Friday, March 28, 2014

Planes, Trains and No Automobiles in NYC

What are you guys up to this weekend?  Ernesto and I are flying up to NYC for a few days.  I have been in the city 5 million times (actual count there), but this time will be different.  Traveling with two kids could possibly change our go with the flow style...wait a minute...Ill be with 3 Espinozas?  Yep, we are meeting  abuela y tata there so... no way we can plan this trip out.  All we know is that we are meeting Ernesto's college buddy (and family) Sunday in Brooklyn, meeting Ernesto's parents Monday and then later in the week we are taking a train down to DC for a couple days.

We aren't taking car seats for the boys, hence the title to this post. Planes, Trains and NO Automobiles.
I am totally fine with taking public transportation.  In fact, I really like to take the subway and "live like a local" in any city I visit.  But I also know sometimes it is so nice to just hop in a cab and not think about directions...especially if you have been walking all day...and have two tired kids...and have a big ass stroller to squeeze in a crowded bus/train.  Im not 100% opposed to taking a taxi, but we will avoid it.  By the way, it's not illegal for kids to not sit in car seats on public transportation, but it's still a car.  And have you been in a taxi in NYC or any other large city for that matter?  They can be totally crazy drivers, right?

I will leave the navigating up to Ernesto.  I am always the follower when we travel anyway.

I just booked our hotel.  The Westin Grand Central.   We will be using our Starwood points, thank god, because, damn, the hotels are expensive.  All the hotels cost double the points (of other cities) too, but it is New York, I guess.  Im hoping we can get upgraded to a suite.  Having 2 rooms would really be handy.

Nonetheless, I have requested adjoining rooms for us and Ernesto's parents.  This way we can hang out in the other room while the kids sleep.  Being in Midtown, Im pretty sure every room (high up) has to have an awesome view.  I can see it now, Mateo is going to be standing right up on this window sill. Yikes!
It's going to be an adventure, I know that!  I imagine we will be frequenting one of the twenty-some playgrounds in Central Park, which isn't too far from our hotel.
I can't wait to take Mateo up in one of the tall buildings too.  That little dare devil might actually get scared! ha.

We are taking one large suitcase for the four of us, one stroller and a baby carrier (the Ergo).  The hotel has a crib, so that saves us from lugging a pack n play. (yeah right! can you imagine carrying all that shit?)  We are taking a 745am flight Sunday morning and have to leave the house "no later than 6a" ...which means we may get out by 630.  Wish us luck.

Follow me on Instagram where Ill be posting daily pics.  Of course there will be a full report here on the blog upon my return.  Hope you are having a great weekend!

Nine Months {Marcelo's Monthly Photo}

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Spring and an Easter Egg Tree!

Did you guys ever make one of these when you were growing up? My mom (and grandma!) always had Eater egg trees when I was growing up.   It says 'Spring is here' and just makes me happy every time I walk in the house. 

Want to make one too?  It couldn't be easier.

The first step is to blow out the eggs.  I used a small finishing nail and steadily made a little hole.   I moved the nail to peel back tiny pieces just to make the hole big enough to accommodate a small branch.  (Which I clipped from my neighbors tree!)
 Blow. If you make the hole about the size I did, you won't have to blow too hard.  But blow.
 Rinse out the egg and let it dry.  Repeat.  I made a fritatta one morning (with 12 eggs) and invited our neighbors over, but you could start early and save them over time.
This little guy was excited to help, but I hard-boiled 9 eggs for him color.

Notice one egg is missing.  Yes, that was crunched by little hands before I could even get it on the tree.

Anyhoo.  My colors turned out gorgeous, right?  I used the PAAS kit from the grocery, but you could easily make your own colors with food coloring.  I left the deepest turquoise egg in the dye overnight just to get a more saturated color.  It worked! 
Find a sturdy branch with lots of off shoots, place in a vase that won't topple (obvs) and arrange the eggs to your liking.  
Lesson learned:  Move it off the kitchen table to a place up high.  Trust me, I have already done the research for you. Kids and hollow eggs don't mix. Two down, 16 to go.
Hence the new location on the mantel.  Now let's see if we can keep this together until Easter!

Done!  Wasn't that easy?

Ok, blurry phone pic coming up, but it's just too darn cute to not share.
This was taken in Target.  Have you seen all their cute easter decor/baskets?  Im loving everything and was not even able to pick out easter baskets because there were too  many cute ones.  Oh well, I have time.  Do you guys go all out for Easter?  I want to and Target makes it easy to go overboard. I mean that in every way, not only for Holiday decor.  Seriously, do you ever get out of there for under $50?
I don't. Ever.

We just entered Spring officially!
Although we did get into the low 30's the last couple nights, I would say Spring is here.  Atlanta is blooming all around.  
This Carolina Jasmine is going crazy up my front railing. It's so pretty! 
I have a lot more to show you in my garden too (in a separate post).  This is my favorite time of the year. Everything is popping up and healthy! I am passionate about gardening until mid June when it gets too hot. I will have to enjoy these next couple months while I can!

Another sign it's Spring?  Homegoods and TJMaxx have the heavy garden pots in stock again!  Welcome my two latest purchases (on the left)!  The tall turquoise and cobalt pots were $20 each, and the same great quality as all my others (made in Vietnam).  They have proven, even with that cold ass winter we just had, that they are the real deal- no cracking! 

I wonder if I will ever be able to stop buying them?  I think not.  As my sister would say "how could I not buy it?"  Of course that is usually said about cheap thrifted black shirts (her addiction) but that is what goes through my head when I see these gorgeous pots.  The current count is 28, but I think I can fit more on our extra wide staircase. As long as there is enough room for you to get up to the house, right?

What are you guys loving about Spring (in the south)?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yard Sales, Bike Rides and Other Goings On

Yes, I have to jam yard sale finds, bike rides and other updates all together in one post. I can't seem to squeeze in any blog time these days and it is very frustrating.  Unfortunately, a lot of my nights that could be spent blogging, are spent like this.

Passed out without a care in the world while the clutter just closes in.
(thanks for the glamorous pic dad!)

Im glad you are still tuned in though because there is so much more going on here.
In good time my dear readers, you will be updated. Let's get started on the subject at hand shall we?

I scored this past weekend at a neighborhood yard sale.  Saturday morning I stole $30 cash from Ernesto's wallet and headed over to a yard sale at 830am just 5 minutes from my house.  I wasn't  expecting much, but "the early bird gets the worm" is no joke.

I had actually been searching for a small table to eat dinner on outside.  And what do ya know?
I snatched that up and more.  What are the chances?  I was actually a little scared to pull into our driveway and see Ernesto's reaction to all my new junk finds.  I filled up his little truck. Yes I did.
The table is a great fit on our small deck. (and Ernesto like it!) As a bonus it was made by EMU- an Italian company backed by Louis Vuitton.  Oh la la! $60 for the table and 4 chairs! The guy (a designer) said each chair wholesales for $150!!! Score!  Is it true? I don't know, but it made me feel good.  Bottom line, these are not cheap metal and you can tell when you touch it.

I also got several garden structures, an umbrella with stand, a huge wooden lantern [to hang from our pergola] and a metal moroccan lantern.  But my favorite thing is the bronze head planter. (bottom left) Can't wait for a green plant to be creeping over the edges. So cool!  All of this for $120!?  Yeah! 
Biking the Atlanta Beltline. A couple weeks ago when my parents & aunt were visiting we had a beautiful Sunday biking on the Beltline.  
It was 70 degrees out after a freezing spell hit, so EVERYONE and their brother was out enjoying the weather. We biked from Old 4th Ward to Piedmont Park.  It was a packed.
Normally I love a crowd (invigorating!), but it was our first time biking with both boys in tow and the trail was so crowded we had to weave in and out of the walkers and dogs and kids.  Still the boys seemed to like it.  They were kind of packed in, but were obviously cozy enough to snooze.
They did not get to this peaceful state without incident.  While riding we heard a squeal of pain from little Marcelo that stopped us in our tracks.  He was really hurt.  At first we thought Mateo bit him, but  there were no teeth marks.  There was a red mark on the back of his hand.  A pinch we determined.  Marcelo was reaching over Mateo to get his water bottle and big brother didn't want to share.  After a good tongue lashing from papi, big brother kissed little brother, shared his water, and we got on with the ride.  Can't wait to ride again. I love biking!  (A big thanks to Gayle for loaning us the awesome bikes and trailer!)

I have two gorgeous, rapidly developing boys to tell you about.  The little ones name is Marcelo.  Do you remember him?  I still have three letters to him to post.  He has reached so many milestones and they need to be documented! Ay Querida Marcelo!  Te prometo que hay cartas para ti como escribĂ­ a tu hermano. (see here, here and here)
Also Mateo is 2 1/2 TODAY and is crazier than ever.  And when I say crazy, I mean CRAY-CRAY.
He is spitting out new words/phrases daily.  And in two languages no less.  God I love these boys.

Mateo is an expert in Play Doh.
By far his favorite past time is Play Doh.  I bought him his first batch a year ago, then he somehow he found YouTube instructional videos for different Play Doh play sets.  One of the latest video obsessions an ice cream set.  He found it in Target the other day and carried the big box around the store.  His papi bought it.  Noooooooo papi...those are so hard to clean...I had just thrown out the one Santa got him for xmas. 
The funny part is that Ernesto took everything out of the box and as he was reading the instructions to where all the parts go, Mateo was putting it together. ha! He knew exactly where every part went. It was amazing.  YouTube is very educational. 

We are making-over our small laundry room. We bought a front load washer/dryer and stacked them.  Ernesto took out the wire shelving and built wood shelves which really change the look of the room.  I bought baskets.  Lots and lots of baskets.  Baskets will make us be organized. Magic baskets.
  Here is a little peak:

You can see some of the old wire shelving that wasn't replaced yet. We still need to paint everything.  I think just a fresh coat of glossy white will do the trick.

I organized the pantry and the junk drawer.  Little did I know that this would take me the better part of a day, but, it's done and it has actually stayed organized.  No pretty pictures here, but I wanted to share this great space-saving rack that Ernesto installed on the inside of the door.  Look! I have extra space for if we ever want to buy in bulk. 

Our ugly bed broke. That one I bought on Craigslist 2 years ago with plans of overhauling? Yeah, it's still ugly and now our mattress is sitting directly on the floor. Nice.  Good thing I never got to that project.  Ha! Procrastination saved me this time!

A blessing really!  Just buy the bed you want Cindy! But...but I can't.  I have to search Craigslist for a "potential" diamond in the rough.  What is wrong with me?  The bed could be fixed easily with screws, but we are over it.  (I will be re-listing it on Craigslist along with a few other things that need to go)

I bought paint samples for our bedroom. We are going Dark[er]. From Gray to Navy blue.  These are the contenders, but this pic does no justice.  I will share bigger samples painted on my wall...I am leaning toward Hague Blue because Emily Henderson told me it's her favorite.  I have a mood board in the works, which includes my vintage Chandelier (recently scored on CL Tampa).

Im even more obsessed with thrifting lately!  Isn't it a rush to find something special for next to nothing?  I recently found a huge thrift store near Mateo's pre-school so I try to stop in once a week.  I have scored lots of cute clothes & toys for the boys for next to nothing...and a couple for me.
It's all about timing for furniture though. For example this Kent Coffee dresser was at Salvation Army for $150.  Bad pic, but can you see how cool it is?
Gorgeous right?  This "Perspecta" series is selling for A LOT more online.  $150!?  Why didn't I grab it?  Why Oh why?  Well Cindy, it is because you do not have room for more furniture until you get rid of some.  Anyone want to split a warehouse with me?  I am now stuck on the idea that I need a mad men bedroom set.  Maybe not a set, but a couple pieces.

I also stop into a thrift/overstock store that has new goods.  I found this brand new Skuut balance bike for $10 (which retails on Amazon for $90!) Mateo is getting really good on it.
I got a brand new helmet at that same store for $2, but we forgot to put it on. duh. Bad mom!

My first jewelry show of the year is coming up! I have been trying to work on things over time instead of cramming a ton of work in couple weeks (which is what I usually do).  It has been fun.  I made a trip to the mart for supplies and vowed to buy nothing I have bought before.

Obvs I can't stop with the greens, but come on, it is Spring and everything is popping up green.  And yes I have bought emeralds, chrysophrase and sapphires before, but none like these!  I did find some awesome brass chain and disks too.  Did you know that I love brass?  Yeah, it's not just for my home anymore!

A new Zafiro website is in the works.
I have a new website coming. Here is the homepage.

Clean, modern, elegant. Does that come across? Don't bother clicking over to it...yet!  It is just a mock up right now.  I have to add all the photos etc.  Kelli is doing a photo shoot with a guy in Columbus before Easter.  It pays to have a gorgeous model niece with connections!

So there is the round up for now!  If you miss frequent posts on Viva Cindy, know you are not alone. Ugh! Time time, see what's become of me. 

Follow me on instagram for more frequent activity.
Hasta luego amigos!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Week in Weeki Wachee

Say that five times fast. A Week in Weeki Wachee

Yeah, I know, where the hell is Weeki Wachee?  That is exactly what I asked my dad when he said he and my mom had rented a cabin there for a few weeks.  It is located about an hour north of Tampa and is a whole other world.  What a surprise.  I felt like I was in a different country even.  Somewhere in the jungle.  Maybe back in Cost Houses lined the river and little canals all the way
The cabin, although rustic on the outside, was well equipt with all modern amenities, nicely furnished and very cozy.

The best part though?  We could walk out the back door to our dock on the river.  People passed all day long in boats, kayaks and canoes.  Oh and manatees swam by as well. So cool.

So what were we doing all week?
Kayaking kayaking and more kayaking. Eating, playing cards, chasing a crazy two year old and a certain little crawler had us on our toes too.

How 'bout I just show you some pictures?
Rustic Cabin
River View
Singing Row Row Row Your Boat

Florida Sun Seeker

Fishin' with Grandma

Tampa Craigslist Vintage  Chandelier - SCORE $45
CL transaction at a McDonalds
Beach Snoozer!
Pine Island Beach

Tio Tim Came to Visit

Dominos with Mom and Aunt Margie
Mr. Calm and Mr. Crazy!
Breaking up the road trip at a Toys R Us
My parents like the place so much that they have already rented for next year (the whole month of March!) so hopefully one year advance notice can get some of my other siblings down there.  It was really great! Thanks again mom and dad for having us!


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