Happy Autumn! 

Good afternoon!

Yesterday was my birthday which signals the end of summer and beginning of fall! Naturally, I had to go to Starbucks this morning and get my birthday drink—first pumpkin spice latte of the season! The beginning of the school year is always crazy which explains my lack of posting in September. After a crazy day at work I just need to unplug at home. I’ve been trying to get 10,000 steps a day on my Fitbit so that keeps me active.

This weekend I am heading out to go camping! It’s the first of two camping trips I have planned with friends for this fall. I normally only go for one night, but this is set up for two nights. Roughing it for 48 hours? We’ll see how that goes over!

Libby was the first person in my feed to “describe yourself in three characters” on her Instagram. I thought long and hard and picked my three! I posted this pic on Instagram but thought I’d elaborate here in my fun Friday post.

Liz Lemon is my spirit animal. Hands down. I am not #foreveralone but aside from her love life aspect I see myself in her a lot—the frantic personality, sarcastic sense of humor, and the struggle to “have it all.” Peyton was my high school idol. Her taste in music and fashion were impossibly cool and my pinnacle aspiration. Her attempt to put on a brave face and cover her insecurities really spoke to me in high school and that part of me is still inside (even though I’ve made strides in being more confident and assertive). I was stumped on my third personality representation and fought hard when Doug suggested Lorelai for me. Yes, she’s immature and indecisive at times (let’s face it, so am I) but she’s also stubborn and driven and made her small-business dream a reality. Honorable mention goes to the sarcastic guy with the boring job, Chandler Bing, who got edged out by Lorelai (because he is kind of redundant when Liz Lemon was my #1).

Have you picked your three characters that represent you yet?

Inspiration for a Bright and Cozy Loft

Earlier this summer, a friend of mine let me know that she and her husband were moving to a new city. They’d already signed the lease to an open-concept loft in a converted building. She reached out to me for some inspiration in arranging the floor plan and some jumping-off points as to decorating the new place.

I simply love putting together inspiration boards, so I was eager to help out! After a few emails back and forth I got an idea for the space and for a few looks that she likes.

inspiration

Given this information, I put together a rough floor plan (I couldn’t be totally detailed since I didn’t have measurements to work with) and an inspiration board to be used to start furnishing the living room and dining bar. I provided a list of links for items to buy, but oftentimes it’s just as useful to look at an inspiration board and purchase similar items things along the way.

tegan-loft

Sofa | Leather Stools | Media Unit | Pillow 1 (similar) 2 3 | Art Prints 1 2

Since the brick wall was already painted white, and the wood floor was finished in a light-to-medium tone, I decided to bring in color using a vibrant sofa and cool accessories. This isn’t really surprising considering it’s my usual design strategy! Not knowing if the lease allowed for hanging items on the brick, I picked inexpensive prints that could fit in light frames and attached using extra-durable 3M hooks. I love TV, so I don’t shy away from including TVs in inspiration boards, but I do like to make the area a little more interesting. I thought a media unit with a shelf up top could be accessorized in a way so that the focal point would still be attractive even with the big black box turned off. I also included a lighting solution involving a long white cord and paper lampshade (the kind found at IKEA or World Market) so lights could be hung from the ceiling without being hard-wired.

I didn’t have a lot of detail to go on regarding the bedroom and bathroom half of the loft (behind the amazing sliding barn door), so I just imagined what the layout might be like.

basic loft layout.jpg

I don’t have any afters since the couple didn’t move in until fairly recently. I am confident that however they decide to decorate, it will look great, and I’m so happy I was tapped to lend a helping hand.

If you are ever stumped for design inspiration you can always email me for some brainstorming! I would be happy and honored to help out. 

“The Book of Unknown Americans” Book Review and September Selection!

My sister picked this month’s book, The Book of Unknown Americans, and I was really excited to read it because it came with so many accolades—from NPR, The Washington Post, New York Times, etc. Since this is a virtual book club, we have been posting our responses online at the end of each month. You can read Libby and Stephanie’s responses on their blogs live right now!


I studied a lot about international affairs, immigration, and the like when I was in college. I’ve read so many articles about how hard it is to immigrate to the U.S. so I thought I had an idea what it is like for people who come here looking to escape a bad country or seek a better life for their family. I was blown away by the way Cristina Henríquez took issues you read about in the newspaper and attached a person or a family to the story, and for this reason I think the book is hugely important.

The structure of the book jumped from person to person, and occasionally backtracked, allowing a character to describe events that had just happened from a new point of view. I really loved this. All of the characters in this book live in a small apartment complex and have immigrated to the U.S. from a variety of Latin-American countries. One of the points of this book was to show the reader the wide variety of reasons one would leave their home country. It’s a real dose of perspective and empathy.

The Book of Unknown Americans

The main plot of the book is that the Rivera family, who applied for visas to come to the U.S. and waited years, has finally been approved. They sell or store everything from their home in México and arrive in Delaware in the back of a pickup truck. They move into the apartment building and slowly meet their neighbors. The Riveras’ high-school aged daughter, Maribel, has suffered a brain injury in México and she is the whole reason they came north—so she could be admitted to a special education school to help rebuild her short term memory and other issues caused by the accident. There is a nerdy, high-school aged boy in the complex, named Mayor: he sees himself and Marisol as outsiders and the two form a special friendship, which turns into a clunky, confused, first-romance.

Like many highly lauded books, this one has a really tragic final act, and the sting is only slightly soothed by the Latin American community coming together as a kind of extended family at the very end. What is it about humans that tragedy is often the only thing that will jolt us out of our normal thoughts and routines?

I highly recommend this book to anyone, and I probably wouldn’t hesitate assigning it to a college class (the topic is on my mind since I work at a school and have seen my fair share of freshmen on the edge of adulthood this week). I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but over the past three years I’ve been making a great effort to read books written by non-whites from a variety of countries (the U.S. and abroad) and it has been so, so, rewarding. Not only do publishers need to continue the breadth of their author pool, reading those authors has been expanding my world in a way that makes me feel like I know so little (but in a good way).

Virtual Book Club


Next up, ligher fare. So happy that we are going to read Mindy Kaling during my birthday month! Buy Why Not Me in a physical copy or kindle version and join Libby, Stephanie, and me the last Wednesday of September when we discuss on our respective blogs.

Mindy Kaling