Latest Posts

The Framed House: The Grand Illusionist?

You may or may not know that we are building a new house! We tore our 1950’s home down over the summer in July. We had lived in that house for 12 years. While it was updated and certainly nice, we (well mostly me 🤗) really wanted a bigger kitchen for entertaining and a larger master bedroom, bath, and closet. I’m so tired of switching out clothes for our 2 Texas seasons!! That comment was a tad facetious since we only have 2 seasons here and not 4! Regardless, I need all my clothes in one location at all times! I actually have 3 pairs of brown ankle boots just because I lost track of some from one Fall to the next, but then found them again! This has happened with others things in my closet too 😆

Initially our plans were to do a renovation of the existing house and add 1000sf. Well, it turned into a complete tear down, including a new foundation!

The old house was demo’d, the lot cleared and prepped, the footings poured, and here we are today with the framing being done. Which is what leads me to this post. We walked it the other day and the rooms of my 3600sf+ home seem too small!! What the?!?! We worked on this house plan for months on end with an architect. I looked over and over at the room sizes and felt happy with them on paper. So why are the rooms so small 😫 Did we do something wrong? Did we not think this through thoroughly??

Being the Googler that I am, I Googled it! Apparently, I am not alone in feeling that my framed house is smaller than I thought it would be. There are quite a few discussions about this very topic on the Internet. Quite a few discussions about this on Houzz. Needless to say I was happy to find out that my “home to be” that feels too small at this stage will not feel this way when we are all said and done! Huge relief!!

What I found out from browsing the Internet is that at the framing stage of home construction what you are seeing is an optical illusion. No mind altering substances needed! Exactly why this is so, I am not sure. No definitive answers were given except that it’s just the way it is!

Since beginning this post I have gone over to the house with a tape measure. It was on a Sunday when the workers weren’t there. I’m sure this sounds so OCD, but building a house is a huge undertaking and expense! It has to be right! And, I needed to have peace of mind that all was right. Well, the measurements on our plan do match the actual measurements on site. My mind was eased. All is good. It is true that the framed house is the GRAND ILLUSIONIST! Well, at least that is what I am hanging on to! I’ll have to come back and update you once our house is complete.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more posts as our house is being built. And, if you’ve experienced “my house felt small during framing stage, but it all turned out fine” scenario I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

8428F0C3-C439-4A30-AAED-587114815CC2

78E477DF-DD53-496D-B7B1-0A9E57F63F80FD53CC38-87C0-4404-BF3F-260C960EB0333FE1F851-BF51-4CF8-88B1-6754CF73681E

 

Pretty In Pink: Rosé… A Great Summer Wine!

Hi friends! It’s the weekend!

Did you know that the second Saturday in June has been declared National Rosé Wine Day? That makes today, Saturday, June 9th the perfect time to drink pink!

As we heat up for summer us red wine drinkers must reconsider our friends Cabernet and Merlot. I often put my Cabs away in the summer unless enjoying a hearty steak dinner from the grill. And, I’ll chill my Merlot a bit to make them a little more refreshing. But, a great alternative to both of these is the lovely Rosé, on the dry side for me, of course. There’s even a sparkling Rosé for my Champagne lovers out there!

A rosé’s color does not directly correlate with its taste. “Darker rosés may have more body than paler rosés, which could be appealing to those who prefer red wines,” says Doug Bell, the Atlanta-based global beverage buyer for Whole Foods Market. “But often paler blush wines have surprisingly complex aromas and flavors that can linger long after you’ve taken a sip.” In both styles, sweetness varies. Some bottles are bone-dry, while others have a slightly sweet finish.

Growing up, I would see my mom and her friends drinking “the pink wine”. Sometimes it was Zinfandel Rosé aka White Zinfandel but, I later found out that it was more often another type of Rosé, there are many. As an adult in my 20’s and even 30’s, Rosé didn’t seem as sophisticated as its deeper, darker cousins Cabernet and Merlot. But, in recent years (why’d it take me so long?) I have come to realize that not only is Rosé beautiful, but she is also tasty. Quite exquisite at times too. Now, I still on occasion enjoy a crisp white wine, but for us red wine drinkers Rosé can be the perfect summer wine chilled at 45-55 degrees. I promise my white wine friends,  you too can love Rosé. And should!

