Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In the mood to feel feelings about the rug that got away

So, I've been bidding on rugs on ebay.  And last week I fell in love with the most gorgeous rug.  Really, she was something special.  I felt feelings about that rug.

I wanted to go places with that rug.  I wanted to hold its hand and sing Bicycle Built for Two, like in the episode of Futurama where Bender dates the Planet Express Ship (Love and Rocket, season 4).

Anyway, like Bender's failed relationship with the Planet Express Ship, my relationship with that lovely rug was doomed from the start.  Well, maybe not from the start, but definitely by the end.  Because I didn't want to bid more than $400 for it... and someone else did.  I will always regret that rug.

Good night, sweet prince.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In the mood to bid on rugs!

Oh eBay.

So, I've finally waded into the bidding-on-antique-rugs-on-eBay pool.  What?  You didn't know that was a thing?  WELL IT IS.

Jenny does it.  (And as per usual, does it best.  I mean look at that rug.)

Dana does it.

And now Kat does it!  I'm among the trendy blogging elite!  Just kidding.

But what I'm not kidding about?  Bidding on these rugs.

I'm picturing the orange rug above in my guest bath.  I'm painting our hideous builder-grade cabinets a nice glossy gray.  Can't you just picture it, with a (faux) marble counter and some brass cabinet pulls?  Yummo.

This one is (at least from the pic) nice and muted.  It's 4.5' x 6', so I'm thinking of putting it in my guest room.  It's currently at $1.06 and the auction has another day left.  AND NO I WON'T TELL YOU WHAT THE LISTING IS JEEZ BACK OFF.

This little beauty is (I think) 8 x 6, and I love the bright red with the pops of blue.  This is another contender for our guest room.

And this one just might be perfect for our master bathroom.  It just might.

Of course, we'll just have to see what auctions I win.  I'm sure I won't win them all, but I really hope I get a rug for $1.06.  That would be the best eBay score EVER.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In the mood for this burger

If it were up to me (and apparently it's not), I'd be eating this burger right now:

Jameson Whiskey and Blue Cheese Burger with Guinness Cheese Sauce and Crispy Onions.  Holy hell!  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In the mood for matte black

So, what I'm really in the mood for these days is to renovate our bathrooms.  P.S. did you know that renovation is expensive?  Even if you go with Ikea?  We've started "saving."

I started a new pin board for my bathroom makeovers.  I call it Ikea Bathroom.  Genius.  I've been geeking out over hex tiles and free-standing tubs and brass sconces and round mirrors.  And you know what else?  Fixtures.  Bathroom fixtures really interest me these days.  Who knew?

I saw this one on Emily Henderson's blog, and it's got me thinking about matte black.

Matte black!  Right?!  Can you believe this is from HD?  (Is that a thing?  My parents call it HD, which is both cute and nerdy.)  And it's only $115!  

Or how about this little number?  I'd turn that on any day.

Or how about this?  It's just a humble door knob, but I love how it's flat and modern.


I'm planning on going for something like this, from Smitten Studio, for our guest bathroom.

I just love how the matte black blurs the edges and soaks up all the light.  It somehow looks both creamy and moody.  It's blunted and rich, and it pairs perfectly with the shiny white and brushed brass.  I'd also add some woven baskets or unfinished wood accents for texture.  (And I just noticed the hex planter echoes the floor tile.  So clever.)

What do you think of the matte black trend?  Will we tire of it in five minutes, or is it here to stay (for a while)?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In the mood/ Not in the mood

I just invented a game called In the Mood/ Not in the Mood.  Here's how it goes:

I'm in the mood to: go to the beach
I'm not in the mood to: be at work

Pretty fun, huh?

Let's do a few more!

I'm in the mood to: leave work early!
I'm not in the mood to: be at work

I'm in the mood to: shop online!  Sephora, specifically.
I'm not in the mood to: be at work!

I'm in the mood to: write a silly blog!
I'm not in the mood to: be at work!

Monday, March 9, 2015

In the mood for a grunge date!

