Day 17: Pictures

Day 17 (or this weekend) is designated on Style Cure as painting day. Technically I did do a bit of painting this weekend -- one watercolor, and one canvas project I've been meaning to get to for quite some time now -- but because I'm not painting the room itself, I set aside today to finally get some pictures posted, so I can share what's going on in the space.


So far the futon is still uncovered. The cover it came with was the same Santa Claus crimson you see in the leftover pillows, but J loathed it so much he chucked it before we could order a new one. I was quite fond of that candy apple look, but I agree it goes terribly with the rest of the room's rich earth tones. I'm hoping to bring a softer, more feminine color (like the Rosemary or Chelsea Gray shades shown earlier) to the futon eventually.

I'm so pleased to finally see my James Dean poster in a frame. Technically this belongs to J (thrifted a while ago at Goodwill), but he's graciously let me borrow it. The headless Boy Scout (left) is his own work, and I love how bizarre it feels hovering over the room. Even when he's just messing around, J's talents seem to be endless.

The beast of a bookshelf.

A rather blurry shot of the little London pictures I found at Salvation Army. Such a happy find!

J's camera collection -- I just love how these look beneath Mr. Dean!

These old fashioned accents are my favorite part of the room so far.
They make me feel like I've fallen into an episode of Downton Abbey -- or an Oscar Wilde story.

No bedroom shots to share just yet, but here's the bathroom, which is just about finished! I like the simple black and white happening in here, but I'm hoping to introduce some teals or lime greens soon.

The party was a great success, and everyone assured me the living room looked just fine.
As my brother assures me, "You'll learn to love the black furniture look. It always looks clean."
I hope he's right, because dusting is just about my least favorite thing to do!

Thanks for reading! More soon.


Style Cure Day 15 & 16: Catch Up

Thank you, Style Cure, for recognizing I was in the throws of stress-city getting everything organized in time for today's dinner. To be fair, J's handled all of the food -- but last night I reached my wit's end when it came to the living room and our bedroom closet.

My visions for the living room being a place of masculine-meets-feminine were quickly foiled when we made the decision to buy a 7-foot tall black bookcase. After all J's books were on it, it towered over the room like an enormous bird. Add the predominately black oriental rug, three more black shelving units, the large black TV, and a black side table and the whole space is exactly what I feared: a man cave. A man cave to the nth degree!! The futon, meanwhile, has lost its bright red color (this wasn't working anyway, but the exposed whiteness just makes the room all the more sharp), so everything is very deep and brooding in here.

Luckily I have a little corner to myself which I'm now calling my "femspace." My brown wooden desk and high-backed dusty-blue-and-pink-striped chair sit quietly beneath three framed photos of London I found at the Salvation Army. If I were sitting there now, I would be facing away from the ultimate yang space that all that black has created.

I let my yin expand westward to the bedroom, and I'm growing more proud of it as the room takes shape. I found a beautiful antique-looking Basset dresser at Salvation Army. It's cream colored and looks like it walked straight out of Downton Abbey -- on a direct path from the inspiration board! The bedroom has adopted more of the soft atmosphere I thought the bedroom would, with muted blues, neutrals, and woods. In a way, I'm glad the rooms have a distinct personality of their own. Even though its been hard to relinquish control of the living room, I realize eclectic was what I was going for in the first place -- and there's still plenty of time to make it more eclectic.

Pictures coming soon folks, I really promise.


Style Cure Day 12, 13, & 14: Shop, DIY, and Layout

Well, we had quite a weekend loading and unloading, driving back and forth between three districts of Seattle. I finally picked up the leftovers from my room at the old house -- and found a (temporary) new home for my beloved trundle in the same day! With the deep cleaning and roommate goodbyes behind me, I finally feel like I'm really starting fresh. J and I still need to bring my desk over, but we're finally getting to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now that I've gotten to spend some quality time with the living room, the color palette is starting to take shape in my head. I managed to match the wall color to a Benjamin Moore shade: "Palace White":

Off the computer screen, it has a slightly warmer tone.... Something similar to the flower petals in this picture. (Thank you, Design Seeds.)

Going off the colors of what's definitely going to be in here -- shelves, walls, flooring, and rug -- I think we're looking at something like this for a color palette:

I'm delighted at how cozy some of these colors sound.