Here are some foods (there are more) that pair well with Rosé wine:

  • Melon & prosciutto
  • Salads
  • Olive appetizers
  • Charcuterie
  • White rinded cheese like Camembert and Brie
  • Hummus
  • Crab
  • Pizza
  • Shrimp
  • Grilled fish
  • Lobster
  • Tuna
  • Quiche
  • Hamburgers
  • Sausages
  • BBQ!!
  • Thai foods

Here are some fun facts about Rosé wine from Buzz Feed:

  • There is no shame in drinking “pink wine” – Sure there’s crappy Rosé out there, but there’s also great Rosé out there. Definitely skip the boxed stuff!
  • Mixing red and white wines together is not how you make Rosé.
  • You can make Rosé anywhere in the world, from almost any grape – Rosé isn’t specific to a region. Though the biggest producers by volume are France, Spain, Italy, and the US.
  • With Rosé, the newest vintage = the freshest wine – Rosé, unlike red wine and George Clooney, does not improve with age! So, no need to hang on to that 2014 vintage. Drink it now!
  • If you don’t like sweet wines make sure it is “dry” – That’s what you want. A wine that’s fresh & acidic without extra sugar. Remember, it was super-sweet white Zinfandel and it’s mass-produced brethren that gave Rosé a bad name to begin with.
  • When in doubt, look for something from France, specifically Provence – It’s hard to go wrong with a Rosé from Provence, the Rhone Valley or the Loire Valley.
  • You do not need to pay more than $15 for a bottle – Rosés are usually a bargain. They’re still under appreciated in the US. Shhhh… And, even if you want to splurge you’re looking at no more than $25 to $30 a bottle.
  • You can and should drink Rosé with BBQ – These wines are versatile because they fall between the extremes of red and white. Less intense than a big, tannic red, but with more depth than a super-light white.
  • You can and should use it to make cocktails – Rosé is ideal for mixing! It’s not expensive and plays well with all kinds of fizzy and fruity mixers. Yummly has some great Rosé cocktail recipes like Rosé + Raspberry, Lillet Rosé Spring Cocktail, Rosé Spritzer, Rosé Sangria, Rosé Cucumber Cooler, to name a few.

In the name of research 😄 I’ve tried several Rosés recently. One that I really like is called Notorious Pink. It’s from the South of France. I picked it up at HEB for $19. It has a nice medium body, not too dry, and not too sweet. And, what a lovely bottle! It’s lightly frosted!

My friend Jennifer recently gave me a bottle of Rosé called Chateau Réal d’Or. It is such a lovely shade of pink! I can’t wait to try it!

There are Rosé wines to satisfy any palette. And, with any wine you will have to do some experimenting to find the one you like best. Not such a terrible thing – tasting wines to find your favorite!

Photo via Drinkpreneur

So, go ahead and buy that pretty “pink wine” named Rosé. She’ll be the perfect wine for those hot summer days that lay ahead!

Cheers! Angela….

Don’t Bake In The Sun: Get A Modern Glow With An Airbrush Tan

May is Melanoma Awareness month! And even though May is coming to an end we still need to be aware of the dangers of melanoma.

What is the leading cause of melanoma? UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds! Not good news for those of us who like to get a little (or a lot) of color when the temperatures rise and you’ll be showing more skin. While melanoma typically strikes those of us with light-colored skin and light-colored eyes more often, melanoma does not discriminate! Yes, even those of you with darker skin and eyes can get melanoma, though it is not as common.

What’s a girl (or guy) to do?! When summer rolls around and the sun comes out, many people crave a golden glow. Nobody wants to sport shorts and sundresses with white legs! Heck, even in the winter months I like some color! Who doesn’t look better with a tan?! Bronzed, radiant skin can increase your confidence, make you look slimmer, and may prompt your friends to ask with envy, “Did you just get back from a beach vacation?” 

Even if you adore sporting a tan in the summertime, you surely know about the dangers of sun exposure, and a natural tan simply isn’t worth risking your health. If you’re yearning for a golden glow, consider the benefits of a spray tan before you visit a tanning salon or sunbathe all day at the beach.

Now this doesn’t mean covering up from head to toe at the beach or by the pool. But, if you already have a spray tan you can use sunscreen and not be so concerned about “getting some sun”. (Natural, of course. Conventional sunscreens are laden with chemicals that some think have accelerated the skin cancer epidemic. But that’s a whole other topic that I could write a whole blog post about!) Beauty Counter offers fantastic, safe sunscreens! Visit my friend Juile’s Beauty Counter page here to buy some!

