Posted on November 29, 2013
I don’t like to celebrate this Black Friday shopping craze. To me it interferes with the organic processing that is Thanksgiving and the gentle transition into the Christmas season. But I do love the holidays and to celebrate that, I am offering FREE SHIPPING for any domestic purchase in our shop. Just use the code FREESHIPPING2013 when you checkout and receive free shipping on your item! Let’s celebrate the beautiful holiday season and not the chaos that is Black Friday. Grab some leftover pie, your laptop, and sit your bum on the sofa. Then shop away and let the rest of the world get in their cars and spend hours in lines dealing with the crazies. Don’t be stupid, be wise. There is plenty of time to stress later. Now we rest! Also, any purchase over $30 gets a free gift from us! More incentive to park yourself on your plush chaise lounger. Happy Holidays!!
Posted on November 26, 2013
My relocation has allowed a new connection to the outdoors. From hiking to beach trips and even just walking around the neighborhood, I discover the beauty that nature has to offer. On the sand I find shells, stones and driftwood. On my hikes I collect branches, oddly shaped leaves and interesting plants. Even on my walks around the neighborhood who knows what I will find.
So what do you do with these bits of nature? The longer driftwood pieces I will use as rods to mount on a wall and hang things. The smaller driftwood and the branches are ideal to spraypaint and use as decor for the holidays or even year round. I took a piece of knobby driftwood and painted it a glossy white. Maybe I will spray it a metallic color and use it for a Christmas tablescape? Or maybe I will leave it and add it to the shelves of curiosities? It has endless opportunity. On a recent hike I stole cattails and painted them with that same white. They could be a wonderful modern addition to any room.
What people don’t realize is that these gems are right in your backyard. They are free and with little creativity, and effort, they can be unique embellishments in an office, on a dining table or resting on a mantle. If you are looking for a cool, cheap decorative accent for the holidays, just keep your eyes open when you walk your dogs through the park. Sometimes the most beautiful objects are right in front of our eyes. And no matter where you are Mother Nature is always abundantly showing off her assets.
IMG: the junk haus
Posted on November 23, 2013
The one negative thing that is always associated with the holiday season is stress. There are tons of parties to attend, unhealthy food everywhere, and family situations that are sometimes difficult to navigate. If you are anything like I am, preventing this stress before it starts is the only way to cope. Once the stress gets going, the viscious cycle begins. It interferes with my mindfulness and changes my whole psyche. I don’t like to classify myself, but I am quite Type A. For years I have been trying to make small efforts to change this, but my upbringing has destined me to a life of always being early and always stressing about being late. So as the person who is usually worrying about something trivial, here is how I try to cope and how I minimize stress before it begins.
1) Start your day off right. Drink a cup of calming warm lemon water and take 20 minutes to stretch your body, calmly waking it up for the new day. If you have pups, take them out for a relaxing walk. That first hour of your day should be away from a computer and any work so you can recharge. If this means waking up an hour early, do it! Grounding yourself in the beginning of the day leaves you with a feeling of peace for the rest of the day. You will make better decisions and just feel better.
2) Feel a headache, tummy ache, or cold coming on, zap it any way your can. Advil, Vitamin C, Tums. Keep your medicine cabinet fully stocked up so that you can use all of the natural and unnatural aid when you need it. This way you can start each day feeling good. When you don’t feel your best, stress has a funny way of creeping up on you. Here is what I recommend:
Drank a little too much at a party: Take natural Milk Thistle. Actually take this every other day all holiday season. It is a natural supplement that allows your liver to process the toxins. I take two before bed after a night out, and in the morning, I feel like a new person.
