Apartment Budgeting 101

Apartment Budgeting 101

Moving is expensive…. like… really f****g expensive, and I’m learned that very quickly! At the beginning of the year, I laid out my goals for 2019 and budgeting for an apartment move was a the top of the list. (and thank god I did)

Budgeting for a new home is a two step process. The first being the rent itself, but something that’s equally as important, the furniture! Although I’ve loved IKEA since birth, this felt like a time to graduate to other brands. With that said, saving, refurbishing and keeping my eyes peeled on the best deals was very important.  I had to get creative and also embrace that this is a lot harder than just grabbing a top at Zara on sale.

What and How to Buy New:

Based off my space size increase, I did have to buy a large amount of new items. Those big items included an area rug, couch and the bedroom furniture. Although more expensive than I was used to, they are pieces I’ll be using everyday, so it didn’t take long to get over the initial hit to the credit card I had to take.

Websites like Article and Birchlane were both reasonable and easy to find exactly what I was looking for. I also referenced this article, which helped me understand the price points I should be expecting for certain pieces of furniture.

I’d also say that buying new linens, pillows and prints are easy and quick ways to change up your space without totally breaking the bank.

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Where to save:

Just like shopping for clothes, never count out a consignment shop! All of the armchairs I wanted a big box stores were basically double or triple the price of what I found at my favorite antique shop in Chicago. I’ve got a bunch of items, big and small from flea markets and such that have really pulled my place together. There’s a lot of charm to be gained when you mix newer modern pieces with older, more one-of-a kind pieces.

Framing art is another potential money pit that can easily be avoided. A craft store like Michael’s or local framer can charge you hundreds per frame, but never fear, IKEA is always here. For my gridded gallery wall, I picked up these 9×9  frames for $10 each and bought matt board from a craft store and did this myself. This was at least a third the price if I had a professional or online company do it for me.

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Things to keep:

One of the best parts about this move was that I had the chance to look at everything I own, and make sure that it had a purpose if it was taken to a new space. Although I’m not an avid reader, by any stretch, I have a great collection of coffee table books from travels and friends that serve well in a more design sense than they ever would to read. Any cute book has a chance to serve as decor on your table or side board like it does for me.

Those little side tables you got in college, keep them! I almost threw out a $20 black table from IKEA but you never know when you’ll need another surface next to your couch, bathroom, etc. The same goes for picture frames too, as they can easily be repurposed if need be.

The best advice I can give is to think practically when you’re decorating an apartment. You can dream, but you have to be realistic. You know what’s trash, you know what’s overpriced and you know what you need. Only spend the money when it’s something you’re using everyday. Don’t buy the $300 couch and the $70 designer coffee table book! (Even though I’ve probably done the latter before)

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A list of my favorite places to shop for this apartment below:

Article

At Home

Birch Lane

Crate and Barrel

Edgewater Antique Mall

Foursided

IKEA

Randolph Street Market

West Elm

Color Me Complete

Color Me Complete

If you haven’t already figured out by now, color is EVERYTHING to me when it comes to my personal style. I’ve always been drawn to colors; bright and bold. When it came time to decorate my apartment, especially my living room area, incorporating colors in a seamless way was imperative. That didn’t mean just a couple of throw pillows and calling it a day.

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The Walls: The first question I’ve been receiving about my apartment is usually in reference to the paint color. As someone who usually migrates towards painting a room blue, I’d been seeing green pop up more and more when looking for inspiration. I  picked my paint color by Backdrop.com, Weekend Upstate, which hints at olive green, but a touch more blue. The reason I chose a half wall style, was because cheats the idea that this new construction building has any sort of architectural detailing, like wainscoting.

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A half wall style adds instant charm and detail to an otherwise basic wall

The Rug: 

Rugs are probably the easiest place to incorporate color, and my splurge from Pottery Barn did just that. This modern taken on a oriental rug has so many colors to pull from, and tied in the green from wall perfectly.

Furniture: 

Perhaps one of the best finds for my house were my red velvet chairs. This vintage find was truly a diamond in the rough. In a hot red color and an unbeatable price ($295 for the set), they were just too unique to leave behind. My biggest fear was that a green wall and red chairs would read Christmas, but the colors are so different, that they end up standing out enough on their own.

