5 Inspiring DIY Resources

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Sprucing up your house can seem like a dauntless and expensive task. Use some simple DIY tricks and ingenious resources to turn your space from dull to chic in no time.

1. Design Sponge

Chic, clean and accessible content on design, decor, DIY projects and more. Design Sponge is almost legendary on the web for the carefully curated selection of content, which mixes high-end design details with low-cost DIY ideas from staff and readers.

2. Wallpaper

It’s not just for walls anymore. The internet is overflowing with DIY wallpaper projects, and the results can be inspiring. Make an old piece of furniture with drawers missing look like new by lining the back wall with wallpaper. For quick wall art, frame a few squares of sample wallpaper and hang. Update a ho-hum tray with colorful wallpaper. Line a lampshade for an unexpected pop of color. The list goes on and on.

3. Mod Podge

If you love the look of frameless pictures hanging on the wall, transfer another great photo (from Instagram or otherwise), by using mod podge to adhere it to canvas. Mod Podge is a crafter’s staple, an ingenious combination of glue and sealer. Use it to cover objects with photos, in pretty much any way possible. Seriously, Mod Podge rocks.

Check out the tutorial on transferring a photo to canvas using Mod Podge here.

4. Beard Beanie

Leave it to Etsy to promote a new breed of facial hair inspired knitwear. Knitting’s been popular for awhile, but projects like the beard beanie take creative knitting to a whole new level. Aside from being pretty hilarious, beard beanies keep your chin warm to boot. Think of them as a more attractive version of a ski mask.

5. Ikea Hackers

Based on Sweden’s iconic and affordable Ikea stores, Ikea Hackers showcases amazing project cobbled together from (you guessed it) items from Ikea. The site has a cult following for a reason. Browse for a few minutes, and you’ll be amazed at the high-level designs and storage solutions people come up with. Most projects feature details on creation, so feel free to tackle one on your own.

What $40 Buys At Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH

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The results of our SweetJack research project are final, and our results indicate that when armed with a forty dollar SweetJack voucher and a little manpower, you can score some really, really nice clothes at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.

Like a Tory Burch dress for only twelve dollars out of pocket. Yes, twelve. Yes, that Tory Burch. Or a silk Alice and Olivia dress for under forty dollars. Designer jeans, baby clothes, Marc by Marc Jacobs dresses, Seven by All Mankind shorts, for around $40.

Special thanks to our gracious hosts at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH in Lawrenceville, Georgia, one of Atlanta’s nearby stores.

Check out the amazing prices and learn more about the clothes in each image in the highlights below.

Highlights

Image 2: Tory Burch dress, $52

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Description:
The perfect-for-summer Kinsley dress features navy and cream stripes on seersucker with sweetheart neckline, shoulder straps and A-line skirt. Tory Burch’s Kinsley retro-styled dress may be sold out at Neiman Marcus, but we found it for a steal on the clearance racks at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.

Original Price: $350
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $103.99 + 50% Off (Clearance)
Out of Pocket, With  $40 SweetJack Voucher = $12
Discount: 85% off, or -$297

Image 5: Alice + Olivia silk dress, $33.50

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Description:
Alice + Olivia’s dresses are known for being fashion-forward without being over-the-top, and this little number doesn’t disappoint. Cascading lightweight lime green silk, an A-line shape and a strappy neckline make this perfect for an evening out.

Original Price: $198
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $66.99 + 50% Off (Clearance)
Out of Pocket, With  $40 SweetJack Voucher = $0
Discount: 85% Off, or -$168

Image 6: Black by Hugo Boss dress, $221.99

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Description:
The crisp, expertly tailored Dinola dress from Hugo Boss’ elite line for women, Black, could easily work for the boardroom or a summer garden party. A cinched waist and an on-point pale mustard yellow color bring the elegant curves into summer. Major luxury retailers are still carrying this dress in stores, so you’re getting a recently released designer dress for less than half of the designer price tag.

