Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stylish camera bags for both women and men

Is it time to upgrade your camera gadget bag? Perhaps so, if you answer "yes" to one of these questions:

  • Has your equipment stash been growing and you're busting out of your current bag?
  • Are you tired of carrying around an ugly black nylon bag emblazened with your camera manufacturer's logo?
  • Do you want to go incognito, instead of screaming to passers-by, "I'm carrying expensive camera gear!"?
  • Would you prefer to have a bag that matches your personal style?

There are many options on the market, to suit every taste and budget. Some are decidedly feminine, whereas others can work for either men or women. Here's a roundup of my favorites:

1.  Kelly Moore - 2 Sues Bag in Raspberry, $199
2.  THEIT - Bossi Bag in Studded Black, $199 (Canadian)
3.  Jo Totes - Betsy in Teal, $109
4.  Silhouette Bags - Silhouette Camera Bag in Chestnut, $129
5.  Epiphanie - Ginger in Slate Blue, $164.99
6.  Ona - The Chelsea in Cognac, $369
7.  SHUTTER | bag - Heirloom in Black, $339.95

1.  Kelly Moore - Kelly Boy Bag in Brown, $199
2.  Ona - The Union Street in Smoke, $289
3.  Backpacker - BBK-1, $44.59
4.  Copper River Bags - Voyager in Serengeti, $156.95
5.  Epiphanie - Austin in Black, $194.99

These types of camera bags are basically purses, messenger bags, and the like, outfitted with a padded insert inside, which is there to protect your gear. Another option is to create your own by purchasing an insert, which can fit into any bag you like. Inserts are available in many shapes, sizes and colors. Search for them on Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, or many other online retailers.

Padded Insert by Darby Mack Designs on Etsy

See anything you like? If I didn't include one of your favorites, please share it in the Comments for other readers to check out!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tinkering with our living room layout

Ah, our living room. Someday, I hope, I will be satisfied with it. For now, it continues to feel not quite right. If you've been reading a while, you know that the elephant in the room is our modern black sectional. There's nothing wrong with it in general, but it's just not the look I want in this room. Here's the way the living room looked the last time you saw it:

A well-respected local interior designer recommended the sofa for us, as well as the room layout, which pins the sofa against the wall. It works, but the chairs by the window always felt a little far away from the sofa. (The chairs are also too small, but that's another story.)

The Mr. has agreed that if I sell our current sofa for a reasonable price, I can look for a replacement. I worry that Craigslist buyers aren't looking for sofas in the price range I want to sell, so that is one concern. It doesn't hurt to try, though! But ... before I can sell, I need to have an idea of what I would replace it with. We spend the majority of our time in this room, and so we can't go without a sofa for too long!

In a room with a fireplace focal point (like ours), I've always liked two identical sofas flanking the fireplace. It might work in our room, but since two sofas is an investment, I would need to be sure the layout would work for us before I could take the plunge. So how could I test it out? I separated the two parts of our sectional and placed them across from each other in the room.

In new layout #1, I placed the chairs across from the fireplace, perpendicular to the sofas.

Layout #1 was very boxy and the only way to enter the room was in the small opening on either side of the chairs. I wondered if I could do better.

For layout #2, I split the chairs apart a bit, placing them on the diagonal at the end of each sofa. That left a walking space between the two chairs.

The two sides of the room aren't exactly symmetric because the sofa piece on the left is shorter than the piece on the right. It's a little distracting, but keep in mind that this layout is just a test to see what might work for us in the future. I don't plan on keeping our sectional pulled apart like this forever.

So far I like the flow and I like that the sofa is pulled off the wall on the right side of the room. I'm going to bring down a sofa table to put behind it, but haven't gotten that far yet.

If you're an eagle-eye, you might have noticed a white leather bench in front of the fireplace in layout #2. I got the bench as a gift from The Mr., and haven't decided on its final resting place. It was purchased for our bedroom, but there are a few different ways we could use it in the living room, too.