So, going back to my earlier list, I've made a few cuts and additions:

To Purchase:
-1 bookshelf, probably black, probably from Ikea; shorter than J wanted, perhaps, but loooong, to fill up northern wall space
-1 mini end table for futon; hopefully vintage & funky
-entry mat; something with "Fireweed," "Bracing Blue," or "Rosemary," perhaps
-curtains (3 for living room)
           *Thrift Find: 2 secondhand Target Home brand long curtains in "Studio Taupe" shade
-1 futon cover; will likely order online -- "Firewood" or "Bracing Blue" to pick up entry/oriental rug hues
-2 or 3 throw pillows; I think these will be my DIY -- that way I can be exact in my color choice. I can't start this very easily without my sewing machine, so that'll have to wait another week or so. By then I should have a firm idea of what hues will work best.

There are, of course, a variety of other odds and ends I need to pick up today as J and I traverse the thrifting fields. Value Village, The Salvation Army, Goodwill Outlet, local antique stores... I just can't wait to do what I love best: shop on the cheap! God as my witness, I will resist Ikea as long as possible. I certainly feel the temptation to buy new, but underneath it all my true feelings align with Phoebe's. It's more interesting when there's a history behind it.

J surprised me yesterday by unpacking the majority of our items -- including hanging up what he thought was the entirety of my wardrobe (oh, honey...) in our closet, setting up most of the kitchen (he's claimed this as his project, and I've happily stepped aside), and positioning the futon in the place we agreed it fit best. I was glad for it: after playing around with full-sized furniture by myself all afternoon yesterday, I've decided I like the floor planing part much better. So I guess layout is pretty taken care of!

I'll get some pictures up as soon as I can. Internet doesn't come to our place for another week, so I've had to make do with coffee shop and lunch break cramming to keep updated.

More soon!


Style Cure Day 9 & 10: Research Decor Pairing or Project

Exciting news from the homefront! The apartment managers painted all the walls back to a neutral bone/beige/ivory/off-white tone (which I have identified as "Palace White" from the Ben Moore paint wheel.)

Looking at our consolidated items, I've assessed the room's needs so far:

-1 or 2 bookshelves (J's request: "SUPER tall.")
-coffee or end table for futon
-entry mat
-curtains (2 for living room, 2 for bedroom)
-futon cover
-throw pillows?

I've also created a palette for the other colors in the room we're working with:

In the way of tables, I think it might be best to stick with the black bookshelf theme we have going here. Nice and easy. A navy or burgundy entry mat might serve to bring out the colors in the oriental rug, and white curtains would still offer light with their privacy. The wood floor will stand out nicely in this color harmony, I think. The blindingly red futon cover is going to have to go -- a beige or tan cover might be a choice replacement. The other accents are probably going to have to be based around the rug, but I'm okay with that: cream, red, and blue are quite stately, and I think the trio captures that intellectual feel J and I both desire from this space.

That means that texture, shape, and placement of the decor will have to deliver the cozy feel. I've already got a layout in mind to create more of a focused, centralized space. I'm also hoping for some fuzzy blankets, soft throw pillows, rounded corners, and a funky, old table.

Style Cure recommends identifying DIY and purchase projects at this point. I'm willing to buy curtains and entry mats at full price. Bookshelves and tables can hopefully be thrifted. If my sewing skills allow, I will create the futon cover. Otherwise, to Amazon I go.

Budget planning will be separate and private -- there's no need to bore you with it here. I can promise you it will be on the cheap, though! If I manage to decorate under $100, I will share my secrets.



Minimalism Month: Week 4

As I sit here preparing for my last night of sleep in my twin bed, I'm struck with a certain nostalgia for everything left in my room. If minimalist month had truly taken off, this is where I'd be. Sitting before me now, alongside my bed and bedding, is a small load of freshly laundered clothes, my favorite Converse sneakers, a garbage and recycling bin, my beloved rose plant, a hook on the wall, my work folder, my purse, my phone, my camera, and my laptop. There are leftovers in the fridge. There are some hotel-sized bottles of shampoo in my fridge.

