Monday, June 30, 2014

Blank Slate Part 4 - The Living Room

Up next on the apartment tour, my “living room” – or at least that is what I call it.

If you have been following along, I moved into a new apartment in May. It is a studio apartment and slightly smaller than my previous home. The floor plan for my new place is HERE and a look at some of the other rooms I’ve shared so far HERE. Yes, it is indeed a blank slate. Houston and I did a little shopping this past weekend, but I am having a really hard time making myself spend any money on my new little place.

Inner dialogue: I should be grateful and thankful for what I have and stop obsessing about things I want. Just because my towels are mismatched doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them. I have to live here, I might as well make it pretty and somewhere I enjoy being. UGH. Anyone with some insight? Let me know.

So I bought a few things that I really liked and I returned a few that didn’t work out and I am going to try and get creative using what I already have in different ways. But first, the space with absolutely nothing on the walls:



This is the hallway from my front door/kitchen into the living room. See the hall closet? I was super excited to be getting a hall closet! It is the home for my vacuum, some gift wrap, and my tool kit. Oh yea, I have a tool kit.




The living room is where I spend a lot of my evenings working on homework. Since I don’t have a desk I use the side table that used to be in my bathroom as a stand for my laptop. My tiny couch fits perfectly in the little space and my small dresser is doing double duty for my scarves and DVDs. (please ignore the box and desktop computer in the corner.)




A mirror is going on the wall to make the space feel bigger and I have seriously been contemplating painting it as well – I am afraid of paint and it will probably stay the way it is, but it is fun to look at paint chips at Lowes anyway! 

** By the way, it is ridiculously hard to photograph an apartment with only one window... just go with it, ok? Any photography tricks would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Blank Slate Part 3 - The Funhouse Hall of Doors

I have two hallways in my apartment; one leads to the living space (stay tuned for another post) and this hallway that I fondly call the "fun house hall of doors."



Seriously.  There are 4 doors in less than 10 square feet!

The photo above is the view from my kitchen looking towards the bathroom - the door straight ahead. You can see more of the bathroom HERE.

On the left side of the hallway is my fabulous walk in closet. It is nice and roomy, which is great since I lost some serious storage in the laundry room.



I've re-purposed an old Walmart bookcase as a place to keep my laundry supplies and some household cleaning supplies as well. See my award for turning 18 on the bottom shelf? I love my Dad.  



The top of the book case is used for bracelets and right above it is my awesome necklace bar.  Thank you Pinterest, for the idea and Houston for knowing how to install a towel bar.



My old bathroom baskets corral items in the closet that would otherwise look like a hot mess if they were loosely stacked on the shelf. My temporary tags are all kinds of awesome. Don't worry, I will make real ones.

I also use plastic over-the-door wreath hooks to hold some handbags on the inside of the door.

Across from the closet (on the right) are two other doors. The left one, closest to the bathroom is my water heater.  Exciting, I know.


The door on the right (closest to the fridge) is my laundry "room." It holds my stackable washer and dryer, ironing board and my Swiffer.  Those four things pretty much max out the space.  I also use another over-the-door hook to hold my baking apron so it is easy to grab from the kitchen.


And, just in case you're wondering, I can actually open all four doors at the same time. The bathroom and closet open "in" and the water heater and laundry open "out." -- Yes, I actually was worried about that.

This post is not sponsored, but does contain some affiliate links that result in a small commission.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 11

Can you even believe June is over in five days??? FIVE days!

This year has just been moving so fast, it is as if I blink and three weeks are gone. My best friends’ babies are getting so big and I wish I could see them more than once every couple months. It is just not enough.

I am hoping summer brings a little more relaxing and stopping to smell the roses – or peonies. Have you ever smelled peonies? They are heavenly! I would love to get to the beach a couple times this summer and cross off a few items on my 30 while I’m 30 list HERE.

My final project is due this week for my journalism class so I haven’t had a lot of spare time to lazily peruse the internet and drool over pretty things I want for my home or wardrobe. I did, however, strike gold on Modcloth this week with some gorgeous pieces. I heart Modcloth. If I ever win the lottery and you wonder where all the money went, look no further than my Modcloth account.


*** if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below ***

1) Pretty sandals in seafoam? Don’t mind if I do! I love how these could be dressed up with a pretty sundress or dressed down with jeans and a t-shirt.

2) I loathe wearing a strapless bra. Seriously, the only time I willingly wear one is when I am in a bridal party. Every summer I forego buying beautiful summer dresses, simply because I can’t stand the thought of being hot, uncomfortable and looking like I have the sagging breasts of an 80-year-old woman. – I know I am not alone with the smushed/droopy strapless bra look. No good, no good.  Imagine my delight when I discovered this beauty! A beautiful and practical summer dress, sans the strapless bra!

3) This lamp is what started this week’s Modcloth obsessed wish list. I purchased a lamp shade from Ikea for my nightstand, but I really don’t love it. The burlap and blue of this lamp practically makes me swoon.

4) How adorable are these ice cream cups? They are absolutely perfect for mini root beer floats on the 4th of July! Also, they would be acceptable for any random Tuesday… but that’s just me. I am really intrigued with THIS paleo ice cream recipe from This Abode. I think I may have to give it a shot. Thoughts?

5) I love a good Mary Jane, and these mustard colored ones are darling! The edging is so sweet and the heel height is wonderful.

PDBJay Reader Question:  Do you like the little blurb about each item, or would you rather I just post the links? Less talk and more pretties? Any suggestions on making this feature more enjoyable for you would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, friends!


This post contains affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blank Slate Part 2 - The Kitchen

My new kitchen is so pretty! I actually have more cabinet space than my old apartment and I really like how open it feels compared to my last kitchen. The galley style kitchen with the sink on one side and the oven/appliances on the other would now seem severely cramped.



The openness is wonderful, especially since the space is smaller, but my only wish would be for a window in that corner of the chateau.

What are my favorite parts of the kitchen? Storage, storage storage!!! I love storage.

There are two really deep drawers next to the fridge. One for a utensil catch all (don’t judge me, I can’t maintain an organized utensil drawer to save my life) and the one below it is for the pots and pans I use most frequently - hence the severely destroyed Teflon pots pictured.



In between the stove and the sink there is a funny little door. I totally thought I would use it for my towels, but when I opened it I was amazed at how deep the “little” cabinet was. It is the length of that part of the counter! My baking supplies, colanders and less frequently used pans go in here.



Cake stand palooza happening above the sink with a strawberry pitcher thrown into the mix – it belonged to my beloved Gram.



So here’s what I am hoping to decorate soon:
Something above the sink – suggestions, appreciated.
New paper towel holder.
A rug/mat for below the sink.

Nothing crazy.


Stay tuned for more blank slate shenanigans and (hopefully) decorating progress!

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Dream of the Litter Genie

It's no secret that I like free stuff. I mean, duh, who wouldn't like free stuff? Why buy it when you can earn it for free? And that's exactly what I do with Crowdtap. I take a couple of surveys each month and I get some stuff for free! I've talk about free toilet paper here, and free clothes and gift cards here. But last week I got to be included on another awesome sampling opportunity.

Houston has 2 cats at his house. Mimi is a sweet orange moggie (mixed breeds) who loves to cuddle on the couch and Spooks is a beautiful Persian, who is adorable, but is definitely not the brightest crayon in the box.

I am horribly allergic to pet dander, so Houston keeps a pretty big stash of Zyrtec in his medicine cabinet for me. Allergies or not, I absolutely love those cats. In fact, I'm kinda turning into a crazy cat lady!

With two cats in the house, the litter boxes can start to get out of control rather quickly and since I've never had an indoor pet, it's not surprising how sensitive my nose is to a stinky box.

I've tried a couple sprays and  Arm & Hammer Deodorizer to neutralize smells in the laundry room to no avail, and cleaning out the litter box twice a day also means two trips to the trash can outside for Houston because cleaning them out and having a small trash can with poo in it is simply unsatisfactory to me. And yet again, the smell. Yuck.

Enter the Litter Genie!


(Image via)

This little two foot box is absolutely amazing. It is an odor sealing miracle and a convenient disposal system in one.

You don't know how it works? Well let me fill you in. (p.s. don't you just love the carpet in my new apartment? So much better than my last place.)



The container has a lid through which you dispose of the litter. Just flip it up and dump the stinky litter. 



Can you see the liner? - that's the secret to the genie.  There is a liner that extends from the top of the genie and down into the receptacle. For the sake of this demonstration, I will use a ball and not a wad of kitty waste. Because let's be real, no one wants to see that.




After placing the nasty kitty waste in the genie, close the lid and pull the trap door. The litter falls into the bottom of the container and when you release the door back to the closed position it creates a barrier between the waste and the rest of the world.  In other words: NO STINK!!!





I also love having a holder for the scoop on the side of the genie for quick mess clean up.



When a week or so has passed, open the main compartment by pushing the button on the middle of the genie and tear off the bag with the built in blade (the cutter).  Tie the bag closed and throw the yuck in the trash outside. 



Then tie the end of the bag still inside the genie and pull it down a smidge.  You're now ready to start over and enjoy being a happy cat owner with a stink-free home.



It is a win-win situation. The cats enjoy clean litter boxes and we can enjoy the hassle-free clean up. The genie's compact size makes it easy to place near the litter box without taking up a ton of space and I like that it isn't a total eye-sore. Now everyone can breathe (and sleep) easy!



This post was sponsored by Crowdtap and may also contain affiliate links, but the opinions (and the stink free home) are 100 percent my own.


Blank Slate Part 1 - The Bathroom

I have officially been living in my new apartment for a 48 days.

Yes, I love it. No, I am not completely unpacked. Yes, I am happy I moved. No, I haven’t found the infamous pink post-it yet.

Whew.

The best part about the move so far? Sleep! So much more sleep! I am consistently getting more sleep on a daily basis. Wednesday was a Los Angeles work day and I woke up at six o’clock to get ready. Six a.m. friends!!! A significant improvement from my old schedule where I was already in my car driving to the train station at six a.m.  Added bonus: I can make it from home to train station in less than ten minutes.

My old apartment was ten minutes away from any freeway, and just getting out of town was generally the worst part about going anywhere. I love being so close to the freeway now, and even though there isn’t a shopping center on my street, I go to the Eastvale Center. It is about a 10 minute drive, but that is where every store I could possibly need is located (other than Trader Joe's, dang it,) and it used to take me 10 minutes to drive to Target anyway. Win.

There is, however, nothing like moving that makes you want to change absolutely everything about your home d├ęcor, and I am feeling the urge to buy practically everything I see in Home Goods. My old apartment had a grape theme in the kitchen, leopard in my bedroom and bathroom (meow) and a sage green palette in the living room. I liked it, but after seven years, I have kind of grown out of it. So I am looking at a cool color palette for my new place, especially since the rooms all blend together and the square footage is less, see the floor plan HERE.

But before I get to decorating, take a peek at my blank slate part 1 - The Bathroom:


*Please excuse the bad lighting, there is NO natural light in this corner of my chateau.
** Please excuse the phone pictures, I don't have a wide angle lens and the space is pretty cramped.


This bathroom is WAY smaller than my old bathroom, but considering my old bathroom was the size of the Grand Ole Opry, this one is working just fine!

I have my old bathroom shower curtain and rug up right now, but I have already donated all the towels and countertop decorations. I am just trying to make a decision about colors and whether or not I want to just buy a bunch of big fluffy white towels. I have nixed the whole idea of spending a fortune on a shower curtain... but that is for a later post. Ooohhh, tease. I know.

Ready? Ok. We will be travelling counter-clockwise.


Up first, the bathroom counter! I love the hardware, the beadboard cabinets and the storage... HELLO, STORAGE!


This little guys drives me freaking crazy... what electrician thought it would be ok to leave an outlet so ridiculously crooked? -- I am a contractor's worst nightmare. (muah-hahaha)



So, back to the storage. I love how deep the drawers are and they are perfect for hiding hair tools away when I am not using them. But let's be real... the only time I put them away is when someone is coming over or I am randomly taking photos of my bathroom.


Standing in the bathtub for this photo of the empty sad corner of the bathroom. Maybe a shelf or a painting to pretty things up? The door opens to my "hallway" and then my kitchen. I will explain later.


Behind the door? You guessed it, MORE storage. Be still my organizing little heart. I didn't think my little studio apartment would be so accommodating. Towels, washcloths, toilet paper and toiletries go in here as well as a little stockpile from my couponing endeavors.


And that, is my bathroom. The bathtub is a big oval, but I didn't think you would really need to see the inside of the tub, right?

So a new color scheme is coming up. New towels, bathmat and a couple pretty decor items. I can hardly wait to start switching things out!

But first, the most massive yard sale in history must take place. This Saturday, June 21, 2014 in Eastvale, there will be a multifamily yard sale extravaganza that you definitely won't want to miss. Be there. Buy my old-ish stuff. Please!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 10

I live in Southern California. The land of perpetual sunshine! Plus, we have Disneyland which makes it even more amazing.

The fact that summer is here is a little strange to me. So far, 2014 has been FLYING by and I feel like it is still March. I am sure this is partially due to the fact that we never had winter and are now experiencing a statewide drought. I think there was literally three days of rain between October and April, which is no good in my book – I love staying in bed and listening to the rain.

So here I am, half way through 2014 making my summer favorites wish list and wishing I was going to the beach today instead of going to work.


*** if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below ***

1. No beach day, pool party or a Sunday cruise in the car is complete without the tunes of the Beach Boys playing in the background. There is something about that music that just makes me smile and gets me ready to get some s’mores!

