Fell. Fall. Falling.

It’s taken a while for California to catch up, but it FINALLY feels like fall- which really only means it’s now a tad too cold to wear tank tops and cut-offs. In any case- I’ll take it. The past 5 years I spent fall in SLO and I miss the wine tasting, apple picking and crisp weather dearly. Until we can make it back up that way to enjoy the season, I’ll soak up the best of fall in LA…

1. Layers. I can camouflage those extra lbs for at least 3 more months. (since I really am going to lose that 10 now…). Oh, and boots, boots and more boots! Sole Society’s are the best!


2. Soup. Especially when Adam makes it and I don’t have to do anything.


3. Snuggling with a good book, a board game ( shameless Scrabble player), a cup of comfort and joy tea, a glass bottle of wine, etc.


4. Baking- the only time of the year when it is 100% acceptable to bake every single day. Heaven on earth? I think so.


5. Ugly sweater parties. Cocktail parties. Holiday parties. PARTIES.

6. Family. Decorations. Christmas lights. And soon enough…pine trees!

…Did I mention I love the holidays? Let the countdown begin!

xx, Victoria

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Pinterest: a love-hate relationship

Pinterest is amazing. I think we can all agree on that. I start out looking for some culinary inspiration regarding what to make for dinner and 3 hours later I am pinning clothes for my unborn, not-even-a-thought-in-my-mind children. I find myself trying things I know will never work because Pinterest said it’s possible. I fall for “how-to” posts and think that even though for 23 years I haven’t had a creative-designer-DIYing bone in my body, somehow Pinterest has armed me with such skills. Though I am admittedly a fan, not everything about Pinterest is so peachy…

1- Who needs stores? You can make a face wash, shampoo, cleaning detergent, toothpaste, babyfood all by yourself.

2- I can get beach-looking waves by adding VODKA to my hair product? Yeah okay…I’ll give that a go (trust me, not true).

3- Designer wedding dresses are out. You can make you dream gown out of TP and newspaper (add the glitter, of course)!

4- Though eventually you’re going to move out of your rental, glue everything to the walls. Tubberware, ribbon rolls, jars…all in the name of organization.

5- Trying to lose weight? Screw it and make these chocolate-peanut butter fudge graham cracker cookies with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles instead. Top that off with a specialty blueberry pink-lemonade cocktail and the 25 different kinds of pizza you should make this year. (I love pizza.)

6- You can view the above-named treats right next to a pic of the fittest woman alive wearing nothing but feather earnings? #motivation? Nah… #igiveup.

7- Hundreds of people pin fitness pics and motivational quotes, which makes me feel guilty because still all I want to do is eat everything from #5.

8- Old, dirty, should-be-tossed out crap cannot be refinished to look brand new. It’s usually still just crap.

…and 100 more.

xx- Victoria

Summer vacation and weekend warrior-ing

The last few days have been as close to being back in college and having summer break as I will ever get again. I got a new job (!!) that starts tomorrow, and was given the option of taking Tuesday-Friday off from my previous job last week. Though my bank account is sorely upset, that was an offer I was not prepared to pass up. So for the last 7 days I have been laying at the beach, sleeping in, being lazy, and doing whatever I feel (or don’t feel) like doing. It has been GLORIOUS. Even better, Adam took Friday off of work so we got to experience the perplexing “LA lifestyle” of brunching and having coffee during prime hours on a workday. Someone please teach me how to make a living out of that because I am GREAT at it.

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On this idyllic day off I ran a few errands with my live-in-lover, one of which was going to surf shops to “see what they have.” We walked out of one with ANOTHER surf board for Adam, making the grand total in our baby apartment 3. When I asked why 3 was necessary he informed me “it’s like shoes.” I would like to point out this is not a valid argument. Not because the point is off the mark, but rather because this is the excuse Adam uses for EVERYTHING. Why is the storage unit filled to the brim with your crap? It’s like shoes. Why is the hall/coat closet filled with 5 plastic crates, a saw, 2 helmets, a bike pump, and unusable bike parts? It’s like shoes. You get the point.

Friday also marked the day of an infamous Victoria meltdown due to the disarray and clutter in our home. In addition to the storage units and closet being filled, the top of the wall-to-wall units was covered with ish and Adams nice, shiny, new computer has been sitting on our dining room table for weeks. It was all too overwhelming and it had to stop. So I freaked out, yelled a bit and made Adam promise he would clean out his “hobby” bins and either find or build a desk for his computer (this desk, I might add, has been in the “drawing phase” for WEEKS).

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Saturday while Adam surfed (which he better do all the effing time now that there are 3 boards begging to be used) I got up and went through my clothes. Clothes, shoes and bags…these are the only things Adam ever uses as ammunition when we are fighting about space, so I figured I better beat him to the punch and organize on my end before the bickering started. This was also part of my master-plan to kick start the cleaning and organizing so that it wouldn’t get overlooked (like it has been for the last 5 months or so). After [not enough] organizing and a break at the beach we headed to Adam’s mecca: The Home Depot.

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I am not opposed to working outdoors, getting dirty (if forewarned), and DIYing. I understand Home Depot is a means to an end: if I want a desk, we need to get the supplies to build it. I do not, however, enjoy spending my Saturday night there. I especially don’t like making a task longer and more drawn out than need be (I pride myself on efficiency). Adam, however, does not see the same value in doing it right the first (and only) time. We frequently buy more supplies than needed (literally, we get a box of screws EVERY SINGLE time we go), mis-measure and subsequently buy incorrect materials and browse the aisles with no real purpose (other than to grab more unnecessary supplies).

Generally I pay no real attention when project planning…usually I am along for the ride and am completely content supervising and project managing. Recently, however, I have started adding some input in the hopes of expediting the process (note: doing it right the first time). Before leaving Home Depot Saturday I was assured that, though my input was noted, we did in fact have all the supplies we needed and each item was the right one. We got everything up into the treehouse, I fell asleep, and we woke up early Sunday for pancakes and projects!

The first words out of Adam’s mouth on Sunday were conveniently the words I did not want to start the day with: I need to go back to Home Depot. Why? Yep, you guessed it…incorrect measuring and wrong materials. Perfect. Add another snafu involving the fore mentioned screws and you can imagine how I was feeling about this project. Luckily, the issues stopped there and a few hours later we had a desk! We even fancied it up a bit with stain (ballin’) and now we are just waiting for it to dry. Organization will be mine!

Check back soon for pics of the finished desk. In the meantime…

xx- Victoria

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The treehouse: doomed to be a blank canvas forever…

After getting the furniture purchased and the “big stuff” taken care of I thought the fun would begin…decorating! Pinterest and apartment blogs be damned because you provide false hope to regular, artistically-challenged, determined-to-be-trendy decorators, like myself. The snapshots of a finished project with a witty quote and instructional step make everything look easy. DIY planter-turned-art piece? Just my after work project. A complete living room overhaul? This weekend. Done. Custom table carved from an entire redwood tree? 1 hour…tops. These expectations are bullshit. Things never go as planned, and decorating isn’t always that fun…

  • It’s expensive. You want how much for that crappy mirror?
  • In LA, you thrift and flea market and swap meet (as verbs). It’s overwhelming and usually pricey.
  • It’s hard to agree on, well, everything. It took two months to buy pillows for our couch.
  • You have to come to terms with the fact that you WILL lose money from your security deposit. WHAT?! We most certainly did NOT put up 10000 dry wall screws.
  • It’s okay to buy some things. No, you can’t recreate that wall art, that chair, that lamp, that table (adam)
  • You can’t always find something cheaper, cuter, more perfect. Sometimes, you should just buy every damn thing you think you need from Ikea while you’re there. It’s not at all convenient to go back.
  • You can do a lot of decorating tasks in an evening. You can do even more if you get off Devour, Apple Trailers, Vimeo, That Kind of Woman, On Sunny Days…

xx- Victoria

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I make tables like it’s my job

The title is fairly misleading…mostly Adam makes the tables and I come up with all the amazing ideas…

I am feeling pretty Jesse Eisenberg a la Social Network [shout out to Sony :)] as write this with a glass of wine in hand. It’s just been one of those weeks. Hopefully this won’t lead to a farm animal comparison…I’ve got to save some material on Adam for later posts (just kidding, lover).

I know you’ve been anxiously waiting to see our completed end tables (yes, now is the time to pause for dramatic effect). Yesterday was a MONUMENTAL day for team Adam-Victoria Home Renovations. Why? Because we actually- 100%, totally and completely- finished a project! This might seem like a small feat to some of you over-achievers, but I can assure you- IT’S A FLIPPING BIG DEAL. And I’m psyched about it. Guess that calls for another glass of wine…

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If you remember, a few weeks ago Adam and I hit up the Pasadena swap meet. After weeding through the overpriced crap we found the above old ammunition boxes and thought they would make cool tables. We bought them, brought them home, then left them (as pictured) in our kitchen…in the way. Then, 2 weeks ago I had a melt down about the clutter and mess and seeming disarray of our house (I just want a cute apartment, okay! Apartment Therapy has planted false hopes in my mind and I can’t seem to shake them). You will soon learn these melt downs are semi-frequent. Sorry Adam.

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Post melt-down we finally got our shit together and figured out how exactly we would assemble the tables. A few Home Depot trips later (I am learning it is impossible to go only once/project with Adam) we had our supplies and we were ready to rock and roll. Note: you will notice from the pictures, my efforts and talents are better spent on what I like to call “supervision.”

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Adam killed it on all the sawing, drilling and whatever else he did while I was supervising. Can’t be 100% sure there, but I was pleased with the results.

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Little elements that you know are important, but don’t really think about start to pop up when doing DIY projects. For instance, leveling the tables…knew that was important, would have maybe forgot to do that if it weren’t for Adam. Another important note here: Adam owned most of these tools already (hence the lack of space in our apartment).

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I might not be able to drill, weld, saw, or perform any other carpentry skill well, but I can paint the hell out of a board/piece of wood. BAM.

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Something that’s important to consider when painting is how exactly you are going to dry the painted item (especially if it’s black). If you don’t think that far in advance (like us), then I hope you’re an all-around-badass (also like us)– that way you can ninja your way into creating a custom drying apparatus.

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The fact that Adam is hand-sawing something in a perfect line in this photo is fairly irrelevant; he’s wearing crocks. You can’t come back from that.

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Being that we used wood to keep our tables on the inexpensive side, we thought that “add-ons” would be a cool way to dress the tables up and make them feel edgy and industrial. We picked some cool bolts to attach the wood, and used casters as the feet. Functional and fancy.

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You’ve probably noticed a pattern in the pictures. We start out thrilled to be working on a home project as a team, and we are super excited when things go right. By the end, however, we are over one another and the project…and “the bird” is much more frequent than a high-five.

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Then we actually finish the project and all is forgiven (for the most part)…well,this was the first time that happened but I am guessing this is how it will go when we complete projects in the future, too.

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Our DVD player is hidden inside the amo box, along with remotes and anything else that needed to be out of sight….

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And games are in this one. With the shelf we even have room for our awesome basket (thanks, sisters!). AND…what’s even better is Adam took ALL of his Communication Arts magazines out of our house. Yeah…new tables, less clutter and a glass of wine- I am one happy girl. Oh, and tomorrow’s FRIDAY?! 🙂

xx- Victoria

Renovation realities: helicopter crates and a storage wall

I am starting to feel a little bit more like a grown up, especially because I spent the whole weekend doing a DIY home project (I am 22 going on 45, apparently).

