Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Inspiration for A Master Bedroom

Garden at Croteaux
I felt deserving after a home staging assignment at nearby residence, and paid a visit to the intimate setting at  Croteaux Vineyard on South Harbor Road  in Southold.

The old wood in the orignal barn has such beautiful texture and shades of gray, it's my inspiration for  a mastser bedroom. 

Natural linens evoke a relaxed, calming feeling and will be my fabric of choice.  Next, I need  to source the fabrics.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creating Magical Holiday Memories

Holiday Hustle & Bustle
It started on Black Friday. There's so much to do! Gift shopping, getting the house ready for guests, decorating, trimming the tree...what about baking cookies or making that special hand made item? It can all be a bit overwhelming! This year, I propose for you to slow down and give your self a gift that is truly memorable!!

Putting the Holidays into Perspective
Take a moment to think about last year after the holidays were over. How did you feel? Do you remember the gifts you gave or received? What you cooked, baked, or how you decorated? Do you remember how much you spent? Do you remember the stress of it all? What memories do you truly cherish? Is it being with family and friends, laughing, smiling, loving? What do your answers tell you?

Creating Magical Moments
When you think of happy memories, are they in slow motion or colorful pictures? Do you feel good all over or even laugh out loud? Why not tap into that same mindful joy this holiday season? How... do you ask? Is this realistic?
Yes, it is and there is no secret to the key. It's easy once you get started!

Each of us are unique and have something special to share with the world. Here are some tips to help you create magical moments in your life this holiday season. It starts with setting priorities. We want the best for everyone we know. But, we must be kind to ourselves first. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Be truthful to yourself with budgets of time and money and accept it lovingly.

  • Make a commitment to yourself not to exceed your budget.
  • Create a list, carry it with you. Check it off, studies show it increases endorphins from a sense of accomplishment.
  • Don't over think gift selections. It causes stress & sometimes makes you spend more.
  • Make multiple purchases of a similar items for extended family & friends. It saves you time, money and stress.
  • If you want to make a personal gift, select one or two immediate family members to ensure you will have enough time. Next year, make it for another close relative.

  • Use last year's holiday cards to create gift tags. It adds a special touch & it's fun too!
  • Keep a calendar, such as in Outlook. It helps you keep commitments & is a great reminder!
  • Select one evening each week to wrap gifts you purchased or made. You won't be overwhelmed on the night before Christmas! (Write it in your calendar to make a commitment.)
  • Write down when your bills are due on your calendar so you don't forget with all the distractions.
  • Don't have much time to do all the baking you want to?? Select one favorite recipe and make it for the main holiday celebration.
  • Do at least one interactive activity with a child such as finger painting, singing nursery rhymes, coloring, playing cards, baking. It will make you feel like a kid again!
  • Take a minimum of 20 minutes completely for yourself each week, creating some sort of ritual. Take a hot bath with scented salts, go for a walk, paint, draw or do a craft that you like. Identify your unique talents, interests and desires and do something within that realm to celebrate YOU!

Re-create Your Own Happy Childhood Memories
I have very special Christmas memories. My mother loved old fashioned prints such as the one to the right. Whenever I see cards, or gift tags with these images, I think of her and my heart warms.
My father loved angels & churches.
My earliest memory is of my dad placing a miniature church made out of cardboard & glitter on the tree. The stained glass windows were made from red cellophane. The back of the church had an opening so a light would shine through and illuminate the church. I was in awe & thought it was magical!

A few years ago, I found a similar replica, pictured here. Every holiday, it's the first decoration I put out. I savor the wonderful and loving memories they gave me. The angel ornaments adorn the tree and gift tags are made from nostalgic pictures. It's magical for me and represents a loving family, a good life and joy from the heart!

Creating memories with family& friends is truly important. Be kind and true to yourself, have fun, find joy in your own magical holiday memories!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jump Start Your Energy for Fall Projects

Make a List
o Create a ‘Finish My Projects’ book using a spiral notebook or composition book. This is your workbook. Write down your ideas on projects, planning and materials lists.
o Write down all of your unfinished projects.
o Add one or two projects you really want to get done if they are not on the list.
o Take a deep breath and feel good that you de-cluttered your mind trying to remember all the things you need to do.
o Having a place to write down your goals & plans is like journaling. It is very rewarding as well as it being a place you can refer to; or reflect upon to see the positive changes you made in daily living or accomplishments made over time.

o List the tasks/jobs in order of importance A, B, C.
o Put the ‘A’ Task/Jobs on a separate page.
o Estimate how much time each ‘A’ task will take. (ie. Re-cover chairs – 1 hr./chair
Total Job= 4 hours).
o If a task/job seems overwhelming or too large, write it down on a separate page. Break it down into 5 smaller tasks.
o Write quickly and easily without dwelling on the details.

Select & Schedule
o Choose the top 3 to 10 projects on your ‘A’ list.
o Determine the total number of estimated hours it will take for you to complete the tasks selected.
o Revise your selection and reduce the number to projects you will undertake in the near future.
o Postpone all remaining projects until after the holidays. Select a date you will review the other projects and make an appointment with yourself to do so. Write that appointment on your calendar in your projects book, home calendar and office calendar and commit to it.
o Use this list to re-organize yourself after the holidays.

Make a Commitment
o Estimate how much time you are willing to contribute to the overall task list between now and Thanksgiving.
o Use a calendar and count up the free time you are willing to contribute. Add a Calendar page in your workbook and pencil in the day, # hours you are willing to work

Establish a Deadline
o Make a commitment to yourself or someone else that you will complete at least (3) of the projects on your ‘A’ List by a certain date, such as before Thanksgiving.

Tackle Easiest Job First
o To boost your energy and get you going, start with the fastest or easiest project.
o This will give you an overall good feeling and sense of accomplishment.
o It will also give you motivation to tackle Project #2 and help you in the planning process.

Organize & List Materials Needed
o Now is the time for details and planning. Choose your next project and do not skip forward to any other project.
o List materials needed.
o Write down each task.
o Re-organize your tasks in order. What needs to be done first? What is next & so on.
o Continue writing until you come to the last step.
o Review your Action Steps.

Start Your Project
o Select a date on your calendar where you allocated free time & commit yourself to it.
o Use your Action Step Check List as a guide/tool when doing the project. It will help you stay focused. Check off each action step as completed.
o Do not answer your phone during project. The less interruptions, the better. You can always listen to voicemail if you get that distracted. Call after committed project time is completed.
o Stop when you have finished the committed hours for that time period. If you have the energy and time to continue, do so until completion of another action step. Schedule the balance of work on the calendar. Again, make a mental commitment to yourself to keep hold that promise.

Be Flexible

o Give yourself permission to stop if you are getting tired or have an interruption that cannot be re-scheduled.
o Avoid unnecessary conflicts by being rigid or short-tempered. Set a boundary with interruptions by family members, saying that your time is scheduled and you will get back to them when you are free. Be kind and firm.
o Re-evaluate your action steps and edit them if they are not working for you.

Finish Your Project
o Be thorough and follow through.
o Getting results in a planned and balanced manner is very rewarding. Besides, it gets our endorphins flowing and gives us that overall glow!
o Avoid procrastination and stress by sticking to the plan and taking time to think it through. Again, follow through until completion.
o If you are getting outside help, plan out your work and complete all action steps required- before outside help arrives on the job. Whether volunteer or paid help, respect of the individual’s time affects your stress level, the relationship and your schedule.
o Be detail oriented and hold yourself accountable for the project. Don’t blame others for your own lack of effort. Be kind, but, be firm with yourself.
o Revel in your accomplishment. No task- big or small, should go without acknowledgement of all the thoughtful planning and effort you invested into completing the job.
o Congratulations, job well done!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ReCalling & Re-Building Your Inner Fire

I just finished working on a special project this summer.
It was such a wonderful experience and I worked with a special group of wonderful people where the harmony and respect for others was evident on a daily basis. But, with the end of one experience, comes the anticipation and adventure of another. A new beginning-- a chance to make a change in one's life.
As I contemplate what changes to make in my life, I realize it's a time to pause and make time to restore my energy.
Nourish what I have and refill what I have used.
It is a time to let go of everything and make myself a priority. Some of us, do it by taking a vacation or taking a walk. Going to the gym or going to the spa.

At certain times in our life, taking time for ourselves seems impossible, if not overwhelming. Working40+ hours a week, getting dinner ready for the family, taking care of a loved one who is ill and needs your help. 'How can I give when I feel like I have no more to give?'
If you feel like this, it is time to ask for what you need and let it in.
We cannot be hard on ourselves when our body is telling us, " I'm running out of energy! I need to rest! I need to nourish my soul! I need to play! I need to step away from all my responsibilities! Please give me some time!!"

Take a moment. Imagine escaping from the stresses of the day- even if it's for 5 minutes. Start by giving yourself permission. Find a time and place when and where you will not be disturbed.
Picture yourself swimming in calm, cool, healing waters basking in the light of the sun. Give yourself permission to visualize something the gives you joy and take a deep breath. Let the breath go.

Take another, deeper breath, close your eyes, visualize the pool you are in. You are safe. There are beautiful orchids surrounding you- so fragrant you can smell them and feel the flower's fragrance travel through your body.
Keeping your eyes closed, you exhale slowly. Take another breath, and visualize soaking in the cool water. As it touches your skin, ever so gently, nourishing you, feel it nurturing you with all its healing ingredients.

Imagine your breath creating ripples on the water as they catch the reflection of sunlight. Again, you feel nurtured by the warmth and light of the sun.

Take another breath, and imagine you hear the nature that surrounds you- bird song, or the wind, or the ocean- exhale slowly. Listen closely in silence, as you try to imagine the sounds that give you joy. Continue to do this until you feel your energy building up to what is appropriate for you.
When you are ready, imagine walking down a path of river stones. Feel them under your feet.

The path leads to your Sacred Temple of Self- Your Inner Fire. The flames dance in celebration of your inner spirit. It heals your pain. It heals any illness or heartbreak.

You see the fire grow with energy and light. You are safe. You feel rested and rejunvenated.

You sit by the fire and absorb its energy. You feel wellness throughout your body. You close your eyes and breath deeply. You tell yourself, I will recall this feeling and this time when I need to regenerate and revitalize myself, my essence, my uniqueness of a loving and lovable human being.
I am worthy to take this time for me. I deserve it. I earned it. It is my reward and responsibility to nurture myself. Breathe. Feel your energy building, storing up inside you. Feel it down deep, where you no longer feel the ache in your heart. But feel joy pulsing through you limbs, in your lungs, in your heart! Breathe in all the energy you need. When you are ready, open your eyes. Welcome Back!

Give yourself permission to seek support and assistance for your healing process.

In wellness or illness, essential living is staying in the moment. Listening to your body, mind and spirit as if it were your own child asking for help.

Serve your sacred self well to create the energy to live the good life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Good Life

Our homestead is located on the North Fork of Long Island. Surrounded by a beautiful woodland setting, we are inspired daily through the nature around us.
We are starting a Recovery Garden this Spring and created a hobby that not only will be saving on grocery bills, but will give us countless hours of pleasure by nurturing and tending to the vegetables and herbs.
We live in deer country. So, it's quite the challenge to have any kind of plantings! Fortunatly, we have a fenced area that we can use.

Post May 18
Planted pansies & marigold.

Post May 19
Purchased vegetable & herb plants for Recovery Garden.

Post May 20
Planning garden layout & clearing out weeds.

I'm excited about our herb garden this year. I'm not sure if I will plant them in the Recovery Garden, or create a separate Herb Garden.The existing plants are lavender, oregano, English thyme, and lemon balm. This year, I'm planting basil, Thai basil, rosemary, flat leaf parsley, and more oregano.

Vegetable plants are beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers-two kinds, and from seed- green beans and sugar peas. We also got a strawberry plant and are looking for blueberries.Speaking of strawberries, I'm looking forward to this year's Strawberry Festival in Mattituck held in June. I'll get back to you on the dates.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Life in Costa Rica, Farmer's Market San Ramon

We lived in San Ramon, Costa Rica over the winter. The photo to the right is a view from our second floor balcony.
San Ramon, an agricultural town located in the highlands of the Central Valley, is about 45 minutes northwest of San Jose, and close to the famous cloud forests of Monteverde and Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna. Neighboring towns are Los Angeles, Palmares, Grecia, and Atenas.

Due to elevation differences, climate in each town can be dramatically different. The dry season is from Dec to April. It was unusually cold in San Ramon this January and February. Many nights the winds howled as the tin roof rattled violently to the point you thought they were going to blow off. It is not always as pictured to the left. There wer sunny days in the 60's. So close to the cloud forest, the clouds would roll in at night, providing the needed cool temperatures and moisture for
this is where Costa Rica's famous and delicious coffee is grown.

Near the campus of Costa Rica University at the edge of town, every Friday and Saturday, the local farmer's market is held where you can get delicious ripe fruit and vegetable and fresh flowers every week.

Fresh produce purchased at the open air farmer's market is at local economy prices. But, gringos look out! Make sure the vendor has a price marked, otherwise the price may go up!
12 cents for a small bunch of bananas. Pineapple, cantalope, watermelon, green beans, tomaotes, white potatoes, broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers and the list goes on.

Back in the U.S., so many of us are talking about having a garden this season. If the White House can have one, why can't you? Once the initial time is invested to set it up, the rewards you reap far outweigh the work needed throughout the summer.
We are even thinking about having chickens and guinea hens. What a hoot!