Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mirror, Mirror...

Hi everyone!

Hope your week is going well! I'm currently at my boyfriend's house, perusing antique shops and trying to survive in the brutal heat (there is no air conditioning. SOS.). Oof!

While I dream of cooler temperatures, I am also dreaming of my little room renovation at home. I have a tall white dresser from Ikea and have been using a tri-fold mirror that came with my desk (really a vanity from Target) on top of it. I've had this idea in the back of my head for a couple of years now but I think I would really like to hang a new mirror above it! My original idea was to hang a black framed mirror from Target above it, but I am also loving the idea of hanging a fun shaped mirror from Home Goods or World Market above it. While I am hunting for the perfect mirror, here are some pins that have been inspiring me!

source // via
source // via
My favorite mirror is the last one, but I also like the idea of a mirror in a simple shape with a contrasting color. Maybe I can find something at a resale shop and paint it? I am all about the DIY's for redecorating right now! If not, there's always HomeGoods - and I don't need an excuse to go there!

xx, Amy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Whirlwind Weekend (Update)

Hi everyone!

Hitting you with a quick update on my life! Sorry this is short but I am on my way up to visit my boyfriend and I still have to throw some clothes in my favorite tote and go!

For the last week, I have getting my sister prepped to go back to school. I will refrain from an angry rant (#bigsisprobs), but I decided to help out my mom and take my sister shopping and help her pack during the daytime last week so we had less to do in the evenings when my mom was done with work. This worked out really well because I normally finished things up with my sister before either of my parents got home from work and we both had some time to relax before dinner and other back-to-school errands. When Friday hit, my sister was almost entirely packed and we just had to pull a few things together before loading up our vehicles. Once we finished packing up our cars, we spent a last night together watching movies and hanging out!

On Saturday we got up at 5am to drive down to campus. Waking up early was so worth it because we were one of five families moving in when we got there. First choice of the moving carts, no line for the elevator, any parking spot we wanted! Getting to campus early erased a lot of move in stress for all of us. With the help of our parents and myself, we had her unpacked and pretty much settled into her dorm in about 3 hours. Not too bad! After that we got lunch (we went to Friday's and I had the amazing Jack Daniel's Chicken Sandwich!), made a Target run, and did a few last minute things in her dorm room before heading back home. I fell asleep in the car before we even got onto the interstate! I woke up about an hour into the drive as my mom was stopping for a drink at McDonalds. I got a caramel Frappe as a little treat. After we got home, we all relaxed and I fell asleep super early.

Sunday was majorly low-key. I slept in and tried to do some tidying in my room. I did a lot of sorting of my cosmetics and perfumes - I'm planning on putting a bunch in glass apothecary jars so I remember what I have and actually use it! I needed to see what I have now so I can buy the right size and amount of jars.... I may or may not have discovered that I have purchased a couple of lipsticks in the same color and didn't use either one. Oops?

Well, that was my weekend! It was busy, productive, and relaxing all at once. It's weird to be home without my sister and without going back to school... we'll see when and if I ever get used to it!

xx, Amy

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Perfect Bedding

Hi everyone! 

I'm sorry I've been so absent lately - like I explained last week, I just moved back home from college and am still in the middle of unpacking and getting organized. On top of that, I am also helping my sister get ready for her sophomore year of college and that involves me going shopping with her, helping her decide what to pack, and physically packing up her stuff..... otherwise it wouldn't get done and everything would be a mess! So that has slowed down my unpacking and organizing as well as slowed down any blog time I have. I haven't even been reading my favorites on a daily basis! After this week I hope to get back to a regular process (fingers crossed!).

Unpacking and organizing has really given me a drive to completely purge my belongings and redo my room. I've been ruthless these past few days going through my closet, boxes, and little trinkets and really trying to keep only the things that are important to me and things I love. Well, I definitely have the urge to redecorate! I'm just really tired of my room at home being a total mess and full of old junk. It's depressing and disorganized and doesn't really reflect me anymore. So what am I going to do? Redecorate on the cheap! Right now I am working with a room with pink walls and white furniture (what was I thinking). I have a throw pillow I bought ages ago that has two sides, one with pink and gray polka dots and another with yellow and pink flowers with mint leaves, and that is serving for my inspiration. I am looking for a solid but textured gray duvet, mint sheets, a geometric patterned gray and white rug, and a small accent piece of furniture (hopefully something thrifted and repainted!). Easy, right? Well not really - I have a twin sized bed (and my parents are not having the idea of me getting a new bed after 22 years) and most of the beautiful, "grown up" bedding I like is not available in twin sizes! Major buzzkill. I've been hunting all over the internet but I'm still kind of stuck. So...

