Sunday, December 31, 2017

My 2017 Highlight Reel

Man, 2017 was a year I'll never forget. Aside from the obvious part where I got engaged and married, I also quit my job to freelance full-time. There were lows, of course, rocky seasons and adjusting to transition, but overall 2017 was a year where a lot of dreams I had been dreamin' came to fruition.

The above image is my 2017 top nine posts on Instagram, so I'll share a little about those and a few other highlights below:

- Austin proposed on March 5 of 2017. What a day! He surprised me with an engagement photoshoot immediately afterward; our friend Joe Bulger snapped our photos (and caught my surprise in the middle square above)! Above, photos 1, 5 and 7 are from this day.
- Not pictured above, but I said goodbye to my day job about two weeks after Austin proposed. Between adjusting to being a full-time freelancer and planning a wedding, this was a huge season of transition for me. Like all changes, I had some good days with it and some not-so-good ones. Overall, I learned a ton about myself during this season.
- Not pictured in the Instagram top 9, but Austin and I got to go to Hawaii with his family in May. It was such a relaxing trip and definitely in my personal top 9 memories of the year.
- In July, I entered my late 20's. Not pictured here, but it happened!
- In August, I had two bridal showers — one thrown by my great family friends, and another hosted by three of my bridesmaids and best friends. This was such a sweet experience (more on that in this post), and photo 6 above is from that day.
- October 21, 2017. We had the wedding of my dreams; seriously the best day we've had to this point. After our ceremony, our friend and wedding photographer Kinsey Mhire found the most gorgeous field for some portraits. I've shared a couple previews of that on Instagram, and I'm excited to share more about our wedding in the coming months!
- Our honeymoon was so wonderful (more on that coming too), and photo 4 is from one of my favorite locations — the Sacre Coeur in Paris.

Overall, 2017 was full of a lot of love. Not sure how 2018 can top this one, but I'm willing to stick around and find out!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why I Make Goals Instead of Resolutions

“Goals” versus “resolutions” may seem a lot like “tomato, tom-AH-to” to some people, but I think there’s a legitimate difference between the two. A lot of times, New Year’s resolutions sound like a list of don’ts for the upcoming months. And once you break them, you’re toast. Oh, and speaking of toast, remember that “no carbs” resolution? No toast for you.

Personally, I think making goals instead puts the focus on a more positive approach to the new year. Instead of saying everything you’re going to cut out, you get to dream (and dream big!) about what you would like the year to look like. I talked about it in this post, but research says people who write down their goals are 80 percent more likely to achieve them. So, last year, Austin and I had a date where we went to one of our favorite local shops, got cozy and dreamed big for 2017. It was so simple, but it might be my favorite date we’ve ever had. We both took our own journals, lined out a few things, and then collaborated on a list of goals together. We’re planning to do it again this year.

So, here’s the other thing: We didn’t hit every goal on our list last year. But honestly, that makes me even more excited to rethink our purposes and goals for 2018. Maybe we’ll bring some 2017 ones into 2018, or maybe we’ll reconsider whether those goals were the right ones for us. Making new intentions for the year should be things you want to do, not things you just feel like you should do.

If you want to make goals but don’t know where to start, here’s my 2 cents:
  • Think about the type of person you want to be, on the whole. Don’t just write down weight loss goals or career goals, consider how you can be a more intentional friend or family member.
  • Consider what actions represent your aspirations. Instead of writing down “lose 20 pounds”, a better goal would be “cut out processed sugar”. It can be hard to figure out how to get from point A to point B without a clear roadmap.
  • Give yourself grace. In my opinion, resolutions are strict and goals are all about grace. There’s that saying on a poster in 5th grade classrooms that says, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you fall, you’ll land among the stars”, and while it’s cheesy, I think there’s some amount of truth to it.
Going to write down some goals and gettin’ all excited about the year to come! xo!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

7 Supplies for Last-Minute Hosting

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — that sacred week between Christmas and New Year’s — where old friends are in town and nobody remembers what day it is. Naturally, if you live in the town your friends are visiting, the likelihood is high that you’ll be opening your home to unexpected guests.

So, if you’re like me and prone to inviting people over last-minute, here are seven things to have on hand this weekend.

Sparkling water or a warm beverage
I like to keep items stocked that won’t go bad, so you can use them when company comes without having to make a special trip to the store. A can of LaCroix or a mug of hot tea is a welcoming gesture for any friend who walks through the door.

