Archive for March, 2012

Taos Trip 2012

The term “babymoon” has only recently been added to my vocabulary—and I have to admit that I think it’s a swell idea!  It’s essentially like taking a honeymoon, only it’s usually shorter and means that soon your weekend trips will dwindle as a baby enters the scene.  Or at least that’s what everyone tells us, so I’m starting to believe it. 

Matt sweetly put this weekend getaway on the calendar for my birthday back in December, and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since.  So here are a few highlights from our delightful weekend trip to Taos, New Mexico. 

First, my boyfriend booked us Puerta Rosa (The Rose Room) at this adorable B&B, The Adobe & Pines Inn, on the south end of Taos.

Taos NM Inn | Puerta Rosa | Romantic Inn

The grounds are made up of quaint adobe buildings, which are basically private suites. 

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My favorite part of our room was definitely the spa bathroom, which was practically the size of our bedroom and included a sauna (which I sadly could not use).  Adjacent to the huge tub was a fireplace—the stuff of dreams, I tell you.  And yes, I made sure to enjoy the tub with a crackling fire every night.  With bubbles—lots and lots of bubbles. 

Taos NM Inn | Puerta Rosa Bathroom

Although southwest décor isn’t my personal cup o’ tea, I can certainly appreciate it, especially in a local setting.  I snapped a few photos of my favorite features…

I almost walked off with this massive dough bowl—almost. 

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And don’t you love the herringbone wood pattern of the built-in closet doors? 

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Of course, every room in the B&B had a unique ceiling of patterned wood, plus lots of colorful doors—eye candy galore! 

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Breakfast was also a fun affair, as the owner of the B&B is a gourmet chef—originally from the Bronx—and he served up the most stunning concoctions, like cheese blintzes with kiwi chocolate sauce.  Yum!  

Pumpkin Pie Cranberry Pancakes

And it didn’t hurt that there was a constant supply of oatmeal raisin cookies and hot chocolate just waiting for us every time we left our room…

Taos is an artsy town, and we enjoyed perusing the tiny shops—although I definitely liked the stores that were less artsy and more crafty/décor based.  Matt humored me and even got excited over a few of the shops himself.  Our favorite was Seconds, which is a store that takes used materials and repurposes them into something fresh and new.  We actually made a purchase there, which we’ll be sure to share in another post.

Ultimately, though, our favorite thing to do when exploring a new town is to “discover” good restaurants.  You could say that we sort of ate our way through Taos, which is also what we did on our first anniversary to Ridgeway, Colorado—a teensy hole in the wall town, consisting of about two streets.  You wouldn’t believe the amazing food we found there!  Anyway, Taos did not disappoint either, and we were super happy about it.  One of our favorite places was Antonio’s, which served up Mexican cuisine that reminded us of Salsa Brava, which is one of our absolute favorite places to eat in Colorado Springs—although it’s a bit pricier, so it’s considered a special treat.  Antonio’s tableside guacamole and king crab enchiladas were insanely good—and Matt tried mole for the first time, which he liked (I was not a fan, as it tasted like anise). 

The Bent Street Café had adorable patio seating, where we soaked in some rays while listening to oldies music and munching on Mediterranean style food.  It was a great spot for people watching, too.

But our absolute favorite-takes the cake-must visit if you ever go to Taos—the Taos Cow (it’s a little off the beaten path, but totally worth the trek). 

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I mean, how can you go wrong with a name like that?  It’s like the cat’s pajamas, the bees knees…the Taos Cow.  And it lived up to its name.  We dug into sandwiches (Matt went with a Portobello veggie sandwich, while I stuck with a grilled turkey club—and for the record, I am not a mushroom fan, but Matt’s choice was suuuuperb—eeks, can’t believe I admitted that on the web)

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and then true homemade ice cream (Matt went with chocolate almond and I gravitated toward the blueberry).

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To top it off, they sell my favorite tea, Mighty Leaf, which I can never seem to find. 

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Oh, and they were featured in Bon Appetit magazine as one of the top ten ice cream parlors in the States.  No, we weren’t paid to dish about the Taos Cow, but consider us hooked.

That same afternoon, while Matt was off taking pictures of the landscape

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I snuck into a consignment shop and fell in love with this bamboo serving tray.

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It was huge, sturdy, $22, and BAMBOO!  Sadly, we thought the bottom might be too rough on our ottoman, and even though I probably could have rigged it to work somehow, we left it for someone else to discover and instead I consoled myself with a few snapshots (I think the owner of the store was secretly very proud that I was taking pictures of his second-hand bamboo tray). 

