Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ins and Outs #4 and Update

Well, hello there! It sure has been awhile since I have posted on here, hasn't it? It's currently midnight on a Friday night, and I just got home from a very long day (um... make that a long week), so I thought I'd decompress by writing a bit. I enjoy writing Ins and Outs, and I know you guys enjoy them as well, so this is a good place to start. 
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In:

Heathy Eating: I got a bit sidetracked this summer with eating out more than I should have been, but that has been corrected now. I feel better when I eat clean - everything tastes better and I have more energy. I have been eating as "close to earth" as possible by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and of course, my all natural Greek Yogurt (possibly my all time favorite food). I've also been cutting out bready carbs (breads, crackers, pasta, rice, etc), but I still have them with one meal a day. I love carbs, so cutting them out completely would be really tough. To compromise, I normally have a carb-free breakfast and dinner, but have some for lunch. Today I had a slice of rye toast with a sliced tomato on top (and an avocado on the side - I'm obsessed with avocados), and man... it was delicious. But if I know I'm having sushi for dinner, or some sort of rice or pasta, then I make sure my lunch is carb-free. This "bready carbs at only one meal a day" trick was suggested by a nutritionist friend, and it's been working wonderfully for me. I've also cut back almost completely on refined sugar. No ice cream, cookies, cake, or anything like that. My sweet cravings are more than satisfied with a bit of dark chocolate along with my evening tea. 

Pair that with...

Working Out: Yup. Back in my "Ins and Outs #3" I wrote that I wanted to start working out again regularly, and I made it happen. Again, this is a habit that never should have stopped, but sometimes life gets in the way and you get sidetracked. That happened this summer and early fall with all of the traveling Blair and I were doing, and before I realized it I was out of the habit! But have no fear, I have gotten back into the swing of things.

American Horror Story: I think "obsessed" is too gentle a word to explain my passion for this show. I think it's fantastic. I have enjoyed every season, and I think they have hit the jackpot with their slew of actors. My favorite character this season is Fiona - she rules every scene she is in. I wish there was more Tate, er, Kyle. And I wish he wasn't a non-talking weirdo. Oh, and my favorite line is when Kathy Bates straight up HISSED "LIIIIIIIIIES". Had me hollering. 




Also, can we just discuss the insanity of this picture? I love it. It's so freaking weird. Keep it classy, witches. No one will suspect anything...



If I was a witch I would totally have that umbrella. It's the perfect "I'm queen witch bitch" umbrella.  And it's totally on the DL. And on this note, if you watch American Horror Story then you need to read Price Peterson's recaps after. I found him sometime during the last season, and his recaps are sometimes more entertaining than the episode itself. Like legit laugh out loud funny because he humor is spot on. Then he quit recapping and I was sad and now he's back YAY!

I also like Hart of Dixie. And Vampire Diaries. But I digress.

My will of steel when it comes to not giving into Diet Coke. According to my "countdown app"  I have been Diet Coke free for 163 days. That's over 5 months, and during that time I have only had one diet coke. One. And in my defense, it wasn't really my fault. It was the morning after a party, and after a few too many margaritas I was feeling a bit under the weather. I had stayed the night with my best friend from college, so naturally I reverted to my college ways with her. College Elle knew that the only thing to cure a nasty hangover was Diet Coke. So yeah, into my body that Diet Coke went, and man did I feel better afterwards. But, weirdly enough, it didn't taste super good. It tasted kinda syrupy? Not absolutely terrible, and trust me, I drank every drop, but I haven't had any cravings since. So yes... over 5 months with only 1 slip. Go me. 



This picture. I mean, honestly. Jessica Lange makes this show. What was this scene? It had no point at all, except that it was awesome. 

Knitting. I know. I am 80 years old. But hey, I've always wanted to learn. I'm a "yarn hearter" (I'm pretty sure I made that term up, based on a silly coffee mug I purchased from Etsy once, that had a picture of a sheep with the words "I <3 Yarn" on it.) I remember getting the giggles over how silly it was, and decided I had to have it. We should start #ProjectYarnHearter. If any of you want to learn to knit or crochet too, tweet me pictures with that hashtag. It will be fun. We can make pies together. Oh wait... next favorite.


