From House To Home

1. Used furniture is your best friend

Most of us twenty-somethings don’t have the money to afford the world’s most amazing Pottery Barn table, despite the fact that we covet it on a daily basis. However, used furniture can really be your best friend – especially when you’re trying to save money. Do you have any friends or relatives moving? Maybe you can snag their bedroom set, dining table and chairs, or office desk. Even better, become a Craigslist expert or a estate sale maven and get the pieces that really stand out to you on the cheap. I just bought a mirror for $40 from an antique store, Wayfair sells them for $150.

2. Use your resources

Chances are good that you have a friend or family member who dabbles in art, photography, sculpture, woodworking, or another creative trade. Use your resources! Find someone who’s willing to lend you a few photo prints to put up on your walls or help you create a beautiful piece of furniture. It makes your home feel warm and even more personal.

3. Display photos creatively

If you just had a wedding (or if you’ve just been in a lot of weddings), you probably have a ton of friend and family photos to display. While it’s easy to just buy a standard frame collage from Target, you can take it one step further and display your photos creatively. Design an original photo collage including other keepsakes, with different size and shape frames all in the same color, for instance. Or if you want to get really crafty, take the Pinterest route. I store all my loose photos in an old cigar box. (See below).

4. Add unexpected pieces

Ceramic artichokes? Giant jax bookends? Yeah, I didn’t expect to have them in my house either. But they look awesome and they are great conversation starters. We have built-ins that I obsessed over for months on how to decorate but I slowly just started buying pieces that I really loved.

5. Take it one Pin at a time

Pinterest is both the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to a budding Do-It-Yourself blogger. Start small by taking one project that you love on Pinterest and making it on your own. Oh, and Easy Ikea Hacks usually take about five times as long to complete as you think they will. Stupid Allen wrenches…

6. Paint everything

Here’s where Pinterest wins the Internet: painting everything. I live for spray paint, glass paint, acrylic paint… you name it, I’ve painted it. Whether it’s a bookshelf or a $3 frame, everything looks better with a fresh coat of paint to match your color scheme (or adding a pop of color, but we’ll get to that later).

7. Decorate your front door

Remember that old wreath that your grandparents used to hang on their front door? While it was probably pretty cheesy and a little outdated, decorating your front door is one of the easiest ways to make your house feel welcoming to guests.

8. Frame it

When in doubt, frame it. Target always has frames on clearance, and I like to refer to Ikea as the mecca of frames, often for those that cost $10 or less. Garage and estate sales  are also amazing places to rifle through boxes of old picture frames. I’ve framed photos, thank you cards, magazine ads, scrapbook paper, posters, and more – everything looks better in a frame, including our giant mirror in the bathroom. Molding can also “frame” a lot in your house to give you those clean lines.

9. Start from scratch

There’s something extremely rewarding about starting a project completely from scratch. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be fun and so fulfilling to have a finished product to enjoy.

10. Add color. Everywhere.

When decorating, so many designers use white in their color schemes. I personally don’t like white (or black for that matter) as a main color on which I base any design or decorating scheme. I’m not an interior designer, but I love a good pop of color like a bright area rug or even a bright colored accent wall. Color, especially in accents like curtains, art, and pillows, can warm up a room and make you feel right at home.

11. You’ll make mistakes

This is the most important DIY tip of all time. You will probably hate some of the projects that you create. You might destroy something mid-process that was kind of expensive. You might end up throwing a hammer into a bookshelf, or setting off the smoke alarm when trying to remove a mirror from the wall . Either way, DIY is a creative process: there’s ups and downs, so don’t be afraid to take the leap and take the time to see it through. Because you might be able to salvage even the worst of creations.

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Remodeling Is Terrible

I have been Joanna Gaines-ing my home for the past two weeks and my poor living room has taken a brunt of the beating. From new wall colors to rustic fixtures, I’ve become obsessed with everything down to the flowers I want in my new vases. Little did I know all this would come into play with remodeling a large portion of my home.

The Devil is in the Details

It’s worth splurging on things you use every day: beautiful coat hooks, a handsome toilet paper holder, high-quality cabinet pulls in the kitchen, architectural heating vent covers. I’m often surprised that people skimp on these details (I’ve been in lavishly decorated homes and noticed plastic light switch covers and cheesy cheap heating vent covers). Especially if you live in a small apartment and don’t need to buy multiples of these items; spend a bit more and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how often you appreciate something as seemingly unimportant as a toilet paper holder.

