Renters Refresh: The Balcony

When I moved into this apartment, I had big visions for how I would personalize every square inch of it into a space that was cozy, cute, inspiring, and functional. It’s been a total blast bringing those visions to life and I’ve loved sharing my process with friends & followers along the way, so I thought it would be fun to delve a little deeper into how one area in particular came together!

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When I started decorating, I obviously started with the big spots. The living and dining area, the kitchen, the bedroom, all of which are just about finished. Now, I’m shifting focus to the smaller spaces. On the top of my list was the balcony. With the summer months and the warmer weather finally here, all I want to do is be out there drinking iced coffee in the sunshine and enjoying dinners al fresco in the evening! So I knew the time had finally come.

Balconies, in my experience, tend to be the least loved area of the home for us twenty-somethings. More often than not they’re a mess of mismatched furniture and dead leaves/dirt. It makes me so sad. Our old one was like a plant graveyard that also happened to store Mark’s bike and a camp grill. It wasn’t cozy or coordinated, so spending any time out there just wasn’t pleasant. This time had to be different.

My first step in planning was determining what I wanted to use my balcony for. While I love a good lounge chair or low sitting chair/coffee table set up, I knew that wasn’t right for my needs. What I really wanted was somewhere I could drink coffee, eat a snack, and either read a book or do computer work while occasionally looking out onto the bustling street and neighboring shops. Images of coffee shops and cafes came to mind, and then it was abundantly clear – I needed a bistro set!

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Finding the style I wanted was also easy. I’ve been really into European decorating styles lately (namely French countryside) meaning I was looking for some bright colors, natural materials, curved shapes, Chinoiserie prints, pottery, and lots of greenery and flowers. 

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Finally came sourcing everything, from the bistro set to the flowers. I took it nice and slow, and really didn’t settle for anything I didn’t love. I started with the bistro chairs and twinkle lights, both of which I’ve actually had since I first moved in. The next step was the flower boxes and the table, those came from Amazon. I went to a local gardening shop to pick out supplies, pottery, and flowers. Finally, I found just the right rug and trellis to finish everything off. My little oasis!

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So, there you have it. A relatively inexpensive renter’s refresh! My tips to anyone looking to do something similar are: 1. honestly evaluate your needs and desires for the space in question. 2. scour Pinterest and decorating blogs/books/resources for different aesthetics and what they entail. 3. source things slowly and deliberately, and don’t buy everything from just one store (or it will probably look like that store’s catalogue).

Finally, here are some links for ya: bistro chairs // bistro table // trellis // planter boxes // rug // twinkle lights // chinoiserie pot // watering can 

 

 

Holiday Home Decor 2018

I’m so excited to finally share some more shots of my home and details on this years Christmas decorations in todays holiday home tour!

Decorating this apartment by myself has been a pretty big undertaking, one that I’ve worked hard not to rush so that I can be really happy with the end result. But I’m relieved to say I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All that’s left is an entry way set up, an accent chair in the living room, and some more pictures & personal touches here and there, and we’ll be done. I’m waiting to finish all of that until Mark comes ;)!

I’m hosting the festivities this year, so I really wanted the space to look company-ready and have the obvious Christmas vibes. But, since it’s not the biggest space I also wanted to avoid that over-the-top, cluttered feeling. I tried to keep things bright, airy, and festive. Mission accomplished, I think?

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I like to keep things pretty minimal in the kitchen, since I’m always in there working on something and making a mess. My favorite Santa Clause mugs are on display, and I placed lots of fresh tree trimmings around the perimeter of the counter. Copper canisters are a good way to bring in some Christmas coziness as well.

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I’m unabashedly obsessed with my dining area. I love the bright rug with the white table & chairs. And I’ve wanted those open shelves so I could have some fun with my prop & decoration displays forEVER. I dressed the table up by doing a simple, rustic centerpiece  with a wooden platter, some fresh pine garland, modern candles, and real clementines. I looove how it turned out.  I swapped all of the normal shelf occupants for holiday dishes, some Christmas village figurines + bottle brush trees, and other festive touches. How cute is that stocking I found at Target?! I freak out over anything with that kind of snow village print on it, so I honestly couldn’t resist.

