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rosedale apartment tour: bedroom

Allllrighty then! It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve done an apartment tour post, so I’m a bit rusty. I think it goes something like: 1) tidy up room 2) snap some pics (using a real camera this time) 3) cobble together some words that 98% of you will skip over cause tours are all about the pics and 4) post that shiz! (p.s. I updated the House Tour page with these pics and a few others, if you’re in a pic-browsing mood.)

First, let’s take a photo-jaunt down memory lane. We moved in almost exactly a year ago, and the room looked like this:

empty bedroom

Then, we moved our stuff in and I tried my best to embrace neutrals with some breezy bedding and this macramé yarn garland:

The Rosedale Apartment- Bedroom

ABA Nightstand Numero Uno

Then, I got very lucky when I found the perfect vintage nightstands at a sidewalk sale. I refurbished them (read more about that in this post) and moved them into their new home:

Painted MCM Nightstands | Awfully Big Adventure

Well, if you give a mouse a cookie… I loved, loved, LOVED the new nightstands, but they made the headboard stand out even more. In a bad way. It was the push I needed to recover the headboard, which is still one of the easiest things I’ve done that provided the biggest impact.

recovered headboard | awfully big adventure blog

Awe, I just missed that light, bright room for a hot second. Until I remembered having to wash that duvet cover once a week and getting a full body sweat every time I tried to put it back on. I wrote about the decision to switch up the bedding to something darker here.

I can’t remember if I’ve actually said this on the blog before, but moving in with Matt kind of threw me for a loop, decorating-wise, especially in our room. In an effort to make it not too loud and crazy (my normal speed), I abandoned all color in favor of those neutrals. Not only was it not smart because of the very real, very black dog we have, but it just didn’t feel like me.

And now, one year later, here we are:

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 1

Color! Pattern! Contrast! But it’s still gender neutral, which is what I was hoping for our shared space. A few things have changed that I haven’t mentioned — the curtains, some decor, and we switched out my high school (high school!!!) dresser for a fresh one from Ikea.

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 2

Matt got a prickly little cactus print hung over his nightstand, and I added an organizer for TV remotes, glasses, coasters, and the one billion receipts he likes to hang on to just to torture me. I hung a vintage horse mask over my nightstand that was handed down to me by my aunt and added a big tray for my tchotchkes that I like to collect just to torture Matt.

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 3

The only change to the bed since our last post is the addition of those two throw pillows up there that got kicked off the couch when we got a few new ones. I know some people are all ::eye roll:: at pillows on the bed that serve no function, but to those people I say 1) honestly, what are you doing reading this? and 2) Finn likes to make a little nest in the middle of them so they are perfectly functional for my dog and that is totally normal, right?

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 4

That there is our new dresser from Ikea which we love very, very much. But I know what you’re all thinking: GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY that is a big ass television. Yes, folks, yes it is. Would I prefer a smaller one? Sure. Is that a road I want to go down, when 1) I don’t really want to go through the hassle of selling a perfectly good television to buy a new one and 2) Matt gives me pretty much complete creative license around here and if he wants a big TV he gets a big TV and 3) I can’t really insult the box that gives us things we love so much, like Scrubs and Bob’s Burgers and that crazy OJ documentary we just finished that was soooo good and anyway you get my point.

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 7

We added some new knobs to the dresser. They give it a little interest and make it a little more unique. Also, the knobs that it came with were black and I didn’t love the black/white contrast, so bai-bai old knobs.

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 9

There ya have it. Sometimes it takes you a year to figure out what you want from a room and how to get there. This room feels true to us and is one of the reasons why I’m okay with staying here another year. Climbing into that bed at the end of the day (especially when the sheets have just been changed, a.k.a. one of my favorite things in the whole world ever) is a great feeling.

awfully big adventure rosedale living room 10

Speaking of…ya girl’s got clean sheets on the bed so I gotta GO. Source list is below!


