9.30.2014

about 24 years ago



My aunt Susan, cousin Tandy, Grandma Cole, Uncle Dave, me, little brother Kevin.  At Disneyland.

I'm in a weird mood and wishing I could go back to that.

home improvement thoughts

I used to think I'd be really into fixing up my home to make it awesome.  Like all new flooring, unexpected paint colors, a cozy garden, slick cabinets, nice furniture, funky accents.  Little projects on weekends and stuff.

"I'd rather buy a $250,000 run down bungalow and fix it up than live in some cookie cutter place!" I have exclaimed many times.  "I would forage for mismatching wood planks for the floors and create a mosaic backsplash out of used tile!  I'd put plant native plants in the garden and become a landscape designer without any help from anyone!"

But somewhat ironically, because I now work in resi real estate, I feel less inclined to care what my home looks like.  I mean I'm all for arranging furniture in an ergonomic way and hanging cool stuff up on the walls and setting out a potted succulent or two, but everything that requires actual construction is either super expensive or looks like a cheap fix.  If I followed through with those DIY proclamations above, my house would in all certainty look really and truly shitty.

Here are some paradoxes that illustrate my misgivings:

If you rent, you are wasting money by doing any upgrades to your place.
BUT
If you own, construction will cost a ton and it will look dated in ten years anyway.

If you buy a cheap home and fix it up, it will suck up all of your time and money.  And what if you chose really ugly fixtures and regret it every time you look at them?
BUT
If you buy a move-in ready place that awes you as soon as you walk in, I guaranty you will over pay.

Your contractor will cry change order and you'll end up paying more and hating the whole process and feeling like there isn't one vendor in the world you can trust.
BUT
Doing It Yourself can prove to be just as expensive and will take a billion times longer.

I think we all have a certain obsession with making our living spaces appear just so.  We crave finding a great bargain and making DIY upgrades look easy while adding an eclectic yet universally appealing personal touch.

Maybe we should not care about all that and focus on actually living.

Let go of the perfectionism, save your money, and decorate with thrift store stuff.  Spend your time at home lounging and reading and cooking and spend your money on travel.

(Unless you're super rich.  Then you should go all out on having a sweet pad and invite me over.)

That said, here are my pretty Pinterest boards for decor-porn.  Ha!
Decorating
Houses
Yards

9.29.2014

chicago photos

During this two day trip to Chicago, we ate a lot and looked at buildings.  Here is photographic evidence...

DAY ONE

This is a great place to start, eh?  A mid-afternoon snack of jamon serrano and foie gras accompanied by a pleasant red wine.  Isn't that all you want to be doing (now, ever, etc)?  The restaurant was called the Purple Pig (of course it was) and the servers wore plaid shirts and sported ironic tattoos.  I'm sure we could have ordered some kind of duck fat dish.

By the way, it was a Tuesday around 3pm and this place was poppin' off the heeze.  Chicagoans take their eating and drinking seriously. 

Here we are, wearing Ray Bans and embarking on an architectural boat tour.  To some, this sounds boring as hell, I know.  Some hard core real estate nerdery ensued.

These residential towers are named The Corn Cobs (not a nickname, a real name) because this is Illinois and everyone there is obsessed with corn.

This is a 90's building constructed in the style of... ah I don't remember now, but the point is that its reminiscent of some old school shit with a modern flair.  It was one of my faves.

James liked this one.  I think it looks like the MGM Grand in Vegas.

This is where the nerdery is, my friends.  I took a photo of this building because its the LARGEST COMMERCIAL BUILDING IN THE WORLD.  Are you awed?  Are you amazed?  Taken aback with curiosity?  Four million square feet, fools.  I whispered to James, "Do you think it has one property manager who also handles three other buildings?  Do you think that person has a part time assistant or do they spring for someone full time?  Do you think the roof leaks?"  These are the things we ponder when we discuss buildings.

So, don't you just love when there are clouds around sunset and it reflects off the ocean (oh yeah, its a lake I guess) and the water looks like rippled glass and you feel at peace with everything in your life?

We decided to revisit a Russian restaurant that we went to the last time we were in Chicago.  There are a few reasons we like this place.  1) There aren't many (any?) eastern Euro eateries in LA, so we gotta take advantage 2) they have delightful flights of vodka and 3) it feels like they just don't make 'em like this anymore with the formal dress code (which as you can see we did not adhere to) and Dynasty decor.  It's one of those places where the server pulls the whole table out for you so that you can sit in your booth with ease.

