Popcosmo

a blog for everyone and their mothers

EXTRAS

Choices, choices: phones and phone plans

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
Flowers

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored. All products mentioned and reviewed on this page are compliments of AT&T. All opinions of the products are my own.

Chloe and I have both been shopping for a new phone since this summer, and I'm shopping for less expensive phone plans for me, Chloe, and my son. My son is always begging me to try Windows operating systems and being desperate for a new phone, when AT&T contacted me about trying their service and one of their phones, I was more than happy to try both. I've been thinking about finding new phone plans for a while, but switching carriers is sort of like moving to a new home: you don't know what you have until you're in it and the devil is in the details. And I'm such a stickler for details that I just stay and stay and stay. But a chance to try it before you buy it... well, why not!?

I unpacked my AT&T GoPhone-compatible HTC Desire 610, GoPhone card, and a SIM Kit with unlimited talk, text and 2.5 GB of data for the month and proceeded to set-up my phone, and quickly unlearned all my preconceived notions about pre-paid phones.

AT&T GoPhone package

Misconception 1: this was not a cheap disposable phone! My phone was a super-nice smartphone. So nice, I'd often find my son on it. I found that it was easy to get through the set-up once I followed the instructions on the website. Unfortunately, the instructions on the phone left me hanging.  I entered my Google+ account when prompted and my entire Google history was connected. I played around on my phone and realized that being an Apple girl through and through left me with a steep learning curve, so I didn't think I'd be using my new phone for much more than, well, phone calls.

Misconception 2: I thought I'd use the phone for phone calls, and that would be it. A quick trip to New York opened my eyes to new possibilities. Somehow, and I'm a little frightened to figure out how, my phone knew my hotel. So instead of having to search for the hotel email and find the address and cross streets, etc., all the information was instantly on my phone as soon as I turned it on when we landed in NYC. Being the forgetful type, having the address always on my phone came in handy often during the weekend.

GoPhone

Misconception 3: Prepaid phones wouldn't have apps. My phone came preloaded with awesome apps and I could download tons more. I was able to use Google Maps so easily on this phone. My memory is always full on my iPhone, even when I buy more, so my maps don't work which has frustrated the heck out of me since I don't yet know my way around Denver and my maps typically get me 1/4 of the way to where I need to be. However, they worked like a charm on my HTC Desire 610. I love the coupon app loaded on the phone, since I never have coupons when I need them but always have my phone, and I'd use the AT&T DriveMode with my kids (I found it interfered with Google Maps).GoPhone Apps

All in all, I loved the phone I was provided, the service was exceptional and the photography was pretty good too. The biggest appeal was that there was never a dropped call & never a problem with establishing service. As I've said, I'm not sure I was the best person to put a non-Apple phone to the test since I haven't used anything since Apple products since, uh, forever. But using this phone showed me there's a whole 'nother world out there and my son is right: Apple isn't always the best. (case in point: iOS 8 + #Bendgate) But, if Apple fixes everything, I do like that I can insert the SIM card into any phone, because that learning curve was awful steep.

flowers

All in all, will I switch to AT&T GoPhone: maybe. Will we switch to our phone plans to AT&T: very high possibility. I'm looking into plans for the family. I like that I can just put the SIM card in any phone and be on the AT&T plan with NO contract! I'm a commitment-phone. I also like that the rate plans are flexible, and most have unlimited texting - if somebody is on vacation or traveling, I can up the amount. If we are all home, I can lower the amount.  You can view rate plans here.

What plans / phones are you using or do you recommend?

xo ~kim

 

Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe Hack: Taste Test

EXTRAS, RECIPESKim & Chloe

It's that time of year again: leaves are falling, sweaters are being pulled out of hiding, a fire or two has already been lit, and we are craving a Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte (or PSL, as it's affectionately known). But hearing how it's mostly syrup and has a whopping calorie count had us ready to make our own in our brand new Keurig 2.0 we were recently sent by the sweet Keurig folks. But finding a zillion Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe ideas already out there, Chloe and I got smart and decided to put those recipes to our (ahem) expert and very subjective PSL taste test. And the smell of them cooking even lured brother/son out to help us - yes, we had fun!

Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte Taste Test | Popcosmo.com

Keurig + pumpkin spice latte recipes

who has the best pumpkin spice lattes? | popcosmo the best pumpkin spiced lattes

We scored each recipe on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the lowest, for ease, cost, availability of ingredients, healthiness. The category for taste comparison to Starbuck's PSL was out of 10 since taste is the most important factor, after all. Once we devised our scoring and gathered our ingredients, we settled in for a hard day's work of sipping lattés... just for you. #WeLoveBlogging  Chloe tasted and tasted and tasted some more!

52 Kitchen Adventures SCORE = 19 ease: 5 cost: 4 ingredients: 3 healthiness: 3 taste: 4 Thick, a little chunky, and frothy. Would be better with whipped cream, but the flavor is perfection. Beware, pumpkin sludge might be at the bottom of your cup... a little gross.

