Let’s talk fashion, shall we? Especially now that it seems like winter has turned the corner into spring and we are able to turn to our fun spring wardrobe of bright colors, light layers, and fun pieces!

Ever since I shared my first Stitch Fix review I have been itching to schedule another one. I just loved the idea so much. You sign up, fill out a style profile, and schedule a box. Then a box of five items arrives at your doorstep and you have three days in your home, with your complete wardrobe, to try everything on and really decide what you want to keep.

I just love it. It simplifies the shopping process, you get access to unique items that may not be available where you live, and it helps push my style by providing items I may not have initially picked that I end up loving. Plus, you can leave notes for you stylist and ask for certain pieces based on what you are needing at that time.

For my March Fix I wrote to my stylist Melissa, asking for a denim jacket, a more casual blazer, a dress for graduation, some colorful pants, and anything sparkly. What did Melissa send? Exactly what I asked her – plus a sweet note explaining why she picked everything. Unfortunately the jeans she sent me didn’t fit and it would have been indecent to share a picture with you. Here are the four items that did fit and were decent to show you.:)

Brandy Metallic Chevron Blouse by Skies are Blue

Oh sparkly shirts, you are my love! I basically want my entire wardrobe to be either sparkly or a bright color. It hurts having to return a piece that is so fun and sparkly. Ultimately I did decide to return this one based on the profile it created. All the different draping and the a-line symmetry in addition to the blouse-y fabric didn’t make it the most flattering. Sigh. So close but if it isn’t amazing and something I am constantly reaching for, I’m not keeping it.

Returned.

Kaylie Chevron Blazer by Tart

 

I slipped this blazer on and it was like angels singing from the heavens. This classy, structured, yet fun blazer literally feels like wearing your favorite, old, beat-up sweatshirt. It might be the most comfortable piece of clothing I own. It is so soft, stretchy, and just forms to your body while also providing a structured look. Plus, the fun pattern really kicks it up a notch as blazers go.

KEPT!

Syriana Dress by Katherine Barclay 

Oh dress, how I love your color. Unfortunately I felt like a mermaid wearing this (in a bad way). As many women would probably agree, my middle area is my most sensitive body image area that I try to camouflage when dressing. My middle just felt too exposed here, and with the added flounce on the bottom it just didn’t flatter me.

Adding some bling at the neck helped balance the flounce at the bottom, but it still wasn’t jiving for me. Also, adding a jacket (see below) definitely helped balance the piece out. However, I am not going to buy a dress that I can’t take my jacket off. But did I mention the glorious color? Melissa, keep sending that color!

Returned.

Raina Dark Denim Jacket by Liverpool

A jean jacket with stretch is essential. This jacket definitely delivered on that front; it was so comfortable and not confining. I thought about keeping this one but realized that I would prefer a classic jean color in a jacket. Oops, should have told Melissa that. BUT I actually like that she sent me something different from the million jean jackets you see around. I like being pushed to try new things out fashion-wise. This was definitely a close one.

Returned.

Not pictured: Jake Straight Leg Jean by Just Black

Didn’t fit!:(It’s ok, I have the magical jeans from my last Fix!:)

What do you think about my Fix this time around? Pieces I should have kept that I didn’t? What’s your favorite of the four I showed?

If you are interested in getting your own Fix, you can hop on over and schedule yours now. This is a referral link for me and I would be forever grateful if you used it when signing up! Plus, once you sign up and start getting your Fixes you can pass around your referral link to friends and family and starting getting credit too!

  • You got some great things this time. I love the blazer that you kept and know that you’ll get a lot of wear out of it. I’m really surprised that you didn’t keep the sparkly top. It was cute!

    I’m rocking a Stitch Fix top right now! :)ReplyCancel

    • Ooo so fun you are wearing one now. I love the service!! I should have taken a profile picture of the top so you could see the draping. It just wasn’t too flattering. But the blazer on the other hand is amazing! I’ve already worn it twice!ReplyCancel

Downsizing. It’s something that one usually associates after the kids have grown and are on their own and you are left with an empty house that is just too big for the two of you.

That’s what I always thought downsizing was going to be for me.

However, my downsizing came a little earlier than I thought (hello 27). I moved from a 2,000+ square foot house to a three room apartment. It became a puzzle of what to keep, what goes where, and don’t even think about taking that off the moving truck because it’s not even close to fitting in this space.

