Bedroom Decor on the Cheap

It’s official: I’m never making another decision on my own without consulting you guys first.

Seriously, you’re all so helpful! After I posted my (FIRST EVER SUPER AWESOME) mood board yesterday, packed with all kinds of questions and requests for advice, you all stepped up. I got answers through gchat, comments, emails — and they were all really helpful!

If I can get super mushy for a second, it seriously warms my heart when you guys comment. It’s especially exciting when you’re people I don’t even know in “real” life, but all responses are extremely validating.

Ok, mushy second over. In other news, I’ve started pricing out my dream bedroom. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m hoping to DIY a lot of things, but there are still purchases that need to be made.

Duvet cover: Since the Target one I referenced yesterday has since been taken off the market (d’oh), I found one at Bed Bath & Beyond (of which I am a huge fan):

The only issue is that I can only find it online. The pros of this are that I don’t have to go searching for it and I can get cash back from Ebates.com (which you know I love), but the cons are that I have to pay shipping and I’m not sure if BBB’s endless stream of coupons applies to online purchases. I need to rustle one up and check. It would be about $75, with 1 percent cash back from Ebates. (Le sigh.)

Rug: As I mentioned yesterday, as much as I love Crate & Barrel’s pretty rug, it’s a bit too pricey for my taste. So I did what any cheap-o, decor-loving girl would do and settled for the next best thing: IKEA. Their Stockholm Rand rug would work perfectly, and it’s $100 cheaper than the C&B version:

However, it’s still not exactly free, so I’m saving my pennies.

Vanity/desk: This was a perfect example of how a commenter really came through for me. So we know I love the West Elm Parsons Desk. However, we also know that it costs a billion dollars. You know what is much more reasonable? THIS little beauty from World Market:

And it’s basically the same look. I actually like it a tiny bit better because the legs add some visual interest. Plus, um, hello? Cheaper. (Although, again, not free, so I’m trying to hold out for a coupon.)(Plus, 4 percent cash back from Ebates.com.)(HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE EBATES YET?)

Other than that, I need 3 shadow boxes, fabric, a couple Goodwill lamps, and a vanity stool I can paint and recover. Sooo…yeah. Dream decor is kind of a cash suck. But I already have coupons for Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics, so that’s a start. And I’m trying REALLY hard not to let my excitement take over and make me spend a bunch of money right off the bat. I. Will. Take. This. Slow.

Anyone else ever find themselves diving head-first into projects (only to be left EXTREMELY poor)? Also, anyone have any cheap-o options to share? You know I love it when you do.

8 Dreamy Decor Ideas

You GUYS. I am really excited right now. And we all know what happens when I get too excited. So I’m trying to keep calm. Trying.

What has got me all twitterpated? I’ll explain.

So as you know (if you’ve been a loyal follower of this blog as I pretend everyone reading this is), my bedroom is one of the last portions of my apartment to be beautificated.

(Those of you who don’t care about my apartment are realizing that this a decor-centered post, aren’t you? I fully understand if you want to walk away now. I don’t like it, but I understand.)

Anyway. Now that the more dedicated/decor-interested of us are alone, without those other people, let’s begin.

So as I was saying, the bedroom. It’s in pretty sorry shape.

I mean, we got a pretty bedspread on our wedding registry, but then we got a bigger bed. And then we started using the bedspread as a blanket. And then it got all kinds of warped. And…well…it just doesn’t look as crisp as I’d like it.

And aside from the bedspread, the room really is not even masquerading as a thoughtfully decorated room. There are literally no other pretty bits. AND remember how I really wanted a room where I could display Joey’s guitars? Well, my friends, I have a solution that solves all of my life’s problem. (Well, almost.)

So, without further ado, my plan for our bedroom/THE FIRST MOOD BOARD I’VE EVER MADE EVER:

Not bad, right? I’m ridiculously proud of it, so if you have anything negative to say, SAVE IT FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO HEAR ANY KIND OF CRITICISM. Because that’s not me right now, ok? Let me revel.

Here’s a breakdown of that bit of gloriousness you see above:

1. RUG: We’ll work our way up, starting with this pretty little rug from Crate & Barrel. I’ve been getting more and more into bold, graphic prints lately, and I love how this rug grounds the whole look. Unfortunately, this version is a wee bit out of my price range, so I’ll either have to save my pennies or search for a cheaper alternative. Anyone have any ideas?

