Saturday, April 11, 2020

My Easy, Paint-Free Deck Makeover For Under $300

Floor to Sky: Rug, Wayfair // Bistro set, Wayfair // Reed fencing, Amazon // Solar lights, Amazon

So, it's been a full month in quarantine and it's kind of hard to believe. While I try to focus on the positives, like more time with my husband, it's been an unbelievably trying time. One thing that has helped immensely is my new outdoor oasis. 

When Sean and I moved here about two years ago, the deck was in dire need of a new paint job and some furniture. But, we decided to focus on other things first, like redoing the kitchen and purchasing a grill. Then, we focused on saving for a house and vowed not to spend any more money on our rental apartment. Well, that was before quarantine...

With our outdoor options limited (beaches and parks are closed in Norwalk, and there will be no rooftop happy hours anytime soon), we decided to make an exception to spruce up our deck. But, we would only invest in things we could bring with us to our next place. Read: no paint. I was inspired by the Instagram below, showing a bamboo fence covering, all the mood lights, and an outdoor rug.

I turned to Wayfair for the bistro set and outdoor rug, and nabbed both on sale. (The bistro set is currently back ordered until June but this one has a similar Mid-century Modern feel.) Then, I found some reed fencing and solar-powered lights on Amazon, since we don't have a plug outside. 

To hang the reed fencing, I used small pieces of twine to tie it to the balusters every few feet. Then, I clipped the lights to the little loops of tweed for easy hanging. The whole project—including furniture assemble—took only a few hours and cost about $300. It was worth every penny, as we have been able to take advantage of each warm afternoon and evening outside, something we never used to do when the balcony was in shabby shape. The solar lights charge during the day and automatically come on at dusk. The mood truly feels like an island oasis, and the reed fencing offers privacy from kids playing in our shared yard. What has been your quarantine lifesaver?  
Instagram @AmericanStyle
 Before: Chipped paint, dirty floors, and old rusty chairs (although my mom looks lovely modeling it!)

Monday, March 16, 2020

5 Ways To Stay Sane While Working From Home

How I think I look working from home...
 As I scroll back to my last post from just over a week ago, I can't believe how rapidly things have changed. Fairfield County has been a hotbed for Coronavirus, leaving schools closed, events cancelled, and anyone who is able working from home.

Since I started my own business a little over a year ago, I've gotten a lot of questions about how I manage my time and stay motivated while working from home. Many of you may find yourselves in the same boat for now, so I thought the least I could do during this scary time was share some wisdom I've learned about working from home. Here are my most helpful tips and tricks.

1. Establish A Routine

People always ask me if I have to shower and get dressed before working each day. While I know that's a must for many freelancers, it's a no for me. I've become an evening bath person, and I enjoy easing into the day. I start each morning by walking my dogs and making a big 'ol pot of coffee. Then, I sip my coffee while going through emails, browsing headlines, and checking any minor tasks off of my to-do list. 

I make something easy for breakfast, like avocado toast or a smoothie. After breakfast, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed. If I don't have any meetings or lunch dates, that's usually just a comfy pair of leggings and a slouchy sweater—no bra is my fav WFH perk. Then, it's time to dig into my assignments. By this time, it's usually about 11am and I get some solid work done before lunch. For me, that's a routine that works. Of course, you'll have to figure out what's best for you, but once you get into a rhythm, it's easy to crunch out your work.

2. Have A Designated Workspace

I'm a firm believer that the bedroom is for two things, and work isn't one of them. Contrary to my photo, I almost never work in bed, unless I'm not feeling well. Since I'm a full-time freelancer, I have an office with a spacious desk, but you can carve out a space in your living room or at the dining table. Keep your work things here, and when you sit down at this space, you can mentally know it's time to work. 
How I actually look—pimple cream, leggings, and all. 

3. Create An Uplifting Scent

Behind not wearing a bra, my second-favorite work-from-home perk is getting to diffuse my essential oils all day. For work, I love something energizing like peppermint or lime. (Doterra has a "motivate" blend I'm obsessed with.) If you're not into oils, burn your favorite candle or simmer some good smells on the stove. Throw a few orange peels and some cinnamon in a pot with water for an uplifting blend. 

4. Take A Proper Lunch Break

When you're not in an office, you don't get those little breaks to chat with a coworker in the kitchen. Because of this, it's extra important to take little breaks throughout the day and, in my opinion, a proper lunch. I close my laptop and forget my emails when I eat and watch one TV show. If I'm having a busy day, it's a half-hour episode of SATC I've seen a million times. If I can manage enough of a breather, it's a 45-minute episode of something I'm binging (currently working my way through Vikings). 

