27 July 2012

Vintage Kalanicut Style

It seems like I can't keep up with my closet the past couple of years. I buy a few things and then things wear out, get ruined by some mishap and get lost (I can't tell you how many clothing items I have lost in the past four years...it's insane and bizarre.) My favorite all purpose gray summer cotton shirt disintegrated a couple of weeks ago.

Living in this climate, lightweight cotton shirts are a must for the summer (July - October). They are a Go To piece because they are so perfect if it is hot and because they are so lightweight they are super easy to layer in the cool nights we have near the coast. 

But they are not terribly long-wearing. I feel like I am constantly in search of cotton shirts that fit my long arms. It seems like the armholes are always in the wrong places and forget a shirt with a waist in it, it is never in the right place, always too high. So when I do find a shirt that fits me just right I get pretty excited and buy multiples.

This week I happened upon these cute and colorful Old Navy cotton shirts that fit perfectly. I didn't get these colors but those are the only photos I could pull. In the button down I picked out a gray, chambray with polkadots and the orange checks. Great colors to wear alone or with my sweaters, jackets and scarves for slightly colder weather. I also got the tunic in a medium chambray which goes great with dark jeans or any color of pants. These are all on sale online only and I am tempted to pick up a few more since they fit so perfectly.

At Marshalls this week I picked up a nice gray and white stripped hip length cardigan. Although I bought it before my trip to Old Navy, all the tops I bought will work with it, even the orange checks is worked just right.

Lastly this week I picked up these cute Report Sunset sandals for 40% off at DSW. Plus because of a previous purchase I had a $5 off coupon. Sweet. This is what I love about living in California, late summer is the most phenomenal time to get great deals on clothes you can wear all winter long - summer clothes.

I've been working on a few shoe purchases because somehow over time my shoe selection had become very uninteresting and totally didn't serve my purposes. With just a few additions I have a much more stylish shoe selection to work with, fun colors, styles and variation. So now it's fun to chose shoes to go with what I'm wearing again.

I feel like I have a whole new closet now and I look forward to getting dressed every day which hasn't happened for a while. This is fun. Cute tops, great basic bottoms and fun shoes. The jewelry and accessory collection are already in place so I can mix and match bracelets, necklaces and earrings to my hearts content with all new new clothing options. Now I have things to wear that feel very me which makes me very happy!

Etsy Wrap Bracelet (no longer available)

26 July 2012

Surviving A Sea of Frustration With A Smile

image via

Life has been terribly glamorous this week. Not really. It's actually been a little tedious. I'm trying to learn lessons about problem solving, patience, nudging customer service employees a little harder when needed and going with the flow.

I have made multiple repeat trips to several stores this week to buy things, return things and try again to find the item I really need. A vicious circle. I've been to Radio Shack too many times. It's not their fault. It's actually my satellite provider's fault and I am getting very frustrated. I spent five hours yesterday working on trying to get my satellite dish software updated. After multiple phone calls over the past two months, I'm about three millimeters closer to solving my problem than I was at the start. Each new call is a long process to repeat the whole entire saga and that is only after I jump through a mile of "recorded customer service lady conversations." Then I get an entirely different set of suggestions and in the end absolutely no resolution. Sigh.

The night before last the earth's techtonic plates had the nerve to toss us a good, scary earthquake. I've been through lots of earthquakes and some bigger than this one. But this one sounded like a train was coming through the living room then there was a big jolt and shake then the train just kept going south. It was pretty creepy and quite a few long-time Angelinos I talked to yesterday said it freaked them out. So quite a few of us didn't get a great night's sleep. I honestly thought it might just be the beginning of a bigger something about to come. That one scared me and didn't help me feel rested yesterday.

If I were holding tight to a list of accomplishments this week I would probably be in a very dissatisfied mood. But I'm trying to learn to go with the flow when necessary, ask for help when needed, and keep trying when things don't solve themselves easily. Writing this post has helped me see my week more clearly and see what there is to learn from it.

Last night as I sat pondering, I enjoyed a cup of my favorite tea and a few bite-size cookie treats from my very kind neighbor who so graciously tried to help me with my satellite woes. I knew that even though it's been frustrating. I really don't have much to complain about. I sat and counted my blessing. There are so many. There is just no reason not to be gentle, sweet, patient and kind. I think I did okay. I was kind to all the satellite techs I talked to, I was kind at Radio Shack every time, I showed gratitude to my neighbor many times, I didn't spend any time being angry. Maybe that was my greatest accomplishment yesterday - to walk through a sea of frustration with a smile. If that was my charge for the day, then I accomplished everything I needed to. 

