I hadn’t thought much about labeling my decorating style before we bought our house last year. When I was trying to categorize it, I kept coming back to modern + rustic (which Chris then labeled “mustic”). I have always loved modern, clean-lined furniture with rustic, woodsy accents.

Since then, I have taken so many quizzes to “define my decorating style.” From ‘worldly’ to ‘earthy’ to ‘modern,’ I always found the answers to be decently correct and never surprising. That is, until last week, when I took the quiz in the new issue of Real Simple. It rocked my (decorating) world. But before I tell you my results, you take the quiz.

Start by (mentally) circling the items on this page that you are naturally drawn to. Don’t take a lot of time to think about it, but remember which ones you liked.


Now that you’re done with that, look back through the items that you like and count how many of those items were A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s. Now read your results…






What’dja think? Was it right on? Obvious? Shocking? Mind-blowing? Shockingly mind-blowing? Mine was.

I had 4 C’s and 2 A’s.

That’s right – I am a Cozy Casual. I could have easily said it was wrong about me…but then I looked at the picture of the Cozy Casual room and fell in love. If there was a way to transport that room into my living room, teddy bear and all, I would. Plus, Crate and Barrel is my favorite store and it’s right there on the Cozy Casual shopping list.

My #2 style is Sophisticated Classic. Makes sense…I have been obsessed with tufted furniture lately.

 I definitely thought that I would be more along the Modern Graphic line with this quiz, but I actually didn’t find that room very appealing at all. Sure, it looks great, but it’s not a style I would implement in my own home. I feel like an entire part of me that I didn’t know existed just unveiled itself to me. But I now have full confidence in what I love. And I can totally see a birch candle or two and a rustic tree trunk, glass-topped coffee table fitting right in that room. And Yoshi can replace the teddy bear.

My entire decorating style identity has been shaken…



I don’t know how cold it is where you are at, but here in the Hoosier state it is COLD!

*Side note: does anyone else think it’s funny that Indiana is called the Hoosier state? And that they are proud of it?! Chris and I laughed every time we heard someone call themselves a Hoosier for the first several months we lived here. Ridiculous!

Anyway, we installed a programmable thermostat right after Christmas to help save on heating costs. Now it’s a little bit warmer (we still keep it at 65, people) when we get home, while it can stay ice-age cold – just above pipe freezing temps- during the day. Global warming, where did you go?!

Life has just gotten colder since we started our bathroom reno. We reglazed our toilet Monday night and have had to stay out of our bedroom this week due to the massive amount of fumes the glaze lets off while it dries, even with the exhaust fan running and the bathroom door closed. So we have been sleeping in one of the guest bedrooms with fewer covers and our heads by the window, brrr! So, whenever I want to feel warmer, I look at this:


I only look because I can’t buy. We’re talking major buck-os here. But even looking helps. Doesn’t it look soooo warm and cozy?! Even this throw looks amazing.


Who would need a snuggie when you have that? Maybe I should take up knitting. And come across 100 skeins of free, soft, white yarn…


Mmmmm. Makes me want to cuddle up and read a book by our (non-existent) fireplace.  Maybe next year we will have a real fireplace, then I really will be warmer.

But for now, I’ll just use Yoshi. He’s just as snuggly as a cable knit throw, and definitely lets off as much heat as a fireplace.


Plus, he matches our new carpet perfectly. Anyone else plan their decor around their pets? Just kidding! Not THAT obsessed….yet…

*Images found here and here.

Let there be light (fixtures)!


I have been wanting to replace the light fixtures in our entryway and hallway for quite some time. This last weekend we finally got around to it!

I forgot to take a before picture of the entryway, but here is a photo of the entryway (and light fixture) before we moved into the house.


Yeah, not too attractive. I went on a hunt for a couple months to find a cute, but affordable light fixture and came up with a white bamboo pendant from CB2. Chris says it looks like a UFO, but in a good way.

But, when we got it in the mail, we realized that it is not a ceiling fixture but rather an wall outlet fixture. Thankfully, I had read a post from YHL on how they had a similar situation with a West Elm pendant and how they converted it to use it as a ceiling fixture. So, all we had to do was snip the cord, split apart the 3 wires inside the cord, and hook them up the same way you would do with a normal fixture. Oh, and we had to buy a ceiling mount so that the pendant had something to hang from and so it didn’t just go into a big hole in the ceiling.



And a close-up.


Isn’t it great? I love it. But, the hallway still looked like this.




Now that the light fixture in the entryway is beautified, this one just looked that much worse. So we had to come up with a cheap solution, fast! I’m talking a couple bucks here. The first idea was to invert a lampshade and hang it from the ceiling, much like Young House Love did. But when I couldn’t find the drum shade I wanted at Christmas Tree Shops for $2.99 (I’d bought one there before), I had to think of different options. I was starting to feel gloomy, like I was going to have to break down and buy an actual light fixture, when we passed  by a display of bamboo bowls on sale for $1.99. I had pointed them out before, thinking they were cute, but Chris and I couldn’t come up with a good use for them so we hadn’t picked one up. But this time when we passed by, Chris picked it up and (kind of jokingly) said, “Let’s just drill a hole in the bottom of this and use it.” Brilliant! So we bought it, ran to Menards for a 99 cent ceiling lampholder part and, within an hour, had it hung.


Here’s what we did…

First we checked to make sure the bowl would be long enough to cover the light bulb sufficiently. The last thing we would want is the bulb poking out the bottom and blinding anyone trying to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night!


After that checked out, it was down to business.

We measured how big the hole needed to be in the bottom of the bowl, then drilled away til it looked something like this.


Then we drilled 2 holes through the bottom of the bowl and the lampholder to attach them with screws.



Then it was just attaching the lampholder to the ceiling, and wha-la! A brand new fixture for a total of $2.99.



And that’s how we gave two areas of our home a lot of pretty for a little bit of dough.

Weekend deals

We had a busy shopping weekend last weekend. We had been planning to build an HD projector for a while to replace our ancient bubble TV in our living room, but when we saw the deals on TVs at Best Buy last week…we couldn’t pass up the deal on this tv.  So we wound up buying a 50″  Panasonic plasma TV for $699- can’t beat that! Now some of you tech-nerds may wonder why we bought a plasma instead of an lcd tv…and I have to say that plasma tv’s are very underestimated! The biggest issue with them in the past was the “burn-in” that could happen on the screen if you let it sit on the same picture for too long. Well, that is no longer an issue with the new ones. Plus, our TV has a built in screen saver that turns on when it’s been paused for a few minutes to stop any chance of that happening- score! The other issue is that it consumes more power, but with the amount that we watch tv (hint: not very often), that shouldn’t be a problem. On the up-side, plasmas have much richer color, handle on-screen motion much better (hooray, football!), don’t change color with different viewing angles, cost a lot less -especially for the larger models, and don’t run a risk of the pixels burning out (this happens a lot with LCDs and it makes the screen go black, apparently right after they go out of warranty too!). We also saved ourselves $300 by going with the 720p model instead of the 1080p. The only way to actually get the 1080p resolution out of your 1080p tv is if you have 1) blu-ray or 2)cable with HD channels. Since we have neither, and have no plans to get either, there was no reason to spend the extra money.

Since we got a new tv, we needed a tv stand. I was determined not to buy one of the basic cheapo glass tv stands (which really aren’t that cheap to buy); I wanted a real piece of furniture. Unfortunately, those run in the hundreds. But once again, Craigslist had my back. After persistently repeating the “tv stand” search, I ran into a new post for this bad boy, brand new, for only $135. Yes, please! We ran over to the seller’s house- luckily, only a block away- after work on Friday and picked it up. It looks even better than I imagined!

I also scored some awesome deals at Target. I got this birch candle for $3 on clearance, which I’ve been gawking at for quite a while at the $10 price tag.


I got 3 of these 11×14 frames for an art project that was inspired by these pieces at ZGallerie (more to come on that later)

I got this pinecone tree- something like this for $3 on clearance…it was missing the top pinecone, but all I had to do was grab an extra pinecone from my Christmas decor, hot glue it to the top, and wha-la! good as new!


I also found this glass pillar candleholder on clearance for $8. It is open at the top, so you can fill it with whatever you want. Love it!


Then at Goodwill I found these white canisters and glass canister for a couple bucks each…useful in the kitchen and on the future shelving in our master bath!


And for the grand finale…we scored this marble tile on sale at Lowe’s for $1.49/sq ft. Nope, nothing wrong with it. Yes, it is the same that YHL is using. Yes, that makes a grand total of $45 for our new MARBLE bathroom flooring. Yes, I wish I had a third yes. And yes I don’t! (Better off Ted? Anyone?)

So, we are pretty shopped out right now, but we still have a lot to get for our bathroom reno, which is officially starting this weekend (around watching the playoffs on our brand new TV of course). Anyone else score any good deals recently?

Christmas Tree: finished

I’m back with the post on our very first (and cheap) Christmas tree. After much debating and online inspiration searching, I decided to go with a green and white themed tree with punches of brown. Not sure why that took much debating; pretty sure that’s what most of my house is. Green and brown are to me what white is to YHL.

First things first: the garland. I knew I wanted to use some sort of sheer, wide ribbon flowing from the top of the tree instead of traditional garland. And maybe a little bit of a sheer green ribbon in between the white. After searching through the Christmas ribbon at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Wal-Mart, Meijer, Target, and maybe a few other places, I couldn’t find the perfect ribbon. Then, while at Hobby Lobby, it hit me. The wedding aisle! Lo and behold, there was the perfect ribbon (actually tulle), and at a much cheaper price! They also had the perfect green wired ribbon, score.

Next came the ornaments. I wanted our tree to look finished without spending an arm and a half on ornaments. I decided that I wanted each ornament to be less than $1 apiece.

My first idea came at Michael’s. They had tiny poinsettia garlands on sale for 40% off, so for a whopping $6, I scored a garland of white poinsettias. I popped the poinsettias off of the garland, took some needle nose pliers, and squeezed ornament hooks onto the back of them.



Still not sure how many flowers there were on the garland, but I used about half of them before I decided that using any more would make my tree look like a giant cone-shaped flower.

Next, I knew that I wanted some traditional glass ball ornaments in green and white. I found these at Target’s website and calculated that it only costs 29 cents an ornament (and I can use the red ones around the house for other Christmas decor). I also picked up a few snowflake ornaments, white and green pine cone ornaments, glass icicle ornaments, and white reindeer ornaments for well under $1 apiece. I found and fell in love with some green, white, and brown striped ornaments at Michael’s that I got for half off, making it $2.50 for 6 of those, and got a box of 6 punchy brown ornaments at Hobby Lobby for $2.


All this would have been more than enough, but I completely and utterly fell in love with these rustic woodland creature ornaments from Crate & Barrel. Somewhere between $4.95 and $6.95 apiece, they completely blew my ornament budget, but were so worth it. I justify it in my mind since all my other ornaments were so far under budget. And they have gotten so many compliments already! I love em to death.

For the tree skirt, I grabbed a green and white plaid fleece throw from K-Mart for $3 and threw some pine cones around the base of the tree (from the Michael’s fall clearance section- only $1 for an entire bag of em!)

And here’s the result:


(Note: I have since fixed the strange bare spot on the bottom left part of the tree!)

In a previous post I mentioned that I was going to make my own tree topper. Well, partly out of laziness and partly out of “this isn’t turning out the way I had imagined it,” I made a simple white tulle bow for this year. We’ll see if the topper turns out later on…who knows, it may look great in the end! Right now I really like the way the bow flows into the rest of the tree and doesn’t steal all the glory.

So happy to have the tree put all put together- it really puts some Christmas spirit in the house!  Special thanks to my sister who helped me decorate the tree the weekend before Thanksgiving!

Your turn: any of you who DIY’ed your own Christmas ornaments to save money (or just because it looked better)? Do tell!

O Christmas Tree…in November?

A couple weeks ago I bought our very first house-sized Christmas tree. Before that we just had the dorm room-sized one…

Anyway, Chris thought it was ridiculous to buy a tree this year, since we are going to be gone for a week over Christmas, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of our first Christmas in our first house with no tree. So I convinced him that buying a fake one off of Craigslist was a great idea, since it’s cheap and we can use it year after year. $40 later, I have a tree sitting in our living room. The people who sold me the tree did not want to break it down or take the lights off.

Sidenote: We have no storage space in our house. If we want to store something, we have to break it down to bite-sized pieces and put it in the attic.

So, I decided that rather than store it, we would just start the Christmas season a little early. Ok, really early. So, as any Christmas fanatic does, I immediately started planning a theme for the tree. If we’re putting up premature Christmas decorations, they at least need to look good! No way am I having my entire family here for Thanksgiving and having a lit up, undecorated tree sitting in the corner. Thankfully, it seems that the retail industry has sympathy on us crazy Christmas fiends and immediately stock their Christmas goods as soon as the last kid on the block says “trick or treat.”

Of course I can’t be spending a lot of buckaroos on having a perfectly themed tree with gorgeous crystal ornaments. I had to find a way to do this cheap…and I’ve come up with a couple solutions.

1. Find items in nature (such as pinecones) and hot glue ornament hangers on them. Since I’m going for a “natural” theme on the tree with whites, greens, and browns, this works perfectly for me.

2. Buy things out of the ordinary and turn them into ornaments.

3.  Buy a bulkload of classic ornaments on the cheap! I got these ornaments from Target- 69 for $19.99. Turns out to be about 40 cents apiece. Fits well within my under $1 per ornament rule.


Anyone else have ideas for doing a classy, themed Christmas tree on the cheap? I’m also making my own tree topper…a post on that to follow.