Modestly Maddie 2017 Recap
2017 was a huge year for me. It was filled with big changes, new decisions, and accomplished goals. I had the chance to travel; I visited Chicago, skied Breckenridge in Colorado and explored Ireland with my family (all of which were on my bucket list). I pushed myself; I choreographed and performed a solo, something that I’ve wanted to do since my sophomore year of high school. I received support; I earned the Outstanding Leadership award from the drama and dance department at Hofstra University. Finally, I graduated college, moved to Brooklyn and have slowly started figuring out a life plan (stay tuned).
In 2017, I took risks; I decided I wanted to make my blog a much bigger part of my life and start my own business.
I’ve gained a lot of confidence in 2017 and for that I am grateful. At the beginning of a new year, one can’t imagine where time will take you but I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for me, my family, and my friends.
Here’s to new adventures!
How was your year?
Decorate a Small Space Fabulously
Meet my fabulous friend, Amber. I met Amber while in college and we’ve always shared an affinity for all things lavish, extravagant and exceptionally polished. Amber was the first of our friend group to move out on her own and took on these life changes with ease and grace. I recently had the chance to visit her studio apartment and was blown away with how she decorated it. Everything was carefully curated to perfection. While decorating a studio seems like a daunting task, she was incredibly smart at how she set up her space and did it in the most fashionable way. I sat down with her to chat about her choices and here’s what she had to say:
Tell me about yourself
Amber A. Bennett and I am a recent graduate from Hofstra University and I currently work for American Ballet Theatre as an Arts Administrator.
Describe your design style in three words.
Feminine, chic, whimsical.
What did you do first once you got your apartment?
When I first moved in all I had was my bed, a couch, a dining room table, and the bookcase. So my first concern was the walls (I hate nothing more than empty walls). I was constantly searching for paintings, frames, shelves – anything to add personality and make the place feel a little more like me. As a post grad, I knew that larger pieces would come in time, as they are far pricier than accent pieces.
Where did you find your furniture?
My bed frame and faux cow hide chair are from Wayfair. My couch, bookshelf, dresser, and various furniture accents (pillow, hanging plant, large wall frames) are from Ikea, and other home decor accents and trinkets, if you will, are from HomeGoods.
When decorating, where do you draw inspiration from?
My main design inspiration comes from my mother’s ability to fill a space without over crowding. The idea that no matter where you are in a space your eye is drawn to something new, whether that be a statement piece or subtle details.
Where do you like to shop for apartment decor?
I absolutely love HomeGoods! I love that their shipments vary weekly and especially by season. Sometimes I avoid going because it has the classic “Target Effect”, where you go in for one thing and you leave with ten other things that you didn’t necessarily need but you love.
What was your favorite part about decorating?
My favorite part about decorating is seeing everything come together. It’s incredibly satisfying when all of your purchases coordinate and rooms/spaces feel finished.
Talk about your wall divider.
The wall divider is truly the best investment I’ve ever made for my apartment. It is the perfect piece of furniture for studio apartments because it allows you to break up the space however works best for you. It creates the illusion that your bed is in fact not right next to where you eat dinner every night and it doubles as great storage. My dream for the divider is for it to one day be almost entirely full of books!
What’s your favorite part about your apartment?
Definitely my collage wall! Collage walls are a great focal point of any space to express who you are as a person, but because they are so personal they tend to take a while to create – I waited about 8 months to collect all the frames and art before I finally put it together.
What’s one thing you would recommend when setting up a small space?
My number one recommendation for setting up small spaces is finding multi-functional furniture pieces. It becomes less about the decorating and more about how you arrange everything you need in the square footage you’re given. This applies especially to the “just out of college, studio/shared spaces”. My dresser that doubles as a mantle/entertainment center under my TV along with the wall divider/bookcase are the best 2-in-1 purchases I could have made. Also, don’t limit yourself because you think things will look “overcrowded” or “too busy”, more often than not a space will actually look larger once it’s filled.
Finally, how do you decorate for the holidays and what’s your favorite holiday decoration?
The one holiday where I really try to incorporate themed decor is Christmas. When I graduated and moved, it was only a few days before Christmas and my tree was my first purchase so it holds a special place in my heart. Since space is limited, I got a six foot skinny tree. I would also like to switch out my wreath either per holiday or season.
Feeling inspired? Let me know how you decorate your space.
On the go: Packing for Ireland
Last June, I took a trip to Ireland for eight days and packed all of my clothing in a carry-on. Even though many people think this is an impossible task, it can easily be done if you think ahead.
Spend some time identifying pieces that can be easily layered and are versatile. Depending on what you’re doing, I always recommend some athleisure. This will ensure that you’re stylish but comfortable for walking, hiking, or any outdoor adventure.
I would also recommend packing pieces that mix and match with others. Don’t underestimate how many times an item can be reinvented. I only let myself pack one scarf and one ascot and I wore one almost everyday. Once you’ve selected your clothes for the trip, try and pick accessories that can go with everything.
Finally, think about your feet. Since shoes take up the most space, be realistic with what you’re going to wear and always remember: comfort above everything else. I would recommend one pair of nice shoes for dressy occasions and a pair of sneakers since exploring a new country means you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. That being said, you don’t want to end up with blisters on your first day there and be in pain for the rest of the trip, so if you plan on purchasing any new shows for your trip, break them in prior. Wear them a couple of times to make sure that they can last long days of walking.
I ended up packing one pair of Nikes that I wore on the plane, a pair of Adidas tennis shoes, sandals, and a pair of black, Steve Madden slip ons. Something to keep in mind when traveling to Ireland is that the weather is wet. It was nice to have options when it poured for a day and your shoes were still damp.
While my packing list is for the summer, which is undoubtedly easier, the same rules and recommendations apply for suitcases of all seasons. Check out the outfits I wore below and let me know what you think.
Headed for a big trip? Send me the details and I’ll work with you to craft the perfect packing list.