Countertops, Sewer Lines, and Spoiled Dogs (Or I’m Remodeling a Bathroom)

I’m baaaack.

Since being unceremoniously awakened by a swift kick from the dog at 5:30 this morning, I’ve sent 42 emails, made 94 phone calls, and now I’m feeling creative…

So here I am.

What I SHOULD be doing is taking down my Christmas decorations, but who wants to do that on a Friday morning?

I realize it is presently the 21st of FEBRUARY (details), but I don’t like taking down twinkly lights. It makes me sad.

At least I unpacked from my last trip to Michigan immediately instead of living out of a suitcase on my bedroom floor for a week.

I deserve a medal… or a present. If I didn’t have to write so many large checks for doggie daycare every time I board a plane, I’d have a closet full of Louis Vuitton luggage by now, but then I wouldn’t have dogs, and dogs are better than monogrammed bags.

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Handbags don’t cuddle.

They also don’t fart excessively, but whatever.

I’ve been knee-deep in details for my dad’s bathroom remodel lately. I promise I’ll give you the full before and after pics in March when it’s done.

For now, I’ll show you the countertop I selected. It was actually my THIRD choice, but you don’t want to know what happened with the first two I picked.

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This is the floor sample.

I didn’t opt for the roughly hewn edge, and I’m going with different fixtures and cabinets, but you get the idea.

I’ve also written so many checks for plumbing updates in the last six months that I almost want to cry. There is absolutely nothing fun about spending somewhere around $17,000 for THINGS YOU CANNOT SEE like new pipes and sewer lines, but toilets need to flush and whatnot.

Plumbing rant aside, the bathroom remodel has been satisfying.

I should probably get back to my script outline… or I should walk the dog who is currently howling pathetically because I’m pecking at my keyboard instead of petting him.

He’s spoiled.

 

Over-Thinking and Denial (Or the Dogs’ Toy Basket)

I should write something poignant and/or profound right now given my life circumstances… but I’m not in the mood.

Smarter individuals have said denial is an essential element of sanity after all. (No one actually said this as far as I know. It is more likely the bald-faced lie I tell myself so I can cope with reality.)

If you’re new to the blog, these “circumstances” include some hardcore adult things like caring for my divorced, aging, and somewhat ailing parents, but tonight I don’t want to dwell on unpleasant things.

Sure, catastrophe is lingering somewhere in the periphery of my life like a pesky motorcyclist who insists on occupying the blindspot of my SUV on the freeway, but tonight I choose to ignore all of that.

Tonight I choose denial.

As part of my manifest rejection of reality I give you this:

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The dogs’ new toy basket.

Yes, really… a toy basket for my dogs. I paid somewhere around $52 for it.

I actually agonized at length over its purchase — not the price, mind you, but the aesthetics of it in context with the room it occupies.

I considered many other storage options. I even wandered the aisles of endless Home Goods and Marshall’s locations across the greater Los Angeles area.

After all of that fruitless searching, I narrowed it down to a couple of options from Fawn and Forest.

This was a front-runner until the last minute:

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The basket itself and not its contents… OBVIOUSLY.

I purchased that particular basket for my friend Nicole’s sweet baby Treva, but I decided the pom-poms were too similar to the tassels on my curtains to really work with the room.

See?

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Ugh, the things that I agonize over…

I realize the leaves in my rug mirror the leaf on the Fawn and Forest basket I ultimately bought, but somehow it feels slightly subtler.

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Or maybe that’s another lie I’m telling myself.

Who knows?

Either way, I’m happy with the purchase for my pups’ toy bounty.

Perhaps I’ll buy the pom-pom basket for my bedroom….

I have my own toys books to store after all.

(Books, like my dogs, are everything.)

 

 

 

Wit’s End With Carpet (Or Ripping It Up Again)

Maybe it was touring my friend’s new condo yesterday, or maybe it was general restlessness with my life, OR it could have simply been my new mirror without a wall to call home that made me do it, but today I started ripping out my bedroom carpet.

The carpet is gross, beige-gray, and never worked in my home — or my life… so it’s going away.

See?

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Carpet carnage (hashtag hideous)

I’ll need a rug for the room, but the prospect of purchasing one excites me, so it’s not exactly a downside.

The overall aesthetic of the room has always bothered me, and now I’m doing something about it.

Oh, and the mirror that may or may not have inspired today’s demolition initiative?

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Here it is in all of its antiquey gilded glory.

I’m working on a plan for it.

#designmastermind

 

 

 

L-O-V-E (Or Fabulous Online Finds)

 

I fell in love online today.

See?

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Just look at those lines! (source)

It would be SO perfect with monogrammed pillows I ordered from Joss & Main.

Perfection (source)

Can you IMAGINE? (source)

The only problem?

This guy doesn't bathe regularly.

This guy sleeps on my couch… and he pees on his own feet.

He’s my favorite living creature, so I have to take him (and his pee feet) into consideration even if my design heart breaks a little each time.

So… I didn’t order the couch… and I died a little inside.

I did order these gilded creatures in an attempt to assuage my grief, though.

I can't wait to throw a party with these! (source)

The angry hippo is my favorite. (source)

They make me want to plan a party.

So does the frozen rose in my freezer.

More on that later….

XOXO

 

On the Couch (Or Confessions)

Remember LAST spring when I rented my place on Airbnb for the first time? Remember when I thought it was going to be a short-lived experiment?

Well, 15 months later I’m still renting it to travelers from Egypt to Australia and everywhere in between.

It takes a toll on me. I’m not going to lie.

Even though my friends are awesome for letting my big beast and me stay with them, it’s hard not to be home. Sure, I have streamlined my packing process and my after-hours check in procedures so I don’t have to wait for international travelers at all hours of the night, but if I’m being honest, I’m ready to stop for a while.

I’m ready to finish the repairs and upgrades my place desperately needs, to have a proper dinner party on my yet-to-be-christened mahogany table, and I’m ready to know all of my shoes are in my closet instead of a bag on the floor.

So, I finally rejected a couple of requests from Parisians and blocked a week off my calendar. Now I can stay home to deal with my place… and the mail that gets neglected when I’m living like a nomad.

I tackled the refrigerator upgrade last weekend with middling success (see injuries here), and now I’m ready to replace my couch.

My parents bought my current one for me when I graduated from USC, and it had two removable slipcovers back then. Four rescue dogs, 45 international travelers, and 13 years later, I’m down to one slipcover that is absolutely in tatters.

It’s time for an upgrade.

See?

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Horrifying furniture AND photography.

The challenge is finding a sleeper sofa I don’t hate for under $1,000. I found one that wasn’t bad at Cost Plus, but it didn’t have removable (read: washable) cushions, and it only pulled out into a twin, which won’t really work for a lot of reasons.

It was CLOSE to being right, but…

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Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

I found another option I don’t despise online, but it’s hard for me to commit without seeing it up close.

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OBVIOUSLY not with those atrocious throw pillows. Source

Also? It only comes in pebble which wouldn’t be catastrophic, but I think I want dark gray.

I’ve been scouring Craigslist for over a month, but that has been a bit of a bust thus far.

So… I confess I’m not quite sure what to do about the couch, I’m a bit sick of renters, I’m tired of living like a refugee… and my other confession?

I have writers block.

I know that sounds crazy considering I wrote two blog posts this week, but it’s really just procrastination because I don’t know what to do with my pilot, my second feature, or the first feature I’m converting into a novel.

I’m just not feeling that inspired.

Now that I’m home and rejecting rental requests for a while, I’m going to make myself write.

Hold me to it, K?

Thanks, internet.

I’m Into Pretty Again (Or I Pretend to Be a Florist)

I don’t want to start all of my posts with an apology, so let’s just skip that part. Let’s pretend it’s acceptable that I’ve been ostensibly absent from the internet for months and get on with happy, pretty stuff like flowers and cupcake towers, K?

K, good.

If you’ve been following me forever, you might remember my unattractive meltdown about doing my own flowers for my Peter Pan Party back in 2012. If you haven’t been reading that long, consider yourself lucky. (Self pity is not attractive.)

I’m like a new person now or something.

ANYWAY…

I recently went to the flower district downtown and almost died from a peony OD.

See?

They even accidentally matched my shirt.

Legit peony mainlining.

If you’re wondering how someone who hates one-way streets and $5-an-hour parking meters ended up downtown, I will tell you.

My friend Susan needed help with the flowers for her mother-in-law’s birthday dinner, and for some reason she thought I could help her. I love Susan so super much that I got over my issues with downtown and went with her to the flower district.

It’s pretty amazing to go from nearly curling up in the fetal position at the thought of putting poppies in a vase to having someone ask you to do floral arrangements for their MIL’s 70th.

Here’s my handiwork:

This was one of three identical arrangements.

I’m almost a florist now.

Or something….

And just for fun, I also did an arrangement for my friend Sarah’s upcoming 80’s party.

See?

#rad, #dude

I made the cupcakes too ‘cuz I just can’t stop.

So, that’s me and my flower update.

I’ve come a long way, right?

XOXO

Puppy Teepee (Or Ziggy the Fluffy Messiah)

OMIGOSH, it has been SO long since I talked to you about dogs… or decor. So today I’m totally talking about both.

Last weekend I went to see my long lost Gillian. She and I went to USC together and bonded over a mutual love of Twin Peaks when we were wee ones in grad school. We worked in the same office for separate non-profits when we were students, and after graduation we coincidentally worked for two producers who happened to be best friends.

We used to talk every day.

Now she is an incredibly successful producer in her own right, and she travels a lot for work.

We see each other when we can, and even though we don’t talk every day it’s as if no time has passed at all each time we do.

That’s the amazing thing about old friends. ❤

Anyway, she has this darling little dog that I used to babysit when she first adopted him. My mummy met him once, and she loved the little guy so much she referred to him as the fluffy messiah. (My mum doesn’t even like dogs….)

When you see Ziggy you’ll see why she was so taken with him.

Here he is at our Thanksgiving Dinner.

He loves meat pies.

Couldn’t you just die?

His bow tie is beyond.

His bow tie is beyond.

Do you know what else is beyond?

His dog teepee.

Chevron + Puppy Tee Pee = <3

Chevron + Puppy Tee Pee = ❤

Gillian’s interior designer found it on Etsy… and when I saw it this weekend I was like, “I need one for my bubba!”

The only problem?

This is my dog.

He is the size of a teenage boy.

He does not weigh nine pounds like Ziggy.

He is the size of a teenage boy.

His teepee would take up way too much real estate in my little place.

So, we’ll just have to wait on that for now.

If you don’t have a man-sized dog and want to get a puppy teepee, here’s the link to the Etsy store.

Come on, you know you need one….

Office SOS (Or I’m Redecorating)

I ran out of rooms to redecorate in my apartment long ago. Luckily, I have an office in desperate need of a makeover. Up until this point I have mostly been tossing things on walls and shelves haphazardly just to get them out of the back of my walk-in at home, but the madness needs to stop.

I need a plan.

I spend most of my waking hours at work, so it’s time to take charge of the situation.

This is what it looks like now… overexposed photo and all.

Office on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This window is in DIRE need of drapes.

I’m thinking maybe some crisp black and white stripes.

Something like this perhaps?

Or does that make it feel too prison-y?

I can’t decide….

Here’s another angle of the work in progress.

Office on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Obviously, I need to put a cushion on that awkward ledge. The Legos? Are not cutting it.

The ledge probably needs some of these pillows too.

Pillows on Dogs Dishes and Decor

These pillows are everything. The neutrals are Anthropologie and the delicious pops of gold are Caitlin Wilson.

I’m also tempted to hide the hideous carpet that looks like a filthy slice of red velvet cake with this Caitlin Wilson rug.

British Bouquet Rug from Caitlin Wilson on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Caitlin knows what she’s doing with color. Just saying.

I mean the carpet is so bad it drove my dog to violence.

See?

Albus of Dogs Dishes and Decor

He killed his birthday Storm Trooper.

I also want to DIY something like this for wall.

String Art on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Find more madness with string inspiration here.

What do you think?

Anika of Dogs Dishes and Decor

Am I crazy?

Actually?

Please don’t answer that. I think the answer lies somewhere in the Office Pinterest Board I created this morning.

And just because I love YOU almost as much as I love Pinterest, I’ll leave you with this Kill Them With Colour Remix.

I’m off to work.

XOXO

)

Just Sprinkle Some Truffle Salt On It (Or My Midnight Snack Supper Situation)

So remember when I used to write posts about meals that looked like this?

Easter Dinner on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Color coordinated ombre Easter fanciness for days.

Well, lately my dinners are looking more like this:

Overcooked burger with Brussels sprouts

#sosad

I did sprinkle the burger and Brussels sprouts with truffle salt in an attempt to salvage the situation, but it was ultimately about as grim as it looks. (Even truffle salt can’t fix ugly.)

Also?

That wasn’t nearly enough food to satisfy me, so I hit the bag of sea salt potato chips like a boss mere seconds after snapping that horrendous photo.

If you’re wondering why a former food blogger is making meals that aren’t even fit for a savage, it’s because this food blogger ate dinner at 11freakingpm tonight. That’s my life at the moment, guys. Gourmet goes out the window when you’re working so much that supper is more like a midnight snack.

It’s not all sad veggies and overcooked grass fed ground beef around here, though. I did try out a new cake recipe last weekend for a Super Bowl party.

See?

Triple berry vanilla bean cake with rose water buttercream frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor #tripleberry #buttercream #babyshower

SO many layers.

Does that count for something?

I’m making some tweaks for the upcoming baby shower, so I’m not quite ready to post the recipe. I’ll hook you up when it’s more… me. This cake involved rose water buttercream frosting, and I found it cloyingly sweet, so I’m going in the whipped cream/cream cheese frosting direction for the shower….

More on that later.

Now, I leave you with my latest musical OBSESSION. It’s an epic mashup of Bon Iver’s “Wolves” with Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper.” WHOCOMESUPWITHTHIS?!? #idie

I know what Bo don’t know…

It’s Officially OK to Think About Christmas (Or My Tree is Already Up)

Guys, it’s the day after Thanksgiving! And that means it’s officially acceptable to play Johnny Mathis while decorating your Christmas tree. I have now given you permission. Just in case you were wondering….

Actually, this year I broke my own rule about waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to start celebrating Christmas. I did it one week early. See, I had this gut feeling Michigan was going to fall apart on the road in Iowa City last weekend, so I decided to soften the blow a bit by putting up my tree during the game. I wanted to give myself something to be happy about even if the Wolverines were going to break my heart 16 different ways. My feeling wasn’t based on some unfounded fear that we’d fall apart because we have so many times this season. It was a feeling I couldn’t shake, it came from a really real place, and I wanted to be prepared.

I was going to put up my white tree, but when I pulled it out of the box I noticed it had become discolored over the last year. Part of me wanted to haul it out to my balcony, get out the white spray paint and cover the ugly with perfect white paint. That’s the part of me that can’t let go — the part of me that wants to fix EVERYTHING. Another side came out as I looked at the branches strewn all over the floor: a part of me that said, “Anika, the tree was $19 at Rite Aid nine years ago. You’re more likely to ruin something that cost you three times that much while you’re trying to fix the unfixable. Toss the stupid tree. Let go of the past. Let go of your expectations.”

I have to admit there was a war raging inside me while the battle raged on the football field. Michigan was falling apart on all fronts, and I was looking at the hopeless wreckage of my cheap tree too paralyzed to make a decision about the situation.

Fake Tree Disaster on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Albus was over the tree — and the game — long before I was. #smartdog

I WANTED THE WHITE TREE TO JUST WORK — I WANTED IT TO LOOK HOW IT DID LAST YEAR. But it wasn’t going to. It couldn’t. It was over.

As I stared at the mess, I was vacillating between two possible solutions: one involved buying a new white tree and making things look the way I wanted and the other was to settle for my green back up tree. (Yes, I own a back up tree because I’m broken like that.)

What’s wrong with the green tree, you ask? Well, it doesn’t exactly match my rug. I bought it about five years ago when my living room had a very different aesthetic, and it just wasn’t going to look the way I wanted it to look. My tree has changed with my changing taste and decor over the years, and the green just wasn’t what I wanted.

Here’s a look at Christmases and Dogs Past (literally):

White tree with blue bulbs and wicked boots on Dogs, Dishes, and Decor.

White tree. Blue bulbs. Brady’s last Christmas. (Note the horrendous string of green lights on the white tree. #ishudder)

Traditional tree on Dogs, Dishes and Decor

Traditional red and green tree. Matching red and green dogs. Looks good on the surface, right? WRONG. (Those bitches HATED each other.)

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White tree. Red bulbs. Happy red dogs. (Lights looking more appropriate.)

The final tree is what I wanted this year, but it wasn’t going to happen unless I got in my car and spent money on a replacement tree. I was close to doing it. Truly. I mean, I CAN afford a new tree, but the truth is: storing two trees in a tiny space has been seriously taxing the Tetris skills I honed as an adolescent, and I’d rather put the money in savings than spend it on something I don’t absolutely need.

This meant accepting the green tree. So I did it. Sort of.

Even though I made the mature, rational decision it took me a long time to be OK with it. I was fighting the juxtaposition of the chartreuse-y rug with the dark green tree. I went as far as putting the lights on the tree, but I didn’t bother with the bulbs for another two days. I even left the wreckage of the white tree all over my floor for the rest of the weekend. I was basically dwelling in denial and holiday decorating purgatory. So much for a sparkly tree cheering me up when Michigan lost, right? (They did lose, by the way. Spectacularly.)

Finally Monday morning I woke up at 4 am, chucked the brown and white mess down my trash shoot, put the Cynthia Rowley reindeer sweater back on my bottle of Absolut, and moved on with my life.

Now I have a green tree with a chartreuse rug, and it’s mostly not terrible.

Tree on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I think a tree skirt might help me hate this less.

It is what is — and looking at it might get me through whatever happens against Ohio State tomorrow — only I don’t have a gut feeling about tomorrow. The pieces could all come together like they did against Notre Dame, and we could experience a miracle. Or not.

Either way, I’m going golfing in the rain today because that’s what I do now. I play nine holes for Noah, and I try to embrace a tree that doesn’t look quite right with my rug because it makes more sense in the world of finances and closet geometry.

I accept what is. I’m almost grateful for what is. Because it’s all there is. It doesn’t mean I can’t make it a little prettier, though.

Maybe I will do something about the tree skirt situation after golf….