30 March 2012

A Clear Mind Inspires Answers & Solutions

image via

Happy Friday dear readers. I welcome you here today with open arms and cheer. Thank you for coming by to spend a few minutes. I was inspired to share something with you today. I am working on a new project that desperately needed a name. I was at a point where I could not move further without this name. I have been unusually challenged in coming up with this name. It needed warmth and great professionalism and to be very descriptive at the same time. A BIG challenge!

After mulling it over most of the week, I had made lists, diagrams. analyses and still had nothing. Here's where the inspiration I want to share with you, that would actually be helpful to you, comes in. Yesterday morning I was joyfully working my way through my morning ritual. This always starts my day off on a calm, clear note and truly guides me spiritually, behaviorally and task-wise through my day. I was going through my Power Through Cards. My process with these now is to repeat the mantra aloud until I feel it quietly sink into my heart.

As I was doing this, the idea for the name for my project came into my mind. Clear as a bell! I immediately wrote it down. Interestingly enough the name was nothing like I was thinking about and takes the project into a much bigger, broader sphere. But it's even better and more comprehensive than I was ever thinking about. This is GOOOOOOD. I am excited.

The best part is that this name and the ideas it encompasses make me even more excited about this project and bring in many more elements of things that I love to do and can incorporate into my original idea. I attribute this idea coming to my mind, 100 percent to the time I took for my morning ritual. When our minds are quiet and focused ideas can come to us -- and usually when we are least expecting them!

If you want to clear your mind, focus your day and open up your ability to be creative and solve problems, with all my heart I encourage you to begin or continue to focus on a morning ritual. I've talked a lot about morning rituals here at kalanicut. If you would like to read more about morning rituals, go to the search field on the right side of this blog and type in "morning ritual." It will pull up a variety of readings for you and help you find your own perfect morning ritual. This weekend could be the perfect time to organize one for yourself and then begin with gusto on Monday morning.

How about you? Do you rock a morning ritual? What do you do to bring calm and peace to your day? Have you had any A-ha moments recently?

Have a great weekend. I am sending you my warmest wishes for happiness and peace in your life!

29 March 2012

My Dry Skin Remedy

image via Alba Botanicals

It's Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. I think I've mentioned that already a few times, haa-haa. But Spring means that it's time for those pasty white legs to come out to play. In the Southern Hemisphere winter is coming and this tip will be equally helpful for those of you heading into cold and/or dry weather.

When I was in college I used to use petroleum jelly on my legs for moisturizer right out of the shower. Rub it in well and it does not feel gross or sticky as you might imagine and keeps your legs very soft. It's especially great with a skirt because you get shiny, sexy legs. I used petroleum jelly or baby oil on my legs until concerns about petroleum based products began to arise. Then I switched to Alba Un-petroleum Jelly. Which is available all over online and at pretty much any health food store.

My routine when I get out of the shower now is to create a cocktail of part lotion and part jelly in my hands. I alter the amount of jelly depending on how dry my legs are, more if they are dryer. It's easy to come up with a ratio of lotion to jelly that you are comfortable with after a little experimentation. I mix it up then start on the legs and work the potion all over the body. It absorbs nicely and gives skin a little extra punch than just lotion alone. It also helps attract a little bit of sun to the legs so they don't have to suffer being pasty for nearly as long.

Do you have a secret, homemade body cream concoction? Do you have a favorite product that you swear by for your legs? Do tell! Hope your week is going smashingly. Can you believe we're almost at the end of another one already? Amazing. This year is almost one quarter over. That is unbelievable. Sending you my warmest thoughts & best wishes. --k

28 March 2012

Join The Revolution For A Prettier World

image via

This post was inspired by a conversation I had yesterday on Twitter with San Diego Event Planner Brenda Swann of Swann Soirees. We started talking about how skinny jeans just don't work for a lot of people even though a lot of people wear them anyway. Then Brenda brought up how much she hates a lot of the current fashion because it looks so sloppy. Brenda is always impeccably and appropriately dressed from what I know of her.

I am as guilty as anyone. I wear flip flops and yoga pants more than I should. I try to stay looking pretty pulled together but I could do better. How about you? Do you dress up as often as your parents generation did and does? Do you only wear casual wear to church? Do you own any nice dresses? Do you put accessorized outfits together or do you just grab the pair of sweatpants from yesterday? Is your closet full of jeans and sneakers? How often do you wear yoga pants?

Once when I was in college I showed up at church in a printed tee shirt and a skirt and my mother sent me home to change. What are we teaching our kids about dressing with pride, taking care to look nice, etc??? That scares me a little bit.