The less stuff, the smaller space, the not enough room for that here sounds pretty horrible, right? Except it’s not. It is actually the opposite for me. It’s freeing. It’s enlightening. It’s lightening. It’s captivating. It’s just plain fun to me.

Instead of having all the space I ever needed, now I have just the right amount of space I need. It pushes my brain to a whole new level. It makes me think outside of the box. It pushes me, yet it also lets me just enjoy my space, my life, my home more.

There is less responsibility, less stuff on my home to-do list, and it’s frankly quite nice.

I’m calling it the power of a small space. Here’s why I am embracing, and even highly grateful for this small space that is my Goldilocks apartment (not too big, not too small, it’s just right!).

 Creativity

Living in a small space makes my creative mind explore all new ideas! I only have a certain space with specific dimensions, and I need to fit this there or find more storage here. It makes me look at items differently. Ice buckets turn into nail polish holders, night stands into tool storage, and laundry rooms become extensions of the kitchen. It’s fun! It makes you look at every item differently and wonder what else you can do with it, what other function it possesses aside from the obvious.

Challenge: find a random item in your house and make a list of 5 other functions it can provide other than the obvious. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find! I’d love to hear about the results too in the comments.

Cleaning

Hallelujah!! Less to clean. It is amazing how much simpler life is with one bathroom (and one person using it). Three rooms is also so much less to vacuum and dust.

I swear, the best part of living in a small space is that it takes me under an hour to clean the entire thing, thouroughly, from top to bottom. That means, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, wiping down the kitchen, tidying up, putting things away, throwing in a load of laundry – everything in under an hour to make it feel fresh and spotless. It might even be less. I’ll have to time myself next time.

It used to take me half a day of solid cleaning to do such a thorough cleaning job in my last house. Maybe I’ll never move.

All of us small space residents, let us rejoice together that cleaning is so much easier and faster!

Organization

Organization to me is sanity, happiness, and freshness. It just makes me so happy. It also becomes essential in a small place. There has to be a place for everything or else it becomes glaringly obvious and downright messy. This is definitely where creativity comes in as you try to find the perfect places for every last item.

However, the small space can make it easier in organizing too. You don’t have as much space to have things pile up so you use the space you have and then get to….

Purging

This may be my favorite thing I have found in my new small space. When I had rooms and rooms to fill and pile up with my “someday I will use this” purchases, I had way more stuff than I used/needed. I had the luxury of space to hide it away.

Not so much now. There isn’t a whole lot of hiding places – and usually essential items occupy those hiding places.

Behold, the freeing power of purging. The less stuff you have, the freer you feel. All of a sudden your whole life, nay, even your being, feels lighter and more free. You don’t have as much stuff holding you back, you feel less tied to things, and your consumerism side feels more in check.

I’m telling you, purging is addictive (especially when you make money off of it at a yard sale or flea market).

It hit me when I was unpacking my decorative accessories boxes (yes plural – it was a little out of control). Some items I would pull out and look at and think “Hmmm” while others I would unwrap and look around excitedly trying to find the perfect place to display this item.

Duh. Shouldn’t every item make me that excited?! If not, why do I have hum drum things? I don’t want hum drum in my life. They’re gone!

Now everything I have I ask myself:

  • Is it useful and.or essential?
  • Is it beautiful?
  • Does it make me happy and/or excited?
  • Would I buy it again?
  • Would I move it again?

If it doesn’t hit at least 2 out of 5 on the list then it’s outta here. Hopefully it will go to a home where it does make the list.

 Selective Buying

After all this major purging and simplifying going on in my home, this is the most critical part. See, everything I’m doing above is almost fruitless if I’m not careful about what I’m bringing into my home. If I want to get out of this cycle of buying things I don’t love, don’t need, don’t have a specific place I can use it right now, then I am just making all my work above fruitless. I am just continuing the cycle.

It’s all about being selective and thoughtful in the items that you bring into the house. It may mean shopping less or browsing just for fun. Because that fun usually means you come home with items you didn’t set out to buy – and most likely don’t need.

Yes, that means I haven’t been to Target in MONTHS. Because that is where so much fruitless and senseless buying happens (for me).

Every time I get the urge to recreationally shop, I instead look around and see if there is something creative I can do with what I have around the house.

