Bathroom Selfies Vol. II

I enjoyed pulling together Vol. I of bathroom selfies so much that I’m back with another 6 months worth! Well…6 months of the photos that I remembered taking anyway. I don’t think there any in August as I was packing, moving, unpacking, taking a quick trip to south Texas and then had major surgery, so that’s understandable. Besides that though, I have realized that 90% of the time I either don’t use the bathroom while I’m out and about, forget to take a photo or don’t have my bag in the bathroom with me. When I’m on a roll, I do them all the time, but then I forget and forget and forget. I still enjoy them though and it’s a fun way to remember where I’ve been!

Bathroom: Master Bathroom of our new house the day we closed. Austin, TX. July 1st, 2016.


Bathroom: Winebelly on W Oltorf, Austin TX. September 9th, 2016.


Bathroom: Enoteca on South Congress, Austin TX. September 10th, 2016.


Bathroom: Snooze on South Lamar, Austin TX. September 12th, 2016.


Bathroom: ShopLC HQ (first day shooting the DIY videos!), Austin TX. September 13th, 2016.


Bathroom: Madam Mam’s on W Anderson Lane, Austin TX. September 14th, 2016.


Bathroom: Matt’s El Rancho on South Lamar, Austin TX. September 17th, 2016.


Bathroom: ShopLC HQ, Austin TX. October 7th, 2016.


Bathroom: ShopLC HQ, Austin TX. October 31st, 2016.


Bathroom: Fresa’s, South 1st, Austin TX. November 5th, 2016.


Bathroom: Austin Java, 2nd Street, Austin TX. November 19th, 2016.


Bathroom: Manic Trout studio, Austin TX. November 24th, 2016.


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Bathroom Selfies Vol. I

Bathroom: Shake Shack on South Lamar, Austin TX. December 22, 2015
Bathroom: Shake Shack on South Lamar, Austin TX. December 22, 2015

Last winter I started taking phone photos of myself in bathrooms around Austin. The first one was due to matching the bathroom. The second, because I looked cute in my out-on-the-town outfit. Some were to remember how beautiful the bathrooms were. Some were to mark the occasion. Over 6 months, there were only 10 shots taken, so by no means have I done this is every bathroom I’ve been in, but mainly because I didn’t know what to do with the photos yet. Last week, I finally started an IG account separate from Manic Trout and it’s given me the freedom to post things like Bathroom Selfies. So I hope to continue the series. I’ve honestly been really into bathroom design since I was really little so this feels pretty awesome.

Bathroom: Vince Youngs Steakhouse, Downtown Austin, TX. January 4th, 2016.
Bathroom: Vince Youngs Steakhouse, Downtown Austin, TX. January 4th, 2016.


Bathroom: South Austin Dentists Office on South Lamar, Austin TX. January 6th, 2016.
Bathroom: South Austin Dentists Office on South Lamar, Austin TX. January 6th, 2016.


Bathroom: Jeffrey's in Clarksville, Austin TX. March 22nd, 2016.
Bathroom: Jeffrey’s in Clarksville, Austin TX. March 22nd, 2016.


Bathroom: Juliet Ristorante on Barton Springs, Austin TX. April 26th, 2016.
Bathroom: Juliet Ristorante on Barton Springs, Austin TX. April 26th, 2016.


Bathroom: Launderette on Holly St, Austin TX. May 6th, 2016.
Bathroom: Launderette on Holly St, Austin TX. May 6th, 2016.


Bathroom: South Congress Hotel, Austin TX. May 23rd, 2016.
Bathroom: South Congress Hotel, Austin TX. May 23rd, 2016.


Bathroom: Elizabeth St Cafe on South 1st St with Laura Noel, Austin TX. May 24th, 2016.
Bathroom: Elizabeth St Cafe on South 1st St with Laura Noel, Austin TX. May 24th, 2016.


Bathroom: Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin TX. May 25th, 2016.
Bathroom: Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin TX. May 25th, 2016.


