Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interior Design - what do you prefer?

I want to know what makes an ideal home interior to you? Do you want the aesthetics to have a calming, peaceful effect? Or a warm comfy effect? What about a more eclectic & artsy take? ...Simple & minimal or cozy and filled with memorable items?  As you get into styles, do you want absolute classic; and if so, do you want a more simple classic or a more ornate classic?  What about rustic?  Do you want modern, (or are you intrigued by it, but feel you can't pull it off or that it would be trendy)? Forget about cost or exactly what you think you CAN do; what overall feel do you want to your home?
How much do you think the feel of your home affects you and your family? Is it something worth a lot of effort to you? -(and yes over time, some of the money will add up some, but there are less expensive ways to keep it beautiful!)
I want to know what you want out of your home! Even if you feel it's full of hand-me-downs with no room for spending at this moment, I want to know what you envision as your happy interior.

This living room combines a sense of calmness with accents of warmth and artistic touches, but overall, gives an unassuming yet well designed comfort and ease on the eye.  Some of the good things working for this living space include: good use of peaceful muted colors for the large color items (walls, couches) combined with small accents of bright colors (pillows, accessories), nice display clusters (vases, accessories off center complementing their supporting furniture instead of competing with it), radial variation (ie. round table -child friendly!- & circular pillow pattern to soften up all of the squared off lines), and last for now; good area rug use (ie. throwing a rug down on hard floors as opposed to carpet, as well as overlapping furniture on it; it is always good to overlap furniture legs or at least a coffee table on an area rug - otherwise, it feels a bit empty and awkward).  
The main thing I would possibly change is the oversized pictures on the tv wall; I think the homeowners might be trying to make that wall the focal point wall instead of the fireplace wall (which I think could have been a great focal point wall, '70s era and all); they still could have achieved this with slightly smaller picture frames or a different decor arrangement.
I truly do want to help friends and family decorate their homes when they want my help - I'm not just saying that; I really want the experience because it is something I love and want to become more experienced at.  This does not mean I will try to push my personal taste of modern on you or that you need to spend a lot of money on buying furniture or accessories (I actually like the challenge of taking what furniture and accessories you have & rearranging it all for the most comfortable flow and feel in the home - this is especially important if your home is listed in the real estate market).  So if you're up for my interior opinions and ideas, let me know!  This can be done long distance as well with pictures/descriptions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pure ...

Heaven ...

This homemade buttermilk syrup & this Belgian waffle recipe topped with real whipped cream & fresh strawberries throw a party in your mouth/combine for exquisite dreamland/provide scrumptiously lucious pleasance for your taste buds!!

(If you are a food critic, please take my food critic language satire lightly!  ..... What?   You don't think I could possibly attract a food critic with this post?)

(FYI:  Did you know you can skip buying butter milk and instead stir together 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar with almost 1 C. milk, let it sit for 5 minutes & then call it good as buttermilk? ..Works like a charm!)

(If you decide to make this breakfast, don't say I didn't warn you of snow mound-like amounts of sugar requirements - I'm warning you now)

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(Just wanted to do one more set of ( )   )

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Have you noticed the entire right side bar on my blog has been missing for over a week? Ok, maybe that's a bit indulgent to think you noticed - I'll stop flattering myself. But I didn't even want to try tackling the tech problem -- now I'm proud of myself because I got it all back!
(I had to repost my last post to accomplish this)...
(that's how I like to start my posts - enthralling i'n't it?)

... It's been a busy last month ...
**One weekend visiting Paul's parents in Southern California = beach visit & good beach stand Mexican food! ...Taya wasn't so fond of the beach - crazy girl!
**One weekend visiting family in Las Vegas for my wonderful niece's baptism = non-stop cousin entertainment for Taya

**And then 3 different sets of company in town to top it all off = washing lots of sheets! (but I'm not complaining - we love you Company!)

The occasion for one of those sets of company was Paul's birthday last week! I got Paul's sister, Alissa, & her family (with 2 cute kiddos that we love!) to visit as a birthday surprise for Paul. We cooked and ate like crazy to celebrate Paul's birthday & Easter ... birthday menu? -- barbecue ribs I had from a great sale, baked beans, sweet potato fries, dinner rolls, a bacon wrapped grilled cored onion with butter in the center, and a fluffy cheese cake that Alissa made - it was a wonderful dinner if I do say so myself! (definitely not void of hours of cooking) ... I love cooking special meals for Paul's birthdays; any special occasion is made better by great & memorable food!

Paul deserved a good birthday; I hope it was a happy weekend for him. He has been really fortitudinous (do I sound smart?), humble (which apparently I am not), courageous, hard-working and eager to improve his skills, networking, and business approaches during these past months without a full-time job.  I'm grateful that I get to spend so many birthdays with my Loaf! (Loaf?  ...Guess you had to be there)
Easter was wonderful too; all the traditions, a quick stop in the park for pictures in our Easter Sunday garb, a nice Easter dinner at my parents' house, and most of all, a true chance to think about Christ's resurrection - especially during our musical program that was put on at church.  I really do believe that Jesus Christ came here to Earth to suffer for each our sins and sorrow for each of our tribulations; and not only that, but die for us and return in resurrected glory.  It is nice to know that through His life's example, we can have more happiness and peace in the present during our lives if we tune into that same love and peace that he shared, and then by his acts of sacrifice & Resurrection, that we can also go on to live again after this earthly life and be with Him and our families.  I am grateful for a day like Easter that reminds me of these blessings.  These are the things that I personally and truly believe and they help me greatly in my life.

Last week was not the easiest week for us ... the somewhat temporary drafting job that Paul has had recently got cut short and all employees were laid off that Monday.  Later that week, we found out that Taya may very well have Juvenile Arthritis (which type & level of severity, we don't know yet)...(for the last 6+ weeks she's had a slightly swollen left knee, bad limping - particularly in the mornings after sleeping, and hasn't 100% straightened it). However, that same day that we found out about Taya, we attended the funeral of a man from our church, Dave Carlson, who has been a notably kind, warm, down-to-earth man to have as an acquaintance - and will truly be missed. You could tell the kind of impact he had on people because the building was completely packed. Because he had cancer & had gotten to a point of knowing he would die, he was able to share learned reflective perspectives with his family that they shared with us in the congregation. One out of the many wonderful perspectives that helped me that day was telling us to be grateful for the blessings we have and not dwell on the blessings we don't have. This helped me to think about Taya's health and be grateful that she is here and has the opportunity to learn and grow in this life and to not dwell too much in disappointment on the abilities she might possibly not have down the road (we really don't know how severe yet; she may have plenty of abilities).  
Also, watching a Hallmark movie documenting the life of a Polish woman who was a social worker during WWII and helped save and cherish the lives of 2,000+ Jewish children helped me to put things in simple perspective right away - uh, that's humbling. At the end, the woman herself was filmed before she died asking people to ponder the sacrifices of these Jewish mothers this Mother's Day who knew they were headed to concentration camps and had to give their children up, not knowing what would happen. CAN YOU IMAGINE?? Wow. Like I said,

There are so many lives and stories to learn from. I think that's partly why hearing each others' stories via blog is so refreshing.

This week has started out much better; the possibility of one 4 month contract job is on our horizon as of today and we had the weekend to breath and enjoy each other and friends; so we are starting out fresh (I wrote this earlier in the week). Sometimes I think Mondays are overwhelming, but this is a week that proves they are nice cleaned slates!
(Sometimes my verbal positiveness is more than anything for myself - to help myself stay positive and to reaffirm it - it's not all roses and cheer all the time.  I generally think there is a natural disappointment or shock reaction to bad news that is understandable to have; and then after that I think we can mostly choose how we want to handle that struggle - positive/constructive or negative/destructive ... though sometimes I find the little tiny struggles in life can be hardest to be positive about as they happen in the moment ... what do you think?)
I know I'm long winded - I just figure you all know you don't need to read any or all of it.  So I just ignore disclaimers, but here is one for ya :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

(This post is kind of a part 2 or follow up to my last post)

Children.  Our Children specifically -- are learning everyday and it is amazing to watch them learn & grow, and at such a full and quick pace.  Inspiring even.  And that's what I've been thinking about ...  What qualities about your children inspire you?  I said it in the last post and I believe it is true:  there is so much to learn from children.  All of the many things we have learned and accomplished as adults are great, and not to be ignored (though remaining humble is nice), but aren't there many qualities from our children that you notice day in and day out that are worthy of our attention, and even our aspiration?

Learning:  I love seeing the rate at which Taya learns as a child - she really is like a sponge (which can be humbling when I think of the little traits of my own that I want to suppress so that she does not pick up on them).  If we could maintain that excitement for learning as adolescents and adults that little children have, it could be amazing!
Passionate: Taya can be so passionate and just have such raw emotions.  Perhaps the whining emotion or the screaming emotion will be good things for her to learn to change a bit as she grows older (sooner than later would be nice!), but her belly laugh and her huge grin response when somebody comes to our door and her happy go lucky walk that she gets sometimes - remind me that she is experiencing life without 2nd guesses and with full gusto instead.  

Uninhibited: This is similar to passionate, but just the way children can be silly around each other and ask questions of strangers that turn their moms' faces white ... ok, so maybe these things are good to sensor as they get older and mature, but some aspects of it are just nice to see.  They don't overthink things; I can be a big overthinker, so this trait is sometimes very appealing!Things are just simple with kids.  Ok, maybe wishing to be simple is just that - wishful thinking, because we all know that life gets more complicated as we gain more responsibility.  But there is still something to be said of being simple.  We can keep our lives simple, leaving less room for complicated chaos and more room for quiet or simply joyful emotions where we have clear focus on the most important things in life without distraction.  I think it takes great effort on our parts as adults to keep things simple, but it's an effort I want to make as I have more kids and someday have a bustling family.  Is this still wishful thinking?  

Forgiving: This is a big one.  Do you notice how quickly our little ones can giggle with us, kiss us, hug us ... just moments after we have lost a bit of patience with them?  I am amazed at how quickly Taya can just go back to showing me happy love shortly after a tantrum or after I've been stern with her.  I don't know the make-up of a toddler's brain; I realize you may be sitting there thinking some of these things are just due to a young child's limited capabilities, but I am still amazed at what important attributes children possess that we can learn from.  Perhaps she remembers that I love her and accept her despite my being stern when necessary even more than I am capable of remembering how much my husband or a family member love me even when they might get irritable with me.  Maybe her ability to forgive also shows her understanding of unconditional love and that she can keep things simple by just showering me with that love shortly after an unhappy moment because she also knows I have unconditional love for her.

I looked up a talk (like a sermon) titled As A Child from one of our leaders of  the LDS faith, Elder Eyring; in one part he says:  
'Here is King Benjamin’s stirring description of what that change to become like a child is and how it comes to us:
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”(A beautiful discourse was given by King Benjamin to his people about a century before Jesus Christ's birth - it is recorded in the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon)I liked this excerpt and thought it appropriate to quote too with Easter being a couple of days away.  I am grateful for days like Easter, that can work as a reminder to value, remember and treasure the blessings we receive from the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Even if one does not believe in Jesus the same as I do, Jesus can still be an example of a life lived with unconditional love for everyone, with great acts of service given throughout his life, and with a child-like love and meekness shown to all of us.

I know there are so many more traits of children that are inspiring.  What traits have you noticed?  What have children taught you?

P.S.  Isn't so satisfying when you do a spell check and nothing is spelled wrong? ...  Ok, there's that adult-like pride sneaking in ...   ;) 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Want Me Some Groovaloovin!!

I've been missing something. I think I've been missing it for years now, although much of the time I didn't even know it was gone. Here's the trick: many of you may have been missing it too.

So, now I am searching for it. Yeah, my search is a bit forced, but I'm telling myself the authenticity will enter when it is ready.

So what is it you ask? Well, let's just say I'm trying to write my own sequel to 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' -- ok, ok, so I haven't even seen that movie, but guessing by the title and the common reference - I can relate!

I'm trying to get my groove back! Where on Earth has it been? And when did I lose it anyhow? Why did I lose it?

Now when I say groove, that is actually just a part of it - just an example. Because, well, some people never have the groove to begin with (no offense) - but you see I did have the groove! Despite my freckles & fair skin, I had the groove! Where did it go?
What I am getting at is that I want some of my childhood and adolescent ways back! Including my groove thang! I love watching kids and seeing how uninhibited they are. There are so many wonderful traits of children that are easy to lose as we grow older. I really have been thinking about this lately. I don't just let loose and shake it or strut it or laugh it (?) like I used to - you know like Gut Laugh It - like laugh so hard I'm peeing my pants laugh. I want that back! (probably without the pee, but hey, if that's the price I have to pay ...). I'm only in my twenties (ok, three years to 30) - shouldn't I still have all of this? Can't I still be uninhibited like a child?
So here is where I have started recently - in order to get my groove back: I have been car dancing! I used to be such a redikoolus(see Balki post) car dancer, shoulders hip hoppin', belting songs out, head going - I didn't care who was looking! Now I'm not saying I want immaturity back, but you know what I'm talking about right? As we enter adulthood, it seems that most of us start shedding some of our fun child or adolescent attributes, and figuratively speaking, stop shaking our groove thang.
So the question is - have you remained uninhibited (I realize there are certain healthy inhibitions to hold onto) or have you lost your groove? If you've remained uninhibited or have relocated your groove, how did you do it?

My recent influx in some car dancing is helping, but I still need to up the ante. I think I need to flood some music that I can't help but move to through the house - every day - that'd help. I already do it some and go a bit crazy dancing, but I would love to do it everyday, and even be able to go nutso dancing when Paul is home.

Now, I love to laugh and I do laugh a lot, but how can I find the pee my pants laughter again? If I find it, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, if you agree that it can get a little bit harder to let loose as the years pass, tell me about it! What are we going to do to keep certain childhood ways as an equal part of ourselves? This is critical here!

If I'm successful, the sequel will be achieved and there will be a future post:
How Breanne Got Her Groove Back!