Sunday, 30 November 2014

Weekly Wishlist: Winter Zen

It's been a bit grey and gloomy here lately, which makes me want to snuggle up in a warm blanket on a comfy easy chair, candle burning nearby. As winter sets in, I always find myself gravitating towards neutrals in simple shapes and interesting textures. Today's Weekly Wishlist was created with those yearnings in mind:

Weekly Wishlist: Winter Zen

If I were to design a room around this wishlist, it might look a little something like this:

Winter Zen Living Room

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: November Purchases

It's year-long budget recap time again! As a quick refresher, this year I outlined my clothing budget to add closet basics to my wardrobe each month, putting together a list of items I need to help fill in the holes in my closet and assigning each item to a particular month of the year. I've capped each month's budget at $200 total. Here's what my calendar looks like:

Year-long Closet Budget

And here are my additions from November:

November purchases

This month I was slated to purchase a black leather jacket, but my beloved black leather boots and a cheap polyester work shirt both died this month, so replacing them trumped purchasing a leather jacket. I've been clearing out my closets in anticipation of my move and have been able to sell some items as a consignment shop, so I was actually able to replace my boots and shirt using credit from the consignment shop!

Also, as I explained here, I had bought some cute booties that ended up breaking, so I returned them for store credit at Aldo. I used my credit to stock up on cozy items and a comfortable pair of flats, plus I scooped up some great leggings to get me through my next surgery recovery :)

Here's the pricing breakdown:

Equipment 100% silk Brett shirt:
Price: $208 retail, $10 at Uptown Cheapskate (consignment store), free to me on credit
Notes: I would never, ever, ever buy this shirt for retail price...but I have to admit, it's pretty luxurious. 100% silk feels so great on the skin and has great flow on the body! I think I'll get a lot of use out of this top. Downside: it's dry clean-only, although I've found some online tutorials for hand washing.

Born Black Leather Boots 
Retail: $200, $30 at Uptown Cheapskate, free to me on credit
Notes: I don't own the exact pair shown here, but mine are pretty close to this. Again, I wouldn't pay full price for these boots but I would definitely pay the $120 price at The boots I have are such soft leather and very comfortable, which I have found to be true for pretty much every pair of shoes I've tried on from this brand.

November Budget Breakdown:
$40 (in credit for items I sold) for $408 worth of items (98% savings!!!)
Over/under for November budget: -$160
Over/under for year since March: -$1102
Total spent since March: $678

Additional November purchases: 

Bench Baddah leggings: 
Price: $69 retail, $40
Notes: I picked these up from on sale because I will basically be living in leggings for about a month after my next hip surgery (I'm not going to be returning to work after surgery and my next job doesn't start until mid-January, so I have about a month of leisure/recovery ahead of me :). Pros: they're super comfortable (no muffin top thanks to the higher waistband!), flattering, and opaque.
Cons: the fabric isn't suited for hot yoga, although I think it would be fine for non-heated athletic activities.

Aldo Memoli loafers:
Price: $60 (bought with credit)
Notes: Ever since I had my first hip surgery, high heels and I have not been on the best of terms so I've been hunting down cute, comfortable, work-appropriate flats. I had some credit I needed to spend that day, a sort of use-it-or-lose-it scenario (side note--does anyone else have a horrible experience every time they shop at Aldo? They're seriously the worst! I've experienced rude salespeople, strange return policies, not being able to use gift cards online, etc. I still have a $60 gift card from the return of my booties that I need to spend, and I'm just dreading going back! Ugh. #firstworldproblems).
Pros: They have an elastic back, which I typically find very comfortable, and come in three cute colors: plain black, leopard, and this black and white pattern that's bold enough to be interesting but neutral enough to mix well in my closet.
Cons: I wore them today and they actually did rub a bit painfully on my heels, but hopefully they break in nicely.

Aldo stocking hat:
Price: $12 retail, on sale for $8 (bought with credit from my broken booties)
Notes: This hat is surprisingly warm and flattering; no complaints here!

Aldo 3-pack of socks:
Price: $10, on sale for $5 (bought with redit)
Notes: To be honest, I wouldn't have bought these (or the pair of black tights I also got, not pictured), except for the fact that due to some weird exchange/credit glitch at Aldo I ended up with an extra $25 in credit that had to be used that day. But they're nice enough and you know I'm not going to turn down a little extra leopard print in my life ;)

How are you all prepping for the winter?

Other posts in this series:
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: October Purchases
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: August and September Purchases
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: July Purchases
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: June Purchases
Year-long Clothing Budget Update: May Purchases and a Weekly Wishlist!
Year-long Clothing Budget Update: April Purchases
Year-long Clothing Budget Update: March Purchases
Building a Wardrobe: Conclusions and My New Budget Plan 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Dog Days: Designing for your Pup!

