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Apartment Fixtures: Drab to Fab

24 Sep

There are a million things to do with a new apartment, and the most important is to find the easy, inexpensive things that will take your new home from drab to fab, without losing your security deposit. My first solution? Replacing the existing cabinet and door knobs.

My kitchen cabinets actually don’t have knobs, but I have two amazing built in cabinets with knobs, plus the closet doors and bathroom vanity. I mean really, how amazing is this storage? There are two of these!

But the knobs? White plastic blech.

Time for an upgrade! I found these gorgeous Venetian bronze cabinet knobs on sale at Home Depot for a steal at $2.50 a piece.

I am so obsessed with these, and I really love the difference they make.

Next up, door knobs. My apartment came with polished brass tulip knobs – pretty standard builder’s grade, but worlds away from what I would have picked.

But the real kicker? Check out the bathroom knobs. MISMATCH. Yeah, I cannot live like this.

And so, another upgrade! This time with round Venetian bronze knobs for $10 per door at Lowe’s.

I spent about $60 (three doors, twelve cabinets) and the whole project took maybe an hour and a half. If you can operate a screwdriver, you can do this. It’s such a simple upgrade that makes a huge impact. You don’t have to live with builder’s grade knobs! Just remember to keep the original hardware (I use Ziploc bags for each set) so you can replace it when you move out.

Guest Post: Donna from Dangerous Cupcakes

21 Mar

A few weeks ago my beloved AJ came up with this fun blog swap idea for some local bloggers. We’re taking turns posting on each other’s blogs, and it’s been a fun challenge to try to write in someone else’s voice, about topics that are outside your norm. Today I’m excited to host Donna from Dangerous Cupcakes. Great name, right?

I’m not a fashionista. There, I said it out loud. I hate to admit it, but one look in my closet and you’ll see what I mean. My clothing choices range from florals to lace to animal print to leather. In short, whatever I like is typically what goes. I’m all over the map with no real “style” or “look.” I buy what I like and what I think looks good on me, though there are cases I know that I’m off the mark.

I do own stylish, quality pieces – too many of them – but the problem is that I didn’t always buy with forethought. Those items I liked, I’d buy, without much of a care as to what I’ll pair them with. That comes back to haunt me every time I go into the closet and I can’t find what I need.

For a while now, I’ve had the self-imposed motto of: one item in, one item out. I started that a few years ago as we decided to make a cross-country move; we had to downsize in order to fit all of our belongings into a moving truck and my closet wasn’t immune from The Purge of 2010.

Fast-forward to 2013, and we were doing another purge. It’s amazing what I’d again amassed during that three-year period, but this time? It felt GOOD. It wasn’t a chore, it wasn’t a moment of “I can’t get rid of this, I worse this when I found out I was pregnant with my now 18-year-old daughter” but a moment of “YES, this feels good to not have such an attachment to clothing!” I enjoyed it so much that even after the move, after packing it all up and storing it until we bought a new house, I went through it one last time, this time with a very harsh eye. I cut loose two more garbage bags full of stuff I’d recently paid to move! (Donated it all! Please consider making someone else’s day by giving clothing away to those that may need it way more than you imagine, as your clothes can go to those that had to leave their home in the middle of the night to escape an abusive situation as well as those looking for a job and in need of an appropriate interview outfit.)

Now that we’re settled into our house, my closet is nowhere near as big as the old one. Not only do I need to stick with donating one item every time I bring one home (okay, almost every time) but I have learned to shop more discriminately. No longer is it just okay for it to be a cute top, but it has to match at least a couple of other items. The exception is when I’m buying an entire new outfit for a particular event, but honestly, that’s infrequent. With enough classic purchases throughout the years, pieces of clothing or footwear that are evergreen, things that last through the ages as fashion trends come and go, I can almost always put together a new, trendy outfit by just purchasing one item.

I envy women who can walk into a store, grab specific items and head to the register. You know next time you see them, they’ll be wearing yet another gorgeous outfit because their fashion seems instinctual.

That is not me. For me, fashion takes work. I hear about an event or business trip or night out and instantly I do the “What will I wear??” A few ideas pop into my head, but usually of the one-item variety. That skirt I bought last week…. Great, a chance to wear my new black boots! Oooh, I can finally wear that red blouse I bought on sale last month. Where do you go from there? I head into the closet and stare. I look at the shoes. I look at my shirts. I look back at the shoes and then towards the pants. Towards the pile of jeans. To the dresses. My head spins and as I’m standing in an overstuffed closet, I’m considering not going because I have nothing to wear!

