Thursday, September 26, 2013

has social media made you a validation junkie?



This week has been interesting.

I’m down in Southern California on a business trip with Mr. Moss and I have been taking a break from writing posts. I’ve lugged my laptop with me so I’m doing plenty of reading and writing. But I’ve been trying to disconnect from the whirlwind momentum of blogging. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about those silent pressures to keep your blog current and to be active in the blog world. The truth is, I love reading. I love the inspiration I find out there on lifestyle and design  blogs and sometimes I feel guilty when I’m happily reading along and I don’t take the time to leave a comment.

It’s true, I actually feel like apologizing. I’m sorry I’m enjoying your wonderful post without letting you know. And sorry if I’m being selfish, if I’m being a taker in the blog world. I understand if you don’t stop by my blog in return because there’s so many others who are reading your posts and leaving delicious, little comments behind. And god knows there’s only so much time you have to return those gestures.

This is the kind of craziness that goes through my little blogger pea brain.

So this week I haven’t published one post. And part of me is in observation mode. I’m watching myself as I let the stillness settle around me.

  • What happens when I don’t constantly check my own blog, my stats, my email?
  • What happens when I don’t have a Fall post to link up to the latest popular linky party? 
  • How do I feel when I read thought-provoking posts that are followed by an endless parade of comments?

Hmm…very interesting.

There’s definitely an insecurity that comes with stepping away from the act of blogging.

A worry that I’ll be forgotten maybe? That my legion of followers (that’s a joke) will suddenly abandon me and never return? That my stats will plummet below sea level?

Funny but when I see these fears on my white computer screen they actually look irrational. Like silly little words. And yet these are the mind-bending thoughts that can rob me of my joy and turn blogging into a virtual high school. With all those comparisons. A god-awful cafeteria table with the popular girls and the jocks and the artsy crowd and the stoners and the desperation for acceptance.

But there’s something else about blogging breaks that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Until this morning when I read this insightful post and the light-bulb suddenly went on. In this post the author writes about her 40 day break from social media and what she learned in the process. First of all, you probably know this but the whole world of  social media is a slippery slope; and she did a great job describing the frenetic busyness of it all. And how easy it is to get hooked. To have that constant urge to ‘check’ something-anything—on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, her blog. She became hyper aware of the unhealthy restlessness with it all, a discontent even. It’s the feeling there’s always something better happening, someplace else. A lively party that you’re missing.


And this feels bad.

And there was something else she mentioned about blog posts that hit home: it’s the ease in which posting can quickly become a way of asking the world for validation.

“Do you “like” me? Am I special enough? Am I funny enough, deep enough, smart enough, successful enough, love-able enough? How much do you like my opinion about this, that, and every other thing?”                   

She found the hardest part of disconnecting from social media was remembering that her ‘little life’ was enough just the way it was. And that she didn’t have to always be working so hard to keep producing interesting tweets and worthwhile blog posts and how there was something healthy about the quiet space that was created when she took a break from it all.



I love when I stumble on a post that makes me think.

How about you?

When was the last time you took a break from social media?





Saturday, September 21, 2013

bedroom inspiration…

Ever since the boys left to school I’ve been trying to decide how to re-vamp their bedrooms. Something that will feel warm and comfy, yet a bit more neutral for either a male or female.

There’s something I like about each of these bedrooms. I’m looking at paint colors, accessories, bedding and headboards.

Which one is your favorite?




(love the shutters minus the wreath)



black and white check






As I type these words I’m heading out of town for a week and when I get back I’ll show you my Fall mantel. Here’s a peek at one of my projects..


What are you working on these days? 





(for more pretty photos see my Bedroom Pinterest board)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ten ways to get creative with Fall foliage…



Are you gathering your sticks and leaves and berries on your walks? I sure hope so.


This is the trail that I run on with Stella.

Now that the weather is beginning to change I love to scope out the trails while I’m on them and lately I’ve been stopping to pick up some pretty sticks and branches. Are you a collector too?

Today I thought I’d show you what I did with my little pile of sticks. I also want to show you ten ways to decorate using simple-to-find objects from the outdoors. I mean,  really, truly easy to find items.

1. Sticks. Use them to make a rustic candle




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My Woodland Candle in front of a vintage oil painting…


mixing rustic and shiny textures.