A good candle or diffuser
You know how the smell of an Anthropologie wipes away every care or concern you’ve ever had? That’s my goal with the candles I buy for my home. A nice, clean scent can really make all the difference in atmosphere! And if your plans are last-minute, that candle can make it seem like you just vacuumed five minutes ago even if you haven’t vacuumed for a week.

Timely reading materials
Whether it’s a current magazine or a unique coffee table book, it’s always fun to see what other people have in their homes. And bonus, if the conversation stalls, you’ll have something to fall back on.

Supplies for a quick, simple cheese board
OK, so I realize cheese isn’t exactly an easy pantry item, but if you don’t have cheese in the house between Christmas and New Year’s, might I ask: What type of person are you? Oh, a healthy one? Oh.. well, OK then.

A clean kitchen/living room
I’m not sure how this one is so far down the list… who wrote this blog post? But, really, clean common spaces are a necessity unless you’re hosting your family or closest pals. When you’re having guests over who you haven’t seen in ages, just throw all your junk in the bedroom or office and shut. the. door. Otherwise they’ll talk about how messy you are when they leave, oops!

Music to set the tone
A good playlist can instantly set the mood for any gathering. Want to have a nice, long conversation with old friends? Choose something with a lower tempo. Or, want to joke around and party like it’s 1999? Play the Spice Girls.

A coat rack
This feels like a bonus one because most friends I visit don’t have coat racks, or even a coat closet. But if you don’t want your friends to judge you for a messy bedroom, a coat rack is a necessity. Or I suppose it’s a possibility that you have a clean bedroom; in which case, you can put the coats in there. I’ll allow it.

These tips are particularly relevant throughout the holiday season, but I think they would work year-round, as well! Are you having friends over last-minute? Invite me!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Our First Married Christmas

Who knew a married Christmas would feel so different than a dating Christmas?! Besides the obvious fact that Austin and I live together now, somehow Christmas this year feels so different than the last. It's fun to think of new traditions to create together and prepare for the season, until... dun dun dunnnnn... you realize you're newlyweds and don't collectively own any holiday decor. Ha!

It had really never occurred to me that someday you have to buy your own Christmas stocking.. something we haven't done yet because I'm hoping the pretty Anthropologie ones will go on super sale. Thankfully, Austin and I were able to borrow some fun holiday decor from both of our moms — in addition to a few items we purchased — and our Christmas collection is off to a good start. I posted about it on my Instagram, but even though we have the big tree this year, my favorite is this tinsel tree with inoperable lights. I just love the look of the wiry silver branches.

For an affordable "centerpiece" solution, I dug around in the pile of extra branches at Lowe's, and we used some ornaments we didn't hang on the tree. It's fun to watch the sunlight reflect off of them in the morning; it lights up the whole living room!

Our little nutcracker friend is a nod to Austin's childhood collection. He's received a nutcracker from his grandma each year for Christmas since he was born — plus a few others from family and friends — and now he has over 30! I think it's 34, if I remember right.

To be honest, my favorite trees are made up of memories shared over the years. Special places, an ornament you picked up on this or that trip, and references to traits or interests that make our loved ones unique. But those are the trees you have to earn, over time, and I'm excited to collect all of those experiences together. A funky tree is just evidence of a full life. 

So, here we are. New last name, new traditions. Gingerbread house making, prime rib on Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve service at ET (my home church), stockings, egg nog, chicken cordon bleu on Christmas, and a nutcracker collection. Hey, I may be closer to that full, eclectic tree than I think. Merry Christmas, friends! I hope your holiday season is everything you wish it to be.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Queen City Gems, Vol. 2

Not to be overdramatic or anything, but every single person I know is really talented. Ha! That being said, I'm excited about this queen city gems post. If you missed my last one, you can check it out here. There are so many people doing cool things around this sweet little town of mine, and I love to see where we, as a community, are going. Here's some things I'm particularly pumped on this week:

Rove Coffee Opens in the Springfield Airport
So now there's at least 2 things to Instagram at the airport, by my count. The carpet (of course!) and Rove Coffee. I got to talk with their manager, Katilyn Palmquist, last week, and she so thoughtfully described the meaning of 'rove' that I nearly had to grab a tissue. Read what she had to say over on Feast.

Shailey and Katie on "Mixing Styles" in a Home
I've mentioned it before, but two of my great friends, Shailey and Katie have a podcast together. (In fact, they interviewed me on it recently!) But that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Nope, in their most recent episode, Shailey deals with how to mix styles in your home. And you should listen, because she is an interior design wizard and really knows her stuff. It's true! You can listen to it here or on iTunes.

