Choosing Paint Colors for your House

12th March 2015

Probably one of the most daunting but exciting jobs as you turn your house into a home is figuring out what to paint the walls.  Painting is instantly gratifying.  In a matter of hours, and for a small amount of money, you can completely transform your space.  But the options are overwhelming.  Nothing can stare you down like a wall of color samples.  (One of my most repinned items on Pinterest is my kitchen wall color – so I know I’m not alone in this color quest.)   After a lot of agonizing – here’s where we landed.  I hope this gives you a little inspiration as you figure out your color palette.  A big thank you my friend Cristalle Volpi  who poured over a Benjamin Moore fan deck with me and helped me pick out the first couple of these wall colors to get the ball rolling.  Her color sense is eerie.


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St. Patrick’s Kiss You, You’re Irish Chapstick DIY with Printable

6th March 2015

Hi friends and Happy Friday!  I haven’t been a big St. Patrick’s fan since my early 20s in NYC.  Everyone is Irish when there’s kegs & eggs and you have no responsibilities.  However, as I got older, kegs & eggs just sounded … EARLY.  This year, my brother-in-law married a woman named Courtney.  She’s quite possibly the most thoughtful person I know.  But add this – she’s wickedly fun.  (Let’s be honest – usually extremely kind and extremely fun don’t come in the same package.  Well she’s got it.)  Courtney comes from a huge Irish family and they are a clan you want to be around!  A family that rallies around each other and knows how to have fun together.  So Courtney, this one is for you!  In honor of getting a big Irish family this year, we’re celebrating.  Here is a quick inexpensive DIY to show your spirit that you can give to kids or adults for St. Patrick’s Day.  (Irish heritage not really necessary.)  As you roll the box it says, “You’re Irish.  It’s March 17.  You’re Gonna.  Need This.”  Open it up – Lucky Charms flavored chapstick.  Yum.  My kids have been stalking this project waiting for me to take pictures of it so they can have it.  I keep finding these little boxes stuffed in their nightstands.  Kid tested – it’s a hit!  Not a bad piece of kitsch for March 17 for yourself either.  I found the pattern for the chapstick box on this site which I altered to give you the printable included in this post.


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DIY St. Patrick’s Day Cards with Printables

4th March 2015

I found these great glitter mustaches for St. Patrick’s Day at Target.  I immediately imagined my cousin Em’s son wearing them and bought two packs to make something for him.  Well, after I saw them, only kid INAPPROPRIATE things popped into my head.  That’s what I have for you today.  Some simple, kid inappropriate St. Patrick’s Day cards you can whip out in no time.  Enjoy!

Sidebar –  proving these are in fact kid inappropriate – I showed one from the cutting room floor (without the language)  to my daughter S.  Crickets.  “Who’s Tom Selleck?”

Oh and in case you didn’t notice, the mustache is for the card receiver to wear on their FACE on St. Pat’s.  Spoiler alert – you’ll see me coming on March 17.  And don’t worry E – I saved a pack for you, buddy!


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DIY Formal Pipe Curtain Rods

24th February 2015

I probably owe our neighbors an apology.  Let me explain.

We moved into our house 3 years ago.  It was built in 1935.  Downside – it’s smallish with tiny closets.  Upside – it has a lot of cool old details – I love the big front windows, arches and high ceilings.  It has an old fashioned fancy living room that I like to call “the parlor”.  In my mind, that room is one long running episode of NPR’s Dinner Party Download.  In a house full of Frozen toys, it is adult-zone.  I also love to use the room to have impromtu family dance parties.  We like to really break it down.

Here’s where the apology comes in.  We had no curtains in the parlor or adjacent dining room – for 3 years.  No matter where our neighbors lived on the street, they could probably see us dancing like buffoons to old skool Positive K a couple times a week.  Sooooooorrrrry.





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DIY Kid Class Valentines

11th February 2015

It’s become somewhat of a sport in our family to come up with cheesy Valentine’s day lines.  This time of year we stroll through stores, point and stuff and say the most groan-worthy line we can come up with.

Example: Slinkys
The obvious – I’m head over heels for you.
Less obvious – You put a spring in my step, Valentine.
Slightly raunchy – When you walk in, I get sprung.

Try it.  it’s fun.

I found a bunch of cheap Valentine sunglasses favors.  Six of them in a pack for $3 and the lines started coming – ones that would be appropriate for kindergarteners.

Our future’s so bright, we gotta wear…VALENTINE’S SHADES.

The idea of 19 heart-bespectacled 5 & 6 year olds tickled me.  So my daughter and I whipped up this valentine that you can do too.  We left space so she can address each one and sign her name – gotta practice that writing in kindergarten!


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DIY Kid Valentines with Free Printables

13th January 2015

Valentine’s Day is such a crap shoot.  If you’re in a new relationship, there’s the pressure to do what’s appropriate for where you are – and you’re not quite sure where that is.  If you’re in a long term relationship, you end up spending a fortune on a subpar prix fixe dinner in a bizarre semi-formal gastronomic cattle call for romance.  But you do it because you don’t want to give up on the spirit of romance, because you think of yourself as a deeply sensual person and you’re not DEAD.  If you’re not in a relationship, you feel like the whole world is both paired off and pitying you – and you’re wavering between a passive-hide-inside stance and an aggressive-burn-this-place-down stance.  We have all been all three of those people. Bottom line.  No one wins.

But there was a time when Valentine’s Day consistently ranked just below Christmas.  That was 1985 – second grade.  No one was paired off because boys were, at that point, REPULSIVE (save one or two).  You were going to school but the whole day was pure anticipation for the party.  Everyone gave you sweet notes about how much they liked you.  There was a lot of candy.  And anything could happen – and did.  (True story – my classmate Fred ate two entire boxes of Red Hots to prove he loved someone and barfed all over his desk.  It looked like fluorescent red slime.  Any second grader would tell you it was a high point of our year.)  Bottom line – EVERYBODY wins!


I wanted to give my girls THAT Valentine’s Day.  The one where we take time to be cheesy-romantic to each other as a gesture to say “everyone is special”.  Can we all get onboard with that?  Because that is awesome! Continue reading

DIY Silhouettes

9th January 2015

In January & February, I always get in the mood for Victorian anything.  I want to drink from teacups on doilies, read Oscar Wilde and – you know – just generally loiter in Gothic Revival architecture.  So weird because you feel the exact same way, right?  Well I have an inspired project for us today.  I looked back through my archives and I found something I did two years ago that we can revisit on this cold January day.  DIY Silhouettes.


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Rustic Mason Jar Stand

6th January 2015

If you have a Pinterest account, you probably have a small collection of mason jars.  I’d say that mason jars were moments away from jumping the shark – if they weren’t so damn useful!  Chevrons for example –  over em, moving on.  Mason jars – they might have to tuck one in my coffin.  I’m a big believer that form follows function and I have a fun project for you today with – oh, about 900 functions.  Literally I wake up in the middle of the night with more ideas on how to use these things (we’re really saving the world – tackling the big issues over here).


So I present to you the wood mason jar holder that, aside from some basic tools (and, trust me, you’ll need those tools for more projects I have up my sleeve for you) you can make 6 of these for about $5 in wood.

You’re probably thinking whoopity freaking doo, a board with some holes.  BUT WAIT – let me show you how this humble little thing can help you be better in 2015.

Give Great Gifts


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Slacker’s Chili & Cornbread Muffins

2nd January 2015

Throughout December I get so excited about Christmas and New Year’s that I enter this sugar-induced gingersnap peppermint haze. Fudge at 10 am because a friend made some? Yes! Does eggnog pair well with cupcakes? Yes! Want to swim in a river of molten white chocolate and take a nap on a fluffy bed of cotton candy? YES! I feel like I’m on the Buddy the Elf diet, ” stick to the four major food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”


Slacker’s Chili – an embarrassment to all Texans.

Enter January, and I want healthy, predictable meals that leave me feeling nourished. But they have to be dead simple to get on the table because my body is going through sugar withdrawl. The whole time I’m cooking, boxes of Milk Duds leftover from the kids’ stockings are calling from the cupboard, like the ghost of Christmas past – “Maaaaarrrriiiiaaa!” If I can’t have something ready in 20 minutes I’m done for.

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Welcome 2015!

29th December 2014

Hi!  I’m Maria.  We’ll get better acquainted in some future posts but for now, we have some business to attend to.  New Years’ Eve is right around the corner!  Now back in the day – way back – I’m talking early 2000’s – NYE was MY holiday.  I was spent every NYE traveling with my college girlfriends.  We were in grad school or just-out-of-school jobs, but always made room for Miami, Vegas, DC, NYC.  NYE was OUR night.

Fast forward 15 years.  I have two kids and a very sweet kind husband.  My money is no longer going to NYE bar covers.  Instead I’m using it to get extra insulation blown into the walls of my house.  I’m having breakfast with the Disney princesses soon – do you know how expensive those Disney princesses are!?  And there’s college tuition looming in the distant future.  Oh, and if we do anything really fun, I’ll need a sitter.  Ahh how things have changed.

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