Green Thumb

Hi everyone!

Ok, ok, OK! It has been too long. I know. I took a crazy long leave of absence… er, Wreath-ernity leave? Is there such a thing? Haha, well basically I spent the last month making a crazy amount of wreaths. What have you been upto? Would it be awkward if we had an internet hugging session? Life pretty much got in the way. It happens.

I also did some gardening (as much as one person can do on a balcony). And, anyone who knows me, knows that this does not come naturally. I’ve received beautiful orchids as gifts in the past, and have killed them almost within the month. I’m thinking I over watered them, quite possibly. Anyway, until recently I had sentenced myself to faux plants (I say faux because it sounds more classy than fake and plastic). But really, it’s not the same.

So I thought what the hey, let’s see what Momma can grow. I would like to tell you that I went to a garden centre, or spoke to someone who has the faintest passion or intellect towards plants, but no, this chick lives downtown and went to her nearest Loblaws (er, Lo-blahs). Ya, they didn’t really have a huge selection, but I did find some pretty little blooms in my balcony’s colour scheme :).

Also, I should add that my balcony poses two challenges:

  • I only receive about 3 hours of direct afternoon sun. The rest of the day is sunny, but not direct exposure.
  • It is an enclosed balcony, so there isn’t anything in terms of rain… and I tend to kill plants that I have to water myself.
  • The plants needed to be critter friendly. My kitten is a monster who eats and attacks everything.
  • As per usual, I’m on a budget. So the plants needed to be somewhat cheap, I mean, affordable.

I believe that is pretty much it. Here’s a picture to illustrate just what I’m talking about in terms of sunlight. I should also add that the sun I do get, is about a two foot by one foot patch.

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Not a huge amount of light. But hey, we work with what we got in life, don’t we?

Here’s a layout of what each plant is:

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That photo was taken after the sun had moved on. Yes, I now realize that I have spelt Calla Lilly incorrectly. Damn!

The light may look nice and even, but unfortunately it was pretty shady. (Slim shady reference anyone?)

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If anyone knows the name of the plant on the right, do share (I’ve lost the tag). The plant on the left is a sneaky, faux imposter! (Whom sometimes I forget is an imposter and occasionally water.)

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That pot shaped and painted like a house was a garage sale find for $1.00. The black Chinese urn was bought from Winners on clearance for $10.00. It was originally an off white and was pretty badly scuffed up. I found a very similar product being sold at Pier1 imports for $99.95 American.

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http://www.pier1.com/Outdoor-Garden-Stools/PS29387,default,pd.html

They’re cute, don’t get me wrong, but Momma’s on a budget!

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Here’s a pretty picture of the Mums’ with sunshine beaming through.

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I also painted some dollar store rocks with acrylic paint and scattered them throughout the base of the plants.

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I painted a larger rock that I “found” on my walk home from work to look like baby Jack. The resemblance is really uncanny.

Well there you have it. That’s my garden. It’s no Royal Botanical Garden by any means, but I still like it. Have you been doing any gardening lately? Are you dealing with any challenging gardening on balcony situations?

I will end this post with a cutesy, self-indulgent kitten picture.

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Don’t laugh. He has a stigmatism.

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Red Sticks

Hello everyone!

Are you looking for a fun, bold, yet simple statement piece for your home? I’ve got just the thing! It’s easy to do, environmentally friendly, CHEAP I mean affordable ;), and well, just plain fun. Ok, I’m really selling it, but I honestly really loved the way it turned out.

When cruising blogs (as I do way, WAY too often), I stumbled upon these little gems:

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I love the red sticks when placed in a clear vase… I think if vase were patterend or even opaque, it would take away from them.

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Don’t these look smart in the simple white ceramic vase?

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Or even just one branch as a centrepiece on your table? Gorgeous!

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Check out how this blogger used only one branch resting on a bookshelf. I love how the red pops against the blue walls.

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This is a neat adaptation to the idea… incorporating tealights. Hmmm… could work!

