My Spring Wish List

I love stand-bys. You know. Those things that you can always count on. Especially when it comes to clothes.

Because as much as I would like to be that girl who lays out her clothes the night before and doesn’t have to scramble through drawers in a darkened room to slap an outfit together, nine times out of ten I have no idea what I’m going to wear when I wake up.

Which is why it’s nice when the laundry has recently been done and my favorite stand-bys are on-hand.

Here are four things that I know will look good without even glancing in a mirror (and how I would upgrade them for spring…just to make sure I’m not literally always wearing the same thing):

1. J. Crew Minnie Pant in Bi-Stretch Wool. The more loyal readers among you might recognize these from my “pants wish list”. (Wowza. Lamest-sounding wish list ever.) But seriously, they were worth every penny. They match everything, fit great (well, I need to get the waist tailored a bit, but even without that, they’re awesome). I would highly recommend.

And for the next step? I would love to snag a pair of these J. Crew Cafe Capri Pants in Warm Jade. Gahhh love them.

2. Camel-colored handbag. (Mine is no longer available, but this one is similar.) I bought this as a present to myself when I got my new job, and I have never once regretted it. Seriously, I carry this thing almost every single day.

I’ve wanted a grey handbag for a while, but haven’t found the right one yet. I am in LOVE with this Coach Kristin Elevated Leather Grey Satchel, though. And that price! If I didn’t want that rug so bad (or need to order new contacts this week), I’d put the money toward this. Gah. Responsible decisions, you guys.

3. H&M Striped Top. I would wear this every single day if people wouldn’t start to question my hygiene. I love fitted striped shirts.

For summer, I’d go a little breezier with this Matelot Stripe Cap Sleeve Dress from French Connection. Same always-looks-good pattern, different silhouette.

4. Aldo Capecoral heels in nude. What can I say? They go with everything and make your legs look crazy long.

And while I still see myself wearing nude heels a lot this summer, lately I’ve been embracing wedges to save my feet without losing height. (I rarely wear flats, but after a 12-mile run, your toes beg to differ with heels.) This Damita Wedge from Michael Kors is neutral enough to go with anything, but probably a lot more comfortable than your standard heel.

So there you have it. Spring wish list/upgrades.

What about you? Any pieces out there you’re coveting now that the weather is getting warmer?

I don’t care for spam.

So, a decision has been made. We’re going with the rug.

I know. I know, you guys. I’m only sorry for making you hold your breath this long.

I’m going to order it next month. You know, after those pesky costs (like rent, car payments, etc.) have been covered. Ohhh, adulthood! You are such a fun suck.

Fortunately, aside from the rug, there are only two things in that inspiration board I don’t already have (because, again, I don’t expect to own that coffee table trunk anytime soon): the map print and the turquoise pillow.

Isn’t that kind of amazing? Like, my living room doesn’t really look anything like that image right now, but with only a few accessory swaps (and a giant rug) we can have a whole new space. Wacky.

Anywho, today at lunch, I was going to get a manicure, but instead I think I’ll hit up Jo-Ann’s for fabric and possibly Michael’s for a canvas and some paint because I’ve decided I can make those two things myself. (Or at least something similar.) I need fabric for a project I’m working on with my sister anyway. Two birds, y’all.

Now that you’re caught up on my weekend plans, can we just talk about something for a second? We need to talk about spam.

No, not that kind of Spam. I’ve never tried that, but I have to believe it would be less horrible than the kind I’m talking about. I’m talking about spam blog comments.

If you maintain a blog, you probably have some idea of what I’m talking about. If you don’t…OMG they are SO ANNOYING.

For a while, I had a spam blocker that required commenters to check a box to “prove they were human,” as opposed to the stupid bots that apparently just troll the internets leaving tainted links on everything. I thought checking the box was fairly simple. I mean…it’s one click. I had seen (and used) it on other blogs with great success. It’s not like I was asking you to decipher and repeat one of these:

I mean, I agree, those are annoying. But a check box? Did I mention it’s one click?

