3.30.2018

Opalhouse for Target

YOU GUYS. Just when I thought I couldn't be more broke with Nordstrom & Anthropologie Home teaming up, Target had to do a hold my beer & announced the most STUNNING new line, Opalhouse.  Seriously, I am OBSESSED.  I know everyone kinda lost their shit when Chip & Joanna came out with Hearth & Hand, but that didn't do much for me.  Opalhouse however just gets me.  This line was MADE for me.
Last night I went through all 545 products & chose some of my favorites.  I also included some of their inspo pics at the bottom because they're just so damn pretty.


Opalhouse is available in stores & online on April 8th.  You better believe I'm going to be online at midnight ready to go. You can view the complete collection here.

3.21.2018

Now at Nordstrom: Anthropologie Home

YOU GUYYYYYYS! Two of my most favorite stores are teaming up in an effort to make me completely broke!!! Anthropologie Home is now being sold at NORDSTROM. I've always loved Nordstrom for their incredible customer service (what store can you just return any item at ANY time??) & their rewards program is AMAZING. So the fact that I can now spend rewards dollars on Anthropologie Home items? Dead. I'm basically dead. Bye bye money!
Today I'm rounding up some of my most favorite items they're offering at the moment. Some of these items might look familiar as I featured them in my stories a few weeks ago. Seriously, I just want everything! Also if you're a  Nords Rewards member...3x the points March 21-25th! So get shopping! If you haven't signed up for the program, you are seriously MISSING out.
ONE.TWO.THREE.FOUR.FIVE.SIX.SEVEN.EIGHT.NINE.TEN.ELEVEN.TWELVE.






3.20.2018

{Lately Loving} Wood Bead Chandeliers

Ohh guys, the urge to redo everything in my house is REAL strong right now.  We're going to hit the 5 year mark this summer & I'm just ready for a change.   Our current place is a bit wonky in the layout & it doesn't really allow me to change things up without completely buying new furniture & that is so unrealistic right now.  Also, if we really are planning on moving sometime within a year (or never because the housing market out here is a nightmare), there is ZERO point in buying new things...well big pieces at least.  So for now, I'll stick to making small changes like adding plants & knick knacks.

I've never really known how to describe my style when someone asks because I don't fit into a certain box, which is funny because at my job, I make people fit into certain boxes. I like to mix a little mid century with a little boho with a giant splash of color & a side of flea market.  If you can come up with a name that encompasses all of this that sounds better than midbocolorflea, please do share.
The one look I've never been super into is the farmhouse chic or neutral everything that is currently EVERYWHERE. I blame Chip & Johanna.  When everyone was losing their minds over their new Target line, I was still hanging back in the Threshold & Nate Berkus.  Shiplap just isn't for me & I don't want white everything.  So my new crush has me actually quite surprised.

These wood beaded chandeliers are a bit outside my normal design aesthetic, but that's what I like about them; they're unexpected!  If you're into neutrals, these chandeliers are such a fun & "risk" while still sticking to your creams, whites & grey's.  They could be considered more on the boho side, depending on which style you go with.  The sad thing about these fixtures is they are not cheap. So for now, I'll just imagine where I'd put them in my future non-existent home because we have NO space for one.  Truthfully, I'd probably have to put one in either my future walk-in closet or my future office because J is NOT a fan.  I'll admit, I've been known to ignore his feelings from time to time,  but he had a pretty strong reaction to these, so this might be one of those times I actually listen to him :)

I also stumbled across a  lot of DIY versions of these chandeliers.  So that is something I'm definitely going to look into! In the meantime, for those less crafty, but looking to spice things up...check out my top 8 wood bead chandeliers.
1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.

3.14.2018

Our Session with a Pet Communicator


Yes, you read the title of this entry correctly. We met with a pet communicator.

A few months ago, friends of ours were experiencing unusual behaviors with their adopted pup, Watson, who they've had for years now. After taking him to vet & determining he was physically OK, they reached out to the rescue where they adopted (& also foster for because they're amazing humans) Watson for advice. The rescue suggested they speak with pet communicator, Amanda from A Deeper Understanding. Albeit a bit skeptical, they were desperate to help Watson so they signed up for a session.  During the hour long phone call, they were given some insight into why Watson was acting the way he was & after taking Amanda's suggestions,  he was completely back to his normal self.

Of course I was intrigued & eager to communicate with our boys because I had so many questions about them. J, however, was not exactly sold.  I mean, I get it. It sounds crazy & there was a big part of me that was really suspicious, especially since this communicator wasn't even coming to our house. But it also could be really fun & informative. I didn't want to do the call by myself, so my mother-in-law generously got me a gift certificate for a 90 minute session for my birthday.  This way J had to do with me!

