Friday, January 31, 2014

My Friday Five

Two weeks of blogging down, yeah!  I feel like I have this secret thing to look forward to doing every night, putting things together for my blog.  New adventures are always exciting, at least I think so!  Onto my Friday Five. . .

1.  I don't think words can express how much I LOVE getting mail.  Real mail, not junk mail - that doesn't count.  What does count, packages that I know are coming because I've ordered the things in them myself :) The UPS man and I are on a first name basis.  I also love mail that I haven't sent myself, I just don't get it as often.


2.  This winter has been colder then I remember in years, and I think it has been snowing on average every other day or so.  I picked up this new workout top last weekend at TJ Maxx because the color was channeling spring and I couldn't resist!


3.  Speaking of working out, I super miss being able to run outdoors.  I'm way too much of a chicken to try to run outside through a Chicago winter.  So to mix it up I tried my first treadmill interval workout this week, thanks to Pinterest.  It was a good way to mix things up, and a good work out!

4.  And why I work out. . .


I am obsessed.  Lately I have only been able to find them at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls.  I think the cashiers think I'm crazy because when I find them I buy several bags.  So good!

5.  Last but not least, I am so grateful for my positive outlook on life.  Way to often I encounter people who just seem kind of miserable, or are approaching the world like it is out to get them/cheat them/make them angry.  I am grateful that I can look at my experiences with a glass half full perspective.  Don't get me wrong, I can have my fair share of getting worked up over something or complaining over something, I am not perfect.  I am just grateful of the view that I have and feel sad for those who's glasses are half empty (can you tell I've had my fair share of dealing with this this week.)

I hope you have a good weekend.  Here is to hoping it is productive and full of progress on my office!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Elegance Obsession: Gold Polka Dots


I don't know what it is about gold polka dots, but lately I'm obsessed.  I think it is something about the whimsy of the polka dots combined with the elegance of the metallic gold.  It makes something that could be taken as childish have a sophisticated feel.

It started back in October when I got my 'new' (yes I got it in October and it is still considered new) Kate Spade bag with gold polka dot lining.  I'm pretty sure the lining of that bag helped to seal the deal.  I love it so much I shared it in my first Friday Five post.

I've rounded up a few of my favorite finds, all of which I wouldn't mind adding to my collection.  I've been eying the Kate Spade iPhone case since before Christmas and I plan to snag a few of the Target binders for my office (If I can find them in pink, right now my Target only has them in blue and orange so I'll have to look around for them).

  1. Joann Fabrics
  2. Kate Spade, Piperlime
  3. Forever 21
  4. Etsy
  5. Sugar Paper 
  6. Target
  7. Kate Spade, Zappos
  8. Sugar Paper
 Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bringing Elegance to the Office: Part 2

Last week I shared my ideas and plans for my office/craft room.  Really I just want to call it MY room.  I didn't take great before photos, but this will at least give you an idea of where the room started.  As you saw on the floor plan the other day it is in the back corner of my first floor, and really it's only about 10' x 10'.


You can see the original color I painted the room when I first moved in.  This was the very first room I painted in this house, actually I painted it before I even moved in.  I really wanted a yellow office for some reason, and I almost stuck with yellow when I decided to redo this room.  If you look closely you can see a few swatches of yellow just to the right of the light switch.  Then I totally jumped ship to gray.  There were a few reasons behind this switch.  One, in thinking I was going to keep the room yellow I was looking for a bright vibrant floral rug and I just could not find what I had in mind.  I had searched for months, high and low, and was coming up empty.  Two, I just got a feeling that I needed a more calm space.  More serene and light, so gray it was.  The swatch on top is the one I ultimately ended up choosing, Irish Mist by Behr.


At this point I had already taken out the baseboards and ripped up the carpeting.  You can see the too short curtains with the hems unraveling.  The plan is to keep the curtains, and add a fabric trim along the bottom to remedy the length.  I have yet to find the perfect fabric for the job.

My husband and I got started on this room before the Holidays, which was actually much later than anticipated.  The floor had been ordered in early November in hopes of getting it down Thanksgiving weekend.  Unfortunately the floor did not end up coming in until mid December.  But I couldn't stand having things pile up around my house right before the holidays, so to work we went.

