liz & lina’s tips for a cozy balcony makeover in a day.

DSC_0332

sometime last week i mention to my love that i thought we should “redo” our balcony. what i meant was that, now that it is april, it’s time to get our balcony all ready for the outdoor season. we are in love with our apartment and where we live, and that fact that we have a balcony is even more amazing. we’ve used it quite a bit, even during the winter. and we most definitely had it decorated for the the holiday seasons. but, now it’s time to turn it into an outdoor living space, as i know we will be using it more than almost any other room.

so, since the weather was incredibly warm and sunny this past week, and we found ourselves out there as much as possible, we decided that this weekend would be our balcony makeover weekend – as cheaply as possible, of course.

here’s how the balcony has looked in the past:

IMG_0881

breakfast on the balcony

totally comfy and cozy. but, our design idea was to make it even more comfy and cozy. so here’s what the plan was:

  1. buy some plants – nothing difficult to take care of, because neither one of us have a green thumb.
  2. make a more cozy sitting area in the corner – perhaps with some stools in an l-shape, with some cushions to sit on and pillows against the wall to lean on.
  3. more seating space – but we’d have our two chairs left over, so the idea was to have place for about 5 people
  4. but the main goal, was to decorate and make more comfy seating!
  5. and we wanted all of this by spending as little money as possible.

liz & lina’s tips for a small, cozy, comfy balcony makeover in a day:

1. dream away and find inspiration!

i talked with lina about my ideas, and she shared hers. we agreed on the above list, and then we spent some time looking through pinterest, getting some inspiration.

14433c2d1da6d94f43c729d98ac03e22 edad8b4b4416cfa5e3708215f07ef5a3

2. clear out and clean up

first up: clean the balcony. meh. i did not want to do that at all, but my love cleaned the chairs and the railing and the windows. i ended up skipping some of the cleaning because i made french toast for breakfast. hehe. after that, we pulled the rug inside for lina to vacuum. and i swept the entire balcony. then, a quick little time taking measurements of the balcony & our current chairs, and we were ready to go!

IMG_0994

3. start with second-hand

 we visited a few different places around asheville, beginning with the habitat for humanity re-store, a place where you can find cheap items which have been donated, and all of the money you spend goes to support habitat for humanity, helping other people get low-income house. a win-win situation. the only thing was, they did not have any outdoor furniture available. they didn’t even have any cute decorative things we could use. but, if we wanted sinks, toilets, tiles, or sofas, we were in luck.

4. be ready to be surprised and disappointed all at the same time

on to the next store: a local home improvement store. we parked near the garden center and were bursting with excitement about being surrounded by all of the plants and flowers! everything was so gorgeous and springy. and everyone else in asheville seemed to have the same idea that we did. we walked through the greenhouse area and toward to outdoor furniture, hoping to find some stools and cushions. but, no luck.

we did, however, stumble upon a great bistro table and two chairs. i mean, it was really  great. we loved it and immediately could imagine using it on the balcony. so, since we had done some measuring, we pulled out our notes & compared them to the the table set. it seemed like it would be the perfect fit. yes! only buying a table and chairs was not at all on our list of ideas. so, what to do?

IMG_1004

5. be spontaneous, but not too impulsive

we decided to leave the table behind and head to target to see what they had in the way of stools and cushions. they didn’t have anything either. gaaah.

we did know, however, that ikea (in charlotte or atlanta) had exactly what we wanted, for pretty cheap. but, we didn’t want to drive to ikea and now we also had this amazing table set we loved. spending money on the ikea furniture and the table set was not at all what we had in mind! but, we considered it – we even called my mom to get her advice.

6. if an opportunity presents itself, take it! (= live in the present moment)

we decided to table (haha!) the idea of the furniture at ikea – we could go tomorrow, if we wanted and go back to the home improvement store and buy the table set. we knew that we would get a lot of use out of the table – certain that we would eat many, if not every, meal out there, weather permitting. plus, it would be a great space to work at as well. so, we bought it! come to find out, the comfy cushions were included in the set, so yay! it turned out to be quite affordable.