Original Price: $595
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $221.99
Out of Pocket, With  $40 SweetJack Voucher = $182
Discount: 63% Off, or -$373

Honorable Mentions

Image 1: Onesie (“Chicks are all over me.”), $12

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Description:
As professional punsters, we couldn’t resist the tagline on this cute onesie. Marked at $24, it was 50% off during one of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH’s unexpected flash sales. For twelve bucks, you can dress your kid in comfy, wordsmith-approved gear and have money left over on your SweetJack voucher.

Original Price: $48
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $23.99, + 50% Off (Flash sale)

Image 3: French Connection LBD, $42

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Description:
Tailored little black dress in a great cotton stretch sateen with clean, classic lines.

Original Price: $138
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $83.98 + 50% Off (Clearance)

Silver Multi-Chain Necklace, Saks Fifth Avenue, $22
Original Price: $88
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $43.99 + 50% Off (Clearance)

Image 4: 5/48 Neon Silk Tank, $44, and Necklace

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Description:
Orange (the color of the season) flowy silk tank top by 5/48, with a fun, chunky statement necklace and laid-back frayed jean shorts by 7 for All Mankind.

Original Price: $242
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $88 (Plus 50% off)

Women’s Chunky Gold Chain Necklace, Saks Fifth Avenue, $49.99
Original Price: $136
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $49.99

Frayed Jean Shorts, 7 for All Mankind, $33
Original Price: $178
Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Price: $65 + 50% Off (Clearance)

Video: Zoo Atlanta


A giant panda snacking on bamboo, an African lion roaming in front of a grass background, a giraffe picking leaves from the tallest tree are a few of the reasons Atlantans and tourists alike hotfoot over to  Zoo Atlanta. Enter the gates and be king or queen of the jungle for a day. We promise, you will not regret making the journey.

Get your tickets here.

This Is The End Movie Review

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I did not know what to expect when I sat down to watch This Is The End. Is it comedy? Another apocalyptic flop? Is this The Hangover in LA with aliens?

In the beginning we’re taken to Los Angeles following Jay Baruchel on his way to meet up with another actor friend, Seth Rogen. Preparing myself for gut-wrenching laughter, I was pleasantly surprised to see the actors fall seamlessly into their rumored stereotypes. Jay hated LA and wanted to stay in with Seth to play video games and party.

Once you strip Hollywood of the glamour, all that’s left are normal people who like to do the same thing as us lowly normal people. I liked that the movie brought light into their fictionary everyday lives.

Moving on to James Franco, in his apparently indestructible fortress, he was stereotypically having a housewarming party. Waiting to see which celebrities showed up was the best part of the movie. Rihanna, Jason SegelMindy Kaling, and even Emma Watson all made and  appearances.  Our favorite Harry Potter heroine wielded an axe in the middle of six guys. Even Michael Cera showed up, going against his nice-boy reputation and breaking out of his nice-boy-next-door usual character to portray a ladies man and hardcore partier.

With a few biblical references and the end of the world hype with demons, fire, and sinkholes…we find our main characters in a sticky situation. They’re trapped in James Franco’s house after most of the party guests fall into the core of the earth (see aforementioned sinkhole). Hilarious lines by Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and comedic genius Craig Robinson all make this movie a series of one-liners and a blatant stream of comedic jerks, each made funnier by the actors going by their real life names and living up to their gossip-hype.

The special effects were laughable, with what only seemed as a couple of palm trees ablaze and a weird exorcism-type scene with Jonah Hill. After a while, I got the eerie feeling they were copying a lot of the storylines from the ever-famous Scary Movie series.

Without ruining the movie, I will say the ending scene was incredibly well done. Obviously, the graphics were less than realistic at the pearly gates of heaven.

Even though the plot left a lot to be desired, the shock of seeing your favorite actors shedding their celebrity images has its appeal including just being fun to watch. The appearances surprised me to the very end, and let’s just say without spoiling anything, that the Backstreet Boys still can groove–but that’s all I’m giving away.

