Monday, July 28, 2014

Our mother daughter Sweet 16 trip to New York City

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go to New York City....but who hasn't? When my kids were really young I thought it would be amazing to take them on a mother daughter trip to NYC for their sweet 16...a great bonding trip one on one. Well fast forward and this is the year for it to happen.
And I am so happy to say we did it....I used aeroplan miles so 2 nights in Soho cost me $75...isn't that fabulous! plus parking. There was a little mix up on check in I was checked in under another reservation with the same last name and was nearly charged $445 a night...gulp, thankfully we got everything straightened out and we had a great stay.
My hubby was willing to pay for us to fly to NYC but Mason wanted to do a road I checked out the website Roadtrippers and there I planned our road trip. I found a great route, a hotel to spend the night and even a Sonic location...yes stopping at Sonic was a very important stop on our road trip...
The drive was about 8 hours total...we left at 11:00 on Sunday and arrived in Binghamton around 5:00pm, the drive was beautiful.
We don't have Sonic restaurants in Canada so it was fun to order food from our car and it was yummy.
Mason was an amazing navigator, I had a case of the nerves the day of getting us all that way on our own ...but I pushed though and we made it 
upon arriving through the Holland tunnel our printed out directions were wrong wrong wrong....I took a wrong turn and was heading towards the Holland tunnel!!!! so I made an attempt to get out and made an illegal turn and of course there was a cop.....who pulled me over but he was so understanding and helped us out and sent us on our way.
This was our view from our tiny but lovely little hotel room at the Four Points Soho...we enjoyed the nicest fluffiest pillows ever. The room was small but very nice, I would stay there again, the staff was so nice and the location was perfection...we LOVED Soho. We were there for Mason to shop....I am not a big shopper so I was there just for fun to see as much as I could.
My ankles were so so ...I just pushed through the pain, I think I did really well considering...after 2 1/2 days walking on healing sprained ankles they were a swollen mess... I wouldn't recommend doing what I did but I couldn't cancel the trip.
The buildings were just one more beautiful than the other.
The shopping on Broadway was amazing..we went back time and time again.Guys were shamelessly hitting on my girl was funny and creepy all at once. She is beautiful so I am not surprised at all...the girls kept commenting on how much they loved her pink hair, people would just shout out "I love your hair" she does have great hair...
Didn't know there is no sales tax on clothing purchases under $100...what a nice surprise.

On Wooster we found Dwell studio , look at that fixture, if I recall the lady in the store said it was from France....

And Shabby Chic....I have been a huge fan for was a dream come true to take a look inside, even Mason loved everything in there, the influence in my decorating over the years was very obvious to the both if us while inside.

I had to get myself a little something and it was this marble cheese tray from Shabby chic...its a classic piece. 

We walked down to the 9/11 memorial, it is so hard to fathom what happened certainly brought me back to that terrible time when I had a three year old and a three month old baby and it felt like the world was ending....this memorial is truly beautiful and I feel honored to have been able to pay our respects.

After our long walk and shopping we looked up on Yelp where was best to get some authentic pizza , we stayed in and ordered spaghetti and pizza I thought it was so yummy... it was from Arturo's
We had a very nice view of the Trump Soho, next time we'll stay there!!!
Day 2, started off with a quick selfie then we were off early to times square. We were going to take the bus and had our $5.00 fare for the both of us....we waited at the bus stop and a woman came along to wait for the bus also...I had to confirm we were taking the correct bus and we were....but then she said "you can't pay cash!" we had a five dollar bill....oh no!!!! there was no where to buy a pass where we were...then she said "I have it, I'll pay for you" sorry what? I tried to off her the $5 but she wouldn't have incredibly nice was that...we have to say 99% of the people we encountered were exceptionally nice and friendly.
We headed down to Rockefeller Center where 5 seconds of summer was playing a concert for The Today Show. We safely made it through a sea of girls and got some Starbucks for the 10th time... thankfully they are everywhere...great drinks and free wifi, we would stop in get hydrated and map out where we wanted to go. I wanted to stop by Momofuku Milk Bar,we found it and stocked up on cookies.I have made the compost cookies at home many times they are a big hit but Mason says mine are even better.
Then it was time to get lunch...mostly we stuck to non touristy places which was a good kids are huge fans of the Food Network so when we learned Guy's American Kitchen was in times square we knew we had to go...
We were so happy to have a break off our feet...we had pretzel chicken app and chicken bacon mac and cheese, it was easily the best mac and cheese I have ever had, I mean look at it and the mojitos were so good I had two. We should have shared one dish , it was too much and we couldn't take it with us :(
It was very difficult to get my daughter to let me take photos of her...I take what I can get, this one is perfect though in Times Square and Forever 21 in the back ground...we went to at least three locations, this one is four levels.
We then decided to take a bus tour...not a good idea as we literally cooked in the sun, the weather was extremely hot. We should have just taken the city bus, but we did see a few things we didn't have time to stop by on our quick two day trip. I would love to go back but I would go back in the early spring of was too hot for all that walking.

The buildings in Soho were so incredible.
We had a great time...NYC is a great city. I would go back any time. 

I know for sure I will be back in three years with my youngest Sophie when she turns 16, it was hard for her not to come but I think it is a good thing to do one on one...we are very fortunate to have been able to go and I thank my husband for making it possible. 

Things I would recommend
9/11 Memorial
Times Square Forever 21
Wooster Street

Friday, July 25, 2014

"with hope the odd's don't matter"

Hi everyone,
I wanted to take some time today to share a different kind of post a post about hope, hope against cancer a cancer called is caused by the exposure of asbestos...Well we've all heard of that especially in the home improvement world, while renovating old houses the issue of asbestos comes up. Asbestos is dangerous and it can cause cancer and it needs to be dealt with carefully as not to disrupt it, if you have ever watched Holmes on Homes or Leave it to Bryan on HGTV you have seen this issue pop up time after time.

I recently got an email from Cameron Von St. James whose wife Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma 3 months after giving birth to their daughter Lily...he asked me to share with you their story and wants to spread the word about Mesothelioma, with my help and your help we can do that.

At the bottom of the post there is a video you must see...

Here are some facts we all should know

Every year close to 3000 people are diagnosed with this form of cancer and on average are given 10 months to live.

It can take 30-60 years from exposure for this cancer to show up.

Asbestos poses the greatest risk when it is damaged or worn causing pieces to flake off and become air born.

Men are four times for likely to get this cancer but women can be at risk from second hand exposure.

I was surprised to see how what I do could potentially put me at risk because of the projects I do.. mainly home improvements...
Here are some places you may still find asbestos...

Adhesives, Cements, Mortar, Sealers

Read more:

Clay, Compounds, Paints, Plasters

Read more:

Home Use Products

This is but a small part of the Exposure to asbestos list , please check HERE  for more.

Please take some time to visit Cameron's blog and learn all about their difficult yet inspiring journey.
I am happy to say that after being given 15 months to live Heather is an 8 year mesothelioma cancer survivor. That thrills me...

Please read more about Heather HERE "with hope the odd's don't matter" don't you just love that outlook???

Check our their video here and don't forget to share it on Facebook or Twitter...

Thanks for taking time to stop by today,

Friday, July 11, 2014

thinking outside the box with outdoor deck placement

I have been feeling very unproductive while I am healing my sprained ankles, if you missed that update you can read about it here
After reviewing all the work that we have completed here in just over 2 years I am just feeling relieved to have so many projects completed.
Like this sun deck or party deck we completed just before I hurt myself, phew!

I thought I would revisit how this space was transformed. 
Lets go back to last year when I bought a lovely Japanese lilac tree for this space behind our garage. 
I considered a hot tub for this space early on but it turned out to be too costly to create what I had in mind...$50,000 for a hot tub... I don't think so...I have great taste in my mind.
So I added a tree to soften this area and to add privacy, I had decided this was the perfect spot for a sun deck to have a nice lounge spot as it is sunny for nearly the whole day. 
The norm is to place decks along the back of the house but I wanted to think outside of the box and utilize more of our unusual yard.
 I use this app on my iPhone called Home Outside Palette , it is so much fun...the image below incorporates all elements we are looking for in our perfect backyard , eating area , fire pit, sundeck, kitchen/bar and even a potential space for a hot tub. Lots of fun, I don't get anything for mentioning this app I just like it.