2. BEDSPREAD: We already have a pretty impressive bed, but as I mentioned, the covers are a little worse for the wear. I really like how simple this grey bedspread from Target is. Simple, solid basics are good for people who are as fickle about their decor as I am.

3. LAMP: I’ve sort of been on this kick lately to incorporate more color into our apartment (even fickle girls get tired of neutrals eventually), and I think a bright, glossy lamp or two would be just the ticket. (Double bonus because this room has ZERO overhead light and we need lamps anyway.) I’m sort of hoping to DIY this bit of loveliness, so I’ll be scouring the Salvation Army for lamps with good lines. (I’m not sure where that particular lamp is from, but I found the image on Pinterest.

4. WALL ART: This is a DIY project I’ve been wanting to do ever since I first saw it on Pinterest months and months ago, I just didn’t have any place to display the finished product. WELL NOT ANYMORE. I want to make three of them to display on the far wall of our bedroom. I just can’t decide if I should stick with our honeymoon destinations and do Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid, or if I should incorporate Iceland and just do France, Spain, and Iceland. Any opinions?

5. VANITY: Remember the time I sort of tried to create a little dressing table area for myself? Well, I want to make one for real this time. I still have that gold mirror pictured in the linked post, but what I really need is a desk/vanity to go under it. I die for the Parsons Desk from West Elm, but again, my dreams don’t quite match up with my budget. I’ve been scoping out Craigslist for a while, but does anyone know of a sleek desk/vanity out there that I’ve been missing?

6. VANITY STOOL: This is another detail I’m hoping to DIY. I’d love to find a cute little stool from Goodwill or something that I could paint and — gasp! — even reupholster. I know. I. Know. But I honestly think I could do it if it was as simple as the one pictured. I’d love to do one of the bold patterns you see in the pillows. Speaking of which…

7. PILLOWS: Yay, patterns! I have links for all of these beauties, but honestly, I’d prefer to just make them myself to save on cash. (And to make myself feel awesomely crafty.) For those of you who would rather have them RIGHT NOW, here are the links: Black and white Greek Key pillow, seafoam green pillow, grey Ikat pillow, Scrabble pillow (I would get a J, obvi), orange trellis pillow.

8. GUITARS: And finally, the detail I’m especially excited about, Joey’s guitars. We have this giant, blank wall facing the bed that has nothing on it. (Well…there’s a Japanese fan taped to the wall…but that’s a longer story and is really a joke between Joey and me…err…moving on.) I realized the other day it would be the PERFECT place to display the guitars. So that’s the plan. He has like four or five, so it should make for a nice display.

I’d also like to swap out the curtains for something like these:

I couldn’t find any good source info in that pin, but I found this place online that can make a similar version. Who knows, maybe I’ll get really crazy and attempt making my own. But they’re dreamy, right? (Speaking of which, if you’re interested in other bedroom decor that tickles my fancy, be sure to follow my bedroom board on Pinterest!)

So anyway, that’s what I have so far. Obviously, I still have a ways to go to put all that into practice, but I feel better even having some mild direction. Now I just have to keep myself from getting too excited and spending a million dollars on accident. As I am wont to do.

If you have answers to any of the questions in my breakdown, I’d love to hear your input!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Gloria Art & Design giveaway announced yesterday for a chance to win a CUSTOM painting of your choice to add to your own dreamy decor!

Giveaway: Gloria Joy Art + Design

Update: The winner of this giveaway has been selected, and it is now closed. The winner is Madison! Thanks to everyone who entered.

So you you know that I love feeling fancy. But aside from getting my hair washed, the one thing that really makes me feel fancy is having something custom-made. (Remember when I had that hairpiece made for my wedding? Perfect example.)

Well, one thing my home has always been sorely lacking in is actual art. I mean, sure, I can boast Etsy prints with the best of them, but in terms of paintings and sculpture, I’ve got nothing.

Until now.

Remember when I started adding sponsors to my blog? Well, I was really, really excited to include my blog friend Gloria, an artist and designer who also writes the blog A Little Paint. Gloria is one of those all-around crafty people who paints, sews, designs, and could probably whip up a reupholstered chair in minutes if she had to.

