September 10, 2014

Apartment Updates

IKEA Hemnes dresser Micke desk vaity

...Hi. I haven't updated this blog in an awkwardly long time. I'm sure my three readers are devastated. I've acquired a lot of new shit though and I want to talk about it. So, standard sorry for not blogging for 4 months, yadda yadda, but I would just prefer to pick up where I left off which is with shopping and rubbing makeup on my arms and taking pictures of it.

By far, the most important purchase I've made in my absence, or in all of 2014, is this rug:

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green
Look at it!! Not only do I love this rug for who this rug is but it's just such a massive upgrade from the previous situation.

old rug black gray stripes
That was the rug I had between my bed and dresser for about a year and a half. Gray and darker gray stripes. It's not offensively ugly. There's nothing wrong with it. It served its minimal purpose as something to disguise the parquet but that was it. It was just really aggressively not my style and would look a lot better in a masculine setting. I can't even express my disdain for that rug and how much I hated looking at it every day. It was just jarring to look at in the space and it brought everything down to its uncolorful level. It was the main thing that brought color to the bedroom section of my apartment and the color it brought was just drab non color.

I had been eyeballing rugs for literally an entire year on Rugs USA which is the most fucked up online rug retailer ever in that they pretty much just give their rugs away. They have 70% and 80% off sales all the time for no reason. Like, it's Arbor Day, have a rug for $400 off! I purchased mine for 70% off during their Labor Day sale and it's probably the best deal I've ever gotten in my life. The rug is something like 5.5 x 8.6 inches and it was $102. $102 for a huge, quality rug and the shipping was free. The shipping was seriously stressing me out, though - I ended up having to call UPS because they would bring the rug to my building after the package office was closed and put the rug back on the truck and take it all the way back to Maryland instead of taking the elevator up two floors and walking five steps to my apartment door. I was refreshing the tracking updates like a lunatic and was about a day away from having a cerebral hemorrhage when it was finally delivered.

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

I debated down to the wire about what rug to get and ended up choosing this purple overdyed Turkish kilim rug. It looked much more purple in the photos and far less green but I'm much happier with how it actually looks in real life. It's not overwhelming or overly saturated purple and the green areas add some softness. I was kind of worrying about how I would incorporate a deep indigo purple rug into a new apartment but I feel a lot more comfortable working with this color palette.

Rugs USA offers this rug in a ton of other colors, including really vibrant looking yellow and pink. I think the site even got a shout out in September's issue of Glamour for their astoundingly reasonable prices and wide selections.

Even though I still live in a studio (with a boy), I feel like I'm living in less of a decorating nightmare now that the "bedroom" looks so sectioned off and is just my space. Call it shallow but it makes me so happy to just exist among all of my crap on display. Everything past the bookcase just feels feminine and cozy and is covered in art. The purple rug just ties it all together.

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple greenrugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

I went to IKEA the same week the rug delivered, fueled by this Moschino ad I found in my dad's Art Forum magazine. I saw it and immediately decided to frame it. I'm just all about it. I love Moschino and especially love their McDonald's inspired collection. Italian fashion and motherfucking McDonald's. I'm embarrassingly passionate about McDonald's - it's really stereotypical fat girl of me but I can't help myself. I would easily kill someone to eat McDonald's breakfast every day and not gain weight. I would kill again to have any piece of the Moschino McDonald's collection - like, yes, I absolutely would carry around a purse shaped like a happy meal box. I would do so with a smile on my face. But, let's face it, never will I ever have $2,000 to drop on ready wear, witty McDonald's handbags. I have to settle for this ad which I absolutely love. It's a cropped version of this photo:


I just think it's beyond hysterical and it's just my aesthetic to a T. The seemingly heart shaped sunglasses that are actually McDonald's style M's and the fountain soda that's really a purse looped around the model's neck? Too much.