Let’s Talk About Saks (Off 5th)

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There are over 66 Saks Off 5th locations throughout the country. That means rows upon rows of runway designer goodness marked down from 40 percent to 70 percent off.

Yes, today is the day we blatantly plug one of our deals, because when you can get half off Marc Jacobs, DKNY or Dior, it is kind of a big deal. In fact, the editorial staff at SweetJack views it as our public duty to let others know of the excellent fashion finds that await you inside the outlet for the most prestigious luxury department store in the country.

Basically, Saks Off 5th is the best of everything about shopping, since it combines Saks 5th Avenue merchandise and insanely marked down prices. Beautiful, high-quality clothes? Check. Getting those clothes for the cost of a knock-ff? Check!  Now go get dressed.

You can learn more about Saks Off 5th and use the store locator here.

You can indulge your inner fashionista without breaking with a 50% off voucher, courtesy of SweetJack, available here.

Hey, Saks-y lady!

Note: The SweetJack staff has first-hand experience with the Saks outlet, and can verify its awesomeness. Scores include BCBG dresses, Marc Jacobs shirts and designer jeans, most for over 60 percent off.

Travel Series: Italy And Greece

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On my final lag of the trip, I was (thankfully) destined for warmer weather in Italy and Greece.

Gondolas, Stripes And Canals
Donned in my striped shirt and wide brimmed hat, I expected to tumble out of the train station into the hustle and bustle of car traffic and have to meander my way to the island of Venice. To my utter bewilderment, I stepped out of the train station and stood with historic Venice staring back at me.

From gondola stands to vendors selling shiny pieces of rainbow colored Venetian glass and extravagant masks, I knew this was one breathtaking moment that will be etched in my memory forever. Tearing my eyes away from the gelato stand, I turned to find my way to the train station and into the main land of Mestre, where I would stay at a bed and breakfast.

If you didn’t already gather, Venice is quite small. Finding real estate on the island compares to finding a rent-controlled apartment on 5th avenue in Manhattan. Prices are sky high! Beat the crowds, pesky street vendors, and noise on the mainland. I was perfectly comfortable in my cozy B&B and was able to get the true local experience while finding some amazing restaurants that offered fried olives (yum!) and more bang for your buck in Italy. A half-liter of the house wine was only 5 Euros and the quality of food was less touristy and absolutely lip-smacking delicious.

My days consisted of wandering the criss-cross canals looking for the best slices of pizza, roaming St. Mark’s square, taking pictures with my vibrant color filter on my camera, gondola-riding, and enjoying the intimate feel of the island with no cars and no bikes–a virtually no-wheel zone. Each building oozes with its historic original heyday glamour, without feeling musty, outdated or old. Imagine if each house on your street was painted with a different color of the rainbow–your neighborhood would immediately feel jazzy and new. That’s what Venice feels like to me. Each street is exclamation-point worthy and leaked a kind of old-world charm.

Tip: Stay in Mestre to escape the escalating hotel and hostel prices!

When In Roma, Eat As Much As The Romans Do
ROME! That’s what was always on the tip of my tongue when I was asked which place was my favorite. The European counterpart to the city that never sleeps was filled with lazy-limbed travelers gawking at another monument, restaurant, or street performer before them.

With a tumultuous 1200 year history, I couldn’t stop planning what I’d go and see next. After all, I didn’t have the allotted seemingly 10 years it’d take to really take in all Rome has to offer.

When I tell you I saw a small percentage of what I wanted, it’s nothing but the truth. I went on a food tour in Testaccio, a historic district where my tour guide informed us of it’s historical roots in the distribution of Rome’s old-world supply system.

I tossed (count them) five coins in the Trevi Fountain, sent postcards to my family from the Vatican, toured the ruins of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, ate fourteen glorious cups of gelato, tasted a real cannoli, climbed the Spanish Steps, scarfed down as much pasta carbonara as humanely possible, and picnic-ed in the gardens in Villa Borghese.