I spent today tromping through snowy mountains, so I think it's safe to say that the 'dog days' of summer are firmly behind us. With my upcoming move, I've been thinking of another type of dog days: the time I spend every day at home with my favorite non-human being, my dog Charli. She's a black lab mutt who we rescued at 9 weeks, and she's awesome.

Even though she's a really good dog (we never had problems with her chewing, stealing food, getting into the garbage, etc), concessions must still be made in our home decor in order to keep things looking nice while being dog-friendly. For example, having a black dog means that the white striped rug in our living room has seen better days what with her shedding.

That's why I was so excited to find some beautiful cow hide rugs on RugsUsa. Most people have probably seen full cow hides used in decor, but these rugs take that idea to the next level, using intricate cuts and dyed hides to make beautiful patterned rugs that just so happen to be basically indestructible and stain-proof (making them also ideal for those of you with kids!)

So I thought I'd put together a few room designs centering around these beautiful rugs, along with a few pet-friendly design tips.

Dog Days

(As always, clicking on the image will take you to a page with product links)

Designing for your dog: Pet-friendly decor tips:

Neutral Glam: 1) pick pieces that wipe down easily and can hide dog fur. The bench shown here would likely need to be recovered in a different fabric, for example. Faux leather and faux ostrich vinyl can look chic while still taking a beating. 2) Don't buy white or velvet pillow covers: they are dog fur magnets!

Beach Chic: 3) If you have a black dog, your sofa doesn't need to be black, but skewing toward a darker color is advised. 4) Find a way to corral dog toys, like this pretty basket.

Preppy Kid: 5) If you prefer a white color palette, use it in accent furniture, not as a fabric. This side table and coffee table are hard-wearing and easily cleaned.

Global Bazaar: 6) If you really want a white couch, get a slipcovered version! Bleach works miracles. 

Other tips:
7) We keep dog treats in various rooms of the house in decorative containers. Nobody has to know that bones and chew toys are hidden inside that pretty wood inlay box!
8) Dog food can likewise be stored in attractive bins. I've seen people adapt dressers to have one large drawer for dog food. Others have used trunks or storage ottomans. 
9) Have a dedicated spot for your dog's leash, balls, frisbees, etc. Having dog-related messes all over looks cluttered and makes it harder to take your dog on a walk!
10) Put jingle bells on a pretty tassel on your door knobs. When our dog needs to go out, instead of barking incessantly or scratching at the door, she just nudges the bells with her nose. 

What are your favorite ways of designing around your pet?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tinseltown: Holiday Party Looks

The holidays are fast-approaching and with it, the stores are stocked with outfits for holiday parties. Although I'm going to be down for the count for most of the holiday season (I'm having hip surgery again, right before Christmas...), it doesn't stop me from dreaming about what I'd wear in a dream world. Like so:


Do you all have hot plans for the holiday season?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Fall 2014 Skincare and Makeup Routine

It's been a while since I've shared my skincare and makeup routine--almost a year, in fact, and I've found a few new products to love in the meantime. Here goes:

Fall 2014 Skincare and Makeup


  • Crude Everything Oil: This is by far my favorite new product discovery. This 'everything oil' really does work for everything: cleansing, moisturizing, eye makeup remover, etc. I just use it just as an oil cleanser, and it works awesome for my dry-yet-prone-to-breakouts skin. I massage it in all over my face, get the accompanying microfiber cloth wet with warm water, and rub it off in circular motions. During the summer/fall, my skin was so much more clear and less dry, even without adding any moisturizer after cleansing. Added bonus: the oil is only $16/4 oz and lasted me 3 solid months. I'd recommend buying the cloths, too, at $16 for a 3 pack. 
  • Acure Facial Scrub: I rediscovered my love for this scrub over the summer. Using it every third day or so, I found that it helped keep my skin fresh and clear. It goes on very gritty and washes off a bit milky. It's too rough for winter use, but when my skin isn't as dry, it's great!
  • Avalon Organics Lavender Shampoo:  I picked this up randomly when I ran out of shampoo and fell in love with it. My hair is much more clean and bouncy!
  • Acure Lemongrass Conditioner:  I've used this conditioner on and off, but I'm not necessarily in love with it. It's pretty cheap and smells good, but I think I can find something better.
  • Silk Naturals Prowl eyeshadow/liner: This eyeshadow is a deep burgundy red, which isn't anything I'd usually spring for, but using it as an eyeliner really makes the green in my eyes pop. It's long-lasting and if you smudge it out it makes a really pretty smokey eye. And it's only $4.50 for a big ol' container!
  • W3ll People Universalist 8: This creamy peony cream blush/lip product is my favorite cheek product at the moment--it gives a really gorgeous, natural blush to my cheeks. I don't like it much on my lips--it tends to look a little dry--but two big thumbs up as a cheek product!
  • W3ll People Narcissist 2: Another winner for W3ll People, this stick concealer/foundation and foundation brush set gives the perfect level of coverage for me--conceals blemishes but still lets my skin breathe and feel natural, not cakey. When my skin is a bit dry this does get a bit flaky, but otherwise I love it!
  • Mascara: Still haven't found a natural mascara I like at a price point I'm comfortable with. Any suggestions?

