Category Archives: House Stuff

Cats Vs Christmas Decor

IMG_8414

Joel and I are pretty much the epitome of “cat people”, but somehow when we adopted Peter and Dee last October, we got stuck with the most dog-like kittens I’ve ever met. Sweet Dee loves to play fetch with wrappers. Peter Nincompoop loves belly rubs and chasing his tail. Thank God they don’t have to be walked outside to poop or I’d contemplate a no refund return of these assholes (KIDDING, OBVIOUSLY, WE LOVE THEM WAY TOO MUCH!).

Last November, we put up our Christmas tree as a family of four and didn’t think much about what our children cats would do about it. The next morning, on my way to turn on the coffee pot, I screamed as I cut my foot on something. When I turned on the lights, I saw that our floor was littered with broken ornaments. Cool! A few days later, after getting into the habit of turning the lights on before going downstairs, I saw a trail made of tufts of fur leading all the way from the tree up the stairs and into the bathroom… It was the stuffed raccoon ornament my mother-in-law had given me the year before, torn to shreds by Peter. Lovely!

Somehow, these little dummies were smart enough to do all of their dirty work when we were either asleep or at work. We’d come home and they’d practically say “it wasn’t me” when there’d be cat sized gaps in the Christmas tree (cat translation: “meow meowwww meow”). The cycle continued until we put away our Christmas tree early, before New Year’s Day whereas it used to stay up until Valentine’s. Womp Womp.

IMG_8412

IMG_8413

IMG_8347
“I’m gonna tear that shit up later” -Peter

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, call us crazy because we not only put up the tree with our old glass ornaments, but we surrounded the kitty house with lights as well- definitely a recipe for disaster (see also: the fate of the cat in Christmas Vacation). The only preventative measure we took this year has been leaving our little Yoda dressed as Santa ornament in a cabinet far far away because Peter Boy will eat him; that and we now have a spray bottle that is used if they even look like they’re getting any ideas about messing with the tree/lights…

So far, so good. I’ve only seen 2 broken ornaments and the gold sequin tree skirt (it’s actually the sweetheart table tablecloth from our wedding) is only sometimes askew. Maybe our babies are just growing up! Most likely, though, keeping the spray bottle pointed at the tree through the night is helping to stop Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb from acting out…

IMG_8411

Cats-2, Christmas Tree-0, Spray Bottle- (too many to count)

Eye Eye Eye Wall

Among my 5 siblings, I was dubbed The Artistic One way back in the day. Since The Bossy One and The Cool One were already taken, I was more than happy to accept my fate as the only one who can wield a paintbrush. These days, saying “I was an art major” is one of my favorite pretentious things to say to people who never even asked.

One thing this artsy fartsy gal has been in desperate need of is a space to create. Besides past bedrooms and art classrooms, I haven’t ever really had my own designated space to paint or draw. I’ve always gotten by portably, setting up shop as I go and cleaning up when finished. I have fallen asleep with paper, pens, and markers scattered among my bed many times.

Joel and I always knew we’d have some sort of office space in our home, but didn’t start putting it together until recently. In our three bedroom home, we have our bedroom, “the middle room” (where we have a very big/comfortable but hideous sectional, Joel’s stationary bike, a TV, and two stinky AF litter boxes for our children cats), and our guest room. Since we will probably have to take a wrecking ball to the side of the house to get the giant sectional out (seriously don’t know how we got it in there in the first place), the guest room is underway to double as an office.

Last weekend, I started getting the ideas for our office space/guest room out of my head and into, well, the room. I told Joel I wanted to paint some “out there” murals and he didn’t even bat an eye when I told him my idea to paint an eye print on one of the walls.

IMG_3651

I still have a few touch ups, but it only took me a few hours and about $10 worth of paint to finish this. I am loving it. It’s creepy in the coolest way possible.

IMG_3650

IMG_3649

IMG_3652

The inspiration for the wall came from my friend’s Instagram account who had photos of similar eye street art somewhere in Spain. I’m really excited to be working on this space in our home and I feel pretty hashtag blessed to have a husband who is so on board with my wacky decor ideas. Most importantly though, our guests aren’t going to be able to shake the feeling that they’re being watched when they stay with us. That’s so funny to me… Eye can’t stop laughing.

