How iced coffee saved my life

To say I am not a morning person is a pretty extreme understatement. It is especially noticeable because I am married to Captain Happy who legitimately wakes up every day like it’s Christmas and he just can’t wait to  open the presents. Except that there are no presents and he is just super stoked to go have another day, a totally normal day. Luckily, in the past couple weeks I have found something that makes the morning a little more exciting, or in the very least seems to brighten my gloomy morning blues. ICED COFFEE.

It took me 25 years and reading it over and over and over on numerous blogs, but I finally tried it and am absolutely loving this iced coffee business. I used to have a Diet Coke in the mornings, because it is my crack, but all the while I was still willing to admit that it was a little gross to have a soda that early. Also, I was never a real fan of the severe withdrawal problems I would get along with the DC cola habit, so I was very much looking for a good replacement that wouldn’t have me twitching by 10 AM if the vending machine I was counting on, was out. In fact, I am now only really having one soda a week, and have hopes to maybe even cut that one out. ICED COFFEE YOU ARE MY HERO.

Now, I absolutely have a plan to try what is supposedly the best iced coffee recipe, but because I wasn’t exactly sure how iced coffee world would stack up to my almighty diet soda, I first decided to try the Trader Joe’s brand cold-brew concentrated iced coffee. Right now, I use 1/3 cup concentrate to about 1/2 cup water topped with a healthy dollop of light coconut milk. And it is glorious. I am still going to try the recipe, but for anyone out there that wants a quick fix, I only have wonderful things to say about this product.

icedcoffeess

I MIGHT have even had a mini second glass today. The morning grumpies were especially persistent today.

For some other fun, today this is my jam – MR MS, Hurricane:

And my inspiration – Pennyweight‘s House Tour on Design Sponge:

4Elise1-500x625

And an outfit that I wish was in my closet – craving comfy, via The Day Book:

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Happy hump day, you internet camels.

For the love of natural light

With any move there are mixed feelings and this last one has certainly been no exception. We have broken hearts over leaving some of our dearest friends – even while they are only an hour or so away, this could easily translate to 3 hours, given LA traffic and it hurts all the same. We are filled to the brim with excitement about what this new adventure will bring and the opportunity it is giving me to explore my career goals. We will miss being just a stones-throw from the beach, the running trail and a few of our favorite happy hour/food spots, but love the challenge of finding new stomping grounds. We have already talked about the fact that our last apartment may always remain our favorite non-forever home for so many reasons. But this new one has it’s perks as well.

Such as.. NATURAL LIGHT. OMGEE I have windows.

Our last place was wonderful, it really was. We had all the freedom in the world to do whatever we wanted, even though we didn’t take full advantage of that (we didn’t really have this move planned and thought we would be there for a while, in other words, weren’t in a rush) it was still very nice to know we could, at any time, make any change we felt like. It had concrete floors which I really didn’t mind and made for cleaning up our part-sheltie’s dog hair much easier. The location simply could not be beat. It was just enough space that we weren’t on top of each other, but it also challenged us to have a more minimal life style. But, it really only had one window and was, in a sense, a cave. 

The extra unfortunate thing was that this one window was off the kitchen and so situated that there was no room for plants of any size to be placed along its limited light source.

Every time I got to feeling a bit bummed to be leaving our little Redondo condo, I would remind myself that while its quirks were often wonderful, the lack of windows had and would always frustrate me when I would walk through the plant aisles of Home Depot, OSH, IKEA, or even saw a lovely plant-filled home image on a blog or Pinterest. That was, until I went on one last IKEA run before moving into the new place, where along with some necessities, I picked my first long-coveted Fiddle Leaf Fig.

It has some nasty brown patches on a leaf or two, which honestly were already developing in the store, but I figured even a few leafs down, the IKEA deal was going to be the most affordable AND justifiable to the non-plant-enthusiast that is my husband.

