Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

When it comes to home decorating, no detail is too small! Image via Apartment Therapy.
When it comes to home decorating, no detail is too small! Image via Apartment Therapy.

I have a bit of a furniture addiction. I think I shop for furniture the way other people shop for clothes (as in: too frequently, and sometimes a bit impulsively). I found some great deals while living in Philly, but since I didn’t have a car, things sometimes got a bit tricky (to the couple in South Philly who hoisted a campaign-esque shelf down two floors with a rope and then helped me place it in an Uber, thank you). But I rarely regret a purchase and generally have a vision for how I’d like to style it. And getting a good deal is always important. The situation I describe below was no different.

This past spring, I came across two adorable bamboo pieces (one nightstand, one dresser) on Craigslist for pretty affordable prices. I thought they would look great painted (of course that would have to wait until I was living somewhere other than in my tiny Philadelphia studio), but hey, I had a vision! I went ahead and purchased the nightstand as soon as I saw it listed, but I couldn’t rationalize buying the dresser as well at that time. Luckily, I ended up staying in touch with the seller over the next couple of months. But when I finally decided I was ready to purchase the dresser, she told me that actually, she wasn’t ready to sell! So I waited. Then one day she texted me and we negotiated the price down a bit more (even though she had received several full price offers, she could tell how much I loved the piece and wanted it to go to a good home–plus she figured that since I already had the nightstand, it may be beneficial for me down the road to have both items as a set). In this case (but definitely not normally, especially when it comes to Craigslist) patience was a virtue!

SO. Now that I’ve gotten the backstory out of the way….This weekend I’m embarking on a bit of a DIY project. Both of the bamboo pieces are sort of a yellow/light wood color that looks fine but isn’t exactly the look I’m going for. I had heard about Annie Sloan chalk paint after doing some googling, and even though I would love more of a lacquered look, it just seems too complicated. And sending the pieces out to get them painted would cost nearly three times as much as I paid for the dresser alone, yikes! So Annie Sloan chalk paint it is. I’m hoping to use a few coats of the Napoleonic Blue to get the look pictured below. Can’t wait to share the finished product!

The dresser I purchased kind of looks like this one, only mine is half the size!
The dresser I purchased kind of looks like this one, only mine is half the size!

Have any of you done a DIY with chalk paint? Would love to hear your tips!

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DIY “Press for Champagne” Craft

Loving my finished product!
Loving my finished product!

So, I have been obsessed with these adorable Press for Champagne frames for quite awhile, but after having searched Etsy multiple times, I have never been able to find one that’s both cute and in my price range (though if I had an extra $75 to spend on a necessary unnecessary piece of home decor, I’d totally scoop up this one).

After reading a few DIY tutorials (this one is awesome, and I modified it a bit to make mine), I decided to go ahead and make my own sign for cheap. No printer? No worries– I literally printed out the text for the frame at my local library, this is NOT a difficult project! I am thrilled with the final product, even if it didn’t go 100 percent as planned.

The frame I ordered from Etsy was less than $10 but smaller than I thought it would be, which meant that the “doorbell” I had picked out would be way too big for the frame. I decided to instead order a cute button (also from Etsy!) that had detailing in the center so that it could kind of work as a “bell” (go with me here…), and I fastened it to the front of the glass frame using a glue gun. Since the frame I ordered didn’t come with a hook to hang on the wall, I ordered a cheap package of sawtooth hooks from Amazon, which will be perfect when I eventually display this piece by my bar cart.

While I still spent some money purchasing the materials for this project, my total cost was no more than $20-25 total (thanks for charging me a whole dollar to print out ONE piece of paper, library!) and I know this is a piece of art that I’ll be keeping around for awhile!

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Tuesday Tidbits

This sassy pillow is on sale...run, everyone!
This sassy pillow is on sale…run, everyone!

1) These adorable (witty, sassy, on point) needlepoint pillows from Furbish are now ON SALE! Run, do not walk, over to their site, as I’ve never seen these discounted before! I absolutely love how Katey of Chronicles of Frivolity styled hers, as shown above.

2) How cute would the pennant below be in an office? It screams happiness. Use Hobby Lobby’s 40 percent off coupon on their site for an even better deal.

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3) I love anything by Jennifer Close, but the fact that her latest book is about a couple that lives in DC is bound to make it even better! Can’t wait to pick this one up. Has anyone read it yet?