So, this weekend, deep in the throes of KonMari MANIA, Brian and I dropped off two car-loads of donation goodies to Goodwill.  We'd been grunging about all day, digging through crap that we no longer needed, trying on clothes that no longer fit (we KonMari'd the heck out of Brian's closet, aw yeah), and at 5:30 p.m. on a Sunday, we were looking H-O-T.  Just kidding, we looked like crap.  So we decided to go get a beer!

(That is a delicious Scottish Ale, looking delicious.)

We never go out looking like crap.  Or, rather, we aspire to never go out looking like crap.  It's aspirational.  Brian has waged a very personal war against the oversized cargo shorts/flip flops/football jersey/ backwards hat uniform of his peers.  And me?  Well, I'm just vain.  But when you're just going to drop off some junk at the garbagestore, who cares, right?

Brian don't care.

Married dates are funny.  They usually aren't spontaneous and there's usually too much house-talk.  You know the kind: "Are we out of cat food?" or "Did you wash my sweatshirt?" or "What should we make for dinner tonight?" or "Did you clean out Roomba's filter?"  BORING.  I made a rule a while ago that we couldn't spend our dates talking about our boring home life.  We have to treat it like a date!  Like we're getting to know each other!  Like we have exciting lives that aren't centered around five ungrateful cats!  We gotta shake things up!

I've been trying to make sure our dates are actually fun, rather than routine.  From trying new places, to meeting up at a bar (rather than riding together), to playing a game where we have to tell each other one story that we've never told before.  A few weeks ago, we did the whole New York Times 36 Questions that will make two strangers fall in love thing. Not being strangers, and already being in love, it wasn't groundbreaking, but it was fun and made for some fun conversation.  Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo recommends encoupled people meet at the bar or restaurant, so as to avoid the whole unsexy getting-ready-in-the-same-bathroom-beforehand scene.  (She also recommends seeing the movie first, if you're brave enough to attempt the classic dinner-and-a-movie-date.)
All in all, our grunge date was pretty great.  Even though we were shlumping around in gross garbageclothes and sweaty from a day of schlepping, we had a great time.  I think it was the spontaneity of it all.  I think that's the key.  After all, marriage is pretty much a spontaneity-free zone.  Sure, it's cozy and comfy and wonderful, but one does begin to miss feeling like anything might happen.  So watch out world!  We might just go get a beer on a Sunday afternoon. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

In the mood for cat eyes

Aren't cat eyes the greatest?  They're classic, sexy, femme, and can be sweet or a little bit dangerous.


I do some version of the cat eye pretty much every day.  Want to know a secret?  It makes you look younger and more awake.  And it's pretty easy to do.


Sometimes I do a liquid liner, but I prefer the softer, smokier look of the shadow.  When I use shadow, I do my cat eye with an angled eye shadow brush.  I got mine from Target many years ago, but this one from Sephora is similar.  

I use a method similar to this (below), only with powder shadow rather than gel shadow, so that the line is smokier and less harsh.  I get the brush damp, swipe it in some dark brown shadow, and stamp the edge of my upper lashes, following the lash line, starting from the inner corner, going to the outer corner and flicking up just a bit at the end.  It's really important to flick the brush up at the end!  It's all about the flick.  


My end result is usually something like this:
But there are so many ways you can do the cat eye.

1950s Italian movie star glam:

Boho, 1960s, Allie McGraw:


Fun and fresh in color:


Classic rock and roll:

Teeny tiny:

And, kinda like a cartoon.  In the best possible way.

 (No source.)

 So, tell me: which way do you cat eye?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In the mood for: The KonMari Method - books!

I recently posted about my foray into the KonMari Method of decluttering, as outlined by Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  The KonMari Method breaks down decluttering into several categories.  Kondo says that it's more efficient to declutter and organize by category rather than by room.  So, you start with clothes, then move on to books, then papers, then komono (miscellaneous items), then mementos.  It seems to me that komono is just too huge of a grouping to count as just one category.  I made more categories for myself, including linens, dishes/ceramics, kitchen tools, bakeware, glassware, tchotchkes, jewelry, and bathroom supplies (including grooming supplies, beauty supplies, and beauty tools - I am so high maintenance).

So, on Friday night, with drinks in hand, Brian and I started looking at our bookshelves.  We had recently pared down our collection quite a bit, so we were in an okay place.  But, we could always do more, right?

