Thursday, February 2, 2017

my new entry and a little Valentine love for myself

There's something about February that makes me smile.


(my new Valentine's mat)

Yes, some of it is this month, which is loaded with sentimental memories, but it's also the timing.

Turns out, the first week of February has also coincided with a brief business trip by my husband which is fairly rare, and coupled with some gorgeously sunny days, and the awareness that my kids are happily busy with their own lives,'s left me with this exuberating sense of freedom.

No one but me,
...for a whole three and half days.

Is it naughty to say that I'm absolutely loving it?

Ok. So here's a few things I've been doing.

If you follow me on Instagram you already know I've been busy de-cluttering my living room, starting with the shelves.

I started by removing all my books and relocating them, then I replaced the books with a few chosen pieces which I'm still adding here and there...

It looks more bare but I'm fine with that for now.

Project 1

I also re-painted  my entry table for a whole new look in this little space.
I haven't got many pictures of my entry because it's actually hard to get a good shot--it's that small.
But I do have this chest there.

Previously a light gray--it got transformed with some AS's graphite paint and some dark wax:

And's a fresher look.

Not much surface area to play with...

and I still have to find a place for our car keys which like to go roaming around on their own...

On day One of my private vacation I stopped by lots of my favorite shops and found these vintage plates at a Newport Beach consignment store.

On day 2 I headed to a little flower shop in Newport Beach where they were working on arrangements for a cosmetic company event. (love all that pink)

I bought two big bunches of fresh eucalyptus after first stopping at a flower stand where they wanted $2.00 a stem. See what I mean?
For some reason eucalyptus is so hard to find around here.

The good news is that my whole house smells wonderful right now.

And as you can see, I added the plates over the mirror for a little color.

Here's a closer look at the paint shade after I applied AS's dark wax over it.

Project 2:

A orange tinged solid pine table.

First I sanded the top down because I plan on keeping it a natural shade.

Then I lightly sanded the rest of it for the chalk paint.

I'm waxing the top and painting the bottom in the same graphite shade as my entry table. I'm not sure if I'll add dark wax yet until I see it next to this window.
Here's where it normally goes:

This is the only picture I can find right now showing a 'before" of this table, I'll also be replacing this lamp with a larger one that needs to be spray painted too, I'll show you pictures of this soon.

In the meantime I'm on another personal 30 day challenge, although this time it's about taking charge of my life...i.e...utilizing my time better.
As some of you know, I've done a few of these  and find them invigorating.

It all started when I noticed how much time it's taking me to get through my books, I'm normally a fairly fast reader but I've been struggling to find time to read. So I've figured out that I'm using a lot of my 'book reading time' on social media, browsing and reading news on my Twitter feed. 

The news feed especially, leaves me feeling deeply troubled and so I've decided to regain control of my time this month. 

I'm getting up an hour earlier to do the following things that will start me off feeling productive. 
My deal with myself is this: do these things first thing after waking up and brushing my teeth:

1. read at least one chapter of a book
2. weights for my upper body- yoga strength
3. meditate
4. write something

Right now I'm blown away at how clear my concentration is in the early morning hours, and honestly, I'm falling in love with reading again.

How about you?

Do you ever find yourself wondering where all your time went?

Do you have any little goal you've been wanting to add to your life--but somehow it gets put on the backburner due to time?

There's this very popular quote floating around Pinterest on this topic and you've probably seen it already:

I find this quote so provocative.

It reminds us that we all have the same number of hours in our day and so the question is, how are we using our time?

What do we aspire to become?

And then of course:

How much time each day are we doing those things that will get us there?

It's a juicy topic isn't it?
The act of taking charge of your life and choosing to develop your mind, your body and your soul. I'd sure love to hear your thoughts on this.

After all, February is the month we typically focus on love, how about starting with ourselves?


sharing this post with friends:


JoanMarie said...

I absolutely love and so appreciate how insightful your posts are! Your home projects are beautiful and the styling is ideal. Kudos Leslie and always watching and waiting for more!

NanaDiana said...

GREAT post, Leslie. It sounds like you have had a wonderful few those pinks in the flower shop. I am anxious to see some color and can't wait for Spring. I do sometimes wonder where my time went and how much I frittered away...even PLANNING I sometimes use time unwisely. One of the things I try to do at least 3 or 4 times a week is to go get a cup of coffee and then I sit in my car and READ. lol It is the one place where I am not distracted looking around and thinking about what I need to get done. Works for me!
Hope you have a GREAT month. xo Diana

Blondie's Journal said...

I'd relish my time alone as you did but that hasn't happened yet! I hope to sneak off the cottage as the weather changes

I LOVE your table and cabinet. That would have taken me about 2 weeks! lol!

I most identify with the book reading. I used to devour 2-3 books a week. It felt so good to immerse myself in a few novels when we didn't have Internet at the lake for several weeks. I've often said I'll devote an hour a day for reading. Hasn't happened.

I love the quote. I have a lot of problems prioritizing. Sometimes its fear of failing, as in my paper writing. I have a lot to overcome and your post is really helpful!

Jane x

Debra@CommonGround said...

Your quote really says so much, I get in such a rut at times. LOVE your entry and your plans for that great table; the graphite will be perfect. Your Living Room is wonderful, those sliding "barn" doors above the fireplace get me everytime. I miss having book cases, but mine were downstairs and too cluttered. Yours look fabulous! Have fun with your staycation for one!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Leslie, I love seeing your projects! It is amazing what a can of paint can do to change up a room. I cannot wait to see everything back in its place.

Enjoy your time at home, a stay cation is always nice. Sometimes when my husband goes out of town I never leave the house because I find so many things to do here.

Have a wonderful weekend.

