If you have a cozy abode that you cook, sleep and occasionally entertain in then you’ll want to bookmark this post. Because inside, you’ll find a world of info for everything from how to make the perfect bed to organizing your pantry like a seasoned pro. Want to know how to frost a gorgeous cake or craft a cheeseboard worthy of a million instagram likes? Perfect because you’ll find those too. These are SMP’s top how-tos that EVERY SMP gal or guy should know!
First we talked shop with Carly of The College Prepster and now we’re nosing around her beyond cute apartment. It’s filled with girly tid bits, well manicured bookshelves and really good wallpaper too. That’s her home sweet home in a nutshell. The longer version involves a tale of a girl with mad style and her sweet, sweet pup as seen through the lens of Cynthia Chung. See even more right here.
LIVING ROOM | Couch: Gilt | Coffee table: Ikea | Rug: Safavieh | Framed prints: Rue La La, a few I painted, Vogue prints cut from a book | Dalmatian spots pillows: Furbish Studios | Geometric stripes: Gilt | Key hole pillows: Target | Pillow: Target | Tray: Kate Spade | Marble side table: Safavieh | Bookcase: Target | Bar cart: Society Social
SMP: What design trend do you think will stand the test of time?
CH: I hope personalized gallery walls are always in.
SMP: Three things every home should have?
CH: A comfortable sofa, an inspiring desk to work at and a great coffee maker
SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of trend time?
CH: Black is always the new black.
SMP: Your top 5 design tips?
CH: 1) Find inspiration online, but don’t be afraid to do your own thing
2) Don’t try to collect everything at once, buy the pieces for your space slowly and intentionally
3) Move things around if they don’t feel right (I moved my bed once and I swear I never slept better)
4) Mix high and low, you don’t have to spend a fortune for a comfortable, great space
5) Ask for help if you need it
SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?
CH: A great bookshelf that’s functional and styled to perfection.
BEDROOM | Wallpaper: Anthropologie | Bed: Ikea | Bedside table: Target | Leaning bookshelf: Container Store | Bedding: Crane and Canopy | Coral pillow: Caitlin Wilson | Bow pillow: Caitlin Wilson | Live Colorfully pillow: Kate Spade | Circle texture pillow: Rue La La | Lamps: Safavieh
SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?
CH: I love my tiny desk. It’s not my dream desk as I don’t have the kind of space for the desk I actually want, but it fits so perfectly in my little office nook! I spent a lot of time measuring that space and comparing it to desk measurements online. It was the ONLY desk I could find that would fit in the nook and not interfere with the heater under the window.
SMP: One small design change that can make a big impact?
CH: Finding a way to create more light makes a huge difference.
SMP: Number one interior design tip?
CH: Don’t be afraid to try something. I had been collecting framed pieces for two years, but they were just lined up on my floor because I was so afraid to do a bad gallery wall. My boyfriend finally got fed up with seeing the frames on the ground so he went to town hanging everything! I couldn’t believe I waited two years to get everything up, I loved it so much and my apartment felt more polished.
Carly Heitlinger of The College Prepster is our kind of girl. Not only does she have a blog on our daily read list and a cozy New York city pied a terre, but her doggie? Yeah, you’re going to want to steal him. We chatted with Carly about inspiration, the business of blogging and important things like her go-to recipe. Read all about it below including a glimpse of her doing her thing from Cynthia Chung.
SMP: Some words you live by?
CH: Live Your Dreams
SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
CH: I’ve wanted to be and do just about everything growing up. For a while I thought I would be a lawyer. I thought I’d be a Rockette or on Broadway. I thought about becoming a brain surgeon (until I hated my AP Chemistry class…). I even wanted to be an editor for a magazine. I started to panic a little bit in college when I realized I had no idea what I actually wanted to do, so I feel super fortunate that I stumbled into the world of blogging.
SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?
CH: Do it because you love it! If the only thing you expect to get out of blogging is the pure enjoyment of writing and publishing your own blog, you will ALWAYS be (and feel) successful!
SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like your blog was going to thrive?
CH: My blog income was matching my actual job’s salary for about six months. In July of 2013, my blog revenue jumped to more than twice my job salary even though I was only doing blog work for about four hours a day (in the middle of the night). I knew that if I could devote more time to blogging, as well as get some actual sleep, it could really grow even more. Everything (traffic, social numbers, engagement, income, opportunities) took off at that point.
SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
CH: “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ― Joseph Chilton Pearce
SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
CH: It’s all over the place! No one day is the same!
SMP: One tip for bloggers hoping to monetize their blogs?
CH: Say NO if it’s not a good brand fit. It will hurt you in the long run if you take an opportunity just for the money.
SMP: Do you have any secret talents?
CH: I used to be able to solve a Rubik’s cube… I wonder if I can still do it?
SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
CH: TAYLOR SWIFT
SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
CH: This is always a tough question. I never ever would have guessed five years ago that I would be where I am today, so I have no idea what another five years will bring!
SMP: Any guilty pleasures?
CH: Watching Dance Moms!
SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?
CH: Take things as they come, one step at a time.
SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
CH: You have to be deliberate about creating balance. Balance doesn’t just happen; it’s a goal, something to strive for. For me, I had to really give myself permission to have a personal life. Once I felt like I “could” have a life it was a relief to be able to step away from my work. Of course, I work so much efficiently and I’m so much happier working, even though I’m not working around the clock. It’s great!
SMP: One thing you can’t live without?
CH: My Nespresso maker. I don’t know how I started my mornings before it!
SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?
CH: You can’t be everything to everyone.
SMP: Your secret to success?
CH: Be true to yourself.
SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
CH: Being featured in Teen Vogue was really a dream come true.
SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
CH: Relax more! Things work out just fine!
SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?
CH: My friend Julia: @juliahengel
SMP: Your go-to recipe?
CH: Brussels sprouts! A drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt before throwing into a pan on the stove.
SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
CH: I’m not the biggest drinker, but I would totally love an unlimited supply of Le Pain’s mint lemonade!
SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?
CH: I loved visiting Scotland. I wish I could have stayed there for a month!
SMP: The best job you ever had?
CH: The one I have now: blogging!
SMP: What would you tell someone who’s considering starting a blog?
CH: Give it a try, you could end up absolutely loving it. It’s free and easy to get started so nothing should really hold you back.
SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
CH: Take your time finding your passion. Remember that it can change over time; figuring out what you don’t like will get you one step closer to finding what you do; and there’s no “right” passion.
SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
CH: There are things that I look back on and cringe about. I’ve certainly made mistakes and could have done numerous things differently and better… but I know that each bump and misdirection lead me to where I am today and shaped who I am today. With that in mind, I wouldn’t change a thing. (For example, picking The College Prepster as a name wasn’t a great long term strategy, but that’s because I didn’t know I would be doing it long term at all. It made sense at the time for me… and maybe things wouldn’t have played out the way they played out had I never been The College Prepster!