Dresser (in white stain)
Nightstands (vintage)
Headboard (DIY)

Wall Art:

Prickly cactus print
Finn illustration (gift)
Texas print
Horse mask (vintage)
Wicker mirror


Sheets (discontinued, similar here)
Duvet cover (in Midnight)
Indigo Euro shams
Lumbar pillow (discontinued, similar here)
Rose gold pillow (sold out, gold available here)
Palm pillow (discontinued)


Curtains (in cream/gold)
Blush flower vase (discontinued, similar here and here)
Neon pink frame (discontinued, similar here)
Lamps (similar here in Sea Foam Green)
Macramé yarn garland (DIY)
Copper knobs
Square knobs
Hamper (discontinued)

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july small goals

One month of #goals down, and we’re already one week into July. The good news: I did pretty good on June’s goals! The bad news: it’s actually too hot to do anything in July. Here’s a detailed breakdown on how the June goals ended up, followed by the stuff I’m going to try to get done in July.

basil lemon drops

  1. Sell furniture/decor items on Craigslist. Done! I sold four things- two rugs, an armchair, and a side table that we never used. Bye bye stuff we didn’t need, hello more space.
  2. Paint TV wall black. Done! We finished this towards the beginning of the month, and posted about it here. I’m still loving it!
  3. Shoot before/afters of the black wall and submit them to publications. Done…ish? It wasn’t until I was writing this post that I realized I said publicationS. Plural. I only submitted it to one, but now that I have the write-up and photos done, I think I could submit it to a few more fairly easily.
  4. Make these basil lemon drops and enjoy them on the finished patio. Done. (Photo proof above!) I tweaked the recipe because we only had cranberry vodka on hand, and I messed up the stevia to simple sugar ratio so they were way too sweet, and I made two (one for Matt and one for me) but then he fell asleep on the couch so I threw his out because if it’s too sweet for me then it’d be way too sweet for him so it wasn’t *perfect* but it did get done. And I did get to enjoy a couple chapters of my book on the patio, which was nice.
  5. Finish Fates & Furies. Done! Finally! I was really surprised at the direction this book took toward the end. It was a really interesting read, but frankly it dragged a little bit for me and I didn’t love the way it ended, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it.

Last month I said, “Next month I’ll circle back and I’ll either be successful and lord it over everyone, or I won’t be and everyone can point and laaaaugh and laugh and laugh like I did when Matt assumed I wouldn’t drive myself nuts with projects over the next year,” so I guess this is the part where I get to lord it over everyone? I did it! I completed all my goals. And honestly, I don’t think that stuff would have gotten done if I hadn’t written the goals down and made it a point to complete them during that month. We’ll see if I have a similarly successful July…


July’s Goals

  1. Make a dish I’ve never made before. My brother was just in town for a brief visit, and we cooked paella (his favorite) when he was here. It was a good reminder that just because I haven’t made something before doesn’t mean that it’s particularly difficult or unattainable. I want to make at least one more new dish this month.
  2. Update media kit. I started a media kit last month for the blog and it’s…alright. (Yes, this blog is over two years old and I haven’t had a media kit til now.) I want to make more edits and have a completed version that I’m happy with by the end of this month.
  3. Attend the Austin Flea. I haven’t been vintage shopping/thrifting in a while, and I’ve never been to the Austin Flea, so this seemed like a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Who’s coming with?
  4. Declutter kitchen cabinets and pantry with the KonMari method. I KonMari’d a while ago, but never got to the kitchen. I want to clear out all the stuff we never use to make room for more useful things.
  5. Work from a coffee shop at least once a week. I am always so productive when I get out of the house and work from a coffee shop…plus, yummy coffee. Plus, it helps me avoid work-from-home-cabin-fever. I used to be in a good habit of doing this, but I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit and need to get back on.

Wish me luck! What are you guys working on this month?


