Buy Mode

Buy Mode

This was originally going to be a very different post. I thought I had an idea for the greatest app ever. I was going to design it, my friend was going to code it. But a few days ago he texted me and told me to google Supercook. Well, there went my brilliant idea. I thought making an app like Supercook would be incredibly useful for someone living alone on a tight budget. I guess part of me is grateful that someone else made it, because now I can use it!

So I started to think of something similar that would be equally useful. It seems like apps can do literally any thing these days, so I’m just assuming someone could make this work…

The hardest part of a project? Getting started. It’s like writing a paper. But once you have that first paragraph or first page, it seems a little less scary. That’s my problem with doing things around my apartment. Right now, I want to go across the street and go buy a baby Christmas tree, but before that I need to get a stand for it, and before that…I need to finish all of the homework I have for the end of the semester.

This app is made for people like me, who are really lazy about initiating a new project and actually doing the research they need…and setting aside the time they need instead of plopping down on the futon and watching SVU for hours at a time…SO IMAGINE SOMETHING THAT COULD DO THIS ALL FOR YOU! It’s like the Sims…but in real life.

app-1app-2

So here’s how it works. You have a lot of blank wall space, and you’re not sure what to do with it. With this app, you take pictures of the space you want to work on (In this case I drew the view of my room from the futon), enter the measurements for the space you want to work with, the price range, and the tools you have. Based on this information, the app acts as a search engine and finds DIY projects that meet your criteria. You can save multiple projects in the app and come back to them later.

The only thing I don’t like about it is I feel like I’m cheating on Martha Stewart or something. Look at that beautiful face.

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Image from Parade.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trading Spaces

Trading Spaces

It probably would have been wise to spend some extra money on things for my apartment instead of two pairs of leggings today. But Express was having a sale, and I REALLY need some leggings.

Every since I can remember, I’ve been very interested in other people’s interior decorating. In middle school and high school, whenever I was at a friend’s house that was aesthetically pleasing, I always imagined my life in it. When I still get on Pinterest, I have a board dedicated to all the qualities I want in my dream house. I always have a more realistic one called Apartment, for things that might actually be achievable.

I thought it might be cool to take pictures of my friends’ apartments that are also small, see how they decorated, and if I could do anything similar. Sometimes I know what I want things to look like in my mind, but it’s hard to translate that into real life. So I can literally list what qualities another apartment has that are within reach, and what qualities are not.

As luck would have it, I’m cat sitting for a friend this weekend. She moved into a swanky new studio apartment in the spring. I wish it was mine, maybe minus the inevitable drunken residents that shout through the hallways and from the rooftops. It has a very nice rooftop too.

Things I already have:

White walls.

Things I don’t have, and can’t have:

Really tall ceilings. Cool concrete floor. A pet.

Things I don’t have, but might be within reach:

Window blinds that actually work. Perhaps I might be able to rearrange the items on my built-in desk and get a nice wine rack as pictured above. A nice art piece, as cool as my poster of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe in a tattoo parlor is…A COLOR SCHEME. This apartment has mostly neutral colors…black, white, gray. It goes together. Even her closet matches that color scheme. Mine on the other hand is a hot mess.

I suppose this could be a good project for the holidays. I can never quite get my spaces to be just how I want them. The dresser I ordered has been sitting in my mom’s living room for way too long, because apparently it’s about 100 pounds, and getting that up the stairs all by myself won’t be super easy. But we’ll start there.

 

Good Crafts Go Bad

It’s finally that time of year: cold, dark, and rainy. Or, as cold as it can get in this town with global warming. If you’re like me, all you want to do is brood, lay in bed, and watch TV. It’s very hard to be productive, which is probably why I have yet to re-attempt those yarn pompoms. I did however, come up with the simplest DIY project known to man. I put some inspirational quotes on some sticky notes, and put them on my wall. Whenever I get sad, I look at them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s going to be an ongoing project, and once I have more time I’ll be adding on to it, and maybe replacing the sticky notes with something more sophisticated.

But anyway, having all of this yarn around got me thinking…what if I just yarn bomb my apartment? I never stuck with knitting, I tried to learn how to crochet but failed horribly, and who knows if I’ll ever make those freaking pompoms. It wouldn’t be quite yarn bombing, because for that you have to be good at knitting and crocheting. But something similar, maybe like something you see in exhibition art at a museum. Or something you could hang your earrings on, because I don’t think there’s a structure known to man that can comfortably fit all of my earrings.

There are so many cool things that pop up when you type yarn art on Pinterest. I’d be very happy if I was a yarn artist. In fact, I have a whole corner of my apartment with nothing on it, so maybe I’ll put a bunch of yarn art there!

