Battery acid, brussel sprouts, and a game of tag.

Happy Wednesday, friends! I was tagged recently by Brooke of Inside Out Design and Maury of Life on Mars (thanks, ladies!) in a fun Q&A bloggy game. I was given 22 questions between the 2 of them, but had a sneaking suspicion that nobody would stick around for that much drivel about my life, so I picked 6 each of the questions that they came up with. I’ve tagged 11 other bloggers at the bottom of this post, and included 11 new questions for them to answer!

But first, my own answers.

1) What is one thing you can’t live without?

There’s plenty I could live without, but one thing I wouldn’t like to live without is my own bathroom. I like camping (mostly) with the exception of not having my own shower and sink and toilet. Something about how daddy longlegs aren’t generally a part of personal hygiene. If I could vacuum pack my bathroom into my suitcase for every camping trip we take, I would.

2) What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

Um…plain Shredded Wheat? No seriously. I am not an exotic eater. I haven’t, for instance, ever eaten goat tongue or leg of porcupine. (Gross?) The most unusual thing I’ve eaten in the past week is roasted brussel sprouts. Rick said they tasted like battery acid and I was not quick to disagree.

3) What is in your purse right now?

Garbage. Junk. Dirt. I need to attack it with several Lysol wipes; it’s probably swarming with bacteria and is seriously grossing me out. As far as non-microbial objects go, though, there are bobby pins, paint swatches, old receipts, older receipts, expired coupons, really expired coupons, and maybe my cell phone, keys, and wallet, if I remember to put them back in there after I use them.


4) What is one of your pet peeves?

I’ll be honest here: comments about my size from people who don’t know me well. “Do you ever eat?” Yes, I do. I’m petite. It’s genetic. What’s more, I’m in a healthy weight range for my height. But I don’t even waste time responding with those facts anymore. I’m not sure if sometimes people think they’re being nice, but suggesting to me that I have an eating disorder is not a compliment. It is insensitive to just how serious an eating disorder actually is. And it especially makes me sad and uncomfortable when they ask me that question in a jealous tone.

5) How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

I clock in at a little under an hour from the time I get out of bed to the time I get in my car. This includes breakfast and other necessary morning activities like petting the cats and trying to find my cell phone.

6) What is the greatest gift you’ve ever been given?

My salvation. No other gift can compare.

7) Do you have a "Monica's closet" aka a hidden space in your house that's either a total mess or completely undecorated?

Of course not! I am perfect and my house is pristine. See?


 8) What made you decide to start a blog?

I discovered the world of home blogs when I googled “how to paint furniture” a couple years ago and found myself on this page at Young House Love. I’ve always liked to write, but hadn’t, until blogging, done much in the way of “personal writing” since high school. After a while of hemming and hawing over whether or not to start a blog of my own, I caved. It’s been an enormous stress relief for me and a hobby that I have truly come to love.                             

9) What is the best decorating tip that you've learned from another blog?

Carol of The Design Pages left a comment on another blog saying that she gives her clients the following advice: “Finish the vision before you start over.” I am guilty of wanting to start over so many times, especially because my vision is blurry at best when it comes to my plan for a room. But waiting to see how it will all turn out will, ultimately, save me a lot of time and money. I don’t think I’d ever finish anything if I started over every time I started second-guessing myself.

10) What is your favorite movie?

Well, you all know the answer is Enchanted…but in terms of other movies that I have also watched repeatedly, I’d have to say…Hairspray. The Emperor’s New Groove. Legally Blonde. August Rush. The Sound of Music. Never Been Kissed. The Aristocats. Mrs. Doubtfire. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Phantom of the Opera. I can’t think of the others…


11) What is your favorite food?

Pasta. Bread. CARBS. I’m also a fan of my fruits and veggies, unless they taste like battery acid. Basically, I could never, ever go on the Atkins diet. I also like shrimp. Oh, and chocolate…

12) What is your all-time favorite blog post?

