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Using up the Thanksgiving Leftovers

For a More Peaceful Home: Minimize Your Tech

minimize technologyDo you wish your home was more of a peaceful sanctuary? A getaway from the hectic world? A place you can relax in, yes, but more importantly, recharge in? There’s something you can do that could add to a sanctuary feel, and it involves minimizing the appearance or existence of tech in your home.

Is the technology in your home getting out of control? Taking over your rooms? Distracting you from living? Sucking you into hours-long Netflix binge sessions? You might consider finding a way to make technology take more of a backseat in your home, particularly if you work at a job where you’re in front of a computer all day (or if you have a bad habit of comparison-surfing on social media on your breaks).

Consider doing a home tech assessment to see where you can purge, where you can declutter and how you can help the technology in your home make your life better, rather than more distracted or stressful. Consider the ideas below if you think your home tech setups could use a makeover (or make-under).

Let go of or disguise your television

If you feel like you watch too much television (that novel’s not going to write itself, you know), you might consider getting rid of your television set all together. Doing so will make your living room focus again on conversation, connection or creative endeavors. If you’re not ready to get rid of your television completely, consider disguising it with decor so that it doesn’t stand out so much.

Declutter your old tech

Still have a VCR in your media center just in case you want to watch that couple of tapes you’ve been toting around for years? Or that old computer you replaced long ago but haven’t gotten around to recycling? Or a drawer full of old phones? Or even just some technology you don’t use like a gifted e-reader? These things are just dust catchers now, and getting them out of your house and out of sight will not only free up more space, but also make your home just feel better.

Upgrade to sleeker, smaller and wireless

Can that clunky stereo system you’ve had since college be upgraded to a newer, smaller, wireless speaker system? Do you have the budget to upgrade to a screen and projection system for movie nights so you can roll the screen up and out of the way when you’re done? If you’re not a big tech person, you might have old technology that’s clunkier than it has to be. Grab a tech-loving friend to help you upgrade the technology you do need and use so the stuff you have in your home is as streamlined and useful as possible.

Handle the wires

Because not everything in the world is powered wirelessly, chances are you have wires somewhere in your home, even after a good tech purge. Put the work in to organizing them and your home will look and function better.

Go for furniture that doesn’t scream “entertainment center”

Remember that time a couple a decades ago when furniture was made to show off and display your technology, and words like “entertainment center” and “media center” became things you actually wanted in your home? No more, please. Invest in high-quality furniture made for tech that hides seamlessly behind doors and drawers or DIY existing furniture to house the tech you need without screaming “this is where I keep my Roku!”

Tuck away daily technology

From the cell phone, to the cell phone charger, to the iPad to your laptop — these are all pieces of technology we need that can (and usually do) bring joy and helpfulness to our lives. But that doesn’t mean they need to be laying around visible all the time. Carve out or create spots that they “live” in that are tucked away out of sight so when you’re finished with them you can really set them down, hide them away and focus on other activities.

Source: apartmenttherapy.com

What To Do With That Small, Awkward Gap Behind the Sofa

If you float your living room furniture (and you should consider it) then you might have one of those pesky spots that’s not quite big enough for traditional furniture, but it’s too big to completely ignore. What to do, what to do? Sometimes it’s 12 inches, and sometimes a few feet. Either way, it’s an opportunity.

There’s usually always enough room for a leaning mirror against the wall. If it’s large enough, like this one in Roger and Chris’ home, you’ll get the illusion of furniture with its reflection of whatever is across the room. (Lead photo above)

A bookcase behind the sofa is a great way to add a little texture — and a little storage — to your living room. (Naturally, things you don’t use as much go directly behind the couch.)

Rohde had just enough space behind his living room sofa for a slim desk that fit his laptop. Instant office.

These art ledges, filled with frames, disappear behind the pink sofa and go down to the floor, as captured by Annika von Holdt. The wall is a huge statement.

A narrow console table is a great opportunity for displaying vignettes, or a pretty pair of lamps. Steve and Stacy used theirs for bookshelves and other accessories.

