Monthly Archives: January 2017

Cement to be?

I hate the waiting game.  Especially when you know you have a lot of work to do but can’t get started yet.  I have so many design ideas for the new house but can’t do a thing about them until we move in!  We need a ton of new furniture, etc., but my hands are tied for another couple months.  All I can do is fantasize and imagine what the space will look like, which is difficult because our design choices are very different from the ones in the model home, which is my only point of reference. 

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this photo online of just about EXACTLY what our kitchen will look like!!  The photo is from Style Me Pretty and the house must be from the same builder because everything in it is exact!  And lucky for me, these are pretty uncanny for the choices I made on finishes!  Literally the only differences are that instead of another cupboard, our hood goes all the way up, and we will have black hardware on the cabinets. That’s it.  So I finally get to see what the kitchen will look like finished!

The original plan was to have a white subway tile backsplash, as this kitchen does.  But then in my escapades on Pinterest I absolutely fell in love with cement tile!  If it wasn’t so expensive the whole goddamned house would be cement tile and we would sleep on a cement tile bed and eat cement tile for breakfast.  I think I must have pinned every black, gray and white cement tile pattern the world has to offer.  

So I photoshopped one of the patterns (very crappily, I might add) into the photo of the kitchen and to my dismay (maybe), I’m not loving it. Could it possibly just be my terrible photoshop skills?  I can’t tell.  But now I’m doubting myself and I have only a couple options.  I could make a choice in the next couple days and have the builder install it for me and run the risk of not loving it, or I can wait until we’re in the house so I can play with it in person, but then I have to install it myself.  

The subway tile is a lot less expensive and I know I won’t ever hate it because it’s so basic, but I worry about the kitchen looking too white or sterile. Every other thing will be white (including possibly the floors) except for the island, cupboard hardware and light fixtures. 

The cement tile is so chic and will really stylize the whole house!  There’s a bit of a Spanish feel in the rest of the house, which I love.  But it’s costly and I’ve never seen it in person.  I would love input!  What would you do?

Here are a bunch of my favorite patterns.

Friday Favorites

  1. Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel: The girls in my beauty group turned me on to this and it’s the absolute holy grail of exfoliating!  It’s super gentle, you could actually use this once or twice a week, but I wouldn’t suggest any more.  I had zero redness and my face felt so soft immediately after I could have cried.  It’s a chemical exfoliator, not a manual one, which is much better.  Basically you apply a quarter sized amount and rub it around until you feel the dead skin balling up under your fingers!
  2. I don’t even know if these things have an official name or manufacturer. I’ve been using them forever since I found them at Daiso years ago but have been seeing them all over the place lately.  They’re super soft and squishy so you wrap your hair around them before bed to keep your hair from flattening out and getting glued to your head while you sleep.  I think they were like $2 for 6 and I use anywhere from 6-10 at a time and I have a good amount of hair but it’s not super long.  If you have a lot of levels no hair you may want to use 2 full sets or more. 
  3. I thought everyone knew about this site but apparently not.  It’s a great site for prints, both framed and unframed, but they also make really awesome home stuff!  Basically it’s a site where hundreds of artists offer their art and the company prints it on a ton of different items; shower curtains, duvet covers, rugs, pillows, clocks, phone and computer cases, and on and on.  I have soooo much cute stuff from society 6 in my house!  I will say, the quality is nothing to write home about, but for cute little novelty things around the house, it serves it’s purpose.  I didn’t love the rug I ordered for this reason, it was pretty crappy and had no backing so it was slippery af.  But I’m tickled pink with every other thing I’ve ordered from them!  The best part is there are literally thousands of designs.  It would be impossible not to find something you love.  You could search for the most random item, like goats, pickles, Or Patrick Swayze, and you’ll find a ton of different designs.  This makes it really cool for, say, a kid’s room where you’re designing with a particular theme. 
  4. Sammy’s Milk:  There’s actually been a bit of controversy surrounding this stuff as of late, but I still love it. It was recently recalled for fear it “may” contain cronobacter bacteria, cronobacter can cause serious blood infections or meningitis.  Really there was no reason to think Sammy’s formula contained it, nor were there any reports of illness or any any of the cans containing it.  The problem was that in order to label something “infant formula” you have to manufacture your product under compliance with certain regulations, which this mom and pop owned business, who’s actually local right here in Newport Beach, was not doing.  That being sad, River was on this stuff and he did so well on it!  I loved it for him.  He doesn’t have a regular milk sensitivity per se, but he was obviously digesting the goat’s milk so much more easily.  It was also a great transition for him into regular goat’s milk which honestly I cannot stand but wish I could.  It’s a lot easier for our bodies to break down goat’s milk.  Another thing to mention though, is that goat’s milk and therefore some goat’s milk formulas, contains less iron and folic acid than cow’s milk so you’ll want to supplement.  

2 Shades of Gray 

When we decided to look for a house to buy, I don’t think it even crossed our minds to consider building.  That seemed like something only real life grown up adults do and, although we’re damn near middle aged (not really, but close), we still don’t feel like adults.  In my fantasies we would fine a great fixer-upper, with solid bones so that we could really make the place our own. I looked at lots of houses from about 15-30 years old that all needed a lot of work.  “A lot of work” was actually one of my criteria.  I’m pretty handy, and I tend to hate what most people love, or at least what they do to houses when they flip or “update” them.  Mosaic tile, for example, makes me sad.  I found a house that was damn near perfect!  Large, great neighborhood, high ceilings, tons of windows/natural light, a good deal below our budget and best of all, everything in the house needed to be resurfaced!  It needed new floors, cabinets, appliances, light fixtures, landscaping, you name it.  I was set on this house and already knew exactly how we would redesign it.  

My mom, who was my house shopping partner since my husband is always gone and told me to “just pick whatever,” and I stopped into a model home we passed really just to get design ideas.  This house was huge and immaculate and gorgeous.  When I found out the price, I was baffled.  It wasn’t much more that the fixer-upper.  What’s the catch?  Why can we afford this?  Is this built on a sinkhole?

The “catch” is that the base price (which is what they show you) is essentially like $100-200k less than the model you’re actually standing in, that has every upgrade and amenity possible.  When you buy a new build, what comes “standard” is prettttty crappy, and everything is an upgrade.  You have 3 choices in color for dirt flooring and everything else is an upgrade.  Would you like these lights that may or may not catch fire when you turn them on, or would you like to upgrade to lighting installed by an actual electrician? Oh, you want running water?  That’s an upgrade.  

But I was curious so I sat down with the sales woman and we went over the prices of everything I knew I would want to upgrade.  I seriously shot for the moon with the add-ons because I knew this house wasn’t possible for us and when the total ended up being $47 million it would be a lot easier to walk away and never look back.  

But it wasn’t $47 million. With my entire wishlist of ridiculous upgrades it was barely higher than the fixer-upper would be after we did all of our renovations.  Only this house would be brand new and wouldn’t be a ticking time bomb of things that needed to be replaced.  Even a solid house needs a lot of upkeep.  Rooves need to be replaced like every 20 or so years, ac units, water heaters, appliances, plumbing, etc. With the new build, not only were we starting from day 1 with all of these things, but a lot of them are under warranty for up to 10 years.  And best of all, instead of living in a construction site with a baby, the house would be DONE.

Well, sort of.  There are still a few projects that I’m going to do myself because either the builder didn’t offer exactly what we wanted, or they upcharged way too much for it, or both.  I’m going with their basic, crappy floors and we’ll install our own when we take possession.  There will be no backslash in the kitchen because I really want to do a fun cement tile!  And we still have to put in a pool and landscape the yard.  Oh, and window treatments!  Those effers are expensive!

But I will say that going to the design center and choosing all of the finishes was one of the most fun days of my life!  The girl helping me kept remarking about how fast we were going, it takes most people forever, but I knew exactly what I wanted.  I only went back and changed a couple things after the appointment. And I kept going back and forth on our wall color!  Wait until you hear this, it’s so dumb. 

Originally Jordan and I both wanted white walls.  Light is very important to both of us and we love the look of bright white walls paired with big windows and natural light.  But they didn’t offer white walls, at least not in what was standard.  And it was an outrageously expensive upgrade, which made me mad because it costs them $0 extra to stick a different shade of paint in their sprayer.  They’re painting it anyway and it’s the same amount of work.  So I just couldn’t upgrade the paint on principle alone.  They did offer a “white” if that’s what you want to call it.  But it had way too much yellow in it and I’d rather have chartreuse walls than diluted piss water.  So the 2 that they DID offer that I really liked were both gray (Anew Gray and Agreeable Gray) and, get this, literally ONE shade apart from each other.  Really.  If you look at their shade numbers they are 1 digit apart.  

Since the original idea was to go light light light I chose the lighter of the 2.  (by 1 shade, remember?)  But then I started googling pictures of these colors in actual rooms and tended to like the darker (by 1 stupid shade) a lot better.  So I kept going back and forth and back and forth.  It seems so silly, it’s just paint, but to regret the choice once we got into the house would be a BIG deal.  It would be on every wall in the entire house.  That’s a LOT walls and a lot of painting and money if we wanted to change it.  

So I went with the darker, Anew Gray, and I think I’m happy with the choice!  Of course we won’t know until the house is finished.  But my thinking is that the Anew Gray reads as gray and the Agreeable looks more like just muddy off-white.  And I love the contrast against the white base boards and cupboards.  Fingers crossed! 

Not My Problem

Ok I take it back.  I realized I still totally have days where the depression/anxiety come back, but it’s only for a little and way, WAY better than it was before.  I was tempted to keep this to myself because I don’t want to take hope away from those of you still in the thick of it.  Seriously, life is gooOOOooOOOood.  But the malfunction going on in my brain is still there in some small capacity.  It really is manageable, and I’m a woman so I’m used to dealing with major swings in my emotions, but I wanted to mention it so anyone still dealing with it wondering what’s wrong that theirs isn’t completely gone can see that they’re not alone. Nope!  Still nuts over here. 

But I did find another thing that helps emensly and I know this won’t fit into everyone’s life but I’m going to share it anyway in case it can help someone.  I got a gym membership!  I know, first week of the year, how cleesh.  I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to do this, it helps on like 9 different levels.  First, exercise is KEY to a healthy mood, at least for me.  Taking River out for our walks just wasn’t enough.  I’m a runner and I need to sweat and get my heart pumping, it’s the most therapeutic thing to me.  

I went and looked at about 5 different local gyms that I knew had child care.  Truthfully I barely even looked at the gym portion of any of them, I just looked at the day care areas because that was the most important to me.  I wanted to make sure that not only was it safe and clean, but that it looked fun for River!  I couldn’t just dump him off somewhere and feel ok about that, I needed to make sure he would look forward to this time every day as much as I do.  I was actually shocked at a couple upscale gyms that had really depressing day care areas.  Some were tucked back in an area with no windows.  I wasn’t cool with that.  Some had zero kids in them even though the gym was busy.  So I wanted to find one that had a lot of moms with kids who frequented the gym and day care.  River loves other kids and that was going to be part of the fun of this, so busy day cares we’re a must.  

I’m not a big class taker or weight lifter.  I run on the treadmill and use the elliptical from time to time if I’m feeling exotic, and that’s pretty much it.  But I ended up joining a gym with a shit ton of amenities just because of the kid’s club.  

For SAHMs I think this kind of thing is imperative.  At least if you’re like me and your husband is gone most of the time and you have no family near by.  We have the BEST part time nanny, but I’m not going to have her come all the way over just for 2 hours every day.  But to get out of the house and away from River for an hour or 2 on most days makes such a huge difference. 

Obviously being a working mom is hard in it’s own way, but there are studies that prove working mothers actually heal faster from PPD and PPA because they actually do get away.  Of course whenever we’re away we miss them terribly and they are always on our minds so it doesn’t really feel like we’re “away,” but there is something chemical that happens when we are not in the same vicinity as our children.  I’ve even told a few girls I chat with to leave the baby with their dad and go sit in the car for an hour.  You may sit there and bawl and hate each second of it, but you are actually healing yourself.  

River was really excited the first couple times I dropped him off, but the 3rd time he was not having me leave him.  He instantly started crying and it gutted me to leave him in this tiny Disneyland.  The girl working there promised me that they do much better if you just go rather than hang out and wait for them to feel better.  So of course I stood just outside the door for the first 15 minutes peaking in to make sure he was alright, even though he had quit crying within the first minute.  

He was happy as a clam the next time I dropped him off so I was glad to see he had not been traumatized by the last experience.  But the time after that he had a full on tantrum meltdown.  Again I just walked out and peeked in on him and he was fine again as soon as he couldn’t see me and walked straight over to jump up and down to cheer on a bigger kid playing ski ball.  I instantly went from having a broken heart for him to thinking “faker!”  Well fine, if it’s going to be like that I’ll go sit in the steam room, he’s someone else’s problem now. 

Here are some things to look into if you’re thinking about joining a gym with day care (DO IT)

  • What is the check in/out process? You want one that is lengthy and involved to the point of being meticulous and annoying.  It just  means they’re safer.  Mine requires a finger print, etc. 
  • Are there windows?  This might not matter as much to you, but I just think daylight is so important that it was one of my requirements. 
  • Are all the doors locked?  Seriously this seems like a no-brainer but some had unlocked doors!  One of the kids club gyms backed up to a courtyard where a bunch of men on their breaks stood and smoked and it was nothing but window back there with a door that “must remain unlocked during business hours.”  I’m sure it was locked from the outside, but I still didn’t like how all the kids were basically on display there.
  • Check their policies on food and diaper changes.  Most places don’t change diapers, which I actually prefer.  So they just text you when your kid poops if they’re still in diapers so you can come change them quickly. 
  • Make sure everyone who works there has had a background check and is at least CPR certified.
  • Ask about their cleaning system, find out how often the toys are washed.  The place we go to disinfects the toys twice a shift if that helps you gage what you should expect. 
  • Most places don’t allow for snacks which makes total sense, so just be sure to drop your child off with a full tummy.  
  • Check their hours, most gym child care closes for a major chunk of the day, from about noon-5 or something and has very short hours on the weekends.  Make sure they are open enough in the times you can go to make it worth your while. 
  • Ask them when they are at their busiest and how many employees they will have per child per their policy.  
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