All Dressed Up

I love my new dresser!

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Okay, so it’s not exactly new… My parents bought it for me when I was 13, and my dad stained it the natural shade it still boasts today.

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After 14 years, I was getting a little bored with it, and replaced the plain wood knobs for some teal/gold ones I’d found  on clearance at Pier 1 about a year ago.

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I knew painting or staining the whole dresser darker would be much more work than I wanted, but I think it’s something I’m going to cave and do in the next few years.  So in the meantime, I thought a fun, temporary solution was just what it needed!  I had some temporary wallpaper laying around from Tempaper’s 2012 Honeycomb Citron collection, which I’d had on the walls in my old apartment.

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It went up on the walls relatively easily, and came down in about 5 seconds without leaving a single mark on the walls.  I decided to trust my dresser to Tempaper as well.

After unscrewing the knobs and setting them aside, I started by unrolling the paper.  I wanted the pattern to look continuous despite being broken up by the space between each drawer, so instead of measuring and cutting first, I simply stuck the paper on the top drawer.

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To get clean cuts, I first indented the paper on the edge of the drawer front, which is a little difficult to see, thus the added arrow:

image (2)Where ever those creases are, you’ll need to cut with either scissors or an X-acto knife.  If using an X-acto knife, make sure you go slowly and apply very little pressure; otherwise, you risk putting cuts in the wood.

image (55)In the above photo, you can see that the lower left hand corner of the paper is a little bit uneven.  This is easily prevented by moving a little slower with the razor, or can be easily fixed by going back over it one more time.

This project is very easy, and really only requires a bit of patience (to straighten out the paper, smooth out the air bubbles, and cut evenly). When you’ve finished applying the paper, the knobs can very easily punch through the now-covered holes.  If you experience any resistance, try starting a tiny hole with your scissors or razor.  And then you are left with a clean-looking, finished product!

photo (18)The best part is that the knotty wood can still show through on the sides; perfectly wedding country-style with a modern, eclectic twist!

I love it!  What do you think?

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Xo, Laura


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Oh, Gus…

The weather in Ohio sucks today.  Rain.  Lots of it.  And lots of flooding, too.

My boss was definitely affected by the weather… he was in a particularly bad mood.

Because I had to work all day, I took Gus and Phoebe to doggie day camp.  Turns out, Gus was ABSOLUTELY feeling the bad weather energy, because he went all Kujo on not one, but TWO dogs at doggie day camp.  Apparently his fellow campers, Rowdy and Lilly H, were threatening him by minding their own business.  This is my favorite paragraph from the summary I had to sign.

photo (8)They also made a note that Gus was so active he did not nap today:

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So that’s exactly what he’s doing right now!

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You’re going to have to forgive me, but tonight I am far too cranky to do anything other than read How to Raise the Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan in the bathtub while drinking  wine (please no flight delays tonight!  I need Mike home!).

But I promise that I AM working on painting a bookshelf, and I promise to show you tomorrow how I made some adorable “art” for the kitchen.  We’ve also got some serious organization happening in the pantry right now.  Lots of goodies to look forward to!

Misery loves company, so please let me know if any of you have been feeling the bad juju in the air today!  I hope everyone has a fantastic, restful evening tonight!  And keep in mind, tomorrow is FRIDAY!  :-)

Xo, Laura

Chalk It Up to Organization

Continuing on the quest to get this kitchen in tip-top condition (you can see some other progress here and here), I’ve moved on to the side of the fridge, which I turned from Exhibit A into Exhibit B.

The reason for this switch is probably fairly obvious… it was all too cluttered, lacked organization, and was essentially useless.  Also, very ugly.

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It all began yesterday in Target (doesn’t it always??), when I saw a chalkboard stick-on decal.  But it was far too busy and young-looking, so I continued the hunt.  Fast forward to this afternoon at Hobby Lobby, when I saw a simple black chalkboard cut-out from Designer Wall Accents.  Originally $22.99, it was 50% off, making it only $11.50!  It even came with its very own stick of chalk.  I loved that it was black, because I wanted it to mostly blend in with the side of our fridge.

But before I could apply the fully-removable chalkboard sticker, I needed to clear everything away.  I have no idea why the stool and basket were there in the first place, so they were the first things to go.  Everything else was removed as well, and I wiped the fridge down with paper towels and water to get a clean, fresh surface.