I'm kind of refraining from taking a close up picture of it because the ad is about a half inch too small for the frame and I had to back it with printer painter so the overall look is kind of... a mess. In my professional opinion, it looks real not good. I found the silver Ribba frame on the IKEA website about a week before I went to the store with the express goal of purchasing it and wanted to bash my head against the wall when I saw just how ever so slightly too small the picture was. Math confuses me so I didn't understand how wrong the whole thing would look even though I knew the dimensions before I bought the frame. Maybe I was just hoping for some kind of divine intervention on account of being a devout follower of the "Maybe God exists? Maybe he doesn't? I don't think about it!" religion. Who knows what the fuck goes on in my head. I think the silver frame works with it so perfectly so I'm in the process of figuring out how to blow up the ad. I just need less than an inch of white space added on to the edges and it will be perfect. Honestly, though, it's like outside forces are trying to say, "Vanessa, maybe it's a little too fucking ridiculous to prominently frame a McDonald's themed Moschino ad?" but those forces are Soviet Russia in Rocky IV and I'm Rocky. I am unstoppable. This weird ad is going to live in a giant frame and everyone is going to have to cooperate and make it happen somehow.

I also purchased those two little succulents and depotted them into empty glass candle jars. I've had the genius idea to pop out the last of my candle wax and put them into wax warmers to be extra frugal and get every last scent/cent out of my candle purchases. I had so many excess candle jars that I had to throw a few away and almost forgot to save two of those little guys. Pinterest is telling me that succulents are virtually unkillable which I'm hoping is true. I was kind of a crazy plant lady in my college years but I had to get over that quick because this apartment slaughters plants. There's no sunlight since the only window faces another side of the building. Hopefully the succulents will be able to persevere because I like the little bit of green they add. Really brightens up the hideous air conditioning unit.


As for nightstand changes, I got this lamp from TJ Maxx on a whim. Weeks later, I was browsing my own Pinterest boards because I'm really self involved and was surprised to spot it in this photo from an Apartment Therapy home tour which I had pinned months before:


The heart wants what the heart wants, I guess. That lamp just pinged something in me on two separate occasions. It was meant to be. I also swapped out the knob on my dresser for this blue one simply because it was on sale for $2 at Anthropologie. Spending $2 at Anthropologie is a once in a lifetime experience. I was half hoping the salesgirl checking me out would be proud of me or something.



I also picked up this beaded and sequined pillow because, as a woman, I was feeling uncomfortable about the lack of frivolous pillows in my apartment. I'm kidding, it's because I'm still 13 years old and my bed had zero sparkly elements and I was jonesing for a fix. The back of this pillow is stark white so of course there's already a giant iced tea stain on it.


On the right of my bed is the bookshelf. I've moved all of my books to my side of the apartment and the Expedit shelving kind of let me compartmentalize the books into categories. The top shelf needs some work but my (woefully small) collection of art books just barely don't fit into their cube and spill over into my miniature history section, half of which is Kennedy books. I'm working on building up my book collection after years of using the library. In my dream home, I have one bookshelf of this size filled exclusively with my alphabetized collection of art books and then a separate bookshelf for my biographies, Russian history books and fiction. For now, with the size of my apartment and bank account, this is more than good. I'm especially thrilled with the fact that I have an entire book on degenerate art from the Neue Galerie since that's my all time, desert island favorite period of art history AND that I own it because I got to see a show at the aforementioned gallery on it. My Francis Bacon book is similarly special - both are not only on my respective favorite artist and movement but are mementos from some of the most incredible art shows I've had the privilege to see.


This is the current spread on top of my dresser. My dresser is another item in my apartment that's screaming to be replaced but can't happen until I have more square footage. It only has three drawers, one of which is full of so many t shirts that I'm honestly fearful of opening it. That bottom drawer is also unfixably broken, likely because this is a piece of IKEA furniture that I've been clinging to since 2009 and through at least 5 moves. My next dresser is going to have at least six drawers for me to shove all my lazy clothes into because simply owning less clothes to be lazy in is unthinkable and you hate me if you even suggest it.

