February 26, 2015

Living Room Pinspiration: A New Mini Series

It's that time of the year again, moving time. I've moved every year for the past 4 years.  I should be a professional mover, except I hate moving and would call out "sick" every day.  This year, however, I'll be moving in with my boyfriend and we are having to do the whole compromise thing on decor.  He's very traditional and simple, think brown leather sofa with matching coffee and end tables.  He'd prefer, probably like most men, to go to one store, pick out a completed room set with lots of dark colors and leather and call it a day.  I, on the other hand, gravitate towards eclectic rooms with light neutral colors, heavy on the metallics. I don't mind, and in fact love, revamping older pieces and keeping things from being too matchy matchy.

I thought it would be fun to share the experience with you all as we transition into the new house and essentially decorate and furnish it from the ground up.  He's had roommates the past 5 years and has been lucky enough to not need to purchase any furniture of his own (aside from his bedroom furniture).  We'll be using my living room and dining furniture initially, but will replace that hopefully sooner rather than later.  Through this mini series, I'll share with you photos and ideas I am keeping for inspiration as we find a happy medium somewhere between my taste and his.

I knew I was going to have to give a bit on the whole "white, cream, silver and gold" color palette I have going on currently at my apartment. I don't like buying things just to fill a space and since this will be a place we will hopefully be at for a long time, I really wanted to fill it with stuff we both really like.  I have been holding out on buying anything for the new house until I found that one piece we both liked and could use as the starting point around which the room would be decorated.  I was at Marshall's a few weeks ago and spotted this rug and immediately fell in love! The blue color is gorgeous and lucky for me, Leif liked it too!

My couch, that we will start out with, is a cream color, but eventually Leif wants to get a brown leather couch. I like the pillows in contrasting colors, but will probably opt for none of them to match yet be in the same color family. I also like the touches of white and silver, we'll probably do similarly.

Hopefully the rug will be the perfect size for our living room, it's a 5x7 and I'm aiming to put it under the coffee table, but in the event we don't like the look of it there, I like the look of patterned curtains in the same color. I also want to get a large mirror to sit above our fireplace. Our house is actually set in in almost the same way, with the fireplace on the far wall and windows on either side, so I also like the chair positioned by the window, I could read for hours there. 

I love the look of a gallery wall, but sometimes they can be too overwhelming for me visually.  I like the look of shelves to give some cohesiveness to everything while also allowing pieces to sit on them much in the same way a bookshelf would look. 

I love the rustic elements of this room; the lanterns on either side of the fireplace, the moss and cotton center piece, the books casually leaning on the back cabinet and the burlap and wire basket in from of the fireplace.  I think I could get a similar look with things from Michael's and HomeGoods.

What are some of your favorite (affordable!) home furnishings and decor stores?  I am so excited to get the project underway!

February 16, 2015

Window Shopping

If you've read any of my blog posts before, you'd know I love a bargain, and if you're new and haven't read any posts, I love a bargain. They're my drug of choice: bargains, sales, bogos, you name it, I love it! I can bring myself to splurge a little more when it comes to clothes and accessories, but with makeup, while I have a few higher priced items, if I can find a great product from Target or CVS, sign me up!

However, I do love browsing Sephora as much as the next girl, and can't help but to illogically want some all of the products. I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and it doesn't help that I watch YouTube beauty videos like it's my job in which the girls rave about lip liners that cost $30, seriously? Today I thought it would be fun to share with you the products I find myself wanting, but probably never buying.

1. YSL ROUGE VOLUPTÉ Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick. That packaging is hands down the only reason I want this, I don't even wear lipstick.

2. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb perfume.  The best smelling perfume I've ever smelled in my entire life, and at close to $100 a bottle, it better be. Still, I don't care how good you smell (how many times can I say smell?), I'm never buying a $100 bottle of perfume that doesn't come with Ryan Gosling spritzing me with it.

3.  Burrberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base-  I've actually read really good reviews for this, but $48 for foundation when I maybe wear foundation once a week? Not happening. Plus I can just imagine how ridiculous I would feel if someone asked what I was wearing and I had to say "Burberry", how fancy must I be! That packaging too though!

4.  Deborah Lippman nail polish- I know some of you are going to protest this one, but $20...for nail polish? Still, I can't help walking by the testers at Sephora and thinking she just does glitter right.... which coincidentally enough is also something I don't wear. Ever.

5. Dior Hydra Life Pro Youth Silk Creme- This, to me, is actually the most reasonable of my lust list, because I've really gotten into skin care over the past year.  I've tried it before on my hand and it really does feel amazing, but skincare is tricky because it takes some time for you to see results, if you ever do. It's $56, but if I knew it would work, I'd buy it all day long. 

6. Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Long Wear Eyeshadow- $36 for eyeshadow? Next...

7. YSL Babydoll Mascara-  A friend of mine has this and I've tried it a few times and it really makes my lashes look so long and fluttery. It's pretty wonderful, but again at $30, even though I do wear mascara daily, I just haven't been able to bring myself to buy it yet.

Are you a sucker for pretty packaging like me? What are some of the luxury items you find yourself wanting once you walk into the beauty black hole that is Sephora?