 If you order vodka, they bring you this sumptuous little plate of black bread and chopped pickles.  When you take a drink, you're supposed to take a bite.  I wholeheartedly agree with this practice.  I also now want a pickle.


DAY TWO

We walked to the John Hancock building for a breakfast of beer.  This is a pretty cool building too, albeit a bit threatening and ominous.  The columns are on the outside (pictured above, diagonals) which is not normal but it's smart because it frees up the interior space while adding a little unexpected pop-o-design on an otherwise plain exterior.

That's what Chicago looks like.  Did you know it was a real city, because it is.  The first time I was here as an adult I was surprised to see a legit skyline.  This may sound naive, but I think too much time in LA will render one amazed at any random cluster of high rises.


Drinking at 10am is a true pleasure.  Drinking Chi Town Pale Ale in Chicago is also nice.



That lake is huge, eh?

After staring out the window for a good amount of time, we walked over to The Loop to eat peirogies for lunch. We got nine dumplings (I believe three each potato/cheese, mushroom, and beef) sprinkled with bacon bits and served with a side of sour cream.  We also ordered a second plate of polish sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes.

I pestered James into renting cruisers.  I feel like, while I don't want to be the pestering type, I also really love riding bikes and so that prevailed.  During his protest, James told me that he had never learned to ride a bike, and I actually believed him, kinda.  I was like, Oh man, we've never rode bikes together during all these years, have we?  And maybe this is the reason why he's always been so strangely anti-bike, because he doesn't know how and is embarrassed?  And I feel really bad for him, but honestly who the hell doesn't know how to ride a bike?  That's sort of pathetic.  But then he told me that yes of course he knows how and let's just rent one and oh yeah we rented beach cruisers in Bocas del Toro, Panama, two years ago and I apparently forgot all about it.  It is confirmed that my fiance knows how to ride a bike.  That was a relief.  

So we rode around the beach for a couple hours.   It was cool. 

Dinner.  Even though the above is a somewhat shoddy photo of the whiskey menu, can't you tell what the restaurant was like?  It was dimly lit, tastefully decorated, served delicious steak, and had us both feeling fairly drunk and like we were about to die from meat poisoning (this is a good thing in our world).

The next morning we left for Peoria.  Ta dah.

9.25.2014

stuff i collect

As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I try not to be too attached to objects.  However, I do collect some stuff.

Fabrics
I've got Mexican blankets, Bolivian tapestries, Dominican scarves.  I throw them over my furniture and constantly rearrange.  My walls are a clean Swiss Coffee flat, but my colorful prints liven things up.  Did I just say "liven things up" in reference to home decor?  Maybe I should work for Martha Stewart.  Maybe I should collect stupid little pillows for a "pop-o-color" too.

Postcards
Yo, this has to be the best item to collect EVAR.  Takes up no space, cheap, available everywhere you travel.  I have really 80's beach shots with high waist bikini-wearing floozies, artsy Euro drawings, architecture-porn, weird animals, classic paintings from museum gift shops.  And you know how if you think about a trip like ten years ago and realize you don't even remember the name of the city you visited?  It's on the postcard mu'fuggaaaah!

You want to know what to do with postcards?
1. Randomly send them to people with a nice note (I should do this more often)
2. Put some pretty art ones on the refrigerator
3. Frame them, alone or in a group collage
4. Keep them in a small box in your closet
5. If you have a physical tangible photo album (because this was written pre-2003, surprise!) put the postcards in with your vacation photos

Tales of wild nights in exotic locales
Ole Aunt Loobie's got some doozies, kids!

Glass jars
Whats the difference between a glass jar and a "mason" jar?  This may sound like the start of a horribly unfunny pinterest-based joke, but it's not.  I really want to know.  I don't think of mine so much as mason jars, but as like, empty pickle jars.

Maps
I also have a small box for maps.  AAA sends me maps.  Doctors Without Borders kindly sends me world maps a couple times a year (sadly, I do not donate).  Hotels sometimes give out free city maps.  Sometimes you find a regional map in a random Nat Geo back issue.  I stole a Los Angeles South Bay / Long Beach map right from James' glove compartment just yesterday, because I really doubt he needs that (now I am writing in present day when Apple Maps exists).

