November 30, 2012

It’s time to pull the plug on the blog, at least for a while.

Competing priorities blahblahblah lack of motivation blah not enough time in the day blahgidiblah not enough money to make all the home improvement changes I’d like blahblah. You get the picture.

Which is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the feedback and love I’ve been shown over the past year or so, and discovering lots of your blogs as well. I might not comment as often, but I’m still reading!

If you’d like to keep seeing what I’m up to, you’ll most often find me on Instagram (@itssosuburban).

Thank you and good luck on all your endeavors!



Calendar Swap

October 18, 2012

While the calendar I consult most often is produced by Google, I always insist on having a well-designed wall calendar in my office.

In the past, I’ve chosen calendars from Cavallini, Paper Source and Rifle Paper Co., but this time, I’m spicing things up and joining the Design Crush + Greedy Girl Calendar Swap.

Here’s how it works, featuring some of my favorite locally-produced Hammerpress calendars:

To participate, you’ll need to sign up by November 5th and mail your calendar by December 5th. For more details, check it out here.


Et Tu, Target?

October 14, 2012

A few weeks ago, we discussed my theory that Pottery Barn Kids found their Halloween costume ideas by perusing Pinterest.

This week, more than a few people have noticed the similarity between some independent artists’ work and items carried at our beloved Target.

{cue dramatic music}

First up is the “Hello” Tray from Target’s Timeless home decor collection, which bears a striking resemblance to Rifle Paper Co.’s ‘Hello’ Conversation Card. As Rifle Paper Co. creator Anna Bond noted on Twitter four days ago, “I keep getting asked if we made this @target tray.. no, we did not :(

And six days ago, Joy Cho of Oh Joy! tweeted a similar sentiment regarding her popular Petal Pusher design, which is used in her wallpaper line at Hygge & West and children’s clothing line at Winter Water Factory.

“Wow. You gotta love running into a copycat of your own pattern on a product at Target.”

The hoodie is made by Geniune Kids from OshKosh, which is sold exclusively at Target. And while I don’t personally feel the similarity is as strong as in Rifle Paper Co.’s case, I definitely see it in the particular hoodie Joy tweeted:

So, what’s the deal, Target?

Large companies have surely been doing this type of thing for years, with few repercussions. And while it may be tough to fight in court, at least with the Internet and blogging, we can all come together and bring instances to people’s attention.

So while I’m sure I’ll continue to shop there, I won’t be purchasing either of these items, and will be on the lookout for future transgressions.

Target, you are on watch.

It’s crazy to think that when we I first started buying furniture and decor for my home, there really wasn’t much in the way of online shopping.

Need a couch? Time to schlep out to the nearest La-Z-Boy, Nebraska Furniture Mart or Thomasville — maybe Pottery Barn if you’re fancy.

But by the time we finished the basement and furnished Calvin’s nursery, there were a lot more options, especially for furniture. I ordered desks and chairs from Overstock, nursery furniture from Amazon and coffee tables and bookcases from IKEA (believe it or not, they actually offered free shipping on orders over $500 on Cyber Monday 2009).

And now? Well, my mind is exploding. There are so many options for buying anything and everything online, that it’s entirely possible to live in the middle of nowhere with an interior worthy of a Lonny feature. You can find unusual and even one-of-a-kind items on flash sites like Fab, Joss and Main and One Kings Lane, and new retailers are entering the online market all the time.

Today’s example: Zara Home.

Zara is a Spanish company with many locations around the world, including some clothing stores in the U.S. But until now, there was no way to get Zara Home products without shipping them from overseas.

Key phrase: “Until now.”

And for the rest of October, shipping is free!

So, there is a strong likelihood you’ll be seeing some of the above picks in my home very soon.

Fito Dish Towel, Monocle Nest of Tables, Damian Knob, Godwin Knob, Paisley Rug, Sewall Vase, Oro Viejo Flatware, Carve Box


Excited About IKEA

October 10, 2012

Kansas City has been buzzing these past two weeks with the biggest news in, oh, EVER.