The Kitchn SCORE= 21 ease: 4 cost: 2 ingredients: 2 healthiness: 3 taste: 10 We wish the directions were more specific, but the result was beyond amazing. The tastes reminds me of marshmallows on top of a pumpin pie and I would drink this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Eating Bird Food SCORE= 17 ease: 4 cost: 3 ingredients: 2 healthiness: 5 taste: 3 Too bitter but thinness was on point. The flavor is just a little too sharp for me.

The Original Starbucks PSL  SCORE=17 ease: 4 cost: 0 ingredients: 5 healthiness: 0 taste: 8 I know, weird that the original is only an 8. But it is what it is. The original sort of tastes like drinking a hot pumpkin smoothie to me, and now that I've made some at home, I've learned that I like being able to tweak my PSL how I want it.

And the winner was: The Kitchn Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe, and to be honest, it looks like I can save tons of calories and $$ this fall. Thanks to our Keurig 2.0, we can easily make the recipe for 1 or for 10 with the new pod system. Guess whose house is going to be smelling like a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte this fall? My brother is definitely happy!

  @popcosmo on Instagram

8 College Tour Tips & Tricks

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
College Tours

If you can't judge a book by it's cover, you can't judge a college by its brochure... although it sure would be a heck of lot easier and whole lot cheaper! But it's college tour time if you are a senior. If you're a junior, you may visit schools in the spring and start getting ideas about what type of school you are looking for to narrow down your options: big school v. small school; city school v. rural school; school with a campus or untraditional feel; etc. For me, when I was visiting schools, I kind of knew, at first, more what didn't feel right until I finally found the one school that just felt like "home." Since then, I've sort of been basing my idea of the perfect school around that one school. But here's a more defined list of college tour tips & tricks to help when you visit schools! College Tour Tips & Tricks

1. Always let the school know you are visiting, even if you aren't taking an official tour. Yes, they keep track of this stuff. Yes, it can really matter (depending on the school). Also, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. But clean up your feeds first!

2. If you are taking a college tour, go to the website and sign up in advance. Don't just show up the day of and expect to join an official tour. College admissions are crazy busy, and tours are packed. Make the most of your visit and be sure to schedule an interview, wear something appropriate but comfortable, and meet with the admissions rep of the school you are interested in (i.e.,  Business School, Art School) so you don't have to return later. Also, check and see if there are any official tour dates with overnights coming up so you can get a feel for what the campus is really like and what the dorms, cafeteria and social life feel like when parents aren't around.

3. Get business cards from everyone you meet so you have them available when questions come up after your tour. And send thank you notes to those people. Handwritten ones on real thank you cards (we love the ones from Minted, they rock.)

4. During the tour, check out the cafeteria, gym, library, bookstore and bulletin boards. They have information you'll need for daily life - you won't be doing a drive-by, you'll be here for 4 years. Try to eat in the cafeteria and just sit back and listen to see what students are talking about, the more time you can spend on campus, the more of a "real" feel you'll get of what your life might be like. My mom says, "It's amazing how the weather and your mood that day can influence your decision, so we need to slow down and spend some quality time while we are here!" And yes, she's the one on the tour asking about safety, library hours, how many people have cars, what % are greek, etc. If you see us on a tour, run.

5. If you can sit in on a class in a subject area you are interested in, do. Find out about class size and whether or not students are able to get in classes they need for their major, especially a major you think you might be interested in at this point.

6. If you are interested in sports, talk to the coach of that sport. Interested in clubs or programs, visit them.

7. Another thing my mom always says: "Is this what you think college feels like?" If not, we move on.

8. Last, but definitely not least: take notes. You think you will remember everything, and maybe you will; but I couldn't. After tours were finished, everything was jumbled in my head and notes helped.

If you have any college tour tips to share, please do!

xo chloe

 

7 Best Household Products

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
hedgehogs

As a mom who works from home, I spend a lot of time trying to simplify and better my home with products that do more for less. I'm all about spending less time doing things inside so I can spend more time outdoors doing the things I love, like working out, traveling, spending time with my family and generally avoiding the kitchen. I get so frustrated when I buy something and it doesn't work... like laundry detergent that cost less but doesn't clean, or paper towels that leave lint everywhere. Not a big deal, but just super-annoying when it necessitates a do-over. So, my list of the 7 best household products is purely subjective, but they do exactly what they are supposed to do extremely well.

household tips image via West Elm

1. Bona - I was a fan of another quick sweeping and mopping system for hardwoods, but the smell always, always gave me a headache. So much so that I was reluctant to try another brand. When I was reassured that Bona had no scent, I gave it a try. And I love it. I am absolutely in love with how clean and shiny it leaves my floors.

2. Towels - You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but I'm convinced you can judge a hotel by it's towels and sheets. And as I search for towels, I wanted 2 things: thickness and absorbency. Add 3 more and I'd have the ideal towel: colorfastness, organic and no shrinkage. I'm pretty close with my new towels from Lands' End. As you'll see from #3, I just went on a linen closet spree, but feel justified with the move!

