TARGET WALLPAPER, A PAINTED VANITY, AND DIY BOARD AND BATTEN MOLDING IN ONE, SMALL POWDER ROOM.

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Posted on 23-06-2014 | Posted in MUFFINTOP DIY, Uncategorized

Comments: 2

Here is a tale of a “simple”, small project that turned into a runaway train faster than I could mutter Mich Ultra. I am going to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly, straight up. Buckle up, because one project turned into at least three.

My half bath on my first floor had seen better days. For months I’d been trolling Pinterest for ideas, and was intrigued with the idea of board and batten molding. I thought it actually looked like it might be a fairly easy DIY project for someone like me with limited skillz and tools. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was on a local kitchen tour in my town. I spied the molding in one of the homes that happened to be owned by a builder. Having the chance to see the molding up close and personal inspired me because I realized there were NO angle cuts involved. And if that was good enough for his beautiful custom house, it was good enough for me!

There I was with 5 year old in Lowe’s at lunch time a week later, when, on a total low blood sugary whim, I decided we were going to install molding. THAT DAY. We grabbed a wheely thing and loaded it up with 2×6 pine boards and 6 feet tall thinner boards (I forget the name of them—I’m so professional). I grabbed a box of finish nails and we were off! I dropped about $35 on wood and nails for the project. Not bad! (Faux pro tip: invest in a $5 level!)

I had a hammer at home and a manual miter box and saw. I think the miter box kits cost around $10 bucks. Here is the box–I used a hand saw and this box to cut everysinglepieceofwood. Are you there arthritis, it’s me, Muffintopmommy! By the end I was sweating and my hands were cramped but I did it! The thin, six foot boards I cut in two to make two three feet boards times….again and again. And again. I lost count. Math. Not my strong suit.

CALL ME BOB VILA. I'M FOR HIRE.

CALL ME BOB VILA. I’M FOR HIRE.

Here is a rough idea of what the room looked like before.

I SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN A TRUE BEFORE SHOT BEFORE I STARTED MY JOB AND TOOK AWAY ONE OF THE BASKETS, ETC, BUT YOU GET THE IDEA!

I SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN A TRUE BEFORE SHOT BEFORE I STARTED MY JOB AND TOOK AWAY ONE OF THE BASKETS, ETC, BUT YOU GET THE IDEA!

I still liked my vanity a lot–we had ripped out the builder vanity three years ago and installed this one ourselves. Over the past three years of getting clanged and banged by three boys, its espresso finish was starting to look banged up. I decided after I installed the board and batten I’d paint it grey.

But first! My molding.

Truth time. Mistake number one that I made was the baseboard moldings. There is a lot of debate about installing board and batten and how to deal with moldings like mine—pretty common ones that have a curved cut at the top versus the 90 degree angle boards used for board and batten. I thought ripping out moldings without damaging my paper mache walls was above my pay grade and I still think I was right. Instead, I decided to just rest the bottom of the vertical boards on top of the ridge at the top of my baseboard molding. Confused yet? Yup, me too! After I finished the chair rail and vertical boards and surveyed my work that first night, I wasn’t satisfied with how it looked.

SEE THE VERTICAL BOARDS JUST RESTING ON THE BASEBOARD?

SEE THE VERTICAL BOARDS JUST RESTING ON THE BASEBOARD?

So after feeling like I was finished, I decided to add the same wood I used for the chair rail and install it in between the vertical boards or else it would bug me for all eternity. Or at least every time I took care of biz. This was NOT fun because I had to do lots of measurements. It wasn’t hard–it was just tedious, and it’s a little harder to saw through the 2×6 boards. But I did it. ROAR. In retrospect? It would have been easier to do the bottom board at the same time as the chair rail–in one long board, instead of having to cut random shorter boards to go in between the vertical boards. If I’d done that, I would have had to make way less cuts on the horizontal boards, and even cuts on all the vertical boards. Now we know, people!

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SORRY FOR THE TOILETTE SHOT, BUT JUST KEEPING IT REAL. PERHAPS FOR MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT THIS PROJECT, I SHOULD HAVE AVOIDED A ROOM WITH SMALL SPACES THAT WOULD BETTER SUIT SOMEONE HOBBIT SIZE!

SORRY FOR THE TOILETTE SHOT, BUT JUST KEEPING IT REAL. PERHAPS FOR MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT THIS PROJECT, I SHOULD HAVE AVOIDED A ROOM WITH SMALL SPACES THAT WOULD BETTER SUIT SOMEONE HOBBIT SIZE!

In retrospect, it would have been easier to first attempt this project in a room that was more square with less angles and less awkwardly small spaces. This is what I get for impulsively buying wood and nails when I’m hangry and with a 5 year old who tells me what an awesome idea I have because he thinks he’s going to get to hammer nails! (Chill social services, he just held the tape measure!) I wound up rocking some funky yoga poses with my hammer and nails due to the minion bathroom I was working in. We won’t talk about my vocabulary! The other thing that would have made much more sense, would have been to paint the bottom half of the wall first. I am pretty sure I did about six coats of white. I lost count. Wo-manual labor ain’t easy. Really. Again, more with the squeezing into hobbit sized spaces and swearing. Who am I?

I’m a bad person. (But I love my new bathroom!)

I FORGET WHAT #COAT THIS IS. I HAVE PTSD.

I FORGET WHAT #COAT THIS IS. I HAVE PTSD.

 

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See the straight cut? Not too bad!

After I finished the board and batten, and planned to paint the vanity grey, I decided if I painted the vanity grey, that I needed new knobs. And, I was dying to try the new Target wallpaper, so I decided I’d paper the top half of the bathroom above the chair rail. And if I did that, I’d have to paint the mirror, which was an oil rubbed bronze color.

RUN-A-WAY TRAIN.

If you’ve contemplated trying the Tarjay wallpaper, let me say I found it difficult to work with. It is fabulous in that it is peel and stick paper that is easy to remove and move around BUT…..the flip side is it is roughly the texture and weight of contact paper. I thought the paper would cover up some imperfections in my wall and it did not. Personally, I think this paper would be best in small spaces. It would pack a serious punch for example lining the back of book shelves, built ins, maybe the top of a coffee table? Once I pain stakingly hung the paper behind my vanity and exercised my salty vocab skills A-GAIN, I had to revise my plans—the wall behind the vanity became an accent wall and that was that—my mental health nor my wallet could survive doing even a hobbit sized room in this $hit. I spent $30 on one roll of paper to do that small wall and probably have enough left for a teeny weeny project. There is, of course, waste due to lining up the patterns. (Death to faux wallpaper!)

Love the pattern though–there are lots of fun ones, and I love that it prompted me to try something new in a color I wouldn’t ordinarily choose. I feel like my powder room is a ray of sunshine, literally, and know I will come to appreciate it more during our cold ass winters!

Here are some pics of the paper:

NOT AS WIDE AS I ENVISIONED. LE SIGH.

NOT AS WIDE AS I ENVISIONED. LE SIGH.

ONE STRIP UP. AND GUESS WHAT? IT DIDN'T LINE UP WELL IN CORNER--CROOKED WALL OR CROOKED MUFFIN TOP!

ONE STRIP UP. AND GUESS WHAT? IT DIDN’T LINE UP WELL IN CORNER–CROOKED WALL OR CROOKED MUFFIN TOP!

NEXT STRIP. MORE SWEARING WHILE TRYING TO LINE IT UP.

NEXT STRIP. MORE SWEARING WHILE TRYING TO LINE IT UP.

THE MOFO IS DONE! BUT NOW I DECIDE I NEED TO ADD QUARTER ROUND TO CAMO THE CROOKEDNESS THAT IS REVEALED! CHOO CHOO!

THE MOFO IS DONE! BUT NOW I DECIDE I NEED TO ADD QUARTER ROUND TO CAMO THE CROOKEDNESS THAT IS REVEALED! CHOO CHOO!

PRE QUARTER ROUND AROUND MY FUN WALLPAPER!

PRE QUARTER ROUND AROUND MY FUN WALLPAPER!

 

I brought the paper to Sherwin-Williams and had them color match me some paint in Emerald because I wasn’t about to try the Target “Devine Color” paint after my wallpaper debacle was less than devine. Sorry Target.

ANOTHER DEBACLE. RUSTOLEUM HAMMERED NICKEL SPRAY PAINT? NO! VALSPAR METALLIC NICKEL. YES! BRAIN DAMAGE FROM BREATHING 345 COATS OF SPRAY PAINT? ABSOLUTELY!

ANOTHER DEBACLE. RUSTOLEUM HAMMERED NICKEL SPRAY PAINT? NO! VALSPAR METALLIC NICKEL. YES! BRAIN DAMAGE FROM BREATHING 345 COATS OF SPRAY PAINT? ABSOLUTELY!

 

THIS HOBBIT SPACE WAS FUN TO PAINT!

THIS HOBBIT SPACE WAS FUN TO PAINT!

I sanded the vanity, gave it one coat of white primer, and then three coats of Ben Moore Chelsea grey mixed in Sherwin-Williams Duration. (30% off paint sale—sorry Ben, I did use you.) I used a combination of a small cabinet roller and angled Purdy brush. The knobs look like $5.99 worth of cut crystal (I’m fancaaaay!) from Home Depot. They look so awesome in the light! Truly! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

PRIMER. YUCK.

PRIMER. YUCK.

 

PAINT AND BLING KNOBS UP CLOSE.

PAINT AND BLING KNOBS UP CLOSE.

The grey definitely has some green tones. I was truthfully going for more of a charcoal but I do love it.

HERE IS A CLOSE UP OF THE VANITY AREA.

HERE IS A CLOSE UP OF THE VANITY AREA.

 

TOTALLY FORGOT (SPRAY PAINT FUMES....)...HAD TO SPRAY THE BASKETS WHITE BECAUSE THE OLD TANNISH COLOR WAS NO BUENO ANYMORE. ALSO? THESE BASKETS USED TO BE AT THE BOTTOM OF MY CHANGING TABLE. REPURPOSE..OH YEAH!

TOTALLY FORGOT (SPRAY PAINT FUMES….)…HAD TO SPRAY THE BASKETS WHITE BECAUSE THE OLD TANNISH COLOR WAS NO BUENO ANYMORE. ALSO? THESE BASKETS USED TO BE AT THE BOTTOM OF MY CHANGING TABLE. REPURPOSE..OH YEAH!

IS IT WRONG I TOOK MORE PICS OF MY TOILET THIS MONTH THAN MY KIDS?

IS IT WRONG I TOOK MORE PICS OF MY TOILET THIS MONTH THAN MY KIDS?

Meet my new fave friend, this adorable deer. Which is crooked, because the hooks on the back of him are crooked. And the hook on the picture frame is crooked. I swear. It’s not me–it’s them.

It is!

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A FEW BUCKS WORTH OF FRESH FLOWERS MAKE ME HAPPY AND ADD MORE COLOR. ESPECIALLY IN AN OLD MILK JUG.

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IF YOU REMEMBER NOTHING ELSE FROM THIS POST, WASH YOUR HANDS!

Also?

SAFETY GOGGLES SHOULD BE USED WHEN HAMMERING NAILS. I WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT IF I HADN'T SNORTED THE SPRAY PAINT.

SAFETY GOGGLES SHOULD BE USED WHEN HAMMERING NAILS. I WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT IF I HADN’T SNORTED THE SPRAY PAINT.

 

 

 

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THAT’S IT! What are you waiting for?? For around $100 bucks–if you’re not a type A personality and you don’t mind a crooked wall here or there, you can have a whole new look in your bathroom. And, get a hell of a yoga workout in. Bonus! (Not really.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MARTHA SPEAKS—YOUR KIDS SHOULD LISTEN. THEY’LL SOUND WICKED SMART.

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Posted on 13-06-2014 | Posted in Boys, boys, boys! And did I mention, boys?, Uncategorized

Comments: 2

Haven’t we all wanted a talking dog at one point or another? Wait. Don’t answer that. Would they still be man’s best friend if they could tell all our secrets?!

Either way! Martha Speaks is kicking off a fun week of new episodes and games highlighting awesome vocabulary, starting this Monday, June 16th on PBS KIDS. Martha Speaks is perfect show to hold your kids’ attention and let you have a guilt free break because it works to enhance their vocabulary by using a chatty dog, Martha. Win, win! Help your kid become the smartest talker on the playground and tune in to one of the new episodes, like Thou Callest Me a Dog—it’s all about Shakespeare! Frankly, PBS KIDS, I could have used that episode junior year in college when I was trudging through The Complete Works of Shakespeare! 876 episodes of 90210 got me nothing but Peach Pit envy.

Some of the words covered in the Shakespeare episode are soliloquy, dialogue,  and producer.  Watch out world—we’re over seeing Spot run! Other episodes will introduce integrity, digress, tangent, convey, punctuation…..my heart is skipping a beat and I’m geeking out. I’m not going to lie. Why did I not think of this show? Probably because I was dreaming of dating Dylan instead of reading more Shakespeare. But I digress……(sorry, I can’t help it. Really. I know. I’ll stop now.)

I WANT TO CONVEY I KNOW BIG WORDS, MAMA!

I WANT TO CONVEY I KNOW BIG WORDS, MAMA!

 

Be sure to visit PBS KIDS on the Martha Speaks page to play the new Martha Steaks game! Kids learn new vocabulary as they help Martha’s friends tumble through a dream land for Martha—of steaks and falling hamburgers!

Now I’m hungry! If only it could rain Michelob Ultra in here. Ahhh….

So put your feet up mama, get your kid schooled in some awesome vocab words, and when they sound wicked smaht on the playground, it will be our secret! Cheers!

MY SON AND HIS BUDDY GETTING A JUMP START ON BEING WICKED SMAHT WITH A SNEAK PREVIEW OF SOME NEW EPISODES!

MY SON AND HIS BUDDY GETTING A JUMP START ON BEING WICKED SMAHT WITH A SNEAK PREVIEW OF SOME NEW EPISODES!

*I received a Martha Speaks Kit containing books, DVDs, and items from sponsors in order to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions art thou my own. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT! I probably messed that up. It’s all Brandon Walsh’s fault.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AN ODE TO THE NEVER ENDING SCHOOL YEAR

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Posted on 29-05-2014 | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments: 4

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Hey, school year

I’m done with you!

 

Getting up at the crack

To make all those lunches

Oops forgot to buy new bread

I wanna throw some punches.

 

Permission slips, class parties, more homework

I don’t care what 2 + 2 is

I’m gonna go berserk.

eeee8132

STALE BREAD AGAIN?!
*Graphic courtesy of Photobucket

More standardized testing

To see how smart they are

Don’t fill in the wrong bubble!

Or you’ll never get that far!

 

You can paint a picture

And play on your recorder

But flunk the 3rd grade test?

You wind up in mama’s basement as a boarder.

 

Racing kids to school

My pj pants on fire

Told the kids I used to look good

But they called me a big, fat li-ah.

 

In Septemer I’d wash my hair and do up my face

Now I shuffle in like a hobo who just got maced

“Wait!” I holler, one eye open, “Here’s your library book!”

Your mama is a hobo but she ain’t no crook!

HEY, YOUR MOM LOOKS A LITTLE...PIQUED.

HEY, YOUR MOM LOOKS A LITTLE…BAD.

 

PTA, you stay away!

Who has time for that today!

Not I! Not me!

I… have to wash my hair you see

It will just take one small hour?

Fine! I’ll do it in the shower!

 

Schlepping to the sports field after school is just so dreamy.

My head hurts from new math so stop being screamy!

Your kid’s not going pro; I don’t care where you work

Unless you sell fresh bread and milk, go away you jerk.

 

Going home with hungry kids

It’s time for dinner!

Stick my head in the freezer.

I really am a winner.

Bad news, petrified fish sticks is dinner for us

But I did find a lost library book–that’s a plus!

 

Waving the white flag–this game is done.

I did my best and it’s true, I failed.

The mother of the year train has long derailed.

 

When the final bus pulls up

I hope you’ll join me for a cup

And toast that we can be so free

What? It’s only noon noon not three?

I won’t tell on you, if you don’t tell on me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A CHANGING TABLE BAR—WHY ISN’T THAT IN THE BABY BOOK?

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Posted on 24-05-2014 | Posted in Awesomeness, MUFFINTOP DIY

Comments: 5

So your kids are all potty trained? How better to celebrate than with a present for you, mama! Don’t sell your old changing table for pennies on the dollar at a garage sale—- turn it into a cute, little bar! Summer is upon us! (I mean, supposedly it’s coming—last night we saw our breath when we were grilling, even though I want to gouge my eyes out from allergies. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Mother Nature is one dirty ho!) She can’t stop us from partying on, regardless of the weather. Charge!

You could use this fun bar inside or outside, on a porch or deck–it’s totally lightweight and portable, so if you are worried about the elements ruining it, it can easily be moved around. You could probably even add casters to the bottom and make it a rolling party—woot! How fun would it be to roll this around your street to the neighbors?!

I wish I had a before pic, but I did this a few years ago before it occured to me to DIY anything and actually post it.

Cheers, muffintopppers!

Cheers, muffintopppers!

This project took a few hours, tops. All you need is two cans of spray paint (I would use some that has primer included), and some contact paper–I found some adorable paper at Homegoods–they seem to have tons of fun designs.

Hope you have a wonderful summer, and as we kick it off this Memorial Day weekend, I want to thank all our veterans and their families who support them—they are the reason we can drink our adult bevys and grill our hot dogs! Cheers to them!

 

 

 

 

 

ALL ABOARD THE CROSS SOUND FERRY TO LONG ISLAND WINERIES!

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Posted on 18-05-2014 | Posted in MTM hits the road!, Uncategorized

Comments: 5


I can’t believe I made it FORTY years without knowing anything about the North Fork of Long Island. Growing up in the Boston area, anything west or south of Hartford is a Mason-Dixon line of sorts. Red Sox versus Yankees! When I think beaches, I think the cape or the Maine coast. When I think wineries, I think Napa. When I think quaint towns with cute shops, restaurants, and bars, I think quintessential New England. And when I think New York, I think the city–fun for a weekend.

How dare I be so ill informed! Who knew a two hour ride to New London, Connecticut and an easy, scenic 80 minute ferry ride (40 on the fast one!) on the Cross Sound Ferry would open my eyes to a gorgeous area that is part beaches, part farmland, part wineries, part small

I'M SMILING BECAUSE A FUN BOAT IS ABOUT TO TAKE ME AWAY WITH THE FUN AMY ADAMS DOUBLE, DOLLOPS OF DIANE, AND LOLLIE WEEKS FROM FORTUITOUS HOUSEWIFE!

I’M SMILING BECAUSE A BOAT IS ABOUT TO TAKE ME AWAY WITH THE AMY ADAMS BODY DOUBLE, DOLLOPS OF DIANE, AND FUNTASTIC LOLLIE WEEKS FROM FORTUITOUS HOUSEWIFE!

town charm? One quick ferry ride saves you 200 miles of potential gridlock and is the gateway to over 50, yes 50, producers of world class wines. Now you know!

 

North Fork of Long Island, where have you been all my life?! I can tell you this was my first trip to the North Fork, but certainly will not be my last. I was already planning a return trip while I was there—this would be an ideal girl’s weekend or quick getaway with the hubs. I went to Napa once with the hubs, pre kids, and while it was undeniably lovely and such a fun time, it is not feasible at this point in my life to haul across country when I have three young kids and a smaller budget—due to aforementioned offspring sucking me dry! North Fork is so doable from any part of New England for a weekend and it won’t bust your budget to get there.  And you get wineries AND the ocean. Wine + the ocean for the win!

As luck would have it, I got the unique opportunity to travel with a few dozen writers to experience all that North Fork has to offer on a whirlwind two day tour with my good friend of Muffintopmommy lore, Lisa the Crappy Photographer. After the mortifying experience of me looking like I was nuzzling Seth Meyers a few years ago when I stalked him, Lisa was expressly prohibited from operating a camera on this trip. (I wasn’t nuzzling Seth Meyers! I tilted my head so I would look like I had two chins instead of three!)

After a comfy ride to New York on the ferry, which is, by the way, stocked with roomy, cushy seats, a tv room, party snacks, drinks, and adult beverages, we were picked up by the lovely Vintage Tours and driven to a tasty lunch at The Loft in Greenport. By the way, you can bring your car on the ferry if you’d like (the fast ferry is passenger only)—but personally, I could get used to having someone haul me around and doubt I’d bring mine! And, although the weather was rainy, that did not dampen the spirits of anyone we encountered on our two day trip. I spied a fun looking deck at The Loft that I am sure is hopping when the weather is more cooperative. I do think springing for transportation or befriending a teetotaller to drive you is a smart idea and we were grateful for the safe and friendly transportation!

Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue was our first stop. A gorgeous, sophisticated operation, Bedell has been making wines since 1980. What’s interesting to note is that the climate for wine making here is similar to parts of France. Oui, it’s true. One of Bedell’s merlots was served at President Obama’s second inauguration. Well, well, well! While we didn’t get to taste that particular sold out wine, we did taste many and they were excellent. Um, I could say this wine had a hint of vanilla and earthy tones or I detected a note of pear in another, but let’s just say my palate is not that sophisticated. I just know if I taste something and I like it. I’m going to just admit it. I loved them all and we received an education from Richard the winemaker, who was so chill, I could listen to him talk about winemaking all day. Really. You want to really unplug? Listen to someone who has a passion talk about making great wine in a beautiful setting and then get to try it. I haven’t felt a calm like that in a while. Truly.

LISA THE CRAPPY PHOTOGRAPHER, NO SUDDEN MOVES PLEASE! I DIDN'T BRING ENOUGH CASH TO COVER YOU PULLING AN I LOVE LUCY WITH THE GRAPES!

LISA THE CRAPPY PHOTOGRAPHER, NO SUDDEN MOVES PLEASE! I DIDN’T BRING ENOUGH CASH TO COVER YOU PULLING AN I LOVE LUCY WITH THE GRAPES!

 

The Harborfront Inn graciously accommodated Lisa and me, as well as several other writers. This stylish hotel has an excellent in town location in Greenport, with lovely views of the harbor and carousel, and…..bonus…..is directly across the street from a wine shop and convenience store. Hey, you never know when you might need yet another glass of wine or peanut brittle that you cannot eat at home because your kids are deathly allergic so FYI, people! While the weather didn’t permit, it has a nice outdoor pool as well, and is in walking distance to bars, shops, and fine restaurants, like Noah’s, who catered our delicious tapas style dinner at Kontokosta Winery.

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KONTOKOSTA WINERY….GORGEOUS!

I'M A WRITER, NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER, BUT LOOK!!!!!

I’M A WRITER, NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER, BUT LOOK!!!!!

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Kontokosta Winery is a newer winery, set back from the street, with sweeping views of the water if you are not too lazy to meander across the expansive lawn to see. The building is architecturally stunning but what stood out to me was the genuine hospitality we experienced there. Polly, the manager, poured us everything from chardonnay, to sauv blancs, to viogniers, to merlots to blends and back again, and even let us try their special olive oils. I picked up a delicious tangelo blend for the hubs (he deserved a prize for juggling his schedule so I could go live the high life for two days!) and I can’t wait for him to make me some fish with it. (Ulterior motive revealed.) The owner, Michael Kontokosta, graciously gave us a behind the scenes tour and we were able to sample wines that are not yet ready for distribution. Delish and what a special night that I won’t soon forget.

HEY BUDDY, CAN YOU GRAB ME A GLASS OF WINE? FUN FACT: THAT PLASTIC TUBE HE IS USING TO GET WINE OUT OF THE BARREL IS CALLED A THIEF. NUM, NUM. I'LL TAKE ONE BARREL TO GO, PLEASE!

HEY BUDDY, CAN YOU GRAB ME A GLASS OF WINE? FUN FACT: THAT PLASTIC TUBE HE IS USING TO GET WINE OUT OF THE BARREL IS CALLED A THIEF. NUM, NUM. I’LL TAKE ONE BARREL TO GO, PLEASE!

WHO KNEW THERE WOULD BE OLIVE OIL TOO, AND THE SUPER HOSPITABLE POLLY, WHO LET US TRY EVERYTHING!

WHO KNEW THERE WOULD BE OLIVE OIL TOO, AND THE SUPER HOSPITABLE POLLY, WHO LET US TRY EVERYTHING!

 

A night that continued with an after par-tay at the fun, eclectic bed and breakfast, located in downtown Greenport, called Ruby’s Cove. People, this place is a treat, and I hear they serve a mean breakfast. The owner, Donna, is as warm and kind as they come, and rolled out the red carpet for us. I could have sat on her front porch all night, but the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company conveniently located next door beckened, and that’s when Lisa the Crappy Photographer tried to get me thrown in the clink! (Good to know if you need to make a safe dash out: Donna offers free bikes for her guests to use!)

SERIOUSLY LISA THE CRAPPY PHOTOGRAPHER, STOP TRYING TO GET ME IN TROUBLE. JAIL? NO THANKS!

SERIOUSLY LISA THE CRAPPY PHOTOGRAPHER, STOP TRYING TO GET ME IN TROUBLE. JAIL? NO THANKS!

The next morning we were treated to breakfast at Harvest Inn. This it the place to stay if you are a foodie and/or you really want to feel like you walked into the house that Martha Stewart and Ina Gartner would own if they hooked up. This house is the stuff my dreams are made of. A deep, comfy porch, wide pine floors inside, a soothing color scheme with beautiful furnishings….ahh! The husband and wife duo, Christopher and Daroyln, could not have been more gracious and BONUS, he is a native of Boston and is a Red Sox fan. No wonder why I felt so at home. Like that wasn’t enough, he is a trained chef and made a mad quiche with local ingredients that I am still dreaming about. No leggo my Eggo here!

CHRISTOPHER AND DAROLYN, WILL YOU ADOPT ME??

CHRISTOPHER AND DAROLYN, WILL YOU ADOPT ME??

After someone peeled me off their porch due to a quiche coma, we were off to the Old Field Vineyards. One of these things is not like the other…tada. At Old Field, you are greeted by chickens and roosters walking around, clucking (Ok, I’m not sure if clucking is the exact right term for this but they were hooting and hollering and it cracked me up. I was so wishing my boys were with me so I took a short video!). While the other wineries were more slick and sophisticated, this winery is much more an old skool family business, a working farm on land passed down for generations, and the love this mother/daughter farming/winemaking duo has for the whole process, and their clucking inhabitants, is demonstrated in some damn fine wine! While they might not produce the volume of some of their neighbors, they are clearly committed to putting forth the best product possible, and the heart and soul of the place is so palpable as you taste the wines. I just loved that place. I could have stayed all day.

WELL HI THERE, I'LL HAVE A GLASS OF YOUR FINEST CHARDONNAY, PLEASE!

