Friday, August 29, 2014

A mirror for Amiya's third grade locker

Wow... School shopping has changed since I was a kid in the 70s/80s... We were in staples today trying the find the super specific items on the supply lists for both first and third grade.  I mean seriously... What in the world are Dixon Pencils, #2, Oriole Sharpened, Latex Free... We found lots of number 2 pencils but Amiya was not willing to get any that didn't say oriole sharpened!!! 

We ended up getting most of the stuff on the lists... And along the way checked out all the new accessorizing that you can do with a locker... I mean why not put a chandelier in your third grade locker???  There are shag rugs... Magnetic organizers... And mirrors ... All for your kids' locker.  I had to fight the urge to buy it all.  Instead of buying all that crap I picked up a simple unfinished wood framed mirror from michaels.  This afternoon I pulled out all of my washi tape... I have a giant collection... And amiya and I decorated the frame ... We glued on super strong magnets to the back and finally applied a layer of sealer to the front.  It's so cute and what girl doesn't want a locker mirror??!
From this ...

To this!

What else does my little Amiya need for her locker?



Thursday, August 7, 2014

a new bathroom!

somehow i managed to convince "you know who" that our guest/ and studio bathroom on the third floor NEEDED to be updated.  it was fully functional with a sink vanity, toilet, and shower... which had been part of "flipping" of the house in the early 2000's.  back then they aded dormers to lift half of the attic ceiling and created a nice space up there but sadly neglecting any good style elements. it was so ugly that i never really thought much of the space... it was only used for occasional guests and my studio- which seemed a realm of it's own.  the rest of the third floor remained painfully neglected for the past 8 years.

i had an epiphany recently that we needed to make something of this space- after all, our house isn't that big and it seemed that this space was being under utilized... perhaps if it were more inviting we would go up there more often.  this is how the seed was planted...

the bathroom looked like this...

the tile was not my main focus... but i wanted something clean and simple.  initially i wanted to do something like this:

but it is such a small bathroom and this type of design would better suit a larger space.  i considered the simple white hexagonal tile:

but was concerned that it might clash with the beige toilet and fiberglass standing shower... so i scrapped that one.  i found some leftover tile from our big 2007-8 renovation in the basement and brought up crema marfil tile with some clear glass squares and realized that keeping similar products from other bathrooms within the house would draw in this new new bathroom and create cohesiveness.... plus i am a fan of crema marfil which is already on the floor of my master BR.  i bought this from the tile store and had enough glass squares left over from the last project- done!

now what to do for the vanity?  i always have lots of ideas when i'm not renovating but when it is time to make decisions i become confused and uncertain.  i did need to be cost conscious though.  i started thinking about getting a campaign style vanity built- after all i am a big fan of this furniture.  i found this etsy artist and ended up with a quote (without sink incl) of $1000- too much!


so i wasn't sure what to do... but suddenly i realized that I already owned the perfect vanity.  it was the red campaign dresser that i bought at boomerangs about 10 months ago...( side note, whenever I see campaign furniture at a thrift store, I buy it).  it was the perfect size for a small bathroom vanity.  i looked up bathroom vanity diy dresser online and immediately realized this was totally do-able and would reduce the total bathroom expense considerably i could splurge on other things ;)

i bought an inexpensive vessel sink and tall faucet from amazon and i was good to go.  fortunately my super duper contractor BIL drilled the holes in the top of the dresser for me (i was stressed about ruining it).  if you are looking to convert an old dresser into a bathroom vanity, here's how

moving on... this picture was on my "great ideas" pinterest board a while ago...i loved the vintage wallpaper and cute stair paint idea so much:

this got me thinking about my stairs and even doing 1 wall of the bathroom with wallpaper.  i've been a fan of julia rothman for  a while and love this look:

but i ended up getting obsessively sucked into the world of vintage wallpaper... spending hours and hours looking on-line, on etsy and ebay.  these are the ones i really liked:

somehow i liked the idea of going with something from the 40's and 50's over something I love Hollywood regency-esque looks and vintage wallpaper would be better than modern for this instance.

the wallpaper on the stair risers was voted down by "someone" and so i settled on option 1 above for bathroom wallpaper- peach blossom was the name.  it will go on the wall with the vanity/mirror/toilet.  it is adorable!

so what color do i paint the dresser and what color should the rest of the walls be???  i'm still deciding. top contenders are pink and gray... but many other colors would work.  the other walls will stay neutral, so we keep the focus on the wallpaper wall and all of the other sweet elements.

in looking for a lighting fixture to replace the boring one I checked out school house lighting first, recently a friend used their stuff as loved it, but ended up with something more simple than I usually go for but would complement the space perfectly.  it will be mounted horizontally above the mirror.

just today i stopped by homegoods just to see if they had a simple mirror for over the vanity.  i got lucky and found 2 possibilities.... a square one and a tall rectangular.  Although i like the way the square one looks alone, the tall one looks better in the space and i look skinnier in it... which tells you the clear winner.

as far as towel rings and bars, toilet roll holders etc I decided to embrace my love of lucite and go with vintage items bought on ebay:

if you have unlimited cash, these are the ones i was drooling over:


stay tuned for bathroom renovation updates and photos of the final result!



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pretty little things goes to Italy

So here I am in Milan.  I am sitting in a restaurant in a hip section of town... I think... And since Marty has a work dinner I am dining solo.  I have done this before and like the freedom of not having to do anything except eavesdrop... Although I'm a little annoyed being stuck next to the loud Americans at the closest table.  They just finished talking about the raw sewage flowing in the streets in India... Nice.

I took the overnight flight from Boston to Frankfurt on Monday.  I did not sleep at all... Instead I had my own movie marathon.. Starting with blue jasmine which was entertaining but not my speed...Then thought I'd take a risk and watch Her... Omg... Seriously great movie.... Finishing with lost in translation.  I particularly loved the theme of connection within the movie choices.  Got me thinking about how important it is for there to be connection in our lives... In whatever form...from complete lack of any connection... To the sweet bond between a lonely man and an operating system..... To the bond between a young newliwed and mid aged man in japan.  I need connection too... Who doesn't?

Back to my meal... Ok... I seriously despise these American neighbors... They are so loud!  Note to self... Speak softly at restaurants...people don't want to hear my silly stories... But I think I'm far less annoying than them... Biased maybe?  On a better note, my Milanese risotto with porcini mushrooms is perfection.  The wine isn't too shabby either.

So before dinner I managed to do some quick shopping before all the shops closed for the evening.  My nap after getting to the hotel dashed my hopes of a full day of Milan exploration.... But I really needed to sleep... And it felt soooo good after siting in an airplane for the past  many hours.  So I found a cute boutique specializing in vintage clothing... And accessories.  It was divine!  From vintage Gucci bags to cool shades from the 60s... To louboutins... And other vintage designer duds... 2 older Italian women were chatting with a younger woman and gay man... Such a lovely Italian conversation to have in the background... So expressive and vibrant a language.  I found a collection of vintage buttons and couldn't help myself.  It's all that I bought... And I bartered down from 100e to 45e... Not sure that was a good deal for 40+ vintage buttons but I'm excited about the future creations that will be made using them.

Oh yes... The dessert menu!  So many options!  What should I get?  I Ike the sound of the warm caramelized apple tart with a glass of the moscato.  Why not?  When in Milan...

So ... This is a nice start to our trip to Milan.  I do miss the little monkeys but they are in good hands.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

my new favorite color

i'll admit... for me, having vivid memories of junior high in the 80's, the re-immergence of neon was not an instant LIKE but lately i am loving the pops of color that seem to be all over the place.  it's cool... fresh... hip... stylish.  

neon, i'm in love!  

my favorite at the moment is neon chartreuse.  

went to crewcuts yesterday to pick up the preppy shorts that always look so cute on rowan and was in awe with their girl clothing...

guess what?
 you can easily recreate this look on a budget... 

love how the neon pom poms add whimsy to this otherwise edgy look
i really like combining pastels with pops of neon- it looks so fresh

this is really subtle... and so spot on
imagine the possibilities with these heels
see what i mean?

just please don't do this...


way to many colors
unless you're an asian hipster this is so wrong

 in my dreams ...

crafting just got a lot brighter in my studio... neon acrylic paint... embroidery floss... beads... fabric.  the key is to show restraint... and pair with mellow organic neutrals.
my inspiration- via
check out today's episode of Sweet n So for more ideas for neon accents as well as a DIY project.



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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Too much to do... So little time? ...Ummm that's bc I waste so much

I am totally overwhelmed... I'm switching jobs within a month... I am thinking about starting a new business within the next year... I want to move into a new house... Need to get work done on my current house to get it ready to sell...My nanny is leaving us in 3 weeks...My parents are retiring and need to find a new home... And my new YouTube channel needs to  have shows every Wednesday... And my house is a mess.  I cannot do it all but I need help managing my time more effectively.  Came across this post today by Belle Beth Cooper...



I wrote a post recently about ways that you can work smarter, not harder. As I worked through the list of techniques I’d collected, the post became so long that I had to split it in half. Here are even more suggestions to help you make your day more productive without putting in extra hours.


I’ve written about the history of the to-do list before, and how to write a great one. One of the most counterintuitive but effective methods I’ve found for increasing my productivity is to limit how many items I add to my to-do list.

One way to do this is by choosing one to three Most Important Tasks (MITs). These are the big, tough tasks for your day that you really need to get done. The ones that will keep you in the office past finishing time or working after dinner if you don’t get through them. Leo Babauta advocates doing these before you move on to other tasks:

“Do your MITs first thing in the morning, either at home or when you first get to work. If you put them off to later, you will get busy and run out of time to do them. Get them out of the way, and the rest of the day is gravy!”

The rest of your to-do list can be filled up with minor tasks that you’d like to do, so long as you’ve prioritized 1–3 MITs. Make sure you work on these before you move on to anything minor and you’ll probably find you feel a whole lot more productive at the end of the day.

Plan the night before

Another to-do list tip that can reduce work anxiety is to write out your to-do list the night before. I often end up in bed thinking about what I need to do tomorrow and planning my day, which makes it difficult to sleep. Writing out my to-do list before I go to bed helps me to relax and sleep better. And rather than wasting time in the morning because I don’t know what to work on first, I can jump straight into my first MIT the next day.

Focus just on the present day

My most recent and favorite change to my to-do list has been separating my “today” list from a master list of everything I need to get done.

I often feel anxious about all the things I know I need to do at some point--I need to write them down somewhere so I don’t forget them, otherwise I worry about when they’ll get done. But I don’t want these cluttering up my list for today. That will just make today seem busier than it is.

My solution is to make a big list of everything I need done. Each night I move only a couple of things to my to-do list for the next day (I use one big list with priority markers so that anything “high” priority moves to the top and becomes my “today” list). That lets me focus on what needs doing today, but also gives me a place to dump every little task I think of that needs doing sometime.


The whole idea of working smarter, rather than harder, comes from the problem many of us have of putting in more and more hours, only to find we don’t get more done. We want to find methods of being more productive in less time. One way to go about this is to adjust the way we measure productivity.

It sounds like a trick, but it’s not a way out of getting work done. It’s just that if you truly measure what you get done, rather than the time it took you, you should notice a difference in how you work, as well.

If you have big projects or tasks to get done, a good place to start is by breaking them down into completable sections. For instance, I like to break down my blog posts into sections and small tasks like adding images.

With a set of smaller tasks making up a big project, you can check off what you get done each day, even if it takes you many days to finish the whole thing. I get a nice little rush every time I check off a task within a blog post, even if it was just a 200-word section. It helps me to maintain momentum and keep going until the whole post is done.

Another way to measure what you get done each day is to keep a “done list”, which is a running log of everything you complete in a day. I scoffed at done lists for a long time until I joined Buffer, where we all share what we’ve done each day using iDoneThis:

If you start keeping a list of everything you get done in a day, you might be surprised how much more motivated you are to do work that matters and get lots done.


As I mentioned earlier, if I don’t know what to work on first, I tend to procrastinate and waste time in the mornings. You might have a different danger time for procrastination, but getting started seems to be a common hurdle. One way to make it easier to get started is by building a routine that tells your brain and body it’s time to work.

Your routine could be something as simple as your daily commute or grabbing a coffee on the way to work. I usually sit at my desk with my coffee and check up on my favorite sites to see if there’s any news. Once my coffee is finished, that’s my cut-off point. It’s my trigger to start working.

Other ways to get into a working mindset can include sitting down at your desk or workspace, turning off your phone or putting it awayexercising, stretching, or eating breakfast. You could even have an album or playlist that gets you in the mood to work and listen to that as part of your routine.

Make a weekend routine, too

Although you might be tempted to let go of your routine entirely on your days off, our CEO Joel has found that maintaining a weekend routine that doesn’t differ too much from his weekdays has worked well. The more he let go of his routine on the weekends, the longer it took him to pick it up again during the week.


If you’re struggling with productivity, it can be tempting to start changing your routine or trying new solutions before you uncover the real problem. I’ve definitely done this in the past, and found it never leads to a long-term solution.

The first step in becoming more productive is working out what your regular time-sucks are. To start with, track what you do every morning to get ready for work. You might find that you’re spending time on things like choosing your clothes for the day, which could be done the night before. Then track how you spend your time during the day and look for patterns--a tool like RescueTime can help. Perhaps you’ll find that you’re getting caught up on Facebook too often.

Once you know what’s taking up your time or leading you to procrastinate, you can start to make specific changes around those habits.

Something I used to waste a lot of time on in the mornings was checking out my favorite sites for news or updates. This is something I’ve factored into my routine now: I do this while I drink my coffee, and I know that when the coffee is gone, work has to start. This way I still get to do the thing I like, but I don’t let it get out of hand or cut into time I’ve planned for work. Plus, I’ve automated the process of opening them up, cutting back on time spent remembering which sites I want to visit and typing them into my browser.


This one might seem a bit strange, but I think it can really work. Some of us struggle most in stopping work, rather than (or as well as) getting started. It can sometimes be too easy to just keep going for another hour, or to get your computer out after dinner and get stuck working until well after bedtime. The worst thing about these habits is that they encourage us to put off our MITs in the morning, since we know we’ll end up working for long enough to get them done.

There are a few ways to help yourself switch off at home time and leave work behind. Hopefully, if you start implementing these, you’ll find that you’re pushed to do your most important work first thing rather than putting it off, and you’ll become more productive overall.

Quit while you’re ahead

The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. -- Ernest Hemingway

This is common advice for writers, in particular, but it can apply to all kinds of work.Many famous writers have said that stopping mid-sentence or mid-paragraph makes it much easier to pick up the pen again the next day.

You don’t go on writing and writing until you come to the end of it, because when you do, then you say, well, where am I going to go next? You make yourself stop and you walk away. And you can’t wait to get back because you know what you want to say next. -- Roald Dahl

Set a firm cut-off time

Sean Ogle wrote a great post about this idea. He has a strict cut-off time of noon most days, which is pretty extreme. You could make this work with an evening cut-off time, though, to get you out of work by, say, 5 p.m.

Sean gets up early, so he has five to six hours of work time before his midday cut-off point. But since he’s strict about stopping work at noon, he still needs to be ruthless with prioritizing his tasks:

I know that by the time mid-day hits, my energy is going to start to wane. At that time, it’ll be much more difficult to do anything I don’t want to do, so I always try and do the hardest or most valuable items first.

Another way to try limiting your time is to work on your laptop without the power cord. This limits you to however long your battery lasts, and I’ve found it’s a good motivator to get important things done more quickly.

Plan something for after work

Another tip from Sean’s blog post is to plan an activity or event for after work. In Sean’s case, he plans to catch up with friends or attend events around 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m., which helps to reinforce his noon cut-off time.

If you’re aiming to get out of the office around 5 p.m., you might set up a dinner date, a quick after-work drink with a friend or a family visit. External forces can sometimes be the motivation you need to get things done within the time you have, rather than letting them drag out.

I also like the feeling of having something fun to look forward to when I’m finished with work. Sometimes it’s even better when this is a flexible appointment, like some shopping or visiting a friend, so that I’m motivated to get my work done even faster to get to that reward.

Create a wind-down routine

Having a routine to help you wind down from work can be helpful if you tend to struggle to switch off. I’ve always found light exercise works well, so walking home from the office or taking a walk after work is a habit I like doing. Our CEO Joel goes for an evening walk as part of his going-to-bed routine, since it’s such a good winding-down activity.

Journalling can be really relaxing, as can talking through your day with a partner or friend. Something Benjamin Franklin used to do was ask himself every night, “What good have I done today?” Writing about your day can be a good way to reflect and keep a log of what you’ve done, as well as transitioning out of your work mode.

If you’re getting into the habit of planning your day the night before, this can be a good way to cap off your workday. Pick out your MITs for tomorrow and plan a task list so you can relax once you leave work.

Thanks to Belle Beth Cooper at