Being a kid in the 80’s and a young adult in the 90’s I have spent many a day baking in the sun and laying in tanning beds to get a tan. At one point we even had a tanning lamp that you put your face in front of to tan! WTF?!?! Unfortunately now I am paying for it with more wrinkles than I probably should have now AND the dermatologist has already had to remove a few suspicious spots from my Irish skin over the last several years. The most recent spot was just removed in April and turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma! Thankfully basal cells aren’t too worrisome, but a little scary nonetheless and now I have a scar where it was removed 😦

So, here’s why you should consider a sunless airbrush spray tan:

AVOID DANGEROUS UV RAYS

As you likely know, a tan can create serious side effects that last for years. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure from the sun and artificial sources (like tanning beds) significantly increases your risk of contracting skin cancer. In fact, experts believe that up to 90% of melanomas are caused by UV exposure (source). In addition, although some tanning salons try to convince consumers that vitamin D (a valuable organic compound) can be obtained from tanning beds, the truth is that you can get plenty of vitamin D through a healthy diet or a vitamin supplement. After finding out that my own Vitamin D levels were low I began using this supplement.  If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, visit a doctor – not a tanning salon. Finally, whether you use a tanning salon or the sun, cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can cause premature aging. To avoid wrinkles, brown spots, and leathery skin, you need to avoid excessive sun exposure and wear sunscreen every day.

A YEAR ROUND GLOW 

Some people only like a tan in the summer, but others love to stay bronze all year round, like me! If that sounds like you, you’ll love spray tanning. Snow, ice, and frigid temperatures won’t be obstacles. In a comfortable and climate-controlled environment, you can update your tan throughout the year to maintain your confidence and that glow that you adore. And, you can customize your color based on the time of year. No need to be super dark in the winter, but a touch of color is always nice. Which brings me to the next point…

AIRBRUSH TANS HAVE COME A LONG WAY

In the early days of sunless spray tans people often complained of turning orange. Today’s tanning solutions don’t do that. These days, it is hard to tell the difference between a “natural” tan and a spray tan, when done by a professional. What you will get is a nice brown color, whether it be light, medium, or dark. And, many of today’s solutions offer beneficial natural and organic skin ingredients like aloe, hyaluronic acid, acai berry, and various nut oils, to name a few. They often are free of parabens, soy, and gluten!

CUSTOMIZED OUTCOME

There is no sure way to lessen the intensity of the sun’s rays to achieve the aesthetic effect that you want. You may try to control the amount of color that you get by shortening or lengthening sun exposure time, but hoping for good results from a trial-and-error method is risky, you could end up with a sunburn! With the benefits of a spray tan, you can achieve a light, medium, or dark tone that gives you exactly what you want. I personally like mixing a medium and dark solution to get the perfect color for my skin tone!

QUICK RESULTS

With a spray tan, you can enjoy a beautiful tan without spending hours sitting in the sun racking up skin damage. Time spent sunbathing can feel endless when you’re hot and perspiring. With a spray tan, you get a beautiful glow in about 15 minutes in air-conditioned comfort.

So what do you think? Would you like a healthy, golden glow this summer?

If you live in Houston in the Memorial, Galleria, Spring Branch, or Town & Country areas I can help you achieve a lovely bronze tan this summer! I have recently started a mobile spray tan business called Modern Glow. Click here to go to my Facebook page and request an appointment.

Happy sunless tanning!!

Did You Know Hummus Had A Day?

Oh hummus, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Including the countless number of ways you can be prepared! See recipes below.

Also Mother’s Day this year, May 13th is International Hummus Day. International Hummus Day is a relatively new holiday. It was started in 2012 by a young entrepreneur named Ben Lang, with the goal of creating “a holiday around food that could bring people together from around the globe”.

Hummus comes from the Arabic word meaning “chickpeas” and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is hummus bi tahina which means “chickpeas with tahini”.

Long enjoyed in Middle Eastern and North African countries, hummus has really grown in popularity in the US in recent years. In 2006 hummus was present in only 12 percent of American households and today it’s estimated that nearly 67 percent of US households consume hummus regularly.

We eat hummus around my house fairly often. My husband is Armenian (born in Lebanon) and pretty much grew up eating hummus.

So is hummus good for you? If you make homemade hummus with real ingredients or buy a quality store-bought hummus, then yes. Basic hummus recipes are made with 6 healthy ingredients: chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and tahini. Even with added ingredients like roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, and cucumber, hummus is a good for you treat. And, hummus makes a delicious dip for so many healthy things like celery sticks, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, and the list goes on!

