Category Archives // Family

HGTV: How David Bromstad and Color Splash transformed our master bedroom.

post written on 17 Sep 13 in Family, personal

Years ago, we fell in love with a little-known designer who appeared on the premiere season of HGTV’s Design Star, his name was David Bromstad. We thought (dreamed) that if ever we could get on a show and have someone create a space for us…he was THE one! He won and  “Color Splash with David Bromstad” was born.  We knew we would enjoy watching this transplanted Miamian (via Minnesota) transforming rooms in San Francisco. Fast forward a few seasons, David becomes HGTV’s star and returns “home” to Miami, to start filming here! I don’t know why but for some reason, we/I never applied…though we always wanted too. Two toddlers, not a big enough house, working from home…the excuses NOT to apply went on and on.

Early 2010, a few incidences sparked that little fire again…we found out some clients/friends would be appearing on the show (we needed to sign a release as our photos would appear in their episode) AND our new neighbors disclosed they were finalists for Color Splash!!! Yup. They got on too! Could this be a sign? Was it time to apply? Too late this time, maybe next season.

One day this past spring I was scrolling through Facebook (the power of social media!) and saw that Color Splash was looking for applications! I told Carlos, “this is it, we are going to be on the show!” Immediately, I filled out the necessary information, had my sweet, photographer husband take photos of our dreadful bedroom and sent emails to anyone I thought may help with the initial breakthrough to get into the producer’s hearts and minds! Then it happened. My cell phone rang with a California number I didn’t recognize. Our first interview of many! I was ecstatic but kept telling my freaking-out self to calm down or they will hang-up and never call again. The very next day, we had a producer in our living room, videotaping us, and a guided tour of our home, with a handheld. This was the same producer I met while crashing my neighbor’s Color Splash reno! Oh yah…did I forget to mention that I may have also brought over some chocolate cupcakes for David’s birthday while next door?  And that I loved meeting Patricia: lover of all animals, organic and healthy eating and everything fabulous? And, then there’s Gina, style and glam looks…she’s awesome! Those two beauties have impeccable taste and are the perfect duo next to David! Hands down.

Carlos and I were excited and nervous once we got the thumbs up! We watch all the shows on HGTV and like most friends we know, we giggle and give our opinions on the final outcome of each designer’s “reveal.” “Oh my God, why didn’t they clean up?” “How could they not have painted that panel before being on national TV?” “What color is that?” We started picking our own home apart, thinking of what viewers would say, then, the producers said this, “Real is better…just relax.” OK. A few bottles of Pledge, Windex and floor cleaner later, we relaxed. When it was time, we welcomed the whole crew into our home and into our lives (and they had no issues just moving right in!). We had to be out of our bedroom for about a week and were given a schedule of where to be and when, with the reveal date set, tentatively. The boys had a blast having sleep-overs every night with good friends, as did we, and are very grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives. It was a whirlwind, wrapping up just days before school finished, and we were exhausted. Then, the wait for an air date! We watched OUR show, glued to the TV (to relive every moment and see what was kept, and cut). Loved it. But, as they say, the images on TV don’t do the real room justice. Yes, we’ve made it our own. More photos of the boys, less fresh flowers and more books. It is now a sanctuary. OUR sanctuary.

Have fun looking through our behind-the-scenes photos…we sure had fun taking them and getting to know each of the crew members! HUGE THANK YOU’s to you all! David, Patricia, Gina, Wes, Ming, Adam, Tweedt, Scott, Juan, Carl, Drina and Bridget – you all gave us the master bedroom of our dreams! Your talent, vision, hard work and dedication to putting this together for us will never be forgotten!  And, to the HGTV family in post-production…thank you for the fun, final edit of the episode! You really pulled out the best parts of everything that was filmed. Of course, we can’t forget to thank our hosts Janette, Hanna and Sam; Erica, Hunter and Javier as well as Rick, Diane and Alex. xo

Thank you,

Alison, Carlos, Carson and Cameron

HGTV, Color Splash

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Life Challenges, Cycling, and France

post written on 03 Oct 11 in Family, Learning, personal, Videos

Exactly a year ago, my family and I went on a 16 day vacation to France. Paris for 3 days, then Provence for the rest. In Provence, there is a little mountain known as Mont Ventoux. It’s famous for many reasons, but mostly from Tour de France epic races, where legends have been made in professional cycling.

Since I turned 45 in October 2009, I started struggling with things everyone else goes through in life. What are the right choices, is money that important, fame, what’s best for my kids, my family, ME, etc.? I thought I had to please everyone. It took lots of conversations, lots of miles, lots of soul searching to realize that I was trying to please the wrong people, and forgetting what mattered most, right in front of my nose; my wife and kids. I walked away from this pseudo “rock-star photographer” tag people were wanting me to be. I never asked for it. I just want happy clients that are thrilled with great pictures. Period.

So I refocused. I got back to another passion of mine, cycling. Cycling was a big part of my life in my teens and early 20’s, I raced, was state champion a few times, competed at nationals, was sponsored. I trained until I was burnt out. Cycling was put on the back burner when photography took over and I started traveling and living abroad following my fashion photography dreams. Fast forward 25 years, and I noticed something was missing, cycling. So I got back on the bike, literally. Short rides, to build up endurance. I met new people who have become great friends. Others searching too. But what I love most about cycling, as fast as you think you are going on a bike, it  slows you down to see more of what you miss as you speed by things in your car. The beauty of life.

So for our trip to France, I thought to myself, while we are there, what challenge can I give myself? I’ve always watched the Tour de France on TV for 30 years, so why not pick the hardest climb in cycling, well, up there in the top 5. Mont Ventoux is a 22 kilometer, 13 mile climb, with inclines up to 12%, it’s unforgiving, and very lonely if done by yourself, I did, ugh. I trained specifically for this climb for 2 months. In Miami, where it’s flat, it’s hard. Most was done on a stationary trainer, a bike in my garage. Did I say I was a short distance specialist in my racing days, a sprinter. Sprinters don’t like climbs.

