For The Record: Your Basic Guide to Records and Record Players

crosley-record-player

Blame it on the hipsters if you want, but record players are having a moment. They’re easy to find at Target, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, and many other retailers with varying designs and technical components. There’s something out there for everyone between casual listeners and serious deejays.

Purchasing a record player: 

If you’re shopping for one, here are a few to take a look! A lot of these models are around $100 but can go up to $300.

What you’ll be using your record player for is pretty important when considering what kind of record player you’ll be purchasing. A Crosley “Cruiser” model, for example, is pretty much the base model record player. It’s inexpensive and gets the job done. However, many serious say the sound quality is lacking compared to other record players. If you’re looking for a decorative piece for your living room, sound quality may not be a high priority. But if you’re serious about listening to records, shop around and look for a model that suits your needs.

Be sure to also carefully look at the technical specifications of each record player. You may need special attachments or wires to do more advanced things with cheaper players.

I recently purchased a Crosley portable record player at Urban Outfitters, which I touched on in my last post. It’s inexpensive, cute, and is a great starter record player.

So you bought a record player and some vinyls. Now what?

record-store

Where to Purchase Records

The easiest place to start looking for records you know you want to add to your collection, like records from your favorite artists, is Amazon. Especially if you’re new to vinyls, don’t know how often you’ll be listening to music, or don’t want to buy music twice, Amazon is the way to go with their AutoRip albums. It’s my favorite way to purchase vinyls, knowing I’ll have the MP3 files too that I can burn to a CD and listen to in my car.  (Vinyls with AutoRip)

Local music stores should also carry a decent selection, although they may not always carry the most popular records. It’s a little more old school. You look at a record from a band you think you know and like and buy it. It’s a gamble, but it’s part of the fun! Locally, we like to go to Rasputin Music and check out their records. You might also spend a little more on records from local music stores, but c’mon–you’re supporting local businesses!

Vinyl Subscription Services are also out there, and there are actually quite a few to select from. This post from Turntable Kitchen lists a few, and my friends rave about VNYL, which gets you 3 brand new vinyls for $39/month.

Thrift stores, antique stores, and garage sales are other great places to find vinyls, but they make up a whole different arena. You’re likely going to find old, dirty vinyls, but trust me–there will be some diamonds in the rough. If you’re feeling adventurous, this might be a fun way to shop for vinyls. Do keep in mind that records from these places will be from a different era.

vinyl-collection

How to Take Care of Your Vinyls/Records (Basic Care)

Vinyls are sort of like big CDs. Handle them with care! Hold vinyls by the edge as much as possible. You don’t want dirt and grime from your finger settling into the grooves of the record.

Store your vinyls in a cool, dry place. It’s easy to pull out a record if they’re standing vertically on a shelf, and it’s also the safest way to store your records. Some say you can store them flat in their covers, and others say don’t, because the vinyls will warp.

Always put your vinyls back in their sleeves when you’re finished listening to them. This will help prevent dust from getting on your vinyls.

Over time, dirt and grime will set into the grooves of your records. Use a damp cloth to clean them. If that doesn’t suffice, use soap and water.

Carbon fiber brushes can help get dust off your records safely. This one is highly rated on Amazon.

There are many products out there to help you take care of your vinyls from special cleaning products to special brushes. In my opinion, buy that stuff if you feel like you really need to, or if the records are not getting clean enough. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

Cleaning can’t repair a damaged record, so keep your records in good condition!

For more info on cleaning your records, this post does a really good job of breaking it down for beginners! 

record-player

How to Take Care of Your Record Player (Basic Care)

If your record player has a cover, keep your record player covered when not in use.

Be gentle when dusting your record player. Use a microfiber cloth around delicate parts. Consider using compressed air instead, too.

The stylus (the part that touches the record while playing) will get dirty over time. When it needs to be cleaned, gently blow the dust off (like an old nintendo game cartridge), or use a soft paintbrush to gently remove dust from the stylus.