Here are the top 7 hummus benefits:

  1. Good source of plant based protein – Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are high in protein and help you to feel full longer and not overeat.
  2. Decreases inflammation – Unfortunately inflammation has gotten out of hand in our modern culture. Largely due to our poor diets and the advent of processed foods. Inflammation is a known precursor to many health problems. Hummus has garlic, olive oil, and chickpeas, which are all known as anti-inflammatory foods.
  3. Fights illness and disease – Chickpeas have been shown to balance cholesterol levels, reduce hypertension, protect against colon cancer, and protect against heart disease.
  4. High in vitamins and minerals – In addition to protein and fiber, chickpeas are high in iron, folate, phosphorus, and B vitamins. Lemon juice contains immune-booting vitamin C and antioxidants. Tahini has high levels of copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and calcium too. Garlic contains many trace minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins like vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium, to name a few.
  5. Helps digestion and intestinal health – Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, which has multiple health benefits, including helping to foster a healthy digestive system, improving cardiovascular health, and more.  Consuming enough fiber daily is also correlated with a healthy body weight.
  6. Supports bone health – Sesame seeds are an excellent source of important bone-building minerals like zinc, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and selenium.
  7. Protects your heart – Olive oil, specifically extra virgin, helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Regularly consuming good quality olive oil has been correlated with improving blood pressure levels, glucose metabolism, and reducing harmful cholesterol.

Are you ready to add some hummus to your day? Maybe make some for mom? Below I have rounded up some hummus recipes that sound super yummy! Homemade hummus is easy to make and you’ll know just how fresh all the ingredients are!

Lebanese Hummus 

Edamame Hummus 

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Herby Avocado Hummus

Roasted Beet Hummus

Recipe via Minimalist Baker

Last month when my friend Holly and I were in San Francisco we had the most delicious beet hummus on toast at a place called Mazarine Coffee. Doesn’t this look delish! It was!!

Beet Hummus on Toast

Bon Appetit!!

 

Coming To Terms With My Aging Skin

Ugh… This is a tough one to write about, but it has been haunting me and I thought I should share in case anyone else out there is feeling the same way as I am. Kind of a “misery loves company” kind of thing.

It isn’t easy to share your insecurities with others or draw attention to your “flaws”. I was wondering if it was just best to keep this to myself. But then I thought, maybe, just maybe, this post would reach somebody out there and let them know that they are not alone. Or maybe, just maybe, someone out there would let me know that I am not alone!

So, here goes…

I am 46 years old. I eat pretty good (I’m not a fan of sweets, I abstain from gluten products, and I incorporate a lot of fruits and veggies on a daily basis) I drink a lot of water, and I work out several times or more a week and am fairly toned. Up until now I felt pretty good about my looks. And honestly, I still like what I see in the mirror. Except for MY AGING SKIN!

My skin has begun to wrinkle and sag in places that have always been some of my best features. My arms and my legs! But mostly my arms. While I noticed some light wrinkling before it seems to have accelerated in the last 6 months! It is getting to where I want to keep my arms covered up. I live in Texas mind you, and being covered up in the summer really isn’t an option! We have a swimming pool too and I love hanging out there with my kids and my friends when it’s hot outside. Should I swim in a long sleeve?!?

This decline feels like it happened over night! Why?? Well, I have a couple of possible theories as to why the accelerated skin aging may have occurred, besides just plain ol’ getting older.

One thought that I have about what has happened is that all of 2017 I was pretty much completely unable to work out my arms except for a little on the biceps. Early 2017 I started having lots of pain in my left shoulder and arm. After an MRI I was diagnosed with 2 pinched nerves in the neck and also rotator cuff tendonitis. I am just now a year later starting to feel a little better, but my left arm is still much weaker. I am slowly starting to exercise my arms again, but I lost some range of motion and strength along with muscle tone. I do think it contributed a bit to why I am seeing the saggy skin on my upper arms.

Secondly is hormones! After having blood work done I discovered that my hormones are definitely a little out of whack. I appear to be in perimenopause! Eek!!! In case you don’t know what that is, it is the time leading up to actual menopause that typically can occur during the 8 – 10 years prior to the big “M”. You can read more about it here, but basically hormones begin to go awry and cause all kinds of symptoms including physical signs of aging. Great….

So maybe part of the problem is the shoulder and/or hormones. However, I know that I am mostly to blame! I spent waaaaay too much time in the “real sun” and the “fake sun” in my teens, 20’s and 30’s with little or no sun protection.

Something that should be noted: I am a fair-skinned, blue-eyed, blond of Irish decent. I am pretty sure that screams of needing sun protection!

Being a kid in the 1980’s we spent many a summer in the sun without sunscreen. Heck! We’d even sunbathe on the roof with baby oil on us! Not good! In the 80’s there wasn’t much talk of sun damage. I suffered through quite a few sunburns after a carefree day at the beach or a full day out on the lake with friends. No one really ever said, “put on sunscreen”.

