A Happy Shoe Storage Solution

May 21, 2015

Some of you may have noticed this beauty show up on my instagram a few weeks ago- what you didn’t see is my crazy huge grin and giddiness as we brought it home. After getting my closet system from Ikea without any built-in shoe storage, I knew there was going to have to be some other way to keep all my heels, wedges and flats from being scattered around the apartment.

I decided it wouldn’t hurt to check out some of the various second hand furniture stores here in DC, even though I was pretty sure their price ranges weren’t as thrifty as I’m used to. There was one place I had walked by a few times on 14th street called Miss Pixie’s, who on their website claimed to have “reasonably priced vintage home furnishings” so I decided to check it out. Not only did I find several things I would have loved to call mine, but this yellow locker screamed out that it would be a PERFECT home for my currently homeless shoes.

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It’s 5 feet tall and has 6 levels of shelving space- also it just so happens to fit perfectly between the door to Mike’s closet and the door to the bathroom. The shoe storage stars alligned just for this magical locker to be mine.

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yes, I realize I have many shoes. I’m well aware, thanksssss.  ^^^

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This guy was not as “reasonably priced” as I’d hoped- at $225 it seemed almost too expensive to purchase. But after looking online at craigslist and ebay, most other vintage lockers were in the $100-300 range and none of them had the built in shelves like this one. Also since getting our table and chairs for $20, we figured we could splurge a little on this piece.

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I think my shoes seem quite happy to have found such a perfect little home to call their own. I’m still grinning and feeling giddy, so I know I am.

Full Bloom

May 19, 2015

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A lot of happy things have been going on in my life lately- we’re making progress on furnishing our new apartment (more details about that later this week!), I started my new job yesterday, and we celebrated some family members’ graduation over the weekend!

We had two grad parties in a row, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. This is the look I wore to the party on Sunday- a fun graphic printed dress with low wedge sandals and a faux crystal necklace from Rocksbox. It was an easy breezy look for a celebratory afternoon. Once we got back home Mike and I decided to take a stroll around our neighborhood- I’m so jealous of all our neighbors with their beautifully manicured yards and big blossoms!

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want to try Rocksbox and get pretty jewels delivered right to your door? be one of the first 3 to give me your email and I’ll send you a free month! :)

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Dress: Old Navy (similar), Wedges (similar) & Shades: Target, Clutch: Banana Republic (similar), Panama Hat: JCrew Outlet (similar)

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a little free library! such a cute idea ^^^

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One project we’ll tackle at some point will be to create our own little garden on our deck. But in the meantime I’ll just enjoy everyone else’s pretty scenery!

Poop Box Project

May 14, 2015

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Having a cat brings me a lot of joy- she’s super adorable and incredibly soft. She greets me at the door when I come home after work and promptly rolls over so I can rub her big fat belly. She chases shadows and laser pointers alike- it’s hilarity at it’s best. Having a cat in a tiny city apartment can pose some challenges, however.

When we were apartment hunting one of the big questions I would always ask Mike is, “but where will we put Matilda’s cat box?” otherwise known as the litter box, and more commonly called the POOP BOX. If there wasn’t a very good space to hide her feline throne, I was less likely to be interested in the apartment. When we decided to live here in our place in Columbia Heights, that was one thing I was definitely worried about. There’s only two closets in this place- one is just for clothes and the other houses our washer/dryer & hot water heater with no extra room for much else.

That’s when I started researching alternative options. After looking on Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon, Target, and craigslist, I found the Perfect Solution: This guy! How cute! A mid-century looking cabinet that hides the cat box with an adorable little cut-out for said cat to do her business. This piece seemed too good to be true- until I noticed the price. For almost $500 this option was out of our budget. Mike assured me would could make one ourselves for a fraction of the cost- and luckily he kept to his word! This is how we (Mike) did it….

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We found two of these old 1960s-1970s speaker boxes at B Thrifty after a trip out to Ikea for $13 total. Mike popped open the back and top using his super manly muscles and we took a quick peek inside before ripping everything out of it.

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Then we removed the lattice work from the front and spray painted it mint green (my fave!) to add a pop of color.

