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!

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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.

All I Want For Christmas…

I picked a TERRIBLE day to get my watch battery replaced at Macy’s. Not sure what I was thinking wandering in there just days before Christmas—it was bursting at the seams, of course. I’m obviously not the only who procrastinated this year. If you haven’t crossed off everyone on your list—and, in fact, are still looking for ideas—let me lend you a few from my wishlist… xmaslist

  1. I cut an apple last night, and it tasted like onion… Varies, abchome.com
  2. Because Pandora doesn’t play baseball games. $249, crosleyradio.com
  3. New Year’s Resolution? Start journaling again. $16 each, sugarpaper.com
  4. A local joint with 11 different kinds of olive oil. Varies, oldtownoil.com
  5. A pretty tote on its own, but the monogramming is really the cherry on top. $199, markandgraham.com

I want that Wednesdays

I am really enjoying taking the train instead of driving to work every day. It takes about the same amount of time, but I don’t have to get all stressed out about traffic or worry about parking if I want to grab a drink or run errands after work. I do wish I could read on the train (damn you, motion sickness!), but I couldn’t read while driving either so no loss there.

But I am on the Cadillac of el lines, the Brown Line, so I need to step up my game. Back on the Red Line, nobody cared about the homeless guy peeing in the corner. And nobody cared about my plastic grocery bag of shoes, lunch items, books, etc. But now, I feel like I need a legit tote to carry my miscellaneous things around in so I don’t look like a bag woman. Enter, my newest crush:

I must be going crazy because there was a time when I never would have even considered buying a $178 turkey sandwich and flip flop transporter. But I do love Marc Jacobs. And I do have my “Christmas bonus” Nordstrom gift card…