D. Clea Launches Single for 'Loyal', From Upcoming Album, In Health
Remember that comment on how EVERYONE I KNOW is talented? D. Clea released a beautiful new single today, with a music video shot and produced by Locke and Stache. If you're keeping track, my husband owns Locke and Stache with two fantastic business partners, so of course I'm biased toward liking their work. But Darien's voice is sweet milky honey, and I'm convinced you'll all like this video even if you're not as biased as I am. Below is a screenshot from the video, which you can watch here.

That's all for today! Let me know of any other cool SGF happenings here or send me a DM on Instagram. xo!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

An Easy Veggie Recipe for Eating In

Each year, millions of students head off to college, warned about the “freshman 15”. What nobody tells you about, friends, is the dreaded NEWLYWED 15. I’m kidding, of course, but gettin’ hitched and moving in with a man is a big lifestyle change! It takes some adjusting to. Since Austin and I got married in late October, we’ve been steadily approaching the coziest time of year, and snuggling while eating pizza just sounds more fun than snuggling while eating.. veggies.

But, we all have goals in life, and one of mine is to eat more veggies. SIGH. Pizza, don’t worry, you are still my first love. For this post, I’m working with Made In Cookware. In their own words, it’s “professional cookware at an amateur price.” And—hey—I think they’re right! I used the 10-inch pan to whip up one of my favorite easy, veggie-friendly recipes. (I made this dish once before on the blog, so you can find it in my ancient history archives from 2014. Aww! Here’s the link.)

In my opinion, the two best things about this frying pan are that it’s oven safe and dishwasher safe. Since it’s stainless, I won’t hesitate to throw it in the dishwasher. Usually, I like to hand wash my nonstick pots and pans, so the surface stays better longer. So, I feel like this is a “Made In” bonus! Less time washing pans; more time to make… out?

What easy veggie recipes are you making this season? Lemme know in the comments! xo.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I've Got a New Last Name (and only a few feelings)

Well, hi, friends. Ana Elliott here. And, man, does that feel weird to type!

Austin Elliott and I have only been married 31 days, but somehow it seems like a lifetime has passed in this month. We had the opportunity to take two weeks for our honeymoon in Europe, which was amazing, but it already feels like a distant dreamy memory and not the reality that we experienced just 15 or so days ago.

I'm trying to journal, journal, journal every thought, memory and feeling about our wedding and the surrounding days and events. They were all incredibly special to us, and we were so grateful to share those moments with some of our closest family and friends.

Here's a thing: Before the wedding, I had a lot of feelings about changing my last name. Any time I considered what the future would be like as Ana Elliott, Ana Pierce couldn't decide what she thought about that. I wasn't questioning the decision to marry Austin, but I was a little uncertain about whether or not I wanted to change my name. Austin was incredibly supportive, and he made it clear that he would be happy either way — whether he spent the rest of his life with Ana Pierce or Ana Elliott — because to him, it was the same person.

What's in a name? 

I decided, before the wedding, that I would change my name. Logically. In the Midwest, especially, I didn't want to cause confusion about whether or not we were married if we didn't share the same name. I think there's a different challenge for writers, sometimes, or "internet people" about a name change. My byline — that is — all the pieces I've written online and in print, were authored by Ana Pierce. I've also spent 28 years as Ana Pierce, and I've gotten to know that gal pretty well. In some ways, not changing my name felt like the feminist thing to do, and that was something always playing in the back of my mind. I talked to a few friends who were very understanding about how I felt changing my name. They cited things like this: a byline, a portfolio, an identity as Ana Pierce, and they could understand why I would want to keep that.

The closer we got to the wedding, I thought about it less and less. And since the wedding, I haven't regretted my decision at all. To be clear, I think my choice was the best for me, but I think this is a very individual matter for each marriage. But I'm excited. While it still feels a little foreign to have a *new* last name, my marriage to Austin and our future together is now more important than any life I led on my own beforehand. We're on one team now, and we've got the same-name jerseys to prove it.

I'm still not 100% sure who Ana Elliott is, but I'm excited to find out.

Full disclosure: I haven't legally changed my name yet, so... I may feel differently when they shred my old social security card. Ha!

Our wedding photos were taken by Kinsey Mhire. These are a few previews she sent us right after the big day!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I'm on a Podcast!

If you're reading this, Mom, I did it! Somebody asked me to be on a podcast!