currently: june 2016

Patterson Park

Making: Some crafty type things for a close friend’s baby shower. It’s like this…the crafts are basically just a convenient distraction from the CUTE SQUISHY BABY that will be here so soon!! I’m a lil excited.
Cooking: I made an old summer standby last week- Pioneer Woman’s chicken salad with blueberries, corn, red onion, and feta. So good every time. Next week my brother is coming in town and we’re cooking dinner together for his birthday. He’s a bona fide chef, so I kind of feel like he’s giving me a cooking lesson for his birthday, but my mama didn’t raise no fool so I’m not about to say anything.
Drinking: Basil lemon drops with too much stevia. Note to self: next time look up the stevia to sugar substitution ratio instead of just eyeballing it. Also, ice water. It’s hot, yall.
Reading: An oldie but a goodie- The Prince of Tides. Does anyone else worry that they are too focused on new books, new restaurants, new movies, and that they are missing all the old but still good stuff?
Wanting: This time of year makes me want to exclusively drink from double-walled tumblers. There’s so much condensation that coasters don’t even help. I have a few of these, but would love some that don’t have lids. Anyone have eyes on some cute ones?
Enjoying: Cool, clean sheets. Clean sheets are great year-round, but I especially love how cool these sheets from West Elm stay even during the summer months.
Loving: Hour and a half long conversations with one of my best friends that lives overseas.
Listening: To Finn panting. He’s a huge baby in this heat. I wait until the sun is going down to take him on a walk each night, and he still lays down one to three hundred times during the walk to cool his belly down in the grass.
Needing: Just like, one day of 80 degree weather would be nice. Just a little teeny break. I’ll settle for the awesome, sporadic thunderstorms that have been rolling through. (I think of Clueless every single time I use the word “sporadic.” I hope not sporadically.)
Smelling: The last of my favorite Target candle. Time to restock.
Wearing: Head to toe Old Navy. They have such cute stuff this season, and they are never not having a sale. Some recent purchases include these sandals and this peplum tee. I’m also dipping my toe into the monokini waters with this one from Target. Hard to argue with that price.
Watching: Orange is the New Black. I finally buckled down this weekend. It was overcast and Matt was out golfing, which made for the perfect lazy afternoon to blow through the end of the season. No spoilers–I thought the first half of the season was kinda meh, but the second half had my jaw dropped pretty much the whole way through. So good!
Bookmarking: Everything by this artist is amazing. This play-by-play of the Game of Thrones finale made me lol.
Feeling: Excited for some time with Matt’s family and some friends at the lake this weekend. That + 360 degree views of fireworks around the lake always makes for a really great fourth. ‘Murica!

finn cooling down in the grass


back in black: our cheerful black accent wall

The title of this post is brought to you by 1) Matt’s true, unconditional love of 80’s rock and 2) our shiny (well, eggshell-y) new black wall. If you have been anywhere within ten feet of me in the last eleven months or have read this post or this post, you know that I have had the itch to paint this wall black for a long time. It started almost a year ago when I saw this house tour on Apartment Therapy, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. From there, I created a Pinterest board for my favorite black walls/black inspiration images. These are a few of them:

black accent wall inspiration

When we decided to stay in this apartment for another year, I decided to shut up about it and just do it already. I didn’t succeed in shutting up about it (sorry, literally everyone I’ve had human interaction with for the past two weeks), but I (we) did do it. As you can see above, I love a black wall with a slight sheen to it. And I wanted it to be cheerful. A dark, black, cheerful accent wall. What, like it’s hard?

This is the part where we make our vlogging debut, all dressed up in our painting finest. Real talk: never, ever, pause this video or play it slowly. If you do, not only will you see me looking supes disgusting but more importantly, I think Samara from The Ring will like crawl through your screen and kill you and dump you in a well. I urge you to heed my warning.

This was our painting process, in case you didn’t pick up every detail from the 27 second timelapse video:

  1. Remove everything from wall including art and outlet covers (except for our shelf and TV mounts, because those were going to stay in place.)
  2. Wipe down wall with a damp rag to remove dust.
  3. Tape trim with painter’s tape.
  4. Use a brush to cut in along trim and around covers/anything the roller might not be able to get close to.
  5. Paint the majority of the wall using a roller for maximum coverage/minimum brushstrokes.
  6. Use this handy edger to cut in along corners and ceiling. It’s quicker than putting up painter’s tape everywhere and gives a really straight line. The tricky part is not letting any paint get on the wheels that it rolls on.
  7. Keep a damp cloth on your person for any slip-ups. We had a few, but a damp cloth took care of them pretty quick.
  8. Step back and admire your new black wall.

To remind you, here’s what it looked like before:

gallery wall around TV

Nothing wrong with it, per se…just couldn’t shake the urge to paint it. I felt like not only would it look great and help our art stand out, but that it would help our very lovely, but very “big box” apartment feel a little less generic.

