About Incurable Homebody

Introvert since birth, professional web content creator since 2004, blogger since 2008. Sundry topics include: crafts, cognitive science, and the pursuit of confidence for the socially awkward. I don't know always know what I'm doing, but I'm sure having fun doing it.

How To Make Fake Plants Look Real (VIDEO)

Quick — which one is the fake? (Yes, this is a trick question.) [Image: Maya Marin | eHow]


IN THIS ARTICLE:
How to rock faux plants like no one’s business.
(Seriously, it really is no one else’s business);
where to get the plants from the video


So you’ve tried time and again to keep houseplants happy and well. Yet, every time, you’ve shamefully failed to protect your green friends from slowly withering away as they cursed Fate for having fallen into your incapable hands.

Yeah. Me too. So I say, go faux. At least partially.

What?, you say. Me own FAKE plants? Those cheap, soulless, tacky, plastic abominations that will have you forever living in fear of being discovered for the fake-plant-owning-brown-thumbed-serial-flora killer that you are?

Yup. Say what you want, but I’ll have you know I went faux and I’m in good company.

But even more convincing than knowing that there are interior design legends who have embraced fake greenery is actually seeing how REAL fake plants can look provided you get quality fakes and style them well. I was so excited about the whole endeavoer that I decided to pitch an idea for a video to eHow — (X Number) of Tips For Decorating With Faux Plants — and they bit.

Me, throwing in a real, fresh-cut tree branch for optimum fake-out! (Image: Maya Marin | eHow)

Of course, I had no idea what my tips would be before I pitched the idea — because that’s how I roll! I also didn’t know where I was going to buy plants that were realistic enough to fool the eye. I knew one thing for sure, though, I needed to see them IN PERSON before buying. No matter how many awesome online reviews a product gets, you never know for yourself until you lay your eyes — and hands — on the goods.

Now, I’m convinced that if you style them correctly, no one will be the wiser. Or you might be like me and just flat out tell them that they’re fake — and so, far, everyone’s been surprised to learn the truth.

So now, I enjoy the calming beauty of greenery in my home without the stress of having to keep them alive.

Pretty dang convincing faux croton plant. (Image: Maya Marin | eHow)

And without further ado, here’s my final video! And don’t forget to read my full article on eHow. (See images below to find out where I bought my fauxs.)

(Image: Maya Marin | eHow)

(Image: Maya Marin | eHow)

How A Capsule Wardrobe & An App Helped My Anxiety Big Time


IN THIS ARTICLE:
I, a pathological clothes collector, got rid of 90% of
my wardrobe and it was the best anti-anxiety decision ever;
the ah-mazing wardrobe organizer app that helped me;
I admit that it’s not for everyone


I love clothes. Let me repeat that for emphasis. I lu-hu-hu-HUUUUUV clothes.

Not sure how to say that in a way that sufficiently conveys my deep, emotional connection to those glorious pieces of fabric joined together to protect our bodies from the elements.

Still, the affection I had for my garments (many of them I constructed myself) did not stop me — approximately 8 months ago — from donating 14 large moving boxes full of them to the Goodwill. Percentage-wise, that was about 90% of my wardrobe, and I’m still not finished paring down. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be doing such a thing, I’d have scoffed.

I really wish I’d taken photos of my previous wardrobe, in all its vintage, bohemian, hand-sewn, print-heavy glory, so you could have an actual “before” photo. I wasn’t blogging at the time, so I had no reason to snap photos of my closet. Instead, I’m going to use this photo I found on Pinterest because it comes pretty close to the type (and volume) of clothes my closet contained.

Something like my old wardrobe - eclectic (mostly bohemian), print-heavy, every color in the rainbow. (Image credit: apartmenttherapy.com)

Something like my old wardrobe – vintage, bohemian, and print-heavy AF (Image credit: Apartment Therapy via Pinterest)

And why did I give away my meticulously curated and hand-sewn wardrobe? Because it finally dawned on me that having all of those clothes was contributing to my anxiety in multiple ways.

Here are the top two:

  • Too much choice in general paralyzes me. (Seriously. Don’t take me to a restaurant with more than 10 items on the menu.) This stresses me out when searching my closet for an outfit as well as when shopping for outfits.
  • The constant pressure I put myself under to put together  “effortless,” (shyeah right) eclectic outfits to wear to work because I’d somehow developed a reputation for wearing effortless, eclectic outfits…and then my whole identity and (fragile) sense of self worth got mixed up in it. (Pathetic. I know.)

Everything, even the act of putting together outfits from a wardrobe of clothing that I genuinely loved became freakish and daunting through the distorted lens of anxiety. Daunting? Cute outfits? Kind of ashamed to admit it but, yep. Cute outfits.

