Aside

The Fashion Challenge Returns!

I know fashion advice isn’t what you normally visit Urban Nesting for, but hear me out. Last year, I did a Fashion-A-Day Challenge and even had the guts to post a selfie of my outfit everyday… I admit that was a little overkill. So I won’t be posting a pic every day, but I will challenge myself again: Every day in the month of May I’ll dress in something I’m proud of. I do have a sense of style (I swear!), but so many days I just wake up and throw something on. There’s a much better outfit lurking in that closet; I’m just too lazy to fit all the pieces together. I know I look like a schlub most days, and I’m honestly ashamed. I can do better!

I encourage you all to join the challenge too. It’s only one month. How hard can it be?

You do not have to buy new clothes by any means. The challenge provides an opportunity for you to “shop” your own closet, discover items you may have forgotten about or didn’t realize go together, and weed out stuff to donate, throw away, swap with friends, etc.

I already have one item on my challenge to-do list: Take a pair of jeans that I’ve literally had for years to get hemmed. I only wear heels about twice a year. What’s the point of having a pair of extra-long jeans at that rate? (You know what I’m talking about, ladies.)

There really isn’t much of a time commitment to the challenge. I’m not one to pick out my outfit each night before work, but during last year’s challenge, I did force myself to try to get a few key things out for the week each Sunday. I’m sure you’ll find a system that works for you (and when you do, let me know—I may want to steal it!). This would also be a good time to do the backwards hanger trick.

OK, are we ready? Get set… go!

Before and After: Living Room

I didn’t want to show off the living room until it’s in a more complete state, but the people have spoken… and they want to see pictures ASAP. So here’s what it looked like before I moved in:

livingroomOrange. Woof.

My original plan was to paint the entire living room Whispering Spring (which is now in the dining room). But since it’s such a large room with a nice high ceiling, I decided to go with something more dramatic and on just one wall (well, a wall and the tiny sliver of wall that separates the two rooms).

I landed on Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. (Again, for those of you interested, I used the Ben series with an Eggshell finish, and it was about $40/gallon in Chicago.)

Hale NavySo before last weekend, this is what the living room looked like:

IMG_0908And for a little while it looked like this…

But now we’re here!DSC00753I am in LOVE with the color! (The landlords probably aren’t as thrilled…) It only took two coats to cover the white. I am definitely on board with buying more expensive, higher quality paint—in this case, you get what you pay for.

DSC00755I like the pink rug with the charcoal couch (it reminds me of this), but it doesn’t really fit with my vision for the living/dining space. Plus, it really clashes with my red Coca-Cola cooler that looks so fab against the navy. So I’m thinking about going for something lighter since the wall, couch and TV console are all dark colors. Those of you with experience: Is having a white or cream shag or flokati rug a terrible idea?

DSC00754Other things on the wish list: curtains, colorful throw pillows, wall art, new tray for the coffee table (that oval shape is just not working for me—perhaps a DIY RIBBA one?).

DSC00757Stay tuned and you can help me decide what’s next for the space. Leave me a comment if you have suggestions!

Foodie Friday: Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix

My favorite recipes are not recipes at all, but snacks and meals that are easily customizable and don’t involve much measuring (probably why my baking is so hit or miss…). This is definitely one of those recipes.

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Prepare to eat an entire bag of this stuff on your own, it’s that addictive. Plus, it only takes about five minutes to make, which is very dangerous.

Basically, you warm up some oil and mix it with ranch dip seasoning, cheese, popcorn and pretzels—and that’s it! It’s amazing warm, but it’s still tasty even the next day.

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It’d make a great snack to take to the beach or on a road trip. I’m going to make some to take to a Derby party next weekend. It’s so ridiculously easy to make, but it’s much more personal than just a store-bought bag of Chex Mix or chips and dip.

DSC00680Ingredients:

2/3 cup oil (canola, veggie, olive)
1 packet of ranch dip seasoning mix
about 4 cups popcorn, popped (I used Skinny Pop)
about 3 1/2 cups pretzels (waffle-style really traps the flavoring!)
1/2 to 1 cup nuts of your choice
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

(Now keep in mind these are all approximate measurements, and you’re welcome to swap in, say, Goldfish crackers or Chex cereal—whatever you have on hand!)

Visit Averie Cooks for the full instructions and some helpful hints!