Measure Before You Buy

We have an office in our house that just needed, something. Whether it be a chair or table, there is just something missing. I was out one day looking at Estate Sales and came across a mini loveseat! Well one look and I fell in love, so I put in a bid and won. Later that afternoon there sits the loveseat, stuck on our second landing. As the old [newly adapted by me] saying goes, my eyes were bigger than my stomach because there was no way that “mini” sofa was fitting though the hallway let alone the door! So there is sits in the furniture boneyard that is our dining room.  Remember to measure halls AND doorways because you might be able to get the thing up a set of steps but that doesn’t mean it’ll fit though the frame.

Think About Upkeep

A friend of mine stained her wood floors a dark espresso shade and immediately regretted it; every speck of dust shows (not to mention hair, lint, just about anything). Another example is when I used white grout on my white tiled bathroom floors and I definitely regreted it. I’m actually about to call someone in to change the whole look. Open shelves in the kitchen are a great choice if you’re very organized and live in a Pinterest fantasy world; otherwise I’d go for deep drawers for dish storage. Also if your home is old [like mine], don’t use a matte or a flat paint; go for an eggshell or a low-luster sheen that is easier to clean and hides all the valleys years of life have done to your walls.

Internet Shopping

You should make at least a couple of trips to a showroom to look at surfaces and to check out counter-tops, flooring options, etc. The more homework and research you do, the happier you’ll be with the end result. I wouldn’t choose any big budget item (kitchen counter-tops, wood flooring, appliances) without seeing it in person. Nothing substitutes for old-fashioned legwork. Home renovation mistakes are expensive; it’s all about research, research, research to avoid making them. And don’t forget the reviews don’t lie!

Go With the Flow of Your Home

Some people can pull off wearing a pair of high-top sneakers with a tuxedo, it can also go horribly wrong. Houses are the same way. Can an ultramodern kitchen in a Victorian brownstone work? Absolutely, but make sure you can pull it off. This is not to say a house can’t evolve with the times. There are no hard and fast rules — just get to know your house, live in it and do your research before you pull out the sledgehammer.

Do It Right

Don’t skip any steps. Do your baseboards need to be caulked? Did you wipe down the walls? Do it the right way, right away.You shouldn’t avoid your prep work. You want to take the time to do it poperly from the beginning. It’s a horrible, tedious process, and nobody likes it, but it saves so much time later on down the way. And that’s what you’re trying to do: save yourself money and time.

Comment below with your best renovation advice! I’d love to hear it and pass along the wealth. We all know that advice is needed [whether we take it or not] we can take all the help we can get. For example, make sure if all of the hardware in your kitchen is silver, make sure your door-hinges aren’t brass. So until next time!

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Coffee Table Books

Every now and again there’s a pay-off in betting against the old adage, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Sought-after cover art designs evoke style, wit, intelligence—and sell like hotcakes. Luxe literature in oversized editions and rare, out-of-print gems are the crown jewels to many a stylish vignette or coffee table conversation piece. These artful tomes with their lush, vibrant hues, and poetic graphics, are equally impactful as stand-alone works of art as they are a good read.

While I’d love to adorn my home with literature meant for the most fashionable divas, there is another person in my home who wouldn’t appreciate the fashion aspect over practicality. I love that our home is the perfect representation of who we are as individuals and as a couple. Our living room is adorned with books on topics we both love. Look around and you’ll get a feel for who we are.

Books are wonderful for so many reasons- intellectual stimulation, education, visual delight….and decoration. Yes, books are amazing objects of decor on top of being wonderful to pass time looking at and reading. The two things that most liven up and add depth to spaces are plants and books. So here are 15 great books that are interesting to read and are AWESOME for your decor too.

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What are your favorite books? Comment below! I’d love to add to our collection!

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The Green-Eyed Monster

There’s a disease that practically all of us are struggling with, whether we openly admit it or not. It’s something no one talks about in Health class or even over mimosas between close friends at brunch. But it’s real and sometimes completely debilitating. It creeps up when you least expect it. You’ve just been quietly perusing Instagram or get a text from a friend and BAM, it completely washes over you.

It’s jealousy.

It’s seeing a stunning girl on Instagram causally laughing while holding her iced coffee and you think “Why I can’t I look like that?” It’s looking at her tagged stores for her minimalist-chic outfit, mimicking her effortless poses, and deciding that she has a life that is more satisfying than any life will ever live. And the fact of her impeccable filtering skills and apparently having an on hand photographer, doesn’t even cross your mind.

It’s seeing someone from high school post on Facebook about their new promotion at work that they just found out while vacationing in Aruba. It’s clicking through page after page of their life and coming to the conclusion that even though you are not living it, it’s absolutely better than your own life.