This floating shelf behind Nina’s sofa is wide enough for some plants. Since it’s also the same color as the walls, it’s not hugely visible as well.

I’m intrigued by the narrow ledge behind the sofa in this Paris apartment, designed by Sarah Lavoine. Is it functional storage, or just a built-in feature? I can imagine a similar IKEA hack happening.

Source: apartmenttherapy.com

Last-Second Pumpkin DIY that is Scary Good

diypumpkinapt342I won’t lie, it’s been quite a while since Halloween has been top of mind. It’s just never been one of my favorite holidays.  But now that Carter’s first Halloween is around the corner, I’m feeling compelled to get in the spirit – quickly!

But I definitely want to stay true to my aesthetic so the standard jack-o-lantern just won’t do the trick. This no-carve pumpkin DIY, on the other hand, is super chic. And since it takes less than five minutes to make, it fits perfectly into my overly-packed schedule.

diypumpkinapt34

Around here, no orange gourds will do. They just don’t mesh with my color palette people! With this look it’s all about the muted hues: white, gray and various shades of pale green. The funkier the better.

Then all you need is a box of crayons, a hair dryer and five minutes to complete the look! Now that I can handle.

no-carve-pumpkin-decorating

The final result is a little bit spooky, a little bit artistic and a lot cool. This is taking modern pumpkins to a whole other level don’t you think?

Are you the Halloween loving type? Whether you’ve already had your costume figured out for months or you’re scrambling for inspiration {like me}, I know you’ll appreciate this tabletop, this drink, these costumes for the adults and these costumes for the littles.

Happy haunting friends!

Source: apartment34.com

 

5 Tips for Haute Halloween Decor

Halloween is almost here, and before you know it, trick-or-treaters will be ringing your doorbell. Decorating your house for the season should be easy, fun, and bring just the right amount of spookiness.

Follow these simple tips to bring hauntingly elegant Halloween flair to any area of your home.

1. Drape spooky fabric as a base

Whether you’re decorating a buffet, side table, or even front door, fabric is a great base layer. Stretch cheesecloth to mimic cobwebs, then drape it haphazardly to create a little Halloween drama.

Image 1

2. Place black branches for accents

A great way to hint at the Halloween season without going too cheesy is to use bare black branches. You can cut some from your yard, strip the leaves off if they haven’t fallen yet, and give them a quick coat of black spray paint.

If DIY isn’t for you, many stores have caught onto this trend, and you’ll find a variety of black branch wreaths and even candle holders.

Image 73. Light some black candles

Few things say magic like flickering candles. To really play up the season, trade in your traditional white tapers for black. Nothing is more stylishly spooky than black candles in a black candle holder.

For added effect, place the candle holder and lit candles in front of a mirror. The reflection gives off a truly eerie glow.

4. Plant black and white pumpkins

Trade the usual orange pumpkins in for some black and white. The white ones are available any local farmer’s market. For the black, head to your local craft store. They have these faux black pumpkins in a variety of sizes this time of year.

Image 5 5. Sprinkle in a few seasonal symbols

Don’t go overboard with the spiders and bats, but a few of these Halloween symbols spread throughout your vignette can add just the right finishing touch. For example, a raven is the perfect creepy character to tuck into your scene.

Another nice touch is a candy bowl with some real seasonal personality. The stores are crawling with spider- and claw-adorned serving bowls. Just stick to the black and white palette, and it won’t compete with your other decor.

Image 6Whether you’re decorating for a party or just making your home festive for youzillor family, these tips will turn your Halloween house into the hit of the block.

Source: zillow.com ~ By: 

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break

We all have bad habits. Some of us stay up a bit too late each night. Others work too much or snack when they aren’t hungry (guilty!). Some bad habits are small and relatively harmless, while others can affect your health or well-being a great deal. But some of the worst bad habits don’t necessarily have to do with health– they have to do with finances.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break

Think about the way you spend money. Do you follow your budget perfectly, spending only as much as you make and saving an ideal amount each month? If so, you’re a financial wizard and don’t need to read any further.

If not, you– like most of the rest of us– have at least one bad financial habit that could be broken. Here are some of the most common budget-busting bad habits you should try to break as soon as possible:

Dipping Into Savings

Living paycheck to paycheck is no easy feat. It takes a serious commitment to create a budget and stick to it– something not everyone is great at. Some people find the lifestyle easier than others, but inevitably, no matter how good you are at it, you’ll need to dip into your savings at one point or another.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Dipping into Savings

You have money saved up for a reason, so if you’re withdrawing from savings for an emergency purchase or an unexpected necessity, that’s one thing. But if you’re taking money out of savings because you ran out of money and there are still a couple of days until your next paycheck, that’s different. The worst part about this practice? It’s one of the hardest bad habits to break once you start. Do your best to stick to your budget and avoid that slippery slope altogether.

Embracing Credit a Little Too Much …

Similarly, many people lean on their credit cards when they’re earning a starting salary. While credit cards are useful tools, maxing them out is a financial burden you want to avoid as much as possible. And the more you spend on your credit card, the longer it will take you to pay off the balance, which means you’re basically throwing money away for the interest you’re being charged.

 

If you know you’re likely to get into bad credit habits, force yourself to spend only as much as you can pay back right away– that way, you’ll avoid debt.

… And Paying the Minimum

Don’t forget that if you do have more on your credit card than you can pay back immediately, it’s a bad idea to pay only the minimum required each month. As bad habits go, this one is costly.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - And Paying the Minimum

Think of it this way: If you pay twice the minimum payment each month, you’ll pay a fraction of the interest you would have. That could mean saving hundreds!

Failing to Account for Smaller Purchases

Are you a coffee-shop-before-work-every-day kind of person? Or someone who would rather buy lunch than bring it from home? While these things may be delicious and convenient, they’re certainly bad habits that could be costing a lot of money.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Failing to Account for Smaller Purchases

Even if you buy a simple black coffee every morning for a year, that’s a good $500 or $600 down the drain– a more complicated drink makes that total skyrocket. Though the purchases may seem small at the time, make sure you’re keeping track of every last penny spent. And if you need to, cut down on those small expenses.

Grocery Shopping Without a Plan

Buying groceries rather than eating out for every meal is a great way to spend money. However, grocery shopping can be a source of money-related bad habits. For one thing, many people spend more than they budget on impulse buys (like those frozen taquitos that are on sale). Avoid this by making a list before heading to the store and buying only what’s on it.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Grocery Shopping Without a Plan

Another common grocery shopping issue? Buying food you won’t eat before its expiration date. If you notice yourself throwing away food from your fridge regularly, you may need to start planning your meals and grocery shopping a little better.

Emotional Buying

When I have a bad day, nothing makes me feel better than a quick shopping trip or drowning my sorrows in Thai food (crab rangoons are my Achilles’ heel). But as good as emotional purchasing may feel, it’s hard on your bank account.

Budget-Busting Bad Habits You Need to Break - Emotional Buying

Limit these expenditures when possible, or work them into your budget if you know you’re in for a stressful week or month.

Paying Bills Manually

Believe it or not, if you’re still paying your bills yourself each month, you may be costing yourself some money. Between rent, electricity, cable, Internet, gas, and everything else, keeping track of bills can be tough– and not keeping track carefully enough can lead to expensive late charges.

Automate as much as you can. You’ll avoid late fees, but you’ll also find you’re less stressed about bills each month.

Source: apartmentguide.com ~ by

 

Five Perks of Solo Renting

power-napWhile it can certainly be fun, living with roommates may also be chaotic at times. Figuring out how to share utility bills, the bathroom, chores — and even your Wi-Fi connection — isn’t always easy.

If you’re wondering whether you’re ready to live on your own, check out these five perks of solo renting.

1. You have control over your bills

No more fighting over the thermostat, who’s hogging the internet, or shower time limits. Keep the temperature set at your ideal 67 degrees while streaming your favorite show sans-buffering, and take all the bubble baths you want.

