The past two and a half weeks have been wonderful – my husband had to take vacation (or else he’d lose it) so he opted for doing some stuff around the house during these past few days. We painted our dining room and kitchen, my husband installed recessed lighting, I went through my desk, my sewing stash (eek!) and my makeup. We enjoyed quiet mornings and snuggling while the boys were at school, long conversations without interruption, and lots of fun times with our little monkeys.


Tuesday arrived. Argh. I swear, it’s like we have to pay for having had a few nice, quiet days.

First, I woke up feeling like crap. Coughing, sneezing, just miserable. Which meant I couldn’t go see my dear friend K because I don’t want to give her my germs, so I stayed home and got a nap, after which I still felt like my head was somewhere other than on top of my neck, but at least I felt a little more human. Did some errands without realizing I had left my phone at home, which means that when my husband went to pick up our oldest — because until the end of school both boys get out at the same time, at different schools — and was told he’d been picked up, he couldn’t reach me to confirm it was me who had him. Ensue angst and fist-shaking at my forgetfulness. Then at home, hubby is ready to heat up his awesome Indian takeaway lunch, and the microwave dies. Since it’s attached to the stove, this now means we need a new microwave AND stove. Which wasn’t in our budget. Last, the boys chose this already stressful day to act up like they hadn’t in a looooong time. Seriously, I was about to tear out my hair. I only stopped because some of it is already starting to thin. And then the cat got out. Not the street-smart cat who can kick some serious ass, but the big lug who looks like a panther but is really a little mouse in disguise.

In the grand scheme of things, I know how lucky I am and that I have a wonderful husband who is an amazing father and partner. My boys are delightful and I love them fiercely. We are lucky to still have a home here in Sili Valley, and that we have our health and lots of blessings.

So, Tuesday, be gone! I am planning on a much better Wednesday. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

Dining Room & Kitchen Makeover – part 1

We loved our red walls.

Our red walls were so awesome.

There was just one teensy little problem. A complete lack of light coming into the kitchen and dining rooms.

See where the pots are hanging?

That’s where the big window used to be, looking out onto the backyard, with lots of natural light coming in. But a previous owner decided to add a room there – which is now the playroom/office. I know it looks like light is coming in to the kitchen, but the truth is, every single light has been turned on. The two kitchen lights, the dining room lights, the playroom lights, and I took the picture on a very sunny day (July of last year).

It didn’t help that the other source of natural light – the doors to the side yard, were shadowed by our pear and avocado trees, which we are NOT parting with.

Again, it looks bright and sunny here but every light was turned on.

Over the last few months we came to the realization that we could spend more years turning the lights on just to do dishes, because it really is that dark in the kitchen, or we could replace the red and help things along by installing some canned lighting.

We didn’t want to go back to the dreary off white that we found when we moved in:

We love warm, cozy colors – so off we went in search of a color we liked. It turns out there were two.

This is Valspar’s Cafe, a warm, creamy shade.

My husband wanted to try a sponging finish with a slightly darker color, so I chose Warm Buff, also by Valspar.

He did two walls so if we didn’t like the result, we could paint them over and start again. However, we both loved the finished look so we worked until late at night to get the painting done. We also made some minor changes and are still in the process of figuring out some final details, but we love the change. We went from this:

to this:

Some more views:

Already so much brighter and lighter, my dining room and kitchen no longer feel like such a cave! And I love that we can still have red accents around, but the neutral walls are open to so many colorways.

Now we are working on Canned lighting:

In fact, my husband is up in the attic as I type 😀

I hope your weekend is a wonderful one!
Weekend Bloggy ReadingPositively Splendid

She loves me . . . She loves me not!

She Loves Me

1. My sweet new nephew – it will be months before I ever get to meet him, since he lives in another continent, but I can’t wait to squish the little guy and cover his sweet face with kisses!

2. New scented candles – just received this one as a gift and it’s so yummy! There’s also a little hint as to what we’ve been working on.

3. That my boys are almost done with school – I can’t wait for summer and all the fun we are going to have together! Have you seen this great summer photo checklist from Simple as That? Full of great ideas to capture those fab summer moments!