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And then, just like a normal sticker, the chalkboard decal is easy to peel off and slap on.  It did rip in 2 tiny places, but you absolutely cannot tell against the black backdrop of the fridge.  Here is the appliance with its new chalkboard sticker!

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See how well it blends in?!  You can barely see it, which is exactly what I wanted.  Here’s a closer shot:

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And then with a few additional adjustments, I turned it into this:

image (24)1 more day until Mike comes home! <3

I added back in only 5 magnets; 2 clear heart magnets that my friend Emily gave me few years back (originally from Ikea), and a cluster of 3 cute magnets I bought last year at Target for $1.

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I slapped up a photo of Mike and I in Boston (it’s in a clear plastic magnet-backed frame from Dollar Tree), and our To-Do List, which is outfitted with two frames from a photo strip we also took in Beantown.  You may have noticed that this list read “I love the band U2” in the ‘before’ photo.  I do not particularly like them (at all…), but it was a cute little inside joke between Mike and I.

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Then I topped off the fridge with an organizer I purchased a few months ago at Office Depot, and spray painted it a dark green called Hosta from Krylon.  I don’t intend to keep it up there permanently, but for now it serves as a good chalk holder until I can find something better.  Also in the organizer is a black Sharpie and a cute weekly planner notepad I found a few years ago:

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I often use a sheet from this notepad to plan out my week (when I need to make dog food, what I need to do at work, the projects I plan to do around the house…).

But where did the other papers and magnets go?  I hid them on the other side of the fridge, against the wall.  When we need extra magnets or need to access one of the coupons that originally hung on the other side of the fridge, they are within reach.  Inconspicuous reach!

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Not bad for a 10 minute makeover, eh?

Xo, Laura

Ruly Jewelry

My earring situation went from unruly earlier today to totally ruly tonight.

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Earlier today you heard about my failure of an earring wrangling system.  Well, tonight I remedied that with a cardboard box, cork board, hot glue, and tape.

Basically,  I started with a huge piece of metal sheeting.

Laura & Metal Sheet LoveBut I cut about 1/3 of it off to create this flop of a masterpiece:

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So tonight I was faced with the choice of either using the tiny piece of metal I had left over from earlier today, OR using the other part of the sheeting, which was much bigger.  I went with the latter.  This meant that I couldn’t use the same frame.  But I unfortunately didn’t have one on hand that would work… so I made one out of a cardboard box left over from a recent dress order.

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I started by cutting the outside flaps off, and then I folded them in half to cut evenly along that line.  I continued this process until I had 6 evenly sized pieces.  1 each for the top and the bottom of the frame, and 2 for each of the sides.  In order to make sure these were secured properly to the metal, I used a hot glue gun as well as packing tape.

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Here is my manly version of Vanna White modeling the new handmade frame against the rejected one (you can really notice the size difference in pieces):

Hot glue dries almost immediately, so I set to work cutting out pieces of cork.  I used fairly thin rolled cork that I have had forever.  I used it most recently on a map project for Mike.  It’s super easy to cut, but can also rip if you’re not carefeul… you just have to be sure to go slow and be steady.  I cut 4 evenly sized pieces that were so long they overlapped on the edges.  I wanted this overlap so that the frame would look bigger than it actually is, but also so that there was some room for error in case an edge ripped or needed to be evened out.  When all of the pieces were cut and laid out, I carefully attached them with hot glue.  Then I had Mike hold it up to make sure all of the sides were even and neat.

It looked great, so I attached 3M strips on the back.  As always, I cut bigger 3M strips in half to save money, but then I worried that the frame wasn’t thick enough to lay flat on the wall.  So I made sure there were 4 pieces to hold it on the wall (two 3M strips cut in half).

image (46)And then I hung it up!  I think it looks SO much better, but the best part is that it holds studs (in the frame) just as easily as dangly earrings!

Unruly Jewelry

This week has been insanely busy.  So busy that we have to keep farming out the dogs to doggie day camp, which they love.  Every night, Gus is so tired that he can barely keep himself from falling off the couch.

photoSince we’ve been so busy, today’s posts are going to be a little different.  This morning’s is all about how DIY projects can sometimes fail… and tonight’s post will be all about how I rectified the situation.  I guess these posts can be considered a metaphor for life – sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you have to take those lemons and make them into lemonade!  Or at least, that’s the situation with my earring storage.

My jewelry has always been out of control.  As in, constantly talking back, breaking curfew, and just generally being a hot mess.    I have to say that I at least TRIED to corral everything together by storing earrings in bowls, drawers, hanging them on ribbon… I even tried to use an old cheese grater, similar to this post that I found on Pinterest.

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But no method was attractive and easy enough for me to maintain.  Until I saw this beautiful metal sheet for sale for $10.  And then I started brainstorming how it could hold my earrings.Laura & Metal Sheet Love

I thought it would look amazing hung behind an ornate frame I’d taken off a mirror (to use for another project).  I planned on spray painting the frame a fun color.

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But unfortunately, the metal sheet was a tiny bit too narrow for the frame.

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Luckily, I had a piece of plain white cardboard left over from one of my other frames.  You know, the white piece you can put between your picture and the glass?  It seemed like it would be perfect!


The metal was surprisingly easy to cut with plain old scissors.  I trimmed it up and set it aside.  In the meantime, I turned my attention to the frame.

I love working with washi tape, as illustrated by my pencil-beautification project.  I’d purchased this beauty at Michael’s awhile back, and was so excited to use it, since it would coordinate perfectly with my green pencils without being too matchy-matchy.

See how pretty it is?

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See how well the color matches the green pencils?

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It took me about 10 minutes to tape up the frame.  In order to get neat edges, I made sure to always leave tape overlapping the edges, and then I cut a bit off to create a smooth corner.

Eventually I was left with a totally professional looking frame.

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I flipped it over and attached the metal sheet with clear packing tape.  I used a generous amount so that it would lay flat.  You don’t need to worry about the fact that the green washi tape looks messy on the back; it won’t show in the finished product.

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I wanted to hang it on the wall, so I cut some 3M strips in half, and attached them.  As I explained in this post, I like to cut them in half for light-weight frames in order to save money!

And then it was time for wall hanging!

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At this point, I started to slightly panic.  It’s too busy!  It’s too flimsy-looking!  But I thought maybe hanging some earrings would pull it all together.

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Nope.  Still too crazy.  I mean, what was I thinking?

And it’s not just the busy, clashing patterns.  Where do I hang the post earrings?  Major fail.

…But all is not lost!  Tune in tonight to see how I remedy the situation!  Leave your guesses in the comments :-)



Broken Pencils Are Pointless

These pencils aren’t actually broken… And even though they aren’t sharpened, they’re not pointless!  They make an excellent office accent piece!

Basically, this project was started because I can’t sit still ever, and I therefore always need projects to do while watching TV.  I knew it was project fate when the Barnes & Noble on campus was having a 50% off sale on pencils.

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I grabbed two packs for a little over $1 total.  Using washi tape that I had laying around (if you don’t have any at home, you can usually find some at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s for around $1.50), I wrapped it around each pencil, starting near the eraser and working my way down.  The washi tape is easy to rip, and you can get a close edge by using a pair of scissors or a knife.  I wrapped 10 green, and 10 blue.

If the above photos confuse you a little bit, allow me to explain: the room was very dark when I tried to take photos.  And I was feeling very lazy.  So the photos are terrible.  My apologies!

Also, the green washi tape was snapped after I’d already finished the pencil project… And the blue one could  not be photographed since it was already in Gus’ belly.  Yup, he chewed up about half a roll of blue washi tape.  Didn’t seem to bother him one bit!  For the record, he also enjoys 3M velcro strips.  And he’s tried to go for the beaver skull quite a few times.  The boy will chew on anything.

Anyway, keep wrapping the washi tape around each pencil.  It’s fine if it overlaps.  And it’s also fine if some yellow pencil shows through.  It’s a very forgiving project.  And after all, they’re only pencils!

So after all 20 pencils were complete, I needed a vessel to put them in.  I found the perfect one, too!  A Classico pasta sauce jar, with the label removed.

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You might remember that I used the same type of jar (spray painted gray) as a vase back in this post.


But alas, it was too tall.  It kept the pencils corralled too tightly together.  So I used an old canning jar:

image (28)It’s perfect!

