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?