Thursday, July 29, 2010

The List

For some reason, I'm thinking that putting this here will make inspire me to get all of this stuff done. No need to comment...unless you want to tell me that putting your "to do" list on your blog did/did not help you.

Here we go...
  • Finish patching hole in laundry
  • Paint laundry
  • Paint front closet & organize
  • Paint walk-in bedroom closet & organize
  • List high value items on Craigslist for sale
  • Send less value items to SPCA Rummage Sale store
  • Fill nail holes in and paint baseboards (never did that when the floors were redone)
  • Paint over terrible job I did painting the concrete on the patio
  • Add second coat of sealant to bathroom tile
  • Raise living room drapes
  • Paint bedroom (maybe)
  • Paint hallway (maybe)

Big projects in the future:
  • Upgrade kitchen counters
  • Add tile back splash
  • Tile kitchen floor

I'm kind of depressed looking at all of that. I don't buy lottery tickets, but I'm thinking that might be the best route to getting this all done in a timely manner.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First things first

While I continue to contemplate painting the bedroom, I really should take care of the more immediate issue that's in the laundry room (err...closet). As you may remember, there was a leak in there and the plumbers that came to fix it left a massive hole in the wall.

First, I should probably told you what happened. Before the plumbers showed up, all I knew was that water was gushing out of a hole in the wall. Once they showed up and sawed open the wall, my stomach sank.

I did this. I'm responsible.

When I moved in, there were wire shelves over the washer and dryer, but things always fell over when placed on them.

About a year ago, I replaced the wire shelves with wood ones. I put them on the long wall and wrapped them around to the wall over the washer.

I hadn't thought about why the wire shelves had been secured to the side walls, not the wall over the washer. Now I know why. The drywall was laid directly on top of the pipes.

I had made sure not to put the shelving anchors over the spot where my washer drain pipe was on the right side of the wall, assuming the pipes from units above connected to mine. What I didn't know was that units above and behind mine (not people who lived directly above me) had a drain running through my unit, on the left side of that wall.

In my defense, the plumbers said there was no way I would have known the pipe was there and no nail shields were used around the pipes, so it was bound to happen to someone in the complex at some point. The property manager lives in another complex built by the same people and started wondering if his own place had any quirks or surprises like mine.

The plumbers had things fixed in about 30 minutes and left me with the big hole to deal with. This happened at such a bad time that I told Marc to handle it. I just couldn't take it.

Two weeks later, with the hole still staring at me each time I use the washer, I decided to just get the project done.

I knew how to patch a large hole in drywall, but revisited a great tutorial on the This Old House website to make sure my plan was the right one.

I collected my materials after work last night and got to cutting the new drywall. I can't believe how easy it was...I scored it with a knife that wasn't much bigger than an exacto knife.

Then with a which hand chop, I broke the piece off. I really, really can't believe how easy this was.

Then I cut some wood to use as braces behind the drywall.

Then I realized that I didn't buy enough patching screens to cover the entire area, so I stopped. But I'm really excited that I did this myself. Granted, I wish it was done two weeks ago, but Marc's not the most handy guy, so I probably shouldn't have expected him to get this fixed on his own.

So, closets win yesterday's "debate". I'm going to fix this hole, then paint the three walk-in closets before thinking about changing the bedroom. It won't be as much fun, but it's the better thing for my condo's value in the long run. Geez, don't you hate it when you have to make a mature, adult decision like that?
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is it time for a change?

I'm bored.

There are plenty of projects on my to do list, but part of me wants to make a big change. Not a big, costly change, mind you (I'm saving up for counter tops), but a big, cheap change. Perhaps it's time to paint?

A few months ago, when bloggers started showing red accents in blue rooms, I was intrigued. I wasn't quite ready to have one of these rooms myself, but I thought the look was fresh, but potentially classic.

Painting the bedroom might be just the change I need. Of course, that would mean all rooms in my condo, with the exception of the bathroom, would be blue. I'd probably paint the little hallway between the common areas, bedroom, and bathroom white to break of the sea of blue.