Starting to get a tension headache: Hit the Advil or Aleve or whatever painkiller you prefer. There are also many pressure points on your head that are easy to massage yourself and leave you feeling a little relief. Rub circles on the center part of your eyebrow. Then while still applying pressure, drag your fingers over your eyebrow and as you get to your temples, push a little harder, then flick the tension away. This technique always helps me in a pinch. Click here for other massages. If this doesn’t work, there is also the Scalp Head Massager. Get one on Amazon here:
Feeling like you are coming down with a cold: Take Now’s Zinc and Elderberry losenges! These boost your immune system and make any hint of a cold disappear. But do not take them on an empty stomach, they will make your body feel pretty strange.
Tummy not feeling good from too much acid or too much junk food: Take Tums or Mylanta or any of those acid squashing gems. Nothing is worse then an upset stomach. Also, for a natural remedy try drinking Kefir every morning. The good bacteria balances the pH in your GI system.
Bloated from too much salt: Chug water and drink real cranberry juice. Yes, I am talking about the unsweetened kind that costs like $12 for a bottle. It is a natural diuretic and will wash all that away. Also, go for a nice walk. This will help to process all of the salt through and make you feel better.
Legs tired from too much time spent on your feet, but you still wanna get some exercise: Lay on your floor and elevate your feet. Then to get your muscles working, bike upside down and do leg kicks. This removes the pressure on your knees and joints which is what too many nights on your feet in stilettos does. Elevating your legs above your heart, allows the excess fluid to drain.
3) Get a head start on shopping, decorating, cards, and everything that you usually wait until last minute to do. This is the best way to prevent stress from starting. Just like you procrastinate a paper in school, we tend to procrastinate all of the things we don’t want to do till the last minute. Some people work better under pressure, but I guarantee if you are concerned about your stress levels, you are not one of them. Get on top of all of this holiday crap. Make a list: Invites, decorate, holiday cards, menus, etc, etc. And then give yourself a deadline and stick to it.
4) Make sure your internet is working well and fast. Invest in a good router, and make sure your connections are working. The last thing you need is to have the family over and everyone complaining about the internet and such. Not that you want everyone on their phones and computer instead of socializing, but some people have work to keep up with and wouldn’t that be frustrating to have them complaining the whole time. Also, post Wifi passwords on chalkboard and such. I overhear people all of the time asking about Wifi passwords and if people have Wifi. Make it known so you can avoid this repetitively annoying question.
5) Drown your thoughts with music. Classical, christmas, classic jazz, whatever calms your soul is what you should be playing all day long, most days. Sometimes silence is nice, but when you have so much going on in your head, music might just be the best noise to drown out the voices. I know classical makes me want to take deep breaths and stimulates my mind positively. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in my jam. It puts me in the best mood.
6) Remember to breathe and take some time for yourself. It isn’t how much we breathe, it’s how we breathe. Short, rapid breaths are stress inducing. Long, deep breaths are calming and are a solution to the problem. When you take a moment out of your busy day and take long deep breaths, you are making a mindful effort to ease your stress. It is this careful acknowledgment and assessment of how our body feels that is often overlooked when we are busy. Being mindful is an important part of being alive.
So take a step back this holiday season and ask yourself how you are feeling. Do you need rest, hydration, a walk? Be mindful of your body and take a step back and a few deep breaths and then press go again.
What are your tips to DE stress for the holidays? Please share in the comments below.
Images taken from Pinterest.com
Posted on November 16, 2013
The exterior is like the cover of the book, and it sometimes can be quite deceiving. It should never be overlooked. Imagine walking up to a small house with two giant dirt patches in front and a porch that needs painting. You would probably feel a little uneasy and not too excited to enter expecting the interior to match the exterior. Then imagine that house has a gorgeous modern and glamorous inside. You would be confused and a bit perturbed. “Why don’t they fix up the outside?” There are a few simple moves one can make to avoid these thoughts. Over the next few weeks, I will examine more exterior DIY projects and small changes that have big impacts. The holidays are coming up and that means hosting more holiday parties and more visitors.
