Friday, May 23, 2014


Not sure how this applies to my life today, but I liked this. . 

Any excuse to post a picture of Don Draper, I suppose. Anyone watching the last season of MM? I haven't started it yet. I'm letting it simmer so I can binge. I hope it ends in a way that is satisfactory to such an intense and quality show. 

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I'm slowly dipping my toes back into the world of Interior Design Consulting. My last project was a pro bono project for my husband's school. . . another bathroom. Who better to help me get my feet really wet than a dear friend with fabulous taste and a near-blank slate home?

My friend, Shivani, is an Ayurvedic consultant and mom of two. Hailing from Mexico City, and now settled here in Austin, Shivani is how I would describe the perfect client. Fabulous taste, fearless love of color and total faith in my vision for her.

Shivani and her husband Adam have owned their home for two years and, like most new parents, have focused all of their energy on their young children. Currently their 2 1/2 year old son, Tarek's room is the only room that has been painted since the previous owner.  The arrival of baby girl, Sage, in December has made home improvements even harder.

My early conversations with Shivani revealed that she wants her home to finally reflect her personality and style. Not only because the current setup is a melange of hand me downs, gifted items and too many square simple pieces, but because expressing herself through her home is especially important in the demanding and isolating time of caring for young children--a sentiment I relate to completely. And like most normal people getting by on one income in those early parenting years, the budget is tight.

The first project: The Bathroom

It was pretty bad. Fake stucco walls, too big mirror, builder grade oak cabinets, zero natural light and the previous owners did the worst paint texture job you can imagine--brown over cream. Kind of like if you changed a really messy diaper and wiped your hand on the walls.  We decided to keep the shower curtain for now. 

This is a space that gets used a lot, but not big and important enough to use a big part of the budget, and we have a lot of rooms to do. Because of its small size, its also an excellent room to have fun and really get creative. 

I consulted my higher power, Pinterest, and we put together a serious board of inspiration images. Over and over I saw color, texture, curves, and bohemian elegance in her images. A far cry from where the room was. Some examples: 

We kept going back to this image below for our color inspiration. And decided to do a purple on purple scheme. 

First we removed all of the random gobbldy-gook...hooks and awkward hardware and filled the holes. We did the walls in Behr's Sultana. . . a deep orchid purple. I deliberately broke a paint rule and did a flat paint in the bathroom to help with that insane texture on the walls and it looks so much better. (maybe even like actual stucco??)

Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of abundance keeping watch over the lav. 

We decided to paint the vanity cabinet in Behr Marquee Dramatist: A deep, electric, blue-toned purple in high gloss. This image doesn't do its slick glamour justice. 

We also drilled and added decorative mosaic hardware.

I highly recommend this if you are fixing up a tiny bathroom. If the vanity isn't broken consider paint rather than replacing. It will save you a lot of money for the pretty stuff. Like this mirror from a local decor store.

I hung some mercury glass votives from inexpensive hardware-store chain, and ceiling hooks to bring in a glamorous accessory, that is also kid-safe. Other accessories came from shuffling pieces from other rooms. The foliage is from her backyard.

Let'see that again.

Paint, mirror, hardware, votives, painting supplies 
TOTAL: $130 plus elbow grease. **All paint colors were converted to Glidden a mid-level brand at Home Depot. 

I know. Awesome. 

All images of the bathroom by me.. all others sourced here

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


This is not a post about cute strollers, and non-toxic, pro-brain, skill-building toys. 

About two years ago, I wrote a little post about surviving motherhood. It is one of my most viewed posts ever. Many items on the list are still essentials (I still go through ziploc bags like air) but now that I'm a mother of two, I've had to up my game. So here it top ten tips for transitioning from one bundle of joy to one giant bundle of insanity.

***I'd like to note the views expressed are MY opinions and not a judgement on other moms rockin' it differently. This list is what I would tell my girlfriends if they asked me how to make it work. 

1.IGNORE everyone EXCEPT the person whose parenting you trust. You're a pro now and smart enough to trust your instincts, but this is a different child. If something baffling comes up, ask this person's advice. Ignore everyone else.

2. WEAR YOUR BABY.. You just have to. I didn't do it much with the first one and my baby didn't love it. I didn't need to--I had all hands for her. Now, I simply could not take care of my super-curious, high energy toddler, get any food on the table, or do ANYTHING if I didn't wear baby number two pretty much all day. 

I don't love feeling like a hunchback and my feet need a good salt soak at the end of the day--but I just don't have time to sit in the rocking chair for a nice 45 minute catnap three or four times a day. Ergo, Bjorn, Moby, Sling Ring.. I use a combination of several carriers to get through various functions. 

Why do they guys look so confident?. Because they get laid more. Oh, is that not on the instruction manual? True story. Dads who wear baby for mom get laid more. 

The other day I asked my husband if he could pack me a lunch on for an errand I had to do. His words were "No, I have the baby." I had to gently remind him that I cook him dinner every night "with the baby" and that I was on my way out the door to help paint someone's house "with the baby." Dads, get over yourself and wear the baby. You don't look stupid. You look like a parent. . . which you are. 

3. USE HAND ME DOWNS Speaking of expensive carriers. . . the first time you did the nursery thing, you did the fancy gear and shower thing..this time, save yourself a boatload of cash and utilize what you have. 