IMG_3648

How To Be A Good House Guest

Two weeks ago, my mother-in-law/BFF, Sheila, and I flew to Nashville, TN to attend my beautiful sister-in-law’s baby shower. After flying out of a blizzard and straight into a thunderstorm (a plane ride deemed “too bumpy” for us to be served our complimentary Chardonnay) a relaxing 38 hours in a new city was just what the doctor ordered. Since all the rooms at Laura’s house were filled with friends (and one perfect baby boy), Sheila and I had the pleasure of staying with Jeremy and Elsie Larson. I’ve been crushin’ on The Larson House via Instagram for a while now, so it was truly an honor to get the invite to actually sleep there. My main goal for the weekend (besides feeling Gummergal‘s baby bump as much as possible) was to be a good guest and not embarrass myself. I can’t speak for E or J, but I think I did a pretty GD good job… For the most part, anyway.

IMG_3171

IMG_3175

IMG_3176

IMG_3182

IMG_3181

IMG_3284

IMG_3281

Although we’ve been Internet Gal Pals for a while now, I couldn’t help but think it might be, idk, a little weird not only meeting Elsie in person, but staying in her house. Would it be like sleeping in a museum? Would I be allowed to touch stuff? Would her dogs like me? Would my habit of waking up early annoy the shit out of everyone like it usually does?  I soon realized that this would be my first time being a real guest (staying with family or long-time friends doesn’t really count) in someone else’s home and I’d have to be on my best behavior.

Full disclaimer, it wasn’t even a little bit weird and the Larson Dogs, Dolly and Suki, totally love me. Elsie Larson, YOU REALLY ARE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS.

The weekend went by so quickly, but I made the most of my short time in Nashville. Most importantly, I now have some good tips on how to be a good house guest…

IMG_3283

IMG_3245
I mean, how freaking cute are these Palm Springs themed shower treats?!

IMG_3222

 

HOW TO BE A GOOD HOUSE GUEST:

  • Don’t quote obscure movies or TV shows, no matter how funny you think you’re being. Example: Elsie gave Sheila and I a tour of her home and when it was over, I turned to her and said “your house has a real ass on it” (a quote from an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia). I got a polite smile from Elsie and an elbow to the ribs from Sheila.
  • Watch where you’re stepping, you clumsy fool. I kept walking into all the cactus and getting poked.
  • Do take advantage of all the cool mirrors. If they didn’t want you to take mirror selfies, they probably wouldn’t have bought them.
  • Make your bed! I never, ever make my bed at home, but it seems like a polite thing that people do, so I did it.
  • Make yourself at home! I definitely did wake up early to sit in the living room, kick my feet up, and read my book like I do at my own house every morning.
  • Don’t just slink out into the night when you leave like some kind of cheap hooker, say goodbye to your hosts.
  • Resist the temptation and don’t snoop (even if going through medicine cabinets is one of your favorite things to do).
  • This should go without saying, but don’t steal anything… we know that pink ukulele is calling your name, but buy your own on Amazon. GET OUT OF HERE, YOU CAN’T EVEN PLAY THE UKULELE.

IMG_3282

IMG_3287

IMG_3289

IMG_3290

IMG_3288

A big thank you to Jeremy and Elsie for letting us stay with you and for not thinking it was weird that I took so many pictures inside your house…. Oh, you do think it was weird? We’ll work on it next time!

