Monday, March 24, 2014

Easy Home Fix: Gatto Family Mudroom

Every morning before I drive my daughter to school, I go crazy looking for her shoes, jackets, and gloves. Are you like me and searching for things every single morning?

One day I was staring at the walls next to the bathroom door across from my side entryway and a light bulb went off in my head. This was a small yet underutilized space in my home and  I was determined to make it into a pretty and functional mudroom for my family. 
It is hard to get a good picture of the space because it is so narrow and facing a door.  I used the walls on both sides of the bathroom door, which is on the right side of this picture.

First I had my carpenter build shelves above and to the sides of the doors. Next we added two benches with storage below and mounted double hooks on a piece of wood for our coats.  My husband painted the walls white using a stain resistant primer to avoid the wood stains that often bleed through. Please excuse the baby photo bomb below. 

Next, to add a bit of style, I wallpapered the space between the built ins with a bohemian/morrocan wallpaper. This pattern plays upon the vibe and colors found in the rest of my home. I wanted it to be colorful and feel welcoming when you first walk through the door. Next, I went to Jolene Fabrics and found a red fabric that had a similar feel to the wallpaper. I bought two rectangular foam pieces and cut them down to the size of the benches. I took them to my local tailor and she made custom bench covers for me (make sure they include a zipper on your covers, so you can wash them when needed). I found the wicker baskets in Homegoods.  

Yes that is my daughter's cute tush in the middle of the pic. I think these kids want to be a part of this blog post whether I like it or not :)
 Now I have a stylish, organized and practical mudroom. I could not be happier! Do you need a space like this in your home? All you need is a free wall and a little creativity!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Perfectly Imperfect Moms Unite

The other day, I was at the gym and a woman began speaking to me about how her 2-year-old daughter recently wrote all over her bedroom walls. "It was so out of character," she said, "She has never done anything like this before and has never gotten into trouble." 


I am a mother of two children under 4 and I simply don't buy it. Furthermore, I don't think you are an amazing mother just for saying it. In fact, It makes you look foolish. 
I pride myself on being a good mom and having great kids, but they are in "time-out" every single day and being disciplined constantly. Kids have to make mistakes in order to learn from them.

This conversation brought me back to the ongoing societal struggle to be the "perfect" mom. What I've learned is there is no such thing. Just because some of us go on "Pinterest' (me included) to find creative indoor crafting activities, make organic baby food from scratch, or never turn on the dreaded television doesn't mean you are the best mom ever.  

On Facebook and other social media outlets, moms are always bashing each other for rear facing their kids too early or not breast feeding and it is so silly. I have learned to give my opinion when asked or when I think it would really benefit my friend, other than that I keep to myself.

Making the decision to go on childcare leave 2 1/2 years ago was not easy for me. I have always been a devoted teacher and valued my job. But unfortunately, the price of school, daycare/nanny for two kids and everything else just didn't add up. My kids are only young once and I am taking this time to help them grow into happy and kind individuals. I also know many moms who would love to stay home with their kids and I have the luxury of doing this, (I also tutor full time and work for my father's company) but it is not as easy as it looks and the "stay-at-home mom" stigma needs to go away. 

I have worked full time with a child and been at home and BOTH options are extremely hard. Getting up early, making breakfast, going to work and skypeing with your child if you have a chance, coming home and making dinner, bath time, bed time ...repeat is no easy thing to do! Waking up and not having a free moment to think as a stay-at-home mom is just as hard. You are a mom, a teacher, a chef, and a million other jobs in one. My alone time consists of going to the gym which I can only do for an hour, because than I start to feel the "mommy guilt" about my son being in the daycare for too long. 

I recently went to Florida on a trip with my kids and after the plane landed we had to wait another 25 minutes for another plane to be de-iced. Everyone was edgy and frustrated at that point. My 1 1/2 year old son decided it was time to be hyper and yell (with delight). In order to keep him distracted, my cousin started asking him, "what does a duck say? What does an elephant say?" etc. Well, some jerk to my right chimes in, "what does a mute say?" Of course I told him to buy a shirt, because he was wearing an Adidas outfit unzipped to his mid-chest with no shirt under it in the dead of winter. I am not saying that is what you should do or that I was right in my approach, but you want to know the best part? Not one person laughed at him and than a mom turned around and looked at me and said loudly so the man could hear, "we are all uptight and want to get off of this plane right now, but we cant act out and the babies can..your son is just expressing how we all are feeling." In that moment I felt "mommy support." This was a moment when one mom gave another mom a moment of clarity and made it all feel better. 

Aren't our jobs as moms to make it all okay? Fellow mothers- I say we all come together and make it all better. If you are on line for a coffee and you see a mom with a baby who is crying, try to make her child laugh. If you see a mom is having trouble opening the door to a store while pushing a stroller, open the door for her. If your out to dinner and hear a child yelling or giving their mom a hard time, look up and give her a knowing smile. These little "mommy acts" can go a long way.  Let's start today!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crock-pot Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

This Crock-pot Chicken Noodle Soup is So Yummy and so Easy!!!
  • Spray bottom of the pot with cooking spray
  • Cut up 2-3 carrots and about 3 pieces of celery and put on bottom of the pot. Cut up a medium onion and add a touch of rosemary.
  • Put 6-8 chicken thighs over the vegetables.
  • Add about 940 ML of chicken broth. (usually one large box container is good)
  • Let cook for 6-8 hours.
  • Break up the chicken and take out the bones and skin.
  • Add 2 cups of egg noodles and cook for 30 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper based on your liking.
  • Enjoy!!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Where Do I Start?

Many people get designers block when it comes to decorating a room. You stare at the wall and stress over what paint color to choose and don't know where to start. Looking at pictures is a great place to begin. You can design a whole room or even a whole home around one simple picture. For paint I suggest a neutral color in case your color choices change in the future. I personally love white, because it is clean and crisp. For the earth tone lovers out there beige or greige (gray/beige) is a good choice. The key to decorating a cohesive room is to use one of the colors in your palette in three places. These color pops can be used in the form of a lamp, pillow, curtain, blanket, chair etc. All colors are great, but you have to make sure you choose a color combination that works nicely together. If you like yellow that is great , but you can't make a room all yellow. You have to choose colors that compliment your focal color. The website is a great place to go to find color palettes. I am going to show you how I took a picture of a sunset and the ocean and interpreted it into a room. These colors appealed to me, because they are calming, feminine, and friendly. 

Inspiration picture

Here is the room I created based on this picture
Moroccan Wedding Blanket: To drape over couch, Ferris Wheel Art Print, Teal & Gold Chandelier, White Down Couch, Metallic Trunk: used as a coffee table, Pink & White Ombre Window Curtain, Circle Venetian Wall Mirror, Love & Aztec Throw Pillows, White Moroccan Pouf, Pastel Flower Vases, Gray & White Chevron Rug.

Here are a few pictures of rooms I found online that interpreted this color palette nicely:
Go ahead and try to design a room around one picture that inspires you and share it with me on

Thursday, December 19, 2013

ShayJDesign Pottery Barn Hack

I always love looking through the Pottery Barn catalogs, but let's be honest, majority of the items they sell are unaffordable and overpriced. One of the main reasons I enjoy viewing their home decorating ideas is to use them as a resource for my own design inspiration. I recently went to Pottery Barn Kids with my daughter Joey and she just loved their Rose Lamp. This was not surprising being that Joey loves all things pink and girly. I found a salesperson and she told me that the Rose Shade is $99.00, the Payton Push Button Base is $52.00 and the tax is $14.82. That is a total of $165.82 for a children's lamp. I pride myself on being thrifty and was instantly motivated to make a knockoff just as good as the original. The beauty of DIY and not buying a store made item is that you can customize your creation. My daughter's room is a bright pink, so I selected a deeper shade of pink for the flowers than used by PB. I used an old lamp base that I had in the house and spray painted it white. (All of the links to the items you will need to make your own lamp will be provided at the end of this post.) The lamp I made came to a grand total of $52.00 and it was a complete labor of love. I cannot wait to give it to her on Christmas. Here is what you will need (including a lamp base of your choice).
Rose Heads, Glue Gun & Glue Sticks, Lamp Shade, Spray Paint & Scissors.
I started by cutting the green plastic part of the flower head so that it would lay flat on the lamp shade. Then I put glue on the back of the rose and pushed it down onto the shade from the top of the flower and from underneath the shade to ensure it would hold.
I spray painted the lamp base white. This took about 3 coats.

Here is my DIY Pottery Barn Rose Lamp Hack.  

Pottery Barn on left and ShayJDesign on right

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Wish You A Stylish Christmas

One of the best parts of having an interfaith marriage is now I get to decorate for Christmas. Any excuse to decorate is fine by me. I love the warm and cozy feel Christmas decorations bring into a space. I wanted to share our home with you on this holiday season and inspire you to not feel stressed about the process and just enjoy watching it all come to life. I love the twinkle that the lights, glitter and candles bring into a room, so I decided to dress up my mantel with white, gold, silver and a touch of green and red. It should be no surprise to you that I decided to adorn our tree with bright primary colors and animal decorations. My daughter received a miniature pink tree to decorate and match her room on the last night of Hanukkah. Don't forget to add things around the home that you already have to save money and make your decor friendly. I added a monogrammed mug, candle, candle holder, twine, and a picture that I already purchased. I am sure what you love the most about your home is who you share it with, so let your home reflect this feeling on this holiday season. Share your Christmas decor pics on my Facebook page

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mark Your Cup And Drink Up

I am very excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year. In addition to yummy food, I am making a delicious "Autumn Sangria." (recipe below)  When many people are drinking the same beverage, it is easy for your guests to lose track of which glass is theirs. As I am not a big fan of drink markers, I decided to break out the chalkboard paint and get to dipping. This process is quick and easy and the finished product looks great. This idea is also reusable, as you can erase and add different names at your leisure. I truly thought I was so creative and developed this brilliant idea, until I looked it up on Pinterest and sadly realized I was not the creator. Oh well, great minds think alike. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.
I dipped the bottom of the glass right into the chalkboard paint can. I let them sit on a towel for about 15 minutes so the towel could soak up the excess paint. I than transferred the glasses to paper plates to avoid the paint from sticking to the towel when it was dry. This method worked perfectly.
The finished product.
This is my favorite sangria recipe. I found it in a magazine several years ago. I do not remember the publication, but the recipe is amazing! I am extremely thankful for all of my blog followers. Happy Thanksgiving.
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