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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Antedote

Seeing that tomorrow is the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, what better time than now to warm up these long dark days and nights than with some beautiful lighting.

I stumbled across this gorgeous outdoor lighting arrangement via dolak.
 
Although many of us might string lights from the eaves, there is more to lighting up the night than that. After you've hung up the wreath, don't forget to light up outside entrances, porches, and decks. I have on my to-do list making my own wine bottle outdoor lamp and this one from etsy is my inspiration:


Outdoor lamps are not just for the summer. If you are having guests over for the holidays, light up the entrance for a warm welcome. You could spray paint them a glittery gold or silver and stencil with some Christmas greenery, bells, angels, or whatever else your imagination can dream up.

Or how about this gorgeous outdoor room I found posted at enchanted home:


Who wouldn't want to hang out here for a holiday party? If you aren't lucky enough to have an outdoor fireplace but have a deck or patio, don't neglect it, deck it!




Lighting definitely sets the mood this time of year. I mean really, who wouldn't want to come to a party at this house?


Do your part to dispel the dark!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sumpen Out of Nuten

My bathroom needs serious help. I currently have nothing, nada, zip, zero hanging on its forlorn walls, that is until now.


Excuse the glare, but it's a small bathroom on vanity light steroids. I picked up two of these beautiful frames and mats for $1 a piece at a local thrift shop. They were originally a matching art "set," I'm guessing circa 1985 because of the ugly mauve color scheme.

The moral of this short story is, don't overlook ugly. Take a look at the bones and determine what you can makeover. Heck, us girls do it all of the time! The frames were a solid wood painted ivory with two beautiful and contrasting mats. Though this photo doesn't show it, the frame, the glass, and the mats are all excellent quality. I printed out two art photos I found on the internet that I really loved and framed both prints. I can now at least relax a bit until I paint. Bare walls screaming at me? Yep, they honestly do.


Monday, December 12, 2011

2012 Color of the Year

It seems that the Pantone Color of the Year for 2012 is Tangerine Tango. I am already using an orangey red color in my own decor, but it is nice to have some of my design choices validated.


This summer I spray painted my lamps a color called Georgia Clay. And the prominent color in my patterned drapes is orange. I have been in love with the orange-turquoise combo for some time:



And my living room and dining room already has a mix of blues, turquoise, reds, and tangerine splashed about. 


I don't decorate based on trends, but I do get infatuated with new and interesting fabrics and colors. I will often times try to incorporate a trend I like when I can do so without compromising the overall design. I suspect a lot of people who enjoy pattern, textiles, and design in general, such as myself, just get caught up in seeing something different as well. As someone who loves art, patterns, and color, I would feel deprived if I couldn't indulge in something that catches my fancy. How about you, do you get swept away with trends and eye candy?



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breakfast via Pinterest

If you have not yet discovered Pinterest, you must check it out.  It is full of ideas for the home, recipes, fashion, interior design, crafts, photography, art--just about everything I love and can't get enough of.  I repinned this time-saving idea of baking eggs in a muffin pan for my weekday breakfast and it was as easy as they said.


I now have breakfast for the next six days. You could add any ingredient you like. I made mine on whole wheat bagel thins sans cheese to save a few calories. They were delicious!


Seriously, if you have not checked out this site, you are missing out. Follow me and visit my board "Cool Stuff" at http://pinterest.com/laflaherty/.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maybe It's Love, Maybe It's Infatuation

I think these wingback chairs are smoking hot in his fabric. And the peacock upholstery? What more can I say!  To top it all off, they threw in my favorite color: turquoise. It's going to be a good day.


I must say I hate the floor though. I would so take this room with this floor. The white sofa and white chairs against the wood would just sing:


And for the cherry on top of my Friday morning, Galley Direct is 50% off plus free shipping. This M. Drake oversize (48 x 48) painting I have been pining for, like, a year, is less than $150.


I am dying to mix a big, modern piece of art into my home design.  For whatever reason, this girl just speaks to me. After "visiting" her online for at least a year, I haven't grown tired of her in the least. I say I need to just go on and buy her and not be afraid of how to make it work.

I also love this painting by Cecil Peacock that I could see hanging in my bedroom, but you can't build Rome in a day.  I love her confidence and aloofness. Still, if you look at her long enough, she seems vulnerable, like it is all just an exterior shell.


As much as I love these pieces, I don't have experience in mixing modern with a more traditional, cozy feel. I am nervous. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Into the Typing Pool

I am really loving the type art everywhere on pinterest and how some very creative crafters have been playing with it. I haven't ventured into any home projects using type outside of my page makeup program, but I am collecting some ideas. I have been working on the next issue of the magazine so I have not had any time to indulge in my love of design.