But still, you guys didn’t like it. Apparently it wasn’t obvious enough, and people were missing it, and then when my blog was all, “Nuh-uh! You ain’t leaving no comments til you prove you’re a HUMAN! IFTHATISYOURREALSPECIES!” (My blog is very sassy when it comes to spam threats.), and then it would just delete your lovingly crafted comment. And I certainly do not expect you to repeat yourself. That’s lame.

So I removed the spam blocker. Because I care about you guys. I want reading my blog to be a pleasant experience for you. It’s not like I’m oh-so-famous that I don’t need each and every one of you. I’m not. I appreciate each and every one of you and, if given the opportunity, would kiss you all on the face. (But not open-mouthed. I’m a married woman.)

But since that isn’t altogether feasible (or, let’s face it, sanitary)(you don’t know where I’ve been)(what?), instead I opted to try to make commenting easier for you.

Which, it has been, right? I mean, you guys are kind of a quiet bunch in general, but I feel like commenting has picked up a little since I removed the blocker (and therefore the check box). It’s easier now, right?

Of course, the problem is that while you guys are living the good life, I’m swimming through message like these:

As you can see, most of these don’t even make sense. And the ones that do are…well…almost insulting? (“ps decent site” could quite possibly be the most backhanded compliment I’ve ever received. And I’ve actually been told that I have a “great personality”…so…yeah. Dark times.)

It wouldn’t be so bad if I only got a couple of these a day, but it’s more like a dozen or more. If I don’t check my dashboard over the weekend (which I usually don’t), I could wake up to 60 or so spam comments on Monday. It’s madness. And it’s just annoying.

I don’t want to pay for the spam service that comes with, and I don’t want my readers to have to jump through a million hoops to leave a comment. Is there a middle ground? Some plug-in that I don’t know about? If you know of anything, please leave me a note below. (UNLESS YOU’RE A ROBOT, IN WHICH CASE, GET LOST.)

To you other bloggers out there, do you get a lot of comments? Does it come with a price?

8 Ways to Add Color to the Living Room

I have commitment issues. At least when it comes to rugs.

I mean, a rug is kind of a big deal. It’s an investment for one. (Even super affordable rugs aren’t free.) For another, it’s a pretty big statement piece in a room.

And let’s face it, even I get a little nervous about slapping something that peachy-pink on the floor. Not because I wouldn’t like it, but because I want our apartment to be a representation of both my husband and me.

What I’m saying is, I’m holding off a bit. But probably just until next month. (You know, when the financial obligations will start to wane.)

I will have 45 days to return it if I don’t like it, so at least this is a commitment I can wiggle out of if need be.

As I’ve said before, I’m definitely someone who needs to actually see something in action before I’m sure I like it.

But then it dawned on me: Justine, why don’t you just stage out the room in a mood board?

And I said, “Self, you are one smart lady.”

Since I’m not planning on overhauling the entire room (my savings account just breathed a sigh of relief), this room plan is mostly about the accessories. But to give you an overall idea of what I’m thinking (and in case you want our living rooms to be twinsies), I included furniture similar to what I have below. (And just to mix things up, let’s work counter-clockwise, shall we?)

1. This Vegas Microfiber Sectional Sofa isn’t exactly what we have, but it’s close enough to give you an idea what we’re working with. I’ve photoshopped it here with the pillows I already have (mentioned here) and will continue to work with.

2. To bring some color to the taupe-y couch, I’d add this turquoise pillow from studiotullia and green pillows I already own (this one is similar).

3. Ohhh the elusive dream of a storage trunk ottoman. Total confession: I’ve loved this Hunter Trunk from Crate & Barrel for several years. But if I’m gun-shy about an $89 rug, you can bet your bank account I’m not exactly jumping on this just yet. It would be great if I could find a similar version on Craigslist or something. Maybe someday. (Or if 599 of you would like to chip in a dollar and buy it for me, that would be great also.) I have a Dove Bowl I received as a wedding present that I would move back to the living room from where it has been living in the dining room.

