Must Reads

  • A All of my favorite books
  • A Stolen Life,
  • Angela's Ashes,
  • Crank,
  • Fallout,
  • Glass,
  • Memoirs of a Geisha,
  • Razors Edge,
  • The Grapes of Wrath,
  • The Help,
  • The Nanny Diaries,
  • To Kill A Mockingbird,
  • Undomestic Goddess,
  • Water for Elephants,
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mother/Daughter Business - Creating Cohesion with 2 styles

My newest clients are a Mother and Daughter Florist & Event Planning team. They have separate offices but want to create a cohesive look.  The one major problem is they have very different taste.  Mom likes a more Shabby Chic with splashes of something "funky" and warm tones.  Daughter likes clean lines and a more contemporary feel with cool tones.

A great way to create individual spaces while keeping in mind a sense of cohesion is through color. My plan is to start with neutral wall colors (this doesn't necessarily mean beige or taupe) I am a huge fan of color and even my neutrals have color. I will use the same hue for each room (same density of color) Mom's office a warm tone (Ben Moore Golden Gate) and Daughter's office a cool tone (Ben Moore Rincon Cove). For the hallway both rooms share is a lighter color that compliments both rooms (Ben Moore - Indian Passage).

For the decor my plan is to be true to each style and use the same color palate for both rooms. I'm using shades of blue.  A painted crystal chandelier for mom and a contemporary lamp for daughters desk. A beautiful old french arm chair I found at an auction, a floral or damask rug and pillows for mom. A bold graphic rug and clean white chair for daughter.  I also want to create a fun wall treatment for each room. The moms office is the larger of the two offices and has a double duty. Her desk is at one end and at the other end is where she meets her clients. She would like to make it feel like two spaces. She is a fan of wallpaper but her walls are heavily textured. So I'm going to do a damask wall stencil behind her desk. I'm going to start with a flat wall color then the stencil will be in the same color just high gloss or iridescent. I wanted to create a fun wall for the daughter as well so I'm using Moi 3D paintable wall tiles.  (these are amazing and easy to install)

Here are the boards I created for Daughter & Mom


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Here are a few of my favorite things...

The Holidays are all about family and friends so here are a few of my favorite gifts that will fit every budget. This is a great time of year to show off some of your DIY skills. And even for those of you who are new to DIY projects try something simple like using leftover scrapbooking paper or personal pictures as embellishments when wrapping that special gift.

Pictures are a timeless and personal gift. With Kodak's new Hero All-In-One Printers, you can print high quality photos in the convenience of your home. You can even send photos directly to your printer from any mobile device, from anywhere this holiday season. It's not only a great gift, but a great way to turn your favorite memories into high quality prints and keepsakes that will last a lifetime.

Want to create photobooks as gifts or even personal Holiday cards? Its easy when you go to a Kodak Picture Kiosk. No camera, phone, USB needed just go directly to the kiosk and even access your facebook photos. They also have celebrity designed holiday cards that benefit great causes. Go to to access Kiosk Locator.

Storage and organization of crafts and tools is always a big hit for any crafter. Here are some of my favorites; A desktop carousel not only looks good but it holds all of your crafting essentials. Decorative boxes are always a welcomed gift and they come in so many styles, shapes and sizes. Every handyman and woman can use new tools or perhaps even a colorful toolbox.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Dad's Pernil (Roast Pork)

My parents have been married for over 50 years. My mom was very young when she married my father and did not know a thing about cooking. My father worked in many restaurants and made magic in the kitchen. He taught my mom to cook Puerto Rican food and she mastered it. They were a team in the kitchen and still to this day my father makes all of the special occasion dishes. I remember he had the sharpest knives, the best pallet and he wore an apron.

My parents taught all of us (I have 3 older brothers - but that's a different story...) how to cook authentic Puerto Rican food. Like my father, I love everything about cooking. Experimenting with ingredients, the smells, the flavors, and of course the social gatherings at the dinner table. As an adult, I owned a restaurant. We served American food but at least once a month I would create a special menu of Puerto Rican food. My father, our Chef and I would cook Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas), Pernil (Roast Pork), Tostones (Twice Fried Green Plantains)... Every time we served Puerto Rican food we would sell out.

I'm currently working on a Latin cookbook. The best part of working on a cookbook is testing recipes....Here is my Pernil the way mom & dad made it! 

Recipe:  PERNIL (PORK SHOULDER) Perfect when the meat is juicy and the skin crispy.