Guys. Why didn’t we do this sooner?? We love it. There are a few imperfections in the form of some spots where we smudged the wall, but they are pretty minuscule and just not where your eye lands. We ended up doing a very easy second coat with the roller and that was what we needed for really smooth, even coverage. As a person who has definitely gotten knee-deep into some painting jobs that I knew weren’t going to turn out the way I wanted (I can’t apologize to my college roommates for that awful, lime-green bathroom enough), I’m just thrilled with how it turned out. It’s exactly what I pictured. Scroll down for all the after pics, an art source list, paint color, AND a giveaway.

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

Honestly, though. It took about two hours total with prep + paint. Putting up the art the next day took about thirty more minutes. On that note – I grabbed two new pieces , knowing that I wanted add a bit more art and up the cheerfulness by a few degrees. Here are the art sources, clockwise starting with the Austin print on the far left: (all that are available are linked)

  1. Austin neighborhoods print in an Ikea frame (new!)
  2. My aunt’s photograph of a bistro table in Paris
  3. Georgia O’Keeffe skull print (larger size) in a Target frame
  4. Wooden kiwi statue- vintage
  5. Small blue plate 
  6. Illustration of Finn in a West Elm frame (12.5 square)
  7. Fleetwood Mac lyric print in a Target frame
  8. Hello Sunshine print in a Target frame (new!)
  9. Edward Gorey book
  10. Georgia O’Keeffe poppies print in a Target frame
  11. Social Print Studio Instagram picture of Matt and I in an Ikea frame
  12. Fritz Scholder lithograph in a custom copper frame from Hobby Lobby

Paint color- Kelly-Moore “Yin Mist” in an eggshell finish-but we added 60 shots or so of black pigment to deepen the hue.

a cheerful black accent wall

One benefit that could 100% be in my head or could be real is that I feel like it’s a bit cooler in the living room. This room gets a ton of afternoon sun and it is HOT in Austin this summer, so the room gets pretty warm in the afternoons. I feel like it’s been a bit more manageable since painting. Just in case you needed one more tiny, possibly made-up reason to paint your wall black. Like that’s the one detail that’s going to send you over the edge. “Well, I wasn’t sure, but Molly said that it MAY affect the temperature by about a degree, so LET’S DO IT!”

a cheerful black accent wall

But really, if you’re sitting there hemming and hawing, and you’re like “love this idea, but I hate doing things” or you have never painted before and you feel nervous or you don’t have time or WHATEVER, but you still want to get stuff done–might I introduce Thumbtack? It’s a handy app that you can use to get connected with local professionals to help cross those things off your list, whether it’s hiring a personal trainer, a house cleaner, someone to teach your kid piano, or, you guessed it-someone to come paint your perfect cheerful black accent wall that you now need. One reader will receive a $100 credit towards Thumbtack-simply comment on this post with what you might use Thumbtack for, or tell me how pretty the wall looks and how you wish you could pet it.


This post is sponsored by Thumbtack. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ABA!


FLFFL: fiddle leaf figs for life

We brought home a fiddle leaf fig five months ago. We jokingly refer to him as Finn’s brother and we’ve named him Leif. I’m not saying that treating the plant as a person is the reason we’ve successfully kept it him alive, but it’s not not working. I’ve received some questions about the care and keeping of Leif along the way, so I figured I’d share what’s worked for us here.

1. Plant in a pot that drains.

I mentioned in this post that I’m easily offended by the cost of planters and plant stands–what blows my mind even further is that many of them don’t even drain. I’m not a seasoned gardener by any means, but every plant I’ve brought home needs a draining pot so that the roots don’t drown. This is definitely one of those! I’ve noticed that Leif does better when the soil can air out a little bit, and having a draining pot helps that along.

It’s annoying because I don’t have one of those convenient little trays that sits under the pot to catch the water, so I have to put a towel under there for a while and then take it out from under the plant later, but no one said being a plant parent is easy, guys.

Leif the Fiddle Leaf Fig

2. Bright, indirect light.

When we first brought Leif (Fiddle Leaf Fig, Absorber of Water, Needer of Light, First of His Name) home, we had him stationed in a spot that was about 15-20 feet away from several south and west-facing windows. The room gets lots of bright light in the afternoons, and I had heard that bright, indirect light was the best route for FLF’s. I noticed that he was getting sad and droopy, and it wasn’t a water issue, so I started picking him up and lugging him right in front of a window a couple of times a week. His leaves stood right up and he looked v happy.

My back was not v happy. Luckily, I had some furniture I was looking to get rid of in our living room. Once that was gone, Leif got settled in his new perma-spot right near a window. Win/win!

west elm craigslisted indigo rug

3. Water every other day.

This is a generalization–your actual routine will be based on your pot size, whether or not your pot drains, how big your fiddle leaf fig is, etc. What has worked for us is a fairly generous watering every other day. The soil dries out just a bit and is ready for more by day two. I’ve noticed that when his leaves start to droop, that either means he needs water or more sun. Sometimes a bit of water perks the leaves back up.

fiddle leaf fig with credenza

4. Wipe leaves every few months.

I’ve only done this twice since getting Leif five months ago, so every two-three months I think should be okay? I was raised with a healthy fear of putting my fingers directly on to plants-THE OILS WILL KILL THEM! (Is this just me? Did anyone else get this drilled into their heads as a child?) Based on that fear, I think more than that could be over-doing it. Anyway…I take a damp dishcloth and very gently wipe the dust off the leaves–this is supposed to help remove dust that blocks the leaves’ ability to absorb light.

leif the fiddle leaf fig

And YAS QUEEN that IS a lil’ preview of the freshly painted black accent wall! 😀 But back to the matter at hand–if you’ve been debating becoming a member of the FLFFL club but have heard that they are finicky or tough to take care of, I’d encourage you to go for it! I really, really love the color and freshness that he brings to the living room, and honestly it’s taken more effort for me to refer to a plant as a “he” and “him” throughout this blog post than it does to actually care for it.

If you’ve got any other tips, I’m all ear-shaped leaves!


june small goals

I mentioned in this post that we’ve decided to stay put at the Rosedale apartment for the next year. After Matt and I made the decision, we were sitting around talking about the pros of staying, and he said, “It’ll be so nice for you to not have any projects, since everything’s done!” I paused, looked at him, and laaaaughed and laughed and laughed. He now understands that the projects may never end. (The limit does not exist!)

fiddle leaf fig with credenza

In the spirit of never-ending projects, I thought I’d try out a new series on the blog-monthly small goals. I saw this series originally on the site of the super lovely/stylish/fun to read and fellow Austin-blogger Writes Like a Girl, and I love the idea. I do better with goals when I write them down–hello, physical monthly planner book that I still use on a daily basis. Also, lists. Sign me up. I’ll do my best to make these somewhat related to the blog and not list things like “For the love of God, schedule that dentist appointment already.”

SO. Here are my small goals for the month of June, including one I’ve already completed LIKE A BAWS.

  1. Sell furniture/decor items on Craigslist. Done! A while back, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I used it mostly to clean out and organize my “things,” but realized during the process that some of my furniture and large decor items were just taking up space and didn’t bring me joy. It’s always kind of sad to get rid of things that you have a history with, but I ended up selling four things- two rugs, an armchair, and a side table that we never used. The place feels roomier and happier already.
  2. Paint TV wall black. I’ve wanted to do this since moving in. Our living room is so bright that I think it’s the perfect room for this experiment, and the black will really make the art on the wall pop. You can see my inspiration here. We started the process by putting a couple of paint samples on the wall, and neither of them are quite dark enough. Really want to get this done by the end of the month!
  3. Shoot before/afters of the black wall and submit them to publications. It’s been quite a while since I’ve made any submissions, mainly because I’ve just been enjoying creating content for the blog and not focusing on promoting it. I think these before/afters will be too fun not to share, though.
  4. Make these basil lemon drops and enjoy them on the finished patio. This checks off several mini-goals: 1) actually using the herbs I’ve planted/successfully kept alive, 2) basking in the glow of the completed patio and 3) ree-lack-say-shee-on. Plus: “Basil Lemon Drops.” Just saying it out loud makes my mouth water.
  5. Finish Fates & Furies. Bonus: could combine this with goal #4 for a very enjoyable evening. I kind of had a hard time getting through the middle of this book, but now that I’m reaching the end it’s really ramped up and made me excited to finish it. Plus, I need to finish it so that I can choose my next book. Any recommendations? I’ve got a little list going, or there’s the ever-present option of re-reading the Harry Potter series for the eleven hundredth time.

