Home Decor on a Budget

Posted in Decor by
budget home decor

So earlier this week on Instagram I posted the following photo and shared that I would be revealing my top tips for budget home decor and decorating your space without breaking the bank.

budget home decor

 

It was a sneak peak of a corner of my living room and it featured my newest decor items: My bowl accent chair and coordinating accent pillow (both from target)! Since moving to my studio, it was important for me to make my first solo apartment my own. Some of my friends and classmates are comfortable with a bare bones apartment, but since home is so far away (~3000 miles to be exact) it’s important that I create a home away from home out here in LA. Okay so on to the money saving tips… Here’s what I do to save money when decorating:

 

#1: CHECK OUT THE BACK TO SCHOOL/ DORM ESSENTIALS AISLES!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Target and if you’re like me you can find yourself roaming the aisles with a cart filled with more than what you needed. When I go to Target, I try my absolute hardest to not buy things I don’t need. But even though I’m not spending I ALWAYS browse the home aisles. Since back to school started my local target started stocking a bunch of dorm decor items.

When I was applying to college all the major home stores had dorm items in the same 3 color schemes: pink/magenta, green and blue. A few weeks ago, I was browsing Target and they had much more mature color options like cream, gray, and items with gold accents… aka my color scheme! But the key was I didn’t buy stuff right away. As back to school season is slowly ending and stores are ready to start putting out their fall/ halloween/ thanksgiving stock out, the back to school items are slowly going on sale. I was able to pick out this bowl chair and I found a cute gray decor pillow to match. And guess what?! Both were on clearance. I don’t think the pillow was part of the dorm room items but the chair definitely was.

I was hesitant at first because it reminded me of the dorm room furniture me and my friends had in college and I didn’t want my apartment to look like a dorm room suite. However, the pillow on top makes it more mature. Plus I plan on painting the legs cold to match my DIY gold & marble tables I made when I first moved in.

The dorm section also has more affordable options for things like storage bins, ottomans, lamps, desk accessories, shelving, and items to hang on the wall. Definitely check out the dorm section and also don’t forget to stop by the clearance and sale aisles as well.

 

#2: FLOWERS

Every once in a while I get a random flower delivery and it warms my soul deeply. But during the in between moments I still love having flowers on my coffee table. I know what you’re thinking… flowers are expensive, but I usually get mine from Trader Joe’s. They go for $2.99 and some of their deluxe bouquets are $3.99. My Trader Joe’s flowers always last at least one week and this one in the photo below has been going strong for even longer. $3×4 weeks is $12 a month for fresh flowers. Depending on your budget that may still be pricey so perhaps save it for when you’re entertaining or maybe just once a month. Either way, check out Trader Joe’s whenever you need a pick me up bouquet.

budget home decor

If you don’t want real flowers, you can find cheap fake flowers at stores like Michael’s (go online and make sure you screenshot the weekly coupon to use in-store), TJ Maxx, wholesale flower/ decor shops (If you’re in LA check out the flower district in DTLA), or even the dollar store. You can make a faux bouquet for about $10 or less and it never dies! Whether they’re real or fake, flowers are a perfect way to brighten up a space and just make the room feel fresh and airy.

Also a quick tip but IKEA has glass vases for literal cents. I also save vases from bouquets I receive, and I also save candle jars to repurpose them.

 

#3: DECLUTTER & CHANGE YOUR LAYOUT

I know this is not a real decor item, but you’d be surprised how much a little decluttering can help. My walk-in closet doesn’t have a door so whenever guests use the bathroom they can have a peak at my clutter and mess. I finally built up the strength to organize my closet. I got shelving for my shoes (on sale courtesy of… Target) and a sheer curtain panels for less than $5 from Big Lots to divide the space. I also got fabric cubes from Big Lots (they’re cheaper here than at Target) for my shelves to hold my extra hair products and workout clothes.

Since I’ve decluttered I feel like my closet is a new space and I don’t feel self conscious when guests see it. It was also a great way to repurpose items that may have been hiding and I found new ways to organize and store my items.

If you’re low on funds but looking to redecorate, I’d definitely start by rearranging a few things and switching up your layout and also removing the clutter. You’d be surprised by how much a good cleanup and reorganizing session can improve how you feel about your space.

