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Fall Home Wishlist

fall home wishlistAs the temperatures here finally dip a little, I’m starting to think hard about making our home more cozy for fall and winter. While I don’t usually do much more than break out the candles and throw blankets, it’s good to fantasize once in a while about what you would do if you had an endless budget.

Here are a few things I would totally add to my fall home wishlist!

A Pendleton Blanket

I’ve been coveting these blankets for years, but they are way outside my budget! Pendleton did a line of blankets to celebrate the National Park Services’s centennial, and I really like the “Badlands Olive” pattern. It’s also a park I’ve been to (well, drove through), so that would be a fun story to go along with it. Alas, $100 is a lot to pay for a throw blanket. Maybe next year!

Cozy Fall Artwork

The artwork in our house is a complete mish-mash of random stuff both my husband and I like. Unfortunately, we also like very different things, so it makes our home look inconsistent. I’d love to replace some of our artwork with things that are reflective of the season, and this print from Society6, titled “Through The Trees” by Tordis Kayma would be perfect.

I might also go through my nature photos and print some out from Snapfish. This might also motivate me to take my camera out hiking this fall to add to my collection!

Candles…of course

While I already own a lot of candles, most of them are floral or unscented. I’m insanely picky about scents – no food smells, mainly. This sucks because most fall/winter candles have cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin, or apple scents to them.

Candles are also a great way to explore local brands without breaking the bank. I’d love to add some pine/woodsy scents around the home, and this candle from Seattle-based company Whiskey Wicks sounds perfect. The description really does sound like a walk in the park (hence the name…haha), which is one of my favorite things to do in the fall. It might be the Pacific Northwest spirit talking, but I also like the idea of supporting local businesses!

New Pillows

This isn’t really a budget issue with my fall home wishlist. It’s an issue of having a husband who destroys pillows. I can’t buy decorative pillows for our living room. Within a month, they’ll be slept on, crushed, and smothered in Old Spice. However, I do have a small, white couch in my office space now that he doesn’t use, and I’d love to add some decorative pillows to add some color.

I really like these pillows from Urban Outfitters. These seem sturdy enough for my light lounging, and pretty enough to keep out year-round. I love the pattern, and that they’re woven to look like a kilim rug, which seems to be all the rage now.

Well there you have it – a budget-breaking game plan to make my home cozy for fall! Of course, I’m still on the hunt for things around the house, but at a more reasonable price for my tiny, tiny budget! I’ll have to share with you what I find!

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Short-Distance Move

top 5 tips for surviving a short-distance move

During our most recent move, it dawned on me that this is the 21st time I’ve moved in my lifetime! After spending most of my life moving once a year from house to house, city to city, and across the country a few times, I’ve built up years of experience to make moving as painless as possible.

Our most recent move was to an apartment 3 buildings away – my shortest distance to date! Moving a short distance can be deceiving – it might seem like it’ll be a piece of cake, but they can be more difficult than you might think. So in the spirit of sharing what I’ve learned over the years, here are some ways to make your moving day (short or long) go much more smoothly!

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Short-Distance Move

#1: Take packing seriously.

Whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, you still need to pack your things carefully. Anything that is fragile is still fragile for the short time you’re moving it, so pack those things carefully in tissue paper, bubble wrap, or whatever works best.

Also, don’t use the “empty box method” of packing – it’s a huge waste of time on moving day to keep packing and unpacking the same box. It’s also incredibly annoying for the people you get to help you move – they won’t want to wait around for you to pack/unpack (and definitely won’t want to help do either).

#2: Prepare a “new place kit” with important things.

Moving can be chaotic, and the last thing you want to do during a long day of moving is hunt through your boxes to find the toilet paper – or (gasp) discover you forgot to bring some with you. Here are some suggestions to pack in your kit:

  • Toilet paper. Don’t leave you or your helpers stranded with no t.p. – that’s the worst!
  • Paper towels (leave some in the bathroom and kitchen)
  • Hand soap (one in each bathroom)
  • Trash bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • First aid kit (bandages, antibacterial spray, ibuprofen, ice pack, tweezers, etc.)
  • Water bottles and easy snacks for you and your helpers (granola bars are my personal favorite)
  • Important documents for moving in or out (lease, checkbook, utilities information, etc.). If you have a purse or locked glove compartment, that’s a great place to put everything vital to getting those keys!

