Friday, August 2, 2013

Searching for Home

I firmly believe that there are few things in life more confusing than being in your early twenties.  This is mostly due to living in a constant state of transition.  There is no permanency.  There is no certainty.  Life is like running on a treadmill: you’re always moving, but you’re going nowhere.  And then one day you realize you’re homeless.

The concept of home is something that I’ve thought a lot about in the last year.  Everyone’s definition of it is different.  If we’re being formal, home is the physical place where you live, whether that be a fancy McMansion or tiny studio apartment.  Others prefer a more social perspective and consider home to be with their family.  Both definitions are correct, but I think they are lacking.  Home should be where we are most comfortable; it’s a place where we can be ourselves.  Home is where we most belong.  And that is why I am feeling lost…because I don’t know where I belong, and the places where I used to belong no longer fit.

I’ve felt this way for quite some time, but it’s really sunken in the last couple months that I’ve lived with my parents again.  Before moving back here, I had fantasized about the simplicity and familiarity of returning to my childhood home for the summer.  I had never imagined I would feel such disconnect to everything.  I guess now that I’ve experienced living on my own and a certain degree of independence, it seems very weird to be in a place that isn’t mine.  The refrigerator has things in it that I would never eat, the rooms are decorated in a style I wouldn’t choose, and the bedroom I call my own is now filled with placeholder furniture.  I refer to this place as home because it’s where my parents and dogs are, but it does not feel like home.  Not anymore.

Unfortunately, Bloomington is not my home either.  I call it home because it is where my things are, and it is the place where I spend most of my time, but it has never felt like home.  I don’t fit in there.  It’s not a place where I would choose to live.  It just simply is not home.  Does that make any sense?  Am I completely crazy?  How can a person have two homes but still feel homeless?  This is the confusion that lives inside my brain, and the only comfort I have in the situation is telling myself that it won’t be like this forever.  I hope.

I have a picture in my head of what home looks like, and on the days where I’m feeling particularly lost, I like to escape there because it feels like home, too.  I know it is only imaginary, but my brick and mortar townhouse in the Boston area feels so real I can taste it.  I can see the kitchen with a vase full of fresh hydrangeas by the sink.  I can see my office that doubles as a library for all my books.  I can see the crème colored sofa in front of the living room fireplace.  I can see the sidewalks where I walk my dog after I get home from work.  Sometimes the dog is a sheltie, or a French bulldog, or a cavalier spaniel...but no matter the breed, there is always a dog.

In a Pinterest world, it is really easy to imagine the things, but in my imaginary world there is also happiness and a strong sense of being content.  That is what I’m mostly searching for.  It’s the place where I’m the best version of me, and I’m out in the world making something of myself.  I know in my heart that that place is not in Indiana.  Indiana is not my home, but it is what I know.  And it’s that thought that makes the idea of searching for home incredibly scary.  Because the search would mean leaving my family, my friends, and everything that is familiar.  It means the strong possibility of failure, and I’ve never been great with failure.

Of course, this is all in the future, and I probably shouldn’t waste my time and energy thinking about it now.  It’s always good to have a plan, but I tend to obsess and dwell on things I cannot change.  And as much as I wish I could, I cannot change the fact that I am still another two years away from finishing my undergraduate degree.  Two years is a long time to wait to start my search for home.  Two years is a long time to feel homeless.  Two years is not forever, but patience has never been a prominent word in my vocabulary.  So for now I need to remind myself that where I am may not be my forever home, but it is my temporary home.  It may not be where I belong, but I am on the way to where I’m going.  I need to enjoy the time I have while I’m here, and probably listen to less Carrie Underwood music while I’m at it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Krystal Takes New York

I can officially cross two more places off my goal to visit every state in the United States: New Jersey and New York!  After a lifetime of wanting, I finally got the chance to venture to the East Coast, and New York City delivered every cliché experience I could have asked for.  I saw rats in the subway station, watched an old drunk get arrested after attacking a man in food service, experienced the NYFD in action when a car caught on fire…basically I got the full NYC experience minus the mugging.  It was great.

In all seriousness, though, I loved New York City like Amanda Bynes loves selfies.  And in case you're too old to understand that reference, I estimate that is about a 30.2 on a scale of 1 to 10.  In fact, in the entire week leading up to the trip, you could have found me fluctuating between "Ohmigod, I haven't packed yet!  What will I wear?!  What do I need?" and an emotion kind of resembling this:

Want to know the scariest part?  The above image is actually a milder version of myself at ICFF.

