Photo Credit: WrightWhile, in all practicality, my next home splurge should be a really great, ergonomic desk chair, I just can't seem to get excited about that and will probably end up going for the least expensive (and least ugly) thing that looks like it has any back support at all, and save my rainy day money for something more like a vacation*. The truth is, I am bad at splurging. Like almost physically incapable of it. I envy the people who can buy the high(er)-end but well-constructed sofa they truly love and then fill the rest of the living room with cheapies from discount stores and flea markets. In my home, it's all cheapies. I know, I know, it's a recession now, no one needs to be splurging anyway, blah blah blah, but I'm still curious what other people will willfully ignore (or completely rearrange) their budgets in order to procure for their homes-fancy appliances? artwork? iconic furniture? high-thread-count sheets?
So you tell me: What's your biggest home splurge, and if it's a recurring
Blog Posts by Valerie Rains, Shine staff
Photo Credit: WrightWhile, in all practicality, my next home splurge should be a really great, ergonomic desk chair, I just can't seem to get excited about that and will probably end up going for the least expensive (and least ugly) thing that looks like it has any back support at all, and save my rainy day money for something more like a vacation*. The truth is, I am bad at splurging. Like almost physically incapable of it. I envy the people who can buy the high(er)-end but well-constructed sofa they truly love and then fill the rest of the living room with cheapies from discount stores and flea markets. In my home, it's all cheapies. I know, I know, it's a recession now, no one needs to be splurging anyway, blah blah blah, but I'm still curious what other people will willfully ignore (or completely rearrange) their budgets in order to procure for their homes-fancy appliances? artwork? iconic furniture? high-thread-count sheets?Read More »from What's your biggest home splurge?
- Valerie Rains, Shine staff | Work + Money – Tue, Jul 1, 2008 7:01 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Valerie RainsPart of the Sculptor's Guild's In-Site art exhibition on New York's Governor's Island, this clay-flower-trimmed doorway (at left) by Julie Tesser reminded me of the exuberance of traditional Mexican paper and corn husk flowers, and made me think maybe I should try doing something similar around one of the angled-corner doorways in my apartment. Photo Credit: Direct From MexicoWhat do you think-would you try something like this around one of your doorways? It seems like a nice, affordable way to bring some summery cheer into your home. (Can't believe I just said "bring summery cheer into your home," but it's too late to turn back now.) Anyway, as I was clicking around the web trying to find examples of those Mexican flowers in action, I got sucked into paging through the DirectFromMexico web site, and found a lot great handmade stuff there. Pine chests, metal art, pottery, mirrors, and glassware make up the bulk of the offerings; sadly, though, they don't carry textiles-one of my favorite things to buy and rotateRead More »from Art Appreciation 101: Steal this doorway idea (plus check out an unexpected source for furniture)
- Valerie Rains, Shine staff | Work + Money – Fri, Jun 27, 2008 8:54 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Getty ImagesOf course, at the most basic level, an heirloom is something to be cherished-it's a piece of family history, a reminder of someone you love (or loved dearly and may no longer have around), an object that someone deemed special enough to preserve and pass on to little old you. But there are times when no amount of love and nostalgia can make, say, a time-worn faux Tiffany floor lamp work in an industrial-chic space. The New York Times addressed this and other conundrums yesterday in their article, "The Tyranny of the Heirloom." (Hmm, what an ambiguous title! I wonder how they feel about it?) In it, author Joyce Wadler proposes that "[a]mbivalence and guilt...are central elements of furniture inheritance, the anchoring pieces around which everything is organized, like the sofa in a living room," and quotes psychologist Barry Lubetkin, who has seen patients become "slaves to inanimate objects." "Once you're defining it as something you can't get rid of, you're not in control of your lifeRead More »from What's your take on heirloomsâ€”burden or blessing?
Photo Credit: PopptagsI don't know why it is that there are so many tacky wine-related accessories out there-I shuddered at the wave of wine glass charms that flooded the market a few years ago (apologies if you didn't; it's a personal, irrational shuddering)-and although I like the idea of cute wine tags to add to hostess-gift bottles, they are often lacking in the style department. Leave it to (previous Blog Crush of the Week nominee) SwissMiss to find some that are actually funny and charming. Popptags come in a set of 6, each with a different message, like, "Nothing says thank you like a bottle of wine I know nothing about." Ah, it hits so close to home! All that's missing is one that says, "I picked this just because I thought the label was cute." $19.99, popptags.com [via SwissMiss]Read More »from Party Favorites: Wine gift tags
Photo Credit: Popptags*Don't ask me about this wine. I have no idea. But enjoy!
*Regifted with love
*From one wino to another. Cheers!
Photo Credit: Popptags
*Nothing says thank you like a bottle of wine I know nothing about
*I thought this would be the perfect
Photo Credit: Getty ImagesThere are times when the dust bunnies are so big that, obviously, Swiffering is not the way to go. A dust pan must be involved, masses must be corralled, etc. Other times, though, the dust is in a limbo stage, and it's unclear which mode of cleaning is going to be more efficient. I like the way the Swiffer grabs the dust so it doesn't waft up into my nose, but the whole hand-feel of the flimsy stick and the pivoting head that sometimes doesn't go where I want it to can be really unsatisfying. And so, audience poll: Do you prefer a real, old-fashioned broom, or a Swiffer, or do you mix it up depending on the job? Or do you just wait until the dust becomes an embarrassing mountain that you can suck up in a handheld vacuum (as though you'd admit to that!)? Comment away.Read More »from Speak For Yourself: Do you sweep or Swiffer?
