Problems in the Bedroom

IMG_6639A while back, I shared a few moodboards for the bedroom which I created even further back. How much progress has been made on the bedroom? Basically none. Why? Simply not a priority. I regret most of all that we painted it these shades of blue. I like blue. It’s probably my favorite ‘color’, if I had to pick a color, but these colors depress me. I long for something airy to wake up to. Crisp white walls, crisp white bedding… Ah, to dream! Since this is one of the few rooms in the house that has two windows, it would seem wise to capitalize on that. The other problem: The bed is enormous. And it’s fully upholstered, making it attractive to the cat as a scratch post.

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And this is all over

It has an arched headboard, so we lose about 5.5 inches of useable space. It’s not a large bedroom, per se, and we’ve made it smaller by wedging in this huge bed. Because of the huge bed, we have these terrible, awful little rinky dink Ikea dressers. Four of them to be exact.

IMG_6648They’re simply the worst. We need four because they’re so small. I have two and Alan has two. These are the cheapest dressers money can buy. The drawers are incredibly shallow, and get stuck, and they’re tacky and I hate them. Essentially, we have a very sad bedroom. The bedroom should be a haven; a happy place! Instead I’ve been moaning for basically years now that I want a change. And, it’s not a priority. The bed is comfortable, even if it is ratty. And the dressers take up less space than something higher scale and more “grown up.” We don’t have overflowing dressers (but this is also because I obsessively cull my wardrobe on a regular basis). The walls are also depressingly bare, but I want to hold off putting any art up until we could paint the walls.

So, this presents us with basically an All-or-Nothing Scenario: Redo the whole room, or don’t do any of it. To upgrade dressers we need to get the space between them and the bed back, so that means a new bed. If we’re replacing beds, we may as well paint the room, etc, etc, etc…  I feel an urgency about pulling the trigger on this now, because I worry that once the baby comes, it will never get done. This meant of course I had to make a mood board.

BEDROOM_moodboardMMM, this fills me with joy and calm just to look at it. Very fresh, yes? It has a similar lightness to the plans for the baby’s room.

  1. This Max Wanger print is the epitome of calm, and I love the sunset gradient. Some of my favorite vibes are here in this picture. His prints are however prohibitively expensive (especially if you want something framed). I could probably just as easy get one of my own photos blown up and cheaply framed. But a huge photo of a scenic vista seems like the perfect thing to see first thing in the morning, doesn’t it?
  2. WHO KNEW Urban Outfitters had so many amazing area rugs? And for cheap? I didn’t until today. Love that you can get a huge one for 200 bucks. Low pile is probably smartest for us too because Arya sheds like crazy, and the easier to clean, the better.
  3. A beautiful, simple dresser is what we so badly need. But to find the right one, it wasn’t enough to just take measurements and see if it would fit in the space. I took the dimensions of each drawer, to see how much more space we could theoretically use compared to our terrible little IKEA dressers. The answer was quite a lot. We could ditch the 4 little ones for 1 beautiful big one, no problem. Worth the investment, period.
  4. Let’s just get those walls nice and white.
  5. I’ve looked at all kinds of patterned duvet covers over the years, but I have to say I really love the simplicity of this set from IKEA.
  6. We have a pair of desk lamps from Target serving as bedside lighting right now, and they’re perfectly nice lamps, but they don’t give off much light (and their bases take up a lot of room). I like the idea of mounting some RANARPs so the light is a little higher up, and spreads a little farther. Plus, that frees up table space on the nightstand. More room for half-empty LaCroix cans and books and my phone.
  7. For curtains, something simple and easy.
  8. Finally, a nice bed that matches the dresser, matches the wood tones in the house, and crucially, gives us back 8 inches of spaceSome of that space would be filled in by the larger dresser, but it’s a net gain of about 4 inches I think. Not bad!

I think we may actually pull the trigger on this plan, guys. I’ll keep you updated.

