Home Inspiration

Ah, if only I could redo every room in my apartment once a month…there are always so many new products that catch my eye, and below are several that I’ve either purchased or am lusting over at the moment! I love how they all work together, too.

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My friend Chris discovered this cane shelf on UO’s website and sent me a picture of it right away (anyone who knows me knows how much I love this look!). I’m not sure if it would work in my bathroom at the moment, but I absolutely love how stylish (and affordable) it is and I’m sure I’ll convince myself to scoop it up eventually. ūüėČ It would also be beautiful holding spices in a kitchen!

This bamboo mirror is also a steal and would look beautiful in a bathroom, over a dresser, or leaning on open shelving. Again, I don’t need it, but it’s gorgeous!

I can never stop buying coffee table books and given that I just booked a trip to Nashville in May (my college friends and I are having a mini reunion there and I can’t wait!), this one seemed like a must.

I love when you find affordable Turkish rugs that look like something you’d stumble upon at a flea market (I hate the mass-produced look). This one is a winner!

Who can say no to chinoiserie bathroom decor? Ballard Designs does it again with this fun blue and white set.

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Turkish Area Rugs Under $250

I promise you, it’s totally possible to scoop up a gorgeous Turkish rug without paying over $250. You just need to do some digging–both at big box stores and on Etsy (my preferred place to shop for vintage rugs!), and you’re guarantee to walk away with a gem. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites of the moment…someone needs to make a move on them!

Under $100:

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Love the gorgeous shades of coral and blue on this rug.

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A smaller rug like this one would look stunning layered over jute.

Under $200:

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This rug would look beautiful in a small dining nook.

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Soft colors like these are perfectly for a nursery.

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A Southwestern print at an affordable price.

Under $250:

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This beautiful number is on sale and has such a vibrant mix of colors.

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A large rug with classic colors.

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A Seattle Apartment’s Bathroom Makeover

I totally have a bone to pick with social media a lot of the time, but then I remember how many amazing connections/reconnections have happened in my life because of apps like Instagram. And this is one of those cases! Recently, I happily reconnected with Ruthie, who was a few years below me in college and was in one of my favorite classes of all time (an American Studies course on gender and pop culture!) during my senior year. Ruthie is so nice and talented and lives in Seattle where she works in a corporate job by day but runs an awesome food blog/Instagram (linked up top!) in her spare time. We talked about how we both love having creative outlets in our lives and decided to do a little long-distance collab: I would help her design her (huge, incredibly gorgeous) bathroom, and she would provide me with some much-needed cooking ideas!

Go follow Ruthie @the_wildcarrot
Go follow Ruthie! @the_wildcarrot

For starters, can I just say how perfect Ruthie’s bathroom looks, even not fully decorated? My bathroom in my current apartment is TINY–which is totally fine since it’s just me, and I have a lot of other storage space in my closet, for example, but eek. My shower is teeny tiny, and the overall feel is very “cabin bathroom” esque, if that makes sense. Ruthie’s bathroom is huge, modern, and the perfect blank slate to make over!

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Since there’s so much decor out there to choose from, Ruthie kindly gave me a little bit of background on the place and her preferences. She told me¬†that she redid the floors and sink after moving in (she says that before, the bathroom was “very 90s with pale green walls”) and that she’s into any style except for farmhouse (noted!). She said that the rest of her apartment is mid-century looking with rose gold and metallic notes (love!) and her bedroom is more blue/coastal. In particular, she is looking for something to place between the toilet and shower on the back wall and is in need of accessory ideas (whether to purchase online or look for at local consignment shops–totally wish I could join!).

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Soooo, off I went to do some browsing! And here’s what I put together to get her started!

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Toilet/Shower area: 

  • I thought that a storage system like this one would fit perfectly in the space between Ruthie’s toilet and shower, and it can hold much needed supplies like shampoo bottles, cosmetics, makeup wipes, etc. She likely doesn’t need a ton of additional storage because there are so many drawers by the sink, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a few products within reach of the shower. The key is to not fill the drawers too high, though, or they’ll start to look junky! I would probably swap out the drawer pull for something a little less sterile in order to add some personality to the piece (one of these Anthropolgie knobs would be gorg!). On top, Ruthie could place a tray (something she could look for at a flea market, since she may find one with character) to hold favorite perfumes and nail polishes. Alternatively, a rolling cart would also look adorable here. You could add some fun touches like candles and succulents succulents while still using it to store essentials.
  • I also love the idea of hanging a wall shelf like this one from Urban Outfitters between the toilet and shower (instead of placing a storage unit there) to keep the space open. It would look gorgeous with some plants, perfumes, and candles. The style matches her bathroom’s modern look, and she could still keep a few items nearby the shower on the day-to-day (extra shampoo bottles, lotions, etc) without it getting too cluttered.
  • I’m all for a good stool–you guys know how much I love this set from Serena & Lily, but this TJ Maxx option is a little cheaper and also makes a statement. I keep seeing stools like this in large bathrooms and they’re so versatile!
  • Since Ruthie’s bathroom floors are a light wood color, I thought she could go for a more colorful bathmat, like this one from Bed Bath & Beyond (which seems like it would go with her “coastal colored” bedroom!). The shade should help brighten up the space and make it a little more lively.