IMG_3291

Master Bedroom Before/After

It’s been quite some time since I gave the world a peek at our renovated 1940s home. To refresh your memory, I began in our cute little main bathroom that, like our kitchen, was a total gut job. Now we are moving on to a room that required some serious cosmetic upgrades: our bedroom.

img_0476

The first things to go were that sad, Eeyore looking ceiling fan and the purple paint with Princess trim in our closet (we think the last family used it as a nursery). Our bedroom was my big project and I had to be so, so patient with it because Joel and I didn’t live together when he moved in.  I couldn’t just throw in feminine touches all willy nilly. After I painted all of the walls, ceiling, and trim plain old white, I had to suspend my dreams of the potential this master bedroom had, and let Joel have his brown sheets and mix matched side tables.

img_0477

One day, 1 year later, I snapped and brought home paint samples. For those of you who asked how I got Joel to agree to light purple walls, I gave him only two options: pale lilac or pale lavender and he chose the one he liked best (Sweet Bianca by Bher). After I painted, a lot of other things started falling into place. A cool light fixture to fill the hole that the ceiling fan had left. A new bed, rug, ladder bookshelf. At my bridal shower we got our new matching bedside tables, lamps, and Frida Khalo pillows (thanks, Sheila!). Joel put in the window trim the week before our wedding. What an improvement!

img_0482

img_0483

img_0485

img_0486

I love our bedroom so much! It’s where I would hide and nap when I didn’t want to help with other home renovations. It’s where the 1,466 candles led me with Joel waiting to propose. It’s where all of our friends would drunkenly gather during our wedding week. It’s where I found my missing brother-in-law, just hanging out reading a Wes Anderson book at our wedding after party. It’s where we get to sleep every night. It’s HOME!

img_0489

img_0488

img_0481

img_0479

img_0480

img_0492

One of the other questions Joel and I both get asked a lot these days is whether or not we let our kittens sleep with us, to which I have only one answer: “No, I am the only animal allowed in the bedroom…” It’s funny because we’re newlyweds. Another question is do I regret getting all white bedding? Only about every 28 days… Okay, I’ll stop being gross now.

This room is  Mid Century Modern on a budget. We saved a lot of money by purchasing almost everything from Wayfair, Amazon, and Target. The geometric rug was a big splurge from West Elm, but it’s the only one. Most of the art and knick knacks are vintage finds! We love this cozy space (especially when it’s clean enough to photograph)!

img_0491

Summer Simmer Pot

IMG_7261

Breaking news: simmer pots are not just for Fall/Winter! Yeah sure, having your home smell like an apple pie filled heaven in mid-November is amazing, but why do Spring/Summer seem to get left out of the mix? I took to Pinterest to look up Summer Simmer Pot recipes, but only found a handful as opposed to the hundreds that were popping up for Autumn (like this simple, yet intriguing one by my Instagram gal pal and DIY kween, Elsie).

I can see why people might not be into the idea of a Summer Simmer… It’s so hot and humid here in Pittsburgh, and when our air conditioner was on the fritz last month, the mere thought of turning the stove on made me sweat. But that’s all fixed now, so I took my Sunday afternoon, inside of our cool house, to test drive a summah simmah.

When you think of the scents of summer, what comes to mind? IDK about you, but I want to make my house smell fresh and citrusy from March-August. So the Citrus + Mint + Floral Simmer Pot was born!

IMG_7258

IMG_7260

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 lemon
  • mint leaves
  • rose petals

I used the peels from half of each fruit, then sliced the rest and put them in a medium size pot. After filling the pot halfway with water, I added the mint leaves and rose petals (the daisies in the pot were just for decoration. I took them out before I turned on the stove). Voila! The rose and mint is really subtle, but the combination smells amazing! Now all I have to do is keep adding water for my house to instantly smell nice and fresh.

IMG_7262

Think of all the different combinations you could use too! Rosemary + Vanilla, Coconut + Lime, Lavender + Lemon! I was also thinking about Fresh Cut Grass, but maybe it wouldn’t simmer so well. Hey man, they can’t all be winners…

How To Add POPS Of Color To Your Home

IMG_6571

I don’t know about you, but I love color! When it comes to home decor, though, I prefer to work with a more neutral palette for the permanent parts (grey walls + white trim FTW!), and then throw in some interchangeable pops of color here and there. This method is good for two big reasons: 1. it’s renter friendly (I know a lot of people stuck with white or beige walls because landlords can be dickheads!) and, 2. I get bored and want to change up the colors of our home periodically, and it might be kind of difficult to paint the dining room depending on my mood. Here are my personal favorite, tried and true methods of making our house more colorful:

