This Time Last Year



I was not getting ready to dress up or give out candy...I was in Rome...with my sister!!!

Thought I could share with you some photos of our trip since I wasn't blogging this time last year. And because there's just way too much beauty in Rome for one post, maybe I'll break it up into a couple of back to back travel posts:)

P and I really want to go to Italy and travel around the country for a few weeks, but for now we don't have the time or the money. My sister however, is a very lets-do-this-thing kinda girl and we've traveled together before (a few years back the 3 of us - P, my sister and I - did Ireland together and had a fabulous time..maybe I'll show you those pics someday too). So the MOH (we'll just call her that, since that's been her nickname since my wedding 4 years ago -yes, it stands for Maid of Honor) and I decided to go for a short trip to one part of Italy, just to get see something and to satisfy our traveling itch for a bit. (P stayed home and let us have a girls trip...we invited him but he idea why!)

We decided on Rome and met each other at the Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport (the MOH lives in Manhattan). We were there for 4 days/5 nights but thought it was the perfect amount of time to spend in one city...long enough to not feel rushed and to become familiar with the area so that it sort of feels like home but short enough not to get bored and to leave knowing you want to go back to hit up some of the things you missed the first time round.

We stayed at the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora on Via Veneto overlooking the Villa Borghese Park. Travel tip: if you or your spouse travel a lot (especially for business), totally sign up for all the frequenty flyer miles, Amtrak miles, Starwood points, Marriott rewards, etc. It's worth it. P has gotten us free hotel rooms at least for some of the nights on every trip we've take together since we met. That's why we were able to stay here. And we got our Pottery Barn dining room table for free after converting all his Amtrak points to PB gift cards:)

{we had the best room, the one right between the 2 flags...there's me on the balcony!!}

Back to our awesome hotel - it was a great location and with views like these (taken from the rooftop when we splurged for brunch up there on our last day), we lucked out!

{Villa Borghese}

{yep, that's St. Peter's Basilica over across the River Tiber!!}

Rome is a place unlike any other. The history, the architecture, the food, the drink (well, I don't like wine, but I do love cappuccinos!)...mostly it just leaves you in awe.

I thought I'd start by showing you some photos of one of the most famous Imperial Roman landmarks and one of my favorite sites to have seen...The Colosseum/Colosseo. It was completed in 80 AD. Enough said (that's almost 2000 years ago!!!) Although I don't agree with the way this huge elliptical ampitheater was used back in the day, it is amazing to see and explore. Do not let the long lines to get in dissuade you, stick it out, the wait is worth it. (We paid for the audio tour, the kind where you follow a map to specially marked spots and listen to the recording when you get there...I like to hear all the information about a landmark when I makes the experience so much better.)

Unbelievable, no?! Check out how different it looks later on in the day when we came back as the sun started to set. These are once in a lifetime moments. Thanks, Moh, for such a great trip. And thanks, P for letting us go:)

Sigh...oh how I wish I was there now. Halloween is not really my thing...although P and I are attending a party tomorrow night as Velma and Shaggy of the Scooby Doo gang (the friends we are going with are going to be Fred and Daphne). I'd take Europe over trick-or-treating any year (although this could change when we have our own kiddos).

Posts to come on other wonderul spots like the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and the Vatican (if you get bored, let me know). Have a great weekend and happy Halloween:)




Setting: middle of October, 2008. around 7:30pm on a cold, blustery weeknight. in a quiet neighborhood street somewhere in New England. are you scared yet?

Ding dong. "Huh, who in the world could be ringing our doorbell now? I'd better go see who it is." When I open the front door though, there's no one there. Then I look down...and find a cute little package sitting on my stoop. But there's no one in sight. I snatch up the package and bring it inside and yell to P "Hey, look what somebody left us!" Inside I find 2 pieces of paper, one with a cute poem explaining what the heck is going on, and another with a cute picture of a ghost on it. And lots of fun fall and Halloween related stuff - candles, candy, a photo album, dish towels. Apparently we'd been boo'd by some of our neighbors:)

I'd never heard of this before, have you? It's a cool neighborhood game - if you are Boo'd, you had to pass it on by preparing 2 Boo packages of your own and delivering them, in stealth, to 2 other neighbors who had not been hit yet. It was all explained in this poem (which of course I can't find now), and to let our other neighbors know we'd already been boo'd, we had to put the picture of the ghost on our front door. So the next night I ran out to Target and found a bunch of cheap, fun fall/Halloween stuff. I also found these cute buckets to put them all in. Tied up my poem and ghosts (that you had to photocopy as part of the passing it on process) with some orange rafia and I was ready to go old school ring-the-bell-and-then-run-away-really-fast on these peeps.

