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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter weekend at the desert house

My husband and I went out to the desert house for the Easter weekend.  I had great plans to make a nice ham dinner, but the weather was so lovely that I didn't want to be stuck in the house with a ham in the oven.

So we decided to try a new steak house that just opened called Mastro's Restaurant.  The web site calls the restaurant an "Unparalleled Dining Experience".  I'd say it was a good dinning experience, but I wouldn't rush back.  Both the food and service were quite good, but be prepared to have room on your credit card because it was expensive.  I will say that the crab cocktail appetizer was to die for.  My husband ordered a bone in rib-eye and I had the petite filet and both pieces of meat were excellent.  We ordered a side of brussel sprouts which were over cooked.  For dessert we selected their signature butter cake, which I'd pass on.  Overall, I think we would return to the bar for cocktails and small plate meals, but sadly not the restaurant dinning room.

In other news, it's a great time of year to visit the desert as the citrus fruit trees are bursting.

Grapefruit tree in Palm Desert, CA
Our neighbors grapefruit tree by our fence

I picked a few that were on my side of the fence.  They are huge, juicy, sweet, and delicious. 

Juicy grapefruit
Juicy grapefruit

On Saturday, we ran a few errands and picked up an ottoman for the master bedroom closet.  I originally wanted a bench seat so that I would be able to sit down and put on a pair of shoes, but the closet is a bit too narrow.  So I opted for the Threshold Single Storage Ottoman Stool with Hinged Top in Espresso, purchased at Target.  It works just great.  I was tired of sitting on the floor to put on my shoes ;-)

Threshold Single Storage Ottoman Stool with Hinge Top - Espresso
Ottoman in master bedroom closet

We also purchased a desk chair for the desk in the master bedroom.  The desk came from Cost Plus World Market and is the Konrad Mahogany desk.  The chair came from Lamps Plus and my husband removed the arms so the chair would slide under the desk.  The master bedroom is a very bright and warm room so I will enjoy sitting at this desk to work.  

Konrad Mahogany desk chair
Desk and chair in the master bedroom

Of course the original plan for the weekend, besides cooking a ham, was for my husband to work on the desk in the man cave (office).  However, he could not find the plans that he drew up.  So we did our errands and shopping.  As we were packing up to leave, my husband discovers the plans under his back pack.  Oh, well, we will probably go out this weekend as well and he can work on getting the office back together.

Cheers,
Monica

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TV Stand, Media Console by Lamont from Overstock.com

In our quest to replace some of the furniture at the desert house and to get one step further in completing the den (man cave), my husband purchased a TV Stand, Media Console from Overstock.com

We had looked in a few furniture stores (consignment and new) and we just couldn't find the right style or wood color.  My husband is the type of person who will scour the globe looking for the "perfect" item, but out of the blue, he ordered the TV stand from Overstock - site unseen!

So when it was delivered, I thought, "Oh, man this is going to be a pain in the butt to return".

Lamont TV Stand, Media Console boxed
Lamont TV Stand, Media Console boxed

The TV console was packaged very well and arrived undamaged, but due to the dryness of the desert and static cling, there was styro-foam packaging everywhere.

Lamont TV Stand, Media Console unboxing
Lamont TV Stand, Media Console un-boxing

The console was easy to assemble.  Even Taylor wanted to help out.

Lamont TV Stand, Media Console glass doors
Lamont TV Stand, Media Console glass doors

The picture below shows the assembled TV console.  We still need to adjust the cable box, network and wireless computer modem so these items sit properly in the TV console.

Lamont TV Stand, Media Console
TV Console Finished.  Yes, we like the Pawn Stars TV show!

For approximately $300, this TV console is perfect for the desert house.  The wood color in espresso matches the Crown Pet Crate Table.  The quality of the TV console is quite nice, although the glass sliding doors do not slide with ease, but we don't plan on opening and closing the doors often. 

If you've purchased furniture items from Overstock.com, let us know how you liked the item(s).

Cheers,
Monica

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Crown Pet Crate Table

As discussed in previous posts, my husband and I purchased our house in the desert furnished.  It's not quite our taste in furniture, but it's good enough and we've enjoyed having a house all set up that we can just take off and go to.

