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Fine. Here’s a Sneak Peek at my Bedroom. Pervs.

It feels a little intimate, this whole sharing of the bedroom.

I mean… when it looked like this, is was no big deal.

It was just a room. An uninteresting, plain yogurt, asexual cube of space.

But now?

It’s like she’s hiked her skirt up a little bit, and now I’m not sure how I feel about you looking at her.

Because you might judge her.

And you might not be into the kinds of things I’m into.

Like the charcoal gray walls or the S&M sex toy we’ve hung from the ceiling.

Oh, wait. That’s just my armillary antiqued silver chandelier.

You know, inspired by those awesome looking armillary spheres that depict the earth as the center of a cosmic system with various rings representing the circles of all of those floaty things up in the sky.

It’s kind of like this one from

Except mine didn’t cost $1,080.

It’s this one, from

Solaris Olde Silver 3-light Chandelier by Chrystorama.

Except I didn’t spend $218, either.

I happened to luck upon finding an open item on their website, meaning someone else bought this beauty and returned it.

I can’t imagine why.

So, with Bellacor’s guarantee that the product had all of the pieces and was in brand new condition, I bit the non-returnable bullet and purchased this baby for $109.

Is it still more than I’d like to admit spending?


But I think I might be in love. And the pattern it splays across the ceiling when it’s turned on is phenomenal.

You’ll just have to wait to see that, though.

A girl can’t reveal all of her secrets in a single day.

So this is where my bedroom makeover is so far: Painted trim, painted ceiling, painted walls, and new light.

I warned you before, and I’ll say it again — the room might not be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but it’s my cup o’ Tanqueray and tonic with a squeeze of lime.

So far it’s sexy and sultry with a splash of celestial.

Oh, and Justin likes it too.

My Indecision is Final.

Last night I slept 35 inches off of the ground.

I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, so I’m going to give you a minute to go and grab your trusty tape measure (if you’re like me, you keep it in the laundry room because it makes perfect sense, according to people like me and not people like Justin, to keep oft-used tools in the laundry room) to see how high you sleep every night.

It’s okay — I’ll wait.




Okay, I’m bored.  If you didn’t go and measure, I’m happy to inform you that it’s likely you slept closer to 24 inches off of the ground than 35 inches.  Unless you sleep in one of those crazy expensive grown-up beds that you need a step stool to get into, in which case I’m not even sure why you’re reading this blog.

But I’m glad you’re here.  It makes me feel less alone.


If you still sleep in the second-hand bed frame you bought from friends who were moving to Hawaii and didn’t want to take their guest bedroom furniture overseas, and that bed frame happens to position you a comfortable 24 inches off the ground with a box spring, mattress, and cushy foam mattress pad, then that extra 11 inches feels like the difference between Base Camp and the summit of Everest.


I needed climbing ropes and a pick axe to get up there.

And once there, I was petrified of even moving because — well, we all know now that I’m prone to falling out.

Which really explains a lot, if you know me.

But the reason, my friends — the reason I was sleeping in thinner oxygen last night is intriguing because I’ve finally gotten over my fear of commitment when it comes to certain design and decor decisions around the house.  And no, it’s not because I bought a super tall bed.  But it is because we’re finally — finally — doing something with the one and only room in this 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 1 hallway home that has literally remained untouched since we moved in 4 1/2 years ago: Our Bedroom.

That’s right — we’ve completely remodeled the kitchen, gotten well on our way to finishing the living room, polished off the hallway bathroom, have a guest bedroom I’ve never told you about, and are slowly wading our way through office progress, but we’ve never done anything with the room where we spend probably the majority of our time at home.

How… sad.

So.  Even though the smart thing to do would be to let funds replenish and then… I don’t know… take a trip to the Philippines, instead we’re spending money on bedroom stuff.  Call me crazy, but it may be nice to create a bit of a sanctuary — albeit a thrifty one — before we move from this house.

And as you can see, a sanctuary it was not:

Hand-me-down furniture and thrifted, mismatched nightstands.

Decrepit vertical blinds and a television that was probably made in the early ’90’s just screams romance, does it not?

I seriously can’t believe I’m showing you this.

But despite the mild embarrassment, it has to be done.

Like shock therapy for the decorating-impaired.

Must. Look. Away.

Okay, had enough?  Yep, me too.  We’ve been sleeping in blandness for the past 4 1/2 years.

College dorm rooms have more character than this.

Andy Dufresne’s prison cell had more character than this.

