Monday, November 30, 2015

another job, another hotel

Hey, I'm in San Francisco! My family is in Los Angeles which is a big time bummer but alas, that's what I gotta do to make the moneys this time. I'm at a classic hotel in Union Square and it's funny to see the habits a person expresses when they're left to their own devices. 
I'm still crazy OCD and won't go to sleep until the whole place is setup the way I like it and looks neat especially since we're working out of my office and I don't want my personal items hanging out so everyone can see them. I like to play music all dang day, I don't turn on the TV ever, I like to have it pretty warm in the room, I enjoy a white wine, a bath, closing all the curtains when it starts getting dark, having the little cups wrapped in plastic to have my toothbrush and toothpaste in it, and that the coffee pot is ready for the following morning's brew.

What are your hotel habits?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

target christmas 2015: sugar•paper for target

So Target went ahead and was big fat jerks and collaborated with sugar•paper los angeles on a pretty amazing little collection of gift wrapping supplies. I know I say this a lot but I want it all. 
The good thing with having a signature color scheme is that you can use it all year round and not keep it just to Christmas. It's tempting because you want to just HOARD everything to have for years on end and it really does take you that long to go through it all. 
I made a little board of all the things I'd buy if I wasn't super broke. 
Just making this board and seeing them all together makes me happy. I'd be happier if I was rich and could just buy them. AMIRIGHT?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

target christmas 2015: colorful and bright

If black and white ain't your thing no biggie. Peep these cute things from Target. 
Again, an advent calendar is at the top of my list but seasonal pillows, I'm into that. Also that wine cozy makes me smile or at least throw a "let's get cozy" sweater party.

Monday, November 23, 2015

target christmas 2015: black and white and gold

It's that magical time of year when Target is decked out for the holidays. Here's the stuff that appealed to my black and white and gold sensitivities.
I'm also really into the leggings to hang out at home during the chilly season and have promised Matt that I would not be caught in public with them. I'm also crazy about that modern advent calendar because aside from being adorable, it's got tiny little drawers and my girl would LOVE opening and closing each tiny one and I would LOVE putting little things in there that she could excitedly find. Everything is about her people and I don't even care one bit that it's not about me!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

i'm not saying everything is all great now but...

The past few weeks/days had gotten pretty stressful around the farm. I'd been unemployed for a few weeks and with the holiday coming up I was worried about making ends meet for the family and then being able to afford to buy anyone any Christmas presents. I know that's not what Christmas is all about but it's a really fun part of it and definitely one of my love languages. I love gifting (and gift wrapping obviously).

During my time off I spent time contacting people trying to find work and then general hanging out with my family which was good but I watched the bank account dip and dip making me more and more worried. We cut back on everything as I already said and one of the things that had to be axed was our annual gal pal Christmas party. It just wasn't gonna happen this year. We'll try again next year. I hadn't been in this sort of financial sticky-ness in a long long time. It wasn't this bad in reality but I did give second thoughts to purchasing $3 hot chocolate at Disneyland.

Then I got jury duty which I'd postponed twice due to pregnancy and then newborn care and was out of options. I went praying that it would somehow work out that I wouldn't have to give a judge a sob story and the first day we were in the interview process then recessed for the day, came back the next day to find out they'd settled the case and we were dismissed and our service was completed. I wanted to buy the world a coke. THANK YOU JESUS.

We gave the cats away which continues to crush me daily. I had dreams I was reunited with them.

And on top of that I thought I might be pregnant which would be wonderfulyeahkindaofcoursebabiesaremiracleswoohoobabies but we were just NOT in a place where we wanted to have another baby mentally and especially financially. We've talked about expansion and all we know for certain is that we're giving Alice two years to be our one and only and then we'll reassess the situation. So forgive me and Matt for popping champagne bottles and giving each other serious high fives when I found out I wasn't pregnant but sometimes knowing a baby IS NOT on the way is good news too. Yeah, of course again, babieswoohoo but dude, I have one already and we're good for now. REALLY GOOD.

As you can imagine all of this made for great material when I called one of my best friends and sobbed this whole thing to her. The only thing that made me cry was the cat part in seriousness but let's pretend I cried about things other than animals. I told her that what made me the saddest was that I wouldn't be able to buy Alice that little play Ikea kitchen for Christmas.

