***Update: To vote for our project  text LIFE66 to 62345. You can vote once a day until January 20th! Thanks for all of your support!

As a part of our big Life Improvement Project, IKEA has decided to give each store $10,000 to make a difference in their local community. The premise of the project is for co-workers to partner up, choose a worthy organization, figure out their needs, and show our steering committee what we would do with 10 grand. From the collected submissions, the store would then vote on which project they wanted to see the money go towards.

To be honest, I didn't think too much about joining the effort until my good friend Brandeis (a.k.a. our marketing, networking, project manager extraordinaire) who is all about saving the world, asked me to join her in developing a project to submit. And let me tell you, I am so glad that she did because not only is Brandeis a natural go-getter, she really wants to make this world a better place, and her positive energy is constantly rubbing off on everyone around her. I'm so glad that we decided to tackle this together.

The organization we decided on is called the Gateway Center, which is located in downtown Atlanta. Not only does this homeless shelter provide tangible resources to those in need, they also provide many invaluable services such as additional temporary and permanent housing solutions, mental health counseling, and job training.

A portion of our $10,000 went towards a children's area that was in total need of some sprucing up. Brandeis and I agreed that it could possibly help our chances of winning the project if we included a rendering of what one of the areas could really be.

Of course the Life Improvement Project also serves as a way to expose our community to the IKEA brand, so we specified all of our own products.

Here is the Children's area in it's current state. We definitely want to introduce new, clean products
and add a touch of whimsy to this lack-luster space.

I simply can not thank Brandeis enough for asking me to be apart of this project. It really helped me tap into some skills that I haven't used in a while (like CAD, 3-D modeling and hand rendering). I really felt like I was using what I learned in school to potentially make lives better. I mean, isn't that the point? Don't we all want to change the world? Interior Design is my passion, and this project made me remember how important it is to stay on my grind. Now we wait to see if our project gets chosen. Keep your fingers crossed! :)

***Update: To vote for our project text LIFE66 to 62345. You can vote once a day until January 20th! Thanks for all of your support!
Have you ever had a crush on something  for your home but you could never find a place for it? Well, I've always been in love with the Knappa pendant, but I really didn't know where I would hang it. There's just something about the shape that's so classy to me. 

Insert the Jara shade that I had been meaning to take back (I bought it as a substitute for my Regolit lamp shade, but alas it was too heavy). I eventually decided to keep the shade and hang it in our living room because it's the only space in our apartment that came wired and capped. Then, while browsing after work the a few days ago I was greeted with this scene.

Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head (no pun intended). What if I combined the shade and the pendant to make one light fixture, like a nod to a modern shaded chandelier?



So I tried it out! And I must say - they look as if they were MADE for each other. I can't wait to hang it (or rather, I can't wait for my hubby to hang it!) Because the Knappa comes with a plug-in light kit, I am now on the hunt for an inexpensive hardwired pendant kit so that it can be hung in our living room.  I was thinking of something simple like this.

Of course I'm excited to show you how awesome everything turns out when it's all unwrapped and installed.. Stay tuned for the madness!
One day before I had to go to work I decided that I would fix up the living room a little bit so that it would start to look a little more like home.

I started by adding a slipcover one of our existing pillows. It's a cutie pie cover that I picked up at CB2 a little while back for a couple of dollars. The pillow cover really added some oomph to the sofa. I'm  loving the mix of all the different pillows (the sequined ones are my fav).

Side note, check out our coffee table! Yep, it's the slot coffee table from CB2, the one that I mourned here. Brandon and I stopped by CB2 the same day that we went to MODA, and lo-and-behold they were having a sample sale. Hiding underneath a blanket and a pouf was Slot, and I nearly flipped out! And the best part was that he was only $135 (originally $299). The best part was he was virtually untouched, so it practically looked brand new. I was delighted.

The next thing I did to the space was vacuum and lay down our two rugs from Urban Outfitters. I fluffed the seams so that it looks like one giant rug.

Then I started thinking, "What am I going to do with these ottomans?" It was my intention to place them in our walk-in closets, but when I got my Missoni pouf, that idea totally went out the window. I'm still up in the air about using one of them for Brandon's closet.  He actually refers to the vinyl as plastic (in an I-don't-really-care-for-these-ottomans) sort of way, so I may come up with something a little cooler for his space. In any case I figured that they could always be used as extra seating if we entertained, but in the mean time I didn't want the ottomans just stacked up in the corner. So I placed one on either side of the sofa to hold lamps. Then a light bulb went off (in my head that is).

Because the ottomans are tufted (and therefore not level) I added the square mirrors that I used in my old bathroom. It just worked out that they happened to be right size. Plus I love the idea of light being reflected back up into the room when the lamps are on. Pretty good for a temporary solution eh?

