Friday, August 31, 2012

Bubble Blur

This week has been such a blur.  Tonight and tomorrow will be full of wedding coordinator responsibilities so the blur will be continuing a tad bit longer.  I sort of feel like a bubble just floating through the motions, hoping I can land somewhere before I pop.  Despite being hella busy, it has been a good week though. 

So since it's Friday and I'm sure many of you are probably feeling the same way, I'll keep it short and sweet and leave you with this nice photo.

Pinned Image

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Thoughts - Building Wings

Yet another quote I can't find who to credit to, but I love it all the same...

Typography Painting / Word Art on Wood Sign - She Took The Leap and Built Her Wings On The Way Down

This feeling of making that leap and then finding the strength you need once you've done so is all too familiar to me.  I feel like often I do things that I know are the right thing to do but I'm still scared as hell, even when I'm doing them.  Making life decisions for what's better in the long run, but may not seem so fabulous at the time.  But isn't that what life is about?  Pushing yourself to the limit and seeing what you can achieve?  All you need is a little bit of faith, in something higher than you or in yourself, whatever it is that gets you through.  But know that in the end when you need to, you'll build your wings and fly.

P.S.  You can buy this wooden depiction of this Thursday Thought from this Etsy shop.

When have you lept, only to build your wings after?
Please comment, I'd love to hear your story!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Curtain Heaven

Watch out people!  The first part of this post is about to get totally psychedelic on your behinds.  I just wanted to share real quick with you that the universe just seems to know everything.  And I mean everything.

Why do I think this?  It's quite simple actually.  First, my roommate and I have a few fortune cookies left over from a couple weeks ago when we got Chinese food.  Totally normal.  I have seen them every day since and never had the urge for one, until yesterday.  Again, totally normal.  I didn't want the cookie, I didn't even really seek out the fortune... It was like something took me over and before I knew it I had eaten a cookie and held a tiny paper fortune in my hand.  Not totally normal, but not too crazy either... except the fortune was literally exactly what I needed to hear.  I'm a logical person, and as much as I'd like to, I haven't ever been a huge believer in horoscopes or fortunes and things like that (though my sister is).  But sometimes it's just so dead obvious.  Unfortunately I can't get into the details of the fortune quite yet (next week, I promise so stay tuned!), but I have had to make a very big life decision this week which caused insane amounts of stress and several sleepless nights, but this fortune cookie just seemed to know what I needed to see. 

The second reason I believe in an omniscient universe is again, a weird coincidence.  I usually try to write my blog posts ahead of time and then have them scheduled throughout the week.  This helps me during times when I have a hectic schedule, plus I've noticed I seem to get into patterns of really good, inspired writing spells and then very sad, dry writing spells.  I've had two posts this week ready to go only to scroll through my Google Reader and see a post with the same topic or photo.  And this has actually happened a few times before.  Bizarre.  Bloggers don't share a gigantic universal office; there's no way we could have known each other was planning on covering those topics.  I reiterate, the universe knows everything!  It's like the Santa Clause for grown-ups, except it doesn't come in fancy wrapping paper and bows you can cover yourself with at the end of the day.

And now that I've sufficiently convinced you of my craziness (and given you two paragraphs of proof), we can continue on to our regularly scheduled programming... 

NINNI RUND Pair of curtains IKEA
{full frontal in all their glory}

Look at these beauties.  They go by the name of Ninni Rund and I am smitten.  As if I didn't love Ikea enough, they had to go ahead and make these lovely curtains that I just had to have in my apartment.   They were actually one of the few things my roommate and I both agreed on which meant that they were obviously meant to be.

Nice and lengthy (98") they would fit almost any window and allow you to place the rod above the window or make a nice shimmering pool at the bottom (we did both).  Another thing I love about them is that the panels provide the perfect balance of blocking the sun's rays but still allow light into the living room.  Not to mention polka dots seem to be in their height of glory lately.  And do I even need to mention the feminine, chic goodness that is the cream mixed with shiny silver?  I didn't think so...

NINNI RUND Pair of curtains IKEA

Do you love these curtains as much as I do?
Where have you gotten window panels that you love?

After all my rambling I bet you're wondering who else posted about curtains this week, huh?  Yesterday, Tiffany Leigh mentioned seeking out some striped curtains for her new apartment, which you can read about here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo Inspiration - Blue, Green, & Happy All Over

This room immediately caught my eye when I came across it on Pinterest.  (The source was a dead end so if anyone knows please tell me and I can credit appropriately.)  I figured the best way to keep track of it would be to write a post about it, since this is a blog of what inspires me, afterall.

What I like:
  • The two small tables next to each other to creating a coffee table.  This is a great idea for a small space because you can separate and place them elsewhere if you need the middle of the room to be more spacious for a party, etc.
  • The unique ceiling.  I can't tell exactly what it is from this photo, but it has the look of very light, paneled wood, which I wouldn't usually go for, but in this space I think it goes very nicely, especially with the abstract shape of the room.
  • The color scheme.  The mix of blues and greens is very relaxing, yet cheerful.  This room also has the perfect balance of the neutrals and both colors that makes the whole thing flow together nicely.
  • The layout.  I think that whoever designed this room hit the nail on the head for the best way to utilize such a small and narrow space.  Everything is open and free, yet there are obvious zones.  I would live here any day.