Then in my 20’s tanning beds were all the rage. Who doesn’t want to be tanned? Well, some people don’t. But you know what I mean… I had no problem at all getting a membership at the local tanning salon and keeping my white, Irish skin tanned most of the year. Had to look good while we were out hitting the clubs after all…

In my 30’s I was still sunbathing some, but not as much. My 30’s was the decade of being pregnant and having kids so I wasn’t in the sun as often.

So here I sit at 46 years old. Lamenting my past sun exposure and a little PISSED that the era of baby oil sunbathing and tanning beds was during my youth. While I am ok with getting a modest amount of natural sun, there is no way I would let my daughter do what I did!

Here I sit looking at what I am sure is premature wrinkles and loose skin wondering what I can do about it now. I am pretty sure 46 is waaaaay to early for this to start happening. Shouldn’t this have waited until at least 50?? And I can’t help but wonder how much worse it will get in the next few years. That really scares me… I wonder if it will plateau at some point and not seem to get worse for a while. Or maybe I will just get used to it. She sighs….

At times I don’t notice it at all, but mostly I do. And in certain lighting I am like, what the fuck!?!!?!

Most of my “mom friends” that I have made since my kids have been in school are younger than me. Anywhere from 37 to 43 years old. Even though I shouldn’t, I can’t help but compare myself to them when it comes to my skin. As far as I can tell I am in this boat alone. Are they judging me? Are they looking at me and saying “dang look at her wrinkly arms!” Probably not. I hope not!  But I can’t help but think these things…

So what do I do!? My brain tells me to accept it, suck it up, enjoy life, don’t let it get me down. Aren’t I a little vain to be concerned about this? Besides, things could be worse! There are people out there dealing with sickness and life-changing, tragic events!

My heart, well my heart is a little less positive about this whole situation. My heart is a little sad and mourns the loss of my youthful skin. Should I just stay inside and hide?

I vacillate between these two emotions. I vacillate between them almost daily. Sometimes it is all consuming and sometimes I kick the negative thoughts to the curb.

The other day when I was “kicking the negative thoughts to the curb” this is something that I wrote down:

“It’s a beautiful day and the sun is setting. Earlier in the day I was lamenting about getting older. Well, not really getting older, but the aging that comes with it… I grapple with how my skin is changing. How my face is changing. How my body is changing. I’m not the young girl that I used to be… free of wrinkles and sagging skin. But as I watch the sunset, I am happy that I am still here and I am with my family. I really need to get over the “aging” thing. It happens to everyone. And at different times. I need to accept that my outward aging has begun. Even though I still feel like a younger version of my current self. I will never be 30 again or even 40 and I must accept this.”
 So what do I do now? Lotions and potions? Expensive skin treatments? Or do I print out what I wrote in the previous paragraph, tape it to the bathroom mirror and read it daily? Do I just accept this as my fate and that there is nothing I can do about it now? I don’t know…. Suggestions???
A couple of things I have begun to do recently are take Omega 3 capsules as they are supposed to be good for the skin from the inside out and I have also started putting pure, cold-pressed, organic avocado oil on my skin. So if I smell like guacamole, you know why!
I don’t even know if these things will help and I am sure that if they do it will take time. We shall see. If I start to see improvements I will report back and let you know in case you are ever in the same boat as me. And, if you have tried something that helped please let me know.
In the meantime, you may see me in longer sleeves even though it’s 90 degrees outside (cry face) I’ll be sending out a Go Fund Me email soon to help me get some expensive arm laser treatment. JK!

 

 

2018 Design Trends: Kitchen

Once upon a time kitchens were often hidden from sight. A place only to prepare meals and wash dishes. Now, and in recent years, kitchens have become an extension of our living spaces. Kitchens are a major gathering spot. Kitchens are a room to be adorned and showcased! Who doesn’t want a chic, swoon-worthy kitchen!

Think Terrazzo, concealed vent hoods, and statement stoves, just to name a few.

Most of these trends are carrying over from 2017, but are gathering steam and really taking off in 2018. Whether you implement just one or several, let these upcoming trends serve as design ideas for your 2018 kitchen renovation or new home construction.

Herringbone Floors: Herringbone floors add an instant air of European refinement to any space and the kitchen is no exception.

Photo via Decor Pad

No Upper Cabinets: Still trending in 2018 is the lack of upper cabinets. Removing upper cabinets really opens up the kitchen visually and makes the kitchen appear much bigger and brighter. And, it allows you to utilize the countertop space more effectively. Turn your open spaces into a more artistic area by adding floating wood shelves or even a piece of art work.