What do you think? Should I do it? Or, should I keep working on those to do list items? I have three walk in closets that should be painted...but doing the bedroom sure would be more fun!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Let's revisit my Berry Plus review

On Friday, I wrote about my comparison test between two soap nut products, Maggie's Soap Nuts and Berry Plus. Maggie's is just soap nuts, the raw product. You can buy them under a number of brand names at eco-stores and online. I bought my box of Maggie's at Blue Ridge Ec0 Shop. Berry Plus is a new liquid that is 95% soap nut (or berry) and is being marketed to college students. Free samples of that product were given out at the UVa Bookstore on Thursday.

I thought both products cleaned beautifully. The only fault I found was with Berry Plus' packaging and a few readers commented that they didn't like the packaging either.

The packaging would make the difference for me. The Berry stuff seems less eco-friendly with all that plastic.

The plastic packaging turns me off completely. Even if it were the better product and was less expensive, I still wouldn't use it just because of the environmental impact.

On Friday afternoon, I got an email from Jason Goldenberg at Berry Plus, who wanted to talk about the comments on the blog. I emailed with my phone number and waited to hear back. By 5 PM on Friday, I figured I could go back to being a design blogger and let the topic of laundry detergents slide down the page.

Well, here I am blogging about laundry detergent again. Perhaps I'm really blogging about blogging and how companies can respond to bloggers (especially when blog posts like mine will show up in Google searches for quite a while after this).

This morning, I woke up to the longest comment ever left on this blog. It comes from someone who says they are a UVA student. I don't think I have many UVA students who are reading and those who do see my blog probably do so via the local blog aggregator and wouldn't see a post three days after it's been written.

Here's the comment (I'm adding line between paragraphs just for ease of reading):

So glad to see so many comments around berryplus. I am a huge fan because it works and it is smart. Thank goodness this company is willing to try something different.

Just a quick clarification about the packaging. The outer package is compostable and the tube are 80% recycled material and they are fully recyclable. I received a sample on campus as well and did my homework directly with the people at berryplus (who I might add were very friendly and willing to share information). I think the real comparison is between your average jug and berryplus. For anybody like my parents that are buying anything in a jug, the jugs use 60% more packaging of old fashioned plastic. Not to mention that it weighs a lot more to transport so more fuel is used. The packaging was designed for convenience so not only is there no need to lug the jug but no need to overdose again. I know that normally when I do laundry I just pour a bunch of laundry soap in the wash the more the better and hope it comes out clean.

With berryplus I just emptied the capsule as instructed and my clothes came out perfect........ smelling clean and looking totally clean.

As a student I am a big fan of berryplus and I hope you replace all the jugs across the nation.

To those who mentioned other brands they use I am sure they are not 95% berry based and 100% plant based read the ingredients. Not to mention that they all use way more plastic and they weigh way more.

Let's give cool start up companies (not amateur) a break they are doing something great. I am so proud of UVA for realizing this is a great product for their school and the planet.

There are a few problems here.

First of all, the comment is so poorly written that I doubt it was written by a UVA student. These kids are smart. I interact with them daily in person, by email, and online. Even when using social media, they write well. There's also that fixation on the jug, which is the word used in the Berry Plus marketing campaign. Didn't I also comment on how poorly written some of the Berry Plus website was on Friday? Hm.

Second, we have lingo here. There are some special words that are used here that may seem foreign to those outside of our little bubble. The absence of that lingo doesn't bother me, but the use of one word that is never, ever used here jumped out. I'm not going to put the word in black and white, but if you are a member of the UVA community, I'm sure you see it. I even showed the comment to a few others who laughed when they got to the word.

Third, the timing seems impossible. This person claims to have done "research" with the people at the company and has been using the product long enough to be a "huge fan". Berry Plus was given out at the bookstore on Thursday.

Lastly, using the names directory on the website, I found that there are no students named Raina at the school. What's more, there are no faculty, administrators, or staff members at UVA or the hospital named Raina. Hard to believe, but the directory even returns close names in case of spelling errors.

