The Ombre Dresser, Part 2.

I take it back. I should not be giving out DIY advice.

Why? Because my dresser still looks like this:

My dresser is still incomplete because being the *super smart* person I am, the beautiful handles I ordered were 4.5 inches long total, not 4.5 inches between where the screws needed to go in. While those journey on their way back to Amazon  sit in a box on my kitchen floor, I’ve been a little frozen. Apparently, 4.5 inches is an incredibly uncommon distance for which to fasten handles. Go figure. I’ve been torn between drilling new holes to make some new ones fit, or simply giving up and adding a knob to each hole rather than a handle (eek – super ugly, by the way).

Well, meet your DIY maven at Sarah M. Dorsey Designs.

She came across the same issue when redoing her writing desk and decided to make her own handles with wire and beads:

Hello, Hobby Lobby, I’ll see you yet again soon!

For Posterity.

This is what’s happening on the interwebs right now. Figured I’d screenshot it for posterity, lest these commentary jewels somehow become less accessible. Usually a PR fumble such as this makes me cringe professionally, but my inner feminist just loves this too much:

(click image to enlarge)

And not to be overlooked, the fourth most purchased item in conjunction with these distasteful pens:

Questioning Banality.

Do you ever spend time questioning the every day things you do that no one ever really talks about, as to whether or not they are “normal”?

No one ever talks about how they brush their teeth, for example, but I have my concerns.

I’m pretty sure I’m with 99% of Americans going against 4 out of 5 dentists who recommend brushing your teeth up and down rather than side to side, but I’m not sure how “normal” it is to brush with the level of vigor I employ.

I like to get the process done fast, so I scrub fast. I apparently mash the brush down on my teeth harder than Aaron, who comments on how destroyed my new brushes are after just a few weeks. More importantly, sometimes the vigorous brushing gets out of control, and I would say, about on average twice a week, I miss the right side of my mouth and stab the toothbrush straight into my front right gums.

Seriously intense pain. And since there isn’t really anything to clutch or coddle in agony, I instead resort to making the face of a horse rearing into the mirror at myself for about 15 seconds until the sting dulls.

It’s really attractive.

Twice a week this happens, and yet 27 years of pure muscle memory compels me to continue.

The question lingers on.

Is this normal?

Swing Low

We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy answers, but we’re not dumb enough to accept that there aren’t better answers. -Ann Romney

I may not always swing your direction, Republicans, but I can agree that is some damn good speech writing. Three cheers for the power of rhetoric. I mean, it won the election last year, didn’t it?

Majority Rule

Sometimes I think my dream job would be product development for a food company. (Ideally, something sugary, but I’d rather not go the way of Ben and Jerry and die of heart disease.)

That was morbid. Anyhow. Two new product developments to come about lately have made me super excited, then immediately vexed.

1. TCBY now sells its frozen yogurt in grocery stores. Hooray! While the flavors sound pretty delicious, among them is not the uber-popular (uber-addictive) White Chocolate Mousse served at TCBY storefronts. I was “forced” to settle for the (good, but not White Chocolate Mousse) vanilla bean.

2. Quaker Oats FINALLY read my mind (and noticed the 12 or so bags of uneaten banana flavored oatmeal in my pantry) and started selling single-flavor boxes of its fruit multipacks. Except they decided to make every flavor in the world except my favorite – Blueberries & Cream. They do offer blueberry-only packets in the “Heart Healthy” version – but it just does not taste the same. (Ben & Jerry, here I come…)

In conclusion, focus groups of America – you suck. And why wasn’t I invited?

Ombre Dresser

Ombre hair may be out, but ombre dressers are in on the recent wave painting old and antique furniture.

After my IKEA dresser finally bit the dust, I picked this up from a local resale shop:

 

It was a little scuffed and scratched, but solid wood and reminiscent of the style of my beloved hutch. And, for a weekend’s worth of sanding and painting, I have to say, it turned out not too shabby.

My inspiration piece:

My project:

Okay, so the makeshift zip-tie handles are pretty shabby, but these lovelies are on their way from Amazon as we speak:

Since this makes my…. fifth piece of furniture to repaint, people have begun asking (and I finally feel a bit qualified) for some painting tips.