What I would change:
  • The rug.  It dulls out the room a little too much for me with its' faded face and outdated pattern.  I would much rather see something like this beneath my feet if this room were mine.  It would definitely add a little punch to the room and create a focal point.
  •  The armless couch.  I actually love how it looks in this space, especially because there is such a narrow walkway at one end, but I personally could never survive with an armless couch.  Where would I sit (cause you know, that's what they're actually for...), or lean on, or whatever else I love those little buggers for?!
  • The popcorn machine.  I love that there's something unique in the space, but you can have your popcorn, momma loves her ice cream!  If I can have an at-home machine it's definitely going to be an ice cream maker.  With tons of cookie dough, caramel, chocolate, and other delicious add-ins at my fingertips.  Please excuse me while I daydream about all that deliciousness...

What do you think of the room?  Comment to share what you like and what you would change. 
And if you like what you see please subscribe to Just Squeaks, I'd love to have you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude - Week 11

Last week was such a crazy whirlwind!  Luckily the majority of that whirlwind was positive, so let's get to some gratitude up in this hizzy...

  1. Classes started back again!  I know this makes me sound like an uber nerd to be so excited about it, but I'm totally alright with that.  I'd say it just goes to show that I'm learning the right things.  I am taking drafting for the first time, which sounds really scary but also really exhilarating at the same time.  This semester is 2D and next semester will be 3D.  Both are absolutely crucial in interior design so I've always felt like these would be my most important classes.  So here's to a good year with lots of learning!  
  3. I mentioned last week that I crossed a few items off on my bucket list, and I guess I was having a really productive week because on Saturday I completed another item!  (It turns out putting pad to paper, or finger to key in this instance, really has helped me get motivated to make moves on completing the things that are important to me.  I absolutely recommend it to everyone!)  I went to see Dralion by Cirque du Soleil with my family in Baltimore.  The show was absolutely beautiful and so incredibly amazing!  I just wish it had been longer than 2 hours, I could have watched it all day!  Very entertaining and squeak-worthy to say the least!
  4. via
  5. Last but certainly not least, I can't get over how adorable my baby neice is!  I'm not usually big on babies (cue disgusted gasp here), so those that know me are probably thinking they stumbled upon someone else's blog today, but I am gushing with auntly love.  I love all my nephews just as much, of course, but I was much younger when they were born so I don't think I could fully appreciate them as newborns.  I find it so interesting that you can love someone so much before you even really know them.  Ella and I have never spoke, I don't know her personality yet, or what her beliefs and thoughts are... but I know that she is amazing and that I will always be there for her whenever she needs anything.  I can't wait to watch this beautiful baby girl grow up every step of the way.

What are you grateful for this week?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Beauty Review - 10 Body Products

One of my favorite things to read online is beauty product reviews.  My first Beauty Review, covering 10 face products, seemed to go over pretty well so I'm back for another!  This week's follow-on is a spotlight on 10 body care products.  There are so many options for beauty products now so I'm hoping this will help you spend your money a little wiser next time you need something.  In addition to online reviews, I have recently started checking the Good Guide before I make any purchases.  It's a consumer product research company that checks out the "health, environmental, and social performance of products and companies"  and rank them.  It helps me make informed decisions about the level of hazardous ingredients in the products I buy, and the type of company I'm buying from.  Now onto the products!

1.    Yes to Carrots Daily Body Lotion  $13
After checking the Good Guide for a low hazard body lotion that was in my price range and easily accessible it led me to the Yes To brand.  I wanted something to use on my whole body and that was unscented (or very lightly so) for the days I decided to wear perfume.  For me, this lotion wasn't rich enough so I didn't feel like I had enough on until I applied it a few times, which led me to going through the bottle pretty quickly (2 months if that).  However, I would definitely recommend as a hand lotion or for those that don't have dry skin and just want a little extra moisture. 

2.    Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant for Sensitive Skin  $7
As much as I hate to admit it, I sweat.  I know, so gross, right?  I have used this deoderant for probably two years now and overall I'm pretty happy with it.  I switched around brands and products for years, even going the all-natural route, but I just couldn't find one that really worked for me.  This one keeps my sweating at bay and doesn't irritate my skin.  Sometimes it pilfers into little balls after I apply (which is super annoying when it happens) but since it isn't every time it leads me to believe it might be something weird about when I apply it or something.  If anyone knows how to avoid this please let me know!

3.    Bath & Body Works Shower Gel  $11
If you're looking for a body wash that lasts for eternity than this is your product!  I have gone through three bottles of the lotion and I still am on my first bottle of shower gel.  It has a nice consistency, lathers well, oh, and did I mention the smell?  Whenever I shower with this it makes my entire house smell completely glorious.  If you don't want your whole home freshened without any effort on your part (aside from your daily shower) than avoid this, but I say run and grab as much as you can the bottle that will last forever!