WELL HI THERE, I’LL HAVE A GLASS OF YOUR FINEST CHARDONNAY, PLEASE!

Orient by the Sea was kind enough to fill our tummies with a delicious lunch right before we caught the ferry back to New London. It’s conveniently located right next to the ferry..which sadly, took us away from the North Fork!

Until we meet again, North Fork of Long Island………a sincere thank you for such lovely hospitality….cheers!

IS THAT A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT OR WHAT? FORGET YOU, CALGON...CROSS POINT FERRY, TAKE ME AAAAWAY!

IS THAT A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT OR WHAT? FORGET YOU, CALGON…CROSS SOUND FERRY, TAKE ME AAAAWAY!

*I received a complimentary tour and stay on Long Island as part of a writers’ tour. As always, all opinions are my own. Period. The end. 

 

 

 

 

 

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, BOSTON. OR, THE WALLS OF THE HISTORIC CHURCH DID NOT FALL DOWN–THERE IS A GOD AND HE LOVES US ALL!

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Posted on 02-05-2014 | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments: 3

To try to capture the essence of the Listen To Your Mother show is difficult.

What started as one mom’s effort to “give motherhood a microphone” in one small, midwest city a few years ago, has mushroomed to 32 cities across the US. It won’t end there.

Every mom has a story to tell. Whether they want to tell it or not? Whether they have the courage to tell it or not? Well, I guess no one really knows unless they show up to audition.

I’m so grateful I showed up to audition for the Boston show, held April 24th, at historic The Old South Church in Boston’s Copley Square.

Cool, huh? Photo credit: LTYM and Jess Severson.

Cool, huh? Photo credit: LTYM and Jess Severson.

I did have a story to share. I feel grateful to have gotten the chance to share a story from my tenure as a mom at Listen To Your Mother, live and in person. I write. I’m a writer. Countless dozens of people read what I write. But my friends, people who know me off the screen, will probably tell you I’m also a story teller. I like to talk. I like to joke around. Most often at my own expense. But my live audience is usually limited to the few poor souls I corner over a beer or six at a party or in the preschool pick up line. (I didn’t say I was any good at it!)

See, growing up the youngest of four by a lot, I had to fight to be heard sometimes— and pity the fool who missed the chance for the witty comeback at dinner. And so I just can’t help but go for the laugh. It was survival of the fittest–it’s instinctive.

I’ve come to realize though, despite who I am or what I will ever “be”, what I trained for my whole life without even knowing it, is my gig as a mom. And like many moms, I’ve doubted the job I’m doing. I’m not perfect. My kids aren’t perfect. I readily admit it. But to me, one of the biggest requirements of this job, lest you wind up in fetal position in the corner, is a sense of humor. So, would it be refreshing to hear that in the midst of everyone being awesome all the time and everyone’s kids being awesome all the time, that maybe a mom and a kid who sometimes say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing will be just fine….because in the end, they are loyal and loving, despite all their flaws? And maybe, just maybe, people would forgive them their transgressions because they make them laugh? I’m hoping so. Could it be that simple? I’m hoping so. It’s all I got, people! (*Here is the jist of what I read at Listen To Your Mother from my blog.)

I cannot articulate how gorgeous The Old South Church is.

I cannot articulate how gorgeous The Old South Church is.
PHOTO CREDIT: www.kimworld.com

So I’m not going to lie. When I stood up at the podium in the gorgeous, historic Old South Church in Boston in front of an audience that was decidedly bigger and more anonymous than the preschool pick up line or any party I’ve been to lately, it was a pretty damn good feeling to hear people laughing at my piece. Because with the exception of my hubs, my mom, and a few good friends in the audience, I knew they couldn’t have ALL been laughing just to be polite. (Right??? Shut up people who are related to me, shut up.) My voice felt strong and I wasn’t nervous….I had 14 new friends aka castmates sitting behind me and I could feel them willing me to nail my piece, as I did when it was their turn.

This is one of two photos hubs took. We are not picture people. Did we think to bring our real camera? No. I thought he was asleep at one point during the show and sure enough, he was furiously deleting stuff to make room for the awesome two photos! So here is photographic proof I was there in the green dress! Btw, does anyone else think it looks like I have slippers on my feet?  And...it's sidewards. Beautiful.

This is one of two photos hubs took. We are not picture people. Did we think to bring our real camera? No. I thought he was asleep at one point during the show and sure enough, he was furiously deleting stuff to make room for the awesome two photos! So here is photographic proof I was there in the green dress! Btw, does anyone else think it looks like I have slippers on my feet?
And…it’s sidewards. Beautiful.

Blogging and writing is at times, a lonely proposition. My audience is largely silent and unknown. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a good friend. And sometimes I just feel like I’m talking to myself.  At times I’ve gotten feedback I haven’t loved–someone called me irreverent! (Which, not to split hairs, could be construed as a compliment. Pfft.) Someone told me to chill the hell out when I admitted I had corn cob rage. All I said was I wanted to beat people over the head with corn when they sit and peel back every ear of frickin’ corn–live on the edge a little! I’m not an axe murderer–jeez! Anyway, I’m good with the crickets or criticism or whatever comes or doesn’t come from my blog—if I weren’t, I wouldn’t keep coming back. It’s cathartic for me to write. To tell stories. And it’s cheaper than therapy. But to get to tell a story live—was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Would I freeze up like Cindy Brady on the quiz show and have nightmares…”Baton Rouge…Baton Rouge!”

"Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge!" Kidding. I swear I was having the time of my life even though I look strangely disgusted here? PHOTO CREDIT: Lollie Weeks, www.fortuitoushouswife.com

“Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge!” Kidding. I swear I was having the time of my life even though I look strangely disgusted here?
PHOTO CREDIT: Lollie Weeks, www.fortuitoushousewife.com

 

I expected to get a few laughs at the Old South Church that day. And I did.

I expected to suffocate in my Spanx. And I did. (And then wonder why I bothered because my face looks like a watermelon in every picture! Why don’t they make Spanx for chins? Is that so hard, Spanx people? Get on it for chrissakes!)

I expected to maybe sell a few books. Make some new connections. I think I did.

What I didn’t expect, was to gain 14 new friends. Oh, the production team told me at the audition, should I be chosen, I’d be bonded with my castmates. I smiled and nodded. But I didn’t know, not really. Oh, I love meeting people and I love new friends. I don’t think anyone can ever have enough friends. The big joke in my family growing up was, “Oh, give Janet a lolly pop and she’ll be your best friend.” I don’t know if it’s that simple but if you are nice to me, I will reciprocate in kind–lollypop or not! When my dad passed away a few years ago and my college roommates all flew in to be there for me, one of them joked, “We were going to see if we’d be more needed watching your kids. But we know you have friends in your town who would do that. Everyone thinks they’re your best friend.” It was and still is one of the biggest compliments of my life–and I share it because I don’t take being a friend lightly. And, while I’m grateful to have had the chance to tell my story, I’m more grateful to have had the chance to hear the stories from 14 remarkable people who now, whether they like it or not, are henceforth, mah new best friends! All aboard the crazy train!!!!!!!

Seriousl Exhibit A: watermelon head. WHY! This shot was taken on my way out of the after party with my lovely castmate, Diane Thies. Flowers and a bottle of beer, coat flung over my arm, I put the k in klassy. PHOTO CREDIT: Diane Thies. www.dollopsofdiane.com

Seriously. Exhibit A: watermelon head! WHY! This shot was taken on my way out of the after party with my lovely castmate, Diane Thies, who looks like Amy Adams. Watermelon and Amy Adams. Papperazzi, please don’t stalk us. Flowers and a bottle of beer, coat flung over my arm, I put the k in klassy.
PHOTO CREDIT: Diane Thies. www.dollopsofdiane.com

Oh look! Only one chin from far away! PHOTO CREDIT: Lollie Weeks, www.fortuitoushousewife.com

Oh look! Only one chin from far away!
PHOTO CREDIT: Lollie Weeks, www.fortuitoushousewife.com

These people, mostly moms save one brave 23 year old man whose LOVELY mom did a fine job raising him (There is hope! Wait, I forgot to ask him if he leaves his dirty socks on the floor still….). The rest of the group were moms…moms who beat back addiction and had the courage and the grace to share it for the greater good; moms strong enough to kick cancer’s ASS more than once, in the midst of parenting nine children (as in, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9….NINE…suck it Brady’s…they win!) while getting a doctorate (I can’t even manage to shower every day! Raise your hand if you’re SURE!); the moms who have suffered the loss of their own moms to death, and mental illness; who while separated by their own moms by geography, feel the bonds of love and tradition in the simplest of nightly routines; moms who have lived through the sex talk, a miscarriage, a daughter’s first thong (oh marone, I think hubs was grateful we have three sons when he heard that one!). Moms who are tireless advocates not just for their own kids, but all kids with special needs, and moms who are champions for all of us moms, regardless of how we do our “job”….that we will all be treated with the respect we deserve. Moms who remind us that to love a child is to know and receive unconditional love. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? No matter what happens in the day to day, no matter how you parent or where you parent, there is no greater love than a mother for her child–it is unwavering and it is unconditional. And it is returned, 100 fold, like a gift you never thought you’d deserve to receive.

Thank you Jess Severson, Cheryl Pollock Stober, and Phyllis Myung, for choosing me to be in this special group.

As much as I loved this experience, as much as it changed me and made me realize I could do something I wasn’t sure I could do, I’m most grateful for the friendship of 14 remarkable people. One of my favorite sayings, that I’ve repeated mostly to my oldest son, 9, as he has navigated elementary school friendships, a saying he will surely tire of soon, is “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.”

Amen.

Mah peeps and me!  PHOTO CREDIT: Lollie Weeks, www.fortuitioushousewife.com

Mah peeps and me!
PHOTO CREDIT: Lollie Weeks, www.fortuitioushousewife.com

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Do you have a story to tell? Would you like to see a Listen to Your Mother show? What are you waiting for! For more information, please visit the website Listen To Your Mother or feel free to reach out to moi.

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PAINTED KITCHEN CABINETS—WHY NOT?!

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Posted on 23-04-2014 | Posted in MUFFINTOP DIY, Uncategorized

Comments: 17

I know the title of this blog post probably gives some people the sweats. Because who would paint perfectly good kitchen cabinets?

ME! (And by me, I mean, a professional painter.)

You know I loves me some paint. I will paint almost anything. I will try, and admittedly sometimes fail, to DIY anything. And honestly, we contemplated painting them ourselves, but I knew deep down this would be the focal point of the room–and not just any room but THE most utilized room in the house— and if I messed it up it, well, I’d be rhymes with moooooed because I ain’t got the dinero for new cabs right now. (My side biz pole dancing has been slow. What can I say?) Also, you KNOW Larry, Curly, and Moe aka my three sons would be bathing in primer when I turned my back for an undoubtedly well deserved beer break.

