Well, well, well, if it isn’t me being inconsistent on my blog again. I know I’ve been interrupting a lot of lives here, leaving my vast audience waiting with bated breath for The Official 2020 Room Tour TM. At last, we have reached the fourth and final semester living in the sorority house! (We, of course, being me, my parents and sister, my therapist, and the lovely CVS pharmacists I visit damn near every day). I was nervous out of my mind to move into my sorority’s chapter house almost two years ago.
I define my personality type as an introverted social butterfly, so living with 100 other gals was equally exciting and anxiety inducing. It has turned out to be a lovely and character-building experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. My room has been pretty consistent for the past two years but has evolved bit by bit into a space that really ~feels like me~. So, without further ado, here is a look inside my own personal hideaway from society.
Is this an episode of House Flippers?
If this process taught me anything, it’s that I have SO. MUCH. STUFF. I would say that I’m going to go full Mari Kondo in 2020, but that resolution wouldn’t even last a day and I’m not here to lie to you. Moving into the room was a true journey. For the most part, I did the heavy lifting (literally) on my own. Shout-out to all the friends that tried to save me from my stubborn self and offered to help with tall person tasks, etc. No shout-out to Jolie for the following conversation:
*Looking at my stuffed closet with all the consolidated stuff* Me: Aren’t you proud of me? Jolie: This looks like an episode of hoarders.
Whilst I was schlepping everything to my new room, Linus, my beloved monstera plant (pics to come), was j chillin’, appreciating the southern sun exposure in the front seat of the car.
Around town, I’m known for: having plant babies, wearing flare pants, and solving all my problems with essential oils. If I were born in another time, there’s no question it would be the 70s. I swear I was into Polaroids and listened to Stevie Nicks before it became the basic betch aesthetic, but I’ve got to admit, it makes shopping for room decor much easier now that it’s ~trendy~.
I love just about every genre of music aside from EDM and screamo, so it’s only natural my room is covered in records. If you walked into my room and didn’t already know that I like music, don’t worry—it’ll hit you in the face immediately and repeatedly. Honestly, my rationale for picking the album covers to put up was primarily color-driven, but it turned out to capture a little taster platter of my music preferences. Blessed be! I took out the actual records and liner notes so that the covers would be light enough to be held up with painter’s tape. All the records are safely in their inner sleeves in a cloth bag on my record holder, except for Golden Hour, which is in its rightful place on the turntable at the moment.
Along with many of her records, my mom gifted me her Peaches Records and Tapes crate that I use as a little bookshelf and storage unit. I am trying to take my annual vow to read more books seriously this year. I restrained myself and only brought eight books for reading purposes and eleven for browsing. Do I have a problem? Perhaps. But, the more books, the better for hiding my niche sinus-care contraptions from the untrained eye.
Vinyl Record Rack
When the square footage of your room is in short supply, vertical storage is a saving grace, whether that be in the form of floating shelves or a slender vinyl record holder. Since so many of the album jackets are covering the walls, the bottom slot is free for my annexed sheet music library, which of course is housed in two 3 inch binders alphabetized by song title. And yes, there is a color-coded Excel doc for keeping track of what music is where.
If I didn’t have something to play them on, my stacks of records would just be a fancy dust-collector (which just wouldn’t be super awesome for my severe dust allergy. Not that anything really is). Enter the Crosley Canvas Bluetooth Record Player. There are many a reason I love having a turntable: I’m a big advocate for listening to entire albums in order, as the artist intended it. More practically, listening to records allows me to avoid silence at all costs without falling into a rabbit hole of notifications every time I change the track on Spotify. Most importantly, I love a good dance party, which at home is a regular activity among my friends. (Insider tip: Dancing For Mental Health by Will Powers was the most ridiculous thing ever to grace our ears and an excellent dance-party-inducer. I’m sure a *substance* would elevate the experience if you so choose. Please DM me your review of the experience, or better yet, invite me to the dance party.)
Each time a friend of mine would poke their head in for the first time, I was met with the same reaction: “Woah. This room is just so you!”
I did not consciously register how much I love magenta until I looked through all the cursive quotes I had painted over the course of many moons. All I want in a living space is for it to make me calm and happy. Having the walls covered with some of my favorite musical artists, the people I love most, positive mantras or affirmations, and, apparently, magenta, does the trick.
My gallery wall is more of a therapy wall what with all the positive sayings that cover it. It’s the first thing I see in the morning when I sit up in bed and the last thing before I take off my glasses and everything goes fuzzy for the night. The most prominent painting reads “Choose Joy,” a mantra I’ve been trying to live by since attending a summer theatre program in high school. Brene Brown is one of my role models and her acronym “BRAVING” has, not to be dramatic, changed my life. I will not do justice to its meaning, but it is from Braving The Wilderness and it is a guide to healthy relationships starting from a healthy relationship with yourself. It makes all the sense in the world, and is one of the hardest practices to stick to. Other pieces on the wall include mini vintage Hollywood musical posters, the ABBA album that contains my anthem, Hey Hey Helen, and other necessary daily reminders.
In full wannabe-70’s-kid-mode, I love me some roids. Polaroids, of course. I think Polaroids force you to be a little less vain when capturing memories. If I’m gonna pay up to $2 per itty bitty picture, I’m just going to have to get used to an extra chin or funky hair in that first take. I get way too excited with the element of surprise in waiting for the picture to develop, so if nothing else, I have that to give me endorphins.
Little Helen, Little Room, Biiiig Personality
You know what they say, good things come in small packages. Just look at me; I am an excellent example that it’s a cliché for a reason! Ok maybe that’s up for debate, but my room definitely is. It may be small in square footage, but it doesn’t feel like it to me! The curtains hiding the closets even make me forget sometimes that I live in a glorified dorm. I really had no hand in planning or executing the curtains, so you’ll have to contact my mom about that one. But I’m also not giving out her contact info here, so sorry.
You don’t have to watch Chip and Joanna Gaines for more than five minutes to know that lighter colors and mirrors open a space right up and give it that post-modern-rustic-shiplap-all-American-just-hanging-with-the-kiddos-down-on-the-farm feel. And who doesn’t want that? I got lucky and not one, but two people left behind their full-length mirrors, allowing me to use one for general outfit checking purposes, and one to reflect light coming in from the window. The mirror above my desk is simply too high up for me to see myself from any helpful distance, so its main purpose is making the room feel bigger. I figured, hole-in-the-wall restaurants use mirror walls to give the illusion that the room is bigger, why not try it in a bedroom.
I watched a YouTuber the summer before my freshman year who put marble contact paper on her desk, and I’ve been doing the same every semester since. One, because I’m bougie, two, because I spill a lot and am not in the mood to be fined for room damages any time soon.
If I had it my way, and money and climate were no object, I’d have enough plants to give the Chicago Botanic Garden a run for their money. (CBG, if you’re reading this, sponsor me). I mostly stick to succulents, but I’m branching out into the world of plants that are easier to kill. My statement plant, if you will, is a monstera I’ve named Linus. I got Linus at a local shop in Bloomington this summer when I was lonely. We’re buds now.
Cacti: A Cautionary Tale
Beware of where you set your plant babies or you may end up with a flying cactus like me. One late night of climbing on my desk to hang things from the molding. I was zhooshing my hanging shelves and knocked down the cactus in its pot causing me to shriek unnecessarily loudly. Good news was: I have great reflexes and caught it before it hit the ground scattering dirt everywhere. Bad news: my hands looked like a porcupine’s back with all the prickers that came off on my palms. I called my mom in absolute panic mode
Too Long, Didn’t Read
For the TLDR version, please enjoy this video chronicling the process. It is imperative you note my signature Beached Seal Strategy of putting on sheets, patent pending, at 0:38.