Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Best and Worst Natural Beauty Products of 2013

Just like last year, I've put together a roundup of the best and worst natural beauty and skincare products I used in 2013. I always appreciate when bloggers post on not only what works well for them but also what doesn't, so hopefully this is helpful to you!

For reference (to get an idea if these products may work for you), I'm:

  • Blonde with blue-green-grey eyes and pale skin.
  • I tend to burn easily and then tan. My skin is dry but mystifyingly prone to breakouts. My skin tone is pale and pretty neutral with a slight tendency toward blue undertones (blue-based clothing/makeup look better on me, not yellow-based colors like olive).
  • My blonde hair is fine, previously processed, and prone to greasiness/limpness. It isn't frizzy or easily tangled, and it dries quickly and can hold a curl  but is naturally straight.
  • I don't have rosacea, eczema, etc, although I do have acne and blackheads.

Best Natural Skincare of 2013:
  • Skin Apotheke Ubtan Scrub (my review here) (two-time Best Of winner!)
    • I really loved this scrub until I got some water in the container and mold grew :( However, when I went to buy another I saw that the price had increased from $20 when I first bought it to $32 currently! In my opinion that's too much for this scrub so I'm on the search for another, but I really do love this one.
  • Stark Skincare Cyprus Oil (my review here)
    • My love affair continues with this oil--I'm on my second bottle. It smells divine, adds the perfect amount of dewiness and moisture to my skin, and soothes my skin when it becomes inflamed. When I'm not going anywhere, I'll wash my face and just add this for the day. It's so light and soaks in quickly so I forget I even have it on!
  • Devita Solar SPF 30 Protective Moisturizer (apparently I never reviewed this?!)
    • Holy Grail product! I'm on my third tube of this moisturizer because it's so fantastic. It's perfectly lightweight, not greasy, but really moisturizes. I've mixed mineral foundations with it as a tinted moisturizer, and I like to layer it over Stark's cyprus oil too. I love that it's SPF 30, and it doesn't break me out.
  • Andalou Naturals Glycolic Brightening Pumpkin and Honey Face Mask (my review here)
    • I loved this so much I ran out of it! I thought I'd play around with other masks but I find myself missing this one so I'll probably repurchase it sometime soon. 
  • Badger's Damascus Rose Beauty Balm (my review here) (two-time Best Of winner!!)
    • This balm is a perennial favorite (seriously, it made last year's Best Of list). It's too heavy for me in the summer and during the day, but I love it in the winter as a night cream. It makes a noticeable difference in the moisture of my skin but never causes breakouts. I put this on any time my skin needs a nice drink and I wake up with the softest skin :)
  • Devita's Cocoa and Cappuccino Masque (my review here)
    • I really really loved this mask until it developed mold (booooo!) The above link takes you to their Cappuccino Cocoa mask, which has a slightly different name and different packaging than the product I bought and I'm not sure if they are the same. Either way, I'd rebuy!
  • Andalou Naturals Cleansing Milk:
    • I've been loving this cleansing milk as a nightly facewash. It's super gentle and doesn't dry out my already-dry, sensitive skin. It takes off makeup and face grime easily. The consistency is like a runny lotion--not thick at all, and it spreads easily on the face. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it's getting everything off my face (like my face feels like it should be more 'stripped) but it really does! This doesn't completely conquer my breakouts but it does reduce the prevalence of them. I'm on the lookout for another similarly gentle cleanser than can kick my acne to the curb, but until then I'll continue using this. 
  • Rainwater Botanicals deodorant (my review here)
    • Since discovering this deodorant I think I've gone through 3 sticks. I love the lavender sage and lemongrass scents! I also tried the Jasmine Wind scent but for some reason it was really ineffective for me. I worried that the shop owner had changed the formula but I bought another stick of Lavender Sage and it works just as well as ever. So if you try out this deodorant and it doesn't work for you, try another scent and it may work better! She even has a great sample package so it's easy to find your best fit :)
Best Natural Makeup of 2013:

  • W3LL People Universalist #2 and #8 (my review of #2 here)
    • I love number two "Moonstone Glow" as an illuminator--I put it in the inner corner of my eye, on my cupid's bow, and on my cheekbones for a little extra touch that perks me right up! Number 8 "creamy dusty rose" is a perfect coral/pink color that looks great as a subtle blush. I don't typically use this on my lips but it's designed for both. Since these are cream-based products, I do have to reapply mid-day but it's a pleasure to do so anyway so I don't mind :)
  • Real Purity mascara in navy (not in purple!) (my review here)
    • I really loved this product in navy. It was great at darkening, lengthening, and curling my lashes. It still doesn't hold up to my former 'dirty' mascaras in performance but it's a good everyday staple. 
  • Oh Sudz concealer (my review here) (two-time Best Of winner!!)
    • This concealer continues to be my favorite, especially once I figured out that it's better to blend it with a concealer brush than my fingers. It has lasting power and blends flawlessly into my skin. My stick has lasted all year!
  • Silk Naturals Heavenly mineral glow
    • I bought a sample of this just before Christmas and plan to buy a full size. This glow is essentially a powder blush--it's a gorgeous subtle shimmer and looks very natural brushed across my cheeks. It's perfect for those 'no-makeup' looks and, with a tan in the summer, would make a great replacement for bronzer.

Worst Natural Beauty Products of 2013:

  • Real Purity mascara in violet
    • I'm not sure what went wrong here, since RP's mascara in navy is my current favorite natural mascara. It's like the violet one has an entirely different ingredient list! The violet is much too light, for one--it barely darkens my naturally light-brown lashes. On top of that, the violet version does nothing to lengthen or curl my lashes. At $15 a pop I expect more out of this product and will never repurchase it in this color.
  • Acure organics dry shampoo (my review here)
    • As I stated in my review, this was a rare fail for Acure in my opinion. I love many of their products, but this powder was really ineffective for me. In fact, I returned it and have since just used cornstarch, which is more effective than this product. 
  • Acure Organics Mint Shampoo (my review here)
    • I used to love this shampoo, but somehow over time it lost its efficacy on my hair and I started to notice that my hair looked greasier and greasier after using this. I'm bummed, because it used to be a Holy Grail product for me. I've switched to another tea-tree based shampoo and don't love it, but it performs better than this mint shampoo did at the end. Still on the hunt for a perfect replacement!

What are your favorite products of 2013? Any big fails I should avoid?

Monday, 30 December 2013

Best of I'm Glad I Exist 2013!

It's insane that tomorrow is the last day of 2013--this year flew by! Like last year, I thought I'd post my most popular and/or favorite posts of the year. Here goes!

Most Popular (1,000+ views):

Special thanks to the No More Dirty Looks crowd for stopping by to view this post!

Andalou Naturals Get Started Brightening Kit Review 
Thanks to a 2012 Christmas gift from a good friend, I was able to dabble for the first time in Andalou Naturals...instant love!

One In, One Out: Choosing Skincare Products 
More experience in natural beauty products has led to a different combination of items than what I used when I first started out with natural products. 

Update: I no longer use either of these products. Overall I don't think that the Mad Hippie serum made much of a difference in my skin, and while I liked the Sibu oil I much prefer Stark's Cyprus oil (see link below for my review of the Stark oil!)

My Favorite Posts: Fashion 

Packing a Week's Worth of Business Casual in a Carryon 
An October business trip to LA necessitated a post on how I pack lots of outfits into one small carryon. 

Hot Pink Madness Continues: Flowy Trousers 4 Ways 
Bought 'em, love 'em, have worn all of these outfits already.

Wedding Guest Attire: Remixing Wedding Clothes! 
Here are some tips on how to make wedding clothes stretch to other events!

Mix and Match: Green Leather Skirt 
Another item from my "One Item Four Ways" series that I ended up buying myself!

Feel-Good Go-To Summer Work Outfits
This popular posts is an easy way for me to pull together attractive outfits without having to think too hard in the early morning. Maybe I should do a post on my winter go-to's?

If I'm going to post on my go-to work outfits, I'd better show what I use for playtime too right?

My Favorite Posts: Beauty
My beauty/skincare posts are by far the most popular posts on my blog. I've somewhat settled into a great routine for me so I'm not trying as many products as I used to, but in 2014 I'm going to dabble more in natural makeup products--stay tuned!