4.    Trader Joe's Moisturizing Shave Cream  $6
Since I basically worship Trader Joe's and all of their store brand items I thought for sure I would love this little pup, but I'm sad to say I was a little underwhelmed.  It has great reviews online and my sister loves it, but it just wasn't for me.  It smells good (honey mango) and is moisturizing, but for me it was a little thicker than I like my shave aids to be.  I felt like I didn't get as close of a shave as I do with the foaming gels or other ones I've tried.  Unfortunately, this one's a pass for me.

5.    Venus Spa Breeze 2-in-1 Razor  $20.50
I was actually surprised how much I liked these razor heads.  They are perfect for a quick leg shave in the morning and I like not having to get my hand all lathered up in cream.  On the con side, once they get wet the water starts to eat away at the gel around the edges so they don't last as long as a regular head (of course you can always still use it with separate cream once it runs out).  I also didn't like it for my underarms, so with those two things factored with the price I won't get again, but it was a nice little treat to try them out.

6.    Yes to Cucumbers Body Butter  $13
This was next in line for a daily all-over body moisturizer once the Carrots one fell a little short.  It has a nice but very faint smell which was exactly what I was looking for, and as a body butter it has the extra moisture I was looking for.  It went onto my skin nicely, making my skin feel soft but not greasy.  Luckily I didn't run into the problems like I did with the B&BW body butter (#7).  I would be interested in trying other products from this line.

7.    Bath & Body Works Body Butter  $15
I was sadly disappointed with this body butter since I love the scents of this company so much.  (My current favorites are Dark Kiss, which is a little like cotton candy, and Midnight Pomegranate).  I found that the butter didn't apply that great to my skin, even right after showering.  It did feel slightly greasy, and sometimes it felt like it just sat on top of my skin.  When applying it would often either become sort of white and filmy or roll up into little ball-like things of lotion.  I thought maybe it was just a defective tin but it happened with a couple of them so I switched to the lotion (#10) instead and have never looked back.

8.    Alcon Opti-Free Pure Moist Contact Solution  $9
Being that I'm practically blind and not a huge fan of glasses I wear my contacts pretty much every minute I'm awake.  As you can imagine, this leads to some irritation for my eyes.  I never thought that which solution I used would matter much (silly, I know) so I just went for the cheap store brand.  After my recent visit to the optometrist he gave me this kind of solution and I could noticeable tell the difference!  My eyes are definitely getting more relief now that I've switched brands.  I'll admit, I haven't tried other brands so I don't know if this is the best out there, but I would still recommend.

9.    Jason Satin Body Wash  $15
This is a nice wash that comes in a gigantic bottle so it is great for everyday use.  Mine has lasted me for several months and there is still plenty left so it is definitely a good bang for your buck, especially because they go on sale for $9 so often.  So far I've tried the Citrus and the Aloe Vera and liked them both, though the scents never really stick around long after you get out the shower.  I will say, it isn't super moisturizing so if that's what you're looking for this may not be it, but it does feel smooth and lathers nicely.  I'll probably branch out to other washes but I may come back to this one.

10.  Bath & Body Works Triple Moisture Body Cream  $12.50
This lotion was surprisingly good at keeping my dry skin at bay; I'd venture to say it even rivals the body butter.  I put it on once in the morning and I don't feel greasy after, or get itchy skin throughout the day at all.  I love layering this with the body wash and the fragrance mist to lock the smell in all day.  At the end of the day I still get compliments about how good I smell and even after washing my hands several times throughout the day I can still smell it faintly on my fingers.  For me, these are good things, but I know some people don't want such a strong fragrance so this company may not be right for you.

What products have you tried?  How do you decide when making a body care purchase?
Happy Friday everyone, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday Thoughts - Chasing Dreams

Chasing the dreams that we want
is a PRESENT MOMENT activity.
Pinned Image
Gary Riggs Home
This little bite of wisdom came from Mastin Kipp, the creator and contributor of The Daily Love, one of the non-fashion/design blogs I frequent.  This thought resonated with me because of where I'm at in my career path.  I am incredibly passionate about interior design, and so badly want to be doing it as full-time.  Unfortunately, there are a few things standing in my way at the moment by the names of experience and education.
I'm making the small steps I need to make my dream a reality - night classes, blogging, working to build a portfolio.  But sometimes those small steps don't feel like enough.  Mastin did a great job of reminding me that I have to always keep the end goal and mind and if I really want it, I will workworkwork until I get there.  It may not take up all my moments, but it has to be present.  So here's to it!
What dreams are you chasing right now?
Do you have other quotes that help you make it through the "getting there"?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reblog: I'm Glad I Exist's Guide to Smarter Shopping

Your regular blogging program will be put on hold today to shout out to Meghan at I'm Glad I Exist, one of my new favorite blogs.  Last night she posted her Guide to Smarter Shopping and it is genius I tell you.  While it may not be totally radical information, it was just what I needed since I've had an absolutely awful case of the shopping bug lately.  So go check out her post and the rest of her blog while you're at it for some funny practicality.

