February 28, 2013
by blogazar
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WEEKEND PROJECT: OUTBOX AND CABLE CLOSURE

outbox

outbox

We always try to keep a box, bag or pile in the apartment for items that we are highly considering throwing out or donating. Keeping a constant outbox going is a great way to make sure our apartment doesn’t turn into a thrift store showroom, but it is only half the battle. Getting it out the door is the real hard part. Last weekend we decided to suck it up and let go. We got rid of a bunch of random pieces that never quite found a place in our home and took them to their respective final resting places… the garbage, Goodwill, and the cable company.

Among the things we got rid of was our cable box! Yes, we finally gave in and cut our cable off completely. We had been going back and forth on canceling it along with our DVR service. I was torn about whether to keep very basic cable but in the end we ended up going all the way. Its all gone. We kept our internet service, obs. Some things are nonnegotiable. I mean,  I have a blog to sometimes write. I am trying real hard to get used to the Apple TV, Hulu Plus and Netflix. It might sound like I am being sarcastic, but TV is not something I kid about. This adjustment has been tough. The Oscars were particularly rough. No 4 hour show honoring movies I haven’t seen yet. No Fashion Police on E the following night. Nada. I miss being able to turn the TV on and catch the news or some random show I would have never heard of otherwise. Don’t get me wrong… all in all, it is a good life choice. Shouldn’t we all be making those?  We have to be far more intentional with our TV time now, which makes for a far more productive and chill home environment.

Taking the cable box back to Comcast was the final step in our transition to a cable-less life. There are worse things in this world – is what I keep having to tell myself. Worse thing.

Among other thins that went out the door: 2 glass lampshades that were never used, a “Cafe” sign that we got as a house warming gift (sorry, Andre!), an Ikea lamp that stopped working, some candle holders, a candle, a pepper grinder and a laptop bag. The little cabinet with the Chinese characters on it ended up staying – we are still negotiating that one. Its a little TJ Max for my taste. Nothing wrong with the max, but this is too to the max.

In conclusion, outbox… do it. There are always things you can get rid of and the outbox allows you some time to let it sit there while you realize you don’t actually need/want it.

February 18, 2013
by blogazar
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WEEKEND PROJECT: EXHUME THE PARSONS DESK

One of our weekend goals was to get the office part of our bedroom in order. Two days have gone by and all we have done it talk about it. Today is the big day since tomorrow we are back to work. It HAS to happen. Need. Motivation. Goals: stop using it as a hamper, set up the monitor to plug into my laptop, set up speakers and deal with cords and such.

before

before

after

during

I am going to leave this one in the “during” category for now. When we started work on the desk we headed to the hardware store to pick up a power strip and ended up picking up materials for another project which ended up taking most of our time. That project is pretty big, so I will post about it another time. The desk is functional for the first time in a very long time. The electronics are set up. I think some of them are ugly in that way that electronics sometimes are. It’s mainly the speakers and subwoofer I don’t like. Who needs a subwoofer? What is a subwoofer?! Cohabitation comes with its sacrifices. I should say: love comes with its sacrifices. The subwoofer and space-age speakers stay.

Next for the desk project:

  • Get all of the wiring under control. Zip ties!
  • Hang my beautiful long white lampshade (seen in the “before” photo).
  • Put a photo in that frame already! Just. pick. one.
  • Find a balance between well-styled and functional.

Stay tuned for the “after”.

February 18, 2013
by blogazar
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PhotoBlog: BABY SHOWER

PhotoGrid_1361090741566

A good friend is having a baby soon, so we headed to Bootyland after work on Thursday to pick up a gift for her shower. After my initial rush of emotions about wanting a baby of my own passed, we pick out a lovely little outfit. I was tasked with wrapping the present. I enjoy wrapping presents but I have never been particularly good at it. I think this one turned out nice though. It was picked first to unwrap! The mother-to-be loved it, so naturally we were thrilled. Our excitement dissipated when the second present was unwrapped and IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME AS OURS!!! To make matters more awkward the duplicate present was from the Father-to-be’s Mother! Ay dios mio. Luckily, ours was 0-3 months and the other one was for another age. Everyone survived.

