Spruce Up your Rental

While of COURSE I am a huge homeownership cheerleader, I know that it’s not always the right time for everyone to buy a place of their own. I know how it feels to live in a rental but desperately want to make it your own. Here are a few tips that can make a huge impact on a rental without breaking the bank or losing your deposit!

Hardware & fixtures: One of the best ways to make a quick impact around your place is lighting and fixtures. As long as you save the originals, you should have no problem easily swapping out drawer pulls, changing out the blah light switch covers, introducing new doorknobs or even installing a trendy ceiling fan or light fixture. You can also consider alternatives like plug-in sconces, swag lighting or big floor lamps. Always get professional help with anything electric and check with your landlord about big projects, but you may even find they love it and want you to leave it when your lease ends!

Mirrors: Dated, giant mirrors in your bathroom can make your space feel impersonal and old school. You can CAREFULLY remove them (make sure to put duct tape in an X over the whole mirror) and install a more chic version. If you have a double vanity, adding two smaller framed mirrors goes leaps and bounds! If you’re not quite ready to take that risk, get a removable frame like this MirrorMate one that snaps into place around your existing mirror.

Walls: At some point, you’ve probably considered painting a wall or two to warm up your space. However, many times that isn’t feasible with requirements to paint it back or restrictions on what shades you can choose. Consider removable wallpaper or a gallery wall to take up maximum space with minimum effort. In the kitchen, employ a solution like TicTac Tiles to temporarily get the Pinterest kitchen of your dreams!

Bathroom: For me, the bathrooms in my rentals weren’t so much a cosmetic problem as a logistical nightmare! I added cute Command Hooks (they make SO many options these days) right by my shower to avoid dripping across the floor to where the DUMB towel bars were installed. If you are lacking a ledge for shaving, this suction-cupped step saved my life! Lastly, a new shower head can make you feel like you’re in a spa in no time. Again, save the original and talk to your landlord, and if that doesn’t fly you can at least give it a good cleaning using this technique to get it running better than ever.

While where you live now might not be your forever home, I hope this inspires you to make a few homey changes!

Thanks to the gals at The DIY Playbook for letting me borrow their image from their swag lighting project. They have tons of their own awesome tips about projects you can do yourself to make your space your own! 

Doggone Good Weekend Recap

Y’all know I can’t resist a good pun.

Or a terrible pun.

Anywayyyy, this weekend was a doozy for us! We entertained for the first time in our new house, hit the town for our first official Raleigh holiday, and tried tons of new restaurants (our favorite!).

Saturday, we pushed the limits of #basic and threw our puppy Dorothy her first birthday party. Did I go overboard? Probably. Do I care? Nope.

On the menu, I had PAWncake skewers and chicken and WOOFles, a biscuit bar for humans and pups, sausage and grits casserole, and zucchini bread (“grass clipping bread”- our dog’s favorite!). I had been feverishly inviting humans and dogs to our house for weeks, blatantly ignoring the fact that it could rain or be cold in March, we had no fence yet, we have a white couch, etc. etc. Leave it to my sweet husband to always shine the logistical light on my decisions… but get dragged along for the ride anyway. It turned out to be the perfect day!

Saturday afternoon, we retired briefly to our porch for mimosas and March Madness. When we channeled our inner 19 year olds and decided that we could rally, we made our way to meet friends on Glenwood South. We were greeted with a sea of green, all people who had been enjoying the festivities much longer than we had.

We acted quickly and made a mobile reservation at Vidrio, realizing it was one of the only places on the road that partygoers might miss. Y’all, I am SO glad that we tried this place! It’s a Mediterranean tapas restaurant with absolutely breathtaking decor. It’s great for a date or happy hour because you can get several small plates, delicious wine, and never run out of topics to discuss with the art surrounding you. Vidrio means “glass”, and nearly every inch of the restaurant is adorned with gorgeous pieces. We loved the beef skewers, hanger steak, Brussels sprouts (with BACON JAM), and the jet black colored risotto.

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We tuckered out early that night, but managed to rouse ourselves for brunch at Lucky 32 down the street from us in Cary. I was so pleasantly surprised by the whole concept- the name comes from the fact that the menu refreshes every 32 days. I got the Suffolk Chicken Breast on the best grit cake of my life, and the cornbread was to die for as well!

I hope y’all had a great weekend, I’d love to know if anyone got into any more mischief than we did!

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Goal Digger

Like many of you, I set some aspirations at the beginning of the year. And like many of you (I think), I’ve also already run late to almost every appointment I’ve been to and claimed I had NO TIME for the gym through a full mouth of Thin Mints.