One thing I will add is a comment on shipping charges.  I absolutely refuse to pay shipping charges.  If I have to order something online I will either order enough to get free shipping or I won't order.  Personally, I just can't justify paying shipping charges.  I'd rather put that money towards something I love than waste it on shipping.  That's why sites like Piperlime and Zappos are so awesome.  So wait for free shipping sales or order from merchants that cover the cost themselves, because you deserve to spend your money on yourself, not a cardboard box.

And because I'm a glutton for punishment, please join me in drooling over this amazing style image that only furthers my wish to shop.  I have a serious problem...
What are your personal shopping rules?  Share in the comment section!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Style Twins: Oscar de le Renta & Tobi Fairley

Remember a few weeks ago when I came across a chevron dress and duvet that were style twins?  Well, it's time for another set!  This time the similarities come from fashion designer Oscar de la Renta and interior designer Tobi Fairley.
via, via

De la Renta's dress is from the Spring 2012 line and the room is Fairley's guest bedroom in her house.  The connection between the two is quite obvious - a heavily patterned look in black, yellow, and white.  The dress' yellow is slightly lime-ier than the bedroom, which has a more sunshiney hue.  Both the room and the dress are grounded in traditional design - a conservatively cut suit and historic-style furniture - but are made modern with bright punches of color.  This design technique is actually very common for Fairley, and one of my personal favorite ways to decorate.

I actually am generally a fan of the bumblebee color scheme, and have used it often myself.  I also really enjoy a good Oscar dress (Oscar at the Oscar's anyone?) and many of Tobi's designs, but unfortunately these both fall short for me.  So much pattern crammed together with such a loud color scheme makes my brain feel like mush.  But because I don't like being a total Negative Nancy, here are some looks these two have done that I think are beyond squeakalicious!

Oscar de la Renta

This one was actually found on Tobi's blog!

Oscar de la Renta Resort 2013
Oscar de la Renta Resort 2013


Tobi Fairley


Pinned Image

Pinned Image

What are your thoughts on the similar style pictures?  Are you a fan of Oscar and Tobi?
Comment and share your thoughts please!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude - Week 10

We've made it to the double digits Squeaksters!  Week 10 is looking good, and here's why:

Oh Mucinex DM, how I love thee, let me count the ways. coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose...  You take care of it all!  Let me preface this gratitude bullet by saying that I am not a medicine person.  I will go days with a horrible cold and migraine before doing anything about it.  No I'm not a glutton for punishment, I just try to shy away from unnatural medicine as much as possible.  But sometimes you've gotta do what you gotta do, and working 10+ hour days when you can't breathe and feel like you've been run over with a bus just doesn't really work for me.  Last week I was hit with an awful bug and try as I did to avoid it, I had to take something.  After having this in my system for jsut a day I felt soooo much better and I kicked myself for not taking it sooner (which I do everytime).  So here is my official appreciation for modern medicine, even though we have a love-hate relationship, right now I am certainly more on the love side.

My sick week was brightened by this emerald beauty.  A few months ago while suit shopping I found it and have been dreaming about it ever since.  Even though I loved it, I just couldn't stomach the $80 price tag despite its' good quality.  But my level-headedness paid off because when I went to the mall for the cooking class with Kelly last week I scored this little baby for half off!  Naturally I wound up taking two home so I still spent the $80, but I now got two tops for the price of one so I don't feel guilty at all.  Woohoo, shopping success!

I was also reminded how much I love weddings this past Saturday.  I work for a wedding planner part time and this past weekend I helped out at a wedding that was so different than others I've done before.  It was actually my first church ceremony (it seems to be a lot more rare these days) and the reception was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.  It had a very rustic yet elegant vibe that was so amazing I can barely do it justice with words.  Unfortunately we haven't gotten the pictures yet but I'm hoping to see them once the photographer shares them and once I get my hands on them I will definitely be doing a wedding feature on it because it was squeaklicious!

What are you thankful for this week?  Share in the comment section!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bucket List Check-In - 3x the Fun + 2x the Challenge

I'm happy to announce I can now mark three items off my bucket list this week!

1)   This past Monday, my friend Kelly generously invited me to a cooking class with her at Cookology in the local mall.  I had an absolute blast making three courses, all of which were amazingly easy and delicious!  We made vinaigrette from scratch, arroz con pollo, and then chocolate mousse from scratch topped with macerated berries.  My presentation skills were lacking so this photo doesn't do it justice, but I had a great time!  Not to mention we ended up with some leftovers so I had round 2 of deliciousness last night.

Take a cooking class.  CHECK!
2)   In addition to the 70+ fashion and design blogs I've subscribed to through my Google Reader, I wanted to "broaden my horizons" if you will with a few blogs on varying topics.  The goal I set out for was 5, which I've reached, though I hope to keep adding more on topics like psychology, etc.  So far the ones I follow include:
  • Life After College - A coaching type blog set forth to cover topics about tons of life aspects like finance, career, goals
  • From Shopping to Saving - A personal finance blog with an author who's voice I really enjoy reading
  • The Daily Love - Posts about all things from motivation to love to losing weight along with daily quotes (which you know I'm a sucker for!)
  • Get Rich Slowly - Tips on how to stay out of debt and build wealth (putting me closer to another bucket list item of finding out more about investments)
  • Zen Habits - Articles on things such as simplicity, minimalism, and living in the moment
Find at least 5 blogs to follow that aren't style or design related. CHECK!

