West Elm Comes to Pittsburgh!

If you’re from Pittsburgh and you’re not running toward Bakery Square by the end of this post, try reading it again. Because you should be jumping for joy: West Elm is now in Pittsburgh!

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a preview of the brand new store, seated right in Bakery Square in Pittsburgh’s East End*, neighbors to other high-traffic stores like Anthropologie and Free People (not to mention around the corner from Google!). It fits right in this cool neighborhood and man, doesn’t it look pretty?


Did I mention how much fun it is to explore a gorgeous store with two other blogger friends? Drooling over accent pillows, sniffing every candle, and taking pictures of everything is so much more acceptable with my friends Angelica and Kristin. I’m so glad they were able to join me! Needless to say, when we walked in, we were hooked.

West Elm Pittsburgh Media Preview

Kristin at West Elm Pittsburgh Media Preview

Angelica at West Elm Pittsburgh Media Preview

What I love most about West Elm is what they stand for. This company is dedicated to providing various price points for all buyers, keeping things functional and practical while maintaining a sense of style, using environmentally-friendly materials and goods, and working side-by-side with local artisans to bring communities and nonprofits into the hands of consumers. There was an incredible Pittsburgh section located right in front of the cash wrap where the three of us spent so much time speculating how we could possibly choose what to buy. I am a firm supporter in showcasing local businesses, talent, and art and West Elm is doing it right. They’re even offering a $25K grant and consultation services to one lucky small business because they recognize the importance of these local vendors.

I love home decor and I can pick out what I like and don’t like, but I can rarely create a truly decorated space on my own. I really envy people who have that vision inside their head without any inspiration! I need places like West Elm to show me the possibilities in an aesthetic I enjoy.

West Elm Pittsburgh Bakery Square Media Preview Highlights


I am all about clean lines, stripes, chevron, delicate prints, and an array of soft and relaxing colors–which is why I was drawn to so many things in the store. Part of what makes West Elm work for me (and so many others) is that they thrive on a mix-and-match philosophy, where you can layer pieces from numerous styles and tastes to create a seamless setting for your everyday living. It’s practical, beautiful, and completely personalized.

After much deliberation, I decided to purchase a Pittsburgh print and two handcrafted cards from local artists, but I will definitely come back after I move into an apartment to pick up those decorative pieces I’m definitely lacking!

Bloggers at West Elm Pittsburgh Media Preview

Limited Edition Hello Pittsburgh Canvas Tote Bag from West Elm in Bakery Square

Grand opening is today, Thursday, September 4th at 10 AM! RUN because the first 300 customers get a sweet Pittsburgh tote bag with a $50 purchase! If you’re stuck at that thing called work, stop by after–they’re running a special promotion.

*Truth be told, I have spent next to no time in this neighborhood and, after visiting, I have no idea what took me so long! I will be back. 

Disclaimer: West Elm invited me to attend the media preview and provided me with a tote bag and gift card, but I was not asked to market on their behalf. All opinions are my own and shared because I would have anyway!

Mad #BouqLove for Fresh Blooms

Though many see it as an impractical gesture, I don’t know a single woman who would turn down a bouquet of flowers. There’s something incredibly special and heartwarming about receiving the gift of beauty as a token of appreciation. The world is full of so many beautiful things and flowers are among the most unique and stunning of them all; to receive one is to gain the opportunity to admire God’s handiwork.

I’ve received flowers very few times in my life, but each time made me feel special and appreciated, no matter from whom I received it. Though eventually the bloom fades, getting to spend a few days blushing over the pretty petals in that “special vase” is a great feeling. Every time I ask myself, “Why don’t I buy flowers more often?” They are a simple gesture that can really make someone’s day.

When I was given the opportunity to receive a bouquet from The Bouqs, I was so excited! Not only would I get to enjoy some gorgeous flowers just because, but I also had heard about The Bouqs on one of my favorite shows–Shark Tank–and was anxious for the opportunity to work with them!

Shopping for my bouquet was extremely easy. The high-quality images of each bouquet made it easy to navigate and choose what I was looking for. I settled on this gorgeous Confetti bouquet, drawn to the various pops of color. I feel happy and inspired by the bright hues and enjoy the romantic and soft quality of the roses.



The flowers came in a protective box with many layers to protect it. Be sure to get these blooms in water fast, though! It’s hot out there.

Not a rose type of guy or girl? No problem. You can choose from an array of fresh blooms in any style and color you desire.

In fact, check out this gorgeous Red, White, and Bouq bouquet featured just in time for Independence Day!


Instead of bringing another dessert or beverage to your 4th of July party (like we need any more calories at family BBQs), consider bringing your host/hostess one of these patriotic bouquets. Not only is it a thoughtful gesture, but it also makes for a great centerpiece.

Selecting a delivery was also very simple. The Bouqs offers options for scheduling, next-day shipping, and reoccurring purchases. How AWESOME would that be to receive flowers regularly or even randomly?! Gentlemen, take a hint ;) Pricing is simple– a $40 flat rate for all original size bouquets AND free shipping. You’re guaranteed fresh flowers, grown in volcano soil, without the middle man and extra cost.


