Monday, August 5, 2013

Style Cure 2013: Day 3 - Choose Your Room, Sit for 10 Minutes, & Take Before Photos

Today's homework was fun! I finally decided which room I was going to be focusing on this month and, though I really wanted it to be my living room/dining room, I decided on... drumroll please... the master bedroom. The living room/dining needs much more foundational work before I can start thinking about decorating. Even though I spend more time in the living room than I do in my bedroom, it's the latter that is way closer to receiving a shiny makeover. I'd like to optimize my chances of success here, and the likelihood of me trying to charge through completing my living room/dining room on my limited budget with my limited time this month is no bueno, so bedroom it is!

If all goes well I can always use the #stylecure program and address my living/dining room some time in the near future. Hopefully, that's exactly what'll happen. In the interim, my brain is all a'dither with bedroom-y possibilities now.

So, according to our homework page, this month I shall do the following in my bedroom:

  • paint or otherwise decorate the walls (one wall or more)
  • add (at least) one new decor "pairing" to go with the refreshed wall (DIY project or purchase, big or small)
  • deep clean the room
  • organize the room (*gasp* oh gawd, I just realized that includes my closet - meep)
  • evaluate the flow, lighting and accessories

As part of the assignment, I sat in the room for about 10 minutes trying to envision it different ways - empty, rearranged, etc. I found this process super motivating. 

Finally, I took some before pictures from various angles. Wow, this room has so much potential now that I'm looking at it differently. Yay! I'm excited to get started. 

the south wall
this corner is definitely the hot zone of the room - this is where all my pillows, blankets and laundry collect - also, that wee table with a book on it is my meditation altar, which clearly needs a better home
more of the south wall and some of the west, also doors to the hall and bathroom
the east wall
ugh, those verticals are so ugly - I need a pretty window treatment
the west wall
I've always wanted a makeup vanity and I think this would be a great place for one
the corner next to my bed, here lies most of the decorative items I've collected for the room
I'd really like to do something funky and pretty with that little table
the door leading out to the hall
perhaps some possible storage space?
closet - right side
the clothes are so tightly packed, I have a difficult time getting them in and out of the closet
closet - left side ... don't judge me
shoes are just piled up in a heap on the floor and stacked on the top shelf
the ugly, built-in lighting fixture
I hate this light - I have several ideas on how to camouflage or otherwise change it without doing anything permanent

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Style Cure 2013: Day 2 - The Style Treasure Hunt

I couldn't physically get out to take pictures for this assignment, so I did the next best thing and created a Pinterest board instead. All of my #stylecure Treasure Hunt homework can be found over on my Pinterest account. Follow the link if you'd like to see all forty(ish) photos, but here are a few of the highlights just to give you an idea:

Friday, August 2, 2013

Style Cure 2013: Day 1 - The Style Interview

I'm still working on parts of this but I thought I'd just get it posted for now since it took me longer that I expected.
  1. List your favorites in each category:
    • Actor: Um... I don't really have a favorite actor but if you twisted my arm for an answer (ouch, quit it!) I suppose I'd have to say Johnny Depp. He takes all kinds of roles (think Edward Scissorhands to Gilbert Grape, Fear and Loathing to Ed Wood), he's not afraid to look ugly to portray a character or poke fun at himself in the process and he's a delicious looking man.
    • Actress: She's probably more of a style icon for me than a favorite actress, but I'm going to have to say Marlene Dietrich. She was a steely, sexy-as-hell seductress who often played with gender-bending. In Morocco, her first American film, she famously made her entrance dressed as a man, kissed a woman on the lips and then bestowed her costar, Gary Cooper, with a flower. And that was in 1930! She was simply bad ass.
    • Artist: I'm currently obsessed with John Baldessari. Here's a 6 minute film on him:  
    • Writer: This changes all the time, but right now it's Joe Hill
    • Music: My favorite band since I was a wee, angry teenager in combat boots and too much black eyeliner is and has always been Slayer. My musical tastes have evolved, of course, since high school but I think I'll forever hold a spot in my heart for Slayer. My more "grown-up" musical choices include Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, LP, and others but I still bop around to the likes of Bad Religion and Social Distortion, too. 
    • Restaurant: This is also always evolving but right now my favorite restaurant is Dau Fu in Normal Heights (San Diego) on Adams Avenue. It's a chinese and vietnamese fusion place with an extensive vegetarian menu and the food is always amazing. 
    • Automobile: I'm changing my answer! At first I couldn't think of a favorite automobile but then I remembered I have a big crush on the 1959 Cadillac Ambulance/Hearse. It had beautiful lines and having been a hearse, was a bit spooky, too. I do love a healthy sprinkling of spooky.
    • Movie or Television Show: Without a doubt, my favorite movie is True Romance. It's a film with a very strong stylistic point of view. I love the retro, trashy/chic, rock n' roll vibe and the ensemble cast is just ridiculously amazing. It was my first Tarantino flick and it's been my favorite movie since it was released in 1993. My favorite television show is Breaking Bad. It's the best show on TV. Hands down.    
    • Clothing (pieces, designers or stores): If I had a day-to-day uniform, it'd be jeans and a tank top. I'm also a bona fide shoe whore - the taller the heels, the better. 
    • Furniture (pieces, designers or stores): Again, I'm not into furniture enough to have a favorite designer or store. I like unique pieces and I enjoy shopping at antique or second-hand stores. Style-wise, if I picked a favorite piece of furniture it'd be my little dining table and chairs set.  
  1. above - sorry, I lost my formatting and I don't know how to fix this
  2. Choose three words to describe your personal style:  comfortable, bohemian rock n' roll, and quirky
  3. Think back over all the homes you've live in, both as a child and an adult. Which rooms would you choose as your favorites and how would you describe them?
    • Favorite room from a childhood home and a description: Definitely my high-school bedroom with walls covered in posters, notes, art from friends and other pieces of personal expression. A close second would be the living room in the home we had prior to that. It was a very large room with a slanted ceiling, hand-made wood paneling on one of the walls, a huge custom-made (by my dad) bookshelf on another wall, and a big window.
    • Favorite room from an adult home and description: I really haven't liked any of the rooms I've had as an adult (isn't that sad?) but the closest to a favorite I've probably come is a dining room in apartment I had 15(ish) years ago. It had one wall that was floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a cool chandelier. I remember really liking the look of it every time I walked through it. 
  4. Whom would you consider a role model? ??? What three adjectives describe the qualities that you admire in this person? ???
  5. Every home has areas that are "just right". Which three spots or things in your home to you feel are beautiful and feel proud of, right now, as is: Just so we're clear, I'm proud of these spots, but I'm not under the delusion that they're perfect. They all need work. Some more than others, but work nonetheless.
    1. My coffee cart corner - probably my favorite spot.
    2. My bed. It's unbelievably comfortable (thanks grandma!) and I adore my bedding - duvet cover and decorative pillows (thanks mom!). 
    3. My living room desk. It's pretty, functional, well-lit and comfortable. I don't mind spending extended amounts of time working there. And by working, I of course mean uploading digital photos and facebooking. Why, what did you think I meant?
  6. A month from now, at the end of the Style Cure, how would you like your friends to describe your home? Clean, funky, improving, rock n' roll, relaxed, cool, inviting, eclectic, colorful, bright, and fun all with a spiritual bent of possibly the Hindu flavor. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Marni makes... a pretty home

For quite a while now it's been a goal of mine to have a home that is not only comfortable and organized, but beautiful and reflective of myself - both as I am and as I'm working to become. When I think of what I want from my home, I envision a colorful mishmash of quirky, irreverent, functional, unique, personal and largely handmade touches that make me happy. I want a home that I'm excited to share with others. What I've got now is... well it has it's cool spots but it's definitely a work in progress. And since I've lived here over a year now, I can no longer use the old "...but I just moved in," excuse.

