Monday, January 30, 2012

Living Room: Curtains

If you have been following along, you will know that my living room is unusually dark because we have a very tall brick building mere feet away from our living room, kitchen and bathroom windows. Alas, most of the time our place is very dark and requires constant electric lighting. For now, we illuminate the living room using the lamp on our ceiling fan, but my goal is to eventually strategically add lamps and sconces to warm up the place and perhaps add some mirrors so the light has something to bounce off of.

Suffice it to say, I really pondered the type of window coverings I should use. Currently the windows have metal mini blinds in ivory. They are great for keeping the neighbors out of our beeswax, but during the day, when the room begs for natural lighting, we want to open them to allow what little light we can into the room, but still have some privacy.

My initial idea as to simply put up sheers. However, the only sheers that would even attempt to allow in the light we get would need to be white. I am not exactly fond of windows covered in white sheers. It says "cheapskate" to me in a space that is supposed to be City Girl Chic. After a little hemming and hawing, I decided to go with aubergine taffeta curtains with white sheers underneath. The blinds will remain up but on the days we want to open the blinds for light, the sheers will give us some privacy and the taffeta curtains are also great for adding a bit of privacy and an element of glam to the look of our room.

Although I can score inexpensive white sheers at Walmart, I cannot find aubergine taffeta drapes to save my little life, so I will be DIYing them. The only decision now is what type of drapes shall I craft.

I love the idea of the fabric puddling on the floor. Below is an example of a basic drape shirred onto a curtain rod. This is one option and the easiest to create.

Next is the pleated drape. I really love how this looks, but I will need to study the methodology for this type of drape as it requires pleating hooks and additional sewing and measuring.

Then there is the grommeted drape which is very contemporary and may go well with the City Girl Chic vibe but also requires a bit more skill level and a few more tools. If I make the grommeted drapes, I will not puddle the fabric onto the floor as this is a more polished look. Aren't these pretty? The pattern and color of this material doesn't really go with my look but I do appreciate them.

So what do you think? Shall I go with shirred, pleated or grommeted?

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Home Goals Party

I was browsing through some of my favorite home decor and home DIY blogs and came across a super fun party! The 2012 Home Goals Party is a wonderful links party on The Nester .  What I love the most about participating in this is that I not only get to know other amazing ladies who are loving their families and homes but I also have a place to be accountable for the things I plan to accomplish this year.

We are on month 3 of our 13 month lease.  I have some very specific things I want to accomplish before I move into a larger place, so I have actually been thinking that I may stay on for another 13 months. After all this place is pretty cheap for Los Angeles and it's ALL utilities included. {SCORE} By staying on, it will put us right in line to move into a much larger spot and settle in just in time for Christmas 2013. However, while we are in transition in this little place, I plan to make it the best little apartment I can.

As I read the questions The Nester asked herself, I really reflected on my own home and why I started this blog when I moved in here AND why I called it My Renovated Life. Her questions were:
  • What's my favorite room in my house? Why?
  • How and where does my family hang out together? What's working for that room? What's annoying in that room?
  • Is there something in my home I want to do but I'm afraid? What if I take that risk? What's the worse that can happen?
  • What's the purpose of my home? Is that obvious by how we use it and what is filling it?
  • Do the objects in my home reflect our family or do I just have things because someone told me it looked good, gave it to me or bought it for me?
  • Am I neglecting my home and not putting money into something that is needed? Am I squandering money on something I don't need or enjoy?
Oh boy, did that get me to thinking. After careful reflection, I decided on 6 specific goals that I want to accomplish:
  • I plan to sew up my own curtains for the living room and bedroom. Not only will they warm up our rooms and add a little personality, but I also want an additional level of privacy from the people who live in the building next door. Seriously, they can look out their windows into my apartment. We are all of 15 feet away from one another, if that.

