Fact or Fiction? Mind Over Matter?

This blog is a bit late post Halloween but nonetheless I’m sure people always enjoy an interesting and perhaps even spooky ones for the brave. I wish I didn’t have any personal encounters and stories to fascinate viewer minds but unfortunately I do.

For as long as I can remember now, I’m a scary cat, plain and simple. I wasn’t always that way, as a child and young teenager I can’t recall ever being too scared of anything, I actually enjoyed a pretty good adrenaline rush every now and then. However many unforeseen events occurred in my life during my mid-teenage years and I can’t pinpoint if that’s really what shook my soul out of sync, but nonetheless, something snapped out of place and my entire thought process was never the same again.

Fast forward to my college years, I moved from my small home town to Minneapolis MN in the fall of 2006. Now we all have heard the stories as children, especially if you are Asian, about sleep paralysis and all the unknown eerieness that comes with that right? So here I am excited about life as a young adult in a bustling new city and just trying to settle into my new home. I responded to an ad for a lower level duplex rented out by this young bachelor. I went to see the place and wanted it right away, you can say I was young and stupid and impulsive. At first glance the place seemed okay, pretty light and airy. It had 2 bedrooms, a small kitchen and a wide open living room, plenty of essentials for a college student.

I moved in in September and I remembered something very odd that struck out right away. Prior to moving in, the landlord, who lived in the upstairs duplex asked if I could move in sooner, he’d like some company because it was too quiet and “cold”. As creepy and eerie as that statement was, I didn’t make much of it and moved in a couple of weeks later. I settled in and felt like things went pretty well the first month, even though the only thing furnished was my room I was still happy and excited as can be, even threw a house warming party with all my friends and family.

Soon, the excitement settled and the happiness ended. One night I dreamdt that I woke up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, something I regularly did. Then there was a knock on the bathroom door, I thought it was odd but opened it anyway and saw what I thought was a man that brushed pass. So I asked my husband, who was my then boyfriend, to go check. When he came back, he had a very expressionless look on his face and just said “it was a man, he’s not happy that you’re here, this is his home”. And just like that I woke up. You bet it was disturbing, and I never really got over it. A string of events would follow this incident.

Maybe it was the fear that lived and remained in me that instigated the proceeding events, regardless, it happened, and it was real. Honestly, I try very hard not to think of it anymore. I try very hard to lock it in the past. Not soon after this dream I would encounter the first bizarre happening. It was a Friday night I am sure, Koby had to work overtime. And I remember just being uneasy all day knowing I was going to be alone. We even worked it out that I would try to fall asleep and he wouldn’t wake me up before he goes to work at 11pm. But it didn’t work and I was toggling between being half asleep and half awake when he left, you know, the perfect timing for a phenomenon to occur. I had been sleeping on my tummy, with my head turned to the left. Perhaps I may have dozed off, I’m sure I did, but when I woke up in a haze I heard some movement like walking on carpet and then saw someone standing by me. A tall figure with a hood that resembled much of what Koby wore, at least that’s what I thought. I was awake, at least partially, I know that because I was consciously thinking all of these things. I thought perhaps he forgot something and came back. But I realized the figure wasn’t moving and then my heart started pounding and I realized I couldn’t move. I fought and fought and fought tirelessly, but I still couldn’t move, could barely breathe. So I decided that perhaps if I closed my eyes I would be less scared. In what felt like forever, I still couldn’t move. And then I felt the bed sink down next to me…and I knew.. exactly what was happening. I could see it laying down right next to me, and I tried my best not to stare. At this point my body went into fight or flight so with all my might my one arm went in for a punch and I broke free and fell to the floor. I think it took me less than a split second to rush out of the house with my keys and phone in my night gown in the dead of night. It was October, the night air was brisk. I had no idea where I was going to go and what I was going to do. I sat in my car and cried as I drove around contemplating my next step. I browsed through my phone and made multiple calls to no response. Finally, someone picked up, an acquaintance, a good friend of my cousins. He made it to my house in no time and sure enough brought along his rosary. After all of the reassurances took place, he made camp on my bedroom floor that night and I was able to finally get some shut eye. He was definitely my savior angel that night.