2013-08-12_1376348730

(SO sorry about the horrible photo, I am now iPhone-less and therefore good-camera-less. Working on it.)

I have since spent the last week or so reading all the internet has to offer in terms of advice on how to keep this lovely leafy green\ alive and thriving. Here are my favorite reads:

+ From Gardenista – this piece even features some of my favorite blogger’s thoughts on FLF

+ A good straight-forward FLF tip guide

+ Not so much this The Inspired Room blog post itself, but the comments were pretty interesting (while diverse) and I am sure I will refer back to it in the future

I may not want to be a crazy cat lady, but I am all for being crazy plant lady! Are you with me? I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this:

Ideat Magazine-June 2011 via iiiinspired

<Ideat Magazine-June 2011 via iiiinspired>

Of course, if you have any additional ideas/suggestions I would be forever grateful. Don’t support the husband’s I-told-you-so-its-dead-campaign.

OMG, Shoes

I tend to be the type of person that wears the same earrings every day, maybe rotates two different necklaces, and lets my shoes (and purses) go on and on until I am either stapling or taping them together (both of which, I ACTUALLY have done – not some of my finer moments.) It is also for this reason that I don’t own any bright pink platforms, flower flats, or blue suede shoes. I keep my arsinal small and simple. In fact, I wish I could get away with wearing the same “uniform” every day. It would just remove that whole “challenge” out of the equation. But alas, this is not socially acceptable, and while I do love styling my home, have a great appreciation for fashion, and even pin clothes (including shoes) all day on Pinterest, when it comes down to how I actually dress and shop, I want each piece to be as versatile as possible. I hate the idea of owning a pair of shoes that I can only wear with ONE outfit. I can’t say that this wouldn’t change if I won the lottery, but for now, as an apartment dweller with no space and a wife on a budget, I want my shoes cheap and to get much more than my moneys worth before I need to be super-gluing the heel back into place.

Right now, I am about at the point where my husband is embarassed to see me in my work shoes. They are in rough shape. So when my good friend, Chelsea (who runs her own, very cute, fashion blog, She Said He Said) tweeted a link about how cheap and surprisingly adorable Forever 21’s shoe line was, I quickly browsed and subsequently made a long list of shoes that I desperately wanted. I will admit, I only shop at Forever 21 on occasion, but their clothes are too affordable making it almost hard to avoid. Not to mention they seem to be the Starbucks of women’s clothing and are popping up everywhere. More-or-less, I would say my style isn’t consistantly lined up with theirs, but my goodness the shoes.

Like my apartment, I keep my clothing color palette pretty neutral and unchanged. My walls will forever be painted black and/or white and/or grey, and my shoes will either be black or brown. At least, until my budget greatly increases due to aforementioned lottery winnings. For now, my Forever 21 shoe wishlist is no different. I do have some concerns over the quality of the shoes based on their price, but with the rave reviews, on at least most of my favorites – I imagine I would pretty easily get at least their $20-35 price tag worth of wear out of them.

Here are the seven (yikes) I have narrowed it down to:

Shoes

1. Ankle Strap Platform Wedges, $24.80 – These would be a great option for my work shoes replacement.

2. Basket Woven Oxfords, $26.80 – I love the idea of these with some rolled up jeans or leggings or shorts or even a summer dress. Maybe I should also buy a summer dress(?)…

3. Tassle Zip Canvas Booties, $32.80 – These ones might be my favorite. I love the look of the shoes, my only concern is my kankle situation – a trip to the actual store may be needed to try these on before committing.

4.  Faux Leather Cowboy Booties, $32.80 – There may be a repeat-ing kankle issue here, but if not, I love how these look. I’m thinking skinny jeans, skirts, leggings, etc.

5.  Faux Leather Moto Booties, $34.80 – Number four and five are really like brothers from different mothers. The same pros and cons really exist with both – but I need the two color options, naturally.

6.Metal Trim Oxfords, $24.80 – If number three doesn’t work out, I want these in their place. Actually even if number three works out I still kind of love these. Also, they pretty much go with everything.

7.  Lace Up Booties, $34.80 – As much as I often feel like I am trying too hard when I wear heels, they do (normally) help make my disproportionally large, tree-stump legs look a bit better/slimmer. I gladly take any help I can get. And these heels feel a bit more approachable to me.  

Let’s take a poll – which ones need to end up on my feet? All of them, right? That’s what I thought. All of them.

But really, I appreciate any thoughts. Are these just way too cheap that they must be junk-shoes? Am I seeing things and are these actually all fuzzy Hell0-Kitty slippers? Does anyone have any unwanted Forever 21 gift cards they would like to share so I don’t actually have to make any decisions? Do you hate shoes and think I should go back to not ever talking about them? This is a safe space.. bring on the commentary..

** this post was not sponsored by Forever 21, they just have some nice lookin’ shoes. 

It’s DRAPERY. It’s a DOOR. NO, it’s a PANEL CURTAIN!

Tuesday this week was like Christmas and  I must have been a really good girl this year because Santa Apple brought me a shiny new Mac Mini.

It has been a very happy addition to the new improved office, but not the only one.

We also finally took care of the very odd 2 foot doorway/doorless-gap between the office/closet area of the bedroom and the bathroom. A door wouldn’t work because of the irregular size, so we decided to go with some sort of black curtain to at least block the light in the mornings.  I knew I wanted something more modern and clean than standard drapery — but I didn’t have any source ideas, really. I had also actually wanted something similar (but in white) for the sliding glass doors, so I took advantage of the wonderful Anna Dorfman’s (of doorsixteen) post a while back where she allowed readers to ask anything, a Q-and-A free-for-all of sorts and I asked Anna for recommended design solutions and she delivered (because she is amazing.) Her suggestion was to use IKEA’s panel curtains, they are slide along a track and are weighted on the bottom so that they hang straight – exactly the look I wanted. After some additional research we decided to go with it. It fits perfectly, we didn’t even need to cut down the curtain, although IKEA provides you with simple directions if we had needed to.

Here are the pieces required and the cost breakout in the event that you too have an odd 2 foot doorway/doorless-gap, or maybe just need/want a more modern curtain option:

One INGAMAJ black panel curtain: $14.99

One KVARTAL top and bottom rod set: $5.99

One KVARTAL single track rail: $5.99

Two KVARTAL ceiling fixture attachments: $2.50 ea/$5.00

Total: $31.97 

Not bad considering how much a custom door could have cost, and in this situation it looks much better than drapery, I would say.

We ended up going with simple white linen drapery curtains for the sliding glass doors, but mainly because purchasing enough panels to cover the length of the sliding glass doors would kinda add up, not to mention we would have to get a multi-track system so they wouldn’t run into each other if we wanted to enjoy our view. BUT, if we owned this place I probably would have gone for it. For now the white linen works fine in the still-needs-a-lot-of-work-kitchen.

Apart from needing to style the office shelves a bit and work on the cord situation, the office is pretty close to fini. Making progress on this apartment totally gives me some sort of equivalent to a runners high, without having to do that stupid exercise thing.

Oh and I need to do a THANK YOU MOM! shout out because this whole awesome office project was made possible with the IKEA gift card she gave us for our anniversary. I love you so much and Alex, Jenny, the new Mac Mini and I really, really appreciate your generous gift.

a little less PURPLE, a little more DESK

So, my computer was all like “Yo, Ryann, I am feeling like I am really ready to commit and settle down in one location, the life of a drifting laptop is getting a bit old.”

To which I naturally responded, “I hear ya, let me see what I can do, because I’m just that nice.”

I had thought of making a pipe shelving unit/desk, a la, The Brick House, but let’s be honest, I was too lazy. Instead we went with a much more simple DIY:

IKEA VIKA ALEX storage unit, white $50

IKEA LAGAN kitchen countertop 1″ x 25″ x 49″, beech $39

IKEA EKBY VIKTOR shelf 29″, white $6 (2)

IKEA EKBY STODIS shelf brackets, black $.50 (4)

Home Depot heavy-duty shelving brackets in white, $9 ea (2)

Screws, long and short

Screwdriver

Total Cost: $121

The challenge was the limited amount of space for the “office” in our apartment. In our previous place we had a whole second bedroom, but even there we never had a proper setup. With my classes I have been very excited to have my own space, a devoted area to do homework, and a much better spot to focus on my work rather than the couch or in the bed.

We needed something small for the very awkward, approximately 4′ deep space off the bedroom by the closet. Here is a before photo (please note again the purple):

First I painted over that yucky purple, which was the last of it – paint me a happy lady.

Secondly, I put together the storage unit. I am really happy with it and seems very sturdy. I also like that it is finished on the back, so there isn’t a bad angle for it to be seen from.

From here Alex and I went on a super duper fun wild goose chase – turns out Alex and I haven’t really ever bought any wood or been to a lumber yard — it also turns out a 1″ x 2′ x 4′ piece of wood isn’t something too easy to come by, at least in the South Bay. Everything is planks or thin pressed wood sheets. Maybe this is something most people know, but we didn’t and it was slightly embarrassing asking some workers who clearly thought this was common knowledge, that no, they didn’t have anything like that. So since we had already bought and put together the storage unit and had our plan, we didn’t want to back out and still wanted to find a way to make this work. As you can see from the supplies list above, we did find a solution, and while the dimensions were not perfect, I actually love it more than I thought. The IKEA countertop is great, it has a nice thickness and seems like good quality wood. I lightly sanded the countertop, cleaned it off with Murphy’s Soap and gave it some Teak Oil love and it came out looking perdy.

Once we had everything we needed, the rest was very easy. We put the storage unit up against the wall, marked the height and screwed in the heavy-duty L-brackets. Once the brackets were in the wall, we balanced the countertop on them and the storage unit, ensured that the placement was straight, and used small screws to attach the brackets to the countertop from underneath.

After then hanging a couple shelves, our make-shift office was turning out to be a nice little computer nook. It isn’t fully styled yet, but I am loving it so far. So is my computer. And Jenny. She is very pleased to be my fuzzy foot rest under this nice desk-cave we have seemingly built for her.

All we need now is to be on the lookout for a sweet office chair.

MOORE-haus STYLE

I hate the idea of confining myself to a “style” – but as everyday I (somehow) get more and more people stumbling onto this blog, I figured it was about time that I tried to explain our style, our design goals, and maybe a bit on the dream house.

While today our apartment is messy, cluttered, and makeshift, I hope to one day own and have decorated a home that I feel is refined, cultured, clean, sophisticated,  and modern.  I know that’s a lot of words, but I feel it’s more appropriate than saying “our style is mid-century modern/mad-men chic/70s palm springs” as much as any of those might be the closest to the “style” we would like to emulate.  We like (or I like and I am working to convince the man) angles and clean lines, geometry influenced art,  white or black walls (Alex here would say: “boring”), and furniture that looks like it’s been collected out of  a 70’s design book, Sweden, or a maybe a piece or two from BBC’s Sherlock Holmes – without the price tag.

We are obviously are just getting started and are still “practicing” on rentals before we buy a house but hopefully all these baby steps will lead to us one day looking at our home as a true reflection of us and the things we love.

Here are some of my favorite design photos right now, to give you more of idea of what I would love to have our place look like.. you know.. when we grow up:

(You can also follow me on Pinterest and see all my design “pins”)

via Elle Decor

via Designed for Life

via Desire to Insprire

via Malabala

via Matthew Williams

via The Brick House

There are many more that I have saved, however, I don’t want to post any photos that I don’t know the source on this blog, so deal with it.

