Blogging tips

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ALL THAT GLITTERS...

Today being Tuesday, the delightful Brynn over at Chartreuse and a Twist is having another Color Collective link up. This week's color(s): white and gold. OK. Fine. I have lots of gold and plenty of white. I pulled together a few favorite items and snapped away. The results were... unfortunate.

The quality of the pictures isn't much worse than usual, and my stuff is nice (shut up, it IS!) but something went wrong somewhere. I can't tell if I'M just depressed or if the pictures are really that awful, but they look to me like something you see on Craig's List, or as evidence at a serial killer's trial. And while I'm not sure I get this whole link-up thing, I'm pretty sure the point isn't to make your readers feel sad and/or creepy.

I will, however, use two extreme close-ups to demonstrate some wardrobe advice, because everyone wants to be told what to wear by someone whose idea of high fashion is anything not from Old Navy, The Gap, or J. Crew, right? Sure. Anyway.

There are two items that everyone should have in their closet. One is a white dress shirt. And not one from Old Navy, The Gap, or even J.Crew. I suggest going to Anne Fontaine:


Her shirts are expensive, but amazing, and really, you only need one. Are you a waiter? No? Then you don't need more than one white blouse. And don't wear it with black pants. Just don't.

The other item is a pair of gold sandals, preferably with a high, wedge heel:


They will make you feel like you are walking on the stars. Mine are Michael Kors, who makes several lovely pairs, but don't limit yourself. The Internet is your friend, at least when it comes to shopping for gold sandals.

There you have it, readers, my white and gold wisdom, such as it is. Let's hope next week's Color Collective is a little more successful.

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FLOWER POWER






I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for winter to get in one last lick before spring really arrives. But looking at these flowers makes me almost believe that spring is indeed already here. Happy Sunday, you guys!

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

STAIRWAY TO BORINGTOWN

You know how when you fix one thing in a room, the rest of the area has a way of shouting out all its faults? Well, that's certainly what's going on in my entryway. Now that the new console table has transformed part of the area into sheer beauty:


There are other parts that are looking extremely shabby/boring/both. Not all of it - the view as you come down the stairs is nice enough, featuring an antique table and mirror:



Ignore the random basket of sunglasses and cases on the lower shelf. I'm not sure why that even exists since I have exactly one pair of sunglasses and I keep them in a case in my bag, but whatever. I have bigger problems to deal with. The floor would be one of them:


It might not look awful, but it is. It desperately needs to be sanded and polyurathaned and has since before we moved in. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE - my family, my friends, my contractor, my therapist, told us to do the floors before we moved in. We chose to ignore this advice (mostly because we had basically run out of money and could barely afford to clean the floor, let alone redo it). But that doesn't change the fact that the floor is sad. And shouldn't be - there are once-beautiful inlays lining every room:



But they are faded and pathetic-looking. Of course, we still can't afford to redo the floors, so that option is out. I think what I need, at the very least, is a lovely rug to cover the expanse of sad floor shown in the first floor photo above. We had such a rug, once, but our million-year-old cat barfed on it so many times that it became more of an eyesore than I was willing to put up with. On a totally unrelated matter, does anyone want an elderly cat? Goes free to good home.

The floor isn't the only problem either. The staircase is looking a little, well, institutional:



That big blank wall is depressing. And I take enough medication that I shouldn't be depressed by a mere wall, no matter how blank. Although the bare steps don't help much. Here's the view up the staircase:


I mean, it could be worse. I could have some hideous artwork that a dear friend gave me so I have to hang it up, and that's the only place it fits. Actually, now that I think about it, there is such an item, but let's move on. Quickly.

You guys, I need help! I can't find a rug for the fucking floor, I think I should get a runner for the stairs (yes? no?), and I have no idea what to do with that stupid wall!

I do not want to do one of those gallery walls that a lot of people do on a staircase; I just don't. I'd like to hang one, maybe two or three at most, largish, framed... things. But what?? Nothing colorful - at this rate my living room is going to look like a Turkish bazaar, and my dining room has intense blue walls. I like that there is minimal color in this one area of the house. I also like the idea of having a fairly neutral room to walk into from the front door before the rest of the house assaults you with an onslaught of color.

And as for the rug and/or runner, it would need to go with the pink and green of the lamp/foo dogs/Chinese painting. But again, I don't want anything really colorful anyway, but what am I supposed to do? Find some black and white rug? Does that even exist? Maybe it does. Maybe that's a genius idea! Or maybe it's just late and I've had a long day and kind of lost perspective... And how do you get a runner to turn the corners on a landing anyway? I have been wondering that since we moved in.

So you can see that I need help. What should I do, you guys? Suggestions in the comments, please. Make yourselves useful for once, for Christ's sake!

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!

