Now that we purchased our first home, I'll spending more time on DIY and home design projects. One of the first things we needed for our new place were window treatments (as our living room came with none and our bedroom ones were broken).
I had several challenges to assess before selecting the right type of window covering.
First, we have a kid. And not just any kid. A highly destructive...er active one. Which meant I could not have anything with cords, long pieces of fabric, or otherwise grab-able because it would be grabbed, pulled, yanked, and/or hung on. So drapes, slats, and corded options were out.
Requirement 1: Cordless.
Second, we don't do TV. Instead, we have a HD projector so our window treatments needed to be blackout capable. Otherwise, we would not be able to watch movies during the day because we would not be able to see the image projected onto our wall. Blackouts it also great for insomniacs so definitely needed for the bedroom too.
Requirement 2: Blackout capable.
Next, we discovered that our window frame sill ceilings were weak. They are basically plastered cardboard which meant we needed a lightweight solution.
Requirement 3: Lightweight.
I love the look of clean, streamlined design in windows. I wanted a blind that could fit perfectly within our extremely large windows (we have 35" X 82"). This typically means custom which can come at a hefty price - especially if you are outfitting 5+ windows (which we are). But of course, I hate to spend money, so I needed a custom-sized option that wouldn't break the bank.
Requirement 4: Custom but not expensive.
All these restrictions lead to some serious, time intensive searching. But alas, I found the perfect fit for my needs and taste.
While HomeDepot quoted me $700+ (not including the blackout option, taxes, etc), I found this small vendor on Amazon called Decor Avenue. They make custom sized cordless blackout (and non-blackouts) blinds in an array of colors including white, dove grey, tan, and black. they are 5lbs, super easy to install, and very reasonable (we spent ~$550 for all 5). You have to measure the windows yourself but they have a handy chart to guide you through the sizing process. They also have great customer service and will take back the blind incase of a sizing mess up.
If you are in the market for new window treatments and have any of the above mentioned restrictions, I highly recommend checking them out.
This summer I decided I needed to step up my game from my go-to Berks. While I absolutely love my Berks, they are not sleek enough for the office. So the dilemma arose - what sandals are elegant enough for a casual office setting but comfortable and durable for the playground? The solution: Salt Water Sandals by Hoy. These stylish, simple and completely waterproof sandals are amazing. I purchased the navy to go with my navy, cream, red, and black work wardrobe but also loved the tan and red options. I took my Salt Water's out for a test run today and they are comfy and cute. Not to mention super affordable ($42). I'm a 6.5 and ordered the Women's size 6 (they tend to run large). At first, they were tight and I initially considered returning them. However, if you wet them, the leather stretches and conforms to your foot making them a perfect fit.
If you are in need of a new pair of sandals, I highly recommend checking them out.
Own a pair? Bought a pair? Let me know what you think.
My husband and I are self-identified minimalists. We hate clutter, superfluous items in our house, and adore simple, clean decor (hence my passion for Scandinavian design). I also apply this mindset to my closet. I love a tidy, well-manicured wardrobe and go through it regularly to keep it that way.
To keep my clothes under control, I reassess what I own every 6 months.
I ask myself the following questions and keep/purge based on my answers:
1) Have I worn it in a year? If the answer is no, it goes directly in the purge pile. If I haven't worn in a year, I probably won't wear it again. This simple rule keeps my wardrobe in check for the most part. *Note* - This does not include clothing stored as a result of life changes (pregnancy, post-natal, injury, etc).
2) Does it look fabulous on? If the answer is no, out it goes. I have bought many things at thrift or on sale simply because they were cheap regardless of if they looked great. If it doesn't make me say "wow, I look awesome in this" or I don't feel confident in it, I'm done with it. As my mother always says, "You only want fabulous and if it isn't a [resounding] YES, then it's a no."
*Note* - this does not include my "playground gear" because that gets destroyed no matter what.
3) Is it comfortable? If it is fussy, hurts, pinches, itches, squeezes or provides any other discomfort, I let it go. I hate uncomfortable clothing, regardless of if I'm with my kid or out to dinner, so I am happy to put these in the purge pile. This is a good assessment for shoes too. Anything that cause squeezing or blisters are gone.
4) Is it way out of fashion with little to no hope of returning to style? I have purchased many trendy items, so when the season is over, out it usually goes too. To this point, I tend to avoid buying items like these because it becomes a waste of money in the end.