The Mug.

Baking. Call it the month of many hobbies. I have picked up quite a few new ones this month... the holiday season tends to do that to me. It just makes me crazy! But when I say baking I don't mean cookies or cakes. Ohhh no. I've been experimenting with healthier options. 

Out:

My insomnia. My sleep had been so good for the past few months, but in the last few weeks it has gotten really bad again. You would think that treating my body better (eating cleaner and working out) would cause my sleep to get better, or at the very least stay the same, but it seems to be getting worse the more "healthy" I am being! I don't even workout before bed! I swear!

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I legit took a break in the middle of writing this to bake some granola and dance around my kitchen. Okay I'm back.

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Pinecone the helper-bug-wannbe sitting on my freshly washed about-to-be-used cookie tray. He sat there, watched me hand wash it, and then promptly sat on it as my back was turned. So I rewashed it (naturally) and then made my stuff. And then Pinecone ate said stuff. 


My name is Pah-Sghettio and I eat granola. 

I don't think I have any other Outs. I'm pretty happy currently. I've been incredibly busy, but it's all good stuff. Blair and I are working on some more projects that we can share with everyone shortly, but until then you'll just have to trust that if we are slacking on videos it's because we are slammed with other things behind the scenes and it doesn't mean that we don't love you guys! That being said, I have been working on videos all week in order to get back into some semblance of a schedule. 

*Warning... mini rant coming*

If I'm being honest though, I don't think I should do this whole video series thing again (Makeup Mayhem, FallThatGlitters, Vlogmas). I love doing projects like this on YouTube, because I think it's so fun to have a little project within a project (the main project being the whole channel), but people take it way too seriously, and it takes the fun out of it. 

It's like this. I started out my channel as a hobby right? Because I loved it. Now, 5 years later, I still love it, and I'm lucky enough to make money off of it, which is awesome. It's not, however, my only source of income or my only job. So sometimes when I feel stuck in a creative rut (and yes, you do have to be somewhat creative to keep up a YouTube channel for 5 years. Anyone who says "You do the same thing over and over! That's not creative!" hasn't had a YouTube channel for 5 years), I'll come up with something fun like FallThatGlitters. The idea of the mini series re-inspires me and makes me want to throw myself into it, but sometimes life (and other parts of my job) get in the way. So a video is late, and people get upset. Fair enough. The problem comes from when people get upset even if the video is up on time. People are so used to picking apart YouTubers that I get pulled apart even when I am doing everything right! And the frustrating part is that the whole project was my idea in the first place, because I thought it would be fun! So then it starts this vicious cycle of me never feeling like I can catch a break, and then I feel I'd rather put my "all" into something else (running, knitting, baking, boys (wait, what?), reading American Horror Story recaps), and then I lose interest in the project, because it's not fun, because everyone is acting like the sun is going to crash into earth and we are all going to die if I upload at 1am and not before midnight. Or if I *horrified scream* get sick or have drama behind the scenes (friend drama, boy drama, baby mama drama,) or have other obligations that might actually be even more ethically important than my video on that particular day. 

A lot of people have been requesting Vlogmas this year. In fact, I think there may be a petition on twitter to get me to do it. And honestly... I haven't decided if I am going to do it yet. I have been absolutely ripped apart over FallThatGlitters, and it makes me very wary to make any semblance of a promise. Even if I sit there in the first video and say "This is NOT a promise! I might not finish this series! I might miss videos! I WILL MESS UP!" people will be all upset the first time a video is late. Which is tough, because a part of me wants to do Vlogmas because it's fun. You can see how I'm in a predicament. 

Bottom line: videos are for fun. They are fun. They are free, fun videos. Please keep things in perspective. Also, if you are reading this I am 99.9% sure that this section doesn't even pertain to you. You are my blog readers. You are my homies. You are love, not hate. Unless you are a hater. And if you are, I hope you never run into Misty Day (LOL!). She does not like haters. 



