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Wayfair, settee, Quinceanera, Sweet 16

It’s funny how changing something as simple as a throw pillow, a blanket or a chair can change the whole vibe of a room. Don’t even get me started on a paint color or art. When we bought our current home, it was a fixer-upper but we saw the potential because it “had good bones” as my Father-in-law would say. It wasn’t going to be instant gratification; it wasn’t our dream home but it had a charm and was in the perfect neighborhood for a young family. So we bought it.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written in partnership with Wayfair, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

We’ve grown with the house. As we’ve renovated and changed every single thing in this house in the past 9 years, we’ve also changed in every single way except for one, we are still that oversharing, possibly co-dependent family who does everything together. We laugh, cry, scream and shout together. We lift each other up and face change head on, just like this old house. We’ve got good bones.

Latina, Latinas, Stereotypes, DEvious maids, Latinos, racism, business, motherhood, raising daughters

This house has welcomed friends and family for dinners and holidays, it’s hosted several Halloween and Ugly sweater parties. Echoed the sounds of newest additions to the family and enveloped the cries of pain and sorrow of loss. It’s witnessed love in more ways than I ever thought possible. With its meager structure, it’s brought us through a pandemic. Now, it will see our daughters turn 15. In fact, our Bella turned 15 during the first week of the pandemic. Out Gabs will turn 15 next spring.

15-years-old is the age a Latina girl becomes a young woman in the Latino culture. It is the same age that the Catholic church recognizes children as adults. Being a Quinceañera is something all little Latina girls look forward to from the day they attend their first Quinces party and realize that someday, they will get to wear the big dress and crown and be the princess in not just their parents’ eyes but to everyone. She will be celebrated in a way that most girls may never get the chance to be.

We had such a beautiful celebration planned for Bella. It was as big and grand as any wedding and years in the planning. Friends and family for all over the country were planning to come. Bella, who is a shy and humble introvert, was ecstatic to celebrate this Latina rite of passage. I wasn’t able to have my own Quinceañera because my parents couldn’t afford to throw that party 3 times, and they had 3 girls so it’s something I’ve always dreamed of giving my girls. 

She had the dress, crown and shoes. Months of practicing professionally created choreography by her world-renowned ballet teacher with her damas and chambelanes. Decorations, food, outfits and even a special settee for our princess, to serve as her throne for the night. Months of organizing and planning, saving and working towards goals all to be taken away by a global pandemic.

Then the pandemic hit and snatched it away from her on her actual birthday, 1 day before her the biggest party of her life, the CoVid pandemic caused the country to come to a screeching halt. She was inconsolable. I didn’t even know how to reason it with her. How do you reason with a 15-year-old who just lost something she was looking forward to for years? Think of trying to reason with a bride who just lost her wedding the night before the wedding because the world had other plans.

We tried to reschedule for August but, as we all know, the pandemic was not done (still isn’t). Family and friends sent her well-wishes and tried to cheer her up. But the dress still hangs in the corner and all the decorations are boxed up in our theater room. Champagne flutes and Mexican candy for 200 are collecting dust next to the decorations and atop all of it there are two crowns and a last doll, as a constant reminder of what never was. But the settee, the one that was to hold her in her big dress on her big day, now sits in our dining room and is where she sits to do virtual school. It’s where she often naps when she’s feeling down. It’s where her and her sister sit, cut up, laugh and plan their TikToks.

Wayfair, settee

This settee is more than just a place to sit, it’s a place to reflect and feel your feelings. It not only changed the room in this old house, it occasionally changes the moods of my daughters. Most importantly, next June, it will hold my Bella on the day we celebrate her and her sister, Gabs, in a post-pandemic double quinceañera celebration like you’ve never seen. I guess now, I’ll have to order another one so each princess has her own thrown. When they move out someday, I will send these settees with them so they can always remember their big day and the family who loves them more than they can even imagine.

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family moving unpacking

When you decide as a family to move, for a new start ( and who hasn’t), or for a job change, there are many things that need to be considered, including our children’s well-being. I know because I lived that commuter marriage life for almost 3 years. While moving away is an exciting idea, it can be stressful. If you’re moving to another country, you may even need to get the help of the best immigration solicitors to make sure you have everything sorted. Once that’s taken care of, all of your attention can be focused on your family and the implications relocating may have on your kids.

