Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Calloway Gardens and a Birthday

My parents have been at our house now for over a week helping us with painting and several other house projects.  (I have lots to share with you)  On Saturday it was my mom's birthday so we all took the day off from working.  Mother nature gave us a beautiful 60 degree sunny day so we took a little road trip south to a place called Callaway Gardens.
Callaway Gardens is 13,000 acres of beautiful Georgia countryside in the Appalachian Mountains one hour south of Atlanta.  I had heard it has wonderful bike trails, but I had no idea it is a full on resort with lodging, a beach [on a lake], golf, tennis and hiking.  We saw a commercial that during the month January entrance is free to the park, so we thought we would check it out. 
What a beautiful place.  Of course we arrived late in the day (Espinoza style) and missed the daily birds of prey show, but we strolled around and spent some time in the butterfly conservatory.

Even the boys enjoyed it, mapping out where to walk next.
 We were so impressed, we decided that we would come back in the spring or summer to spend more time exploring.
Although Mateo slept most of the time, I know he had fun too..and he looked so cute while doing so.
 We went back to our place and cooked my mom a steak dinner.  I hope you had a great day mom!
A big thanks to you [and dad] for all your help!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Remember this POS campaign dresser that I found on Craigslist back in October?  Here is the original CL picture.
I was so excited when I found it as I had been stalking one for a while.  It was listed for just $15. (though I paid and extra $25 for delivery) 
Let me just say that the picture, although ugly, made this thing look like a gem compared to what it looked like in person.  It was in horrible shape!  Scratches/gauges everywhere but I saw the potential. I was chided by both my husband and my dad for buying it.

They now eat their words.
 It is GORGEOUS right? I am so happy with it!

After much debate, I decided on a Martha Stewart paint called palmetto. 
I was inspired by this picture I found on Pinterest
First of all a special thanks goes out to my friend Amanda for getting me started on this project! She started me off by removing all of the hardware.  We then filled in all the gashes and nicks with Elmers Wood Filler.  We gave it a quick sanding and slapped on a couple coats of Zinsser oil-based primer. 

Because I didn't want to mess with cleaning brushes with mineral spirits, I used a foam roller and it was covered in a jiffy. 

Already it was starting to look better.  Then I opened the paint can....ahhhhhh
Again, using a foam roller, I applied 3 thin coats of paint.
I was very happy with the color, but it just wasn't shiny enough.  I though a protective topcoat would be a good idea anyway, so when my mom suggested I use a glossy polyurethane I ran out to Lowes to pick some up.
 This stuff is awesome!  It goes on like glass and for $10 a quart was well worth the cost.  (I have plenty left over for other projects.)

The only thing left was the finishing jewelry.  The hardware!
Unfortunately after scrubbing it with Bar Keepers Friend, I discovered that the handles were not brass, but stainless steel.  The corners were brass but were very scratched up.  Spray paint to the rescue!  I ended up returning 2 cans [with the same exact cap color] before finding the right color.  Rustoleum's Metallic Gold was the closest to brass, but it wasn't until I added a coat of polyurethane that they really looked authentic.
 And there you have it!! What do you think?? One more time, here is the before:

Here is the after:

I'll have to show you some pics after I style it up.  It is in my bedroom and I am still working on my inspiration board.  Im so glad I have this to work in the design.  Not bad for less than $50 right?

I have linked up at the following parties:
savvy southern style
Primp Your Stuff Wednesday
Miss Mustard Seed -Furniture Feature Friday
The Shabby Nest
My Simple Home Life
Creation Corner
Katherines Corner
Tatertots and Jello
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
chic on a shoestring decorating
DIY Showoff
At the Picket Fence
Funky Junk Interiors
fireflies and jellybeans
blue cricket design 
sisters of the wild west 
between naps on the porch
mod vintage life
you are talking too much

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Score on Craigslist!

Happy Monday all!  Hope you had a great weekend.  Ours was fantastic! Yesterday morning I perused Craigslist over coffee, something I do regularly.  I searched "large area rug" and "wool rug" but didn't really see anything of interest. In the afternoon I got a text from my friend Amanda telling me to check my email. What I found was a link to this CL ad: .
$75 for a 9x12 wool rug?? I immediately wrote to the person to say that I wanted it. This is one of the styles I had been debating to buy on Rugsusa for 3 times the price.  Because a professional cleaning for a rug this size is not cheap, I asked if he would sell it for any less.  He said $50.  Done and done!  Sometimes you just have to ask. 

ps. The ad said Pottery Barn, but this is West Elm's "taksim tile rug" and retailed for $699. 
Bottom line....Craigslist is awesome.  My addiction of stalking really pays off when I find deals like this one.  Consequently (or just my luck?) the guy we bought this from was moving to Netherlands and ended up giving us a rocking chair and a few kids toys for free.  The rocking chair is not my style, but we are going to take the wood rockers and attach them to my leather club chair. How perfect!

