Friday, January 31, 2014

beauty and truth for the weekend



This home is charming.

one hellava powerful letter. Dear Chase.

I want one.


an easy way to display flowers

I love these kitchen light fixtures

my next DIY project using free vintage Valentine clipart

a blog post every blogger should read

on the topic of “shoulds”


on aging gracefully. A supermodel’s wisdom


the last book that really stayed with me

it’s now a movie…




this woman leaves me speechless. This is her blog.



my latest pin


what I really feel like doing

right now

(Can you relate?)


have a wonderful weekend my friends,




I’m partying with these special friends:


Monday, January 27, 2014

Dear Life. I don’t like this lesson. Not one bit.




Hello friends.

It’s been a hectic ten days and to be honest, I don’t even know where to begin. Every time I think of my blog I’ll have a post in my head that I plan on writing, and then poof! The topic suddenly feels outdated and is replaced by the latest happenings in my fluid, changing life. And of course, nothing gets written.

So today I decided to just start writing and this is what came out. Yep. Just a few things that I’ve learned lately and maybe you’ll be able to relate.

Here it goes:

Lesson 1: Having your best friends sell your home

is a blessing 

(thank you Kirsten and John)

In case you’re wondering we had our second Open House and it went well. I don’t want to jinx anything so I’ll share more later when things are definite.


But I actually had fun staging our home with fresh flowers and a less cluttered approach.

Kirsten was our realtor-hostess for both the Open Houses and I never realized how reassuring it would feel to have a friend standing in your place when strangers meander through your rooms. She has her own memories of parties and laughter and fun times in our home and I think people felt her happy connection to our home.


Our first Open House was during December when it was all dressed up for Christmas and Kirsten told me that we had visitors staying an unusually long time, just checking out the decorations. It’s been fun to listen to her descriptions of people and to hear their comments about my house. Don’t you wonder what people would say about your home when you’re not there? Luckily, the comments have been mostly kind.

I’ve even gotten several sweet emails from women who have walked through my home and gotten my blog address from Kirsten.

Emails like this one:

Hello.  I also live in Gold River and first noticed your home in Gold River Online, all  dressed up for Christmas, and I just loved it.  Yesterday your house was on OpenHouse, so I went by to see it in person.  What a wonderful decorator you are.  The realtor told me about your Blogspot, and I have just spent some time taking a look at your ideas and comments.  I just love everything about it.  I don't know where you are moving, (noticed in this morning's Gold River Online e-mail that a sale is pending - good luck) but I will follow you through your Blog.  Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with those of us who need some help. Mary

(Mary, where ever you are-I hope this little beam of happiness you sent me

finds its way back to you)


Lesson 2: Closeness does not mean Sameness.

This month has been a reminder to me about healthy boundaries. Because sometimes conflicts happen that require you to draw a line and state very clearly, “this is where I end, and you begin,” and we are different. And that’s perfectly fine.

Sometimes we have to remember there is a difference between closeness and sameness. And just because you have a ‘close’ extended family does not mean that everyone shares the same views, opinions, values and feelings.

You can love your family dearly, but still disagree on major issues. And you should never be made to feel guilt or pressure for being ‘different’ from other family members.

This was a life lesson that took me years to emotionally learn.

You have the right to make your own decisions without guilt. You have a right to make choices without having to always explain and justify your stance. Because the truth is, intrusive people who love you are still being intrusive, even when it’s disguised as love and concern.

Enough said.


Lesson 3:  Even when I think I’m in control…

I am not in control


Ok universe. How many times do you have to remind me?

Right after we signed papers with John and Kirsten over a bottle of wine, we headed down to Huntington Beach to celebrate Michael’s 19th birthday with him. It was his first birthday away from home and I felt a tremendous pull to be with him.

Unfortunately our three whirlwind days were filled with one stressful moment after another, so I won’t even bother to list them. Although one of the highlights happened when my cell phone was stolen during our short meeting with a realtor. One minute we were inside an empty house, and the next minute we were making a mad dash back to the highly congested spot where I dropped it.

And of course it was gone.

But because I had never synched my phone up to iCloud, (what the heck was iCloud ?) all my text messages (throughout the high school years) and photos were gone. Luckily, I had uploaded most of my photos to my home computer, but those text messages represented a chunk of life that is simply irreplaceable.

And yes. I moaned over this loss. I got outraged by the unfairness of it, did my usual second-guessing and re-tracing my steps over and over until it hit me. Maybe this is my lesson right now.

Because this is what Life seems intent on teaching me these days.

Things will come and go and even when we think we’re clutching tightly enough to our dearest possessions and our loved ones and our physical beauty…so that we avoid loss at any cost, life has a way of reminding us that attaching to things ultimately causes heartache.

It’s something I grapple with. Even though life is always changing, it’s not the shifting winds that causes me problems, it’s the holding on and insisting that things stay the same.

I don’t like this lesson, Life.

Not one bit.

But at least I’m learning.




Can you relate to any of this?

I’d love to know.




I’m partying with these friends:



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

the difference between being seen and being recognized


Some days I’m just not in the mood to pick up a beauty magazine.

Even one with a gorgeous face on the cover that’s intended to help me realize all the sneaky ways that aging is changing my poor face.

Although I do understand.

I do realize that aging is the Ultimate Negative Word in the proverbial beauty dictionary. I know its propensity to rob me of my precious collagen, mess with my estrogen levels, and take what’s left of my smooth neckline. I’m aware that aging is the slow, menacing destroyer of all things that make me look youthful.

But some days…I’m just not in the mood to have my ‘fear’ buttons pushed. Some days I just don’t feel like being in a fight against aging, I don’t want read the latest anti-aging tips and I don’t want to rush to join this race against time.

Can you relate to this?

I was in the grocery store when I saw this magazine called New Beauty, a publication I’d never heard of it before but I thought, “Oh look. What a lovely photo of Heidi Klum.”

Doesn’t she have lots of kids and isn’t she in her forties?

I couldn’t remember, but I’d heard somewhere that she throws extravagantly fun Halloween parties which made me think fondly of her, so I picked up a copy and opened it, expecting a few healthy  tips on exercising and eating better.

Only as I thumbed through the pages, I landed on a photo spread which confused me.


 There was this BEFORE Heidi, looking beautiful and young.


IPhone shot

And there was this AFTER Heidi, looking beautiful and young…

(apparently she is only 40 years old) except the AFTER photo had tiny circles strategically placed on her face. Hmm…on further inspection it was apparent that these dots were intended to highlight the deteriorating effects of aging on Heidi’s near perfect-face. If readers strained their eyes--I’m not exaggerating--they could see the gradual imperfections that had occurred as a result of natural aging.

But there was more. Page after page was dedicated to displaying the insidious ways that aging is attacking our faces. Holy moly. I had no idea how inevitable it all was. Saggy jowls, Volume loss. Droopy lids. Vanishing cheek fat.

And I never knew there were so many beauty techniques I wasn’t doing and state of the art procedures that could be helping me. But the worst part was the seed of self criticism implanted in these pages. So by the time I arrived at the photos of plastic surgeons with their beaming, white smiles next to their specialties, I had gotten the message loud and clear:

If the natural effects of aging can mess with someone as beautiful as Heidi Klum, imagine what will happen to us mere mortals. Translation: we better start right now (already too late) fending off all that saggy skin in our future.

Except for one thing.

On this particular day I didn’t want to focus on the darker sides of growing older. And I wasn’t in the mood to inspect Heidi’s face because the truth is, I could feel self-doubt and insecurity begin to creep all over my good mood, urging me to poke and scrutinize my own face in the god-awful pursuit of my latest facial flaws.

Which made me immediately toss the magazine and keep moving. Because honestly, life’s just too short for that kind of seeing.

Instead, today I prefer to focus on what we GAIN through our years and not what we LOSE.

Today I choose to emphasize words like power and competence and talent and skills and hard-earned wisdom, all which happen to be gifts that come with the years.

Today I choose contentment over craziness.

And I choose to reflect on the difference between being seen and being recognized in this world and if you’re a woman living in our beauty obsessed culture you should know this difference too.

So let me describe it with this analogy.

Selfies are about being seen.

Selfies are about being looked at. Selfies are about a surface glance, they’re a snapshot in time, light and frothy and quickly over.

But Recognition happens beneath the surface. Recognition has staying power.

In the world of images, if Selfies are shallow, giggly girls, than Recognition is the confident woman with the deep, throaty laugh . If a Selfie is Brittany, than Recognition is Meryl.

Because Recognition is about being valued for what you can do and who you are.

Recognition is not about your French- manicured hands, Recognition is about what those hands can make. produce. accomplish.

So the next time you look in the mirror, remember this.

Being looked at might be flattering… but being recognized is powerful.

And being recognized for your whole package feels damn beautiful.




40 things 2




Click HERE to read









What can you do now that you couldn’t do at 20?


I’ll post your responses on my blog.





Friday, January 10, 2014

kitchen dreaming….cottage country charm…


PicMonkey Collagewhite kitchen ideas

This is a day for positive thinking.

Because right after I rushed around and got all the Christmas decorations finally packed away and cleaned every square inch of the house, went out and bought fresh flowers and a few pretty pillows for the new ‘after holiday’ look…wouldn’t you know it?

We got a phone call telling us that our prospective home buyer was sick.

Sigh. It’s official, I hate this whole home selling thing.

So today’s post is purely eye candy to lift my mood and make me forget about my lingering cough and the fact that no one wants to buy my house.


So do you want to see some of my current kitchen crushes? I’ve been collecting pictures because I’m pretty sure we’ll be moving into a fixer upper and it’s a perfect excuse to start thinking about my dream kitchen. (Notice how I said dream kitchen?)


Alright, you know me, I love vintage and white…and in this photo there’s so much to crush on….first off, that sign is calling my name.

But I’m definitely focused on the open shelving and the simple white tiles. I know those tiles are everywhere, but it’s such a classic (and affordable) look. In fact, I found a post that actually shows you how to cover granite with Home Depot’s basic subway tiles.

I know, how irresistibly creative can one person be? If you want this look and you have a granite backsplash, you have to read THIS post by the talented Jill Hinson.


Since we’ll be moving into a beach community, this is my latest favorite picture. I think it might be the wall color, doesn’t it just scream out ‘beach cottage’ to you?’ 

Also, putting bead board on the kitchen walls is a great alternative to the more expensive tiles which I might have to do.

Here they use both tile and bead board….


although in this kitchen, it’s used in place of the typical backsplash. I think the white wood looks so fresh and young in the kitchen.

Also, you should know that this is one of my many “pinned” kitchens with marble, because marble is my dream countertop.

Kitchen white kitchen open shelving black GysFTdbjUiLl

Here’s more open shelving in place of the typical upper cabinets….


If you’re thinking about removing a few cabinets for a more open look, you can get inspiration from Holly Mathis. As part of her kitchen remodel she simply removed the doors off her cabinets and she loved the change. She also took the big marble plunge and shares her thoughts HERE.









I like how the crystal chandlers contrast with the rustic beam…

..and of course, more marble countertops.


Ah....window perfection.

I love its size and that it’s surrounded with glossy, subway tiles. And I find the lack of a window treatment to be a perfect decorating decision.

Do you have marble countertops in your home?


If you’re contemplating marble countertops in your kitchen, you really should read Joan’s post on the pros and cons of marble. It’s one of the most informative posts I’ve found and she’s got wonderful taste that she showcases in her blog, for the love of a house.


In a perfect world I might have this ceiling in my kitchen…


…or this deliciously wide-planked wooden floor.


Although I did see this kitchen in Coastal Living and I thought this painted floor would look perfect in a beach cottage. I just wonder if I’d get tired of all the color.


Now let’s talk cabinets.

I’ve never had custom cabinets but if I did, I’d love to have this storage feature…


…and this one too, because I’m not a fan of seeing appliances everywhere. Especially in a small kitchen, which I may have.


I recently stumbled on these Ikea cabinets in the modern, country kitchen of the House & Home’s executive editor. And personally, I love the mix of materials in this kitchen. You can see her online kitchen tour by clicking HERE. 

And I don’t know about you, but I figure if Ikea cabinets are good enough for the editor of a lovely design magazine, they’re certainly good enough for little old me.

(Note to self: file this idea away)



Now this is one kitchen door that makes me feel all warm and gushy inside.

If I had this door you could come over and borrow eggs anytime, I promise.

Isn’t it the friendliest door you’ve ever seen?



And what I like about this picture is the idea of a table in the kitchen. We’ve lived off our big island for years and it’s sort of a novel idea to eat at an old fashioned table again.

Especially one that’s made of rustic Irish pine and sitting under a gorgeous chandelier. With lots of windows and natural light streaming through the room. Oh, and is that marble on the counters?

I don’t ask for much do I?


A rustic, deeply grooved, authentic beam adds so much personality.

And there’s always a place in my heart for black and white….

And now it’s your turn…tell me,

What’s on your kitchen wish-list?



I’m sharing this post with these friends:


** (additional sources available on my kitchen Pinterest board)


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top viewed posts in 2013


Hello my friends.

Have you been staying healthy?

I sure hope so because I’m just getting over a terrible cold and cough that seemed to last forever. Somehow I always seem to be sick around New Years …although the optimist in me thinks it’s not actually a bad way to begin the year. I figure it’s got to get better from there, right?

Anyway, today I began to feel like my old, energetic self. and after spending two awful hours trying to fix my email issues with my server, I decided to take a look at the most viewed posts from 2013.  I don’t usually look at my stats because personally I think it sucks all the fun out of blogging. But it was interesting to see what the readers liked.

If you’re curious, here are my top viewed posts by the month:


In January when I was on the verge of a change readers were definitely interested in whether I would paint my fireplace.


February was the first time I shared my kitchen before tweaking it a few more times. And thanks to Hometalk and Pinterest that post along with my White Chalk-painted Fireplace both got 20,000 views which is a lot for this little blogger.


In March, I wrote a post after I heard Oprah interview Nate Berkus and readers liked this topic,

Does your home tell a Story?


But an equal number also clicked on What We Remember in the End.

In April my DIY blue Mason jars got pinned everywhere giving it slightly more views than my post about comparing yourself. with other bloggers.


In May… 10 Simple things… was the most viewed post.

Although THIS POST seemed to resonate with other mothers.


                                           In June readers liked getting some

Rustic and Elegant Garden Party Ideas and seeing what my garden looked like.

In July

readers enjoyed seeing how a pile of old wood became a rustic plank table

which got almost the same


number of views as one of my most sentimental posts ever.


The most viewed post in August was my 7 tips for creating a festive, fun birthday table.

In September


my kitchen update tied with my centerpiece tutorial using a old window box


and in October my chalkboard art on my Fall mantel was the most viewed alongside

Our big news…it’s official.


In November readers were interested in painting projects

and in a love letter to my Body which elicited a lot of thoughtful emails…

PicMonkey Collageholidaytour

while in December …well that’s easy. Everyone seems to enjoy seeing homes decorated for the holidays and so my  Christmas Home tour got the most views at the end of the year.


And that’s it.

2013 is over and our home is still for sale. And there’s still a big move waiting to happen and lots of unknowns about our next home in a new city. Which makes 2014 a rather significant year for me.

Sigh, it’s so nice to have you along for the journey.





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