Moving on, what about the part that says the packaging is recyclable? I didn't think unmarked plastic was recyclable. As a lifelong recycler who remembers the time when we only recycled glass and cans, I know the numbers on different plastics and which ones I can recycle here in town, but was about to email Recycla (aka Jen) to get the scoop. She beat me to the punch and commented on the post:

As for whether or not the packing is recyclable, I can tell you that, in general, it is not. That said, Whole Foods does accept all plastics for recycling at this time, but what I cannot tell you is what happens to those plastics after being dropped off at Whole Foods.

A note about so-called compostable plastics: Often, when a company says that their packaging will break down in a compost bin, their testing was done in industrial composters, which reach much higher temps than home composters do. About a year ago, Mother Earth News performed some tests on so-called compostable plastics and discovered that they do not break down in home compost bins. I've been doing some experimenting myself and have had the same results.

Bottom line: It's best to reduce your plastic use to begin with, regardless of whether or not it can be recycled or composted.

A big thanks to Jen for clearing that up and making a great point.

Stick a fork in this topic. As of tomorrow, I'll be back in design blog world. I hate posting entries without pictures, so I sprinkled in a few dreamy laundry rooms from Rate My Space. Enjoy!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Battle of the soap nuts: Maggie's vs. Berry Plus

A team of young people were handing out samples of a new laundry product called Berry Plus (or maybe it's berryplus or berry+) at the UVa Bookstore yesterday. The girl who handed me a packet said "the University is trying to get us to stop using chemicals." I don't know whether to be flattered or annoyed that she thought I was a student, but I took the packet and moved on. Back in the office, I spread the little pieces out and snapped a picture.

This product is made from a nut or berry and it's being marketed specifically to college students. The campaign is so new, the product's website is pretty bare bones right now. I tried to figure out where they are getting their soap nuts, but the FAQ addressing that is pretty vague (and pretty poorly written):

"The Chinese soapberry tree that is found in the Himalayan foothills where it has grown for thousands of years. Our soap is then made and packages at a single location in the southwestern United States."

The fax number on the website has a Nassau County, NY (Long Island) area code. Their email address led me to the parent company's site, Cleaner Innovations. They were founded in 2009. The video on the website is cute and shows that they truly are a start up (no one thought to move the cinder blocks out of the bottom of the shot?).

The product sounded like a different version of Maggie's Soap Nuts, which I bought at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop recently. Maggie's website says their soap nuts come from Indian and Indonesian jungles.

I hadn't actually tried Maggie's Soap Nuts out and the Berry Plus freebie was a reason to do so.

First off, let's compare the method of delivery. The Berry Plus comes in a tiny, plastic vial. This is all that's needed to clean a load of laundry.

Maggie's Soap Nuts are tied into a cloth bag and tossed into the laundry. You can either pre-soak two soap nuts in hot water or throw four soap nuts into a cold wash. Soap nuts can be reused four times.

I decided to pre-soak a couple soap nuts and add them plus the resulting "tea" to a cold wash.

The result: both products did a great job. I used the Berry Plus on a load of towels and they came out nice and clean.

Check out the cream colored chinos below. They had mud on them from when a neighbor's dog jumped on me a few times (I'm not annoyed in any way by this...I love the cutie pie). I had my doubts about how Maggie's Soap Nuts would clean these, but they came out clean!

So, which product wins? On cleaning ability, I think they are evenly matched. That makes me look at pricing, sources and packaging.

The two products are actually priced similarly. The box of Maggie's Soap Nuts says it is good for up to 20 washes and it cost me $9.99 at the local eco-store. Berry Plus' online store sells a 20 load package for $8.80. Adding in the $2.00 shipping fee and the total is $10.80 for the Berry Plus.

Berry Plus is marketing itself to college bookstores while Maggie's is something you'd find at stores that carry environmentally friendly goods. I won't know for a couple weeks whether the cost will be less when buying in person at the bookstore.

