Just a Quick Note


Well, I'm finally making the switch from Blogger to Wordpress. It's been on my to do list for the last, ohhh, like 3 years. And I decided to finally get my shit together and do it. In addition I'm switching my hosting company from GoDaddy (because they're assholes) to a local company in Berkeley that Chris has been using for about 10 years. I don't know why I didn't just use them in the first place...

Also, in the next month or so I'll be getting a WHOLE brand spanking new blog redesign thanks to Sarah over at Ugly Duckling. Keeping it in the blogging family. I always like paying people I like instead of complete strangers.

But I wanted just to drop in and let you know that if the site goes completely bonkers or disappears or is very strange for an hour or day or week, that's what's happening. A LOT has been going on around here the last 2 weeks or so, so I gotta collect myself and blog about it. But first I need to catch my breath a little. Hope to have some updates for you tomorrow!

In the meantime, baby and child adorableness


Merritt: 7 months

"Baby Merritt" hit 7 months last Friday

I say "Baby Merritt" because that is her official name according to Zoe. Although sometimes she just calls her "baby." Or my favorite - when the baby is messing with something of Zoe's or doing something funny Zoe will call her "bay-ba." That one cracks me up.

The comparison shot

This month food and wiggles reigned supreme.

Food. Food. Food. So much love for food that she would probably rather eat food than nurse. Nursing was a challenge this month because she has just been completely distracted by the world around her. Wants to sit up, lean back, wiggle around - anything besides sit still for nursing. I've started wearing a necklace for her to play with while she nurses to distract her enough that she almost forgets she's nursing, so that she actually does.

But back to food. The girl loves to eat and will basically try anything. Apples and applesauce are king. Applesauce with anything else mixed with it will be consumed immediately. She has one pouch that is applesauce with mango, carrot and orange. She knows what that pouch looks like and the second she sees it she starts wiggling all over the place. It's hilarious.

She likes to try to feed herself and will sometimes literally yell at me if I dare try to hold the pouch while she's feeding herself. Heaven forbid she squirt the entire contents of said pouch all over herself. That's a small price to pay for getting to hold the pouch and squirt it into your mouth yourself. Feeding herself with the spoon: fantastic. Picking up finger food: amazing. The girl likes to do things herself. I can't blame her.

The wiggles. Ooh the wiggles. She definitely has become very interested in how the world works and participating in figuring it out. She used to be content to just BE. Now she wants to know what's going on. She's definitely still relaxed and chill and go with the flow, but she clearly observes and discovers.

Chief among discovery is FEELING and BITING. She loves to feel things. Just absolutely loves texture. I'm sure a lot of babies are like this, but I don't remember Zoe being so completely transfixed on feeling all over things. Merritt just gets completely engrossed in feeling things.

She also gets absolutely obsessed with certain objects. The two most important in her life: the mobile above her changing table and the bike helmets in the laundry room. Merritt MUST be allowed to grab, fling, and chew the objects hanging from her mobile every time you change her diaper. She also much be allowed to shove, pull and smile at the helmets hanging from our bike handlebars every time she sees them. Completely obsessed with these things.

Another obsession? Still the feet. Still flinging them everywhere. She's always chewing them and grabbing at them. And it's ALWAYS the left one. Still no point in socks ever being put on her feet. Ripped off immediately.

The feet fly all over the place whenever she gets excited. I've had complete strangers tell me as they're passing me in a store, "That little boy [because girls apparently always have to wear pink for people to think they're a girl] is on the move!" I'll be standing in the grocery aisle and something gets her excited and those feet just fling themselves all the place. If she sees a toy that she particularly likes (a remote for example - LOVES remotes) feet fly everywhere. 

She's starting to giggle more. Hooray! I love baby giggles. She's pretty ticklish, so that's a good way to get a good laugh fest going. Honestly a baby laughing is one of the greatest sounds in life.

How is sleep going? Night sleep has improved. We actually moved her into the laundry room. Yes, the laundry room. We didn't have another room in the house that was easy to mask Zoe-noise and we were hoping that moving her out of our room would maybe help her sleep better. The thought is that maybe she just associated sleeping in there with us, and so whenever she woke up she would want to nurse/have snuggles. The good news is that since moving into the laundry room about 3 weeks or so ago she has not had a crying fit. Not one. She used to have at least one about every 3 - 4 days where she would cry for 1-2 hours between nursings. That hasn't happened at all. HOORAY! It's a little annoying for me because I have to walk to the laundry room to get her, feed her, then take her back. I don't feed her in the laundry room (I could move a chair in there) because I don't want her to associate that room with ANYTHING but sleeping. So far it has helped her.