3)   Because I still am early on with my interior design schooling I've been sort of nervous to take the plunge and actually e-design rooms.  I'm not sure why it seems more daunting than designing one in real life since I do that all the time, but I finally decided to get over it and push myself.  So far, I've put together boards for two rooms: a nursery for my recently born niece Gabriella and a photo-inspired European dining room.

Design and post a room from scratch.  CHECK!

I also attempted to knock another one off the list, which was find good Chinese take-out in Leesburg, but so far no luck.  Sadly my Mongolian Beef was not as delicious as that of P.F. Chang's.  Maybe that's too high a standard...?

I've also added two new items to the list:
  • Learning how to tie a man's tie (A skill everyone should know before becoming a wife.)
  • Go ziplining (If the OC Housewives can handle it then I certainly can.)
  • Participate in the 30 for 30 challenge

What are some things you would suggest to add to my list?
What's on your bucket list?  Comment below and share!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuft it Out

Pinned Image

There's something about tufts that just makes any piece of furniture look divinely comfortable.   Maybe it's because tufts are usually used when there's lots of cushion or maybe my brain is just playing silly tricks on me to make me believe tuft = comfort...  Either way, I dig it and I look forward to owning a giant, ultra comfy, tufted couch one day.  Preferably in a crazy color or print.

Pinned Image

Nick Olsen's infamous couch screams comfort.  His DIY tufts make this blue beauty a winner!

Pinned Image
May I just say, this is quite possibly the coolest chair I've ever seen. The
suitcase for the traveler in me and the tufted seat for the designer in me; it's all perfection.

bedrooms - Benjamin Moore - Edgecomb Gray - Cisco Brothers Morgan Bed F Schumacher Gainsborough Velvet in Platinum Julia B. Shams Manuel Canovas Brasilia in Petunia Oly Studio Priscilla Side Table Sandy Chapman Classic Swing Arm Wall Lamp gray walls small sunburst mirror pink bolster pillow pink monogram shams linen sheers layered bamboo roman shades
Headboard (and footboard) heaven is awaiting you in this bedroom.  The minimalist
decor lets the tufts take center stage, a fully deserved spot in my opinion.

Pinned Image
Take about luxurious!  That jewel-toned tufted ottoman makes me want to take my
shoes on and off several times a day just for an excuse to park my rump on that baby.

When Amy Morris used this zebra tufted R. Hughes' Porter chair she
created the ultimate dramatics.  Have you ever seen such a showstopper?

If you're as taken by tufted furniture as I am, then you should check out I <3 Tufted Furniture, which I found while writing this post.  An entire blog dedicated to this Rococo design detail, can you believe it?!  Or if you're looking to purchase, I've heard good things about Horchow, a Neiman Marcus furniture affiliate.

What's your take on tufts?  Share some of the beauties you've come across.
Got another design detail you're obssessed with?  Please comment & share!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Photo Inspiration - The Best Things in Life are Free

Pinned Image

This photo came to me via what I can only conclude is fate.  Of course, it didn't present itself like a little gift-wrapped package To: Katharine  From: Fate. It used Katie from Running on Happiness as the mortal transmission.  She, without a doubt, has some of the most beautiful photography I've seen from a blog, present photo included.

I could ramble on forever about how beautiful and amazing this picture is, but I'll spare you and just cover the highlights.
  • A great quote (gets me every time!) that stands proud in focus.
  • Rusted wrought iron goodness.
  • Hello beautiful sunshine with lightly visible rays!

The print on the card immediately reminded me of Santorini - the ultimate depiction of blue and white, while the rest of the photo brings a very Italian vibe (it was taken there after all...).  This picture inspired me to create a classic, yet interesting, dining room that looks a little something like this...

  1. Currey & Company Primo Brass Chandelier is the perfect way to shed a little light in this European-inspired room.
  2. These Williams-Sonoma Dinner Plates are a touch of simple elegance that can work in any dining space, but coordinate perfectly with the Santorini colors.
  3. The Le Souk Stella Wrought Iron Table serves as the stage for intimate dinners and family breakfasts alike.  Tell me you don't love the shape of those legs; I know I do!
  4. To bring a little cheer into the room, Valspar's Sunset Boulevard would look amazing.  I picture it popping nicely against a clean white chair-rail molding with wainscot beneath.
  5. A nice medium-toned hardwood floor like the one pictured brings warmth to the space.
  6. Jill Sorensen has so many great products, including this Katherine Chair, which I would love even if it didn't have such a fabulous name!  As soon as I saw it I knew it would be the perfect addition to this space.
  7. Last but not least, a simple DIY from Chelsea at Two Twenty One adds a touch of fun to the table.

Have you been inspired by a gorgeous photo like this one?
What do you think of the dining room I've created?
Leave a comment to share, I'd love to hear!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude - Week 9

Man oh man, another week of Just Squeaks and I couldn't be happier with my little labor of love.  I'd definitely say this is a match made in heaven, and I'm looking forward to watching those week numbers growing.

