Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flashbacks to "Swiss Family Robinson"... Still Without a Hot Fritz...

Although I cut out early, today, ostensibly to join a gal pal for a romp at the mall. We were supposed to attend an RSVP invitation-only fashion show, but the line to get in was long, and she'd had a bad day and wasn't in the mood to sit through a mediocre fashion show, so we bailed and had drinks at one of the bars.

We were originally going to have drinks at Kona Grill, but the table we were five milliseconds away from sitting at was Shanghai'd by a fellow whose girlfriend should have been embarrassed to be with him. The guy wouldn't make eye contact with us after scooting into the chair I was about to occupy, so we called him some unflattering names - within his hearing - and said we hoped his girlfriend realized what an (insert unflattering term here) she was with - again within his hearing - and went to Luna de Noche, where they had reduced price appetizers and $3 not-bad house wine.

I'm trying not to obsess about sofas, too much, and managed to get quite a bit of work done, today. I've picked out the plumbing fixtures for my clients $500,000 tree house gym/office (ahem) and am detailing the millwork as we speak...er...write because I left work early and I have a guilty conscience about not getting all of my hours in, indoctrinated by the more corporate firms I worked for in a past life. It's kind of relaxing, working at home, all snuggled up in my pajamas and under an enormous duvet.

That's what I need at work! An enormous duvet!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sofa Psychosis

I have no idea what I will do about a sofa. I found one on Craigslist that I lurve, but it will probably cost me around $1000 for the labor of having it reupholstered because it will require all new cushions. Then there's the fabric to be bought for the actual upholstering.

Granted, I also found a fabric I lurve for 80% off of retail price, but even at that outrageously discounted bargain deal, it will still put me $500 over my target (vastly increased) budget.



So I'm sort of back to square one, although I could always go for a different fabric, which is definitely an option. OR I can just sit tight and keep waiting and hunting and looking around and trawling consignment stores on weekends, hoping something acceptable, nay, amazing will show up.

Or I could always hope a load of Henredon sofas will fall off the back of a truck. Do you know anyone who could make that happen? Preferably one that looks like this?

In other news: after weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks - so I guess that's months - of migraines rendering me all but useless at work, I am hopefully getting somewhere in treatment. Apparently, I am a walking talking barometer, and when the atmospheric pressure falls - oops - I get a migraine! Isn't that neat?!?!?!

My neurologist has put me on some preventive medicine to help fight the migraines after a week in which I was migraine-free for only one day. The good news is, it has relatively few side-effects, so far. The bad news is, the noticeable side-effect is a big one for me.

You see, I used to start my mornings with a Dr. Pepper and a granola bar. It's just the way I kicked things off every day. No longer. Sodas taste awful. They go into your mouth tasting all flat, then hit the back of the tongue and taste carbonated, but bitter.

I shall soldier on, despite my lot in life. You hear that rhythmic noise? That's me, marching on. Yup.

Since Constant Comment hot tea made me feel absolutely terrible this morning (it was neither cold nor sweet, which I think are required of my first morning beverage), I've decided to try to start my mornings with a glass of diluted fruit juice. Finding juice to drink is somewhat difficult for me, seeing as I have some dietary restrictions where fruits are concerned. I managed to narrow it down to apple juice (they only had unsweetened blueberry juice at my Whole Paycheck). I will report on my findings In Re: satisfaction/dissatisfaction with this non-soda compromise.

If you're lucky and I remember, that is.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paper, Paper Everywhere....

Occasionally, I get sick and tired of the piles of design magazines that seem to grow of their own free will in my apartment. When this happens, I do what I'm doing at present: bust out the scissors and go to town on those glossy pages.

I have multiple sketchbooks that are not, in fact, devoted to sketching. Supposedly, as an architect, I'm supposed to sketch constantly. I, however, prefer to fill my sketchbooks with images that resonate with me, for some reason. The picture might be of a sofa, or a smudge of paint, or a dress or a tray full of baubles. Whatever it is, if it strikes my fancy, it's going in the sketchbook.

I typically annotate my sketchbooks in my barely legible scrawl, the bane of my existence at my last job where my sketches had to go to the client before I could start refining them on the computer. My boss finally forced me to type up the notes. I blamed my poor handwriting on the fact that the office was always cold, and I have an acute cold sensitivity which causes pain in my fingers and toes, as well as circulation loss. It is not a result of my despising the writing exercises we were forced to do in elementary school because they were so ridiculously boring. I promise.

In going through an edition of House Beautiful, I found a two page spread devoted entirely to sofas under $2000.

Hell, yes.