25 July 2012

Boden Fall 2012 Favorites

images via Boden USA

Even though it's still plenty warm here in California, the scent of back to school is definitely in the air and that historically means a little fall clothing shopping. I love fall styles, the wooly knits and skirts, schoolish bags, colorful scarves, tights and boots, boots, boots.

I won't be donning any of these delights until Thanksgiving or Christmas when either the weather cools off here or I'm traveling. But when the fall fashions come out every July I can't help looking because the best styles sell out way before it gets cold enough to wear them. Since it's all about the London Olympics this week, I thought the best place to start would be beautiful, British delight Boden.

So here are a few of my favorite Sweaters, Skirts and Accessories for your fall 2012 fashion treasury. The thing I love about Boden is that is totally fits my fashion mantra: Classic with a twist. There is always some fun little color splash, embroidered detail, or bold print that sets these classics apart from the crowd. This collage seriously makes me giddy for fall. I can't wait to layer.

24 July 2012

Learn To Defend You & Your Family

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Sadly in the world we live in today, personal safety is an issue we have to be concerned about and that concern extends to our families. I have been thinking about this a lot the past few days. The Man is highly trained in personal safety issues as is one of my sisters and we have many friends who are equally skilled. It's great to have such fantastic resources available to me and I will admit to being a bit spoiled to the extend that I've become a little too secure in having them around and haven't kept up my preparedness and observation.

I read this article by a former Navy Seal that reminded me I need to always be paying attention. It also taught me how many interesting weapons are available to us, things like a good flashlight. I remember a college friend teaching me to carry a tennis racket in my car to use as protection if I had to walk alone after dark.

From this article I also relearned with a greater sense of clarity and maturity why I never get to sit facing the rest of the restaurant when The Man and I are out. When I first met him I honestly thought he was being a little selfish and rude about where he had to sit when we went out. Even when I began to understand I still thought it was a little over the top. Not anymore.

Over time I wondered why he was so fussy about where and how he parked. The backing in thing was a little "over the top." Not anymore. I now realize that all these things were done with safety in mind and protecting me and our family, not to try to get the best seat or best parking spot. Humble lesson learned.

My next thought was, what are we doing to prepare The Bug to know what to do in these same situations. What if something happened at her school? It is no guarantee that her Dad or I will be around to protect her if she does find herself in such a situation.  But with a little training she could do a great deal to protect herself and possibly others too. That is an amazing thought.

So next week, while my "super hero" sister is here, we are going to do a little training. Things like how to get away if someone grabs you (there are some amazingly effective strategies), best places to take cover, know your surroundings, defend yourself, school emergency scenarios, etc. We'll also cover fire drills, home and family emergencies too. And we also have a new phone number that The Bug needs to learn.

See how we did this when she was barely three here. If your kids don't know your phone number, this is a super method to teach them even as young as one year old. It's also great to have an emergency contact list in your wallet/purse, car glove box, with a trusted neighbor, family friends and members of the family. This should include work and school contact info, extended family contact info, etc.

I'm doing more reading on personal safety this week and thinking more about how I can minimize the risks for our family. There are lots of helpful articles and links online. Another fantastic resource is friends who are trained in law enforcement or the military. They are always happy to talk shop and can give a few helpful tactics to keep you safe. I am also making plans to add some new defensive lessons to my skill set. While we can't guarantee our safety, we can improve the chances that we survive. How about you? Are you concerned and taking any precautions or do you have plans to do things differently?

23 July 2012

How Do I Spend My Time?

image via

I've been thinking about how I spend my time and energy. It's amazing how little things can distract. I have been thinking a lot about how badly doing too many things at one time or being easily distracted can keep me from getting things done.

On Saturday I found myself trying to print out documents, create small photo cards, write a letter, talk on Facebook and clean house all at the same time - and I had the TV on. Ridiculous. I would sit down and forget what I was doing, then get distracted on something else, then remember I was doing something else and go back to that for a few minutes. As distracted as I felt, it didn't really hit me until later that I could have enjoyed that time so much more and been much more effective - which would've given me time to do all those things I want to do and never make time for.