Ingredients: The great thing about Latin Cooking is that its all about taste!
1 (8lb.) PERNIL (Bone In Pork Shoulder)
6 - 8 cloves of garlic
Adobo Goya to your taste
2 Tsp of ground black pepper
1 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a Pilón (Mortar & Pestle) smash your garlic then combine to rest of ingredients. This will create your rub.
Make stabs about 1 inch wide. Rub entire shoulder and fill holes with rub. Let sit overnight or at least a few hours. 

Bake at 350 for 3 hours or until juices run clear. Turn heat up to 400 (this will create the crispy skin) for 15 - 20 minutes. Serve with the delicious juices.  

The perfect wine combination to Pork Shoulder is a Zindfandel  - Red wine with a jammy fruit like blackberry is the perfect match. 

Seriously my mouth is watering...

More Pics to follow...Of course I'm making tostones & arroz con gandules 

Crispy Skin...

The Meal...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Get Creative...Kid's Rooms

Kids Rooms - Kids rooms are the perfect place to create a theme.  On an episode of TLC's Home Made Simple, I was lucky enough to work with a fireman and his family. This inspired me to paint a fire engine on his sons bedroom wall.  (See picture.) It created a wow factor but was so simple to create.  By simply taping off the geometric shapes, painting it fire engine red , and adding 3 dimensional elements like magnets, a ladder, and a fire hose (or rope),  we created a fun and creative environment.

Here are some other examples of some of the kids rooms I've designed:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sofas & Chairs


When choosing a sofa, think of it as a commitment. Here are some tips before you buy.

The average person buys a sofa every 10 years, so don't go too trendy. It's much easier to change out pillows with the new trends then to buy a new sofa. 

Durability/Comfort - Invest in a hardwood frame (poplar/maple). It's sturdy and durable. A sofa with a well-made frame and springs can last 30 years. MDF or soft woods, while less expensive, can breakdown and crack.
This sofa is from Crate and Barrel. Its well made, classic, comes in a variety of colors and a great investment.

Cushions - High density foam is the least expensive. A full spring core with a poly or feather and down casing will cost more but last longer. 100% Down is the most expensive choice but it requires fluffing and more maintenance. 

Get a classic shape - Reupholstering generally costs less than half the price of a new sofa and will create a whole new look. 

Before you buy - Ask yourself will I love this sofa in 5 years, 10 years...And make sure you measure not on the space where your sofa will live, but measure your doorway and stairs.


Urban Home is my favorite place to buy Occasional Chairs for my clients (and myself!)
These 2 chairs are a steal for under $200 each. 

Have a little fun with your side chairs. Someone once told me that an occasional chair is like the spice in fried chicken. Don't be afraid to use a fun pattern, bold color or blend another style into the room.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just Married

Some of you may know that I recently got married. Here are some tips to keep you on track when planning a wedding;

Get a wedding planner - Even if it is not in your budget to hire a wedding planner for the entire event, hire one for the week of your wedding or at the very least the day of.

The benefits of a wedding planner;

A Neutral Voice - Trust me this is important. Everyone will be giving you advice. Some good and some questionable. Sometimes it will feel like they are telling you what to do. A wedding planner will know your vision and keep you on track. You won't hurt anyone's feelings if you say "thanks
I'll run that by my wedding planner."

Details - A wedding planner will relieve you handling all the details. It's sometimes hard to let go of control, but the more you do the more you will actually enjoy "your day".

The Bad Guy - Everyone of your guests are important, but the day of your wedding you only want certain people to see you before the main event ie, your mom, your attendants...Your wedding planner will be the bad guy and make sure you get ready at your own time with only the closest people at hand.

Budget Keeper - It is important to have a clear budget. This is the hardest to keep track of. Make sure your budget is communicated to your planner. Use the vendors they suggest, this will give them the power to negotiate the best deal and will give you the most bang for your buck.

Time Is On Your Side - On the day of the event, the planner will keep track of time for you. You wont ever have look at your watch and will be on time for your first dance, cutting the cake,
toasts...This will also allow you to enjoy your guests.

Some other quick tips;

Be true to your and your future husbands tastes.

Don't get pressured by sales people.

Hire a florist. Some people think they will save money by doing their own flowers. Unless you are a professional florist, this usually ends up looking unprofessional and doesn't save a lot of money considering the amount of time it will take.

Less is definitely more. When inviting guests, keep in mind that you will need to greet each and everyone of them. This will take lots of time. I heard many brides say they don't remember their reception saying its a blur. Keep guests to a minimum so you create a more intimate event allowing you to not only greet them but also have fun and enjoy their company.

My Amazing Wedding Planner & Florist:

My Amazing Photographer

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Museum Banners

Want to make a design statement? Try a museum banner. Here is a great site to get info and buy museum banners.