When it comes to sourcing, Maggie's seems focused on the eco-friendly aspects of the product while Berry Plus focuses on the convenience of not having a jug to carry to the laundry room. Maggie's is clear about their source, Berry Plus is not.

As for packaging, I think Maggie's wins in this area. The plastic vials Berry Plus uses add to my thinking that the environment isn't a huge focus of the company (the vial doesn't have any marking to show what sort of plastic it is). The full product comes in a plastic disc. There is no word about whether the packaging can be recycled.

picture from the Berry Plus website

What do you think? I think I have about 18 more loads of laundry to do with my Maggie's Soap Nuts before I make a final decision, but at this point, all the plastic involved in the Berry Plus product makes me wary of using it. What's more, I like supporting a small, local business when I buy Maggie's Soap Nuts.

7/27 edit: A package of 8 BerryPlus vials is selling for $4.99 at the UVa Bookstore. That works out to about 62 cents per load. Maggie's Soap Nuts cost about 50 cents per load when bought locally. Buying online in bulk would make the soap nuts the more cost effective choice.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Opinions, please

At the beginning of the month, I ordered a set of dishes. You may remember that I debated selling my current set, which is worth quite a bit of money. I decided to replace what I have with a mid-range set from Bloomingdale's that had a pretty cane-like pattern around the edges.

The dishes showed up two weeks ago and as I unpacked the huge box, I was disappointed. First of all, the dishes were Oneida. No brand was mentioned on the Bloomingdale's website, but I bet I could have tracked down a better deal had the brand been disclosed. Perhaps that's their strategy. Anyway, several dishes were chipped despite the packaging being pretty substantial. A few plates were warped...when I put them on the counter, they wobbled will weeble people. What's more, the dishes weren't white like in the picture, they were gray.

I called Bloomingdale's and they offered to send a replacement. I said that because of the color, I didn't want a replacement. At this point, they said I would have to take the dishes to a store. The closest Bloomingdale's is two hours away. Their alternative was for my to lug the box to a FedEx store.

You may not be able to tell from this picture, but the box of dishes comes up to my hip. I barely dragged it over the threshold of my door. I didn't know how I was going to get it in the car and up to the FedEx depot.

After putting me on hold for a while, customer service finally agreed to have FedEx or UPS pick up the box, but they added that this would take 7-10 days. The FedEx and UPS guys come by my place multiple times per day, but I figured I'd take what I could get since they weren't making me take the box anywhere.

It's been two weeks since that conversation. I was credited for the return on the day I made my call, so I'm not out any money at this point.

What would you do? Should I call and pester them about picking the package up? Should I consider the package abandoned at this point? It's a shame...out of dozens of pieces, only about 10 have a problem. The dishes can definitely be salvaged.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I have something to say about Design Star's judges

It seems that the number of bloggers commenting on Design Star has exploded in the past year. I'm not going to post play-by-play entries about the show, as there are others who do that quite well. What's more, some of the contestants themselves are posting reflections on each episode (anyone else enjoying Emily Henderson's blog as much as I am?).

I do want to share a few things that have been on my mind. I hope you'll entertain me for a minute.

People seem to think Vern is being too hard on the designers this year. During the Twitter parties that happen during the show, viewers say he's being downright mean (sometimes the language may be more harsh).

When I watch, I find myself being thankful the judges' standards are getting higher. Vern is probably the most vocal of the judges and after judging the show since the first season, I think that's to be expected.

Every contestant on this year's show is working professionally in the field. Most of them are educated and some attended major art schools (if you look at the Design Stars in Social Media post I wrote a few weeks ago, you'll see Pratt and Parsons on the list of schools attended). This is not the Design Star of old, when an ex-hairstylist could try her hand at designing rooms. That's not a dig, it's a fact. There's a big difference between season two and season five.

The Twitter party is full of people making cracks about Vern's height. Genevieve Gorder, who participates in many of the chats, repeatedly answers questions about this and it drives me nuts that she has to do that. Genevieve and Candice Olson are tall women who also happen to wear pretty tall heels. Candice is a former volleyball player, for goodness sake! Did everyone forget that?

