Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fall Things

So, somehow it's mid-November and tomorrow is my birthday. 32nd, if anyone was counting. As usual, life has been crazy. Last month, I was lucky enough to spend almost 2 weeks in Hawaii for a dear friend's wedding and a weeklong visit with the family, including spending an evening in Kona with my brother and his wife. Believe it or not, I flew direct from LAX to Lihue for the wedding, but ended up flying through Seattle on my way home. You read that right. KOA > SEA > LAX. I feel like a crazy person just typing that. Alas, that is the price you pay for cashing in airline miles. I honestly shouldn't complain. 

The last 6 weeks of the year brings five more trips for me. A few are for work, and some are for play. But, I really wouldn't have it any other way. (I rhymed)! If I could work full time and be constantly traveling, I probably would. Although working from home is so nice. Except when I have to leave during the day and I haven't showered or brushed my teeth or changed out of my pajama's. There could be worse problems.  I like to call these #champagneproblems, actually.

Life is actually really good. I am starting to feel a little more at home in Cali and it just feels like the right place for us.  After we moved to Charlotte, it took about a year for that to feel like "home" to me and I am anxiously awaiting that feeling to happen again. Flying "home" into LAX was interesting, I am not quite used to saying we live in Long Beach or that California is our home state. But, I think it will happen in time.

What else is new? Oh, I changed my hair -- I am going blonder, what can I say? California just does that to you. It was almost 90 degrees earlier this week... and I could get used to that.

Alright, that's all I have for this life update, today. I am hoping to start working on some city travel guides or at least travel recaps, but you know how that goes. More coming soon.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Never Leaving: Palm Springs Edition [Part II]

Did you catch my first Palm Springs post here? If not, first thing's first. Immediately stop what you are doing (well, maybe not exactly) and read it here first.  OK, Phew! Now that you are all caught up we can proceed with some classic bachelorette party relaxing-by-the-pool photos.  Let me start with a disclaimer: Reading any further may cause a condition called FOMO [fear of missing out]. Read at your own risk.

Our new jobs: Lounging poolside, like a boss. #slay

Basically, everyone fell off the swan but me [by some miracle]. So at the end of the weekend, it was Derek [swan's name] - 4 Kim - 1. So I guess Megan did share the swan, after all.  

In other news, if you can believe it, I did not pose for the photo below, I was already in that position when the photo was taken. Not to brag, but I guess I know a few things about lounging, pool side. 

I went for a quick drive around a few other 'hoods to check out some famous Palm Springs houses. Let me say, I was so surprised how deserted the neighborhoods were. I know it's October and all, but the weather was pretty perfect except for a bit of wind storms.

Tip (or #lifehack): If you are renting a house, get the pool heated. Even if it's 90+ degrees. Just trust me on this one. Mmm k? 

The infamous #pinkdoor house was all that I imagined it would be + more!

As you can probably tell, we just had the best time in Palm Springs and cannot wait to go back. I *may* have booked a weekend getaway there next month for my birthday. 

...and of course we left with a lifetime of memories. Palm Springs, I miss you everyday! Too much, too soon? 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Never Leaving: Palm Springs Edition [Part I]

Have you ever traveled to a place where you seriously looked around, did a double take and said to yourself, "I could live here. No, really, I think I could actually live here"? This feeling has only happened to me a few times in my life. Charleston, Turks + Caicos,  New York City...

Enter: Palm Springs.

I have been hearing about this vacation destination for probably 10+ years but I never had the pleasure to visit until we recently threw a bachelorette party for one of my besties there.  Side note: can I please have a do-over for my bachelorette party? I mean, Vancouver BC is fun and all but.... Palm Trees. Our very own Pool. Flower crowns. Penis Pasta... the list goes on and on.  

My parents are from a tiny town in Michigan. Back in the mid-late 80's they went on their honeymoon to Hawaii where my uncle was living. I've heard this story many times, but my uncle said something about living in Hawaii and my mom casually said, "This is a nice place to visit, but I could never live here". Fast forward a few years and they moved to Hawaii. They have been there ever since (nearly 25 years).

