Saturday, April 20, 2013

Apartment Living: Making Your Space a Home

While living in an apartment, it can be difficult to make it personal. Most places do not allow painting or changing the space significantly. This makes it imperative to be creative. Use unexpected pieces to liven up your area. A few statement pieces can bring a space together. Currently, my living room has a green and blue color scheme. I have a creative lamp with a blue shade, and a collection of pottery pig banks with blue flowers. Along with some neutral shades of brown and green, these statement pieces really pop out. Here are some examples of d├ęcor that gets it right!

http://www.decorating-trends.com/apartment-interior-design
This apartment uses neutral colors to make the pink objects pop. Curtains, pillows, and flowers are inexpensive pieces that can be changed easily.

http://davinong.com/design/13365/studio-apartment-makeovers-decorating-home
This living room uses mostly black and white objects to bring the room together. As you can see on the left, it has been made more personal with a collection of photographs, while there are some interesting statement pieces around the room. This is a very classy look, that isn't too feminine, if you are living with a male partner.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apartment Living: Utilizing Small Space

In an apartment there are usually limits to space. Small closets, limited cabinet space and tiny bathrooms are some of the challenges. I'm going to give you some tips to maximize all of your space.

Clothes, clothes, clothes!
After living in a sorority house for a year, I realized just how many clothes girls have. Especially, with living in New England, a girl's closet can be stuffed full with sweaters, tanks, pants, blazers, etc. All of these clothes take up space. If you find your closet lacking, then the first step is sort through all of the different pieces. Decide if they are all necessary. I know that I have some clothes that don't fit well or just aren't appropriate for my lifestyle anymore. These can be donated to good organizations, such as the Epilepsy Foundation and the Salvation Army. These donations are tax deductible and will free up some space.

Now that you've cleared the unnecessary extras, you can organize your clothes. If your closet isn't big enough for everything, then you can use an extension for your closet, as pictured below, to double your space. These are inexpensive and an easy fix.

Chrome Double Hang Closet Rod, Commercial Grade
$14.99 Bed Bath and Beyond

Now that you have enough space, make sure you organize your clothes in a functional way. Here is a great article to give you some ideas for what might work in your space: http://arielrachelorganizing.tumblr.com/post/45952645247/ways-to-arrange-hanging-clothes

Kitchen/Dining Room
In most apartments there isn't the luxury of having separate dining rooms and kitchens. This means that you might have to use your kitchen as an eat-in space, or use part of your living room. Currently, I have a kitchen with a small nook for a very small dining room table, as well as a breakfast bar that doubles as an island. However, I don't have a ton of cabinet space or a pantry. You have the option of purchasing a Kitchen Island, but these can get pretty expensive. Another option is purchasing an inexpensive shelving unit.
 These can be found pretty easily. Walmart and Target both carry basic versions.

Another way to maximize space in a kitchen is to hide items that you don't use often. For example. I keep my coffee maker hidden away, because I don't drink any of it. However, most of my visitors and family do drink coffee, so it is still a necessary appliance for me to keep around. Other items, such as frying pans and silverware will need to be easily accessible, because they are used often. Reevaluating where items are kept every couple of months will ensure that you are using your space efficiently.

Bathroom
As a female, I have to say that having limited bathroom space can be very frustrating. Presently, I have fixed this only be choosing to do my makeup in my bedroom instead of in the bathroom. I only keep lotions, shower items and toothpaste in their. However, I find that decorating through utility is often the best way to use the space. I keep my hand towels in a rack on my toilet base and bath towels go on hooks on my door. Hand soap and toothpaste go on my sink, while lotions and medicine go in the cabinet. Other items go in the cabinet under the sink in little baskets. This is functional for me, but it might not be for everyone. Get in a routine and your space problems can be eliminated!

