Monday, 22 December 2014

Quick Design: Sartorial Bad-assery

Maybe it's because I've just had hip surgery and am cooped up inside on cold gloomy wintery days, but lately I've been digging badass fashion. The problem? Most kickass outfits feature sky-high heels, which don't exactly match well with a bum hip. So I've pulled together a few looks with low- or no-height heels. Let the bad-assery commence.

Quick Design: Sartorial Bad-assery

I particularly want everything in the third outfit (that short-sleeve jacket would totally MAKE any outfit, no?) and the boots from the top outfit--they're rain boots with faux-fur lining!

What's getting you through these gloomy wintery days? The thought of Christmas is cheering me up :)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

We picked an apartment!

Hello, everyone! How are your Christmas lists looking? All shopped out? I, for one, actually finished my Christmas shopping about a week ago, giving me plenty of time to think about how I'm going to decorate the apartment we chose during our house-hunting trip last week!

We ended up signing a lease on the apartment layout I had previously shown you, but once we were inside it was clear that we'd slightly have to refigure some of the plans I had made. Here's a more accurate idea of what we're looking at:

Portland Living Room

Living Room:

  • The living area is small but just the right size to fit everything we need. We plan to put the sofa on the wall with the windows, facing the 3/4 wall. 
  • The sofa will have a console table with a pair of lamps behind it, reducing the need for side tables, so we can instead flank the sofa with tall plants (maybe I can make a fiddle leaf fig prosper? #wishfulthinking #blackthumb). 
  • We like to prop our feet up, so I plan to recover a Craigslisted ottoman with some vintage fabric like this or this, or perhaps a fabric like this or this
  • Opposite the sofa, on the 3/4 wall, we'll put the TV flanked by our Ikea Vittsjo bookcases. We've toyed with the idea of building a wood wall to mount the tv on, then a console table for under the TV, but we'll see.
  • On the wall between the windows and the 3/4 wall (the one opposite the kitchen), we'll keep things simple and just put three framed pieces of artwork. 
  • We'll float a fold-up director's chair in the space between the living and kitchen areas to help define the living space. Our wood footstool will fit nicely there as well.
  • I'll probably DIY a pelmet for the window and maybe add curtains, although the windows have blinds so curtains aren't strictly necessary and may make the room look too small. 
Dining Area: 

  • We plan to get a rectangular table similar to the one shown, but orient it 90 degrees from the picture above and fit it up against the wall of windows. We'll add two more foldable director's chairs. 
  • I don't mind the pendant they have installed, but I may DIY a lampshade cover for it to spice up the area a little. 
Kitchen area: 

  • The kitchen/entry hall area has TONS of storage, which was a huge selling point for us. We'll store most of our outdoor gear and off-season clothing in the big closets and all our kitchen stuff should fit in the cupboards. 
  • I plan to keep the counters pretty clear of clutter, although I may add a tray to corral cutting boards, a utensil crock, salt/pepper/oil containers, etc. 
  • I have a nice runner that I'll spread in front of the stove/sink area to warm things up a bit.

  • The bedroom is pretty tiny, so we don't plan to have much in it--just a DIY bed frame and a pair of Ikea bedside tables. 
  • We'll add lamps to the tables and dress up the bed in mismatched grey and navy prints. 
  • You can't see it in the picture above, but the wall to the left of the bed is the 3/4 wall seen in the living room pictures. I plan to buy removable wallpaper and paper up to the 3/4 mark on the wall seen above (behind the bed). 
  • Then I'll add the America map we've had in our bedroom for a while and flank it with candle holders
  • I'll add some pretty wood hooks for bathrobes/jackets and call it good!

  • The bathroom is actually a pretty generous size and includes a washer and dryer. 
  • I plan to keep things simple here too, adding the three Claire Elsaesser prints I've had in previous bathrooms (here, here, and here) plus this one by Girl and Parrot.
  • I'll add a simple shower curtain and hand towels (on my Christmas list!) along with a rug I picked up when I lived in Chile in college. 
Entry nook:

  • Originally we thought we'd have to use this little nook for bike storage, but we were able to secure a storage unit literally next door to our apartment, so instead we can use the entry nook for shoe storage.

Overall I'm shooting for the minimal bohemian look I described here.  I'm also striving to follow the William Morris school of thought: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." 

Do you think this design achieves those aims? 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Year-Long Clothing Budget: December Update and Final Tallies

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

For December, I was scheduled to buy skinny jeans and black booties, but what with the holidays, my upcoming surgery, and our pending move to Portland, it didn't seem like a good use of my resources to spend money on clothes right now. Those items went on my Christmas wishlist instead, so maybe I'll still get them!