Wall Space: 

  • Ruthie already has some art hanging in the bathroom, but she has so much wall space that she could definitely fit some additional pieces! I love incorporating figure sketches in the bathroom, but abstract pieces, photographs, or really anything else would look good if styled nicely. I really like this print from Society6, which would look beautiful matted in a white frame, and this sign from Anthropologie.

Vanity: 

  • As for the sink area, I love these¬†marble bathroom accessories, which are useful and will match the bathroom’s modern look. And she already has the right idea by placing candles and a little cactus on the vanity!
  • Ruthie could also prop up a piece of framed artwork, like this Seattle skyline print from Etsy, to have something to look at while getting ready (a framed photo would work, too!).
  • Fingers crossed this post provides Ruthie with some inspo–and stay tuned for her recipe reveal!

Stay tuned as I work on Ruthie’s recipe recs, which will be coming to the blog this evening! I’ll share more details soon, but they’re great if you’re hosting a small get together or just want to add something new to your usual weeknight dinner routine.

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Affordable Cane/Rattan Serving Trays at Target

If you’re a cane/rattan lover who can appreciate a good deal, get excited, because I’ve found the Target product of your dreams!

But first things first. Earlier this year, I spotted these beautiful cane trays from Pottery Barn¬†on a blog and fell in love. However, I have so many serving trays as it is that I couldn’t justify the price tag. I love using them for different things–yes, for food, but also on a bar cart, in the bathroom, on a dresser, etc.

Earlier this morning, I was doing my usual “scroll through Insta stories and see what happened overnight” AM ritual (anyone else totally guilty of lying in bed doing this every morning?!) and saw someone had picked up a gorgeous rattan tray at Target on sale. In trying to search for the product, I found something WAY better–a beautiful, vintage-looking, Pottery Barn look alike cane tray for only $30!!!

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Shipping was out of stock for the item, but I managed to put one on hold at my local store, so definitely try to do the same. While doing a bit more browsing, I also discovered a gorgeous cane basket and an amazing but slightly more expensive plant stand.

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For comparison, here is a pic of the Pottery Barn tray, which appears to be out of stock anyway:

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They’re practically the same, right?! This Target one must be new, because I definitely haven’t seen it on the website or in stores (I also feel like I would’ve heard people raving about it by now!).

Happy shopping!

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Shop Serena and Lily Lookalikes for Less at TJ Maxx

I’ll start this post off by noting that I love shopping at/browsing high-end home stores like Serena and Lily just as much as discount places like TJ Maxx (and this post is not affiliated with either place!). Serena and Lily’s pieces are so “relaxed chic” (if that’s a thing) and stylish without being too overboard in terms of color and pattern, making them versatile and classic. (Oh, and I own these stools and absolutely love them). That said, most items run in the triple digit range, and as someone who enjoys decorating their space very often, it doesn’t make sense to make a splurge unless I’m sure that an item will stick with me forever (I also live for the hunt and kind of feel let down when making a big purchase directly off a website, if that makes sense, because it doesn’t always feel that exciting or unique! However, I know that I’m in the minority and most people prefer convenience and reputation over scouring the internet–or traveling around the city in real life–for an item on a used or vintage site that may be a gem but may not be so great in person!).

Anyway, when it comes to places like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods there’s kind of a happy medium, because the store isn’t filled with dozens of one particular item, so the “thrill of the find” element is still there, but returns and exchanges are also super simple, eliminating the uncertainty that many people experience when thrifting.

I say all this because…drumroll, please…I’ve noticed lately that TJ Maxx (or TJ Maxx online, which I browse pretty frequently because they send out tons of emails!), has been filled with tons of pieces that look like Serena and Lily items (like, scarily so…) but are priced at so much less. I’ve rounded up some of my favorites to share with you guys (some of which I’ve ordered already), and you’ll have to let me know what you think! Honestly, these are just a few of the similar items I noticed–there are tons more! This throw is very Serena and Lily, for example, and better yet, it’s an amazing price.

As for my TJ Maxx roundup:

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Chair//Wicker lamp//Dyed ottoman//Candle pillars//Moroccan pouf//Woven basket 

As for the prices, the chair is $300, the lamp is $50, the ottoman is $60, the candle holders are $40, the pouf is $100, and the basket is $50.

GRAND TOTAL = $600 (still a lot for a “discount” store, but less than the cost of the ONE CHAIR below!)

