Archives for February 2009

A Whale of a Tote

Bungalow 360 has this adorable, reversible tote for $26. It just screams SUMMER and I think that’s why I love it so much. It reminds me of the kind of canvas bags I used to carry around all of my beach toys. Apparently, it is reversible with polka dots on the inside. A-DOR-ABLE!

I’m a beachy girl AND a Pisces…so I love all things relating to the water.

Bedtime Routine

My routine at night is pretty standard, but I realized how much it is influenced by pattern and color. I brush my teeth and rinse with my favorite, hand-painted mug that I bought in a tiny store in Rockport, MA. I don’t drink coffee, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love coffee mugs. I am also just about to begin a renovation project on my bathroom. It will be the first renovation project that I tackle on my own, so wish me luck. I’ve always liked the tiles on my bathroom floor, but change is good, so now I’m in search of a new bathroom “look”.

My bed is my safe-haven. I have always gone with a country-style when it comes to quilts and pillows. I’m a big fan of quilts. I can’t fall asleep without reading. Right now I’m deeply immersed in SALEM FALLS by Jodi Picoult. It is the perfect book for these long winter days.

In the Garden

I’m already looking forward to Spring! Today was a tiny hint of what’s to come. This is a shot from the March 2009 issue of Country Living.

Love, love, love!

I’m A Little Teapot

How much do you love this teapot? Found it at Bauer Pottery Company.

I love their simple lines and use of vibrant colors. Here’s a vase.

Tooth Bears

I got this cute idea from Martha Stewart. Here are the instructions:

These little hand-stitched felt bears have an important duty: safely guarding teeth awaiting pickup by the Tooth Fairy. As Martha Stewart Living television stylist Cindy Treen demonstrates, you’ll need to know several basic embroidery stitches for this project: the backstitch, satin stitch, French knot, and whipstitch.

Tools and Materials
Tooth Bear template
Straight pins
Embroidery thread
Polyester fiberfill
Chopstick or bone folder

Bear How-To
1. Print and cut out template. Pin to felt, and cut out one bear half; repin to a new piece of felt, and cut out second half.

2. Make the bear’s face: Embroider two French knots for the eyes, then make a nose with a satin stitch. Extend the nose one stitch down on each side to create the mouth.

3. Cut the pocket shape from the bear template, pin to a piece of felt, and cut out. Embroider a name and tooth image on the pocket, using a simple double-thread backstitch (this will make the details stand out). Attach the pocket to the bear’s front, using a single-thread whipstitch.

4. Starting at the top of one ear, stitch the front and back pieces of your bear together with a whipstitch; stop at the top of the other ear to create a space at the top of the head for stuffing.

5. Stuff the bear with polyester fiberfill, packing the stuffing tightly so that the body is firm. Use a chopstick or bone folder to push stuffing into the legs and arms.

6. Whipstitch the top of the bear’s head closed.

7. Embroider claws onto the ends of each arm and leg with a 1/4-inch whipstitch.

Cindy Treen used polyester fiberfill from JoAnn Fabrics and wool felt from Magic Cabin Dolls.

Tiny problem…I don’t know the whipstitch, or any stitch for that matter.

Heartache Leave

When it feels like your world is falling apart around you, the hardest thing to do is continue going about your daily tasks and focusing on work and responsibilities. However, with the economy crashing around us and people losing their jobs left and right, it is imperative that you remain professional and balanced at work. No emotional breakdowns allowed. So how is someone supposed to deal with emotional trauma and remain professionally “together?”

Christine Hassler tackles this question over at The Huffington Post. She also mentions something fascinating. A Japanese firm gives employees “heartache” leave when going through a break-up or divorce. Hassler advises readers to take a personal day, but take it seriously.

Don’t slack off on your personal day – it’s not a vacation! Use it to attend to your personal issues, not just as a day to catch up on errands and TiVo. Make an appointment with your counselor or life coach if you have one, spend time with a friend or mentor and do things that support you in dealing with your emotions so you can be more focused at work. Make the day one of closure with your ex.

Life is indeed a balance of dealing with the normal day in and day out “to-do’s” with the curveballs that get thrown our way. As tempting as it is to dodge the curveballs, it’s more empowering to deal with them head-on in a healthy way. But it is also our responsibility to attend to our personal matters outside of the office so that when we are on the clock, we can be focused and productive.

