Friday, August 28, 2015

My Dream Closet

I recently came across Compass, a real estate agency, and found a Dream Closet Challenge they have going on.  This got me thinking about mine since we are in the middle of a remodel.  Basically, what my dream closet would look like given I had any and all resources and money was not an object. First thing you should know is regardless of the fact that the sky is the limit, you’ll quickly find out that my sky is in a bit shorter reach than others.

For example, I was in a group once and was asked,  “if you could buy anything tomorrow and cost was not an issue, what would you buy?” My hand went up first because I knew exactly what it would be. It was one of those wooden sheds you see at home depot that look like little farmhouses. The one I wanted happened to cost around a grand but I’d been eyeballing that sucker for a while now. It wasn’t until someone said a mansion, someone else said a boat/yacht to sail around the world, and another, a plane for the world sightseeing tour as well, that I realized, I didn’t shoot quite as far for the stars as I could have. But that’s kind of just me. Oh well!

So thinking about my closet, there are two things I know for sure.

1. It will contain a coffee bar
2. It will be located behind a secret wall

I’ve always been fascinated with secret doors or rooms. I have no idea why. Everything in the world usually scares me but this one does not.

I remember visiting one of my favorite blogs - Life In The Fun Lane and saw that during renovations, they noticed that behind their closet wall, was a large area that they could extend into. I thought that was the coolest thing. Ever since then I always thought it would be awesome to have a room behind my closet.

So for sake of argument, my “closet room” would be kept hidden. But inside, oh just wait!

It would be styled very much “me”. For example, my love of vintage would be splashed around. I’d have a few delicate vintage side tables, a nice comfy chaise lounge, vintage lamps and a chandelier.

The floors would be hardwood with a nice bright area rug to spruce up the room.

Since it’s still a closet, I’d not only have a floor to ceiling organized shelving unit on one dedicated wall,  but I’d also have an old wardrobe.  I’d have a vanity (which I’d refurbish or course!) and a full-length mirror as well, but it wouldn’t be your Ikea boring mirror. Mine would be ornate and look like you could step into it and be transported to someplace magical!

But my piece de resistance would be my coffee bar.  I’d have it tucked away in it’s own little nook displaying all my vintage coffee mugs, with an array of coffee from all over! Ahhhh such sweet dreams! At least for me anyway!

Do you know what your dream closet would look like? Heck I had fun just imagining mine!

Rita

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bedroom Plan

I’m currently in the midst of putting my bedroom together and though it isn’t the fastest process in the world, I’m fine with that.  So eventually YOU WILL get an after photo but in the mean time, here is my vision for my room.

Ok, I’ve mentioned before that I won’t show you a before picture of my room. You actually couldn’t pay me to take a before photo, it was that bad. I had miscellaneous crap all over the place. In fact the (rough) drawing below has been cleaned up for your own safety.  And yes, that is Sammy’s work out bench right smack dab in the middle of the room.

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                                          NEW FLOOR PLAN

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We’ve made lots of progress, I’m happy to report. The walls were painted, the floor was laid, window treatment went up and everything is in its place. The only thing we lack is:

· An area rug – but the way Zada (our kitten) had chewed up my other one, this may get nixed. Especially for as much as it’ll cost!

· Bench at the end of the bed- I currently have one in Ashley’s room but once she’s back in school, it will get painted and put in my room.

· Foot stool – I have this round foot stool a friend gave me that that I’m contemplating reupholstering and using in my reading nook.  I’ve never done a round one before so depending on how it goes, I may or may not use it.

· Paint and mount mirror over dresser – I found a mirror at a yard sale years back which I ended up getting for free. I’m thinking of mounting it over my dresser.

· Finishing touches, pictures, décor etc!

So that’s it for now. But it is coming together and I’m loving every bit of it so far!!

Rita

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Grandma - Bita

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She used to cook breakfast at 5AM everyday making tortillas from scratch for my Grandpa.  I can still remember the aroma coming into my room every morning.  She used to sing us songs when we didn’t feel good, in fact one that I used to rock my girls to sleep with and one I sang to my dog right before he passed hoping I’d help settle his heart before he left us.  She used to take me to drill team practice, bought me my first car, and scrounged whatever money she had in order to buy me the latest jeans everyone wore since we weren’t very well off. She was my grandma, yes, but she was also my mom.

