26 February 2010

Survivor or Thriver?

Just a little hint about next week. Great topics every day! Super useful tips. Things you've been thinking you need to do. See you Monday for the inspiration you'll need to be ready for anything.

Have a great weekend!

Sew Sweet!

Exciting day. One of my creative projects will be featured over at Sew It To Me today. Check it out and have fun browsing the fun sewing projects from some very creative people. Favorites I've found there are the ruffle camera strap-so cute, and the car seat cover.

I am very pleased to see that sewing is making a comeback. I worry for a world where we lose the simple ability to clothe ourselves and grow and prepare our own food if necessary.

Having grown up on a small farm with a big garden and a grandmother, mom, aunts and neighbors who are very talented at the arts of the home I thank them from the bottom of my heart for having the patience to teach me and share so many of their talents with me and so many others.

Check out Sew It To Me today. And if you're dreaming about sewing, read this and take the plunge!

25 February 2010

Send One Suit Weekend - Mystyle.com

I just cleaned out my closet to donate to the style network's initiative with Dress for Success. This weekend is Send one Suit Weekend. This is a great cause  providing professional clothing to women in need to help them get into the workplace and gain financial independence.

For more info visit mystyle.com and then clean out your closet and  donate your new or gently used business wear to women in need. You can drop off items at any Dress Barn store across the U.S. this weekend. Bless the life of someone else and do something great with clothing and shoes that you no longer need.

photo {via}

Sit, Sit and Sit Some More

Here are a few more tips for buying a sofa.

Head to the stores. Go and sit on everything. You may find that things you didn't like initially may actually work better for you than the sofa you had in your mind. You can get some great advice from skilled professionals to help you make the best decisions. We had many clients who came in and tried sofas several times before they made a decision. Don't feel bad about taking your time! Try a wide variety of options.

Be aware of cushion filling and frame quality. This is where you have to read the fine print.  But most importantly I would say that your two most important concerns with filling are your comfort and durability. There are some people who love down and some people who love firm foam. Find out which one you are. 
Expect a hardwood frame and try to get a sense of the sturdiness of the piece.

Carefully inspect the upholstery work. See how the fabric fits the frame, check seams. Lift up the cushions, look at the seams, see how the skirt sits. Even online I've been able to detect seams that look really awful when I zoom in. That speaks volumes to me about the quality of a piece.

Anticipate that you will probably get what you pay for.  Sofas are big purchases.  If you buy a sofa for less than $500 don't anticipate it's going to last you more than 6-7 years at most. You may get away with just getting new filling for the seat cushions after a few years.  If you're like me you may want to change out your sofas more often anyway. 

But if you expect to have the same sofa for 20 years, anticipate what it costs to invest in a piece of that quality. The more you spend the more you should get. Higher end sofas generally come with significant quality guarantees, make sure you protect your purchase by knowing what is covered and then care for your sofa cushions by rotating them around, giving them a good shake out, cleaning soils in fabric that might deteriorate the fibers.

Don't let someone talk you into paying more for something you don't really like sitting on. Don't be dazzled by a sales pitch. Know what you like and invest in a piece that will meet your needs. You can definitely find a great sofa that will work for you, not matter your budget.

photo via

24 February 2010

Preparing to Buy a New Sofa

Here are a few tips for preparing to buy a sofa.

Start looking online at major retailers that carry many different varieties. Look at retailers in different price points. You may be able to find varying qualities for the same price point depending on the retailer. Make a list of the things you love and the things you hate. That will help you narrow down your choices quickly. Read the customer ratings on the retailers you visit. These online hints will give you lots of information on which sofas & retailers to choose.

Take measurements of the space you need to fill. Furniture stores are gigantic, high-ceilinged caverns. Big pieces of furniture look small in a space that large. Lesson learned on my part. I knew this and still ordered a custom chair that once in my bedroom or living room looked gigantic.Make sure you know what size sofa you need for your space.

Take a look at how you will get a sofa into your home. Measure doorways and halls and consider how you're going to get a 6 ft. long sofa or sectional in and around the doorways and corners. If necessary it really is possible to lift a wrapped sofa up onto a balcony or drop it off a balcony with a big rope and some sturdy hands. I've done it before with help and the delivery guys I used to work with did if frequently.

But if you buy a sofa that will not fit into the elevator or stairwell to your apartment and you don't have a sliding glass door and balcony, you're in trouble. This happened more often than you would believe at the store. Returning a couch can be a big pain in the neck, especially if it's customized, so think before you buy.