  • Fresh flowers. A big fat DUH! Lavender roses, pink peonies, orange daisies- the possibilities are endless. Trader Joe’s always has a great selection of blooms to chose from.
  • Pillows. I am constantly rotating the pillows in our house from downstairs to guest room to our bedroom. We have so many good ones to chose from! The best pillow sources: Society 6, IKEA, Leif, Urban Outfitters, Lulu and Georgia, and Target. Pillows are ridiculously easy to make yourself too, so keep that in mind next time you’re at a fabric store.

IMG_6570

  • Shower Curtain. I specifically picked out this shower curtain because it had the colors I wanted to add to our mostly neutral bathroom. Also, science.

IMG_6569

  • SOAP! This is my all time favorite way of adding color! I picked out these soap dispensers with the intention of buying brightly colored soaps to fill them with. I was so happy the first time we ran out of green soap because it meant we could use pink!

IMG_6567

  • Fill a glass terrarium. Painted rocks, anyone? I had ordered some wood block garland that I took apart and spray painted. We used this and one other terrarium with colorful blocks at the bottom as card containers at our wedding. I loved the look so much I kept them how they were. One is a centerpiece at our table and the other is in our entryway.

IMG_6574

  • Display your colorful nail polish. I love the look of multicolored little uniform bottles on a shelf. It’s why I spend so much money on Essie brand polish.

IMG_6568

  • Spray paint your knick knacks. This creepy cat was an ugly greyish brown before I made him gold.

IMG_6566

  • Paint your door! Technically this might not be “renter friendly”, but my sister and I totally did this (sans landlord’s permission) at the little house we used to rent together. It’s much more permanent than the other options, but doors are SOOO easy to paint!

IMG_6572

I don’t know, man, I think this was all pretty solid decor advice. You’re welcome! Don’t say I never taught you anything…

The Whiz Palace: Before & After

WIZPALACEbeforephoto

W.C., loo, bathroom, restroom, washroom, powder room, lavatory, toilet; whatever you want to call it, the whiz palace is probably the most used room in any home today. Sure you spend a lot of time cooking in your kitchen, sleeping in your bedroom, and maybe watching t.v. in your living room, but the bathroom is where shit goes down… literally. Gross, sorry, that got away from me for a second there…

As a girl who puts on makeup everyday, likes to relax in the bathtub, and is always in need of a place to hide from people at parties, the restroom is kind of my sanctuary.

DSC03779

Now, full disclosure, I definitely did not hate the pink and black thing happening in the main bathroom of the house when I first saw it, but it needed some serious updating so it turned into a full gut job. There was a bulkhead hanging so low in the shower that Joel couldn’t stand up straight, so I bashed it right out of there. If you’ve never had the opportunity to smash and bash and tear tile down, I feel bad for you, It’s the best part of any renovation. The clean up, i.e. the million trips back and forth to the rented dumpster in the driveway, however, is not as much fun…

Several months later and wouldya just look at this!

IMG_6532

The combination of faux marble peel & stick floor tile, white subway tile + grey grout around the tub, a badass vessel sink, a colorful shower curtain, and a working soft close toilet really ties the room together.

IMG_6534

IMG_6535

If you have the pleasure of visiting our whiz palace, be sure to notice the original 2011 Sarah Blumer artwork hanging above the toilet. I call it “Lord Of The Flies”. Not surprisingly, almost no women ever get to really appreciate it because of it’s location in proximity to the porcelain throne.

IMG_6539

IMG_6540

My friend, Rachel, gave me this bathroom guest book as a wedding shower gift and, NO JOKE, it has more signatures than our wedding guest book. People draw/write the most hilarious/disgusting stuff in there…

IMG_6537

IMG_6538

Who doesn’t love a good bubble bath? Rhetorical question.

IMG_6542

IMG_6543

There you have it! The very first “fully finished” renovated room of our home. Someone alert HGTV because we have a lot more house to see!

IMG_6533