2. Every fair-skinned lady needs an adorable floppy hat and this one is neutral enough to wear with multiple colors. It is also casual enough for my swimsuit and dressy enough to wear in the evening (to cover my frizzy beach hair!)

3. Lip balm and sunscreen in one? Yes please. This Blistex is my favorite lip balm and I actually use it year-round, but I definitely make sure I have one tucked away in my beach bag.

4. Speaking of beach bag… This one makes me want to grab a 50-50 bar out of the ice chest and I love the rope handle.

5. Two years ago Leah got me an adorable Mason jar decanter for Christmas. This one is pretty similar to the one I have. Isn’t it cute? Perfect for iced tea for Houston and lemonade for me!

6. I think this dress goes perfectly with all of the accessories in this list! I like the wider straps, because I loathe strapless bras, and the cinched waist for some shape. It would be perfect for a suit cover-up or even by itself for a night out.

7. This necklace would be great with the dress for a nice dinner near the beach. I only buy pieces that are really versatile, and I think this necklace would be great with multiple outfits. It is a statement necklace without being too overwhelming.

8. Cornhole!!! When we were at the Wilson’s a few months ago the guys literally played cornhole for six hours or more. This cute table top version would be great for picnics and BBQs without having to lug the full size game in the back of a truck!

9. I don’t own any Toms, but I really like these pretty crochet ones! They look more delicate and girly than the solid canvas ones.

10. Now, I don’t sunbathe, but no girl likes tan lines! This top is so pretty, even if no one would ever see me in it.

11. Anyone suddenly get a craving for an Icee? How about orange sherbet? Well, if I can’t have either one of those things, I will settle for a scarf in yummy colors and I can wear it through summer since it is light and airy!

12. My most FAVORITE thing on this week’s wishlist. My Ocean Potion facial sunscreen!!! I wear this every day. Even if I don’t put on all my makeup, I still put on my sunscreen. My morning routine goes like this: face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation. The sunscreen isn’t oily and has never caused breakouts. It does have a slight “tropical” smell, but I like it.


I hope your summer is off to a great start and that your weekend will be filled with sunshine. Mine will be filled with a yard sale. Seriously, please come buy my old stuff!!! 

This post contains affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally admire or love.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 9

So this past weekend was practically nonexistent for me. The firm I work for just moved to a new location and I helped pack and then unpack the hundreds of boxes full of post-its, stacking trays and countless three-ring binders. My OCD kicked into high gear while I organized for days and miraculously made everything fit in the new space! Whew!

But I managed to find some awesome Father’s Day gift ideas for this week’s wish list (Father’s Day is on Sunday, FYI). I even included the fun gift I purchased my Dad – let’s see if you can guess which one is his! This is an eclectic list for a variety of fellas and I hope one fits the bill for the man you’re shopping for!


*** if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below ***


1) Baseball. How legitimate do these gloves look?!? I totally thought these were actual baseball gloves and I was so excited to see that they are oven mitts!

2) DIY Lego cufflinks for the gentleman with a boyish heart. I was so surprised to see that these were handmade by Dream A Little Bigger and not something you would have to buy in a store. They are perfect for a last minute gift or a fun present on a random Tuesday.

3) I know one or two Dads who would love this print on their desks. Such a clever use of the quotes! (It looks like it may have been removed from the website due to copyright issues)

4) It’s a credit card. It’s a light bulb. It’s a credit card light bulb! How cool is that! It would be perfect for an emergency kit too.

5) Pizza is a weakness of mine and the thought of a homemade pizza cooked on a BBQ makes my mouth water!

6) Ok, so Houston isn’t a dad, but I think I may have to get him this just for fun! I can think of a million different things to make guitar picks out of: credit cards, concert tickets, the Frosted Flakes box! The possibilities are endless.

7) For the craft beer or root beer drinking dad, this caddy is both masculine and functional! So much classier than the cardboard variety and with a built-in bottle opener too!

8) This is such a quirky gift – a sardine can with a small survival kit inside! You would have to order more than one though, because most of the dads that I know wouldn’t be able to resist seeing what was inside the tin!

I hope you are having a wonderful week and that you have already finished your Father’s Day shopping. If not, I hope the list helps.

My brain is positively bursting with fun ideas for the blog and I am hoping to get a few of them out this week.


This post contains affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally admire or love.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wanted

Ok friends, the moving extravaganza happened four weeks ago and I still have several items I can’t find.

1. The pink post it. Yes, I was exaggerating my concerns about moving and changing comfort level HERE but I seriously haven’t located that infamous pink post-it.

2. My favorite black bra. My undergarments are missing but that’s my bad. I still had laundry out when everyone showed up to help me move (read: my boyfriend, my nephews and my best friends’ husbands). Awkward. I threw it into some bag/box that apparently hasn't been unpacked yet.

3. My favorite pink nail polish. Don’t ask me why it isn’t with all of the other nail polishes… I probably wouldn't have been able to find it at my old apartment either.

4. I can’t find my cheap red scissors anywhere! They aren’t with my craft supplies and they aren’t with my office things. Where the heck are they???

I'm looking forward to unpacking the six boxes I have left in my living room and then being able to vacuum my new home! Hopefully Houston will be able to help me hang mirrors and paintings next weekend and I can breathe a huge sigh of relief when everything is off the floor.

I hope you have an awesome weekend, friends!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 8

Hello friends! I have spent all month unpacking my home and simultaneously packing up my desk and other work areas in preparation for our office move this weekend. Needless to say, I am becoming a pretty efficient packing machine. 

This week’s wish list is a hodgepodge of some really pretty things, because life is a little hodgepodgey now and then, isn’t it?



*** if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below ***

1) This adorable dress was showcased on another Elise’s blog and I fell in love as soon as I spotted it. – Eh? Eh? Ok, I will abandon horrible puns in the future. Yet another dress that proves you can be fashionable and classy at the same time. Winning! -- It figures that it is out of stock right now though, right? Dang.
2) I don’t know why I love earrings so much because I literally wear the same pair of pearl earrings every day. I am hoping to build up a little collection of costume jewelry and start accessorizing more this year. I love little studs more than heavy ones – I have a completely irrational fear that I will end up with ugly earlobes if I wear heavy earrings. Oh the things that women worry about.
3) Target has really awesome glass jars for under $10 and I want to put them everywhere in my new home. I have one in the cupboard for cupcake liners, but I am thinking I need a dozen or so to hold everything else. Obsessed much? I would love to have a snack one on the counter, with some cookies or yummy popcorn, but I lack willpower when it comes to sweets.
4) Who would love to have this beautiful hair? I do. How about the ability to do it yourself? Pick me! My hair would have so many frizzy flyaways it would be comical, but Emily at the Freckled-Fox looks positively stunning.
5) I love this print and the radiating positivity.  I think it would look darling in a little frame on my nightstand or on my desk at work. Helpful little reminders keep me focused on the many things I have to be thankful for and keep everything in perspective. It doesn’t hurt that it is another beautifully hand-drawn creation from Jenny Highsmith.
6) Oh baby! T-strap oxfords??? Come to mama. I love the moderate heel height with a classic shoe.
7) I have been looking for a little gray alarm clock for my bathroom counter. Something to keep track of the time while I get ready for work but I don’t want a “standard” sized clock that takes up half the counter. This one from Anthropologie is perfect, except it is too big. Dang it. Be on the lookout, friends. Thank you in advance. In the meantime, I picked up THIS one from Ikea for $0.99. That is a dollar well spent, if you ask me.

I am still working on photos of the new apartment, unpacking and adjusting to my new “normal” commute of 15 minutes.

Thank you for joining me on the crazy journey!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Queen Mary Brunch - Long Beach, California

When I was 12 my beloved paternal grandparents took me on a tour of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. I was obsessed with the Titanic and all things vintage and as I walked up and down the decks of the beautiful ship, I couldn't help but feel as if I had been transported back in time to an era of transatlantic cruises and elaborately decorated hats.

This weekend I got the opportunity to see more of this amazing ship and enjoy a delicious champagne brunch in the Grand Salon for some belated birthday celebrations and I was able to see parts of the ship that I didn't get to see last time!






*What a handsome man*

We had a wonderful time with Gary and Ruby, walking through the different floors of the ship that now house the Queen Mary hotel and several different museums. There is a great Groupon for the Princess Diana exhibit HERE, if you're interested. It is easy to see why the Queen Mary hosts an annual Halloween event. The long hallways and wooden corridors evoke an eery feeling even in the middle of the day.







I could have walked around the ship for hours, but my tummy was growling and we headed back to the Grand Salon for food and mimosas!



Talk about a beautiful room! Harpist, mural and a nifty map that had little boats on tracks to illustrate the location of the ship on its transatlantic route!




The food was amazing, the mimosas refillable (heck yes!) and the company was delightful. 


The only disappointing part of the day was seeing the beautiful ship in need of serious repairs. But I just block out the peeling paint and dripping rust and imagine myself lounging on the main deck, mimosa in hand, enjoying the salty air on a cruise through the Atlantic Ocean. They simply don't make things like they used to.


(image via)