30 May 2010

Great Respect on this Memorial Day


THANK YOU
to all the members of the U.S. military and their families for their great sacrifices everyday so that we can enjoy our freedom and barbecues today!

Love and thanks to The LT, The Flying Ace, and The General for your years of service. Wish I could've known you DB!

Wheels Turning


Keeping busy on the bike. Saturday I rode across town to the beach, up the bike bath about four miles, then found a nice spot on the beach. There were dolphins swimming back and forth, just off shore all along my ride. It's lovely how everyone on the beach stops, points and quietly enjoys the beauty of these glorious creatures.

I packed light. I brought a light linen jacket,  a cotton pareo, two big bottles of water, and a small, simple picnic -- crackers, cheese, carrot sticks, and a big orange. I had hoped to pick up a few good black rocks, some shells or some sea glass for the mantle jars at a favorite beach but there wasn't much there. Tides may have been working against me.

So I enjoyed my picnic and took a lovely, short nap to the lulling sound of the waves. I soaked in sun, breathed in the fresh air and took in the beautiful view. Then hopped on my bike for a quick ride home. Great adventure for the body and soul for just 14 miles of pedaling. Hope you are taking a few minutes for yourself this weekend! Please share your favorite way to run away from home for a couple of hours!

The Spring Refresh Continues...


The Spring Refresh continues for home, mind and body. This weekend I cleaned and reorganized the front entry, washed the rugs, cleaned the floor and moved some things around. Still need to buy a plant for the entry way table and do some final decorating arranging. Photos to come once things are in place.
I did a major cleaning of the bathroom and vanity area. The bathroom on it's own is probably the ugliest apartment bathroom I've ever had, but hopefully, a few little touch ups keep it livable for a while longer. Then I moved some furniture around in the bedroom. Thinking that the tall dresser would make a nice bedside table for a while. It's moved in place and from some directions I love how it looks and then I'm not sure at all. Photos to come.


Still shopping for a new desk. Have covered a lot of bases at this point and still haven't seen the right thing at a reasonable price. I'm envisioning a table-style desk, dark wood. Not too big, too deep or too heavy. Fingers crossed it's on its way to me.

Here's the new bulletin board in progress. Painting is done, fabric is mounted over the cork. It's ready to be hung over the new desk as soon as the right one appears. Questioning a bit where to put the desk, thought I had that all figured out, but now I'm not so sure. Still mulling it over.

I called to have a thrift store pick up the sofa and love seat in a few days. Big decision since I have not picked out a new sofa yet. I decided to make it happen by forcing the point. I can't bear to have these huge couches in the house one more week. I should have gotten rid of them a few years ago. I have faith that the right vintage or new sofa will come my way when the time comes. There are so many sales going on right now, it's a buyer's market. With all the comings and goings this summer, I can make it a few weeks without one.

Feels good to be getting things done, turning over a new leaf and making a fresh start. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity is the key word. A clean, simple, restful, inspiring space. 

photo 1 via 
photo 2 by me
photo 3 via
photo 4  by me 
photo 5 via

28 May 2010

Pedal Away!


Now that my daily schedule is a little more flexible, I have committed to riding my bike as much as possible instead of using the car. Occasionally I still get in the car and wonder why I didn't take the bike. But with summer here, there are a lot more hours to safely ride and with front and back flashing lights I can safely ride after dark as well.


I have ridden to the post office, copy store, magazine stand, thrift shopping and to the grocery store this week, some of those places several times. The big thing you have to remember when riding to the grocery store or farmer's market is that you can only buy what you can carry home with you on your bike. I can fill my basket, and put a few bags on the handle bars if necessary. But I don't want to be riding more than a few blocks if things are that precarious. I could add a basket or two on the back of my bike for additional packing space. There are even some great bikes being made in Utah that give you enough cargo space to bring home a week's worth of grocery or tote around a couple of kids. See Madsen bike here


I still remember the thrill of learning to ride a bike in the gravel driveway of our family friends home. I think I was four and a half. The older girls would sit on the back of the banana seat to help balance the bike and I would pedal.  By the time I was five I was riding my bike to my piano teacher's house a mile away from home. I rode my bike across town to softball and baseball practices in elementary and junior high school. In high school I rode across town to my summer job every day.