Keep in mind that sofas are measured in several different dimensions. You'll need to consider how deep the seat should be. A short adult will feel 4 years old in a sofa with too deep or too high of a seat measurement. A tall, long-legged person will be terribly uncomfortable on a sofa with too narrow a seat depth or that sits too low to the ground.

Consider fabric options. There is a huge variance in the cost of sofa fabrics. If you are on a budget look for a durable, less expensive fabric. There are some amazing microfiber suedes out there that you can actually wash  ballpoint pen out of with dish soap. To keep costs down consider simple twills, cottons, or other simple, sturdy fabrics. If you have the money to spend there are some amazing chenille and linen fabrics out there. I still remember the really great $200+/yard fabrics I saw in books at the beautiful furniture store.

Once you've done your research you are ready to start visiting the stores. See the next post to learn what you should do once you get to the store and the one thing you shouldn't be embarrassed to do.

photo via

Actions Sit More Comfortably than Words - A New Sofa

I have been talking about buying a new sofa for 5 years. FIVE years. I was actually working in the custom furniture business when I first started talking about it. I was surrounded by beautiful sofas every day. I helped lots of other people get gorgeous new sofas. I clipped fabric swatches, pictures and drew sketches.

I've moved twice since then, in the same basic neighborhood. I've been in this apartment for 3 years and have thought I'll buy a new sofa as soon as I move to another place, which will be any minute. Still here although over the past year it seemed even more certain I would move soon. My sofa is practically useless at this point, so not comfortable. So I decided I should just buy a new sofa and quit waiting around for all these things I've been waiting to happen that aren't happening.

Murphy's Law - a great and useful philosophy would say that as soon as I get the new sofa everything will change and I will move and have to drag that new sofa back out the door and to the new place, or I'll move to a place far away and it will cost big money to ship the sofa or the new place will already be furnished. The other hitch is that I should have bitten the bullet when I was single because now BF thinks he needs to have a say too. It could've just been me, but now it's before a committee. But there's no point buying a sofa he won't curl up on with me to watch a movie on.

Here's what I know about this mystery couch in my near future.  It must be:
long enough for tall people to lie down
two cushion seat and back
a neutral color that will conform to my regularly changing moods and color choices
an uncomplicated fabric that will fit into an Asian/beach inspired environment.
high backed so that it supports tall people's upper backs and heads
Low arms - STILL can't decide between straight or rounded arm

Do you need a sofa? Buying a sofa is really the foundation for a great room. So often we spend too much on little accessories on our regularly visits to discount department stores or thrift stores. If you think you can't afford a new sofa, start tracking how much you are spending on trips to those beloved stores you go to regularly. If you spend $100 a month on things that are not necessities, you could save enough for a new sofa in just a few months.  It's easy to spend too much on the little decorative bits, fuss on the smaill stuff and still not have a well appointed room because the big stuff is not there to anchor it.

In the next two posts I'll give some great tips to preparing to buy a new sofa and what you need to be aware of once you get ready to buy. In the meantime, I will think about my tax return and a new sofa.

photo via

23 February 2010

You - The Best Gift-giver in Your Life

If you’ve read more than two blog entries here you know that I love lists, figuring things out on paper and notes to self. Here’s a list that's full of gifts I’m giving myself.

As busy as life is and as many tasks as we have each day it’s hard to remember to take care of oneself. In my journal which I carry with me most days I have a little list of gifts to myself which remind me to take care of myself and what a gift that is.

This lists reminds me how to refocus when I lose my vision, gives me tasks to pursue when I feel lost, reminds me of the things that make me happy, and shows me that well-being is a series of baby steps rather than giant life changes.

An example of things on my list:

Exercise of some sort every day
Meditation and taking time to breathe
Getting enough rest
Keeping my car clean
Staying in touch with friends & family

What’s on your list? What will help you keep you focused, feeling hopeful and progressing in your life?

Dresser Drawer Rehab

There's nothing I love more than a well organized drawer. Really, it's true. After a very busy few months with  family and holiday travel, long work hours, sickness and other life changes it was really starting to bother me that my once beautiful dresser drawers had become a garbled mess.

So last week with a free night I took to my brown dresser. When I moved into this home I took the time to invest in organization trays for all my jewelry, which fit perfectly in the very narrow drawers at the top of my dresser. Next I purchased sock and lingerie organizers for the next two drawers. It's so nice for everything to have it's place and to be able to quickly return things to the places they belong.

