Thursday, January 31, 2013

Living Room Inspiration Part 2 (aka - My First Mood Board!)

As part of my living room inspiration post, I wanted to include a mood board of the pieces that are inspiring our living room. For this being my first time creating a mood board, I'd say it was a fairly successful endeavor!

1. A glam emerald chandelier: Eric Hoglund for Amsterdam Modern
2. Cozy flokati pillow: Target
3. Pretty rustic pillow with a Mexican vibe: Target
4. Fun velour and ribbon pillow: Ikea
5. World most amazing couch: Ikea
6. Sleek Mid-Century TV console: Picture from Polyvore, we'll find one locally.
7. Sadly discontinued black and white rug: Ikea
8. Nahuatl artwork we picked up in San Diego
9. Ikat chevron curtain panels:
10. Happy orange table lamp: One Kings Lane (I need to stop falling in love with discontinued items!)
11. Fantastic industrial modern coffee table: Etsy
Paint color: Behr's Sandstone Cove (Background)

Husband gives his stamp of approval and I love it too. Unfortunately, many of these pieces are discontinued, no longer for sale, unavailable, or out of our budget. We may need to DIY a few things to get the overall look we're going for. I'm looking forward the the challenge!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Copycat Couscous Salad

While honeymooning in San Diego, we went to the upscale, open air, Fashion Valley Mall. Better than the Mac store or the world's (seemingly) largest Forever 21, was the food court. I should preface. I typically dislike the mall and especially the overpriced processed garbage that they serve in the food court. So to my surprise, there were a ton of delicious healthy options in the mall food court here. I guess they care more about that kind of thing in California than the Midwest?

Husband got Panda Express, I ate from a modern Mediterranean place called Cafe Socrates. I ordered the cous cous salad, and it was so delicious! I've been craving it since I got home from vacation. I found their website and a menu with the description of the dish. Basically it's Feta, olives, garbanzo beans, golden raisins, sun dried tomatoes, and red bell pepper served with couscous. Using the food processor we got as a wedding gift, I set out to recreate this yummy dish.

Copycat Couscous Salad

3/4 C. Whole grain couscous
1 Medium red bell pepper
2 TBSP Sun dried tomatoes (about 3)
3 Large pitted whole Kalmata olives
3-4 basil leaves (I used 1 TBSP dried basil)
2 TBSP Golden raisins (You can use regular raisins too)
1 C. Low sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 C. Feta cheese crumbles
1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

1. Prepare couscous as directed. (My package said to boil 1 C. water, add couscous, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. I did not add salt or butter.)

2. While couscous is cooking, cut bell pepper into quarters and add to food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds

3. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives, basil leaves, raisins, garbanzo beans, and Feta and pulse for another 30 seconds.

4. Add olive oil and lemon juice. Mix lightly with spoon.
5. Microwave veggie mix for 1 minute to warm. Add to couscous.
6. Serve immediately.

(4 servings)
Calories: 268   Fat: 7g   Protein: 11g   Carbs: 41g   Sodium: 345g   Fiber: 7g   Sugar: 16g

I had a a couple triangles of whole wheat pita bread and a tablespoon of hummus with mine just like they served it at the restaurant. My total meal came in at 323 calories. The protein and fiber kept me full all afternoon and the carbs were great for my afternoon run. The best part is, it reminds me of one of my favorite meals from our honeymoon!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Living Room Inspiration

After the whirlwind of our wedding and honeymoon, we were excited to relax a little and get back to normal life. Instead, we bought and assembled a couch. Truth be told, I'm glad we did it. The house is already feeling a little less like mine and more ours. It's amazing how much a new couch can change up your routine. Now, when I get home from work, I sprawl out in my corner of the couch and read or catch up on TV. When husband gets home from work he's lounging in his corner watching a movie. When we had just the three-seater sofa and two small arm chairs, we were always fighting over who got the good seat and who got to put their feet up. No one ever sat in the arm chairs unless we had company. It looked nice, and functioned well enough for a single girl, but for a married couple, it was a complete waste of space.