My story isn’t your traditional mom and dad raising their daughter and although I never like to hurt anyone’s feelings including my own mom, it is my truth. My story. My struggle.  It’s honest and a little harsh but it is mine and without telling it, I could never honor my grandmother the way she deserves to be honored.

My grandparents raised me but my mom was also in the picture. I’ve heard different stories on how this all came to be but regardless of those facts, or just plain stories, my upbringing was, well, different. The most prominent is I was nearly given away but it was my Grandmother who prevented that from happening. I understand that those were different times and there were different reasons but whatever the case, I’m here now and wouldn’t have it any other way.Don’t get me wrong,  I never knew my life without my mom in it. She was always a big part of my life and still is. I just had an extra set of parents as well!  As far as my dad, I didn’t meet him until I was 16. The only story I knew about him growing up, was one my grandma told me. She said he came to see me at her house when I was an infant, held me and said he’d be back. I didn’t see him again until I was 16. I remember meeting him, clear as day. He walked in the house, looked at me and asked, “are you Rita?” and I said “yes”. He said “Hi” then walked away. He died a few years ago and we never really knew each other.  

My grandma and I however had a special bond. I don’t know what it was or how it came to be but it just was. I could never lie to her either. One look at me and she always just knew. I don’t think I ever did wrong in her eyes except maybe for getting pregnant with Ashley at 19. Even then she helped me by babysitting her so that I could work. She babysat everyone actually. She was the mother hen of the neighborhood.

I could go on and on about stories we shared, how she would tell me I was her 4th child when she only birthed 3, and how she told my grandpa to work harder in order to help raise a child they had no business raising at their age She literally made me the person I am today. She taught me, fought for me, and raised me.

So when I would say to people that my grandma passed away recently and they’d give me the “oh well at least it wasn’t a CLOSE relative” look.  I just smile and nod, but I KNOW  that wasn’t the case at all. She was such a huge part of my heart.  She was closer than anyone can imagine. And while I cried happy tears that she was finally able to be reunited with my grandpa, I still miss her.  I miss the woman she was and I miss the bond we shared as I grew up.

One last thing that I am honored to hold in my heart is that my grandpa came to me in a dream two days before he passed away. He was dancing on a table with my grandma and they looked young and happy. When it finally dawned on me that he should be in his hospital bed (he’d had a stroke), he looked down at me and said  that it was ok because they were leaving and going home on Thursday. I began to cry asking him not to leave but he reassured me it would be all right. I got the call at 4AM on Thursday and he died an hour or so later that day. That was 5 years ago.

While my grandma died last month on a Saturday, my sister quickly brought my dream up to me on the day of her funeral. It was held on a Thursday. So be what it may, I know that message held truth and was directly from my grandpa for me.  I truly am lucky and blessed and everything else you can imagine to have three people in my life who not only gave me life…but gave a wonderful one. And I will always and forever be grateful!

Rita

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Starburst Mirror

I’ve come to terms that my room remodel will take a lot longer to put together than what I’d hoped but hey, you do what you can with the budget you’ve got and just make it work. Right!?

That being said, I’m kinda liking that fact that I can spend time on certain areas of the room like my reading nook for example. I never really used to be a reader but once I got started (AMY), I couldn’t stop and when I dreamt of my ‘new room’, it had to include a place to read.  In fact, when we laid the new flooring, I looked at the direction of my window and said to Sammy, “THAT is where my nook will be and I will love it!”. Come to find out I was right.

It’s not all the way complete yet, I still need a foot stool I’ll be working on soon and I need to paint my little side table. Those are awaiting our accent color decision before they get paint or material. Either way though, I’m loving the space so far!

On to my STARBURST

I absolutely, positively adore starburst (mirrors, décor, clocks) anything, except the candy (yuk!). Since again, on a budget here, I decided to make my own with wood shims form Home Depot. I got the mirror from Garden Ridge a.k.a At home, a couple packs of shims and a lot of glue sticks from HD.  I found some great tutorials on Pintrest and set out to make my own. Not bad for under $15.

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At least now I have something on the wall behind my big comfy chair!  I love it and I made it, which always makes it that much better!

Rita

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bedroom – update!

This month is slipping by and I haven’t been able to update my latest home renovation pictures.  Ok, well, not that much has happened in my room with the exception of one major change, which is not having to live on cement floors anymore!! Praise the Lord!

I know in the end I’ll probably regret NOT taking a ‘before’ photo of what my room originally looked like HOWEVER, It was so bad I think I can easily forgive myself.