Friday, March 23, 2012

GRACIOUS ENTRYWAY, PT. WHATEVER

The entrance to my home has been a work in progress for basically the entire two-and-a-half years that we've lived here. Although thats actually not entirely true, as it implies that some "progress" has indeed been made. Which it has not. The key, at least in my mind, to the changes I wanted to make was replacing the table under the giant Chinese painting:


It's a perfectly fine table, but way too small for where it was, as you can see here:


I don't know why I was incapable of taking a better picture than this, but even in this crappy photo you can see that the table doesn't work. But I couldn't figure out what in God's name I should replace it with. Everything I even remotely liked was thousands of dollars, and most of what I saw that was affordable was either hideous, too deep for the space, and usually both. Then, the clouds parted, angels sang, and rays of light straight from heaven shone down on this:
It doesn't look like much, I know, but that's kind of the point. I was hoping it would serve as a place to put my pink chinese lamps and the foo dogs, I could stack coffee-table books underneath it, and it would sort of disappear. 

I found this table, oh, about 9 months ago. It costs $309, free shipping. And yet despite spending so much money that Ted had to put me on an all-cash-allowance system for the foreseeable future, I never seemed to have the funds for the table. This MAY be an example of what Ted is talking about when he says things like "irresponsible, careless spending" and "thoughtless management of money."

Anyway, two weeks in to the new family budget system, I had enough money to purchase the table. And it arrived this week, on the same day, in fact, as the lampshades for the pink Chinese lamps. Everything was coming together.

And come together it has. Here what the space used to look like when you walked in the front door:

Crappy iPhone Photo of Old, Sad, Ungracious Entryway
 And here is what it looks like now:

Lovely DSLR photos of Happy, Gracious, New Entryway
But let's take a closer look at the details, shall we? The table's much longer, which makes a lot more sense, while also managing to be two inches less deep, leaving more space to walk: WIN/WIN!

I finally found shades to fit the pink lamps (after three tries) and I love them almost as much as I love the lamps themselves.


The bottom works for stacking books, and while the wires hanging down from the lamps isn't my favorite look in the entire world I am more than willing to overlook it for now.


Even the Foo dogs look happier, don't you think?


No? Maybe I'm projecting. Here are some more random shots just because I am so happy with the way everything turned out:







And one more shot from the front door:


Of course, now I see a million other issues that need to be addressed ASAP, but that's for tomorrow's post. Happy Friday, mofos! I hope your weekend gets off to an awesome start :)

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!

THROW PILLOWS: BALM FOR THE SOUL

I have professed my addiction to love for the throw pillow before, so it should come as no surprise that I truly believe that purchasing new ones  can change your whole perspective on life. Which I do truly believe. And though I adore the pillows that have graced our living room all winter:


Winter looks like it's on the way out, and those pillows need to go as well. Not forever, just to be cleaned and then put into a box in the attic until I'm not so sick of them that I want to barf every time I look at one. So, maybe forever. No, no, I kid. But new pillows are in the offing, you guys, and I could NOT be more excited.

You see, I've been a bit blue lately - a combination of things, really. Feeling under-appreciated - at my "real" job, at home, really everywhere. Feeling as though my New Year's resolution was for naught and that I have only complicated my life, not simplified it at all. Feeling useless, at work, at home, at the supermarket (don't ask). Just feeling generally stuck.

We've all been there, at least most people I know have, and I know that very little of these feelings are based in reality, and also that this too shall pass. But I'm not going to just wait for the blues to get up and go on their own, I'm going to usher them to the door and kick their ass out on to the mother-fucking street. And one way I am going to do that is with new throw pillows for the living room.

Now you may be wondering how I am going to afford all these new pillows, as I am still credit-card-less and on a strict, Ted-approved budget, as you guys know how I like my throw pillows: expensive and plentiful.

Well, after agonizing (I'm not exaggerating. AGONIZING) over dozens of fabrics and pillow sizes, and after having extended e-mail chats with several Etsy vendors over yardage and colorways and possible discounts for large orders, I have decided to go it alone. Not ALONE alone, just sort of alone. See, T-Dawg's mother-in-law is an amazing seamstress for whom whipping up a dozen or so pillows is nothing. And I found a fabric that I would totally marry if I weren't already happily married to Ted:


It's called Suzanni Chai and while no one on Etsy or eBay could find any, Calico Corners sells it and was also having their spring sale. 20% off! Yay! So I bought enough for three lumbar pillows and four squares. Then I got this amazing navy blue fabric:


Which appears sort of dark here, and kind of is in real life, too, but looks fucking AMAZING with New Fabric and I can't wait till everything gets here next week and starts getting made into pillow magic by T-Dawg's MIL Norma. All of which, because of the sale, and the friends-and-family discount that Norma is giving me, and because I chose to back the patterned pillows with an inexpensive twill, will cost me much less than going out and buying 17 pillows (shut UP, Ted, that's how many we NEED).

I am so besotted with the New Fabric, I brought home the sample they cut off for me at the store and placed it all over the living room to see how well it was going to go with everything. Then I took pictures. You think I am kidding but, sadly, I am not:

Scrap of New Fabric on Wooden Chair

Scrap of New Fabric on Blue Rug

Scrap of New Fabric on Blue Part of Orange Rug

Scrap of New Fabric on Couch

Scrap of New Fabric on Orange Chair

See? The New Fabric fits right in as though it was made to order for my living room. 

