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Henry David Thoreau once said, “All good things are wild and free” and though he wasn’t talking about Girls’ Night, it’s the quote that inspired this Girls’ Night. And in this case the free refers to being a free spirit. When I saw the Limited Edition Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips found exclusively at Walmart in Cheetah and Zebra, I knew they were perfect. So I got my girls together and we laughed, we crafted, and nose stripped. Add in some delicious drinks, hair masks, mani-pedis, and it was a great time. How much fun are these animal prints on the Bioré Strips? They totally went with our theme and as someone who believes that cheetah/leopard is neutral, I will be putting them to good use in weeks to come (plus over time, they reduce the appearance of pores!). Plus they remove the dirt and oil in the deepest recesses of your skin in a wildly good way.
Just remember you can only find these limited edition ones at Walmart.
For our craft, we made some wild jars to hold toiletries like cotton balls or even Bioré Strips. I had puff paints, ribbon, washi tape, and most importantly mason jars. One friend used puff paint to make a zebra mason jar:I used the ribbon to create a pretty bow: I cut the ribbon to size and used hot glue to adhere it around the rim of the mason jar. For the bow, I folded the ribbon to size and then wrapped another section around the middle. They turned out great and were so fun. Mason jars are a great way to organize stuff in the bathroom anyway, so we just jazzed them up a bit. It was an easy craft so we could talk as we did it which made it perfect for a girls’ spa night.For the spa part of the evening, we washed our faces and after patting them dry left our noses damp to apply the Bioré strips. As you can see from my selfie, I chose cheetah and added a hair mask while the strip dried for ten minutes. And the fact that these babies can remove a week’s worth of dirt and grime in ten minutes is crazy in a wild way.Add in a mani-pedi (I went with teal and I tried to convince a friend to let me give her zebra stripes but she told me she only wanted animal print on her nose strips…which seems fair) and it was a perfect night of pampering, laughter, and crafting. And by perfect I mean, wild and free. And by free I mean, not monetarily free–more like a night for free spirits–but also within my budget. Haha!
Every time I feel as if the chaos from moving is abating, I am wrong. So I am not even going to say something like, “Things are settling down here” because who really knows at this point. What I do know is that I have lived in various studio apartments for the last four years so having a bedroom with a door is both great and a bit disconcerting (but mostly great).
I’m going to be real with you: in putting together this space, I wanted to spend as little money as possible. #Truth Still, everything wasn’t completely salvageable from my previous place. Because of aches and pains and health issues and sleep issues, my bedroom has to be my cozy safe place. I knew, after a year and a half without a headboard, that I needed one for my back (also, my bed frame in the old place was broken any way). I found something simple and chic, a deep gray with brass studs and clean lines,at All Modern on Cyber Monday (it was quite the steal…plus it can adjust to a queen if I ever upgrade). I actually had to pick several because before I knew it they sold it. I was actually worried with this choice but I am in love with the deep charcacol.
Just add actually attaching the headboard to my simple metal frame to my list of things to do.
As for bed linens, this was something I had to replace whether I moved or not, for a number of reasons. I went with white again (this time from Target) and I’ll tell you more about that when it actually gets on my bed. Since I finally got my sheets today, you’ll be probably seeing everything in the near future. I loved my old rugs but the fact was they were super shaggy. I probably would not have bought them if I knew exactly how shaggy they were. Have you ever tried to vacuum shag? Yeah, you can’t. Besides that, the space needed a bigger rug anyway. While the latter could not justify my purchase, the former definitely had to.
Can I tell you how depressing rug shopping is? Rugs are so expensive. I was looking at over-dyed Perisan rugs ala Mindy Lahiri but in blues and teals. I knew I could not afford the ones I was looking at so I figured the rug would come way further down the line.
Then my friend showed me this rug at Target and it was under $100. For a 6’7″ x 9’8″, I was in. Again, a Cyber Monday steal.
Oh, here are the shoes/booties if you like them (a lovely Christmas gift).These IKEA stackable tables are around $4.00, I believe. I bought them when I moved into my first Chicago apartment but it ended up too cramped for them. I finally put them together (with the help of my roomie) and was also informed that these are called fraternity tables. Ha!