#3: Use your car for small stuff.

If you’re making a short trip like, you can get away with moving most stuff in your car(s). We moved almost everything in our two cars, and only rented a pickup truck for a couple hours to move furniture. It ended up being cheaper and easier to do this than renting a larger truck.

When using your car, make sure it’s ready to go the night before – fill up the tank, check tire pressure, and clean out all the junk! Also, don’t pack the car up the night before – that’s practically begging someone to break in and steal everything.

#4: Valuables stay with you – and only with you.

It’s pretty common knowledge that moving can leave you vulnerable to theft, especially if you are occupying two homes at once (like we did).

To prevent this, I have a few suggestions:

  • Leave your valuable items (computer, television, jewelry, paperwork, mementos, etc.) in the home you’ll be sleeping in each night. Burglars keep an eye out for movers who leave and don’t return in the evening!
  • Keep important documents for moving day (lease, checkbook, cashier’s checks, etc.) in a safe place. A locked glove compartment is a great suggestion if you can’t keep an eye on your purse or don’t use one.
  • Do not allow a moving company to move anything irreplaceable. There are more cases than I can count of moving companies “losing” valuable jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other expensive items – and no amount of insurance can replace having a family heirloom stolen. If you’d be heartbroken if an item got stolen, move it yourself.
  • Close all windows and blinds of the home you won’t sleep in so people can’t peek inside, and leave on a few lights around the house as well. Also, double check all doors are locked and in working order before leaving – in a new house, you’d be surprised how many people forget they have a back or side door to lock!
  • Don’t broadcast over social media that you’re moving until it’s already done. It’s not smart to tell the general public that you’re leaving your home empty for the night (or a few nights). Don’t trust that information to the general public – you never know who’s lurking around online!

#5: Don’t overdo it on moving day!

For most people, moving is one of the most physically taxing things we’ll ever do. Even if you’re in good shape, most of us don’t spend 12 hours every weekend lifting boxes and furniture up and down flights of stairs. Take care of your body with these tips to save yourself from excessive stress or potential injuries!

  • Don’t rush! Take your time moving heavy objects to avoid mistakes and injuries.
  • Take frequent breaks to rehydrate, eat, and stretch. If you need to, put a reminder on your phone to stop and rest every hour for a few minutes.
  • Be realistic about your physical limits. If you can’t lift something, ask for help. If you’re lifting something with a partner, speak up loudly if you need to stop or readjust. Don’t try to be a tough guy – that’s when injuries happen!
  • Take care of those helping you move! Make sure everyone stays safe, encourage everyone to break for water/snacks, and remember to thank them for taking the time to help.
  • Accept the day is going to come with surprises. Moving is stressful for everyone, and it always comes with complications along the way. Try to take it all in stride, and know that in the end, it’ll all be okay.
  • Once you’re done moving, REST! Don’t try to unpack the whole house in one night – go out for dinner or order in a pizza, and spend the evening recuperating. Those boxes will still be there tomorrow – and you will be much happier to tackle them after a good night’s sleep!

I’d have to say our most recent move was one of the easiest we’ve done, mostly because it was around the corner – but also because we tend to be well-prepared on moving day. It was exhausting, but thankfully I woke up the next morning ready to tackle the unpacking and decorating with more energy than I’ve ever had the day after moving.

I hope these tips help you on your next move – however far it is!

New Season, New Home!

new season new home

A sunny new apartment to decorate! / Swooning over flowers at Home Depot / So hard not to bring them all home from Home Goods / Organizing a small kitchen requires a trip to The Container Store

Welcome back everyone!

While I had every intention of continuing to blog during our move, it just didn’t happen. After a week of packing, and three days of hauling our stuff to the new place, I needed a week off to unpack, get organized, and work on some home-related projects. I still have a lot to do (no pictures are hung yet), but I’m hoping by the end of this week, our new place will look a little more like home.