This went on for what seemed like a continuous vicious cycle, I just no longer witness any sightings except for one night a couple of weeks prior to moving out. And this time, I wasn’t sleeping alone. Koby was right next to me when I fell asleep. I swear him and I were just talking, I must have just slipped off into a quick sleep but before I knew it my eyes were open and I saw something sitting, straddled on top of me, strangling me. Something ugly, evil, laughing. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t scream, refused to close my eyes. So once again, I fought, and when it realized that I was fighting, it removed its hands from my neck, cackled and reached over to Koby’s neck. I thought, “oh hell no”. With the strength of a hundred men, I got up to reach over to throw a punch amid screaming “f*** you” and flew right out of bed on the other side of Koby.

The length of time I was in this house was 3 months. It felt like an eternity. I cried every night, I feared in day light, I feared even more when darkness fell. I dragged coming home from work, dragged coming home from school. If there’s anything that I never stopped being reminded of about that house was how cold it was, it was ALWAYS so cold, so damp.

Anyway, that was the last of that! My dad has taken a lot of time to convince and reassure me that it was nothing but a twilight moment perceived through fear and nothing more, otherwise known as the mind playing tricks on you. Thanks for reading, I hope it was a good Friday read for you! J

 

 

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Chit Chat

Hey friends! I hope you all had the bestest Fall. I can’t believe how fast that’s come and gone, I barely had any time to prepare. I felt like I didn’t even get to fully enjoy the moment, especially any of my home décor. Sure enough I hadn’t a clue it was daylight savings today either.

I finally got a small breather today and thought I’d sit down for a chit chat and update session. I swear, I’ve been so busy, between life, home, and work. So many changes are happening in my life right now (mostly good) so I’m just trying to soak it all in and do the best that I can. Well, let me just say the Christmas music has started and so has the decorating. In previous years I’ve been able to fully put away my fall décor and even had ample time to put up holiday décor, however I’ve been super busy and this weekend was the only time I could squeeze out of my schedule to get the bulk of the work done, phase 1 that is. The work that would typically take me almost 2 weekends to do I got done in 1 day, I know, kudos to myself. However, I do have my sweet husband to thank this year. I’m sure he felt almost guilty watching me huff and puff and jump as he was gallantly pokemon-ing a few feet away on the couch. So, a round of applause to him for helping me put up the bone of the tree, that’s actually the most time consuming part!

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So let’s talk decor, details, and stories. No matter what you do (unless you’re very well off), I always, always recommend analyzing your budget and spending within your means (and if you have a spouse, compromise). You all know I’m a big advocate for that. As far as home décor goes, I started out with nothing, moved to used items, then gently used, and now have frequently included new, selective, purchases as I deem necessary. Believe it or not, I bought this tree about 5 years ago for $25.00 off of craigslist and it didn’t even come with a tree stand. My co-worker donated one of her old ones to me and I creatively made it work. It is a beautiful, very well made, very classic 7.5 ft slim tree with individual branches, none of that easy 2 or 3 piece stuff (although that would be so nice and efficient). The very first year that we had a tree, my son was 2. I had been saving money that first year and was able to put it towards some items the following year. I spent less than $100.00 including the price of the tree that first year we celebrated and then the items accumulated from there. Another tip is to check out the stores frequently after the holidays for their markdowns. Best way to get holiday décor. Here comes my next set of advice/rules. Even if items are marked down and seem like a fabulous deal, never go shopping without a plan – especially if you’re on a budget like me. Don’t just buy something because you think it looks nice, or dirt cheap. Actually, I don’t recommend home décor at all until you figure out the kind of style and taste you like and have actually put time into that research. For instance, the holiday season has a lot of red décor, and I see A LOT of beautiful pieces in that color scheme but I decorate in a completely different theme so it wouldn’t make sense to waste money buying all sorts of mismatched items (not my thing). So you definitely have to know yourself before you fork up the money; very important.

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Here are my blank canvases this year. I’ve been to the drawing board numerous times since summer and have slowly come to a conclusion of what I want this year. If you’ve seen any of my previous holiday décor, you know I’m into white and basics, ESPECIALLY FOR THE HOLIDAYS. This year will be Winter Wonderland; A Walk in the Woods – I’m very much set into honing in deeper and spinning off of last year’s theme. Hoping to be able to capture a little bit of glam and sparkle also! In the last couple of weeks I’ve been going up and down the aisles of Home Goods and Hobby Lobby to see what I can incorporate, I haven’t made any investment purchases, only a few fillers for my tree.

