Thursday, September 30, 2010


This week is kinda hectic with an upcoming wedding this weekend and a teething baby, I try not to miss a day of blogging so I will leave you with some fabulous Autumn Inspiration.

I love the cornstalks and the burgandy door

This is a nice pop of color to a light brick facade

I love this idea and wish I had my old wooden porch back

This is sweet if you have a long country porch

Some bright Halloween decor

This is one of my favorites and what we are setting up on our front lawn.

I love this rustic theme on the white back drop

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Well 16 brings on a bunch of new changes....... I remember invitations and birthdays cakes and friends and goody bags.     Thats not what my Sweet 16er had in mind this year.

After school, she wanted to go to her high school's football game.   I said okay.  Then she says, after that I want to go with my friends to the Reo (local diner near school)   Sadly I use to go there back in the day after a night out dancing. Wow.....how the wheel turns.

So at about 11p.m. she came home with a few friends and I surprised her with a little set up since the friends were sleeping over that night too.

The dining room is already set up for Halloween season, however me being me.....I've already made some adjustments from my last post. lol

I changed out the centerpiece on the table and added large glass apothecary jar(without top) added my black twigs (discovered by my son @ park) and some cute little creepy spiders.

At each seat I placed a square white plate with a gift bag on top for the girls

Close up of centerpiece...vase,twigs,painted pumpkin, painted candleholder, dollar tree skull, purple candy

Gift bags at each place setting.  Black/purple were the colors

Some updating to the buffet...added gray gauze to lampshade with a little friend.

Some of the gift bag stuff:  book, pencil, body spray, burlap bag and purple dark chocolate Hershey kisses in tulle with purple clothespin

She requested Strawberry shortcake for a cake, so I decided to give them each their own.  She got frosted in the face (its a tradition in our family.....you must get smooshed with cake in the face on your bday)

Blowing out her "16" candles...

Friends who came to celebrate with her: Zulena, Vanessa & James

Her little sis Adelina....obviously excited with the treat

Gabriella and her crew.....her little bro Xander made an appearance for sweets.


Yesterday I went to the salon Ive been going to for the past 3 years.  Found my stylist from a girl in the mall who's hair I loved and asked her where she goes.....and thats how I found Jess!   She gave me the haircut that I wanted and about 20 since then.  I love going to her, we try new stuff and she's on top of her game.  I went from the Victoria Beckman to Pink to Kris Jenner...lol   daughter says thats what my hair reminds her of.

She has since opened a new salon called Exquisite Hair Design.  There will be an upcoming post on the salon very soon.

My husband is in a wedding this weekend and I desperately needed a haircut.  I was just gonna get a trim and   shape it up since I was growing it out.    HOWEVER..... when I got there I was flipping through one of her magazines and saw this.

 My hair is that color....although the profile photo is before the black.    So I texted my husband the photo and wanted to know what he thought.   I received a " I like it" text and that was that.    Off came the hair....again.
Jess is always great with making a style work for my hair....the more different the better.  She is very talented and so happy she has her own spot now.
Well thats what a mother of 5 looks like at the end of the day out with 4 girls (my son didnt come to the salon). lol

I will post a better pic soon, unfortunately I didnt take one at the salon...because my teenager was shaving the side of her head. lol   And my 3 year old was getting her 2nd haircut.  (all of those curls need some shaping up).  Plus the 6 month old was getting a little cranky after 2 cuts.

So at 10 p.m. at night at the request of my sis I took that bathroom shot and sent it to her. lol

Monday, September 27, 2010


Aidan Gray was developed out of a passion for all things architectural, and bringing to life inspired objects that maintain a time worn, aged look is what Aidan Gray specializes in. Each piece is classic and distinctive, closely recreating the one-of-a-kind original it was modeled after. Chairs, tables and decor items are created using authentic materials such as solid wood, rustic metals, antique mirror and aged painted finishes. Each piece is created by hand, finished with proprietary distressing techniques and topped with details unique to Aidan Gray.

All images(below) and text (above) are from the website where Aidan Gray may be purchased http://www.laylagrayce.com

This is the perfect blend for me.  I love my rustic woods but I also light linens and light fabrics.   I'm not one to follow and therefore Im not on the french bandwagon ( bad experience in France..lol) but I can still appreciate the decor.  I think the french aspect comes out more so in the textiles because they are printed in French.  Still beautiful.   The furniture itself could accomodate many different styles including rustic Italian or Spanish

Love the arm chairs as well as the table (Love that table)

Chandelier is delicious and I love the urns on the table

Very comfortable cozy area, love the lampshade.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Well now...there are tons of burlap crafts and tons of banners out there.   So me being me.....I wanted to do something different.   In my home, we are like the United Nations (my friends and I always joke...we've got all ethnicities covered).   Im very proud of my family history and culture so I use it in the decor of my home as much as possible.   The holidays are no different.....I dont like to make novelty holiday stuff for Halloween and Autumn/Fall is my favorite time of year!

I decided to make a burlap banner for my fireplace area.  I first thought of F-A-L-L, but that would be to mainstream for me. lol   Im an out-of-the-box kinda girl.  

I decided to make my Autumn banner is the different languages that represent our family and our different backgrounds.

Italian/Spanish - Me
French - Big Daddy is from the island of Domenica (an English/French speaking island)

So the kiddos in this house are Italian/Sicilian, PuertoRican/Cuban, Dominican (the island not D.R)


Burlap..(I have a ton of burlap bags)
Alphabet Stencil
Faux Fall Leaves (garland)
Twine or Rope ( i used ties from burlap bags)
Acrylic Paint 

Burlap Bags

Alphabet Stencil

Black Acrylic Paint

Faux Fall Leaves

Cut your burlap into pennant shapes (8 x10 is good)

Stencil on your lettering (whatever you choose)

Finished banner on fireplace in living room

Autumn in English  

Autumn in Italian

Autumn in Spanish

Autumn in French

                                              Our international burlap banner in our eclectic living room. lol

Saturday, September 25, 2010


So with all the school projects in this house, there is never a shortage of poster board or foam board.  This is a simple project that I did for Halloween.


Foam Board
Telephone Book
Alphabet Stencil Sheet
Black Marker
Paint Brush

Clean Foam Board

Rip out telephone pages

Glue them to the foam board (dont use to much) I watered down the glue and did kind of decoupage thing

After dry....Stencil on your spooky words and I glued on a wooden pumpkin shape.

close up of text

close up of more words

Friday, September 24, 2010


Im not one for personal posts of my children or family.  You will rarely see Big Daddy J in my posts or the children, however this is a lifestyle blog and there are my life. lol      Soooo..... Im making an exception because just like the baby's post the other day......This is a milestone!

My oldest daughter was born 16 years ago today, after 23 hours of horrific labor....she was named Gabriella Renee at 6 p.m.   Traditionally she should have been named Vincenza after my then mother-in-law but I didnt really see her making it through life with such a strong Italian name.   So I prayed for a solution to this drama and Gabriella came to my mind....still very Italian.   And who better to chose than the Archangel Gabriel for inspiration.  The Renee funny enough came from watching a Clint Eastwood moving co-starring Renee Russo.  Russo is my mother's maiden name and the name of my great-grandfather's bakery in Brooklyn, NY

Gabriella was a good baby, toddler and young girl.  However she is now a teenager and God will help me through these next few years. lol

She has a great personality and a ridiculous sense of humor.  She is the entertainment where ever she goes.  She has had some great accomplishments in her young 16 years.  She was on the Nickelodeon show "Naked Brothers Band" and she was also in the movie "Doubt" with Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep.  She played the student of Amy Adams in movie.   That was a rough 2 months taking her back and forth to Brooklyn, Bronx and other areas where we filmed in the middle of winter. lol   But to see you child on-screen at a premiere party in NYC is the coolest thing (of course until she gets married or has a baby).

She plans on attending Culinary School after graduation and would like to open up her own bakery.  She only wants to do pastry...and more specifically cakes. lol     She is a candy fanatic...bubblegum, gummie bears you name she'll eat it.  P.S  Those scales I got yesterday will part of the decor for her bakery....im gonna put a few aside for her.

So here are some photos that I happen to have in the computer what I stole from her facebook page (once again she is going to be mortified, but what kind of mother would I be if I didn't embarrass my baby girl on her birthday!!

At age 2 (she loved her Gap overalls)

Age 3 (yes thats my Jersey girl look back in '96)

Age 4 (with her 1st sibling)

Age 6 (with her 2nd sibling)

Age 8 (field day at school, i was the face painting mom)

Age 12 (rockin on Rock Band with her sibs on Christmas morning)

 Age 13 (the proud step-daughter waiting for Pops to come home from Iraq)

Age 15 (her 4th sibling)

The Entertainer (at her bff's Vanessa's Sweet 16)