Here are a few things I learned from my little year-long clothing budget challenge:

  1. I allotted myself $1800 for the 9 months of the project and only spent $678 for all of the above items! I was able to take advantage of sales most months and also started consigning clothing and shopping at thrift stores/consignment shops more. It felt good to be recycling items that others have donated, plus it kept more money in my pocket for fun expensive things like hip surgery and moving to a new state
  2. It was great for me to have more of a focus when shopping. I noticed that not only did I not spend as much as I had allotted for this project, but I also was more conscious about purchases outside of the budget project. 
  3. This project coincided midway through with my adoption of a capsule wardrobe lifestyle. The two things worked well together--weeding out unwanted items from my closet to build my capsules allowed me to figure out where the holes in my closet were, many of which were filled by the budget project. 
  4. Because the year-long list was comprised only of closet basics that I was previously missing, I've gotten a ton of use out of each item I bought.
  5. That being said, I did have a few mishaps, like a couple of tops and a pair of booties, that were not up to snuff despite all my shopping research--so it's not a foolproof plan ;)
  6. Overall, this budget project helped me to create a much more usable closet while keeping spending and shopping urges under control. 

Did anyone else try this budget project with me? What were your experiences?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Weekend Travel Capsule Wardrobe

The weekend has come early for me! Just a few hours between me and a plane ride to Portland to do some house-hunting with my boyfriend. We have a couple of apartment tours set up but are hoping to magically find a dog-friendly rental home near a park while we're there. My boyfriend also has a job interview set up--so exciting!

Because I'm vehemently opposed to checking luggage, I always plot out my travel wardrobe in advance so I can limit my packing list to the fewest items possible. Here's what I'm packing this time:

Travel Capsule

As you can see, I plan to re-wear items throughout the trip, so I'm packing only items that mix well together. Not only does this cut down on packing, it reduces the chance that I'll forget something at the hotel ;)

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Nursery Designs

Is it just me, or is errrrrrbody having babies lately?! My brother's wife, my roommate, my boyfriend's business partner...they're everywhere!

Fortunately I love me some babies, and I also love nurseries. So I've whipped up three nursery designs for my dream world, where I can afford to buy my brother a thousand-dollar crib...ahem.

Baby nursery patterns

I recently stumbled across an Etsy shop with the cutest fabrics, and I'm obsessed with this floral fabric. I pulled a couple prints for a baby boy nursery too:

Baby Boy Nursery

And for those parents who don't want to know the baby's sex before birth, here's a cute gender-neutral nursery. My favorites are the metallic silver elephant wallpaper, the jungle animal prints, and the handmade elephant toy.

Gender Neutral Safari Nursery

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

December 2014 capsule wardrobe

Because I'll be moving to a totally new climate in January, I've decided to split my winter capsule into December-only and then January/February. This is also a good plan for me because my December has some crazy stuff going on that will affect my wardrobe selection.

In December, I will be:
  • visiting Portland again to go apartment-hunting (coldish, wet climate)
  • visiting Minnesota to attend my cousin's wedding (freezing climate, fancy outfit)
  • finishing up the last days at my current job (cold, desert climate, business casual apparel)
  • having hip surgery on the other hip (cold/desert climate but mostly getting cozy inside other than going to the gym for physical therapy)
Phew! Lots to pack into one capsule, but fortunately it's only designed for 31 days worth of outfits :)

To create this capsule, I followed the same process as my last capsule: 
  1. Create a Pinterest board of outfits I want to be able to create during the month
  2. List out all the items that make up those outfits (example: jean jacket, stripe shirt, infinity scarf, black pants, booties)
  3. Create a master list with no repeated items: this is now the list I use to pull items from my closet 
  4. Since my master list doesn't total 37 items, I add items I already own that will work well with everything else on the list
  5. As needed: go shopping for any items on my list that I don't already own!

December 2014 capsule wardrobe

My list: 
  1. solid-colored sweater
  2. drapey printed cardigan
  3. chambray top
  4. chunky long cardigan
  5. cropped solid-color sweater
  6. black tank
  7. striped tank top
  8. grey tank
  9. graphic tee
  10. silk short sleeve
  11. silky long sleeve
  12. black thermal long sleeve
  13. stripe tunic
  14. white moto jacket
  15. black blazer
  1. black pants
  2. black flowy skirt
  3. jeans
  4. black leggings
  5. grey leggings
  6. grey pencil skirt
  7. striped skirt
  8. solid-color dress
  9. glitzy dress for wedding
  10. little black dress 
  11. maxi dress
  1. white chucks
  2. black boots
  3. black flats
  4. black heels
Since it's only a month-long capsule, I actually limited myself to 30 items, which also helped me avoid having a big shopping list.

Here are a few of the outfits I'm planning to wear from this capsule. The first ten are outfits for my last couple of weeks at work, where the dress code is business casual:

December Capsule Work Outfits

These next ten are for when I'm laid up recovering from hip surgery (or, you know, most evenings/weekends even when I'm not--I dress pretty casual and love my leggings!)

Leisure outfits

I really want that "Beyonce wasn't built in a day" shirt....Have a great day, everyone!