Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 15

Hump day is here and so is my wish list for this week!

Does anyone else remember sitting in first period algebra in high school and thinking "this hour and a half class is never going to end!!!" My how your perspective changes as you get older...

A co-worker's daughter was in the office today and when I asked if she was enjoying her summer vacation she seemed bummed and said "no, I'm bored." Soak it up, girlfriend... there will come a day where you will wish you were bored on summer vacation. Like, every day when your alarm clock goes off.

Oh I would LOVE to be on summer vacation right now battling boredom (ha!) instead of trying to fit everything into the limited hours before or after work. My to-do list seems endless and I often have to do the things I need to do other than the things I want to do.

On my to-do list this week: buy the pretty things pictured below! I suppose it is less of a wish list and more of a "I am on my way to buy this" list.

***if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below***

1)  Ikea Virserum frame - I purchased a pretty print to hang in my entry way, but I can't stand the thought of paying double for this frame without a photo mat! Looks like I will be making a trip to Ikea this weekend. Fingers crossed.

2) Style Selections Lamp - I owe Houston for pointing this beauty out at Lowes while we were there a few weeks ago. But, since I don't spend money easily, I had to decide if I really wanted it. Decision made. I am going to get it tonight. How amazing is the price for a lamp AND shade??? I still love this one, but I just couldn't pay that price!

3)  Threshold Shelves - Target may have let me down with the picture frame, but these shelves come as a set for a great price and I have a few ideas of where I would like them in my new place.

4)  Lemon Mint Leaf Candle - I am a sucker for Bath&BodyWorks' 3-wick candles, and Houston sent me a coupon (gold star, my love!) for an extra 25% off! I like lemon. I like mint. I love the color of the candle. I may have to pick up a few of the ones in mason jars too... they are too cute to resist.

And now, I am off to work on my mid-term essays. Didn't I just say that eight weeks ago? Yes, I did. That was for my last online class. Whew, these classes move quick!

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blank Slate No. 6 - A Boring Conclusion

I want to skip sharing the last couple corners of my new apartment. But that wouldn't be fair, right?

They look sad and naked and I didn't even take great photos of them. Blegh. So I will keep it short and sweet, ok?

My dining area is in the upper left corner of the space that is my entryway/kitchen/laundry room/beginning of the hallway of doors.  For the first nine weeks in my apartment, this area was filled with boxes, laundry, Target bags, and served as my catch-all for anything that didn't have a home. It was a glorious day when I could finally see the floor.

I dislike the placement of my apartment's thermostat almost as much as I loathe the crooked face plate in my bathroom. I have contemplated rotating the table, but for right now, I just reach over the table to click the air on or off.

I have no idea what to put on the walls and I am even more stumped because there are two blank walls to contend with. Thoughts? -- See why the space frustrates me?

To the left of my door I have a tiny table/landing space for my keys (in a porcelain tray) and a basket for mail (currently full of miscellaneous stuff that has yet to find a home.)

The table was a Christmas gift from my parents and the porcelain tray and basket were finds from Marshalls. A yummy candle on one of my beloved Ikea candle holders and my house warming succulent from Summer keep my keys company for now.

Here is an ugly shot from my kitchen:

That, my friends, concludes the tour of the new apartment in its raw state. Thank you for following along. I can't wait to show some of the progress I've made. It is slow progress, but progress none the less.

Have a great Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No.14

I think my fascination with traveling can be traced back to 1987, when I was 4 years old. I can distinctly remember being a pint-sized little me and singing along to the Chipmunk Adventuremovie - we had taped on VHS. If you didn't get to experience this gem of a movie as a child, I apologize for rubbing salt in your wounds.

image via

Needless to say, I loved that movie to the point where I would reenact the different scenes while playing on the jungle gym in the backyard. I grew up and eventually realized that all the fabulous places I saw through the adventures of Alvin and the Chipmunks were actual places that I could visit. My elementary school mind was blown!

Fast forward about 25 years and I've fallen in love with a man who loves to travel. I'm not sure of the exact percentage, but Houston has seen 10% of the world. I'm not kidding.