When I lived in Denmark we would ride to town with large bags of dirty laundry balanced precariously on the back of our bikes then ride back with clean clothes afterwards. No wonder we put off laundry as long as possible. In Denmark we rode bikes every day in the heat, rain, snow, sleet, day and night. No big deal. There was nothing more fun than riding into central Copenhagen on an old 3-speed surrounded by a pack of other cyclists of all ages. I miss living in such a bike friendly country!


Los Angeles isn't the easiest place to bike, but it is possible. So I'm throwing out a challenge to everyone everywhere. Get on your bike. Tote your kids around and run your errands. Visit friends, go to the park, the library, the bank, the post office, the store on your bike. Give your family the joy of evening bike rides together. Ride your bikes to church -- it is doable - just plan your wardrobe accordingly and if you like bring a change of shoes with you. Ride to the mountains, to the beach, to get an ice cream cone.


In some areas you'll move faster than the traffic on a bike. There's a certain glee in that! You'll burn calories, have more energy and get your exercise in while you are taking care of your daily to do list. Nothing better than achieving your tasks and exercise goals at the same time. Plus you get a little sun on your cheeks and a good dose of vitamin D is great for you every day. Plus biking gives you tight, sexy calves.


Look online for bike routes in your town. There are a lot of bikers and web sites out there sharing information online and encouraging cities everywhere to support safe biking routes. In LA it's legal to ride on the sidewalk, and since so few people walk, it's a pretty safe place to pedal. There is also a bike route all the way to the beach that starts just a few blocks from my house. When you start looking for them you'll realize there are a lot of bike routes and paths around. There's a safe and simple route to almost anywhere if you do your research.


If you don't have a bike, check out options to buy a great used bike at places like craiglist and other online sale sites. Check out local pawn shops. When it comes to kids bikes, there are always people selling little bikes they don't need anymore. Check local yard sales and all the great kid exchange options out there. Spruce it up with some new accessories: handle bar grips, a cool basket, stickers and it's as good as new!


If you have little ones, too small to ride, there are great trailer and kid seat options that make including the entire family a breeze. There are inexpensive bikes available at big box retailers for around $100. And if you already have a garage full of bikes that have been sitting for a while and need a tune-up, check out REI. They frequently teach basic bike care classes for free. See their class schedule near you on their web site.


So let's make this the summer of biking. Shall we? Who's going to join me? SAY YES!

Martha Stewart Weddings Summer Issue


So happy to hear that the Summer 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings comes out today. And lucky me there is a magazine stand just 2 blocks from my house. I'm going to hop on my bike and zip over there soon! Can't wait.

Whether or not your in the process of getting married, this magazine has some of the most creative, colorful, stylish ideas for living out there. It amazes me that every year they continue to find new and fresh ideas to share. One thing I've been really impressed with about MSLO is how they so quickly jumped on the blog bandwagon and have cultivated relationships with a lot of great bloggers. And they've made it a two way relationship, they share great stuff from bloggers and they feature a lot of bloggers on their pages. MSLO continues to impress, after all the ups and downs, with all the lovers and haters. You can't deny the impressive creativity.

I have an appointment with some post-it notes, the beach and a lovely drool through the latest issue this weekend! Hope you have a fantastic weekend with people you love! Sending love to all my people who I am nowhere near this weekend! You are in my thoughts and prayers. Wish I could enjoy a good barbecue and fresh cob of corn with you!

photo via

27 May 2010

The Home Refresh Begins in Earnest


I've taken my entire living room apart. It's a disaster in some areas and freshly reorganized in others. I started working on it a couple of days ago and then this morning I got out of bed, came in and moved two things and it came together -- my mantle and the top of my armoire are pulled together. I may still tweak things a bit. Unfortunately the bland white walls are something I can't do anything about but I try to work around them.

Due to my Polynesian heritage, a love of all things beach and ocean oriented and living near the coast my design theme has evolved to envelop all those elements. It feels like me, makes me happy and creates a clean, simple, colorful palette to work from. First project was to update the mantle.

Here's how it worked out. When looking at the photos, please know that I am certain this wall is crooked. No matter what I do, it always photographs off kilter. The art never looks quite straight, either the top looks crooked or the bottom looks crooked.

I fell in love with this delicate pink and lush green orchid and the simple, elegant brown vase at IKEA. Total cost $19. The wood planter box is so yummy I can hardly stand it. I wish you could see it and feel it. It has such a warmth and earthiness to it. There is also another size, a larger square that I am still thinking about. I wish IKEA had made these in much bigger sizes. They are delicious. With the varied plants to go in it, the total cost was $12.