This week, I'm especially thankful for:

1.  My decreased stress level!  If you've been following my posts you can probably gather that things in my life have been a whirlwind of crazy and pretty tense at times.  Last week I felt a release of pressure and I finally felt like I could breathe a little easier.  I'm not really sure why the switch, as things haven't honestly changed all that much from weeks prior, but I feel much more calm and at peace, which is always something to be thankful for.  Not only does it make life happier, but healthier too!

2.  Pinkberry  Is there really anything as glorious as this delicious treat?  I'm pretty sure the response you're looking for is not a chance!  I'm not ashamed to admit that this amazingness has been added to my Tuesday ritual.  Every week after skeeball the roomie and I make a pit stop for some delicious fro-yo (Original with fresh strawberries & brownie bites, in case you were wondering) and a little recap of the night.
3.  Dancing  When I was 14 my sister started teaching me how to salsa dance and even though we didn't do it often, I loved it.  I continued doing it throughout college, learning lots of other latin dances such as bachata, merengue, even a little tango.  Although I've only been twice in the past year or so, it still is a hobby of mine that I really enjoy.  It is so much fun, not to mention a great workout, so I'm hoping to get back into dancing very soon, especially once wedding season calms down.  Maybe one day I'll look like this...
Add caption

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Beauty Review - 10 Face Products

One of my favorite things to read online is beauty product reviews.  With all the countless options out there at all the different price points it would impossible to try everything so I let others try them and benefit from their experience!  I always check the reviews on products before I buy them to find out if they're worth spending my hard-earned cash on.  Now it's time for me to give back and do a little beauty review of my own.  One of the items on my Bucket List is to find a good beauty regimen that is tailored to my skin so this will also be a great way to catalogue the products I've tried and liked or didn't.  Today I'll cover some of the face products I've recently tried and I hope it helps you out!

1.    NYX High Definition Eye Shadow Base  $6
After finishing my tube of Too Faced primer I picked this up from Ulta based off the reviews I saw online.  With just as much staying power (maybe even more) than the higher priced brands, this little beauty babe rocks!  The only thing I don't really like is the applicator because it puts too much on if you use it directly so I end up dabbing it on my finger anyway.  Since doing that with this type of tip isn't the most sanitary I try to apply it shortly after getting in the shower so my hands are still squeaky clean.

2.    Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum  $29
I'm on probably my fifth bottle of this so that should tell you how I feel about it.  Especially since I hardly ever buy multiples of the same product because I love trying new ones so much.  This size bottle lasts at least 4 months, usually more depending on how often you apply.  I use it in the mornings as the first thing on my skin so I can get a good layer of nutrients and it doesn't make my skin any shinier.  I also started using it alone at night like it suggested and my skin felt moisturized and healthy, although it was sort of sticky to the touch.  There was a noticeable difference almost immediately when I first started using it a few years ago, but I think now my skin might be getting used to it so I may need to take a break for awhile.

3.    Juice Beauty Perfecting Foundation  $35
After using powder foundation for as long as I can remember, I just wanted to switch it up a little so I decided to try this out.  I love this brand because it's organic and I had good results with the serum so this was my first try in the liquid world.  When I applied it with my hands I felt like I wasted a lot of product and wasn't getting that great of coverage.  Once I tried a foundation brush, the coverage was fabulous and the color blends perfectly with my skin.  It covers all my blemishes, even big ugly red ones, but doesn't really help my undereye bags (I held off on branching into concealer, but I may have to add that in next).  As a happy bonus, all of their products smell fruity and fresh, which is always nice as a morning pick-me-up.  After a couple months of use I did start having problems with it coming out of the pump (squirty and sporadic), but it sounds like I still have plenty of product when I shake it so I'm hoping I'm not going to have to waste all that's left in the bottle!

4.    Origins All and Nothing Sheer Pressed Powder  $26.50
I was in the market for a sheer powder to mattify my skin after foundation and I read great reviews online about this one so I decided to try it out.  It definitely takes care of my shine problem, although I do have to reapply a few times a day if I want to keep the matte look.  The powder does change the overall coloring on my face very slightly when I use it, but it still looks great and I got complimented on clear skin from the day I started using it so it did a great job hiding the things that got past my foundation.

5.    Avalon Organics Vitamin C Refreshing Cleansing Gel  $9
My sister used this brand before for other products and liked it so when I needed a new face wash I decided to try it.  Sad to say, but I was less than impressed with this cleanser.  It smelled fantastic but I never really felt like my face was very clean afterwards.  I didn't notice any changes in my skin one way or another but I just wasn't a fan so I won't be getting this one again.

6.    Minted Rose Lip Balm  $7
Yet another product I decided to try based on all the great reviews I read and boy, am I happy I did!  I've always used Burt's Bees Pomegranate chapstick which worked nicely but I always had to reapply over and over.  This balm is seriously amazing!  It gives my lips a little color and the right amount of shine to highlight without looking ridiculous.  It lasts a long time, especially if I'm not eating or drinking, and it always makes my lips feel soft, even hours later.