Ps. A lot is getting done this week on the homefront! My parents are here this week and they are workhorses. (in a good way) I have a lot to share with regards to progress on the house.  There was even an exciting little construction project that happened today.  
Pictures and deets to come!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's a Brand New Car!!

Yep! It was time.... time to say good bye to the Saaby Saab that I had for the last 9 years.  It was such a fun car!  Well worth the 9k I paid for it, plus I never had to drop major $$ on it, it was a solid, reliable car.  If only I had taken care of it aesthetically, it still may have been worth some money.  With only 84K miles and a strong engine this could be a great car for years to come.  The list of non-working items/problems just went on and on.  I ignored them as long as I could, but now with Mateo, I actually cared.  The leaky top and broken seat levers [which made it hard to get to the back seat] were the main issues, and to be able to hand it over to a dealer made the most sense.  I would hate to list all these problems on a Craigslist ad and expect to get money. 
Ernesto had been searching/researching suv's online for months.  Initially, we thought we might get a Honda CR-V or something of similar size, but with a little forward thinking (ha!) we thought it would be practical (it even sounds funny in saying it..us? practical? ha!) to buy a car that has the 3rd row seating as an option.
My number one choice was the Volvo X90 and Ernesto's was the VW Touraug but after some reviews (online and from friends) we determined that the maintenance would be too much on these.

Ernesto then fell in love with the Lexus GX 470, and I though a Honda Pilot would be a good option.  We went to a dealer yesterday and I test drove both cars (and the Volvo). 
The Lexus won hands down...what a ride!
I am better at bargaining than Ernesto, so I did all the talking.  I got the sales guy to come down almost 4K including $2500 for my Saab.  (boy, did they get screwed on that one:)

Did you think of Bob Barker when you read the title?? "It's a brand new car!" 
Well, here is our brand new [to us] car the Lexus GX 470.
It's a 2004 and I still feel like it is too nice for me.  (I made Ernesto promise to take care of it because we already know my track record with this.)  Leather, 4WD, navigation, bluetooth, 3rd row, heated seats, sunroof.  Toyota makes Lexus so we know these cars don't die!  Hopefully we can have a another kid or two to fill it up....plus have room for the grandparents:)

As we drove off the car lot, it started to rain pour and we laughed.  "Boy, isn't it nice to be dry?"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gray Paint Color Finally Chosen!

Even though we have been in our home now for 4 months, we have not had a chance to do ANY decorating.  That means NOTHING. ZIP.  ZILCH.  I have been going through decorating ideas daily (and nightly).  The only thing I know for sure is what color will I paint the walls.  I went totally bold [turquoise] in our apartment for the last two years, and I loved it, but I am going for a different look in our house.  Yes, I will for sure use bold colors, just not on the walls.  I would like all of the artwork from our travels to pop out from subtle wall colors. 
The problem?  Which shade of gray?
I posted this picture way back in October as my inspiration.  I am still loving these grey walls with the thick white moldings.  
I wish I knew what this paint color was called and who makes it.  If you have ever looked at grey paint swatches then you know there are many different undertones: purple, blue, yellow, green.
Remember back in October when I painted a bunch samples on my wall?   Well, I have been staring at them for 3 months now, but one never jumped out as "the one."  So, yesterday I went to Home Depot and picked up Martha Stweart's Nimbus Cloud, which I read online is a "true gray."
After painting it on the wall, next to the 7 other samples, I knew I had found my color! Done and done!  It is the top left square.
The paint has been purchased and we will start painting tomorrow! So exciting!

Also painted the first 2 coats on my campaign dresser and it looks AWESOME!
Pictures of both painting projects coming soon!!!

One Year Ago Today!

It was one year ago today I found out I was pregnant with little Mateo. We were so excited, we called my whole family and told them that day!  Last year was the best.  I so enjoyed being pregnant.  Then actually having a baby and moving into a new home the following week...it was quite a year! You know I loved getting all the attention with my big belly.  But alas, my time is over.  Mateo has stolen the show and it is all about him.  He is almost 4 months old and is talking already!
Listen as he tells me how much he loves milk!
I will also always remember this day because it is my nieces' birthday.  Today she turned 21! Oh my god! How time flies.  I was still in high school when she was born. I remember driving to the hospital to see my sister and her new baby while the news about the gulf war played on the radio.  Ok, that made me feel old.  Goodbye.

Friday, January 13, 2012

OH...and Happy 2012!

HAPPY 2012!!
I know I am a bit tardy with this post, but what can I say?  My hands have been full.  Literally... 
Full of a precious baby. 
Somehow Mateo makes everything else seem less important.  And although my one handed typing has gotten faster in the last 4 months, it is still too slow for a whole blog post.

But do not worry, my faithful Viva Cindy readers...I AM BACK!!!!  Yesterday marked the last day of xmas lights.  Ernesto finished all the take-down just in time.  Last night the temperature dropped below freezing here!   I enjoyed an omlet and coffee in bed and Mateo enjoyed a book with his papi.
Boy, is it nice to have him home!!
I have so many unfinished blog posts to share with you and now I will have some time to finish up.  I hope you are ready to be bombarded!

This weekend we will finally be starting some projects on the house ....the "to do" list goes on and on, but little by little we will turn this house into a gem! Number #1 on the list?   Painting these builder beige walls! (yes, I finally chose a gray paint)
For me, 2012 is all about productivity.  The onlt thing I produced in 2011 was a baby! No small feat of course, but it is now time to cut down on searching the internet for inspiration and DO SOMETHING!!

Are you making any changes for 2012??

ps.  In the top picture, Mateo models his cloth diapers, which still seem quite big.  I am a bit scared to switch over, but will take the plunge as soon as I run out of my disposable diaper stash. 

Monday, January 09, 2012

Sweet Mateo

Mi querido Mateo,
I can hardly believe that in another week you will be 4 months old!   Time has flown by...
Beautiful moments that I'll always cherish.  
Hours of snuggling, just staring in awe at how perfect you are. Those eyelashes!  Beautiful lips! Soft skin! Sweet cheeks. So, so sweet. I love watching you drift off to sleep in my arms, I don't want to put you down...so I don't.  (Needless to say I have been very unproductive and have developed a crink in my wrist) Spoiled? Aw, who cares?  That is what I am here for.  I haven't missed a thing. (albeit some housework)  The first smile, first giggle, first roll...you are doing more every day and I am so happy to be there watching...waiting to see what comes next. 

Your eyes are following me around the room now.  You recognize your padres voices and give us smiles on demand.  The best is in the morning when you wake up.  While looking into your bed we say "Buenos dias Mateo!" and you give us a huge smile. Every. Time.  You are letting out loud squeals in addition to the many coos.  A few weeks ago you discovered your hands and you are constantly eating them.   You love to wave your hands to jingle toys overhead.  I love watching you concentrate on moving your hands where you want them to go. You are surprised [and a bit scared] when you roll yourself over during tummy time, but when we start clapping you give us a big smile.  I have seen you sucking your thumb randomly...oh yes, the slobber has arrived.   

You are the best sleeperAs a matter of fact, last night you broke your record of 9 hours straight by sleeping from 7pm to 6am!  That is 11 hours!!  Did I mention that you are perfect?

You are a great eater too!  You just reached 12 pounds and are finally starting to get a little chunky.  I can't resist kissing you all the time.   I hope you know what my kisses mean and that you are loving all my attention. 
Your papi and I love you so much. 
We are so lucky that you are ours.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

{Before and After} The Armoire

Better late than never!
Remember this thing? My $60 find on Craigslist earlier this year?
I did actually start painting it before baby Mateo arrived in September, but finally the hardware has been put on and this beauty now is the star the [unfinished] nursery.  I am still undecided on how to decorate the nursery.  I have so many colorful things, so I need to figure out a way to make it all mesh together.
I am so happy with how it turned out! 

I started out by giving it a coat of Zinsser primer for durability.
The coverage was good enough with one coat and honestly I was ready to move on with the project.  A perfectionist I am not!
Remember I was debating the color?  Orange, yellow, white or Turquoise? The paint I chose was Behr "Gem Turquoise."
I didn't get samples, which was dumb of me, there are so many shades of turquoise, and this one probably would not have made the cut if I had bought a sample.  Ernesto started paining it for me after I bought the quart so there was no turning back. It came out a little like frosting, but I have really grown more fond of it with time. It adds a great punch of color, and everyone who has seen it has loved it! 
What I think makes the armoire fabulous is the hardware.  This gold metallic by Valspar has a great finish.
What do you think?
Now I just need to desgn the nursery with this pop of color.  The original idea (see inspiration board here) was yellow and gray...I think that can still work!

I am linked up with:
my girlish whims
blue cricket design
someday crafts
sew woods
a beach cottage
gingersnap crafts
free pretty things for you
733 blog
southern lovely
Homemaker on a Dime - Creative Bloggers Party & Hop
Not Just a Housewife - Show Me What Ya Got
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesday Treasures
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesday
saved by suzy
Primp your stuff Wednesday


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