Friday, January 23, 2015

Dreaming of blank walls and bacon

Although we're not moving into our new house until April (granted everything goes smoothly from here on out - so far, so good!), I'm getting antsy to get started on decorating the new place. Dude, I haven't even moved my millions of boxes of crap into this teeny tiny house, and already I want to add to it.

Yep. I have a problem. And I'm a-okay with that!

So, when I heard from the good folks at Minted, it was perfect timing to feed my future new home decor planning addiction. For those not in the know, Minted is an online marketplace of independent artists and designers. Those of you who know me well are well aware that I'm all about supporting artists and other talented professionals directly, and this is a super awesome way to do it. Plus, this way you can get something that's one of a kind while not burning too much of a hole in your pocket (because, as we're saving up for a house, I can totally use all of the money-saving tricks I can get).

I trolled around the site, which is fairly easy to navigate, and located quite a few gems - I had a hard time narrowing it down to just these! I do wish there had been more pop culture art to choose from, though (like Star Wars, some of my favorite musicals, etc...I guess it should really be called "Nerd Art").

Note: prices on these vary based on size; from what I've seen, the prices for the art prints themselves are pretty reasonable for what you get. 

I honestly don't know why I like this one so much. I think it's the colors - they're muted, yet somewhat playful. I don't think art has to be obvious to speak to you, does it? Price varies 

It's a deer! It's geometric prints! Put them together and you have something pretty damn cool! I can totally see this in my living room. Or my bedroom, weirdly enough...

This is one of my favorites - it reminds me of Autumn, which is my all time favorite season. I feel like the geometric shapes are leaves blowing in the wind. Let's just say: this piece moves me.

Although my city dwelling days are behind me for the time being, I'm still definitely a city girl at heart. When I first saw this piece, I was immediately transported back to my days living on the north side of Chicago. Thooooose were the days....

I know what you're thinking: compared to the others, as well as knowing my personal taste in art, this one is pretty run-of-the-mill. Honestly, I don't even know why I like it so much - my brain tells me it's just another picture of fog over some mountains, but for some odd reason when I look at it, I relax and find myself staring at it in breathless wonder. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants.

Before we move into the new house and make it pretty, we're having a last hurrah at our current place to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (as in, from when we first started dating. In college. Like, I was a teenager when I started dating my husband. Freaky.). And get this - to celebrate, we're hosting a bacon-themed party. Which means that Minted's new Save the Date Collection may come in handy....

Anyone else have a bunch of blank walls they're dreaming about decorating? Any other crazy people out there like Brian and I who have been together for a decade (or longer)?!

Full Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by Minted. Opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: Domino Book of Decorating

One of the "fun" parts of being a parent is that all of the Christmas gifts that originally were going to go to you are instead bestowed upon your offspring. Not that I mind all that much - I have way too much stuff anyway, and have semi-annual purges to rid myself of all of the clutter that somehow weasels its way into my basement and closets.

Now, we just have a lot of toys and toddler-sized clothing instead. Yaaaaaaaay. :)

Anyway, an item I was actually gifted in the family gift exchange was one I've been wanting for a long time, but wasn't sure I'd get because it's kind of expensive - The Domino Book of Decorating. A friend of mine recommended I check it out a few years back, and since I'm cheap thrifty I moseyed on down to the library and checked out a battered-up copy they had. I fell for it - hard. Ever since then, I've longingly looked at the book whenever I bummed around Barnes & Noble, lamenting my lack of "fun" funds to purchase for some reason or another.

Well, this was my lucky Christmas, because I finally got it.

It's finally mine. ALL MINE!!

It's sooooo pretty. It even feels pretty, like wallpaper on a book. It also has a built-in bookmark, which is just so damn classy.


Anyhow, overall I really enjoyed it - it outlines everything according to the rooms in your house, so it's easy to reference if you want redecorate your living room, or kitchen, or bedroom. What I like most is the fact that, though there are plenty of tips to make your house a home, the authors encourage you to find what specifically suits you and your family. It includes many helpful tips for arranging furniture, photos, and color-coordinating to make it your very own.

