Our House Tour on Apartment Therapy

Hi There,

During the last few years we have done quite a lot of work to our house. I tried to photograph how beautiful everything turned out but I couldn’t capture it the way a professional could. I visited my friend Samantha’s lovely house and she told me her friend Marisa Vitale was a photographer and I should reach out to her. I was hoping to hire Marisa to photograph our house (since we are leaving it for a year) when she said she wanted to shoot it for Apartment Therapy!! I have been a fan of AT for years but I never thought our house was sophisticated enough to be featured. We had to fill out a questionnaire and one of the questions was “How do you describe your design style?” This was the hardest for me to answer because all that came to mind is “This is the home of a thirteen year old girl after she saw Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette!” I somehow managed to come up with a more adult answer but I cannot grasp how far we have come with this little house of ours. I went through phases of loving our house, completely hating it (mostly due to horrible neighbors across the street and bad water pressure) and then falling head over heels in love again. The bright and colorful way Marisa captured our home makes me so happy. I wish I could share all 206 photos with you because they are all my favorites but I will narrow them down best I can. Thank you Sam for connecting me with Marisa! Thank you Marisa for being so kind, talented and fun to hang with. Thank you Apartment Therapy for showcasing all our hard work and sacrifice to the world. I am honored to have our home among many other interiors I admire. Yay, here is our 1923 California bungalow home…

These are some of the outtakes of our family photos. How am I wearing heels and Antz is still taller than me? This one is my fave of the bunch.

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Apartment Therapy used this one, which has my signature look at the sky weird thing I do and Liv almost has her eyes closed. It definitely represents us best.

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In the living room there was much debate over which slipcover to put on the couch. We both agreed the blue slipcover was too much color and the white would make the pillows and our throw pop.

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Our lovely Rifle & Paper Co Marie Antoinette portrait never gets shown because I rarely photograph that part of the room.

Physiognomy by Mark Seliger was one of the first “grown up” books I ever purchased about 12 years ago. I finally have cool coffee table books displayed on my coffee table!

I’m super stoked about our new lady llama! Antz first saw her at Dotter on York Ave and I knew she would be perfect for an empty space on our wall. Everything came together perfectly.

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We had the prints made from Artifact Uprising.

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Don’t you think llamas are the new elephants?

It’s hard to show a good shelfie because the couch is in the way but at least you can see our new plant from Folia Collective. We were in Pasadena one night getting ice cream when we found this cute, tiny plant shop. I almost didn’t go in because it look terribly expensive but I was surprised. The most expensive plant in the store was $38! We got called out in the comments of our house tour for the sad looking fiddle fig on our porch but little do they know how long we lived with zero plants in our house.

I wish I took photos inside but the shop is super tiny and there were so many customers.

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We bought seven new plants for the house and guess what guys? They are still green and alive months later!!

Now let’s talk about that gorgeous bouquet! I knew I wanted something extra special for that vase. It’s very wide so I knew it had to be substantial. I have always admired IrisBarryBlooms on Instagram so this was the perfect occasion to have something customized for our home. My only request was very colorful and fun, and Michelle is the sweetest. She exceeded my expectations and really nailed our color palette. Thank you so much for creating this showstopper! Check out her website here.

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That’s right, we have a dining room, library, music room and office all in this one space! #smallhousesolutions Olivia’s piano teacher (our awesome next door neighbor Lisa) uses cute stickers to help Liv remember her finger placement.

And just to the right, we have our bar. Our old bar was a clunky DIY. I’m telling you, house design is mostly trial and error. We lived with the same furniture for so long, we had no idea we could find something functional, affordable and pretty.

c. our living room

This is the same space full of Earthy tones back in 2009! Why were sticks in a vase a trend?

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Now into the kitchen. I love that after five years it still looks modern and fresh. We haven’t changed much in there except a new set of pots and pans I got on sale for Christmas. In the future, I may change out the white subway tile backsplash into something more colorful.

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If I could have one dream item, I would love a La Chanche range in Rose Quartz. They are French and so fancy I would be embarrassed to cook my Top Ramen noodles on it. Sadly, they cost as much as a small car.

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New plant and macramé holder alert!

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I don’t think I have shown our hallway/art gallery on my blog before. I have no idea how to photograph such a narrow and dark space but Marisa used her tripod and got it all.

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I am super sad we aren’t taking any of his artwork to Paris with us. However, they are too big to pack and I wouldn’t want to risk them getting damaged in our luggage. I already loaned the giant portrait of Olivia to my Mom to keep at her house (I hope I get it back!)

