DIY Camera Bag | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

DIY Camera Bag

DIY Camera Bag | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You guys, I will never ever ever be crafty. It seems I will also never stop liking pretty things that I can’t afford like expensive trendy camera bags. At around $160 bucks at the low end, I won’t be a person who owns an Epiphanie bag any time soon. Those are meant for rich kids. 

But I still don’t want to walk around with the bag my camera came in. There’s nothing cute about that. It seems the only logical choice is to make my own camera bag. So I did. Sort of.

DIY Camera Bag | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I bought the actual bag. I chose a cute but cheap backpack from Amazon. We walk a lot, so I wanted something that was ultra functional. Then I bought some foam padding and some stick on velcro from the craft store. Finally, I picked up a yard of fun fabric at the fabric store and got to work.

If you’re good at crafting, you’ll probably carefully measure out your foam pieces and your fabric. You’ll do all that crafter geometry that I have no patience for. Basically, I used my existing camera bag as a template to cut out top and bottom pieces four sides, and an extra piece for the inside to separate the camera body from the extra lens from the foam. I had to trim them down a bit from my first pass, but basically, I eyeballed it.

Next, I used my horrible gift wrapping skills to cut out pieces of fabric to cover each foam triangle. I used a simple whip stitch to sew each piece on to the foam. I stuck some velcro on the covered foam to help the pieces stay in shape.

Finally, I found an old make up bag I received as a gift but never had a use for. I popped all the cords, lens covers, and other bits and bobs inside. 

Now my camera is well protected in a bag I’m not embarrassed to carry around. There are pockets for my phone and other necessities and plenty of space still left for whatever else I need to haul around.

DIY Camera Bag | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

And in case you’re wondering, I spent less than $40 for all of this, half of which was the backpack itself. Sometimes we want things we can’t have. If you get creative, there’s a chance you can get what you want. Well, almost. Can’t buy it? Just make it yourself.

5 Free Super Awesome Podcasts

5 Free Super Awesome Podcasts

5 Free Super Awesome Podcasts

I’ve been an NPR junkie for years. Since the end of my college days, actually. I’d listen every time I was in my car. Once I finally broke down and bought an iPod in 2008, I discovered podcasts, and I could finally listen to every single episode of my favorite NPR shows any time I wanted. And they all fit in my pocket and were completely free. If you love listening to smart or cool people talk, you’re probably already into podcasts, and if you’re not, you’ve got to get into it. They’re the ideal way to stay entertained and informed while working in your cubicle, while you’re on a road trip, or while working around your house. And did I mention, they’re absolutely free? Yeah, that’s super awesome. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Joy the Baker

If you’re a food blogger, or even if you’re just a human with a sense of humor, you need to subscribe to the Joy the Baker Podcast. It’s the only non-NPR production to make my cut. It’s co-hosted by Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker, and Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean. It’s basically two best friends getting together to talk about “totally important unimportant things,” like food, blogging, boyfriends, cats, hot dogs, Google auto-fill, and cutting yourself out of your underwear. It’s real life, and it’s hilarious. 

2. Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour is an NPR Podcast, but not an NPR show. You can’t hear it on the radio, but you definitely shouldn’t miss it. It’s four witty and wonderful NPR writers and sometimes hosts chatting about their opinions on all things pop culture including books, TV, movies, video games, comics, podcasts, and theater. If the PCHH crew says a movie is good, I’ll usually go see it. I’ve also been caught bursting out into raucous laughter while listening to this at work, and with segments like “Regrettable Television Pop Quiz,” how could you not? I’ve also been moved to tears from time to time by the discussions on this show. I won’t miss it.

3. The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table is hosted by the fabulous Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and this lady knows everything ever about food. This is usually a weekend show, so it’s not always easy to catch on the radio, but if you subscribe to the Podcast, it’s there waiting for you. There’s a mixture of interviews with chefs, in-depth food news, and call-ins from listeners. The highlight of every year is the live Thanksgiving call-in show where people can call in with their Thanksgiving emergencies. Lynn has a fix for everything. If you’re a foodie, you must listen to The Splendid Table.

4. The TED Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour combines excerpts from TED talks and interviews with speakers to focus in-depth on a given topic each week. I absolutely love listening to smart people share ideas about how to make the world a better place. I am constantly amazed when I listen to this podcast. It gives me so much to think about without having to sit in front of my computer watching a 20 minute YouTube video. Nerds rule!

5. This American Life

Saving the best for last, This American Life will blow your mind. Sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, always poignant, this show is a hipster nerd’s dream come true. With contributors like David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, and Mike Birbiglia, the content on this show is always diverse, and deeply human. The host, Ira Glass, is basically as cool as a human can be, in my opinion. I never miss an episode of This American Life, and I’m never disappointed.

If you have an iPhone, you can subscribe and listen with the built in app in your phone. If you have an Android phone, I recommend Podkicker, which is free. If you have none of these, you can subscribe to all of these, and many more podcasts through iTunes on your computer. And in case I haven’t already said it a hundred times, they’re completely free. It’s just too awesome!

Did your favorite podcasts make the list? What do I absolutely have to check out right this minute?

Go grow your brain, have a laugh, and make your day a million times better. 

6 Awesome Summer Wines Under $10

6 Awesome Summer Wines

You know I love a good happy hour as much as anybody, but most of the time, I prefer to enjoy a drink in the comfort of my home, or sip a glass of wine discreetly while grilling at the beach. Even if you find a really cheap happy hour, it’s never going to be as affordable as a bottle of wine. 

There are plenty of great white wines to be had for under $10, and if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that sells wine in the grocery store, they’re extremely convenient to pick up for a weekend dinner party or a Wednesday night that needs a dose of calm. Here are some of our favorites in no particular order. I’m not a wine expert. I just like what I like.

Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio is crisp and refreshing. I find it works well with food and isn’t too sweet.

Menage a Trois Moscato is one of Geoff’s favorites. It’s definitely sweet and best for sipping after dinner. I’ll admit that I prefer moscato with ice. I find it calms the syrupy quality that moscato can sometimes have.

Barefoot Refresh Crisp White is the perfect pool or beach side sipper. It’s a little bit bubbly, a little bit sweet, quite crisp and completely refreshing. It seems to have a low alcohol content, so you won’t be stumbling about after a few glasses.

Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice when you need a large bottle of wine. It’s still just under $10 and pleases most any palate. 

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc is on the green side, which I really like, especially in warm weather. 

Chateau St. Michelle Riesling is possibly my favorite wine. It’s made not far from where I grew up, so it has a sentimental attachment for me. Plus, rieslings are just the right level of sweet for my taste. Not too syrupy, not too dry. It works well with food or on its own.

I almost never buy a wine that costs more than $10. They’re not always great, but they’re rarely that bad. These are all wines I would gladly drink again and again. Feel free to bring a bottle.

What are your favorite summer wines? What will you be drinking at your Labor Day celebration? 

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