Black exteriors ~ Most people want their house to be light and airy. White is the perfect exterior color for this, but you must notice some drawbacks to a bright white. Light colors show dirt. One rainstorm and that filth that has accumulated on your roof runs down the siding leaving lovely streaks. When white paint cracks or peels, it makes the entire home look disheveled and not in the cool rustic antique way. It just looks like you don’t take care of your house. So what do the low maintenance people do?
I am not a person who likes to groom. I rarely put on makeup or do my hair. My morning routine consists of coffee, food, computer, maybe a shower and throwing on a quick outfit and running out the door. (I do however take some extra time with my skincare: SPF, CC cream, moisturizer, etc) I like to get out to go exploring, run errands or get to a meeting without having to spend unnecessary time applying mascara. So imagine how I take care of my home. Everything has its place and rarely moves. I don’t like things that require maintenance. Self cleaning appliances are my dream, and for plants I stick with succulents and ferns which require little watering and even less pruning. As I am relocating and looking for a new home, I am noticing the abundance of white exteriors that look dilapidated. I was driving down a street finding myself a little perturbed at this discovery. Then, there was a black one. It was painted this beautiful dark color, and it wasn’t as depressing as I would have expected it to appear. It didn’t look goth or macabre. Instead, it looked modern and quite chic. Don’t believe me? Check out these homes below.
Whether you are painting your entire home, or just the siding and trim, here are some tips:
1) Match the warmth of the hues. Use a blue based matte black for siding next to a bright cool white door or window trim. You don’t want one color to be warm and the other to be cold. Wouldn’t look right.
2) Mix finishes. Use a matte or eggshell finish for a wall and a semi gloss for the trim.
3) Don’t be afraid to paint everything black out. A monotone color has a sophisticated modern appeal.
4) Add wood and stone to the mix. Keep door jambs and window jambs exposed wood. Use stone as a walkway to the house or as the patio. This is always a beautiful combination.
5) Take risks! A new color can really change the look of your home. Even a crappy rental looks better with this change. Just ask your landlord first!
Posted on November 10, 2013
This weekend I happened to be in the right place at the right time. This morning I went to this amazing vintage and antique shop called Ruby Rose (blog post to come). I was oohing and aahing over all of their items when one woman started talking about this antique show going on in town. My ears immediately perked up, and the questions started pouring from my mouth. One hour later, I was walking up a giant dirt path to the Alex Madonna Expo Center, a building that looks more like a fairy tale than an expo plaza.
Right when I entered, I noticed a line for none other than the book signing of THE Rachel Ashwell! This was fate! Ever since I started writing the junk haus and selling my antiques, I always wanted to create a similar brand. She coined the term “shappy chic.” This phrase is now used not only for her pieces, but for an aesthetic and a design philosophy. Pieces that are a little shabby yet sophisticated and feminine. By choosing “junk haus”, I wanted a term to imply taking junk and decorating with these abused and old oddities in a way that is artsy, elegant and modern. Junk is beautiful and doesn’t have to be thrown away. We can recycle this “trash” and use it in upscale decorating. The “haus” adds a bit of a modern institutional feel, which I pulled from “Baohaus.” Anyways, I purchased her book Couture Prairie and Flea Market Finds, and she even signed it and spoke with me for a brief minute spreading her knowledge on places to explore for my business! Looks like I will have to make a trip to Austin, TX to visit her farm. This was the highlight of my day, and week, and month!
The show was filled with beautiful inspirational items. Loads of furniture, vintage clothes and great home accessories. I will definitely be back tomorrow to hopefully pick up some of the pieces that I told myself to sleep on. This show reminds me of a much much smaller Brimfield, filled with hidden gems if you just open your eyes and have the patience to hunt.
Alex Madonna Expo Center
Saturday, November 9th: 9 Am – 5 Pm
Sunday, November 10th: 9 Am – 3 Pm
Admission Fee: $12
Rachel Ashwell and I
My new signed book. You should check it out!