Insanely Easy Pasta Recipe

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I come to you today humbly with a recipe I really think you should try out. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s *insanely* good. I devised this pasta recipe one night recently after we’d gotten out of a matinee on a hot Sunday and it was about dinner time. Should we go out, which would require little energy, or make something? I did a mental inventory of what we had in the cupboards and decided I could throw together some sort of Cacio e pepe  bastardization (I’ve never made cacio e pepe!). I knew we had cream, bucatini, a lemon, parsley, butter and parmesan cheese. All terrific ingredients for a fast pasta dish.

By the way, I absolutely love pasta, and the many forms it can take. Basically any night we’re drawing a blank on dinner I offer to “make some sort of pasta”. I also really believe that people should stock their pantries well with ingredients complementary to a good pasta dish. Get a few cans of fire roasted tomatoes, have some garlic on hand, some basil, some cheese, lemon… The PASTA-bilities are endless (hahahahahhahaaa).

This recipe is also nice because it requires very little prep, and uses one pan (I can’t overemphasize how much I love one-pan dinners). Do note though, that because of the butter and cheese and cream, this isn’t exactly a super healthy dish. However I’m confident you could take out the cream, and it would still be delicious.

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Easy Cheesy Lemony Pasta | Prep: 5 min Cook: 15 min
• Bucatini
• Juice of one lemon (also optional: zest of that same lemon, for extra lemony-ness)
• 1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
• 1 c. heavy cream
• 2 tbsp butter
• Bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
• Optional: panko bread crumbs

Start by bring a skillet of salted water to a boil. Cook the bucatini al dente. Reserve a half cup of pasta water. Drain and rinse.
In the same pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Gradually add the cream, cheese and lemon juice (+zest), stirring constantly (don’t want to burn that cream!), until combined. Add pasta, stirring an coating. Do this for about 5 minutes while the sauce thickens. If you wish to thin the sauce out a little, use the reserve pasta water.
Optional: At this point, in a separate pan, heat up a little olive oil and toast some panko bread crumbs with fresh salt and pepper (we have some in the cupboard from times when we’ve recreated a Blue Apron meal… They come in big containers!), until browned and toasty-smelling.

Divide between two bowls, top with bread crumbs and parsley. Then enjoy the hell out of that thing. THAT’S IT!PASTARECIPE-3

Summer Ride – Seasonal Mixtape

SUMMER_RIDEHoo boy! It’s toasty out there right now. I’ve put together a little mix for your weekend, hopefully you’re going somewhere sunny where there’s a lake. This is admittedly a very Dad-ish mix… Parts Wes Anderson, parts Garden State, as well as a few contemporary favs (mostly Mac DeMarco). I can confirm it’s got good vibes. Please enjoy!

Tracklisting, if you’re interested:SUMMER_RIDE2

My Closet

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After

A few weeks ago while I was gainfully unemployed and had a lot of time on my hands, I started to feel real nest-y and motivated to finally organize the closet in my office. I’ve long put it off. And I keep the doors closed, so I never have to see it. It’s one of those things you know you’ll have to do one day, like quitting smoking, but ehhh, not today.

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Before

I’d spent many years since we moved in just accruing storage bins and crates. Every time I saw one (usually at Target) I’d snatch up a couple, because I might need them one day? You can never have too much storage miscellany. Things started to get unruly in the closet. Anything and everything I didn’t have use for in my office would be stuffed in there, without any further thought. It was beginning to stress me out. CLOSET-1CLOSET-4Plus, I had just bought another camera body and couldn’t really justify having this expensive equipment just sitting on a shelf in a closet. So I did a little research and found the ALGOT system from IKEA. It was super well priced and super customizable. I designed a little system and went to IKEA to get the parts. I also went to town on clearing the closet out. I aimed to get rid of at least 30% of its contents. CLOSET-14.jpgCLOSET-11CLOSET-17I even got rid of most of my old issues of Vita.mn, keeping only the issues whose cover stories I designed. 😖CLOSET-12I’m into these mesh baskets too which became a bag hutch.CLOSET-13CLOSET-18CLOSET-20A tinier mesh basket mounts nicely on top so I can put things like batteries, flash accessories, etc in there.

Big thank you to my cool husband who helped me install the whole system (basically: he installed it completely on his own, while I watched and offered moral support). He really Dad’d it up!

In a few years none of this will mean anything, because I’ll eventually have to relinquish my office once we have a second kid. Before then I’ll probably have to get rid of like, 100 more pounds of stuff. Until then, I keep the closet door open now, to admire my little organized oasis.

When Life Gives You Basil

BASIL-1 copyBASIL-10We got a CSA this summer which is a new thing for us. We’re not really great with produce. Half the stuff we get at the store is usually rotten or wilted before we really figure out what we would do with it. No longer! We went with a super organized CSA through our local co-op that sends out an email every week letting us know what we’ll get. The first two weeks we got bunches and bunches of basil. Before I had the energy to do anything with the first batch, half of it got wilty. So, batch kitchen projects were in order.

At Rock the Garden the last few years they’ve had a really tasty Prairie Vodka drink with basil lemonade. It’s so tasty and this year I was sad to be missing out on it (because of the no booze thing, yeah?) So while I had all this basil, I figured, how about I make basil lemonade? Turns out making a simple syrup is extremely simple, as the name would imply. BASIL-2It’s 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and a big ol handful of that delicious basil. Bring it to boiling in a sauce pan (or until the sugar is dissolved) and let sit for half an hour, then strain out the herbs and chill for at least 4 hours before using. Perfect for a yard party where you need a signature drink (imagine the possibilities!) or just chillin’ on a summer afternoon. BASIL-5BASIL-6FYI: You can use this same recipe for mint, or rosemary (haven’t tried rosemary but I’m sure I will before summer’s end). BASIL-11

Have a Very Chill Weekend

More horror in the world with the events in Nice, France last night. Everyday the world becomes a more unsure place to live in. Everybody be good to each other and have a restorative weekend. Above is video I took in Kaikoura back on our New Zealand trip. A little micro vacation for you!

Watch Wishlist

watches

Hi, welcome to Monday. I’ve been doing some freelance in an office the last few weeks and I’ve been wearing my watches again. They make me feel smart and professional. Plus telling time is cool! Inevitably though, I have a wandering eye when it comes to cool accessories.My clothing is typically super simple and casual, so I like to supplement a little. So to ease into the work week, I’ve done a little roundup of some smart and cool watches for you to impress your friends with.

  1. O’Clock – You can customize these in all kinds of ways, and they’re relatively cheap.
  2. Cluse – These are some pretty luxe watches I gotta say. I’m hardcore coveting that marble face.
  3. Apple – Still vaguely wanting an Apple Watch. I like how they’re customizable and will sync up with my devices. Let’s be honest – it’s a status symbol more than anything.
  4. Nixon – I’ve been a Nixon customer for many years. I’m digging the patterned leather band.
  5. Swatch – A staple brand, I would so wear this watch while weekending in New York. Feels very MoMA.

Freedom

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Compare the best of their days with the worst of your days; you won’t win.

Since the shooting of Trayvon Martin I, like many other white Americans, have been forced to look at myself and examine what privilege truly means. Gradually, events at a national level have gotten harder and harder to ignore, with filming police altercations with minorities becoming more ubiquitous. Good. We white people need to sit down and look long and hard at ourselves.

I’ve never – I don’t think – been outwardly racist towards someone. Truly! I try very hard to not be racist at all. The irony though is if I’m trying not to be racist, I actually am embodying a form of racism. And I can’t help it, because racism is so deeply ingrained in our society. Every time I see a person of color, I think, shit, do they think I’m being racist right now? act totally normal. ACT NORMAL. It does not make me proud to admit these things, but I have to come to terms that I’ve been indoctrinated with prejudices and stereotypes my entire life. My knee jerk reaction might not reflect a deeply held belief, but it doesn’t matter. It actually takes work to be not racist. And I think a lot of white people fall short of putting in that work.