 

#4: CRAIGSLIST

So many people asked me where I get my furniture and honestly Craigslist has been my best friend. I ABSOLUTELY HATE assembling furniture especially IKEA items, so before I head to IKEA, I always search Craigslist. I live in a city that has a bunch of students and young professionals so I have found great deals from students or young adults moving to start a new job or something. The best part is the furniture is cheaper than what I’d pay at IKEA and it’s pre-assembled. My car doesn’t always fit the larger items but everyone was always nice enough to remove a few screws so I can transport the item in pieces. Trust me, rescrewing a few screws is much better than dealing with the IKEA instruction manual. As always be careful with Craigslist. Always bring someone with you if you can, don’t enter anyone’s home, and ask to meet during the day in public well lit spaces. If it feels shady, trust your gut and just move on. No deals are worth your safety.

Also, I regularly check Craigslist for a few CB2 pieces I have been eyeing (there is no way I’m paying full price for those). I found a few sellers but the item was either too worn or not cheap enough for me. I told myself that the peekaboo desk is mine if I can find someone selling one for super cheap. I ALWAYS check Craigslist by searching the site for the brand and model of the items I’m looking for. That’s how I found my VITTSJO shelf and coffee table for WAY less than retail.

Craigslist is also a good idea if you love DIY. I don’t feel as bad spray painting and repurposing furniture that I bought for way less than retail value.

#5: TJ MAXX/ HOMEGOODS/ ROSS/ BIG LOTS/ MARSHALLS

I have a few of these around me in LA so whenever I’m driving if I have extra time I always stop by to look (especially when I’m in the nicer areas!). I don’t always buy when I go, but by going often to check their stock I have a good idea as to what is available at these stores so when I need something I don’t need to shop around and I already know where to go. I am also familiar with a lot of prices of items that I am eyeing so if I see it elsewhere I know whether or not I’m getting a good deal. When I lived in NY, I knew exactly when my TJ Maxx got their shipments so I could always get the good stuff. Now that I’m in LA and I have less time and money to shop, so I don’t keep track of their shipments but I still try to take a look when I’m in the neighborhood.

 

#6: SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS

Listen people return policies exist for a reason. I am the QUEEN of returning things and I am unashamed. I do not have a problem getting my money back for things that don’t work for me or my home. Keep your receipts and know store policies. Many stores will take back things that have been opened so if you tried it and used it and hated it you usually have at least 2 weeks to bring it back. Of course this doesn’t apply to everything. And if worst comes to worst you can always resell on Craigslist. If you’re a student you can post in your class Facebook group or something to sell to your classmates.

I know this is a long post but I wanted to share a few of my money saving tips. When my friends come over they always question how much I’m spending to decorate but to their surprise I get a lot of things for super cheap. A little bit of patience, creativity, and a bit of luck with finding the sales has made my studio feeling less like a box and more like a home.

Interested in seeing what else I’ve been up to in my #StudioToHome journey? Check out my other home decor posts!

DIY Gold and Marble Coffee Table

Picking a Color Scheme

Room Divider Ideas

xo,

Trisha

budget home decor

August 21, 2016
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Flashback Friday: Haiti

Posted in Life by
Haiti 3

Okay so this post was supposed to go out yesterday and be a “Throwback Thursday” but in true Trisha fashion that didn’t happen (are we surprised?) and it became a “Flashback Friday” instead. Honestly, I’m just proud I published this the same week that I planned it. Normally I’ll think about a post and I won’t get around to writing it for a while so this is a major accomplishment for me #littlevictories. Okay now that I’ve got the unnecessary explanation out the way let’s talk about something more interesting, shall we?

 
This time last year I was on my way back from one of the most rewarding trips of my life where I was in Haiti for the summer to work on a research project. It wasn’t my first time in Haiti and it definitely wasn’t my last. As a daughter of Haitian parents, it’s really important to me that I stay connected to my culture and that I give back to the country and it’s people. The other day, I was procrastinating via Youtube and I watched a video of a popular YouTuber named Judy who went to the Philippines for a missions trip. Watching her videos of her trip made me think back to all of my trips to Haiti and to other countries where I’ve done global health work. Upon doing so, I realized that this time last year I was flying back to the U.S. and readjusting to American life after spending over a month living on island time in Haiti. I’m very appreciative that I’ve had many opportunities to spend long amounts of the time in the country and soak up the music, the smell of the delicious food, the fresh fruits, the beautiful beaches, and so much more.

During my time of reflection and reminiscing about my trip I remembered one of my favorite Haitian proverbs, which says:

Piti piti zwazo fe nich (little by little, the bird makes his nest).

I loved it so much I got it printed onto a pillow while I was there. Personally, right now is a hard season… I’m in my 3rd year of medical school, I’m trying to figure out what exactly what I want to do when I finish, and so many other things. And like I shared before, it also doesn’t help that it seems like everyone else around me has life all figured out and I barely have a map.

Read: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I’m going to consciously try to remember what Haiti taught me last year and I’m going to actively try to apply it to my life this season. Piti piti, the research will get done. Piti piti, I’ll knock off the things on my to do list. Piti piti, I’ll get closer to figuring out exactly how I want to use my MD degree after I graduate. Piti piti, I’ll figure out the purpose of it all.

Avèk anpil lamou (with lots of love),

Trisha

 

Oh and of course, I wouldn’t talk about my favorite place without sharing photos. Here’s a few of my favorites from my last trip! Unfortunately there wasn’t much time/ opportunities to travel out of the capital and I spent all of last summer in Port-au-Prince. I did make friends and found opportunities to escape to the mountains for hiking trails, cooler air, and beautiful green views!

Haiti 3

This is outside of Observatoire, which is a restaurant in the mountains. You eat outside and have a beautiful view of the rest of the country below. Sadly it was overcast when I went so the view wasn’t as pretty but the food was delicious regardless!

 

Haiti 6

Some veggies, banan (plaintain), and fried meat, which I think was goat or beef. And of course pikliz (spicy pickled veggies you sprinkle on your food) in the middle!

 

Haiti 5

My mom makes the best Haitian food in the world but I never heard of these dishes until recently (she doesn’t make fried foods). I had akra (on the left), which is fried malanga (aka Taro or taro root). It is so good. On the right is kibi (kibbe? kibbeh?) which I NEVER heard of until I got to Haiti last summer. Mom if you’re reading this, why did you deprive me of such deliciousness for 24 years?! It’s also a Middle Eastern dish and on the inside there is ground meat and then its wrapped in breading and fried.

 

Haiti 7

One of the beautiful views in the mountains. I loved coming up here mostly because it was a million times cooler than being in the city lol #NaturalAirConditioning

 

Haiti 4

I made friends and they would pick me up sometimes for outings & hikes. I’m actually terrified of heights so as much as I love the mountains I was freaking out a little bit on the inside especially when we approached sharp cliffs like the one behind me.

 

Haiti 2

This is Petionville. This is actually the view from Muncheez which is the Haitian pizza place and it’s actually really good. Also do you see the Dominoes Pizza sign in the background? I was so surprised when I saw it for the first time!

 

Haiti 8

This last photo is from Yanvalou, which is a restaurant/ bar in the neighborhood of Pacot. Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t great and my pictures were blurry/ grainy. Wanna know a cool fact? This was the house my dad and his siblings grew up in. My dad was born in Liberia but he actually lived in Haiti for part of his childhood. The entire house is almost exactly the same as when they lived there, although it has been repainted and such. It’s weird because when you walk through Yanvalou you can tell you’re in a residential house. It was crazier for me though because my dad and his siblings grew up within those walls!

P.S. First off if you made it this far then YAY! If you are doing work/ know of any reputable organizations doing work in Haiti then please let me know. In the past I’ve worked with different organizations and clinics in Haiti and I’m looking to get involved again and form new partnerships/ relatinoships. Feel free to share in the comments below or you can send me an email via the contact tab above.

August 12, 2016
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AMCAS Most Influential Activity

Posted in Med by
AMCAS Most Influential Activity

So recently Danielle (a reader & a blogger herself!) emailed me about applying to medical school. She had an awesome question regarding AMCAS (the application to allopathic (MD) medical schools) and how to choose the most influential activity for the activities section. This was something that I was planing on talking about eventually so I figured I might as well turn it into a post now rather than later.

If you haven’t been following my blog, I started an Applying to Med School Series in hopes of motivating and helping anyone who is currently in the process of applying to medical school. There’s a few things I learned during my application cycle and I’d like to share my experiences (plus a few mistakes) in hopes that someone else can benefit too! I’m currently in an allopathic (MD) program however, I think that these tips and tricks are universal and can be beneficial to anyone applying to any health professional school (DO, PA, nursing, etc).

Danielle asked:

“I was wondering how you chose which activity was the most influential? They all were great experiences I’m just not sure how to choose one over them all.”

This is an awesome question. For those of you who don’t know, on the AMCAS, you’re required to list your activities/ experiences and then highlight your most influential activity. All your experiences have a short character limit that only allows you to write a few sentences, however your most influential activities have room to include a few short paragraphs. My application year I was able to choose two (not sure if this is still the same number now) and I chose cheerleading and my involvement with an NGO that allowed me to do work in Haiti.

When I was applying, I wanted to pick something that was a true reflection of me, NOT who I thought the admissions committee wanted me to be. This worked for me when applying to college, so I decided to have the same mentality for med school applications. At the time, I worried that perhaps choosing my research experiences would have seemed more “legit” than cheerleading (I was always told that cheer was a frivolous activity and that I should do more “pre-med” things — insert eye roll emoji here). But for me, my cheerleading experience was definitely more valuable to me than a lot of other things I did in college. Tied for cheerleading was my work in Haiti.

It was a hard choice because I wanted my application to be very real and a genuine picture of me, but I also knew I’d be competing against rocket scientist students who likely had way more science credentials than me. Ultimately, I decided that I would use my “non-traditional” experiences (cheer + work in Haiti) since they truly embodied who I was and what I valued. Also, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have something that set me apart from the rest of the applicants. If there’s something that you did that was unique, or that was of particular importance to you then I’d consider using that! As always, run your ideas by a trusted friend and a pre-med advisor if you have access to one.

Also if you already submitted your primary application, I think these tips can still be helpful for potential questions you may receive on your secondary application. If this post helped definitely check out the previous post in my applying to medical school series where I talk about how to score an awesome letter of recommendation!

-xo, Trisha

Follow me: Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

P.S. The girl who emailed me was Danielle from Sparkling Southerner. She runs a super cute and colorful blog that you should check out. Check her page out and support TTMB readers! And as always, if you have questions I’m accessible via social media or via comments/ email. If your question seems like something that would help others I may share here, but don’t worry… I’ll keep it anonymous unless you say/ requst otherwise (Note: in this case, Danielle was okay with me sharing her blog with my readers!).

AMCAS Most Influential Activity

August 8, 2016
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Natural Hair Highlights

Posted in Life by
natural hair highlights

As you can tell from the title, I got highlights in my natural hair! I recently mentioned in a previous post how my hair was a matted hot mess after getting it dyed a few weeks ago. I got full foil highlights and the stylist teased my hair before placing each foil. However she did not detangle my hair after washing and sat me under dryer for it to dry. It was a recipe for disaster and my hair was so matted, tangled and dry, that I thought I was going to lose my hair from breakage. I love this look and the overall finished product but I’d suggest getting someone who knows and understand how to do natural hair highlights from beginning to end. This means the dying, the styling, the conditioning AND THE DETANGLING!

Thankfully, my mama taught me a thing or two about taking care of my hair growing up so I knew exactly what I needed. I tried a moisturizing conditioner but it didn’t help much and I realized I needed some sort of strengthening conditioner to help. The one thing about chemically processing your hair is that you need to know that your old products may not work as well. For me this meant I had to start doing more protein/ strengthening treatments (I alternate between a keratin conditioner + a moisturizing one) which is something I never had to do before.

READ: How to Fix Natural Hair After Coloring

 

Although my stylist matted my hair to the heavens, I finally had my hair back after I sat for hours conditioning and detangling.  I will say that my stylist may know nothing about detangling or styling natural hair but she knows her stuff regarding color. I keep toying with going back to that salon but honestly they’re so expensive and I know its not worth getting my hair done if I have to leave and spend over 4 hours to detangle on my own afterwards. Anyways here’s a peak of some of the color! (Thanks to Chels for snapping these for me!)

natural hair highlights

 

natural hair highlights

(Please excuse the pixels! I had to pixelate the background to respect other people’s privacy! Thanks for your understanding!)

 

What do you think? Personally I love it! It’s lightened up a bit since I’ve gotten it dyed, but my stylist told me that would happen. I’ll probably touch up again in October for my birthday! Let me know if you have suggestions for a stylist in LA/ Southern California. I’m willing to drive if they’re good!

-xo, Trisha

August 5, 2016
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Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Posted in Life by
trisha therese

Earlier last week, I considered taking down my blog and removing my virtual personal corner from the internet. And by remove I mean delete my page, get a refund on the rest of my hosting contract and pretend this site never existed.

Why you may ask?! Honestly, I felt like my space wasn’t good enough. I was comparing my page to others, looking at my stats, and felt like a little fish in the big pond of blogging. I noticed that there were a few bloggers who started around the same time as me or later who seemed to be much more successful and truthfully it was discouraging to see.

Even though I know that most of these bloggers have been doing this for years, and even though I know that a lot of them put in 100000% more work than me because this is what pays their bills, I still somehow felt inferior to them. It no longer mattered that I started this thing to do what I love most: write and share beautiful  (and sometimes the not so beautiful) pieces of my world in hopes of helping and inspiring others. I got caught up in the hype and keeping up with everyone else and almost stopped doing one of the things I love the most because of it.

If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably noticed that I talk about a WIDE range of topics. I originally made this a lifestyle blog because honestly, I get bored easily and I wanted the flexibility to share whatever I wanted without feeling tied to a specific niche or category. So if school is taking over my life, you’ll see a bit more med school posts. If church was poppin’ and Pastor shared an inspirational message then I may share that here. If I made changes in my apartment and progressed the design process then you’ll see that too. I have been trying to narrow down my categories (as of right now its life, med, decor, and faith). But somehow, after playing the comparison game, I felt like that was not enough. I  started comparing my content to other bloggers’ and even considered rebranding and being even more narrow with my content since I noticed a bunch of other blogs doing the same.
After a few hours of contemplating pulling the plug, I randomly received a surprise message from a TV show producer. He found my blog and wanted me to join the show for taping. Honestly y’all I thought it was a SCAM, but luckily for me, it wasn’t. They needed a medical student’s perspective and thought I was a good fit. After a phone call and then a quick Facetime meeting with the producer and director, I was officially signed on to join.

 

I was ready to quit all because I didn’t feel good enough or popular enough or liked enough all based on standards built on blog stats and social media.

 

I considered changing my style and my content to copy and imitate others. After I got called by the producers I realized that 1) People are reading my content (I still don’t know how he found me) and 2) I am doing just fine by being me. There’s always going to be someone stronger, better, smarter, etc than you. It’s okay to look up to those people for inspiration but you have to draw the line there. There’s a hole missing that only YOU and YOUR PURPOSE can fill. The world doesn’t need another them, but instead it needs YOU.

The craziest part about this situation was that the producer specifically mentioned that he contacted me because of my content. Yes, the same content I was ready to delete and start over so I can be just like everyone else. He enjoyed that I had interests outside of medicine and my varying content made me more appealing and a better fit to be on the show. NOW IMAGINE IF I HAD CHANGED IT UP TO WRITE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?! I probably would not have been qualified or as desired for the show.

Filming was a fun experience and I can’t wait to share more. I’m thankful to the production team for having me and I hope I have other opportunities to be on TV. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to be the next Dr. Oz. I do have a few other plans up my sleeves but you’re gonna have to wait a while to watch those unfold.

Anyways, my experience can be used as a learning point for us all. Stay true to yourself and TRUST the process. Others may be shining now but your turn will come. Continue to be genuine and work hard and others WILL notice. This TV opportunity was cool, but I know that there’s so much more in store. I truly believe that God had a hand in this. He’s been working on me and preparing me for something greater and honestly I get so caught up  in reaching the end goal that I forget that I still have to endure the struggle and the journey. So next time you find yourself playing the comparison game, instead of wishing you could be that person or have their success… think about what they did to get to that point. But don’t stop there. Put a plan together and execute it. Most people aren’t handed their success so who are we to be envious or wish that success would fall into our lap. I’m working on calming the green-eyed monster within me and instead of getting envious I get even more dedicated to pursue my goals. August just started, so join me this month in being INTENTIONAL about our plans and putting our ideas into action! Hustle hard!

xo,

Trisha

P.S. This is what I wore for the show! I was going for casual yet professional since I was being introduced as a medical student. I’ll share more details and photos from this look later on this week! And yes, as promised before, I WILL talk about my hair cut and dye process as well.

trisha therese

 

August 3, 2016
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