Anyway, needless to say, I was inspired. And this usually follows with me wondering how I can DIY it myself. So I found myself on a mission to hunt down some suitable twigs for painting.

The whole idea kind of left my mind, until one day I was walking my dog in the woods, and I stumbled upon some branches that the deer had chewed all of the bark off of. In other words, they had done all the dirty work for me. The branches were perfectly smooth, virtually bark free, and ready for spraying. Bonus!

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Well, after scouring my computer for the before pictures of the actually branches before I painted them, I found nothin’. I’m sorry guys, it’s frustrating… but basically they looked something like this:

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Although mine had virtually no bark left on them. I contemplated leaving them natural, but the idea of painting them red could not be shook.

So I did.

And now they live in an IKEA vase in our living room:

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I absolutely love how they turned out. We get compliments on them all of the time.

Here’s the project cost break-down:

  • $20.00 approximately for the IKEA vase
  • $5.99 for the spray paint (1 can did a pretty good job)

Total: $25.99

Mind you, it does go against everything I stand for buying the vase from IKEA… however, sometimes I find I get impatient while searching the thrift store for a specific item, and then end up just buying something new (rather than waiting for something to come around). I bet you could find one though for much cheaper ;).

Here’s another shot:

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Wouldn’t they look spectacular in an ultramarine blue? Or white? Or yellow? Or orange for Halloween? AH! Ok, every colour would look awesome haha. (One more..) Or forest green? 😀

Please disregard the stain peeking through on my tv unit. I have literally painted it 15 times, have used special “stain proof” primer, and have repainted it again with 5 more coats of white. Does anyone know anything that will stop the bleeding? Just keeping it real.

Anyway, I hope you try this project yourself. And if you do, please send me the pictures. Someone try it with sunshine yellow… I dare you. 🙂

Once again, thank you for reading and following along. I love you guys!

Balcony Bliss

I am so excited to share with you what I feel is the best part of our apartment. It’s the space that cost the least amount of money to furnish, had the worst before pictures, but the best overall impact.

Drum roll please…. brrrrrmmmmmmm…. Are you ready? Our balcony!

When looking for a place having a little bit of outdoor space was absolutely crucial in our hunt. However, when you’re looking downtown, this luxury isn’t always easily come by.

Here are the dreadful before shots:

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Believe it or not, these pictures were taken AFTER I did a load of sweeping. Oh, and I my thrifty natured self thought I would save a little dough and buy my broom and dust pan from the Dollar Store… big mistake. There are somethings that just need to be good quality. So after alot of sweeping (some cursing and swearing at my broom), and cleaning up everything from garbage, to leaves, to old kitty litter (oh ya, the past tenant must have had an animal pooping on the balcony. LOVELY), it was ready to start decorating! Yayyy, the fun part! But before I show you the afters, I’ll share this little treasure with you:

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Ya… I think they had some sort of dumpy rock collection. ?…? what… the…? 🙂

Ok, enough trash talkin’. Each to their own.

Here’s what I started with. I first saw the apartment and then bought everything and gathered what I needed in my parents garage/spare bedroom.

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Sorry for the crappy picture quality — getting a new camera is on my “to buy list”. Those pictures were taken from my ancient iphone.
So basically, I gathered a bunch of items that I wanted to be the basis for the colour scheme. My thought process was essentially that I wanted a place for people to sit and chat or possibly eat, and another place for someone to relax and maybe read. It was also important for me to have kind of a pier1 imports meets bright bold colours sort of vibe. Fun, fresh, and summery. OOoooo 🙂

Also, although I had a pier1 imports eye, I’m working with my usual thrifty budget. Challenge accepted!

Here are the after pictures. Voila:

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So allow me to break it down for ya. I’ll walk you through the projects that I did within this space.

