Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Retro Redesign - Parkside Bungalow Bedroom

Word.  It's Wednesday and time for another Retro Redesign!  The inventory actually looked higher to me this week in San Francisco and I wanted to feature a lesser known neighborhood.  Parkside is part of the Sunset District and while it may not boast the same thrills as say the Mission or Castro, it's AFFORDABLE! (Well, relatively in SF.)  When I saw this sweet bungalow for just under 600k, I wanted to see more.  With a smidge of imagination and a few trips to Lowes (imagine even a trimmed lawn!), I think the curb appeal can be pumped up to super cute.

It's a teeny little starter home at just 900 sq. ft., but the large attic master bedroom option really drew me in to the house.

The pictures look like the previous sale in 2009 and boast a sad attempt at staging. Talk about a bed in a bag and table lamps sitting on the ground.  Boo to the hoo on that.  Look at the potential in here though!  On the other side of the attic, there's room for cute sitting area or office too.

I thought something cottage inspired with a natural or seaside twist would make this space retreat worthy.  I found inspiration from Des Moines of all places. It just goes to show that no matter where you are, you can capitalize on the good bones of your home and build from there.

des moines bungalow bedroom window

After a little browsing and searching, I settled on a few key pieces I think would achieve this look.

Clockwise from Top L:
Benjamin Moore - Paint in Bali, Linen and Falcon Brown
Joss & Main - Cubist Wall Clock
Ten Thousand Villages - Resplendent Rooster Pillow
Joss & Main - 3 Piece Kelly Planter Set
Restoration Hardware - Belgian Linen Bedding (on sale right now)
Overstock - Bali Wood Side Table (40% off similar table at West Elm)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Finds - Emergency Kits

The NERT training I've received, combined with coverage of the Oklahoma tornadoes, stresses the urgency of having an Emergency Kit in one's home.  It's a simple precaution that could mean the difference between surviving a major disaster and not.  Of course, you'll have to tailor your kit for any particularly likely natural disasters in your area, but there are several items everyone should have at the ready.

Clockwise from Top L:
Amazon - Heavy Duty 4 in 1 Utility Shutoff Tool
Cell Phone Stop - Mini Solar Charger
Amazon - 5 in 1 Survival Whistle
Amazon - Red Cross First Aid Kit
Walmart - MagLite
Vermont's Barre - MRE Rations
iTunes - NOAA Weather App

Find complete lists suggested by FEMA here: Basic Disaster Kits

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Look What the Mama Dragged In

I promise, I was walking around and minding my own business.  Mr. P thinks I go looking for strays to take in, but my defense claim is that I'm Type A and know that I will see the situation to a beneficial resolution.  On my way to our neighborhood cafe, I came across Quinn, an energetic fellow running off leash.  It wasn't completely out of he blue as a big park is nearby and dogs often are off leash chasing frisbees.  I asked around to some morning commuters if they recognized the dog and cyclist said, oh yes, his house is right there.  As it turns out, the garage door was slightly ajar which left this pup to his own Houdini devices.

I called both numbers on his collar ID tag (PSA - keep these updated!) and he was united with his mamas within a few hours.  To keep him safe from the street, I waited with him at our house. Oliver curiously tried to engage Quinn, but to his never ending dismay, this dog didn't want to be friends with him.  I swear, he's the friendliest cat and poor little guy just faces rejection after rejection!

Quinn's mama gave me a cafe gift card as a Thank You and I've been enjoying lattes for my pet responsibility for the past several weeks.  No, thank YOU Quinn!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Retro Redesign - North Beach

I'm venturing in Italian territory this week to suggest a few little redesign options for a more recently built condo (and the only place available for under a million in the neighborhood).  The outside of the building in North Beach has hints of Tuscan villa charm with the warm paint and clay tile roofing.

The 2 BD/2BA has a private, darling patio that fits along nicely with the modern take on old world Italian style.

But the interior.  Oh the sad, flavorless interior.

