2014: A Year in Review

Can you believe it’s 2015?! Last year just FLEW by, but when I go back and review all the posts from 2014, it really is amazing how much happened. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around and continue to offer your advice and words of encouragement – I love you all!

I’ll create a to-do list for 2015 tomorrow, but first let’s take a look back of some of the best posts of 2014:

DSC00473Most popular post: A step-by-step look at how to turn an IKEA Ribba frame into a bar tray garnered the most clicks this year – and it was even picked up by IKEA Hackers!

Most commented on post: Remember when y’all helped me pick out a new living room rug? Great job, by the way.

DSC01014Best before/after: I’m so happy I finally bit the bullet and gave my living room a navy accent wall like the ones I’d been admiring on Pinterest forever. Will I regret it when I move out and have to paint it back white? Only time will tell…

Still on my wish list: This may just be the year that I tackle my first upholstery project, so I better pick up “Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design” to prepare.

11Best trip: Sometimes the best trips are the ones that are last minute and random and cheap – that happened to be Kansas City for me this year.

Best purchase: I know this is a home design blog, but this Kipling tote has been a godsend this past year. The blogging fashionistas of the world certainly don’t have anything to worry about, but I know a good bag when I see one.

friendsgivingBest party: I finally pulled off a Friendsgiving this year! The place looked great, and I hope it’ll mark the begin of many dinner parties to come. I love hosting.

Greatest accomplishment: I trained and ran a friggin’ marathon. 26.2 miles. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever say that. Hell, I could barely run the 5 miles during soccer two-a-days in high school! It felt amazing.

DSC00683Best recipe: I just made this Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix for a New Year’s Eve party… so, so good – and ridiculously easy!


I Want That Wednesday: Blue (Not Suede) Shoes

I feel like poor navy is underestimated in the home and fashion worlds. I’ve always been a big fan! I mean, what’s not to like? It’s like jeans—it can pair with everything! I recently made my love somewhat permanent, not by getting a heart tattoo with Navy in the middle (though I’d consider it), but by painting a wall in my living room Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. I sometimes just stare in awe. #navycrush

But it seems navy’s momentum has been picking up over the past year or so, and I’m happy it’s finally getting some time in the spotlight. Who knows how long it’ll stay “on trend” though, so I might as well snatch up all the navy I can…

My latest crush? Navy booties. I know we haven’t really had a summer here in Chicago, but I’m still looking forward to fall anyway—and sporting a pair of these would only make it all the better. Here are my favs in the blue hue:


1. Merona Jill, $35, Target
2. Romy, $90, Sole Society
3. Kork-Ease Natalya, $189, Nordstrom
4. Eric Michael London, $175, Zappos

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.

You Pick: Living Room Rug

I’m having a really hard time deciding on a vision for the living room. I’ve never had such a bold wall to contend with! I’m certainly not regretting the paint job, but I feel like a need a colorful rug to bring some fun—and femininity—to the room. It’s a bit Don Draper right now. (Speaking of, anyone watching the current season? Snoozefest!)

A rug is a real commitment since it’s generally a pricey piece, but I think it’ll really set the tone for the room. I’d hate to make the wrong choice, so I’m enlisting your help!

For a refresher, here’s the living room:

The living room and dining room feed right into each other, so I’d like there to be some cohesion, but it doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. Here’s the dining room:

Originally, I wanted to go with a cream shag or flokati rug, but this is a high traffic area, and honestly I don’t think it’d stand a chance. The cat’s always in there. We eat in front of the TV all the time (though I’d really like to break this habit). This is where people hangout when they come over. I’d give it six months tops. Same goes with one of those super popular Beni Ourain-style rugs. Plus, I think I might fall out of love with it after awhile.

I want something fun but somewhat timeless (I hope to still like it in five years). Something bright since there’s already so much dark. Something with a hint of elegance but nothing traditional. And hopefully something that won’t break the bank but is quality (no Dhurries, please!). Is all that possible?

I’ve cobbled together some ideas. Which rug do you like? Or do you have a suggestion? Please, I’m all ears!

rugs1. Martha Stewart Chevron Leaves | 2. Surya Frontier 918 | 3. Safavieh Cambridge | 4. West Elm Ikat Links | 5. Savanna Ikat VE01 | 6. Savanna Ikat VE03 |
7. Surya Scion | 8. Martha Stewart Poppy Field

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!


Obsession: Navy Accent Wall

I think navy blue may very well be my favorite color. It’s so versatile! It’s a neutral, but it can also make a statement. It’s a little bit nautical. It’s masculine—but looks fabulous with hot pink. There’s just so many good things about navy. That’s why I cannot get enough of the navy walls I’m seeing all over Pinterest.

8806065db092e9a3995265ff736bf24fThe obsession may have very well started with this picture. It’s an oldie (old in Pinterest terms, meaning I first saw it two years ago or so), but it still may be my very favorite interior. Dark navy walls, cognac-colored director’s chairs, Saarinen table, hints of pink, that floor! To me, it’s perfection.

But navy seems to work well in any room—living room, bedroom, dining room, office, kitchen. Bathrooms might be hard unless it’s a very large space (and if that’s you, send me a pic… but I may not react kindly because I’m super jealous! :P).

(Images: Chicago Home & Garden via Full House, Good Housekeeping, Sara Tuttle InteriorsWiener Wohnsinn, The Home Journal, The Effortless Chic)