A WOOT and a Radiant Orchid

My awesome husband’s fabulous idea of adding color to our backyard by making redwood frames for flowers won this:
Visit thecsiproject.com

for the whole of 2013!

I love The CSI Project and it was pretty surreal to see they chose our project as their favorite of the year.

So that was the WOOT! and now for my first take on Radiant Orchid.

My friend Carina and I went to a new (to me) beauty supply place and holy moly it was awesome. There I found a color I thought would be a good fit for Radiant Orchid and guess what, the name of it is Foxy Roxy. Named after my sweet puppers, how could I resist?

I got a few pale colors and a very pretty tomato red. Then I got out of there before I could spend the grocery money.

Does anyone else need like 5 more hours to the day? Because I totally do.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Sugar and Ginger and Frosting, oh my!

Life has been sweet around here ๐Ÿ˜€

My friend Jen got me this adorable plate:

And then we proceeded to make a complete mockery of all the Christmas cookies on Pinterest. I shouldn’t have had such high expectations.

I discovered that the minimalist approach was best for me:

Steve, of course, rocked his detail work.

Jen and I needed to run some errands, so I ended up resorting to the good-old “frost and sprinkle dump” method:

What can I say, it serves me well.

My little one wanted to make gingerbread man cookies, so off we were on the next adventure. He, too, has embraced the minimalist approach, because he made this one and left, leaving his brother and I with tubs of frosting, sprinkles, and assorted goodies:

My oldest took the opposite view with a Ginger Zombie Apocalypse theme:

I chose to create a homage to my beloved Niners and their current quarterback:

And we all ate too much frosting.

The end.

Sweet day

My dear friend J sent me a link to the promotion Sprinkles Cupcakes is currently having – bring an unwrapped toy and you get a free cupcake. Hello!!! I quickly rounded up three toys the boys had never wanted to play with, in fact, they were still sealed in their plastic wrap, and off we were to our local Sprinkles.


J had never been to Sprinkles. Wait no, she had never been to a cupcake store – time to remedy that, and in turn, donate some new toys for local children’s charities.

We were giddy 5-year-olds in that store, eventually made our selections – after letting a couple of people go in front of us because seriously, that display is a little overwhelming. I’ll tell you what I chose – Black & White, Carrot (for Steve) and Vanilla for my boys to split. We sat there eating our cupcakes, grins on our faces, happy to hang out and eat something decadent.

Sprinkles will be holding this promotion until December 15, so if you want to participate, you have three days left. I am super happy that we made a little day trip out of it and got to spend time with my good friend.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Exterior love


We finally put up our outside decorations this past weekend, and now it truly feels like we are ready for Christmas. Which is good because there’s two weeks left – eek!!!


The only unfinished business is that little white urn my beautiful friend J lent me, I might get a little evergreen for it.


All our outside decor is from past years, this lit wreath is a favorite, it makes me happy.


Our front door wreath is one I made eons ago, I’ve added a few bits to it here and there since every year we lose a couple from all the door opening and closing.

And since I’m in a totally sappy mood, I’m leaving you with this modified version of our first picture ๐Ÿ˜€

Glam holiday mantel

Our holiday decor “stash” is one that we add to every year. Also, I love to use things that we’d ordinarily have around the house anyway, and add them to our holiday decor. A couple of pieces in this mantel are a good example.


The two lanterns you see are part of our every day decor. The lovely one on the left is from Pier 1, we paid a couple of bucks for it because one of the pieces of glass was missing. The red one on the right is from IKEA.


I wrapped a couple of bottles in green yard for contrast to all the red and gold, and stuck a variety of branches in each. Steve had the WISH stocking holders since before we met, they’re from Pottery Barn, I think.


Our tree is also a forever work-in-progress. We started with many generic ornaments and over the past few years have been working on replacing them with more meaningful ornaments:

When our tree topper broke a couple of years ago, Steve (of course) rigged a star I had from Pier 1, and we’ve been using that as our topper. People have asked where we got it and love it because it’s so bright and cheerful.

