Closet in progress

The main reason for us reworking the closet was my need for an area to hang my dresses and skirts. Since I only have the bottom level, my dresses and longer skirts would end up sweeping the floor, so Steve graciously agreed to move the storage unit so I could have more suitable space.

Thank goodness the closet is not the only storage option – we do have each our own dresser, which makes things a lot easier. In our old place, we each had our own closet, but when we moved here, we knew that we’d need more storage than just the closet.

The small top drawers hold jewelry bits that I don’t wear often and some hair accessories. The main drawer holds summer pants/crops:

The next drawer down holds my tanks and tees, and I store my gloves in the little box in the corner on the left:

The next drawer down has my undergarments and other delicates and the bottom drawer holds workout gear and swimsuits. Not too exciting but there it is.

Now onto the closet itself. Left side:

Behold the beauty of organized tops 😀

Right side – skirt and dress area:

Top of the white unit:

A small but significant change – Steve got some new pulls for the drawers:

The pulls are like these but in a 4-inch center-to-center width. They stick out less than the old pulls and look a lot nicer.

So that’s our new closet configuration – Steve moved the white storage unit to the right, leaving the left half for our shared space and leaving about 2 feet on the right for my skirts and dresses.

So far, so good 😀

The Chopped Project results

I am incredibly happy with the results of my little Chopped-inspired experiment. On Friday I shared the plan – to use the following ingredients during the week: rolled oats, au gratin potatoes, Moroccan spice, Italian style bread crumbs, mango nectar, quinoa, tikka masala spice mix, and lentils. I’ll bold the challenge ingredients below:

Monday started with Baked Mac N Cheese from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook. My oldest, a mac ‘n cheese snob, ate the whole thing, so score one for mama. Dinner for the boys was chicken bites in a light coating of bread crumbs, and Moroccan spiced chicken with couscous for the grown ups. Win-win. I loved that the Moroccan spice mix was full of flavor, but only the tiniest hint of heat. Due to my GERD I cannot do hot spicy foods so this was something I could enjoy.

On Tuesday, I made a lentil and spinach dish, served over quinoa. Tuesday was the day that it hailed in our little neighborhood, so something comforting was needed. Yeah, we’re wimpy out here in California, but it was really cold.

Wednesday saw me trying a new cookie recipe – now, I am the worst baker ever, I can’t bake anything from scratch, but I used the recipe on the back of the Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats bag.

The kids had a couple of friends over and the only one who didn’t like the cookies was my youngest. The lumpy look of them put him off, but the three other kids loved the oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies. So did my husband and I, and I used up all of the rolled oats. That evening I made chicken tikka masala and rice for my husband, and since the chicken was too spicy for me, I ate rice and the rest of the lentils from Tuesday dinner.

On Sunday, we had my son’s birthday party and made some mango margaritas using the mango nectar:

In the end, I couldn’t use the au gratin potatoes. It’s something we don’t really eat, I don’t even remember why I bought them, and every time I would try to make them I would just think “yuck” so I guess I failed my little challenge in that I did not use every ingredient. However, we ate some new meals and I had fun trying to use up my challenge items. This is definitely something I want to try again.

I’ll tell you all about my son’s Minecraft-themed party in a couple of days!

Valentine’s Day Mantel

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away and although we don’t have huge plans for it, I still like to decorate our little mantel. Most of the items I found by going through our various decor bins and my only expense was 2 sheets of red cardstock that I used on the garland.

I found the little container on the left and it was the perfect size for my fake IKEA plant, but I didn’t love the designs on the front so I made a little “14” sign with glittery cardstock. Our house doesn’t get a lot of direct natural light but greenery brings such a sweet touch that I don’t mind that it is not real.

I used the two sheets of cardstock I purchased (2 for 1 at Michaels) and a leftover piece of polka dot paper to make a little garland.

On the right side of the mantel is yet another fake IKEA plant 😀 in a planter I covered with lovely sheet music paper, one of my favorite pictures of me and my oldest, and a great printable from A Geek in Glasses. I love the vintage look!!

I just love this photo, and here I was pregnant with my youngest so I love that it was our little secret at this point.

I love the whimsy of the polka dot paper!

I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at our Valentine’s Day mantel, I enjoyed putting it together – have a wonderful Monday!

MY mommy porn

Maybe my Crafty Porn, since I lusted after these kind of goods long before I was a mommy. I got the Paper Source catalog yesterday. Really, people? I’m trying to be good here. I have been working on my husband’s desk area — and wouldn’t you know it, the kids are already asking if they can be on here, WTF? — and not spending any money, using things I already had and suddenly The Catalog appears.

Wouldn’t these macaron dish towels be perfect in my little kitchen?

They also have wrap, magnets, cards, and other goods with this print. The only one I wasn’t too hip on was the macaron stamp, which, honestly, looks like a hotdog to me.


And they have tons of super cute Valentine’s Day craft kits and ideas. My favorite new paper has to be the red, gold, and fuchsia chevron wrap:

SOOOO many possibilities! The gold on cream version of this paper is beautiful as well.

And just in case anyone wonders, no, Paper Source does not sponsor my posts or in any way, shape or form compensate me for writing oodles of lovely things about them (except for the hotdog thing, I guess). I would LOVE for that to be the case but the truth is, I just happen to love their stuff.

Happy Hump Day!!

My sweet kitty Kat

Even when it is completely expected, the loss of a friend hurts so badly you wonder if the hole in your chest will ever be filled with something other than tears. I know – in my head, because I lost my dear dad two and a half years ago – that eventually it does, for the most part. Most of it becomes filled with great memories, although there is always that little bit of pain that will make you stop and hold your breath for a moment, as you struggle to go on in a world that doesn’t have your loved one any more.

I met Katrina when I started working at Mervyn’s in Mountain View, California. She was the nicest, most hardworking person and we became friends. Over the years our friendship had its ups and downs but in the end, it lasted twenty-three years. I am lucky and honored to have known this courageous woman, with her gentle sweetness and unlimited love for her family. You see, Kat never wanted fame or glory, wealth or power, she just wanted to marry her sweetheart and have lots of babies to care for. She did the first and had three sweet, amazingly well mannered children with him. She taught them those manners while her husband was away in the military much of the time, and I gave her many props for doing such a great job. I will always remember bringing my oldest over when he was a couple of months old, and Kat’s youngest saw he had no shoes (it was very warm) so he went and got his doll’s shoes and brought them “for your baby” — and seven years later, he is still a kind boy who plays so nicely with my son even though they’re 3 years apart.

As ALS began to take her body away, bit by bit, Kat never lost her grace, courage, and smile. Another Mervyn’s friend and I started to come over for “munch brunches” every month, we’d bring tasty treats and chat and eat, laugh and share for a couple of hours. When Kat became unable to eat solids, we would bring something to drink instead. She loved having me rub her arms and legs to help with the nerve pain that was a constant. I loved to give her manicures, she and I always loved burgundies and plums, and during our chats I would always throw in a few swear words to make her smile.

One of the last times we talked, I was asking her how her husband and children were doing with her worsening condition. I always made sure that if she needed to talk, she knew she could just unload with me. I have to thank Steve for that. He told me, maybe she wants to talk about it but doesn’t think people want to hear about it. So I asked the tough questions and she answered candidly. But that one time, she turned it on me. She asked me, “and how are you doing with my condition?”. I looked up because I was rubbing one of her hands, looked at her beautiful, caring eyes, and completely lost it. I thought that shit only happened in the movies. Noooooo. I started to sob, and made her cry too, but I told her how important she was to me, that I would miss her terribly, that I hated ALS, that I had a list of people I would prefer to have ALS instead of her (that one made her smile), and pretty much sobbed out my love for her for the next five minutes. Through her own tears, she told me “you’re my sister.”

I know, Kat. I know. And you were mine. And like I mentioned that day, my Wednesdays and Fridays will be empty now. No more sweet kitty Kat visits for now. I know we will meet again, and you will be able to breathe as deeply as you wish, and fly free of all that horrible pain. We’ll have sundaes for breakfast, I promise, I know that was your favorite. You gave me that cupcake holder and told me it was “so you won’t forget me” — you silly, silly Kat. How could I ever forget you? From our Mervyn’s breaks racing to the bakery for carrot cake, to spilling an entire 40 oz. cup of soda at the chiropractor’s office, to your love of “purple stuff” (a Peruvian dessert), to our favorite movie, The Cutting Edge, to manicures and massages and everything our friendship was, and more, you will always be part of my life.

I will miss you forever, sweet friend, my sister of the heart, brave warrior princess (your own words, and so true) who looked ALS in the eye and said “you won’t take my spirit”. And it never did. Love you lots, Kat.

Pantone Fall 2012 colors

I swear, I wait for Pantone to release their seasonal colors as if it meant I’m getting an entire wardrobe each time or something. I’m just a color addict and love to see what the “in” colors are supposed to be each season.

This time there are some gorgeous hues among the chosen ten:

Take the first two of each row and it’s pretty much what I’m trying to throw at my house in the hopes some of it will stick 😀

We have been adding a lot of dark chocolate brown (or coffee brown, I guess, since it’s named French Roast) around the house. Less harsh than black and warmer, we painted the new mantel my husband built and repainted our bathroom cabinets in a similar shade.