You can at least see in the picture below, the floor in all of its concrete ugliness. Paint had already been added to the wall in this photo but it used to have three beige walls and the large wall you see in the photo was a dark accent wall. It was almost black. It worked for the first couple of years but after that, not so much!

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And now I actually have smooth floors to walk on, or lay on, or dance on, or what ever I please…without the concrete dust cloud it once produced! I can’t begin to tell you about this changing my life.

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I will say that there was a bit of a struggle between Sam and myself during this weekend (4 day remodel). It wasn’t all pretty…no, and there still maybe touchy subjects…but we are still married and happy. That’s a plus. You can actually read about it in this article I wrote for the Dallas Morning News (our local newspaper).

It’s at least good for a laugh. 

http://www.dallasmorningpost.com/2015/07/16/home-remodeling-marriage-vs-divorce/

I’ll update more as we do more. Unfortunately we had a death in the family. I’ll probably write about it(if I can) but it halted some of our housework. So if I do, prepare for the tissues. In the mean time I’ll get back to you on what’s going on in my life and more than likely new room photos!

Love you much and talk to you soon!

Rita

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oh Such Sweet Treasures!

You know when you’re a kid and you find money on the floor then put it in your pocket because you’re afraid someone will take it away from you? That’s sort of the feeling I got with this! It was on my neighbor’s curb ready for the trash man to collect it and I about died because I was running late for work and couldn’t steal it. BUT…lucky for me, I’m married to someone who ABSOLUTELY LOVES me enough to walk across the street, steal it for me, then carry it up the front steps to hide in our house. I can’t even begin to tell you how great he is!

So now that it was mine, I had a good idea of the direction I was going to go with it. However, sometimes you quickly learn that furniture is a lot like toddlers. Sometimes you have a good kid and sometimes…not so much. You see those mom’s at the store whose kid is telling them what to do?  Well same here sister! This one did not like the color I was going for which was blue…nope… it fought me every step of the way. Same for the stain!

I won’t bore you with the details but after my picture show, I’ll tell you how I prevailed.

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So again, I already has my sights set on a similar look but different colors than what I ended up with. What changed my game plan was that the top of the dresser was more of a laminate material and the body was entirely wood. Which basically told me that the original top probably broke and they replaced it with the laminate piece. You can tell up close because they don’t match too well, and the edges were rough.  Of course that didn’t deter me, so after three attempts at painting the top (yes 3!), I got it! Since sanding didn’t work, and primer didn’t work, I used a white semi-gloss spray paint and spay-painted the top only. I did very light coats to ensure that it would stick this time and not peel completely off like it had before.  Once it was all pretty and even, I added a couple of coats of the same white paint I used for the body.  AND I WON! Check this bad boy out now. 

I love it, Sammy loves it and already claimed it as his, and now it’s set to go in my new bedroom that is in the midst of being remodeled. Don’t you love a happy ending!? Yay, I do!

Rita

Monday, July 06, 2015

Just when you think you don’t got it – You Do!

 

If anything I’ve learned in all of my 41 years is that sometimes you got it…and sometimes you don’t. Truth be told, if you’ve got it, it never really goes anywhere you just have to look for signs that it’s still in there somewhere!

What I mean is this. You know the saying, when one door closes a window opens? Or if you lose one sense, it makes the others that much stronger?  Well the saying is true when we feel like we’ve lost our mojo so to speak and turn around ask “what the hell happened”, or “I used to be so good”.

The fact is, if you’re like me and one day feel like I exude sunshine and am this positive persona (haha so very vain) but then the next day feel like I just don’t have anything to give the world and I’m the biggest dramatic bump on a log… well first, welcome to my club, and second…we are utterly wrong about ourselves.

We have way more to offer than we give ourselves credit for.  That my friend,  is a fact.

And the good thing about it is you might just find your silly self may not be on track the way you would like it to be, but it’s on par for what is needed right now. You just have to explore what that is and be open the difference.

So while I’m getting back on track, I’ve created some “Rita-isms” or what I call #ritawisdom of random things I’ve said. And being me, I colored them up, and posted them on Instagram (@ritamakessunshine) and Facebook. They may not mean a darn thing to most people but I was surprised to see what they did for some. And that in itself can make a big difference!

Enjoy! ~Rita

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Warning: Particle Board is not your Friend!