5. Communicate With Family/Roommates Like Coworkers

Sean always works from home a few days a week, and it's been full time these past few weeks. When he's at the office, we communicate via G-Chat. As we've been figuring out our dynamic as "coworkers," we've started communicating this way at home as well. At first, we were interrupting each other at the wrong moments and giving terse responses. Now, I can send him a message and he can respond when he has a moment. Sometimes I'll say, "Can I come pick your brain about something?" And he'll let me know if he has time. Treat family members and roommates as you would your coworkers instead of always dropping by their desks or shouting across the room. 
These are some of the little things that make working from home successful for me. Do you work from home often? What is your best WFH tip? Stay safe and healthy, fashionistas. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Easy Being Green In A Corduroy Coat And Kick-Flares

Head to Toe: Tank, made by mom // Coat, Ainara // Jeans, Citizens Of Humanity // Sneakers, Keds // Bag, Thrifted // Earrings, Impulse Control Vintage // Watch, Michael Kors via The Real Real

Hello, Fashionistas! It's been over a month and what can I say other than: February. It was a month, I was sick half of the time, and leaving the house was a chore in and of itself. I did manage to get dressed a few times, which you can see below or on my Instagram. Now, it's officially March and things are looking up. We've been having springlike weather, and the crocuses are starting to pop up in my neighborhood.

For this month's Nuuly order, I chose pieces that are warm enough but in Spring hues to feel lighter than my heavy winter rotation. This green corduroy jacket strikes the perfect balance, offering protection from early spring winds in March's favorite hue and a short silhouette. 

Today is Sean's birthday, and we have a relaxing weekend planned to celebrate him. Between the election and Coronavirus, there's been a lot of background noise and anxiety in the air, and I'm looking forward to time with family and friends to focus on all we have and just enjoy each other. How is your March starting?
Photos by Chris Loynd

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Shadow & Sun: A Winter Sweater With Spring Flowers

Head to Toe: Sweater, pants & coat, thrifted // Barrette, Urban Outfitters // Watch, Michael Kors via The Real Real // Earrings, Impulse Control Vintage

By the end of January, I am pretty much over winter. Unfortunately for me, there are about another two to three months left in New England. That's why I live for sweaters like these, embroidered with sweet flowers that feel downright springlike, even though it is super warm for cold days. I found this one at Goodwill Norwalk for $5 last year, and it's one of my favorites.

Yesterday, I paired it with these cute (deceivingly stretchy) slacks for a day trying out a new coworking space and evening dinner. I caught some pics at prime golden hour, though half of this gorgeous door was in shadow. Usually not ideal conditions for photography, I actually love how these came out. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Styling A Vintage Coat & Cameo

Head to Toe: Blouse, coat and jeans, thrifted // Slides, Marine Serre x Melissa // Cameo, Anna Pearl's Curiosities //  Earrings, Impulse Control Vintage

This vintage L.L. Bean coats is one of my favorite possessions. Now that I am officially *30* it just feels even more sophisticated. Yep, I hit the dirty thirty on Tuesday, and it feels pretty great. Sean got me some beautiful new vintage pieces for my birthday as well, including these '80s earrings and this darling cameo.

I had a blast celebrating last weekend with friends, and on Tuesday with family. It's the first birthday in my memory where I really feel kind of different. So, new age, why not a new project? I'm always digging through thrift stores and stumbling upon awesome vintage pieces. Sometimes, I have a hard time leaving good finds, even if they aren't my size. For a long time I've been toying with the idea of starting a little store to sell such finds, as well as things that no longer fit or don't quite work for me anymore.

So, with some extra downtime at the office this week, I finally got my Depop store up and running. Depop is an app that's kind of like Poshmark but geared toward creative types. Go check them out and pop into my shop while you're there!

Visit my Depop store here

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Tinsel Sweater That Sparkles Through January

Head to Toe: Sweater, Raga // Leggings, Marshall's // Booties, Seychelle's // Bag, JL Rocks // Earrings, Connie B's Boutique

Anyone who thinks sparkles need to get put away with the holiday decorations after New Year's definitely hasn't seen my closet. This sweater was a major I need item from my latest Nuuly order. It is totally statement making while being incredibly comfortable and wearable with leggings (just wear long sleeves underneath, the sparkly threads are itchy). 

January is such a tough month for clothes. We're over the autumnal hues of our November wardrobe, but spring florals are a world away. After New Year's, I love to resort to Valentine hues, plenty of warmth, and a dash of shimmer. It may be the last week in my twenties, but I don't plan on changing my style for the new decade just yet (refer to last post with loud sequined jacket). Just wait until you see how insanely bright and sequined my top is for my birthday celebration this weekend. Because 30 is the new 20, amiright??
Photos by Chris Loynd

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Lucky Cat Sequin Bomber & Suede Leggings

Head to Toe: Jacket, Ottod'Ame // Faux suede leggings, Anthropologie

This Lucky Cat sequin bomber is everything I love about rental subscriptions. These over-the-top sequins are definitely my January vibe, and this kitty butt is giving me all the cutsie feels. That said, it retails for over $600 and it's not one of those timeless/forever pieces. So, I get to let out my inner cat lady for the month with one of my Nuuly picks and be that girl in the all-sequin bomber...for now. Happy New Year, fashionistas! How is your 2020 going so far?