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Goodbye to a classic movie store May 22, 2010

Posted by Emily in Missoula.
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It was small and kind of dark. A lot of times there were dogs lazing just inside the front door. A large percentage of the movies were still VHS. The likelihood of a Kevin Smith movie playing on the tiny TV was always very high. But if you were looking for some obscure foreign film, or a movie made by or about someone local, Crystal Video was the place to go.

I’m as guilty as the next person – I get Netflix, sometimes I hit the Redbox. Sure, I dropped in from time to time, but time to time is not how most businesses are run. It’s like people who don’t subscribe to the newspaper bitching about the downfall of printed media. I get the irony.

But it’s a shame that small, local places like this can’t really make it in this ever-changing world of how we get our media – whether we’re talking VHS vs. DVD  vs. BluRay or in a local rental shop vs. online vs. a grocery store kiosk. How do you compete with Netflix’s thousands of movies, delivered to your doorstep the next day?

But I’m sad to see it go. It’s been making me think over the last couple of weeks about the state of things, and what choices I can make to shift the tide.


down the (white) rabbit hole May 19, 2010

Posted by Emily in colors, design, moving, new house, Spain.
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I have this weird thing about making decisions. I would consider myself fairly decisive, but when it comes to buying things, or making random commitments, I like to know that I’m making the right decision via process of elimination. I research. I read comments online. I stew a little. I ask most of the people I know for their opinions, even if it’s sometimes just to clear up in my head that I was right all along. I may be capable of decisiveness, but I am very rarely impulsive, especially with big purchases.

And so I’m trying to figure out the right paint colors for my new house. This process is inexplicably exciting for me, as it’s something I’ve been dying to be able to do for a long time. But now that it’s here, I want to be sure. If the paint goes up and ends up looking yucky, we’re probably going to be stuck with it, since I doubt we’ll be able to pay for it twice. (even once is a little overwhelming)

I have made up my mind that I want light gray walls in the living room and dining room, with white trim. Seems so simple, right?

Well, then I started reading about “the right white” and all my confidence went to hell. I read all 94 comments on this post. (RIP, Decorno) Read through Apartment Therapy’s take on white paint. Then their tips on choosing paint colors. Then read through Colour Me Happy’s take on paint choices (and have to agree with the starkness of the cinnamon color against the bright white – arg.) While I was there I also read her post “What everyone should know about gray” (because I really don’t want to screw that up, too. Gray is tricky.)

Then there’s the eggshell/semi-gloss/flat/who knows what else question. Semi gloss for the trim seems to be the consensus. But ceiling? Walls? Everyone has a different opinion, and everyone seems to feel very right.

I know I read even more musings on whites (not to mention the section in the book I bought), but I closed those browser tabs in a moment of feeling a bit out of control. I came to realize that most of my normal life/purchasing choices are highly governed by budget, which is an issue here, but not SO much since all of these cost the same or can be color matched. And generally there’s a finite number of choices – you go to Target, see 10 stereos, and you choose one.

But goodness, there are a million colors of paint! And don’t even get me started on how many freaking whites Benjamin Moore carries, not even counting the million other companies!

But somewhere along the way, I pretty much decided to paint my bedroom Benjamin Moore’s “Quiet Moments” (or its color-matched equivalent, depending on my budget at that point.) This felt like a huge victory. Every time I see it, I like it. And I even like the name, which seems to have strange emotional pull (yet another reason why BM’s “Mayonnaise” is not my white).

(photo via design*sponge, clearly. I love her Sneak Peeks and find them hugely inspirational [and laid out better than Apartment Therapy house tours].)

Does anyone have any paint choosing tips? Know the perfect white? Have a color in their house that they just love?

I seem to like yellow kitchens, but that’s a whole other issue. We don’t want day-glo. But we also don’t want weird Easter pastels. It can easily look dingy, the opposite of what you want in a kitchen. Colors, I love you but you treat me badly. At least when I’m trying to decide which of you to put on my walls.

Happy happy anniversary…to me! May 16, 2010

Posted by Emily in blog, photography.
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Kind of hard to believe, but today marks the 3 year anniversary of this blog.