Where do I start? Even though we were only in town from Friday - Monday, I honestly did not want to leave. We stayed at a gorgeous AirBNB complete with our own pool and a few floaties -- don't worry, we brought the swan and the pizza, among other things. For the most part, we didn't leave the house much, why would we even have to? I ventured out to check out the #pinkdoor house, drove around a few other 'hoods and was mostly just in plain awe with the sight of the mountains just beyond the next stop light. The architecture is on a whole 'nuther level. I mentioned in a previous post that I was more of a strictly ultra modern girl than a midcentury modern girl. Let me back up and say that living in our mid-century modern home in Long Beach has given me a whole new appreciation for mid-century modern architecture and I am officially obsessed.  When we used to live in Seattle, we would drive around and look at these boxy, modern homes, dreaming to own one someday. Living in Socal, those homes are a little further out of our reach (insert money with wings emoji) these days. So the mid-century option seems more appealing and albeit, affordable.

Anyway, I digress... back to the weekend. What did we do, you ask?  Drink (only a little), eat, sleep in until 7:30 am (#thisis30), stay up until almost midnight (OK, a few people stayed up past midnight), hot tub it up, pool it up, make flower crowns which turned out so amazing (I am so proud of us!), learn how to use shared photos for iPhones, took 1,237 photos including 35 videos, learned how to turn on/ignite a BBQ (just me?), inflate YAY balloons (harder than it looks), broke a single martini glass, made an epic trip to Target (in under an hour no less), talked #lifehacks, made frose  (how do I get the thingy over the e?!?) from scratch (so many steps, but so good!), learned about a bunch of new instagram filters (go check yours!), got special hats and tanks made, ate penis pasta for dinner (yes, it was as good as it sounds), burnt some bacon, took turns riding the swan (except for Megan), became a #wolfpack, went to Harry Potter World (that is a discussion for another day), and I think that about covers it. I'll spare you the gory details. Basically, it was one of the best trips I've ever taken, in my life (not exaggerating). For real, though.

Bottom Line: Don't be surprised if Jake and I end up in Palm Springs someday. Don't say I didn't warn you... and stay tuned for more Palm Spring photos. I'll share another round next week.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Midcentury Modernist

As you can probably tell by the name of my blog, I have a thing for vintage and modern things. Over the years, my style has ebbed and flowed.  It's long been a dream of mine and my husband's to one day build (or own) a (pre-fab) modern home. We started reading Dwell magazine a few years back and it only fueled our modern/minimalist obsession even more. 

Fast forward to us relocating across the country this summer to Southern California. We were hoping to find a house to rent so we could dip our toes in the water and decide if we wanted to jump into home ownership. After looking online for several months, we found a great mid-century modern home to rent in an amazing neighborhood.   

If you asked me a year ago if I even liked midcentury modern homes, I probably would have said no.  Architecturally, I prefer modern.  Finding a modern house anywhere is no easy task.  Finding a modern house in Southern California is HARD.  They seem to be all built and owned by architects and they are (not exaggerating) a million dollars+++.  I was browsing the 'net when I came across the mid-century modern home that we are currently renting.  Jake literally started fake crying when I showed it to him -- it was/is his dream! It was a very quick drive to his new job. It was in our budget. It has 4 bedrooms - we were looking for at least 3. It has a backyard!  As you can imagine, we just fell in love with it so much so that we might want to buy a mid-century modern home now! If we can afford it, that is... haha. That is a whole 'nuther story, though.  Isn't it crazy what happens when you open your mind to new possibilities?

One of the coolest things about our home is that it's in a neighborhood full of midcentury modern homes. Many have been redone and they are all just gorgeous.  One of our favorite things to do is going for walks around the neighborhood and checking out the other homes all built by the same architect.  I also LOVE our outdoor space! One of the first few things on our list is to (1) get a BBQ and (2) get an outdoor sofa. Hello, outside dinners. I. cannot. wait. (We even have a TV outside that the owner left for us to use. Who has a TV outside?!?!? I mean....) #blessed. I know, I'm sorry. I had to. 

I posted several photos of my office here, but decided not to include photos of Jake's office (you're welcome) or the guest room. I need about 2 years to decorate it, so hang in there. Maybe one day, it will be up to par for me to share... In other news, we have never had a guest room before. So, we love having visitors!  Please come visit us and I really mean it.

...and I left the bed messy on purpose. For a true lived in effect. 



Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Peek: My Home Office

We've been here just about a month and a half but I finally took some photos of my new home office.  I feel like our home in general (including my office) will always be a work in process.  We Jake is still working on 'cord management', as he calls it. Meanwhile, my work phone is very touchy as it is VoIP and I accidentally disconnected a call a few weeks ago when I kicked the box with my foot (it's held up under my desk with velcro). Anyway, I wanted to share some photos of my home office today and I promise there will be more posts to come on the rest of the house.