Do you remember the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf? The story went something like this: the first pig made a house out of sticks, the second out of who knows what (I’m pretty sure it was particle board) and the third made his out of bricks, right? Well the wolf ultimately blew through the first two houses but couldn’t blow down the third.  Why?? Because, the third pig didn’t use the fake stuff.  So when I say “stay away from particle board for something you need long term”, I mean it.

I’m not saying, swear it off completely. It comes in handy for some things (that escape me at the moment), but it will serve a purpose. AS FAR AS repurposing it, giving it a coat of paint, that sort of thing…well that’s where the problems start. You can add a primer, you can lightly sand it and hope the paper doesn’t peel, because it will, but ultimately it’s harder to work with than real wood. It also won’t last very long. But then again, did it stop me from painting these guys?? Of course not!

These nightstands, belong to a good friend of mine and she asked me to fix them up for her teenaged daughter’s room. Like I said before, they work for the interim but I didn’t put as much effort into them like I would have loved to. I simply gave them a couple coats of grey paint (which she gave me) and new handles because no one likes having eyesores in their room, am I right?!  Plus she’s a teenager and that crap is important.  I mean that ranks right up there with bills and healthcare to us adults!! Just can’t have ugly nightstands in your room GASP!

So here’s what we were dealing with:

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And now (for like 20 minutes):

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Considering what they looked like before, I still think they are tons better!

~Rita

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Is It A Sign??

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I know you know what I’m talking about when I say we all go through a funk where things we used to do, we just don’t do anymore and then we wonder what the hell happened. Or, we have great intentions but they fall short. Yeah well put me in that boat the past almost year now.

Heck I don’t know if anyone still reads this blog but for the sake of venting and sharing creations, I continue to write.

To tell the truth, this past year has been a game changer. My life per se, has held steady but there have been people in my life that have gotten my mind set to change in a way it hasn’t before. That said one major thing was work. It was great up until a few months ago and I’ve been picking up pieces of my soul along the way, which has still left me taken aback because it started out so wonderfully. And since this post isn’t about all the work drama I’ll refrain and just say I’m hoping for the best on that topic, and leave it at that.

The real reason for this post is a happenstance that occurred last month that has helped put some of those fallen pieces back into perspective.  And, well, her name is Monica!

I met Monica through church and you all know we have our meet ups on Wednesday which she comes to sometimes.  On one of my most troubling weeks, I put make up on, got dressed and went even though my heart was completely not in it and I felt like ultimate poo! But yes, I went anyway. 

The odd thing, which will make sense in a minute, was that the weekend prior I took Brianna to Michael’s to pick something up and ended up purchasing a wood burning tool in hopes to eventually make  a sign with it (hasn’t happened yet but I digress). It was supposed to help me get my grove back, because I hoped with all hopes, that I could do that by starting out small. Like by making a sign. I also purchased an etcher because, we all need one of those when we are creating signs right?!

Ok, well fast forward to that next Wednesday when I met up with Monica.  She was talking to me about life, and work struggles. She asked why I hadn’t been painting and I told her it was because my heart was pretty much stomped on and I didn’t have it in me but I intended to get back to it. That’s when she did this…

She told me about a fence she had and wanted to make into a sign and that the first person to pop into her head to make it was me but she didn’t want to bother by asking. Before she even finished the sentence I yelled “I’ll do it!!”. Then she said finances were tough, yada yada, I didn’t even hear the rest because I yelled at her once again saying “I”ll do it for free!!!”.  So then we hugged and almost cried. Me because I desperately needed this and her just from plain bliss knowing I’d help her out, haha!

She brought the fence to me few days later and I started on her.  A few boards were bad and needed to be removed and the back reinforced but other than that the fence was beautiful (once cleaned of course).

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Monica had a favorite quote/psalm and even a font she wanted so it was pretty easy to do once everything fell into place.

But as with all projects there were a few minor hiccups.  One being I had the font printed out but the letters wouldn’t transfer like they were supposed to. I tried different routes but the fence just wasn’t having it so I texted Monica and told her I’d go to plan B which wasn’t even planned yet. I didn’t give up though and would finish that sign if it killed me so I ended up cutting out each letter by hand with an xacto knife and then stenciling it on to the board.

The good thing about that however is I found out when trying to stencil it on with a pencil or pen and it not showing up, that a sharpie worked perfectly. I had intended on burning or painting the words on over the stencil but the sharpie looked the best and in fact, gave it an authentic stenciled look I was looking for!

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Wow that was longwinded! Sorry!

In the end, Monica was happy, I was even happier (especially since Stella realized she never lost her groove) and her sign made a happy home even happier.

