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home improvement – rugs

February 4, 2016

As I’ve mentioned, we are finally being grown-ups and buying furniture and overhauling our apartment, and guys I AM GOING ALL OUT. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. So now that we’ve got the couch and the shelf in place and the media console on its way, the last big piece is the rug. THE RUG. Do you realize how much complexity lies in those two little words?

Rug shopping is difficult, yo.

Well, it’s difficult when you have 5000 pieces of criteria that must be met.

  1. It has to be light (in color) because our apartment is a cave within which no sunlight enters, and it makes me sad, so I have to battle it somehow.
  2. It has to be light without showing dirt because two steps into our apartment you will be walking on it (and most likely 100% with your shoes on) and also we have a dog who sometime steps in poop mud and runs in a dusty dog park and like to roll around like a crazy person. So how can it be light but also not get filthy?!
  3. Dog hair. This is probably the trickiest criteria. Dog hair cannot get stuck in the rug. White dog hair can not show up like it does all over my black clothes. And when said dog hair does get on the rug (see above rolling around like a crazy person), I have to be able to vacuum it up. Completely. Or at least enough to where I can trick people into thinking we don’t have a dog that sheds profusely.
  4. It has to be soft. If it’s going to feel like plastic or sticks, I might as well stick to the wood floor. I want a rug not just because of the added decor element, but because I want something soft underfoot. And comfortable to lie down on with Kipling to cuddle (especially since she is now, for sure, not allowed on our new couch).
  5. To be comfortable it needs to be thicker than those pretend rugs that are more like throw blankets.
  6. I want something simple, but also something fun and unique…which way do I go?
  7. I want to spend, like, $200. Because who knows how well it will hold up to all of my demands?


It has to be light, but not too light, stain and dirt resistant, soft but not shaggy, cheap but not look cheap.

Where can I find this miracle rug?

Also, really, though not adding the pop of color I dream of to the space, grey would probably be the best choice. BUT OUR COUCH IS GREY. Will it clash? Will it look chic?

I know nothing about rugs, even after my days – weeks – of searching. I don’t know what I want. Simplistic, Moroccan, Southwestern? Solid or patterned? We’ve got a mid century vibe going on but also bright patterns/textures in our gallery wall and tablecloth. If the rugs I included in this post tell you anything,  it’s that I don’t know what will look good with our space and our furniture until it’s on the floor.

As I have a meltdown over rug shopping, can you help me find a shoe rack? Something no bigger than 3 ft by 3 ft but that also looks nice and…not like a shoe rack. Easy, right?

-wonderland sam

DIY pipe shelving unit

January 25, 2016

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One of my resolutions for 2016 is to purchase our own furniture. Because we’ve never done it. And we’re adults. And I can no longer bear the mismatched hodgepodge of hand-me-down furniture we’ve been sporting since college.

When we got married and moved, we didn’t want to buy furniture because 1) we had no money and 2) why outfit a place with furniture if we’re just going to move? Well, it’s been 3 years, and we’re still in the same apartment, so chances are we aren’t moving any time soon. Plus, if we invest in good quality furniture that can fit any space, we can keep it forever.

So that’s what we’re doing.

I got on a crazy furniture researching obsession the past couple of weeks, and after we brought home a new couch, I couldn’t stop. I MUST HAVE THE WHOLE PLACE IN ORDER.

So we’re throwing out the old – and in with the new. Pretty exciting stuff.

Does this mean I’m old?

One thing I’d seen previously and have had on my mind for our space is pipe shelving. We have a lot of stuff, and our current bookshelf was always overflowing. But instead of buying it, this is something I knew we could make. You can find DIY tutorials on the internet for this sort of thing, but my husband is an engineer (finally becoming useful!) and didn’t even look at them. This is what we he did.

FYI: The piping is the most expensive part of this project. And honestly, the most time consuming part is just cleaning the pipes off. We decided not to stain/seal the wood beforehand (because hello, time), and our intentions were to stain it at a later point. But I like the lightness of the wood (which is completely covered with our stuff anyway) with the color of the piping, so I think it will stay. This means a lot less work, which is A-OK with me.