What are your favorite stores/online shops for bedding?

Here's my bedding inspiration!

I am obsessed with the Solea bedding from Anthropologie!! This duvet is so pretty and I love that it is solid gray with a little bit of added texture. Unfortunately, it is sold out in twin BUT it is on sale for anyone who might like it and have a bigger bed! I am just picturing it with mint or light pink patterned sheets and my bed and my walls... It looks so beautiful in my head!

If you know of any good places to look for inexpensive bedding, let me know! I am planning on hitting up some Bed Bath & Beyond stores in the next few weeks to search for end of season sales too. 

xx, Amy

PS. Here's my bedroom inspiration pinboard! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bathroom Update + Lana

Hi everyone!

Hope your day has been going well! I am working on finishing up reorganizing my bathroom today - I did all of the sorting, tossing, and organizing yesterday and now I just need to put in the drawers I bought today. When I was going through everything, I realized just how much stuff I held onto because I had a "just because" and a "what if I might need this someday" mentality. Well, I pared all of that junk down (products I don't like, don't use, or are expired) to stuff I actually like and use and the few bottles of body wash or lotion that I have just a teeeensy bit left of that I should use up. I'm pretty proud of what I accomplished yesterday! Now I just have to finish up that organizing and then move on to all of my makeup.... oh boy.

Moving on.

While I was cleaning, I wanted to listen to music. I have music on my phone and the FratMusic app, but I wasn't in the mood for party/rage anthems or the same music I've been listening to for months. I remembered that FratMusic was powered by 8tracks playlists so I went and dowloaded that app... and I'm loving it! I am really loving random playlists right now so it's really working perfectly. I like that you can choose different categories of music that you are looking for, like genre, mood, or artist. I have been defaulting to the Great Gatsby soundtrack playlists lately (I really should download it.. oops) and of course I am obsessed with Lana Del Ray's "Young and Beautiful". I love Lana Del Ray - I think she has a beautiful, somewhat chilling voice, as well as physical beauty. I like the perception I have of her as well. I never hear about her on the news or anything (but then again I live under a rock) and she just seems very free spirited. One of my best friends is obsessed with her and was one of the people who really got me into Lana Del Ray so I always think of her when I listen to Lana! Anyways, I found the "real" music video for "Young and Beautiful" today and thought it was really nicely done. I love the scenes with the orchestra and the conductor... I feel like they really meshed well with the music, but maybe that's my inner band greek coming out. She's been hiding since about 8th grade so I'll let her have this moment...

Have a great rest of your day!

xx, Amy

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Change of Pace... (Plus Beautiful Bathrooms!)

Hi everyone!

Sorry for my unexpected leave of absence (especially after I posted for five days in a row last week)! I moved back home, so I am no longer blogging from Wisconsin (insert serious sad face here) but instead from the suburbs of Chicago. I've been busy for the past couple of days unpacking and trying to reduce the amount of boxes sitting in my family's living room - not an easy task! I'm so glad I took the time to majorly clean my room at home earlier this summer; my closet is already pretty full and so is one of my dressers (I have two and I'm trying to keep one empty for the time being!). Woof.

So, I'm hoping to get into the swing of things soon. Being home is weird after being on my own(ish) for the past four years. I'm now able to drive anywhere I want anytime I want, shop at all the stores I wished I could go to while I was school, and I can stay up late watching TV in my living room without worrying about bothering anyone! That being said, I need to hit the grocery store with my mom so we can figure out what I want to have on hand during the week, need to go to the mall to apply for jobs, and need to finish unpacking, reorganizing, and cleaning my room!