{See what I mean. Mind you this is a full on sunshiney day! Yep... welcome to my world}
  • I want to make an "inspired by Anthropologie" duvet cover and bed skirt, purchase a few new sheet sets and DIY an upholstered and tufted headboard for my bed. My mattress and box spring literally sit on the floor. I am actually okay with this. But I need a way to make it look more like an actual bed / faux platform and it will make a great focal point in the center of my window. As for the bedding, well, I no longer own an matching sheet set. That has to change this year. Nothing matches AT ALL. We have a variety of pillows in all shapes and sizes, rubber duck sheets with various pillow cases, a red comforter and a pink Betty Boop throw blanket. Um, yeah, how do you like that visual. Ah, well, it still does the job even if it isn't much to look at. {LOL}
{Oh you wanna know about the stuffed animals? Don't judge me! No seriously, my babygirl sleeps with me. But she knows it's time to move them off the bed. She is entering middle school next year.}
  • I need to purchase an assortment of lighting options for my dark living room. When I say it's dark, I mean it is dark. Not an hour of the day goes by when we do not have the ceiling fan light on. It's annoying and doesn't cast the most attractive light. So, yeah. I have got to do something about that. 
  • Once upon a time I rented a cute little studio in the perfect spot in Pasadena, just 3 blocks south of Colorado {the street the Rose Bowl parade comes down}. Alas, along with the recession and my decision to significantly scale back, those days are over for the moment. Therefore, I work out of my apartment along with our assistant, Cara. I have already begun the decor project for my workspace {which is in my dark living room, no less} however, Cara has no where to work. No desk whatsoever. We seriously have the best assistant on the planet. She is so excited to work every day she comes in and is sweet as pie. She literally plops down on the sofa and makes it happen with a smile. We are also fortunate in that there are a barrage of coffee shops within walking distance to my place, so we take advantage of that as well. My workspace needs to be completed and Cara needs a place to grind it out. Further, this space can double as a place for my girls to do their homework without distraction and without giving them free reign to disorganize my desk. I feel like a bad boss and bad mom. They are all such good sports. Love them.
{There is actually sunshine in the bedroom since my apartment is in the rear of the building. I love that there is a window in my closet. First time I ever had that! Do you see those sliding doors at the top for storage? They are actually painted in that position thanks to the people who painted the place before I moved in. I REALLY want to take a sledge hammer to it and risk losing my deposit. Not sure how to un-stick them. Still thinking about that one.}
  • I plan to revamp my closet and buy a dresser. As it stands we have absolutely NO dressers or chests of drawers or armoires. Our clothes are either on hangers or residing in baskets and plastic bins. That has to change. My girls and I have a LOT of shoes. Seriously, it's ridiculous, but we love shoes. I really need a creative way to organize our shoes and free up the closet space a bit. And just look at those baskets. Enough said, okay?
  • I will install art and photos on my currently bare walls. We need personalization up in here, up in here. It just needs to happen. Point blank period.

  • Lastly, I need to bring more laughter and good times into my home. As a family, we have plenty of good times. But I have been notoriously bad about entertaining friends in my home. I would love to buy an iPod sound system, plan a fun menu, buy some wine and alcky-hawl and have the girls over for a little laughter and silliness. I'd love to host a Grammy party or a Golden Globes party. Perhaps a spa and pamper soiree. I need floor pillows, an area rug, some great dishes for entertaining and a bit more ambience. It's time to infuse more memories into this place.
I also need to do something to both my kitchen and bathroom, but I think that I have enough on my plate without adding stress. If I finish these goals by August, I will gladly add another goal or so to the list. In the meantime and in between time, let's just see how I do with what I am working with.
There are other things that I would love, such as having live plants and replacing the lighting fixtures, door knobs and switch plates. The plants will ultimately die with the lack of sunlight. And I need to really decide if I want to go through the trouble of replacing the door knobs, switch plates and lighting fixtures in a place that I will leave eventually. I know those things can be removed and I can take them with me when I move, but it's more about whether or not I want to make that much of an investment here. We shall see.
Anyhow, I am pretty excited about this because although I already had goals in mind for creating a loving atmosphere for my little family, I am now even more inspired and am in some really great company as I do so.

What type of home goals are you setting for 2012?

xoxo, tami

Monday, January 16, 2012

Living Room: Bombe Chest Update

You may recall in a previous post I shred my lifelong love of the bombe chest. Well, I am happy to say that I found the perfect bombe chest for my living room. I scoured Craigslist for weeks, seeing bombe chests running anywhere from $300-500 smackeroos. Well, persistence paid off and I am convinced that Craigslist is my friend because I snagged this little baby for $100 bucks. Thanks so much to my friend Melissa, who not only helped out with the use of her pick-up but also helped me carry into the apartment. And of course, a big thanks to Nicky who, in her preggo state couldn't help with the lifting of the chest, but did a great job keeping our spirits lifted with her funny stories. Love those ladies.

Without further adieu, here she is in all her glorious splendor ready to be the new media center for my living room. Isn't she a beauty? (excuse my horrible lighting and grainy iPhone photos, again). xoxo

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Vintage Schoolhouse Swivel Desk Chair

I LOVE the schoolhouse swivel desk chairs that are sold by Pottery Barn. They remind me of the chairs the teachers and librarians sat in when I was a kid. However the price has me cringing. They are asking $399.00. I don't know about you but I can't even begin to justify spending that kind of money on one wooden chair. Especially one that is a remake of an original design.

