5 more...

21. Really, Hollywood? You are the only city that has TWO DMV's, that of which neither are full functioning? Really? I have to go to this one for vehicle registration, and that one for obtaining a driver's license? And they are a 5 minute drive apart? Couldn't you just have saved time, money, and land mass and been in ONE FREAKING PLACE? And really, California DMV website? Why don't you inform people of this fact? Even better, you brag about a "Make an Appointment" function, in which you misled me by scheduling me an appointment for a Driver's License at the Registration place. Real cool, website. Real cool.

22. When it's windy here, watch out. Trees fall over. It is noon, and I have already heard of 3 falling into roadways near me on the news. Good thing we park in a garage! But even beyond that, while driving, you get pelted with shards of palm tree crap. That stuff is huge, and hard, and scratchy. Every time it hit my car today, it scared me half to death.

23. Panorama City's Home Depot sources their Christmas trees from Salem, Oregon. That is rad. :] I'm sorry if that is the 15th time you heard that, I am just really excited about it. That made my Christmas!

24. So we got a GPS... and I am learning that it can't be fully trusted. Nor can it pronounce half of the street or freeway names around here. (Son Tomon Eeka? Oh... Santa Monica)

25. No one recycles here. It is sad. I still can't figure out where you take pop cans to recycle. There are no nifty machines outside every grocery store. But I still see bums with huge garbage sacks full of them... so we must be able to take them SOMEWHERE. The other day, Matt was asked "Paper or plastic?" at the store. He replied "Paper, please." The clerk looked at Matt like he was absolutely retarded and said "You knoooowww they don't have handles, right?"

More blog posts to come, I promise. I have hair news to share, as promised! (Hint: it's good news. Phew!)


.why my husband rocks.

{ me and husband that rocks }

Yesterday, my husband woke up at 6:30am with me to go get a Christmas tree. He didn't get very much sleep Wednesday night, and still woke up for something that he wasn't nearly as excited as I was about (see picture). But he fulfilled his promise to me that we would "get a tree on Thursday" despite some changes in plans to his schedule. Those changes are what sparked the need to go at 7am when Home Depot opened. I was stoked. He was sleepy. But I could tell that he was a little stoked... just to see me so stoked :]

Love him.

Orange Berlin, here I come

It's official! I have convinced myself (and yes, Lauren, you influenced me as well) that I will indeedy be going with Bridgitte at Orange Berlin in West LA for my first haircut here in the city.

I booked my appointment through Lifebooker. The whole process was smooth, and oh-so convenient to do online, without dealing with a salon's phone. ...Do salon phones bother anyone else? I feel like even if you call during business hours that they ring forever, and if you're lucky enough to get an answering machine, good luck hearing from them at the earliest two days from now.

Anyway. Lifebooker asks for your credit card number, not to charge you for the booked service, but to charge you in case you don't show up, or cancel outside the salon's policy (most salons
require 24 hours notice, but the policy for your specific locale is clearly stated before you click "Book!"). Otherwise, your card won't be charged a dime.

This Lifebooker concept really has me intrigued. It is a brilliant idea. Win-win for consumer and vendor alike. Discounts for me... Clients for them... Convenience for me...Money pumping in from flakey potential clients for them...

My appointment is next Tuesday morning. I will most definitely be blogging about my experience. And--fingers crossed--have a good enough experience to post pictures of the outcome.

I am nervous and excited. Now I have to find some pictures of what I want... And before that, DECIDE what I want.

I am bouncing back and forth between growing it out as fast as possible (my hair is actually getting pretty long already)... like option A.

{ A. Vanessa Hudgens }
What I like: I can do more with it when it's long, and I can wear it wavy (read: little to no effort)
What I dislike: My hair is about this length right now, and the longest layers sometimes look and feel stringy (like in this picture) which can tend to drive me crazy.
What I can't decide if I like or dislike: Bangs... Straight across, side swept, or grow them out?

Or, to chop the longer layers to a more medium-length. I am not as stoked on this style idea, but I am trying to phase into lighter brown shades and eventually back to my naturally dirty blonde haircolor. So chopping it off will help that process. I know that I am hyper-neurotic about hair damage, but I am not crazy with how my hair is handling all this dying business. So there is that. Like option B.