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Tips & Tricks, Take 2

This picture sure isn't helping cure my obsession with decorating...
This picture sure isn’t helping cure my obsession with decorating…

From My Domaine: “This Is What Your Home Décor Obsession Says About You, According to Science,” by Kelsey Clark. You mean there’s an actual reason I can’t get enough of home décor? Hmm!

From Domino.com: “How to have fun at the office when you DON’T have summer Fridays.” I’m thankful that my workplace gives us shorter hours in the summer NOT just on Fridays but all week, woo! However, this is my first time getting any benefit of this type and I can fully relate to the frustration that comes with spending a full Friday indoors when it’s nice out. Not sure what I think about all of these (some seem a little too leisurely for most workplaces), but some of the ideas could be cute for an after-hours work celebration.

From BuzzFeed: “21 Perfect NYC Coffee Shops You Should Visit ASAP,” by James Harness. What’s the point in stopping at Starbucks when there are so many unique places to try? Gotta save this one for my next trip up to NYC—love Happy Bones!

From Kelly in the City: “Life Lately,” by Kelly Larkin. I love Kelly’s blog and the MAC studio fix foundation she mentioned seemed to be calling my name after I read about it! Since I also have fair skin and didn’t want a “cakey” look, I decided to give it a try. After a quick trip to the MAC counter at Nordstrom, I settled on this product—already loving it (now if only I was as good as the workers there are at doing makeup!).

From Love Always Audrey: “DIY Floppy Hats,” by Audrey. This tutorial looks so fun and makes me want to take a trip to the craft store, stat! I don’t know if I would have the patience to make a hat that looks as good as the ones pictured, haha.

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Tips & Tricks, take 1

Talk about a winning morning routine...
Talk about a winning morning routine…

While I hope to share a few of my own tips and tricks along the way, I’m always finding great ones across the web (oh, and as a journalist myself, I’ll always, always include an author’s byline below–gotta give credit where credit is due!). Click the links below and bookmark for later (I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to tips like these, and it’s a great way to file everything in one place!):

From Bustle: “10 Successful Women Share Their Morning Routines,” by Genevieve Fish. Curious as to what the other half does before breakfast? More on the morning routines of Victoria Beckham, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Anna Wintour, right over here.

From The Everygirl: “What Happened to Hobbies,” by Daryl Lindsey. I am so guilty of ending my evening with every intention of diving into a new book, but social media always gets in the way (in fact, I came across this piece linked on Instagram when I was scrolling through the app instead of settling into bed with After You– which I scored for 50 cents at my local thrift shop after almost buying it at full price, I’d like to note!)

From DC Girl in Pearls:Buffalo Roasted Chickpea Wraps,” by Lauren Anne. Ok, I love chickpeas and am always in need of good desk lunches—I work in the suburbs without all of the usual lunch joints in close proximity—so I am hoping to whip up Lauren’s nutritious, affordable meal idea sometime soon!

From The Stripe: “So You’re An Aspiring Cat Lady?” by Grace Atwood. One of those candid columns that’s so good that you immediately have to text the link to your best friend (or at least that’s what I did!).

From Gen Y Girl: “7 Easy Ways Millenials Can Save Money Right Now,” by Kayla Buell. Whether you’re saving for an upcoming vacation, paying off debt, or just trying to spend smarter as a whole, these practical tips are great to keep on file.

 

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On my wishlist…

Thank goodness for Pinterest! While the majority of my pins are dedicated to home decor (my biggest guilty pleasure), I love using it to keep items organized as well. As much as I love the instant gratification of online shopping, it isn’t so great for my wallet (especially as I’m gearing up–and saving up–for a move!). Lately I have started to file away my wants onto a secret Pinterest board, and if they’re still calling my name, I’ll consider taking the plunge when I have the funds. Here are a few things on my board–what do you think, yays or nays?

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I’ve been wanting to purchase a S’Well bottle for awhile, and THIS ONE HAS DONUTS. Seriously, my friends who have S’Well bottles guard them with their lives…but $24+ seems a bit hefty for a water bottle at the moment…

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How cute are these headphones? I love basic earbuds for my workouts, but I’m constantly misplacing them and watching them break after only a few weeks of use. These seem like the perfect touch as I listen to my Podcasts on my commute!

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I’ll be the first to tell you that I have way, way, way too many coffee mugs. But IF I were to add one more to my collection, this would be it.

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Society6 has the best prints, and they frequently offer discount codes–I just haven’t pulled the trigger on this adorable pillow cover yet!

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You got that…where?!

