Darby Smart Box Review

I was quite excited to have come across Darby Smart via Tried & Glue way, way back in early October.  I was so excited that I actually bought 3 of them in a matter of a few days.  Well, really excited and I somehow snagged two $10 off coupons, which brought two of the boxes down to $9 each, which is a pretty awesome price (plus there’s free shipping).  PS if you sign up via this link, you’ll get $10 off your first purchase, too.

If you’re not familiar with Darby Smart, here’s a quick rundown of one of the services they offer.  I think they’ve expanded to adding a seller platform as well, but back in early October their main squeeze were these DIY kits you could purchase one at a time (not a subscription).  Basically you pick a project you want to do, and they send you all the materials you need to make that project, which is really cool.  I was extremely excited to have basically everything I need to complete a craft sent to me in a box.  Another great part was that they sent you enough materials that you could potentially make another project by just replacing certain items that they sold individually on their site.  So for instance, one of the boxes I bought was printed kitchen towels.  They came with the two towels, ink, brushes, and stencils.  So if I wanted to make more than just the two towels that were initially sent, I had the materials to make more.  All I had to do was purchase the same towels (sold separately outside the box) on their site.  Perfect.  Further, they give you a link to instructions on how to do the craft if you need a little help.

Darby Smart Box

The stuff they offer is all really, really cute.  Overall, I had an OK experience with it and enjoyed doing the craft boxes I bought.  I was a little disappointed that my experience was only OK though, and I’ll go into specifically why with each craft box I bought.  I picked Stenciled Tea Towels, Pocket Terrarium Necklaces, and Agate Cuff bracelet.  Here’s my experiences with each of the boxes I received.

1. Kitchen Towels – $17 (1 star out of 5) – Unfortunately, these did not work out for me.  I’m pretty sure I followed all the directions properly and everything, but after I “set” the ink, it continued to smudge, even after I did it a second time where I set the ink for twice as long and let the towel sit for a few days.  I was quite disappointed with this one because the towels came out super cute, but were basically useless.  Unfortunately, I didn’t grab any pictures before I tossed the towels.

2. Terrarium Necklace – $19 (2.5 stars out of 5) – I thought this one was really really cool because we all know I love plants, and I do still think it’s cool.  However, I have a few problems with this one.  First, the gold necklace portion is super cheap looking.  I get this is only a $19 kit and I’m not expecting a 14 carrot gold chain, but I feel a different chain could be used that’s not so “cheap looking” (and I really hate saying that).  Second, when you wear this chain, the sand that’s in the little bottles inevitably gets knocked around.  When that happens, for some reason the sand residue sticks on the sides of the inside of the bottle and makes it look super cloudy. You can barely see the grass in mine these days.  I still wear this occasionally and it was fun to make, but the quality is lacking unfortunately.

necklace 1 necklace 2

3. Agate Cuff – $19 (5 stars out of 5) – This one I would definitely recommend.  What a cool bracelet!  Easy to make and is now one of my favorite jewelry pieces.  Like I mentioned before, with this one there is extra glue, extra gold wire, and they even gave me a second stone in a different color, so I actually just ordered another cuff and will make a second.  Only issue I had with this one is that it states the glue only needs to set for 10 minutes.  Try 10 hours.

Cuff bracelet

Overall, making the items was the most fun, but it would be really great if they were better quality and I could actually use them.  Overall, I’d definitely say Darby Smart is worth trying because I had a lot of fun creating the items, regardless if they ended up working out or not, and will probably purchase again.

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Your Introduction To Reggaeton

I have an embarrassing secret to admit.  When I first heard reggaeton, I kind of hated it.  YES IT’S TRUE; I hated reggaeton.  These days, I’m embarrassed to admit it and honestly, have no idea how this is even possible since I’ve been obsessed for a few years now.  I don’t speak a lick of Spanish (which is actually surprising considering the amount of reggaeton I listen to), but reggaeton is basically one of my favorite musical genres (after classic rock and right before dancehall – yes I love that to death too).

My journey to reggaeton appreciation was not a fun one.  One of my earliest experiences with reggaeton (outside of Gasolina in high school and what is played on the radio) was during my senior year of college and my two friends who had studied abroad in South America had come back more in love with reggaeton than ever before.  We were in the car driving to one of our club lacrosse games and they had been blasting hardcore reggaeton for over an hour, and I was over it.  I had a headache, the beat was driving me nuts, and I couldn’t understand a word they were saying.  Surprisingly though after that moment when it beat me down, I started to like it shortly after.