2. Feathers. I filled a thrift store vase with a few…



3. Berries. I brought them inside and put them into a pretty pitcher (HERE)



4. As the colors begin to change…you can start gathering leaves for vases





5. stick the leaves right into your flower centerpiece



6. decorate your entrance with them



7. work them into your tablescapes..


8. tie a leaf to a votive candle


9. Fill a old urn with pussy willows and dried hydrangeas



10. pick up branches—big and small-- and create a natural centerpiece…

How about you?

Have you discovered anything amazing lately?






I’m sharing this post at this lovely place:


Saturday, September 14, 2013

oh, so this is what it’s like… (letting go)




Two weeks after we dropped Michael off at college he called to tell us his right foot was fractured.

We had moved him to school knowing about his swollen foot but he had insisted it was fine, he had just landed on it wrong and that it was getting better. Although I had one of those nagging feelings about it. Call it mother’s intuition but I wasn’t surprised when he phoned me after a week and a half of rowing practices and told me he needed to find a doctor in his new city. I did really well until he was referred to an orthopedic surgeon because his X-rays indicated a possible problem with his healing.

I called Mr. Moss at work.

“What should we do? Do you think we should have Michael call us from the doctor’s office so we can talk to the orthopedic surgeon, ask him our questions? He could put us on speaker phone.”

“No Les, he’s eighteen years old. He’s already two weeks into his healing, he can ask the questions.”

“What?!”  This didn’t feel good to me…in fact I could feel my anxiety growing.”He doesn’t know what to ask!”

“It’s ok. We’ll talk to him before he goes in and make sure he knows what information to cover.”

When I put the phone down I was still grumbling inside and thinking about the four hundred and fifty miles that now separated us. But I decided to take a deep breath and step back. Alright I thought, I can do this new thing that feels so weird to me. I need to back off and believe this will be ok (like I really had a choice).

And you know what?

It did end up being fine. Another instance of twisting and shoving myself through that tiny, mouse-sized door of trust. Met with a bit of success.

But it’s funny how quickly that sensation of letting go can hit you. Sometimes it feels like a soft, reminiscent ache. Like my first trip to the grocery store after the college drop-off when it hit me that I wouldn’t need to buy all those specially requested cereals anymore. Of course not, I thought, Michael’s buying his own now. But it felt like something real and tangible was right there in front of me and suddenly… it’s not. A whisper of loss.

And sometimes letting go feels like a jolt to my universe, like a blustering threat to my very identity. Hey, I want to shout back to the universe, I am a Mom. This is what I do. I go to doctor appointments, I fill out the information on the clipboard, I thumb through magazines and chat with my kids about their day at school. I see the doctor and I leave satisfied when I get my questions answered.


Yes, it’s true that Michael is eighteen years old but when it comes to sickness and broken bones and medical specialists my heart still remembers him like this.

Until something as ordinary as a trip to a doctor’s office, one I can’t be part of, reminds me that life is always changing. And that this new territory referred to as the ‘empty nest’ offers incredible possibilities.

There is value in these achy growing pains, my wiser self tells me. A kind of soulful transformation that happens when you dare to slow down and re-discover yourself. When you listen to your feelings. When you find compassion for those old, stagnating fears underneath all that holding on and trying to control.

This is the promise of letting go, it’s the quiet invitation to become something new, something more, someone wiser.


lou boos and shoes


I recently heard this wonderful story from Tara Brach about facing our fears and it goes like this.

According to legend, the Buddha had a name for his shadow side—all those feelings of greed, fear, hate, sadness, suffering etc...and he called these, Mara. And throughout his life whenever his shadow side called Mara would appear in front of him  his response was open and inviting. He would say: “I see you Mara, please come…let’s have tea.”

Buddhists use this story as an example of how to approach our own humanness, those painful emotions that are part of living. Instead of being reactive and fighting these uncomfortable feelings, or disconnecting from them or suppressing them, the Buddha is open to them. He wants to fully know them and so he invites them over. His approach is one that welcomes awareness, “Oh, so this is what fear feels like…” he might say. And he would open his heart to learn more.

I just love this story. It’s such a compassionate way to treat our own fears and struggles.



How do you talk to yourself?







Wednesday, September 11, 2013

my kitchen update-before and after



I’ve decided that it’s about time I put a home tour on my blog.

What do you think"?

Do like visiting blogger’s homes? Personally I love it when I stop by a blog and see that big, friendly “home tour” button, it’s such a nice way to know more about the person behind the blog, their personality and style, even where they live.

But my problem is that I’m always changing things around and my rooms never feel quite done.

Can you relate?


Anyway, I’ve decided that September is my action month. So ready or not, here’s what my kitchen looks like today. I’ve made a few changes during my busy summer that I haven’t shown you yet. On our anniversary trip to the wine country I found this rustic looking sign that fit perfectly over my French doors.



with empty space over French doors

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I had been waiting  SO LONG to find something for this space. And the best part of this sign is that it will always remind me of our sweet little anniversary trip. It’s nothing expensive, but I love it because it tells a story.

You can read more about your home’s story HERE.

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The last time I posted on my kitchen I had this black and white damask curtain over my window. But it started to feel ‘heavy’ so I recently removed it and put this chalk tray up instead.

I guess I have a thing for black and white.


I have two healthy ferns planted in urns and my old clay pots on the sill.



I changed a few kitchen vignettes around.


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It’s hard to take photos from this angle because our kitchen is so long. From this angle you can glimpse the chalkboard art I made for the island. For more DIY info click HERE.

Instead of a standard size table we opted for one that was the same height as the island. It’s provided great space for entertaining over the years and I think it’s been good for our family. It’s made our kitchen more of a casual hang-out spot.




this is the view from the stairs

If you want to see what the table and chairs looked like when they were black you can click HERE


Well that’s my kitchen for now, I’ll be adding the Fall touches shortly, but I sure hope you enjoyed your visit. If you would like to see my Fall dining room you can click HERE.

What about you?  How are you getting ready for Fall?




I’m linking up at these lovely parties":


Friday, September 6, 2013

my window box centerpiece: how to

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After my lastdining room post I got a lot of questions about my centerpiece.

I had been so excited when I stumbled on this old window box and I immediately filled it up with some pretty flowers and candles which a lot of you liked. Today I thought I’d show you how easy it was. There are so many creative ways to make a centerpiece if you have a wood piece like this but this is what I used:

  • grocery store bouquet from Trader Joes
  • berries from my garden
  • four pillar candles I already had
  • jars for my flowers
  • three pots of succulents (I only use real)
  • green moss
  • crumpled newspaper



In case you’re one of those creative folks who might want to make your own box, I just measured mine and it’s three feet long and eight inches wide with an inside width of  5 1/4 inches. It’s 6 1/4 inches tall.


I began by putting in my four candles and three pots of succulents. And I started crumpling up newspaper.

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Before I began I also pulled out my jars and decided which ones would fit into the space best.

I only used two mason jars and three of the skinny neck jars for the flowers. The skinny neck jars were originally Starbucks six packs sold in the grocery store.

I used them HERE first.

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If you use fresh flowers a lot you probably already do this instinctively.

But I thought I’d show you how to arrange the flowers in the jars. For this project it was important to have flowers near the rim of the jar to camouflage it once it was in the box. After you cut your stems you need to step back and look at proportion. You want your flowers to blend in size. (Classic flower arrangements have the tallest flowers in the center and a gradual decrease in flower size).

I usually keep trimming and rearranging until it looks right. But for this project I wanted a casual look so I didn’t spend too much time on the flowers.

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Adding filler flowers adds textural interest. I just used what was included in the bouquet and I added succulents, a personal favorite of mine.


Can you see how I used the paper?

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I went outside and cut some berries off a few bushes. And draped the berries from the jars. And I used the bright green moss to fill in all the open spaces.


I love green moss, in fact it’s weird how much I love green moss. It’s one of those itty-bitty gifts from nature that always looks so cheery. I also love this authentic white, chipped paint finish…

(because I didn’t have to make it… yayyy!)


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Well, I hope this little post inspires you to make your own centerpiece. I’d love to know if you do. Remember, it’s all about creating. Being in the moment and enjoying yourself.

Whatever you end up making will be special because you did it.

enjoy your weekend!



I’m linking up this post with these friends:


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