We were talking the other day about all the wonderful memorabilia he has from his various travels and how awesome it would be to be able to display some of it rather than storing it in closets and under beds.

The solution?

Travel themed guest bedroom!!!

I immediately started pinning ideas on Pinterest for inspiration and promised I wouldn't have to buy anything to make it a reality.  - a promise I immediately regretted when I saw a beautiful globe at Costco for only $27.99. Drats.

So I figured I would share some of my inspiration with you this week on the blog.  Be sure to send suggestions my way as well, I would love to see them!

*** if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below ***

1. Up up and away - isn't this pillow fun? It would be the perfect little accent pillow on the guest bed, but right now it would totally clash with the bedding. - again there is the whole "no buying" promise snafu.

2.  Not all who wanderare lost -I love this quote and I've seen a couple different printables on Etsy. I like the idea of the lettering over the map, but I've seen some with compasses too that I like.  Maybe my graphics department (Houston) can whip something up for me.  - I have an idea for a small collage wall and this would be in the middle.

3.  Eiffel towerdoorstop - no travel themed room would be complete without a little Paris thrown in the mix, am I right?

4.  Suitcases - I can think of a million ideas for some old suitcases. A side table.  Additional stealth storage that blends with the decor.  All around cuteness.  Lucky for me, Houston and I have a couple antique suitcases already that we could use.

5.  License plates -  Houston's collection of foreign plates and street signs was part of the original inspiration for the room. They are so unique and would look awesome in some floating frames, are neatly blocked on the wall. Either way would be better band to keep them in the closet and out of sight.

6.  Monogram map - I could totally DIY this right? A cardboard letter from Joanns or Michaels and a little card stock, and I would have a nifty monogram to add to the collage wall!

7.  World globe - I love globes. There is just something about them that makes me want to buy every single one in Marshall's whenever I see them. Totally appropriate for a travel room and the right sized one would be a great accent on a nightstand.

8.  Departure sign - how amazing is this departure sign??? I could hardly believe that it was canvas! I think all the other ideas I've had with existing memorabilia will utilize the wall space in the room, but this is an awesome piece. I was so sad to see that it was sold out last week. I'm hoping they restock it soon.

9.  To Travel is tolive rock - I'm not sure how one carves letters into stone like this, but I definitely think that this quote reflects Houston's live for traveling. It's small enough to sit on a dresser or nightstand - perhaps as a paperweight.

I love coming up with ideas for decorating. Unfortunately, ideas tend to come easier for other people's homes rather than my own. My apartment decorating is at a standstill at the moment, but that is OK, it will resume as soon as I transport an amazing piece of furniture to my third floor walk-up apartment. Thank you in advance to my amazing boyfriend and whatever poor friend has to help him carry it upstairs. It weighs a ton.

If you'd like to follow along with more travel decor ideas, check out my Pinterest board HERE. Otherwise I leave you with this nugget of awesomeness:

Happy hump day, friends.

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Girlfriends Are Like Bras...

... close to your heart and there for support!

I cannot begin to express how wonderful my friends are! They are loving, encouraging, and the best looking cheerleaders. I know I already talked about the blogging community HERE and how it rocks, but it is even better when you have a group of friends to share the experience with.

Enter these lovely ladies:

We are just four friends who enjoy reading and writing blogs and encouraging each other as we go. Our lifestyles, families and crafts... they are all game for creative content. We are working together to inspire, support and challenge each other in 2014 and, as always, I am praying our dreams go "beyond the way beyond."

Want to follow along with me and the girls? From left to right is Summer (The Days of Summer), Clarissa (Munchkins and Moms), Leah (Leelee and Sumsum) and me. We would love to hear from you and get to know you more!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Shower Curtain Conundrum

So I have solved the shower curtain conundrum…

HERE is the link to what my darling new bathroom looked like with the remnants of my leopard bathroom from Moreno Valley. This bathroom is significantly smaller than my old bathroom and I feel like the dark rug and shower curtain made the space feel like a cave. Also, I may have outgrown my obsession with leopard with the exception being my blanket Emily bought me in Tijuana. I am keeping that thing until it falls apart!

So I decided I needed a new shower curtain, bath mat and some pretty hand towels and the shopping began!

Brittany has the most lovely shower curtain from Anthropologie in my favorite mint color, the Flamenco Shower Curtain. I love Anthro and the pretty assortment of items it sells. The price point is often (if not always) out of my frugal spending zone, and that my friends, is a total bummer.

Isn’t it beautiful?

My frugal conundrum did, however, launch me into an Anthropologie hack HERE and a full-fledged manhunt for the perfect shower curtain.

Many hours on Pinterest yielded a few potential results:

You may remember this one from my Wednesday Wish List a while back HERE. When I found it online had it listed at $68. Yikes. That is still too much for a shower curtain. I did find the same one at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and seriously contemplated purchasing it for $45 with the help of my trusty coupons (have I lost my mind?) but the price made me sick to my stomach. Thank you overpriced shower curtain for convincing me I do not need you.

This one was from Kohl’s, the Madison Park Chester Curtain and fit the bill for a light and airy color scheme. Are you noticing a pattern in my color choices?  But I did not love it, and it was still overpriced even on sale and with a coupon. $35. Pass.

I like this one, the Reiko Floral curtain. It is pretty, but I think I like the swatch more than I would like the whole curtain. Since it is not available in any store nearby and the photo online doesn’t show the whole thing, I just couldn’t commit to the “buy” button. I did, however, leave it in my Kohl’ shopping cart for a couple days.

Houston suggested just glancing at TJ Maxx for a shower curtain while we were at browsing at Home Goods next door. *I will never understand why a TJ Maxx carries home d├ęcor items when there is a Home Goods next door.* Lo and behold, a shower curtain that made me declare, “This one! This is what I want.”

A smokey blue curtain with bracket shapes was the perfect pairing of a calming color and a pretty pattern. It doesn’t resemble the Anthro curtain at all, but that is ok, I absolutely love it. Also, does anyone know the actual name of this pattern? No? Bracket shape it is!

I can't wait to show you more of the bathroom, and the rest of the apartment!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4th of July Recap and BBQ Shenanigans

Remember when I said that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday HERE? Well I wasn't kidding. I LOVE the 4th of July.

This year was a little different, since I didn't spend the day at my parents' house playing yard games and competing for trophies. My family knows how to have fun, plain and simple.

Houston and I had a wonderful day in Orange County with friends. There was a ton of food, delicious BBQ throughout the day, and I even managed to squeeze in a nap in the afternoon. Yes, I grabbed a seat cushion and fell asleep in the yard. I like sleep. I like sunshine. Throw a couple mimosas my way and I am a goner!

There was a fantastic local firework show in the evening and we only had to walk to the end of the street to see the fireworks being shot over the nearby park. The show seemed to last a really long time, but that could be because I haven't been to an actual fireworks display on the 4th of July in forever!

After some serious relaxation on Saturday, Houston and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather, sale priced Stater Bros. meat and the available BBQ at my apartment's pool area. I was fortunate enough to get to participate in another Crowdtap sampling opportunity and McCormick Grill Mates sent me a box full of yummy seasonings and sauces. Perfect for BBQing!

We went with some chicken and McCormick Grill Mates "Smokin' Sweet Tea" Marinade. Yum. My mouth was watering before we even started cooking!


Cooking was a little interesting, as I was completely unprepared. I don't own any BBQ utensils, so Houston improvised and used chopsticks. What can I say? He is a stud.

We practically melted in the one hundred degree heat, and poor Houston had to stand next to the hot grill too - I opted to sit on a lounge chair and take photos from the shade instead.

The chicken was delicious and we can't wait to try out some of the other marinades, sauces and seasonings I received. In the meantime, I will be heading to Target to pick up some BBQ supplies and you should check out THIS post on how you can get freebies from Crowdtap too!

This post was sponsored by Crowdtap and McCormick Grill Mates and may also contain affiliate links, but the opinions (and handsome man) are 100 percent mine. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 13

Happy Wednesday, friends!

In honor of Polka Dotted Blue Jay's third birthday, I thought it was only appropriate to round up another batch of my favorite Anthropologie items as well as some similar items (read: less expensive) for the second Anthro Hack here on the blog. Hooray!

Now onto the pretties!

1. There is just something I love about cozy chairs. If I ever have a foyer, you had better believe there will be a cozy chair or chaise nearby! And a tufted chair? I am practically giddy. The Orianna from Anthropologie actually comes in several pretty colors and I am digging the sapphire right now. The Devon from World Market is a steal at under $200 and I love the funky front legs!

2. Are these two twins or what? The Anthro pillow versus the Etsy one - the main difference is the price point, wouldn't you agree?

3. Anthropologie has a section online for gifts (under house & home on the main page) with lots of fun party supplies, including THIS tassel garland. When I found THIS one on Etsy I couldn't believe I actually liked it more than the Anthropologie one! The addition of gold is divine and at almost 60 percent less than the Anthro version, I would choose Etsy any day of the week!

4. Anthropologie's beverage caddy is a darker stain, but the World Market version comes with an attached bottle opener. That's a no-brainer in my book. A cute picnic tote with built in utensil! Winning!

5. Anthroplogie Zinc letters retail for a billion dollars. Ok, not quite a billion dollars but the price point made me do a double take. They are beautiful and everything, but I am more inclined to go the Etsy route and pick up these ones from A Fresh Coat of Paint or even do them myself!

6. I honestly couldn't decide which monogram hook I preferred. The Anthro ceramic ones or the ones I discovered at World Market (I am sensing a HUGE trend that many of my Anthro-Hack finds are coming  from World Market.)

7. Every lady needs a bar cart in her house! Without a bar cart, how would I make a martini? Without a martini, how would I greet my man at the door? And without that, what would be the point of donning and adorable dress and apron to greet him? Yes, I am an extremely old soul. This bar cart from Anthro would be lovely, but I also adore the one I found on Etsy for a fraction of the price even with shipping!

8. In an effort to snap myself out of the 1950's stupor from number seven, I picked a necklace that wasn't exactly pearls. But let's be real, I adore pearls, and the 50's for that matter, and wear my earrings almost every day and have a half dozen necklaces. The multiple strands on the Anthropologie necklace are striking, but the Forever21 version is lovely too.

I love finding less expensive versions of some of my favorite Anthro items and I hope you do too.

If you can't help yourself and you MUST have the $198 "You Are My Sunshine" pillow, I will help you out with an Anthropologie coupon. It is the least I can do. 

Happy Wednesday friends, the weekend is in sight!

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Blogiversary Post

Can you even believe that Polka Dotted Blue Jay has been around for three years?

Three years of silly posts and craft projects. Countless hours spent daydreaming about becoming a better photographer, writer and businesswoman. Dreams and plans, successes and failures. Oh how I love this little space of mine and the wonderful people who share it with me.

The blogosphere is a funny thing.

For those of us who write or read blogs it is a network of friends, some of which we have not yet met in person but feel an uncanny attachment to. There is support when you need it, prayer warriors when you request them, and encouragement from many sweet souls.

On the flip side, many people think that blogs are silly, unprofessional and "just make noise and feed egos." At least that is the opinion of one of my journalism textbooks.

But my heart belong in the land of blogs. Where women (and some men) lift each other up and support each other's dreams... no matter how crazy they may sound at the time.

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey and for reading my ramblings and slightly inarticulate dreams. Let's discover them together, friends!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Blank Slate Part 5 - The Bedroom

I was really scared that I would dislike having a studio apartment. Lucky for me, I LOVE my new little home. I am so glad I prayed and trusted my gut about deciding to move into this apartment instead of a different option further away from where I wanted to be located.

Other than losing the storage for my Christmas tree and holiday decorations, I have figured out a place to keep pretty much everything else.

My “bedroom” faces the ONE window in the apartment, which is a welcome change from my old apartment where the window was behind my bed. It is nice not waking up with the sun beating down on my head.

My nightstand is a mess right now (hello lamp without a lampshade!) and my house plant needs a new pot (it is paying homage to Target at the moment). But this little corner is in transition.  Originally I was going to hang this mirror on the wall, but since my closet is through the kitchen and next to the bathroom, it doesn’t make sense to have my dressing mirror so far away. Also, I may be putting something else on that wall – stay tuned for that exciting piece of furniture!