Health Coaching

An article in today’s Boston Globe brought light to an area of the health industry that I find particularly intriguing.

At Duke, specially trained health coaches are helping patients implement a personalized care plan that complements treatment prescribed by their regular physicians. However, centers must straddle the line between adopting non-mainstream therapies that may improve a patient’s quality of life while avoiding unproven alternative therapies. “We’re extremely wasteful in healthcare in America, because we don’t respect what the patient can bring to the table, the healing properties of the body itself, the use of lower-technology routes to healing,” says Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard health-quality specialist who heads the non-profit institute for Healthcare Improvement.

But as always evidence matters. That’s why Medicare funded a Duke study of 154 middle-age people at high risk of heart disease. In 10 months, people who received health coaching were exercising nearly 4 days a week, two days more than when they started, and had an average 10-point drop in cholesterol, while the people who only got standard checkups barely budged.

Natalie Portman

My favorite dress at the Oscars! Love, love, love!

Curious Case

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Future of News

I am intrigued by the current debate going on over the future of print journalism. Recently, The Daily Beast, weighed in with their opinions on the fate of print journalism. It is an interesting argument coming from one of the new leaders in online news and opinion. But here is the question, are sites like The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, The Women on the Web providing enough impartial journalism or are they too heavily weighted with opinion pieces?

Jill Abramson, managing editor of the New York Times, spoke at NYU recently and provided her observations on the importance of strong investigative reporting and print journalism. But can’t strong reporting come on the web? Is it the immediacy that causes people to consider it to be insignificant or inaccurate?  It is that the rush of getting the story out FIRST propels most websites into disseminating news before it is checked for accuracy or fact? This is the primary problem that leads to a lack of trust with online sources. However, in the world of topical issues, the more voices heard, the more accurate the understanding of the issue at hand. If you search for how the recession is affecting relationships, you find a number of personal, well thought out and well written stories about people’s reaction to the current economic downturn. This is the internet at its best. I think websites excel when they adopt the “Lifestyle Section” method for delivering information. These are the stories that people want to send around, talk about, use to create a dialog and post comments and reactions.

Yes, websites don’t have the same strict and stringent editorial process, but that doesn’t mean the information or news they provide is any less valid. In certain ways it mirrors how we, as a society, think and work, moment to moment with things changing all the time.

Walk On By

{photo courtesy of Ali Edwards}

Because I am always interested in challenging myself and finding new ways to make life entertaining, I have decided to see how my life changes if I make a concerted effort to walk at least 2 miles a day. I started this new “mission” on Saturday, Valentine’s Day. The fact that it is a memorable date will help me keep track of my progress (and had nothing to do with the fact that I wanted to wear a cute outfit without feeling/looking out of shape). So far I have walked three days straight, three miles each day, and I’m already feeling a difference. My muscles feel longer, leaner, tighter and more engaged. My energy level has been up and my mood has been all around sunnier. This may be all in my head, but if it is, who cares?! If I’m noticing a difference, isn’t that all that matters? And just to give you an idea of where I stand on the fitness spectrum, I am a 3-4 times a week runner. I enjoy running but it has become more of a chore than an enjoyable event. Walking feels much more my pace. I don’t dread jumping on the treadmill and I am eagerly looking forward to exploring my neighborhood on foot. Walking is something that you can easily insert into your day. Throw a pedometer on, park further from the grocery store/shopping mall/post office. Hit the pavement and get moving!

A book that certainly contributed to my walking fascination is The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook. This is one of the most inspiring, uplifting and enjoyable books I have read in a really long time. Here is a quote from this extraordinary novel that releases in May from Voice.

Now I knew that the hardest part of any workout was just putting on your sneakers. Once you got started, all you had to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what was or wasn’t happening in your life, no matter how happy or sad you were. I’d taken that first step because I wanted to look better. I wanted my clothes to fit. But it hadn’t taken me long to figure out that the biggest benefit was less about vanity than it was about sanity. Walking always helped.

So lace up those sneakers and start walking! I will continue to chart my progress and let you know if walking really can change lives.