I say similar because it’s obviously not the same, and according to my husband, I am a tetrachromat – what? I’ve never been called such a thing in my life!!! WTF??? Oh. It means I can see way more colors than other people. I don’t know if it’s necessarily true but he said it after I showed him 8 paint chips so he could choose one for our living room and he said they all looked the same to him. “What?” I said, “this one’s pinker, and that one’s warmer, and that greenish one, I don’t like that one . . . ” — ergo, tetrachromat.

But as usual, I digress.

The next color, Honey Gold, is so close (again, tetrachromat) to the wall color in our bathroom. My husband calls it orange – hello! – but to me it’s a warm, glowy golden yellow.

Pink Flambe, I swear, is one of the few pinks I can wear. I have olive skin with yellow/green undertones and pastel or soft pinks are not a good thing on me. I was actually eyeing this bracelet from the awesome Jen Ramos as a birthday (I’m 41, yay! boo!) present but I chose a different color. The bracelet is a little bluer than Pink Flambe (tetrachromat!) but close enough.

Tangerine Tango is the color of 2012 — this fall I am sprinkling throughout the house a few glitter take out cartons in a similar shade of orange. I found them in the dollar bins at Target – score!

Ultramarine Green is, sadly, a color I absolutely cannot wear. It’s too blue and makes my skin look gray. Boo.

Bright Chartreuse is one of my new best friends. I LOVE this bright yellowy green! I found these chess-themed candlesticks also at the dollar bins at Target, they were’ $2.50 each.

Olympian Blue is a little darker shade of my beloved turquoise but I like it nonetheless, it is close to the ribbon trim on my glammed up poster frame:

The last three colors, Titanium, Rhapsody, and Rose Smoke, pretty much have no room in my life 😀 I am not a grey girl, I like my purples darker and redder, and don’t like pinky beiges. Yeah, the love ended right before those three.

So there you have it, my run down of the latest and greatest from Pantone – which colors do you like?

Time to scale down

A couple of years ago, my boys were into dinosaurs. And big animals. Like elephants. Our house was littered with huge beasts and a few huge bins were all we needed to corral their toys. Then came Lego. And Playmobile. And books. Many, many books.

The key to any storage system is that it has to work for you and your needs. And the big bins were not working for anyone. My little one loves to turn a huge bin over and empty it completely so he can play with one thing from the very bottom. Mm-hmm. So the last time I was at the Dollar Store I spied some small green bins that I thought would be perfect to sort and store their playthings, now that said playthings have become smaller. I did a quick sort through their things and this is what I came up with:

Much better than overturned big bins all over the playroom floor!

Now their small items are sorted and labeled:

I got chalkboard labels from Martha Stewart @ Staples because I know their interests will change, and when they do, so will what’s written on the label 😀

Our book collection keeps growing:

That’s not all of it. There are lots more in the shelves under these, some in my little one’s room, and some that have graduated to our larger bookcases in the living room.

They still have a few large toys; the Godzilla and other larger dinos go here:

And yes, we still have a couple of bins in the play room but it is nothing like it was before, full of tiny toys that could make a mess when the bin was turned over. Now they have stuffed animals like Angry Birds and some from IKEA.

We’ve had the two Billy bookcases for a couple of years and they work really well in our play room, but I feel like their use has been maximized with these few changes.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

She Loves Me:

Old Navy black dress

1. This sweet summer dress from Old Navy. Of course, the ONE dress that fits me well from Old Navy only comes in one color. Sheesh.

2. My sweet friend Kat. We have been friends for 23 years and her grace and courage never cease to amaze me. She is a treasure I will cherish forever.

3. My hibiscus. They are going wild in my front yard – bright yellow and red, they make me smile whenever I drive up.

She Loves Me Not:

1. The heat.  ’nuff said.

2. My fat. I swear I was doing so well and in the last 6 weeks everything went to hell, I’ve gained everything I lost and I feel like a nasty, dumpy blob most of the time. I am working out almost every day and am being mindful of portion size, which is my downfall, so hopefully, things will kick off again!1. The heat. I am NOT a summer person. At least I live in a dry area, because I’ve been to places where it’s hot AND humid and I nearly passed out because I couldn’t breathe. And happily enough, the rest of the week should be much cooler.

3. Allergies. Bleargh. I leaned in to trim some plants the other day and my leg brushed up against a plant. 20 minutes later, it is red, swollen and itchy. I ended up scratching it bloody during the night. Seriously, I’m so over allergies.

Linking to Michaela Noelle’s party!

Michaela Noelle

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!