10 Affordable Finds From IKEA You Didn’t Know You Needed

IKEA_Ft

We all know IKEA is basically a magical Scandinavian wonderland full of entertainingly-named, reasonably-priced stuff to spruce up your house, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for you can always find solace in a cinnamon roll on your way out the door.

But IKEA can be overwhelming just because of the sheer amount of shelving units, pillow covers and bed frames there are to sift through. Before you know it, you start panicking and either give up completely and bolt or grab a bunch of random stuff and hope for the best.

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DIY leopard print gold leaf tray

DIY Leopard Print Gold Leaf Tray by A Creative Day

DIY leopard print gold leaf tray

(Image Credit: A Creative Day)

Beautiful do-it-yourself projects that are so simple I wonder why I never thought of them always catch my eye. This DIY Leopard Print Gold Leaf Tray by A Creative Day is one such DIY. All you need to make this project at home is a gold leaf pen, a little creative flair and a tray that is in desperate need of some leopard spots!
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DIY Confetti Tumblers by Radical Possibility

(Image Credit: Radical Possibility)

(Image Credit: Radical Possibility)

Stores like Anthropologie make me wish I had an unlimited home decor budget (as opposed to the reality that buying even one item there could break my budget). Lots of DIY’s claim to replicate items from the store, but leave me wondering who do you really think you’re fooling? Either the look of the final product is all wrong or  the quality is so poor I rather go without than bother doing it myself. But that is NOT the case with these stunning DIY Easy Anthropologie Confetti Tumblers by Radical Possibility!

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How to Iron Like a Pro!

(Image Credit: Flickr User It'sGreg)

(Image Credit: Flickr User It’sGreg)

Depending on your personality, ironing is either a relaxing task or annoying chore. I’m the kind of person who thinks that if you’re going to do something you might as well do it right, so even though I tend to feel like it’s an annoying chore, I’ve taken the time to learn some of the best ironing tips and tricks. Not only has it helped me learn to iron better, but it also helps me get the job done faster, which I’m all for! Continue reading

What We’re Loving Right Now: Constellation Glassware by The UncommonGreen

(Image Credit: The UncommonGreen)

(Image Credit: The UncommonGreen)

I wouldn’t really call myself an avid lover of astrology, but there is just something about space and astrology themed home goods that really gets me excited. Perhaps it’s because I think it’ll make me seem fancier than I am, or just a degree smarter than the average person. Whatever the reason behind it, when I came across The UncommonGreen’s new Constellation Glassware, I instantly fell in love. Continue reading

DIY Crepe Paper Flowers by Let’s Do Something Crafty

DIY Crepe Paper Flowers (Image Credit: Let's Do Something Crafty)

DIY Crepe Paper Flowers (Image Credit: Let’s Do Something Crafty)

Spring is in full bloom, but for those of us with allergies it can be hard to enjoy the beauty of flowers when it means sneezing, wheezing and itchy eyes are an added bonus. But rejoice, my flora deprived friends, we found a DIY that will let you add a touch of color to your home with some stems that won’t have you reaching for the tissues… but will have you reaching for the crepe paper!

Let’s Do Something Crafty has come up with an simple way to make your own bouquet of DIY Crepe Paper Flowers and it’s so easy that even the most Pinterest-failed among us can pull and poof it off! It’s also extremely inexpensive, requiring very few materials with the most important being crepe paper, and who doesn’t have an extra roll laying around from a party to practice with before committing to the DIY? So bring the colors of Spring inside without the risk of allergies by making yourself some of these crepe paper blossoms! Check out the Full DIY at Let’s Do Something Crafty.

TDQ’s Guide to Easy Spring Cleaning

(Image Credit: Konstantin Yuganov)

(Image Credit: Konstantin Yuganov)

It’s almost time to put away your long underwear, ladies and gents. In just a few short weeks, spring will have sprung! Bring in the warm weather the right way and give yourself a fresh start to the new season by doing some spring cleaning. Trust me, I know, cleaning is just not all that fun. Your clothes are strewn in an organized mess and you’ve gotten used to that stack of magazines next to your bed, right? As much as you might like to tell yourself that, just trust me that it will feel amazing to have a squeaky clean place once that sunshine is peeking through your windows and catching every little dust particle in sight. Here’s your guide to spring cleaning the easy way!

 

Step 1: Tackle the clutter

It’s way too hard to actually get things clean when surfaces are covered with all your stuff. First things first, pick up whatever is in your way. Put away all those clothes, organize your jewelry, and clean off every countertop so that you can see the surfaces for quite possibly the first time in months.

