Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Introduction to Yoga

Yes, I am back.  Finally.  I didn't drop off the face of the earth.  I just sort of got... busy.  Very busy.

It was more than just that though.  Yes, there have certainly been 60-hr work weeks which pretty much consumed me.  But there have also been lulls and little recovery periods in between crazy weeks.  I'm in one of those down times now, which is part of the reason I'm back to blogging.  Still, I like to think that the main reason I'm here again is because I want to manage my time better.  Time management is a frightening concept for me.  It brings to mind school and homework and term papers and group projects.  Time management has always meant somehow increasing the number of hours in the day so that I'll have enough time to finish the million and one things that absolutely have to be done.  So maybe I shouldn't scare myself away by calling my new goal "time management."

Let's call it "balance" instead.  Yes, there are still things in my life that have to be done.  I have to go to work, pay my bills, wash my dishes, and keep my apartment from deteriorating into a pigsty.  Then there are the things I would like to do, like hang out with my friends, spruce up Apartment 1925, read books, blog, and just enjoy myself.  The problem is that I don't always make the "fun stuff" a priority.  Yes, it is undoubtably more important for me to have a roof over my head than to re-read my favorite book ever.  But, if it's possible without stretching myself too thin, why not do both?  Why not carve out a chunk of time for those moments of bliss?

No, I'm not going to be able to do every hobby I've ever dreamed of and run a marathon a day, just for fun.  But if I pay more attention to how I spend my time, maybe I'll find that I do have more time for activities beyond work and sleep.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Decorating for Spring

I have a secret: I don't really like Easter decorations.  Bunnies and eggs and chicks in an array of pastel colors just don't really do it for me.  I find the whole concept rather... odd, to say the least.

Maybe I'm put off by it because I don't understand what cute, fuzzy animals have to do with Easter at all.  I would understand decorating for spring- incorporating a few woodland creatures here, a chunk of sparkly fake grass there.  How did that become decorating "for Easter"?

Thank goodness for google!  I started to type in "why are bunnies" and the second autofill/guess was "why are bunnies associated with easter."  I admit, it freaks me out  a bit when google reads my mind.  Once I get past that, it's nice to know that other people are wondering the same thing as me, often enough that google recognizes the beginning of a common query.  With the help of google, my old friend wikipedia brought up a short and sweet article linking rabbits and eggs to fertility, and thus to spring.  From there, I could connect the dots to see "pagan" rituals incorporated into a Christian holiday.  The close proximity of the spring equinox made this easier to do.

Alrighty then.  As a lover of all things Greco-Roman, I can live with this explanation.  It makes sense and this kind of mish-mash of paganism and Christianity is not without precedent.  Armed with this knowledge, I'm trying to be more accepting of all the little Easter chicks and bunnies in my life.  I'd rather celebrate the arrival of spring with fresh colors and budding flowers, hold the adorable woodland creatures.  To each, her own, I guess.

Now to the true purpose of this post: sharing some cute spring/Easter decorations I found in the Easter Entertaining section of Pottery Barn.  Yup, Pottery Barn has seasonal decorations!  Now I'm going to be obsessed with checking back every time we get remotely close to a holiday of any sort.  That is how much I love (looking at) Pottery Barn stuff.

I know I said I don't love bunnies, but isn't the overall feel of this picture so delightful.  I really need to make cupcakes with white icing this year!
Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

PS: If that's not really how google works, please don't enlighten me.  If it really is reading my brain, I don't want to know.  If it senses that I'm writing a post with the words "easter" and "bunny" and assumes I'm going to ask a related question, I definitely don't want to know.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Green With Envy

So remember how I was just talking about how I would love to have a tufted loveseat?  Today, one of my favorite bloggers just wrote about her own tufted sofa odyssey.  Apparently, Kate at Centsational Girl has had her eye on that same Crate and Barrel love seat that I included in my inspiration pics.  Today she wrote about how she found a similar one at Macy's $300 less.

Check out her post here.

Boy would I love to head to Macy's right now!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Living Room Loveseat Lust

I am still searching for the perfect chair or loveseat for my living room.  At Goodwill today, I found an adorable little tufted armchair for $14.91.  I would have snapped that baby up in a heartbeat but it was in terrible condition.  The foam showed through the fabric in multiple places.  I know recovering is an option, but the foam I could see was sooooo icky I didn't even want to touch it.  So unfortunately I left the little beauty behind.

What I learned is that I'm absolutely in love with tufted chairs and loveseats right now.  I would love love love to have one in my living room.  It seems like the chances of finding one are pretty slim, but for now I'm going to scour all the local thrift stores and craigslist and hope for the best.  In the mean time, here are some I found online and love.

The Old Painted Cottage

The Old Painted Cottage

Crate and Barrel via Decor Pad

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Made Something Today!

Have you met Kim at Oh, Sweet Joy?

I haven't, but I'd sure like to!  I stumbled upon her blog a couple weeks ago when I was googling ways to turn a closet into a sewing space.  Here's what she did:
Oh, Sweet Joy: Closet Sewing Space
Isn't that just the coolest?  I'm not going to be able to take the doors off my closet sewing space but I plan to make it every bit as cute as Kim's!