As we spend more time in the home, we are deciding which furniture items to replace.  This weekend we replaced two items.  First, we wanted to replace a rustic wood end table in the den (man cave) and second an over-sized dog pen that we had for Taylor, the cocker spaniel.  We thought that we would just get a regular metal pen for him, but since we wanted to replace the end table, we thought about an end table dog create.  Is there such a thing?

Well, yes!  We purchased the Crown Pet Crate Table at dog.com. The cost of the table was around $226.00 for a medium sized table/crate and it's what we would have paid to replace an end table anyway, so might as well get an item with a dual purpose.

Crown Pet Crate in Espresso, size medium
Crown Pet Crate Table in Espresso (bedding not included)

Luckily, Taylor was crate trained when he was a puppy so he's more than happy to go into his new home.


Taylor in Crown Pet Crate Table
Taylor in his new home

Calm Taylor in Taylor in Crown Pet Crate Table
A relaxed Taylor in his Crown Pet Crate Table
When we come home after running errands, here is what Taylor normally does ..

Pool in Palm Desert
Taylor running around pool
Taylor is never in the back yard alone as he has fallen in the pool chasing the pool cleaner.


Tri color cocker spaniel in back yard
Taylor chasing birdies and digging
Cheers,
Monica

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pre-column removal

One weekend my husband was out at the desert house and I stayed in San Diego. When we went out to the desert house this past weekend, I noticed that there was a picture hanging on one of the columns.  I thought that's an odd place to hang a picture.


The spouse informs me that he used the picture as a 'cover up' because he cut a hole in the column to see what the structure was like as this column will be removed in the near future.  This column is so large that I can hide behind it and you can't see me.  I've had quite a bit of fun running around the column playing hide and seek with the dog.  The column does obstruct the view from the dinning room to the living room.  I'm sure the column was put in to show separation between the dinning area from the living room without adding a wall, but we are looking for a more open floor plan, so this column's days are numbered.


All I can say is that I'm not looking forward to the mess.

Cheers,
Monica

Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Bedroom, side by side paint color comparision

At our recent visit to the desert house, I was totally pleased with the wall in the guest bedroom that was initially painted with the Paper Lantern by Sherwin Williams and is now Watercress by Dunn Edwards.  The photo's look washed out, but I can see how the four prints sit against the green wall better than the pale yellow wall. 

Bedroom wall with prints against Paper Lantern paint
BEFORE: Bedroom wall with prints against Paper Lantern paint

Bedroom wall with prints against Watercress paint
AFTER:  Bedroom wall with prints against Watercress paint

Left:  Before            |          Right: After

I like that the two colors add dimension to the room.  You can now see the architectural detail of the wall overhang and the wall with the four prints is now an accent wall.  

All of the paint samples that we selected had examples of rooms painted in two different complementary paint colors.  I guess this 18 year old house is finally starting to look trendy.

If you've added exciting complementary paint colors in your home, feel free to share in the comments below.

Cheers,
Monica.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Paper Lantern & Watercress paint for the guest bedroom

The guest bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in the desert house.  For a second bedroom, it's quite spacious and I also really like the furniture in this room that came with the house.  It's not my tasty per se, as I prefer a more contemporary style, but for now it's perfect.

The wall color was a gray/green.  I found this extremely dull and wanted to brighten up this cheery room. Of course, you can't really tell how dull the green paint is in the photo's below.  You'll just have to trust me that it needed to be updated.


Guest Bedroom - Real Estate Photo (pre new paint)

Guest Bedroom - Real Estate Photo (pre new paint)

We selected two different color paints for this room: 

1. Paper Lantern by Sherwin Williams.  If you look this color up on line it's totally wrong.  The color is a soft yellow, but the paint swatches online look peach.

2. Watercress by Dunn Edwards.  Again, if you look this color up online it shows a gray green where it's really a green/yellow.

In the photo below, the accent wall behind the bed is painted with the Watercress and the rest of the room is painted in Paper Lantern.  You can see the Paper Lantern color on the over hang wall above the sliding door.

Watercress accent wall behind the bed

Paper Lantern rest of the bedroom walls.