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We added hinges to the top so that we can easily access it when needed (i.e., too stinky and in need of cleaning).

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We used the inside piece from the speaker box to use as a template to make our hole on the side and Mike gots-to-hand-sawing.

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And just like that we had a perfect, kitty-sized hole.

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See, I did help! I’m sanding down the hole so as to prevent any kitty splinters.

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We spray painted the box a nice crisp white, and once it was dry we put the freshly minted lattice piece back in.

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Matilda might be looking in the other direction but we know that deep down inside, she is super happy about her new poop box.

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We placed it inside next to the TV, making sure to leave enough room on the side where the hole is so she can get in easily. She’s already used it a few times, so we’re hoping she likes it as much as we do!

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Deal of the Century

May 6, 2015

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Time for another apartment update! This is one for the ages! I cannot stop talking about it! Exclamation points!!! Ok, let’s go back to the beginning of this update specifically: table hunting. I knew I wanted a table that would be expandable- our living space in our new apartment isn’t the biggest so it made sense to have a table that is rather small when closed (seat 4 comfortably) but then can expand to be a good bit larger (seat 6-8 comfortably) when I want to have people over. I scoured online discount stores, thrift shops, craigslist and krrb for the last several weeks. Either I found tables that were just ok, or they were perfect yet CRAZY expensive. Then one night before bed I was taking another look at the latest craigslist ads. That’s when I found the holy grail of craigslist posts- it didn’t say it was mid-century/vintage/had great lines or any of those key words I normally look for. It just said “this table is up for grabs, won’t fit in my new place” price: $20. TWENTY DOLLARS. For the same amount of money I spend on a decent bottle of wine, this awesome table could be mine.

I emailed the craigslist poster within seconds, trying not to make too many typos with my shaking hands, asking for more details about the piece- I asked for the dimensions when it’s closed up and when it’s expanded, and more importantly, if it’s still available. When she wrote me back about an hour later she said that it was still available (hallelujah!) but she didn’t actually think it was expandable. Hmmmm. It sure looked expandable to me, so we set up a time to check it out the following evening.

The next night Mike and I walked over to her place to take a look at this probably-is-expandable-but-maybe-not table. The girl selling it only lived about 5 blocks away from us here in Columbia Heights- how convenient! Once we got there she showed us the table and said that she really didn’t think it was expandable but we could take a look and see. I lifted up the top leaf and sure enough it was definitely expandable- on both sides! I clapped in excitement at this discovery (which Mike later said probably wasn’t the best thing to do when you’re trying to keep a straight face) and then she offered for us to take the chairs that go with it, no extra charge! A-maz-ing.

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the table definitely needs some love- there are stains and discolorations on the top leaf, including a mark left by some sort of plastic bag (see below) but we plan on sanding this baby down and re-staining it. 

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this chair also needs some good lovin’ since some of the seat’s strings are broken. we’re not exactly sure how to fix this but i’m hoping it’s something our good friend google can help us with.

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after bringing these guys home I found this sticker on the bottom of one of the chairs which says “Furniture Makers Danish Control” so I searched the web for what similar pieces go for. I was pretty shocked at what I found- similar tables are going for $1150 and these same chairs are being sold for $155 each! DEAL OF THE CENTURY.

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this table expands to almost 7 feet long! I could barely get the whole thing in frame to take a photo ^^^

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I’m quite pleased with this craigslist score. How can you go wrong getting exactly what you want for only $20, saving approximately $1,440? The answer is: you can’t go wrong. This was the unicorn of deals, and I plan to brag about it for many years to come. So if you ever come over for dinner, just be prepared to hear this story again.

Transitions

April 28, 2015

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These last few weeks have been full of new transitions- moving back home to America, figuring out a new place to live, and finding a JOB! That’s right folks, I’m able to now check the box next to employed again! After not working for several months, I’m pretty relieved to have found something that sounds like it will be a good fit for me. And let’s be honest, being unemployed in your 30s isn’t as cute as it was in your 20s, amiright?