And besides, haters will hate and potatoes will potate. Which means haters are taters. and taters are carbs. And I don't like carbs. Catch my drift?




Oh those grumpy tomates. I'm not even sure that this section made any sense. I just started typing, like a diary entry, and this is what came of it. 

*Ponders over whether to keep it* 

*If you are reading this then I obviously kept it*

Okay, it is now 3:30AM. It has taken me over 3 hours to complete this post. Good grief. Until next time, over and out, Captain Crunch. 



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dollhouse: My New Coffee Table!

My coffee table has finally arrived! It took ages to ship, but it got to me in the end. I put her together today (with the help from a friend) and she is gorgeous! The cardboard box coffee table is no more! Thank you for all of your suggestions on my Coffee Table Hullabaloo post; many of you suggested this one and I really love it! It's from West Elm, if you're wondering - Link!

Now I just need to get the right decor combination for the top of the table. I put the flower vase and book there just to have something there for the picture, but those won't be staying permanently (well, maybe. But it needs more). Also, ignore the sofa pillows... I am in the middle of trying out a few different combinations, but that chevron pillow is actually for my patio, not the living room. I do really love those white fluffy pillows though - they look much nicer in person than its showing in this picture against the cream sofa.

I'm planning on getting two Moroccan poufs for the living room, and would love suggestions on which color(s) to get. I'm thinking either GoldSilverWhite, or maybe this Blush Pink. Which one do you think would look the best in this living room set-up? And should I get two of the same color, or two different colors? I'm leaning towards two of the same; I don't want it to be too "thrown together" looking.

Let me know what you think in a comment below - I read every one of them!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Ins and Outs #3

In:

Brian and Katrina's wedding. It was honestly the most beautiful and romantic wedding I have ever seen (even in movies), and has raised the standards in my mind of what the perfect wedding should be like. It was small and filled with their closest friends and family, and we were whisked away to a fairytale, complete with zebras and camels. I'm not even joking on that last part. Real ones. 



Here is a picture from the wedding, right as they were about to cut into the cake. (Yes, that's me and my friend Renee in the pink dresses under the umbrella). Katrina and Brian are perfect. (I asked her permission to post this picture :)

Working out: I haven't started working out again regularly yet, but I've decided I need to. And I will. I'm extremely motivated when I want to be. 

Friendship: I made a toast at the wedding with a friend I hadn't seen in ages to make our friendship more of a priority. Friendships can get away from you sometimes, especially when you are both so busy, and it's so important to make time for all of the important people in your life. 

My coffee table finally arrived! I'll do a post this week hopefully on that.

Healthy eating: I have started eating clean again. September will be the month of the health kick - working out and clean eating, here I come! (Plus, I gotta get back in shape for Halloween!!)

Out:

Poor Pinecone. I've been traveling so much lately between our Macy's tour and other work things that Pinecone has been so clingy. I don't blame him, but he doesn't want me out of his sight and it makes me really sad to have to leave him in the morning. Which leads to...

6am car service: Yeah. It's midnight and a car is coming at 6am to pick up Blair and I to take us to the airport. We are going to Cincinnati for 2 days for a work thing. Excited about the event, not excited about the 6am call time. 

The Chinese orange chicken cravings have finally run their course. I'm not craving it anymore, which is a good thing. It was a weird thing to crave constantly. And not having these cravings will make my September health kick even easier.
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Okay, I need to go pack now. More Ins than Outs again makes for a happy Elle!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quick Question: How to Handle a Naughty Pine

Okay. I'm about at my wit's end with my cat. He is the most attention-seeking cat I have ever met, and literally howls and breaks things if I am not actively giving him attention. So my question is... how do you handle a cat like this? I have tried everything; laser toys, scratching posts, fluffy mice to chase around, feather chasers, etc. Plus, I always leave my window shade up so that he can watch the cars on the street when he wants to watch "TV". 

He spends the nights breaking things, getting into everything, and meowing. I play with him constantly... so it has nothing to do with him being left alone with no entertainment. Someone with a cat like this - what do you do?!

P.S. He is REALLY cute... but goodness he is a monster. 