Now, this probably comes from watching X-Files way too much, but I did take some yarn and make a little friend…he stars in his own movie below.

This is the first film I’ve made since 7th grade. I’d like to think of it as a cross between art and horror. Fear the yarn monster, my friends.

Let’s Talk About Pom Poms

Over the past few years, there’s been a movement to declutter our lives and our spaces. Websites, apps, and homes are looking more and more minimal. I see fashion bloggers that have about two items in their room: a bed and a clothing rack. There might be a lamp and some books or something, and the walls and ceiling are usually white. Is this real life? Maybe not, maybe it’s a studio or something. But either way, I always get really jealous and wish my room looked like that. So clean, so elegant.

bedroom
From mydomaine.com, Lisa Cohen and Mark Roper for Robson Rak Architects

I’ve taken part in the decluttering movement. I’ve gotten rid of clothes, furniture, and random objects that I really don’t need. But for whatever reason…my room never looks like this. Not even close.

Starting sometime in middle school, I thought it would be a good idea to cover as much wall space as possible with posters, artwork, what have you. I did a pretty good job of it, except what resulted was you couldn’t really tell if a 16-year-old girl lived there or a 12-year-old boy. The only giveaway was the girly Pottery Barn furniture. It looked fine, but it felt thrown together, sort of like a collage.

I love collages, and I’ve loved making them for as long as I can remember. Even now I’ll get together with my friends, grab a pile of magazines, and go to town. My love for collages is reflected in my everyday life. As much as I try to deny it, I love things, and I love stuff. Until I can make my room look like the photo above, I suppose I have to embrace that.

I got an e-mail from apartments.com, which had links to some super easy DIY projects. I decided to find the easiest one…something I could do while watching mindless TV.

Here are instructions to make pom pom garlands. Easy right? She suggests using them for a baby’s room, or a bridal shower. Neither one of those items are in my near future, but I thought they might make a nice addition to my apartment in keeping up with the whole collage aesthetic. Maybe they will contribute to sound proofing? There are some random hooks in the ceiling that have been there since I’ve moved in, so I was going to hang them. Not only would they be a nice decoration to look at, but they could be an activity as well!

I went to my mom’s house to pick out a bunch of crazy yarns from the never ending yarn collection she has. Leave it to me to screw up something incredibly simple.

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I think the cardboard is too thick. I think the hole in the middle is too small. There is too much yarn.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Wandering

Wandering

I’ve discussed before how I’m on a journey to enjoy being in my new home and being by myself. It’s still hard! Especially on the days where all I really do is go to school and come home. I work out two or three times a week, but I’m still searching for a hobby that takes up more time than that.

What does one do when they find themselves staring at the wall/TV/phone/computer screen for an extended period of time? GO OUTSIDE. I’ve literally had to make myself do this, because even if I go out for just an hour, it usually makes me feel better. The only way for me to shut my brain up is to move.

Fixing my camera will cost me about $130, which is…more than the value of the camera. But luckily I was able to get the card out and transfer these pictures from a few weeks ago.

Look for the cute quirky things.

I have no idea who made these, or if they were for something in particular…but I find them very charming.

Glorify the mundane.

All of these photos were taken without much thought, and pretty quickly too, since I didn’t want anyone to think I was stalking their house or something. If anyone is familiar with the work of Stephen Shore, you know he became very famous for taking pictures of some of the most uninteresting things known to man. The photos had no redeeming qualities either…both the subject matter and the photos themselves are horribly boring. So I’m paying homage to him here.

Appreciate the foliage.

Look at the cool cars. 

Look at the old and the new.

When you’re enclosed by several off-white walls for most of the day, it’s important to see what’s outside. I had no idea I lived just a few blocks away from a park! And where there’s a park, there are cute dogs to pet. If I’m ever feeling coordinated, there are some tennis courts I can play on. I’ve been wanting to go out and forage for some flowers that I could use to brighten up my home. It’s an activity I can do for free, and pretty much any time I want. Except at night, because there are clowns out there.

 

 

 

 

Dresser Dilemma

Dresser Dilemma

I have a problem you guys. It’s been plaguing me for a few days now, and it’s very serious…

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I need a chest of drawers. Like not the four stackable drawers that I bought from the Container Store right before I went to college (the first time). I mean a regal IKEA dresser or something.

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Ikea.com

This little baby runs at about $200. I’m not sure what that will be with shipping. There’s also the option of buying something used, which I would like to do, except there’s the problem of getting it up three flights of stairs. If I get the dresser from IKEA, it will come in pieces, and be easier to get up said stairs. But either way, I’ll need to have it shipped to my mom’s house and then put it in my car, which wouldn’t be a problem if I’d actually taken that giant box of stuff to Goodwill WHEN I MOVED.