Bobbi Brown and Emerson College

Yesterday, I appeared on a local television program. The production level of the program was pretty high, so I was treated to a makeup artist before appearing on camera. I’m sure nearly every woman at some point in her life has sat in a department store makeup chair and had different products expertly applied. But during those situations, you are usually being sold products. Last night, not a product was mentioned as this expert went to work on my face. Television makeup is a lot different than everyday, going out makeup. However, I think that every woman should learn how to really apply makeup in order to understand where different contours of our faces can be enhanced, how to minimize the appearance of freckles and how to apply enough mascara and liner so that it actually makes your eyes appear twice as large. This was the treat I had yesterday and I couldn’t stop asking the makeup artist questions. Trust me, if she was selling something, anything, I would have bought it.

That’s why I couldn’t believe that today I heard about Bobbi Brown teaching makeup artist classes at Emerson College! I happen to have graduated from Emerson College with a journalism degree (yes, tooting my own horn) and remember hearing that Bobbi attended Emerson and studied theater makeup. I am so impressed with what she has done with her degree and the fact that she is now bringing it back to where it all started is really inspiring. In response to announcing her new program, Bobbi Brown said,

“When I found Emerson, I found myself. It’s so great now to come back full-circle and help aspiring makeup artists grow and learn.”- Bobbi Brown

For additional information, check out Emerson College’s website.

Love Letters of Great Men

Like Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and the City, men don’t write love letters anymore. Big immediately replies with something along the lines of, “I don’t have to write to you, you’re right here. Plus, they had to write letters like that because they were separated by wars.” I don’t know if that’s exactly what he said, but it was something along those lines.

Why don’t men make sweeping gestures like love letters anymore? Is it because we now toss off a note in an email without a second thought? Are we too easily accessible? Why don’t men woo the women they love with more heartfelt approaches? Don’t they understand that it really is all about the little things? I’m tempted to buy this book but I’m afraid it will make me realize how far we have come…and not in a good way.

Twitter in 1937

David Griner, a social media strategist and blogger, recently posted about Twittering his family’s past.  Late last year, he found a line-a-day diary kept by his great aunt from 1937-1941. She was a teenage girl, living on a rural farm in Illinois with nothing but the schoolyard and the radio to provide entertainment. I think this is a really interesting and perceptive way to see how far we have come and yet how many of our issues remain the same.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Marriage

Great interview with Elizabeth Gilbert over at the Seattle Post. She discusses the phenomenal popularity of Eat, Pray, Love and gives insight into her next book which I’m sure more than a few readers are eagerly anticipating!

Here’s what she had to say about her upcoming book:

I spent a year studying the institution of marriage. I wanted to think my way into an institution that I do not feel much comfort with. We’ve now been married two years.

I wouldn’t mind doing “Eat, Pray, Love II” if that’s what were on my mind, but it isn’t. The book I’ve just finished writing is what happened to me and the Brazilian guy, the romantic guy in the book. He’s been my husband for two years, my partner for four. It’s a very different thing …

Update: Here is a fantastic speech that Elizabeth Gilbert gave this month. Check it out! It is completely worth it and something you will thoroughly enjoy!


My birthday falls after Valentines Day, which I love because the abundance of pink, white and red decorations, clothing and gifts are still very prominent in stores. Hearts and love are everywhere and it spills over nicely into my birthday celebration.
I am head-over-heels in love with this artist/designer/blogger. Here is a photo from a birthday party she threw for her daughter. I would like her to be in charge of my party decorating!

Privileged Style

I love when I discover a fellow design enthusiast who can find and appreciate design everywhere! The blogger, Style & Grace, posted about her admiration for the design elements in the CW television show Privileged. I couldn’t agree more. There is a modern, luxurious, and enchanting theme to the bedroom shared by the main characters, twin sisters Sage & Rose.

The contrasting colors of bright pinks, fuchsias and lime green mixed with earthy, natural colors and bright whites really works and creates a visually pleasing decor. Love it! (Now let’s just hope the show doesn’t get canceled…because it is ADORABLE!)

By the Sea…

Having grown up across the street from the Atlantic Ocean, I am always drawn to beautiful homes overlooking the water. Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces or maybe it’s all the wonderful memories I have that include the beach and swimming, but I will always live near the water. I found these images on Rare and Beautiful Treasures site. They are from Hutker Architects, Inc.

Tooth Fairy Kit

I am in love with this Tooth Fairy Kit! This is a great way to document your children’s lost teeth while helping them build memories of significant childhood experiences.

I have to extend a thank you to Ali Edwards for bringing it to my attention!