Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Zig a Zig Ahhhh

If you haven't watched the Spice Girl's "Wannabe" video lately, you should stop what you are doing now and watch. It is a brilliant piece of pop culture history. Sure, it might be one of the silliest music videos ever, but it is mesmerizing.

Why have I seen it recently? Well, I let the girls watch the Chicken Little movie recently and there is a scene where Ugly Duckling is doing karaoke to Wannabe and it is now forever ingrained in my girl's heads.

I actual love when this happens - when a song from years ago pops up in a kid's movie, and then my kids think it is this awesome new song that they want to hear in the car all the time. My favorite time this happened was when they heard "Send me on my way" by Rusted Root in the Ice Age movie. It will now forever be known as "the Ice Age song" but at least I get to listen to decent music in the car every now and then! I absolutely refuse to download "Gangham Style" which they heard at the end of some squirrel movie they watched with the babysitter last week and won't stop singing - of course with all the wrong words.

Back to Spice Girls magic...

My kids have watched this music video so many times that I can't help but dissect it every time I watch it now. Here are my favorite takeaways from this work of art:

  • There is a mad cast of supporting characters. My first favorite is this delightful old bag who looks like a skunk died on her head. She is thrilled when the Girls come and interrupt her dinner and does a pretty decent two second dance with them. 

And this woman

Who is obviously stealing hair styling tips from one of my favorite characters ever, Ruby Rhod: 
Bitch stole my look!

  • There is a seriously lack of bras and lot of blatant nippleage (yes, that is a word I just made up and here is a shot for my husband of his favorite Spice Girl) 

  • Baby Spice looks like a drowned rat. These days, where you can't spit in the wind without hitting someone with a weave in Hollywood (that is a saying right?) Baby would be chastised and not allowed to leave the house looking like this with her thin, stringy, greasy do. And how weird is it that a grown ass woman called herself "Baby" and then dressed like a child and we were all ok with it?? I also have to go on the record that I owned both the shoes Baby is wearing (in black) and the shoes Posh is wearing. Ah, 90s fashion at it's best. 

  • Let's refer to the photo above and talk about how horrendous the dancing is in this video. The only people with any sort of rhythm are Scary and Sporty (who by the way must be significantly taller than the other girls as she is in flats and the others - except Scary who is seen next to Sporty but standing on a stair higher - are all in heels and platforms). It is painful to watch the jerky movements of Posh and the awkward broken moves of Ginger in her circus act unitard (which was done about 20 years before you Miley!). 

  • Ginger is SUPER handsy in this video. You can see her here humping this aghast Marilyn Monroe/Cindy Lauper lookalike, who by the way has the worst VPL (visible panty line, of course) ever. And at one point she grabs Baby's butt under her skirt.
  • At more than one point Scary Spice forgets to lip sync her line in the video. She should be singing but she is actually kissing someone at a certain moment. 
  • If you didn't notice, the entire video is shot in one take, which is impressive and just ridiculous. You see Ginger multiple times look away from the camera to look behind her so as to not trip over something, or fall down the stairs. 
  • Who would have known from watching these Girls that Posh spice would turn out to be the most famous of them all! She is a total worthless mannequin in this video, and is practically hidden in the back the whole time - for good reason. Her talents were never singing or dancing, they were posing and designing clothes, and marrying well, and look where she is today!

I could go on, but I don't want to ruin the magic of the video for you all (like I did for my friend once when we watch the original Annie and I commented throughout the movie how ridiculous it all is and  in turn ruined it forever for her - sorry!) Sit back, relax and enjoy the madness. And tell me what you want, what you really really want and please don't let it be to slam my body down and wind it all around, because that sounds painful. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Project Playroom: The Accent Wall

I am not afraid of color. You would not know that if you stepped into my house as most of the walls, tile, cabinets and furniture (so far) are white, beige, gray or greige (a combo of the two). I made two very bold color choices when designing this house. One (which you will see in a post in the near future) is a kelly green vanity in the girls' bathroom. The second is this accent wall in the playroom. 