Wanna talk more about cleaning? Check these posts:
6 ingredients for a green, clean home
What do you think about biodegradable trash bags?
What's your red-wine-stain removal secret?
How do you get crumbs out of your
- Valerie Rains, Shine staff | Work + Money – Wed, Jun 25, 2008 9:13 PM EDT
You know how sometimes you go shopping for shoes, and you get excited when you find a great style that's affordable, and then you realize the price is only for one shoe? Oh, you don't? Then why the heck does this always happen with curtains? Even on packages with a product photo showing two of them? Because I find this so offensive, I decided to round up an assortment of panels priced low enough that you can buy a set for what you'd normally pay for one. Let's all use our imaginations together and not judge these picks on the room sets they're photographed in; it's just not a fair competition.Read More »from 5 handsome curtain panels for $50 or less (yes, for the pair)
Photo Credit: Wal-MartWe'll start with something a little bit conservative, but still chic. Possibly the cheapest raw-silk* curtains around, WalMart's come in gray, stone, and sage, and have a nice bit of natural texture to them. (I'm actually considering buying some of these myself, but hurry-they're on clearance and in limited supply.)
$25 per 42" x 95" panel (ergo, two for $50, as promised)
*Okay, so they're only
- Valerie Rains, Shine staff | Work + Money – Tue, Jun 24, 2008 8:35 PM EDT
Photo Credit: E3LivingOddly, although I was at Home Depot just this morning working on a video segment about lighting, I learned about the company's new CFL-recycling program from a post on Apartment Therapy that I spotted once I got back to the office (read: living room). (Also discovered today: Dimmer-friendly compact fluorescent bulbs from E3Living. Yay! Did everyone already know about this?) In any case, if CFLs are truly all they're cracked up to be, you're going to have to remember this information for a really, really long time, since the bulbs are touted to last approximately forever; still, it's good to know that you won't have to worry about the mercury issue quite as much since there's someone out there taking care to dispose of burned-out bulbs safely and properly. The recycling service is free, open to anyone at any HD location in the U.S., and available every day. (They don't handle broken bulbs, though; anyone know how to deal with that conundrum?)Read More »from Good news for CFLs, plus projects for old incandescents
While we're on the topic of recycling light
- Valerie Rains, Shine staff | Work + Money – Tue, Jun 24, 2008 12:11 AM EDT
Disclaimer: Not every tip in this video is something that even I, opener of things with my teeth, would try: I'm just not desperate enough to go to bed in a wet t-shirt. (I'm also not that hot-natured.) Still, interspersed with sort of comical suggestions for ways to survive summer's heat without an A/C are some genuine gems, like: Switch out your cotton sheets for linen ones, and don't put a blanket on your bed during the day, as it can trap in your body heat. If all else fails, call your mom or your grandma and ask her what she did during hot summers growing up-it probably wasn't "rack up a $300 electric bill". [via Howcast]Read More »from Summer Survival Tips: How to stay cool without an air conditioner
Other ways to make the most of summer on Shine:
7 (more) ways to save energy this summer
Get your summer party-hosting strategy down with these helpful tips
Freshen up your home with small, seasonal changes
5 creative ways to disguise radiators, now that you no longer need them
Turn wooden wine crates (you know, from those cases of rosé you're stocking up on)
- Valerie Rains, Shine staff | Work + Money – Mon, Jun 23, 2008 4:23 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Crate and BarrelConfession time: As recently as a few months ago, I actually broke a tooth while trying to remove the lid from a small tube of cosmetics with my molars. On top of making me feel like my hillbilly nature was coming out in a most embarrassing way, it also hurt-and trust me, you don't want to hear the crunch sound that a breaking tooth makes (awful!). Anyway, if only I had had the 6-Way Opener from Crate & Barrel, I might not have spent a lovely Saturday afternoon racking up hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in dentist bills. Too late for me, but not for you. Check it out: The gadget, which measures about 5 and a half by 2 and a half inches and is made of dishwasher-safe stainless steel and silicone, can take on the most frustrating jar lids, bottle caps, pull tabs, and safety seals. Granted, some of the uses are things I have never thought I needed a tool for (I am perfectly capable of opening up a bag of chips, thanks), but all in all, it seems like not a bad little guy to have in yourRead More »from Problem Solver of the Day: 6-in-one container opener
Photo Credit: PoppytalkYou're probably already familiar with the work of Poppytalk, as Jan posts regularly here on Shine (and that, of course, is one of the many reasons we love her); but there's much more to see on Poppytalk's main site. In addition to the "monthly online street market" she and her husband run, Poppytalk Handmade, she also has dedicated blog topic areas like Affordable Art, The Beautiful, The Decayed, The Handmade, and Collecting. Whether they're showing off new products and design ideas, or giving us a look into the studio spaces of artists (with interviews, to boot), the dynamic Poppytalk duo always gives us content that is beautiful and inspiring.Read More »from Blog Crush of the Week: Poppytalk
Here are some of my favorite highlights from this week's coverage: Rockett St. George coat rack, left
Photo Credit: Lucas RisePainted armoire by Lucas Rise
Photo Credit: PoppytalkHouse of Harriet's hand-painted tiles
And a really amazing guest post from Abbey Hendrickson (from Aesthetic Outburst) on creative uses of wood pieces. Check it out!
Poppytalk posts on Shine, and other Blog