Some things that would've helped me:

1) Turn off the TV. I started thinking about how often I have the TV on as noise. Did the junk I had on really mean more to me than having peace, being focused and getting things done quickly - no way! In fact I realized it was just a lot of noise and was really distracting me.

2) Put on some music. Some days I need energetic music on loud, other days I need very peaceful music on very quietly. But either way, it can help set the tone for what I want to accomplish and help me focus my inspiring my energy.

3) Make a To Do list. I can definitely get more done when I am very clear about what I am trying to accomplish. A list also helps me prioritize how I spend my time because I see my priorities and try to work from most important list items to least.

4) Do one thing at a time. Oh, I've been so bad at this lately. Drifting from one project to another and not completing anything in a reasonable amount of time. I have a lot of half-done projects around me and I don't like it. Tomorrow I start project "Finish the Project" around here and with a list, some good music and some additional effort to be focused, I get some things done, put away, organized and rearranged.

5) Define my work time. Rather than just fumbling through an entire day, I want to plan out how I use my time: work, rest, reward time, workout time, etc. Then I have compartments of time that I know I need to focus on certain things. For instance: from 10 AM to noon I will work on online projects, then lunch & a brief break, then from 1 PM to 4 PM I will work on organizational projects, etc. Just an example but knowing when I need to focus, when I can rest and when I can reward myself for a good day's efforts help me balance my energies and have discipline at times when I most need it.

How about you? Have you caught yourself in a ridiculous, ineffective spin cycle? Do you have any tips and tricks you could share with me on how you buckle down and get things done? I'd love to hear them. Have a great day and thanks so much for coming by.

19 July 2012

Hallowed Letter Writing Time & A Charming Childhood

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I have started taking some time to write a letter every day. It has become hallowed time for me. It is beautiful to put pen to paper on stationery that I have handmade myself. It is lovely to share loving sentiments, then a small decoration on the envelope, addresses and lastly a stamp. I have printed out some inspiring articles to include in some letters and am collecting small thoughts to put on a card now and again. This is now my favorite time of day and I am reminded yet again of the beauty of handwritten letters.It is lovely to visit the post office for fun reasons instead of all business.

It's been a divine week making sure that our Bug has a fantastic summer. Reading and study to keep her skills up, baking, art projects, letter writing, visits with family and watching some fantastic old family friendly movies including Ann of Green Gables and the original Parent Trap. Yesterday for some reason I started singing "I love you, yah, yah, yah" to her. That led us to looking up the real song by the Beatles online for her to see. Later in the day she several times broke out singing "She loves you, yah, yah, yah, She loves you yah, yah, yah, She loves you yah, yah, yah..yah, yah." So cute!

I also overheard her watching a kid's movie yesterday where all the cartoon characters began singing "Close To You" by The Carpenters. It cracked me up to hear her singing along. It's so darling to me to see her picking up great classic songs along the path of her life as we all have. Love that we've made a habit of singing together so that she's learned to carry a tune and has an affinity for music. Life is good here, despite the fact that I burned two out of three batches of cookies yesterday. The lamest baking effort ever. But looking at the bright side of things and enjoying the small and simple things. Hope you day is joyful and calm.

17 July 2012

A Pin Test #4: Lettuce Stamps

A Pin Test #4 is here and since I had lettuce in the fridge I thought I would try lettuce ink stamp making. Here's the link to the pin. The first thing I learned is that you'll get different patterns with different lettuces. I used romaine hearts so my stamp flowers look quite compacted and pointy. 

Next time I will definitely try it with some bigger lettuce heads. This was obviously a pretty fail-safe project, I mean really, how bad could it go? Ha. I made three sheets of stationery. One with green flowers, one with green and gold layered together and another with pink. Simple, but they look interesting and cute. Looking forward to doing a little more experimenting with different types of lettuce.

As soon as The Bug saw what I was doing she had to have a part in this. So she jumped in and experimented even more than I did. Happily this is the first time she hasn't totally jacked up one of my stamps by double stamping a dark color on top of a light colored ink pad. And she put all the lids back on the ink pads! Wahoo. That's lucky for her because that means more stamping fun will be allowed for her going forward. I'll definitely try this again. A Pin Test #4 = Success.

images by kalanicut

Setting The Tone For Sleep

image via

With all the summer events and adventures this summer, healthy sleep has been taken a hit around here. I have been finding lots of activities to distract me from sleep. I hear continually on Facebook and Twitter about other people who aren't sleeping. Which has me thinking there are a whole lot of us out there who aren't sleeping.