Got this great candle holder at Goodwill on Monday afternoon for $5. More than I'd usually spend for something like that at Goodwill, but I had a vision for it and knew it was worth the investment. We've collected some great rocks, shells and sea glass over the years that was lying around the apartment is various containers. I was channeling Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give and wanting jars to display them all in. I went big and figured we'd have more to add to our collection by the end of  the summer. I going to get a smaller matching jar at IKEA on my next trip. I wasn't quite sure how or what I would need until I actually put them together.

The small elephant I picked up somewhere like Cost Plus World Market a few years ago. He's a keeper! The painting is from St. Vincent de Paul thrift store downtown LA. I have had that for probably 10 years now. I've picked up some great things there over the years. The KC letters are Anthropologie from 2006, as if I need to tell anyone that. I think we've all seen them by now, right? And here is the somewhat finished product. More on the living room refresh to come. I think today I may make a trip downtown to Deseret Industries, St. Vincent de Paul and a swing up the 5 to IKEA Glendale. Just an FYI, some of my favorite fabrics are on sale at IKEA right now at clearance prices. Check them out!




Olde Good Things - Los Angeles


May is my favorite month of the year. The month I was born, the month when Spring and Summer really make themselves known, the end of the school year, Memorial Day Weekend. Nothing but good things.

This month has been nothing like my favorite month of the year. That will explain the lack of posts this month. But I am coming back with a vengeance and lots of new inspiration. The Phoenix rising from the ashes. I am always comforted when in the midst of a terrible period, my brain and creative center really start percolating. That is always a sign to me that good things are coming. And boy and I ready for some GOOD THINGS to start coming.

On that note, I recently went on a date night to Olde Good Things, an architechural salvage and altered antiques shop in Los Angeles. If the name sounds familiar, the NYC shop was recently featured on 9 by Design, on Bravo. We wandered round and round the shop, continually finding new and inspiring pieces. Some of our favorite pieces were a wood propeller that was hung high in the rafters and this table, which stopped us both in our tracks when we came upon it.


Here are a few other favorites.  

HIghly recommend a visit to Olde Good Things whether you are just looking for inspiration to refresh your living space, are looking for small pieces to perk up your place or are ready for some serious investment pieces to really set your home apart from the crowd. We had a great visit!

19 May 2010

Three Fun Things to Pass the Time


Sometimes in life you need some fun things to help pass this time, things you can do while you are waiting for something else to happen, someone to arrive, or just trying to relax and not worry so much. Here are three very fun distractions that I have recently enjoyed to pass the time.

I could not pass up the Charley Harper Memory Game at Anthropologie a few weeks ago. I immediately fell in love with the graphics and if you have to ( I mean GET TO) play kids games with a kid, then  this is a gorgeous way to to spend your play time. There are a LOT of sets of cards in this set, we just choose 10-12 sets to play with and vary them every time we play. It's amazing how much better kids brains are at this than grown ups. I am afraid our brains are way too cluttered with dumb details and worries about a thousand things.




If you are going to watch DVDs with a kid, can I recommend Shaun the Sheep, by the makers of Wallace and Grommet. This is a video that grown ups enjoy just as much as kids, at least for the first 3-4 times. Haa-haa. It's clever, creative, there is no talking and the sounds and songs are not annoying. That's huge for me. There are some kid oriented sounds that make me want to pull my ears off. There are other Shaun the Sheep episodes available on DVD too, but I think of those I've seen this is my favorite.


Lastly, when I need to relax and can't get my mind off things that are causing me stress or I just need to really unwind to fall asleep I do word search puzzles. I like to buy the wire-bound books on sale at Barnes and Noble or Borders on the clearance rack. I first picked up a word search book about two years ago. I took it on vacation and everyone wanted to play with it. It's fun to sit with someone and do a puzzle together, competing to see who can find the most words the fastest. It gets pretty competitive.
I always get very relaxed and I have to say that I have really noticed that my ability to spot words quickly has increased exponentially from when I first started doing these again.  And when I say again, the last time I did these was probably during public school years. Word search puzzles are also fun for time on a plane, waiting in a doctor's office, waiting for drop offs or pick ups. They only take a few minutes and are easy to put down and pick up again later.

Hope you are enjoying your down time, whenever you can grab it! What do you like to do to unwind, relax and get your mind off things for a while? Please do share!


all photos via

15 May 2010

Simple Pleasures - Friends


I sing  a song of praise to friends. Not just the ones you can share anything with, who know your deepest darkest secrets, but the kind that you cross paths with for a short period of time, who remain a blessing in your life forever. This week has been pretty insane, I'll spare you with the details, but it's been an adventure of the nature and intensity that  I never imagined experiencing in my life -- I thought I knew stress, but apparently what I have always thought was the supersize helping was really only a small or medium serving. LOL.