I accessorized with things I love, that I already own. The jewelry box is from Italy and I picked it and bought it myself when I was sixteen. I didn’t get to look at it every day at the old place and now I do.
Books have to be near me. It really is like my personal feng shui. One of my friends always jokes with me because I usually keep books in bed with me…Now they are just right next to me. Books on San Francisco, a book in Italian I am picking my way through, and the prettiest collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald you ever did see. The lamp used to be on my mirrored nightstand which is on the other side of my bed. Gotta keep it practical with some hand cream in these Chicago winters and an easy grab go jewelry situation is a must.Like I said, nothing new here. I believe in actually lighting candles, especially Capri Blue Volcano candles. They aren’t for show or to save up for a special occasion. And this jewelry trinket dish has served me well for years upon years. Obviously, there needed to be an elephant here because well. Do you know me at all?
Bonus info: the walls are painted the same color as my pale flesh. The more stark white I add, the more neutral it feels and the less I think about flesh. I say this with affection because I really do love this place.Guys, for the record, the Elena Ferrante book I am reading translates to Troubling Love. Just a minor by the way in case you were worried about what I was reading.
What’s left to do, you ask? Well you may have noticed these pictures don’t give you a view of the whole room. So I am definitely not done.
Tomorrow, I will change all the bedding. The dressers are from my nursery (can you believe it??) and one of them has my TV on it (something else I’ve never had: a TV in my room) and one of them is still in transit from a family member’s home. The one in transit will serve as a vanity below a mirror that was once in my mom’s room when she was a little girl and then in mine all my life.
Moving is driving me a bit crazy, more specifically, packing. I can’t even say I have done a ton of work because I am intimidated. Instead, I am so overwhelmed I cannot tell you. Moving back from San Francisco was so insane but moving within a city is just as crazy. Basically, as one person told me in the comments: moving is awful; don’t do it. That is not an option though so this past weekend and on Cyber Monday, I dreamt a little of the new apartment bedroom inspiration.
I looked around the space I created here in this tiny studio. I’m so excited to have more space at the new place, truly. But because of my chronic pain, my bedroom will always be my oasis. It has to be. So I looked at what I already had and just dreamt a little about what I would want in my new space. I can’t spend much money and it’s definitely a use what you have situation.
I’ll be going with white bed linens and a white duvet again. I once wrote about what it means to me to have white bedding but I got over it and I love it. Although I have to say, after nearly two years, the current white duvet has to go.
On Cyber Monday, I got a deal on a duvet from Target I have been eyeing (it’s reasonable even when it is not Cyber Monday). I knew I wanted some type of ruffle or ruching. I wanted to keep it simple but white bedding shows wrinkles. This one should be great. The whole point of having white bedding is for it to be clean and crisp and so in this case the ruching keeps wrinkles from showing.
I’m keeping my beloved Belquist Throw Pillows and the Faux Fur Throw I got last Christmas. I love them.
I am also keeping my mirrored nightstand. I love the mirrored look and this was definitely a great purchase when I was in SF. I love that it is so tall with plenty of storage. I got it at a great price too.
As for the art, I have so many gallery walls currently that I want to keep it simple with black frames. I’ll buy a canvas and do the DIY abstract animal art.
I will (very securely) hang the white elephant over my bed (he is currently in my hallway). I love the white on white on white look with as many neutrals as possible.
Meanwhile, I have been dreaming of an overdyed Persian Rug. Rugs are so very expensive though! I knew it was not in my budget and that I would probably have to wait a year. And then I saw almost an exact replica on my good friend, Bex’s blog. I told her, “I have been looking at the same rug!” But it wasn’t the same rug. The one she found was on sale at Target! I’m talking less than $100 for the bigger size (with my Target debit card). I feel like it will ground the room and also be the only real and true color.
I also found a great deal on Cyber Monday for headboard. The last year and a half I’ve had a platform bed. I love the look but it’s better for my back to have a headboard so that will be added as well. It’s a very subtle gray with some grommets that attaches to a simple bed frame (which I still have to get). I could have made it. But it was under a hundred dollars…with supplies and time and everything it was worth it (remember to DIY or not to DIY?)