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Did I mention we had our bedroom painted during the October break? Antz and I were going to paint it ourselves but laziness and procrastination set in so we hired FIVE dudes to paint this little room! Really, we hired one handyman but he showed up with all these guys. Oh! Next time a dude at the paint store tries to sell you the fancy “one coat” premium paint, don’t fall for it. We were told one gallon would cover the green and the trim in this room but ended having to buy 4 gallons (which meant 3 more trips to the hardware store and $200 more dollars). As fun and colorful as the old bedroom looked, I think it made the space feel cluttered and I wanted to create a more streamlined look for the small space.

It took me awhile to adjust to the all-white room. I love white, it’s my favorite color to wear but it felt so cold and sterile before we added the artwork and accessories. I wish we had the budget for a new ceiling fan but we couldn’t find anything we liked and we didn’t want to pay an electrician.

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I have never connected with an artist (other than Antz) that gets me like Carissa Potter Carlson. I have been super stressed about our move to Paris that this Things Will Work Out print has been my daily mantra.

Those striped brogues have been in my closet for months because they are so pretty I don’t dare wear them outside. Well, last week I finally gave in and wore them to our visa appointment for good luck. I’ll let you know how it went in my next post!

 

Liv’s room was the only room we only needed to straightening up. Once a month I attempt to get rid of stuff she has outgrown or no longer plays with (she’s currently in a Nintendo Switch and iPad phase) however, she swears she still plays with everything so I haven’t made much progress. Next week she is going to a sleepover and most of her toys are going into storage to make room for whoever ends up in our house.

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I don’t think I’ll ever take down her baby mobile her Dad made before she was born.

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I am grateful that I have these photos to remember her little girl room before her next tween remodel. I’m curious to what color she’ll choose next. I’m kinda over the pink.

Lastly our newly renovated bathroom. The least loved room in the house is now the most loved. I can’t stop staring at this stunning artwork Antz painted for me while we were visiting my Mom. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be married to this talented guy!

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I bought that basket from Anthropologie to use as a hamper for our wet towels but Antz said it would make a nice planter for our new guy. He fit in perfectly.

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I love her so much!!

So that’s our house tour. I am kicking myself because we spent all day with lovely Marisa and the only photo I took of her was while she was working. Marisa, thank you so much! I owe you a big hug and all our gratitude.

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Au revoir!

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Our House Remodel Part One

We bought our house ten years ago. I have told this story many times about how we put thirteen offers on twelve different houses and each time we were outbid. After searching online, going to open houses every weekend and having my heart broken for an entire year, it was a miracle when we bought our house. I remember going to the open house on a rainy day in January to see a small cute house with a large backyard. I was already skeptical walking in but the good news was due to the rain there wasn’t as many people there as it would be on a sunny day. The bad news was the house had one bathroom, old plumbing and was a few blocks from Eagle Rock, the neighborhood I wanted to live in. Despite the issues and feeling numb to the house hunting process, we put in our bid, wrote our standard letter to the owners explaining why we could only afford to offer full price, we didn’t expect any response. However, I was already falling in love with the backyard and  making plans for the kitchen by that evening. Turns out there was two offers submitted and believe it or not our letter must have worked. Our offer was accepted. HOORAY!!

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We went through weeks of torment getting the bank appraisal, the inspections telling us we would spend close to $35,000 in foundation repairs and my neurotic doubts that we would actually be able to buy a house in Los Angeles. We had already fell out of escrow before so every step was nerve-racking. Our amazing realtor was able to negotiate $15k in repairs taken off the price so that covered all of our closing costs. My Mom has always told me “Things happen for a reason.” and I couldn’t see back in 2006 that Highland Park would develop into the family friendly, most desired neighborhood it is today. That York Blvd would be dubbed the Abbot Kinney of Northeast LA or that our house would become the home we would raise our daughter in. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this house over the years but the same can be true about most of my life’s relationships. You have to learn to appreciate something. It takes time, nurturing and patience to create a bond. I am grateful that we didn’t buy those twelve other houses that had major structural issues, were located in questionable areas and were well over our budget. This house was meant for us.

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Antz and I have been talking about getting the foundation repaired for years but tuition, travel and our lifestyle have been priorities that have made it hard for us to start the work. We were able to tolerate the cracks in the walls and doors that stick when it rains but we both knew we needed to get the work done before something terrible would happen. (Like our house fall down the hill it sits on!) Our good fortune was buying in an up and coming area. Highland Park has become a hot neighborhood, so our equity skyrocketed and we were able to refinance. Lucky for me I had my friend, neighbor and talented contractor, Rene. Rene and his crew were awesome and I’ll enthusiastically recommend him to anyone looking for a contractor.

We had an moderately long list of things to repair but he worked with our limited budget.