When you live alone, you have (almost) complete control over what you see on your billing statements at the end of the month.

2. Those passive aggressive days are over

That note on your fridge telling you to keep your music down? Gone.

And you know those dishes that pile up in the sink while everyone waits for that one roommate to get the hint and finally wash her own pots and pans? You can kiss those days goodbye.

Blast that new Taylor Swift tune, and keep your dishes in the sink as long as you’d like.

3. Your home, your style

Trying to mesh a number of decorating styles into one home can be tough. Sure, it’s normal to deal with the plaid couch from your uncle, a roommate’s grandmother’s vintage gold lamps, another roommate’s sister’s animal-print rug, and the floral wallpaper you got stuck with.

But once you rent alone, you get to choose your own place and plan the decor your way. Your landlord may even let you paint.

4. Give your creativity and productivity a boost

Being alone actually helps enhance your creativity and increases productivity, which makes sense as you no longer have roommates dragging you away from your computer for movie night in the living room.

5. It’s a chance to get serious about budgeting

You may pay more in rent, but there are ways to keep costs low. Try negotiating a lower monthly rent with your potential landlord, and look for a place with extras included, such as an on-site gym, a covered parking spot, and cable or Internet.

Not paying extra for these perks will make a difference to your monthly budget.

Making the leap

If those five reasons aren’t enough to convince you to strike out on your own, science has some compelling evidence as to why living alone may be a wise move.

Research shows “living alone seems to encourage more, not less, social interaction,” according to Eric Klinenberg, author of “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.”

Fortunately, when you’re ready to make the leap to living solo, finding a place is easier than you may think. You won’t have to worry about getting your roommates’ opinions before putting down the deposit. If you want it, go for it.

From how to break your existing lease to what you need to know about rental pricing and your rights as a renter, the Zillow Renter’s Guide will get you on your way to a home you can call your own.

Source: zillow.com ~ By 

How to Walk a Dog in Your Community

How-To-Walk-A-Dog

Dogs are some of the most loyal and affectionate pets, so it’s no wonder why so many people want to own one. But when it comes to bringing a dog into an apartment building, there are a lot of factors you have to think about. Does your building or landlord have a strict pet policy? Will a dog feel cramped in your shoebox apartment?

 

Even things that should be simple, like going on a daily walk, can become complicated in an apartment environment. With that in mind, if you’re considering adopting a pup (or you and Fido already live together), here’s how to walk a dog in your apartment community:

Find a Dog-Friendly Apartment

It should go without saying, but one of the most important factors of taking Fido on walks in your apartment community is finding one that allows dogs in the first place– you don’t want to sneak around every time you need to take him out for some fresh air.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Find a Dog Friendly Apartment

Better yet, look for a building that’s actively pet friendly if you can, like a place with a doggie recreation area or treats at the front desk.

Take Advantage of Nearby Green Spaces

When considering how to walk a dog in an apartment community, one of the main concerns is that running into other residents and potentially their dogs could cause some problems. So, look for other spots in your neighborhood where you and Fido can go to let off some steam and have a little more personal space.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Take Advantage of Nearby Green Spaces

Take your pooch to nearby parks, trails, and other green areas to get in some exercise. You may also want to find a dog park where you can let Fido have some off-leash time– taking him there and letting him get a lot of energy out will make him healthier and happier.

Keep Him on a Short Leash

Whenever you’re in your apartment building or community, practice the short-leash rule.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Keep Him on a Short Leash

This will help you maintain control of him if he spots a dog he doesn’t particularly likeor you run into another tenant of the building who doesn’t like him.

Be Courteous With Other Residents

If a lot of your neighbors have dogs, it’s a good idea to keep track of their dog-walking schedules so you can avoid having aggressive or distressing run-ins with them– especially if the two pups don’t get along.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Be Courteous with Other Residents

Also, be courteous when deciding when you and Fido are going to take a walk. Early-morning or late-night neighborhood strolls may make sense for your schedule, but if you or your dog cause a lot of noise, you may disturb other people in your building.