Oh gosh. I don’t know. I have fun writing every single one. But one that’s old and many of you probably haven’t read is this one from my old apartment blog—it contains my thoughts on what I predicted “closing on a house” would be like. It involves Barbara Streisand and snow angels. Since we closed on our house just a little over a year ago, I thought it would be a timely post to include. :)

I’m tagging the following bloggers who I haven’t passed things on to before AND who I haven’t seen already get tagged. These lovely ladies now have to answer MY questions (buahaha…if they want to…)

Gail @ Sophisticated Steps

Laura @ The Butlers

Michelle @ Décor and the Dog

Kelly @ View Along the Way

Ashley @ Attempts at Domestication

Lyndsay @ That 70s House

Karen @ Strictly Simple Style

Carrie @ Hazardous Design

Megan @ The Remodeled Life

Melody @ Elisabeth Jean

Katie @ Wildwood Creek

Skye @ Neathering Our Fest



1. You’ve been forced at gunpoint to sing karaoke. What song do you choose?

2. What color is dominant in your wardrobe?

3. What is your all-time favorite flavor of ice cream?

4. What was the first thing you ever wanted to be “when you grew up”?

5. What is your most memorable high school experience?

6. If you could go on any TV game show, what would it be?

7. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

8. How far have you traveled from home?

9. If you could win a gift certificate to any store, what would it be?

10. What’s your favorite season?                                     

11. What are your thoughts on brussel sprouts? (baha.)

That’s it! Who can relate to any of my answers? Who can’t? I’d love to hear from you either way. :)


***If you were tagged, these are the rules!***

1. You must post the rules.

2. Answer the 11 questions the tagger posted for you and then create 11 new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.

3. Tag 11 people and link them in your post.

4. Let them know you have tagged them.


When I grow up, I want to name paint colors.

I head back to work today after a week off. This day is always rough. To ease the pain, I thought I’d give you unsolicited details about my dream job, which doesn’t, incidentally, involve teenagers, teenagers’ parents, and committees named PBIS and AXDRFQ and HETOPLYR (fellow teachers, can I get an amen?).

Now, this might be the word geek in me coming out, but seriously: when I grow up, I want to name paint colors. This is my dream job. I realize that makes me a nerd. Or does it? It’s probably a very glamorous career where you sit around sipping imported oolong tea all day, with some inspirational Chopin lilting in the background, while staring at color after color and gleaning inspiration from everything around you. Probably. And you probably eat sundaes like this one made of real gold every day:


Anyway, when I get that job, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, here are ten paint color names that stood out to me on a recent rifle through my collection of paint chips. Inspiration for, you know, when I am hired by Martha Stewart to name her paint.

1. Adolescence, Olympic. Murky, uncertain. That cloudy part of your life you’d like to forget. Waffles between blue, gray, purple. Identify crisis at its finest. Sounds like adolescence to me.


2. Semi-Sweet, Valspar. Semi-black and semi-brown. And I do love my chocolate. I’d eat this paint chip, except that would be weird. Weirder than the fact that I’m writing a post about this paint chip.


3. Pool Party, Benjamin Moore. Fun. I’ll bring the inflatable seahorse lounge.


4. Anonymous, Behr. Sort of a forgettable, nameless color.


5. Egg Yolk, Martha Stewart. Some of my favorites are from Martha. But who’s surprised that she’s got some clever person naming her paint chips, in between gold sundaes?


6. Chinchilla, Martha Stewart. You don’t often see animal names on paint chips. Something about how nobody wants semi-gloss Warthog’s Breath on their walls.


7. Glass Slipper, Benjamin Moore. Delicate with just a whisper of translucent blue, like glass. It’s perfect. I think Cinderella would agree.


8. Temptation, Benjamin Moore. It’s dark and magnetic. Sounds like temptation to me.


9. Charismatic, Behr. You can’t ignore this color, that’s for sure.


10.Baritone, Behr. A music reference! A deep color, but not the deepest in existence. The deepest color would be Bass. Lightest, Soprano. (Martha, are you reading?)