So I have been making efforts this week to create a bedtime friendly atmosphere around the house and I am finding that it really helps. I think these steps will work for an individual or a household. They are not rocket science, but the fact that you hear them over and over suggests there may be something here. Here's what I've been doing:

1) In the evenings, rather than having the television on or spending time in front of the computer I have put on some good mellow music, lit candles around the house and read a book, written letters or done a small craft.  

2) I turn down lights lower than usual, put on peaceful, sleep welcoming music, light a candle near the bed.. 

3) Put on some scented relaxation lotion. Here's a favorite of mine. Taking a shower or a warm bath before the lotion is pretty lovely as well.

4) If you have family members who struggle to get to sleep, give them a little massage time. Head rubs and foot rubs are miraculous tools for quieting the mind. If you're by yourself, grab a roller massager and work your shoulders and feet over.

5) I have a great sleep meditation that I like to listen to sometimes when I get in bed. It's by Simonette Vaja, available on iTunes. It's 30-minutes and it's a Godsend some nights and often in airplanes when I need to relax, block out noise and catch up on the sleep I lost up all night packing.

Sometimes getting a good night's sleep just takes a little more thought and care throughout the early evening hours to get you there. How about you? What works to get you in the mood for a restful night's sleep?

16 July 2012

The Amazing Value of Old-fashioned Mail

I'm making a plan to become a better real life, handwritten letter writer. I worked for a couple of hours last night making my own stationery with favorite ink stamps and gorgeous ink colors. I was inspired because I heard something that really impressed upon me the value of a handwritten letter. Apparently snail mail has a big impact on helping our soldiers avoid PTSD. It affects the emotional well-being in a way that phone calls, skype and text messages cannot even though those are excellent forms of communication and very treasured by military families. A snail-mail letter is something they can open, carry with them and read again and again.

Somehow that connection to home allows them to better handle stress and process feelings. Isn't that amazing? I have not stopped thinking about that since I read it. Imagine a soldier's emotions at mail call when they get a letter regularly versus day after day with no letter while watching others get mail and packages. I can certainly imagine that would have a big impact on my emotions.

Now take that principle and apply it across all our relationships. How can we bless other's lives by putting a note or card into the mail? It might be a note during a discouraging time or it can be just for fun to say "Hey, thinking about you. Wanted you to know you are loved!" No matter what the cheery content, a handwritten note or care package can make a lasting impression on our friends and family. It might be just what the doctor ordered. So I'm going to buy more stamps and send more letters and care packages.

You might enjoy these humorous and sweet posts about letter writing:
Old School Letter Writing Part One
Old School Letter Writing Part Two
More Letter Writing For Kids
Thankful November - Handwritten Notes

image by kalanicut 

13 July 2012

Upcycled Thrift Store Wicker Basket

You might remember I found this basket at a thrift store a few months ago. It is so perfectly organized for napkins and cutlery. I initially got it thinking it would be great for a wedding weekend barbecue, but now that we've delayed a bit, I have other ideas for it until then. I liked the yellow but it's just not in my color palette so I decided to spray paint it white and upcycle it a bit.

So I went to work with a can of semi-gloss spray white paint out on my patio. If you spray paint anything and aren't using this handy clip on handle, you have to try it. I promise you it will change your spray painting life. Not only does it save your fingertips, but it also makes spraying evenly a breeze. That said by someone who has always been crummy at even spray painting! Now it goes on perfectly every time and I don't even have to think about it.

I painted inside a box, hoping to contain the overspray as much as possible, It was a little tight but it worked. It's a trick when you live in a breezy, beach area to keep paint from floating all over. Lessons learned the hard way on that one. Oopsy. I used my fan out on the balcony to speed up the drying process. 

Then I painted this wood anchor I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts a few weeks ago. Seemed perfect, especially since I am loving navy, white and orange together this summer. This basket would look fantastic on a bright orange tablecloth.

It took some time to make sure all the nooks and crannies in the basket were covered with the new paint at all angles. That took most of the afternoon. Spray, let it dry, spray again, etc. etc. etc. I also gave the anchor a few layers of paint.

Now I have a pretty cutlery basket for parties, barbecues and buffets. I decided I would temporarily attach the anchor to give myself the freedom to change the logo depending on the party. Can't you see it with a pretty pink something for a baby shower or a football for a viewing party, or a red, white and blue flag for patriotic holidays. I'm happy with my new basket and can't wait to have a a little party to try it out. It's perfectly me and the only one around. That's what I love about thrift shopping and DIY.

