(stay tuned for upcoming posts),

four liters of violet paint (what happened to brown),

three paint brushes (not enough),

two more liters of white paint (to make it less violet),

two entire rolls of painters tape (not enough),

and one very sore body later…

…we now have a crayon/pencil/grease-free painted flat!

FYI, when you see a color called “Amazon beige,” don’t assume it’s actually beige.

Before

Before – white walls

After (yes, the lighting sucks - sorry!)

After – beige walls (yes, the lighting sucks – sorry!)

(I’m obsessed with my newly-updated window. Like it??)

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Small Kitchen Solutions

The downfall of my conveniently located, somewhat spacious, affordable flat is the kitchen, or should I say “kitchenette.” I have Googled/Pinterested every possible tip for storage solutions and lifehacks for tiny kitchens, and have compiled a list of some of the best. Have any more? Feel free to share in a comment!

  • Make it beautiful and useful. – When you have only five square feet of kitchen space, screw the decorations! I’ve been trying to find nice kitchen utensils and storage that also act as decor.
At Home with the Barkers - Kitchenware as decoration

At Home with the Barkers – Kitchenware as decoration

  • Don’t sacrifice counter space. – When you only have very limited counter space, don’t sacrifice it when it’s not necessary. Get creative! Hang your veggies below your cabinets in small baskets like this:
Making Home Base - Small kitchen organization tips

Making Home Base – Small kitchen organization tips

  • Create a coffee bar. – This is my next big project. Rather than taking up space in the kitchen, move your breakfast and coffee things to the dining room or living room! There are TONS of coffee bar ideas on Pinterest. This is one of my favorites:
A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

  • When in doubt, consult Buzzfeed. – They always seem to have an answer. Here is a great article with tiny kitchen life hacks, including:
Buzzfeed - 27 Lifehacks for Your Tiny Kitchen

Buzzfeed – 27 Lifehacks for Your Tiny Kitchen

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Minimalist Living (Room)

The best thing about minimalist design is that you don’t have to spend your entire budget on a plethora of useless decorations. That’s how my dream of having a minimalist living room started, but the designs I found on Pinterest blew me away!

My living room is nothing close to any of my design dreams, but I want to share some ideas I have for the future reno. All were found on Pinterest and can be found on my Dream board.

Harper's Bazaar

Harper’s Bazaar / Simple textiles

This is my ultimate goal – classy furniture that isn’t gaudy or expensive. Add in a few nicely textured throws (the soft kind!) and you have my dream living room set-up. No need to have untouchable furniture that costs a fortune. I never really understood why people bother furnishing their home like a museum.

Design Sponge / Entryway

Design Sponge / Entry-way

Simple and useful – in small spaces it’s important to make a place for all the necessities, like dirty football cleats and bottles of wine. This article actually has some great ideas for designing an apartment for a couple, not the typical glamour girl NYC loft.

Finding Home Online / Greenery

Finding Home / Greenery

Having a display of greens is important in my eyes, since living in a city can really dampen your mood without a tree or a plant to give some life among all the dirty buildings and pale colors. Simple shelving can make room for more green life, rather than taking up space with a single plant.

7th House on the Left / Shelving

7th House on the Left / Shelving

I tend to be attracted to furniture with a rustic, wood look. These shelves are simple, DIY-able and nice on the eyes. See the blog for the full tutorial.

Hope these give you some ideas to transform your living room into a minimalist haven!

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New Years in Argentina

Welcome, welcome 2015!

One of the great things about New Years is that almost every culture celebrates it at some point, in some way or another. I had the great pleasure of ringing in my second “año nuevo” with my Argentine family, and will share with you some of the different foods and traditions they have here in Buenos Aires.

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A relative makes these beautiful cakes which are always the grand finale of the feast, but we began with the picado, or little hors d’oeuvres, of chorizo (sausage), cherry tomatoes, cubed Gouda cheese (Fran’s favorite), and peanuts.

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Since dinner starts late here, around 9 or 10, the picado started around 8:30 and we gathered around the table near the parrilla, or grill. I could be satisfied from the picada alone. But who can resist what came next… The asado! Many are familiar with Argentina’s famous barbecue of grass-fed beef and juicy grilled chicken, and if you’re not I suggest you plan a night out to the nearest Argentine specialty restaurant and try for yourself (although I doubt it’s nothing like the real thing). We accompanied the asado with huevos rellenos (deviled eggs) and potato salad, and leftover picada.

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But my favorite part (since Argentina has brainwashed me into a die-hard postre-lover) was the dessert! A chocolate mousse and lemon meringue pie to die for.

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But what topped the New Years was being so close to the sea. I could live like this…

Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I hope you decide to add a little bit of Argentine flare to your New Years celebrations in the future (can you believe next year will be 2016?!)

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: Honorable Mentions

I don’t advise any of you to waste your money on these “gift ideas” unless you truly think it’ll bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces. I came across these items while searching for gift ideas, and couldn’t let them pass without sharing them.

While looking for pet gifts:

  • Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat – I found this baby searching for gifts for my sister… The name pretty much speaks for itself. And yes, this is a legitimate book… there’s actually multiple books about “cat hair crafts.” Take a look inside and you’ll find that Project 4 is a Tote Bag which allows you to “carry your cat all around town.” SERIOUSLY??

    crafting cat hari

    amazon.com

*Note: These crafts are not recommended for those with cat allergies.

  • I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats – This actually might be the exception to the rule. I think some cat lovers would really enjoy this book, and it is out of stock on Amazon so a lot of people must buy it.

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

Speaking of cats…

This will probably also drive your cat insane:

  • Yodeling Pickle – Why. $15 of whys.

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

  • Annoying Orange – We won a dozen of these this past summer at a fair, and “annoying” just does not quite cut it. If you really need to get back at someone, give their child an Annoying Orange.

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

Furthermore…

amazon.com

amazon.com

Again, these are merely to give you a laugh… please don’t take them seriously!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: The Gift for Everyone

For those of you who don’t get their Christmas shopping done until Christmas Eve, I have one more gift guide to share with you. If the words “Secret Santa,” “Yankee Swap” or “amigo invisible” make you want to fall to your knees and sob like a baby, then this Gift Guide is for you. Sometimes it’s hard to think of a gift that everyone would like, and you wind up buying a bottle of wine for a 15 year old, or a makeup set for a 40-year-old man. But, I have a solution! Below I have listed some of my favorite gifts that EVERYONE would enjoy. If you have another gift that you fall back on for gift swaps, comment below!

For Nobody in Particular:

  • Humans of New York (HONY) Book – I have followed the HONY photoblog for years on Facebook and Brandon recently made a book of some of his best works. It’s on the NY Times Bestsellers list and has obviously been super successfully in the past few months. This gift is great for everyone because every story is extremely real and interesting and intriguing, and makes for a great coffee table book.

    hony

    humansofnewyork.com

  • Phase 10 – I’ve been in love with this game for years. It’s simple, quick, and very malleable… Fran and I have adjusted the rules numerous times and each time it gets more fun! It’s also really cheap, which is why it’s a great option for those Yankee Swaps.

    phase 10

    amazon.com

  • Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments – For the creatively gifted bunch that are reading this post, this is a cheap and (very) easy gift for anyone. If you’re on a tight budget especially, these ornaments can be mass distributed to all your loved ones at a very low cost. (Found on Pinterest!)

    craftriver.com

    craftriver.com

  • Throw Blankets – My mom has always made fun of me for my obsession with blankets. I used to sleep with ten of them on my bed when I was younger. But really, who doesn’t like blankets? That’s why a cozy throw blanket is perfect for a gift swap. You don’t see it often, but when you do you know that person really hit the jackpot with their gift.

    target.com (UM YES PLEASE!)

    target.com (UM YES PLEASE!)

  • Portable Speakers – One Christmas I won a portable speaker set by iHome that, to this day, I use more than I ever thought I would with a swap gift. They’re reliable, very portable, and the charges last forever, as the efficiency of portable speakers nowadays has improved tremendously. My fave store Francesca’s has a super cool looking Bluetooth speaker that I will recommend to you, and it comes at a mere price of $26.
francescas.com

francescas.com

I hope NHN’s Holiday Gift Guides have helped you finish your shopping in some way or another, and may you and your loved ones be merry and full of joy on Christmas Day.

Stay tuned for a special Honorable Mentions edition of the NHN Holiday Gift Guide!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: For the Girls

Happy Hannukah to all my Jewish homies out there! The days until Christmas are quickly dwindling, and I hope a lot of you are well into your gift shopping. In case you aren’t, here’s a little help for all those lovely gals in your life! (Fran, take note!)

For the Girls:

  • Pura Vida Bracelets – These are a great choice because the prices range from little to nothing to a well-spent gift. They’re handmade, and most of them support a charity of your choice (so it’s also like a little gift to yourself!) I miss the days of wearing friendship bracelets all summer long, but who ever said we had to stop??

    puravidabracelets.com

    puravidabracelets.com

  • Tay Swift Ked’s – If you know your best girl’s shoe size, consider Taylor Swift’s line of Ked’s. Ked’s are a timeless favorite of mine, although mine are usually knockoffs. They’re a little bit on the expensive side but worth it for the amount of times they’ll be worn! And who doesn’t love Taylor Swift? (Especially her awesome sense of style!)
keds.com

keds.com

  • Birch Box – Just like Bark Box, this is perfect for the beauty queens in your life. You can purchase multiple months or one single month, all for a great low price.
birchbox.com

birchbox.com

  • Rifle Paper Co. – I also found RPC on Instagram and always get inspo from their beautiful creations. They sell amazing stationary and calendars, and honestly make for a great gift for anyone.

    riflepaperco.com

    riflepaperco.com

  • Bip and Bop jewelry – I found this company on Instagram some time ago and fell in love with their creative designs. However, this is only an option if you can wait until after Christmas, since their store is closed to catch up on holiday orders. Check it out either way!