So to recap, do your homework! Just like you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and without a list, you shouldn’t go décor shopping without a vision and a blueprint. It’s important to incorporate things you like, but make sure you plan well as to be careful not to end up creating clutter; defeating the purpose. And as I’ve stated before, you don’t need to buy everything at once. Do with what you have and then incorporate as you go, which is why I said it’s important to do what you like. Don’t go for themes you know you’ll get sick of right away, waste of time, effort, and money. Although my theme has always been WHITE, each year I take a whole new approach whether that be including new pieces to emphasize an old theme, or rearranging items and furniture to capture a new look.

Lastly – don’t decorate just to decorate..or spend money lol. I get it, we all live very different lives and have very different homes. Decorate according to your lifestyle. We don’t own a home, we live in a 2 bedroom townhome so we can’t do fancy things to the interior like painting, or drilling, or even simple but impactful things like window treatments. I take all of that into consideration. However, there’s only the 3 of us, my husband, myself and my son, who is for the most part well behaved and pays no mind to home décor. So I can place multiple candles throughout my home (with supervision), decorate with valuables and glass, and so forth. Even so, the way I choose to decorate also allows for functionality, which is very important. Can’t dress up a house and then not sit on the couch or eat at the table lol. And here’s why I said compromising makes a difference. If the people in your home don’t appreciate, agree with, or respect your work, then that’s something to consider as well. It’s not worth your time and money to have things ruined and broken all the time. Thankfully, both my boys are appreciative of my work, either that or they’ve learned to tune it out lol.

Last but not least, circling back to my mention of starting small, and starting with gently used items. Decorating may not be the thing for you. You may find that it’s not worth your time or effort, or that you lack the creativity (we all get that), or you’re just tired of the seasonal change in/out, whatever it may be, at least you haven’t invested a ton of money and having to deal with a bunch of items sitting and collecting dust.

I hope this bit of information can help all you new enthusiasts. Hopefully, when I complete this years look I can squeeze in time for another blog with helpful tips. As always, thanks for reading and stay warm!

– Cyndie –

Weight Loss Wednesday – Road to Healing

As you can tell from the header, this is a true short story in my fitness journey. For the last year, I’ve been battling very bad plantar faciiatis (95% on my right foot). If you don’t know, it’s pretty much heel/inner sole pain, usually due to many small but common factors. Along with my provider and myself, we’ve determined that my issue is mainly due to flat feet and progressive weight gain, unfortunately my ankles/feet can’t handle the pressure of my body weight :-(.

Anyway, a year ago when I saw my provider, she ultimately put a halt on my “exercise” regimine at that time stating I would worsen my condition if I didn’t wait for my feet to completely heal. So – I did, and I gained even more weight.

When I decided to start up my weight loss journey about 3 months ago, I knew this was going to be an enormous detour in my plan so I put on my big girl pants and proactively looked for a solution to combat my injury. And here’s what I did:

1). Brace – ing IT

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I purchased this foot brace a year ago from Amazon for probably less than $20 – but hated wearing it. I pulled it back out and wore that sucker every night, even if it meant waking up in the middle of the night and ripping it off. The key was consistency, slowly but surely, I started noticing less pain when I got up in the morning.

2). Ending TIES

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I permanently put my flats away. It was one of the hardest things because I LOVED LOVED LOVED my MK’s, and TB’s. My feet were like death by the end of a flat shoe day, it was so excruciating. This also meant changing up my entire shoe collection for work which really made me unhappy, but something’s gotta give, and not that heels made the issue any better, but it definitely lessened the pain by a couple of notches. It’s probably a good thing I have a sedentary job.

3). Iced and ROLLED

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I started icing my feet nightly with a bottle of frozen water before bed. I’d do this for about 15minutes or so depending on time. It did initially take away or numb the pain but really wasn’t getting deep into the muscle. Then one day while I was shopping around at TJ max, I found a “muscle” roller? I couldn’t help wondering if it would nip at the pain a little better, so I bought it on a whim, and what do you know. I LOVE IT. I was actually pretty painful at first, but I found my way around it and took my time getting to the pain from every angle and every roll. Due to the spikes, it really got in deep to the tissue, and almost like a knot, it was able to relax that muscle in a way. This was probably the best investment in my injury intervention.