Yes, I had Alison, Carson, and Cameron, stopping on the side of the road every few kilometers, to cheer me on. It helped, but the physical and mental struggles of a climb like this, trust me, until you do it, your training can only prepare you so much. I thought of everything while I was riding, EVERYTHING! The start was easy, the end was epic, but the struggle in between was  close to torture, I think.

The biggest part of all this, is at the end of my video. All the really matters to me. Family.

So please enjoy, through my struggles and triumph, and see if this can help you contemplate, re-light a passion of yours, for yourself, your family, for life.

My Climb of Mt. Ventoux September 30, 2010 from CARLOS BAEZ on Vimeo.

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Our Boys & Puddles

post written on 08 Jul 11 in Family

In the long days of summer, parents know it’s hard to find new things to entertain your kids. With our boys and rainy days in Miami, puddles make a cheap and easy form of entertainment. Thank you puddles, Carson and Cameron.

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My papi, Ramon Baez

post written on 01 Apr 10 in Family, personal

5 years ago today, April 1st, my papi passed away. He was not sick; he was 74. He mowed the yard that morning, took a nap, awoke saying he didn’t feel well, and then had a heart attack.
My mother was at their home, called a neighbor, who in turn called me. I raced over to their home from mine, 10 minutes at most, to already find paramedics, who had known my father personally, working on him on the floor.

I turned my attention to comforting my mother and thinking of all the things I needed to do to help. Everything was racing through my head, but everything lining up in perfect order of what needed to be done. It’s weird how you focus in crisis.

They did their best, kept him breathing, and took him to the hospital into intensive care.
He was put on all sorts of machines; I guess it is procedure, hoping for the best, or a miracle.

We were let in to see him; my mother and I went in. When you first see your father or loved one attached to countless machines, it’s not a site you want to remember, but I remember it clearly. It drives me everyday.

Of course we cried, but I tried to stay strong for my mother, and I knew my father would want that. My brother and sister were out of state, so them getting there anytime soon was not a possibility. But the Cuban phone chain went into action and one after the other, my cousins, aunts, uncles, friends started showing up to the waiting room.

My papi always taught me about honesty, truth. We were never ones for lies, don’t like liars, they do no serve anything well. So when I kept asking nurses or anyone for answers, they gave me textbook answers, lets wait and see. Of course we prayed for a miracle, but we are also very realistic family, no matter what faith.

Then came our family doctor, who is a straight shooter. I looked at him, he looked at me, and just told me, there is no chance for your father to survive. He was without oxygen for too long. He told me the machines were standard procedure for the next 48 or 72 hours. To me, once I heard his honest answer, I knew anything else was pointless.

It was his time to go. No matter what amount of consoling I got from family and friends, it made no difference, I knew he was gone.

Finally came the time to stop the machines, he kept breathing on his own for some time, but it was just the body, the machine, that was just still ticking, until he stopped.

Of course I was upset, so were the hundreds if not thousands who showed up to his funeral, all saying to me, your father was a great man. The most kind and HONEST man they had ever met.

Knowing this is what keeps me going.

My father never got to see my boys. Alison and I had told him the day before he died that we were pregnant with our first child through in vitro fertilization.
When Alison walked, my dad and I were standing on the porch of his home; I told him they had implanted 3 embryos, that we could possibly be having triplets if all took.
The last thing I ever heard my father say to me was, “Now you are going to know what it’s like to be a father.”

When the casket was going into the ground, I felt a nice breeze come across my arm. I felt at peace, I knew I had to step up to provide a good home for my new family, like my father did, coming to this country from Cuba with nothing except my mom and sister and brother, who were 3 and 5, and had to start all over again with nothing, but his 6th grade education and his skill as a mechanic, and did his best to support his family.

You see, he had to prove himself all over again. At a car dealership, he was given a challenge by the owner, to fix a diesel truck that none of the other guys could get started in the past year. Get it started and he would have a job. 2 days he worked on it alone, him and his tools. Then came a huge roar of the engine, white smoke filling the mechanics bay. When the owner came to see the commotion, my dad walked out of the smoke covered in grease, handed the owner a wrench, and got the job, all with his year’s of experience and his tools of his craft.

So today, in now our second home together, Alison and I have 2 beautiful boys, Carson Ramon and Cameron Alexander who are almost 4 ½ and 3. So every time I hear their voices running around the house, I wish my dad could be here to hear whatever sound they are making.

I know I am making him proud through my hard work and doing my best to be a good father and husband, but more importantly, that I am a man who is respected, honest, and truthful.

Papi, I miss you, but I know you can hear our boys.

My papi was Ramon Baez.

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The Baez Boys Latest Adventures

post written on 03 Feb 10 in Family

As always, love to keep friends and family posted on the latest adventures of our boys Carson and Cameron. With Carson being in preschool, he now has lots of activities. The highlight recently was “snow day” in Miami. Yes, it does snow here, but only if an ice company supplies the snow. The boys also experienced their first bowling outing which they enjoyed, and not one finger was hurt. That same day we went down to the Mexican outdoor market in Homestead. The colors, aroma, and the people were exciting, but it was the miniature horses that kept the boys busy and bouncing, especially Carson’s hair, in the video below. Lastly, Carson had a bikeathon at his school which Cameron also participated in, to help raise funds for St. Jude. Cameron pretty much will do anything his brother does, but on a smaller scale. The great thing about my career is the time it allows me to spend with my family, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Untitled from CARLOS BAEZ on Vimeo.

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