Our conversation then transitioned into how that same lack of effort and sloppiness has affected our cultural behavior. We have become lazy about how we dress and how we act. Our language and behavior have become sloppy. We have such low expectations about behavior and standards. We watch garbage on television and enjoy it.  We laugh and celebrate bad behavior with our time and our dollars in the media.

This acceptance and celebration of low standards makes it easy to slip into sloppiness in language. I am continually appalled when out with The Bug, who is a very little girl, to hear language that should never be used around a lady or especially a child. Once a few young men were using horrible language in a store and I suddenly turned to them and said, "Hey guys, there are children here! The language please." Everyone around me was stunned. I was a little surprised myself but just couldn't take it anymore.

Even more offensive is hearing woman speak in deplorable language. I recently found a reply to something I had commented about online that had my name in it & then the F-word next to it in all caps. I was embarrassed to see my name next to that expletive in bold letters. The reply was meant to agree with what I said, but it's out there for good and doesn't look classy or gracious in any way. Agh.

The thought that comes to my mind in all this is the saying "Pretty is as pretty does." I would add, "Pretty is as pretty speaks, dresses and behaves." We all want to be seen as attractive, there are many things we can do to create a more beautiful society by putting more thought into our own appearance, behavior and language and encouraging that in others.

As Brenda and I agreed last night, it only takes a few people to start a revolution. Will you join us and be a part of the revolution to create a prettier world for us all? If so, let me encourage you to please share this article on Twitter, Facebook, etc. If this is something you feel strongly about, show your support and stand up for something you believe it.

27 March 2012

Tuesday Quick Tip - Put A Spring In Your Step

image via

Everything about Spring represents youthfulness, energy and freshness. Those are all components that I would like to maintain in my life as much as possible. Here are five things I'm thinking about to help stay looking sassy and fresh going into summer.

1) Shiny, pretty lip gloss. There are lots out there. My favorite right now is Lancome Color Fever Gloss in Heatstroke, a glimmery pink. That name along says nothing but sassy and bright.

2) A fresh layered haircut that has movement. These are sassy and gorgeous.

3) Cute new jeans. 2012 trends here.

4) A great pair of summer sandals.Cute affordable. Complete shiny extravagance.

5) Drink lots of water, get enough sleep & exercise. Massively affects the appearance!

What are you doing to put a sassy, young spring in your step? I'm open to trying lots of ideas. I need lots of reminders to keep is fresh and stay young, young, young!

26 March 2012

Meet The Lifter Hamper

First let me say this is not a sponsored post, but a great new product I'm excited to tell you about. The Lifter Hamper is a revolutionary laundry hamper that can greatly reduce the pain and strain of doing your laundry. This is great news for anyone who has trouble bending over.

In my 20s I played basketball every week with two girls and a bunch of big guys. Banging into those big guys under the basket I injured my lower back which causes me some pain if I overdue it with heavy lifting or long periods of sitting. I can tell you I have thought about the Lifter Hamper every time my "20-something sports injury" acts up lately and I have to do laundry.

Let me start with a little story about the creator of the Lifter Hamper. Once upon a time I had a little cousin. To put it lightly, at age three he was a hellion in every sense of the word. Lucky for him, he was also very cute and blessed with fantastic sense of humor. Thankfully, with the passing of time, he grew up to be a perfectly delightful young man. He went on to become a great student, high school and college football success and then made it to the NFL.

The smartest thing he did was to make plans for a life after the NFL. Actually it was his career in the NFL that lead to his post-NFL career, when a back injury got him thinking.  I though it would be fun to do an interview with him about the product and how it came to be. Hope you enjoy.

kalanicut: Tell readers a little about your background: college, football experience, etc. How did your background encourage you to be an entrepreneur and create this product?

Marvin:   I attended UC Berkeley and played football there for 4 years and was drafted to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. My first three years in the NFL I interned at a commercial real estate company (in the off season) to prepare myself for life after football.  So I was able to learn from well respected individuals in their trade. The one thing I learned from my experiences in football, school and my internship was to think outside the box.

kalanicut: What inspired you to create the Lifter Hamper?

Marvin: In my second year in the NFL I sustained a back injury that put me out for a while. Not only was I unable to participate in football but other simple things became difficult for me to do. Simple things like hauling clothes from one room to another, and bending over to pick up clothes from the bottom of the hamper became very difficult. So I looked everywhere to try to find a product that help ease the pain that I was feeling at that time, but to no avail. So I took out a notebook and began to draw. 

kalanicut: Tell us about the Lifter Hamper?

