Current Faves / Uncommon Goods.

Posted on October 30, 2015


I love promoting my favorite sellers here on the blog, so when Uncommon Goods asked me to share some of my favorite items from their shop, I was more than happy to oblige!  I’ve been receiving the Uncommon Goods catalog in the mail for years, and I’m always impressed with their selection of cool & funky pieces. There are so many great things to choose from. If you need art, lighting, jewelry, barware, or unique gifts, they’ve got you covered. I also love their company mission. As a socially responsible company, they offer all of their full-time employees (and most part-time employees) heath insurance and provide a living wage. They work with their suppliers – artists, artisans, designers, and small manufacturers – to make their products in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. Since their founding, they have not sold products containing leather, feathers, or fur. Their goal is to sell no product that harms humans or animals. And for every purchase you make, they will donate $1 to the non-profit organization of your choice.


Very, very cool.


I decided to share with you a few of my favorite items, mainly from their art, home decor, and housewarming gifts sections. I want all of these things.


artuncommonArt (clockwise from top left):  Sun Mountain,  All the Mountains in Colorado, The Connection, Lost MapZodiac Embroidery Hoop Art



Decor (clockwise from top left): Moon Phase Clock, Personalized Maple Wall Clock, Pixel Rose Rug, Astral Wall Hangings, DIY Terrarium Kit, Rocky Mountain Coat Range, Track Your Travels Cork Globe, Handmade Knitting Basket




Gifts (clockwise from top left): Rose Gold Lips Necklace, Meow Cat Cave, Slate & Bronze Necklace, Lomo Instant Camera, Wooden TV Dinner Tray, Owl Touch Lamp, Wooden Wine Glasses, Guatemalan Handmade Slippers


I know it may seem a bit early to think about the holidays, but trust me, time will fly by and you’ll be Christmas shopping before you know it. You’re already going to be shopping for the special peeps in your life, why not shop for gifts that also give something back?


This post was written in partnership with Uncommon Goods, but I support this company wholeheartedly, and all words are my own. Woo! 



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And then I saw Paul McCartney.

Posted on October 22, 2015








When things get to be too much, and my head is a mess, I put on Abbey Road. I’ve been doing this since I can remember. At age 15, I’d lock myself in my bedroom with headphones, but now, at 37, I get in my car, cue up the album on my iPod, and drive. As I speed past tree-lined streets, familiar houses, and neatly manicured lawns, my car fills with the music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I belt out the words to Come Together at the top of my lungs. HOLD YOU IN HIS ARMCHAIR YOU CAN FEEL HIS DISEASE. I secretly lament that nobody witnessed me get all the words right. My head space starts to change. I cry during Something because that is what you do when you are alone in your car and you’re sad and you’re listening to Something. YOU’RE ASKING ME WILL MY LOVE GROW? I DON’T KNOW, I DON’T KNOW. Tears. Every. Time. I want to wallow in this. It feels so good to wallow. Plus, I am really good at wallowing. The guy in the car next to me is staring, so I roll up the window and duck my face inside the collar of my shirt. I Want You comes on and I’m all F**K YOUUUUU to everything and everyone and goodness, why am I always surprised when the tears so quickly lead to middle fingers? The song ends and I flip the record (metaphorically). I know precisely when this needs to happen. There is a path worn in the rug dedicated solely to the flipping of Abbey Road. I picture the needle hitting the record, I hear the crackle and the “KKKKHHHHH”. The sound of anticipation. I think about how albums don’t have two sides anymore. Remember how we always chose a favorite side?


Anyway, it bummed me out.


I allow the melancholy, silliness, and hope that is side 2 of Abbey Road carry me off. I pass a familiar corner store and a little girl walking a dog with a red leash. By the time I get to Carry That Weight, I’m a thousand pounds lighter. I turn onto my street and notice the overflowing trash cans on the side of the road. It’s garbage night. I pull into the driveway and shut off the engine. The words, AND IN THE END THE LOVE YOU TAKE IS EQUAL TO THE LOVE YOU MAKE, linger. Somehow, my head feels clearer. The weight of the world feels less heavy.


Last night, Paul McCartney ended his bonkers-ass set with the Abbey Road medley and it was just what I needed without knowing I needed it. After the stage went dark and the last bits of confetti fell over the thinning crowd, my friend Mish and I exchanged a look. The sort of look you give someone when something really big just happened and you know it and they know it and you just want some sort of confirmation of said tremendous occasion. So many thoughts and feelings on that stage, intoxicating, beautifully orchestrated, ridiculously fleeting. Imagine yourself with Paul McCartney (and thirty trillion people) singing NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH, NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH, HEYYYYY JUUUUUDE and tell me you wouldn’t be glad to be alive, too?







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Camera Purge.