Or when I do go out and buy something, I have a particular item in mind or a space that actually needs something. I’ve even written a whole post about the year of less stuff because it is that important to me.

 

 

All-in-all I’ve found empowerment, happiness, freedom, and depth of being in my new smaller space. That doesn’t mean that I will never have a larger space again; I know that won’t be the case. However, I do hope to bring this new way of living with me to whatever size home I occupy in the future and remember to relish in the freedom of simplicity and an unburdened life.

  • A small space has to simplify your life. I know it is great not to have to spend your weekend cleaning the house and doing yard work. With a small space there is definitely more time for fun!ReplyCancel

    • Oh my goodness, how did I not put yard work?! I love pretty flowers and all, but a pot or two on the porch is all I need for yard work!!ReplyCancel

Apartment living. This is my first go-round at it.

I went from my parents’  home as a child to a college dorm (that made some interesting decorating) to my Dad’s house that was for sale and only had my sparse just-graduated-from-college furniture (Dad was in Atlanta at this point and I was holding down the unsold fort) then to the house with Eric and now to my happy place apartment.

Yes, that’s a strange order of homes to live in, but it’s my journey, and I’m embracing every funny little turn it takes. Which brings me back to my apartment decorating.

I always think that a room looks more finished when something is on the walls. I also think it brings warmth, character, and personality to the home. So my bare walls weren’t really cutting it for me. However, as this is a transitional stage for me, I didn’t want to have to deal with patching a constellation of holes when I moved out.

Hence my challenge to myself in this apartment: to see how I can decorate these walls hole free.

My first step in this challenge has been completed with large-scale engineering prints. Engineering prints are something that I have been ogling all over the internet. They’re everywhere because they are a great, cost-efficient idea.

Engineering prints are black and white large-scale prints. It’s not a high quality print job (as witnessed above) since it is made for printing engineering plats and plans (I work for an engineer in my day job and we have an engineering department at work so I’m definitely becoming more aware of what engineers do and their terminology).

However, you can print out anything as an engineering print. Just send the file to your local print shop, specify you want an engineering print, and $4-$8 later (based on the size) you have a huge black and white image!

I decided to give this a try for impact in my apartment and without any measuring I just went with the idea that bigger is better.

It’s bigger for sure (four feet by three feet to be exact). Maybe I should have measured but I’m liking the huge in-your-face statement my new artwork is making. It just took a minute of, “Oh wow, what have I done.”

The prints I chose were pictures from my travels around the world. I wanted my living room/kitchen area to have beautiful images that inspire me and remind me of beautiful, captivating, profound, and thought provoking moments in my life. Those are feelings I want to embrace daily.

The two above the couch are from my few days in Paris. I went with one of my best friends from college between our sophomore and junior year. Not only is she an amazing, well-traveled friend, but she is fluent in French. Such an easy way to explore France.

We spent the days visiting museums, eating cheese, bread, and crepes from carts on the street while sitting on benches in parks and cute streets, picnicking under the Eiffel Tower, running up stairs to catch the Eiffel Tower in its glorious light show, drinking hot chocolate in cute cafes, and generally enjoying the absolute luxury that was our summer vacation as 20 year olds in Paris. I recognize the HUGE blessing and luxury and gift that trip was.

These prints are just memories of beautiful days. But also reminders about how beautiful and sweet life is – and that we can choose to make our life a beautiful blessing and gift daily.

The picture over the table is taken from a rain forest in Australia; I spent eight weeks abroad Down Under with an amazing group of students and teachers. This picture reminds me of the absolute raw beauty of nature. Nature inspires me every day. I feel most alive, creative, and spiritual when surrounded by nature. It also reminds us of the beauty in everything – even fungus!

Finally, to round off the inspiration in these engineering prints, I printed a free download from the Caravan Shoppe (an online store specializing in art/inspiring graphics for engineering prints). I loved the idea of putting something so inspirational in my designated creative space. I love this little corner of comfort and happiness.

Ding ding! Round one is officially finished of creating artfully decorated walls without holes in this little ole apartment of mine. Now excuse me while I hunker down with a blanket, chai tea, and enjoy this cozy home of mine during the last few cold days of winter (hopefully!).