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The red chairs were purchased from Value Village for $3.00 each. I took me about 3 cans to spray paint them red. Very simple project. The black and white floral rug was from Giant Tiger for $14.99, and the white table was found in my neighbours trash (score!). The beige pillows on the chairs were from the Dollar Store, and the floral patterned larger pillows were from the Salvation Army for $2.99 (might I add that the one above had a pier1 imports tag on it!).

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That little flower cost about $1.99 from Salvation army, and I used left over spray paint to paint the stripes. I also added in some red flower heads to play off the red chairs. I like it because it is fake and I kill most plants I come into contact with.

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This white rocking chair was found in my neighbours trash (I have pretty generous neighbours eh?). The black and white floral pillows were a steal at $4.99 each from Salvation army. The striped cushion was a little bit of a splurge at $25.99 from Homesense, but it was the only cushion that was sold as a single.

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The wicker ottoman was found in my neighbours trash. I don’t have the before pictures, but it was pretty dirty and not the nicest finish, so I washed it all down, rubbed some ebonny miniwax that I had kickin’ around, and gave it a coat of varathane (also something that I usually have instock). The beautiful bright striped rug was a gift from my mother as a move-in present (I believe she got it from IKEA). The basket where I keep my slippers (and now kitten toys 🙂 ) was $3.99 from Salvation army.

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The black and white sticks were purchased from IKEA for 10 bucks I believe. The green skinny dresser was from a garage sale for $30. And the accessories were from the thrift store for extremely cheap as well.

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I looooooove these candle holders from Homesense. They were $15.99 each (which is a little bit of a splurge for me, but hey, I absolutely love them). I bought matching ones for either end.

Let’s do a final break down of how much money I spent on the space in its entirety:

  • Red chairs: $3.99 each + 3 cans of spray paint ($4.99 each) = $23.00
  • Pillows: approximately $40.00 for the whole gang
  • Rugs: $14.99
  • Accessories: approximately $50.00
  • Candles: $15.00

Grand total: approximately $143.00

I would still really love to get a big wall art for the wall behind the red chairs. You know those vintage ones with big ornate iron designs? Maybe something with birds? I’m on the look-out. I’ve checked Homesense without any luck. If you find some pretty ones please let me know where.

Sometime soon I will post pictures of it all lit up at night with candles. It’s absolutely gorgeous this time of year. If I could, I would invite you all over for margaritas :). Ooo or Sangria. Have you done anything fun outside for spring? Are you loving all the spring and summer stuff coming into the stores as much as I am?  Homesense had some amazingly beautiful outdoor cushions. Thanks for reading!

 

Yakkity Yack, baby Jack!

On a completely unrelated subject, I would like to share with you how adorable my new kitten is. Holy-freaking-cuteness batman. He is absolutely the most precious thing ever.

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His name is Jack… get it? Black Jack? However, I’m currently calling him baby Jack. For those of you who maybe wondering, we were told he is part persian and possibly part himalayan. If anyone out there is a cat expert and can tell me differently, I would love to know.

I spent a couple of hours the other day trying to take adorable baby pictures of him without much luck. I gathered a ton of props like cute teapots for him to sit in… vases with flowers… pretty pillows to sit him on… and he wasn’t having any of it. I may try again on another occassion though.

Here’s another cute one I snagged before he ran off (probably to chase a piece of string).

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Awwwwwwwwwwww. I’m sorry, I had to! I’ll be back to talking about inexpensive decor tomorrow! Have no fear :).

Here’s one more for good measure:

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Awww.

Planning out our Master Bedroom

I am so excited to share our master bedroom redo with you. I can’t even tell you how long I’ve spent planning it out, scoping out pinterest, reading house and home magazines, cruising Pier 1 imports, Homesense, the thrift stores (of course!) searching for pieces and trying to get the exact look. I wanted to incorporate bright, fun colours, but also have it be relaxing and clean. And if you’re like me, you’re on that beer budget with champagne taste. I like to look at it as a fun challenge rather than a negative :).

I started by envisioning a colour scheme. I absolutely love the colour turquoise — I think it looks crisp against whites and has that cheery modern feel. When searching around on the internet, I found this picture and it really inspired me to use it as a jumping off point when choosing colours.

inspiration from nature

What drew me to this image initially was the bright turquoise against the different shades of pink in the flower. But as I looked closer, I really loved the peak-a-boos of lime green, grey, and white. When I had chosen a definitive colour scheme, I then started accumulating inspirational photos on pinterest, commercial webpages, and some of my fav blogs.

Here are some of the gems that got my brain buzzing:

elements of my bedroom

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pier 1 bedroom

grey and soft pink

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Out of all of the eye-candy images that I have accumulated, I chose these to show you because I feel they capture many of the elements that I really wanted to achieve:

  • Bright white areas: Whether it be furniture painted white, objects, accessories, etc. I wanted those crisp whites so that the eye can rest against the more wild colours that I wanted to use as accents.
  • The use of grey: I loooove when grey is used in bedroom. In my opinion, it is tranquile, modern, neutral (but not boring) and can be paired with most accent colours.
  • Flowers: I really love the feminine touches that flowers can bring to a space. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone can afford to have their homes laced with fresh flowers on a regular basis — and if you’re like me, you kill any flowers within a mile radius! I have good intentions, but also a serious lack of green thumb. Plus, they make such amazingly authentic look fake flowers, and they can be quite affordable.
  • Tons of pillows: I am a self-confessed pillow obsessive collector enthusiast. I love the feeling of climbing into a comfy, luscious bed that is overflowing with comfy pillows. Pillows, might I add, are a great way to be fearless with pattern, texture and colour. If you find your bedding is looking a little on the blah side, by some funky decorative cushions to spice it up. For a very little financial commitment, you get a huge impact.
  • Neutral bedding: Although right now I am totally digging the colours I’ve chosen, but I may not in several years. So I wanted to choose a neutral bedding that can stand the test of time, and could possibly be moved to a guest bedroom if I grew tired of it. I know what you may be thinking, neutral blah bedding? That’s so boring! If you jazz it up with some fun pillows and patterned sheets, maybe even some throws, you won’t even notice. Plus, you don’t want every element of your room to be screaming at you. Then it becomes like a heavy metal concert. 🙂 Gotta have some softer harmonies. Unless you’re into metal… than rock on.
  • Personal touches: I wanted our master to have sentimental little touches throughout the space. Its nice looking around the room and remembering good times, cute pets you once had, and family members who you don’t get to see on a regular basis (I miss you Mom!)
  • Mirrored furniture: Nothing says luxury like mirrored furniture. But wait, I don’t have a ton of money to spend on expensive furniture… OH NO! Oh but wait, that has never stopped us before has it my thrifty friends? I’ll tell you how I was able to get some at a HUGE discount in a later post!

I also tried making my own mood board. To most people this may seem like a daunting task, but really, if you have “Paint” installed on your computer (which I believe most everyone does at this point), you can copy and paste images to make your very own. Or… you could find a similar one to what you want, and then copy and paste over it (like I did). I find it really helps to visualize things all together as a whole. I found this awesome one online from Sarah K. Designs, and then copy and pasted elements that I liked onto it:

mood board - for blog

Another technique that I often use when trying to sort out design elements is finding an image that I like and then copy and pasting the colours and textures that I’m hoping to use directly into the image. For example, say you’re looking at buying a neutral bedding and you’re trying to organize which colours of pillows to use. Rather than going out and buying all your pillows and trying to sort out which work at home, you could simply copy and paste.

Here’s a photo of neutral bedding that I found on pinterest:

grey on grey on grey

And here’s the final image after I played around with copying and pasting the colours and patterns that I love:

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It doesn’t have to be perfect. Even simply markering in colours (like I did with the hot pink) will be enough to give you the idea.