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Just an example of one of my weekly to-do lists. Rene and his crew ended up doing all this work:

Repair foundation
Repair loose bricks on the porch
Patch/Paint the exterior of the house
Paint front door
Repair front door threshold
Repair roof leak
Remove iron bars on windows
Repair and straighten exterior wall
Remove popcorn ceiling/crown molding
Install new drywall
Repair and stain wood beams
Patch/Paint living room
Install built-in shelves
Paint back door
Repair back door threshold
Repair fireplace hearth tile
Build our new bed frame (I finally upgraded to a King size mattress because I couldn’t pass up their Black Friday sale and Antz and I are giants so sleeping on a queen was miserable)

**Electrical wiring/Repair and replace living room electric outlets/Install ceiling fan/light fixture

We hired a different electrician because our first guy was being shady and we weren’t happy with his work.

The entire project took about eight weeks but only because we had a minor delay which I’ll get to later. During the construction we lived in our small bedroom which we will never do again! Serious cabin fever set in due to the over crowding from having to shove all of our furniture and belongings into the kitchen, the hallway and Liv’s bedroom. In hindsight, I should have budgeted for a rental but I really wanted to stay on budget and that would have left me with zero money for new furniture. More than once during the remodel, I found myself quoting Lucy Ricardo complaining to Antz (Ricky) about how awful our furniture looked! Hint, hint.

Our living/dining room before the remodel

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I liked our fun, colorful living room but it still felt cramped and dark. I longed for white walls and a popcorn-free ceiling. I love our original fireplace but the hearth was damaged and the tile was cracking due to the foundation moving. I was in denial that we owned too much stuff but as we were packing things to clear out the room, it was obvious, I needed to let go of half of our stuff. I donated books, knick-knacks and the clunky old bar we never used. We had boring beige colored walls, honey-orange, scratched hardwood floors and inherited two Tiffany-style antique ceiling fans which I think were purchased in the 1990s. They swung precariously on the high setting and the glass sconces were broken so the only thing holding them on was the light bulbs. I was afraid to even clean them because the tiny screws holding them up were warped and any pressure would have caused them to crack. It was time for an update. Out of all the work we planned, choosing light fixtures proved to be most stressful for me. I loved the 1920’s style ceiling fans from Rejuvenation but they weren’t quite right for the price. Then I headed over to one of my favorite stores, Schoolhouse Electric. I was surprised to find they don’t carry ceiling fans. So my final and best option was West Elm. I wanted a fan that had a dimmable light setting, in bronze to coordinate with our new ceiling. The only issue was the ceiling fan I chose was a special order and would take four weeks to be delivered. This held us up for some time but luckily, it only took two weeks to arrive. I even got 30% off thanks to Black Friday sales!

Day one!!

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My painters were amazing, it was terribly hot but they worked non stop and serenaded me to 80’s tunes. They sanded every inch of the 93 year old wood.

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Things were happening inside too.

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For some odd reason, there were speakers hidden in the attic. After careful inspection we didn’t find a bag full of money or a treasure map so out they went. We also found disgusting insulation that I’m positive was unhealthy to breathe. After a few hours with a hammer, our ceiling was gone and these stunning attic beams were uncovered.

There was no way we could cover up these gorgeous wood beams with boring drywall. We told Rene that instead of our plan to install a new ceiling, we would rather expose the attic ceiling to give the space a dramatic feel. This meant adding more drywall to the walls and reinforcing the beams. We decided to keep four of the beams after a debate about keeping all of them. We also found random wires that didn’t appear to work so we needed to hire an electrician to rewire and reroute them. Timing is everything and by removing the ceiling we were able to see the beams moved from their original position which could have caused the ceiling to cave in. We were shocked and relived! The front wall of the living room moved four inches forward away from the house. We knew our house had many issues but this was very dangerous. Rene was able to move the front wall back in place.

Yikes, wasps nests in the attic! Our old HVAC ducts had to be rerouted since we no longer had a ceiling.

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The most nerve-racking day of the project happened to coincide with Halloween! We weren’t even home when they moved the wall because Liv had a party at her school. By the way, we were Oktoberfest themed this year since Liv wanted to wear a costume we bought from her ballet school. Antz was not so keen on wearing lederhosen.

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I found our costumes on Amazon. Liv is in heaven when she wears a corset and tulle!

Not being home was actually a good thing because I couldn’t stop envisioning our front wall falling down and all our beautiful windows shattering. I must have texted Rene fifty times that afternoon. By the time we got home our wall was straight again and only one small window pane cracked. Bravo Rene and crew!

The crew added new wood beams to support the roof. I learned that the older wood beams are actually stronger than the new wood but it was wise to increase the reinforcement because the old construction wasn’t measured with today’s codes. So we were on the fast track to finishing the drywall and prep for painting the interior when we got held up by the elephant in the room.