As I've built my beloved jewelry collection, started to collect tights, and found the most amazing workout socks which I now have a nice collection of the original set up was not working anymore at all. It was time to commit another drawer to socks & lingerie and set up more spaces for jewelry.

Here are a few of my favorite storage pieces. These Green EVA pieces, which I bought at The Container Store, have been fantastic. The color makes it easy to locate things and they partitions cover all your needs.

Green EVA Jewelry Store

Green EVA Drawer Organizer Set

photos {via}

For lingerie and socks I use these.
photo {via}

Having organized drawers again has cut down the time I spend looking for things, makes it easier for me to put things away and when I open them I feel a peace go through me that I feel when I am living an organized, calm life. They may just be drawers full of things but having things in place inspires me in every area of my life.

22 February 2010

Igniting Inspiration in the Cube

If you feel a little uninspired spending most of your day in a cubicle or bland office here are a few ideas to improve your surroundings and your mental state.

1. Put up photos of the people who matter most to you. Just seeing their faces will bring a sense of happiness and peace. It also helps to remember that work is not your entire life and there are great things to look forward to after hours.

2. Put up pictures that inspire you to your dream life. It could be a photo of your dream vacation site, your dream home, your dream work or play. These will inspire you to live a balance life and will give more meaning to why you work in the first place. You're working toward your dream life and seeing the destination will help keep you present on the road there.
3. Put up inspiring quotes that will keep you motivated. Try discreetly hanging meditations up that will keep you calm and focused throughout the day. If you want to post work specific goals or mantras that will help you face challenges you can do them in code -- choose a symbol that will mean something to you but nothing to others.

4. Put something living on your desk. There are lots of great and inexpensive plants that do well in low light. They will not only give you cleaner air to breath, but will also perk things up at your desk.

5. Buy some pretty file folders, pens, pencils, a pencil box, clock or mouse pad that will personalize your surroundings and help you feel your personality stands out in an environment where everyone's space often looks gray and identical.

6. Keep headphones available. If you find you could use a little outside inspiration, a set of headphones give you access to your iPod or online radio stations and audio files. Just the right song or motivational recording may be the perfect thing to get you in the groove to make a great presentation, ask your boss for a raise or get through an after hours project.

7. Keep water available at all times. Find a pretty reusable bottle you love and refill several times daily. Not only is it good to get up and walk to get that refill, but water will keep you fresh, clear headed and feeling good all day.

8. Keep lowfat snacks at your desk -- like almonds, instant oatmeal, granola or protein bars. They'll keep you energized on days when leaving for lunch is delayed or your body just needs a little more food than you anticipated.

With a little shift in the appearance of your desk, you can infuse your work life with new energy and maybe even catch the eye of that person who will help you move towards all those dreams you're looking at each day!

Lady Friends - The Best Therapy

Lady friends are the perfect antidote to frustration, exhaustion, hopelessness, sadness, fear, boredom, sense of humor loss and so many other ailments. There's nothing better than a girlfriend to remind you to laugh, to help you see your way through rough times including lost jobs, lost loves, lost dreams and lost vision. They can be great listening ears, advisors on big decisions, and arms to lean on in lean days.

They introduce you to new people, new thoughts and new stores. They'll introduce you to the massage therapist, nail technician, stylist and their husbands eligible bachelor friends. The best blessing I've received from my girlfriends, many who've given me some pretty great gifts, is their understanding. They've been down my path or I've been down the path their on first. They know how it feels and just knowing that is enough to get me back on the right vibe when it feels as if things have gone astray.

I remember that they often feel the same way, they've been through similar lessons, and suffered similar frustrations and it brings me comfort. I know that they will cry with me if everything falls apart under my feet. But I know they believe it will work out for me, that good things are coming and that I can handle what life dishes out.

As life gets busier, they understand how things change. They realize you have a husband, kids, work and other things that may not allow you to play together as much as you one did. They're busier too and you all feel blessed to steal away a few minutes every few months to see each other in peace and quiet. They understand if you're children start a small war while you are trying to talk on the phone and have to cut it short. They are not offended, they know the situation well.

They understand that you don't always love your life, your work and responsibilities and obligations, but that they are yours and mean a great deal to you. They know you sometimes lose your cool with your kids, that you and your husband occasionally infuriate each other, and that in all your relationship's own unique weirdness it's perfect for you. They understand when you have a big house or tiny apartment, a very handsome or less sophisticated husband, easy kids or challenged kids that money and prestige don't matter and that everyone is blessed with different blessings and challenges. They watch you grow, they cheer you on and wish you well.

