20131226

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - zCush Baby Nap Mat

Hoping you all had a wonderful Holiday!
2 weeks to go till baby arrives.. 2 weeks to go! though if this one is anything like his/her big brother it could be here right now!? so lets continue to celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with my two good friends and creative minds behind zCush Baby Nap Mats, these two women took the traditional nap mat used by mother's for decades in the subcontinental countries and made them better. They are the perfect support a new child needs and can be used at times of napping, playing, feeding and changing and best of all when family, friends or big brothers and sisters want to hold your delicate bundle of joy you no longer have to worry.




zCush is giving away an adorable baby nap mat to one lucky winner.. Cotton Candy Pink or Plushy Paws Blue, you choose.


To Enter:
- Visit zCush's adorable shop and tell me in the comments which your favorite nap mat is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit zCush's Facebook page and LIKE it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!


Extra Entry

- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until January 1st to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.

Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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20131223

Kitchen and Family Room: Painted Brick Fireplace

We are nearing the end of our kitchen/family room renovations.. phew finally. And the place is really starting to come together wonderfully. You can see more before and after's here

This weeks project was the fireplace, we had planned on white washing our red bricks to make the space brighter. I read about all the techniques and tried a few of them out before beginning. We diluted the paint using 50% white paint and 50% water. I started to apply the mixture with a paint brush while M wiped.. we decided that wasn't working.. we wanted the fireplace to be much whiter.. and the diluted paint was too watery. It was dripping everywhere and I had to go over the same place multiple times to get the brick to to look bright and white rather than murky and dirty. So I went with a dilution of 75% paint and 25% water. The we project also turned into an I project, where it was I painting and no wiping.. M considered the job not for him.. required to much patience and was too tedious for his liking.


I went slow and steady. It was a three day job but well worth it.


I also painted the brown wooden trim of the pantry doors a bright white.


and am considering taking a paint brush to the doors too. Maybe a pale yellow? Still undecided.

Now that the work was all done.. next step was furniture. While we have most of our old furniture.. it's hardly enough to fill the large space.. and some of it is just plain old. But before we start buying it was important to know where we are going to place the tv, how to divide the space, how much seating is needed. The best way to go about it, in my opinion is newspapers!


we lay out newspapers, took measurements, walked around the space.. pretend sat on our pretend furniture and then took to shopping.. the best part :) We bought some and will slowly expand from there.. and keeping an eye our for others.. hope to share more soon.

Have you entered my latest giveaway yet? Enter now to win an eco friendly hat for your baby/toddler.

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20131219

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Ershware

3 weeks to go till baby arrives.. 3 weeks to go! D arrived in seven days from today! but lets continue to celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Ershware, as an artist and designer with a love for fashion and modern design Ashley struggled trying to find unique, modern and affordable clothes for her son. So she drew on her design sensibility, past-life as a pattern maker, and her ridiculously heavy industrial sewing machine to take matters into her own hands. And soon was born Ershwarehip, modern and eco friendly hats for babies and toddlers.




Ershware is giving away a Star Aviator hat, in your choice of colors to help keep your newborns or toddlers little ears warm. There are four sizes to choose from. 


To Enter:
- Visit Ershware's cool shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite creation is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Ershware's Etsy page and click on the Heart to favorite it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!


Extra Entry

- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until December 25th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.



Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131216

Kitchen and Family Room: Painting

We have painted rooms before, three rooms, a bathroom and stripes in the hallway of our apartment to be exact. So I would say we are no strangers to painting. We are aware of the do's and don'ts.. the important Repair. Prepare. Paint. What we were strangers to is the repairing. All the previous walls we had painted were pretty much new. They came with the original contractors paint.. so repairing was not needed. Nor did we need separate primer.. the paint plus primer combo pretty much worked.

Step one, I took pictures of all the repair jobs on the walls.. thank god the family room area had been already taken care of by the contractor and we only had to deal with the kitchen part of the walls. We took the pictures to show to the Home Depot guy so that we were certain the products we were purchasing we correct.

The job required sanding the bumpy, uneven areas till they were smooth, filling in the holes with joint compound or spackle, waiting for it to dry and then re-sanding the area till smooth. The tear in the wall was fixed by applying a tape and then spackle and sanding till smooth. So day one was pretty much spent doing just that..



Day two started off with the sanding we were unable to finish, we were very tired by the end of day one.. we had worked almost 12 hours and then there was the taping to do before we started priming. After another 12ish hours of working we were finally done repairing and preparing..



By the time day three rolled around.. M had taken a day off to get this finished.. we had to drag our sore bodies out of bed.. but finally it was time to paint. I had brought home several paint chips.. we wanted something light, cool, minty, but not too green.. maybe an aqua but not to blue or grayish.. of all the rooms we have painted we have never felt the need to bring home paint samples.. we always just knew.. this time was much more difficult a choice.. we settled on two samples.. I painted them in different parts of the room. Where the sun hit them directly, and in a darker corner to get an idea of how the color would look at different times of the day.


And the winner.. I wish it had a prettier name.. Valspar's Blanket.


and a little sneak peak of what's to come..


Don't forget to enter to WIN an adorable red and white newborn knit hat for the baby in your life.

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20131212

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Little Momma Boutique

4 weeks to go till baby arrives.. 4 weeks to go! is it time to freak out yet? so lets continue to celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Little Momma Boutique, brimming with beautiful handmade children's items perfect for gifting, photos and special occasions. Each item is handmade by Hiedi and materials are carefully selected to offer quality products. Every items is inspired by items she personally makes for her own children or have created for others.  




Little Momma Boutique is giving away the most precious little candy cane elf hat. Hiedi's red and white candy cane hat was featured in the 2012 Holiday Issue of Giggle Magazine!



To Enter:
- Visit Little Momma Boutique's adorable shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite creation is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Little Momma Boutique's Etsy page and click on the Heart to favorite it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!


Extra Entry

- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until December 18th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.

Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131209

Kitchen and Family Room: New Flooring

When the wall between our family room and kitchen see details here came down we had to deal with two different flooring, old carpet and newish laminate. The plan was to find the same laminate.. we found the box in the basement, how hard could it be? Harder than we thought.. that particular one had been discontinued.. and finding something similar was not an easy task.. 


Finding a flooring that was kind of close but not close enough would seem like a mistake.. so we decided to go different, this way it would seem like an intentional design choice.. I had always wanted a chocolaty dark floor.. The next thing to take into consideration was the transition between the two floors.. generally what is used it a T- Moulding, that strip you see in the above picture connecting the two floors together. Not the prettiest option. Pinterest to the rescue.. 



Adding tile to the mix would help to blend the two different brown together and there would be no awkward bump in the flooring because of the molding.. Turns out you can't do that with two laminates.. : ( There is something about expansion and warping.. so we were back to the molding.


Then my contractor removed the desk that was fixed to the wall and kitchen corner and we discovered a huge chunk of the laminate missing leaving behind a rather deep hole! We didn't have more flooring.. as D would say 'catastrophe!' My contractor's suggestion.. fill in the hole with plywood and then hid it under furniture.. we seriously considered the idea.. it would have to be something waist high.. nothing so tall that our light switch would be hidden. Nothing with legs through which the plywood could be glimpsed.. It's one of things were you have a pimple forming, no one can see it but you, but you believe that it's the only thing people can see and it's enormous. 


We thought about it for a few days, did the maths and made a decision. This is our home, we plan and hope to spend a few decades here, we are already spending the money to create our dream space. Is it really worth it to make a compromise when it will only cost a few more hundred dollars to make it perfect?


We ripped out the laminate and put in a completely new floor. We stuck with the laminate, mainly because it's cost effective. Sure it's not wood and one can be snobby about it.. but we didn't care.. and it looks beautiful. :)



We spent this weekend finalizing our paint color.. come back Monday to see what color we chose.

Have you entered to WIN an adorable whimsical art print for your child's room yet? What are you waiting for?!

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20131205

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Sweet Melody Designs

5 weeks to go till baby arrives.. 5 weeks to go! so lets continue to celebrating though I am freaking out a bit I am also so uncomfortable I can't wait to get to the end another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Sweet Melody Designs, an enchanting shop full of beautifully whimsical art for children. Each print is a print of an original creation hand drawn by Carrie. All of her art can by customized to any color palette of your choice.




Sweet Melody Designs is giving away an adorable 8x10 of her Baby Elephant Sleeping on the Moon print. 


To Enter:
- Visit Sweet Melody Designs's adorable shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite print is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Sweet Melody Designs Etsy page and click on the Heart to favorite it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!


Extra Entry

- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until December 11th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.

Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131202

Kitchen and Family Room: Renovations

We are into day nine of our renovations.. we lost a few days due to the Thanksgiving Holidays... we hopefully have only a few days of work left though.. phew.

Here's a look at what we started with and where we are now..


So, we started with this wall... the wall divided our kitchen and our family room. While both spaces are large I hated the idea of not being able to keep an eye on D.. and with another one on the way.. I think the open space would just make life easier.. and just think about how wonderful it would be to be able to entertain in an open floor plan. This is the view from our kitchen.


Now looking at the same wall from the family room. To the right, the green room is what would be a formal living room. Notice the faux wood pillars along the wall, outdoor lantern lights hang off them.. the walls are a faux textured plaster like pattern.. now the interesting part.. the faux texture was not something that was painted on, instead they are plastic like panels nailed to the wall.. not sure what the owners were thinking.. or maybe this is just the result of the 70's?


Behind me a brick wall with a gas fireplace..


and walah! wall gone. : ) Gone ugly plaster walls and nasty old carpet..


We had a sliding glass door in the family room


and a set of double hung windows in the dining area..


we moved the sliding glass doors to the dining area.. and installed a large picture window in the family room..


and lastly, we widened the narrow doorway connecting our family room to our formal living room.


my brain is over flowing with ideas.. we have been thinking paint colors.. what do you think?

Have you entered my latest baby giveaway yet? What are you waiting for?

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20131128

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Cartesian Yarnistry

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a little over 6 weeks before baby arrives.. so I am celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Cartesian Yarnistry, adorable baby crochet delights, creating delicate, heirloom elegance designs for precious moments in time. Susan of Cartesian Yarnistry aims to to create "once-upon-a-time" precious memories of Babies and Toddlers in the genre of Crochet Wearable Art, while offering heirloom products to last a lifetime.





Cartesian Yarnistry is giving away an adorable newborn turtle outfit perfect for your babies first photo op. Shades of Green Turtle shell attached beanie rolled brim style. Turtle shell hexagon pieces in multi-green shades surrounded by soft fern including tiny tail & embellished by forest green edging around entire shell.



To Enter:
- Visit Cartesian Yarnistry's adorable shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite creation is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Cartesian Yarnistry's Etsy page and click on the Heart to favorite it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!


Extra Entry

- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until December 4th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.

Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131125

Hiring a Contractor


So we hired our first contractor to help us create an open floor plan in our kitchen/family room. The work involved knocking down a wall, installing a window, new flooring etc. Didn't seem like much, just not something we were willing to try do ourselves. We started with an estimate in mind.. but having no experience we had no idea what to expect.

I started by picking up the Home Improvement Guide at our grocery store.. picked out a few names of contractors and Googled them. Checked out their website, saw if they had any reviews or complaints and then made phone calls. We had a total of six contractors come out and give us estimates. You don't need to get six estimates.. but I would recommend getting at least three.

We met an interesting mix of people. Of the six two declared our wall, separating the kitchen from the family room load bearing (this makes it a bit more pricey and difficult to knock down, but still doable). And then there were four. Our estimates ranged from the ridiculous $24,000 to $8,000. Now from our reasoning and from what we gathered online, the highest price does not necessarily mean the highest quality nor does the lowest quote mean poor work.

My instincts and gut also played a role in our decisions. The contractors punctuality in both arriving to meet appointments as well as replying back to emails and phone calls. If you are going to be an hour late, pick up the phone and give me a heads up. When we spoke, how many of our ideas seamlessly merged together, how agreeable, knowledgeable and helpful he was were all important factors when choosing who to hire.

When receiving quotes make sure they are not just a number but a detailed written contract of everything that is to be done, it is very easy for things to be overlooked. Make sure everything you discussed and want done is mentioned. Know what is included in the price and what is extra. For example, the cost of window and flooring was extra but the cost of installation was included. Be sure on what materials will be provided by the contractor and what must be provided by you.

Once all the details are decided upon it's time to shop for windows and flooring. Meaning more estimates and mind boggling options.. make sure the contractor knows the measurements and specifications of everything you are going to order so that it meets the requirements, know the delivery times of those materials to create a better timeline.

Lastly, negotiating a price. You don't want to haggle to the point that the relationship between you and your contractor is now uncomfortable, your contractor is your ally. Ask if he can do better? Ask if paying cash would knock make a difference? Ask if there are some jobs you can do to knock off a few bucks? Ask if he has any suggestions to make the project more cost effective? Do not go ahead with anything that makes you uncomfortable.. make sure all your questions are answered before you sign the contract.

Any tips to add? Let me know in the comments.

Giveaway: If you haven't entered already.. what are you waiting for?!

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20131121

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Zoe Natural Creations

We have a little over 7 weeks before baby arrives.. so I am celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Zoe's Natural Creations, a home based, family owned business passionate about creating all natural, hand crafted products that are good for your body, soul and spirit with incredible smell and an ingredient list you can pronounce.




Zoe's Natural Creation's is giving away a 4oz jar of soothing Baby Bum Balm, perfect for your little one's bottom.



To Enter:
- Visit Zoe's Natural Creation's lovely shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite creation is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Zoe's Natural Creation's Facebook page and Like it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!

Extra Entry
- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until November 27th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.
Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

Get my post directly in you inbox with Bloglovin
I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131118

Family Portrait

In order to entertain D I sketched him a quick little family portrait for him to color in.. I emphasize on the word quick which I hope explains why our fingers are sprouting out of our sleeves.


Instead of coloring in my drawing.. he decided to make one of his own.. his first of what I expect to be many family portraits :) p.s baba stands for dad


Giveaway: If you haven't entered already.. what are you waiting for?!

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