Before and After: Bathroom Revamp

I decided to tackle one more project before year’s end: a revamp of the bathroom. I mentioned back in August that I woke up one day and decided I hated everything in there. Not sure where that came from, but I definitely think I’ve made some improvements.

Here’s what it looked like before:

IMG_1392Now, this is not a dramatic reveal – there’s still a lot I’d change, but you can only take a rental bathroom so far. (For instance, I am DYING to replace that mirror/light fixture, and I’d get rid of the checkered floor too.)

Here’s where I’ve landed for now:

DSC01981While I still need a few things (top of the list: a basket of some kind to put on top of the toliet), it already feels more spa-like, and I love that. The white shower curtain allows for more light to come through, and I bought these awesome new towels – Hotel Collection from Macy’s, if anyone is curious – that have made a huge difference.

But my absolute favorite part of the “new” bathroom is my gallery wall. I took a series of photographs in college in different barbershops around Bloomington, Ind., and I’ve always wanted to display them. I finally made it happen, and I couldn’t be happier! Plus, it meant I didn’t have to buy expensive artwork and could splurge on those towels I mentioned.

Maybe I’ll paint someday; there’s no doubt it could use it. I also attempted to recaulk part of the bathtub – turns out caulking is not my foray. I still have a lot to learn… I’ll save that for 2015!

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Design Inspiration: Macy’s Wedding Display

I am not one of those people that has a secret Pinterest board of wedding ideas for a date (oh right, and fiancé) that I don’t have. Honestly, the more I hear from friends about everything that goes into planning weddings, the less excited I get about the whole thing.

But I happened to be near the wedding registry at Macy’s the other day – I was stopping in the home department to check out the exciting selection of bath mats, woohoo – and stumbled upon this cute fall wedding display:

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I have a strange attraction to warm colors used together. Like I would never think to mix pink, orange and red, but it totally works here. Plus, I’m a huge sucker for all those gold doilies…

Now how do you convince guests to only bring gifts wrapped to match the theme?

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Liebster Award: Bending the Rules

I don’t usually partake in chains (emails, themed blog posts, restaurants… just kidding on that last one!), but I’ve been so stressed with grad homework, board commitments, travel plans and the like that I’ve warmed to the idea of having prompts for a post—because god knows, I’ve been slacking on the home front. My apartment is a complete and utter disaster at the moment…

So thank you, Ali from My Closet is Full, for nominating me for a Liebster Award! (Check out her blog: She’s vowed not to buy a new item of clothing for a full year! I don’t think I could do it.) I figure this is a quick and easy way for people to get to know more about me outside of just adventures in DIY, design, cooking, etc. Below are Ali’s questions.

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Spain, 1933, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

What’s something that you are proud of accomplishing? I’m proud that I was able to power through the recession. I graduated college in May 2008, which was right when the economy started to go to shit. A lot of people I know ended up living with their parents, working in bars or going back to school simply because they didn’t know what else to do. Sure, I may have been a “professional intern” for awhile, but I had some amazing experiences. (Hello, Wrigley Field!) I wouldn’t trade those opportunities for the world.

If you travel to one place, where would it be? India would be pretty amazing. I want to go before I’m old and cranky and can’t deal with the down-and-dirty-ness of a trip like that. It just seems like a place that can change your life. The colors, the food, the rituals—I want to experience it all.

Who is a hero in your life? As silly as it sounds, my high school yearbook teacher is one of my heroes. She introduced me to journalism and photography, both of which I continue to love today. She also taught me the importance of good work ethic and pushed me to try new things. I had her for a handful of tech classes as well, and she was teaching us Dreamweaver in 2002! Pretty impressive for a group of 16 year olds.

Why did you start blogging? I started blogging, in part, for my grandfather. Pop couldn’t make the trip up to my apartment because of health reasons, but he did have internet access so I set out to show him what kind of projects I was working on and how the place was coming together. Plus, a bunch of items in my apartment are originally his and my grandmother’s, and I thought they’d like the reminder of home.

liebster-awardNail polish or lipstick? Neither really. I like nail polish, but I’m too lazy to keep up with it. I’m pretty rough on my hands so manis don’t last very long. Lipstick I like, too, but I feel like I can’t pull it off. I’ve always been a lip gloss gal. In high school, I worked at the Western Open, and one of the sponsors was Chapstick… I used to hoard that stuff like a drug addict!

What is the best food you’ve ever eaten? Oh man, this is a tough one. Probably the tuna spring rolls at Café Des Artistes in Ubud, Bali. So. Amazing. It’s been almost six years, but my mouth still waters just thinking about them. I’ll return one day…

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? I’d like to meet Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was one of the early photojournalists, and he traveled the world shooting all kinds of people and events. I’d love to know how we was able to capture the “decisive moment” with the limitations of technology in the first half of the 20th century. Plus, I’d ask to buy one of his prints for my apartment!

What is your favorite store and what do you buy when you go there? Macy’s. I am such a lazy shopper, so I love that Macy’s has just about everything and all in one place. The days of me going store-to-store for hours on end are over. I’m lucky enough to work just down the street from Macy’s on State (RIP Marshall Field’s), so I have access to an amazing collection of clothing, shoes, outerwear, jewelry, home goods—they even have a wine cellar!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I’d learn carpentry so I could start flipping houses!

How do you spend your free time? I’m training for the marathon and working toward my masters, but in my true free time, I like to make Old Fashioneds, explore the great outdoors and watch college basketball. Go Hoosiers!

So here’s where I deviate from the rules… the next requirement is that you nominate other bloggers with less than 200 followers for the award and give them questions to answer. But so many blogs don’t have the number of followers visible! So instead, I’m just going to give you a list of blog that I like (in no particular order, and of all sizes), and you can feel free to explore them on your own:

Found this Painted That
Copy Cat Chic
Life with a Dash of Whimsy
Home for Now
Live Creating Yourself
Style by Emily Henderson
Better After
Vintage Revivals
Young House Love
Bright Bazaar

Hope this gave you some insight, and if you like Urban Nesting, I’d definitely suggest checking out the other blogs listed!

(Image: Magnum Photos)

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I Want That Wednesday: Betsey Johnson Maxi Dress

I’m going to a wedding next weekend, and I am striking out BIG TIME on finding a dress to wear. I will not resort to that lace dress that I swear every single girl owns! You know what I’m talking about

Anyway, I’ve mentioned my love for Macy’s State Street before, and she rarely lets me down, but we’re getting down to the wire now. I’ve taken three different trips there just to hunt for a dress, and I’ve come up empty-handed each time. I ordered a few dresses online too; none of them worked. I even looked at the Rent the Runway options, but I didn’t see any I liked there either.

There is one

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It doesn’t wow me in these promotional pictures, but the bodice part fits me like couture. It makes my waist look so tiny! What’s better than that? Well, I do love that it’s flowy and hides my hips. And navy. I’m picturing a pair of Michael Kors wedges that I’ve seen around going perfectly with it (you know, in the world without budgets).

BUT… and this is a big but, is it appropriate to wear long dresses to weddings? Or does that fall into the your-competing-with-the-bride category, like when somebody wears white? I don’t know the rules, and I certainly don’t want to compete with the bride. (Oh, surprise! My ex is the groom… It’s fine.)

I guess this dress is probably a little too casual anyway (though it is gossamer, not like a typical spandex/cotton maxi dress). So, I think I’ll resign to wearing a dress I already own and blowing the budget on a mani/pedi and new makeup. Or maybe a blowout!

(Images: Nordstrom)

I Want That Wednesday: THE Perfect Black Tote

How’s the Fashion Challenge going for everybody? Sticking with it? (If you’re just learning about it now, feel free to join in!) I’ll be the first to admit: It’s been pretttty rough. I’ve come to realized that almost all of my budget surplus (of which there’s very little to begin with) over the last year has gone to home goods and DIY projects. That’s left next to nothing for wardrobe updates outside of the necessities like black skinny pants and running sneakers. But that’s the whole point of the challenge: to discover what you need and rediscover good pieces you have.

One thing I discovered I was in desperate need of? A tote. I brought this up before… two friggin’ years ago! It’s been since then that I’ve needed something to schlep my lunch, flats and workout clothes to and fro the office. Since I hadn’t done a thing about it all that time, I’d resorted to carrying stuff in a reusable Target bag… Pathetic.

But that all changed one glorious day in Macy’s. I found the. perfect. bag.

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It might not look all that special, but I swear this bag is amazing. The thing I noticed right off the bat: The straps are long enough—but not too long. I am not going to hold a bag full of dirty Tupperware like a handbag when I have to stand for 40 minutes on my commute home. I need to hoist that baby up on my shoulder! It’s hard enough just to stay upright on those trains sometimes.

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I originally wanted a leather bag, but this is so, so light and the perfect size. It still has nice gold hardware (no cheesy Kipling monkey dangling, thankfully), patent leather details and a fun polka dot lining. Plus, it’s washable. Huge plus.

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I didn’t really pay attention to the pockets when I picked it out, but this thing can hold a lot of stuff. It’ll be perfect for travel—easy access to that passport and boarding pass in the outside pockets.

It’s overpriced, I know. But I like to think it was justified since I used that $1 mesh bag for half a year!

Kipling Leah bag, $99, Macy’s

(Images: 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.

I Want That Wednesday: Black and White Diamond Flats

I’m so happy to be able to show a little ankle (scan-da-lous!) again after all that polar vortexing. Yes, I’m using it as a verb. I think the cold killed some of my brain cells…

Anyway, If you haven’t noticed, pointy flats (D’orsay flats, if you will) are flippin’ everywhere. I’m trying to avoid buying super flat shoes (only because I know they’re terrible for your feet, and I’m trying to do everything I can to avoid injuring these puppies during marathon training), but these might just be too adorable to resist:

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Drool. They remind me of that Lappljung rug from IKEA that I’ve also seen everywhere.

The difference is that I’m not sure I’d have the guts to put this pattern 8×10 in my living room. But just a little hint of this pattern paired with, say, dark skinny jeans and maybe a hot pink blouse? Oo or a little black summer dress? Perfection.

Lucky Brand Women’s Abbee Flats, $60, Macy’s

(Images: Macy’s, A Beautiful Mess, Chelsea’s Garage, The Life Creative)

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.

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I Want That Wednesday: Vince Camuto Handbag

I don’t want to jinx us here… but it looks like spring has FINALLY arrived! Thank. God. There’s still some lasting effects (my hair has never, ever been this dry), but we can finally see the grass again—well, what’s survived.

Nature aside, I’m most excited about spring because it means I can start wearing something other than black. Sure, I know I could wear other colors during the winter months, but I’m just not inspired and I usually end up throwing on the same black skinny jeans and black boots for the schlep to work. And my purse… well, I’ve used my Marc by Marc Jacobs bag every day—winter or otherwise—for about the past four years. Let’s just say it was a good investment.

But I love navy, and I saw this great Vince Camuto bag at Macy’s a couple weeks back and kinda can’t stop thinking about it:

Billy Dome Satchel

I love the funky carpet-like design on the sides, and I’m even warming up to the idea of a handbag versus a shoulder bag or crossbody (though this also has a crossbody strap). Do we like the black/navy mix though? That’s my only hesitation. Well, and the price…