34 Forever: A Tribute to Christina

As I sit down to write this post I feel at a loss for words, but at the same time, I am filled with thoughts and words floating through my mind and heart. Today I simply went through the motions, fighting back the tears that kept trying to surface, and sometimes they just wouldn't go away. I picked up my sweet baby boy from daycare today and he gave me a long, comforting hug after running into my arms. It's like he knew just what I needed. I couldn't hold back my tears anymore, I was so thankful and blessed to have him in my arms. All I can think about is her family, her husband, and her sweet baby girl, otherwise known as "Madame". I have some guilt for feeling so sad and upset knowing that so many others so close to her are grieving so much more than I. I guess sometimes writing things out or doing something tangible is my way of working through my feelings, so forgive me if this post drags on. It's more for me than for anyone who might read it.

Yesterday, on her 34th birthday, the world lost a bright light. Christina Rosales (Pirruccello) was my friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a family member, and an all around passionate and kind person. We were co-workers at the Network for many years, but really we were friends. Everyone has a lot of co-workers throughout their careers, some friends, some acquaintances, some just co-workers. I can say with confidence that she was a friend to all of us, she wasn't just a co-worker.

At this moment, I would just like to say @*$# CANCER!!!

Christina was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago in 2010. She fought courageously through it for one year, was back to work and her bubbly self the next year, and then it came back again most recently a few months ago. I don't know details of her feelings, joys, pains, and life through the last few months but I can only imagine. I wish nothing but love, security in knowing she is no longer in pain, and faith to her family.

As I am working through my emotions and feelings, it's so strange to have things like her Facebook page and pictures, her blog, her Pinterest boards, and our old email messages to look back on and browse through. It brings a smile to my face to read through the times where she was not in the throws of cancer and was back to her lively and energetic self. You can see it in her posts and pictures. The thing that makes me smile the most is her oozing love for Ella Mae. Christina was so proud to be the mother of that spunky, beautiful little girl and everyone knew it. When I was having our baby, Christina was always so kind and supportive of every stage of pregnancy and parenthood I went through. She once told me "Motherhood has changed my life in the best way". I agree Christina, it has for me also and thank you for sharing your experiences with me.

I left the Network about 7 months ago and I think the last time I saw Christina was on my last day of work. I spent some time walking around saying goodbye to everyone and I have a vivid memory of my conversation with her that day. Christina had spent many months getting back to who she felt like she was meant to be. She had energy, she was working out on lunch breaks, she was on top of her game with her job, she was living life and was so thankful! I went down to the 4th floor of the CDPH building to say my goodbyes and stopped by her cube. She was all dressed up, looking as lovely as ever. She had her short styled hair, a dress on with a cardigan, and a beautiful flower pinned to her chest. I think the flower was something a friend might have made. Christina was scheduled for an interview that day for a new position within the Network. As we were talking, she asked me if I thought the flower was too much? She said some people thought it might be too informal for an interview, maybe not professional enough. I gave her my opinion. I said, "No" I don't think it's too much, I think it's you. I think it shows your bubbly personality and spunk. She was so cute, she said something to the effect of, "I know, that's what I was thinking. I am proud of who I am and I think it shows all of me, not just a professional part of me". I ensured her that I thought it was fine to wear that flower with pride. I am not sure if I will ever know if she wore that flower or not, but I like to imagine she did.

There are so many parts to this story that are tragic. Anyone who is dealing with cancer themselves, or through a loved one, is dealing with their own set of tragedies. I hope, pray, and have faith that God has our plan and has his reasons for these tragedies. The fact remains that I am angry that some people choose to kill others or leave this world by their on hand. It's hard to accept because sweet deserving people like Christina, who are so thankful for every breath that they take, don't choose. They are given these tragedies. Ella Mae, in her all of almost three years of life, was given this tragedy. She has an amazing and loving family to help her through the years, but my heart will always ache for her and the memory of her mother.

With that said, Christina's family started a fund to help support Ella Mae and her future. I can't make any promises, but here goes. I want to help. I want to do something in memory of my friend and in support of her daughter's future. Tonight, in memory of our last conversation, that flower, her smile, her laughter, and her life, I pulled out my craft supplies and made something. I made a flower. I am going to wear that flower with pride. I am also going to sell these flowers and all the proceeds will go to Ella Mae. If you or anyone you know wants to buy a flower, email me and I will make you a flower and give the proceeds to Christina and Ryan's daughter Ella's education fund.
Since the birth of my son 17 months ago, a level of fear and worry has crept up inside of me. I am sometimes afraid of the future, afraid of tragedies, and flat out afraid of death. I have definitely been challenged lately to keep that fear away and have trust and faith. Maybe Christina was afraid of death, maybe she wasn't. I know deep down that she is in a place where she is pain free and can watch over her daughter and family with a smile.
May your soul rest in peace my friend, may you experience the joys of heaven, and may you be there in spirit for your daughter all the days of her life. You have touched the lives of so many, so many more than you will ever know.