12 July 2012

Update on Tin Can Lanterns

Just wanted to give you an update on the Tin Can Lanterns Pin Test #3. I had another can waiting for me in the freezer. So this morning I popped it out and using the smarts I learned from the first attempt I did a few things differently and things went more smoothly.

I decided to start at the top to avoid the ice chipping away and melting over time. I did a ring all the way around the top of the can and it worked well and I didn't have any problems with the ice or the can giving way. Worked out well. Lesson #1 do the top asap then move from top to bottom. I tried a cross & rows patter for this one, again just eye-balling it.

Lesson #2:  I was more careful this time to slow down and do a more patient and precise job with spacing and quality control. It was better, but because the cans have a pattern of their own and the outside when slightly wet is quite slippery, it's never going to be perfect. But with a little TLC it can go well. The great part is that when the candles are lit inside it all just looks magical.

Lesson #3: You might remember that the bottoms of the cans bulged due to the ice expanding. I was able to pound it down from the outside so that the can would sit flat yesterday. But I was still bothered about how small tea lights would be on the uneven surface inside. Today I took a flat piece of wood scrap and used it to flatten the bottom of the can from the inside. I basically put piece of wood inside the can & hammered the top of the piece of wood all around the bottom of the can so that I got a fairly flat surface on the inside. It's not pretty, but I as long as I keep those lanterns lit, no one will be able to look inside and see the shabby looking bottom, right? Ha.

Lesson #4: Consider wearing gloves. I noticed after I was done with the lantern I made today that I had a bit of ice burn on my hands. Not pleasant. I worked much faster today and obviously had my hands touching the icy metal for more prolonged periods of time. Gloves would've helped me avoid that. Not necessary but perhaps helpful.

Hope those quick updates will help you with your own projects. I'd love to see what you come up with!

image by kalanicut

Rearranging Life

It's been a very interesting process adjusting to new rhythms, schedules and demands over the last few weeks. I didn't anticipate how busy I would be, how tired I would get, or that I would get sick. Sinus infections are sneaky because you feel horrible in the evening, night and mornings but during most of the day you can feel quite good and very potentially overdue it so that you never get better. I am impatient to get better, but my brain has yet to convince my body that it's bored with this sickness. If only I had total control over that power.

I am finally on a more normal sleep schedule as of last night. I'm getting in the groove with new daily tasks, readings and activities. Every summer I itch to rearrange the house and I have been doing a little of that every day. Yesterday I potted, planted, punched and painted projects. I potted  the plant starts I cut and talked about here a few weeks ago and I planted a few petunias into the ugly looking lemon tree pot.

Seemed like there was all that empty space around the base of the tree and it could use a little perking up. I was surprised how pretty the petunias looked in the black pot. For anyone who says they can't afford to make their home look nice, this 6-flat of petunias cost me less than $2. There are always things you can do if you work smart. I hope these flowers will fill in nicely and spill over the edges of the pot soon.

I painted  and upcycled a basket I found at a thrift store a few months ago. I'll share it with you here tomorrow. I like how it turned out and I was able to turn something useful that I didn't like the look of, into something I really like and will find lots of use for.

I also punched another tin lantern using the ice, hammer and nail method. I applied all the lessons I learned on the first one. I'll share an update and photo with you later this morning. It's good to try a project a few times to really get a handle on it.

Life surely is interesting with all it's twists and turns. It's amazing how at times of transition so many interesting things happen each day. People get in touch with you out of the blue, surprising opportunities come up, your support circle draws in tighter and you find joy in new and refreshing activities. I have had several friends share such beautiful inspiration with me lately. Had some amazing conversations with people I cherish. No matter what is happening in life, there is always joy and gratitude to be found for small delights each day. I am so grateful for that and am trying to enjoy every moment.

image by kalanicut

10 July 2012

A Pin Test #3: Inexpensive Tin Can Lanterns

I am late getting today's post up. I started this project a little too late in the weekend to have time to complete all the steps I anticipated. I have been sick the past few days and yesterday was the worst of it. Today I was up early and out the door helping my parents move. The weather cooperated by providing us a nice 109-degree day to pack and unpack cars. (Boo, weather!) I can't tell you how glad I was to make the quick 30-minute drive back to my coastal enclave where it was just 75 degrees and beautifully breezy as it is almost every day! Praise the Lord!

