Monday, April 30, 2012

Mood Board: Laura's Apartment

Today I'm featuring a mood board I created for my friend (and former co-worker) Laura.  Like a lot of twenty-somethings in Kansas City, Laura and her husband Phil live in a nice but boring and beige apartment.  They don't have the money to redecorate right now, but just for fun I picked out some accessories and accent furniture that they could pick up as they get a little extra money.

I found some fun green floral throw pillows from Etsy to bring in a punch of Laura's favorite color and to brighten up their existing couch.  I also added some light blue chevron curtains for some more color and pattern, as well as two ottoman/poufs for some extra seating.  I picked out a new coffee table and end table from West Elm to replace their hand-me down furniture.  The coffee table is nice and simple and the hollow base allows room for the ottomans to be stored underneath when they're not in use.  I love this little tree pillow that can be personalized with their names, and the artwork adds some more personal touches to their living room.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Friday, April 27, 2012

Page to Room Inspiration: The Night Circus

I love getting absorbed in a new book, especially one that transports you to a different world.  That book for me right now is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  The best short description I've found is from the NPR book review:
"...the story of two young magicians pitted against each other in an intricate, mysterious and lifelong competition. Their contest is set against the background of an extravagant Big Top, a twinkling, dazzling, traveling circus that puts down stakes in the dark of night and vanishes before dawn."
This isn't your ordinary clowns and elephants kind of circus though. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves (the circus of dreams), and it opens at nightfall and closes at dawn.  Everything in the circus is black and white, from the tents to the ground to the performers' costumes.  The book takes place during the late 1800's, starting in Victorian England and continuing as the circus travels throughout the world. 
The best part of the book so far (I'm about halfway through) is Morgenstern's incredible imagery of the circus. She creates a beautiful and mysterious setting for the young magicians' challenge within the many tents of Le Cirque des Rêves.  One night while I was reading it I wondered how this magical black and white world could be translated into modern decor.
The first image that popped into my head was this crazy awesome (handmade!) wedding tent featured on Middle of the Map Weddings.  (Btw, if you are planning a wedding or like wedding photos you have to check out this blog, it's amazing, and I'm not just saying that because it's written by my wedding florist Emily of Emmy-Ray)
For non-tent related design I picture lots of black and white stripes, black and white checkered floors, beautiful patterns, and touches of whimsy like the crystal ship chandelier.  

image via here

image via here

image via here

image via decorpad

image via House Beautiful 

image via House Beautiful

image via House Beautiful

image via House Beautiful
image via here

image via here
image via here

That last image may be a dark blue and white striped wall but I love it nonetheless.  To use black and white in real life I would recommend adding pops of color to liven the space up.  Otherwise I think the rooms above are gorgeous!  And if you haven't read The Night Circus yet I would recommend checking it out! 

P.S. if you like this book and/or enjoy this post you need to go to this pinterest board, it is incredible!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

To do list: Paris and Rome

In exactly four weeks we leave for our Eurotrip to Paris and Rome! I am beyond excited to be back in Europe for a couple weeks.  It's been pretty busy and stressful at our casa the last few days, so to de-stress we've been talking about what we are looking forward to doing most once we get there. Here are the top 10 things we want to do and see in both cities (these are subject to change of course :)

1.  Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  I've been to Paris twice but I've never done this; I guess I was saving the experience so I could share it with someone special :)
2.  Take a river cruise along the Seine at sunset.
3.  Check out the artwork at the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay
4.  Eat macarons at Laduree
5.  Drink kir at Les Deux Magots, the former hangout of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir, and many others.
6.  Explore Versailles
7.  Pick up a freshly baked baguette and some chevre for a picnic in the park
8.  Shop at outdoor markets.
9.  Take the TGV (train de grand vitesse, or very fast train) to Aix-en-Provence.  I studied abroad there and it will be great to show Ben around.
10.  Hang out on the steps of Sacre Coeur and take in the views of the city.

1.  Tour St. Peter's Basilica
2.  Visit the Colosseum
3.  Eat lots and lots of pasta
4.  Try as many flavors of gelato as I possibly can
5.  Browse the open air marketplace at Campo de' Fiori
6.  Take a day trip to Capri and go on a boat tour of the Blue Grotto
7.  Have dinner at the mozzarella bar near our apartment
8.  Take in the views from the top of Castel Sant'Angelo
9.  Have a picnic at the Roman Forum
10.  Check out the Pantheon

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New (Old) Dresser

One of the downsides to buying a new house that's much bigger than your current living space is that you'll most likely need to acquire a lot of furniture to help fill it.  We're in that predicament right now, and while I love browsing online for new furniture, I don't have the money to buy any of it.  So I've been browsing Craigslist a little lot lately.  We already picked up a new dining table with four chairs off Craigslist for $80.  The table is in great shape but I think we're going to stain it.  The chairs and cushions are really well made too but they need to be repainted and the cushions desperately need to be recovered.  I'll tackle those projects once we've moved in.

I've also been looking for a new dresser for a long, long time.  I've had mine forever and it's not in the best shape.  Plus one of the walls in the new master bedroom is perfect for a nice, long dresser.  Mine is short but not so long.  So finally, after months of checking CL, I found the perfect piece.

My not so clear phone pics may make it hard to see, but this dresser is beautiful!  It's solid wood with cedar lined drawers.  It has just the right amount of detailing so that it is pretty and interesting, but not so much that it's too ornate or old lady-ish.  It's in great condition and it has all of the original handles and pulls (the bottom two handles fell off while we were moving it but we still have them).

While I am ecstatic to move into the new house (closing is in 1 week!), I will miss this view from my apartment complex.  I snapped took this picture from the top of a hill one morning while I was walking Finnley.

Isn't KC's skyline so pretty?!  We'll be moving further out into the suburbs so we won't be able to see downtown from our neck of the woods.  It's a very small sacrifice in the scheme of things :)  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New House Sneak Peak!

A week from tomorrow we close on our first house! I am so excited for us to have our own place to decorate as we like and to spread out in! Going from a 740 square feet apartment to a 2200 square feet house will be a big but welcome change.  I know Mr. Finnley is very excited to have a big backyard to run around in and the hubs is looking forward to finally having a garage.

I'll share more pictures once we start moving in but here's a sneak peak at the house.  All of these were taken during the house inspection so all of the furniture is the owner's.  Also, please excuse the poor quality of some of these pictures, they were snapped pretty quickly.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Kirkland's Finds

After I posted about the poufs at Kirkland's last week I browsed their sale section some more and I was surprised to see some of the great deals they're offering.  To date I've only bought one thing at Kirkland's, a a monogrammed welcome mat as a gift for my in-laws.  Looks like I need to start shopping there more!  I'm kind of obsessed with this gold barrel table, which may be because the gold arrows remind me so much of The Hunger Games.  I also love the pharmacy lamp for only $25 and the blue ikat pillow for only $7.50.  Trust me, you can't find those kind of deals most places.  
Blue Apothecary Jar, $16.99

Gold Barrel Table, $69.99

Nautical Vase Set, $11.24

Pharmacy Lamp, $24.99

Ikat Pillow, $7.49

Mercury Glass Waste Basket, $11.99

Purple Pillow, $11.24

Friday, April 20, 2012

Girly and Glamorous

I love some glamor in a room.  Today I have created a mood board full of glamorous furniture and accessories to create a perfectly girly living room.  The star is a beautiful blue velvet tufted sofa from West Elm.  I've paired that with lots of black and white, a tufted ottoman, and some gorgeous mirrored and metallic accessories.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In Love with a Pillow

My friends, I have fallen in love.  Let me introduce you to the new object of my desire.  

