Patio Inspirations For Apartment Living

I am so excited about our move – even if that means I’m not too excited about the actual physical aspect of moving. I enjoy packing and organizing, but unpacking and getting a head start on decorating is where my heart truly lies in this whole transition. Our new apartment not only has more square footage, a second level and a bedroom for Greyson, it also comes with two patios! One large patio on the main floor leading out from our living room and a smaller balcony off our master bedroom, which happens to be high enough to see the ocean.

Our larger patio will lend itself to entertaining for us as well as when we have guests; like our out-of-state friends and family this summer. This means we need all new outdoor furniture (here’s where my husband rolls his eyes and hears the money start stacking up, haha) and I am excited to pull a few ideas together in an inspiration board. Because, that’s free.

So, here are my favorite picks and favorite inspirations for our new patio space!

Patio Inspirations For Apartment Living |

Patio Dining & Entertaining

It all starts with the seating and outdoor furniture! We plan to use the bar table and two chairs we currently have for our patio for our master bedroom balcony, which is just big enough for a table and chairs that size. This allows us to enjoy a sunset over wine or relax with a book while taking in the gorgeous views of the ocean. The bar table also puts us high up so the ocean is that much more in view.

That leaves us with the main level patio which is large enough for this outdoor dining set. It’s a 6 piece set from Target and on sale for $849.99, which isn’t bad for a table, bench, and four wicker chairs. I read that the bench isn’t all that great from the reviews, but overall those that have purchased it love it. I plan to use the outdoor rug we already own (fingers crossed it’s large enough), but will need new cushions and pillows for the chairs.

I love the navy blue paired with the deep color of the wood table and comes with a hole for an optional umbrella. We have a hand-me-down from a previous neighbor and we’ve loved having it. However, it doesn’t properly fit the stand we bought and tends to lean or fall over, which isn’t good. Plus with the navy colors I, of course, would like to update our umbrella if we lean in that direction (see Sun & Lighting).


The way our complex is designed is that we have neighbors that are slightly on the close side when it comes to the patios and distance of apartments. As much as I love our community here, it would be nice to achieve some privacy while outside without coming off too obvious. Other residents I’ve seen use lattice or plants to create a little barrier that won’t get in the way of the sunshine or be an eyesore to others. I would love to use a lattice planter box like this one and either grow a vine plant or attach pots along the lattice as shown in the picture. Since our patio gets plenty of sun I want to bring a lot of greenery to provide a relaxing overall feel while growing some of our own herbs or even veggies.

Green Living

Speaking of greenery, I’m all about decorating using fun planters from *Etsy like these macrame hanging plant holders (I’m even excited to hang these indoors too throughout the house). This rectangular tabletop candle holder using succulents is just adorable and adds a fun touch to the dining area especially if we’re opting out of using an umbrella. Plants and flowers just add a beautiful touch to any space and makes it purposeful at the same time.

*Affiliate link

Sun & Lighting

Where our new apartment will be located in our complex the sun practically shines all day, which is great. Our patio will get a lot of sun, which will make growing and maintaining plants that much easier. One of the two options I had for our patio in terms of providing shade when lounging outside is: a large umbrella or a sun shade/canopy. Either option allows us to keep the patio covered or open, it’s just about how we can do it with the string lights I’d like to use for at night.

These wrapped Edison string lights from Target are just adorable and I can’t wait to hang them on our new patio. During the summers we spend a lot of time eating and lounging outside and these lights will give our space a slight glow. I’m trying to decide whether to string them along the trim (which is most common) or if I can somehow string them so they drape like a canopy across the whole patio (see example below).



Storage and organization is key to decorating a purposeful space (and pretty much the driving force behind my husband and I with everything). All of our things need a place and preferably out of sight. Since I plan on having various plants, I’d like to have a storage system that aren’t those plastic gardening boxes to keep my soil, fertilizer, watering can, etc. Because, let’s be real, it also has to be cute and go with the rest of my patio decor. Target offers some cute options and I like this wicker storage bin, which will closely match the chairs I’ve picked out.

Another small detail that I would like to incorporate are these cast iron wall hooks, which I would use for drying our bathing suits or beach towels. Again, we get so much sunlight it would be perfect to use to dry our wet things. I just can’t decide which design I like best!

