Zero waste the easy way.

How to make a pump-tastic centerpiece

By: Ariana Palmieri
Pumpkins, paints, and brushes, oh my! For me, it isn't autumn until I decorate a pumpkin. Since carving pumpkins can get messy and tiring, I opted for painting some instead. Plus, painted pumpkins make amazing centerpieces for tables. So, if you're looking for a way to spruce up your table or desk, get painting!


What I used:

  • Gold, red, and white acrylic paint (If these colors don't speak to you, experiment with others!)
  • Small, medium, and large brushes
  • A paint palette
  • Three pumpkins (One medium, two small)
  • Dried petals (I used my dried roses)
  • Newspaper (To make sure the table doesn't get dirty)
  • A glass of water
  • A hot glue gun

Directions for painting the medium pumpkin:
  1. Take your white and red acrylic paint and mix it together on the paint palette to create a dark pink. In another area on the palette, take your white paint and mix it with the red paint to create a light pink color. Make sure you have some regular red paint handy in the palette too. 
  2. Grab a large paint brush and coat the top of the pumpkin in the light pink paint. 
  3. Clean the brush off by dipping it into the glass of water, then coat the center of the pumpkin with the dark pink paint.
  4. Clean the brush off by dipping it in the glass of water again, then paint the base of your pumpkin red. To make sure all three colors don't clash, blend all three shades well by using a clean paint brush. The aim is to create an ombre-effect. 
  5. Once your pumpkin dries, take a medium sized brush, dip it in the gold paint, and make as many circles on your pumpkin as you like. 
  6. Take a small paint brush and add little dots onto your pumpkin using the same gold paint. Go dot crazy and add as many as you want!
  7. Plug the glue gun in and get your dried flower petals ready. The goal is to recreate 'flowers' on your pumpkin. This step is optional, but it adds a nice three dimensional look to your pumpkin. Grab a flower petal, put a dot of glue at the base, and glue it onto the pumpkin. Repeat this step in a clockwise motion until you think it looks like a flower. Make sure all the petals touch at the base of the petal and create a center for the 'flower'. You can make as many 'flowers' as you want, but I only made three on my pumpkin.

Directions for painting the small pumpkins:

  1. Grab your medium brush, dip it in the gold acrylic paint, and coat the first pumpkin in it. To make sure you get the pumpkin evenly, coat the top, let it dry, coat the bottom, and then tilt it on its side. This way, the wet paint at the bottom won't stick to the newspaper.
  2. Repeat the first step on the second small pumpkin. 
  3. Add a second coat of paint to each pumpkin to create a more vibrant, solid color. 
  4. Ta-da! You're done!

Organic beauty: Fall must-haves

With the leaves shifting into hues of yellow and red, it's time to start thinking about fall. When weather gets colder, you need to be prepared for your skin to crack and your hair to dry out. That's why it's so important to pamper yourself during this chilly season. Here are a few products that work wonders:

Cherry Honey Facial Scrub

This Cherry Honey Facial Scrub is the bee's knees!

Why you want it: It makes your face feel as smooth as satin.

What it costs: $28 (It's worth it!)

Where to find it:

My review: Recently, I purchased some goodies from my favorite go-to organic beauty shop, 100% Pure. Along with my regular purchases I got a reusable shopping bag filled with five honey-themed products discounted from $75 to $25. Sweet deal right? The best one, by far, is the Cherry Honey Facial Scrub. This scrub can get sticky and messy, so your best bet is to put your hair into a ponytail or use the scrub in the shower. It's made from certified organic ingredients such as honey, jojoba beads, cherry concentrate, strawberry, blackberry, grapefruit, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate. All you have to do is wet your face and rub the sweet smelling stuff into your skin, then rinse. The little jojoba beads help exfoliate dead skin cells and the honey makes your skin ultra smooth. Trust me, you won't be able to stop touching your face.

Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter Hand Cream 

With this cream, prepare to get a million people asking you how you get your hands so soft!

Why you want it: You can finally say goodbye to cracked, dry hands! (Bonus? It smells amazing!)

What it costs: $14

Where to find it:

My review: My hands looked ready to fall off before I found this hand cream. I bought this in April, 2015, and still have it. My hands were cracked and bleeding more than usual due to the harsh winter. I tried several hand creams and nothing helped. Some would even sting because of how sensitive my skin was. Thank god I stumbled upon this "skin saver" while in the store Francesca's. I haven't looked back since. Not only is it 90 percent natural, vegan and gluten free, but the cream also smells like mint-julep with just a hint of soothing lavender. In just a few days most of the cracks on my hands started to heal. In two weeks, my hands felt like a baby's bottom. The cream didn't resist my skin, didn't sting and didn't leave icky residue behind. What more could I ask for? Now if I run out, I know where to look.

Argan Oil Hair Serum

The label says, "for maintaining healthy, luscious-looking hair, silkening beards and rectifying frazzled ends."

Why you want it: This serum will give your hair that extra kick it craves during colder months.

What it costs: $25

Where to find it:

My review: I had no idea Big Spoon Little Spoon Naturals' existed before I saw their stand set up in the mall. They had an interesting boho selection of herbal teas, sea sponges, hair serums and natural soaps laid out for show. I decided to give their hair serum a shot. I bought it for $20 even though their website says it's $25 (perhaps they lowered the price to get more people to stop by.) This serum is made from organic Argan oil, jojoba, cedarwood and lavender essential oil. Argan oil has been proven to be beneficial to hair so I figured, "hey, why not?" To use the serum you just take out the dropper and add one drop, no bigger than a dime, to your hair after you shower. I wish I knew that the first time I tried it: instead I wound up adding too much and looking like a walking grease ball the whole day. However, when I gave it a second try, the right way, it gave my hair a volume and body it lacked before. I also didn't see as much frizz. Can you guess who's going to be using this all season long? I'll give you a hint: me!

The truth about organizing


When you hear the word 'organize' do you immediately think of all the things in your life that need to be done? Do you think about the clutter on your desk, the errands you have to run this week or the project you were supposed to tackle a month ago?

Most people do. Organizing is stressed in our society because we are pushed to multitask, to abide a strict schedule and to complete things in a timely matter. While there is nothing wrong with this, it isn't always feasible.

Life gets in the way: we need moments to breathe, relax and just be. We don't always want to live by a pre-prescribed schedule. Some of the best things happen unexpectedly. We need to break free of routines in order to feel rejuvenated, otherwise we get stale and bitter.

So how do you find a balance between scripted and unscripted living?

I have the answer, but it might scare you: no. There is no way to find a perfect balance.

No matter what you do, no matter how much you plan, you are not in control of everything. Did you schedule it to rain today? Did you schedule a toothache, headache or stomachache? I doubt it.

There's always going to be something that stops you from having under control. I'm not saying that's an easy thing to accept or that you shouldn't try. However, it is something you have to learn.

I struggle with it every day. I try to control how my day goes by setting goals and writing things down in a planner. Does it help? Yes, but eight times out of ten things don't go that smoothly. Things I don't plan - illnesses, emergencies, unexpected visits and things I want to do - get in the way of what I need to do.

That's just human nature. However, while you can never have full control over everything (unless you play the Sims) you certainly have the ability to set standards for yourself.

Organizing made simple

Don't underestimate the power of a planner.

Here are some simple, but effective, ways to organize your time:
  • Buy a planner that you like (I prefer pretty ones and got mine for cheap at Barnes and Noble) and keep track of important dates. Write down birthdays, due dates, and deadlines. Some planners offer a section in the back where you can write notes. I use this area for numbers I should memorize and passwords I shouldn't forget. Set goals for yourself and write them down in your planner on the days you want them accomplished by.
  • Buy a calendar that you like and hang it in your room. Similar to a planner, you can write down important events on here so you will always have a visual for when you don't feel like taking out your planner.
  • Invest in a nice set of sticky notes. Mine have flowers, plants and birds on them. This comes in handy in case you have to quickly jot something down or leave a message for someone.
  • Clear the clutter in your room and work space as best you can. Start by taking everything off your flat surfaces and cleaning it off with a re-usable cloth and some (preferably) eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Then look at what you took off your desk and go through it. Really think about what you need, what you want and what you actually use. Are you holding onto something just because you've always had it on your desk? If it's just taking up space then it's time to get rid of it. Start placing things back and re-arrange them in a way that pleases your eye. You'll feel so much better afterwards.
These tips can't guarantee your plans won't get interrupted. However, maybe they'll help you gather your thoughts better so that when interruptions do occur, you'll be prepared.