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category: inspiration

Circut Room Makeover with J-14 and Jenna Ortega

Jenna Ortega Room Makeover

OMG, it’s been such an exciting few months and I finally get to share some of the reasons why! I, along with J-14 magazine and the oh-so-awesome team of Cricut, was given the opportunity to totally makeover a room for the adorable teen star, Jenna Ortega!

Let me tell you, it was such an incredible experience. From selecting amazing furniture & decor from Hayneedle to traveling to Palm Springs to make it all come to life, it was an opportunity for the books! Not to mention, Jenna has a heart of pure gold, and the best part…I found she was like a mini version of myself – which made this project that much more special. Transforming this up-and-coming teen’s room wasn’t just about the room makeover. It was about giving a teen sister duo a space they felt amazing to be in, all while growing with them throughout their teen years.


I wasn’t just designing a room for Jenna, but also her sister, Aliyah, who shares the room with her. I wanted to be sure the girls had something fresh, unique, stylish, and something they could grow up with, yet still felt current no matter what phase they might be in during their teenage years. Once I was able to know Jenna and her sister through meeting them (and, of course, checking out their social media) I felt totally at ease. I discovered our styles are totally in sync and I knew their quirky and adorable selves would absolutely love what I had up my sleeve.

Keeping to my favorite classy and chic styles of black and white with pops of fun color and textures, the room transformation began to take place. Here’s the style board I created to conceptualize the room before it all came to life.


All in all, this room makeover project was a super rad experience. I learned a lot – not only about the teens of today, but also about handling certain design challenges and, as Tim Gun likes to say, how to ‘Make it Work’. Giving Jenna a room she can grow up in with class and style was a dream come true.

Cricut Room Makeover

As always, a special thank you to Cricut and of course to J-14 Magazine. Read more about my experience with a fun Q&A over at Cricut.

Cricut Room Makeover


We have more to details to share about this (and how to make many of these projects yourself!) and ANOTHER fun project we collaborated with Cricut on, but for now, make sure to check out their new Cricut home decor page and you might have a chance to win a style session with me … along with your own Cricut Explore Air 2 bundle, and a shopping spree up to $2,000 on! What the what?! Good luck!


Spreading Holiday Cheer Is Good For Your Health


While the holidays can be fun and full of excitement and happiness, they can also be stressful and bring us down  in the dumps for a variety of reasons.

Even if money or time is tight, the best way to get into the spirit of the season and boost your mood is to be charitable.

Science has shown that when we give back or are generous, the pleasure centers in our brain light up. Even better? This same research showed it’s not the amount you give, but the mere action of giving that creates this response. In the study, the people who gave $5 were just as happy as the people who gave $20.

So how can you tap into this well of happiness? By spreading a little holiday goodness wherever you go!

Here’s a list of some of my favorite ways, at a range of costs:

(1) Pay for the Starbucks/coffee for the driver behind you in the morning.

(2) When you get that $5 giftcard from Target for purchasing certain items, go back into the store and tape it on a toy for someone to find and enjoy later.

(3) Pick a friend you miss being in contact with and write them a letter or long Facebook message.

(4) Clear out your old sheets and towels by taking them to the local animal shelter.

These are only the ones I have done lately, but there are so many more you can do!

Be sure to check out websites like for ideas and inspiration. What better way to celebrate the holidays, then to pay a little love forward?

Have any other great ideas to spread holiday cheer? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time!

amanda color coded signature

The Trend to Try: Rose Gold

Silver, gold, bronze, copper– we’ve probably seen it all! Psh, not yet. Are you ready for a feminine touch on your metallics? Because rose gold is here and perfect for the transition from summer to fall. It’s light and bright enough to sport while you run around through the rest of summer and will make the perfect statement as fall rolls in. Totally the new metallic you need in your life, am I right?! I’ve got the top picks for what you need to add to your wardrobe, home, and office as the rose gold trend continues to rise.RoseGold2
Inspiration RULES. That bike is something I would totally ride around all day– I mean have you ever seen a rose gold bike?! Now you have. Accents of rose gold are great additions to the home, you don’t want to overdo it! Lastly, you need rose gold in your office now. Whether it’s a mouse pad, your macbook cover, or the cool notebook below. You need it!


Walk into work with these babies on you’ll be the talk of the office! These are so great for Summer days paired with a skirt or short matching set and will transition great into fall with neutral cuffed trousers and a striped blouse. Voila!

That’s right girl, show up like you own the place. Or at least you think you will with this ultra chic Marc by Marc Jacobs Turnlock Bracelet. SO cute!

Bring rose gold right to the table with this Essie polish in Penny Talk. This color pairs well with white– or your fall neutrals! Plus, it’s a great polish to wear when you want to experiment with mixing metal jewelry.

Time to get your act together! Well at least try to. This notebook is classy, simple, and will transition perfectly into your life. The fact that this baby is leather makes sure it will be durable during those hectic scheduling days.

West Elm has these GREAT table lamps that are modern and sleek– totally in love! You need these in your life.

Kate Spade knows how to throw a dinner party in style! These rose gold utensils are pretty rad and will make the perfect pairing with deep auburn tableware.

Maybe now we can pour a little rosé to pair with our rose gold 😉 What do you say, ladies?! Ha! Kidding… maybe. Have some fun with this trend! Your new loot will be the talk of the gang. Until next time! XO, Sami from The Unexpected Type

3 Ridiculously Awesome Bachelorette Party Ideas

Summer = wedding season. A wedding here, a wedding there, weddings, weddings, everywhere! If you’re in the bridal party this season, it’s time to step up your game and throw your girl a bachelorette party that isn’t all thunder from down under and drinks. We love these three, modern ideas for the coolest bachelorette party, EVER!

You thought Bachelorette parties meant one thing: bar time. Maybe you’re right, but this time you’re meeting at the cardio barre instead! This is such a fun idea from Cyn Kain on Style Me Pretty! Grab your girls and head to your nearest workout studio, whether it’s Soul Cycle, a barre studio, or a dance studio. Take a fun class together to get your heart rate pumpin’ and enjoy brunch + mimosa’s after! Such a cool take on how we bachelorette, right girls?


If you and the girls are up for some serious bonding time, you need to go glamping! There are tons of venues and glamp sites across the country that have amazing views and lovely tents for your glamorous camping adventure– like this beautiful spot we came across on Green Wedding Shoes. Spend your day in the water and end with some champagne and s’mores over the fire. You and your girls will enjoy some juicy gossip and stories meant for the books!


I bet the bride is pretty stressed, I mean– she’s totally planning a wedding! Help her relax and unwind with an activity that will take her mind off of everything! A DIY party is easy + fun for everything– we girls love to make things. Terrariums, cupcakes, you name it. We especially love this custom perfume bar for a party idea. Have the bride and all the girls make customized scents to wear on her wedding day. Fun, soothing, and everyone gets a fancy new perfume.

Art Inspiration // How My Favorite Artists Inspire Me

artists inspired by


Art inspiration plays a big role in my work. As a creative, I am always inspired by other artists and I love finding the commonalities among my work and theirs, whether intentional or subconsciously. Today I want to share with you some of my all time favorite artists and how they inspired some of my past work.

1. Willem De Kooning is one of my favorite abstract expressionist painters. I am especially inspired by his Woman series. Pictured (top left) is his Woman I painting. It was made with oil paint, charcoal and enamel. I made my own rendition with oil paint and charcoal. I call her Dita. Many people thought that his Woman series was his negative perception towards women but really it was his way of embracing his love for women.

2. Kees Van Dongen was a fauvist painter. I love how his portraiture was almost cartoon like but with so much expression. Pictured is one my favorites (bottom), The Corn Poppy. It was painted with oil on canvas in 1919. My jimigem portrait style (top) is very much inspired by his work.

3. Gustav Klimt captures my heart with his paintings during  The Golden Era. Pictured is his famous piece Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I. He was an Austrian artist, part of the Vienna Secession Era. I am so drawn to his use of shapes. My whole senior show in college was inspired by his work. The top piece is one of my favorites from my exhibition. I used oil paint and gold leaf on canvas.

4. Claude Monet is probably the most famous artist on this list. Many people recognize him for his water lily murals. One of my favorite pieces he made is Woman with a Parasol (top). In my rendition (bottom) I made it as a self portrait. This was my first 4x6ft painting. Throughout many of my paintings I am inspired by his impressionistic style.

5. Wayne Thiebaud gets the award for the tastiest looking paintings! He is part of the modern movement and born in Arizona. The thickness of his paintings make me drool. He applies the paint in layers and in person the texture is amazing. I love painting sweets and he really pushes me to capture that edible quality he exhibits in his work. His parfait piece (bottom) inspired me to create a layered cake with oil paints (top). This cake is actually the same cake I get every year for my birthday!

Think about how other artists inspire you in your work. Can you point out the resemblances?

Keep Creating,


How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget [Part Deux]


Hello again! It’s Amanda from The Color Coded Life and if you have been checking out around the blog, you may have seen my first post of vacation tips on how to work the “shoulder seasons.”

Well, that post got me thinking more about traveling, and I haven’t been able to stop! As I’ve mentioned before, my eyes are always MUCH bigger than my wallet. And while I don’t need full luxury, room service and the Ritz on my trips, I also feel like I’m past the age of sleeping six to a room in a youth hostel.

So I wondered if it was possible to REALLY travel (not like visiting your parents or relatives or something easy like that) with limited means. I have been doing some digging and will be presenting some of the best advice I have found. Hopefully, these ideas and lists will provide you with the motivation to get your #worldtraveler on!

As my mother in law likes to say “Planning Makes It Happen” and the best step by step guide comes from Ready for Zero, which shows you how to plan so that you can effectively save, budget and afford a vacation.

Here’s the cliff notes version:

Step 1 - How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget

Try to temper some of your OHMAIGAWDIWANTTOGOEVERYWHERENOW into a more tangible goal of a specific city – this helps you know the who/what/where/why of budgeting. You can also do what the hubby and I did and make a whole list (and yes, ours is LONG) but that way you have a list to work from each time the travel bug hits.


Step 2 - How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget

Start budgeting your household finances to make sure you won’t go into debt to afford this trip. If you need help getting your finances on fleek, you can check out this post I wrote a few weeks ago to help.


Step 3 - How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget

This part requires some research. Remember that there are a number of components that go into this calculation, including:

  • Airfare (If you’re flying)
  • Gas (If you’re driving)
  • Food
  • Public Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Snacks
  • Shopping (Because let’s be honest – you will be shopping!)
  • Visiting attractions (Admission fees, etc)

A few tools you can use to do this (again, thanks to Ready for Zero):

If you’re flying… you can begin by mapping out destinations within your budget on Just type in your budget, your intended travel dates, and filter your results on the map. This is a great visual way to see where you can afford to fly and also when in the year you’re most likely to encounter cheaper flights.

If you’re driving… be sure to include the cost of gas. Use a Fuel Cost Calculator and add these fuel costs to your overall budget.


Step 4 - How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget

Are you planning this trip for 2 months from now or 12 months from now? That will determine how much you need to save each paycheck for the trip. (Although if you are flying – you need a bit more than 2 months to purchase that ticket!)


Step 5 - How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget

Yes, that $6 Starbucks or $12 pair of Target sandals aren’t that much in isolation – but add it up, and you will be chipping away at your travel goal. I’m not saying have no fun and do nothing to afford your trip – but keep a picture of your selected locale in your wallet (I taped it over where my driver’s license goes) so that every time you pull out your wallet to buy something, it will remind you what you’re saving for.

Some other ways to keep an eye on costs and reduce them?

  • Use Kayak’s Price Forecasting Tool – it will email you changes in price for flights on your selected days/airports
  • Look at later and earlier times to fly in and out, as well as neighboring airports
  • Remember that the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.
  • Supposedly, the best day to purchase flights is on a Tuesday.


Step 6 - How To Afford An Epic Vacation On A Less Than Epic Budget

Post images of your vacay locale around your workspace, kitchen, wherever to keep you motivated. Remember what you’re working for!

I hope you get to take that dream vacation soon! Come back and let me know how it goes!


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