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You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.“ – Deepak Chopra

Rita

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sorority of Motherhood

Insecurity is something we all deal with. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, it’s our little fear that we like to keep tucked away and hidden in that secret place in our mind while hoping like hell, no one uncovers it. 

This topic came up last night in my church group and the question was asked “what was an insecurity you had and how did you over come it, thus bringing you closer to God”. Well,  I raised my hand and told a story of one of my biggest insecurities and how I dealt with it, thus spurring some ladies in my group to tell me I should share the story here on my blog. That said (for my Flavour Ladies) it's the topic of today’s post and here it goes.SOM16196313

Several years ago, I worked at a place crawling with college graduates. It seemed like at the time, they all went to college, had been in sororities or fraternities, had degrees, etc…that is…except for little ol’ me.  That was the hardest thing for me to swallow. I always tensed up when the topic of “what school did you graduate from”, came up and I would bow out and turn to go the other direction or shy away and never even enter the conversation. It was just my thing. I was embarrassed that I didn’t go to college and preferred everyone just assume I had. I was BIG TIME insecure. That is, until someone popped up in my work life and unbeknownst to him, he ended up helping me see things differently. 

His name was Bill and he was a big wig consultant from New York. He had his MBA and who knows what else behind his name. Bill consulted for big companies like Carnival Cruise Lines to name one and came to our company to do the same. The thing was, since he needed to know all the in’s and out’s of our company, he went through each department and learned everything about how we worked. Since I helped train our Customer Service Department, I ended up having to train him in our department work flow. Want to talk about scared shitless…yep, that was the predicament I was in. But I put my big girl panties and did it.  Needless to say we became fast friends although he was still intimidating as hell.  

Bill knew I had a fear of public speaking and pressured me into joining Toastmasters which we held weekly meetings for at work. I reluctantly joined per his request and the first thing I had to do after just a few meetings was give my first Ice Breaker Speech. I had to talk about myself and opted to be honest and tell them about what made me the most insecure. For the first time in a long time, it actually worked out for me.

My speech was entitled “Sorority of Motherhood”. I don’t have a copy of it (it was that many years ago) but I can tell you that it was hard to get through when you put yourself out there for the world to hear, especially people you are intimidated by and talk about none other than your biggest insecurity. My saving grace was that Sammy(my husband) was there for moral support. In my speech I talked about  how I never went to college but always wanted to go and that I had been insecure working amongst those who had gone. I spoke of wanting to join a sorority and I think that part hurt the most. So in my speech I told of how my life was it’s own sort of sorority. Not one from the college life but just life being a mom. I spoke of how instead of purchasing cases of beer like my friends were able to, I was purchasing cases of baby formula. Instead of joining study groups, I was in "Mommy and Me" groups. Instead of joining my beloved sorority even with all it’s drama, I had my “mommy’ friends and shared in all their marriage life drama’s.  But after all was said and done, I looked at my life and saw that I did join my sorority after all. It wasn’t like I had envisioned, but I was in my own groups, doing the things that I was meant to do and in fact, pretty damn happy about the way my life turned out, college or not.  So while my co- workers had their college degrees, well mine wasn’t a degree form school per se, but I sure as hell earned my degree in life and all that I'd endured with my girls and my husband. And that made me who I am and because of this, I am happy. 

I remember seeing Bill in the audience with tears in his eyes. To say I was floored was understatement! I learned after the meeting that while I was giving my speech he took a look at his own life and realized how little he had. He was single with a dog and the thing I made him question the most was - “ What did he truly have?”. He had no family he’d created. and no kids of his own. AGAIN, this was a big wig and someone I looked up to and was intimidated by.  I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. Here I stood, a once young mom, uneducated, nothing to offer the world,  afraid to speak in public, no titles after my name, had only ever traveled in Texas, and I had this New Yorker, Consultant extraordinaire questioning his life!?!?

It made me really look at myself and what I had and accomplished with my limited schooling, and though I didn’t realize at the time, it was the path God chose for me. He had me all figured out and I never had a reason to be insecure. The thought that comes to mind about the question asked last night on how it brought me closer to God, I think is simply this. It made me be honest with myself and LOVE who I am. I can’t change my past, but it’s what made me, ME! And instead of asking why, how come, what if…, embrace the the road you’re on because it is the one paved by Him. Besides, you never, ever know who is standing along the side of your road and watching you in awe! It may even be the person you least expected. 

Rita