So yesterday we cleared out the room.  Apparently the thing about decorating is you can’t just get right into the good stuff.  There’s a certain amount of prep work involved if you want it to look right in the end.  Since new carpeting isn’t really in the budget right now, we’re going to pretend the floors look fantastic and move right on up to the ceiling.  Yep.  Popcorn.  Just like every other room in this house, it had to come down.

But of course, there’s prep work for the prep work:


I wasn’t sad to see these go.

Knowing this whole room decorating thing would be a bit of a process (c’mon, it’s us we’re talking about), we moved many of our worldly possessions — including the entire contents of our closet since that had popcorn too — to other locale’s around the house.  And the guest bed, which isn’t designed to hold a box spring, got topped with our big ol’ box spring, plus our mattress, plus the foam pad, to form a veritable throne of a bed.

Hey.  We live in 1,600 square feet.  Compromises need to be made, and I can only tolerate one mattress (the old guest mattress) resting on the living room wall at a time, thankyouverymuch.

Then Justin got to work.

It’s a messy job, but somebody has to do it.  Fortunately, that someone isn’t me.  And no, I don’t know why the builders only partially vaulted our ceiling.  Just one of our home’s many unintelligible quirks.

While Justin was on popcorn duty, I was assigned decor duty.  The good news is that I was able to stay relatively focused because I knew I had a limited amount of time since we don’t want to be living in our guest room for the next 2 years.

That’s right, apparently I need boundaries in order to be functional.

First, I finally committed to a paint color.  Sort-of.  See, I was tired of having 8-million paint chips collecting dust on my dresser, so I finally just picked one, threw some splotches of it up on the walls, and said f*-it.  Let’s get this puppy painted.

Of course, while Justin was off buying the full-size gallons the day before, I realized I didn’t care how my samples took on a taupey tone in the sunlight and would’ve switched something even more definitively gray, but the deed was already done and paint ain’t exactly cheap.  I mean, when people talk about “liquid assets,” I’m pretty sure they’re not referring to Valspar’s Mountain Smoke in an Eggshell finish.

So he bought the paint.

And we didn’t stop there.

Kids, I bought a light.

Like… I got online, did some research, kind of stayed on topic (with minute segues into the realms of  curtains and comforters), and bought a light.

That’s right — I committed to something.  Two things.  Talk about progress from the last time I tried to decorate.

And.  Well.  The fact is, I’m tired of purchasing everything for this house with resale in mind.  Sometimes, you just have to get what you like, you know?  And if there’s anywhere we’re doing that, it’s our bedroom.  So.  The light might not be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but it might just be the cup o’ Tanqueray and tonic with a splash of lime you’ve been looking for.

But it’s not here yet, so you’ll just have to wait and see.

Don’t you just loooove surprises?  If not, have yourself another gin ‘n juice and learn to like them.

Because baby, I’m pretty sure surprises are the key to longevity.

So this is where we are right now:

Exciting stuff, huh?  Today I will be painting the baseboards and trim, as well as puttying any holes in the walls to get ready for the Mountain Smoke.

At this rate, we should have a functioning bedroom again in… oh… 4-6 months.


But the good news is that I’m making decisions.  Me.  The girl who takes a half hour to choose something from a restaurant menu.

Watch out, kids — this girl’s on a roll.

Yep. I Did That. And I’m Pretty Sure You Should Do It Too.

When I was a kid, my favorite thing in the world to do was to build forts.

Of course, “the world” consisted of my house, my neighborhood, and some woods behind my best friend’s house, so I didn’t know how many other non-fort related fun things there were to do in the world, the bigger world, the one beyond the realm of my own imagination.

So, forts it was.

Outside, the forts were limited to the selection of supplies the woods could provide and the ones my friend and I were brave enough to snake from our homes and stockpile among the branches and leaves and dirt.  We had no hammers or nails, so our structures often consisted of precariously leaning logs and bent branches held to the ground with rocks and sometimes, just a maze of pathways and rooms raked through the leaves with nothing but imaginary doorways and walls.  But it was enough.

Inside, we ran rampant.  Huge blankets and sheets draped across furniture and lamps, tied to curtain rods and doorknobs, pinched tight inside closed drawers, and weighed down with books — massive behemoths that would fill entire rooms and sometimes stairwells, completely filled with pillows and stuffed animals and toy dishes and secret passages and all of the things necessary for a play house or a restaurant or a barber shop.

My friends always liked to get the fort built and get on with the game, because the set-up was just set-up, after all –not the fun part.