Take a look at this picture of the old group of judges with Clive Pearce. The other judges were Cynthia Rowley and Martha McCully who used to be with InStyle magazine.

Okay, I think I'm done. Lay off the judges. They're holding professional designers to professional standards. Those who say "let's see the judges do that" don't seem to realize that Vern and Genevieve have done what the contestants are doing when they were on Trading Spaces. If memory serves, Trading Spaces was about four person teams (two homeowners + a designer + a carpenter) redesigning rooms in two days on insanely small budgets. They can do it. They don't have to anymore. They get to judge. Right?
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A thrifty confession

I started collecting hotel toiletries when I was a poor rookie in my field. I reasoned that if the seals are broken, they'd be thrown away, so I might as well take them home and save a little money on my end by not having to purchase as much shampoo and conditioner. I only stayed in Hilton hotels back then, so my supply of Neutrogena products was impressive. Now, I stay where I can get the best rate while being close to my appointments, so my collection has diversified.

In the last week, I was spending a lot of time in the bathroom trying to work on my tile sealing project and I realized that I have a whole drawer of little toiletries. I don't know why I was saving them...I'm not the rookie anymore, but I still pick up the bottles when I'm about to leave a hotel room.

So, out came a few bottles. I feel like I've been splurging, but I haven't spent any money at all. What's more, some of the bottles remind me of specific trips. The Bulgari bottle, for example, is from the time I found a $110 rate at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton, Missouri. I had been stranded by a canceled flight, missed an important event in Oklahoma City as a result, and sat on my laptop in a Panera Bread (St. Louis Bread Company, pardon me) frantically looking for a place to stay that would give me a last minute rate that was under my per diem. Someone decided I needed a break that day and I got that amazing room at the Ritz.

Do you take the little toiletry bottles home with you after a hotel stay or do you leave them in the room?
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tile saga continues

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my twice yearly tile resealing was delayed by pink grout stains in my marble bathroom. There's plenty of advice around the web about what to do about those stains and a good portion of it is just plain bad advice. I poured over the John Bridge tile forum and GardenWeb to assess the options and move forward.

My aunt's suggestion to try X-14 was foiled by the fact that the stuff isn't available in Virginia. I don't know why that is, but that options came off my list. I used a bleach pen a few times on the very bottom of the wall (where it hits the tub, so there was no chance of it connecting with the marble), but that didn't work.

At one point, I was walking by the local eco store and decided to pick up an "all natural" mildew product. I was a little worried that reviews of the product on Amazon were negative, but decided to give it a shot. The reviews focused on the product not being all natural. That really didn't concern me. I wanted it to work. I wanted my marble to be okay. On it went.

The marble wound up being just fine. The grout in some areas wound up looking minty green (this after I was assured the green color would not affect the tile or grout). To say I freaked out would be an understatement. I rinsed the eco product off and then threw together an OxyClean poultice and slathered it on the grout with a plastic knife, hoping it would pull the green off. Thank goodness, it worked.

But I had a new problem. A few of my tiles started to look funny as I rinsed the OxyClean off. Now, the OxyClean solution was suggested by major tile gurus on the tile forums (John Bridge being the ultimate stop for tile information). OxyClean isn't ph neutral, but when mixed with water, the tile experts said it was safe for super sensitive marble.

I presented my pictures to the forums and most over the homeowners couldn't spot what had happened. The tile experts did, of course. One of those gurus said that while he always suggests OxyClean, he suggests that it be mixed at half strength. Amazingly, it was his specific posts that led me to OxyClean in the first place and he had never mentioned a concentration before.

I was so sad. Other forum members and even Marc said that only I was noticing the damage and that in time, I wouldn't see it anymore. I'm not so sure of that. The bathroom was my first renovation project. I saved for months to do it and carefully gathered the materials over the course of many months. I don't know if I'll be able to over look my damaged tiles. you see the damage in these pictures?