Photo via Pinterest

Pantry Walls: If you go with less upper cabinets and you still need more storage then a “pantry wall” may be the way to go. While, the walk-in pantry most likely will always be a top choice in kitchens, the pantry wall is starting to show up more and more in kitchen design. When you are short on walk-in pantry space and/or upper cabinets this is a welcome and stylish addition.

Photo via Decor Pad

Photo via Decor Pad

Statement Stoves: If you are ready to throw down the big bucks then statement stoves are for you! In fun colors, high-end purveyors such as La Cornue and Lacanche are more than willing to help you adorn the kitchen like no other way.

Photo via La Cornue USA

Vintage Rugs: With all the hard surfaces and gleaming appliances the kitchen can feel a tab cold. Warm up and soften your kitchen with a hand-crafted Persian rug. The soft texture underfoot will be a welcome addition.

Two-Tone Cabinetry: While not a new trend as dark lowers paired with light uppers has been a trend for a little while, what is new is the combo of different materials. We’re seeing light colored cabinets paired with natural woods such as walnut, creating dimension and texture. Think ‘bare wood’ kitchen cabinetry—pale or cerused wood, finished naturally, not lacquered.

Photo via Houzz

Sinks Same Material as Countertop: Visually blending your sink with the countertop is hot in 2018! Whether constructed out of a marble, stone, or concrete countertop, these sinks will create a luxe and seamless look.

Photo via Decor Pad

Flat-Front Cabinetry: For years, Shaker cabinets were all the rage, but increasingly flat front cabinets are popping up in kitchens everywhere.

Photo via Decor Pad

Hidden Vent Hoods: In the past the vent hood was out there for all the world to see. Now it seems that cleverly hiding your hood is in vogue. Think tiles, natural wood, copper sheeting, or even steel!

Photo via Decor Pad

Do you see the vent hood in the picture below? It’s cleverly disguised in the same stone as the rest of the kitchen walls. They’ve also updated the kitchen with those gorgeous herringbone wood floors!

Photo via A Merry Mishap

Marble To The Max: Marble is definitely not a new trend, but to be on trend think outside the box and create a piece of art on the wall with floor to ceiling or counter to ceiling marble! White and light gray marbles will do the trick, but if you want to really make a statement and your wallet doesn’t mind 😉 think black and white! And here’s another concealed vent hood!

Photo via My Domaine

Terrazzo: Well hello there 1960’s! It seems that Terrazzo (a classic Italian surface) is making a comeback in all areas of the home including the kitchen. You will find terrazzo on kitchen floors, countertops, and backsplashes. I think it’s pretty cool actually! And there are so many color options you can really make your space unique! I had to include more than one picture 🙂 Terrazzo is only just coming up again as a cool flooring material, so if see yourself as a trend-setter, terrazzo may be for you!

Photo via Golden & Pine

So which trends are you loving, or hating? Are you ahead of the game and already have one or more of these trends going on in your kitchen? Let me know! I’d love to hear.

xoxo, Angela

Feng Shui Colors to Create The Best Energy In Your Home

Do you Feng Shui? Sounds kind of kinky, doesn’t it! While you may have applied some Feng Shui to your home by bed placement, moving mirrors, or clearing clutter, have you thought about the colors you use?

When we look to feng shui to create a healthy environment and to cultivate the right energy in our home, we often only consider layout and furniture placement. But there are much more ways feng shui can help shape the look and feel of your home. One of the easiest ways to transform your home’s energy—without moving a single piece of furniture—is through color. In feng shui, there are five elements that are expressed through color. Working these feng shui color palettes into your home will help set the intention of the space and draw in those specific lines of energy.
New seasons call for a refresh in décor, so why not make the most of it by planning out a color scheme that channels the energy you wish to bring into each room? Whether it’s bringing forth a soothing sense of calm to allow for relaxation or igniting drive to inspire your career goals, feng shui colors will help you find harmony between your home and your lifestyle. Keep scrolling to learn about each feng shui color and channel the best energy in your home.

EARTH ELEMENT  – Nourishment and Stability 

“Neutrals may be one of the most popular color palettes utilized in homes, and it’s easy to see why. A neutral color scheme is timeless, suits all styles, and is easier to curate than when working with bold colors. Neutrals also express feng shui colors of the earth element, which offers stability and protection for relationships. This makes it an excellent choice for any area of the home and an especially grounding force in central areas like the living room. Because the earth element also encourages inner balance, colors like beige, sand, and taupe can also be beneficial in the bedroom or even an office or study.”