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blogger Quick Tip: How to Make Your Picture Quality Better!

Ever since starting my new blogs I have been struggling with the picture quality. I take my pictures on a great camera, and when they first import off my SD card and into iPhoto they still look super crisp and great, but then when I export them to pull them into Blogger they go drastically down in quality. I have tried resizing them on all different platforms - through iPhoto, Picasa, PicMonkey, on my actual Macbook desktop, Photobucket, and on Blogger itself, but none of them worked. They all made the picture look blurry and took away from all the time that I took into taking nice pictures in the first place. So... I did what I do best. I googled. 

There's a running joke in my family that I google everything, and it's true. If I hear something somewhere that interests me I will spend hours researching it online - everything from the Plague of Europe to Feug Shui to random famous museums. But even so, it took me ages to finally figure out my picture problem. I followed multiple tutorials on how to fix them with nothing helping until I finally found one webpage that helped. See below:

Before: 


After: More crisp, and much prettier.


And another...
Before: 


After:


So on the off chance that you are also a blogger and having this issue, I'll tell you how I fix mine.
  1. First of all, I take my pictures on my Canon Rebel T3i or T5i, on a SD card.
  2. I then pull my pictures from my SD card into a folder on my desktop, and then from that folder pull them into iPhoto, where I pick and choose which pictures I want to use. I normally take way more than I need, so iPhoto is an easy way to weed through all the options and delete them quickly. 
  3. Next I pull the picture into Blogger through Bloggers built-in "Picture Uploader" while the picture is still in its original size. I haven't done any resizing at this point.
  4. I select "Extra Large" as the picture size.
  5. Then I go into the HTML of the actual blog post, and look for this bit of code:

See the bit that says /s1600/ at the end of the first link and then says /s640/ at the end of the second link? That's the problem. Simply delete the second bit that says 640 and replace it with 1600 so you have both links reading /s1600/

Problem Solved. That's it. So simple, and yet it took me ages to figure out. It's a small change, but it makes a huge difference in my eyes. I love pretty photos!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ins and Outs #2

My @iheartyoucoffee twitter account was suspended. Coffee is making me nauseous. What is my life?

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In:

Katrina, my friend (from ToneItUp on YouTube), is getting married this weekend! Which reminds me, I still need to pick up my dress. It's going to be a gorgeous weekend of friends, marriage, and wine. I can't wait!

Scary Movies. Not watching them, mind you, just the idea of them. I have been "craving" watching a horror movie for a few nights but have thoroughly chickened out before actually renting one... probably because I know I will have nightmares for weeks. But there is something in my head that has been saying, "You want an adrenaline rush from a SCARY MOVIE!!" And then I bop around online looking up reviews and find a good one and then I chicken out. Story of the past couple nights. 

Speaking of, last night I completely spooked myself through thinking Pinecone was my old cat Mr. Furball re-encarnated (they were/are both pure white, you see). I decided to call Furball the way I used to in a sing-song voice (Furball was notorious for coming every single time I called him - like a faithful dog) to see if Pinecone would respond (Pinecone is deaf - how on earth was he going to hear my call anyway?!), and I honestly got so scared at my own sing-song "Furball" calling song that I refused to look into mirrors the rest of the night. Just TRY beating that story with your own superstitions. 

Face Masks: I have so many on my "to-try" shelf and so many more on rotation that I feel like the "Face Mask Hoarder". But, I'll admit, my skin has never looked better. In this case less has not been more. 

Chinese Food: I have been craving Chinese food more than is ever acceptable. Orange chicken and fried rice in particular. Not exactly the best recipe for health but mmm it's delicious!

My Alex 9-Drawer thingy from Ikea: I have not figured out how to fit my makeup in this yet but I like it. I had to move my vanity out of my office room and into my bedroom since it was so big and my office a bit small, so this Alex drawer became my new storage idea. Except it's still empty. All with due time... when it's done and pretty I'll do a new video on it.