I'm keeping it for future shopping reference.

Speaking of shopping, I dragged myself and my migraine (Day 2) out of bed around noon, Saturday, and forced myself to go to consignment stores in the Design District. What did I find on good old Riverfront/Irving Blvd?

LHO Consignment: This relative newcomer had some great finds, but nothing that I really wanted. They do, however, have some things that could be amazing if reupholstered!

Lula B's West: Lula B's East is currently on Lower Greenville Avenue, but will soon be on Main Street, just east of Downtown Dallas. I now desperately want to visit Lula B's East to see if their stuff is as amazingly awesome as the stuff in the scruffier part of Dallas.

White Elephant: This old favorite is sometimes a bit too musty and full of junk. I did, however, find a blue and white ticking-striped sofa hand painted with red and navy blue flowers all over it. If not for the fact that I think the painting would have smeared off all over my pants, I would have bought it.

Moderne: The owner was friendly, after he finished his lunch, and they had some great pieces, but almost all of them required upholstering on top of their $600 price tags, so I ruled them "over priced" and fled.

Vinya: I think whoever named this one was going for the term "vignette" but didn't understand that just because it's French doesn't mean you drop the last letters entirely. Their furnishings were all in take-home-and-use condition, and were carefully edited. Not cheap, but their pieces were almost all pedigreed, or as good as pedigreed. Design Within Reach sofa, Heywood Wakefield buffets, and glossy lacquered white side tables abounded. Amazing stuff, and a good portion of it well beyond my price range. A couple of sofas were still $3000, because they were one year old Jan Showers designs, or were recovered Knoll sofas from the 1960s. It was essentially interior design porn, walking into that store. I managed not to drool on the furnishings, thankfully.

Turtlenecks are good for catching sofa-induced saliva.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

OCDesign Strikes Again!

I have finally figured out a way to rearrange my apartment. I am ecstatic. I am overjoyed.

And I am going to buy a sofa.

Wait. What?

Yup. You heard me: a sofa.

Show us pictures! We want pictures! What, pray tell, will this sofa look like?

That, my devoted readers, is what we in the design trade call "a damned good question."

I found a sofa I liked, within my current budget, but upon visiting it and ruminating, I decided it was too trendy. It was riding the current young hip craze for Mid-century Modern about too high. Then I found another sofa, also within my current budget, whose shape I liked. Alas, it only comes in incredibly boring colors. Not that I'm opposed to boring, so long as it's off-white or soft grey, but the colors they had were very brown-ish, though, but without actually being brown. They were muddy. They were boring. I will not be buying that boring muddy sofa.

My options at this point are: 1) buy a used sofa with a great shape, some fabric I really like, and have the thing reupholstered; or 2) save up some more money and buy a more expensive sofa in colors that aren't so darned pedestrian.

What color will I go for?

That, my friend, is also a damned good question. I'm thinking either a natural linen or an off-white textured cotton, or something completely different, like a deep peacock greeny-blue. I have a loveseat I'll be keeping, and it's off-white (and needs to be cleaned, come to think of it) so I don't want something that will clash horribly with it. Granted, I can always throw a textile over it, if I buy a sofa that doesn't coordinate, which is increasingly likely.

So for the past week, I've been indulging myself by scoping out Craigslist, looking for a cheap (used) sofa that needs some TLC, and checking furniture websites. I've found a couple of sofas I like that will require a great deal of extra saving over the next few months (READ: fewer pedicures, fewer meals out, and no more new clothes).

Okay, I'll give you a few ideas of what I'm looking at, since you're begging me:

All the sofas pictured above are from Crate and Barrel, but I'm not necessarily going to buy a sofa from Crate and Barrel. It will all depend on what happens over the next 4-6 months. Yes, this is a long-term commitment to saving some dough so I can spend some dough. As a consequence, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. I have had my loveseat for 7 years now, and I will most likely follow in the train of my mother and keep my sofa for 20 years. If it's a good sofa, it will last that long, after all. Sure, I can reupholster it, if I so choose, but that's not likely to happen for at least 10 years. I hope.

Any comments or suggestions? Bear in mind, I'm looking for something that can work well in a modern or a traditional room, which I think the above sofas would pull off nicely. The sofa has to be lounge-able, too. No uncomfortable parlor sofas for this gal, despite the intriguing ones I've seen on Craigslist. And it has to be quality: kiln-dried hardwood frame or nothing!

I'm incredibly demanding. That's what you get when you're an OCDesigner.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Limp as a Wet Noodle

I'm in love. Okay, so I'm still in love with Mrs. Robinson - metaphorically speaking - but she now has a rival for my affections, and her name is Julie. Sweet, sweet Julie.

