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Happy Thanksgiving... BLACK FRIDAY From the Wines!

Ok, Thanksgiving is past. So happy Black Friday!

Did you survive the feasting, traveling, relative-visiting, and dishes-doing of yesterday only to be trampled underfoot by a frenzied mob of bargain hunters of Wal Mart today?

My husband who hates shopping, crowds, and lines, decided to brave the insanity and make a run to Best Buy today. The good news is he made it out with his life, and his loot too! (paid for, of course :)

Other than that little excursion, we're staying in, battening down the hatches, and staying the HECK away from Wal Mart.

I hope you had a fabulous Turkey Day yesterday. Here's what ours looked like!

We drove up to my parents' house in the afternoon to spend our day hanging out, and pigging out. Andrew loved playing with his Uncle Chris. My little brother is just as wacko as I am (nice hat, man.)

My mom went all out and put out a killer spread of pre-feasting goodies. And pies for later!
My dad, in true Craft Fail form, produced a veggie turkey WIN, complete with original picture and "Nailed it!" caption. Lol, nice Dad :).

Mom was quite proud of his accomplishment.

We popped outside before dinner to take some family pictures in my parents' beautiful front yard. Say, cheese log!

This year, our 4th anniversary happened to fall on Thanksgiving! Happy 4 years, Baby! I love this guy more every single year :).

Back inside, and it was time for feasting. There's nothing like turkey, our family's special stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce!

So we accidentally forgot the high chair, so, um, we improvised. Our dear son spent his first cognizant Thanksgiving on the floor in his car seat. Please pass the Parent of the Year award!

Thankfully Andrew didn't mind a bit. He was just happy to taste all the good stuff! This kid gives "good eater" a new definition.

After dinner we spent the evening playing cards and chatting in a Turkey induced partial coma.

Yes my husband has a cast on his wrist. One word: hockey. : /

Towards the end of the night, Andrew helped Uncle check traffic conditions on his iPhone. Then we packed up, said our goodbyes, and settled in for the drive home.

A great day of hanging out with family! I'm off to enjoy the only thing that could be better than Thanksgiving dinner. LEFTOVERS!

Mid-century Modern Desk Resuscitation!

Have you been introduced to my latest love?

I have fallen madly, deeply for mid-century modern style, or MCM as the pros say *cough, cough. Yeah that's me! This love affair mainly revolves around my fascination with legs (this is sounding strange...). I'm excited to show you my new piece, brought back to life!

For starters, I wanted to find out what exactly makes something mid-century modern. Here's what I found out!

The Skinny on Mid-Century Modern
This style hit right around the 50's, and is seeing quite a revival these days! Just think Mad Men.

Mid-century modern is known for it's sleek, clean lines and masculine functionality. The favored materials used are Teak and other woods, brass, fiberglass, and plastic.

And oh, those legs! Not Don Draper's legs (um ew). All those long graceful legs on everything from buffets to end tables to sofas! *whistles, ow!

I've been stalking Craigslist for a leggy MCM piece of my very own. Last week I finally snagged this desk for our kitchen area. It was in great shape and still had the original hardware on it. For a cool $100 it was mine!
(do ya follow me on facebook yet? Do it now!)

When we got it home I assessed what condition it was in. Overall it was great, just a few nicks and scratches.

First I cleaned it with a wet sponge. I contemplated using a cleaner, but some shouldn't be used on waxed surfaces, and who knows what's been put on this wood over the last 50 years? So I went the safe route and stuck with plain old water.

I used a Magic Eraser sponge (actually one of the cheap generic ones) to scrub off some scuffs and paint splatters.

There were a few serious gouges that needed attention. I did a light sanding with 220 grit sand paper, then wiped the wood clean with a damp cloth.

Old English- I'm a believer

This was my final step to bringing this old lady back to life! I'd never tried Old English before, but I'd read that it worked great to hide nicks and imperfections in wood. I bought a bottle of Old English for Dark Woods and read the instructions. I dabbed a small amount on a rag and rubbed it into the scuffed areas.