You will always have a place in my heart friend.
Love, Sarah


New Inspiration

Well hello there old friend. My little blog, oh how I have missed you. So much that you don't even show up on my top sites screen anymore. It was so interesting to see the most recent traffic stats though, somehow people are still stumbling onto my blog and the numbers are still up (I used to check regularly and probably haven't looked in over 5 months!).

What can I say, life, the job, and family have kept me very pre-occupied lately. I have drifted away from a lot of my side work, special projects, and design that I desperately want to continue, there's just not enough time in the day it seems!

I have been searching for balance, new inspiration, and a more leveled out schedule. I am happy to say that I am getting there. I took for granted the level of comfort and experience I had in my previous job at the Network, one which I felt pretty good about my ability to do. I quickly learned that not knowing what you are doing in a new job equals being uncomfortable and challenged, but now after almost 5 months, things are starting to shake out and I am feeling a bit more confident in what I am doing =)

Over the past few months, a lot of my "fun" time went away. My family time is always fun but this is a different kind of fun time, more like creative me time. It was blogging, house projects, photography, learning to sew, designing, and trying to get an Etsy shop going (it's gonna happen someday, mark my words). I am slowly figuring out how to get my "fun" time back =). On top of that, working out has quietly slipped back into my schedule thanks to an awesome birthday gift from the hubby, yoga classes for 3 months at my favorite yoga studio, Padme Yoga Center.

Anyway, along the idea of looking for new inspiration, I decided that the chalkboard we have hanging in our kitchen needed a little pick me up.


It is a really cute board we got at the Grass Valley Italian Festival last year, thank you Nancy! I love the traditional images but wanted to freshen it up with some images that would inspire us and make us smile as we walked by on our way out the door for work each morning. Thanks to Pinterest, it was easy to find a few photos I like and this quote, "Welcome to today. Another day, another chance. Feel free to change.". I just printed the images out the same size as the existing image and voila!


Gino has been really supportive through all of our life changes, is always optimistic, and reminds me to stay positive and look at all the wonderful things we are blessed with. I want to be reminded every day to count our blessings and be glad! =)



That's all for now, thanks for stopping by and listening.


Feel Better Soon

Tonight is going on four nights of quarantine for the Sciandri household! I am going a little stir crazy, thus a long overdue blog post.
Luke has been sick with a really nasty bug since Wednesday night. Here's the rundown of our past 4 days. Since Luke turned one, we thought it was time to switch from formula to regular milk. Our daycare told us that it is good to switch to 1/2 formula, 1/2 milk. We started the new combination on Wednesday with his bottle in the morning and throughout the day. When Gino went to pick Luke up, he had a bottle and threw it up. We thought ok, well it was probably from the milk being introduced into his system. We spent the rest of the night with a sick baby that threw up about 6 times. At about 5:30 in the morning, we were so worried and the advice nurse on the phone was no help at all, we decided to take him into the ER with fear that he might be dehydrated on top of his fever. After some Motrin in the behind, anti-nausea medicine, and some paperwork, we left that ER visit armed with some good tips.
  • The previous night, we gave Luke a full bottle and a full bottle of water to drink because he had thrown up so much and we were worried he was getting dehydrated. MISTAKE because he chugged it. Apparently we were only supposed to give very small amounts at a time, like tablespoons full at a time, not a few ounces. That was probably the reason for some much throw up. 
  • It's ok to alternate between baby tylenol and ibuprofen and stagger to keep his fever down. We were always afraid of him having too much medicine in his system and didn't like giving him too much, but it really helps when they have a fever.  
  • As long as they are getting water or pedialyte, it's ok if they don't eat. We were so worried that the poor little guy was hungry but in order to get rid of the bug, he just needed liquids to survive. 
  • The Dr. we saw had never heard of the 1/2 formula, 1/2 milk approach and advised we just make the switch a little at a time to straight milk instead of mixing it with formula. We are waiting a bit to try the switch again.
  • We use the thermometer to take his temperature under his armpit. We have the kind that you roll over the forehead but can never seem to get an accurate reading from that. With the armpit method, it is actually 1-2 degrees higher than the reading. 
So, Gino and I took our sweet, sick, little guy home and he slept. We alternated the day so we both could take care of him and work and he seriously slept for about 90% of the day, only waking to drink some water/pedialyte and poop. Later that evening he threw up 2 more times and was extremely lethargic. He could barely sit up and was so sleepy with a high fever. Our neighbor Jane, a nurse, came over to check him out and didn't dispute our thought to take him back into the ER for a second time. We felt a bit like over worried parents, but at the same time, it's so hard to know what their little bodies can't handle on their own. 
Thursday night we checked into the ER at 9:15 pm and were out of there by 1:30 am. That made for some really tired parents, a sleepy and sick baby, and some serious questions about the type of visits some people make to the ER.... that's an entirely different subject. Anyway, we opted not to do the IV because the Dr. said she wasn't extremely worried about his status, though he was definitely sick with a fever and moderately dehydrated. As long as he would still take liquids and we could keep the fever down, she thought he would soon get over this nasty virus. 

