A Super Girly Living Room

The last time I showed you guys part of my apartment I used photos that I took around midnight, because I was so excited to share it I couldn’t wait for the sun! But the harsh lighting made it hard to really show you guys every aspect… So, to celebrate officially living on my own for ONE MONTH… I decided to take some more photos of my living room and link you guys to the items (I know, it’s exactly what you were waiting for 🙂 )!

If you’re anything like me, you comb through photos of people’s apartments and fall in love with something and want it for yourself. WELL NOW YOU CAN. If I can’t find an item, I’ll try and find you a link to something similar (if possible). There are a few one-of-a-kind items, but for those I can show you how to DIY your own version, because DI-Why-Not?

So, without further adieu, here is my living room in nice afternoon light…

EntryDespite being in my living room, I consider this my “entry.” My entry hallway is too narrow to put a lamp and a small table/catch-all so it’s around the corner in my living room. This is where I throw my purse at the end of the day and I set my keys on the table so I won’t lose them (this works half of the time). I think it’s great to have a space for your purse, keys and sunglasses, I also think it’s a great idea to have a small lamp on a timer in your place.
Similar Table | Skinny Lamp was from Kirkland’s | Mirror
Painting is an original from Rome.

Chair_BuiltInsI have these fabulous built-ins and extra storage underneath for hiding seasonal items (like that pesky Christmas tree and twinkle lights). I wanted to somewhat block the bottom doors to my storage area because I live alone and it freaked me out and also because the doors don’t stay shut unless something is against them, hence the chair’s placement. The spray painted milk jug is one of my favorite pieces, it just goes to show – everything looks better in metallic spray paint. 🙂
Nesting Tables | Similar Chair | Blanket
Floor Lamp & Shade | Dairy Jug

Couch_OttomanThis armless sofa used to be a piece in a very large sectional that originally belonged to my parents. Pro Tip: Because it’s armless you can’t tell it was a sectional piece! My kind mother sewed me a lovely natural canvas slipcover because she’s awesome and understood that a burnt orange sofa would not fit in with my decor. Funny story, that tray was a $1 Goodwill find that I painted with chalk paint (definitely scour Goodwill or Etsy before shelling out big bucks on one from a box store)!
Similar Sofa | Ottoman | Similar Tray

Gallery_WallI always knew that I wanted an awesome gallery wall to showcase my personality in my apartment and I’m in love with how this turned out! Special shout out to my mother who made the sick painting on the left, it really tied the whole thing together! I think it’s important to have a mixture of fun prints and photos to really balance everything, speaking of balancing items out mixing shapes adds some feminine flair since rectangles and squares can come off very masculine. Additionally, you could basically buy anything from Evelyn Henson and it would look amazing in a girly apartment!
Hip-Hop Square Prints: Left & Right | Similar Deer Head | Oval Frame (I spray painted it)
Similar Mirror | White Rectangle Frame | Pink Frame
More Mimosas Please Print | Similar Bottles Print

Couch_CartI. Love. Pillows. If it was possible to fill my apartment to the brim in throw pillows, I would. But alas, it is not socially acceptable to only have throw pillows in your apartment, so I limited myself to just 7 on my couch. There are a lot more throw pillows thrown about my apartment, but only 7 on my tiny couch. I also love using this bar cart as an end table and not as an actual bar cart (I’m terrified of people spilling red wine on my pale pink wool rug… so no wine will EVER be stored in this room!).
Ohio Pillow | Similar Peony Pillow | Moroccan Print | Flamingo Pillow (hidden)

Bar_CartHere’s a close-up on that bar cart. I really wanted to find a vintage bar cart for my apartment, but I didn’t have a $1k budget to buy the one I wanted, so I settled for this one. It’s from Target… which is the POLAR OPPOSITE OF VINTAGE. Ugh, I am still so mad at myself for getting a bar cart from a box store, but I couldn’t pass up the deal. The cart is originally $129, but a lovely Target employee rang it up in their system for $29 and I can’t walk away from a free Benjamin! So I picked this up for next to nothing and I’m using it as an end table. On a good day, there’s flowers in that pitcher from the Farmer’s Market, but I usually kill them off quickly… I do NOT have a green thumb.
Target Bar Cart (not $29 – sorry!)

Pink_Chairs_TableAnother one of my favorite parts of my living room is my table and chair set! All of this furniture was DIY’d, which took me forever but I’m so glad my mom took the time to teach me how to do it!It’s amazing what a few coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint can do! Let me know if you would love a DIY post on how to take your great-great-grandmother’s dinning chairs and make them look like they were custom made for your space!

What item is a “must have” in your living room?


8 Money Saving Decorating Tips!

Guide_to_DecorEveryone wants to make their apartment or house into the coziest and prettiest possible, I mean that’s everyone’s dream right? No, just mine? Fine! But I like to think that everyone wants to live in a place that is equal parts comfortable, personality and clean… some of us are better at this than others.

Getting to the point when you apartment or house is fully furnished can seem like eons away when you have a tight budget, but it doesn’t have to be! There are a few tricks to decorate your place so it sparkles with personality and looks like it wasn’t just thrown together!

1. Say yes to hand-me-downs! If a family member or friend is offering you a piece of their old furniture and it can be DIY-d or slipcovered or miraculously can be used as-is, take it! What do you have to lose by taking an old piece of furniture? I just suggest you keep in mind the size and weight of old furniture, that shit was built to last and like my father says, “If you’re living in an apartment, your furniture should be apartment sized furniture, not house sized furniture.”

2. Open a can of… paint, not whoop ass. If your landlord allows it, sometimes a coat of paint can completely jazz up a room in a way that expensive paintings or rugs or other things couldn’t. It’s just like when you’re putting on your make up, sometimes you just need a bold lip wall.

3. Ikea is your bestie. Before you start knocking Ikea, which seems to be everyone favorite hobby, it’s a great place to get fundamental furniture pieces for real cheap. You don’t have to be a starving college student to shop there, there is no age limit to Ikea. Just keep in mind your budget while wandering through that store… it’s easy to purchase things you don’t need.

4. Two purposes or none at all. If you’re debating purchasing something, make sure it can be used at least two different ways in your space. If it only serves one purpose, it has to be pretty important (like a TV stand or a dining table).

5. Throw stuff around! Sometimes you can completely transform a chair or couch with a few throw pillows! You can order throw pillows for relatively cheap at society6, these are a great way to modernize your living space with some fun graphics.

6. Van Gogh yourself, but don’t cut off your ear. Grab a canvas at your local craft store and DIY your own art! Abstract art is so in right now, so just go crazy! Don’t want to splurge on a canvas? That’s okay! You can find super cheap art at your local thrift store that you can paint over! It’s like the new hip way of recording over someone’s VHS tape.

Potted_Plant7. Greenery can save some greenbacks. Looking to spruce up a table or cabinet or dresser? A nice potted plant can really change a room, and usually keeps your budget happy! You can find relatively cheap plants at your local home improvement store or from a farmer’s market. Shopping at a florist can add up, so find something that’s potted. Just don’t forget to water it!

8. Always be thinking about storage! If this is your first time furnishing a place, keep in mind how much stuff you actually have. Everything needs to have a place or else your home will constantly feel cluttered. Keep in mind pieces that can serve as storage and something else (see: #4).

What is your favorite way to cut costs while decorating?

7 Signs It’s Time To Move Out of Your Parents’ House

7_SignsI love my parents; I was blessed with a pretty cool set. They’re funny, they swear, they know how to crack a good one-liner and they also know when to lend a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on… they’re pretty much fantastic. But they also got a pretty awesome daughter; I mean I’m a real catch when it comes to kids. Sure, I talked back a lot as a teenager, but now I understand how great my parents are! In fact they’re so great they let me move back home after graduating… 2 years ago.

I would love to stay with them until the end of time, but really there’s a time when a child must move out. But, when is it the “right time” and how should you know if you’re ready to try to be an adult, all alone, in the real world?

1. You should definitely move out if you’re over the age of 30. If you have a steady income and you’re over the age of 30 and living at home, no. Just no. It’s time, find an apartment, call a moving company, get out.

2. If you’re blowing off your friends to stay home with your parents. Yeah, your parents are cool, but if you’re blowing off your friends to stay home to watch a Lifetime movie with your parents, it’s time. If you keep isolating yourself, you’re going to be incredibly lonely in a year or so, move out – go out with your friends!

3. Your mom still does your laundry. What are you, 7? Be an adult! Learn how to do laundry yourself and move out! No one wants the date the person who has no idea how to wash their clothes, it’s not cute, it’s sad. Spoiler Alert: Make sure you clean out the dryer lint between each load.

4. You consider your parents’ friends your friends. I’m sure they’re great people, but they aren’t your friends… they’re your parents’ and you’re trying to steal them. Don’t steal people’s friends, get your own! In fact, I bet you keep blowing off your real friends (see: #2), so why don’t you give them a call?