I’m excited to share some projects with you soon, and how we pulled off one of the shortest moves we’ve ever done (we moved 3 buildings over). It wasn’t the easiest move we’ve ever done, but it certainly wasn’t the hardest! I’m also very happy that our apartment gets some decent light, which means I can actually share more of our home this time around!

I hope you’re all enjoying the first days of spring, and I’ll be back soon with some great home projects to get things ready for spring and summer around here!

Home Inspiration: Going Green

Home Inspiration: Going Green

Clockwise from top-left: The Everygirl / Design Sponge / Sarah Vickers via The Glitter Guide / The Aestate

Home Inspiration: Going Green

We’re moving today, and while we’re only moving a few buildings over, it still has me excited to decorate a new space. I’ve been going through my Pinterest boards recently for inspiration, and noticed a trend lately – a lot of green!

Green isn’t a color I gravitated to in the past, even if I’ve used it in a lot of my home decor choices in the past. I love hanging pictures of nature on my walls, and it’s a color that seems to work better with our “apartment beige” walls and carpet. It also matches up well with our neutral furniture, which is always a good thing. I’ve always fought against the terrible paint colors in apartments, but lately I’ve discovered it’s better to work with it instead. If green works, it works!

I’m looking forward to adding more green elements indoors, perhaps with a new shower curtain, some more nature-inspired wall hangings, and textiles – and plants, of course. We have more (and better positioned) windows in our new place, and I’m hoping they’ll bring in enough light to grow a small herb garden (I’m tired of paying so much for herbs…seriously). Our current place is so dark that almost nothing has survived the past year, so I can’t wait to live somewhere that things might actually grow.

This is also the first time we have a real balcony space we can decorate without the worry of cats eating our plants or people stealing our patio furniture. I can’t wait to make that a calm, plant-covered space to relax and enjoy as the weather gets warmer.

Moving to a new place is always a hassle, but knowing I get to decorate a place from scratch is a great motivation to get through it – even if it is only a short walk between the two places!

Simple_Beauty_Organization

Simple Beauty Organization

Simple Beauty Organization

As I explained on Monday, I’ve started off 2016 on a bit of an organizational rampage. One area of my life (and I’m sure many of yours, too) I wanted to organize better was my makeup and beauty products. So one afternoon, I made a quick trip to TJ Maxx for some simple solutions to keep things in top shape. Here is what I came up with, and hopefully it will inspire you to get your beauty junk drawer(s) in top shape!

Simple Beauty Organization

Makeup

One area I really wanted to change was the makeup situation on my bathroom counter. For years, it has been a mix of thrift shop bowls, cups, and vases that kept my makeup organized. While it’s a nice idea, and definitely a pretty one, it takes up a ton of space – and it’s too easy to just leave things on the counter that don’t fit, which takes up even more space. I also never found a way to keep out my lip products, which means I also rarely used them (out of sight, out of mind).

I’ve always loved the look of those clear, acrylic makeup organizers, so I hunted down this small one for only $5! It’s the perfect size for all my everyday makeup, brushes, and even a few lip products (finally)! It also takes up a fraction of the counter space, which is a bonus. It’s nice to have only the products I really love on display, and it keeps my clutter in check!

Simple Beauty Organization

Beauty Storage

Another area I needed to deal with was my under-sink storage container. It has three large drawers which are great for storing extra makeup, beauty products, and tools I don’t use often. However, they have become a bit more like junk drawers than organized storage:

Simple Beauty Organization

After going through my makeup and getting rid of things that were expired or gross, which wasn’t much, I set out to find some drawer dividers. TJ Maxx had this set of interlocking plastic containers for $5 that worked perfectly to keep my extra makeup and beauty products wrangled! 

For the makeup storage, I improvised a little and added dividers made of card stock that I taped in to better hold my lip products and eyeliner containers. But other than that, everything else fit into the drawers perfectly. I even had room for some things in there that I had stored in other parts of the house!

Simple Beauty Organization

I’m so happy how both mini-projects turned out, and it’s great to know that I can find everything much more quickly now! It makes getting ready in the morning easier, and it will (hopefully) keep me from over-stocking things I forgot I already had.

So for $10 and about an hour of my time, I finally got my beauty products in order! Now, let’s hope I can keep it looking this nice!

Jewelry Box Makeover

Jewelry Box Makeover

One thing I wanted to focus on in the new year was creating more. I’ve never been much of a “crafter,” and I’m not creative at all, but this kind of project was perfect for my insane anal-retentiveness and lack of creative skill!

Well, that and a new jewelry box would run me way over $100.

So, I set out to find a vintage jewelry box to paint. My husband found one at an antique mall nearby for around $20 (which we later found out came from the thrift store next door…thanks to a $3 tag on the bottom…dicks). The rest of the supplies came out to around $20, and the whole thing was done in a couple afternoons! Re-lining the inside with grey felt was the hardest part – that took the bulk of my time and frustration, but it turned out better than I expected.

While the paint needs to be fixed on the front (stupid drips and cracks), overall it turned out amazing. Costing under $40 also made this a far cheaper option than a new one, and now I know that I can do this with much, much cheaper jewelry boxes in the future, should I ever need more room for my (super small) collection!

Getting Organized for 2016

Getting Organized for 2016

I think it’s normal for most of us to get on an organization kick at the beginning of the year, and I’m no exception! The weather sucks, which keeps us stuck inside and so bored we actually start thinking about getting our shit together. At least that’s how it works for me – all this idle time just makes me want to clean and organize my life to the smallest degree. You’ll see what I mean in the near future – I’ve been busy!

This year, I headed out to Target to pick up some cheap and easy products to get my life more organized for 2016. I love starting the year with a new planner, so I picked up the Blue Sky 2016 Weekly/Monthly Planner. It’s such a pretty planner that I have no problem leaving it on my desk, and it has everything I need to keep my life (and this blog) organized!

Getting Organized for 2016

Also, if you haven’t checked out the bargain section at Target (you know the one…right when you walk in the front door), you totally should this time of year! There are tons of pretty notepads, planners, clipboards, wall calendars and other office stuff that will help get you in the spirit. Each of these notepads is only $1, and the black and white pad is even magnetic, which is perfect for the fridge. These are great for the list-obsessed out there (like me). 

So if you’re like me, and pretending you’ll get your life together in 2016, don’t forget to hit up Target for all your list/calendar needs!

2015 Year in Review: Home

2015 Year in Review: Home

Decoration Inspiration: Thanksgiving / Spooky Fireplace / Holiday Decor: A Compromise / Home Office Makeover

My home-related posts this year were…not great. While I enjoy decorating our home, this year was challenging. We moved from a tiny, one-bedroom apartment that I lived in alone half the time, to a much larger two-bedroom apartment.

We have more space than we really need, very little storage, and I’m back to compromising with my husband. Add a tiny budget to that, and I’ve had to get very creative!

This is also the year I discovered Pinterest. It has been both a huge time-waster, and a great way to gather inspiration for future projects. I think it has helped me figure out what my home decor style really is, and I’ve enjoyed all the DIY projects they have on there to make my home amazing on a very, very tight budget!

2015 Year in Review: Home

Maintaining Wooden Cookware / Recent Thrift Store Buys / Thrifty Fall Updates / Easy Green: Potting House Plants

Even though I spent most of 2015 fantasizing about what I would love my future fantasy home to be like, I did also tackle some projects around the house. I learned how to take better care of my stuff, killed a few houseplants, and found some amazing thrift store buys.

I hope that next year I can tackle more DIY projects (I have one already in the works), figure out our storage problems, and since we’re planning on moving again soon, maybe find a place that meets more of our needs (like light…not that it’s easy to find here).

What are your home goals for 2016?

2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

Meal Planning 101 / Summer Nail Polish / Sweat List / Home Office Makeover

I thought it would be nice to end the year looking back at some of my favorite posts from 2015!