When one of my design professors invited me to join her and a few other select students at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, I really had no idea what it was all about.  I did a little research and talked to my other professors, so I could gather that it was "big," "mind blowing," "inspiring," and oh yeah, "BIG."  Basically, it's the interior design world's version of Fashion Week, and I'd be stupid to pass up the opportunity.  I knew it was going to be an experience I wouldn't forget, but I didn't realize how it would impact my entire perspective on design.

I actually had the privilege of having an exhibitor's pass throughout the four day event because my professor was invited to take part in the Designboom Mart, showcasing her folded light art + design.

The lanterns are made from 100% cotton, recyclable paper and LED light.  I was originally invited to exhibit my own lighted art project from my first design studio class, but after fighting with glue and pulling an all-nighter trying every possible idea to put a new shade together, it unfortunately just didn't happen.  But after getting my tears out of the way and arriving to the Javits Center, I decided to not let it bring me down and simply enjoy where I was.

The Designboom Mart was located in Javits North, along with the student design exhibits, which I found to be some of the most innovative and interesting booths.  These fun and whimsical stools by kamina&C were among my favorites in the Mart.

There were also a bunch of talented jewelry designers in the Mart, like the girls from 
designhype who make metal cuff bracelets printed with metro maps that help both locals and tourists navigate subway systems around the world.

As part of my own tradition of collecting unique pieces of jewelry from the different places I visit, I took home a bracelet constructed from a marine handle (by GNG Jewels), laser cut earrings made of acrylic (from Cut by Yumi Endo), and a pair of gold earrings featuring a map of Chicago (by A Minimal Studio).

As for the student exhibits, I was blown away by the work from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.  Take this "chair," for example.  It was constructed from discarded children's toys, which a girl then spent two months wrapping in jute.  How crazy is that?

There were also these side tables which were made by...wait for it...melting PVC pipe around a slab of stone and a plank of wood.  You read that right.  PVC pipe.

There also seemed to be a lot of experimentation with aluminum foil and resin, which resulted in this crazy cool chair.

As for the ICFF main floor...well, we could be here all day if I were to recap every last bit of it.  I did have one pretty stand out experience, though, and I can't let it go without sharing.  To set the scene, imagine me walking around this giant room full of furniture and lights, wearing black slacks with bright yellow Nikes.  Fashion be damned...I wanted to amputate both my legs after walking around in flats for two days.  I tried to take the attention off my shoes by wearing a pretty blouse and bangin' yellow necklace, which must have worked because as I was walking around the floor - probably drooling a little bit - a man grabs my shoulder and turns me around.  Just as I'm about to shout "That's my purse!  I don't know you!" he quickly apologizes for scaring me, and makes an inquiry about my necklace.  I believe his exact words were, "Girl, I saw your necklace from across the room and I just had to know where it was from!"  I would later question why this guy was so interested in my jewelry.

After talking for a few minutes, the man finally mentions he works on Jonathan Adler's design team and wouldn't I love to come look at the upcoming collection?  To which I so eloquently responded, "Ahhhh!  Take me to your people!"  Seriously.  That happened.

To put this all in perspective, Jonathan Adler is probably my favorite designer.  Ever.  In the history of the world.  And I literally told someone on his team to "take me to his people."  I contemplated my inability to say anything normal as I followed him to the exhibit, wondering if I was about to meet Mr. Adler - was he here?  was I about to breathe the same air as Jonathan Adler?! - and embarrass myself further.  Thankfully (or unfortunately) that didn't happen, but I did get a personal tour of the new collection with commentary.  My favorite part was probably this mirror and lamp set-up.

I also loved this dining table top.  The details were even more gorgeous in person.

In the words of the designer I talked to, "Jonathan is obsessed with brass right the point of neuroticism." 

And he isn't the only one.  Definitely be on the lookout for colored metals like brass, bronze, copper, and gold to make their comeback in the next few months.

But the biggest standout of the week was sustainability.  Designers are striving to create beautiful furniture and decor out of recycled materials, and they are succeeding in incredible ways.  Take this chandelier from Sou Da (pronounced "soda"), for example.  Who knew that empty Sprite and 7-Up bottles could look so good?

And who said cardboard is just for boxes?  Looks to me that you can do a whole lot with it.  Like this lighting from Graypants, Inc.

Or this cardboard cafe by Less More.

