“It’s the little things.”

…is something that my mother-in-law-to-be uses so frequently, that it’s a staple phrase in any impression of her. Normally, we roll our eyes at her clichés (i.e. “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “cherish the moments”) but today, I find myself really appreciative of one tiny, little thing.

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My kitchen pegboard, you guys. I finally did it. (Disclaimer: I was 22 when I picked out those curtains, and was going for colorful country décor instead of my current vision of a neutral, modern space.)

I don’t know who officially “invented” this method of storage, but Julia Child (a.k.a. the life inspiration of us all) famously used it, and it’s no surprise why. It turns an otherwise empty, boring wall, into a functional work of art!

The cabinet/drawer situation in my kitchen is less than ideal, considering my love for cookware. I had been dying to do this for ages, so one day I just drove over to Home Depot and got my supplies! My father-in-law-to-be (I must really like these people, huh?) built a frame on which to mount the pegboard, and hung it up today. Now I have an entire cupboard for dry/paper goods! So much less counter-clutter!

Room by room, this former bachelor-pad is turning into a home. An inspiring space is so important to me—it allows me to feel refreshed and productive, a major plus considering this is my last year of college (FINALLY)  and I have to knock it out of the park. I recently transitioned from using a wall-facing desk in my foyer/office/mudroom/misery pit, to making the kitchen table my home base. The kitchen is my happy place—cooking and eating are my favorite things to do—so working in a comfortable, familiar atmosphere has been so inspiring! My new view while I work is a piece of my art, brightly-painted tchotchke shelves, and our stereo—everything from writing papers to paying bills has been 100 times more interesting.

The kitchen is nowhere near finished. I’d still like an island and a new fridge, both of which are in progress projects, and to whitewash or paint our cabinets white, but in its current state, our kitchen is functional and aesthetically-pleasing. Like Pinterest Junior.

image via Google
image via Google

I don’t know if Ms. Child would be horrified that I made my version of (vegan) “Warm the Fuck Up” Minestrone from Thug Kitchen’s cookbook tonight, but I’m sure she’d be glad that women of my generation are still cooking, and relishing the process.

–DellaBites

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Stylin’ On ‘Em

Good evening, all! Lately, I’ve been in complete get-shit-done mode. We’re streamlining our department at work in preparation for the busy fall season, my home is starting to come together inch by inch, and my financial aid picture for returning to college is looking considerably less grim. And, as a person who is about to graduate and get married (ew, so traditional), I’ve been thinking a lot about the personal style I want to carry with me into this new frontier of adulthood.

I consigned clothing both Monday and Friday. The first place I went to paid me $19 up front for 6 items of my clothes, which is insane, because I brought two baskets of well-maintained garments. We all know how much of a brand ho I can be, so I was discouraged that they accepted a sundress from Target, but not myriad garments from places like J.Crew and Urban Outfitters. The second consignment store follows a different buying model, and I’ve had a lot of success over the years selling to them. They donate unaccepted garments to charity, so either way, I win.

There are two reasons for the wardrobe pare-down. One is that my 24th birthday is fast-approaching, and the urge to cultivate a more professional and adult wardrobe is real. With each day that I age, neutrals become more appealing. Neutrals are everything—essential to creating an all-seasons wardrobe. I feel like my personal aesthetic has been completely schizophrenic over the years. From October to April I live in Banana Republic sweaters, skinny jeans, and boots (i.e. Webster’s definition of “basic”). The rest of the year, I exist in this space between bohemian, retro, and preppy that lacks cohesion. I still don’t feel like I fully know who I am as a dresser—just part of the process of growing up.

The second reason is minimalism in my home, which has been admittedly less than successful. You see, the only way to declutter is to NOT immediately replace clothes that you just got rid of with new, higher-end clothes. I was actually able to reduce the number of drawers I was using for clothing. They are now anal-retentively reorganized by category, and I’m making tiny signs to hang on the drawer pulls because my life is a sad parody of a Pinterest board.

Styling/redecorating my house has been such a challenge, but it seems like Michael is finally coming around about it. He is very open to any and all changes I make to communal areas, but his office and studio are sanctuaries that I barely feel allowed to enter, much less rework entirely. In the past week, I feel we’ve made a lot of progress.

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This is the “after” picture of our entryway (or at least the :to be continued”). On the left is the door to our bedroom, on the right is the hallway to the front door. I don’t have a “before” picture, and be grateful—it was truly horrible. There was a tall cabinet whose top was not only broken off and balanced on top, but was covered in random clutter (including, but not limited to, 5 year old Christmas cards and coffee cup sleeves). There was also an (ugly) table lamp up there, which has been moved to the bedroom and awaits a new shade. The 4 ft or so of wall above was bare with an old nail sticking out. I replaced the cabinet with a small vintage bureau that my dad thrifted for me, a standing lamp with an updated shade, a wall calendar of vintage advertisements, and record covers as hanging art. The records I found used 2 for $1 at Newbury Comics, and I couldn’t be more excited to represent Linda Ronstadt and Elton John in my living room. I painted the clothespins turquoise as a fun pop of color against the hideous wall, which has to remain this tortured beige for the time being. Boo.

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Chelsea, Michael, and Della, for those wondering about the letters.

The entry-way joins this cozy reading corner, which I created earlier in the summer…

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top: Whitney Houston’s debut album, center: naughty vintage “pulp fiction” literary postcards right: a painting we received as a gift from New Orleans

…this budding gallery wall, hung this week…

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..and this area, which I “finished” last week by finally hanging my Sherri’s Ink art print, my Man Ray photo (cut from a calendar!) and our “engagement photo”, which will be replaced once we have a real one taken.

My living room is about 70% finished (and by finished, I mean in a state that I can live with until I afford to do a proper overhaul) and it’s super encouraging. I’ve been spending a lot of  time in this room because it feels so much more put-together than the rest of the house that it’s became a calming oasis.

As always, thank you for letting me share my progress. It’s no Happy Handmade Home yet, but it’s getting there.

-DellaBites