Photo via Studio McGee

FIRE ELEMENT – Passion and Energy 

“The feng shui fire element is expressed through bold warm colors like red, orange, purple, and pink. Inciting passion and energy, the fire element can support career ambitions as well as sex drive—making it a smart choice for both the office and the bedroom. If you don’t feel comfortable committing to red walls or painted red furniture, pops of red and orange through décor items can be a tasteful way to bring the energizing color into any space.”

Personal Photo taken at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco

WATER ELEMENT – Ease and Abundance

“Blues can instantly create calm in a space, and within the practice of feng shui, they’re understood to also promote purity and freshness due to the water element. This element, expressed through shades of blue, as well as black, is also associated with abundance, so incorporate it throughout your home to promote wealth and prosperity.”

Photo via Curbed

METAL ELEMENT – Clarity and Precisness 

“Another neutral palette that brings forth a more active energy is made of grays and white. Expressing feng shui’s metal element, these colors help to foster sharpness and clarity, eliminating distractions and encouraging efficiency. Use these colors in any workspace or in the bathroom or kitchen to set the tone for a productive and rewarding day.”

Photo via Pinterest

WOOD ELEMENT – Growth and Vitality

“Creating green spaces—through plants and décor—is a beautiful way to bring life into your home and also channel the feng shui wood element. This element supports good health and growth, and like the water element promotes wealth, using greens and browns as an accent throughout your home can encourage favorable results.”

Photo via Design Ultra

There is a great article on The Spruce that goes into more detail about the Elements of Feng Shui along with the colors assocaited and where to use each one in your home according to a Feng Shui bagua to reap the most benefits. You should check it out!

 

Luck Of The Irish: Going Green in Interior Design

Is green really the color of luck?

” In the Middle Ages, it was believed that green was the color of fairies and other “little people” who didn’t like the idea of sharing it with mere mortals. In Ireland, leprechauns notwithstanding, green is considered the luckiest of colors. It is also a lucky color for those born under the signs of Aquarius and Capricorn. Green signifies a positive change, good health, growth, healing, hope, vigor, vitality, peace, and serenity. Green is also symbolic of ones strive to gain recognition and establish ones independence. Money, wealth and jealousy are often associated with this color. Light green symbolizes brilliance.”

St. Patrick’s Day 2018 occurs on Saturday, March 17, in observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green!

Since I love interior design, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day I thought it would be fun to showcase interiors that have “gone green” in different ways.

So, for your viewing pleasure…

The touches of green via the plants and pillows are perfect and this light and airy room. So welcoming.

On the other end of the spectrum is this dark and moody room. I love these different hues of green paired against the dark walls and light wood floors. It’s kinda go a Bohemian vibe.

Photo via D’Marge

The dark green chairs in this dining room make it a little less formal.

Photo via Roomed

The green painted wall is a great backdrop for the wood tables and chairs in the room.

Photo via The Spruce

The chartreuse green curtains really make this room pop!

Photo credit unknown

A classic kitchen with a classic green cabinet color that will surely stand the test of time.

The sofa is a fun shape for the color green.

Photo via Sofas Couch

A whimsical color of green in this kitchen makes it feel more fun and casual.

Photo via One Kings Lane

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear a little green today or you might get pinched!

Sunday Post: 5 Finds From Around The Internet

Happy Sunday everybody! Hope you enjoy this week’s finds from around the Internet!

Is your olive oil the real deal? I just love a good olive oil! And it so good for you with health benefits like protecting against strokes and heart disease, providing large amounts of antioxidants, and possibly protecting you from Alzheimers, just to name a few. However, there are many “fake” olive oils being sold! Possibly over 60% of olive oils on the market are in fact not pure olive oil! Check out this article  at Mind Body Green that explains a 3-second trick to finding out if your favorite olive oil is indeed real.

Photo via Mind Body Green by Nadine Greeff

A few weeks ago my stomach got really bloated and uncomfortable and it lasted for several days. It was really annoying, to say the least. I couldn’t contribute it to one particular thing so I do as I often do – I searched the Internet. I am pretty sure I found the culprit. Garlic!! I had been consuming a lot of roasted garlic trying to beef up my immunity against the flu while it was running amok all over the country. Well, I didn’t get the flu, but I did get bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable! I will continue to eat garlic. It’s really good for you and I love the taste when it is roasted, but I will just have to not eat so much in a short period of time. It’s not the only thing that can cause gastrointestinal upset. Check out these 11 Sneaky Foods That Screw With Your Digestion. 

Photo via Redbook by Dana Tepper

Tired of paying astronomical cable bills? I am! That has led me to doing some online reasearch about “cutting the cord”. While it feels a little scary to stop getting traditional cable, I am pretty sure at we are going to give it a try. We can always go back! It also seems a little daunting. Part of the process is deciding on the streaming service that is best for you. This article over at Digital Trends offers some great information on the various options.