So, how do I feel? Well, I haven't had to live like this, so I can't say for certain, but my visceral reaction is sadness. While the expanse of a bare room gives invitation for breath and possibility, it makes me feel lonely. My posters aren't here to remind me who I am. I have no colorful clothes to look at, draped over my furniture. The lighting has never been more terrible -- I only now am realizing just how often I used my floor lamp. I keep looking to the only truly alive item in the room -- Buddy (the rose) -- for comfort.

I am not a minimalist, and I don't think I ever will be. I have a dear friend and a dear brother who impress me every time I see their bedrooms -- everything is clean, organized, and neatly laid out. They have as many books as they are reading at one time on their shelf. They have a bowl they use everyday. They have a specific spot for their specific pen. If I sound snide, I don't intend to; this practice genuinely impresses me. It looks peaceful -- for them. Being in a room with this much space for me, though, makes me feel like I'm living in a hotel. It doesn't feel like home. My style is definitely "cozy," and not "mod" by any means.

That being said, I did finish my final purge of items -- this time from the kitchen:

Thrown Out (or strategically left behind):
64. handmade biscuit cutter
65. red water bottle, broken
66. can opener
67. moldy tomato
68. red gift bag
69. Russel Stover chocolate heart box
70. 2 cool glass bottles, once filled with alcohol
71. 5 recipes
72. rest of Grande Marnier Brie cheese
73. rest of Gjetoast cheese (finally)
74. old ginger root
75. old carrots
76. Crunchy Nugget IMPOSTER CEREAL
77. old tupperware
78. 2 Nancy's yogurt containers
79. several boxes of Indonesian food
80. bag of stale crackers
81. some ziplock bags

and other throw outs:
82. Swifer mop
83. Ran DVD
84. plaid mini skirt
85. finished chapstick
86. shampoo & conditioner bottles
87. 2 scripts with notes
88. broken hard drive
89. old theater posters
90. parking receipts in car
91. several unused cardboard boxes
92. binders
93. key to J's house

13. C. Conrad's waffle iron (You're welcome.)
14. mini saucer & cup set
15. pizza tray

and other donates:
16. Learn French CDs
17. five pairs of earrings
18. shoe organizers

5. Zucchini bread
6. bottle of Port wine
7. trivet knife
8. one favorite book

3. Cash (Amazon)

Part Withs:
3. 2 lounge chairs (sentiment from old apartment)

So, there we go! I'm hoping to sell at least a couple more clothing/book items this weekend as well as part with the ultimate treasure: my trundle bed of 19 years. Even without those things, my total comes to 125 things -- already beyond my goal! And that isn't counting the myriad of items I threw out without a second thought and forgot to list.

At the very least, I've established I am not a hoarder.


Style Cure Day 11: Plan a Get-Together & Send Invites

Weirdly, right about the time I was thinking we ought to get our cocktail party organized, J planned a birthday get-together for one of our dear friends who is heading out of Seattle for a while -- and then this prompt came!

So I guess I am hosting a birthday party in two days -- yipes! As J eloquently put it, this was "to light a fire under my butt," but I'm freaking out anyway about pulling the apartment decor together enough in that time. Oh well -- it just means we'll have to plan a bigger party for unveiling in September!

Today is our official lease start day, and I've been moving boxes around my bedroom for what feels like forever now. Tomorrow is the big move!!


Style Cure Day 8: Paint Planning

Good news! Only a couple more days until I have access to the apartment, and then I'll be able to really dig into these challenges.

Today's cure was to decide on paint colors for the walls and decor in the room. I know the room's walls are a medium cocoa color -- sort of that weird mousy brown that's not quite warm and not quite cool. The futon is a bright red, and the shelving we have is black and white. If the red completely clashes with the walls, I guess I'll have to look for a new cover -- or maybe a top sheet or blanket.

One thing I would like to paint (and I'm going to employ J's artistic wizardry for this) is the white leftover cabinet I picked up two years ago. This will first require getting the mysterious sticky goo that's currently hiding under a few layers of newspaper (I have no idea what this is or how to get it off...), then probably some light sanding and priming. I'm not sure what to do in the way of color. I'd like it to be bright or at least unexpected.

More on this to come!


Style Cure Day 7: Deep Clean

I won't write much about Style Cure's Day 7 challenge. Mainly because it's clearing out and doing a deep clean of the space, and I'm hoping that will already be done when the apartment is turned over to us. (Updates on that later.)

I haven't been very successful in my packing efforts, I'm afraid, but I'm getting there. I've reached the point where if I pack anything else I'll just have to unpack it again the next day. I guess I've finally reached the bare necessities. My room is still a labyrinth, and I'm going to be very happy to get things settled finally.

The rest of my weekend, instead of packing, has been spent filming water and wedding scenes in parks around Seattle, for the film. These have been long days, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. I want so badly for this to be my life's work; I can't imagine anything better!


Days 5 & 6: Floor Plan & Color

Again, the Style Cure's promptings are two things I cannot yet do. Perhaps I should've waited until move-in to start this project. Oh well -- I'll have a lot to fill you in on by mid-month.

Day 5 was to create a floor plan. Me being the type of me I am, I made a floor plan from memory weeks ago -- probably the same evening we put down the deposit. Planning is my middle name.

I sure wish I had measurements, though. That would be a lot more useful.

Day 6: Color. Well, it's no news that I'm completely *obsessed* with color. Apartment Therapy explains the difference between cool and warm colors, which I already know, of course. What I did not know, however, is that black is classified as a warm color while white is cool. I would've thought the opposite! I guess that answers where the black and white bookshelves are going.

I'm trying (and failing) to remember the exact color of the living room walls. In the photo I took on my phone, they seem quite warm, but if I remember correctly they were more of a muted, cool brown. Something like the 4th shade in this:

or the brown in this:

Thanks to Design Seeds for the photos.

I had also never heard of the 80/20 idea, but I'm already a fan. The rule is that 80% of your space should be neutrally toned and 20% should offer a pop of color. I'm already noticing that some of my inspiration photos from earlier utilize this concept (except the Restoration Hardware ones, which seem to pride themselves on neutrals.) I think this practice offers a road map to finding that feminine/masculine balance in any given space.

So far, I'm loving this color harmony most of all:

But I have no idea how we'll work a maroon and navy oriental rug into that.

Minimalism Month: Week 3 - A Wardrobe Memorial

I had planned to combine the closet and kitchen results as I had the desk and bathroom, but on delving through my closet, I decided this area of the challenge deserved a more proper goodbye.

It might seem silly, but my wardrobe has always been very important to me. Even when I left the house looking like this:

or this:

I always felt unique, individual, "me." I see fashion as a way to show who and what I am -- to convey my values, my interests, my influences... even my mood! I'd go so far to say that fashion impacts confidence. I certainly feel the difference when I'm wearing something I love (even if everyone else hates it) versus when I just throw on old pants and a grungy tee (unless that was a choice I made consciously, which certainly happens.) Even those who choose not to exercise "fashion sense," as it were, are making a conscious decision how they'd like the world to see them. It may seem trivial, but to me dressing is every bit as important as drafting a resume. Possibly more so.

More important than the outfit you choose to wear on any given day is what you choose to *do* in that outfit. I always have an idea of what kind of day I'm going to have when I get dressed in the morning -- what I'm trying to prove or accomplish. The reason I find clothes the hardest possession to give away is because they all have stories embedded in them. They're easy to trace through pictures, which makes it harder for me to forget them once they're gone. They also have a life span: even the best material can only endure so much wear, and the ironic outcome is often that we often avoid wearing our favorite clothes for fear we'll ruin them too fast.

I can still remember a skort I had in the 2nd grade that was donated to Goodwill by mistake. It was denim with little embroidered red apples all over it and was held closed with a button on the side. I was devastated when it disappeared. It felt like I'd lost a piece of my personality.

Later, when I was 15, I bought another denim skirt -- this one was pleated and shredded at the ends, like a pair of cutoffs. One of my girlfriends coveted it, and it was probably the single sexiest thing I owned at the time. Like my skort, it became a piece of me, and it wasn't until 2 years ago that I finally convinced myself I was too old for that kind of "sexy" anymore.

Now I'm sitting here looking at my favorite floral-print mini skirt. I got it just as I went into college, as an homage to Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles. I've put it in my "outbox" at least 3 times over the past 4 years, and every time I pluck it back out again just before donation. I figure keeping it is worth keeping for the mere joy it brings me.