I have a great group of girlfriends from when I first moved to Los Angeles to attend grad school many years ago. They are living in many parts of the country now. Some have happy marriages, some have stepchildren and all the blessings and challenges that presents, some have husbands who can be challenging, some are single and must focus great effort on keeping financially stable, some live far from family, some have had to leave everything familiar to them and move to follow their husbands careers in far off places. But through all the winding paths we've all taken, it's such a gift to be able to speak honestly and openly in a safe and supportive environment. I have mourned with them, cried with them, and best of all laughed with them. They are a gift and amazing blessing to my life.

I connected with an old friend today and hearing about her life gave me peace about my life. I replied to an email from another dear friend who has a child in great jeopardy right now. I called another girlfriend and said, "Help! I need Lady Time! When can we see each other?" I mourned again today the loss of my dear friend who passed away in January. I would've called her today and said, "Help! You gotta help me figure out these big decisions I have to make right now."

We would've gone to dinner this week, gotten caught up, I would have asked her opinion on things I can't yet figure out for myself. She would know what to say. I would feel better. Not having her here reminds me again to appreciate what I do have, or better said WHO I do have. And for that I am grateful. My girlfriends are what keep me even-keeled, hopeful and laughing. I am so grateful for them and how much it's saved me on therapy over the years! Thank you Lady Friends!

Photo {via}

21 February 2010

Learning is Sew Simple

So often when people see something I have sewn, they lament never having learned to sew. Some who have little exposure to sewing feel it is far too difficult a thing to master. I remember when I first started trying to sew on a machine. It was very intimidating. 

Threading the machine and keeping it so was my greatest frustration and I suffered long delays when anything went amiss. Keeping the machine tension at proper settings was a mystery. Some days it was perfect and some days it seemed no matter what I did the machine just wouldn't work with me.

I finally mastered my fear of the sewing machine when I decided to design and create handbags and toiletries bags from ideas that has been floating around it my head. Sewing for many hours a day taught me to work through my troubles, proper machine maintenance, and the confidence to believe I could learn new things.

It's never to late to learn to sew. I bought my sewing machine, a vintage Bernina, on ebay. It wasn't cheap, but I made a good investment in a renowned, well-crafted machine that I knew I could trust. It is very similar to the machine I grew up using. You can buy sewing machines in a wide range of prices and brands.

Sewing classes are taught at many venues. The best way place to learn about sewing is at your local fabric store. Find a shop where people are skilled seamstresses and can advise you on projects and best practices. One such shop in Los Angeles, is F & S Fabrics. They have a phenomenally knowledgeable staff and they are very willing to help. They also have a big selection of fabrics and notions.

They also have two home interior fabrics stores in nearby storefronts. They also teach sewing classes. I have to add to that if you are looking for a great tailor, your best fabric store is a great place to inquire. We found an amazing man at F & S who takes on side jobs and has done the most incredible work to repair or improve several clothing items. Yes, I can sew well, but I know when to turn things over to a true professional.

You can also find sewing classes through Adult Education programs, community colleges and trade schools. Look online, try craigslist.org where you could both buy a sewing machine and find class that would work. It's really not to late to learn. It's a great skill to have for so many reasons. I'd love to hear if you decide to go for it!

19 February 2010

Focus on Happiness

Last week I had the good fortune to meet a wellness & meditation teacher. I wasn't anticipating meeting her, I was actually at the dentist's office to get my teeth cleaned and some work done. I mentioned my avoidance of medications which she picked up on immediately and an amazing conversation blossomed from there. She gave me a very insightful color reading- something I have not had done before, which was spot on with a few surprises that I've been reflecting on since then.

I won't share all the details, but the one thing that has really stuck with me since our conversation is a reminder that I have a lot of control over how I live my life, how I look at my life and my experiences. Do I anticipate good and happy events or do I make things more difficult for myself by dreading things that haven't happened yet, things that are happening and difficult people I am dealing with in my life. I am usually pretty upbeat, but it's always great to take one's temperature.

I definitely realized there are a few areas where I can improve my perspective, anticipate success and move forward in a more empowered way. My "power of positive thinking muscles" had gotten a bit weak. It's amazing how in just a few days I have tweaked things for the better in my life. I am reminded again to be more hopeful, be a ray of sunshine to others, be more accepting of others, of my life and unique challenges.