Naps are another question. She's about 50/50 on those. If she's had enough stimulation she's great about naps. But if she's decided that she hasn't gotten to play enough she'll fight it for sometimes an hour. I can tell if she's just trying to get herself to sleep and is frustrated or if there's just really no chance of her falling asleep. In those cases I give her a little bit to see if she'll go down, but usually pick her up after about 15 minutes (only when I can tell from her noises that she's just fucking setting) and she'll only take 1 nap that day. She's actually generally okay with that. I'm curious if she'll make the switch to 1 nap earlier than Zoe did (about 14 months).

Zoe is still her favorite

these girls just love each other, and it melts my heart

Although Chris is right up there as her favorite too. I can't let her see him while she's nursing. If she does she spends the next 10 minutes twisting all around trying to figure out where he is and how she can get his attention. It's adorable.

I'm curious to see how much more wiggly she'll get this coming month. I know crawling will come in another month or two. I'm looking forward to seeing her learn to understand how to move her body around more.

Happy 7 months you little curious cutie!


SF Project: We're ALMOST Done!

It's been about 2 months or so since we last checked in on this project. So let's get to it...

In October I was shaking my fist at the SF Building Department. I may have even called someone an idiot. Thank GOD my time with the building department is almost done. THANK GOD. I did have to make 3 more visits out, as well as a visit to the accessor's office. Why did I have to do that? Ummm, because when my brother bought the unit they only updated the contact info for the new owner in their system, but didn't update the title of the new owner. OH MY GOD. So the city didn't actually think we owned the unit. Jesus. So I had to go down there with the Trustee's Deed that had a stamp from THEIR OFFICE on it from TWO YEARS AGO. This was apparently not enough information for them. They had to do their own "research." This involved many emails and phone calls between my brother, me and the accessor's office. The good news is that after a MONTH they finally figured out, oh yes, we do own the unit. Oy. Once the ownership info got updated I could finally - FINALLY - get the permit transferred over into our name. I scheduled the necessary inspections before we could start tiling the bathroom and the inspector showed up, walked through, and checked us off. HOORAY!!! That was in December. Yes, it took us TWO MONTHS from that post back in October to finally get back on track with the city. This is a prime example of why I absolutely hate dealing with the city. Especially a city like San Francisco. I made several friends with other people waiting to get permits approved. Including one guy who worked for a commercial fire sprinkler installation company. He said he goes at least once a week to various permit offices throughout the Bay Area, and particularly to SF twice a month (for years). That day the city was claiming he needed a document they had NEVER needed before in order to sign off on his permit. Dear SF Building Department: you are the worst.

Can you tell how exciting this all was by all the capitalization? :)

The wonderful news is that we are SO CLOSE to the finish line. We just need appliances installed, about 2 or 3 days days of finishing touches (touch ups, hardware installed, etc.), and then the glass enclosure for the shower installed. We do have to figure out the radiant heating situation. That's sort of the last headache item. Why someone decided to have the heating be done with radiators in San Francisco, I will never know, but we are left to figure out what to do with it. We shall see.

But, let's all get real, we want progress pictures, I know.

Surprise, surprise, I love gray

The ceilings are so tall we're using pendants instead of the recessed lights in this long entry hallway

We added tall baseboard and large crown because the ceilings are 10+ feet

And we had the base matched to a PVC base so that we could curve it around this wall in one of the bedrooms

The original doors look so fucking awesome

I LOVE the vertical oversized subway tile and black hex in the bathroom

Obviously some more trim needs to be installed. And the stackable washer/dryer needs to be installed in this nook in the bathroom as well

Not to mention a medicine cabinet

I like the modern fixtures with the classic tile

The office nook in the kitchen is looking yummy

We still need to cap off that gas and install a new exterior door. If you look closely on the far right of the picture you can see the 2x4 that's drilled perpendicular against the door. Yup, that's where the previous owner took a chainsaw to the door to break in. Sigh.

The hardware on all the cabinets is dreamy

And obviously the kitchen is missing a couple appliances :)

It was a fucking BITCH to try and find a 30" counter depth fridge that didn't cost $6k+. Literally. Ugh.