Next month I’ll circle back and I’ll either be successful and lord it over everyone, or I won’t be and everyone can point and laaaaugh and laugh and laugh like I did when Matt assumed I wouldn’t drive myself nuts with projects over the next year. I’ll try and cling as hard to my goals as Finn is clinging to his best friend, Harvey, in the most adorable candid photo of all time. Just kidding, I staged it. OF COURSE I staged it, guys. Do you think these photos just happen?

finn and harvey



currently: may 2016

white peoniesMaking: Deals on Craigslist. All day erryday. Not really all day, or erryday, but I’m getting rid of a few things and it feels good.
Cooking: I made these turkey stuffed peppers this week, with three important changes: 1) I used long grain & wild rice. Sorry brown rice. You kind of…suck. 2) I grated my own cheddar. So much meltier than the pre-shredded stuff. And cheaper, woot. 3) This part is important: put an over-easy egg on it. GAME CHANGER. Also, my mom got me this book for my birthday and I’m so excited to try some recipes!
Drinking: I have an on-off relationship with smoothies. We are currently very “on.” My recipe-ish: strawberries, blueberries, banana, spinach, almond milk, dollop of vanilla greek yogurt. I freeze my bananas and use those instead of ice cubes and feel like that makes it super cold but also super creamy.
Reading: I finished My Name is Lucy Barton and now I want to read everything Elizabeth Strout has ever written. I loved it, and it’s a really quick read if you’re in the market for something brief. Next on my list: this recommendation from my mom, and this one I’ve been putting off because it sounds heartbreaking but worth it.
Wanting: Things I am a sucker for: peasant tops, pendant necklaces (with tassels!), brightly colored dishtowels, and when Anthro puts their sale on sale.
Enjoying: What it feels like to settle in…we made the decision to stay in our place for another year. The part of me that wanted a backyard is sad, but the part of me that has moved once a year since beginning college almost eleven years ago is pretty pumped.
Loving: Getting to spend time with my whole fam this past weekend for my sister’s graduation. Obviously I cried at commencement…I can’t get through a graduation ceremony at any grade level without tearing up. They just feel so monumental. The passage of time, the accomplishment, yada yada…it moves me.
Listening: This song remains my favorite to listen to at dusk with my windows rolled down. Don’t question, just try it. I found this episode of This American Life even more captivating than usual, which is saying something. And since I work from home…I laugh every time I hear this.
Needing: A new phone. I’ve had mine for going on FOUR YEARS which, to be honest, I didn’t even realize was possible. It’s definitely showing its age…need to rip off the band-aid and go deal with it, I just…don’t want to. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Smelling: Big, bloomin’ peonies from Trader Joe’s. $6.99 per bunch. Get thyself to thoust nearest TJ’s and getchu some.
Wearing: The comfiest, easiest dress to my birthday dinner while we were in Florida. Heads up: it’s actually not that great for super-breezy locations. Lesson learned 🙂 I’ve also been wearing this top pretty much everywhere since I bought it.
Watching: I finally started Better Call Saul (need to catch up with Matt, who has already seen the first season.) We also started Hannibal pretty much the second I realized it was available with Amazon Prime. We’re only a couple episodes in, but it is sooo good in the “totally holds your attention and keeps you from mindlessly scrolling through Instagram” kinda way. Also, this is my second-favorite SNL skit from this year, right behind this one (scroll to minute 6:47 to get right to the good stuff).
Bookmarking: This post for when I need some new books to read, and this Austin home tour is friggin amazing.
Feeling: Oscillating between being so happy with life in general (I like my WHOLE HOUSE! style) and being annoyed/cranky with the seemingly endless grey sky and rain in Austin lately. Can you get seasonal affective disorder…in May…in Austin, Texas?


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one room challenge, week 6: the petite patio makeover reveal

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! The patio is done and my derriere couldn’t be happier about it. After cleaning up and planting a small herb garden in week 3, buying chairs in week 4, accidentally lugging around five extra cinderblocks and building a bench in week 5, week 6 was just about layering on some accessories, pouring a drink, and enjoying this thing.