Both of these decisions were met with much hesitation when I told my builder about the bright bold colors as he is all about the neutral tones. I have two kids, I am an artist/crafter/designer myself and wanted to do something that popped in my otherwise sterile and boring house (just wait until I repaint my dining room table legs hot pink!). I was later told by said builder that he loved my decision on color, so there! 

I had originally planned to paint more than one wall in the playroom this beautiful teal color (Miami Teal by Benjamin Moore), but decided to stick with this one side wall. The windows in the house are to the left of this wall, and get incredible light in the morning as our house is Northeast facing. 

I kept this wall simple as the color is already an attack on the senses, and put the spin art canvas M and I created last year as the main focal point. Below are table and chairs from Ikea, and for now we have that yellow crisscross rug from Overstock. I had plans to buy a new fancy rug for in there, but that won't be happening until the girls are older and aren't spilling things all the time, or drawing on rugs with markers!

Hanging in the corner of the room is a tent from Land of Nod, that is affixed to the ceiling. More on that awesomeness in a later post! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Project Playroom: A Family Portrait of Sorts

Let the new house posts commence!

I have decided to start sharing some of my design ideas/projects that I have been working on lately. I am starting small for now (new nightstands, an accent wall, etc.), but have other big things in the mix (recovering chairs, wallpapering and designing the formal living room) that I will happily share with you all, and more importantly ask for your opinion! I have lots of great ideas, but seem to be having a hard time picking exactly which one I like the most in some cases. But for now I wanted to share with you my first project to be hung on the wall.

Behold, our family portrait, of sorts:

From the left it is Marlo the unicorn, Dada J the elephant, Val the deer and Mama J the giraffe.

I remember a few years back my husband said that he had only one opinion about the decorating of our new house - no antlers or animal heads of any kind. So my antler chandelier was out, but I was dying to put some sort of animal head (not real of course) or some sort of antlers somewhere in the house. Shortly after this discussion, I came across these cardboard animal busts, made by Cardboard Safari, on a site called Darby Smart a fabulous website full of ingenious DIY crafty projects. I purchased them last summer before we moved out of our old house, and not until almost a year later did I actually start this project.

I let the girls assign who got what animal, and also let them (help) pick the colors as they come in plain brown cardboard. I took it upon myself to spray paint the front and back of every little piece. After two coats on each side of the pieces, I then assembled them into their bust form (which was not as easy with the extra layers of paint - it took a little extra muscle, but a friend later recommended I should have used an exact-o knife to make the slots larger - doh!).

They all now hang proudly in our playroom for all to see. I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out.

Here is a shot to get some perspective as to how big they are on the wall. They are approximately 11 inches in height. 
More photos to come of the rest of the playroom! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sprouts 2.0

Food trends are a funny thing. It isn't like in clothing or technology, where something can be actually invented and created. There are no new foods items being invented (have you tried Smagbloff yet? It is the hottest new vegetable!) so it is so odd to me when a food becomes trendy and popular, when it has been there all along, people. Kale. Kale has been around since the beginning! Can't go to a restaurant without seeing kale on the menu. Truffles. Once just reserved for fancy French restaurants - now on the menus of every Yard House and Friday's near you (ok, probably not real truffles, but truffle flavored oil for sure)! Same goes for sweet potato fries, beets, goat cheese, Burrata, and my favorite brussel sprouts. Did you ever see any of these things on menus when you were younger?

Sprouts with a kick!
I never even put a brussel sprout in my mouth until I was in my mid-20s. Now they are on the family menu at least once a week. I cooked them for my parents a few years back, they hesitantly ate them, and now they are aboard the sprout train like everyone else. If you aren't eating sprouts, you don't know what you are missing.

Clean them, cute them in half, drizzle avocado oil (my oil of choice) over them, a little salt and pepper and roast them in the oven for 30 minutes (or until dark and crispy around the edges - the burned parts are the best!) on 400. Couldn't be simpler.

I decided to try and recreate a sprouts dish that I had at a local restaurant a few weeks back, where they had the roasted sprouts covered in a honey Sriracha sauce, and much to my surprise, was quite successful.

How do you make said Honey-Sricacha sauce? Get ready to write this down....

Put some Sriracha sauce into a bowl...and add honey.

