Balloons make everything better

Nothing important to say today except…

{Source}

The hubs and I are kicking off our weekend by doing…wait for it…NOTHING. We have a relaxing night in ahead of us (unless I’m forgetting something), and I plan on cleaning and taking care of a few things I’ve been putting off.

I know. I’m a party animal.

Don’t forget, you have until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. to enter my Gloria Joy Art & Design giveaway. (Come on people, a free CUSTOM painting of your choice!) All you have to do to enter is leave a quick comment. That’s it!

See you Monday!

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What to Wear to a Wedding

It’s March 1st. Does anyone else find that to be insane? Well, I do. Anyway.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a couple of weddings this year. One of them I’m in, which makes life easier in that my outfit was selected for me and is already decided and hanging in my closet.

The other…well, there’s the rub.

Not surprisingly (probably), I put a lot of research into dresses I buy for events. (Ok, into any clothing purchases. We all remember the pants.)(I’m actually wearing the black pants right now! They’re awesome, but I need to get the waist tailored.)(I know, I know, you don’t care…)

My biggest problem is that I always come up with a very specific idea of what I want to wear without any consideration for whether or not that idea is actually available anyway. I like to drive myself insane like that.

For this wedding, I want a dress in a bold color (like green or berry…but ideally not blue because I really don’t need ANOTHER blue dress) with some kind of open, drape-y back. I want it short, but not mini, and I would prefer no or short sleeves. I want to look hot, but it’s still someone else’s wedding, so not like, BAM-look-at-me-hott-with-two-T’s. More like turns-my-husband’s-head-hot. (One T.) Oh, and also under $100 if I can find it because I’m returning to my cheap old woman ways.

WHY OH WHY ON EARTH WOULD THAT BE A CHALLENGE TO FIND.

Oh yeah. Because I’m a crazy person who dreams too big.

So anyway. In true me fashion, I hit up the Google for ideas. Here’s a collection of what I found and why it’s not perfect:

1. CUT25 Draped Back Dress in Palm: Ok, so this one is so close to perfect it’s ACTUALLY painful. Perfect color, good shape (maybe a little tight on the caboose, but the hubs wouldn’t complain). Only problem? check the price tag. Plus, there’s only ONE left, and while that usually is my size, I would feel safer going a size up since it looks tightish. But mostly, check the price tag.

2. Bebe Open Back Shine Dress: Also very close EXCEPT. The price is a little high, and the bridesmaid dresses for the wedding are the same color. Sorry, not going to be that girl.

3. Akira Black Label Open Back Drape Sleeve Dress in Royal Blue: So this is actually the closest to perfect and I may actually buy it. The only issues: I would prefer NOT blue and they’re out of my size. But the waist cinches, so I think I could get away with a size up. And I guess I could deal with another blue dress…if I don’t find any other options.

4. Warehouse Exposed Back Dress: LOVE this dress. But it’s expensive and…well..white. I also refuse to be that girl at the wedding.

5. ASOS Sexy Cowl Back Dress in Mink: Close, but a bit tight and short. Blah, I’m getting tired of the same excuses. The price is nice, though.

6. Joanne Kitten Open-Back Pleated Dress: This is actually another promising option. I like the cut of it, the color is ok, the back works. I just don’t…it’s not drape-y. I think that’s the problem.

7. French Connection Dress with Strip Back Detail: I LOVE the back of this dress. It’s amazing. And the overall cut is great too. But it’s navy, which is basically blue except MORE common in my closet. And it’s too expensive. Blerg.

So what I’m saying is that the search continues. And since y’all are such great problem solvers, I’m hoping you’ll share any colorful, drape-y, open-back-but-not-slutty dresses you know of in the comments. Worst case scenario (which isn’t even all that bad), I’m going with the blue Akira dress. (It’s also available in red, but it’s like WHOA RED. Not sure I can pull off that color.)

I really, really, really love this dress in blush, but I have no idea who makes it (and let’s face it, I probably can’t afford it):

Any help out there? Or are you searching for something really specific that I can help you find? I’m pretty good at this whole “online searching” thing.

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!