I got the room painted one Monday, and then during the week Martin surprised me by putting up the crown molding in the room.  Something I did not anticipate going up for awhile, I always knew I wanted to add it.  In fact I want to add it to most of the house.  Martin didn't only put it up while I was at work, he did the whole nine yards.  Measured, bought, installed, caulked, and painted - it was a great surprise!  The next weekend we laid the floor.  It is a click together laminate floor, it was easy and fast and took us just a few hours.  A few more hours and we had the base molding in and painted.

I was a little hesitant in picking out a whitewash looking floor online, but I absolutely love how it looks in person.  I also feel like the paint color is just perfect with it.  In the daylight it can wash out to nearly white, but with the help of the baseboards and the crown molding being white you can see  the gray tones.

All the major pieces of furniture have been purchased and assembled.  Now it all just has to be put together.  I will leave you with a sneak peak of one wall.


This is the one large piece of furniture that was not on my design board.  It is a piece I overhauled last year, it started out as BESTA unit from Ikea.  I added some trim and painted for a more 'me' look.  The shelf is by no means organized, infact I put as much on there as I could when I was clearing the room to be painted and have not touched it since so please forgive the mess!  The rack to the left (a TJ Maxx find) is the first thing to be hung on my freshly painted walls.

I am on the hunt for some smaller accessories and storage pieces.  I hope to get more accomplished this coming weekend, and hope to soon have more to share!  Thanks for following along.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Simply Elegant: Healthy Living


This last year I have made a lot of changes to my everyday life, in hopes of adapting a "healthier" lifestyle.  I put healthier in quotes, because really what does that mean?  For me it means healthier for me.  I have found that no matter the issue or topic or ingredient you will be able to find an article posing on either side.  It always seems that depending on what you read the same thing can be good for you, or it could kill you.  In my opinion I have never lead a truly unhealthy lifestyle.  I have always been conscientious of what I am eating as well as staying active.

This past year of my life presented some new health challenges that I had not been faced with before causing me to look deeper into what I put into and onto my body.  I have grown to be more and more aware of how my body reacts to different things I come in contact with.  My mission became knowing what I was putting into and onto my body.  If I read a label and and it was clouded with crazy sounding ingredients I wasn't going to eat it or use it.  My goal was to simplify and eliminate as many additives and chemicals from my lifestyle as I could.  I by no means am an extremist when it comes to this, just much more aware or what was in things.  As well as alternatives I could use instead.

The biggest change I have made is going gluten free.  In the past I was a self described bread addict.  I could make a meal out of the bread basket and be perfectly content with it.  I always thought that the no gluten thing was the current fad and just glanced it over.  This summer someone opened my eyes to the logic behind it and I started to do some of my own research.  I decided I would give it a try for a month and see.  It was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be and I genuinely felt better.  Since I felt better, I didn't see why I shouldn't keep it up - that was 7 months ago.

Another thing I have been changing are products I use on my body.  Again I am not converted to only using 100% natural ingredients, but just simplifying as I can and being aware of what is in what.  Have you ever read the ingredient list on your lotion bottle? or body wash?  I remember the first time I did and I was surprised as how long the list was.  I couldn't believe there could be that many ingredients in there.  I thought for sure I could handle making my own, and turned to Pinterest - of course!  I have been experimenting with different homemade products over the last several months.  It is great to know exactly what is in them, and cost effective as well.

I plan to share different things that help me to create my version of a Healthy Living lifestyle, from food to fitness to beauty products and beyond.  What is your version of Healthy Living?

Monday, January 27, 2014

House Tour: Floor Plans

One of the things that I truly enjoy doing in my spare time is working on and fixing up my home.  I bought my home in 2008.  It was a foreclosure in decent condition.  The house was built in the late 1980's and I was lucky in the fact that a few of the big ticket items had recently been updated like the roof and siding.  Inside, the house was pretty outdated, but nothing I wasn't willing to take on.

My first year in the house saw a lot of major projects, including a kitchen and bath remodel.  Both of which I took on myself, and with the help of the internet, friends, and family I worked my way through and learned a ton a long the way.  As the years have gone by I have continued to work on my house, project by project.  The only rooms left baring the original paint colors are two closets!

My goal is to share my home, room by room and project by project.  Though I have done a lot, there is still so much I want to do. I thought I would start by sharing a rough floor plan I put together using floorplanner.com


My house is about 1650 square feet.  Plenty of room for my husband and I, but nothing too spacious.  It is definitely not an open concept, but on the first floor the rooms flow pretty nicely from one to another.  My biggest pet peeve about this house is that the entrance from the garage goes right into the dining room.  This is the way we enter and exit the house 99.9% of the time.  I am constantly struggling with how to incorporate an "entry" area here so that my dining room table is not the dumping ground for everything in my arms.  I have not figured that out yet.