It's amazing how people will be placed in our path to inspire us at the most interesting intersections of our lives. I was expecting prettier teeth, but in the process, I am gaining a prettier soul and life experience.

How are you helping yourself by having a more hopeful, positive attitude? What rituals help you? Who inspires you? How do you turn yourself toward the light? Please share, I'd love the inspiration!

artwork {via}

It Will Happen When It Happens

I have to share this experience I've watched a friend go through over the past few months. It's a calming reassurance about all those outstanding frustrations we often experience. My friend had several small business deals and career moves that she was trying very hard to resolve. A car to sell, an apartment to rent and lots of small business projects which she hoped to land, leading her to bigger opportunities.

She worked hard, she plotted, planned, pushed, and strived to make things happen. Things didn't happen. A renter failed to pay the rent and had to be asked to leave, the car needing to be sold broke down, having electrical problems that could not be resolved, projects she hoped for did not come her way. But she kept working to resolve all these issues, which would allow her to move forward to new adventures with greater freedom and a sense of closure on the past.

When it felt as if there was nothing more she could do, she kept trying to find new ways to move things forward. With no resolution in sight, she began to wonder if things would ever move forward.

Last week, out of the blue, she got a call from a man interested in renting her unit. He got her information from an online post she had posted almost two years ago and never taken down. He looks to be a fantastic renter candidate and paperwork in already in the works. It was an incredibly easy process. One phone call and paperwork in the mail that morning. Three days later the phone rang with a phone call requesting information on the car up for sale. That too is moving forward.

And this week, good projects have been appearing and a great project came through tonight. This is a project so up my friend's alley that it's amazing. This is going to be something she will be able to make great contributions to and will also love being a part of.

I don't know why, but things happen when they are meant to and not a minute sooner. But I am convinced that we have to do all we can do to show what we want. But the way things work out is often completely unexpected and usually better than we could've imagined. So if you're wondering when things will work out for you, keep trying, keep moving forward and looking for new ways to look at your challenges. Then breathe and know that it will happen when it happens and you won't want to change a thing when you see how it works out for you.

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17 February 2010

Saving Money Creatively

At a time in life when most of us are more conscious of our financial situation than ever before, opportunities to increase our salaries, find higher-paying jobs or move to a new, less expensive city may not be as easy as they may have been in the past.

Taking on additional work projects or a part-time job brings on more stress and often not much additional money for the cost of time and energy. It also draws us away from other priorities. Learning to save money is as good as making money. It's probably easier and more enjoyable too.

Over the past year I been much more conscious of saving money. I've started looking through coupon mailer packs, grocery advertisements and using and sharing them. If we have coupons for restaurants we'll visit those over others. I make the effort to buy discount movie passes from the HR department at work. We take advantage of free activities around town and spots we can enjoy outside for free. We buy season passes to popular family spots where we can go again and again for one small fee

We ride our bikes to church, to the beach and do what we can to save on parking fees that are charged to park in many areas of my city. I am trying to make more organized car trips so that I save on gas and time.

I learned several years ago that if I don't go to stores unnecessarily I don't spend money shopping. I try to plan for what I need and make trips specific to my needs. No longer do I visit all my favorite stores on the weekend as entertainment. Each season I look at my favorite retailers online and chose a couple of items that I know I need to upgrade and update my wardrobe. Then I get a few inexpensive new accessories to spice things up. I will wait to make big purchases for week's when my favorite retailers have 20% sales. I save a lot of money that way. I am more proud of myself for keeping a very simple closet than having tons of clothes.

And I've returned to thrift shopping. It is amazing what you can find when you are patient. I've purchased some darling kids clothes, as well as name brand items for me this year. The mens' section may be the best of all, full of great basics for men: t-shirts, button downs, pants, jackets, suits and shoes. If you need home accessories, frames, lamp shades, baskets, storage or organization items, they can always be found at a thrift store.

Mariah, our Friday guest blogger, has saved thousands of dollars buying groceries with coupons, buying pre-owned furniture and large toys for her children and taking part in kid's consignment sales. This has allowed her to stay at home creating a warm and comfortable home for her family. Stephmodo, on of my favorite blogs, shares a lot of great ideas to save money managing a household.

Finding ways to pay less for things you know you are going to buy anyway, is another great way to save money. Sales tax is outrageously high in the city where I live. But I often visit friends and family in nearby cities. I can purchase big ticket items elsewhere and save money. I did the math on what I would save going to my former hairstylist in the city where I visit my parents four times a year compared to what I pay in the big city I live in. I would save $800 a year! That would pay for my trips there, which I am going to make anyway, plus pay for my hair.