A few days after this conversation I got a job that was going to cover us for the month, I found out I wasn't pregnant, jury duty was dismissed, and a package arrived at our home from Ikea for Alice. The girls had pitched in and gotten her the sweetest gift that did produce some non-animal, happy tears.

In the midst of this I kept praying. I knew there was a reason for this rough patch and that He would provide and He has so very much. Today at church we were reminded about giving. We're heading into a holiday about being thankful and this week more than ever I am thankful. For God's faithfulness, for a healthy family, and for truly wonderful friends.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

toddler + tree = nope

Well I was right. Whatever she can reach on the tree, she yanks down and drops on the floor. I did try to show her that it's fun to decorate the tree and put the ornaments ON the tree instead. 
She tried.
I haven't done a full Christmas decorating thing, just the office because I was doing a trial run of what she would do with the tree. I hung up ornaments I really don't want her to touch way up high and left anything within her reach as things I know she can't ruin. I don't by nature own a lot of breakable ornaments because I never trusted myself nor any pets so it wasn't too hard to accomplish. What is left of the tree in the office is a tree that's half decorated which doesn't bother me at all. 
Christmas trees look pretty even when they're bare so knowing that the reason the bottom is bare is because my little one is exploring and having fun fills me with joy. And that's what the season is all about anyway. The joy of peace on earth. Goodwill towards man. And little ladies too.

It's been a stressful few weeks/days for me but God has been doing miracles daily and I am a very grateful woman. Have a big time blessed weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

no more

no more buying litter

no more cat poop outside the litter box

no more fur on our clothes

no more scratches

no more ruined furniture

no more arguing about them

no more cleaning out litter boxes

no more making sure water bowls are full

no more making sure food bowls are full

no more dry cat food strewn about

no more litter dust caked on everything

no more worrying about alice having her eyeballs scratched out

no more not having a guest room

no more worrying about allergies

no more constantly vacuuming couches

no more barfed up cat food

no more frequent lint rolling

no more knocked over broken things

no more having my hand pinned down while i'm trying to type


no more cuddles

no more purrs

no more petting

no more meows

no more knowing they're curled up under the tree

we tried to work it out, we tried to find them a home but we failed. i am so so sad and feel like a total failure. but if they would have really hurt my girl i wouldn't have hesitated to let them go so why wait any more? they left our home on monday and i sit in my office waiting for them to come back. for things to magically work out for us but no.

no more l.j.

no more gadget

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

my favorite takes on modern christmas decor

I veer towards the more modern when it comes to aesthetics and these are my favorite types of Christmas decorations as evidenced by my pinterest board. 

Unconventional Christmas Trees. I still want a full-sized Christmas tree to hang ornaments on but I love the takes on other trees that can be used either in an office, or a kid room or if you really are into that sort of minimal Christmas look. 
Taking classic ornaments and modernizing them to fit your look. I love this whole ombre paint the balls thing in black and white. 
Unconventional wreaths. The classic wreath with the greenery is cool for other people but I'm really into the ones that are different. I love the ones made of ornaments but gimme a felt wreath any day!
Modern advent calendars. I'd love to make something like this for Alice sometime once she figures out the counting thing. I like the ones where you put up a little ornament on a felt tree.
Perfectly wrapped presents in your color scheme. Not only is it so special to give someone a beautifully wrapped present but I'm a firm believer that they serve as decoration under the tree until they are destroyed without seconds.
Modern garlands/DIY garlands. I have a big time goal to make a wooden beaded garland this year.
Did I mention our home will not have a full-sized tree in the living room this year? I kept thinking about the future and could only imagine little miss Alice constantly trying to pull everything off and tipping it over. The plan is to use my small white office tree and keep it on a table out of her reach but maybe I can use our full sized tree in my office instead?

Monday, November 16, 2015

it's christmas time! it's christmas time!

Even though Thanksgiving hasn't passed yet, let's just bring on Christmas no?
Don't you love this idea?! It's so stinkin' CUTE!