3. Sheets - I've spent an absolute fortune on sheets and love the feel the crisp cotton and cool linen. I'm not much for a heavy flannel and always found that jersey was too skimpy and never held up like it was supposed to. But then I bought Lands' End Cotton Knit Bedding for my pickiest sleeper. And then for me, and then for every bed in the house. These are the only sheets we use now. They are heavy enough to be used in the winter, light enough to use in the summer, soft enough for my picky sleeper (and he is truly picky), and they never need ironing. Which pretty much makes them the perfect sheet.

4. Deo-Go - I was going to make a before and after picture of the t-shirts I tried this on, but didn't want to gross you out. And the photo would have. I took all my husband's tees and treated them with the sample Deo-Go sent me thinking "what do I have to lose." Well, we lost the underarm stains on even the oldest stains. I am amazed. And shocked. And pleased beyond belief. This stuff works. Get it.

5. Dryer Hedgehogs - We bought them because they were cute. We're keeping them because they work. I don't like dryer sheets because they are just putting chemicals on my clothes (yes, I'm one of those people), but I like them because they work. They reduce static and increase fluffiness. So I love these cute little hedgehogs because they cut down on the amount of dryer sheets I use and there is never any static cling, even on delicates when I use no dryer sheets. These two pets can stay!

6. Steamer - This might little steamer wins bang for the buck every time I use it, while saving me from most of the ironing I never like to do anyway. Who wouldn't like using a pink steamer! And can we say perfect graduation gift?

7. Scrub Daddy- I'm a Shark Tank addict but typically don't buy any products. But I saw this in a store after seeing it on Shark Tank, I decided why not give it a try. Our kitchen sink hasn't been without one since, and I may or may not have sent one to a few people. Use it cold on hard stains, use it hot for regular scrubbing, use the eyes to hold onto and the mouth for spoons. It fits in any size you need to clean. It's so much better than any sponge and the only thing that would have made it better is if I had invented it!

I'd love to hear your 7 best household products, or just your 1 favorite! Do you have a favorite vacuum cleaner or homemade cleaner you want to share?

xo ~kim

Bloggers Go Unplugged

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe

unpluggedHappy September y'all. Isn't it crazy that we only have four more months of the year 2014. It has seriously flown by.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be MIA for the week. Well not completely, but my bloggy besties and I were talking recently about how stressful blogging can be when life is whirling around you. I know for me these past few months have been absolutely insane, between interning in NYC, to moving across the country, to starting a new high school for my senior year. It's. Been. Crazy. I feel like I haven't had any time to just sit and relax and my blog friends are feeling the same way. We decided that we should start this little campaign so that we can remember that blogging is supposed to be fun and not feel like a chore. I will be posting sporadically throughout the week, because I love blogging too much to completely drop everything, but know that every post from here on out is written with a love of blogging. Also, you might have noticed my Instagram hiatus lately. I just haven't been enjoying posting so I didn't post. Sorry if you've missed me and I promise I'll be back soon.

Preptista, Citrus & Style, Stripes & Peonies, and The Blonde Prep will also be participating.

If you want to join in on this "Bloggers Go Unplugged" deal, then feel free to! We all need a little break sometimes. xox Chloe

Links I love

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

internet linksphoto via

Whew. Going to school by day and homework by night has me missing out on all my daily internet perusing. But, I made time this weekend to catch up a little, and here are a few links I love from this week.

How cute is this hair style? I wish my hair was a little longer so I could wear it on the daily! This is what I've told myself this week at my new school because this gold foil print is the perfect reminder. We all know I'm crazy about all things gold and I love the simple font. Wouldn't it look cute in an ornate frame. Check out more designs by Michelle Hopper she's super talented! I'm so happy that at my new school I'm allowed to a carry water bottle and we have the coolest drink refilling stations! This lightweight Sigg Water Bottle is perfect because when it's full of water, I have plenty to drink, and when it's not full, it's easy to carry. I love all the colors & my mom likes that it's dishwasher safe, BPA free, and recyclable. Ban.do has bee killing it lately. I want everything. This fabulous keychain is a the top of my "must have" list right now. I'm always on the hunt for the latest and greatest of nail polish colors, and I think navy and grey are the "it colors" for fall.  I'm currently rocking the grey so I'm already on trend ;) Now that school's back in session I have to stay super organized. This cute planner will solve all my issues... I can just feel it.

Let me know your favorite links from this past week in the comments below! xox Chloe

 

New Kid

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

new kid Wow. I’m officially a senior in high school. Like seriously, how the heck did that happen? I literally still feel like I’m a second grader roaming the halls at my elementary school looking up at the “big kids” wondering what it feels like to rule the school. But guess what? I’m now one of those “big kid” and while I most definitely don’t rule the school, I do happen to like my new school. A lot. If you’ve been following PopCosmo for a while now, you might know that my high school years have been a little out of the ordinary. In short, I’m a five year high schooler that has attended three different schools. One teeny tiny private school, one online school, and now a huge public school. It has been awesome to see the differences in the teaching styles and the students, but I have to say, I think this latest school — the huge public school — is my favorite high school of all three. I just started yesterday but the people are super friendly (they talk to me haha), the teachers really know their stuff, and I have all the freedom I could want (aka I can leave for lunch and leave at the end of the day early because I don't have a last period class). However, I am a new kid so of course it’s going to take me a few weeks to adjust and really get to know the people in my classes, but I have to say, so far I love it. I was VERY excited about going back to “real school” from online school, but I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous. I was going to be a new kid senior year. I thought people wouldn’t really care to get to know me because they already had their friends, posses, and cliques. But I was open to talking to anyone and I think that really helped. I was thinking about writing a post on how to be a new kid, so let me know if that's something you'd be interested in reading... I have plenty of experience and plenty to write about. Anyway, I just thought I’d pop in and give y’all a little update. Sorry for the lack of posts around here lately, I’ve been busy adjusting to being a senior at a new school!

xox Chloe

Free Binder Covers

DIY, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

Well, I promised that there would be new free binder covers out soon, and I’ve kept the promise by following up with more cute binder covers. I decided to keep it preppy with the color combos + stripes, because I think a lot of you will really like them… I know I love ‘em. We truly think that cute school supplies can make an entire school year more bearable, so we've got you covered when it comes to amping up the cuteness factor of those ugly and plain binders. But. they work for anything -- in fact, my mom is even using them around the house for things like take-out menus and papers for me and my brother. Hope you like this new design as much as the first set. Free binder covers for the win!

Also, if you use them be sure to post a picture on Twitter or Instagram and tag us @popcosmo and we will totes love you forever and ever. ;)

back to school and office supply binder cover templates
back to school and office supply binder cover templates
DIY binder covers
DIY binder covers
free downloadable binder insert | takeout menus
free downloadable binder insert | takeout menus
DIY binder covers for school and home
DIY binder covers for school and home

 

So all you need to do is drag and drop the image and place it on your desktop. Then open it in Word or Photoshop and add the text you would like! 

Thanks for reading!

xox Chloe

Homemade Hibiscus Pomegranate Granola

EXTRAS, RECIPESKim & Chloe

Onli Homemade Granola As you might have noticed, we’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately! I don’t know if it’s just that we have a better kitchen in our new house in Denver, or if I’ve just been enjoying making my own food over going out. Whatever it is, I’m loving it. Onli Beverages was nice enough to send me a few drinks to try out and I decided to get creative with it. With my cousin Aly visiting, we made Onli flavored granola. Seriously? Yes, and this homemade granola is beyond delicious.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of oats 1 cup puffed rice 1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts) 6-8 ounces of Onli Hibiscus Pomegranate Aronia 1 egg white 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons honey (add more for sweeter granola) 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats, puffed rice, and almonds in a bowl. Mix everything else in another bowl. Then combine the two bowls into one. Stir it all until the liquid is absorbed. (You might need to add more oats or puffed rice to help) Lay all the granola on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Put your granola in the oven for 15 minutes, then stir and put it back in for another 15 minutes. (If you want it to be super crunchy, then you can put it in for longer).

Homemade Granola Ingredients Homemade Granola Homemade Granola | PopCosmo   Granola Recipe granola how to make granola | PopCosmo

This should make a batch for about three people so feel free to double or triple the recipe. We ate ours over yogurt and we've learned that we need to keep a constant supply on hand. Onli has a ton of flavors so we definitely want to experiment with the rest of them! If you try this recipe out be sure to tag us (@popcosmo) and @ONLIbeverages in the picture! We might be biased, but we think it's the best homemade granola you'll ever eat!

xox, Chloe

My trip to The Broadmoor

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor Colorado This past weekend my family and I went for a nice weekend trip to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, which is basically Colorado's answer to Sea Island (at least that's what it felt like to me). It was so fun to get away for a short little trip that was loaded with fun. The first night that we got there we just chilled in the hotel and then went for a fancy dinner. I didn’t get a picture of my meal but I got chilled avocado soup that was amazing and then quinoa with feta. It was too good to wait to take a picture of, so I just ate it! Then we went back to the hotel and crashed because it was late & we were all so sleepy.

The next morning we had to wake up super early because my mom planned a white water rafting trip for us. One thing you should know is that I’m not afraid of anything (really, I’ll try anything once) but the idea of white water rafting scared the heebeejeebees out of me. It honestly doesn't make any sense because I am a great swimmer (I was on a swim team the majority of my life) and I rowed crew for three years. But we had a blast with a fantastic guide! We got soaked, laughed, worked hard, paddled, went over boulders, and I conquered my fears. Yay!  Then we pigged out on pig at a BBQ place called Rudi’s (my Dad’s obsessed with it) and then felt enormously unfit as we toured the Olympic training center. I am inspired even more to get in shape.

Very, very early Sunday morning my parents woke my brother and I up for a surprise hot air balloon trip and lavish breakfast in a field, which was to be the highlight of the trip. About 5 minutes after we woke up we received a call that it had been cancelled due to bad weather which was a huge bummer. So we went back to sleep and spent Sunday just chilling, and enjoying an enjoying a sumptuous breakfast. On the way home, we convinced my Dad we needed to stop at some outlets, because what vacation is complete without a little shopping?

It was the perfect family weekend at The Broadmoor! Here are a few pictures to show you and not just tell you. There are quite a few so I hope you like ‘em!

What’s your favorite family trip that you've ever taken?

xox, Chloe

View from the bridge at the Broadmoorcolorado rafting trip with echo canyon white water rafting rafting in colorado going white water rafting from the broadmoorThe broadmoor in coloradoinstagram photo at the broadmoorthe broadmoorthe broadmoor breakfast

Behind the Gram

EXTRAS, FASHION, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

These Behind the Gram posts have been popping up lately, and I decided to jump on the train before it left the station. This post is quite embarrassing, but please know that if you laugh you're laughing WITH me and not AT me. jcrewtop

What it looks like: omg, just went shopping and have to show off my new fabulously perfect shirt.

What really happened: yeah, this shirt is fabulously perfect and I wanted to show it off, but when I was shopping at the store I picked up a size below my size and then bought it without trying it on. I then proceeded to ask the guy at the checkout if it was final sale (it was) when I was buying it and I still bought it without trying it one (why?! i never do that!). My mom continued shopping around the store and I started freaking out that I bought the wrong size. I then asked a different sales person if I could try on a dress so that I could actually try on this shirt. It was a size too small. But, I accidentally ripped off the tag when I was taking it off after trying it on. I then went back to the sales guy and told him that I “accidently picked up the wrong size and the tag fell off and I don’t know how that happened but can I exchange this shirt for a size bigger.” Long story short, this shirt was a nightmare to buy but well worth it because I got an Instagram out of it and it's fabulous and it was on super sale.

nyc

What it looks like: four professional models on the loose in nyc. everyone beware because we feel more fabulous than we look.

What really happened: I saw someone post an Instagram in Lincoln Center that was super cute so I wanted to recreate the picture. I made Frannie, Caroline, and Sammy hunt for this wall. We then found it and made a random lady take a few pictures of us. The first time she took the pictures they didn’t turn out well so I asked her to take them again. She seemed annoyed, but I really needed her to get the shot. Also, this random dude (it wasn’t Bill Cunnigham, but I’m convinced it was someone on that caliber of awesome) was taking our picture too?

macaroons

What it looks like: hehe, just me being clever and messing around with my macaroons and the focus on my camera.

What really happened: The other interns and I went to Broadway Bites for lunch one day, I brought my lunch that day but still went because I wanted to bond with the other interns and get out of the office for half an hour. I was browsing around while the other girls were ordering their food and I found some macaroons. They were really expensive so I told the guy working the booth that “I’ll be back” so I could nicely leave without saying that his macaroons were too expensive for me. Then the other interns told me I should buy something so I went back to the macaroon guy and bought a macaroon. He remembered me and gave me one for free. I’m pretty he gave me a free one  because I looked good in my party pants because I had already gotten the FedEx guy to give me a reduced price on a package I had to ship earlier that day. I swear, THE PANTS ARE MAGIC. Also, I picked red and blue because America was playing in the World Cup that day and I wanted to seem festive.

tile

What it looks like: chloe here, reporting live from trendyville. I just happened to stumble in this coffee shop with fancy tiled floors. Also, I’m part of the Birks train so I’m cool.

What really happened: I had planned my whole day in nyc around finding a this one super trendy ice cream place. It was a 25 minute subway + walk from my apartment and it was at least 100 degrees out but I really wanted fancy ice cream. I had the address pulled up on my phone but I couldn’t find it anywhere! I was so frustrated and so hot. But on the way to the ice cream shop I stumbled across Lafayette. I bought a coffee just so I could take a picture of my feet on their floor. As I was paying for my coffee I accidentally pulled out a tampon and a guy was at the register, but I was so hot and so annoyed I couldn’t find my ice cream place that I didn’t even care. Then I took like 89052431 pictures because I had to make sure it was in focus. I then got out of there super fast because it was an awkward fest.

kicks

What it looks like: Just casually showing off my new kicks.

What really happened: my mom can’t really take pictures that well so I made her be my model. she had to lay on the floor and kick her feet up so we could take a cute picture of these shoes. Her back hurt that day so she was mad that she had to lay on the floor for 10 minutes while I tried to take the perfect shot. Also, we hung a huge white piece of paper right in front of our door because that’s where the best light was. I’m pretty sure our neighbors and mailman thought we were insane.

Hope you like this post! If you want me to do a round two then let me know! xox Chloe

Avocado Toast Recipe

EXTRAS, RECIPESKim & Chloe

I definitely wouldn’t consider myself  “trendy” in fashion, but when it comes to food that’s a whole different story. I like trendy food. It’s always fun and most of the time it tastes good and that’s all I can ask for when it comes to what I eat. When I was in New York City the hottest food was (is?) avocado toast. It was on every menu and popped up on my Instagram feed more times than I can count. My cousins and I decided to make it one weekend and I swear we ate so much of it that we weren’t hungry until the next day. It was that good. Actually, it was that amazing. Delicious, impeccable, flawless, etc. avocado toast recipe Avocado toast is a little bit of heaven spread on a piece of bread.

And here’s the perfect avocado toast recipe:

  • Slice two avocados and mash them in a bowl (we liked ours a little chunky but mash until you like the consistency).
  • Immediately add lime juice to your mashed ‘cado. This makes it taste amazing and keeps it from turning brown and gross.
  • Add salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste.
  • Toast a piece of bread (we used our gorgeous, fast, and no more "knife to get the bread out" Magimix toaster) -- I <3 my toaster. Seriously.)
  • Spread the ‘cado mixture on a piece of toast and add more chili flakes to the top

And there ya have it. Five simple steps to make the best toast ever. Avocado toast recipe

how to make avodaco toast Clear Magimix Toaster

Magimix Toaster

Life is better with clear toasters. I mean seriously, how cool is this Magimix toaster?!avocado toast

Let us know if you recreate this avocado toast recipe, and we’d love to see your pictures! Tag us on social media (@popcosmo)! xox Chloe

Free Downloadable Binder Covers

DIY, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
downloadable binder covers

One of our all time most popular posts is our “Decorating Notebooks” post from a year ago. We thought that, since it’s still crazy popular, we should bring it back with better and bolder designs. I decided to create free downloadable binder covers for y’all and I hope you love them as much as I do. I can’t wait to use them this year for school! I’m planning on hopefully coming up with other designs, so if you aren’t head over heels with this set then be on the look out for different styles! Here’s how to create your own: 1.Click the link that says "download" and then download the "blank canvases” to your desktop 2.Upload them into Word, Pages, Photoshop, etc. 3.Use your favorite font to write your class name on the white part of the cover. (I used Antonio from Font Squirrel!) 4. Print!

free downloadable binder cover click here to download pink + blue + navy binder cover

binder cover free download click here to download pink + blue + yellow binder cover

binder cover downloadable click here to download pink + pink + pink binder cover

Really! It’s that simple. Let me know what other patterns and color combos you would like to see… polka dots? watercolor inspired stripes? pink and green? yellow and mint green?

If you do happen to use these free downloadable binder covers, we’d love to see how they look! Tag us on Instagram or Twitter (@popcosmo) and you just might be featured on a blog post!

xox Chloe

Aesthetic Phases / 1

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
bananas

I don’t know if I’m the only one who goes through aesthetic phases, but I surely can’t be, right? If you follow us on Pinterest (you better be) then you might notice how every few weeks our “mood” shifts. It’s not a dramatic "tectonic plate inducing earthquake" shift, it’s more of a “let’s switch one or two pillows on the couch and see the difference” shift. I guess that’s why I’m not really a “fashion person” (sue me). I like being able to switch it up on a moments notice, so that’s why  I stick to more basic and simple clothes. Anyway, all I’m trying to say is that what I like and the aesthetics that I like are constantly shifting and changing. I decided to create this little mini series thing where I would create a mood board of my current likes. I have absolutely no idea how often (if at all) I will be posting these mood boards, but as Miley Cyrus once said “it’s my blog I can do what I want to.” Err, at least I think she said something along those lines…

aesthetic phases / 1 photo / photo / photo / photo / photo / photo / photo / photo / photo / photo /photo / photo / photo  This mood board doesn't really have a name, but if I had to choose one I think it would be along the lines of "Jen Gotch is my girl crush" or "this is what feminism looks like to me" or "pink is cute and strong" or "this mood board may be better off nameless."

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think of this idea for a series! xox Chloe

How To Style Pictures On A White Background

BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

I’ve been getting a few emails recently asking how I take styled pictures on a stark white background. White backgrounds, for a blogger, are so important in showing items. The white allows the items to “pop” off the screen. White backgrounds as so important. The only problem is that sometimes the white isn’t so white. Often times the white turns out more on the yellow or grey side. And it can be VERY annoying. changing backgrounds in photos to white Today I’m going to save the day and tell you how I take my pictures on a white background so the white turns out white.

1. I use a white poster board as a background. They are cheap, moveable, and perfect for the job. 2. I then place my poster board near a window and turn off all lights. Natural light is the only way to go. Sometimes I have to wait until the next day to take pictures if I run out of time. It’s worth the wait to have natural light, trust me. 3. I shoot my camera on manual mode. This means that I can pick how exposed I want my picture. I typically overexpose my pictures on white backgrounds so that the white will be brighter. Sometimes overexposing doesn’t work (if you’re shooting a white or light colored object) so you just have to play around with it! 4. Once I am finally happy with a picture (sometimes it takes 100 shots of the same exact scene just with different angles) I upload the pictures on my computer. I then pick the one that looks best at first, aka minimal editing. 5. I then upload the picture in Photoshop and work around with it. I ALWAYS fix the “levels,” so that’s my starting point. I then also play around with the brightness and exposure. It usually depends on the picture for the amount you choose to apply of each. It’s like makeup ladies, the amount depends on the occasion.

_DSC0026_DSC0017whitefruitBEFORE

the before

This is for "levels" in Photoshop. ARROW

LEVELS sometimes you just gotta place a poster board in the middle of your kitchen to get the best light (even if it makes your dad mad because "you have an entire basement and and an office to do your work")

white background after

the after!