Have you shopped out car insurance, home insurance and other services you purchase each year? Saving big money on these purchases can add up quickly. Taking advantage of your employer's flexible spending plan can save lots of money by taking money from one's paycheck pre-taxed to pay for medical and dental expenses throughout the year. Kill you gym membership and start working out alone or with your kids outside in a park, buy a used baby jogger, get up and workout before the day starts for your household, meet up with friends and make it a group activity.

Buying used appliances from places like craigslist rather than feeling you must have the top of the line, newest appliances can save a family big money. There are always people moving who have fairly new washers, dryers, refrigerators and freezers they  need to quickly sell. You can also save big money buying used kid's furniture, bicycles, skis and other sports equipment from families who no longer need them.

Another great way to save money is to create trades for things you need. If you can find someone you can trade services or products with, be it trading babysitting, massages, graphic design work, or piano lessons with, you save dollars and get what you need at the same time. You can definitely find web sites that will match you up with people looking to trade and even people giving things away for free.

With some wise money savings you can have more money to pay off debts, to pay your monthly expenses and even raise your standard of living. Maybe you CAN get new bedding, maybe you CAN afford that vacation you've dreamed about, maybe you CAN afford to be a one-income family. It's amazing how many places you can save money with some extra thought and care. Saving money is a great way to reduce stress and improve your daily life. It requires very little sacrifice and the payoffs are BIG!

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16 February 2010

Olympic Fever

Have you caught Olympic Fever yet?

My goal this year was to teach my three-year-old pal to love the Olympics as much as I always have. I have fond memories of the Olympics dating back to when I was 5 years old. As a family and with friends, the Olympics have always been a time to follow some of the world's most amazing athletes as they attempt to ski, board, swim, paddle, run and even gallop their way to gold medals.

My first Olympics indoctrination came with the preparation. Start talking about the Olympics and how special they are. Build up the excitement for the Opening Ceremonies. The first night is a little long, but one is always guaranteed to see some spectacular sights during the cultural show and by the end of the opening snowboarding scene, I was already being asked to rewind it to watch it again. I was well on my way to success.

The second night we watched ice skating and luge and she asked me, "What are the Olympics?" My answer, "The time when the whole world gets together to be friends and play and compete together." Later we went to dinner at a restaurant with a sport theme and in every direction there were television screens. She pointed at them and said, "Look, THE OLYMPICS!" Inside I fist-pumped, "Yes!"

The next level of success came when we visited my sister, who the Little Bug adores. Sister and friends were gathered watching cross country skiing. The Little Bug was more than happy to climb up with the cool grown ups and watch. The next day we were walking down the street and the Little Bug stopped me and pointed to the Olympic rings logo in a small corner of a street billboard. When we walked past again she again reminded me. Fever was taking hold.

Why instill Olympic Fever? There are so many good reasons to pass it on. First, the pure beauty of the Olynpic movement, learning to befriend people from all over the world and seeing and experiencing new countries, cultures and arts.

Second, to learn respect for and hopefully instill a desire to commit oneself to excellence, to see what hard work can accomplish. Third, every Olympics is filled with the joy of victory and the hard lessons of defeat. Life isn't always fair and the Olympics is one place where these lessons are demonstrated and experienced every day. Great lessons for kids, especially when they grow up in a world where they are too protected from the possibility of feeling sad and all the wonderful lessons we learn in times of disappointment and hardship.

Fourth, to expose young minds to the many fun things you can do in life. Long before I ever skied, ice skated, swam or rode a bike, I saw it first at the Olympics. I learned what interested me, I learned to love sports and what I could do outside, with my body and with my friends. I've worked in the skiing industry, traveled to many fun and interesting countries, and had the courage to try new things because of the example of others I've watched at the Olympics.

Tonight as we watched women's snowboard cross Little Bug insisted we make sound effects as the girls soared off jumps, landed hard and hung the curves. She was glued to the screen. Right now she is sitting next to me, hanging her head upside off the couch watching men's skating. A guy in a suit that looks like a skeleton is pretty exciting to a girl who loves all things scary and monster-like

I think my work here is done. At least for now. She's had her first taste of the Olympics and I hope they will be a part of her learning some great lessons and further developing her character. There is a pure and simple joy to watching the Olympics and so far we've got that covered. 

Go Vancouver 2010!
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11 February 2010

Mariah B. - Living in the Moment and Loving It

photo {via}

Welcome Mariah, our first guest blogger. I'll let her introduce herself, but I will tell you that she is a charming, gracious, talented and generous woman who I am glad to call my friend.

For those readers out there who have found themselves in “momland”, this one’s for you. Five years ago, as I was struggling to get pregnant and visiting a fertility doctor two or three times a week, I never really thought I would be here today. After many miscarriages, surgeries, over  1200 shots of heparin and two high risk pregnancies yielding three beautiful  bundles of joy…I’m wondering what I got myself into.

Back when I was trying to conceive, I was also climbing the corporate ladder, working on my MBA and had a very busy social life. I remember knowing exactly what I would do as a mother and what I considered purely unacceptable. Let me correct myself, I had no idea what I would DO, more like what I would NOT do.

First, I would not stay home with my children if money was tight. I figured I did not want to be scraping by, staying home and being poor and miserable. I would not trade in my department store make-up for discount store make-up. I would continue with my facials and manicures/pedicures because I would not be one of “those” moms. I would not let my body go. The baby weight would come off no matter how often I needed to go to the gym.  My marriage would not suffer and the children would not come between me and my husband.

Well here I am, a SAHM - a “Stay at Home Mom”, a term I pretty much consider a four letter word, or umm… acronym. All of those things I said I would NOT do, you guessed it, I’m doing. I quit a very lucrative career which cut our household income in half. I’m not only buying discount cosmetics, but I buy the generic of the discount brand.

My body is SLOWLY recovering…but will never be the same. My work out routine includes dragging three kids to the gym, stressing out the entire workout that someone is going to poop their pants and they’ll have to come get me and my marriage is well, let’s just say it’s much more difficult to be nice to each other when every ounce of energy has been sucked out of you.

If we’re being honest, I would say that 90% of moms have a similar story. So really, what’s new? I’m just another SAHM who’s so busy she barely gets to watch Oprah and when she does, Oprah seems to have all the answers. You need to take time for yourself. Do what makes you happy and find balance. Well I have to respectfully say, “Suck it, Oprah!” You obviously have no clue and all your minions of people cooking and cleaning for you don’t help with that lack of reality.

After three and a half years of struggling with finding myself, getting the right balance and all that other stuff, I’m really trying to just let go of the “me time” our generation of women feels entitled to and enjoy the ride. I feel that I’ve been holding on so hard trying to maintain my own personal identity that I won’t accept or let myself become who I actually am, a mom of three beautiful children. Children who I prayed for incessantly for three years and who have miraculously changed my life forever.   

One day I’ll be able to buy expensive make-up again, although I probably won’t because I've found it really doesn’t make a big difference. One day I’ll be able to go to the gym alone and stay for hours. My husband and I will look back at this time and realize how much stronger we are as a unit for going through this together.

So keeping with the “Kalanicut” vibe, I guess motherhood is like any other stage of our lives. Babies grow into toddlers, kids into teenagers and before I know it, I’ll be a grandmother. So ladies, let’s all stop trying to find ourselves and take a good look at where we are now. That doesn’t mean we can’t change and evolve, but accepting the women we are now is key to discovering our true self.

10 February 2010

We Must Get Kids Outside and Back to a Simpler Life

There is a fantastic conversation going on over at Wide Open Spaces blog about the dire need to get children out of doors and back into nature, back to the days when they played outside most of the day and could adventure around without a lot of adult supervision. 

Almost gone are the days that children could entertain themselves building tree houses and forts and use their senses of adventure and imagination to fill their days with their own activities. Emily shares some great books and comments as well as inspiring comments from readers as well.

We all need to do our part to get kids out of doors, in less constricted and regimented lives and letting their own imagination and freedom teach them. Everyone has a part to play to return our world to a simpler time -- whether you have kids or not, you do influence them one way or another. Are we living lives that inspire this future or are we in desperate need  to get outside as well?

Check out Emily's great post, recommendations and comments!

GIVEAWAY WEEK final day - extended

Final Day

It's the final entry -- the giveaway today is THREE headbands. These headbands are made of colorful ribbon with leather, felted wool and vintage button accents.

To win three women's headbands leave a comment here before midnight Monday February 15. Winners will be announced Tuesday Feb 16.

09 February 2010

Power Thought Cards - The Gift That Gives Back Every Day

Have to share one of the best presents I've received in years. A dear friend, kindred spirit, gave me Louise L. Hay's Power Thought Cards last year. Louise Hay is a very peaceful, wise author of many books, meditational CDs and cards.

Since my dear friend has since moved to the East Coast, this is a great daily reminder of the inspiring and uplifting chats we used to have together and a daily gift to my soul. 

Each card, beautifully illustrated, has an inspiring mantra on one side and on the back there are more words of wisdom reminding you of the power of positive thinking and the actions that come from good thoughts. There are reminders to care for and protect oneself, have more understanding and compassion for others and to see the good in the world.

I pick three cards each day to reflect on and guide me for that day. I write them on a sheet of paper so I carry them with me. I find Power Thought Cards to be a great way to keep my mind on a higher plane, focused on what is most important in my life. Such a fantastic gift! You can buy Power Thought Cards and other great motivational treats at louisehay.com and amazon.com.

photo {via}



First let me just say that winners for day one have been posted at the bottom of that day's entry. Congratulations to the winners. We'll announce the winners of day two shortly. And please forgive me for the less than stellar photos this week, having some lighting frustration which we hope to resolve soon.

The giveaway for the day is this darling baby skirt. It was made from vintage floral fabric, with a thick band of black grossgrain ribbon about the hem and rustic flowers created from felted wool and centers made with vintage buttons. A great little something for the baby girl in your life or a fantastic baby gift.

Enter before midnight Thursday February 9 by leaving a comment on this post to be eligible. Winners will be announced Friday. Good luck! Oh, one last thing, all winners are eligible to enter again each day.

Congratulations NESS you are the winner of the darling baby skirt. Email me at cayecee@yahoo.com with your contact information and this little skirt is on it's way to your door!

Ness said...

I could use a darling baby skirt. If it won't fit my two year old, I'll put it on me somehow. It is sooo cute!

08 February 2010

Sometimes It's Easier Than We Think

Everyone feels vulnerable some days. Some days we feel pain we can't pinpoint or we suffer from injuries to the soul and to our lives that we feel might never heal. Will it require years of therapy, months of inward focus to root out the source and cause and find proper prescriptions for healing? Is there a cure?

I had an experience today that taught me a great life lesson. Sometimes we can make great strides to help others heal by just standing at their side, listening to their pains and letting them know we care, we love them, we're there for them through thick and thin. Sometimes that is all they need to heal - your caring touch, your loving heart, your listening ear.

And even more amazingly, somehow this very act of lifeguarding someone else causes a little something to well up in us, a pain, an ache to be rooted out, to  rise to the surface, to be released and find it's own heavenly healing. What a beautiful and deeply healing balm simple love and care can be when shared, when there is communion between two souls.



It's day two of the week of giveaways at kalanicut. Today's giveaway will award three winners who will each receive a set of three toiletries/catch all bags

Winners will be able to choose a 3-bag set of pink, blue or red or choose one of each color!

Just comment below before midnight Tuesday February 9. Once again, share a favorite post. Winners will be notified Wednesday February 10.

Winners are:

marci said...

I love your bags and would love some new ones! :)

Sarah Kihara said...

Sarah Kihara said
I love the blog post about waking up to simple pleasures! ~Sarah

Amanda said...

I totally love organization and I love bags. What an awesome combo.

I got sent here from Christy's blog (we used to be roomies and you helped us plan our trip to Europe in 2001!) so I haven't read a lot of your posts - but I did read back a few and love the one on getting up a little earlier to workout. Very inspiring. I might just try it.
Winners please e-mail me at cayecee@yahoo.com with your mailing address and what color bags you would like and we'll get them in the mail to you! Congratulations! Thanks for entering!


Giveaway Week
Day One

It's here! Our first giveaway week. Been looking forward to this for months now. This week every giveaway is something I have designed and handmade.

The first giveaway is lovely hand torn paper art stationery. Made with a mixture of gorgeous papers, each card is one-of-a-kind. 

Two winners will be chosen randomly and each will receive a fun package filled with goodies including a set of 12 cards, envelopes and more.

Enter by leaving a comment below about your favorite kalanicut blog post. 

Contest ends Monday February 8, midnight PST. Winner will be announced Tuesday along with the next giveaway.

Congratulations to Deb and Black Widow winners of the day one giveaway! 

The Black Widow said...

This post! This post where you gave away free stuff is my favorite.
Deb said...

I really enjoyed the "Making Time for Your Life" blog post. Great suggestions on how to achieve the things we want most.

e-mail me (at cayecee@yahoo.com) your mailing addresses and I will send you your prizes! Thanks for entering! 
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