The big ticket item right now is my television, which doesn't look very bloggery but I have to stay true to myself. I'm a woman who likes to watch Netflix in bed at all hours of the day. If my TV has to take up 3/4 of my dresser in order for me to live that kind of life then so be it. The TV is a Netflix only kind of deal - I'm just starting my first month without cable like a proper millennial - but it's hooked up to a Google Chromecast which is a gadget you need to buy immediately. Basically, the TV is plugged into the wall and hooked up to nothing but the Chromecast. No gaming console, no cable box. With the Chromecast you can open up Google Chrome on your laptop or phone and "cast" the screen to the television. It works for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, you name it. You can even watch YouTube videos or just pull up whatever tabs you're browsing on your laptop and it will appear on the TV just as it does on your personal screen. It makes the TV less of an eyesore too because the Chromecast will slideshow nature photography while it's idle. It's much nicer to look at the Golden Gate in the fog or a close up of rain droplets on a flower than a plain old blank screen.

I have all my jewelry shoved to the side because of my TV situation and the other half of my jewelry collection lives in a drawer of my IKEA Alex. I try to keep my most worn pieces on this surface not just because I reach for them the most but because I like looking at them. The jewelry box is falling apart and is equally as old as my dresser - my aunt gave my cousins and I pieces of our grandma's jewelry in these matching jewelry boxes the Christmas after her death so I'll probably keep and display this even after it completely falls apart. It's grab during a fire level important to me. My dad got me the glass blown ring stand in front of it from a Chihuly exhibit's gift shop. The butterfly cup holds all of my hair ties and I've hung all of my favorite chandelier earrings around the edge of the jam jar that holds my sunglasses. My favorite is still my paint palette plate which I still can't believe I was lucky enough to find twice in Nordstrom Rack.

IKEA Virserum gold

I tore out this Damien Hirst butterfly collage out of the same Art Forum magazine where I found the Moschino ad. It's the perfect fusion of my 13-year-old girl love of butterflies and my love for art and Damien Hirst. I know I have a magazine clipping of For The Love Of God somewhere and I'm hoping to give that the same treatment. The "Pink Is For Girls" print is also an ad from the 60's that I tore out of a book I got on my trip to Italy. I love how graphic and pink it is, yet how totally forlorn the retro girl looks at her surroundings. I've had that print framed kind of haphazardly in an extra IKEA Ribba frame but I like these two ads framed in gold much, much better. They're IKEA Virserums which sounds like some kind of illegal potion from the Harry Potter universe. I'm hoping to hang them on an actual wall in my next apartment next to the polyptich I got in Venice which also has a distressed gold frame.


A close up of my palette plate which holds dangly earrings sans hooks in the little wells and all of my most worn bracelets (and bracelet sized earrings) in the big compartment. It's pretty much just become a holder for my roll on beaded bracelets which I borderline obsessively buy for my best friend and I wherever I see them. A few a from eBay but others are from art galleries in the city, shops on the Point Pleasant boardwalk on the Jersey shore and little shops in Venice, Italy. My current favorite is the blue and gold one which reminds me of the Ukrainian flag.


Finally, I taped up some postcards above my vanity. I was wary of doing this in an apartment at first but eventually couldn't help myself. The wall was too bare and I have too many postcards. The top row is abstract expressionism with a Kline and a Pollock and the bottom is just some visually similar, neutral toned shots of women looking over their shoulders - Peggy Guggenheim, my idol, playing dress up, the infamous Madame X by John Singer Sargent and a photograph from the Neue Galerie's permanent collection. All my other postcards have just become layered on top of each other in my ribbon board and are just a totally incohesive mess. The towel over my chair is also new and was purchased from TJ Maxx because it reminded me of some kind of budget Missoni print. I keep it over the chair because I'm a disgusting pig and routinely wipe my makeup brushes or lotiony hands onto it.

I feel like I'm as happy with my apartment as I could possibly be given that this place has been "temporary" for a year now. Like, do I like how all of my storage, my dresser and my vanity are cramped together against one wall? Do I like how my mirror isn't centered above my dresser? Do I even necessarily like my furniture? Definitely not. There's a ton that I'd like to change but I'd be wasting my time since I've been ready to move out for months. I hate having plain off white walls but why should I paint when I may only be here for another month or two before I have to paint it back or risk forfeiting my security deposit? How should I buy new furniture when I don't have the space for it and won't for the foreseeable future? It sucks to buy and design around a temporary mindset but it's just more practical this way. Hopefully a one bedroom is on the horizon which will be a place where all my design dreams can come true.

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