Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Apartment Refresh Series, Part 1: Bedroom/Office

I am not the type of person who gets "bored" easily. 

I read, I write, I watch movies, I watch TV, I nap, I play way too much Candy Crush, I write my dissertation, I teach, I eat. I have friends, pets, a boyfriend, a family. How could I possibly get bored with all I have to/want to do?

It annoys me when people say they're "bored."

But that doesn't mean I don't "get tired" of things.

I've lived in my apartment for almost 5 years. A lot of things have changed in those 5 years. I lived with a boyfriend, a fiance, by myself (with a cat), with a roommate, by myself (with a cat and a dog!), and then with a roommate again (and now a roommate, his dog, and his girlfriend, plus my cat and dog!) in those 5 years. So things change pretty often around here. 

But every once in awhile, I think "wow I'm tired of this place."

It's not really feasible to get up and move (month-to-month lease and super cheap rent will trump that desire almost every time), and major remodels are for the ultra-wealthy and, you know, people who don't rent. But even in a rental, and a rental with shared space, there are some mini-refreshers that make a world of difference (and don't cost much!)!

The first place I'm going to feature, and probably the most important place for people who share homes with others, is the bedroom. While my boyfriend stays over sometimes (*puritanical gasp*), it's mostly just me, Petunia, and Oliver in there.

So I can pretty much let my crazy eccentric style run wild!

Definitely the first place I did a "refresh" was my bed. While it's not in my budget right now to get a new mattress, a nice down mattress pad from Bed Bath & Beyond did the trick! I also got some new pillows from Home Goods (Calvin Klein brand), and piled on the blankets, the pillows, and the cozy lighting!

Now I'm usually sharing it with these two, but I'm sure they appreciate the coziness as well - plus pets are great space heaters!

I read in bed every night - I've found that if I don't read any fiction or "non-school" stuff I get a little crazy, so I try to have a novel or something to read in bed.

But if I'm going to read, or knit, or anything really, I usually need more than the holiday lights. So I bought a new lamp!

This Jonathan Adler lamp was on sale at JCPenney, making it an affordable and adorable new addition. I keep a candle by my bed that smells good even when it's not burning (this is a vanilla bean sort of one my mom gave me), a little tray for earrings and hair ties, nail polish (I try to limit it to just one...) and a little mug with lotions in it. I also have a picture of my guy. :) 

I put the books under the lamp to make it taller, but also, you never know when I'll get the urge to read about Vikings in the middle of the night!

Another easy way to update a space is to add some new art!

I got this Zoolander print from my brother for xmas, and I love it. Definitely one of our favorite movies!

My brother's girlfriend Lisa got me this amazing Mad Hatter canvas print, and I'm displaying it with my "Penguins Hate Stuff" book (another gift from my brother) and my fancy "A". And all my nerdy history books, of course.

So art and new bedding and new accessories are a great way to make a bedroom fresh again, but what about when you work in your sleeping space too?

I mean, you really shouldn't.

But sometimes you have to.

I have books all over the house, and I do sit on the couch and work a lot, but sometimes I need a desk, and I always have a rotating supply of books from the library, so I need a work space. 

Luckily, I have a really great desk. It's an antique roll-top with plenty of drawers and storage space and pull-outs.

A clean, organized work area is, for me, about 20% of the battle when it comes to working, especially from home, and especially on something as large and amorphous as a dissertation.

Pretty accessories like these book bookends (hahaha - thanks Francesca's), a sweet little Kate Spade vase with a flower, pretty candles from Anthropologie and Lilly Pulitzer, and fun gifts, like my slinky from a crane machine (thanks Kyle!) and souvenirs, really make this a personalized, but still organized, work space.

(And before anyone asks "OMG on a grad student's salary how can you afford all those brand names!?!?!" - I'll tell you my secrets. Clearance sales at Anthropologie. TJMaxx for Kate Spade and Lilly home stuff. Carefully chosen full price accessories. Quality over quantity people.)

I think it's important to love where you work - the physical environment influences the mental environment!

I even cleaned off my computer's desktop!

Next time, I'll show you my tips (and continuing progress!) for corralling, organizing, and, yes, purging, a large shoe/clothing/handbag/accessories collection in a small space!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Finds: Snow Day Edition

I wish my Friday Finds this week included the sun, warm weather, maybe even a beach.

But, unfortunately, I don't think it will ever get warm again.

So I'm drowning my sorrows in binge watching TV, eating too many carbs, and not getting nearly enough work done!

Here are some of the things keeping me sane this week:

So this show came on last year, and supposedly there's a season 2 in the works. I've seen it, but it's one of those shows that you both want and sort of need to see a couple of times. 

Basically it's Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson being badass detectives with unbelievably flawed lives while hunting for a ritualistic killer (and possible cult) in southern Louisiana.

And also McConaughey talking a lot about a lot of things that make sense sort of kind of.


Jojo Moyes

I'm always looking for great new authors (especially since I'm really close to my 30 by 30 reading goal!) and I picked up Jojo Moyes' The Girl You Left Behind on a whim at Target the other day. I love all the colorful covers, and that's what drew me to the book, but wow, she's good! I've already bought another one of her books, One Plus One, and I can't wait to start it!

From her website

France 1916. Sophie Lefèvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Édouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, she is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait—painted by her artist husband–a dangerous obsession is born, one that will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision.
Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portrait’s true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history. As the layers of the painting’s shadowy past are revealed, Liv’s world is turned upside down all over again, and her belief in what’s right is put to the ultimate test.

Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack

So whatever your feelings about Fifty Shades (I liked the books, really liked the movie, see the writing as bad and some depictions of their relationship as unhealthy but think it does really important things for women in publishing and directing, plus I like the characters it's okay to like what you like), no one can deny that this soundtrack is fantastic.

Annie Lennox singing "I Put a Spell on You"? OKAY.
A remix of "Crazy in Love"? ALL RIGHT.
Sinatra and The Rollings Stones and Ellie Goulding and ALL RIGHT OKAY I'LL BUY IT.

I mean...just listen to "Crazy in Love" in the trailer!


Seriously. It's a great soundtrack.

Potato Soup

So my potato soup is sort of like extra creamy mashed potatoes, topped with bacon, cheddar, and green onions. But I make it in a pot and eat it with a spoon so it's soup, damnit!

It's loosely adapted from this Country Living recipe, and I'll be posting my recipe with pics next week!

Until then I'll be in my house eating all the carbs.

Sorel Waterproof Boots

I bought these boots from Sorel a couple of years ago, and, while this particular color is sold out, all of their boots are quality. They really are waterproof, and they're fun - plus I've been wearing them out to walk Petunia all week and haven't fallen yet!

Victoria's Secret Pajama Pants/Slippers

The most comfortable pajama pants and slippers I've ever worn. Plus they have a ton of great sales going on right now!

Enjoy, and happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

FOTD: Date Night In

So yesterday y'all saw my date night in outfit - today, my date night in makeup!

I think the same conundrum applies to makeup as outfits. You want to be casual, but pretty, with a special look but still looking like yourself. I love makeup, but tend to go very minimal normally - face makeup, blush, bronzer, mascara, eyebrow gel. Maybe some lipstick. 

But for a date night (even one staying in)? It's easy to step up even the most basic makeup routine, without looking overdone or feeling like you have a mask on!

Date Night In Makeup

(Product links at end of the post - I don't make any money off of this, these are just products I really like!)

1. L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Creme. This. Stuff. Is. MAGIC. It's pricey, but so worth it. My skin has improved so much - I have really dry skin, and this helps hydrate it all day, without being oily.

2. I don't always need concealer, but when I do, this is what I turn to. BareMinerals makes some of the best makeup out there, and this concealer doesn't feel cakey, but still gives great coverage.

3. Pressed powder, again by BareMinerals, because I'm a disaster with loose powder! I'm dying to try their liquid and gel foundations, but this is what I had, and it's really good!

4. My BFF Kirby got me this Urban Decay "Flushed" Palette, and I use it almost every day. A swipe of bronzer, a little blush, and some illuminating powder to add a little "flush" and you're good to go!

5. Normally I don't wear eyeshadow. I just am lazy, and I always feel like it takes me way too much time. But this BareMinerals quad is great! This particular set is out of stock, but you can mix and match colors in their stores - a gray and a white shimmer are always good, a gold is more useful than you think, and that shimmery pink color is so great for dates!

6. This mascara warrants its own post, but I got a mini of the new Benefit Roller Lash and HOLY EYELASHES BATMAN.

7. Black eyeliner gets goth real fast. This pretty gray is easier to deal with if you're not an eyeliner pro.

8. The best eyebrow gel there is. I can't draw a straight line to save my life, and this gel is much more forgiving.

9. You're staying in, eating pizza, and hopefully getting kissed. Skip the heavy lipstick.

10. I went with a wine-colored pedicure (far enough away from my shirt to avoid a matchy matchy look) and a pretty pale pink nail polish for my hands.

So see? Nothing scary or high maintenance - just a little extra to show your date that you want to look pretty for you AND them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

OOTD: Date Night In

Whether you've been dating someone for a long time, or are newly coupled up, or are just casually dating, date nights are a fun, nice way to celebrate being together. 

But what to wear?

Ah, the eternal question.

I think this question becomes even harder when the date doesn't have an obvious dress code - we all know what to wear to fancy dinner dates and Grizzlies games and hayrides (or whatever the kids do these days) - but what about a date night in?

It's your house (or his) so you don't want to bust out the fancy because, well, that's awkward. But you also don't want to sit around in sweats and a tank top because you still want to look pretty.

Kyle and I celebrated our one-year anniversary last Friday, so I wanted something special but casual, since we were keeping it really low-key, making pizza and watching movies on my couch.

I really think this is an almost perfect outfit for a date night in!

Date Night In

A cute top (loving this one from Maurices - comfy but also really pretty), with leggings (because we ate a lot of pizza...), flats (that immediately get kicked off for couch time!), and a statement piece - in this case, a pair of pretty, complimentary colored (not matchy) earrings.

I'll have my date night in makeup routine tomorrow!

Red chiffon blouse

Layered top

Kate Spade multi color jewelry