Well, there we have it. Progress! I've been going out at least once a week to drop off materials, meet with contractors, check on progress, etc. The awesome news is that my brother was in town over New Year's and saw the place for the first time in almost 18 months. I've done smaller projects with him before, but this has been the biggest project to date: a gutted unit and a budget handed to me with no desire to be involved in any decision making, just a desire from him for me to get it done. Nerve wracking, but also incredibly rewarding. And when he saw it earlier this month he LOVED it. Ohhhhhh it was so wonderful to see him like it so much :) :) :) He's actively looking for more projects like this now. Including some that would have walls ripped down and floor plans entirely reconfigured. EXCITING. He hasn't found one yet that entirely works, but I'm so excited about the prospect of another project like this. It's basically a dream job. Thanks Adam :)



Movies are a big deal in our family. On all sides of our family. For Chris, his dad is pretty much constantly seeing everything that ever comes out in theaters. Which is great because he lives in LA, so he can literally see anything. One year he saw 400+ movies in the theater. Yes, you read that right. Over 400. Chris's maternal grandfather was a film historian. He wrote several books on movies and his film music reference book is pretty much considered the best there is. When he passed away years ago the Academy came and took some of his personal notes for their library.

My parents are movie nuts as well. Though they haven't written books, my mom is a feverish movie theater attendee and my dad rents just about anything. We always have great debates about movie tastes, what's great that's out and what each other has to see.

Chris and I love movies as well. Chris used to have a goal of seeing 300 movies a year. And I had a goal of seeing 100 movies in the theater every year. Neither of those is a goal now, because...ummm... KIDS. Lol. We still do love movies and family comes for night time monitor listening so that we can get to the movies for dates from time to time (hooray!)

So, like I said, movies are important to us.

There was a debate for a little while about what would be the first movie to have Zoe watch. She loved Seinfeld, and particularly liked a character named Mickey (a little person if you're not familiar.) Chris brilliantly thought of having her watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at about 20 months (the original, DUH. None of that Johnny Depp shit over here). She LOVED it. So we sprinkled in some others. She's got about 6-10 in the rotation that she loves.

My mom watches Zoe once a week. And naturally as a movie lover she was curious when we'd take Zoe to the theater. I knew she'd love that experience with her, but my mom told me that of course she wanted Chris and I to take her first. But that got us thinking: was Zoe ready for a movie in the theater? And what would it BE!? As movie buffs we obviously would prefer for it to be kind of special - not the latest Pixar or Disney (though many are great.)

 One night I was fiddling around on my phone and some how - I have no idea, it must have been fate - saw that the Disney Museum in San Francisco just HAPPENED to be screening Mary Poppins for the month of January. I have never been to this museum, nor was I aware they screen a classic movie each month (I'm telling you, it was fate.)

Why was it fate? Well, Zoe fucking LOVES Mary Poppins. Loves to sing. Loves to dance. Loves to talk about the characters. She loves it so much we had gotten her a Mary Poppins shirt for Christmas.

And want to know what's even cooler? In planning our trip to see it (family watching of Miss Merritt was necessary) we found out it was the first movie that BOTH my mom and Chris's mom saw in the theater as well. Total fucking fate.

 We were both a little nervous. From time to time Zoe will skip a nap (fucks around her room for the whole time instead of sleeping). Movie time would involve no nap (god PLEASE don't have a meltdown.) She'd never been to a movie, would the atmosphere make her nervous? (sometimes she doesn't like the dark). I was also nervous about her needing to be quiet. Obviously not SILENT as this was certainly a family friendly environment, but I didn't want her to be super loud. And lastly, the movie is LONG for a kid to sit through in one sitting (2 hours and 20 minutes). We resolved that we would try it, and if it didn't work out, we would just leave. No worries at all.

So that's just what we did yesterday, bah!!!!

 We told Zoe over the course of the week what we were going to be doing. We explained that it was special and a really exciting thing to get to do. She definitely started to look forward to it and would ask me periodically when we were going to go to see it. I was definitely getting excited :)

Midday Sunday came around and Chris's mom came over to watch Merritt. We drove out to the city, made a pit stop for lunch and then arrived at the museum. We walked around for a bit (it definitely made me want to come back again when we had more time). Our plans were almost dashed when we nearly didn't get in - GASP. I bought general tickets earlier at home online and knew that movie tickets were comped in that price. But apparently you needed to tell the person at the counter when you first arrived that you needed your special ticket to get into the theater as well (even though by buying a ticket to get into the museum you were buying a movie ticket as well). So when we walked to the theater with our general museum tickets in hand, she turned us away and said we needed special tickets. And they still had only A FEW left. Gahhhh! By the time we got back to the front of the museum and waited in line they were sold out. Cryyyyyy. I didn't freak out yet, but the guy helping us I think sensed my disappointment and desperation (and the Mary Poppins shirt Zoe was wearing). He personally took us down to the theater and explained that sometimes people get their comp ticket when they arrive at the museum, but then don't go see it, so there's still room in the theater. Just our luck... THERE WAS ROOM! Hooray!

