Lucy: the first 60 days.. and I don’t do crafts part 2.0

Well, this is the third year I’ve managed to not write a solitary thing during the month of December. I skipped November this year too. Oh well, I added to my plate remember? So, Jan 3rd is here and I have a few things to go over.

  1. I will try my hardest to write more. I love to do it. It makes me happy. And several of you have told me it makes you happy to read my posts. (which, with the exception of my mom who is my biggest fan and sometimes I think my only fan, is totally unexpected and kind and makes me happy to hear) So. I will Try. Here goes..
  2. We got a puppy. Yes. It was time. She is 12 weeks tomorrow.

Introducing Lucy Rose:img_1783

So Lucy joined us just in time for the holidays. She was welcomed with open arms and two very surprised children.. We didn’t tell them! And since then its like we have a newborn sibling. I have to admit, she is a good puppy so far and I welcome the company as I am home now most of the day by myself. If you ask the kids, they totes love her BUT she definitely takes up a lot of doll playing and x-box playing time around here.

It’s good for them, this new responsibility. They are soooooo very used to doing what they want, when they want; just hibernating in their own little worlds, especially in the winter months when activities slow down ….Lucy’s shaking things up. She’s bringing us together again, playing in the kitchen with the kids as I get dinner together. Forcing us to maybe watch a movie all in the same room and giving us an excuse to go in the back yard and throw around a ball or two. Almost all family activities during the past 2 months have included the little miss including our New Years road trip to visit friends in North Carolina… and she did it! 10+ hours in a packed Ram truck. Fit right in, that little munchie.

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#pugrummy

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#pugonaminitrampoline

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#pugclaus

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#pugonaroadtrip

She’s a peach. (my new saying for 2017. I don’t know, just go with it.) Although she is no longer allowed on this rug. grrrrr….img_1767

My annual Holiday rewind besides all things Lucy goes a little like this:

Ugly Sweater party: checkimg_2239

Nutcracker and Brunch: check

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All the drink options covered here. #winning

Santa Hayride: check*  Santa Brunch: check*

*disclaimer: we’re holding onto all things Santa by a real thin rope… My phase 3er (aka 11 year old…see a previous post) is on the fence if ya know what I mean. Now, nothing was concluded this year BUT I’m glad I have an entire year to come to terms with what lies ahead for next year’s Christmas Magic..

All school concerts, parties, ugly sweater and gingerbread house making: check**

**disclaimer #2: In what will go down as a record breaking year, I did attend EVERY SINGLE thing I was invited to as a parent on the school level. Now, I still have a “no room mom ever” rule so I wasn’t privy to the class parties BUT, I did attend 2 crafting sessions that helped me emerge from my usual “I don’t craft , I delegate the creation of the crafts.” norm.

In both circumstances I had a super fun time because there was the complete absence of rules and “how to” or wrong and right way. There was only childlike creativity which I thought was FANTASTIC and bravo to the teachers. Super fun and inspirational to see. We are lucky enough to live in a school district where we have art classes in school and every year these kids really pull out all the stops due to some very thoughtful and creative teachers. I was so happy to see this continue in the holiday activities. I’m a smidge tired of seeing so many perfectly planned “Pinteresty” crafts that would never come from the imaginations of a grade schooler. Their minds wonder much more abstractly and are naturally less rigid about art and being creative.

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5th Grade project: Ugly shirt decorating using whatever you have that mom didn’t want to decorate with to be worn at the holiday concert. 

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The beginnings of a 1st grader gingerbread creation…ALL decisions made by miss Eloise, I was only a contracted worker… 

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The Masterpiece complete with a lifesaver truck. I loved it so much I made it the centerpiece in the kitchen mixed in among the bottle brush trees and deer antler wreath. 

To put it in terms of a FRIENDS analogy:

Art for a kid should be more Phoebe than Monica 😉

I mean look how little miss Eloise rolls to the Nutcracker at the Academy of Music for crying out loud.

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Nobody puts Baby in the Corner

So there ya have it. We completed the festive month with a road trip that had us all shoved in a truck for, like I mentioned before, 10+ hours each way. We survived and had a BLAST visiting with old friends.

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Those are “only 4 hours on the road so far” smiles… ha! 

I’ll leave you with a fabulous “craft” idea that was not mine. My friend Sarina told me about it.  Something she heard about from some lady named Martha Stewart  (have you heard of her?) Ha! This craft is actually doable and quite the time/money saver.

So ya know all those beautiful holiday cards that we all display so proudly (at least I do) for the entire month of December?

I always feel so bad but most of the time after the holidays except for some of family and friends that I do frame, they either get shoved in a box or tossed. Don’t lie, you all do it too. I’m not offended. Lets be real. So turns out Martha, (Oh that Martha, what a peach), suggests cutting the well wishes such as “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Joy to the World” out and saving them to use as package tags for the following year!!!

OMG, she should really do this for a living. (hee hee) Anyway, THAT’S a craft i can get my ass behind. So here you have it…img_2583

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OOH…AHHHH. 

Holiday 2016. AAAAAANDDDD Scene!

 

Cheers to the new year friends, and RIP dear Princess…you inspired me to start writing. xo, friends.img_2445

 

 

 

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I don’t do Halloween, part 3.

So this is the third year I’m writing about this and the truth is that I now do Halloween.

After years of diffusing it and making it not so fun… I’m all in. This is partly due to the fact that I now have a few more hours a week (like 15-20) where I’m not commuting on some highway in traffic, drinking black coffee while falling asleep at the wheel, and partly because it seems as though everyone else around me LOVES Halloween. So, I’m in.

I’m still buying my costumes on Amazon, like 12 hours before we need them but some things will never change.

Here’s a peek into how I’m spreading the spook this year…Be kind, I’m a beginner, and I still like things pretty. This will also never ever change.

Let’s work our way outside/in, shall we? Entry: Fall- meets- a very small serving of All Hallows Eve… A witch hat from a primitive craft store on a wreath I use every year in between seasons, some witch hands coming up from the dirt, and the obligatory hanging skeleton/ghost thing. Adding in many interesting and colorful gourds (well at least all the kids could carry to the car), mums, those red spiky things and last but not least, Pumpkins.

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Moving inside, the dining room has been done for a while. I like to keep it “Martha spooky” by still using my milk glass and wine barrel lazy susan. I mixed in a few skeleton wine glasses with my vintage etched glass and added some black feathers and a spider web table-cloth for darkness….and of course there’s led twinkle light strands for evening. img_1044img_1043

Kitchen. This will be the main hub for trick or treat night when I usually have a crowd. This table will transform into snack-central. Candy, goldfish and juiceboxes galore. I think I mentioned last year that we reside in THE trick-or-treat neighborhood in town. Like, kids from other neighborhoods get dropped off here. So we host. After the kids go around the blocks twice or three times, they gallivant in the yard after all getting amped up on the sugar, so we adults eat, drink and be merry around the fire pit. There is always an excuse for a party. This lesson we have learned after there are no more babies/toddlers to deal with. (aka phase 1-ers…from an old post;) )

By DAY….

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and NIGHT…I filled the hurricanes with plastic spiders and bat lights..wahahahaaaa

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I’m sorry but aren’t these the cutest little stupid monster faces?

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K. Family room. I never decorated this room for Halloween before. It’s a first. I just used some fabric to spook it up a bit and it also added to the warm and cozy effect. Candles, gourds, garland. Simple stuff.

Day..img_1041img_1031

and night. The only thing missing here on the table is the vino… img_1034

Last but not least I got this phone at target. When you walk by or pick it up it scares the shit out of you. (well, at least the first 3 times) The kids love it. And it’s growing on me too. The whole holiday is actually.

I guess never say never.

xo, friends!img_1021

 

 

 

dipping my toes back into the water..

You know I couldn’t stay away long….from style, styling, and new products, that is.

But DO NOT PANIC. I am not going back to the mall. I am still part owner of my family business and working from home and watching my kids grow. BUT, I need to be a part of something creative and have been thinking for a while about a few things.

  1. Kids are going back to school.
  2. NO MORE BEACH
  3. I need to start thinking about shopping for Christmas and x-box games are $89 each these days for God’s sake. Not to mention Elliemonster’s obsession with American Girl Doll….
  4. Fall turns into winter
  5. WINTER SUCKS. (sorry NE winter lovers, I’m never going to change my mind)
  6. I need to move to the Bahamas… (wait that’s not going to happen yet…)

Hey! (Lightbulb goes off in head), I’ve been stalking this cool new company on FB and Insta for months now and have been craving the product for my own. Not to mention, I’ve admired her style and story for years…India Hicks.

Here’s the scoop:

India is a designer with royal roots (if you’re a royal fanatic you may remember her as one of Princess Diana’s bridesmaids in that fab ‘80s dress). She’s also the daughter of David Hicks (so if you’re design-obsessed like me you may already be drooling at the thought of her style sense).

Despite that background, India is authentic, hilarious, and smart. She has made her home out of the limelight, on a tiny island in the Bahamas, and with her significant other, raised 5 children without the fanfare of the life she herself grew up in… while keeping her feet firmly rooted in the sand.

And I’ve recently joined a tribe of women who help bring her gorgeous brand into the home.

 

IH-Style-Ambassador-Logo

Here area few glimpses of the beautiful product.

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AND Here’s my very own website!!

http://www.indiahicks.com/rep/carincolgan

Let me know what you think! In the next few weeks I’m going to learn some new things, revisit some things that I already know and love how to do and put together my launch party.

I am pretty excited to add on some newness this fall. As always I am a fan of starting all new projects, ideas, endeavors in the Fall. I mean that’s when kids start school, when the September issue of Vogue hits and when we start drinking all things pumpkin.. gag. Sorry, I’m over that custom. 😉 So why not dip, or dive into this? No time like the present to start Multi-tasking again. Stay tuned!

Oh, and you pumpkin people…There are still 22 COUNT THEM, 22 days of SUMMER left!!

xo friendsIMG_1975_1INDIAHICKS-SRPING2016-105

 

on the cusp

Memorial Day weekend is such a tease. What I’m learning from my work from home role and also as the kids get older is that waiting for the end of the school year is like waiting for nail polish to dry if you are painting your nails outside in 98 degree humid July heat. It feels like the actual summer will never, ever start.

Everyone was so amped up about good weather FINALLY making it to the Northeast  States, and Memorial Day weekend was epic in many aspects. First and foremost, me jail braking the kids out of school a little early because I’m not chained to setting up and working a retail holiday weekend sale anymore. Also, we finally had one weekend away from sports and headed to the beach to do all of our absolute favorite family things: beach, boat, sun, swim, porch, bike, repeat.

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Only to have it all feel like a dream…This Tuesday was the “Monday-ist Tuesday ever”.

Relax, I’m not gonna get all Sad Sally here. I realize that in 2 weeks it will officially be summer break and as usual we are almost planned out till August 31st. I also realize that in 2 weeks or so I will be yelling at my kids to get outside and wait while I finish work until we can go crash a pool. Oh and “Boo hoo…your life must suck as the only kids in town without a pool…but I guess the beach house doesn’t count now does it?” I’m sounding a lot like my mom in 1986, (sans the beach house..we had a sprinkler and a slip and slide).

So that’s my random rant. On to all things “on the cusp” aka “early June”.

imageMakeshift outdoor offices are the key to working from home.

imageMakeshift outdoor offices turn into twilight wine and relaxation area…

When you go away for Memorial Day weekend and come home to sad peonies who have been attacked by a nearby wisteria plant. grrrr… imageSo, you cut them. And enjoy.

Lastly, on the fashion front (well not really..just personal style front). I purchased my yearly 6 pack of white men’s Hanes tanks. I’m thinking about single-handedly bringing them back. There are not many garments in my opinion with the exception of the denim jacket and possibly leopard flats that go with EVERYTHING in one’s closet.

Dress it up, down, and around it. The 6 pack costs $9.99 and is universally flattering to all shapes and sizes. Don’t ask me how. It just is. Trust and Believe. I’ve been dedicated to these since 1993. Wore them all the way through 2 pregnancies too. A few examples:

imageWith Culottes 

With a skirt, any skirt; Long, short, or this vintage cotton 1970’s skirt printed with white and pink lambs…

You can even layer it under a dress, or THIS skirt that is now doubling as a dress. 97 cents on a clearance rack at Old Navy, friends. These are the odd things that never sell at Old Navy full price; A black viscose, shiny midi skirt. These cast offs always call my name. imageIt’s totally unacceptably wrinkled though… apologies to my visual merchandising friends. 

And with the trusty denim bottom, jeans, shorts, skirts…you get it. image

May I also recommend fun accessories. Since the tank is the simplest of garments and white, you can pretty much choose anything!

It’s no secret I own lots of Baubles. I lean towards kitschy earrings like bees or birds to go with plain white tanks and arm candy for days mixed with watches that I don’t really use to tell time when sleeves disappear in the summer. The last pic is an ode to wooden bangles. If any of you have ever worked with me in my styling days, I was always on the hunt for wooden bangles for the mannis to wear in the windows. They too, are a universal, go with all summer looks, essential. 

So that’s my hard sell on the basic men’s Hanes tank (or Jockey, whatever brand you prefer. I’m sure theyre made in the same factory ;)). June has officially begun!! On the cusp of another fabulous summer!

Now if I can only find a reason to rock this vintage Marc by Marc Jacobs on a random Wednesday in June…image

xo friends!!

 

 

Phase 3…because tween is a stupid word

A while back, like while potty training my 2nd child, I posted something on Facebook to the effect of:  “Potty training sucks. And to all you moms who tell me I will miss this someday I say…I will NEVER miss the poop. ”

Now, While I don’t exactly miss the poop, The idea of being in charge of someone’s whole day from start to finish, including personal hygiene, was shall we say MUCH easier than what lies ahead 10 years later.

I still have a 5 year old so not all is lost on controlling the majority someone’s day and I am occasionally needed in the loo but let me break down what’s been swirling around my (and many of my friends- don’t lie) heads lately.

Phase 1: Baby. The first baby, a baby boy, so unreal and foreign and cute and amazing and hard and sleepless, and messy and traumatizing and expensive and crazy and….NO. I wish I would’ve realized how awesome and I’m gonna say it…easier it was while it was happening. Which is why I enjoyed the second one’s first year much better.

Phase 2: toddler to little kid. so much running and bending and standing and running and playing and cleaning and running. BUT, you’re still happy to be out of the baby phase and they’re totally cute and it didn’t matter if the f-bomb flew out of their mouths at age 3 because it was soo f-ing cute. And as they get bigger like 7 thru 9 it’s all still cute (but not the f-bomb analogy anymore), playing with legos, and light sabers and making friends and talking about pokemon cards, and learning how to play sports for real but still just caring about the ice cream after the game.

Phase 3: I started to really miss babies about 4-6 months ago.

Whether or not you see it coming it literally happens over night. The bedroom door is closed as they are getting ready for school or anything.  They have an actual opinion about things and know stuff. Like smart stuff, history and math and science and they are not at all afraid to tell you when you are wrong. They lean in for a hug in stead of run into your arms.

And they are most likely staring at a screen of some kind for 60% of their waking hours. You can try and take the various devices away but you are also probably staring at one yourself so….you pick the argument you’d rather have. Also:

Dear Black, you bought them those devices. Love, Kettle.

On the other hand, Phase 3-ers still really love you too and they are not ready to fully let go of the Legos and Pokemon cards yet, and will still ask to sleepover in your room with little sis when dad is away. So there’s still time I realize to remember these little things before I forget. (as first depicted in the Baby Phase of baby #1)

So out of the blue I found this book that was recommended by one of my favorite Blogs http://www.dinneralovestory.com

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It’s about remembering the times that are happening before you forget them. Like, in the moment kind of stuff. Stuff I started to finally watch for with my 5 year old when I left my old career and started spending more time with her. It’s harder with the Phase 3-ers because they’re not home as much… Sports, activities and friends pull them away after school and weekends. But the book talks about even when you’re waiting for them in the car at the field or school, watch that time and remember it before you forget to.

Imma gonna try.

I also recently gave my Phase 3-er a room makeover. So  It’s been a while since it looked like this but here’s how we started in Phase 1:

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I think I should mention this was back before iPhone pics were the norm and also back when I (ehem..) actually scrapbooked. I mean come on. Little miss Eloise was lucky to get a few pics a month shared over Facebook.  Don’t feel too bad though, she holds her own now…and usually runs the show.

Back to the new room for my Phase 3-er. We, no I,  went to the paint store and brought home swatches. He picked a fantastic color. I spent 13 hours painting the ceiling 3 times and the walls twice. We kept the furniture he had since big boy room makeover in Phase 2 and the Pottery Barn bedding I thought was so necessary to a 4 year old’s bedroom six years ago; thank God I didn’t pick out a character theme back then or soccer wouldn’t be the only thing that costs $900…he walked in when it was all done and said “cool, thanks”.

We also scaled back on the amount of things he had taped and pinned to the wall in the past 2 years and came to a compromise. We did not let go of all those Lego creations, some of which took days to finish. We’re both not ready yet. So I made showcase cubes out of an ikea unit and added colorful backing. Below are the results of the Phase 3 makeover:

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we kept the dream catcher and bean bag chair from Phase 2 but updated the curtains

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waiting for dad to build him a desk. stay tuned to my insta! in the mean time, a basket for the electronic devices and chargers

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we kept the couch from Phase 1, and the Lego shelf is perched on the dresser

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Star wars is still VERY IMPORTANT

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Books that sometimes take a second place to the internet

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LEGOs and awards….and deodorant

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Bulletin board full of important artwork, friends messages and homework

So for now I think this will suffice for the perfect Phase 3-er escape. Most times it looks like this but at least I still can barge in whenever I want. image

Apparently watching British teens play video games instead of actually playing them yourself is a thing. And, being the best big brother that he could be…Little miss E is still welcome to hang. image

Phase 3-er in the making.

xo friends!

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march madness

Well, since my Disney Coma I’ve been skitzing out on posting anything. First of all, winter is very uninspiring to me personally, and I don’t really ever want to spread my negativity or bad mood on this blog. You’re welcome. We finally got away to celebrate both 40th b-days (a year later because of last year’s broken arm mishap), and our upcoming 15 year wedding anniversary! Paradise was nice while it lasted…

But, eventually, you have to come home and get through the rest of the winter…so I found a new hobby..image

That’s where we are at. Things are looking up in the Northeast, thanks to that groundhog who didn’t see his shadow. Thanks Phil! So with warmer weather ahead, I always get inspired to tear things apart, make some good messes and create again.

Ya know when you go to Target and buy a can of gold metallic paint just because, and then 4 months later decide it’s time to use it somewhere? Oh, that’s just me? huh.

So that can of paint chose the inside of the front door to live. The white door was starting to get really dirty and I knew that it needed tending to, so instead of touching it up like  normal person would do, I went ahead and painted it gold. Now, I’m not completely random as I do have “some” experience with color stories etc…

I wanted to bring together all the warmth surrounding the white door. With the dark hardwood floor,  mustard walls in the dining room and the gold touches in the surrounding artwork, curtains and rug, gold seemed to be a good option. And, hey, I already had the paint! Here’s the progression..imageimageimageimageimage

Three coats and some touch up later…image

Feeling accomplished and happy to have used the paint finally.

Moving on…Of course I went to the flower show again this year and was so happy to be with my family girl squad and to be among all the beautiful exhibits.

And of course I had to purchase some succulents for my mantle. They are so cute and easy to take care of. I’m still loving the green groupings for a Spring mantle look. Thanks to Terrain for the inspiration. image

Also, I’ve been needing a new spring wreath for some time but haven’t had any new ideas. Thanks to the dried floral booth at the Flower Show I got just what I needed. And instead of the usual Pinterest or FB time suckers during lunch on Monday, I made a big old mess with dried flowers on my family room floor. Here’s what I came up with..(15 minutes total labor).

Sometimes all you need is a little warm weather, a few good spin classes and a night out with the girls to give you a push in the creative direction.

Happy Spring!  xo friends!!image

Disney Coma

That’s me this week. There is no way to go to Disney World for 7 days and REALLY do Disney with 10 people (6 adults and 4 kids), without returning and morphing into a coma-like, alternate reality state. Like, wait, that’s not real life down there in Orlando? Dammit. Nope it’s not. But if you go into it with vigor, and keep up the stamina for the entire week (therefore resulting in a “happiest place on earth” high), you will not only have a good time but will need to sleep for 14 days after. AND, in real life, with kids, that’s just not possible.

So I go from this:image

To this:image

Trying to keep my inspiration, up while dealing with a slow business week, and getting into routines again, post “holi-daze”. Looking back, it’s been almost a full year since my fall, and recovery which eventually lead to changing my entire life around by choosing to work from home with the family business.  I’ve been through the initiation phase, the working while kids are home for the summer phase, the busy phase and the super duper busy phase. I’ve also enjoyed my first holiday season away from retail. Next phase, a slowwwwwww winter month or 2. Hopefully not too slow. Time to read, learn more about what I’m doing and make a list of goals for the coming year. Please God, for both my husband and my sake, let this pass quickly. Ha! We both aren’t very good with down time.

Anyway, I felt the need to make something pretty after coming back to a non-decorated and sterile house. You see, when I put all the Christmas decor away, I didn’t do ANYTHING to replace it. I like a clean slate in January.

With fresh eyes and some new Moroccan glass purchased while in “Morocco” (Epcot), I thought I’d start with the mantle. There were a few pics I pinned that inspired me to put all the small plants I had currently in the kitchen, on the mantle. To “green” up the Family  Room, like it doubles as a winter greenhouse. I do need to purchase more, probably of the succulent/cactus variety, because as I’ve said before, I kill plants.

Here’s a peak at my happy little January mantle “installation”imageimageimage

some vintage milk glass mixed in with the new Moroccan glass…imageimageimage

You should know that the plant above has survived 6 years now…I’m quite proud.

Hope this gives you a little inspiration to “green” things up in hopes for a quick and painless 2 months of winter…

xo friends!imageimage

 

December Rewind

No matter who you talk to every year about this time (Christmas Eve, Eve), everyone’s all “I can’t believe Christmas is in 2 days”! Yep. People, I hate to burst your bubble but it’s the same day every year. Small talk is not my fav, but I digress.

I made a conscious decision to enjoy this month of December and to BOOK it with all the things that I have always been too retail bleary eyed to enjoy. And it’s been eye opening. I feel happy and lucky this December. Not happy go lucky. I’m still working my ass off or I wouldn’t be writing this at 9pm a whole month after my last post. But Happy and Lucky. Appreciative of my kids, husband, family and friends. I have been trying to acknowledge all the love on my plate lately. And just the act of being thankful can make one happy. Happiness as it turns out is a choice for the most part. I think I may be done being a miserable cow. I know those closest to me are thankful for that 😉

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So here are some snaps of this past month. Some inspiration for you to consider for the next time you want to decorate, bake cookies, attend 4 parties in one weekend or just sit and watch your kids be kids.

I would like to make a commitment to write more this coming year. I’m working on what that’s gonna look like and where that will take me, if anywhere and if it even really matters. I like to write and take pictures so I’m just going to go with that. And practice. Heres a pretty interlude pic to get us started down my first December out of my retail fog….

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First up, go OUT the whole week of Thanksgiving. For the first time in 20 years. Highlights were, a fun Friends-giving, watching the Macy’s Day parade on TV with the offspring AND not falling asleep at the Thanksgiving table. Finally, reuniting with a bunch of old friends from college for a night of laughter. What I wore:image

Next up: Let’s decorate; and NOT at 11pm on a Monday… On Black Friday. AM. In my PJs. Here are some highlights from the house; note please I never do the same thing in the same place from year to year. Mainly because I toss everything in boxes completely unlabeled and unorganized on New Years Day. It’s a little challenge I give myself every year. Keeps me fresh. Ha!

Mantle. New this year: felt garland, gold stars and “Jingle” bunting. It was one of 4 words I could spell with what I was given in the dollar spot package. So I let the kids decide.

Snippets. Railing featuring a living wreath, berry garland and more felt ball garland. (Feeling a little Scandanavian this year). The hall wall was sprinkled some gold beading, greenery and berries. And the bathroom downstairs features all my vintage stocking garland among the pics I took in Paris and mirrors.

Moving on to the tree. The kids really did the whole thing. This has been a tradition the past few years. Mainly because I’m such a freak about the rest of the decorations in the house. I give them the tree. It’s the least I can do. Plus in the past I was so OVER overseeing the trimming of 30+ trees I couldn’t stand to look at another one. They did a great job and had a great time. I only moved 10-12 ornaments, tops. 😉image

Wrapping is always a favorite activity of mine and this year I got seduced by sequins, black paper and gold and pink tissue. Whatever, the sequins counts for Holiday. I was SEDUCED by sparkle and PINK. It couldn’t be helped. BUT, the kids did their own shopping this year as well. And they wrapped their own gifts. Eloise still insisting that you must use an entire roll of tape per gift. See below. imageimageimage

Lets Talk about some of the parties. Shall we? First up: Ugly Sweater Party. I went as the Elfie Selfie this year. Also, new do. I see the mini bun all over Insta. Well, on me , “I call it the Cindy Loo Who” .image

Next a dinner with my Bestie and her fam. Our Mini Mes turned the gathering into an opportunity to try on ALL things festive. image

That Sunday we went to a delicious Santa Brunch with family.  Later that day (yes I double booked), we had a magical hayride with a truly magical Santa. Let’s just say that all the moms were in tears and if there were any 10 year old boys “on the fence” about the Santa thing, it was cleared up. Santa won.

We made it through that EPIC weekend pretty much unscathed and ready for more.

Next up. Cookies with Nana. Success, as 2 5 year olds, a 10 and a 2 year old did a fantastic job on a Wednesday night. I cleaned up and poured the wine for my mom as I am not the baker in the fam.

Moving on to the NEXT weekend…. the 40 year olds get to attended a 21st Bday. We may or may have not showed the younger set how to have a good time. Not only did my head hurt from the wine but my face hurt from the laughing. That is a sign of a good time. PS, I’m soooooo not in high heels shape these days. Gotta fix that.

The next day I classify as my Favorite day of the season every year. Nutcracker Day. It is my 36 or 37th year attending with my mom and Godmother, who introduced me to the arts and the fabulous city of Philadelphia,  give or take a few missed years in between. I have been sharing this with my own daughter for the past 3 years now. It’s such a joy (I know that sounds old to say but theres no other word) to see her swaying to the music and pretending to be a ballerina  in the audience. It’s a very special day for everyone, being in the city and among all the festive sights, and I hope to continue this for many years to come. Oh, and Mimosas fix everything.

So I come to tonight where I’m  looking forward to the next few days of festivities. The kids are so excited to be done school for a bit and we have a few surprises for them in the coming weeks. This is the first year I don’t have to be at work at 5:30am the day after Christmas. I will savor that. I will continue to be thankful each day for the little, and big things. Time moves very quickly and I don’t want to miss anymore than I already have.

I’m looking forward to the new year, just like I was last year. There is nothing I can do to predict if I’ll break the other arm (Jesus Christ please no), or insert another life de-railer, but I think my outlook is a little more healthy. A little more thankful, A little more happy with what I have.

Merry Christmas friends xoimageimageimage

ex*pert vs. ex*periment

Everyone’s an expert at something. Whether it’s a skill, a career or a hobby, everyone has a thing that they do the best. It is usually something that is practiced over time or done very often, hence why someone who has a job or hobby for a while, can become an expert in that field. Maybe it’s open heart surgery, or pitching a no-hitter, or making an incredible lasagna. However large or small, important or trivial, it’s your thing and it’s something to be proud of.

I used to be an expert in decorating 200k sq ft of retail space for the holidays with about 35 volunteers in under 8 hours. Yep. But I am not using that expertise or skill for the first time in 15 Novembers and I’m glad for the break but I do miss being an expert in something that causes so much joy. These days I feel like the only thing I’m an expert in anymore is cleaning the house in under 2 hours, largely relying on Clorox wipes and Febreez. 😉 I’m not complaining. I’m stating facts. I still have much to learn in this new business adventure I’m on; co-owning an established small business that my husband started from scratch. I’m slowly getting it. I’m getting into a groove, a routine, and every so often de-railing into a spiral of crazy when I don’t know an answer and have to teach myself something when there is no one around to ask. But that’s all part of my charm. Working from home is ALIEN to me. But it has many benefits, two of them being a clean house and happy kids getting off the bus and immediately messing it up. Ha!

So, when I have some down time I like to feed my creative side by doing more of what I know like the back of my hand. That being, moving shit around and making the best use of space while keeping it aesthetically pleasing to the (namely, my) eyes.

What was next on my home invasion? Well, first I cleaned out every closet, the basement, and even the crawl space. I donated 17 bags of things collected over the past 14 years to Purple Heart and moved on. No time to try to sell anything. That would require patience and having things sit around here longer. I have a little rule (I know, I’m full of little rules). I try to keep it but life sometimes gets in the way:image

Regardless, I feel like that’s more true now, 17 bags of crap lighter.

Next up, the office space. The room as you enter our home hasn’t changed since we moved in 11 years ago, furnished with late 1990’s, brown, shelf heavy furniture and a GOD-awful office chair that my husband swore was soooo comfy. Well, since he doesn’t frequent that chair anymore, it was time for it to GO. I do no have a before pic because we re-did the room so fast and also I didn’t want to document it forever on the internet….use your imaginations friends. Below are some pics I pinned for inspiration. Check out more on my Pinterest board (FC Headquarters). Follow the link to my Pinterest at the side of the page.

I created a board for the project to get me inspired and to hone in on what we wanted the space to feel like color wise and style wise. Decisions had to be made like, if we don’t have file cabinets anymore, where does all the paperwork go? What kind of chair for the desk? What kind of desk? What could the room double as when we weren’t working in it?

a little too feminine for my other half but it was a starting place.

a little too feminine for my other half but it was a starting place.

we decided a long wooden desk and a comfy chair. The desk doesn't have to be the focal point of the room.

we decided a long wooden desk and a comfy chair. The desk doesn’t have to be the focal point of the room.

a structured and classic but soft grey and still comfy couch.

a structured and classic but soft grey and still comfy couch.

over the desk, matching wooden shelving with plumbing hardware acting as brackets.

over the desk, matching wooden shelving with plumbing hardware acting as brackets.

We decided that we wanted more seating in the house for when we had guests over or parties and if we had a small couch and a little table it wouldn’t have such a stiff office feel. Also, when we both are working from home, there would be room for 2 to work.

So, after some inspirational pinning we headed to Home Depot and Home Goods. I am lucky enough to have a husband who can make wooden tables like no one’s business. Actually, there is not much that he can’t do. He’s one of those people who succeeds at whatever he sets his mind to. Not to say that it’s for lack of hard work. He is relentless about getting stuff right when learning something new. At times his intensity at which he throws himself into projects and work is frustrating but most of the time inspiring. It’s something I’m sure our kids will benefit from and he pushes me too to do the same with stuff I’m interested in doing. I’m just more of a “know a little about a lot of things” multitasker kind of social butterfly…That’s why we work.

Here are some of the after pics of the room.

pretty close...AND of course I repurposed some pillows

grey couch. check. we got pretty close…AND of course I repurposed some pillows

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desk. check.

Desk creation. check. It’s pretty right? Still waiting on the shelves. Winter project. Life gets in the way of creating sometimes…

leather ottoman that serves as a table, and storage inside

Leather ottoman that serves as a table, and lots of storage inside. We swapped a  brown leather for grey leather chair. We already owned both, just switched rooms. The brown one we previously had in the office now lives in the family room.

Oh. Hello, not so ugly office chair.

Oh. Hello, not so ugly office chair.

Oh, and do you think I picked out that cow-hide throw on the floor? Think again. My love for all animal prints has rubbed off onto my husband. But I will take credit for the lovely mirrored tray that of course I put a Diptique candle on. A classic and oh so lovely Tuberose scent. DSC_0771

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I had to add a little vintage to the desk too. This caddy used to house some of my bracelets. Don’t worry, the bracelets have a new home just as pretty. Duh. DSC_0762

Like I said we all have our niches; our expertise. Practice makes perfect and I intend to continue making the most of our space until I run out of space and have to move on to other people’s spaces. Friends will be first. Watch out. I’m bossy. I will continue to learn my new role too; I can take on two or more things at once, I’m a freaking mom remember?

Although we all can dream:image

Just kidding. (well, not really) xo friends!

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as bright as the sun.

WAKE UP KIDS!!!! Mommy’s got a new paint color for your bathroom and it ain’t Celedon Green.

I do not shy away from color, not in my wardrobe or in my home. Some people joke, (well many people joke), that I don’t own anything black. Yes I do. They just happen to be a pleather pair of pants and a tulle skirt. to each his own. I love color, and am most energized in spaces of amazing color combinations. image

In the past few years I have kept to the downstairs interior theme of neutral/ grey on walls and pops of color on accessories, balanced by dark woods. The initial re-do was done all at once and I’ve just kept updating and adding along the way. Upstairs is a different story because I’ve been redo-ing one room at a time and each room really belongs to a different personality. My 5-year old girl, my 10-year old boy, my closet/office situation, and last but not least, the master bedroom —- desperately in need of a RE-DO.

Then there’s the guest/kids bathroom. It’s been this kid themed animal situation for a few years now and I’m sick of it and it’s blue walls. I’m going to pretend that the kids are sick of it too. I need a drastic, drastic change in there, and since I’m not in the position to replace the counter or tub yet, I chose to completely re-do the color palette.

I’ve always been drawn to orange but never for interiors really. Recently, I pinned some pretty fun color palettes including this happy color and I was inspired. So with the permission of my son ,(I had to ask at least), I went on a 3 day journey to transform the Turquoise to Orange, Hot pink and Navy blue.

Oh hey Hermit Crab, I'm about to set these walls on fire.

Oh hey Hermit Crab, I’m about to set these walls on fire.

COLOR INSPIRATION #1

COLOR INSPIRATION #1

COLOR INSPIRATION #2

COLOR INSPIRATION #2

BOOM.

BOOM.

Hmmmm I always kick myself for using the paint with the primer in it. IT SUCKS. every. single. time. (I should've known better as a retired VM shhh)

Hmmmm I always kick myself for using the paint with the primer in it. IT SUCKS. every. single. time. Way too thick and fast drying. (I should’ve known better as a retired VM shhh)

2 1/2 coats and 2 days later. (You try and accomplish a project like this during soccer season in less than a week. )

2 1/2 coats and 2 days later. Whatever. YOU try to accomplish a project like this during soccer season in less than a week.

Now we add in the pink. But not before freaking out that the whole thing is a mess and looks stupid and like CRAP. I can’t go back now because what do you paint over the crazy orange?!?! So I start adding in accessories before the walls are actually dry because that’s what we used to do in the windows at work.

Earth to Carin, you are not working inside a 9x6x12 box and you do not have to unveil this at 10am open of business. Old habits….

Hot pink trim in progress

Hot pink trim in progress…interrupted by hanging some black and white canvas of the kids as “littles”

adding the shower curtain because I needed to see the blue RIGHT NOW.

adding the shower curtain because I needed to see the blue RIGHT NOW.

After the panic passed and I could see how the pink and blue were actually going to pan out in real life and not those stunning Pinterest photos, I could then complete the pink and add yet another coat of orange. AAAAAAND, touch up all the orange spots on the ceiling 😉

4 coats and one leopard robe later....

4 coats and one leopard robe later….

Side note on the curtains… I originally hung a white cafe curtain tied back with orange ribbon. I HATED it; so much so that you guys don’t get to see it. Anyway, it didn’t work because even though there is a lot of color in here already and one would think, “keep it simple, we need more white.”, it was too stark and bright white. It was an eyesore. A focal point that I didn’t want to be the focal point.

So after looking for curtains online and remembering that I can’t stand regular curtains, (no offense), I ran to Joanne Fabrics on day 5 to get a few yards of fabric to do something with. I know. I’m complicated and crazy. BUT, I was never going to find the color/pattern combo in the allotted time in my head, which was the next 24 hours, that made me happy in the way of a real curtain.

The thing is if you really spent some time investigating, you’d find that my home is a series of temporary “window displays”. Nothing is all that permanent and that’s the point. That’s pretty much the reason that I never feel bad about changing things up like once a year or even more often than that. As long as it looks permanent but is super easy to part with, everyone wins; my ever-changing color palette taste, my bank account…everyone.

I needed to find a smaller pattern in the same blue that had some white in it, which I did in the way of a small polka-dot pattern. Then I thought it would be nice to incorporate a bit more pink since that was really only in the trim, so I found a pretty, not too feminine pink pattern. I wanted to cover the tension rod ugliness so I just wrapped the blue around it and then tied up, yes, tied up the panel of pink. I hung one more tension rod to the lower half of the window and just hung the rest of the blue dot fabric over; folded in half. No sewing, no drilling, no nailing, no pins or staples. staples? Yes, I have been known to do this on occasion. We are done. 2 yards fabric for $11 and a pair of scissors.

faking it

faking it

I did purchase some pom-pom ribbon from Joanne’s too…becasue it was asking me to buy it, all fuzzy and vintagey looking…so I hung it from the mirror I’m not ready to replace yet. That wasn’t enough so I added some blue garland from the ceiling. Full party mode at 7am now for the kiddos. You’re welcome.

every morning is a party

every morning is a party

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wash your little faces

wash your little faces

brush your teeth!!

brush your teeth!!

and take care of your hermit crabs!

and take care of your hermit crabs!

XO friends!image