I’m a mite late to the recap game, but I couldn’t help but take my time. It’s been 1 year + 3 months since I got started here and I have to say, I can’t believe it!
I started this blog while job hunting in a new city to keep myself from going crazy with resume edits and job applications. A lot of the posts from this year came out of looking for ways to solve our ‘just starting out’ problems on a minimal savings account. 2016 was also the first year Michael + I were in the same city again after 4 years of long distance college dating! With getting engaged, finding jobs (jobsplural, if anyone is interested in that story), and trying to find a voice for this blog, it was immensely stressful but led to a lot of personal growth.
And so a huge thank you to all of you for reading + following! This year I’ll be pushing ctrl + curate with more content, better branding, and more engagement with you. Keep me honest everyone 😉 To celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a quick recap of my favorite recipes + diy’s.
When I thought about what kinds of posts I wanted ctrl + curate to be known for, I wanted to share diy’s that could be used & adapted for the everyday. These diy’s have had a year of being put to the test, and I can happily say these guys are still going strong!
In the kitchen, our Herb Drying Shelfhas helped us build a small collection of dried herbs until the next market season. Cord organizers are tucked all around the house in different sizes to wrangle everything from lighting cords to phone chargers. My most ambitious project would have to be my sister’s Mini Fridge Makeover! Good lord that was an undertaking. But she’s happy with it and I’m thrilled we could hack the Smeg look for cheap.
And an update about that Chalkboard Candle post from last Valentine’s Day? It worked perfectly with the chalkboard paint all the way to the end. It also makes a great present for this year’s V-day 😉
This category gets the most everyday love from me. I sometimes buy groceries just if they come in glass jars to horde them all. And with theNon-Toxic way to Remove Labels I can have clean, free storage for quiptips, paint, and all the bits and ends!
On workdays I’m up in time and my coffee is strong, I throw my hair up into a Curly French Twist and take care of mysmall apartment garden. Those little babies have really grown!
I can’t wait to share more diy’s, recipes, and small space living posts in the new year! A big virtual hug from Chicago to all of you and let’s make 2017 a fantastic year
Happy New Year’s everyone! I’m a little late to the game getting this year’s calendar up- wedding planning is taking up more of a chunk of my vacation than I thought. This year I was inspired by the pinnacle of inspiration, Pinterest!
Each month has a Pinterest inspired goal. Things like ‘Try a new recipe’ or ‘Plan a staycation’ to keep 2017 a year of discovery. Under each month are a few lines available for your own monthly goals as well. Download the 8.5×11 printable here.
Also, a shoutout to my mom who made the mini arrangements for our engagement party! The eucalyptus and roses filled the whole place with an amazing scent.
The last gift guide of the year is dedicated to all the badass bosses in your life. Do you know someone working hard on their dreams? Maybe you are the dreamer? Either way, these gift ideas will help get the new year off to a productive start.
And the best part? You could find any of these pieces at your local Target, bookstore, art store, or corner store!
Everyone needs encouragement sometimes. Show the love and support with some motivational phrases. Beyond poster prints, message boards and compliment postcards can be scaled up or down for the occasion.
The absence of a Christmas tree will do things to a person. As I mentioned in the Holiday Wall Art post Michael and I are going home to Florida for 2 weeks. We couldn’t justify buying a tree, setting it up, fussing over ornaments (that one’s on me) for such a short Holiday season in the apartment. And so the free trimmings a la Home Depot became my outlet. A couple branches as garland, a few as gift toppers, and now a seasonal bouquet that will last us until we leave!
Taking a snowy walk to gather supplies might have been the most fun part. Michael and I just went up and down a few parks with a tote bag and gardening shears and started collecting anything that looked interesting. Double check you’re not taking plants from someone’s private property or that you’re grabbing anything poisonous! Apartment Therapy has a good technique for cleaning your finds afterwards.
foraged clippings floral wire/tape
1| Lay your evergreen trimmings on a sheet of tissue paper with the paper’s corner pointing ‘up’. I used a mix of Douglas and Blue Pine from Home Depot’s trimming bin (trimmings are free near their tree cutting area).
2| Layer your other finding throughout the main bunch. Stemmed pieces won’t need anything extra, but small things like berries or pinecones can be attached with floral wine or tape. Hot glue also works great on pinecones in a pinch!
3| Follow the 3 step folding technique demonstrated below, making sure that the bottom of the bouquet is right up against the first fold to ensure the arrangement is snug in the wrapping.
4| Tie together with twine and there you go!
I’ve made a few for hostess gifts and put one bouquet in a vase with water and small ornaments for our apartment. The trimmings make a perfect mini tree and help carry the holiday scents throughout the house.
9 more days until Christmas! Does it feel like the weeks are stretching out longer to keep you from vacation or barreling towards you with an overwhelming amount of ‘to-do’s’? Either way everyone could use a little bit of TLC.
This ‘Perfect Addition Gift Guide’ has small, pampering touches to carve tiny moments of zen out of someone’s day. Or your own. I’d be lying if I said a huge part of this post isn’t a personal wish list 😉
Soaps + Displays
The number of scents, shapes, colors, and ways to personalize soap are endless- they’re like little gems just perfect for gifting! As a quick hostess or coworker gift, wrap the soap with a dish.
I’m most intrigued by the loofah soap. There might be a diy on my take after the holidays.
If soap is too ho-hum, check out these other shower and bath goodies. Bath bombs are always classic, but have you tried smoothies, jellies, or bars? Sounds like the kitchen is becoming the spa!
A fun surprise like these are awesome stocking stuffers on their own or diy large batches for a group gift exchange.
Moisturize Me After the bath, lock in all the goodness with oils, masks, and body butters. I love how quickly body oils are absorbed and have been using the cedarwood + black pepper oil as a hand oil all week. So far no scaly hands in Chicago’s 0 ºF winter. I also couldn’t resist a little Doctor Who joke ;).