Now onto Serena and Lily:

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Chair//Wicker lamp//Dyed ottoman//Candle pillars//Moroccan pouf//Woven basket 

And the prices this time (not including any added handling fees, for simplicity’s sake)…the chair is $678, the lamp is $248, the ottoman is $598, the candle holders are $188 (for a small), the pouf is $498, and the basket is $78 (for a small).

GRAND TOTAL = $2,288 (I’ll let that number speak for itself).

Thoughts:

First of all, isn’t it crazy how much the products look alike?! TJ Maxx definitely copies well-known designers, but I didn’t realize Serena and Lily was so high up on their radar.

Secondly, I know there’s a lot to be said for quality over price (it’s not worth it to buy something cheap just because and have it fall apart a few months later), but the prices for most of the Serena and Lily pieces just aren’t realistic (I’d rather spend $678 on a flight to Europe than on a single chair!). Most of the TJ Maxx pieces I’ve owned have been just fine in terms of quality, and while I am happy to splurge on a S&L piece (well, some of them–and the stools were a pretty good price all things considered), I definitely wouldn’t pay $500 for something like a pouf that isn’t going to be a “forever piece.”

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Pink Tuckernuck Scarf

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I just posted a few weeks ago about how much I love my orange Tuckernuck scarf, and while I was in Florida, I broke out the pink one (I also own two additional colors!). These scarves are extremely versatile and make a bold statement on their own–in these pictures, I just had a plain navy top and jean jacket on and the scarf did the rest!

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In this post, I’m also wearing a few of my other outfit staples–a fitted jean jacket and black skinny pants, both of which are from LOFT. The exact style of pants is no longer available online, which is so frustrating–I purchased these a year or so ago and hate when companies change their offerings (because we all know how difficult it is to find that perfect pair of pants in the first place!). So if any of you have recs for flattering work pants that aren’t baggy (i.e.: not dress pants) but also aren’t skin tight, send ’em my way because I’m all ears (you can’t really tell in the photos, but this particular pair of black pants is getting a little faded/worn, so I may need to find some replacements!).¬†As for the jean jacket, it’s held up great over the past several years. I love how it can dress an outfit down a bit if needed–I wore it over a lace dress for a night out this summer and it was the perfect way to mix fancy and laid-back. I know some people find jean jackets a bit too ’90s, but I love them!

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Silk Scarves

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I realized that while I posted this picture on Instagram a few weeks back, I didn’t share it on here, and I love this scarf so much that I couldn’t gloss over it on the blog! I became a big scarf wearer when I studied abroad in Scotland in college and was constantly picking up new ones at the stores there (oh hey, Primark!) and during my travels. I’ve had to pare down my collection a bit over the years but still can’t resist picking up new pieces when I come across something truly versatile…like¬†this Tuckernuck scarf (note that the pattern available on the website right now is a bit different than the one I’m wearing; the company changes up their offerings depending on the season, so my guess is this exact one will be back next summer/fall!).

I grabbed this scarf at Tuckernuck’s summer in-store sale, and it was only $20 or so, which was such a steal, but even full price at $48, they’re still pretty reasonable. Several of my blogger friends own this orange one, and a few months ago,¬†I picked up the same style in pink, which is great for summer/warmer climates. Above is how I styled the scarf for Thanksgiving dinner at a family friend’s house–it wasn’t too dressy of an affair, but I also wanted to add a pop of color to my otherwise neutral outfit, so the scarf was the perfect solution!

If you’re in the market for a silk scarf, I highly recommend this one (several bloggers even turned these into tops over the summer, as they’re pretty big!), but I’ve also rounded up a few of my other faves:

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Your Holiday Travel Guide

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Thank you to my coworker, Melissa, for suggesting this blog post idea! I stayed put for Thanksgiving but will be traveling to Florida for Christmas and can’t wait to get out of the cold and spend some time with my family and grandmother. We’ve been celebrating Christmas in Florida for the past several years, and it always feels kind of funny putting up at tree in a warm climate, but I’m definitely not complaining!

I keep backups of basic makeup and hair products in Florida so that I don’t have to pack too much when I travel, but there are always little things that would have been handy to bring that I always seem to forget…my mom is convinced that I do this on purpose so that I have an excuse to go shopping, which I promise isn’t true! It just goes to show that no matter how many times you travel to a given place, it isn’t guaranteed that you’re a packing master (also, side note–does anyone else begin packing for a trip days–or even a week–in advance? I’ve always done this because I enjoy packing and hate putting things off until the last minute, but I’ve recently come to realize that I’m definitely not in the norm!).

Whether you’re packing a week before or the night before, have traveled somewhere 20 times or just once, I’ve put together a guide of a few must have products to take with you when you hit the road.