If you haven’t purchased flowers for that special someone, your best friend, your mom, a friend who needs some cheering up, or the host of your next BBQ, definitely check out The Bouqs and let me know about YOUR experience!

*While I received a free bouquet in exchange for my review, I wholeheartedly support The Bouq (I have mad #BouqLove) and would definitely purchase from them in the future. Should you decide to purchase a bouquet through any of the affiliate links above, I will receive a kickback at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Modern Austen possible!


The Perfect Daytime Reading Nook

If you’re a self-proclaimed bibliophile, you’ve probably dreamed up what your ideal reading location would look like. Maybe you imagine an old-fashioned library with dim lights, ladders that stretch high into the expanded ceiling, and oversized leather chairs. Maybe you prefer a window seat, snuggled up with a blanket and a cup of cocoa while the rain lightly taps the glass. Perhaps you think of your bed with crisp white sheets and lots of feathery pillows. In any case, it’s perfect and there’s no place better.

For me, my ideal reading spot changes depending on my mood, the time of day, and what kind book I’m reading. Recently, I’ve been craving fun and easy reads and imagine being curled up in a bright and comfortable space, tucked away in a corner.


Most importantly, my reading nook needs to be comfortable. How perfect would this oversized bean bag chair from Bean Bag Boss be? It can be molded into different shapes depending on how you want to sit and it looks really comfortable.

Underneath the bean bag, I’d love a fun and soft carpet to sink my toes into, like this fun printed number from IKEA. Of course, I’d have snuggle up with this incredibly soft throw and fun chevron pillow from West Elm! I’d store all of my books in my IKEA Expedit shelf, artfully styled a la Pinterest, naturally. And for a wink to my favorite girl Jane, I’d hang her Persuasion litograph on the wall.

Simple, colorful, bright. Sigh.

What would your perfect daytime reading nook look like?

A Friendly Reminder: The Spring Pantone-Inspired Color Challenge starts on MONDAY! Will you be joining us?

Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links to products and brands I love. As always, thank you for supporting the brands that make The Modern Austen possible!

Literary Decor for Bibliophiles

Literary Decor for Bibliophiles2

I don’t think you can ever take a bibliophile’s love of literature away from her. Just as she needs air to breath, she needs books to keep her alive. Not just physically alive, but truly alive. There’s just something magical about opening up a book, leafing through the crisp pages, and diving in. Even if one is not an avid reader, being surrounded by books, such as in a library, is one of the most calming environments in which we are our most thoughtful and creative.

Even if I decide not to teach English ever again, or if I make a career of it for the rest of my life, nothing will ever take away my passion for reading. I will never become sick or weary of it, bored or eternally frustrated with it. Every book  leaves us with something to grasp hold of and never let go–even if we don’t particularly enjoy the book.

So I’ve made it an unconscious goal of mine to add elements of literary decor in my humble bedroom in my apartment–just bits and pieces of the written word to bring beauty and relaxation to the space. If you’re a self-proclaimed bibliophile, you may need to incorporate these beauties if you haven’t already:

Literary Decor 1

Literary Decor 2

Literary Decor 3

Literary Decor 4

Literary Decor 5

Literary Decor 6

Remember that yellow record cabinet I got for free and spruced up with my dad’s help? I used it as a TV stand in my last apartment, but now it’s been upgraded to a bedside table. I think it looks lovely when the light pours in from the windows, especially underneath a stack of go-to books to choose from. Books alone can be works of art. Carefully stacking them, whether by size, color, genre, author, or all of the above, is an art in itself, even. 

Using practical items like a literary mug for more than just sipping tea is another way to display your love of literature in a small, but special way. I received my mug as a Christmas present, but you can purchase it from Cafepress, along with an assortment of amazing literary gifts.

The two prints hanging above my bed are also Christmas presents and I adore them. They’re called litographs and they’re made up of tiny words that form images. The print on the left is using the text Emma by Jane Austen (naturally) and the one on the right is of the New Testament of the Bible. They’re just stunning works of art both close-up and from afar. My prints were purchased from Litographs among a long list of other classic works. Last year, I bought The Great Gatsby print for my friend Elizabeth, but it was hard for me to choose from their other goodies: tote bags and t-shirts.

Lastly, Ashlie purchased this Barnes and Noble quote throw for me for Christmas (and then she bought herself one) so we snuggle up in them every night in front of the TV, basking in our literary awesomeness (okay, I’m slightly kidding . . . but only slightly). They’re soft and lovely and pretty to look at, making it one very useful piece of literary decor.

Have you incorporated some literary decor into your home? If so, what do you proudly display to declare your bibliophile status? 

*By the way, I was not contacted to promote or compensated for sharing these products. In fact, none of these are even affiliate links. I just like to share items that I personally love and recommend!*