I feel as if nothing I could write could sum up and justify how no-pun intended, colossal my too few days in Rome were. The absolute blur of culture, ruins, and beauty quickly escalated Rome to the top of my favorite places on Earth spot. Don’t trust that too much though, since Greece is on my next-stop radar. I’m pretty finicky when it comes to deciding where I’d happily move to for the next year or two to explore.

Tip: Grab a panino and head to Villa Borghese on a Sunday when a lot of Rome is closed, to have a Notebook-style paddle-boat date and romantic picnic on the stretches of green grass.

Hercules, Where Art Thou?
As an avid reader and English-nerd as soon as I could hold a book, Greek gods and goddesses always made it to the top of my summer reading list. Greek mythology has held my curiosity from a young age, even before it was Disney-ized in 1997’s Hercules.

Surrounded by water and unreachable by train, Athens, Greece is no easy feat to reach. Escaping the list on most of Europe backpacker’s itineraries for the impossible travel, I pat myself on the back for keeping this relatively expensive-to-get-to destination. Even though Prague and Verona eventually got the axe in favor of Athens, I couldn’t have been happier with my decision.

Quickly stripping the layers on layers from my back, I was pleasantly surprised to finally be in shorts and sleeveless shirt weather. Aglow with rolling hills covered in pristine white buildings on a background of Mediterranean blue, I weaved my way to a family friend’s apartment in the middle of the city. I’ll give a big shout out to them for taking me in–they were warm and friendly–even without speaking too much English. They cooked almost all my meals for me including swimming-in-tzatziki gyros, warm and flaky musaka, chicken, Greek coffee for breakfast, and taking me out for more meals with fresh seafood and ouzo pairings.

Stuffed to the brim and feeling too heavy to walk around, I grabbed my brand new Greek gladiator sandals from the market to walk the hefty hill to the Acropolis. On the top of the world, I climbed to see the ruins and temples of the stretch of preserved land. Surrounded by crumbling columns and city stretched in all directions, my mind boggled that I was standing in over 7,000 years of history.

Over the next few days, I searched for good finds in the market, coming away with mini statues of Athena and partying in my first local club. The University provides a youthful vitality to the island and the bands weren’t slack in comparison. Once the Greek band took the stage by storm, I rocked to a bizarre mix of popular Greek songs and even an old American favorite, a rendition of “I Get Knocked Down” by Chumbawamba.

I toured the beaches and the shoreline the waters lapped up against them, sipped coffee down by the marina, promised to come back on a Grecian island-hopping tour, and teary-eyed warmly kissed my Greek family a farewell.

Tip: Go off the beaten path and order a real Greek meal. It’s traditional to order a bunch of appetizers and share! Be sure not to forget to pick up some ouzo and olive oil for friends back home.

After a month in Europe, I took a one-way ticket back to reality in Georgia–but not without souvenirs that costed over fees on baggage, and memories of a lifetime. Ten pounds heavier and with a clear mind, I safely landed in America once again–frantically planning my next trip away.

Ansley is SweetJack’s gif-loving staff writer. With a big family and a knack for a good pun, you’ll find her writing up a storm and planning her next trip abroad.

Spicy Honey-Glazed Chicken Recipe

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Spice up the summer with this recipe from Rachael Ray. Her recipes combine the perfect amount of hot, zesty, and savory and this dish will light your summer days ablaze. Fire up the grill, grab your grilling champ, and round your friends in the backyard for one hot summer night!

Spicy Honey-Glazed Chicken

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pineapple peeled, cored and cut into eight thick rings
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook while stirring for six to eight minutes, or until brown. Add honey, hot pepper sauce and chili powder then simmer for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and set aside. Preheat the grill or large grill pan to medium-high. Rub chicken with olive oil and season with the salt. Grill until there’s marks on the chicken breast, roughly seven minutes. Flip over and cook for about two minutes and transfer to a plate. Brush on the honey glaze and start grilling the pineapple for four minutes on one side, two on the other. Serve with the chicken!