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 Here is his preliminary drawing. Our final dimensions came out to just under 8 feet high (to top of pipe), 6 feet wide, and 1 foot deep with 4 shelves spaced a little more than 1 foot apart. The first shelf is 2.5 feet (30″) off the ground.

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Supplies (~$300):

(4) 6 ft x 1 ft pine wood – also the cheapest

(18) 12″ nipples (3/4 in wide)

(3) 8″ nipples (3/4 in wide)

(15) 6″ nipples (3/4 in wide)

(15) 90 degree elbows (for 3/4 in wide)

(12) Tees (for 3/4 in wide)

(6) couplers (for 3/4 in wide)

(6) circular floor flanges (for 3/4 in wide pipes)

rubber grip

drill + 1 1/8″ drill bit



  1. Clean off the piping (to remove tag stickiness and oil).
  2. Drill 3 holes approximately 2 5/8″ from front shelf face (he used 1 1/8″ spade drill bit) in each board. The two end holes are placed 8″ from either end, and the middle hole is 36″ from either end – the holes will be spaced 28″ from each other.
  3. Start putting the pipes together bottom up. The base will be a circular floor flange (with rubber grip attached to bottom) + 12″ nipple + a coupler + 12″ nipple + coupler + 6″ nipple + Tee We did NOT screw the base into the floor. Repeat for other 2 pipes.
  4. From the middle of the Tee, attach an 8″ nipple. At the end of the 8″ nipple, attach a 90 degree elbow facing up. Repeat for other 2 pipes.
  5. From the top of the Tee, attach a 12″ nipple. Repeat for other 2 pipes.
  6. Slide your first board over pipes and through holes. The back end of the board will rest on top of the face up 90 degree elbow (see photo below). Attach a Tee to the top of each 12″ nipple.Processed with VSCO with s1 preset
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for remaining boards.
  8. Once the shelves are in place, and you’ve added your last 12″ nipples, you will attach a 90 degree elbow to each (facing towards wall) + 8″ nipple + a circular floor flange. Screw into wall. See photo below.

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And there you have it! Make sure the piping is straight and everything is screwed in tight. We may add more of the floor flanges under the first shelf to secure the bottom to the wall, but honestly it’s pretty secure (especially under the weight of everything on the shelves).

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The great thing about this is it’s entirely customizable, and it can be switched up at a later date – different dimensions, new wood (since that was the cheapest part), etc.

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We stayed up ’til 2:30 am (WHAT) to finish the shelf and arrange all of our books/trinkets on it (the fun part). I’m pretty in love with it.

I will share photos soon, but so far we have a couch + this shelf + a media console on the way. Everything else is getting put on the curb, and a lot of things on the walls are coming down. I am so excited to finally have a space that is more organized and open and comfortable – it will make me feel much more relaxed and happy at home. All good things.

-wonderland sam

the architect

January 21, 2016


I’m pretty sure certain I’ve spoken numerous times about the contradiction that is my brain and the anxiety that courses through it and my efforts to battle/live through/survive it. I even took a personality test, not once, but twice (because how could this be true??), and came out with this personality: Architect: INTJ-T, which apparently only makes up 2% of the ENTIRE HUMAN POPULATION. The most glaring statement about this personality trait? “INTJs are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense”.

Strength of individual traits: Introverted: 31%, Intuitive: 70%, Thinking: 25%, Judging: 43%, Turbulent: 86%.
Role: Analyst
Strategy: Constant Improvement

Mind: Introverted individuals prefer solitary activities and get exhausted by social interaction. They tend to be quite sensitive to external stimulation (e.g. sound, sight or smell) in general.

Energy: Intuitive individuals are very imaginative, open-minded and curious. They prefer novelty over stability and focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities.

Nature: Thinking individuals focus on objectivity and rationality, prioritizing logic over emotions. They tend to hide their feelings and see efficiency as more important than cooperation.

Tactics: Judging individuals are decisive, thorough and highly organized. They value clarity, predictability and closure, preferring structure and planning to spontaneity.

Identity: Turbulent individuals are self-conscious and sensitive to stress. They are likely to experience a wide range of emotions and to be success-driven, perfectionistic and eager to improve.