(No image for this one, but it's one of my all-time favorite posts)

Current Natural Beauty Shopping List 
Here's one of my early natural beauty routines. I don't use the same regimen anymore, but I still like all of the products listed!

Summer Beauty Regimen plus mini-reviews! 
Here's a more recent post on my skincare regimen--although things have changed even since then. Winter Beauty Regimen post is in the works so check back soon!

Product Review: Stark Skincare's Cypress Purity and Defense Oil! 
This face oil is a key player in my current skincare routine--I'm on my second bottle!

Rainwater Botanicals Deodorant Review 
Another product I've repurchased multiple times, this deodorant (in "Lavender Sage" or "Lemongrass") is my favorite natural, non-irritating deodorant. 

My Favorite Posts: Interiors

I've redesigned my plan for our living room so many times now I lose track of what I wanted originally. This is the closest to how the room actually looks, although I still have lots of work to do before I get to a final look.

Living Room Firewood Storage DIY Plan
Quick DIY I dreamed up for firewood storage.

Bedroom Design Board 
We've slowly upgraded our bedroom, and I should really take pics to show you--we stayed pretty true to this design board for once! Just need lampshades and then I'll post on the improved bedroom :)

Nature-Luxe Living Room 
Essentially my dream living room. 

Small Space Solutions
This was a popular post on how to make the best of a small space. As a former dweller of a 245-square-foot studio, I've learned a thing or two about living small!

This is actually a pretty popular pin from my Pinterest DIY board--has anyone attempted it?

We are still mid-renovation on our bathroom (some key pieces for the shower are on back-order) but things are looking good and once again, this board is a fairly accurate representation of the look we've ended up with!

I had fun imaging what my best friend's home would look like if she had limitless capital. She approved!

You May Be a Design Blogger If...
I actually really liked this post, although it didn't get much reader attention. Which of these hot items do you have in your home?

Any favorite posts of yours that I missed?

Happy holidays everyone!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Revisiting 2013's Resolutions

With the turn of the year comes the inevitable new batch of resolutions. I'd like to revisit last year's resolutions to see how well I did and what I should improve upon in the new year.

Last year's resolutions: 

1. Cook more/eat out less: My boyfriend is a wonderful cook and actually went full-time with his food truck this year (shameless plug: Off the Grid SLC is his truck--if you're in the SLC area check it out!). So between those two facts, we actually did lots better about eating in and cooking healthy. We also made more vegetarian meals than we did in past years.  

2. Drink more tea than coffee: I did so-so on this resolution. I did drink more tea than last year, but I also drank more coffee. My friend gave me a new tea mug for Christmas though--it's from Teavana and you brew it in the cup, so hopefully I'll improve upon this resolution in the new year.

3. Learn to use a sewing machine: Complete and utter fail. Never opened our sewing machine, never read/watched any tutorials on how to use it. Next year's goal!

4. Spend less time on the internet: Sadly, this was overall a fail as well. I did better at first but by the end of the year I fell back into old habits. I plan to get a gym or yoga membership this year, which will help keep me busy and off the interwebs. Hopefully!

5. Floss more: Another relative fail. I'm flossing more, but still not as much as I should be. 

All in all, I did improve on several things but failed to really capitalize on all my goals. This does make setting next year's goals easier! ;)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Weekly Wishlist: My Christmas/Birthday Wishlist

As a kid, I was always jealous of people who were born in the summer. They get to receive seasonally-appropriate gifts twice a year! Me, as a January baby...I get lots of wintery gear and cancelled birthday parties due to snowstorms. And (#firstworldproblems) it's also hard to think up a long enough gift list to get you through 2 celebrations back-to-back!

This year I started a running Pinterest wishlist early on so that when my family asks me what I want, I can tell them gifts that I've been wanting all year long, instead of scrambling like I do every year ("ummmm....I don't know.....that tshirt! These shoes? I don't know!"). So here's a sort of 'best of the best' of things I'd like for the holidays. As always, clicking on the image will bring you to the Polyvore board where all of the sources are linked.

Christmas/Birthday Wishlist

  • Blue decanter: This decanter is created in Mexico at a workshop that employs artisans with disabilities. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, so I love supporting artisans while getting a pretty pitcher for my bedside! This product can be purchased at The Little Market, a shop created by Lauren Conrad to support female artisans internationally.
  • Astrology calendar: I love this little Etsy shop and its beautiful astrology calendar. Use it throughout the year, then frame them all en masse with the calendar portion cut off! The gift that keeps giving...
  • Remix: every year I put an interior design book on my wishlist. This looks like a great resource to show you how to use what you have to a beautiful effect.
  • Candle holder: This Pottery Barn candle holder is perfectly simplistic and slim. I plan to hang it on an awkwardly-sized wall between two doors. 
  • Anthro mug: So pretty! Perfect to help me wake up with a cuppa joe every morning at work.
  • Ikea end table: I love this new Trysil line, including the 3-drawer dresser version. This end table is screaming for an Ikea hack, and it's only $40!
  • Green Gypsya rug: for $72 this local-to-SLC artist will hand-knot this amazing rug in a 2x3 size. I'm lusting over it for our new bathroom!
  • Small painting: This week 8x8" painting reminds me of home and would be great as part of a floating-shelf gallery wall.
  • Rope bag: I don't know if you know, but rock climbing ropes are super heavy. This bag has a great tarp attached that you can spread your rope on (to limit damage to the rope).
  • Dakine backpack: I have a small backpack that's usually stuffed with my climbing gear, so I'd like another pack for all the other activities I do! This pack is highly rated and can carry a water bladder, skis, or a snowboard, plus pockets for goggles and other goodies.
  • Remote starter: Maybe I'm just a wuss, but this winter is already beating me down cold-wise. Every time I have to get out of my toasty bed to warm up my car in the literally freezing cold, I curse the fact that I don't have remote start on my car. The ultimate Utah luxury!
  • Dangle earrings: These earrings are perfectly simple-yet-eye-catching. From the same beautiful store as the ring I featured in my last BESTY post.  So essentially, I'm obsessed with this shop. 
  • Tulle skirt: I want to do my best Carrie Bradshaw and wear this with tshirts and a sparkly necklace. Or a sweater and flats. Or boots and a long-sleeve tee with an infinity scarf. Or just everything I own.
  • W3LL People Universalist #8: the perfect coraly pink, this stick works well on lips or cheeks.
  • Infinity scarf: to pair with my new tulle skirt, obviously. See also: keeping warm in Utah wintertime.
  • Gap striped skirt: because stripes go with everything, and so will this skirt.
  • Gold earrings: These fun mismatched gold earrings are unique enough to make every outfit better, but simple enough to wear on a daily basis. Only $31 for this closet staple!

Disclaimer: I fully realize that this post is very 'first-world problems'-y. It should be noted that I feel very blessed to have the life I do and realize that many people don't ever get gifts, much less back-to-back :)

Monday, 9 December 2013

B(est of) ETSY: Christmas Gift Guide

This year I'm making a strong effort to support small and local businesses during my Christmas shopping. Obviously Etsy is a great way to access small, handmade goods, so for this year's Christmas Gift Guide I decided to share my favorite Etsy finds.

Magenta, teal, tan gift guide

How pretty are these four together? Highlights:

  • that rug is handmade. I know, right?!
  • I can't get over how pretty the colors of that bottom right-hand print are together. I just want to make a gallery wall with those two prints, while standing on the rug wearing that scarf. Yep.

Etsy Christmas in Black, White, Silver, and Gold

Etsy Christmas in Black, White, Silver, and Gold by mjchirpich-1 featuring black accent pillows


  • That monogram pillow would bring some personalized polish to any room
  • The top right print is by my perennial favorite, Clare Elsaesser. Get you some!
  • How amazing are those laser print leggings?!?!? Like seriously. 
  • The silver ring is by my new favorite jewelry artist. Click through the image to see more of her beautiful work!
  • The wooden snowflake? They make tons of other options, and I bought a set for my parents that are monogrammed with each of our initials. So pretty for the holiday!

Blues, Oranges, and Yellows: Etsy Christmas


  • That top left print? You tell them a location and they make a map out of the streets--personalized and cool!
  • I want to get the top right print for all the sassy, amazing ladies in my life.
  • I'm obsessed with shibori dyeing techniques right now! I want that yellow pillow in a bad way.