Bathroom: Portable Restroom Trailer at a wedding in Quogue, Southampton NY. June 18th, 2016.
Bathroom: Portable Restroom Trailer at a wedding at a residence in Quogue, Southampton NY. June 18th, 2016.
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June 2016

Photo Jul 14, 11 05 19 AM

Yesterday I was organizing the piles on my desk since moving in last week and almost fell over when I realized it was already July 13th. Then I looked at my last blog post and I was even more shocked that June seemed to have not existed at all, woah. As I’m sure you assumed, the busier real life is, the less on is on the internet. June was for sure one of those times. It’s all pretty much a blur but there was a week in NY with my family, finding and closing on a house and a week of really intense packing. I may have missed the boat on holiday pitching throughout all of this, but I was at least trying to keep up with the prep for that as well.

The first few days of July were filled with the closing and 3 days of intense DIY moving with a uhaul van. The first day we almost killed Gretchen by moving in the triple digit Texas heat and I logged 35k steps each day doing van runs mostly by myself as Adam had to work (bad timing with a move immediately after vacation btw, try and avoid that!), on the 4th day, the movers came for the big furniture and we joined our stuff over in the new house. This entire week was filled with unpacking and shopping. I’d unpack from 9 – 4 and then take a break to go get food and shop for things I realized I needed in the unpacking. You know the kind of stuff: baskets, bulbs, hanging things, storage pieces and on and on. For about a week there was lot’s of shopping for furniture, scouting for future furniture, and buying all of the organizing and gardening things. I realized last week that I went to Home Goods every single day for 8 days. There were 3 in rotation, and it was intense. Target was also in heavy rotation and I visited Nadeau, Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Z Gallery and Restoration Hardware at least 2 times each. There were a few days where we were going to any store we could think of with big stuffed chairs and sitting in every single one. I also realized that we at this point had all of the storage furniture we needed and I was feeling over shopped and becoming incapable of making any more decisions with the decor.

Do you get that feeling when you move? You have a vision of where certain things are going and what you want the vibe to be and then you start to wonder what the hell you’re doing? Yeah, that’s where I am now. I’m a big believer in living in a space before really decorating though, so I think I just reached the point where I was making decisions I wasn’t ready to make without living in the space first. So for the past 4 days, I have enjoyed the feeling of having all the boxes unpacked, the closets, cupboards and shelves sort of organized (these will evolve over time too) and I’ve gone back to work in the studio. Every time our voices echo from having nothing on the walls, I cringe slightly, but am still not ready to pull the trigger on where to hang all the art. We have a great deal of art at this point. I have given away/sold most of my own paintings but I still have a decent amount of them, I have a collection of photographs I adore, we have art by friends and family, inherited pieces that we have a few of and more coming in the late summer and of course, the collection of large photographs that Adam and I have bought as our Christmas gifts each year we’ve been married. The third is pretty large and at the framers right now. In the back of my mind, I’m waiting on gettting that back to make any other decisions as it’s 42.5″ x 42.5″ and will command a big wall. At the same time, I’m pretty content with waiting a bit more anyway.

After the art there are a few details like curtains in the bedrooms, the decision on where and if area rugs should come in and a few pieces of big furniture we need to order. Any input on where you have bought really big and comfy chairs would be appreciated btw. I need a large piece of furniture for the bedroom and both of us think it’s the perfect place to put a reading oasis for me that I can retreat to when Adam is watching movies and I want a quiet and comfy place to go. We love the grande chair/chair and half with an ottoman idea and are considering all the options out there right now. House plants, accent furniture and furniture for the third guest room are on the list as well. But for now I’m just enjoying being back in the studio with the dogs.

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Holiday decorating…I’m starting to get why

Excuse the dark phone photo, I call this visual day dreaming
So much has changed from this view since we moved in:new couch, dining chairs, fridge, whale, pillows, throws…(excuse the dark phone photo, I was just making a point).