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I got unreasonably excited about changing my living area throw pillow covers to my favorite plaid ones. Other than that, I made sure to load up on the cozy greenery on top of the mirror, in front of the TV, over the doorway, etc. Little details like hung stockings, bottle brush trees, a book of old Christmas stories, and a bowl filled with ornaments on the coffee table made the space feel complete (well, until the tree shows up).

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And finally, my cozy little bedroom! The flannel Santa sheets I found at Target sent me into a real life fit of giddiness because they are SO CUTE. And how pretty is that homemade wreath I made hanging over my gold mirror? holiday hack: pick up free tree trimmings from Home Depot and make garlands and wreaths yourself, it’s so cost effective and much more fun!

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On the 13th day of Christmas, I finally got my tree! I can’t wait to share some details on how I’m decorating it. Thanks for staying tuned.

 

 

 

Picking The Perfect Mattress

Moving across the country alone has been quite the learning experience. It’s been fun and stressful, full of promise…but also really scary (more on that, eventually) all at once.

A lot like picking out a new mattress!

I’m not kidding. Part of moving into a new apartment here in North Carolina was finally picking out a new mattress, since our old set up is still with Mark back in California. I’ve never done this before – in college I went from crappy dorm room mattresses to sleeping on whatever it was that one of the older girls in my sorority sold me when she graduated. When we moved to California, Mark’s uncle happened to have an extra mattress (an innerspring) that he kindly donated to us. At that point, having the mattress be free was more important than comfort or preference. This time around it was clear that I needed to invest a little bit more thought and $ into what I (and eventually, we) would be sleeping on.

No pressure!

It probably sounds ridiculous to someone who hasn’t had to deal with this yet, but the whole process can be really overwhelming. First of all, mattresses are EXPENSIVE so making the wrong decision can be costly. And there are SO many choices to make. So many different types of mattresses (foam? innerspring? hybrid?!), with different levels of firmness (how plush IS “plush”, exactly?!), and countless brands (don’t even get me started). Given that we spend approximately one third of our lives asleep, you kind of need to make sure what you’re sleeping on is comfortable. I mean, your mattress directly affects your quality of sleep which means it also affects your health, your mind, your mood, your happiness, EVERYTHING. It’s a huge decision, people!

I spent HOURS, days really, researching this. I had several meltdowns along the way because how the hell was I going to make this decision?! I went to mattress stores and methodically tested several types of mattresses, levels of firmness, brands, the whole shebang. When I narrowed it down to what I really liked (memory foam, with a cooling gel agent, medium-soft feel), I took insane notes about how the mattresses I loved were made. Then I went online. Nowadays, a lot of really great mattress makers are cutting out the middle man and selling the product directly online for waaay cheaper. I looked up some of the most popular online memory foam companies and lo and behold, found one with the exact specifications that I had fallen in love with in the stores (for thousands of dollars cheaper)! That’s right people, I went for the Nectar!

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So here’s a few factors that sold me on the Nectar mattress: It has a great reputation. Whenever I hear people recommending online memory foam mattresses, it’s always Casper and Nectar. The layers! There are five layers, each with a specific purpose like offering support, cooling the mattress down, and adding that memory foam plushness. I knew this was important because it’s the same five layers that were present in all my favorite mattresses that I tried out in store. It has a year-long trial period!!! The longest I’ve ever seen, most companies have a 30-90 day trial. But Nectar lets you test your mattress out for a whole year. Hassle free return policy. If, for some reason, the mattress isn’t perfect for me (or Mark!) it looks like all we have to do is let Nectar know within 365 days of purchase and they arrange to pick up the mattress free of charge and refund you EVERYTHING back. How epic is that?

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So, I ordered the damn thing 2 days before move in and when I got the keys to my apartment my queen-sized mattress was actually already waiting for me there. It was rolled up all cute-like, so I tore into that bad boy (carefully) and watched in awe as the entire thing inflated to full size in front of my eyes in a matter of minutes. Then I plopped down…and it felt like I was in heaven. Or, at least on a really supportive cloud. I’ve been sleeping really comfortably and soundly so hallelujah, it looks I didn’t screw this one up! Now I just need my actual bed frame to arrive so the experience get’s a little bit more…dignified. You can have the best mattress in the world, but if you have to get on hands and knees to crawl (literally crawl) into bed…it’s just not a good look.