Monday, November 23, 2015

Six shows you should be watching, but probably are not!

I was going to entitle this post "Six television shows you should be watching..." but I just realized that I don't watch any of these shows on my actual television anymore. Who needs TV when you have Hulu and Netflix, and you can carry around your iPad with you from room to room while you put away laundry?

Most shows on actual broadcast networks are total garbage. To find groundbreaking "television" you must turn to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime or obscure actual networks like FXX.

There are so so so many good smart "television" shows out there right now, and I bet you aren't watching them, nor have you heard of them in some cases, so I watched them for you and made this list!

In no particular order, here are the things that you need to start watching:

1. Master of None (Netflix) - I feel in love with Aziz Ansari back when he had a very minor part on Scrubs in 2009, and again as Tom Haverford on Parks & Recreation. Anyone who has an affinity for 90s hip-hop is a friend of mine. His latest show (that he created and wrote), which was just released a few weeks ago (all 10 episodes are streaming now) is freaking amazing. AMAZING. I think I watched all 10 episodes in one day. It is smart, relatable, hysterical, moving, need to be watching this masterpiece, especially if you are a human in your 30s (30 year old horses need not watch). It is honestly unlike anything else out there. Turn off that Big Bang Theory garbage, and treat yo self to Master of None. (I am currently listening to his latest book on Audible as well! All Aziz all the time apparently.)

2. You're the Worst (FXX) - This show is my husband's worst nightmare. He cannot stand to watch a show where the cast is full of horrible selfish people (he will leave the room if I am watching any Housewives episode). I don't think I could ever get him to watch this show, based on the title - and the fact that everyone is this show plays a despicable character - but I love every one of them. The main characters are self involved 30 somethings afraid of commitment and change, who are also alcoholics and drug users, as well as clinically depressed narcissists (well, one is depressed, but all are narcissists). It is so well written, and honestly laugh out loud funny. The first season is all on Hulu right now (and for $11 a month you can watch anything on Hulu without commercials now - have you tried watching television on On Demand? Is there anything worse than not being able to fast forward commercials??????? NO!! - for some reason I just said this whole parenthetical in Aziz' voice in my head - yikes.) The second season is currently airing on FXX.

3. Jessica Jones (Netflix) - Holy bejesus. I love love love a show where things happen that you totally don't expect. I won't give anything away but after the first episode I just stood there staring at my iPad (while in my closet putting away laundry - again, who needs tv?) in total shock. This show was ten times better than I could have ever imagined. A dark, scarred and emotionally damaged female super hero? Sign me up!

4. Fargo (FX) - I can't say much about this, as I have only watched the first episode as I am waiting for Hubs to be less busy to watch with him. But having seen the glorious first episode I am waiting with breath that is bated to continue watching it. I have heard nothing but praise for this season of Fargo.

5. Transparent (Amazon Prime) - I watched this series when it came out last year, but in anticipation of the second season starting December 11th, I had to add it to this list. It is groundbreaking, it is heartwarming, it is heartbreaking. It is a must see. Moppa!!!!

6. Difficult People (Hulu) - I love watching Billy Eichner acting a fool while running all over Manhattan, and now I love him even more after watching his latest endeavor, Difficult People, in which he costars with Julie Klausner. Here is another smart, well written and laugh out loud comedy about generally horrible celebrity-obsessed people - and I can't get enough of it!! Especially Andrea Martin, who plays Klausner's mother. That lady gets funnier the older she gets.

I beg you to stop watching Shonda-shite on TV, and cancel that Scream Queens series recording and start watching one of these least so I have someone to talk about them with!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dinner Winner

Last week I wrote about our struggles with dinner, but this week I write about our triumphs!

A friend read my post Picky, Picky, Picky Eater and immediately informed me of this amazing product that has changed dinner time in their house, the Dinner Winner Tray by Fred & Friends.  I am willing to try anything with my kids, so I hastily purchased two trays via Amazon as I could not go another night fighting my kids to eat their dinner.

The kids were immediately drawn to their colorful new "plates" and I loved the retro design and feel. I let them both see the trays before I started to prepare dinner, and told them we were going to play a little game while we ate. Mommy was going to put a treat under the "Finish" top and if they ate their way down the path and got to the Finish space, they could have whatever I put under there.

I had them in the palm of my hands. Games? Prizes? Mom is actually letting us have dessert???

I explained to them that some nights the spaces on the trays would be filled with things that they don't eat all the time, and that they had to try them. I also explained that if they didn't eat all (ok, 90%) of the food on their tray that they wouldn't get the AMAZING prize (which has been M&Ms the past four nights), and that is ok.

Let me tell you this - for four nights in a row my kids have been asking to play "Dinner Winner" and are absolutely elated when they sit down to eat!! I got them both to eat the crap out of a ham and cheese quiche, they are eating their vegetables, and last night I even got Marlo to eat "weird" pizza that had fresh herbs on it. I am still in shock.

They have been so good at waiting to have their prize too. And totally understand that if they don't eat the food in the spaces they don't get the prize, as has happened for each of them one night.

I know there are articles out there that tell you not to bribe your kids to eat, and not to make them eat all their food, etc., but we tried those methods. I tried the "You don't have to eat all of it" method or the "try bite" method, but nothing worked. The kids ended up just walking away from dinner and then throwing huge fits at bedtime because they were so damn hungry. This might not be the best way to get them to eat, but for four days it has worked for us!!!

I wish they made this for adults, but instead of a food prize it was a pill you could take to lose 10 pounds!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rave Bath

My kids get up early. Most days they are both up before, or close to 6 AM. Couple that with school from 8-3 (Tuesday through Thursday - Monday and Friday they have half days), and come 6 PM my kids are on a one way train to Crankville. It is hard enough to get them to sit and eat all their dinner when they are like this, let alone get them to eat and then go upstairs to take a bath.