Thank goodness I have two daughters who are able to objectively walk into my closet and pull together an appropriate outfit, in about 1/10 of the time it takes me to realize I’m overwhelmed.

I love fashion, don’t get me wrong. I like to look good, and I want my clothing to befit the event. I want to look good for my husband, my kid(s) or my business. Sexy wife, cool mom, professional businesswoman… but it’s not nearly as effortless as it looks! I also love to shop, and the piles of shoeboxes attest to that, as they are my favorite secret that’s no longer a secret. I love shoes. I have 150+ pairs and would buy another pair tomorrow if I saw one I liked. (I truly believe that while it’s an unnecessary luxury, you can never have too many pairs.) I just need to be sure I wear them, so I have learned to pay attention. I pay attention to fashion mags, what celebs wear, what other women wear, and what the professionals say. It’s taking work, but I’m getting there. Earlier today, I went to a business event with a lot of women that knew how to put an outfit together, and I didn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Would I call myself fashion-forward? No, but there’s still time.

Thank you so much, Donna! It’s been fun playing host today! Be sure to check out Donna a Dangerous Cupcakes and @DangerCupcake.

Celebrate Pi Day!

14 Mar

Nerds, rejoice, our holiday is here! I love Pi Day, and there’s more to it than just eating every kind of pie you can get your hands on. But don’t underestimate the importance of eating as much pie as you possibly can. That’s crucial.

If you want to take your Pi Day celebration one step further, here are some fun ideas to help!

Pi Day Shirt, from Sugar Bee Crafts



Free Keep Calm It’s Pi Day printable, from Our Mini Family



Pi Cake, from Instructables



Pi Day Headband, from ME!



So now, go forth and celebrate 3.14!

Don’t #BanBossy

12 Mar

If you’ve been online this week you’ve probably seen the #BanBossy campaign. The basic idea is that we should stop calling little girls bossy because it diminishes them as budding leaders. While I agree with encouraging girls to become leaders, I don’t think banning bossy is the way to do that. The word itself isn’t what discourages girls, it’s the emotion behind the word. If we remove the word bossy, there will just be another word to take it’s place.

Instead of shielding girls from the word bossy, why don’t we talk to them about why they’re being called bossy? I don’t remember being called bossy as a child, but I sure have been called that as an adult! Along with a number of bossy’s synonyms. In my experience, people who call women bossy aren’t doing it to squelch women as leaders, but rather as a manifestation of their own insecurities.

Strong, motivated women can be threatening, especially to people who are – to be blunt – lazy. If you have a person or group of people who are unqualified, unmotivated, or untalented, and a strong leader comes in to impose a stronger work ethic and higher standards, there is going to be push back. If that leader is a woman, and more so if the people she’s leading are men, that push back is going to come in the form of name calling and undercutting. She’s bossy. She’s a bitch. She’s trying to prove something.

I’ve been lucky to work with and for men and women who don’t push back against strong leadership, but enjoy it because a strong leader – male or female – pushes everyone to be their best. Not one of those people has ever called me bossy.

So instead of removing the word bossy, why don’t we teach girls how to respond to that? Arm them with the leadership skills to bring out the best in people, and teach them how to handle resistance with grace. Because if we really do want our little girls to grow up to be strong leaders, they will have to learn to handle dissent. Isn’t it better to teach them that at young age instead of trying to remove obstacles? Part of leadership is overcoming obstacles and learning to work with difficult people, and that’s a skill that everyone could use.

A Country Christmas

4 Dec

I have to preface this post with an apology to my mother. For years she decorated with a Country Christmas theme, and for years I made fun her. Mercilessly. So what have I done this year? Country Christmas. I’m sorry, Mama. Though in my defense, there isn’t a single angel with rafia hair in my house. ;)

It all started with this pin from Country Outfitter, and I knew I had to wrap boots in lights. Then things went from there.

The rest was pretty simple. I hung my beloved tin star, covered some lights in quilt batting, and then used some Christmas papers to decorate foam trees and paper mache letters. I added some faux mercury glass for a little shine, and it was done!

I have to be honest, kitten aside, I don’t know how long this will last. I mean, I wear those boots a lot, and I’m gonna want them before the holidays are over.