She Loves Me NOT

1. I will admit I am dreading the summer heat. I don’t do well in heat or direct sun. A big floppy hat (like this one from Target) is always my best friend in these months.

Joining Michaela Noelle’s linky party!!!

Speakeasy Style

Over the weekend, our friend D, who’s the bee’s knees, held a helluva birthday party at a speakeasy up in the city. We got our wiggle on, put on our glad rags and drove up to the juice joint to join the other fellas and dolls who’d be celebrating. D and her husband C definitely put on the Ritz for this party, and we had a swell time!

My husband rented his outfit from a local costume shop, which happens to be a block away from the first place we ever lived in. I, however, relied on the kindness of friends, cheap stores, and some craftiness to put my ensemble together.

My headpiece was made of 3 purple feathers glued to the back of a gold satin rosette that I made. I added some pearls and rhinestones to the rosette and glued felt to the back to secure the feather stems, then sewed the felt to a small comb. I made a thin braid on the left side of my head to anchor the comb, slipped the comb in, and secured it with some bobby pins. It didn’t not move all night, through hugging, windy San Francisco streets, and lots of dancing.

The earrings were made from clear crystals years ago and the necklaces I got from Forever 21.

Our dear friend J lent me a gorgeous ruffly black dress, it was perfect, comfortable, and fun to dance in. I wore sheer dark stockings and black pumps.

The stole was made from costume leftovers and all I did was cut the rectangular piece in half lengthwise, then join small sides together to make it a longer, thinner piece. I used a huge (length of my index finger) needle and since it was faux-fur, didn’t bother to hem it or anything.

We had an absolute blast — the party was great, the band played fab music all night, and there was delicious food AND a candy buffet table. The three chocolate martinis I had weren’t bad, either ;D  I have to admit I got giddy when a lady wearing a real fur stole and a long strand of real pearls came up to me to ask me for my card because she thought my costume was the bomb.  Or I should say, the cat’s pajamas.  What can I say, we like to have fun on the cheap ;D

We were so happy to celebrate D’s birthday — we wish you nothing but the very best, doll!!!

Sassy Red Bookcase Makeover

As much as I am in love with my shades of turquoise and chartreuse, my love for burgundy will never fade.  Although it does when I try to put it on my hair.

Recently I re-organized the entryway and ended up with a plain little bookcase with nowhere to go, so I decided to glam ‘er up and give her a place to live next to my desk.

First I gave it a coat of primer, then two coats of Krylon’s Burgundy – geek moment: I was so giddy when I realized I used up the last of both that can of primer and the burgundy shade –  am I the only one who loves finishing up cans of spray paint, because it means I can get more? – and finally, a coat of Rustoleum lacquer.

After waiting impatiently for it to fully dry, I started filling it up with items that I wanted near me, that had no place on my desk, and that made me happy.

Et voila!

I am super happy with the result, it adds a lovely pop of color against the white walls of the office, and it has many items that make me smile.

I just received this beautiful mug for mother’s day, from my dear friend D, and believe me, it’s already getting some use. Seeing it there when I first go to my desk reminds me to just take a moment for myself before the craziness of the day begins. The green oval box hides some Splenda packets, and the Paris-papered oatmeal canister holds whatever current magazines I have.

The adorable mini chest of drawers was a gift from my dear friend A long, long ago, and the picture frames were gifts from my mom. The photo on the left is of us holding our month-old oldest, and the one on the right is our youngest’s hospital picture. I don’t think it looks anything like him but yes, I know it’s him because they took the pics in my hospital room ;D

The bottom shelf has a tray I decoupaged with more Paris-themed paper, one of my favorite votive holders (from the dollar bins at Michaels!), a little tray I made inspired by an item at Paper Source, my current inspiration books, and the most sought-after treasure in our household: PENS!!! I swear, I can’t keep them on my desk anymore because they get taken at an alarming rate 😀 so now they are sort of, maybe, semi-hidden. Who am I kidding, by the time this post is published there won’t be any pens left!

So that’s it, my latest re-vamp – I took this bookcase from drab to fab and didn’t spend a cent. But now, I must spend a penny, if you know what that means.

