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 | theprimarilyinspired.com

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).

Privacy

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).

via

Storage

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!

Styling With Stitch Fix | January

Styling With Stitch Fix | January | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Referral links are used within this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.

There’s no better day than when ones Stitch Fix arrives in the mail! I was so excited to receive my box and I couldn’t wait to see what my amazing stylist, Whitney, sent me this go around.

I am going to preface this post with the fact that I returned everything. You read that right: everything.

I didn’t receive anything that I felt as though I could keep, or even exchange for a different size, but that’s also the fun of subscribing to this service. I really do enjoy trying on the different styles my stylist sends me – even in the off chance I don’t purchase a thing. At the very least it lets my stylist know what doesn’t work for me and keeps me realistic about all those Pinterest fashions I pin to my style board.

I learned this go around that although I love certain trends, my body type doesn’t lend itself to fit everything the way it’s projected through others’ fixes or pins. Nonetheless, I appreciate Whitney trying to send me some pretty great clothes options and although I didn’t keep anything from this fix, I had fun trying them on.

So, here is my January fix! Again, because nothing (other than the scarf) fit me well I opted to highlight each piece and how I would have styled it. I think it’s important to always highlight the piece regardless of whether or not I kept it. Style is so subjective and if you find a piece you like here today I hope you request it in your next fix! Which fashions do you like best?

Mystree Adelene Scoop Neck Cable Knit Sweater – RETURN

Mystree Adelene Scoop Neck Cable Knit Sweater | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

I really liked this sweater because of how lightweight it was and the cable knit feature along the front. The fabric was super soft and it’s a piece I really enjoyed. I decided to send it back only because the weather is beginning to warm up here in central California and I am no longer in need of sweaters. Perhaps I’ll request this next fall!

Mystree Adelene Scoop Neck Cable Knit Sweater | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Threads 4 Thought Nessa V-Neck Knit Tee – RETURN

Unfortunately I wasn’t interested in basic t-shirts from Stitch Fix. I already own a few basic t-shirts and therefore I couldn’t justify the purchase. The color was a nice faded blue and the overall feel of the top was very comfortable and soft. My stylist sent it along to be paired with the joggers for a nice comfy outfit, but in the end I just didn’t need another t-shirt.

Threads 4 Thought Nessa V-Neck Knit Tee | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Hailey 23 Joel Popover Knit Dress – RETURN

This was the dress I had specifically asked for by name and I was so disappointed that this didn’t fit me right AT.ALL. It looks so cute on practically everyone else but at my current weight and curvyness it just didn’t look very flattering on me. I felt like it ran a touch too small, so my recommendation is to request this in a size larger. At the very least if it’s too big when you try it on, but you love it, you can always exchange it for a size smaller and know it’ll fit well.

Hailey 23 Joel Popover Knit Dress | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

I loved the Aztec design of the dress itself and the popover blouse effect is very flattering. I love this feature and hope I can find another dress or knit tops in the future.
Hailey 23 Joel Popover Knit Dress | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

21 Main Emilia Drawstring Jogger Pant – RETURN

I loved the color of these joggers and were exited to try them on. I love my CottonOn pair that I found on Black Friday, so I was curious to see how these would fit. Again, unfortunately these were too small. This was another piece I wanted to like considering I loved the color and the overall fit, but it was just too small. Perhaps I still need to lose a little bit of the lbs or it’s just not a fit for me at the moment. Nonetheless, if you’re slim and are looking for comfy joggers these are for you!

21 Main Emilia Drawstring Jogger Pant | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com

Octavia Mallory Stripe Infinity Scarf – RETURN

This was a hard item to return because I so badly wanted to buy it! I have a love for scarves and I absolutely love the colors and lightweight-ness of this particular scarf. I had to return it simply because the weather is beginning to shift to spring here in Ventura and I know that I wouldn’t have many opportunities to wear it. So, this will be another item I’ll have to specifically request next fall/winter.

Octavia Mallory Stripe Infinity Scarf | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Octavia Mallory Stripe Infinity Scarf | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Octavia Mallory Stripe Infinity Scarf | Stitch Fix Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Do Good #GiveBackBox

You may have seen this campaign around, especially with Amazon and other retailers. Stitch Fix is joining the movement to reuse their boxes for good by donating gently used clothing and housewares to Goodwill. Simply take your old Stitch Fix box and fill it with any items you’d like to donate and what makes it extra convenient is that shipping is already paid for.

**another option is to take your items to a nearby Goodwill storefront so you can get the tax deduction slip for every donation you give.

So, what is so great about Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix first began as a skeptical leap of style faith. I wasn’t quite sure that some stylist over the internet could really find 5 pieces that would not only fit me, but be looks I’d actually want to wear. For a $20 styling fee I received my first fix and was initially so impressed with how my stylist heard exactly what I was looking for and delivered on it. I still wear a number of those first purchases today (and that was over 2 years ago) and enjoy adding new and fun pieces along the way.

I’ve journeyed with Stitch Fix through the ups and downs of my weight and even through my pregnancy with their maternity styles. Since it’s been a couple of months since my last fix, I was so excited to see that they offer shoes now in addition to a new mens line. This just proves to me that Stitch Fix has a finger on the latest trends, but also keeps the needs of their customers in mind. I can only imaging how they’ll grow and expand into the future!

What about those referral links?

Because I created a free style profile I now have the ability to share my love of Stitch Fix with others. A referral simply allows me to earn a credit of $25, which essentially covers my styling fee for the next time I schedule a fix. Once you create a style profile you are given a special referral link and begin earning your own credits. Why not get a credit for something you use anyways? I am so appreciative to those who use my link because it helps me as a SAHM enjoy the little things. So, thank you.

Which items in this fix are you loving the most? What styles do you gravitate towards?

Linking up with Maria.

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!

The Minimalist Challenge: Less Is More

The Minimalist Challenge: Less Is More | theprimarilyinspired.com |

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 | theprimarilyinspired.com |
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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 | theprimarilyinspired.com |

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 | theprimarilyinspired.com |

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  | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Sorry for the poor-lit photo!

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

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  | theprimarilyinspired.com |

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  | theprimarilyinspired.com |

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!