The next day I was working at home and it was a relatively easy day to get a lot of work done because he was still sleeping almost 90% of the time but his diaper numbers were on the serious rise. No throw up though, that was great! 

It's memorial day weekend and we had a lot of plans but ended up canceling them all to take care of Luke. I feel like we are nurturing a little baby bird back to health. He tries to get up and walk around and is so weak and wobbly that he just collapses. He needed all the time to recover and is still recovering. Yesterday we kept track of at least 20 diapers. Poor guy has a sore behind =(.  He is eating a little now and slowly getting more lively with fewer diapers. 

We are relieved by the few smiles we got today but this experience really gives us a true perspective for parents who have chronically sick children or children with serious illnesses. It's so hard to see a young helpless little thing go through something that is hurting them and we feel for those children and parents out there dealing with things like this on a daily basis. They are definitely in our prayers. 

So, despite all this we are able to see some positives and have learned a good deal about how to deal with a sick little one. 
  • It's pretty easy to get frustrated with each other when you are both asking each other what the other thinks you should do. In our case, we both didn't know what to do so we had no answers. As first time parents, it's ok that neither of you have the answers. Be open to each other's ideas and go with your gut feelings. 
  • It's ok to call your Moms at any time. We ended up calling both our Moms in the early morning for the first ER visit and they wouldn't have it any other way. The re-assurance is nice and someday if Luke needs some advice from me with his child, I would want him to call at any time. Our Moms have both obviously been in our shoes before and they had way better advice than the advice nurse we called who wasn't allowed to technically give us medical "advice".  
  • Trust your gut. Our guts told us to make 2 ER visits. Chalk this up to being first time parents, or stress cases, but either way, we felt better with an expert opinion then and there and felt better to play it safe than wait too long to be sorry. If your gut says to go get pedialyte at 3:00 am, do it. If your gut says to bring them into bed with you even if they throw up all over the sheets, do it.. =)  
  • WASH YOUR HANDS ALOT! We are both ok so far and have all our fingers and toes crossed that we haven't caught what captured our little one. 
  • Keep track of everything while they are sick (throw up, wet diapers, poop diapers, food, water, etc.) it comes in handy when the nurse or Dr. asks you questions. 
  • Baths are a good distraction. We had to give Luke a few because he threw up all over the place, but while he was in the bath, he seemed relaxed and at ease. 
  • These are some foods we have had success with over the past 2 days: 
    • Saltine crackers
    • bananas mashed with applesauce
    • risotto
    • mashed potatoes 
    • mozzarella cheese pieces 
    • yogurt
    • yogurt with rice krispy cereal 
  • Walks are good! We went on a really long walk today and it seemed to help get him out of the house in fresh air. He was content just looking around and watching Ponzo. 
  • Let them sleep. You might worry they are sleeping too much or that they won't sleep at night but despite how long Luke slept during the day, he still needed just as much sleep during the night. 
  • Change their diaper as soon as they go. We were to the point of a diaper every 15 to 30 minutes but in order to keep his little behind feeling at least just ok, we needed to change him time and time again. Diaper cream is our best friend at this point. 
The benefits of this weekend despite the fun times we missed out on:
  • clean house
  • laundry done
  • cars washed
  • QT time with each other (Mom & Dad) once we got over the initial "what do you think? I don't know, what do you think? I don't know, I have never done this before. Well, neither have I!" discussion
  • A very snugly baby 
  • Did I mention a clean house
  • Time to write a blog post! 
This is all part of the parenting game and we willingly signed up for it. I am glad we are almost out of our first really rough battle so we can better deal with the next. Overall, it's been a pretty decent weekend =) 


Luke 11 Months

Luke turned 11 months on April 16th. What an 11 months it has been! I mentioned in my last post that it is hard to realize it has already almost been a year, WOW.