While dealing with my room is a major ordeal, I am really concerned with my bathroom situation right now. My mom, sister, and I all share a bathroom. We have two sinks, two cabinets (my mom has the 3 drawers in the middle of the vanity and I think she got the best part of the deal!), and two medicine cabinets. We try to keep everything on the counter to the bare minimum - soap, toothbrushes, a couple of canisters, Kleenex, etc., so most of my things need to go in my under sink cabinet or on my one shelf in the medicine cabinet I share with my sister. I have lot of products from before I went to college, and couple those with the amount of products I had at school... well I have a lot. I think what I need to do right now is a) clean out all of my beauty items and b) buy a drawer system from Bed, Bath & Beyond for under the cabinet to double up on my storage space and divide up hair, body, and face products. I had one of those in one of my apartments and I kick myself every day for not taking it with me when I moved! Anyways, that is what is on my to-do list for this week and to inspire me to get it done, I've hunted down some pretty bathrooms on Pinterest (which was actually difficult because I never pin bathrooms!)!

I love the styling of this bathroom! I want to incorporate some beautiful touches into my organization...

source // via
Again, beautiful styling! Our bathroom is black and white with touches of red, so I like the similar color scheme. Devon has a seriously gorgeous home and has amazing style! Check out her blog, Devon Rachel, here.

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This one isn't a bathroom pin per se, but I really like the idea of stacking bins or drawers and then a lazy susan! It would make looking for a particular bottle or tube of product much easier.

Okay, I am just obsessed with the blog I Heart Organizing. I really love that it's written by a Wisconsin mom but I also love her style and the fact that she strives to do everything as inexpensively as possible. She has so many innovative ideas - this organizer was made "custom" by the addition of beautiful Kate Spade jewelry boxes! I really like this for storing makeup, but I don't know if it is the most feasible option for me in this space. I kept all of my makeup in a tray in my apartment and I really liked having everything out when I needed it, so we'll see if I can work that in somehow!

Have a great Wednesday!

xx, Amy

PS. I've recently gotten back into Tumblr in a major way... follow me on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Kate Spade Agendas!

Hi everyone!

It's finally Friday - which for me is both good and bad. Good because I've managed to get a post prepped for every day this week (yay!) but bad because it means I move back home on Sunday (boo). I hope the end of this week finds you in a happier place!

A little piece of happy I am looking forward to is getting this Kate Spade bangle in the mail! I saw it during the Kate Spade flash sale earlier this week and it immediately went in my cart. I need to stop thinking negatively about myself and about life, so this bangle is the perfect reminder to "look on the bright side"!

I unfortunately missed out on a wallet I was eyeing but I think it's for the best because I have really been loving camel colored leather wallets for some time now. Remember how I had a bunch of camel colored bags in a post a while back? Well I have also been eyeing a camel wallet, and saw several that I liked at the Kate Spade outlet store close to my house. Guess I will have to start saving my pennies for one of those! 

Speaking of saving my pennies... Earlier this week Lifeguard Press debuted the first part of the new Kate Spade stationary line, agendas! I am really glad I haven't ordered a Lilly Pulitzer planner yet, because I need one of these Kate Spade ones! The tough part is which pattern to pick - stripes or literary glasses (although those rosebuds are growing on me!)? 

Kate Spade Agendas!

Which agenda would you get? 
Have a great weekend! 
xx, Amy
PS. Follow me on Twitter (@leopardspotblog) and Instagram (@leopardspot)! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Decor Desires: Garment Racks as Decorative Objects

Hi lovelies! 

Something I have been loving recently is garment racks as storage, artwork, and decor in a home. The idea has appealed to me for a while, as inspired by various bloggers and Pinterest pins, but after having my clothes out of my closet and on a rack while in the process of moving, I've kind of fell in love with it for everyday life. Hopefully one day soon I can afford the space to have my own rack and showcase some beauties... in the meantime, here are some inspiring images of garment racks in homes. 

Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere's home office (credit
Emily Schuman's home office, part 2 (credit)
original // via
Devon Rachel's home, original // via
Alice & Olivia showroom, original // via
Would you use a garment rack for more than just functional storage? 

Have a great day!
xx, Amy

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to College: Moving Tips

Hi everyone!

As a recent college grad, I know what a pain it is to move and also what a joy it is (hello, freedom!). Over the past four years, my family and I have discovered some really great tips for moving that I think would be helpful to know if you are in college or simply if you are making a move!

My moving tips:  

Pack like things with like things.

This one is kind of obvious. Put together like items (beauty products, kitchen ware) with other like items... or things you will use together. Pack school supplies and desk accessories together, all of your decorative accents in one box, laundry and cleaning supplies in another. You can unpack strategically and task your moving buddies with a certain area as well! If you are moving by yourself, you can unpack the items you need immediately first without digging through all of your boxes - you're going to need bedding and beauty supplies more than you will need the entirety of your kitchen supplies!