4. The rug that started this all.

5. A green chair I already have. Again, my green chair isn’t exactly like this Madeline version, but mine was also from Urban and it’s really similar/the same color.

6. Two of the pictured art pieces I already own: my painting from Gloria Joy Art & Design and this Kurt Vonnegut Happiness Quote Print from ShopGirlSteph.

7. I have a white L in a frame on the wall that I might paint in a gold-edged turquoise, like this version from OldNewAgain.

8. I really like this wall print, especially since the hubs and I love to travel (and the color is perfect). I might replace a vintage map of Paris I have on the wall currently with this. (And move the Paris map to the dining room or bedroom.)

So…what do you think? (And more importantly, Joey, what do you think?)(Isn’t it fun being included in husband and wife convos about our home decor?)(I’m weird, sorry.)

Keep in mind that there’s also the grey patterned curtains, the dark shelves/TV console/desk, and the office area to contend with. But since those are fairly simple (and just dark wood or black pieces from IKEA), they can be propped out to fit into any color scheme.

OK, enough disclaimers. Thoughts?

I’m medium-maintenance

I was never a girlie-girl growing up. After three older brothers, I’m sure my mom was more than a little disappointed at just how much I preferred soft ball and collecting bugs to dressing up and painting my nails.

Of course, things changed as I got older. I started wearing makeup in the eighth grade. (Though I vividly remember being so uncomfortable asking my mom if I could. I think I was embarrassed? Not embarrassed to be wearing makeup. But embarrassed to be making a fuss about my appearance.

Somewhere along the line, I equated caring about my appearance with being high-maintenance. Isn’t that kind of sad? I mean, shouldn’t you feel like you’re worth making a fuss over?

Obviously, I don’t feel that way as much anymore. I’m a huge proponent of the lunchtime manicure (I haven’t had naked nails in…geez, months?), and you know I love a good blowout. My favorite indulgences (besides my running time) are getting my hair or nails done. I feel like a whole new person after a trip to the salon.

But despite how much I love taking care of myself and how great I feel when I do, I still sometimes feel a tug of guilt about it. I know that these things are not actually important. And I could very well survive without either indulgence. But as long as it is fiscally responsible, why should I beat myself up about doing whatever I can to be my best self?

Am I the only one who ever feels this way? Or should I just knock it off and embrace my life as a pseudo-high-maintenance chick?

Nice rug.

You know what we haven’t talked about in a while? My apartment decor.

You’ll be glad to know things are pretty much where we left off last time. I mean, I updated that gallery wall a bit. We got a computer. But really, that’s about it.

Like just about every other blogger, however, I’ve been on a quiet mission this year to incorporate more color into our decor. I love a good neutral (and live a lot of my life in them), but lately I’ve been drawn to more colorful spaces on Pinterest and in magazines.

This painting.

This office area.

This pastel-y living room.

So, as you can see, I’m not talking like CrAzY amounts of color. I like subtle…so you don’t even notice you’re looking at a colorful room, you just notice the pretty. Plus, I think colorful details pair nicely with white walls. (Which, as we know, I am forced to have.)

Anyway. The reason why I am bringing this up is because I am psyching myself up for a major purchase: a coral rug.

FEAST your eyes on this baby:

It’s the Argonne Rug from Home Decorators Collection. And, um, hi? That price? Amazing. Rugs are expensive, yo. But this? this I could swing.

The hubs is on-board (he’s pretty trusting of my decor ideas…guess that means I haven’t done anything too wacky yet). I just need to pull the trigger.

But first…what do you guys think? The other colors in my living room are taupe, green, grey, and gold-ish. I brought in a little pink with that new print on the gallery wall, and I think it worked well, but this would be a definite statement. And I’m mildly concerned that with the trellis-patterned curtains (which, for the record, I have hemmed since that post) and this patterned rug, it would be too much. But maybe I’m just being a big baby? In my brain, it all just kind of works, but maybe that’s just in my crazy brain.

