Month: April 2013

Travel Souvenirs. Joy in a Jar in 5 Minutes.

I just went on a 27 hour “staycation” to Virginia Beach with a dear friend.  We stayed 45 minutes from home in a condo on the beach…for 27 hours.  It was actually less but we won’t nitpick.  And it rained, but that was fine.  We read books, had coffee, took a nap, looked at magazines, went out to eat, walked on the boardwalk, watched a movie and slept in.  I get up 7 days a week at the same time for kids, jobs, church, baseball games and other random events so sleeping til 8:30 almost made me giddy.  Another thing we did was went to a beach souvenir shop.  We spent quite a bit of time in there because it was 1) very amusing 2) it was raining.  I have a great picture I took in the store for tomorrow.  (Wordless Wednesday click here.) Anyway…this got me thinking about all the bits and pieces one picks up on a vacation.  Most people come home and unpack and have this pile of “stuff” they picked up …

Public Service Announcement: Visual Clutter

    I’m going to be brief (or I’m going to try.) Kids bring a lot of clutter to a house.  We’ll define clutter  as a confusing or disorderly state.  Kids make houses disorderly.  It is their job.  This is directed at you, the parent of the “culprits”.  It is a no win exhausting battle between “picked up for 5 minutes” and “complete and utter chaos”.  I am Type A.  I can take 2 days of things being disorderly and then I start to freak out a little.  I have systems.  I have mantras…like things must go together is my favorite.  I have help.  (I also have anti-help).  I have training, if you will, to deal with these scenarios.  AND I still fight the forces of good and evil. I help a lot of people with their houses.  If you are battling the clutter fight and want a calm uncluttered home…if you do not want your home to continue to look like the two pictures above then you must listen to me. You will have …

Tartan Love

I went to the Virginia International Tattoo yesterday with my 1st grader’s school.  It is a 900 plus cast of bagpipers, drummers, military bands, dancers, singers, drill teams, color guards and other performers from all over the world (ever see a jeep put together in 60 seconds flat?).  The theme for this year’s Tattoo is, and by the by, my 7 year old wanted to know from the teacher if everyone there would have tattoos… “tattoo” in this sense means (military musical display), anyway—back to the story, the theme this year is “Homecoming”.  As a military spouse who has watched her husband deploy several times, the finale did a good job of making me cry. However, when I wasn’t crying, or taking someone to the bathroom, or telling various children that I did not have food or candy or money to buy food or candy….when that wasn’t going on I was completely obsessed with the colors and patterns of the bagpipers.  This happens to me all the time.  I go to see a movie, play, …

A Bewitching Cottage

A few weeks ago, I started my Cottage Love series…So today for Inspired Style–Cottage Love (cue dwarves singing, harps, flutes, birds etc…) …it’s the cottage from the Bewitched remake. Today seemed like a good day to pretend to live in magical cottage world.  I don’t know what the weather is like where you are but here it is a rainy, windy, pollen covered wet mess.  We are maxed out with baseball, tee ball, end of school year activities, jobs, mulch beds and I would LOVE to just wiggle my nose and BAM!   So for today…here is my sunlit kitchen and patio.   I like the chandeliers…see the one in the garden? Courtesy of www.hookedonhouses.net   Here’s my cute clean car and my manicured (and mulched) front yard.  Like my picket fence??   I just like cats.  And I like her hair.  I also like the flowers.  Do you think they read my 5 Minute Spring Decorating post?   A bonus is that Nora Ephron is directing my day.  I like her directions.  They always come out …

A 5 Minute Strategy to Looking Organized. The McTray.