Good luck and make sure to set aside some space for a few extra books.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Apartment Livng: The Search

Searching for apartments is one of the most difficult things to do for recent grads. Last year, when I was searching for my first apartment on my own, I picked the first place that seemed like it would work in my price range. It's a nice apartment, but I could have found a better deal that was closer to my job. Now that I am searching for an apartment again, I have some hints for other seekers.
  1. Judge the Landlord If a landlord seems sketchy at all, then stay away! You will be dealing with them throughout the year, so you want to make sure that it would be an easy relationship. Some landlords will try to scam you out of your security deposit or they might not fix broken items in your apartment. I know people who had black mold in their shower, and it took months for their landlord to fix the damage. Be careful about who you want to deal with.
  2. Deal-Breakers There are some things in your apartment that you are going to want. I personally like hardwood floors in living space. Of course, this is a personal preference, but it could help you narrow down your choices. Things like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and state of the art cabinets may be benefits, but not necessary. Decide what is important to you.
  3. Pets Decide if you want pets. If you want or have them then this will be necessary for an apartment. If you don't want them, an apartment that allows them might not be the right choice. Think about things like your neighbors. You could have a neighbor with dogs that bark and could be annoying. When searching for an apartment, decide if this is important for you.
  4. Stuff How much stuff do you have? Do you have a lot of kitchen appliances? Is your closet flowing over? Do you need extra storage? These are all important things to consider when you are searching for an apartment.
  5. Price This most important thing is the price of the apartment. Make a budget for yourself and decide what your ideal price is and what your max price is. If you have trouble finding an apartment within your price range, then consider having a roommate.
There you have it. Good look with your apartment search and don't forget to make a little extra space for some favorite books!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Absence

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time. Work has caught up with me. However, I have recently became more organized and have rededicated time each week for the blog.

See you soon!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Pets

Lately, I have been thinking about getting a pet this coming year. I have always been a dog lover. I love playing with my friend's pets and my parent also own two pet Beagles! Right now, I think I am leaning towards a Basset Hound, but I also really love Chocolate Labs.

This line of thinking brings me to another point: one of my favorite books. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a fantastic read. It is from a dog's point of view and it brings light to the relationship between man and dog.

If you love pets too, then I definitely recommend this book to you!

Cheers,
Millie

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Since it is Valentines day and I am feeling a little mushy, I am going to share my favorite love story.


A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks is my favorite love story by far. I know it doesn't end the way that some may hope, but it is just so romantic and heartbreaking. This story showed me how even if a couple is apart, the are never truly alone.

What is your favorite love story?

Cheers,
Millie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Budgeting

I find that sometimes I get caught up in reading so much that I end up spending way too much money on books. Even if I can find good deals on Amazon or Audible, I sometimes spend over a hundred dollars in one day on reading material.This can obviously be a problem when cash is tight.

I can solve this problem by taking advantage of my resources. Now, before I buy a book, I check my local library for an electronic or physical copy of it. If I end up loving the book then I can invest in a purchase. However, if I don't love it then I didn't have to spend any money on a book that I won't read again.

Another way to save is to borrow a book from a friend. This can also introduce you to new books that you may end up loving. Discussing books with other people allow me to form bonds with them that I might not be able to otherwise.

Good luck with finding great deals on your reading material!

Cheers,
Millie

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On Again, Off Again

Someone recently told me that they and their boyfriend are on a 'break'. I don't know about everyone else, but this seems silly to me. I can understand needing space or breaking up. Going on a 'break' just seems too vague to me. What does it even mean? Are they still in a relationship? What would be defined as cheating. What is the future. Taking a break just seems like a being a wimp. If you can't take the time to figure out if you should be in a relationship with someone, then you probably shouldn't be.

It seems like some people are constantly in an on-again, off-again relationship. They are in a constant state of turmoil without any sense of future reprieve. I don't understand how this can be enjoyable. Relationships are about trust and enjoying spending time with your partner. They are not about constant fighting and uncertainty.

Maybe some people need this state of unrest in their lives, but personally I would rather have someone I can count on.

Let me know what you think!

Cheers,
Millie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coffee Table Books

Having one or two great coffee table books is a good idea. These make your living space more interesting and gives guests something to look at. It is usually a good idea to buy books about something you are interested in. This could be anywhere from sports to travel to CIA intelligence. These books tend to be more interesting if they have a good number of pictures.

I currently have two coffee table books. I am very interested in New England sports. So, it only makes sense that my two books are about the Red Sox and the Bruins. Eventually I will add a book about the Celtics and one about the Patriots to fill the collection. I purchased these two books from a discount shop called Five Below. This is a chain store that sells items that are all under five dollars.