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal

Finn helped, of course.

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal 2

I mentioned in week 3 that I was going for neutral furniture pieces with interesting, colorful, patterned accessories. And that is what we did. All of the sources will be listed at the bottom of this incredibly picture-heavy post. For now I will just say: flamingo pillow. Iiii mean.

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal 3

What patio would be complete without a freshly cracked bottle of cold Topo Chico? I added a marble cheese tray on top of the copper-painted aluminum side table so that the drink actually stays cool. Also, fun styling tip: make sure the “Made in Taiwan” sticker is clearly visible on the bottom of your bottle opener! 😉

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal 4

This planter was a very unexpected, yet very welcome (and well-timed), birthday present! Somebody figured out that I have a blog where I write about things I like on a monthly basis. Makes gift-giving a little easier.

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal 10

Orange, blue, and pink has long been a favorite color combo of mine. This decor is a little louder than what I would normally do in the house, but something about being outside makes it easier to say “SCREW IT!” and buy the flamingo pillow. (Just making sure I write “flamingo pillow” a minimum of like…seven times in this blog post.)

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal 13

Flamingo pillow. Heh.

ORC spring 2016 petite patio reveal 12

This wee table has proven to be just the right size for two drinks + a citronella candle at night. On that note: mosquito problems are real here in Austin and they loveee me. Anyone have any repellent recommendations that aren’t sticky/don’t stink?

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I bought cheap outdoor chair cushions to help protect the chairs from the intense sun. They also keep our butts comfy.

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MOAR COLOR. MOAR PATTERN. p.s. Please no one freak out. I plan to bring in the Persian rug + seersucker blanket when it rains. The orange rug is outdoor aka made of plastic, so it’s good to go. Which leads me to my new pet peeve that I didn’t previously know existed: why do people think “indoor/outdoor” rugs are a thing? Those only seem to be good for “outdoor” spaces that are completely covered. Which might as well be indoor. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Oh…I also brought Leif (our fiddle leaf fig) indoors after I took these photos. That spot gets pretty intense sun and I read that fiddle leaf fig leaves (FLFL?) can scorch easily, so I’m not risking it. Finn would be so upset if I killed his brother.

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A few things have changed in the tiny herb garden since week 3: the little rectangular planters I got for the herbs were too small, and the herbs started to get root bound. I used some larger planters I had from Ikea to re-pot some of them, and grabbed some inexpensive terra cotta and concrete ones to fill in the gaps. Then the rectangular planters were sad and empty, so I picked up some super small succulents to fill them up. Now it’s like a wee little jungle that helps me forget that the highway is on the other side of that fence.

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The flowers bloomed on this purslane plant the day I took these photos. Not mad about how that worked out. This plant is supposed to be super heat tolerant and it’s in the spot that gets the most sun, so I hope it stays this pretty!

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Finn wants to know what in the Sam Hill is going on out here.

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He’s not sure what in the Sam Hill is going on over there, either.

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“MUDDER STOP. Don’t you have some before/after photos to show?” Well yes…yes I do. Isn’t that why we’re all here, anyway? Scroll down for that sweet, sweet hit of before/after goodness.

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I’ve had this blog for two years and I don’t think I’ve ever done a true side by side before and after. Just one more reason (besides a fully finished patio that I’ve already begun to enjoy) that I’m so glad to have joined the One Room Challenge! For more full reveals, check out the other guest participants here.

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Finn is just glad this whole thing is over. Watching it happen as he laid on the couch was a very grueling process for him. Thank you all for helping him through this difficult time, and thank you for sticking with us through what I think is the most photos I’ve ever posted in one sitting. Whew! Full source list is below.




Planters & Pots



one room challenge week 5: i’m a bench

I’m laughing to myself at the title of this post. When my sister was little, she didn’t know the words to Meredith Brook’s song, Bitch, so she would sing “I’m a bench, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother…” She was, and is, totally adorable and the best little sister in all of the lands. Now that she’s older and a soon-to-be college graduate, she earns her “best sister” status not by sweetly singing the wrong words to pop radio, but by dragging her hungover butt to Home Depot with me to help me build a bench for my patio. FULL CIRCLE!