If you're reading this and you're not my mom, my friends Shailey and Katie have a fantastic podcast called... (drumroll, please) Shailey and Katie! They're two business-owning, work-from-home moms who are laughing their way through parenthood, and they asked me to talk about my journey to self-employment (because I know nothing about parenthood 😂).

Click here if you want to hear me dish the deets on making the leap toward a full-time freelance career! While you're at it, just block off some time to listen to their other episodes because they're all so good.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Currently Wearing: Fall Potluck Overalls

So, you're telling me these overalls are named after one of my favorite seasonal activities?? Yes, yes they are. I recently got these "Fall Potluck Overalls" from Modcloth, and I thought the name was so stinkin' cute, I named my blog post after it.

Here's the deal: I'm caught somewhere in between yesssss, bring on fall potlucks and waiiiiiiit, I would really love the weather to stay warm so the leaves change just in time for my late October wedding. Bride brain, guys. It's a thing.

Since I feel like Modcloth just picked one of my favorite things and named this item of clothing after it, here's a few other name ideas they could have gone with:

  • fall bonfire overalls
  • pumpkin spice latte overalls (I mean... I had to.)
  • good grammar overalls
  • cute dog I saw walking down the street overalls

I don't know when the overall trend is going to die, but I hope never because I love it (says the girl who got engaged in a pair of overalls). Yes, I know this is a trend my future children will make fun of me for, but I don't care because the year is 2017 and the time is now. 

So I'm gonna wear the overalls! Are you??

Outfit details: overalls c/o Modcloth, shirt c/o Modcloth, similar shoes

Thursday, September 21, 2017

4 Key Ingredients that Make the Perfect PSL

Well, if you landed here expecting to find an actual recipe for a pumpkin spice latte, you've come to the wrong place. Sorry! But as many of you know, my friend Stephanie and I have just finished a long (and tasty) journey of trying every (OK, almost every) PSL in our hometown. After I shared this post, I had a few people ask me what were some common denominators for our favorite pumpkin spice lattes. Here they are!

1. Tastes Like Pumpkin
This may seem obvious, but I've found a lot of pumpkin spice lattes tend to taste more like "fall spice lattes" instead. While I love nutmeg, cinnamon and even vanilla, if I'm buying a drink where the first word is pumpkin... I want it to taste like pumpkin!

2. Tastes Like Coffee
That being said, I've had even more lattes that go overboard on the sweets, and the coffee flavor isn't as distinct. Personally, I love coffee (even black), so I'm not as into the super sweet lattes that completely mask the drink's main ingredient.

3. Is Instagrammable
Can ya blame me for this one? There's a reason the hashtag #pumpkinspice has been used over a million times on Instagram.

4. Is Served in a Nice Environment
Since I don't treat myself to a PSL every day (well, except for last week), when I do, I want to savor the experience as much as I do the drink! There's something really special about putting away all distractions over lunch or a coffee break and just thinking about and appreciating the flavors you're experiencing. I know that may sound silly, but it's one small way that I like to practice gratitude — more on that here. If you can appreciate a tiny thing like a lingering lunch break, you're setting yourself up for a more positive look on the big things, too.

BUT, if you did come here looking for a PSL recipe, here are a few that I want to try out:

Have a good Thursday! xo

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Definitive Guide to the Pumpkin Spice Lattes of Springfield, MO

Well, friends. Here we are. It's nearly fall, and as the temperatures begin to drop, our cravings for sugary coffee drinks that mimic our favorite seasonal flavors are rising. They're rising quickly and furiously, and if this intro was too flowery and boring, here's the 'too long; didn't read' version:


My friend, Stephanie, approached me about trying all the pumpkin spice lattes in our hometown of Springfield, MO to find out which one is really and truly the best. I thought the idea was fantastic, and after more than a handful of lattes and a couple failed attempts, we present our results. I'll outline a few of our 'rules' for adjudicating:
  • We only tried PSLs from actual coffee shops, meaning we didn't try any from Panera or McDonald's or anything crazy like that.
  • If there was a PSL at a coffee shop in town, we tried it. If we missed one, we're sorry.
  • Rumor has it that Hebrews and The Coffee Ethic are also releasing PSLs after this blog post goes live. We will try those and update this post with our thoughts. If either of those rock our floppy hats off, we'll share that on social media using our hashtag for this project: #SGFPSL.
  • The results are published in alphabetical order, with the winner at the bottom.
Ready for this?!