You can click on the picture to see any of these items (or in a few cases, similar items). Fair warning, a lot of it was on sale when I did get it, whether it was Cyber Monday or back in the day in SF. Also, it may be on further sale. Who knows?
Any of the stuff featured was my choice and I put together this based on what I wanted and I like. I am not at the point in blogging where people are sending me beds. Haha! As always though, I just want you to know that if you make a purchase, that brand pays this blog a few cents (at no cost to you) that keeps this blog running. I always give you full disclosure because I think you’d be shocked to know all the links you click on in this blogging world!
So what do you think? My only concern is that it remains simple and neutral. When I crammed everything together on Photoshop I liked it (and I still do) but it will still be interesting for it to all come together.
I grew up with a mom who taught me to write thank you notes. In fact, my packing list always includes them if I am staying with someone. I like to write it while I am there and then leave them for people to find. She also taught me about hostess gifts. Up until recently, my age exempted me from the hostess gift in most cases. My friends didn’t really have homes and I wasn’t visiting them for housewarming parties or dinner parties. But we grow up, you know?
I have six go to hostess gifts. I also use these as little gifts when the occasion falls for it. The reason there is six is because they never fail, especially for the price. (Okay, I have never given the elephant planter but I could not resist including it).
Let me give away a secret. They are all from Anthropologie. I wish Anthropologie was sponsoring this but they are not. It’s just that for my price range (the mugs start at $8,) I can get a friend something truly lovely and let’s be honest, they usually think it is more than $8 because it is from Anthro. There, now my secret is out.
When I was at the Influence Conference, I wanted to get my roommates a little something. It wasn’t a straight up hostess gift because who is the hostess of the hotel room? But it was a Hey-I’m-Glad-We’re-Rooming-Together gift, a gesture of goodwill. I gave them these Anthro mugs because I am on a budget with a capital B.
Just to give you some reference, the initial mugs are only $8 which seems pretty reasonable to me for a thoughtful gift. The city mugs–which include some of the best cities in the world: SF, Rome, NYC, Paris, London, more–are just a few dollars more. None of these mugs ever miss.
The candle below is my go-to gift for pretty much everything (there are two sizes). You may have heard me call it my Oprah gift because if I could I would buy you all one and say, “You get a candle, and you get a candle, and you get a candle!!”
The scent is divine. It is the best smell in the entire world. And the jars…When the candle is done (so sad), you simply put the galvanized container in the freezer overnight so that you can pop the little wax out easily and it’s a beautiful place to keep things. The biggest one I’ve included here (there is an even bigger one but I’ve never bought it) is the perfect amount for my aunt, who loves the candle too. I get her one every year. There is also a baby version (closer to the mugs prices) that would be a great hostess gift that comes in a variety of iridescent shades and galvanized silver (I just saw they now come in beautiful emerald and red…how perfect for the holidays!).
I don’t feel bad giving a candle (you know how a candle can be kind of impersonal) because this is the candle. Once you try it, you can never go back.
And yes, I sure did include the elephant planter. There is a giraffe and a zebra too. Why bring flowers and a bottle of wine when you could bring this with a succulent? It’s new so I can’t vouch for it the way I can for the mugs and candles but I can say: it’s an elephant planter.
Also, just want to share that Anthro is doing free shipping right now. Click below and shop those items or others.
Part of giving a great gift, in my opinion, is presentation. It’s not a matter of the look of things and wanting to be seen in a certain way. It just shows you went the extra mile and took care with those $8 mugs (also I just thought of this: what a great stocking stuffer to stick a gift card in?). I live in a studio apartment as I have mentioned 1000 times so I don’t have a wrapping paper room. Shocker, I know. I’ve found that brown kraft paper is great because you turn it into anything. I love the look of it with twine. In this case, I mimicked the initial theme of the mugs and tried to pick colors I thought or knew the girls liked. It was a blogging conference so I chose flowered paper because…my blog title.
I knew I had to include something elephant related so I cut out tiny cards in the shape of the elephant from that same paper and wrote a short note to each of them and tied it with twine to the mug handle. Then I tied everything up with twine because I like how it looks.
(I see this look at stores and it’s so expensive. Go to Amazon and I think I got the twine at Etsy. Please. It’s brown kraft paper.)
