Saturday, April 18, 2015

Birthday Kigurumi!

My birthday isn't until next week, but last weekend Travis went camping with my best friend's husband and she took that opportunity to give me my present early! She got me a Totoro Kigurumi!!! We had a slumber party and wore these the whole time.
Look at him! It's so cute!
Kigurumi are from Japan, land of everything cute! They are basically costume pajamas and I love mine! They are so baggy and cozy and it makes you feel like you are wrapped in a comfy blanket. Crystal got herself a generic bear. Look at the butts! So funny!
Man, I can't get over how much I love mine. To bad we're going into summer so it'll be too hot to wear it soon. But I'm set for next winter! I may have turned the air conditioning up and the ceiling fan on high the other day so I could lay on the couch in mine. Haha.
Crystal picked me up from work and we started our ladies weekend with a trip to Sephora where we tried on too many kind of nail polish. I bought glitter eyeliner (you only live once right?)  Then we went to Two Boots to get pizza. They make my favorite vegan pizza ever! The "V is for Vegan" one. Highly recommend! And check out those nails.
Nail photo shoot. I'm still cracking up about his photo. I love hanging out with Crystal so much.
We went back to her house and watched Rupaul's drag race then went on a dessert run with our friend Thomas. Then we went to a Joan Crawford party at Lisa's house. It was so fun!
The next day we watched more drag race and then met the boys for a celebratory lunch at Chuy's. They hiked 18 miles! What a great weekend.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

KonMari Part Two: Books!

Here is the next part in my series on my experience with the Marie Kondo system of tidying. You can see part one here!
After you go through your clothes, the next category is books. I'll be honest, I was scared to start this category. Travis and I had over 1,000 books in our house and I used to move several boxes of books with me to college every semester. We love browsing used book stores, lending books we love to friends and we were even planning on getting a custom built in bookcase built across an entire wall of our living room. Here are MOST of our books before.
On the left, two stuffed mismatched bookcases  in our living room. A few months ago I had gone through and gotten rid of what I thought was a large pile of books. On the right is one of two built in bookcases in our bedroom. I always called this "the good book shelf" because all my favorites lived there.
And here is the other weird bookcase in our room. Isn't it a strange shape? This one was made over pretty recently to make space for my dream pets.
As part of the process you pull every book in your house down and pile them together. This is everything but our cookbooks, craft books, and a big shelf of vintage kids books in our front room. I'll work on that one once that room gets easier to move around in.
Look at all these! Travis and I both love to read. I've held onto most books I've read, even if it wasn't something I'd read again. I even had books that I didn't like, but they had cool covers or I knew they were supposed to be good. Silly!
Piles and piles and piles.
I sat on the floor and went through the stacks, while Travis kept a tally. Because I had just read Marie Kondo's book it was easy for me to put most of the books in the get rid of pile. I would say something like "3 keep, 14 get rid of."
In the end we kept about 275 books, and took about 690 to McKay's, a local used book store. Woah! They wouldn't even all fit in the trunk of my car!
Here is what we took in! It took them a week or two to get back to us with a price, but we ended up getting about $260 cash. Not as much as we hoped, but hey, that is for stuff that was just sitting around our house! Travis took some action figures and I took some camera lenses later in the week and we got another $200 for those.
Here is the keep stack. It it is a lot of books I loved as a kid and have read over and over. I also kept lots of my graphic novels, and just a few books I haven't read yet. I put most of my HUGE too read stack on my library list so I'll just check them out on my kindle. I even ended up getting rid of my bedside table! It was pretty much just a place to stack books I didn't read for several years, and receipts.
We had MANY copies of all the Lord of the Rings books for some reason. We kept the coolest looking version of each. We even got rid of our hard back Harry Potter books! I definitely reread that series, but always the paperback copies. The hardbacks are just inconvenient to carry around. Travis kept just one of his Stephen King books, and just one Chuck Palahniuk. I'm so proud of how on board with this process he has been.
Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector is one of my favorite books of all time! If you are interested in girl groups you have to read it! It's so good!
See, lots of my favorite books from my childhood. The Witches or Matilda by Roald Dahl are two comfort books for me. If I'm home sick I love to lay in bed and read one of those. Or Harriet the Spy. Or any of the Bunnicula books! And see that copy of Where the Red Fern Grows? I got it from the scholastic book fair in elementary school and I can vividly remember laying in bed and crying at the end of it. It is the first book that made me cry. I love it.
Another author I've always loved is Beverly Cleary, especially books about Ramona, or Ralph S. Mouse! Does it seem weird that out of all the books I have I kept the ones for children? I don't think so, those are the ones that sparked joy with me, and make me happy to see on my shelves.
I was going to do a side by side before and after with these shelves but look! They are empty! All of the books fit on the larger shelf in our bedroom! I'm using these shelves to sort things for now, but they will probably be out of here eventually. How crazy is that? Now I have other plans for that wall since we don't need built ins anymore. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do sorting our game collection. That is one of three shelves. Ah!
And here they are! I really can't believe it. I moved my poodle bottle cover collection in here, which I love and can now look at every day.
Knick knacks are going to be HARD for me but I put some of my favorites on this bookshelf. I've had most of these dalmatians as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to always say when I grew up I wanted to animate 101 Dalmatians. Which is nonsense! I had two of the sleeping puppy on the right and was agonizing over whether I should keep them both, when I dropped one and it's head popped off. Meant to be I guess.
These candles are from the first year we went to the Elvis vigil at Graceland. Precious memories.
I went through my cds at the same time I went through the books since they are on the same shelf. Lots of them went to McKays and I threw out most of the mix cds I had from high school That spindle is actually discs of our wedding photos. I'm going to back them all up on a few hard drives then throw them away. I also treated myself to a teeny iPod and have started transferring all of my cds onto our computer. We'll see if I can get rid of the actual cds! I do use them all the time, but I don't really have to have physical copies.
If you had told me even two months ago that I would be getting rid of most of my books I would have told you that you were crazy! But when we took all those books to McKay's it felt so good! Liberating almost! Now I just have the ones I love, and if I feel like I need to read something I got rid of again, I can just check it out on my kindle.
I'm still loving this process. We've definitely slowed down (because you can't work on it every minute you aren't at work all the time) but I feel great about it. Several people I know have picked up the book since I've been talking about it and I can't wait to hear how it goes for them.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pug Pictures