4). Less weight BEARING

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Did I mention it before? Since starting on this journey, I have not done rigorous running or even walking really. I’ve probably done 2 days of the treadmill this entire time. About 99% of my training has been on the elliptical. It’s helped tremendously because of the amount of pressure it doesn’t put on my feet, most of it goes to my knees and glutes. And let me tell you, 45minutes on that machine will give you sweats and spaghetti legs. It has been the 2nd best factor in healing my plantar faciatis.

Today, I wake up with little to no pain in my feet. I no longer wear my brace at night, only on nights where I’ve done very strenuous activities. I’m so happy – you have no idea. I slowly started adding running back into my routine this week and have noticed increasing my feet rolling time so we’ll have to see if I need to hold off for a while yet. If you suffer from the same symptoms I really hope this blog helped you out, and if you don’t, well now you at least learned something new right?! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

– Cyndie –

Weight Loss Wednesday

Hello – and welcome to another Weight Loss Wednesday!

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photo courtesy of simpleeeconomist.com

This week I’m sharing with you one of my planning strategies, it’s probably one of the most important things on my list if not the MOST. It’s smack dab right on the front of our fridge so EVERYONE knows what they’re eating (the boy’s meals are in bold).

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This is definitely not a “meal” prep blog but rather a focus on the importance of preparation. I don’t care what your meal is or how you prep it, the key is that you have a plan. A large part of preparation coincides with follow through. And you all know what I’m talking about. If it’s not done, if you don’t have it, well, you ain’t gonna eat it and you’re going to resort to something else, or something bad especially if you’re hungry.

This is the meal plan for August because I prefer to do monthly planning to get it out of the way and at least I know far enough in advance what’s coming or if I need to change something due to my schedule. You certainly don’t have to do a whole month, but I’d recommend at least 1 week at a time. EFFICIENCY is key! I’m able to check what I have and don’t already have in my pantry before going to the store which allows me to shop appropriately when I do my weekly runs and it also prevents me from running multiple times to the store or buying extra or excessive amounts of goods because I know exactly what I need. In addition, this schedule also allows for “way ahead of meal time” prep. If I know I’m making stir-fry midweek, I can prepare and cut up my meats and veggies ahead of time 🙂

Hopefully this was a good tip for you and perhaps it’ll inspire you to get organizing!

– Cyndie –

 

Tip Thursday – Are You Getting a Run For Your Money

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Picture – Credits of LiterallyNataly.com

Hello friends – as you can tell from the title, I am starting up Tip Thursdays on the blog as well following Weightloss Wednesdays. I hope to incorporate some very educational and valuable literature for your reading pleasure weekly and hope to instill new knowledge or if it’s old news, then perhaps maybe just a refresher.

Skin care skin care skin care, need I say more. If you’ve been following my blog,  you know that in the last couple of years I have developed a newfound love for Korean Skin Care. In this journey not only have I incorporated a lot of new foreign products into my religious regimens but I have also gained quite a bit of knowledge about the DERM world.

So for today’s topic, Are you really getting what you paid for? I think this question is a lot more important for us aging folks that are really looking for power products, those that are vital to our holding our youth and of the utmost potent. How many times have you purchased a product after reading about how wonderful it is only to find that it did absolutely nothing for you? And how many of those times did you spend a fortune? Furthermore, how many of those times did you bother to read the ingredients label? I’m going to estimate that most of you/us DIDN’T read that label.

It’s okay – we’ve all been there. How do you even begin to read that list, what does it even mean and why should you even care right?! Well – here’s the thing. WE SHOULD CARE. Now just very brief, to prevent a 3hr read, I’m going to share why.

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If you take a look at this label, you’ll notice that the first ingredient on the list is “water”. What that means is that this product is mainly composed of water. The ingredients are listed in chronological order from greatest volume/mass to least. So depending on what this product claims to do, and how much it retails for, is it justifiable to purchase something that’s mainly water? side-note –> not that water is necessarily a bad “main” ingredient in all cases

There are 3 main things that I suggest you do or start doing, because I believe those are the best things to keep in mind to get the most for your dollar. Familiarize yourself with 1). the main compounds that make up skin care products (liquids, fillers, power ingredients, etc) 2). Know what the main ingredient is in the product you are purchasing 3). where in the list is the POWER ingredient

1). Unless you have no interest whatsoever or your skin is perfection, I suggest leisurely educating yourself about products and ingredients. Understanding the various products allows you to get a general sense of how great a product you’re purchasing; is it just full of chemicals, such as perfume and parabens? Is it all water and fillers and nothing more? So unless you get familiarized with some of these ingredients, you won’t even really know if the product is what it says it is – make sense?

