Our New Apartment Is Starting To Look Like A Real Place

We’ve been in our apartment for about a month now. It feels like a lot longer than that. I don’t know why exactly, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that we spend a lot of time each weekend decorating it, or shopping for things for it. It’s like having a little pet that you like to dote on, and we have been spoiling it.

We’ve had four weeks to whip it into some kind of shape. Which has included a trip to the Rose Bowl flea market for furniture, multiple trips to Home Depot on E’s end, and yesterday it culminated in hanging a lot of our framed things. (Well, E used the hammers and nails, while I supervised from the safety of my couch.) And it’s finally gotten to a place where it feels like a real home. Huzzah! Victory to the people!

  • Here’s what our living room now looks like. We have a small antique side table we bought while in Big Bear, which has a mirror that my friend Brooke gave me for free a couple of years ago. (Free is me, btw, so if anyone else feels like they want to give me something free, let a girl know!) Then we have the antique loveseat that we bought at the flea market for $30. Such a deal. And over the top of it is an Edward Gorey drawing that E brought, and three smaller prints I already had.  And finally, there’s a small antique chair that I bought a few years back at the Melrose flea market, and a lovely Ikea bookshelf. (Bless that Swedish store.)

Industrial Living Room

  • On the next wall over, E put up this watercolor that his mother painted. (When I first started dating E, I saw this painting and was confused/scared as to why he had a redhead painting. Turns out, his mom paints redheads a lot, even though she isn’t one herself!) And under the painting is a table we bought in Big Bear for $25, littered with various tchotchkes.

Living Room Decorated

  • Behold! The reclaimed wood coffee table that weighs approximately 1 zillion pounds, but looks amazing in our living room! (Also a find from the Rose Bowl flea market.)

Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table


  • E took a lot of time curating the bookshelves. His father owns a bookstore, so I guess it’s in his blood, but they came out really well, right?!

Decorated Bookshelf

  • I took a photo of this, because I really love this little raccoon painting that I got for $2 at a Big Bear estate sale. It’s a raccoon, but it kind of looks like a cat. Oh, and the side table was also a flea market find.

Decorated Side Table

  • This reclaimed wood 7-foot-long table is arguably our most expensive purchase. But it’s beautiful, and big, and the benches for it are being delivered something this week.

Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Table

  • My bar cart has never been happier now that it has a little spot in the son, and a cheese painting right above it. I like to pretend they’re friends. They talk about boys and braid each other’s hair.

Bar Cart and Cheese PaintingI’m only showing photos of the living room, because it’s literally the only place we’ve tackled so far. Our bedroom, for example, has a bed. A side table. And a lot of work left. But we’ll be getting there, slowly and surely, and if anyone has any tips or thoughts on how to improve the space, let me know in the comments!


How To Have A Successful Rose Bowl Flea Market Trip


Remember going to Toys ‘R’ Us as a kid, and how amazing it was, because everything you ever dreamed of was all in one store? (You want to bake edible gummy spiders? Sure! Head over to the “science” section. Want a puzzle of Peru? OK! That’s in Aisle 5!) It was like upon entering the store, your heart literally exploded in happiness, and then was glued back together with toys.

Well the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena is kind of like a Toys ‘R’ Us, but for adults. It’s one of the largest and best flea markets on the west coast, and it’s also where I spent this past weekend with E.

Rose Bowl Flea Market


We needed a new kitchen table. And a couch. And a coffee table. And THINGS. So, naturally, we decided to try out the flea market, because all of those things do live there. (Even if, in hindsight, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to like the look of them all.)

I had been to the market before, another time with E, when we weren’t looking for anything, but just wanted to poke around. I left with nothing, except a sense of relief at having left. (The crowds at the market are… intense, to say the least.) But that was a long time ago, and we needed THE THINGS, so we decided to try it out again.

Barbie Bin At The Flea Market

Now that I’ve been a second time, I really did learn a lot of what TO DO and NOT TO DO. If you ever plan on attending, here are some things you must know:

  • Get to the flea market by 9 a.m. The market is so much less crowded around that time, which means you’ll be able to see everything without getting claustrophobic in the massive crowds that hit around noon.
  • Don’t bother paying for the VIP parking, just try to park in Lot K, which is super close to an entrance, and also the location of official “furniture loading.” The VIP parking is a waste of money, and legitimately right next to the free parking.
  • Bring water and snacks, all of which are allowed in the market. The prices for any food at the flea market are insane. (Think $10 for water.) I brought PB&J sandwiches, which ended up being a godsend.
  • Wear sunblock, even when it’s cold outside. The market is all over asphalt, and the sun gets reflected right back to you.
  • Wear the comfiest damn shoes in your closet and you will be the happiest person in the world. The market is ENORMOUS. It’s so large that you’ll never really be able to see the end of it. Because of that, it means you’ll be doing a ton of walking, so be good to your feeties.
  • A lot of furniture places deliver, especially if you’re buying a larger item. Eoghan and I rented a U-Haul, because we were convinced we’d fill it up. But the man who sold us a 7-foot kitchen table with benches will be delivering it, free of charge, today. So, really, you probably won’t need to go through the hassle of renting a truck.
  • Haggle. Haggle. Haggle. I can’t stress this enough. If you’ve never haggled, or are afraid to, here’s a tip: Look at something, subtract 1/4 of the price, and start from there. So, if you see a table for $400, tell the vendor, “Can I get it for $300?” They will probably say no, but they’ll also probably follow up with a lower price that’s closer to the one you named. Worst case scenario: they say no completely, and then you leave!
  • Take out cash beforehand. There are ATMs onsite, but they come with a hefty charge fee.
  • Set aside at LEAST 2 hours to explore the flea market. If you’re not looking for anything, and just browsing, you’ll be exhausted by the time that 2 hours rolls around. If you’re a serious shopper, plan on spending 3-4 hours minimum.
  • Speaking of serious shopping, if you are in the market, make a list of things you need to buy. The place is overwhelming in so many ways, and you’ll be thankful to have that list come high noon when you’re dehydrated, dripping sweat, and impossibly trapped in the weird collectibles section.

California SignHappy shopping, everyone! And if I missed any flea market tips that you can think of, please add them in the comments!