Yoga Mat Cleaner

While I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly 10 years, I’m definitely a little lazy when it comes to cleaning my mat, and yeah, those things can get funky. My Sunday vinyasa class has an amazing smelling cleaner for community use, but there’s only one spray bottle, and about 30 students, so I usually get impatient and head home before giving my mat the cleaning it needs.

I had been wanting to make my own for a little while now, and since the ingredients used in it are so multi-purpose, last weekend I decided to whip one up!


These two oils are great for a lot of reasons — tee tea is a natural antiseptic that can also be used as a topical treatment for conditions such as acne or fungal infections, and I like to keep the lavender on my nightstand, dabbing my wrists right before bed. The aroma knocks me out cold. Either can be picked up at Whole Foods or your local natural food section.

You’ll need:

  • 20 drops of tea tree oil
  • 20 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 small spray bottle
  • 1 cotton rag

There’s pretty much nothing to this little concoction, just drip the oil into your bottle, top off with water, and you’re all set! Mist your mat with the spray, and using a damp cloth to wipe down. Allow to fully dry before rolling back up, and you’re ready to go!


DIY: Vanity Redux


So, I have quite literally been trying to redo this dresser for 15 years. My mom and I picked it out from a handmade pine furniture store when I was 11 years old — and even as a wee lass I had DIY on the brain! However, this brain has also always been indecisive (and lazy), and just couldn’t figure out to do with this clunky little nugget.

While part of me actually wouldn’t mind keeping it as pine, it had just gotten so dirty over the years that I had to do something to it. There was an odd pink stain on the top, among many other mystery globs. Plus, it’s a pretty hefty piece, and I generally think pine looks much better with slimmer/sleeker lines.


See above? Ew.

I mulled over options at the hardware store for a solid 45 minutes trying to pick the right color, because once you stain unfinished pine, there isn’t really any going back.

TIP: Be sure to use the stain sample charts that the brand displays in store, because the colors pretty much don’t look anything like they do on the face of the cans.


The rest was really pretty straight forward! I gave it a good sanding because of all those nasty stains, decided to condition because the unfinished wood was looking parched (and the kind man at the hardware store said it would allow a more even finish), and used a silicone brush to add the two coats of stain.


Tip: If you’re doing this indoors (because you’re an idiot like me who decided to wait until late fall for a big DIY) prepare yourself for some seriously fowl aromas. I chose not to sleep in my bedroom for three nights, keep the windows open, and fans on 24-7, and the smell still took about 2 weeks to finally dissipate.

So a better tip? Maybe wait until spring/summer when you can air it outside overnight.


But the horrid smell was worth it! I’m so happy with the color choice of — not too red and not too dark. The handles are mismatched feathers that I had picked up on sale at Anthropologie years ago, waiting for this moment to finally arrive, but If I had my choice of any handles I may go with something like these brassy guys.

I should probably also seal it, but that may take another 15 years or so.


If you like what you see:
Wood Stain, Minwax in English Chestnut
Storage Ottoman, Target
Frameless Mirror, Ikea
Glass Table Lamp, Ikea (similar)

— rkv

DIY // Chair Reupholstery


When Curtis and I bought this 6 chair set off of craigslist (4 regular chairs and 2 captains chairs), I knew they would need to be reupholstered. While the floral isn’t terrible, it just wasn’t what I had envisioned for our dining room. I had also never reupholstered anything before — but I’ve stretched canvas, and I was almost a sculpture minor, so I feel pretty comfortable with tools and such.

Just a side note — while I’m sure any and all chairs can be reupholstered, the only reason I knew this was a DIY I could handle was that with these particular chairs, the upholstered seat is screwed on in each corner and easily comes off. I believe this is the case with most older upholstered chairs, but before you buy just anything, you might want to check.