Here goes it. The basics. Or as Maggie calls it, the “down and dirty” guide to how to paint furniture the easy/my way:

Supplies:

  1. Both coarse (60) and fine (220) sand paper
  2. A sander or cheap sanding aid
  3. 6 inch paint roller frame
  4. Foam rollers for super smooth surfaces (usually white foam in packets of multiples, rather than the single-roll, yellow fluffy kind)
  5. optional: standard “smooth to semi-smooth” rollers for primer coat (will mean more sanding later though)
  6. 3M painter’s tape (trust me, the brand matters on this – that Blue Hawk brand Lowe’s has is terrible)
  7. Primer-Sealer (I like Kilz brand, but any will do) – Note: depending on the color you’re painting, you’ll want to choose either white or grey primer.
  8. Paint. Again, any will do. Depends how shiny you want your furniture to turn out. Only thing you need to keep in mind is that everything you are painting with/layering needs to either be ALL water-based paint, or all oil-based paint. Combining causes headaches. (Really, it just causes the paint to not cover as well.) If you’re going to be using a lot of different colors in small amounts (like I did) you can use craft paint from Hobby Lobby (shown above). Basically the same stuff, believe it or not.
  9. Rubber gloves (if you’re messy like me)

Basic Process: (you can thank Daft Punk for my theme here…)

  1. Prep it. Take off all knobs, hardware. Take out drawers, remove any doors, etc. The more parts you can lay flat and the less crevices you need to cut into with a brush, the better off you’ll be.
  2. Sand it.  Start with a coarse grit (say, 60) to get any clear finishes off your wood and give it texture for the paint to stick.
  3. Clean it. Be sure to wipe down all surfaces of the furniture so there’s no dust left for the paint to stick to.
  4. Tape it. Believe it or not, this is the most important step. The more time you spend carefully taping off (and thinking through) what needs paint and what doesn’t, the more professional and clean the end result will look.
  5. Prime it. Use a brush to get primer in the nooks and crannies, but try to roll as much of it as you can – it will look a lot smoother when it dries. Recommended: two coats of primer.
  6. Dry it and Sand Again. Make sure the primer is COMPLETELY dry before going over it with the fine (220) grit. Go over it enough to smooth, but not too much or you’ll grind off the primer completely. You are free to use a grit above 220, but at that point it’s so fine, wiping it down with a washcloth might get you the same result.
  7. Clean it. Which reminds me, wipe it down with a (dry this time) washcloth.
  8. Paint it. Is your tape still on? I hope it is. Cut those nooks and crannies with a paint brush then roll, baby roll. I recommend at least two coats of whatever color you are painting (the darker, the more coats). Just make sure the previous layer is dry before beginning the next.
  9. Seal it/You’re Done! You have the option to seal it with a clear coat of something, but I’ve never done this and would not listen to my own advice on the subject.

Need more complicated instructions? Meet the Queen and her ah-mazing tutorial series on Design Sponge. (Seriously. She is my crafting idol.)

Some more ombre inspiration:

Shopoholics Guide to Rationalization and Semi-Thriftyness

I know every girl probably says this, but I am all Kate Spade taste on a Target budget. The good news is that there is absolutely nothing I love more in the world than getting a good deal on something.

A few (super easy) tricks and habits I’ve picked up over the years:

1. Browser Window Shopping. It’s a slippery slope, no doubt, but spend some time looking around at what high-end retailers and designers are offering. It’s the easiest way to know what’s really current, and what knock-off, spin-off designs are closest to the real thing to achieve that luxe look.

Top and Bottom Left: Kate Spade, approx. $100-$200; Bottom Right: Liz Claiborne, $30 at Marshall’s

2. Wishlists. Almost everything ever will go on sale. Save things you want to buy on a Pinterest board and click through every now and then to see if the price has dropped. This is particularly helpful if you are an Anthropologie addict like me – they have a Wishlist function that shows you the price and availability of everything you’ve added, all on one page. You’d be surprised how often $100+ items go down to prices like $29.95 and even $9.95 before they go completely out of stock. If you wear unusual sizes, this is particularly effective.

3. Selectively Spamming Yourself. Sign up to receive emails from your favorite stores. I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised the amount of perks given to subscribers these days. My favorites – Ann Taylor and LOFT and their quite regular 40% Friends and Family discounts, and Kate Spade’s 75% off flash sales. Just recently signed up for Kohl’s emails – they too have some great coupons, but the frequency is a little overwhelming.

 

4. Daily Discount Sites. I frequent Gilt.com, RueLaLa.com, OneKingsLane.com and Fab.com pretty much daily. (Pathetic, I know) A lot of the time they have high-end designers discounted to amounts that are still completely unreasonable, but if you watch for it, they’ll have “real people” brands at quite good prices. Plus there’s that whole “refer a friend, get X amount of spending money” that each site has. Not too shabby.

Food Insecure.

My Houston trip can be summarized by these two words.

Monday, PM – Served dinner at Star of Hope as part of a team-building day at work.