But for me, the creation was the fun part.  I loved discovering that rubber bands could hold blankets to door knobs just fine and that curtains can actually be pulled away from the walls to create more coverage and that couch cushions made the sturdiest doorways.  I loved convincing parents who thought they couldn’t get up the stairs that they could, in fact, crawl through the fort and experience for themselves the sheer awesomeness that can come with self-imposed confined spaces.  I loved knowing which rooms were best for creating the most extensive structures, and I loved discovering new places to build and new ways to build them.

And sometimes now, as an adult, and even though I have an entire house to play with, I just want to grab a big blanket, drape it across my computer desk and office chair, and crawl inside.

Grown-up Fort

I’m pretty sure it would make a fantastic fort.  I could bring in a lamp and maybe some christmas lights, a glass of wine and a good book.

Inside Grown-up Fort

Then, when Justin comes into the room to tell me it’s time to do grown-up things like submit queries or pay bills, I’ll pretend he can’t find me because I’m inside my fort, and forts pretty much make you invisible.

fort for adults

Maybe a fort would stir my imagination again, like it did as a kid, and all of the stagnant bits that have drifted and settled at the base of my skull would float to the surface in a jostled frenzy of inspiration and creativity.

The pressure of time wouldn’t exist.

Just like when we were kids.

Let Me Tell You About This Bird and How He Helped Me Get Over My Fear of Commitment.

You know that feeling you get when things just work out?

Like when friends come over to visit and they all want wine and you happen to have exactly the right number of unbroken wine glasses so no one’s forced to drink cab from a highball.

Like when you suddenly crave “Shit on a Shingle” for dinner and you just happen to have enough milk in your fridge and dried beef in your pantry to make it.

Like when you finally decide to wash your pillowcase and you’re so careful to set your pillow in a precise location so you can keep track of that special soft spot where your head always fits perfectly and then some reckless person (most likely yourself) thoughtlessly moves your pillow to another location and now usually there is no way to detect that spot until you actually lie on the pillow in every configuration imaginable and you know you’re in for a long night, except — wait!  There it is.  Your spot.  And you got it perfect the first time.

It’s that feeling.

That feeling that comes when you think you’re in for an ordeal, but instead the process is relatively effortless and surprisingly stress-free.

And that is exactly what happened when I emailed my boss to decline is offer of a full-time position.

I thought he might be upset.  Or worse, disappointed.  But instead, his reaction was one of relief.  See, as a small start-up business owner, he wanted to do what it took to keep a decent employee (one who actually shows up and does her work) on board.  In my case, he thought that required offering me a full-time position.  Even though, it turns out, he had the minor problem of not knowing whether he’d be able to afford me.  So he was actually relieved when I declined, and he may have let slip a note of envy.

See, when I explained to him that a full-time position is no longer my primary goal because I’ve realized now I have more time to do some other things that I’m passionate about, he replied that one day he hopes to be in the same position.


Does anyone sense the irony here?

My boss is a self-made African-American male with a wife and 2 very young sons who runs a very successful small business, and he happens to be 2 years younger than me.  And yet, for some reason, he thinks I’m the one in the position to which he should aspire.

Okay, not entirely.

He drives a very nice car.  I drive a 12-year-old Tracker.

He wears very nice clothes.  I still wear things I owned in high school.

He owns his own business.  I work for an hourly rate.

He has 2 happy, healthy, and dare-I-say adorable kids.  I have 2 dogs who once swallowed an entire bag of chicken bones and I had to feed them cotton balls to ease the sharp passage of shrapnel through their intestines.  True story.

I’m sure he doesn’t go home at night and wish that he was me.  But.  There’s something here.  An affirmation of sorts, that tells me I made the right decision.  That tells me when I cut out the shoulds, good things can happen.

So this is good news, right?  I celebrated by hanging item numbers 3, 4 and 5 on my walls.

If you recall, I’ve only had one thing hanging in my house for quite some time.  In the laundry room.  Where I maybe spend 0.00001% of my time.  Makes sense, right?

I think it has something to do with my fear of commitment.

So, in light of my goals for the new year, I hung some stuff.

Three things, as a matter-of-fact.

I hung them in the guest bathroom.  Approximately 6 feet away from the one other thing hanging in my house, and yet where I spend a significantly longer amount of time.

(Please ignore my unpainted trim.  That’s still on the 2012 task list for this money and time-sucker of a house.)

Let me tell you about the bird.  The bird is special.  My friend Alaina’s mother, Jan Krebs, is an artist.  She’s my adoptive mother from back in our college days, and one of the first people to teach me that life should be reserved for doing things you love.