I needed to build an ad for a prophecy radio broadcast advertisement, and I chose to use type to convey the message. I'm not there yet, as this is just a first draft, but it has been fun.


I think for my holiday decorating this year, I will try my hand at spray painting some wine bottles like the ones I found on pinterest  from Maryann Rizzo.


How gorgeous is this from something you would have thrown in the trash? I am also feeling this lake sign, only I would feel it more in turquoise:


I am not into the monogram thing, but I do like the rustic look of cork.


I am researching and learning how and what I want for my website and wanted to tweak the fonts in the magazine. A good link to learn all about type is Smash magazine, but enough swimming in the typing pool. 

I'll leave you with some eye candy I found at my favorite blog, House of Turquoise. No matter how little time I have to drool over design, I always make time to check out Erin's blog. She did not disappoint today either. I love, love, love this table and chairs. 


I have seen wingback chairs used as dining chairs and absolutely love the idea of it. If you like eclectic design as I do, check out her entire post. It's a beautiful blend of sleek modern and rustic.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life Unplugged

Let me first say that this isn't a political post. Rather, it's an observation on how inane the so-called "news" media is and how numb we have become to its insidious hum. It's a little like white noise, after a while, you hear it not at all. For instance, this past week all the liberal media had to report on was presidential hopeful Herman Cain's alleged sexual misdeeds, Governor Perry's brain freeze and, basically, how stupid conservatives are in general. All the conservative media led with was the same tired Republican race between the same tired faces and how far Obama's approval rating fell this week. Is this really the most important events of our time?



Little to no coverage was given on the Turkey earthquakes, the biggest storm to hit Alaska in 40 years, or the civil unrest in America, Europe, and the Middle East. Then there is the European financial crisis that is literally imploding from within and will ultimately affect everyone in this country for decades to come, not just Europeans. And much, much more real news that was either never aired or given only a cursory mention.

Iran has been rattling is saber at Israel and the West in general but it seems that Israel's danger threshold has been breached. On the heels of this rock throwing over the fence was Russia's thinly veiled warning to the United States that it will come to the defense of Iran. And China, that sleeping fat-cat dragon, is, no thank you, going to break its piggy bank to bail the European's out of their sinking ship.

I went without television for about eight months after my work hours were cut due to our lousy economy. I've been replugged for about 60 days now and never more sorrier that I am. Is anyone else awake out there? When did we get so dumb as a nation that we lead news programs with Beyonce's "baby bump" and who got kicked off of  "Dancing with the Stars" this week?


For God's sake America, turn off the television. Do your own homework on the news of the day and please, please pick up a book written by someone with a fine mind. Read history, classical philosophers, anyone and everyone who can enlighten you and make you think. Better still, how about picking up the Bible, the greatest treasure trove of history, wisdom, and prose ever given to mankind. Don't believe that everything you hear is true because it is on television or, for that matter, even important.


Someone, somewhere, thought you needed to hear the important news of the day and it was the breakup of Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage, the defeat of Chaz Bono on a dancing program, and what Michelle Obama was wearing. Really? Where are the reports on the famine in Africa, the frequency and severity of earthquakes and natural disasters, and the fallout of Fukushima? Not to mention the Dr. Evil genome projects our own government is sanctioning, the genetic altering of our food, creating sustainable jobs, our financial system, and the corruption of our political system.


I for one am sick to death that potty-mouthed ex-Playboy bunnies are rewarded for their debauchery by being given their own television programs. Why on earth does someone think I need to be entertained by Kendra or worse, admire her? And what of the number of paranormal shows now airing? Whew-whee! I won't even touch that one on this small post. Suffice it to say there is a vacuum in America and Hollywood is filling the void.



All I can say is: you have been robbed America. While you were sleeping someone came in and stripped your character and worth, rewrote your history, stole your banking system, and handed your freedom over to the federal government. But they left you some rose-colored glasses on the bedside table so you wouldn't notice that you and your children have, all the while, become indentured servants to the state. No, you were too focused on buying a wii for Christmas and watching Hef and "The Girls Next Door."

But there is hope. During my hiatus from television, I discovered that there is a remnant of people "out there" who have not been sucked into the mind numbing inanity of it all. And I must say that they carry the same mystique and awe for me as the frontiersman and cowboys once did for my grandparent's generation.



I, for one, would be lost without my new "network" of independent thinkers, independent news bloggers, scientists, and overall survivalist. Even more heartening to me, is I learned that there is a resurgence of young people learning to live off of the grid. They are thinking for themselves and they are absolutely determined not to be caught unawares when their country disappoints, as surely it must do. They are making and preserving their own food, using biofuels, sewing again, and living as independent and unplugged as they can. They have learned to measure their success by a different yardstick than my generation did. They figured out that advertising is a lie, as is the lie of materialistic wealth, and they are not only learning that healthy, antibiotic-free steaks come from cows, not feedlots, but that confidence in their degrees for security is a slippery slope.



The really, really smart ones are skipping a college education altogether, even though their own government and culture has told them they must go into debt if they ever hope to succeed. No, what these young people are doing is working. Working very hard at mastering trades, skills, and crafts that actually can sustain them when the money tree is no longer blooming. Instead of buying into the ideal of the McMansion they can't actually afford, they are opting for an attainable lifestyle that is spiritually rich. These young people realize that there are no jobs and they are not coming back. Ever.



They are learning to raise their own livestock and nurture the soil as Mother Nature intended. They are learning to re-purpose materialistic goods and re-educate their own children. They are learning the joys of family instead of entertainment, fashion, or fast cars. Most important, they are learning that their stay here on this planet is a short but important one. You really can't take any of it where you are going and you have a small, allotted time to make an impact.


It always takes courage to swim upstream when others are going downstream, but no goal is more worthy than living life as a free, independent woman or man. Yes, they are working hard, but at the end of the journey, these intrepid young people are gaining valuable survival and life skills that cannot be found in an office cube.

Unfortunately, the same news media that literally tranquilizes us with pop culture news will also tell you that these young people fighting for home schooling and the independent thinkers, authors, bloggers, and artisans, are all escapists or conservative, right-wing, fringe wackos. When did the noble goal of being independent and wary of who you keep company with and staying out of debt become such rich fodder for ridicule?

I may not always agree with others on how life is to be lived or even on what the purpose of life is, but I am a big proponent of choice. After all, this is what America was suppose to be. Once upon a time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

I stumbled across a celebratory tribute article, "How Do You Spell Ms." on the longevity and legacy of Ms. Magazine yesterday while surfing the net. New York Magazine headlined the article with a prominently displayed circa 1970s snapshot of a slim and somewhat stern and young Gloria Steinem. Hip seventies attire. Plenty of big hair.  


Immediately my fingers twitched with desire to publish my own commentary on this “commemorative” occasion. A myriad of emotions ran through my mind as I perused the article and my palms begin to sweat. Reflecting on Ms. Magazine is a bit like thinking back to that creepy, overbearing guy you let kiss you even though you would rather not just because you didn’t have the experience to handle the moment. It washes you in a nasty memory of anger and angst.  


This is how I feel about Ms. Magazine. It brings a twinge of self-loathing. As such, I am particularly irritated by the “follow-up” article written by the young Emily Nussbaum, whose subtitle, “Come for Lady Gaga, stay for the Enlightenment,” instantly marks her as an outsider while shamelessly showing her longing for the return of fervent feminism. Obviously, Nussbaum wasn’t there. But Lady Gaga? Gaga isn’t about or for women, she is a poster child of a lost, narcissist generation. Steinem, love or hate her, had a singular message.


The legacy Steinem left me and countless others my age was a confusing and thankless place through most of my twenties and thirties, so I have earned the right to have my voice heard on the feminist movement. Although my voice may not be young like Nussbaum, it might sound fresh to your ears because it isn’t often told in the media.

As I have shared in my previous posts, I wasn’t really a part of the baby boom generation. I was a one year old in diapers when Kennedy was shot and watching “The Partridge Family” before bedtime when the hippie movement and Woodstock were happening. And when the photos featured in New York Magazine of Steinem and company’s staff meeting were snapped, I was just an innocent 10-year-old girl at a time when girls of 10 were actually children.


Yet, it was my prepubescent generation that ultimately fell to the pied pipe of Gloria Steinem and the feminist movement. We were young with minds as blank as any slate, empty vessels waiting to fulfill our futures. Gloria, herself a young girl of 29, wanted to change the world, and I do admire her very much for this. She was an articulate, smart, sexy, and determined woman. Who wouldn’t admire that? She believed in her ideas and was not afraid of the ridicule that often accompanied them. But I wonder, did she have any inclination of where her ideas, as a young 29-year-old girl, were leading a generation of up and coming women?


Before I even begin to lament on just some of the damage caused by the feminist movement, I have to say what was so right about it. Like the civil rights movement, it shed light into a dark era of discrimination in our nation. As such, accolades to Gloria, and for all of the other women who came before me who fought for my right to vote, own property, and hold a job outside of the home. Thank you that we could enjoy work environments free of sexual harassment and for the right to equal pay for equal work. It's just about everything else you did to muck up the roles of women, men, and the importance of family and place that I disagree with.