Pack using plastic boxes, not cardboard. 

Buy these boxes here 
Something my dad has always been insistent on is packing things in plastic boxes. His rationale is a bit convoluted for me, but here's what I've come up with after packing in plastic for the past few years.

  • Plastic boxes have handles, which allow you to grab and grip your boxes better. They also don't require tape, which means you have one less thing to pack and keep track of. 
  • Plastic boxes will keep your items protected from the elements (rain) and freak accidents (flooding, leakage, animals getting hungry) if you decide to store things for a long period of time.
  • Speaking of storage, plastic boxes are fab for storage for the same reasons listed above. Plus, if you use them for moving, it's one less thing you need to worry about when you're storing something! Bonus: buy lots of the same box and they will all fit into one another and take up more vertical space than horizontal/floor space! My dad picked up a bunch of boxes for $5 each at Home Depot. 
  • Plastic boxes just stack really nicely and often have little "lips" on the edge that keep things from sliding off. 
Buy or rent a dolly cart.  

My dad rented one of these when I moved into my apartment this year and he bought one to keep because it was so handy. My sister still has three years of college ahead of her and I'm sure I will be moving again too so it will save us a lot of literal hurt. We can stack 3 boxes on it, plus some oddly shaped things on top, with a lot less physical strain.

Here are some options: one (this is the one my dad has and it's great!) // two // three

Use a garment rack to move clothing.

If you have the space, buy a collapsible wheeling garment rack. I used this last year when I moved my stuff into a short-term storage unit to easily transfer all of my clothes and keep them hanging and wrinkle free in the unit, plus it made transferring them to my new apartment so easy and fast! We could have fit the rack into the cargo van with all of my clothes on it, but my dad was afraid we wouldn't have enough room when we first started packing up the van. There are also bars that will hang across the backseat of a vehicle (I couldn't find it online my my dad has one! I swear they exist!) so if you have an elevator, it makes it super easy to move your clothes and then pop them on the hang bar. Plus, if you need a little bit of time to get things put back together once you're in your new place, all of your clothes will be hanging and ready to wear, not crumpled up in a box!

Make sure to pack wrapping paper, newspaper, or wrapping material for your fragile items!

We seriously forget this every year. Fail. We also don't get newspapers in our apartment, so I don't have a stash of those laying around. I used dishtowels, regular towels, and paper towels to wrap my items in this year since we forgot (again). Also - go somewhere and buy a cheapo box of sandwich baggies! They are seriously handy for keeping things like hair ties/bobby pins, push pins, magnets, etc., together in boxes!

Finally, when you are packing - pack way less than you think you need! 

Obviously, you are going to need a "lot" more than you think you will need: needle and thread for broken buttons, all sorts of medicine that your Mom has whenever you get sick, a hand mixer (okay, maybe that last one is just me...). But you will probably need a lot less clothes and other "stuff" than you think you might need. You don't need a new towel for every day of the week, or a dozen coffee mugs, or an assortment of dishes. You probably need like one or two of each dish you "need" and probably don't need a dozen pairs of jeans. My advice is to underpack now, think about what you need while you're actually living at school, and have it shipped to you, buy it, or pick it up from home later. Believe me, you will survive without it!

Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful for you! I know they have come in handy for my family.

xx, Amy

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer of Sundresses

Hey everyone! 

Something I've been gravitating towards this summer more than ever is wearing dresses. Most summers I am totally content with shorts, but this summer I have been opting for dresses more and more... so often that sometimes I run out of dresses to wear! Recently I had a whole day free for some solo shopping and this is what I wore! 

jcp dress (now only $15!) // j.crew necklace (old, similar) // tory burch wrap bracelet (old, similar)

While shopping, I tried on this dress at Old Navy. Seriously obsessed! I brought an entire armful of dresses into the dressing room - this was the only one to get a solo shot but you can see a couple of my other favorites in the shot below! I didn't end up purchasing the dress that day (I wanted to wait for a promo code or sale) but last week it made its way into my shopping cart and is now en route to me! 

Excuse my weird feet.... I was debating waiting to buy this or not! #stressful
Like I said, I found a lot of favorites on that shopping trip. Between my in store trip and my search online, I've compiled a list of my current favorites - and they all happened to be blue! I tried on the patterned maxi and the solid tank dress in store; both dresses are absolutely fab. I loved the fit and styling of both! The others are ones I would have to try on when I find them in stores but I will have my eye on them until then.

