Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spots and blue. Better than seeing spots in blue?

Perhaps I should clean my mirror before I take a self portrait? Nah, it makes the picture look vintage. Yeah, we'll go with that. 

Well, at least the mirror looks clean, and the shot is...artsier? Honestly, how the hell do I have friends? Oh, that's right. If I had friends, they would have taken the picture for me. Meh. 

Dirty mirror: came with the house
Blue skinny pants: Boscov's (don'
Long Cardigan: LOFT (a year or so ago)
Skinny, adjustable belt: NY & Co. (the adjustable belt is a spiffy invention)
Black suede wedges: Target
Tank top: Old Navy 

Just for the record, quite a few people complimented my outfit, so it looks better in real life than it does in a dirty mirror. Also, it took me a solid month (maybe more...) to figure out how else to dress these pants. I was afraid of putting a bright color with them, seeing as how they're already bright cobalt blue. So, I decided that they needed something a bit more neutral. Today, I had a sartorial epiphany and here it is, cloudy and all. 

Would you pair these pants with anything bright? If so, what? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

We all live on a yellow submarine.

Terrible photo quality, and I'm sporting a 'fro. 
This pose is also not super flattering.
(Thanks, Mother Nature, for the bloating.)
Why the crap did I post it, you ask?
Well, look at those shoes! They need showcasing. 
I'm wearing the same yellow blouse here.

Where to find it

Blouse: NY & Co. 

Skinny jeans: American Eagle

Shoes: Naturalizer outlet 
(they have red, tan, cobalt blue, and black) 
They are ridiculously comfortable. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How the Zebra and My Bathroom Got Their Stripes

So, according to Emily Sohn of Discovery News, the main reason that zebras developed their stripes is to ward off attacks from virulent flies by reflecting light with their black and white pattern.

Now, my bathroom is not black and white striped nor is it even half as awesome as a zebra, but it ranks a close second and it even reflects light quite beautifully. Yeah?

My original inspiration came from the lovely couple over at Young House Love. Of course, those two are professionals as far as I'm concerned! I, on the other hand, am not a professional, and I had to tackle this feat independently. My husband refuses to paint unless it's spray paint. The turd. They include a wonderful tutorial on their blog, but I added some steps and tips that I felt were worth mentioning if you really aren't a super experienced painter.

Materials that I used:

  • Frog's tape (better than blue painter's tape)
  • Mini roller (a gift from the heavens)
  • Mini paint tray 
  • Two paint colors (one lighter and another one shade darker) with paint sticks
  • small paint brush (for corners and edges)

Step 1: Choose two colors. I like that they chose two lighter colors. I am hopelessly devoted to Behr's paint and primer in one, so I went with two of their colors. I already had a lot of leftover Pillar White from our bedroom paint job, so I used that as one of the two colors. I then went to Home Depot and found one shade darker, Aged Parchment (how fitting for me as an English teacher!)

Note: My bathroom is small. I really needed only one gallon of the base color and a pint of the other, but I just went with one gallon of each, just in case. Plus, I figured you could use white/cream for anything. I bought both in semi-gloss.

Step 2: If you like a really clean slate, take all hardware off of your walls. Then spackle and sand (I used 100 grit in the blocks) all of your holes. We had a lot of holes, thanks to Jeff's run-in with an unruly shelf. Ugh.

Note: If your bathroom is small with no windows, and you do not want to suffocate yourself or wear a particle mask, take off the door. I did this step by myself, and I am certainly no body builder. Just make sure that you start unscrewing the hinges starting at the bottom. If you start at the top, as I so stupidly did, the door starts to pop off while you're grunting and actually fake crying as you unscrew the bottom screws. Not a good situation. Either way, taking off the door was the best decision I made during this process. 

Step 3: Once all of the spackling, sanding, and nearly being killed by the door is complete, paint your walls the lighter color (for me, it was Pillar White). I also painted the ceiling and baseboards because they were another white, and I wanted a more unified look. I painted three coats because that's how I roll.

Step 4: Once the paint dries, measure from your ceiling to the top of the baseboard. The YHL couple says to

  • divide that number (mine was somewhere between 92 and 93, and the fractions nearly split my brain) 
  • by how many total stripes you want (I wanted 12) 
  • and subtract one (so I end up with 11). The minus one still confuses me. 
I ended up with eleven stripes, which I like because I started and ended with the same color. Either way, I wanted my stripes to be somewhere around 8" in height, so I made the math work in my favor. Don't ask me to explain the math. I teach English, not Math, for many good reasons.

Step 5: Mark off where you want your stripes. I did this with pencil marks, and because I'm neurotic, I proceeded to use a level to draw light lines around the room so that all of my lines would be straight. I did not want to do all of this work to wind up with slanted lines. Though this took a lot of patience (or insanity), I'm glad that I did it! Patience is a virtue, folks.

Step 6: Mark a P (for paint) inside all of the lines that you want to paint. (I knew I'd accidentally forget and then curse myself.)
See the P?

Step 7: Using painter's or Frog tape (we like the green Frog tape), you will complete this next, mildly complicated step.

  • Put tape on the OUTSIDE of the lines that you want to paint your darker color (see the darker ones that I painted? The tape lets me know to paint in between those two strips of tape.)
  • Put tape on the INSIDE of the lines that you do not want to paint (see how the parts that I did not paint are thinner than the ones I did paint? You already painted this color as your base coat, so you do not want to paint it again.)
  • The wider boxes will remind you to paint them, and the thinner boxes will remind you that the base coat is already the color that you want it to be.
  • Essentially, you're just trying to mark off all of the spots that need to be painted.   