If you know my Rabbit Rabbit superstition, you know it would be easy for me to throw in the towel, chalk 2018 up to a failure and wait for January of 2019 to start over. However, I think that Valentine’s Day/Lent/Spring is actually a MUCH better time to begin fresh. The weather is getting better so you’re not tempted to complain from bed until noon every day. Days are longer so you’re not totally defeated when you leave work every day. People want to network, hang out, try new things, the list goes on.

I wanted to share a few things with you that I’m doing to keep momentum going. First, I created a 101 in 1001 goal list. This challenge is widespread in the blog community, and I thought it’d be a much more manageable way to try and attack a “mini-bucket list”. There are a variety of goals and I won’t spend time on them, but if you’re curious about my progress you can view my list here.VisionBoard.jpg

Next, I set a “word of the year”- Build. This acts as my basis for my strategy and I try to come back to it with each decision and idea that pops up throughout the year. I wanted to do something fluffier and more positive- “build” sounds like such hard work- but it’s the stage I’m in and I’m really excited about it. (You’ll see the little play on words at the top of my vision board where I found “build” in magazines)

My favorite goal setting exercise of the year is always my vision board. It’s #OprahApproved, and my mom and I usually knock them out together over Christmas/New Years. If you have never tried one, essentially you use magazines or photos to spell out your plan and put positive intentions out into the universe. Many people do them for one specific thing, like romance or a job hunt. I usually make it broad and have been shocked at the results! My favorite tips:

  1. Be creative: My favorite magazines to use are Oprah and Real Simple. They tend to have a wide variety of topics, and they’re aligned with a lot of the goals I find myself setting. However, you often won’t find the perfect word, phrase or image. Feel free to piece together letters to spell something out, check out the advertisements (where I find my best stuff!), and repurpose words. For example, on my board this year “Table of Contents” was trimmed down to become “content”. I’m also a fan of grabbing free magazines from the stands outside the grocery store for career focused or local features.
  2. Be strategic: If you’re familiar with the law of attraction, it is all about positivity. Make sure to avoid words like “don’t” or “stop” and focus on things you want to open, begin or start. I also try to be careful with being too specific, or cutting out an exact place or room in a home or style of something if I’m not sure it’s what I want (again, SUPER stitious). Example here, last year I only made it through half of my vision board. I put tons of things on there about Raleigh, moving, finding a job, but that was all I made it through. That stuff actually happened, I did move and find a job but I put no specifics on whether I wanted to be happy or how I wanted to feel. I ended up being frazzled, displaced, and in a really negative work environment. This year I took time to really spell it all out. I also think it’s important to have a “vibe” if you can- if you want to feel calm, pick pictures that portray that and leave white space. I plan to have a busy, fun, wild, productive year, so my vibe is totally different.
  3. HAVE FUN: I often stress out over what the board will end up looking like once I’m done. It takes me way longer than I need to, when the ultimate goal is to just get it on paper so the universe can start working in my favor. This year I covered the background with large colorful pictures, and layered over top with my intentions and favorite clippings. I’ve had friends make them and only include one or two pictures, some hand wrote or drew, and others were drawn to super abstract images and words. Try to keep your eyes on your own paper!

I’d love to hear if y’all end up trying a vision board this year. I swear it’s the most fun and productive way I get my head right and uncover things I didn’t even know I was hoping for.

Cocktails and Cookies with SkillPop!

I have always been a “joiner”. I’m guilty as charged. I have no problem showing up for activities alone, and I’m always down to gain a new skill or test out something exciting and fun. I stumbled upon SkillPop in December, and enrolled in their holiday cocktail class faster than you could say “Hot Toddy”.

SkillpopDrinksTheir goal is to make experiential education available through pop-up classes. They have a TON of variety of classes ranging from art to business to culinary. They are taught by people in your own community, and held at unique venues around the area. All the classes I’ve taken have been at the Mayton Inn, and it’s been a blast to check out the hotel, bars and restaurants they have. IMG_1788

Last night, I checked a box off of my 101 in 1001 list and learned to decorate sugar cookies! The girls from Southern Sugar Bakery were patient, approachable and extremely skilled instructors. I left feeling super confident and full of sugar, my absolutely favorite way to feel.

SkillPop began in Charlotte, and has expanded to offer classes in the Triangle, Greenville and Nashville. Many of y’all have expressed interest in getting involved, so keep an eye on their site (or come visit me!).