So finally here’s the goods. I’d love to show you my before and after pictures. I only have the initial pictures that I took when I first saw the apartment, but it more or less looked the same when we moved in. The landlord did update the room with a fresh coat of light grey, and they also cleaned the carpets. Nonetheless, here is the before pic:

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I thought it had potential :). We got rid of the ugly old blind and random tv shelf. Although the room was already grey, it was dinged up alot, so they painted it a lighter, fresher grey, which I ended up loving.

And without further ado, heeeere is the final product:

There are a ton of redos and projects in this picture that I will post on soon enough. I must make mention, the artwork above our bed was a gift from my dear artist friend Jan Fougere. Jan and I were studio buddies throughout our undergrad. Shout out to my fellow BFA grads!

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To the right of the window is this shelf that I redid. It holds all my decorating and vegan books. One day I’ll get around to trying all of the recipes in them…

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Here’s a detail shot. Big points for those who can spot the Young House Love book. Holllaaaaaaa.

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Here’s some pillow porn for those who love pillows as much as me. Mmmm… pillows :). The hot pink ones were a total splurge from Homesense, but I absolutely love them.

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This is my bedside table that I redid myself. I’ll do a post with the specific how-to’s. It unfortunately got damaged in the move, but we plan to get it fixed.

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The lamp and dresser in this picture were redone by myself as well. The knick-knacks were from the thrift shop and dollaramma.

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I plan to post a video of my bedroom tour very soon. I did one earlier in the month but it turned out being over 15 minutes long and youtube wasn’t having any of it! I will attempt one later this week. Also, I am slooowly updating the “Apartment Tour” area on my blog. I’m trying to get better quality images, but for now I’m going to continue using my crappy old camera.

I would like to leave you with the following advice that I found really helpful and inspiring. Don’t be afraid to cruise your local thrift shop. Resist the urge to pay full price. You may have to sort threw a ton of junk, but with an open mind and a little creativity there is no end to what you can accomplish. It really is amazing the great treasures you can find at quite a discount. I personally find it really helpful to browse your “dream stores”, get a feel for the look and quality that you want to achieve in your bedroom, and then stop by the Sally-Anne or Value Village. You may just find something similar to what you were just drooling over.

If you have any bedroom redos that you’d like to share or perhaps have a question regarding something you’ve seen in my bedroom please drop me a line. I love a good bedroom make-over! Thank you for reading.

New Apartment

Well the race is on! Our landlord contacted us and said it was fine if we moved in a touch early to our new place in order to avoid the holiday weekend busy-ness. So that brings our count down to 5 more days! 5. more. days. That is crazy. There are still a few projects that I need to finish before move in, and one of them is a doozy. Fortunately I have some time off of work to finish up some of these last minute projects.

As promised, Here are some before pictures of our apartment. I plan on taking better quality/quantity photos once we move in, but here are the pictures the land used to advertise the apartment online.

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That’s what you see when you first walk inside. The balcony is going to be awesome to have during spring and summer.

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Here’s the view from our balcony. I like that it’s spacious and fairly private. It’s going to be nice to sit out there with a glass of wine and relax at night.

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Here’s the view if you’re standing with your back facing the balcony. I love that there’s room to style a little entry way. Not loving the carpet so much, but hey, it really could be worse. The kitchen isn’t the best, it’s not completely updated but it’s fine for us.

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We have a dishwasher too that can’t be seen. Good amount of counter space. Can’t wait to cook up a storm 🙂 (as if I’m a good cook.. ha.)

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That’s the second bedroom which we will use as an office. It is actually quite a bit bigger in person. It also has a pretty big closet that I’m sure will come in handy.

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Here’s the master bedroom. I literally have this room planned out to a tee. The walls are being painted a light grey. We’re in the process of trying to find an area rug for this space… and a couple throughout the apartment. I’ve had the drapes bought for my bedroom, for when I finally move out, for about 3 years now. eeeeee 🙂

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………..And here’s the closet!!!! Holy closet space Batman! Quite possibly my favorite part of the entire apartment.