Gloria has a few finished paintings that she sells in her Etsy shop, but she also does custom paintings.

Cue my excitement.

When I approached Gloria about doing a giveaway on the blog, she immediately offered to give away a custom piece of art. Um, hi? She’s amazing.

And I can personally attest to the quality of her work. I think you know where this is going…

Meet my new favorite piece of art EVER:

I sent Gloria a photo of a painting I liked, along with the colors I was going for, and she whipped this little beauty up. I love how the colors blend together, especially the dabs of gold. And it looks perfect in our living room!

Now for the best part — the giveaway! Gloria has offered a custom 11×14 painting or the choice of the same size of one already available in her shop! (I’ve got a little crush on that one of the pears…)

To enter, simply visit Gloria’s shop and then leave a comment below describing what kind of painting you would like her to do for you if you won. (Abstract? Portrait of your dog? Get creative!)

Really, really want to win? Complete any of the below tasks for an additional entry. Just don’t forget to leave an additional comment for each task you do so I know you did it. (If you’ve already done one them in the past, you can leave a comment for that too.)

1. Follow Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One (email subscription or online readers both count, just say which one you do in your comment)
2. Follow me on Twitter
3. Subscribe to A Little Paint
4. Follow Gloria on Twitter
5. Like Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One on Facebook
6. Tweet the following message to help promote the giveaway (leave a link to your tweet in your comment):

“I would love to win @justinelorelle’s giveaway from @gloriafeeley! http://stopmeifyouveheardthisone.com/2012/02/22/giveaway-gloria-joy-art-design/”

And that’s it! You have until 11:59 p.m. EST on March 4th to enter, and I’ll be randomly selecting and announcing the winner on March 5th.

Good luck!

How to: The 2-Minute Egg Sandwich

So apparently my blog was down a lot of yesterday. Fantastic.

Sorry to anyone who had difficulty accessing the site. Things seem to be moving along a lot more quickly today, so hopefully the troubles are behind us all.

AND NOW FOR YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED POST.

I’m a very efficient person by nature. Almost to a fault. I’m pretty sure it directly relates to my compulsion for punctuality.

Basically, I’m a freak. You already knew this.

But just because I’m rushing to work in the morning doesn’t mean that I forget what’s truly important. Like eating a nutritious breakfast.

Oh what’s that? Why, yes! We are embarking on a Kitchen Adventure!

In general, I’m fine with cereal in the morning, especially when it’s hot out. But in the winter, I find myself craving something a little warmer. A little more substantial. I want an egg sandwich.

But because I’m working toward paying off all my debt, I can’t simply stop somewhere every morning and purchase an egg and cheese. And because I’m obsessed with being early, I don’t have a lot of time to dilly-dally around the kitchen whipping up something fancy.

Which is why I invented the 2-Minute Egg Sandwich.

I’ve been making these for a few months now with great success, and it occurred to me that there may be other punctual-to-a-fault folks out there who would benefit from my wisdom. Allow me to bestow my wisdom. (At least as it pertains to breakfast options.)

LET’S BEGIN.

Assemble your supplies (you’ll work faster with everything within reach). Here I’ve shown enough ingredients to prepare two sandwiches. Yup, this breakfast is quick enough that I even have time to make one for the hubs. I know. I’m such a good wife.

Basically you need a slice of bread or an English muffin, an egg, a bowl, a slice of cheese, some kind of cooking spray (not pictured), and salt and pepper to taste.

Put the bread in the toaster for about a minute, depending on how you like your toast browned.

While the bread is toasting, spray the bottom of a shallow bowl with cooking spray. Crack the egg, add your desired amount of salt and pepper, and whisk. Cook bowl with egg mixture in the microwave for 55 seconds to a 1 minute and 10 seconds, depending on the strength of your microwave. As you would probably guess, larger eggs need the longer time. Experiment to see what time length works best for you.

While the egg is cooking, the toast should pop out. Assemble the toast and cheese on a plate. (Yup, we’re getting fancy with American cheese. I don’t care what anyone says; it’s delicious with eggs.)

After the egg finishes cooking (you’ll hear a pop), top the cheese with the egg.