I’ve always wanted a Jan Krebs original, and as of Christmas this year, that wish came true.  It’s not a painting, but some type of carved ceramic that has a rough texture and looks fabulous in person.  I knew that this couldn’t just be something I let sit around on my console table or propped up against my backsplash like so many other pieces of art I have around.  Not this time.  The bird would be the start of a movement.

And I didn’t stop there.

The tea light holders were purchases I made on a trip I took to Europe in 2004.  I bought them in a tiny shop in Strasbourg, France.

Well?  What do you think of my progress?

First, the bathroom was a paisley-infested crime scene:

Kate's Guest Bathroom Crime Scene

Then, it was naked:

Guest Bathroom After

And now, we have life:

Yep, I now have bathroom art.

This must be what it means to feel grown-up.

THIS is what Christmas is All About.

I think maybe my last post was a little long.  It scared me away for a few days, and I apologize for that.

Also, my little sister is in town, and she keeps me busy doing stuff like cooking.  And then eating.  And then cooking again.

And I have a cold.

And what I originally intended to become our every-other-year small dinner gathering of Christmas misfits — an intimate dinner served family style with wine and board games for those who aren’t traveling “home” this year — is now turning into a full-blown party of sorts, and I’m kind of stuck wondering how the girl who doesn’t like throwing parties (that would be me, in case you’re new here) keeps ending up throwing parties.

Not that I totally mind.

I mean, the idea that people who have no where else to go this holiday are willing to settle for our little ol’ house that can barely squeeze a comfortable gathering of 6 is kind of a heartwarming thought.  I just hope they all don’t mind confined spaces.  And a really strange medley of food.  And not moving.  Like, at all.

Other than that, it should be fun.

And the good news is, they will have a floor to stand on.

Yeah… so please ignore the unpainted door trim, odd green tinge I can’t seem to get rid of and unfinished shoe molding, and just look at the floors.

Yes, that’s a giant gear.

I’m working on my style.

Don’t judge.

We still have a long way to go, but I’m thinking the floors are a step in the right direction, no?

If you’re not convinced, here’s a closer look:

Old Carpet

Yes, I’d definitely say we’ve improved.

This is Why We DIY

Did you catch what I did there?  I rhymed “why” with the “Y” in “DIY,” which is essentially the same as rhyming “I” with “FYI” or “IDK” with “OK” or any other equally un-clever device.

Also, it doesn’t even make sense.  Why would we do it yourself?

It’s grammatically incorrect.

It should say, “This is Why We DIO.”  DIO, of course, meaning “Do It Ourselves.”  But then it wouldn’t rhyme.  And no one would know what that means.  You’d read it and be like, This is why we… dance in offices?  Dine in orphanages?  Do it orally?

And although I probably could write about any of those things, it turns out that office dancing, orphanage dining, and anything-lingus is not what this post is about.


And, come to think of it, it’s not even about why we DIO.  If anything, it’s about why we shouldn’t DIO.

And it’s about this teeny, tiny, eensie, weensie little project that involves ripping up the flooring in the main living space of our home, and the fact that we decided to take it on ourselves.  To save money.

Which kind of brings to mind that little rant I made about Black Friday and the other one about couponing and how if people valued their time as much as the cash in their wallets, they wouldn’t do silly things like… say… spend 4 solid days installing laminate flooring just to save the cost of paying a professional.

Well.  I’d like to point out that I’m not a hypocrite, clearly, because Justin is the one doing the majority of the work (with the help of some neighbors on Sunday).  All I did was spend a couple of hours painting baseboards.

Don’t judge me.

It’s not that I didn’t want to help — it’s that my help wasn’t wanted.

See, clearly I’m way too intelligent to waste my brilliant brain cells doing collaborative menial labor with the boys, and my criticism suggestions input wasn’t appreciated.  So.  I stuck to the undervalued-yet-still-completely-necessary tasks that no one else wanted to do, like painting baseboards and pulling staples from the sub-floor.  And I took photos of the boys as they compared ball size were totally awesome and installed my floors.

Which brings me to the first reason you should probably think long and hard before taking on a major DIY project.

Reason 1:  It will test the limits of your marriage/partnership/friendship.  And not in a good way.  Seriously.  When we tiled our guest bathroom and laundry room floor, the work for which was much more evenly distributed, it almost ended in divorce.  Especially when, after Justin had spent a good 45-minutes intricately cutting the last of the tiles so it would fit around the door frame between the bathroom and laundry room, I knocked it over.  Onto the other tiles.  All of which were porcelain.

FYI, porcelain cracks when it’s dropped onto porcelain.  Into like… a million tiny pieces.