So, there you go. I think the “Nature” category is a bit off because I am 100% emotional. But that “Identity” category? Yup.

Anyway, my point is – last week I was a ball of anxiety, but today? Today I feel excited. About life. For no particular reason. And I like that. I LOVE that.

I’m listening to music. I’m feeling inspired all over the place. I’m excited about trying new beauty products to make me feel better about myself. I’m excited about redoing our entire apartment and finally buying new furniture and getting rid of all those hand me downs. I’m excited about having a space that makes me feel calm and relaxed and just happy. I’m excited about smelling rose body oil and new candles because I’m nothing if completely affected by the senses. I’m excited to try a new restaurant and try all the best chocolate chip cookies in LA (I mean, C’MON, chocolate chip cookies are the most important thing in the world to me, so this is basically going to be the best thing ever). I’m excited for the sun coming out and warmer weather. I’m excited to feel sore (kind of because it hurts but also because I’m changing my body and that is a GOOD THING). I’m excited to try an aerial silks class this weekend. To go on a hike or to the beach. And to watch free movies because I get to actually VOTE to award real actors real awards. I’m excited to see my mom in a few weeks. I’m excited to snuggle my dog. I’m excited to try meditation and to schedule that massage already.

I’m excited to not let anyone get in the way of my happiness.

I’m excited because I am SLOWING DOWN and LETTING GO and letting life BE but also DOING THE THING.

I hope I can keep riding this wave. But at least for this moment, I feel excited.

Also, I really can’t wait to share our new space once it’s all outfitted. We are DOING THINGS, yo.

Also (also), I know this space has kind of transformed into a legit journal instead of one of photos and crafts and all that jazz. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

-wonderland sam

slowing down

January 15, 2016


This week has felt exceptionally long. And I have felt exceptionally tired. I’m assuming it’s a culmination of several things that have all attributed to this longest week in existence.

I last talked about the winter/new year blues setting in and searching for ways to combat it. Being stuck in an office all day doesn’t help, but because that’s the current state of my life, I have to find alternative remedies. And in evaluating my life, and suffering from some annoying anxiety this week, I’ve come to one overarching conclusion: I need to slow down.

I don’t mean slow down as in, walk slower, or stop working towards my dreams, or even really doing less. I mean slow down as in being intentional about what it is I do DO and really just taking care of myself.

We live in a day and age where everyone is “busy”, and much to my chagrin, I’ve even become one of those annoying people who says they are “too busy” to respond to a text message or send an email or grab coffee.

Do I wish there were more hours in a day? Yes. Do I have to schedule things in and prioritize and compromise on commitments? Yes. But people will make time for what they want to make time for…for what is important to them. So, here is my public apology if I have ever told you “I’m sorry, I’ve been so busy.” Because even though that may technically be true, I can always make time for what’s important.

And what’s important to me? First: taking a deep breath, letting go, and relaxing. Things will get done. My dreams will come to fruition if I keep putting in the work. I don’t need to worry about what isn’t happening and what I’m going to do because I know what to do. I can find the time to do the things I both want and need if I’m intentional about it.

Secondly: taking care of myself. I’m not okay with being tired all of the time. Or feeling anxious. Or worn out and helpless in general. So whether that’s cutting coffee, eating better, exercising, getting more sleep, stretching, drinking water…I need to do all of it. I can’t have the energy for my life if I don’t take care of the mind and body that inhabit it. Here’s also my commitment to start meditation next week.

All of this is just to say – to myself and to you – relax. It will be okay. I also fully grasp the irony of me saying that because I’m nothing if not a ball of neurotic stress, and I also hate, HATE, being told to relax. But I’m going to say it all the same.

Slow down, look up, let go – some familiar words I said to myself in 2014 that still ring just as true and vital.

It’s Friday – THANK GOD. Enjoy your weekend!