Fold to form a sandwich and enjoy as egg sandwiches are meant to be enjoyed: warm. The hubs adds ketchup, which I am not averse to.

And that’s it! The whole process can be completed in under two minutes, making it the perfect fuel for a busy morning.

I’m sure you could add all kinds of things to make it a little fancier (spices, chopped veggies, etc.), but the point of this sandwich is that it’s quick and filling, so I keep things simple on week-day mornings.

Does anyone else have their own variation? Or another quick morning treat I should try? Share in the comments!

Steal a kiss

I’ve lived in a lot of corners of the country. Born in California, a brief stint in Texas, a large chunk of my life in the Midwest, a year in Brooklyn, and now settled in Long Island, I feel like I have experienced a lot of the different cultures you find in America.

One of the most interesting parts of living in different places (at least to me) is seeing the quirks of the people raised there. Especially when it comes to their level of human contact.

I’ll explain.

In the Midwest, people don’t really touch. I mean, sure, you get handshakes and high fives and you hug people you know really well, but for the most part, your standard greeting is sans contact.

So one of the biggest things I had to get used to when I started spending more time in Long Island was not something you might expect: kissing.

No, I’m not saying every new person you meet will expect to engaged in a little tonsel hockey, but you are expected to kiss hello.

(Anyone else remember Jerry’s aversion to the kiss hello?)

I recently had my cousins from Ohio to visit, and it was kind of funny to watch them react to people leaning in for a quick smooch.

My advice was basically to react to cues from the other person. If they lean in, cheek first, they’re probably expecting a kiss hello or goodbye. The only time it’s ever awkward is if you both go for the opposite cheek, and then you end up doing that weird chicken bob trying to figure out which direction to turn your head. I’ve never accidentally kissed someone on the mouth in an attempt at a cheek kiss, but I’m sure it has happened.

Personally, I think it’s kind of a nice custom. It reminds me of high school when I had a French foreign exchange student come to stay with me and the group always did les bises, or kisses when they wanted to say hello or goodbye to their friends. But I can also see how it would be uncomfortable if you’re more of a big-wave-hello kind of person.

What about you? Are people touchy-feely in your area? Or do you keep your distance? Anyone have a good accidental kiss story to share?

Guest Post: Espresso and Cream

The hardest part about taking a vacation is definitely adjustng to real life when you get back. Joey and I spent yesterday pretty much doing nothing. Watching TV, napping, eating ravioli and cookies — for some reason we were way too shot to do anything else. Not that I’m complaining.

But it does mean I don’t have anything to post about. (Besides, anything I could think up would probably be pretty boring compared to adventures around the world.)

Fortunately, I do have another guest post to share! Through Twitter and blogging, I’ve made friends with a girl named Madison Mayberry (cutest name ever, right?) who lives in Des Moines. She writes a cooking blog called Espresso and Cream where she shares her original recipes and occassional posts about life. (Remember? I got my kale chip recipe from her?)

Anyway, she’s basically adorable and brilliant in the kitchen, and she made a New Year’s resolution this year to cut “fat talk” out of her life. You know what Fat Talk is. Fat Talk is what happens every time a girl looks in the mirror and instantly sees everything that is “wrong” with her body, and then proceeds to voice the issues out loud. Not fun.

Madison’s resolution has sparked a movement, and she reached out to her readers to share their stories of how they’ve cut Fat Talk out of their own lives. Since she had read my post about my own journey to weight happiness here, she was happy to let me contribute.

So without further ado, here is my No Fat Talk Tuesday post.

After you read it, be sure to click around Madison’s site and show her some love!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some real life to re-adjust to.

My Trip to Iceland

Before I say anything about the trip, I want to preface it all with this fact:

This was officially one of the top three best vacations I have ever been on. (Sorry, JAB Florida Trip of 2007, you’ve been bumped to fourth.)

If you ever have the opportunity to go, you definitely, definitely should. You won’t regret it.

Now, let’s back it up.

There are two responses you get from people when you tell them that you are going to Iceland.

Response #1: *Confused look* What? Why?

Response #2: *Amazed look* That’s awesome! Why?