Out: 

My Twitter being suspended. Now, granted, I had only sent out 10 tweets on that account (1 for each post on here) but still. It's the principle. I've appealed it, but who knows what's going to happen to it. Let's just say if that happened to my @ellefowler account my life would be in shambles until it was fixed. 

Coffee. What?! I know. Just today, mind you. Not everyday. I just had it yesterday morning and it was very nice. But sometimes, like 1% of the time, I will wake up and the thought of coffee will literally make me nauseous  And then I get sad because I LOVE coffee, and I love the ritual of it, so I will sit there being grumpy while eating my breakfast minus coffee. 

My guest bathroom. I don't like it. It doesn't have a vent like the rest of the apartment so it's always hot and weird in there. Ugh. I feel like carving a hole in the ceiling and DIY-ing my own "vent" but something tells me that would be a very bad idea. 

My coffee table. It's still not here! When I ordered it, it said "shipping August 3rd" and when it didn't show I called them and they said, "Oh, now it won't be available until the 24th". What? Why? Where is it? It is normal to tack on an additional TWENTY ONE DAYS to an order? Everything else has arrived already, BTW. 


Ahh, good. I have more Ins than Outs this time. That's nice. Feel free to write me yours below in a comment; I like reading these :)

P.S. Click here to read my last set of Ins and Outs. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Morning's Ponderings on Diet Coke

As I sit here, typing out this post, coffee in hand, I am craving Diet Coke something fierce. If you read my post back on June 27th then you will know that I gave up diet coke, and all other sodas, for the sake of both physical and mental health. And I haven't slipped - not once. Not once has a piece of diet coke goodness slipped passed my lips with an uncaring "that didn't count". Nope! No Sir-y Bob! It has been 70 days exactly, according to the app on my phone. 

Funny side note - the background picture on my "Days Diet Coke Free!" countdown app is a picture of me drinking a non-soda (cough pina-colada cough) as my "inspiration". Go do you girl, do you. 

But, a full 70 days later, there are still times when the craving will hit hard, and I will think, "God I could use a Diet Coke right now. Then life would be complete." And I wander over to the fridge and pour a glass of... milk. (Total let-down). 

I haven't had any miraculous things happen since giving it up - I haven't lost weight or felt healthier or stopped craving bad things, although I have to stay strong and assume that it's only good for me to have given this up.

A couple things I have learned since quitting DC:

1) Energy Drinks are not soda. Before giving up Diet Coke I NEVER had energy drinks because I didn't need to - I would always pick Diet Coke. But now that I don't drink sodas when I need a "pep in my step" a regular (not sugar-free) Red Bull does the trick. I gave up sodas and aspartame, not carbonation, remember. 

2) Alcohol is used much more frequently when I can't have a Diet Coke. Need a little something while I speed clean my house? *Baileys* Need something to help me chill out after a long day? *Red Wine* Need something when I'm having one of those "days"? *Erm... orange juice, cranberry juice, and vodka :)*

My advice to alcoholics AND diet coke addicts? Pick your vice - don't attempt to give up both of them. Seriously. 

P.S. I'm not an alcoholic. I jest. But I am 25 and allowed an occasional drink :) 

And for your Hump Day viewing pleasure... my "inspiration" picture on my countdown app:



Please tell me that some of you have also given up a vice recently and can relate? I need inspiration! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dollhouse: Coffee Table Update

First things first, I have named my condo. From now on, when referring to my condo on this blog I will call her "dollhouse". I'm doing this so she doesn't get confused with my parents house, my old place, Blair's condo, or any future homes I might have whilst blogging on this blog. I hope to have this blog a very long time, so it makes sense to give each chapter of my home-owning life a name. Dollhouse is the perfect name for my current place because it is the first home that is all mine - my little dollhouse to decorate and live in as I see fit. Today has been a busy and very productive day in the dollhouse department; I finally decided on a coffee table, plus went to Ikea to purchase a few more key items that I have been coveting. 