What started as a way to keep in touch with friends while I was in Spain and traveling around Europe has morphed into something…else. From Spain, the blog’s theme was so easy – it was about writing about my experiences. Letting people know what I was up to. Venting, from time to time. And some sort of journaling, too, though not the super confessional sort. And in the end, the writing was cohesive enough that I turned it into a book.

Since then, the “theme” has wavered a bit. Some people who used to follow religiously have taken me off their blog reading lists – and that’s OK, too. I go through phases of writing about design. And others where I want to post poetry. Or random YouTube videos. Or photos from whatever.

So I’ve gone back and forth lately, wanting to do something more but not knowing what to do. Should I self-host and have the option of posting music and more photo slideshows and things of the sort? Should I change the name, since Mensajes isn’t exactly the catchiest? Should I go with a “theme,” as most successful blogs seem to do? Should I let this thing die, as so many bloggers have done lately?

The question becomes – what is the point?

It’s something I’ve been tossing around for a while. I’m not too interested in trying to make money from it (and it would be basically impossible, at this point – let’s be honest). And I don’t want to feel obligated to stick to a really consistent schedule, since I don’t seem to consistently have interesting things to write about. But when the mood strikes, I like blogging.

I like posting photos here. I like working through strange, awkward, hard, or exciting and beautiful times via sitting down to write. Or photograph. I like that a few friends and friends once removed and I have formed a little online community. Because isn’t that sort of the point? To feel connected, somehow?

And so, really, the “theme” hasn’t changed. It’s still about writing about my experiences. Letting people know what I am up to. Venting, from time to time. And some sort of journaling, too, though not the super confessional sort.

As Dooce‘s Heather Armstrong said in a recent interview, “My website has remained about my life over the last eight years…So my subject matter – being about my life – hasn’t really changed, but my life has changed.”

And as for Mensajes? I’ve come to like it. For those who haven’t figured it out, it means “messages.” It’s also a word I just like the sound of. And it’s become this online identity for me, in some form or another. So, at least for now, I’m thinking I’ll stay with it.

Coming soon: my shiny new blog space. Keep an eye out for it.

And of course, when it’s ready, I’ll make the big announcement right here.

yes, zebra scissors May 13, 2010

Posted by Emily in design, things that make me smile.
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I got them today at the college bookstore over my lunch break.

These are the kinds of things that make me happy.

I’m a winner! May 10, 2010

Posted by Emily in books, design, moving, things that make me smile.
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Stopped into a local design store the other day on my way back from lunch. Was on the hunt for rugs as the carpet is pretty shot at my new house, and after seeing this post on Design*Sponge but realizing that all of the lovely rugs under $100 were actually doormat sized from Anthropologie. That’s one steep doormat. I foolishly thought that this shop’s gambler’s sale on housewares and accessories would include rugs, but I was mistaken. I looked through some of their Dash and Albert rugs, of course gravitating to this more expensive wool option:

On the way out (into the rain), I put my name on a slip of paper and dropped it in a vase for a drawing – I always sign up for those sorts of things (I am my mother’s daughter). Got an email last week that I won this book:

Some of the rooms are a bit too basic for me, but there are some interesting tips. The timing couldn’t be better! Plus, winning is fun.

Choosing colors May 4, 2010

Posted by Emily in moving.
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Since there’s some chance of being able to paint the walls of my new house (something that no rental has previously allowed), and since I’m about to save a fair amount on rent from what I was planning, I finally justified buying this book I’ve wanted, but totally not needed, for a while. Can I mention again how much I love palettes?

I’m sort of thinking Horizon (or another light grayish color, or maybe a greige) for the living room, with white trim. Thoughts? Anything I should know about painting?

(also, I figured that if I’m going to be linking to Amazon, might as well become an Associate. Doubt I’ll ever make any money off of it, but I figure, why not? If you were to decide that you, too, were in desperate need of this book, and bought it via the photo link, I’d get some small sum in return. Eventually. If I reach 10 or 15 bucks. Just full disclosure.)