Luke is doing great! He is standing on his own and has taken some unofficial steps but is not walking yet. He started standing on his own a few weeks ago and we thought for sure walking would soon follow but he is content for now with just standing. I do think he will be taking steps by the time his birthday rolls around!

He is teething ALOT and it has been making him quite uncomfortable lately so I can't wait to get through this stage for his sake, that has just gotta hurt!

One other strange thing happened recently which I actually think is a blessing in disguise. Luke has sucked his left thumb since he was just a few weeks old and we have always attributed his great sleeping habits to his ability to soothe himself with his thumb. If he was tired, he would just turn his head to the left, suck his thumb, and fall right asleep. Well, over Easter weekend Luke got a pretty bad infection/chewed up his left thumb. It was a rough couple of days because it hurt him so bad and I constantly had medication on it. He physically could not suck his thumb anymore and now that his thumb has healed, he forgot all about sucking it. This isn't to say the habit won't pop back up sometime but it has been 2 weeks and he hasn't even tried to suck his thumb. So, I guess we don't need to bribe him to stop when he is older =0) Falling asleep isn't as easy as it used to be but it is good enough for us!




Luke 9 and 10 Months

Big sigh.... Luke turned 11 months yesterday. I think it hit us like a ton of bricks that our baby is almost no longer a baby! I love watching him grow and change but can't believe how fast time goes by.

Sorry, I am a bit behind on the updates. Today you get 9 and 10 months and either tomorrow or Thursday I will post 11 months with more about how he is doing.


I just love these photos all together to see him change. I still love Week 12 the best, such a cute face =)


Cha... Cha... Cha... Changes!

Goodbye Network for a Healthy California (Network) and the Department of Public Health, it has been a great 6.5 years! Over the years I would occasionally think about what it would be like to not work at the Network and soon I will know what that's actually like. I have spent at least 80% of my professional career within the walls of the California Department of Public Health's building on Capitol Avenue. I feel fortunate to have gained a wide variety of experiences with the Network from a complete organizational re-brand, television advertising shoots, food and cookbook photo shoots, focus groups with real California Moms struggling to feed their families healthy and affordable foods, production of award winning publications and educational materials, and so much more. I watched the Network grow over the years and developed a strong bond with my Communications and Media Unit. I will leave with a life long passion for healthy eating and active living and I want to continue to do what I can to help people get and eat healthy, fresh, and affordable fruits and vegetables in one way or another.

Here are a few embarrassing moments at the Network!
Oh, don't worry, that's just me with pigtails in my hair.... forced to try and look like a teen.... thanks Kristy.... I let them do that to me and all I can say is WOW. It got even worse when a friend actually saw the poster in her local grocery store!

There is a lot at the Network that I won't miss but I will miss the people. Barbara, Becky, Kristy, Loren, Sarita, Iain, Carmen, Mary, and Kathryn. There are a handful of others that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and respect their passion, dedication, and skills they are devoting to making California a healthier place!

It's now my time to move on and I couldn't be happier to be moving to a place where I already feel welcome! I start a new job on Monday with 3fold Communications as an Account Manager. 3fold is a fun, creative, and community focused communications and marketing agency located in the heart of midtown Sacramento. They were awarded the Sacramento Metro Chamber's Small Business of the Year Award for 2011 and are widely respected in the local Sacramento community. 3fold represents private and non-profit clients so I will be able to experience working with both sides of the business.

I look forward to this new chapter in my life. There are big changes happening and I am ready to meet them head on with energy and determination to do great things. Definitely check out the Web site, like the Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, keep up with their blog, and contact me if you think there is an opportunity to work together in the future! Just a few more days and I will officially be a 3folder!


Happy Valentines Day!


Happy Valentines Day to you all! I got a very pleasant surprise from Gino yesterday, a sewing machine! Now that I have a sewing machine, I need to learn how to use it and I just know I will add 50 more projects to my "want to do list". Oh well, at least there is Pinterest to look to for projects and tutorials!

I also had another realization this morning. I didn't think to bring Luke's teachers or classmates a valentine. Luke sent a few valentines out to a few special people but I completely forgot about daycare until I walked in this morning to find another kid with cards for the teachers. I know he's still young so it isn't a big deal but I guess that is another thing to think about down the road.

Tonight we plan on a nice evening at home with a healthy dinner of ahi tuna steaks, little man cuddles, and day 2 of P90X! Exciting I know.


Primo Landscape + Design

Happy Monday everyone!

Many of you know that Gino, my husband, has a passion and talent for landscape design. Over the summer he worked really hard to pass the California contractors license exam to become a licensed landscape contractor. Of course we had to make new business cards to showcase his new number. After I adamantly shot down the name "Primo" for our son, Gino decided that it was a perfect name for his landscape business and Primo Lanscape + Design was born.

Gino wanted a simple and clean logo with no icons or symbols but something that would look good on a yard or truck sign. I created this logo for him with a sketched style name and a shining light effect on the words PRIMO.

Primo Landscape and Design Logo-01

Primo Landscape + Design Card1

Primo Landscape + Design Card2

Primo Landscape + Design Cards

Over the next few months we will be putting together his Web site which will include a bio, before and after pictures of previous and current jobs, and a list of the various services he offers. If you need help with landscape design and would like to talk with Gino, send me a message or give him a call.

Gino, I am so proud of all of your hard work!


DIY: Faux Hardwood Floors

Two years ago I posted about my studio basement. After being pregnant, moving my invitation and design materials down into the basement from the spare bedroom to make room for the nursery, and having a baby, we finally got around to finishing the basement floors! You will see from the before photos that the floors were a dingy gray with paint splatters. I looked all over the Internet and Pinterest for inspiration and found something that caught my eye. I stumbled upon this cement floor painted to look like dark hardwood floors from TwentySixFiftyEight.


Our house was built in 1930 so the basement floor is very uneven and we wanted to do a paint technique that covered up the flaws of the floor. It is so uneven that another type of floor covering wouldn't work. We decided tot try the technique from above but with lighter brown colors. On a Friday night in January, Gino and I rolled up our sleeves when Luke went to bed, got some Corona Lights, and got down to floor painting business! It took us about 4 hours to complete and it really wasn't as hard as we expected. I am so happy with the results and we now have a clean, organized basement that we can actually spend some time working in. There are a lot of additional things to finish like covering the area under the stairs, repainting the stairs, touching up the walls, painting the celling, finishing the top shelf above the desk, and more random finishing touches. For now, we are very pleased with the outcome and it was just under $80 for the whole project. 






Here is the cost breakdown and step-by-step instructions. 
Total = $69.72 + tax

You will notice a Graining Tool in the picture above and we got the idea to use this tool from the blog inspiration in the beginning of the post but it DID NOT WORK! I was a little disappointed but I think the Purdy Wall Weaver Brush actually create a better effect in the end. It might work on a very smooth and flat surface but this tool didn't work at all on our floor. 

Step 1: 
  •  Clean the floor thoroughly. We swept a few times because our basement is very dusty from underneath the house.
  • Some floors may need sanding or priming but we were going for a naturally flawed effect and didn't mind if any of the gray floor showed through so we didn't do any other prep work. 
Step 2:
  • Start in one corner of the room and roll a 6" wide "plank" with the darker base color to the desired length. We made all our "planks" different lengths so that we had flexibility and so that the floor looked a little more organic and rustic. The reason we used a thick nap stucco roller was so that the paint would get into all the little cracks and crevasses on our floor. If you have a smooth floor, any roller would do.
Step 3: 
  • Dip the 6" Purdy Wall Weaver Brush lightly in the lighter color paint and gently brush the top of the "plank" blending the colors to the desired effect. We had a few planks were we blended too much and it looked like a very blended light brown color, so be careful not to over brush.
Step 4: 
  • For the second row, make the next plank a different length than the first row so that the floor boards look alternating. We didn't outline anything or draw any type of pattern, we just continued to make different lengths as we went along.
  • The lines between the planks are an effect created by brushing mainly in the center of the plank and not blending the top color all the way to the edge of the 6" plank. When you start the brushing, just keep a little space at the top and sides of each plank.
Step 5: 
  • Repeat. We were lucky enough to end with an almost exact 6" plank on the other side of the room so it worked out well for our space. It might be worth measuring before you begin.
    IMG_3261The finished room without touch up on the side base wall. IMG_3265IMG_3560IMG_3562IMG_3530IMG_3532IMG_3533IMG_3536

Still have a place for our family silhouettes but need to add one more for Luke!













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If you have any questions about this project or any of the studio items, feel free to send me an email

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