Take advantage of the opportunity to be present that moving has given you, it is for the best!

It’s the perfect time to take advantage of the move to make further changes in the child’s life, such as expecting them to learn a new language (if needed) or perhaps wanting them to take up new hobbies. Their rationale is that it does not matter so much to the child if there will be one or two changes because it will be difficult for them in any case; so the key to transition is to ensure it is done smoothly. Just make sure they know that you’ve got their back and use all the moving hacks you can find.

Moving to a new house may end up being a much harder change for the child than the parents imagined. If the child is required at the same time to adapt to additional changes such as learning to walk if they are a toddler or being expected to help out more with other siblings, this could be overwhelming to them. Therefore, it is best to wait patiently for the child to successfully adapt to the new home and only then carry out further change processes.

Things take time, and that is OK.

In conclusion, parents have two particularly important roles with their children when moving away: helping the child to part well from the previous place, and at the same time helping them to adapt well to the new place. You should also note that this change will be hard for you too, so don’t pressure yourself.

Especially when moving abroad, take things slowly and keep the spirits and mood lifted as much as possible, after all this is a positive change you’re making.

With the assistance of your immigration lawyer, the transition should be made easier too. In essence, you must allow the child to carry out a gradual process of separation from their friends and educational environment.

Talk to them clearly and empathetically about moving home, and do so at the right time – not too early when the child is young and not too late when the child is older.

Introduce them to the new home and the new environment; as well as their new school as this may be the toughest challenge.

Encouraging them to make new friends is good but you should never force them to adapt immediately as change takes time. It also depends on the age of the child, the younger the child, the easier it will be for them to make the change. If they are older, there may be more resistance.

Communication is key as well as having them involved as much as possible, without too much stress arising! 

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back to school, office envy, wayfair, virtual learning,

Back-to-school looks a little different this year for many families, mine included. I’ve been a work-from-home for the past 13 years, so I’m used to the rigorous scheduling of being a stay-at-home mom while balancing working full-time, only this year, I decided to add going back to school to earn a Master’s degree in the middle of a pandemic. On top of that, and the world being on fire, my girls are embracing virtual learning because I have a dreaded “underlying condition”. We had to make some concessions and tweaks on expectations because it’s hard, all of it, for all of us.

Disclosure: I am a Wayfair homemaker ambassador and this is a compensated post, however, all opinions are my own.

I’m sure that we can all agree that the “new normal” is not normal at all. My girls are learning from home because it’s the safest option for our family. I actually love having this extra time with them, when our time is so limited. In a couple of years, Bella will be heading off to college and that fact is not wasted on me. I know these CoVid days at home are a gift to us. Still, working from home while going to school with both girls learning virtually and not being able to do the things we normally do or even the simplest things like vacation, is absolutely exhausting.

READ MORE: What is Coronavirus and what every mom should know

So, we try our best to find the extraordinary in the ordinary moments and appreciate the challenges for giving us fresh perspective on our blessings and still, even with all the positivity we can throw at it, it’s still been really hard on all of us. I’ve learned to pick my battles, as a wife, mother, student and freelancer, let things go and give grace to others. I’ve become more forgiving and understanding and even still, there are days when it’s almost too much to bear.

One thing that has helped me throughout this pandemic and not leaving our house has been to be able to change our spaces. It sounds simple but some plants, some paint, a little blood, sweat and tears and a few new pieces of furniture can be a simple way to create a completely new feel in an old space. Aside from refreshing bedrooms to make them more calming and relaxing, streamlining bathrooms and scrubbing kitchens, the most important refresh I’ve done is creating functional schooling areas for the entire family.