I know! Rocket science.

Any Sriracha sauce will do, but I use raw honey because I like the taste better than regular honey (and it is better for you). It will depend on how spicy you like your food as to how much honey you add to sauce, but just start adding and start tasting! Then drizzle a small amount (it goes a long way) over your roasted sprouts and you have Sprouts 2.0!

Friday, May 29, 2015

My five month vacation is over!

We did it friends. Almost 2 years after signing our P&S agreement in 2013, as of April 23rd, we are finally living in the house that crazy built. Here I am, sitting as I do every day on my kitchen counter after sweating my ass off at the gym, just like in my inspiration photo that started it all (see previous post). You can't even tell the difference between the two photos right? 

Life is good. The insanity of the actual house build is behind us (of course there are still lingering punch list items) and we have moved onto the next phase of our lives. I am working on some design projects around the house (many posts to come about that in the near future) and still taking lots of photos on a daily basis. 

Although there were times over these past two years that my husband and I almost backed out of this project, and wanted to strangle a few individuals, I enjoyed the process over all. It is amazing to see all your hard work and ideas that you spent countless hours deciding on come to life. We are truly blessed to have been able to take this journey, and are now lucky enough to be living in one awesome abode. 

My advice to those thinking about starting a new house build (well the main takeaway from this ordeal) is to have as many people on your "side" as you possibly can. I went into this project (and ended it) pretty much being responsible for all of the design and day-to-day decisions. Hubs was a total rockstar when it came to all of the financial and scheduling issues - damn does it help to have a lawyer sleeping in your bed at night. 

But what I regret is that we did not spend the extra money to have someone as a buyers representative. I do not have a background in construction or real estate development, obviously, nor do I have much experience in design, so I really didn't know what was the right decision when it came to many things. Sure I knew what I liked, but would what I liked work? Would this paint color work in a room with this amount of light? What kind of countertop is right for our lifestyle? Is it worth it to spend extra money on top of the line appliances? Where should we save money and where should we splurge? Should that light be on a dimmer or no? What height do I want this light fixture? Do I want a one or a two piece toilet? 

These all seem like silly questions, but they were all things I was struggling to decide, on my own, and WTF did I know? I think I made the right decision about these things, but who knows. It would have been amazing to have someone with experience helping me make these decisions, as well as someone to be our representative when it came to scheduling and quality control. What I mean is that it would have nice to have an extra set of eyes, someone working for me, come through the house to double check that things were done correctly. Not saying that they weren't done correctly in the end, but it was all so rushed the last two weeks before we closed, and it was me checking to make sure it was all done to my liking. Let's just say that thankfully the house is under warranty for one year, and that I have my contractors on speed dial. 

Now that house stuff has settled down, and summer is upon us, I plan to be back in blogging action, and have lots of fun stuff to share with you all...hopefully there are still some people out there following me!! Bueller? Bueller???

and now for some real gems...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our Humble Abode: Kitchen Counter Stools

The kitchen...where do I begin. I was the most excited about designing the kitchen in our new house (which is still not completed, FYI). It is the center of the house (literally), it is the hub, it is where we (well, I) will be spending most of our time when in the house. There are a few things that I knew I wanted going into the design of the kitchen:

1. I wanted a white kitchen. No discussion - it had to be white.

2. I wanted a large center island, where you sat at the end, not the side, to eat. This photo above served as inspiration for me when designing the kitchen, and is very similar to what our island looks like (not as wide). I wanted everyone to be able to converse easily with each other while seated, and not have to crane their necks side to side to chat. Plus I like to look at my family when we are eating together. 

3. I wanted to mix silver and gold finishes. I wanted big gold statement lights over the island, but wanted to keep brushed nickel finish on the cabinet hardware. I love to mix unexpected colors and textures and finishes when I make my jewelry, and wanted to reflect this in our house. This photo below was one of the first things I pinned and has also been an inspirational photo for me - so much so that I purchased the same lighting fixtures for our island!
I am wearing this outfit right now as I write this. 
4. And finally, to get to the point of this very long post, I wanted Parisian Bistro Counter Stools (aka French Bistro stools AKA those chairs that they have at Cheesecake Factory, as one of my friends pointed out - not the look I was going for of course but she is correct.) Not only do I think they are gorgeous, and a great way to add a pop of color to the stark white room, they are uber kid-friendly! I am beyond sick of having cushions with spots all over them, and now we can just wipe away the mess. 

