Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Living Room Additions

What do this lamp...

This (blurry) map...

And these window panels all have in common?

They are all recent additions to the living room!

The tripod lamp was on sale from The Foundary, an online discount retailer that offers home goods at up to 70% off. The lamp was a 24 hour event, and I scored it for $75.00, far below the price of any other tripod lamps I could find online. It came with the (currently crooked) linen shade. It is calling the corner by the slider home for now. 

The vintage map is still in its box, hence the blurry eBay picture, but it looks much better (and clearer!) in person. It's from the 1960's and still attached to it's wooden rollers. I got it for a song on eBay, and hope once it's up, it will look like this inspiration pic. We just need to buy the appropriate hardware to mount it; we are thinking drapery brackets (unless you guys have any better ideas; we are open to suggestions). I am so eager to get it up on the navajo wall taunting me behind the sofa, but it might be more practical to wait until we paint in a couple weeks. What do you all think? 

We will definitely wait to put up the new curtain panels until we paint. I, like many out there, have been stalking these beauties from West Elm, just laying in wait until they went on sale. Alas, they did about a week ago and I pounced, using a 10% off promotion code to drop the price from $49.99 per panel to just about $45.00. And due to a gift card I have been holding onto since Christmas (thanks a million Mom!), we got them for free! The color, texture, and pattern are just lovely in the room.

They will go above the sliders in the living room and the dining room, and I bought a extra panel for the small window just to the right of the living room slider. My plan is to DIY a roman shade using this tutorial, since I think hanging panels would look weird above the window seat. So now I not only have to get up the guts to paint a lofted room and living/dining/kitchen combo, but also to sew and craft. Should make for an interesting summer! Only five more days and counting! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

I am taking a quick break from grading to post about our long weekend. Aside from being sick all weekend and working, we spent a wonderful Saturday with family at a wedding at the breathtaking Naval Postgraduate School ballroom.

It has beautiful Moroccan inspired tile work and details like carved wood doors and iron chandeliers.

I love getting glammed up, and it was a treat to spend the evening surrounded by family, friends, and such gorgeous architecture.

Oh, and did I mention that this little guy was showing off the whole time?

I had never seen a live peacock before, and I was blown away by what incredibly beautiful creatures they are.

I will be back tomorrow with some new swag for the living room. Oh, and since I caught this bug in the middle of last week, hence my lack of posts on Thursday and Friday, I will be sure to share the mishaps around here I teased you with in this post.

Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Unpacking

I confessed last week to still unpacking three months after moving in. While I told you how I managed to free the dining room of boxes, I neglected to mention that I also unpacked some art and accessories and worked a little temporary entryway magic.

Here's a picture of our entryway after we first moved in. It's long and narrow, and the first thing you see is this closet door. Not ideal. (Eventually we would like to move the door to the opposite side of the closet and create a little vignette with a console and a mirror so you see something pretty when you first move in, but I digress.)

I added some (blurry) photos and my beloved moss and rope balls (there really isn't a better name for them), which has that funky furniture piece looking a little better.

Now the beautiful blown glass piece we got as a wedding present has some (appropriate) company.
Those piles of papers and my running belt and hat that I always left there really weren't doing her justice.

I didn't stop here though. I also tackled the boxes in the living room. Remember these guys?

The speakers were hooked up about a month after moving in, but these boxes full of DVD's, CD's, and art remained.

Fortunately We have some window seat storage on either side of the fireplace, so I decided to stash the CD's and DVD's until we work up to redoing the fireplace with a less offensive rock. (It's called "driftwood" for any interested parties.)

I had planned on just getting some cheapo milk crates at Target, but then I saw these water hyacinth baskets specifically made for DVD's.

At $11.99 each, they were about $5 more than the cheapest (and ugliest) plastic DVD containers I could find. There is nowhere to display these beauties yet, but on day when we upgrade to a flat screen TV, we are going to build a entertainment center out of some leftover teak (the top has already been made). I figured I would rather fork out a little extra for something we can display down the road instead of buying something that we would only use for (hopefully) a couple years tops and eventually have to replace anyway.

The next bit is not rocket science. I divided our DVD collection into two categories - romance/comedy (mine) and everything else (his) - and organized the DVD's alphabetically. Here they are all ready to be hidden away.

And here they are in their new home:

The living room is looking a little better now. The box of art got hauled off to my office until we paint.

We still need to hide away the CD's being stored in our tall CD tower. Even my guy agrees it's an eyesore, which is unheard of, and there is really no where to put it in the room.

Here's the dilemma: Hubby wants to store all the CD's in binders, but we already have three binders that are collecting dust. I would prefer to upload the songs we want to my external hard drive. As usual, we can't agree so I am looking to you; do you have any inspired ideas for CD storage? Pinterest has failed me for the first time and I am desperate!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Enjoying the Moment

Last night was an awards night for my Puente students at school, and rather than posting about something home or food related, I want to bask in the glory of the moment and go rogue by talking about the 7-9 job - you know, the one that covers the mortgage. I hope you will humor me.

In case you are not familiar with the Puente Project, it is a program that aims to get mostly first-generation educationally disadvantaged students into college. You can read more about it here: http://www.puente.net/. The beauty of the Puente model is that students stay with their freshmen and sophomore English teacher - that's me - for two years. We become a family, with all the ups and downs that comes with that word. I have seen these kids make unexpected strides in their learning, achieve goals (both academic and not) that they never thought were possible, and weather some seriously tough stuff.

And last night was a culmination of these two years of hard work on all of our parts. It was a celebration of how far they have come, and it marked the end of our time together in the class. I am heartbroken and excited for them at the same time.

It is not often that you get a sense of the impact you make as a teacher, and it's not every day that I feel appreciated. Most days, not getting home or eating dinner till 9 would have left me cranky and wiped out. But right now I feel like every moment of the last two years - every late night spent lesson planning, every essay I graded, every weekend spent working, and every last tear - was worth it.

Here's how I know (besides my heart being full to the brim):

The sweetest flowers that anyone has every given me...from my Puentistas.

Thanks for allowing me to gush about the amazing kids I get to spend my days with! Back tomorrow with some more of what this blog is supposed to be about.

Monday, May 23, 2011

100% Gone

The 90% Rule that I confessed to obeying last week may still be in effect, but at least the pile of rubble and the toilet that were chilling in our backyard are 100% gone. I took care of the concrete remnants, and Ryan had the pleasure of smashing that old toilet to smithereens. Here's the proof of our two projects (the grass in the backyard and the new toilet, respectively), being 100% complete.

Well, with all those leaves there is still some work to do, but it will have to wait.

And what, you ask, is that orange thing and that silver stuff in the background of the bottom picture? The orange thing is our kayak, which still does not have a home, and the silver things are fancy sawhorse legs (I think). Our next project is to take everything out of the garage and organize it so there is room for all the currently homeless stuff on our deck. We stuffed the garage to the gills the night we moved and have been tiptoeing around tools, buckets, and lumber ever since. We're hoping to carve out a spot for a workshop, which should be tricky in our jam-packed one-car garage, but we're gonna try. Of course, I'll share whatever we come up with.

Aside from the 10% project completion, we didn't do much this weekend on the home front. I failed miserably at two small projects (I'll share all the shameful details tomorrow), and I do have a little unpacking project on the horizon (more on that later in the week when I tackle it). The school year is winding down for me, which makes for a lot of papers to grade and finals to concoct, so it was a busy work weekend for me. Imagine something along these lines:

I hope you all carved out some time to relax!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fashion Friday: Cheap Thrills

I had to take a day off from the old blog yesterday thanks to my migraine brain. But I couldn't resist posting about some pretty sweet and cheap fashion finds at Target to get you excited for those weekend errands.

I know the blogosphere has been buzzing about Calypso's new line with Target. Their home goods line has been getting a lot of attention, as has their large and colorful jewelry. But while I admire their jewelry on others (I am easing into wearing big, bold jewelry), what I really want is this dress:

The grey linen would transition well from summer to fall, and it is more appropriate for work and weekend than the white version, which is also really sweet.

What really got my pulse racing were all those playful ruffles.

I *love* ruffles on pretty much anything - shoes, shirts, skirts, (wedding) dresses, you name it - and the wrap silhouette is so flattering. Once I saw that $42.99 price tag, I knew I had to make this dress mine. But when I jetted down to my local Target, all they had was the white; I was so disappointed that I didn't even think to try it on so I could figure out my size and buy it online. But mark my words, this dress will be mine...

Fortunately, the trip to Target was not a lost cause. I stopped by my new go-to place for shoes, AKA their shoe department, since I am still wearing these laser cut lovelies to death. (I am on my second white pair and I also bought them in the pewter). And to my joy, I found two pairs of shoes that made my disappointment over the Calypso dress all but disappear.