7.    Alba Rainforest Hydrating Oil-Control Moisturizer  $14
This product was ok, but not great.  On the pro side, it's hydrating and leaves my skin nice and soft, not to mention it smells ah-mazing!  Unfortunately, I didn't notice any oil-control action going on, which was the whole reason I purchased it.  Now, I use it at night before I go to bed and I'm happy with it for that so if you're looking for a nice moisturizer this could be it, but for a shine-control lotion, not so much.

8.    Sephora Favorites Lashstash  $32
This is the second set like this that I've gotten from Sephora and it doesn't disappoint.  This one has 8 mini mascaras, 2 full size, and a mini bottle of remover to cover all your eyelash needs.  Each mascara is different so you can pick and layer depending on the look you're going for.  I like it because the full size tubes tend to dry out before I can use them all so by only using one or two minis at a time I can eliminate that problem.  It's also perfect if you're anything like me and love to try new products all the time because you save money doing it this way.

9.    Clean & Clear Finishes Mattifying moisturizer SPF 15  $7
With such hot and humid weather, my combination skin needs shine control every day.  I got this "moisturizer" in hopes to combat it but I hated it so much I could only use it a few times.  It comes out liquidy but when you try to rub it into your skin it doesn't really absorb and it becomes pasty, leaving a white film on your skin.  It acts exactly like sunscreen (and sort of smells like it too) so it could be good for that I guess, but it makes me look so ghostly I'd opt for a SPF tinted moisturizer before this.

10.  Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Moisturizer - Ivory  $29
This product has left me sort of torn...  I've used it everyday for that past 3 months and I still have plenty left, so it is a good bang for your buck.  It does a great job of blending away the smaller, lighter imperfections in my skin (which is an obvious pro), but it leaves me extremely shiny and feeling sort of greasy.  This is the first tinted moisturizer I've used so I'm not sure if this is par for the course, but I usually have to go lay under my bedroom ceiling fan after I apply to avoid feeling like it's all dripping off.  I also have to admit, I did notice a slight improvement in my overall skin condition when I introduced it to my morning routine.  Overall, it has sold me on a tinted moisturizer but I think I'll look around for another brand that doesn't leave me so greasy feeling.

What products have you tried?  How do you decide when making a beauty purchase?
Happy Friday everyone, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thursday Thoughts - Design Project


" I think the biggest design project anyone can have is their own life. "

I came across this Jessi Arrington quote this week, which really made me stop and think for a minute.  Jessi is right on the money with this one.  As interior designers it is always paramount to think about how someone lives their life, as it will directly determine how their home should be set up and what it should be filled with.  What people may not realize though, is that everyone is a designer.  You are the one and only designer of your life.  People make choices and changes every day and what they're really doing is designing a life for themselves.  So here's a little Thursday Thought to get you thinking... are you designing the life you want?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bucket List Check-In + 5 Hair Care Tips

Remember that Bucket List I started last month?  So far I've only checked off one thing - finding the perfect fitting bra thanks to our trusty gal Victoria (word around town is she has a Secret...).  Well, after this week we can check another item off the list! 

During my recent visit home I went to my salon and dyed my hair!  I've had pretty much the same hair color and style my entire life.  With super thin and curly hair, it's hard to find styles that work for me that don't take a long time.  My usual pattern is to grow it super long, cut to my shoulders and donate, then repeat the process. Over. And over. And over... I have never dyed my hair (although I have tried an at-home highlight before wayyyy back when) so I would definitely say this qualifies as "something interesting."  I wanted a big change but nothing too high maintenance or damaging so auburn was the perfect color choice for me.

Below is a picture of me two days before the salon with my natural, dark brown hair (and another cameo by the cutest little baby, Ella!).  I don't have any pictures of myself with the new 'do yet, but the celebrity photos underneath are a good compilation of about where my hair color is now.  Drastic change!  I'm still experiencing that weird feeling where you walk past a mirror and don't recognize yourself, but I'm starting to get used to it and I love it!

AFTER  (via, via, via)

I try to take pretty good care of my hair, especially since it is so thin, which is why I have avoided dying it for so long.  But even with a little color boost, you can still keep your tresses in top condition.

1.  Natural - Just because your hair color isn't natural, doesn't mean it shouldn't look like it is!  Let me pause and say that I wish I could get a pink or purple streak, but since the professional world sees that as a no-no, I've got to stick to normal hair colors, at least for now.  But what I really mean when I suggest going for natural, is go for something that looks like you could have been born with it.  I know I would never look good blonde because it's too far off my natural color, plus that would be a dual-process (bleach then dye) which is more harsh chemicals, so I went for auburn.  The red still makes it a big change but the brown undertone keeps it looking natural with my skin tone and the rest of my body hair so I didn't have to do a full-body dye!  (Full disclosure: I'm also secretly hoping it means I won't have to do as many root-touchups and save that extra $.)

2.  Pictures - If you're getting your hair done, bring in pictures of exactly how you want your hair to look - cut, color, anything.  There are countless shades of colors out there so you should really provide a visual of the look you're going for so your stylist can fully understand what it is you want, and then she can deliver.  Then you can discuss before the cuts start happening whether your hair type is actually correctly suited for the style you want.

