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I made a terrarium!

everythingcaila_terrarium_suppliesThis post contains affiliate links.

This isn’t exactly a DIY tutorial, more of me patting myself on the back for actually finishing a DIY project, no matter how simple it may have been. A couple weeks ago, I saw Christine Kobzeff’s video, DIY Succulent Terrarium Ideas, and it seemed like something my completely-uncrafty self could manage. I was determined to get all the supplies in one go, and Amazon Prime came through for me, as it always does.

According to Christine, who is extremely knowledgeable about succulents and terrariums, the first thing you need, other than the terrarium itself (I got this one) is activated charcoal or activated carbon pellets, which helps to keep the terrarium clean and free of ammonia and odors. The second layer of a succulent terrarium should be some small stones or pebbles to help with drainage. I decided to go for this two-pack to ensure I had enough for several terrariums. Next comes the soil. Supposedly, it’s really easy to make your own succulent soil, but I just opted to get this premixed bag of organic stuff. The most difficult thing to find was definitely the top dressing. It’s not absolutely necessary, but adding some kind of decorative sand or gravel to the terrarium makes it a little prettier. I thought the white sand Christine used in her video was beautiful, but I couldn’t find a fine, bright white sand on Amazon, so I went with this white gravel. I think it ended up looking really good! As for the plant itself, I went with a tiny little haworthia because they don’t need a lot of direct sunlight. Luckily, there’s a plant and gardening shop two blocks from me, and they have a little selection of cacti and succulents for $3 each.

everythingcaila_terrariumIsn’t it adorable? One other thing to note that I wasn’t aware of before is that you should only re-pot plants from dry soil to dry soil, and to wait for about a week to water them. That may explain why the succulents I bought last year died within three days. Altogether, I spent $56, but other than the plant and the terrarium, I have enough supplies to make at least a dozen more small terrariums. Not too shabby. 🙂


Ikea Wishlist

wishlistEver since I gave away my desk last year (it was a sidewalk rescue), I’ve been looking around for a replacement. The one I got rid of was one of those giant ugly hunks of wood types, and I want something the complete opposite. Whenever I look for furniture, I inevitably find my way back to Ikea. It’s never failed me yet. I’m not sure if the Lillåsen desk is the one I’m going to settle on, but I like its delicateness.

Other than a new desk, I’ve been wanting more plants for ages. I’ve had a few throughout the years that have all died, except for one tiny succulent, so I figure I’ll get some artificial ones. Ikea seems to have a really good selection, and I’ve heard good things about them. Of course, I would like to get some real ones too, and I think the Satsumas plant stand is gorgeous. The hanging Bittergurka planters would be a great way to introduce some green into our pretty drab kitchen.

Our living room curtains are abysmal. They’re a dull beige, and our cat has clawed/shredded them to bits over the past two years, so it’s time for some new ones. I’m not sure if the Syssan curtains are too busy, but they’d be a good way to introduce some green and to brighten up our space.

I’ve also been wanting some picture ledges and more prints, as well as more interesting serveware.

If you have any recommendations for home decor shops or for where to get good artificial plants, I’d love to hear!

Links to everything: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11


H&M Home Haul

hmhaul3How did I not know there was an H&M Home store in NYC until this week? Ahhhhhh! I look at the website all the time. Everything is so affordable and cute. I’m really into leafy patterns right now, so their Tropicopop collection is speaking to me.

hmhaul1I’m hoping that not many other people know about the home collection being available in-store in the city. I went on a Monday afternoon, and almost nobody else was there. It could have been the time of day, or it could have been that it’s kind of out of the way on the third floor of the biggest H&M store in the world (I had actually never been to this location because it is literally on the same block as two other H&Ms that I’ve been going to for years) next to the kids’ section. Either way, I’m glad. Everything was well-stocked, and surprisingly neat and tidy, especially for New York. hmhaul2hmhaul4One of my goals for my home is to brighten things up with patterns and colors. Our tableware is especially sad. It’s the same old plain white Ikea set that we got when we first moved here 4 1/2 years ago. About half of them are chipped or were completely broken, and it’s just plain sad to set them out when people visit. My favorite items are definitely the leafy tray and the banana plate!

Now that I’m looking through the website, I’m seeing that most of the items I bought on Monday are now on sale (of course!!). Looks like I’ll have to go back this weekend 😉

Links to everything: Banana Plate / B&W Plate / Oh Yes! Plate / Birds Plate / Leaf Tray / B&W Cup / Birds Cup / Banana Napkins / Birds Napkins / Cactus Tote

Have a great weekend!


Tidying my home with the KonMari Method – Part 2: Skincare and Makeup

My last tidying post was all the way back in September. I had gone through all of my clothes, shoes, and handbags, and was feeling pretty good about going through the rest of my belongings. I got as far as my books, and then things kind of stopped. I know part of the reason is that my husband is not into the whole idea of Marie Kondo’s book…at all. He’s very much the type of person to keep things in case we might need them “some day”. When I keep complaining that he has so many shirts (some that he has never worn since I’ve known him) that his closet has literally overflowed into mine, he makes an excuse, and we don’t get anywhere.

Rather than give up, I decided that it was better late than never to pick up where I left off in fall. This time I tackled all my beauty products. It was pretty daunting. At first, I was going to count each and every item, like I did with my clothing, but I decided to spare myself the horror, and to just dive in. The process of deciding what to keep and what not to keep is easy for me. I’m honest with myself, and if I know I’m never going to use a lipstick or an eye shadow, I have no problem putting it in the “no” pile, so I went through my makeup quickly.

These are a few rules and reminders I came up with for myself after going through my makeup:

  • Stop buying lip products. I probably tossed 3/4 of them. For some reason, lipsticks are the most tempting makeup item to me. I buy way too many of them, wear them once, put them in my drawer, and forget about them. I need to be more honest with myself and realize that I don’t wear lipstick often enough to justify having dozens of them. If I really, really feel the need to buy more, I need to research the formula and color before purchasing.
  • Don’t buy random things just because they’re cheap. I fell into this trap only a couple of weeks ago. I was at Target and bought several items that I knew nothing about because they were only a couple of dollars each. Sure, I wasn’t wasting a ton of money, but I could have used that toward one really great product instead of a bunch of duds that I ended up returning anyway. Which brings me to my next point:
  • Keep receipts and packaging in case I forget the first two points and end up with some shitty products that I don’t want. This seems anti-tidying, but if I’m going to get rid of things that don’t bring me joy, I would much rather return them and get my money back instead of throwing them in the garbage. Most stores in the US have really lenient return policies that let you return used makeup for a full refund if you have the original packaging and receipts.
  • Know which ingredients, colors, formulas, etc. work for me. I know after trial and error that cool toned makeup suits me more. Orange lipsticks and blushes don’t look great on me, so I shouldn’t waste my money on them. I also know that silicone-heavy products clog my pores, and that I don’t really like the look or feel of super matte lipsticks.

The No Pile. Yikes.


Again, yikes.


Going through my skincare was also pretty easy, since a lot of products were expired! The most time consuming part was probably dusting and reorganizing. I moved all of my “top shelf” skincare products from the sad little cart outside the bathroom to the medicine cabinet so that it they weren’t out in the open attracting cat hair and creating clutter.


Why do I keep the packaging, especially the ones in Korean?


Somewhat better!











The biggest rule I need to follow when it comes to skincare from now on is to pay attention to expiration dates. I need to make sure I’m not buying too many of the same type of product so that it’s impossible to use them up completely before they expire. I also need to make time to take those special steps in my skincare routine, e.g. toners, exfoliators, and masks. If I have the products, I might as well use them!

Now I need to go through all the things I’m not keeping, and decide what to throw away and what to give away (probably to my sister). The hardest part of tidying so far has definitely been the throwing away and/or donating step. It’s so easy to stuff things away in a closet and forget about them. I’m going to try my best though! I think after I’m 100% done with this step, I’m moving on to the kitchen, which needs major work. Maybe I can finally convince my husband to read Marie Kondo’s book, too…

Beauty, Lifestyle, Other

5 Resources for going cruelty-free

New to cruelty-free shopping? So am I! These are the best resources I’ve found so far.

fb-cover_bunny-face | Leaping Bunny is the US’s foremost organization dedicated to cruelty-free shopping and to the commitment to end all animal testing. Just look for their logo on a product’s label. They have a free app that lets you search for cruelty-free items by brand or type of product while you’re out and about. Their website even has a page for deals on Leaping Bunny certified brands.




Cruelty-Free Kitty | This is the most comprehensive cruelty-free beauty blog I’ve found. Suzi has every kind of list you might need, from a regularly-updated cruelty-free brands list, to a drugstore brands list, a Sephora list, and a list of companies to avoid. Super helpful!



Buycott | Buycott is an app for when you’re out shopping and want to know whether a product or brand aligns with a cause you care about. You can pick from several campaigns such as Support Fair Trade, Support Organic Dairy Products, Promote Sustainable Fishing, and even Boycott Scott Walker Contributors (as a Wisconsinite, this made me chuckle). All you have to do is scan a barcode, and the app will tell you if the company or parent company’s practices align with your cause.



Cruelty Free International | This is the leading worldwide organization for news and info regarding animal testing.



Bunny Army | Bunny Army is a good resource for cruelty-free beauty. You can search for products and filter by vegan, organic, gluten-free, etc.


What are some other great resources? Let me know!


Lifestyle, Other

Tidying my home with the KonMari Method – Part 1: Clothing

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo has been making the rounds on YouTube with beauty gurus, so I’ve been aware of the book for some time, but I knew I had to read it when my husband told me his boss, a 30-something software engineer, had also read it and said that it really did change his life!

I was skeptical about it having any real impact because I’m usually pretty skeptical about everything, but after reading just a couple chapters, I was already dying to start discarding items. If you’re unfamiliar with the KonMari Method, you’re supposed to keep only the items that “spark joy” when you touch them, and I knew immediately that I had tons of stuff clogging up my home that were just there, not sparking any joy. Anyway, I finished the book in just a few days, and I absolutely loved it. I feel like almost every single one of Kondo’s points resonated with me, and I think she has a similar personality to mine, which made it even easier to connect with her and her advice.

I can see how her strategies are definitely not for some people, and even I giggled at a few of her suggestions, particularly those concerning socks. To me, the most unattainable advice she gives is to not store anything in your shower, suggesting that you should take items into the shower as you need them, and wipe them down and store them after each shower. Maybe some day I’ll reach that level of tidyness, but not today! The overarching themes definitely stuck with me though, and I feel like I can achieve the kind of home I’ve always wanted using her techniques.

The first step was to go through all my clothing, shoes, and handbags (I also put all my outerwear, scarves, gloves, hats, and aprons(!) into this category). I started by taking them from all their various storage places (closets, wardrobe, dresser, suitcases) and put them all on my bed and floor. My husband and I were both shocked at how much I had. Altogether, I had about 225 items, plus a few things in the laundry. I went through everything pretty quickly, and I was probably done discarding in 30-45 minutes. Thankfully I’m pretty good about not getting attached to things, although a lot of the items I was holding on to were gifts from people through the years. I will say I kept a few things that didn’t spark joy, like some socks, underwear, and pajamas because truthfully if I gave away everything I didn’t love I would have only a couple of each thing, and I didn’t want to go out and shop for all new undergarments. So I think that as I move on to other categories and get a better feel for which things I really want to keep, I will probably discard even more clothes (Kondo says it’s pretty common for people to go back and get rid of even more things after the initial purge).

Gather everything together in one place

Hang longest items on the left and shortest on the right

IMG_5938 IMG_5940I counted how many of each category (tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, etc…) I decided to keep and how many of each I decided to give away. In total, I kept around 120 items and gave away around 105 items. I already usually go through all my clothes at least once a year to get rid of anything I know I’m not going to wear any more, so I think I ended up at a decent ratio. Like I said, I kept some things just so that I wouldn’t have to do laundry every three days. I also folded all the clothes I wanted to keep according to the Konmari method, which took as long or longer than going through everything! It definitely does save space and make it easier to see everything at once, and I like that I’m not stretching out my socks anymore using my usual “potato ball” method.

I hope that this was somewhat interesting! After I finished the book, I admit that I looked up KonMari tidying videos on YouTube for probably way too long. I love looking at organization befores & afters!

The next categories for tidying are books and papers. Wish me luck!