The Mission of Wolves: "Built-ins".

A little backstory: if you know me, you know my favorite things to decorate our home with are books. I don’t really do knick-knacks or accessories, but as a total bibliophile (and someone working on their A.S. in Library Information & Technology), nothing says cozy to me the way wall to wall books do. My husband knows this, and knows it has been a dream of mine to have built-ins incorporated somewhere in our home to house all the books we own. But, to be perfectly honest, having a carpenter come in and build us some built-ins would be expensive. I know, because this time last year we got a few quotes for the job and to do built-ins in the great room and mudroom would have cost us about $15,000. I don’t know about you, but that’s a prohibitive cost for us, so I set out to find a way we could create something just as nice but for a lot less.

Enter Pinterest.

I have been pining ideas for years, and finally convinced my husband that we could create our own “built-ins” for less than $1000 and he wouldn’t need to do any serious construction or woodworking (both of which he can do, but his work schedule doesn’t leave him much free time).

You can see on my Cozy Up The Place board that I like neutrals and the space where modern meets traditional; clean lines, but nothing stark, and fresh spaces with an inviting, but minimalist aesthetic.

I think we achieved just that with this project.

The alcove space we worked with is approximately 165” long, but not very deep, so the black-brown IKEA Hemnes bookcases and sideboard (that doubled as a TV stand) that we originally had there stuck out about 2’ from the wall. The three pieces weren’t terribly large, so there was a lot of wasted space above and around them. We also have quite a bit of books and they were starting to look cluttered and messy as we were running out of shelf space. So, for the project, we measured the width and height (95”) of the alcove, and searched IKEA’s website for suitable bookcases.

Yes, they’re all IKEA.

Initially, my husband voted for white ones from the Hemnes line, since they are made with solid wood, but their sizing would not have filled the space the way we envisioned. Also, in the quotes we received last year, much of the materials were listed as wood veneers and MDF, so we knew we could get the look we wanted by using IKEA’s famous Billy line.

Using two of the white 31.5” x 79.5” bookcases, two of the white 15.75” x 79.5” bookcases, and two of the white 31.5” x 41.75” bookcases with height extensions and Oxberg doors, we were able to build this:

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The final measurements of the entire install is approximately 157.5” x 93”, so there is a narrow area of clearance at the top and about 4” on either side. The top space is barely noticeable and the side areas really don’t bother us since the overall look we wanted is what we created.

While the four taller bookcases are flush against the wall, the two shorter, center bookcases are moved away from the wall about six inches to accommodate cords and my husband used an arbor hole saw to drill three holes into the bookcase backing to thread the cords through. Each bookcase is anchored to the one next to it and will be anchored to the wall once we finish trimming things out as we intend.

Also, do you see that unfinished piece of wood under the television? That is a stain-ready piece of wood that is 16” x 63”. This allows for our television and sound bar to sit atop these bookcases, since we needed 14” of space for their bases but the bookcases are only 11” in depth. There is about 3” of overhang in the back and an extra 2” in the front that allows for a “mantle” of sorts that we’ll use to hang stockings and the like for the holidays.

As far as time investment, we (just the two of us) started assembly Friday morning and had everything built and styled before bedtime last night (Saturday). One bookcase was already assembled, as we owned it, and we had picked up the other pieces last weekend, so travel to and from IKEA are not part of the final build-time investment.

Here’s a wider angle:

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So, for those who have asked, that’s it. That’s how we created “built-ins” for less than $1000.

007.

I climb out from under the warm pile of blankets to follow the desire for coffee, and am caught in the lingering mist of his cologne.

It’s sweet and spicy, and I’m immediately reminded of the nights I used his pillow instead of mine and, lying between our two young children, cried myself to sleep, praying to any god who would listen that I just wanted him back home safe and whole.

I’m reminded that I couldn’t watch the news all the way through for nine months.

And I’m reminded about those nights of worry, and then the nights I wondered if we would make it, just two kids with moon eyes and lofty dreams.

I’m reminded about the ways we’ve had to grow together and the ways we’ve had to grow separately, and the ways we’ve made room for both.

And I hear us whispering in the dark. All our fears. All our hurts. All our wishes. All our wants.

Twenty years of whispering to each other before we rest for the night.

I hear me asking across the expanse of our bed if, when he kissed me and made me his girl all those years ago, he expected to be where we are now.

And I hear him say “I didn’t know, but I hoped.”

006.

My Dad used to tell me “The worst they can say is ‘no’” whenever I would tell him I had a question or want that involved someone else. 

And, more often than not, he was right.  

But, the fear of asking is sometimes less about receiving a negative answer and more about the way asking makes us feel.  

When we ask for things—especially things that are important to us—it is not always the ‘no’ that makes us leery, but the anticipation,

the worry,

the churning in the gut,

the panic. 

Because while the ‘no’ could be innocent enough, it is what the asking and the potential of ‘no’ makes us feel that draws the fear.

Ignored.

Disrespected.

Unloved.

Lacking in some way.

Here’s the thing, though: ask anyway

If the worst someone can say is no, if you walk away feeling ignored or disrespected, unloved or not enough?

You should also feel brave. 

Courageous. 

Proud.

Strong. 

Because you knew that asking could make you feel a myriad of horrible ways . . . but, it was important enough to you to ask anyway, so you did.  You put yourself out there, knowing it could hurt.

And I’m pretty sure that’s what my Dad was trying to say.

 

* This is obviously not about consent, which you should always ask for and if it’s a ‘no’ or not freely given, you should accept readily and wholeheartedly. 

Style: Date night.

My style is best described as athleisure-meets-edgy, and if you walked into my closet, you’d find my color coordinated wardrobe consists of black, burgundy, black, grey, moss green, black, rust, white, and black.

I am nothing if not consistent. 

See, for an everyday look in these cooler months, just give me a low-cut tee with leggings and trainers topped off with a sleek moto jacket and I’m in heaven.  

When I feel like dressing it up, I’ll throw on a body con or maxi dress, add a cardigan with its sleeves pushed up, and use my tattoos as accessories.  

Even my professional aesthetic is pencil pants or skirt with a form-fitting sweater, blouse, or a tailored blazer. In all black, please.

Don’t forget the heels.

So, for date night, I had to skirt those edges again, you know?

That is where this beauty comes in: 

The M-Slit is just this side of appropriate, for me, and I love it! I can’t wait to wear this with a cropped moto jacket and some stilettos, or without the jacket but with a stack of necklaces.

If you’re not comfortable with the high slits, there is enough material that you could tack them together in a few places along the hem without losing the edgy “sexy without trying too hard” aesthetic.

This is the kind of dress I wear knowing I’ll be sitting across the table from my man in a darkened restaurant, stealing glances at him and fries off his plate while we share inside jokes and decompress after a long week.

So, tell me, what do you wear on date night? 

* For reference, my measurements are 5’3”, 42G-36-42, size 14/XL on bottom, and XL/XXL on top (depending on brand, cut, and style).

For this dress, I purchased a 2X because if you know anything about Forever21’s plus sizing, you know it’s inconsistent. For instance, this dress fits my curves perfectly, but I also have a dress from the same brand that is a 3X that fits too small as well as a dress in an XL that fits just right.

Basically, what I am saying is be prepared for returns if you’re shopping online here.

 

003.

We turn out the porch light and sort through the candy.

I see him picking pieces out of the cauldron.

My heart sort of sinks when I watch him. I feel . . . bad? Guilty?

Guilty.

I look at the teenager and say, “Maybe you should have gotten candy tonight, then the two of you could have traded like you and your sister used to.”

“What,” the littlest says, overhearing and grabbing a chair at the island, too.

“Yeah,” says the teenager, “Sis and I used to pour our candy on the floor, sort it, and trade for our favorites. Like, I’d give her a Snickers for two Milky Way.”

The littlest thinks for a moment and says, “Well, Sis isn’t here anymore* and you don’t Trick-or-Treat, so I don’t have anyone to do that with.”

Guilt. Definitely guilt.

*Sis is our college freshman.

002.

I startled myself awake. 

Do you ever do that?

You know, like when dream you is feeling so much, too much, the weight of emotions wakes you up?

That was me at 4:34AM. 

Well, sort of.  

Because dream me thought I was awake, but also saw itself pulling The Lovers, inverted, with their skeletal arms wrapped around each other and a pomegranate oracle card. Since I have neither of those cards in any of my decks, dream me knew I was still sleeping.

So, hello 4:34AM. 

I hope all of Scorpio season isn’t like this. 

001.

 I’ve missed it.  

The full moon, that is.

I always seem to these days.  

Honestly, I feel the new moon’s arrival more acutely. Isn’t that odd, I think. I wonder what it says about me that the absence of moonlight has a greater pull.

Of course, the dreams were all over the place. That’s the only marker I have for the full moon these days. Restlessness and dreams that are so disjointed sleep feels pointless.

Maybe the full moon missed me, too.  

The Wild In-Between.

So. I did a thing. And, really, it's been my whole life in the making. But, also, it's taken me about three years of writing for this first step. 

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And, see, I was going to wait until October, because that was the deadline I had set for myself--be a published author by October 2018.

But, see, this thing happened recently wherein I had to ask myself if waiting was playing small. Not that playing small is bad, just that playing small isn't something I am willing to do anymore. 

And I was.  Playing small, I mean. Being scared. Letting my fear of failure and my perfectionism force me to second guess myself. And in all my almost 38-years fear of failure never brought me anything but heartache.

As you'll see if you buy my book.

My book. It sort of blows my mind that I can type that really, but it's true. I wrote a book. And you can buy it. Or gift it. Or look at the cover with love and longing. Or pretend you read it and write me a raving review (don't worry, I'll keep that secret between us). 

Or do all of the above AND write me a raving review (reviews mean so, SO much to authors--trust me).

Either way, no more waiting. No more playing small.

I wrote a book. 

For a signed copy, please visit my shop. A limited amount of signed pre-orders are available.

A Wild 154 Days: 008

Day 008: III of Air/Swords, inverted. 

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A reminder that it’s okay to feel the pain and move on when ready. Reclaiming your heart or your thoughts or your life in no way negates all you experienced, and doesn’t have to be a betrayal to the person you were while going through it. 

