Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Easter Gift To You

Easter is early this year.  
The reason is odd to me - something to do with the first Sunday 
after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.  
And then you have to decide whether to go with 
the astronomical full moon or the ecclesiastical full moon.  

Rather than wade through all that, I look around for big juicy beds of these:

And then I sniff the air to see if I can smell Easter...
it smells like buttercups, organdy dresses, and the inside of a church.

I hear refrains of "He Arose, He Arose, Hallelujah, Christ Arose!"

But then there is something deeper than sight, smell, and sound 
that comes to me every year about this time.  
Something primeval that stirs in me and has to do with 
dirt and stones, creation and windy solitude.  

This year, I found it in the artist Lotte Glob, a Danish Ceramicist 
who lives in the wild Highlands of Scotland, off the Wee Mad Road.

Here is her ceramic
Book of Bones.

And her Book of the Sea.

Her studio sits on about 14 acres of wild hillside, overlooking Loch Shin.

Here is another photo, taken by Steven Fallon, with daisies instead of buttercups...
I'll bet it was taken around Easter time.

Go and wander through her artwork and methods.
She's about as close to primeval creation as it gets.

And that is my Easter gift to you. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lessons on Beauty From Downton Abbey

The final episode of Downton Abbey has aired in the US, and like millions of others, I am mourning the end of this beautiful show.  It has been such a fabulous feast for the eyes, 
that I almost didn't care about the story lines.  
Well, almost.

One of the things I loved most about the series was the fabulous clothing that both women and men wore,
and the way they wore them.  

Especially the way 
they wore them.

In this stunning ensemble,
Edith gives us 

Lesson number one:

Stand Up Straight,
Own Your Look.

In other words,
be utterly aware of 
how you look,
top to bottom, 
front and back,
and flip yourself a tiny smile
 when you catch a glimpse of  yourself in the mirror.

Edith wore her clothes beautifully, moving through the scenes looking as though she was utterly comfortable with her layered outfits, jewelry, and of course those gloves.  
She probably wears tattered jeans at home, 
but she wore these dressy clothes like they were her skin.
And she looked absolutely stunning.

Beauty lesson number two:

If you aren't slender 
as a reed

and who is, these days?

Stand Up Straight
Wear Clothes That Are
Slightly and Properly Fitted.

If you put the Dowager into the outfit that Edith has on above, she would look 
like a tent with feet.  

Loose and shapeless tops don't slenderize.  Nope.  What they actually do is add bulk
to your profile and you look even
bigger than you are.

The Dowager's jacket is loaded 
with couture details 
which can also add bulk,
but she gets away with it because
from top to bottom,
she is dressed 
all in the same color palette.

Oldest trick in the book to create
a slender, vertical line.

Lesson number three:

Stand up and sit up straight, 
lift your head up and away from your shoulders,
and smile from your heart.

No one can resist a smile that reaches your eyes.

Bidding a fond farewell to Downton Abbey;
I am much enriched with the history you portrayed so beautifully.

Now if I could just get my hands on a few of those outfits...

Monday, February 1, 2016

More Trends from the Atlanta Gift and Home Market

Walking the Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishings January 2016 Market was so fabulous -
 it is always thrilling to walk through the buildings  and see all of those
 Trend Forecasts coming to life...
and this year the added attraction was the sheer energy that was buzzing through
the thronged hallways, and showrooms that were packed with buyers.

This vignette in the Surya showroom captures the Pantone 2016 Palette that 
wound around and through the Market like a translucent rope of color:

Tropical and Ocean Life themes are still very hot for Home Decor, 
but the colors have become hazier and more like sea glass found on a beach.

These reading glasses from Peepers capture that happy vibe: 

There were punches of these wonderful colors everywhere, 
but the overall feel that I took away from this Market was


Pantone's Limpet Shell hue 
was everywhere, 
and soothed the eye and soul
no matter what it was paired with.

Look at this fabulous lamp 
from  Split P - 
and the texture of that throw.

Lots of texture at this Market,
in nubby weaves,
natural wood,
and layered components.

These embroidered pillows from Split P are pretty and quiet,

as are these pillar holders.

Also from Split P was this great example of the natural wood look 
that I found throughout Market, with that warm grey again:

And this Trellis lamp, with a 
warm silver metallic finish.

I discovered Bloomingville US, tucked away in the Ivystone Showroom and fell in love with their fabulously simple Danish lines, and with the way they used 
Rose Quartz with Lilac Gray and Limpet Shell with the same Gray:

Look at this Wall Art from them - so simple, so sweet.  
Love the line work, love the message.

This is one of Bloomingville's 
ceramic ware collections.
Tucked in are a trending wooden bowl,
wooden cheese board,
and see that copper Coffee tin?
Copper is strong, and many times
I saw it paired with gold.

I think you are going to see a LOT of
this look continuing to capture the hearts 
 of younger shoppers.
Danish/Nordic style, with the luxe look
of gold and copper and other metals.

A sort of clean industrial,
upscale recycling 

Like this pendant light from Currey and Company:

And their Flush Mount fixture:

If you look back up at that plate from Bloomingville, 
you can see that the trend of putting words on
just about anything is still hot, hot, hot.

Which is for the next post.
You wouldn't BELIEVE the hand lettering all over the Market that I saw,
and I had thought that was about over.
Well, it isn't - and it has taken a new turn, which I think you're going to love.
And, here's another Trend Hint coming in the next post...
Black and White.
Until next time!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spotting Trends at The Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishings Market

I've just returned from the Atlanta Gift and Home show, and look what I found!

One of the biggest delights of walking the Atlanta Market is that you are literally surrounded by the culmination of all those Trend Reports, morphed into three dimensions.  
The photo above is part of the Pantone exhibit, 
showing some of their yummy colors from their 2016 trend palette in application.

I only had two days to walk the market this time, 
but instantly saw textures,
themes, and palettes 
that will be in your 
favorite stores this year.

This Lobster Towel Holder from Mud Pie is one example of a continuing trend - what I call the Ocean Life Trend 
that has been so deliciously hot for a couple of years now.

These unbleached paper towels have the Pantone Iced Coffee hue, 
and that natural wood 
was all over the Market.  

And I do mean all over.

It was so soothing,
so quietly lovely 
after all that distressed
white chalk paint we've
been seeing for a few years.
Which I have a lot of
in my home.  Time to strip.

I saw a lot of Serenity Blue
coupled with a lovely shade 
of Pantone's Snorkel Blue...
usually punched up with
Peach Echo or sitting
sweetly with creamy white
and natural wood.

This Balustrade from Jamie Dietrich
portrays both that Pantone
2016 Color of The Year
- Serenity -
and also continues the
Ocean Life Trend.

Splashes of gold in all types of metallic finishes
continued that turn toward warm instead of cool.

Like these fabulous sconces offered by Vagabond Vintage:

The infatuation with deer heads and racks of antlers has grown even deeper.

Moose antlers, deer antlers, whole racks and parts of antlers.
I do love the antlers, but I'm tired of the deer head outlines - give me some detail!

Another presentation from Jamie Dietrich, with golden-toned antlers.

This lovely silver bowl 
 is from 
Ben and Lael, Inc.  

I could run on and on, but will save some for the next post.  
I'll finish up with this Wall Art from Surya:

It incorporates just about every color from the Pantone 2016 palette, and could be hung in any room that has any of the above pieces in it.

And lastly, let's return to one of the Pantone displays in Atlanta:

See what I mean?  Now, go shopping!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tummy Suck, Pelvic Tuck, and Shoulder Roll

See this pretty girl from Mireille Dagher's Spring/Summer 2016 Collection?
Her pelvis is tucked properly underneath and in line with her head,
her (okay, non-existent) tummy is sucked in,
and her shoulders are rolled back to make her chest proud.

What I'm pointing out here, girls and guys, is that it is time to
Tuck it Up, Suck it Up, and get that Chest All Proud.
And I am not talking about Plastic Surgery here.
You gotta work on this.

See this guy's posture?
This is how you should NOT stand,
but is how I do, because I've done it all my life.
I think they call it Sway Back.

I call it "Leading with my Stomach".
It is my Mom's posture, which I inherited.

The problem with this is,
your tummy perpetually sticks out in front of everything else.

And your butt looks enormous.
Even though it is just pleasingly round.

Somewhere during last Fall, I figured out that the
reason my tummy always looked like a fire hydrant in profile
was because I was literally Poking it Out by standing
like this guy on the left.  Sway Backed.
So last month I made up a new rule.

Suck.  And Tuck.
TUCK my butt back up underneath my shoulders.
SUCK my tummy in, and roll my shoulders back.
   Get really PROUD of my chest.

That way, THIS is what happens:

Well, you are not going to look exactly like this,
but see how her shoulders are rolled back, and how Proud her Chest is??
We won't look at whether or not she is Sucking and Tucking, because with a six pack like that, who the heck needs to think about sucking her tummy in?

But I can tell you that if you follow the above instructions,
your clothes will hang right,
and you will have the hint of a waist
for the first time in years.