READ MORE: How to Enjoy Your Summer While Social Distancing

I have a home office but normally, there is just me at home. With three people going back to school in a pandemic, in Zoom meetings, trying to read, write papers and stay focused, there had to be more than 1 office. We can’t all squirrel away in our bedrooms and work, that would be too depressing. I spruced up the office with a mini makeover and the cutest Ghislain daybed because during a pandemic, even big kids need naps sometimes.

back to school, office envy, wayfair, virtual learning,My latest spruce-up efforts have been directed towards the virtual schooling oasis AKA our living room. It just didn’t feel particularly uplifting and definitely not inspiring. The furniture is big, heavy and dark-colored. The walls were actual 1970’s brown paneling. PANELING! It felt like being stuck in the past. We removed the paneling and primed and painted the walls in a more contemporary grey with bright white molding. We painted the brown shelves and beams white. I covered the brown leather couch in a teal couch cover. Covered the cold hardwood floors in a white furry shag rug and placed a matching throw pillow cover on the sofa.

back to school, office envy, wayfair, virtual learning,In addition to that I updated the look with, my favorite piece, the Janelle End Table that replaced the oversized wood tables. Since it was going to be transformed into a study area for one of us, I also added a new lamp to provide better lighting and added some plants for fresh air. Throw in a small modern shelf with some classics and inspiration is everywhere. I love the way it feels and looks. The more open, bright design and concept feels like a breath of fresh air when your brain feels too tired to go on.

What would you do to freshen up your virtual school area?

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podcast

Has quarantine got you doing home renovations? Wanting to change the style and decor of your home? According to Archute, designing the perfect home is never easy; it takes a whole lot of planning, skill, and sometimes a few risks! You might love the interior design or not know the first thing about it. Either way, these top five podcasts have got plenty of magic to inspire you on your next design project.

5 podcasts to inspire to your next interior design project

1. Clever

Clever is a top design podcast, featuring the skilled designers between the latest trends. Every week Amy Devers interviews talented designers, discussing the styles and objects that they create, and most importantly, where they find their inspiration. Amy interviews a wide range of architects, interior designers, and artists, leaving you with plenty of inspiration. In recent episodes, Amy has explored ideas including designing for a pandemic’. She has also interviewed established designers such as Marquise Stillwell and Jamie Bush. The podcast is so much more than interior design tips; you’ll learn a whole lot about the design world overall.

2. Home Style Green

Home Style Green is a podcast that can help you to create a more eco-friendly home. You’ll find plenty of topics, including heating your home, insulation types, passive homes, sustainable building, and more. From your architectural services to your energy and interior fabrics, Home Style Green can help you to keep things eco-friendly. The latest episodes have discussed ‘sustainable architecture’ and ‘energy-efficient homes.’ Besides these ideas, eco-friendly decor can be as simple as decorating with plants!

3. Affordable Interior Design

New York-based designer Betsy Helmuth is the talent behind ‘The Affordable Interior Design Podcast.’ Throughout these episodes, Betsy is on a mission to teach you that interior design doesn’t have to cost the earth! Betsy explores topics including ‘making space your own,’ ‘renovation reality checks,’ and ‘to drape or not to drape.’ If you love the idea of making your home beautiful, but you don’t have a huge budget, the Affordable Interior Design podcast is just what you need!

4. The Great Indoors

Come and join Kate Watson-Symth and Sophie Robinson as they celebrate the wonderful world of interior design. Here you’ll find frank and engaging discussions about living room makeovers, design and diversity, awkward spaces, and garden rooms. The Great Indoors will teach you all about mood boards and perfect lighting, color psychology, and budgeting your design. Find it hard to keep up with the latest interior design trends? The Great Indoors has got all the tips you need to keep things fresh.

5. Confused Room

In the ‘Confused Room,’ Jenny and Tony discuss home renovations and help you make the most of your space. Each week listeners send in their ‘confused room’ photographs, from here, the design-savvy pair will give the room a digital makeover. These beautiful before and after pictures are enough to inspire the most confused designers out there! You’ll find plenty of ideas on revamping your home for the summer, bathroom trends, and more. Looking to decorate a room and have no clue where to begin? Simply take a photograph and send it over to the lovely people at ‘Confused Room.’

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Do you love succulent plants? There is just something appealing about the idea of something beautiful and green that doesn’t require a lot of attention. Succulents are the cats of plants. They are everywhere these days. They’re cute and succulent care is easy. Put them in a cute gold hanging planter pot and voila, you’ve got an instant conversation starter.

succulents, boho, Wayfair, succulent plants, succulent care

I’ve been redecorating my office; updating and streamlining. I’m trying to make my workspace a more peaceful place with less distractions. I want more light and less clutter. A workspace should be a place of inspiration and warmth, especially when you are a creative type. I’m a writer. I thrive in natural light, free-flowing energy and clarity.

