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!

 

The Moment That You Realize You’re A Grown-up

“You’re such a grown up.” – My friend, Chris, commenting on an Instagram I took of furniture I bought at the flea market.

I knew that something in my life had changed, like, really changed, on Sunday night. That morning, I’d woken up with E at 6 a.m. so we could go to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena to buy furniture for our new apartment. The trip there was a bit of a mess. We rented a U-Haul. Big mistake. We paid $10 for “VIP” parking. Not a great choice. We hadn’t bothered to rent furniture blankets, so when we brought our things back in the truck, we could hear all of that antique wood clunking together as we took the bumpy road home. Did I mention I only had one cup of coffee before we left…?

We got some amazing new pieces — an industrial coffee table, a dark leather bench, a 7-foot long kitchen table with benches. And E and I spent the rest of the day cleaning the apartment. I swept and swiffered, like the type-A nut that I am. And E unloaded the rest of our boxes and moved furniture. By the time 4 p.m. rolled around, I was slightly delirious from cleaning fumes, and the sun was trickling in golden light across all of our new furniture.

It was the first time since moving in that there wasn’t a moving box in sight. We could take our shoes off and walk around barefoot without worrying about all the dust blackening our feet. The empty bookshelves were filled, and everything seemed to have a place. It hit me when I was standing in the living room with E: We were making a home for ourselves. I was sharing a space with someone, and actually creating something with them.

It felt really good. Not just because we were standing in a room that, for the first time, actually looked like a place I wanted to live in, but because I felt grown-up. And I was excited to have that feeling of confidence and security in myself and who I was with. I’ve always said that I’m excited to turn 30, because my 20s, like everyone’s 20s, have been interesting, to say the least. But yesterday was the first time that I really felt totally satisfied and strong in my own skin. FINALLY.

Even as I type this, I feel a little ridiculous. I’m a 28-year-old grown-ass woman. Of course I’ve been a grown-up for a long time now. But I’ve never been at a point in my life quite like this, and it feels really good.

Did I just write an “It Gets Better” message? I don’t know, but just for good measure… If you have yet to experience this feeling, just know that IT GETS BETTER.

Happy Caturday: Cat Pillow Edition

My love of cats is pretty common knowledge for those who know me. So, it came as no surprise when earlier this week, my friend Amanda texted me the below picture with the following: “Cat pillow… Interested??”

CatPillowForSale

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested. It’s a pillow in the shape of a cat, and labeled explicitly as something to “cuddle up with,” of course I’m interested. But if I buy a cat pillow, and don’t have an actual cat in my home, does that make me even creepier than REAL cat ladies? Like, do I bypass steps 1-10 into cat crazy land and simply get crowned “Going To Die Alone”?

I don’t know the answers to any of those, or whether or not I’ll end up purchasing a cat pillow, but I obviously did some cat pillow Googling, and found more types of cat pillows than I ever thought possible…

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Moving On Up To The East Side (Of Los Angeles)

Full disclosure: As I type this, my hands are shaking because of all of the stress of moving. If there are typos, or, say, a rambling paragraph about how I might light my hair on fire, please forgive me.

That being said, right now I am in the midst of moving from West Hollywood to Los Feliz. The difference is about 20 minutes, and a significantly closer proximity to hipsters. It’s slightly terrifying, and also extremely exciting.

I’ve been in my current apartment for four years, which is the longest I’ve ever lived in any apartment. (And the longest I’ve ever lived in any city.) Before that, I would hop around to a new apartment every year, or sometimes faster than that. In New York, I lived in three apartments over the course of a year, and not by choice. One was a sublet, the next went co-op, and the third was the final nail in my New York City coffin.

E and I weren’t expecting to move quite this quickly, we had always been thinking that we’d find a new place after the holidays and in the new year. But my friend Tom texted, and told me that a spot in his building had just opened up, so things changed very quickly.

BarCartandBoxesJust to give some background: Tom’s apartment is perfect. He lives in a two bedroom, two bath place with his boyfriend, Hadi, and it’s enormous; a huge living area, hardwood floors, a washer and dryer in the unit (I MEAN, WHAT???), and even a side area with a full bar. I’ve always said, quite literally, that “I want Tom and Hadi’s apartment.” So, to hear that a carbon copy had opened up in their building was the kick I needed to hop on the moving train.

Plus, and I’m sure other people can attest to this, moving into a brand new space with your significant other is really a big deal. Right now, E is living in my apartment. It’s ours, but it’s also really mine. My name is on the lease, it’s mostly all of my furniture, and I’d really like to share a place with him, where his furniture and things can be on the wall too. Because right now, there’s just no damn room for it.

So this month, we’ll be packing and shlepping our things from WeHo to Los Feliz. I’ve already become overwhelmed with all of the little details, (movers, rent, security deposits, new furniture, a housewarming party, a new commute, etc.), and E has been very good about calming me down. But I used to think moving was fun, and now that I’m older and a have a lot more stuff, it’s clear that the actual process of moving is complicated. And time consuming. And exhausting. And sweet sassy molassey, what is all this change about?!

I’m hopeful that after we move all of our physical stuff, the rest will just be exciting and new. But if anyone has any moving tips that could help us (seriously, ANYTHING), please let me know!

 

Industrial Dining Table Inspiration

 

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I’ve been wanting to upgrade my kitchen style for a long time. The current dining table I own came with the apartment. (That’s right, my landlord asked if I wanted to buy it for $50, and I agreed. Mainly because I didn’t want to take the time to drag it out.) It’s more shabby chic, when I’ve always wanted a long industrial table.

I love the mix of warm woods with metal. It feels a bit like modernized antiques for the home. I’m hoping that the next time I move apartments, I’ll be able to bring a new dining table with me.

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