AntiqueChase said...

I can't find eucalyptus either! Trader Joe's is not coming thru for me. Where did you ou get yours?? And your AS graphite looks way darker that mine. Mine was almost a blue-ish gray... Yours looks black!

auntp said...

Wonderful quote and lovely projects. There's nothing quite like having time alone when you need it. Enjoy!


Carla from The River said...

Hi Leslie,
Another great post.
I like the look of all the projects. The entry is really fun.
Thank you for sharing the flower shop, that made me smile.

I really like the last thoughts you shared. The quote has me thinking.

Love, Carla

Sarah said...

Leslie, I honestly can't remember the last opportunity I had for time to myself. I mean, really quality time all alone. With both of us retired, we spend a lot of time together. One of us may be out and about for a few hours at a time, but other than that, we are in the house together. At times, I'll take off on day trips or overnight vacations with girlfriends, but my husband doesn't do that. I've never spent a night in our home alone.
Now, I'm not complaining and whining about wanting alone time. I adore my husband and wouldn't want to have a life without him, but I totally understand what you mean. When I was single, I lived alone. It was the best gift I gave my 20 year old self. I think everyone should live alone early in adulthood to learn to live with themselves. It makes one a better life partner.
Your projects are inspiring. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie!

Oh my! Your fresh new entry! It caught my on Instagram! I gave it a heart smooch!
I love to bring eucalyptus into our home. Your sweet entry is the PERFECT place for a bunch! Have you ever hung it in your shower?

I have made great strides in prioritizing my time this past year. Both 34 and I are looking and feeling much better.

It is quite evident you have prioritize your time well over the past few years as you renovated your home. I am always reminded of your dad's influence when I see images of your living room and office.

Enjoy your alone "girl" time1

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Looks like you are being very creative in your alone time, Leslie! I love your projects!
The quote is sure good...I am going to try to start thinking that way! And I am concentrating on sharing love this February...I will put myself into the mix, too!

Karen said...

I must try Annie Sloan paint. The entry piece looks wonderful.. I had to chuckle, when the mister is out of the house for any amount of time it's always exciting and stimulates my creativity . đŸ˜€
Don't you love Urban Gardener?

michele said...

i can feel your joy in this post, and it's so refreshing, leslie. love what you're doing to that table and how you are shaking up your daily habits to infuse new meaning and fullness into them. keep inspiring us to aim higher! xox

Karen said...

I've been in pare down mode for the past 2 years. Your pared down bookshelves inspire me to streamline a few more spaces in our home.
I've believed for some time that we all make time for the things that we truly feel are a priority. I learned a lot about myself once I determined that fact! It's not that I don't have time to seriously learn how to take better photographs, it's that I don't really want to since I don't make it a priority. :-)
I always enjoy our chats via your wonderful blog.

La Contessa said...

YES< I get up early to read and do my thing everyday but I'm, a bit older than YOU........SO I HAVE A HEAD START!

Vannessa@Luxuria said...

Great post as always Leslie. Just LOVE what you are doing with your gorgeous place.
I just wrote about something a little similar over at mine; choosing to do the things that bring us joy more often xx

Leslie Harris said...

I also love our blog chats Karen. And I've admired your paring down from afar, although while it feels good, I have to admit it's hard for me. I think I have the heart of a messy hoarder hahaha..
As far as that quote goes, I'm right there with you. I also want to learn photography but I don't seem able to prioritize it. Hmm.. it's something I need to think about. :)


Leslie Harris said...

I know what you mean Sarah, Jim is my best friend and I'm actually lucky he doesn't have to travel as part of his job. Maybe that's what made this time alone so sweet. I also have my eldest here a lot right now---because he and his Dad have embarked on a work project together and Patrick was out of town too, so that was really a big part of it. hahaha

But yes, it can really be nice when we have those unexpected "Me" times, especially for those of us who tend to be "other-focused" and caretakers by nature.

Thank you dear for stopping by and touching base I always love hearing from you.

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Marcy,
There's a little floral shop right across from the Soho Salon where I go--the address is 1815 Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach. I don't know the name of the florist place, it's so cute though. As far as the paint goes, I really wanted something darker so I rubbed a lot of the dark wax into it. I'm finishing my little table today and i'm curious how dark it looks when it's next to the window.

Leslie Harris said...

Linda your creativity is always an inspiration to me!  You are the vignette queen I so admire, and I want  you to come to my house and help me some day :)


Leslie Harris said...

no Elizabeth you're not. I think i'm older by a few months...I'm a July gal--same year though :)


Kathysue said...

Oh how I wish I had your ambition, what a difference the paint made. I have one piece that needs some paint and your enthusiasm has inspired me!! Loved your choice for that great side table, that piece is a keeper for sure! I have to share your saying no post on my fb page, that one line changes everything. It is not a priority to me!! Wow

Sophie said...

Another wonderful post that makes me think about how I spend my time. They say time is gold (money). No. Time is life! I'm trying to declutter (both my mind & home) and get my priorities in order so that I can focus on the few things that truly matter. Oh, that smoothie looks delicious which I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow with some matcha green tea powder. I also need to meditate...even just for 5 minutes. And I love the 1st quote ~ perfect for Valentine's Day! It really hits home with me since I cherish my alone time as well as spending time with my soulmate. Happy Valentine's Day to you & yours!

Lori said...

As you can see I am playing catch up tonight! I adore that table and absolutely love that quote. Your Casablanca Valentines table was so charming and congrats to Patrick! xo

Debe said...

I just wonder where you got that door mat! So cute!! Love the clean look you create. Gotta run to my Trader Joe's...saw eucalyptus, bought fluffy tulips instead. Blessings!

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