Succulents remind me of driving to my grandpa’s house in Mexico when I was a child. Yes, we drove from Chicago to Mexico every summer. At that time, there were five of us kids ( later there would be six) and it was a long, hot drive in August. One of the things we looked forward to the most was the change of scenery. We didn’t have cactus and deserts in Chicago so we always thought it was pretty cool to see.

READ ALSO: How a Piece of Furniture Transformed my Life

Succulent plants have been on my list for my office for quite some time. Between watching all the dormify Youtube videos with my teenage girls and just wanting something more natural, something that could actually lighten the air in my office, I finally bought myself a small collection of succulents. Now, I need to figure out succulent care and how to keep them alive and thriving.

succulents, boho, Wayfair, succulent plants, succulent care

The thing is that I don’t know too much about succulent care other than my rule #1, when you have these types of plants, you have to plant them in pretty planter pots. It’s the only way to do it, right? There is just something about a tiny, hearty succulent sitting in your line of sight that conjures up thoughts of warm weather and the summers of my childhood.

READ ALSO: When a Deck is More than a Deck

Since I don’t want to be that person who buys beautiful plants and then lets them all die because I don’t know anything about succulent care, I’ve done some research. Turns out that it’s pretty simple to take care of succulents but do you actually have to give them some love and attention.

Succulent care for Newbies

 

  1. Choose a succulent that you love but that is appropriate for your home.
  2. Provide a very well-draining potting soil. You do not want moisture staying in there too long.
  3. Choose a beautiful succulent plant pot. This is where you can really make your succulents shine as a part of your décor.
  4. Place your potted succulents in a bright and sunny location. Mine are in my office window.
  5. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When watering, be sure to soak the roots.
  6. Last but not least, be sure to fertilize your succulents at least once a year.

Succulents are great because they are hearty and hard to kill. They are perfect for someone who wants to care for plants but who might not necessarily have the time to care for something fickler like orchids. A succulent garden is every bit as beautiful as any other kind of plant and sometimes even more so because each plant is so different and they come in such a variety of textures and shapes. It’s also a great way to teach kids responsibility and caring for living things. My 11-year-old loves hers.

Do you love succulents? What is your best tip for succulent care?

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daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

As many of you know, we’ve been in the midst of a full-on Marie Kondo-ing of our entire house and this is when I realized how a daybed with trundle could transform our home office. I was hoping we’d be done by the end of January but, alas, it’s going to take more time. Even though January was an entire year long, so many things came up.

There are some things that I’ve realized that I want to do since beginning this organization journey 1) Stop acquiring “stuff” 2) Minimize what I do have 3) Minimalize our home. I want to focus on experiences and making memories not having stuff.

I’m finding that all this “stuff” not only clutters my home, it clutters my mind and my life. Let’s be honest, as a mom, I don’t have room in any of the three for clutter. Clutter overwhelms me and keeps me from being present. The stuff keeps me from entertaining because the stuff is literally in the way and taking up too much room.

READ ALSO: Is the Marie Kindo Method for You?

In my quest to embrace minimalism, I decided to not only get rid of stuff but replace things with more efficient things. For example, my home office is in desperate need of being streamlined. It’s a small space with a lot of stuff. Stuff that belongs there and stuff that’s found its way there while trying to escape another room. My girls have a tendency to believe that “cleaning” their room means moving all the extra stuff that doesn’t have a place to my office.

My office is supposed to be a bedroom. But I need an office since I work from home. My family comes to visit from out of town a lot and I need a place for them to sleep. One of the things I’m doing in my pursuit of streamlined minimalism is replacing the uncomfortable futon in my office with a stylish daybed with a trundle. This will give me adequate seating space in my office, a great place to shoot video in good light and bonus, a sleep space for 2 people. At the very least, I can put my girls in there and give their beds to adults who stay over.

READ ALSO: Home is Wherever the People You Love Are

daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

We decided on the Ghislain Daybed with Trundle in gray. It is very modern and aesthetically pleasing daybed but also very functional and purposeful. You can’t believe how a simple piece of furniture can transform not only the space but the functionality of that space. It also helped to streamline the space in a way that makes it more usable.

Have you ever owned a piece of furniture that not only changed the space but changed the way you used the space?

 

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organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

My house is in disarray. It needs tidying up like I need sleep. Desperately. I don’t know about you but when my house is in chaos, my mind is in chaos. When my mind is in disarray, I feel overwhelmed and it’s hard for me to get my bearings.
When my perspective is skewed, it’s hard to stay focused on the positive and when that happens, it’s impossible to hit goals and chase down dreams because you’re too busy chasing your own tail. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo organization method is helping me to organize my life, my home, my mind and my soul. Who knew the KonMari organization method would work for me.

Enter fate and an unlikely Netflix binge, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Not going to lie, I bought the book a couple years ago. I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and it made sense but I’m a visual learner. You can tell me but it’s better if you show me.

Friday night, I turned on Netflix to find my next great binge and there it was, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Not normally my cup of tea but as I’m trying to be more positive and I know my method of tidying up is not working, I knew that organization is not my strong suit but it needs to be.

As soon as I saw the look of being lost on the first couples face, I could relate. It’s like one day you look around and you’re asking yourself, how did I get here? Whose life am I living because it’s so off the mark from what you imagined for yourself.
Before we had kids and when the kids were toddlers, my house was immaculate. Organization was my jam. A place for everything and everything in its place. Tidying up was not a problem. Then, the Big Guy lost his job and we had to do the whole commuter marriage thing and I was alone with a 2 & 4 year old.

READ ALSO: What is Commuter Marriage?

I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and if I’m being completely honest, a little depressed. Everything became too much and something had to give. I had to let go of the idea of a perfect house and focus on taking care of 2 small children by myself. The house went on the market and loads of stuff went into storage so the house could be shown. A couple temporary moves with stuff in storage and us in small quarters and somehow we acquired more stuff.

Then there was the miscarriage, our dog dying and the year of living with our in laws while stuff was in storage. My goal was just to survive. Tidying up and organization were not my priorities. It was just one more thing to do in an ever growing pile of things to do. Things that were overwhelming and exhausting at a time when I was already buried up to my neck in obligations and in full survival mode.

We’ve been in this house for 6 years and we’re still not fully unpacked and we’ve accumulated so much stuff just to replace stuff that was in storage or unfindable when we needed it. There’s always a holiday, visitors, traveling or some other obligation so we never get the time, or if I’m being honest, have the desire to sift through and sort through our lives so we keep the downstairs clean with help from house cleaning dublin while the attic and garage are bursting at the seams and clean, folded laundry is stacked in all the bedrooms towering over us while we sleep.

READ ALSO: How to Get Your House Company Ready without Killing Yourself

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

It’s embarrassing, all the “stuff” we have. We don’t need it. But I’ve realized, the way some people eat their feelings, I shop to feel better. Then, I feel worse when I get the bill and I feel complete shit when I see my house full of stuff. I feel guilty. I actually feel embarrassed to carry my Louis Vuitton handbag bought for me as a gift by my husband because I feel like it’s just one more possession; a luxury that I either don’t need or don’t deserve. I haven’t quite figured out which.

I saw Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and learned the KonMari method of organization at the right time.

Just as I’ve recently decided that there is no more try only do. I decided we were doing this. Saturday morning, I asked my family to watch the first episode with me so we were all on the same page. We’ve started with the clothes. We’re still sorting through them. I went through so much clothing and moved so much clothing, shoes and bags around my room that after 15 hours, my entire body was aching; buckling under the physical pressure of organizing closets but my mind felt free and light. That is worth as many hours as it takes.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We each went through our own stuff because I feel like only each of us can decide what’s important and sparks joy for us. At 11 and 13-years-old my girls can do that plus, they’re going to be more respectful of how they treat their belongings and how they appreciate the work it takes to tidy up more if they do it themselves. If we do it for them, they can’t fully appreciate what that entails. We all worked all day doing this.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We started Saturday around noon collected about 15-20 bags of clothing to donate to the women’s shelter. We’re not even done yet. There will be more. I plan to use the KonMari tidying up organization method throughout my entire home over the next month or so. We’re in it as long as it takes. I will keep you all updated on here on Mondays.

How does Marie Kondo’s tidying up method work?

It’s not about throwing out all of your stuff. It’s about keeping what makes you happy and letting the rest go because, after all, it is just stuff.

Does it bring you joy?

Pick it up in your hands and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t give it to someone who it will spark joy for.

For me, there are exceptions, there are articles of clothing like undergarments, socks and pajamas that don’t particularly spark joy but are necessary so I kept them but if they caused annoyance or I just had a dislike for, I threw out.

The goal is not to have to rebuy spanx but to not have clutter and not hold on to stuff just to have stuff.

What to do with the stuff?

It’s hard for me to get rid of stuff because I grew up poor. I tend to want to hold on to things and I form emotional attachments to things, especially where my kids are concerned. Marie Kondo has a sentimental category and it makes you take a moment and consider what things really mean to you.

I’m still going through my clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry in my bedroom but I’m planning on doing the entire house. It may take me a couple months with work and life but purging feels good, folding in threes calms me and the less stuff I have the less overwhelmed I feel. Maybe I’m a minimalist on the inside?

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

Where do I start?

The life changing magic of Tidying up with Marie Kondo and the KonMari organization method should be done in this order;

Clothing

Hold each piece in your hand and decide if it sparks joy in your heart. If it doesn’t, give it away.

Books

She says to give them a little shake to wake them up and then decide what sparks joy. The rest donate to your local library, school or build your own little free library for your neighbors and friends.

Papers

Bills, receipts and etcetera.

Komono

Kitchen, Bathroom, Garage, Attic and everything miscellaneous.

Sentimental Items

Things that have sentimental value to you like photos, videos, heirlooms and things that bring you sentimental joy. It’s personal and only you can decide. It doesn’t have to be logical or make sense to anyone else. Besides, you can always go through your “Stuff” again later.

I fully realize that for some people tidying up and organization is not life changing. Some of you already have a handle on this aspect of your life but some of us are out of control and the chaos of the clutter is an outward reflection of the inner mess we feel; controlling one helps us to reign in the other. So maybe cleaning up and folding in thirds is not your jam, maybe you don’t have “too much stuff”. Maybe you think its crazy to throw out perfectly good stuff. I have a problem with this too. That’s why we’re donating our stuff. Then I can feel like I am controlling my mess, getting the closet organizers and clearing my mind without guilt about waste.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

 

What are your tips for keeping your house clutter free and making your home feel peaceful?

Are you experiencing the Life changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and trying the KonMari organization method as your guide to your closet organizer?

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Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

The holidays are here and there is nowhere I’d rather be than home for the holidays. I repeat, this is not a drill, the holidays are here. Last week was Thanksgiving, which means my house is decorated for Christmas. We’ve officially entered Nutcracker season. Next week, we host our first-holiday party with family and friends. That can’t happen without my home exuding all the warm and fuzzy feelings of the season.

I know full well that the warm and fuzzies come from the people we surround ourselves with. People, family and friends, they are what make these special occasions special. But there is just something about a home decorated for the holidays that lends itself to that spirit of good cheer.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

It doesn’t matter how you decorate; whether it be traditional, modern, or a mix of both. The décor is the icing on a good time cake.  It helps create an ambiance. I won’t lie, there is just something about the glow of warm lights, garland and Nutcrackers that make my heart happy.

READ ALSO: Barn Doors are the New Black in Interior Design

 

The Big Guy and I have been building our décor, over many years and across many phases and homes, in our 20 years together so it’s a bit of this and that but when you put it all together, it’s sure to warm the cockles of even the Grinchiest of hearts and really, isn’t that what its all about? Smiles on faces, laughter ringing out above Christmas carols, glowing flames in the fireplace, stolen kisses under the mistletoe all while the smell of Christmas cookies baking wafts through the house.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

Huh. I guess I’m more excited about next weeks party than I thought.

It’s been a rough year. Things have been crazy and tight and pulled in lots of direction and on top of all of that, I’m recovering from surgery. Today is my first day out of the house in 24 days due to recovery (I’ve not suddenly become agoraphobic or anything). It’s only my second day out of pajamas and its time to get out of my head and into the Christmas spirit. I think the remedy to what ails me is to finish decorating the house for the holidays.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

READ ALSO: How to Create the Coziest House on the Block this Holiday Season

Every year, I add to our holiday décor. This year I did a little shopping at Wayfair because 1) I had a gift card 2) they had some crazy good deals 3) I love their variety.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

No matter what your style is, they have something for everyone. Honestly, I bought so much stuff, I didn’t decorate one area of my house with it. I decorated the entire house throughout with some of my new pieces and they make me happy. Can you say Moose with ornaments on its antlers? Because apparently in 2018, that is my happy place. Doesn’t sound holiday enough for you? That’s ok because Wayfair’s got something for everyone, like Santa.

