Friday, September 25, 2015

thoughts on being enough…





Last Saturday I walked into the Yoga studio at the beginning of my five hour class and I immediately felt ripples of tension moving through the air. This was to be our first time “teaching” a sequence of Sun Salutations and our Yoga instructor had just informed us that we should be prepared to use our memorized body cues for each pose.

Instantly, I noticed the wide eyed surprise on the faces of my classmates.

What?! We didn’t know we were supposed to have all our body cues memorized today. Our understanding was that we were only practicing the asanas with the breaths, and in the proper sequence with their Sanskirt names.

We need to know the body cues too?!! 

I had a moment of panic too. It’s the reaction of someone who wants an “A” in their subject. Who relishes the comfortable sensation of being totally prepared, no surprises please.

But our reassuring Yoga teacher simply smiled. She listened attentively to the anxious questions and nodded her head and afterwards, she asked everyone to sit in a circle with our hands resting comfortably on our knees or thighs, and she led us through a meditation.

Eyes closed. 

Quiet stirrings. Outside someone slams a car door shut and I blink.

And then slowly I begin to hear the steady, rhythmic sound of my own breathing as it moves through the back of my throat. Ujjayi, otherwise known as Ocean Breath.

For a moment the collective breathing is the only sound in the room until I hear our teacher’s voice break the stillness.

The first words out of her mouth are clear and loud.

“Your preparation was enough.” She begins.

Oh. Wow. That’s different. What did she say? My preparation was enough?

Hmm…I could feel myself relaxing into my seat as the meditation continued. Letting her words melt away all my worried “but-what-ifs” at the back of my mind.

And afterwards I reflected on those first words she had said, and how powerful that line felt to me. I realized that this idea of being ‘enough’ no matter what, felt like a curious novelty, something bordering on foreign. Like the first time you nibbled a curry dish, and the pungent flavors swirl over your tongue while your eyes gaze to the ceiling.

Yes. It was different.

Whatever I did to prepare today…all the focus and memorization and studying…it was all ENOUGH. Period.

Which got me thinking.

What would happen if we walked into each new, stressful situation with this same feeling?

I am enough.

My preparation for this moment was enough.

And whatever happens from here will inform me. It will teach me what else I might need to learn in order to keep growing.

It’s a strange world living without an Ego dominating our perspective. And I admit, I don’t know this world too well.  Me? I’m a “controller” from way back. I like to take charge so that I don’t have to worry about things getting done ‘right.’ I tend to worry about people I love and fret over all the things that could possibly go wrong, especially when it comes to my kids.

My yoga teacher tells me that’s the ‘monkey mind.’ And it’s the opposite of living a happy, harmonious life.

She reminds us that it’s the Ego that has us comparing ourselves to others so that afterwards we end up feeling either diminished or superior, as if we’re all in some kind of imaginary race or competition.

It’s our Ego that sees our results in terms of  “A” grades, and lulls us into caring too much about being the best , the most popular, having the most followers, making the most money or being the most admired in our work. 

In the beginning my Ego was quick to look around my yoga class and see others getting their bodies into the Grasshopper pose and think, “Oh my god. Are you kidding me?” And then feel that rush of disappointment with my own progress.

Even now I’ll be in yoga class listening to the precision and mastery of body cues flowing from my yoga instructor’s mouth and think, “I can’t even imagine learning all this. No way, there’s just SO much to remember.”

And then I’ll hear my yoga teacher telling me, “Trust in the process.”

Which is another way of reminding me to let go.

This is something I’ve been learning lately, the idea of letting go of our unhealthy attachments also means letting go of our attachment to the end result.  But this mind-set is hard for me…we’re like little mice trained to hear the ding of the RESULTS bell.

This weekend I’m entering into week 3 of the Teacher Training course and I’ve got another quiz to study for and tons of reading to catch up on, more memorization, and-oh-did I mention that my body is always a bit sore because of all these classes I’m taking…?

So right now instead of feeling totally overwhelmed and wondering how the heck I’m ever going to get through the next seven weeks, I’m just trying to focus on staying in the present moment and I’m asking myself, “Ok. What do I need to do right now?”

