Category Archives: Live


How to Host Overnight Guests in a Small Apartment

November 22, 2016

host bedrooom

Fun fact about me: I studied Industrial Design in school and part of our training was User Experience. That phrase boils down to understanding potential users’s habits, wants, and needs. Imagining how someone else experiences things is a lot of fun, so let’s imagine we’re guests staying in a small apartment. Room by room, going through a day as a guest. First stop: The bedroom.

So ‘bedroom’ might be a stretch in a small space, but ‘sleeping place’ doesn’t sound quite as inviting. Whether an air mattress, couch, or for the lucky duck who gets a bed, the easiest way to make guests feel welcome to to show them the space that will be theirs for the visit. Besides the obvious of clean linens & towels what can you do?

In our apartment we give guests a bed in the living room with a dedicated side-table. Keys, bags, watches. All personal items within reach that makes an unfamiliar place homey. A tray for trinkets, a candle for cozy, a wifi card and water by the bed goes a long way.

So after they’ve dumped their things, where to? The bathroom!

host bathroom

If the bathroom wasn’t the first emergency stop, it will definitely be next. Bathrooms feel very personal- all your upkeep products are there! To avoid any awkward feelings or freezing mid shower questions, keep items you’re open to sharing in plain view, point them out (plus where toliet paper is stored!), and maybe hide your razor for the weekend.

Phew, almost done with the house tour. Time to relax in the living room!

host living room

If you’re not planning on spending every waking second with your guest, show them how the entertainment system works. I like to leave out text heavy coffee table books so if someone forgot reading material they’re covered. My favorite is a local magazine that features different neighborhood shops.

Pro tip: Local coffee shops in your area probably have similar magazines! They might have local attractions or events listed that can help plan the weekend.

After hanging out & jet lagged blissful sleep, it’s breakfast time.

host breakfast

Are you a coffee or tea person? Cereal or bagel? I’ve found everyone has very different breakfast preferences and that it’s uncomfortable to have to ask where the food is, especially if you’re a guest and wake up before your hosts! Do some shopping beforehand (and possibly definitely a coffee bar) based on your guest’s noshing habits to clench the ‘hostess with the mostess’ title.

If you’re looking for some guest impressing breakfast’s, try our citrus breakfast bowl or spiced stout pancakes. Big brunch approved.

You have any tips to making guests feel welcomed? Did you like going through the day as a guest? Let me know what you think!

Create - Live

2 Minute DIY | Vases to Candlestick Holders

November 17, 2016


This Thanksgiving Michael & I will be hosting for the first time together as two, semi-adult adults. And while we’re excited, I have entered classic over-planning mode. Menus, decorations, accommodations! All in our small apartment with an even smaller budget (this girl’s got a wedding to plan ;)). So any project that is quick, cheap, and easy enough to throw together right before guests arrive is a major win in my book.


The secret candlestick holder? Bud vases! I used two I found at Ten Thousand Villages (other cute options here and here) and an old lab flask from a flea market. To get your candles to stay put, gently twist the candle end into the vase opening, sort of like sharpening a pencil. The wax will slowly shave down and create a nice, snug fit. If it’s still a little wobbly, try melting the candle end before placing it in the vase.


Alright, alright. This week’s DIY post is more of a holiday hack but it’s still cute, no?

Pro Tip: Hit up T.J. Maxx or Marshalls for tapered candles. I found a box of 8 for $4! Much better than my 2 for $3 ones from Target and they’re exactly the same. If you’re wondering what opening size to look for, tapered candles generally have a 3/4″ dia bottom. The more you know 😉

How are you decorating your Thanksgiving table this year?

Create - Live

Wood Butter: What is it + How to make it + What to do with it

October 6, 2016

wood butter

When we first moved we were trying to stock our kitchen on the cheap. Target had a wood utensil set on clearance, so we figured what was the worst a $15 set could do? Well, sometimes clearance items are on clearance for a reason. The wood handles on all the tools were so rough it made us cringe and worry about splinters every time we cooked. I knew sanding could help but I also wanted the tools to last longer then whatever time I put into sandning. Then I heard about wood butter.

wood butter

There are a lot of wood butter recipes, but they all boil down to two main ingredients: a stable oil + beeswax. The oil keeps the wood supple so it doesn’t crack, while the beeswax acts as a thickener and gives the wood a nice water protective barrier & glow.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Wood Butter
1 part beeswax
4 parts food/pharmaceutical grade mineral oil (reasons why I use this oil after the tutorial)

To cut down on cleaning, you can melt the beeswax directly in a glass storage container. Place the glass with the beeswax in a pot of water. Turn on to about medium heat so the water won’t boil over into the glass.

Mix in the mineral oil after the beeswax is completely melted. Remove from heat, cap off, and set aside until completely hardened. Get out your utensils and butter them up!

Pro Tip: If you buy beeswax at your local farmer’s market, you’ll probably buy them by the 1oz. bars. 1oz. of beeswax roughly melts down to 1/4 cup. For a nice gifting/storing size, mix 1 1oz. bar with 1 cup oil.

wood butter

Utensil prep begins with my favorite part- sanding! If  you’re starting with cheap utensils (à la our $3 Target ones that made us cringe every time we held them) work your way from ~200 to ~800 grit. If you’re starting from a solid base, lightly sand with ~400-600 just to clean the surface.