Speaking of transitions, I have not even the slightest clue what has been up with this spring weather so far. One day it’s so hot I’m wondering when the local pool will be open and the next day it’s so cold I’m cursing myself for  storing away my winter coats. This dress I wore yesterday was the last piece I thrifted in Brussels- I love the colors, the stripes, the pleats and the adorable matching striped pocket! It was a perfect outfit during the day when the sun was shining down, but once the afternoon gusts of wind and ominous overcast rainy clouds came rolling in, it was about time to flee back home to take refuge.

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windy gusts attack!! ^^^

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good thing i was prepared and wore my lacy slip ^^^

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Dress: Thrifted in Brussels (similar), Faux light pink leather jacket (similar) & Belt (similar): Target, Coach cross body bag: Thrifted (similar), Nine West Glitter Smoking Slippers: Thrifted (similar), Rings: Old Navy

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Transitions can be tough, whether they are life changing ones or ones that make your dress fly up in the wind. Either way, see you on the other side!

Closet Heaven

April 21, 2015

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As promised, I’ve decided to finally let you into Casa Hernandez and see what progress we’ve made so far with putting our massive amounts of crap away. To be honest, not much progress has been made EXCEPT for getting this glorious Ikea closet assembled! The new apartment only has one closet (for the whole house) so I knew that we were going to need a bit more breathing room for all of my thrifty possessions.

We all know that my track record with closets have not been the greatest (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out these posts here and here from the archives. Now you know. Let us never speak of this again). So we decided to go all out and get a real grown-up, straight from Sweden so you know it’s good closet for me! Mike gets free reign of the already-came-with-the-place closet, so he doesn’t have to worry about my tragic history repeating itself in his space. I’m super pumped to have all my stuff so nice and organized and OFF THE DANG FLOOR.

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one of my favorite features are these lights that only light up when you open the doors! ^^^

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love that I have a specific place for all my jewelry now! amazing ^^^

 

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Here’s hoping that this closet stands the test of time (and the test of my stuff). I realize that probably not everything will fit in here, and that’s ok. I don’t want to continue my stuff it in there ways- this will be yet another opportunity for me to clean out the ‘ol closet once I see how much will adequately fit and then the other stuff can be temporarily mourned and given away.

New Beginnings

April 15, 2015

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As many of you have probably inferred due to my latest instagram posts– Mike and I finally found an apartment in DC! We went with a place on the 4th floor of a row house (read: many stairs, quads are gonna be swoll) in Columbia Heights. We absolutely l-o-v-e it here so far. The neighbors are friendly, the parking isn’t too difficult, we’re only 4 blocks from the metro (2 from a city bike location!) and there are some awesome restaurants and bars right around the corner. What’s not to love?

Our apartment is still… a work in progress. We got rid of a lot of furniture before we left for Brussels so that we didn’t have to rent out a giant storage space (we only rented a mildly giant storage space instead) and then when the movers were trying to get our couch upstairs on move-in day they gently let us know that was-a-not-a-happenin. Farewell, craigslist couch I found for $150 about 5 years ago, you will be missed. I hope to make some actual progress and lessen the home depot box jungle that our place is emulating, it’s kinda cute but really it’s not cute. So for the time being Mike and I will be either unpacking and putting together new furniture, or exploring our new neighborhood and all the wonders it has to offer.

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on sunday we took a little  break from unpacking and biked down to the washington monument to admire the cherry blossoms with friends

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i tried to coordinate my dress to fit in with the beautiful cherry blossoms- it kind of works, right?

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Dress: ShopRuche (similar), Cat Eye Sunnies (similar) & D’Orsay Striped Flats (similar) & Crossbody (similar): Target, Long silver ring: Thrifted in Madrid (similar)

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At some point in the not-too-distant future I hope to show you the inside of our new place, once it doesn’t look like the beginnings of a hoarder’s house, that is. By the way, has anyone seen my cat? Pray for us.

Willing it to be Spring the Only Way I Know How

March 31, 2015

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We took our first road trip since being back in the US over the weekend. We visited Mike’s family in VA Beach to see his little sister’s play- it was (more like, she was) adorable!! I wasn’t too excited about the drive down there since we decided to leave mid-afternoon on Friday (hellooooo peak traffic jams). Luckily someone suggested to me that I check out the Serial podcast (I know I’m a little late to the game on this but, hey, I was in Europe for the last 6 months!!) and the 4ish hour drive ended up really only feeling like a quick 30 minutes. It was just so… g r i p p i n g.

On Sunday we said goodbye to the fam a bit on the early side so we could get back home to attend a baby shower for a good friend of ours. While at VA Beach my mother-in-law took me and the girls to her favorite consignment shop where I bought these JCrew heels for an extreme discount! At 75% off from the original retail price of $298 they seemed downright reasonable! I wore my lightweight peter pan collar top and new-to-me floral heels to the baby shower, hoping my springy look would somehow will some warmer weather to be a reality. (spoiler alert: it didn’t work).

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Coat: Sheinside (similar), Skinny jeans: Clavin Klein, Peter Pan Collar Top & Shades (similar): Target, Floral Heels with Gold Accent: JCrew (similar), Hat: Thrifted at Ft. Belvoir Thrift Shop (similar)

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Although quite chilly, it was a very pleasant weekend cheering on our family and friends whether they were on the stage or gearing up for a new baby. I couldn’t help but feel as though the audience giving a standing o at Mike’s little sister’s play and hearing all the guests say congrats to the momma to be at the baby shower, was somehow also giving me props for my successful purchase of those floral heels at 75% off!!

BBQ Begins

March 24, 2015

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Mike and I attended our first BBQ of the season over the weekend. That really is the way I can tell if spring has begun, once the BBQ invites start rolling in. The BBQ hosts happened to live out in the country (aka Gainsville) but it was a beautiful day for a drive.

Since being back home and having access to all the clothes I left behind when we went to Europe (they still won’t accept my apology, they don’t understand that bringing 12 suitcases for a 6 month trip is a little excessive) it’s been like my birthday everyday! I totally forgot that I even owned white denim- and that top is something I got on sale at Ann Taylor Loft like 6 years ago. Now that I’m seeing this written out I’m thinking it might be time for some spring cleaning…

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I felt very brave wearing white denim to a BBQ- I was sure it would only end in tragedy ^^^

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Coat: Zara (similar), Top: Ann Taylor LOFT (similar) Flats & Shades: Target, White denim (similar) & Necklace: Old Navy

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I’ve survived my first BBQ of the season without spilling anything on my white denim (miracle of miracles!) Perhaps it’s a sign that they should end up in the “keep” pile when my spring cleaning commences later?

Suit Up!

March 19, 2015

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Now that I’m back in America, it’s time to ditch my lady of leisure routine and get back into the work world. I’m job hunting in all the ways I know how- looking online for openings, sprucing up my LinkedIn account and talking to everyone and anyone who will talk to me about even the most minuscule of related subjects that might have to do with social work. Your neighbor is thinking about getting meals on wheels? Let’s talk!

With the all intimidating interviews in my future, I have to start thinking about the inevitable: what to wear. I need to look competent, but approachable. Hard working, yet flexible. Someone who can turn weaknesses into strengths at the drop of a hat. But, I have something to admit. I really don’t like suits for women. I never have! They make me feel icky. Take the photo above, for example. I Googled “business suits for women” and those are the images that came up. Yuck! I’m sorry but they just don’t agree with me. So I started to wonder if there is a happy medium between what you’re “supposed to wear” to an interview, and what I would want to wear.

a textured blazer? don’t mind if I do!

Calvin Klein Patterned Blazer

a slimmer fit feels fresh & updated and makes me say ahhhhh

MANGO Slim-Fit Trousers

going for pieces with something extra like this racer stripe shows you pay attention to detail!

Trim Detail Suit Skirt

Add pattern with a funky blouse

South Florida Spree in Black Dots

A colorblock heel in a classic shape shows personality

High Block Court Shoes

a classic watch in an updated hue shows you’ll always be on time!

Rose Gold Watch

add a pop of color to show you can take risks

Wide Waistband Slim Pants

So what do you think? Should I go with the old tried and true two piece suit in a neutral color? Or should I go with separates that will show off my personality? A combination of both? I have an interview later today so it will end up being a game-time decision, wish me luck!!