THIS WAS A JOB FOR A PRO, DUDE! *AVATAR BY DAVID VISNICK

THIS WAS A JOB FOR A PRO, DUDE! *AVATAR BY DAVID VISNICK

After much research (I asked the paint guy!) I bought Sherwin Williams Duration interior latex paint for it’s durability and washability and chose Downy for the color. I wanted white but not clinical white but… not cream with any yellow undertones. The color Downy fit the bill. We could not be happier with the finished product–it’s been about a month and so far so good with wiping up splatter from all my gourmet burning and microwaving.

I have no affiliation with Sherwin-Williams (feel free to call me SW!) but I’ve been really happy with their paints and they run frequent sales for 30-40% off. You cannot beat the quality for the price. Two gallons of paint cost me around $80 bucks and the oil based primer was around $20–the painter bought the primer at Home Depot. (The oil based primer is totally migraine stinky, and you need to wait 24 hours to paint after applying it, but it is supposedly more durable so worth it IMO.) I picked up new hardware at Lowe’s off da rack for around $3 a pop in oil rubbed bronze–another good deal which helped keep costs in check while giving us a whole new look.

Everyone who sets foot in the kitchen, without fail, says it looks like a completely new kitchen, and comments about how much brighter and lighter it is. And that’s exactly what we were going for–score! You’ll see the cabinets were totally fine—they were a nice color, not too dark. But three years ago, we added granite, tile backsplash, and hardwood floors, and once we added the hardwoods, it felt like I was in a sea of orangey wood—there was no contrast between the floors and the cabs. And the truth is, for better or worse, I FOR REAL, spend the majority of my life in this room right now–scary, but true. And so I am telling you, this was worth every penny to me. I could not love this space any more. Everything stands out more now, from the floors to the backsplash to the fresh looking cabinets–and no one is competing for our kitchenly affections! I feel like it is such a cheery, bright space and it truly puts a spring in my step. (I know you’re ragging on me right now. Bring it!)

So….what do YOU think? Here is the before:

OH AND P.S. YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY OF THESE PICS TO SUPERSIZE THEM.

SORRY FOR THE IPHONE PICS. I REALLY THINK LARRY, MOE, AND CURLY ATE THE DOWNLOAD CORD TO MY REAL CAMERA.

SORRY FOR THE IPHONE PICS. I REALLY THINK LARRY, MOE, AND CURLY ATE THE DOWNLOAD CORD TO MY REAL CAMERA.

 

 

YOU ARE PROBABLY WONDERING HOW WE MANAGE TO EAT SIDEWARDS IN THIS FUN HOUSE???

YOU ARE PROBABLY WONDERING HOW WE MANAGE TO EAT SIDEWARDS IN THIS FUN HOUSE???

 

OH MAH WORD, ALL I CAN FOCUS ON IS THAT CLUTTERY CORNER...GOOD THING IT'S FREAKING SIDWARDS TO THROW YOU OFF!!!

OH MAH WORD, ALL I CAN FOCUS ON IS THAT CLUTTERY CORNER…GOOD THING IT’S FREAKING SIDWARDS TO THROW YOU OFF!!!

You get the idea…nothing against orange tones, but we felt like we were drowning in orange. Since we’ve lived here eight years now, and the house is ten years old, we thought it was acceptable to paint the cabs guilt free because they are definitely not “new”. They are builder grade cabinets and we are hoping they last until we get sick of the white!

And now…..the after:

AND WE DON'T HAVE TO EAT SIDEWARDS ANYMORE!

AND WE DON’T HAVE TO EAT SIDEWARDS ANYMORE!

 

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MY “NEW” BRIGHT KITCHEN MAKES ME HAPPY!! CUE UP MY BOYFRIEND, PHARELL!

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AND WE’RE SIDEWARDS AGAIN…LIFE IS SO HARD HERE!!!

 

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HERE’S A FULL SHOT…..

I HAD THE PAINTER ADD SOME BEADBOARD TO THE BREAKFAST BAR AND THE BOTTOM CABINET SIDES....ANOTHER HUGE TRANSFORMATION FOR SMALL $$!

I HAD THE PAINTER ADD SOME BEADBOARD TO THE BREAKFAST BAR AND THE BOTTOM CABINET SIDES….ANOTHER HUGE TRANSFORMATION FOR SMALL $$!

 

I BOUGHT THIS DECORATIVE WOOD PIECE AT HOME DEPOT FOR AROUND $8 AND HAD THE PAINTER GLUE IT UNDER THE WINE RACK AND PAINT IT. I LOVE THE ADDED DETAIL IT MAKES FOR NEXT TO NOTHING!

I BOUGHT THIS DECORATIVE WOOD PIECE AT HOME DEPOT FOR AROUND $8 AND HAD THE PAINTER GLUE IT UNDER THE WINE RACK AND PAINT IT. I LOVE THE ADDED DETAIL IT MAKES FOR NEXT TO NOTHING!

 

HERE'S A NICE CLOSE UP OF THE COLOR AND THE HARDWARE...AND OF MY CLEAN SINK...WHICH LASTED ALL OF 5 MINUTES!

HERE’S A NICE CLOSE UP OF THE COLOR AND THE HARDWARE…AND OF MY CLEAN SINK…WHICH LASTED ALL OF 5 MINUTES!

So….what do you think? Are you ready to rumble with some paint or do you think we are dummies??? I will anxiously await your thoughts while I drink my beer in a can sidewards……in my “new” bright kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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