Things I Am Somewhat Obsessed With, Home Edition

We've been in our new place for two months now and, thanks to the housewarming party we had recently as a deadline, feeling pretty settled. I want to try and get some art on the walls, and maybe a rug or two, but I don't feel rushed on those. In getting set up here I've tried to put value on the little things (one of my disparate thoughts on moving) and to invest in some nicer furniture pieces. Here are some of the things I've been very pleased with (no perks or official endorsements here).

  • Our dining table from CB2.
    Dylan 36x53 Dining Table
    Y'all, the wood is so yummy. Pictures don't do it justice. I feel happy sitting at it every morning when I eat breakfast.

(For good measure, I'll add that I really dig our chairs, too.)

Ideal Orange Chairs

  • This pouf is really fun.

    Chindi Floor Pouf
    Do yourself a favor and read the product description on Pier1's website. It's hilarious! We donated the armchair we had that had a matching ottoman to The Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, but I know sometimes I like to put my feet up. Neither of the chairs I ordered from West Elm had a corresponding ottoman option, and I didn't want to go too matchy-matchy or risk having opholsteries that looked weird together, so I went out-of-the-box and ordered this. I like that it can move around easily. Usually it lives in the corner by the book shelf and holds my backpack, but I can grab it as an extra seat or to use as an ottoman with no problem.

  • I hemmed and hawed over a desk and eventually settled on this one.

    Jacqueline Bedside Table
    I thought I needed a desk with a lot of storage but I keep wishing the options were cuter, and I eventually decided to go with what I liked and deal with storage if I needed it. This one ended up having plenty! I think it's really misleading that they call it a bedside table. It pretty much seems like a regular desk to me.

  • Sink organizer from The Container Store.

    Stainless Steel Sink Organizer by OXO
    Does it surprise anyone to know that when I went to pick up a few things from The Container Store I kind of wanted to move in? Anyway, it just pleases me to have a place to set the sponge. Our kitchen, and in fact the whole condo, is so open that anything not contained reads as visual clutter. I even bought a second matching soap dispenser for the hand soap!

My modus operandi in decorating our new place has been to buy things I like and assume they will go together because I like all of them. So far it's playing out swimmingly. I also was inspired by the already-orange wall in our place to bring in more orange, and I really like it! I never would have imagined that I'd be bold enough to do that. I'm also embracing my love of other colors and just going for it. This space is big enough that none of it is overwhelming, and I just get to enjoy pops of color everywhere I look!

I went on a rug-buying spree over the weekend, so keep your eyes peeled: I may just have an entire post on rugs once they're all in place!

Works for Me Wednesday: A New Secret of Adulthood

Here's something I'm realizing that maybe the rest of you well-adjusted folks out there in the world have already figured out:

Not everything has to be perfectly organized.

What?! Who is typing this post, you may wonder, and what has she done with Laura?

But it's true.

Case in point: my pantry. (Well, my "pantry." It's actually a wooden cabinet that my mom initially bought over 20 years ago to hold my baby clothes. She passed it on to me a few years ago, and for awhile it held our extra dishes, servingware and such. But when we moved and lost a set of kitchen cabinets to the open island kitchen plan, I realized it would be perfect as a pantry!)

pantry

Thar she blows. When we moved in two months ago, I semi-arranged things in there. I inadvertently only bought enough cute shelf liner to cover two shelves. I always thought I would "re-visit" the pantry once I got the grid tower that I planned to put next to it for additional storage.

Well, I've got the grid tower now.

grid-tower

And I haven't done much with either of them! Look, the extra hardware that came with the tower is still in its original packaging and connected to the shelf! I hung those aprons there one day just to get them out the way, and there they still are.

I did buy and label the pop containers you see there (and was ridiculously happy about them), but other than that it's been a shelving free-for-all.

And what I'm realizing is: that's kind of okay.

This is not my pantry.
Image source: The Container Store

I got a catalog from The Container Store featuring the above picture with the header, "Everything can be perfectly organized!" And yes, I had slight heart palpitations of visceral excitement.

Until I realized that it didn't need to be.

Look, I don't have so much stuff in my pantry that I'm losing cans of tomatoes that expired 15 years ago. I don't have enough baking supplies that I need special drawers for them. Most of what's in my pantry gets used regularly. The snacks get eaten, and dry goods get used up, and the pantry circle of life runs its course. I could spend an hour or so to make it look beautiful but all of a sudden it just doesn't matter that much.

It's organized enough that it works for me.

So feel your freedom--not everything has to be perfectly organized, as long as it works for you.

What Does Community Mean?

I'm an introvert, and an only child, and I've always been a little insecure about friendship. I think it stems from hearing one too many comment about other girls in the bathrooms in middle school, from often being the only one in a relationship to reach out and make plans, from being surface-level friends with people I did activities with but never seeing them outside of that context. I always have this nagging suspicion that everyone is hanging out without me, a suspicion that is sometimes unfortunately reinforced by pictures on social media. It's sort of a trust thing--I will have a hard time believing that you like me unless you practically say to me, "Laura, you are my friend and I like you." I'm working on it, but it's difficult. And for what it's worth, I have some wonderful people in my life who, when I've confessed that to them, have looked me in the eye and told me what I needed to hear.

Honestly, being married is comforting for someone like me. I've always thrived in deep-rooted one-on-one relationships. I'm not the life of the party or a social butterfly, but at most points in my life I've had a small group of super tight friends. Marriage is the most beautiful expression of that. Even though I am stupid sometimes and worry that I'm not lovable, those vows we shared say, "Laura, you are my friend and I like you."