Eeek! I should have known better! The little pot of liquid smell good plugged into my wall has been slowly poisoning my family and me with toxic chemicals all this time! Bye-bye plug in! Shocking dangers of plug-in air fresheners at Natural Living Ideas.

Let’s end on a high note and try to forget about that pesky plug-in that’s poisoning us. It seems that tasting wine is good for the brain! My brain must be very healthy 🙂 Grab a glass of wine and check out this quick read over at My Domaine.

Cheers! Have a great week!

11 Ways To Comfort Someone During A Difficult Time

Recently I have had 2 different people in my life going through very trying times as their spouses have had to deal with health problems. One is a family member and the other a mom friend from my kid’s school. Obviously, my relationship to each of them is completely different. Nonetheless, I want to reach out and comfort both of them in some way.

It got me to thinking about just how do you comfort someone going through a tough time?

Despite best intentions, it isn’t always easy to comfort someone. And for some of us, supporting people going through a difficult time can be confusing or awkward, no matter how much we want to be present for them.

Below are some suggestions that might be helpful. Not all of these will apply to every situation, so use them only if they feel appropriate. And, I believe there will be some differences as well as similarities based on the level of your relationship with the person going through a crisis, but mostly similarities.

(1) Make contact. When you find out that someone you know is going through a crisis and you want to support them, make contact. Call, email, offer to visit. People in crisis often feel alone and alienated and appreciate when others reach out to them.

(2) Listen to the story. At the beginning stages of a crisis, everyone needs to tell their story in their own time. Telling the story is one of the cornerstones of psychological treatment for trauma. The job of the friend is to listen. To get the conversation started you might say any of the following: “Would you like to tell me what happened?” “You must be so angry!” “I’m so sorry to hear this.” “How are you feeling?”

(3) Be there emotionally. Think of yourself as a vessel filled with love and support that you are offering out. Recognize any feelings that you might have about the situation and try to not have them interfere with your ability to show up for your friend. Keep your personal stories to yourself, along with any judgments or criticisms you might have.
You probably don’t know how your friend feels. Be careful about saying, “I know how you feel.” When people are reeling from their own feelings, they think that you can’t possibly understand their experience unless you have actually been there.

(4) Let your friend cry. Try to be with the emotions without stifling them. Your friend will eventually stop crying. A person in crisis may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the event first happens. Hold your friend’s hand, look them in the eye, and say, “You will get through this,” or, “This too shall pass.” They may not believe you at the time, but it will be helpful to hear.

(5) Don’t push. People in crisis can feel completely out of control and can benefit from making choices. Rather than insisting on a course of action, offer your friend some options to select from. Even simple ones matter.

(6) Offer practical help. Suggest tasks you might take on such as making calls, taking or picking up the kids from school, buying groceries, or doing errands. Be observant to see what is needed, and ask if you can assist.

(7) Bring food or even spearhead a sign up online and send it to other friends of your friend. That way they have a steady flow of meals coming in over a certain time frame instead of all at once! Eating is one of the first things to go in a crisis (along with sleep). Have nourishing food available so that your friend is more likely to continue eating regular meals.

(8) Know that emotion comes in waves. There are no rules about how people should react to crises. Your friend may feel numb, intensely emotional, or anywhere in between. Even all in one day! All reactions are valid and understandable, even laughter. Emotions often appear in waves – they come and go. Be there as a support no matter what your friend is feeling.

(9) Be patient. Your friend may need to tell the story many times or may still be emotional weeks after you would have begun to move on. Respect that everyone’s process is unique. However, if, after giving it plenty of time, you think your friend is stuck in the trauma, you might gently ask, “How do you see yourself getting through this?”

(10) Encourage basic functioning. In the first few days of a crisis, even the most minimal functioning may seem impossible. Be very gentle in encouraging your friend to take a shower, get dressed, eat regular meals, and take a short walk. If you know of self-care activities your friend enjoys, such as running,  yoga, or going to the gym, suggest these as well, being careful not to sound pushy.

(11) Check in over time. Often, at the beginning of a crisis, many people are available to help and support. Over time, people tend to forget and return to the rhythm of their daily lives. Keep your friend in the forefront of your mind, and check in in the weeks or months ahead. Even just sending a comforting hand written card or note is a great way to check in and let them know you are thinking of them.

Showing up with a loving, open heart is by far the best medicine.

Remember that a crisis is a difficult time for everyone and often handled differently from person to person.

How have you helped a friend in crisis? Any suggestions you would add? I’d love to hear about your experiences.