October Already?

I’m still wondering where September went…as busy as the summer was, it’s like the days of September whizzed by me like in a speeded-up film sequence! I’ve got lots of catching up to do this weekend, and tomorrow Sarah and I are attending the shelter’s annual Wag N’ Walk event. So excited! I’m not entering Dante in the costume competition, but you can bet your sweet smile he’ll be wearing his Super D cape anyway. :)

Amidst the craziness, I did manage to go out this Wednesday when Nancy and I headed up to Beverly Hills for the Design*Sponge book signing event, held at the Anthropologie there (aka Mecca). How shi-shi are we? Yeah…not really. But it was a joy to meet Grace in person and have our books signed (they had a special edition for Anthro with extra content!). I’ve been reading the blog for ages and I’m so glad I got the book! I honestly wasn’t going to at first, but after reading lots of good reviews online and then seeing it in person, how could I not? It’s seriously amazing, 400+ pages of eye candy and tutorials. I really love the way she’s put it all together, and the book design itself is nothing short of gorgeous. If you’re even remotely interested in home design and inspiration, it’s a must-have.

{Traffic on the way (shocker), book signing spot is ready to go, coffee date photo by Nancy}

Big thanks to Nancy for being my date and getting me out of the house, and also to my parents for keeping Dante overnight!

Speaking of blogs, as I was catching up on blog reading this week I found myself saving a ton of posts (mostly fall themed, surprise), so here’s a dump of some of my favorites:

  • Ez’s Pumpkin Soup recipe sounds super delicious
  • And for dessert, maybe a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate using this recipe from A Beautiful Mess?
  • Fantastic Lightroom portrait retouching step-by-step from Clickin Moms – love seeing how other photogs work!
  • Amanda’s latest outfit post had me drooling – the colors, the fit, her gorgeous hair! (Did I verge on creepy there? Sorry.)
  • Kaylah over at The Dainty Squid always keeps me inspired, and I somehow got linked back to her Triangles Nail Tutorial that I’m going to have to try! I’ve always been a solid color kind of girl (albeit I’ll try any color), but this is a nail design I can get behind.

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!


I Heart My Family

Took these when we got together to celebrate my mama’s birthday last week – dinner at In-N-Out (her request!) followed by gifts and hot fudge sundaes at home. Pretty darn awesome. :)

I’m so glad they realize resisting my camera is futile; it’s better to just smile and let me move on.

Ellingsen Photography Mom and Eirik Adorable

My new favorite photo of my parents, along with a couple of me and mom that my dad graciously took:

Ellingsen Photography Family Moms Birthday 2011

(Can you tell I’m growing out my bangs? It’s taking for-ev-er.)

Ellingsen Photography Family Moms Birthday 2011 (4)

My dad has been addressing things to her this way for years. Don’t judge by her expression, she still cracks up after all this time!

Ellingsen Photography Family Moms Birthday 2011 (3)

It’s also family tradition to wear the bows and ribbons that come with your gifts.  :)

Ellingsen Photography Family Moms Birthday 2011 (5)

I heart them, a lot.


A Sneak Peek!

While much of the new place is in a state of muted chaos (which, to neat freaks like us, means a few boxes unpacked, art not yet hung and curtains waiting to be put up),  there are a few spots that I’m already very happy with. :)

Such as the mantle, with super cute mini flags that I ordered and put in milk glass vases Nikki’s sister gave us, plus a memento from London (it originally held caramels, I think, and now is a coin bank).

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Mantel

Vintage crackle glass, mini flags from our respective homelands (Poland and Norway) and a Konge Tinn candlestick holder that once belonged to my grandparents.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Mantel 2

Carefully arranged bookshelves (we’re both major bookworms) and hilarious towels in the guest bath, from Etsy seller Cyanide Stitches.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Books and Towels

Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who can have almost nothing on her desk (or just pretend to for the sake of photos). I love my mementos and photos too much! :) Next to my computer sits a classic Office Space-style red stapler, a Norwegian flag mug that I bought the last time we were home, desktop calendars I make every year (template by Paislee Press), and a favorite troll made by an artist from my dad’s hometown of Stavanger. (Similar to the giant one on my parent’s porch, as seen here.)

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Desk

Isn’t my wall color gorgeous? I’m SO in love. It’s Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, which I chose after seeing this beautiful room makeover by AB Chao. It goes a little green, which works perfectly with my bedding (not to mention it’s my favorite color). :)

Both bedrooms came with amazing built-ins in the closets that span an entire wall, but I don’t really want to be looking at all my stuff all the time, so my brother helped me hang these adorable sheers from Ikea using their metal wire curtain rods. Total cost for the curtains and hanging supplies? $32.97 plus tax. Awesome.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Closet Curtains

What desk is complete without penguins and a Tardis USB hub, I ask you? :) I picked the penguins up as a set from Ikea years ago and they’ve traveled to many apartments, offices and homes with me.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Desk 2

Once I find a bedskirt and reading lamps I don’t hate, I’ll be back to share photos of my lovely padded headboard that I made. It’s the best!


P.S. Dante approves of this message. And the gorgeous new carpet (which, incidentally, is insanely difficult to white balance for).

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Dante and Carpet

Planning for a Real Home

{Also known as: In Which Nikki and I FREAK OUT About Becoming Adults}
So the big news of the week is that the bank finally approved Nikki’s paperwork, so she’s officially in escrow!! (For those of you just joining us, it’s been an epic adventure for my BFF trying to purchase her first home, a short sale condo. Dante and I will be renting a room.) The place is about as perfect as we could have asked for and we absolutely love the neighborhood.

