Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Purge Day...

...usually means something different in a university setting, but here it means making room for new purchases and donating to Goodwill. These are all items that I donated. The oldest was a shirt from 1999. Yes, it was over a decade old, and even though it still had some life in it, I had to let go.
The result, amidst what I swear to be the worst lighting in all of creation, is a much less cluttered closet. I even stacked T-shirts in this industrial-looking basket I found for cheeeeap. Ahhh.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Little Retail Therapy

Ok. Remember how I bemoaned my excess of clothing options and said that I would not be spending money come January 1st? Well, good news. It's not January 1st yet.

After an admittedly ho-hum Christmas at home-home, I decided to come home early to Nashville to take advantage of post-Kringle sales. I didn't find a ton (whew), but I did score two awesome sweaters at Banana Republic.

Each one was originally marked at $59.50 and then put on sale. At the register I was pleased to find that until noon on Saturday, all sale items were another 50% off. It was nice. You can hardly find a sweater at Old Navy or Target for about $16. Not to worry, though. I made room in the closet for this--post forthcoming.

Oh, and over at Anthropologie I found this cool bowl for $1.97. It was originally priced at $5, which is completely decent, but I couldn't pass it up. I hope that you had a great Christmas, and I know that some of my friends and readers also hopped on the Dec. 26th shopping train. What did you find?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Allllmost there...

Have you ever had one of those (holi)days where you feel like you have it all together--and then, out of nowhere, you don't?

This Christmas has sort of been that way for me. I had most of my presents bought back toward the end of summer, or so I thought. Now I'm kind of scrambling to wrap and pack a bag for home and tidy up and catch up on my DVR.

Needless to say, I probably won't be posting again until after Christmas. But thank you so much for checking out Specs Appeal this year. I appreciate every comment, follower, and view. Merry Christmas!

And thanks to Martha for this little candy sweetness.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Out With the Eyesore...

As most of you know by now, I recently moved into my first apartment in Nashville. I was sort of surprised by the lack of overhead lighting (none in the living room or bedroom) and appalled at what they considered to be acceptable in the dining area.

See Exhibit A. It's brass, and it hangs down so low that I hit my head.


I should say that it hung down so low that I used to hit my head. :)

Yay for this stylish, yet scale-appropriate, fixture from Schoolhouse Electric, by way of my friend Holly. The maintenance guy from the apartment complex came and installed it for me, and I have to say that I am enjoying how it looks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why, Thank You!

Recently I was asked by the lovely Jenn over at Department of the Interior to guest-post on baking, and I was only too happy to oblige. She published the post today, and I love the way it turned out. It has some pictures of what I baked, along with a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks.

Give her blog a whirl if you like cool things and great design. Thanks again, Jenn!

Christmas, Apartment Style

Today I thought I'd give a little holiday-peek into what I've done around the apartment, and then I realized I only took two decent pictures. The lighting situation in here is dire--more on that later.

First up is a little makeshift candy dish, courtesy of a small flower pot found at IKEA back from February's trip to Atlanta with delightful Ann Marie. I guess it's not really the most Christmas-y, but I like it just the same.

And here is my Charlie Brown tree, compliments of my awesome friends over at FredFlare! They sent me a little housewarming present, and I think it's just right! It came with a red glass ball, but I accidentally broke it. Yikes!

Here I've substituted with a nice, if somewhat oversized, felt ornament. Please pay no attention to my lumbering loaner telly. I plan on upgrading in the new year.

I also put up a ribbon on which to attach cards and holiday pictures, but I couldn't get the lighting to cooperate. It's simple and unobtrusive. Please take my word for it. :) I hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ching, clink, ching...

I know it's a few weeks early for a New Year's resolution, but I'll just say it. I shop too much. Ok. That probably won't change, but maybe it's safer to say that I sometimes buy too much.

Here's the thing. I don't always spend tons on individual items, as most things that I buy are on sale, but the irony is that I end up with crazy muliples in many situations.

I'm a big believer in having the staples on hand. Toilet paper, flour, your favorite rice and chocolate. Whew. I need to draw the line, though, at other things. This weekend I hit up my local J.Crew and scored BIG time. I got a sweater, a dress shirt, a sweatshirt, and a tote bag for about $100....but I really don't need any more clothes. The closet is full, and I still feel like I wear the same thing every day.

I could go on about my affinity for shampoo and cookbooks and greeting cards, but I'll save myself what could be construed as embarrassment. My goal is to go for three months (January-March) without extraneous spending. Pray for me.

(image from

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The World Is Too Much With Us

For some reason, this title to a William Wordsworth poem came to mind today. It goes along rather nicely with this image from Real Simple and with me these days. Whew.

Allow me to indulge just a bit and share some poetry love here on the Specs Appeal.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Batchin' It Up

Trader Joe's Mini Ravioli + boiling water + Prego + mozzarella = delish.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Did It!

Yes, dear readers, I ate an entire pie by myself. Post over.

