Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Decorating the Apartment for Christmas: Home Tour

Are we ready for the Christmas, or are we ready for Christmas??  Is anyone every really ready?  I think we all have this super ginormous expectation of what we believe the holiday's are supposed to be....
getting Christmas pictures done before December comes to that I can get my cute Christmas cards sent out in perfect time, baking with the kids where we think we won't mind them making a mess, getting all the decorating done in a certain amount of time, and being okay with the ornaments on the tree getting rearranged twenty times a day, and perfectly wrapping your gifts with all the decadence of a magazine only to find out that you can't match the ribbon to match the wrapping paper to save your life.  Oh, and trying to get your Christmas "bucket list" of all the fun things to do during the month with the kids...pfft! 
Yeah, never gonna happen.  I get sucked into all the hype every year, wanting to do more and bake more so that I can be sure to check every one of my to-do items off of my list.  Does anyone else's head hurt from all the crazy hype that goes on during this so called peaceful and joyous season??  I did and I decided to stop the madness before it went any further. So instead of putting on the pressrue--we didn't even get family pictures taken, let alone getting cards out at all. I didn't finish decorating until yesterday, to which I am perfectly okay with.  And I threw out my holiday "bucket to-do" list. Why do we do this?!  I decided to just do what came naturally to us...when we felt the need to do something Christmasy, we did it.  No pressure necessary.  And I finished decorating when I could and not worrying myself about a timeline.  And you know what? still feels like Christmas.  

Now onto the main meat of this post.  Decorating a rental.  We've been renting ever since we were first married.  And of course we hope to own one day, but that day is not today.  Today, we rent.  And that means that our little home comes with aspects that are not so pretty or are completely awkward.  While I don't want to spend extra money on frivolous things for a rental, I think that making your space work for you is worth it and will make you happy in the long run.  

For starters, we don't have a fireplace or any architectural focal point in our main living areas.  They rooms are totally boring and lacking in personality.  So I have to create them.  While the space also lacks in character, it also lacks in square footage.  So with little to no space, I keep items at bay by not over filling it.  With Christmas here, I had to pull out my end table to fit our Christmas tree.  And with no fireplace, I hung our stockings on a cute little diy board hanger.   

While I don't shy away from decorating for the holidays in our apartment, I keep things simple with a few key pieces and try not to overwhelm my space with extra stuff.   I kept the coffee table filled with key basics like books, my favorite candle, and my regular accessories.  Adding in a holiday piece that matches is perfect and still adds to your vignette.  

The apartment is what it is.  I can't change the layout, the placement of windows, or the fact I have carpet on the stairs (bleh).  But, I can make it my own with the things that I love and make it look like a hundred bucks--without a lot of fluff.  Just like the holidays, it doesn't need all the extra fluff:  the extravagent gift giving, holiday bucket lists, picture perfect Christmas cards, or even more decor.  It just needs to look and feel like you.  


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Catching up & some Holiday Decor

Wow--I really did not think I would miss blogging as much as I did.  I wasn't that great to begin with and never had any kind of schedule or set days of blogging but I think I've missed writing and talking about the things I love.  What I need to do is stop worrying about how important or unimportant my words are and just write.  I over think things then start getting critical of myself and what I'm doing, and that when I tend to close up and not share.  It all seems so counterproductive and then I miss out on learning and growing.  So here's to trying my best at just writing; pushing all the mean-girl thoughts in my head to the way side.

So to recap the past week, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And I hope you did too. :)  The hubs had a football game in the morning and the kids and I tagged along to watch and play on the playground.  Afterwards we went home watched a quick Christmas movie (because I just couldn't wait) and then we all got dressed and drove up to have dinner with the hubs family.  

I was bummed we didn't get a family picture all together, but there's always next year, right?  This year I didn't join the throngs of crazies on Black Friday or Thanksgiving.  I know, I know...I was one of the bad ones who went out on Thanksgiving last year.  But in my defense, my sisters made me do it.  Ha!  No, it was kind of nice getting the shopping out of the way and not having to lose sleep waiting in line the night before in the freezing.  And it probably helped that I am trying to only get things the kids really need and not just because.  

So this morning, given my lack of self restraint for missing all the craziness...I headed over to Home Depot to see if I could get me some $5 dollar garland.  And sure enough they still had some...I patiently walked over to the bins while trying to hold back from full on sprinting towards them.  Now to figure out where to put it.