It’s very easy to look for a reason why a black man might’ve deserved to be shot to death, while buckled into a car, with his girlfriend and her young daughter in the back seat. Well, he must not have done exactly what the cop said! I understand the need to try to justify a senseless killing like this, because not too long ago, I was in complete denial that systemic racism was a thing. There’s no way people can be like this. Because I knew better: to keep whatever racism I had in me buried deep down. But the events in Ferguson brought out the true nastiness and transparent nature of racism which is still as full and healthy as ever.

Those were tough conversations to have. With ourselves, and each other. But they were totally necessary.

I was thinking this morning what “freedom” really means, this week after celebrating the independence of our country, and in the same week as two senseless police killings of black men, and the deadliest shooting of police officers in history. Freedom? Who does it actually belong to? I’m a privileged white woman in a liberal metropolis. I got money, I got a house, I can do whatever I want. I can choose not to engage in the race talks. I can tune it out and blog about lamps instead. That’s a great privilege I have. It’s my privilege to live in a bubble, if I so choose. But I not have the same privileges as a man. I may get paid less, or be more prone to street harassment — or even rape. I may be denied basic health care because I’m a woman. I have less freedom than white men. A black woman has it even worse than I do, having to bear the burden of sexist and racist attacks.

I think about black men, and how they are less free than me. Many of them can’t walk down the streets without eliciting suspicion. They can’t wear hoodies. They can’t protest nonviolently for their humanity without being labeled “thugs”. If that’s freedom, that’s an awful, terrible freedom, and that’s on us.

Nobody with decency would try to justify the shooting of 11 police officers, who were doing their sworn duty and protecting the public. That’s a terrible tragedy, and should be labeled as nothing else.

Why then, not the same reaction for the needless killing of a black man whose only crime seemed to be being black at the wrong place and time? Why no mourning for a man loved by his family, on the same level, as say, a gorilla?

WHITE PEOPLE. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER. What can you do? You can start by listening. Take the concerns and experiences of those who represent the oppressed minority seriously. Listen to black voices. Listen to Ta Nehisi Coates, or Roxanne Gay, or DeRay McKesson, or Shaun King, or Beyonce. Educate your friends. Call them out for dumb racist shit, and if you ever get called out for racism, I hope you take it to heart. Black Lives Matter more than your White Privilege, and the most important time to recognize that, besides yesterday, is today.

We don’t have freedom until we all have freedom.

UPDATE: I haven’t been able to watch this whole video but Trevor Noah is on point, echoing many of my own thoughts, but more eloquently. He is especially right on comparing an awakening to the realities of racism to that of sexism. WATCH IT PLEASE.

Nursery Progress

IMG_6573A quick little update today, as I’ve been bogged down by freelance work the last couple weeks to write up anything longer. Our holiday weekend was spent getting down to business with the goal of getting the nursery (formerly the guest room) painted. Alan did pretty much all the work on this, cleaning out all the junk that was in there (there was SO MUCH), wiping down the walls and the floors and putting up tape. It was hot and I was too tired and pregnant to contribute in any meaningful way, except with moral support and water delivery. He locked himself in there Saturday afternoon until the painting was done and did touch-ups on Sunday (he also replaced all the outlets and the light switch). It looks so great in there now! IMG_6599Whoever chose that horrible tan-brown scheme had bad taste. Our bedroom had the same colors initially; we painted it blue a few years back. I also went out and purchased a drum shade from CB2 (we have the same in our room!) and I went ahead and bought the shag rug that’ll eventually go in there. I’m excited to see it coming together. I wish all walls could be white, but painting is truly such a pain in the ass.

FYI the color is Snowy Pine by Behr.IMG_6605