high five for friday

1. it was so fun to watch my sister doin' her thang at the becoming conference last weekend. 
2. this candle is my new favorite. it smells like fall in my apartment whenever it's burning.
3. i still laugh every time i look at this picture that my sister made for me (she used "cat effects" app, which i obviously downloaded immediately and LOVE)
4. i feel like it's kind of a requirement to have a picture of the boys in here. this is just a common occurrence in my apartment now. 
5. grey, grey, grey. everywhere i look.

how was your week? link up below and tell me about it!

jewels + a giveaway!

as part of my closet re-do, i reorganized my jewels. it was necessary. and now it looks pretty. (make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!)


earlier this week i shared 5 tips for making the most of a small space with you guys. (you can read the post here if you missed it.) as part of my partnership with Apartment Guide, they're offering one lucky FMGD reader a $50 American Express gift card. yep, you read that right...$50! that can buy you more than 10 white chocolate mocha's at starbucks (my favorite) or a lot of other things. i would probably go to starbucks and go immediately to target...and spend that gift card in under 7 minutes. but, that's just me.

use the giveaway tool below to enter to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

closet makeover

there's something about fall weather that makes me want to clean. i mean, seriously. i had a random impulse sunday evening to empty out my closet and re-organize. well, that, and i had to make room for fall clothes. because, let's be honest, who doesn't love to shop for fall clothes? 

anyway, my closet was in pretty rough shape. not the worst, but it definitely needed some work. so, hanger by hanger, i emptied my clothes and picked through what i no longer wear (which is actually going to be on "sale" on the blog here in a couple days!). once my room looked like an absolute disaster, i figured it was time to fill my closet once again. i even put my tops in color order...which probably won't last very long.

the great new is that it still looks pretty good after just 3 days. i can't promise how it will look after 3 weeks, though.

what i learned from cleaning out my closet

people of the internet, i have a problem. if you follow me on instagram, you know that i cleaned out and re-organized my closet earlier this week. it was kind of long over-due, so it's a good thing i finally got around to doing it. 

anyways, i discovered that 90% of my tees are multiples. i knew i liked multiples, but not like this. below you will see seven different piles of tees. each pile is the same style, in different colors. and the number is how many of each of them i have. OH MY GOSH. 

it's madness, i tell you. madness. once i discovered this, i gave myself a little pep talk about learning to enjoy variety and buying just ONE color of a certain tee. we'll see how long that lasts.

royal daughter designs giveaway

i'm really excited about today's giveaway for you guys! Amanda, of Royal Daughter Designs, is one of my lovely sponsors and a very talented graphic artist. and guess what? she's giving away a blog design to one lucky winner!

below are the four options that the winner will get to choose from for a beautiful new blog:

use the giveaway tool below to enter for your chance to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

how to make the most of your small space

i'm excited to tell you guys about a partnership that i'm doing with Apartment Guide. whether you're living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers tips on how to decorate your apartment and make the most of your space on the Apartment Guide blog. they contacted me and asked if i'd be willing to share some tips about apartment living and making the most of a small space. below are 5 tips to help you use the space that you have, no matter the size.

1. use furniture with compartments
i'm a huge sucker for compartmentalized furniture. in fact, i have 4 different pieces with compartments in my apartment at this moment. what i love about them is that they serve their purpose (for me, a desk, bedside table, and dining room storage), but also can be decorative. functional and pretty? yes, please.
Ikea Expedit Desk, Ikea Expedit Bedside Table, Target Organizers 1 and 2 

[for more information on this topic, read this article]
2. repurpose
i'm a firm believer that furniture doesn't need to only be used for the purpose it was designed for. in fact, i think that people should intentionally try to use furniture for different purposes. for example, a bookshelf doesn't have to just hold books:
Ikea Laiva Bookshelf
[for more information on this topic, read this article]
3. use decorative storage 
i love baskets. there, i said it. i use storage baskets in just about every room in my apartment, which you can see in the photos above. if you're lacking in closets and closed-off storage space, go out and buy some wooden or metal baskets to put your things in. they're prettier than having a stack of random knick-knacks somewhere and they're super functional.

