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! :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Therapeutic Ins and Outs

I'm laying here, sprawled out on my bed on this abnormally warm LA evening, feeling overwhelmed and too warm. I thought having a little blog ramble would be therapeutic and help me categorize my thoughts. It's like writing in a public diary; maybe not ideal for everyone, but it works for me.



My Blogs: I really am enjoying this little guy and Dreaming in Blush. I missed blogging. There is definitely something different about videos than blogging. I like them both, but they are different. 

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath: This stuff is so lush. I am in love. Between this and my Laura Mercier Soufflé Body Crème, which I reviewed here, I am addicted to bubble baths again. Plus, the little "honey dipper" thing that comes with it is adorable! I feel like I'm dipping into a bee hive every time I use this, and the jar is too heavy for Pinecone to knock off the counter and break. #Win.

Hershey's Cookies N Creme chocolate bar: I never particularly liked or disliked these growing up, but I have become addicted to them recently. If I am in a store and want something sweet, or am picking up snacks for movie night, this is what I've been selecting. Sam texted me last night to ask what I wanted for movie night and my response was "Cookies N Creme and Gatorade!" Oh yes. I am in love with yellow gatorade too. 

Devious Maids, the TV show. Sometimes when I'm feeling bored I will see what's available for "free download" on iTunes. A lot of times if a show is new, they will offer their pilot episode for free. So I downloaded this one, thinking I had nothing to lose, and put it on the other night while I was cleaning my kitchen. I got totally hooked, guys. It's SO good. It reminds me a bit of Desperate Housewives, oddly enough. If you liked that show (I miss it!!) you should download this pilot and give it a shot.

Big Brother: One of my favorite TV shows, and I look forward to this one every summer. It's only 2 episodes in and I know it's going to be a good season. I'm rooting for Elissa a little bit, because as annoying as the rest of the world found Rachel I actually really liked her. I do wish they had brought Britney from seasons 12 and 14 back though, because she was one of my all time favorite players. I miss her commentary!

Game of Thrones: I know, what is this? 3 TV picks in one post? Geez! But I had someone insist on getting me hooked on this series, and sure enough, it worked. I'm hooked. I want a dire wolf and a sword named needle.


Decorating my condo: Don't get me wrong, I actually really like decorating and organizing, but I feel very overwhelmed with my current condo. It's completely a blank canvas, which sounds way more exciting than it is. I have so many ideas of where I want the decor to go but I'm so freaking indecisive. One day I will be sure that I want one thing, and then the next I'll be feeling completely different. For instance, I saw a picture of a living room with two small tables pushed together to form a coffee table, and I loved it. It felt unique and looked really cool, and I was like, "that's what I'm going to do." Then the next day I see another picture of just one coffee table, and I'm like, "Okay that makes sense. I think one coffee table is more uniform and will be easier to make look neat." The result? I currently have no coffee table at all and am literally using a still-packed "holiday" box as my coffee table. W. T. F. I have issues.

Oh, and don't mind the cat sitting there. That's his "bed". He insists on sitting in it where ever I am, and howls until I bring in into the room I'm in. Taking pictures of the coffee table? *Howls until I set the bin on top* *Jumps in and proceeds to look annoyed in the picture* #Normal

Pinecone making a ton of noise at night: I'm not sure I completely noticed the extent of this until last night, when my friend Sam decided to stay the night. She has stayed over before, but this time she came armed with ear plugs in case "the tyrant is loud again". Seriously?! What?! My guests have to bring over EAR PLUGS because my cat is so obnoxious at night!? And to top it off, she brought a pair for me "in case I wanted to try them". And you know what? I loved them. I slept like a baby. They feel weird as heck, but I'm going to try them again tonight. 

P.S. I honestly think some of Pinecone's "behavioral issues" are because he is deaf. Not because being deaf equals behavioral issues, but because he doesn't know the amount of noise he makes. The little guy thinks he is being sleuth-y, crawling around and howling, when in reality everyone and their mother in a mile radius can hear him. 

My Diet Coke Detox: It's still going strong, but I am really missing the good ole DC. Sam opened one of my "final 3" this morning and it totally caused a craving to hit. Diet Coke, I miss you. You were one of the loves of my life. 

The movie "The Call": Watched this last night, and I had the worst anxiety throughout it. Don't get my wrong, I don't mind scary movies, but there was something about this one in particular that really got to me. I don't like the idea of 911 not being able to help you or find you when you are in trouble. On top of that, there is something about abduction that makes me super uncomfortable (more so than torture or anything else that is terrible but common in scary movies). 

The movie "Beautiful Creatures": Also watched this last night, (we had movie and wine night), and goodness gracious, what a weirdo movie. Did anyone understand this? Anyone who didn't read the book? I was so confused, and not in a good way. We didn't even finish it. 


My Outs are longer than my Ins, but you know what? That's okay. Sometimes that's life. Until next time, over and out, Captain Crunch.