It's the exact opposite of what an inviting, warm feeling you should have after entering the space.  Without altering the flooring (which would be a huge, but worthwhile investment), I think a few quick cosmetic changes could give a face lift that would tide you over until you saved your pennies for a more extensive renovation.  I'm thinking something more along these lines:

Tuscan Dining Room Montaluce

To achieve this look I think these items, appropriately scaled, would really put you in the mood for a big bowl of spicy chorizo pasta (rather than the rubbery plain chicken the current scheme suggests!):

Clockwise from Top L:
Pottery Barn - Pillar Lantern
Overstock - Italian Olive Wood Mixing Spoon
West Elm - Turned Pedestal Bistro Table in Mango Wood
The Shutter Store - Wood Louvered Shutters
Williams-Sonoma - Vine Floral Boutis Table Runner
Overstock -Safavieh Deco Bacall Ivory Slip Cover Side Chair

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods

To my house, Grandmother came!

My sweet, 5 foot nothin', nearly 80-year-old grandma flew across America and landed in California for the very first time in her life.

She tasted tea and scones at high tea ... for the very first time in her life.

She set sight on the Pacific Ocean - an ocean she had heard about only from my grandpa's recollections of sailing it on his way to the Korean war, an ocean she had only seen on TV and in pictures - for the very first time in her life.

She surrendered her very limited palette to a full on culinary assault of the senses tasting pesto, avocado, Swiss cheese, panini and frozen yogurt for the very first time in her life.

When I asked her why she had never eaten Swiss cheese before, she said, "Well it looks funny."

In all of the firsts, I became keenly and freshly aware of the privileged  globetrotting life I take for granted. I've left the international dateline in the dust. I've eaten octopus, alligator and elk.  I've been to three continents and intend on making it to all seven.

I also realized the joy of experiencing firsts well into your 70s and I hope that I can approach firsts with as much enthusiasm as she does.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 4 proactiv+ Review

*Porky Pig stuttering* that's all folks.  

I've completed 4 weeks of proactiv+ treatment and don't see or feel a noticeable difference.  My T-zone is still a splotchy mess of white heads, black heads, large pores and cystic acne.  I received my replacement kit and returned it in the mail today.  I'm getting ready to pack up the nearly empty bottles I've been currently using to exercise the money back guarantee.  

While I'm disappointed in the final outcome, I'm glad I tried it and now know that it doesn't work for me (anymore).  I will keep trying different alternatives, but I think the most valuable thing I learned during this trial was the epiphany during week 2.  I am more than my skin blemishes.  After nearly two decades of struggling with acne, I'm one step closer to releasing myself from the impossible standard of perfect skin. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Finds - The Office Farewell

I'm a sentimental fool at times. I read this piece in the Washington Post, struck by how closely I identified with it. I reminisced with real life colleagues about our memories of the show and our attempts at pranking one another.  As we watched the retrospective, Mr. P and I recalled the cities and companies in which we worked during various seasons.

Then I cried.  I cried for what the show meant to me when I started my first job. For the many farewells I've said to colleagues who have become friends. For the difficult career decisions. For the unrequited, then requited love. For the decade of my 20s that is ceremoniously ending in step with TV friends' farewells.

It became more than a show because it was the vessel for sorting out all the complications of office politics and romance in the tumult of early adulthood. It was served with hilarity, making it that much easier to swallow. For that, I owe this art a debt of gratitude.

Now off to start at the beginning - Season 1: The Pilot. TGIF!

Clockwise from Top L:
The Home Depot - Kidde Pro ABC Fire Extinguisher
Office Depot - Swingline Stapler
NBC Universal Store - World's Best Boss Mug
Overstock - Green Apple Tea Kettle

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fly Slayer

The prey is sighted.

The prey is stalked.

The prey is tracked.

The prey is caught.

The prey is slain.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Retro Redesign - Cole Valley

It's been a few months since a Retro Redesign post! For new blog friends, Retro Redesign is where I take a room from a house currently for sale in San Francisco and give it a little virtual makeover in the spirit of the time it was built.

I adore the charming detail at 177 Parnassus in Cole Valley, but the super modern bed isn't jiving with me. Those gorgeous leaded windows are losing out to the bold black frames and bed stand.

I prefer this version featured on Apartment Therapy that touches the Victorian heritage, but keeps it fresh with the monochromatic scheme.


