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Showing posts from October, 2014

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Round-Up

I know this is very last-minute – in fact, I'm literally throwing my costume together today: dress + red cape + red hoodie = Little Red Riding Hood. (And the bf is the Woodcutter.) ;) Here are all The Lovely Side's Halloween costumes from the last few years:

Charcoal, Green, and Teal Office | New Apartment Inspiration

For now, I'm planning on using the dining room as an office. Why? Because my dining table and chairs will be in the eat-in kitchen – and I'm in love with the idea of putting my writing desk in front of the big bay windows. The walls are currently a pale, jade(ish) green. A previous tenant painted the hardwood floors black – it's unfortunate, but I can work with it.
I can dig pale green walls, white trim, and black floors, especially with my gray floral Threshold curtain from Target. Unfortunately, this style of curtain isn't sold anymore and I only have one panel, so I'm planning on putting either red or gray panels on the outside bay windows with the floral one in the center.

Red, Green, Gray, and Cream Bedroom | New Apartment Inspiration

I'm so glad I'm allowed to paint in the new space because the bedroom will be the first room to get painted. One of the previous tenants painted it a light lavender with giant darker lavender diamonds on the walls. It's a bit circus-y in the worst of ways.
I was toying with the idea of navy blue walls (and they still might win out), but for now I'm planning on a dark, almost black, warm gray for the walls. The light hardwood floors and white trim will look crisp and the colors of my bedding will pop. As usual, the colors will be based around my beloved floral quilt that I scored at TJ Maxx years ago.

Orange, Plum, and Teal Living Room | New Apartment Inspiration

One of my new place's biggest perks? Being allowed to paint the walls. However, just because I can paint the walls doesn't mean I will – all at once, anyway. That's too much time, effort, and money. So I'm painting room by room, month by month.
At this point, I'm planning on using the living room as just that. The room is painted a dusty lavender. And while I don't love it on its own, I think it will work really well with my color scheme of orange, plum, and turquoise with antique bronze accents. The decor board above gives a good idea of what I'm aiming for in the space, though not all of the furniture is exactly what I have.

Working Girl Wardrobe | Carolyn: Mechanical Engineer

Working girl Carolyn is a Mechanical Engineer who designs and builds robots. Her time is evenly divided between attending meetings, designing at her desk, and building in the lab so her workplace wardrobe needs to be professional, versatile, and comfortable – while still reflecting her girly girl style.

Chic, Beach-Inspired Bathroom on a Budget (Reader Request)

Kristy from Vancouver, Canada wrote in for some decor advice. She moved out of her parents' house and into her first apartment this past summer:

"I have loved living on my own and especially getting to decorate! Within the last couple months I have been focusing on decorating my living room and bedroom with a mix of old hand-me-downs and new, affordable things. The biggest challenge I have been putting off and struggling with is my bathroom. I can't figure out how to decorate it and what to do! With holiday parties not too far away, I want to have my place looking put-together, including the bathroom." 

Jess' Bright, Airy, and Lovely Apartment in Stockholm

Ready for a heavy dose of apartment inspiration? Welcome to Jess' apartment in Stockholm, where you'll find fresh white walls, worn-just-right wooden floors, historical charm, Swedish style, and lots of sunlight pouring in through big windows.

How-To: Decorate Your Space with a Statement Rug (and win a $1,000 Kalaty rug of your own!)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kalaty Rug. All opinions are 100% mine.


How can I add color and pattern to my apartment or dorm when I'm not allowed to paint the walls? It's one of the most common questions I hear. And as a former dorm dweller and current renter myself, I feel your design pain. And as someone who loves pops of bright color and bold pattern, my go-to solution is a statement-making area rug.
But rather than scavenge stores for a rug that perfectly fits your room's style and design, I suggest starting with the rug first. It's harder to find a rug that matches everything in your existing decor, but building off of a statement rug for design inspiration will make for a cohesive style – whether you're going for a pull-together or eclectic look.

Paint It Black | 10 Gorgeous Rooms That Make Me Consider Black Walls

One of the major perks to my new apartment is that I'm allowed to paint the walls. For real. Any colors my heart desires. The landlord said so – and he said he looks forward to seeing what colors I choose. This is a big moment for this long-time renter who has slowly come to love appreciate white walls. I'm actually okay with what most of the rooms are painted as now – except for the bedroom. It's lavender. With giant darker lavender diamonds on the walls. It feels a little too circus-y – and not Water for Elephants way. 
Painting the bedroom is at the top of my to-do list, so I'm gazing at paint chips, scrolling endlessly through Pinterest, and losing sleep over what color to do. One of the top contenders is black.

Music Spotlight: Sir Sly, Broods, Noosa, & MisterWives

Need a dose of new music for your Friday? Check out these four artists that I'v recently discovered – and that my ears have become quite smitten with.(Image: Top left – Sir Sly; Top right – Broods, Bottom left – Noosa, Bottom right – MisterWives)
Sir Sly | These three L.A. boys crank out atmospheric, indie-meets-electronic music with just the right amount of moodiness. Plus, Sir Sly sounds like a mash-up of The Neighbourhood and Snowmine. And I just can't seem to get enough.

Working Girl Wardrobe | Chloe: IDEALS Grant Coordinator

Working girl Chloe York is employed as IDEALS Grant Coordinator in the Community Education department at Memphis College of Art. She manages and recruits for the IDEALS grant, which allows low-income students to attend any of the college's community education courses at no charge. 
"I also plan activities for these budding artists to take part in for college planning and portfolio building with the hopes of eventually leading them to a career as a successful artist in some capacity." - Chloe

Downton Style, Downstairs Kitchen, Downtown Budget

Recently, The Lovely Side reader and fellow Downton Abbey fan Ashley wrote in:

"I'm obsessed with the kitchen in Downton Abbey. Yes, the downstairs kitchen where the servants cook! I recently moved into a tiny studio in the city with a small but separate kitchen. It has white cabinets, counters, and linoleum. Basically, it's a blank slate. I'd love to get the Downton look for my kitchen, but I'm on a tight budget and in a tight space. Any advice? Thank you!"

Ali Bee's Happy, Homey, Vintage, Cozy Apartment

Today I'm very excited to share the apartment tour of Ali Bee, a fabulous 25-year-old photographer, interior design junkie, and blogger. She lives in this small apartment in her Ohio hometown with her fiance and their two dogs Bella and Daisy. 
I've been following Ali Bee's blog and Instagram for a while now. She's always got something lovely, happy, and inspiring to share – especially when it comes to her photography. This is definitely one of those gals that I would love to grab coffee with and talk decor, blogging, fashion, and life... if she weren't hundreds of miles away!

How to pack (and live out of) a suitcase during a move

Carolyn, a reader of The Lovely Side and the blogger behind her own blog At Least I Will, commented on my recent post Top 10 Must-Haves for Packing with an ingenious packing/moving tip.
"I would also add to this list a suitcase/overnight bag for all the essentials you need the day/night you move in. No one should be tortured with trying to find toilet paper, contact solution, and pajamas after a long day of moving." - Carolyn, At Least I Will

Sneak Peek: My Next Place

The countdown is on. I officially have less than a month to pack up and clean up my current apartment before moving into this Victorian charmer. Don't you just love the gold, brick red, and sage green?! I sure do. And that little front porch? You can bet I'll be putting an adorable little bench out there for morning coffee drinking in the warmer months. 
Every Monday, I'll be sharing my packing/cleaning/moving progress. And once I'm all moved in, you'll have the unpacking/decorating/settling-in stuff to look forward to. I can't wait!
Until then... Learn more about my new home sweet apartment here, then check out my Top 10 Must-Haves for Packing (which I still need to hit up the dollar store for). 
Happy Monday, lovelies!

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10 Must-Haves You Need On-Hand Before Packing to Move

For me, packing is the absolute worst part of packing. At least in my case, my family and friends would have no idea how to pack things the way I'd want them packed. And I wouldn't want them sitting there watching me pack, being bored out of their minds. Speaking of boring, it is. It's so easy to get sucked into an episode of Downton Abbey while sitting on the floor surrounded by boxes. Then another episode. Then suddenly three hours are gone. And third, it's completely overwhelming.

When you're just starting to pack up, you've got a big mission ahead of you. The best thing is to get focused, stay caffeinated, and keep building momentum. The last thing you need is to realize you're out of tape, your marker has dried up, or the canister of coffee is empty.

Before I even touch a moving box, I'll be rounding up the packing supplies I already have on hand and hitting up the dollar store for the rest of them. Here are my packing must-haves:

4 Simple Ways to Cozy Up Your Dorm or Apartment for Fall

The warm days are waning. There's a chill in the air. And I can no longer sleep with my windows open. I love the changing leaves, rainy days, and fall fashions of this season, but I could pass on the cooling temps and blustery winds. In a few weeks, I'll once again have clear plastic over my drafty Victorian windows and the antique radiators will be turned on. Until then, I have some adjustments of my own to make for the changing season.

Colorful Sophistication for Nailah | Dorm Decor Help (Reader Request)

Nailah is a twenty-year-old sophomore at United Arab Emirates University. While looking up ideas for decorating her new dorm room, she stumbled across The Lovely Side and sent in for help:

"The past year and a half I was in another dorm and had to share it with my roommate, so we had some awesome decorations that matched both of our interests. This semester, however, they have moved us to individual rooms that I am finding much smaller for rearranging the furniture and stuff. Also, since it is only me in the room now, I can't decide which kind of decor to go for.

It's Official: I'm Moving to a New Place!

You might have heard: I'm moving! I wasn't actively looking for a new apartment or intending to move, but when the "right place" pops up in a favorite neighborhood at a reasonable price... well, you go for it! During the next month, I'll be packing up and cleaning up my current place and then moving in and settling in to the new one. There will be plenty of packing, cleaning, and moving tips and stories to come, but first I wanted to share a little bit about my new digs.

Little Red Riding Cape | What would you wear with it?

I meant to share this thrift store score weeks ago when I found it, but it somehow slipped off of my radar. Whilst browsing the coat rack at my local Goodwill, I came across the above red cape. And with its $5 price tag, I couldn't resist taking it home with me. I have a big soft spot for Little Red Riding Hood and even though this cape is minus the hood, it feel fairy tale-like all the same. With Iowa's autumn turning cold and rainy, winter is right around the corner. So I'm trying to figure out how to style this lovely bit of clothing. Here are some ideas:

10 DIY Projects on my To-Do List for the New Place

If you haven't heard the exciting news... I'm moving! In a little over a month, I'll be settling into a lovely main floor, two-bedroom unit in a Victorian house oozing with charm. I'll have more space to work with (and a location super convenient to antique shops), but since I'll be paying more in rent I'll need to be more thrifty and crafty with how I fill up the space. (No more Target shopping sprees.) 
So in gathering inspiration for my new digs, I've rounded up some do-it-myself projects on my to-do list. In no particular order...

Big News: I'm Moving... Maybe!

* * * 10/14/14 Update: I got the place. I will definitely be moving. :) * * *

I could use some happy thoughts and good-luck vibes sent my way this week, lovelies. I have big new looming: I might be moving. It's not in my name yet, but that's where I could use your well wishes sent all the way to Iowa. ;)
I've been in my lovely little apartment on the second floor of a big Victorian house for over a year now. While I've had no desperate urge to pack up and move again, I've kept my ears and eyes open for "greener pastures" – especially since my lease is now up at any time. And in casually hunting, I stumbled across some place wonderful. I went to check it out. And I fell in love.

The Best of Me Book + Soundtrack + Sephora Giveaway | #TheBestofMe (Closed)

* * * This giveaway is now closed. * * * Please check the giveaways tab for more contests.

Autumn. Besides the return of cozy sweaters, warm scarves, and all things pumpkin spice flavored – there's something about the season that inspires nostalgia and romance. A chilly evening is the perfect excuse to grab your girls, your sister(s) and mom, or your guy and head to the cinema – after grabbing a pumpkin spice latte, of course. And just in time for this cozy, nostalgic, romance-is-in-the-air weather, The Best of Me is hitting theatres.