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That eyesore you see was our 41 year old furnace. Yep, our central air and heat system was older than I am! I asked Rene if he could push it back into the attic so it wouldn’t stick out but that was easier said than done. Here is the major setback we faced.

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This guy totally looks like an elephant’s trunk. Rene informed me the unit was hooked up to a gas line which would have to be rerouted, something he wasn’t capable of doing. Then there was an issue with the weight of the unit and moving it back would then push it directly on top of the ceiling of Olivia’s bedroom. There was no way I wanted a old piece of machinery sitting over where she sleeps so moving the unit was not an option. This meant we had two choices, leave it were it was and drywall around it or purchase a new unit. I didn’t plan to replace the HVAC but this is the joy of a remodel, you always have an unexpected expense. I received three quotes and chose the most environmentally friendly company and the second most expensive system.

The central air and heat work extended our timeline an additional three days. When the workers removed of our old unit we discovered the system was faulty, not up to code and hard wired which is a major fire hazard. The poor guy removing it said the unit began to spark and smoke when they took it apart. So, it was a miracle we decided to expose the attic or we would have just covered the ceiling and continued using our old system. The old unit was noisy and barely blew air through the ducts so we had to run it for longer periods which would make our electrical bill higher. So don’t cheap out folks, it may just kill you!

We chose a more efficient unit that was lighter yet sturdier, pleasantly quieter and new metal ducts that wouldn’t blow dust like our old plastic ones did. Hello, I am happy I no longer sneeze all day! We got an incredible deal, the new unit cost $7,600 with a ten year warranty. My favorite part besides the lower electricity bill and the peace of mind of our properly installed system, is we can program the thermostat from our phones. Hooray laziness! Our old unit would stay on all night because once we fell asleep we would be too tired to get up and turn it off. Now I can set it by temperature or timer from my phone or computer.

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Our plaster walls were a hot mess. I can’t help but compare the work we got done to our house to a 93 year old woman getting plastic surgery. Thank goodness Rene is our skilled surgeon. He was so resourceful and he has the most talented crew I’ve ever worked with.

So while all this was happening indoors, our house was being patched and painted outside. Antz and I were so confident with our house paint color when we picked it at the store, we had no doubt about it when we painted a swatch. However, when the painters sprayed it on the wall of our house, my heart sank. It was the exact shade of blue as a Smurf. I cried, called Antz to come home and see the shockingly bright blue and we unanimously agreed to change the color. The color change was a slight hiccup because Rene had already purchased $600 worth of bright blue paint and we had to pay for the day of work lost to our two painters. It was an expensive mistake but there was no way we would be happy coming home to this Lego blue house!

So after my unnecessary meltdown, we went to the store, talked to the manager and he assured us he would darken our paint. We even walked around our neighborhood comparing the dark blue and grey houses trying to make up our minds. I originally voted to paint our house matte black like sf girl by bay but I was vetoed. Black works for Victoria’s house but ours has too much red brick and we are colorful folks. Antz worked his artistic magic and found the perfect shade of navy for our house.

Before, during and after. Isn’t that an insane improvement?! Please remember to test your paint swatches at different times of day! We tested ours in the front of the house which meant it was in the shade. Seeing the same shade of blue in the direct sunlight made a vast difference. I am in love with the cheery shade of yellow we chose!

We removed one of our two bougainvillea bushes to open the space next to the backdoor. I asked our gardener to stop trimming the tops before the summer and after six months flowers finally began to bloom. We recently had our glass windows replaced for free through a city program sponsored by Los Angeles department of water and power. They offer home energy audits to help homeowners make their houses more energy efficient and lower your monthly bill.

Due to our house’s bad foundation, our porch had loose bricks that everyone would trip over. Antz has repaired them many times over the years but Rene actually found the source of the problem and pulled up the entire section of the porch. He discovered that the bricks weren’t anchored into the ground and just floating over a broken foundation. I was so worried about replacing the original bricks but the guy who removed them didn’t break a single brick during the work!

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This saw cut through the concrete like butter. They did all this work in like an hour!

I was so impressed with their work and was kicking myself for asking Antz to keep patching the loose bricks for all these years. The work only cost us $750 to repair the porch for the long term. This experience has taught me to stop just putting a Band-aid on a problem and just go ahead and get it fixed by a professional. I was so overwhelmed by how expensive I thought it would be, it stopped me from just getting the work done.