I am very happy with these purchases, because they show my interests and give me something to look at when I am bored.

What are you interested in? They probably make a coffee table book for it.

Cheers,
Millie

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

 
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a fictional book about Hazel, a young girl who has thyroid cancer. However, this is not the typical cancer book about a typical cancer patient. Hazel has a specific type of cancer, where the tumors are present, but not growing. She isn't in remission, but she is not deteriorating either.

She has a different type of emotional outlook on life as well. She does not want to impact people's lives. She believes that she will die soon and she wants to reduce the number of people who will grieve about it. She believes that diminishing the affect of her death would make the world a better place.

Hazel's parents do not feel the same way. They want Hazel to experience life and form relationships with new people. At the beginning of this novel, they force Hazel to start attending a support group for young people with cancer. Hazel doesn't see this support group as very supportive. At the beginning of each session, the leader reads a list of all the people in the group who have died since the group was formed. As you can imagine, this is a fairly long and depressing list. Next, people vent about their frustrations and dealing with cancer. This support group doesn't necessarily help Hazel, but it does give her the opportunity to meet one of the most important people in her life.

She met Gus at the support group, and they end up becoming more than the best of friends. They trade books and connect over the journey to discovering the end of an influential story. This journey evolves from finding the answer to their questions, to breaking down emotional barriers and discovering each other.
 
Overall, this story makes you think about What If? What if I had cancer? How would I react? Would I still try to form those important relationships, or would I go through life alone? Can you really trust people, or do they just pity you for your disease? When you don't have cancer, these questions don't come up. People don't think about them. This book makes you think about them.

If you want to read a happy go lucky story where everything turns out to be ok, then this story is not the one for you. If you want to read a story that will make you think and reconsider how you live your life, then this one might work.

I give this book 5 stars. It made me cry and it made me laugh. An author who can evoke both of these emotions from me has serious talent. The Fault in definitely makes my Book in the Nook status!

Cheers,
Millie

 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Day!

If you live in the North East part of the United States, then you will have heard by now that the 'snow storm of the decade' is coming. They are predicting as much as two feet in Boston and even more in southern Maine. They have already cancelled my work for today and are considering closing down the business Saturday as well.

Now I feel like I am in school again with snow days and lots of free time. This is giving me a chance to get caught up on my life. Here is the top five things I am going to do with my snow day!
  1. Clean my apartment
  2. Bake some cookies
  3. Reorganize my closet
  4. Throw out old make up
  5. Settle down with some hot chocolate and a good book
Remember to enjoy yourself with your free time and don't get completely caught up in chores. It is important to relax so when you go back to your busy schedule, you are at 100 percent!

Cheers,
Millie

Resources

I have found that there are many different ways to enjoy reading. There are physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks. Beyond that there are many ways to enjoy these stories. You can borrow a book from the library or a friend. You could purchase it from a book store or online. You can download it on to your Ipod.

I enjoy all three versions of reading. I like to bring my Kindle Fire with me when I travel or go places, so that I can enjoy reading wherever I am. I like having the physical book if I am enjoying some R&R (Rest and Reading) at my apartment. Finally, I like to listen to audiobooks at work while I am performing tasks that don't involve writing.

I have to be honest though, I like having physical copies of my favorite books. These are the one's that I will read over and over again.

Cheers,
Millie

Thursday, February 7, 2013

First Post

Hi Everyone,

This is my first attempt at starting a blog. I will be writing sporadically about a variety of different things. Mostly, I will be posting about books that I have read and enjoyed. However, I will also write about other things, such as home living, recipes and pretty much whatever I want.

For my first post, I would like to encourage everyone out there to find a hobby that they love. I have found mine in reading. I love to read about pretty much everything. Chick lit, mysteries, classics and so on. I read autobiographies, science fiction and books about weddings.

Currently, I am reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch. So far, it is very well written and I am enjoying the descriptive language. This book was recommended to me by a coworker and it is also listed on Oprah's Book Club.

I will let you know if it deserves my 'Book in the Nook' rating

Cheers,
Millie

Dream Book Nook