#Makingagrandentrance

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As a mother of two rapidly growing sports obsessed boys, my challenge living in an apartment whose storage capabilities seem to shrink at an exponential inverse rate to the boys growth rate has been and will remain storing their plethora of different equipment. We have balls in every shape, size and color and off course all the different bats, sticks, apparatus to match and don’t get me started on the footwear, I envy the frequency at which they get to change it (and not for style reasons !)

When I visit friends who have made that move from city to burbs, there are three rooms in the house that I lust over the most; the mud room, the laundry room and the basement, for me it’s these rooms that scream luxury. The rooms where you can hide away the drudgery that comes with everyday living. The saying out of sight out of mind is playing around in my head at the moment.

Like a lot of my fellow mothers, the task of entertaining all these different sports lies not only in finding a suitable storage space for all the equipment but in remembering where they last had it.  I have found shin guards in the bathroom and mouth guards in the lego box before !! Needless to say my heart rate increases as we attempt to leave the house and everyone is scrambling.

On a recent weekly trip to Target to buy toiletries and trash bags, both of which I forgot to purchase as my attention was quickly drawn to the CLEARANCE section. I found myself looking at some rather cute storage ottomans. I had not come to Target to look for ottomans but as a frugal shopper the fact that they were reduced from $78.99 to $23.98 meant I had to buy them because as I later found myself telling my husband “it was a deal” something he has gotten accustomed to hearing though not quite understanding. Having gotten the deal I set about rearranging the kids sporting equipment from goggles, to shin guards, to mouth guards to flag belts, to you name it …. in these ottomans. RESULT !!! they now get what they need when they walk out the door and can put it straight away when they walk back in. Something I have found to be a lifesaver as their lack of attention spans usually means that by the time they walk in the door and turn the corner they have forgotten what I asked them to do and most importantly it means I get my grand entrance back and a normalized heart rate.

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Anyone else suffer from this same condition? If so I would love to hear how you’ve overcome these storage wars. We have had this system going for 2 weeks and so far so good ….

Let it shine

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Growing up in Sydney, warm sunny days were the norm more than not. They were never absent long enough to be missed. Moving to England in my early twenties I learnt that warm sunny days were a rare gift from the Gods. Now living across the Atlantic in Boston warm sunny days are something I look forward to. Here the seasons are marked by extreme changes that are hard to miss and after each winter I get that longing feeling for Spring. Its that same anticipation you felt as a child waiting for Christmas or your birthday to roll around again, knowing it would come but just not quick enough. This week (Tuesday to be precise) was when Boston began to shine again. The trees are green,  the flowers are blooming (along with my allergies), the boats are back in the water, al-fresco dining is back on the menu along with a clean crisp glass of Rosé and more importantly people are shining once again.

It was with this renewed gusto that I set about transforming my 50 square foot balcony space into a serene oasis suitable for enjoying long lazy morning coffees, sipping cocktails with girlfriends, enjoying long family dinners amidst the warm sea breeze, loosing myself in a good book, it was to be my place to shine. But who was I kidding? this was not so much about my longing for the impossible (I mean we all conjure up this space in our minds, right?) but more my chance to hide from sight the boys skis, sleds, lacrosse sticks, tennis rackets, baseball bats, cricket bats, basketballs, soccer balls, endless array of water guns, beach toys and any other contraptions that a 7 and 9 year old boy requires which had taken over the balcony like a plague. Drawing inspiration from visions seen long ago in my travels  but not forgotten and with a budget worthy of IKEA, Walmart and TJ-MAXX only, I had my work cut out. Ultimately I wanted a space that was aesthetically pleasing whilst also functional, a constant battle when designing spaces in the city with limited square footage, kids and a measly budget.

Overall I think it turned out well, my boys love it, they insist on eating every meal outside which in turn I love as it means the inside stays clean and we can grill every night. My husband even went as far as saying ‘why didn’t you think of doing this sooner’ which I quickly took as a compliment. I no longer have to stare at the plethora of sports equipment through the window and whilst its shining outside I can drink my coffee and sip my Rosé.  So girlfriends come on over and shine with me. xxxx

Shouldn’t EVERY girl have one of these …………. ?