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Charlottesville in this month's Elle Decor

A couple years ago, my mother came down from New Jersey and I took her on a whirl wind tour of Charlottesville. One of our stops was Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home on the outskirts of town. When I first started working at Mr. Jefferson's University (that's U.Va. to those who are reading from far away), I was a little surprised at the reverence for Jefferson. I sometimes wondered if they thought he was still living at Monticello and might stop by at any time to check in on things on Grounds. Over time, I grew to love the Jeffersonian tradition and realized that people here aren't blind to the man's faults (they probably know them better than the average American), but are proud to celebrate his accomplishments.

During the visit to Monticello with my mother, we got to chat with one of the guides about some of the ongoing research that was being done on the property. At the time, they were working on the dining room. They were certain that the paint color being used was incorrect and were working on recreating the color Jefferson used in the space.

Monticello's dining room the way we saw it

In this month's Elle Decor, I found out that the research panned out and the resulting work is beautiful! Check out these images from the Elle Decor website (there are many, many more photos than those that made it into the print edition).

Ralph Lauren funded the restoration and Charlotte Moss designed the space for the Elle Decor photo shoot.

Locals know that Jefferson loved to tinker, experiment, design, and invent. This golden yellow paint was new and extremely expensive at the probably appealed to the innovator in Jefferson.

Jefferson's finances weren't in the best order towards the end of his life. The fact that he bought this expensive paint (see the Elle Decor article for the cost information) made me chuckle. I guess he just couldn't resist this hot, new product despite the fact that he was in debt.

Stunning, isn't it? There is so much more to see at Monticello and if you've visited before, the ongoing research and restoration work ensures that you'll see new things on a return visit.

If you wind up paying us a visit, please let me know! I'd love to meet some blogger friends and introduce you to a few of the shops about which I've written in the past!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The menagerie grows

My brother had an elementary school teacher who liked pigs. Everyone knew she liked pigs and they gave her pig items all the time. Her classroom (and I imagine her home) was full of pigs.

I hope the menagerie at my house isn't approaching those proportions! I don't consider myself a collector by any means, but looking around the room, I see quite a few animals. There are two fish on the coffee table, a horse on the console with the TV, two little owls on one side of my desk, a Thomas Paul pillow with a dog on it, and there's also Olivia the sheep. There's also my newest acquisition, a squirrel carrying a ring box by Jonathan Adler.

I always loved Adler's Menagerie line of pottery, but never really sought any of the items out. Last week, while looking for a birthday present for Marc's mother, we went into a charming, eclectic gift shop called O'Suzannah here in Charlottesville. July is when O'Suz has a major sale and I was pretty sure we'd find something to take home there.

Right at the front register, there was this squirrel with a big sticker in it's head with an insanely low price on it. The price was so low that I picked the squirrel right up and held it as I wandered around the store. Something had to be wrong with it, right?

Right. He was, as Suz herself explained, drunk. He tipped more easily than the others in the store. I decided to risk it and took him home. With a few little cushions on the bottom and placement far away from the big, red, wagging tail that flies around here, the little squirrel has been just fine.

I didn't realize the acorn the squirrel is holding is a ring box! I think I'll move him into the bedroom so he can be put to work.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Design bloggers take on House Beautiful

House Beautiful's "Send Us a Picture of..." feature is a monthly piece that posts designer's responses to a fairly simple question about their homes with photos of their spaces. This month's question was about the items under designer's beds. For the first time, the feature actually made me laugh. It was kind of refreshing that a few of them were more than willing to show that they don't have every inch of their spaces designed and organized to perfection.

That had me would the design blog crowd stack up if asked to do the same as the designers? I put out a call to a few bloggers with the thought that if this was fun, it could become a monthly feature here.

There honestly isn't anything under my bed!

Under my queen size bed at the moment, I have piles of papers, paid bill receipts, doo-dads, shoes, and an assortment of clothes, books, and magazines I stuff under there when the house is being shown (it’s on the market). The 2 twin beds in the guest room are currently housing cat toys, large platters, a few Christmas ornaments, and more magazines (do I sound like a hoarder yet?). Is this something you want as part of a collaborative blog? I doubt it!! Do you want pictures of this? I doubt it!