So here are the basic tools you will need:
Staple Gun + staples (I ordered the Stanley Light Duty Staple Gun Kit and it was perfect)
1/2 yard Fabric per seat cushion
Fabric Scissors (or kitchen scissors – basically heavier duty than regular scissors)
Screw Driver/Drill or both

I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics and found an awesome grey fabric for the 4 table chairs, and a fun patterned fabric for the captains chairs, for a total of $35! I was honestly surprised by how awesome the fabrics were there, it was hard to narrow down to only 2!


Step 1: Unscrew the seats from the chairs
Pretty self explanatory, but just as a tip, be gentle when taking these old screws out —they’re going to need to go back in, so if you crack the wood, you might have a problem down the road.


Step 2: Cut fabric to size of seat cushion
I got 2 yards of fabric for the 4 seat cushions which gave me plenty of room to cut and position each seat properly. It can be a little different with patterns because you’re going to want to get the pattern lined up a certain way – so think about getting some extra fabric if that’s the case.


Step 3: Stretch and staple
Once your fabric is cut to size, you’re ready to go!

Another quick note — I reupholstered right on top of the previous fabric, which worked well for me, but I’m not sure if it’s proper technique. It might be worth looking up, or seeing how the texture of the 2 fabrics work on top of one another.

  • So, position the seat in the middle of my allocated piece of fabric. Fold over one edge and pull tight.
  • Staple about 1-2 inches from edge (follow the previous staple line if you can while avoiding existing staples).
  • Pull and stretch the opposite side (ex. if you started on the top, now stretch from the bottom). At this point it is very important to stretch extremely tightly, this is how you get the nice tight surface of the seat.

If at any point you realize one of your sides is too loose, you can take the staples out and try again. This comes in handy for corners, they’re not the easiest! But honestly do what feels right with the fabric for corners, it doesn’t need to look great under the chair, but it should look good from the side, so find the way that works best for you.


Step 4: Get the chairs put pack together, and enjoy!
If you need additional information, this is a great photo tutorial.

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DIY Halloween Costumes


How adorable is this popcorn costume?? Have you seen Studio DIY’s collection of DIY costumes? It’s pretty much her fall goal to create as many adorable costumes as she can each year — and she’s on point, per usual! We’ve been girl crushing pretty hard on her creative ideas… especially because most of them are food related! Here are some of our favorites from past & present:






Your Wish Come True




Ice Cream Cone


Lisa Frank Unicorn






Apple of My Eye






Fries Before Guys



DIYs Around the Web

With the summer coming to an end, we’re going to have more time on our hands (free weekends, what what) — and we’re excited about putting those hands to work! We are thinking about some great DIYs for around the house, something that Pinterest never has a shortage of! We’ve gathered up some of inspiration for the upcoming change of season:

DIY Pom Pom Throw












Makeshift Flower Vases


Being a designer, I am drawn to pretty things. I’m also prone to not throwing away pretty things that I should, because well, they’re pretty. So what do you do with those beautiful shot glasses you know you won’t be using anymore? Or that gorgeous tea tin you just can’t toss? Well, why not make them prettier, and actually useful by turning them into vases!


Items you will need:

  1. Old containers, preferably glass or metal so they hold water for fresh cut flowers (if you decided to go with a dried plant like eucalyptus, then don’t worry about material)
  2. Flowers of your choice!

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Honestly, that’s it! I know it seems like it can’t possibly be that easy, but it is. And while I do love buying vases (I just purchased this beauty), you really don’t need to buy them – you’d be surprised by how many things you have around the house that could be used to hold beautiful flowers.

And the best part about having unique vases is their versatility – check out how different and gorgeous these flowers look in different locations around the house…


On a side table


On the bar


For entertaining


To keep other plants company

Do you have any items around the house you could convert into a vase? We’d love to see them! Hashtag #gardeniasandmint on instagram to show us what you’ve got! Happy hunting 🙂

Easter Gift Bag DIY


This past weekend we ladies spent the weekend in Hartford for a little hang sesh. With it being the first weekend of spring and all, and with Easter on the horizon, we decided it was the perfect occasion for a little craft time.