-wonderland sam

winter blues

January 8, 2016


I can’t be the only one thinking it – now that Christmas is over, can we stop with the cold weather already and fast forward to summer? Without the twinkle lights and festive merriment, it’s just not cute anymore. But alas, this icy monster is making it even harder to rise out of bed in the morning (will that ever get easier?), or let’s be honest, wear cute clothes. If I’m being completely honest, I also want more daylight for more photos but also the important stuff like Vitamin D and my SANITY.

Of course, I realize when I say “cold weather” and “icy”, that LA winter doesn’t remotely fit these categories, but I’m a big baby and want my 78 degrees back please and thank you.

I also fully realize I will regret this when it is 98 degrees inside our apartment and all the windows are open and clothes are off and there is no escaping the sweltering hell.

I just want everything to be perfectly how I want it -is that too much to ask?

Anyway, here in my part of the world I’m trying to cope with all the post Christmas blues and New Year hoopla and the mundane-wasting-away-of my-life-at-work.

So, what am I doing? Catching up on reading. Watching award season movies. Planning things for a friend’s visit next weekend. Getting to workout classes. All things to help in some small way, but what else is there? I’m thinking more getting out of the house and exploring LA is in order. We tend to stick to the same side (our side) of town because driving in traffic (which is all the time) can get tiresome.

On that note, I have to say, if you want to visit LA and don’t want to do like, beachy things that require warm weather, the holidays are the best time to do it. Because literally 5 million people leave the city, and it only takes 15 minutes to get anywhere, and WHAT IS THIS.

I’m also currently dreaming about furniture and overhauling our (tiny) apartment, but in the meantime I should probably do a craft or something, so I don’t go too crazy.

 Really this post is to ask how you suggest one deal with winter sadness, and also where do all the cool kids hang out in LA? I WANT TO FIND THEM.

I’ll stop here before I over spill every thought in every corner of my brain. ‘Til next time (if you decide to come back)!

-wonderland sam


January 5, 2016


reading : All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

listening : to Headspace to introduce myself to meditation

smelling : my Christmas tree candle – because I WON’T LET IT GO

watching : my SAG screeners! awesome getting these movies FO’ FREE

feeling : hopeful about some changes this year

planning : a trip to Copenhagen in May! slash I need to start planning my trip to Copenhagen in May…

catching up : on reading. December was a busy month, and I let a lot of things slide…

working on : editing GoPro videos

cooking : veggie tostadas or chicken cooked in sage/butter/lemon

going : to a winery this weekend for an engagement party

wishing : there were more hours in the day

brainstorming : ways to get on the Gilmore Girls reboot

anticipating : a friend’s visit next weekend

starting : another month of auditioning classes

enjoying : a jazz class I discovered through ClassPass – finally! a real dance class!

buying : a new straightener because mine finally broke after ten years :,(

this list inspired by elise

-wonderland sam

one little word

December 31, 2015


It’s New Year’s Eve – I’m at the office today and making a trip to San Diego this evening to celebrate. The office is slow, and we’re going to have an impromptu mixed drinks party this afternoon to kick off the new year.

I’m reflecting on this past year, and though I’ve shared my goals for 2016, I wanted to also share the one little word to help guide me this year. Last year I used the word BOLD…and promptly forgot about it. Sure, I brought it out of the dusty corners of my brain to make some decisions, but I didn’t use it as a guiding force these past 12 months.

But this year, my word is DO. And you bet I’ll be letting it walk me through 2016. Do. It’s that simple. Things I’ve been putting off, things I want to experience, changes I want to make. I’m going to stop making excuses and just DO them. And in the spirit of that one little world, here are some of my favorite posts from 2015 – starting with one that talks about just DOING THE THING.

January : excuses and accountability

February : lorelai’s/sarah’s/lauren graham’s love life

March : breckenridge

April : my last roll of film

May : a day in the life

June : 25 for my 25th : progress

July : the magic of…

August : car therapy

September : autumn in LA

October : dog days of summer

November : giving thanks

December : new year

I took less photos. I posted less. I wrote more. I’m always trying to figure out what I want this space to be, but really, it’s just me. I have no luck keeping physical journals, but sharing photos and my rambling thoughts and goals online? I can do that. So, I think I will.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve! Let 2016 be a year of growth and fun and just LIVING.

-wonderland sam


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