Category Archives: Inspiration

Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens – Fun Things To Do In DC

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Today, my friend and I toured the Hillwood Museum & Gardens Estate in Washington, D.C. — the personal home of one Marjorie Merriweather Post – a rich heiress to the Post Cereal fortune. You probably don’t know much about Marjorie, which is why I am going to take you into her home and world and tell you all about Hillwood as part of my ongoing Guide to D.C., because visiting this place is my most favorite thing I have ever done in D.C. Ever. And I was born and raised here. Literally I have 28 years of D.C. under my belt, and this was my favorite thing I have ever done.

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The first thing you need to know about Marjorie was that she was the original boss-ass bitch. The woman was a BAUSS. CRUSHED life. 4 Husbands, billions of dollars, 3 homes, a pet cemetery to end all pet cemeteries, and basically financed the Cartier business. Casually owned like half of the art of czarist Russia. Entranceway boasted 18th century painted portraits of Catherine The Great. And would drop like 4 thou on a 2-inch miniature dog relic from the Ming Dynasty. Literally she was a legend.

You know how people always use & make fun of the term “summer” as a verb, and how bougie it is, to like “summer in Montauk” or reference people who “summer on the Cape”? Well Marjorie WINTERED places. She fucking WINTERED in Palm Beach, Florida. That right there is about the APEX of wealth, when you Winter some place. She summered and wintered and falled and sprang while the rest of us trolls simmer in one damn place for 12 months of the year like peasants.

Hillwood, a 25-acre piece of land overlooking Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. was her Fall & Spring property. She also had Mar-a-Lago (a name that is so fantastically sensory and fairytale-esque — take me to Mar-a-Lago, it sounds like something lovers would whipser to one another in Casablanca, or the scene of a great crime novel), her Palm Beach property where she wintered; and a third place in upstate New York where she summered.

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Hillwood is the most incredible place I have ever been. It is so impressive, and so full of historical gems that it feels impossible that it’s real; and especially that someone could have THAT much money. Which is bringing me closer back around to my earlier point about Marjorie being a boss-ass bitch. I love any woman who had 4 husbands. Do you know how much balls that takes? I guess it takes the balls of a billionaire. But she gave 0 fucks. Just like, tried that, did that, on to the next one. And in like 1930’s and shit too.

Before we talk more about old Marj, let’s talk some about her house. Hillwood. The kitchen! I absolutely died when walking into her kitchen. It opens with a long, impressive Butler’s Pantry (I fucking love Butler’s Pantries – want one badly), and the first thing I said upon taking it in was…..oh my god it’s….just….so….1950’s. I hadn’t realized yet that she had purchased the place in 1955, so yes, the Butler’s Pantry and Kitchen were indeed just that. So VERY 1950’s.

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I couldn’t get over the kitchen and spent the most amount of time in the kitchen by FAR. It was dreamy in a way I really could never find the words to describe. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear, sunny October day – and the kitchen gets so much good natural light, with big sunny windows overlooking a little garden patio. And the place had very few visitors in the middle of the day Wednesday, so I was in there completely by myself (Anna had already moved on to the dining room and like 3 other rooms while I continued to marvel at the kitchen). And I just wandered around literally FEELING in my core what it felt like to be in that kitchen in 1958 and 1961 and ’63, as water simmered and pots and pans clanked and clamored and staff cooks plated food.

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Being in it felt like time travel. It gives me butterflies even to think about. All of this original 1950’s equipment (hugggeee freezers — I later learned her husband (of the time) was some kind of freezer magnate – he would be), and getting to see the dinner party menus on display. One of the menus that had been saved and was on display was from a dinner party Marjorie threw on October 17, 1963; and because we were visiting in October, so it was the same time of year, and same kind of light, and same time of day that they would have been cooking, it just felt like you could really feel what it was like. How could you not feel like that – everything was the same! You’re IN the kitchen, as it looked, as it was, when the cooks were cooking for that very dinner party in October of 1963. Except it’s October 2014. But everything is exactly as it was.

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The menu was my version of heaven. Although I am obsessed with all history and everything about America, I have realized that without question I am MOST enthralled with mid-century America. Post-war, pre hippy. Bobby and Sally. Refrigerators. Jello molds. Ham. Chevys. Kitchen Aid Mixers. Airplanes. Pan Am. Televisions. Microwaves. Wedge salads. Bar ware. Red wagons. And house wives doing French/foreign things and saying French/foreign words related to home & garden like “jardiniere” and “chinoiserie” —  THAT. SHIT. GETS. ME. GOING.

So to see a dinner party menu with the words: “caviar and blinis” to start, and ROAST BUTTER BALL TURKEY with sweet potatoes, marshmallow, vegetable jardiniere, APPLE JELLO RING WITH ASSORTED FRUIT, FILLED WITH BALLS OF STRAWBERRY SHERBERT. That is like fucking POETRY to me. That is like a beautiful man singing love poems into my ear. And to know that it’s not a caricature, it’s not an oversimplified thing we’ve come to stereotype of a decade, it’s not {just} from the mind of Mathew Weiner for a Hollywood TV show, nor a myth; no, it was the real-life, actual, dinner menu from people’s real lives in 1963 — from a woman who was as cultured and wealthy as they come, and quintessential AMERICAN (a fucking CEREAL HEIRESS FROM ILLINOIS) — and in her billion-dollar mansion she is serving her esteemed guests jello with balls of sherbert and butter ball turkey. COOL ME DOWN, cool me down, because I am HOT. With passion. For how fucking cool that is.

I don’t know what to tell you it’s just my own particular brand of crack. I love mid-century America.

(NOT TO MENTION THE VODKA AND DOM).

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As we continued to explore the ground floor, I could NOT. GET. OVER. JUST. HOW. WEALTHY. THIS WOMAN WAS. I mean you’ve never seen so many ITEMS — things, pieces of furniture, that must be worth MILLIONS individually! In and of themselves! And there are like 10,000 items in the place – tables, chairs, sculptures, figurines, plates, dishes, PAINTINGS. So many paintings. You’re looking at some Asian quartz sculpture and it’s probably from like 200 B.C. Bitch collected art from Jesus of Nazareth. She owned a casual two DIAMOND-STUDDED-monogrammed Faberge eggs that the last tsar of Russia, Alexander II, gave to his mother for Easter in1896 – a practice his father, Alexander III had started within the Romanav family (giving commissioned Faberge eggs as gifts) that they continued until THE FUCKING RUSSIAN REVOLUTION IN 1917 WHEN HE AND HIS ENTIRE FAMILY WERE EXECUTED BY THE BOLSHEVIKS, MARKING THE END OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Yeah, Marjorie just owned some of Alexander II’s personal family gifts (by Faberge). Casual.

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Also, I loved the contrast between the kitchen and the rest of the house — because the kitchen, at the time, was literally THE most modern, of-the-times, state-of-the-art 50’s thing ever; but ONLY the kitchen. The rest of the house is as 18th century as it gets. So you go from this like, tile-floored, starburst-design, green-and-yellow AS-1950’S-AMERICA-AS-IT-LITERALLY-GETS-kitchen, to….Versailles. To as 18th-century-France as it literally gets. Post cereal and bread boxes to Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. It’s kind of amazing.

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When we got upstairs, and got to a room that displayed some of Marjorie’s original receipts from transactions at the Cartier store in Paris, is when I really began to digest the sheer magnitude of her fortune. One of the receipts, was for 11,000 dollars, for two. Cartier. Picture Frames.

PICTURE FRAMES.

IN 1931.

