ten things that made me happy in July

from floozeesdoozees.com

from floozeesdoozees.com

Someone recently asked me if it was difficult to come up with 10 things every month.  I answered quickly that, yes, in fact it was very difficult. It would be easy to fill the list with lots of standards things like my daughter, my husband, food on the table etc but that does not require a lot of soul searching.  I explained that when I use the word ‘happy” I am not necessarily referring to the jumping up and down screaming with delight happiness, although that could be the case, but more those “things” that gave me joy if even for just a moment.  It does take time and the ability to be mindful of your surroundings and in the moment each and every day and that was the whole purpose of this exercise for me, to focus on the positive in order to compensate for all the negativity that surrounds each and every one of us every single day.  So give it a try and let me know how easy it was for you to come up with ten things and please, feel free to share with me as I am interested in what happy things happened to you.    Now–on with this month’s list:

1.  4th of July.  The unofficial start of summer.  Even as a kid this was always one of my favorite holidays.  Parades, barbecues and, of course, fireworks.

2.  Submitting my kitchen design in a contest and having it come in #79 out of thousands of entries.  While I did not win or even become one of the top 5 finalists I was thrilled by the recognition. (apologies for the blurry pic)

What a difference knocking out a wall and adding see through cabinetry makes in a dark 1980's kitchen.

What a difference knocking out a wall and adding see through cabinetry makes in a dark 1980’s kitchen.

3.  Sun, glorious warm sun, finally broke through after May Gray and June Gloom.  Keep your fingers crossed that May Gray disappears for May of 2016!!

4.  Christmas in July everywhere you look makes this believer in Santa very happy

5.  Taking care of this little granddog.  She is suffering from renal failure so we are not sure how much longer we will have her but she is a real sweetie and found a comfy spot for her afternoon nap on my bed while staying with us for a few days.

nellie sleeping on bed july 20156.  Marking items off the incredibly long and complicated to-do list for my daughter’s wedding next May.  With each tick I feel like I have accompished something and one step closer to being ready for the big day.  Got the venue, DJ, violinist for ceremony and bridesmaid dresses and made decisions on colors, table settings etc.  Now all that is left is photographer, florist, wedding dress, my dress, hotel resos, bridal luncheon arrangements, reception tent lighting, photo booth rental, save the date cards, invitations… as the King says in “The King and I”  etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…HELP!

7.  Sending out a cry for help (sort of) and having it answered by my incredible friends.  I sent out a plea for help in locating 120 champagne flutes all in different designs at thrift stores and garage sales and everyone came through.  Kate you are incredible as is Sandy and her bingo buddies who do not even know me.  In less than two weeks we are 2/3 of the way there!  Love the power of women!!!

8.  Rain, rain and more rain in San Diego!  While the sunshine makes me happy this rain makes me even happier as we may just end this drought after all.  Plenty of flooded streets and overrun rivers and even these little raccoon babies had to climb on top of a freeway sign to get away from rushing water that washed away their home.

courtesy of WPXI

courtesy of WPXI

8.  A successful redecorating project!  It is so rewarding for me to see the excitement on the face of friends and clients when they see their rooms come together after all the work they have done.  I will share photos once all the artwork is hung so you can see what can be done by adding to and updating your already existing furnishings and treasures.

9.  Friends recovering nicely from some pretty serious health problems.

10.  Being selected for a week long + jury trial…you decide if this made me happy or not!

What made you happy in July of 2015?

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The lure of black and white striped interiors

I have always been attracted to to the graphic punch of black and white, in particular, black and white stripes.  I am drawn to this combination in my wardrobe and in interior design.  And it appears I have passed on the B+W stripe gene to my daughter as that is the accent combo she is using in her upcoming wedding.  The black and white striped apple does not fall far from the tree!

Take a look at these interiors and tell me if you are not falling in love with this combo as well:

This all white kitchen pops with the addition of a black and white striped rug and check out that vase/pitcher on the counter….love it!

Black and white striped rug in kitchen via south shore decorating blog

Black and white striped rug in kitchen via south shore decorating blog

This rug from Ikea has been popular for a couple of years now and is an affordable way to add this energetic look to any room in your home.

Stockholm rug from Ikea

Stockholm rug from Ikea

Throw pillows are always the easiest and most affordable way to introduce a specific color, pattern or trend into your interiors.

design black and white striped pillowsAre you hooked yet?  Maybe this will be the inspiration you need–

Not as graphic as the bold wide stripes but certainly chic and sophisticated. Lamp from Currey & Co.

Not as graphic as the bold wide stripes but certainly chic and sophisticated.
Exton Lamp from Currey & Co.

And here is a sneak peek at how it will be used in our daughter’s wedding next May

Are you hooked yet?  OK..one more try–

Photo by William Abranowicz via elle decor featuring Madeline Weinrib rug, Ralph lauren wallcovering

Photo by William Abranowicz via elle decor featuring Madeline Weinrib rug, Ralph lauren wallcovering

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10 things that made me happy in June



Summer is here offering plenty of reasons to be happy!  Here are ten things that made me happy during the first month of summer—June:

1.  Winning the naming contest for a new tile pattern from Susan Jablon Mosaics tile.  Wouldn’t this be fun in a teen’s bathroom or a fun powder room?  winning name–Sweet Sixteen.