But it wasn’t my fault.  I was delirious after 2 straight days of measuring and stooping and troweling and why the hell would you lay such an intricately cut tile — the last tile — up against the frickin’ door frame anyway??!

Even if you think your relationship is solid — if he asked you to be nice to his mother during your last visit and you didn’t even react when she said that she better get cooking because he’s too skinny and clearly no one is feeding him — if you forced him to watch Titanic because you just couldn’t believe that the fact that he’d never seen it was a conscious decision on his part and he actually stayed awake for its entirety without making a joke about Rose’s weight when Jack couldn’t fit on the floating board —  if he asked you to try that thing with the feathers and the ball-gag and the nipple butter just that one time to “see how it went” and you did it because you love him and you forgave him when you couldn’t stand straight for several days — even if you’ve survived all of those things, do not, under any circumstances, fool yourself into thinking that a collaborative home improvement project will be easy.

I’d be willing to bet that even John and Sherry sometimes want to smother each other while they sleep.


Aside from the relationship turmoil they invoke, which I’m willing to risk, DIY projects are worth the time they take, right?

That depends.

Reason 2:  DIY projects always take more time than even the maximum amount of time you could possibly imagine.  Does that sound worth it to you?  If you think a project like laying a click-and-lock floating laminate floor in a small rectangular room and hallway should only take you a couple of days, think again.  First, there’s the prep work:  Remove furniture, clip dogs’ toenails one last time on carpet since you don’t have to vacuum it ever again, run around blotting and spraying carpet cleaner on blood spots because you clipped one nail too far then realize you don’t even have to clean up the blood spots because they’re getting removed with the carpet, run to Lowe’s to buy a table saw, tapping block, and various other supplies that somehow add up to way more money than you expected, cut and pull up carpet, cut and pull up padding, pull eight-and-a-half-million staples out of the sub-floor, realize sub-floor is uneven, run to local hardware store and find it closed, go home because you forgot your wallet anyway, run to Lowe’s again to buy floor leveler, level the sub-floor, start painting baseboards, realize the baseboards haven’t been cleaned in about 9 months, clean baseboards, paint baseboards, then, if you’re lucky, you might be able to start the actual work.

The point is, any major project — especially one where you might be exposing the sun-deprived underbelly of your beloved home — will likely result in the discovery of a hair-riddled muffin top where you thought for sure there would exist a 6-pack of baby-butt smooth abs.

So don’t be surprised.

Okay, so I might lose my marriage/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend and it will take me running through all 6 seasons of Dexter plus 4 showings of Titanic plus every single episode of every Real Housewives show that’s ever existed to finish it, but it’s worth it to save the money, right?

Really?  You think you’re going to save money?

Reason 3:  After you buy all of the sh*t you need to finish the project, you may as well have swallowed your pride and paid for a professional.  Really.  Table saw.  Floor leveler.  Any other tools you don’t already own (many were used for this project).  Did you take time off from work for which you might not get paid?  Not to mention the time, my friends.  The time.  Oh, I mentioned that in Reason 2?  Well it’s worth mentioning again.

Reason 4:  If you screw up, there’s no one to blame but yourself.  Enough said.

And yet.

I do have some tips for not evading, but at least minimizing the DIY effects described above:

1:  When it becomes difficult to work together, stop working together.  Period.  Take a break, and step away from the stress.  Appoint one of you the role of tool-grabbber/back-rubber/wine-drinker, if necessary, and try your damnedest to keep your mouth shut as much as possible.

2:  Plan projects before a major holiday/event/guest arrival so that you are motivated to either finish the project or forced to explain to Aunt Geraldine exactly why you keep feeding her Jell-O shots while pulling staples out from the bottom of her foot.

3:  Okay, so you had to buy a few tools, and when you add up the cost of said tools and the time it took to complete the project, you really didn’t save any money at all.  But.  You’ll at least have those tools for the next time you take on a similar project, which will probably be a cold day in hell.

But at least your neighbors will think you’re cool.

And the good news is, not all is lost.  There’s a certain feeling one acquires when finishing a major house project — a sense of satisfaction that doesn’t come with hiring a professional installer.

It’s like when veteran mothers try to explain the feeling of motherhood to non-mothers in that annoying habit they have that they can’t seem to help.  (Kidding, mothers!  You know I love you for perpetuating the human race when I’m too lazy to do it.)

That is, you just have to experience it to know how it feels.

And, by the time you do, it doesn’t really matter how it feels because it’s too late to turn back.

Every Now And Then, You Just Have to Get Dirty

Yesterday, Justin slit open the belly of our living room carpet like a surgeon cracking the chest of a heart patient, exposing all of the bloody, oozing innards of our home’s structure.

Except there weren’t any bloody, oozing innards.  Thank God.

I imagine an FBI investigation would be a major setback when it comes to finishing these floors.  Selfish bastards.

However, as you so faithfully expressed in yesterday’s Facebook poll, it would make you accurate when it comes to what the majority of you believe to be the expected completion date — sometime in mid-to-late 2012.

At first, I thought surely you would be wrong.  I mean, even though our past procrastination would suggest otherwise (a fact that Justin and I apparently forgot, but not you — not you), I thought these would be complete before my sister arrives with her 2 dogs late Tuesday evening, for sure.  That is, until today.

We spent this morning painting baseboards and pulling staples from the sub-floor.

Some of our family members were less than enthused.


Others were downright bored.

Then we discovered some problems.  Problems like one piece of sub-floor sitting nearly 1/4″ higher than another piece of sub-floor.  Two trips to Lowe’s and a smelly cement-like concoction later, good things are happening.

Really good things.

And Tuesday might be a day for celebrating, after all.

…And That’s Why “Ability to Multitask” isn’t Written on my Resume.

I have issues.


Not the least of which is my inability to make a decision — especially when it comes to home interiors.

While for me, spending money on things for the house is about as fun as getting a tooth cavity filled, I also think that, after 4 years, it might be nice for this place to feel like “home.”  Especially when I spend a good bulk of my time photographing other peoples’ gorgeous homes.

I just did a mental assessment, and I realized something quite shocking:  The only  room in which I’ve hung anything besides towel bars on the wall is the laundry room. The laundry room.  In there, I hung a doohickie on which I can hang the ironing board, so it’s purely functional.  Not decorative.  I also hung these kind of pretty wall hooks.

That’s it.

I did hang a gallery corner in my living room at one point, but that came down when I repainted the walls.

What does this mean?

That when it comes to decorating, I’m an indecisive, noncommittal, ball-less freak of a woman?

That’s a start.

But also, I’m pretty sure that nothing triggers my Life ADD more potently than decorating.

Case in point: I was alone this weekend.  It was the perfect opportunity to peruse Pinterest in search of simple, inexpensive and inspirational ideas for the master bedroom.

My first problem?  Why was I looking for master bedroom ideas when my office still has an unshaven armpit?

Well, I would get on the office thing, but the bedroom seems so much more pressing right now because for 4 years we’ve lived with falling-apart plastic vertical blinds, hand-me-down blonde wood furniture (which I intend to paint), blank white walls, and a popcorn ceiling.

In other words, it hasn’t been touched.

And a week ago, I bought a pillow.

The pillow was called “Crazy Ol’ Bird” and I thought it would be perfect to inspire a bedroom because I’m a crazy ol’ bird.

We can relate.

So I’ll bring the pillow here into the living room while I search on Pinterest, and wow — I kind of like that pillow in the living room.  And anyway, it doesn’t match the duvet cover which is something I’d rather not spend money on replacing, so yes.  I’ll leave the pillow in the living room.

Which gives me an almost-blank slate in the master bedroom.  And a green duvet.

And of course, if I’m going to think about the master bedroom, I should probably tie that in with the master bathroom, which still has this horrendous wallpaper border from when we first moved in.

So maybe if I start picking at that, the blank slate will give me some ideas.

Okay, I’m bored.  This stuff isn’t coming off.  And I can see into the bedroom that there are cracks in my vertical blinds, which means that anyone standing outside in the darkness can see me, so maybe I should get back to the relative safety of the living room and order some curtains.

I’ll start with curtains.

But it’s too quiet.

I’ll see what’s on Netflix and just put that on in the background while I search for curtains.

What’s this?  The Walking Dead?  Sounds like zombie stuff, which definitely won’t hold my interest for more than like a second, so that will be perfect.

Four episodes later…

I need  more wine.  But I can’t go into the kitchen because I don’t have blinds and it’s dark outside and there are woods.

And quite possibly zombies.

I really should order some shades.

Oh yeah, that’s what I was supposed to be doing.  Finding curtains for the master bedroom.

Concentrate, Katie.  Seriously.

Okay, wow.  Did you know there are like a bajillion curtains online?  Oooh, look at these from Anthropologie.  They are kind of groovy and scrolly and chic, which is exactly how I am, so these would be perfect.  I’ll get them.

Click.  Click.  Double click.


Can that be right?

$148 for curtains?

No, that’s not right.

It’s $148 for just one panel.

I need 2 panels.

Yeah, I can picture that conversation.

Me:  So I bought some curtains for the bedroom while you were gone.