7. always return to look over the original plan

on our way home, we stopped off to buy a couple of green plants. we knew we wanted ferns. they are so big, beautiful, and easy to keep alive. so, two big ferns and two planter pots were also added to our purchases.

IMG_1007

8. a good team makes all the difference

we got home, lugged everything upstairs, and began the process of putting it all together. ok – again, lina did the hard work. i was busy buying us tickets to see les miserables on broadway for lina’s birthday trip to new york city. see? i was doing something important too!

IMG_1013 IMG_1015

9. live in the moment. enjoy!

then, it was time for our premiere meal at our new table. we did a little staging and decorating, first though. the ferns were in place, the two chairs that we had before were still there, and we put a candle on our bistro table. time for dinner together! it was perfect, just absolutely perfect.

IMG_1021

10. keep an open mind – you never know how things will turn out

then, lina suggested that we skip the furniture at ikea = no cozy stools & pillows in the corner. we should just keep our chairs and perhaps buy a little puffy footrest/ottoman, which could also double as a seat, if needed. i was not convinced, but willing to try it. we decided to see how things felt after a week.

but, i wanted things to be settled, so we headed back to target to find a footrest/ottoman and perhaps some cushions for our chairs. in the outdoor section, we found the perfect footrest! it was funky and the colors were perfect. we both loved it. then, i happened to look up and saw two dar gray seat cushions, we decided to get them, knowing that if they didn’t work, we could return them. they were also on super duper sale – like 75% off and only $5.00 a piece. score us!

back home again, before dark, and we added the cushions and footrest to the balcony. i was overwhelmed… it was absolutely perfect. better than i had ever imagined. and we both agreed that there was no need to even think about the ikea furniture again.

IMG_1035 IMG_1038

now, how did we do with our original goals?

  1. plants. check! ferns – cheap and easy to take care of.
  2. cozy corner space. yes and no. completely cozy, though not a corner of stools, as we thought. instead, it turned out to be a bistro table and chairs – a good buy which will be used every single day, i am certain.
  3. more seating. check! we now have space for 5 people, which was our original goal.
  4. cozy & comfy. yes! times a thousand!
  5. budget-friendly. check! we spent the same amount of money on the table set as we would have on the ikea furniture. we searched for second-hand things, but nothing was there. the plants were simple and cheap. and our little decorations were things we already owned, we just moved things around. a very easy way to get a new look without spending any money

all in all, we ended up creating a cozy and comfy balcony, but not at all how we had originally imagined it. of course, i am know that it is even better than we had planned. and, i am so thankful and grateful for an amazingly fun day spent with my love.

the final result:

DSC_0315 DSC_0329 DSC_0327 DSC_0325 DSC_0338 DSC_0332 DSC_0346 DSC_0333 DSC_0337 DSC_0335 DSC_0317

so, come on over for a glass of lemonade or a glass of wine. we’ve got beer and sweet tea, too, if you’d prefer that. and when, the sun sets, our cozy twinkling lights will light up the space, so we can talk until the wee hours of the morning.

love and peace. xx

 

wednesday wisdom: rules of living # 5

6a4f4752aae011e3bc9d124bbc91aedb_8

ok. i’m a day late. but, you know. it happens. no biggie. and i know that you all will forgive me as lina and i were hanging out with our german friends who came for a visit. but, now we’ve said goodbye for a while and the rest of the week will be back to normal. sort of. lina’s on spring break, so we’ve got 4 days of no plans together – and that feels amazing.  well, friends, we’ve made it to week five of the 18 rules of living series already! thirteen weeks of wisdom to go. but let’s get right to this week’s tidbit of how to live according to the dalai lama:

18. judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

so, perhaps success is not measured by how much we acquire, but by how much we give up. and by giving up, i think that it is referring to sacrifices, losses, and passion. how much are we willing to lose in order to gain? you know, the good old belief that nothing comes without some hard work and dedication. and a successful person is someone who has fought for their dreams and never given up.