The coffee table at the foot of my bed will be getting a makeover soon. I need a bench to sit and put on my socks and shoes. I found a fun tutorial and I am enlisting Houston’s handyman skills for the hardware part of the project.

This is the view of the apartment from my coffee table at the foot of my bed. My makeshift “office” is in the right corner – it consists of a printer that serves as my coupon printing station!

My green cabinet has been re-purposed as storage for my office supplies and paper as well as extra candles. (woah that is one severely over exposed photo)

My bookshelf is a hot mess right now - have you ever seen so many scapbooks in one place??? A little too disorganized for my liking. I need to get it together!

One of the extra baskets from my old bathroom has found a new life in the living room holding a cozy blanket and a pillow my Gram made for me. I love having a blanket handy for curling up on the couch while while I watch a movie.

Ugh. Do you see that mess next to the dresser??? Shield your eyes, friends. Shield your eyes! 

The wall behind the dresser has me stumped for decorating. It is a HUGE wall. One big continuous wall from the window to the edge of my bed. I am not sure how to break it up the space or even if I want to. A gallery wall? A big art piece?  Does anyone have any ideas for decorating freakishly long walls?

Only two more little spaces to share and then it is time to show some updates! Hooray!!!  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 12

Friends!  It’s not too late to have a festive 4th of July holiday!!! I’ve got you covered! 

Did you know that the 4th of July is my absolute FAVORITE holiday? Ever since I was a teeny-tiny little girl I have always been fascinated with fireworks and fire in general. My Dad was a always a nervous wreck during Christmas while I played with the embers in the fireplace and constantly added more fuel to the fire.

I always look forward to the 4th of July and the amazing display of fireworks in the sky – I literally am like a kid on Christmas waiting for them to start. If I had a gift for mathematics, which I absolutely do NOT, I would have pursued a career in pyrotechnics. - Can you even imagine me setting up a fireworks display at Disneyland? That's the dream!

Since I can barely pass beginning algebra, and I mean barely, I will stick to some sparklers and some confetti for Friday’s festivities. Lucky for me, my bestie Leah even designed some festive printables. Check them out HERE and HERE.

*** if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below ***

1. This dress makes me want to pack a picnic and eat apple pie for dessert. Ok, so I don’t like apple pie, but you get where I am going with this. Where am I going? Stepford. That is where this dress and I belong.

2. Since I can’t live in Stepford in my plaid and gingham dresses, I will probably wear a tank top to deal with the insanely hot temperatures of the Inland Empire. The $4 tank tops at Old Navy are a great length for my long torso, and this frugal girl loves the price point.

3. For flipping burgers on America’s birthday, one MUST have a patriotic spatula. I mean, do I even need to explain. No. Go buy one now!

4. I don’t think I will get to the store to try on any colored pants before Friday but they are adorable and on my 30 while 30 list – maybe I can hit up a few sales over the weekend and give the colored pants a try. Maybe.

5. I am the bag lady. I very rarely only have my handbag when I walk out my front door in the morning. Textbooks, coupon binder, laptop, and an assortment of other things follow me wherever I go. This weekend’s bag contents will include: water bottles, sunscreen, Chapstick, and my camera. So if I must carry a bag, at least it could be a cute patriotic one!

6. If my niece would keep bows in her hair, she would totally have to have these hair bows. Alas, she would rather run with her brothers through the mud. That’s alright… I will commandeer my best friends’ baby girls and buy pretty bows for them instead!

7. Patriotic sunglasses. Now all I need is Lasik so I can wear other eyewear without walking into walls and other people! But these would be adorable on a little kid too.

8. There will always be plenty of leftover food on the 4th of July and these takeout boxes would be the perfect way to send food home with guests! Throw some mac n’cheese in a container and away it goes… or keep the mac n’cheese and eat it all yourself! – I like the second option the best.

Wishing you a happy and firework filled 4th of July and for another patriotic wish list, click HERE. God bless America!

This post contains affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.