There is the repeated chorus of "I don't want to take a bath!!" combined with writhing on the floor. Then the protest continues - "Why do we have to take a bath? We just took one yesterday? I don't stink! I am clean! Smell me!! I'm too tired to take a bath!" All too frequently there is some bribery on my part - an extra book, waiting up to see daddy, extra time to float in the tub, fancy bubbles, etc., and usually they take the bait and get in the bath. 

But I have a sure fire way to get them in the tub, no questions asked. 

Glow Sticks.

We had done this last year when we were living in the apartment a few times, but I totally forgot about it, until one of the girls found the glow sticks we had kicking around from Halloween. The past two nights the girls have actually asked to take a "glow stick" bath, each night running upstairs, racing to see who can get undressed first. Damn does that make the evening much more enjoyable!!

For just $19.99 you can buy a pack of 300 of the 8" sticks, on, which are the bracelet size ones, and that will last you a crazy long time. I let the girls have 8 glow sticks a piece each bath and it is plenty. 

 So if your kids protest the bath, get them excited with this simple and cheap idea. 

Just watch out for the crazy college flashbacks - wait, am I the only one that used to dance with glow sticks in college???

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Picky Picky Picky Eater

I had the following conversation with my children tonight:

Me: Who's excited for roasted cod, parsnips and carrots for dinner!

Marlo: Not me!

Val: (who now repeats everything that her sister says) Not me!

Me: Come on! This is dinner. You have to eat it.

Marlo then sidles up to me and puts her arm around me and says...

Marlo: Mom, you can put it in front of me, but I am just going to stare at it. I am not eating that for dinner.

Val (from across the room): I'm not eating that for dinner too Mom!

Me: Would you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?


Marlo: Now that I won't stare at. I will eat a PB& J!

Mom throws up the white flag as she doesn't have the fight in her tonight.

Aaaaaaaaand Scene. 

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Marlo, almost 6, that went something like this:

Me: Marlo, why aren't you eating your lunches that I pack you? You love egg salad. And yesterday you didn't eat the carrots and hummus, or the chicken salad the day before.

Marlo: I used to like those things, but I don't anymore.

Me: Since when?

Marlo: I like eggs, but not egg salad. I like carrots, but not with hummus, and I don't like the nuts in the chicken salad.

Me: Then don't eat the nuts (out of the salad that you ate a bowl of two days prior, including the nuts).

Marlo: Mom, I only like tuna salad for lunch. Pack me tuna salad for lunch every day and I will eat it.

Here we are two weeks later, and there has been a tuna sandwich in every lunch I have packed for her. And every day she eats every last bite of it.

What happened to my adventurous eater?? What happened to the girl that ate beets and lamb chops? What happened to my girl who would try anything? Where is the girl that used to eat whatever I gave her to eat?

When I was young I ate everything that my mom made. With the exception of Sloppy Joes (something about the smell and consistency of the meat product made me ill), I ate everything that my mother ever placed in front of me. I remember having my cousins over when we were around 6 years old, and one of them pitched a huge fit because my mom made different Mac n' Cheese than her mom usually made. She called it weird and wouldn't eat it, and I was shocked at her behavior (and can still replay that scene in my head to date) because I wouldn't even think to complain and whine about food! My mom made it, I ate it. It was that simple.

If we were at a friends house, we ate what their mom made. If we were out to dinner, we ate what we ordered. If we were at a birthday party, we ate what was served and didn't complain.

A few weeks ago, at one of the hundreds of birthday parties we now attend, we were eating pizza with about 20 other children. I am standing with other adults across the room from the kids, and I hear Marlo shout, "Mom! This pizza is gross! It isn't the kind I like!" for all to hear. WHAT? Not my child! I ran over to her and told her she can't say things like this, and she had to eat it. Of course she pushed it away and then started whining about how hungry she was, to which I responded, "then eat your pizza." It was all down hill from there.

She has become so particular about foods that she actually told me there are only 5 things that she will eat for dinner: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, spaghetti and mac n' cheese.

I honestly just died a little inside. My kid refuses to eat anything but the norms you see on crappy kids menus. Even if it is delicious home cooked, organic and healthy, she refuses to eat it. Yeah I know, she is (almost) 6, but it drives me insane that I have to make two meals every night of the week, or bargain and fight with her for an hour before bed time.

The other thing about her "menu" is that she won't just eat any pizza or any spaghetti, it has to be pizza from a particular restaurant (I kid you not - this kid won't eat frozen pizzas or most delivery pizza) or a certain sauce on her spaghetti. I once switched out the marinara I usually buy with one I got from Costco and she was having none of it.

She also all of the sudden stopped liking snacks she used to eat daily: she will now only eat one brand of cheese sticks and no other, she stopped liking the kind of pickles she used to love, she no longer likes Fig Newtons (or Fig Newmans as we get at Whole Foods). She also is very particular about things in her school lunch: if a strawberry touches anything else in her lunch, she won't eat it and if the cheese is not out-of-the-fridge-cold she won't touch it.

I just don't understand where this is all coming from. She didn't used to be a picky eater, but here were are arguing over dinner most nights. I envy those families that can make one meal and sit down together and enjoy the same thing. Don't get me wrong, we have done that - on nights where I make hamburgers and hot dogs.

Thankfully I can still get Val to eat pretty much whatever I put in front of her. I guess I have 2.5 more years to go until she just stares at her dinner and refuses to eat, like her sister.

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!