Having my roommates move out a few months ago was a surprisingly emotional experience, but one bright spot of the transition was that Ryan and I got the perfect chance to redecorate.

I’ve lived with other people’s ragtag furniture for eight years, maybe more. There was never a good time to redecorate, even when I became the master tenant. My roommates taped up old maps, strung up Christmas lights, and there was a leftover super heavy and hideous couch. There was also a large bookcase/entertainment center thing. It was very college dormroom.

I have an aversion to spending big money on furniture, it makes me antsy just thinking about how I’ll get rid of it in the future. I also thought that I was going to be moving, so there was no point. One time about a year and a half ago, Ryan and I tried to redecorate the living room. One of the roommates seemed unusually upset by the idea of change, so we put it off.

But shifting to new roommates meant a fresh start. Ryan especially wanted to throw everything out and redecorate from scratch.



After getting the carpets power washed and having a wonderful man named Jesus drag the couch and bookcase to the dump, we had a blank slate.

I’m not sure why, but I was stuck on the idea of an orange living room. Ryan was really stuck on mid-century modern. We both got our way. We’re still thinking about art for the wall above the couch, but for the most part, I think it’s come together. I’m  glad we went with the orange, instead of chickening out and going with a blue or a green (which also would have been lovely, but a much different vibe). It’s so punchy, and has such warmth no matter what time of day.

The couch and rubber plant came from shops in the neighborhood, but everything else we found online (Wayfair, Amazon, AllModern).

Including these ridiculous ‘Mongolian Fur pillows.’ They arrived wild and free like the pillow on the left, but after a little brushing (with Ryan’s beard brush), the pillow looked soft as an angora bunny : D.

Anyways, that’s it! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Home, Life

How to Kick Out Your Roommate Like an Adult


Just like all relationships in life, sometimes things just don’t work out with roommates, and they gots to go.

A couple of months ago I had to kick out a roommate for the first time in my life. Come to think of it, that’s kind of unusual, since I’ve had at least 20+ roommates over the years. !!! Anyways, things had been coming to a head for several months with late night disruptions and uncleanliness, but it took a major blowout to actually spur us to action.

It’s reminds me of this odd bit of human behavior I learned in one of my psych classes- small annoyances ultimately cause more damage than large disturbances. If you think about it, it makes sense. You’ll put up with a bathroom door that needs to be slammed shut longer than a broken living room window. While the broken window is worse, you’ll get it fixed immediately and so it is ultimately not as annoying as living with a slammed door for 5 months.

Not that our roommate was just slamming doors. And it was really more than just a bad fit. He  was a heavy drug user and occasionally acted in ways that made us feel unsafe (I didn’t know about this until the end).  Ultimately he threatened to attack one of my roommates, and because of that he had to go. It was a no-brainer, but still I was incredibly nervous about the confrontation.

I bumbled through the process, but you don’t have to! Here’s a guide : 

  • Decide for sure that the roommate has got to go and why. If you’ve got other roommates, it’s time to have an honest discussion about Roommate X. Whether the reason is aggressive behavior or even something as simple as you just want to live alone again, first you’ve got to make the decision to kick them out. Be firm! Be confident in your choice. No take backs. It’s just like breaking up.
  • Figure out the logistics. When would you like them to leave? What does the rental contract say? Are they on the lease? If so, search the tenant laws in your state for more information on their rights. If they’re not on the lease, do what you like. Think carefully about how you would like to replace them, if at all.
  • Once you’ve talked it through with the other roommates, schedule a quiet time to talk with your future ex-roommate.Talking face to face is best so that there is no confusion about what is going on. It’s also best not to suddenly surprise the person.  If the person is violent, hide or lock your valuables up first.
  • In your meeting, you’ll probably be incredibly nervous and maybe even shaking as you speak. Just breathe. Then calmly let the roommate know of your decision. Try to focus on non-personal and REAL reasons for the decision. Frame the reason as a difference between roommates, and not an accusation toward that single roommate. For example, “Our work hours are very different” is better than “You always bring people over after work to party at 2am.”
  • Don’t draw it out. Don’t give them the false hope of thinking that maybe you can work it out. If you are willing to negotiate on the terms of the moveout, now would be the time to talk. Be sure to talk about the security deposit and any expectations you have for the room (cleaning or painting for example). Also, just a note: if you’re at the point of thinking about kicking them out, chances are that the roommate knows things have been rough. It may not be a hurtful surprise at all on their end. In fact they may be relieved for the chance to leave.
  • After you’ve finished your talk, give them space! AKA run back to your room.
  • Clarify any open questions over email or in person. Wait 1-30+ days for them to leave. If you’ve given them longer 30 days, or have allowed them to “stay until they find another place…” well good luck. It could be a while. Try to be pleasant. If that doesn’t work, learn to revel in the awkwardness. It’s an important skill for life.
  • On their moveout day, don’t hide from them. It will be obvious. Say goodbye like a grown up.