Posted on October 16, 2015



I’m one of those people who is pretty clean and organized for the most part, but I also have a lot of stuff.  Or at least I used to have a lot of stuff, I kind of still have a lot of stuff? I don’t know, I’m working on it. Over the last few years, I’ve made a big effort to purge the things in my home that are not beautiful or useful. I’ve whittled down my closet tremendously, and I’ve tackled nearly every drawer and cabinet in my house. I’ve swapped out a lot of functional but ugly/loud items with better quality and more attractive replacements. Anything that is distracting from the level of calmness I’m trying to achieve is on the chopping block. Like the 30 cheap plastic mismatched spatulas & serving utensils crammed into a drawer that I have to dig through every time I need the bottle opener? Gone. I donated them all and replaced them with 2-3 simple wooden utensils that are pretty enough to display in a glass vessel on my counter. The 25 random cords & remote controls from electronics we don’t own anymore? Gone. Do we need 4 mop buckets? NO! 37 mismatched coffee mugs? BYE, FELICIA. That kind of purging is easy because I’m not emotionally attached to utilitarian items like spatulas or mop buckets. Throwing out an ugly bright green plastic broom that’s taped together and replacing it with a pretty wooden one that actually gets me excited about sweeping is fun. That kind of purging just takes a little bit of time and money.

But then there is the other kind of purging. The purging of the things that hold memories and feelings. Books, records, clothes, mementos. It’s tough to part with that stuff. And CAMERAS. You guys, I have a lot of cameras. Probably 20 Polaroids alone. I’ve avoided going through the cameras for months. I know I need to let some of them go.  It’s time. I’d like to see them go to someone who will have fun with them, because even with the best intentions, I simply don’t have the time to use them all. Below are four cameras I plan to post on Craigslist soon. I thought I’d post them here first since y’all are my frands and I want to give you first crack at them. They are great cameras, so once I put them up on Craigslist, they’ll probably go quick. *cries*


1. Panasonic Lumix DMC LX-5  UPDATE: SOLD!
$160 (includes U.S. Shipping)





This is an amazing little digital camera. I’ve taken this camera on every trip with me. It’s tiny and easily slides into a pocket. I recently replaced it with the Leica version because I needed the wifi, but for your money, you can’t get a better digital point & shoot than this. You can read about it on Amazon, but here are some quick points:

  • 10 megapixels allows you to print poster size prints at great clarity.
  • Shoots HD video
  • Leica lens: 24mm (extremely wide viewing space) to 90mm (zoom)
  • Maximum aperture of 2.0 (shallow depth of field) to give you those pretty soft focused backgrounds known as bokeh effect.
  • Manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, or fully automatic settings.
  • It’s white! It’s tiny! It’s cute!

The camera is in great condition, and everything functions perfectly. No dents or scratches. It comes with the original box, battery charger, battery pack, USB cable, shoulder strap, CD-ROM, lens cap, lens cap string, owners manual. Requires an SD card. Paid $400, asking $160.


2. The Impossible Project Pinhole 100 Camera. UPDATE: SOLD!
$110 (includes U.S. shipping)




I’m kind of regretting posting this camera for sale. EEK. This camera was produced in a very limited stock by The Impossible Project and is very unique. You can read about it here. This camera takes instant peel-apart film which is my favorite kind of instant/Polaroid film. It is a pinhole camera so it produces very soft images with an infinite depth of field. Objects are in focus from right in front of the camera to infinity. Requires long exposures and a tripod. It’s in like-new condition. Functions perfectly, no scratches or flaws. You can easily find the film for this camera in local camera stores and on amazon. It works with all Type 100 pack films in B&W and color. Asking $110 though they’re going for much more on Ebay.


3. Holga 120 Wide Pinhole Camera.
$40 (includes U.S. shipping)




You can read about this camera here. I love Holgas! This Holga camera combines several methods of photography in one. It’s a wide-angle panorama camera, pinhole camera, and medium format camera all rolled into one. Uses 120 size B&W or color film that can easily be found at local camera stores or on amazon here. This camera is in like-new condition. No scratches or dents. Functions perfectly. Asking $40.


4. 1954 Bolex C-8 8mm camera.
$60 (includes U.S. shipping)





This is a video camera, and it’s the only camera on this list I haven’t personally used. You can read about it here. This Bolex camera uses double standard 8mm film which you can find here. How fun would it be to shoot an old-timey video with this thing? Comes with a nice leather case and strap. I haven’t film-tested the camera, but it looks to be in good shape.


If you’re interested in any of these cameras, leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you a Paypal invoice. Once it’s paid, I’ll ship the camera out within 24 hours. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy Friday!






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Easy Custom Framing.

Posted on September 23, 2015




Several years ago, I inherited a stack of family photo albums dated from the 1990s all the way back to the late 1800s. A hundred years of family photographs! I’ve been s-l-o-w-l-y scanning, retouching, and archiving the digital files. There are so many I’d like to enlarge, print, and frame, but it’s one of those chores on the to-do list that just never gets done. Not to mention the thousands of digital photos I’ve taken with my own camera, filed away and forgotten on my hard drive.


I am often asked what’s the best way to print, mat, and frame photos, and the truth is, it can be tricky, overwhelming and expensive. Most people don’t have a high quality photo printer at home, so they have to send their photos to a local or online printer and then find another company for the framing. Anyone who has walked into a custom frame store and had to choose between 100 different mat options and a million different frame options can attest the process is intimidating. And the quote is usually enough to make you cry.