And I’m pretty much taking it moment-to-moment when it comes to this course.

Which really seems to help. 

Also… smiling helps.  A sense of humor helps (…watching a lot of Veep with the hubby)

And remembering this helps.

In this moment.

In this breath.

I am enough.


(I mean that for you too)

peace and love




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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Progress in my dramatic, black bedroom





Whenever I mention that we just painted our guest bedroom the color black I always get a shocked look.

Remember my choice of Benjamin Moore’s Witching Hour for Michael’s bedroom?

Well we’ve been making some progress in this room so I thought I’d share a few photos of the black walls.

This is what the paint shade looks like in the natural light. As you can see it’s got a lot of blue in it.



And here’s my original test wall.

(Don’t you love how I paint around everything?  I’m the most impatient painter).

In this light it looks deceptively ink black which it’s not.


Once the painting was done we put the tufted navy headboard together (well actually Michael did) and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it looked against the wall.

I ordered the headboard with the inexpensive canvas fabric from HERE because it was on sale and I ended up being pretty happy with the quality and look of it.


I bought the white bedding along with the Ralph Lauren throw blanket from HomeGoods.


I replaced the fully lined, linen drapes that were previously in here with some white linen ones from Ikea that we had in our dining room.

You can see more of this bedroom (pre-black paint) HERE. It’s not completely gone, just relocated downstairs.

Since we’re getting French doors installed in the dining room shortly, it was good timing for removing these curtains.



I only have a cell phone shot to show you but the white curtains really lighten up that entire wall.



I kept the two white, wood trimmed mirrors that flank the bed and not only do they add symmetry but along with the white ceiling, they reflect the natural light from the window.

We’re still working on the other side of the room.



This wall will eventually be a gallery wall of his choice.




still in progress



Remember, this a college age guy.

He’s already selected this print of Jake Bugg so I’m thinking we’ll stick with mostly black and white art for here.

(Ignore that door—it still needs another coat of paint)




And over in this corner everything is gone but the desk. We have some plans for books shelves, new lamp and chair.


In the meantime I’m on the look out for some fun pillows…


PicMonkey Collage.jpgpillows

maybe something a little bold and graphic?

Hmmm…I’m not sure, it depends on the rug.


Because I can’t get this one out of my head.

I just love the ‘tribal’ vibe with the dark walls and a black and white gallery wall…and I’d love to find a similar rug at the right price…

but then there’s Michael’s opinion which is definitely not always aligned with mine so we’ll see.




I’ll keep you all posted.

But for now I’m off to study for an anatomy quiz in my yoga training class.

Whew, that’s a whole other story.

Peace and love to you,




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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tips for transforming grocery store flowers into a beautiful Fall centerpiece




Have you been easing into the Fall season?

There are so many wonderful Fall home tours going on right now in blogland I do hope you’re enjoying them. I know I sure am.

But around here it’s been hot sunshine and humid air throughout September --and unlike Northern California no one around here seems to have air conditioners. Too close to the beach I guess, so we’ve got windows flung open and fans swirling everywhere.

Which makes it’s hard for me to get into the orange and brown shades of Fall right now.

DSC_0182 (2)


Instead, I saw some gorgeous jewel-colored flowers in the grocery store the other day and I was instantly inspired to make my own version of a Fall centerpiece.

No orange in sight here. But didn’t it turn out pretty?



Today I thought I’d show you how I made these common grocery store flowers look so special.

These are the flowers that came inside the $8.99 bouquet:

  • 3 hot pink Gerbera daisies
  • 3 lavender carnations
  • 3 red roses
  • 4 small purple daisies
  • purple statice

In addition I added:

  • one flowering Kale
  • $ 3.99 bouquet of miniature purple chrysanthemums



I used a small thrift store urn for this arrangement.

If you don’t already know, thrift stores are the best place to find those unique –and cheap—vases for your flowers.

For this quick arrangement I didn’t bother with floral foam (didn’t have any) so I just filled the vase with water and started cutting stems.

Remove the green leaves so that nothing is submerged beneath the water.

And basically I started adding flowers.



What I noticed right away was that all the flowers were in shades of purple except for the three deep red roses.

So gradually with the addition of each new flower I began to space out the three roses around the vase for a balanced look with the colors.

In the photo below I could see that two of the three pops of red were too close and needed to be moved.


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When it comes to making your own Fall arrangement  you can make it more interesting by adding fruits or vegetables.

Here I cut the stem of the flowering Kale down and simply added it to the vase. I think it goes wonderfully with its purple center and pink tinged leaves.

DSC_0125 (2)

When working with flowers in the same color family I pay attention to their different textures as a way of deciding which flower goes next to the other.

In a small arrangement like this I tend to group in threes.


Once I got all my flowers arranged in the vase I could see there were empty spaces left, especially around the Kale.

So I simply began tucking my extra bouquet of miniature Mums into those spots.

And when I was done, I went outside and clipped a few strands of Ficus leaves as a final touch.

Don’t forget to use your foliage and branches from your own yard.


DSC_0137 copy

Here’s the finished look from above.  

If you look at the white arrows in the picture you can see that if you draw lines between the roses you almost get the shape of a triangle, so that no matter which angle you’re looking from, the color red is apparent.


Funny but when I’m playing with flowers I don’t’ actually think things through like this; it’s more a gut reaction to what I’m seeing in front of me.

But I’m sharing these thoughts in case they’re helpful to you.


DSC_0141 (2)

Besides Flowering Kale you can add any of these to your flower arrangement depending on your color scheme:




dried oranges

cinnamon sticks tied together

I even used fresh limes in my recent pineapple centerpieces.

DSC_0182 (2)









Well, I hope you found this post helpful…

There’s nothing that makes me happier than playing with flowers

and visiting with you.





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Monday, September 14, 2015

have you ever felt like an imposter?




This past weekend I began the 200 hour Teacher Training Session for Vinyasa Yoga.

If you’ve read THIS POST you know all about it, along with the reasons why I hesitated to embark on this 10 week journey, but if you haven’t,  I’ll sum it up for you in a few words.

I am a total Yoga newbie. I didn’t go to my first yoga class until recently at age 55— which basically means I’m still pretty clueless during class when it comes to the yoga poses. Yes, Upward Dog, Downward Dog and Warrior 1 and 11 are the basics I know. But after that I’m still looking at others to make sure I’ve got it right.

Not your idea of teacher material right?

But here I am.

So. How did the first weekend go?

Well. The craziest thing happened to me the Monday before I was supposed to attend the Friday evening orientation class.  On that Monday in the middle of painting Michael’s bedroom I tweaked my back.

Yes. I know. What are the odds?

Right when I thought my weak lower back was doing so well and when I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d had something happen to my back, here I was feeling that hot surge of pain on my left side. And I instantly had that sick realization.

If you’ve ever pulled something in your back you know what I’m talking about.

Of course all I could think at that moment was, “Thank goodness it’s only on the left side, cause I can still paint with my right side.”  And I actually finished his room going very slowly with lots of breaks and favoring my stronger right arm. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, it was dumb but I had this deadline in my head.

Still, I knew I couldn’t push it. I realized to get on the yoga mat would be risking real injury because I was literally walking around like a fragile 80 year old that entire week..

So fast forward to the Big Day. I enter the yoga studio on Friday evening with all the other smiling, nervous faces sitting in a big circle in the middle of the room and because of my back, I can’t even remember the last yoga class I’d attended.

Not to mention that even though my back was improving by now, when I saw the brown oversized pillows and blankets everyone was sitting on, I mentally began plotting out what position I could sit in before the aching would start.

Are you getting a picture here? I mean it’s almost comical. I’m finally walking into my class of strangers ---trying not to care that I’m the oldest one in the room and instead of feeling wonderfully self assured I’m trying to remember when my last dose of Ibuprofen was.

I mean seriously, could I sound any more Lucille Ball-ish?

The evening was primarily a three hour overview of the class with an emphasis on learning the teaching scripts and specific cues for the various poses. But as the discussion continued I noticed the butterflies in my stomach and my cheeks getting warmer. All this talk about teaching was raising my anxiety.

And suddenly everyone around the circle was starting to look like an wise, supple Yogi.

It also didn’t help that I was sitting here with my tweaked back visualizing all the yoga poses that I couldn’t possibly do.

Oh-oh. I actually remember thinking, “What did I get myself into here?” 

Although later when I told the hubby this even I had to laugh.

“What did I expect? The damn course is called Teacher Training. Of course we’re going to practice teaching yoga,” I had told him. Duh. But during the orientation this was another small detail that made me feel like I wasn’t exactly fitting in here.

Everyone looked so ready to be a teacher except me. Was I just imaging this?

So when it was my turn to read the section on Teacher Self Care out loud to the group I stopped after I read the following words:

Honor your body and modify your practice whenever needed rather than risk injury. Pace yourself.

I mean how could I not tell the truth after reading such pertinent words?

So I basically addressed the circle and told them about my sore lower back and how I hadn’t been able to go to yoga lately and how my injury and my newness to yoga was making it really hard for me to see myself as an effective teacher.

I volunteered this even though I knew that in small group dynamics this was a point where people were still watching and gathering first impressions about each other. And the truth is, in my twenties I would not have shared this; I would’ve simply kept these insecurities hidden behind a tight, confident smile. But now in my fifties I just can’t do that anymore.

Now it feels far more important to keep it real rather than try to pretend I’m something I’m not. Regardless of what others think.

So I said it.

And afterwards I felt a tad vulnerable, but mostly I felt relieved.

Since this orientation we’ve had ten hours of class time and I’ve discovered there are others with ‘bad knees’ (my gifted instructor) and ‘bad backs’ and that offering modifications to poses are called ‘adjustments,’ and are exactly for those bodies that have some wear and tear on them. Bodies like mine.

I’ve also partnered with another student who is only taking this course to deepen her practice rather than teach. So I’m not alone.

And during demonstrations I’ve heard lots of confused questions coming from others.  A massage therapist who has a lot of worry about understanding the material.

There’s a confident biologist who has a mother dying of dementia who got teary when she shared her tendency to be hyper-self critical. And how yoga is helping her.

There’s a big, gentle bartender who sounds like Omar Sharif in Funny Girl and is relatively new to yoga. And there’s the owner of the studio who is taking this course because he wants to expand his teaching methods. And he’s refreshingly open about the experience of being a beginner again.

I guess I’m not surprised. This is what we learn when we get beyond superficial  appearances. There’s just real people with their own beautiful vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile I have another night of class tonight. And although I still can’t imagine getting through this course and everything it entails, I’m aware that the lesson for me is not focusing on the end, but instead staying here in this “now” place.

So I’m taking it one day at a time.

The theme of today’s yoga class was surrender. Surrendering the things we carry around with us that no longer serve us in our daily lives, those aspects of our identity that keep us from connecting to the authentic true self inside us.


Today I’m choosing to surrender my need to know every darn thing. And at least for today ---when it comes to this Teacher Training course---I’m trying to stay open to whatever happens.


Peace and love to all my friends reading this,






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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I’m painting my first black room…in BM’s Witching Hour



(very cute room…but no it’s not mine)


Please don’t be shocked.

But this past weekend I grabbed a can of Benjamin Moore’s Witching Hour and started painting my first-ever all black room.

I know what you’re thinking.

If you’re a regular to my blog you already know how fond I am of my creamy white walls… so you might be a tad surprised by my paint choice.



But my youngest is back home finishing his last units before he transfers colleges and he’s moved into our upstairs bedroom. Remember this room with its beachy cottage vibe? Well something soon became apparent about my youngest.

It seems that Michael has a definite opinion about his bedroom. 


(Mr. Cute-But-Opinionated)

Unlike his brother who could care less about his room’s decor, Michael soon began staking out his right to decorate his own room. And recently, he ordered a very cool looking black and white print of a favorite musician and began to talk paint colors, “Mom, I’m thinking I want a black room,” he says last week.

Black?! Gulp.



But instead I tried bringing home some dark alternatives.

Ones I’ve always wanted to use like Farrow and Ball’s Hague Blue.


I’m sure many of you have already seen Hague Blue in this classic looking home. I really wanted to try this color. I really did…ever since I saw this picture, plus it was more like the inspiration photos I had in mind:



I like this.


And I like this.

(ah hem, are you noticing a lot of “I” in this post?)

Well even though I slathered it all over a wall and I loved the vibrant, pristine color I had to agree with Michael. It was too blue for what he wanted.

Okay. So I went into Sherwin Williams for Urbane Bronze pictured here:


and (don’t ask me why I switched)

but I came home with Mount Etna seen here:


Looks dark right?

But believe it or not in our lighting it had green undertones.

So goodbye to that color.

Okay, at this point I know why I could never be a interior designer. I have a short attention span for following the design whims of others.

However I was warming up to the idea of a darker, classic room more like this one but with a urban, young guy vibe (i.e no equestrian pictures)




Although I was back to square one and in need of a break.

And by then of course I read Mary Ann’s post about this new store in Newport Beach—only minutes away—and I decided to stop by and take a look, maybe find some pillows that might pop against the navy blue headboard I had already bought (was stuck with) for this bedroom.



Walking into the large airy warehouse with it’s industrial-vintage flair was a fun reprieve from thinking about paint colors.

There was lots to look at and almost immediately I found myself in conversations with the friendly co-owners of the place. Both named Kim. Both women who had ten kids between them and were happily juggling this year old business.

And wouldn’t you know it? After I admired a chic looking gallery wall painted in glossy black I got into a conversation with one of the Kims who had just designed a bedroom for a college-aged gal in a smoky blue-black shade called Witching Hour by BM.

“I love color!” she had said as she shared the details of her room.  She was also totally jazzed by the fact that Michael was involved with his paint selection.

Which made this the conversation I needed to have.

It was a quick reminder of the purpose of decorating this room in the first place, which was after all, to create a really special space for the precious time that Michael is home again.

So with this in mind I texted him and told him I’d found the ‘perfect’ shade and without even seeing it …came home with my gallon paint can.

How’s that for decision-making?

Nope, no more samples this was commitment time.





in the morning light


I wish I could convey how warm and enveloping this color feels when you walk into the room. It actually reads more like a smoky deep, charcoal rather than a stark black. Which I’m so happy with.

I get the blue undertones and Michael who says, “It’s lookin’ good Mom,” gets the masculine, dark look.

So far so good, although I’m still not finished but I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

In the meantime our living room wall is being worked on as I type these words.

Sigh, I wish there were design awards for projects that took the longest time because we’d definitely win with this one.


PicMonkey Collage


Oh and one more thing.

Before I go I have to share my humble gratitude for all the kind, uplifting comments on my last post. It was truly touching to hear how other women are experiencing similar feelings about growing and taking risks.

And it really reminds me how very connected we all are.


pretty mind-boggling huh?


Peace and love to you



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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

my big news





I’ve been meaning to tell you about the decision I made recently.

It feels like big news to me, although I’m aware that in the blog world it might seem like peanuts in the stature department. No mind blowing book deal or major blog awards here.

But I’m sharing this today because you might be able to relate to my story. And maybe –just maybe--it might offer you something helpful for your own life.

You see, I made this quick decision about a new endeavor that actually feels like risk-taking to me. And it was really unlike me.

It’s not that I don’t do ‘risks’….but I’m the kind of person who likes to wait until I’m ‘ready’ before jumping into new things, which translates into waiting until I can do things “right” or “good enough.” 

I don’t know. Maybe it’s about not wanting to look like an idiot in front of others, or not wanting to feel too-vulnerable, but I don’t immediately say “Yes” to big, new ventures without a lot of thought. 

And I didn’t do that this time.



But let me explain.

If you’re a regular to my blog you already know about our major relocation last year, how we left our hometown, sold the family home we raised our boys in, said goodbye to our family and our dear friends, and moved to Southern California in what felt like a new adventure.

Well it was during those crazy months when we we struggling to find a suitable home to buy and were cramped into a small condo next to a street that sounded like a freeway, that I noticed a local hot yoga studio nearby.

And on a whim, I went to my first yoga class at age 55.

Which is still hard for me to believe. Even now I wonder how it is I never tried yoga before because I was always a gym person. Only like a lot of other interesting possibilities, yoga was one of those things that stayed on the fringe of my peripheral vision.  It was there, but for another day.

I guess it’s like most things in life. Timing is everything.

Here I was, feeling the stress of living in a new city without a home. Feeling antsy and anxious and frustrated for results, and yet out-of-control over my immediate future.


Enter yoga.

I wish I could say I was a dutiful student. But the truth is, that even though I felt the immediate effects of yoga on my mind and body …the minute we moved into our fixer upper I stopped going. There was just SO much to do to get the house livable that it felt like I couldn’t fit one more thing into my schedule.

But it was ok. Because the importance of this brief entry into yoga was that it opened a door in my life. And I was able to sense the possibility of a different way of living. Which left a deep imprint on me.

So I found my way back a few months ago. And while I was settling back into the classes and as my achy, stiff body began to get reacquainted with the mat, I heard the announcement go throughout the entire studio about the upcoming Teacher Training Class: a 200 hour credentialed program beginning September 11-November 15th.

I still don’t know what made me do it.

But after class I went up to ask the beautiful, young, tattooed instructor about the specifics of the course. I wasn’t interested in teaching. God no, not me. I was simply smitten with the calmness and peace and sweat that poured over me after each class. I was curious about the philosophy. About the history of the poses, about the word “Namaste,” and everything to do with the soulful part of the practice.

And afterwards when Shannon—a gifted instructor-- encouraged me to listen to the stirrings in my heart that were pulling toward this path, I listed lots of credible reasons why I couldn’t do it. My newness to yoga, my age, the physical stamina of the course, my disinterest in teaching, the investment of time and money ….

We kept texting each other and here’s one of her responses:

Hi Leslie,

I'm so happy that you are listening to the inner voice that is drawing you toward this path.

I know you are concerned about a few things: money, age and ability. Your True Happiness is priceless and I can share with you from my own experience that the yogic path has brought me nothing but contentment and inner peace, and I absolutely love sharing that path with as many people as possible. The physical poses are but one small part of the yogic path; a tool that keeps us supple, that detoxes the body and the mind along with breath control in an effort to move us further along the path toward inner peacefulness. Yoga truly is for EVERY-BODY! We will be practicing and learning postures throughout training, but we will also learn how to modify, use props and help others who may have limitations or injuries. I have been in advanced trainings with women your age and older, so please feel confident in your journey forward.


After I read this text I just knew. Even before my awesome hubby began his encouragement.

I can’t honestly remember the last time I felt myself standing at a something that felt like a crossroads and facing a path that seemed equally intriguing and unknown, at the same time. But in the end I said yes because despite all the unknowns, I do know a few things.

  • I know that I want—no I need --to keep growing. From the inside out.
  • I know I’m tired of worrying.
  • I know I want to feel more calmness and peacefulness in my life--even when everything around me feels out-of-my-control.
  • I want to stop feeling like if only I work a little harder I can stop the bad things from happening.
  • I want to stop waiting to be “ready”.
  • I want to be able to step away from the frenzied pace of our lives
  • I want be the oldest person in a class and be damn proud.
  • I want to care more about trying and less about failure.


Can you relate to any of this?

Anyway, yesterday I bought my three books—the required reading, and I have to admit, I’m getting excited. Even if I’m still thinking, “I can’t believe I’m doing this,”  it’s getting better. The nervous part.

Are you interested to know about this 200 hour course? I was thinking of sharing my experience with you if so.

Afterwards I’ll will be certified to teach yoga which is a vision that makes me laugh. Me. In front of a class. Trying to remember which hand is right and which is left.

But I’ll keep you posted.

And maybe you might have something in your life that you’ve always wanted to try too. Something that you can’t imagine yourself doing….until you imagine.

I’d sure love to hear about it.


By the way—a special thank you to my friend Catherine—who has been spreading her yoga wisdom across the ocean to me for a while now---and helped me more than she knows.


to all my friends reading this,




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