Following is a list of 25 items from my wardrobe which I've chosen to donate (d) or throw away. (I've combined the two categories for this particular section, since I'll probably wind up donating most of the items anyway.) Some of these things I've had longer than high school, and that scares me. It's a sure sign I'm holding onto pieces of my personality that I'd be much better off parting with. So, to ease me through this most *trying* time, I've fished out some memories from the iPhoto archives, as a last goodbye.

43. black & poppy-colored tank tops
Wearing the poppy-colored one, the day I left for college. 
(Back in the days I spent enough time outside for my hair to turn blonde!)  
I was so nerv-cited.

44. one pair ripped black nylons
45. black BCBG heels (d)
 Two for one! The nylons and the heels are featured here. I snapped this selfie for fashion inspiration just before my 20th birthday. 
One of my favorite ages to date; I have very fond memories of this girl.
46. YMI jeans (d)
Baskin Robbins night during junior year of high school. Jeans all around!

47. black kitten heels
48. blue JCP top
Purchased just before New York, but here's a shot from mere weeks ago, relaxing at the beach.

49. turquoise v-neck

A day spent with family, just before London and less than a year before my grandmother's death.
50. one XL man-sized thermal
51. two man-sized tees, stolen from brother
From just last year at the start of this project, on a particularly good hair day!
52. blue floral print tee (d)
53. aqua v-neck

This favorite shirt has some great mileage on it! It survived the trip to London and New York, 2 yrs later. 
You can see how much it's faded, though! The color always reminds me of Eurydice.

54. coral American Rag tank (d)

Another favorite travel top, this photo singlehandedly instigated an obsession with brick and robins egg blue. 
It also happened to be the top I wore on my last evening with J before London.

55. cream lace undershirt

This top pairs so well under this dress! I wore this outfit most recently to a general audition, 
but this shot is from the day I performed "Jackson" for the drama department. A junior year highlight.

56. oversized Fuze tee
I can't believe I've had this shirt as long as I have. I remember figuring I'd toss it the day I got it (for free at a Welcome Freshmen fair), but it soon became my favorite "whatever" shirt. Here's a fun shot from a momentous evening that same year -- discovering the background function on iPhoto!

57. teal graphic tee (d)
58. black Pumas
I can't begin to fathom how long I've had these shoes. Here they are in San Diego, CA, circa 2006. They've been great, but it's really time.

59. tan tunic

At the end-of-year Drama BBQ, after a year of straight performance and a bunch of new friends. 
The envelope I'm holding above holds a scholarship received from the department that day.

60. navy-and-white striped sailor shirt

 Celebrating the end of high school with friends. This shirt sat in my drawer for years before I took it out for one last summer hoorah. 
Now, it goes.

61. black Nike swimsuit

Crescent Lake, WA, just last summer. Probably the last water this swimsuit will see -- I've had it for at least 8 years, and it's spent.

62. lime green fish socks
63. black halter bra
64. white terry robe
My mom was kind enough to indulge this must-have for sophomore year back-to-school
By the time this photo was taken -- packing to move out of my dorm -- I was already ready to give it away. (Robes are heavy suckers!) 
I will always remember this day, the start of H and my Very Awful Summer, but also the ripening of our friendship!
65. brown Primark flats
66. football style 17 jersey shirt

I bought this on clearance the summer before my sophomore year because I was inexplicably attracted to the number 17. Oddly enough, J and I had our first date on that date, one year later. The photo above is from the night I went to Drama Prom with H & K. Great night.

67. purple turtleneck

Don't worry, my leather jacket isn't going anywhere... just the purple top. 
From a photo session in fall of sophomore year. I felt pretty awesome here -- Go get 'em, girl!

2. one gently-used purple sweater

2. __________ (We'll see if I can get anything at the consignment store.)

2. black 80s blazer w/shoulder pads

Sadly, these were the only photos I could find of myself in this particular blazer (a momentary hipster phase? I don't know what's going on here), but rest assured I wore it all through high school. I fancied it my Pretty in Pink blazer. I also fancied I'd grow into it (wrong.) It was purchased from Classy Rack at the height of my 80s obsession, probably on a trip with my three dear girlfriends, and I've avoided our parting by storing it at my parents' house when I couldn't find room for it. Since I haven't worn it once this year (except maybe on Halloween), I know it's time to let go. 

Goodbye, old friend. I shall miss you most of all.