Holiday decorations completely came out this past week and I realized we needed a skirt or something around the tree. Last year I had used a soft faux fur blanket, but sadly that blanket didn't last through the year and I needed one ASAP. Trying to kill two birds with one stone, I wanted to get another faux fur blanket for the tree now and one that would be great for snuggling with afterward. HomeGoods always has a great selection and I knew they wouldn't fail me now, so I picked this one up for only $14.95.  I love how cozy it makes the tree look and how easy it will be to use it afterwards when lounging on the couch.  

I tell myself every year that this will be the year I won't buy anymore Christmas decor...and then I cave.  How does one gain that kind of self control??

Happy decorating, friends!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Chairish Living Room Styleboard

Just this past week, I was contacted by Chairish, an exclusive, curated, online marketplace that sells the most amazing vintage furniture.  They asked if I'd be interested in putting together a room around one of their vintage rugs.  After searching their site, I came across this beautiful wool rug.  The colors really struck me and I was instantly drawn to the deep blue.  

It can be quite tricky putting together a room, and at times it can seem overwhelming.  I began first, with the rug--pulling colors out that I wanted to use within the space and then choosing a neutral palette for my main pieces.  I have a love affair with the simplicity of natural wood and I love how they look paired with upholstered pieces. A few simple accessories and the right pillows, it's a done deal. While majority of everything came from Charish, I did happen to pull a  few things from a few other of my favorites sites as well.  

Be sure to head over and see more on their site!

Happy Monday, friends!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Reading

It's the weekend friends! As if you didn't already know, right?? I'm probably the one person alive who isn't at all really excited for the weekend...if I wasn't a mother it'd probably be different, and I'd be super stoked about having time off from work and just relaxing watching reruns of The Office or some other Netflix show.  But alas, motherhood never takes a break, and the weekend is no different than the next day.  This past week I was able to take a little tour of a local historical building, Kimberly Crest, all by myself, while the hubby took over at home for few short hours.  It was amazing and I wish I could have shared it with my family, but this type of tour was hands-off, which was even harder for myself!  It was amazing.

This past week I've scoped out a few things I'm still debating about and others that you might enjoy as well....

I've been scoping out Halloween costumes for the family, or rather just hoping that this year might be the year we actually do one.  But I had fun scoping out what everyone else has done.

Have you been to the pumpkin patch yet?  This outing is by far my favorite thing to do during fall, maybe this year we'll do the corn maze.  And if I'm feeling particularly adventurous maybe try my hand at one of these unique pumpkins.

I thought this read on Why is it Hard to Make Friends Over 30 quite interesting.  

I'm in love with this Welcome Fall Dinner Party!  

I hope you're able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather, wherever you are!  

Have a beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DIY Wood Poster Hanger

Last week I pulled out my Halloween decor and had second thoughts about what I should put out or not.  My reality is this--my son, for those who don't know, has Autism.  Basically, he has classic Autism and isn't what you would call high-functioning or those you most likely have heard of with Asperger's.  Now, I won't go into too many specifics, but I will say he really isn't scared or even affected by scary Halloween stuff so you'd think it wouldn't be a big deal to decorate around the house, but what you don't know is that he has a semi-infatuation with tearing things apart and even at times chewing on things.  So after the last few years, I've had to make some changes to my decor and what I decide to put out.  

So on to today's little project, this hanging wood poster is the perfect addition to my Halloween decor and one that doesn't seem to interest my little boy at all.  So for me, that's a win-win.  My daughter still gets to see some holiday decor and I don't have to worry so much about him bothering this (hopefully).  

To begin, last year I stumbled upon these giant Halloween prints.  And the best part is you get three printable posters all for $5!!  Last year I printed out the skeleton and this year I decided to go with Edgar Allen Poe's quote.  I also decided that it needed a fun hanging element. This project was really inexpensive and took less than an hour to do.  

***To have enlargements done on your prints, get them printed at your local Staples as an Engineering Print.  Mine today only cost me $1.68 (prices may vary). 

Supplies needed:

Begin by getting whatever print you want printed, and trim any excess you don't want. I also went ahead and measured my dowels to my print and left about an inch on either side of it.

