Honey I shrunk the furniture!

More to the point, Honey I made the furniture disappear!

At this stage in our relationship, my husband has learnt to block out background noise quite effectively. So much so that when I recently told him that I had put our living room furniture up for sale on Craigslist, I think the only words he heard was living room and left it at that. He most likely thought I was discussing a new color scheme, so you can imagine his surprise when he came home one night after work to an empty living room.

Last night the final piece of furniture was picked up, the boys looked on in amazement and wasted no time trying out their new obstacle free wrestling ring. Meanwhile their dad looked lost and confused, most likely pondering how he was going to watch sports on TV standing up! I wasted no time getting started on a mood board designing a whole new look, well why not?

Coco Chanel, one of the  most iconic women in the 20th century held the strong  belief that fashion is in everything, she is also quoted as saying that “fashion was made to become unfashionable”. My husband will probably quote me as saying “the furniture was no longer meeting our families needs” that was my argument as I figured quoting Coco Chanel to him may not play to his practical nature.

When we moved into our apartment 6 years ago, I had 4 and 2 year old boys. Those little boys took up very little space, so when I was dreaming about my glass and marble tables, whilst I may have been put off my grubby fingerprints, I never once envisaged the wrestling that now takes place. My kids also went to bed earlier and we didn’t all watch TV at the same time, something that has recently changed as we find ourselves all jostling for the best seat in the house for our weekly movie night. The furniture had become outdated for our family or some may say unfashionable. Time for a change.

Maybe operation clear out was a little drastic or as my husband asked ‘could you not have waited until after Super bowl Sunday?’ He does not understand that creativity waits for no one. I’m looking forward to redesigning and sharing with you my new fashionable living room for our family and needless to say a pretty space. Follow me for updates on the new space.

before

Before Operation Clear Out

after

After Operation Clear out

When leopard print sparks joy

Hot of the mark from organizing my pantry in an attempt to eat my house clean (Looking for Accountability Coaches …… Eat your house clean challenge), I decided to tackle the closet. I had heard recently that on average woman only wear 20% of what is in their wardrobe. Could that really be? I’m sure that I am not alone in thinking I’ve nothing to wear as I stand there looking at a wardrobe full of clothes. Mind you this is the same woman who claimed to have nothing to cook up a meal with whilst her house was full of food. Yet I think there are those that can relate to this phenomenon that seems to afflict woman of all ages.

About two years ago when everyone was talking about the life-changing KonMari method of tidying I also jumped on the bandwagon, after all I had always enjoyed a little origami, so why not update my skills by folding clothes using intricate folding patterns? The fundamental basis behind Marie Kondo’s method is quite simply ‘joy’. The item if you are to keep it must immediately generate warm fuzzy feelings whilst holding it, if the opposite is true then the item must be discarded. In order to speed the process Marie Kondo does insist that one should not try on the hundreds of pieces of clothing you have stacked up in a pile approaching ceiling height on your bed. Instead one must hold the item firmly with both hands and wait to see if our internal self is radiating yellow beams of joy. 

Unfortunately, two years on and I find myself in need of another major overhaul. Marie Kondo I failed you, though I have to say I am still practicing my origami skills folding my T-shirts. As I began to gather all my clothes on the bed today, I noticed an abundance of leopard print, had I subconsciously tried to connect with my primal state and taken it to far? It was at this point that I deviated from the KonMarie method and rather than organizing by item, I decided to organize by print. I was certain that by using her tried and tested method of holding items to see whether they spark joy would help to whittle down my leopard print collection. I was wrong, holding each item filled me with so much joy that it generated enough warm fuzzy feelings to heat my whole apartment. 

animalprint

Animal print is either something you hate or love. My boys are fascinated by it and always ask if its real and can they touch it? My husband on the other hand takes one look and asks, are you really wearing that out? I on the other hand can remember buying each and everyone of the items above, where I bought them, who I was with, what special occasion I wore them to, how discounted they where, how I felt when I purchased them, I can tell you that and more. I’m not sure Marie Kondo would consider my efforts at tidying a success today, given my wardrobe still has that overwhelming presence of leopard print. However the efforts did reinforce how much joy leopard print in any shape and size sparks in me. What can I say other than I am woman hear me ROAR!

 

 

 

ZARA Fashionista

I first came across ZARA in my teens when I was visiting family in Spain. I can recall everything about my first experience as if it was yesterday and not 25 years ago. I remember the frenzy of “Las Rebajas” (Spain’s famed sale period) my grandmother had insisted I buy a coat for winter and sent me shopping with my cousins and aunt. I remember the dark grey woolen coat we purchased, and I remember feeling cool, grown up and sophisticated walking out of the store with my shopping bag. It didn’t matter that I was boarding a flight back home to Australia and the coat wouldn’t see the light of day again, in that moment I felt fabulous and that’s all that mattered.

It is safe to say that 25 years on and in my 40’s I am still an avid fan of ZARA clothing. I struggle, or should I say I fail, to walk past a ZARA store and not walk in wherever I am in the World. Unlike other stores, ZARA gets new collections in every week so there are always new styles to check out. They also don’t tend to restock items and when something sells out that’s it. So if you see something you like it, don’t wait until later to buy it. They do have a 30 day return policy for those like me that suffer from impulse buying followed by buyers remorse.

Yesterday I was on Newbury St in Boston for an appointment and on my way back I just so happened to walk past ZARA. I honestly had no intention to stop in, and was trying to stay focused on not shopping…“Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200”. However the SALE signs hanging in the window pulled me in. Another thing that ZARA does well are their SALE’s. They are always worth checking out and who doesn’t like a bargain! If I am honest with myself I didn’t really need anything, especially as I could be wearing Haute Couture but with the current New England Weather all you would see are my snow boots and big puffy winter coat.

The first item that caught my eye was a leopard print coat, I love leopard print and hence could not walk away from the coat. I have been coveting one all season and just haven’t been able to justify the price until I saw the $69 price tag!! This coat has sold out online but if you are lucky you can still find it in stores. My second favorite find was a plush dress with a raised design for $15.99. I’m thinking of pairing it with some leggings and snow boots….Après ski here I come. I’m still not convinced on the blue embroidered shirt (also $15.99) as it is quite long at the back and my height might be restrictive. Already thinking of pairing with white skinny jeans and wedges once the weather thaws, the birds sing and the flowers bloom once again. Last but not least was a green frill neckline blouse ($22.99). I’m thinking black coated jeans and black over the knee boots….drinks anyone?

UntitledI walked out of the store yesterday with my ZARA shopping bags and those same feelings I had after my first purchase 25 years ago, cool, grown up and sophisticated.  Now I just need the weather to cooperate!

A picture is worth a thousand words.

A week ago I challenged myself to eat my house clean in an attempt to reduce both my grocery bill and get the creative juices going in the kitchen. I would say that overall it has been a success, I have appreciated every comment and acknowledgement along the way and if I’ve inspired a couple of you to do the same that makes me happy. I have to admit that there was a degree of purging that took place and those items that moved in with us 6 years ago and failed to bring anything to the table finally moved out. My biggest success was surprisingly the tuna lasagna, it was both quick and easy to make and everyone enjoyed it, to the extent that my youngest has requested it for dinner tomorrow. Who knew mixing a jar of roasted peppers, a tin of tuna and a can of tomatoes and then layering it in between lasagna sheets and calling it Mums Special Lasagna Surprise would be such a hit!?!?

IMG_0428 (1)

For now my fridge and freezer are relatively empty and my pantry is looking bare of some essentials, though I really do need to tackle the coconut milk supply. I still have 3 cans to use up (any recipe suggestions?). I need to work on a list of essential pantry and freezer items and this last week has given me great insight into those staples that can easily be called upon last minute to serve up a delicious meal for the family #tunalasagna.

Looking for Accountability Coaches …… Eat your house clean challenge.

Ever had that feeling first thing when you wake up (usually after a long night partying) of not really being sure where you are? That was the feeling I experienced this morning when I woke up and saw my oldest at the base of my bed muttering something about breakfast. Then it hit me …. after what seemed like the longest Christmas break (17 days, but who’s counting?), which dragged on due to some weather phenomenon they named bombogenesis, my kids were finally going back to school, my husband was no longer ‘working from home’ and I was going back to work. Today I was supposed to run a tight military campaign that involved getting everyone out the house fed and clothed (pajamas under snow suits was no longer suitable attire) by 8am, followed by an over scheduled afternoon of activities, homework, dinner and bed. There is something about school days and dinner that always throws me off course …. I don’t know what to cook, when will I cook it, do I need to go the grocery store? As I was raiding the fridge and pantry and processing advanced algorithms in my mind to calculate the best time to fit in grocery shopping, it hit me ….. I do have food in my house I just have to figure out what to cook with it.

How many times have any of you gone food shopping, bought a cart load full of groceries, spent a small fortune only to arrive home and feel like you can’t put a meal together? Yep, well that is yours truly. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried meal planning. I even bought the note pads that break down your shopping lists based on the different meals and days of the week. I just don’t find that to be a sustainable process for me and my kids now use those fancy pads to play hangman. As a serial food shopper, yes I sometimes buy things because they look nice or different or interesting and then never use them. It’s not so much a case of not having food in the house but more of a know how and motivation of throwing quick, healthy meals together for the family.

That is why I have decided to challenge myself and I’m calling on all my friends old and new to hold me accountable. I need you all to be my Accountability coach. This is actually a real thing as I discovered during a recent binge watching session of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Who knew you could hire people to hold you accountable? Apparently new Housewife Teddy Mellencamp makes a living by doing just that!

So what is the challenge I hear you all screaming ……. I challenge myself to eat my fridge and pantry clean before buying any other groceries. I am naming my challenge quite simply ‘Eat your house clean’. My motivators are two fold, one to cut down on both my grocery bill and food wastage (which I hate to admit I am guilty off) and two, to challenge myself creatively in the kitchen by cooking new dishes for my family that are both tasty and healthy. During this time I will still purchase fresh produce (eggs, bread, milk, fruit, vegetables and protein) to compliment what I already have. I have attached a photo of what I’m working with and at first glance I see coconut creams (x 3)…..curry anyone? If anyone has any ideas to inspire me by glancing at the contents of my pantry I would love to hear them. Since I know you will all be holding me accountable I will aim to post daily results of my challenge. Full honest disclosure, including what ingredients I purchased and which I used from the stash at home and what the final result was (may or may not include pictures !!).

I still haven’t quite decided whether my liquor and wine cabinet will be held to such scrutiny, from memory things do not linger on the shelves there for long, in part due to friends stopping by. Well I guess they are not stopping by to be fed. However, just in case I wake up tomorrow with a change of heart, I believe there are a couple bottles of Tempranillo on the wine rack that may need some attention, one has to start somewhere. Looking forward to sharing this challenge with you all. Now who is going to hold me accountable whilst I eat (and possibly drink) my house clean !!

Cheers RGV