Sigh. Color meets words. I can dream, right?

What’s your dream job? What’s the best color name you’ve come across, whether on paint or something else? Anyone know anyone who works for a paint company? If so, please advise on the presence of sundaes and tea.


$17.50 + Spray Paint = Closet Lighting Upgrades

Remember the lighting we bought at that garage sale on steroids? Yeah, me either. That’s because it was about a million months ago and when I buy things a million months ago I tend to forget they exist.


My neglectful behavior has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we store our extraneous purchases in a room that looks like this:


Artful hoarding is in; didn’t anyone tell you?

Anyway, with closet/stairway progress being fully underway, and an unsightly boob light occupying the ceiling, we decided it was time to locate those lighting purchases of yore and use them. (Can you find the chandelier in the photo above?) It was a whopping 42 degrees and sunny a couple days this week, so I took the opportunity to head outside and do some spray painting. I didn’t mind the brassy finish on the chandelier, but it didn’t work in the closet, and the rusty sconce definitely needed a new look.


So I used Rustoleum’s ____________ on both. ____________ because there’s no name on the can, as far as I can see. I think I’ll name it something exciting, like “Deep Metallic Intrigue.” Except that sounds like something you’d buy in an adult store. I can see it now: “Rick, could you please hand me that can of Deep Metallic Intrigue?” Errrm. Never mind.


Here they are gussied up and in their natural habitat.






And here’s what we started with (sort of—the attic wall has partially been built in the photo below, but it’s the only good picture of the boob light that I have):



So there you have it: our $17.50 plus spray paint lighting upgrade. The chandelier was $16, the sconce was $1.50, and the spray paint was around $5. That is my kind of home improvement, friends. What have you saved money on lately? Do you have a room in your house where purchases go to die? Who has plans for this weekend? Let’s talk!

P.S. Zoe is feeling much better after her surgery yesterday. How do we know? Well, she stopped sitting foggily in the middle of the living room and began, once again, digging through the bathroom garbage looking for Q-tips. Reason 3,812 why we don’t buy “real” cat toys. :)


A Kitten’s Personal Ad: Single striped female seeking…

Zoe Kitten is going through a phase. A phase that involves lots of purr-yowling and excessive enjoyment of petting. Being the good parents that we are, we spoke with her about the benefits of abstinence made her a personal ad. And then called the vet.











Unfortunately for her, she’s off to the veterinarian today. When she returns home, she will be less of a woman than when she left.

On a serious note, though, I can’t emphasize how important it is to have your cats fixed—there are way too many homeless kitties out there. Our cats are all indoors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll never get outside, so we’re better off safe than sorry. From our perspective, it’s the responsible thing to do so that we aren’t allowing our cats to populate the earth with kittens who may or may not be able to find a good home.

Stepping off of my soap box now. Look, a cute kitten!


What are the quirky things your pets do? Do any of Zoe’s “personal ad traits” remind you of your pets? Anyone else have this week off? It’s good old February break in good old New York, so I’m here attempting to be productive. I’m not sure writing personal ads for my cat qualifies as productive. Oh, well…there’s always tomorrow…


Welcome Home, Clothing: A Closet Reveal-ish

We’ve finally passed the stage of our closet renovation that forced us to store our clothing in a pile down the hall. Meet our new closet:


Please note that Rick has more clothing than me. We’re not sure how this can possibly be. It must be my fault, because I’m the one who likes the mall. He’s just the one who follows me around at the mall and asks if he can buy a hot pretzel.


This beast took three coats of off-the-shelf Behr paint + primer in one. I figured that since Rick basically built it by himself, it was the least I could do to live in my paint clothes for approximately two weeks, so I was exclusively in charge of the painting process. Not gonna lie: it wasn’t the most fabulous thing ever. I didn’t, for example, cry when I was done.

paint closet

The cats were, as always, quite helpful, and provided their assistance when I was done painting and ready to move my clothing from piles and drawers to the closet.



We’ve decided (we think) to forgo putting doors in front of the shelving. This is partly because we are cheap and partly because we don’t know how and partly because it seems like a waste to cover up all of our built-in closet work. Instead, we might just get wooden hangers for more uniformity and find a magical potion that will make me keep my clothes organized so it doesn’t end up looking like this again:


I don’t think that’s entirely possible, because there’s something about the crisp dividers in our new closet that mysteriously makes everything seem that much more organized in the first place, but I’m not willing to take any chances. Besides, would you believe how much easier it is to find your black pants when, brilliantly, all of your pants are hung together? It’s a new revelation for me. My closet of yore was a melting pot of sheer and total chaos, as you can see. Life makes so much more sense when the dresses snub the pants and the short sleeves refuse to mingle with the long sleeves. It’s like middle school, in a closet. Except middle school made little sense. Ah, well. I tried.


So, hooray for being able to cross “build and paint the closet” off of our lengthy to-do list. Some of the remaining items on said list can happen soon (the lighting fixtures are both in the works) but others, like the floor, will have to wait until we can open the windows and fumigate the stinky paint that will be required for a durable finish. So you shouldn’t expect to see a final reveal until at least…June. June of 2013. (Kidding. I think we have better motivation than that…) :) We began this project at the end of December, so I’d say we’ve made pretty good time so far.

closet 4 squares

closet 4 squares2

How do you organize your closet? Is it segregated like middle school, or does it take on the “we-share-everything!” persona of a kindergarten classroom? Who wins the clothing contest, you or your husband? Spill. And have a fabulous Monday, while you’re at it. :)

P.S. Last week’s Honey-Do blog series was seriously so much fun. If you missed any of the posts, you can find them here, here, here, and here. And Rick would like you all to know that, for the record, he wouldn’t decorate with cords, just wall-mounted televisions. I haven’t yet figured out the difference…

***Linking this up to Serenity Now, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Chic on a Shoestring, and The Rooster and the Hen!***

The DIY Show Off


And That’s a Wrap: Final Day of the Honey-Do List Series!

We’re wrapping up our Honey-Do List series over at Hazardous Design! (If you missed the first three days, definitely check out the fun here, here, and here.) Our final topic is “If our husbands were in charge of decorating.” I know, I know; that seems like an oxymoron. Husbands? Decorate? With what, bags of chips and laundry?

Maybe we don’t give them enough credit.


Then again, maybe we do.

Hop over to Carrie’s to find out—and when you’re done, check out their recent family room renovation—it’s gorgeous!

honey-do button


Home “Improvement” Without a Handy Husband

Day 3 of the Honey-Do List series continues today over at Décor and the Dog! (If you missed the first two days, go here and here.) Today, we discuss what home improvement would be like without husbands who know their way around a sheet of drywall. For me, “home improvement without a handy husband” is a total contradiction of terms, an impossibility of epic proportions. It’s like a Twinkie without filling. It’s like Aladdin without his genie. It’s like a Superbowl halftime show without Madonna’s dance moves and a herd of sword-wielding Nicki Minaj Trojans.

(Wait, what?)

Forget everything you just read. Go visit Michelle instead. And check out some of her inspiring DIY projects while you’re there, like this mudroom makeover! :)

honey-do button


The Honey-Do List: What We Wives Have Learned

Part II of our Honey-Do List series continues today over at View Along the Way! (If you missed Part I, go here.) This time, we’re sharing what we’ve learned about DIYing with humans of the testosterone variety. My blurb has something to do with communicating. And cats. You knew I’d find a way to work them in, right?

Speaking of communication and cats, can someone please communicate to Zoe that the sink is not an appropriate place to take a nap?


Someone should also probably communicate to me that the sink is not an appropriate place to store old paint rollers.


Go visit Kelly and the rest of our Honey-Do squad! While you’re there, check out Kelly’s amazing DIY platform bed project and this hilarious post about a custom toddler-sized aquarium that her husband built. You won’t regret it.

honey-do button

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