I believe this is  TK Collection chair (see more info below)

So I started a search, and quickly came to find out that not all Parisian Stools are created equally. I thought I would take the time to share the different styles/brands that I came across so that hopefully someone someday will not have to spend all their free time for weeks doing this research, because I have done it for you!

The High End: 

- TK Collections: I had no clue what these suckers were going to cost going into this, and was shocked at the wide range in prices that I came across. One of the first companies I came across was TK Collections. They are a custom order chair maker, from Paris, with an office in NYC. You can actually customize the pattern and color of the weave on the chairs - how cool is that! You are also able to customize the seat height, which was a huge selling point as most chairs were too tall for our island. I created the perfect chair on their website, only to find out (through my decorator as they only sell to trade) that they were $1000 a piece. $1000 - for a bar stool. No way Jose!!! See the above photo for an example of their beautiful workmanship and unique pattern design...

The Weave Designer is super cool! Look at all the fun patterns. No wonder they cost a fortune!

You are able to customize every little section!

Middle of the Road ($300-$400): 

- Maison di Midi: They have a lovely variety stools, in what I think is the best color selection at this price. The reason we didn't go with this brand is that I needed a stool that was 24" from floor to seat and at 26" this was too high. This particular chair pictured below will cost $342.95 plus shipping and tax. 

This was my first choice - love this color combo

- Serena and Lily: I ran into the same seat height issue with Serena and Lily, so needless to say they are not who we went with. I did like their color selection, but their seat was also narrower at 18". These chairs will run you $325 for bar height (30" seat) and $295 for counter height (26.5"). 
The only place I saw yellow chairs - M would have loved them!

- Williams Sonoma: At first I wasn't crazy about these chairs, as they were only available in blue and black striped. But ho! A 24" seat height! And what is that I just got in my inbox? A 30% off coupon? Jackpot! We ended up going with these chairs, in the blue. Retail price is $395 plus delivery, but I got a wicked good deal with my coupon. It pays to sign up for those annoying emails. I have already received them and tested them out in the kitchen and I couldn't be happier. 
The winner!

Lower End ($275 and less - don't get me wrong, $275 is still a lot of money to spend on a stool!!) 
- Ballard Design: I wasn't a big fan of these to begin with, as they were more muddled in color than I wanted. I know someone, who knows someone, that has these in their home and they are very happy with them. That being said, they don't have great reviews on the website. They retail for $269 a piece. 

- Wayfair - Again, not the look I was going for, but they seemed to be the least expensive ones that I could find, at $200 a piece. 

We also looked into getting taller chairs and having the legs cut down, but we were told that it is nearly impossible to cut the rattan legs as there is a chance they might split or fray. I am totally happy with the choice of the blue and white striped chair from Williams- Sonoma, as we are going to have a navy blue color scheme in the family room that is off of the kitchen. 

I promise to share photos of the stools in their new home when our home is finished - which will hopefully be next month! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Casting Director Mama J: Beauty and the Beast (updated)

See update in Gaston section after my brother blew my mind with a new suggestion!

I just read online that Emma Watson has been cast to play Belle in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, and I couldn't be happier! One of my favorite things to day dream about is casting live action versions of animated films. It sounds so silly, but at one point I actually kept a list of whom I would cast in what, in hopes of writing a blog post about it in the future. If only I could find that said list (I am guessing it is in storage with 90% of our other belongings.) This recent announcement of Emma playing Bell has me thinking about who else I would cast in the movie if I were casting director...Here are my thoughts:

The Beast:

My original plan was to have my honey Hugh Jackman play the role of the Beast, to Olivia Wilde's Belle. Actually he would be amazing as Gaston too, but with the casting of Emma, only 24, as Belle, it would be weird to have someone as old at Hugh, 46, playing either role. Sorry my love! I have included his photo in this post anyway because he is dreamy and I like looking at his face. Where was I?