So there you have it! It’s pretty simple, but it did take me forever to figure it out. Taking styled pictures on a white background isn't always a piece of cake, but once you learn the process and practice you'll figure it out! Sometimes I just can’t get it so I start the whole process over with different natural light. I swear, the amount of natural light (or time of day) can completely screw you over or help you out.

Please let me know if this helped you out! I’d love to see your white background photos so tag us in your photo on social media (@popcosmo).

xox, Chloe

@popcosmo on Instagram

Chocolate Bark Recipe

EXTRAS, RECIPESKim & Chloe
COVERPHOTO

I have this problem where I want to be healthy when it comes to food, but then I see chocolate and I eat it. It’s like my brain doesn’t work with me. But who am I kidding, chocolate is worth it. And this chocolate bark recipe? Yeah, it’s more than worth it. My brother and I always cook when we are bored and we decided to create our own chocolate bark combinations earlier this week after seeing some drool worthy combinations in the chocolate aisle of our grocery store. We had some crazy ideas in mind (think seaweed) but we decided to keep the combinations rather simple. And they’re all beyond amazing I might add.Here are the combinations we went for, but you can seriously add anything you want. That’s the beauty of this recipe. -Croissant Crumbs (try saying that in a French accent) -Peanuts and Banana Chips (Chocolate Chimp) -Popcorn (kettle corn would also be amazing) -Banana and Coconut (a tropical sweet) -Potato Chips (the perfect salty + sweet combo)

DIY Chocolate Bark

DIY chocolate bark ingredients

 

bananacoconut

banana peanut chocolate bark

potato chip bark

croissant chocolate bark

 

popcorn chocolate bark

Here’s what you do. It’s painfully easy.

  1. Melt a whole bunch of chocolate chips. We melted ours over a pot of boiling water so that we could make sure they didn't burn.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and then pour your melted chocolate onto the baking sheet.
  3. Evenly spread all your chocolate.
  4. Add toppings as desired. We placed ours in strips but you can create any pattern you want.
  5. Stick your chocolate in the fridge until it’s hard.
  6. EAT. (the best part)

I’d say the whole process takes about 30 minutes (not including the chocolate drying in the fridge.) It’s easy and delicious. A killer combo in my book.

If you make chocolate bark then we want to see! Tag us in any pictures that you post (@popcosmo).

 

xox, Chloe

My favorite Summer Books

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe
books to read

It's official: we are finally completely and totally moved into our new home! Moving definitely has its ups & downs and one of the brightest upsides, born out of necessity during my many seemingly endless weeks of being internet-free (a downside for me) has been rediscovering my love of reading, in actual book form. I've forgotten how absolutely addicted to books I had been... and how exciting it is to discover a new author. Just in case you're still looking for good summer books or beach reads, these are a few that have kept me up late into the night, wide awake in the middle of the night, and up in the wee hours of the morning. (If you saw the circles under my eyes, you'd know I was not exaggerating.) the interestings copy

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

From Amazon: "An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: This knowing, generous and slyly sly new novel follows a group of teenagers who meet at a summer camp for artsy teens in 1974 and survive as friends through the competitions and realities of growing up. How these five circle each other, come together and break apart, makes for plenty of hilarious scenes and plenty of heartbreaking ones, too. A compelling coming of age story about five privileged kids, this is also a pitch-perfect tale about a particular generation and the era that spawned it. --Sara Nelson"

Although it's been called "genius" by the Chicago Tribune and "wonderful" by Vanity Fair, my superlatives are more along the line of sleep-wrecking, thought-provoking and and discussion-inducing. I truly want to drop everything I have to do and start reading again... since I'm only on page 142/469, so I shouldn't be reviewing at all yet - but I can tell you I've woken up twice over the past 3 nights at 3 in the morning just to read what happens next, which is odd since it's not an action-filled book and each chapter doesn't end with a cliff-hanger. But the writer's style keeps my interest since the timeframe jumps from decade to decade and hints are given about what happens to characters. I will definitely be reading more of Meg Wolitzer's books.

summer readingThe Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

From The Boston Globe: “An engaging tale about art, cupidity, and a Faustian bargain . . . Shapiro convincingly depicts the rarefied art world that lionizes a chosen few and ignores the talented, scrabbling outsiders on the fringe. Shapiro is adept, too, at showing the white-hot heat of an artist engaged in creating a painting. She knows art history, painting techniques, and how forgers have managed through the centuries to dupe buyers into paying for fakes . . . Inventive and entertaining.”

The Goldfinch revived my love of art, but The Art Forger sealed it. It's a mystery wrapped up in a love story wrapped up in an art lesson. Again, I had to know what happened next, and any story that can keep me on my toes is a book that I will recommend.

 

Reconstructing Amelia Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

From Amazon: "...Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from... her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump. Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save."

Having teens, I thought I needed to read this book. Do I really know my kids as well as I think I do? Could there be a "school life" that I know nothing about? It was a good book that made me want to keep an open avenue of communication with my kids and wonder about being a teen today.

Crazy-Rich-Asians Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

From People: "There's rich, there's filthy rich, and then there's crazy rich . . . A Pride and Prejudice-like send-up about an heir bringing his Chinese-American girlfriend home to meet his ancestor-obsessed family, the book hilariously skewers imperial splendor and the conniving antics of the Asians jet set."