  Do you have a tray?  How about a square plate? Something flat with sides?  Target, Goodwill, Pier One…lots of price points.  Bet you have one hiding in a kitchen cabinet.  Now look at the items that consistently show up on your horizontal surfaces and own it with a tray.  Clutter + Tray = PURPOSEFUL. Make-up etc…on your bathroom counter?  Put it on a tray.  Now it isn’t spread all over and it looks “tidy”.  If the tray is trendy now you added a little zap of style into your space. Dish soap, hand lotion, hand soap lolling around aimlessly alongside your kitchen sink? Random papers floating around on desk?  Office supplies that always show up despite the fact their home is in a drawer? Pile of books on a table? Stack of magazines looking messy? Coffee table look bare? Bedside table harboring stuff, books, stuff, and more stuff? Dining table full of to do lists and papers? Stick it in a Tray!  Now it’s purposeful stylish design. It’s a McTray–it’s cheap, fast, and, good …

What Door Do You Use–One Door’s Journey, Or…A Follow-Up.

I wrote What Door Do You Use? and did some hard soul searching.  What I discovered was not pretty.  Alas, our family’s main point of entrance was through our garage.  I surveyed the situation and decided that my best course of action was “Distraction”.  Smoke and Mirrors my friend, smoke and mirrors.  There is only so much that can actually happen for our garage to look good.  It has been organized, painted, cleaned, purged and sadly, it is still holding on for dear life in a pathetic confused state of disorder.  I decided I needed something to fix my eyes upon, a beacon of hope, if you will.  Something beautiful.  Something elegant amongst the jumble. It took 10 minutes total.  I googled.  I found vinyl-decals.com.  I ordered my house number in “2 1/2 inch Hancock font permanent glossy black” .  It arrived 2 days later.  I eyeballed the door and stuck it on gingerly.  I eyeballed the door again.  Looked good.  I smoothed that decal out and called it a day.  Now this siren will …

What Door Do You Use?

I feel like this title is suppose to be symbolic in a self-help kind of way–like “Who’s Packing Your Parachute?”, or “How Full is Your Bucket?” But what I really mean is, what door do you use?  When you come home, what door do you enter through?  I would love to claim to be a feng-shui expert, but if you read my post Strong Moms Empower you would know I am terrible at the analytical collection of data. And you apparently need to do one of these to do Eastern Feng-Shui.  Well how about Wester Feng-Shui?  My understanding is that it only scratches the surface vs the deeper, more serious, and traditional method of the Eastern way. But, hey, let’s not be deep and just scratch the surface… Years ago, I actually read multiple books on Western Feng-Shui so I’m practically an expert…  Feng shui (the computer keeps auto correcting this to “fang she”—and I keep missing it, will this post get published with a rogue “fang she”?) is basically how you arrange your belongings so there …

DC or Bust! or…How YOU Can Empower 9 Young Girls.

Did you know I was a Brownie?  I never made it to an actual Girl Scout as I think I got distracted with ballet, which maybe led to playing the flute?  In the 70’s kids weren’t as busy and structured as kids now.  I think maybe we did more daydreaming while staring into a crystal clear pond.  I wish.  I was raised outside Detroit but the idea is nice. Apparently I am part of about 59 million American women who were part of the Girl Scout community.  I just recently found out Lucille Ball was a Girl Scout.  I Love Lucy was my favorite show growing up and still remains so to this day.  I remember watching it whenever I could on Channel 50 (WKBD ? Detroit) at 12:30 right after Andy Griffith.  It was the 70’s, and I guess part of the 80’s, and we had a television with a dial.  Remember, you had to put the upper dial to “U”  ? and the lower dial to “50” ?  I digress.  Back to Lucille …

Sex in the City or Keep On Keeping On

This actually isn’t about sex, but I am inspired by the HBO show in writing this post.  Today I had coffee with my girlfriends, 3 girlfriends.  The 4 of us sat at a table and talked, ranted, comforted, and vented.  (Did you know rant means to speak or shout in an impassioned way?)  I know that life is approximately 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to that 10%.  I want to shout in an impassioned way BLAH BLAH BLAH to that last statement.  Ok I won’t, but I kind of already did.  Sometimes you have to keep on keeping on in spite of the 10%.  Sometimes you have to find a little comedy and a little inspiration to help get some clarity. Friends can help you get through.  Coffee can help too.  Pretty spaces don’t hurt either.  So just for a moment let’s look at this: Oh gosh, I’m about to do it again (read yesterday’s post???)—Life is “Big”.  I challenge you today to think of things that inspire you and …