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EbonyMommy ©2005

I had a wonderful Birthday weekend. The actual day of my birth was May 27 but some friends and I got together for a girlfriend’s night out on Saturday. I indulged in a most lovely apple martini while enjoying equally lovely company with old (and a few new) friends. While EDad and I do try to get out for semi-regular dates just the two of us, he equally encourages me to get out with friends by myself. I’m definitely learning how important it is for me to recharge myself so I can be a better mother and wife.

Sunday we invited some dear friends over for dinner and EDad prepared my all time favorite meal (reserved for special occasions only- the pineapple butter for dipping is way too decadent for a daily affair). We’ve also decided that we’re going to have to start entertaining more often because that seems to be the only thing that forces us to declutter and get this house in tip top shape.

This is my first Texas birthday in almost 10 years and I must say its was definitely one of my best. I look forward to have my most blessed and wonderful year yet!

7 Random Things

I was tagged by the lovely Yemi to post 7 random things about myself. I had the hardest time with this one since I kept wanting to repost thing from my 101 things.

1. I too am a member of non-ironers anonymous like JJ, the Fashionista and Shaz. I can go for months at a time not even knowing where my iron is. Its more likely to get used for craft projects than for ironing my clothes. I also make sure to not buy clothing that needs to be ironed- don’t care how much I like it if it easily wrinkles no thanks!

2. I’ve never owned a new car. Cars have never been a priority for EDad or I- we prefer investing our money in other ways (house, savings, travel). Don’t get me wrong someday I’d love to own something new but I’m not going to break my back to do it quite yet. I’m the only holdout in my entire family because my side of the family loves cars.

3. I love to fly and would fly all the time if possible. The last 8 months of my life is the longest I’ve gone in the last 10 years without setting foot on a plane. We usually take yearly excursions to visit family in Seattle, Connecticut/New York, and Missouri but this year EDad had to take the trip to Seattle on his own. Hotel living isn’t as simple when your 2 year old feels its time to party if someone is sleeping in the same room with him.

4. I have perfect vision but from the ages of 14-19 I had to wear glasses. My vision was blurred by thyroid medication and thankfully I’ve been in remission since the age of 19 so my vision cleared right back up.

5. This isn’t really about me but my mother is the spitting image of Maya Angelou, people are always stopping her to try to get her autograph.

6. I’m allergic to platinum

7. I hate it when people whistle in public. Not just whistling to get someone’s attention but the happy whistling a tune in public absolutely.grates.on.my.nerves. I think it is a result of all of the years playing flute and piano- I’m always listening for pitch and the whistling pitch is rarely soothing.

I’m tagging everyone who hasn’t done this already. Yes! you :)


EbonyMommy ©2007

EBoy had his preschool graduation today. It was a wonderful little ceremony- they kept it brief and light and mainly just gave parents the chance to get pictures of their soon to be kindergarteners. I am so immensely pleased with the progess EBoy has made in just a few months at this lovely school. Not only has he academically blossomed (he’s trying to spell every word he can right now constantly) but socially he’s become much more confident and happy to interact with other children.

This was yet another family milestone as my parents and sister were able to attend. I just love having family nearby to share all of the joys and accomplishments with. I hadn’t been too terribly nostalgic about this entire process until I saw these 4 (and 5) year olds standing so confidently on the stage singing songs and receiving their congratulations. He really is about to move on to the next part of his life, he hasn’t been a baby in what seems like so long now but he’ll always be my baby in my heart.

Of course his brother couldn’t miss out on a photo opportunity:

EbonyMommy ©2007

Happy Mother’s Day

Because nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like Mr. T rapping in camouflage hot pants:

Design Downer

TV is not one of my favorite things with one exception- anyone that knows EbonyMom well knows that I have a bit of a love affair with HGTV. I’m still not quite sure when it happened but over the years I went from mainly enjoying watching sitcoms to watching little tv with the exception of design shows.

HGTV has proven to be very empowering for me because I truely believe that surrounding your daily living existance with beauty and things you love truely nurtures and inspires your spirit in many different ways. For years I just watched, inspired but rarely ever doing anything. Selling our home in Atlanta finally led me to start focusing on how to help my home reach a level of looking great for myself and for someone to actually buy it. The staging we had done was incredibly successful and professional so we knew we’d like to find some sort of stager to help us get things together on this end.

As usual my search started where it always does- online. It was surprisingly very difficult to find any sort of interior design evaluations but through diligence I tracked down someone who I felt could be a good fit for our home setup.

Firstly let me state that interior staging has nothing to do with having tons of money or throwing down and purchasing a brand new home full of high end furniture. A truely good stager can do incredible things working with what you already have. This was our experience with our first stager who set us up so well our home initially sold so quickly we couldn’t believe it (of course the sale fell through but her staging had nothing to do with it- just incompetent buyers). Living in a space that flowed well and felt good changed so much for me. Cleaning was no longer a chore but an enjoyable experience for my clutterfree and put together home. I finally had a peaceful and serene living space instead of just a random pass through full of possessions and clutter randomly thrown together.

Our desire for our new home to be a cohesively thought out design lead us to our new designer we’ll call her D-D (Dallas Designer). I contacted her via email to get a consultation and was immediately impressed by her quick response and seeming attention to detail. She had a kind and very energetic spirit which I instantly connected with. Our initial design consultation didn’t just feel like getting on track with the design of a home but connecting for a lifelong friendship for all aspects of my home. D-D is not only a certified, degreed award winning interior designer, but also owns her own furniture store.

This was the best of both worlds for us because we hoped to finally purchase living room furniture we loved rather than just settling on the old pieces we’ve been carting from state to state in cross country moves. Everything went well- she presented us a design plan and we moved forward by paying upfront for all expenses because we trusted and believed in her completely.

Our first few consultations with D-D went great- quick response, immediate attention to details and requests, but within a week things started to go downhill. Promises of appointments were simply never followed through on. We kept forgiving, accepting excuses offered because we truely wanted to believe the best was going to happen. But after 2 months of missed phone calls, ignored appointments, late night deliveries, broken “new furniture” and appointments (including a botched paint job because painting at night simply doesn’t show you all the spots you can see in full daylight), we still held out hope that somehow things would still work out. With the exception of the paint color I didn’t care for the way any of the design had turned out up until that point, but I was desperately holding out hope that the final finished product would somehow transform a blah space into an incredible interior.

Then one day the end finally arrived- we called D-D’s furniture store to find that the number had been completely disconnected. No forwarding number. Emails unanswered. And absolutely no returns of any voicemails left on her cell phone. Our patience had finally reached the end of the line.

Thankfully D-D had requested my consultation on some websites for her friends and family so I was able to go through their information and contact them to track her down. Not only had she moved her store and changed phone numbers, she’d completely changed the name of her business. When we finally did reach D-D she was completely shocked that we weren’t happy with her design selections (she didn’t consult with us on most things, just swore she knew we would LOVE them), tired of the failed appointments and sketchy conduct, and wanted a refund.

We finally resolved everything, returned the poorly constructed couch and sofa and received a partial refund. We could have fought for more but at this point I was just happy to be done with this situation and move forward into finally finishing our living room so we can actually invite more family and friends to visit. Here is a list of things I’ve learned for future reference:

When looking for an interior designer:

1. References are a must, be sure to investigate and get a thorough idea of who you are hiring (we did not bother, trusting all that we were told)
2. A design portfolio should be professional, well laid out, and reflect designs which are to your personal liking (D-D’s portfolio was an old photoalbum with poor badly lit dusty pictures)
3. Your design presentaton should be thorough, including multiple options for fabrics, paint, etc. (D-D was sketchy, cut out pictures slapped with elmer’s glue onto a plain posterboard, and had no fabrics whatsoever)
4. Your designer should consult you for all decisions (D-D thought she knew what we liked- but never bothered to ask!)
5. Preview all fabric, furniture and items before they are ordered (D-D showed us pictures and websites but we never saw a single piece of furniture until it arrived at our home)
6. Never ever pay all upfront (We paid D-D everything and in hindsight realize we should have worked out some sort of 1/2 now 1/2 on completion arrangement, or at least paying when we agreed to furniture we actually saw in person first)
7. Communication is very important- ask what their communication policies are up front
8. Know exactly what you like and never be scared to let them know, even if you are slightly unsure don’t stop until you know that you love each and every item to be used.

D-D has taught me some huge lessons. I’ve been in a bit of a slump after dealing with this entire experience but thankful that at least we were able to recoup some of our losses. I’m not sure if or when I’ll feel comfortable seeking out another designer so for now I’ll be seeking my design advice from my HGTV friends.

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