After creating end tables, I placed our Dolce chairs on either side of the coffee table. I'm thinking that I'll need to hunt down some new pillows for the chairs that are comfy enough to stay put when people are sitting up against them. All in all, that's all I really had time for this particular Thursday morning, so it's pretty good for now. But believe me, I have lots more in store for this space, so stay tuned.
Today I thought I would share some photos of our new place. We still have lots of Home Depot boxes and IKEA blue bags (yes, we work for competitors) everywhere, but I thought it would be fun to show you some tidbits, starting with the kitchen.

Here's a shot of our kitchen just as we started moving everything in (notice the CB2 bags on the floor). 

Here is the frightening after.  Besides the phenomenal finishes, the cabinet space is way more generous than our old place. Honestly I'm not sure if we'll even fill every cabinet.

This is the kitchen a few days in. I made just a touch of progress so that I could finally cook dinner for my boo (our first meal was chicken stir fry). Let's just say that I played the box shuffling game to make that meal happen. Since that episode, I've slowly but surely been putting things away.

P.S. How awesome is it that we have pantry?

And I absolutely love the freezer on the bottom. It makes getting ice a little more special. Oh, and check out the computer monitor on the floor. His name is Dell. 

Funny story: No matter where he is, he's always facing down and away from everyone in the room - yes, like he's on punishment. Brandon, you should be ashamed...

Anyhoo, just in case you guys were wondering what kind of major upgrade this kitchen has been for my hubby and me, just check out our old kitchen. Tile-inspired wall-paper, silver mist appliances, laminate countertops (not that laminate can't be nice, ours just wasn't in the best condition), and 24" wall cabinets - okay I'm being generous, 22" wall cabinets, and no, the shelves were NOT adjustable. 

And the free-standing range on the opposite of our opening instead of a slide-in range was just blasphemous! Notice our attempt to cover it with old wine bottles.Oh, do I love life's little design challenges. I swear I spent the life of our lease trying to figure out why the range wasn't against the wall and the plumbing wasn't floated for sink. But hey, I sell kitchens for a living, so I may be a touch harder on this little kitchen than most people I know.

All in all, I can say that God is good. He has given us the means to move from an eighties apartment in the woods to a "deluxe apartment in the sky (movin' on up...)" We feel so blessed! My dream has always been to live and work in a big city, and I was finally able to cross that off of my 43 things. So what do you think?

P.S. If you haven't started a 43 things list, maybe you should too. :)
I have to admit, I was pretty bummed when I waltzed into Target the same afternoon that Missoni hit the shelves. I looked upon the empty shelves in horror thinking, "Really? It's all gone? All of it?"

As my hubby said, this person who owns this room must have gotten there first.

Yeah, it sucked. I guess I should have realized how big of a deal it was when I inadvertently logged on to Target's website early that morning to check out something random. I say "something random" because for the life of me I can't remember what it was. All I remember was that their website was down... so far down that a screen with the little Target doggie appeared and said, " We're a little busy right now, but I'll try to get you in as soon as possible".

I swear that's what he said; like he was a bouncer or something.(Hey, he might be a she, so let me not pass judgment.) Then I went to Apartment Therapy's website and saw a post explaining that Target's website was down because Missoni had just dropped it like it was hot. True story. Well, I ad-libbed a bit, but you get the idea.

Anyhoo, I leisurely made my way out to the Target in Atlantic Station - how dumb of me to go to the one in the middle of the city - but long story short, everything was pretty much gone. A Target employee sprinkling a Missoni display with the leftovers caught my horrified expression and told me that they opened at 8am and that by 8:05am everything was gone. He then told me that I could try back later because they MIGHT be getting more merchandise. Key word being "might" (obviously). So I left without taking anything home with me. Call me selective.

Flash forward a week later. I was browsing Target's website and amidst all of the "currently out of stock" Missoni stuff, I found something amazing. Insert the coolest ottoman ever.

At $99, it was saying "Buy me... buy me before I'm gone."

I ignored the impulse and lived a few more days without it. After about 3 days I checked Target's website and it was still there. I knew that I could wait no longer, so I told my hubby that I wanted it, in nonchalant sort of way, so as not to sound too desperate.

His response, "Buy it."

So of course I did. Like an obedient little wife should. With a discount and free shipping, I ended up spending $101.77. Not bad for a zig-zag pentagonal pouf. Where did I plan to put it? In my new walk-in closet of course!

Flash forward to a week later. While visiting Brandon's Auntie, I had got a hold of the Target in Hiram - which was virtually untouched. I snagged 2 boxes, a cosmetics bag which I plan to rock as a clutch (call me a rebel) and a shower curtain. BTW, eBay sellers are selling the same pouf for upwards of $250, and the shower curtain for as much as $100. Really eBay? Okay, whatever.

Check out that loot!

Did I mention that's it's going to look pretty awesome in my new closet? This is just a test to make sure that you're paying attention. In other news... our new place is the jam! Fill you in on the next post! :)