Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday How To

It's my favorite time of year! Christmas has been my favorite holiday since I was a little kid and this is the first year that I have an apartment of my own to decorate. I took some decorations from my parents house since they have tons, but I also decided to get creative and make a couple. One of which is this cute table display.

All you need is a wine bottle or two, an empty coffee tin, glitter, wrapping paper, ribbon and some kind of christmas filler.

I cleaned the wine bottles and then painted them with green glitter. It's hard to tell in the picture but they sparkle when the light hits them. Then I tied some red ribbon around each bottle neck.

Then I took an empty coffee tin and covered it in Christmas wrapping paper. I had strings of small christmas ball garland. I pulled the balls from the garland and filled the tin with them. (I didn't have enough to fill the whole tin so I stuck tissue paper underneath to make it look full). You can easily use other Christmas fillers such as candy canes or ribbon, etc.

So easy and a great center piece, or in my case end table filler. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keeping things together...

Well I've been slacking. Finishing up the semester and job hunting has kept me pretty busy the last couple weeks. However, I promised to show my household "kits" that I've created so I'll get to it.

I like the idea of keeping things I use at the same time together and I like to make them easy to transport from one room to another. Our bathroom in our apartment has a ton of storage space so I keep a lot of things in there that I don't necessarily use in there. To solve the problem of moving everything from one room to another I made myself little kits out of thing I found in my kitchen cupboards and bedroom closet.

Kit #1 Nail Station

First I grabbed an old toiletry bag to hold all of my foot scrubs, lotions and salts. Then I found an old wristlet and an old makeup bag to hold my nail polishes in a cute organized bundle. Then I grabbed a foot sized Tupperware container and placed everything inside, including my nail polish remover.  Now when I want to give myself a mani-pedi I can just grab the container and bring it to the living room/bedroom and get to work. Plus the Tupperware container doubles as a foot soak when you fill it with hot water. 

Kit #2 Ironing Tools

This time I used a storage container to hold my steamer, anti-wrinkle spray, iron and lint brushes. I slid them on the shelf right next to my ironing board so i can grab everything at once and move it to an area where there's actually room to get rid of my wrinkles. One day I'll have my own laundry room with space dedicated to this, but for now this works for me. 

Kit #3 Hair Care

Finally, I wanted to get rid of the mess of clips, headbands, brushes and other hair tools that resided under my sink. So I grabbed a cloth box I had purchased from Ikea when I redid my bedroom last year and used it to corral all of my hair supplies. I washed out two plastic containers (like the ones that hold rice pudding or ricotta cheese, etc.) I used one for all my clips and a taller one for all of my hair brushes. I slid my blow dryer and hair straightener next to them. I used a small makeup pouch to hold all my bobby pins and hair-ties so they were easy to find. The I slid my headbands into the remaining space. I didn't have time to cover the plastic containers in any kind of wrapping/craft paper to make them more aesthetically pleasing but I'll get to it. For now it keeps everything in place and easy to get to when I'm rushing in the morning!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cleaning up

I spend most of my days off cleaning and organizing my apartment. I hate clutter and am always finding areas that need to organized and re-organized. So, after spending the morning getting inspired on Pinterist, I took on my bathroom cabinets. Luckily, I have a lot of storage space in my bathroom, especially for such a small apartment. However, more storage space sometimes leads to more of a mess. Our medicine cabinet was completely disorganized with bottles of medicine, boxes of Q-tips and beauty products everywhere. However, when I was finished I was left with this!

I started by tackling the top shelf, which was a mess of asprine bottles, band-aid's, cold pills, etc. I grabbed one of the cloth boxes I bought from Ikea last year and used it to corral everything into one organized space. These boxes weren't expensive but if you don't want to spend money, you can use wrapping paper to cover an old shoe box and make a pretty space to hold all of your health needs. Just make sure the box fits in your medicine cabinet. I grouped like items together in the box so that everything was easy to find. Putting everything in a box you can pull down off the shelf also makes it easier to get to what you need without struggling to see on the top shelf. 

Next I tackled the shelf of beauty products. One of the biggest problems there was the amount of space packaged products were taking up. For instance,  I took the Q-tips out of their box which was taking up most of the shelf and put them in a Tupperware container to save space. Then I took my disposable razors out of their packages and placed them in an old coffee mug that I wasn't using. Finally a took a long plastic tray (a dollar at Walgreens) and put all of my lipsticks, chapsticks and lipglosses inside. I also used a tiny pouch (free with a jewlery purchase at American Eagle) to keep all of my beauty "tools" together (tweezers, nail clippers, nail scissors, etc.) and placed it in the basket. 

Finally, I tackled the rest of my make up which was basically jammed into the plastic drawers on the bottom shelf. It was a disaster trying to find what I needed in the morning. First things first, make sure you go through your makeup and get rid of anything that's old or that you don't use anymore. Then I simply organized each drawer by what part of the face I used the products on. I made an "eye drawer" a "cheek drawer" and a "brush drawer" (I already had a "lip basket"). I fit all my bronzers, blushes, and concealers into the cheek drawer and all my eyeshadows, mascaras and eyeliners into the eye drawer. To keep the eyeliners organized I used another one of the small pouches to hold them together. I put all the different kinds of blush, bronzer, and eye shadow brushes I had in the brush drawer. I used a small case with brush openings to keep all the smaller brushes together since it's easy for them to get all over the place. 

Any smaller lotions or moisturizers  were placed in another small Tupperware on the bottom shelf. Now I have a medicine cabinet I love to look at, and getting ready is 10 times easier in the morning. My organization didn't stop there. In my next post I'll show you how I made hair, nail and even an ironing kit to keep everything together, in reach and easy to transport.

Quick Fix

So I went on an organizing binge today (you'll see the majority of the results in my next post) and came up with a few new ideas for keeping things in order. One of my biggest problem areas is my jewelry box, as it is for most women. Specifically my bracelets needed an overhaul. They're one of my favorite accessories and I have tons of them. I had purchased some small plastic baskets to keep them in not too long ago, but they didn't keep things neat enough and the baskets were taking up more space than I wanted. After mulling over the problem for a little while I came up with an easy solution. Shower curtain rings!

I had an extra package of shower curtain rings laying around (weird I know) so I opened one up and slipped a couple of bracelets on it, snapped the ring back into place and ta-da! A bracelet holder. I put a couple of thumbtacks up and hung each ring off of one in a row. Now all of my bracelets and rings are organized by style and they make a pretty display on my wall.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pretty Product

Every now and then I like to share some of my favorite product finds, especially the ones that make life easier. One of the best products ever introduced to me is Essie's Good To Go nail top coat. This top coat literally dries nails completely in 10 minutes. I love to change my nail color so I usually do them myself (it's also much cheaper). However, I'm also extremely impatient and always want to jump to the next thing immediately after finishing the paint job. This means I usually end up messing them up. When I told a friend about this problem she introduced me to this wonderful product. Whether you do a french manicure or two coats of black your nails are dry in no time. Within the first five minutes they are only slightly sticky and within ten you can button a pair of jeans without worry. The top coat usually run about $10 to $12 but is definitely worth it. Especially since a bottle will last you much longer than a salon manicure, and that will usually run you the same price.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Warm and sugary deliciousness

One of the best things about fall is the food. As Thanksgiving approaches I've been deciding what dish I'm going to make to bring to my parent's and my boyfriend's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. One of my options is this delicious easy to make dessert. Cinnamon sugar apples is always good for a last minute get together since it doesn't take a lot of time to whip up.

What you'll need:
Apples. Depending on how big a dish you want to make the number of apples you'll need will vary. The recipe I'm using calls for 5 apples and will feed about five or six people.
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 cup Flour

Step one: peel each apple and cut off the outer edges around the core. You can also core the apple and chop up the remainder, but I prefer to just cut off as much apple from around the core as possible. Once you have gotten rid of all your apple cores, slice up the apple pieces into thin slices.

Step two: Mix all of your ingredients into a bowl. Then add your apples. Continue to mix the entire dish until the ingredients have turned into a syrup. Make sure all the apples are completely covered.

Step three: put your entire mixture into an oven friendly dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the apples are soft but not mushy.

Step four: Uncover and enjoy! Put them in a festive holiday dish for some extra sparkle.

Quick space saver

Since my apartment is small (thus the title of this blog) I'm constantly looking for ways to save room and keep thing organized. At the same time I'm adjusting to living with my boyfriend and an additional roommate. One of the biggest problem areas in our apartment is the sink. Everyone is constantly using cups and dishes (specifically my boyfriend and our friends) but no one cleans them. I don't mind doing the dishes but since I almost always end up washing everything at once I end up without enough drying space, particularly for glasses and tea cups. I would rather let the dishes air dry instead of drying them by hand so I came up with a quick, easy-to-do, space saving solution.

By putting this rack of hooks right above the sink I've created extra drying space, extra cabinet space and a cute way to display my tea cups. To create the rack I simply got this hook rack (you can get it at a hardware store, Home Depot, Target or even a dollar store). I then mapped out where I wanted to place it, using a level and pencil to mark where my screws should go. I screwed both screws in almost all the way and then placed the rack on them, screwing them in the rest of the way to lock the rack into place. Wallah! I've created some eye-pleasing storage space.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!

Since my very first blog post is falling on Halloween night (as I sit here in my cat costume for the party we're having at my apartment tonight) I thought I'd show you one of my favorite Halloween snacks.

I made these Caramel Apples for my boyfriend and our friends a couple weeks ago for an impromptu get together at our place. Making caramel apples is really easy (believe me, I'm not exactly a master in the kitchen) and delicious.

What you'll need:

Caramel (either a block of caramel or the mini caramel candies will work)
Popsicle sticks or skewers
Candy (optional, I used Reese's Pieces)

1. Put the apples in the fridge overnight. The caramel sticks better if they're really cold.
2. Melt the caramel in a pot that will be deep enough to dip almost the entire apple in. If you don't have a very deep pot you can always use a spoon to help cover the apple. Make sure to melt the caramel at a low heat and constantly stir it to keep it from burning.
3. Wash the apples and dry them thoroughly. Stick your Popsicle sticks or skewers in the top of each one.
4. Dip the apple so that it's 3/4 of the way covered, leaving just the top of the apple showing. As I said earlier, you can roll the apple on its side in the caramel or use a spoon to spread the caramel on the apple if you don't have a deep enough pot.
5. Place the caramel covered apples on non-stick foil and let them cool.
6. Optional step - To change things up try crushing candy and rolling the caramel covered apples in them before setting them down to dry.
7. Share and Enjoy!