You may think I'm being simpleminded to think that changing the pillows in my living room is going to change my outlook on life, but you would be wrong. Well, you'd be right if that's the only thing I was going to do, but it's not, it's just the first thing. And the first thing is always the hardest, but anything that gets the ball rolling, wheels turning, the creative mind engaged, that's a good thing. Right? Right.

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SPRING IS IN THE AIR: YAY, IT'S TAX TIME

The delightful and talented Brynn from Chartreuse and a Twist is having her weekly color collective and in honor of spring, the colors she's chosen are pastels. I own very few pastel items, so you will be spared the torture of looking at my actual stuff this week. Instead, you will have to look at my actual photographs! Lucky readers!

I love fall best, with the crisp air, back-to-school feeling, jackets, and boots. I am a sucker for winter. Not some wimpy excuse for winter like what we just had here in NY, but real winter, with turtleneck sweaters, fires in the fireplace, sledding, and feeling cozy inside. I adore the summer sun, getting a tan (I know, I know), wearing very little clothing, and frozen drinks with plenty of alcohol in them. Spring? Eh, I guess it's OK, but really. The weather. Is it hot? Is it cold? I'm always dressed wrong and uncomfortable. And there's supposed to be some sort of lightness, happiness, love, whatever, in the air, but all I can think of is that I haven't pulled together all the invoices and receipts for tax accountant yet and... Well, anyway, it took me a while to realize what, if anything, I loved about the season.

Flowers:


Tulips make my heart happy. The more the better:


And the smell of lilac transports me straight to heaven:


As does the aroma of hyacinth:



But the flower that means spring most to me is the cherry blossom:


In addition to flowers, spring means Easter, which is the one holiday that Ted and I have kept for ourselves. We celebrate just the four of us, go to services at the church where I was baptized, where we were married, where both of our children were baptized, and where they have an awesome Easter Egg Hunt in the gardens behind the church after Mass:


I dress the boys in pink and we all go out to Easter Brunch afterwards. It's nice. So here's a thank you to Brynn for getting me in the mood for spring! I feel better already! I'll worry about all that tax stuff tomorrow ;)

Also, go check out all the other, much better color posts by all the lovely ladies who link up to Brynn's Color Collective. You will be impressed, I promise. Those gals know what they're doing, as opposed to the circus that's going on over here.

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!

Monday, March 19, 2012

ROCK THE CASBAH

Yes, I realize that I am dating myself with the title, but first of all, newsflash, I'm old. Who cares. Second of all, I was very young, like nine, when that song was popular, OK? Third of all, this post is going to make me look pretty dumb, so you'll forget all about the title pretty soon.

Anyway, the casbah that I am currently rocking (see how I did that?) is my own living room. You will remember that I was going insane in the membrane (another dated song reference) over the state of the living room rug. So I've been feverishly looking at rugs rugs rugs. Everywhere. Nice rugs that I can't afford. Awful rugs that I also can't afford. The whole thing was making me crazy(er).

To put it in perspective, I tried to buy a rug on a trip to Home Depot. Now, I'm not saying that Home Depot doesn't have some lovely rugs, but a living room rug is not something you just grab while you're running an errand to pick up some driver bits for your drill. You know what I mean?

Clearly I had reached a state of insanity? desperation? Something had to be done. It was about this time that I noticed on a lot of the design blogs and magazines I read, as well as on the flash sale sites I can't stay away from (curse you, One Kings Lane!), I was seeing more and more rugs from North Africa, like Afghanistan and Morocco.

Slowly, the wheels in my small brain began to turn, and I remembered that we actually OWNED two gorgeous moroccan rugs that Ted brought back from one of his trips there (this is the part where I look like a fucking moron, in case it wasn't clear). They were up in the attic, still rolled up in the packaging from when we moved and had them cleaned. It dawned on me that perhaps I didn't have to BUY a rug at all.

I tried to find a "before" photo of the living room, but this is the best I could do:


That's because I'm usually trying to crop out any appearances of the rug, since it looks like this:




I'll wait here while you go vomit. You're back? OK. Great. So after a trip to the attic, and what qualifies as a major physical workout for me, the rugs are in place. I didn't move the revoltingly dirty original rug or anything, I just slapped the "new" ones right on top of it, and I'm kind of digging the layered look.

Here's what the living room looks like now:


I know, right? So different! Here's the orange one:


I probably have to move the chest, right? Center it a little better? But that fucker is HEAVY, so I'll wait for Ted to be moving that shit. Here's the blue one:


So what do you think? Lay it on me; I can take it. Unless you hate them, in which case, tell me lies. But comment either way, because I'm very needy and comments make me feel loved. Also, I want suggestions for fabric with which to make throw pillows - I want to change all the ones on the couch and T-Dawg's mother-in-law is an awesome seamstress and is going to whip me up pillow covers as soon as I decide on fabric. So throw some ideas my way, now that you've seen the (smallish, but free so I'll take it) living room transformation. It's the least you can do, really! ;)

XOXOXO
ABC
Pin It!