Outdoor Chalkboard Door

I have so many blog posts up my sleeve and no time to actually sit down and write the post!
Chasing a toddler and trying to start your own business is just as hard as everyone says it is.

So in an effort to make my little man happy (and let's be honest -- distract him so I can get work done!) I decided to create an outdoor chalkboard for him.  He is on a major drawing kick and I knew he would love a new place to unleash his artistic skills.

Without a backyard, our front deck serves as our main outdoor space.  Unfortunately it's a bit on the small side and leaves little space for kiddie decor.  I didn't want to take up space with a store bought easel nor did I want to spend the extra money.  So when I saw our dilapidated shed door staring at me a little light bulb went off.  Why not paint the door?!

I patched up the door the best I could, cleaned up the vents, taped off the trim and got to work!

I had read online that outdoor chalkboard paint didn't really exist but I was sure I could find some.  Of course I was shocked when all I could find was interior chalkboard paint.  Really? How does this not exist yet?? My local hardware guru said I could try the interior kind but since the door got so much direct sunlight and didn't have an overhang we both agreed it wouldn't hold up.  

So I went back to the web and found an outdoor chalkboard paint recipe:

 { Tip: If you don't have a roller pan you can use tin foil over a pyrex dish! I only did this because I forgot to buy one.  If you remember - the plastic pans are cheap and worth it. Oh, and be sure to use a foam roller to make things extra smooth! }

{ Tip: If you don't have a roller pan you can use tin foil over a pyrex dish! I only did this because I forgot to buy one.  If you remember - the plastic pans are cheap and worth it. Oh, and be sure to use a foam roller to make things extra smooth! }

I purchased a high quality black outdoor paint and a white non-sounded grout.  I grabbed a trusty keg cup and mixed 2 Tbsp of the grout into 1 cup of the paint.  You are supposed to mix until all the clumps are gone.  This is where I ran into a bit of trouble.  No matter how long I mixed the two ingredients I could not get rid of the clumps!! I seriously mixed for 15-20min and still had lumps.  I also read that a few little bumps are fine because you can just sand them out so I decided to go ahead and paint. This is what happened...

Needless to say this did NOT look right! I took this picture and went back to the hardware store for some help.  Paul at our local ACE store is the paint guru and I couldn't trust him more.  He was just as stumped as me! Maybe the grout was old?? In any case, Paul suggested I strain the paint with mesh paint bag (looks just like cheese cloth).  We weren't sure how it would affect the "chalkboard"  capabilities but it was worth a shot.

So I went back to square one...

I used the mesh strainer and pushed the clumpy paint through. It was tedious but I was determined to get it smooth! Low and behold it worked! I still sanded the surface a bit once it was dry in order to get things even smoother.

Hopefully you won't run into any clumps but even with the hiccup it was SO worth it! This boy is in heaven.  It's where he starts and ends each day. 

Before & After - Office / Guest Room

Happy New Year!!

One of my resolutions for 2015 is to do more design work.  I miss it terribly and I feel like my son is at the age where I can take more time for myself.  I am realizing he will be just fine if I leave him for a few hours!  This is obviously easier said than done but I am going to try my hardest.

I've actually just completed a small remodel that I wanted to share.  The client's may or may not be family but I still treated it like a "real" job.  

The room originally had a queen sized bed and a fairly large desk that took up the majority of the footprint.  The client's have house guests quite often so they needed to keep the bed but they also wanted to increase their desk space to accommodate both of them.  This is a tall order when you're dealing with such a small space.  

The only real solution was incorporating a Murphy Bed.  We paired this with a built-in desk that wrapped around the room to make the most use of the space. We met with a contractor and the folks over at California Closets and ultimately chose to go with CA Closets for their expertise in Murphy Beds and what seemed like a stress-free install. Unfortunately there were quite a few hiccups with the installation which was disappointing.  Luckily our sales rep was extremely accommodating and extended a discount to compensate us for the headache.

Ultimately I think the room has undergone a huge transformation.  It is clean, functional and most important - gorgeous.  

 

BEFORE: 

 

DESIGN PROCESS:

 

AFTER:


Sayulita

Is it really December already?? I know I say this every year but...I can't believe Christmas is just a couple weeks away!  I guess life as a stay at home Mom is something I still haven't grasped.  My days are long but the weeks are so short!  I feel like I get nothing accomplished but have all the time in the world.  Raising tiny humans --- it's a complicated task.

You know what's not complicated? Deciding to vacation for a week over Thanksgiving break.
Holidays are always a little bit of a whirlwind here at home.  It's nice having all of our families in the same town but it means schlepping from one house to the other in order to see everyone.  So when my sister suggested we take our families to Mexico to celebrate I was 100% on board.  She even convinced my dad to rent an amazing home for a whole week (thanks Dad!!!).  Spending a week with family in paradise? I'd be crazy to say no.  

So six adults and three toddler boys made the trek from SB to Sayulita, Mexico.  It was an "easy" (nothing's easy when toddlers are involved) two and a half hour flight from LAX to Puerta Vallarta.  It was PJ's first flight and he did ok.  Not perfect but nothing too unexpected.  Had the flight been any longer we may have had a problem but 2.5 hrs was something we could handle.  We had a car service pick us up with carseats in tow and we made the 45min drive to the quaint little town of Sayulita.  