Justin:  Great!  We needed some.

Me:  They were $300.  Plus tax.  And shipping.

Justin:  Did they come with a hooker?

Me:  No, just 192 inches of velvety goodness.

Justin:  That sounds like they came with a hooker.

Me:  I’m pretty sure Anthropologie doesn’t sell hookers.  Or rent them.  But I can ask.

Justin:  So you’re telling me you spent $300 on curtains.  Do you have any idea how much steak we could’ve bought for $300?  That’s like… an entire cow worth of curtains.

Me:  I know.  I’m hoping they’re awesome because now I can’t buy anything else for the bedroom or the entire house ever.  And we will probably need to eat Ramen Noodles every night for dinner until February 2013.  But that’s okay because we can still budget for wine and now we have curtains.

Justin:  Did they come with a hooker?

So.  Obviously, I can’t buy these curtains.

What else can’t I buy at Anthropologie?

Oooh, a wine glass.

It’s $32.00.  Which is more than I spend on a bottle of wine.  Sometimes more than I spend on 4 bottles of wine.

Did someone say wine?

I need more.

But I can’t go into the kitchen because I don’t have blinds and there are zombies out there.


Quick.  Ebay.  Order the same shades that are in my living room.


Now I can go into the kitchen because even though I don’t have shades right now, the thought that they’re on their way is strangely comforting.

So all-in-all, I’d call this a successful evening: Zillions of rooms perused on Pinterest, 4.7 square inches of wallpaper border removed, velvety curtain dreams developed then crushed, shades ordered for kitchen, and 5 episodes of The Walking Dead completed.

Clearly, when it comes to preaching about experiencing life, I really know how to walk the walk.

Welcome to my world.

Apparently My Design Genes Have Been Replaced With Wine.

It occurred to me that I’ve never showed you our living room.

I mean, aside from this picture from move-in day:

And, while it’s far from finished, I think it’s come a long way since then.

This is slightly embarrassing.  This is a photo I quickly snapped when the room was clean for about 4 seconds.  It’s especially embarrassing after recently publishing photos of my friend Matt’s ridiculously awesome home on Re-Nest.  I wish I could replace everything in my house with his delicious, paint-peely, story-filled furniture, but alas.  New furniture — even old new furniture — is just not in the cards right now.  Which is why, dear readers, it’s important to collect things you love slowly over time.

A lesson I still clearly need to learn.

Anyway.  Looking at the above photo, it’s obvious I like things cozy, and, as determined by that style quiz of yore, I’m into a room with craftsman style that’s apparently filled with booze.

Hey, that’s the quiz talkin’– not me.

But it’s also me,

The overstuffed sofas have seen better days, as I’ve mentioned before.  They’re too big for the room and happen to be the first new furniture Justin and I bought together… seven years ago.

Everything else is way too matchy-matchy — my entertainment console on the left, which I’ve had for 9 years, used to be blonde wood laminate that I’ve since disassembled and painted dark.  Then apparently I went on a dark wood kick, because the Target bookshelf, end tables, and sofa table (not pictured), are also all dark wood.  Matching dark wood.

And finally, the carpet.

That carpet is nasty.

Like, installed-in-1994-and-survived-years-of-renters nasty.

And I use the term “survived” loosely.  As in, it’s still there.  Mostly.

And this, my friends, is next on the list.  We’re getting ready to order some laminate floors.

Why laminate?

Well, we’re set on a DIY install to save some much-needed moolah, and wood requires a lot more work (nailing, gluing, etc.).  Also, while we’re getting a really nice laminate, the material is less expensive than wood.  Also, we’ve really already spent too much money on this house for its price point, so we really shouldn’t expect to recoup anything else we spend.  Higher end laminate will look just as nice as wood floors, and while it doesn’t have the classic longevity, frankly, we’re not going to be here long enough to care.  Plus, with the warranty, this laminate should last much — much — longer than carpet.

This is what we’ve been eyeballin’.  In the Cosmopolitan color.  Yes, it’s high gloss, which worries me, too.

Anyway.  I’ll share more details on that when we actually order.

I just thought you should know.

Any strong opinions out there on laminate vs. hardwood?   Are we making a horrible mistake?  Should we just abandon the house and move now to a yurt in northern California?

Actually, the yurt thing doesn’t sound like a bad backup plan.


What say you?

My Granite Drinks More Than Me.

It’s sleek.  Smooth.  Luminescent and lightly reflective.  Seductive.  Natural.  It moves.

And, while I try not to take the beauty of my granite for granted, I’m just going to say it — that thing that will most likely put me on the combined hit list of decorators, kitchen designers, Realtors, and people who make their living carving away the earth one layer at a time — if I had it to do over, granite is not the material I would choose for my countertops.

"Okay, now show me how something white looks next to it."

From my post, The Biggest Rock I Ever Bought

Actually, if I’m going to be really honest, I wouldn’t be picking counter tops at all.  Because I’d be living in a grass hut in Fiji. Where our counters would be made of shells and sand.  Or something.  Which totally isn’t practical, but it would be Fiji, so practicality would be like… the last thing I care about.  Because I wouldn’t cook.  I’d subsist off a diet of tropical fruit, Nutella, and cocktails made from coconuts and rum.

Image source

Do they have Nutella in Fiji?

I hope so.  Otherwise I might have to re-think this whole thing.


For the last 5 or 6 years, anyone who’s even thought about remodeling a kitchen — even if they don’t own kitchens but just like to watch HGTV — knows that granite has been like THE counter material of choice.  In fact, if you recently remodeled your kitchen and used a material other than granite (or marble, but the idea is natural stone), you’ve likely been told that you better love it because you will never be able to resell your home ever again.


It’s gotten so bad that I’ve seen people stick slabs of this gorgeous rock across the tops of old, rickety base cabinets from the ’70’s — original hardware still intact — and call it complete.

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I love the look of our granite (though I still wish we’d gone with something a bit more neutral).  I mean, I minored in Geology and had a very impressive rock collection as a kid (seriously — I had a geology reference book when I was 12), so if anyone can appreciate the beauty of this stone, it’s me.

So if there was a way to say… hang a huge slab of it on my wall, or better yet, make a whole wall out of this stuff cheaply and without tearing massive scars into the earth’s crust, I’d be all for it.  It’s like art — truly.

Millennium Cream
Millennium Cream

But for a countertop?  Just.  Not.  Practical.  Why?  Here goes.

1)  As proven by the fact that I’m not sure I want kids because it will cut into my “me” time, I am inherently lazy.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I’m always up and doing something — it’s just that I like that something to be something I like doing.  And that something has never — ever — included granite upkeep.

See, I’m not sure if you know this, but granite is a natural stone.  Nothing in nature is constant over time, meaning its state can always change.  Our particular slab of granite happens to be grainy.  In fact, the fabricators had to come back several times to scrub it down with steel wool before it felt smooth — not grainy — to the touch.  And still, every now and then, I need to go over it with the wool to get it back to that glassy, mirrored surface we all know and love.

Also, it’s porous.  This means that unless it’s sealed really well — a process you should repeat over the course of your granite ownership — it will absorb anything that sits on its surface for too long.  Especially oils.  Oils are its drink of choice.  I’ve learned that you can “suck” them out using a combination of flour and dish soap spread over the stain and covered by a piece of plastic wrap (yes, I’ve had to do this — several times), but it’s probably best to get used to the fact that your granite may not stay pristine forever.

2)  One thing people love about granite is how hard and durable it is.  Well, just remember that means it’s hard and durable.  If you use it as a cutting board, it will turn your knives dull faster than Ben Stein can cause a roomful of students’ eyes to glaze over.

If, say… it decides to do battle with something you love, like a wine glass for example, the granite will win.

Every.  Damn.  Time.

And not necessarily just when a glass tips over onto the granite, but even if you set its fragile stem down just a little too zealously.  Wine enthusiasm is not a wise move in granite covered kitchens, my friends.

The same applies to glass bottles, fragile dishware, and your face.  Really.  If you ever dance while you cook, trip over your own feet, and find yourself plummeting all-too-quickly towards that expensive slab of rock you so painstakingly picked out, you will know what it’s like to come close to death.

3)  Sure, granite is heat-resistant.  But because you’re so afraid of doing anything else that might damage it (like leaving an unnoticed puddle of olive oil sit overnight), it takes you a full 2 years to muster the courage to set down a hot pan.  And, when you finally do, it’s not nearly as satisfying as you’d hoped.

I guess all I’m really sayin’ is, installing granite is like having a baby.  You shouldn’t do it unless you’re willing to commit the time and energy it takes to make it the best granite it can possibly be.  You have to accept the flaws you can not change, smooth over the flaws you can, and have the wisdom to know that in the end, you’ll end up spending a significant chunk of your savings on an ungrateful slab that absorbs all of your resources without ever giving back.

And it breaks wine glasses.

Broken Wine Glass

Still set on granite?  Check out how my friend Alaina went about buying her slab, and here’s my own granite pickin’ fiasco from back in the day.