This week I had a hard time deciding which project to take on for Pin Test #3. As I was cleaning my kitchen I had two empty pineapple juice cans that seemed ripe for a project and I remembered these soup can lanterns I'd pinned recently. This project which I had seen in several places online originated with Lowe's Creative Ideas. There is a great tutorial at the link.

I decided to use a technique I'd heard of before and implement hammer and nail instead of drilling the holes since I did not have any goggles. Speaking of which, WHY do I not own safety goggles? Seems like something I could use. A treat for myself this week, ha. The trick with this method is to fill the can with water and freeze it so that the pressure of the hammering doesn't bend the can. I washed the cans out well and then filled them with water and popped them into the freezer.

While I was researching this project I saw someone complain that the ice method bulged the cans out when the ice expanded. I had my fingers crossed that I would catch mine before that happened, but then because I didn't have time, I had to leave them in one more day and the bottoms bulged badly. Luckily I took a hammer to the bottoms and flattened them out so they, while not pretty, do sit perfectly flat on a table surface. Ergh. I also found that when working around the top of the can, the ice would crack and chip so the can did not have the support inside it needed. Frustrating. There is one area of one of my cans that doesn't look so hot. Here's the ugly reality of the project.

I pounded the holes with a large nail, with the can sitting on a fat towel on the kitchen counter for support. I was going to paint my cans, but now I am pretty partial to the metal look. I was pretty sure I was going to call this project a FAIL. I was very disappointed. One lesson I learned was that you must be very patient when working on your pattern. It's easy to get rushed and not take the time to make the holes evenly spaces. I free handed the pattern as I went along, so it's not meant to be perfect, but I could've taken my time a bit more. Lessons for next time.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got the bottom pounded back flat, added a candle and took it outside for a photo I was pretty happy and found that this was in fact a success. Beautifully charming and even better, completely free if you consider that I pulled this can out of our trash after we enjoyed the pineapple juice.

So A Pin Test #3 end with SUCCESS. I have still another can to play with. We'll see how it goes now that I have learned the lesson I have so far. If you have tried or decide to try this project, let me know how it goes and what lessons you have learned. Here are links to other tin can lantern tutorials with good advice:

Design Sponge - Karen's Coffee Can Lanterns
Jennifer Adams - Canterns
Crafty Gal - Tin Can Lanterns
Seattle Seedling - Tin Can Lanterns

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a great day!

09 July 2012

A Long Overdue Visit To The Huntington Library

images by kalanicut

Anyone have a holiday hangover like I do? I am battling a sinus infection, which I know was brought on by too many days of too many activities and too little sleep. I feel terrible in the evenings, night and mornings and then tired all day.When will I learn my lesson?

Many years ago, when I first moved to Southern California, my grandmother, who was a very well-traveled woman, recommended that I take an opportunity to visit The Huntington Library gardens. Over the years, I intended to get there but never did. So when an invitation came and the opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago, we made it a priority to visit. It was long, long overdue.

The Huntington Library is a cultural, research and educational center near Pasadena. It is part art museum, historical library and botanical gardens. We met a group of neighbor moms and kids there and enjoyed the children's play area full of water features on a very hot day. Then The Bug and I decided to just make a day of it and see as many gardens as we could. It was a treat to wander around with her for the rest of the day visiting the gardens.

It was nice to be able to wander from garden to garden with benches always nearby for a rest. There were so many beautiful views to sit and enjoy. The large rose garden, filled with hundreds of different varieties, smelled so amazing. I could have spent hours in the Herb Garden learning about each and every herb and its uses.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the cafe, delighting in the afternoon ocean breezes that came in the afternoon from the west to cool things off. It was a lovely day. By closing time we were both absolutely beat. It was a great opportunity to see The Huntington gardens for the first time, together with The Bug. Never imagined all those years ago when I first anticipated a visit that it would be with such a lovely young lady, who I adore so much.

Tomorrow is Tuesday and that means another Pin Test. See what happens when I attempt a DIY or tip from my Pinterest boards. Have a great day. Thank you for coming for a visit today.

06 July 2012

7 Things That Make Housekeeping Easier

image via

As I've been cleaning the past few days I've been thinking about small things that can make housekeeping easier. Simple little tricks to try to get everyone on board with to help make cleaning easier and keep things cleaner longer. The reward is more time to do things you really want to do like take a nap, visit with girlfriends, do something fun with your family or just sit and read a book.