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Here’s another strange angle of the closet. Oh ya. It’s huge. I was all giddy when I saw it for the first time. It’s actually bigger than the one I’m currently living in. It leads off into a little bathroom which is pretty sweet.

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Here’s a picture of the main bathroom. It has a full shower/bath which is pretty great. It’s a little on the dated side, but I’m hoping I’ll spruce it up with some awesome decor so that you won’t even notice.

So that’s pretty much it. There are some hallways and more closets in between aswell. The landlord promises to paint everything before we move in, and we’re happy with the colours that we discussed with him beforehand. We do plan to paint some fun accent walls though, but for the most part we won’t be doing any serious paint jobs. We’ll be just a short drive away from both sets of parents, and my older brother is very close to us aswell. We also have friends in the area that we can’t wait to invite over for dinner parties.

In conclusion, I am so excited to move in, I can’t even tell you. It’s going to be great — a decorating adventure. And a huge life changing step. I have a ton of ideas to make it a home and I’ll be documenting them along the way. Stay tunned!

The calm before the storm…

I LOVE MOVING. Said no one. ever.

Okay, I enjoy the idea of moving to a brand new place and I’m comfortable with change, but the process itself really sucks. The only plus size is that you really get to take inventory of the things you have and by doing so edit. Well that is the plan at least.

So as it stands now, I move in 9 days. NINE DAYS!! I’m actually doing pretty well at this point. I have packed all my clothes, except for a select few that I will be wearing until move in. I’ve packed everything else into boxes – pictures, kitchen stuff, plates, dishes, glassware, decor, lamps, etc. etc. etc. Wow, I’m getting exhausted thinking about it. In a nut shell, my life is in boxes right now haha.

I’ve also started the recruitment process of guilting and bribing my friends and family into helping me move. It’s not easy, but the promise of beer and pizza go along way. It really all seems to be coming together… in a chaotic sort of way.

I am starting to get so excited about living downtown and all the fun that comes with that. I’ll be within a five minute walk to my work (boo-ya). And a very short walk to the biward market. Oh, and a five minute walk to my gym! I have very high hopes about getting into shape again. Our apartment is directly across the street from a convenient store. How convenient :). And a block away from a subway (could come in handy in a pinch).

As far as this blog is concerned, it is one of the biggest elements of my excitement. Over the last two years, I have been collecting pictures and documenting my projects, upgrades, goodwill finds, thrifting, etc. and am sooo thrilled at the prospect of blogging about it. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for quite sometime now. As an avid blog follower myself, after awhile I got to thinking hey, it looks like fun, maybe I should have a go at it. The apartment we found has so much potential, and my boyfriend and I have had mannnny a conversation about how we’d like to fix it up (as much as renters can do).

I’ve had sometime off work, and with that precious time I basically became a furniture-redoing-diy-project-finishing-MACHINE. Over the course of approximately 2 months I’ve redone a desk, table, a double bedframe, 2 captains chairs, 2 patio chairs, a huge shelving unit, a hutch, and a bunch of DIY art. I can honestly say, we have all of the furniture we need to furnish this apartment. And I don’t think there is a piece in the joint that my hand didn’t touch. Which is both empowering and exhausting haha. I cannot wait to share every last project with you — all in good time.

I thought I’d share the chaos that is currently my living/packing nightmare situation. I used my clothing to wrap and protect alot of my breakable stuff like lamps, vases, etc.

Please note: Pj pants being used to wrap lamps haha.

Please note: Pj pants being used to wrap lamps haha.

I also have about a million scarves that came in very handy when wrapping pictures.

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Yep, so those are definitely not all of the boxes, but I don’t want to spoil any future posts with sneak-peeks just yet. Anyway, I’m very excited and happy and exhausted… and excited. Did I say excited? I am curious if any of you have moved recently or have some major tips to lend. What worked for you and what did you wish you knew?

**New apartment “before pictures” soon to come***