Hold on to the lessons (if there were any; sometimes shit happens and there is no rhyme or reason or lesson to be learned), forgive yourself your mistakes, and don’t be afraid to accept the good that comes your way.

A Wild 154 Days: 007

Day 007: VII of Water/Cups. 

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Though this card speaks to fantasy and illusion, wishes and wishful thinking, does it show up for anyone else when you’re TWD—Throwing While Distracted?

Every time I shuffle and throw while distracted, I pull the VII of Cups.

Every. Single. Time.

You’d think I’d have learned by now to not watch YouTube videos and think about my day’s schedule while also trying to throw. 

Oh, by the way . . .

I wrote a book.

Well, not like a book book. It's not a novel kind of book, but rather a collection of poetry kind of book.

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I'm expecting the arrival of a second proof within the next week or two, but after final approvals, the intention is to offer a limited amount of signed pre-orders by the end of August and have it available for regular release by October.  So, if it sounds like something you might be interested in, keep an eye on this space or visit my Instagram account @thewildinbetween.

Thank you all, so much, for your continued support.

A Wild 154 Days: 003

Day 003: XVI The Tower. 

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Am I the only who sees The Tower in a throw and thinks “Oooh, fuck” in that slow-mo way that Ralphie says it in THE CHRISTMAS STORY?

So. The Tower. I know exactly the devastation and upheaval this refers to and was actually thinking about it when I was shuffling. See, my girl, my first baby, leaves for college soon. And she took her practice driving test today. And, oddly enough, the thought of her driving alone drove me to tears today. Her going to college? I’ve been okay about. Her driving alone? FREAKS ME THE FUCK OUT.

And it’s like all these shifts all at once and holy, holy how am I supposed to do all this?
 

A Wild 154 Days: 001

I wake from his good morning kiss, then hear the distinct beep of the coffeemaker as he turns it on for me before leaving. My head is throbbing, but it only takes a moment to register that it is indeed Friday, and the Full Buck Moon hangs heavy against the inky sky. Full moon hangover already or a precursor to the show?

No matter; I have to see her. So, I slip out to the yard as quietly as I can, feet leading me toward the light spilling across the side of our home.

There she is, pregnant with possibilities, Mars her companion. I marvel a moment, snap a quick photo, and then steal back inside.

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I pour a cup of coffee, make my way to my desk, grab my deck, and light a candle.

It's time.

This blood moon is a siren calling me back to the cards, and it is fortuitous that, from today, there are 154 days until my 38th birthday--just enough time to make it through two tarot decks if I pull one card a day and three cards to celebrate my birth.

#AWild154Days of tarot starts here, lovelies.

I may ask a different question each day, but today I started with the question I always seem to ask: What do I need to know today?

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And Death stared up at me.

Which is fitting, I suppose, as this full moon eclipse has been referred to as one of not just transition, but rebirth. Which is fitting, I suppose, as my creative world is shifting a bit with the upcoming release of my collection of poetry, The Wild In-Between. Which is fitting, I suppose, as it seems my Capricorn sun is always in a state of transition, of adjusting, of starting over and shedding.

Death is a welcomed harbinger of change.

Honestly, all I could think of when I saw it was "Oh! Thank goodness it isn't The Tower." lol

So.

If you'd like to join in on this tarot journey, please do and use the hashtag because I'd love to see your throws. There are no hard and fast rules; I will be pulling daily and sharing on social media, but you can participate as much or as little as you wish.

If you just want to follow along, follow the hashtag on Instagram, check my account @thewildinbetween, or visit here for updates.

Happy full moon, babies!

* Deck: Nomad Tarot

There’ll be no one left to tell our story.

It dawned on me this morning that the United States is a sinking ship.

We are a Titanic with exaggerated, mythical abilities that truly was never built to help all its passengers survive.

See, whatever some of us thought we were, we aren’t.

And some of the first class passengers are just now realizing this.

And some of the first class passengers have always known there aren’t enough lifeboats.

And it’s all hands on deck, but no one is saving us. No . . . no, instead they’re making sure the gates are locked on the third class passengers while the hull floods.

They never intended for us to survive. 

And it’s been women and children first, sure, but instead of helping them, they’re caging them. 

And the rats are fleeing, but not before infecting everything and everyone they can. Because if they can’t have the run of things, they don’t give a damn about leaving a plague in their wake. 

And the water is coming up fast, sometimes faster than we can climb or run or swim, and we feel frozen in place.

Some of us are drowning.

Some of us are jumping. 

Some of us are fighting through the numbness and pain to make it out alive, knowing—knowing—that what awaits us will likely be more treading of water in the darkness before help arrives.

If help arrives.

And the captain doesn’t care about the sinking of this ship because he steered us to the sharks on purpose. 

And the captain doesn’t care about the sinking of this ship because his heart’s already an iceberg. 

So, if we’re to survive this, we need to listen for every whistle of distress.

If we’re to survive this, we need to make room in the lifeboats, turn toward the fray, and risk capsizing to save as many lives as we can. 

if we’re to survive this, we have to realize there is room on the door.