Monday, November 9, 2015

new habits of my unemployed life

I've been a freelancer since 2004 and while it comes with it's fair share of insane working hours it also comes with bouts of ridiculous unemployment. This year hasn't been great for us financially because while I've been making more money per day, I haven't worked enough days to even out yet. It's a part of the whole moving up process. It'll take some time and we'll get there so I'm trying not to panic and be patient and in the meantime employ a few new habits in regards to the lack of income.

1) We eat in. A LOT. If I'm home, I'm cooking for our family but we would still eat out at least four or five times a week and now it's significantly less. Three meals a day I'm making food at home and being creative with food options and using up the pantry. It's a fun challenge that is helping break us free of our food rut. Sometimes it's simple microwave burgers and sometimes it's fancy veggies.
2) I DIY stuff. Getting crafty is one of those things I have mixed feelings about but in order to scratch an itch for a new thing or the latest thing that I can't buy, I can join the trend and just DIY it. I made two yarn hangings already and am pinning possible future projects too. It keeps me busy. I even DIY my manicures and instead of paying someone to do my nails, I do it myself. Cutting my own bangs though, I am not insane, I trust professionals for that.
3) We hit up every kind of free museum thing there is. Awhile ago I sent Matt a handy list of all the museum days in Los Angeles that are either free all the time or free some times of the year and now we're taking advantage together. The whole family came up and we checked out Travel Town recently. Having a toddler means any place she can safely run around is a win.
The Kidspace Museum in Pasadena is free the first Tuesday of the month and Alice had a blast in the kiddie room and the outdoor car area.
4) I give myself crazy shopping challenges. The Ikea down the street is moving a little further down Alameda so I'm enjoying the closeness while I can and Alice and I go and just wander around the place. I gave myself the challenge recently, of spending only $5 and finding a gift to check off our Christmas gift list. It wasn't as hard as I thought!
5) We earn credit card points and use the points to redeem Amazon gift cards. Then we buy things we need there instead of charging our credit card.

6) I avoid Target. Why tempt myself? I went recently to buy our annual ornament and stuck to the list except to buy some $5 gift wrap for a mini DIY project.

7) I putter around the office. Trying not to spend money on new things means trying to make old things look newer at home so I've just been changing things around the office using what I have. I've been doing this during her naptimes and try to accomplish some task or project per nap which makes me feel productive and creative all at the same time and it costs zero dollars.
8) We go to the mall and buy nothing. There's a great little indoor play space Alice loves and we let her run herself ragged before bedtime. Works like a charm.
9) We go to Disneyland and spend nothing. Right before the crazy price hike (and a slow work season) we bought annual passes and since mine is the premium pass parking is free. I pack a lunch and snacks for us from home and we enjoy Walt's magic kingdom without spending a dime!
10) We are outside a lot. We do hiking trails, parks, and hang in our front and back yards. Being outdoors does wonders for boredom, health, and happiness.
My hope and goal is that even when I get a job I would attempt to employ all these habits not just as habits when I'm unemployed but just generally good habits. Money does not buy happiness and it actually makes me happier when we're not spending money.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

cute play rooms

One of the more luxurious of rooms for a home with children is the concept of a "playroom". Can you imagine?! A room just for the children to play in! And isn't that room supposed to be their room? And... don't they play in every room? Mine does. Toys everywhere. It's a luxury for the people that have big enough homes or basements. I get the appeal of basement playrooms for places that get miserable in the winter or summer. Mom needs a place where the kids can go nuts without making a mess in the whole house while they're trapped indoors for weeks on end. 

Anyway, without more adieu, pretty.
There's even a little article on designing a perfect one.
This one's pretty insane. Oh to have a finished attic space. 
I love all the colors here with the white walls.
I really want a built in window seat in our office.
I'm thinking about doing this for the office on a smaller scale. Maybe paint the bookcase doors with chalkboard paint so she can color on them?
Their own little homework/craft station is a good idea.
The room overall is so cute and utilitarian but the ceiling wallpaper is clutch!
On the flip side though... if you have more than one kid and not enough rooms for everyone to have their own you can have them all bunk in one room to sleep/dress/play and one room just to do homework and play together which I've thought about if we had more than one kid. I briefly thought oh if we have more than one they could move into my office and share and I can take the smaller room then I was like pft forget that, they can share the smaller room, I'm not giving up the office!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