We were told to send Amanda pictures of the boys ahead of time where she could see their eyes.  She also asked us to come up with one big question regarding certain behaviors for each dog that we were concerned about.  Most people reach out to her due to behavioral concerns with their dogs, not just because they want to chat with their pets.  We were also instructed to make a list of additional questions, but to not share that list with her ahead of time.

OSCAR
We started the call with Oscar, since he's our biggest mystery.  We scooped Oscar up from the shelter 2.5 years ago after he was brought into the shelter as a stray.  Oscar has a lot of leash aggression towards other dogs when we're on walks, but not when he's off leash. It's mostly with bigger dogs, but not always. So we wanted to find out what we could do to help him with his issues.

Amanda put us on hold & essentially went to meditate/talk to Oscar.  After about 2 minutes, she came back & said that before we talked about the leash aggression, there was something more pressing Oscar wanted us to know. He told her that he has a lot of discomfort & pain in his back. It's worse when he first wakes up, but it's there consistently during the day.  On a scale of 1-10, he ranked it a 3. So he wasn't in tremendous pain, but it was definitely an issue.  Amanda compared it to runners having bad knees.   When we asked where the pain came from, he said it stemmed from his previous home, which was something we were curious about.

We learned that Oscar wasn't abused in the traditional sense, but he was ignored. He was never given a name, he lived some place warm, &was always kept outside on a cement slab with no access to grass.  Occasionally, he was thrown food, but he never knew when he was going to get fed. He said the home was lower income & most likely a drug house due to all the fighting.  There was also another dog living on the property, but that dog was treated better. Oscar was essentially considered a chore. Just break my heart.   During this portion, Amanda said that she could tell Oscar was laying on our couch now (he was) & that he was incredibly content there.

We asked Oscar how he ended up in the shelter & he told Amanda one day the gate in the yard was left open & he just left.  He doesn't believe anyone ever came looking for him.  But throughout his entire ordeal, he always felt that it was only a temporary situation & that someday his luck would change.
So the back issue caught us completely by surprise. But then as J & I started talking, some of Oscars behaviors started to make more sense. Occasionally when we're snuggling, one of us will move him slightly & he will yelp for no apparent reason.  There are also times when we're walking & Oscar will randomly pick up his hind leg & hop for a bit before putting it back down.  We never really thought twice about these little quirks, but perhaps they are related to his back problems.  Amanda recommended giving Oscar a little CBD oil with his food to help ease his pain.  I discussed it with our vet that weekend & he said it couldn't hurt.

When we got around to the original question & how to deal with his aggression, Oscar said he wanted J & I to see him for who he truly is & understand that he is tough, a total hard ass & that he has ZERO intention of changing his behavior on leash.  He said he will never actively start a fight, but he will protect his family. Heart melt. Amanda also said that he seemed incredibly insecure, so we needed to remind him all the time that he is a great protector. Well, given that we've tried numerous tricks from trainers & nothing has worked...I'm not too surprised. Amanda said if she hadn't seen his picture ahead of time, she would have guessed that he was a German Shepherd based on how he was talking to her!

The last thing Oscar wanted to let us know is how much he appreciated being neutered. I kid not, he said he was so uncomfortable, he had an insatiable desire to reproduce & he was extremely uncomfortable.  If you ever had the pleasure of knowing Oscar the first month we had him before we could get him fixed, let's just say you'll probably remember certain parts of him being quite large for his little size :)

FIG
Up next was Fig. When Fig came to us from his rescue, they suspected he had been abused by a man or men based on some of his behaviors towards men he didn't know. So Figgy has always been a bit of a challenge with men he doesn't know. Our big question for Fig, was how to help him feel more comfortable. We've gotten a pretty good system down, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't more we could do.  I really wanted to just flat out ask if he had been abused, but I wanted to ease into it a bit.  Instead of starting with this question, Amanda wanted to approach Fig differently. She said often times when behavioral issues have to do with the dogs' past, they don't always want to talk about it. So Amanda wanted to ask him if there was anything he wanted to talk about first.