To achieve this look in the darling room in Cole Valley, I would start with these items:

Clockwise from Top L:
Furniture CMYK - Acrylic Chair
Overstock - Gallery Chandelier
Modern Furniture - Retreat Antique White Bed
Pottery Barn - Sloane Ceramic Vases
Bed Bath and Beyond - Matelasse White Quilt Set
Target - Threshold Shades and Lamp

My favorite bits are the mimicking patterns of the lamp shades and vases tying the decor to the leaded windows. I think I would keep the grey walls and potentially the velvet looking side chair that isn't wholly visible in the listing photos. Is the grey a keeper or will the wood lamps throw the whole thing off?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 3 proactiv Review

My melodramatics have taken a week off.  While my proactiv results this week are underwhelming, they're at least neutral this week.  The painful collection of zits on my upper lip and chin have calmed down, leaving only red traces of their angry havoc on my face.  Currently, I have no white heads and I think the redness has faded a bit overall.  

Though I tried to take the pictures around the same time and in the same window, the weather has been dramatically different and I think the actual improvement in the tone of my skin is hard to determine. I think/feel that I'm less red and I know that I have fewer deep, painful pimples.

I'm gong to plug along until I use all of the product I currently have.  At that point, I'll see how I feel and decide if it will be long term or not.  My blog friend, Nodakademic, with similar skin ailments as mine, has sung the praises of hydrodermabrasion and that might just be my next step.  Onward!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On Being a NERT

Scene: Sirens blaring up and down the street, four fire trucks rushing to the apartment building two doors down. Me rustling through the closet for coat and blankets. Mr. P and Oliver craning their heads out our window.

Me: Oh man, if I had graduated, I would have my hard hat and vest!
Mr. P: I wouldn't let you out of the house in that.

End Scene.

I am one class away from graduating as a Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) member.  NERT is a volunteer organization that assists emergency responders in light search and rescue after a catastrophic event.  The event would have to be overwhelming to professional emergency responders, and here in the Bay Area, that means the BIG ONE.

The six week class session covered utility shut offs, emergency first aid, medical triage and a few drills to practice our knowledge.  If you're civic minded and have a helper mentality, you might really enjoy this.  Around the country the organization is called Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), but it's the same idea.  The little bit of extra training is just enough so that the natural helpers can most effectively engage in response efforts and not hinder professional responders.

Last night, I gathered a blanket and walked down to the street ready to help if needed. Though I was sans my hard hat and vest, I wanted to volunteer if needed.  Several neighbors waited on the sidewalk to hear the news.  The news was anti-climatic as it turns out, thankfully.  Just a false alarm.

One more class and I can add my hard hat and vest to my emergency go bag, ready for the real alarm.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 2 proactiv Results


I'm conflicted about posting this picture. It's my face, my bare face with more acne than either previous picture. It's embarrassing. And yet, it's the face I walk around with each day.  It's the face I'm wearing right here in the coffee shop with other real live people looking at me and interacting with me. You are kind enough to be my blog friends. I think you deserve to see my face.  I also think you deserve to know what the second week of proactiv+ looked like for me.

Basically, it got worse.  It got worse! They always say it will get worse before it gets better. I mean all the acne product people.  The products have to get all the deep under the skin blemishes and raise the junk to the surface.  I've lived through it before.  I think Accutane was the worst with the peeling, flaking skin and the bloodied corners of my mouth.  No matter what the worse is, it just feels plain old bad.  The promise of it getting better when you see it worsening does not comfort.

Starting week 3, I'm skeptical. It's only half way through my 30 day trial and I feel like quitting.  I feel like running to the makeup counter and asking them to paint it all away. I know that it would be a temporary fix though and that my skin won't get healthier by covering it up.

There are worse things in life like starvation, lack of shelter and violence.  I know this.  I also know a lot of people understand the affect acne has on your psyche and confidence. While I'm not proud that this experiment seems to be failing and it looks like I'll be piling up one more failed attempt at clear skin, I am proud to start reclaiming confidence.  This is my face.  Whether or not my skin is ever clear of blemishes, I hope above all it registers as a kind face, a warm face and a friendly face.

As I search my face for those markers, I notice myself searching for those markers in other faces too.  Blemishes, hair, skin tags, warts and wrinkles all have a way of disappearing on the faces of kind people. If I take this lesson to heart, it was probably worth the $40 proactiv+ price tag.