Tuesday, AM – Met my clients at the Fox 26 News studio to film a segment promoting Houston Restaurant Weeks, whose proceeds go to benefit the Houston Food Bank’s mission to feed the (legitimately) food insecure.

Tuesday, PM – Food poisoning. For the first time in my life. That decided to strike in the middle of a big, important client meeting. (How I got out of that building, passing two cafeterias and a blood drive without throwing up, I will never know.)

Wednesday, PM – Still feeling rather food insecure myself as I sit in the airport waiting for my plane to board. All I can think about is getting home and curling up in bed with my pups.

There’s probably a much more poetic way to tie in this theme, but at this point my lack of electrolytes and the fact that I haven’t eaten solid food in 24 hours is clouding my capacity for creativity.

(What can I say? Sometimes a good/slightly unsettling theme just presents itself…)

Health Nut.

Never in my life have I been accused of liking, much less preferring the healthy alternative to anything.

Believe me, no one was more surprised than I when I had my first taste (and subsequent three bowls) of Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Cheerios. I’m not even that big of a peanut butter fan, but these things make Reese’s Puffs taste like dog food by comparison.

(Maybe that was too vivid a comparison?)

Anyhow, let me brainwash you into trying them. YUM.

Congestion.

I am the grim reaper of garbage disposals.

As I sit, waiting for my landlord to show up and attempting to steady my gag reflex, I contemplate my past misguided moves and resulting carnage.

My greatest hits:

1. Age 12. My best friend and I decide to make breakfast. This includes peeling approximately four large potatoes to make hash browns, then attempting to grind all that raw fiber down the shoot. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time her mom let us play restaurant at their house.

2. Age 21. My first time living alone. I’m not a fan of walking all the way to the dumpster and so I come up with the brilliant idea that my garbage won’t stink and can therefor go longer between trips to the dumpster if I put every perishable trash item down the disposal. (A lazy person’s version of composting, I suppose) This plan included raw chicken. Boy, did that backfire.  (Sorry current and future tenants – I’m pretty sure that apartment still smells like rotting bird flesh.)

3. Today. Basically made the food equivalent of concrete mix by dumping leftover rice, refried beans, and about half a pound of shredded chicken down the disposal. Hit the on switch and the right side of the sink starts filling up. Turned it off and the left side returns. Start plunging the thing, and the pipe underneath bursts off its fitting and disgusting shredded chicken water comes pouring out from underneath the cabinets.

This is why, whenever you invite me to dinner, I only bring wine.

You’re welcome.

Intro.

I think sometimes people forget that blogging once belonged to the introverts. To the ruminators. The people that don’t speak up unless they really have something to say, and don’t like to share what’s turning around in the recesses until they’re absolutely ready. (Really, the people like me that feel much more comfortable communicating screen to screen than face to face.)

I think in the last several years, it’s become a place for the loud kids in the class. For people who just like to hear themselves talk, and less for those of us who went into it looking to find other people that think quietly the same way we do.

Sure, I can wax vapid and narcissistic with the best of them, and working in PR has pulled me (initially kicking and screaming) so far from my comfort zone that I’ve actually begun to like the masquerade of extroversion, but reading this blog post today about the power of introverts left me inspired.

Inspired to take what’s rightfully ours with a brazenness that would make my bashful brethren blush.

Hello, blogosphere, I love alliteration.

Also, I’m ba-ack.

Fear the Unlived Life

I waste tens of dollars each month buying food products I will never, ever eat. 

I do this because I have an underlying morbid curiosity that can be cheaply satiated with strangely flavored jams and dollar store trinkets.

I do this because every once in a while, I strike gold.

Exhibits A and B: Out-of-this-world, best grocery store salsa I’ve found in a LONG time, and some good, cheap hummus (although be warned, garlic lovers will have you burping ugly for days. Recommend mixing with original flavored to tone it down).

Exhibits C and D: Reasons why you should always read packaging carefully. I learned that “smoked” almonds means “we used the flavoring from BBQ potato chips and soaked these almonds in it.” Popping one of these in your mouth is shocking, unsettling and gross. Equally disappointing was the new White Chocolate Almond flavor from Blue Bell. I bought it excitedly, expecting it to be similar to TCBY’s white chocolate mousse frozen yogurt (an endless addiction that has me 11 punches down and 1 purchase to go for a free cup). The reality is akin to a cheap vanilla – flat and plain with a whip-creamy sort of flavor, chunks of broken almonds and absolutely no almond flavoring added to the mix. Bland.

I suppose I could stick to what I know and never end up with gallons of wasted, old ice-crystalized ice cream sitting in my freezer reminding me of the $6 I could have used elsewhere, but I think it’s important to remember that even the small risks are worth taking.

Cheap thrills.