If you haven't heard of Sayulita you need to check it out.  It's become more and more of a tourist attraction over the past few years but it still manages to hold onto it's small town charm without the hustle of a big city.  The town centers around three main streets where you will find locals and visitors alike.  The sidewalks are lined with artisans selling brightly colored gems.  I honestly can't say enough great things about the style this little town has.  I found myself wanting everything!  Whether it was a neon pom pom or an intricately embroidered pillow - I wanted it all.  Let's just say people in Sayulita aren't afraid of color.  Everything is bright, cheery and super stylish.

Aside from the amazing boutiques, the beaches and sunsets were a main highlight.  The water was the perfect temperature and the weather was exactly what we had envisioned.  Apparently it can get brutally hot there but we managed without ever having to use the AC!  The only real drawback was a little thing called Montezuma that took Revenge on two of us.  Luckily I was spared but it was not a welcome visitor!  But all in all it was a trip to remember.  

Here's a glimpse at our week in paradise:

If that's not gorgeous enough, check out our amazing home for the week...

 Could have really used some baby gates...

Could have really used some baby gates...

 Yes, that's a treehouse in the backyard!

Yes, that's a treehouse in the backyard!




Birthday Boy

My baby is officially one! I still don't think it's really hit me that I now have a toddler.  I could go on and on about how it happens so fast and time flies... But I'm sick of hearing it so I'm sure you are too.  

I want to take a moment to reflect on this past year.  It was quite honestly one of the hardest years I've ever had but also one of the absolute best!!  

Having a baby turns your life upside down and is a major life adjustment (obviously).  It tests your patience, your stamina, your mental and physical health.  It can even threaten your ability to keep your eyes open.  But with all of that being said, I can't imagine not sharing each and every day with this little man.  My husband and I joke that everyone thinks your little man is sooo cute and always such a happy dude! He definitely is but he can also be extremely difficult at times.  He started life out with a bit of colic and has since mastered the whiny cry that I hear in my sleep.  I think its important that people know he isn't perfect. No kid is.  Sometimes I see pictures of other babies on social media and think to myself - what an angel.  But then I take a step back and realize if you looked at my posts you might think the same thing about Pearson.  Don't get me wrong, he is absolutely my angel but at the end of the day he is a baby - I mean Toddler - and can throw a tantrum like the rest of them.  

Ok, now that I've lifted the veil on my adorable pictures I want to bring it back down.  Pearson Joe is pretty much perfect.  He smiles at me and my heart bursts.  He actually smiles at everyone until he manages to get a smile out of them.  He commands attention and takes it upon himself to make sure you are having a good time -- just like his dad.  He has an amazing imagination and is extremely smart -- just like his mom. Ha!  He also might be the most handsome boy I've ever laid eyes on.  Ok, so I might be biased but you can't deny his beauty.  

Every morning we bring PJ into bed and he gives me the biggest smile followed by a million "snuggles".  He literally throws the weight of his head into my body over and over again.  I'm actually surprised he hasn't broken my nose yet!  He really only does this with me.  As much as it may be a little rough at times I secretly love that he saves this affection for me.  He is a mama's boy and that's how it should be.  Now if only being a mama's boy meant he was always on his best behavior for me.... sadly it's the complete opposite.  


I originally didn't want to throw a first birthday party.  Not because I didn't love my child but because I knew it would snowball into a big event and I wasn't sure I had it in me.  We are blessed to have a large family and many loving friends.  What starts out as a small invite list usually becomes an all inclusive invitation to everyone we love.  I knew I would regret not throwing a large party so I caved in and got to work.  

I'm not a huge fan of themed parties.  I like things to look cohesive but I didn't want everything to be monkeys or trains.  One day PJ will have a say in what he wants and that's the day I will succumb to a batman or spiderman theme.  But for now I just go with what I like.  Similar to our wedding I found myself drawn to dots.  I found some cute retro paper that had polka dots and argyle patterns on it.  I created bunting from this and everything else fell into place.  

I had grand plans of taking lots of photos before the guests arrived but of course PJ wanted to switch up his nap time on party day.  I was forced to stay back with him until he woke up and we arrived fashionably late.  This meant I got pulled in a million directions and left my camera behind.  So here's a partial look at his celebration:

 My mother and father-in-law graciously allowed us to take over their home for the party.  It was the perfect venue.  A large lawn for the kiddos to run around and an amazing view for the adults to enjoy!

My mother and father-in-law graciously allowed us to take over their home for the party.  It was the perfect venue.  A large lawn for the kiddos to run around and an amazing view for the adults to enjoy!

 The always adorable Evia (our forever flower girl at our wedding) posing for the camera. The VW tent and pit balls were a huge hit with the kiddos!  -- Photo via her mama Jess.

The always adorable Evia (our forever flower girl at our wedding) posing for the camera. The VW tent and pit balls were a huge hit with the kiddos!  -- Photo via her mama Jess.

 His Grandpa Gary is a retired fireman and couldn't resist this perfect ladder truck.  This will be a favorite in our home for a long time to come.

His Grandpa Gary is a retired fireman and couldn't resist this perfect ladder truck.  This will be a favorite in our home for a long time to come.

 His monthly pictures on display so the guests could see his transformation over the past year.

His monthly pictures on display so the guests could see his transformation over the past year.

 I loved the idea of these birthday chalkboards and couldn't resist creating one for PJ.  It was fun for the guests to get to know the birthday boy better.

I loved the idea of these birthday chalkboards and couldn't resist creating one for PJ.  It was fun for the guests to get to know the birthday boy better.