in my opinion, success has nothing to do with how much money i make or how many things i have. it is not about power, or even respect or authority or recognition. in fact, success isn’t about getting things at all… it is about how much we give away. and, don’t you agree that in giving we actually receive?

the more successful we are, the more we have learned, struggled, fought, and shared. so, in an effort to inspire each of us, i have found some great quotes on pinterest that remind us to chase our dreams, to make those dreams come true by working our asses off, and, ultimately, giving back to the world a little of what we have received.

d4b83b1a3b6cd33b2ddef0285665967f 0e3662202d7969cdaa0401c0208a0c94 195f18646b9065551f7f509d697ecd63 3cd5054246eb81eb130a31f2e30b1f23 7886a842edb7a5d033dcadddb113dbef 0e8103440b788edf5dc6ba9f2c27a2ed e0c7be071606776c9ace7103fcd38f60 28b4b44e2c7eb7e2392bfae030165df3

how do you define success? what makes up a successful life in your opinion?

love & peace. namaste.

a wanderlust-filled home

IMG_9099

in my dreams, my love and i travel all the time. we take off, with our computers in tow, for parts unknown. exploring the whole world, country after country. spending enough time in each place in order to get to know it on a little more personal level than your regular tourist. we spend some days exploring and experiencing the culture and country. we spend other days in our hut, or cottage, or rv with our computer open and keyboards clicking. my love, working as a freelance graphic designer, and me, writing away – on my blog, which makes me enough money to break even every month.

of course, i’m quite the homebody too. so, we come home for a few weeks or a few months in-between trips. but, since i’m a wanderlust, gypsy at heart, i want to have my home reflect my love of carefree, global travel.

in reality, i have no major trips planned for the near future (sweden in summer), so i am filling up my wanderlust soul by taking little day trips and exploring my own city, finding little gems and secret places hidden away. it is completely possible to be a tourist in your own city.

but, i also am perusing pinterest for ideas of how to bring my travel spirit into our home. there are so many ways to evoke a love of travel and different cultures. so many symbols and ways to capture that gypsy feeling. so, today, for travel thursdays, i’m gonna share with you my favorite ways to bring that global feel inside.

maps. maps. maps.

fc6719430e27cb6a80198183589569d2 e2760276e7ad71277916913c4aa6ddb4 a90fc6d1bff614f0785338f2bf405cb5 b8815ef55a4848b6fbb77ad3ea201244

this is my bedroom.
this is my bedroom.

vacation photo displays

a1915e52424c1e1761046abd0b83545a cf9ad277fbe9c3bbed97903190062da4 f543e4c5b4a4e2d197cbf1541566c818

things for your walls:

posters. destination boards. inspirational quotes. animal heads.Rhodes

f16bbc7b48d200fa159ab68aa8703b23 05b334c3e09af005f42525a283d347ae 9d8a0c1bc9d83ae884008f7528017577

vintage stuff: suitcases. globes. cameras.b6121609b72a1a346eedf14138c2fdb0 7bdfbff773e64b340837e5fa2b23f1d0 0c92f55d9c9d792be3e08e2f275b82e2.jpg

writer’s stuff: anything fitzgerald. travel books. a typewriter.7fe5bcf514623690841bd9fb2207032a

1d556045c69a38896025581568dc0543

9b147f8a453302b81ad8363ec38b703c

bohemian/indian-inspired lighting511ffc7866c72f25ac283a7899269f7e

buddhas, pillows, and rooms with lots of color0a59ec62a1ad26e771bb9730c80533ac 0f60708d01b1dc830c057bac62ba8472 506b0997fb04d60a470012c7._w.540_h.805_s.fit_

img_8381
this is my living room. :)

do you have any travel decoration tips? what do you like to bring into your home that makes you feel like you’re on vacation? do you have travel decor style? clearly mine is bohemian. hehe. what’s yours?

namaste. xx

all photos are from pinterest – except for two, which are from my apartment. (oh, how i love pinterest).