I didn't really have a theme when I was planning my office, I just wanted it to be a haven that I would love being in since I was planning to spend 8 10 hours a day there. I have two windows which let in an amazing cross breeze, but no overhead fan. Our house does have A/C which we use some of the time, but I try not to rely 100% on it. I didn't want my desk to face the wall (hello: unmanageable cords), so I placed it in the corner next to a big floor-to-ceiling window and the other windows are in front to me, so I can look outside and see the UPS man or the occasional squirrel. Having windows in your office is KEY. I'll list the sources in the post (not sponsored), if anyone is curious.

So, apparently I didn't have a mousepad for the last 3 years. I have no idea how I survived. So I bought this fun mousepad from etsy.  Life changing.

I spontaneously picked up this lamp below from target -- it was on sale...and I love it! You can raise or lower the shade, depending on the vibe you want.  Good thing I did because sometimes in the early mornings it is sort of dark (marine layer) and there is no actual light in the ceiling. So I have to rely on this puppy. 

We picked up this mint filing cabinet from CB2 for our personal files a couple years back -- and they always have new, fun colors. Highly recommend.

So I've been wanting to invest in a nice herman miller chair (read: $$$) but for now this beauty will have to suffice. I have always been one of those people that chooses style over comfort, but I think I am going to have to bite the bullet sometime here soon and get a more comfortable chair. Here is the chair I am currently using below, which is not the most comfortable chair, but it works. Oh - and that blue utility cart in the background is from Ikea and it was originally used as a bar cart in our kitchen, until I decided to steal it and use it for my office. It's nice to have a  catch-all place for all those little things. 

It's so important to have photos and decor that you love to look at everyday. Below is a photo from our wedding and then a photo I took on the Blue Ridge Parkway last summer. Also, isn't this pencil holder the cutest thing you've ever seen? I stalked it at target after seeing a bunch of people post it on instagram.

This lamp was my first home office purchase even before I knew I was going to have a home office. After visiting this hotel in Miami and seeing a very similar lamp in our room, I fell in love with it and had to have one of my own. I found this one at west elm.

And now we come to the Stendig calendar. Have you seen these things all over the internet, like I have? I have been wanting one for probably 10 years but never spent the money. Until now. It's really like a piece of art and pulls the whole office together. I am on the waiting list for the 2017 calendar and you can bet that I will be investing it one every year from now on. I'm obsessed! Some months are white and some months are black. Which brings me to.... it looks like I have a black and white theme to the office -- this was not intentional, as you know I love pops of color. But, I really like it. It's so neutral and gives me the flexibility to do anything I want, color wise. So much fun!

I wanted to include a photo of my messy desk, in action so you could see what it looks like on a typical day.

There you have it! That is my first iteration of my home office. I'm sure it will change as I spend more time and effort designing it, but I think it's a great start and I really love spending time in there.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Don't Let Them Eat You Alive"

So, maybe I find this funnier than it really is, but here goes. The last thing one of my co-workers jokingly said to me as I was leaving the Charlotte office for the last time, was "don't let them eat you alive".  And I immediately smiled and laughed to myself. Little did I know...


California Drivers. 

The DMV. 

About a month ago we relocated from Charlotte, NC to Long Beach, CA. I have lived in a few other states, but California is definitely the most densely populated area I have lived in. Living in Seattle is a close second, but it really has nothing on Cali.  The day we moved here, Jake flew into Santa Ana airport from Seattle after visiting family and I flew into LAX so I could get a direct flight from Charlotte [layovers are the death of me]. Since LAX is only 40 miles from Santa Ana, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal for Jake to pick up the rental car in Santa Ana, drive to LAX to pick me up and then back to Long Beach to get the keys to our house. This whole process should really take a little over an hour, according to Google maps but in reality, it takes closer to 3. Why, you ask?  One word = traffic. After this little experience, I have now learned to allow 3x the amount of time to get anywhere. It's really like of crazy. We were definitely warned about this and it's so stereotypical, but it's completely true. So, moral of the story is, don't expect to get anywhere fast. 

