Category Archives: Explore

Create - Explore

Sources + DIY Blog Props On A Budget (You Already Own!)

July 6, 2017

DIY Blog Props on a Budget

When I first started blogging, I didn’t have any extra wiggle room in our budget to spend on extra styling props. I wanted to push myself in photography but felt limited in what I could use. I started looking for ways to repurpose what we already had, never bought 1 time props, and diy’ed a whole lot. Now with a year and a half of sourcing cheap & creative props, I thought I’d share my favorite sources and tips.

read more

Explore - Style - Travel

Six Sick Summer Sandals for Serious Travel + Comfort

June 22, 2017

Six Sick Summer Sandals for Serious Travel + Comfort, Travel Summer Sandals

After a month and a half of living in different states, just 2 days after getting married, Michael & I are finally in the same city! I feel like our new apartment can finally start becoming a home now. And we can start planning our honeymoon ;D

read more

Explore - Style

Six Summer Statement Earrings to Swing into Style

May 18, 2017

six swinging summer statement earrings

Confession- I hate jeans. Hate, hate, hate it. Maybe it’s because I started exploring fashion at the height of the low rise and constantly had to battle keeping them up, but my style today is very loose dresses. My secret for looking pulled together even while wearing what my friends fondly call ‘pillowcase’ dresses? Statement pieces!

A crazy bold lip or cutout boots, bam! Instant cohesive and comfort. But because it’s summer and I now live in Florida, I’m looking to big earrings for heat friendly pieces. These six swinging summer statement earrings are what I’ll be wearing all season long.

1.Cities in Dust is one of my favorite Chicago jewelry designers. They’re at every maker’s fair with new collections, but this piece is my favorite.

six swinging summer statement earrings

2. Anthropologie’s summer lineup has me doing double takes. It’s leaning more modern than boho and I’m for it!

six swinging summer statement earrings

3. 90% of my jewelry collection is Madewell at this point. Seriously, look at the etched middle fringe.

six swinging summer statement earrings

4. These hold a special place in my heart- they were my reception earrings at my wedding! Online pics don’t do it justice.

six swinging summer statement earrings

5. Featured Etsy maker, Umya, is a self taught metalsmith with an amazing eye for shapes and details. Even the hooks on these earrings have detail!

six swinging summer statement earrings

6. In the same era of the low rise jean, Forever21 was the OG in statement pieces. Brave the mall (or better yet online) for big, simple shapes that you won’t be afraid to lose on vacation.

What summer pieces are you looking forward to?


In the Bag : 9 Fresh and Modern Reusable Bags for Earth Day

April 20, 2017

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

Chicago recently implemented a bag tax and it’s almost Earth Day, so instead of packing I rounded up a list of my favorite reusable shoppers!

The main features you’ll want for a bag that will last forever are thick straps and made of some strong fabric like rip stop nylon or canvas. I’ve been loving my Baggu’s Big Baggu in Hilo. I want their two new plant prints on everything!

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

Battenwear’s Packable Tote Bag is another rip stop nylon option but with adjustable straps! It’s also a part of Urban Outfitter’s sale, so snatch it up while you can.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

Is anyone surprised I love Everlane? They’re one of the most transparent companies in how they make their goods, and profits for this tote go to Edible Schoolyard NYC. It’s a classic canvas but coated for durability and lined with nylon. If dough isn’t your speed they also have a “Know Your Sole” and ‘Know Your Grains”.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

An Etsy gem, DEPEAPA‘s unique illustrations are right at home on a cotton tote.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

Confession, I still shop at F21 just for the socks & totes. The cheap, $4 bags work as gift bags, shoes covers, and beach bags and I never feel bad tossing them around. And they always tell it like it is.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

All eyes on you, you. When you walk into the room with this tote. Perfectly Nice has a bunch of clean and modern graphics, but this one and their snake tote are my favorite.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

Another Baggu, but this one is different! The mesh is ideal for veggies and  you can hang and store the tote in the pantry. Shopper & storage. Now you have an excuse to buy it in all their pretty spring pastels.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

What I would give to have a waxed canvas bag. They’re more of an investment, but the hardware and materials are built for life. Newton Supply Co. offers the most on trend colors for waxed canvases. Their new seaglass color is particularly striking.

Fresh Modern Reusable Bags Earth Day

And rounding off the list is the Pinterest Holy Grail, the Apolis Market Bag. They’re sold everywhere and have different cities and occasions so you can find the perfect one for you! Jute exterior, waterproof interior and leather handles, they’re the farmer’s market dream.

A few other places to check out would be Herschel and Mochi Things. Herschel’s market tote comes in so many colors and even a frond print!

Mochi Things is my secret source for adorable paper goods & unique gift ideas. Their shopping cart shopping bag is too amazingly meta not to get.


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