So if you're on the lookout for a new oil cleanser, give the Crude oil a whirl--it's awesome, and home-grown here in SLC :)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Apartment Design: 606 sq ft studio

Well, as promised, I spent my Saturday night snuggled on the couch with my dog, a cup of tea, and my laptop, googling to my heart's content to find a few apartments to tour when we visit Portland in December. 

Back before I applied for my new job, I had posted on how I was planning on moving to a new apartment in Salt Lake City and outlined how I'd decorate the apartment we'd selected. Although we obviously won't be moving there anymore, I had fun imaging how I'd do up the place and got some feedback from readers that it helped them reimagine possibilities in their own apartments. So I thought I'd do the same thing for a couple apartments we're looking at in Portland.

First up, a 606 sqft studio:

Quick tour:
  • The door opens into a small open area, which is sized to fit a desk or storage piece (the area with a yellow pointer on it on the bottom left of the floor plan).
  • Through the entryway on the left is a big storage unit (top left yellow pointer). 
  • The kitchen is pretty basic and we'd likely add a rolling prep cart for more prep area.
  • The little pop-out nook is floor-to-ceiling windows, just the right size for a table and two chairs. 
  • Then we have the small living area, just right for a sofa, media stand, ottoman, and maaaaaybe a chair. 
  • The 'studio' isn't a true studio because the bedroom area has walls, albeit 3/4-high ones. The bedroom will fit a bed, two side tables, and has a closet but won't fit much else.
  • The bathroom contains a full-size washer/dryer and a nice-sized vanity.

Here are some ideas I'd utilize in the space: 


I'd add this sleek shoe cabinet from Ikea to the little desk nook in the entryway and top it off with a mirror and rug. Boom. Done. 

Dining Area: 

I've had this idea in my head for a while to do a dining area with director's chairs, a pedestal table, and a storage bench with lots of pillows. And then Jana Bek made it happen so I have this beautiful shot to share with you! :)

...except I want to get faux leather (or patterned fabric) seats and backs made for the director's chairs

Living Area: 

My boyfriend would like a desk area, so we would set up a desk as a console table behind the sofa with two wood stools underneath and a pair of lamps. 

I think a long low bookshelf would be nice on the wall with the TV. Because the apartment has so much storage, I could fill the shelves with books and pretty things :)

And over the shelving, maybe a gallery wall to help camouflage the TV


I'm shooting for this vibe, except without all the white (black dog doesn't mix with white linens....wha whaaa).

And this is how I'd put it together:

606 sq ft studio setup

How would you use this space?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Winter Wedding Outfit Ideas and Gold Pants 4 ways!

So I briefly mentioned here that I'll be attending my cousin's wedding in December. I can't recall every having attended a winter wedding, so I've been a bit stumped as to what to wear. Here are a few ideas I pulled together:

Winter Wedding Outfits

I'm really tempted by these gold sequin pants, but at first I worried they'd be a sort of 'one hit wonder' and that I couldn't get much use out of them. So I started brainstorming outfits to wear with them....and came up with this:

Quick Design: Gold Sequin Pants

As you can see, I think that in the right environment they could actually be used in a variety of ways! The trick to the gold sequin pants, I think, is to get ones that are more on the burnished-gold side of things, not bright/brassy gold. This way, they aaaaaalllllllllmost serve as a neutral base, like tan pants (almost. I'm not crazy. These are still statement pants for sure ;)

For the outfits above, I tried to picture various scenarios that I need outfits for in my life. Top to bottom, here's what I was thinking: 1) Running errands 2) summer wedding or bachelorette party 3) work outfit (in the right work environment, obviously ;) 4) hanging out with friends

What do you think? Which of the outfits above would you wear to a winter wedding? Would you rock gold sequin pants outside of a party?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Life News: New Job, New City!

Hello everyone! I hope you're enjoying your weekend. I finally have a minute to write a post updating you on some big news in my life. In short: I got a new job, and my boyfriend, puppy and I are moving to a new city!  Where, you ask?

Have you guessed yet? These next two may give it away:

That's right everyone, we're moving to Portland!!!

I'm so excited for a fresh new start in a city that I have literally only heard great things about, and I'm sure I will be sharing lots more details in the near future. For now though, I'm off to spend my Saturday night googling apartment prospects ;)