The Perfect Bike Storage Solution

When Afroz and I first met, he told me awesome stories of biking through nice trails with his friends. Once we moved to the city, he didn't bike as much, until about a year ago when he and his friends decided to get together and bike on the Lake Shore Drive trail. Since then, they've been biking every weekend on different trails all around Chicago and the suburbs. He eventually bought a nice road bike, which was better for the trails compared to his mountain bike.

The only biking I ever did was when I went to the local park in my neighborhood when I was much younger. I had this cheap mountain bike from Target that I barely used. I wanted to get back into biking, but properly this time. My husband and I searched on Craigslist for a good road bike for me and found nothing that was the right size for my height, so we eventually went to Village Cycle Center and got a decent deal on a Trek bicycle. Since we both bought some decent bikes, we wanted a good place to store them. We were hesitant to keep them in the community bike storage room in our apartment building, because we didn't want them to get damaged, so we did some research and found the perfect bike storage rack from CB2

The only place we had room for the bikes was surprisingly in our bedroom and they look great on the wall. Our ceilings are pretty high, so we stacked them on top of each other. Afroz's bike is on the bottom and mine is on the top. We just have to get on a stool to get mine off the rack, which isn't a big deal. The storage rack has a space for the bike to hang, as well as an area to keep your helmet or any tools. We had a gift card for Crate and Barrel from our wedding (that's right, we saved it for three years), but the storage rack wasn't that expensive for the quality. We would definitely recommend it!

IKEA-ing Up Our Living Room

Salaam, everyone!

I shared a small piece of our apartment in this post, but I thought I'd zoom out and show a bit more of our living room. The windows are thankfully pretty big in this space, so we love the amount of daylight we get. If I could live, work, eat, sleep in our living room, I would. I love having a lot of daylight wherever I am. Anyway, Alhamdulilah with some help from some old wedding gift cards (yes, we used some of them after 2 years) and some saving up on our part, we were able to liven up our living room to look and feel comfortable. Fair warning, a lot of it is filled with IKEA decor. Can you blame us? We're not going to spend a million dollars on apartment furniture :)

We started by getting a sofa. The NOCKEBY sofa from IKEA is super comfy. The fabric gets softer over time and the cushions are just right. We decided to get the grey color, although it looks pretty beige when you see it in person. My husband really wanted a chaise and I'm glad we went with it. It serves as a nice divider to separate the living area from the rest of the apartment. 

We had a gift card to HomeGoods and I had no idea what I wanted to get from there until I saw their decorative pillow section. They have way too many options, which took us way too long to decide which four pillows we wanted for our sofa. We both love blue, so we just went with one navy blue and one light blue set of patterned pillows to liven up the sofa. Both pillows are nice and soft. They're great for when my nieces want to lay back and watch a cartoon when they come over :) 

The coffee table is from the IKEA STOLKHOLM series. There's a nice coating on the table that keeps it from getting scratched and stained. We still use coasters on it, but during the last party we had, it withstood everything Alhamdulilah. 

The frames above the sofa are from the IKEA RIBBA series. We didn't use the hooks and hangers that came with each frame to put them up, because we got fed up with them. We decided to use some good old 3M stickers to hang them up. I have to admit, measuring the spaces and being as OCD as we are, the frames took forever to hang. But now that we're done putting them up, we love them. The photos are from our travels to Greece, Turkey, Dubai, and Scandinavia. We ordered the prints from Nations Photo Lab, since the size had to be 12 x 12. They did an awesome job. We love the quality of the prints and they came in right on time. 

The rug was probably the most difficult thing to buy. The carpet in our apartment is sort of rough and low and we wanted a soft area rug for our living room. Most of the rugs at IKEA are pretty flat and rough. But eventually, we came across a rug that worked perfectly with our color scheme and fit our requirements of a big, soft and durable area rug. The IKEA MARSLEV rug is the best rug, ever. It's soft, pretty, and just awesome. Whenever we have friends over, they can't believe it's from IKEA for the same reasons we were hesitant to buy a rug from IKEA in the first place.

Finally, the candle holders I mentioned in my previous post sit on our BESTA TV unit next to our TV. The candle holders are from Hobby Lobby's intense section of decor. Seriously, when I go to Hobby Lobby, I get so distracted by all the stuff they have there. They have a thing for everything and it's insane. But eventually, you learn to focus on your shopping list rather than getting carried away with the million candle holders, lanterns, and other random things they have. It's the same with IKEA and Target too. Anyway, I love Hobby Lobby's 40% coupons, though. Get on that, people.

So, thanks to IKEA, HomeGoods, and Hobby Lobby we were able to spice up our living room--we now have a place to relax and catch up on our Netflix shows. Being on a tight budget, we took a while to do this. One thing that frustrated me whenever I saw blogs about interiors and how other people decorate their spaces, is how they make it seem like this magical process. Save up, budget, use coupons, gift cards, check out some blogs, and make your space your own. I really think having a nice space, even if you're staying there temporarily, is super important. It's part of every person's well being. We have to eat, sleep, and live well inshaAllah :)

Apartment Decor

Salaam, everyone!

Time for an update.

My husband and I moved into a new apartment a couple of months ago Alhamdulilah. We didn't spend much time decorating our other place, since we knew we would be moving eventually. After saving up for a while, we slowly purchased a few items to make our new apartment feel comfy for us to live and work in. I thought I'd share a few things we bought (and love) in a few blog posts, just in case anyone else wants to spice up their place on a budget as well.

First up, a small, but beautiful little piece made with a gorgeous pattern:

This gold candle holder looks amazing when it's lit up and still looks great when its just sitting on our media unit. I also bought a smaller tea light candleholder in my favorite color to add to the batch. I always wondered how people figured out what to match up together as decor pieces--how they somehow became HGTV decorators/Pinterest reenactors overnight. Afroz and I got two gold shimmery vases as a wedding gift and just added the candle holders to them. We stood back and said, "Hey, this looks about right" and that was it. Decorating doesn't have to be some complicated equation. Sometimes you just get stuff with an awesome coupon and feel good about it and it just so happens to look pretty freaking cute in your living room :)

Candleholders: Hobby Lobby

Vase: Michaels