Yes, the Beast. After recently seeing Into the Woods, I actually think Chris Pine (another dreamboat) would be a terrific Beast! He can sing, he can move, but it would be a shame to cover his face in Beast make-up for the majority of the movie.

I think Chris and Emma would make a lovely leading couple, don't you?


Can anyone else but my crush of all crushes, Joe Manganiello, play Gaston? Does he sing? Who cares! Is he probably too old? Yes! But is there another tall strapping dark haired hunk in Hollywood that could play this role? Probably, but I can't think of one! Where does he sign????
Hey, Girl. Want me to come over and give you a foot massage while you watch Real Housewives?
Update: After I shared this post on Facebook my brother actually came up with an even better (gasp!) selection for Gaston. Henry Cavill. How could I forget my favorite part of The Tudors? I have no clue if he can sing but cast him now damn it! He is also apparently the nicest guy in Hollywood. Look at this face...

Le Fou: 

Originally I had thought of Ricky Gervais as this part (he has a tremendous singing voice if you didn't know) but again, he is too old for this cast. My new favorite person for this role is Josh Gad, of Book of Mormons and Olaf fame. He has the looks (sorry Josh, you are more attractive than LaFou but there are some similarities!) and the vocal chops to boot. Plus he would add a terrific comedic aspect to the movie. 

This could be the worst photo of Josh I have ever seen - turns out he is crazy photogenic!

Lumiere and Cogsworth

I am not too concerned about who would play these two enchanted objects. Lumiere needs to be someone with a legit singing voice of course - Hugh, maybe? I hope they find someone off Broadway for the role of the debonaire candlestick. 

Mrs. Potts

I cannot get Mrs. Patmore (from Downton Abbey) off the brain for this role. Or even Mrs. Hughes! They both have lovely soft voices - I have no clue if either of them can sing, but I guess they need to for the big title song sequence. Or maybe even have Angela Lansbury reprise her role! Or Julie Andrews? She can still belt it! 

It will really depend on which way they are going with the live action adaptation. Are they planning to modernize it or will it be in the same "old timey" time of the Disney movie? Maybe Indina Menzel as Mrs. Potts so she can have another crack at singing gold? This will be an interesting role to cast...

But who am I to say who gets what role! I can't wait to find out who they do inevitably cast...

Wait until you hear my thoughts on Little Mermaid and Rapunzel!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Our Humble Abode: Wood Floor Stain

Picking out a hardwood floor stain is not as easy as one might think. There are about 40 to choose from in one brand of stain (Minwax brand is what we are using on our house). When looking at the swatches one might not be able to differentiate the brown of Dark Walnut from that of Special Walnut, but there is a difference!

When my builder first asked what color I wanted the hardwood floor to be, I originally thought I wanted very dark floors. Then my parents put very dark floors in their house they re-did and all I hear are complaints from them about how they show everything and how I will be cleaning them all day long and how they show scratches like you wouldn't believe. I have a big dog, and two messy girls - and I am not the neatest person alive - so the last thing I want are high maintenance floors. 

Then I thought I wanted gray floors - so bright and beachy and on trend with what I see in the magazines these days. But could I live with gray on every floor, in every room of this house? Is that really my style? Maybe if I actually lived near the beach, but our landlocked home doesn't have a beachy feel to it at all. 

So I decided to test some middle of the road brown stains on the floor yesterday to actually get a feel for what the stains would look like in our very bright and light home. Our floor is 3 inch Red Oak wood, and this is two coats of each of the stains. All Minwax brand. The photo was taken in natural light so this is a great representation of what the stains look like. I will say they are very similar to the tiny wood swatches I had of each of these colors. 

The winner is Special Walnut, in the top left corner!

Golden Oak turned too golden-yellow for me with the second coat. The grain in the Dark Walnut turned way too black for my liking. English Chestnut took on too much of a reddish hue. Classic Gray wasn't what I was looking for, but I wanted to see what it looked like anyway - and it turned way too blueish gray on our floors. Weathered Oak was too light and yellow, so Special Walnut is the final choice!