Stay Alert

Whether your apartment community has a dog recreation area or you simply have to take Fido through the building to get outside, make sure you stay alert at all times while inside.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Stay Alert

Hallways, elevators, and stairways are all very close quarters, which means you and other pet-owners may have a hard time passing by one another without the chance of a fight breaking out between your dogs. Most importantly, it’s crucial to know your dog, recognize signs that he’s feeling scared or aggressive, and act accordingly.

Be Poo-lite

No matter where you are, pick up your pup’s poop. Period. End of story.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Be Poo-Lite

Get Him Trained

All dogs, but younger ones especially, can benefit a lot from a little bit of puppy training. Even knowing just a few commands, like “wait,” “heel,” and “leave it,” can make a huge difference in your dog’s behavior while walking through a crowded building or playing fetch in a park.

How To Walk A Dog In Your Apartment Community - Get Him Trained

Plus, if you’re planning to move again, prospective landlords will love seeing his dog-training certificate, so it’s really a win-win.

Source: apartmentguide.com ~ By: 

Apartment Living: How to Love the Apartment You’re In

Unfortunately, it’s rarely possible to find the perfect apartment. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize when apartment hunting based on what’s most important to you. Usually that just means sacrificing a bit of storage space for an apartment that’s closer to public transit or something similar, but sometimes the place you find isn’t quite what you wanted in a lot of ways.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In

So what are you supposed to do when you’re apartment living situation is one that you aren’t crazy about? It’s vital to create a space you’ll feel happy and comfortable in for the duration of your lease, but that’s actually easier than you may think. Here’s how to work with what you have and create an apartment you love:

Find Your Ideal Setup

Believe it or not, your furniture arrangements may make a huge difference when it comes to how you feel about your apartment. Even if you don’t subscribe to Feng Shui, there’s something to be said for using furniture to create a certain flow within a space.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In- Find Your Ideal Setup

A couple of tips: One, don’t fill your place with too much furniture – it can start to feel cramped and uncomfortable. Two, don’t commit to one setup right away. Try different arrangements every few days until you land on one that just feels right.

Add Lighting

Lighting, and especially natural lighting, is a great way to perk up any apartment. My apartment is adjacent to an alley, which unfortunately means most of the sunlight is blocked by the building next to me.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Add Lighting

If, like mine, your apartment is woefully lacking in illumination, supplement with extra floor lamps and use full-spectrum lightbulbs that imitate sunlight. You can also hang mirrors strategically to reflect light and brighten the apartment.

Work With the Walls

If your landlord allows it, and you have written permission, consider painting your walls. A few pops of color on an accent wall or two can add some zest to otherwise boring white walls.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Work With the Walls

Bright colors, like yellow and pink, are joyful and energizing, whereas greens, blues, and browns offer a more calming effect.

Make Your Bedroom a Haven

Whether you’re in a studio or have a separate bedroom, the area where your bed is should be as comfortable and serene as possible. In fact, ensuring the bed itself is just the way you like it can help you feel better about your whole apartment.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Make Your Bedroom a Haven

Use plush sheets, blankets and pillows to create a haven you can retreat to.

Get Rid of Clutter

Clutter is a lot more psychologically stressful than you might think, which means keeping your apartment tidy may help you enjoy spending time in it. If you’re feeling like any room in your apartment is too cluttered, whether with furniture, tchotchkes, or anything else, make yourself get rid of five to 10 items.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Get Rid of Clutter

Choose furniture pieces or other things you aren’t as crazy about or that you never use – you’ll start feeling better in no time.

Make it Pretty

Spend the first couple of weeks (or months, if you’re a procrastinator like me) after moving into your apartment making each room pretty.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Make it Pretty

Add wall hangings, framed pictures, and anything else that makes you feel good. Real or fake, flowers in a vase are a charming touch that can make for a happier apartment.

Splurge on a Statement Piece

If you’re in the market for a few furniture basics, you may want to consider springing for one that you absolutely love.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Splurge on a Statement Piece

Whether it’s a large antique armoire or a beautiful couch, this sort of splurge will make you enjoy your apartment more. Just make sure the money you’re spending is an investment on a piece you’ll be able to bring with you as you move in the future.