4. get creative with your closet
for me, small closet spaces are the hardest to work with. i only have a small dresser from Ikea for my clothes, so space to hang and stack my clothes in my closet is key. hanging organizers, like this, are a great way to make the most out of a small closet. also, storage boxes or shoe boxes can be handy for holding socks, tights, or other small things in your closet
[for more information on this topic, read this article]

5. think outside the box for kitchen storage
i don't know about you, but no matter how big my kitchen is, there's never enough storage. when i first moved into the apartment i'm living in now, i was so excited about the kitchen because it was about double the size of my last one. but, once i started unpacking all of my dishes and other kitchen utensils, i quickly realized that i was going to have to get creative if i wanted to fit everything in. things like a hanging mug organizer can free-up cabinet space for other things that you don't want seen:
this mug organizer is great because it's both decorative and functional, and was the perfect "filler" for an otherwise empty wall in my kitchen.

so, there you have it. my 5 tips to making the most out of your small space! If you’re ready for a whole new space or looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you settle into your new place. “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook, tweet at  them @AptGuide on Twitter, “circle” them on Google+ and follow them on Pinterest for real-time tips and updates on how to make the most of your small space.

Disclosure Statement:

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partner with bloggers such as me to participate in blogger programs.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any products and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

high five for friday

1. i'm so excited to hear my sister speak at the Becoming Conference tomorrow!
2. it's officially time for fall nail colors...and that makes me really happy.
3. this ridiculousness. i don't know why he insists on looking miserable in pictures. i promise, he loves me.
4. more ridiculousness. sometimes i just walk into a room and can't resist taking a picture. (you'd probably be a little concerned to know just how many photos on my phone are of my cats...)
5. FALL WEATHER. it arrived. (and then left for a few days but should be coming back soon.) 

how was your week? link-up below with your H54F post and tell me about it!

weekend plans

tomorrow morning, i'll be on my way to asheville, NC with these two gems:

my sister is speaking at the Becoming Conference this weekend and carrie and i are along for the ride...er, going to be supportive. i'm looking forward to seeing asheville for the first time and to listen to my sista give her presentation that she's been working tirelessly on.

if you're going to the conference, be sure to say "hi" if you see me! and, as always, follow along on instagram (@lauren_fmgd) for probably a ridiculous amount of photos from the trip.

on being vulnerable

it's pretty safe to say that i don't get too personal on this here blog. part of that is intentional, as i want to maintain a "real" life and reality outside of the blogging world. that's not to say that sharing personal things on a blog is wrong, by any means. i've just been very careful to keep the two separate, because that's important to me. what's funny is that i've actually surpassed the point of thinking "it would be really weird to just stop blogging one day". it's such a part of my daily life, thanks to social media, that i wouldn't even know what to do with myself if i just woke up one day and couldn't write anymore. all that to say, i'm hoping to get a little more personal with you guys. to share what's on my mind and things that make me a real person with a beating heart. because, at the end of the day, that's what i am.

so, i'm going to share something with you that i don't tend to share with many people. mostly because it's not something that comes up in normal conversation, and partly because i don't really like it. i'm afraid to trust people (she whispered). i have a very small group of people that i trust implicitly. and i'm so grateful for those people. but i wish i was more trusting in people, in general. i tend to distrust first and trust later, after someone has "proved" to be trustworthy. and i don't think that's the way it should be. i've had relationships (both friendships and dating relationships) that have led me to be that kind of person. side note: let me just take a second to say that i don't blame those people for anything. i believe wholeheartedly that everything happens for a reason. my experiences and my relationships have made me the person that i am today, and i'm grateful for that. i think they've taught me a lot about what kind of relationships i want and need, which is good. but, let's be honest, it doesn't erase the things that i've experienced and learned (no matter how difficult). sometimes i just wish i could fast forward and finally understand all the reasons behind everything that's happened, ya know? until then, well, i don't know...

here's to overcoming fears and being grateful for what you have. and to baring a little part of my soul to a bunch of people i'll probably never meet...it's surprisingly therapeutic. 

also: i just want to give a little shout-out to my girl Lindsay at Trial By Sapphire for inspiring me to be vulnerable with you guys. you're the cat's pajamas, girl.

caroline g. giveaway

today's giveaway comes from my good friend carrie of caroline g. she also blogs at chasing big dreams. she's giving away the infamous bubble necklace to one lucky winner! 

enter the giveaway using the tool below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

can't wait to find out if you won? use coupon code greydesk50 for 50% off!

mental health day

i'm taking the day off today. for one, i was hoping to share my make-up tutorial with you guys but i'm having some technical difficulties with my video (the best) so i couldn't share it with you today.

for another, i was traumatized last night. see below.
i'm telling you, this thing was massive. so absolutely gross. and i had a totally irrational reaction to it, which you can watch/listen to below.

i really had no idea that i was capable of being so dramatic. lucky for me, my roommate was home to search for it after it ran into the closet and eventually kill it. which is funny because she's 100% terrified of spiders and refuses to kill even the tiniest one, but she's fine with cockroaches. i guess that makes us a good team.

needless to say, i'll be spending my day recovering and probably imagining that there are more cockroaches in my apartment coming back for revenge.

high five for friday

1. making apple crisp with some fresh-picked apples. fall has officially invaded my kitchen. 
2. we had a fall-like day this week that allowed for me to wear my favorite madewell baseball tee.
3. a picnic lunch at a park with my roommate and the little munchkin she nannies for.
4. some planning for a November trip to DC with my sister. (p.s. thanks to everyone who's offered suggestions/advice - we SO appreciate it!)
5. my new kate spade goods that i got at the outlet store last weekend. i have a problem.

how was your week? link up below and tell me about it!

apple fritters

my sister came over last night and, as usual, we decided it was kind of necessary to make and eat something sweet. since i had almost an entire bag of freshly picked apples, we settled on apple fritters. and, my lord, those things are goooooood.

here's the recipe:

1 beaten egg
1 cup milk 
1 cup finely chipped or grated apple (we used a cortland)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
vegetable oil (for frying)

1. heat your oil to approximately 350 degrees on the stovetop
2. in a bowl combine beaten egg, milk, chopped/grated apple, sugar, salt, cinnamon,   
     OJ, and vanilla
3. stir together flour and baking powder
4. fold dry mixture into wet mixture. do not over-mix, just until combined.
5. drop batter by rounded teaspoons into hot oil. fry until deep golden brown, about 
     3-4 minutes turning once (usually, they turn themselves)
6. once cooled a bit, roll in cinnamon & sugar and place on a plate
7. then watch as they disappear because they will be eaten immediately

you're welcome, in advance, for this gem of a recipe.

does this count?

sometimes i stare at my computer, with an empty post page open before me and have absolutely no idea what to write about. sometimes is right now. i'm temporarily uninspired, which is generally not a state that i like to be in. not just because it messes with my blog flow, but because i feel like i get restless. i start wanting to re-arrange my apartment or clean out my refrigerator (which i should probably still do). although, i guess it's a necessary evil in life. because, when i least expect it, inspiration strikes and i can't stop it.here's to hoping i'm feeling a little more inspired tomorrow. oh, and to apple crisp. because that stuff is the bomb.  

apple picking

while home this past weekend, i wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go apple picking. my mom and i drove north about an hour to a quaint little apple orchard in cherry valley (side note: who wouldn't want to live in a town called cherry valley?). we grabbed a wagon and ventured out into the rows of apple trees to do our picking. we ended up with four bags of cortland's, which are a family favorite. 

apparently, my mom is kind of an expert at this. she knew exactly where to go on the trees to find the best apples. i decided to demote myself to "bag holder" while she worked hard on filling them. we also left with cinnamon sugar apple cider donuts. umm...yes. 

fall, please make your way over to north carolina in a timely manner. i'm ready for you!

the most adventurous road trip ever taken

guys, i experienced the most ridiculous 15 hours of my life on thursday/friday. my roommate and i joked that we should make a movie out of it. here's what happened: my roommate had to be home for the weekend so i decided to make the drive with her (partially so that she didn't do it alone but mostly to surprise my parents). we decided to leave raleigh at about 4pm on thursday, which should have gotten us to chicago at about 5am. umm...think again. below is a list of all the things we encountered:

- an absolute downpour as soon (and i mean as soon) as we pull out from our apartment complex to start the journey
- stopped traffic on the interstate...for absolutely no reason. we sat there at 0 mph for about 35 minutes
- stopped traffic again on the turnpike in virginia...in the mountains...with no escape. turns out, a dump truck carrying bricks went off on the shoulder (no one was hurt) and spilled bricks everywhere. after about 20 minutes of being stopped, we parked, turned the car off, rolled the windows down, and reclined our seats to look at the stars. 30 minutes later, we were back in business and moving...slowly
- almost running over a skunk that decided to cross the highway
- endless detours and construction
- stopped traffic again on some country road in west virginia, which included being reamed by a cop (which included us being threatened that we could "be killed if a dump truck came barreling down the road"...on which she was standing. umm?)
- more detours through country towns that include almost exclusively 30 mph speed limits
- a gas station deciding to close for the night WHILE WE WERE PUMPING GAS (side note: what?!)
- i only slept for about an hour the entire ride. which is strange because i'm usually narcoleptic when it comes to being in cars. 

are you convinced that it was the most ridiculous trip ever? 

what's really crazy is that we arrived only about an hour later than we should have. i walked in the door, hugged my parents, and promptly got into bed to sleep the morning away. 

high five for friday

1. i love my new hot pink wrap bracelet. the studs make it edgy but the pink makes it feminine. 
2. movies are infinitely more interesting with white wine and edamame. or is that just me?
3. my mom sent me an e-mail the other day with airline confirmation for our family ski trip this Christmas! i'm so excited to head out to colorado and hit the slopes!
4. one of my favorite summer drinks - passion tea lemonade - on a hot afternoon. is it ever going to be fall here?
5. this guy forbid me from opening my computer the other night. as soon as i set it down, he immediately went over and sprawled on it. he made his point.

how was your week? link up below and let me know! 

a few of my favorite things

- a striped skirt
- late-night body slams on my head from Otis
- a hot pink bag
- warm weather
- last minute road trips home (which is happening today!)
- training for a 5k (trust me, i never thought i'd see the day either)
- cold medicine, for allowing me to actually get some sleep last night

skirt: madewell / top: similar / bag: kate spade (in black) / wedges: adrienne vittadini / necklace: similar or similar / bracelet: similar

tutorial: how i style my hair

i've had a few people ask me how i've been styling my hair lately so i decided to follow in the footsteps of my lovely sister and create a quick video tutorial to show you my process. the first video will walk you through the curling steps and the second video shows how i finish my style. 

also, prepare to probably feel a little awkward while watching this. if you've never created a video like this, you should. mostly because it will make you appreciate all those bloggers out there that make them on a regular basis and are actually good at it.

Hair Curling Tutorial from Lauren on Vimeo.

Finishing my style from Lauren on Vimeo.

time capsule

i came across a bunch of old photos this weekend that i have saved on my computer. it's funny to think that we all used to be tiny people and now we're grown up and have had so many life experiences. 

also, if given the opportunity to re-live my childhood, i would definitely appreciate nap time much more than i actually did. i don't know what i thought i would be missing out on.

left: obviously thrilled.
right: fashionistas since the start. 
this photo is moderately horrifying. i just feel like we look really scary. also, this was probably the last time my hair was long, before now.  
and you wonder why we're so pale these days... 
family trip in Hawaii in 1999 (how was this over 13 years ago?)
this photo just makes me laugh, mostly because of my brother's ridiculous face
family trip to Europe, photo taken in BesalĂș, Spain
celebrating a birthday with my mom's parents.
note: please notice kate's over-sized glasses. hot.
left: family cruise to Bahamas - getting the most painful braids put in my hair. i'm pretty sure i cried the entire time it was happening. then again, i cried a lot as a child.
right: we were serious tomboy's

one skirt, two ways


day (top to bottom): necklace, bracelet, bag, shoes
night (top to bottom): necklace, watch, clutch, shoes
middle: top, skirt

i'm a huge advocate of the maxi skirt. they're comfortable, stylish, and versatile.  and i like them even better when they're striped. because, well, i kinda have a thing for stripes. just changing the accessories you use can easily transition a maxi skirt from day to night. and that is why i love them.

september sponsors

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Amanda from Royal Daughter Designs
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