I really love the Paper Lantern wall paint.  Even though I selected a beige color paint for the master bedroom, after seeing the Paper Lantern in the guest bedroom, I knew the color was also perfect for the master bedroom.

View from bedroom door into the bathroom
What is interesting about this angle is that I thought that the four flower pictures didn't 'pop' against the Paper Lantern wall, so we just painted this wall with the Watercress green.  It looks quite good due to architectural elements in the room.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the newly painted green wall, so will have to update the blog once I get a photo.

Below you'll see two photo's of the guest bedroom bathroom painted with Paper Lantern.

Guess bedroom bathroom sink area


Guest bedroom toilet and shower

You can see that the guest bathroom needs upgrading as the peach tile is totally dated; however, I have to say that the bath room is in great condition.  There are no chipped or damaged tiles and the bath room is quite clean.

The only item remodeled in the guest bedroom was the closet.  We did both the master closet and the guest bedroom closet remodel at the same time.

Guest bed room remodeled closet

So the guest bedroom is done for now.  Will post the new Watercress wall next weekend.

Cheers,
Monica

Monday, January 21, 2013

Remodeling the man cave (office), Part I

What I love most about the desert house is that there is an office for my husband to work.  In this room there is also a private bathroom with a large shower. The sink is located between the bathroom and the office.  There is also a small closet.  This room is the perfect man cave.

After using the office for a year, my husband decided that the built in desk was too heavy for the room which also made the room dark. We both decided that the bright yellow paint was an eye sore and the large leather chair was taking up too much space.  As you may recall, we relocated the large leather chair to the master bedroom to create a reading area.


desert house office
Desert house office (real estate pic)

Although the built in desk looks pretty cool, once you're sitting at the desk you realize that there is no desk space because the book shelves sit right on the desk area.

In the picture below, you'll see that the whole desk and book shelves were removed and the room was painted with a blue/gray color called "Respite" by Sherwin Williams.


Desk and book shelves removed


The space is currently still blank.  We are trying to decide if we can re-purpose the old desk into something more modern or replace the built in desk with a free standing desk and an entertainment type center. 

The photo below is looking into the office from the dinning room.  Without the large leather chair in the corner, the space by the windows opens up and allows more light into the room.



Since the closet is quite small, my husband had to custom fit a modular closet that he purchased from Lowe's.

And no man cave is complete without the picture below hanging over the toilet.

The writing in the right corner says: "Men Only Bar with Latrine Front - 1904"
Aren't you happy that we live in a more civilized time.

Cheers,
Monica

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How the cleaning of an old leather chair created a book nook

The desert house that my husband and I purchased was the only house that we looked at that came with the furniture and even though the furniture doesn't quite match our contemporary style, we thought it was a good turn key solution.  We wanted to use the house right away and didn't want the task of trying to fill a 2,600 sq foot home with furniture. 

In the master bedroom there is this odd cut out in the wall.  There's not much you can do with this space except put a large dresser in the area and that's exactly what the former owners did.  The master bedroom furniture is solid oak.  I thought about refinishing the furniture, but I hardly have the time to take on that type of project.

Master bedroom with oak furniture (Real estate picture)
My husband suggested that we dispose of the tall dresser (the gardener was happy to take the dresser for free) as it's not needed with the new master bedroom closet remodel.  I thought that was a great idea and decided to turn the space into a reading area.  We decided to move an over sized leather chair that was in the den/office to the corner in the master bedroom.  The chair was much too large for the den anyway and it fit perfectly into the corner.

One beat up, dirty old leather chair


Close-up of worn leather chair

As you can see from the photos, the chair is fairly worn, dry, and lifeless.  I wasn't sure how to clean leather so my husband suggested leather seat cleaner for car seats.  I thought, "Why not?"  So off we went to an auto parts store and picked up Meguiar's Rich Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.  I got a rag, sprayed cleaner on the rag and wiped down the chair.  It's best to actually spray the cleaner on a rag vs. directly on the leather as the cleaner will leave dark spots.  The picture below shows the amazing results.

Old leather chair after cleaning with Meguiar's Rich Leather cleaner

I now have a great little place to read.

Grab your Kindle Fire, this is a great place to read

Where is your favorite place to read?


Cheers,
Monica