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I  choose my couch, from Article, in a chocolate brown, to add a rich and masculine tone to a rather busy color palette that’s already been established. As my living space also shares my dining room, instead of color matching every surface, it was easier to mix. Luckily a black dining table goes with any dark wood, including my side table.

The Artwork: 

Art might be one of the harder things to find for a space, but it can really be the perfect way to incorporate color into the room. Instead of the typical gallery wall set up I’m used to, I  did a gridded style behind my dining table. These are colorful vintage luggage tags from Louis Vuitton, one of my favorite designers. Each brings a hint of color that really picks up tones from the wall, carpet and other parts of the room. Framed rackets, vintage artwork and a few pieces of my own pull it all together.

 

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Love how this gallery wall of vintage travel tags pulled through even more color

Accessories: 

Tying all these colorful puzzle pieces together really comes down to accessorizing. The easiest way I brought color through smaller pieces was my exorbitant amount of coffee table books, each with a different spine, typography and punch. I like stacking them horizontally and placing other pieces on top, for different heights around the space.

I  also picked up a few inexpensive vases in bold hues and added more muted fake florals to each for a sharp contrast.

With essentially a giant white box, there were a lot of directions I could have gone in, and I’m thrilled with the mature and grown up, yet colorful decisions I’ve made in this living room space. The end result is equal parts playful and refined.

I’ll be sharing more on my bedroom design and the how to my best hacks very soon!

Keep reading!

TW

/All photos shot by Jenny Connors/

 

Gifted: Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Gifted: Holiday Gift Guide 2018

A personal favorite post from last year was my holiday gift guide! I  loved sharing what I  was giving last year and the feedback, so I’ve decided to play Santa Claus once again and return with another gift guide for this year!

Although Christmas gift shopping might make my wallet bleed, the idea of finding the perfect gift is worth the financial damage. With that said, I like to mix highs and lows, as most of my gift suggestions are under $30. All of my suggestions are still available to ship well before the 25th. Here’s what will be under my tree this year:

To help them keep time

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Last year I  featured Chicago timepiece company, Wolfpoint, and they still made my list this year too! I  get numerous compliments on my watch from them, and with so many classic styles available, it’s a great gift to pass onto others. The Aberdeen style is shown!   (Under $160)

To help them stay warm 

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Let’s face it, it’s cold out there! I’ve been trying to stock up on all of my cold weather accessories as the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall. Gloves, scarves and hats like this one from King & Fifth is an easy and affordable option in lots of colors that work perfectly with any winter look. (Under $25)

To help them stay tidy

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As someone who wears glasses, I  typically throw them on the nearest surface and then forget about where I’ve placed them until I  wear them next. When doing some early holiday shopping, I  stumbled on this monogrammed catchall from Mark & Graham. It’s not only adorable but also so affordable for gift giving. I  swear by this website and even bought myself one, pictured, as it was 20% off with free shipping.  (Under $20)

To help them remember home

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This is a bit of cheat because I was gifted this from a close friend and their family, but it was too cute not to include! It seems like everyone has a little bit of hometown pride whether it be through sports, high school or even their zip code. These adorable glasses have 813, my area code for home in Tampa, and the make an excellent gift. Every time I’ll drink from it, I’ll think of home!  (Under $15 each)

To help them looking good

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Even thought I’ve never been someone who loves products for my face or hair, that may change thanks to Jack Henry. I  was introduced to them last year and LOVE their pomades for my hair! They work perfectly with my hair texture, and now they’ve launched a sea salt spray, face toner and deodorant that I’m excited to try. They just launched new packaging too, which I  love!  (Each under $30)

Gifting should be personalized and well thought out, don’t just buy something to buy something. If there’s one thing I love more than the reactions when people open gifts from me, it’s the wrapping paper they’re decorated with! I’ll be posting a holiday gifting post featuring my weird obsession with all things wrapping very soon! What are you gifting this year?

-TW

 

 

De-Briefing

De-Briefing

One of my favorite things about fashion and clothes, is that with each new step in life, comes a new stylish privilege. Moving to Chicago from Florida meant getting a new coat, snow boats, and other winter friendly items. With a new job, came the valid excuse to finally get a work bag or in my case a briefcase. Ever since I could drive, I wish that I could have a bag to house keys, phone, wallet, and other essentials that wasn’t a purse or high school backpack. In Chicago and in my travels, I’ve seen so many great bags, backpacks and briefcases out there that have given me serious bag envy. Today I’m “de-breifing” you on the best bags and where to find them.

