February 2015 – Page 2 of 3 – A Little Leopard
February 2015 – Page 2 of 3 – A Little Leopard

February 2015 – Page 2 of 3 – A Little Leopard

I am not the first girl-on-a-budget to recognize the beauty of IKEA, nor shall I be the last. In fact, many interior designers are fans of working the Swedish brand’s affordable pieces into rooms as part of a high-low mix. IKEA pieces can be deceptively high-end looking, especially if you know how to style them. Plus, the brand’s trademark Scandanavian look is incredibly versatile, with staples like the Kallax/Expedit shelving unit appearing in homes and apartments across the globe – each with its own twist on the piece.

I just graduated college last year and am definitely living la vida studio, and below are ten classic IKEA pieces I either own or would like to purchase for my place soon. Personally, my color scheme is black and white with touches of gold, but as I mentioned before, part of IKEA’s beauty lies in its versatility. These pieces could work in any number of living spaces.

  1. RANARP Wall Clamp – As seen in Tiffany Leigh’s studio, the Ranarp wall clamp spotlight is a space-saving alternative to a bedside lamp.
  2. DOCKSTA Table – A much cheaper alternative to the classic tulip table, the Docksta table pops up time and time again in decor blogs thanks to its clean lines and smooth edges. It’s also spotlighted as number 15 in this list. I’m thinking of pairing it with a slightly more traditional chair for an eclectic look.
  3. LAPPLJUNG RUTA Cushion – The bold geometric pattern of this pillow cover is surprisingly neutral thanks to its black and white color scheme. See it in action in a glam living room as number 7 on this list.
  4. BAROMETER Floor Lamp – This lamp looks so much more expensive than it actually is, and would work wonderfully as a reading lamp over a couch or tucked into a corner dining nook.
  5. UNG DRILL Mirror – I love this mirror. The baroque scrolls are somewhat of a departure from IKEA’s typical clean lines, but it works so well as a statement piece. I’m debating whether to use mine to anchor a gallery wall or hang on its own above my bed.
  6. RENS Sheepskin – Sheepskin are one of those home trends that seem to endure. They’re perfect next to the bed or tossed over a chair, and the price on IKEA’s Rens version is hard to beat. IKEA also carries an acrylic sheepskin that’s even cheaper.
  7. SONGE Mirror – A huge mirror propped up against the wall does wonders to open a room, especially in small spaces like studios. The Songe Mirror is another IKEA piece that looks far more expensive than it really is.
  8. STOCKHOLM Rug – Like the Lappljung Ruta, this graphic rug’s simple color palette keeps it neutral. Seen anchoring many a room, such as in Melissa Nunez’s San Francisco home.
  9. KALLAX Shelves (formerly EXPEDIT) – Seriously, the possibilities of the Kallax/Expedit shelving series are seemingly endless. From room dividers to bookcases to media stands, it seems like these babies can do anything. See some in action here and check out The Everygirl’s “How to Style” feature on the Kallax here.
  10. KARLSTAD Loveseat – Another versatile IKEA piece, thanks to a variety of slipcovers from both IKEA and outside merchants and the ability to switch out the legs. Check out Pretty Pegs if you would like some gorgeous new “shoes” for any of your IKEA furniture! The Young House Love bloggers have a Karlstad sectional, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. (In fact, I’m totally using part of my tax return to finally get a sofa. Is this what adulting is – being excited about furniture?)

A quick money saving tip: I highly recommend joining IKEA family. It’s free to join and IKEA offers deals and discounts on various products throughout the year just for members. Right now, both the Rens Sheepskin and Barometer Floor Lamp have special prices, and I saved on my mattress thanks to IKEA family too. This isn’t any kind of sponsored/affiliate link – I just happen to think IKEA family is worth the time it takes to register!

Confession: I’m not that into Valentine’s Day.

Second (and likely related) confession: No, I don’t have a boyfriend.

I just don’t really do sappy. I like a good rom-com, but not of the Nicholas Sparks variety or anything. So when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I sort of feel like Joseph Gordon Levitt in (500) Days of Summer, except way less bitter about being dumped by Zooey Deschanel*:


Still, Valentine’s Day is a fun excuse to give the people in your life gifts and remind them they’re important – and not just significant others, either. Personally, I’m more into the quirky/funny category of Valentine’s-related gift-giving, but it’s always nice to be reminded that you matter to someone, regardless of the sappiness level.