Man Cave Makeover: The Homebrewery Tasting Room

I was invited by Man Crates: Gifts for Men to take part in their "Man Cave Makeover" campaign. The challnege: find items to spruce up a dull man cave and make it as special as your guy. Man Crates is a one-stop online shop for all the hard-to-shop for men in your life. Whether he's an athlete, gamer, or beer nerd, Man Crates offers creative gift sets for your dad, brother, guy friend, boyfriend, or husband. Plus, the gift sets come packaged in a wooden crate and require the supplied crowbar to pry it open. 
Here on The Lovely Side, you see a lot of my girly decorating style. Lots of floral patterns, lots of pretty colors, lots of feminine touches. But I do have an industrial, rustic edge to my decorating – and this is a fun opportunity to really play that up in a man cave.

Autumn Beauty Arsenal: Gems + Copper + Baked Goods + Wine

Hands down – autumn is my favorite season to dress for. The layers, the colors, the textures... it's all so warm, cozy, and romantic. So it should come with no surprise that I'm also partial to fall beauty. I get to revel in my fair skin, match my auburn hair to turning leaves, and pull out the deep burgundy and berry lip-stains. Oh yes, fall is splendid.

I rounded up my arsenal of autumn beauty items, so without further ado...

Jewel Tones
O.P.I.'s Pompeii Purple is my new favorite nail color. It's a vibrant metallic fuchsia that I just can't get enough of. You'll also catch me wearing lipstick as red as rubies and eyeliners in hues of emerald, amethys, and sapphire – but not all at once. I like to let these showstopping shades shine against neutral backdrops.

6 Oktoberfest Ensembles for your Fall Festivities

Hammerschlagen, dirndls, and lederhosen – oh my! 'Tis the season for Oktoberfest, which I'll be celebrating in the Amana Colonies this weekend. I can't wait for a day of eating hearty German food and drinking Millstream's bier with my boyfriend and friends.

But before I get ahead of myself, I have to decide what to wear. Last year, G and I went all out by making our own Oktoberfest costumes. (You can check out the post about our thrifted, DIY dirndl and lederhosen here.) This time around, we're playing it down with some cozy autumn clothes. (Side-note: It's fall here in Iowa and absolutely gorgeous right now.)

Whether you're toting your stein to an outdoor festival or indoor themed event, I pulled together six Oktoberfest-inspired getups to complement your activities:

Using Statement Pieces to Start Conversations While Networking | Guest Post

Millennials know that networking is a necessary evil in getting ahead in the workplace. It’s a crucial tool for building new relationships and forging connections with influential industry members – and it’s also incredibly awkward. It’s a dance where everyone knows the steps, but still fumbles with the footing. We know to anticipate small talk, but that doesn’t make it less boring; we know we can join in laughter shared among any group of strangers, but that doesn’t make it feel less forced. 
Common interests are a saving grace when they finally make themselves known. From European vacations to number one sports teams and favorite local vendors, having a jumping off point for conversation not only makes the back of forth of dialogue easier, but also makes you a more memorable acquaintance and allows you to speak more confidently. Unfortunately, it usually takes a few minutes of chatting about the weather to uncover these commonalities. So why not make your interests more visible usi…

Style Jargon: Business Casual vs. Corporate | Guest Post

With the school year in full swing, undergrads and young professionals will be pounding the pavements looking for internships and employment. If you’re one of the Chosen Ones lucky enough to have a position, I tip my oversized sun hat to you. Whether you’re handing in resumes or handing in your timesheet it’s time to get down to the business of office dress codes. 
Many have tried to break down business casual vs. corporate work wear, but there still remains some confusion. Otherwise known as the question, to wear pantyhose or not to wear pantyhose? Think of it this way, if you work in a more creative environment (i.e. fashion or the arts) you are mostly likely going to err on the business casual side of things; with a bit more liberty to wear colors and prints. If you work in a typical office setting (think high-rises and cubicles) you’re mingling more with the corporate dress code.