Briefcase:

Sometimes when you know a brand that kills it, it’s hard to go anywhere else. Fossil is that brand for me when it comes to leather! My bag(shown) is an older model but when it came time to find a work bag, I  only needed to check out Fossil! For your first work bag, black or dark leather is best. A lighter leather will eventually darker, keep that in mind! Similar style here. 

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Back Packs:

I’m seriously loving the fact that backpacks are no longer just made for the hallways of high school with Jansport emblazoned on the back. Leather backpacks feel like they’re everywhere, and my favorites are from Coach.

Although I  don’t have a a leather backpack now, it’s on my fashion bucket list.

Travel:

I  remember back in the 6th grade, walking past the TUMI store and seeing a backpack that I was ready to die for. $250 later, the bag was mine and lasted me 4 years. The point of this anecdote is that TUMI is a great place to look for a travel bag needs. Look for brands that either have a great warranty package, since travel bags are put through the ringer. Lululemon also has a great travel bag my friend recently turned me onto! Similar Style for Tumi. 

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Customize your look by monogramming your bag or adding a tag (my friend gifted mine from Coach) which is a super fun way to add a personal touch to your bag or backpack! Many bag companies can monogram for you, but so can many local shops.

Alrighty, maybe that wasn’t a “brief” post, but it sure was helpful, right? Now you know what to grab next time you need a bag! Enjoy the first week of Spring, hopefully it’s warmer than mine is here in Chicago!

-TW

Settling In

Settling In

February has certainly been the coldest month of the year in Chicago as long as I’ve been here, which means the walls of my apartment start to close in while I live in a state of hibernation until spring rounds the corner.

Because I  find myself having more nights in during this short month, it’s important that my apartment looks its best. If you’ve read my gallery wall post, you know that I  put a lot of design focus on my living room wall. Living in a small one bedroom apartment means wall space is limited and highly prized in terms of decorating.

This month I decided to wipe the gallery wall clean and tweak it with some new additions. Today I’m breaking down my favorite shops and places to find everything in order to achieve the perfect gallery wall, as well as those smaller pieces around my living room!

Wall: Gallery walls should be a mix of a little bit of everything! Photos you’ve taken, maybe some personal sketches, music posters, and art you’ve collected. My new map is from IKEA, that’s also a chalkboard! (how fun) IKEA is where a lot of my frames are from too. I  only invest in frames when they’re really special pieces or going to be hung somewhere forever. Vintage markets and music festivals are great places to pick up prints and smaller pieces to hang. Foursided is one of my favorite Chicago shops for small cards and prints.

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Chair: Finding a good arm chair can take years, but when you find it, you’re set for life! I    scooped up this salmon colored leather chair from a local shop in my college neighborhood for $70. Furniture can be really expensive, so it felt like a steal to me. Throw your favorite patterned pillow on it to make it feel finished.

Table: The table is two suitcases, from the same shop as the chair. Stacking a couple of them helps with height, and to protect the top, add a piece of glass. (not shown) You can find glass for the table at your local Salvation Army or second hand shop. Using trunks or suitcases for a table also doubles as storage!

Accessories: Truly, the best way to make your home feel fully decorated is with the smaller pieces. You can easily go to one or two places and just buy what you deem cute, but it’s more fun to use pieces from your travels, keepsakes passed down and little trinkets from markets you’ve found along the way. The solider is from a local shop, the camera is from my favorite street market, and books are from various bookstores.

Although I  love the minimalism approach that many of my peers take with home design, for a packrat like me, more is definitely more. Home design should be a reflection of your personal style and I’ve settled into knowing what mine is! What’s yours?

-TW

 

 

New York State of Mind

New York State of Mind

My trip last week to felt like it lasted a New York Minute, and no, I’m talking about the Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen classic, it was simply a whirlwind of experiencing the very best of the Big Apple in just four days.