Of course, we also hit up the great outdoors, although I’m not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, so we stuck with hiking a flat trail that meandered along the Rio Grande Gorge. 

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Those were a few of the trip highlights, in addition to stopping by the home of some good friends and grabbing burgers at Big K in Buena Vista on our way back to the Springs.  It’s always good to get away and be refreshed, and I’m certainly savoring these final memories of being just a couple. 

Detail Dallies

Happy Monday, all!  Our weekend consisted of warmer weather, juicy hamburgers, games with friends, and a good old fashioned house cleaning.  Oh, and I whipped up these tasty orange-chocolate-chunk muffins—one of my favorite combos.  Hopefully you were able to relax and indulge in a bit of springtime activity.  We’re thinking next weekend it’s time to tackle the garage, which is sorely in need of rescue…

While I haven’t written much about it lately, our nursery is progressing.  It won’t be painted until my mom comes to visit in April (I’m actually saving up a bunch of mini-painting projects for her), but we’ve got some of the big pieces in place, which I’ll be sharing as they come into completion.  This weekend I wrapped up the details of our changing table dresser.  Remember this guy?

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While I love cheery white furniture, I thought new knobs would add some pizzazz, plus the original wood ones were looking a bit chippy.  I also wanted to cover the inside of the drawers in decorative paper for a fresh feel—and because who doesn’t love that tiny surprise of finding a pattern tucked into a drawer? 

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So other than giving the dresser a quick coat of white paint, I dallied in the details, which tends to be my favorite part of decorating. 

During a trip to Hobby Lobby, I spotted these star-like beauties for 50% off and ran home to try them out. 

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Sadly, one of them broke as soon as it was tugged on, so I hunted down a new one on my next trip to HL and actually purchased a few extras just in case it happens again.  Their tawny taupe color and slightly jagged texture definitely tug on this girl’s heart strings. 

For the record, I’ve been having really good luck at Marshall’s lately—my second home—and found this self-adhesive drawer liner for a song.  And it came in a two-pack! 

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I’ve been slightly obsessed with bamboo patterns recently and this was the perfect blend of bright, clean pattern to add to a boy’s dresser. 

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For some reason most of the drawer liners I’ve run across are floral and scented, which was not exactly the route I wanted to go.  As a back up, I was prepared to go this route and use high quality wrapping paper with Mod Podge if necessary, but the self-adhesive liner worked like a charm.  It was pretty easy to cut and lay out, since there was a grid to follow on the back, although it took some patience to make sure there were no stray air bubbles hanging around (I used our debit card to smooth the paper into place). 

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The final product…

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Gotta love how those details give the dresser a unique feel.  I keep opening the drawers and oohing over the “surprise” of the bamboo paper.  (The knobs look really dark in the photo above, but they actually change color depending on the lighting, as they’re more of a translucent glassy brown.)

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What are your favorite details to add to a room?  Knobs?  Drawer liners?  Funky patterns?  Lighting?  A bold piece of art?  Divvy up the details, please!

Behind the Scenes

Today it is 65 degrees and sunny, so we are headed to the zoo!  I might even whip out my flip flops for the occasion.  In other news, it’s time I update you on the whole staging business, as many of you have asked about it.  Before I forget, let me say a huge thank you, as I received a ton of encouragement and support during this process.  And now for the nitty gritty details…

Unfortunately, I don’t know how much I’m allowed to share on the web, since this house is still on the market and there are likely privacy issues involved.  That said, I won’t be sharing many photos, but I will divulge a few of the projects that I tackled along the way. 

As it turns out, staging is not interior decorating.  It’s far more about minimizing, organizing, revealing the finer attributes of a room, and adding a few decorative touches here and there to enhance the space.  In a sense, you are depersonalizing a space.  The stager has to tactfully help the seller to part with their personal style, family photos, collections, etc.  Can you see how this might be a…tender process?  To get started, I met with the sellers one evening and completed a walk-through of their home.  They went through it with me the first time to explain the ins and outs of each room, and then I walked through it by myself, taking copious notes.  I also snapped some “before” photos for my personal portfolio and to remember what each room looked like when I was out running errands or brainstorming.  Then I raced home and typed up a lengthy consultation report breaking down what needed to be accomplished in each room by the seller and the stager.  I do love me a good list.  : )  Before slipping off to sleep, I emailed the consultation report to the sellers and realtor.  A few days later—after giving the sellers some time to get started on their end of the list—I popped back over to their house and spent a good chunk of time rearranging furniture (although being pregnant, the sellers did all the actual grunt work), organizing closets, and adding decorative touches from my personal staging inventory—which, at the moment, is pretty tiny. 

It bears mentioning here that I really did not have much of a staging budget going into this.  So I had to dig deep.  And fast.  My brain definitely worked overtime while I slept, because I would wake up in the middle of the night to write down ideas that I’d been dreaming about—and I’m normally a sound sleeper.  Digging deep meant using several items from our own home (Is that weird?  Turns out that many professional stagers actually did the same thing while getting their business off the ground).  I’m praying this house sells fast—yes, for the sake of the sellers and realtor involved—but also because I miss my lamps and art work and bowls and…you get the picture.  I’m pretty sure our neighbors thought we were moving out that week!  Here a few of my piles wait to be packed up…

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But I didn’t just use items from our house.  I actually found some really cool art—textured and mountainesque—at a thrift store, so I snagged two pieces of it for under $15 total and then just spray painted the frames (Oil Rubbed Bronze by Rustoleum) to give it a more updated look. 

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This black and silver mirror was also on super sale at Ross, because the mirror was unattached from the actual frame.  So I turned to my dear cans of spray paint (Oregano by Rustoleum this time—sorry for the horrendous final picture—promise that it looks really good) and also taped the mirror back into the frame.  Hodge podge?  You bet.  Will anyone ever know the difference?  Nope—although I tend to share my dirty secrets with you guys, so I’m counting on you to keep it quiet. 

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Entryway 2

And of course, I raided Pinterest for other art ideas, which led me to this herringbone paint sample piece, which I’d been wanting to try anyway.  It’s not a big piece, but it worked great in their entryway to add an interesting pop of color that tied in well with the green mirror. 

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Clearly this would make a lot more sense if I was showing you pictures of the entire space, but alas, the scattered details will have to do.  At that point, I gave the sellers a few more days to finalize things on their end (more organizing, cleaning, etc.), and then I went back for a final walk-through.  I made a few final adjustments and then took my own “after” photos.  I also handed the sellers a very, very  final “to do” list, along with a list of things to complete before each showing.  I tried to make it as specific to their needs as possible by including items like, “Remove the strobe light from X’s room before each showing.”  Yes, they have little munchkins who have special things in their rooms—you can’t take everything away from the kiddos! 

Everything was finished within one week.  The realtor called me a “workhorse,” which cracks me up!  I’ll take it as a compliment—a trait I get honestly from my own parents.  The sellers were great to work with and did a ton of behind the scenes work as well.  They even rented a storage unit, which was awesome, as it allowed us to pare down and really simplify some of the spaces. 

And yesterday I got my paycheck in the mail—woot!  Today the mister and I are trying to figure out exactly how to break the paycheck down.  So far we’ve split it into percentages for giving, taxes, replenishing our checking account with money I spent on a few items, putting a lot back into future staging opportunities so that I’ll have more of a buffer when I make future purchases, and then paying myself a small amount.  (Note: We have a good friend who is a CPA, and she’s been super helpful, especially as we traverse the tangled web of taxes.)  While we would love to save more of this money, we also feel like it might be necessary to put some of it back into the business side of things, as future staging opportunities have already been mentioned to us.  Over time, we likely will not need to put such a large percentage back into the business side of things.  Also, the realtors I’m working with are willing to purchase some items, so we’ll figure that out as we go.  The good news is that anything I buy, I get to add to my small staging inventory—and some things I’ll probably use in our own house.  We did purchase an earthy pendant for their dining room—which will stay with the house—but the realtor eats that cost in hopes that it will attract more potential buyers.  It’s a tad tricky figuring out who pays for what, which is why I tried to be extra saver savvy.  

Zoomed: allen + roth 17-3/4"W Bronze Pendant Light with Fabric ShadeWhew.  I’m exhausted just writing about all of it.  The good news is that I loved every minute of the process.  Do we know if this will lead anywhere?  Not really.  I’m not sure if I can handle a kid, teaching, the occasional stage, and all the other things we’re involved in.  I want to guard my time, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about being busy, it’s that you tend to get more done in the amount of time you have.  I adhere to the old adage, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”  There is something in me that loves to create, to renew, to inspire spaces and the people living in them, so for now, I’ll take the busyness.

Under Construction

We’ve been wanting to update the look of our blog for quite some time, but being a little green when it comes to web design and all that good stuff, it’s a little daunting.  Bear with us while we dig into learning the ropes of basic blog design, as you’ll probably notice we’re playing around with various photos, headers/banners, color schemes, and the like.  We’ll let you know once we land on a finalized theme, but for now, enjoy watching us learn as we go.  Cheers!