making play space for alice in the office

One of the things I've been planning on doing in the office is making it a place where kids can hang. It's pretty much a second living room as it is so it just took a few baby proofing moves to make it less of a 'NO DON'T TOUCH THAT' to a 'have at it' area.
She would instantly gravitate toward the tea cart when she would come in and grab my precious teapots. By moving them up a shelf they were out of her eye sight and she happily played with the bottom shelf stuff. 
She has her little tea set in here that we scored from work and some espresso cups that are just toddler sized. The tea set all fits into that big teapot so when she's in here I let her spread it around but if I am in the mood for tidy-ness into the pot it goes. I also brought her little doll and stroller so she can have a familiar face.
The coffee table is acrylic so she can do any kinda damage to it she wants. I used to have all manner of decorative breakable items but the cats kept knocking crap over and I didn't want to keep moving them whenever she would follow me in here. I have some toys for her on the bottom shelf and brought in some board books for her too.
I don't keep this up regularly, it was just for the picture. Isn't this tea set so Wonderland?
I think she knows what 'kitties' is because when I ask her to go where the kitties are she heads to the office door. She's doing a lot better with not trying to torture them but LJ is not to be trusted, he got her the other day when she yanked his hair. Dumb cat.
Next step will be a little Alice sized desk and chair in here. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

the office closet

Every once in awhile I forget who I am and wish I was some sort of minimalist. Ah, if only I was that person whose closet was just a shelf of reasonable items. But I'm not that person. I'm the person that has hung onto a whole shelf of small boxes that used to hold macarons in case I ever need to use them for gift boxes. And all these things do come in handy I promise I promise.

I suppose someday it would be great to gut the whole closet and have custom shelves for it but that's a way down the road project. Originally this was the one closet for the master bedroom (how did people LIVE?!) so it was meant to hold clothes and not wrapping paper so I put some bookshelves in it and they are so helpful. Over the years it changes as life does depending on what I suddenly need to store in here at quick access or not. When I'm working and all my office crap isn't in here, this is what you would see if you opened the door.
Oh, you might also see this door hook. It holds my work backpack and work bag where I have my job manager binder, clipboard, office notebook, and such.
Way at the top are six big bins that hold old personal notebooks,  throw pillows, fabric + yarn, work folders, work tool box, picture frames, guest bedding, and guest room amenities since it is still a guest room for the brave souls willing to share with Gadget & LJ.
I made these labels for them and they are pretty cute but I'm realizing they're off scale for these boxes. I'll have to get bigger ones sometime.
The top two shelves hold smaller paints and party things.
The middle one has personal/family expanding files and those boxes hold yet more party favors and blank notebooks. The expanding files hold our house purchase info and Alice's paperwork like her doctor visits, immunization records, stuff like that. I just made it myself thanks to my OCD and then found out it's a thing! It's pretty helpful, I should seriously make it as a baby present for people.
The bottom holds file folder necessary crap like "income taxes" "pay stubs" "retirement". You know... boring adult baloney so let's move on.
The other bookshelf is a shorty version of the tall one. Here I shoved all the gift wrapping supplies like the aforementioned tiny boxes, gift bags sorted by occasion: duh; old journals, and more gift boxes and giant bags.
The reason I got a shorter shelf was because I wanted to use the top space to put all the extra work stuff in here. I've been whittling and whittling away at this pile and now it's down to just these four boxes for overflow work supplies. Not seen is my work kit currently hanging out in the trunk of my car. LAZY.
Behind the shelf I had a big gap and I could have either shoved the shelf all the way over but I decided instead to leave space for larger wrapping paper.
Whenever that magical gut job with custom shelves happens I'll replace the light fixture situation in here. Until then: pull chain.
On top of these boxes I always end up putting things I'm either debating getting rid of or working on. I'm also piling the Christmas presents in here.
I just added this in here. Makes me smile. 
I saw somewhere on pinterest as I googled around for 'wrapping paper storage solutions' that they just bought a 1.99 item from Ikea that did the trick and boy does it!
They are sorted by color: black/white/grey, gold, and bright colors. Big time game changer.
There's even room to put the big box of cat food in here and my yoga mat and Wii balance board.
As with any closet clean-up, I revel in the fact that I can actually see the closet floor.
As you can imagine, it didn't last long.