It all started with a ton (only a slight exaggeration, really) of Adam’s crap. I’ll admit it: I get most of the closet space in the bedroom. I need it- I have more clothes. Just so we are clear, I get more space in a cave-like room (no more than 10 feet long by 4 feet wide) that I still have to share with Adam. Adam, the crafting, DIY, designer, live-in-lover of mine gets quite a bit more space throughout the apartment. He has box, after box, after box, after pile…of stuff. Surf boards, wet suits, bike parts, art supplies, deflated volleyballs, a few softballs, tools, and DOZENS of Communication Arts magazines take up all the spare storage space and then some. The biggest issue of contention in this disagreement?- the damn magazines. Why?- because I have been with Adam for 2.5 years and I have never once seen him open a single one. It is honestly the beginning of “Hoarders: Buried Alive” and I am the one being suffocated by it. Currently, we are in negotiations over these magazines. I’ll keep you posted.

The above anecdote is actually relevant to our weekend DIY project: we decided to make a wall long storage/seating area to hide all of Adam’s excess stuff. Craiglist came up big for us, and on Saturday morning we drove to the Camarlilo airport and picked up 2 helicopter shipping crates. One crate was 9 feet, the other 8 feet, and Adam assured me they would fit. After a parking fiasco- which involved someone blocking our driveway for the better part of the day and ended with us having the car towed- set us back 5 hours we knew Sunday would be a long day. And we were right– 14 hours long.

We sanded and cleaned the crates first- tedious, but not too bad. Then, we started painting. And we painted. And painted. and painted, until we gave up any hope of making the crates look 100% perfect (they were free, after all). A Home Depot excursion to get supplies for the lids and feet set us back another hour or so, and by the time we got back it was time to lift the pint-sized (…right) units up the stairs, through the window and into our apartment (PIVOT, anyone?). This part of the project went surprisingly well…until I looked at the size of the wall vs. the size of the crates: the crates were a foot too big to fit in the allocated space. So, at 11:00PM last night Adam used a hand-saw to chop a chunk off the crate, then re-pieced the end back on. Success. 2 more hours of organizing and rearranging and VOILA! we had a custom wall unit, already packed to the brim with crap. Eventually it will have cushions and some more decorative features, but for now this will do just fine. Oh, the wonders of sharing a space :).

xx-Victoria

Swap-meeting

We’d been talking about going to the Rose Bowl swap meet forever. Now that we finally have a space worth decorating we figured it was finally justifiable to make the trek out to Pasadena and shop.

Before I get to the good stuff I [of course] have a few rants. First, swap meet-goers should pay attention to the time. If you arrive anytime after 9 admission is $8.00/person. If you arrive earlier the price goes up depending how early. For example, if you enter the buying area from 8-9 it costs $10. And, ticket sellers will in fact charge you $10 up until the clock reads 9:00. WHY would you pay extra for 5 minutes?! The extreme swap-meeters who got to the grounds at 5:00AM already swooped up the best deals, anyway. PAY ATTENTION!

Secondly, I know “antiques” are trendy, and I like a weathered piece of furniture as much as the next blog-reading, i-live-with-a-designer, i-want-a-cute-apartment girl. But, more than I want a cute piece of furniture, I want a good deal. Just because you call something “vintage” doesn’t make it so. Buying something off Craigslist for $2 to turn around and sell it for $50 does not make you a business-person…it makes you greedy (and often, dumb- there’s a reason YOU STILL HAVEN’T SOLD that shitty dresser).

Shockingly enough, despite the above sentiments about swap meets, I did really enjoy our outing. And, we even managed to snag a few old ammunition boxes we plan on turning into unique end tables. Stay tuned for updates and pictures of the finished product…that’s our project for the 3-day weekend (I am predicting our first big fight will occur as a result).

xx- Victoria