NINETEEN

THIRTY

ONE

Do you have any concept

Of how opulent it is

To spend

11 THOUSAND DOLLARS

ON TWO PICTURE FRAMES

IN THE YEAR

NINETEEN THIRTY ONE

?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s outrageous to spend 11,000 on 2 Cartier Picture Frames in the year 2014. 1931????!!!!! That must have been like a million dollars at that time. ON TWO PICTURE FRAMES!

Then we made our way around to the CLOSETS.

The closets were my other favorite part besides the Kitchen. Just so………historic in there time period-ness. They smelled pink and girly and magical and American. Girlfriend did NOT shy away from extravagance, in her dresses, jewelry, property, and items. Everything.

The estate has 2 original dresses on display in the closets, and they were CAPTIVATING to look at.

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One was from her daughter’s coming-out in some British Royal court (literally half the shit she and her daughters were ever doing made no sense, but of course, #wealth), and it gave me CHILLS. The first thing I thought was that it reminded me of the style of 1920’s dresses, and the display card said that she had worn it in 1929. To look at a real dress, that was PRESERVED from 1929, a real dress from Bergdorf Goodman, that a real life girl in 1929 picked out, and wore, and has just been kept in the family and handed down and now EIGHTY years later is in front of my eyes, is thrilling. For someone who loves history, and fashion, it’s truly thrilling.

MMP Cartier Necklace

After touring all of the house, and some of the gardens outside, we made our way to a separate structure on the property that currently has a Cartier exhibit showing some of Marjorie’s most incredible Cartier pieces and their back story. There was one necklace (above!) that I literally could not even conceive of a price on. It is absolutely massive – and an original commission that she worked with the Cartier bros to design. It is like, detachable into a brooch and multi-layered with a GIANT sapphire and like 400 billion trillion diamonds surrounding the center piece and cascading down into waterfalls. I literally was like………this necklace has to be worth 3 billion dollars. I mean I just don’t know how you could price an original Cartier commission, that large, that beautiful, with that many diamonds, from like 1940. Somebody tell me what that’s worth. The exhibit did not.

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I also couldn’t believe that her 3 daughters wouldn’t want these things…to own them. Personally. To WEAR them. And pass them down in the family. Not have them on view for strangers. Anna explained inheritance tax to me. She also said they probably already own something BETTER than even what’s on display. And that they probably already got (money-wise, property-wise) way more than what’s at Hillwood – that they already got theirs. But I just kept being like, DON’T THEY WANT TO LIVE HERE? Don’t they want to OWN Hillwood? How are they cool with this just being a spot for history weirdos like myself to have religious moments in the kitchen of? And like wander the halls of fantasizing about their mom’s 1950’s jello molds?

Also the exhibit said something about how some of the Cartier items were on loan. So maybe those 3 daughters do get to wear those necklaces around their ski chalet on Christmas or wherever they Winter nowadays. Literally, one of the emerald rings was the biggest, most awe-inspiring piece of jewelry I have EVER LAID EYES ON. I can’t conceive of a person being wealthier than Marjorie Post. I think she is the richest person that has ever lived. I think I just stepped foot onto the home and grounds of the richest person in humanity. Because I’m not wrapping my head around owning porcelain urns from Alexander The Great’s reign over Russia and Cartier sapphires the size of a baby shoe. That’s just………that’s where my brain says “cannot not compute.” The woman had more plates – just….PLATES…than all of the industrial kitchens in Russia. And they were like NEXT LEVEL plates too, like crystal-encrusted patterns from imperial Moscow that like Peter The Great used to entertain his enemies. I don’t even know. Everything she owned had some back story and connection to like the most famous people that have ever lived in Russia and France – and they worth a LOT today let me tell you.

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After checking out the Cartier exhibit, we walked all around the outdoor grounds of the property. There is a SUPER cool little Japanese garden with mini little bridges, stone paths, and rushing water. It was impressive and fun. Then there’s a putting green that’s very relaxing to sit and chat near. And there’s a whole bunch of winding paths through gardens and woods. But my FAVORITE part. Was the unabashed pet cemetery. That clearly stole the show even over the most dazzling Cartier diamond necklaces you’ve ever seen. Stones 3 x bigger than the necklace in Titanic? That shit had nothing on the grave stones of her 42 dogs, with names like “skampi,” “petite chou,” and “CREME DE FUCKING COCOA.” SHE HAD A DOG NAMED CREME DE COCOA.

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Marjorie

Marjorie Post was a badass, 4-husband, Russian-art-dealing, Cartier-comissioning boss, who built a pet cemetery for her fallen dogs named things such as Creme De Cocoa. I have never loved someone as much as I love Marjorie Post. She threw BALLER dinner parties, bathed in Dom Perignon, dressed for every event like she was the queen of fucking England, DRIPPED in diamonds, and ran a billion-dollar business like the boss-ass bitch that she was.

That’s my favorite picture above. She legit dressed like she was the Queen of England. As Anna said to me when I said this: “she was.”

She’s basically a gay man’s dream – in addition to everything mentioned above (let’s just reiterate real quick here – cartier,  4 husbands,  Romanav art collection, dog named creme de cocoa), the tag line of the Estate and Museums is “Fabulous – Where Fabulous lives”, and each visitor is given a name tag that says “Fabulous.”  Coolest. Woman. E-V-E-R.

Marj and Scamps

Seriously though, she inherited her father’s cereal business at age 27 and crushed it as the head of Post Cereal. Instead of doing idiotic things with her billions, she was smart, and tactical, with an eye for design, quality, and craftsmanship, in art, interiors, and jewelry. So much so that she knew to collect Cartier and Russian art. And husbands.

She is truly a feminist icon and my idol. Nobody but Marjorie told Marjorie what to do, least of all the men she was married to. She wasn’t EXACTLY living in a time when women were bosses (of companies, of themselves, of ANYTHING), husband-collectors, and the money-makers in the marriage. She wasn’t some twee heiress who sat around in her castle of billions and catered to her man. She was too busy BUYING ART FROM THE FUCKING ROMANAVS. And patronizing Cartier before they were Cartier. I literally fucking love her.

And most importantly, as my friend noted, all of THIS (Hillwood, the very green grass we were strolling on, with its 25 acres and unfathomable art and jewelry collection) is here. MANY people, Thomas Jefferson included, don’t manage their estates and affairs well enough to, when they die, not only be able to give things to their children and family, but have their possessions and estates and affairs so well-managed that they can leave them perfectly-preserved to the public, to view in all their glory, decades after they die. THIS, this place, in all its grandeur and glory, is proof of her business acumen and capabilities. That’s there’s even this left, today, says what we need to know about Marjorie Merriweather Post.

I. love. her. And Hillwood is the most wonderful place I have ever been in Washington, D.C. I feel honored and lucky that this wonderful woman chose this place to be where she falled and sprang.

And the city she chose to bequeath her billions of dollars worth of land, diamonds, and Russian art.

Boss.

Ass.

Bitch.

You do you, Marj. We love you.

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Filed under Good Shit You Should Know About, History, Inspiration, LOLz

On Organization & Stuff & The most important lesson I’ve learned about what goes on behind closed closet doors

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I’m completely obsessed with self-improvement. Always have been and always will be. And I don’t mean aesthetic self improvement. I mean having to do with efficiency and productivity, and I don’t mean related to business or jobs or ambition. My particular interest is all about the self/ home. Organization, money, health (internal), overall effectiveness having to do with personal habits and the upkeep of ones home/possessions and just like….the general organization/management of objects/memories…..like possession management — managing clutter, having organized closets, desk drawers, mail, files, documents, photos, kitchen cabinets, winter things (hats, boots, sweaters) etc.; and also having to do with non-objects like….remembering to get your annual doctor’s appointments, paying bills on time, blah blah. The whole just…general idea of being good at life. Lest you have read wrong, I am not saying I am GOOD or have historically BEEN good at these things, all I said is that I am obsessed with & perennially interested in learning about ways to do these things better, and attempting to improve myself in these areas.

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^^^The last time I gathered a bunch of stuff to give away^^^

I am constantly throwing things out and I go through phases (really we should call them…spurts of….insanity…or…impulsiveness….) where I just don’t care about ANYTHING I own and want to get rid of all of it.  I look at my closet and think: literally fuck all of this. Fuck everything. I am not attached to possessions. I am (I do care about what I own, I love the things I own) but I just get in these moods where I’m like YOU’RE WEIGHING ME DOWN. I DONT’ CARE. I WANT TO THROW EVERYTHING I OWN OUT. (And not at all because I don’t like what I have — it’s not a mood that strikes because I’m “over” the things I own or my taste has changed or I don’t like the particular style or color or look, like when girls say “I have nothing to wear!” because they’re sick of the same stuff.  It has nothing to do with being sick of the things I have & wanting new or different things – it’s the polar opposite of that. It’s that I’m sick of ALL things. I want NO things. I want to be free of EVERY/ALL things).  I look at the clothes hanging on their hangers, as though they’re humanized, and I’m like….I could burn all of you right now. I want to rip you off the bar you’re hanging on and throw you out the window because of how zero fucks I give about you. Like, I can wear the same tank top, jeans, and boots every day. I DON’T CARE I JUST WANT TO BE A HIPPIE AND wear grey tank tops and jeans with holes in the knees and be happy.

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Sometimes I think about selling/giving away / throwing out 80 percent of what I own in my closet. I have assessed (and constantly re-assess) every single item in our living and dining room and everything is either functional or serves a clear decorational purpose without which there would be a gaping hole. Like…..is a horse photograph functional? Well, no, not like the way a couch is, but there would be a gaping white wall without it and I love it and it’s beautiful and art serves its purpose. There’s no junk just sitting around in living or dining room…no piles or unfinished corners…it’s all just….exactly what it should be and nothing superfluous. Art in the right proportions, no empty white walls. A couch. A coffee table. A desk. A bar console. Lamps. Coasters. Books. Candle holders. Bar ware. And not multiples of each. There are two candle holders and if I threw them out we’d have zero. Our barware fits on one standing shelf, and doesn’t overflow into any other area. We have 4 whiskey glasses that Alex and his friends use, and 4 wine glasses and champagne glasses, (from Ikea / CB2). We are very good about editing / not over-accumulating to begin with that there isn’t anything living/dining/kitchen-related that I could give away / throw out if I tried. I do try and it never works.

Closets are always different. Sweaters, pants, we have multiples of almost everything but still could pick out the select few that we’re life-or-death passionate about. So sometimes I fantasize about downsizing to literally those select things but then I think about how it would be kind of pointless because they aren’t taking up any space that they’re not supposed to be taking up. Like..we have a closet, and the closet is a certain size, and our things fit into the designated closet space, and there’s no overflow. I’m not keeping shoes in kitchen cabinets so why NOT have the shoes I have as an option to wear if all they’re doing is sitting on the shelf of the closet harming no one. They’re not doing anything. They’re not in the way. They’re not costing money/time (the shoes at least, since you don’t wash or fold shoes). It’s just sometimes that their very existence irks me but when I’m not in that “fuck -everything” mood described above, I recognize that unlike clutter sitting on your dining room table that prevents you from using the dining room table for its intending purpose as an eating surface, the stuff that is taking up 80 percent of my closet is not in the way of anything…..except maybe my needing to grab the 10 things I love most as quickly as possible in a fire. I COULD pare everything I own down to 10 items if I had to. We all could. There are 10 items in anyone’s wardrobe that are their very most favorite, prized, special, perfect, practical, etc. And if I had to I could pick those 10 and get rid of the rest.

But unless that happens,  the stuff actually serves a visual purpose even if I only wear it 15 % of the time. Giving away half or more of my shoes /clothes would in fact make the closet look bad. There are giant shelves and it would look weird, sad, sparse, and visually-wrong if they were only 60 or 50 or 80% full of shoes and hanging things. And OBVIOUSLY I didn’t buy things TO fit or not ‘fit’ the closet, but….it does. So in that sense I’m like, OK I could give away this…. meh blue sweater that I wouldn’t take with me in a fire and don’t REALLY have any attachment towards or real use for (x 20) ……..but until I move across the country to California, all it’s doing is hanging here. So I might as well have it as an option than not because what’s the point if the racks have the space. I think it has more personal value as a potential thing to wear than as 1 of 75 things I give away because I wanted to keep only 10 things. The closet is going to be an architectural space carved out in the home regardless of whether there are 10 things or 100 in it and the things are already there.

That’s why moves are always such great life cleanses because if I were moving to California I WOULD get rid of that blue sweater that I’m basically indifferent towards.

That said, I am constantly assessing what I own and packing up giant trash bags to sell or donate. It’s just that sometimes I want to go crazy and literally keep 0 things.

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Oops I bought a blender I’ll never use. JK

Anyways, I am generally the kind of person who gets excited, goes in full force, buys the necessary shit to accompany the particular improvement initiative at hand (to a certain extent), and then gives up 3 days into it. I’m so classic. C-L-A-S-S-I-C. Like I’ll get the mood/inspiration, buy the flax and frozen spinach and spirulina protein powder, make the meal plan, stock the fridge with raw honey and ground chia seeds, and then stop making smoothies after day 3 of it and go back to iced lattes and croissants. Literally I’m a joke. This always makes me crack up and think of my friend Cait who is the same way, like when she decided she wanted to be a bike-rider, and bought the bike, the lock, the dog basket, the water bottle holder, the whole fucking bike shebang; and then 4 days later was like, this is a nightmare I hate biking. And there is zero chance that dog has ever ridden in that dog basket. But I’m so the same way. If I had ever decided I was going to be a bike rider, I’d have bought the same unnecessary shit with the best intentions.

But actually…..having just written that…..when it comes to machines and technology / gadgets I’m pretty honest with myself. I get carried away at Whole Foods with food,  but I’ve never bought a juicer or a mixer and never seriously entertained the idea of either because I know that I’ll get sick of using / cleaning them. I will use the juicer like one time, and let the machine parts sit with rotting carrot rind until I just throw the entire machine out instead of cleaning it because it’s gone too far and disposing of it altogether becomes a legitimately more viable option than cleaning it. Like, I want to a be someone who juices, I want to get into it, but no. I know enough about myself to not spend money on one because maintaining it will wear me down after one try. I’m easily worn down.  Same with mixing. I occasionally like baking, but up until literally TO-DAY I just hand-churned dough with a wooden spoon. Nothing that plugged-in or buzzed, just my arm-power. Then I went to Bed Bath and Beyond today and spent 19.99 on a standard electric hand mixer. It’s fucking perfect and I don’t intend to upgrade ever because it does the job.

{Until MAYBE one day when I have a legitimate kitchen with counter space and a dishwasher. Oh yeah, those two things certainly help keep me grounded about the practicality of fancy gadgets. We have no counter space, no dishwasher, —and no garbage disposal either. So making juice would involve me plugging the juicer in in the dining room, hand-washing everything and disposing of fruit guts and vegetable skins in a plastic bag I’d probably forget about. Did you know that when you have soup or cereal and don’t finish it, in a house with no garbage disposal, you have to pour them down the toilet. Even just like, spaghetti. THERE’S NOWHERE ELSE TO PUT IT!!!! It will clog up the kitchen sink. Alex and I always feel so humbled and demeaned every time we have to take semi-solid food and dump it down our toilet because our kitchen is from 1842 and the size of Alex}.

Also this is the same for me and a nice DSLR camera. If I ever bought one, I’d get worn down by its maintenance and go back to the iphone within a week. I can’t deal with things. Lenses and cords and pieces and parts. I hate things. I just want everything to be simple and basic. I don’t think it’s lazy, I think it’s simple. I don’t need bells and whistles, just anything that is direct and simple and works. Like….strip yourself of your bullshit layers and do your function and I respect you.

Which brings me PERFECTLY to my point about organizing our hallway closet. Which I did last December and then re-did this October.

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To get really organized with the THINGS that exist in homes (batteries, cords, warranties, product boxes, etc etc) , really the only thing you need are cheap, clear, plastic boxes and a label-maker. OK IT’S TRUE you don’t even need the label maker –a sharpie and sticker-labels would do the same thing but not look as good. That’s it! No bells and whistles. Nothing but plastic made in China ya’ll. Simple, basic, no B.S.

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The day that I went to The Container Store to buy the vestibules to organize our hall closet, I was at least OPEN to buying fancy shit. Like I was open to the idea of being commercially swayed to buy cloth bins with fucking chevron horses on them for $37.99 each, that also massage your shoulders and tell jokes because why the fuck else are they that much money. But what I was most drawn to because they made the VERY most sense and were the very very very cheapest most basic thing that the container store sells were the plastic stacking bins with lids on them for like 99 cents. I joked at the time that the container store is DESPERATELY trying to get these loser bins off their hands. They put them at the front of the store practically out the front door BEGGING you to buy them because they’re so “not cute” / not Pinterest-worthy that I think the own container store is embarrassed of their stock of these items.

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But these stacking, see-through boxes are your BEST. FRIEND.

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In a nutshell, to organize the S-H-I-T that you have in your home, into an accessible sensical way, you need to be able to see the items (yes, even with a label saying what they are SEEING is still essential), and they need to be contained. Items can’t not be contained. That’s what I have learned.

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Take this for example: A bottle of sunscreen. Or….TWO bottles of sunscreen. In and of themselves— those bottles can stand up. They can stand on a shelf, and exist on their own. At least that’s what you THINK. You think you can trust objects to just sit on shelves and be OK. But any time you have objects just hanging out on shelves that aren’t CONTAINED, they will eventually end up in an orgy. Knocked down, horizontal, laying out, legs spread, caps off, touching every other thing that was sitting on the shelf, and everything is probably naked, on the floor, and a half-version of its former self.  Items can’t be trusted to just sit around, free, because NO MATTER how careful you are, no matter WHAT YOU DO, those items will end up in chaotic orgies.

First of all, things just get knocked over and knock over other things, period.  So the chaos is going to ensue whether you fight it or not. But at some point, you will be in a rush, or stressed, or confused about where something is, and you SWORE you’d put the extra car key behind the bottles of sunscreen on that one shelf in the closet, and you’ll be scrambling and looking, and as you reach, one bottle of sunscreen knocks another one over, and then you’re pulling shit out even more frantically, desperate to find that one thing you need in that moment, and the lotions have knocked over the razor and the tampons and the random baseball that was sitting on the shelf, and one teetering shoe box is on top of a bunch of loose photos and the photos slide free underneath and pepto bismol has fallen 3 levels and knocked over the tylenol bottle and starts to leak open and the tylenol bottle’s cap wasn’t quite on all the way so the  little white tylenol pills have just spilled all over the place and are now bathing and soaking in the pink liquid like the sluts that they are,  and you can’t find SHIT because everything is having sex with everything else and there are loose power cords that have gotten wrapped up around batteries and lightbulbs and then you you’re about to set fire to the entire closet, you find the spare car key with dry pink acid reflux medicine caked to it. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS  ON SHELVES / IN CLOSETS WHEN YOU DON’T CONTAIN THE THINGS YOU OWN.

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But would that have happened if you’d had a clear plastic box marked with the label “SPARE CAR KEY”, that you could SEE into, and see the label and see the car key, and the box wasn’t next to a bunch of free-standing bottles of lotions that could fall over at any time, but instead was stacked upon and underneath OTHER clear plastic boxes, neatly stacked so that if you needed to remove the box of lotions to retrieve the spare car key, nothing SPILLS, FALLS, OR GETS LOST?

You need to keep these things contained and separate because otherwise it’s like the Indian In The Cupboard. And The Velveteen Rabbit. Basically all children’s tales about inanimate toys / things that come to life when you’re not around. The objects have lives / parties with one another when you’re not looking. And even worse, they conspire – the objects will get together and CONSPIRE to make it so that nothing is EVER where you left it and nothing can EVER be found. Least of all not in a pinch. Like when you are running out the door and you need to grab that spare USB cord — the objects in the closet sense that that’s what you’re looking for and every single odd item in there works together to hide the USB cord so you can’t find it because the USB cord is one of their own and you’re the enemy. I don’t know if you’e every tried to find anything that you weren’t sure where you last put is, but this is the secret lives of objects in closets. Shit’s fuckkkked up.

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Point being: the best decision I ever made was to organize our hall closet this way.

#1 – it looks really good. {RELATIVELY speaking ok. Is it glamorous, no, but it’s a fucking closet. The door is closed. No one sees it unless they’re looking for something, and in that case, they’re impressed as fuckkkkkkkk}.

#2 – it’s SO effective /efficient. When you need a battery, you don’t have to expend that mental energy that people normally do when they’re like “fuck WHERE did I last see a battery, I think there are some in that third drawer of the kitchen?” And then you go look in the kitchen and the batteries aren’t there, so then you look in the desk drawer, or you rack your brain and THINK you remember seeing a box sitting in the mail tray in the hallway, but aren’t sure, etc. etc. Nope. Doing this means there is only one place batteries ARE. Not even “could be,” but are. Because if you organize your home, take the batteries, and put them into a clear plastic box labeled “batteries”, then when your remote runs out of batteries / any time you need one, you know EXACTLY where to go, and go directly there, and you don’t need to wonder IF there are batteries in the house or even in this specific box because you know as a matter of FACT that there are. That is until you use every single last one but that probably won’t happen for a really long time.

#3 – it’s just really really effective. There is nowhere else in our ENTIRE home where an extension cord could be but in the clear plastic box labeled “extension cords.”

So, I made the labels based on the things I have that I am constantly using and/or looking for.

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I know this sounds REALLY random but “sun products” was one of those. I have nearly-full bottles of all kinds of SPFs -45, 50, 60, 15 – lotion, oil, sport spray, aloe for burns, etc. And this sounds strange since summer is only 3 months out of the year but I constantly found myself WONDERING where my bottle of this SPF or that SPF was. Like I’d have moments where I’d need to reach for one of those products, but would think, “WHERE is that spf 30 I have…under the sink? the closet? the top shelf of the other closet? My desk vanity area?” And when I couldn’t find it, I never wanted to just go buy another bottle because sunscreen is expensive, it’s like $12 a bottle. So when you’ve accumulated a lot of sunscreens, it’s helpful to have them all in one place. Putting them all into one box was so helpful one thousand separate times this summer. I’d want to reach for a certain SPF based on the day/occasion, like for example, it’s really hot and I plan on spending the whole day in the sun so I want the 45, and I didn’t need to waste any time being like, “Ok I found the SPF 5 tanning oil but that’s useless right now because it’s scorching and I will die if I use 5 so WHERE THE FUCK IS THE 45″ because…. EVERYTHING IS IN THE “SUN PRODUCTS” BOX. So I go to it, pop the lid off, grab the 45 and go.  Maybe very random to you, but something that I actually identified a legitimate need for and proved to be immensely useful.

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This was the same for shoe bags / travel containers. I go to NYC constantly and every time I go I need to put my jewelry in and shoes and make-up into the various bags/pouches I’ve accumulated for this purpose, either intentionally or by way of purchase (i.e. lots of shoes COME with bags for them so that either they don’t get scuffed up in travel, or their pointy parts don’t hurt the delicate clothing items you’ve packed). Finding those bags/pouches was ALWAYS an issue before. One would still be left in the suitcase, 2 would be in my desk drawer, 4 were straight-up missing in action, one was on a shelf in the closet.And I’d end up putting shoes in plastic bags and make-up in ziplocks. Which is fine but if I already HAVE the bags/containers to use, I should be using them over ziplock bags, but I wasn’t, because I could never find them when I needed them. Utility is about accessibility and organization. You don’t use what you can’t find / see.

So I corralled all of these travel containers into separate clear labeled stackable containers and now EVERY time I travel I know e-x-a-c-t-l-y where to go to get the protective bags that carry all of my non-clothing items on trips, and when I unpack from the trip, they go back into their little clear plastic labeled boxes. Because once you’ve created that home for these things; where ELSE could they go??!! Once you’ve bought and labeled that beautiful perfect little 99 cent see-through box, where the fuck ELSE are you going to put the shoe bags you unpack your shoes from after a trip — your desktop? NO, they’re going right back to their rightful home which isn’t just laying free on some shelf because as I counseled before, when things are FREE on shelves, they WILL find ways to walk off and disappear so that you can never find them when you need them, let alone ever again. You can’t just lay empty travel bags/pouches (whether they’re shoe or jewelry or make-up) on a shelf, you’ll never find them again. They’ll fall. They’ll fly.

Also, although we have a medicine cabinet, I still created a “Pharmacy box” for those items we don’t access as frequently but still need / are useful to have on hand. Such as………big bulk bottles of tylenol, rubbing alcohol, boxes of band-aids, pill-cutters, etc. Everything pharmacy related is pretty much corralled into that box. Our medicine cabinet has like….toothpaste and face wash. Our PHARMACY box has the pepto bismol and alka seltzer. And do you know HOW useful that pharmacy box has been? How many times Alex or I have needed something and gone straight to the pharmacy box.

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Basically what it does is eliminate the wondering. It eliminates those frustrating moments of, “do you know where ____ is? I think it’s in the kitchen? maybe it’s under the ___ in the ____?” When you have the pharmacy box, if something isn’t in the pharmacy box YOU KNOW YOU DON’T HAVE IT. There’s no QUESTION. There’s no driving yourself mad pulling your hair out wondering where the tylenol is. If it’s not in the pharmacy box it’s not in the house. Period. Ad there’s also no chance that the tylenol ever ends up in the “ballet gear” box. Once you do the initial delegating of objects into boxes with lids, nothing EVER isn’t in its box. Not even a barbarian could fuck it up. I’m serious. Under no circumstance on earth do you un-hook the lid of the “extension cord” box and accidentally put the rubbing alcohol there. It doesn’t happen. Ever.

We used the boxes for:

  • Extension cords
  • Warranties
  • Batteries
  • HDMI cords
  • Extra chargers
  • Headphones
  • Gift stuff (wrapping paper, bags, etc.)
  • and other random things

Other things we have in this closet in easy-to-find ways but were too big for plastic boxes:

  • Clear plastic linen bag for guest comforter/ linens (I forgot that we also grabbed this at The Container Store the same day as the plastic boxes because I was sick of having our spare comforter &  linens for when guests sleep over UN-contained). Because just like the other objects, the comforter would slowly slowly start to ooze out of it’s “fold” and just like….creep and sprawl and never stayed all nice and contained so I bought one of those plastic box/bag things and it helped so much with keeping the space contained/organized/neat! Like this – this is what it looked like before

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Versus after (down below)

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  • Sports stuff like football, basketball, baseball, for those days when Alex & his friends are throwing a ball around at Meridian Hill Park or wherever, that stuff is all in its own open bin – that plastic black one at the bottom there
  • Photo albums – are on the top shelf just lined up like books since they’re thick and study and stay pretty solidly planted

And some other random shit that I don’t feel like addressing cause I’m tired and over writing this blog post.

I have way more to say about improvement, organization, simplicity, the 2 blogs that are my FAVORITE because of their perfect coverage of these topics I care so much about, and the cookies I made tonight that are supposed to be my breakfast for the next week – saving time, $, and being healthy. Oh and my reaffirmed thoughts that eating out at restaurants is the stupidest exercise ever. After eating out at restaurants all weekend. IT’S NEVER WORTH IT. Unless it’s Tabard Inn donuts or a Bareburger milkshake, or oysters or Takorean tacos, or the entire menu at DGS, or the pastries at Room 11. I’m so. over. paying money to eat food that is mediocre and/or LESS delicious than what any of us can make at home, even me. Pancakes, waffles, french toast, whether they have pear compote or apple preserves or peach bourbon drizzle, or lemon ricotta filling, IT’S ALL THE FUCKING SAME. Pizza is pizza is pizza. Pasta is pasta.  You’re all the same.  Everything is always the same. I’m only ever eating at home for the rest of my life. 

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Filed under Blog Essays, Inspiration

Some shit

Yayyyy our gorgeous Turquoise over-dyed Turkish kilim rug came today! I texted my boyfriend who was at work when it came: “it is magnificent.” It’s such beautiful quality and just makes the room feel REAL, and LIVED IN. I can’t describe what a difference in coziness a great rug makes in a room. It makes it feel just so….real. Like a real bedroom that real people have, not children like us. It makes it so WARM and inviting. I LOVE the room with it!

My boyfriend relaxing in the bedroom over the new rug.

It’s the first rug I’ve ever owned. Like this is my first rug as a human being. I lived at home, then I lived in dorms, then my first place ever had carpet (the horror– I try not to remember it), and then we moved into this place with its parquet floors, which we have lived in for 9 months– 8 months of which we had nothing on the floors but a cow’s hide from Ikea. Then, our neighbors upstairs were giving away a FREE RUG (SUPER fugly, but free), so we took that for our dining room. So this is the first rug I’ve ever bought and I eyed it for literally 19 months before finally going for it. It’s kind of a joke how inexpensive the rugs on RUGS USA are. Like who is the joke on? Is the joke on me? I’m confused, but I love you Rugs USA.

Total game changer and goes a LONG. WAY. But we still have a gagillion things until this room is ‘done.’  It’s still far too boring and neutral for my liking. It needs depth. Layering. I need more art for the walls. The nightstands need things. Possibly different lamps. Probably something entirely different for the foot of the bed– like poufs, or something tufted, I DON’T KNOW, but it’s still too much of the same thing. That is– white, brown, green, grey. I need some pattern in there, something peach or raspberry or purple, some things that make it feel less spartan. Different pillows, some curtains. Blah blah.

But who ever doesn’t get rugs? Like where the fuck have I been living? Carrying about my business like an idiot, with nothing but parquet floors. Like a savage. It’s uncivilized really. To live on rug-less parquet floors. Rugs are IT. Rugs are everything. Also the parquet is clearly like, so much better than carpet, but I’m going to need some hard woods pretty soon here. The parquet pretty much makes me want to kill myself every day. So thank god I have something to cover them up now.

THEN, I went and ordered this giant photograph of a scuba diver that I spent no less than 49 hours at the computer debating. I mean I did a TON of research to find a photograph I thought was super cool– I’m totally obsessed with the under water world as it pertains to photography. I think photographs of the creepy ass creatures down there, like octopuses and weird fish and sharks, and scuba divers are just cool as shit. Something about it really appeals to my particular eye. The colors of all the various blues, the bubbles, the eerie way everything looks submersed in water… I just think badass photos of scuba divers have this super creepy alien-esque vibe to them, with their black rubber suits and their weird eye goggle masks and all the equipment. Something about it feels disturbing..unsettling.

And, I’ve been OBSESSED with the notion of one, giant, huge, statement-making photograph (or piece of art) in a room for forever. It’s just an interiors thing that totally speaks to me. For some, it’s so not their style. For me, it’s the epitome of me. I just like BOLD, crazy, whack shit. That’s why I love “The Antonio Treatment” on HGTV because Antonio Ballatore is this totally insane interior designer who does AWESOMELY out of the box shit for his clients– so he’ll build like an aquarium in the middle of their living room, or like, find a sculpture of a giant sea horse and work it into their bedroom and it looks amazing. REALLY loud,  crazy, bold stuff but it looks sick how he does it. So I just like loud art on a massive scale.

These are a bunch of examples of exactly what I’m talking about– images that I’ve been saving for years that show rooms in houses that have one HUGE photograph blown up or one big piece of art. Some how, it looks effortless and natural and awesome in all of these places.

This is in a museum and is very famous but like, I would LOVE this in my living room at this exact scale. Fucking technicolor Mao? That’s the kind of thing you walk into a room and go “SICK.”

Pop art Jackie O in a dressing room against busy wall paper? yes.

Love this black and white photo of what looks like the queen? Or this chick’s grandmother? Or a Shriver? haha not sure.

The Novogratz’s (9 by Design) have a giant piece of art in just about every room in their house. I love this photograph of a vulnerable looking Lolita type, who’s a dead ringer for model Barbara Palvin, in that amazing yellow dress, and it kind of looks like a blend of an oil painting and a photograph.

The photo was taken by interiors blogger Jen Ramos, when she went to their house in New York for a private blogger event, so it’s like a personal iphone photo from a blogger of the amazing Novogratz home. This is another giant piece of art in their home, that’s directly to the right of the girl in the yellow dress:

And ANOTHER large eye-catcher, a blown up photo of one of their kids:

See, the Novogratz’s don’t give a shit- they just go for it with out-there wall art. And I love it.

Famous octupus triptych that’s made its rounds on the internet:

So on Art.com, I spent hoursssssssss playing around with different large, water-related photos that would make an insane statement. The cool thing about the site is that you can actually “frame” the photo, and scale it, and see what it looks like in different ‘living rooms.’ They have like 8 or so room set-ups with paint and furniture, and you drag the painting into it to see how it can look. So like, I looked through FOUR BILLION photos to find the ones I personally liked, then framed them based on like 40 frame options, and then dropped them into certain rooms. So it’s not like “order your shark print here!” It was my creation, not a pat option. I played around with some crazy shark photos:

Two different great white options:

And a super extra-terrestrial esque scuba one, that I really really liked and debated down to the wire:

Buttt, we ultimately settled on “Fish on Reef” because I liked the visual interest of the spots on the giant Grouper fish, the little pops of neon yellow from the diver’s flippers and the little fish, and the electric  lavender color of the grouper.

Of course when it came I was like, Alina what the fuck have you done. I still can’t tell if it’s fantastic and just needs the right scenery, or if it’s totally tacky and awful.

BUT, here is what I am thinking. I think the reason it looks awesome in the “test photos” is because since it’s such a bold, loud, colorful piece, it needs to be balanced out with sleek, straight, masculine, white lines. Those square club chairs are the perfect accompanying pieces to the photo. I’d envisioned it also in a really sleek dining room- with a long white table, white chairs, that photo, a great flower arrangement, and some natural accents. Obviously it looks like SHIT in that photo up above because our dining room overall looks like shit because it’s thrown together with free pieces from unknown neighbors and $35 dollar Ikea and Home Depot accents. Like what is this dining room. It’s an abomination to my visual senses. The red and blue rug? It’s there for two reasons: (1) it was better than JUST the Parquet, staring back up at me  in their conceited way– “we’re all you’ve got, just a whole bunch of PARQUET SQUARES, STARING AT YOU IN OUR HORRIBLE GLOSSY AMBER WOOD COLOR, NAKED.” Naked Parquet– horrific. And 2.) it was free.

But the red/blue/yellow primary colors of the rug + the black of the chalkboard wall and pink colored chalk– it’s really NOT doing it for us anymore. So this is what I imagine though—- imagine if we TOTALLY lightened up the room. Like THESE dining rooms:

(Camille Styles’ gorgeous dining room)

So we get like a white or cream or grey rug, paint over the chalkboard wall BACK to a white, swap our wicker dining chairs for white ones– and then hung the picture behind the dining table. THAT IS MY VISION. And when I envision it like that, I think the piece will be a really cool background to a white/neutral dining room. My friend who is an interior designer/genius is going to come over and give me some thoughts. I texted her tonight “I got an insane photograph of a scuba diver and a grouper. Can’t tell if it’s awesome or tacky. I am troubled.”

I mean right now with the parquet and the rest of our dollar-store dining room of course it’s awful, but I PICTURE it in a white room with sleek lines and I can see it. And all that room would take is a coat of paint, a different rug, and selling our current chairs to get new ones. Easy. I’m going to see what she says. I have 30 days to return it so I’m going to give it a chance to show its potential without all of the strikes against it right now, that aren’t its fault (mainly– the parquet and the chalkboard and the wicker).

that’s all for now! I got some really cute new shoes and I was going to post about them in this post since it’s entitled “some shit”, but………….I’m now too lazy to continue so I’ll make it a separate post tomorrow.

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Filed under Home Decor, Inspiration, Interior Design

Idea for Moving Organization: Moving Binder

 

So today I discovered Pendaflex ‘project sorters,’ and today my life changed forever. I am obsessed with them! They are a visually pleasing, file-folder like organization tool with color-colored tabs on the front, and see-through front and back pockets. They make doing a project so fun, and a lot easier.My boyfriend and I are moving into a new building in a new and muchhhh cooler part of town {thank you Jesus Christ in heaven} in exactly three weeks, and I needed everything to be organized in one place. This is what I did, and what you can do too the next time you move:

1st thing first: I printed off a simple grid “Moving To-Do Checklist” for the front, to keep track of all the tasks associated with moving. I highlighted stages: Pre-Move, Moving, Utilities, and Mail.

Pre-Move is things like:

  • Buy boxes, packing tape, sharpie
  •  IKEA trip
  • Order couch for delivery on date of move-in
  • Selling anything?, i.e.- go through stuff and figure out what is being packed, versus sold or thrown out, etc.
  • Pick moving company and make reservation

Move is things like:

  • Reserve loading dock at current place
  • Reserve loading dock at new place
  • Figure out dimensions of freight elevator and doorways at new place

Reserving the loading docks when moving is suuuuuper crucial, IF you live in an apartment building and/or condo that is. Obviously houses and townhouses with front-door entry into the units don’t apply. But if this isn’t a task on your to-do list, you forget to do it and then 3 days before you move out, you call to reserve it and it’s already full and you can’t do a single thing. If you don’t have loading dock access for couches, beds, etc., you basically can’t move. It can really screw you over.

Utilities is things like:

  • Cancel electric/gas/cable at current place
  • Set up new service or transfer service to new place

Mail–>Change of Address, lists all the places I need to contact about my new address. Things to consider/remember are:

  • Officially at the post office
  • Banks
  • Doctors’ Offices
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • College
  • Loan Lenders {if you have student loans}

These days everyone does paperless everything, but people still get mail, so just look through your mail and think about where you are sent mail from, and make sure they have the new address because you DON’T want any correspondences from your bank getting sent to a new person living in your old place.

On the checklist, put contacts and phone numbers for everything you can think of– the moving company, the leasing office at your new place {or if you are not renting, whoever is in charge…condo/homeowner’s association, whatever}. This mostly applies to renting though.

So that’s the checklist.

Then, I used a label-maker to print labels for the big ticket items.

  • Floor Plan
  • IKEA List
  • Paint
  • Rugs
  • Room Inspiration
  • Lighting
  • Art
  • Decor
  • Textiles
  • Furniture

Like SO: TAB1: The floor plan to your place governs pretty much everything, so I put it as the first tab. You refer to this GILLIONS of times throughout the pre-move and initial phases, when considering dimensions of furniture, what will fit, where it will go, etc. Even when figuring how much paint to buy, you need to know how tall/long the walls are, etc. I had our leasing people email me an electronic copy of it, and I printed off three clean copies. I kept two clean, and decorated one with my not-to-scale sketch of what will go where. See my outline of the cow’s hide? hahaaha that’s my favorite part. And the only part that looks good in this drawing. But it all makes sense to me. TAB2– “IKEA List.” My boyfriend and I are broke. We are the kind of broke that your parents talk about being, when they were law students living off of loan money and Ramen and lived in a shoebox sized apartment on top of each other in New York, and worked 3 jobs and donated blood to earn extra cash. We sat down the other night and went through all of our finances {it was really fun} and determined that between all of the bills we have to pay, i.e. FIXED expenses, things like credit cards, loans, car payments, insurance, gas money, move-out costs [like the fee we have to pay our apartment for them to re-clean it before the next person moves in, etc.], that after all that, we have exactly– EXACTLY– $400.00 for the move. We don’t have furniture………………………The things I OWN include things like side tables, lamps, one console table {that I’m selling because it won’t fit in the new place}, shelves, etc., but the TWO things that a person needs in a place are: a couch, and a coffee table. Those are the two things we don’t have.

Sidenote– Have you ever moved into a new place? The first time I ever moved into a new places was last year, when I moved into the place I am currently living in as I type this blog post, and also the place I will be moving out of in 3 weeks. It was my first lease, and my first experience walking into a completely empty room. While at Dartmouth, I lived in the dorms all 4 years and dorms come furnished so I never learned what you NEED when moving in to a new, empty, residence. Well friends, when you move into a new place for the first time, you notice within two hours—two hours– the things you didn’t realize you need, and those things are: A shower curtain, a trash can, paper towels, toilet paper, and scissors. They are things you would never think about before your first move, but after your first move, TWO HOURS into the new place, you’re like….”oh shit…..this isn’t a hotel. there is quite literally NOTHING here.” You realize, that there is nowhere to throw anything out. That you went to go pee, and there are no paper products. You start to unpack things, and have no scissors to open anything. You wash your hands, and can’t dry them. You need to take a shower from all the dirty moving and unpacking, and you realize you are standing naked in a tub with no shower curtain…and you don’t know where the towels are. It’s just something that I personally didn’t think of. I remember walking into our place for the very first time, and going to the bathroom and realizing……..oh….right….there is N-O-T-H-I-N-G here. I made a list right then and there, of the 5 things that are like, a mover’s emergency stash. You have to have those things on hand immediately.

But THEN, there was a realization that took a bit longer than 2 hours. Our couch wasn’t being delivered for a few days, and we hadn’t yet picked out a coffee table, and by 10 pm that first day of being in your new places without those two things, you’re like “uhhh okay joke’s over…get me a fucking coffee table and couch NOW.” There is nowhere to do anything without those two things. while a person can live without MANYMANYMANYMANYMANYMANYMANY things, including ALL DECOR, book shelves, accent chairs, curtains, etc., there are two things a person needs BEFORE they even move in, and those two things are: COUCH. COFFEE TABLE. That’s it. Those are ESSENTIAL.Your life will be miserable until you have a couch and coffee table.

So we have 400 dollars to get a couch, coffee table, buy packing materials, hire movers, etc. HAHAH Good luck, US. #Nothappening. NEEDLESS TO SAY, allllllllllllllll of this was to get to my point that IKEA is literally the only place we are looking/going for at least 2 months. There is not a SINGLE place that can beat IKEA’s prices. Their “Lack” coffee table is $39.99, and their Ektorp couch {which is very comfortable, long, and has 3 cushions as opposed to two} is $399. 399 dollars and is hands down THE cheapest couch we’ve come across, especially for one that is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Unless we buy….like, some SUPER ghetto couch off Craig’s List or Goodwill, but that’s ghetto. I’m cool with refurbishing side tables and chairs from places like that, but your COUCH– no thank you. There are a few other things we are aiming to get at IKEA- like the UBIQUITOUS “Expedit” grid bookshelf, some knives {we don’t own any and they’re $4.99 at IKEA}, a cow’s hide {if there aren’t cheaper ones on EBAY or something of the like}, and some other things, and at IKEA.com, you can select everything you want, and it will look up the numbers and availability at the store location of your choosing, and then you print it out and take it with you for easy shopping. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, our IKEA List has its own tab, because we are going to be living off of our IKEA shopping list for like the first 4 months of being in our new place. With each new paycheck, a new thing can be bought because that is how life is when you are 25 and hustling.

For the rest of the tabs, I simply printed images fit to full-sized 8 1/2 by 11 printer paper, in full color. These are good to have on hand because a.) they remind you of your ultimate vision, so you don’t get carried away. And b.) So you show people at the stores where you go. “I am looking for a rug like this.” Etc.

Tab3– PAINT. Paint colors are crucial. I don’t want us to go too long without painting, because then you just get lazy and like 6 months pass and your walls are still eggshell white. #NO. I have MASSIVE folders of images I’ve saved for years, so I printed out the images of painted walls I have that caught my eye in various editorials from magazines or Apartment Therapy or blogs or whatever. They go in the “paint” tab so that when we walk into Benjamin Moore or wherever, we can just look for paint chips to match the pictures, or show the pictures to staff and say “we’re looking for a green like THIS.”As we start collecting paint chips and going through that whole process, they will be stored in this tab too.

Tab4– RUGS. Ditto on the rugs. We need a cow’s hide, a Moroccon-esque kilim rug, a graphic modern black-and-white striped rug, and a flokati.

Tab5–Room Inspiration. Here, I printed out images of actual ROOMS that I like, instead of individual things like “rugs” “lamps” and “art pieces.” The rooms are ENTIRE rooms whose look I like.TAB 6–Lighting.

Tab 7– ART.

Tab 8– DECOR

Tab 9– TEXTILES

TAB  10– The ACTUAL furniture. This is last because we won’t be able to afford the good stuff for awhile. The IKEA Ektorp $399 sofa is temporary…ultimately my dream couch is the blue velvet sofa from Ethan Allen that you may have seen on other blogs. It’s a dream couch!

At the very back of the binder, I have the full collage I made of the overall design look for the house.