Funny thing is, Special Walnut was my original first choice before I even did the test. 

As far as how to test the stains, just purchase the tiny cans ($4 at Home Depot), a cheap brush, and some Wiping Cloths (they are actually made for this purpose). You paint the stain on the floor (after you sweep away any dust) and then wipe the spot with the cloth. I did the second coat 24 hours later, but I am sure you can do it pretty much right after as they dry quickly. 

As far as finish we are going to keep it matte, so it will look just like the photo above. 

Hope this helps anyone looking to re-do their floors (as I was looking for something like this on Pinterest)!

Our Humble Abode: Family Room


Hello friends. It's been a while, I know, but things have been crazy pants over in my neck of the woods. We are getting down to the wire with our house build - FINALLY. We are nearing the light at the end of this seemingly perpetual tunnel, and it is coming quickly. I went to the house today and there were approximately 10 trucks in the driveway and about 20 men working all over the house - painting and tiling and putting in closets. 

After a year of picking out the boring stuff like faucets and deck colors the fun stuff has begun!

You would think that after four years of pinning home ideas on Pinterest I would know what I want to do as far as decorating our home is concerned. It is quite the contrary. I have too many ideas - way too many ideas - and I am having a hard time actually make a final decision on anything. I am losing sleep over rugs and window treatments. I spent probably about 5 hours (not joking) looking at rugs for Val's room, only to make a decision, and then change my mind again. I have nightmares about the wrong rugs being delivered. Ridiculous I know, but my life is all about the house now that the reality of actually living there is settling in.

But right now I need your advice! The current thing I am losing sleep over is a coffee table. I know, madness, but we seriously can't make a decision. So I figured I would see what others thought about the four options we have narrowed it down to below. You do not need to know where they are from, or how much they cost, just simply look at the options in the collage and tell me which you think would work in the room. They are all relatively the same size (from 55" to 60" long) and very similar colors. All wood too. It is a big room, so it can hold a big coffee table, and the couch is huge so it needs a big table to anchor it in the room. 

In the collage you will also see the paint color, Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore, the rug (Pottery Barn), the color of the couch (it is almost tweedy looking up close) and the center light fixture that will go in the center square of a coffered ceiling. 

What are your thoughts??? Comment in the comment section!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blah, blah, blah

6 weeks.

That is how long it has been since my last post. 6 freaking weeks.

It isn't that I didn't have things to write about, or stories to share, it is that I am at an odd place in my life when it comes to the blog.

Let me explain.

Lately my time has been spent mostly on picking out things for the new house. Oh, yeah! Remember that new house we are building? That we were supposed to move into in August...then October...then in two weeks? Well it has about two more months of work left to be done on it.

I have so many stories to share about this process - SO MANY - but I am scared to write about any of it on the blog because, universe forbid, someone that works on my house reads it, and then it gets back to my contractor and then he delays us even further. This is the way I think now.

Once we are moved in I will be ready to share like I have never shared before. I will share photos and mood boards and unbelievable stories like our tile being installed in our master shower by a small Vietnamese man with a lit cigarette hanging from his mouth who told me he hates the tile I picked out, who I then told "well then it's good that you never have to see this damn shower again once you are finished!"(And yes I told our contractor to tell that tiny man never to smoke in my house again!)

I am also hesitant to share things that happen in my life because I have been told that I occasionally "over share" and I should "be careful" what I put out on the internet. Too late for that I guess! But after hearing this from a couple of people I am hesitant to post things like M looking at my naked body and asking "what happened" to me to make me look this way (this I found hysterical BTW).

Hubs is kicking ass and taking names at work. Every time I go to write something lately I think, "what if one of Hubs' co-workers read this?" and then I decide not to share about the week where one of our daughters decided to pee in the tub every night, or the time a diaper-less post-bath Val decided to poop on the rug (see what I am doing here? )

My life has become all about what counter stools to buy and what wallpaper to put in the dining room - these are the things that keep me up at night. Life is good. I have no complaints (those will be shared after our house is done). Who wants to read about spending hours picking out cabinet hardware? You better, because in two months I am an open book...

Until then. Live long, and prosper.