Stain your dowels with your preferred stain, mine was Varathane, Early American.  I only applied one coat of stain and my dowels were ready within the hour.  

Leaving less than half and inch border on the top and bottom, this allowed me to staple my print to the wooden dowels.

Staple and tie your twine around the dowel and hang!  The great thing about this project is how easy it is to switch out your print whenever you feel the need.  This poster won't be up forever, but I can guarantee this wood poster hanger will be sticking around.  

I'm still getting set-up around here and figuring out exactly what to put out, but it's coming along and a few other little mini-holiday projects too.  If you want to see what I've been up to be sure to follow along on Instagram.

Do you have any fun holiday projects going on?

Linked to:
The Winthrop Chronicles
Time To Sparkle Party: Love Grows Wild
Home Stories A to Z
Thrifty Decor Chick

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Target sales not to miss!

It's no surprise I'm a fanatic when it comes to Target.  I could set up shop and live there if I could...but seriously no, I love perusing around Target and like most--find myself leaving with more than what I came in for.  For the past few years they've been killing it with their collections and each season seems to just get better and better.  My little secret is that I don't normally buy any of it at full that cheap?  I don't know, probably.  But I feel like it gives me more time to think about my the item and if I really want it.  So when they start to clearance things out, I'm pretty much ready to either buy it or leave it at the store.  And when they start to clearance things out--you better be ready or just really patient.  Some things go fast and others stay around for a bit--but it's pure luck if you can wait it out.

For example, my coffee table.  This metal and wood boxed coffee table was originally $120 or something around that number.  Well, after the collection had come and gone...they still had a couple of these out and had marked them down to $80 and then to $50.  Still not convinced I needed another coffee table (since we had a similar one I hacked from IKEA), so I ignored it.  But one afternoon I ran across it again only this time they had marked it further down to $35.  A lot larger than my small Ikea coffee table, I was convinced we needed something bigger so it was all over after that and I snagged her right up.

While these are just a few things I spotted online in the clearance section...your own Target may have marked certain items even lower.  And if you're patient enough, you can get really lucky.  

Are you a clearance fanatic like myself?  What was your latest find?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Simple Fall Decor

I love the change in seasons just as much as the next person, and while we don't see a whole lot of traditional "fall" here in SoCal...I still feel a slight change in temperature and by slight, I mean like instead of 100 or 90 degrees, our low is in the 60's--50's at best.  But then again that means I can still wear sandals year round--feel bad for me now?  Yeah, didn't think so.  But even with the small change in weather, I still like to modify my home to feel a bit more cozy than the rest of the year.  As my taste in home decor has certainly changed, I've thrown out most if not all of my fall pumpkins and faux fall leaves (yes, those dreaded things).   And so I've opted for small and simple changes around the house that make my home a bit more dramatic and cozy. 

Use sticks or pussy willows for a fall tablescape.  Whether it's your entry table, dining, or side table..having a bit of these in your home gives it an instant feel of the outdoors while eliminating the need to water anything or killing it.  


The Design Files

Swapping out your curtains for something in a darker shade adds of a bit of drama and makes the room feel warmer.   

Cote De Texas

And if you don't have anything on those windows--well add some this year!!!  By adding curtains to a room it instantly feels more complete.  So even if you don't normally hang curtains, try it now, you will not regret it.  


Swap out your lampshade for a black one.  You may think that going darker might make your home more depressing, but it will not.  Again, adding a bit of drama to the room instantly creates more contrast to the space.  And I think every room should not be without a touch of black.  

Bring in natural elements.  Bowls, vases, urns--they're all welcome.  

The Seaside Style

Pillows are also a must, especially if you want to create some warmth within your home.  And they're easily the least expensive way too.  Soft pillows with texture are what you should look for.  My two favorites are velvet and something either soft like a mohair or cable knit.  

Home Bunch

These mossy green pillow covers are absolutely stunning.  I could just imagine how perfect they would look on my all white bed.  Perfection.

Studio Tullia

And this diy cable knit sweater pillow from Sarah at Dipple Dumpling is lovely.  And the twig buttons??--holy mama. This one takes the cake.  