Marvin: The Lifter Hamper is a bungee, spring loaded clothing hamper that lifts your clothes from the bottom of the hamper to the top. 

kalanicut: How does it work?

Marvin: With the bottom already at the top, the weight of the clothing will drop the liner to the bottom as the load gets heavier. And as it gets lighter the clothes begins to rise, preventing the person from having to bend over to retrieve clothing form the bottom, and always picking from the top.

 kalanicut: How did you go about creating it?

Marvin:  The first thing I did was file a provisional patent on my idea. Then I got together with an engineer to start developing the product.  

kalanicut: Who can benefit from a Lifter Hamper?

Marvin: The Lifter Hamper is very helpful for those who suffer from back problems, women who are pregnant, the elderly and anyone who wants to make laundry time easier.

kalanicut: Where can readers learn more about The Lifter Hamper? Where can we buy a Lifter Hamper? Do you have special deals going right now?

Marvin: www.lifterhamper.com We are holding a pre-sale on the website that ends April 10th.  Pre-sale price is $25 plus free shipping.  Regular price is $34.99 + shipping.

kalanicut: Anything else you want tell readers about The Lifter Hamper?

Marvin: Check out our website for updates and information, and order one today.

Thanks to Marv for sharing the scoop about The Lifter Hamper. I am sure there are a lot of people like me that will really appreciate never having to dig to the bottom of the hamper again. If the thought of a Lifter Hamper makes your back and arms sing with joy, check them out now at the lifter hamper website for special pre-sale savings and free shipping. 

23 March 2012

Be Kind To Yourself Friday

image by kalanicut

I've decided today is Be Kind To Yourself Friday here at kalanicut. I thought I would give you a few spots to go for reminders about taking care of yourself. With the change of season, more light coming into our every day along with warmer temperatures, it's a great time to spiff up the heart as we are so eager to spiff up home and garden. I hope you'll find something to inspire you on your journey today.

My post at I Am Enough Collaborative
A shot at Actualizing My Dream Life & Finding My Joy
Might a Vision Board be a fun way to start the new season?
And it might be a good day to review Happiness

And lastly, if you would like a reminder about how truly good people are and the impact you can have on other people with just a few short minutes of your time, please bless your day by visiting this post from Design Mom Gabrielle Blair on Kindness. Bring tissues and read all the comments. I promise your heart will swell and it will take you to a higher plane of living.

Have a beautiful weekend, dear friends. Thank you so much for your kindness and support of this blog venture. It means a lot when you stop by and leave lovely comments. Thank you for your loyalty. Big kiss!

22 March 2012

Loafers For Travel

image via Zappos

I'm continuing on my quest to own some real shoes, not sandals, not boots but shoes. You can read about why here. Today I thought I would share with you a round up of cute loafers that would pack easily and be super comfortable for long walks, museum wandering and time at the park.

Cole Haan Air Sadie Driver. Love the color combination. Like Elvis, I've always had a thing for blue suede shoes and have owned several pairs. These look like they would be kind to the feet.

image via Zappos

Blundstones in Chocolate Suede. These have a boot look, beautiful seams and crepe sole and are a good basic color. Cute with jeans and a jacket.

image via Zappos

I love the texture and red highlights of the Ahnu Jackie loafers. And they look as cozy as house slippers.

Image Via Zappos

These Sporto Pam slip ons are a classic. Great for cooler weather and potential rain.

image via Zappos

These Rocket Dog Hangouts scream cheery nautical. Great for a trip to a coastal city. A fun way to spice up a basic travel wardrobe.

Image via Zappos

The DKNY Fionas could be cute with pants, shorts or a casual skirt. They look very breathable and comfortable.

Image via Zappos

These are Marc by Marc Jacob leather espedrilles. Love the color, the printed stamp and the comfort and color of the leather.

Image via Zappos

These are Ecco Jumps from Denmark, so they have to be good for the tootsies. They are sturdy, supportive and would surely be good for daylong jaunts.

Image via Zappos

And lastly I had to share these orange driving mocs named Katherine and designed by Patricia Green. They are in my favorite color after all and they are guaranteed to be a nice ride for a day of travel. 

So what do you like here? Any you can see wrapped around your feet? Do you have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them!

21 March 2012

Time For Spring Fashion Updates

image via Buckle

Yesterday while out taking care of wedding things, I decided it was time for a Spring fashion update. I couldn't help looking for a pair of jeans because I just didn't have any that were the right width or length to worked well with flats. I found just the right pair at 40% off. Then I stopped over in the Lingerie Department.