Besides the obvious reasons…for the kids, festive spirit, keeping up with the Joneses…I am starting to understand the deeper desire behind holiday decorating. We are in our third year living in our current house and I am so bored with it. The layout is a tough one with odd walls, excessive doors in the rooms and a large open living space. I realized yesterday that I have swapped the dining room table out with the extra one we have stored in our garage multiple times, rearranged the guest room and studio at least 4 times each and added new furniture, cloths, lamps and what nots in every space I could. I have moved art around, swapped things between rooms, switched what I have stored with what is out and on and on. Its been two years and four months and I am so over this space. As we do not plan on living in Austin for much longer, we rent and much of my being over the space is from my hating the wall colors and the carpet. If we had bought the house, I would have knocked down walls, redone the kitchen, removed ugly light fixtures, changed the floors and at the very least painted the walls. But as we do not own the house and it was freshly renovated, we live with choices I never would have made.

This morning when I was rearranging the cooking utensils in a new crock, I was daydreaming for the umpteenth time about a new kitchen (in a new house, in a new city) and a light bulb went off in my head…this is why so many people get crazy with holiday decor! It’s the perfect excuse to completely over haul as much as you want in the name of festivity and then when it’s over, you out it all away and decorate for normal life again. As I have bought nine ornaments in the past few weeks for a tree we have not bought yet, I think I’ve arrived at the holiday spirit decor of my life. Last year we were away for the holidays and I think I missed not having a having a tree. I have been slowly collecting little bits and pieces of holiday decor over the past few years and will most likely not go overboard, but I accept the challenge with open arms and will keep you posted.

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Which Whale?


I’m having a decor dilemma at the moment and I need input. For about 14 months I have been lusting after this large whale for the stone wall in the living room. I have’t pulled the trigger yet because I can’t decide on what color to order. There are 28 possible options, all slightly distressed on wood, and I have it down to 4. Well, 3 really, I don’t think I like the grey. I posted the straight on shot on IG, but then made another mock up for a second round with my mom and sisters and confused myself all over again.  The whale is 48″ long by 14″ tall so it will have quite the impact.


The room is the main room in the house, so I’ll see this thing constantly. I love the black but worry it will draw attention to the only other black in the room, the tv. Most of the small accents in the room are ivory and gold (there is another table behind the couch that is not seen in the photos and is white with ivory and gold lamps and things on it), so I thought gold might be a good way to go without drawing all the attention in the room to it. However, if I want to draw attention…and keep it “real”, then I think navy is the way to go. Navy also goes well with the paintings in the dining room which is technically in the same huge open space.


What are your thoughts? Keep in mind that the colors are all mocked up in photoshop, except the black, so I’m sure they will look better in person.

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Media hoarding

I miss my library every day
I miss my library every day, there are two more shelves not shown here…it was glorious!

Hello, my name is Sierra and I am a media hoarder. By media, I mean books, music and movies. Over the years I have been forced to edit my collections due to either across the country moves (rip 4000 books that I had to sell as they would not fit in my pod) or the invention of a new medium. The cd to digital online versions of music has been the only non stressful change, as I was able to upload all of my cds to my computer and I’ll admit, its a wonderful space saver. The VHS to DVD change however still haunts me. Remember in Men In Black when Tommy Lee Jones is showing off the new mini disc, what does he say? Oh yes, he sighs and says “I guess this means I’ll have to buy The White Album again.” Well there were one or two movies that I immediately replaced when it came to move over to DVD, but most I did not. I have recently been missing a few movies from my deceased VHS collection though, one in particular is Sweet Home Alabama. It’s not on Netflix of free to stream with Amazon prime, so I ignored the urge to watch it for a few months. However I, like many fans of hers, have been noticing Reese Witherspoon making moves lately and then BAM! Look who’s on the cover of Vogue!! Her lifestyle “blog” is due to drop soon and she has been taking on roles with “grit”, that chick is making a comeback in a well calculated way. Well I’m no fool, I know when to recognize the signs, and they were all telling me to watch Sweet Home Alabama. So I ordered a used copy of the DVD asap…because well, it was obviously meant to be.

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A few of my favorite things from this week

two pumpkins and some mums.
I’m celebrating fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving with two pumpkins and some mums.