Let's just start with the main issues: 
  1. I'm on an extremely limited budget. Almost three years ago, my comfortable little suburban life went boom when my marriage and relationship of eighteen years dissolved. Boom... big-badda-boom. I had managed to back myself into a corner and never having completed college or finding a career for myself, was completely dependent upon my ex. To complicate things, over the course of our marriage, I had become disabled and was unable to work. Financially speaking, this makes things extremely difficult. Which brings me to my next issue...
  2. I don't really like where I live. I looked for months trying to find a place for myself and my son that would meet my requirements: 1) Due to his special needs, I had to keep my son in the same school district. 2) I needed to find a place where I could keep my puppy dog. At 120 pounds, she's a big girl and since she's an American Bull Dog, I was running into weight and breed
    my goofy girl
    restrictions nearly every place I looked. 3) The rent had to be cheap. I was receiving a nearly unlivable amount of support from The Ex and honestly, I couldn't afford much of anything. At what seemed like the last minute, I found low-income housing that met my requirements and moved in just days before the bank foreclosed on our old house. But I don't like it here. The cops are constantly being called out to my complex, there's a great playground but the children here are largely unsupervised, fowl-mouthed heathens and I refuse to expose The Boy to them, and the quality of people here, for the most part, leaves much to be desired. In the plainest of terms, it's a total ghetto and for now, I'm stuck here.
  3. I'm a messy pig. Straight up. I don't like picking up, I'm not very good at nor do I enjoy cleaning. I had previously remedied that issue by hiring a maid service, but that is obviously no longer an option.
  4. I simply have too much shit and my place is tiny. I got rid of an incredible amount of stuff when I moved from my 1750 square foot home to the 950 square foot home I'm in now. But if I'm honest (and really, why wouldn't I be at this point on my own blog?) I could stand to get rid of a lot more. I've been in my place 19 months and have yet to unpack quite a few boxes or finish decorating any of the rooms. To give you an idea of how small this place is, I can literally stand in my kitchen with one hand touching one end of the "room" and my other hand touching the other. I shit you not. It's like trying to cook while standing on a postage stamp. I have to open my refrigerator door in order to get my dishwasher door open. It's absolutely ridiculous and for someone who loves to cook, it's quite maddening. 
But I believe I can make it work. Kinda because I have to make it work and also because I'm actively trying to court optimism in my life. 

I turned 39 last March and made a commitment to myself to get my life in order by the time I turned 40. So I've started meditating on a daily basis once again, recommitted to my spiritual study and began a home-wide culling, organizing and cleaning expedition. I even found myself a man. An amazing man. For serious cats and kittens, uh-maz-ing. There are other goals I'm working towards too, but I'm trying to keep this inaugural blog short. 

Before the big-badda-boom, I was an avid food blogger and a hardcore DIY girl. I made stuff. A lot. Admittedly, I had already slowed the creating train way down due to my disability, but all of those things that made me so happy in the past were just gone and forgotten for nearly two years after I split from The Ex. Depression is a wicked, wicked bitch. However, I have since renewed my sense of purpose and drive. Even though I've started making things again - I'm writing, I'm knitting, I'm making liqueurs and I'm even learning to draw - I also want to get back into cooking and blogging and taking pictures and general DIYery. All things that used to bring me lots of joy. And I want to do so at a sustainable pace so I don't break myself. I have to constantly remind myself to live within my physical limitations. I'm no longer the able-bodied, enthusiastic, DIY dervish I used to be. But I'm not dead, dammit! I'm no longer doing my best impersonation of a buoy and simply letting life happen to me. I'm now grabbing the reigns and doing my best to behave like a proactive, goal-oriented adult. Well, adult(ish). Do any of us ever really feel like an adult?

All this squawkery has brought me to my original point: I've committed to participating in's month-long Style Cure. It's my intention to follow the program throughout the month of August as much as my limited time and severely limited resources will allow. Hopefully, by the end of the month I'll have one pretty groovy room in my place, and some new skills to beautify the rest of my place, room by room, as I can. I haven't decided which room I'm starting with, but I'm counting on that decision becoming more clear as I dig into first couple homework assignments. 

This is already longer than I intended, so I'm shutting my proverbial pie hole for now. I'm off to do my first Style Cure homework assignment.