Like everywhere else in the country, Nashville is having crazy spring weather this year. One week we're all out in shorts and t shirts, the next the city shuts down because there are three inches of ice everywhere! Then the sudden shift causes tornado warnings everywhere. Phyllis and Priscilla don't know what to think! I thought it would be silly to document this weird season through their eyes.
Neither of our girls get around very well so we don't go on many walks. When the weather first warms up we'll take a few turns around the block.
Front porch sitting.
Close to Valentine's day it was warm enough for us to be out in short sleeves. The vapor shop down the block had this weird photo op in their back alley. Tunnel of love.
Then it started pouring rain. I have gotten to use their raincoats a LOT this year. I'm not complaining about that! It is so cute every time!
Less than a week later we had several inches of snow! The girls were really not into that. We had to carry them to a part of the yard where the snow wasn't as deep.
Spoiled rotten.
Snow was a good excuse for grilled cheese (with tempeh bacon and avocado!) and tomato soup. Scampi agreed.
Snow babies! 
And here we are in the April rain. Just a few days ago I was in shorts, then yesterday we woke up to frost on the ground. I'm hoping it warms up for real soon. I can't wait for a lake trip!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Display!

While going through my piles of stuff I found a box of Easter decorations I completely forgot I had! I just set this up yesterday, but I'm actually having a FEASTER Sunday party on the 19th so it can stay up until then. Here is my cute little display!
I found a bag of little plastic roses that I'm thrilled about. Does it make me a granny that I prefer plastic flowers to silk ones? So cute!
I have no memory of acquiring this bunny planter. I'm in love with it! His little butt is sticking out the back of the log! I also found a stash of little chenille chicks.
Teeny pink nosed bunnies and a spun cotton chick.
I just put this thing together after YEARS of having all the supplies. I saw a similar thing on A Beautiful Mess so long ago, got the vase from Travis' grandma, bought the vintage birds at a few different sales, then they sat in my craft room for ages. I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
The singing red bird at the bottom might be my favorite.
So many good things have been happening since we started cleaning out the house. I can't wait to see what else I discover!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Or, how this book gave me permission to lighten my load