That’s right. IKEA is coming to town. And in my little bubble of a world, this easily beats out the other recent great things Kansas City has had going for it: The All-Star Game, Google Fiber, Trader Joe’s and The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

I’ve never been to IKEA, and now, 11 years after first laying eyes on a catalog, I’m going to have the chance!

Well, actually I’m going to have the chance 13 years after first laying eyes on that Futura bible, since the store is not scheduled to open until the fall of 2014. But when it does, I will be there. And probably daily during lunch breaks, since the site is less than two miles from my office.

I pass it all the time, the sad 53,182-square-foot shopping center that was supposed to open in 2008, but never found even one permanent tenant:

Now, the site will be razed, save the stone retaining wall, to make way for this:

And I’m pretty sure this is the direct result of “The Secret” or something, because check out my Facebook status from August 15, a little over a month before the new store was announced:

I am floating the idea of renting a van and heading to IKEA some weekend next spring/summer. And taking requests for purchases at a 10% commission to help pay for my trip. This is either genius or a sign that I need to slow down on the Steve Jobs biography.

Well, I guess that won’t be necessary!

What would be the first IKEA item you’d snatch up if you were me?
And tell me, honestly, is the food any good?


Decor8 + Define

September 26, 2012

October is gearing up to be e-course month for me.

While I missed the Blogging Your Way 2.0 class offered by Holly Becker of Decor8 in June (which was on my 12 for ’12 list, by the way), I’m pleased to see there’s going to be a Blogging Your Way Boot Camp (for both new and 2.0 students) in October. I am signed up!

And while it doesn’t totally make sense for me financially, practically, or time-wise (is there a -ally word for time?), I’m also strongly considering signing up for Kristin Rogers‘ photography class at The Define School called “The Inspired Home.”

I’m not sure how I first found out about her, but she’s one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram, so I’m thinking about taking Steve Job’s advice and just going for it!

Here’s some more information about The Define School if you’re interested:

Define School from Jeff Manion on Vimeo.

Hi guys! I’ve been absent from the blog while I’m working on some other goals (along with the ever-slow-going progress on the house), so I’m just going to post whenever and pretend like I’ve never been away. OK?


So, what’s on my mind tonight, you ask?


That’s one of the new costumes from this year’s Pottery Barn Halloween collection.

Reminds me a little bit of this oft-pinned version made by an Etsy seller, no?

Or maybe of this trio, commonly dubbed on Pinterest as “World’s Best Parents” (or at least by Jenny Lawson).

And who could forget this lobster in a pot costume that was all over Pinterest last year?

Well, here’s this year’s family version from Pottery Barn Kids:

Pretty interesting right? I can just picture all the product people at Pottery Barn scouring Pinterest right now for the latest trends in Halloween costumes to develop for next year. What’s that popular quote about how the work you do when you procrastinate is the work you should be doing for the rest of your life?

Well, how do I get that job?

As far as legal/ethical issues are concerned, well, I’m not quite sure. Pottery Barn probably had to pay a pretty penny for the rights to use the Where the Wild Things Are costumes, and can you really “own” the idea of a baby dressed up like a lobster in a pot? Declaring oneself pre-law freshman year in order to get into a preferred dorm does not a lawyer make, unfortunately. What do you and your non-expert opinions think about it?

I’m erring on the side of genius.

First Baseball Game Kauffman Stadium Brick Royals vs. Indians Summer

Last night was Calvin’s first Royals game. He loves baseball, but was frankly more interested in the “TVs” (scoreboard/Crown Vision), “guy playing guitar” (the Garth Brooks Friends in Low Places sing-along — klassy) and “hot dogs!”

On our way into the stadium, we made sure to get a picture of the legacy brick that my sister, mom and I got my dad for Father’s Day.

And had great seats for next-to-nothing thanks to StubHub (the Royals’ record and the heat might have had something to do with that).

About halfway through the first inning, Calvin was ready to go walk around, so once it finally ended after six runs (yay!), we headed to the Outfield Experience to check out the kids activities and the fountains (it was 94 degrees at game time, with no breeze). We got back to our seats toward the end of the Cleveland Indians’ rally, which tied the game 6-6.