1. My mother in law, Gretchen visited last week and while at Whole Foods asked if we wanted a few pumpkins and a mum. I said sure, we’d love them! And the preceded to feel overly proud of myself for the seasonal decor outside the front door.

2. Curious about the next big thing on the dessert scene in Austin? Three of my favorite eateries are on the list, yum! Read more here.

3. Have you seen the 73 Questions videos? I adore the interview of Anna Wintour. Watch it here.

4. As a women in my late 30’s who is childless, I have noticed that those of us in this position (especially if married and its by choice) tend to stick together. What has been brought to my attention is that women with celebrity status are questions way more about the lack of children then the rest of us. Here are a few thoughts by these women on the subject.

5. The decision for Young House Love to take a break from blogging shocked many last week, but those of us who have been reading blogs for years and years have come to see blogger burnout as the norm. The NYT seems to have just realized that it happens. Read the article here.

Have a great weekend!


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House plants for the black thumb

an extra large jade plant
an extra large version of the jade plants I want by the fireplace

I’ve never had much luck with plants. I keep trying, but it’s a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing. I recently had a great run with a succulent that lasted for about two and a half years, and although I haven’t given up completely, it’s kind of sad at the moment. I have had it in three houses though and it was thriving at this one until I hung curtains, and then it was pretty fast downward spiral. I however am currently driven by the euphoric 18 month success with my corn tree that I bought thinking it was fake and an aloe plant that I never thought would last and is still going strong.

the plants would go where the candle is place holding
the plants would go where the candle is place holding

During the holidays, I had two poinsettias that looked so pretty flanking the fire place that I want to have plants there year round. I really want jade plants, but its not quite full sun and the window by the fireplace is under a tree so I’m a bit nervous about the spring and summer light.  The jade is my test though. Like so many other women who have a love of great design, I am obsessed with fiddle leaf fig plants and recently they have been popping up at much more affordable prices.  I won’t let myself buy one though until I have more in faith in myself to keep it alive. I figure if I can get the jade through the summer, I will reward myself with the fiddle leaf fern. It’s only fair that I not set myself up for failure though, so I need to figure out if jade will be ok in that spot before I bring them home.

a beautiful fiddle leaf fern

What are your favorite house plants? Any thought on what would work in that spot by the fireplace?


top and bottom images via pinterest; middle image by me

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Solving the dvd storage dilemma

A small portion of the dvds on need of storage
The E-H dvds in desperate need of storage

For many years (and before Netflix), instead of paying a cable bill each month, I bought used dvds of tv shows and movies. I re-watch every thing tons of times, and as they were used and therefore relativly cheap, I amassed a huge collection. This is great for building a stellar media library, but horrible when it comes to finding what you want to watch. Every time I moved, I rearranged furniture and storage methods hoping that I had finally found a system that could attractively hold everything and still allow me to find what I was looking for. Every time I came up with a big fat failure.

You'd never know that there were so many things stored in there!
So much untapped potential storage place

When Adam and I made the decision to cancel our wedding and elope, we invested in a few pieces of new furniture with the money we had ear marked for the wedding. One of these pieces is a gorgeous console from Restoration Hardware for the massive TV that Adam insisted that we “needed”. I was excited to fill the drawers with my dvd collection just like all of my workout dvds sitting pretty in the console in the bedroom. This elation disappeared quickly when I realized that the collection filled 8 Uhaul moving boxes so there was no chance in hell them fitting into those bottom three drawers.

The empty boxes and sleeves waiting to be filled
The empty boxes and sleeves waiting to be filled

When we moved into this house in July, I basically gave up and stacked the boxes of dvds in the garage. I was out of ideas and was sick of trying. Of course as with anything in life, once I stopped thinking about it the solution came to me in a flash…well more like on the wisp of inspiration from a blog. While reading through my daily reads, I saw a a photo that included a long basket holding sleeves of dvds in it as part of living room make over. A-ha! An idea was born. I had thought of putting dads in a case logic books at times, but opted not to as the books are ugly. I also had been hesitant because I usually use the description on the back of the case to remind myself what the movie was about. But then I realized that I can just IMDB the movie on my phone in seconds so that was not a great reason. The only one thing that was holding me back now was that was that tv shows are better kept in their cases so they stay in their seasons.