While this blog has only been around for 6 months, it has been a busy second half of the year. 85 posts in, and I still feel like I’m finding my legs. After looking back at this blog and my old one, I’m starting to figure out what I need to do in 2016. Here are just a few goals I have set for the coming year:

Add more personal style and home-related posts

I realized my “Style” section was mainly just beauty product reviews. I’m not great at taking photos of myself, so I will work to get better at that in 2016. I also didn’t get to do many home projects this year (thanks to having no budget), so I want to do more of those next year too.

Choose a visual style I actually like and stick with it

I’ve come a long way with my photography skills over the past year (thanks to a new camera), but I really want to start toying with a more consistent visual style. Right now, I mainly do clear, mildly saturated photos – which are great, but not the “look” I want the blog to have.

I also want to nail down the look of the blog, rather than using a standard theme – but that may be a while down the road. I learned a ton in graduate school about creating style guides and all that…and it’s time I put all that to good use.

Interact more with the blogging community

I’ve enjoyed getting to know people through blogging, and interacting with many of you who comment on the blog, but I can do more. I want to start meeting people who blog (particularly in the Seattle area), and find more ways to broaden my circle of internet friends! I also want to do more work with brands, and getting myself out there will definitely help me with that!

Get on a better schedule

I’m writing this the night before it’s posted, which is not smart. I’ve toyed with different schedules in the past, and I need to find one that actually works. I don’t know if this means I’ll post every day, every other day, or whenever I feel like it. I’ve abandoned a lot of posts over the last 6 months because I just couldn’t get them done, or by the time I sat down to write, they didn’t interest me anymore. I want to make sure I’m writing about things I enjoy, even if that means taking Afternoon Glow down to a few posts each week.

So, for the rest of the year, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite posts from my Food, Home, Life, and Style sections – as well as where I want each section to head in the coming year!

Well, I’m off to make some truffles and get things finalized for the holidays! Have a great rest of the year, and I’ll see you back here with amazing new content in 2016!

Holiday Decor: A Compromise

2015_Holiday_Decor_2

Holiday decorations in our home are a bit of a struggle every year, and it’s the one time of the year I have the toughest time compromising for one very big reason:

I hate Christmas. More specifically, I hate Christmas decorations.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the holiday season in general. I like the good mood most people are in, the twinkling lights, all the cookies and candy, and yes, even snow (as long as I’m not driving in it). However, as someone who lives the other 11 months out of the year in a simple, clean, clutter-free house, Christmas decorations represent the very opposite to me, and it stresses me out.

I would love to have one of those homes with a simple tree, and the only sparkle coming from twinkling lights. Instead, I usually end up with a house covered in sparkly garland, snowflakes taped to the walls, and an enormous tree covered in mismatched ornaments. Why do I end up doing this to myself?

My husband.

He lives for this shit. This is the only holiday he actually likes, and he pitches a major fit every year when I want to simplify things. He gets all geeked out about buying ornaments, stringing random glittery things all over the place, and generally annoying me by making every Christmas song into something raunchy or gross.

In fact, the mantle you see above isn’t how I originally decorated it. When I did it, there were no tiny houses, candy, and the only toys were the nutcrackers. I also have candles up there that I actually lit every day for about a week (now I can’t because everything up there is a legit fire hazard).

2015_Holiday_Decor_3

As we do every year, we struck a compromise. I let him indulge himself with this “tiny town” idea he had, but that was it. Hence the tiny houses all over the mantle and on the ground – like I said, when he gets an idea, he goes for it.

In exchange, there will be no snowflakes taped to the walls (if you can’t tell, that was my least favorite of his past ideas) and no extra stuff around the house. Christmas is kept to the living room only, and frankly, I’m okay with that.

2015_Holiday_Decor_4

Someday, I will get my Pinterest-worthy holiday, but until that day comes I have to live with Christmas as a combination of what I want and what my husband clearly needs.

Besides, after Christmas is over, I get my living room back…and I can’t wait to do some redecorating. 🙂