Step 8: Paint all of your wider boxes/lines (whatever you'd like to call them). I did three coats, and I used a mini roller. I painted the lines with my mini roller and then did the corners with a small paintbrush so that I could start my second coat with the mini roller as soon as I did all of the corners with the paintbrush.


  • Make sure all of your tape is flush with the wall so that no paint can seep in between it and the wall.
  • As soon as you finish your final coat, REMOVE THE TAPE. It makes your lines even and doesn't pull off paint/wall with it. Important. 
  • Be sure that you paint over the tape a little bit so that your line does not fade before it even gets to the tape. You want to paint so that the lines end up crisp and that there are no white spots showing through.   

See our old, ugly light fixture? Blech.

Up close, she's no prettier.

See our new fixture? She was only $45 from Lowe's. You can build your own light fixtures there!
I love that it makes a rain-like pattern on the wall :)

Here she is without the light on. Still lovely.

And one more.

These are vinyl tiles. They fake me out all of the time; I keep thinking that they're real tiles, but
they are WAY prettier than the original (no pictures, sorry), took little effort, and cost less than $20. 

Finish product of the wall. 

I hung a new mirror ($30 from Target), hung a new towel hook ($2 on clearance from Target),
spray painted the switch plates oil rubbed bronze, and bought a new soap dispenser ($7 from Target).

New rug ($13 from Target), new TP tower ($9 from Marshall's), and new floor ($18 from Lowe's)

Price Breakdown:

  • Aged Parchment paint $30
  • Pillar White paint ($0 because I already had it from 3 years ago)
  • Frog tape $5
  • Mini roller tray $2
  • Mini roller ($0--already had it)
  • 2.5 thin angle brush $9.50
  • Sanding stuff $6.27 (already had the spackle)
  • Light fixture $45 (including bulbs)
  • Mirror $11 (used a gift card to help cut the $30 cost)
  • Towel hook $2
  • Soap dispenser $7
  • Rug $13
  • Floor $18
  • TP tower $9
  • New cabinet knobs $7.50
  • New 1/4 rounds $1.18
  • ORB door stop $3
  • New carpet trim (other was gold and ugly) $6
TOTAL: $175.45 -- not too shabby for what feels like a brand new bathroom!

  • We'll also be installing the new faucet (we already had it, and it was on super clearance 3 years ago; I don't remember its price)
  • We'll also be visiting Ikea to put a shelf under and to the left of the mirror.

My outfit that day ended up matching the bathroom. I didn't realize it until I had left the house. HA.

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Lightbulb Moment

Yes, yes, I am so punny. I know. Try not to be too jealous of me. 

So, during my spring break, I've been reinventing our living room and half bath. (The kitchen is next.) I like the color of the tall lamps that my mother-in-law donated to us awhile ago, but the style of the top no longer fit the decor of our room. Am I going to buy another lamp for $40 or more? NO. 
I got creative.
I thought to myself, "Self, you have a cute lamp shade with no lamp, and you have a lamp that might be able to take a lamp shade. What do you do?" Well, the top of this lamp was screwed on with three screws. I unscrewed them, and it looked like this...
Well, I could not pop the lip thing off of the glass. I then realized that these lamps are put together by screwing together the parts. I unscrewed the top part, and the glass popped off. Then, voila, the lip was a free, lip. 
From there, I had a nekked lamp. I used pliers to widen the top of the lamp shade (it needs to be a shade that comes with the wiring in the middle.) Excuse my lack of technical lamp knowledge. But, you know the lamp shades that have three metal bars connected in the middle with a circle? You put the circle on the lamp and then screw the light bulb in to prevent the shade from moving? You know what I mean? Don't lie. You do. 
Anyway, after the top was off (the glass bowl and the thing I'm calling a lip), I treated it like a normal lamp (minus the "use pliers to expand the size of the metal hole" thing.) I put the shade on, hammered it into place (not TOO hard), and screwed in the light bulb. 
My old light has a new life. 
Isn't she pretty? 

So, before you get rid of something that doesn't "fit" with your style, consider how you can repurpose it. I mean, after all, isn't that what the garage and basement are for? Holding onto things you're waiting to find another purpose for? Yeah, I thought so. (Note: My husband does not think so.)

Short and Striped

So, if I have time, I sometimes put on outfits and just walk around the house in them. I like to give them a mini test run. This is not the test-run outfit; that one bombed. I then thought of this gem in five seconds. Grace under pressure, I tell you. 

So, my dog is not throwing up because she hates the outfit. Maybe she is stalking the leopard print heels? I would, too. 

Anyway, the outfit breaks down like this:

Shirt & skirt: The Limited 
(quite possibly my favorite store; they also give discounts to teachers!)

Heels: Jones New York via Marshalls

Belt: I think it's from NY & Co., but I'm too comfortable to run upstairs and check.

Scarf: A gift from three students :) Sweetest siblings. 
I taught the older brother and sister last year, and I teach their younger sister this year. 
 I love thoughtful and functional gifts. 
(I also love thoughtful and functional teenagers. They're a rarity.)

So, I put on this outfit after I painted our half bath. An hour later, I noticed something funny....
I was wearing the same color scheme that I dressed my half bath in. I tell you that I just love my stripes.

Do you ever notice that your house decor matches the colors/patterns that you wear?