Her name is Botanical Patchwork Pillow in Multi, and she came to me from Karma Living via Joss and Main.  You can read more about her here.  I am just so thrilled with my purchase!  Throw pillows can be expensive, and even Target pillows will run you $20-$25 a piece.  My loves only cost me $26 each plus shipping and I think they are well worth it.  They're 20"x20" so they're pretty substantial, and they add so much color, texture, and life to my boring beige sectional.  Take a look.

The white pillows were Christmas gifts from my mom who bought them at Ikea in Chicago.  Oh how I wish we had an Ikea here in Kansas City...maybe someday.  Anyhow, today I ran to Target during my lunch break to pick up some allergy medicine.  I browsed the home section, as I often do, and I came across this nice little green pillow that was marked down from $19.99 to $5.98! I couldn't say no.  It adds another pop of color to the couch and it works well because of the touches of green in the Joss and Main pillows.

What do you think?! It's amazing how these little changes make a big difference, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Chair and some Poufs

I've been look at buying an accent chair for the living room for, like, ever.  I wanted to wait until we actually moved into the house but I just couldn't be that patient.  A few weeks ago Target was having a killer home sale.   All of their furniture and home decor was buy one get one 50% off, plus some of the furniture was already discounted 10 or 15 percent.  So when I saw that this little beauty was marked down from $150 to $129 I had to buy two of them.
Isn't it so pretty?! After the 50% discount the total came to $193.50, but I also have a Target RED debit card that saves me an extra 5% on everything.  That took it down to $183.83.  Shipping was free with the RED card, so with taxes it came out to $191.59.  But wait, I'm not done with the discounts! I also try to do all my online shopping through Ebates, and they were offering 3% cash back on all Target purchases, so that gave me $5.51 back.

Moral of the story, I only spent $186 on two chairs that normally cost $150 a piece.  Score!

If you don't use Ebates I highly recommend signing up here.  They send you a check once a quarter for the cash back you've earned, and all you have to do is go the Ebates website, find the store you want to shop at, click on their link, and that's it! They create a tracking ticket and automatically credit your account a few days later.  I have no complaints and after six months or so of using it I've made about $50 back.

I also have developed a love of poufs.  I already have one really cute blue floral pouf that's currently acting as a side table in my living room but I'd like to get a matching pair to have around as extra seating.  I only paid $35 or $40 for mine at TJ Maxx but they normally cost at least $80, if not $100+.  I was surprised to see that Kirklands has some really nice poufs for a good price.  These three are regularly $60 but they're currently marked down to $52.50.  The yellow one is my favorite.  Do you think they would go with my new chairs?  Or maybe I could use them in the entry way or the office under a console.
Yellow Damask
Red & Blue Stitched Flame Pouf

Blue Floral Pouf

Monday, April 16, 2012

DIY Hunger Games Eye Chart Art

I've been noticing a lot of eye chart art prints popping up everywhere.  I think they're cute but they look so simple to make that I don't want to pay much for them.  Well guess what?  Someone else had the same idea, so he/she created  All you do is type in the phrase you want to use and it generates the image!  You can save it and use it online or print it for your home.  I think it would look really fun printed on patterned scrapbook paper.  You could even modge podge it onto canvas like Becca from from Garners 2 Bergers did.  The only downside to the site is that you're limited to the number of characters you can use.  I wanted to use the phrase "I think I'd be good for you, and you'd be good for me" from Weezer's "El Scorcho" (I love that song!), but it was much too long.  So I played around a little bit and here's what I came up with!

I took my favorite of these, the Hunger Games' "May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor" quote, and opened it with good old Windows Paint.  I erased the website name from the bottom.  I also tried to change the color of the text, but it was hard to get every pixel changed so I ended up with black patches on a lot of the letters.  I ended up printing it in black onto plain white cardstock.  The paint file was sized perfectly for a 4x6 print, so I cut it to size with my paper cutter and put it in the Jonathan Adler knock-off frame I bought from Target a couple weeks ago.  What do you think?