Current Favorites: Old Navy Dresses

I can't wait to wear my new dresses and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for easy sundresses on the cheap now that summer is over! Plus, when it gets cooler out I can throw a denim jacket over it and some boots and cozy socks! 

Do you have any of these Old Navy dresses? What is your favorite summer dress? 

xx, Amy

*This is not a sponsored post (I wish, because I've bought oodles of stuff from Old Navy in the past six months), I just genuinely love these dresses! Any dress I have purchased or will purchase has been purchased with my hard-earned money. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans: State Fair & Moving Out!

Hi lovelies!

It was certainly an eventful weekend for me. I found out some disappointing news, went to the Wisconsin State Fair, and (mostly) moved out of my apartment. The disappointing news was that I am not able to move directly to another apartment in Madison, but instead have to move home (much to the excitement of my grandparents and much to my dismay). I really really wanted to find an apartment here and just rent a UHaul truck and do the moving myself, then get a job (or two) here while looking for a "real", full time job (which has been a ridiculous pain in the behind). But alas, that is not the plan and as annoying as it is, I'm just going to have to use this as a motivational tool to get myself a job in Madison and move back.

Besides the obvious, why is job hunting such a pain? Since I am not a business, retailing, or fashion major, finding a job in corporate retail seems pretty much impossible. I graduated from a great university, have some good experience on my resume, and have a serious drive for the industry. Does that matter to anyone? Apparently not. And I know, the market is difficult and I should be doing other things to get a job, but it just seems like nothing I do matters. I hope this little blog will develop into something I will post on my resume and LinkedIn profile, but I haven't quite hit a stride I am comfortable with yet. I can't get any feedback from recruiters as to why I haven't been a good fit for a job yet (not even like, "we needed someone with super duper Excel skills") so I don't know what I need to change or what I need to do differently out of the million and two things I could change or do differently. Ahhh! It's so frustrating! I've interviewed for three different positions at the corporate offices of the retail store I worked at for the past year and I can barely get the recruiter to email me back now. I just..... ugh.

Moving onto more cheerful topics.... This weekend was the opening weekend of the Wisconsin State Fair. I went with my boyfriend on Friday and met up with his family, who were there for the dairy cow show. After the show, my boyfriend and I went around to the different food stands and started sampling food and oh-so-refreshing beverages... We bought a dessert from a bakery stand, thinking it would be a manageable portion for two people to share, but for $5 we could have fed an entire family of four. Good thing we started with dessert, because we were both full after that! We also tried a porkchop sandwich from a local barbeque stand, cheese curds (because Wisconsin, duh), and a variety of local beers, which is never a bad thing. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and catching up with friends, and I had a really really really good time (cue Macklemore?).

A little education for your Monday... ha ha 

(I swear I drank other beers. Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, for one (#myweakness), and also Summer Shandy. Miller Lite is kind of a joke for the boyfriend and I because that's how we met... he had a Miller Lite he didn't want, and I couldn't pass up a free drink. Because I was a poor college student, obviously. Still am, now I'm just a poor post grad without a job. Ugh.)

On Saturday I had to deal with moving all of my stuff out of my apartment. Originally I thought I would be going home with all of my stuff, but my parents rented out a cargo van and it only had two seats so I'm in Madison for a few more days. I had done a little bit of the legwork during the previous couple of days so the entire process was relatively painless. We had everything boxed up and in the van after about five hours! I have some useful tips that I have picked up over the past few years while moving to and from school that I will post later this week!

So now I am living in a very bare bones apartment, which I am kind of loving. My room seems really big since there's nothing it in, but it is also very clean feeling because I only have the stuff there that I will use daily. When I get a place of my own (well, I should also do this in my room at home), I am going to strive for that minimal feeling again. Minimal, but not bare. I also have my rack full of clothes out in my room, which I am also loving. I really want to have a small rack where I can showcase new clothes or pieces I am loving. It's a trend I've seen a lot recently in blogger homes and on Pinterest (stay tuned for an inspiration post!).

Well, this has been an exciting post. Lots of words and not a lot of pictures (fail). But! Some excitement is that I am now part of the Midwest Style Bloggers network! :) I feel like it's a big step for me... Check out my fancy new button in my sidebar!

xx, Amy

PS. Also linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans