Thursday, July 24, 2014

Come In and Put Your Feet Up

We've barely gotten anything done this week, and I don't feel the slightest bit bad about it. We haven't installed my closet shelves. We haven't hung the mirror in the bathroom or installed the sconces. I haven't chosen fabric for the curtains in our bedroom. Instead of tackling projects every night, we're spending time together and having friends over for home cooked dinners. I wouldn't have it any other way.

But we did see a bit of progress in the living room: The ottoman coffee table we ordered directly from an Uttermost dealer in April is finally here. If you found this blog post because you're thinking about buying it, I highly recommend it. It's even nicer in person! I thought it would be white, but it's pale beige with a heavy linen-like texture. I'm glad it's darker than expected, because I won't worry about getting it dirty. The attached tray slides back and forth smoothly, the button tufting doesn't feel loose, and the metal tipped feet give it polish. The instructions gave me a laugh, though. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

In the interest of full disclosure, we did NOT pay the retail price for it. We definitely couldn't have afforded that! We ordered it through an Uttermost dealer who did us a kindness and charged us the wholesale price, plus tax and shipping. When all was said and done, we paid about half the full retail price. It was still a splurge for us, but Keith really wanted it. He was so funny: "An ottoman? You can use an ottoman as a coffee table? THAT IS SO COOL!" *grin*

In progress. Unstyled. Messy. Dog beds and air purifiers. Keepin' it real, y'all.
At this point, the living room is almost finished. But the view from the sofa isn't exactly picturesque: We need more bookshelves and a pair of matching chairs. We want to have very tall bookcases built to cover the wall facing the sofa. It's the first wall you see when you walk into our front door, and seeing our books as soon as we come home will feel good. And we need the storage space! Half our books are still packed, if you can believe that. Right  now, I'm trying to decide whether I should turn the spines inward. Is the visual cacophony of colors annoying?

As far as the chairs go, I'm not going to run out and buy the first thing I see. I know that if I keep my eyes open at thrift stores, I'll find something perfect. Eventually. When I least expect it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ipsy July 2014: Here Comes the Sun

For those of you just tuning in, Ipsy is a beauty subscription service. For $10 a month, Ipsy sends 4 - 5 surprise beauty products to your door in a cute cosmetics bag. They even mail it all in a sparkly pink envelope! Seeing that envelope in my mailbox always makes me jump up and down like a little kid. If you like trying new things, Ipsy is for you.

How was your weekend? I was happy to take a break from painting to try my new stuff from Ipsy. Did you get a good bag this month? Mine was kind of a bummer at first glance, because I didn't get any full size products. And I was NOT thrilled to receive cheap tanning oil. The last time I laid out was, um, never! But I liked getting a Bare Minerals product and a rich, inky blue nail polish. I feel like Ipsy's choices for me haven't been on target lately. Ipsy Match, the system Ipsy uses to match products to each subscriber's preferences, seems confused. I wonder if they changed their algorithm? Anyway, here's the value breakdown for this bag:

Total Value: $47.22
Ipsy Price: $10.00

But I know what you're thinking: Is this stuff any good?

The Bare Minerals BB Cream Eyeshadow is supposed to be a primer and eyeshadow in one, with some woo-hoo fancy skin care properties. The color I received is too dark for me to use as an all-over primer, but it's a good neutral brown for everyday use on the lid and/or in the crease. I don't usually like cream eyeshadows, because I often make mistakes when smearing them on. And this formula is more matte than the eye colors I usually wear. But I'm very impressed by its staying power. This is a waterproof formula that holds up to rain and still looks good 10+ hours after application, even in gross Tennessee humidity. I give it an A+ for summer wear.

I'm not impressed by Pixi Beauty's lip balm, because it's really just a weakly tinted mood lipstick. Yeah, this is one of those "Magically changes to a unique color! Just for YOU!" products. It goes on clear, and it's supposed to change color based on your skin's pH. On me, it becomes a weak bubblegum color that I'd call "Adolescent Pink." On the plus side, it has a super smooth texture. But when I want a tinted balm, I generally want a more saturated (and sophisticated) color than I get from this.

The wHet nail polish is a huge hit with me. I love it. The color is a super-saturated lapis lazuli blue that gets richer and darker with each coat. The formula is thin and very easy to control during application. I found that three was the magic number; three coats gave me an opaque, rich blue that I loved. With a topcoat, it didn't chip for two days. I like to do projects that are hard on my nails, so a manicure that lasts two days is very good for me.

The BeFine moisturizer with SPF is nearly full size and worth more than $20. In fact, nearly half the bag's value comes from this one product. The moisturizer itself is not interesting. It's not too thin or too creamy. It doesn't have the odd smell or separation issues you often find with products that don't contain preservatives (nice). It smells like sunscreen... because it contains sunscreen. Yawn. Here's the part that is interesting: The brand is vegan and not tested on animals. They use no preservatives, fragrances, or parabens. They do use food ingredients in their products. I haven't seen any scientific studies proving that the topical application of pomegranates or almonds makes you look better. But as long as it doesn't hurt, I don't mind.

The Hang Ten tanning oil is probably going to sit in a drawer until 2017, and then it will get thrown away in the middle of a cleaning frenzy. I've told Ipsy that I don't use tanning products, ever, but the Ipsy Match system seems off lately. Have you noticed the same issue? There were other things in this month's bag that sounded fantastic to me: The Benefit mascara, Elizabeth Mott cheek and lip tint, and Big Sexy Hair Get Layered flash dry spray would've been welcome in my bag. Did you get them? Want to trade? *bats eyelashes* Please?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spanish Revival, and a New Plan for the Dining Room

Maybe I've been watching too much Game of Thrones. Maybe I'm just bored with the stark simplicity of Mid-Century Modern furniture. But right now, I'm so drawn to the Spanish Revival look. It's a little rustic, a little Medieval, and just so interesting. I wouldn't want to have an entire room done in this style, but I'd love to use just one or two Spanish Revival pieces. They would add something unexpected and special.

Spanish Revival Chairs at 1st Dibs
1920s Spanish Revival Sideboard from 1st Dibs
My aunt Judy gave me an old Spanish Revival cabinet about seven years ago, and I used it in the living room at our old condo (You can see it here). Now it's in our dining room. I like it there so much that it's inspiring me to go with a more rustic, masculine look than my original (colorful and girly) plan for the dining room. As we spend more time in our house, I'm realizing that the original plan wouldn't work so well, anyway. The neutral living room opens into the dining room, so the dining room should be more neutral, too. Preserving the neutral scheme will make the rooms flow together much better.

When we moved into the house, my mother gave us a long, rectangular dining table that she no longer wanted. It has a dark wood finish, tapered legs, and a wonderful geometric motif carved into the table top. Keith and I both like it, so I'm planning the room around the table, cabinet, and rug (You can see them all together here). I'm imagining the room finished off with a round wrought iron chandelier*, bench seating on the long sides of our dining table, and chairs with chunky nailhead trim. You know... pieces that wouldn't be entirely out of place on the set of Game of Thrones. What do you think? Too simple? Too masculine? Or just right?
Rustic Masculine Gothic Dining Room

* At first I wanted to put the crystal chandelier from our old place over the table, but now I realize the chandelier would look much better in the guest bedroom.