I was obsessed with these floating lights (and the surrounding structure) by molo Designs, who showed us that Tyvek isn't just for envelopes anymore.

And as soon as I find the perfect spot for one of these goose feather Eos lights by VITA, I'm getting one.  They are like fabulous little clouds hanging from the ceiling.

I almost can't wait for school to start in August, just so I can get started on a project using these acoustic wall coverings made from felt.

Jonathan Adler better watch out for Patrick Weder, because this girl just might have a new favorite designer.  Seriously, how cool is this lighting fixture made from chicken wire and homemade paper?  And the decision to pair it with those Calico wall coverings was just genius.

As I said, I could go on for days.  After all, it took me two just to feel like I saw everything that was there to be seen, and even then I kept finding new things to drool over.  It was like the Willa Wonka Chocolate Factory of interior design.  And let me be the first to tell you that there is some really exciting stuff coming to the furniture and decor world this fall.  There's also some straight up crazy stuff as well.  No offense, Jimmie Martin.

At the end of ICFF, I really took away so much from the experience and feel like I have a better understanding of how the design process works.  The biggest lesson I learned is to never be afraid of trying an idea, no matter how bizarre it may seem.  I also learned that I need a better camera.

Friday, April 5, 2013

One Year Blogiversary!

In actuality, I've been blogging for much longer than one year (it's more like two-ish...), but next Thursday will mark the one year anniversary of my owning this domain name.  That's right.  I've officially been Krystal with a K for one year.  Even though I don't blog that often (you can blame college for that) and when I do it is usually to no one (one comment on a post makes me excited enough to wet my pants), I really love blogging.  Like, really.  A lot.  This website is my happy place, and it thrills me to no end that I own a very teeny tiny sliver of the internet.  

As I venture into my second "official" year of blogging, I've been thinking a lot about my goals and wishes for this website.  What do I want to write about?  Where do I want to go with all of this? Why do I continue to talk to a nonexistent audience?  I don't have all the answers, but I do have some.  And I'm hoping *fingers crossed* that documenting my goals will actually help me achieve some of them.  So, let's do this thang.

1. Blogging more frequently and consistently.

It's no secret that I went an entire semester's worth of time without posting one blog post, and I haven't done much better this semester either.  I'm hoping as I enter summer break that I'll be able to have a better blogging schedule and post at least once a week (maybe more).  I might even gain an audience that way.

2. More focused blog posts.

As a blogger, I'm kind of all over the place.  I write about my life, DIY projects, apartment decorating, organization, cooking, and a bunch of other random stuff.  I don't think that's going to change.  I think having a topic-centric blog can lead to stale posts and filler content.  I like not knowing what I'm going to write about until I write about it.  But I would like to maybe have a schedule for certain types of posts (DIY posts on Mondays, cooking on Wednesday, etc.)  Again, I might even gain an audience that way.

3. Vlogging and videos.

I love being in front of the camera.  I've loved it ever since I was little and made homemade movies with my cousins.  I also love YouTube vloggers and am subscribed to way too many of them. Somehow these rationalizations have led me to think that I might enjoy vlogging.  I'm thinking of calling the videos "Keeping Up with Krystal: <insert date here>" (it's still under consideration) and I'll add the videos here on the blog along with my normal posting.  Again, I might even gain an audience this way?

4. Get a life.

Part of the reason I don't blog very often is because I don't have a life.  I wake up, go to school, do homework, go to work, sometimes sleep, and then repeat the cycle.  I never get out of the house and enjoy myself.  It hasn't been great for my mental health, and it's terrible for my blog content. This summer is already looking to be filled with a lot of projects, family & friend togetherness, and I may or may not be heading to New York for the first time.  Basically, I'm looking at four months of not being a hermit.  This will surely be great for the blog.  And again, I might even gain an audience...

5. Be more personal.

One time a blog post got too personal, and it led to drama that I'd rather not live through again. Ever since, I've been pretty careful about what I write.  Sometimes, I think it makes me sound a bit robotic and not at all relatable.  I know I'm weird, but I swear I'm human.  So in my first attempt at making myself seem more like a normal, 22 year old girl in college and not an android, I filmed a "Getting To Know You" video.

Getting to Know You Tag from Krystal Jeannine on Vimeo.