 

Step 2: Sweep away dirt

Once you’ve cleared a sufficient space, it’s time to get scrubbing. First, get rid of any dirt, dust, and rock salt that probably has collected on your floor. You can also tackle dusting off surfaces and getting into the crevices of windows. This part can get pretty gross, but it will be well worth it once your space is sparkling clean again.

 

Step 3: Re-vamp your wardrobe…

This is the fun part! When you’re all done with the actual cleaning process, it’s time to get everything ready for spring. Get back into those clothes you so carefully put away and force yourself to get rid of anything from your winter wardrobe that you didn’t touch all season and anything from last spring that you won’t be wearing this year. I know it can be hard to part with those clothes that you thought about wearing a few times, but it will feel great to just do it.

 

Step 4: …and your surroundings

This step definitely is not necessary, but if you want to get more in the spring mood, switch out a few items in your house. Get rid of those heavy blankets and pine scented candles and add in some bright accent pillows and fresher scents in their place. It isn’t a big change, but it will feel like a totally new environment.

 

Let us know if you think there’s anything essential that needs to be done to get your place spring ready. Good luck on your spring cleaning endeavors, readers!

An Open Letter to Homegoods

(Image Credit: zhu difeng)

(Image Credit: zhu difeng)

Dear Homegoods,

I hate you.

I’m kidding; I can’t hate you. I love you.

I love you almost as much as I love Target. You’re a really close second. You might even jump into first soon because every time I visit you, I find something else that I just NEED to own.

Browsing your aisles I automatically develop a case of ADD. Oh frames! Oh dish towels for all of the holidays! Oh baskets! Oh garlic infused olive oil! Oh a spoonula! It’s ridiculous, but it’s also amazing. Because I can’t always help myself.

And even more so now that I have a child, your kids’ department slays me. So. Many. Cute. Things. Last time I went just to pick up something for our bathroom and I left with a puzzle, a toy basket and a book for my son. Nicely done, Homegoods, nicely done.

On top of that, I noticed a cute collection of tiny chairs. Because all babies need tiny chairs. I surprisingly refrained from purchasing one on the spot, most likely because my wallet was already crying. Instead, I mentioned it to my mom and how my son probably needed one. So naturally, this happened:

Homegoods

And it’s the most adorable thing ever. So thank you Homegoods, for keeping things adorable in the Bannan household.

Homegoods, your cute things are my everything. And my house is slowly being converted into your showroom. Keep up the good work. And the good prices. You’ve got a happy customer over here.

Take all of my money.
Katelin

How to Deal with Difficult Roommates

(Image Credit: Wave Break Media)

(Image Credit: Wave Break Media)

Roommates are always a kind of scary prospect most of us face in life. Maybe you’ve never had roommates or have had bad experiences in the past, but moving into a new place is a fresh start with different people. Here are a few pieces of advice to follow when you begin your new journey as a great roommate.

Come up with some rules

When you first move in, have a meeting with your roommate(s) and set some ground rules. Establish that you don’t want to take the trash out every day and you’d like a rotation or something that helps you all work together. If you want to come up with a chore chart, bring it up and see how the other person feels about it. Don’t do too much, though; no one wants a lazy, messy roommate, but no one wants an overbearing one either.

Don’t be afraid to confront them

If they’re not keeping up their end of the agreement, don’t be scared to talk to them. If you’re nervous to speak to them in person, texting or posting notes somewhere is an alternative. But confronting them is absolutely necessary. If you try to ignore the issue and hope it solves itself, you’ll end up angry and resenting the other person. Communication is key to successful living conditions!

Get management involved

If your new roommate is just absolutely crazy or dirty or anything in between and you’ve tried communicating the issues, your next option is to get the staff of the apartment/dorm involved. Go to the office and ask to speak to the manager or someone that can help you. Explain the situation and see what options they can give you. If anything, they can move you to a different room or help you sublease your apartment to someone else.

When you’re faced with completely new people, things can be great or insane. It just depends on the person. So be forgiving and patient as you and your new roommate(s) get to know each other’s habits and preferences. But if your living situation is causing you a ridiculous amount of stress, confront the issue and do whatever you can to solve it. Be a great roommate, but don’t be a doormat! Now go forth into your new living arrangements and may the odds be forever in your favor.

My First Time Moving to a New City (and Then Moving Back Home)

(Image Credit: milangonda)

(Image Credit: milangonda)

Out of excitement and the need to ensure that it was actually happening, I packed my bags a month early. I was moving to Oxford, England after a lifetime of he-said-she-said over frozen yogurt in sunny, suburban California. Steeped in four generations of local history, my big dreams transcended the railroad town limits.

Don’t get me wrong; I have traveled all over the U.S. I have seen a polar vortex in NYC, jazz musicians on every street corner orchestrating a choreographed New Orleans dance, bikini-clad bodies sweating on the January beaches in San Diego, the Vegas strip (I didn’t say I remembered it, but yes, I saw it). I have seen a lot of my country, and I love it for all its complexities—the contradictions Walt Whitman explores in “Song of Myself” ring true when you subject yourself to the cultures available in the home of the free, land of the brave.

Still, I wanted more. What a greedy girl, I know. I wanted more travel, more experiences, more exposure to varieties not available in my home.

Packed and ready to hit the skies, I wanted to make a change and to change. I had never been outside of the country before, so here we go… Here is my journey as it unfolded:

Challenge one: getting there.

Unable to sleep on the plane, I arrived, haggard, tired, hungry, and smelling like 100 different kinds of foul. To the bottomless pit of wretched airplane food-induced farts of a man sitting next to me, you are the stuff of nightmares and my nose hair has yet to grow back. I walked up to the currency exchange with my neck kinked and my head throbbing. After losing $40 in the currency exchange from my $100, I went to collect my baggage.

Challenge two: getting to my new home.

I waited four hours—FOUR HOURS—for my luggage, which turns out was lost. LOST?! What do you mean lost?! I had no phone (I had shut it off and decided to go the route of using wifi to FaceTime friends and family), which became a scary reality at this point. Sooo… No calling for help. No spare clothes. No understanding of the bus system. I looked at the airline woman, eyes thickly webbed with deep pink lines signaling exhaustion, as she calmly explained my luggage was lost… Oh, hell no.

I cried because that is obviously the most logical and proactive thing to do, but after five minutes of sobbing, I pulled myself together enough to ask for a phone to call my destination. Just then, the airline man from behind the scenes ran out yelling, “There’re here! They were logged under the wrong load. I found them!”

A quarter relieved, a quarter exhausted, a quarter delusional, a quarter intoxicated by the surrounding force of British accents, and 100% ready to settle into my temporary life, I set out for the bus stop in the pitch dark, freezing cold London air that feels nothing like my California Januaries.

The Bald Eagle has Landed

My American ass landed in Oxford at 8 p.m. The only lighting streamed from a building a block away, but look, there is a strange man about 20 years of age walking out towards me. I gulped loud, swallowed my pride (and all of the nightmare stories of European abductions I had been fed before I left), and I asked if he knew where my flat was located. I’m not normally insane, but I needed help. Januaries in England are COLD for a California girl, and a night wandering the street did not appeal to me, oddly enough.

He looked confused when I gave him the address, but he eventually said he knew where to go and even offered to drag one of my heavy luggage cases along. How nice! Just don’t kidnap me, sir. I took self-defense classes for these kind of situations, and I don’t want to have to use my mad skills.

Well, surprise, surprise, I made it out alive. He walked me to my door and said a nervous good-bye with an awkward, “I’ll see you later” which of course never happened.

After a restless, cold night of sleep without proper bedding or any understanding of how to use the heater in my flat, I woke famished. Underneath those dark circles was an eager smile. I met the biting air with enthusiasm, and after five steps… Nope. Nopenopenope… I all but ran back to my room for five more layers. THERE, I thought. Now, I’m ready.

Leather gloves shielding my fingertips as they slid across the chilly, stone church walls—Feet still rocking my oxblood cowboy boots as I trekked all over town (because they’re cute and I didn’t care if I looked ridiculous)—Hair tucked under a beanie and into a wool scarf that wrapped tightly around my neck… I strolled through those streets and avenues every day, so much so that the stone statues became my friends, watching over me as I stumbled home from pubs and waiting with me at the bus stop.

Half of the time I had no idea which stone statue was what saint, so I named them all myself. There was the Patron Saint of too Much Pub Food who stood alongside the Patron Saint of too Much Cider, both centrally located in town, surrounded by their buddies on the neighboring stone slab. There was also the Patron Saint of American Humor, a fat baby with a disproportionately huge head. Then there was the Patron Saint of Bus Stops because we were always running after a bus… Oh yeah, and the Patron Saint of Mexican Food because my California-grown taste buds were in heaven when I found a local burrito spot—ahhh, jalapenos.

Thanks to them, I collected four months’ worth of late nights and hearty laughs in Oxford and throughout my travels in Europe, as they always watched over all of my adventures.

I also met these incredible people—these brilliant, beautiful, funny-as-hell, crazy-awesome people who quickly became some of my most treasured friends because of our interests and shared experiences in travel and displacement. I sat beside book-reading folks on the bus and had intellectually stimulating conversations with strangers and new friends alike. The mind expands in the company of greatness. You can almost feel yourself grow and that is a pretty cool thing, ya know?

You can take the girl out of America, but you can’t take the Thoreau out of the American, as I thought: “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth” –Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

I loved every minute of my experience, but all things must come to a close, and as my journey home drew near, I prepped with angst and delight.

I’m Going, Going Back, Back to Cali, Cali

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about and miss my travels throughout Europe. I love Oxford, my City of Dreaming Spires, but the trek home was much welcomed. I missed my bed, my dog, my books, my library, my routine—I now miss the spontaneity of my travels, but the grass is always greener, right?

The readjustment period was just as hard. I literally got the flu the week I returned home (in June), which I like to think was my body’s way of saying I never would have gotten sick had I not come home, though it was probably just getting used to U.S. germs again.

That first night I slept more soundly than I had in all four and a half months I spent abroad. I collapsed into myself, finally feeling the weight of my journey.

I gradually moved into a routine. Spending time with friends and family helped to ground me, though there is always this thing—this stamp on my life that is a composite of all that I collected in my passport. It marks the page in my life’s passport signaling my openness to travel, welcoming all that is new and diverse within my railroad town foundation. It marks where I have been and where I am going.

Quirky Item of the Week: Shark Sleeping Bag by Chumbuddy

(Image Credit: Chumbuddy)

(Image Credit: Chumbuddy)

You’re never too old for sleepovers, you guys. Whoever said you are is a big fat liar or has never experienced a good sleepover. When I was a kid, my favorite part of a sleepover was snuggling up in my little cocoon (AKA sleeping bag) as my friends and I were laid out in almost every single inch of the living room. I never had the cool colorful sleeping bag, but mine did the job alright.

HOWEVER… If I had this Shark Sleeping Bag by Chumbuddy, I would be the talk of the party, or better yet, the life of the party. With Jaws, Shark Week and Sharknado bringing so much attention to sharks, this idea of an open shark mouth sleeping bag is just genius! I mean, sure, I’m actually really terrified of ever going into an ocean with thoughts that a shark will pop up out of nowhere but I can deal with this.

…What I can’t deal with is the price tag. Everything comes with a price. At least, that’s what Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time told me…but if you’ve got the dough and the appreciation of a great sleeping bag, go for it!

Featured DIY: Marbled Mugs with Nail Polish by DIY Candy

(Image Credit: DIY Candy)

(Image Credit: DIY Candy)

Alright ladies and gents. Marbled-anything is a popular trend right now; who’s with me? I’ve seen marbled shoe prints, marbled phone cases and marbled laptop cases! Now what if you could bring the marbled look to an item that holds one of our favorite things…COFFEE! Best thing about it? It’ll cost you less than $5.

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Quirky Item of the Week: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Cuckoo Clock

(Image Credit: Bradford Exchange)

(Image Credit: Bradford Exchange)

When I first saw The Nightmare Before Christmas as a kid, it terrified me. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear, and now, the movie is one of my favorites. I’m sure all you fellow The Nightmare Before Christmas fans have heard about the new memorabilia at Hot Topic, but Bradford Exchange has something unique you should add to your collection: a The Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock.

This clock has everything you could possibly want to celebrate your favorite movie. Figures of Jack and Sally stand on the front of the almost two foot tall clock, designed to look like the Town Hall clock in The Nightmare Before Christmas with Jack’s Tower sticking up too. Even more exciting, This is Halloween will play every hour while Zero pops out, which is definitely something I’d love seeing and hearing all the time. And did I mention it lights up?

Clearly, The Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock from Bradford Exchange has everything a fan of the movie could possibly want. Buy it for yourself or for a friend, but whichever you do, buy it quick! Bradford Exchange is only doing a limited run of the clocks, and you don’t want to miss your window.

Quirky Item of the Week: RoboMustache

(Image Credit: RoboMustache)

(Image Credit: RoboMustache)

If you are easily derailed and excited by cuteness, this warning is for you. Proceed with caution, because what you are about to witness is by far the cutest thing in the world. Continue reading