Any thoughts out there?

I know what you did last weekend

I’m just going to tell you right now that I didn’t get everything done that I said I was going to do. BUT. I got most of it done.

I DID organize half of the hall closet. (But I didn’t take a picture because I forgot to take a “before” photo. I know. #bloggerfail.)

I DIDN’T do anything to the office area. But, honestly, it doesn’t look that bad right now. Just a little cluttered.

I DID finish the gallery wall. My favorite new update is a print with a quote from one of my favorite authors. My brother actually included this quote in his “man of honor” speech at my wedding, so it reminds me of happy memories whenever I look at it.

I DID tidy all the common areas. The living room, bathroom, dining room, and kitchen were all pretty darn clean as of yesterday morning. (The dining room has since become “crafting central,” so it’s not as neat currently.)(But it’s for a good cause.)

I DIDN’T make the shadow boxes. But I did get quite a bit of other crafting accomplished.

I DIDN’T make it to a thrift store. I know. I have been promising to do this forever. I don’t know what my deal is. I also have two pairs of pants that need to go to the tailor that have been sitting in the back seat of my car for weeks.

Maybe next weekend.

So anyway, I feel reasonably accomplished.

You might be wondering about the crafting I hinted at. (Or you might not. I don’t know your life.) Well, all I can tell you right now is that it’s for a secret project. I will reveal more next month.

How bout y’all? Did you get anything accomplished this weekend that you had been putting off?

I can feel it, you guys. Next weekend is the weekend of the thrift store run. It’s happening.

Hanging over my head

OK, so the past few weeks have been super fun. (Two parties AND my anniversary! I’m like, so popular, you guys.) But I still get a little exhausted when I think about how I can’t really stop until May 13th. (Here’s to a long, lazy summer, y’all.)

So obviously my first instinct is to add more to my to-do list, right?

You see, this weekend is the only one I have with zero plans. April 21-22. I mean, I have to do a pretty long run on Saturday. But aside from that, tonight, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday are wide open.

Or, at least they were before my OCD brain booked us up.

Because, I’m not going to lie to you guys. The apartment is looking a little worse for the wear. There’s clutter everywhere, half-unpacked suitcases, piles of letters, half-drunk glasses of water, shoes, hockey equipment, crafting supplies — it’s madness. And when you’re super busycrazed, you need your home to be a sanctuary where your brain can go quiet and enjoy a glass of wine without adding things to your mental to-do list.

I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

So this weekend is going to be the Weekend of Getting It DONE. What do I mean by “it”? Well, here’s the comprehensive list:

1. Organize the hall closet. Sure, I can’t have my dream closet (yet), but I can make what I have a lot better. And I got PLANS, yo.
2. Organize the “office” area. We FINALLY got a computer (we’ve been making due with our super old, super slow laptops), which I’m thrilled about, but I’m not thrilled about plunking our fancy new computer in our cluttered office area. The current space still looks mostly like it did here, except now the desk has become a dumping ground of stuff that I don’t have time to deal with at the moment. Classy. It needs work.
3. Finish the gallery wall. The gallery wall will probably always be a bit of a work in progress, but since the grown-up frames and updated artwork, I’ve also added a vintage-inspired map of France and procured a new art print with one of my favorite quotes. I still need to hang the new print, and I need to shift a few things around to make it all jive.
4. Tidy all of the common areas. Bathroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room are all in need of a deep clean and clutter removal.
5. Create shadowbox frames for the bedroom. The bedroom is still a work in progress (though I have pillows and a new bedspread!), but I have almost all the materials for these. I just need to put them together.
6. Goodwill run. Looking for a vanity, fabric, old jewelry for a project, lamps for the bedroom, and a few other things if I find great deals.

So there you have it. There are still a bunch of other things the apartment needs (and probably always will), but I think I can get most of that accomplished in a weekend. Everything else will have to wait until the end of May. (Eesh.)

Do you have any projects you’ve been putting off or just haven’t had time to accomplish?