It’s seeing people from behind the safety of your laptop screen, or your phone, or on the sides of the buses in your city, and wondering, “Why them? Why not me?” And instead of just saying, “Good for them” and continuing on your commute you let it linger in the back of your mind.

And it’s that feeling, those feelings that are the diseases that we’re all plagued by, and holds us back the most. Jealously doesn’t look good on anyone.

When you see a person and instantly get a little envious, it’s because you’re only seeing the successes. You don’t see the failures. You don’t see the rejected ideas or the promotions they didn’t get. You don’t see the forty photos they discarded because they were self-conscious about their thighs or a wrinkle in their forehead. You don’t see the people that don’t text them back or others that make- the same people you are envious of- question their own self-worth.

Social media doesn’t help these jealous feelings. Facebook/Instagram for my generation seems to be a platform to “show off” all that you’ve done and all the exciting things that are happening in your life. You know it’s true, that the people who use social media as a passive aggressive or crazy way to talk about negative issues become the hot topic in your besties group texts. I’ve had friends not post engagements on social media and people we haven’t seen in 7 years immediately ask why it wasn’t posted to Facebook… 2016 is weird.

You let those nasty, ugly, gross feelings push you, and ultimately motivate you to be the best person you are capable of being. The world is filled with amazing people.  If you travel the world, you will find a multitude of gorgeous ones, successful ones, ones with incredible style, others with incredible resources, or some in possession of something that you want and don’t have — even people who seem to have an inexplicable magnetic pull on amazing things without putting in any effort. Everyone has individual preferences and ambitions; a personal dogma. You can’t ever be everything to everyone, and what some people love about you, others might hate. So what’s the point in being jealous of a particular person, if their great quality is just a matter of opinion?

Instead of looking at someone’s selfie and then spending hours in front of the mirror hating your pores, run a mile, go on a hike or even walk around the block and realize how amazing it is that you have a body that can carry you that far. Instead of seeing the news of someone’s promotion and feel stuck in your own professional life, push yourself to make an advancement in your own career path no matter how big or small. Instead of staring at someone and wallowing in your own shitty jealous feelings, recognize that they’re simply human who did something worthwhile with their time and move on.

Jealousy is a weakness, and is only something that makes you unhappy and takes away your glow. No matter how amazing you are, there will always be someone who is better looking than you, smarter than you, more talented than you, more successful than you, and better off than you. By being jealous, you’re only hurting yourself. Be the person in someone’s life that builds others up, is their biggest cheerleader or simply tells you when you look nice that day. If you have a Green Eyed Monster of a friend- think long and hard if the relationship is beneficial in your life.

At the end of the day, we all are affected by negative feelings from time to time. But it’s not those feelings that define us; it’s what we do after. It’s how we channel that energy to be better that says what kind of person we will be. And even if this only helps a little, you should know that you’re probably the person someone else is jealous of from time to time. Whether you choose to see it or not.

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Peep Toe Booties: Under $150

I have to admit, shoes like this used to really confuse me. Are they booties, or are they sandals? Do you wear them in cold or warm weather? But then I purchased a pair of peep toe booties (here), and I think I have found my new favorite shoe! Here’s why- they blur the lines of shoes and seasons, so it gives you more flexibility. This makes them the perfect shoe during “trans-seasonal” times of the year!

They don’t make sense if it’s freezing out (your toes would freeze), and they don’t make sense if it’s scorching (your ankles would sweat). But throughout the rest of the year, you can wear them! Think about it… your big winter boots can only be worn during really cold months, right? Well, since these are a combination of a bootie and a sandal, they can be worn during different seasons!

Well gals, now we need to come up with a good name for them! They are typically referred to as a peep toe bootie, but we could come up with something so much better! What about sandootie, bootal, sootie? Keep me updated on your progress!

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|| Chinese Laundry || Macy’s || Dillard’s || Steve Madden ||
|| ASOS || Urban Outfitters || TOPSHOP || Miss Guided ||
|| Zappos.com || Nordstrom || Lyst || Charlotte Russe ||

Comment below with pictures on how you style these crucial spring booties! Or tag them on Instagram using #TOGbooties. Remember ladies, you don’t need Louboutins on your feet to be fabulous.

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Some of the Most Underestimated Feelings

Having multiple generations around the table during a holiday dinner

Social media and cell phones that allow us to keep up to date with people we no longer get to see every day. We don’t always use this to our advantage but the option is still there, so don’t forget to check in!

Good neighbors, people who genuinely look out for you. It is so easy to shut people out and make enemies. Remember when your neighbors had you key and would watch your house for you?