2.  The Del Mar Fair.  We go every year on a mid-week evening and do the exact same things—visit the woodworking exhibit, walk through and smell the cows, ooh and ahhh at the baby animals, look in amazement at the beautiful flower specimens, Rick eats corn on the cob and I eat a cinnamon roll (or two) and best of all, the Swifty Swine pig races!!!! High class all the way!

3.  Two third place and one first place awards for one of my design client’s submissions in fiber art at the fair.  You can read about her form of art here.

4. The look of surprise on my girlfriend’s face at her birthday party.  And it is always fun and interesting to meet new people since Rick and I knew no one at the party except the guest of honor…and ,truth be told, were probably the oldest ones in the room.

5.  A good before and after design project.  In this case we simply reupholstered and rearranged and repurposed furniture and artwork she already had to create an updated and move livable space.  Will share more of this project in a future post but here is a look at part of the “before”

Ethan Allen chair that just needs an introduction into the new millenium!  And boy did she get it!

Ethan Allen chair dressed for the eighties.  This classic style is still available!

And the incredible “after” reupholstered in a Robert Allen fabric that is no longer available and upholstered by the amazing Pat at All American Upholsterers.  We also painted those eighties oak legs in a semi-matte finish to add some contrast and visual “weight” to the chair.  Wait until you see photos of the entire room!!

sharon ladd chair after

6.  Family vacay!  Our entire immediate family packed up the cars and headed to Palm Desert for 4 days of swimming, laughing and relaxing in the HOT sun.  Nothing like vacationing with a 10 month old and a 3 and 1/2 year old!  A good time was had by all even if it was 113 degrees!!!

ella at pool in palm springs june 2015

7.  Evenings warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a drink and plenty of conversation with friends.

8.  Padres baseball games.  While the team is not exactly living up to all the hype delivered at the beginning of the season it is always fun to spend an evening at Petco Park.  And my favorite part, besides the hot dogs and soft pretzels, is during the 3rd inning when all of the vets and active duty military fans are asked to stand and be recognized.  I am always so proud of all of them, including my Air Force vet husband.

9.  I don’t care how bad a day you are having, taking 2 minutes to watch this video will put a smile on your face and bring a joyful tear to your eye.  If there is anyone out there who sees this and is not positively affected, please contact me because I would like to know why!  My gift to you:


10.  Watching my adult kids get along with each other.  I think every parent hopes but wonders if their kids will be close as adults.  And our daughter Jenna has always been extremely close to her half-brother and a weekend away allowed brother and sister to interact as adults, along with their significant others.  Makes a mother proud!

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I love a good foot rub—and a good footstool

A footstool by any other name is also known as an ottoman or a hassock.  And in my humble opinion, I think a foot stool is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can own.  Depending on the size, it can act as an ottoman to rest your feet, provide additional seating during a party or perform double duty as an end table next to a chair or sofa.

Probably the most commonly used footstool is a matching ottoman placed at the foot of the coordinating easy chair as seen in this photo.  It creates a very inviting look.

A more stylish arrangement might be to use an ottoman in a different design style than the chair, making for a more eclectic but still inviting arrangement as seen here.

or for personal use:

or  serious:

suede, velvet, plaid or solid–a footstool should be a staple in your home’s decor.  You can find these workhorses of design in pretty much any store that sells furniture from low-priced retailers like Target and Walmart to higher end stores like Ethan Allen or have one custom made to meet your exacting needs by contacting your interior designer.

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Ten things that made me happy in May

happy face pink from clipartbestdotcom

1.  Rain, lots of rain in San Diego.

2.  The fact that the rain stopped just in time and on the day I was hosting 55 people for my daughter’s engagement party!  But the sun came out and all was well….Happy the Bride the sun shines on–who said that?

2.  The fact that the party is over…..my hat is off to event planners everywhere!!  I do not know how they do it day in and day out….I was exhausted and forgot many things but as long as there was plenty of beer and wine, and, it appears from the missing bottles in the liquor cabinet, tequila and crown royal, no one noticed.

3.  Snow in May!  This picture was sent from a friend’s vacation home in Flagstaff Arizona..isn’t it lovely?  Can you tell I am still not over the fact that I have not been in my beloved snow for two years now?

snow in jerrys back yard in may 2015

4.  Friends who love to cook but, more importantly, step in when help is needed without even being asked.  Thanks, Kate, indebted to your forever!

4.  This person–my only daughter, my only child (and all her smart and talented friends) She is such an amazing young woman, as are her friends, and it actually gives me hope for this country’s future.  And, yes, that is me photo bombing in the background.

jen and josh at engagement party with me photobomb

5.  Time spent with dear friends struggling with serious health issues.  It is wonderful to witness the miracles modern medicine is able to produce these days and I am selfishly so grateful that we will have him around for a while longer.  Makes me happiest of all!