I’ve found recently that the best home decor often comes from unexpected places. For example, I’ve found some Craigslist gems in the past couple of months (a few pieces of bamboo furniture, gold nightstands with glass pieces, and more- I’ll do a full post soon!). I’ve also found some awesome pieces at Goodwill and other thrift stores, you’ve just gotta be patient and something great will come your way! However, that’s not to say that you can’t stumble across unexpected finds on the web…for example, did you know that:

TJ Maxx sells Moroccan poufs?! For a discount store, these pieces are still on the pricy side, but how cute are they? Just act quickly, as stores like this often change out their inventory frequently (as if you need another reason to make an impulse buy…#sorry). Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 8.46.21 PM

Oh, and TJ Maxx also sells Foo Dogs for CHEAP. These babies can go for hundreds of dollars on sites like One Kings Lane, but two for $12.99? Score! I should also mention that you get free shipping on your first TJ Maxx online order with an email signup.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 8.49.14 PM.png

The Paper Source sells banana leaf storage boxes?! A sturdy box in a fashionable print? Sold. I picked up the “extra large” one of these the other day (it’s not really that large, it’s like the size of a big shoebox) and absolutely love it! I personally think it’s a great size for storing stationery and other items and adds a pop of color to any room, plus it’s so #ontrend.

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Ok, last one for now…if you read and loved Paris versus New York, you’ll recognize these illustrations …how fun is it that they’re for sale? I like this one the most, so clever!

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Housewarming Gifts + How to Stay in Touch with Long Distance Friends

I am very fortunate that I’m still in touch with my close friends from college (10 of us have a Facebook message thread in which we post about our latest job accomplishments, exercise class recs, group vacation ideas, and more!). Unfortunately, though, all of these ladies live in different cities (though some are nearby each other), residing in places such as San Francisco, New York, Madison, WI, and Juneau, AK, to name a few! Hence, the importance of staying in touch! Here are a few of my favorite ways:

Instagram tags: I used to think tagging a friend in a blogger’s or website’s Instagram post was a silly concept, but seriously, everyone and their mother does this. If you see a funny post that reminds you of a friend, tag her in the comments, and I guarantee it will brighten her day next time she logs on. Here’s one that a friend recently tagged me in, so true:

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Snail mail: I don’t trust my friend’s mailperson in NYC, so I send any cards (fun, congratulatory, etc) to her office! It may be good to check with your friend first before doing this to get a sense of what her office mail system is like and to determine whether people frequently receive personal mail. When my friend got a promotion, I had fun writing her new job title on the envelope…it’s the little things, people! Plus, all of my cards are currently jazzing up her desk memo board, making me feel extra popular.

Snapchat: If something exciting happens throughout the day, I’ll frequently send a mass Snapchat to a bunch of friends, which is a quick, non-invasive (see below…) way to inform a group about something fun without having to send a billion different messages.

Group texts: I’m a member of a very active group text with a few girls from my graduate program, and it’s been a blast updating one another on jobs, dating adventures, awkward moments throughout the day, and even discussing our favorite blogs to read, duh! Of course, some people absolutely despise group chats and all of the constant messaging (all of the guys in our friend group have chosen to exit the chat at some point between when we started it in May and now, so maybe we text each other just a little too much).

Now for the next part of this post—housewarming presents! I recently sent a housewarming gift to two of my good friends who moved in together as roommates in New York, and I’ll admit it, I was at first a little stumped about what to send! I was this close to clicking purchase on these initial mugs from Anthropologie, but I wasn’t sure if one of the girls already owned one, plus kitchen space in NYC is so limited anyway that they may not want extra mugs lying around. I then decided to focus on finding something New York or city themed, and after doing some browsing on Etsy, I found an adorable brownstone print, which they love!

If I could shop for housewarming gifts again (and I’m sure I will), here’s what else I’d pick. Not only are these finds cute and likely things she wouldn’t buy herself, they’re also super affordable ($20 or less!):

From TJ Maxx: 

Play up the pineapple trend with this fun figurine, $14.99

A leopard-loving friend will appreciate this quirky throw pillow, $16.99

From World Market: 

Help her jazz up her bathroom area with this cute NYC-themed bar of soap, $5.99

These mugs are perfect for travel fanatics and the stacking system makes them easy to store, $16.99

From Nordstrom Rack: 

Roommates can leave notes to one another on this cute magnetic board, $14.97

throw blanket will help her jazz up that hand-me-down couch, and this one is such a steal at only $13.97

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