DIY patio bench

(If you need to catch up: I started the One Room Challenge on week 3 with a mission to overhaul the patio. In week 4, I pulled the trigger on some chairs and a side table, this week (week 5) I built this bench, and next week is the full reveal!)

There she is, in all of her incredibly simple glory. Eh, glory is probably a strong word, but it’s a word I get to use after bumbling through Home Depot and sweating through hoisting nine cinderblocks into my car and onto my patio. Hey guys: cinderblocks are HEAVY. My sister can attest to this. Did I mention she was hungover?

DIY patio bench

Nine cinderblocks, you say? But there are only four cinderblocks used in the bench? Yah, I had some grand plans for this thing. They looked much better on paper. The final product was…so, so bad. Tim Gunn would call it “overworked.” So, we lugged around five more cinderblocks than we actually needed. And for whatever reason, my sister hasn’t shaved my eyebrows off in my sleep or burned my apartment down. Like I said, she’s the best.

DIY patio bench

I’m putting some of the extras to use as a plant stand, as you can see, so it’s not a total waste. Bench details are as follows: One 2″ x 12″ piece of pressure treated pine cut to 4.5 feet, plunked on top of four 8″ x 16″ cinderblocks. That’s it! All sources for the accessories that you see will be shared in next week’s reveal, so yall come on back now, ya hear?

DIY patio bench

I’m pretty much done at this point…just need to grab some more plants and pots, style it up, and take some pics for next week’s reveal. The bench was definitely the hardest part of this makeover if sweat level is the main unit of measurement, which I think means this was a pretty freaking easy room. Lots of the other participants are doing much tougher work–if you’re interested, check them out here!

DIY patio bench

We’ve already started using the patio (I’m writing this post from it tonight!) and it’s so awesome having essentially an entire new room in our apartment. I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner. Much like my sister was probably kicking herself for agreeing to go to Home Depot with me. Big ups to her for being The Numero Uno Sister and to the One Room Challenge for motivating me to finally get this space together. Onward to the full reveal!


one room challenge, week 4: rest on one’s laurels

I believe it was Shakespeare that wrote,

Player 1: Come on guys, we can’t just rest on our laurels.
Player 2: Why does everyone say that? Maybe a laurel is a good place to rest.

Oops I’m wrong, that quote is from the equally critically-acclaimed classic Bring It On, of early 2000s cheer-movie fame. The quote really makes you think…what’s wrong with some good old-fashioned butt-sitting every now and again? Isn’t that really, ultimately, what butts (and patios) are for? Ya know what, let’s actually not go down that path.

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Last week, I jumped into the ORC ready to tackle my patio. I cleaned it up, planted some herbs, and shopped for chairs (Hence all the butt talk. Sorry guys.) This week, I thought it’d be helpful to lay out a floor plan to help you guys see what we’re working with. The patio is not tiny, but it’s awkward- very long and skinny. The current plan is to put two chairs and a small table on one end as seen above, and to use a bench to add some seating on the long wall (more on this next week!) About those chairs…

ORC spring 2016 week 4 patio chairs

I knew I wanted something round with cool lines as I was inspired by my dream chair- the Acapulco chair. I was not inspired by the prices of Acapulco chairs. (You can see some options here, here, and this is the cheapest one I’ve found.) I had seen these Target chairs in the store and on the interwebz and thought they were so cute…I even blogged about wanting them for the patio in February’s currently post. *Technically* they aren’t outdoor chairs, but they have a lacquered rattan seat with an iron frame, which are definitely outdoor-friendly materials. I figure I’ll pull them in if the weather gets nuts.

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I really, really like them. They are comfortable for the laurel-resting, pretty, they fit the space well, and I can see using them inside or out wherever we end up next year. I also picked up the copper side table from Target, which is the perfect size and oooooo it’s shiny. Last week I mentioned that I was hoping to go for neutral furniture and then to layer on interesting and colorful accessories, and so far that plan is working.  Plus, I got it all 15% off during a home sale, so that doesn’t suck!

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Next week, I’ll be posting about a bench project I’m working on that could be a major win or a spectacular fail. Then, the next week will be the final reveal! BENCH OR NO BENCH. The show must go on. If you’re interested in following along, you can click here to check out the other ORC participants this week. Happy browsing!