What I love most about this book is the timelessness of it - I can definitely picture myself picking this handy how-to guide up anytime I need inspiration and/or guidance on decorating my current and future spaces. I think this will definitely come in handy both as we're making our current place attractive for prospective buyers and making our future house a home (which we're set to close on at the end of exciting!!).

Anyone else read/owns this masterpiece? Any other decor/design book suggestions? I'm all ears, peeps.

Full disclosure - I wasn't compensated for this review, these opinions are all my own. The book was a gift from a family member for personal use only.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Secret Project

Not to be confused with the Secret Garden.  Which for me would be a garden full of weeds and other dead vegetation. So, you wouldn't want to visit anyway.

Anyway...remember when I mentioned I was working on a secret project I couldn't say anything about at the time? Well, I'm finally ready to reveal it.

We're buying a house. Like, for real this time.

Oh my gosh. This house. You guys....I'm head over heels, and I never expected to be over this one. Heck, I'm tearing up and getting all emotional just typing about it....I guess that's how I know it's the right one, because I've never felt that way about the house we're currently living in.

So, the lowdown on our probable new home (granted no huge snafus come up in the meantime):

It's a 1920's bungalow (built in 1926) located in another Chicago suburb, which is much closer to a train line (about a mile away from the train station, actually!), is right around the corner from a highly-rated elementary school, and close to one of the best bike trails in the area (we both LOVE to bike, but our current suburb isn't exactly the most bike-friendly unless you enjoy biking through subdivisions). Three bedrooms, one bath, along with a basement and detached garage. Hardwood floors, except in the kitchen and bathroom, and the house itself is in really freaking good condition for its age.

When we all went to look at it right before Christmas, I knew as soon as I walked through the front door that this was It. This was THE HOUSE. I kept my poker face on throughout the showing, and apparently so did Brian (he's much better at it than I am). When we got into the car after the showing, Brian and I looked at each other and were like "OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS HOUSE". Guys, this is the first time that has happened....EVER. Usually one of us falls in love with a property, while the other is like "Meh....I don't was okay...." The house is a little small, but honestly there are so many possibilities (like an unfinished attic!) with this house that it's worth it. Plus, smaller house = less time cleaning. And we all know how much I hate cleaning.

We put in our offer last week, and after a lightning round of counteroffers, we accepted a final offer 24 hours after we put in our initial one. Crazy, huh?! We had no idea that would happen so fast. Shortly after the offer was accepted, it was a mad dash to secure an attorney and home inspector (we had some people in mind, so at least we were somewhat prepared). Long story short - it's moving forward. I'll share more details over the coming weeks as things progress.

Okay, I feel like I've blabbed enough. Here's a picture of the outside; more photos to come soon, I promise!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Adios 2014 - Howdy Ho, 2015!

Wow, it's been a heck of a year. I started a new job, said goodbye to a beloved pet, and...wait, what else did I do?

Oh yeah. I started this little spot on the web. :)

Because I'm a nerd, I have been keeping track of the most popular posts over the past year. Well, ladies and gents, in case you were curious and want to relive them in all of their glory, here they are:

No-Sew Kitchen Curtains - by a landslide! Who knew my frustration with ugly curtains coupled with my lack of sewing ability would lead so many peeps here?

Re-Upholstering a Chair - this was one ugly chair when I got it. Some fabric, scissors and a staple gun later, it's far more presentable.

Creating a Reclaimed Wood Shelf (aka - the West Elm Hack) - I have expensive taste, but am pretty dang frugal, which is a constant source of frustration. So, instead of just buying the West Elm shelf I wanted, I made one.

Addressing the elephant in the room: I know I've been MIA lately. Work and the holidays have really sucked up a lot of my time. Oh, and a little secret project I can't share any info on yet (no, I'm not pregnant - we're happy to be One and Done for the foreseeable future). I'm hoping I can share more details soon, so please keep your fingers and toes crossed that it works out.

I'm no good at keeping resolutions, so I'm not going to proudly proclaim any. Really, being better is an ongoing process that doesn't need the start of a new year to kickstart. That's my excuse philosophy and I'm sticking to it.