Friday, January 27

Home Goods = LOVE

Having driven by the local Home Goods store several times and having no clue what was sold inside, I finally made the trip (with Jeff) and oh my goodness it was amazing! It was like Ross or TJMaxx for people with taste. There were a lot of pieces inspired by Greece and several Asian countries and while the cooking section wasn't too exciting, the dinnerware section was. Last weekend I had found two beautiful bowls at Ross and today I found one entire set from the collection that bowl came from.

I ended up buying a new cheese grater, a timer, and two other things that I can't remember right now lol. I'm definitely looking forward to going there again. Especially when we start to consider how we want to set up our patio. We're working on gathering items for a small urban garden and I saw several pieces that would fancy up our deck quite nicely!!!

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Wednesday, January 25

Keeping Up the Apartment

Jeff and I have a habit of only cleaning our apartment when guests come over. Which makes me think that maybe we should invite people over more often. Anyway, we always promise ourselves we would maintain the neat look of our home after the party but never succeed in doing so. Well, four days after our birthday part for Jeff's Grandmom, the apartment is still looking decent. If the maintenance man knocked on our door and wanted to come in to repair something, I wouldn't go into a passive-aggressive mood about the cleanliness of the apartment (like I usually do). It's really worth it to keep the place clean when it has things in it that you love. And after going through our January budget it's clear to me that we spent too much money on buying things for our kitchen and dining room. But at least everything looks great, right?


One of the biggest purchases we have made is this rug that we found at Home Depot, of all places. Jeff pretty much fell in love with it at first sight. He said it reminded him of a Van Gough painting. Coming from someone who knows little about art I felt his connection to the rug was romantic and sweet. So we went well over budget and made the purchase. I then found this welcome mat one aisle over and since it was only $12 we decided to get it. I love the two pops of orange and yellow! 


 It still amazes me how much of a difference a 5 by 8 rug makes. Since our kitchen-dining-living room is one open floor plan it was a bit difficult distinguishing one place from another. With the rug placed down under the dining table there is a proper and lovely separation of dining room and kitchen. Even though it doesn't necessarily match the wall color, it doesn't clash with it or detract from it.

While there are no immediate plans to make any more purchases for our apartment, I remain on the lookout for a great deal. The more put together and lovely my apartment feels, the more put together and lovely I feel. 

Hopefully our next get together/party is just around the corner. I have invited my mom, grandma, and uncle out to celebrate another birthday: my 29th. I wouldn't even mind cooking for it!


Wednesday, January 18


 I recently started looking through what Gilt has available on a daily basis and I came across something I just couldn't resist. This teacup and saucer set will not only match the dinnerware we currently have but will also incorporate a pretty print into out dining routine. Best of all they were only $18! They will be here on the 23rd... So excited!


Sunday, January 15

A Little Paint

Jeff and I have continued our painting project throughout the apartment and I have to admit I am very excited by how it is turning out! We are working with a second color now and it is really sprucing up the place. It is amazing how much if a difference a little paint can make!

Thursday, January 12

$15 Kitchen Makeover

 Okay, so it isn't a complete makeover but it sure is making a difference. Tonight after grocery shopping we stopped by Home Depot and I happened upon the paint department where the Martha Stewart paint was half off! I had my eye on three distinct shades of green and ultimately chose Lily Pad. It's beautiful! I couldn't wait until tomorrow and started painting tonight. I cannot wait to see how it all turns out!


Wednesday, January 11

First Batch of (Monster) Cake Pops

I joked to Jeff that instead of calling them cake pops we should call them cake BAM! because they came out huge. Usually it should only take a bite or two to consume a cake pop and these take about 4 or 5. However, regardless of their size they did come out super delicious and I'm proud to say that both the cake and frosting were completely homemade from scratch. The only pre-made products are the candy melts and sprinkles. They take up the entire bottom shelf of our refrigerator. I told you they were huge!!

Monday, January 9

Some New Additions (w/ photos)

The four wooden spoons you see on the left are ones I have had for probably 10 years. They even went to college with me. Sadly, their quality isn't too great and I don't really like holding them in my hand. So when I saw these Giada bamboo spoons at Target last year I knew I had to have them! We have a lot of items from her collection now and we are still planning on getting more! 

I can't wait to use these. I already threw out the old ones and put the new ones in their place. I'm curious to see how long it will take Jeff to notice the switch.
Since we got cable we have been watching an embarrassing amount of cooking shows.our favorites are Giada at Home, Everyday Italian, Real Home Cooking, and Paula Deen's show as well. Right away we identified two things we wanted: a wood grain cutting board and a santoku knife. Both are pricey on their own at places like William Sonoma. But thanks to WalMart, we scored both (from the Paula Deen collection) for just under $50. Never before has slicing tomatoes and cheese for a sandwich (I packed Jeff a lunch today) been so much fun!

Sunday, January 8

Some New Additions

We ended up not going to Ikea (for now) but did end up getting a few things for our kitchen that we are very excited about! I think the kitchen is coming along nicely and though it is definitely a work in progress, it is one that brings us a sense of pride and happiness. We have our meals planned out for the week, did grocery shopping accordingly, and have even created a comprehensive spreadsheet on our iPad so that we can keep track of our spending and our budget every day. There is still a lot of tidying up I plan to accomplish this week, so more to come on that! I wouldn't dare take photos of the apartment looking less than perfect!

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Thursday, January 5

Lovely Party Table

I was browsing through Tumblr when I came across this lovely table setting. How perfect would this be around Valentine's Day or just for a punch of color in spring?

via Tumblr

I just love the pink and orange together with bursts of green. Jeff and I are having a birthday party for his grandmom in a few weeks and this feels really inspiring and pretty!

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Wednesday, January 4

Ikea Catalogue Shopping, Part 3: the Bathroom!

When we first moved into our apartment our shower/tub was missing one critical feature: a curtain. Fortunately we got a great deal on a curtain we both liked (it took a while to find something) and have used it as the starting point for all of our bathroom decorating. We bought some matching towels, a bathmat to stand on once done showering and a mat to stand on while showering. It really pulled our bathroom together and looks so fresh and inviting! It makes a great statement.

I'm kind of in the mood to mix things up and buy some bath towels that I'd be proud to hang up in the bathroom. It's not that we don't have any towels because we have quite a few. Only one of them matches. I'm not one for doing matchy-matchy decorations but I would like to incorporate more of the colors from the shower curtain into the bathroom. Ikea has a lot of different colored ones and they are nicely priced. A few of these could definitely tie in the curtain to the rest of the bathroom.

Jeff thinks we don't need any since we already have a few bath towels, but it's a purchase I'm going to push for just so that our bathroom looks all that much nicer. 

Tuesday, January 3

Ikea Catalogue Shopping, Part 2: the Kitchen

The area of our apartment that has had the most attention paid to it is probably the kitchen/dining area. Jeff and I both do a lot of cooking and baking (and a LOT of dishes) and spend a great amount of time in the kitchen. Our kitchen doesn't have a lot of storage space and try as we might to be creative, the kitchen often looks disheveled and really only looks clean when we have company over. 
Counter space is a particular issue, especially with one counter that is tucked in a corner between the refrigerator on one side and the sink on the other. It isn't a space we can stand at and work on so instead we use it for storing baking dishes and cookbooks. We've talked about getting a cart or a trolley to create more surface area and storage possibilities and this $30 one from Ikea looks promising. It's an inexpensive solution to a short-term problem. 

Another issue we come across is seating... we have a great oak dining table but only two chairs. While this normally works for us because we're only two people, it does prove to be a challenge when we have family over. My uncle gave us a few folding chairs to keep handy for when company comes over but they aren't the most comfortable chairs in the world and I don't like the fact that they don't match the other chairs. These white chairs from Ikea are super inexpensive at $10 and we could pick up 4 or 5 for a great price. We need to try them out first before we commit to buying them, however. It's hard to beat such a great price! I'm really interested in checking these out the next time we go to Ikea (hopefully this week?!)

Finally, these candlesticks really caught my eye. I love the bright punch of color and their youthfulness. While a more classic candlestick might be nice, I feel like right now we can get away with these less serious versions since we're young and only in our first apartment. These are a great price, too. I'm hoping they maybe come in other colors. An antique blue color might be perfect for the dining table!

I've got one more area I'd like to tackle. It's a small project but one I've been thinking of for a while. Up next: the Bathroom!

Monday, January 2

Ikea Catalog Shopping, Part 1: the Terrace

I used to love getting an Ikea catalogue in the mail whenever I remembered to order one online, only it took several weeks for it to arrive. Now I can download it in a few moments thanks to the Ikea app for my iPad. Love it. So. I browsed through just the relevant sections (i.e., the sections that coordinated with my current project ideas) and found a few things I think I must have. Thankfully and awesomely enough the app enables bookmarking so I can browse back to specific pages with ease.

One project that Jeff and I have been thinking about since before we moved in is a garden. We live on the second floor and thus have a small terrace but it isn't an impossible space. With careful planning (he can do the math) and design (I can do that part) I'm confident we can start up a garden to be proud of! 

The great thing about Ikea is that everything is cheap inexpensive but rather nice looking. I love these white pots that are a whopping 49 cents. They would be grat for the growing list of herbs I want to plant, including rosemary, basil, and parsley. One or two of the larger pots for around $15 would work great for veggies, such as onions or lettuce. We have to be smart about what we plant and when, especially considering that summer in Bakersfield climbs up into the 100's regularly.

Hanging flower pots would be great for incorporating flowers or other herbs or spices. These white ones for $4.99 are especially darling. 

While I like the simple and utilitarian look of the white pots I just love the vibrant purple variation. These would work well for indoor plants, and would look great in our colorful kitchen. 

I'd love to get some chalkboard paint and paint labels on the pots, just so I can always know what is currently growing (this might be helpful for Jeff, as well). This seems like it would just a nice touch of customization and character. 

Our front door is set back a ways on the landing and there is a good amount of space where we could put plants that don't need a lot of direct sunlight and would be slightly cooler. I love the idea of something green at the front door. It just looks so welcoming and inviting!

I've got more ideas from the Ikea catalogue! Up next... the kitchen!

Sunday, January 1

Apartment 54

I'm really excited to begin a great new project for the new year. My life took a radical shift four months ago and it was all for the better. I moved away from my family and began a new life in a new city... accompanied by the love of my life, Jeff. Things have been going great and we have adjusted well to being detached from our families. New challenges have appeared and one of the biggest is living in my own (rented) space (with Jeff). We both have a lot of dreams for how we want to make our home reflect the blending of our lives. However, living off of our financial aid (we are both grad students) is challenging and doesn't leave a lot of room for a decorating budget. We are both trying to find creative ways to make our home look great and feel wonderful. That is what this blog is all about. Welcome to our home, Apartment 54.


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