Have you been seeing this book everywhere? My friend Jamie from Owl Really posted about it on her facebook and I was so intrigued I immediately bought it for my Kindle. That week I was having a hard time sleeping anyway, so I stayed up all night and read it in one sitting. I was so inspired I started cleaning out my closet as soon as I got home from work. But before we get to that, let me tell you something about myself you probably already know.
I have been a collector my entire life. One passage in the book that really spoke to me was this: "Because I was poor at developing bonds of trust with people, I had an usually strong attachment to things. I think that precisely because I did not feel comfortable exposing my weaknesses or my true feelings to others, my room and the things in it became very precious."I have always been very attached to things, and prone to obsessions. When I like something I want to get as much of it as I can. I bet a lot of you who are into vintage like me go through seasons of acquiring more stuff than you really know what to do with! Especially with estate sales, because sometimes the deals are SO good you can't leave something cool behind even if you don't really want it and don't have anywhere to put it. Case in point, the spare bedroom of our house you've never seen because it is full of boxes and piles of stuff. I'm ready to lighten my load, but it can seem so overwhelming, especially for a sentimental sap like me.
In comes Marie Kondo and this incredible book. I recommend it to everyone, even if you aren't as big of a pack rat as me. I love that her goal isn't to make you a minimalist, it is to surround yourself with only things that you love. The way she describes it is you only keep things that "spark joy". Another part of the method is you do things by category, not by room. For instance, when you do clothing gather every single piece of clothing you can find in the house and pile it up. It kind of shocks you how much you have in certain categories! Then you pick up each item and decide whether it sparks joy. I have been amazed at how easy it has been so far, and how much stuff has left our house! I'm going to document the journey here.

Part One: Clothing
Marie Kondo has you start with clothing because that is easy for most people. You don't have tons of sentimental value attached to clothes. She doesn't mention it in the book, but I think another reason she has you start there is because you wear clothes every day (duh!). During the process your house becomes a bit of a wreck, but having my closet and drawers so organized gives me joy every day when I pick out what to wear. It sounds cheesy but it really does. Travis and I have both kept it up for three weeks! 
Here is the before of my closet. I also have a dresser that was completely full.
I kept my pants folded on the shelf in the bottom of the closet and they always ended up all over the floor. I had actually cleaned out my closet in January, but it was still packed full.
All my clothes out on our bed. Lots of grey and black. There were lots of things that made it through the first purge that I had no problem throwing away this time. It is hard to describe without reading the book, but the way she talks about getting rid of things made it so easy for me. For example, I had this grey cardigan with black cats on it I bought in the fall. I wore it ONCE but I kept it because I spent money on it and wanted to like it. Which is silly. Into the charity bag it went.
I had pared my Weezer shirt collection down to five (I think I had 15 at one point!) and now I just kept the one on the right. None of them fit me, why did I let them take up so much space!
And here is the after! I kept the drag queen inspiration wall of course!
Here is a side by side so you can get better idea. I really love it. One thing that helped was hanging up my pants and moved all my shirts to my dresser. Now my closet just has dresses, jackets and pants. And I have a place for my camera bag now! (the blue thing). I was always putting it weird places because I didn't want our cat Scampi to scratch it, but this is so much better. I found a bag of camera lenses I've had for years and never used up in the closet. I took those to a resale place and got some cash while freeing up space. Yes!
I got rid of so many pairs of shoes. Now I can see what I have and I think I'll probably pare it down a little more before I'm done.
My favorite thing I did was use that vintage shopping basket I got at the flea market recently as a storage space for accessories! It holds my winter hats and scarves, small purses, and sun hats. I have never had a place for those items and they have always been scattered about the house.
Before both suitcases were full of costume stuff, but we thinned out our collection and it now fits in just the red suitcase. The white suitcase is full of purses and totes, which used to fill an entire drawer in my dresser! And there is my Mr. Tiny original sunhat up on top! I can't wait to use it this summer!
One thing Marie Kondo talks about is letting your socks rest. Which seems weird. She says keeping them balled up like this stretches out the elastic. I never realized how jumbled this looked until I folded everything Marie Kondo style.
Look at that! So much better! And now all my tights fit in there! They had their own drawer before.
All of my tshirts moved from my closet into my former pajama drawer. And I LOVE IT! I can see everything, no flipping through the hangers.
I did my pajamas the same way. This used to be a drawer full of purses. I actually have a little too much room in my dresser now, when before it was stuffed!
I didn't take photos of Travis' after, but he did so well too. Before we had no where to put his work shorts (which he wears every day) so we always just stacked them on top of his dresser. Now they are put away and easy to get to.
By the time we were done we took nine trash bags of clothes and two bags of hangers to Goodwill, and also threw out two bags of garbage. It felt great and I've enjoyed my new closet every day.
The thing I've been telling everyone since starting this process is I can't believe how easy it has been for me. I have always had a hard time getting rid of things so this really feels life changing. We'll see how I do when we get to my vintage collections! Ah! I'll keep you posted!
Anyone else working on this right now?
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