This faux-leather bag¬†by Sole Society is my latest travel obsession. I was lucky enough to snag it a few weeks back when it was on sale for just $50, but even at its current price, it’s still an amazing deal. I used it when I went home for Thanksgiving and it held a ton and is said to be pretty mark-resistant (which is must if you’re traveling on trains or airplanes and will be setting your bag who knows where!).

It’s vacation, so hopefully you can take a break from your daily makeup routine! Believe me when I say that Glossier’s boy brow is a total game changer. I started buying the brown shade back in April or so and am on my fourth or fifth bottle by now…oops! I love that it darkens my brows just enough without making them look unnatural, and it does a good job of shaping them, too. My face truly looks more “awake” when I’m wearing the product, if that makes sense. Order it, you’ll thank me later!

Speaking of makeup, maybe you’re taking a day trip and don’t want to bring your entire bag of products along in your tote. Pocket Palette, which I wrote about a few weeks ago, is an amazing solution. Each Palette comes with single-use portions of mascara, lip/cheek stain, and BB cream so that you can easily apply touchups and then toss the empty packaging once you’re done! Read more about the product in this post–it’s available on Amazon Prime and makes a great stocking stuffer.

As I mentioned last week, I recently saw Michelle Obama speak in DC and loved every second, so now I need to scoop up her book (it’s on my Christmas list!) to complete my Michelle experience. Regardless of your preferred genre, bringing a book (or several) on vacation is a must! Even if you don’t end up reading more than a few chapters, it’s way cheaper to find something ahead of time than pay $20 for an airport hardback that you’ll never look at again. I always do a ton of reading when I’m down in Florida and assume this time will be no different!

I’m weird and basically live in sunglasses but find that many of my friends forget to pack them when we travel! This tortoiseshell pair is super cheap on Amazon and may be calling my name…I’ve ordered other pairs of sunnies on Amazon and have been suprisingly happy with the quality.

Ok, moccasins aren’t an essential, but they’re such a fun luxury to have on hand when traveling. Wear them on the plane to keep your feet cozy or bring them to walk around the Airbnb.

I always travel with some kind of bar just because you never know where you’ll be when hunger strikes! I often eat Rx bars for breakfast or as an afternoon snack when I want something that’s filling enough without being overpowering. The mint chocolate chip flavor is my personal favorite!

Lastly, I always like packing a reusable bag with me when I travel in case I accumulate extra items on the trip (which is even more likely during the holiday season!). Stash one in your purse or suitcase without sacrificing valuable space.

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Gift Guide: Holiday-Themed Products

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I’m BACK with my normal collage-style gift guides–my computer has been having a lot of issues and I couldn’t access Photoshop, which was such a bummer because I mainly downloaded it to use for product collages this time of year! I love reading all types of gift roundups but think it’s so much easier when you can actually visualize the products being described without having to click on link after link (bear with me as I re-teach myself how to make these look aesthetically pleasing!).

Today, I’m rounding up the best seasonal-themed gifts for the person in your life who just can’t get enough of this time of year.

Sleep mask: The message on this sleep mask is perfect for your friend who can’t get enough of Christmastime.

Holiday pillow: A necessary seasonal touch for her living room couch.

Mr. and Mrs. glasses: This would be the perfect hostess gift for the newlyweds in your life.

Pineapple stocking holder: Everyone loves a gold pineapple figurine…the fact that they exist in stocking holder form is just perfect.

Striped stocking: Pop a bottle of wine into a fun stocking like this one for a unique take on a hostess gift.

Seasonal candle: It seems like no one can get enough of Boy Smells candles, and this one sounds amazing.

Cocktail napkins: A witty message is always essential.

Plaid blanket: This (majorly marked down!) blanket would be the perfect secret Santa gift.

Candle set: Gift all four or split up the set and cross multiple people off your list at once!

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My Latest Home Tour Obsession

Umm, ok. This home is truly too good to be true. If this woman ever moves out, I’m moving in and taking over (I always thought it would be awesome to run an inn anyway…but this gorgeous attic apartment above the B&B makes me want to do so even more. You guys know how much I LOVE attics!).

I was browsing Apartment Therapy earlier this week and immediately fell in love with this feature. The space definitely has similar elements to my own attic room, but it’s gigantic and has such a luxurious closet and bathroom (my shower is teeny tiny and barely big enough for me…no room for a tub!). Without further ado, I’ll post a sampling of some of my favorite photos below (but you have to promise me you’ll go and check out the whole tour!). I’m often browsing Pinterest for attic-like spaces anyway, as I love to see what other people have done with similar rooms, so this feature was especially exciting to come across.

Between the abundance of plants, the tucked away bedroom, the gorgeous gold perfume tray, and that cozy-looking living room, I’m SOLD.

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Photos by Jacqueline Marque for Apartment Therapy 

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