That is our living room all decked out for the holidays, along with the village Steve put together. Next time I will show you our outside decorations – have a great week!

Our Christmas Village

Steve took something that we had for years and brought it to the next level. I woke up at 2 in the morning to let Foxy out to do her doggie business and found this loveliness:

Isn’t it magical?

Some close up shots:





We absolutely love it. He had been wanting to create the shadow effect of the line of trees in the background with lights behind them for ages, and finally did it a few days ago. He painstakingly cut out the tree line and also built the mountains and snow banks. Just a few additions but they’ve made the little village so much more charming.

Hope you enjoy our miniature wonderland!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thanksgiving 2013

Our Thanksgiving celebration was pretty damn awesome, I have to say. We hosted as we have for the past few years, but this time it was super special because we got to meet the littlest member of the family – and the current titleholder of The Most Chunkalicious Thighs in Existence. Here she is with our oldest, who is so good with babies:

Our menu had most of the usual dishes, plus a butternut squash soup Steve had tried in Napa and wanted to recreate. It was my favorite part of the meal.

Other than cooing at the baby.


I forgot to include poached pears in the menu, it was something Steve tried a couple of years ago and it was a hit, so he makes it every year.

Seriously, our little cousin could feed a family of four for a week with one of her thighs.

We are not having any more kids so kindly allow me this temporary baby-insanity. Happiest baby ever. Mama J, you are doing a great job!

I hope your Thanksgiving – or your Thursday if you did not celebrate – was a good one. I do not partake of the brick-and-mortar Black Friday craze, but I will definitely be checking out online sales – are you braving the crowds to get a deal?

Ukrainian dinner

Steve’s coworker and her friend came over last night to cook a wonderful Ukrainian dinner for us. I had met them a couple of months ago at the appreciation event for Oracle Open World, which Steve’s company attended. There was food galore, drinks for all and some skinny guy singing:

Our new friends decided to share their culinary expertise and make delicious, traditional food for us:

They treated us to borscht and Russian salad – which in Russia/Ukraine they call
Olivier salad, after the Belgian chef who invented it in Moscow. I love hearing about the origins of names of food, in Peru we also have something called “ensalada rusa”, i.e. Russian salad, which was very, very similar to what we enjoyed last night. Also, because you need to know this ;D nutmeg in Ukrainian is muskatnyyฬ† horikh and in Spanish it is nuez moscada. Muskatnyyฬ† moscada, similar word roots.

The borscht was, for me, the highlight of dinner. It was so fragrant, so complex in taste, so full of texture, that I’m sorry to say Steve isn’t going to find any of the leftovers when he gets home tonight. We also had some roasted chicken drumsticks made by Steve (our oldest LOVES drumsticks), all-American apple pie, and I made some cupcakes, which we decorated with the colors of the Ukrainian flag in honor of our wonderful guests/cooks.

So thank you, gracias, and spasybi to our Ukrainian friends, for a wonderful evening and amazing food!

Is it too early?

Because I am already planning my 2014 house revamp projects, starting with the living room.

The main change would be that we currently have three large, framed pieces of art on the main living room wall. They are very difficult to photograph because they are sculpted paper, so the artist took a large piece of very thick handmade paper and formed a picture molding the paper with high relief techniques. Also, my living room is super dark, so the prints reflect every single light I have to turn on in order to get a picture. But i will show you a corner so you can see what I’m talking about:

They are beautiful and actually do a good job of filling up the large wall. However, I’ve been staring them for about a decade. And the whole black and white thing doesn’t really fit our house.

Et voila, this is what I have come up with. Our current sofa is a very, very dark burgundy, but when we replace it in a few years, I’m considering a brown/grey tweed kind of fabric.

2014 Living Room v 2.0

Our (future) new sofa would complement all the colorful accessories included in the mood board above. And our pets, because let’s face it, they spend as much time in the living room as we do.

I am ready for a week full of adventures with my boys, who have vacation time until December 2nd, and am planning many afternoons cozied up with them and a hot coffee drink – have a wonderful weekend!