What are your latest favorites from Etsy?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

This is how my brain works: DIY's I have yet to DIY

One of my more popular Pinterest boards is my DIY board, where I pin all the projects that I have grand plans to complete but never actually will. Many of the projects link to the DIY itself--projects that talented people have completed and for which instructions are available.

Other pins look more like this:

...with a random caption like "acrylic rods and pipe parts"....which serve only to remind me of the DIY I have cooking in my brain. Since there's no telling when or if I'll ever get around to these projects, I thought I'd outline why those seemingly random items are pinned and how I'd go about completing them, in case anyone out there is more ambitious than I. As always, clicking on the image will take you to the Polyvore board with all of the image credits and links.

First up, the candlestick I'd DIY from the above inspiration image:

DIY Acrylic candlestick

Caitlin from Sacramento Street posted the above lovely tabletop. The candlesticks reminded me of the Skona Hem DIY pictured, which I've adapted a bit. I'd use acrylic rods and copper tubing to create a fun candelabra!

Next, I pinned the below image from Houzz of an interesting chandelier:
DIY Necklace Chandelier

DIY Necklace Chandelier by mjchirpich-1 featuring round shades

I'd use a basic lighting kit, a bunch of necklaces from either a store like Forever 21 or thrift stores. I'd hang the necklaces from either a couple of embroidery hoops, or buy a couple cheap lampshades, strip the metal frame, and use those. Lastly, add a pretty Edison lightbulb to finish the job.

Last up, here's a lamp that was formerly sold at Anthropologie, I believe for multiple hundreds of dollars. I'd hack my own this way:

DIY Wood Log Lamp

The Ikea lamp base unscrews, so you can detach the large head from the stick itself. I'd drill a hole through a log (use either a long adapter, or make a shorter lamp--your average drill bit won't make it length-ways through the log otherwise). Spray paint the lamp gold, if so inclined, and slip it over the stick of the lamp base. Screw the whole thing together and add a light bulb!

This skinny lamp base lends itself well to all kinds of DIYs actually. I want to track down some large wooden beads and stack them on the base. What other projects could you create with this base?

Friday, 15 November 2013

Surprise! Bathroom Reno! (Current and Future Plans)

So, I've been holding out on you. I've been so busy getting our living room together (with more updates to come in the near future!) that I didn't even mention that my boyfriend is currently downstairs destroying the world's ugliest bathroom!

Here's what started with:

Yikes! This bathroom is tinnnnnnnyyyyyyyyy and awkwardly laid out (see: super off-center window). The shower is enclosed on both sides and no matter how much I'd scrub, it never felt clean. The floor tile was a lllllooooovely hunter green and cracked in many places. The vanity was functional but clearly DIY-painted and ugly. Not pictured, to the left of the shower (so in the lower left corner of this picture) was built-in shelving that was overly, unusably deep and narrow. All in all, the bathroom was just really not working for the three people that use it daily.

So currently it looks more like this:
Cameo credits to my handsome boyfriend, who has done virtually all of the work here. Since these photos were taken, he's completely demo'd the room down to studs, ripped out all flooring, installed the new shower fixture, and installed water-appropriate drywall. Lots more to go, but I'm so proud of the progress he's already made!

Our the goal is eventually to get the bathroom to look like this:

Latest Bathroom Ideas

Points of conversation:

  • Floor: We are installing this ceramic wood-look tile, which happens to nearly perfectly match the laminate flooring we installed in the rest of the basement and will hopefully help the bathroom seem more continuous with the rest of the basement. 
  • Shower: The shower itself will be a glass enclosure with the big square slate tiles for most of it and a detail of the thin tiles, only we're only going to use them as single rows of thin tiles rather than the whole 12x12 tile.
  • Storage: We're all pretty minimalistic people, so we don't need tons of storage for our toiletries. Our plan is to use this Ikea Hemnes vanity (we only need the base since I picked up the sink itself at Ikea's scratch 'n dent section), and we'll pair it with our new favorite Ikea Vittsjo bookcase to store all of our toiletries. An Ikea hack is in our future--I want to build a wooden box with a door for the second-from-the-top section of the bookshelf, as I've tried to ghetto-rig together on Polyvore as shown above. Then we'll store toilet paper in a basket on the top of the bookcase, cottonballs, Qtips, etc, in closed containers on the shelves, with open storage for pretty new towels.
  • Lighting: We're still trying to decide on vanity lighting. We both want something pretty simple and unfussy, so this 3-light option may do the trick. I hate that every bathroom lighting option I've seen just screeeeeeeams 'builder grade bathroom,' though. Still on the lookout for something more interesting.
  • Mirror: We haven't decided on a mirror either but would ideally like to find an old wooden frame and have our existing mirror cut to fit into that to warm up the space a bit. Alternatively, I kind of like this porthole mirror from Target, but the boy doesn't like that it's round (???) and may be too nautical. It may also be a super ugly finish, but I haven't been able to see one in person.
  • Decor: I'm planning to use my favorite prints from one of my favorite artists, Claire Elsaesser, which I've already been using and loving even in our old ugly bathroom. I'd like to add some fun hooks for towels, like these from Anthropologie (although I'd probably get plain black or white ones and DIY the stripes myself--$18/hook is crazy-talk!). Add in some pretty green towels, or maybe some Turkish towels from Etsy, and I'd call it good :)