If you can't see the video in Vimeo, you can click here to view the YouTube version.  And if you can't view the video at all, you're missing out on a really cute dog and epic Spice Girls lip syncing. (Don't say I didn't warn you).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bedroom Daydreaming

Since the moment I decided to spend my summer back home with my family and three obnoxious, but lovable furbabies, I’ve been daydreaming about giving my childhood bedroom a facelift.  And with surprisingly little convincing, my Momma agreed to letting me go ham on the tie-dye wallpaper and purple carpet come May.  At this point, words won’t do my excitement justice, y’all. I’ve tried.  This is my fourth attempt at writing about it.

When I was younger, I used to think that beige houses were boring.  I once accused my Momma of making the house look like toast.  My heart yearned for bright, neon colors and animal print.  Today, my twenty-two old self is glad that tween me was not allowed to make many decorating decisions.  I shudder to think of how the house would look.  It would probably be covered in something like tacky tie-dye wallpaper and purple carpet with a unicorn poster.  Oh, wait…

In all honesty, I don’t really hate my room…it’s just not my style anymore.  I’m no longer looking for a party atmosphere every time I pass the threshold into my own little world.  I need calm.  I need serene.  I need to be able to sleep in without the combination of bright walls and morning light blinding me awake.  So after narrowing down what I’m looking for in my new bedroom and a few days of online window shopping, I was able to whip up this mood board to help visualize how all the things I’m loving will layer together.  And let me just say this: I’m swooning.  Sa-wooning.

1. As for the color choice, I’d love to see a monochromatic scheme of sandy tans, creams, and white to ground my dark oak and black wrought iron furnishings.  Painting the walls in Glidden Water Chestnut and the ceiling in Glidden White Pebble will help create the hotel and spa-like aesthetic I’m seeking.  And ever since I saw the horizontal stripes painted in Young House Love’s hall bath (their first house), I’ve been dreaming about a striped accent wall of my very own.  I’d love to see the wall and ceiling colors striped along the window wall in my bedroom, which will also keep the neutral color scheme from feeling too blah and toast-like. 

2.  It’s not a secret that the purple carpet currently gracing my bedroom floor is not my favorite thing in the world.  It needs to die.  In a perfect world with an endless budget, I’d love to replace it with this Mohawk Thoroughbred carpet in Quiet Neutral.  And you want to know the best part?  This stuff is treated with Scotchgard repelling technology that provides a lifetime warranty against spills, stains, and pet urine.  This is the miracle carpet my dreams are made of.

3. My current ceiling fan is a piddly white thing that barely provides relief during the humid summers that Indiana is notorious for.  I also decorated it with snazzy flower and fashion wall decals when I was thirteen.  I think this low profile 46” Hunter Louden fan will be a welcome change. 

4. These prints by Etsy artist VintageDictionaryArt have a “worldly” effect that I’ve fallen head over heels for, and they really speak to my inner architecture and book-loving nerd.  I’m picturing two on each side of my big window, resting inside thrifted frames spray painted in a glossy black to add a fun mix-and-match effect.

5. I’m lusting after these 18” wide Sloane Java leaning bookcases by Crate & Barrel ($99.95).  With a 14” depth and five shelves, they offer a lot of storage without taking up too much space.  Added bonus: they look so much cooler than normal bookcases.

6. I’ve always been a fan of sheer curtains, so switching out my current pink and purple sheers for an all white ensemble is a no brainer.

7. I love the look of my purple animal print bedding (originally used in my dorm room), but it isn’t exactly soft and inviting, nor does it fit in with my hotel and spa-inspired style.  I’m thinking a fluffy white down comforter, like this one from JC Penney (or this cheaper alternative from Linens ‘n’ Things) will do the trick.

8. I’m all about the sparkle and glam, so this throw pillow from Pier 1 is a must.  Great news, I was able to find one on clearance at my local store with one small broken bead (10% damage discount!) so I brought this baby home to the tune of $22.

9. Learning to sew is at the top of my summer project list, so I would love to make a couple Euro shams and throw pillows from fabrics like this, this, and this.

10. My current lamp is a sad, broken thing standing on its last leg, but I can totally picture this smoked glass lamp filling its place.  I already own the white crinkle shade in a smaller size and love it, so I’m sure I’d like the larger version just as well.

And there you have it.  A calm, hotel and spa-inspired bedroom.  The final total when adding up each item in the board before paint and carpet rings up to $ yeah, it's not exactly budget friendly.  I know I can't afford that on my weekly pay.  But that's why God invented those 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons that never expire.  And dreams.