5. Your younger sibling doesn’t live at home. If your younger brother or sister moved out over a year ago, that’s embarrassing. You do NOT want to be the sibling that people are “concerned” about because you have lived at home for 4 years while little Billy or Jenny or Sexually-Ambiguous Taylor has gotten a nice job in a big city and lives in a cool apartment and is basically just great at everything they do!

6. You’re out of debt. For a lot of people, moving home is a great way to pay off their debts, be it student loans, credit cards or a car loan. Moving back in with your parents is a very easy way to save money on housing and bills and instead put it all toward getting on the other side of your debts. If you have paid off your debts in a big way, it’s time to try the next challenge – if you’re financially ready.

7. You know it’s time. We all reach a point in our lives where we get really comfortable and start looking for the next terrifying thing to sink our teeth into. Change is scary and absolutely vital to our lives. When you’re ready to move out, do it. Do something even scarier, live alone!

So, goodbye home cooked meals, hello ramen – this girl is moving out! 🙂

Have you taken the leap recently and moved out of your parents’ house? How’d it go?

Apartment Hunting Checklist

Apartment searching and picking the perfect apartment can be extremely time consuming and exhausting. It can also be really hard to remember what you specifically liked about a place when you look at 10-a-week! It just becomes a giant blur of flooring, wall colors, square footage and rent prices… and then you start to question why you’re doing this in the first place!

BB_Apartment_ChecklistIt took me awhile to figure out and perfect the questions I wanted answered while apartment searching, but I finally realized what was the most important to me and what wasn’t that important but I was still a little curious to know… It’s important to sit-down and decide what you need in a place before you even begin looking for an apartment. For me, it was price, location and an older building (I don’t like cookie-cutter apartments). But when I first started looking I thought the most important thing to me was an in-suite washer & dryer – spoiler alert, it’s not anymore. In fact, I quickly learned that an in-suite washer & dryer drastically raises the price of your rent!

I thought I would share with you my “Apartment Search Checklist” in hopes that it will help you as much as it help me, and I hope you can share it with others! In addition to using this checklist, I also find that taking photos of the apartments helps when thinking back to a specific place. Also, if there is something you don’t like in the apartment (broken or dirty appliances or floor or walls or really anything you would like fixed prior to moving in) it’s nice to have a photo of it when you talk to your potential landlord or property manager to discuss what needs to be done prior to move-in day!

Click here to download the PDF so you can print it as much as you’d like!

What do you look for specifically when searching for an apartment?

Let’s Talk About Hauls Baby!

IKEAhaulSo, like I mentioned in my previous post, I spent all of my money at IKEA this past weekend. Specifically, the IKEA in Pittsburgh, because in Northeast Ohio you have to drive at least 2 hours to Pittsburgh or 4 hours to Cincinnati for a trip to IKEA… the IKEA gods must hate NE Ohio (alongside the sports gods – who have clearly lifted the hatred this year). So, I found myself doing the fastest IKEA trip of my lifetime, my mother and I have perfected the method.

You go through the store twice and check out, twice. Trust me on this method. On your first lap, pick out all the furniture items you want and take gander at all the small trinkets and treasures in the marketplace, but don’t put them in your cart just yet, they’ll still be there later. Go pull your large furniture pieces and pay for them now, the last thing you want is for those to sell out (and sometimes they do!), then load up your car with those and go in for round two. During round two you can look for how IKEA staged your pieces and start to buy all you textiles and trinkets and definitely necessary tchotchkes.

So, I haven’t mustered up the strength to assemble any of the furniture I purchased, but I have IKEA photos that I will show you now! You’ll have to check back in July for the photos of them assembled and put in their proper places in my apartment!

HEMNES 8-drawer dresser

The first thing I knew I needed was this lovely HEMNES 8-drawer dresser and additional glass-top for my bedroom. This piece is the perfect addition to my bedroom furniture, which I want to keep light so the room feels very open and airy.

Plus, you cannot beat 8 drawers! Additionally, the glass top is the perfect add-on because I will hopefully put all my makeup on piece and I don’t want to ruin it if something spills (which will definitely happen).

HEMNES NightstandIn addition to the dresser, I knew I needed a nightstand in my bedroom. So, keeping with the theme… I bought this amazing HEMNES nightstand in white.I love how skinny this table is and the nice long lines of the legs, I think it’s just the cutest little piece to put next to my gigantic bed.Just writing this is make me so excited to move and put everything into my new bedroom – can July 3rd get here soon enough?!

KRAGSTA nesting tablesFor my living room, I picked up a nice set of KRAGSTA nesting tables in a nice lovely black color (you wouldn’t know it from this post, but I promise that my apartment has lots of color in it, not just black & white).