I found a used one in south Austin for $180. Should I either pay less for a used dresser that I need to take up the stairs, or pay more for a new dresser that I need to assemble but wouldn’t have to lug up the stairs in one piece.

And then I also discovered the “Wardrobe” section of IKEA.

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Ikea.com

This buddy is cheaper at $129! I lived with one about that size back in my dorm days. But whether it’s a chest of drawers or a wardrobe, I want to use it to clear space in my closet. I could use it to store my T-shirts, pajamas, and finally put all of my fighting gear somewhere other than a box.

Now by this point we know there’s not a whole lot of room in my apartment. The place I want it to go is by my bed, where I currently have a trunk that I need to get rid of. There are also things IN the trunk that I need to get rid of. But again, I have to get that box out of my car first. This is just too much!

Now, the walls in my apartment are an off-white. The carpet in my bedroom area is beige. At first I was thinking about getting a white dresser and just leaving it white because I thought that would look the cleanest. But then I saw things like this:

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Pinterest

In fact, there are apparently 22 ways to give a dresser a makeover. So now I’m rethinking my plan, and might just venture out to find some wallpaper this weekend.

9 Tips for getting out of bed

Small apartments can be just that. Small. And if you’re like me, you spend a lot of time sitting in the same spot on the futon, with your laptop, trying to do homework…with the TV swiveled to just the right spot as you tell yourself “Just one more episode of Seinfeld…just one more episode of Friends…” This became especially problematic on Sunday, when my TV decided to freeze for about 48 hours.

It’s been about a month since I’ve moved in, and indeed I really do spend all of my time on the futon, or in my bed (except right now I’m on my porch!) One problem with living alone, not that living with people made me any better at it, is making yourself wake up. Your parents can’t yell at you, your roommates can’t bang on your door, and there is no one to tell you to leave the comfort and safety of your bed and venture out into the cruel world.

I wish I could help you, or tell you that leaving your pile of pillows and blankets was worth it. Sometimes, it’s really not. I am someone who has slept through finals, but it’s been a few years since that’s happened.

But here are my tidbits of wisdom for helping you wake up when your parents aren’t there to threaten you with cold water.

1) Prepare your coffee.

The night before, put the grounds in the filter and the filter in the coffee maker. Put the water in, so when you wake up all you have to do is push the button. Even better, go buy those Starbucks doubles shot drink things at the grocery store so you can REALLY be efficient.

2) Prepare everything else.

Put everything in your backpack the night before. Make a lunch if you need to. Buy some granola bars you like because you’ll run out of time to eat breakfast (the chocolate chip ones at Trader Joe’s are my favorite).

3) Your first alarm never works.

So set four, or however many you need. I have one for 10, 1015, 1030, and 1045. If I need to be in class at 1230, I need to leave at 1115 at the latest. This gives me time to get to campus, look for parking that’s close, give up on finding parking that’s close, and spend money to park in the garage.

4) Actually get a good night’s sleep though!

This is hard advice to give, because I never sleep well. But I know some people do! Melatonin and earplugs. I also recently switched out my comforter for one that’s not as hot. I always leave my laptop and phone on my coffee table, far away from my bed. I think I’ve only watched TV in bed twice since I’ve moved in here, because sometimes the X Files won’t watch itself.

5) Following that thought, you could have a friend call to wake you up.

Unless you’re me, and your phone is on the coffee table on silent, because you don’t want to be woken up with the BRRRRING of an e-mail that comes in at 6 am. And even if you do manage to find a reliable friend that calls you, you can just go back to sleep once you’re off the phone. But give it a try anyway. Sometimes I have to combine my four alarms with a call from mom.

6) Get a dog.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living with dogs that aren’t mine/dating people with dogs, it’s that dogs are relentless, and will always wake you up.

7) Exercise, stay on a regular schedule, don’t drink caffeine past a certain time…

This doesn’t work for me either. But again, it probably works for most people.

8) Light.

I can’t help this one. All of the blinds in my apartment are really thin, and the sun shines through every morning. So leave your blinds open! It will also make your plants happy.

9) The maintenance guys.

Because when your air conditioner is leaking, they will come in at 9 am and not leave for half an hour.

Once I’m out of bed, I’m ok. It’s just getting out of bed which is the hard part. I suppose I could get a less comfortable bed. Sometimes the only thing that gets me out is knowing I’m about to have coffee. Or, knowing I skipped class yesterday and probably shouldn’t do it again.