keeping the focus

I've said it time and again. I'm terrrrrible at keeping up with this blog. Sorry folks! Having a full time job and being a real person in a real city has proven to be a little hectic to start, but I'm quickly getting the hang of it. New apartment, new "roommate" (hi honey), new workplace, new clients, new habits.

We moved in at the end of July and immediately bought all the essentials. Here I am, sitting here, telling you that we purchased all this random stuff the week we moved in just to fill the voids of the space we had here. This is the only thing I tell people who are moving/just moved to avoid doing. "You'll end up with a bunch of sh*t you don't even like," I would say. But here I am.

the opposite of our house.

The place was bigger than we thought it would be and with an absence of WINDOWS on the walls (basement living to the fullest), I began to panic a little. We bought mainly kitchen essentials because cooking is like totally our thing. We bought bookshelves because someone has a lot of books, and that someone is not the girl writing this blog. We bought the cheapest coffee table we could. We swooped in and got the hand-me-down-and-free dining table and chairs from his old house. We have yet to do anything with said dining table and chairs besides put a lot of junk on it. BUT... we bought a small rug for under my lovely couch, both of which I actually love. Those can stay for awhile.

My bedding mixed with Jeff's mattress was like heaven on earth the first night we got to sleep in the apartment. Other than that, the bedroom is bare. BARE, Y'ALL. I am having a mini crisis just trying to figure out what to do with it, so I resorted to Pinterest (per usual). Just to remind myself that did have a general look/feel of this place in mind when we found it and moved in. Sometimes this process needs to happen before things get really weird and you end up with some red paper lamp.

I bought one last year at this stage. It's currently behind me.

1. cozy home with pretty things.
2. coziest bedroom with neutrals and nothing crazy
3. awesome desk for doing awesome things like this blog and a secret project I've started in the last month or so. oh, and we are totally getting a desktop just like this wood one. Talk about a *big girl desk*

Let's make a list of adjectives just like in middle school. Just so we're on the same page.

I want our home to be:
cozy, comfy, pretty, inviting, welcoming, light, textural, colorful, fun

Having only two windows in the front of the house (thankfully this is the bedroom) and zero in the main living area has proven to be a little tricky. While we have great recessed lighting, I think lamps are going to be the savior here. Let's hope.

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on making it perfect

When it comes to making a home your own and really styling it to your liking, I have a lot to say. My thoughts generally include angst toward those who just can't seem to make up their mind on how they want to style their home. 

Styling the place you spend all of your nights sleeping (well, mostly all of your nights, unless you travel and such) and all of your weekends baking and brunching (I wish) should not be hard. It should not be a task. It is a straight-up hobby. Something you do as you go along in life and find what speaks to you.

Where people first go wrong is when they say "I need pillows" or "I need a nightstand." Let's be honest - you don't need it. That tupperware bin that you've been using as a nightstand will suffice until you find the right thing and you are 110% happy and excited with your purchase. I have lived with odds and ends of furniture all through college and can honestly say I did not care. 

The second area in which people go wrong when furnishing their home - caring. People really really really care about what other people think about their home. Albeit Pinterest and Houzz have sparked this care, you should genuinely not give a shit about whether or not someone will judge your decision of interior furnishing. Why does it matter? They aren't living there. You are. You need to be the one that loves and cherishes that space most and the journies that lead you to the things in there.

Nothing bothers me more than when someone insists on having their hand held when shopping for home goods. "Is that going to look ok?" "Can I do that?" To which I often want to reply, "Is your home being photographed by Domino in the next month?" To which their reply would 99 times out of 100 be "No." Rule #1: There are no rules.

So why does it matter? I believe (and am certain) that this all stems from the want and need to be accepted by our peers. You want them to pat you on the back and think you have the coolest home on the block, right? Right...

I style my home because it makes me happy. Maybe I have some talent I was born with that allows me to have a better eye than others when it comes to this thing called "decorating." The truth is that I am no better at it than anyone else - I just know what makes me happy inside. My kitchen is a happy place because I love being in there. Every room should reflect how you feel.

If you find the need to have a status (say, if you are a housewife in a million dollar mansion with a husband that makes 6 figures), hire a designer. Hire a professional that knows what they're doing. Designers are really good at doing all the worrying and nitpicky things that come along with furnishing and styling an entire home. Trust me, I deal with them everyday and have vowed to never become one of them. They will design a space to a tee and make sure it's presentable enough for the President of the United States (sup Obama) to have dinner. All while you just sit back and relax (and pay the big bucks).

If a designer is not in your realm of affordability (seriously, who can afford a designer before age 40?), do your research. Get on Pinterest. Start boards. Find what inspires you and look for a common thread amongst the pins you like. Then, start doing things. This next part is very important:

Do not treat every decision like it's the end of the world. Because, guess what? It isn't. The world will not come to a close just because you buy the wrong size end table. If you are genuinely happy with something you buy because it is a good representation of who you are and how you style your home, that will not matter. You thought it would work well next to the sofa, but now you realize that maybe it would be awesome next to your random old hand-me-down chair in the bedroom. Boom, swapped. Problem solved.

