Sunday, April 28, 2013

don’t compare your insides to somebody’s outsides




This post really began with Rondell.

Whenever I get a comment from someone I don’t know I like to click on to their name to find out if they have a blog too. And if so, I’ll stop by to get a sense of who they are and maybe leave my own comment on their blog. I just think it’s a nice courtesy.

But when I went to Rondell’s blog I was surprised by what I read. Apparently she was taking a break from blogging because “its starting to be not fun,” and as an explanation she provided THIS link which of course I read.

I’m so glad I did too, because Liz Cowan’s words were like a cool, refreshing drink of truthfulness.

Do you ever read words that feel like they could be coming straight out of your own mouth?


Well that’s how I felt after reading this post about the ugly side of blogs. It’s an important message from a blogger that has purposefully chosen not to display followers or comments on her blog. And who loves blogging now that she’s made these changes.

The interesting thing is, several weeks ago I was reminded that we’re all vulnerable to comparing ourselves to others and feeling worse. In fact, I almost gasped when my fabulously successful blogger friend told me she sometimes felt like “throwing up all over her blog,” and confessed to the same doubts about her content and her writing that I had.

But wait.

What about her thousands of faithful followers?

She pointed to her giveaways and humbly questioned their dedication (as a faithful reader of her blog I know this is not true).

However the point is this.

Depending on our mood, it’s easy to look over at someone else’s life and only see the rosy glow of happiness.

It’s easy to swiftly assess what someone has…


Tons of blog comments

A mass of admiring blog followers

A pretty face

A funny writing style

A slender body

A beautifully decorated home

A cosmopolitan lifestyle


…and wonder what’s wrong with you.

But the truth is… a blog is not real life.

Blogging is merely a slice of the life we choose to display to the world. And it’s important that we don’t get confused.

Blogs are actually a constructed image that depends solely on the blogger’s editing. Think about that. Our readers see and read only the parts of our lives that we choose to disclose and even when we offer glimpses into our deeper selves, we select the shadows we want to illuminate.


Yes, there are those who write fearlessly from their heart, shining a light on even the painful, gritty parts of their world. Those bloggers who show us their struggles and allow us to feel a kinship with their humanness.

But there are certain blogs that are reliable for their brand of beautiful, frothy images. Blogs that we visit for their pretty pictures and their brand of happiness, the kind of gorgeous distractions from real life that I crave at certain moments.

The problem is not this brand of light banter and visual beauty.

The key is realizing that what we’re seeing in front of us is not the whole story; and the question is whether we’re gullible enough to believe that this always-happy-perfect-looking world really exists. As a visitor to a blog we should know we’re stepping into a world where behind-the-scene clutter, kid problems, and painful insecurities are carefully scripted. We may not always see the thread of imperfection that binds us together.

So you should be careful when you’re blog hopping. Be wary of making assumptions about a blogger’s entire life simply from the glimpses you have from her posts.



Because it’s so tempting to visit a blogger and swoon over the artfully styled photographs of her home and believe that’s how it always looks.


It’s easy to read well written posts by faceless women and imagine their life is filled only with romantic interludes and fascinating travels.


One minute we’re gazing at a white linen couch on a design blog and the next second we’re filling in the missing pieces of this perfect picture with a handsome husband who cleans after himself and never leaves the toilet seat up, and children who eat dinner in a sparkling clean kitchen with matching napkins and fresh flowers on the table. A world without bills that need to be paid and laundry that’s piled on the floor.

Only the dangerous part of this idealized fantasy world we imagine, is that it ultimately makes us feel worse about ourselves. As women, as mothers, as bloggers, as writers.

This is what I got from reading the post at Mabel’s House. No, there weren’t any crescendo crashing words that I hadn’t heard before, but her post reminded me that the minute we begin to make comparisons,

of ourselves,

of our blogs,

of our kids,

of our homes

we invite discontent into our lives. Because comparing ourselves to others instantly distorts our own worth. Either we feel worse about ourselves (after comparing ourselves to an illusion)

or we feel temporarily better after having ranked somebody beneath us on some fake, arbitrary scale in our heads. Either way it’s mental trickery, it’s not real.

But this is real:

The act of making comparisons robs us of the chance to feel gratitude for what we have.

Comparisons steal our joy.




Does blog hopping ever make you feel worse about your own blog?




I’d  love to hear your thoughts.


(p.s. I think you’re amazing)





I’m sharing this post with these friends:



Monday, April 22, 2013

chalkboard art on my kitchen island: finally done


Well I finally finished my chalkboard art on my kitchen island.

Before I write another word I have to tell you that I got this idea from the blog Dear Lilly.

Jennifer Holmes is one amazing chalkboard artist and if you don’t have the time or interest to make your own project, you can go HERE and she’ll show you how to download and frame a beautiful chalkboard art print for your home. Tell her I said “Hi” if you stop by.


Me? I’m certainly no expert at this, in fact I’ve only done this two other times:

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this framed project in my office


and this large wedding menu for Anne and Ryan.

I’ve also discovered that I’m an impatient chalk artist so I’m probably not the best person to learn from; I simply print out my message in a font I like and I jump right in..


Plus, I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time on my kitchen island because I had visions of splattered milk eventually finding its way to my writing. So I downloaded this free font and went to work eyeballing the entire space for my five words.


Once I had an idea where my words were going, I used a level to put down straight pieces of tape. And I began to sketch out my words free-hand, using plain white chalk. Some people recommend working with wet chalk but I prefer my chalk dry.

I’ve found dry chalk seems easier to erase with my finger or wet cu-tips.


This is a photo of the words printed out in regular chalk. After I was done I went over the message with a Chalk pen because it looks more dramatic.


Can you see the difference?






Unlike Jennifer’s kitchen, my chalkboard art is not as easy to read because there are chairs and a table next to it.


But I actually like that I can’t see it from every angle. Right now whenever I happen to glance at the words I think, “Oh hey, I remember you,” and I smile

because I like the message.…


How about you?

What are you working on right now?



I’m linking this post up with these friends:




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

spreading beauty and hope…


Today is a day for sharing things of beauty and hope.


Because yesterday was a tough day.

On a day when I was already feeling down about this and that, I turned on the news and saw unbearable loss and sadness at the site of the Boston marathon bombing. 


Our weather was gray and overcast and my mood stayed somber all day long.

Because sometimes Life is hard. That’s the truth.


And it’s important to be honest about what you’re feeling. Instead of judging your emotions and thinking, “What’s wrong with me today?”

it’s healthy to let those shadowy feelings be okay.


Instead of judging your emotions, be curious to know yourself better.

Try to observe your feelings without labeling them “positive” or “negative.” Because that’s how they come to pass through us



and leave us wiser…



That’s what I did yesterday. I felt so sad… I even cried

for people I didn’t know and for things in my own life I can’t control

And this morning  I felt SO much better. Of course nothing has been magically fixed, but today I was determined to pray hard for those who are hurting and to write a post that might inspire and lift you




Because today is a new beginning.

Even before our day starts we can do these FIVE THINGS to make us feel good. Because when we feel strong and hopeful we can cope with the uncertainty of life.


We can practice these TEN HABITS that might lighten our daily load

because we deserve to go at an easier pace.


And we should be on the look-out for the real life angels in our lives; the people who are supportive and say nice things and make us feel good about who we are.

Because no matter what you think, you’re already perfect.

You know that, right?


So I hope you read this PERMISSION SLIP.

And remember that at any moment we can stop going back to people or places that drain our energy and make us feel bad, no matter how many chances we give them.


Practice kindness above all else.


And slow down to appreciate the smallest joys each day.

Even if this means blogging less in order to be fully present with those we love.

Because LIFE is so precious.



I know you join me in sending prayers to the city of Boston.

(Today we’re all Bostonians)

Blessings to you my friend!




I’m linking up with these friends:


(photos:,,, hookedonhouseblogspot,.com,



Monday, April 15, 2013

a pretty paper flower for your napkins


For my Mom’s birthday brunch I placed a tissue and crepe paper flower on top of each of the napkins and it was such a feminine touch, I thought I’d share it with you since Mother’s Day is around the corner.

The brunch turned out so nice and the best part was the wonderful chat my Mom and I ended up having. But that’s a topic for another post.

Right now I want to show you how to make these sweet looking flowers.

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If you’ve made a tissue pom-pom before than you already know how to do this, it’s just a modified version.

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But if don’t know anything about tissue balls don’t worry because I took some photos for you. This is what I used to make my flowers.


The tissue paper is in stacks of five. You can also get creative and combine colors if you want.

The size of your tissue squares will determine your flower size. The bigger the square, the bigger the flower. When you begin folding make sure your stack of FIVE tissue squares are lined up together and then you simply fold, accordion style.


Press edges of tissue together and tie with wire. Next you cut your edges.

Notice how the wire is tied on the side of the tissue? This is the same way to make a hanging tissue ball.


Now you simply turn it so the twisted wire is facing you, and fan both sides out gently.

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The wire will be sticking up in the middle.

You can trim it or use this spot for hot glue if you want to embellish with something weighty.

I just stuck the crepe paper flower right inside the center.

Here’s my version of a quick crepe paper flower. I should warn you that I’m not a perfectionist about this, so if you know a better method let me know.

How to make the pink crepe paper flower for the center


Untitled-1part twotutorial

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When it was completed, I laid it on the napkins but since there’s wire in the middle you could pull a ribbon through it and tie it to your napkins if you prefer.

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Well, what do you think?

It’s definitely a girly touch and my Mom was so appreciative, not just of these flowers but the entire table. But she always is. She’s the person who taught me the importance of making ordinary occasions into festive celebrations. It never mattered that we were surrounded by males (three brothers and my Dad) who might not notice the tiny details…

Creating beautiful tables was just as important as the food we served. And the truth is, we never considered it extra “work” because we got so much happiness

out of making things look special.


Do you know what I mean?




I’m linking this post up with these friends:



Friday, April 12, 2013

Black to White: a kitchen update


This is a BEFORE photo of my kitchen.

Although I like having touches of black in my white kitchen, these dark chairs and table started to feel too dark. Especially since I don’t get a lot of natural light in here after the morning hours.


Funny when I look at this photo, I still like this look. And I might have kept them black except for my brown sectional that’s next to this kitchen. The combination of my dark chocolate sectional which I have a love/hate relationship with

( love how comfy it is, sick-of-the-color)

and this black table and chairs created a heaviness in this space. Do you do this kind of balancing act with color too? It felt like something needed to change.

You can see more of my before kitchen HERE.



Anyway, since I can’t afford a new couch I decided to focus on what I could change so I painted the furniture. You can see how I sanded, dismantled the chairs and used a chalk paint recipe HERE. 

I won’t deny it, painting chairs are a lot of work (thanks Dad for your help).



But now that it’s done, I’m SO happy with it. I’m just loving all the white.



What do you think? I took this picture in the morning.


Black table in background (ignore smudgy island)


White table in background


Black chairs next to brown sectional


White chairs next to brown sectional

Well that’s it for now. I’ll be back with photos of the whole kitchen

(hopefully with better lighting)

when I’m finished with my kitchen island chalk art. Now that the wedding’s over I finally have time to finish it! Although I still think the biggest transformation has been the white-chalk painted fireplace in this room, it changed the entire feeling in here. Amazing what paint can do.

In the meantime…this weekend is the annual Mother-Son dance at Michael’s school and it’s my Mom’s birthday on Sunday so I’ll be doing a little brunch. So I’m off to check out recipes….

I sure hope you have a wonderful weekend!




I’m linking this post up at these fun places:




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