That back fence that is old and tired looking needed to be dealt with so I attached thin pressure treated fence boards horizontally to help it blend in with our newer fences. 
I also filled in the gaps on the fence to the right with the same boards and added horizontal boards to upgrade the look and to block my dogs view of the neighbors dog to stop some of the barking (my dog doesn't like other dogs).

Here's what happened, I found a nice conversation set on sale 50% off and we bought it but had no where to put it so we moved forward with the sun deck ahead of schedule, that's why it's good to have an overall plan for landscaping so it can be tackled in phases. 
 Grass removal was not the most fun, but we used a Bagster available at Home Depot to dispose of the grass, disposing of this kind of material can be the biggest pain in the butt. It wasn't cheap but it is part of the cost of the project.
And here we are today I am calling it my little happy place...the birds gather under the tree and in the tree , I've seen bunnies on the deck and even a couple of toads have made this space under the deck home...
I added an overhanging umbrella for shade a must for those really hot days.
 I look forward to staining this deck next spring with some Australian Timber oil.
I picked up a little round table from Target as our set only came with one side table. I also added a little palm tree for a bit of a tropical feel.I am looking forward to hanging out here this weekend.

I have been thinking about re-arranging things a little and adding a bar cart/table to the wall...but then the coffee table won't work? and as it is now we can add the wicker arm chairs and comfortably seat 6 or more I need to get a couple of poufs I think. 
Maybe I will just add some hangers to put up my big lanterns on the wall.

So I say think outside the box when it comes to outdoor planning. 

You should check out Jen's backyard project, I am drooling over this back deck transformation, I am looking forward to using the same sprayer to paint our fence next spring all fresh white....

It turns out my husband wasn't so sure about having a deck behind the garage but it is a really nice and he loves it as much as I do. 

Do you have an outdoor space I should see , leave me a link and I'll check it out. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

on the home front...

sorry for keeping so quiet lately...not much has been going as as far as home improvement goes, we have been busy with birthdays girl Sophie turned 13 on the 26th of June one day before Mason turned 16...time has flown by

 We took the girls out for a joint dinner on Mason's birthday and something miraculous happened...they let me take photos of them....this never happens....aren't they so lovely....
I bleached Mason's hair blonde in preparation for her to color it pastel pinky coral.... why not , you're only young once, I blame Youtube videos....

 I had my fall just prior to the kids birthdays but somehow I whipped up a simple birthday cake for Sophie, just a box velvet...
 It's been very beautiful lately , lot's of wonderful clear hot days....bring it on...because I've got nothing but time while I still am healing my ankles that I sprained...its 18 days since I fell and my ankles are healing quite well and improving nicely but it seems some days it's one step forward two steps back....thank you for all the lovely comments and well wishes...

I am taking Mason to NYC very soon for our mother daughter sweet 16 trip I have been planning since she was a little girl...we are so excited... it will be our first time and we are making a road trip of it....but I need to be able to really walk so taking the time to heal it so important...

We were introduced to something very exciting yesterday , my SIL brought this box of fruit sorbet she picked up at Costco served in fruit is so delish you must try...

All this time sitting around has my thinking of all the projects I need to or can do.....soon I will back at it...
Minwax sent me these staining cloths, how brilliant...I can't wait to give them a try...

The MOST exciting thing happened the other day....Ryobi sent me a cordless brad nailer and let me tell you I can not wait to get going with this kids always think I'm nuts being so excited over a tool...I wonder if any of what I do will rub off on them when they are older , will they be handy???? So far they show NO interest in what I do around the house...but I didn't at their age either, so only time will tell. 
I think I will be making an outdoor bar table for a our little deck and I can give this bad boy a go!

So for now I sit a lot...and plan

Hope you have a beautiful day