Just kidding. Well, sort of. I did eat the whole pie by myself, but it took several days. I bought it from a guy at work whose daughter was selling them as a fundraiser.

It was chocolate chess, and it was astoundingly good. This is all that's left, and it sort of reminded me of an older post I did--for some reason. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Season's Fleeting...

My overhead lighting situation is pretty horrid, but that's an upcoming blog post. Please bear with my December calendar image as we get on with the to-do list! :)

1. Buy a few more Christmas cards! What?! How is it even possible that I have run out? Anyone who knows me has probably seen my stash of all makes and models of stationery and paper goods. (Confession: I have tons of cards, but they're still at home-home in the garage. Whoops.)

2. Really finish moving in. I know I just posted this last month, but I do not know where the time goes. It seems like I've had something going on pretty much every weekend since I moved. The weeknights are just...uhh...

3. Stop eating so much junk. Oh my gah. Just wait for another post tomorrow or so. Ugh.

What not-to-do this month?

1. Lose track of time. Ok, so that could go for most any month, but this time of year is especially fleeting. Sending Christmas cards, mailing baked goods, remembering online retailer shipping schedules? Whew.

2. Forget those who are less fortunate. We have an Angel Tree at work, and I have decided to not buy as much for those who don't really need it (you know it's true--I'm included in this list) in favor of spreading a little joy to a child who would otherwise have no gifts at all.

3. Ignore my new music purchases! On Black Friday I logged onto Amazon and scored four new CDs--by Norah Jones, Kings of Leon, The Swell Season, and Rachel Yamagata--for about $4-$6 each. I was pumped and can't wait for them to get here. Plus, I need to break out the Christmas tunes. :)

Have a wonderful December, everyone! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today I celebrated Thanksgiving proper with my fellow only-off-work-for-today Nashville friend Emily. And, I have to say, we turned it out in the kitchen. Here are some pictures of the table, side dishes, what was left of the turkey (with herbs, butter, wine, and lemon, no less!), and so on...

I hope you enjoyed these, but I doubt it will be as much as we did. Thanks, Emily!

This weekend I'm heading home to partake in the family meal. I'm pretty stoked about that, too.

Merci Me

Things for which I am thankful today:

new job/apartment
Kitchenaid stand mixers
Real Simple images

...and my blog readers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A New Home (*snicker)

Remember how I was talking about finding a place for my antique treasures?

These results are probably not too surprising, but I like the way they turned out. Plus, they're not anything that most other people would have. Oh, and they were cheap. :)

I found this frame at Ross for about $4, and I just had to snip the print down a tiny bit. Here's a tip: Use the cardboard insert from the frame as a template and lightly trace cutting lines with a pencil. Easy squeezy.

The shoe form found a no-cost home atop a pile of books that was just jonesing for a lil' somethin' extra. Plus, it's a deep bookcase, so plain ol' books would be boring. I'm against that. The other shoe will drop somewhere else soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

(Don't) Come and Knock on Our Door

So I'm new to apartment living, but making tons of noise is not really cool, right? Am I crazy?

The first floor is handy for many reasons: shorter distance when moving in furniture or groceries, easier to flee in the event of a fire, no stairs in case I'm ever crutch-bound, and so on.

But why, oh why, does my second floor ceiling/floor mate feel the need to (apparently) drag large wooden crates across their floor? And why does s/he wait until post-midnight every time?!

I even bought this handy white noise machine to ward off apartment sounds. My favorite setting is 'waterfall' because it's the most like harmless static. There's one setting called 'heartbeat,' which I reallllly don't understand. It's creepy as hell. If that's not straight out of The Tell-Tale Heart, I don't know what is.

Anywho, I'm hoping that my rude neighbor moves out or at least stops making randomly heinous noises so late at night.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gobble It Up

So I guess this is pretty much what a fantasy dining room would look like, huh? I like the wall color quite a bit, and even though none of it is particularly autumnal, it made me think of Thanksgiving. That's coming up, you know.

This year will be a little different because I won't be going to my Aunt Laura's house near Reelfoot Lake. She always cooks on Thanksgiving Day--no weekend before or after situations for her. It's all very traditional, and I'm only off work on Thursday. It's ok, though. Missing Thanksgiving will make Christmas all the better. Plus, I have so much to be thankful for right now. (Hmm...I just had a potental next-post idea.)

What are your plans?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Sometimes there's just no substitute for hard and fast statistics.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Growing Molds?

Spotted on Restoration Hardware's website: a set of four eyeglass molds from the 1950s. You know how I'm always on the hunt for mad specs appeal.

Needless to say, I really like these, even though they're quite useless and fall under the objets d'art category. And I probably don't have to tell you how the price is simply prohibitive--even with their 20% off deal, which ends tomorrow.

Hang in there for more apartment updates; I'm working on things slowly but surely. And have an excellent week. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ray, Ray, Don't Go Away

I had made reference to Ray LaMontagne in a comment on my endorsement of Patty Griffin, but this time it's his turn for a full-on thumbs up.

