Our Guest Room: After Photos

Guest room nightstand

Our guest room is finally finished! And if I do say so myself, it’s pretty darn cute. I shared a preview of my plans for this room a few months ago but after posting it decided to go a really different direction. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something about that design didn’t feel right to me.

Then I found these pillows on Etsy and everything fell into place. The pillows added a calming pattern that balanced out the chaos of the polka dot bedding.

Guest room before and after

Much improved, no? I mean, look at that warm, overhead lighting…

Guest room lighting

It’s such a happy room now! But what, exactly, is new?

New light fixture: $119 from West Elm during sale event
Fresh coat of paint: $45 from Miller Paint
Plant: Free (donated from a neighbor)
Decorative mirrors: $24.99 from Target
Pillows for a pop of color: $42.90 for two from Say It With Pillows
Total cost: $231.89

Guest room after

It isn’t new since you last saw this room, but the polka dot duvet and shams are from Ikea (a steal at $29.99). The solid gray shams are from an old bedding set from Macy’s Hotel Collection. The night stands are our old master bedroom nightstands, a discontinued style from Ikea. The bed frame is from Overstock.com. And the buddha table lamps are from my favorite brick-and-mortar discount shop, Home Goods.

The wall across from the foot of the bed was empty when I showed you these photos, so we moved a desk in here and hung some art to make the room feel more complete. Carter actually made the desk for under $100 (lucky me, he’s so handy!) so that we’d have a place we could both sit and work. But as it turns out, I prefer to work at the kitchen table and the desk ended up being a little too large for our living room anyway, so it ended up in here. But that’s okay, because it means that guests will have extra seating and a work space if they feel so inclined.

Double desk

We bought the zebra chairs from Home Goods a few years back. They used to be our dining chairs but we only had a set of two and they didn’t look right with our new, larger table. But I still love them so we found them a home in the guest room. (Even thought they totally don’t match the color scheme I was going for in here, but whatever!)

The art above the desk is a set of pieces we painted ourselves to go above our couch in our last apartment. (Tip: Buying large-scale art is expensive, painting your own abstract art is not!) They don’t look quite right on this wall, so they’re serving as a temporary placeholder until we replace them with a TV.

Wait, let’s back up! Did I tell you this room was finished? My bad. Because when is a room ever really, truly finished? You probably won’t see any other posts on this room for at least a year because the rest of this stuff is a low priority, but eventually I’d like to:

  1. Mount a TV above the desk
  2. Add a cute luggage rack (this one?) so guests have a place to put their bags
  3. Put together a little goodie bag of important items
  4. Get a mini alarm clock for one of the bedside tables

Side note: I googled “mini alarm clock” to find a cute example to share with you guys, and one of the first search options Google presented me with was “mini alarm clock hidden camera”.

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 10.34.34 AM

^^^HIDDEN CAMERAS IN ALARM CLOCKS?!?! I didn’t even know that was a thing! Ugh. Some people are so gross.

Well, anyway, I’m so excited to finally have this room “finished”. Next up on the home front is refreshing our living room with some new pillows, finishing our “library” (which is coming along nicely, thanks for asking), and most importantly, tackling our master bedroom which is pretty much a blank canvas at this point.

It’s so much easier to be decisive about a room I’m not going to live in, like the guest room. The master is a whole different story. More on that later though.


DIY Candy Bouquet (Valentine’s Day or Thank You Gift)

DIY Candy Bouquet - The perfect Thank You or Valentine's Day gift

This DIY Candy Bouquet is a creative alternative to flowers or chocolates as a Thank You or Valentine’s Day gift. I made it for Carter’s office last weekend as a token of my appreciation for them taking me on their company trip a few weeks ago.

It was inspired by the Fred Meyer bouquets I spotted last week. I almost bought one of them, but I didn’t like that they were 1) Valentine’s Day-themed – in my case, I wanted to give a thank you gift 2) only had a few kinds of candy and 3) pre-made. Despite those issues I had with them, I thought the idea of a Candy Bouquet was really sweet so I figured I’d make my own custom bouquet, using a wider variety of sweets.

What you’ll need:

All of this can be found at your local grocery store.

  1. Four boxes of candyThese are used to create the vase, so it helps if you get boxes that are similar in size – within a 1″ width and height as one another. I used Junior Mints, Sugar Babies, Charleston Chews and Gobstoppers.
  2. Four or more full-size candy bars or regular-size bags of candy
  3. Chopsticks or cake pop sticksI used Cake Pop Sticks because I couldn’t find chopsticks at the store.
  4. Scotch tape
  5. Colored tissue paper


    First we’re going to create the “vase” that holds the “bouquet.”

  1. Stand the candy boxes up on their sides so that the four of them form the shape of a tall rectangular box (without a base or top). Adjust their configuration to find the most even way to position them. If you bought four boxes that were all the same size, it won’t matter which way you configure them because they’ll make an even vase. If each box is a different size, you may want to rearrange them a little bit to find the best configuration. It’s okay if you can’t make a perfectly even vase out of the candy boxes you picked out – that won’t matter in the end. Just made sure that the bottom of the vase can sit evenly on a flat surface.
  2. Once you have decided on a configuration for your vase, use the scotch tape to tape the sides of your candy boxes together to solidify it’s shape. I used two pieces of tape on the outside where two boxes come together and two pieces on the inside. Do this for all four walls of your vase.
  3. DIY Candy Bouquet

  4. To create a base for your vase, to keep the bouquet from falling through the bottom, fold up some tissue paper and tape it to the bottom. (I know this doesn’t look very pretty, but no one will see this part because it’ll be sitting on a table.)
  5. DIY Candy Bouquet

    Next we’re going to create the “bouquet.”

  6. Crumple up one piece of tissue paper and stuff it into the bottom of your vase. This will make your bouquet sit up higher, and give your sticks something to stick into (that will help hold them in place).
  7. Secure your candy bars and bags of candy to the tops of your cake pop sticks (or chop sticks) with scotch tape.
  8. Put each of your candy on a stick into the bouquet. For every other candy bar on a stick that you put in your bouquet, wrap one loosely in tissue paper to create bulk and add color to the bouquet.
  9. photo (52)

  10. Rearrange as you see fit so that it looks the nicest.
  11. Optional: Write a nice card and tape it to one of your sticks, and add it to the bouquet.

This is a nifty little project that takes very little time at all and even unskilled DIYers (like myself) can do it. But at the same time, it’s sweet and personalized and makes a great treat for someone special, filled with their favorite candy!

photo (51)


Simple DIY updates you can make to clothes you already own for Fall

Although you’re bombarded with advertisements every time the season changes, I’m of the firm belif that you shouldn’t need to purchase a lot of new clothes in order to be stylish and on trend this fall. You probably already own some staples from last year that just need a little updating, and I assure you that many summer clothes transition better than you think. Here are my suggestions for easy Fall clothing DIYs that will cost you next to nothing but will reap you tons of stylish rewards.

Easy Update: Cropped skinnies

Unlike the traditional skinny jean that bunches at your ankle or hits right at the foot, the cropped skinny streamlines your look and is infinitely flattering. It’s also super in style this season with every major brand coming out with a pair or two.

The DIY:
Sure, you could shell out a bunch of money for a brand new pair. OR you could take one of your existing pairs of skinny jeans and crop them like I did. Volia! An instant wardrobe update. And let me tell you, I get more compliments on the two pairs of jeans I cropped than I ever have on jeans in my life.

Not great at sewing? Neither am I. Find a local, skilled tailor on Yelp like I did. (I go to Kim’s Tailor Shop on Ceder Hills Blvd. and it cost me about $8 per pair of jeans I cropped.) Just tell your tailor you want the jean to hit right above your ankle.

Easy Update: Studded boots

Studs are everywhere this season – but I like them best on shoes. And what says fall better than a pair of boots? (Actually – the ankle boot (the “bootie,” if you will) is the boot of the 2012 season so if you have those already, even better!)

The DIY:
I bought these booties from ASOS last year and after getting a year’s worth of wear out of them, I figured it was time to make them a little more interesting. (Target carries this cheaper version.) I ordered studs from studsandspikes.com and plan to adorn the sides of my boots with a few for a fun take on this fall trend! Just decide on a design you want and then push the spikes through the leather or cloth, then secure the backs of them with a hard, flat surface.

Need inspiration for this Fall trend? Check out all these amazing studded ankle boots from Zara to get ideas for how you want your DIY boots to look!

Easy Update: New coat buttons

{Jackets shown above: here & here. Buttons shown above: here & here.}

The DIY:
I’m working under the assumption that you already own some sort of peacoat or jacket with buttons on it. However, if you’re anything like me, you probably bought the jacket for a great deal at some cheap store like Forever 21 years ago and have since decided it looks too cheap to wear it. The quick fix? New buttons! Often jackets like these only look cheap or cheesy because of their plastic buttons. Purchase some buttons you love from a site like mjtrim.com and then take them onto the tailor (or sew them yourself) to replace the existing buttons on your jacket. I promise, it’ll look like a whole new jacket!

It’s your turn to share…

Now that I’ve shared my wardrobe transition tips (I’ve got a few more up my sleeve that I’ll share in a future post!), tell me yours! How are you transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall? I’d love to know!


How to: DIY Spike Chain Necklace


I’m obsessed with this picture (originally found via Pinterest)! Not only is she ridiculously beautiful, but who knew spikes could be so elegant? I was wondering where I might be able to track down this necklace when something came over me.

I rarely have this feeling because I’m not a crafty or creative person at all, but immediately I thought “I could totally make that myself!” And I was right. My version is practically identical to the designer necklace. And best of all, it was really, really easy to make. (And cost very little.)

Supplies: I just sort of guessed on their size and bought 53 mm spike beads for $12 (total) from this Etsy shop. (I bet you could find cheaper ones if you did a little digging around online.) I already had a set of jewelry pliers (about $15 at Michael’s), a chain (about $3), some brass rings (about $3), and a fastening clasp (about $1), laying around from a brief jewelry making phase I went though last year – so I didn’t have to purchase any of those. And this is how I did it…

Worth it? Definitely. This only took me about a half hour, and now I have a beautiful spike necklace (that I’m wearing today!) I hope you try it for yourself!