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There is no better feeling than having solid floors and straight white walls. Our front door has slammed for ten years because our front wall was crooked and it is just mind-blowing that it no longer slams. Now all of our windows can open and it feels like we got a brand new house. We have had iron bars on two of our windows which I find to be odd because they are inaccessible and the smallest windows in our house. It was a bitch to remove them (they had to saw them off) but it makes such a huge impact now that the iron is gone.

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I somehow squeezed a few extras into our budget which was mostly adult-boring work. I have wanted built-in shelves forever but with crooked walls and corners that were always moving because of the bad foundation, it wasn’t a possibility. I almost contemplated painting the fireplace mantle white to match the new built-in shelves but I am so happy we didn’t. Now I have ample storage space for my large art books that didn’t fit on our old bookshelves.

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Rene graciously repaired our broken tiles on our fireplace hearth.

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So on the last day of our two month project, I was elated at the transformation. Wow! look at this lovely blank canvas! Yet…don’t those floors look lackluster? When you are over-budget and having to figure out some way to create a budget to get our floors refinished, you brainstorm with your practical, spendthrift husband. Antz was able to sell our old couch, the coffee table, a mirror we no longer used and our old Ikea chair. I wouldn’t have thought that anyone would buy our old furniture but thanks to the Nextdoor app, we were able to fund our floors!

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It took one day for the floor refinishing which meant we had to stay out of the house for 48 hours so the floors could dry. We spent the weekend at my Mom’s house and when we saw the result, it was the cherry on top of our remodel. I am so grateful to all our workers who handled my silly questions and requests (I literally drove them crazy reminding everyone to not touch the freshly painted white walls and I kept leaving post-its around the house with notes of things they needed to finish) with patience. They were respectful, reassuring and always smiling even during the hottest days. One of my guys told me, “I’d rather be here working and sweating than at home comfortable and broke.” We gave all our workers a small bonus because they were awesome and they deserved it.

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Thank you so much Rene, you are the raddest contractor in Los Angeles. We are in love with our beautiful house. The photos of the remodel are coming soon.

Liv’s Lemonade Stand

Hello There,

I finally have a moment to catch up after a busy last few weeks. Liv has been requesting to have a lemonade stand for months but we wanted to wait until it was closer to summer. Antz outdid himself building the stand. He used pieces of wood we had left over from Liv’s Alice in Wonderland party. Liv helped him build and paint and I sewed the banners. I love how cheery it turned out!

Due to the drought, our lemon tree wasn’t doing so well. I was worried the tiny green lemons would never grow but thanks to a few rain storms our lemons exploded! Antz and Liv picked three baskets of lemons and there are still hundreds left on the tree. We had so many left over we were giving out free lemons to folks.

A few days before, Antz made these amazing flyers that we posted in coffeeshops around the neighborhood. Everyone kept asking me if I had them professionally made. I suppose I did since hubby is a pro, I’m so lucky to benefit from his talent for free!

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The night before Liv and her Dad must have squeezed a million lemons. I was so stoked I grabbed the very last kids size Hedley & Bennett apron yellow at their studio sale a few months ago. Isn’t it the perfect shade for her big day?

The morning started out cloudy, all month has been gloomy weather but right around 11:30 the sun began to shine and we already had customers lined up as we began to set up.

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We brought one of our kitchen stools and I brought the frill from my Geronimo balloon.

My dear Bff Aimee and her husband were our first customers of the day. We couldn’t have picked a better spot, so many kids came out of York park and asked their parents for a cup. We had so many generous people donate without having any lemonade. Liv was so excited! She is a natural businesswoman. I’m positive her cute face helped with sales.

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This sweet girl only had a twenty and told Liv to keep it!!

So many of our sweet friends and family came out to support Liv. We felt like it was a party since we knew so many of our customers. Thanks guys!

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Antz sister Clinnie and his Mom came by for a visit. It was Clinnie’s birthday but she refused a complimentary cup and gave us a big donation!

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Liv’s friend Kaia came by and enjoyed being Liv’s assistant. They took their job very seriously can’t you tell? Merci Mia and Kaia.

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We stayed open for about three hours because it was getting unbearably hot. We still have a full jug of lemonade left. A coffeeshop owner friend of ours offered to buy all our lemons so that was awesome. We plan to sell more lemonade later this summer, Liv is hooked!

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I am so full of love for everyone who supported us in person and online. We are overjoyed to raise money for Olivia’s incredible school. Hooray for Liv the young, female entrepreneur!

Bon weekend!

Happy New Year 2014!!

Last night we took the train with our friends to Grand Park in downtown. All Metro trains and busses were free from 9pm – 12:30am so there were tons of people but everyone was in a festive mood.

We arrived at 9:45 and it was crowded! I heard Grand park was at capacity at 10,000 people. There were lines for everything, to get a drinking bracelet, to get into the drinking area, then to buy drinks. There was a two hour line just to get into Starbucks. We were lucky to only wait 20 minutes to buy a bag of kettlecorn popcorn. We hung out and took photos but by the looks of things, we decided it was best to head home before pandemonium broke out. We squeezed our way through the crowds and just made a train before 11:40. Our train ride home was magic, some people got on board and began to decorate the train, play music, handed out hats and noisemakers and even brought a mini disco ball. We had a NYE celebration on the Gold Line! We arrived at our train stop, said our goodbyes to the party train and drove home with 30 seconds to spare before midnight. It was so exciting to go out and enjoy the city but we were so happy to have made it home safe and sound without having to endure the tremendous lines for the train and deal with all the loud drunks. Highland Park did not disappoint with a fireworks show on our front deck.

Liv’s hat was a hit!

I have so many plans for you 2014!
This was just a small fraction of the crowd, the park spans 5 blocks
The crowds were insane, au revoir!
The train station would have been packed had we waited a half an hour later
The train at Union Station was almost empty
Our party train!!
How cute is the mini spinning disco ball!!
Liv and I were dancing
Everyone was feeling festive!
Peace out Party Train!

We had a fun time ringing in the New Year! Apparently there were more folks there than I estimated. I am super stoked to start my e-course. We are having lunch with Story & Chris today and I get to finally see their baby’s nursery!! 

Happy Happy 2014!!
2014 Happy New Year Wishes in French

Donuts are all the rage!

Cupcakes are soo last year, now donuts are the newest dessert craze in particular, the cronut! Created by Dominique Ansel in his bakery in New York, it has become an overnight sensation. Even celebrities *ahem, or their nieces* can’t get their million dollar hands on them.

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The original Cronut

Los Angeles has the West Coast version called Crö-dough at Rockenwagner Bakery on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Last night we left the house too late to score one. Then I remember seeing a cro-nut on my Instagram feed so we were stoked to discover the bakery that made them was close by and open 24 hours!

We headed to Santa Monica Blvd and arrived at DK Donuts & Bakery. This place is donut heaven. They have every donut you have ever imagined and then more. There was so many flavors, varieties and the aroma was mouth-watering. We were knee deep in fat people food porn!

I had the Maple Bacon Bliss O’nut and Antz had a plain glazed O’nut, Liv had a pink sprinkles *cause you know this kids loves pink!*Don’t blame me if you find yourself driving over there tonight at 10pm, I warned you! It was sooo worth the long ass drive to Santa Monica. It’s good DK’s is so far away so it will be an once in a while treat… 

B U T… this week a new donut place is opening on York in Highland Park so we are gonna be in donut paradise.

Opening this week

Donut Friend is adjacent to the hip ice cream place, Scoops. We’ve been walking past it since February with curious glances and hoping it will meet our high expectations. The owner is a musician and he sounds pretty rad. I like the idea of building your own donut and he takes donut flavor suggestions. With all the donut buzz and York Blvd popularity, I don’t doubt there will be a long line at this place all the time.

*UPDATE: If you looking to get your donut fix, here’s a map of all the places in Los Angeles that are making them.

Happy Eating!

Huge, Exciting NEWS!!!

Don’t you hate when someone tells you they have big news but they can’t tell you yet? I have to be that guy right now. I am super duper excited for my secret news but I can’t share with you until next week.

and NO, I AM NOT PREGGERS!!

So this weekend was busy and fun. We were invited to try a ballet class with Liv’s friend Jianna on Saturday morning. The class is a little too early for my taste but it’s worth getting up at 8 on a Saturday! Anna Maria is amazing! I loved her other classes but I’m ready for Liv to get more one-on-one training and work on her technique. She’s on her way to becoming a ballerina.

Anna Maria, her daughter, Jianna and Liv

After class, we met Aimee for lunch at The York *which is becoming my favorite place for lunch*

Bestie kisses

We had the afternoon to take naps and play tea party with Liv before we headed back out for the Nela artwalk.

This guy looks like Wills & Harry!
Shopclass had a mini craft fair behind their store. Too bad I left my wallet at home or I would have bought a ceramic necklace I fell in love with.
I love these napkins!
Our artist showing off her work
The Nela Kids art show will be at Mi Vida Boutique until September. Lovely stuff!
Noel is super sweet, she made this spray paint art with Liv
I’m so proud of my future street artist!

We picked up Coral Reef Chinese food in Atwater Village for dinner to go. It was better than Panda Express but cheaper than PF Changs. It was decent, authentic Chinese food.

Sunday we went to Antz Mom’s house to borrow a few things from her. Clinnie cooked a delicious feast for Justin’s birthday/homecoming from spending most of the summer at his Grandmother’s house in Arizona. It’s cray cray that I was there when he was born and he’s 13 years old now. Dang, I’m totally a fossil!

Antz Mom, Dad, Justin and me back in 2000!

30 Day Photo Challenge – 10/30

I’m one third of the way finished!!

Today is a childhood memory.

Tea party

As an only child, I would spend hours playing alone in my room. I had imaginary friends and dolls that could talk. We would have tea parties and I would fake a British accent. Liv has a teapot that sings so she does the cutest dance and at the end she takes a bow. I still can’t get her out of that damn Cinderella dress and heels.

Tonight is the NELA art walk. We are so pleased that Liv is making her artist debut with her “rainbow” piece for sale at Mi Vida Boutique.

I hope you all can play along 30 Day Photo Challenge

Fourth of July Weekend Wrap-up

Oh man, so much summer fun crammed into 4 days! Aimee came over to eat and we redneck-ed it in the backyard with booze
and watching Liv splash around in her pool. I got a little too much sun but it
was a good time.

MEAT!!!

Once again Highland Park did not disappoint as the fireworks capital of Los Angeles. It really sounded like bombs going off every second.

This is as crazy with fireworks as I get!

Mr Mailman brought me two much anticipated *as well as one unexpected* deliveries.

I ordered these guys back in May, they were totally worth the wait! Freshly Picked Moccasins
Liv’s Third year Shutterfly book arrived!

http://images-community.shutterfly.com/flashapps/slideshow/slideshow-ui.swf

Click here to view this photo book larger

Her book turned out lovely
Stephanie, Carlos & Sophie Bloom sent Liv a special birthday package of gifts. She was super stoked! Thanks guys!!

Friday we decided to have an impromptu picnic in the park and then check out the California Science Center

I love the Parisian vibe at Barnsdall Art Park
Liv challenged Daddy to a race
It was fun but my phone died so I didn’t get many photos. It was cool to see the Endeavour space shuttle in person.
Nerd Fact: Endeavour had 25 successful flight during it’s 19 years of service.
It’s like 50 times the size than it looked when it flew over our house last year

Antz took this rad shot

This photo of us came out pretty lame, it was bad lighting in there.
We bought Liv a space shuttle toy, we tried to teach her how to salute.

 I couldn’t resist stopping by the childhood house of Don Draper.

 I’ve seen it tons of times since it’s located on historic Carroll Street *one of my favorite places in LA*

Friday night we hung out with Story & Chris for pizza and homemade peach cobbler *which was perfection, Story*. They gave Antz the raddest birthday present, these adorable Adventure Time toys.

Chris acting a fool as usual

Saturday we went to our nephew & niece’s daughter’s *Cayce, Ann-Marissa & Chayanne* 1st birthday party. It was a super fun pool party.

Antz made this gift wrapping magic
The pool was AH-MAZ-ING!
So now I want an in-ground trampoline super bad
Lemme tell ya, this guy is a great workout!
Chayanne is such a sweetie pie!
Liv was swimming up a storm, she’s very comfortable in the pool.
Grandma Debra and the birthday girl
Grandpa Darwin signing her birthday puppy
I love this idea *I wrote on the puppy’s feet*
Liv was inseparable with her friend Jianna!
Everyone helped Chayanne open her presents
She’s on the verge of walking any day now
I tried to get a photo of the girls hugging but all I got was their golden curls. We’re going to plan a playdate soon.

Antz was sweet enough to watch Liv for me so I could go see This is the End with Story and Chris. It was hilarious and I spotted Joe Manganiello *Alcide* at the theater.

I’m always on celeb watch!

Sunday we took it easy, breakfast with Leslie & Stephen at Cindy’s.

Liv & Nina

This afternoon we stopped by Antz Mom’s to visit relatives who are in town.

We feel like we’ve seen everyone we know this weekend. So happy we have a week with no commitments to relax. How was your weekend?

Today’s the day!

We just came home from Ikea and I’m so stoked about our kitchen. This morning I was reeling in shock from the quote our plumber gave us to repair of pipes. Thirty-eight- hundred-dollars. I can’t even look at the number cause it gives me the sads. I knew it would be a high number since the job includes having the dig out dirt under our house so they can access the pipes. We are also asking him to install our dishwasher, faucet, put our existing garbage disposal in our new sink and install a new showerhead in the loo. His quote was a direct punch to the gut, le sigh, there goes my upper cabinets.

