Resolutions and New Starts


Each new year always gives us an opportunity to start anew.  I normally don't like resolutions because I really don't keep them but I've noticed that I do much better when I have set goals in mind.
So, here are the new goals I'm setting for the 2012.

1. Stop dressing like a bum - A work from home a lot and I tell you, sweat pants and head scarfs are my friends. However I was in Walmart buying a bottle of wine when the cashier took a look at my driver license's picture, and said (no lie) "You look nice here".  She was lucky she was an older lady because I might have been prone to cuss her out.  I was also recently (ok two days ago) approached by a woman in HomeGoods who wanted to know where I got my Louis Vuitton bag and she was shocked when I said 'the Louie Store' to which she replied, "Oh I thought it was a knock off" because obviously I looked like couldn't afford a real Louis Vuitton Bag.  Yup she needed to be cussed out too.  So I guess that's a sign to say stop looking homeless?  Hmmm maybe...

2. Finish my bedroom - yes it's still unfinished

3. Remove the carpet from my steps and replace with wood, because right now it's nasty looking... ewww

4. Get an additional source of income -- still figuring this one out

5. Eat a piece of fruit or veggie each day

Do you have any resolutions or new goals for 2012?

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous 2012!

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Christmas in NYC

Picture Heavy Post
I hope your holidays were great and I hope Santa brought you the gifts you needed.

I had a great time with my family in NYC.  If you ever had the chance to spend Christmas or even a couple of days before Christmas in New York City, do it.  NYC comes alive on Christmas, we ventured out to enjoy the store windows and of course Rockefeller Center.  I was disappointed with the Saks Window displays, it was so not Christmassy (it that a word?) but the Lord and Taylor windows made up for it.

Rockefeller Center
 Rockefeller Center
 Rockefeller Center
 Rockefeller Center
 Saks Fifth Ave Holiday Window
  Saks Fifth Ave Holiday Window
  Saks Fifth Ave Holiday Window
 Lord and Taylor Holiday Window
  Lord and Taylor Holiday Window
  Lord and Taylor Holiday Window
  Lord and Taylor Holiday Window
  Lord and Taylor Holiday Window - Do you see Santa?

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Cheap Last Minute Gift - DIY Sugar Scrub

Did you get up this morning thinking "Oh Sweet Jesus" Christmas is a day away and I still need to get a couple of gifts, or oh crap, I ran out of money and can't afford to buy another gift.  Well since I have that pesky thing called a mortgage, (would you believe that bank has the nerve to want it every month) and I'm on a budget, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on Christmas this year but I still wanted to give my friends gifts they would love. Let's face nothing is worst than a scrappy gift.

I like a good sugar scrub and I started shopping around for a sugar scrub to give as gifts, but those suckers aren't cheap.  So of course I thought why not make my own because I roll like that. I did a little research and there so many recipes for sugar scrubs to choose from.  I tweeked the recipes and came up with my own.

Here's my recipe

3/4  cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon essential oil ( you can buy this at Michael's or a health food store)
 3/4 cup extra virgin oil

In a small bowl, combine the brown and white sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to blend well.  Spoon the scrub into a pretty glass jar and viola, great gift for less than $3.00.  I also created my own label to add to the jar.

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A Hint of Gold

Here's a 5 min project I did today using a dollar store candle holder and using spray paint.

Cover outside of the candle holder or vase with paper, spray inside of the vase with mirror spray paint, let dry, then spray with gold spray paint and Viola...

 A fabulous little candle holder with a hint of gold.  This would look great with multiple holders with flickering candles inside.

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Christmas Decorations

Well Christmas is right around the corner and I'm trying to get into the spirit so I finally slapped my wreath on my front door and added the mini trees to the porch.  I'm hoping that seeing them will get me in the Christmas spirit.  Have you put up all your decorations already?

Don't pay any attention to cord in front of the door, the bricks and the crooked picture. I rarely use the front door anyway :).

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My Journey Continues

Disclaimer, this post has nothing to do with design, so if you don't feel like reading, I so understand...

Today, I turned 40.  

When I was 16, 40 seemed a lifetime away, now that I'm 40, 16 seems like yesterday.  This is the first birthday I've had where I actually had a little anxiety approaching it, not about turning the BIG 4 0 but about where I am in my life currently.  (Maybe I'm having a mid-life crisis... anywoo)

It's so easy to get discouraged if you're looking at the next person and measuring your success against someone else's life plus in the society in which we live today so much emphasis is given to staying young as if growing older is a disease.  It's especially harder on us women because the message is always out there pushing us to always compete to an ideal that no human person can achieve.