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Inspirational Ideas: My Favorite Blogs

I have been spending a lot of my free time (waiting in grocery store check-out lines, while making dinner, when a TV show is boring me…) checking up on what other people are doing online.  And I’ve come to a conclusion; there are so many great blogs out there right now!  So many, in face, that I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.  These are the blogs, posts, and projects that have been inspiring me lately:

  1. Sugar & Cloth.  I have just recently discovered this one, and I am just absolutely in love.  Look at how adorable (and easily doable!) this Stump Side Table is!

    Photo by Sugar & Cloth

    Photo by Sugar & Cloth

  2. Camille Styles.  I must be on a wood kick today!  I think these DIY wood and leather suspended shelves would be perfect for Mike’s office.

    Photo by Camille Styles

    Photo by Camille Styles

  3. Paper & Stitch.  I think we all know how much I love succulents, as evidenced by this post.  So it might come as no surprise that I adore this craft idea from Paper & Stitch.  Check it out here and fall in love for yourself!

    Photo by Paper & Stitch

    Photo by Paper & Stitch

  4. Young House Love.  This has been my favorite blog for just about forever.  Lately, their focus has shifted toward major remodeling jobs (AKA less doable DIY projects), which I can’t really use in my everyday life.  But I do still draw inspiration from their site, most recently in their recommendation to check out Workbench Magazine’s free builder plans.  There are so many awesome DIY furniture diagrams, and they make everything easy to figure out on your own.  After spending forever trying to buy a headboard for cheap, I can’t believe how easy it would be to just make one on my own!  You can browse all of the builder plans yourself here.  And you should also check out the YHL blog when you have a chance, since they have some awesome ideas in their archives.

What are some of your favorite blogs?  Do you have your own?  If so, leave the URL in the comments section, please!  I need some more reading! :-)


His and Hers Artwork

This weekend M & L absolutely dominated the getting-stuff-done arena.  For starters, the living room is beginning to come together.  But more importantly, we made a teensy change in the bathroom that has really pulled the whole room together:

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Our homemade his and hers artwork was done late Sunday afternoon.  We spent the rest of the weekend completing a ton of projects around the house, all of which we will show to you throughout the week.  To name a few, the kitchen has been partially organized, we installed an under-the-counter trash/recycling system, the half bath has a new toilet seat to replace the puffy/padded one, and the dining room light underwent some beautification.  Like I said, lots got accomplished.  But the one I’m most excited about is our new homemade art.

It all started back in Mike’s old apartment.  The kitchen was so blah that I framed 3 teal scrapbook pages as a back splash.  I totally meant to stick them on the beige wall, but never got around to it.  Instead, I just propped them up against the wall.  And voila, a quick pop of color.  They were super low maintenance since they never fell over, were easily wiped down if any drips or splashes got on them, and they were incredibly easy to remove if I ended up needing extra counter space.  I definitely recommend them for anyone nervous about doing anything to their rental’s kitchen.  You can see two of the three leaning against the wall in this old picture from this post.  I wish there was a bigger picture of the whole kitchen, but you get the idea.


As you can see, one of the three teal sheets has a vintage-looking chicken theme on it, similar to those on my favorite bowls, just barely visible in the background here (you can read more about the succulent plants on this post):

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Here are the weird chickens side-by-side:

Anyway, we carried these three frames pieces of scrapbook paper with us to the new house, but the teal didn’t really work with our crazy red backsplash.  Somehow they ended up in the bathroom, and sat around testing out counter space.  After I decided I didn’t fully appreciate them in this space, I just sort of tucked them away behind my makeup trunk.

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But on Sunday I was feeling positively inspired.  So I grabbed the two frames holding the plain teal paper (ignoring the one with the crazy chickens), some tape adhesive, gray paint strips, and a heart punch.  Since I had all of the materials on hand from previous projects, this craft session cost us $0.  I used the heart punch (purchased at Michael’s for around $10) to make a bunch of little hearts.  Mike grabbed some and immediately glued down a pile of hearts.  It took him all of two minutes.  Maybe he’s a creative genius, or maybe he just wanted to be done with craft time, since it’s not really his jam.  But either way, I think his looks absolutely adorable!

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Mine took a lot longer to do, only because I had no idea what I was going for.  I first tried a horizontal line of hearts, but I didn’t like it.  Then I tried some kind of gradient wavy thing.  Wasn’t really working.  What I needed was a different punch besides heart.  But I didn’t have one.  So I decided to cut the hearts in half and just sort of stumbled into this gradient design.

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Pinning down the exact order of the broken hearts and gluing them down took all of 3 minutes.  The reason I went with crafter’s tape was because it requires no dry time, so the pile of hearts and the lines of broken hearts were re-framed and ready to go within minutes.  I used 3M medium-sized velcro strips on all three frames.  The strips are perfect because they cause absolutely no damage to the wall or the frames, and when you move apartments/houses, the velcro side stuck to the frame can be re-used.  I also buy the medium strips so that I can cut them in quarters, which saves a ton of money.

This was a super simple project that only took about 15 minutes total, but makes the bathroom look much more complete!

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Weekend Plans

Does anyone besides me count down the minutes left at work until lunch time?  For me, those short 15 minutes are a great time to proof-read posts and de-stress.  Today I lasted until 12:43 pm (even though I started thinking about lunch at 8:01 am).  Would have been a little earlier if my co-worker hadn’t inspired me to keep at it with this cute vintage-looking inspirational quote:


So I’m going to try and be the reason someone smiles by talking about peppier things.  Like the fact that it’s Friday (yay weekend!), or the fact these 22 animal babies are downright adorable, or the fact that at some point yesterday, Makeshift Living hit 1,000 views!  I’m pretty stoked by this small milestone, especially since this blog is all about me professing my love for life, decorating, and love itself.

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But sometimes it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.  Projects take forever to come together, and sometimes they go completely wrong.  That has so far been the story of our kitchen/living room/dining room, and why I so rarely show them in their entirety.  In fact, I’ve done almost nothing to the kitchen so far, which is ironic because there is so much to do… Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

But starting tonight, I’m determined to change that!  This is the one weekend in July when we have no plans.  No schoolwork, no traveling, no obligations.  And I guess I’m feeling particularly inspired this week because the first floor is feeling so close to being done, even though it’s actually looking far from it!  Getting these rooms in tip-top shape is absolutely essential since we spend most of our time there, and besides, I’d love to make a video tour for you all!

So stay tuned this weekend!  Anyone have any exciting plans of their own?  Or any “plans” to do nothing at all after a much-too-long work week?  (Amen to that!)


A Quickie

Good morning!  Want this?

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Then you’re in luck, cause I’ve got a quick design fix for ya.  It’s so simple you’re going to wonder why you didn’t come up with it on your own.  But the good news is that you can accomplish it yourself in two minutes or less.  So grab that cup of coffee and let’s get started!

STEP 1: I assume your living room is already set up.  If so, enjoy that smug feeling one gets from not being a squatter, and skip this step.  But if like me, you’re still unpacking, it might help to follow my guidelines for how to attempt to set-up your living room the super stressful way: make sure you have way too many pillows, too many couches, and a huge fireplace taking up most of the living room wall space.

To begin with, you know things definitely can’t stay all piled up in the middle of both the living room and dining room…

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…you’ll definitely have trouble finding an arrangement that works.

There will always be too many couches.  What’s that hiding behind the black leather couch in the dining room?  Half a brown sectional!  Too many couches!!

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As part of step 1, it’ll definitely help if you allow yourself to “get mad,” as demonstrated here by my nephew, Braylon:

Finally, give up a little and decide to temporarily forget about the TV and black leather couch.  Just shove them as far into the dining room as the cable cord will allow, and stick the sectional in the only corner.  Viola, living room.

But before you move on to step 2, you need to make sure your decorating consultants are pleased with the layout.

Two paws up!

STEP 2: Hate every pillow arrangement you try.  Keep moving them around as much as you want; there are too many pillows and the majority of them won’t match.  You’ll probably keep coming back to the blue/green/teal situation.

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If only there was a way you could get them to match!

STEP 3: Cue a cheap $1.99 belt from Goodwill!  If you already have an old belt, you can skip this step.  If not, go thrifting and find the belt that will look the best for the least amount of money.

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STEP 4: Strap the belt on a pillow and step back to admire your handy work!

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And double-check that it looks good up close, too (Note from Laura: It’s impossible to tell from the pictures, but the blue in the pillow pretty much perfectly matches the belt).


And there you have it!  The world’s simplest makeover, in place before you even finished that coffee!  And by the way, if you want coffee out of a designer travel mug, make your own with help from this old post!