Big Momma's 'The Pumpkin King'

Big Momma's "Pumpkin King" was the first we tried on our PSL tour, and we got off to a great start. According to their online menu, the Pumpkin King is "2 shots of espresso, steamed milk, pumpkin spice and cinnamon." I am *nearly positive* this drink said it contained caramel on the board; nonetheless, it tasted very caramel-y. Big Momma's also wins major points for presentation and customer service.

Order this drink if:
- you want a pumpkin drink in the middle of March (they serve it year-round!)
- you want to Instagram your favorite fall-flavored drink
- you want to be teased by a friendly staff

Classic Rock Coffee's 'Smashing Pumpkin Spiced Latte'

Stephanie's first reaction to this PSL was, and I quote, "well this smells like a delicious graham cracker." Did it taste like a delicious graham cracker? Well, not really. But it tasted like a pretty darn good latte! This was a drink where the pumpkin flavor didn't overbear the coffee; in fact, the sweetness was pretty toned down compared to others we had.

Order this drink if:
- you're on the West side of Springfield. This is one of the only local coffee shops on that side of town, and their staff really knows their stuff.
- you aren't into the traditional 'coffee shop' vibes; Classic Rock's atmosphere is a little different than most shops. I'm guessing that's why they thought to name it Classic Rock...
- you want a drink that's based around high quality, locally roasted coffee.

Dancing Mule Coffee Company's 'Pumpkin Pie Latte'

Dancing Mule Coffee Company says "we want you to experience kickin' coffee without the snobby attitude," and they do a good job of sticking to their mission. Dancing Mule makes all of their pumpkin spice flavoring in house, which is a good selling point. The pumpkin flavor on this one was pretty subtle, however, so we're calling this one the PSL to order if you aren't the biggest "pumpkin" fan. The latte itself was good, and look at that latte art!

Order this drink if:
- You want a non-snobby atmosphere that is very age inclusive.
- You like the idea of a PSL more than you like overbearing pumpkin flavors.
- You want local coffee and a drive-thru (yes! They have a drive-thru! 🙌🏻)

Eurasia Coffee & Tea's 'Pumpkin Spice Latte'

Eurasia served up a smooth PSL that reminded us of pumpkin pie. Unlike some others, you could taste the pumpkin in this drink, which was nice. Eurasia also has a fantastic food menu, so if you're considering eating anything alongside your PSL, this is a great stop for you. I should have snapped a photo of the breakfast sandwich I had, but it was gone too soon!

Order this drink if:
- you want a good deal on a PSL (I don't recall the exact price, but I think this one was in the $3.50 range!)
- you want a super yummy meal with your coffee
- you want to Instagram your friend Stephanie (or just anything in general). Eurasia has a gorgeous space.

European Cafe's 'Pumpkin Pie Latte' 

In European Cafe's words, their Pumpkin Pie Latte is their version of pumpkin spice everything. They use so many local ingredients; here's their full list: "fresh local pumpkin, whole organic spices, local milk and homemade honey whipped cream". The drink also comes topped with nutmeg streusel crumb, and was the only PSL to come with. a. spoon. While the topping was incredible, it made me crave pumpkin pie, so much so that I was disappointed to find coffee underneath instead of liquid pie. (Liquid pie sounds gross but I bet it is really good, OK?)

Order this drink if:
- You want to 'gram a truly decadent-looking latte.
- You want to try a true European-style pastry with it (less sweet than U.S. pastries, but so tasty).
- You want to admire the local art and have a solid people-watching spot in downtown Springfield.

Mudhouse Coffee's 'Pumpkin Spice Latte'

Mudhouse was one of the first coffee shops in downtown Springfield's recent memory. Since they opened in 1998, they've been a staple downtown for teens and college students to both accomplish some homework and hang out past curfew. Mudhouse's PSL was, in our opinion, out shined by their very, very good hot lavender latte, which is usually available in the spring. The lavender latte is tops; you should try it.

Order this drink if:
- You're looking for a college-town environment with funky lights and decor.
- You want to play a board game with your friends while drinking a PSL (Mudhouse usually keeps a small section of games and magazines for coffee shop entertainment)
- They were out of lavender lattes or peanut butter puddles. (I first sipped a peanut butter puddle circa age 16 and I will never not like them).

Traveller's House Coffee and Tea's 'Pumpkin Pie Latte'

This drank gave me extreme nostalgia over something I couldn't put my finger on. Something from my college years, for sure, but I have no idea what. To us, this drink tasted a little more like pumpkin pancakes than pumpkin pie, but we're not complaining. It definitely had some maple going on. 