Another book that's been on my reading list forever that I finally got around to reading! I loved it for the education about a culture I don't know about. It was a fun read.

 

 

 

 

On my bedside table to read next are The Heist by Daniel Silva and Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (a little yin & yang!) and at the rate I'm plowing through The Interestings, I'll be reading at least one of them this weekend.

What book recommendations do you have?

xo ~kim

 

 

 

Teen Blogger Showcase

BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
preptista_

Earlier this month I attended Smart Girls Summit and had the amazing opportunity to meet some fabulous bloggers that are my age. One of the girls that I met was absolutely adorable and as sweet as can be so I decided to interview her for our Teen Blogger Showcase series. Meet Sammy. Like I said, Sammy is a sweetheart. She’s incredibly fashionable (duh, she has a fashion blog) and her Instagram game is always on point. Be sure to follow her blog and her Instagram, you won’t be sorry! xox, Chloe

preptista

Getting Fit + An Embarrassing Story

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
STORY

Who’s getting fit? I am. A little known fact about me is that I used to do triathlons. In fact, at 13 years old I became the youngest finisher of the New York City Triathlon. Another little known fact about me is that the reason I first got into the blogging world is through triathlons; I used to blog about every race and event that I competed in. What I’m trying to say is that I used to be fit and strong. Now I want to be as fit and strong as I was when I was thirteen (it’s crazy to think that I was thirteen five whole years ago — it seems like yesterday). Anyway, in New York I walked at least six miles everyday. And it felt great. Walking, for me, was a way to transition myself back into the fit lifestyle. Now that I’m home, and not in the walkable NYC anymore, I just want to go out and run and take group fitness classes all day long. So I have been. GO ME.

As most of you know (or should know) I can’t go out into public without somehow embarrassing myself. So I have a funny story for ya today…

Yesterday I took a circuit class with my mom and it was a fabulous workout. I’m so sore today which is great. Unfortunately my eye is a little sore too which is not so great. Insert story here:

The circuits of the class were rowing machines (I was on my high school’s crew team freshman year, sophomore year, and sophomore  year round two so that was no big deal for me), kettle bells, yoga mats for ab exercises, benches for dips, and resistance bands.

The first circuit that I started with yesterday was the resistance band thing. My mom and I were the only two in our circuit because everyone else in the class had spread out. Since I’m no pro when it comes to resistance bands, I (of course) picked up the one that is the hardest. I went to put my foot down so that I could do the proper arm lift-y things. Then…. the band snapped. And hit me. In the face. On the eye.

At first I was kind of stunned at what just happened. I mean A GIANT RUBBER BAND JUST SNAPPED ME IN THE EYE. Then I realized that that’s not supposed to happen. My mom of course witnessed the whole thing and was dying laughing. Then I started laughing and crying at the same time (because it really hurt but was really funny at the same time). So I now have a bruise around my eye (it’s not a black eye, fortunately).

Note to self: when starting a new workout class, start with the circuit that you actually know how to do.

Here’s how the class went as told by GIFs (btw I don’t care if you pronounce it with a g or a j, I’ll be your friend either way)…

Me walking into the class ready to rock it.

runway gif

When my mom tells me we should start with resistance bands.

two

Then trying to figure out which band to use.

difficult decisions gif

Attempting to look fit with the chosen resistance band

baseball gif

My mom’s reaction when the band snaps my face

snl gif

My reaction + some giggles

crying gif

After I got over the initial shock and actually realized what just happend

llama gif

Then realizing that I just gotta be me.

eight

I'm probably not the only person who's ever been snapped in the face with a resistance band, right? Wait... don't answer that.

I hope you enjoyed this post, it's a little different from the normal posts, but it's the real me. So like it or leave it ;)

xox, Chloe

Inspiring Pins

EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

It’s a good thing I’m a blogger so that I can call my obsessive pinning “work.” I honestly think that I pin 100+ new things a day. I’m addicted. I was definitely one of those kids that collected magazines just so that on a rainy day I could cut out  pictures and  typography so that I could make mood boards. I think that’s why I have such a serious addiction to Pinterest. It’s just that pretty pictures make my heart beat fast. I’ve decided to create a little roundup of a few of my favorite inspiring pins that have recently caught my eye. If you’re needing some inspiration, then we’ve got you covered. These pictures are almost too perfect (kidding, there’s no such thing).

instagram piechart

Instagram Life Vs. Real Life (this pin hit the nail on the head)

outfit of the day pinterest pin

I’m OBSESSED with her outfit. It’s super stylish and looks amazingly comfortable at the same time. gimme

peach pie

Peach pie is my all time favorite summer dessert, and this one looks indescribably delicious.

beach

Someone please buy me a one way ticket to the nearest beach. 

meow

I’m not a cat purrson, but this cutie has me by my heartstrings.

If you like these inspiring pins, then be sure to follow us! Like I said before, I'm an obsessive pinner. You will always have something inspiring to look at on Pinterest if you follow us, and that's a promise!

xox Chloe