Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wishful Decorating Dreaming...

This summer, we were super fortunate to have such amazing parents to watch our kids a few weeks.  Each set of grandparents took two kids at a time, for a week apiece, to enjoy some 2-on-2 time.  It just so happened that two of those trips overlapped.  

After Mike and I realized this, we started daydreaming about possible trips.  Well, we took the plunge, sucked a chunk of cash from the savings, and headed to Mexico!

Having been married for 15 years, and spending 12 of those years as parents... we haven't had many getaways on our own, sans kids.

We only had four nights to squeeze in this trip, so we splurged.  We stayed near Playa del Carmen, at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso (in Playa Paraiso... "Paradise Beach").  It's an adults-only all-inclusive... something we'd never experienced before and hope to experience again MANY times over.  :)

We were spoiled rotten... even given a free upgrade to an oceanfront suite, with this amazing view every day....
from our own personal deck.

I've never eaten so much or had so many cocktails in one day... Mimosa for breakfast, Mai Tai for lunch, Pina Colada for dinner... why not?

To say the least, it's been tough getting back to reality and stepping on that scale again... yikes!

The main reason we chose the Riviera Maya (region) to other Caribbean islands is the fact that it had some neat history... the Mayans. 

We visited Tulum, which is a Mayan town that was built overlooking the Caribbean Sea on a cliff.  
These building are over 1000 years old, and are simply amazing to look at... so precise and straight.  Some were built to capture the sun/moon in a small window during the equinox.  Pretty neat stuff.

Here are the stairs to get down to the beach at Tulum.

The whole area was beautiful.  Learned a neat fact.  When the explorers met the Mayans and asked who they were, the Mayans couldn't understand.  Their response, "Maya", meant "I don't know."   See, you learn something new everyday.

This is one of my favorite photos of the trip:  It's the edge of the fortress they built around their city.  Where you see those palm trees is a cliff.  Almost straight down to the sea.  The Mayans built a three sided fortress since the cliff was protection enough.  Also, out at sea is the second largest reef in the world.  No one should've been able to come in easily.

Those Mayans knew what they were doing, eh?  Who could resist those views everyday?

While we were there (and I highly highly highly recommend this resort)... I did a little exploring for some cool decorating ideas to bring home.  

Well, whatdoyouknow... a sunburst mirror in the room.  Even Mexico is up on the trends.

LOVED this setting.  My last house used to have one wall in my kitchen painted a pumpkin-orange.  I miss it.  Hmmm.... where can I put orange in the new house?

I say all of our doorways need to look like this.  (That was my welcome-drink, an Abelito... yum.)

A swinging chair... I want one!

Stickers on the toilet paper (that's the Ibero"star" logo).

We need to build one of these out back... y'know, to allow rain-free walking to ... the woods?

And to think, I can't even paint my ceilings white... my back hurts thinking about it.

Okay... I *LOVE* this sink.  It's a piece of curved glass.  The "faucet" is a piece of curved glass where the water comes out a small pipe, trickles down the "faucet glass", is caught by the bottom glass and slides ever so softly into the crevice in the wall (the slit where the glass meets the wall).  Beautiful.

Beautiful vase, but even if I used it as a trash can, I swear my family would have it filled to the brim in a day.  LOL

What an amazing chadelier we saw at another Iberostar resort nearby (since we stayed at the Grand, we had access to the others).  It was only... oh, maybe 10' wide?

If we get a pool, gotta put one of these babies in it... a pool bar.  :)

We've been wanting a rounded table for our breakfast room... hmmm... a little too ornate for me... and a 10' diameter table is probably not going to fit.

LOVE this idea with the circle mirrors.

This gives me an idea of how to mix and match colored tiles for our kitchen backsplash (someday).

More mixing and matching... love the pebbles.

Why doesn't everyone use a Mayan-inspired pitcher for a trashcan?

And one idea I want to really use at home... lumbar support pillows at the dinner table.  These were awesome!  Maybe I'll remember this idea when it's time to get deck furniture... uh, when we get a deck.

Sigh... just gorgeous.  I felt like a princess at this resort.

Adios, Mexico.... we miss you already!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Family Coat Closet Update, step two

Well, after seeing the blah-white walls behind the bold dots in our closet, I painted it today.

I used the same green from my daughter's bedroom (a light celery green).

Here's the painted closet....
That white-ish blob in the middle is just "still wet" paint.  

Here's the closet, reassembled:

And a better all-inclusive shot...

I linked up at Creations by Kara

Monday, July 11, 2011

Family Coat Closet Update, step One

With our new home, we've been blessed with a lot of storage space.  For once, I finally feel like our house *can* be decluttered, if we allow it to be so.

The problem so far has been finding time and resources to fully organize some of these closets.

We have two "coat closets".  One is fairly small and sits in the middle of the main floor... near the foyer. We've basically used this small closet as vacuum/broom/older-kids' school bags/guest coats storage.  Yep, a catch-all.  I hope to do some work on that closet someday soon.

Until then, I thought I'd focus on our main coat closet.  It sits in the mini-mudroom, near the garage and the kitchen.

Remember the charcoal-gray mudroom?

The door to the left of the mudroom, in the photo above, is the closet.

It has a standard builders-grade shelving unit.  One wire shelf, attached with brackets to the wall, with a curtain rod underneath.  