She put us on hold & when she came back, she said the first thing she noticed with Fig was his tone & demeanor. She said he felt like he had a big grey cloud over him; kind of like an Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) complex. Which, if you know Fig, that seems fitting.  She asked him why he was so sad & he told her he was so happy in our house, but but at any minute it could be taken away. He was worried he was going to lose us & he was also concerned about what was going to happen to him if something happened to Joey or I. Cue my tears. Even Amanda was getting upset because this was just so sad! In order to help him, she recommended that J be the one to really reassure him that or home is his home for good & that he will always be taken care of. Fig needs to know that he is the center of our world & that things will always be this good for him.   Because Fig was so worried that the sweet life was going to be taken away, she said to help him, we needed to literally put his name on a wall in the house & that, that would make this feel like he's a permanent member of this family. Ooook then.
Amanda then asked us if there was anything else we wanted to know. So I told her how Fig was a rescue & we were just curious about his past. I didn't give her any inkling that we thought he might have been abused.  Based on his overall demeanor, she said she wasn't sure if he would want to talk about it but she would ask. We didn't tell her any of our suspicions, but they were quickly confirmed. Fig used to have a mom who had lots of different men around that would physically beat him. Amanda got the sense that Fig's mom was also abused. So while she never hurt him herself, she also didn't protect him. & he felt betrayed by her. Break. My. Heart.  Luckily, there were no lasting physical effects & Fig feels very healthy now.

Fig also told Amanda that his mom is super creative & he really likes being my muse. He wants to spend one on one time with me while I'm doing whatever it is that makes me creative. He also told her he really wanted more sweet treats.  We normally stick to meat-based treats due to Duke being an impossibly picky eater, but more on that in a bit.

We didn't really get any answers on how to better help Fig adjust to men being in the house or men approaching us on the street, but I also didn't really push the issue.  Lastly, I did want to know if Fig was OK with Oscar constantly jumping/chewing/harassing him because if you watch my Insta stories, you know Oscar NEVER leaves Fig alone.  Apparently, it's Fig's sadness that will trigger Oscar! Amanda said if it weren't for Oscar, Fig would be even more melodramatic than he already is. Fig also apparently thinks Oscar is quite hormonal (LOL) but enjoys the attention he receives from him. Apparently Fig also gave Amanda a big eye roll during the session...which is Fig's signature move.  He also told her at one point that he thinks he's the favorite :)
DUKE
At this point we only had about 10 minutes left, but Amanda offered to let us also talk to Duke & extend the session free of charge. Duke is our easiest dog, but that's partially because I've had him since he was 8 weeks old.  Our biggest problem with him, is that he is the worlds pickiest eater. I am constantly trying new foods & mixing foods to see what I can get Duke to eat.  I never actually submitted a question to Amanda about Duke, so she didn't know this issue prior to the call. Amanda decided to take the same approach with Duke as she did with Fig & wanted to see if there was anything he wanted to share.

When she came back, the first thing she said was Duke complained about his food! He told her he was tired of eating "shit & cardboard" & wanted real human food. He then proceeded to give her a list which included: chicken, steak, fish, buffalo & stew. To say I had the biggest laugh would be an understatement. The other two gobble up their food, so they aren't exactly being fed shit & cardboard.  Food is Duke's everything, so he wanted to make sure we heard him loud & clear. So the diet we can work on. He also wanted to eat separately from the other two as they normally eat all together.
I asked Amanda to ask Duke if he was happy having brothers around because for the first 3 years of his life, it was just him & I. So apparently, Duke is THRILLED that his mom found a nice guy & that he has brothers because when it was just the two of us, he felt I was too needy & he couldn't satisfy all my needs. So he likes that I now give my attention to the other dogs. Seriously now?!?! I mean, I'm glad we ended with Duke because I needed a good laugh after Fig's session.  Before we ended with Duke, Amanda said he brought up food AGAIN when she was trying to ask him about his brothers. OK then. Messages received!

So overall, I'm not gonna lie...I ate up EVERYTHING Amanda said.   I do have a tendency to believe people & I believed her. I've been implementing some of the suggestions she's recommended & well, I'm not entirely sure if they're helping...but they can't be hurting! I would really like to do a follow-up session to see what they tell her next time around.  She said she often forgets what happens during a session once it's over, so I don't think she would remember all that we talked about.

There were a few additional things Amanda told us,  but they can be interpreted as offensive & for the sake of not hurting any readers,  I'm going to keep those things to myself. If you're really that curious, reach out to me directly & I will share.

If you have any questions or you're interested in doing a session, please feel free to leave a comment & I'll help answer it!


2.28.2018

{Recipe Update!} Classic Guacamole

Oh man, these old pictures are SAD.   Originally posted 9/19/12, these photos do NOT do this recipe justice! Look at that Instagram filtered photo! So, let's give this post a much needed facelift!

OLD:

NEW:
A few years ago while living in Chicago, my friend Jen and I decided to make only dips for the Superbowl. Jen made a guacamole that changed my opinion on the green goop forever. It is fresh, light, and SO much better than anything pre made or store bought.
I made this recipe of Jen's once before, and at the time I had never made anything with avocado (remember, I'm a newbie!)
It is extremely important to buy ripe avocados. They need to be soft so they are easy mashable. I learned this the hard way last time around. This time? Perfect.

Classic Guacamole
Serves: 4
Cook time according to Jen? No idea what she would say
Cook time according to Rachel? 20 mins + time to chill
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy! (I did have to google a few things)

Ingredients:

3 Avocados
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 jalapeƱos, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
2 limes (I had to use lime juice, Forgot limes)
Handful cilantro
Kosher salt to taste


Directions:


Scoop out avocado & mash it up. 
I tend to leave it a bit chunkier because that's how I prefer my guac.
OLD:
NEW:
Add in onion, tomato, pepper and cilantro.
First time ever dicing a tomato! It was kinda gross. If you know me, I don't do raw tomatoes unless in salsa already prepared. 
OLD:
NEW:
   
Mix and season with salt. Use as much as desired. 
Chill for at least 15 mins. 
OLD:
NEW:






2.19.2018

52 Spaces in 52 Weeks: Tackling the Master Bath


Let me start by saying this post is not sponsored by the Container Store. But it REALLY should be.

If you've been following along on Instagram today (shameless plug to follow me if you aren't: rachelalyse120) then you know the disaster that was my portion of our bathroom vanity.  A few years ago we remodeled the master bath & I never officially moved back in. I literally just threw everything into the drawers & under my sink. Over time the situation has spiraled completely out of control.  I knew as soon as I decided to do this cleaning challenge (catch up here), the bathroom was going to be one of my biggest priorities. So here we are!
I have to be honest, sharing this space is not something I'm particularly happy to do. In fact, I think this qualifies as being absolutely horrifying to share, but I've always wanted to be honest & real here, so it doesn't get any real-er than this.

So, this is what I've been dealing with/ignoring for the last 6 months few years.
BEFORE:


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:


My Approach:
One of the biggest problems I had was that there were no assigned spaces; each drawer was just a mishmash of products.  So as I was pulling everything out from the drawers, I began to create piles of products that went together. I ended up with 11 categories:

1. Hair products (sub category: hair ties, clips etc.)
2. Hair tools (Sub category: brushes/combs)
3. Makeup (Sub categories: lipstick, eye liner/mascara, eye shadow, foundation, blush/bronzer)
4. Makeup brushes
5. Body products (body lotions, sunscreen etc.)
6. Face products (items I use every day)
7. Nail polish (sub category: manicure tools)
8. Travel size items 
9. Medicine
10. Makeup/travel bags
11. Miscellaneous (extra tooth brushes, razors)
 
While I sorted through all this stuff, I also had 2 different trash bags going. One bag for products that had expired or were almost empty. The other bag was for items that still had plenty of product left, but that I didn't use for whatever reason.  Los Angeles has a pretty decent amount of homeless & in my neighborhood, there is a few places where they go to look for free stuff, so I figured if I'm not going to use it, I'd rather this stuff go to people who need it vs. the dumpster.
Once I sorted EVERYTHING out & had my piles, then I had to figure out what was going to go where.  I had 2 drawers & a massive space under my sink to configure to fit all this crap. It seemed to make the most sense to use the drawers for all the smaller items like the makeup & products I use on a daily basis.  Then under the sink would be basically everything else.
I found this under my sink. Seriously?!
I'm a visual person & it helps me to write things down (I have lists going EVERYWHERE) so I grabbed some post its & began to split up the items that needed to go in the drawers & items that needed to go under the sink.  It took me a minute, but it really helped me get organized by seeing it all written down like this.
       

Now it was time to head to The Container Store.  I did have a few storage items prior that I was hoping to repurpose.   Below are the items I found & what space I'm using them for.  I pulled in items from ALL over the store, not just the bathroom section & this was KEY.  So many useful items in other parts of the store. 
I'd be lying if I said I got all this at once; it definitely took me 3 solid trips to get everything I needed. The most useful item in my opinion was the lazy Susan I used for ALL my hair products.  For someone who has a lot of bottles, this is the perfect solution to keep everything super organized.
You also might notice the medicine & all the travel bags are missing from the pics.  Since we don't have a medicine cabinet in our bathroom, I moved all the meds into the built-in cabinet in the guest bathroom.  I also stashed my travel bags in the guest bathroom as well.

The Products:
Below are links to every single item I purchased now plus some items I already had. 

Used for: Larger body lotions, sunscreen, travel items, tampons, razors

Used for: Hair tools

Acrylic Accessory Drawers
Used for: Hair ties, bobby pins, barettes

Used for: to add more space!
Used for: Hair products (I have a LOT)
This has been by far the best thing I bought. It makes things SO much easier to have access to while staying organized!

Used for: Makeup & tools

Used for: Really now.

Used for: Not even answering this.

Used for: Hair brushes & combs
Medium used for: Makeup brushes

If you have any organizing or cleaning tips, please share!!!!