{the neighbors we boo'd had kids, but I also included some good fall decor stuff in the buckets for the moms}

Paul drove us around the neighborhood the next night and I ran out (in the pouring rain) to deliver the baskets. It was pretty hilarious to put the basket on the stoop, ring the bell, and then scramble to hide behind a bush or something so that they couldn't see me! And I loved watching their expressions (I probably looked just as funny) when they opened the door and no one was there. Classic! So by the time Halloween came, if you drove around the neighborhood, at least 60% of the houses had ghosts on their front door (not bad for over 70 houses)!!

Anyone ever done this before in your neighborhood? And now the boo party has hit the web!!! And guess what?

I Have Been BOO'd!

The air is cool, the season is fall,
Soon Halloween will come to all.
Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore...
Tricky witches at your door.

The spooks are after things to do,
In fact, a spook brought this "BOO" to you.

The excitement comes when friends like you,
Copy this note and make it two.

We'll all have smiles on our faces,
When we see who Boo'd who's places.

Fun! So I've been boo'd by Roeshel at the DIY Show Off. Now...the following 4 ladies have been officially Boo'd by me:

1. Katyo at The Green Door - she's from my neck of the woods and is doing some major renovations on her Cape Cod style home.
2. Lauren of Doodles by Lauren - the mom of three adorable kiddos, she still has time to have her own business creating super sweet custom childrens' art.
3. Karen at A Day in the Life of Karen - she has a fabulous house and makes one really good looking pregnant woman, can't wait for her little girl to get here!
4. Jodee of Follow the Leaders - I love reading about Jodee and her husband and their 2 kids, they really know how to have a good she actually says I inspired her to do a home decor project!

This BOO party was started by Toni@The Tattered Cottage. Please keep the fun going by following these instructions.

1. You have 24 hours to work your spell.
2. Copy and post the Halloween Boo Poem with the instructions for playing.
3. Pick 4 blogs you enjoying visiting and tell why you enjoy visiting them, with a link to
their blog and remember to link back to me.

4. Go to the original BOO Party post at the Tattered Cottage and add your MckLinky.
Let's see how fast and far this spreads between now and Halloween!

***Editted: Here's a link for how to start the Halloween Boo in your neighborhood!

Stay tuned for a post soon about what I did last Halloween:)

A Cool Moment



If no one minds, I'm going to do a bit of horn tooting. I recently had my 15 minutes of fame!!!

I think most of you are familiar with, right? (If you aren't and can find more time to chat online, prepare to become addicted). I'm a regular on the Decorating and Renovating community board, there I'm known as mrspaz. This summer, the nest contacted me about being in the fall issue of their magazine, a subscription only that they publish quarterly. They were interested in including as much reader-generated content as they they wanted me to answer some home related questions that other nesties had asked. Cool, huh?!

I did my best to answer honestly, creatively and without sounding like too much of a moron. Upon receipt of the actual thing in print early in October (a very proud moment), I realized the editors took some liberties with the text I sent in (I suppose this is normal?) most of the wording and ideas are mine, with a few catch phrases added or sentences rearranged done by them.

I am very grateful for and flattered by the whole experience. Thanks to the nest for the opportunity:)

{cover of the fall '09 issue}

Here's the intro/page 1, page 2 and page 3 of the "article". Right. So apparently my hair does not convert so well over into a silhouetted little avatar. (See my head, very wide nose and helmet hair next to the little subtitle that says "Nestie mrspaz has spent the last three years decorating..."?)

The all caps screenname immediately after the question is the nestie who asked it. Then the larger text is my answer. There's 8 questions all together (although the nest editors answered the last one because I have never vacuumed my hardwood floors and didn't feel comfortable taking that one).

What do you guys think? Did I do an ok job? (I hope you can read most of the text, I'm still a beginner when it comes to blog formatting, I wish I these would blow up to a larger size when you clicked on them, but they don't.) Anything you would change about or add to any of these answers?

I can't wait to see Layla, Kevin and The Lettered Cottage on the cover of the nest's winter issue! Congrats, guys! (And congrats to any other nesties who've made it in over the years.) Thanks again to everybody over at the nest!

Rate My Space Rockstar



Hey! How's everyone doing? I haven't stalked the HGTV Rate My Space website in a while, so I was checking it out again this morning. I found myself a new favorite poster, TABCAD.


{Pool Area}

{Master Bedroom Overlooking Pool}

{Dining Room}

{Breakfast Nook}

Uhm, hello, TABCAD! Will you be my new best friend?

Fall House Tour



Happy Friday! Today I'm joining in on 2 parties, both about fall decor. I love me some seasonal decorating! Julia of
Hooked on Houses is having a Fall House Tour and Kelly at Kelly's Korner is hosting Show Us Your Life: Fall Decorations. So, if you're looking to be inspired, head on over to either of these or preferably both and say hi:)

Sorry to those of you who have been following along and have already seen my fall decor in the foyer, living room and family room. Now might be a good time for you to go get that pumpkin spice latte:)

{pumpkins on the stoop and in the transom window}

{the bookcase in the foyer}

{mantel for fall}

{new hand-made pillows from India on the leather club chairs in the living room}

{new pillows and ledge shelf decor in the family room}

Thanks for coming. And thanks again for having us, Julia and Kelly. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

PS. Want more seasonal decorating tours? Get your home ready for the holidays in time for the holiday open house tours (I can't wait!!!)...Julia is having her Hooked on Houses holiday tour on Friday, December 11th. And this year, the Nester will be hosting BooMama's old Christmas Tour of Homes on December 14th (in 2008 there were over 900 entries....this is going to be awesome!)

Thank You!



Wow! I'm so honored...Rebecca of Ella Minnow Pea gave me the Kreativ Blogger award! How flattering. Rebecca is one of the many reasons I'm glad I started blogging, because I get to meet truly awesome and inspiring new people, like her.

Rebecca is the brains and brawn behind the custom design studio
The Pink Orange. So, she's like my hero...and a peer that I can chat all things wedding and paper with. And she has a great sense of style when it comes to decor too. Too bad we don't live closer:( Check out these beautiful custom wedding invitation suites from her shop:

Thanks so much, Rebecca! It means a lot to me that someone like you, who I admire so much, would think I deserve an award.

Here's the rules, if you want to play along:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each.

I am really not that interesting, but in case you were wondering:

1. I love to travel! So far I've been on 4 out of the 7 continents. And really, Antarctica doesn't count. That leaves Australia and Africa (I soooo want to get to both of these someday). I've been to Hawaii, Canada, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, the Bahamas, Ireland, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. High up on my to-do list (besides Australia and Africa) are Scotland and Alaska.

2. I went to a private Catholic school from 1st to 6th grade (I didn't mind the uniforms at all). My mom took me out after that and put me in public schools because they had a better art program. I went to Syracuse University for college and got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration.

3. I'm the oldest of 3. My sister is 29 (I'm 32...yikes) and my little brother is 25.

4. I love being an aunt. It is the best feeling in the world when little kids look up to you and ask when you are coming over to play and hug you good-bye and say they love you! (P's sister has 3 kids - they are the best!)

5. I spend a lot of time commuting...I drive to the train station, have an hour long ride on the commuter rail into Boston, and then walk across town to my office. It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes for me to get to work each way door-to-door. That's 3 hours and 20 minutes a day, 16 hours and 40 minutes a week. Doh!

6. I love to bowl (big balls only), play ping pong, go sailing, snowboarding, play golf, volleyball, soccer.

7. I would go on Survivor in a heartbeat, except that I really don't have reality tv hair:(

Now, on to the torch passing...I'd like to give the Kreativ Blogger award to these 7 fine ladies:

1. Janell of
Isabella and Max Designs - a fabulous eye, so successful and so down-to-earth
2. Pk at
Room Remix - I love that Pk thinks outside the box. And she's always challenging you, and nurturing you, all for a better blogland.
3. Miss Mustard Seed - the genius behind the decorative painting and home decor Mustard Seed Creations (I love all her before and after furniture transformations.)
4. Kim at Starshine Chic - I was totally impressed with all her halloween decor, really creative ideas for not alot of money.
5. Get your Martha On - she's funny and crafty...and she's only been blogging since September!
Maddy of The Inspired Bride - this is one of the new daily reads on my wedding blogroll...I love Maddy's fresh take on color cards and inspiration boards.
7. The Life of a Future Domestic Goddess - Let's hear it for D&R nesties! She's on a roll with furniture make-overs.

Go check out these killer kreativ blogs! And thanks for the love, Rebecca!

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