See the common denominator? Obviously, Iceland isn’t exactly a typical vacation spot. BUT IT SHOULD BE. Seriously, this place is gorgeous, and there is a lot to do for tourists. Plus, the locals are a lot friendlier than many other European countries, and everyone speaks English. (Along with about four other languages. Americans are idiots. Anyway…)

But the point is, things are fairly affordable and you will never get bored. Pretty much everything on the trip exceeded our expectations.

Speaking of exceeded expectations, can we just talk about the food for a second?

No one talks about Iceland’s cuisine. Well, except to mention the putrefied shark. (Which we didn’t try, but only because we never found a place that sold it.) But in general, all you hear about is how the local delicacies are basically rotten food because that’s what vikings ate.

Well, well, well. If that’s all you hear about, then they are leaving out the best part. We honestly didn’t have any food that wasn’t great.

My favorite restaurant was 3 Frakkar, where we ate smoked puffin, horse, and an assortment of seafood including whale.

Let me give you a second to digest that. (Pun intended!)

Yes, we ate horse and whale. When in Rome, ya know?

And, you guys. It was so good. Before you freak out, it was a minke whale, not Shamu, and they are not endangered. The horses are really more like ponies, and you see fields of them around Iceland like you see cows in Texas. Both of them taste like really tender steak. (The whale is more like filet mignon.) And seriously, folks. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

As you would probably expect, most of the local cuisine is seafood, so we ate a lot of that. (Including the famed lobster soup. Though, total disclosure, we’re pretty sure the pieces floating on top were prawns, not lobster.)

The alcohol was less impressive. The only local beer we liked was Gull (the others are just not very good), and they have a local scnapps called Brennivin that apparently tastes like death. The local vodka, Reyka, was pretty good though.

Okay, so now for what we actually did.

We got into Iceland around 6:30 a.m. on Friday morning. We couldn’t check into our hotel until 2:00 p.m., so we had decided in advance to rent a van (there were seven in our group) and head out for The Golden Circle (part of their national park) to see the famous Geysir and what was supposed to be a pretty spectacular waterfall.

Here’s where we encountered our first roadblock. Apparently nothing in Iceland opens before eleven in the morning. Nothing. After chasing down a few cafes we found on our GPS only to be met with locked doors, we finally gave up and ate paninis at a gas station. They were actually pretty good. (See the “exceeded expectations” food paragraphs above.)

After that, we were off to the tundra! (Sort of…)

I have a few friends who have visited Iceland recently, and whenever I stalked franticallylooked over their photos, I was always surprised how the landscapes always looked like frozen wastelands. I assumed it must have been the angle. Or the weather that day.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t the angle.

A lot of Iceland is a frozen wasteland. Or at least, looks like one during the winter/after a snowfall.

A lot of the country also just kind of feels like a different planet. The ground will look like a desert covered in snow. Or just a bunch of green rocks. The water will be bright blue, or bursting steaming out of the ground. You have to stop yourself to take it all in and be like, “Look where you are! Look at what you’re doing!”

In the national park, we saw geysers and the Dettifoss waterfall. And it’s really not enough to tell you that it was beautiful. Even the pictures really can’t do the whole justice. But you’ll just have to trust me that is was beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Saturday was Glacier hike day. The bus picked us up in the morning and we headed south, stopping at more freezing waterfalls:

And finally the main glacier.

Again, the pictures can’t really express what it was like to be there, but…amazing.

That night we hit the Reykjavik Runtur, which is basically one long street of clubs and bars. As you know, I’m not exactly a club person, but it was still fun.

People over there get crazy. Within a block, we saw a girl getting loaded into an ambulance and another getting arrested. Which, in Iceland, is saying something. You’re legally allowed to drink in public and eat whale. She may have killed someone to get arrested. Anyway.

The next we shopped, got coffee, had dinner, and pretty much recovered from our days of non-activity.

And finally, it was Monday. Blue Lagoon day!

If the rest of the country felt like another planet, the Blue Lagoon is another universe. Cerulean water, pillars of steam, lava rocks…I’m going to stop myself from using the word “amazing” again, but it was. Joey and I had in-water massages, and between that and the water, we were all pretty darn relaxed when it was time to get on the plane.

And that was the whole trip! It was a short vacation, but we did so much. It really was incredible.

Has anyone else ever been? Or have I convinced any of you that you need to go?