6 cases of movies condensed to 5 boxes
6 cases of movies condensed to 5 boxes

That’s when I realized that the bottom drawers of the console were actually the perfect size to fit all of the tv show cases. I immediately felt pretty stupid that it took me so long to figure this all out. Later that week I checked a few stores for baskets and boxes and discovered these linen covered library-esque boxes at target. I bought one box to test, checking on my phone while in the store to make sure that I could buy them online so I would’t have to come back to buy the rest if they worked (I could and they were cheaper!), added a box of sleeves to my cart and home I went. I discovered that not only did the boxes work perfectly, but I could fit them in one of the drop door spots of the console too…double yay! That night I sleeved the first 100 dvds, counted the rest and ordered the remaining number of the boxes and sleeves needed to finish it all up. Within a week they had arrived and the entire process was done.

All of our movies and shows now in one tidy place
All of our movies and shows now in one tidy place

I don’t think that I have felt so happy to have solved an organizing dilemma as much as I was with this one. Already I have watched more movies in the past 2 months than I did all last year because it was such a pain in the ass to go through them before. It also makes the console look rather handsome with its row of boxes. Ahhhhhh, that felt good. Have you had an awesome organizing revelation recently? I’d love to hear about it!

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The amazing difference curtains can make

plantation bedroom before
The ugly blinds in all their glory

Having moved 3 times in under 3 years, after the initial set up in this house, I pretty much gave up on the details. There’s a part of the garage that I sigh over every time I park my car, but I just burned out of settling in to just pack it all up again. This unfortunately has also been the case with curtains. The studio already had brackets up, so I just stuck a pair on their when I unpacked, but they didn’t even match, oops. I think the issue was that there were blinds everywhere, so we had privacy if we needed it, it’s just really ugly privacy.

However, the vertical blinds over the patio sliding doors in the bedroom started to fall apart. Every time we walked near them, one would fall out. Soon I had curtains draped over the top, just to keep the neighbors outdoor light from shining in like a beacon at night. Sunday was the final straw, one of the slats dropped from mid door and it went from horrible looking to unacceptable. So I finally grabbed my drill, a couple of curtain rods and my favorite drapes and got to work.

How could you not love these?
How could you not love these? So pretty!

One of the reasons I had been putting this task off is that I have these drapes that I used and LOVE, they are thick, lined and so pretty. However, I was not sure if one set would work on the door. More importantly, I had bought them for my pre Adam bedroom, which is now in the guest bedroom and very white, fluffy, colorful and feminine. When we got married, we bought a bed that is much larger and much darker that I ever thought I would own, but Adam loved it. So I picked furniture and fixtures to go along with its size and color and all of a sudden we have a super dark, masculine bedroom, well except the bedding…I always have white and fluffy there.

In our last bedroom, I used the curtains from my previous living room in our, white sheers with dots as it was a dark room and the delicateness of the curtains helped it not feel like a cave. I knew these sheers looked great with our dark bedroom furniture, but there is so much light in this room in the morning that I really didn’t want to use them as we are night owls. If we knew we would be here for many years, I would have looked into buying more, but as it’s a rental and I have so many curtains already, I really wanted to make due.

plantation bedroom after

As Sunday was the breaking point, I decided to just put up the heavy drapes that I loved and hope they worked. Well, they work perfectly with the light but are a bit of a stretch on the matching. So, so much better than the blinds though that I don’t care. Did you notice that we have the worlds largest bedroom? Our bed is a king and the frame extends out around it…and it looks tiny in there! The big empty spot is where I do my work out videos, which makes sense in practice, but looks pretty odd having such a vast expanse of nothing. Oh and the carpet. Ugh. I detest it. It however is in great condition, is thick and fluffy and Faye and Adam are all about it. Faye gallops around the house enjoying essentially a dog bed everywhere. If we end up buying this house, which we’d like to…the carpet will be a big debate. For now though, I just have to deal with it. At least I can avert my attention to pretty drapes now!

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