Every minute of every day, Suck, Tuck, and Roll.

Look in the mirror at your profile;

Monday, December 28, 2015

You Are What You Eat

With Christmas now a big box of fond memories to store away, you are probably right there with me with all your new stored Real Estate.  Talking tummy and hiney, here.  

Every year we spend Christmas at the beach, and tradition demands that I gather these ingredients from our local beach grocery:

You can see the Real Estate
accretion products piled up
here on my counter top 
overlooking the 
Intracoastal Waterway.

As the oven heats up, I am mixing like mad,
doubling up on the chocolate chips
and the walnuts, of course.
Love walnuts.

The best part
about all this work
you get to lick the extra dough
off your fingers when it piles up
on the spoon 
and you have to scrape it off.


The wait while they bake is excruciating...
And then, out of the oven
comes this loveliness.

I like to eat them while the
chocolate is still warm
and gooey
and fragrant.

And then I have another.
Because I can.

There are always paybacks for too much of a good thing, and it's now time to start paying...
because my bathroom scale has Nuclear Alerts going off when I just pass by it...

I don't even have to step on it to hear the sirens going off.

So, this is what I'll do to soothe the scales and zip my pants up again:

It's back to Brazil...this time for their Dietary Guidelines, not for Fajas.

1.  Eat Fresh, never processed Veggies and Fruits.
Include some dried beans, in moderation.

2.  Eat Fresh Fish that comes from a reputable source.
Eat roasted, grilled, or boiled chicken, made at home.

3.  Drink lots of clear clean water.

4.  Walk.  A lot.  Climb stairs.  Stretch and pull and twist and shout.

5.  Cook At Home so I can keep my food additives under control.

6.  Don't eat anything out of a box or bag - no processed foods.

7.  Eat Apple Slices, Celery Sticks, Carrot Sticks, Citrus Fruits for snacks.

If you want to take a look (and you should) at Brazil's down-to-earth guidelines,
you can view them HERE.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing recipes and tips 
with you to rope in that Extra Real Estate
without using a Faja!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Managing a Wildlife Refuge in Atlanta

We live just outside Atlanta, in a densely packed suburban neighborhood.
Fine restaurants, a rich selection of arts and entertainment venues, Pro Sports, 
and the Atlanta Merchandise Mart are all within a short drive.
Luckily, my talented Hubby has managed to make our property beautiful and serene...
we are pretty intense in our business lives and really need that calm space. 

We have a beautiful little pond for evening reflection and cocktails before dinner. 
Sometimes, however, it is not so serene.

Check out these Naughty Geese:

And this Blue Heron, who is NOT a favorite guest, because he is a voracious fish eater:

We also regularly have these enormous Snapping Turtles who move in 
and start eating everything that wriggles 
every single Spring. 

We used to catch them and release them in a nearby creek to keep them from murdering every small animal 
in our pond, 
including our Baby Wood Ducks!
It was classic Bad Behavior in our minds.
By hauling them off, we THOUGHT we had ended our problem.

They came back, from miles away.  Every time.  We started marking them, because we couldn't believe they would travel that far, and land right back in our/their pond again.  
But it was true...they came "home" and so we caved.  

Now, Hubby feeds them in the summer with fish scraps, veggies, 
and the occasional freezer burned piece of red meat that I refuse to cook.  
They particularly love that.

We have a large back yard that Hubby carved out of some scruffy woods and we love that, too.  Since he can't stop himself from putting out corn and other wild life goodies, 
it also attracts a wide assortment of land critters.   
Our fave back yard Wild Life Visitor looks like this:

He doesn't kill anything, he's mysterious, and he sort of looks like Rudolph.  You know?

It took years to get the rules laid down for our wildlife and they taught us a few things, too.  Just when we all got all comfy with each other and the rules were set, 
THIS happened:

Very, very bad behavior.

And then, a herd of Otters moved in and romped around the pond in broad daylight.
Gobbling our fish, they treated this felled tree like a swing set in a playground
while they were out on recess from stuffing themselves with our carp,
bream, catfish, bass and crayfish.

See this naughty head?

And this swirl he and his girlfriend made while they played chase?

I declared war.
First up - ammo.

I have dropped depth charges, fired off Quarter Stick Missiles, 
and carpet bombed the entire pond.
Hopefully, no one will call the cops.

I have left this guy and his brother on patrol - they are motion activated, 
with cackling, blinking lights, and violent shaking of their cages.
They LOVE to be unleashed.

And no, I haven't put up our Christmas tree yet.  
I'm too busy managing a Wildlife Refuge in Atlanta.


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