They disappeared! Way less stressful than trying to strip the wood, match the stain, refinish... Plus Andrew was down for a nap, and I needed this done before he woke up!

If you haven't used it before, I suggest you try it!

Handling This
I removed the hardware to clean the drawers. I was bummed to find that the metal had oxidized and there was no resurrecting it. My next best bet was to find something similar at the hardware store.

I stayed with the brass look, something they had on hand, and at a good price. I paid $3.97 a piece for the handles and $1.37 each for the knobs. Total came to $13.19 after a 10% off coupon to Lowes.

I put on my new hardware for the finishing touch, added some styling, and let this lady work her gams.

I am so in love with this piece! It's my first official mid-century modern vintage furniture for the house. I'm stoked!! I added some of my framed art and a cork board for a "collected" look. It's just a for now arrangement, but what do you think?

What style are you into right now? Do you love my leggy lady too? have you found any perfect pieces to fit in your home?

I am a Plant Killer

Come back this Saturday, I'll have a sweet Mid Century Modern furniture project to share with ya!

I have finally surrendered to the shame of this label and am coming clean about it.

It all started with this plant. It was a sweet housewarming present from a friend for our new place. It came to me one week ago looking like this.
(didn't even have time to snap a "before" pic. Image credit here)

And will be carried out today looking like this.

This was not a case of malice aforethought or egregious neglect (like perhaps at other times...). I watered it every day faithfully. But I seriously skipped one day. ONE!! and it shriveled up and died.

I'm not kidding. This is so unfair. No plant has a right to be that needy.

Killing Me Softly
"Welcome to your new home! Here's a plant!" A seemingly sweet gesture, but in reality a huge commitment. I'm forced to agree to take on another life, and feed, nurture, and support it for eternity. Nobody hands you puppies or kittens or children for a housewarming gift, and for good reason. So why are plants ok?

I have this passive aggressive attitude toward house plants. I feel like they should be able to get along pretty darn well on their own without me holding their hand, if it wants to be taken seriously and earn my respect. I have no patience whatsoever for sissy plants that need to be kept at 69 1/2 degrees Fahrenheit and given 300 milliliters of pure mountain spring water every 20 hours except during a full moon, while singing soft Irish lullabies and caressing it softly.

Come on now! I say. Show a little spunk!

A History of Abuse
In fact, looking back, all I've ever managed to do with plants all my life is stretch out their dying process, rather than see anything thrive.

In our old living room we had Palmy. I thought this palm tree would be a great addition to our living room. I made sure it had sufficient light and got (somewhat) enough water. Palm trees live in the desert for crying out loud! Nobody walks around misting and primping them out in the "wild", so why should I have to??

To make a long story short, I killed it. Not an over the weekend type of death, oh no. The kind that goes on for months and years, stretching out the agony of fronds turning brown and falling off, until there was only a few sad fronds left.

During our living room makeover we had to clear everything out to paint, and I thought I'd be extra nice and set it outside for a day or two. You know, really let it soak up the sun and revive some.

Maybe it was the shock of "this is what I've been missing??!!" or something,  but that thing saw that sun and curled up and died. Fine. I said. Die you stupid waste of dirt.

Turning a New Leaf...?

The one exception to my serial killings is my beautiful Fiddle Leaf fig tree. I bought last Spring after the makeover, to replace Palmy.

I swore I'd take good care of it, after all it cost me $40. For me that's a HUGE plant investment. I gave it sun, and water. I've misted it and aerated it's pot. Next trip to Wal Mart I am buying it plant food. I am a changed woman.

 It's (still) aliiiive!
To my great shock, it still lives. And it hasn't started to die yet. I've even seen new leaves appear! Could this be the start of a new chapter in my bloody plant slaying book? The hearty, earn-my-respect kind of plant I've been searching for all these long years???

We shall see, my friend, we shall see.

Until then, don't give me a plant, or it will die. I can even kill a cactus.

Get on the crazy train!

Square One: The Tour! {Plus Major Bombshell!!}

(Heads up- I drop a major bombshell at the end of this post!)