Isn't her living room just adorable as well?  I have to admit that I'm getting a bit envious.  She has great taste in a way that I find accessible.

Oh, Sweet Joy: Living Room

Anyway, she recently posted a tutorial about how to make a business card holder.  This is something I definitely need!  I never seem to have business cards on me when I actually need them and they also tend to get bent over time.

Here's Kim's:
Oh, Sweet Joy

And here's mine!
Sorry, don't know why the picture is so fuzzy!

Yay for easy but useful projects!  Pop on over to Oh, Sweet Joy to try this project yourself.  Just remember that Kim's tutorials are for personal use only :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apartment Goal #2

Another one of my spaces that could use a bit of love is my living room.  I like this room as-is and I've already done some fun stuff in here, including hanging my mason jar chandelier.  Still, there is always room for improvement and I'd definitely like to make this room a bit more stylish.

I'm already pretty happy with the table side of the room.  Just out of the frame is my mason jar chandelier.  I love the convenience of my drop leaf table, but I am thinking about recovering the chairs.  That can be toward the bottom of the living room to-do list because I don't really have a problem with the blue.  I just think a brighter color could also be fun.

This side of the room is where the challenges begin.  First, ignore that big honking brown dresser at the front.  I finally moved the yellow dresser into my bedroom, but that left the brown one stranded in my living room.  This baby's going on Craigslist as soon as I get the time to clean it up and photograph it.  Maybe I should have done that instead of blogging?

In any case, even without the brown dresser, this side is a work in progress.  You can see that I put up some pictures for a gallery wall, which I love.  Other things I love in this picture are my cozy cable-knit throw and the fabulous yellow and oatmeal throw pillow on the chair.  The chair itself provides a lot of food for thought.  It's wide and deep and super comfy.  My mom found it at a thrift store and it's in great condition.  The only thing I don't love about it is the color.  The green isn't even that bad, especially once you add the pillow and the throw.  I think it's just something I fixate on.  I either need to save my money for a slipcover or find something else to focus on.

Something that I would love to have in this space is a second chair or loveseat.  Either one would be perpendicular to where the dresser is now.  I've been pretty picky about what I want though.  It's an important step to making this room look finished, but it's not the kind of essential that I absolutely have to have and so I'm not willing to settle on something I don't absolutely love.  Am I setting the standard too high?  I'm not sure.  I think I'll find something I like soonish or run out of patience and find something that's "good enough."

I think it will be a lot easier to pull the room together once I have a second chair or loveseat.  The new piece of furniture would help determine accent colors, whether I need a coffee table, and if I should hunt for a fabulous area rug.

I might add painting that bookshelf to the to-do list, but I'm not sure yet.  I don't love the dark laminate but it doesn't look bad because all my doors are painted a deep brown.  I think I'm ambivalent about that bookshelf in general.  It's made of cheap particle board and I think I could find a thrift-store piece that is more interesting and better made.  That's another thing that will have to wait until a second chair/couch moves in.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention the number one thing on my to-do list: get mini blinds for that door!  Did you see my lovely curtain?  It's not even artfully hung between two cafe rods.  I bought one used curtain of the wrong size and had to cut it into two squares to make it work for that window.  Classy, right?  I should add going to Home Depot or Lowes to my list for say... tomorrow.  

Alrighty, now to the best/worst part of the post: the part where I show pictures of amazingly fabulous living rooms.  I love this part because it's inspiring.  On the other hand, sometimes I find it depressing.  I love these spaces that I'm about to show you, but is it unrealistic for me to hope my rooms will have the same feel someday? I think the key to that question is "someday."  If I want to wake up tomorrow and suddenly have gorgeous spaces, of course I'm going to be disappointed.  If I'm willing to wait and accumulate furniture and accent pieces as I find them at a price I can afford, maybe at some point I'll have a magazine-worthy room.  In the mean time, I'm happy with what I have!

Country Living


Example of Cottage Chic from


As you can see, I'm really loving neutral living rooms.  I think neutrals make such relaxing spaces and I love the pops of color and neat accents that a neutral room allows you to add.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Went to a Hardware Store!

Don't laugh at me- as a new diy-er, going to a hardware store to shop for supplies felt like an enormous accomplishment.  It was my way of saying "look out world!  Mary Catherine is getting ready to tackle a project."

Want to hear about my impressive haul? Of course you do!  I bought two rubber washers, a set of corner braces, and some sandpaper. And I picked them out all by myself!  The rubber washers are for a leaning lamp and the corner braces are for wobbly bookshelves.  The sandpaper is by far the most exciting part because I'm going to use it to prep my porch chairs for painting.  That's right: I'm getting that show on the road!

Alrighty, I'm off to stabilize my bookshelves but then onto the fun part: sanding!  (yeah, go ahead and laugh about me being excited about sanding.  I'm sure it won't be as much fun as I'm making it out to be, but it will be progress)