1.28.2015

A new place to call home...


Friends, I could not be more excited to announce this to you: we're moving! This time, we're staying in Portland, and we've found a great new place that we'll be moving into in just a few short weeks. It's in a really great neighborhood, giving us an opportunity to explore a new area of our adopted city. Our main priorities were: bigger, outdoor space, and an extra bedroom. I compromised my hope for all wood floors, but we found a duplex that checked all the other, more important, boxes. Plus, there's a fireplace...how could I say no to that?

I don't have photos now (because I'm a dummy and didn't take any when we viewed it), but I promise they're coming. We're currently living (on top of each other) in 450 sq. feet, and upgrading to 1000 sq. feet. 1000! I really can't wait to decorate it, and make the place home. I'll be sharing before and after photos, ideas, and progress here on the blog all along the way. There's a ton of potential in this new place, and I'm already getting so impatient to get started.

I'm so excited to share this journey with y'all! I'll be pinning all my inspiration on this board right here, so be sure to follow along!

image via

1.27.2015

A Style Board with Chairish


Today I'm teaming up with Chairish to bring you a little color inspiration for your living rooms. Chairish is an amazing website that helps people sell and buy used and vintage furniture, home decor and more. The platform allows individuals to list their vintage items and facilitates the sale, from collecting payment to shipping. It's also a great way for buyers to find cool pieces for their home without leaving their couch -- and it gets shipped straight to you.

Chairish invited me to pick an accent chair of my choice and design a colorful living room style board around it. It was a tough choice but I decided on this Navy Blue Slipper Chair. When designing this look, I chose to stick to the Chairish website for all the pieces. It was really fun hunting through the vintage pieces (both good and... not my taste ;) to find items that would fit with this chair in a living room.

The rug was an easy way to pull in color, and this room is based on the navy blue of the chair, with pink pulled in with the rug. I chose a tufted couch in a neutral color, to play off the traditional style of the chair, and to make room for some fun throw pillows. I chose pillows in all different patterns, with colors from the rug. A gold starburst mirror to add some light and shine to the room, and a quirky rattan lamp for some texture.

What do you think? This is definitely different than the styles I normally gravitate toward, but I wouldn't mind cozying up in this room. The colors are bold and fun, but the traditional shapes keep it from getting too wild.

Couch // Chair // Rug // Lamp // Mirror // Pillows: one, two, three, four, five

This post was in partnership with Chairish. These opinions are all my own, there was no compensation provided.

1.26.2015

Living Small #2: Clean it up.


Sometimes wiping down the countertops can be cathartic.

Cleaning your apartment sounds like a chore, I know. It's not the most exciting piece of advice for living in a tiny apartment.

This weekend I cleaned. I spent just a couple hours on Sunday afternoon sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom counters, and putting clothes away. I found a pretty photo I'd taken of my apartment when it was clean, and used it as my motivation. Let's make the apartment look that good again. Of course, I didn't have a bunch of peonies for the table, but I'm not tripping over my boots, either. When I finished, I collapsed into a chair and breathed a deep breath. The kind of breath you only breathe when your surroundings are clean.

The next time you feel exasperated, looking around wondering why you feel stressed and your place isn't bringing you peace, grab the paper towels and give the place a good wipe-down. Sweep the floors, pick up the random objects left around from a busy week, and put them away. You'll be amazed at how good it feels.

PS - If you live in an especially tiny place, be sure to get cleaning products that are natural and smell good. Our kitchen is in the same room as the living room, so using 409 would make the whole place smell pretty gross. This lavender Method spray is one of my favorites. (no, this isn't sponsored) 

1.23.2015

bon week-end!


I had a totally different post in mind for today, but it stayed there...in my mind. Straight up, i just ran out of time and energy. Not to mention, I actually really love these posts. Over the past week I've found some pretty great things around the web that I'd love to share. I have some great ideas lined up for next week, that I can't wait to share with you all. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

+ A fantastic interview with Matthew Weiner, a lovely treat for Mad Men Fans.

+ Anyone looking for a private island?

+ I love this simple hanging shelf, and Trina's very approachable instructions.

+ Un-Fancy introduced her two guest bloggers this week, and I'm so excited! Meet them here and here. /

+ Simple ways to polish off that room that's not quite finished.


In case you missed it...
My favorite motivating books, a cool office space, 5 US destinations on my list, and the best purchase I made in 2014.


image via unsplash.

1.22.2015

Reading Nook: Two Motivating Books



I have been reading so much the last few months. Last year I made it my goal to read more. I created this list of books I wanted to read and got started. I read 8 out of 10 of those books, but added more that weren't on the original list. In total, last year I read 12 books. I can't even remember the last time I've read this much, if ever. I count myself pretty lucky to take the bus to work and school, so I have over an hour each day where I have little else to do but read, and I take full advantage of it. Lately, I've been using the local library's eBook checkout program, so I can download books straight to my Kindle, making this whole process so much easier.

So, I read two really inspiring books in the last couple months. These books were so incredible, that I'll be buying copies of them soon, as I know I'll reference them again and again. The books are The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg and The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Meg Jay.

I read The Power of Habit around November, and can say I haven't read anything quite like it before. The author uses real life stories of people and companies (like Michael Phelps and Starbucks) and how they change their habits, breaking it down into three sections: individuals, organizations, and societies. A lot of scientific facts and studies are talked about, but I never felt like I was reading a science journal. The book was very approachable, and taught extremely valuable lessons in habit forming and habit changing. Here's a few favorite excerpts:

"Willpower isn't just a skill. It's a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there's less power left over for other things... As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives -- in the gym, or a money management program -- that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked. Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything."
"Once people learned how to believe in something, that skill started spilling over to other parts of their lives, until they started believing they could change. Belief was the ingredient that made a reworked habit loop into a permanent behavior."
"The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it." 

I can't wait to share this next one with y'all. If any of you have read this book, then you know what a game-changer it is. Everything that no one ever told you about your twenties, that you absolutely need to know, is in this book. 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now is by clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, who specializes in twenty-somethings. In this book she takes the stories of twenty- and thirty-something patients she's had and shows us the power of taking charge of our twenties, to make the years beyond the most successful, meaningful and happy years of our lives. This book really shows how important it is to plan for the future now -- and not just by putting money in our retirement accounts and reading books. She argues that 30 is not the new 20. Rather, our twenties are about setting ourselves up for future success, by figuring out what kind of career and family life we want, and then taking steps now to make those things a reality.

A few excerpts from the book that really spoke to me...

"There is a certain terror that goes along with saying "My life is up to me." It is scary to realize there's no magic, you can't just wait around, no one can really rescue you, and you have to do something. Not knowing what you want to do with your life -- or not at least having some ideas about what to do next -- is a defense against that terror. It is a resistance to admitting that the possibilities are not endless. It is a way of pretending that now doesn't matter. Being confused about choices is nothing more than hoping that maybe there is a way to get through life without taking charge."
"Real confidence comes from mastery experiences, which are actual, lived moments of success, especially when things seem difficult. Whether we are talking about love or work, the confidence that overrides insecurity comes from experience. There is no other way."
"[They] needed to be "in like." By this I mean two things: being alike in ways that matter and genuinely liking who the other person is. Often these go hand in hand. That is because the more similar two people are, the more they are able to understand each other. Each appreciates how the other acts  and how he or she goes about the day, and this forestalls an incredible amount of friction. Two people who are similar are going to have the same reactions to a rainy day, a new car, a long vacation, an anniversary, a Sunday morning, and a big party."

If you are in your twenties, or even early thirties, you absolutely need to read this book. It is so eye-opening and real. The author speaks from a place of deep knowledge and also deep concern. You can tell that she genuinely wants every person to live up to their full potential and build happy, meaningful lives. If you feel good about where you're at, read this to get better. If you're unhappy with where you're at, this book will provide you with the valuable lessons you need to get going.



If you've read these books, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! What are you reading? Any other reading suggestions? I recently finished Yes, Please and am currently reading Interrupted.

image via death to the stock photo, text/graphics added by me.

1.21.2015

An Invaluable Purchase in 2014




Today I am posting as a part of the January blog linkup hosted by The B Bar! The blog linkup allows a group of bloggers to post on the same topic, and share each others' posts. Be sure to check out all the amazing blogs below for their responses, too!




What did you purchase in the past year that became invaluable to you?

Without hesitation, I can confidently say that my camera was my most valuable purchase of 2014. After saving up and researching for about six months I finally made the plunge and ordered my very first DSLR camera in May! It was definitely an investment, but a good one. Not a day goes by that that little black piece of technology doesn't make me happy.

Growing up with a father who is a photography lover, it was bound to infiltrate me too. We were always pulling off to the side of the road to take a picture of some abandoned building in a field or to lean off the edge of a mountain (literally) to get the perfect landscape shot. I admired his dedication to the art as much as I admired his final images. My family has boxes filled with old slides and shelves filled with photo albums since before I was born. Documenting life has always been a thing in my family.

I think I got my first digital camera in middle school, and progressively upgraded as I got older (all gifts from my dad of course). My most recent camera was a Canon G12, which is a great camera, but I struggled with its limitations. (Plus, the screen didn't work properly anymore and the lens was scratched.) Between my own personal photography, and photos for the blog, I wanted better quality and more control.

I decided on a Nikon D5200 body with a 35mm f/1.8 lens. The body is not the absolute newest model, but had everything I needed with a lower price point. I knew it would be perfect for me to learn on. I opted out of the kit lens (the one that normally comes with the camera) because I knew I wouldn't get very good quality photos on it (honestly, most of those kit lenses are total crap). I wanted a fast lens that could take sharp images and had a wide aperture (great for low-light shots and that pretty background blur), but didn't need zoom. So, I stuck with a prime lens. And I love it.

In the past six or so months since I got my camera, I've learned so much. I'm always picking it up on the weekends and just shooting different things around the apartment using different settings and tricks. It's so fun to learn how to create the images I love to look at, and use that knowledge to make them my own.

I'm definitely no professional, but love this camera. The most amazing thing is that with one device I can create art and express myself creatively, while also documenting all of life's moments, big and small.

What did you buy in 2014 that made you say, "How did I live without this?!" Maybe it was an investment, maybe it wasn't. I'd love to hear either way! Be sure to check out these ladies' posts for their favorite 2014 purchases and what it means to them!



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