I headed to NYC for the  first time in about five years to celebrate my 24th birthday and experience Thanksgiving with my best friend and it couldn’t have been a better visit! This would be the third trip this year where I’ve stayed with a local, which I’ve loved because it takes a lot of guess work out of getting around. In a city like New York, I can use all the help I can get.

On day one, we hit the ground running with a scenic ferry ride to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, which were both historical and great views of the city. We took a stop through Times Square before having dinner at Chinese Tuxedo and then finishing up the night for drinks at NoMo Kitchen in Soho. It was the perfect way to toast to the end of 23.

We painted the town red on my birthday and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. After donuts from Peter Pan’s, we hopped on the Gossip Girl site tour, a personal favorite, to act out our fantasies of the Upper East Side for the afternoon. Highlights included seeing Constance, sitting on The Met steps, and getting sweets at Dylan’s Candy Bar! If you’re a fan of the show, I’d highly recommend it. Following the tour, we headed to Soho, one of my favorite areas to window shop before getting ready for dinner at Peter Luger, one of the best known steak dinners in New York, and it did not disappoint. The night ended with a scenic view of the whole city from Westlight in Brooklyn!

I  had what I’d consider a true New York Thanksgiving by beating the crowds to Central Park and 72nd to catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was really fun to be a part of the action this year, and after we strolled through Central Park. We took more photos at Dumbo and around the Brooklyn Bridge before having a laid back night.

 

On my final day, the morning started at Sadelle’s, a NYC bagel and lox institution adorned in Tiffany blue decor with the best french toast I’ve ever had. I  made sure to check out the Volez, Voguez, Voyagez -Louis Vuitton exhibit. (It’s free to the public and open till January 7th) If you’re a fashion lover, you’d enjoy it. Just steps from the 9/11 Memorial and The Oculus, it was perfect to check those off my bucket-list too! After the day in Manhattan, I  grabbed a slice of pizza at Williamsburg Pizza before heading home.

Like most of my trips, I squeezed a lot in a short amount of time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can check out the map below to see everywhere I went!

This was an incredible trip to start 24 and catch up with old friends! Next week I’ll be sharing more fall to winter looks as the countdown to Christmas begins!

Happy Friday,

TW

 

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is fast approaching, seriously, I can count the weeks left till I  head home for Christmas on one hand! Since I’ve had some travel sprinkled throughout the last two months of the year, I’ve made it a point to get all of my holiday shopping done earlier this year! Take a look at what I’m gifting this year from some great places, big and small!

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For the Sports Fan: Designs by Patterson, created by couple Matt & Anna, creates unique stipple art of your favorite sports team’s stadiums. For the baseball lover in your life, in my case, my grandfather, this Yankee Stadium print will be perfect. Check out their Etsy shop for over 50 unique products and receive 10% off when you use the promo code WITTSTYLE at checkout until 12/6.  (Under $25)

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For the Traveler: If you follow me on Instagram, or know me personally, you’ve seen or heard me rave about the Wildsam Field Guides on my travels. These guide books are so well done, mixing facts about your destination with personal stories and maps for every kind of traveler. They’re fun to collect too. (Under $20)

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For the One Running Late: Watches are a great gift because everyone can always use a new one! I found Wolfpoint Chicago, an up and coming watch company that I’m partnering with this holiday season. After 20 years in the industry, Wolfpoint is dedicating its efforts to establishing itself as the premiere watch of Chicago. With a beautiful look and price friendly, I believe that’s possible. (Under $150)

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For the Fashion Lover: La Matera, an artisan leather company, reached out this holiday season to work together on Instagram and I’m loving what they sent over! The woven print stands out in my closet and works great with just about any pair of pants. Check out more from their website, including the Paloma Belt pictured above. You can use bakertw10 for 10% off your order until December 31st. (Under $150)

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For the Artist: Pennants are popping up everywhere these days! Whether in a boutique or at home, I’m seeing them created in great colors with cute sayings. I  reached out to Than and Chandler, another artistic couple, about creating some pennants this year. This Midwest mini pennant is a great stocking stuffer. Check out more of what they make on their Instagram page. (Under $20)

I love all of the gifts I’m giving out this year because they blend personal sentiment and quality materials perfectly. It’s been fantastic working with local and small businesses to create this guide. Can’t wait to see everyone unwrap their gifts this year!

Best of luck on your holiday shopping,

-TW