Nothing here is going to be rocket science to anyone, but as a dear friend said recently about a book she read -- it was all obvious stuff, then I realized I wasn't doing any of it. So maybe a revisit to some obvious things will help reduce wear and tear for all of us.

1) Rinse out the shower well with hot water after ever bath or shower. Soap, shampoo and shaving cream residue make a big mess on walls, shower curtains and glass shower doors. A quick rinse at the end of use will help keep it from pooling, staining and drying on surfaces. Wash down the drain small strands of hair and clean out the shower drain catch. This is especially important if you have girls with long hair in the house. Plus it's just gross to find other people's hair in the shower.

2) Rinse the bathroom sinks & faucets well after use. In the bathroom toothpaste gunk really makes a mess of the faucet and sink. A quick rinse will wash a lot of that away and keep the sink looking cleaner longer. A quick rinse after applying makeup is good too if you stand over the sink.

3) Have wipes or a cleaning towel nearby to wipe down surfaces or wipe up watery messes around the sink. It's good to have baby wipes, cleaning wipes or an old towel handy to wipe up water that accumulates around the bathroom sink. I know from experience that a young child can make a huge mess when brushing their teeth. It's nice to have a towel close that they know they can mop up with then hang up to dry.

4) Rinse the kitchen sink & run the disposal. Kitchen sinks are probably one of the most used and grossest spots in the house. Rinsing the sink after use will keep food bits from accumulating and help cut down on bacteria. It's also a good idea to run the disposal and pour in a bit of baking soda or drop a few pieces of lemon in to keep it smelling fresh. While you're at it, throw your kitchen sponge in the dishwasher at night to keep it from smelling.

5) Clean soles of shoes off on a doormat before entering the house or remove them. Dirty shoes do a number on freshly mopped kitchens and light colored carpets. A little extra effort to clean or remove shoes helps keep dirt, grime and pebbles from damaging flooring. After struggling to clean my apartment's very cheap and ugly carpets, I am all for anything that will help me avoid that experience again.

6) Have plenty of hooks for towels in the bathroom & kitchen. Train people to hang up towels to dry immediately after use. So easy, but so hard for some people.The easier it is, the more hope we can have they'll make a new habit.

7) Have a dirty clothes bag available in every bedroom & bathroom. Put dirty clothes in immediately after they come off. You'll spend less time searching for clothes that need to be washed and less clothing will get left on the floor. So much easier than chasing everyone down on laundry day to make sure you have all their dirty clothes.

So there are seven things to help reduce the amount of time you spend housecleaning. Hopefully they are easy to implement with a little family teamwork and effort. Each requires less than a minute of additional effort but may help eliminate hours of additional work time. Hopefully you'll have more time to rest and enjoy your life with less cleaning this weekend!

05 July 2012

Revisiting Vison Board and Goals

A few nights ago I was lying in bed, staring around my room. I had just put down some reading, but was still very wide awake. My eyes caught my vision board from early 2011 that I had recently pulled out again. I began wandering around the board looking at the things I hoped to attract to my life. I saw the workspace ideas that came to fruition last spring, I saw the photo of the new printer I hoped for. Not long after gluing that photo there I had been given a printer out of the blue.

I saw the image of a new sofa I needed so badly back then and thought of the wonderful queen sofa bed that we purchased from a lovely couple nearby for just $200. There was an engagement ring on that board that I received a few months later. On the board there was a photo of a woman gardening. Without remember that I started gardening not long after and have enjoyed a harvest of tomatoes and herbs for quite some time now. There were organization projects hoped for and I've done much to organize since that board was made.

Then I smiled as I realized one of my desires had come to fruition just a day before. I finally got a new phone with lots of bells and whistles. It was one of those things I always meant to do but there were always more important things that needed tending to. Things on my vision board were still coming into my life.

I started looking around at the dreams that have not yet been realized and I felt an increased desire to focus my energies on those things and to recommit to opening myself up to them. I laughed when I realized that there was a dining room table on the board. Just hours earlier I had been scouring Craigslist and DIY blogs contemplating how I could rid myself of my much hated table and chairs and get something that was more me.

I have not yet been back to Denmark. That was one of my wishes on that board. I was hoping to spend part of this summer there but family events pointed me in other directions for this year. But I know there will be a time soon. There are other more personal desires that are not here yet. But seeing all the good things that have happened from moments just after I created the vision board up until just days ago, I'm inspired to keep believing.

Keep believing. There are always good things coming to our lives. It's good to know some of what we want those things to be and help call them to our lives with our thoughts. Then all the other things can be a delightful surprise, all the things we never imagined would come to our lives.

If you'd like to read more about vision boards here are some helpful links:
Quick Tips For Making Your Own Vision Board
How To Inspiration for Vision Board
Sneak Peek At Vision Board
Two Month Vision Board Revisit

If you are a vision board maker I'd love to hear how it's changed your life. Please leave a comment below. If you decide to make your first vision board, please let me know how it goes. I'm envisioning the very best for you!

photo by kalanicut

04 July 2012

Happy July 4th - God Bless America

image via

Sending you the very best wishes for this day, especially if you are in the U.S. and celebrating Independence Day. Today I am feeling grateful for all who have sacrificed for the safety and well-being of our country. I am thinking of families who are celebrating without their loved ones who are posted in far away and often dangerous places. I am thinking of The Colonel and The General both who have set such a great example in their service and commitment to our country.

I am thinking about ancestors who made tremendous sacrifices to seek a better life for their families here in the United States. I am also thinking of my own beloved family who I will get to celebrate this day with. This year I will wave the flag a little more vigorously and pray a little harder for the protection and safety of those who stand in harms way. I will be more grateful that I can do all these things in freedom and pray that our freedoms continue to be protected and preserved. Happy Birthday America. May God bless and preserve you.

I love this song, although it cracks me up that one of the most beautiful versions of this song is sung by a Canadian. Thanks Celine. Maybe Lee Greenwood should return the favor and do a really awesome version of Oh Canada. Haahaa. If you want to see some inspiring Patriotic images, check out my Pinterest boards My Home Sweet Home and Support Our Troops. You might tear up a bit. Have a great day!

03 July 2012

A Pin Test: #2 Resetting Printer Cartridges

Welcome to the second installment of a new feature I am calling A Pinterest Test. I'm taking popular pins from the site and testing them out. This sounded so promising. Being able to outsmart those darn ink printer cartridge makers. You know very well there's more ink in there and the printer will just insist you're out of ink and stop printing. I'd prefer to make my own decision on that rather than having the printer shut me down on its own. I was quite excited when I came upon this tutorial on how to reset the ink cartridge from work.failblog.org.

I was happy to see in the photos for this project that Epson cartridges were being used because those are exactly what I have. So I pulled up the tutorial from the blog and pulled out a couple of my ink cartridges from my printer. Upon closer examination, what I saw in the tiny panel in the photo looked quite different on my cartridges and the photo was so grainy on the blog unfortunately that I couldn't see exactly what they were pointing at.

There is no writing on the cartridge to lead you to the magical reset button so it was pretty impossible to find a reset button or reset the cartridge. Without some further research, this project was a fail. Rats, darn, dang.

Stay tuned for another Pinterest Test soon. And if I find out anything more about resetting ink cartridges, you'll be the first to know. Have a great day! Share a smile! For those of you in the US, hope you have a fantastic 4th of July!

02 July 2012

Gardening Inspiration: Never Give Up

I have had this pepper plant for a couple of years and frankly for a long time I was just waiting for it to die. It would start growing one little pepper and then the pepper would shrivel up and die. It became a bit frustrating that it wouldn't just die so I could throw the thing away. I couldn't possibly throw out even a barely living plant.

One day I decided to transplant it into a big pot to see if it would help anything. It started to thrive. Several days ago I went out to the patio garden and was shocked to see that there are nearly 20 green peppers growing on this one plant in the big container. We love green peppers and the idea of getting them from a garden instead of paying the insanely high prices we find in our grocery stores is thrilling.

It's also a real life lesson to me that I've been thinking about ever since. A lesson to never give up a situation, a person, a hope or dream that is frustrating us. Sometimes things just need a little time and more space to grow. Sometimes it helps if we just give the situation our best and then walk away and go focus on something else. We might be amazed at what we find when you return.

Have you had something like this happen to you before? How did it change your perspective. I'm sending you my best wishes that you find some surprise green peppers somewhere in your life today or very soon and see something that felt was hopeless turn around in a completely miraculous, surprising and joyful way.
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