It's hard to put into words the style of Ray LaMontagne. It's definitely folk with a blues tinge. He has a raspy voice and sings with tons of heart. With so many of his songs being about loss and heartbreak, it's easy to get the sense that somebody "done him wrong." Plus, he's decidedly anti-celebrity. Until just a few years ago he was a carpenter in Maine. (Oh, and as if being a carpenter were not enough, in the picture to left, he is a dead-ringer for Jesus.)

In the last few months or so, Ray has appeared on several TV and talk shows, most notably Saturday Night Live, but I don't know that lots of people are very familiar just yet. Many of his songs have been in soundtracks to TV and movies, but he has a very distinct and very gravel-y voice.

Several years ago my pal Jennifer tried for months to get me to listen to his music, and I'm so glad that I finally did. I have seen him in concert twice, and much like my brief time in front of Patty, it was practically a religious experience. Try out Shelter (one of my top favorite songs) and You Are The Best Thing, which is a bit peppier.

You may even recognize a newer Ray connection in the form of this commercial from Travelers Insurance. It's a pretty crappy job of cutting the vocals from such a wonderful song, but it made me smile--not unlike the guy on his shirt here.

Thanks again, Jen!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pushin' Cushions

Ehh...dumb title for a post but cool couch*! It came in last week, and I'm glad it's here.

After looking at countless places and encountering models that were either too 'country' or too 'showroom' or too expensive, I found this one at Macy's (of all places), and it was on sale. The pillows were some that I've had for a while now, so they may not stay. It kind of reminds me of a Hershey's Kiss.

That's a good thing, right?

*To my more northern friends and readers, this word is synonymous with sofa.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Movin' On In

Well, this post is sort of more picture-heavy than what I usually do, so I'll keep this part short. Here are some shots of my apartment on the day I moved in.

Notice how everything is just slightly off. And try not to notice the only overhead lighting source. It's soon on the way out. Some things have changed--for the better--and I'll be posting those pictures in the very near future.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Beginnings

I won't even try to say how quickly October went, especially in light of recent changes in my life.

Let's just get to the (somewhat abbreviated) lists, shall we?

On the to-do list:

1. Be thankful! What a great month to remind us of this. Despite all the crappy stuff that happens, we're very fortunate to have our freedom and to be able to afford things like Internet access.

2. Finish moving in. Ok, so my 'stuff' is pretty much at my new apartment, but it's not quite home yet. I'll be posting updates on rooms and areas as I go.

What not-to-do?

1. Get overwhelmed at work. Yes, I realize I posted this in September, but it holds true again. There's just so much information. Whew.

2. Find a broom handle to jab at the ceiling. The people who live above me seem to be alternatively moving heavy furniture, knocking on their own doors, and committing heinous crimes against nature at all hours. It's not ideal.

3. Lose sleep. My mind has enough going on in the background right now to mess around with unreasonable bed times. :) With that in mind, I'm signing off for now. Have a great November, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scary Antiques and Such

I had a great birthday weekend with my pal Ann Marie! On Saturday we went to Franklin, where they were having some type of Halloween/Fall Festival. Main St. was blocked, and there were kids and adults in costume everywhere.

Chewbacca was even there.

It would be great to be a kid who lives in that area. The shopkeepers were giving out candy; there was kettle corn. Enough said.

Then we stumbled into an antique shop.

I know I just posted a similar picture from the flea market trip last weekend, but a really cool grouping always strikes me and my shutter finger.

One of the booths had this completely awesome lab chair...

...and this even better lab stool.
Apparently, the booth was closing down for good, and there was a sign that said to make an offer. Now I really wish that I had. This is definitely along the lines of my ideal design aesthetic.

It reminds me of a great post recently done by my blog friend Jenn over at Department of the Interior. Check it out sometime.

And thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!

Friday, October 30, 2009

At the Market. (Flea Market.)

So after my previous post on The Nashville Flea Market, I hope you're all fired up for some awesome finds.

I only got two things, but I think they were worth it. This one is a vintage Saturday Evening Post cover that I found in a stack at a nondescript table. Asking price? $1.

I'm envisioning it in a cool frame. On the wall. last. I have been wanting old shoe forms for at least two months now. :)

These will do quite nicely. I paid $3 for the pair. One will probably make its way on top of a stack of books or magazines. The other may go above the kitchen cabinets, maybe as a bookend.

Time will tell.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You Can Find It..

Last Saturday I headed out to the Nashville Flea Market with Ann Marie, Laura, Leslie, and Ruthi. It was such a treat. Let me tell ya. Please enjoy some of these pictures of what I saw there. Some things don't make much sense, but that's the point. There was definite specs appeal going on there, though.

Enjoy! And I'll share with you my purchases in my next post, possibly tomorrow--which happens to be my birthday. Wahh wahh.