Asking my roommate to move out was one of the most adult things that I had to do last year. While it was incredibly awkward at first, I think that now my ex-roommate is in a better housing situation for his lifestyle, and my house has become a much calmer place.

If you’re in this situation, good luck! It doesn’t have to be terrible.




20 Years of Journals

I’ve been reading Simone de Beauvoir’s Letters to Sartre, which is let’s say, not quite what I expected. In the introduction, it explains that after the publishing of Sartre’s letters, everyone asked Simone- hey, why don’t you publish your letters too so we can get the whole story?  And she said that they were all lost during the war. They turned up later (obviously), but it’s unclear whether or not she was lying to keep them from being published, as they show a side that’s at odds with her public persona.

Anyways, it got me thinking about my journals, scrapbooks and correspondence. I’ve journaled all my life, and today I pooled them all together in one place for the first time in… ever. I’m going to try to slowly read my way through them. In keeping with my minimalism resolution, I’m thinking about purging, or maybe digitally archiving the more boring ones, but it’s so hard. I’ve deleted entire blogs many times, but this just feels so different. I guess I’m a book sentimentalist.Have you ever thrown away a journal or a diary?


Craft, Home

Not Quite Block Printed Napkins

A little background

About a year ago I got into linoleum block printing. As a result of seeing my card posts, my friend Michelle from Hummingbird On High fame asked me if I could decorate a couple of napkins for her. After investigating the technique on Etsy, and seeing the block printed napkins post on Apartment Therapy, I agreed. I have worked with fabric before, but never in this particular way.

So Michelle asked me eons ago. Of course life got in the way, as it always does. By the time that I finally tried out fabric printing with linoleum blocks, I realized that for this project it didn’t make any sense. Using stencils would achieve acceptable results with much less work and a more even finish.

I stopped by the local art shop and picked up several different types of letter stencils in several different fonts and played around to find a look I liked. So I prepared! And YET when I finally sat down and pulled it all together, I still made several mistakes. Here’s a quick recap:

How to + Don’t Make the Same Mistakes I Did

Ah, napkin number one. So lemony yellow fresh, so full of promise. It’s going to have the word “EAT” decorated in the bottom right hand corner. I threw down a cardboard mailer to catch the ink.

Mistake #1: Remember to wash and dry your fabric first before decorating!



Next I traced the outlines of the letters with pencil. I messed up, so I erased my mistakes. It became a mess that lasted until the end 🙁

Mistake #2: Do not trace and erase pencil on fabric. Use fabric chalk.

I traced over my pencil with the water-based black ink I’d purchased because I thought I was going to be filling it in with shading lines.

Mistake #3: Avoid freehanding if you can, the result is less polished.



Ugh. You can see the erased pencil. So terrible. I ended up not liking the shading lines, so I filled in the letters completely black.



For the next napkin I got it together a little better. I taped down my stencils.



And carefully filled in the outline with a very very thin coat of the ink (different effect than the first time around). Then I let it dry for about 10 minutes. Then I added another layer.



It’s all good, right? NOOOOOO.

Mistake #4: I did not put my ink protection between the napkin layers. The ink bled through. D’oh.



Next I removed the stencils and manually added the serifs to the letters. This is about what it looked like when I was done. I added another thin layer of paint to fill out the empty white spots after this picture was taken. The napkins air dried for about 24 hours. The finishing touches were a quick ironing to set the ink, hand washing in cold water, air dry (again), followed by another bout with the iron to press the napkins.



Phew! What work just to decorate some napkins! Seriously though if you want to decorate fabric you should have at it. The main tips again:

  1. Practice on a rag first
  2. Wash and dry your fabric before printing/decorating. It may shrink.
  3. Lay down something in between layers so the ink does not bleed through. A piece of cardboard works well. Avoid newspaper.
  4. Use fabric chalk to sketch out your ideas.
  5. Don’t go freehand if you don’t have to. Best to print out a stencil and tape it down for stability.
  6. Use water-soluble screen printing ink. I used Simply Green, which had a precise nozzle tip for detail work.
  7. Use very thin layers of ink. If you get too gung ho about it, it’ll be all puffy, and that is gross, especially when you iron it out.
  8. If it looks like crap when you’re done decorating, don’t worry. It will probably even out after you iron, wash/dry and iron again.

Happy crafting!

Food, Home

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Tail

chocomiceOur subletter is back from the East coast. I got a big hug and there was fancy chocolate for everyone to eat. Really, what more could you ask for?  Best subletter ever.

I was taken with how cute the chocolate mice were, and had to take a picture. Yeah, I kind of ruined it for everyone by putting my greasy mitts all over them, but SHHHHH don’t tell.