I'm excited to see how this all comes together and will of course post updates along the way. For previous iterations of my plans for this room (I've been plotting its demise and rebirth for over a year!), see here and here!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Weekly Wishlist: Lulu's

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the site lulus.com. My favorite skirt is from there, and I constantly am adding their items to my ongoing wishlist. Here's what I'm eyeing up from their latest arrivals:

Lulu's Goodness

I think both of those trousers could either be really fun or reeeeeeallllllly ugly. I'm tempted to get the faux leather ones just to give them a whirl!

That animal-print crop top could be styled much like the leather crop top that I loved that sadly did not fit me. I wouldn't wear the top with the matching skirt, but I think they're both fun separately!

I want to buy those heels and instantly make every outfit tough-chic.

I'm trying to convince my friend Val to get that hot black backless zipper dress for her friend's bachelorette in Vegas.

Aaaaaand I want that wrap top in both blue and magenta to go over maxi dresses and silky camis.

Now off to choose which of the above make my Christmas wishlist! :)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

3 Room Designs for Val

My good friend Val is contemplating a redo of her living room, and being born and raised in Texas, she fell in love with this longhorns print from Society 6 artist Christina Shaffell:

I love that the print references her roots in a modern way, without screaming "Texas cowgirl".  Although the overpowering color is obviously that beautiful jade green, the skull also has lots of other fun colors to work with--purples, rust, orange, pinks--and I decided to take a stab at what her future living room may turn into. Val is looking for a table similar to the ones shown--metal base with a wood top--and wants a light-colored sofa. Here's what I came up with:  

3 Room Designs for Val

3 Room Designs for Val by mjchirpich-1 featuring velvet furniture

Val's favorite of the three looks is the one on the far left, so I pulled a few more options based on that:

Other options

The green of the print is so strong, it's nice to take that same color and tone it down a bit, while staying in the same color family. I like the mint options shown and think they're really fun against the raspberries and roses of the other options shown! And of course, I'm in love with that Wearstler pillow and think it's a fun match for this print.

Which is your favorite? How would you design a room around this print?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

New Living Room! Plus mini product reviews/updates

Ironically, right when I say that I'm in a decorating slump, my wonderful boyfriend gets the very rare itch to implement some long-overdue updates to our living room. Late last week I got a text, "I'm rearranging the living room! :)" So I was very pleased when I came home to the TV sitting over the fireplace rather than in the corner on a nasty entertainment stand leftover from my boyfriend's less savory college days.  (I know some people are heavily anti-TV-over-the-fireplace, but unfortunately this is the best setup for our space, so I'm not letting it bother me.)

Serendipitously, I also recently acquired a camera upgrade--the Canon Rebel XT, retailing for $780 on Amazon...for the low, low price of $85 from a pawn shop! So yesterday morning, I started playing around with the various features and captured a few shots of the living room updates:

Another angle...the light is so much brighter now!

I had fun playing around with some styling over the weekend :)

My favorite 'box' of the bookshelf, containing several canyoneering and hiking books we use frequently, a framed artwork ripped from a magazine, a wooden box full of change that I thrifted because my mom has the same one, and a white container with dog treats.

Wouldn't these candleholders from the Nate Berkus line at Target look nice flanking the TV? May be too small though...and we need to figure out a less-junky solution to our need for tinder for the fireplace (see left of the fireplace screen...)

This our tiny entryway that sits behind our futon, right by the door. We need to hang the Snowbird print still and clear out some of our magazine stash, but otherwise the only update I'm planning for this area is to put some black ribbon lining the top and bottom of that white lampshade.

So, what's all different from this time last year? This:


A couple notes on the improvements:

  • The majority of our pieces are obviously very dark and monotone currently. My mom is going to be whipping up some pillows for me with some fun, colorful fabrics as shared here, which will go a long way in brightening things up.  I'm also planning on recovering the black ottoman and am currently pondering fabric options.
  • The Lack table is a temporary solution to our need to house the TV electronics. Eventually the electronics will go on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. 
  • We've talked about getting another bookcase to put on the other side of the curtains, which would double as a bookcase and end table for the sofa. We would add a lamp to one of the shelves to brighten up that corner of the room. 
  • I'd love to get rid of the Ikea Hemnes nightstand and replace it with this end table from Target--I think it would lighten up that area of the room, and the Hemnes is too tall for our sofa anyway.
  • What should we do with the TV area? It's so blah right now...

    Initial/updated thoughts on products in the room: 
    • The Ikea Ritva curtains were a major score--$25/pair for the 98" ones. The curtains block people from seeing in when drawn, but they still let in some filtered light so the room doesn't get too dark, and the fabric is nicer than I would've expected for $25. I'm planning on hemming ours and adding white ribbon strips on the bottom like so
    • The Ikea Vittsjo bookcase put together easily and is surprisingly sturdy, especially for the $40 price tag. We may switch out the bases of the top and bottom shelves to lighten things up a bit (the middle shelves are nice heavy glass, but the top and bottom are dark faux wood). 
    • We bought the infamous $8 Ikea Lack table to temporarily house our entertainment necessities, but it's a huge eyesore. I will say it functions perfectly well for an $8 table. We actually have the coffee table version too, and after 3 years of pretty heavy use it's definitely starting to show its wear. Not a bad investment for $20, though. 
    • Our World Market dhurrie continues to be a star in the room. It's holding up well and although it does show little pieces of dirt/debris more frequently than I would like, it vacuums up well and I'm still pleased with the purchase. I'd recommend a good rug pad to go underneath it though. 
    • I still love our custom slipcover and the $45 custom-built sofa underneath it. Best money I spent in that room!
    What do you think of our updates? Not bad for $98 at Ikea and the cost of some plants, I'd say. Where should we go from here?

    Friday, 1 November 2013

    My Interior Style in a Nutshell

    The other day I shared some inspiration images for a home I'd love to live in. Today I'm pulling ideas from those images to help define my style.

    Because of the way my brain works, I had to group my favorite spaces into one image by room to make it easier for my eye to pick out common themes, like so:

    Entryways by mjchirpich-1 on Polyvore

    So, for example, these images told me I like high-contrast, mostly neutral colors with pops of green in the form of plants. Funky lamps, artwork, and rugs keep things from getting too boring.

    Kitchen Requisites

    Kitchen Requisites by mjchirpich-1 on Polyvore

    Apparently, I like my kitchens like I like my men: strong, tall, dark, and sexy....just kidding. Ew.
    I do see recurrent themes in that I like clean lines, neutral palettes, charcoal against wood against white, floating shelves, and metal seating mixed with leather or wood.

    Bedroom Requisites

    In the boudoir it appears I like to keep it fairly neutral but to spice things up with pattern and textures.

    Living Room Requisites

    I like a little more color in the living room than other rooms, but not by most. Mostly, I like to bring interest with multiple textures, mixed finishes, and wood pieces that tell a tale by their very weathered nature.

    Bathroom Requisites

    I think we can all agree that a bathroom should be clean and crisp. In addition to that, I like masculine finishes with more feminine touches, like artwork or fancy mirrors.

    Overall, my style in a nutshell can be defined by the following:

    My style in a nutshell

    So I'm curious: how do you lovely readers develop your personal style while also being inspired by and adapting your style to new ideas/inspiration? Do you have an admittedly Type-A approach, like mine, to picking out what you like, or do you just go with the flow? How do you stay true to your own design voice?