Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ways to love your rental and make it your own!

Nothing puts a damper on your excitement to move into a new rental than the list of things you CAN'T do. I get it, I've lived in 3 rentals in the last 5 years. Whatever your reason for renting I think it is so important to make it your own. Here are a few of my favorite ways to add personality to your rental!

But check with your landlord first! I always ask if painting is allowed when looking at a new place & an apartment would have to be pretty special for me to pick one with a 'no paint' rule. I've found that most landlords are fine with painting as long as you paint it back to white when you move out. My rule is if we plan to live there for at least another year then break out the paint brush. If painting an entire room is too much of a commitment you can always paint one accent wall!

We have some rules about what you can and can't plant where I live. To make sure I am in compliance I decided to plant a large urn with flowers. (above) Container gardening is great for rental living because you can bring it with you when you leave. I had a potted geranium that moved 3 times! If your rental has a balcony you can grow some herbs & veggies which I plan to do this summer.

Odds are your rental doesn't have the most fab light fixtures, am I right? My office doesn't even have wiring for an overhead light so I rewired the chandelier shown above to plug in. (Of course then you have to figure out what to do with the cord, but that's another post all together) We also just replaced a boring canister light in our kitchen with a cute pendant. My dad gave me a crash course in hanging light fixtures - I told my husband not to be shocked if he comes home one day and all of the lighting has been changed. If you decide to swap out a fixture just store the original in a safe place and swap them back before you move out.

If you only decide to do one thing make it this one! I always put up my own shower head. (How do you live without a handheld shower head? How do you wash your hair? Haha, I can't.) Other easy upgrades that I feel can be worth the investment? Faucets, cabinet knobs & even toilet seats. These small changes can make even the most basic rental bathroom feel a bit more upscale.

Don't go overboard with big box budget furnishings! I love me some IKEA but most of my furnishings have come from thrift stores, Homegoods or antique shops. You'll probably find a better deal and your home will have more of a collected look as opposed to the "I just went on an IKEA shopping spree" look. When you take time to find or transform pieces into things you love you'll never regret it.

It is easy to see all of the gorgeous pictures from pinterest, blogs & magazines and hate that your rental doesn't look like that. You have to keep in mind exactly why you are renting in the first place. Whether you are living in military housing, a student apartment of saving for your forever home take a moment to appreciate why you're there. For us it means that we get to live in a town we probably couldn't afford otherwise, we live near friends (some who used to live below us!), the hubs has an easy drive to work and we are close to both of our families. These are all things that are extremely important to us so it is the perfect reminder to appreciate our condo.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

$8 Mirror Makeover - My Restoration Hardware Knock-Off

You might have noticed a big change on the blog...I am still working out the kinks but am excited to announce that has become!! And now...

You know I love a good thrift store challenge! I found a large framed mirror for $5 - it needed some attention but the lines reminded me of Restoration Hardware's Mansard Scroll Mirror. I'd been coveting this mirror for a few years but could never justify the $345 price tag.

So here is what mine looked like when I brought it home. The mirror and frame were in great shape, which can't be beat at that price. It had holes where hooks once were which I'm sure is why it was priced so low.

I used my favorite furniture paint - Behr's Antique White tinted primer. (No sanding!)I debated a bit on what to do about the holes, they were larger than I'd like to fill but obviously couldn't leave them open. Eventually I found some ornate wooden ornaments at Home Depot which I painted with leftover wall paint and attachd to cover the holes.

I used leftover paint so I was able to create my Restoration Hardware knock-off for only $8! ($5 mirror and $3 for the wooden ornaments) Can't beat that! :)

hi guys!

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Friday, January 31, 2014

High Five for Friday!

1. Raise your hand if it snowed where you live this week! Odds are pretty high that you hand is up. Here in PA we have had one of the snowiest winters that I can remember! I love the snow, I still get excited to wake up to fresh snow. But since I work from home I don't have to go out on crappy days (which is good because I am terrified of driving in snow).

2. My office makeover that's been a year in the making is pretty much complete! I'll be blogging all about it soon but here is a little sneak peek. Obviously I was so focused on my work that I had to snap a picture.

3. Speaking of the office - I have to share my new artwork! I am seriously in love, Elizabeth Mayville is amazing. When I showed it to my husband he said "Woah, is that you?!" I like to think it is. :)

4. Check out this beauty that I found while thrifting the other day. I immediately sent Brian a photo of "our new dining room set" but sadly it was already sold to some other lucky lady. (I must admit, I am very curious about the room this came out of...and the one its going in to) It gave me a good laugh but it did get me brainstorming. Now I definitely want a tufted, heart-shaped chair for my dressing table.

5. Do you guys watch The Mindy Project? If you don't, you seriously need to! (Go ahead, go watch it...I'll wait) I have been watching last week's season finale on repeat all week. The final scene...!!!!!!!!!!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mini Kitchen Makeover - Mood Board

Since the Mr. and I recently decided to stay in our current rental for awhile longer we are planning a mini kitchen makeover. Obviously there are a lot of things you can't change in a rental kitchen so we are making some minor upgrades and several non-permanent changes. Here is the overall direction we are heading in:

The plan is to keep a nice balance between feminine & masculine as well as beauty and function. So what is the starting point? Here is what our kitchen looks like at the moment. (I even cleaned for you)

As far as rental kitchens go ours isn't too bad...we've definitely lived with worse. (Under counter refrigerator anyone?) We started by identifying what we can't change and brainstorming ways to draw attention away from the less than lovely. The cabinets aren't going anywhere so the plan is to paint the walls in an earthy walnut color to create a more seamless look. Other plans include an area rug, vintage silver elements & a DIY pantry. Stay tuned - the first project is a simple lighting swap!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Romantic Valentine's Day Mantel

I always struggle with how to decorate between Christmas and spring. On one hand I looove how big and clean everything looks when the holiday decorations come down, but on the other hand it can be a little stark for my taste. This year I put together a simple Valentine's Day mantelscape that can easily transition to spring.

I wanted to keep the colors very soft so I shopped around the house for items in shades of cream, pale pink & silvery grey. I started with my go-to mantel anchor, my chippy old window. To create my main element I used my Silhouette machine to cut some whimsical silhouettes of a little girl & dog. Then I simply attached the cutouts to a sheet of pale pink paper and framed the whole thing. Love that glittery heart. Adorbs, right?

I loved the round shape of this little dish but it looked too plain by itself. I grabbed a ribbon scrap and hung an old skeleton key over the front.

I added some vases of pink & cream flowers in varied heights to finish it off!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

My goals for 2014

{for the love of gold}

I can't remember a time when I was so happy to see a year end. Don't get me wrong, 2013 brought a lot of blessings but it was also one of the hardest I've ever experienced. Not only did January 1st bring a new year but also a new moon - so we all got our lunar slates wiped clean. Every January I take a moment to reflect and set mini resolutions for the coming year. I don't make full year resolutions because I feel like I'm just setting myself up for failure. Instead I come up with a list of goals, some large, some small & assign a goal to each month. I won't bore you by listing every one of my goals since half of them are probably the same as yours (eat better, exercise more, appreciate the small stuff, etc.) but I am sharing a few of the major ones.

This is my manta for the year. There is already far too much negativity and I don't want to add to it. I find that half of the "comment" sections online are filled with crappy, petty comments. Constructive criticism is fine but if you're looking to tease, put down or just be nasty - keep on a'movin. I am going to try my hardest to keep my mind & corner of the world a happy, positive place.

My parents gave me a camera for Christmas (aren't they great?). Up until now most of the product photos I've taken for my business have been taken with my cell phone. It does the job but I am ready for a more professional upgrade. I plan to research & learn as much as I can to improve my photography skills. :)

When things get busy my blog tends to take a backseat to everything else (well, cleaning toilets takes a back, backseat). This year I want to make a conscious effort to keep up with it even when things are crazy. After all, this is how I relax so it is important to carve out some time.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 In Review

brought my initial entrance into the blogging world. I shared one of my favorite recipes which is still my most popular post!

My Crustless Spinach Quiche is super easy, delicious & only 1 Weight Watcher point per serving! Perfect for a post-holiday meal.

brought a well-deserved promotion for my husband, a romantic valentine's dinner and the start of my office makeover (perhaps it will be finished by this February, but I wouldn't want to rush things). It also brought my favorite breakfast:

officially started my "busy season" on etsy. As my business grew I needed to purchase some equipment - first up was a shiny new pink laptop. I was horrible about blogging but I was lucky enough to enjoy a week in (somewhat) sunny Florida with Brian & my parents. Nothing gets you through the winter like knowing you're headed for a warm destination!

In April
I was still MIA from the blog but I had time to squeeze in a mini-girls vacay to (definitely not sunny) Michigan. I also had my Mr. Right / Mrs. Always Right Chair Signs featured on an episode of Four Weddings. This was by far the biggest thing to happen to my little business. Thanks to the exposure these signs were definitely one of my most popular items in 2013.

brought Brian's 30th birthday and his surprise Beards & Beers Party!

In June
I started participating in several Friday Favorites linkups which have been amazing in helping to grow the blog & make some wonderful friends. I also shared one of my favorite projects to date!

brought a blissful month of vacation! I spent lots of time with family swimming, honing my cornhole skills & craft show going. I also ushered in the final year of my 20s by being spoiled with a trip to by favorite place, Mackinac Island.

In August
I squeezed in one final Michigan trip but this time it was a working trip. I also shared one of the easy updates my mom has done to their lakehouse (aka "the grey house")

brought my favorite season - autumn! I playing in a fantasy football league (and loved it), took my pup to a Phillies game & shared several fall projects. My favorite was definitely my glittery monogrammed wreath!

In October
Brian and I celebrated our 5th anniversary with a weekend getaway to Atlantic City. We did a little gambling, gorged ourselves at The Melting Pot and even walked the beach. We were a little less than enthused with our hotel though & weren't shocked when they filed for bankruptcy a few weeks later! We've also officially reached the point where our wedding pictures look old - I don't think I've changed that much but I'm still trying to figure out who that other kid in the picture is. ;)

Business finally started to slow allowing me to relax a bit & enjoy the holidays. I also reached another business milestone/goal when my Just Married banner was featured on Style Me Pretty! I had the chance to work with an amazing Florida wedding planner for this photo shoot over the summer - it was SO hard to keep the pics a secret until the feature. :)

was a blur of family, friends and festivities!

All of the reflecting has me thinking about my goals for this year. I'll be sharing them later this week, along with my manta for 2014. :)

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