  • Hillary

    ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️!!!!!
    Bold, creative, thoughtful … a project just like you!ReplyCancel

  • They look awesome!!! What a great way to make a huge impact with not a lot of money. Since they are inexpensive, you can change them out for different photographs when you get tired of these. I’ve always wanted to try this. Who printed yours?ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much Paula! I love how inexpensive they are so I feel okay changing them out. It’s such a nice option! I printed mine at Staples for about $8. You should definitely give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • love that last one! did you print at staples?ReplyCancel

    • I love the last one too! I can’t get enough inspirational artwork! I had them printed at Staples for around $8.ReplyCancel

  • You’re brilliant ! So creative. Your place is beautiful!ReplyCancel

Remember in high school when almost everything was potentially embarrassing? Like, oh my goodness, one hair is out of place or I stuttered when the teacher called on me?! The horror right?! Well, one time I had one of those moments with a dryer sheet at a football game – when you are supposed to be at your absolute coolest.

A group of my friends were all goofing around, I’m sure trying to be cool and impress people – like you do in high school. I had on a hoodie  – because what else do you wear in high school and college, right? Suddenly, I felt a something slightly amiss with my sweatshirt. Things weren’t laying right and I was feeling a little itchy.

I investigated and – horror of horrors – I pulled out a dryer sheet from under my sweatshirt.

I frantically looked around. Did anyone see me pull that out of my sweatshirt? How embarrassing. I don’t know what to do! So (and HUGE shame on me) I quickly just throw it on the ground (ahh it still pains me to realize that I LITTERED) and walk away.

Suddenly, someone from my group of friends picks it up and holds it in the air. “What is this? Why the heck is this on the ground? Weird!”

I furtively look around. Did anyone see me? Is my super pale skin that has suddenly turned fire engine red giving me away? Few. No one is pointing at me and laughing. (Teenage) crisis avoided.

Not that it has haunted me forever, but I’ve never really been a fan of the static sheets over the years. Sometimes I feel like they are a waste of money, don’t work, and just add to the landfill. However, I have had some major static moments recently with my new sheets (that are more like blankets and are ahhhmazing) so I thought I would try something a little bit different – and a little more eco-friendly.

Homemade Reusable Dryer Sheets

What you need:

  • A plastic container
  • Sponges, cut in half
  • Fabric softener
  • Water
  • Optional: pretty paper, Mod Podge, paint brush, x-acto knife

What you need to do:

1. Before we get to the actual making of the reusable dryer sheets, you can choose to pretty up your container by cutting a piece of paper to fit the top and Mod Podging it on (one coat under and one coat over). Just because everything needs to be a little prettier, right?:)

2. Mix together a 2 to 1 ratio of water to laundry softener, filling the container about 2/3 full. I used regular water and store this in the refrigerator because some people have said they were worried about mold. However, I also heard if you used distilled water you shouldn’t have to worry about mold storing it out of the refrigerator.

3. Cut the sponges in half. Submerge in mixture. Close top and you’re done!

4. To use: Wring out two sponges and pop into the dryer with your wet laundry. Dry as normal.

5. When your laundry is done it should come out smelling wonderful, feeling soft, and being static free! The sponges will be dry so just pop into the container again and reuse next load!

I’ve been using these for a while now and LOVE them. This mixture will last a long time and I feel the difference in my laundry. The smell, the softness, and the non static cling in my sheets!

[Thank you to The Mamas Girls for this inspiration.]

I use this in combination with my no-grate homemade laundry detergent and love how much cheaper and eco-friendly my laundering is these days!

  • I am laughing at your dryer sheet humiliation. Sometimes I’ll find a dryer sheet in an odd place, too!

    Your sponge tip is a good one. After I finish the box of dryer sheets that I’m working through, I’ll give it a try. (I make my dryer sheets last longer by cutting them in half.)ReplyCancel

    • Haha. I’m glad you found my story funny! It’s odd the things that stick out to you when you’re young. But the dryer sheets sure do find sneaky places to hide! Not these sponges though! :) Let me know how you like the sponges when you try them!ReplyCancel

  • I made the sponge dryer sheets and they work great’. Now I’m going to make the no grate laundry detergent. Great ideas!ReplyCancel

    • Oh I’m so glad that you like them! I think you will like the laundry detergent even more!ReplyCancel

  • kelli

    Found this humorous…..I just pulled one off of this lady today who was a customer at my work…glad to know the sponges won’t stick to your clothes…:)ReplyCancel

    • Haha! That’s too funny! And what a service you did for her too! :)ReplyCancel

As I sit here penning these words the smallest of snowflakes are furiously falling adrift on my windowsill and forming beautiful alabaster piles of fluff. It is a perfect time to curl up with a blanket on my bed and lazily peruse my favorite art prints on Minted. [It also doesn’t hurt that the scent of chocolate is in the air as the healthy chocolate cake that I made cools in the kitchen.]

Minted is a beautiful and creative website that offers artwork, personalized printing services, stationary, and home decor items. It really is a fun site to explore whether you are looking to fill your walls or friends mailboxes.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite art prints that are on the site now. I am working on curating a special collection of artwork for my home so this was the perfect opportunity to add another piece or two that is really special to me.

Hopefully you will pop over there to and check it out because you have the chance to win $50 to spend at Minted (details at the end)! Also, make sure when you are browsing to hit the little heart when you hover above your favorites. It collects them into one place so you can narrow down your favorites!

Here are some of my favorites:

Inspirational

Love is an Adventure

Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Let’s Get Lost

Be Humble Be Smart and Rule the World

Photography

D’Office – Malta

Morning Light

Seaside

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

California Dreams

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Pining for Pineapple

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Lone Sunbather on the Dunes

Foil

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Virginia Map

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Magnifique

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Some Things Take Time

Art

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Waiting, Malibu 2012

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Naked Penguin

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Beauty Reflects Beauty

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Seven Wonders

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Sail

While on Minted I also checked out some of the save-the-date cards for 2015. My sister is graduating law school in May and one of these designs could work letting people know about her big event (see – date-the-dates aren’t just for weddings)!

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Floral

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Rose Garden

My Favorite Minted Art Prints | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

Gold Foil

Now that you have been subjected to my favorite eye candy from Minted make sure to hop on over to check out your favorite!

Giveaway Closed

The Winner is Cassie!

An even bigger NOW – the giveaway! Enter to win a $50 credit to Minted! Just comment below with your favorite print or item from Minted to be entered to win this prize! A winner will be chosen using random.org from the comments below. Giveaway ends on Monday, February 23rd at midnight! One entry per person. Good luck!

I received credit to Minted for this post but all opinions and thoughts are all my own! 

  • The Frosted Barn print is the first thing that spoke to me on Minted.

    Hope you are having a snow day today and didn’t have to travel.ReplyCancel

    • Ohh that sounds pretty – and appropriate! Thankfully I didn’t have to work today. Hope you are enjoying your snow day too!ReplyCancel

  • Love Minted, and the prints you highlighted are gorgeous! I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the site when we were working on all of our wedding stationery. I have my eye on their baby-themed thank you cards — I’m starting to gather them for the exciting baby-splosion I’ll be experiencing in a few months!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks Meg!It sounds like you will have SO much fun using their items for the baby-splosion!ReplyCancel

  • Rocky

    I like the morning light photo the most from your selection. Pretty colors and I like the soft, washed-out look of it.
    The site has a great selection of foil stationary that I really like too!ReplyCancel

    • The morning light one I think I will order! I agree that the washed-out look is so appealing.ReplyCancel

  • Liz

    I love the Beauty Reflects Beauty print!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda

    I love the destination wedding save the dates!ReplyCancel

    • Aren’t those pretty? And doesn’t a destination anywhere for anything sound SO nice right about now?!ReplyCancel

  • i am digging the leo print! sawyer and i are both leos!ReplyCancel

  • Laura P

    I love their save the dates, my wedding is in August and we ordered ours from there! This would help us order our invitations!ReplyCancel

  • I like the D’Office print, I visited Malta last year and LOVED it.ReplyCancel

    • That is so neat Lyka! That would be the perfect print for you!ReplyCancel

  • Elisa

    Oh I love that “Sail” print! I also love heart snapshot mix. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Whitney

    Love is an adventure is adorable… how cute!

    Fingers crossed for the Minted Giveaway!! It’d help a lot for my save the dates :DReplyCancel

    • That would be so fun to use for your save the dates! I love that the Love is an Adventure print is customizable! So cute!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany Koelmel

    I LOVE their wild rabbit watercolor!ReplyCancel

  • Arjay V

    Love the save the dates.. its what we used for our save the dates and we plan on using minted for more stationary needs for our wedding. we could definitely use this!!ReplyCancel

  • Ellyse

    I love minted! What a great post!!ReplyCancel