Serial shopper & returners are retail workers worst nightmare. It's okay to change your mind, but it should not happen with every purchase. You do not need your "designer friend"s second opinion on the mirror you bought. There's a reason you bought it - you like it. Keep it. They will not judge you for your purchase.

So please, friends. Trust your instincts. Furnish and style your home the way you like to. After all, it's a representation of who you are, just as the way you dress. Not someone else's representation of you.

image via

dress accordingly

Over the last few years I've started seeing how my style works - what I'm drawn to, what makes me all big smiley-faced when I wear it, and what others basically have come to expect me to wear. It's not that I've set a precedent for looking cute, I just enjoy being dressed and playing dress up. I don't know the last time I wore sweatpants or Ugg boots in public (other than in the state of Vermont in a small town with a population of 2,000 - it's acceptable, okay?). I don't feel confident in hoodies. I don't like the way tee shirts feel on me, unless it's a V-neck and meant for casual wear, not football games.

Designing myself has been a task I've been taking on since 2010. Some people may find this pompous, arrogant, etc. I like to refer to those people as people without dreams. Sorry boutcha. You crush everyone's hopes and dreams. You're that person in 8th grade math class that passed a calculator with 55378008 on it to me in the middle of lecture. And hey, by the way, I'm a DD now. In. Your. FACE.

There's a pin on Pinterest about style. It's simple: 1. Know Who You Are 2. Dress Accordingly


Since I'm newly 25 and still defining my style, it goes to show how long of a process this can be. I'm sure it'll evolve with time, but for now I've made a list of sorts. Essentials, if you will.

1. RED/CORAL/PEACH BAG • Except the last year and a half or so I've been rocking a nude one from H&M, which has served it's time very proudly. But prior to that... red, peach, etc. each serving a good year until they began splitting at the seams and/or acquiring holes (I lost so many things between the lining and bag textile itself... important things. Toothbrush, where are you?)

2. CINCHED WAIST • Almost anything I wear has this. Point being, when I was a junior/senior in college and drinking 5 out of 7 days of the week (yolo), no waist was visible. I was an oval plump skinny-limbed girl and it was weird. Then all my friends graduated and left me behind, limiting me to about one day out of every two weeks that I went out. Yeah, drastic changes there. Cinching the waist is just the most feminine thing you can do, and the easiest to make you feel like a lady. But once you eat lunch it gets iffy. (andddd I'll let the ol' belt out a notch...)

3. OXFORDS • Hello. My name is Stafford, and I fucking love oxfords. I'm not talking saddle shoes, I'm not talking the super masculine ones. I will swoon when I see a guy wearing some nice warm brown leather oxfords and a suit though - nothing is more appealing. But when it comes to ladies oxfords, they have to be unique, and delicate. Nothing clunky or heavy. Nono. One time a friend made a joke (two years ago, before oxfords were in their trendy time aka now) "what is this? the 18th century?" Clearly he didn't know how to predict fashion trends. Also, I hate flats. Also, I especially hate ballet flats. The only time I'll be seen wearing either is at work, where I'm forced to wear them.

4. DRESSES • I could go on for days about how much I hate wearing pants. It's nearly impossible to find the right fit, and even when you do, chances are: the length is off. Waaay off. I'm talking they're to the floor, or at your calf. There is no medium. And don't even get me started on rises... and how it accentuates a butt I don't even have. Dresses are my answers to bottom woes. I like my legs, and I like to show them off. I also like cinching my waist, which is what a dress does, about 90% of the time. Plus, ultra feminine and fun. Duh.

5. CHEAP SUNGLASSES • I can honestly say I don't remember the last time I wore a regular pair of sunglasses. Probably sometime in high school. Ever since the plastic fake colored Raybans came into style in all their patterned, printed glory, I haven't looked back. What better way to say "I'm kinda serious but not that serious" than with neon yellow sunglasses? I definitely don't wear them with business caj attire, but even my pair for those outfits is a little weird. (after searching for a good pair for this image, I found these, and directly added them to my bag to be purchased tomorrow... signs of a problem.)

6. BOW JEWELRY • In all shapes and sizes, people. I have gold, I have silver. I have earrings, I have pendants. Hell, I even have a bow belt. I love bows. They're an easy way to put an extra precious touch onto any outfit, just to let people know you mean business in the business of happy. Maybe it brings back memories of those clip-on bows from childhood? Or Christmas? Who knows. Either way, bows = happytown.

7. WHITE FLOWY TOPS • Because who doesn't want to camouflage what they have neglected for months (if not years...)? White flowy tops are feminine, almost always pretty, and especially darling when they're textured (hello, lace). They also go great with, oh, anything. Pair them with a skirt. Pair them with jeans. Pair them with sweatpants. Ok, no sweatpants, but you catch my drift.

That's all for now. There's a whole other list for my make-up/hair characteristics that'll come later. For now, I think this list is pretty on point. Props, me.

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