This is hilarious. . . because the only thing under my bed right now is a copy of that very same issue of House Beautiful. Go figure!

At my old condo I stored a box of out of season clothes as well as two folding tables under my bed, but that was because space was at a premium. Now that I have the luxury of space in my new home, I plan to not store anything under the bed. With pets I find it just becomes a fur trap!

The only reason my House Beautiful mag is under the bed right now is because I'm still in the process of decorating and building furniture for my bedroom.

Two months ago, we got rid of our bed and for longer than I care to admit, our mattress was rocking a high school coolness about it by being directly on the floor. It was quite the flashback to being 16! Because of the bed swap, we had to clear everything out that was stored underneath. So if Jeannine had asked me to do this three months ago my list of would have been ten times longer than it is today. Thankfully, our new bed is in place and we've been somewhat careful about what went back to live underneath it. Right now there is one dryer ball, lots of dust, two plastic bins, a pair of slippers and a cardboard box.

Inside of the plastic bins are 5 pairs of man sandals (mandals) and two pairs of man slippers.

The cardboard box contains memorabilia from my grandparents house that was sold last fall. I just can't seem to find the right place for three vintage aprons and a handful of old jelly jars...

~Eva @ The Fourth Door

If you look under my bed, you'll learn about one of my passions: music.

There are about ten, massive CD wallets stacked under the far side of the bed (so they can't be seen from the door). The CDs are mostly live recordings, traded by mail with other music lovers or if added to the collection in recent years, they were downloaded via Bit Torrent online. Happily, Marc and I are fans of bands that don't just allow tapers to record their live shows, they encourage it with special tickets and sections reserved for tapers at concerts. All of those binders get packed into Marc's truck once a week so he can use them to produce The Grateful Dead & Phriends Radio Show, which is broadcast on seven radio stations around Virginia and online.

Bet you didn't expect that answer from me!
~Jeannine @ Small & Chic

Now it's your turn! What's under your bed?
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Monday, July 12, 2010

We interrupt regularly scheduled posting...

I had an awesome post in the works for today, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Yesterday around noon, just as we were about to leave for the day, a shelf in the laundry room fell off the wall. Water came pouring through the hole left by one of the toggle anchors. It was surreal. How the heck does something like this happen?

The water was soapy and we figured that someone's washing machine was leaking in a unit above ours. Sound familiar? My floors were destroyed by a leak in another unit back in November. I'm devastated by the potential damage of this one. What was not coming through the hole was probably pouring down the insides of the wall.

I called the emergency maintenance number for my complex and didn't hear from anyone for over an hour. Finally, a truck showed up. We said that we thought we could hear a washing machine running on the four floor and the guy left to get a key for the units up there. He never came back.

The water stopped, so we cleaned up the best we could and went on our errands. When we came back, there was more water in the pan we left under the hole. I called the emergency number again and found out that the office didn't have keys for the units on the 4th floor (totally infuriating...everyone is supposed to have keys on file with the office), so the guy who was here left.

Last night, the water starting coming down again and we started knocking on doors. We figured out that the water was coming from 2D.

2D. 2D was the tenant whose leak destroyed my floors! I'm sort of in shock at that. Now, I'm waiting for the management crew to show up so I can insist that they take the drywall down in the laundry room. There is water back there. There's electrical work. I'm pretty scared.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

My new toaster

A while back I mentioned a purchase I had been thinking about for quite some time. Last week, if you follow my Twitter updates, you figured out what that purchase was.

Remember how I once wrote that I like quirky art that makes me laugh? Well, those are also qualities I like in cars. The Honda Element has been on my mind for months. Members of the Element Owners Club affectionately call the car "the toaster", which is why this commercial cracked me up when Anita posted it on her Dreamer's Den blog:

I'm loving my toaster already.

It even has French doors!

Sorry for the detour away from design talk.
I just thought I'd share since I'm so excited to finally have the Element home!

Have you see these around your town? They're pretty popular here, but my mother hasn't seen many in her NJ town outside of NYC.
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