February 9, 2015

What I Read: The Good Girl

I have such mixed emotions about this book.  I've said before, I'm a pretty picky reader, it takes a lot for me to really fall in love with a book and become invested in its characters.  Truthfully, I usually don't give in a read a book until it has a pretty big fan base already or at the very least I've read tons of great reviews, i.e. Twilight, Harry Potter, Emily Giffin books (it's okay, call me a bandwagoner). I love reading and don't want to waste my time with books I have to force myself through, also paying for something I don't enjoy isn't fun.  But, back to the book at hand, The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica. I was searching for a solid 30 minutes for a new book to buy on my Nook when I came across this and immediately the synopsis hooked me. I downloaded the sample, and here we are 5 days later with the review, I could not put it down...

And then came the ending. If you've read the book you know what I mean.  The story is about Mia, a 25 year old girl who is kidnapped from a bar one evening by a guy named Colin.  Mia's family is fairly wealthy, as her dad is a very notable judge (and absent father) in Chicago and Colin is hired to kidnap Mia and deliver her to Dalmar (the man who hired Colin) where he will then hold her for ransom.  As I'm sure you can guess, things don't go exactly as planned and the story takes a different turn. The book switches point of view with each chapter being told through either Colin's, Gabe's (the detective working the case), or Eve's (Mia's mother) point of view. I loved that part, it was nice getting to really know the characters and how they felt and what they were thinking both before and after the incident occurred.

If you don't want any spoilers, and by spoilers I mean the big bomb they drop on you, don't read any further as I will be revealing all of what happened in the book and will instead leave you with this; all in all, I do recommend this book if suspenseful novels like Gone Girl are your thing.

So, the book ends with Mia (who hasn't yet discovered she's pregnant with Colin's baby) being found, Colin getting shot and killed by the police and Mia's dad facing charges of accepting bribes in exchange for less harsh sentences to those he's convicted. Mia suffers severe Stockholm Syndrome which to me was kind of unrelatable, but kind of not, I hope I'd never have those same feelings in that situation. At this point, I liked the book a lot; it was interesting and suspenseful and I found the relationship between Mia and Colin intriguing because I just can't imagine myself falling in love with someone who kidnapped me.  The last chapter is a flash forward to before the kidnapping took place and it's Mia presenting a plan to Dalmar in which she will stage her own kidnapping.  Never. Saw. It. Coming.

I love books like this, and Gone Girl, in which there is such a huge plot twist that catches you completely off guard and you never suspect.  My complaint, so to speak, is why stage your own kidnapping to get back at your father for being a lousy dad? After Mia was rescued she searched her fathers office and found the evidence of  his accepting bribes, why not try that route in the first place?  Also, he was an absent dad and wouldn't pay for your college unless it was for a degree he supported, I'll agree that sucks, but cry about it in your nice warm bed in the big fancy house you live it.  I'm not saying the dad wasn't a total jerk, because he was,but staging your own kidnapping is a little bizarre.  Also, if I knew that at any moment of any day I could be kidnapped as per the agreement I set up, I'd be sure to carry a few extra things around with me, a toothbrush for one.  Maybe wear multiple layers of clothing as it is Fall in Illinois and will be getting really cold, really quick.  I also think that once I had to go to the doctor for pneumonia (which she did) I'd tell Colin that jig was up and to call Dalmar so we can all have a laugh at how dumb of an idea this was in the first place.

Even though there were some things that irked me, I really did enjoy this book, and I'd still recommend it.  It wasn't so much that I hated Mia planning her own kidnapping as it was I just can't relate to wanting to get back so badly at my rich father who lost interest in me when I didn't want to become a lawyer that I'd eat canned stewed tomatoes for weeks on end and use scraps of towels and whatever else I could find for my period.  He's a prominent political figure, fake a drug habit or leak a sex tape like a "normal" (slightly kidding) person and hit him where it where it really hurts, public ridicule and embarrassment, threaten his job. Not that I've given this any real thought or anything...

What are some books you've read lately? Do you recommend any?

February 3, 2015

Valentine's Day Outfit Ideas

I've never been big into Valentine's Day, not because I'm bitter about the holiday, and it's truthfully a little surprising I'm not that into it, as I am a closet hopeless romantic. I just prefer to celebrate on a much smaller scale and feel it can get out of control really quick. My boyfriend and I may get each other something small and I'll usually cook something a little extra special for dinner.  One aspect I do look forward to is dressing for Valentine's Day, I love a good theme and will dress for almost any occasion.  Today I'm sharing a few fun Valentine's Day looks no matter what your plans are!

Dressed Up- This outfit is perfect for a night out with your Valentine. Add some black tights or knee high socks if it's chilly and you're all set!

Dress, $21.46.  I know shipping times can be a little longer with Chicnova so this is also an option and a dress I personally own and love; I wear it all the time!

Black booties, $83.30

Necklace, on sale $21.00

Casual Date-  In an outfit like this you could go pretty much anywhere and feel comfortable doing so while still looking polished.  And at $10, that sweater is a steal!

Sweater, $9.95

Skinny Jeans, $44.00

Shoes, on sale $41.00 (plus free shipping!)

Earrings, $48.00

Relaxing Night In-  Some of my most favorite nights are ones spent staying in all alone with some good food and a few beauty treatments.  Throw on some extra fun pajamas and show yourself some love!

Satin Pajamas, $29.95

Facial Polishing Mask, $3.99 My favorite scrub ever, read more about it here

Cozy Sparkly Socks, on sale $10.50

Out With the Girls-  Celebrate by wearing your girliest pieces and spending time with the girls you love most!

Sequin Kimono, $26.00

"Leather" Leggings, $34.95

Pink Flats, $44.99

Essie Style Hunter Nail Polish, $8.50

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!