At the last church I was involved in, we had neighborhood-centric community groups. We met twice a month--once as a large group to plan and carry out service projects, and once as a gender-specific smaller group to do discipleship and Bible study. I had a great group of women that I met with for two years. It was a strange dynamic--we shared incredibly deep, emotional stories with each other but never went shopping or to the movies together. I would certainly have called them friends, though, as they knew a lot about me and helped me think through some difficult patches in my life. I convinced myself that it was okay that we were only "friends" in that context and that maybe that's just how adult friendships worked. But I always kind of wanted more, since I felt like kindred spirits with them, and tried to reach out a few times when I was doing casual social things.

But then a funny thing happened: I didn't rejoin the group this past year and have since effectively stopped going to church, and I have barely seen a single one of them. After the first month or so of my dropping off the church map, no one even tried to reach out. No one said, "I miss seeing you at church, Laura." No one said, "I read on your blog that you're taking a hiatus from church, but I'd still love to get coffee with you." No one said, "How are you doing?"

And that hurt a lot and played directly into my insecurities about relationships.

In fact, I've been trying to write this blog post for a long time, but it felt too raw until just recently.

And what happened was I think I found my people.

One night after a Rails Girls meetup, I felt uncharacteristically energized by my social interactions. I felt entirely at home in the environment. I felt accepted.

Church was a place of love and family for me from the very beginning, but what happened when I decided to leave it rocked my belief in that. I feel like a statistic. I feel like one of those millennials who has Left the Church. That's authentically just where I am right now.

And the response from those people who had been my family makes me question everything I thought it was.

Because what is community if it's not reaching out to someone you miss? (Maybe the answer is that they never really missed me.) What is community if it's not including people in your life and making connections?

My experience after leaving the Community Group does not jive with how I define community.

My community is texting a friend when I see someone with a tote bag that I think she would like. My community is inviting my neighbors to a housewarming party even though I am wary of making myself that vulnerable. My community is being open and honest and telling people how I feel.

If that's not your community, then I'm not sure I want to be a part of it. And that is heartbreaking to me.

Sunday Snippets

Welcome to the re-branded Sunday links series, Sunday Snippets! I finally came up with an alliterative word that pleased me. So that was a small success.

Remember that time I wrote about how I take public transportation? This week was a little rough as far as that goes. The trains seemed to be off their schedule, one day I got motion sick from riding backwards, and another I was stuck on a car without working air conditioning at rush hour! Oh, and my unlimited card decided to stop working after having let me IN to the station, so that I couldn't get out. That was fun.

I drove to work one day and honestly it felt glorious. But then it was a 4-day week and I had a nice Fourth of July and the beat goes on!

Onward to the links.

  • The New York Times ain't pretentious:

A twist of vanilla and chocolate, perhaps covered in sprinkles that taste of nothing and stick in your molars, or a plain vanilla cone dipped in a slick of chocolate are among summer’s greatest culinary pleasures.

Dipped cones from Dairy Queen were a staple of my childhood "special time" with my dad, and now I want to procure some soft serve frozen custard!

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sounded a strong warning about rising seas Monday, saying that ocean levels around the world are projected to increase by 12 inches or more should a bunch of people go swimming at the same time.

(Pssst...don't, worry, it's from The Onion.)

In other news from my week, I'm debating a rather expensive rug and the online reviews are divided as far as its quality.

What do you think?

Ballard Designs Le Poeme Rug

Have a great week, y'all!

Things I Am NOT Obsessed With, Volume 1

I usually post lists of things I really like, but today I'm going to take the opposite track and warn you about three products that I wish I had been using. I'm not down on the companies in general, and I'm not trying to bash anyone, but my personal experience with each of these has been less than stellar.

  • Recently I signed up for The Dollar Shave Club. I read about it on Modern Mrs. Darcy on a list of Father's Day gift ideas, but when I perused their website I saw that the $6/month razor said, "You will love this razor - and your girlfriend can use it too." I was charmed by their branding and decided to give it a try, but this girlfriend has not loved the result. The blade doesn't pivot as much as other razors I've liked, and I've nicked myself more frequently than I have since I first started shaving! Plus it just feels rough on my legs, leaving them dry and razor-burned after I shaved. I won't be continuing my subscription. I'm bummed because I HATE how expensive razor blade refills are, but this one just doesn't quite cut it (hardee har har).

  • I've posted before about Whole Foods' store brand lotion, so when I ran out of body wash recently I decided to give the corresponding stuff a try. Unfortunately I don't like it. It's not sudsy enough for my taste. I feel like I have to put so much on my loofah to get any sort of satisfying lather that I'm going through the bottle really quickly!

wholefoods-lotion

  • Another recent Whole Foods experiment was Kiss My Face All Natural Everyday Moisturizer with SPF 15. I've been trying to be more consistent about sunscreen and this was only a few dollars more expensive than similar grocery-store brand SPF lotions, so I grabbed it when I bought the aforementioned body wash. Unfortunately I'm also not enjoying it! It doesn't seem to really moisturize that well, and even when I spend good effort to rub it in, I feel like it leaves a weird whitish sheen on my skin. Plus, when I sweat, which, let's be honest, I do a lot, because this is Georgia, it trickles off me in weird creamy streaks. No thank you.

Alt Text

So please, blog-world friends, enlighten me. What's your favorite product in each of these categories? Because I'm clearly not going to stop shaving, bathing, or sunscreen-ing!