By the way, ignore the wet part of the brown paper in the photos. It was modgepodge and dried clear. Finally, I must keep it real. I ran out of the brown paper while wrapping these! So I rationed it out and gave them all an equal amount and then I told them the truth and we all laughed. See, things don’t have to be perfect. You just have to care.
I am always searching for the perfect gift for people. If I find it in June, I will buy it for Christmas. Check out my pinterest board for some really awesome DIYs and products!
So about this whole DIY thing. Let’s talk. I have always been about the DIY. Until I moved to a studio apartment in San Francisco. I was going to do a gallery wall and so I needed to go to Good Will and then the hardware store to get paint. I zig zagged around town, up and down hills (SF, remember?). By the time I got the frames and then walked to the hardware store and then home, that part of the project took 5 hours. Then I had to spray paint them on my not so sturdy fire escape. And I had an epiphany.
My dad comes from humble beginnings and has worked hard for everything he has. The fact that he has always been more willing to pay someone to be a handyman for his house or mow the lawn always befuddled me because I am so different. Now I see that he took the time and energy that those things would have taken and put it back into the business (thus it paid for itself) or with his family (we are priceless, right?).
I realized how much energy I put into the gallery wall, how much time, and how much money (with three to four types of spray paint and the frames I hit the 50 dollar mark when the whole reason I did the project was because I was unwilling to pay someone on Etsy 50 dollars for the same number of frames for a gallery wall!). I called good old Dad and said: I totally get it. Sometimes the time and cost are just not worth it.
Here is the deal. I came up with some questions I ask myself when it comes to DIY projects. When I was younger, I didn’t really have restraints. But once I was on my own in my own space, things changed.
One of my questions: is it feasible?
I see something online and I think: I can make it. Not only do I like doing it myself, I evaluate if I can do it cheaper. Like the deers with the gold antlers. I could totally make that. And I did, for a lot cheaper than the ones to buy.
Next: Is this DIY project something I “need” (while well aware these are first world problems)?
You know those sassy welcome mats? That say things like: the neighbors have better stuff or holla or whatever? They start at 50 bucks. No, I do not have 50 bucks to spend on a mat but I needed one to gently remind people to take off their shoes because I do have white carpeting in some places and also I do not want to be the hostess that says: please take off your shoes. So I made my own that cost a third of the price of the others and chose my own saying. A friend came over recently and she was impressed, saying: woah, I can’t believe that lasted through a Chicago winter. Heck yes, it did.
I want to be organized. And I want it to be pretty organization. It’s a struggle but I try. But if you let me loose in the Container Store, it’s dangerous to my wallet. So I came up with this easy DIY project for my bracelets. I also made fancy containers. Though this project is so cheap, it does take awhile to do the wrapping. Was it worth it? I’m glad I did it but I probably won’t make it again.
So there is the next thing I ask: Is it worth it? I’ve wanted a Flower Crown for forever but they are so expensive. In true Nina fashion, I thought DIY. Well, now I know why they are expensive. It isn’t a quick project.
Is it worth it? In this case, yes. Between the money I’ll save and the hope that pretty organization will make me want to stay organized, yes. I haven’t finished so I don’t have a tutorial up yet (because this post needs more links, right?)
Here lies another question I’ve alluded to: how much money am I actually saving (especially when supplies are factored in)? In this case, a lot.
So, here is the last question to consider: is it a game changer? Gel manicures were killing my nails and my wallet and in SF I was expected to have them (the west coast, guys. I love it a lot, promise). Would I prefer to be pampered? Yes. But this DIY Faux Gel Mani works.
My friend lived in a place I’ve only seen in movies (not in a good way). But she’s a total fashionista and it was more a matter of just being used to the grunge and caring what the world saw (her clothes) and not herself (like living in a space that makes her feel good). Here’s the last question: Do you like to DIY? She said she didn’t because she didn’t think she could. With my help, she was pleasantly surprised that she could do it.
But here’s the thing. I love that my Flower Crown is done but that floral tape was a real jerk to deal with. Painting (of any kind), like in my old apartment. It actually releases stress so I find it soothing. It’s good to try new things but it’s also good to know what projects you actually enjoy.