We aren’t moving for a couple of months, but as you can tell I’m mentally preparing and cultivating various ideas to make our new place feel like ours. Due to the husband finding a job that he loves, and will ensure our staying here in Ventura for the long haul, we feel good about this next move being our last. Now it’s just about finding those unique touches and simple projects that will tie our forever home together, all-the-while maintaining our minimalistic lifestyle.

To see more of my home decor inspirations for both inside and outside decorating, feel free to check out this post which features some of my favorite Etsy shops! These accents are perfect for any home and makes me even more excited to move in the coming months!

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Minimalist Challenge | Week 2

What a busy few days, amirite? Seriously. Last week we had a much needed rainfall for a number of days in a row and although it’s great on one hand (because of the drought), on the other it makes for a stir-crazy baby and mama. Nonetheless, keeping busy indoors has been fairly easy with plenty of toys, books, and naps for my little one. It also makes for a useful bit of time to browse our home for those unnecessary items we can get rid of for our Minimalist Challenge this month. Are you participating? I’d love for you to drop your link in the comments!

Although it’s fun to cleanse our home of the number of things based on that day in January, it’s been a challenge to keep up. So, instead we are just looking for anything and everything we can pitch. Here’s an update to what we’ve been purging the last few days.

Day 5

To know this kid of mine is always on the go, just take a look at his shoes. He’s in desperate need of new ones, but finding them at an affordable price and wide enough for his chunky feet is next to impossible. I found his shoes (on the right) at Target for $10 and they’re pretty great. I’m not sure at what age he’s allowed to have hard-sole shoes but these ‘crib shoe’ guys lasted us for a while!

The next round of things that are getting the pitch are these unused kitchen items. My sister offered us her poorly working blender/food processor and since we needed one I thought it couldn’t hurt. Well, it sucks and I never tried using it again so it sat in our cupboards for years. Also, when I was shopping at TJ Maxx last year sometime I picked up this blue skillet for my husband since he loves his cast iron pan – huge mistake opting for a cheap version because it’s not non-stick. Everything gets stuck on it and again, we ended up just storing it and never using it. Lastly, I found this random deviled egg container and my old lunch boxes I haven’t used since I started staying home.

Day 6

Up above our cabinets in our kitchen I would display the empty Artiste wine bottles after we drank them. I loved the art on the labels so much and found they really brought a fun aspect to our kitchen. However, after two and a half years the husband grew tired of them and therefore was his choice for our Challenge.

Day 7

Seriously! How much glassware can one couple own? I am still surprised that after giving our steins and unused coffee mugs we STILL had cups we weren’t using. We had pint glasses from a couple breweries, Stella Artois glasses my husband received years ago, and even plastic beer-fest glasses from this past summer. Needless to say, we gave those the pitch and afterwards our kitchen felt so much lighter and free from clutter. Amazing what removing a few things does to the space!

Day 8

Every few months I go through Greyson’s things and determine what he’s grown out of. Most of those things get packed up and shipped back to Texas to my husband’s sister who had a baby back in October. It works out perfectly because these clothes get used with more than one family, which makes me feel good about getting new clothes for Grey as he grows. So, for Day 8 it’s all about going through his clothes and sending them off.

In my January Stitch Fix (review post coming soon!) I received this note which lets me know I can put my old box to good use! I heard Amazon was participating in this Give Back Box campaign and I love that they make it extra easy to minimize your closet and home.

Day 9

Hangars always seem to creep up on me no matter how many clothes I actually have. Besides the set we have in our closet, these hangars are kept in our linen closet for those items that needed a home. But with us donating a lot of our unused clothes it left them bare – so we dropped them off at our laundry unit in our apartment complex. Hopefully they’ll be put to good use or someone else can snag them.

Day 10

Day 10 was a hard day not because of having to get rid of things, but that it was the unused baby things day. Greyson has well outgrown a lot of the things we used with him when he was a newborn like this 4Moms swing, his infant tub (we donated to Goodwill), and Boppy nursing pillow. Although I know by trying to sell them (or ultimately donate them) they’ll go onto good homes and bless another family and baby. It’s just another moment for me where I have to pause and realize that my baby boy is growing up.