In my Coffee Table Hullabaloo post, I asked for your opinion on which coffee table to get, as I was torn between a few great options. You all came to my rescue and voted for #4, the West Elm Box Frame Coffee Table, which to be honest, I was loving as well. It has clean, modern lines, but still has a shabby chic edge with its whitewashed top. I'm happy with my selection! I ordered it today, but it won't be delivered for about 2 weeks, so I will do an update post once it arrives. I also ordered the West Elm Parsons Desk in white - it's on sale right now and I have been lusting after it! A few accessories completed my West Elm purchase, which will all be featured in future posts. 

After spending way too long looking around on the West Elm website I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Ikea. I have been needing to go for awhile, but to be totally honest I have a very love/hate relationship with Ikea and I HATE going. I've been putting it off for over a month so I said to myself, "Self! Today is the day. Onwards!" and ended up checking out 5 hours later with way more stuff than was on my list (typical of Ikea trips). I got a ton of accessories, and I'm thinking about doing either a haul on here or a haul on EllesGlitterGossip, but I also ended up with some big items. I purchased 5 of the Henriksdal Bar stools in "Gobo White" for my kitchen counter, which I have been wanting for ages and featured in my last blog post. They are super comfortable, a bar stool "must" in my opinion, and the fabric cover is replaceable if they get dirty, which is fantastic. Plus, there is this website called Bemz that sells custom slipcovers for a bunch of Ikea pieces, including this model. So in the future if I decide to update the look of these chairs it will be super easy to do. That, and the fact that these were WAY less expensive than any other bar stool I found, sold me on them. Who knew bar stools were so expensive? 

I had pretty much decided on getting the CB2 Chill Media Console for my TV stand, and even featured it in my last post, but after making some more mood boards of my living room I changed my mind, and decided on the Hemnes White 3 Drawer TV Unit. I am going to replace the knobs to something more feminine; either plain crystal or solid gold. Here is the mood board I made featuring the new TV Unit; you can see my decor colors are cream, white, gold, and blush pink. I also plan on adding in more neutrals around the main area of my condo like gray, brown, and dark metals. I love the look of neutral living spaces. 




I love the way my condo is turning out! It's still at the very beginning stages of turning into a "home", but I think it's slowly coming together! Now I just need to sit down and tackle some clutter piles that I have never gotten around to since moving in. 

What do you think of my little dollhouse? What should my next project be after the living room? I still need to do the entry way, the office, the kitchen, and the patio - but one step at a time! :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Living Room Decor: Coffee Table Hullabaloo

Ever since I moved into my new condo, my living room has taken the backseat to other areas of my condo (I'm looking at you, beauty room)! It's been ignored for weeks and now it is time to fully put it together. The days of the cardboard coffee table are coming to an end, and I can't wait to have my living room cute and fully functional. I've been looking at online decor blogs to get inspiration, and I've decided to mix my modern condo with my love for shabby chic. I am aware that this can go very wrong if done improperly, but I don't want to go completely modern (not my style), or completely shabby (will clash with the condo) so I need to meet somewhere in the middle. 

The only thing I have already are my sofas, shown below (top left). My walls are still white, my floors a dark hardwood, and I can really do anything I want - it's a blank canvas .I know I love the white and cream look with metallic accents so that is what I am planning to do. Here are the items that I have decided on so far: 

Starting from the top left, going clockwise:
My sofa: Gorgeous and super comfortable. It looks like it would be more of a "pretty but not cozy" sofa, but this thing is super plush and insanely comfortable. Plus, it's so easy to clean! I am absolutely loving this, and have 2 of them. 
Ikea Lamp: I've seen this lamp on various decor blogs and love it! See here and here for examples. 
Ikea Bar Stools: I've been looking for ages for bar stools that are actually comfortable and can't find anything else, so these are the ones I've decided on. I wanted soft ones that have a bar and a place for your feet, and I sat on these in a local Ikea and they are comfortable enough to pass my test!
CB2 Chill Media Console: Brings a dash of modern back in the room with it's glossy paint and because it's very low to the ground. I will have my TV sit on this for now. Eventually I might get something custom built for this space, but for now I want something that works with the rest of the room. I would think that this might clash with the cream sofa and the wooden coffee table, but I found a blogger who has this along with a light sofa and wooden kitchen table and it looks beautiful all together!
Gold (and silver) accents: I love metallic accents in neutral rooms. 
Colorful accessories, like coffee table books, flowers, and pillows: Might as well go colorful with the accessories since the rest of the room is super neutral! 

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is my coffee table. There are so many options that I like and that can give this room a slightly different feel, so I thought making a collage and seeing them in addition to the other pieces would be a good way to figure out what I want. 



1) Ikea Lack Side Table. I saw a really cool picture where someone had taken two of these little guys and put them side by side for a coffee table. I thought it looked so cool.

2) Ikea Klubbo Coffee Table. A little more modern than the first option since it has the metal edge. 

3) Ballard Designs Durham Cocktail Table: Different than the other options, but I've seen this paired with a light sofa and the CB2 chill media console shown above and it looked really nice all together. Here it is, you can see a wooden table in the bottom right, the media console on the top right, and the light sofa and walls:


4) West Elm Box Frame Coffee Table. Another option that I really like. 

5) Ikea Lack Coffee Table. Just another idea, instead of doing 2 of the Lack Side Tables.

In order to see what these coffee tables will look like in a room, I put together this collage: 



Clockwise from top left:
Ballard Designs Durham Cocktail Table
Ballard Designs Durham Cocktail Table (again)
West Elm Box Frame Coffee Table
The sofa I have, so you can see what it looks like with a coffee table like this in front of it.
The Ikea Lack Side Table, put side by side as a coffee table. Picture-wise this is my favorite, but remember my sofa is a light cream, not dark like this one. 

So... I need your opinion. Which option (of these) is your favorite, considering what other pieces I have or am going to get (shown in the top picture)? I'm getting to that point where I am just going to close my eyes and point at one to pick it if I can't make a decision soon - my living room needs some love, ASAP! Leave me a comment with what you think would look best - I would love you forever! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

the beach in pictures


1. The view from our beach house.
2. This is what happens to a tree when it's been battered by countless hurricanes over the years. Notice the swamp underneath that our pet 'gater leaves in. And lots of snakes, according to my mom.
3. Ivy that has started growing up the side of the wall. I think ivy is beautiful. 
4. A shower scrub that I have been loving! Look for a review of this soon over on Dreaming in Blush.
5. My youngest sister buried herself up to the neck in sand. Don't worry - there were about 10 adults keeping an eye on her as she was doing this. 
6. My "beach hair". Otherwise known as my "I didn't even brush it" hairstyle.
7. Some pretty wild plants that grow near the ocean. 
8. Some yummy watermelon makes the perfect beach snack! When you get sticky you can just rinse off in the ocean :)
9. My youngest sister and cousin showing off their "headband curls" which I did for all 3 of us last night. They turned out quite cute, but were all 3 due a hair wash this morning, so we didn't get to truly enjoy them. I think we should try them again tonight!

Pictures taken with either my Canon Rebel T5i or my iPhone. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Anthropologie Haul

You guys know of my love for the home section of Anthropologie. I already have quite a few items that I adore, including my beautiful white duvet, and every time I pass this store I like to go in for a little peek. Today, these babies stole my heart. They are called "Measuring Hedgies" and are the closest I am going to get to owning actual hedgehogs. I mean come on... who doesn't want these as a pet? Especially with little golden ears and feet! These are technically measuring cups, but will double as an adorable kitchen accessory. I can't stand how cute these little guys are! I also think these would make a perfect birthday or housewarming gift for a friend... I need to keep these in mind ;)

As I was poking around the kitchen section checking out coffee mugs, of which they have the CUTEST designs, I saw these little chalkboard canisters. They come with lots of different colored tops, but these silver ones I fell in love with. I'm not sure what I'm going to put in them yet, but I am designing a little coffee nook in my kitchen so these might be perfect to hold sweetener and straws.

As I was heading to checkout I saw this little book of love poems, and decided to treat myself. I was feeling extra affectionate, and took it as a sign that I had decided earlier in the day to do a blush and gold themed coffee table set-up. This little book was meant to be mine.

I'm pretty happy with my haul; each and every one of these items are adorable and will be perfect in my new home. Have you guys gotten any new home decor goodies recently?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Camera Haul!



Yesterday, while driving home from a meeting with Blair, I asked her if she minded stopping by my favorite camera store. If you live in the LA area, it's called Samy's Camera and is on Fairfax. I've had my eye on the Canon Rebel T5i, and wanted to play with it in person. Blair wasn't that interested, but I talked her into coming with me, and by the end of our visit we were walking out with a Canon T5i each. Here's what I picked up, and why:

I went in for the Canon Rebel T5i, which is an upgrade from my T3i. The reason that I wanted to upgrade is because Canon upgraded their video filming technologies from the T3i to the T4i/T5i, and added autofocus. Unless you make videos yourself and are the person both in front and behind the camera you can't even imagine what a big deal this is. My T3i doesn't have autofocus at all, which means that every single time I wanted to film I had to have someone (usually Blair) sit in my seat while I focused on them. If there wasn't someone around to help me I couldn't film... which got really annoying very quickly, especially when I moved into my new condo alone. On top of that, even when I did have someone help me focus there were times when the focus would be off just slightly, and the whole video would end up looking a little blurry. When the T4i came out featuring autofocus I got very excited, but upon further research found that it still wasn't very good. The new autofocus apparently made a ton of noise and interrupted filming with a constant "clicking" sound. So I decided to wait, and hoped that Canon would improve their cameras. And... they did. The Canon T5i came out with a brand new lens that has a completely silent motor, which basically means that as it focuses in video mode it doesn't make the annoying clicking noise that was common with the T4i. So after thinking about it I decided it was time to upgrade.
























I decided to get the kit with the EF-S 18-135 IS STM lens, which is the more expensive kit available, because after comparing the two lenses I decided this one was better for my filming needs. I have other lenses that I currently film on, but I needed this "silent motor lens" for autofocus reasons so I was deciding between the 18-135mm and the 18-55mm lens. If you're curious, I didn't even get a kit lens when I bought my T3i. I just bought the body, and bought my own lenses. I don't find kit lenses that good, although these two are the exception, since it has the silent motor. 

I've also been eyeing a macro lens for ages, mostly to help me shoot close-ups of products. Macro lenses enable you to get right up close to whatever you are filming or shooting, which makes product close-ups beautiful and super crisp. Since I was at the camera store anyway I decided to look around, and was thrilled to find a Tamron macro lens in stock for a reasonable price. Needless to say, I am now the proud owner of a Tamron Macro 60mm F/2 lens.



















I've gotten a lot of tweets asking me if I am going to sell my T3i now that I have upgraded, and have also received emails offering to purchase it from me, but I have decided to keep it for now. It's super nice to have two for certain occasions, for instance when I am filming and photographing in the same day, because it's a pain to take the "filming" camera down, switch the lens, change all the settings, photograph stuff, and then have to set it all back up into "filming mode" when I want to film again. If it was just a simple switch of a button it would be one thing, but believe me when I say it's a process. It wouldn't be worth it to purchase 2 cameras just for this reason, but since I have two anyway it will make life a little bit easier on filming/shooting heavy days. I plan on filming with the T5i (thank you, silent autofocus), and shooting with my T3i, for which I already have a few extra lenses.

I also decided to invest in an Sennheiser MKE 400 external microphone. I didn't use one with my T3i, and didn't find any problems with the audio, but people who have these external microphones swear by them, and say it makes the audio so much more crisp and perfect. Since I'm using this camera primarily for filming, it makes sense to have the extra piece to make the sound quality much better. Plus, when I am filming from behind the camera, like in my latest bathroom tour video, I can swivel the mic around to point at me, eliminating the need to adjust the audio levels in post. 



Last but not least, I got a Hoya lens filter for both of my lenses. This is a little glass cover that fits right over the lens to protect it and make your quality better. I have one for every lens I own, and definitely recommend these. I feel so much better knowing the glass of the lens is protected.

If you guys want I can do a separate blog post about my camera history, and what I've used before now. Let me know if you wanna see that in a comment below! :)