Her own personalized accessories hutch !!

I had been obsessing over a way to display my handbags. I believe I may have used the words ‘As art’ in an attempt to convince my ever skeptical husband. Not one to be deterred, I found myself one recent snowy saturday morning outside a Jewish convalescent home loading the following into my car …………

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The Hutch – pre makeover

 

I received many perplexed looks from all three boys along with the following comments …….

“what is that?”

“you bought that?”

“where are you going to put it?”

“what are you going to put inside?”

and my favorite …..

“are we keeping it?”

Off course we are boys, mummy bought this to put in her bedroom as storage for her handbags. That seemed to satisfy the two young ones, I think my husband was left scratching his head with that look that read …. here we go again !!!

Well here we go again indeed …… 8 snow days later, a few coats of Annie Sloan paint, one trip to Home Depot for some $4 wooden legs and a can of gold spray paint ….. here she is in all her glory …..

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The Hutch – post makeover

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ART

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the paint I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in the graphite for the outside and for the inside I made up my own pink color by mixing Annie Sloan emperor’s silk and pure white. I painted the wooden legs I attached in the graphite and then taped off a quarter at the bottom and painted that gold. The hardware I painted gold as well and I added a gold tassel for a bit more pizzazz. The bottom part I painted in the graphite and then covered the bulk of it with contact paper in a grey and white cheetah print. I also added 3 battery operated LED spotlights so that the art could be viewed in all it’s glory 😉

The skeptics are skeptics no longer and my hutch stands proudly and pretty in the bedroom.

A wall fit for a gallery

We’ve been in our new apartment for 19 months now which means that is how long I’ve been threatening to put holes in the wall and hang some pictures. My husband gets quite nervous at the prospect as I’m not know for either my patience or ability to measure straight. Like a lot of us out there I’ve also been obsessing over picture gallery walls. The more ideas I looked up the more obsessed and confused I became. I had some very grand ideas using different style frames and objects. In the end I decided to tackle the wall outside the boys bedroom with the intention to showcase both their artwork and photos of the boys and their friends. I used solely the IKEA black RIBBA frames and though I did not intend to  hang photos from ceiling to floor I’m glad I did as I think the end result is quite effective.  The boys love to see their art work on display, I just have to keep reminding them not too touch as I’m not convinced they’ll withstand their little hands. So far they are all still hanging 🙂

Floor to Ceiling Picture Gallery

Floor to Ceiling Picture Gallery

Turning a Swede into a Dane !!

I had been on the hunt for a console that had a Danish mid-century feel to it for a while, constantly scouring the internet as shopping with the kids fills me with certain anxiety. Unless off-course it’s to IKEA where they can be let free in the playspace. Living in a small city apartment with two boys, there is certain criteria that a piece of furniture must fit when entering my front door.

1. SIZE – Small, small and small !!!

2. EASY TO CLEAN – Why do kids insist on touching everything ?

3. MULTI-FUNCTIONAL – How much crap can I store in it ?

4.  PRICE – Limit tears if and when some harm may come to it.

5. STYLE – Must be pretty off course, there will be no compromise on style.

Not an easy task when looking for a specific piece of furniture, but I was up to the challenge.  Inspired by other IKEA hackers and consoles I had seen online, I turned to my favorite Swedish store IKEA. Starting with a white EXPEDIT bookcase as my blank canvas and using the Dumont Buffet from West Elm as my inspiration. Some maple veneer plywood, liquid nail glue and walnut stain later …. The transformation was complete.

My blank canvas

My blank canvas

My inspiration

My inspiration

My transformation

My transformation

I’m very happy with the transformation, personally I think it looks more expensive than it is, more importantly it meets all the required criteria and people who have seen it in person find it hard to believe that it started out as a little white IKEA bookcase. Who knew something so Swedish could look so pretty dressed up Danish !!