{ B. Rachel McAdams }

What I like: The volume of the not quite curly, but not quite straight. I could do that.
What I dislike: The long layers. I would need to have some shorter layers with how outrageously thick my hair is.
What I can't decide if I like or dislike: Will going shorter make me look like I'm a grown up with a real job... or like I did in 6th grade? And again... bangs or no?

My fringe debate...
{ Demi Lovato }
Bang-option in question.

{ Random bride model, I guess... }
No-bang-option in question.

To further keep my mind racing (yes, I really stress about this unimportant kind of thing...) There is always option C. None of the above.

i.e. Some uber trendy LA cut that I have not yet identified (and I always have my eyes peeled for this type of thing), or that Bridgette, my future-stylist, may suggest. This is obviously a huge gamble--I either adore it, or despise it.




little letters.

Dear LA weather,

Thanks for the sunshine, and not allowing the air here to get down to 15 degrees, like it is in Salem. And, despite what everyone else is saying... I really didn't mind that rain.

Dear Dryer,

You make our apartment smell so good and feel so warm. You really know how to work those dryer sheets. But why do you insist on taking at least two full cycles to get anything dry?

Dear God,

Thank you for eggnog and the smell of Christmas trees.

Dear Home Depot in Panorama City,

Thank you for outsourcing your Christmas tree supply from Salem, Oregon. And thank you for only charging $24.88 for a 6' Douglas Fir, rather than $60, like that lot in Toluca Lake. You made me really happy today.

Dear Pandora radio,

Dear Day Off from Work,

I love you.


This post was inspired by this post on Taza's rockstar diaries blog. I give credit where it is due.

Hairstylist hunt

Unfortunately, I am rapidly approaching the in-dire-need-of-a-haircut stage. Ugh. I so don't want to deal with finding a hairstylist around here.

I am poor, but don't want to fall victim to a fresh out of beauty school n00b trying to be LA edgy type of disaster (but it was such a deal!).
You know what I am talking about.I stumbled upon this website a few weeks ago and have been seriously contemplating using it. It's called LifeBooker. Lucky for me, and not-so-lucky for my Oregon readers, this site is for the biggest cities only. My guess is it will slowly grow to encompass smaller metropolises. But until then--it is helpful if you live in NYC or LA.

{ Lifebooker LA screenshot }

The site provides lists of vendors for different services: haircut, hair color, mani, pedi, massage, waxing, etc. The LA list even encompasses teeth whitening and Pole Dancing Workout classes. What?!

Check out the right side of the screen. The search engine for the site absolutely rocks. You can select your price range (or how high you want the discount to be), where the business is located, practitioner gender, time of appointment availability, etc. ...Basically awesome.

Once you find a couple of potential businesses you are interested in, you can view their list of services and prices and--the best part--reviews!

This is the Lifebooker page of the salon that I am considering. It's called Orange Berlin, and a ton of the reviews rave about a stylist named Brigitte.

...Don't you want your haircut on Beverly Blvd in West LA by a woman by that name? 'Cause I sure do.

This is what the salon looks like:

*sidenote: even the blogpost on Blackburn and Sweetzer
had people commenting about Brigitte. I think she must be legit.

And their cute logo (why am I a sucker for this stuff?). Although, other than this banner, their website totally sucks:

I expected to have to pay more living here for a haircut than my $20-something Salem style (ah, those were the days)... But with 65% off, bringing it down to $52.50 for a salon--and stylist, no less--with rave reviews... I am very tempted to just go for it.

What do you think?

Lessons learned in LA [part 4]


16. I have realized that I have to water my plants with filtered water for them to survive. After a month of dedicated watering, I finally figured out why they were getting browner and browner. And I don't have complex plants. Two shutes of bamboo in vases with only water, and a potted plant that is for "low light and low water." Easy peasy. Except for when your water is practically radioactive. My bamboo has successfully rehabilitated, but I am a little worried that my once-adorable potted plant is a gonner. (Sorry Linds...)
17. Sales tax is super annoying.