These tables will be a nice end table for an arm chair in my living room as well as additional coffee tables/ottomans if need be… you know if I have guests over or something, something tells me my friends will want to see my place!.

HEMSTA lamp shadeIn addition to the small nesting tables, I picked up a RODD floor lamp and HEMSTA lamp shade to go in that section of the room as well. I seriously fell in love with the feminine ruffles on this shade and immediately knew it would look fabulous in my apartment.

It took sometime for me to love this lamp, but my mom stuck to her guns and really talked me into it and I’m so glad she did. Moms are pretty good that way…

HEMNES sideboardMoving into the kitchen, I need some additional storage. My kitchen counter space is extremely limited so I needed a table or cart or something that I could put my microwave, coffee make and toaster on in order to keep my countertop (singular) clear. I originally thought I would get a cart however they all seem pretty cheap with I was looking at them, and then I found this beauty!

The HEMNES sideboard was basically IKEA love at first sight and I was so nervous that they wouldn’t have it in stock because it didn’t have an aisle or bin number – but it turns out the Pittsburgh IKEA has a second furniture pick-up location for a few items… So, I seriously lucked out!

RASKOG cartLast but not least furniture wise… I picked up ANOTHER RÅSKOG utility cart because once you buy one RÅSKOG, you see how amazing it is and buy them again each and every year for every room of your house. I’m not kidding. 

This cart is so versatile! I currently use one as a nightstand on the far side of my bed (so it’s not noticeable) and this new one will be used in my kitchen next to my stove housing spices, cookbooks and other supplies.

Now this isn’t all I bought at IKEA, this is just the furniture I purchased… I still spent a good chunk of money on dishes, hand towels, silverware, serving bowls, cutting boards, bedding, candles, etc… Basically, I got sucked into the vortex known as the IKEA Marketplace. In addition to clearly being brainwashed by the Hemnes collection (it’s just so beautiful)!

If you had unlimited money to IKEA… what would you buy first (besides the whole store)?

That Can Wait: What to Purchase NOW!

waitIf you’re anything like me you want to purchase EVERYTHING before you move into your first apartment – in fact, I am typing this after spending an entire paycheck at IKEA (I still don’t move until the 3rd of July). Buying new things and styling your first apartment is really exciting! You get to pick out everything that you, and only you, want in your new place.

However, as exciting and eventful as shopping for new furniture and trinkets to fill your apartment can be, you really don’t need them on move-in day. So, if money is tight and space is limited in your moving truck, here is a list of a few items that you should get ASAP.

1. Bed
This might seem like a given, but stop pretending that sleeping on a pull-out couch or sofa or an air mattress on the ground or even a mattress on the ground is cutting it… it’s not. It’s time to put on your big kid pants and purchase a mattress that sits on a bed frame. STOP SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR – adults sleep on a bed frame.

2. Toilet Paper
Trust me on this one. You’re moving, you’re lifting heavy things you’re rearranging furniture; you don’t want to run out to the store to get TP. Pack some in your bag, or go to Sam’s or Costco and buy the value pack…

3. Cleaning Supplies
Make sure you bring all the supplies to clean up your new place that way it’s the cleanest it can be and your things can be wiped downed and cleaned after coming off your truck. This means: Garbage bags, soap, Windex®, paper towels, Swiffer®/vacuum, and a nice bucket for water if need be. In my opinion the best thing you can bring is a good hand towel and soap. It’s important that you can keep yourself clean and tidy while moving in new furniture, the last thing you want to have is dirty hands while moving some beautiful new couch or chair!

4. Bath Mat
This may seem ridiculous, until you’re about to hop out of the shower in your new apartment and risk death because there’s nothing to keep you from slipping on the floor in your bathroom. While you’re at it, you might want to throw in your shampoo and conditioner!

5. Pots & Pans
You’ll probably go out to eat your first night or order in some pizza because you’ll be too tired to make something… But in case you are up for it, it’s nice to have everything that you would need to cook lunch or dinner. This doesn’t have to be a full set of the fanciest pots and pans… honestly you could pick up on small pot and a nice frying pan and call it a day until you’re ready for more stuff.

Honestly, these are the ESSENTIALS when moving in to a new place, that amazing ottoman you bought can probably wait until after your move. But, like I said, if you gung-ho and ready and you have the room to move it all – by all means purchase everything you want prior to the move. Just please, for the love of god, purchase a bed frame.

Last but not least: Keep your receipt! In case you have a change of heart when you move or notice it doesn’t complement what you have or you simply just don’t like it anymore once it’s in your space

So, what are the things that you have to have when you first move in to a new place?