It's that time again, ladies. Time to get new bras. Bras really do have a very short life span. Take a close look in the mirror and you'll know immediately if you are in the same boat. If your "girls" don't look like two perky oranges sitting up high and centered it's time! A bad bra is a massive disservice to your appearance: you'll look older, heavier and flabbier. Here are two good posts from the archives (1 & 2) about properly fitted bras.

Yesterday I tried on at least 12 bras and took more than 20 to the fitting room with me. I found in different brands and even different styles within one brand my size varied widely. But I pushed through and found a bra that should be just right. I wish I had been wearing a knit tee shirt, it's the best way to see what a bra will look like under clothing. Often lingerie manufacturers will offer a buy two get one free deal which can be great if you want to stock up.

I scored on two great pairs of shoes. A few days ago I posted the brown and orange version of the sandals at the top of this post to my Fashion Favorites Pinterest board. On the pin, I commented that I could not imagine a pair of shoes that seemed more me. Apparently the power of attraction came into play on this one because I found this black version without the lace in a shoe clearance section for more than 50% off the original price. Could not pass them up. I also got a cute pair of boho chic suede clogs for $13.

I am so happy to have a refreshed wardrobe and I spent just over $100. I was thinking last night of all the new options I have with these new jeans and fun shoes and started pairing them up with tops and accessories I already own. Suddenly adding these to the things I already had at home created lots of new possibilities. Just as a good refresh should do, it's made everything feel fresh and more interesting to me. I am so happy to welcome a tuned up me to Spring 2012.

How about you? Have you done anything to refresh your world so far this spring? Are there things you are dying to do but haven't had a chance yet? What's the one thing you will or could do that would give you the greatest joy bump this season?

Having Vision When Wedding Planning

all images via IKEA

I've been sick the past couple of days and thus getting much less accomplished than expected. But I have been sleeping a lot, which apparently I needed. Yesterday, to give myself a break, I went out shopping for a while.

Since I am in my "second city" right now I am taking the opportunity to do things here that are much easier than in L.A. It's so lovely to bounce around without all the traffic. Yesterday afternoon, I set out to do a peaceful mid-week IKEA trip to pick up a few very inexpensive wedding items. When I go during the week and enjoy the peace and quiet I kick myself for every time I've ever walked into an IKEA on a weekend afternoon.

FANTASTISK Paper napkin IKEA Three-ply quality for high absorbency. 

I had a good laugh in the same department as a mother and daughter who were obviously planning the daughter's wedding. The daughter complained about how cheap things looked and how she wanted stuff that looked aged. I wish you could've heard her say the words, "Ewww, it's plastic." It came across loud and clear that they both lacked some vision to see how they could make things work with a little creativity. It is so easy to repaint or age things. This was all while I was buying and pricing things they totally poo-pooed which is what most cracked me up. I got a bag full of great stuff and spent only $38. I win, haa-haa.

I haven't done much with wedding planning in the past couple of weeks, so it felt good to pick up a few things and break that weird spell I was under. I picked up the green floral, striped and solid napkins you can see above to use for secondary weekend events and bought these frames for dinner table numbers.

TOLSBY Frame for 2 pictures IKEA You can display one picture on each side as the frame has no back panel. 

I know these photo frames have been seen around but I'll put my own spin on them somehow and you can't beat the price for 99 cents. I might paint them chartreuse, or leave them white and just do something cool with printed paper and a good font on the inside. I'll figure that out soon.

I did a tour of Macy's, thinking we'll register there. Found the china I like -- I'm still a Vera Wang for Wedgwood girl. I looked at some cutlery that I liked and looked up to see it was Vera Wang and my favorite glassware was, you guessed it, Vera Wang. I have to say I was impressed with the kitchenware at Macy's. The Martha Stewart collection is impressive. She has thought of everything and made it all charming and useful.

I also shopped for shoes and found so many pairs that looked like they could be contenders -- until they struck out for not having my size, being too flat, too loose, too tight... I returned the Target sandals I bought a few weeks ago. They were just a little too flat. But after trying on a lot of pairs today I didn't find anything that really clicked for me. But I'm getting closer.

 I have a few small things I need to order: two ink stamps and woven bamboo paper. I've designed all the stationery pieces and am pretty happy with it all after many hours of font shopping, graphics hunting, color tweaking and layout experimentation. It's funny that I will start questioning myself and in a panic will start looking around online at what I could buy. Then I go back and look at what I've created and it feels very perfect for us and I can't imagine using anything else.

Things are starting to gel. That feels good. I find myself weeding out things that feel more and more unnecessary. Time to start getting a few more things done. More to come. Speaking of more to come, later this morning I'll share another post with you about what else I did yesterday. It was very refreshing. Have a great morning!