3.  Stylist - Speaking of your stylist, if you're paying the extra money to have someone else treat your hair, put that money to good use!  Make sure you really trust them, then ask as many questions as you can.  Style tricks, brand suggestions, color advice.  This is what they do for a living, after all, so look to them for guidance on how to best treat your unique hair. 

4.  Sulfate free -  When I was talking to my stylist to figure out the best way to keep my color she said the biggest rule is to avoid sulfates.  These aren't great for you anyway so even if you don't color treat your hair I'd say go for it.  But when I went to the store to get some new shampoo you'd be amazed at how many have sulfates in them, including the salon brands.  Pretty much every single one!!!  In all of Target I found only two sulfate-free conditioners -  L' Oreal EverPure and Alba Hawaiian.  The L' Oreal was out of stock (go figure) and I didn't really enjoy the mango smell of the Alba version,  so I decided to use this opportunity as an excuse to buy some Living Proof products I've had my eye on recently. Once I get it and try it out I'll give a review of it here for all you other curly thin girls out there (pretty please tell me I'm not alone with this hair woe).

5.  TLC - I know it seems impossible, but avoid heat styling as much as possible.  I try to wear my hair in its' naturally curly state as much as possible, which of course has the added bonus of only taking about 1 minute to style.  If you have to use a blow dryer or flat iron, use a heat protectant before to safeguard your locks.  I know for me and my very fine hair it's not really an option, but if you can avoid washing everyday that can also boosts your hair health.  You want to keep as much of your natural oil as possible since your body makes it for a reason!  Cleaning, moisturizing, and safe styling will keep your hair healthier and looking beautiful longer.

In conclusion, woohoo for checking an item off my bucket list!  I also have a couple other items on my List I'll be crossing off in the next week or so, so stay tuned for another Bucket List Check-In!

Have you ever done anything crazy to your hair?
What are your secret hair care tipcs and tricks?
Comment and share!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Room to Grow - A Nursery for Ella


Yesterday I announced the birth of my neice, Gabriella and even though I just saw her, I miss her already!  I figure there's no better way to welcome the most beautiful baby girl into the family than to design a room for her, so that's what today's post is all about. 

Ella's room is already a deep green, with bamboo window treatments so I wanted to add some accents of yellow and pink to make the space a little more feminine but not overly babyish.  My sister has an affinity for dark furniture, so all of the wooden pieces are an Espresso finish.  Below are a few of the things I would put in a space designed for Ella, along with descriptions.

  1. Window Treatments: Bamboo Roman Shade (similar)
  2. Walls:  deep green (similar to Sherwin Williams Oakmoss)
  3. Artwork:  Andy Warhol Sunsets prints (example)

All of the furniture (with the exception of the changing table of course) can be used by my sister now and by Ella as she grows older.  They didn't really use the crib with their first-born so a changing table with storage underneath is perfect for baby #2.  I started my design with the rug as a way to bring in the accent colors.  It's an indoor/outdoor rug which means it's durable against baby messes, plus it's so cheerful and pretty!  Their home is filled with similarly patterend rugs so this one would fit right in, and the bright colors brought in the color palette without screaming "nursery."  I continued the colors in the lamp and the beanbag chair, which I knew would be perfect for the space since it's organic and Larisa goes crazy over that!  Andy Warhol paintings complete the look and are another thing that would fit in both a nursery and a college dorm.  Art for life!  Add in a stuffed monkey and my neice will be sitting pretty in her new bedroom.

What do you think of these choices?  What other things would you add to the room?
Please comment and share, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude - Week 8

I am brimming with excitement this Monday!  Last week was so great so let's jump right into my 3 things.

My sister finally popped out her baby and I now have a niece!  Gabriella Elana is the newest and tiniest addition to our family.  She was born last Monday and I had to wait all the way until Friday to meet her, but it was so nice once I finally did.  She is so precious and I can't wait to watch her grow up.  Not to mention my 6 year old nephew, Donovan, who is already a wonderfully sweet big brother.  I am especially thankful to have such cuties in my life, even though I don't get to see them as much as I'd like.

Saturday my dad proved that even when you're in your 20s your dad can still be your hero.  I'm not sure how it happened, but I've cultivated an extreme fear of snakes over the last week even though I had never seen one in real life (except for at the zoo). Then of course what would happen on Saturday when I slept at my parent's house but a very long and slithery black snake comes after me when I'm trying to get inside!  I didn't want to wake either of my parents up since it was around midnight but I couldn't get myself to move so I was literally just standing there staring when my dad somehow woke up out of his sleep and came outside to rescue me!  I don't know how he knew I needed to be rescued, but a giant thanks and love you to my pops!

Lately, I'm also really thankful to have the passion for interior design that I do.  This blog helps me keep up my interest and I really feel like it helps me learn because it drives me to look into things I may have overlooked before.  I actually made a few (but impactful) changes around the apartment this week and it gave me such an adrenaline rush!  I walk into my room and I just instantly get happier.  It's a truly amazing feeling, and the one I hope to give to others some day.
Emily Wren Photography

How was your week?  What has excited you and spurred some gratitude?
Comment and share, I'd love to hear!