The party was hosted at our friends Steve and Rebecca’s home on Capitol Hill. Their home is beautiful and they were fabulous hosts. Signature cocktails were offered within moments of arriving… always a sign of a good host. Check out some photos from the shower and some great baby shower ideas:

The mommy and daddy to-be opened presents in small segments which helped avoid that thing that often happens at showers where way too much time is devoted to watching presents being opened. Great idea!

The mommy and daddy to-be opened presents in small segments which helped avoid that thing that often happens at showers where way too much time is devoted to watching presents being opened. Great idea!

Milk Shooters

Milk Shooters

Guess the baby game. Great way to get people engaged.

Guess the baby game. Great way to get people engaged. All the guests submitted a baby photo and a current photo.

Onesie decorating table

Onesie decorating table.

Onesie art on display

Onesie art on display.

Baby shower essentials: children's books, jelly beans, tulips, cheese

Baby shower essentials: children’s books, jelly beans, tulips, cheese.

Bacon and water chestnut appetizer.

Bacon and water chestnut appetizer.

Mini cupcakes.

Mini cupcakes.

Love these barstools.

Lastly, love these barstools.

 

February 14, 2013
by blogazar
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SOME CONTEXT ON BLOGAZAR

2013-02-12 19.35.17

me circa 1983

I started this blog back in 2007 when I had just moved to Seattle from the southwest and wanted a place to share my experiences. I fell in love with it pretty fast and pretty hard. I was an undocumented immigrant throughout most of my life so as you can imagine, coming to Seattle was both exciting and scary. The reason I mention my previous lack of immigration status is not to make a political statement or share too much information about myself – it is to provide some context as I move forward with this blog. Blogazar has always been focused on the city, the apartments I have lived in, decorating, do-it-yourself, urban art and Capitol Hill. I’ve wandered away from these themes from time to time but have mostly kept my personal life out of it. I didn’t want Blogazar to serve as my diary or soap box. I suppose I also felt some shame and fear around my immigration status and putting all of that out here for anyone who reads this blog to see.

Over the past couple of years I have been much less consistent with my blogging and somewhere along the way I realized the reason for that was that I felt disingenuous about the way the blog reflected my life. Growing up a bit has brought with it some perspective on the roots of my love of style, city living and DIY.

From what I recall when I was a very little kid my family lived a comfortable life in a small, but big enough house, with a pool on a decent block in a typical American town. Life was good. A series of unfortunate events led us to a rural desert town, living in a very small trailer (yes, trailer), undocumented and unsure about the future. Life was still good because I had my family but life as I knew it became a lot harder. I didn’t get to do a lot of the things that my peers did when I was a teenager and into young adulthood. I had dreams of a different life but little to no hope or direction on how I might someday get there. All I had was my creativity and my dreams.

I didn’t enjoy living in the trailer so I spent a great deal of time watching Home and Garden Television and flipping through Good Housekeeping magazines that my mother would bring home from the woman that she she worked as a caregiver for. I talked my parents into letting me rearrange the living room to create a more conversational space because that is what Martha Stewart might have done. I drew crappy mock-ups of what our rooms would look like if I could do everything I wanted. I would spend the little money I had at craft stores, Goodwill and yard sales for pieces to make our home look nicer. One day when I was 16 I swallowed my shame and invited my friends over to my family’s home. I dreaded and anticipated this at the same time, after all  I had worked hard to make that trailer as pretty as I could.

We were all sitting in the living room of the trailer and I overheard one of my friends telling another friend that she liked how cozy and cute it was. That simple moment, that I wasn’t even intended to hear, meant a lot to me and I still think about it today. The compliment taught me that I could be proud of my home regardless of how small or how unconventional it might seem. Since then I have made sure that no matter what sort of uncertainty I encountered in my life I would always value the space I call home – no matter what it looks like or what I have to work with.

Growing up in a tiny space with a family of six, and making the best of it is perhaps why I am so drawn to small space city living.  I’ve lived in a series of small apartments and studios since leaving home 13 years ago, and I have worked hard each time to make sure that my home was comfortable, safe and styled to represent me. I like feeling that no matter what uncertainty exists in the world outside, my home is a space that pleases me and that I have control of. The occasional compliment doesn’t hurt either. I am no longer undocumented, I have a great job, a lovely apartment that I share with my wonderful boyfriend and a more certain future.

I came from little privilege to having more than I ever  thought I would have. That being said; I don’t feel totally solid about sitting here blogging about wanting a $6,000 custom couch or an $800 Jonathan Adler vase. I like nice things but I would have to be rich and certain that I will always be rich before I could live like that. In order to feel genuine about my blog and about my past I had to write this wordy “about me” post to at least know, for myself, that I put this out into the universe. Now when I blog about things like saving up for my dream Parsons Desk (which I got (YAY!)) or about wanting a designer messenger bag, you will know that I am more than my love of these things and I don’t take them for granted for one second.

I never want Blogazar to feel like I am trying to be someone I am not. I thrift, buy clearance, re-purpose and get creative to live the way I do. Sometimes it all looks great and sometimes I get it all wrong. I’ve learned to live with that.

Blogazar is a blog about city living, style, and trying to get it right. City living because I love existing within a city. Style because I believe design, fashion, and art all live under the style umbrella. Trying to get it right, because my life has been about just that.

-Blogazar

February 7, 2013
by blogazar
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DESERT BOOTS

2013-02-06 22.05.13So last year I scored at the Lifelong AIDS Alliance Thrift Store when I found my first pair of Clarks original desert boots for about $14 (retails price averages $100). I had been interested in buying a pair for some time but I thought they were too expensive and, to be honest, I wasn’t totally convinced I could rock them. I certainly didn’t expect to find a pair in good condition at a thrift store but with a price like that. I couldn’t turn them down. One of the best life choices I have made.

2013-02-06 22.04.46Not only did I become a desert boot fan, but apparently my luck rubbed off on my boyfriend because he found two Bass desert boots at the same thrift store just a few weeks later. His boots looked different enough from my pair that I didn’t mind having us wear the same style shoe. I never imagined we would be one of THOSE couples. You know, twinsies.We were now at 3 pairs in our household. Though let me be clear, we are not in the habit of wearing the same shoes…. even though we are the same size. I just can’t get into that.

One of my favorite things about desert boots is that they look great in newish condition, but they look even better when they are a bit more worn. Another bonus is that I know I will be sporting them in spring and summer as well. Perhaps with a pair of shorts? I think anything can be possible with this classic piece. See Chuck Taylors, Levis, Pea Coat.

2013-02-06 22.04.13Our luck continued the other day when my boyfriend found a pair identical to my Clarks… in the same thrift store! We are now THAT couple – wearing the same shoes. 4 pair household. Soon we’ll be rockin’ matching outfits. I draw the line at shoes.

All of this being said: I do have a sneaking suspicion that desert boots are totally going out of fashion. Afterall, they are turning up all over the place at my favorite thrift store. Let’s hope that’s not the case. I don’t think so. I don’t think classic shoes go out of style. Right? In any case, I love them. I want more. Bring them on thrift gods!

Check out for FashionBeans some very useful and very detailed info on the desert boot, how to wear them, and all the different variations.

We bought the shoes at the Lifelong Thrift Store and the laces and waterproofing spray at Broadway Shoe Repair.

April 11, 2012
by blogazar
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Weekend Finds = Future Weekend Projects

Our way of enjoying the sunny Easter weekend weather was to hit the thrift and fabric stores in Ballard and here on Capitol Hill. Check out what we picked up:
  • Vintage bird print ($2.99 – Value Village)
    • Still looking for a place for this. This is definitely inline with the bird and nature theme slowly taking over our apartment. If it worked for Ernest Hemingway, it will work for me.
  • Vintage ceramic tea holder ($1.99 – Lifelong AIDS Alliance Thrift Store)
    • Already in use storing q-tips in the bathroom. 
  • Vintage wood tray with metal details ($3.99 – Value Village)
    • This will love on my mid-century dresser. Probably a place to dump anything and everything on. You will see photos once I clear the dresser off, clean the room and accessorize it!
  • Modern wooden salt and pepper shakers ($.99 – Lifelong AIDS Alliance Thrift Store)
    • We already have a pepper grinder and a ceramic bowl we keep sea salt in, but we got this for dinner parties and our guests who might like a more traditional salt container.
  • Ikat fabric (On sale for 7.99 a yard – Jo-Ann Fabric)
    • Remember those bar stools we recovered in a table cloth(“They will look great when you reupholster them” March 2012)? Well, we weren’t sold on that material so we bought this stuff which gives me butterflies in my stomach. In a good way. Purchasing high gloss white spray paint later this week. That is all I will say for now. Prepare to have your mind blown. 

I wish we had time to complete the bar stool project and place all of these awesome little accessories we got but the weekend was busy. We must put our dreams away for the week and revisit them on le weekend. 

March 27, 2012
by blogazar
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MY VISIT TO ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S HOME

Apartment Therapy recently posted about the bedrooms of 15 writers and one of the rooms looked very familiar. I was lucky enough to go to Key West last year and while I was there I went on a hungover tour of my favorite writer, Ernest Hemingway’s home. That seemed appropriate considering who the homeowner was. The photos got lost among many others from that trip. Frankly, I was so sad to leave sunny Florida that I think I intentionally avoided the file where these photos live.
Having read The Sun Also Rises more times than I can remember I always fantasized about living the exotic romantic lives of the characters in his stories. I realized while walking through his home that I identified with his style and that I already had some elements of his “look” in my home. I don’t claim to be as manly and rugged (and perhaps homophobic) as Mr. Hemingway but I do think I share some of the same interest in animal carcasses, nature, Spanish pieces and color. Oh and we both share a love of the drink.
Here are some photos from my tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home:

March 26, 2012
by blogazar
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PhotoBlog: Warmish Weekend

  
Friday night: Bathroom Graffiti at The Sitting Room in Queen Anne
 
Saturday: Enjoying a pitcher of Blue Moon on the patio at Captain Blacks.
 
 The beautiful houses around the corner from our humble little apartment building.
 
Party punch Saturday night. Yes, we drank it out of sippy cups. Long story.
Sunday: Random flower arrangement outside of Linda’s.
Monday morning: Heading to work on the bus with my coffee.

March 23, 2012
by blogazar
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"They will look great when you reupholster them"

Well guess what, Andre – we already did!
When bar stools are your only dining option very close consideration must be paid to what kind of stool you choose. We spent months eating at the coffee table because I insisted we should not invest in stools until we found something we loved that I could stand to sit on for longer than 5 minutes and that we could afford. This was no easy task. Luckily, the organization I work at has a thrift store. Yes, how lucky am I?! We saw these stools back in December. They were almost perfect: comfortable, affordable… but totally unappealing to me. In fact I pretty much hated them. I refused. 
Finally after seeing them in the store for two months I began to consider what they might look like with a different fabric on them. After all they were the right size and if we bought them we could finally eat in the eating area and more importantly set up our computers and get some work done as we face each other and listen to Warren’s records… a dream we have been talking about since we moved in. 
We bought them home and tried to let the existing fabric grow on us. It did not. We decided to take a Sunday trip to the fabric store and fell in love with a few fabrics but they were out of our price range. We headed to Target to pick up some other things we needed. That is where I spotted a table cloth on sale for 10 dollars. We brought it home, measured, cut, staple gunned and BAM! 
I was feeling really good about everything until my friend Andre came over and said, “they will look great when you reupholster them”. 
His comment angered me because it was saying something that a little voice inside me was saying the entire time. I like this fabric more than the original but I don’t love it. Luckily, it was super easy to change out. As soon as we find the right fabric at the right price we will have the stools we absolutely love instead of ones we really like. Regardless of the fabric, the stools work out better than I had expected. They are wide and sturdy and there are only two of us so we sprawl out on them and chill for hours. 
BEFORE
 
AFTER

What do you think of the fabric? Not too bad for 10 bucks, right? or the stools beyond visual repair? Go easy on me.