20 March 2012

Celebrating Friends - Kelly Lee-Creel Fabrics

Top l-r: Kelly Lee-Creel (EverKelly), Me (kalanicut)
Bottom l-r: Jane (Borrowed Abode & Janery) with Holly Becker (Decor8, BYW & Decorate)

This post is all about my friend Kelly. She's debuting her first fabric line and I couldn't be happier for her. For over a year now I've been looking forward to celebrating all the successes she has been working tirelessly on for the past few years that are all going public this year.

Rather than steal any of Kelly's thunder, I am happily sending you over to her blog EverKelly to see her charming creations Story Book Lane for Andover Fabrics. If you have any little girls in your life you may love bringing the sweet designs in Story Book Lane to life in your home.

You can also find her on Pinterest at EverKelly, follow her on Twitter, and find her on Facebook. Kelly will also be at Quilt Market in May so look for her and introduce yourself there. You'll make her day if you stop in and admire her sure-to-be-lovely booth. Say hi to Kelly online and tell her I sent you. You'll adore her. I am definitely missing my "cup a tea" friend here in L.A. But Seattle is lucky to have her.

19 March 2012

Stylish & Comfortable Shoes For Traveling

image via

When I was packing for my trip to Virginia last month I had a sudden, long overdue flash come to my mind. I do not own easy to pack shoes other than flat sandals. In colder weather I generally wear boots. Boots are NOT easy to travel and take up a ridiculous amount of suitcase space. When you travel with three pairs of boots, it's a nightmare. That's more half a large suitcase right there.

What I really need are two or three pairs of easy to pack, uncomplicated and comfortable shoes, not sandals, but shoes. Again this past weekend as I quickly packed for a rainy weekend (my 3rd rainy, cold trip in the past 7 weeks) I was frustrated about the shoe situation as I once again packed my boots. Sigh.

So I was left wondering what other options I have. I started doing a little web hunting and came up with a few options that I think fit my personality, my suitcase and my need for practical comfort. I thought I would start with comfortable sneakers. Every trip needs one pair of sneakers.

  • Palladiums -- Fell in love with these in Europe. Always wanted a pair in red.
  • Keens -- Love their color combos!
  • Classic, All-America Vans -- love them in navy & white

    • Danskos - I'm intrigued, clog-sneakers. Saw them in person and was impressed.
    • Sauconys -- A nice neutral sneaker with a bright orange twist.
    • Keds -- I always love a classic remade. I like the toes on these.

    Some fun options. I think there is something here for many different style personalities. All six of these pairs are available at Zappos. I have two more post coming this week about more shoes that are easy to carry in a suitcase and super comfortable for travel. I am determined that the next time I pack a suitcase I will be able to pack very light without giving up a bit of my sense of style, comfort or space. Must....buy...shoes.

    How about you? Do you have any holes in your wardrobe that you are desperate to fix? Share your ideas. If you have ideas regarding a wardrobe area that needs attention for a future post here, let me know.

    all images of individual shoes via Zappos

    16 March 2012

    Peacefully Managing Your To Do List

    I think we all live somewhere in the balance between trying to take charge of our lives and letting life happen to us. It never works perfectly 100 percent either way. Managing the middle is always a challenge in life: finding our comfortable place somewhere near the balanced center.

    Every day we have the choice to find that place of sanity in the middle. Some days despite our best plans, our To Do lists and our sincere desires things take a different turn. And I believe when this happens they are meant to. Most often I find that the days when things go completely not as expected usually end up being taken over by things that are more important and more fulfilling. It's good to make peace with these days.

    Here's an approach I am trying to help me stay in the middle. Every morning as part of my morning ritual I make a To Do list. I often start these the night before. I include every little but important task for the day. My list is usually about 20 items long. This includes all the small elements of my morning ritual, so that is five items right there that are accomplished in about 30 minutes.

    Then I go about my day as quickly as possible crossing items off the list. I love to cross items off lists. Best feeling ever. Some days when I don't feel as motivated as I'd like to I make each item on the list a very small one and then start crossing things off in 5 minute blocks of effort. That usually gets me going for the big stuff.

    For those days when the unexpected happens or for the items I don't get to I simply draw an arrow on the right side of the item, indicating it's being moved to the future. It's not a fail that it didn't get done, it's a note to self that this has been prioritized to be better accomplished the next day or on another day.

    There's no failing a To Do list. It is a great help to focus the day. And I am finding more and more that when I take charge of my day, regardless of what does or does not get accomplished I am always still moving towards my goals and getting more done that I would without a list and some direction.