Pack This! 5 Tips for Local Moving

Moving is exciting and a great way to revamp your life, but it is also extremely stressful and the worst. Having moved every year of my life from 2009-2013 and now again in 2015 to my first “big girl apartment” – I thought I would share with you a few moving tips if you’re moving within the same city/state (like me!):

  1. Make a plan and stick to it. Make a list of all the rooms in your new house/apartment before you even start packing. Then, use these names on your boxes, this will save everyone time and frustration. You can also color code the tape used on each box.
  2. Don’t wait. Start decluttering your life now. There is no reason to move clothes, toys, furniture, etc. that you don’t love. Start building that Goodwill/Garage Sale pile NOW. Look at this move as a fresh start and try to get rid of anything that really isn’t vital to your life or brings you joy… think of your new apartment as a blank canvas that you can start fresh with!
  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you’re moving local there is no reason to take items off their hangers, put them in a box, to have to rehang them once you drive 15-45 minutes away. Simply move hanging items on their hangers. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be! I’ve read some tips where people put a garbage bag over the clothes on 5-10 hangers, then running a long twist tie or piece of coated wire through the hangers, just under the hooks and twist together. This will keep any of the hangers from falling down into the bag.
  4. Russian Nesting Doll Style. Pack inside items! If you have under the bed bins, pack inside them. If you have a large crock pot, pack inside it. If you have a storage ottoman, fill it up! You get the picture. However, if you’re moving yourself, make sure you keep things light!
  5. Steal boxes. Not even kidding. Your local Kinko’s or OfficeMax will have empty paper boxes that they are going to throw out, so stop in and ask very nicely if you can have them! These boxes are the perfect size, because you can fill them to the brim and still be able to carry them easily on your own (They’re not supposed to give them out, so a smile goes a long way here). Additionally, your local Costco or Sam’s Club will have empty boxes usually by the exit that are yours for the taking!

What are your favorite moving tips?

Movers and Shakers: 5 Things to do in Shaker Heights

Shaker Heights is a very diverse suburb of Cleveland, established in 1911, and my soon-to-be new neighborhood! I am so excited to explore and eat my way through this very fun and exciting town. Technically, I live in the Buckeye Shaker neighborhood because I live in Shaker Square, which is part of the City of Cleveland due to an agreement that was made in 1912… but I feel like my new apartment is in Shaker Heights, so I’m saying I live here. 🙂
Shaker Square
Shaker Square is a very interesting area because it was developed between 1927 and 1929 by the Van Sweringen brothers to act as a gateway between the urban downtown city and suburban living areas. It can look a little scary if you’re not used to seeing two train tracks going straight through a square, but you get used to it quickly!

So, what is there to do in Shaker you might be asking? Well, there is so much, but let’s keep the list to 5:

  1. I Heart Waffles. If you’re anything like me, you LIVE for brunch. I could seriously eat brunch all day, every day. So, I Heart Waffles is a GREAT place to your breakfast on all day! Plus they have other food items, like loaded mac & cheese, wings and something called a “Donuffle” which is basically my two favorite things combined. Why aren’t you already running to this place? As Leslie Knope would say, “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”
  2. North Union Farmer’s Market. Smack dab in the middle of Shaker Square every Saturday from 8am-4pm from April 4-Dec. 19, you will find the North Union Farmer’s Market outside. You will find a wide variety of vendors with an even greater variety of stuff! There is everything from fresh vegetables to homemade pasta, meats, cheeses… the list could do on. I definitely suggest checking out the Square on a Saturday for the market!
  3. Balaton Restaurant. This neighborhood used to be known as Little Hungary, serving as the historic heart of Cleveland’s Hungarian community, which at one time was the largest in the world outside of Hungary.So if you want a truly amazing Hungarian meal, stop by Balaton for dinner and have a potato pancake and veal schnitzel for me!
  4. Dewey’s Coffee Cafe. Being inside Dewey’s is the closest I’ve ever felt to what I imagine Luke’s Coffee Shop would be like. There is amazing coffee, great comfort food, the constant smell of ice cream and popcorn from next door and you can bring your own wine…
  5. Shaker Square Cinemas. Movies with a side of weekday savings? COUNT ME IN! Shaker Square Cinemas boasts Bargain Mondays, Free Popcorn Tuesdays, Happy Hour Wednesdays and No 3D Surcharge every Wednesday; so you basically have to go to the movies now.

Now that you know what to do, I hope you too can become a “mover and shaker” of Shaker Heights. I know there are so many other things that you can do in Shaker Heights/Buckeye Shaker… but I wanted to keep this list pretty short. If there is something that you think I should put on here, let me know in the comments!

I’ll look for you on Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market!