18. Everyone's car is clean here. As if I don't feel inadequate enough driving a 1996 Ford Contour, let's top it off with it being filthy. It was fine in Oregon. It rained too much to make a carwash hardly worth it--especially at the end of November. Here, however, I am the poor, dirty kid. ...I really need to get on that.

19. My all time favorite Christmastime Starbucks beverage -- White Chocolate Gingerbread Mocha, which I count down the days for (literally) -- is hardly enjoyable here. This cup of liquid Christmas-wintery-deliciousness just isn't the same in 80 degree sunshine with palm trees everywhere. It is a little sad, actually.
20. I love that I can actually dress up here. Like if I look nice for work, no one questions me or my motives. They expect it. It is so much fun, and I can get away with crazier stuff! Although, my temptation to buy more clothes is oh-so-much-more prevalent now... sigh.

{ photo via PBase }

Lessons learned in LA [part 3]


11. Don't get me wrong, I am SO grateful that we have a washer and dryer in our apartment. I can't imagine dealing with a laundromat around here. But have you used a stackable set? One load is literally probably a third of the size of what I was used to. That is code for laundry all day, every day.

12. People at work are absolutely shocked that I didn't know how to pump gas until I moved here. They think I am a crazy liar. After they ask me "Really?" or "Are you serious?" a minimum of three times, they immediately take me to the nearest person that they know and share the news. They show me off like I am some sort of treasure that they found first, and are anxious to brag about. It never fails. This exact scenario has happened four times.

13. Stovetops and ovens are all gas here--nothing electric, which is all that I have ever used. Plus side, our oven heats up 100x times faster than our oven did in our last apartment. Down side, sometimes things burn faster...
14. Coffee is borderline hard to find here. There is no such thing as a tiny drive-thru coffee place in a parking lot in LA. Starbucks are almost hard to find (almost). Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is much more popular. And having a drive-thru on any coffee place is an absolute rarity. Sad day.

15*. I heard someone describe me at work the other day to someone else, when they didn't know I could hear them. Nothing in depth, or mean... Person A was just describing me to Person B so Person B could go and find me. Person A described me by saying, "She is the Caucasian female." Yep. That is me. THE Caucasian female. More accurately, THE Caucasian.

*Let me just say, that this is perfectly fine with me. I really didn't even notice this fact until I was described this way. It is just very different for me to be the absolute minority out of 70+ employees. But I am enjoying this new perspective of life :)And I found it really funny that I was described this way, and that Person B was able to instantly find me.

...And that I was described as "Caucasian female" and not "white girl." Person A also went on and said "She has blondish hair" when my hair is dark brown. Person A may just have a poor memory, but I am pretty sure that I was stereotyped as a token blonde white girl. THAT is awesome.

{ photo via Of America blog }

Lessons learned in LA [part 2]


6. Blinkers and red lights are absolutely irrelevant here. It is both frustrating and frightening.

7. No one here knows where Salem, Oregon is. They look at me like I am speaking of a foreign country. So then I say "Oregon. The state." Then they go "Ooooh!" Well, most people. Some people still don't know what the heck I am talking about.

8. The water tastes disgusting.

9. Taking French in high school was a very poor decision on my part.

10. I want a GPS unit for Christmas.

{ via Zazzle }

Lessons learned in LA [part 1]

I have these lists posted on my Facebook, but due to a surprising amount of response I got out of them, I think I should post them here as well ...in case you aren't (gasp!) my Facebook friend.

I am going to post them in phases, just as I originally posted them. Because, well, I don't want this to come across as overkill. 5 at a time is plenty :)

The first 5...

1. I thought I had a pretty decent internal compass before I moved here. I somehow lost it when I arrived, and I can't tell you which way the beach is, or which way North is... ugh.

2. I already almost got in an accident on Hwy 101. I guess I've been inducted to the LA Freeway driving society now, right?

3. One reason why our apartment rocks: There is an intercom system. I feel so legit, I can decide if I want to buzz people in. Because, you know, I already have a million friends here, and they all want to visit...