My house is a cape cod style, with the second floor taking up the entire foot print of the first floor.  The entire second floor has sloped ceilings true to the cape cod style, but nothing extreme enough to impact the use of any of the rooms.  Just enough to add some character and keeping the house from being to plain.  The biggest issue we have with the second floor is with our heating and cooling.  Due to the fact that the entire second floor is directly under the roof we stay extra cold up there in the winter, and several degrees warmer in the summer.

And that is my house in a nutshell!  Last week I shared my plans for the office, I hope to be back later this week with an update of the progress I have made so far.  I love the new paint color up on the walls, and am excited to see it come together!  Thanks for letting me share my home with you!

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Friday Five

Of the blogs I read one of the things I always find myself looking forward to are the Friday lists.  Five little memories from the week.  A chance to pause and be grateful and thankful for the things that brighten your days, big or small.  To my first Friday Five!

1.  I started a blog!. . .!!!  This has been a thought for years, and I am so excited that I have finally just gone ahead and done it!

2.  There is something about gold polka dots, I love them.  Every time I look over and see them in the lining of my bag it makes me happy.

3.  I have been a little under the weather this week and I came home to this note from my husband after work on Tuesday.

4.  Chai Tea Lattes, how have I not discovered these before?  I finally tried them this week and am hooked.  Thank goodness I have already learned to make my own, but Starbucks always seems to taste way better.

5.  Seat Warmers.  This is the first winter I own a car with seat warmers, which makes the night time drives home from work (that have been in the negative digits more often than I care to remember this winter) a little more bearable.

Here is to week 1 of blogging, have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Elegance Fail : Photography

Admittedly the most challenging thing about this entire blog journey will be anything to do with photography.  To start with I hardly ever even remember to take pictures of anything I do on a normal basis, and then I always look back and wish that I had.  Hopefully this blog will hold me more accountable for documenting more of my life's adventures.

Second, photogenic is not a word I would ever use to describe myself.  In fact I usually loath being in front of the camera.  Due to this fact, I really don't have many pictures of myself.  I hope that I can learn to be comfortable and confident in front of the camera throughout this journey.

Third, I have to learn to take good pictures!  My usual go to method for pictures is my iPhone.  I feel like I can take better pictures on there than I can with my actual camera (I don't know if that's true or not).  Learning photography skills is another thing I look forward to accomplishing, if there are any beginner recommendations out there of where to start I am happy to hear about them.


I share with you my epic fail of 'selfies'.  What is with that word anyways?  I think it is weird.  I figure I have to document where I started.  It can only get better from here, right?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bringing Elegance to the Office: Part 1

I have a few rooms that are line to be overhauled.  I got started on one before the holidays so I wanted to first share my vision for the room and then I will catch up to real time progress.

I have this room, I call it my office.  I'm not exactly sure why I call it that, except for that is what we have always called any room who's sole function is to house a computer and a desk.  I want to call this room my craft room, but I have never actually done any crafts in it.  I always end up on the dining room table or somewhere else.  Mainly because this room of mine has been such a disaster area that there hasn't been anywhere to do crafts.

My vision for this room is that it will become a catch all room for me.  A room where I can blog, sew, and craft.  A place that has ample storage for all the little things that come along with each of those activities, where everything can be tucked away and easy to find.  A room that looks clean and organized and fresh when you glance in.  I secretly long to have all my rooms and closets organized in a way that I imagine Martha Stewart has all of hers done.
 
Thanks to Jen at I Heart Organizing and her tutorial on using Oliobard I made my first design board!

This encompasses the big ideas of the room, except for one big storage piece that I have made over.  You will just have to wait till later for that one.

  1. Office Chair : I wanted something that would be comfortable to sit in, not leather (the cats destroyed the last traditional office chair that we had with their nails), no wheels, and can be tweaked.  I haven't decided if I'm leaving it as is or not.  The nice thing is the slip covers for these Ikea chairs are only $4 so if I decide to dye it and it goes wrong it is not that big of deal.
  2. Desk : I needed something with a smaller footprint, as this room is only 10x10 and the desk that I had before felt like it took up half the room.  I wanted to make sure it still had decent surface area so it didn't feel too cramped if I was using the sewing machine.
  3. Walls : The paint color is Irish Mist by Behr.  I have been obsessed with gray lately, which didn't make this decision hard.  Initially I was going to stick with the original color I painted this room when we first bought the house which was a light yellow.  I even had put of a few swatches of new yellows.  One day I was standing in the doorway to the office where I had a glimpse of the office, the hallway, the guest bedroom and the downstairs bath and it was just too many colors going on.  Time to simplify.  Irish Mist one because it was the same family as the other grays I have used in my house, just a few swatches up.
  4. Curtains : These panels from Ikea have been already hanging in the room for years.  The only problem is that they were originally hemmed horribly uneven, and with many washings throughout the years have shrunken terribly.  I plan to keep the curtains but add a panel of decorative fabric along the bottoms.
  5. Occasional Table : This table is the perfect way to add additional storage, without taking up too much space.  It has a very narrow footprint, but two shelves for baskets and three drawers for smaller storage.
  6. Baskets : I have a couple of these baskets that I have collected from TJ Maxx and Marshall's on different occasions.  Two of them are already filled, and I have two more to grow into.
  7. Flooring : This is what motivated this room makeover, to get rid of the carpeting that the cats had decided shouldn't be in this room at all.  This solution was neutral, durable, and cost effective.
  8. Art : I have a print very similar to this one.  Is it one of the first pieces of art I bought myself, I believe I bought it in college.  It is currently living in my attic, but with a new frame will work perfectly in this space.
  9. Rug : Initially I wanted to bring color into the room through the rug.  I wanted something bright and bold, but I could just not find something I was falling in love with.  So I went neutral with this one, and when it arrived I loved it.
I can't wait to see how this space comes together.  Maybe once it does I will finally figure out what this room should be called!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Motivation

I pinned this quote on Pinterest over a year ago, and I always come back to it.  The sentiment seems all to obvious, but often times forgotten.  For me I find it to easy to get wrapped up in making something 'perfect' instead of enjoying my journey.



Last week this article was passed on to me, "The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today".  It is one that I would recommend everyone to read, which I don't often do.  Reading it made me be even more OK with where things are in my life today and to be thankful for the struggles I have endured, because without them It would mean I am not working towards what I really want.  I share this today because I can only imagine I will learn a ton from this blogging journey, and am excited to do so.  So much so that I am having trouble falling asleep at night!

Monday, January 20, 2014

And So It Begins

Hi. . .I'm Aimee.  My goal this year was to finally start a blog, and so it begins!  For the past several years I have read and read so many blogs, and enjoyed it so much and after some additional motivation from my husband I'm giving it a go.

I aim for elegance in my life (at least that's what I tell myself, though I am 99% sure it dose not appear that way to the outside world) and I hope this blog is a way to share just that.  Through my adventures in life, fashion, beauty and decor.  Those areas are all passions of mine that I do not feel I make enough time for, and I hope that by starting this blog it will help me to carve out more time for those things that I truly enjoy spending my time on.

Allow me to introduce myself. . .


I often feel that I was born into the wrong decade.  There is something about the elegance and charm from the past that I absolutely love.  This is my journey of trying to find ways to bring that into my life today.  I love working around the home and am in the process of transforming our house into the home I want it to be.  I will never hesitate to get dirty or break out the tools, but I also love the girly side of fashion and beauty.  Me and shopping get along a little too well.

Currently I have a full time career in ballroom dancing.  I have danced since I was a little girl, and essentially never stopped.  It is pretty cool to say I have a career in something I love doing.  The experiences and people I have encountered along the way in my dance journey have truly been amazing.



My husband, Martin, and I have been married for just over a year.  He works in the construction industry, which keeps us on pretty opposite schedules.  We try to make the most of our limited time together and have declared Saturday nights our "Date Night", which could mean anything from going out to dinner and a movie to spending the evening together on the couch with Netflix.  He is always willing to lend a helping hand in any project that I have created in my head. Though most of the time he doesn't know what the end vision is, he trusts me and jumps on board.


We have 2 fur kids, Charlie and Max.  I have had Charlie since I graduated from college and Max was a stray that I adopted a few years later.  They look more similar in photos then they do in person.  They have very different personalities and I am sure they will make an appearance on here from time to time.

And so the journey begins, thanks for joining me!