6. The Mad Men finale.  While I was not happy to see the show end I do feel it had run it’s course and I loved the way they tied up all the loose ends.  The feminist in me loved the success of Joan and Peggy and the lover of all things Don Draper appreciated the fact that he stayed true to the decadent and capitalistic ad exec he was and we are left to believe, found success through his iconic coke commercial.

madmen poster7.  The smell of honeysuckle in the air.  It catches one by surprise as you walk by and just conjures up wonderful childhood memories of lazy summer days ahead.

8.  Shopping for upholstery fabric.  I could pore over fabric books for hours on end, in person or online.  I have a couple of design projects in the works so it gives me a great excuse to look at fabric without having to make any excuses!  I will be sure to share some before and afters of my client’s homes once the jobs are completed so you can be inspired!

9.  End of school programs.  I loved attending these when my own daughter was in school and I so enjoy being able to do it all over again with our Ella Bella.  Nothing is cuter than a bunch of 3 year olds trying to stand still on stage and sing a song.

10.  Seeing the joy on our friend Ron’s face as he posts pictures of himself after he completed a rim-to-rim hike through the Grand Canyon.  And he is 63 years old!  While that is certainly not on my bucket list it makes me very happy to see friends enjoy their retirement and start scratching things off of their own bucket list.

What made you happy in the very merry month of May?

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A big thank you to all of our veterans and their families!

Captain Joseph P Harrison USN

Captain Joseph P Harrison  (Ret) USN

As I have matured I have come to realize and appreciate the true reason we celebrate Memorial Day.  It is not for a long weekend that marks the unofficial beginning of summer, it is not an excuse to have a beach party and haul out the bbq, or sleep in on a Monday morning.  (all good things, I might add)  Rather, it is an opportunity for all of us to take just a few moments to think about, understand and be grateful for those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, those that are in harm’s way now and those members of the military who support the fighting forces AND their families that are left behind.

As many of you know, I am the very proud daughter of a military hero.  I spent my entire childhood as a Navy Junior (as opposed to Army Brat) and my father lost his life way too early, not in battle, but as a result of the years of battle he did participate in and the chemicals he was exposed to.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors and I miss him every single day.  And I know I am not alone in this situation or in these feelings.

thank you from cafepressdotcom

So, a big thank you to all of you who have served or are serving now or have lost a loved one in their time of service.  Just a few people who are close to me who have served:

Master Chief Ron Bowlin (Ret)-USN

PN2 Sheryl Bowlin

Lou Berger-WWII

Sr. Chief John Adler (Ret)

Master Chief Darel Handley (Ret)- USN

Capt Matt Warren-Army

Jerry Warren-Special Forces Vietnam War

and many more that I am not listing.  Thank someone special to you this weekend.

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Ten things that made me happy in April

1.  No words necessary!  Who wouldn’t be happy looking at these faces?!

ella and brendan in hat on easter 20152.  Easter cards.  They are such an unexpected surprise, especially when they come from friends who live cross country and we just don’t get a chance to catch up very often.

3.  Dare I say it again without jinxing it?  After rising almost back up to $4 per gallon gas prices are back down below $3.

4. Stepping outside and being “hit” with the scent of honeysuckle.

5. The return of “normal” weather in San Diego.  After the hottest March on record and the lack of any sort of winter, springtime appears to be normal.  Crisp mornings where the cloud cover burns off by 10:00 a.m. to clear blue skies and chilly evenings.  Everything just looks and smells so good!

6.  The annual Coronado Garden Show.  How lucky am I to live so close to such a beautiful area as Coronado?!  My girlfriend and I walk this every year and it is something I always look forward to.  What is better than an afternoon with a good friend strolling through beautiful neighborhoods and lunching in a sidewalk cafe?  Not much…..

7.  Taking care of my husband’s daughter’s dog, Penelope.  This little chihuahua has been in our family for 10 years and I never see her so it was a nice surprise to have her for a few days.  Definitely made me happy.

8.  My granddaughter’s first ballet recital.  I spent many, many years attending dance recitals with my own daughter so it brought back so many special memories.  I asked her if she was a ballerina and she responded with “Not quite yet, Grandma”.  So funny!  And so cute!!

9.  Being asked to go away for a weekend with our daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law.  How nice it is when your adult children want to spend time with you!  So we will all be celebrating his birthday in June basking in the sun in Palm Springs.  Can’t wait!

10. New patio furniture.  I had grown tired of the usual round table and 4 chairs, loveseat and two chair, matching table combo.  We traded in a 1/2 acre and three very large decks when we downsized for a small backyard and, since we rarely eat outside at this house but still enjoy entertaining outdoors I opted for a 5 piece “chat set” This includes a large round center table that can be used for casual dining as well as 4 very comfortable chairs that rock on their pedestal.  I can’t wait for warm summer evenings spent outdoors with my favorite recipe–a glass of good wine, good friends and great “chats.”  This is how it looked when we began the remodel and I will share the new look next month, just in time for summer.  Care to stop by for a cocktail?

Backyard before remodel

Backyard before remodel

What made you happy in April of 2015?

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