I survived our first week after moving in, and have the pictures to prove it! And if that wasn't enough fun, I caught me the stomach flu on top of that.

Holy toilet clutching, Batman.

observation on puking: 
Throwing up is the great equalizer of mankind. There is no possible way to look cute, or sexy, or macho whilst heaving one's breakfast into the loo. We all look exactly the same at that horrible moment. Think about it.

And now back to our regular programming.

Over the weekend we loaded up all our worldly goods in the back of a U-Haul and bid farewell to our house.

After laughing at ourselves for ordering a truck "waaaaay too big" for our "little bit" of stuff, we were lucky the door closed behind it! I can testify that the size guide on U-Haul's website is WRONG. Our 3 bedroom house barely fit in one 24ft truck. Tuck that away for later.

And now for the Grand Tour!
I'm excited to show you our new place! We got a townhome in the OC, which we really love. I realize this now makes me a real housewife of Orange County. My botox, lipo, and hair extension appointments are scheduled for next week.

I took this vid with my phone, so apologies for the jumpiness. Hopefully it gives a good idea of the layout of our townhome, and you won't get motion sickness and end up clutching a toilet like me after watching it.

Video comments:
  • Apparently I'm really into echos. Call it a singer thing.
  • Please don't judge me by the outfit you see at :44. Some things should never be captured on film. : /
  • My adjective of choice is "cool", and I only use it about 16 times in this video.
And Some Peechurs!
Walking in the front door, to the left you'd see our living room. There's some great warm brown laminate flooring in this area, plus 6 inch molding, and framed windows with 2 inch slatted wood blinds. Talk about upgrade town : D.

Straight ahead from the front door is this wide hall. We're not sure what to make of this, as it's not exactly a room, and not exactly a hallway either. A haroom. I'll be using it as my music studio.

If you go through the door on the left there, that's the garage. On the right is the master bedroom.

It's got a nice big closet all along that far wall, and it's own outdoor area we think is called an atrium?


The master bath is a tad small, but we'll cope. That really means I will take over the space and Jason will have to shower elsewhere.

Back out of the master bedroom and to the right of the front door is our formal dining room. I love the great big window which lets in tons of light. Now I'm realizing how dim and gloomy our previous house was!

The kitchen is also upgraded. Marble countertops, tile backsplash, and white cabinets with brushed steel hardware. We really were so blessed to get this place! I'm planning on whipping up an island for the center of the kitchen, for extra storage.

(I like taking "Before" pictures because I don't have to clean up first.)

At the back of the house is our family dining area. There's tile in here and soft green paint. We'd like to add a small table plus desk area for bills and mail in here.

Behind the family dining room (you can sort of see it through the windows) is our patio. Not much to look at. I'd love to do a cool treatment to the wood slat fence, add a patio set, get a bbq. There's also a fun window ledge for adding potted plants!

And now for the Clever Nest bombshell.

Try to stifle your screams, and refrain from throwing your computer screen out the window.

We Didn't Buy This Place. We are Renting It.

wait, WHAT??

I know, I know, hold your horses. The dreaded "R" word of home design. Jason and I decided to rent for a while, until we know better what our next big phase of life will look like. We definitely plan to own again in the future, we're just not sure yet on the particulars.

But what does this mean for this blog???

Sure, renting comes with some different challenges and constraints than owning, but I'm excited to step into these shoes for the time being.

Maybe you rent too. Ever feel like renters get lost in the shuffle in the DIY/Pinterest empire with it's blowing out this wall and knocking out that kitchen?

Well I believe there is ALWAYS a way to make a place fabulous, whether you rent or own.  I'm stepping up as a champion to us renters and saying, I will fight for you!
(darn I look good in spandex)
(told you there'd be a bombshell at the end of this post)

Thanks for coming along for this next phase in my crazy DIY ride! I promise this blog will be just as crazy/informative/fun as it ever has. Off to lasso some more boxes! Ca-cha!
<3 Alyssa
Get on the crazy train!
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