These gold flats will get a ton of use over the summer. They are perfect for work and weekends and feel more dressed up than flip flops, but at $15.00 a pair, they almost as cheap as their more casual cousins.
And these babies are for going out. Yep, they're my dancing shoes. I wore them at Megan's recent wedding thinking my feet would be all torn up and aching since they are faux leather, but they were no worse than any other 3.5" heel. They will be taken for another night out on the town at a wedding next weekend. I can't wait!

Their nude color blends in well with these blindingly white legs, making the gams look much longer. And while nude heels are (and let's face it, have been) a huge trend, if they suddenly plummet in popularity, it won't be the end of the world since they only set me back $29.99.

What cheap thrills can't you get enough of these days? Do tell!

Have a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Linking Up

Just a quickie and super late post to share that I am linking up to Centsational Girl's Home May'D link party. I am sharing our first (and 100% complete project): our fence. Check out all the fun outdoor ideas here:

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Eye Candy: Pattern at Play

The newest issues of Lonny is out!

And of course I have fallen head over heels in love with a room, this time by Lisa Sherry Interieurs.

I would love to magically transport the entire room to my house. It is playful, colorful, and yet sophisticated at the same time. And seriously, how much do you love that rug and wallpaper? I would have never thought to put something like that together, but it totally works.

The little details get me too. I have a thing for tripod lamps, so you know this oversized guy has me all worked up. As does that playful green patterned fabric on the bean bag chair that is hiding on the left side of the photo. So.much.fun!

Her style is really speaking to me these days. It turns out this pic that I posted last week is her masterful work too.

(I am on the hunt for a map of my own. I have my eye on some ebay lovelies.)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

90% Rule

There is this phenomenon in my household, and I am wondering if it happens to anyone else. It seems as though whenever we are getting close to finishing a project, we stop, wipe the dust/dirt/paint from our hands, congratulate ourselves, and walk away when there is still 10% left to complete.

You need some evidence? I've got tons.

Case in point. I told you how we jackhammered up some of the concrete jungle that is our backyard, spread out 1.6 tons of topsoil, and planted grass seed. But what I neglected to mention is that there was a pretty sizable pile of concrete pieces and dirt left that was too heavy to fit in the trash can.

The plan was to load this into the trash the week after we demoed, and if it didn't all fit one week, to keep chipping away at it until it was all gone... And that was 4 weeks ago. Let's face it, the pile could have been long gone by now if we would have stuck to the plan.

I finally motivated to take a crack at the original plan yesterday, and after just a few minutes of shoveling - yep, you read that right, I said minutes - I was left with only half the pile.

I hope that I don't get too lazy forget to put the rest of the pile in this week's trash.

I wish this were the only case of falling victim to the 90% rule, but alas, there is a toilet in our backyard waiting to meet the same fate as the rubble above.

The hubs replaced our second bathroom toilet last weekend, and again, was waiting for room in the trash to dispose of the old toilet before busting it into pieces. But the new toilet is working so well - it actually flushes! - that I think we both kinda forgot about it. Or maybe it's just not a priority. But then I had to ask myself, "How is an old toilet hanging out on your deck NOT a priority?" That's kinda crazy.

Other examples abound, like our 90% unpacked house that I confessed to yesterday and the hallway closet door that still needs to be rehung (we had to remove it to fix the master bathtub plumbing). I could go on, but this is just getting embarrassing.

Please, please reassure me that I am not the only one that stops seeing projects once they are 90% complete. If you're like us, how do you motivate to finish? If you're not, please share how you complete your projects without taking a month's break to finish that last 10%.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unpacking...Three Months In

It's great to be back! Blogger, the site that hosts this blog among others, was down on Thursday and Friday, making it impossible to post. In fact, for awhile my Thursday post was deleted, but now that's back and Blogger is back, so we're in business.

Our friends moved around the corner a couple of weekends ago, and this weekend we popped over to check out their new place and bring them a little welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift. (Their house is beautiful, but much like ours, they have a lot that they want to do to it. It's been fun to swap DIY stories!)

Seeing their room (yes, they only have one) full of boxes reminded me that we still have a few too many rooms in states of unpacking, and it's really time to get rid of those remaining boxes. I mean, we have been here for 3 months now.

Do you all remember this corner?

Well, as of yesterday morning we were down to two boxes; one full of china, and one full of crystal and other glassware.

Now the boxes are gone and the china is all washed, put away, and ready to use.

So is all of our stemware.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a spot I am happy with for the crystal, so I stashed it in a corner cabinet (with a lazy susan, no less), until I can find a better place to hopefully display it.

Now I just need to get rid of the horrible mini fridge that the hubs uses for his beer - it's a long story that deserves it's own post - and the dining room will be looking decent.