California drivers...where do I start? Like I said, we've only been here a short time but I can already see how some people just can't cut it here. Driving is like being on a racetrack with cars constantly changing lanes on both sides of you and going about 20 mph over the speed limit. Most freeways have six lanes in each direction and they are all packed. It's really an adrenaline rush. I told Jake if he wasn't fully awake when we got onto the freeway, he would be once we got to our destination. Driving in CA is a little different than the 2-lane highway on Kauai I learned how to drive on.

The DMV. After three trips to the barely air-conditioned DMV, I finally got our leased car registered with CA plates [goodbye $328] and my "coveted" CA Driver's License. Let me explain.  [Visit 1] I made an appointment online for the following week, gave myself 20 minutes to get there and headed over. The parking lot was full and there was not a single parking space open. I drove around 3 times and saw a young mom and her son walking to the car. I asked if I could have her spot and she said sure. As I reversed and tried to position myself to pull into her spot, a truck came out of nowhere and would not move to let me pull into her spot. I heard those words creep up into my throat, "don't let them eat you alive". But there was nothing I could do. I saw a security guard and pulled over, I said, "I have an appointment in 5 minutes, but there is nowhere to park. What do I do?" He said "We'll honor your appointment. It's okay if you are a few minutes late." I drove around for 10 more minutes and finally found a spot. I took a deep breath and realized I was already stressed out before I even stepped foot into the actual DMV. I saw a line out the door. I told myself, that must be the non-appointment line. I walked in and saw another, shorter line labeled "appointments only". I waited in this line for about 40 more minutes and got up to the front. I had my passport, copy of our lease, birth certificate, you name it, I was ready. Apparently, there was a new law that went into effect on July 1, 2016 [the day we arrived] that stated you need two documents to prove your residency when applying for a CA license. Since I only had 10 days after we moved there to get my license according to the rules, I didn't have a lot of paperwork with our new address. And I needed another document in addition to our lease to prove our residency. Now, if you know how Type A I am, then you know these kinds of things don't usually happen to me. I was mad. I didn't even have another document in my possession [yet] so there was nothing I could do. 

[Visit 2] Once I gathered the documentation a week later, I made another appointment for the following week. I filled out the paperwork beforehand and had more than enough documentation to support my residency. I waited in line, got my paperwork approved, took the written driving test [which is hard, BTW! 4 people didn't pass when I was in the room taking the test], got my photo taken with one eye partially shut. Classic Albers move, if you ask Jake. Then I got my paper permit which reminded me of when I was 15 1/2 getting my first license. Nostalgia! So, that was done. Now, it was onto getting the car registered. I had heard that you can get big fines for not getting your car registered in CA if you are living here, so this was our next priority. We filled out the paperwork, brought in the documentation and attempted to register the car. The person at the desk informed us that we owed over $3,000 in CA sales tax. Now, I had read about this online and thought several things. 1. This is a lease, we don't own the car. Why would we have to pay sales tax on the full value if we are just 'renting it'. 2. We are paying sales tax each month which is built into our lease payments 3. What would we do if we had to pay $3k of sales tax! This was not going to be easy. We went round and round with him and he would not budge. He suggested we call the leasing company to secure documentation that proved we paid the sales tax. I found our bill of sale and noticed a line called "Taxes and Fees" which showed roughly the same amount he was telling us we had to pay. I showed it to him and magically, we owed zero. THANK GOD. But, we couldn't complete the process just yet, because we need a SMOG check. Yes, our brand new, 2016 car needed to be tested. I am certain that this is just something they invented so they can make more fees, but reluctantly while I was finishing up my drivers' license stuff, Jake took the car to get a SMOG check.  

[Visit 3] About 2 hours later, Jake met up with me back at the DMV with the SMOG paperwork. We had to go back in  the appointment line and wait some more. After waiting in line, the guy ended up giving us a non-appointment number which came with a 2 hour wait. I took one look at that ticket and said, no, we already had an appointment earlier today, we are back to finish licensing the car. Jake was able to move us up in line and we were next. Next thing we knew, we were getting handed CA plates and I wanted to cry tears of joy. WE DID IT --  I wanted to shout from the mountaintops. The DMV employee instructed us to give them the North Carolina plates, which we did. Now I am dealing with the state of North Carolina because our renewal just came up and they are asking for the old plates back. Well, maybe by 2017, the CA DMV will have sent them back to North Carolina or maybe they just melt them down. Who knows? 

If this is what being an adult is all about, then I quit. Can someone just had me a pint of ice cream now?

...and is it Friday yet?