Trying to sell our unused baby things are always my first go-to using Craigslist. This past summer it was fairly easy to list and have someone purchase his baby things – apparently no one is interested these days. So perhaps I’ll try again in the spring to see if a fresh crop of babies will help get these things off my hands and out of our home.

We’re almost halfway through the month and just a couple more weeks to go for the #MinsGame! I hope you all are finding ways to cut out the clutter in 2017 and take on a more minimalist approach to life. It’s been a real blessing to us to not need so much, which in the end helps us focus on those more important things. Happy weekend, folks!

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The Minimalist Challenge: Less Is More

The Minimalist Challenge: Less Is More | |

Anyone who has a Netflix subscription knows that it’s one of the best platforms for finding new and interesting documentaries. Last month, along with various new titles added, my husband and I were browsing through what was new we stumbled upon a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. Obviously intrigued, we pushed play and found ourselves having not only been inspired by these two guys, but the film allowed us to reflect on exactly what their title asks: what are the important things in this life?

It was inspirational to see these two guys just leave behind the very things that were slowing them down. They both either left or were let go from their corporate jobs, relationships needed to be reevaluated, and ultimately the connection between material things and happiness was explored. I enjoyed watching their journey as they traveled around the U.S. on their personally funded book tour and seeing how their message of minimalism reached the various people they connected with.

The film as a whole did a great job explaining not only what minimalism is, but, in fact, what it isn’t. Minimalism is a spectrum and I love that it’s a lifestyle that allows each person to decide which end of the spectrum they’d like to live on. After all, each person’s happiness is subjective to someone else. Want to purge everything and live out of a duffle bag so you can travel like one of the guys interviewed in the film? Awesome. Not that adventurous but would rather give up your single family home for a tiny house like that woman featured in the film? Good for you! Or is it just enough to routinely enjoy the things that fill your life such as clothing, accessories, gadgets, or books under the condition that you rid of them once you’re done? I think that’s okay too!

Needless to say, go check out this film! At the very least it’s a worthy watch and my hope that it will inspire you the way it did me. To reevaluate your happiness and what’s important.

The Minimalist Challenge: Less Is More | |

So onto this challenge…

The Minimalists make up two men, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who in previous lives climbed the proverbial corporate ladder only to find that regardless of the value of their net worth or the number of things they purchased, they weren’t happy. Everyone strives to be happy, so what was this key to this happiness everyone seems to be searching for? Well, your happiness will be different from mine, but adopting a minimalist lifestyle is a pretty good place to start for everyone.

Does this mean you should set your house on fire and whatever you can grab you can keep? No. Although it is a funny image to think about. Instead, join me this month for the Minimalist Challenge! Here’s how it works:

  • Beginning on January 1st you must go around your home and rid of one material possession, on Jan 2nd it’s two things, Jan 3rd it’s three things, and so on. By the last day of the challenge you’re getting rid of 31 things! But that’s also where the challenge lies so stay strong!
  • A challenge is more fun when you have a partner! Grab a friend, family member, spouse, or child to join with you. It’s also nice to have someone rooting you on and keeping you accountable each day.
  • You can come up with your own rules and parameters for what to get rid of. It just has to be out of your home by midnight that day. Remember you can donate, sell, or trash any of your possessions.
  • Share your challenge using the hashtag #MinsGame with The Minimalists themselves on social media!

Day 1

Day 1: Getting rid of magazines! | The Minimalist Challenge | |

It was Day 1 and the challenge required we remove one item from our home that doesn’t bring us happiness or add value to our life. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle somewhat already had made only getting rid of one thing difficult. I mean, when I begin to purge things I like to do it in one clean sweep. However, my husband and I decided our own rules for this challenge and that we could adapt it however we’d like – just as long as we agree on the terms. Instead of interpreting it as one single item, we decided that it would be a category. So, for day 1 I removed all the magazines we either already read or never intended on reading.

Day 2

Day 2: two bags full of clothing and accessories!  | The Minimalist Challenge | |

Luckily ridding our home really isn’t the challenge. It’s moreso the limited number of things that are required each day. Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve only just begun your journey into minimalism or at the very least dipping your toes in, this challenge is perfect. However, when I’m purging things it’s hard for me to only pick two things – instead I decided that my husband and I would fill two bags full of anything we wanted to sell, donate, or trash.

We immediately turned to our closets and this go around for me it was all about accessories. I was astonished to find that I had over 6 Coach purses of varying sizes and wallets that I hadn’t used in ages. It was all neatly packed away in the depths of my closet and I knew I wouldn’t ever use them again. So why was I holding onto them? I went through them all to see what I could consign along with any belts and jewelry I was no longer wearing. I also pitched a lot of my pumps that I knew I would never have the occasion or ability to wear again (thanks pregnancy!). My husband did the same and went through his drawers. Although he’s much further in his minimalist lifestyle than I, he was able to find even more to part with. He’s such an inspiration sometimes!

Day 2: two bags full of clothing and accessories!  | The Minimalist Challenge  | |

Sorry for the poor-lit photo!

Day 3
Day 3: Returning those HP books I already have on my iPad!  | The Minimalist Challenge  | |

Day three was getting fun! I was beginning to realize the number of paper products I own and rarely ever use. On my iPad I have the Harry Potter series already downloaded on my iBooks app and would find time read them throughout the day. But one day while doing laundry (we have a communal bookcase where there’s a ‘take a book, leave a book’ policy) with a friend we noticed the entire series in paperback and were immediately drawn to them. It was like, OMG I have to have them! So, we split them up based on the book we were on and the next couple books for when we finished. Although I really enjoy having them and in a sense they bring me happiness, I quickly realized I leaned more towards reading them on my iPad than in paperback form. So, on day 3 I’m giving these back (even though there are four books I’m getting rid of).

Day 4

Day 3: Ditching those unused glasses and mugs  | The Minimalist Challenge  | |

Have you ever been to the bar during a holiday or special event and somehow get excited when you get to keep the glass? Well, I felt that way during Oktoberfest, yes, three months ago. My husband and I were out with one of his buddies from college who recently moved to L.A. We caught one of their college football games at a local bar and it so happened that a couple of their Oktoberfest beers were served in steins and that we could keep them. Awesome, right?! Well, I certainly thought so – especially after drinking said stein. Well, flash forward to January and obviously we don’t have enough beer at home to actually use these so as a part of the Minimalist Challenge I decided to part ways with them as well as (sadly) our espresso mugs from Crate & Barrel, which were actually wedding gifts. The cups are just too small for coffee and we never used them. Literally for the 2.5 years we’ve been married they’ve just sat in our cupboard. Hopefully they can bless another home!

My husband’s choice for Day 4 were his photobooks. He had begun collecting them as a young bachelor in the Air Force as he made his travels. When we met, and due to him not having much furniture (super minimalist!), they never made it to a coffee table but rather sat in a box in his closet. Then, we got married and moved to California where I decided that these guys would finally see the light of day. Our Murphy, who was a puppy at the time, found some of them and chewed the corners. Even though we did find use for them as a display, he never actually read them. So, after glancing through them one last time (and even adding a few of his old travel books) the hubs decided to part ways in hopes that we can replace them with photos from our own travels. I couldn’t agree more.

Day 4: Husband ditches his old photography coffee table books  | The Minimalist Challenge  | |

Day 5

I wonder what tomorrow will be…

I’ll be back every few days to update you all on our progress, but in the meantime:

Have you seen this documentary? What’s your journey with minimalism? I’d love to chat about it!

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Holiday #adulting Inspiration | Gift Cards

Holiday #adulting Inspiration | Gift Cards | |

Tis the season for holiday shopping! Although our hearts are pretty full this year with Greyson’s arrival and celebrating his first holiday season, our Christmas lists are looking a bit different than previous years. This year it’s all about the #adulting going on and preparing for the bigger days that lie before us. Yes, are there little things here and there I’d love to receive like a programmable coffee maker (because I’m a new mom with a kid who has discovered crawling and coffee is an essential food group) or a subscription to The Magnolia Journal magazine (because, Joanna Gains). However, the next best thing for us are gift cards.

