Monday, August 30, 2010

Decorating Tips & Tricks II

As promised, I will share some more tips!

  • These little knobs make a world of difference on our black dresser. We found a box of 6 for $12.99 at TJMaxx. Anthropologie of course has super cute ones too, but will run you at least $6.00 a piece. Look at TJMaxx and Target has cute knobs too. You can put these anywhere and they really add such nice style with just a little touch!

  • This used to be in our kitchen holding cookbooks but we didn't really have a spot for it. It looks nice in our bedroom and adds some extra storage.I am not using this to say buy one of these for your kitchen and then put it in your bedroom but rather, always look for new uses for pieces you already have-it is the cheapest way to redecorate!

  • If I have learned nothing else from watching Clean House on the Style Network it is that a bedroom should be a sanctuary. It should be a place for you or you and your spouse to relax and find solace. This means keeping it clean and clutter free. I often see friends or myself putting all the extra junk in the house in the bedroom. Although this may seem practical because guests rarely enter the bedroom, it doesn't keep the one place for you clean and special! I have grown to really appreciate going to bed and waking up in the morning to a beautiful bedroom, don't undervalue it! 

  • Again, look for creative and beatiful things to store things. Jason got this for me from TJMaxx for $10.00 but it helps keep our dresser clean and I love the colors and beading!

  • This hamper is practically art, I love it! Try to have all things with a function also aesthetically pleasing. If your hamper isn't pretty, put it in the closet so it doesn't take away from the rest of your decor! 
If you have a lot like me, these ideas are for you!

  • The first is a jewelry tree (12 but was exactly what I was looking for!) that I found at TJMaxx, it helps keep my shorter necklaces untangled and from discoloration from touching. It also looks nice on the dresser!
  • The second is a coat rack from Ross (5.99) that I use for my longer necklaces. It is the best thing I have found so far, although still not the best. Perhaps its a sign that I have too much jewelry. 
  • The third is where I keep my earrings. I have three of these containers. You can find them in the craft section or I think mine are from the tackle box section at Walmart or at Cabelas/Bass Pro Shops. They are plastic and have moveable dividers and run you about 4.99 to 5.99 worth every penny!

  • Our bathroom counter needed a little something but I knew Jason wouldn't want any clutter. I thought of this serving dish I had in the kitchen and brought it to the bathroom. Again, function and style. Again, different use for something I already had. It looks clean and keeps things handy that I use!
  • I used this cute hanger for my robe. That way its there when I need it and my robe adds color to the bathroom. 
  • This is the other side of the bathroom counter. I mixed different heights with different colors with different textures. 2 practical and 1 decorative makes the corner just right!

  • We have a nice big storage room but since its filled with junk (the one room that is allowed to be!) I don't like seeing it. So I bought a 3 dollar tension curtain rod from Walmart and one drape from TJMaxx for $10. voila! Instant hiding of clutter! 

That's it for now!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Decorating Tips & Tricks

Since I have had ample time on my hands the past few months, I have gotten on a decorating kick! I looked at tons of decorating blogs and watched HGTV and I was inspired! So some of these tricks have been acquired from others and some are my own! I'm not saying these are the best way or that they will work for you or that you will even like them but I am going to share anyways! Hope some ideas help!

I'll go room by room in the same order as the pictures of our apartment on our blog here.

Living Room

  • Anytime you have an area to display things, incorporate both decorative items and useful items. I have dozens of cookbooks but not enough room to display them. So I picked 2 of these cubes and filled them with cookbooks that I use the most and the colors add style. 
  • The vintage books we already had but add cool textures and memories to the design. (If you wanted to buy cool books you could easily scour Goodwill/DI and find cheap ones.
  • If you want to add color, look for things that pop like the frames & vase. 
  • Finally, notice the suitcases on the bottom-stylish but we also threw some extra stuff in there! secret storage!

  • I think live plants add so much joy to any room! I found those cute African Violets at Sunflower market on sale 2 for $6.00. I also love the color. 

  • Something very important about decorating is you need inspiration. It can be a piece of furniture, a pillow, a favorite photo. No matter what it is, use it determine your style and color palette. I swear it makes a world of difference. All of the colors in my living room are based on this one gorgeous pillow!

  • This painting also drew in the colors of the pillow and was a simple, classy, and inexpensive way to cover one large wall. It also has meaning to us as it represents our desire to travel this summer to Europe. It could be Italy or Spain, it doesn't matter. What matters is that it brings color and meaning to the apartment. [we found this at Ross for $29.99]

Dining Room & Kitchen
  • This is one of my favorite tricks and I have to claim it as my own! One of our wedding gifts was a gift certificate to Pier 1. I hadn't shopped there much before but I love it! However with only $25 to spend there I wanted to make it last. This trick started by buying only one placemat for $1.99 because I loved it and that is all they had. As it turns out, placemats are a cheap and beautiful way to add color and style to your dining room table. Having four placemats and chargers can take over your whole table and isn't really practical if you use it everyday. I found lots of placemats (and even napkins) that have fun prints, patterns, and textures. They are easy to change out and I have found tons for one dollar or less. Keep your eyes peeled! [This one has beads on the end and is reversible]

  • Again, look for fun colors/prints/inspiration pieces for your kitchen. I found these in the clearance section at World Market and they spoke to me. Both for $4.00 Kitchen towels are functional & fun!

  • This is something I stole from Erin when we were at her cute apartment in San Diego. She didn't have room for dishes in her cupboard so she put them on a bookshelf. It was really cute because she has pretty dishes (we have the same too actually!) so the dishes served as decoration and were functional. We did the same thing with the wood piece our friend Dave built for us. In our other apartment we used it as a pantry but I think this is more aesthetically pleasing don't you?

Great little bowls add such fun color!


  • In our previous apartments we had a bookcase in our bedroom and a bookcase in our office. Both didn't serve much function other than to accumulate clutter. We had the idea to put them together because Jason's parents did that in our their guest bedrooms. It allows for storage and decor in one place. [I think it looks kind of cluttered in this picture, but less so in person] This works great because most stuff on bookshelves you don't use that often. It also allowed me to use almost every single leftover piece of decor from my house which made me very happy! It adds striking color  & design to the room!

  • My grandpa left me this chest when he passed away and I am just getting to use it. It is a beautiful focal point of the room and offers storage as well. Don't be afraid to talk to parents or relatives that are looking to pass on [or get rid of] furniture or heirlooms from family. You would be surprised at the treasures you can find at grandparent's houses. Sometimes if you ask, they will be willing to have someone appreciate their belongings as well! These pieces are also great because they allow you to share your history with others.

Notice the beautiful hand carved details. 

Thats all for now! I will do bedroom, storage, and bathroom in the next post! Thanks for reading! Hope these help even the slightest.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Forgotten Recipes

So as you may have noticed I haven't posted in forever. I had such a great idea with my little "challenge" but in reality, since it wasn't so glamorous, I had little motivation to post about it. haha. We did eat out a lot with friends and Jason for work. I did make some good meals (all from fellow food bloggers) but I don't feel like I did too much of anything exciting. Anyhoo, I am abandoning this project since I don't remember much about it now and I need new inspiration. Sorry!

I think I will just post the recipes that have been forgotten in the past 7 months and start fresh. haha. So this will be a mod podge of every recipe I have made that didn't make the cut at the time, with minimal commentary. I think I will just give it a star rating and maybe an observation or two. Have Fun!

1. Magic bars/7 layer bars
Easy level: 5 out of 5 stars.
Taste level: 5 stars
Fancy level: 3 stars
Click here for recipe.. Mmm is all I can say! Makes a big batch so bring it with you somewhere so you don't eat all of them! But a must is adding butterscotch chips!

2. Chicken with Bell Peppers and Onions
Easy level: 5 out of 5
Taste level: 4 out of 5
Fancy level: 2 out of 5
Heat olive oil in pan then add chicken, sliced bell peppers and onions. Season with salt and pepper and then top with some Parmesan cheese. Yum.

3. Molten Lava Chocolate Cake
Easy level: 3 out of 5
Taste level: 5 out of 5
Fancy level: 5 out of 5
Click here for the recipe. Ours was delish but wasn't too runny in the middle like it was supposed to be. I think maybe I overcooked them a little just from reading the reviews, but investigate on your own if you are set on the soft center. I added some whipped cream and chocolate sauce. I also omitted the liqueur.


4. Pasta Carbonara

Easy level: 3 out of 5
Taste level: 4 out of 5
Fancy level: 4 out of 5
Click here for the recipe. Don't skimp on the bacon it needs the flavor. This was a yummy dish but had softer flavors then expected. I served it with the next recipe as the appetizer. 

5. Tomato Canapes

Easy level: 5 out of 5
Taste level: 5 out of 5
Fancy level: 5 out of 5

These were really delicious. We ate every one of them within minutes. Strongly recommend for party appetizers or for a nice dinner.Use the bacon from the bag that is real and soft not the fake hard kind, it was perfect and easy. Click here for the recipe.

Alright I will continue this soon!

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