2016 + 1 Year Anniversary Recap

January 10, 2017


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 (jobs plural, 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.

Minimalist Nail Art: The Wave

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.

wood butter

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!

Oils and waxes in all forms were especially great this year. I’m still using the Winter Hair Care Hot Oil Treatment now during Chicago’s drying cold, wood butter monthly to keep my wood tools supple, and found a new use for December’s beard oil as an Eczema soother.

In the kitchen, our Herb Drying Shelf has 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 😉

brussel sprouts

I like to think this blog is mostly useful diy’s, though with the number of recipes I posted this year it’s starting to look a lot like a food blog. Most 2016 dishes were centered around being quick, easy, and healthy with one or two indulgent Dark Chocolate, Red Wine Valentine’s Desserts or Spiced Stout Pancakes.

Doubled amounts of Savory CrepesPasta Al Pomodoro10 Minute Healthy Stirfry, & the balsamic glaze with Roasted Brussels Sprouts make frequent rotations during the workweek for lunch & dinner here.


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 the Non-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 my small 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




Organize - Print

Free Printable 2017 Calendar, Pinterest Inspired

December 31, 2016

2017 Calendar
2017 calendar
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.

2017 Calendar

2017 Calendar

2017 Calendar

2017 Calendar

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.


04/ The Perfect Addition for Dreamers + Schemers

December 22, 2016

girl boss gift guide

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!

girl boss gift guide

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.

compliment postcards
‘You Did Not Wake Up To Be Mediocre’
How to Style Your Brand‘ by Fiona Humberstone

message board
19 girl boss quote printables
geo mood board

girl boss gift guide

Calendar + Planners

Nothing beats a good planner. I could go on and on for what I look for, but the point is, there’s a style for everyone! My new year’s goal is to get the DIY acrylic wall calendar up.

17 month planner WTF blue
Productivity Planner
household wall planner

minimal printable calendar
acrylic wall calendar
content calendar + posting tips

girl boss gift guide

Finishing Touches
Every boss needs a space that helps them work. Add a few of these pieces to bring in the charm and personality that special person exudes themselves.

leather earbud organizer
gold wireframe binder clips
beech headphone stand

leather bookmark
charger charm
wood desk organizer

That’s it for 2016 gift guides everyone! Thanks for following along and let me know what you thought of this style 🙂

Celebrate - Create

DIY Foraged Evergreen Bouquet

December 19, 2016

evergreen bouquet

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!

evergreen bouquet

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.

evergreen bouquet

evergreen trimmings
foraged clippings
floral wire/tape
tissue paper

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!

foraged evergreen bouquet

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.

evergreen bouquetevergreen bouquet

foraged evergreen bouquet


03/ The Perfect Addition for Good Clean Fun

December 16, 2016

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 😉

spa gift guide

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.

cork soap dish
handmade vegan soap
blue clay face bar

faux stone soap dish
white tea and ginger loofah soap
coffee and coconut soap sticks

spa gift guide

Beyond Bubbles
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.

treasure bath bomb
shower smoothies
penguin bubble bar

shower jellies
vanilla bubble bath
holiday drink scented bath bombs

spa gift guide

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 ;).

lavender body oil
sandalwood bath oil
7 day sheet mask challenge set

body mousse
cedarwood + black pepper beard/body oil
whipped green tea and coconut moisturizer 

spa gift guide

Finishing Touches
These finishing touches really drive home the luxury. A towel just for my face? Daily rose water toner to feel like a queen? (now if only that massage candle actually gave massages…)

The unexpected pieces are so much fun to hunt for and to gift. And with so many different options, everyone is covered.

organic facial towel
deodorant crystal bar
tortoise shell comb

rose water toner
massage candles
lavender dry shampoo

How do you keep sane during the madness? I like keeping lists in multiple places haha.