I mean, it’s no secret that I’m passionate about home decor just ask Matt. There is nothing more exhilarating than watching a space, come to life before your eyes. For the longest time, Matt and I had our artistic differences about how we wanted to style our home, if I’m being honest. Yet shortly into our decorating process, it soon came to light that I had a talent for affordably furnishing our space while creating little elements that made our apartment feel like a home, and not a dorm room.
In the above video, you’ll see me break down 3 affordable ways to make your apartment feel like home. In this video, I specifically focused on our dining room area. When planning to decorate small apartment spaces focus on: mixing texture, embracing cohesive colors and introducing hight to the area. Basically, these three tricks will turn your ‘table in a corner’ into an illusion of a cohesive dining room space.
Okay, so every week I check my google analytics to see what posts you guys are currently loving on the blog and every week I see this post from 2014 in the top ten. It was probably one of my first ever blog posts, and I almost regret linking it as the images are eh, the poses are horrid and my grammar is less than up to par, but everyone has to start somewhere right.
Anyway, I felt it was time to update this post almost four years later. After re-reading the 2014 post, I realize not much has changed, I’m still horrible at picking up Matt’s calls and my friends are still begging me to write more relationship posts, so really we’ve come full circle here.
The only difference is that now Matt and I are another three years deeper into our relationship, we now live together, and social media has become a constant in everyone’s life; which has made this post even more essential to write.
I still stand by the practice of calling over texting, because let’s face it, text messages are more calculated. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m just saying phone calls are good for getting to know each other, where text messages are more edited. Does that make sense? Think of it like snapchat vs Instagram; where Snapchat is like calling more raw, whereas Instagram is more filtered like texts.
Anyway, it’s three years later so I have bigger fish to fry than the importance of calling over texting. Today overthinking dating or even overthinking your OWN RELATIONSHIP has become even easier with social media.
From #couplegoals on Instagram to the easy swiping right on Tinder; dating in 2017 is rough and SO easy to overthink.
For instance, how many #couplegoals do we see on Instagram, I’ll be honest and say I follow at least five accounts just because I like their couple photo shoots, and as a blogger I know all the work that goes into planning such a shoot but as an individual I can see how these shoots can make you think twice about your own relationship.
I find more and more people overthinking their relationship because they are comparing it to others! & by doing that you are basically setting yourself up to fail.
Whether you’re stalking the guy you’re currently crushing on ex-girlfriend or annoyed with your boyfriend over his lack of Instagram worthy romantic jesters.
Overthinking your dating life due to social media is not a good practice.
My favorite part of my job is creating beautiful images for you guys. Whether that means getting a little too close to the edge at The Cliffs of Moher or spending an hour making 24 perfectly circle pancakes for this shoot, I want you guys to find inspiration in each image and for me, that means going the extra length.
Whether our posts inspire you to whip out a bowl and make pancakes, travel to Ireland or embrace a New England lifestyle of your own; we spend time planning and creating these moments to share.
& honestly, I love sharing photos of Matt and I, on Instagram and my blog, because heck, I love sharing him with you all but that doesn’t mean we are perfect.
We fight over silly things all the time, we draw straws over who’s going to clean the kitchen sink (my least favorite chore) and we are constantly bickering over which cereal to buy each week at Walmart. I like Cocoa Pebbles and Matt likes Captain Crunch, this week I won by the looks of the photos, so progress.
Overall, we have our ups and downs, and I hate to see people overthinking their OWN relationships because they are comparing it to others on social media. Whether it be a blogger, friend or celebrity; don’t focus on how perfect they are as a couple and how you’d like to emulate them, but rather celebrate your own relationship.
Matt and I are very aware of how slippery a slope social media can be, so we have set up some ground rules to take a break from it.
Every night around 7 PM we go on a walk, with no phones. We usually walk for about an hour and just focus on us. Secondly every Saturday we have pancakes and watch TV (usually football), now I can 100% say this usually doesn’t occur in bed because I’m a known spiller, but pancakes are OUR THING.
Finally, we spend a lot of time traveling, shooting and working on the blog together. By having these three things that are unique to us, it’s helped us focus less on others, and what they are doing over on social media and more on us.
So to sum it up. A large part of not overthinking your relationship or date is by not comparing yourself to others. Whether it be a first date, or eight years into a relationship like Matt and I. Everyone has their uniqueness, so focus on the good and eat a pancake or two.
I truly believe the best part of owning your own apartment, condo or home; is the opportunity you have to get creative with seasonal decor. I grew up in a home decorated to the tee, with each passing season. To say my mother was inspired by the seasons is an understatement…if only you could see our house come Christmas, it’s Spectacular inside and out.
So when it was my own turn to decorate our apartment for fall, I knew I really wanted to bring the natural aspects of autumn into our home. I wouldn’t say home decor comes naturally to me, but rather it’s something I’ve learned diligently over time. So keep decorating with each passing season and I promise something will click.
I believe the hardest part of home decorating comes from carving out your own sense of style, it takes some practice but I particularly like to keep things looking stately and understated. I bet you never heard those words paired together, but for me, it’s all about bold pieces of furniture and natural pieces of decor.
Anway, I figured our crew would throw together a quick guide to help you feel inspired. Below I’ve listed 5 ways to bring autumn inspiration into your home…
I love decorating my home with mums for a few reasons, but my reasoning behind purchasing this plant is that they are a hard plant to kill. Mums naturally take very little water, so if you forget to water them here or there; you’ll be okay.
Secondly, they look beautiful inside and out. I love seeing all the New England front doors garnished with mums, but I personally love having them inside too. I currently have one as a centerpiece on our coffee table, one quaintly placed on my bar cart and a third in my office. Bringing greenery inside is an affordable way to bring autumn inside.
I seem to have a ridiculous amount of dishware specifically fall themed, and while I don’t usually use this dishware year round, it really does make the home feel cozier. Some of my favorite fall dishware items are:TCC Pumpkin Mug, Pendelton Plaid Plates, Acorn Place Cards for my annual fall fest and copper mule glasses to sip hot apple cider out of. Having special dishware I pull out, year after year, come fall, really warms up the kitchen table.
3) Cozy Faux Fur Throws
I honestly live by these throws. My mom gave my brother, sisters and I a throw of our own a few years ago, and I just couldn’t help but invest in more. So I think Matt and I have a total of two faux fur throws in our home. One throw elegantly covers the couch and the second is at the base of our guest bed. Nothing says cozy fall nights in, like this throw. TRUST ME IT’S THE BEST!
Not only does candlelight bring in the perfect warm autumn ambiance, it also brings the rich fall scents to match. If you know me then you know, I light Bath and Body Works fall candles YEAR ROUND. The candles really set the mood, and my favorite scents are cider lane and sweet pumpkin, just in case you were wondering!
5) Natural Toned Vases
I always find that the decor in summer is usually white, blue and bright while autumn embraces a much more natural feel. When decorating for fall look for natural toned vases, trays, and decor. Some of my favorite looks are wood trays, metal vases, and copper. These natural earth tones really are understated making them super easy to take on and make them your own.
Okay, that’s that. Matt and I have been busy decorating for fall and I hope you guys are taking time out of your busy schedule to do so as well. It’s such a fun time to get creative and really budget friendly. Even purchasing a few baby pumpkins here and there will do. xx Aubrey
Thank you, Leesa® for sponsoring this post and providing us with a mattress to review. All opinions stated below are my own.
I’ve been waiting to share this post with you all, for a long time coming but before I did, I wanted to make sure everything was perfect. First off, I needed to make sure Mr. Matt had hung all the wall decor, or at least tried to, and of course, we had to anxiously wait for the delivery of our classic new bed frame to arrive.
Today I’m excited to share with you, the second post from our partnership with Leesa®, sharing how we styled our master bedroom in order to bring an essence of New England living into our Dallas apartment.
My blog was started with the mantra of embracing New England’s charms and traditions no matter where you are in the world. For me, at times that meant embracing New England living in San Diego, while I was at college, and today it means embracing New England’s home decor style while we live in Dallas.
While we know we don’t have much time left in Dallas, we wanted to make the most of our time here by creating a comfortable environment for friends and family to visit. I always joke with Matt saying, I think we see our family more now than we did when living in New England, as many nights have been spent with either my brother visiting from Austin or phone calls trying to convince Matt’s sister to come down for a weekend.
In order to make our modest apartment a comfortable place for visitors, we decided to tackle our living room first,which you saw in this post last fall. Once that was completed we decided to tackle our master bedroom next, starting off with finding the perfect mattress.
Once we had the mattress situated, we ordered my dream bed. I’ve actually wanted this bed frame since high school, sounds silly but at the time, I was working at an Anthropologie store. Every shift I’d take a second to view this classic bed, and I was overly determined to one day purchase a bed of my own.
& today, I get to share it all with you guys, which makes it finally start to feel real.
I always describe my home decor style as Classic American, I love stately but modern looking pieces, textures, and fixtures. So when it came to deciding on a color, I had a few ideas in mind. I actually hosted an Instagram live where I got your opinions, I was between gray, navy blue or the forest green which was the color we went with. To be completely transparent the gray won, but the green came in second and I took a leap of faith.
At first, Matt was vetoing the green bed left and right, along with the lamps; but soon he gave into my vision and now I think he’s obsessed with the whole look. It just screams classic American style, which is SO US. You guys can read how I purchased my Anthropologie dream bed for half the cost in this post.
With us being out of college for just one year, meant it was really important for us to get thrifty on how to create our master bedroom on a pretty limited budget. Our first step was buying the affordable Leesa® Mattress. We decided to go with a Leesa® Mattress because we loved that it’s American made and delivered compressed in a box to your door.
Not only was the cost of the mattress, budget-friendly but we loved Leesa®‘s universal adaptive feel concept which means the bed will feel customized for any sleeper.. Basically, because of it’s three premium foam layer design, you’re provided support, pressure relief, and cooling that adapts to all body shapes, sizes and sleeping styles.
I’ve grown up on foam mattresses, but this was Matt’s first. He was originally hesitant but after sleeping on the mattress for three months we’d both stand by the fact that this is our favorite place to sleep. If you’re hesitant about leaping into purchasing a foam mattress, you can now try out Leesa® Mattress at your local West Elm! To be honest, Matt gets home from work each day and crawls into bed, it’s just that comfy.
Oh, and the Leesa® team was kind enough to provide TCC readers with a $100 off your next mattress purchase. Click here and use code TCC for $100 off.
Now that we had the bed and the mattress covered, we knew it was time to get some home decor. I’m a big believer in the idea that the devils in the details, little moments not only make a room but also bring personality into the space.
I always wanted my home decor to reflect my life, past experiences and aesthetic, but as I said; accomplishing all of this on a budget wasn’t easy. We ended up finding a ton of pieces from Target that brought our American style vision to life, like these lamps and of course these faux-leather pillows.
We found the portrait of the sailboat at an antique store for $20 and the brown bucket shelves, where we could place personal items, like this Red Sox beanie baby my dad gave me and of course our Super Bowl tickets, at a local boutique outside of Dallas.
Finally, we pulled the whole room together with this nautical rope mirror. I LOVED the texture of this piece, and mirrors are something I’ll invest in because nothing is worse than waking up to a warped, poor quality mirror.
We pulled the whole room together within 3 months, and I’m glad to finally have a master bedroom that feels like US! I love relaxing in bed, so having this space completed feels like Christmas day for me.
I just love making a room into something and while this room might be completed, our story doesn’t end there, don’t forget we have a guest room to pull-together. & let’s just say we’re open to suggestions!
Thank you, Leesa® for sponsoring this post and providing us with a mattress to review. All opinions stated below are my own.
It’s been officially one year today since Matt and I moved into our Dallas apartment. I hate to say how quickly time flies, but this year, especially the summer just blew right by us.
In June, Matt & I made an executive decision to make my large office space, into a guest bedroom as well. The reason for this decision was that, we found more and more people asking to come visit Dallas from New England, along with the fact that now both my brother and sister attend college in Texas.
Overall we really wanted to create a place for our guests to sleep and reside, beside our big comfy couch. Once we agreed upon the decision, it was time to shift around furniture and invest in a new mattress.
Matt and I, semi-selfishly, decided to move our mattress we purchased last year, into the guest room and sit down and do some research on buying a new mattressto invest in.
Our first go at mattress shopping, last year was stressful, so we really looked for a brand that made the process painless this time around.
Last year, we ended up having to move in quicker than anticipated and needed a mattress, asap. So while I was driving through Alabama, on my way to Texas from New England, in the pouring rain mind you, my brother and Matt went mattress shopping. From the phone calls I received during this whole debacle, I could tell this was going to be a story to tell.
Matt and my brother Andrew headed to the mattress store, and after Matt picked out the fluffiest and most affordable mattress, they had, mind you, we were straight out of college, so the budget was set under $1,000, my brother and Matt had a realization.
How were they going to transport this queen sized mattress from the mattress store to our apartment 20 minutes down the highway on a Prius!
Yup, just imagine Matt and my brother driving a queen sized mattress down the Dallas North Tollway, speed limit set at 70mph mind you, on top of a Prius. Thankfully I wasn’t there, but oh I wish you could have heard the phone calls I received.
So this time around, I decided Matt and I, would purchase a mattress from a brand that didn’t involve scheduling out a delivery. I wanted to simply order a mattress online and wait for it to arrive all boxed up, at my door.
The reason we liked Leesa® so much was that they had an easy and painless ordering process. Not to mention the price is completely post-college budget friendly. Oh, and the mattress is American made and delivered to your door, free of charge!
I was shocked when I heard the shipping was free, as this was the main reason why Matt and my brother opted for a ‘do-it- yourself delivery’ when shopping for our last mattress because the delivery was an additional $150.
Anyway, so this mattress arrives tightly compressed in a box, and for set-up, all you have to do is: pull the mattress out of the box, unroll it, and watch it inflate. Quick, Simple and Painless. I was thankful to have Matt with me to do most of the heavy lifting and we decided to inflate the mattress in our living room, to bring you guys along for the process.
Oh and for anyone weary about ordering a mattress online, you can relax because Leesa® also has a 100-night trial. Basically, this feature, allows you to test out the mattress and if for some reason the mattress isn’t for you, they will arrange a refund and a mattress pickup.
So now Matt and I have our new mattress, and we are in the process of finishing off our bedroom and now, guest bedroom/office. It’s been a long journey for Matt and I in terms of decorating our apartment, and to be honest, I feel like it’s just starting to come together this summer.
& we decided to do a whole bedroom reveal in September, so keep your eyes peeled, it’s taken us awhile to find the perfect pieces and I’m so excited to show you what we’ve decided on.
Okay, enough about our story, I’d love to hear from you guys! Are any of you moving out or in the process of mattress shopping? If so I’d love to hear how you’ve handled the process below. xx Aubrey
If you’ve been following along then you already know that last year Matt & I moved into our first apartment and my thought process on furniture, which use to be an afterthought, drastically changed. & if you’re a new reader you can read about our move here & a little peek inside of our apartment here).
Once we found out we were moving, we were left with the daunting task of furnishing our little apartment, mind you on a post-college budget. At first, I was REALLY excited. I dragged my youngest sister, Tessie to all these furniture stores, ready to pick out items that were up to ‘TCC standard’, as Tessie says, and instantly was handed a reality check.
FURNITURE IS REALLY EXPENSIVE, no matter how you roll the dice.
Whether you’re shopping at Ikea, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Target etc, it’s all still expensive.
It was shocking for both Matt & I to hear quotes like: $1,500 for a couch, $600 for a kitchen table and an additional $150 for metal chairs to sit on while eating. Oh boy, I was one quote away from a financial panic attack, has anyone else been there?
Anyway, I was honestly, so shocked because no one really talks about the COST of furniture shopping. Everyone is so fixed on moving out, purchasing a home or apartment, that no one takes a second to break down the nitty gritty stuff.
Instantly I thought about just buying all of our furniture from Ikea but after purchasing basic nightstands, made from plywood, that cost us over $300, I knew it was time to think of furniture as an investment.
To put it simply guys, I knew I was going to have to make a game plan, so here it is:
Here are 3 ways to save when it comes to furnishing your post-college pad, with high-quality and timeless furniture pieces.
First on my list of furniture to-do’s was this bed from Anthropologie it’s been on my dream list since, well high school when I worked at Anthropologie as a sales associate.
So I decided early on, instead of buying a $400 Ikea bed, that to be honest, I’d probably replace within five years, that I would just buy my dream bed from the start.
I cut the cost of my dream Anthropologie bed in HALF, by doing three easy steps:
Now if you are anything like Matt, you’re throwing red flags left and right at me, but I’m here to say it’s NOT a joke.
All you do is log onto the Raise market place and purchase gift cards from people, who are looking to get those specific cards off their hands.
I personally purchased three gift cards, all had the exact balance on them as advertised and all were accepted by Anthropologie. Just to give you an example, one card had an Anthropologie credit of $616.79 and I only paid $502.68 saving me $114.11!
& all I did was buy a gift card. Simple.
To any readers that might be hesitant about this platform, after I purchased over $1,753 in e-gift cards (all between 13%-23% off) I got a call from Raise within 5 minutes, personally asking me to answer my security questions and verify that I was indeed making these purchases.
Anyway, thanks to Raise’s easy and secure platform I saved over $400.00 on this project, and a total of $901.95 THIS YEAR!
P.S: The Raise Team was kind enough to send over a coupon code for your use. Use CODE: COASTAL to get $5 off $50 for new Raise customers! FYI, this code expries in 2018, so use it while you can!
#2: Signing up for emails/reward programs to receive coupons:
I became an Anthro Member, and after already purchasing gift cards from Raise, I just waited, like a cat stocking a mouse, for Anthropologie to send out a discount code, which I will admit is pretty rare.
However one Thursday morning I woke up to a discount code for 20% off all furniture for Anthro Members.
It was a limited time coupon, so I knew it was now or never to pull the trigger.
By being an Anthro Member, I was able to save, $380 off my dream bed.
Giving us a total saving of $780!
#3: use cash back services:
Whether it’s a Discover card, ebates or rewardStyle (if you’re a blogger) using affiliated brands that offer cash back is another easy and really effortless way to save in the long run.
I used an affiliate link to purchase my bed saving me 10% or any additional $190, off! Woot Woot.
Giving us a total saving of $970!
Overall I took my $1,900 dream bed used my three simple steps, to get the bed just slightly under $1,000. Matt & I then split the cost, leaving us both paying a little under $500 for a timeless and investment piece.
I really want you guys to take a few things away from this post, the first one is, don’t pass by simple savings options like Raise, especially when you know you’ll be spending a good amount of money. Also be patient, Matt and I have lived in Dallas for almost a year now, and just purchased the bed a few weeks ago.
Don’t be an impulse spender, be patient, wait for the perfect coupon and when it arrives in your inbox; go for it.
Our TCC Crew decided to dedicate August to home inspiration. We made a very easy executive decision to focus Monday posts, during the month of August, towards ‘home’ topics.
From styling decor to finding the perfect mattress; our crew is covering it all while sharing our best tips, tricks, and easy homes styles. I would never call myself an interior designer, and I honestly dread the thought of having to help someone style their home; however, I really enjoy the process of making my home my own, and I wanted to share that process with you all.
Like always, I’m running a tight home decor ship and inherently know exactly what I want, at all times. & while Matt and I may get in little tiffs about my ‘vision’, in the end, he’s always trying to take credit for the work, which must means he likes it.
Anyway, we are by no means experts, in fact, our execution is sometimes way off. Oh, and Matt and I still don’t know how to use about half of the tools in our tool box, so don’t feel like any of these projects are out of your league.
Just stick to your mission. Mine is always aiming to find new ways to bring New England into our home. This was something I initially struggled with when looking at dorm rooms, apartment units, and even homes.
Everything initially looks cold, so by bringing color and personality into a space, you can easily transform it.
Personally, I’m not one to hang photos, let’s face it I have millions of photos of myself and Matt, on my blog, Instagram and social media accounts; that’s the last thing I want to do after a day of photo editing.
Just being honest here. Instead, I like to find unique ways to bring our story and personal touches into the home.
So I had this idea…
I’ve wanted to create a pennant themed gallery wall for the longest time, but I just kept pushing it off; until we dedicated our August month to home decor, once that happened, I knew it was time to bite the bullet.
My idea was to buy sports pennants from every place Matt & I have ever lived.
Personal, unique and so us.
I was really proud of this idea, and to be honest, Matt was initially hesitant, but he just let me do my thing.
So I hunted for pennants of different shapes, colors, sizes, and textures; and was delighted with all the options I found.
First, I took to eBay and searched vintage sports pennants. I searched and searched for the best pennants, and I’d say they each cost anywhere from $15.00 – $38.00.
Without hesitating I purchased it and just like that we had our first location down, Dallas.
Next came New York, this pennant was for Matt to showcase the time he spent living in NYC and working on Wall Street, and finally, I nailed down this Los Angeles Angles pennant, to symbolize the time I spent in California for college.
They always say to create gallery walls in odd numbers so either three, five or seven objects. While we only lived in four locations between the two of us, we felt so connected to the Red Sox team and Fenway stadium that we had to purchase this mini pennant from the 1960’s, as our fourth item.
By far the biggest issue I had was finding a pennant for Connecticut. Both Matt and I knew the gallery wall wouldn’t be complete without our true home, so we reached out to a company I love and admire, Oxford Pennant.
I wasn’t able to find any vintage CT pennants that met my standards, so I reached out to their team to see if they’d be interested in collaborating.
Anyway, since they were on the cheap side, I had to purchase the proper photo backing. So I walked my little tush into Michaels and purchased large photo backing boards, they kind of looked like large poster boards.
The staff at Micheals, in the photo framing section, were kind enough to cut the photo backing boards to fit all five of my frames for an additional $5.00, totally worth the cost!
2) Steam Pennants and Frame:
Once I got home, I steamed the pennants with my steamer and just simply centered the pennants within the frame.
I know some people suggest back taping the pennants to the photo backing, but I decided to forgo the tape. Either way, it works, and I think it depends on what you are hanging.
I traced the frames and cut out the paper. This allowed me to tape the tracings on to my wall to center, arrange and deliberate how to organize the overall look.
Here are a few tips I learned:
a) I would highly recommend using different size frames to really give dimension to your wall and don’t worry too much about everything being perfect.
b) I would space photos closer together, between 3-6 inches; this makes your gallery wall look like one large statement piece rather than individual pieces.
c) Make sure to use painters tape or a tape brand that won’t damage your walls, Matt and I spend about thirty minutes moving around our tracings, which could cause serious damage to your walls if using the wrong tape.
4) Nailed It:
Once you are green light go, on placement, it’s important to spend the time to nail your photos properly.
I just removed the tape and marked dots on each corner of, where the tracing once was. Next, I got out a level and made sure that the frame I was hanging, was aligning with its fellow frames.
Oh and if you are in college, don’t worry, good old fashion Command Strips will do the task just fine.
5) Instagram It:
Once you’re done hanging your gallery wall, make sure to snap a picture and tag me in the comments! Gallery walls are really aesthetically pleasing and so fun to post on Instagram.
From sports pennants to sheet music, I’ve seen some amazing gallery wall designs.
My advice; make it original, make it you and you can’t go wrong.
Anyway, I’d like to say an additional thanks to the Oxford Pennant team for making TCC readers this Connecticut Pennant, for their little New England dorm rooms and apartments.
Let me know if you order one, and catch you next Monday for some more home inspiration. xx Aubrey