Remembering that you have a whole tub of ice cream in the freezer, like I just did last night

You can listen to all of your favorite music at the touch of a button.

The ability to have a strong debate with someone but it not end in tears or shouting. Just two people hearing each other out, even if they never will agree.

That first big snow fall that happens on the weekend so you are literally stuck inside all day with your family and loved ones. You spend all day watching movies, baking and napping!

Looking in the mirror and realizing you look way better than you thought you did

Having a warm place to watch the snow or rain fall and hopefully this same place is full of love

Seeing the kids you grew up with, develop into some people incredible people. You can see all that they have to offer the world.

Fresh pastries, especially when the Krispy Kreme man drops them off at the local convenient at 2am and you are there to meet him

The taste of butter on fresh bread. Also: the taste of an amazing glass of wine

The people you encounter throughout your day who take the extra moment to be kind, to smile, and to make you feel special in this hectic world

Hearing rain pattering again a window pane

Channel surfing all day long

Having a lazy Saturday and taking a long nap

Listening to your favorite song over and over. Finding ‘live’ versions of it on YouTube and listening to those, too

Holding someone’s hand and the little touches that come along with it

The hug you receive from a friend after not seeing them for a long period of time

Friends who know you, the real you in good times and bad

Smelling the inside of an old book

Friends whom you can go months or years without seeing, but you can pick right up from where you left off

Receiving a hand written letter

Sitting on the porch while it rains and enjoy the symphony of nature

The smell of fall coming

Stepping on really crunchy leaves

Packing for a vacation and traveling to your destination

Having people wish us a happy birthday and send us a few kind words, even if it seems like little effort on their part. Everyone likes to be thought of especially when you see how many people you have touched in life, even if just in a brief moment

Breathing in the steam from your favorite cup of tea

Going into a restaurant when they finally start to know your order and feeling like Norm in Cheers!

So remember the little things are all around. It is up to us to choose if we want to see them or pass them by. Lastly, just enjoy life and the people you were blessed to share it with. We may not like the cards we were dealt but it is up to us to make the most of them.

Things Men Don’t Understand About Women

Anything can be made into a social situation

Peeing, shopping, it doesn’t matter, we need this time for ourselves to gossip, talk about makeup and do other shallow things. Since our minds are always racing, we need to be able to express ourselves to one another at any given time!

When we say we’re fine but we ARE NOT

We want other to figure out if something’s wrong. It’s not that we don’t want the help, we just get too tired and too upset to explain why. And honestly sometimes we don’t even know why because it’s a terrible combination of all things that upset us.

Why does it take so long for you to get ready?

I wish all men had to try shaving half their body every time they were getting ready to go out along with washing, drying and styling from head to toe. I’m pretty low key on the make-up front but that doesn’t mean I don’t try on 13 different outfits only to put on my sweats and stay home. And honestly, being in a long term relationship, I like coming downstairs and hearing him say “you look pretty!”. Thanks! I showered AND combed my hair!

Sometimes my shoes hurt and I complain

I would wear minimal clothing in the winter and freeze my little tush off. I wear shoes that make my feet swell and the only way I can take off my jeans is to literally have them pulled off my body. I like wearing my favorite clothes out. All week long I rock my dress pants and blazers so the weekend is my runway. Let me wear my backless sideboob tank with heels that are bigger than my head.

You try on everything

The other day I bought my boyfriend a button-down shirt. I see him walk in to the bathroom where I was getting ready and he looked at me all annoyed. “It doesn’t fit.” It didn’t matter because I kept the receipt! Chalk one up for me! But wait, he ripped the tag off and the store I bought it from requires the tag. THIS SENARIO RIGHT HERE IS THE REASON ALL CLOTHES ARE TRIED ON! So there the shirt still sits, unworn and too small.

Talking on the phone

“Before I dated you, I never spent more than 5 minutes on the phone!” Girls have the ability to talk all day at work, on the way home in the car and all night long. I have a God given gift to be able to talk for hours upon hours on end and not repeat myself.

When we “fight” with our friends

When we fight with the only female we can talk to about anything in the world, the next in line is our manfriend. So yes we are looking for you to just agree with us no matter what. Whatever “issue” we are getting mad about just calm us down. Because sometimes throwing even the tiniest bit of fuel on the fire will burn down the whole damn forest.

“What are you crying about?”

No man would dare ask this question aloud but he sure as hell thinks it every time you spontaneously burst into tears. Some women (like myself) have the ability to just sit and cry. From everything to a movie or something that happened during the day, we can burst into tears over a garden variety of nonsense. Don’t ask, just walk away.