2). As I stated above, the first few ingredients on the list make up the majority of the product so you need to know what exactly you’re buying. Most of the time it ends up just being water gelled up with fillers. Pay attention – is it something you’re allergic to. I’m allergic to benzyl peroxide, wouldn’t make sense to purchase a product with that ingredient near the top of the list, or on the list period..right?

3). Only after completing the first 2 steps can you fully understand the 3rd step. And I’ll wrap that all nicely with an applicable situation: if you didn’t know, “niacinamide” is one of the many powerhouse ingredients that locks in moisture, so, say you’re in the market for a good cream or moisturizer to combat dryness. However, when you look at the product label you notice that “niacinamide” is either non-existent or located towards the end of the list. If niacinamide is nonexistent, then…well you’re just buying a cream for the sake of being a cream and you’re not going to reap any kind of benefit, therefore throwing your money down the drain. If the ingredient is located towards the end of the list, you have a bit of hope. However, it’s still a toss up whether or not this product is going to perform effectively because being the last item on a list can mean 15% or 1%, and we don’t know which is it. I can certainly say that it won’t perform as well as a product with this ingredient on top. Now – do take this example with a grain of salt, it’s very generalized because niacinamide is not the ONLY ingredient that helps with moisturizing, so just because it’s absent doesn’t necessarily mean that something of the equal value or greater isn’t already existent in a product, hence why I say it’s important to know the different ingredients.

I know it’s a lot especially if you’re foreign to skin care, but hopefully it served as an eye opener, or got you thinking for the next time you’re in the market for a product. Again, a disclaimer as always, I am not an expert or a specialist or claim to know it all. I’m just sharing a glimpse of what I’ve learned through research and trial and error. But, if you’re interested and have questions, I’d be glad to answer to the best of my abilities. After all, who here doesn’t crave and long for endless beauty 🙂

Thanks for reading

– Cyndie –

Weightloss Wednesday

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Hey guys! I am starting Weightloss Wednesday(s)! And to open the first series here are my ~30 day results. Small gains, slowly but surely. I think I could definitely put in a little more effort, especially towards my diet but I also have to keep reminding myself that it is a LIFESTYLE change and I’m not going to do anything drastic or forcefully.

  June 15, 2017 – inches July 19, 2017 – inches
Bust 43.5 42.5
Arm 11 ¾ 11.5
Waist 38 7/8 37
Belly 41.5 40.5
Thighs 20 1/4 20
Total lbs lost – 2lbs  

What’s been happening – I’ve been trying very hard to watch portion control and have cut down significantly on my rice intake Monday through Friday. I’ve also tried to maintain 30minutes of cardio every day and I say TRY because I have a foot/ankle injury. I’ve been relying heavily on the elliptical for less impact but as of late our clubhouse has been on lockdown so I’ve been doing more Pilates like workouts; better than nothing I suppose.

Weightloss Wednesday tip – I am sharing with you one of my workout routines from the lovely Sarah, from Sarahs Day on Youtube. Trust me, it’s a lot harder than it looks. I was panting and sweating and sprawled on the floor looking like Patrick from Sponge Bob by the time I was done.

 

Thanks for reading, see you on the next one!

– Cyndie –

From House to Home – Spring/Summer Living Room

We moved in last summer as they had just finished building the property. It was brand spanking new, and I had all these ideas and plans and visions for every room and area of the house. But, not being a homeowner, I’m always at a constant battle between designing the space I live in, or saving my time and money for my home down the road. Some people think it’s not a very reasonable way of spending money. There are very good arguments to both, but my rational is that I want a home, not just a shelter. I want to enjoy and love my home especially after long tiring work days, or when I finally get to relax on the weekend or for a night in. There is no rule that says we have to spend a fortune to make our home beautiful, nor is there a rule that says we shouldn’t make a space unique to us if it’s not permanently ours. So, over the last year I reconfigured my living room layout and carefully planned out all the details to style that space. Here’s the look so far (not complete yet)

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As you can see, it’s very simple, and not a very large area, but it’s super cute and cozy, just enough for the 3 of us (I soo cringe that it’s not a central air unit, shhh).