Reggaeton holds its roots in the same resounding drum/bass background beat. At first I kind of thought all the songs sounded the same, but it wasn’t until I branched out and heard other artists and their songs when I realized reggaeton could be so many things.  Danza Kuduro introduced me to Don Omar.  It was then when I realized reggaeton artists can do so much more.  I also realized that you don’t need to understand the lyrics to enjoy the music as long as it has a good beat.  Most of the time these days no one is even saying anything noteworthy in English and I still listen to that stuff.  And lastly, I realized that if there’s any type of music you can dance to all night, it’s reggaeton and latin hip hop and pop.

Anyway, I know that reggaeton can be a little scary for those who aren’t familiar.  If you don’t speak Spanish, you won’t understand any of the lyrics. Why is there this beat that just keeps repeating?  Well, although reggaeton’s roots are in one specific type of beat, there are a lot of Latin artists that make a wide variety of different sounding music that is just excellent.  So, if you’re a little scared of reggaeton and want to know what it’s all about, here are five songs I recommend you check out.

1. Danza Kuduro – Don Omar

If this song doesn’t make you want to dance, get off my blog now.  Whenever this song goes on in a bar, club, car, passing car, neighbor playing so loud I can hear, my playlist at work, you’ll find me dancing.

Danza kuduro

2. Te Siento – Wisin & Yandel

I love this song.  It’s my favorite song by duo Wisin & Yandel.  The rap in the middle is my favorite part (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you hear it).

Te_Siento_Cover

3. Lovumba – Daddy Yankee

Daddy Yankee is a big hitter in the reggaeton world, and this is a big hit that has a great beat.

Single_Lovumba_Cover

4. Gasolina – Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, N.O.R.E

Classic reggaeton hit that put Daddy Yankee on the charts in the US.  I chose the remix because it has a familiar face to us all, Pitbull (before he started doing whatever it is that he does now).

Daddy_Yankee_Gasolina_cover_art

5. No Te Veo – Casa De Leones

Classic song with a classic reggaeton beat.

No Te Veo

Like I said, these are some “intro” songs that I hope will give you a good introduction to reggaeton.  They’re catchy and by well known artists, and I’d definitely recommend checking out these artists’ other songs on Spotify.  When all else fails, Songza has a bunch of really great reggaeton stations (many located in the “Party at the Beach” activities section).  If you’re not familiar Songza is a great site and app that’s similar to Pandora, but has better playlists in my opinion. Enjoy!

For my reggaeton lovers out there, what are some of your favorite classic reggaeton songs?

Where have I been?

Where have I been? It’s been over 3 months since a post and I know everyone’s been waiting with baited breath for the next (just kidding of course).  Anyway, a lot has happened!  Not many life changing events, but fun stuff along the way, which I’ll eventually post about.  For starters, the main delay was due to the fact that back in mid-November, I had arthroscopic knee surgery to realign my knee cap and scrape out excess damaged cartilage that was also causing me pain.  You’d think that being cooped up in the house for a few weeks would be cause for writing ALL OF THE BLOGSSSS, but actually it was quite the contrary.  I have basically spent my entire adult life (the past 10 years) steadily working out 3-6x per week with very little periods of a long break.  Even on vacations I always try to work in some type of exercise.  So when I was basically confined to a couch for a week and then crutches for another two, I got quite lethargic very quickly.  Because I was moving so little, I was constantly tied.  And on top of that, I couldn’t do much.  So what was I to write about?  More on knee surgery and how to survive later.

But what else has happened? Thanksgiving, binge listening to Serial, discovering my new favorite app (Keep), traveling back to the east coast for Christmas, my boyfriend buying me a REALLY nice camera for Christmas, birthdays, buying a 5 gallon fish tank for our kitchen counter top, finally finishing my natural beauty/cleaning product replacement project, becoming obsessed with Parks & Recreation and deciding to get back on this blog and eventually adding a little bit more fashion twist.  Yup! So you’ll be seeing a little more of me (literally because I’ll be posting some fashion type pictures courtesy of that new fancy camera) from now on. See you soon!