Sunday, March 27, 2016

An update and finding accessories in an odd store

It has been a while since I posted on this blog.  Our renovation is going ever so slowly as my husband is working on a large project offshore. He is gone 3 weeks at a time and it has been difficult to get any real work done.  During one of our visits, we were fortunate to meet the contractor that is working on our neighbors house. The contractor walked through our house and he is familiar with the structure.  The contractor's father built the homes in our neighborhood and he has worked on these homes since he was 20 yrs old. We're glad we made this contact as good contractors are hard to find.

When we purchased the desert house, it included all the furniture and while it's not our taste, it is good enough while we thought about the renovation; however, it is time to update things a bit. So during Easter weekend, we moved some of our furniture from our San Diego home to the desert home. We purchased a new dinning table and queen bed for the San Diego home and brought the Cal King bed and dining table to the desert house.  We then sold the king bed in the master bedroom and large dining table on Craigslist.  I found selling on Craigslist a pain in the ass and not sure if it'll be worth the effort in the future.  Although, after you get past the low-ballers (the ones that try to pick up something for nothing because they think you're desperate), we managed to sell both pieces to two very nice people.

Anyway, on to my accessory find....

One day while we were running errands, my husband wanted to look for a few frames at Arron Brothers and while wandering through the isles, I spotted this cool lamp that I just knew was perfect for the man cave.  My husband has hung a few of his sailing photos (he is a competitive sailor in San Diego) and I thought the blue glass lamp with the woven rope was perfect for this room.

Sea Rope Lamp | Arron Brothers

We've spent countless hours searching for lamps at lamp stores, furniture stores, and discount stores, but it's just one of those rare finds that you see and think - that's it!  It was just so odd to find a lamp at a store that sells frames and art supplies. You just never know.

Next to go - that beat up couch

Similar Lamp Styles

Cheers, Monica

Monday, September 1, 2014

Two new lamps for the master bedroom

I'm sure that two new lamps is hardly an exciting post, but I have been searching for new lamps for the master bedroom for two years.  Sure, there are a ton of amazing lamps on the market, but I didn't want to spend $100+ dollars on table lamps.  Call me cheap, well my preference is for you to call me "frugal", but playing the waiting game does have its advantages.

My husband loves to shop at Stein Mart, as they have really good deals on clothing for men. I'm not a huge fan of the store.  The women's clothing is a bit more dressy than my personal, casual style.  So I usually wander around their small home goods section where I have found lamps that I liked, but there is usually only one lamp available.  This Labor Day weekend, I got lucky and found two lamps.  I have been looking for a light blue or turquoise base lamp to brighten up the master bedroom.  Initially, I was looking at Lamps Plus Color + Plus Lighting Collection; however, the lamp shape that I liked was $120 per lamp and this was more than I wanted to spend.

Light blue lamp from Stein Mart
Light blue lamp from Stein Mart

The light blue lamp was originally $68.00 and Stein Mart's price was $49.99.  I was happy to pay $50 per lamp, but when the spouse and I were checking out at the register, the clerk said $53.92.  We thought the clerk made an error, but she said the lamps were 50% off.  Whoo hoot!  I couldn't believe my luck.  Each lamp was $24.96.

Master bedroom
Master bedroom

As you can see in the above photo of the master bedroom, there is still a lot of work to be done.  The furniture is still ugly and I need to find artwork for the walls.  I'm not in any rush as I'm enjoying the hunt for what I want at a perfect price.

As for this former master bedroom lamp ....

Old lamp
Old bedroom lamp

I'm sure this old lamp will find a new house to brighten.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Remodeling the man cave (office), Part II

The remodeling project at the desert house is going quite slow.  Right now, the husband and I don't quite have the time to spend at the house, but we are managing to get small projects done.

For example, a few weekends ago we decided to get rid of the carpet in the office.  All I can say is - what a mess!  The backing of the old carpet disintegrated and I had to vacuum up all this gritty rubber off the floor. Then I had to go over the floor with a Swiffer wet mop about 10 times before I felt that the floor was clean enough to roll out the new carpet that we purchased.

Diamond Scroll Rug, Blue from Pier 1
Blue Diamond Scroll Rug | Pier 1
The area rug is from Pier 1 and it's called the Diamond Scroll Rug - Blue.  The size of the rug is 9 x 12 and we ordered the rug from Pier 1 and had it delivered to the store.  This rug is a really beautiful mix of light blue, dark blue, maroon, beige, and tan fibers.  It's quite lovely in person and we're happy with this purchase.

Prior to purchasing the rug, we had a company come in to remove the desk (see un-painted desk here) and stain the desk a dark espresso color.  The desk really came out nice and the darker color gives the office a more updated look.

Stained, re-purposed desk
Stained, re-purposed desk
The next project that we would like to tackle is the front door.  The door has gaps in the frame as well as a few cracks in the door which lets in bugs and dust.  We have selected a door, but we just need to find a contractor and the time to spend at the house while the old door is removed and the new door is installed.

Stay tune for the next project!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Re-purposing furniture

During the holiday break, my husband and I were able to spend two weeks at the desert house.  We heated the pool and took the dog for a swim (see post here) and we did some work on the house.

At the beginning of January 2013, my husband removed the desk and wall unit out of the office and he couldn't decide if he wanted to re-purpose the materials or purchase a new desk.   We looked and looked for a new desk that would fit the available space in the office and since we didn't find anything, my husband finally decided to re-build the desk that he removed.

Re-purposed desk frame in the garage

Top of desk added

Testing desk in office

There are two things that I'd like to say about this desk:

1.  It probably does't look very special so why couldn't we find a desk to purchase.  Well, the area where the desk can sit in the room is a long and narrow area and most desks have a deep depth and are shorter in length similar to the desk in the master bedroom.  On the right side of the room is a sleeper sofa, so if the desk is wide and short, then we can't pull the sofa bed out for guests.

2. Don't believe HGTV when they say that repurposing items is easy.  It's not.  It took a lot of work to pull apart the desk, measure and rebuild it.  Plus the desk still needs to be sanded and stained.  We will probably find a furniture re-finisher to do this work.  I do agree that it's great to recycle and reuse items, but just note that DIY is labor intensive.  Shows on HGTV will tell you the cost of the materials or money you saved re-using materials (cheap!), but they never tell you the cost of the labor (expensive!).


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Anglepoise Original Lamp from the Museum of Modern Art Store

I finally found the most versatile lamp for my desk at the desert house.  I discovered the Anglepoise Original Lamp in a catalog that I received from the Museum of Modern Art.  I find their items are really unique and it's wonderful to have an artist re-creation in my home.

Anglepoise Original Lamp
Anglepoise Original Lamp by George Carwardine, 1934

The inventor, George Carwardine was a car designer and while he was designing a part for a car suspension, he created a mechanism that would work in other applications, such as a task lamp (Anglepoise lamp). This task lamp can be angled up, down, or forward and it will hold its position due to the springs in the frame.

Desk at desert house | Master bedroom
Desk at desert house | Master bedroom

The desk lamp that I had on the desk which you can see here, just didn't give off enough light and there's no other lighting near this wall.  The small lamps on the tables beside the bed are also too small to give off any light.  I am still on the look out for new bedroom lamps.  It seems that every time I find a cool lamp at Home Goods, Stein Mart or any other discount store, they only have one lamp (sigh).  Oh, well .. I'll keep looking. Isn't shopping, looking, discovering half the fun?


Monday, September 23, 2013

Ninja Mega Kitchen Blender for the desert house

The spouse and I have been enjoying time at the desert house this summer.  It has been an incredibly hot summer so it was pointless to do any remodeling.  We'll just wait until winter.  Stay tuned.

Since it has been so hot, we have been enjoying ice cold smoothies for breakfast.  My favorite smoothie is strawberry, banana blended with vanilla almond milk.  Super simple and delicious.  Earlier in the year, I purchased the 12 piece Bella Rocket Blender on sale at Macy's for $19.99.  However I've discovered that this darn blender couldn't blend pudding.  OK, that's the least it can do.  The blender doesn't have enough power to blend frozen fruit. I always find chunks of fruit in my smoothie and it drives me nuts.  Obviously, you get what you pay for.

So Macy's is having another sale and off I go to get a more powerful blender.  I'm not playing around this time - I want a powerful blender!  I looked at the Nutri Bullet personal blender.  It's 600 watts which is fairly powerful.  I've seen other bloggers use and recommend this blender, so I know it's a good little blender. Then I spot the Ninja Mega Kitchen Blender.  It's on sale at Macy's for $219.99 (reg $319.99).  This Ninja blender set is still $200 less than a Vitamix blender so I decide to go for it and purchase the Ninja.  So far it's an excellent purchase.

Behold my Ninja Mega Kitchen System - 1500 watts!  Now that's powerful!

Ninja Mega Kitchen System - 1500 watts

Here's the finished Strawberry, Banana, Almond Smoothie:

Perfectly blended Strawberry, Banana, Almond Milk smoothie

Recipe is super simple:

For two servings:
2 cups of vanilla almond milk.  You can use any type of milk here (dairy, soy).
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 cup of frozen bananas or one frozen banana
1 cup of ice
Blend until smooth

Clean up is also a breeze.  Just rinse, add a bit of water, a squirt of dish soap and blend.  Rinse again with clean water and air dry.

Easy Ninja Clean up
Easy clean up

I haven't had the opportunity to used the mixing bowl or the single serving cups.  I'll experiment with those two items the next time I'm at the house.

If you have a Ninja Blender or any high power blender, what's your favorite smoothie recipe?


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Air Force One in Palm Springs

As you all may have heard on the news, read in the news paper or online, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a summit meeting in Palm Desert June 7th and 8th, 2013.

My husband and I received an email from the City of Palm Desert that let residents know that there would be traffic delays on Highway 111 and so when I set out to drive to the desert on Friday evening, I wasn't sure how long it would take to get to the house.

I left San Diego at 7:00 pm and arrived on Highway 111 about 9:30 pm.  All was calm and quiet with the exception of the protesters across the street of the Hyatt Grand Champions where President Jinping was staying.  At the time I didn't know if these people were protesters or supporters, but I read in the Sunday paper that they were both.

My husband, who had been on business travel in Europe re-routed his flight to Palm Springs instead of San Diego to join me at the house.  I asked him if he could get a picture of Air Force One on his way in, if possible.  So instead of hitting the camera button, he some how hit the video button and I got a 2 second video of Air Force One from his prop plane that just came in from Los Angeles.

Anyway, it was fairly cool to be in the same location as two world leaders.  I thought Palm Desert was an odd place to meet, because quite frankly .. it's hot as Hades (104F / 40C).  However, not too many people are in the area this time of year so it's probably a good, low key place for the two world leaders to meet. 

The only small inconvenience that I noticed was that Highway 111 was blocked at around 11:00 am on Saturday (right at the security entrance to our house) so I couldn't make a left hand turn to go into town.  I just went right and headed into La Quinta to do some shopping at Kohl's, Target, and Trader Joe's.

Honestly, I hardly noticed that two world leaders were in town.