July 17, 2017

15 Things You Need When You Move in With Your Boyfriend

15 things you'll need when you move in with your significant other - amazon echo & smart switch, fireTV stick, bar, dishwasher magnet, extra basics, grocery rebate apps, headphones, mouthwash, phone charges, poo pouri, recipe book, shopping list pad, sleep set, trashcan with a lid, and a wreath | brazenandbrunette.com

Hello friends, I have news for you... me and my bf have moved in together. Yep big things going on in my life because apparently I can't escape adulating lol. Anyways one thing that really surprised me about going to law school is how many people are wifed up. I was expecting law school to be just like 17th grade but surprisingly a lot of law students are in their late 20's/early 30's and I swear everyone you meet is either married (some even with kids!), engaged, or in a serious relationship. So I'm guessing at least one of you out there will be in this situation soon so I figured I might as well blog about my whole 3 weeks of experience.

What to expect

First off, let me prepare you for how this will go living with your POSSLQ (lil family law reference for y'all). The first day or two is like a "honeymoon phase" where you're both just so excited to get to see each other so much and you're ordering pizza to have with your LaMarca so you can have a cute photo session of yay we're living together because when else can you be this cutesy cheesy? 

But then comes an adjustment period. This is where you have little fights over things that are inevitable because you just couldn't have prepared for it— like you both shower at the same time of the day but there's not enough hot water or time for you two to keep up this routine so someone will have to change their daily schedule, or one of you prefers to empty out a clean dishwasher and slowly reload it with dirty dishes while the other prefers to keep an empty dishwasher and load dirty dishes as you go. In my case, he moved in with me so this also included him getting used to where I keep things so I'm not getting calls in the middle of the day because for the love of God he can't find where I store the salt and pepper. 

But then you get used to living together and things are great. It's nice to have someone help me zip up my dresses before work or help me cook dinner after studying. Here's another bonus— one day last week I just didn't sleep well but I still had to rally for work and then stick it out through class/reading and after my workout I just fell to the floor and cried from feeling exhausted and overwhelmed but luckily I had someone who could rub my back and remind me that I'm a badass. 10/10 would recommend having someone on standby to comfort you through a mental breakdown.

What you'll need

Alexa + smart switchOkay I already shared my echo dot as one of my Spring Semester Favorites, but I felt the need to include it again in this list too. In less than a week we already had a situation where we both ended up in bed but lights were still on in the living room. Back in the 20th Century, this would've meant that someone one would have to get out of the nice warm bed and go turn everything off. Cue argument over who was the last person in that room and should be the one sacrificed to the Cold Air Gods. But I had him install a smart switch so now all we have to do is just say Alexa turn off the lamp and problem solved. We plan to get another one for the TV and honestly probably some for bedroom lamps because once you get used to this you can't go back to being a peasant who actually has to touch a lamp switch haha (kidding but not).

Amazon FireTV Stick - Part of the adjustment period is learning to live your life but with someone else there. There's times when his show is on but I need to study or when my show is on at the exact time that that one of his shows are on. So getting something like the fire stick solves a little bit of this because if one of us can't watch our show then we can just go in later and catch up. We ended up having one for the bedroom TV and one for the living room TV so if all else fails we can always just go to the other room to watch something.

Bar - I don't have room in my little apartment for a bar cart, so I make do with this bar shelf. This is turned out to be super handy so far because we love to invite friends over to drink and play poker or cards against humanity. Pro tip- when you first move in together, host a "stock the bar" party and invite literally everyone. What will happen is that your friends will all bring over some liquor, wine, or beer and then boom you're stocked up on free alcohol all at the expense of some mixers, ice, and cups. 

Go ahead and get this bar set. The ice bucket is a little small but other than that it's perfect. Oh and you'll want this electric wine opener (I love it) and these wine caps (traditional wine stoppers usually make bottles too tall for fridge shelves). When we were out shopping for what we'd need when we moved in together, he picked up a set of small wine glasses for us to get and I said If I'm going to live with you, I'm going to need the BIG glasses and this lady that was right beside us overheard me and started dying laughing and told him that I was right. I'm assuming she has experience of living with an S.O. so if she's right then we'll be going through a lot of wine.

Dishwasher magnet - Remember how you'll have little fights over things you didn't anticipate? Prevent at least one of these with a dishwasher magnet that tells you if the dishes are dirty or clean. Because nothing is worse than grabbing a bowl out of the dishwasher because you think they're all clean but you don't realize that the dishwasher is actually full of dirty dishes.

Extra basics - Just trust me that you will need at least double bath towels, dishes, and silverware than what you expect. When I lived with roommates in undergrad we all brought our own things. But here you're playing house (or actually living it) with a shared bathroom and being real adults who are past using paper plates and plastic forks. So get extra of what you think you'll need or else you'll be running the dishwasher or washing machine every other day just so you can have something to eat with or dry off with.

Grocery rebate apps - If you think that having your S.O. move in will equal your grocery bill going down since he can help you pay, you are mistaken. Having a guy around means that you'll go through food faster and there will also be the added expense of having to buy his snacks that you don't like so you never paid for before. And especially now that we are trying new recipes (more on that later), it feels like we're always at the grocery store. 