How do you decorate for the holidays? What makes home for the holidays the only place to be for you?

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It’s finally fall and that means it is finally cool enough to sit outside again and enjoy nature. One of my favorite things to do is sit outside on weekend mornings and drink coffee with the Big Guy. It’s like date night but without getting dressed up.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written in partnership with Wayfair, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

After almost 20 years of marriage, with a tween and a teenage daughter, you have to squeeze in that alone together time anywhere you can get it. Seriously, it’s not about what you do but with who you do it. For me, sitting on the back deck with a hot cup of milky coffee in my pajama pants and a comfy sweater sitting next to the Big Guy is one of my favorite things to do.

Of course, I wouldn’t turn up my nose to sitting on the back deck under the stars sitting on that same love seat enjoying a nice glass of Malbec. It’s about making the time and effort to find those stolen moments with the ones you love.

This summer, we traveled a lot so we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to our yard. Like, I’m still waiting for my hot tub to show up. But we did do something that really changed the entire aesthetic of our yard and gave us some privacy. I mean, what’s the point of going outside on the deck to enjoy some alone time with your favorite guy away from the kids if every single person who lives in the addition can walk past on the walking path? So, we put up a Gazebo and strung some globe lights.

 

The gazebo gives us privacy and protects us from the elements and bugs. It has a mosquito net around all 4 sides (because mosquitos love me and nothing ruins an intimate moment than itching and scratching) and, for extra privacy, it has nylon walls that can zip around all four sides. The globe lights add the perfect warm glow inside the gazebo.

Not to say that we only use the gazeebo and lights for spending time alone together, it’s great for parties too. We strung globe lights throughout the entire yard and it’s perfect for when you are entertaining. We like to entertain as a family and it’s nice to have the warm glow in the yard so children and adults alike can see how to get to and from the house. The gazebo comes in great as a retreat for those of us who want to enjoy the party but not get eaten up by the mosquitos.

The thing that makes my backyard my dream backyard is the fact that it’s not an extension of our living space. With the gazebo, it’s almost like having another room in the house but instead of being surrounded by four walls, you are surrounded by nature. There is nothing quite like spending time with the ones you love, listening to the owls comingle with your children’s laughter, playing cards or making up silly songs, having a few drinks or just enjoying a conversation while the kids chase fireflies around the yard. These are the moments memories are made.

A dream backyard is not about what you have, it’s about what you do in the space. For us, our gazeebo and globe lights create an ambiance that affects the way we feel when we are in the space. We are happy because we are together and these days are fleeting like a dream you’ve woken from smiling. You smile because you feel happy but you can’t remember why and does it even really matter?

What do you do to make the space in your house feel like a home?

 

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glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

You’ve heard about breaking the glass ceiling but what do you know about a glassdoor, barn door and sliding doors is the real question? Renovating an old house sounds like an adventure to some ears. Not mine. I like new. I don’t like old, especially in houses. Put it this way, I’d love to visit your old renovated and updated house but I prefer mine to be brand spanking new. I know, I sound like the biggest ageist alive but I promise I have good reasons. Just bear with me.

Firstly, I grew up in an over 100-year-old house. It was small, of course, they sold it as “cozy”. I never had a “shower” until I was in college because the house I grew up in had 1 bathroom (with 6 kids) and 1 claw foot tub. Sounds so quaint, right? Try 1 bathroom with 6 kids when the stomach flu hits. Not as “quaint” as it might sound.

glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

The entire house was very sectioned off. Every room had a door. Of course, every room felt like a closet so “old houses” are not for claustrophobics, which my mom happens to be. On the plus side, there were plenty of spaces to hide and seek, especially when you were in trouble as a kid. However, you spent a lot of time with the people you loved developing your personality. My kids go to my mom’s house and are always in awe how we all lived there together and everyone survived.

Aside from everything needing to be “updated” in old houses and them being oddly laid out, chances are there are some residual remnants of the previous owners and I’m not just talking about those creepy baby portraits we found in my parents crawl space right next to a first edition copy of “The Joy of Sex”. No, that’s not creepy at all. I’m talking about the things you don’t see, like the whispers in the middle of the night with no people attached to them. Of course, apparently, that can happen in new houses too.

READ ALSO: The True Story behind my Ghost Photo

Still, after buying two brand spanking new houses, in a moment of relocation desperation, we bought an “old house” with “good bones”. FTW, “good bones” is code for you’re going to spend a lot of money to get this house to look and feel the way you want it. Now, our house is not 100’s of years old. It was built in 1977.

It’s a beautiful 2-story John Hughes special in the suburbs. In a coveted neighborhood that’s lush with green rolling heels and miles of biking paths, parks, tennis courts, a clubhouse with not 1 but 3 swimming pools. On paper, it is everything we wanted. Well, mostly. I wanted new. I wanted a basement and a loft. Apparently, lofts weren’t a thing in the 70’s.

Still, desperation to relocate out of our temporary housing at our in-laws had me wearing my DIY goggles. I thought I could do all the things. Feral cats as past tenants, no problem. Complete kitchen renovation; we’ve got this. 1990’s textured walls; I can fix that. Desperate times tricks the brain into believing it can when it can’t. Well, it can because I’m a Mexican, not a Mexicant. But boy was it a lot of work.

We’ve lived in the house for almost 6 years and it’s been a labor of love (and hate on some days) but slowly but surely, it is becoming the house we always wanted. It’s amazing how knocking out a few walls and opening up the floor plan can bring an old house into the future. It’s shaping up nicely. Of course, if I ever see country blue wallpaper ever again, it will be too soon. Thank God for a mother in law who knows about all these things and doesn’t mind helping out her high maintenance daughter-in-law (apparently, they were as ready for us to be gone as we were to go).

READ ALSO: Moving and Trying Not to Die is Hard

We’ve replaced all the flooring in the house, renovated the entire kitchen, movie room, dining room, eat-in and over the past few weeks, the Big Guy put his back into giving me a new half-bath and laundry room area. You can’t imagine what a difference removing wallpaper, adding some paint, new flooring, sink, lighting and a sliding door can make. It looks like a new house. Chip and Joanna Gaines ain’t got nothing on us. * That was a joke. They make that stuff look easy. It’s not but it is definitely worth it.

I would have never thought that a door would have any bearing on the way a room came together. When I think of doors, it’s an afterthought purely for function. I was wrong. It’s the first thing someone sees when they enter a room. The door creates the vibe, especially if it’s an amazing statement piece door.

glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

I don’t know about you but I have been cuckoo for sliding barn doors for the past couple of years. I’ve seen them in all the new builds and in all the Interior design magazines. I was super jealous because I thought they just weren’t to be a part of my story and then, I partnered with Wayfair on a sliding door project and the heaven’s parted and angels sang and I knew these “good bones” were about to get better.

We removed the old brown, hollowed door which paired perfectly with the circa 1970’s wallpaper that led from our hallway to the laundry room and replaced it with a brand new modern frosted glass, interior barn door. It changed the whole look of the space.

glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

I am not an interior decorator but I have been living in this old house for 6 years (and it’s still very much a work in process as you can tell from the missing baseboards) and trying really hard to get these old bones to support the facelift we’ve been giving our home. If you’re thinking of buying an old house with “good bones” and testing your DIY skills don’t be afraid. It can be amazing.

Just know that it will take some sweat equity on your part but in the end, it will totally be worth it. There is something very satisfying about building your dream house with your own two hands. Of course, there is nothing wrong with outsourcing if you need to. But don’t call me. I only remove wall texture as a labor of love, you couldn’t afford my rates.

It’s easier than ever to renovate your home with Youtube tutorials, the DIY channel and places like Wayfair to get affordable options to update your home. Now, about those creepy baby portraits and any residual energy from the previous owners, you’re all on your own.

What’s on your bucket list of DIY home renovations; new deck, new kitchen, new glassdoor, barn door or sliding doors?

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