I also made a list of ‘resources’ if you will, for home stuff, even though it’s IKEA in the short term. I did this because I sometimes forget about places, like Home Goods when I’m on the hunt for something, so I spend all day looking for a lamp and give up and go home and then remember I didn’t go to Home Goods because I’d forgotten it existed. And for the front of the binder, I printed out calendar months for the last months of 2011. It’s just nice to have things laid out visually, so if you go into a store and ask about delivery or whatever, you can look at your calendar and see how it fits into things. I KNOW people have phones, but I like being able to hold things and touch them and write on them. So that’s my moving binder. It was SO easy to make. Pendaflex’s are 11 dollars at Staples. The checklist was made using grid boxes in Microsoft Word. A simple label maker made the labels for the tabs. And then I printed all of the images. Literally all you do is right-click to save an image to your desktop, then open it and click file–>print, or “Control+P”, and whether you have a PC or a MAC, it should just automatically print the image to the size of the paper. It’s legit. I CAN’T tell you how obsessed I am with this binder. Every time I see it, I just want to make out with it. It’s just makes me want to wake up and start slaying life. Just owning our move. I’m normally not THIS organized. Without Pendaflex project sorter, all of these things would have been in ten different places, but this little magical part-file folder part-binder gave me a place to put it all together, in a very visually satisfying way. #obsessssedwithPendaflex. #notsponosoredbyPendaflex. #wouldbeweirdifIwas.

An empty pendaflex:You also don’t have to use labels and can instead used colored sharpies to fill in the tabs. Alright good night. It’s 2 AM on Friday night and I’m still up posting about this.

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Industrial Loft Living: How to do it right

Can you EVEN believe it’s the same space??? Take a good look.

I discovered Natalie’s blog the way I discover half the shit I discover– clicking link after link after link until I couldn’t tell you how I got to where I am IF you paid me to. What I do know is that an online magazine of some sort had featured her due to her DIY bunting project that was really creative and cute. Seeee: She made that. The entire thing, in her spare time, because she is Martha Stewart.

In terms of the space she currently lives in, I was always really amazed when she blogged pictures of her loft BEFORE I saw the before picture!! Like even before seeing it, I thought it was amazing and so cool and funky and thought for sure she must have a background in interior design based on how well she filled such a cold and just large space. And then I stumbled upon her before picture and was in shock! So, look again: beFORE

Like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT???? What an incredible transformation! The picture you saw up above, at the start of the post, was of the area re-arranged to accommodate guests for her and her fiance’s 26th birthday party. They rented chairs from a party company and had all of their closest friends over. But normally it looks like this. The best part is that she is so crafty and thrifty that like, half of the things in the pictures were DIY-ed, thrifted, refurbished, or bought from Craigslist.

Let’s get down to a few specifics. Her awesome bubble chandelier above the dining room table. SHE MADE IT. Out of CB2 Plastic Bubbles. You may not even believe that, because it’s so incredible, butttt she photographed the entire thing and blogged a step-by-step DIY on how to do it haha. Man, some people just are Martha Stewart. But better. The idea of me crafting this lamp is LAUGH-A-BLE. Amazing right?

She also DIY-ed these amazing mid-century modern-esque lounge chairs. I’m so jealous of abilities like this.Above, are the final products in their home in the living area. Below, is what they looked like when she found them:

I am totally obSESSED with the piece of artwork that draws all eyes to it, in their dining room area– this amaaaaaaaaaaazing 3D piece that is a turquoise blue-ish skeleton-looking face with these funky eyes and mouth. It’s just fucking COOL. The story is even cooler. It’s by this San Fransisco based artist named Pete DooLittle, and they went to his show, and found it by the dumpster outside after the show, asked the gallery owner what it was doing out there, and the artist said he was supposed to give it to a friend who didn’t want it anymore so he offered to sell it to them for a hundred dollars. I….am dying. I want this EXACT piece of art. I love how he rendered the mouth. I also love his funky graffiti-like signature in the bottom right corner.

She also re-did their back deck which is as amazing a transformation as inside. I meannnnnnnnnnnnnn. Do you not wish you were her friend so you could have drinks on this loft-deck at night? I certaintly do.

Their loft is in downtown Los Angeles and like…..I need for it to be my loft. I wish DC had cool loft spaces that WEREN’T like 4 million dollars and in the ghetto.

She’s also super crafty with food…and crafts…not just interiors. When they invited everyone over for their birthdays, they made supercute appetizers, cooked the whole meal for all the guests, printed hand-made/designed menus, and created the cutest table-setting I’ve ever seen a NON professional party planner create. Working backwards, the tablesetting: {this is inside their apartment. She did all of this. The runner, the confetti, the flowers, the plate settings and home-made polaroid place settings!!!}The menu {which she and her fiance cooked} The garlic & herb cremini mushrooms {I want to be someone who cooks GARLIC AND HERB CREMINI MUSHROOMS FOR MY FRIENDS ON MY OWN BIRTHDAY}The appetizers {HOWWWWWWWW CUTTTTEEEE ARE THESE}The dinner was inside but the cocktails and appetizers were out on their back deck:What a lovely little evening…..I may copy every single element for a future party.

Natalie, thank you for the inspiration! You are a very talented person! For the record, she is NOT a professional party planner or interior designer by trade. Butttt she should be.

ALL photos and graphic design elements are Natalie’s own! I just wanted to feature her amazingness.You can follow her creative happenings here, on her blog MintLoveSocialClub.

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Outfit Inspiration that is not necessarily seasonally relevant

The SEXIEST little black lace dress that’s entirely modest and understated, amazing legs, leopard heels, perfect hair, gold glitter clutch {on my newest obsesssssssssssssssssssssssion, Gal Meets Glam. Mayyyybe the prettiest person I’ve ever seen. It hurts.}

Tie-Dye maxi in neutral-ish colors, tan chunky heels, knotted belt {GMG}

Simple printed jumpsuit, leopard belt, pretty pink lips {GMG}

NEON {Laser Cut Lace mini, leather + insane necklace}, on the one and only Miroslava

Cropped Colored trousers + poiny toed pumps {one of my favorite combinations in the history of fashion}, random photo

Cropped LEATHER trousers + pointy toed pumps on JLO

STARS + Hot Pink {GMG}

Red Wide Legs {Late Afternoon}

’60’s Flower child Hair + High Waisted Shorts + Funky Printed Lace-Up Top + Aviators {GMG}

All-American Denim on Denim + Some Fringe and a Yellow Knotted Belt {GMG}

Burgundy pleated sheer ballerina skirt + comfy striped top + leopard belt + ankle boots {GMG}

Safari-inspired amazingness on Atlantic-Pacific

Candy Colors on AP

Ivory Scalloped-Hem mini skirt + Sleeveless silk button-down blouse  + mint green nails {GMG} {I think she looks like a combination of Michelle Money from the Bachelor, Emma Watson, and Lauren Conrad.}

White frills + tribal mini shorts {GMG}

Skinnies + Plaid Shirt + chunky waffle knit sweater + converse, on Elin Kling

The prettiest lace top I’ve ever seen, navy trousers, chunky wooden-and-leather heels, high bun {GMG, who the fuck elssse}

Glittery Studded Heels, Trousers that you KNOW are Italian-made. Don’t know anything about this photo but I *KNOWWWWW* those trousers are Prada, Miu Miu, something along those lines. They’re fucking PERFECT.

Shredded Preppy Sweater, Cuffed skinnies, cross-strap heels that I need to own, on Man Repeller

Electric hot pink sweater dress with funky black belt and booties {no idea where this photo came from}

Really fun color-blocking {on Aimee, from Song of Style}

Plaid on Plaid

A chunky striped knit with delicate lace scalloped shorts

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