5) Does it look cheap or too well worn to look good? I make it my goal is to wear classic garments that look well made. I carefully select fabric types like cotton, wool, linen, or silk because they hold up well, can wash easily (not the wool or silk though) and look elegant wear after wear. I tend to avoid other materials that don't have the timeless aesthetic like polyester (especially shiny polyester) and acrylic because they pill and snag easily and look worn out quickly. This question also applies to any items with stains, armpit wear, that bad kind of rips, excessive, unintentional fading, misshapen items and anything else that makes the piece look old.
*Note* - again, this excludes playground gear because I tend to toss those items out anyway.
I have a lot of fun organizing my closet (and yes, as seen in the picture, I really do color coordinate my garments). So if you feel overwhelmed by your clothes, try cleaning out using my 5 question test.
Soon to come, a blog about what I do with the garments/shoes/etc I purge.
Each morning, I carve out a few quiet moments to apply my warpaint/makeup for the day. That being said, I'm not a huge makeup person, limiting my beauty routine to 15 minutes or less. I have adult onset Rosacea, an annoying skin condition that causes red bumps across my cheeks and a lip allergy to the vast majority of lip products out there. As such, I am very selective about the few products I use.
As you can tell from my photos, I tend to keep my daytime makeup simple and neutral.
So what is in my makeup bag?
For my face, I exclusively use Cover FX.
Cover FX products are specifically designed for women with skin conditions including rosacea, psoriasis, and even burns. They are free of parabens, fragrance, gluten, mineral oil and talc. They are also vegan and cruelty free. Needless to say, I feel good about purchasing their products on a regular basis.
I start with the Natural Finish liquid foundation, then finish with the Pressed Mineral Foundation (G30 for both). For any annoying spots, I use the cream concealer. I find it most effective to apply a layer of liquid foundation and powder, spot correct and powder again. I do always carry my powder, however, because I find I do need a touch up every few hours.
I finish my base with a light blush from Clinque called Sunset Glow
For eyes, I am absolutely obsessed with BareMinerals 5in1 cream eyeshadow in Soft Linen. It gives great, long lasting coverage, dries quickly, and I love the color. I use it alone or with an eye shadow.
I'm also a big fan of eye liner so I usually opt for a quick line using my Kat von D ink liner in Trooper.
I finish with a super inexpensive mascara found in my local Duane Reade, called Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara.
For lips, I use Shien Cosmetics - often opting for a base of Pink Jade, followed by Shanghai Rose (and a matching lip liner). I'm having trouble accessing their website at the moment, but I'll update the links once they come back online.
I finish by using a my Benefit Watt's Up highlighter for any places that need a little extra highlighting (usually under my eyes...*sigh mom life*. Honestly, I'm still using a sampler I got for free from Sephora - one little tube lasts forever.
And that's it!
I have an obsession with floral prints and I especially love Ted Baker. I find the rich colors and use of photographic designs eye catching and beautiful. I've always wanted a floral bag and so this year for Mother's Day, I treated myself to this awesome leather Ted Baker tote. While I (sort of) have no problem splurging every so often, I luckily didn't need to for this one (nor the Ted Baker dress below). If you haven't heard of ThredUp and don't mind second hand items, you must check it out (click and purchase through my link for $10 off your first order). While my bag (and the dress below) is technically "used" it basically looks brand new, had all the original protective plastic on the hardware, and was a fraction of the retail price. Safe to say I check ThredUp daily for new Ted Baker pieces that might pop up.
I'm LOVING this awesome soap dispenser found at our local Flying Tiger Copenhagen store. After Jack broke my expensive crystal dispenser, I opted for the plastic ones that come with soap. Not breakable, but not that cute either. But after I spotted this darling option, I had to bring it home. If he accidentally knocks it off, no worries - it was only $3.
After living in our apartment for 5 years, I decided to redecorate this summer. We had been to Denmark the year prior and I was inspired by the simplicity of Danish design and Nordic living. We donated a ton of stuff to become true minimalists (our rule of thumb for discarding items is if we haven't touched it in 6 months to 1 year, get rid of it) and replaced every single piece of furniture and art save for the coffee table. The whole redesign came out great:
Couch - our biggest purchase by far - West Elm
Rug - Rugsusa.com
Coffee table - local artisan found on craigslist.com
Art - Kris Gould on Charish.com
Lamp - HomeGoods
throwpillow - fleamarket find
Artdeco style side table - from my childhood home
I'm a huge fan of art in general but I absolutely love street art. Where ever I go in the world, I always look for interesting art done by local artists to take home. This is one of my favorites - an acrylic on canvas by MUniEK. We purchased this while walking around an outdoor street market in Buenos Aires in 2009. I'm not sure whatever became of this artist but I'm so glad I purchased one of his pieces.