I hope you all find something for those lovely ladies in your life — after all, they probably have the BEST gift picked out for you!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: For the Family

If your family is anything like mine, most of your get-togethers are spent playing board games (on the Wetzel side, at least!) It’s my favorite tradition, and I wouldn’t trade the world for it. So if you’re wondering what to get your cousins this holiday season, consider entering the realm of Game-Land and try out some of my favorites! These gifts are a good idea for a group of people since they can be a little pricey for just one person. If you have any board game favorites, please comment and let me know because we’re always looking to test out new games! (These are the ones that have established themselves in our tradition, tried and true!)

jumanji

FOR THE FAMILY/FOR A GROUP:

  • Seven Wonders – This one is my all-time favorite, because every game is different but it only takes 30 or 40 minutes to play. After the first or second game, you get the hang of strategies and then it transforms into a real competition. 🙂

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.com

  • Settlers of Catan – This one is an old favorite of the Wetzels. It’s pretty popular and you might have already heard of it. It’s not too difficult to learn and just like Seven Wonders, it’s different every game because the board changes. “I don’t give two sheeps about your wheat!”

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.com

  • Don Quixote de la Mancha – This is a newer favorite… Similar to Settlers but a different story. A lot easier than most board games. (Rumor is, now there’s an Android app!)

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.com

  • Wizard – This is a spin-off of a lot different card games, one being Trump. I’ve introduced it here in Argentina and they like it just as much! We like to play this a lot on my mom’s side. Depending on how many players you have, this game can take up to an hour and a half, so prepare yourselves for a long one. Barnes and Noble might have the cheapest at only $8.

    Barnesandnoble.com

    Barnesandnoble.com

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pandemic – If you know any extreme hard-core super duper gamers out there, Pandemic is the perfect gift. My sister’s fiancee (woah it’s weird calling him that now!) is obsessed with this one, and it is pretty entertaining, but when we play he usually takes the rein, since it’s a cooperative game. He would definitely give it two thumbs up. 🙂
  • Ticket to Ride – This one is a classic. It’s definitely not my favorite but it’s mindless entertainment. Great for the younger ones! They have multiple expansion packs for different parts of the world, if you already have the original.
  • Bananagrams – Another mindless hit, BG is great for kids learning to spell, and I have a feeling it would make for an awesome game to play while throwing back a couple glasses of wine. Again, Barnes & Noble has it for cheap!

I hope my game selections create a smile on your loved ones’ faces this holiday season. Now that we’re all absorbed by technology, it’s nice to have good old-fashioned fun with a board game or two!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: For the Sportster

We all know them. Heck, we might be one of them. Everyone has that friend who is obsessed with sports/being active/doing extreme things etc. But if you’re not one of those people, you might have some trouble thinking of what to get them for the holidays. A pair of sneakers? Hell no… no one should ever buy someone else a pair of sneakers (at least running sneakers) unless they are in the store with you or told you the exact pair. I’ve put together a few options for Mr./Ms. Sporty Spice that are great fall-backs should you come up idea-less.

FOR THE SPORTY MCSPORTSTER: 

  1. The FlipBelt – Alright, I have unconsciously been longing for one of these since I started running a few years back. Here in Argentina I never wear my iPhone visibly because I’ve been brainwashed to always fear that someone will rob it. But the FlipBelt is designed to hide all your valuables that you have to take on a run: phone, keys, credit card, etc. It’s $30 but it’s a great buy because you’d probably buy this for $50 or more at Nike or Lululemon. Also, it’s designed not to ride up, it’s odor-resistant, and machine washable. Boom.

    FlipBelt_CarbonCThru-625x417

    flipbelt.com

  2. Yurbuds – I have been running with these headphones since last Christmas. I’ve always had trouble keeping ear phones in my ears, I think because I have small ears. But these are the absolute best running earphones out there. If you run super long distance, more than an hour and a half, they might start to ache a little bit but I never notice it since at that point my body has pain all over. However, for the newer versions this might not be the case. I stand by this company 100% — they immediately replaced a small part when I lost it by accident at no cost.

  3. Belkin Sports Armband – I have used Belkin armbands ever since my crappy cheap version broke after about a month. These are really durable and not too expensive. Apparently now they’re scratch resistant, too! (The only downside is that it makes my arm really sweaty. When they come up with a cooling arm band, I’ll let you know.)

    walmart.com

    walmart.com

  4. O’Brien Screamer – Alright, after 22 summers spent at my grandparents’ lakehouse, I’ve learned to spot good tubes and bad tubes pretty quickly. O’Brien is always a safe bet. Unfortunately, our favorite tube got stolen this summer but I’ll share the newest version of it with you albeit with a pang of jealousy.

  5. O’Brien Deep V Rope – Speaking of watersports, if you’re learning to slalom ski by any chance, this rope is a great help. It basically keeps your ski steady and slides right off once you get up.

    For the last two items, my best advice is to find the cheapest source. These come from the product website so you won’t be able to order them from there (unless you’re a retailer).

I hope you all find this advice helpful… the sportster in me hopes all your sportster friends get just what they asked for this Christmas.

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