My biggest concern was staying cheap (i.e.... no fancy-shmancy closet systems or custom-made shelving) and trying to use what I already had or had access to.

Well, I had some of those white Target/Walmart-found white laminate shelves.  They've gone through many stages in our home:  shoe racks, boot racks, toys shelves, bedroom closet shelves.  I found them sitting in the basement, and put them to use.

I bought an Itso system from Target one week when they were on special.  Basically it included two black plastic cubes, two shelves, and four drawers.  I think I paid in the vicinity of $40 for these.  I chose the black and black swirl patterns, since I had a vision of what other items I'd put in there.  I loved how simple they were to pull out and how they kept things to a minimum.  We used to have bigger wooden baskets.  They were clumsy and big, and as I learned later, they tended to break easier.  We'll see how these drawers last.  They seem to basically be a very heavy cardboard-like frame, surrounded by a pretty fabric.

The other thing I had access to was... Thirty-One products.  June was a great month for me, and my commissions basically went straight toward closet organizers for the family.  :)  Plus they had that amazing Large Utility Tote on special.  

So... yes, here is where I shamelessly plug the Thirty-One products.  Please note that you could find your own substitutes for storage from Target, the Container Store, Ikea or HomeGoods.  (But, Thirty-One organizers ROCK and are ADORABLE!  Just sayin'!)

Since the closet is near those beautiful charcoal-gray walls, I picked a print that I loved:  Papparazzi Dot, which is black, white and charcoal gray.

Here are some final pictures after step one (the organizing)... step two will come later when I get a chance to paint!

I took all of the out-of-season accessories and put them into Storage Totes. (Above is the winter accessories of all four kids... and there is a lot, and it fit!)

Above is the winter accessories of my husband and I. 

The Itso system went at the bottom of the closet for seasonal items.  I plan to label the drawers with my kids' names and use them to store things like scarves, gloves, or other seasonal items.  Beach towels in summer?  That would be helpful... especially for when the kids come in through the garage after blasting each other with the sprinkler, hose or waterguns, eh?

I used one Organizing Utility Tote to hold all of our sunscreens, bug sprays (we use these daily as we live in Lyme'n County, USA), and even fabric sticky rollers (for removing white dog hair from my black wool coat).  Since the bag is a little squishy, I threw in one of the baskets we used to use to keep it rather sturdy.  I used the side pockets for any extras and for the little stick sunscreen and bug wipes.

In another Organizing Utility Tote, I put some "extra" bags.  In our case, a tote bag for last minute storage on the go, a nicer purse, and a camera case.  Something tells me more will end up in here.  I could've used the side pockets to hold wallets, keys, Handi-wipes, etc.

In a black Large Utility Tote, I put some of our fun sports equipment for pick-up games or picnics.

In a dotted Large Utility Tote, I put our pool equipment:  Mommy's beach towel, kick-boards, and goggles.  These go with us every time.  I even have room for the kids' towels, when the time comes.  I just grab this bag and go (it's vinyl and easily wiped down).

So far, this is the top of the closet.  I put the white laminate shelves up there to hold our Gatorade and water bottles (the refrigerator is literally 3' away from here.)  The cubby-shelves hold the two Organizing Totes.  I put the Storage Totes for out-of-season accessories on top.  Note there is space next to them to hold the pool bag, when this season is over.  To the right, I am hoping to find a good tote to hold a few winter coats, too... to decrease the congestion without having to store the coats elsewhere in the house.  It's amazing how many coats 6 people can have!

On the door, I screwed in simple white metal coat hooks to hold my everyday purse, an extra tote (this one I use at the pool to carry books, DS's, Kindles, snacks, water bottles, etc.), and our umbrellas.  Hmmm.... three umbrellas for six people.  Looks like we know what needs to be put on our next shopping list.

Here is a shot of the entire closet.

The bottom of the closet, with shelves tucked in.  See those boots to the right?  I have one more Utility Tote to get to hold those till winter.  They'll get the number-one spot over the Itso drawers when the seasons change.

So, it's not 100% complete, but I'm pretty happy that it's very functional for now.  Beach-things ready to go... everything out-of-season is out-of-sight... places ready to hold other items to make it even easier and more organized.

I'm not 100% sure what to paint the inside, but I'm thinking of a pretty celery green.  (i.e.... I still have some leftover from the Diva's room... thus, free!)

I know that if you were to purchase all of these totes on your own, it would not be cheap. They cost me about $138 for all 7 bags, plus the Itso storage.  

However, if you are invited to a Thirty-One party and are wondering how to use the products, here's a great starting off point!  :)  

Or earn them with hostess rewards when you host a party... :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

It isn't the Fourth of July around here without a good, ol' fashioned small-town parade!

And some cute kiddos, all decked out in red, white and blue.

I convinced this one to let me do her hair, for once!  YAY!  Cute little pigtails!

My "All-American" China Doll.

I said, "Smile."  I got this.

Hey... that's better!

Hard to see, but these horses (and dog) are painted.  

In the parade, we see all sorts of vehicles... from military trucks...

To old-time fire engines.

To classic cars.

To Smokey the Bear.

To... a truck lined inside and out... with... MATCHBOX cars!  (My youngest son has determined that when he is older, he is totally BUYING this truck off of this guy.)

Can't miss all that candy being thrown out!

And a balloon!  You don't get those tossed to you very often!

LOVE LOVE LOVE the small town parades!  How could anyone not want to live in a small town?