Posted on October 26, 2013
Holiday shopping can be stressful and shipping costs can deter online shoppers. But not if you buy from our shop! Now through the end of the year I am offering **FREE SHIPPING** on all of our Etsy items! Just use the code FREESHIPPING2013 at checkout and, poof, all your shipping charges will dissappear. This promotion is for all of our loyal followers thanking them for subscribing to our blog, and following us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram! Happy Holiday Shopping!!
Posted on October 24, 2013
When you are stuck in Los Angeles until after 4PM, the only reasonable thing to do is waste some time until after 6:30 or 7PM, skipping some of the traffic that ends all movement on the 405. It was 3:55 so I decided to go see a flick. Carrie started at 4:10 and since the theatre was a mile away, I figured I would make it in time. The next showing was 5:10PM so I had a cushion in case there was traffic. Then I drove by The Council Thrift Shop. All traffic halted as I cut across three lanes to make the driveway. Nothing gets in between me and a good thrift shop! And this one was worth the reckless driving.
I was overwhelmed with beautiful junk when I entered the doors. The furniture was on the left with knick knacks, all of which were only worth a quick glance. It was the clothing where there were the real finds. They had racks upon racks of true vintage coats, pants, shirts, sweaters. It was unbelievable! And the amount of leathers! This shop had so many vintage leather skirts, pants, and jackets that if you are in need of vintage leather fabric, come here and buy up their stock of pants. The two flaws are that barely anything is actually priced. You have to go up to the counter and ask the little Russian women what she wants to charge for it. They definitely give you a price based on looking at you, but do not be afraid to haggle. They want to make a sale to tell them what you want to pay! The second flaw is that some of the vintage clothes are in pretty beat up condition. SO make sure to look at seams and check for stains and moth holes. You don’t want that perfect coat to start a moth infestation in your closet. (Check my previous post for moth information.)
In the end my visit was worth it. I got a pair of leather pants for $6, a children’s tuxedo suit, vest and a beautiful button down shirt. In total it was just over $40 which is pretty good for my load. I didn’t make the first movie or the second movie, but I did kill an hour and a half quite enjoyably at this shop. I can say 100% that I will be back here, with 2 hours to spare and with a lot of leather needs!!
The Council Thrift Shop
10960 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Sun-Sat: 10 Am – 5:30 Pm
IMG: localsearch.com, timeout.com
Posted on October 18, 2013
Each week I make the trek up to Santa Monica to go to therapy. Yes, I’ll admit that I visit a therapist to talk over life, problems, and to make myself a better version of myself. This process is never easy, but what makes it a little easier is the fact that every Thursday I stop to get frozen yogurt AND explore a new thrift, antique, or vintage shop. This stop is the bright light to my day inspiring me with new spaces I get to share!
This week’s random stop turned out to be a gem! As I was driving down Lincoln Blvd, I saw an interesting clothing shop on my right. I parked my car hoping it might be open even though it was before 11 AM. But I figured I’d give it a shot. I jumped out only to discover that the shop was closed, but there was an salvage, furniture, reclaimed store and workshop nestled right behind it. Jackpot!!! It just happened to be open and beyond what I could imagine: a workshop filled with rustic old furniture, maps, glass cloches, antique bowling pins, etc, a dream where the prices weren’t that high considering the area. I fell in love with two pieces of furniture that if I had my own space right now, they would have been mine! But unfortunately for me and my credit card companies, I am still deciding on a home of my own. This massive soft white three cushion settee would have been beautiful after reupholstery with a dark blue velvet. And this rustic beat up old leather chair… with an ottoman… that reclines… for under $1000 total… SWOON!!!! I am still entertaining the idea of purchasing it and storing it because it is just such a one of a kind find. The other items in this shop were just as interesting, look at the pictures below. More things to dream about and inspire me. And maybe when I head back next week, this leather couch will be shoved into the back of my car.
2124 Lincoln Boulevard
Mon-Sat 10 AM – 5 PM