THE PROBLEM, SUMMARIZED

At its worst, my social anxiety causes me to assume that people will not only judge me, but will inevitably judge me poorly. Therefore, I tend to obsess over making the best impression (superhumanly) possible. But as a socially awkward dork (j/k…sort of) who either clams up entirely or is a jibber-jabbering, walking faux pas, I rely heavily on clothing to make a better impression than my social skills can — especially because it seems (I think?) to have worked pretty well in the past. So putting together outfits to take on that hefty job stresses me the f**k out — and once I’m out of the house, 9 times out of ten I feel like I’ve made the wrong choice.

So, as difficult as it was, I chopped my wardrobe down to a few basic essentials. Not only did I severely limit the amount of clothes, accessories, and shoes I owned, I also limited my colors and patterns. I picked colors that I KNEW looked great on me, classic cuts that flattered me (and that I felt great wearing), and pieces that were all mixable and matchable. Thank goodness that KonMari and the whole capsule wardrobe thing has been spreading across blogs and Pinterest boards like wildfire in recent years, so there were plenty of resources at my fingertips to help me prepare for the big dump.

When I was commuting 3+ hours a day to the office (and was so busy there that I didn’t take lunch breaks for months at a time) and spent weekends doing un-fun household chores and cooking for the entire week because of my many diet restrictions, this new limited choice wardrobe made my life SO. MUCH. SIMPLER.

And now that I work from home (and hardly ever leave it), I’ve still happily kept it up. Who knows if I’ll do it forever, but as of yet, I’ve had no desire to go back to my pre-capsule days. At the moment, it saves me time, it saves me money, and it saves me from undue stress and anxiety. Why would I quit?

A Few Outfits From My Current Simplified Wardrobe

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My Limited Colors

  • Black, White, and Gray (all essentially the same color in varying shades, right?)
  • Shades of brown (earth tones)
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow

My Limited Patterns

  • Stripes
  • Gingham
  • Plaid

Limited, but I’ve yet to exhaust my mixing and matching opportunities .

I Still (Very Much) Enjoy Colors & Prints

I just express that side of my personality in my decor, housewares, linens, and art. So I still get to see and enjoy them on a daily basis — I just don’t wear them. And I don’t really look at myself much anyway, so it totally works out.

colorful-plates

Nope. Not in short supply of colors, prints, and general whimsy in my household.

A Capsule Wardrobe Ain’t For Everyone

I’m certainly not universally advocating a limited, minimalist, or capsule wardrobe for everyone. If my closet full of eclectic clothing brought me joy and nothing but joy, I’d still have it. The fact is, it didn’t — not by a long shot. But if you foresee that reducing your wardrobe will bring you more pain than anything else, then don’t do it. I understand that most people enjoy expressing their inner selves through clothing — which is definitely the way it should be. For me, it wasn’t so simple.

Even so, I still think you should look into getting Stylebook because I really believe it can benefit anyone.

Check Out the Stylebook App!

Schedule outfits in a calendar planner.

All of the outfit images in this post were made using a pretty amazing app called Stylebook. I found this app indispensable when figuring out exactly what I owned (much more than I thought) and how many pieces of clothing I truly needed for a workable wardrobe (much less than I thought).

What you do is add photos of all your wardrobe items (you can either take actual pictures of your clothes, or find the product images online). But cataloging your clothes and putting together outfits is just a small fraction of the things you can do with this app. Seriously, check it out.

Capsule Wardrobe Resources

And because there are so many terrific resources out there for who want to downsize their wardrobe but don’t know where to start, I won’t write anything about that as there’s really nothing more I can add. Here are good places to start:

 

Video Projects Sneak Peek – Concrete Candles and Woven Rag Rug

concrete-candle-rag-rug.png


IN THIS ARTICLE:
Holy soy wax, that’s one spendy candle;
going from rags to rugs is trickier than expected


Concrete (Actually Cement) Candle

People just can’t seem to get enough concrete and cement craft projects these days. So to meet public demand for them, I was tasked with producing a DIY video + tutorial entitled How to Make Concrete Candles. Say what? Concrete candles? Well, they’re actually candles with concrete bases. Like this lovely specimen on Garmentory.com:

NOVEL-STUDIOS-Concrete-Palmarosa-4--Candle-20170329202231.jpg

Beautiful, I thought. Then I saw the price tag. Continue reading

Turn a Tube Sock Into a Microwaveable Scented Heat Pack (Video)

tube-sock-heat-pack-edited

Anxious much? Let this heat pack enfold you in its toasty, rice-weighted, aromatherapy embrace. There there, now. It’ll be ok.