Your “Girls Night Out” clothes

You never hear your boyfriend talk about shoes that make their legs look bigger or shirts that accentuate their pecks! So how could they possibly understand that we have different attire when it’s a special occasion? To prove my point, when have you ever heard him say “God, I get this great pair of fuck me slacks from Sears”?

So many products

My boyfriend uses an all in one shampoo/conditioner/ body wash. I have lotion for my legs and a different one for my face. I have two different types of conditioner (one’s purple for my blonde hair for those judgey bitches) plus all of my makeup and perfumes. This is not including my styling products and nail polishes. If I didn’t live with him there would be, in total two bottles of products he would need to get ready.

How We Smell Good

One of my best friends lives with her girlfriend and does understand why my bedroom always smells! Well I live with a man and they are smelly. From their shoes to their pits, they stink like sweat and Subway with a mix of cologne. Women, at times smell, but nowhere near on the same level as a man. For the most part I smell like pomegranate or lavender, except after boxing when my hands smell like death.

Forever 21

There are a handful of stores that Donnie is just confused/annoyed/overwhelmed by and Forever 21 is at the top of his list. Here are some things he has directly said and had full conversations with me about:
“Yikes”
“I wonder if they have an accountant, because it appears they have an inventory management problem.” (He’s a CPA)
“If we placed Wyatt (our dog) in the middle of this store, he’d have an anxiety attack for fear of never finding his way out.”

The Gym

Girls look like they just stepped out of a fitness catalog (for the most part) when they go to the gym. With our tight, printed leggings and sweat licking tanks we are on a totally different level than men. You have your raggedy ass sweats on with the broken elastic- killin’ it fellas.

Instagram and My Blog

He’s my photographer and editor but doesn’t understand it. I take an obscene amount of pictures and obsess over my blog. It’s my passion (right now) and my followers don’t give two shits about what I had for lunch but I don’t like my outfit today, so that’s what they’re seeing. So yes, before I take a sip of an adorably decorated coffee or bite into my cupcake, I snap a pic. Why? Because my tasty dessert costs $10 and I want at least 25 likes to warrant the price.

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These Are My People

Best friends are those people that will always be by your side no matter what you do or how you act. They are the ones who help build your confidence to prepare you for the world ahead. They are the ones who let you know no matter what, you will never be alone. No matter the men or women that come into our lives, they will stand strong next to us.
Going out with your girlfriends is the best! From getting ready to dancing the night away, they just make everything better. They can fix a bad week, a fight with a boyfriend or just show you that you can still hang like you are in college.

Moving home after college I was extremely lost. I was thrown into a new world with added responsibility. One day I am singing karaoke with dollar beers then I’m going on interviews and trying to hide my inexperience of business with my whit and sharp tongue. There was one constant in my life that would never change and that was my best friends. The people who would never let me walk alone or let me feel that I was less then perfection. They are the people who tell me how it is whether I want to hear it or not..

I will never forget sitting in the car in high school, the world at our feet, my best friend looked at me and told me she had to tell me something. I came back with “we don’t judge in this car” and that has held true nine years later. No matter what I told them, no matter how many times they picked me up when I hit rock bottom, they were there.

Then I went away to college! That’s right my parents wanted me to leave my friends to make new ones! They told me “it would be good for me” and “I needed it”. ARE THEY NUTS?! I have everyone I need right here! I don’t need to go to college and I DON’T need new friends. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong. The people I met in college changed my life forever. They helped mold me into the person that I am today. But here is the kicker, the people I consider my best friends, old and new, never wanted to change me. They knew I was anal, talkative, sensitive and bold, but our personalities made each other better people.

In college, so many hours were spent talking until dawn about our dreams, goals, fears and life in general. Yes! of course vodka was involved but it made the conversation flow. We would talk about everything from our children’s names, to politics, to why blue is really “my color”. No conversation was ever left unturned.

I don’t know how people go through life without a best friend. Without that person to rely on, to always be there even if you don’t talk every day. I can honestly say my best friends know EVERY gritty detail about my life. They also know when you’re lying and bullshitting people. They don’t call you out on it, they let it ride, until you get in the car. They’re the ones who will help bail you out of any situation that involves the local police department.

I guess I just wanted to say thank you to all of those people out there who have helped mold me into the person I have become. And to my best friends who were there through it all and loved for me all my quirks (that is a polite way of putting it!) Just remember life is too short not to enjoy every day. So go out there hang out with the girls, leave the phones and guys at home and have a night about you!

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