I also tried a third layout, which was floating the sofa directly across from the fireplace. It was too wide to provide a good walkway into the room, and it cut off the room too much. In this room, it might work with a loveseat, but not a full-size sofa. (I actually tried this layout first, but didn't take photos, and I wasn't about to move all that heavy furniture around again just to snap a photo of a layout I didn't like anyway!)

Now I need your opinion on the living room layout. I know photos aren't the same as being in the room, but do you have any thoughts or suggestions? I'm open to ideas!


P.S. Please don't mind the horrible photos and the junk around the perimeter of the room! I was just snapping quickly during the rearranging.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My word of the year is DO

I'm not much of a participator. I usually shun "betterment" strategies. I don't make new year's resolutions. But this time I'm going to give in and get on the "word of the year" bandwagon. Why? Because I'm determined to  get things done this year, and I need a simple daily reminder.

I'm great at brainstorming and list making, but DOing something is a whole other story. Sometimes what holds me back is analysis paralysis, sometimes it's just laziness, and sometimes it's distractions that lead to procrastination.

Appropriately, my word of the year is DO.

Whether it's a task that takes a few minutes (like ordering a part when the faucet is leaking), or a project that will last days or weeks (like a furniture or room makeover), I'm going to try to get better about just doing it, rather than putting it off. I'll feel more accomplished, and may get some cool things completed in the process.

The reason I initially started writing this blog was to motivate myself to DO something, but I've been slacking off the past year. While I'll still have plenty of inspiration posts here on the blog, I plan to have more posts where I reveal a project I've completed, more like I did when I started out. And I know everybody loves a reveal!

Knowing you are out there will help keep me accountable when I slack off. Thank you for that!

Do you have a word of the year, a new year's resolution, or a plan to improve yourself in 2013? I'd love to hear what other people are trying to get better at this year!

What about tips? Any suggestions for becoming more of a do-er?


Friday, January 11, 2013

Will it be wallpaper?

Analysis paralysis. I can never seem to shake the sickness.

This time my dilemma is deciding whether to redo my master bathroom, our hallway powder room, or my laundry room. There's nothing wrong with the rooms, except that they are yawns. It's really just the walls that need help. Something bold will help wake them up, but what to do? Paint? Stencil? Wallpaper?

I've thought about a deep blue or charcoal paint for the powder room. Or chalk paint, where visitors could leave a message. (Would that be totally weird in the bathroom???) For the laundry room, I thought a geometric stencil might be fun, as long as it's a stencil that not everyone in blogland has already done. I have to be different, you know? In the master bathroom, the vanity area is separated from the shower/toilet area, so I could use wallpaper without it getting too steamy. Paint or tile are other options.

If money were no object, it would be wallpaper all the way for all three rooms! And if we weren't considering putting our house up for sale in two and a half years after The Teen graduates from high school, it would be wallpaper all the way for all three rooms! I've only used wallpaper in one room ever, which was the powder room in my last house. It was tone-on-tone green stripes, when I was in my green/brick red/buttery gold phase. (I thought using warm colors would make our home feel cozier, but it was never me. Back to cool colors I went!)

Here are some of the graphic wallpaper patterns I've been considering:

Above is a room designed by Emily Henderson on her show Secrets from a Stylist. She named the room style "Graphic Novel Antique Geek Chic." Love that. The wallpaper design is "All of Us" by Pottok Prints. I want to walk up close to the wall and get to know the little people. I want to give them each a name. Wouldn't you?

You know this classic pattern, right? It's the well-known hexagons by designer David Hicks. The room was designed by Victoria Thompson, and featured in Lonny's February/March 2010 issue. I'm into blue, but it comes in lots of colorways.

I'm amazed by the tribal-looking watercolor designs by Eskayel. They reproduce the hand-painted patterns on wallpaper, pillows, prints, baskets, scarves, rugs, and more. So pretty, and definitely not something you've seen a million times.