 We got out our snacks and settled in.

I wasn't expecting it, but the SECOND the first musical note of the beginning credits hit, I started crying. It was a moment I'll remember forever: getting to share something so special to all of our family with her. And something that she likes so much too.

Zoe was mesmerized. She loved it. She pretended to pick up a drum that was just for her during Supercalifragilisticexpealidiscious and played along with the music. She was pretty good about whispering, but there were some very loud questions from time to time. She loved getting to have a tasty treat. She remarked several times how cool the "BIG TV" was.

 She had one freak out a little more than halfway through. I took her outside and we talked and calmed down (she did not take well to being told she couldn't crawl on the floor). And she was great again. She danced wildly during "step in TIME!"

The experience was magical. I loved seeing her get excited. The funny parts were even funnier. The happy parts were even happier. And a group of people even sang, "Let's go fly a kite" at the end.

It made me remember the "magic of the movies." There is something so special about movies, and especially about GOING to the movies. Time stops. You don't know what's going on anywhere else but in that dark room with that bright screen and that great story. And there are so many others strangers there, sharing this moment with you. You'll share tears, laughter, smiles, laughter, frustration. You will always have that moment in time.

 And I'm so happy to have gotten to share that first moment with Zoe. 


My Decorating Pet Peeves

I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time. And I've just never done it. But as I've starting Pinning the shit out of stuff for the hope of one day getting to start the remodel adventure again, it's rekindled this post idea.

If you didn't know: I'm very opinionated. Shocker, right? And there are just things I really like, and things I really don't. And I'm usually a lot more opinionated about the things I really don't like, lol. It's not to the point where I don't like it if other people do it in their own home, but there are certainly things I'm really tired of seeing, or just don't like to see at all. Want to know what they are? Of course you do! :) And PLEASE tell me yours. I love hearing these things. They just make me happy. Is that deranged?

Shoe Molding 

Base Shoe Molding - How to Install Baseboard Molding - Carpentry, Woodworking, Finish & Trim. DIY Advice:
from here

I CANNOT express the disdain I have for shoe molding. I HATE it. To me, shoe molding covered up a mistake - or, worse - LAZINESS. When installing or redoing hardwood floors: PLEASE REMOVE BASEBOARDS AND INSTALL THEM AFTER. Shoe molding is a band-aid. And I can't stand it. Can you tell?

The same counters in the bathroom and kitchen

I have no idea why this bothers me so much, but it does. I guess the thought of getting to pick out different counters is exciting to me, so why would I bore myself with only one?! Also, can I tell you something that makes NO SENSE AT ALL? For some REALLY STRANGE reason, it feels unsanitary to me. Told you: really strange. I guess I just don't want to see the same counters in the bathroom - WHERE YOU SHIT, and in the kitchen - WHERE YOU EAT. Obviously this issue is very important to me because it involves a lot of capitalization.

Same material on the floors and walls

This frighteningly close to my ideas for our bathroom. Same Dapple Gray plank tile which i now see will also work for the surround, same tub, same wall colors, same color fixtures. We will have an espresso vanity, white top, maybe bring tile to the ceiling.:
from here

Again, just not imaginative. I LOVE TILE. Floor and walls means TWO chances to pick out tile. It just feels so boring if it's the same. There is of coarse the argument that in a small space it would look bigger. Or if you have a wet bathroom it's easier. I can't really get behind those arguments. Tile that's different isn't going to make your bathroom look smaller. Especially if they're the same color.

Glass block

Walk-in, door-less radius Glass Block Shower Wall built with Pittsburgh Corning Decora pattern. 4"x8" Glass Block masonry built onsite to look like Glass Bricks mixed with 8"x8" Glass Blocks. The Glass Block Shower Walls are finished with custom mirrored tiles.:
from here

GASP. I have no idea who invented glass block. But an angel loses her wings whenever I see it. I understand the point of it, I guess. But there are much better ways to go about doing things. Like, how about if you want privacy, just FROSTED GLASS? Of course, in 5 or 10 years I may hate frosted glass. Sometimes it's just a stupid little wall separating a shower area from the sinks - just use regular clear glass. It's so much prettier. But every time I see glass block. Seriously. I just can't stand it. It's so unattractive.