Back in December I picked up Christa’s gift for the holidays, a Pictorial Webster’s Flora & Fauna Stamp set, which we knew needed to make an appearance on the blog. After a little brainstorming we realized that they would make some great little gift bags for Easter treats! Some online shopping and a trip to Trader Joe’s later, we had the perfect little goodie bags to give the kids at your Easter gathering, or to your friends and co-workers!


Treats: Trader Joe’s Macarons // Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringue // Cadbury Mini Eggs

Additional Craft Supplies: Kraft Gift Bags // Washi Tape // ColorBox Ink Pads

Getting Organized // For the Home

Nearly everyone has “get organized” on their New Years resolution list…there’s just such a great feeling about starting the new year off feeling clean, collected and organized! It’s sort of like the precursor to Spring Cleaning. And since we live in apartments with one or more other people, the idea of personal space and organization is extra important. We’ve gathered a couple of our favorite ways to quickly spruce up your space and stay on top of things as possible!

01. Shelving


Adding shelving can do a lot to a space, whether you add it directly to the wall, or in the form of some sort of furniture. We’ve had the best luck with wall shelving from Ikea, which also allows for a ton of DIY and personalization. Shelves are perfect for finding a home for those small meaningful items that you just can’t give up, showing off personal items you might accidentally tuck away in some drawer. They add visual interest to your walls, all while adding more storage to your space. If your space is small, just work upwards!

Our favorite shelving items: The EKBY JÄRPEN from Ikea, pretty much anything from West Elm, and the Emerson Shelving from World Market are all life savers.


02. Hooks & Rods

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Hooks are helpful for all sorts of things! Necklaces, scarves, jackets (obviously…), and even pots & pans. It’s a little nuts how much space you can clear up just by putting a few hooks or rods on the walls. Have empty space above your stove? Hang up your cookware! Jewelry always tangled? Display it on your walls by your vanity!

For some awesome hooks: Check out Crate & Barrel’s Sheesham Hooks, this classic look from Target, or Ikea’s LEKSVIK. We’ve also had some great luck at flea markets and thrift stores finding some old iron hooks.

As for rods: Add some more hanging space to your closet with Ikea’s MULIG clothes bar, and change your life with this pot rack and these s-hooks in your kitchen.


03. Baskets


If you want to hide clutter, baskets are the way to go — they’re probably the easiest way to do a quick sweep in your apartment. Get some big canvas ones for blankets, towels, and linens, and some small wicker ones for random toiletries, magazines, and any other random bits. Reg’s kitchen has a wire basket for fruit, so you can always see what you have.

Great basket finds: Home Goods always has a plethora to choose from, or check out H&M’s home section, and of course, the almighty Ikea.


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Raspberry Sorbet Mimosas


Tomorrow morning is 2015 — woah! When did that happen?

New Year’s morning can be a tricky thing — you’re tired, hung over, and exhausted from the night before, but you most likely want to celebrate the new year with some sort of delicious brunch/cocktail combo. If you’ve planned ahead and made reservations somewhere, congrats — you did great during this hectic holiday season. If not, we’ve got an easy and very delicious raspberry sorbet mimosa for you to show off to your friends!



  • Raspberry sorbet — we used Talento, mainly for it’s gorgeous color, but also because they have tons of sorbet flavors
  • Champagne, Prosecco or Cava — we used Freixenet, a brut Spanish Cava, and it worked well since it didn’t have any extra sweetness (let the sorbet do that)
  • Rosemary sprigs


Just drop a scoop of the sorbet into your glass and fill ‘er up with the bubbles! Swirl around the rosemary sprig to give it a bit of herbaceous delight.

With something this easy, it’s sort of hard to not give it a shot! (*and if you’re looking for a bit of extra sweetness, rim your glass with sugar!)

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Years celebration! For those out East like us, be sure to wear your puffy coats and hats over those party dresses… it’s gonna be a chilly evening!




Simple Seasonal Decor

Now that we’re a whopping three days into December, we have minimal time to get that seasonal decor up around our apartments. Since none of us have the time (or electric bill means) to deck-out our home exteriors with lights… we’re down for some simple inside DIYs to make things festive!

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