Trading spaces

It's 6AM on Sunday and I'm waiting for the frame place to open. We are picking up the last piece to complete what my husband has entitled our own version of Trading Spaces. Except we are doing this ourselves, there is not another couple in this race against the clock to redecorate our apartment because they think we have no taste. Our humble abode has to be ready for inspection by 3PM.

"Inspection" is my mother who is coming in for a 10 day visit. She denies that she inspects, but I'm not the only one in the family who has significantly alter the look of a room to meet her standards. My aunts in Florida have been known to rearrange their landscape hours before her arrival for inspection. 
Her name is Ana Victoria, but I call her "Jackie O" Belaval. An elegant lady with impeccable taste who thinks your home needs a spruce every 18 months. She has never needed a big budget or professional help. Her motto is "quality of life Ana Maria, quality of life." Like every good daughter, I'm a bit the opposite of my mother. I can live with the same color scheme for years. My furniture remains in the same place for the duration of our lease. I didn't inherit her decorating gene.
When Amelia was born, I cared even less about the cosmetic condition of our apartment. We were in survival mode; I needed our existing furniture to survive the spit ups, the leaky bottles and eventually the crayons. When my daughter was 18 months, we moved to a new apartment with bright yellow walls (an interesting choice by our landlord). It was a shock when friends first saw it; I thought "fine, at least the walls are painted". In our new place we decorated for a growing child. Got rid of the coffee table so she wouldn't walk into it. Gave away the dining room table for some office space and  had very little seating in the living room for people taller than 4 feet.  
Until one day two months ago when I got tired of not having anywhere to put my drink when I sat on the sofa. I wanted my home back, but I needed help and I had very little budget. That's when I met Lauren Paradise and Courtney Davis or kelly + olive, their company name and their two favorite shades of green. Lauren and Courtney are masters at redecorating any room with your existing furniture and if anything needs to be bought, these two friends keep it within budget. I'm talking flee market and Target which was my budget at the time. 
In two hours I had a dining room and a living room that looked like grown ups lived in it. We left the sofa where it was, but moved a chaise lounge to create a cozy sitting area. They helped me figure out how to best display my husband's photography and gave Amelia plenty of room to play. After moving my furniture around, they got on the internet and found 2 storage ottomans and a sleek chair from Target that I could afford. All this while being very accommodating to my nosy 2 year old.
I've included some before and after pictures of our handy work. We love it and Amelia is navigating the new arrangement like a champ. She's only painted one of the ottoman's with washable crayon, but it was green so the kelly + olive girls would be proud. Now let's see if it passes "The Inspection".  Ay Mama!


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  • Jackie O, beautiful and elegant as always. Qu

  • Ana,

    I would like to speak with you about an opportunity to blog about Raging Waves water park in Yorkville. We would like you to attend a media day event where you could experience the park with your family.

    Please let me know if you are interested. You can drop me a line at



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