Thursday, December 23, 2010

the new guest room

my goal for the guest room was to take a modern hotel room and give it an eclectic "world-traveler" vibe. the space also had to be comfortable for guests, but with low maintenance fabrics that could easily be thrown into the washing machine for cleaning.

these two pictures were my inspiration:

kristin cavallari's living room (shelterpop)

using those pictures, i came up with this mock up for the room:

here's the guest room before:

the headboard is partially moved away from the wall because
i remembered (mid move) that i needed a "before" pic.

the area between the bed and the closet

and here is the guest room after:

i like that the overall effect is simple but sophisticated. i kept the original lamp, nightstand and bookcase that were in the room. i practicallly STALKED the painting over the bed for a few months before snapping it up for a steal at a store closing sale last fall.

i've never been to paris, but i love the idea of the millions of anonymous lovers that have strolled past the eiffel tower over time.

my mtv inspiration for the room had a zebra-print coffee table/ottoman combo. of course, we didn't need a coffee table in the bedroom. but, i still wanted to bring in that look and a splash of color into the room with this pillow cover. i grouped it with a tan and chocolate lumbar pillow cover that i found on etsy. i looked long and hard for machine-washable throw pillows in styles that i liked before i settled on these two dry-clean-only versions. hopefully none of my lovely guests will decide to fall asleep and drool on them instead of using the bed pillows.

yes, i'm a little uptight about my throw pillows. my rule is that they are for decoration purposes only. you can lean on them, and prop 'em up against your back to get comfortable. but if you want to take a nap i will gladly bring you a real pillow, even if you're on the living room sofa. i think it's a manifestation of my germaphobia. i used to get so bothered when my husband would knock the throw pillows from our bed onto the floor every night and then just put them back in the morning that i finally found a permanent home for them in our bedroom sitting area.

since both of the pillow covers were a bit on the pricey side, instead of spending more money on pillow forms, i reused the square throw pillows from the original comforter set. to get them to the right sizes, i cut open one end and took out the right amount of stuffing before putting them in the new pillow covers. for the lumbar pillow, i had to cut out about half of the stuffing and then squish the rest of it into a rectangular shape.

a guest room wouldn't be complete without a mirror. this one is a target find that was $50 when i first saw it. i loved the classic look and i also really liked that it "mirrored" the arched windows from my inspiration picture. what i didn't love was that price.

after a couple months of stalking i was stoked to find the mirror on clearance for 50% off. i wanted to do a happy dance right there in the aisle. instead, i took a picture. unfortunately you won't get to photographically share in that moment since i took the picture on my dearly departed blackberry.

here is the other side of the room. the curtain rod is from ross and the glass vase is from marshalls.

here is a close up of the curtains. the curtains and headboard are ikea hacks that i talk about in more detail in this post.

every guest needs a spot to hang up their jacket/purse. so, i installed a cheap little hook from hobby lobby underneath some artwork that i picked up on clearance at a local boutique that was closing one of its locations.

it took a while to pull together, but i'm really happy with the end result. if you're ever in houston, stop on by for a visit. everything will be freshly laundered and ready for you.

have you ever stayed at a hotel whose decor you wanted to bring home? and am i the only one who is germaphobic when it comes to throw pillows? don't even get me started on hotel linens...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

guest room preview

in the effort to get the house all spiffy and nice for thanksgiving company, i made a final push to finish up on a project that i first started waaaay back during labor day weekend.

i finally finished the guest room!  in my defense, i've actually been in the home stretch of this project for a while now. but with an 8 1/2 month old babylove, even the smallest of tasks is hard to tackle after an 8 hour workday and then getting home and feeding, changing and bathing her. i get exhausted just thinking about it.

here's the before shot:
yes, i could have straightened up first...

and here's a little sneak peek at some of the work that went into the room:

the guest room was the only bedroom in the house that didn't have any kind of window treatment.  i knew that i wanted some classy looking curtains in the room, but i didn't want to spend a ton of money on them. so, i created custom trimmed curtains with the help of some inexpensive ikea curtain panels and the following items.

iron on hem tape and patterned ribbon

the original headboard in the room is a pier 1 purchase that has been with me for a few years.  i bought the matching nightstand, side table and bookshelf with it as well.  the set was originally in the master bedroom before we moved it over to the guest room after we bought a new bedframe.  i still really love the original headboard, and hope to use it again in the future, but it didn't quite fit with my image of this room, which was of a modern, eclectic hotel.

so, we stashed it under the bed and i got to work creating a new headboard that i saw on my favorite home diy blog.  i have to admit, i was a little leery taking on this project.  i have notoriously bad luck when it comes to putting things together, but i decided to give it a try anyway.

stabilizing board

i'm guessing that the youngster's version doesn't make like a 504 boyz song anytime you touch it, but with it pushed up against the wall and held in place by the bed, hopefully no one will notice that little detail {fingers crossed}.

can't wait for y'all to see the finished room!

love this cool doorhanger that was "borrowed" from a local boutique hotel

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

everyone loves: christmas photo cards

i've always been the type of person to send out christmas cards to friends and family. back in the day, if you picked up a pack of cards from the store, addressed them and mailed them out, you were good. to quote a talented singer: things in the game done changed.

once folks in my peer group started reproducing, they started getting a little creative. with social media, we're used to hearing about little johnny and madison's every move. but back in the day the only way i could get an update on the lives of my extended circle of friends was via those cute little photo christmas cards. some had pictures of the entire family, while others had just the kids, some cards even included status reports of everything that each member of the family had done since last year's christmas card.

as dorky as it might seem, i have to admit that once i got pregnant, i, too, started looking forward to years of sending out our very own christmas photo cards after babylove's arrival. i mean, let's face it, it's just not as fun to get a picture card with two adults that you know staring back at you.

mmmmm.....not so much

luckily, the internet makes it super easy to create professional quality cards at home. my preferred photo website is shutterfly. in addition to being able to upload and print pictures from their site, they also have a bunch of cool products like graduation announcements, calendars, and of course, holiday photo cards.

in the past, i've used shutterfly for everything from making memorable wedding thank you cards (similar to this one except in the limo after the wedding ceremony and not as cheesy). three years later, some of my friends still have our thank you cards on display.
photo courtesy of
i also used shutterfly to make photo books for both of sets of grandparents with my maternity pictures and babylove's newborn photo shoot in it.

my favorite shutterfly feature is the photo share sites. i used it to create an online photo album for babylove that i update every month and share with friends and family. unlike certain websites (that shall remain nameless), you can password protect your entire photo album website and also set privacy levels within the albums so that only those that you give permission to can save or download the posted pictures. perfect for a private person like me.

okay, back to the christmas cards: there are so many cool designs to choose from that it was almost hard to choose. i really liked the cards with multiple images of the family members in various states of holiday happiness.
however,a busy husband and baby + photoshoot would require a bit more of an effort than i can muster right now.

i liked this one as well, although for christmas i would probably like something a little more formal.

the previous two examples are actual folding cards. but in the end, i ended up choosing this flat card since i tend to draw a blank when it comes to filling up the inside of a card with sweet, flowery nothings. i also really love the paisley design and the classic red and green coloring.

with that out of the way, now all i need is to snag somebody to take our picture in front of a christmas tree, which i plan to do this week. if i can get the cards in the mail by early next week, that will still leave a couple of weeks for people to enjoy them before christmas.

want to score free holiday photo cards of your very own? click here to find out how.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

thanks for the memories

thanksgiving has come and gone and it was a whirlwind of activity.  we hosted both sides of the family at our house for the first time.  i love the fun-ness of having people over and hanging out. but as my dear, sweet husband recently pointed out, i also have the type of personality that gets me all into a cranky frenzy when preparing to have people over.

i decided that the best way to keep myself from going over the edge was to take a logical approach and prepare for everything ahead of time.  armed with my menu and grocery list (all stored in my whiteberry) i hit wal-mart on the sunday before thanksgiving.  i picked up all of the food items that i would need and also got a much needed oil change.  gotta love multi-tasking at wally world.

at this point, i was feeling ahead and the game and like i had a handle on things.  until tuesday night, when our air conditioner decided to stop working.  normally this shouldn't be a problem in late november, except that i live in houston, tx, home of the purple sprite crazy weather.  supposedly a cold front was going to hit by turkey day, but all i could picture was 15 of our relatives sweating to death in our hot ass house and the holiday being ruined for everybody.  i had taken the wednesday before thanksgiving off from work, so after a frantic call to our home warranty service and a few fervent (shouts out to DP) prayers, i had an appointment to have someone out to the house that afternoon.

wednesday morning i dropped babylove off at daycare and went by my neighborhood heb to pick up all the drinks for thanksgiving. i was planning to make some sangria to go along with the usual sodas and waters.  even though i'm grown with a child of my own, i always feel like my mother is silently counting my glasses whenever i drink "adult beverages" around her.  with sangria, at least i could disguise it with a bunch of fruit and stick it in a nice little pitcher.

i also needed to buy one of heb's cajun seasoned turkeys, which ended up coming with a bunch of assorted items as part of the combo loco. usually, i love combo locos because not only is it fun to say "combo loco", but, everyone loves free ish. however, i REALLY hate when the items are not all grouped together in the same spot.  here i was on a Mission to get in, grab my turkey and drinks and get out, but there was no way that i was leaving free items on the table, even if the free items were an foil pan, some salad dressing, iceberg lettuce salad, store brand sodas and ice cream, frozen asparagus tips and some store brand stuffing.

so, after schlepping all over the store for my items, i was back home by noon and ready to start cooking. i had baked the cornbread for the dressing and boiled sweet potatoes for the casserole just as the a/c guy showed up.

when i tell you this guy had me SO worried that thanksgiving was gonna be a bust!  he just seemed generally out of it and unsure of himself and was puttering around for like 2 hours before he finally found the problems.  besides the freon not circulating properly, apparently some duct work blew out in the attic, so we basically had a stream of nicely chilled air blowing out through this giant hole and disappearing into our hot ass attic.  lovely.

a/c guy wasn't authorized to repair duct work, but he was nice enough to rig up a covering for the hole with a bunch of trash bags and some duct tape. very macgyver-like indeed.  needless to say, this was a bit nerve-wracking being so close to quitting time on the last business day before a national holiday.

while he was working, i cut up the fruit and combined all the ingredients for the sangria.  apparently it needs to marinate chill overnight for all of the flavors to be at their best.  once the a/c guy left, i decided to run by hobby lobby to whip up my DIY table runner.  i had drawn inspiration from a couple of blogs that i frequent, so i was feeling very creative.  i had already used metallic spray paint on some gourd vegetables and a couple of leftover halloween pumpkins to use as a centerpiece, so i found this cute gold and black fabric to match that theme.

plus spray paint

equals fabulous. eat your heart out BHG!

late in the afternoon, i was starting to second guess myself about the amount of food that i had bought.  i'm used to cooking for two, but more than that-not so much.  after some googling, i ended up making another run to heb for a second, smaller turkey (which was, of course, followed by me hunting down all of my free combo loco items).

i got back home with all my loot and then decided that i needed to make more sweet potato casserole.  at this point, my feet were hurting from standing all day.  with my well-orchestrated shopping plan in ruins, i didn't have the heart to go back to heb where the cashiers could probably recognize me on sight, so i slunk over to fiesta instead.

by wednesday night, things were back on track and i made plans to start the final food prep the next morning.

the thursday morning cooking was pretty uneventful.  i did have one last minute snafu and, yes, ANOTHER trip to heb after i discovered that the foil pans that i had baked the side dishes in were a little too big to fit into the base of my chafer set.  picture me 5 minutes before the store closed with my huge foil pan from home in one hand in the aisle literally testing out the smaller ones to make sure that they would fit. not a pretty sight.  once i got home, i then had to transfer four pans of food into the new ones, which i was still doing when guests started to arrive.

check out the spread:

front entryway
for the non-turkey eaters

winner for best repurpose of free loco salad goes to...

 i forgot to take a pic of the sangria, but trust me, it was good!  i really had a great time getting my black martha stewart on and spending time with family.  and after 3 years of marriage, a bunch of previously unused wedding presents (like our margarita pitcher set, fine china and silverware) all saw the light of day.

hope y'all had a good one!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

white is the new blackberry

a few weeks ago, some {in clueless valley girl voice} LOSER, stole my blackberry. i actually have to take partial responsibility since i made it easy by being absent-minded and leaving it in public.  i had only had the phone for about 6 months and didn't have insurance on it, so i was out of luck on having t-mobile give me another one for less than $500.  i was really hoping that the goodness in people coupled with the adorable screensaver of my husband and babylove would lead to its safe return. 

yeah, no such luck.   

before i lost my phone, i was totally one of those people that you see glued to the phone at every free moment.  although it's never gotten quite this bad, i've definitely had a few close calls while walking. 

at first, i thought that not having my phone would be unbearable. no spontaneous checking of e-mails or facebook or checking in with friends.  but, for a few days, it actually was pretty nice to have an excuse to be unplugged from the world for a while. 

about a week into my involuntary blackberry vacation, i got to try out the hubby's iphone, which led to the realization that i hate touch screen phones.  at that time, my phone service was still on, so i could check my messages remotely and call people back if necessary.

the only times that i actually missed the blackberry were when i needed to google something right quick or when i wanted to "watch" a tv or sporting event with all of my facebook friends and giggle at their crazy comments. 

about 3 weeks after the phone disappeared, i finally decided to give up the ghost and order a new one.  after scouring the interwebs, i decided that ebay would be my best option.  being the impatient person that i am, i decided to pick the "buy now" option.  i was able to get a new (to me) blackberry in pretty good condition from one of the sellers for a week and a half of babylove's daycare tuition $320 with free shipping.  since i had the chance, i wanted to change it up so that i could maybe trick myself into thinking that the new phone was my idea.  i looked at other types of phones, but i'm pretty addicted to my crackberry, so i decided to get the same phone, but in white.

luckily, i had backed up all of the files on my old phone, including hospital pictures of my babylove from when she was born, and i wanted to make sure that i could just swap everything onto the new phone with a minimum of wahala.  i was able to escape phone number exchange hell since t-mobile has this niftly little automatic backup feature that came with our plan.

after the requisite scrubdown with clorox wipes (who knows where this phone came from / has been), i'm back in business and loving my new "whiteberry".

although i did miss a possible interview (grrr) by not responding quickly enough when the recruiter called, there were some positive things that came out of losing my phone.

i used to get a bunch of newsletters coming to the phone from various websites including about 5 baby-themed websites.  while i do like the convenience of reading up on babyloves weekly milestones, i realized that one of them, while pretty funny at times, was also a bit of a downer and was also one of the first things that i was reading each morning.  what a way to start the day with a dose of negativity without even realizing it!  needless to say, i unsubscribed to that mailing list.

i've also been able to scale back some of my addictive phone checking/texting.  i lost all of the hundred or so e-mails that had stacked up on the phone, and it was such a relief!  i've started being really vigilant about deleting e-mails once i am finished with them instead of letting them pile up on me. now i usually keep about 12-15 e-mails on the phone that i am following up on and i delete anything that's over one week old.

all's well that ends well, but i would have rather skipped the whole experience.  and i have one last message for whoever has my old phone:

Monday, October 25, 2010

the good wife

a couple of months ago, my husband and  i went to see corinne bailey rae at the house of blues downtown. her first cd was part of the soundtrack to our dating relationship, and we came thisclose to seeing her in concert in new orleans the weekend that we got engaged in 2007.
i was looking forward to her next album and tour cycle. but, unfortunately, tragedy struck when corinne's husband died in march 2008.  i remember how shocked i was when i heard about it. i had only been married about 5 months, and at that time, losing my husband was probably the worst thing that i could imagine happening to me.  i say that because now losing my daughter would definitely be #1.

i felt a real sense of sadness that corinne was so young and had lost her first love and partner of 7 years.  i googled for months afterwards trying to find stories in the british media about how she was doing and if she would recover. i figured that she might never make music again, and that if she did it would be too sad to listen to.

so i was excited to hear that she was back with a new album.  but, in all of her tv appearances supporting the album, the topic of her husband's death never came up.  i was stoked to see her in concert and a little curious to see first-hand how she had overcome the grief and come back to her music.

we had just gotten back to houston a few hours earlier after going to my friend's wedding but i was determined to make it to the concert.  we left babylove with my mother-in-law and set out for the house of blues.  the concert was awesome, of course. she sang a lot of her older songs as well as songs from the new cd.  i haven't quite gotten into her new sound, but i'm sure it will grow on me.

i don't know if i expected to see her break down during some of the songs or what, exactly, i was looking for.  she did have a ring of some sort on her ring finger, but from the outside, she seemed to be holding up okay.  i can only imagine that with the highs of touring and performing, that there must be some terrible lows mixed in.  i was reading the crash course widow's blog today. she also became a young widow after her husband died unexpectedly 5 years ago and her blog deals with her grieving process and how she tries to teach her young daughter about the father she can't remember.

i'm not overly obsessed with this subject, but it is something that i think about on occassion.  a few years ago, i read this really touching book written by a lady whose firefighter husband died on 9/11, which was also their anniversary. her descriptions of the emotions that followed were so deep. 

my first "real" job after college was in a clinic where we treated patients with bladder, prostate, testicular and kidney cancer.  there were a few patients close to my age, which was totally sad.  but the images that stick in my mind eight years later are of the wives of the men with cancer.

these women would schedule appointments for their sick husbands and they would sit stoically in the exam rooms and listen as the doctor dropped bombs in the middle of their universe.  it reminded me of this painting from grant hill and tamia's african-american art collection that we saw at an exhibit at texas southern university when we were dating (i wanted to post the drawing but i couldn't find it on the net).  on one side, it showed a couple on their wedding day, and on the other side, it showed the man's lynched body hanging from a tree.

like the woman in the painting, the cancer wives never could have known on their wedding days just how tragically their marriages would end.  these women would literally shoulder the burden of their husbands, weak from chemotherapy and disease, who needed someone to help them walk into the waiting room.  as the cancer grew worse and their husbands got sicker, these women would push wheelchairs, and prop pillows, and smooth the hair of their men all the while waiting patiently to see the doctor for more bad news. 

there were days when i would watch with a lump in my throat and just pray to God that a) i would never have to experience anything like this, and b) that if i did, that i could be a good wife to my future husband like these women were to theirs. 

before we were married, my husband made it clear that part of the reason that he chose me was that he knew that i was capable of taking care of our future kids should anything happen to him.  so i  also prayed that afterwards i would have the strength to take care of my kids and myself.

this song by india.arie has always moved me, and sums it up well.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

everyone loves: free make-up

i was planning on writing this post last week, but got sidetracked by current events. now back to our regularly scheduled program.

i'm not a big girly-girl type.  i like to look nice, but i'm of the "less is more" frame of mind when it comes to things like make-up and beauty routines.  luckily, i have really easy to care for skin or else i might have to a do a bit more.

at night, i use some wal-mart store brand eye make-up remover and facial cleansing cloths.  for my morning routine i use a facial cleanser with microbeads to wash my face in the shower.  i used to use mary kay products, but the ordering process took a bit too much time for me. the wal-mart stuff seems to work just as well and it's a fraction of the cost.

one thing i don't skimp on is my make-up.  for years, i've used m.a.c. products.  they're a bit on the pricey side for me, but they've never let me down.  plus, i love that you can go in any m.a.c. store and get made up (gratis) for special events.  they did my make-up for my baby shower, and this summer when my husband and i were out in l.a. for the b.e.t. awards, i even stopped by the the m.a.c. store on hollywood boulevard to get my make-up done.  they were totally booked and i couldn't get in, but the nice chick behind the counter did at least take the time to give me some pointers.

i use m.a.c.'s under eye concealer for my baby bags.  i skip the foundation and all that other stuff and just apply a thin layer of pressed powder in nw50 to even things out.  i use m.a.c. eye shadow as well,  but i'm still a fan of my classic maybelline mascara.

a couple weeks ago we went to college station for a health education conference. while packing up, my toiletries pack must have gotten dropped, because the next time i opened up my powder, i saw the dreaded dropped compact effect with the powder all broken up into small pieces.

i made it out to the m.a.c. store last week to pick up some new powder and some black eye shadow. while i was there, i decided to ask about a rumor that i had heard a while back. you know, the one about if your bring 6 empty make-up containers to the store, you can get a free item?

now everyone may not love free make-up, but everyone definitely loves free ish.  i first heard the rumor several years ago and started collecting a stash of empty compacts and concealer tubes at home. but i was kind of skeptical about the whole thing, so i never did anything with them.  everyone knows that nothing is really ever free. take the oprah/ kfc chicken debacle for example.  sadly, i was one of those foolish folks who printed out my coupon and took my happy tail down to the nearest kfc on my lunch break, only to be turned away hungry and slightly ashamed.

but, to my surprise, the girl guy person that checked me out confirmed that yes, you can actually get a free lipstick if you bring in 6 empty containers to the m.a.c. stores in macy's.  he must have seen me looking, like who the hell wears lipstick in 2010? when he added that if you take the items to a free-standing m.a.c. store, you can get either an eye shadow, lip gloss or lipstick.

very cool....i'll still probably call first just to make sure.

Friday, October 15, 2010

everyone loves: the chilean miners

i was actually planning to write a different post about something that everyone loves.  i don't plan on regularly writing about current events and the like on this blog.  BUT, i just had to speak on the whole chilean miners rescue story-or actually the public reaction to the chilean miners story.

on tuesday night, i was busy working on a project on my laptop and trying to keep babylove away from my laptop, so never had a chance to turn on the television or surf the net.  wednesday morning, i log onto the book of faces, and all i see are these status updates saying "yay for the chilean miners being rescued", "they've got the first one out", "praise God the chilean miners are being rescued".

now, i'm a christian and do believe in being thankful and giving Him the glory in things big and small.  and there have recently been a lot of stories in the media about miners dying on the job and how dangerous the mining industry is in general.  but i guess i was just surprised/ shocked at how personally invested everyone around me seemed to be in this story. 

at first, i chalked it up to the fact that since the majority of stories on the new are negative-earthquake in haiti, somebody got murdered, the economy is tanking, politicians are being corrupt-that people were just happy to finally get a happy ending.  but, i think it's something deeper than that.  i mean, let's face it, there are plenty of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad tragedies happening everyday all around the world and even in our very own neighborhoods.  the only difference is that the media doesn't have a camera rolling on them 24/7.  take the ongoing aftermath of severe the flooding in afghanistan that nobody seems to care about, for example.

maybe it's the cynic in me, but i had to stifle an eye roll early tuesday afternoon when i pulled up msn's page and saw the big red "breaking news" box announcing that the first miner had been rescued.  i actually kind of tuned out of this whole miner saga about a month ago when i heard a radio "news" story about how the wife of one of the miners found out about his previously secret affair with another woman due to all of the media coverage.  it's one thing to write or report a story, but when the story being reported is about the effects of the story being reported, it kinda makes my vision blur and my head start to hurt.

it's kind of like the whole preacher plans to burn the koran on 9/11 story that got blown all out of proportion and resulted in deaths around the world as well as probably posing a threat to our national security.  this "preacher" is probably just some random loser that nobody every heard of who lucked up into notoriety because of our 24/7 news cycle.

i love me some cnn, but last night while i was watching ac360, i just had to change the channel when anderson started talking to a correspondent on the scene.  with a straight face, this reporter was talking about how the cheating miner's mistress loved watching the movie, titanic, and how she and this miner planned to hole up at home for days watching the movie now that he had been rescued.  um, gag me with a spoon!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rescue in Chile
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
i guess i'm not the only one that noticed.

i'm a news junkie and all, but this whole, putting people on a pedestal and the media's tendency to try to create a fairy tale out of real life is a bit off the chain these days. google, "propoganda" with pat tillman, jessica lynch, or ft. hood hero policewoman if you don't believe it.  don't bother googling the phrase "chilean miners", i can already tell you that you'll get 345 million hits

i'll just a take a tip from the cheating miner's wife and sit this one out.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

seriously?!: captcha edition

i'm generally not a fan of the captcha.  you know, those little word-gamey test thingies that it seems like nearly EVERY website is using nowadays to make sure that only robots, machines, spam viruses humans can log onto their sites.

my beef with them is that even though i'm not a robot, a machine or a spam virus, the images are so hard to decipher that half the time i can't even figure them out. 

a typical scenario goes something like this:

me: {tilting head to side and squinty eyes} is that a lower case "d" or a "c" and an "l" real close together and tilted to the side?

website: you have entered an incorrect entry. please try again.

me: {banging head against the computer screen}

sometimes, i end up having to re-captcha about 3 or 4 times until i get one that i can actually figure out.  usually the phrases seem like a random pairing of words that don't make any sense, so i figured that they were the result of some kind of randomly generated program. but last week i got the following when i was trying to log into the book of faces.

surely this is someone's idea of a joke.

 maybe it's the new parent in me, but i didn't really find it funny...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

guest room mood board

i’m a very visual person, so when i start decorating any room in the house, i always create a mood board (a technique i picked up from yhl).  before i started using mood boards, i used to send all these different e-mails to myself from each store’s website so that i could remember items that i liked.  but, since this was a little confusing and hard to keep organized before, i hate to think of what a mess it would be now on baby-limited sleep.  i would also (and still do) create shopping lists at each of the home décor store sites that i frequent. 

if a brick and mortar store exists for whatever i have chosen, i usually end up picking it up in person.  but, i actually really hate shopping and hate crowds even more, so online browsing definitely beats hoofing it around town to a million different stores in my free time.
for the mood boards, i use powerpoint to copy and paste pictures of the items. since i do about 99% of my home décor window shopping online, i also embed a link back to whatever websites that i found them on so that i can easily keep track of price changes and availability.

without further ado, here's the guest room mood board:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

method to the madness

one of the items on my labor day weekend to-do list was renovating my guest room. i managed to get a lot done, but i have to admit that i am still not completely finished. this was my first project post-babylove, and guess what i learned? a) babies don’t like the sound of a drill b) babies don’t like competing with home decorating for mommy’s attention, or c) all of the above. if you guessed “c”, you win the prize.

thankfully, my husband was able to keep her pre-occupied for most of the day. but it was still very slow going just because i am the murphy’s law magnet when it comes to anything do-it-yourself related.

hopefully, i’ll be able to reveal the completed room this month, but until then, here’s a little peek into how the design idea for this room came into being:

i really love the décor eye candy that a nice hotel room provides. my husband and i did a lot of travelling last year, and at each place that we stayed, i tried to figure out what it was that i liked most about the rooms so that i could recreate it in our guest room back home. even though i like the basic “blank slate” that hotels provide, i knew that i also wanted to add details to personalize our space and give it a comfy feel.  i loved the casual comfort and local décor in this cabo san lucas hotel room:

the peek-a-boo window looks into the bath area

view from the other side

but i also really like the ornate feel of this room that we stayed in for a friend's wedding.
my guest room reno kind of stalled out for awhile as i tried to figure out what i wanted to do with the room. then, since the space was fully furnished (although not decorated the way i wanted) it got totally pushed to the backburner when i got pregnant and started planning babylove’s nursery.
i ended up deciding that i wanted the guest room to have a modern but eclectic “world traveler” vibe.  i also prowled the internets looking for ideas. things really started to gel for me when i found these two pictures:

the first picture is by designer waldo fernandez and WOW! i am in love with the colors and the contrast between the clean lines and bold geometric patterns and the livable furniture.

the second picture is kinda sucky because it’s a picture that i took with my phone while i was watching tv. i was laying in bed one night watching the the dvr'ed last episode of the hills when i literally had to rewind, then pause, put down my sleeping baby and take a picture of this lovely scene at kristin’s alleged house. even with the source list, i don’t have a major television channel bankrolling my decorating budget, so i wasn’t going to simply buy everything that she had.

for me, half the fun of recreating a room that i love is being able to find similar items and get the same look for a fraction of the price.  kinda like this, but for your home instead of your wardrobe.  hotels have deep pockets and get price breaks for buying in bulk so there’s usually no way that i’m trying to buy the exact items that they have.

so that's a little overview of how the design of this room came together.  once the room itself is together, you can see if i was able to pull it off.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

james bond swag

it's been a while since my husband and i have been to the movies together. we have netflix, so unless a movie is supposed to be really good (like, the last two twilight movies, both of which i saw at the theater despite having to endure frequent pregnancy-induced bathroom breaks)* we usually just wait for the movie to come to us rather than going to it. i had seen commercials for the movie, takers, and immediately liked the "look" of the movie. because of the baby, we couldn't go see it on opening weekend, which i usually like to do. but, this past friday, my sister was nice enough to watch babylove for us so that we could go on our little movie date.

we ended up going to a theater at the local outlet mall since it was closest to her house. we ended up lost in teenage date land, plus we missed the first five minutes of the movie (boo!). the plot, about a ring of sophisticated thieves, was decent enough, but it was well worth it just to take in all the visuals. in addition tothe clothes, flashy cars and the man candy (which i totally did not notice btw), the guys' homes had the coolest design schemes, very james bond swag. i couldn't find good screen shots of them from the movie, but here are a few pictures so that you can visualize:

there was also this really cool rat-packish lounge that the group would hang out in with dim lighting, dark leather furniture and built-in wall safes and vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred).

one of the more climactic scenes in the movie took place at the historic roosevelt hotel in hollywood. we actually walked right by the hotel on our trip to lala land in june, but didn't think to go in. i kinda figured it would have outdated decor and furniture with hard cushions that you can't get comfortable on no matter how hard you try. missed out on that experience.

so, that was my take on takers, lots of eye candy of various types and a fun date night for all involved.

*since my husband is not a twilight fan, i had to disqualify him from attending with me...i'm sure he really cared. ;-)

Friday, September 03, 2010

labor days

for a while after i had my little one, each day was consumed by everything baby-related.  by the time i had fed, bathed, dressed, changed, fed, played with and put the baby to bed, i would look up and my entire day would be gone.  things started to get a little better….until i went back to work.  then i ended up a sleep-deprived zombie shuffling through each phase of my day until crashing in bed each evening.  five and a half months in, i’m happy to report that i’m FINALLY getting back to normal and feeling more like myself.  which means i’ve got a ton of projects planned for my new-old house that had fallen by the wayside during my baby growing/birthing.  my physical energy level still hasn’t quite caught up to my mental, so for this upcoming holiday weekend i’ve picked just a couple of projects that i hope to get done without pooping out.

redo the guest room
our guest room has come a long way.  for a good year or so after we moved in, it was that room where the door basically stayed closed because i was too embarrassed to let anyone see the stash of boxes, unopened wedding gifts and random stuff that we had in there.

get rid of some clothes
i already have a little box of clothes that i’ve been meaning to take to goodwill for the past i don’t know how long.  before i got pregnant, we had planned on doing a big overhaul of the closet in our master bedroom and i’ve been using the fact that it hasn’t happened yet as an excuse to hold onto a bunch more clothes that need to go as well.  after reading this post i might try to add a few more things to the box.

i have several piles of clean laundry lying around that i need to hang up and put away.  my husband, who has a ton of clothes, is really great at doing the laundry (read: he is great at operating the washer and dryer). from there, the clothes usually end up living on the couch or the guest room bed until he needs to wear them.  i’m a little guilty of this as well, but  in our defense, the current closet setup kind of sucks.  hopefully after the reno it will be more functional and easier to use.  in the meantime, i still need all the clean clothes off of the bed so that i can make my guest room nice and lovely for all of those nice, lovely house guests that we hardly ever have sleep over.

that shouldn’t be too much for me to get done in a three-day weekend, right?

wishful thinking

Thursday, September 02, 2010

type a

 in addition to being a new mommy of my sweet little babylove, i'm a full-time worker bee and also volunteer with a few charity organizations in the houston area.  i've always been the type of person that loves to give back.  i do feel very blessed and grateful for everything that i have.  but even when i had nothing but time,  there's something that i've always liked about getting out and helping others.  all throughout my pregnancy i was on the go-heading to this meeting or that gala or using weekends to catch up on phone calls to this and that committee.  with a new baby taking up what little free time i have, you might wonder why i even bother to keep up the extra-curriculars.

most of the charities that i have worked with focus on some sort of health disparity, which is an issue that i personally find really interesting.  i also really like the networking aspect of meeting people from different backgrounds and having the shared experience of making a change in the community.  for the first time since i went back to work (in early june) i finally feel like i'm getting back to my regular self.  but even though i have had to cut down on a few outside commitments, i still can't seem to get rid of my addiction to multi-tasking.  that being said, i do place a lot more consideration into how i choose to spend my time.

lately this has led to my (slight) frustration in how things are playing out with some of my organizations.  i'm naturally a very motivated, goal-oriented person and i get super focused when it comes getting the job done.  on the flip side, i get a massive brain itch that i can't scratch when others can't seem to do the same.  yesterday, a girlfriend of mine asked me if i am a type a personality.  now while the definition does contain some parts that i don't have any problem with, calling someone type a isn't exactly regarded as a compliment.

i try to be a pretty self-aware person, so although i can cop to having a bit of that in me, i'm usually repeatedly reminding myself to take a step back, breathe, and play my role instead of trying to take things over and do them the way that i think that they should be done. 

but, just to make sure, i decided to take a personality test (i know, how "type a" of me).  i was glad to see that i am NOT a strictly type a person, but that i have a mixture of personality types.

courtesy of:

Friday, August 27, 2010

naija roll call: stacie turner

i'm loving the dc edition of bravo's real housewives series (rhodc for those in the know).  during last night's episode, which i actually got to watch on the day it aired (a rare occurrence since my babylove arrived), we found out some interesting tidbits about stacie turner, one of the housewives.

stacie has the distinction of being the only african-american housewife on the show.  like our lovely michelle, she has a graduate degree from harvard, a successful career, and two young kids.

we already knew from past episodes that stacie was adopted as an infant. but in last night's episode, we found out that she also has something in common with michelle's husband. it turns out that she is the bi-racial daughter of a caucasian mother and african father- a nigerian to be exact.

i would have never guessed that she was one of my people. no wonder i like her so much. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

hill country wedding

this past weekend we went to austin for the wedding of a good friend of mine.  it was my babylove's first official road trip (not counting the trip to my hometown when she was a couple of months old). 

despite missing the actual ceremony :( due to the chronic lateness of my darling husband unforseen issues, we had a great time and got to bear witness to the beginning of their journey as a family.being nigerian, i'm used to weddings being a huge event with hundreds of guests partying all night.  this couple was american, so it was kind of nice to enjoy ourselves, drink a little wine, cupid shuffle a little and be back in our hotel room by 11 that night. 

the trip was also part business.  the bride hired me to create the programs for the event.
black tie affair.  p.s. isn't that pillow gorgeous?!

i love everything relating to entertaining and decorating.  i originally decided to design my own pieces when i realized that everything that i liked was a) friggin' expensive and b) things that i could do myself.  i ended up creating the save the dates, reply cards and programs for my own wedding.  since i'm totally a "champagne taste on a beer budget" kind of girl, i really like to keep costs reasonable for all of my designs.

in the etsy version of my fantasy life, i would turn this hobby into a full blown operation and joyfully spend all my days matching paper samples to wedding themes.  in the meantime, i have had the chance to play a small part in some very big days.