I Want That Wednesday: Snoogs & Wilde Prints

Yesterday I alluded to the fact that the newly painted living room isn’t really ready to be shown off yet, and part of that battle is replacing artwork. (I moved two large paintings that were originally in the living room to the dining room, so it’s pretty bare.)

I’ve start looking around on Etsy a bit, and I’m loving the watercolor art from Snoogs & Wilde:

44e514f8f362a4485e8aea99f74c7371With the new dark accent wall and my mostly mid-century furniture, I don’t want the room to feel too masculine (hello, Don Draper), so I appreciate prints that add softness without screaming Girl Power! The colors are beautiful.

And affordable is always good. Each of these prints are between $24 and $38. What’s your favorite source for art on a budget? Send me your suggestions!

il_570xN.560170194_eut0(Images: Etsy)

Disclaimer: “I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. The products featured are never sponsored; they’re simply items I’ve come across that I’m crushing on and that I thought you might enjoy as well. Let me know if you love it/ hate it/ can’t get enough of it.

Before and After: Dining Room

I’d just like to start this post off with a friendly reminder of what the dining room looked like before I moved in…

diningroomGah, the horror! Who on Earth thought that was a good idea?! Sorry, I should have warned you like they do before they show something disturbing on the news. Luckily, the management company painted it white—though it was a terrible, cheap, chalky white, which was definitely one of the reasons I was eager to change it.

I started gathering inspiration and tested a few sample colors and landed on Benjamin Moore’s Whispering Spring. (For those of you interested, I used the Ben series with an Eggshell finish, and it was about $40/gallon in Chicago.)

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 6.23.42 PMWell, actually, I thought I was putting Whispering Spring in the living room, but then I decided to paint the dining room too. (Living room reveal coming soon!) So before this weekend, my dining room looked like this:

IMG_1652Certainly an improvement over the Flubber green, but nothing great. And now…

DSC00741Ta-da! I love it! It’s subtle and fresh and a little bit preppy. I really like the way the walls match—but don’t match—the inside of the pendant light.

DSC00734I figured I might as well wipe down the blinds and polish the floors since the room was nearly empty, but damn, it’s amazing how long it takes to get a room put back together after painting when you factor in deep cleaning. Oh well, it desperately needed it, and in my mind, it adds to the delightful new color!

There’s still a ton to do, like hang artwork (no, that taped-up newspaper isn’t staying), re-stain the table (don’t even ask how that happened…) and buy curtains, but we’d need a lot longer than a three-day weekend to get all that accomplished. Stay tuned for more updates!

Foodie Friday: Peeps Doughnuts

Wishing everyone a Happy—and Peeps-filled—Easter! We’re getting ready to start painting, but I just wanted to share this fun Easter doughnut recipe with you while I have a second.

DSC00650I’m sure you’ve seen the adorable Peep doughnuts on Pinterest by now. We tried them out last weekend and… let’s just say they’re Urban Nesting-approved! They’re fairly quick and easy to pull together (it is helpful to have a second set of hands if possible), and they’d make such a fun addition to an Easter brunch spread.

My mom and I were particularly excited because this recipe can easily be tweaked for other seasons—well, all seasons that Peeps are made. You could do chocolate frosting with ghost Peeps around Halloween, white frosting with Christmas tree Peeps for Christmas… so on and so forth.

These doughnuts are delicious, but beware the sugar rush if you eat more than one! (Or give them to children…)

DSC00663Click here for the Peeps Easter Doughnuts recipe from Spoonful.

Weekend Sneak Peek: Moore To Come

I honestly think I’m going to have a hard time sleeping tonight. It’s not that I’m excited about Good Friday or the Easter Bunny’s visit (though that candy aisle at Target was harrrrd to walk past today)…

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Me and BM are about to become good pals.

No, I’m finally taking the leap and painting! The original plan was to paint the living room, but now I’ve decided to paint the dining room and one wall in the living room. The landlord’s approved, the paint’s been bought, the holes have been patched and the ladder is on it’s way (thanks, dad!). There’s no turning back now…

Ah, naked walls!

Ah, naked walls!

Curious what colors I went with? Well, the dining room is going to be one of the colors I tested a couple weeks ago, and the living room will very soon have a dark accent wall. That’s all you can know for now : )

There’s so much to do, but hopefully I’ll have a great Before and After to show you early next week. Wish me luck! xoxo