Calvin got to hear Take Me Out to the Ballgame (one of his favorite songs!) during the seventh inning stretch, at which point it was time to call it a night. So while we missed the walk-off hit that won the game for the Royals in the bottom of the 11th, it was still a memorable evening for us.

Have a great weekend!

I’d like to introduce you to a place you’ve probably never seen before on the blog:
My back yard.

Backyard shot with wide angle lens, deck, patio

Actually, that’s what it looked like back in April when I started thinking about writing this post (I know!). Four months and a drought later, our yard actually looks more like this:

Dried up grass in backyard

But let’s just suspend that truth for a moment, shall we?

It’s a decent-sized yard, though not nearly as large as this briefly-owned-then-returned wide angle lens would lead you to believe. The main feature is the deck, which we last stained five years ago. And there’s a patio below it that becomes covered in dirt from under the deck every time it rains. Which lately, is never.

Deck to be stained, backyard, fence

Here’s how it all looked a few years after purchasing the house, in 2007 (the swimming pool was for our dog, whom we quickly discovered does NOT like water):

Deck and backyard in 2007

We really took our time and did things right that summer, power-washing and cleaning the deck, and painstakingly staining every last detail into the fall.

Deck after staining in 2007

Cut to 2012, and we’ve basically just let the whole thing go again, especially since we haven’t been eating outside due to the heat and the two broken glass panels on our patio table (I’ve been quoted $300+ to replace them, so I’m on the lookout for a deal on a new table or set).

Deck boards weathered and patio furniture 2012

When I have the time, and it’s under 100 degrees, I’ve been going out and re-staining the deck for about an hour at a time. No power-washing, no major cleaning, just some lazy stain-slopping. At this rate I’ll get done by December.

Staining deck railing Behr premium deck stain dog German Shepherd

Because honestly, the deck isn’t even our top priority in the back yard — the fence is.

Rotting picket fence

About a year ago, our dog kept escaping from the yard and we couldn’t figure out why. We’d be chilling in the basement, and all of a sudden a neighbor girl would come to the door with our dog.

It turns out some of the fence boards were so rotten that Cash could push the bottom of the pickets with his head and the screws would go right through them.

When we first caught him in the act, it was from the kitchen window — he would actually look and make sure we were back in the house before making his “secret” escape! Of course, once out, he had no way back in.

Rotting fence

Now, I’m not sure why our cedar fence got as bad as it did. It’s my impression that cedar is supposed to be naturally resistant to insects and fungus, and doesn’t even need to be stained. But after 15 years in business, it’s time to be replaced.

And we’re staining it this time.

London 2012 Posters, Olympic Rings Headpiece and Wasabi Tape

Today I tried to not see any Olympics results so I could watch them pretend-live on TV tonight. Well, by 1 p.m., I had failed, after incorrectly assuming that NBCNews.com wouldn’t have any spoilers (since, you know, the games air on NBC).

I give up.

But don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you.

Although, seeing as how you’re here, on the Internet, you probably already know. Or are following all of CNN’s tips on avoiding Olympic spoilers (Ha! You are failing already!).

Really though, Olympic spoilers have been around since at least the 1994 Winter Olympics, when I was horrified to see figure skating results when I logged into my Prodigy account at night. But that was easy enough to avoid. Now they’re everywhere, and I’m not quite sure what to think about it. Until today, I’ve basically avoided most coverage since I already knew the results and tend to be doing other things upstairs during prime time anyway.

Which leads me to another conundrum — do I want to have a TV in the bedroom again? I kind of enjoyed it while it was there, but last night was the first time I’ve missed it in the year it’s been gone. And boy, I haven’t missed looking at it:

Old TV in the bedroom

Ha, I can’t even believe I’m showing you that picture. Don’t worry, the TV and stand are long gone, so we would definitely be buying a new wall-mounted flat screen. But I’m putting my wallet away, remember? Maybe when we redo the bedroom. Which, at this rate, might be in time for the 2016 Olympics.

Images: Posters from Paul Rodgers Studio | Olympic Tapes A by Cody Hamilton | Olympia Headpiece from CultureLabel

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