Completely opposite of Eskayel's soft designs are the in-your-face mosaic triangles by Minakani Lab. I'm a big fan of geometrics and also the mix of bold colors, whether the bright ones from Isabelle McAllister's daughter's room or the muted shades in the adult room. Minakani's wallpapers are bespoke -- they don't print by the roll, but to a client's specific wall dimensions. This pattern would be way too large for my tiny powder room or even my master bath vanity area, but it would be super-cool for my laundry room. However, I'm not willing to pay bespoke prices, especially considering it would be coming from France!

Do you love Thibaut's Tanzania wallpaper as much as I do?. It's very simple, and can be dressed up or down. Above are photos of designer/blogger Tiffany Richey's office. Clearly I'm already a fan of a dalmatian prints, as seen on my living room pillows.

Right now I'm smitten with this Ocean Depth Map design by Ravynka on Spoonflower. In addition to wallpaper, it can be purchased as fabric. If I don't order if for my walls, I just might have to order some fabric to make pillows, curtains, or a duvet cover. The movement, various colors of blue, and dimensionality of it are amazing.

Decisions, decisions. Clearly I'm leaning toward wallpaper but I doubt I'll be willing to fork over the cash to put it in all three rooms. The powder room is the leading choice because it wouldn't take many rolls of paper, and would make a big impact. The only problem is that the door to the bathroom is most always closed, and since my bedroom is the next room down, I usually use the master bathroom facilities instead. Maybe I'd be willing to change my routine if I had something pretty to look at!

Would you like to decide for me? Please? Are any of these up your alley, or am I off in my own world again?


Monday, January 7, 2013

2 ways to find Etsy coupon codes, and a cute vintage brass cat

I love online shopping in general -- and regular retail shopping too, of course. But I get most excited when I shop on Etsy. I love supporting small, creative businesses! And I love the thrill of the hunt, whether for unique vintage items, or for new items (like pillows) that are made by hand (and are often better-quality and cheaper than you could find at a regular retailer).

Who couldn't love this cute little vintage cat made of brass? Only mean, horrible people who hate animals. Okay, I might be exaggerating. But I do find him quite adorable.

This evening I was checking my nightly One Kings Lane flash sale email, and came across a collection of vintage dog and cat figurines. I had to check it out, since I'm a crazy cat lady. Several brass kitties caught my eye, and I even put a pair in my shopping cart. But then wondered what I could find on Etsy that might be similar (and cheaper!). That's like going down a rabbit hole, right? I was just innocently checking my emails, then I opened the OKL email, then I checked out the vintage cat figurines offered from OKL, then I did an Etsy search for them. I did find several items on Etsy similar to what I had in my OKL cart, but I came across the cute little brass kitty above and decided he would be the cat I take home this time. I mean, I already have four live furry feline rescues at my house, why not add a brass one?

Okay, now to the good stuff for you. Have you ever noticed the coupon code field at the Etsy checkout? Do you ever use it?

Here are two ways to locate Etsy coupon codes:
  1. Do an internet search for the Etsy seller, and look for blogs or other websites where a special deal was offered. For instance, a blogger might write about some pillows she purchased from an Etsy vendor, and she might have worked out a special offer that the vendor will give 10% off to readers.
  2. Go to, a new site I just discovered tonight. It's similar to, (which compiles coupon codes for "regular" retailers). You can search by category (art, furniture, music, weddings, etc.) or you can search for a particular Etsy vendor. Cha-ching!
Tonight I saved 10% on my cat figurine, and recently I purchased another vintage letter R from an Etsy vendor recently and used a 15% off code. More savings means more money to buy more stuff! (Or, as The Mr. would see it, more savings means more money in the bank, and stop shopping right now. He's no fun. Except that his financial oversight allows us to pay our bills each month. So I guess it's good I keep him around to counterbalance my spending habits.)

Have you ever looked for coupon codes before checking out on Etsy? What was your best score (savings-wise, or just your favorite purchase)? If you have any other tips, please share in the comments!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips