Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Heater Light for the Bathroom

In my next career I am going to design gorgeous and varied designs of heater/ventilation/lights for bathrooms and make them available in hardware, lighting, electrical AND bathroom design stores. I spent 8 of today's valuable hours driving from place to place trying to find a bathroom heater/ventilation unit for our bathroom ceiling.

What I found was the same HUGE plastic looking unit that would need to replace the location of our existing leadlight fixture in the bathroom. I just couldn't do it.

Our electrician, who has been working in our house for three days suggested we get a heater and ventilation unit for the bathroom given it is so cold in there. I mean - it is really ice cold in there. Taking a bath in there would be like jumping in a hot tub in the middle of an ice storm! We think its a great idea but I had no idea at the time I said I would rush out and find one so it can go in while he is there, that it would be so difficult.

I just can't believe that in 2007 (soon to be 2008) that they don't have these units in some form that are display worthy or at least discreet so a plastic looking unit doesn't have center stage. Am I really asking too much? I am sure we had better units in Australia back when I lived there - and I would be happy to go there an find one but the power conversion would be a headache. For my family and friends reading this in Oz, remember those four bulb units that heat up - they don't have them here or at least not that I could find in 18 stores in Los Angeles??? I did eventually find a two bulb unit but no one had it in stock - I wonder why!!!! Its the only somewhat okay unit anywhere it seems!

I'm not ready to leave the baby business yet...but when I do - watch out bathroom heater companies (all one or two of you) - here I come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Getting Dirty

I didn’t know dirt could get in so many places. Its Christmas day and because we didn’t get through the floor sanding yesterday we decided to cancel our day off today and enjoy a big breakfast and then head to the house to do some work before taking the rest of the afternoon off for a picnic.

Joey let me sleep in until 8.30am when a large delicious latte arrived on by bedside table, which is the happiest way he knows to get me up. I then made macadamia pancakes, southwestern eggs and hash browns and we enjoyed a hearty start to Christmas Day. This year we decided to forgo gifts for each other and instead enjoy the house we have just purchased. That said, my wonderful family in Australia sent us the most generous gifts that make me so proud to be a part of my family.

My brother Julian (his wife Dee and 2 year old Jude) gave us the gift a sheep in China! Sounds strange but it provided a family in the countryside of China with a sheep to care for so that they can profit from the wool sales enabling them to have an income. My parents gave us the gift of a care package for children in Southern Africa where AIDS is robbing millions of children of their parents. This helps vulnerable orphans to live and learn through providing food parcels and school fees. Pretty cool!! And for us that is what Christmas is really about.

So back to the dirt in so many places. Because it’s Christmas, Joey let me out of sanding at first so I could concentrate on something I truly love – gardening. I got our my gloves, tied my hair back to started with cutting back some of the overgrowth. This included some serious pruning on roses, birds of paradise and the huge task of pulling down a vine, which was growing up the porch and across the guttering. This was the point where dirt in the vine unloaded and I was blessed with hurt in my nose, eyes, hair, down my shirt and everywhere else. I am still finding it in new places. I gardened until I ran out of space to put the trash, and then Joey called me to come and help finish the sanding.

My wrist hasn’t quite recovered from the first two days of doing putty and hand sanding so Joey suggested I take on the buffing with the ‘mother’ sander! I was a little nervous but took the Home Depot staff suggestion of doing the cha cha with the machine and pretty quickly I got into the rhythm of it. Finally we vacuumed and then hand wiped the surfaces (well 2 of the 3 rooms) and then we did a small patch of stain to see how it comes up. Tomorrow we will find out!

So its time, to go and enjoy the last of my Christmas day with a hot bath, a glass of wine and home cooked burgers before we head out for a movie. May you have a Happy Christmas and give the gift of love to others.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Renovations Begin

There isn’t a spot on my body that isn’t hurting! On Friday afternoon Joey (the cute husband) and I took possession of our ‘new’ 106 year-old house. Like our grand Queen Anne Victorian home we had grand ambitions and after a very cold first night of margaritas at the new abode decided to start sanding floors the next day.

Unfortunately, the previous home hadn’t quite finished moving out and gifted us with a huge amount of stuff and junk. In every room there was furniture and cupboards loaded with items that should have left but stayed. Vases, clothing, books, teapots, trash, chairs, artwork, dog toys – you name it, we inherited it. There was also a house length pile of trash in our front yard and in the back alley. So day one was spent sorting stuff and deciding which few relics would stay and where on earth we could put the stuff that had to go. We had quite an audience in front of our house, waiting to see what new stuff we would bring out each load.

By 8pm on Saturday night, Joey and I were completely spent and decided to spend the last bit of our evening enjoying the best Italian food in Los Angeles at Angeli on Melrose. It is melt in your mouth authentic Italian and every delicious mouthful is a slice of heaven. The owner just happens to be our next door neighbour from our last house and we had NO idea when we first went there how amazing her food is. No wonder they fly her to Italy to cook for special events! She also hosts her own cooking show on radio. We love her and I cannot do justice describing the food at Angeli. It is a cafĂ© so not expensive and it is without a question – my favourite foodie place in LA!

Today I woke up at 8am and jumped out of bed to discover agony in my calf muscles. Apparently those stairs in my house caught up with me. No time to complain though, so after a serve on pancakes, off we headed to the store to buy putty for wood and some tools to put it on with. I threw in a pair of rubber gloves to clean our new ‘old’ Wolf stove complete with rust and leaves and to the house we headed.

For the next 8 or so hours we filled cracks, gaps and bits of our floors and while my fingers started to hurt, so did my knee’s, neck and entire right arm. We finished after dark, and while Joey went out to add a lock to our back gate, I put together a nice little house plaque with our house number on it (at our margarita’s night we discovered there was no numbers when our friends couldn’t find the place). I then decided to start cleaning our rusty stove, so put my facemask on and started scrubbing! Not much rust comes off but my arm is now officially killing! I forget, we also pulled up carpet somewhere in between from an old converted porch which we are converting back to a porch! This involved some interesting tools, a bunch of muscles that I don’t remember having and a lot of dust.

So day two in, and I am officially beaten! It is now 10pm and after a long soak in the bath, Joey and I are about to eat. Bliss – I am STARVING!

And to think, we start it all again tomorrow….

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home and only one set of wheels

Joey and I signed our loan documents today in between getting Christmas orders out, running a business, organising tradeshows and managing being a one car family for the short term. Back in April we were offered an incredible deal on a new Prius which was my dream car. I am incredibly environmentally aware and was so envious of every Prius driver on the road - and there are lot of them in LA! So when the chance to get one came up, we jumped at it.

This meant that we were a three car and one bike family of two people which was just ridiculous. So we sold Joey's car and he drove my lease with the idea being that come July when the lease went back that we would get Joey another car. Well December's here, the bike broke down and suddenly we are a one vehicle family with a very busy schedule in our busiest season ever. And we just bought a house so the thought of spending more money right now seems a little overwhelming. And to top it off, the new (very old) house needs a lot of immediate attention and $$$ so the second car continues to wait.

But I am not complaining! We are so excited about our new house and I am actually looking forward to sanding floors! Martha - eat your heart out - this is not just decorating but real on your knee's and getting dirty hard work. Our Queen Anne Victorian is a lovely old lady in need of a serious face lift - and not the cosmetic kind, but the veins and bones that keep her standing. We have a new hot water heater going in on Saturday (she is ours from Friday) and we pull out our belt sanders Saturday morning - after a private buyer comes to shop - and get on our hands and knee's and start slowly peeling off those layers of varnish. Home Sweet Home - here we come!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Exhaustion

Yes ho ho ho....! I love Christmas - I really do! I love carols on the radio and at the shopping mall, I love the decorations and parties and I love the opportunity to tell those I love that I do love them. Its wonderful! But...the crowds and the craziness just leave me so tired that I really do need the holiday that comes with Christmas. We live near the Grove in Los Angeles (aka shopping mecca for the stars and great browsing for everyone else) and I popped down there to grab a quick gift for my 10 year old niece. What I didn't know was that 250,000 other people were also there and car parks were at a premium. So what I thought was a well planned last minute pick up turned into an hour and a half of finding a car park, battling the crowds and then waiting in line for a cute t-shirt for a 10 year old! Geez, I hope she loves it! Luckily (and with some pride I add with brains), I did most of my shopping before the holiday craziness began. And extra lucky as this year Joey and I are buying our first home which settles right before Christmas which means that pre-shopping left us without too much insanity during this period. So for Christmas this year, I am getting a belt sander, a new water heater and some 120 sand paper. I never thought I would know what any of those were but am quickly becoming an expert. So stay tuned for what promises to be my most exhausting Christmas yet - with callouses and all! My word of advise - shop early so that when Santa brings you something BIG you don't have to spend your time fighting for car park!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Have you heard of gDiapers?? I first heard about them in baby training and then just had to find out more. There was quite a discussion on disposable verse the old fashion cloth diaper and gDiaper seemed to come with good recommendations! That said, I was in a room full of new parents to be so all we really knew was what others had told us and what our instructor was advising! So I have done some research and was blown away by the g!

So this is what I found out:

First of all - Julia Roberts loves them! Maybe not the most important thing when looking for a diaper but this is a person that can afford anything - so her recommendation (and not her paid endorsement) do count.

Secondly - there is no chlorine, no perfumes, no plastic layers, no inks and dyes and no latex! In other words they don't hurt the environment that your child will grow up in!

Third - they are flushable - that's right. Down the dunny (toilet) they go! No more 50 million disposable diapers filling up landfills. Wouldn' t that be nice to know you are not contributing to that disaster - especially when its your child who later will be living with the consequence.

Finally - gDiapers are breathable - they keep babies dry and happy, so they’re less likely to get diaper rash and bonus - they are good for the ENVIRONMENT compared to the landfilling plastic type.

So I'm sold! And no, this is not a paid promotion - I truly believe in products that make a difference - and this is one we don't represent or even sell - but one that matters and which I therefore support.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The first thing I do every morning after leaving the house is head to the post office. For some reason I LOVE mail. I have always loved mail and unfortunately the sad thing as we grow up is that mail stops being as fun - more bills, less letters and cards. I even love junk mail - the pictures, words and always the bargains!

Today I opened our PO Box and saw an envelope with 'Parents' written on it. I had been asked to send some clothing items recently for consideration in the magazine and they mentioned they may use our hats. I never get too excited until I see the magazine as you never now if you make the final cut until it arrives.

Well - a page was marked with 'so cute' with a post it note from the editor and I opened it to find out delicious Oobi Baby bear hat and also our Minimink Russian Hat inside!! Wooo hooo so to speak.

Some people say it never gets cold in Los Angeles (I guess they live in heating...) but it does and certainly hat season is here. I can't even imagine living anywhere colder...yes I am baby about that but it was summer year round where I grew up. Our little bear hats are so adorable and now I think I just need to get them done in our size....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The First Little Luxury

I guess the first thing I should do - is say a huge thank you to all my supporters, friends, stores and vendors for getting me to the point where I had to start a blog! Little did I know when I started Cute-ture 2 years ago that I would be at this point so soon. Nor did I realize that when the company started that it would take over my life so completely and with so much fulfillment that I couldn't remember what life was like before it was this crazy existence. For those who are really left behind - what on earth is Tracey talking about - doesn't she work in film??....

I left Australia in 2004 to take up the role of Film Commissioner for Australia in Los Angeles and not long after my American boyfriend Joey proposed. Life was incredibly good and I was living in a nice fantasy world with celebrity friends, great perks at work and gorgeous husband who happens to be a wonderful actor. But then something incredible boss (who is located 12,000 miles away in Australia) decided to retire and the new boss was one that took the sunshine away from my happy existence. Then Joey and I decided to start a family and I thought I may finally pursue that dream that was constantly lurking in the back of my brain and start a business.

With a bit of luck I was shown a teddy-bear called the FLATOUTbear. One of my work colleagues came by and asked if it was something one of the celebrities I work with may like as a maternity gift. Two weeks later I was in Australia for work (with the not so shiny boss on a road trip) and I had dinner with the two sisters who created the FLATOUTbear. Suddenly after a few glasses of wine (I am an Aussie after all) the words ' I would love to import and rep your bear' came out of my mouth. I hadn't thought about it, I didn't know how I was going to do it and certainly I didn't think they would say yes. And that really is how it started.

Since that point, Joey and I discovered that I have some medical issues that have prevented us from getting pregnant thus far (though we are adopting and incredibly excited and in waiting for our baby) - and then our business boomed - I think God had a different plan for me than the one I had in my mind! FLATOUTbear introduced me to Minimink - an amazing faux fur line from Australia and around the same time I approached two incredible companies Oobi Baby and Alimrose Designs and suddenly we went from one bear in six colors - to over 400 products from four incredible companies and a bunch of stylists who loved the pieces and kept them in magazines.

So that is how Cute-ture began! We are now just starting year three in business and are so excited to have stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Shop Intuition, LOVE in Greenwich, Kitson and Calypso carrying our products. My dad recently joined our team as our business manager (he inspires me so much) and we are moving to a new location and new home next week!!

So with that as my very first blog - I look forward to updating you on all that is going on in the Vieira household and at Cute-ture. Finally I want to encourage you all for this Christmas - to volunteer! I took Joey to Treepeople (great non-profit) in the Hollywood Hills on the weekend to weed mustard plants (bad fire hazard) and then took Dad aka Stanley to Gibbon Center in Santa Clarita to clear scrub away from the endangered ape area again to ensure their safety if further fires flare up. It is so easy to be too busy to help others but if we all just take 3 hours out of our month and contribute to something much bigger than us, it would make an incredible difference! It really is easy to find places to volunteer and I am happy to help direct you to wonderful organisations such as