    How do you use your To Do list? Does it frustrate you? Keep you on task? I'd love to hear what works for you! Please leave a comment.

    image by kalanicut

    15 March 2012

    Flowers Brighten Up Everything

    My home is filled with fresh flowers right now and it couldn't be a better time to welcome Spring 2012. Yes, it's still a few days away but you can never start celebrating too early. Last Friday I bought two small bunches of flowers -- total price $8. Then Saturday morning there was a tap, tap, tap at my front door and behind it was The Man with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

    I filled up a lot of small vases with the green and white flowers I bought. They are all over the house: kitchen window sill, bedroom dressers, desks, bathroom vanities and bedside tables. Then I put the beautiful bouquet in a large vase on my dining table.

    It is so nice to look around the house and see beautiful Spring blooms and it's such a great time to enjoy flowers at a great price since so many make their debut at this time of year. I hope you have a chance to fill your world with flowers this month. For the price of a specialty drink you can fill your home with flowers for a week or more and it's a much longer lasting mood lifter!

    all images by kalanicut

    Sunshiny Gift For Spring 2012

    Wanted to share a quick and fun idea for a friend gift for Spring 2012. Our dear friend just lost her father-in-law and bravely drove through four states by herself with two kids under age four to get to town for the funeral while her husband had gone ahead early. When I shared on Facebook last week that I was downloading happy, cheery music for Spring she asked for a copy for her drive home. How could I refuse a request like that?

    So here's what I did:

    1) Burned two CDs of happy music.
    2) Printed a jewel case cover in simple black and white from iTunes.
    3) Got out my bright colored stamps and stamped them up.
    4) Cut them down to size and popped them in the cases.

    5) Then stacked them up and wrapped them in shiny silver paper.
    6) Made a card with card scraps, foam squares and ink stamp & wrote a personal note on the back.

    7) Wrapped them in cellophane.
    8) Upcycled a small kraft bag with more paper scraps, ink stamp and ribbon.
    9) Popped the wrapped CDs into the gift bag.
    10) Gave them to our friend along with a loaf of fresh-baked banana bread.

    Here's my philosophy on all the wrapping layers. Opening gifts has to be one of the best moments in life. The prettier it is and the longer it takes to unwrap the longer that joy lasts. I don't always do such elaborate wrapping jobs, but on special occasions it's fun to make something you know will brighten someone else's day just by seeing the gift wrap!

    all photos by kalanicut

    14 March 2012

    Quick Tip For Spring Travel To Southern California

    It's Springtime in the northern hemisphere. Everyone in the "four season" states is dying to throw off those winter coats and get out of the house, get some sun and get warmed up. Southern California is warm all year round, so that would make it the perfect place to go with your swimsuit, a beach towel and some sunscreen for Spring Break, right?

    Wrong. You may be surprised to learn that Spring in Southern California beach towns is actually our lamest season of the year. It's all due to this little local weather phenomenon called June Gloom.  During the June Gloom season it will likely be very sunny in the early morning and again just before sunset. But the rest of the day will be cold, gloomy, humid and overcast. This can go on for several days or even weeks at a time. It mainly affects April, May and June, but I have endured several years where June Gloom started as early as March or went right through to the end of July.

    We spoiled SoCal folks consider anything below 60 degrees quite frigid and you will often find us in warm boots, sweaters, jackets and scarves on June Gloom days. When we see people nowhere near a beach, walking around town in tank tops and shorts during June Gloom season it's a pretty sure sign they are a tourist and they always look like they are freezing. I sadly imagine them with a suitcase full of skimpy beach clothes sitting in their hotel room, unwearable. In a dry climate, temperatures in the 50s and low 60s are quite lovely but those same temperatures can feel quite chilly in a humid climate near the ocean.

    So, yes, come enjoy every minute of your Spring visit to Southern California. Even on a bad weather day, it's a lot better than many places. We will have a day or two of hot weather sprinkled in throughout the Winter and Spring. You just never know when. So if you come in the Spring, be a savvy traveler and come prepared for cool, humid temperatures. Bring a long pants, a scarf, sweaters and a good jacket. And here is a little secret from this barefoot island girl to you -- if you wear plenty of clothing to keep your body core warm you can usually still get away with wearing flip flops any time of year.

    13 March 2012

    San Francisco Delight - Lotus Bleu Design

    I realized last week that I still have my favorite shop to share with you from our visit to San Francisco in January. I have been gaga over Lotus Bleu Design since the day we went in and looking through all the photos to put this post together just awed me all over again. I don't think I need to say too much because the photos speak way louder than the words.

    I had the good fortune to visit this Hayes Valley boutique and design studio just as the owner Jeannie Fraise returned to the shop from her most recent international travels. We had a nice chat which I enjoyed. I tried not to keep her too long because she was trying to get up to speed with everything at the shop that day but I imagine she would be completely interesting to chat the day away with about her travels, creativity and much more.

    Some of my photos aren't too fantastic, but they still speak loud and clear to the fact that this is one gorgeous, well-curated shop. All the orange, blue, gray and yellow patterns just make my heart sing.

    Besides all it's gorgeousness, Lotus Bleu is socially conscious too. You can read about Jeannie's interests and involvement here. Her online portfolio of homes she's designed is an amazing wellspring of color inspiration.

    There was so much to love in every direction. I loved all the lighting and I loved the colorful, unusually shaped mirrors along one entire wall. Here's a shot of the storefront on a cloudy January day. Totally enchanting. Seriously how could anyone walk by and not want to immediately enter this wonderland.

    Lotus Bleu is part retail shop and part design studio. The pretty little design office is behind the beautiful orange door. I had to peek in a bit, even though I knew that Jeannie was sitting not far away at her desk catching up on phone calls. This view made it certain, once and for all that I desperately need a piece of orange patterned upholstery in my life and I wouldn't mind an orange door either.

    This shop was one of the real highlights of my trip to San Francisco. It's like I'd found my colorful heaven. I will revisit any time I am up north and will definitely visit Lotus Bleu online for inspiration and more on a regular basis. I would not miss it if you love color, interior design and find yourself anywhere near the Hayes Valley district of San Francisco.

    images by kalanicut

    12 March 2012

    Workspace Confession - Time To Refresh

    Happy Monday. It's here again, another beautiful week of adventure before us! On this Monday, I have a very embarrassing confession to make. With a very busy schedule recently, my desk had become a place to pile things. I had not sat at my desk to work for weeks. It was time to take a stand. At the same time I realized that I am really tired of my workspace shelving arrangement. It all needed a facelift. Here's how I tackled one of those projects that we often want to just ignore:

    1) Started by throwing  everything off my desk surface onto the bed. This revealed a nice layer of dust. Not a pretty sight.

    2) Went through everything quickly. I separated garbage, old junk to be filed, immediate action items, books and magazines to be shelved, and office supplies to be put away.

    3) Re-evaluated my use of the space. I needed a fresh view. Everything was arranged in a way that felt so "last year." I realized that many of the things I put there I was not using. Some things didn't need to be there and I wanted things on my shelves that weren't there. You can see what it used to look like here.

    4) Made a plan. What I wanted to remove, add or move around. Sketched out where things would go on a sheet of paper.

    5) Started cleaning. All the shelves needed to emptied and wiped down.

    6) Then I replaced items that would stay in same spot. I also found new homes for the things I didn't want on those shelves anymore.

    7) Shopped my home. The best place to find decorative items you love is your own house. It's so nice to gain a greater appreciation for what you have by seeing it in a new light.

    8) Redecorated the space. Filled my shelves with necessary tools, supplies, resources and pretty items to inspire.

    9) Added some air to my favorite desk chair - my yoga ball. I am amazed at how stiff I get sitting in chairs that are not ergonomically supportive. Living room furniture is the WORST! I also find that I get a good abs workout dancing around on my yoga ball if I put on some music while I work. Definitely helps loosen up the lower back and hips.

    10) Got back to work. I put my laptop back where it belongs and started working with a big smile.

    So do you have an everyday space that you've been avoiding? Is it the garage, food storage space, kitchen cupboards, linen closet, clothes closet, laundry room? I'm challenging you today to take an hour or so and just tackle it.

    Get some help if you have it close at hand. Anyone who lives in the space should be helping keep it lovely. Men and little kids can be a great help when properly wrangled. Other days the serenity of doing it alone is much more desireable. I'd love to hear what spaces you're tacking at your place and how.

    09 March 2012

    Driftwood Garland Reveal & Friday Thoughts

    image by kalanicut

    So here she is, my driftwood garland all finished up. I will confess that the drill was much easier to use after it had charged over night. Don't tell any men that. haa-haa. In the end she ended up being about five feet long, which is great. Now to decide where she will live. Iin the future I have this vision of her temporarily gracing a wedding cake table or guest book table. Could be a little toooo earthy but we'll see when the time comes.

    Well it's Friday again already. Looking forward to a quiet weekend with The Man. I think it's time for a date night in the tiny convertible that never gets driven, a good dinner, maybe some Grom gelato or a really amazing cupcake.

