Monday, October 20, 2014

Balcony Progress and Plans

Hello everyone!  Today I get to show you a space you haven't seen much of here on the blog yet.  Right off of our living room, we have a nice little balcony.  Melissa and I love having balconies on our apartments, so we can spend summer evenings outside eating dinner, or drinking a glass of wine.  It really is just a wonderful way of relaxing and winding down after a long day.

So far we haven't done much out on the balcony besides put our outdoor furniture out there.  I love this little set of wicker table and chairs, gifted from my parents for my birthday one year.  I think they are just so adorable!  I would love to get some bright and colorful pillows to add to the chairs.  There's just a whole lot of white going on currently, and pillows would also add some much needed softness to this space.

I have also been playing around with different ideas for bringing some lighting out onto the balcony.  One idea I've liked is having a couple of stand alone lanterns scattered around the balcony, that could hold some candles.  Another option is to string some fairy lights around the whole space.  The direction the lighting situation will go will depend of the availability of an outdoor outlet, which I have yet to check out.

The other side of the balcony is pretty bare at the moment.  the only thing currently over there is a little metal table holding a bunch of pots of dead plants #blackthumb.  Melissa and I have dreams of building a raised garden bed out here, to grow some fruits or veggies in.  Our current plant status would argue we aren't up for that challenge, but we may try to tackle this next summer none the less.

We were lucky enough with this apartment to actually have access to the storage area off our balcony (these closets are usually maintenance only and residents are not given access).  So far we've just thrown a few things in here that we don't want stored in the apartment.  Eventually I'd like to get some structure and organization going on in here, maybe in the form of some shelves.  Since this is just a "yucky area" it isn't too high on the priority list, so we may honestly never get around to tackling it before we move out.

So that finishes up the quick little tour of our balcony.  Nothing too exciting, but I'm hoping we can cheer up this space with a few decorative touches added out there!  Here's is what's on the list for now:

  • Buy colorful cushions and/or pillows for chairs
  • Add lighting (fairy lights/candle lanterns)
  • DIY colorful flower pots
  • Build raised garden bed
  • Add flowers and plants (*learn how to not kill said flowers and plants)
  • Add shelves to storage area

What would you guys suggest for this space?  Any outdoor decor you are just over the moon in love with?  Let me know in the comments below!

You can see other posts like this one for all the other rooms in my apartment by clicking the links below:

If you liked this post, I'd love it if you'd share with your friends!

Friday, October 17, 2014

20+ Tutorials to Boost Your Project Life

Ok, so here's the deal.  I was totally planning on sharing my Weeks 11 & 12 layouts with you guys today.  That is, until my printer ran out of ink before I could print my pictures for those weeks.  Womp, womp.  So in lieu of sharing my spreads, I thought I'd take this opportunity to make a list of some awesome crafty tutorials that will help take your Project Life spreads to the next level!

1. Washi Cut with Silhouette

2. Handstitch Embellishments

3. DIY Glitter Background

4. How to Print onto Project Life Cards

5. Step by Step Confetti Pockets

6. Mixed Media (Stencils, Paint and Pens)

7. Stamp a Custom Background

8. Make Your Own Project Life Cards

9. Hidden Peek-a-Boo Journaling Card

10. DIY Patterned Paper

11. DIY Project Life Cards

12. DIY Pocket Flap

13. Use Up Excess Supplies

14. Use Oversized Photo

15. DIY Decorative Project Life Card

16. Add Text Using Vellum

17. Masking with Embellishments

18. DIY Calendar Title Cards

19. DIY Custom Page Protectors

20. Customize Printables

21. Outline Title Using Recycled Supplies

I always love discovering awesome new 'techniques' to try out in my Project Life spreads.  I can't wait to implement each and every last one of these awesome tutorials!  Which are you most excited to try?  Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Best Organization Apps (and How I Use Them)

Hello everyone!  As you all know, I am a planner girl at heart and I love my paper planners.  But in this digital age, sometimes an app just does it better.  In my mind, there are certain things that are easier to organize on paper, and there are certain things I prefer to keep digital.  Making the decision regarding what is better physical and was is better digital will be different for everyone.  Today I'm sharing with you which apps I personally choose to use to organize my life.

Since I am not an app expert (and you can easily find descriptions of each app way more extensive than I could ever offer you with a simple google search) I've decided to keep things simple with this post.  After I share each organization app, I'm just going to talk about how I personally use the app, and the few things that stick out to me and that I truly love about the app.

1. Dropbox

How I Use It

Dropbox is my default cloud storage system.  I primarily use it to move pictures or documents between my devices, so I have access to them on the go.  Pretty simple.

Why I Love It

Dropbox instantly syncs between all my devices, so as soon as I drop a file in from my laptop, it is immediately available on my phone!  I also love that I can actually see the files I have stored in my DropBox, unlike certain other cloud based systems (cough, iCloud).

2. Evernote

How I Use It

Currently, I use Evernote as just a basic note taking app.  I have a couple stacks of notebooks, to try and keep similar notes together.  I mostly use this app if I need to jot down a quick note.  I also store information I want constant easy access to.

I know I'm not taking full advantage of the awesome organizational possibilities Evernote offers.  I just haven't gotten around to really diving in and setting up my 'system' for how I want to use this app.  I have had this on my to-do list for a while, but since it's not super high priority, I haven't gotten around to it.

Why I Love It

Evernote can be as simple or as complicated as you choose.  Currently, I'm keeping it very simple, using only basic text notes, no tags, and a very simplistic notebook setup.  But I can totally amp things up if I ever choose to do so in the future.

I also love the tiered levels of organization (notes, notebooks and stacks).  As an organization freak, I love when I can categorize, and subcategorize and so on.  The tiered structure Evernote offers allows me to do just that.  This helps me really sort and organize each note to my heart's content.

3. Cozi

How I Use It

I primarily use this family organization app to track our shopping lists.  I created separate lists for different types of shopping trips (grocery, Target, BJs etc).  Melissa and I try to add things to each list as they pop up, then whenever we head out to the store, a complete shopping list is already right there!

Why I Love It

It automatically syncs between multiple accounts.  This means if Melissa is stopping at the grocery store after work, I can simply add all the items I need her to pick up right into this app.  There's no need for her to call me anymore and ask "do you need anything from the store?", because it's all put into the app's list.

4. Reminders

How I Use It

I use this app how it's basically supposed to be used, to give myself reminders.  I usually use this app to remind myself of tasks I need to remember to get done.  These are usually tasks that have to be done at a certain time, or I can't get to at the current moment.  I simply plug the tasks into this app, set a reminder to go off at a certain time, and forget about it until the notification goes off.

Why I Love It

It's simple and to the point.  No unnecessary bells and whistles to distract you.  Just 'remind me to do this task at this time'.

5. Mint

How I Use It

I use this app to get an up to date overview of my finances at any given time.  I love the many different angles this app allows you to look at your money from.  I set up my budgets in this app, to give me a real time tracking of how I'm doing throughout the month (at the end of the month, I record the total amount spent in each budget category in my financial planner).

I usually check in this app every day to make sure everything is on track, and there aren't any suspicious charges popping up that I need to be aware of.

Why I Love It

Oh I could go on all day about why I love Mint.  To start, I love all the charts and graphs this app displays, so you can really get a good solid idea of where you're money is going, and how you're doing managing it.  Colorful graphs just have a special place in my heart, especially when they're helping me manage my money.

It is also so much easier to understand the transaction items shown in Mint than if you were to look right on your bank statement.  I know I would practically need a translator every time I tried to go through my bank statement to see where I've been spending my money.  Mint automatically does the 'translating' for you when it pulls in your transactions from your bank account.  It also automatically categorizes the purchases into categories, which again, swoon.

6. eWallet

How I Use It

This is a fun little app that helps me store all my important information in one place.  You could basically store your entire identity in this app if you wanted, but I personally use it mostly to keep track of my many passwords.

This app also allows you to have multiple "wallets" to keep your cards of information in.  I'm not sure how a regular person would use this, but I love that I can keep all my personal information and my blogging information separate.  I simply have a Merrit wallet and a Label Me Organized wallet, so I can easily find the password I need for the 'identity' I'm signing in for.

Why I Love It

A average person can easily rack up hundreds of passwords, and I don't know about you, but I can't remember 100 different passwords at any given moment.  This app means I don't have to.  I have also been the person to go try to sign up for a website, only to be told I already have an account, but of course I don't remember my password.  So not only does it remember my passwords for me, this app remembers all the places I have created accounts.

That finishes up the list of all my current favorite organization apps.  Do you use any of these apps?  What do you love (or hate) about them?  Do you have an awesome organization app I didn't mention?  I'm always looking to expand my collection!!  Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.