Lists
I feel like this blog holds a collection of lists.  "I feel like" - why is that something I say now?  It's not a feeling, its a fact that can easily be proven.  Anyhoo, I'm running out of lists to make.  I need suggestions.

9.23.2014

dog name ideas


I was thinking yesterday, why don't I name a dog after an actual older person I've known or heard my parents talk about a billion times?

I think these are all awesome dog names.  

Many are great examples of Lutheran Midwestern old timey names.

Grandpa (ok seriously, I loooove this name for a dog)

Pat/Perry

Grandma

Gen (Jen? How did my grandma spell it?)
/ Genevieve 

Art Herbert (Arf Herbert?)

Lloyd 

Chuck

Bud

Uncky (I have no clue who this relation is, but I've heard my dad talk about him since forever)

Hank

Lolly

Louise

Ralph

Lowell

Darrel

Bub (I can't believe this one)

Ruthie

Dan!  Like my dad.

Bunny

Clara

Covington

Wolford

Hinkley

Buenning

Carmen

Pilar 

Wayne Nishimoto

Pam

Bob

This is Jake.  He has nothing to do with this. 

sins in my world

White bread

Soda

Gin

Long raggedy fingernails

Cashews!!!

Clutter

Stale air

When you can see that someone's skin is dry and flaky and you're like "aaahhggg put lotion on that shit!" even though I'm guilty of this like every day

Hand sanitizer

Over-planning 

Channel surfing

Generic Chinese fast food 

9.10.2014

yuppy things i've done today

1. Went to a Yoga Works class.

2. Am wearing a Fitbit.

3. Looked at Pinterest for wedding "inspiration".

4. Drank a box of coconut water.

5. Walked a small prancing doggy around the neighborhood.

6. Used the term cultural appropriation.


mexican wedding thoughts

I sort of want to have a wedding with Mexican decor accents.  We've already talked about having a taco truck and it would be very hard to get me off of that idea. 

But is that like... tacky?  Like, hi can I borrow from a culture which is totally not mine at all?  Does it make a gimmick out of an entire country?

Of course, if you know me it makes sense.  I love bright colors and traveling and Spanish and all things Mexico.  I've looked at Pinterest and am not excited about picking two or three pastel colors.  I want all of the colors.  I want vibrant.  I want patterns and flowers.  I want mismatching craziness. I love embroidery.  I love the way Mexicans party.

I can justify tacos because everyone loves tacos.  You bet your ass I'm going to have guacamole and chips and horchata and agua de sandia (watermelon juice) too.

I want to do tequila shots in lieu of champagne.  I've never cared about champagne.

I'm not thinking, like cinco de mayo, or Mexican flag colors.  I'm not thinking Tijuana party.  More like day of the dead, loteria cards, succulents, jesus candles, Frida Kahlo type stuff.

I would probably refrain from using actual Spanish language on invites or signs (Hola!  You're invited to our fiesta! (fart noise)), or getting Mexican sombreros to wear, because that seems like pushing it.

I guess taco carts at weddings are becoming very popular, which kinda bums me out because I feel like James and I thought of it first (waaaahhhhhhh).  Also, Mexican wedding decor is highly google-able, so that's not really an original idea either.

Well, here, look at what I found on google images.


Great, now my laptop won't save any of the photos I'm finding besides this one above.  GREAT.  Here's a LINK.  GO TO IT.

Here's my top choice right now for a venue.  Point Vicente Lighthouse in RPV

What else?  Oh, I don't want a cake - wedding cakes are silly as hell.  I like the thought of cupcakes, brownies, or ice cream cones.

I really wanted the first dance to be Come Sail Away, but James isn't into that song.   This thing is about him too, apparently.

And no money dance.  I'm already asking my friends to spend a whole evening with us, now they have to give up all their cash?  No.

Final thought - don't you hate the word nuptials?

EDIT
Oh yay look at this site I found: offbeatbride.com
And look at this wedding that did exactly what I was talking about, and now I'll shamelessly copy them: Mexican Inspired Wedding.  Those little prayer flags (or whatever) strung up with the lights, that's what I'm talkin' about.
And another.  I love Pinterest.