    I am also attending the funeral of a dear friend's dad who passed away suddenly last week. My friend's grandfather lived well into his 90s so to lose his dad at such a young age is a shock to everyone. It's a humbling reminder to be grateful for every moment we have with our loved ones and never take their presence for granted. I'm definitely going to milk the heck out of having my parents nearby for the first time in all the years I've lived in SoCal. Sending our love to our dear friends and everyone grieving this loss.

    Next week here on the blog I will have some good stuff for you. A confession and a bit of repentance about my workspace, the COOLEST shop I found in San Francisco on my recent trip there - I still melt over the photos,  a post about the worst season of the year to visit on SoCal (if you don't live here you might be surprised) and more. See you then. Have a wonderful weekend!

    08 March 2012

    Margot Madison Pretty Paper Resources

    ceci new york
    image via Style Me Pretty

    Had to share this with you. Inspired by examples like these gorgeous announcements, yesterday I emailed BYW classmate and friend Margot Madison about where I could find woven bamboo paper. This morning I woke up to find a post on her blog dedicated to my question and with even more amazing gorgeous paper resources.

    Margot is a very talented stationery designer and she is so generous to share her smarts. You might remember last year she guest posted here at kalanicut about all the latest trends in wedding invitations. Margot's work is lovely, you can see examples in her portfolio -- she's been featured more than once in Colin Cowie's books too. You can see her blog full of fantastic resources and her beautiful creations here. I especially love her 40th birthday party designs. So full of color and vibrancy, just as a 40th birthday should be.

    Margot and I met in the Blogging Your Way class in 2010, taught by Holly Becker, founder of Decor8 and author of Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas For Every Room In Your Home. Margot and I had the chance to spend a day together here in SoCal last Spring. You can read all about that here and on Margot's blog.

    If I add one more link to this post I think it will implode, but they are all fantastic links with lots of eye candy and goodness. Definitely worth a click over. Check out Margot's blog post today for all her helpful advice on finding beautiful decorative papers for your next project.

    My DIY Driftwood Garland

    I have to start from the beginning of the story here. When I was in Virginia a bit ago, I stayed right on the beach. While it certainly wasn't balmy beach weather it was warm and dry enough most days to take a nice long walk on the beach. There were few people on the beach in the somewhat remote area where I stayed.

    It's impossible for me to walk a beach and not pick up a shell or two. But after looking at $30 driftwood garlands at online stores for the past few months I absolutely could not resist picking up the driftwood on the beach and the thought of making my own garland. My first hurdle was overcoming The Man's concerns about the nuttiness of picking up junky little bits of wood and even more insane packing a large bag of them home in my suitcase.

    I don't think he will ever really get it and that's okay. I've learned men and women are just different and there's no getting around it. I'm laughing as I say this remembering his face looking at me like I couldn't possibly make less sense as I tried to explain what I was going to do with all this driftwood.

    Luckily he's not here for the garland construction portion of this activity so there will be no further questions to answer. Ah...My first task was to get all the wood out of the bag and let it dry out. I put it out in the sun on my balcony on a cookie sheet a few days after I got home. Based on the fact that it was still wet, it would've been better to get it outside the first day. The bag did not smell too good when I opened it up days later. Ooopsy. But it was all fine.

    Then I started drilling holes. I chose the smallest bit I had, but in the end actually sized up two more times to get a hole that could easily be threaded with twine. A few of the pieces didn't survive the drill episode, which is to be expected as driftwood can be a bit fragile.

    Another man vs. woman thing with this. A man would have let the drill charge completely before starting this project, but I just kept working a few minutes at a time until it died again and then let it charge for a while then came back. I know, this would drive a man insane. Luckily no men were in attendance as I worked this project.

    Then I started threading the driftwood onto a piece of jute cord. I thought about using a colored cord, but in the end decided to stay very neutral and basic with everything and let the sea's effect on the wood do the talking.

    Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to do a garland reveal. It's getting longer and looking good. I'm hoping it will be long enough for me to hang below the mantle of my fireplace. I can probably fix it up so that it works even if it's a little too short.

    So this is the story of making my driftwood garland dreams come true. In the end for the amount of work it took to gather the wood, transport it home, let it dry, drill the holes and thread all the little driftwood pieces, I'm thinking $30 is a pretty great deal for a 6' driftwood garland. I think mine will probably only be 4 to 5 feet long when I run out of wood.

    But mine has history and meaning which make it extra special. Hopefully, someday The Man will understand that and appreciate yet another seemingly hair-brained craft scheme. He might as well get used to it, because it's not going to stop. Poor guy. I'm sure the next time I have women over to the house they will coo at my driftwood garland and I will feel share my driftwood DIY enthusiasm and I will be quite happy about that. haa-haa.
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