Here's the before:

I have a thing for colors and color-coding. 

Since we're turning our office into a music room for Brian, those amps will no longer be in the bookcases.  But, since our cats are assholes, we really shouldn't have anything on the bottom shelves.  Because they spray.  That's why we can't have nice things.


There's that little asshole now.  One of them, anyway.

Who, me?

Kondo says that you should take each and every book down and put them on the floor, just like with your clothes, and touch each book and ask whether it sparks joy.  Well, we'd already done that fairly recently (about six months ago).  Sure, we weren't asking about joy-sparking, but we did physically touch each and every book, and we got rid of a lot.  We didn't put the books on the floor - instead we put them on the dining room table... and we broke the damn thing.  I'm not even kidding.  I blame Brian.

Anyhoo, we left our books in the bookcases (which is not the Kondo-approved method!), but looked through all of them, and touched most of them.  I let go of some books I'd loved and had for years (Jane Eyre, 90% of the Thomas Hardy books I read in my Honors Seminar class in college), but kept other books I'd loved and had for years (my original copy of Pride and Prejudice and For Whom the Bell Tolls, that were my mom's from college).  Brian and I were the ultimate arbiters of our own books - if he wanted to keep something, I didn't argue and vice versa.  

We ended up with four bags and one box of books.  Not too shabby.

And here's the library after.  It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty good.  (Oh, and those magazine holders are full of magazines, and those magazines' days are numbered.  Who needs to keep old magazines when Pinterest exists?)

We didn't go through ALL of our books, just the books in the bookcases.  There are still some books in the office, scattered throughout the house, and in my parents' attic.  Again, this is not the official KonMari Method, but whatever.   For 30 minutes on a Friday night, I think we did pretty well!  

According to Kondo, I'm supposed to do papers next, but that seems terribly overwhelming.  So, I will probably move on to one of my own categories, like linens.  We have a linen closet, and we only use about 25% of it.  I think I have full and queen sized sheets, but haven't had a full or queen sized bed in over a year.  There is a momentum about this project that I'm enjoying.  Going through my clothes was a little tiring, but now that it's done, I feel better, lighter.  It does lift a weight to set yourself free from all of this stuff that you don't need.


Monday, March 2, 2015

In the mood for: the KonMari Method!

So, I got this book for my mom for Christmas, only it turns out that she bought it for herself, so I kept it.

Marie Kondo's revolutionary technique, (the KonMari Method) is basically that we should get rid of 50-75% of what we own, and only keep the things that "spark joy."  The KonMari Method is, apparently, super popular in Japan.  It hadn't occurred to me before, but apparently the Japanese are as big consumers as we Americans are!  And being a consumer culture means that we acquire a lot of STUFF.  And owning a lot of stuff is stressful.    

So, I decided to try out the KonMari Method.  Here we go!

Step One: Gather all of your belongings fitting in a certain category in one place.  First, off: clothing.  Marie Kondo says it's easiest to get rid of clothing, because we don't get attached to clothing, and it's easy to replace.  Um, speak for yourself, sister.  

It's essential to gather everything in one place, says Kondo, because then you really get an idea of how much stuff you have.  Further, it's important to go by category rather than by room, because we tend to spread our belongings out in various places.  For instance, I had clothing in my closet, in my bedroom, in the guest room, and in the guest closet.  Before I started, I made a list of each category and the locations where stuff within that category might be.  Kondo doesn't require you to make a list, but hey, I love lists. 

So, that's all my clothing!  There were four plastic bins, plus everything on the bed.  I did not include my scarves, hats, and belts.  That's a lot of GD clothing, and a ton of it was from 8+ years ago.

Step Two: touch each item, and ask yourself, "Does this spark joy?"  I love this question, and Brian and I have been asking it about EVERYTHING lately.  It might be a difficult concept to grasp, but the way I think of it is like this: does this item make me happy in a meaningful way?  I think it's important to open one's mind to the whole joy-sparking being intangible or even unexplainable.  There are some tops that I love because they look good on me, but there are other items that I love just because I love them.  Marie Kondo makes it clear that the joy-sparking must be right now, in the present.  There were plenty of items in my closet that had once sparked joy, but no longer did.  The joy-sparking can come from an item that you no longer wear, as long as it still sparks joy.  

This is probably the most joy-sparking thing I own, at least currently.

It's a pink coat, for God's sake.  Joy sparking ALL OVER THE PLACE.

In the end, these were the clothes that sparked joy.  They're the things that look good on me, feel good, make me feel good about the world or myself.  

Here are the shoes that spark joy:

Those platform sandals almost didn't make it, but I decided they could stay till summer.  If they don't spark joy then, they're outtahere.

Step Three: When you determine that an item does not currently spark joy, you thank it for its service, and you release it into the world.  This is one of Kondo's concepts that I think a lot of Americans will find bizarre and silly, but I love it!  I read somewhere that Kondo has a background in Shinto, which explains her tendency to personify inanimate objects.  I love personifying inanimate objects and/or anthropomorphising animals.  It's kind of my thing.  So thanking a sweater for its service is cool by me.  There were a few sweaters, in fact, that I once LOVED, but that no longer sparked joy, and I swear, when I was thanking them for their service, I really meant it.  Whatever, I thank sweaters.

So, after you determine which items don't spark joy, and after you thank them for their service, you have to get rid of them.  Fast.  Give them to Goodwill, sell them on ebay, arrange a clothes swap with friends, just get them out of your house as quickly as possible!  The longer these items stay in your home, the more likely you are to talk yourself into keeping them.  Believe me, I've already felt the pull.  I organized my rejects into three categories: donate to Goodwill, donate to Dress for Success, and try to sell.  

I packed up my Goodwill donations on Saturday, and on Sunday, I dropped them off:

And I have to say, even handing off these bags to the Goodwill employee was kind of hard!  I get attached to things.

Step Four: Once you determine what you're keeping, you organize it.  Kondo says to discard first, and organize second.  She also says that there's a special way to fold everything, and that the item itself has to tell you how it wants to be folded.  Again, a lot of people might think this is bizarre, but I not only find it delightful, I totally agree.  (There are plenty of KonMari folding videos on YouTube if your items aren't sharing with you their particular folding desires.)  Kondo says that drawers hold more than hangers, and that folding your items so that they stand up (like files in a filing cabinet) as opposed to flat, utilizes the space better and makes it easier for you to find what you're looking for.

So, I did it.  I didn't totally believe it would work.  I mean, if I folded my shirts like files, wouldn't they fall over?  But damned if KonMari didn't have it right.

This was my sleep/work-out shirts drawer.  I pretty much wear tank tops all year 'round, for sleeping, exercising, and anytime I'm not out in public.  I buy these from Eddie Bauer, and I love them.  They aren't haute couture, but dammit, they spark joy.

Kondo suggests using shoe boxes to corral smaller items.  This worked well for my bras, socks, and tanks.

Here's my sleep shorts/ exercise shorts/ PJ bottoms drawer.  See how the shorts/pants are stacked standing up?  You can see what's there, and they take up much less space.  If I need my red hearts PJ pants, I know exactly where they are.

Kondo suggests folding most of your clothes, except suits, delicate dresses, and coats.  I would add: clothes that don't want to be folded, like button-down tops.  So, I folded my knit dresses, and my knit tops, and my sweaters, and I hung the rest.


Knit tops and sweaters, above.  Knit dresses and skirts, below.

Coats, suits, blazers, dresses!

Skirts, slacks, and jeans, hanging!

Tops, hanging!  Think I like color much?

 And shoes.  

See those wedges on the bottom shelf?  I haven't worn those in years, but I bought them when I lived in LA, and I still love them so much that I couldn't bear to get rid of them.  That's the sort of joy-sparking that Kondo talks about, I think.  Primarily, though, I wear all of those shoes on a regular basis.  It's nice not to have a lot of clutter confusing things.

Once I put back all of my clothes, I felt like I had more choices, even though I have fewer clothes.  And, whether it's because I just touched each and every piece of clothing I own, it definitely makes me happier to look into my closet.  It's like I'm hanging out with a bunch of friends.  And isn't that how it should be?

 Next up: Books!