You can also check out the console on Jennifer’s you tube video by clicking on the following link http://youtu.be/SAIo7gyttVM

Follow Jennifer’s weekly videos on http://YouTube.com/momcoms

 

Going Green ……

My oldest who is 6 is constantly asking to move out to the ‘country’. The ‘country’ is what he calls suburbia. We live in the city and are lucky to be surrounded by a number of parks and open green spaces. We are even luckier to have outdoor space, by outdoor space I mean a small balcony and roof deck that has me breaking out in hives whenever  the boys are out on it.  But that is not enough, he wants his own backyard !! Having grown up in a house with such a thing I repeatedly tell him that the ‘grass isn’t always greener’. I still fret going to visit my mum for fear that she will ask me to help with the gardening. But his constant requests are enough to flair up the guilt complex and in a feeble attempt to bring a little ‘country’ into our city life, I purchased the cutest little greenhouse from IKEA so that the boys could do a little gardening at home.

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They loved it and best of all it kept them busy on a recent rainy Sunday morning. We planted some strawberry, tomato, cilantro and basil seeds. Unfortunately I must have read them ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ one to many times for they where sorely disappointed the next morning when nothing had grown. I think they where expecting to climb some sort of greenery !! I tried to reason with them ……. if I knew that I could pluck a hen that laid gold eggs from the sky, I would have started planting seeds long ago. They where not amused and my youngest suggested we open up a tin of Heinz baked beans and plant them. We are now on Day 3 and I’m constantly asked “when are they going to grow ?” and “it takes too long, why does it take so long ?”. I wonder how long it will be before I cave and go down to the garden centre and replace them with some established plants. For now our little greenhouse sits pretty on our balcony. This is as a much of a backyard as I can handle !!

 

 

Loving the GROOVE ………

Back before kids I used to have photos in albums with a short description under each one, way back before kids I had my own dark room and printed my own black and white photos. These days with kids I make endless lists of what I would like to do with my photos and how I would like to organize and categorize them. It’s when my youngest starts asking why there are not as many photos of him in frames that I realize I am failing. I also remember the days when I used to travel around with a purposely designed back pack for my SLR camera, all my lenses and film, always reading reviews on the latest cameras and lenses. These days I travel around with my iPhone and capture the most magical moments with my kids on my phone. This is why I was so excited when I found out about the Groove Book app. Using the free Groove Book app you can download  photos off your phone, they are then printed in a 6×4 book of up to 100 pages, the photos are perforated so you can easily remove them and since the data is take of your phone, the photos have date and location printed on them  and all for a fee of $2.99 per book !!!! I think I’ve ordered 9 already, the boys love looking at them, and with their colorful covers they look pretty on the coffee table and make for a great conversation starter ……….. Check them out on http://www.GrooveBook.com and get your first one free using the coupon code GONZALEZVEGA11

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Introducing an IKEA Hacker …..

My friend Jennifer has many talents; she is incredibly funny, is a great writer, accomplished producer and has amazing flair in the art of persuasion. It is this flair that got us into a private Albanian graduation party in New York’s swanky Gavensport Hotel one summers night, the same flair talked me into buying $200 worth of pampered chef goods that I’ve never used and it was this same flair that convinced me into filming a video for her incredibly funny you tube channel. Check it out following link below …… enjoy !!!!

The video features my IKEA ‘hack’ gold tables. You can watch all of Jennifer’s weekly videos on http://YouTube.com/momcoms

 

 

These boots were made for walking ……. in the rain !!

Does anyone else on the East Coast feel like they’ve been stuck on the Disney set for ‘Frozen’ ? I do !! and it was this reason that I did not hesitate to splurge (just a little) on a pair of Tory Burch boots even though we are now in Spring. Lucky for me they were heavily discounted and this weather means I can keep my un-manicured feet looking PRETTY longer !!

THE TORY BURCH LEONA BOOT

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THE VIEW OUTSIDE MY WINDOW TODAY

 

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