All of your friends probably have babies now too, so swap gear. . pink blankets, blue blankets--WHO CARES? . The gender police aren't going to knock down your door if your son is using a pink blanket and your baby certainly doesn't care. You are going to need that money for a massage, new clothes, and this sweeper

4. PBS, NETFLIX STREAMING. Because some things don't change. Yes, my tv is on most of the day. Sometimes I simply have to leave my oldest unsupervised for a few minutes. I choose to do this at a time when Daniel Tiger or Super Why has her captivated. 

I also use our PBS schedule as a sort of clock mechanism for transitions. "Mom is daddy coming home yet?" "No Daddy doesn't come home until after Martha Speaks."  

When she is playing toys I turn it off. When she asks to watch it, I turn it back on. This does not make me a bad parent. She learns an amazing amount from tv and asks me questions about everything she sees. She is supervised and I am selective with what she watches. And admittedly..sometimes I need a break. She needs a mom who is present and not running on empty more than she needs to be screen free. 

5. WEAR LIPSTICK Or mascara or blush or earrings, or whatever makes you feel pretty. Even if you've had a babywipe facial, no shower, and are wearing your husbands deodorant because it was right by the door, wearing lipstick will kind of make you look like you have your shit together.  

It is important to feel like a human and a female instead of a walking napkin--which you ARE by the way. I just told Ruby to go wash her face and she wiped it on my BUTT while I was chopping food at the counter. She wasn't being ironic. You can't make this stuff up people.

6.SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING. There is a reason Angelina Jolie wears all black. She has 6 kids. She needs all of her clothes on the floor to match all of her other clothes on the floor. 

Simplify your wardrobe, your beauty, your hair, your meals, get rid of clutter, and anything you aren't using. Reduce the toys by 80%. Farm out anything that can be farmed. You can't do it all. Even if you want to. Even if you are getting sleep. YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL. If it isn't essential to your life--chuck it. Now. Handmade baby thank yous? No. Your real friends will understand (See #1). 

7. DIVIDE & CONQUER But try to switch off. Bedtime for Ruby has become Daddy's job. Saturdays have become Ruby and Daddy adventure day. This bums me out, as I almost never get that kind of time alone with my daughter now that I have a baby, but it ensures each kid is getting full attention from someone at least part of the time.  Reserve 10 minutes to talk to your spouse when both kids are finally out. It doesn't sound like much but its making an effort each day. 

8. ANSWER EVERY QUESTION WITH BOOBY. The first time around I wrote down feedings in a notebook, I was a slave to the clock, I supplemented based on some bad advice. Yes, my daughter was a different child entirely, but this time, there are no schedules, no clock. I just do it.  
Runny nose? Booby. Goopy eye? Booby. Constipated baby? Booby. Not constipated enough? Booby.  Banish the phrase "but he just ate?" from your vocabulary. Booby. Period. You cannot over-breastfeed your baby. 

9.DROP YOUR OTHER KIDS NAP. What? Are you nuts? Don't I need a break in the middle of the day??? Maybe but you need your kids to be in bed by 7:30 even more. 

If you ever want to talk to your husband again or have an hour to do something besides babies, skip the nap and get your older kid to bed as soon as possible. Ruby needs a catch up nap about once or twice a week. She will go off into a corner and curl up. Done.

10. APPRECIATE SMALL MOMENTS This is important. You are probably not going to have time to attend a weekly yoga class, watch a movie in one sitting, or go on a date with your husband for a while. Not sinking into a deep well of depression about the fact that you do nothing but attend to other's needs/pee/poop/food/laundry all day long, requires a major change in perspective. 

You must appreciate small moments. Really small. A glass of wine. That first sip of coffee while it's hot. A quick walk around the block (no one is going to die without your for 10 minutes), a couple drops lavender oil in your 3 minute shower, putting your lunch on a pretty plate. This may sound really sad, but if you don't find something to be grateful and joyful for in these small moments, you are going to feel very dissatisfied. You chose this, remember? 

That's it! To all the moms and dads working double time to keep the ship afloat. I salute you. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I am dying to do a black room. 

As you recall I did the ceiling in my sunroom in Behr's Cracked Pepper. It makes this tiny space look infinite and I love the effect. Either of my bathrooms would look great with this trend but I'm pretty sure my landlady would have a stroke if she saw me not only hauling more paint into our home but in BLACK!?  Renters are supposed to be transient and beige. And easily painted over. . . so I will wait. . . impatiently. 

Anyhow, I am hoping to do a deep peppery gray/black on an upcoming project in someone else's home. It is the perfect space for it..spacious, tons of light, and a great foil to a lot of pale, neutral and modern furnishings. It creates instant glamour, edge, mood, and plays spatial tricks on your eye. 

I love how black can elevate a great piece of art or a bold chandelier. Some examples. . .

No one does dark like Abigail Ahern. Have you seen her new paint range? REDONK good. I want to buy about five houses just to use all of these delicious, complex, murky colors! 

Dang it even makes Sriracha Sauce look good. And as far as I'm concerned no table is complete without Sriracha. Or maybe these are chopsticks? Maybe I see Sriracha where there is none. Well you get the idea.

Enjoy. . .

image sources here