Entertain

Want a super easy way to love where you live? Just invite some friends over! Almost anything is better with the addition of a few great memories, so have your girl or guy friends over to watch your favorite show or invite a bunch of people over for a party.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Entertain

It’ll instantly liven your space up and make it feel homey– and compliments from everyone on your great taste in decor can’t hurt either.

Keep Comforts Around

To make your apartment feel like home, surround yourself with your favorite and most sentimental belongings.

Apartment Living How to Love the Apartment You're In - Keep Comforts Around

This could mean displaying photographs on your dresser, stacking a few of your favorite books on your nightstand, or keeping a secret stash of chocolate in your freezer. Having comforting items around is a bit like hanging onto an old security blanket (in the best possible way).

Take Your Time

If you aren’t in love with your apartment right away, keep in mind that it may take a little bit of time to settle in.

Make changes, add decor, and rearrange things every so often until you figure out the best way to use the space you have. Give it enough time, and you may find you’re pretty darn fond of where you live.

Source: apartmentguide.com – By Lindsey Smith

Reinventing What You Have

When you read shelter mags and design blogs and browse Pinterest, it’s easy to want to replace everything and redecorate your home with new things, but a fresh look is often just a matter of reinventing what you already have. A good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint time and again has come to my rescue as one of the most budget friendly makeover tools. There’s a satisfaction that comes looking at a piece with new eyes and reinventing it rather than tossing it out.

I was asked by Annie Sloan to share their current #MadeItMyOwn contest and giveaway now through September 30th. I’ve worked with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan for years and have a stash of several quarts in my paint cupboard, it’s one of my favorite paints for furniture.

annie sloan chalk paint

 

I call it the lazy gal (or guy’s) paint since it’s so easy to grab and start painting in place, just lay down a tarp, pop open the can and go to work. No priming (yay!) and no odor so it’s easy to work with indoors.

paint in place 2

I spent last Saturday painting a few pieces, two for myself one for my MIL. I’ve had a plain dresser in my entry for years, I found it at a thrift store, stripped and stained it many moons ago. I like it because it fills the narrow space and stores office and school supplies. The dark wood works for our traditional entry but it was feeling very blah to me all one shade of brown and with very plain knobs.

I gave the drawers two coats of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan in Old White then substituted the old knobs with inexpensive geode knobs at World Market. I also changed the silver finish on the mirror to gold with the help of paint and gold leaf found at a craft store.

This old end table was given to me by a friend, it sat in his garage and he was getting rid of it, but I loved the classic lines, the leg detail, and the fact it was finished on all four sides. Sadly the top was in very bad shape.

end table before

I needed a new end table for our family room when our new sectional sofa arrives in two weeks, this one is the perfect shape and with a drawer it will hold remotes. I sanded it and gave it two coats of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan again in Old White then painted its toes with gold leaf paint.

painted end table gold knobs

You can’t go wrong with a white + gold combination, it’s always chic! I also found these faceted gold knobs at World Market for $4 each.

gold faceted knobs

 

I think anything looks great with a coat of white paint but there are dozens of other colors to play with. Find your local stockist here.

annie sloan chalk paint colors

Of course you can mix the paints to create your own custom color which is what I did.

mixing paint

My mother in law had an old cabinet where she stores her candles in a corner of her office, she wanted to paint it something vivid and fun so I suggested jade green.

cabinet

I mixed three parts Florence with two parts Olive to create the color.

jade green chalk paint cabinet

I mildly distressed the cabinet by sanding away some of the paint on the edges to reveal the wood underneath. All three pieces were given a coat of Clear Wax to protect the paint, this piece is headed back to my MIL’s house on her next visit.

distressed edges

clear wax

 

More Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan projects from the archives!

apothecary

blue 3

x console

Apothecary Chest in French Linen

Dresser in Napoleonic Blue

Thrift Store Cabinet in Pure White

Source: sensationalgirl.com