Have a wonderful weekend!

My mother’s day

Our Sunday was a relatively quiet one, the boys ran around and did their own thing while we (me and my in-laws) enjoyed on the wonderful lunch my husband put together.

But first, it was present time!

I got a sweet, handmade “vase with flowers” from each of my boys – one was on a paper plate and the other was made out of a pasta sauce jar. I’d asked my husband for light summery jammies and he bought me a bunch – thanks, honey!

The food was delicious – the corn on the cob didn’t even need butter!

My burger:

My husband’s burger:

His momma’s burger – she was very adventurous!

Enjoying lunch under our little gazebo

And then — oh my goodness, came the dessert tray:

Strawberries, mango and kiwi dipped in chocolate, and fresh-from-the-over brownies. So good!!!
I had asked for something chocolatey for dessert and boy, I got it!

It was a wonderful day, full of love, and I hope you all had a great Mother’s Day, too – or a great Sunday, if you did not celebrate.

Best. Job. Ever.

My first mother’s day

Second mother’s day – expecting our youngest


Fourth – we were redoing the backyard


Sixth – with my mom


Today will be my eighth time celebrating mother’s day as a mom. I can think of no greater privilege, no greater honor, and no hardest job. I love my sweet boys more than anything in the world, and watching them grow up is a gift that I get every single day. I hope I am up to the task and I hope they always know how much I love them.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

A new mommy to congratulate!

My new nephew was born at around noon (CA time) yesterday. It was evening time in Sweden, where my sister-in-law, K, and her Swedish husband live, and I am glad everything went well. No name or other deets yet, but I am so incredibly happy — a little bummed that it will be months before we meet our Swede new relative (see what I did there wi . . . never mind.) but so, so happy at the thought of sweet newborn toes, the soft downy cover of hair on his little head, the soft cheeks.

I decided to be up most of the night so I can sympathize with the new mother — not really, I’ve been up with my youngest since 1:45am. Yeah. My oldest told K to not name the baby until they visit us 😀

Anyway, wishing a super Happy Mother’s Day (a couple of days early) to the newest Mommy I know! And to all the other mommies I know, and my mom readers. I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Girl Crush: Evan Rachel Wood

I’ve stopped watching award shows in the last couple of years. These days, I am relegated to hashtagging it on Twitter to find out who wins and then watching the acceptance speeches plus whatever interesting bits happened during the show, on YouTube. Such is the life when children take over your telly.

A couple of years ago, I was reading one of those “Best Dressed” articles online and Evan Rachel Wood caught my eye.

I mean, hello, the makeup is absolute perfection, the updo formal enough but messy and youthful, and the dress suited to her figure AND the event.

I made a mental note to see if this was a one-time-lucky kind of thing, and was thrilled to see ERW as Queen Sophie-Anne in True Blood.

Here’s another red carpet apeearance:

Honestly, I think she is one of those rare creatures who can do just about any kind of colorway when it comes to her hair and makeup. I’ve seen pics of ERW as an angelic light blonde, as a dirty blonde, redhead, brunette, and everywhere in between. Nude lips, pink lips, rose lips, red lips, she can pull off just about any color and she can play good, bad, innocent, lost, evil, you name it.

Then she went and did something that has been the kiss of death for many a starlet – she cut off her hair. And, no sh**, she still looks amazing!
Innocent in her little haircut

Kick-ass and androgynous

OWNING that red carpet!

And seriously, I don’t think MY feet have looked this smooth since I was a week old:

Now, my husband just asked me if ERW is my style muse. To be honest, no. Mostly because of the boobs. There’s no way I can pull off the super low-cut styles she rocks because it would look pretty tacky with my D-cups. Also, my skin coloring limits what hair color I can get away with — I just appreciate someone who can be so put together in such varied ways. Obviously, if might be her stylists who are doing all the putting together, but ERW absolutely OWNS her looks. Whether it is a vest and pants or a white couture shirt dress, she doesn’t look like most generic starlets of her generation.

And when she can pull off a look that is so generic in show biz — the pretty blonde

and still make it her own, I admire that.