TWO TONE part two

I went with black and  white.  AND. I love it. 

When we grow up and own a house I will use Benjamin Moore paint, but Alex reminds me quite often this is a rental and we shouldn’t be putting a ton of money into it so I went with the next best paint, Behr.  The top is flat matte Ultra Pure White and the bottom is satin finish called Broadway.

BEFORE:

TOP HALF PRIMED AND PAINTED:

BOTTOM WITH TAPE:

TAPE OFF/SLIGHT BLEEDING TO CLEAN UP:

ALL DONE:

 

I also painted the doors and the mouldings with the white (if it wasn’t clear in the before photos, but they were previously coffee-teeth off-white, EW! YUCK!)

I am so happy with it.  What do you think?

TWO TONE part one

Finished painting the bedroom last night.. here are some (not-so-subtle) hints until I am able to take some photos:

via Poppytalk

via As de Trèfle & 7 de Coeur

via Farrow & Ball via Simply Grove

via Design Sponge

via Style by Emily Henderson

itch your BLOGGY itch and my BRAIN sitch

I am having a complete and total home improvement freak out.  I LOVE our new place, like whoa.  However, we haven’t unpacked a lot of the boxes and the two bedrooms worth of boxes in our new one bedroom makes for one of those games where one piece is intentionally missing so that you can move around the pieces one at a time until they make a picture.  It is chaos.  Kinda like that last sentence.  And our bedroom is half primed.  Like awkwardly, not even done with priming the top half.   And I want to paint EVERYTHING else – so this is a very, very small portion of the work to be done.  I did patch a lot of nail holes and one major ninja-kick size hole in the bathroom — I know the owner should of done this, but did I mention I am having a freak out and that I want to fix everything, and fix everything NOW?!  If only I could afford to take like two weeks off from work and just focus.. ahh that would be so great.  Seriously, how does anyone own a home, have babies, dogs, a man, a car, a job or any of all that business.  Work, school, and a new apartment are making me lose my mind.  “What I wuss,” says Jenny.

So how am I handling this?  Well a few things: 

1.  I am not.  I went to IKEA yesterday, made a couple smart choices but many more bad ones and needless to say I will be returning a decent amount of these impulsive buys.

2.  Ok, I am kinda handling things. Now.  But only because I went to the Brick House and started from her very first post and read in a couple pages.  I totally forgot about what her place looked like in the beginning, considering how incredibly beautiful it is now.  And!  She had a whole house that needed SO much more work than our little condo.  This reminded me that things work out better when you breathe and such; when you really think through your decisions and only select things you really love.  Most importantly it has reminded me to be ok with slow progress.  As much as it totally blows.

All that being said, I am imagining that there may be a little bloggy hiatus.  You know, while I calm down and finish some shiz.  Like unpacking, because that would be a good start.  Or finals which are this week and next (yeah I know, SHUT UP. I am trying not to think about it.) 

So in tribute, because The Brick House has really helped me out today and to allow me to post without having to think too much (considering how healthy my mind is right now) – I am hereby sharing with you my master list of the blogs that I absolutely HAVE to check daily.  It is an obsession.  An addiction.  It’s an itch that I just can’t help but scratch, and I don’t even bother trying to fight the urge, because it is OH. so. good.

1. Style By Emily Henderson

2. The Brick House

3. Door Sixteen

4. Hommemaker

5. Manhattan Nest

6. SF Girl By Bay

7.  Apartment Therapy

8. Decor 8

9. Desire to Inspire

10. Design Sponge

11. Remodelista

12. Once Wed

13. Style Me Pretty

14. 100 Layer Cake

15. Studio 28 Photo

16. The Dieline

17. Cotton and Curls

18. Laateedaa

19. Purlbee

(Yes wedding blogs are a guilty pleasure, don’t judge me!)

ENJOY!  I know I will.

1-800-I-LIVE-HERE.com

Ohmygoodnesswowwowwow!!  This is where I live now.

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