What, you ask, Could this Julie possibly have done to so ingratiate herself with you, Ms. StrainedConsciousness?

She gave me a foot massage.

But not just any foot massage. Oh no. This was an all-out, no holds barred, wonderful world of - um - wonder foot massage. With rocks. Hot ones.

I went to the usual nail place by my apartment. I rarely get the spa treatment there because it's just so darned expensive. However, it's been a rough week, so I decided to splurge. Suffice it so say, this is a once-every-6-months kind of splurge. It cost the same for a manicure and pedicure as it costs for TWO manicures and pedicures at my mom's nail salon. Or, I could get my hair cut and buy hair product and tip my hairstylist for the cost of this manicure/pedicure combo + tips. But that's beside the point.

Rocks. Hot ones.

When they handed me the little laminated sheet with the prices and services included in the spa manicure/pedicure, I waved my hand and said "Sure. Lavender, please." Yup. You get to pick your scent. Watermelon? No thank you. Citrus? It would have me craving sorbet. But lavender is relaxing. It's soothing. And combined with the awesome deftness of Julie's little fingers, it's enough to leave a girl in a puddle on the floor.

Rocks, people.

She removed my old nail polish, trimmed my toenails, cuticles, and cleaned the toejam out from under my nails. All standard procedure, all done while my manicurist filed my nails and trimmed my cuticles, etc. She used a pumice stone to soften my heels and remove the calluses. Again, nothing new, here.

Then, I saw a glimpse of heaven. Julie pulled out a plate with four artfully arranged bowls on them, the kind you get in sushi restaurants with little mounds of pickled ginger and wasabi that I never use because I don't like either. She took a scoop of sea salt from the foot-condiment tray and began rubbing it over my feet. It was very coarse and tickled like blue blazes. She used a different salt for my calves and ankles, which was less coarse. Then came the lavender pumice cream. Yes, cream with little bits of pumice stone smashed up into it that moisturizes and exfoliates at the same time.

When she was finished with the pumice, she put my feet into the water basin attached to the shiatsu massage chair and rinsed all the salty pumicey goodness off my legs and feet. It also kind of tickled. I'm very ticklish on my toes, okay?

She pulled my feet out of the water, placed them on a nice clean towel, free of sea salt and pumice residue, and squirted lavender scented oil on my legs. At this point, the manicurist walked over with a bowl of water. In the water were 10 river rocks, big enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The pedicurist and manicurist (who had done the same thing to my arms, but not quite as gently) each took rocks out of the HOT water, and began rubbing them over my skin.


This went on for 10 minutes for my hands and forearms, and 20 minutes for my feet. That's the period of time most pedicurists will massage your legs for a pedicure, if you're lucky.

But, oh no, Miss Julie wasn't finished. She proceeded to rub lavender scented lotion into my skin for 20 more minutes. Heaven! Pure heaven!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a complete and total sucker for having my back scratched, kneaded and pummeled. The same goes for my legs. Especially when there are smooth, warm river rocks gliding over them.

I am now riding high on a wave of endorphins, usually released only by eating copious quantities of bacon or ice cream (I actually just ate bacon as part of my dinner, so, you know, double-whammy).

I love Julie. I LOVE HER.

And I gave her a big tip. I'm not ashamed to buy my love.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lying Abed All Day

That's what I did Sunday afternoon and all day Monday. There is a definite correlation between weather changes and my migraines, I've discovered.

I've also discovered that migraine medicine doesn't do a damned thing about it. Neat.

The upshot of all of this is that I spent two days on migraine medicine - and missed work on one day - and spent most of today in a fog, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Had I tried this, yet? Oh. Yeah. I had. Would this work? No. No, not at all. There went two hours. I had, as our receptionist calls it, a migraine hangover.

I prefer alcohol hangovers, I think, particularly because they're fewer and farther between than my migraines, these days.

Tonight is similar to Sunday afternoon and all of Monday - I'm lying in bed. I should be happy about that, though! Right? Right?

I will admit, working from bed is infinitely preferable to work in my decidedly non-ergonomic office chair at work, but at home, there's no one to run out to 7-11 because we all got a hankering for Slurpees.

I would like to randomly make the not-entirely-unrelated observation that Mrs. Robinson is the best receptionist ever.

(Creative Commons sharealike image courtesy of Wikimedia user Guen de Wang who has the coolest name of any of my contributors so far and whose photo can be found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:7-11_Slurpee_Medium.JPG)