Well, those are pretty much the basics! Enjoy listening to your vinyls and starting your record collection!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Starting a Bullet Journal

How to Start a Bullet Journal
The whole idea of starting a bullet journal is something I’ve always wanted to do, but the idea of it also made me anxious. I’ve had “Research Bullet Journaling” sitting on my to do list for months now. There are so many productivity methods, management systems, organizational tools, and whatever the heck else out there, I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to take time to learn how to bullet journal if this was one of those productivity fads that I would eventually stop using.

Bullet journaling has been making a strong appearance for nearly two years, which proves that it’s working for a lot of people and it’s probably here to stay.

Cool! That means I’m ready to commit to trying something new! Except, there are so many resources out there and I don’t know where to start.

Well as someone who is still fairly new to the idea of bullet journaling, I can show you the ropes from a beginner’s perspective.

The only supplies you’ll need to start a bullet journal is a nice, durable notebook, and a pen. Optional supplies include a ruler and additional pens in multiple colors.

First Things First: 

The first place you have to visit is http://bulletjournal.com/. Watch the video and read the guide! It’s a great introduction to bullet journaling, but you will definitely have to watch the video and read the guide more than once. You will be confused at first–and that’s okay!

Index – Basically your table of contents. The title of each page and the page number should be listed here.

How to Start a Bullet Journal

6-month Calendar – Major events listed for the next 6 months. You can choose to cover a shorter or longer time period, but the example given in the bullet journal video is 6 months.

Monthly Calendar – Major events listed for the month

Monthly Tasks – Major tasks listed for the month

How to Start a Bullet Journal

Daily pages – Entries you do every day that can consist of anything you want! It could be anything from a heartfelt journal entry to a supersize to-do list. Whateva you want! The only thing is that you fill this out no more than one day ahead of time. Don’t set up a bunch of daily pages with the rest of your journal just yet. This will give you flexibility with how long your daily pages are and with adding in other logs, lists, or other notes you would like to reference.

How to Start a Bullet Journal

How to Start a Bullet Journal

Other than that, the pages you have are free reign! I have created a car maintenance log, a list of restaurants and bars I want to try, and a recipe for high-protein cookie dough!

Filling Out Your Journal:

Now what makes a bullet journal work is the code that categorizes each item you list. There’s a special symbol for everything. For example, a bullet point is a task, a circle is an event, a dash is a note, etc. Those are the only rules you need to follow. Almost all the symbols I use are the same as what are in the video, except I use the letter ‘e’ to denote “explore” instead of an eye.Basically when I doodle an eye, it looks like garbage. I think an ‘e’ is easier to write quickly and looks much neater.

How to Start a Bullet Journal

The flexibility of the bullet journaling system is what I love the most. Your daily posts could be half a page long, or it could be four pages long. You can write in whatever size you’d like, with whatever pens you’d like, however you like. Doodle on your pages, add in some positive affirmations to keep yourself on track…it’s up to you!

My “daily” entries turn out a little different every day, and I like that.

Well, here’s everything I’ve learned so far with my cool new bullet journal system!

The Cons of a Bullet Journal:

Bullet journaling isn’t an end-all solution to your productivity shortcomings, and I don’t want to play up bullet journaling to be something it’s not. So, I’m listing a few cons of bullet journaling for all the skeptics (I was one of you!!!) before I get to the pros.

There’s finite notebook space. You will have to move to another notebook at some point, and you will have to decide what pages to transfer to your new notebook.

You have to write everything down. You have to find a moment in your day to jot in your journal, which you might argue is a little more difficult to do than clicking away on your phone.

You have to keep up. This isn’t an automated system. If you want it to work, you have to put in the effort to update the index, add page numbers, and essentially make everything functional. It’s not an app.

The Pros of a Bullet Journal:

Flexible! – It’s flexible yet structured system gives you a couple of rules to work with and creative freedom. Start/Stop whenever you want. Take up as many pages as you want. Other than using the bullet journal key and other than the very basic setup you do when you first start your journal, you can do whatever you want! You do you, boo.

Old School – There’s nothing like writing down to do lists, grocery lists, or other notes in a notebook. Yes, we all may have become used to typing these things out, but let’s be real, it’s far better to write it out by hand. Aren’t there supposed to be mental benefits to writing vs. typing anyway? Also, you can update when the internet is out, when the battery on your phone is dead, when the battery on your computer is dead, etc. etc.