Designers not knowing the difference between chevron and herringbone

Okay people, I do not expect average homeowners to know this, but if you're a fucking designer, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. I have watched so many renovating/design shows and the designers say "Herringbone" when they mean "Chevron." And the two are very different.


Ceramic chevron subway tile + brass fixtures #bathroom ...now go forth share that Bow Diamond style ppl! Lol. ;-) xx:
from here


Slideshow: The Biggest Tile Trends for 2015 | Lonny.com:
from here

Even Pinterest has no idea what's going on. When I typed in "Chevron tile pattern." More than half of what popped up was Herringbone. I have no idea why, but that aggravates me to no end. I think because Chevron is so trendy (although falling out of trend) and Herringbone is incredibly classic. I don't like Chevron trying to ride on Herringbone's coattails!

Completely ignoring a home's architecture

This one makes me cry. We watched an episode of House Hunters Renovation a couple months ago and the couple bought the cutest Tudor/Bungalow in LA. And the couple REMOVED the original diamond leaded glass windows and installed "regular" windows. This of course wouldn't be such an awful thing if there was something wrong with the windows and things needed to be upgraded. But no. The husband just flat out didn't like the home's architecture and look of them. WHY DID YOU BUY THAT HOME THEN!?

Barn doors

Sliding Barn Doors: These doors look fabulous in this contemporary style home. The dark hardware accents the warm wood finish.:
from here

If I see another renovation show where they ask, "Oh, what about barn doors for the closet?!" I may scream. I have seen enough of these. About 2 years ago.

The difference between a peninsula and an island

Again, designers, PLEASE know the difference between these general geographic terms.

THIS is a island

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. Life Is Just a Tire Swing: A Woodway, Texas Fixer-Upper | HGTV:
from here

And, please say it with me, this is a P-E-N-I-N-S-U-L-A

look at the contrast between the muted counter and the stark cabinets combined with a warm toned floor!:
from here

Words and letters and quotes on the wall

Diana & Mik's Pop Art Inspired Family Home — House Tour | Apartment Therapy:
from here
Laundry Room Revamp: Lots of DIY's included!:
from here

Ikea Dining room table hack. Staining a Dining Room Table- The 2 Seasons:
from here

It just feels, so, I don't know, forced and stylized. I'm also a fan of having the things on the wall be personal, mementos, photos, personal paraphernalia. And words, quotes, etc. just feel so generic.

Now, I do have one place you're allowed to get away with this - and that's a kid's room. Because to me, the more letters the better to help them learn to read or know their name, etc. Otherwise, NOT ALLOWED ;)

No personality

I am so happy the "trend" of highly stylized pictures is going away. I hate it. I hate homes that are devoid of personality and look like every day they belong in Apartment Therapy. I don't like not seeing evidence that people live in a space. I actually stopped subscribing to every one of my shelter mags because I just got sick of seeing "perfect" spaces that didn't show any character of the humans that were living there. Honestly, every time I looked at them I just got depressed. No one lives like that. And no one should feel bad about themselves because there's dog hair on their floor.

The wrong height for artwork

People hang artwork WAY TOO HIGH all the time. This is a great source. As an art major this was beaten into my head. And it's something I have suggested to a couple clients. They're always pleased with how things look when they shift it to the "right" height.

Vessel sinks

DIY bathroom remodel rustic industrial custom vanity with vessel sink. LOVE!:
from here

I remember 15 years ago when my dad and Wendy moved to Texas their master bath had a vessel sink. As a 15 year old I thought this was very cool. It was different. I now can't stand seeing them. It's not the aesthetics for me that frustrates me (though I also don't like the look as much anymore), it's that they're completely impractical: the counter is way too low to be useful (and I'm on the shorter end of average) AND when you inevitably get water all over the place it's annoying to clean because you can't just wipe it into the sink.

Fucking red porches and stairs

30 Cool Small Front Porch Design Ideas | DigsDigs:
from here

Well, you already know how I feel about red doors :) But that's just the door. There's something I understand even less: painting your porch and stairs on the front of your house red. Just because, for some reason, people have decided that's the color you're "supposed" to. It makes no sense. You should stick with the color story of your house, or the style of your house, or something that looks good in that environment. But people have just arbitrarily decided that's the official porch and stair color. A home might be painted yellow, blue and beige (an example of a house down the street from us). You know what color screams, "I DON'T MAKE SENSE!" ??? Red. You know what color their porch and stairs are? Red. I just don't get it.

How much do you hate me now? How annoying am I?

Will you please share what you can't stand? Then I don't feel so bad about myself :)