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Update: cleaning things up June 17, 2010

Posted by Emily in moving, new house, The Purge 2010.
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I’ve been sort of MIA in life lately, consumed with cleaning at my new house and getting everything prepped for living – and for the painters. It’s going well – we are almost done cleaning walls, we vacuumed and RugDoctored like mad and did my loveseats with the upholstery attachment while we were at it. The water that emerged looked like Coca-Cola. We’ve gone through 2 or 3 boxes of Magic Erasers at this point. And, thanks to my organizing class, I now have a cleaning closet where I can find just what I’m looking for. Here’s the before and after, plus a few more photos from the process.

(blurry) Before:

And after:

Went to wipe the dust off the light switch and discovered another wall color. I guess they had an oven fire at some point.

Stove was more than a little greasy,

but looks like a brand new appliance.

Here are some more “before” photos. Some things currently on the radar/in progress/getting dealt with include:

tub surround (getting regrouted this week)

blinds (soaked in tub overnight, then sprayed with hose outside and wiped down with 409-style cleaner):

(sticky) kitchen floor and cupboards:

The power of the Magic Eraser (before-right and after-left). The color isn’t quite this bad, but close:

side of fridge, before (has also been Magic Erasered into oblivion since this photo was taken):

this entire teapot used to be that dark brown color on the base (this one is thanks to steel wool pads):

My roommate has been powering through so much cleaning while I’m at work, and I’m trying to do what I can when I get home from work, which has led me to drill holes for closet rods after midnight, scrub walls until the wee hours, and generally flit from one project to the next like someone on speed. But I have also been doing some baking, so hey – progress all around.

More “afters” coming soon!

Yes, $12.99 June 9, 2010

Posted by Emily in things that make me smile.
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recently bought these shoes when my go-to black flats basically cried uncle.

I rarely buy shoes from Payless, but these are cute and comfortable. And less than the price of a delivered pizza.

I haven’t been this pleased with a $13 purchase in a long time.

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.