So we both use Ibotta all the time! I made him download it too because you get an extra $10 free when you sign up (yay free money) and have him use it after every trip he takes... but heads up you can't trick it into you both using the receipt at the same time so only one person use one at a time. But you can also use another very similar app called Checkout 51 that gives you $5 free when you sign up (yay free money x2). So while you both can't use the same receipt for Ibotta, you can use the same receipt for Checkout 51 since they have different promotions. This works out great because sometimes one app has a special that the other doesn't so I definitely recommend using both to get the most $$ back (I'm up to over $40 this summer from both combined!!)

Headphones - Idk what it is but guys love their video games so expect one to be the plus one with your guy. I actually picked out this gaming headset for him after his last one died and he loves it. He can chat with his friends during their raids and I don't have to hear all of them shouting out directions through my TV. On the flipside of this, I have realized that studying is a little bit more tricky with a roommate (I lived alone for 1L and 2L year). While my basic noise-canceling headphones worked just fine to block out my neighbor's noises, I had to step up and get some serious noise-canceling headphones. Right now these are super helpful while I take online classes so I can hear to my lecture videos and he doesn't have to tip-toe around.

Mouthwash - Add this to your nightly routine and it'll really help cut down on morning breath! It's a small little thing but it really does help so you can lay in bed in the morning and cuddle and chat without being self-conscious about your breath being like that one episode from SpongeBob.

Phone chargers - I'm hereby coining Nikki's Law, defined as "for every roommate you have, you will lose a phone charger cord and/or cube." But for real though, go ahead and order an extra phone cord (double points if it's extra long) and at least one extra cube. I promise you they're going to "borrow" it and never return it. So right now we have two phone cords/cubes in the bedroom, another set in the living room, another set in the kitchen, and another in each car. It's worth the investment to have a way to charge your phone at every place you normally need it and then no one is stealing anyone else's any losing carrying it around the house. 

Poo pouri - I got this as a gag gift at Christmas but jokes on them it's actually very useful. Long story short, keep this somewhere where you can't miss it (like right by the toilet paper or toilet handle) and have both of you get in the habit of spraying this on the water before you go to the bathroom. Then this saves you from the very awkward Hey don't go in there for a few minutes conversation.

Recipe book - We came up with this idea and it's too cute for me to not share with anyone who will listen. Get a blank recipe book. Pick a night of the week that is "experiment night." Take turns finding recipes through Pinterest or the Food Network App or wherever and then y'all try cooking a new recipe together. Whoever finds the recipe writes it down in the book if it turns out to be a win. In the end you have a recipe book that's full of only dishes that you know you both like (so later you can just blindly open to a page and cook that) but it also doubles as a cute memento of all of the meals you've shared together.

Shopping list pad - Another one of my Spring Favorites. In undergrad I didn't care when my roommates ate or what they ate because we all just kinda had our own meal schedule. With your SO it's a little different and you end up planning meals and shopping together. This pad helps keep track of all of the things you need for that. It's also a good way to avoid those moments when you get home from the grocery store and he goes oh yeah I forgot to tell you that I used up all of the milk this morning. Again, just trying to prevent those unnecessary little fights. Another thing very similar to this that I got is this "honey do" list and it's actually great. I'm still pleasantly surprised every time I write hang pictures above nightstand and then I come home and they're actually hung!

Sleep set - In an ideal world, you both would go to bed and get up at the same time together. But unfortunately in the real world, and especially during that first week of adjusting, that's not always the case. A good sleep mask with ear plugs is a good thing to have on hand so that both of y'all can go to sleep when you want to and stay asleep for as long as you want to. It's also nice just to have for those terrible days when you come home from class and just need to nap away your problems.

Trashcan with a lid - Another just trust me thing. Even if he's grown up with sisters, you're still going to have to hear an Ew gross! once a month if your bathroom trashcan doesn't have a lid. I swear guys never get used to this.

Wreath - Technically you could use this even if you live alone because they're just so gosh darn cute, but once you start having a home together you should make it look official. Get you a little door wreath and you'll be amazed at how homey your place will instantly feel and you'll feel so grown up when everyone sees it when they come over.

What I've learned

Because I'm a law student, the number one thing that I had to do before we even unpacked the first box was explain what I needed out of him so I could study. In the least bitchy way I could, I had to explain that his job now included quizzing me on my outline before finals and making himself seen and not heard when I had to read and especially the day before finals. I also had to explain to him that in general, but especially around finals, I am a little ball of stress, so if I get bitchy or I spontaneously start crying he needs to know that it's just because of the stress and not necessarily because I hate him. Obviously just because I'm a law student doesn't mean that I can be a complete pain, but sorry kid law students are just a little harder to live with than regular people. Another must that I had to point out: even if the Facebook video of the puppy saving the kitten is adorable and I'd love it, please just save it until a study break and don't interrupt me "real quick" because then I'll get out of my groove. 

And since we both have pretty full schedules, weekends are the best. We got this picnic basket and every weekend we'll pack it with either lunch (club sandwiches are our fave so far) or brunch (fruit and croissants for the win) and go exploring and find a new park. Getting outside and just spending time chatting or playing cards or something is a great way to keep from becoming super boring. We like picnics because they're free but if all else just plan on getting out of the house and spending time together while you can.


July 14, 2017

5 Tips for a Study Space Redo

5 tips for a study space redo: pick a color scheme, add storage and organization, fill it with supplies, give yourself some motivation and inspiration, and slowly work on it | brazenandbrunette.com

Ok guys, it has been a year since I've moved and I'm embarrassed to say that I still don't have my desk set up yet. This is really bad considering that my apartment has a little built-in study nook that has a little desk with shelves and everything. But I also have another desk at the library. At my school we each get a study carrel which is just a little room that has two big desks and four cabinets, so you share a desk with your carrel mate if all four of you are in there at once (that hasn't happened so far). 

At first I was a little intimidated to decorate my carrel because I share it with a girl and two guys and I didn't want to seem like I was taking over the whole space, but now that I know them better I feel more comfortable making my cabinet my own. So my goal for the next month before school starts is to slowly decorate both desks so I can enjoy my study space. Here's how I'm doing that.

Step 1: pick a color scheme

I think this is the most logical step one because before you even start buying stuff you need to have a plan of what you want to buy so you don't end up with a mis-matched desk. I love the current white and rose gold look so that's what I'm planning on doing for my home desk. 

The first thing I found was this rose gold date cubes. I love it because it matches my color scheme and actually serves a function. Plus it's fun to get to change the date every time I sit down (and is a good way for me to keep track of how long it's been since I studied). Another great thing I've found is this rose gold desk set so I can have my stapler, tape dispenser, and pen holder all perfectly match. 

For my carrel, I'm thinking a more classic white, blush, and gold.  (it's my tribute to Elle Woods but not over-the-top, in-your-face pink). I found this tassel garland that I think would be perfect for the inside of my cabinet door of my carrel so I get a little surprise every time I open the door.

Step 2: add storage and organization

This is super important, obviously. I found this rose gold desk filing system that perfectly matches my stapler and stuff. I keep loan information in one, tax papers in another, and my apartment lease and utilities information in another. I also found this desk organizer that is a perfect catchall for everything else that I don't already have a place for. The worst thing is trying to study and you have little odds and ends that you have to shove to the side so you can have room.

I already had this acrylic filing system and these cute gold file folders that I'm moving to my carrel so I can have a place to keep up with a copy of my syllabi in one file, handouts that I get from class in another file, and other paperwork that I come across in a third miscellaneous file (so like applications to programs and pro bono timesheets can go here).

Step 3: fill it with supplies

I found this cute trinket dish that's actually made for rings or keys but I figured that it's the perfect place to keep paperclips, binder clips, and push pins in! Another thing that I really needed was these acrylic cups. I got one for all of my colored pens and another one for all of my liquid highlighters, and I'll keep my miscellaneous pens/highlighters/pencils in the rose gold cup. This post-it holder matches these cups and is great because I use post-its soo much so I can add little notes to myself in my books like definitions of words or major things I need to remember. I found this amazing rose gold lamp that I bought for when it's late and I need extra lighting at my desk, but I already feel like I'll be using it for more than just my desk because it's so versatile. My final desk must-have is a book stand. It's amazing how much it helps your neck since you're not hunched over a book anymore reading for several hours.

For my carrel I first got this adorable gold and marble paperclip holder. I love it so much because I feel like I can take it with me to my desk job next year too and get lots of use out of it. My desk only came with this God-awful florescent light that I just can't stand to study under. So I did some looking and settled on this desk lamp because it can change between warm or soft lighting and comes with a USB port. I plan on leaving it out since it doesn't take up much space and I trust my carrel mates so I'm fine with them using it too. I also got another book stand for this desk too since the main thing I'll be doing at my desk is reading.

Step 4: give yourself some motivation and inspiration 

I got this six pack of clipboards and hung them on my wall under the lowest shelf and now I have a wall decoration that's interchangeable and I can keep this calendar, my syllabi, and motivational quotes on them. I also ordered this gallery wall print set so that I can change out my decoration prints and they'll always match.

On the side of my wall, I have this small cork board that I'm adding pictures of me from traveling, pretty pictures, and cute little things that I find to make an inspiration board. Sometimes reading is really boring and it's so tempting to quit so I wanted to make something that will remind me of the life that I'm working for.

Step 5: slowly work on it

This might not sound like a lot, but completely redoing even a small space in your apartment like a desk can add up to a couple of hundred dollars quickly. If you don't have a job right now, that might be a little much to throw down all at once. So you can just start with the basics and slowly buy stuff here and there to decorate it. 

But also even if you can go ahead and buy it all now, don't just stop. The best decorated areas are ones where you've slowly added the perfect items as you find them overtime. Remember that if you find the right stuff, it can be reused in a couple of years either in your work office or another home office.

I'm still working on finishing my desks, but I'll post the pictures once I finish getting everything organized and am happy with where I'm at :)