In fact, the best gifts tie into your relationship with the recipient somehow. I firmly believe that mixtapes are a great way to do this, without venturing into too-cheesy territory. Just be careful when selecting your songs! (Third confession: I am sucker for a thoughtfully curated mixtape – or, I guess, Spotify playlist. I make them for pretty much all occasions and would absolutely rather receive that than a sappy Hallmark card any day.)

But mixtapes/playlists can be a lot of work and not everyone’s jam. (Ha. ha. ha.) For the rest of you, here are some V-Day gift options for the friends and lovers in your life.

For the procrastinating gift-giver, Paperless Post has a ton of options, including cards both cheeky and sincere…

This mug would be great for the crazy cat lady (or crazy cat dude) in your life…

For the crafty and/or punny, try these cute DIYs from Oh Happy Day…

For your legitimate significant other, a declaration of love…

For the fellow product-of-our-generation (can also apply to a Legit Significant Other, don’t get me wrong)…

For the person that you may or may not even want to get a card for, I don’t know, modern dating is so confusing…

For the extremely direct…

So…how do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

* second and a half confession: (500) Days of Summer is my second favorite movie ever and I saw it entirely too many times in theatres.

As a sensitive-skinned girl living in a city with pretty extreme weather, taking care of my skin is important. I think finding a routine that works for your individual skin is so cruicial, and even though there are some tried-and-true products out there it really comes down to personal preference. I’m much more of a skincare girl than a makeup girl (I wear pretty much the same thing every day), so I love to try new things and switch it up. Here’s what’s working for my sensitive, dry skin right now:

Because I really love my bed and am terrible at getting out of it, I’m usually running late in the mornings, so I keep things super-simple. I cleanse with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, a super-gentle formula recommended to me by my dermatologist, and then moisturize with my pick of the moment. I’m currently on the hunt for a good daytime winter moisturizer, actually – suggestions recommended! Right now I am using Josie Maran Creamy Argan Oil, but I think that is better suited to targeting specific dry areas than daily use. I’m loving the Josie Maran formula as a lip conditioner though, in addition to my all-time favorite Rosebud Salve.

I get busy and tired and understand wanting to streamline a routine as much as possible, but to me there’s something relaxing and luxurious about a good end-of-day skincare routine. Plus, sleeping in your makeup is terrible for your skin. I start by removing as much eye makeup as I can with something like Lancome Bi-Facil Remover; it’s a bit on the pricey side so I just bought Maybelline Flash Clean to try as a replacement. Sonia Kashuk makes a pretty good Lancome dupe, too. Then I use MAC Cleanse-Off Oil to break down the rest of the gunk on my face and cleanse – I’m obsessed with oil cleansers and my skin feels so good after using this. Finally, I’ll slather on an overnight cream or mask (currently Boscia but I think I’ll try Korres next) and an eye cream – right now I’m just using a 100-point Sephora sample of Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Eye.

So there you have it: my skincare routine of the moment. What are some of your favorite skincare products?

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I’ve always like tattoos, whether it’s a discreet, tiny heart or a full sleeve of artwork a la Kat von D. I could never pull off a sleeve myself (nor do I particularly want to, honestly), but I admire people who can. See also: Adam Levine.

I’ve wanted tattoos for awhile, but given that I’m a Libra (aka incapable of making decisions), it took me a long time to decide what, exactly, to get. For awhile, it was Oscar Wilde. Or Radiohead. Then sometime last year, it hit me. I knew. These are my tattoos. It was like falling in love, or what I imagine falling in love is like. Once I’ve got enough money and found a studio in Chicago, I will be getting the following tattoos:

  1. The words “So we beat on,” in as close to an approximation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwriting as possible. The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel of all time, even though it’s kind of heartbreaking and depressing. It’s just so beautifully heartbreaking and depressing.
  2. Three stars – the very same three stars featured in the headings of every chapter of the American versions of the Harry Potter books. I went on Oprah at 12 years old because I love Harry Potter so much, so I think a permanent tribute to the series is only fitting.
  3. The Hebrew word for “love” or “sisters” or “family” or something along those lines, depending on how many members of my family also want to get it. Right now I think that’s just my sister. This one is obviously more TBD.

Granted, I’ve yet to decide on placement, so it may be a couple months yet before I’m actually inked. I’ve been loving constellation tattoos lately, but I’m going to let that idea simmer awhile before I commit to it.

Check out some of my favorite tattoos below:

Do you have tattoos? Are you a fan?

(Also, if you’re in the Chicago area and know of a good tattoo artist, please do let me know!!)

Images via: Who What Wear, Buzzfeed, Brit + Co and Le Fashion.