Records – These are journals, so if you keep them nice and organized, you could look back at them years ahead and reminisce! Of course, reminiscing is much nicer when you write down more than just simple tasks in your journal entires, so keep that in mind if you want to look back at your journals in the future.

Ideas on What to Add to Your Journal:

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Food Tracker / Water Log
  • Sleep Tracker
  • Recipes / Meal Plans
  • Bucket List
  • Vacation Planner
  • Personal Goals
  • Books You Want To Read
  • Birthday/Holiday Gift Ideas
  • Budget

Here’s what I have in my journal so far:

  • Car Maintenance Log
  • Restaurants and Bars I Want to Try
  • Recipe for High-Protein Cookie Dough
  • Post Ideas

I’m planning to add to my own:

  • High-Protein Meal Plan Ideas
  • TV Shows I Need to Watch
  • Online Purchase Tracker
  • Currently Monthly Subscriptions

Additional Resources:

Some people take bullet journaling to the next level with some really pretty lettering and doodling. I wish I had the artistic ability to make my journal look like a dream, but I’m content with being able to read my messy cursive-print writing. Here are some blogs and videos that are awesome that you should take a look at!

Boho Berry

The Bullet Journal Addict

Time To Get Focused (Tumblr)

 

There you have it! That’s your basic but comprehensive guide on starting a bullet journal!

Notebook is from Urban Outfitters, pens from Amazon, and Nutella Pop Tart from Niles Pie Company.

DIY Splatter Paint Vases/Votives

DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives

There’s just something I love about the splatter paint look. It looks like it was done on purpose, but also on accident at the same time. Messy yet refined, especially when the colors blend together well. There’s a balance to the chaos that just fits my taste.

While I love the look, there really is a time/place for a splatter paint look. That’s why I chose these little square vases/votives because they’re so versatile and don’t ask for too much attention. They’re great for displaying single flowers or for tea lights.

Giving these little vases/votives a splatter paint look was very fun and very easy to do. Like, a kid can do it. In fact, a kid will probably be better at achieving the splatter paint look than any adult! Take your frustrations out on something in a creative manner, or get in touch with your artsy side.

I love how this set adds a fun yet clean look to coffee tables, side tables, dining tables, bookshelves…any surface, really!

Can’t you just picture these used as centerpieces at a garden party? Maybe a wedding? Or, maybe at your best friend’s dinner party? They’re so easy to make, you can make batches of them at a time, meaning they make great gifts or party favors. You could even make a ton and keep them for yourself!

With this DIY, you might even have all the supplies you need on hand. Take a look!DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives
DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives DIY Splatter Paint Vases VotivesDIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives

DIY Splatter Paint Vases / Votives:

Supplies:

  • Vases/Votives (These came in a pack from Michael’s)
  • Sponge brush
  • Acrylic paint (colors of your choice)
  • Ramekin (or small container for mixing)
  • Optional: Gold/Metallic Liquid Gilding

Notes about supplies: 

  • You can get away with using a different type of paint brush. Even an old toothbrush works.
  • The container is used for adding water/paint. Acrylic paint washes out with soap/water, so you don’t need to worry about staining ceramic bowls or anything like that.

Directions:

Cover your working surface with a tarp or some type of material that you do not mind ruining! In fact, I recommend doing this project outside while wearing clothes you do not care about!

  1. Flip the vases/votives so that the bottoms are facing UP.
  2. Dip the sponge brush into the first paint and splatter away. Less is more.
  3. Next, thin out the same paint color with a little water, and splatter away. This gives that watercolor look.
  4. Let each paint color dry before moving onto the next color.
  5. IF, and only IF you plan to use these as vases only, feel free to apply some liquid gilding. Liquid gilding is flammable and should not be applied if you plan to use these as votives. 
  6. Seal the vases/votives with an acrylic paint sealant to protect your unique work of art.

DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives DIY Splatter Paint Vases Votives

Happy crafting!

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