Sectional – My focal point, I wanted to place it here because it was the best piece to measure up to the largest wall in the room. The couch was actually part of a 7 piece sectional that we purchased from Hom Furniture a couple of years ago. This is one of the few furniture pieces that we didn’t throw out during our move. I couldn’t justify buying a new set not knowing what and how our living situation was going to be like. It’s light beige in color and the material is microfiber. This little number has survived 1 baby, 1 across state line move, and this is what is left from 8 months of storage. We were able to salvage these remaining pieces, the other 2 sections were unfortunately ruined due to mold – and yes, I cried. We paid a lot for it and the couch just doesn’t look complete without the other 2 pieces, plus we used to be able to build a huge fort to sleep in for family nights and now we can’t. Although, I am pretty proud that we’ve kept it in great condition given how long it’s been with us. I attached our ottoman to the left side of the couch as a way to draw a finer line of separation between two spaces, the living room and the kitchen. Also, it may seem like it but neither the sectional or console table is pushed up against the wall. There’s still a decent amount of space back there. 1 tip, you don’t always have to push furniture up against/along walls. Price = free

Accent pillows and throws – I love3 them, who doesn’t? It’s the cheapest way to add color and design without a lot of work and money. I usually coordinate these little accents to compliment the seasons so I rotate them out 2-3 times a year. They were all purchased at Home Goods, not all at once of course. I acquired them over a 2-4 year time span. When I envision Spring, I think of soft colors and blossoms and light and airiness, perhaps it’s because I’m not a very bold person when it comes to color. So I thought I’d bring in a range of light pastel colors which I think is beautiful. It’s also nice to incorporate a range of size and shapes as well as various textures and complimenting color palettes. Price = free through accumulation (original prices range between 14.99 and 29.99)

Now right behind that sits our console table. It’s actually very basic, but pretty. It’s about the same height as the couch and a hair longer than one of the sections. It has a cherry like finish and comes with one large drawer that’s about the length of the table. The bottom piece is also finished and serves as another flat storage area. And the best part about this table? It was FREE! Originally, I purchased it from Joss & Main for the purpose of my entryway, however, the first table came damaged?  Two of the legs were chipped and the holes didn’t line up for assembly. The CRS was so kind, they sent us an entirely new table! So we drilled new holes into the legs and wa-lah! Good as new, paying no mind to the minor details, which is probably why it’s hiding behind the couch. Price = free

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The first item is a beautiful mixed blue vase I picked up at Hobby Lobby, luckily, because they usually don’t have vases I like. My vision was actually to have a vase with a wider body and smaller neck to fit 1 stalk of yellow blooms but no such luck. However, considering the limits of a small town and hating the hassel of online ordering and returning. I really wanted tall/long stems/flowers, preferably cherry blossoms, to stick out of the vase to give the illusion of branching and growing, and also to balance out the tall lamp. This didn’t turn out too bad though and I still enjoy looking at it. Flowers were also from Hobby Lobby. Price = 24.99 & 7.96

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Can we talk about that lamp for a minute? Isn’t it beautiful?! I’ve been in and out of Tj Maxx for months trying to find the perfect lamp for this area and I finally came upon this little gem a couple weeks back. I wanted something taller to heighten the look of the space (we have short ceilings), and this was perfectly chic! It’s not too glitzy, but not too masculine either and has very clean lines. I opted to position it on the right side because, you can’t tell, but the layout of our home is a small open concept. Guests will get a straight shot of most of our kitchen right into our living room from the entrance and I think it’s easier to see the lamp behind the vase versus the other way around. I just think that first impression would be more appealing on the eyes. Price = 49.99

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In the middle, is a picture of my Son when I shot his 6 month old photos, oh the memories – we definitely need an updated photo. I wanted this area to look neutral but also to have a sentimental feel as well because..well, it is our “living” room after all. I believe the frame is just a basic one that I bought from Wal- Mart years ago. Price = free

You’ll spot a ton of candles around my house, and it is no exception here. It adds a nice touch (especially when I get the fancy ones) and also allows for efficiency when I need to quickly light one. This one is “Rustic Lakehouse” from Wal-Mart. It is surprisingly a lovely scent, a bit masculine and cologne like, but very clean. I’ve compared it before to the bath and body candles, the smells are very similar, but for a quarter of the price. Price = 4.95