Gift cards typically get a bad rap as a gift because they come off as impersonal and give the impression that the giver didn’t put much thought into it. I couldn’t agree AND disagree more. However, I’ve realized over the course of the year that these days gift cards would be the perfect gift for my husband and I. At the end of the day most of our resources go into the baby and making sure he has everything he needs – especially considering his needs change the more he grows and develops new skills! There’s toys, books, baby gear (oh, my!) or food, diapers, and baby proofing items. Meanwhile, there are a few places that we shop as a family and receiving gift cards to those places allow us to purchase what we need without the hassle of gift receipts, wrong sizes, and the dreaded customer service dept.

So, if you’re like me and are being asked what you’d like to receive for Christmas and can’t think of anything off the top of your head, here are a few gift card inspirations to get you started.

Holiday #adulting Inspiration | Gift Cards | |

Magnolia Market

This is an obvious choice for me considering no one can go wrong gifting me anything from this website. It’s almost hard to narrow down specific things so a gift card makes it easy for my friends and family to get me something I’d be happy to use! Finding out what retailer your friends or family regularly shop at and giving them a gift card will be one of the easiest, and well-received, gift you could give this year.

Stitch Fix

I absolutely love using Stitch Fix, especially as a new mom and not getting out to shop all that often. It’s something I already use and with a styling fee of only $20 it makes it an affordable gift card to purchase. So, if you’re looking to get someone in your life something fun, or someone you know loves fashion, Stitch Fix would be a great place to start!

*affiliate links used.

Subscription services like these help relieve some of the stress of everyday chores or can be just for fun. You could also look into food delivery services, like Blue Apron, too. We loved trying it out and would make for a great gift for any new parents or foodie friends of yours. Another great delivery service I have used (prior to pregnancy) was Naked Wines. It an amazing service for the wino in your life because not only does it benefit local winemakers in CA, it is an affordable option too!

Sur La Table

My husband and I love to cook and are always looking for fun new toys to add to our kitchen. There’s so many things we’d love to replace, too. Having a gift card to a kitchenwares store allows us to pick up something fun or needed that the giver may not be aware of. I also love that Sur La Table also offers cooking classes, which would be a fun date night! Just always check to see if there’s one located nearby the person you’re gifting it to.


All you have to do is a search on my blog using this keyword to find just how much I love Etsy. Finding the perfect handmade item either for myself or as a gift to others is so easy. Plus, I love supporting small businesses and friends who own their own shops. There’s just something so fun about having unique pieces around ones home. I love browsing and finding cute knick-knacks or jewelry. Shopping Etsy I’m oftentimes paying less than what I would find in a chain store for items like candles, knitted items, home decor, etc.

*affiliate links used.

Lowe’s | Costco

Knowing we will be moving in the spring has me thinking ahead and planning for the purchases we’ll need/want to make for our new home. We will be moving to a larger apartment in our complex and with a bigger patio space. I already have my Pinterest boards filled with patio/living inspirations and a gift card to Lowe’s or Home Depot will help me make our new space feel more like ours.

Costco Cash is a great gift card for any family and especially ours. We love stocking up on basics like TP, paper towels, and toiletries such as shampoo, things we cook with all the time like oil, garlic, and meats like chicken and beef, as well as wine or liquor and various other things like cleaners or toothbrushes. Having a gift card to Costco will definitely help us out making those necessary purchases on our once a month trips.

Babies R Us

A Babies R Us gift card will be beneficial to any new parent out there because let’s face it, we’re all making that trip at least once a month…at least. I love shopping in-store as well as online and there’s the incentive with their benefits program, too. I love browsing the aisles because you’re able to find practically everything you need versus shopping at Target.


This is another obvious no brainer and needs no further explanation 😉

Kirkland’s | Pottery Barn | Crate & Barrel

Home decor is my life and a gift card to a few of my favorite shops helps me satisfy those cravings. And again, these gift cards will help us later on when we move so I don’t feel completely bad for spending money on our new place.

So let’s end the shame in giving gift cards this year! They end up being wonderful gifts, especially to new parents, and I couldn’t be more excited if I were to receive one. It really allows us to shop for the things we truly need and takes the guess work out of the equation for the person giving it. Are you a fan of gift cards? What gift cards would you love to receive this holiday season?

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