Today when I woke up, I was laying in bed and thinking about my life so far and I can I tell you the anxiety faded away.  While I still have many things I want to accomplish, I've realized that whatever I've done so far is enough.  As Oprah says 'I am Enough'.  When I immigrated to the US at 14 years old, my mom, my three siblings and I lived in one bedroom in my grandmother's house for three years until she could save up to move to an apartment.  Basically, we were poor but we had each other and I never look back on that time as a struggle because really all you need at the end of the day is a loving family.  With scholarships, loans and aid, I put myself through college and I have two pieces of paper on the wall that won't ever expire. :)  I have a great job, I own my house (well along with bank) and I have two great kids, all while being a single parent.

I've realized that we all have different paths we need to walk and measuring your life or journey against another person can be detrimental and will leave you feeling inadequate all the time.  However, while some of us will be superstars for the world, most of us can be superstars for our friends and family. 

I'm leaving you with one of my favorite people, Lady B, who has walked her own path to super stardom.  Her song, "I was here", says it all. I'm going continue walking my path and living my best life.  So I'm praying that God continues to bless and keep me because with him, all things are possible.  I'm looking forward to the next 40 plus years. 

 P.S. Happy Birthday to my twin, Lettie, who has decided that she going to be 36 forever.  :)

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So, I finally broke down and painted my house.  After I received all the quotes, I was tempted to paint this bad boy myself but images of me lying on the ground with a broken neck kept me from attempting the job.  The look of the house is very traditional and was painted with white trim and black shutters.  I decided to go with a darker trim to make the house look a bit more contemporary. 



 A Pop of Red goes a long way

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Luxe for Less - Metallic Paint

I stenciled a room a couple of months ago and I used a metallic paint from Martha Stewart's paint line from Home Depot. The room came out great if I do say so myself.  At the time, the paint was only available in quart cans and was fairly expensive for a quart of paint, the bummer was I only used 1/4 of the can.

I'm now planning to stencil my powder room and headed to Home Depot for more paint, because of course I needed a different color.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the metallic paint is now being sold in 8 oz jars and only for $5.48.  SCORE!  So if you're looking for metallic paint for a small project, head on over to Home Depot.

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Cornbread Heaven

Well, I can't believe that Thanksgiving is a day away, where does the time go?  I normally don't share recipes but I thought I would share my favorite cornbread recipe with you.
It's an easy recipe that the kids could help you with and most importantly you won't ever have dry cornbread again.  It's a winner everything I make it and the prep time is only 5 mins.

3 eggs
1 can cream corn
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 -  16 oz tub of sour cream
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 boxes of jiffy corn muffin mix

 Add Jiffy Mix and cream corn together
 Add Sour Cream
 Then Eggs and Oil
 Then Sugar and Vanilla and Cinnamon
 Bake in oven at 350 for 55 mins, then check for doneness until baked.  With my oven it took 1hr 15min to bake but my oven is old. :(
***Because of the sour cream, the toothpick/fork will not be completely clean, however it should not be wet.****
Moist cornbread with real pieces of corn baked in.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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Design Inspiration - Once Upon a Time

ABC has a new show called Once Upon A Time, basely loosely on all the fairy tales we all grew up with.  I was watching it the other day and can I say the evil mayor has an office to die for, OMG!
I took a couple of screen shots hopefully can you see the genius in this room.  The room is supposed to convey darkness but trust me I would love to live in this "dark place".  Isn't it fantastic?

The lit niches above and around the fireplace create a beautiful place to display art.  The sunburst mirror has just the right glam and compliments the busy wallpaper and don't you just love the white horse?  The vase with the red apples provide a pop of color in the room.

Molding Love

Loving the wallpaper, the birch firewood and the leather chair.  So what you think?

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Luxe for Less - Mirrors & Free-Standing Bathtubs

Vanity Mirrors can be quite expensive, I found a great deal on mirrors that's less than 80% of the retail price and I just had to share.  Cabinets-to-go is primarily a kitchen cabinet company, not sure if they're getting rid of the their bathroom stuff but they prices they have to offer are phenomenal specially for the large mirrors.

They also have beautiful free standing bathtubs on sale, if you in the market for a mirror or a free-standing bathtubs run on over to Cabinets- to-Go.

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A Taste of Something New

It's surprising to see how my decor taste have changed over the years. Unfortunately I don't have a magic wand to replace everything when that happens, so I have to work on one room at a time.
My family room is definitely on my list to revamp, it currently looks like this:

The sofa was a custom piece and I learned a hard lesson on that purchase, do not buy an investment piece of furniture that's not a neutral.  Since, the sofa is an eight way hand tied piece, I want to keep the sofa but I'm going to have to slipcover it so that it can work with my new decor.  (Full disclosure, I can't claim the swag nor the blinds, those were hand me downs from the last owners.)

 I think a paint job, removing the armoire, drapes, vertical blinds and adding some new accent furniture will give me the look I want.  After all the changes I hope to have a family room that feels as airy as the one below.

Do you have a piece of furniture that you purchased a while back, that you wouldn't buy today?

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Loving this Light

I was browsing the aisles of Lowes (actually I was looking for water heaters) when I saw this fabulous light and of course I gasped (yup I'm a nerd like that).

 Gosh isn't it fantastic?.  It would perfect hanging over an island and since I'm always looking for a bargain, the price is spot on.  You can own this light for only $119, isn't that a great deal.  Loving Lowes! 

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Bathroom Mood Board I

I'm knee deep in bathroom research and loving it. The choices available are so varied and plentiful and I know it's going to take a while for me to make a final decision however I created a mood board as a jumping off point.  I'm going for a timeless design since I'm never doing this again. :-)

  1. The Santiago Glass and Stone Mix Mosaic ($15 sq. ft) & Calacata Gold Porcelain Tile ($4 sq ft) from Floor and Depot Outlets is a great combo.  The porcelain tile looks so much like marble and it's a really good buy.
  2. This fabric from Tonic Living is great for shower curtain or a custom roman blinds and at $10 a yd it's a steal.
  3. I love lighting and this crystal pendant delivers from Overstock with a price of only $163.
  4. Who does love a great looking mirror?  This pearl beaded mirror priced at $135 will bring a sophiscated feeling to the bathroom.
  5. This bathroom vanity light has a Restoration hardware vibe to it but it cost only $84.
  6. Charcoal paint from Restoration Hardware is a nice neutral color.
  7. Last but definitely not least this Double-basin Marble Vanity  is a traditional classic vanity that will outlast all the trends and comes from my favorite site  for $1009 and the shipping cost is peanuts.

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Luxe For Less - Saddle Seat Bar Stool

I love a good bargain and I have a great one for you.  If you looking for a tried and true barstool, a saddle seat barstool, can be used in many different styles of decorating.  Pottery Barn has one for $99 - $119 but for an even better deal, Target delivers with a price of $45.  That's a savings of over 55%.  Happy Shopping!

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Bathroom Inspiration - The Tile Shop

*** Notice - Picture heavy post ***

I have a bathroom remodel in my future, due to the icky carpet installed in the kids bathroom by the previous owners. 
Imagine carpet in a bathroom used by teenagers, ewwww.  
The other day I wandered into The Tile Shop looking for inspiration and I found plenty so I thought I would share.

Here's some of the bathrooms in the showroom that spoke to me.

  Classic, traditional and beautiful, my kind of bathroom

Four different sizes of marble tiles were used to made this bathroom classically fabulous with a little edge!

Simple subway tiles along with a marble herringbone floor is a great combination of high and low materials.

Close up of the herringbone pattern, isn't it to die for?

A mixture of travertine tiles gives this bathroom an earthy natural look.

No words needed!

Even though this bathroom uses a lot of natural stone, it stills looks airy and ultra sophisticated.

Different slate tiles used  to make amazing patterns, I'm sure this pattern would also great using inexpensive ceramic tiles 

Classic and luxurious, can you spot which tile isn't natural stone?

Hint, it's the floor, the floor is a ceramic tile called "Carrara Gris', paired with natural stone, is another winner of mixing high and low.

Another classic bathroom

A great mix of glass and ceramic subway tiles

The mixture of natural tiles and ultra modern fixtures are a great combination.

Subway tiles look really expensive when paired with glass tiles and aren't those pendants chic?

Carrara marble makes this bathroom timeless.

 Isn't that mosaic tile on the floor fantastic?

Old world classic elegance

They also had amazing tiles for counter tops,  Look at the counter top above, doesn't it look great for tiles?  It's also very cost effective way of getting granite in your house, especially if you can install it yourself.

Are you inspired?

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