As a young girl, I remember that in my small suburban neighborhood of modest homes all of the women stayed home. It was a magical place to grow up as a child. You knew when you got off of the school bus your mother would be waiting. After a quick snack and a change of clothes, you rushed outside to mingle and play with a virtual throng of neighborhood children. After dinner, entire families migrated to the front stoops to watch their children play until dark. It lent a strange sense of security to play ball or catch fireflies knowing your mother was all the while keeping an eye on you.


Today, the streets of most suburban neighborhoods are empty. Children now spend their formative years in controlled, after-care school programs or in complete isolation. When mother does arrive, she is frazzled, cranky, distracted, and just plain tired. I know I was. You see, after my mother was divorced and left to fend for herself, as many other married women in the seventies were, the cadence of our life changed suddenly and dramatically and our personal security was ripped asunder.  


We no longer had the luxury as young girls to dream of our futures in suburban sound bites or play free in the streets. Life became economically hard, as did many of our mothers, who suddenly found themselves thrust into a work world that neither wanted them nor paid them very well.


Upon graduation from high school, I did what any girl who believed in the mantra of Gloria Steinem and company did, I went to work. The more well-heeled of my generation went to college, but if you were the product of a single parent household, you went to work. There was hyperinflation, gas lines, and very, very rigid work ethos for women in the workforce. You were excited to be there, even if you did have to wear business “suits.” Black, low-heeled pumps were a part of the uniform of the day and you never, ever let them see you cry.


If your child was sick and you got that dreaded call, you were, quite literally, at peril of being fired. Leave early to attend a school party with your child? Never! You were in a man’s world and expected to act very much like one. And it was hard. It was hard leaving your child crying at the door as you left with your briefcase in one hand and your lunch in the other. It was hard trying to run a household, raise latch-key children, and keep up your appearances and your relationships. Your employer sucked the most productive hours out of your day and night. All the while, the drum beat of modern culture urged you to be more, do more, and succeed.  Above all, have it all!


What we succeeded in as we finally reached our forties, tired and resentful, was the realization that we had been duped. You can’t have it all, and our own broken families and emotionally messed up children attested loud and clear to a flawed idealogy. Then there was the most painful of all consequences. Instead of our daughters actually admiring us for all that we had managed to accomplish, they resented us. They resented that we were not there when they got off the school bus, baking cookies and soothing their hair back behind their ears. They resented having a mother who wasn’t “present” emotionally or who didn’t have the time to just “be.” Honestly, this hurts the most. Because work we did and we worked hard!


I personally think that the young mothers today who are making untold sacrifices to actually stay at home with their children are the women we should be admiring and encouraging, not Lady Gaga. These young women seen first-hand what their own mother’s experienced and the effect absent parents had on their own childhoods. They have made deliberate, proactive decisions to opt out of the game. 

I must admit that when this first began to occur, I would wring my hands and shake my head when they would whine about how hard it was to be a mother. In derision, I would think, "Honey, you have no idea!" I couldn't  imagine the “luxury” of having all day to home make and care for my family as they did because it was never an option while raising my own children. Being a working mother with a management-level position, now that was hard!



Eventually, the lightbulb came on for me and I began to empathize with them and understand why it it was so hard for them. They are paying a high price for their very deliberate and honorable goal of being “just” a mother and opting out of the workforce. They are isolated and face sometimes unbearable economic hardship. Worse, many do not receive appreciation or acknowledgment from their peers and, predictably, the modern day Gloria Steinem’s of our time have nothing good to say about it.

We have come a long way, baby. We have given young women the right to choose their own destiny. And I, for one, can thank Gloria and company for that. However, now we just need to empower them to feel good about it.











Monday, October 31, 2011

Running Hot & Cold

On Saturday I purchased the seagrass rug I found on craigslist. Funny thing is, it is more rope than seagrass, but I am loving it. The texture is amazing.





The new rug goes a long way in helping me tie together the rustic Pottery Barn look I am hoping to achieve with some modern elements thrown in. I am still on a quest to find just the right artwork, however, the fun of pulling it together on a very tight budget is that each find becomes a treasure. I must say that making something out of nothing has been my life's work! 

When visiting my niece last week, I got the idea to bring nature indoors as she did. I think the red leaves are gorgeous in this turquoise vase and go with my rust and blue theme. Thank you, Ailis!


We had a beautiful time visiting Virginia and West Virginia last week and it is a good thing we went when we did. They got something like three inches of snow on Saturday and this Southern girl has not driven in snow in many years!



What a difference a week can make. It was chilly when we visited Friday and Saturday but so warm on Sunday before we left we had to change back into short-sleeved shirts. Mother nature is certainly being fickle, or maybe she is just going through the change like this middle-aged blogger.