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Rug – It’s still growing on me. We’ve been in desperate need of a living area rug. Our floors are faux dark wood tiles, very pretty, but hard and cold. My son LOVES to roll around and play on the floor and that was my number one concern. This was probably one of the most, if not the most difficult pieces to find. None of our local stores had anything that I liked. And when I did find one, it was always gone before I could snatch it. There were a lot of contemplating that came with the decision though, the size, color, design, price, feel, etc. Anyway, on one of our outtings, this particular one happened to catch my eye and we kind of bought it on a whim. Overall, it does fit pretty nice in this space. The light teal blue color along with the white kind of ties everything together; I’m definitely happy about that. My only complaint is probably the feel – it’s pretty tough? I mean that’s a good sign of sturdiness for such a high traffic area but I just hate the thought of my son playing on it. Can’t win. Price = 129.99

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Last but not least Minka – my fiddle fig tree. A long time ago when I would browse magazines for home décor inspo, I’d always see these towering plants chic-ly placed in design spaces and knew I had to have one. I bought her from the nursery (Bachman’s) when she was just a baby, about 1.5 feet tall, but because there were 2 branches it was pretty expensive ($49.95). After many years of nurturing she’s grown beautifully and usually sits by my door because feng shui says that greenery by doors ignite positive energy and allows money to flow (also because she likes light). She is getting pretty tall, and because I haven’t trimmed her into a top heavy tree, or transplanted her into a bigger pot, she’s residing strategically behind the couch for now. Price = free

The other side of the room

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TV Console – When we moved in, it took a couple of days for us to decide where we wanted to permanently position the console (because it’s pretty dang heavy). After weighing our options, we settled for this side of the room because 1) it won’t be the first view guests see as they enter the house, it’s pretty much hidden from the entrance, 2) the other side of the room is where the AC unit is 3) it would have to compete with a very large blank wall. But – this little beauty has a special spot in my heart. I was browsing the web when I found her probably 7-8 years ago. It was so expensive! I think the highest price I found at the time was $595. So, obviously, it wasn’t happening. Then we moved and left our old console behind and needed a new one. I didn’t want to waste money buying something cheap or something that I couldn’t stand the sight of so we waited and used a make-shift coffee table to sit our TV and items. After about a year of contemplating, money saving, and searching, I went back to this console and snatched it when I saw that the price had dropped during a special for $495. It was so beautiful, and still is. I love that it has a cherry finish (as do all my furniture) and that it has the little glass doors to add just a touch of modern design to compensate for the wood on wood on wood! We’ve maintained it very well so it still looks like new. Aside from the typical entertainment console items, if you look to the left side storage area, that’s also where I store all of my candles. Makes for pretty decor as well. Price = free

The little items on the sides of the TV do change seasonally, especially during the Fall and Winter. This is as spruced as things will get for Spring and Summer. The bouquet, I picked up at Home Goods a couple of years ago. The picture frame was a wedding gift. Price = free

Oh and the elephant in the room – that tower, AKA our air purifier. It won’t adequately serve it’s purpose in a different area of the living room, so it just HAS to be here, I’ve made my peace with it. However, I did purposely purchase a white one to blend in with the scheme of our living room.

Another view of the room

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I like that those doors give the illusion of French doors, which they absolutely are not, it’s still a nice addition though. I wish it wasn’t red, but I guess it’s not my place to worry about. I am still contemplating hanging drapes, just simple ones, maybe even sheer. It’ll definitely polish up the look for sure. We’ll see. And then the only 2 things left that I may add are wall decors for both sides of the room. For sure I want a large painting to sit above the couch, and perhaps a large ornament above the TV. Of course, these plans will only roll out if we continue to live here. Otherwise, I am pretty content with this space and design for now.

So to the people that say they can’t afford to make their home look nice and elegant, or that their space is too small to design, that’s not true! It’s doable, and the best part, it’s all about YOU; what you like and what you want to do with it, the possibilities are endless! Now, I’m not saying that I have the perfect house or that it’s elegant by any means the fact is people forget about the simple things, rearranging and placement of furniture and decor and adding accents = color and contrast. Also, you can borrow things from one area of your home to spruce up another area, get creative!  You can always purchase consignment items as well, these things don’t have to be brand new or from expensive lines and stores. Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure right! Two simple advice and tips, when in doubt, go neutral because it’s easiest to work with and it’s always safer to aim for symmetry and balance in whatever you’re styling.

Thanks for reading!