So when a new company from Portland called Livestock kindly offered me a complimentary frame, I was excited to try their services out. Livestock is a really simple site that allows you to have your photos matted, framed, and shipped to your door without the headache. It’s just three simple steps: upload your photo (you can even upload directly from your smart phone), choose a frame from 6 classic styles in 4 colors, select your size, and they ship it to your door! They’ll also adjust the color, sharpness, and contrast of your image for free.  The custom framed photos start around $75, which is not nothing, but cheaper than most custom frame stores for sure. And shipping is free!




I used a photograph of my grandmother from 1952 . The original photo was pretty beaten up, so I retouched it in Photoshop before uploading it to the site.




I knew I wanted to use a photograph of my grandmother, but I  had a hard time choosing which picture to use! During the Korean war, my grandmother sent my grandfather a bunch of flirty photos of herself with sweet handwritten messages on the back of each one. This one reads “Here’s thinking of you (wow). Want to come home now, honey???”. Was she not the cutest?




The process of ordering on Livestock was so easy, I was done in under 5 minutes. Less than two weeks later, the frame showed up at my door and it felt like Christmas morning! I was so impressed with the sturdiness of the shipping and the quality of the materials. It even came ready to hang with the proper hardware. The materials are true gallery quality and I couldn’t be happier with it.




I’m reminded of my grandma Jean’s smile every time I walk into the room now. And isn’t that the point of taking pictures in the first place – to remember and cherish the people and places that mean so much to us?  I am sure I’m not the only one who has photographs in need of framing, so I encourage you all to take a look and get in on this cool service. It’s super fun to walk through the process and see your photo go from something buried in your phone or hard drive to a piece of art you love to display.



Miss you, grandma!



This post is in collaboration with Livestock. All words, opinions, and cute grandmas are entirely my own.




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Bathroom Updates.

Posted on September 17, 2015




I still have to replace some caulk, seal the grout, and hang a couple towel hooks on the back of the door, but it was time to pull the trigger on shooting it for Design Sponge so I may as well let you in on what I’ve done.


If you remember, the bathroom looked like a moldy tortilla put in a blender on HIGH when I moved in 11 years ago.




I like a lot of original 1950s tile, but that tile was U.G.L.Y. Seven or eight years ago we took the entire bathroom down to the studs, except for the tub which we had resurfaced, and installed new tile, fixtures, lighting, and drywall. In this post I talked about my “builder basic” thought process for the remodel and why I regret some of those decisions. I truly wish I had chosen a more classic/sophisticated tile, but let’s chalk it up to a learning experience, eh? Several years after that, the bathroom was ready for a refresh.





Man, was I waaaaaay over that moss green color. If I learned anything while living in this house, it’s how important it is to pick a whole house color palette.  When I first moved in, I hastily picked a different color of the rainbow for each room without considering how they worked with each other. At one point the master bedroom was blue, the kitchen was yellow, the bathroom was green, and the dining room was turquoise. If you stood in the living room you could see all the colors in one glance and it was visually chaotic and jarring. Now I understand that in a small house you want continuity and rooms that feel like they flow, not like they’re chopped up with different color schemes. I’ve been slowly repainting each room in varying tones of grey which work together without evoking that chaotic vibe. The result is that the house feels bigger, airier, and more connected. Repeating the same color in multiple rooms may seem boring, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make things more interesting by pulling in colors and textures from furniture, art, pillows, rugs, etc. And if you don’t want to repeat the exact same wall color, sliding one or two shades lighter or darker on the same paint chip will ensure your rooms will feel connected and cohesive.




And so! Back in July of last year I created a mood board for how I wanted to spruce up the loo (OMG has it really been over a year since I started talking about this?! Am I 37 or 38 now? Did I do my taxes? Is Downton Abbey back on? Where am I?).



No expensive upgrades, just a refresh with some paint/accessories/shelves/textiles. Here’s where we are now.






I wanted to bring a little personality and kitsch into the room because where’s the fun in decorating if you can’t express your inner crazy lady? I just think a cat checking out your butt (literally) is funny. And a large feminine abstract is slightly off-putting in this context.


The color I chose for the walls is Ominous Cloud by Clark & Kensington but I had it color matched to Valspar’s Zero VOC paint. This tone of grey works great in here at all times of the day. It doesn’t turn blue, purple, or brown like a lot of greys do under artificial lights. I decided to add open shelving above the toilet because look at my cute stuff! And I switched out the old mirror for a medicine cabinet with hidden storage because don’t look at my ugly stuff! The unfinished pine shelves were super cheap ($3.99 a piece) from Ikea.  I brushed on two thin coats of white stain and two coats of poly before hanging them.  I added plants and various textiles to warm up the space and to make me look like a kinder, warmer person. I’m also so glad I decided to splurge on the acrylic towel bar and toilet paper holder. I don’t know, they’re kinda glamorous. Just like you.




Sources! shelves, white stain, brackets, moon & eye plantersnightlight, press for champagne, towel bar, hand towel, candle, tooth trinket, Turkish towel and yellow basket (souvenirs from Spain), black & white pot and incense holder (vintage), marble tray (Homegoods), graphic art print (purchased from an art show in Detroit, artist unknown).



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