But you know what? I’m gonna make it WERK! We will sand the shit out of the existing cabinets and paint them crisp, bright white. Actually it’s great that we won’t be taking out the old cabinets since our walls are crooked and old, as much as I dislike them, they are up there to stay. It would cost more than my budget allows to demo them and repair the walls to make them straight. Who wants to be straight anyways *holds hand up for a high five!* We are still doing the subway tile backsplash ourselves and I’m even considering taking off the doors like this guy.

Love all the white happening here

We can put our pretty stuff on display and it’s a good reason to keep our cabinets neat and clutter-free. Right now if I showed you the inside of our cabinets you would think we were Hoarders. Gross.

We played around with the 3-d kitchen planner and only getting lower cabinets is much more cost effective than I thought. I get my lovely dishwasher and these wonderful open shelves for my cookbooks and some tchotchkes. Win-win!

Is it a sign it’s called Perfekt?

I am still seeking an electrician and hardwood floor dude *or lady* but I need to get on it, the chick at Ikea said floors usually happen first during a remodel, so we need to get started on demo *so excited to use a sledgehammer* and moving everything out of the kitchen so we can refinish the floors. It takes about two weeks to get the cabinets and our plumber needs 3 days to do his thing. We will be kitchen-less for close to three weeks. Walls are last so I have a plenty of time to figure out my paint choices. My head swims with millions of paint swatches and fabric choices for the new curtains. We plan to add some wheels to this island so we can move it around the space.

GROLAND Kitchen island IKEA Gives you extra storage, utility and work space.

I’m super excited!! We are moving Antz desk out of Liv’s room since he doesn’t use it anymore and it’s taking up space for her kitchen. This will free up space in the living room for a new dining table and chairs.

I am loving the Liatorp table and hopefully I’ll find some cute flea market chairs

Wow! We could actually sit down to a meal like a real family and junk. Why am I so excited to get all Donna Reed with this shit?


I watched a ton of Nick at Nite as a kid

Oh man, how fabulous are those twin beds? What I would give to have a bed all to myself. Right now my sleeping confines resemble this

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache-ec7.pinterest.com/originals/ed/f2/97/edf297a40ea3f78dee4d6c56ddae4710.jpg?resize=400%2C355

Who else is doing the nighttime bebe shuffle? #5 is our specialty, no blanket, no pillows, numb shoulders all night!!

After Ikea we mosied on down to the new Highland Park Parklet on York Blvd.

Okay, this $30,000 parklet has become controversial. It definitely has it’s flaws, the location sucks. It’s right in front of a boring hardware store and an alley way referred to by my friend Connie as “Pee pee alley“. The drunks leaving the bars seem to use it a pop up restroom. I held my breath so I didn’t catch a whiff. This would be perfekt *that’s just how I’m spelling it from now on* closer to the end of the block near the coffee shop, cafe and the book store. I see why they put it there though, no one has invented hipster repellant yet so if it were in the area no one would ever leave. It would become a Hipster run utopia where you can only drink Pabst and ride around on a bicycle like you have an invisible bubble that magically deflects cars from hitting you. Oooh, burn baby!

I think it’s adorable. The mosaic tile is colorful and fun. There are pieces of found objects hidden and the wire does a great job of keeping my 2 year old from running into the traffic. I welcome anything to improve our city and make it less auto repair/pinata store-ish. We can all agree the price tag is a joke. California is “rumored” to be bankrupt and since I’ve been waiting for a park to be built on the corner for five years, I would have preferred the park. Eh, what can you do? It’s Parks & Recreation bureaucracy at it’s best.

Parks and Recreation premieres

Hello

It feels like ages since I last blogged. Sorry lovelies, I’ve been enjoying hanging at home with Antz & Liv. We had an uneventful 3 day weekend. Saturday Antz and I had a business meeting. Monday, we watched the inauguration concert and hung out in the backyard. We finally had a break in the cold January weather and Antz moved our patio dining table back upstairs. Liv & Antz made homemade lemonade and I picked up Chipotle and we had our first outdoor lunch of the year.

I hope to have many more outdoor meals but our 7 year old grill died so we are looking at replacing it with this guy.

STŌK™ Island 2-Burner Gas Grill
Totally cute and we only need a small grill, nothing fancy. After lunch we took a walk on York Blvd. Antz and I are not pleased that Cafe de Leche is adding a mural to the lovely brick wall. Highland Park has it’s fill of murals; the Virgin Mary is plastered everywhere as well as every party shop has Spongebob, Elmo & Dora *which never seems to look right
I adore street art but something tells me that this guy isn’t going to bring it in the mural department.

 I do love the lovely yarn bombing on York. Highland Park has been coming around. This article came out last week and gave us some hope that our little house could one day bring in the big bucks. Who knows, we’re already being dubbed the next Echo Park. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not. We’re still debating the big kitchen remodel, go big or go budget?