Order this drink if:
- You're looking for a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
- You're willing to wait for a seat by the window to 'gram your latte.
- You want to pair your pumpkin latte with a pumpkin scone — Traveller's House serves up a pumpkin scone so good that folks are naming their children after it. That's just what I've heard.

RUNNER UP: Starbucks Coffee's "Pumpkin Spice Latte" (yes, really, I was surprised too)

While I will 100% support a local shop before choosing a chain, Starbucks invented the PSL, and apparently they've had a lot of time to perfect it. I didn't realize it came topped with whipped cream, which I thought I wouldn't be a fan of, but... guys, it was good. In Stephanie's words, "It tastes straight up like a piece of pumpkin pie. It's like Thanksgiving is dancing in my mouth." Starbucks got some votes for the people's choice awards, too, so clearly we're not the only ones to admit it's pretty dang good. The one negative about Starbucks' PSL is that it wasn't as consistent as some others — the bottom of the drink tasted more sugary than the rest of it. Also it's pretty orange which didn't bother Stephanie but did bother me. (I know pumpkin is orange but it seems strange for a coffee drink to be that orange under the whipped cream.)

Order this drink if:
- whipped cream. Even if you think you don't want it, you do.
- You're anywhere, in any state, at (nearly) any time. I haven't tried all of the Starbucks PSLs to determine their consistency (and I don't want to!), but I'm guessing they're pretty on point with that.
- You want to taste a nice pumpkin flavor. Nice.

AND THE WINNER IS.... Kingdom Coffee's Pumpkin Spice Latte

You know when you meet that man (or woman) that you compare all subsequent men (or women) to? That was us with Kingdom's PSL. I was afraid I was going to have a bias toward this drink, because I go to this shop a lot and love it, but Stephanie rarely goes to Kingdom and she agreed that it was the best of the best. The pumpkin spice is made in house, and it tasted both like an actual coffee drink and a pumpkin flavored drink. It was super smooth, not heavy, and in Stephanie's words "has a nice mouth feel". 10/10, would drink the whole thing. (And we did). We both had people tell us that Kingdom's was their favorite, too, so we're not the only ones!

Order this drink if:
- You want to drink what's (in our opinions) the best PSL in town.
- Need I say more? Just go get one.

Thanks for sticking around and following our crazy little #SGFPSL project. We've had a lot of fun (and coffee), and if you have a PSL in town, we'd love for you to use the hashtag and join in!

P.S. If you're into coffee and liked this post you might also like this one.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Peek at my Living Room

Happy Friday! Even though I work from home now, I'm always excited when the weekend comes. It gives me extra time to do some tidying up, deep cleaning and have some of my favorite people over (only when it's clean though, ha). Even though I've lived in my loft for over a year, it's taken me a while to feel like this room was "finished". And confession: I still don't feel like I'm totally finished with the space! But I'm making progress on the rest of the space, so I wanted to show you what I'm working with in the living area.

The main room in my loft is a big area that I've chosen to split into two living spaces. This is the front one — what you see as soon as you walk in the door — and I'm using the other half of the space as a dining area. I don't have any partition up or anything like that, so you can still see this part of the room even if you're eating spaghetti or something at the dining room table.

I've had so much fun playing around with this space and making it feel cozy and welcoming. My sweet roommate, Merry, and I shared the space for a year, and now I'm making some updates as Austin, my future husband (omg HUSBAND), is going to move in after our October wedding. All exciting, fun things!

I rearrange my coffee table pretty often, but it's usually some combination of candles and plants (#millennial), and usually, it's because the plants died. Whoops! (I'm working on this. I promise.)

I personally like a living room that's not centered around a tv, so I've done my best to make the tv feel like an 'accessory' in the space rather than the room's focal point. Although, for practical reasons, I totally understand why most Americans center the room around the tv — and I kind of have too — so... I guess Netflix won.

Although my loft is pretty industrial, I've tried to make it feel more modern by adding some brighter, airy touches (like the CUTE curtains I bought but haven't found a ladder tall enough to hang them with, ha). Someday I'll have curtains. I look forward to that day. 

Also, shoutout to these IKEA sofas that are way more comfortable than any IKEA sofa should be. The seat cushions on them are extra deep, which means they're great for cuddling up on to watch a movie or just a few dozen episodes of New Girl.

Annnnnd there it is! Thanks for letting me share!

Sources: Sofas - Ikea, Rug - Vintage (Similar), Coffee Table and Console - The Market in Springfield, MO, Pillows - Target (Similar), Blue Jean Candle - Nordstrom