IN THIS ARTICLE:
Heat packs soothe both body and mind; pssst, there’s
an even easier way to make it*


Ah the microwaveable scented heat pack. Humble as it is, I’d put it on a very short list of luxuries that cost next to nothing. But what if you don’t have sore muscles? Doesn’t matter. All you need are muscles.  You’ve got muscles, right? And daily emotional stressors too, I’m guessing? Well, you’ll benefit from this, trust me — especially on a chilly evening. Just nuke it, drape it round your neck and shoulders, light some candles, and succumb to your handmade heatpack’s warm embrace. Continue reading

Battle of the Faux Mudcloths + Mudcloth-Inspired Wall Hanging Tutorial Video

Mudcloth-inspired wall hanging — with sassy tassels! (Image: Maya Marin | eHow)


IN THIS ARTICLE:
On authentic mudcloth; My quest for the most doable
DIY faux mudcloth; My final video


True bògòlanfini, known as “mudcloth,” is a 100% hand-woven and hand-dyed textile from Mali that derives its color from fermented mud via a dyeing technique that dates back to the 1100s. It’s only in recent years, though, that this gorgeous and painstakingly made textile known for its symbolic, culturally significant, repeating motifs has enjoyed widespread popularity thanks to decor bloggers and pinners everywhere, especially those who dig the whole minimalist aesthetic. Which is, like, pretty much everyone right now. The thing is, as beautiful as true mudcloth is, it can be cost-prohibitive for a lot of people. Continue reading

7 Top Ranking Free Online Social Anxiety Tests (And My Impressions)


IN THIS ARTICLE:
7 free social anxiety tests you’ll probably encounter online if
you Google; types of questions & results;
which sites are trying to sell you something


Google “free social anxiety tests,” and you’ll find these seven among the top search results — so I thought it might be helpful for some of you if I jotted down my impressions of each. It should go without saying that you should always take results from non-verified, for-personal-use tests with a good dose of healthy skepticism — especially if they’ve got an online therapy program to sell to you. Still, they can be a good place to start if you want a general idea as to the severity of your social anxiety, and possibly help you figure out your top anxiety triggers.

Continue reading

Easy DIY Weaving Loom Video Tutorial

DIY weaving loom by The Incurable Homebody

A DIY loom that’ll have you up and weaving in no time (Image: Maya Marin | ehow)


IN THIS ARTICLE:
why weaving is good for the anxious soul,
making your first weaving loom


As the anxious sort, I’m well aware that I should start meditating. Everyone tells me so — friends, acquaintances, wellness experts, my mother. And I want to — oh how I want to. It’s just so freaking HARD. Can’t even begin to count the number of times I jumped on (then promptly fell off) the meditation wagon. I’ve got the meditation audiobooks, I subscribe to meditation podcasts, I’ve got no shortage of guided meditations loaded on my iPhone. Yet, have I been able to keep it up for more than 3 days at a time? (*Head hung in shame*) Continue reading

Social Media Gives Me Social Anxiety…So Why Can’t I Quit?

My thumb vs. Facebook. A daily battle.


IN THIS ARTICLE:
what some researchers say about social media
and anxiety, how Facebook totally screws with my head,
I ask for your experiences and input


It’s clear to me that the more time I spend on social media, the more anxious I get. Yet I keep subjecting myself to it — every single day, several times a day.

At least I know I’m not alone. Google  “social media and anxiety” and you’ll scroll through headline after headline reporting stuff like: Social Media Is Causing Anxiety, Study Finds;  Social Media, Loneliness, and Anxiety in Young People, etc.

Continue reading

How To Make a Chalkboard Serving Tray Video Tutorial

DIY chalkboard serving tray on a table

Hey taciturn types, make your serving ware do the talking for you. (Image: Maya Marin | ehow)


IN THIS ARTICLE:
Why shy types need a chalkboard serving tray
at parties, where to get materials, video tutorial


I’ve always been a fan of setting little ID place cards in front of appetizer items at get togethers. They’re great for me as a guest so I don’t have to barge into the middle of a heart-to-heart the host is having with a friend she hasn’t seen in forever to ask “so sorry to interrupt, but are these the asparagus or the broccoli quiches?” And though I Continue reading

The All New Incurable Homebody: DIY For the Socially Awkward


IN THIS ARTICLE:
dad’s words of wisdom, the rebirth of the blog,
how crafting helps my social anxiety and
maybe it can help yours


Saturday, August 26th, was my dad’s 73rd birthday. To honor the occasion, my younger sister Liesl and her husband Kenny threw a celebratory lunch at their apartment. Though I didn’t make it for the meal (I’ve got dietary restrictions up the wazoo), Continue reading