Shout it with me now: Wooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Ellingsen Photography Trude and Nikki Freak Out

(Or aaaaaaaahhhhhhh run for your liiiiiiiiiiiiife!!)

If all goes well, we close escrow at the end of July. She already had the home inspection done last weekend, which found super minimal things that needed to be done to bring it up to code safety-wise, but other than that it’s looking good! So after a fresh coat of paint all around and new carpet upstairs, it looks like we’ll be moving in around mid-August or so. (You know I’ll be sharing photos then!)

Of course we couldn’t be more excited, but as this will be the first time for either of us actually owning instead of renting (well, she’ll be the owner, but you get what I mean), it’s now time for us to freak. out. about everything that needs to be done and all that we’ll need to stock up on. Even though we’ve both been reading up online and planning and researching since she officially started looking, I think everyone would get that feeling of “OhMyGodIHaveSoMuchToDo!” now that we’ve reached this point. And then, being late-twenty-somethings, we’re both constantly going “Good lord we’re discussing water heaters and sofa fabric. We’re adults!” :)

Between the two of us we’re doing well on some supplies, but others are definitely lacking. At least she found a couch and chair she likes, after we wandered into La-Z-Boy just to butt-test. We’ll also need a fridge, vacuum, new bed and mattress for Nikki, and a grass box for Dante, among other things.

I’ve been pinning and blog reading and reading through my parents’ Consumer Reports like nobody’s business, so here’s some things I’ve found especially helpful or inspiring for n00bs like us (read: newbies in gamer speak), in the hopes that my hours of research will maybe help someone else too. :)

Design Sponge Sneak Peek Alissa Walker

I think Nikki and I would both love to move in to this gorgeous 1940s Silver Lake home (a super cute neighborhood in LA)

Dewdrop & Dahlia Coffee Table Makeover

My New Zealand friend Kathryn did amazing things with this $12 coffee table she found

Live Creating Yourself Home Tour Living Room

Alaina, the blogger behind Live Creating Yourself, recently shared her own home tour and I especially loved how she layered textures and mixed patterns in her living room. The kitchen is gorgeous too!

Smile and Wave Home Tour Master Bedroom

You can’t go wrong with Rachel Denbow’s gorgeous vintage style that’s also budget-friendly. Seriously love her home! And I’m completely addicted to her blog.

Design Sponge Mantel Makeovers

We’ll have a fireplace with a mantle (not so common in sunny Southern California!), so these two mantle makeovers are making me drool

Filing Cabinet Planter Baldmanmod

I don’t know why but I’m dying to do this old-filing-cabinet-into-a-planter DIY

I also have about 496 blog posts from Young House Love saved (as I testified to on Twitter – and they responded!). Seriously, I cannot get enough of their blog because they’re so down-to-earth and self-deprecating and spare no details! Their true step-by-steps and rationale is pretty much exactly the way I think. The following are the ones I keep going back to:

Young House Love Drawer Lining DIY

Lining dresser drawers with pretty wrapping paper and Mod Podge. Lots of great less-permanent ideas in the comments too!

Young House Love Office Progress Getting Wired

Getting wired in the office. The surge protector they went with looks awesome. (Mom! Look at me all adult-y!)

Young House Love Bedroom Curtains

Their big window treatment Q&A post is helping me SO much. The bedrooms in the new place are wide but short, so I’ve been researching options on pretty ways to play those up without losing light. (Fellow photogs will empathize with me – we’re the opposite of vampires. Light! Give me liiiight!”)

Young House Love House Crashing Courtney Little Glass Box

This house walk through they did of the home of blogger Courtney of Little Glass Box, had me super inspired! Love when design doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Sorry for using “of” too many times in one sentence.)

Okay, I’m already exhausted. But still inspired and can’t wait to get this party started! And I have to say a super big thank you to my mom, whom we’ve already started abusing for her interior design training and may-jah skillz. We would be lost without her!

So, homeowners, any tips or insights for us?


The Brain

It’s been clear for a long time that my parents’ cats are Pinky and the Brain, in cat form. And Potter is definitely the Brain. While Gizmo is the one who constantly jumps up on the island while his meals are being made, only to be sprayed with water every single time, Potter is the one who smartly sits up high where he can see what’s going on, but is out of range of the squirt bottle. And when he sees his chance, he’s in there like a ninja! (Case in point: we turned to find him inside the giant soup pot, licking as fast as he could, after a turkey stew dinner last fall.)

Lately he’s been adjusting back to normalcy after they discovered his gums were all inflamed – turns out he’s allergic to his own saliva somehow. Poor baby! He had lost a lot of weight but now he’s doing much better and is back to his usual playful self. He’s even started to allow cuddling and gives kisses!

For some reason my camera is always drawn to him…must be that little cartoon face and the eyes that look right through you.

Ellingsen Photography Cat Home Pet Portraits Orange County-Potter

Yes, he’s actually laying in my dad’s back brace. As if to say “This chair is MINE, I don’t care what you put on it!”

Ellingsen Photography Cat Home Pet Portraits Orange County-Potter 2
Ellingsen Photography Cat Home Pet Portraits Orange County-Potter 3

Typically the bed he’s in here is Dante’s spot in the family room, but not that day! But see? He even gets the evil Brain eye squint! Or maybe he’s just half awake and pissed at me. Either way.

Ellingsen Photography Cat Home Pet Portraits Orange County-Potter 4
Ellingsen Photography Cat Home Pet Portraits Orange County-Potter 6

He’s just lucky he’s so cute and makes your heart melt when he actually allows a snuggle.