Wipe down with a warm, damp cloth. The heat and water will again help the wood open up for the butter.

wood butter

Gently buff the surface with your new butter with a soft cloth you won’t mind using for anything else. Set aside overnight to dry. Repeat once a month to keep your tools nice and happy.

wood butter

So why do I choose to use mineral oil? Well
+ I don’t have to go to speciality store to find it. Target has it in their pharmaceutical section.
+ It’s colorless, odorless, and flavorless so it won’t affect the spoons’ basic function.
+ You don’t have to worry about nut allergies! Popular alternative oils like walnut, almond, and tung are derived from nuts.
+ Some people debate using mineral oil because it is derived from petroleum. Compared to the parts per use on the utensils and the widespread use of mineral oil as a mild laxative (when taken orally! using it in the butter won’t have the same effect, promise) using a pharmaceutical/food grade mineral oil is safe.
+ It’s cheap! A bottle of mineral oil plus the 1 oz. of beeswax comes out to $3. Total.

wood butter

I love seeing the before and after for this one! The warmth in the wood really jumps out with a little TLC.

Live - Style

12 Luxe + Pumpkin-less Fall Pillows

September 29, 2016

fall pillows

This cold weather snap is making me itch to change up the apartment, especially in the cuddle domain that is the living room! When we were decorating in the summer it was easy to find pieces that screamed, well, summer. But with a few investment pieces (and some surprising finds in the H&M home department) our little home is ready for apple cider and giant sweater blankets.

.01  /  .02   .03   .04   .05   .06   .07   .08   .09   .10  /  .11   .12

How are you getting your place ready for fall?

Create - Live - Style

Small Spaces Dorm Edition | Tips & Links

September 1, 2016


I was a bit lazy with last week’s post- I had an idea and just didn’t like how the project turned out. So instead of rushing & pushing through with a ‘meh’ post, I now bring you the clincher to this year’s Back to School series and the perfect Labor Day weekend project, The Ultimate Dorm Makeover!


So ‘ultimate’ is a bit of a stretch, but I do love how much my sister & I were able to accomplish in ONE DAY. Seriously. I helped my sister move back on campus for her last year of college and she was kind enough to lend me her dorm room. AKA I got to make strong design suggestions in exchange for the use of my car ;). Above is a before shot of the dorm, pre-curated. Not the worst by far, but with a few small space tips, we made this cinder block cube a verifiably cozy class retreat.


Tip 1 | Make An Entrance
A clean, organized entrance sets the tone for the rest of your room. Carving out a dedicated small niche can help you get out the door quickly. We used a bookshelf to give Cam a drop off surface to throw keys, middle shelves for bathroom items (her room has a sink! so lucky!), and bottom shelves for organizing shoes.

And ff course the space above can be useful too! We used Command Strips to tack up a clipboard where she can post daily memos or her class schedule.


Tip 2 | Look High, Look Low
To feel make the dorm feel less, well, like a dorm, we kept her bed un-lofted. This didn’t leave too much of a footprint for extra furniture besides a futon. The good thing about dorms though is the ceiling height!

The standard wardrobes always seem to have extra space on top, and even an un-lofted bed has space underneath for storage boxes. If you plan on living on campus for a while, invest in cute, durable storage so you won’t have to buy new every year & you’ll already know how they’ll fit next year!


Tip 3 | Add Storage Where You Can
My sister’s dorm came with only a small wardrobe- no dresser, no nothing in way for folded clothes. We picked up these durable woven baskets from Target (where most things in this post are from! Did I mention we did this in one day?) that can really take being hauled up & down from her wardrobe and used it for anything too bothersome to hang.

These adorable wood tags are a Target Spot find (my actual weakness). Maybe the tags will inspire her to be organized for more than just the beginning of the year ;).


Tip 4 | Hobbies As Art
There is nothing Command Strips can’t do- with a few well placed hooks, you can turn hobby pieces into interesting wall art! You’ll have a storage place for your most loved pieces & an easy conversation starter.

I just love how the ukulele adds texture to the otherwise very flat & boring desk!


Tip 5 | Make Pieces Work Double Time
We saw this a bit before with the entry way bookshelf, but non-dorm issued furniture is a great way to break up the visual sameness & make a room cozier. And if you can get those new pieces to work double time, even better!

We used a stool as a bedside table with the idea that if Cam needs extra seating, she can quickly clear the stool and be good to go.


Tip 6 | Outlet Outreach
Outlets always seem to have a knack for always being in the most inconvenient places… but that’s nothing a little Command Strip (true god send people) and a cheap extension cord can’t fix! Stick one to your best post or side table for your phone.

And no more falling out of lofted beds trying to plug in phones (just me?)

dorm room

Tip 7 | Spray Paint Is Your Friend
I promised a mini fridge makeover at the start of the post, and here is a sneak peek! Spray paint is a great way to get a cohesive color palette or theme going even if you can’t find exactly what you want.

This retro mini fridge was just a regular, off the shelf piece that now is a focal point of the dorm room. A quick tutorial is coming soon! But really, it was just spray paint & a few well found pieces 😉


Bonus Tips | Shower Curtain As Headboard & Dressed Up Pillows

There are a few other gems hidden around Cam’s room I forgot to photograph/ran out of daylight for (the one day deadline really rushed things..). As an alternative to a headboard, we hung up a cotton shower curtain behind her bed (it’s the white & gold thing in some of the pictures). By skipping the window curtain section, we were able to find a cheaper & longer solution! The curtain is a nice option that makes the cinderblock disappear.

Also not shown is her futon. Instead of throw pillows (which are kind of a waste of money in a dorm), we bought an extra sleeping pillow & a fun cover. This cheaper option still dresses up the futon but also is nice for dorm sleepovers!


This dorm makeover was a blast! I feel like stores have really upped their back to school offers since I graduated & it was fun to shop for another small space! Sidenote: this post really made me realize I need a wide angle lens for interior shots and to take a couple steps back from macro haha.

Are any of you guys headed back to the dorms or just stopping by for small space tips? Let me know what tips you have for dorm living in the comments!