But the saving grace of the past week has been several friends who I hardly ever see or talk to who have said the most lovely things and shared little things that mean volumes to me. I have been beyond grateful for these petite desserts that have helped me keep perspective, touched my life with God's grace, and reminded me how much we all need and are blessed by each other. Yes, we have our moments with each other where we may not do the friendship thing in such an admirable way, feelings get hurt, time passes and people are too busy, lives change -- no one escapes the bumps in the road that come with allowing other people into their lives. But the daily joys so far outweigh those bumps.

It's amazing how much an email, passing along a photo, a quick phone message just to say "I was just thinking about you", or showing appreciation mean to all of us. And how easy the little jewels are to share. They require so little on our part and mean enough to the recipient that they often remember them for life.

Here's a cheer for appreciating good friends and being even better friends. Judge less, love more, question less, support more, think about taking action less and just do it already, minimize sadness, maximize laughter, crush loneliness and expand companionship,. These are the pure delights of life. We should all go for the full buffet more often.

Sending my love and care to friends near and far!

photo via

10 May 2010

Get Your Feet in the Earth


Last winter I had the opportunity to chat with a meditation guide who I ran into unexpectedly. One comment I remember she made to me was that I needed to get my feet in the earth. I've been thinking about that a lot and trying to spend more time outside over the past few months.

Today I am feeling the effects of having spent a good deal of time outside this past week. It feels so lovely. Being out of doors more lately has allowed us to also spend more time with friends. We've been to lots of parks that are new to us, seen more of our lovely friends who we have not been getting together with often enough. We've made new friends, enjoyed meals outside, run in grass, stood in sand, enjoyed swings, merry-go-rounds, slides, made giant soapy bubbles that attracted children like the pied piper. We've driven down the coast several times, enjoyed gorgeous sunsets, cool breezes and fresh, fresh air.

There is something so healthy about getting your feet in the earth and so many great ways to do it. Take a hike. Plant a garden. Play catch. Kick a ball. Play tag. Lie on a blanket. Stare at the stars. Breathe. Twirl. Do cartwheels. Turn somersaults. Roll down a hill. It's spring and a beautiful time to be outside and start a tradition this summer for getting your feet in the earth. Start now and you'll likely make use of the entire summer to enjoy the out of doors and precious time with your family and friends.

The Blessing of Distractions


Sometimes in life, it feels like things are moving 90 miles a minute around you, and you have very little control over how things are going to unfold. You are in a position where you have to do whatever little acts you can and then just wait and let things unfold. As much as we'd all love to control everything (seriously, right?!) things just don't work out that way and we have to go through the ebb and flow of letting things work out. 

As terribly frustrating as that is, that process is full of life lessons: learning to Let Go and Let God, having and exhibiting faith that things will work out, learning about our own nature and what lessons we are meant to learn and where we need to grown and change to successfully see our way through the experience.

Sometimes when found in this position it's helpful to have a few good distractions to keep one calm, focused on what's most important and to get one's mind off one's worries at times. Here are a few good options:

  • Start reading a great book. A good distraction you can employ for a few minutes or a few hours.
  • Watch some of your favorite films you haven't seen for a while or create a list of movies you wanted to see and never did.
  • Go for a walk in a place that calms you -- the beach, a religious site, the mountains, etc. This is so helpful for clearing the head. 
  • Help out at a charity. I recently spent time helping out at a big charity event. It was a great way to open my mind up to bigger issues than mine. I met some great people, had a great time. Came away a better woman
  • Do something nice for a neighbor or friend - help them in the yard, watch their kids, write a kind note of encouragement. Helping others is a great way to focus on someone other than you and the good feeling you get warms your heart and builds your confidence.
  • Get together with friends. It's great to reconnect, encourage and get encouragement from friends. It's amazing what will come up in conversation that is exactly what you need to hear to keep you going.
  • Dream big. Think about things that inspire you and write them down, draw them out and create an inspiration board to keep you going towards your dreams.
  • Sleep. It's a great way to let the body relax. Stressful situations sometimes make sleep difficult, try to take a nap, try to sleep extra when you can. Your body and mind will thank you for it and you'll be able to think and perfom with greater clarity.
  • Exercise and eat healthily. Stress reducing, energy building.

Sometimes you just need some good distractions to keep you sane. What are your favorite distractions? Please do share! Leave a comment, share your thoughts!!

05 May 2010

Sing a Song - A Tip for Families


Being prepared for emergencies is something every parent thinks about. Now I am not a parent, but I do "play one on TV" so to speak. Here's a little idea we came up with to make sure that the little peanut, who just turned four, is prepared in case of emergency.

When she was three we started working with her to learn her first, middle and last name and her dad's first and last name. Then we worked on learning her grandfather and uncle's full names and what city they live in. We talked about it and then quizzed her once in a while to make sure she remembered and could recall the info if needed.

What we thought would be our biggest challenge was to teach her daddy's phone number. Since she can barely count to ten, learning and remembering a phone number seemed daunting to say the least. But then I remembered that she has been learning and singing songs by memory since before she was three.

So here's what I did. I made up a little song of daddy's 10-digit phone number and we started singing it. It's a catchy tune and easy to remember. So catchy in fact that I often can't get it out of my head, which can be a little annoying at times -- but it's worth it! I added in some fun by getting louder and louder as the song goes along so that by the end you can be really silly singing the last two digits. We started singing it a few weeks ago and she has it mastered.


La-la-la --
La-la-la --
La
La
La-la
La-la!


I would strongly recommend teaching all 10 digits of a phone number because if something happened to your or your family while out of town, knowing only seven digits will not be very helpful.

Today I can ask:
1) What's your name?
2) What's your dad's name?
3) What's your phone number?

She can answer each question easily and with very little concentration. It gives us a lot of comfort to know she can help herself if she needs to. We made if fun so that it's a silly game and we praise enthusiastically when she gets it all correctly. Make a BIG deal about their success on this stuff. It's important, so there's no chance of praising too much I don't think.

I've heard her singing the phone number song in the car, while helping in the kitchen and getting ready for bed at night. It gives me and her dad a lot of comfort to know she's armed with vital information that will help her get help as soon as possible in an emergency.

If you try this technique I'd love to hear about your success, what tune you chose and how it worked out for your family. Please let me know!


04 May 2010

KUUUUUU---RAUGE


COURAGE, also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and intrepidity, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty or intimidation. 

Sometimes life requires big things of us. I am amazed at how much courage life can demand at times. Some days you think you are being as courageous as is humanly possible and then life asks you to go way beyond that. Apparently, since this happens frequently, it must be possible to miraculously and very quickly gain exponential amounts of courage. I have no way to explain this but I've seen it time and time again in people's lives.

There are times in life when standing up for the right, taking giant and necessary risks and putting it all on the line is necessary. And it seems like it's usually when one is tired, in transition, or sometimes just settled into a totally new situation with no expectation of change. These are the moments when something totally out of left field, something you've been hoping for for years or something you've been avoiding for years will bounce right onto the middle of your life's tidy little table and scatter dishes in every direction possible.


Sometimes one is required to put oneself on the stage in a way that is terrifying -- those moments when one has to just go for it because it's the right thing to do, because it means standing up for people who can't stand up for themselves, when you must boldly own what one believes in even if it means that you will be rejected by people who matter to you or will lose precious opportunities.


Here are some beautiful thoughts on courage:

Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other.  ~Samuel Johnson (Thanks, Frank Lynch)

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.  ~Dan Rather

When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.  ~Mark Rutherford

Courage, in the final analysis, is nothing but an affirmative answer to the shocks of existence.  ~Kurt Goldstein

To live with fear and not be afraid is the final test of maturity.  ~Edward Weeks

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  ~Dorothy Bernard

Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway.  ~John Wayne

I salute courage today and salute every one of you who wakes each morning and exhibits courage to love, courage to dare, courage to risk, courage to keep going, courage to believe things will get better, courage to appreciate and enjoy all that you have, courage to be an angel to other people, courage to see something hard to it's end, courage to live life! 

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quotes via
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03 May 2010

Our Part in Great Relationships


I read this several years ago and it has stuck with me. I have thought of it often. It's a lovely perspective by which to be appreciative and grateful.

There is too little courtship in the world. For courtship means a wish to stand well in the other person's eyes, and, what is more, a readiness to be pleased with the other's ways; a sense on each side having had the better of the bargain; an under current of surprise and thankfulness at one's good luck.
Vernon Lee
In Praise of Courtship
Hortus Vitae (1904)


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