4. Another reason why our apartment rocks: Walk-in closet. I am going to blog about it. That is how much I love it.

5. The other day I practically brushed shoulders with Carson Daly. How weird is that? He banks at Wells Fargo, just so you all know. He was headed for the ATM. I so wanted to peek over his shoulder and look at his account balance--but I resisted.

agenda for today

1. Drink coffee with eggnog instead of cream and sugar [check]
2. Get a Christmas tree with the hubby [check... blog post to come]
4. Decorate said Christmas tree
3. Laundry [in progress]
4. Bust out the Christmas music: Mariah Carey, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams... only the best.
5. Go to the bank (boring)
6. Bake Christmas cookies
7. Attempt to show my face again on this poor, neglected blog

Okay, it's posted. Now I have to use this to keep myself accountable.

The outfit I want to wear today...

This is exactly what I want to be wearing today. It's a chilly 52˚ outside (I know... wah, wah).

I love this because all of it is from Forever 21, and therefore, all affordable.

I really have those boots, and I am so in love with them. The rest of the outfit is similar to stuff that I own, other than the purse. I love that bag. However, in person, it is itty bitty. I know that being itty bitty makes it Harajuku-chic, which I am all for. But I just can't deal with an itty bitty purse. I am a bigger-the-better kind of purse girl.

So the scale in this picture makes me happier :)

{ created with Polyvore }

Have any of you checked out Polyvore yet?


my favorite time of year

It's official. Holiday jolliness kicks off tomorrow with the highly anticipated (what? you didn't highly anticipate this? it's just me?) release of the red cups at Starbucks. And gingerbread. And eggnog.

Yummmmmmmm. I might be too excited to sleep. ...Might be.

I count down the days until Gingerbread comes. It's on my calendar. It is slightly embarrassing, but 100% true. I love it that much.

It is SO delicious. It tastes like liquid Christmas. And I love Christmas.

And those red cups are just plain joy-inducing. You can't deny it!

{ random photo that looked pretty that I found here }

Grande gingerbread white chocolate mocha, how I love you so. It has been 10 long months since my lips parted from your plastic lid, but tomorrow we will reunite!

OCTOBER designer of the month :: Tim Cooper

Yikes, I am behind! Let's pretend it is October still, shall we?

Who :: Tim Cooper for his Modo Illustrator concept work for Lamborghini

From :: Portland, Oregon -- one last Oregon designer!

Why I love :: Extremely creative. Great detail. I appreciate his designs more for the sake of art than that of function.

Favorite piece of the moment :

{ Lamborghini Gallardo Stilettos by Tim Cooper as seen here }
How outrageous are these? No, I wouldn't wear them. But seriously. Can't you just picture a trashy Nascar driver's girlfriend wearing these?
This is the actual Lamborghini Gallardo:

How cool. I love how creative Cooper got with this.
And those heels are made of carbon fiber. That is legit.


dress shopping, anyone?

Yes, please.

{ gown by Marchesa via The Out Net }

Retails for $4,830. Available here for $1,690.50.

I know, still pricey for a dress. But what a discount, right?!

Marchesa is a New York based design house. Celebrity clients include Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway, Sienna Miller, Penelope Cruz, Kate Beckinsale, Cameron Diaz, and Eva Longoria. You can view these photos by clicking "Red Carpet" on the Marchesa website.


addition to DIY : dining chair revamp

Okay, now...

Did I mention that my husband picked out the fabric for the seats?

No, I did not.

Well, he did. He is that awesome.

sewing adventures: Throw pillows!

I was on a DIY-ing roll last week, so I am still catching up on my blogging to show it off!

I won't go too into detail, because I am a sewing n00b, and most people probably know how to sew a pillow case.

But I DO want to tell you about the fabric... I bought this at Red, White & Blue Thrift in Gladstone, OR with my good friend and fellow blogger, Lauren. She introduced me to this place, and it is seriously rad. Like seriously. Check out the rockin' deals Lauren has found there here and here. I have gone to RW&B with Lauren twice now, and this fabric was a result of shopping trip #1. The rest of my purchases weren't too exciting, but I plan on posting my finds from the more recent shopping trip #2 very soon.

...Okay, back to the point. This fabric actually lived it's first life as a (super incredible) sheet. I found it mixed in with the table cloths and blankets.

Get this--it was $2.99. A queen sized sheet, which is equal to about 5 1/2 yards of fabric, was $2.99! I wasn't sure what I would use it for, but I couldn't miss out on a deal like that. Fabric can get pricey, and I figured I could at the very least use it for sewing experiments, and not feel bad!

So I used it for two pillowcases, and have a lot left for other experimenting. Perfect!

Fabric ($2.99 for more than enough)
Scissors (I really need to get me some sewing scissors...)
Measuring tape (obviously mine is a little more industrial than the typical seamstress. Cut me a break)
Straight pins
Sewing machine (Or, I suppose, if you are more patient than I, you could hand stitch this one)
20" x 20" feather pillow ("Fjadrar" from IKEA, $7.99 each)

{ Supplies }

Step 1: Cut
Cut your squares of fabric - again, I didn't use a pattern. I eye-balled it. I roughly traced the area around the pillow and added a few inches on all sides to allow room for the pillow fluff, and for my amateur-unpredictable seam allowance.

Step 2: Pin sides
I laid square 1 face up on the ground, then my pillow, then square 2 face down on the pillow lined up squarely. (I wasn't super picky about my fabric pattern being 100% continuous from front to back, but I made sure that my stripes were going the same direction.) I then used my straight pins to close up 3 sides of my soon-to-be pillowcase. I made sure the fabric was taught, but not so tight that it didn't allow for the pillow fluff to relax.

{ Working station a.k.a. the floor of our apartment }

{ Pre-sew }

Step 3: Sew sides
I pulled out the pillow from my pinned fabric and ran it through my sewing machine using a basic, straight stitch. I then turned it right-side-out and put the pillow back in.

Step 4: Finish open side
I finished my pillow the lazy way. I didn't do any velcro, zippers, buttons, or whatever. So I can't wash the case without ripping open my seam. But I don't care. I figure if I ever really want to wash it, the burden of zipping it through the sewing machine to re-shut it wasn't enough to teach myself how to sew enclosures--yet. That will be another day. So I turned my raw edge in, pinned it across, and craftily ran that through the sewing machine as well.

That's right! NO hand stitching!

I hate hand stitching.

{ Done! }

So easy! And my husband was so proud of my handiwork!

Yessss... I love appearing more crafty than I really am :]


DIY moving announcements

I have to admit that one of the (many) reasons I was excited to move was to send out moving announcements.

I am a nerd, I know.

But come on, my husband and I don't plan on sending baby announcements anytime soon, and no one has home phone lines anymore, so we don't have a cutesy shared answering machine greeting. There are only so many other coupley-things left to do!

Here are a few from Etsy that I LOVE:

These were my inspiration:

This is what I ended up with:

Obviously, I blurred out our address. But you can imagine what it looks like.

I made it myself. I plan on emailing it out, rather than snail mailing, just for simplicity's sake. Although, I really love mail, and handwritten cards. I just am too busy right now to deal with it, and I am saving money on printing and postage because I need to cover a lot of people.

This is my technically-unsavvy-DIY method:
Used Microsoft Word to play around with wording, fonts, and placement.
Used Google Images search to find a cute bird and nest.
Copy and pasted that sucker in.
Hit the Print Screen button.
Copy and pasted that into Microsoft Paint. (Yes, Paint.)
Cropped as desired and saved.
Uploading said saved file onto Picnik to play around with colors. (I also used this to blur out my address for this blog post)
Saved as jpeg through Picnik.
Emailed to address book.

DIY dining chair revamp

Eat your heart out, Centsational Girl.

First some background, because these chairs come with a little history.

I got this table and chairs from House of Charis, the house I lived in while attending OSU. House of Charis got them from a kind hearted man from our house's parent church. Let's call him
Dave. Dave heard that a local McDonald's was closing and getting rid of all of their furniture.
He thought "Charis needs furniture!"
Did we?
But how sweet, right?
So Dave knocked on our door one day with a pickup truck and a trailer full of McDonald's furniture to make a surprise delivery. Of course, we accepted. So we proceeded to fill the basement boiler room with and excessive amount tables and chairs. And there it all sat for three years.

Fast forward to August 2008, right after my husband and I got married. We didn't have much, including a kitchen table or chairs. I thought, shoot. We can get a free table and chairs from the Charis basement. That will work for awhile. So I picked out a clean set, threw a table cloth on the table, and voila! It worked.

Fast forward to now. I am still a poor newlywed. In case you didn't know.

However, now it's been over a year with these ugly chairs. I wanted to bring out the potential that I saw in them. They are not gorgeous, I know. They are still 90s looking. But come on, for free chairs? For poor young people? They are fab.



Sandpaper (89 cents a sheet)
409 or other household cleaner
2 cans of Rustoleum spray paint in Hammered Black ($7.99 each)
2 yards of upholstery fabric ($6.99 per yard and I had extra...probably could have gotten away with 1.5 yards)
Upholstery tacks and hammer ($1.49 for 20 tacks. You could also use a staple gun.)

Step 1: Repaint frame
First, I used the screwdriver to remove the seat cushion.

Then I did a once over with 409, because this chair had seen better days. I have cleaned it over and over, and it still never looked too hot--or clean for that matter.

Then I used sandpaper to really have at the super dirty spots, the rusty and peely spots along the bottom of the legs, and just rough up the surface in general.

I used Rustoleum because my chairs were metal. That stuff is the bomb. Make sure you put down a drop cloth (or in my case, flattened boxes, as I currently have a plethora of those), and are in a well ventilated area. Do two coats to ensure even coverage. I used about one can per

Step 2: Reupholster cushions
I started out with a staple remover to try and pull out the (bazillion!) staples from the underside of the cushion. That didn't get me very far, and I had much better luck with a regular screwdriver and pliers.

I also discovered that pulling out every staple would take me about 30 years, so I actually ended up ripping and cutting a lot of the vinyl off. I kept the black underside batting in tact.

The cushion foam was in good shape, so I didn't need to replace that. If you recover your own chair, you may need to replace this--especially if your chair was covered in something other than vinyl. Luckily, my foam was protected from all of the Diet Coke spills I'm sure my chair endured during it's McDonald's days.

I layed out my fabric and cut around it. I didn't measure. I eyeballed it. I left a few inches of overhang on each side, and I cut both pieces from the same section of the fabric for pattern continuity. (If that doesn't make sense to you, I basically cut both pieces side by side on the bottom edge of my fabric)

I did one cushion at a time. I would recommend this. That way I only had one torn up cushion, and one intact cushion. I used the intact one as a reference for how the fabric was wrapped and tacked on. I used one tack in each corner, and one tack in the center of each side--so 8 tacks each seat.

I ruined two tacks with the hammer, and pulled out a few and redid their placement a few times. The second cushion was definitely easier. I would recommend tacking in the sides first, and then tacking the corners. I didn't do this on the first one, and that was the cushion I had to pull out my tacks a few times. Doing the corners last gives you more control for tightening the fabric where you need to, and getting prettier corner pleats.

Screw your seats back onto the chair frame.

Step 3: Fancy up the table
I set my table with placemats and silverware from IKEA, tealights, and our black dishes by Oneida.
I cut two small strips of my upholstery fabric (because I have a lot left) and wrapped and tied them around my silverware bundles.

Now that's my kind of rags to riches story.

I heart my new closet.

Our apartment in LA has a walk-in closet. This is by far the best closet of the three living spaces that my husband and I have now shared.

And I am most excited to have a focal point--yes, a focal point, even in my closet. My scarves.

Mmmm... don't they just look divine?

I love me some color-coding.


flipped for these photos

I have been going through blogging withdrawal! But we are officially moved in, and I have several blog posts cooking--so know that I am back in business!

And just because I feel like sounding like a creepy slow jam radio DJ:
Let's get things started with one of my favorites... an engagement shoot.
(Oh yeah, did you read that in a Barry White voice? Because you should have.)

This is my friend Molly and her fiance Brad.

{ photos by Suzannah Kruse }

Amazing, no?

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