Since the living room is our main living area, and especially now that we have a new couch, the living room is our top redecorating priority. I mentioned before that husband and I have very different decorating styles. He understands that decorating is my thing, and is giving me a little more leeway when it comes to making design decisions. Still, it's my responsibility to give him the warm, comfortable, collected look that he loves. With that in mind, I/we have collected several pictures of inspiration rooms.

Extreme Home Makeover
We both love this living room from Extreme Home Makeover. There's such a sense of 'home' here. The colors are fresh and inviting, the contrast of light and dark is spot on, and the couch looks super comfy.

La Dolce Vita, Originally from Lonny
What drew us to this room was the wall color. It was a warm neutral without being grey, beige, brown, yellow, or pink. Our wall color is fairly similar. We also like the collected feel the the artwork creates. We'd rather see this with a different accent color, maybe teal or green instead of pink.

Found on Houzz
This room is one of my personal favorites. Husband says he's okay with it. I love the black and white rug mixed with so many other colors and textures. It looks rich. I also LOVE the brass and glass table. I'm currently trying to convince husband to let me have one in our living room.

Found at Small Shop, Originally Martine Chaisson for Lonny
It really surprised me when husband said he like this room. I thought it was going to be too neutral for his tastes. But he liked the couch (apparently a good couch is important to him?) and the dark wood floors, with the crisp white mouldings. We both liked the wall color and I obviously loved the chandelier.

Young House Love
When we first found our couch at ikea, we did some Googling to see what it would look like in a room in the color we liked. We stumbled upon Young House Love and I've been hooked ever since. Seriously, John and Sherry are amazing. If you haven't checked out their blog, you need to. Anyways, we both loved this room when we saw it. We're trying to warm up the house a bit so we didn't want grey walls, but we loved the couch (duh), the rug (but maybe black and white instead), the art, and the fun pops of color in the pillows and the art.

To recap, we'll be looking to put together a room that:
  • Feels homey, fresh, and inviting
  • Has warm neutral walls
  • Looks 'collected'
  • Combines lots of texture
  • Has good balance and contrast of light and dark
  • Has bright pops of color against a mostly neutral palate.
  • Feels both masculine and feminine
  • Combines white, wood, and metal (Not pictured, but it something that we both like)
I'm learning teaching myself to put together mood boards. I think the one I made is pretty awesome for my first one. Check back later this week for the finished product!

Also, if you really enjoyed my inspiration pictures and would like to see more, you can follow me on Pinterest here

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Top 20

I bought my house (which is now our house) almost 4 years ago. It was my first permanent home away from my parents. I had lived on campus in college, and spent a summer in a rented room in San Diego, but never moved out for good. In the 3, almost 4, years I've lived here, a lot of cosmetic work (Not to mention the new roof, furnace, air conditioner, and garage door opener!) has been done. I had already purchased living room furniture and a queen bed before I moved in. I got new counter tops for the kitchen (including the addition of a breakfast bar), stainless steel back splashes, all new stainless look kitchen appliances, a new washer and dryer, a sofa table, a dresser, and bought about 15 gallons of paint for all of the rooms that had been painted a pinky-beige color. I had a bright blue office/library, a purple kitchen, an almost-black bedroom, and a teal blue bathroom. It was pretty for what it was.

Blue library, still love this color!

Teal bathroom, now gold and a work in progress.

Still think this is pretty, but not so much my style anymore.

Black bedroom, (and P-squared... a story for another day.) we love this room and it's not changing anytime soon.

Purple and white kitchen, now sage and gray. Another work in progress.

Needless to say, my tastes have changed quite a bit since then. I also have husband's tastes to consider now too. He likes Tuscan, rustic, and traditional. I like modern, eclectic, and a little old Hollywood glam. The only thing we've really got going for us is that my draw toward eclectic sometimes means I like rustic elements. This is his first house (other than a couple rentals with his guys friends) and he wants it to reflect his style. I obviously love decorating so I want it to reflect my style. It's going to be interesting to see how our tastes come together to create our home.

One thing we both recognize is that most of the house is currently a work in progress and we want to see it out to completion. Since we're working on paying off debt and building up savings, we're on a somewhat limited budget. So we'll be taking things one piece at a time and trying to do it on the cheap. There are a few projects in each room I'd like to tackle this year. (And husband is going to help, right?)

Living Room 
      1. Shop for and hang Curtains - I've lived here for almost 4 years and never hung curtains!
      2. Shop for large furniture pieces like a TV console, a rug, two table lamps and a floor lamp or    
          chandelier, and maybe a new coffee table.
      3. Style the room with accessories

Dining Room
      4. Shop for and hang curtains
      5. Repaint
      6. Shop for a china cabinet

      7. Style with accessories

Back Hallway (What doesn't need to be done here!?)
      8. Paint paneling and back door
      9. Install new vinyl on the stairs
      10. Update light fixture or replace it

      11. Organize jewelry and clothes
      12. Art for the walls
      13. DIY a headboard

      14. Style with accessories
      15. Rework layout
      16. Style with accessories

      17. Organize files and paperwork

Laundry Area
      18. General cleaning and reorganizing
      19. Paint
      20. Style with rugs and accessories

Whew! And there's even more that needs to be done than that. Eventually. Anyone else have their own Top 20 list for this year?

Monday, January 21, 2013

When I Grow Up

It's been two months, two wonderful, hectic, joyful, crazy months. Between hosting Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas events, planning our wedding, getting married, and honeymooning, I haven't had a single moment to think let alone write any updates. You know how they say when you're pregnant you get 'pregnancy brain'? I'm not pregnant, but I think I might know what that feels like now. You'll have to ask fiance husband  about my complete lack of a brain since about mid November...

Moving on, I have a lot planned for this year and I now have the time to do it too! I'm not big on resolutions, I'm big on setting little goals that I know I will accomplish. This list is neither. It's my 'big picture'.  With no further ado, here's what's goin' down in my world this year:

  • Blog: I LOVE reading blogs. They're like magazines but way better because you get a new issue everyday!  I by no means want to copy my favorites (like Young House Love, I Heart Organizing, and Our Fifth House) but I've decided to head in that same home improvement, interior decorating, DIY direction. It's just makes the most sense because it is what I'm most passionate about. I'll still be writing occasionally about running, nutrition, and other random life events too if that's what you're into. I'm here to please!
  • Interior Decorating and Design: In November and December I hosted a few parties and people started asking why I didn't go into interior decorating for a living. There are a few reasons. I tried once a long time ago while I was in between jobs and just couldn't drum up enough business to make a living off of it. I also have never had much money to put into advertising. I work a full time job, and I have no formal design education. I let that dream slip away for a while, but I feel it's something I need to revisit now. I've been working for a remodeling company for almost 2 years now and I've learned a ton about advertising, networking, and design work. I still need to decide on what services I'll offer and pricing, but if you're interested in hiring me for any decorating, designing, or organizing project or know someone who is, please contact me!
  • The House: This week, I plan to write up a list of my top 2-4 projects for each room in our house. We love our house and don't want to move anytime soon, but the reality is that the houses in the neighborhood I live in don't sell for much. Luckily I didn't pay much for the house to begin with. Still, we're pretty close to breaking even as it is, so I/we will be working on many no cost or low cost projects in the house. I'm sure a lot of you are in the same boat, so hopefully so of our project ideas will help you get the most out of your home and spend the least amount of money to get there.
  • Reading and Writing: I know it sounds totally crazy, at least it does to me, but I love and idea I've had for a young adult novel. I have a lot of notes floating around on Google Drive but I haven't set out to get any part of the story written out yet. Partially because I take on too many projects at once, partially because I feel way inexperienced in this area. I hardly even read. I love the idea of reading, but when it comes down to it, it's rare that I finish a book. So I also want to commit to reading more and writing more in the future.
There you have it, my big goals. I'm not quite sure what the end goal even is. I suppose I'd ideally like to be a work from home interior designer and author. I'm open to whatever opportunity comes up! And just because I know ya'll like to look at pictures when you read posts, here's a few from the wedding, honeymoon, and the first big change to our house.

Groom and Bride (Taken by Oijoy Photo - who I HIGHLY recommend!)

Warm fire on a cool night, and a happy song from a mariachi band in Old Town. (Sorry, it's so blurry!)

Cool jungle path at The San Diego Zoo
The newest addition! (Don't mind the messy table and dirty floors, I was just so excited about our  awesome new couch!)