Video: First Day Of Summer

Enjoy this awesome stop-motion video from the talented image team at SweetJack. Summer is finally here! Break out the swimsuits and flip flops for a day of summer fun at the beach, the pool, or even in your own front yard. Whether you’re bravely jumping in front of a sprinkler or spending the summer as a lifeguard at your neighborhood pool, we want to hear about it. Where will you be this summer?

Shake it Up! It’s Vanilla Milkshake Day

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America, your appreciation and devotion to the milkshake has been rewarded. Every June 20, millions across the nation celebrate one of the most underrated holidays of the year, National Vanilla Milkshake Day.

There are few problems a milkshake can not solve. Rough week? Grab a milkshake. Hot outside? Milkshake. Celebrating or nursing a breakup? A glass of creamy, sweet blended ice cream will hit the spot. James Bond nursing a hangover after too many martinis? Milk shaken, not stirred.

Here are a few essential facts about milkshakes to properly celebrate today. And while they’re good reading on their own, we highly recommend grabbing a vanilla milkshake to sip first.

      • The first milkshakes, made in 1885, were marketed as a “tonic” as well as a treat, and often included eggs and a shot of whiskey
      • The urban legend behind the milkshake’s name goes something like this: the milk-based drinks were originally served in bars; if the customer enjoyed the drink, he or she would give the bartender’s hand a shake
      • The modern, creamy milkshake of today, based on ice cream and milk, can be attributed to Ivar Coulson, the founder of Walgreen’s
      • The recipe for vanilla ice cream can be found in the Library of Congress — it was brought to the U.S. by Thomas Jefferson, who wrote down the recipe by hand during a visit in France
      • FLIP Burger in Atlanta serves one of the tastiest gourmet milkshakes in the nation, a Nutella milkshake with burnt marshmallow
      • The largest milkshake in history, made in New York, was 6,000 gallons
      • Europeans began using vanilla to flavor food after conquering the Aztecs
      • Pamela Anderson created the first vegan milkshake in West Hollywood on April 9, 2010
      • In 1922, the blender was created by Stephen J. Poplawski for a primary purpose — making milkshakes at home
      • September 12 is National Chocolate Milkshake day
      • Peter Griffin, the lead character in “Family Guy”, sang the “Milkshake Song” in an episode called “Sibling Rivalry”
      • John Steinbeck pondered the beer milkshake over several paragraphs in his 1945 novel, “Cannery Row”
      • Milkshakes went mainstream in the early 1950′s thanks to five and dime stores like Woolrich’s, served with two straws upon request

Hamptons Style

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When it comes to summer fashion, the residents of the Hamptons do polished prepsters better than anyone. Throughout the 118 mile radius, you’ll find waspy women strolling the sidewalks in flowy, cotton dresses and embellished with colorful, yet classic accessories. When it comes to the men, looking like you stepped out of Ralph Lauren catalog is the best way to go–play with colorful seersucker and plaid prints and finish off your look with a pair of killer oxfords. Save on your country club inspired wardrobe with any of these sunny pieces.

{1} ModCloth Having A Wonderful Time Dress, $98.99 {2} Boticca Panarea Coral Necklace, $76 {3} Marc by Marc Jacobs Contrast Lens Cat Eye Sunglasses, $98 {4} Dorothy Perkins Tan Clean Zip Tote, $44 {5} Chinese Laundry Truth Wedge Sandals, $37.49 {6} Lacoste Oxford Shirt, $88 {7} H. Stockton Mayberry Madras Bow Tie, $50 {8} DSW Johnston & Murphy Hamblen Linen Oxford, $99.95 {9} Urban Outfitters Flud The Moment Watch, $49 {10} Brooks Brothers Plain-Front Seersucker Pants, $70

Courtney is our no-nonsense fashionista click-clacking her stilettos across our office as a Staff Writer.