So...what's a girl to do? Renovate of course!

But where do you get a vintage schoolhouse swivel desk chair without paying an arm and leg? I'll tell you where I found mine. In the alley! Someone actually threw their chair away. Imagine how my eyes bucked open when I saw it. Discarded, unloved and tossed out like a bad habit. It's been painted who knows how many times, adorned with loads of rocker stickers and the casters are completely gone. Poor chair...

But as I have said man's trash is another man's treasure. I had my daughter drag this baby into the house. The family looked at the chair. Then they looked at me. And then they said... "Mom, you can't be serious. This is ugly and it's short."

Oh, if only they knew the treasure that lies before them. This is not a chair "inspired by"... this is the REAL DEAL. It is still in great condition. It's sturdy. The wood is not warped, split or bent from what I can see. I sat in it, swiveled in it and even tried to rock it back and forth to make sure it wouldn't fall apart on me or have me flat on my butt from falling over. Guess what? It passed the test!

{YAY! The crowd cheers. The crowd being just me because the kids still think I am crazy.}

This is going into my home office/workspace. I plan to remove the stickers, strip the paint, sand it, repaint it in white, sew up an aubergine seat cushion or two, add new casters and roll it right up to the table desk that I recently completed!

Wonder how long this will take me. Let's find out together. Follow along as I share my process. I'm super excited!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Renovating My Body: Raw Food From 30 Days to 21

Hi there! Well I know I started out with the excitement over doing a 30-day raw food challenge but I had to bring it down to 21-days. I am actually travelling to a conference for event pros on January 23rd and with the activities I will be involved in, it will be nearly impossible to stick to a raw food diet, although I will do my best to eat as healthy as I can.

 {Book available on Amazon}

I began on Sunday, January 1 using the book "The Raw Food Detox Diet" by Natalia Rose. Her book taught me so much about how improper food combinations actually place waste and toxins in your body and the way different foods are digested using very specific enzymes. It really opened my eyes as to why I may have ended up in the hospital last fall with digestive issues. So I started this journey with the New Year with the hope that my body will feel healthier, I will have more energy, better skin and cleanse my body of all those horrible toxins that have wreaked havoc for way too long. It has been quite interesting, actually. As of this moment, I have completed my 4th full day of the raw food detox diet.

 {Photo taken by babygirl}

So here I am. I know I promised a photo in a tight fitting dress but I can barely stand showing you how I look in this photo, let alone a tight fitting dress. Seriously, sharing this photo with my stomach fully relaxed is mega-embarrassing to me. This is a problem in my family. It starts with the gut and then spreads to the rest of the body in outrageous proportions that I can't even begin to wrap my mind around. As you can see, my legs are fairly thin, as are my arms, but this top doesn't show them very well. My biggest concern is that belly. It doesn't match my body and I CANNOT STAND IT. Most of the time I find myself sucking it in when I am out in public because I hate the way it looks and I feel people look at me weird. I had someone ask me when my baby was due. I mean come on. This is not how I want to live my life. The reason my abdomen is distended is that I have a lot of waste in my digestive system and that is what caused my pancreas to excrete an overabundance of enzymes, bringing with it cramping and pain. And it is the reason I had issues with my spleen around Thanksgiving time. AND it is the reason I ended up at Cedars-Sinai. Great hospital but I prefer not to be hospitalized, ya know?

My goal is to flatten that belly down. I don't believe in wearing Spanx to cover up a problem that needs to be addressed, so I am doing all I can to dwindle my middle down through healthier food choices and exercise. Another thing that was recommended to me was to get a colonic or use an enema to help eliminate the waste. As gross as this sounds to you, I am even more freaked out about acutally administering this but if it will help my my abdomen go down and will create a healthier digestive tract, then I will suck it up and go for it. And I will spare you the details when I do. However, if you are following along, it's important to know that any changes in my body's appearance and weight may not be just from the food and exercise but also by eliminating waste in my digestive system.

I'm eating a tiny bit of cooked foods and proteins, because this Raw Food Detox Diet actually takes beginner raw foodists through levels of transitions to introduce raw foods to your lifestyle. I have had organic roasted chicken, cooked whole wheat pasta and soup. And I can also indulge a bit with hot chocolate, chai and organic cookies. The book provides you with a bunch of great recipes that allow you to eat without getting bored with your food and still provide you a chance to indulge a bit.

I found this great video on YouTube that explains a bit more about this particular type of diet and why using this book along with incorporating raw food into your lifestyle is a great thing: