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!).

Cheers,
Monica

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?

Cheers,
Monica


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?

Cheers,
Monica.

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.

Cheers,
Monica

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Desert blooms at the house

It's Memorial Day weekend and we are at the desert house.  Since we don't live here full time we really notice all the changes that happen with our landscape plants.  Plus, I'm not familiar with the desert plants so when one plant blooms, it's quite a surprise.

White desert flowers
White desert flowers
This is the first time that I've seen this plant bloom.  It's a very tall plant reaching the roof.


Red Yucca
Red Yucca

In the front of the house there are tall plants that have tubular flowers called Red Yucca. Humming birds love these flowers.  It's wonderful to watch these tiny birds hover and zip to each flower.

humming bird
Humming bird enjoying a snack


This orange flowering plant was planted last year when we replaced a large, scarey, thorny plant.  The gardener selected this plant for us so I'm not sure of the plant name, but the cluster of orange blooms are quite pretty.

Hope you are enjoying the three day weekend.

Cheers,
Monica.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Interview with Kim at The Anecdotal Goat

I recently joined the SoCal Lady Bloggers group and was given the opportunity to interview Kim over at The Anecdotal Goat.  Kim is an interior design enthusiast with an interest in local artists, flea markets, and boutiques.  She writes about her adventures in the City of Angels, also known as, Los Angeles, CA.

Kim at The Anecdotal Goat
Kim at The Anecdotal Goat

Name:  Kim P.
Blog Name and URL:  The Anecdotal Goat - http:/anecdotalgoat.com
Twitter Name: anecdotalgoat
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnecdotalGoat
Instagram: n/a
Pinterest: Coming Soon!
Other: http://anecdotalgoat.tumblr.com


When did you first start blogging and why?

I just started my blog in January, so I'm a newbie! I was unhappy at work and needed a creative outlet to explore all of the thing I really love (interior design being the main one).

What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

I'm sure I will have a lot of "I wish I had known" as I get deeper into the process of building my brand, but for now I'm just happy I have readers!

What is your best blogging tip?

Check a post for spelling and grammar mistakes before sending it out there to the world.  I follow a lot of blogs, and I'm always so surprised at the number of simple spelling mistakes I come across.  I read and re-read and re-read everything I post before I hit that "Publish" button!

Additional Questions:

1. What was the last book you read?

I just finished reading The Night Circus, about a magical circus and a competition between two magicians' apprentices at the turn of the century.  It had love, mystery, suspense, and the supernatural.  It was a pretty easy read, and a lot of fun.  At the moment I'm in the middle of a book called, The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, the text book for my Ecology of Design class.  It's very interesting and has great information, but I prefer fiction!

2. If you could hop on a plane today and go anywhere in the world for a week alone, where would you go?

I have always dreamed of going to Thailand, so I'd probably go there.  Although, to me half the fun of traveling is being with the people I'm graveling with!  I have a trip coming up with my husband and some good friends of ours for a week in Turkey (Istanbul and Cappadocia) and I really am just about jumping out of my skin, I can't wait to get there!

3. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I truly want to have my own interior design business, and that's what I'm working toward right now!  It's the thing that I've always said was my "back-up" career, but I've come to realize it may have been my first choice career all along!

4. If suddenly you woke up and money was no object, what is the first thing you would buy yourself? (Can't be for someone else).

I would do a full kitchen remodel, and add a bedroom and bathroom to my house.  Maybe most people would say they would buy a new house altogether, but I really love my house and my neighborhood!  Both are wonderfully cozy, and have all the best of that 1920's charm.  If the house were just a little bit bigger, I could stay here forever!

5.  If you could change one thing about your life and do it over again a different way, what would it be?

The first thing that comes to mind would be to have pursued an interior design career sooner, but the thing is I wouldn't be doing it now if I hadn't had all of the experiences that have led up to this moment.  I've always been very intentional about the decisions I make (or at least the major ones) and never want to regret having not tried something, so I believe that every big decision I've made has been the best decision I could have made with the information I had at the time.  You never know what curve balls life will throw you, but as long as you feel confident in the moment you won't have to regret having done (or not done) something later on.

Thanks Kim .. it's been a pleasure getting you know you.

Cheers,
Monica.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

International Desert Flower, Fragrance & Garden Show in Palm Desert

Last weekend the spouse and I went to the International Desert Flower, Fragrance & Garden Show in Palm Desert.  It was quite a small show, but we wanted to check out what kind of plants grow best in a dry climate other than spiny cactus.  The show was sponsored by the El Paseo shopping district.  El Paseo is known as the "Rodeo Drive" of  Palm Desert.  This area has boutiques, art galleries, high end clothing stores and restaurants.  In fact a new Wolfgang Puck just opened on El Paseo.  My husband and I haven't checked it out, maybe next weekend.

Entrance Desert Flower & Garden Show
Entrance to show
The small show was held in a parking lot and the inflatable dome tent provided a nice airy wall for the event.

Desert and garden show floral arrangement
Beautiful flower arrangement
The gorgeous flower arrangement above was located at the entrance to the show.  I love the cascading roses.  It was quite hot and I was surprised that the roses held up so well.

Desert adapted plants
Desert adapted plants
I loved these garden pots filled with native and desert adapted plants.  Extra bonus for not having any spiny cactus in the arrangements!

succulent plant garden
Succulent plant garden
The photo above is a succulent garden.  These plants need very little water and do quite well in a dry climate.  These plants have the ability to store water in their leaves and efficiently drink up water quickly when it rains.  I may plant some of these around the house.

We went through the garden show in about 25 minutes.  Then we were off to run other errands.  No construction work was done on the house.  Luckily, we aren't in any hurry with the remodel and can take our time.

Cheers,
Monica.