Diddle Dumpling

I love finding simple ways to invite the fall season into my home, without adding more "stuff".  I think what gets me feeling like fall are the simple everyday items that remind me of snuggling on the couch or smelling cinnamon and pumpkin from the kitchen.  Now to find me a sweater to tear apart and make that darn pillow.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekend Reading

I've been MIA for most of the summer and majority of this spans from just living in my so-called moments. We took little day trips around SoCal with the kids, doing the tourist thing.  I think a big part of being a parent is just seeing how excited your kids get when they experience something new--it's the best kind of gift as a parent.  

And so, between school and running around with the kids, I haven't made much time for projects or extra fluff. And I am definitely okay with this.  I've been trying not to get wrapped up in blogging for no purpose.  Not that it has to be some life altering post on pillows or vignettes.  I've just stepped back from blogging in general; trying to get away from the whole idea of, "what I think I should be doing" as a blogger.  I'll blog when I think it's necessary and not because I have to.  Doing this helps me focus on what I really love about design and the small details that make it my own and not just like the next person.      

I'm letting go of expectations for my home and myself--and just doing exactly what I love, without fear that I'm not measuring up to the next.

Happy labor day weekend!

Friday, August 8, 2014

What do I put on my Walls?

For some it seems so easy.  They know exactly what they want and where to put it.  And for some, putting things on their walls is intimidating or just not a priority.  Call it fear of commitment or just plain decision making at best--I know people who go months and even years with bare walls because, "This place is just temporary, we're only here for a few years."  Or, "I just don't know what to hang up!"  First and foremost, can I just tell all you out there who say they're only in a temporary live there.  In this present time, you occupy whatever residence you currently live, sleep, and breathe in.  I don't believe you need to fill every corner of your home or even every wall for that matter.  But, waiting to make your house a home, should never be put on hold.  Even on a small budget, you can do something.  

A collection.

Whether it's a collection of beach photography, vintage posters, drawings, or prints, showcasing a collection of art or collectibles is a great way to make your home more personal.  And in turn, make you happier.  And this site from Botanicus, offers some great botanical art.

Sherry Hart

A single picture.

NEVER, underestimate the value of negative space.  What I love about this piece is the simplicity of this singular artwork, alone.  The space isn't overtly done in a million picture frames or fuss.  And while the artwork is small in scale, they've used a large matted frame, in black, to accent the piece.  Alone, this piece is beautiful and inexpensive.  The New York Public Library also offers free digital art.

Annie Mahoney

Large Art & Mirrors.

For those of us who need and thrive in a symmetrical world, this trio is the medicine.  The muted abstract art piece above the mantle adds some color to the room while two large mirrors flank either side.  The impact of just these three items adds a lot to the space, and the accessories around don't have to cost an arm and a leg.  Keep it simple.

GBGP Design

Interesting objects.

This in turn kind of goes hand-in-hand with showcasing a collection.  Natural pieces can be great conversation starters when visitors come over and they add some texture and interest into your home.  If you want to build a collection, perusing second hand stores is the best, sometimes people give away things they have no idea are worth anything.  And the baskets below don't need to be expensive, if your grandmother had baskets she used to use or even your own mother or whomever, what a great way to keep it in the family and carry with it a story.    

Coastal Living


Large Mirror.

Have a large wall?  Put a mirror on it.  And when you do, consider the size.  I like to try for anything around 35" or larger. You won't regret it.  And in small rooms, mirrors are great.  They reflect light and make a space seem larger, which is always nice.  The image below uses an interesting mirror and flanks them with simple frames on either side.  The mirror may use a bit of your budget, but the frames should be inexpensive.  This way you can use your dolla' bills where it really counts.

Better Home & Garden

Gallery wall.

I'm sure we've all seen the million pictures on Pinterest and blog world, drenched with gallery walls.  This is definitely another easy way to fill that wall space.  I know for some it can be tricky and messy to work with, especially if you don't have a great eye for piecing it together.  But I say, try a gallery wall with purpose.  These two images below, keep it simple.  They've used all the same picture frames.  This keeps the look cohesive and easier for most to look at.  Whether your photos are small or large, this is one for to consider.  

Better Homes & Garden

The Aestate

There are lots of things we can put on our walls at home, and this is just the beginning of what's out there.  You don't need thousands dollars to add interest or personal taste into your home, you already have it.  And if you need a little more, there is something for everyone.  Hanging things in our homes shouldn't be scary or daunting because it belongs to you.  Your home is for you and the ones you love.  Decorate it with love and you'll never be wrong.